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So this happened…

Spike, the almost-2-year old, is prone to temper tantrums. This is not unusual for toddlers so it’s not a big deal. My favorite way to deal is to try to distract him out of it. The best way? Show him pictures of dogs. 

I mean, what can I say- I’ve raised a simple kid. He loves dogs and just wants to see some pictures of them to be in his happy place. Lucky for me, technology makes this a pretty easy go-to. Have you seen the #dogsofinstagram hashtag? Literally millions of dog photos to scroll through and ease toddler emotional breakdowns. He just looks at them and says, “Hi, doggy!” enthusiastically to each one. 

Like I said: simple kid. 

And then this morning I realized that he knows how to use Instagram by himself. Yikes. 

I mean, obviously the kid can’t search #dogsofinstagram alone, but once I’ve searched he can get it into the list instead of a grid and then scrolls through all by himself. I know this because he stole the phone from me this morning and did just this. He isn’t a toddler that is allowed to use the iPad or play games or anything so this was the first time I had ever seen him grab a phone and just go for it. 

Umm… I guess this is what they mean by digital native. 

Digital Native

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Not the Moment We Were Looking For…

Last night we were in the living room, watching a tv show after the boys had gone to bed. Well, after most of the boys had gone to bed. Chuckles, the 3-year old, is less interested in a regular bedtime than the other kids. We’re stuck in this endless cycle of him napping and then not falling asleep until 10pm (or later). But if he doesn’t nap it triggers his night terrors. Napping + late bedtime it is. 

Anyway, there we were with Chuckles laying on the couch with Sergeant Handsome and he says, “Daddy, what’s your favorite place?”

Being the wonderful parent that he is, Sergeant Handsome replied, “Wherever you are, buddy.”

Now, I thought we seemed primed to create a wonderful warm and fuzzy memory of what a wonderful family we are. So I asked, “Chuckles, what’s YOUR favorite place?”

I was really thinking he would answer, “Wherever Daddy is.” Wouldn’t we just be like something out of a novel? It would be a real Christmas Letter moment (of course that would mean I would have to start writing Christmas letters and sending them out). People would aspire to be our lovey-dovey family. We could be smug in our superior family bond. 

Instead, without hesitation, Chuckles replied, “Toys R Us.”

So much for superior family bond. I guess you can’t beat a giant store full of toys. 

Chuckles

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Building and Breaking Down

I like to build things. I don’t have fancy tools or real skills. What I do have is a table saw, a drill, a few other tools, lots of notebooks, and an active imagination. I’ve mostly built a ton of beds. Since we’ve moved so often we’ve had a lot of furniture lost/broken/not-work-in-a-new-space. As we’ve added boys and moved from home to home, our needs have changed. So I’ve been building beds and bookcases and other such things. 

My favorite was the beds I built in to the boys room in our house in San Antonio. We had a small three-bedroom home and 6 people to fit into it. Don’t get me wrong- I loved that our home was cozy and it was just the right size for us and our needs. But we had to be creative to make that happen. That meant having three boys share a room. 

So at 34 weeks pregnant with Boy#4, I decided it would be a good idea to build in a loft bed with two beds underneath, divided by a bookcase. This picture from our real estate listing is the only decent picture I have of it (WHY did I not take good photos before we moved?!?!?). 

Built-In Bunk Beds from The Half-Hearted Housewife www.halfheartedhousewife.com

There’s a little play/reading space to the left of the mattress on the lofted bed. The boys frequently used it as a place to build with Legos where the littlest guy couldn’t reach them. And the lower beds were constantly forts/tents. What looks like a wall from here actually has ledges on the front where books and treasures were displayed.

I loved these beds so much. There was a lot of changing up of spots. The top bunk was a hot commodity. As we needed different things and everyone’s sleeping habits changed, we swapped everyone around between these beds and the other bedroom with a lone bed in it (sometimes a kid just needs his own space). 

These beds that I love have nothing to do with anything except that I loved them and I built them. And now that we’re yet another new home, we have new space that needs furniture. So over the weekend I decided I would tackle what we’re calling “the playroom.” It’s a room in the new place that’s open to our kitchen and seems like it will work for us as an office/playroom/family space. So I thought I’d build in a desk along one wall and then build some low shelves to go along a second wall for storage of toys and books. 

Sketching out of what I wanted was done, supplies were purchased, work got underway. About halfway through the project things were not going as planned. I should note that this happens every single time I build something. Remember that any plans or instructions are solely in my head. So naturally there are usually some hiccups along the way. My poor husband always has to deal with this point of every project. It usually involves cursing, throwing something, and temporarily giving up on everything. 

Except that this time my frustration with the project not going as planned somehow got conflated in my mind with living here in this new post. I had a minor break down. Many tears were shed while I cried to my husband saying, “I don’t know a single person here. No one will ever see this room but us and I’m the only one that cares what it looks like. I’ll never have friends here and we’ll never have people over. This is such a waste.”

Yikes. Sorry, Sergeant Handsome. It’s hard to balance my project frustrations with my loneliness and my fear that I’ll never make a friend here. It was a tough spot. 

I sucked it up and kept going. I’m still having some technical issues with the shelves but the desk is all in! I have no solution for the loneliness, so I’m just ignoring it for now. It’s probably not the most emotionally evolved way to deal with it, but I’m finding it really overwhelming when I think about it too much. So denial and distraction are it. 

Distressed shelves with copper pipe supports

I stained/whitewashed/distressed the shelves and I’m attempting to use copper pipes as supports. We’ll see how it goes.

We’ve moved so many times that this new-kid-in-school feeling shouldn’t be so distressing. I just feel a little less hopeful about it now. Since the boys are older it’s not exactly easy to meet other people. In the (distant) past I met friends through groups for moms with little ones. I also made friends through blogging/social media, but I am wary about broadcasting my location so I can’t really do that either. It’s left me in a spot where I don’t really know how proceed. 

I’m not really looking for ideas or sympathy or anything. I’m sure it will either resolve itself… or we’ll eventually move again. Ha! 

For the moment I’m mostly just concerned with finishing my dumb project so I can stop stressing about it and can finally unpack the rest of the boys’ toys and books. It’s the little things. 

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