I Can’t Keep the Boogieman Away

As far back as I can remember, I have been a worrier. I don’t know if it’s because I am generally just an anxious person, or because I watched my grandmother ritualistically chant under her breath for my grandfather’s safety every time he left the house. All I know is that I have always worried about my family, their safety, and the unknown. It is emotionally and physically draining to partake in superstitious behavior and dwell on things out of my control for thirty-plus years.

The most difficult part of this side of my personality is that I don’t want to pass this on to my kids. I have to let them jump off of high things and touch worms and NOT. FREAK. OUT. because I want them to be kids and adventurous and just not so afraid.


Overcoming her fear of an ant

And then there’s Gabby. She is so overly cautious. She is clumsy, so I clutch at my pearls every time she does something brave like jump out of the car or climb on the high jungle gym at the playground. But, like I said, let them be kids and all that. So I stifle myself.

Yet, somehow, the kid has become fearful despite all of my stifling. When she was two, she would ask me to come with her to the playroom because she was afraid that Swiper (that dastardly fox from Dora the explorer, for you non-kid owners) was in the front bedroom. She would wake up in the night afraid that a bear was going to get her, despite my frequent reminders that we made sure our house was fox and bear-free when we bought it.

Just this morning, she was happily playing in the living room with her Cinderella castle, and she sent Jasmine into the kitchen in Cinderella’s carriage when we had this exchange:

Gabby: Mommy, can you come with me to get Jasmine?
Me: No, Lilly’s in the kitchen. Just go in there.
Gabby: But I don’t want to be alone!
Me: You won’t be.
Gabby: Mommy? I think there’s a nightmare in there.
Me: Nope, I told you. This house has no nightmares, foxes, or bears.
Gabby: I’m still scared.

I had an immediate flashback of myself in my twenties – hell, maybe even my early thirties – running from the bathroom to my bedroom in the dark. I have always been afraid of the dark, monsters, and ghosts lurking in the night. But I have never once let on to my kids that I have these fears. It’s unnerving to me to see her fears unravel the same way mine did.

At least she has the benefit of my empathy. I know what it’s like to be afraid. She doesn’t know that I’m just as scared as she is. I never had that support growing up.

I just hope that my understanding and patience with her anxiety helps her to outgrow it.

I was lucky enough to find a husband who thinks I’m ridiculous and doesn’t make fun of me for it. There can’t possibly be another person that tolerant in this world.


Potty Training 2.0

I’ve been holding off on potty training Lillian for over 6 months. She has been wanting to sit on the potty – mostly for fun – since she was around 18 months old. “They” say the longer you wait, the easier it is to potty train the child. I’ve read that it makes it easier for parent and child if you wait until the child is at least 3.

Poop training for Gabby was easy because her poop face and stance were so obvious. She was pee-potty trained over a weekend right after she turned 2, but it was anything but easy. I used an app with a timer and rewards, forced her to sit on the potty and drink all day for 2 and a half days, and voila! She was sort of potty trained. We still had to restrict her liquids around nap time and in the evenings, and she still wore diapers to bed, but she was mostly good-to-go.

Very recently, Lillian has been able to tell us, “I have to go potty,” and actually hold it long enough to pee on the potty. Fabulous! Except that she will only sit on the potty when she is in the mood. To this I say SHE. IS. NOT. READY and keep her in diapers until she stops being so stubborn about it. I’m getting a lot of side-eye for that opinion, though. From my husband.

I mean…. we have an impending Disney World trip. Like she’s going to want to go potty on an airplane? Hold her pee on a two-hour line? Stop talking to Princess Aurora so she can find the closest toilet? NOPE! I am fully aware that roughly 60 days I will be completely starting over. I’m not even that mad about that part.

This is what’s annoying me:


As if one potty in my living room wasn’t enough…

Because of how stanuchly competitive my children are, I am now potty training TWO children. They were fighting so much over the little potty that we had to get another one – just so they can sit there watching tv and NOT peeing. Everytime one of them sits on a potty, the other one needs to do it so she, too, can be rewarded. Gabby has actually had more accidents since Lilly started potty training than she probably has had in the last year.

And lest I remind you, we have only one bathroom in our house. Even with two little potties, there is a lot of wait time to use the bathroom. Oh, and one more thing, she won’t go potty at daycare unless a specific teacher is with her, so mostly she just arches her back and refuses to go potty.

So. You tell me. Would you hold off on number two until summer time or would you just suck it up and thank God that you removed the carpets because the pee is easier to clean up off the floor?

Number Two Turns Two


Forgive me, Lilly, this post is only 3 weeks late.

My baby is freaking TWO! What?!?! My little blonde, tiny-heiney, spitfire bunny is two.

Lilly is speaking in full sentences a year too soon. Some delightful examples:

  1. “I not poopin’. Go sit on the couch!”
  2. “Buddy, no peein’ on my toys!”
  3. “Mommy, you wide bikes in the gym?”

She also can answer questions about her behavior with complete honesty.

Me: Lilly, why did you hurt your friends at school?
Lillian: Because I naughty-bones.

She also is still very handsy in that she can’t keep her hands to herself. She is always tugging on me, wanting to be picked up, and pulling my hair/hitting me/biting me (always with a smile on her face, mind you).

Lilly also loves to be silly. She keeps Gabby entertained at every meal. She thinks it’s hilarious to wiper her gross, mac-and-cheesy hands on me at every meal. I make a point to not sit next to her in restaurants.

She is also the most empathetic child I’ve ever seen. She hates to see other kids cry. If I’m sad or mad, she will hold my face in her tiny hands and ask, “Mommy, you ok?” She likes to “cuddle me up” on the couch with her blanket and pillow.

She’s the best Lillian Rose on the planet. We love her.

What do you do when your preschooler is a “mean girl?”



“Here Gabby. I drew this picture for you.” – Sweet, adorable little girl in her class
“I don’t want it. It’s not beautiful.” – My nasty little shit

“Gabby! Do you want to play with me? I missed you!” – A dear little cherub who has married her twice at school
“No. I don’t want to play right now. I’m in a bad mood.” – My grouch of a daughter

I know I should let her express herself and play with who she wants to play with. I know I shouldn’t try to force her to be everyone’s friend. I’ve asked her to “do something nice for Beatrice* tomorrow.” But she straight-up tells me, “Nope. Not gonna do it.”

My husband and I are nice people. I am even nice to people who I don’t particularly like. It’s just civil. How do you refuse a picture someone draws for you, just to trying to be your friend??? I guess she is just trying to assert some autonomy. Like, “I can pick my own friends,” or something, but it is incredibly saddening to me to see my sweet daughter act like some kind of diva, refusing to give her peers the time of day.

How do you teach kindness? How do you teach a preschooler about bullying and cliques?

I didn’t think this would be a problem until fifth grade.

*Name changed to protect the innocent. 

I would love to hear your advice in the comments!

A Tale of Gabby’s Rear

Around this time last year, Gabby was really starting to get the hang of potty training. She loved it. She would sit on the potty in front of the tv and pretend she had to poop. ALL. DAY. LONG. After a few weeks of this nonsense, I started to notice a mild rash on her bottom and the backs of her thighs.

So, I switched to natural, gentler cleaning products and assumed it was from the toilet seat. The daycare uses a very mild bleach solution to wipe down their toilets, so that didn’t seem concerning either. I figured Gabby was asking to sit on the potty just to watch tv, so I reminded her that she didn’t need to sit on the potty to watch tv. We also got a potty seat for the “big potty” so she could learn to go to the bathroom IN the bathroom. Genius!

A short time later, I got her undressed for a bath and not only had the rash spread, but she had large sores all over her bottom and the backs of her thighs that just looked… angry. I had to take her to the doctor to get it looked at.

The pediatrician had no clue what was causing the rash, but it was definitely infected, so he sent us home with a prescription to treat the staph infection she had. It got a little less angry, but came back a few days later. We went back to the pediatrician.

He prescribed an oral steroid, a different antibiotic, and also a mupirocin cream (a topical antibiotic we were instructed to use only when she was having a breakout). He also referred us to a dermatologist.

We headed to the dermatologist, to whom I handed over a giant bag of creams and lotions that we had tried to keep the mystery rash at bay. I mentioned the only thing that worked was the mupirocin, but after a few days without treatment, the rash would always come back. She diagnosed Gabby with nummular eczema, gave us a prescription for a giant tub of mupirocin and gave us some instructions about keeping her moisturized and bathing her daily.

That worked for a while, but we still had to treat her with mupirocin regularly, and the time came when it stopped working because ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE. Dammit.

Back to the dermatologist we go. She asked what brand of cream and soap we were using. “The doctor recommended Eucerin cream and we have tried dozens of natural, frangrance free, sensitive skin, safe for babies body washes.”

“Have you ever tried Cetaphil?” she asked.

No. We had never – not one time – tried Cetaphil. She gave me several sample-sized bottles of Cetaphil RestoraDerm Eczema Calming Body Wash & Moisturizer. She also gave us a few topical steroid creams to treat with when Gabby has breakouts and assured me that breakouts are common and she will probably grow out of this. I also learned that immediately after swimming, she needs to be showered with the body wash and immediately moisturized with the moisturizer.


Here we are. Many months later, using the same Cetaphil products on both kids. Gabby rarely has breakouts and when she does, the spots are much smaller and more localized.

Recently, Lillian has started getting some dry, red spots on her cheeks and under her bottom lip (Buffalo winter and so much drool), so when Influenster sent me a tiny tub of Cetaphil cream, it was a no-brainer to try it on her face. The regular formula cream is so incredibly light, non-greasy, moisturizing, and EFFECTIVE. The results are stunning.

I wish someone would have told me a year ago to just switch to Cetaphil products because it would have saved me a ton of copays and Gabby wouldn’t have become resistant to the topical antibiotic. I hope this post can help any other #eczemamoms out there. We are #cheerphil now!

I received this product complimentary for testing and review purposes from Influenster, butt (see what I did there?) all opinions are my own.

The Newest McDermott’s Top 5 Posts of 2015

I have to say my number one post is usually the post that gets me followers for some reason. I guess other parents need reassurance that they’re not crazy. Anywho… Here are my top 5 posts from 2015:

1. Subliminal Messages from the Noise Machine

2. The ideal number of kids

3. Why having my kids in daycare is emotionally exhausting

Sad Lilly
4. My little pockets of shame

5. 6 things my kids are doing that I’m afraid I’ll forget

Are any of these new to you? Let me know your favorite post in the comments! 

Happy new year, friends! 


Nicole & the other McDermotts

Porkins & Henbains

Hey, everybody! I’ve been MIA over the holidays “enjoying some quality time with my family.” Now that that’s over, I’ve compiled a new list of “Adorable Crap My Kids Say” post. Here are the top 10 most adorable things they mispronounce.

  1. Porkins = steamed dumplings from Chinese take-out


  2. Henbains = headbands


  3. Poopah = their maternal grandfather, aka my dad


  4. “Waddle my baby up” = swaddle


  5. “On that farm-y had a horse…”


  6. They are also still calling band-aids “bain-bains.”


  7. Chewbockis = Hubs’ Chewbaca slippers


  8. Kep-chup = ketchup in Lillese


  9. The “Binch” who stole Christmas


  10. “Mom, do you bemember ______?”


    Do your kids have any cute mispronunciations? Hit me with them in the comments!

Holiday Gift Guide for Preschoolers by Preschoolers

I swear this is my last post about Christmas gifts, because DUM-DUM-DUM… I am DONE shopping for my kids! To that end, Gabby wanted to write a gift guide all her own, so here it goes.


  1. If it’s a pink princess dress, I want it. Even if it is too fancy to ever be worn by a three-year old, I want it. Especially if it is a Victorian-style princess dress with what looks like a corset, I want it.
  2. Elsa’s castle. Seriously, kid? That movie came out forever ago and my kids still want all things Frozen. Sigh.

    Image from Walmart.com

    Image from Walmart.com

  3. All of the crazy expensive tents from The Land of Nod. My fault for letting her look at the catalog.
  4. More baby dolls with blinking eyes and a pacifier. Because it only took me 2 months to find the one I got her for her birthday…
  5. Books! Well, luckily I can handle this one. Remember that review I wrote for Bookroo? Well, they have a new incentive program for current subscribers so you can get one free box for every friend you refer this holiday season! If you are not currently a subscriber, you can sign up here and make sure you share Bookroo with your friends so that you can get free boxes too!

*This post contains referral links, but all thoughts and opinions belong to my three-year old.*

What’s on your kids’ wishlist this year? Let me know in the comments!

5 Essential Oils You Need for Your Family

I’ve been using essential oils to keep my family healthy for about a year now. I recently went to a class at a friend’s house and my passion for essential oils was reinvigorated. I thought I would share some of my favorite oils and their uses with you guys in case you were interested in what they can do for your family.

From the YoungLiving website: “Helichrysum essential oil has a clarifying, stimulating, and grounding fragrance that makes it ideal to diffuse when studying or doing homework. Helichrysum can be applied topically to improve the appearance of tender skin.”

I love to diffuse this oil when working on a difficult task or powering through a challenging blog post. It makes me feel focused and helps me to complete tasks.

Everyone knows that lavender is soothing and calming. I use this in my kids’ laundry, I diffuse it before bedtime when they are especially cranky, I put a couple of drops in my bathwater when I am stressed, and I also place a drop on my kids’ pillows when I change their bedding. No home is complete without lavender.

Lemon is energizing when diffused, it can be used in cleaning solutions, and you can even add a drop to water or tea for a flavor boost. It’s a very versatile, fresh-smelling oil.

AKA Tea Tree oil, has antiseptic properties and a very fresh scent. You can add a few drops to a spray bottle with water and lemon oil to make a great household cleanser. It is also great for clearing skin blemishes and mild eczema.

Thieves is a blend exclusive to Young Living that contains eucalyptus and clove oils, among other things. It is great to diffuse to give your home a cozy feeling and it is also great to diffuse if someone in your family has a respiratory illnesss, as it helps to open up the airways. YoungLiving has a whole line of household cleaning products made from Thieves oil.

So how can you get started? One of the best ways is with the YoungLiving Premium Starter Kit. In the kit, you receive eleven of their most popular essential oils; a diffuser; sample packets of NingXia Red; and shareable materials, including sample packets, a roller ball, and more. It’s everything you need to discover the products for yourself and get immersed in the Young Living lifestyle. If you love Young Living oils, you can sign up to be a distributor and you will receive 24% off reatil price with each purchase, among other benefits. Click here to find out more information and start on your family’s essential oil journey.

What Gabby wants for Christmas – Part 2 (The Land of Nod edition)

Gabby wants everything she sees on tv, so in order to evaluate what she really wants for Christmas, I thought I’d give her another catalog. This time it was The Land of Nod (another crazy expensive venture). 

Let’s take a look at some of her choices…

She circled a TON of tents, thanks to her dad’s recent introduction of indoor camping. Also, there’s no way she’s passing up a doll bed. 

She picked this rocket ship tent for her BFF, Danny. 

This fabric dollhouse is beautiful and she would totally love it. I’m considering it as a splurge gift. 

Surprisingly, she wants this tool belt and workbench, so she can “be a builder.” I was thinking maybe a Lego junior set might fulfill that wish. 

The boat is for Gabby’s house and the car is for Danny’s house. So they can play together and share them. I’m dying from her sweet, giving heart. 


The astronaut one is for Gabby, the bear for  Lillian. Again with the camping obsession. 

Apparently she also needs a camper for her babies. I guess you can’t go camping without all of our kids. 

This was my favorite. Gabby picked some ornaments for her, Lillian, and Danny but then she also picked a menorah and dreidels. I guess the more holidays, the better!