That Time My One-Year-Old Locked Me Out of the House With Her Inside

How do you know when your baby has become a toddler?  Some would say it’s when they begin walking and talking.  I’d say it’s when they start making mischief.

The other day, I was home with Chloe (16 months) and my mother-in-law.  We stepped outside the front door for some fresh air, with Chloe toddling just behind us in the doorway.  So there we were, chatting away, enjoying the balmy weather, admiring the progress on the new house being built nearby, when Chloe got a big idea.

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Before I could say, “Wow, look at those gross motor skills!” she slammed the door in our shocked faces. Did I mention the door locks automatically? Did I mention our keys were inside?

The next 10 seconds felt like 30 minutes. My baby. Alone inside the house. With no way to get to her. Here comes the panic!

I paced the walkway while trying to kick start my sleep-deprived mom brain and run all the possibilities: Could I get in through the garage? Nope, locked from the inside. Any open windows today? No, A/C on full blast. Who else has our key? Nobody close enough.  Chloe interrupted the spinning top in my brain, plaintively calling for Mama from behind the door. I bolted to the nearby construction site.

My mother-in-law, bless her, sang nursery rhymes through the door to keep Chloe from wandering off to find the kitchen knives.  I returned with a burly construction worker carrying a crowbar.  “Break it!” I shrieked, pointing to the front window.  He shattered the glass, then helped me climb through, miraculously without cutting myself.  I snatched Chloe and opened the door.  Glass everywhere, but not on the baby.

When I called Dave, it was partly to inform (broken window, repairs needed) and partly for TLC.  My heart was still beating out of my chest.  I wanted him to stroke my emotions and chill me out.  And when he was done fixing me, I wanted him to congratulate me on my quick thinking and give me a medal, or at least a World’s Best Mom coffee mug.  But that’s not at all how it went.  It went more like this: “Wait, what?  How could that have happened?  Wasn’t there a smaller window you could break?”

Not only was he not impressed with my superhero-like reflexes, but he clearly thought there was something less destructive–and expensive–I could have done to solve the problem.

That’s why it was totally amazing when the very next day–I am not making this up–Chloe locked Dave out of the house.  It was less dramatic, since his keys were in his pocket (and even if they weren’t, he could have easily crawled through our now demolished window).  But it proved that this sort of thing could happen to anyone, not just me.

High five, Chloe.  You’re a toddler now.

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11 Things I’m Doing the Second I Finally Wean Baby off the Boob

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I’ve been pregnant, trying to get pregnant or nursing for most of the past six years. So rather than owning and occupying my own body, I’ve been renting it out to some rather unruly but very adorable tenants. At 15 months old, Baby #2 is still on the lease, nursing on demand with great enthusiasm, but I’m making plans for her eventual eviction. It’s not that I don’t love breastfeeding—I do. It’s just that I also really like vodka.

Here’s what I’m gonna do as soon as I get that last baby weaned:

1. Wear a turtleneck. Or anything else in my closet that restricts access to my breasts. I’m sick of my neckline-limited wardrobe. Even my husband is tired of seeing my cleavage!

2. And all the jewelry. As every breastfeeding mama knows, dangly earrings and necklaces are just convenient baby toys and all the yanking and breakage ain’t worth it. When I get my body back, I’m decorating it.

3. Smell fabulous. It always seemed rude to spray perfume right where the baby is trying to breathe, so I’ve mostly smelled of breastmilk, which is not something you ever see marketed by Chanel.

Keep reading over at mom.me!

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My Tushie’s in Traffic

I knew two kids would be harder than one kid.  I just didn’t know why.  The problem is car seats.

With one kid, the car seat was installed in the center, and I could extract my daughter from either door, whichever was most convenient.  Now I’ve got the baby on the right side and Viv (age 5) behind me, on the left.  Since we’re all jammed into a small SUV, there’s no room to walk past the rear-facing baby seat, which means I’m putting Viv into the car from the driver’s side, often in heavy traffic.

That was a lot of words.  Just imagine me in this photo, but with angry bikers, city buses and cement trucks whizzing by, threatening to crush me with my own car door:

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So on an almost daily basis, I am risking life and, well, butt, as I wrestle my girl into her Britax, which shouldn’t be so difficult, except (1) Wait Mommy I dropped my sea horse and (2) Ow! I’m sitting on a barrette and (3) But I just need my snack and (4) I don’t want to get in my car seat! and (5) Juliette has a booster it’s not fair and (6) By this time I’ve been run over and I’m dead. It’s very sad.

No, but seriously, I can feel an actual breeze on my arse from the “Wide Load” van driving way too close for comfort as I beg, plead, negotiate, threaten, bribe and otherwise lose the battle of wills with my stubborn daughter.

I remember reading some parenting article that said when all else fails, try humor!  And that is how I ended up writing an original country and western song entitled “My Tushie’s in Traffic,” which I will share with you now:

My tushie’s in traffic

Oh no, I’m in trouble

Cuz my tushie is not flat

It’s shaped like a big bubble

My tushie’s in traffic

Cars they are a coming

If my tushie does get smushed

Then I really will be bumming (butt pun!)

So now, when I’m parallel parked and Viv is dilly-dallying, I start singing.  The tune is imprecise – I just give it a little twang and a wail and she laughs, which gives me just enough time to buckle her in and slam the door.  This is what it’s come to, friends.  Country songs about my butt.  I’m working on an album. I’ll let you know when we tour.  For now, at least my tushie will live to sit another day. Read More »

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Hand Jive

Until recently, I would have told you that my most unusual job experience was working as a street vendor on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, selling tie-dyed t-shirts from a shop called The Wizard of Odd that said things like, “When the going gets tough, the tough get growing.”  I was 20, working alongside one of my besties, and spending every dollar earned on beaded jewelry and vintage halter tops. Needless to say, it was awesome.

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But my street vending gig might have gotten knocked off the top spot.  Because last month, I was asked to be the pair of hands in a series of cooking demonstrations sponsored by Hidden Valley Ranch.  (The videos are embedded in various summer food & entertaining blog posts on Momtastic.)

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For one long day on set, my hands had to pour, mix, shred, stuff and chop while the rest of me got to kick back sans makeup and shoot the breeze with the crew, which included a food stylist–the job I want to have in my next life.  (I don’t know what’s happening here but I think she is blow drying the cheese to keep it melty.)

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It was super fun yet definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, as I normally don’t cook in public and I’m not exactly a culinary school graduate.

Scariest moment:

Having to demonstrate the “right” way to chop vegetables.  Luckily, when the video is sped up, it actually looks like I have decent knife skills.  But the food stylist was cringing the entire time.

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Most embarrassing moment #1:

When I cut my forefinger with a bread knife and production had to stop down for 20 minutes so I could finish bleeding. So much for those knife skills!

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Most embarrassing moment #2:

When I accidentally referred to my work as a “hand job.”

Most delicious moment:

Making these deconstructed s’mores and eating like 17 of them while the crew set up for the next shot.  I highly recommend washing them down with some rose sangria.

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Below are the rest of the cooking demo videos for anyone who wants to watch, Mom.

But before I go…what’s the strangest job you’ve ever had? I really want to know.  Please, the weirder the better.

http://www.momtastic.com/life/625301-bbq-dip-bar/

http://www.momtastic.com/life/622733-bbq-party/

http://www.momtastic.com/diy/623865-chicken-wings-boxes/

http://www.momtastic.com/life/430203-20-fresh-bbq-ideas-to-make-your-patio-party-shine/

http://www.momtastic.com/food/620805-grilled-desserts/#/slide/1

http://www.momtastic.com/life/623771-big-batch-drink-recipes/#/slide/1

http://www.momtastic.com/food/621367-party-dippers/

http://www.momtastic.com/life/624971-summer-party-shortcuts/

http://www.momtastic.com/food/620805-grilled-desserts/#/slide/1

http://www.momtastic.com/food/619685-ranch-pasta-salad-stuffed-shells-recipe/

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My Kids Have Two Different Moms (And They’re Both Me)

I think 89% of you read this already via social media, but I liked this post and wanted to make sure it got to the anti-Facebook crowd.

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You should see me with the baby. I kiss and cuddle, hold and rock, murmur and nuzzle. Every interaction with her is sweetness and light, and my patience knows no bounds. I play peek-a-boo, sing silly songs, read stories over and over and shower her with praise for the tiniest of discoveries, like finding her belly button.

So who’s the crazy bitch parenting my 5-year-old? The one who loses her temper, rolls her eyes and yells—loud. The one who scans the room for favorite toys to snatch away in punishment? The one who doesn’t even try to hide her frustration and exhaustion from her impressionable young daughter? Oh right, that’s me also. They’re both me.

“You never yell at the baby,” my 5-year-old astutely notices. “The baby doesn’t know right from wrong,” I tell her. “And you do.” But is that fair, or even completely true? Sure, my preschooler knows the rules and frequently breaks them, but at her age, she’s not exactly in full control of her impulses. She’s still learning. Why can’t I cut her more slack?

This is the hard part of being firstborn, I think. Compared with a helpless baby, older kids seem so big and competent—even if they’re barely out of diapers. I wonder if my expectations have been out of whack. I’ve noticed that she bristles when I call her a big girl. Sometimes, she still wants to be my baby.

Keep going…it’s over at mom.me.

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