20 Minutes of Freedom, or Why I’m OK with Screen Time

Most of the shows my son likes to watch last about 20 minutes. He gets bored pretty quickly and will usually watch just one episode before yelling “The end!” And turning it off.

For a mom with a toddler that doesn’t nap, those 20 minutes are incredibly valuable. I can use this time to take a shower, fold laundry without it being unfolded and strewn about or get on the computer and work on a blog post without interruption. So to me, screen time is a magical gift, the proverbial electronic babysitter, where I know exactly where he will be and what he’s doing for at least 20 minutes.

mom and son
PAW Patrol and snuggles

The other benefit, if I’m not running around trying to get things done, is often screen time  = snuggle time! I’ll watch PAW Patrol for the millionth time if it means a few moments of cuddle time, snuggled up quietly on the couch. My son rarely sits still so it’s a treat for me and totally counts as quality time.

It also helps me to get to know the characters so I know what he’s talking about. (and he’s ALWAYS talking) Then we have conversations about the shows he watches.

I think because I don’t restrict his screen time, he doesn’t feel the need to watch it to excess. It always seems like kids who aren’t allowed to watch TV are the ones that will watch it any chance they get. Of course, if he started watching it hours at a time I’d have to regulate.

OK at first I’d be like, “Woohoo! Let’s get some laundry done and check my e-mail!

And then at some point the mom chip kicks in and I would think, “Hmmmmm I should probably go check on my little TV zombie.”

And to be honest right now I’m kind of fantasizing about him actually being quiet and sitting still for an hour.

But that’s not my life. It’s loud, messy, noisy and hectic. And I have TV to thank for being able to get things done, 20 minutes at a time.

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P.S.- **ATTN Jacksonville Area Readers!!! FREE ticket giveaway on my Facebook page right now! Just click the post below for details on entering to win 4 Free Tickets to see PAW Patrol Live!

You’re the Reason We Can’t Have Nice Things

img_9755I have a fancy new white couch and a toddler.
WTF was I thinking???

I also chose white cabinets for our kitchen remodel. I’ve obviously lost my mind.

I spend wayyy too much time wiping hand, feet and God knows what else kind of prints off everything from the couch to the light blue colored walls. I feel like my time might be better spent doing other, more important things than erasing toddler grime, but I made my nice clean bed and now I must wipe it down before I lie in it.

The funny thing is, it doesn’t really bother me anymore. As my son entered his 3rd year with an impressive resume of destruction, I realized I’ve let go of some of my nitpicky tendencies and just accepted things get dirty, things break, and things stay in new condition around a toddler about 2.5 seconds.

Oh I see those sparkling clean white/grey/beige Instagram feeds from popular mommy bloggers, looking all fresh and put together. I understand it is possible. And while I admire their aesthetic, that’s just not me. My life is messy, colorful and often smeared with mud and/or chocolate. I learned to relax and not stress over the mess.

messy toddler room
Godzilla in a TuTu

I mean, I wouldn’t turn down a regular maid service so I could spend more time putting together fresh pastel ensembles in a spotless house, but unless this blog thing really blows up, I am the maid service around here.

And our maid sucks…lol

Watch out Betty Crocker!

My son surprised me by asking to bake cupcakes this week. He usually has no interest in helping out in the kitchen so I immediately dropped everything and got to baking! In full disclosure, I was doing yardwork and it was hot and any excuse to take a break sounded like an amazing idea.

Trying to do anything with a toddler is an exercise in patience, mostly me trying to teach him to have some and let the muffins actually cook. But we both had fun, the kitchen didn’t get splattered by batter (at least not too much) and I got to share a great new experience with my son. I loved how excited he was when I popped the beaters out the mixer and told him he could lick it! Probably right now someone’s going “ewwww raw eggs, he might get sick….” but whatever, I loved doing that as a kid!

The cupcakes were delicious and I was happy to get to use some leftover Miss Jones frosting from the sampling party I did last month.

I was starting to sense a theme when later in the week he asked to make cookies. We ran into a problem when he wanted the star cookies just like on the box. I’m starting to hate pictures on boxes and the high expectations that follow! I had no rolling pin and no cookies cutters so I improvised with a glass. Guess what I learned in a very loud screaming freak out way? Circles are NOT stars. Also squares and any other shape I may have had on hand do not equal stars. So I took that dough and squashed and pinched and made that kid some stars! The results were as supurb as expected:

star cookie fail by geekmama.com

So what do you guys enjoy making with your kids? I hope your results were as spectacular as mine. (haha) They may not be pretty but at least they taste good!

Angry Mommy – When Mom Needs a Time Out Too

The other day my son was really pushing it, not listening, throwing things at my head and generally driving me crazy. So what do I do? Yell “Keelan stop it right now! Mommy’s getting mad! You won’t like me when I’m angry!”

And then I realized I was quoting the Incredible Hulk, or technically Bruce Banner before he Hulks out.

incredible hulk

I was at the point where I felt more like I was turning purple than green, but just the realization that I was turning into Mom Hulk made me stop and laugh at my myself. I was being loud and angry and felt like crushing puny humans.

Because what can you really do with a toddler? Yelling and threatening doesn’t help. Beating them is frowned upon. Reasoning doesn’t seem to work either. So I did the only thing I could think of and pulled out the old standard, “GO to your room! Time Out!” Mostly because I needed a time out myself.

It lasted all of a couple minutes before he poked his head out and said he wanted to play with his cars. Somehow that seemed to have pressed a reset button on both of us. I went back to my normal mild mannered self and he went back to his crazy but not too crazy toddler antics.

So what’s your angry mom tactics for calming the rage before you turn into a crazy green monster?

Potty Training – Sh*t Just Got Real, Literally

poop-emojiMy life for the past few months has been a constant refrain of “Where does poop and pee go? In the potty. Poop and pee go in the potty. Are you sure you don’t want to potty? Why wouldn’t you want to put poop in the potty? I promise you can look at it all you want, just put some &%$# poop in the potty!!!”

Potty training has been tough! And then a few days ago, he FINALLY sat his butt down and pooped in his little potty. I was so damn excited I snapped a photo and texted it to my husband so he could share in the joy of the moment. I stopped short of posting it on Facebook, although I came pretty close to recording it as a “life event.”

So in all the months of begging and pleading for this milestone to occur, I hadn’t once stopped to think about what I was supposed to do with it once he actually succeeded. Suddenly I had a diaperless toddler with a dirty butt and a giant turd to deal with. I cleaned up the kid first and decided I’d deal with the turd later. He was begging to see his handiwork, so he got to supervise while I dumped it in the toilet. He looked so happy, so proud, pointing and saying “I did it! I did it!” I tried my hardest to keep smiling while gagging from the stench. It was rough, but I didn’t barf so that’s a win for me too. I let him flush the toilet and then his big reward was ice cream and going pantsless for the next two hours. And my big reward was cleaning the poopy potty bowl. And gagging some more.

I’m hoping this is a turning point in our potty training endeavors. It’s a big milestone at least! And a learning experience for me – I’m now encouraging him to sit on the real toilet with a potty seat. I’ve got enough crap to deal with already!