I’ve been a BoyMom for over 4 years now and I’m still not sick of playing cars on the floor, Lego (disclaimer: I haven’t  stepped on yet barefoot yet, so talk to me after that happens), and all-things-Superhero.

Amy from BoyMom Designs sent me a shirt that reminds me of all the hours spent helping Jax determine which car is the fastest, rolling cars through each room of our house to see which floor surface is best for races, and choosing which car Jax might someday own from among the 50 or 60 cars he has collected so far (the purple one, of course).

boymomshirt

This was the best pic I could get today. We parents know how challenging it can sometimes be to get everyone to remain calm enough to snap a non-blurry pic!

My new BoyMom t-shirt features 5 rows of fast toy cars, from red to orange to yellow. The logo across the top made me smile and think of Jax. I threw a cardi over it, paired it with some skinny jeans & Uggs, and I’m referring to it as my “mom uniform” on this chilly & chill Saturday afternoon. There’s a turkey roasting in the oven and a Disney movie on the tv. No, it isn’t Cars, but good idea!

Amy & I are offering one of these cute cars t-shirts to one of you and a 20% discount code for the entire site to all of you. You can enter up to 3 times to win the cars t-shirt shown above:

  1. Follow @boymomdesigns on Twitter. Come back to this post & comment to let us know you’ve followed. Leave your twitter name.
  2. Like BOTH James & Jax and BoyMom on Facebook. Comment below to let us know you’ve done this.
  3. Tell us about any one of your favorite parenting moments in a comment below.

One winner will be selected at random on Monday, December 2. In the meantime, please head over to BoyMom to check out all Amy has to offer–her store isn’t just for moms of boys! While you’re there, read her story; she is an inspiration!

Yes, my boys can be dangerous, destructive, messy, exasperating, and smelly — but the good news is that they are only that way some of the time. The rest of the time they are superheroes in the making; respectful and honest do-gooders, defenders of the universe, and best of all always loving. The kind of boys that will grow up to be good men. Of all the jobs in the world, being a boymom might be the most challenging and the most fulfilling. ~ Amy

Don’t forget to use your 20% discount code: U9X5JC.

UPDATE: Angela, you’re the winner of the BoyMom Cars t-shirt! I’ll be in touch with you soon!

Jax and I have had a rough time lately, with near-daily tantrums (his, then admittedly a few of my own as a result) and a whole lot of headbutts to the face–my face. Tonight was classic: The three of us were enjoying dinner outside in our yard, complete with a cool breeze, music, and wine. It was pretty darn good. I even let myself feel–gasp–happy for a little while. And then out of nowhere, I was headbutted to the face.

I swear I saw stars. I think I even may have knocked Jax off my lap and into the grass as I jumped up grasping my nose, which I thought had been broken. I don’t know why I did what I did next, but I grabbed for my wine glass on my sprint back inside my house–but I missed, given that one hand was covering my nose and part of my eye, and I knocked it to the ground. I kept running because I was crying and my neighbor’s windows were wide open. I imagined what they must have thought happened, with the sudden sobbing and  smashing of a glass.

I don’t know how Jax reacted to the scene, as I was crying inside my locked bathroom for the next 5 minutes or so, with an ice pack on the bridge of my nose. It wasn’t pretty–my nose or my hysterics. I told myself I’m not raising a good boy, because good boys wouldn’t intentionally headbutt their moms on a regular basis. I told myself I’m a failure. That I deserve pain.

See? Not pretty, right?

Life with a toddler is hard, yo. Age three has been…oh, I don’t know, can something be both crazy-fun and excruciating at the same time? They’re irrational little people, and they don’t know their own strength. They’re unwieldy and fiesty, and there is no predicting what they’re going to do next.

And I’m really struggling with all of this, if I’m being honest here. Jax is usually a happy kid, and he’s kind and sensitive to others. But lately, with me, he is rough and sometimes downright mean. I’m not sure what to make of it or how to correct and stop it. I’m tired of being hurt. What’s worse is seeing him laugh when he does it. I’m tired of questioning my parenting capability and all the choices I’ve made so far. I’m tired of googling and asking for advice. I just want it to stop before I end up with a black eye or worse.

I want my little snugglebutt back.

The upside to this is when he finally does come around and he says he’s sorry and kisses me and tells me I’m his Princess again, and all is forgiven. Eventually, he came inside and said he was sorry. We made up, and then he passed out on the couch at 7:45.

And here I sit at the computer, wondering what to do with myself because I haven’t had a sleeping child at 8:00 at night in a very long time. It’s almost worth the throbbing nose!

Got any advice for me? Be gentle; I’m out of ice packs.

Every mother can probably think of a thousand strange things her child does that only a parent could love.

Conversations About Poop

My list begins with all our conversations, initiated by Jax, about poop. For example, this one: “Why do birds poop on cars? Why is their poop so sticky? They probably eat a lot of bread and butter and macaroni and cheese.” That’s a direct quotation from Jax, as we drove to daycare in the morning last week. It’s gross, all this focus on poop, but I do admire his curiosity about everything. And his question phase is still so brand new that I find it cute. I’m sure that won’t last much longer!

The Beauty of a Fish Oil Supplement

Every day, when I take my handful of vitamins and supplements, Jax tells me how much he loves my fish oil pill in particular. He thinks it is “beautiful” and asks if he’s allowed to hold it. I sometimes oblige, strategically hovering to ensure he doesn’t drop it around Rooney, although he’s eaten his fair share of fish oil pills and survived. I enjoy that my 3-year-old finds the beauty in a translucent, oval fish oil pill. It reminds me that beauty is all around us, if we just look, and that touch is powerful, necessary, transformative. I can honestly say I have never admired the beauty of a fish oil pill until Jax noticed it and made me see it his way.

This is what I have to jump over most mornings!

This is what I have to jump over most mornings!

Making a Bed on the Bathroom Floor

Most mornings, Jax lay on the bathroom floor while I shower. He doesn’t get in my way at all. He lets me shower mostly in peace the majority of the time. I hardly would notice he’s there, except that he usually forgets to close the bathroom door and I feel a rush of cold air. I try to remember, before I get in the shower, to bunch up my pajamas into a pillow shape for him, so he won’t have to lay his head on the cold tile floor. I think it’s adorable when he uses my pajama pillow.

Re-framing

Of course, those things I listed above sometimes drive me insane. Can you imagine hearing nonstop poop talk? I mean, who wants to think about poop for more than 1 second?! Or even at all?! And some days, I’d like to take my vitamins in peace, without my 3-year-old needing to play with them first. And what mother doesn’t miss pre-baby showering, when you could take as long as you wanted and not have to step over a child on the way out? Some days, I risk my life jumping–literally–out of a wet bath tub over my son, careful to try to land on the bathmat instead of the tile floor so I don’t break my back! All without losing my towel, no less!

I use reframing ALL. THE. TIME. You know the drill: Trying to change your self-talk from “Oh my god, how annoying!” to “Oh, how cute!” Most days, it works. Other days, not so much.

What I’d love to know is how to reframe a toddler climbing all over your body when you’re trying to accomplish a chore you hate, like folding laundry! Is it possible?

What do you love about your kid most of the time (but find annoying other times)?

 

Lorac eyesHaving a boy has made me cherish all things girly. Lately, my femininity is reaching new heights, which both intrigues and delights me yet also appalls the me I once was–the girl in black fishnets, dark lipstick, and safety pins way back when.

My style–and girlyness–evolved much from adolescence to adulthood. Years ago–I’m talking YEARS AGO (aka, late 90s)–my makeup consisted of a few lipsticks (all dark), black eyeliner, maybe a brown eyeliner, mascara certainly, and foundation–pale. I lived in gray and black clothing, matched with Doc Martens (which, funny enough, my husband just bought me for Christmas!) or Chuck Taylors–covered in poetry and safety pins. Then I graduated college, landed a real job at a newspaper, and suddenly found myself in a world of khakis and jean skirts. Not a boot in sight–unless it was purchased at Macy’s. I adapted, got all girlified, new clothes, new lipstick, the whole deal. And I kinda liked it.

Then I had a baby, and the makeup got dusty for a while. My baby turned into a little boy and, being an only child, he turned to me to be his playmate. No practical reason to apply lipstick when you’re crawling around the floor racing cars with a kid.

However…

As Jax became more and more independent, I found more time to apply makeup in the mornings. I rediscovered my love for it. And I love it all! I am now one of those women who don’t leave the house without a swipe of mascara on my eyes and a smear of color on my lips. My face is a fresh palette every day, and I’m having fun decorating it!

When this boymom feels exasperated by all the testosterone in the household–we even have a male dog–she puts on that rosy lipstick. Playing cars on the floor with Jax is fun and there are few things I love to do more than that. But smashing cars together with pink fingernails is so much better.

Taking a cue from my friend A’Driane, I’m experimenting (a little) with color. Color makes me feel pretty–who knew! I still wear a ton of gray and black, but I might now toss a yellow scarf around my neck or trade my silver hoops for some dangly purple earrings. Even on a Monday! Fancy!

This Christmas was the girliest ever. LORAC, Too Faced, and Lush dominated under the tree. There will be no laying around in my pajamas, unshowered, today–too much new makeup to try out! I think I’ll stray from my usual neutrals and give my eyelids a pop of color. If I don’t look like a clown, maybe you’ll find me on Instagram.

 

Yesterday was the kiddo’s 3-year well visit and flu shot at the pediatrician’s office, which meant I spent most of my morning fighting anxiety because I anticipated more mega-tantrums. I scheduled the appointment for 3:00 pm–in other words, post-nap, when the likelihood of a tantrum is lower than usual. I made sure my purse had ample snacks for us both. I also ensured he’d recently gone to the bathroom when I picked him up from daycare at 2:30. And I did one other thing I’m a little embarrassed to admit.

I went to Target that afternoon and bought him an $11 toy–a Michaelangelo Ninja Turtle–I could use to “incentivize” (as Miranda from Not Super…Just Mom taught me it’s called) good behavior at the appointment.

On the drive to the appointment, I told Jax he had to go to the doctor for a checkup, and that the doctor would listen to his heart and look in his ears, just like Doc McStuffins does to her stuffed animals! I added that if he didn’t fuss and if he helped the doctor do those things, I would give him a special present I bought for him.

He said, “what it is, mom?” I think it’s adorable that he mixes up his words sometimes. But I digress.

Wait, I’m not done digressing yet! A few weeks ago, I hadn’t even heard of Doc McStuffins, and now my kid is obsessed with that show and the related games on Disney Junior’s website. He’s been using my kitchen utensils as his medical implements, so I think it’s time to buy him a toy set for Christmas. On second thought, that would have made a great bribe gift yesterday! I am so thankful for Doc McStuffins, because I credit the show with how well Jax handled the appointment. (I also appreciate that Doc’s mother, rather than her father, is a doctor.)

Jax was awesome at the appointment. For the first time ever, he stood on the scale the first time he was asked and with no tears. He let the nurse measure his height and take his temperature without a complete meltdown. He was pleasant to the doctor and let her complete the entire evaluation (which was way more thorough than any of his other well visits, I might add!) without any hesitation.

And then the nurse brought in the flu shot. Uhoh!

Yet even that didn’t evoke the response I had feared it would. He let me hold him–and his arms–while she administered the injection. He cried, of course, but it didn’t last more than 5 to 10 seconds. And when she put a band-aid on him, no freaking out! Amazing! I have the one child on this planet who HATES band-aids, no matter what cute characters are on them. I was nearly as afraid of his potential reaction to that than I was to the flu shot!

Of course after the nurses were done, we practically ran out to the car, where his present awaited him. I told him how happy I was that he didn’t fuss for the doctor or the nurse. I think he was pleased with himself, too.

Lessons learned:

  1. It’s not called bribery, it’s called incentivizing–and it freaking works!
  2. Incentives do not always have to be toys. Miranda reminded me incentives can include doing things, too, like watching a favorite show, having a cookie, or reading a book.
  3. I underestimated my kid. I’ll try not to do that again.
  4. Just because he had probably 10 tantrums last week doesn’t automatically mean he’ll have any this week (knocking on wood). Kids aren’t consistent.

Do you use incentives for your kids’ good behavior? How has this worked for you?