Monday, November 24, 2008

You know you have a 3 year old when...

A 3-year-old tells all from his mother's restroom stall.

By Shannon Popkin

My little guy, Cade, is quite a talker. He loves to communicate and does it quite well. He talks to people constantly, whether we're in the library, the grocery store or at a drive-thru window. There've been several embarrassing times that I've wished the meaning of his words would have been masked by a not-so-audible voice, but never have I wished this more than last week at Costco. Halfway, through our shopping trip, nature called, so I took Cade with me into the restroom. If you'd been one of the ladies in the restroom that evening, this is what you would have heard coming from the second to the last stall.....

'Mommy, are you gonna go potty? Oh! Why are you putting toiwet paper on the potty, Mommy? Oh! You gonna sit down on da toiwet paper now? Mommy, what are you doing? Mommy, are you gonna go stinkies on the potty?' At this point I started mentally counting how many women had been in the bathroom when I walked in. Several stalls were full .. 4? 5? Maybe we could wait until they all left before I had to make my debut out of this stall and reveal my identity.
Cade continued, 'Mommy, you ARE going stinkies aren't you? Oh, dats a good girl, Mommy! You gonna get some candy for going stinkies on the potty? Let me see doze stinkies, Mommy! Oh ... Mommy! I'm trying to see in dere. Oh! I see dem. Dat is a very good girl, Mommy. You are gonna get some candy!'
I heard a few faint chuckles coming from the stalls on either side of me. Where is a screaming new born when you need her? Good grief. This was really getting embarrassing. I was definitely waiting a long time before exiting. Trying to divert him, I said, 'Why don't you look in Mommy's purse and see if you can find some candy. We'll both have some!'
'No, I'm trying to see doze more stinkies. Oh! Mommy!' He started to gag at this point. 'Uh oh, Mommy. I fink I'm gonna frow up. Mommy, doze stinkies are making me frow up!! Dat is so gross!!'
As the gags became louder, so did the chuckles outside my stall. I quickly flushed the toilet in hopes of changing the subject. I began to reason with myself: OK. There are four other toilets. If I count four flushes, I can be reasonably assured that those who overheard this embarrassing monologue will be long gone.>
'Mommy! Would you get off the potty, now? I want you to be done going stinkies! Get up! Get up!' He grunted as he tried to pull me off. Now I could hear full-blown laughter. I bent down to count the feet outside my door. 'Oh, are you wooking under dere, Mommy? You wooking under da door?
What were you wooking at, Mommy? You wooking at the wady's feet? More laughter. I stood inside the locked door and tried to assess the situation. 'Mommy, it's time to wash our hands, now. We have to go out now,Mommy.'

He started pounding on the door. 'Mommy, don't you want to wash your hands? I want to go out!!' I saw that my 'wait 'em out' plan was unraveling. I sheepishly opened the door, and found standing outside my stall, twenty to thirty ladies crowded around the stall, all smiling and starting to applaud. My first thought was complete embarrassment, then I thought, 'Where's the fine print on the 'motherhood contract' where I signed away every bit of my dignity and privacy?' But as my little boy gave me a big, cheeky grin while he rubbed bubbly soap between his chubby little hands, I thought, I'd sign it all away again, just to be known as Mommy to this little fellow.

(Shannon Popkin is a freelance writer and mother of three. She lives with her family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she no longer uses public restrooms)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Dear Daughter #1

We had to improvise with candles...we ended up being 5 short. We used our big number '3' and the 9 remaining single candles. To make up for the 5 missing candles (to make 17 in all), I lovingly placed 5 M&M's on top of her piece of cake. That got some smiles and giggles!

Other people might not know just how loud a family of 10 can be. Big Brother isn't here so we're a little quieter than usual. We were playing our traditional birthday game and it didn't take her long to laugh as we were all 'ganging up' on her. This time, Hubby won on getting DD#1 to laugh first. We've only had 2 kids hold out and not talk during the past year of birthdays...

Here she is in her 'Happy Place' eating her cake under the table. Can you see Princess peaking in the background? I was under there taking pictures of her and everyone was laughing hysterically (including her!). Man, do we have fun with birthdays around here... never a dull moment in our house!

She and Big Brother are tied for the next month or so. How is it I ended up with two 17 year olds?? December will be our whirlwind month with 3 birthdays, Christmas and a trip to Wisconsin!

Monday, November 10, 2008

One year ago today

One year ago today, hubby returned from Liberia with the newest members of our family. The kids were so quiet and shy but they had big smiles when they walked off the airplane into my arms! Our 'little man' didn't know what to think- he was half asleep. The journey was just too much for him...

Here are some pics of them while still in Liberia:

This pic below was our last moment together as a family of 5. This was just before we left to take Hubby to the airport (Oct. 30, 2007).

Our first moments together as one, united family on November 10, 2007:

Here are recent pics...see how they've grown?

If I've learned one thing this past year, I've learned that this journey as a parent is truly a marathon. There have been lots of happy times and lots of trying times. We are all learning as we go and we just thank God that He gives us the grace and strength to carry on with this task given to us. He hand-picked us all to be together as one family...we really work hard every day to make Him look good! This song/video is one of my new favorites and really sums up the last year (for me!). As I watched this video, I realized that Hubby and I have been in this church. We visited there for a Sunday service before the Liberian kids came home. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Halloween Fun

WHEW! We have been so busy the last few weeks- October just flew by! School is in full swing and the kids are all learning a lot and staying busy with fun activities and extracurricular activities. Here's just a few pics from our Halloween Fun...

After Halloween was over (and I got a great deal on this Halloween Castle at Walmart), our 2 homeschool kiddos had their special Halloween party. Dad happened to be home that day so he helped them to build this spooky, cookie castle.

*Hubby sitting at the table 'observing.'

Angel baby is so funny! Looks like she's saying, "What?? Are you talking to me?" She's really getting a personality and she's getting SO big!

Here's our Hanna Montana girl...

And our Princess girl...

And of course Darth Vader...

*We had a Batman too but for some reason he didn't want his picture taken. He was too busy doing other things to stop for a moment and pose....oh well...