Sunday, August 28, 2011

How to make sure your kid's a nerd

It's no secret that D and I are, and pride ourselves in being, big fat nerds (without literally being big and fat). With that said we are doing as much as possible to ensure Link follows closely behind in our nerdy footsteps. In case you are wondering how such a thing is done I have put together a check list of steps to follow. Enjoy.

First thing's first:
-Name your kid after a video game character.
I can't imagine that anyone who reads this blog hasn't heard the story of how we named Link but just in case, no, Link is not short for anything. We pulled it from t
he video game Legend of Zelda. It's awesome. It's nerdy. It's fairly unique and we love it.

-Make sure they are properly geared. Just because they are only level 1 doesn't mean they have to settle for gray items. Hook them up
with some superior blue or epic purples (WoW reference for my non-nerdy friends).

Last Halloween by good friend Caitlin made Link an awesome moogle costume (Final Fantasy character). No one knew what he was but he was deliciously nerdy and incredibly adorable. Gear is everything!

-Make sure they know Mommy and Daddy are proud to be nerds.Yes, that's a tat of a triforce with the master sword with holly around it (guess why!? hehe) and Link's name in the courage triangle. I'm a big fat nerd who loves my kid. I'm also a big fat nerd who advises against getting a freaking sword tattooed down your spine. Holy crap that hurt.

-Get them started early. You are never too young to know how to click a mouse, play a DS or hold a PS3 controller.
The bathroom is a good place to start. Potty training and nerd training at the same time.

Link could totally pull off being a paladin in WoW. All they really do is button mash and remain the most powerful class no matter what they do anyway. Youngest WoW gamer ever???

-Teach them to count with a D20
Our kid literally learned his numbers looking at dice you would use to play D&D or other RP games. How 'bout them apples!

-Teach them WWMD (what would Miyamoto do?) I think he'd celebrate in style.

Link's first birthday was somewhat Legend of Zelda themed. The Link character on the counter is made out of mini cupcakes. He also had a triforce smash cake.

-Decorate accordingly:Thanks to boredom I sewed up the question block, fire flower and mushroom pillows and my mom made that amazing pixelated Mario quilt. It's easy being a nerd when you have creative family to help you.
Pacman idea from D executed by me. Pretty easy.
His room has hand drawn video game characters done by me and amazing canvas paintings done by my friend Nicky.

His bathroom is Pacman adorned. A hand painted arcade screen shower curtain (which I show you how to make here), paintings and the rest of the accessories are also hand painted... some day before he moves out the latch hook rug will be done too.

This bad boy resides in our little nerds play room. Glass design done by me. Refinished, stained, coats of resin by D.

-Equip them with the correct weapons

(I know a certain plumber who rescues princesses. A toilet brush is close enough to a plunger.)

-Teach him to defend himself if he gets picked on and remind him that the nerds always do best once high school is over and the real world hits!

A Time I Had

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Not just a smelly fragrance
Obsession has hit hard in our home. It's amazing to me that tiny little humans can latch onto a concept and become so incredibly addicted that it makes me think that there is some sort of baby tobacco encased within the idea itself. And from that moment on, they are hooked. There is no support group, no patch, no 12 step program. Just pure, uninterrupted addiction/obsession. While I'm glad my son is not addicted to crack I sometimes wonder if it might be healthier... for me.

It Runs Deep
My child can turn ANYTHING into a train or something that has to do with a train. A typical day begins with him waking up, going potty and then promptly telling me that he "needs to go downstairs. Need to play with trains." This is repeated several times until he either a) goes downstairs himself b) convinces me that if we don't go and play trains right away that he might actually die or c) ends up in a sad little ball of tiny human on the floor sobbing uncontrollably because his selfish mommy decided that today washing the three day old stank off of herself was more important than going downstairs immediately to play with the god forsaken train table. Option C rarely happens but if my hair looks more shiny and pretty than normal it's because I washed it... and Link wasn't happy about it because it meant that his precious trains had to do without being played with for a few extra minutes. For all he cares I can smell like a steaming pile of crap on a hot San Antonio sidewalk if it means that we can go downstairs as soon as humanly possible. Luckily for him I have managed to cut down my shower time significantly since having a child. Marathon runners in training have nothing on me. You can run the mile in five minutes? I can thoroughly clean myself in one. What's up!?

Eventually through the day the novelty of playing with the plain old train table wears off. This is when he starts seeking other venues for his train addiction. I quite often end up drawing really crappy train pictures for him. Then he asks to "watch trains." A while back my wonderful mother bought him a DVD called "Chuggington" which is a 60 minute long DVD about little trains that aren't creepy like Thomas (I'm even going begin the story about how terrifying and creepy I think Thomas the Train is). This would be just fine except that the damn thing is divided into six 10 minute episodes that have the most awful annoying theme song ever to be created. Our conversation about whether we should watch this DVD ALWAYS ends in tears. Whoever loses ends up crying. If he wins, we watch and I'm further along the road to one day having an aneurism or spontaneously combusting. If I win, we don't watch it and he has an epic meltdown in which the words "I wanna watch a training time. I need to watch the chugger town" are repeated over and over as he buries his face into the floor like some sort of mentally unstable train obsessed ostrich.

I suppose the good thing about his obsession is that his imagination is quite active and he can find trains even when there is no train-like object in site. That rock over there? It's a hill that a train track goes on. That bench shadow? A train track. That chicken nugget? "I have to eat the train, mommy." That stop light? It's a ding ding (aka a signal at the tracks). That random noise down the street? It's a "chooooooooooooo chooooooooooo." That obese woman? She's a caboose.

Yesterday D was flipping through channels and I took note of the following conversation:
D: Inky wanna watch a show?
Link: I wanna watch trains.
D: What show?
Link: I watch trains.
D: Anime?
Link: Trains.
D: Let's see what we can find.
Link: OK. I watch trains.
*D looks through Netflix to find something child appropriate that's not trains.*
Link: *looks up at me* Mommy. I wanna see the training time.

This is pretty typical. As I am typing this very post I can hear him.
"I needa fix the train track. Ding ding. Hooooooo hoooooooo. Oh it's a train."
Insert various train table noises, clacking and banging here.
"Oh no it's a crashing train. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. I go rooooooooooooooound the track. In the tunnel."
And then he ran over to me and told me "Look at. Daddy has the horse." The last statement confused me for many reasons. First of all it had nothing to do with trains. Secondly, why would D have a horse. And thirdly, WTF? Is that all? And now he's back to the table. Toddlers are odd little people.

I have to admit, however, that even though I am so sick of hearing about, seeing and talking about trains that it is a great tool for me to use to my advantage. The great thing about having a child that is able to talk to you and understand most things is that they respond to bribery and the hope that there will be a prize no matter where you go. I never promise my child anything I will not deliver. For example, when we are in the grocery store and I need him to stop grabbing all the ketchup from the shelf because we need "all these dips" I casually say to him "Hey Link let's go see if we can find a train. Do you think there are trains over here?" I never said there were any. I just said we would go see if we could find one. I promise you that once he follows me into the bread aisle I really am looking for trains. So is he. The difference is that I am pretty sure we won't find any... he still has hope so he follows me. Am I ashamed? Absolutely not. Mostly because I know he will find something that will most likely resemble a train and he will be content and mommy won't have been a big fat liar.

I love my child. I do. I hate trains. I do. I love that he loves something as much as he does. But, I hate trains. I have been on more train rides since Link turned two than I ever had in my life. I had train butt by mid-August. I now know more about trains than I ever thought I would and my kid knows even more: "Mommy what is it?" "It's a train." "It's an engine! And a coal car and a caboose." "Oh." "OK Mommy." It's a freaking train. It's a train that's going to burrow into my head, ride a track around and around, crash out my ear into my child's possession, make him happy and kill me in the process. I hate trains. But guess what?
Link: "OK. We watch trains."
And I surrender.

A Time I Had

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I'm THAT mom

Back when I was pregnant (and way before that), like many of us I'm sure, I knew everything. "I'm never going to do that" I would say as I watched the poor mom who was once probably a very lovely woman but now looked like some sort of cracked out Mary Poppins with children who resembled gremlins hanging from each limb of her body. My statement most likely came as I watched her bribe her children with candy or toys if, for the love of God, they would just behave somewhat like humans in the store. I, in all my ignorance, would silently think to myself "Seriously, lady. You can't control your kids for a few minutes while you shop? Why didn't you just stay home? I now know the answer to that question. It's because the poor woman needed milk... three different kinds of milk because her 5 year old is allergic to lactose, her 3 year old refuses to drink 1%, her husband will ONLY drink 1%, and her 1 year old has been instructed to drink whole milk per the doctors orders to grow up not deformed or something. Not only does she need a million different types of milk but she has to pick up more chicken nuggets because that is the only things her children will eat. But don't worry, they are whole wheat nuggets and that counts because damn it, at least they are eating! So to all those moms that I judged before, you have my sincerest apologies. I didn't know. Instead of judging you and thinking I could do a better job I should have been awarding you medals, flowers, chocolates, spa gift certificates and congratulating you for the following:
1. Keeping all those kids alive
2. Staying out of jail for not killing one or more of them
3. Keeping them hanging off your limbs instead of playing shopping cart bumper cars
4. Keeping them from opening up food in the middle of the store and chowing down (unfortunately this has happened to me... story to follow another day)
5. Looking like a cracked out Mary Poppins instead of a Mary Poppins risen from the dead.

You Are Not Prepared
Let me just say that if you are eventually planning on having a kid or are pregnant, YOU ARE NOT PREPARED... no matter how many books you have read, no matter how many people have given you their trusted advice. No matter how many children and babies you have worked with in you life up until now. No matter if you work with babies, children, etc for a living. No matter what. You are not prepared. If you say you are, you're a big fat liar face.

Newborns are exhausting. Infants are frustrating because everything you dealt with during newborn stage should be subsiding right? Wrong. They lure you into a false sense of being. "Hey mom, I'm going to sleep eight hours straight. But just one night so you think there's hope." Hope? No. They are sneaky little ninjas. That eight hours was a break so you don't make it to complete zombie land. Be prepared for every hour waking the next night. And perhaps a diaper blowout. Don't get me started on toddlers.

Some days I feel like a shell of what I once was. Never did I think that if I got pee on my shirt that I would casually wipe it with a wipe and say "I'll change when I get home." Never did I think that poop on my finger could wait to be washed until I got his underwear back on him. Never did I think I would gladly feed my kid a hot dog just so he would eat something. Never did I think I would turn on a movie so he would sit the f down for a few minutes so I could get some peace and quiet. But now I'm that mom.

Q&A Forum
Before I had Link I knew everything. However, I am much wiser now. So I have created a Q&A between my know it all self and my wiser, more knowledgeable today self.

1. Q: Do you seriously need a portable DVD player for a plane trip? You can't keep their attention with a coloring book?
A: Yes, I do. He has ripped the pages from the book, screamed at them like they are on fire and if he doesn't get rid of them they will surely turn into Satan and take him to hell. The crayons have been lovingly broken in half and thrown to the front of the plane. His toy cars are now in the hands of seat 14C because he tried to chuck one at my head, it ricocheted off the man sitting behind me and rolled down the aisle. He suddenly hates his favorite book that we read every day and night a million times and how he's screaming for train stickers of which I have none. So yes, not only do we need a portable DVD player for this plane ride but YOU need us to have it so that you don't have to glare at me because my kid is "out of control." And by the way, I don't know if you know this, but that evil glare you are giving me because my kid is on the planet and talks sometimes, it's not going to do shit. You can go ahead and squint your eyes to give the dirtiest look you can muster but my kid doesn't care. He's immune and the dirty looks usually just give me fuel to NOT control him. He's a good kid but if he poops I may try to see if I can throw a little your way.

Q: Chicken nuggets? PB&J? Hot dogs? Shouldn't you be feeding him organic, healthy foods.
A: YES. Of course. But, organic? I'm lucky if I can get my kid to eat a damn bag of chips. My chicken nuggets are whole wheat. My PB&J is on whole wheat bread with low sugar jelly. My hot dogs are kosher all beef. What, bitch? He's eating. That's a victory, damn it!

Q: Why are you letting your kid play with tools, batteries, other dangerous objects?
A: Because he's not screaming at me and because I am carefully watching him. If he wants to "fisk" something with a screwdriver and batteries and it entertains him then I am going to let him for a bit. Make no mistake, he is being supervised... and learning valuable handy man skills! =P

Q: Why is your kid outside in just his underwear and shoes riding a scooter? Have you no decency?
A: No. No we have no decency. At least he has on underwear. And if his daddy wants to take him outside like that I'm not going to argue. Wanna know why? Because it means mommy time. I can sit here in peace and know that the love of my life is going to take great care of my baby. They are going to have fun and if they want to do it in shoes and underwear, who am I to argue.

Q: Why is your kid watching TV? Go play a game with him.
A: He's watching PBS Kids because if I don't get two minutes to myself I am going to jump out the upstairs window. My TV is babysitting my kid right now because I feel like crap. I don't sleep because every movement and sound from my sweet little boy STILL wakes me up. If I can't function like a human I need help. If the TV is the one that helps me, that's the way it is. End of story. A little bit of television is not going to ruin my child. I'm not sitting him down to watch "Days of Our Lives" or "Dexter" or anything so I'm sure he'll be just fine!

Q: Do you really think you're a good mom.
A: I'm a damn fantastic, amazing mom and anyone who says different is more than welcome to come over for a few months and show me how it's done. I could use the break!

There are plenty more answers I have for my former self but I would just like to tell her this: You have no idea. You can judge all you want. You can say what you will and will not do but there is no way to hold yourself to any of those promises until you are actually in the moment experiencing it. Until you look like the cracked out Mary Poppins with a screaming child hanging from your leg and all you want to do is buy a gallon of milk and some whole freaking wheat chicken nuggets! Carry those medals, mommies. We all have flaws but we are fantastic parents! And that is that. (even when you are searching the net for ways to cook your toddler)

A Time I Had

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Apocalypse

My New Knowledge
Last night I figured out how the zombie apocalypse begins: with me. I always said that if there was a zombie invasion that I was just going to go ahead and let them take me because, think about it. How many zombie movies end with the people happily escaping with no fear of being turned? There is no way I am going to spend all that energy fighting and running away from the inevitable. Plus, I really am not a huge fan of malls so there is no way I'm going to be stuck in one fearing for my life. Luckily, I am not going to have to worry about any of that because I am going to BE the first zombie. In fact, I'm already on my way. It had never occurred to me before that it would all start with a mom of a toddler but it makes perfect sense.

One of my main complaints the past couple months has been that I have not been getting enough sleep. I remember what it was like to have an infant and be running on fumes of a few minutes of sleep here and there but for the most part I had some help from D and at least Link didn't move around that much... or have an opinion about EVERYTHING. While I admit I am no longer running on pure fumes, some days it feels a bit like it.

Link has taken it upon himself to be the worst sleeper on earth. I am sure this is an exaggeration but at 2 AM it doesn't feel like one. After the 1-2.5 hours of messing around before he finally falls asleep he usually gets up again roughly one half hour after I go to bed. He comes into my room like a drunk little midget with his lovely and his blanket and says "Mommy." So I haul my sleepy ass out of bed, pick him up and put him back in his bed. He is immediately back in deep sleep. What the? Not fair. Why can't I fall back asleep that fast. We continue this pattern of back and forth about 4-7 more times a night. Every once in a while I just say screw it and pick him up to sleep in my bed because I am so tired and in so much pain (screw fibromyalgia) that I can't bring myself to get up again.

If I do happen to share my bed with the soul sucker I end up closer to the zombie state than normal. My tiny little boy suddenly turns into a giant grizzly bear that likes to snuggle. Let me explain this statement. He always seems to roll as close to me as possible while simultaneously taking up the ENTIRE bed. How it this possible? He's not even a quarter the size of the bed. How has he suddenly become the size of a great dane and why am I curled up in a tiny ball on the top 1/8th corner of my queen size bed with my arm stuck underneath fat-ass? I can no longer feel my arm but I fear if I move at all I will wake the bear and all hell will break loose, thus beginning the cycle all over again. So why don't I just move him back to his bed? Because his tiny little not quite awake butt will stumble into my room like a slutty sorority chick who just got back from a frat party after doing one too many keg stands. He will slump lifelessly over my shoulder as I drop him into bed. While he won't puke on me like the sorority girl would, he WILL be heard from again and I will have no hope of any sleep AT ALL. So sometimes I end up taking my chances with a tiny dog bed space to sleep and a numb limb. At least part of me is asleep. Sweet dreams left arm!

Here's another downer. I'm sure it's hilarious if it's not happening to you but my kid talks in his sleep. After I finally do fall asleep in my confined area of the bed, Link rolls over, opens his eyelids (with his eyes creepily rolled back in his head) and says "Do you hear a tra-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaain? There's a spider on the wall," rolls back over and starts snoring again. Now I am adequately terrified in addition to being exhausted and unable to move. My possessed child just threatened me with a train AND a spider and is sleeping peacefully. At this point of the night I start trying to think of all the happy things. I silently chant "puppies and rainbows and soft blankets and snowmen and chocolate and dramatic reality TV that makes me feel better about me!" I am somewhat able to calm myself until I get delirious. OMG is there really a spider on the wall? It's going to eat me. It's going to eat my kid. CPS is going to get me for not killing the spider and letting it eat my child. I am going to end up in jail. I wonder if you can sleep well in jail? Maybe I should let the spider eat us. Then I wouldn't have to get up and make breakfast in a few hours. It is about now that the drool starts flowing, my eyes start to droop, a bit of brain oozes out of my ear, and I fear if I speak that it will only come out sounding something like "grabblebluuuuuuuugBRAIIIIIIIIINSblagclug." That's right folks, I have officially entered zombie state and if not for the sun slowly rising I would surely turn soon. Gotta pull it together though because it's almost another day and I need to get my zombie ass up, make breakfast and talk about every single vehicle in existence. All. Day. Long. Mommy needs a drink and it's only 6:58 AM. If you see me I suggest you protect your head. I might eat your brain. You can thank my kid for that.

A Time I Had