31 May 2011

Off to School We Go...

After much laboring over a decision about what kind of transformation our life would take this fall, we finally have a conclusion! It's the compromise that we were hoping for, but not one that we felt was possible in the area that we live in. We found an inexpensive (due to the fact that it is subsidized by the city where we live) half day, three-day-a-week preschool program for EC. It is walking distance from our house and they have a spot for EC in their four-year-old program. We visited last week and spoke with her teacher. The teachers have been there for 5+ years and worked within the city programs for close to twenty years. The classroom was divided up into a music area, art area, and a spot for story time and circle time. They also had several play areas - one set up like a kitchen, one was a wooden playhouse filled with dolls and the last one had every kind of block you could imagine. The kids were a pretty diverse crowd and the teachers were laid back, but in charge. They have the short time scheduled for the kids and they learn from a new theme each week.

EC dove right in, introducing herself to the kids, playing with them on the computer, and making stuff with scissors and paper. She is so ready for a little time to be independent of Mommy and Daddy. And I cannot wait to hear the stories that she has to tell about making new friends and all the exciting new things she learns in school. She's going to have a hard time waiting until September for the start of the new school year. I, on the other hand, am glad that I have a few months to prepare. It will be hard to admit that she's big enough to go to school all on her own, even if its just for a few hours a day.

The best part of this scenario is that I can stay home for one more year. I'll get to spend three mornings a week with little LR and all three of us will have our afternoons and Tuesdays and Thursdays for our normal routine. I am a little disappointed that I won't be going back to work, but I think this is the best option for our little family. And I feel extremely fortunate that we are able to do this for one more year. Now that we have preschool figured out, we have only a few short months before the search for a kindergarten begins!

27 May 2011

A Confession

I'm about to confess something that will probably be met with a collective gasp. I will clarify this admission by saying that I love, love, love my kids. However, I would be lying if I said that I don't sometimes find the prattling of my darling children maddening. I even tell them to stop sometimes. I am aware that this makes me highly imperfect. I am also aware that my incessant chatter has been found annoying on more than one occasion. Pot, meet kettle.

I am a talker. And for those of you who have met me, you might say that this is an understatement. Staying at home and not going out into the adult world every day has made the situation worse. I feel like I can't get the words out fast enough sometimes when I find myself in a conversation with someone whose age ranges in the double digits. Its like a flood gate opens and all those bottled up words just come rushing out. Much to the dismay of my friends, I'm sure. Definitely something that my dear husband is more than tolerant about. Thank you, G.

So, it shouldn't really be a surprise to me that my kids are chatterboxes. And because I am such a chatterbox myself, I should be more tolerant of all the chattering going on around me. Alas, I was given the gift of gab, not the gift of tolerance.

In my defense, its not the actual talking that I find annoying. Its the repetition. EC is at a phase when she will repeat the same phrase over and over and over and.... well, you get my point. Sometimes its a repeated request. Often, she just wants me to acknowledge her and respond. The one that gets me the most is when she sings the same line over and over and over. Its like having a song stuck in your head. I'm aware of how terrible this all sounds. What kind of mother doesn't embrace the creative songwriting of her three-year-old? A terrible one.

I feel as if I can confess this to you, though. And that maybe, just maybe, one or two of you will understand and not read this post with disdain. As you may have figured out by now, patience is not my strong suit. So, there you have it. I'm a mommy who finds her kids annoying at times. I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I might be the only one who tells her song-writing toddler to can the music for a minute.

26 May 2011

Shout Out!

Today's post is a shout out to G for passing all his exams and finishing all the requirements for his architectural license. He is officially done and will now have the very important significance of having letters after his name!! The requirements for the license involve lots of paperwork, payments to various organizations who have managed to find a way to make a profit off of the process, fulfilling a certain number of work hours in a bunch of different areas of expertise, and, of course, taking and passing nine (or more!) exams that encompass, not only architecture, but engineering fields associated with the profession. Its tough going. To add to the craziness, the licensing board decided two years ago to re-write the whole exam process and change everything up. G was caught in the middle of this and had to re-take exams.

While, I'm very proud of him for getting his license, I'm even more proud of him for deciding to finish. I know that there was a moment when he found out that he had to re-take exams that he'd already passed, when he really just wanted to quit. Okay, months of moments. And I know that it was hard to commit to go back to studying every night after work and on the weekends, too. But he made the commitment and stuck with it. He plowed through one exam after another until yesterday, we received the final notice that he passed them all! I'm not sure it has completely sunk in yet that he's done! No more nights of studying and weekends spent at the office instead of with the family. He has earned this license and I'm so very happy to share in his celebration. The only other thing I can say is: It's time for a really big party!

24 May 2011

Tiring Out Toddlers

I can sum up this article for you in a single sentence. You cannot tire out toddlers. I could go on to say that trying will only tire yourself out. I tried to write this post yesterday, but I was too worn out from the weekend to pick up my laptop.

The girls have been waking up early and napping terribly for the past week or two. I thought it might be because we'd been spending too much time indoors - the weather has not been very cooperative for outdoor play. I figured they weren't getting enough exercise to tire them out properly and make them sleep well. And so, I decided to team up with G over the weekend on a campaign to wear out our kids and get a nice long nap out of both of them. A nice long nap is usually needed to reset their little inner clocks and get them back into their normal sleep pattern.

On Saturday, we woke up a little hopeful about the weather. The forecast was still not a great one - cloudy with possible showers, but it hinted that it might be warmer than it had been all week. We were hoping it might even hit 60 degrees. And so we packed up the stroller with our two girls and a diaper bag full of essentials and headed for the train. We got off at a stop downtown and let the girls walk, run and wander through one of the many parks. There was grass to play in, rocks to climb on and a merry-go-round. And, to top off a great adventure, the clouds went away and left us with only sunshine and warm temperatures. The girls were thrilled to be running around without their jackets and we were just happy to see them running. Surely, all this running and walking would tire them out and ensure a good, long nap.

After the merry-go-round, we wandered over to find something to eat. The girls were in great spirits and ate quite a lot of food - a sure sign that our plan was working. We finished lunch and decided to take the scenic route back to the train. We walked along the water, breathing in the ocean air. All that fresh air had to be doing something, right?

We made it back to the train where the girls were practically vibrating with the excitement of our day. And they seemed happy to be heading home. When we got home and tucked them into bed for their naps, they fell asleep quickly and, I have to admit, so did I. I was exhausted. Hours of walking around in the fresh air had indeed had the desired effect - on me!

Unfortunately, our plan didn't work. The girls were up and bouncing around long before we were ready for them to be awake. I, on the other hand, was too tired to move. Maybe, the exhaustion will hit them tonight, I thought. Instead, they had trouble falling asleep that night and actually woke up early the next morning. Seriously?

On the other hand, G and I fell into bed at 8:30 pm completely worn out from our day of wearing out the kids. Which would have been worth it had we actually worn them out. I think we're going to have to move on to Plan B - pay someone much younger than ourselves to wear out our children!

19 May 2011

Daddy Talk

Tonight at dinner, I had a realization. I have to share my husband with my daughters. I'm not completely naive. I have known this for years. Ever since EC entered this world head first into his waiting arms. But tonight, I understood it a little more.

During dinner, I was talking around the incessant chatter of little girls, trying in vain to have a conversation with G. Today was an indoor day. Meaning we didn't leave the house. These are the days I dread as a stay at home mom and they are usually the days that push me over the edge. When G gets home on a day like today, I am ready to burst with unspoken words. And usually, I feel a little entitled to some conversation with my husband over dinner. Is that too much to ask?

It occurred to me as I was about to tell EC that it was Mommy's turn to talk, that she would have to wait to ask Daddy her question. She had been waiting all day to talk to him, too. And just like that, I stopped talking and let her take a nice long turn chatting about cowgirls and hats and birthday presents and teeth. Because as much as I miss adult interaction during the day, she misses her Daddy. She might get to spend all day long with Mommy, but Daddy is only around for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening and those two hours are taken up by breakfast and dinner and bath time. Not nearly enough conversation time for a little girl and her Daddy.

So, tomorrow morning, when we're pouring the cereal and making the coffee, I will try to remember that while I am entitled to have a conversation with my husband, it can wait until a little girl has a conversation with her Daddy.

18 May 2011

Best Buddies

Yesterday, while I was getting things ready for us to leave the house, the girls started a game of silliness. I never figured out what the point of the game was, but they were running through the house, shrieking and then falling down on the floor and convulsing into giggles. Whatever it was that they were doing was so ridiculously funny to them that they were laughing until they were breathless. It was quite a site to watch and I was glad that they were entertaining themselves for long enough for me to pack the diaper bag and get myself ready.

What I liked even more was that they were enjoying playing with each other so much. EC can make LR laugh like no one else can. Watching them together, clearly having so much fun was just heartwarming and it really does make up for all the fights over the same toy and pushing matches that I have to intervene in on a regular basis. Just like all those middle of the night feedings and diaper changes are forgotten in that instant when your baby smiles for the first time, watching your kids play together makes you momentarily forget all those sister fights.

Its true when they say that two kids is more than double the work of one. At least it is in the beginning. You not only have to take care of and entertain each kid appropriate for their age level, you have to control their interactions as well. But just as they get older and can do more things for themselves, their interactions as siblings change, too. I know that they will fight over toys until they leave the house and possibly even beyond. But I also know that because there are two of them, they have one more person in this world who's looking out for them and that can only be a good thing!

17 May 2011

Appreciating the Small Stuff

The weather around here (and it sounds like in the rest of the country as well) has been cold and dreary. Usually by the time spring hits, I'm the envy of all my friends. Walking to the park and playing in the sunshine and warm weather with the kids while they are all stuck in their offices wishing they weren't missing their daily dose of vitamin D. This is my reward for making it through the winter months stuck inside with two rambunctious kids.

Not this year. This year, my reward is a few more months stuck inside wishing the rain and cold weather would stop. And I'm having a little trouble coping without the reward part. I'm ready to walk outside and feel the warmth. We've had one or two warm days, but really, its been cold, cold, cold. And the ten day weather forecast has a little raincloud on every day.

All this foul weather has made us a little claustrophobic. The girls are ready to be outside running around and I'm in need of some fresh air too. The apartment is closing in on us! My solution has been to get them out whenever possible - even if it's just to play in the back yard for twenty minutes before the rain or the cold forces us back inside.

Yesterday, the forecast was for steady rain all day. The girls watched television, made paper dolls, had a snack and played with their toys. That got us to 9:30 am. What should we do now?

We played for a while longer, had lunch early and finally, got a break in the weather. And by that, I mean that it stopped raining. It was still cold and wet outside. But it was the best we could expect and the girls were bouncing off the walls. So, we bundled up, put on rain boots and headed outside. I was depressed to note that as I opened the back door, it was so cold that I could see my breath. EC, however, stepped out the back door and said, "My, what a beautiful day it is!"

I had to smile at her reaction. Everyone has been grumbling for weeks or even months about our weather. It is colder and rainier than we're used to, but sometimes kids are able to appreciate things better than us. She must have been happy just to be outside. Of course, twenty minutes later, LR was complaining and heading for the back door. She must take after her mommy.

16 May 2011

Outdoor Adventures

One of the big components of our life before kids was having outdoor adventures - kayaking the ocean, sailing the harbor, hiking the local mountains and biking the trails. While these are definitely things that don't have to stop when you have kids, they certainly slow down. It's difficult to participate in these activities when you're pregnant and even harder with an infant. But now that the kids are getting older, we're starting to look forward to the times when we'll be able to introduce the kids to these activities and do them as a family. Until then, we're making up some toddler-friendly outdoor adventures.

G is quite good at finding a way to incorporate his love of running with his desire to spend time with the girls. He packs the girls into the double jogger and runs from park to park. He gets some running in and the girls get a ride in the stroller and time at the swings. They all love it and come home tired and happy. This weekend, I decided to come along on one of their adventures and it was a pleasant reminder of how much fun we can have as a family.

First, we walked the half a mile to the train station near our house. There is a trolley car from this station that goes a few stops. The girls love this little train and it stops along our local bike path. We got off the train and the girls were able to walk and run along the bike path (which is fenced in on both sides!) without us worrying about there being cars nearby. They raced along the path, stopping to look at the flowers and the murals along the way. After about a half mile on this path, there is a playground that the girls love. Swings and slides and lots of stuff to climb on entertained the girls until it was nearly lunchtime and we decided to head home.

From here, we walked back down the bike path until we got to our neighborhood and then we cut through the streets until we got home. At this point, LR was fast asleep from so much fresh air and exercise, G and I had gotten a few miles of walking in, and EC was ready for lunch! The girls love adventures like this and while they aren't as fast-paced as kayaking through some ocean swells, they are enough to get our hearts racing. We've traded in our extreme adventures for now, but watching the joy on the faces of our two girls racing along the bike path more than makes up for our new slower pace.

13 May 2011


Do you remember the time in your life when nap time was mandatory? I can vaguely remember feeling trapped into laying down every day and feeling like it was torture. Of course, now napping is such a luxury that I consider asking for it for my birthday instead of the super expensive shampoo that I love and can no longer justify buying on a regular basis. I have two kids and they couldn't be different when it comes to napping. EC has always loved sleep. Sure, she had her moments in the early weeks when she woke up for night feedings, but I mean weeks literally, she was only six weeks old when she started sleeping eight hours at a stretch. And she got onto a schedule of napping for two hours in the morning and another two in the afternoon. This lasted for quite some time. When all her peers were giving up their morning naps, she clung to hers as if knowing that one day, she'd regret being so frivolous with something so luxurious. It was not, and even now is not, odd for her to nap for three or three and half hours at a stretch. She has always gone to bed at seven p.m. without a struggle.

Compare that with LR who just refuses to sleep as many hours as she needs in a day for more than a few days at a time. She's a sensitive sleeper - waking at small noises and being unable to go back to sleep. It took LR nine months to sleep through the night instead of mere weeks. We considered a sleep specialist, but finally succeeded with sleep training. She also wakes much more easily when she's really tired. This just results in a snowball effect of more tired leading to less sleep and even more tired leading to even less sleep until she's a crying mess and finally naps for three hours to break the cycle.

Don't get me wrong, EC had her share of crying in the crib instead of napping, but these were phases, not a lifestyle. Nap time with her is less fragile. If she falls asleep in the car, waiting an hour before putting her down for a nap is really all it takes to get her rhythm back. If LR falls asleep in the car, even for ten minutes, her body will boycott naps for the rest of the day.

I was listening to a very tired LR crying in her bed yesterday and googling what to do with a toddler who won't nap. And I found an article that was as contradictory as a toddler's sleep rationale on the subject. One of the first things it said was to avoid letting your toddler nap in the stroller, car, etc. Nap time was for beds in quiet, dark rooms. This was quickly followed by a command to be sure not to let your child's nap time rule your life. And another bullet point pointed out that if your child is overtired, they won't be able to fall asleep, but if they are under tired, they won't be able to fall asleep. Somehow, you're supposed to figure out the exact right time to put them down for their nap in their bed in a quiet, dark room - how is that not going to rule your life? Either you have to bring a portable bedroom in your purse, or you have to never leave the house.

Its all confusing and I have to admit that nothing stresses me out more than a toddler screaming in their room for Mommy to let her out (!) when I know that is not even close to what she needs. Its tough to not feel guilty and neglectful when this happens, but what else do you do when he or she needs sleep and the Sandman just isn't coming? I rely heavily on my gut in these instances. What does my mommy intuition tell me? Is LR really just overtired or is she genuinely done with napping for the day?

Right now, my mommy intuition is telling me that nap time will be brief today because someone has decided to jackhammer the street outside our house and I'm sure that my sensitive sleeper won't sleep through this. Its going to be a long afternoon; I wonder if I walk to the park, could get her to fall asleep in the stroller?

10 May 2011

EC Gets Glasses

Taking EC to get her first pair of glasses was fun because she was so excited! She looks so grown up with them on. There's no way I can pretend otherwise, she's a big girl now. No more baby left.

09 May 2011

Mortified Mommy

We all have those most embarrassing moments when our kids do something that makes us just wish we could disappear. When we embarrass ourselves, its one thing, but we truly have no control over when our little ones might choose to do something mortifying. The only thing we can do is figure out how to react.

My most recent mortifying moment came at a birthday part over the weekend. We were at a four-year-old's party and the girls were both playing nicely and being well behaved. I was sitting within inches of EC who was playing with her BFF who happened to be the birthday girl. I was talking to the birthday girl's grandmother and letting EC give me a checkup with a plastic doctor's kit when it happened. And I wasn't the first to notice. Standing right next to me and totally nonplussed, EC was peeing on the living room rug! The birthday girl's grandmother was kind enough to point this out to me without passing any judgment. I looked over, and as if in slow motion, the realization hit me. My daughter, who'd been potty trained for nearly a year, was peeing on someone else's living room floor in the middle of a birthday party. Aaack!

I quickly grabbed EC to head upstairs and grabbed my husband along the way to clean up the mess left behind. I was hoping to further avoid inconveniencing our hosts having to clean up such a mess. And I was completely dumbfounded. How could this happen?

And then I remembered the last time this had happened was at her own birthday party. Seems that there is just too much fun and excitement for a little thing like bladder control to get in the way of. Why would she leave a roomful of screaming kids to do something as mundane as sit on the potty?

I tried to be cool and calm, but I really was embarrassed. And as I pleaded with EC as to why such a thing had happened, she said, "Mommy, I'm really, really sorry." And that was it. She hadn't meant to do it and I really couldn't be too upset with her - she is only three, after all. I'm sure this is not the last time she'll have an accident. And definitely not the last time she'll embarrass her mother! I'm also sure that in a few years, I'll be a source of embarrassment for her as well.

Mother's Day Wishlist

I had a wonderful day yesterday. I was given flowers, treated to lunch and cooked dinner. It doesn't get much better than that. I'm going to have a hard time going back to my normal life after such spoiling.

I was thinking all day long that Mother's Day is a wonderful way to treat moms special for a whole day, but I'm pretty sure that what we really want on Mother's Day are the same things we wish for all year long. I've compiled a list and I'm pretty sure you have items of your own to add:

What We Really Want for Mother's Day (in no particular order):
1. Well behaved children
2. All the toilet seats put down
3. A tidy house
4. A well-protected family
5. Lots of hugs and kisses
6. The trash taken out without any nagging
7. A bathroom that magically cleans itself
8. A good hair day
9. To look 10 lbs lighter in photos
10. A car free of goldfish crackers and raisins
11. The ability to go to the bathroom without anyone knocking on the door or barging in
12. The chance to have an uninterrupted conversation with another adult about something other than children
13. A day free of worrying
14. No dirty diapers

06 May 2011

Spoiling the Kids

Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing my job right. I know, surprise, surprise, this whole blog is about me wondering if I'm doing my job right. I'm not the only one wondering, though. If you look at a copy of a baby handbook that is even ten years old, the guidelines they provide are completely different than a current copy of the same book. One of the topics that they vary greatly on is whether or not its appropriate to coddle your baby. There was a time when coddling had a pretty negative connotation when raising your kids. Coddling was equal to spoiling. That implies that you're somehow ruining your kids before they've even gotten a chance to be a kid.

Now, the books tell you that you can't spoil the baby before six months. That coddling is a good thing. That coddling actually doesn't spoil your baby, but provides them with the security to be independent. There are paragraphs about why this theory is now more accurate than last decade's. Its no wonder I'm constantly wondering if I'm doing my job right - the experts can't even agree and they are, well, experts.

I have definitely been accused of coddling my kids. I followed the ideal that before they are six months old, you should respond to every cry. I tried to teach them that if they needed me, I'd always be there. But what happens after six months? Do I just start letting them wail and wondering why it's no longer working? Independence is a tricky thing to teach. Do it wrong and you're bordering on neglect. How do you teach your kids that when they really need you, you'll be there, unconditionally, but sometimes, they will have to figure things out for themselves?

It's pretty easy to tell if you're doing a good job when you're teaching your kids something concrete like the alphabet - they either recognize the letters or they don't. How do you tell if your child is learning something far more abstract like independence? My girls are very outgoing and friendly. They have their moments of shyness, but usually will go up to just about anyone to say hi or even ask to be held. They have always been this way. According to the books, this is because I coddled them when they were babies and taught them to be secure in the fact that I was always going to be here. Without having to worry about that, they are secure enough to strike out and be outgoing. I'm skeptical though. I think they might just have outgoing personalities. I certainly don't think that shy kids aren't secure. So, maybe my job is just to not mess them up. Maybe I've been entrusted with the care of these two really great people and my job is just to make sure that I don't somehow spoil their greatness.

I think, as a mom, I'm destined to fret over whether or not I'm raising my kids right. I tend to think that if I'm not worrying about it, then I'm not doing a very good job. Parenting wasn't meant to be easy. But then, nothing that's really worth doing ever is.

03 May 2011

A Tribute to Our Mothers

I'm starting the Mother's Day posting a little early this year. I thought a blog about being an imperfect mommy should focus on this holiday for more than just one day. Today is a shout out to all of the mom's out there, but more specifically to the ones who raised G and I. With all my imperfections in raising two daughters, I have to admit to standing in awe of my mom and G's mom who both raised a much bigger brood. I just can't wrap my head around how it could be possible to juggle more than two kids at a time. This imperfect mommy can admit to her limitations. I'm just not cut out for any more multitasking than I currently do, so don't expect any blog posts about a third one on the way!

I sometimes think of our moms when my two little charges are being particularly challenging. How does one keep track of more kids than you have hands to hold onto? Somehow, our moms did it. I come from a blended family, so my mom didn't have six small kids to look after, but when I was eight, she had two teenagers, two preteens, me and a newborn to care for. Yikes! And she babysat up to five others as her job. I can't imagine caring for six kids or babysitting five kids, let alone doing them simultaneously!

G always tells me the story of his mom's ability to remain cool even when, as a child, he walked into the house bleeding profusely from some playtime injury. She calmly cleaned and bandaged him up and sent him on his way. When I think about this story, I wonder if that kind of calm is innate or if it is just a product of your environment. Maybe when you have that many kids, you just can't possibly hover too much and you have no choice but to remain calm when presented with a challenge.

Whatever the reason for our mothers' calm demeanor in the midst of chaos, I am amazed that they could raise so many kids at once and instill a sense of goodness in us all. We weren't just clothed and fed, we were taught values. It's a tough act to follow and some days, I'm struggling just to keep my two girls clothed and fed, never mind teaching them compassion for others. On those days, I take heart in the thought that if it's possible for one mother to turn six kids into good people, then surely, if I am willing to put in the work every day, my girls will be just fine, too!

02 May 2011

To Lunch or Not to Lunch

Ever try to eat in a restaurant with a tired toddler? Its not easy. Sometimes you just have to be willing to admit defeat. G and I made a tactical error yesterday when planning the day. We didn't realize that LR would need a morning nap. She's phasing out of them, but there are some days when they are just unavoidable. Plus, she's had a cold all week, so she's probably more likely to need one. Had we been looking for the signs, we might have avoided having to "not dine and dash."

We got to the restaurant, we had the waitress bring us drinks, only then did we realize that LR wasn't going to make it through an entire meal without hurting herself or others. So we grabbed our stuff (including kids), paid for the drinks and ran out the door. This abrupt change of plan might have been in LR's best interest, but EC met the news with a meltdown of her own. It's very difficult to tell a preschooler that you're having chicken fingers in a restaurant and then inform her that it will be boxed mac and cheese at home instead. Unfortunately, sometimes its necessary for the greater good.

We started the day with plans to go for a family walk in a park near our house that has lots of hills and a great paved path through them where the girls could walk and explore a little. There is also a great playground at the entrance, so we could always fall back to playing there if the kids weren't into the walk - this is known as Plan B. Its very important to have a Plan B when dealing with toddlers, but its not always foolproof. Case in point: there was a bike race going on at the park - which we knew about and even thought we might watch a little of. What we hadn't counted on was them closing the park for it - no paved trail and no playground. So, we parked at the entrance to one of the many hiking trails and just went for our walk there. The terrain proved a little tricky for a 1 1/2 year old, so our walk was short lived, but at least we got some fresh air and a little exercise. Next up - we needed a snack. A farmer's market on the way home provided this - unfortunately, LR was too busy running around to eat her homemade apple cider donut and she had the muddy pants to prove it. From here we went to the playground to swing and slide. LR was fussing on the way to the playground, but she kept saying, "Park!" so we ignored this very obvious sign of fatigue and took it as a sign to hurry to the swingset.

At this point, we should have realized that three outdoor activities was probably overdoing it. Instead, we let the kids run and swing and slide until we had to admit that lunch was in order. On the way home, we decided a restaurant meal would be more fun than heading home. Another error on our part - never make four stops with your un-napped toddler.

This was all clear pretty soon after arriving after the restaurant, but we had two kids to consider. We had to weigh how difficult it was going to be to eat lunch with our crazy toddler versus how loud our preschooler was going to scream if we told her she had to go home. Its a balancing act. At this point, LR was flailing her arms, throwing everything she could get her hands on - which luckily was only menus and napkins. And there was no kids menu, so G and I were trying to figure out what the kids would eat.

Finally, we gave in to the impending meltdown of daughter number two. Scooping up LR and putting on EC's coat, we informed the waitstaff that all their table set up and attempts to take our order had been in vain. We had to leave before the meltdown reached monumental status. Of course, EC started wailing in protest that she wanted to eat at a restaurant. So, we toted two wailing kids out to the car.

Its hard to maintain a sense of decorum during all of this. I felt guilty for inconveniencing the restaurant staff, disappointed that we were heading home where I'd have to fix lunch, and pretty terrible that EC was so upset with the turn of events. As a rule, little kids don't respond well to spontaneity - they like you to give them a five minute warning if the location or plans are going to change. I also wasn't convinced that we'd read the signs right and thought that maybe we were making it all worse by heading home.

Of course, LR fell asleep within a minute of being put into the car. Proving that we'd made the right choice. She didn't even wake up when I took her out of the car and she napped for an hour after we got home before waking up for lunch. Looking back, I can see what went wrong and how we could have avoided it, but I also know that this kind of stuff will still happen even if we do follow all the "rules."

I think the only rule that we really have to remember is to that when parenting toddlers, you have to be willing to go with the flow and let the plans change with the mood of the crowd. Come to think of it, I have friends that I have to follow the same rules with.