activities of daily living · animals · slice of life

No Bears in the Bathroom!

I have a couple of “rules” about what goes into our bathrooms. I think they make a ton of sense and I don’t think anyone my kids should question them. They are:

  • Do not bring any food, drinks, or anything from the kitchen (e.g., aprons) into the bathroom.
  • Do not bring stuffed animals into the bathroom.

I feel like both of these rules are obvious and don’t need to be explained to anyone over the age of 14. My children, on the other hand, have heard my rationale — especially about the second one — many times.

BOTTOM LINE: Rubber ducks are for the bathroom. Stuffies, which lay on beds and couches, are not.

This morning, Ari did NOT want to brush his teeth. Or make his bed. Or eat his breakfast. (In all fairness, 3/4 of us had the flu last week and even though we’re better, none of us are ourselves yet.) I did not want to fight with him since I am not back to normal yet.

I grabbed Quincy, deepened my voice, and said, “Let’s go to the bathroom and brush our teeth, Ari.”

Ari didn’t move.

I tried again, “Let’s go, Ari. Let’s brush our teeth together.”

Still no movement.

“C’mon! I’m going to the bathroom now. Aren’t you coming?” Quincy asked.

With that, I held Quincy by his shoulders and helped him amble into the bathroom.

Pleasefollowpleasefollowpleasefollow, I thought.

“He’s going in the bathroom?!” Ari questioned.

“Yes, I told you that I need to brush my teeth,” Quincy replied.

Seconds later the pitter patter of little feet followed. Ari plopped down on the floor, took out a spare toothbrush, and began brushing Quincy’s teeth. Fortunately, Ari brushed his teeth once Quincy was finished!

While I was thrilled I didn’t have to raise my voice to get Ari to brush his teeth, a little piece of me died since Quincy was on the bathroom floor. I know my kids’ bathroom isn’t anywhere near as gross as a public restroom, but there’s something that didn’t sit well with me about it all day.

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activities of daily living · beauty · slice of life

Sometimes Mama Know Best

I barely had my towel wrapped around me after my shower last night when Isabelle, dressed in a fuzzy robe and a turban towel, demanded a ponytail.

“Could you give me a minute to dry off?” I asked.

“Sure,” she replied.

She left the bathroom for a few minutes. When I called her back in, I said, “I will put your hair in a loose bun, but I’ll need to finish it up once you’re in your PJs.”

That was fine by her. Or so she claimed.

Ten minutes later, she walked into Ari’s room with her hair looking like this:

No way could she sleep like that with a bun off to the side of her neck. OUCH!

“Let me redo your hair before I tuck Ari in.”

“No, it’s fine like this,” she replied.

“Your hair is disheveled. It’s going to be a frizzy mess tomorrow morning. Are you going to do it yourself when that happens?” I asked. (She never does her own hair. It’s tricky given that it’s extremely curly.)

“I will,” she said.

“Then that’s fine. You can keep it like that. But don’t come to me tomorrow morning begging for me to do your hair because you didn’t want me to put it up [in a high bun] tonight.”

“I won’t,” she stead in a tween voice.

Yeah right.

This morning, I walked downstairs and noticed a bush of frizzy curls sprouting from Isabelle’s head. I couldn’t resist. “Nice hair,” I said after I said good morning.

“Yeah, I know. It’s a mess.”

“You should’ve let me redo it last night.”

Isabelle nodded solemnly.

“Good luck getting it done this morning.”

Isabelle’s eyes widened in disbelief that I was actually going to make her do her own hair.

I was finishing breakfast when Isabelle reemerged from attempting to put a ponytail in her hair. It was a HOT MESS. I knew she had a Zoom speech therapy session at 8 a.m. Even though she’s had the same speech therapist since she was two, I didn’t think it was necessary to make Isabelle get on a screen looking like she didn’t groom herself.

“Do you want me to redo your hair?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she replied.

“Do you think you should’ve let me put it up in a high bun last night so it would’ve been easy to put in a ponytail this morning?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Isabelle said.

Sometimes mama knows best.

Left: This was the ponytail Isabelle created after attempting to do her hair this morning. Right: The sleek ponytail I created after wetting her hair and brushing it out.

I doused Isabelle’s hair with water from a spray bottle. Once it was wet, I brushed it out. (Note: NO MATTER WHAT: NEVER brush curly hair when it’s dry!) I was able to pull it back into a sleek ponytail. Isabelle seemed satisfied when I was finished since she looked like her well-groomed self again.

Going-forward, I’m pretty sure she won’t resist a hair redo at night!

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activities of daily living · COVID-19 · slice of life

How long does it take you to get ready?

After Isabelle eats breakfast, she has four things she needs to do before I do her hair. From there, she gets her iPad so she can start some morning math (i.e., IXL and XtraMath).

  1. Brush her teeth.
  2. Wash her face.
  3. Get dressed.
  4. Make her bed/open her blinds.

Ever since she’s been attending school remotely, it’s been taking longer and longer for her to accomplish her mornings tasks. This morning, I told her, “I’m going to set my stopwatch to see how long these things actually take you to do them.”

It took her THIRTY-FOUR minutes to do those things. It should take ten minutes — max.

To say that I was irritated was an understatment. Therefore, I decided to turn it into a mathematical situation. I grabbed a piece of graph paper and made a bar graph with five-minute increments. I said, “Today it took you 34 minutes to bruth your teeth, wash your face, get dressed, make your bed, and open the blinds to your room… and the last item needed a reminder. Do you think this is acceptable?”

Isabelle laughed in my face.

I was unamused.

“It’s not funny,” I told her.

She covered her mouth in attempt to stifle her giggles, but I found her disregard for time to be preposterous. Plus, she had been making lots of noise and riling her brother up.

Speaking of her brother, that’s when Ari proceeded to walk into her room. I looked at him and said, “Ari, this doesn’t involve you. I need you to go downstairs and play.”

He left. I filled in the Monday bar on the graph. Isabelle continued to laugh in my face.

Perhaps I should have Elliot on-hand tomorrow morning when Isabelle gets ready for school.

“Why is this funny to you? You could spend this kind of time playing or doing artwork. But instead, you make mornings feel stressful and chaotic when you don’t take care of your business in the mornings. How will you be able to get out of the house again once the pandemic is over if it’s taking you 34 minutes just to do these things?”

She continued laughing. I thought about walking away. Instead, I pointed to the bar graph and said, “This has to be a shorter bar tomorrow. This is unacceptable.”

That’s when Ari reappeared. He brought me Little Elliot from Mike Curato’s books. He dropped Elliot on my lap and left the room without saying a word.

Later, after Isabelle got her hair done and was settled with Math IXL, I asked him why he gave Elliot to me.

“I wanted to make feel you better,” he replied in the sweetest four-year-old voice.

“You did, buddy. You really made me feel better.”

Bless this little boy.

activities of daily living · reading · slice of life

Memory of the Morning

It’s late. Bedtime, in fact. My memories from the day have glommed together. But there was a conversation Isabelle and I had from early this morning I remember. I don’t recall the exact words we exchanged since so much has happened between then and now. But I remember the essence of it so the transcript doesn’t matter. But first, the backstory.

Isabelle moves like a turtle in the mornings. Once we settled into our new house, I began to incentivize her with something she wanted — daily iPad time — in an effort to get her moving. The deal: she could earn up to a half-hour of iPad time before school if she could get washed up, make her bed, get dressed, and put her PJs in the hamper in 25 minutes each morning. That incentive seemed to work… for about two weeks. Each time she missed the 25 minute threshold to be in my room with a hair bow before she went downstairs for breakfast, we’d make a plan to read together once she finished eating. This was NOT a punishment. Rather, it was something we’d do together since I was laid up in bed with nothing else happening.

About two weeks ago, I noticed Isabelle stopped getting into my room 25 minutes after her alarm went off. At first, I didn’t question it since I enjoyed reading with her after she finished her breakfast. But this morning, after waking up 45 minutes before her alarm went off, Isabelle still didn’t make it into my room dressed for the day on-time. That means she dilly-dallied for 70 minutes!

Without asking “what gives?” I asked her what gives this morning. (I suspected I knew, but couldn’t imagine that the kid who just six months ago declared she hated reading could actually be enjoying reading.) When she couldn’t explain why it took her over an hour to make it into my bedroom to get her hair done this morning, I threw out my best guess… fully expecting to be wrong. I asked her if she was intentionally getting into my bedroom late to have her hair done so she could read with me instead of earning iPad time before school.

Do you know what she said?

YES! She said yes. In fact, she admitted to purposely coming in late so we could read together. I kissed the top of her head and told her she could’ve just spoken up and told me she preferred to read with me rather than earn iPad time. I don’t remember what she said, but she looked sheepish.

Naturally, we read together this morning before she departed for school. I didn’t care that she picked two too-easy books (one Poppleton and one Henry & Mudge) to read alongside me. Rather, we snuggled in bed, as we have so many mornings for the past month, and enjoyed two stories. Unlike most mornings, she allowed me to put my arm around her. She leaned into my body, resting more on me than on the pillows.

For anyone who has followed Isabelle’s reading journey, you know this day has taken a lot of hard work and tears. While reading isn’t something Isabelle chooses to do independently, reading aloud to me is now a preferred activity. I never thought this day would come. But it has and I am grateful*.

Snuggled-up for our morning read.

*= I told my husband I will have to start waking up earlier once I get back on my feet again just so I can keep reading with Isabelle before school. Hopefully the thrill of reading alongside me in the mornings won’t wear off once I’m fully mobile again.

activities of daily living · slice of life

Matching His Socks

Ari’s favorite color is red. He wants to wear red. Every. Single. Day.


Today was different. Ari picked out a yellow short-sleeve shirt from his drawer. I was shocked, but didn’t let it show since I’ve been washing his red shirts constantly.

“I need you to wear something on top of this shirt since it has short sleeves. How about this hoodie?” I asked.

“Okay,” he replied. I was surprised again since there wasn’t a speck of red on the hoodie I showed him.

“Would you like to pick your pants?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said as we slid open his pants drawer.

“Jeans or blue fleece pants?” I asked.

“Blue!” he declared.

I got Ari dressed. Then, I walked into my room to dress myself. He didn’t follow. Therefore, I walked back to his room to see what he was doing. (It was too quiet.) I found him on the floor with a pair of socks that he picked. Again, I was surprised since not only did they not have any red on them, but they matched his outfit perfectly.

“Did you pick those?” I asked.

“Yes!” he replied.

“Do you need help putting them on your feet?”

“I need help,” he said.

“I’ll help you,” I said sitting beside him to slide the perfectly-matched socks onto his feet.

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