Potty Mouths and Butt Tag.

Photography-BabyButts

I’m worried that I may have some sort of amnesia. It seems that I have forgotten that at some point I taught my three small children the words poop, pee, butt, eww and pee-pee and that while I taught them I laughed hysterically at the use of the words.

Apparently at some point I must have squatted over a basket while also pretending it to be a potty. Along with these incidents I had at one time pulled down my pants baring my ass cheeks while I cupped them in both hands wiggling my buttocks back and forth while humming. I mean I MUST HAVE because my children are constantly engaging in this behavior and where else could they have learned it???

I’m confused as to when my three soft and adorable babies became tiny adults using phrases like “Eww, look at your butt” and turning every ordinary object into a pretend potty.

The more I thought about it the more I realized I do not have amnesia. Rather, I blame the evilness that is Kindergarten. In analyzing where the birth of such language and fascination of bowel movements started I recall an incident in September when my son’s teacher pulled me aside after school to inform me that my sweet first born boy had been engaging in potty talk with some of his friends during class. HOW COULD THIS BE??? My angel? My little boy who I read to nightly and listened to classical music while he incubated in my belly?!!?? Yes, true story, my son had become a potty mouth.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is where it all started. Like a plague the use of such words and play spread like wildfire from my eldest to my youngest. I could physically see with my own two eyes the bright light and gleaming glee that came from the eye sockets of my younger son as he heard the word butt used by his older brother. It was as if a light-bulb had been switched on in some dormant part of his brain producing a euphoria that he could not and would not ignore. When my sweet little girl was ordained into this butt and potty mouth fraternity, she cooperated and followed like a first class potty word slinging soldier. Soon all three were taking the gift of potty words and running with it. What followed was a progression from shaking butts, to making butts talk to dropping their pants at passing cars. The words had taken on actions and a mind of their own.

It gets worse. Now we have hit a whole new level of low. A low where their mother, yes me, stooped as low as her children in attempt to stop the butt shaking, ass tagging, potty mouth insanity. Let me paint a picture of this new low for you:

I’m in the bathroom trying to look presentable when I hear the potty words begin as my three lovely offspring play with different action figures in a KidsKraft Firehouse. In my first attempt to stop the spread of the words any further I yell from the bathroom to knock it off. About one eye shadow swipe and a brush of the hair later and I hear, “Hurry! Throw the toilet out the window! Oh no he’s pooping everywhere!” “Put the fire out with the pee!” Now I leave the bathroom and enter into the living room to make it clear i’m not messing around. Now I’m standing in front of them telling them that they know better and aren’t to use those words and that I can hear them. They all promise to stop. I head to the bedroom to throw some clothes on.

Now as I pull my shirt over my head I can hear the muffled words, “Throw the garbage can out the window! Look at his naked butt, he’s shaking his butt out the window and has no where to pee!” Now with only a shirt and underwear on I storm down the hallway for my third attempt to quiet their potty mouths. As I turn the corner they are already looking in my direction and before I can say my peace my youngest son points at me and loudly exclaims “Eww! Mommy’s underwear! Look at her butt!” Now I had become the butt of their butt jokes. That’s when the low came into play as I exclaimed back, “If you guys like poop and pee so much that is what I’m serving for breakfast, lunch and dinner from now on. If that’s the language you want to use and be potty mouths then that is what I will feed your potty mouths!” As their eyes grew wide and their potty mouths dropped open at the possibility of such a reality I knew I had struck a cord. Apologies were fast and needless to say I finished dressing in peace only hearing that the firemen were saving babies and climbing ladders like normal non-urinating rescue workers would be doing.

Unfortunately, my scare didn’t take as permanently as I would have hoped.  The following day I watched my youngest son run naked through our kitchen while his older brother ran after him trying to swat his naked tush while yelling “BUTT TAG!” It appears that in using their language I had only stooped to their level rather than raising them from it.

Moving forward, I will be claiming my original claim of amnesia. Don’t be surprised if you see me pant-less at Target, but at least you’ll know why.

Passion doesn’t age. Tap that …

As I was leading an open table discussion during a MOPS meeting, the topic of mothers knowing who “they were” once their children left the nest came up. It was only a point of topic for a brief moment in the larger scheme of our conversation on friendship. It was one that we all knew was important but had yet to fully dive into as to why and how.  A few days later the topic came back to mind as I waited for my daughter’s dance class to begin.  On the flat screens displayed on the walls I watch two women in their late fifties fully enthralled in a tap class. Tap shoes slapping the grown as their voluptuous bodies and boobs bounced with each step they took across the floor. It was freaking awesome to watch. Thinking,why the hell not? I commend those ladies for living out their passions and diving into their interests. These women knew what they liked, in turn they knew their selves. Tap on ladies, tap on!

Knowing ourselves. Living out our dreams or feeding our curiosities. Whether it be in the form of an adult dance class, writing a blog, running a race or even fully emerging oneself into a season of “The Bachelorette”.  Taking part in an expression where we are caring for the person we are, not worrying about the type of mother we are.

“Tap on!”

I don’t question what I will do with my time or my thoughts when Erik and I have an empty nest.  I tend to plan for it on a daily basis.

“Tap on!”

Putting myself in the shoes of my children, I try to imagine what they see when they look at me – not physically but as a person with interests.  I want to write books. I want to visit different cities and experience other cultures. I want to taste exotic foods. I want to cook difficult recipes and create amazing cakes. I want to start each day with a yoga class. I want to help others when they feel as if they have lost their way. I want to dive into the pages of the book to venture through the minds of other dreamers. I want to conquer so much while experiencing the brilliance that everyday life has to offers. Who says I can’t just because I’m a mom?

“Tap on!”

As a perfectionist it’s easy to get lost in the ideal outcome of my goals. Even easier to not acknowledge the milestones I hit and surpass. Taking a moment to acknowledge the efforts and time I put into my passions and interests today, I realize that I’m living out all that I want to do. I may not be making fists full of cash in the writing I do but I’m writing. I may not be taking classes from Dali Lama but I’m making it to my mat at least three times a week. I’m seeing new things and tasting new foods. I’m experiencing fresh ideas and technology through the eyes of my children. I’m learning and growing each and every day as a mother, a wife, a leader and a friend. Though they may be small acts and tasks, they be mighty. I have faith that it’s all preparation for the time when my little ones will push off and fly on their own. I’ll always be their mom but when I’m alone with my thoughts and my time, I’ll know exactly the direction that I will take and how to transform baby steps into long legged leaps.

“Tap on!”

The only way we end up failing as mothers isn’t by the acts that we do or the dreams that we follow, but rather the ones that we don’t do and that we don’t follow. A person will never meet their full potential if they don’t try reaching for it at all.

Be brave and “tap on”. Passions, interests, hobbies, dreams and goals never age they only grow wiser and more precise.

 

 

 

Mom Anger … the struggle is real.

I’m a natural-born control freak. I’m a mom of three. The words control and kids are not two that tend to blend well.  The combination of these two means I get angry a lot.

I get angry when I can’t go to the gym when my kids are sick.

I get angry when no one eats the dinner I made with complains of being hungry an hour later.

I get angry when it feels as there is constant squabbling in the first hour of my little ones emerging from their beds.

I get angry when I just want to watch a television show with guns and sex for entertainment but can’t.

I get angry when I have the flu but no one cares.

I get angry when I just want to eat a meal in peace rather than be asked for something every time I attempt to put a fork to my lips.

I get angry when all I want to do is read a book in silence for 10 minutes.

I get angry when I just want to take a shower but everyone needs to poop all at one time.

I get angry when i want to eat a piece of chocolate without hiding in a pantry or separate room.

I get angry when babysitters cancel last minute.

I get angry when I want to leave the house without it taking 30 minutes to get everyone out the door.

I get angry when everyone has clean clothes and I can’t find a pair of socks for myself.

I get angry when other moms say that they never get angry. I get angry when getting angry as a mom is taboo. Getting angry is part of the job of a mom, how you handle that anger is another factor in the equation. I have no fear of my anger, no shame either. I face my anger straight on, I accept it and recognize it. I express it to my spouse, my mom and my friends. As a MOPS Coordinator I share it with my members to let them know they are not alone in their anger. “Mom anger” isn’t just for control freaks, it’s a reality for all moms. Rather than denying that it exists, I embrace it, I deal with it and I use it to motivate happiness and solutions to bad days and terrible mommy moments. Without anger you can’t have happy. Deal with the anger to get to the happy.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words …

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My eldest drew me a picture. Not just any picture but a picture of our “home”, our home through his mind’s eye. A picture worth a thousand words, if not even more.

So what thousand words is this picture worth?  Let’s proceed through the Halperin Chateau…

First, my growing artist drew and labeled an X-Box. We do not own an X-Box nor has he ever played on one. I’m not sure where he saw the spelling, but apparently he feels that we need one from its high placement on the top of the home diagram. I suppose the snap shot is balanced by the incredibly large and full book shelf in the same room (his bedroom) as the X-Box. However, I am surprised by the lack of Legos to be found.

A picture worth a thousand words.

As we move through the “house” we enter my daughter’s room on the top right. Here we see her in a crib, as she sings “A-A-A-A” very loudly … according to my son, the creator. This is a true statement. The girl is always singing or talking or yelling or screaming very VERY loudly.  I ask my self on a daily basis if this is a girl characteristic as my sons don’t hold the same desire to be like a squawking bird 24/7.

A picture worth a thousand words,

Moving towards the second level of the home my husband and I are pictured.  Dad with a very large head, which I completely understand in a figurative way and Mom with a small head. My first born has me saying “YOU”. When I asked him why he pointed me in the room to the right of Dad and Mom. In the adjoining room is my youngest son. My little trouble maker can be seen in his crib “shaking his butt” saying “Mmmm”. This is also a true statement. For months we have been blessed with the struggle of the word butt and our middle child. He is constantly using the word, thinking it’s the funniest four letters in the human language. I grew tired of the word after the very first day he used it. I grew even more tiresome when he started dropping his pants and shaking his bare bottom at cars as they passed by our floor to ceiling windows in the living room. A constant battle that I seem to be losing daily. And yes, I am usually reprimanding him with an array of remarks that being with the word “You”.

A picture worth a thousand words,

Finally, located in the playroom (where the illustrator never can actually be found alone because he believes this room to be “scary” when entered on his own) is my son, the artist.  I’m happy to see that he understands that having a rug is important enough to be labeled, as are “Toys” and “TV”.  I find it humorous that the television is on since there more of a chance of me taking a shower by myself than that television has a chance of being turned on. I’m pretty sure this is a plea to watch more TV. Also, (again) we the viewers are faced with another snap shot of a typical household battle … seen in my son’s dialogue bubble are the words “oh my god”. A daily struggle between parent and son is hashed out over these words regularly. He uses them when out of my view but has yet to realize that as his mother I hear EVERYTHING. What is even more puzzling is the fact that whenever his brother or sister use the phrase he is quick to reprimand. Though I would have rather avoided having ANOTHER conversation around the use I asked him why he  used the phrase which he responded with “My brother and sister were annoying me.” What could I say? I couldn’t argue with the kid, the endless shaking of the butt and the loud singing can even be daunting to an almost six-year-old.  Then in closing his case, he told me that he only drew the words, he did NOT say them. Well played son, well-played.

A picture worth a thousand words,

So here live the Halperins, amongst the TV and rug. What makes me happy is that we are all together. What’s important  is that each of us are pictured smiling. What brings a smile to my face is that mommy and daddy are holding hands and “kissing”.  According to the Polaroid produced from my little man’s ever clever mind, the Halperin family pretty much has it together. No matter who may dropping their pants, shaking their butts, singing loudly (when they should be napping) or when un-approved phrases and imaginary electronics make it into a family portrait. The Halperins have it together … somewhat.

A picture worth a thousand words,

 

Parenting Pop-Quiz

Pop

Since the birth of my twins I’ve been receiving somewhat of a pop quiz from the Texas Twin Project (my babies are TX born).  An assortment of questions ranging from what my little ones eat to when I read them stories to how I handle stress when I am in their presence. The questionnaires have been popping into my inbox every six months. Usually around 30 pages long and containing what feels like a million questions.

A parenting pop-quiz.

Truth be told I look forward to these pop quizzes. They keep me in line. They demand that I stop and take a deep long look at my skill set as a mommy. Filled with questions that ask me how I am treating my children as a whole and individually. I answer the questions with complete honesty. Thinking over my interactions with my minions. Analyzing the last six months of bed times, meals, arguments, hugs, games, books and struggles. Was I right? Was I wrong? They even ask if I think that I need improvement in my skills as a parent. Well, mommy do you????

A parenting pop-quiz.

Though just a simple email, just a series of questions, a click of a mouse and clatter of computer keys. Simple tasks that mean so much more within my mommy self. A parenting pop-quiz that makes me answer uncomfortable questions while confronting the struggles I face as a wife and woman who is a mother of three.  Why do I react to each twin differently? Why do I yell on bad days? How can I laugh more? Emphasize the good I am doing rather focusing on the bad I wish I would stop doing.

A parenting pop-quiz.

In fact, I like this questionnaire so much that I wish I received the same one in regards to my first born. Making me check-in with who I am as his mother. How I interact with my little man. How my mini-me is growing with me by his side. Though I am not receiving any formal questionnaire when it comes to my eldest, the one that hits my inbox every six months makes me create somewhat of an informal check-list and quiz within my mommy brain, taking in to account the words I’ve said and the actions I’ve taken when it comes to my little boy. My own version of a parenting pop-quiz.

A parenting pop-quiz. Holding me accountable for holding one of the most important titles in the world: Mommy. The brilliant minds behind the questionnaire never send me any results or data quantifying how great or bad of a mommy I am. They don’t need to. The questions they ask are enough. The reminder each six months gives me a reality check, gets me interested in the mom I am and the way my children are being cared for. I would say with each day my grade is different. Sometimes I am an A+ and other days I probably deserve a big fat F. Some days I’m a cool C+ being an average mommy, but other days I’m above average with a B+ or an A- after scoring big with no tears, easy school drop-offs, crafts executed with Pinterest quality and five star home cooked meals.

A parenting pop-quiz.

Have you taken your parenting pop-quiz this month??? What grade would you give yourself? How would you improve your scores?

 

81%

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A little over a week ago I was presented with a figure … 81%.

Eighty-one percent.

That’s the percentage of time that we spend involved in activities  NOT present. Not mindfully living the moment. That means we are somewhere else in our minds, whether that be in the past or in the future, rather than in the present. We are thinking of something that happened or predicting something that will. Not giving our complete selves to the person and/or activity we are engaged in at that exact moment.

I can only wonder if this number is behind the increased divorce rate. Or behind the lack of committed relationships and actions we all exhibit. Our minds and thoughts being pulled in a million directions by the pings of emails, texts, Facebook alerts and the technology of our world.

Yoga has taught me so much about being in the present moment but I have to admit that though I am focused on the moment in class and mindfully living out each pose, it’s difficult to extend that mindfulness into my daily life. Especially when it comes to my marriage.

Inside the walls of my marriage I take the “mindful time” opportunities we have for granted. Like many couples in the throes of raising little people, we find ourselves talking about the events of our children’s day or planning out the events of the following day to meet their needs as parents. Then the other part of our time is dispersed among chores, work, bills and then zoning out after our greatest treasures are fast asleep.

I don’t want to be part of that 81% statistic and I certainly don’t want my marriage to be within the grasps of that number either. In order to escape the villain of 81, I searched my mind for mindful moments, to identify and understand them in order to make sure I acknowledge those moments as they come to play out in my present moments before they passed by without a mindful thought.

The evening of Valentine’s Day we put the kids to bed and found ourselves on the couch just talking. Not watching the latest Netflix documentary. Not checking off the DVR list. Not a Smartphone in hand or a laptop on a lap. Just us, just talking. Mindfully talking, completely in the present. Before we knew it two hours had passed feeling like an instant. For me, such a talk is equivalent to a diamond ring. I’m a planner, a person with so many ideas filling the nooks and crannies of my brain. Sharing all these thoughts with the man I vowed my life to, makes me feel complete and cared for.

The act of teaching lead to another opportunity where I found ourselves immersed in the present moment. Completely focused on one another, my husband recently gave me my first tennis lesson. To be taught such a craft, the teacher and the student need to be in sync. My husband needed to be focused on my needs and my body movements just as I needed to be focused on his words and his movements. Being focused mindfully in the present lead to an encounter that was loving and tender.

I love the gym. I especially love the gym childcare. But I really love it all when I find myself in the lounge with my husband, just talking. Just he and I, coffee cup in hand. No televisions to be watched, no phones pinging away, no children competing for attention.  Our attention mindfully on one another as we talk about everything and anything … mindfully.

I’m grateful for the fact that I’m lucky enough to have my husband home for lunch and dinner most days of the week. When we sit across from one another, talking about the day. Or rolling our eyes at the dramatic tendencies of our children.  Or laughing at the weirdness and innocence of our household. Or sharing in the stress of whiny children who seem to be able to get along with everyone BUT their siblings while asking for a glass of milk or seconds each time we raise our own forks to our lips.  Eating our meals, not so mindful of our food, but definitely mindful of one another.

81% is just too much of life to let it go by quickly and without full acknowledgement.

I need to make my mindful presence in my marriage more often.  Rather than waiting for the moments we are alone I need to start taking advantages of the opportunities that pop up on a regular basis. As hard as it may be when children are screaming or dogs are scrambling under our feet. We vowed through richer or poorer in sickness and health and well past death do us part, so why not live all these vowed moments, good and bad completely mindfully.

How will you spend your 81%?

 

Mirror Mirror On the Wall.

broken-mirror

One of the people I love the most heard a terrible secret. What made the matter even worse was the secret came from my own mouth.

I made the mistake of uttering the words that are a deep and dark secret within. A single sentenced leaked from my lips that make up the paragraphs that I utter to myself throughout the course of every day.

I spoke the words to my husband, forgetting my eldest was in ear shot, not out of neglect but out of feeling bogged down under the feelings of the adjectives I spoke ….

“I just feel gross and ugly.”

Hearing me, my oldest son responded, “No you’re not! You’re the most beautiful person!!”

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

I made the error in thinking that once I made peace with my weight that somehow I would be fixed. I was wrong. What I hadn’t known was the extreme focus I put on weight and what I ate would transfer to focusing on the faults of my appearance. A deadly obsession that seems to latch on like a life-sucking leech to a new life-source each month. Who knew that skin, eye brows, a nose, facial shape, eye shape and all the rest could be the source of much dismay???

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

To be in such distraught while looking in the mirror makes mornings sort of daunting. Being envious of the way others appear make getting ready for a public outing somewhat sad. Far from shallow, I believe everyone else to be attractive, pretty or beautiful as I stand alone in a category of misfit or outcast. I can only describe it as feeling like a handmade rag-doll that though made with hands of love, her physical characteristics are mismatched and awkward.

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

I want to be able to see what my son sees. I want to be at peace with who I am and what I see, but I know I am not alone. In fact, studies have shown that the majority of American women don’t like what they see in the mirror, all of us struggling each day with feelings of shame and inadequacy about our physical selves. Just the other day I read that 91% of women would not use the word beautiful to describe themselves.

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

Self-esteem at the reins of my body image.  A pesky little monster making me feel inadequate among the outside world, bullying my internal world with snide remarks and negative commentary on how I look. My body image a complete mess, broken and cracked. But smashed beyond repair? At present, more than a decade of self negative talk, it feels like that I’ll always be that awkward rag-doll made of bits and pieces that don’t seem to fit so well together while everyone else is a shiny new Barbie or Ken doll.

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

The answer to my problems seem to lie in my internal “mirror”. I just need to fix it, to make it a mirror of love and acceptance. I need a hugging mirror. I need to embrace who I am at the present and not for an image of perfection that I seem to be striving for each day, one body part at a time. I think my children are the most beautiful creatures on earth, each one made up of pieces of myself and the love of my life.   It’s so easy to love their parts, then why can’t I love my own?

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

I find that my thoughts drift back to the idea of embracing. Embrace > The word I keep fixating 2016 to.  Embracing my body and all it’s parts, not as something that needs to be changed but as a unique and beautiful creation that allows me to relish and live in the experiences of my every day life. A vessel that I can physically love my children with, hold my husband with and enjoy laughter and long talks with close friends.

Embracing the inner mirror.

An obvious beginning of a longer process, one in which I come to accept my body and physical attributes as they are in this very moment. When one day I’ll be able to say “Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all? You are.