a list for my mother

Thank you so much for all your kind words Thursday.  I had no idea it would strike such a chord, but thank you.  It amazes me how much I still have to learn after 35+ years on this blessed Earth.

The two oldest will be headed to St. Louis this Friday.  Remember Ry and I went on the train last year to meet my folks coming up from Tejas?  Yes.  This year I’m driving because I am sure Chicago would swallow Gus whole if I tried to handle both of them alone with car seats and luggage.  So, in the van we go.  They’ll be at Camp Sebeck in Texas for a little over 2 weeks.  Let’s start praying for my parent’s now, shall we?

My folks are pros with my kids, but Mom has asked for a list of helpful To Knows.  Let me know if I forgot anything, ok?

Cheerios, Frosted Mini-Wheats, Greek yogurt, Cottage cheese, Pasta noodles, Peanut butter, Applesauce, Milk, Block Cheese, Pancakes

These 10 things will get you through just about anything.  There have been days when we’ve eaten pancakes for breakfast, lunch, AND DINNER and we are a better family for it.  Watch the sugar and food dye intake. Trust me: it’s not a fad.

Gideon likes peanut butter & butter, peanut butter alone, peanut butter & jelly.  Ry likes peanut butter only.  She’ll eat jelly & cream cheese.  Go figure.  I used to think those were weak parents… those that made 4 different lunches for 2 children.  But, I get it now.  I get it.

Gus wears a size 5 diaper.  We use Luvs.  You’ll need about 42 thousand hundred for the 2 weeks he’s with you.  This is because he finds the garden hose wherever he is and floods the poor nappy until it explodes.  Usually several times a day.  SuperKid has special powers.  Ry is potty trained.  All day, all the time.  You’re welcome.

Hide your power drill and put all soda pop higher than 48” off the ground.  Do it now.

Gus still naps after lunch for a couple hours.  Ry can take it or leave it.  It’s up to you.  But don’t put either one of them down after 2:35pm or you’ll be ringing in the new day with them both at midnight.  Ask me how I know.

Make Gideon put on his shoes.  They will come off.  He’ll come in for lunch wearing only one and wearing it backwards, but we like to be consistent with the rules.  He must be wearing 2 shoes when he leaves the house.

When you lose Gideon (and you will), look 1. At all water sources, 2. on every tractor/car/mobile machine you own, and 3. at the tool bench.  He will be there, quiet and content.  When your heart stops racing, put the bells around his neck and set him free again.  You will not lose Ry.  Ever.  You can’t.  She is closer than a shadow but with worse breath.

Speaking of which, both kids know how to and need to brush their teeth 2 times a day.  THEY MUST TOUCH ALL THEIR TEETH with the toothbrush.  Gideon will try to squeeze the toothpaste directly into his mouth.  We discourage this.

I’ve put 50spf sunscreen on both kids since they were born.  I have no idea why Gus looks like an Apache in August and Ry is still a ceramic doll.  They both still need sunscreen.  Please do not allow Gideon to apply it himself.  He often mistakes it for toothpaste.

Ry is missing 2 top teeth and 2 bottom teeth.  Do not, I repeat: DO NOT, bring this up.  Somewhere, in another childhood perhaps, Ry decided losing teeth was equivalent to burning at the stake.  It’s not something you want to discuss with a child who has trouble with basic vocabulary.

The kids are actually great at showing, telling, or miming what they are trying to say.  There are always a few gaps.  If Ry says “JOOS,” she means ‘juice’ or ‘shoes.’  If Gideon says “BOOP,” he means ‘float,’ ‘boat,’ or ‘poop.’  Best not to assume, with either child.

Ry’s hair is gorgeous and long and curly.  We try to wash it once a week.  The rest of the time, I put it in a pony tail as high on her head as I can get it and call it good.  Gideon’s hair is similar to goat hair: wiry and magnetic to airborne detritus.  We buzzed it for you.  Easier to get the peanut butter out that way.

If you determine the children need a bath, DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS ALONE.  Make sure both grandparents (and possibly some friends) are present and that your floor is sufficiently covered.

Bed time (8pm for both) is a “say prayers, tuck in, and shut the door” kind of thing.  No hour-long routine, no 18 stories, no nightlights.  They are sleeping champs.  Gideon does yell like a committed maniac for about 14 minutes and then goes through every vocabulary word he knows.  Every night.  Have no fear.  This is normal.  But Ry can’t share a room with him.  It stresses her out.  Honestly, it stresses me out, too.  Occasionally, Ry’s internal clock will malfunction and she’ll wake up at 3am.  You won’t hear her until she’s sitting at the foot of your bed, dressed and holding a bowl of dry cereal in her hand.  At this point, we kindly point out that the stars are still shining and it’s all been a big misunderstanding while pointing her back to her bed. Seven times out of ten, this goes extremely well.

And, really, well, that’s about it.

You’re going to have a GREAT time.

God bless you.

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About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

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