Mommy Wants a Timeout

In which I contemplate absurd moments in parenthood, occasionally attempt to refer to myself as a “triathlete” while keeping a straight face, and maybe post some random pictures of stuff I’m knitting

Archive for the tag “Preschooler”

Warning: The Following Post Contains Language Unsuitable for Those Under 6 Years of Age

I’m a baby-head. And my ideas are poopy-headed. So says (or yells) my 5-year-old son, anyway.

It’s hard to keep a straight face when he’s having a tantrum and throwing out this type of insult, even though on the inside my heart is breaking a little because he’s so obviously frustrated and doesn’t know how to cope.

I blame myself. For the ridiculous vocabulary, I mean, not the tantrums themselves. (I’m pretty sure those come from my husband’s gene pool.) I have selfishly refused to use any REAL profanity in front of him (and, oh, how I’ve wanted to sometimes!) so he obviously lacks the proper terminology to truly express his anger. Heck, we’ve been referring to his posterior as his “bottom” or “booty” forever; the other day after school he had to ask me what a “butt” was. I told him, and now it’s his new favorite word. (“Mommy, check out my booty-butt!!!” “Kiddo, pull up your pants, right now!)

I don’t know why I have this hang-up about my child using certain words. I guess there’s a part of me that wants to preserve his baby-ness for as long as I can, even as he grows into a school-age boy. So in our house, it’s bottom instead of butt, toots instead of farts, and gosh-darn-it instead of…well, just about anything else you could say when you drop a book on your toe or spill a glass of milk. (Ironically, my husband and I, a physician and a nurse, have always used the proper anatomical terms for his private parts; while this ensures he’ll never need to learn the “real” word for them later, it has made for some embarrassing moments in public. Imagine a 3-year-old explaining at full volume the differences between the men and women on the magazine covers while we’re waiting in the grocery checkout line!)

So for now, angry outbursts in our house are going to be accompanied by some creative and sometimes pretty hilarious insults. My husband and I will try to hide our smiles while we show respect for his feelings, set limits on his behavior, help him learn coping strategies, and otherwise do all the “good parent” things we’re supposed to be doing. And we’ll wait until later, after he’s in bed, to laugh hysterically about his word choices; after all, that may turn out to be the one bright spot in an otherwise very trying day as parents.

A picture of "angry." Drawing his feelings actually turned out to be a pretty good alternative to yelling about them!

A picture of “Angry.” Drawing his feelings actually turned out to be a pretty good alternative to yelling about them!


My Legs Were on Hawaiian Time…

Well, this post is a little overdue. Our Kaua’i trip happened back in early March, and I promised to post pictures and a full report when I got back. Life constantly seems to interfere with my best blogging intentions…

Ahhh, Hawaii. Probably my favorite place in the world. This was my first visit to the island of Kaua’i, and also the first time we felt the kiddo could keep up on some fun outdoor activities. And keep up he did…through hikes that had me huffing and puffing, a pretty long kayak ride, and some quality beach time.

In contrast to last year’s trip to Maui, when I had a pneumatic boot protecting my injured foot, this year I was in good shape for running and swimming, and was looking forward to doing both in the new scenery. Unfortunately for me, my legs seemed to relax into that comfy “Hawaiian Time” as soon as we got there, and resisted all of my attempts to encourage them to move faster than my long, slow run pace (even though I never ran longer than 4 miles.) Blame jet lag, blame the warm weather and humidity, or the early-morning, pre-coffee timing, but the running was nothing to write home about. I did, however, see some beautiful sights on some of those sunrise runs:

I'm never up this early at home!

I’m never up this early at home!

An endangered Hawaiian monk seal taking a nap.

An endangered Hawaiian monk seal taking a nap.

I didn’t limit my lower-body workout to running. Hiking up hills is great exercise too!

Checking out the Waimea Canyon views

Checking out the Waimea Canyon views…

This guy's always eager to explore!

…pretending he’s on Mars…

Heading off for a canyon hike

…and heading off for a canyon hike

One of my favorite hikes: the shoreline next to Maha'ulepu Beach.

One of my favorite hikes: the shoreline next to Maha’ulepu Beach.

Oh, and there was some swimming, too, although I must admit I’m always so fascinated by what I see under the water I rarely concentrate on getting a workout in. I’m not comfortable in a snorkel mask, though, so I get lots of practice holding my breath!

Poipu Beach Park

Poipu Beach Park


We also took a kayak tour up the Wailua River, followed by a hike to a “secret” waterfall in the jungle (not so secret, judging from the hordes of visitors that hiked in shortly after we arrived!) I did earn bragging rights by being the first person present to jump (or wade, slowly) into the water and swim to the falls. Even in Hawaii, waterfall pools are…umm…refreshing? Bracing? Freakin’ cold, more like. Nothing like Oregonian winter-white gooseflesh to make me look fantastic in a bathing suit!

The lush greenery along the Wailua River

The lush greenery along the Wailua River

Hiking along the river to the falls

Hiking along the river to the falls

Not a bad place for a (COLD!!!) shower!

Not a bad place for a (COLD!!!) shower!

Couldn't convince this one to go all the way out to the waterfall with me. Wimp.

Couldn’t convince this one to go all the way out to the waterfall with me. Wimp.

My husband took a helicopter tour of the island with my dad and brother…By all reports, it was amazing, but I’m both too chicken and to prone to motion-sickness to have joined them. Oh, and speaking of chickens…They are EVERYWHERE on Kaua’i! Just part of the local character…

Some local chicks...

Some local chicks…

And a baby daddy?

And a baby daddy?

As much fun as we had on our visit to Kaua’i, there were a couple adventures that will have to wait for the kiddo to get a little bigger and stronger…

We'll kayak the Na Pali coast someday. Until then, this is as close as we'll get.

We’ll kayak the Na Pali coast someday. Until then, this is as close as we’ll get.

This trail is calling us, too...An adventure for another time!

This trail is calling us, too…An adventure for another time!

So there’s the briefest vacation report I can manage…Better late than never, right? And because I can’t get enough of baby birds (more about that in a future blog post) I’ll leave you with this parting shot:

Adorable (and endangered) Hawaiian Nene.

The adorable (and endangered) Hawaiian Nene.

Running…With Bugs

Ahhh, the joy of having your beloved 5-year-old crawl into bed with you first thing in the morning, cuddling his warm body against yours, snuggling close for a kiss, sharing his plethora of cold germs…Yep, this little guy is the reason I’ve spent more time WITH a cold than without so far this winter; at least it sure feels that way.

Nonetheless, I’m managing to get my three-a-week runs in, and I’ve only missed one or two of my twice-weekly swim sessions. As far as I’m concerned, I’m putting those miles in the bank just in case I get REALLY sick one of these days, or need to take a few days off for a minor injury. And I’m trying to stay cheerful in spite of my ever-present sniffles…Though I do wonder what the people I pass on my usual running route think of me, smiling and waving as the snot drips down my face. Most of the time the rain washes it away anyway, so maybe it’s not that big of a deal. All part of the joy of training in the Oregon winter!

In just nine short days, I’ll be saying goodbye to the nasty weather and aloha to the warmer rain of Kauai! Alas, it’s only for a week, but remembering last year’s trip to Maui in a pneumatic walking boot, I have high hopes for this being a wonderful vacation. Ocean swimming, hiking, kayaking…I’m prepared to have an awesome time, with or with out viral companions!

Stay tuned for pictures in a few weeks!

Weekly Workouts in Parenting

My weekly schedule for running typically includes a long, slow distance run, a speed or tempo run, and a middle-distance, middle-speed day. I’m a routine-oriented person, so it’s pretty reliable that these days fall on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, each week, barring any major changes in my son’s preschool schedule, or my own work routine.

The parenting routine is a little less predictable. It does, however, parallel the run workouts in a few ways. Each week contains some mix of the following:

The Speed Workout: Get up and get dressed, we’re going to be late to school! How fast can I make this PB & J sandwich for his lunch while encouraging him to hurry up and finish his oatmeal? Get your shoes on, get in the car! Drop him off at school, grab a latte, then rapid-fire grocery shopping, workout, school pickup and a haircut for kiddo. Drop off overdue books at library, head to Tae Kwon Do, then throw together something like a healthy meal for dinner; cleanup, bedtime…And I’m spent.

Middle Distance Day: Not so many errands to run, just a steady diet of housework, helping the kiddo with homework, etc.  (Seriously? Homework at the preschool level? Yep, it’s true!) Hubby’s home on time, so making dinner is a little less rushed (and he puts kiddo to bed!) Pleasantly tired but not exhausted by the end of the day.

The Long, Slow Distance Day: Husband gets up early and heads out for a full day of work; a dinner meeting that night means I won’t see him until after the kiddo’s asleep. No school today…What will we do to entertain ourselves? A trip to the park, a stop off at the grocery store…Back home for lunch, and the kiddo’s afternoon whining corresponds with my afternoon fatigue; a little “quiet time” in his room and a little TV time for me restore us slightly, and we spend the rest of the afternoon coloring, playing with Legos, and passing the time until dinner. The pre-dinner hour brings another bout of the whinies, which I do my best to ignore, though eventually they result in a timeout and some tears. Dinner improves the little guy’s temper, and pretty soon it’s time to get ready for bed. The stall tactics and foot-dragging bring me to the brink of losing my temper, but eventually he’s in his pajamas. Story time, and then he’s tucked into bed…And tucked in again, 10 minutes later. Finally, all is quiet. I collapse on the couch in exhaustion.

Comparing the challenge of running to the challenge of parenting is no contest; parenting taxes me emotionally and physically, and often leaves me feeling worn out, as opposed to running, which generally leaves me either energized or pleasantly fatigued. But there is one major similarity: all this hard work is going to pay off eventually…Isn’t it?

Hard to believe such an adorable creature could be so much work, isn’t it?


What Mommy’s Been Up to Lately…

Obviously, not blogging! So here’s a quick summary of my activities since I last acknowledged my blog’s existence:

Swimming! After this spring’s open water disaster, I decided it was time to rethink my swimming form and training techniques. I checked out the book “Total Immersion” by Terry Laughlin and prepared to revolutionize my swimming with a whole new philosophy (That’s what the book’s cover promises, anyway.) What I found was not so much revolutionary, but some really practical concepts related to swimming efficiency that have helped me get past the feeling that, in order to swim faster, I must make my arms go faster. My rotation in the water has improved, my breathing has become much easier, and I’ve reduced the number of strokes per length of the pool from 20 to 18, all without sacrificing any speed (or finishing the book, for that matter. I was only halfway through when it was due back at the library.)

Biking! Finally got that bike fit I so desperately needed. My backaches: Gone! My knee pain: Gone! The pain in my tush: Worse! Apparently, when your bike fits properly, you sit directly on your seat bones, and if your saddle isn’t right, you end up with a bruised butt. So I think it’s time to go back and visit my friendly neighborhood bike fitter (He really is friendly, and not intimidating at all, though, I kid you not, he goes by the name Rambo) and check out some new saddles. After all, a 12-mile bike ride should not cause me trouble with sitting for 3 days afterward.

Running! The foot is holding up just fine, and after 2 months, the heart and lungs are starting to catch up. My best effort yet over 3 miles is a humbling 11:11 minutes/mile, but I’m okay with that for right now. It was a 3 1/2 month layoff, after all. Still, hard to believe I ran a half-marathon in February, given my current lack of endurance.

Gardening! I’ve picked over 50 pounds of produce from my very own veggie garden so far this summer. The hits? Sugar snap peas…They’ve been gone since July, but they were far and away the most popular item for 4-year-olds and their mommies to eat straight off the vine this year. Tomatoes, especially the cherry ones, are also quite popular, and while zucchini as a veggie has been unpopular in the preschool set, zucchini bread is a smash hit. But green beans…Oh, am I ever tired of green beans. Note to self for next year: 5 rows of green beans is 3 rows too many.

This guy loves his veggies!

Knitting! Oh, dear Lord, how I’ve knitted. I’m using my triathlon training to give my hands a rest right now, since I’m pretty sure the tradeoff for letting my foot injury heal this spring was carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists from time spent on the couch knitting sweaters.

Tweeting! Okay, this has only been going on for a couple days. But if you’re interested, I’d love to pick up more than one follower! @MartyInTimeout

Hope you are enjoying the end of summer, and welcoming the fall! Off I go to see if I can improve on that 11-minute mile!

When Monsters Threaten…

We have a pest problem in our house. We can’t see ’em, we can’t hear ’em, but we know they’re there. At least, one of us knows it. According to the kiddo, the monsters in his closet are the reason he can’t go to sleep at night.

Since the kiddo sleeping is key to my health and well-being, this problem called for an immediate solution. I was at a loss; monster repellent (a.k.a., air freshener) was proving ineffective, as were the nightly monster inspections my husband and I were performing. Then the preschool director had the brilliant idea of asking the child himself what he thought would work. Without hesitation, he declared, “Robot Monster Guards.”

Thus, a craft project was born.

A robot engineer, hard at work.

The Robot Monster Guards in their final form.

We stuck ’em in the closet, and so far, so good…Not a single complaint about monsters for three whole nights. Now, if only we had a solution to that annoying darkness-at-night issue, all our problems would be solved. (Please don’t suggest a night light…He already has three.)

Erroneous Lessons My Son is Learning From Preschool Television

My broken foot and subsequent activity restriction has given me the opportunity actually sit down with the kiddo while he gets his daily 30-minute ration of TV. I’m doing my best to find age-appropriate shows for him to watch, and Nick, Jr. (“The Smart Place to Play”…and/or turn into a couch potato) is where we find his favorites. While I appreciate the interactive nature of most of the programming, and like the fact that my son is learning a few words in foreign languages, I do wonder about some of the unintended lessons these shows might be teaching. For example:

1. To stop a thief, it is sufficient to simply yell, “Swiper, no swiping!” (Dora the Explorer) Should work equally well when the school bully tries to grab your lunch money…He’ll just say, “Awww, man!” and walk away.

2. Baby jaguars make great pets. (Go Diego, Go!) Yeah, kid. Play your cards right, and you might (MIGHT!) get a goldfish. But don’t push your luck.

3. Marshmallow casseroles are part of a balanced diet. (Wow Wow Wubbzy) “Mom? Can I have some more marshmallow casserole?” “Not until you finish your doodleberry pie!” At least on Wonder Pets, they snack on celery.

4. It’s perfectly okay for a preschooler to wander off accompanied only by a monkey and/or baby jaguar, as long as they have a map or rescue pack with them. (Dora/Diego) Actually, that’s a pretty frequent theme in a lot of preschool shows…Seriously, Where are the parents???

5. Being a spy is an age-appropriate activity for a four-year-old. (Dora the Explorer: Super Spies 2) Okay, I admit, I may have a secret fantasy about being a lady James Bond (and being James Bond’s lady, but that’s another story); however, I’m not sure I want my son to pursue a hobby that involves using gadgets to invade others’ privacy. To be fair, though, this episode demonstrated a lot of necessary spy gear (dark glasses, cameras, bouncy balls that turn into boats or getaway bicycles), but it didn’t really explain what they should be used for. (Or what a spy is, for that matter.)

Still, these TV shows beat the heck out of most G-rated movies in terms of appropriateness for a preschooler. I’m still trying to minimize the effects of Horton Hears a Who and its use of the words “idiot” and “boob,” as well as the old lady v. lion fistfight in Madagascar 2. I’m telling you, these visual media are a minefield when it comes to parenting. It’s almost enough to drive a mother to take her kid outside to play or something…

What I’m Filling My Time With Now That I Can’t Run or Bike

This is what I had when I went to bed the other night...

The next morning, they'd multiplied...

They're joined by a blind bunny...

Then a member of another species...

"Well, hello, handsome!"

"Together, we can dominate this primitive society!"

"Help! A giant!!!"

"My darling, wake up! The giant is leaving! We're still alive!!!"

"Mommy, are you done acting crazy now? Can we please color a picture or something? And Caliban's not supposed to be on the dining table!"

Some Really Bad Jokes

This morning’s visit to the podiatrist yielded the following diagnosis: “Your foot is really angry right now.” I’ve been banned from using the elliptical trainer, the stationary bike, and doing any more walking than absolutely necessary. I’m only allowed to swim if it doesn’t make my foot hurt during or after the workout. Basically, my triathlon training will be pretty minimal over the next month, which seems like a bad joke; after all, my whole goal in training for the half-marathon was to get super fit for the upcoming season, and instead I wound up with a stress fracture!

But I’m doing my best not to dwell on the negatives right now…Instead, I thought I’d share a few really bad jokes, courtesy of my 4-year-old:

Q: “What does a ghost panda eat?”
A: “Bam-BOO!”

“Who’s there?”
“Interrupting Cow.”

Q: “You’re American when you go into the bathroom, and American when you come out, so what are you in-between?”
A: “You’re a-peein’!”

Q: “What did one tree say to the other tree?”
A: “You’re a snoogle-doogle bonky-boo!”

Okay, his dad and I are still trying to figure out that last one. But it’s hard to stay too grumpy when the kiddo is doing his standup routine!

Also cheering me up at the moment is the fact that the triathlon I was planning to make my Olympic-distance debut at on June 10th also has an aqua-bike division this year. So if my foot isn’t up to running 10K, I still have that and a sprint tri to choose from…See me trying to stay positive???

Back to Reality…

But reality kind of sucks right now…Can’t run, can’t bike, and the kiddo is really sick of hearing me say, “Mommy can’t chase you right now…She has an owie on her foot.” So instead of reflecting on my current reality, I’ll sit on the couch eating caramel-macadamia nut clusters and reflect on our week in Maui.

How’s this for an auspicious beginning to a vacation? I’d already made the unfortunate trip to the podiatrist that earned me an immobilizing boot and an admonition that “You’d better come back from Hawaii with a tan that ends just below your knee!” Then we get to the airport and learn that our flight has been delayed 15 hours, until 1 am, because a bird flew into the plane engine. (In the midst of the adults’ discussion of this inconvenience, my sweet little guy pipes up, “Did the bird die?” Oh, that innocence just about breaks my heart sometimes.) Many hours later, we find ourselves in Maui in the middle of the worst storm to hit the islands all winter…Flooding! Wind! Lightning! Welcome to vacation!!!

But it did get better from there. Maui’s winter rain is, at worst, a heckuva lot better than Portland’s. And after a couple days, the rain slacked off, and though the seas were still choppy, I got some great ocean swims in. Nothing too demanding, though; when this is what you’re seeing underwater, it’s tough not to slow down and check it out:

By the way, all those pictures were taken by my husband…He had the benefit of snorkel gear. (Actually, I rented gear too, but when it came down to it, I trusted my own breathing apparatus more than that tube thingy that kept filling up with water.) Here he is, showing off his superior grasp of all things technical and complicated:

The orthopedic boot didn’t slow me down too much. (Partly because I only wore it when we weren’t on the beach, which was about half the time we were there.) I hiked down to here:

But not up to here:

And I probably shouldn’t have walked out here:
But I did it anyway, and managed not to trip over the lava rock or into a tidepool.

The three generations of my family that took this trip with me did a great job of distracting me from my injury, and they forgave me for staring wistfully at the dozens of runners along the beach paths and highways. But now we’re home again, there are no tropical fish to swim with, and the boot is still firmly secured to my foot…Whatever will I distract myself with now? These macadamia-nut clusters are pretty good, and it’s only a week until the Mad Men premiere, so I’ll do my best to muddle through. But what I wouldn’t give for a teensy, weensy little five-miler right now…

The whole family (boot included)

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