The patient hat

A few weeks ago, I was out running errands with the munchkins.  Chip, as usual, was contentedly cooing to himself in his carseat, keeping himself busy with his binky.  Bobo, on the other hand, was in one of those moods.  Every five minutes, a new demand was made:

“I want a snack.”
“I want to watch a movie!”
“I don’t like this music; change it Momma!!”

My own patience diminishing rapidly by the moment, I decided to try a fresh approach.  “Bobo, I know you want X, but I need you to put on your Patient Hat for just a few minutes until we get to the store.”

This stopped her momentarily in her tracks.  “Momma, what’s a Patient Hat?  Is it a real hat, or a pretend one?”

The bait was set.  “It’s a special pretend hat,” I gushed, feeling a little like the weavers who tried to swindle the emperor.  “Look,” I said, pulling the imaginary cap from my pocket and passing it back to her.  “We put on our Patient Hat, and it helps us wait until we get to a place where Momma can help us.  Try it on!”

Bobo clutched the pretend hat in her little hands, examining the imaginary piece of clothing.  Without skipping a beat, she quickly countered back, “I don’t want to wear my Patient Hat.  It’s too small for me.  Give it to brother instead.”

Strike one.

This evening, I tried the Patient Hat tactic again, this time feeling a bit more prepared.  “Bobo, Daddy’s out of town this week, and when we get home I need your help being a good girl while I get Chippy ready for bed.  I need you to put on your Patient Hat for me.  Can you do that?”

“Sorry, Mom,” she shook her head, feigning disappointment.  “I left my Patient Hat at home today.”

“That’s why I grabbed it for you on the way out,” I quickly countered back.  I triumphantly pulled the little hat out of the diaper bag and offered it to her.  “I even made sure to grab one in your size.”  I perhaps said that last line a little too smugly.  As usual, my 3-year old was one step ahead of me.

“Mom, I don’t want to wear this Patient Hat,” she pouted, tossing the imaginary cap disdainfully aside.

“Why not?” I asked.

“It’s white, and white is NOT my favorite color.”

Strike two.

I may give the Patient Hat approach another shot, but only if I can find the perfect hat in the right size, color, shape and style for a picky toddler.  I make a mental note to myself to look for one on eBay.

While I’m at it, I may try to pick one up for myself.  But only if I can find one in size small.  That’s blue.  And cashmere.

What DO boys really want?

Sometimes I feel sorry for my kids.  They have been raised since birth listening to such diverse music as the Dixie Chicks, Johnny Cash, Bon Jovi, as well as a sprinking of other selections from the 80’s.  J and I have talked about the likelihood that our kids will go to elementary school and possibly be ridiculed because they think that Van Halen is cool (well, according to J, they ARE cool, but that’s another issue entirely).

Anyway, one of Bobo’s favorite songs to rock out to is “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”.  We call it our “mood” music, and listen to it practically every morning in the car on the way to preschool.  This morning, however, I found myself singing by myself, instead of my usual duet with Bobo.

“What’s up, Bud?” I asked.  “How come you’re not singing along?”
“Momma,” she started reflectively, “if girls just wanna have fun, what do boys want?”

I quickly surmise that are multiple answers to that question, few of which are simple, and probably none of which are appropriate conversations to have with a 3 year-old.  For now, Bobo is satisfied with my rather lame answer of “Boys want to have fun, too.  This song just happens to be sung by a girl, so that’s why she’s singing about girls.”

We will definitely defer other elements of that discussion until a later date.  Hopefully, I have at least a few years to try to refine my answer a bit.

When dad’s out of town, it really blows

My husband doesn’t travel often for work, but when he does, I brace myself.  It is inevitable, and I mean like clockwork, that one or both of the kids gets sick when he leaves.

J left early this morning for five days on the road.  Not that this could be helped, but the timing of this trip really sucked.  I’ve been ramping up at work in preparation for officially going back “full-time” in September (ironic, as I’ve actually been working 40 hours most weeks for quite some time).  Our car is in the shop, so we had to go in to get a loaner car late last night.  Both kids just started daycare full time, and we let go of our nanny.  Let’s just say there’s been a bit of transitional chaos around the Mendenhall household lately.

And then there is the sick thing.  The first time J went out of town and Bobo got sick to her stomach, I thought, “That bites.  Perfect timing.”   The second time, I thought, “Oh noooo, not this again!”  After the third and fourth times, I bought a clue and surmised that maybe this was all more than mere coincidence.  I highly suspect much of the queasiness is psychologically induced, not that that gives me any ideas on how to combat it.

After J left this morning, I was relieved to see no signs of the telltale vomit that usually accompanies his absence.  Feeling safe, I packed the kids up to go to the mall.  We did our usual routine trucking around in the stroller, playing in the kiddie area, then topping it off with Happy Meals at McDonald’s.  All in all, a fun day.

It wasn’t until the car ride home that Bobo said she didn’t feel so good.  I can say firsthand that watching your child throw up in the rearview mirror as you drive along the freeway, unable to stop, is not a fun experience.  Fortunately, but the time we got home, the yacking had ceased, and both kids were exhausted and went down for their naps.

While they were sleeping, I attempted to clean up the McBlow from the inside of the car, and marveled at Bobo’s trajectory.  Somehow, she managed to spew all over not only herself, but also two carseats, one Baby Bjorn, one stuffed monkey, one binkie, the inside of one loaner car, and a partridge in a pear tree.  How Chip himself managed to stay out of the line of fire is beyond amazing.

J calls me on his layover just as I’ve come inside after getting the car cleaned up.  He gives me a little pep talk, and I hang up feeling slightly better.  Whenever he goes out of town, I gain a new found respect and admiration for single parents (how they do this on a daily basis and still manage to keep their sanity, I have no idea).  It also makes me so appreciative of all that my husband does for both me and the kids while he is here.  In a word, my husband really rocks.  It’s going to a long five days without him… but we anxiously await his return!