Leaving Chennai, part 3 – Final Roundup

Today is our last day in Chennai, which means this is my last blog post from here. The packing is pretty much finished, there is mess all over the house, and all the furniture is getting picked up at varying times throughout the day by 4 different people. Pretty much all of it sold, except for the old water filter and microwave, though we may be able to get the scrap dealer, who has taken a number of our things, to buy them.

Sidney the cat is noticing the changes around here. She was outside on the balcony early and saw that I had the light on, so she cried her most pitiful cry. Then seeing as I wasn’t opening the door, she jumped to the window where I couldn’t ignore her. Now she is roaming the house meowing, looking for everyone else who is still asleep (it’s not quite 7 a.m.). I think she will miss us as much as we will miss her.

Now for some “I remembers”:

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I remember the day Logan got his first crib. It meant a more comfortable night sleep for me. (14 months old)

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I remember the shock of finding this rocking horse in a parcel shortly after praying to get one for Logan. (19 months old)

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I remember how sweet Logan was with Lila, and how much he wanted to hold and play with her. (Logan 20 months, Lila 3 months)

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I remember I was lying down and Lila was nursing, while Logan was making his puzzle next to me. He put the knob of each piece in his mouth and then stuck it in the puzzle.

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I remember seeing Lila in this rare thumb-sucking moment, and thinking how cute she looked. It’s one of my most favorite pictures of her. (3 months old)

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I remember how excited he was to get to pet this baby goat. He had been chasing the goats and they were all running from him. Then this man stopped and picked one up for him. (2 yrs. 3 mo.)

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I remember this moment of bonding between Lila (19 months) and Scarlett (10 days).

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I remember that Scarlett really loved our homemade popsicles. (16 months)

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I remember how excited they were when I told them they could play tea party on the balcony. They brought everything out. (Lila, 3 yrs., Scarlett, 17 mo.)

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I remember this day when daddy and Logan reversed rolls and had lots of fun on the roof.

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I remember how much work it was to get those not-quite-perfect lines in Lila’s hair.

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I remember they were so excited that it was Christmas Day and they could have chocolate and cookies for breakfast. (Lila, 3 1/2; Logan, 5 yrs.)

There are so many more special memories but I’m going to have to stop here. Tomorrow morning early we will be driving off towards Bangalore, where we will spend the night and head out the next day for Mangalore.

And now I’d better get going as I have a 9:30 dental appointment.

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Leaving Chennai, part 2 – Special Events

If you missed the first part, you can read it here.

 

There have been many special days and events that have happened in the past 5 years since we moved here, but I’d have to say that the biggest and best of the special events were that Lila and Scarlett were both born here, in the same hospital, delivered by the same doctor.

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Newborn Lila.

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With daddy.

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Newborn Scarlett

Nana Mable visited several times.

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With newborn Scarlett. November 2010

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Her birthday. That is Lila she is holding. November 2010

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At the zoo. June 2012

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At the beach. Lila was miserable and hated it. November 2012

 

Logan and Lila started school.

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Logan on his first day of preschool. June 2011

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Lila on her first day of preschool. June 2012

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Logan’s first day of kindergarten. July 2012

 

We had some family vacations.

Mahabalipuram, just outside Chennai, February 2010.

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Dinner at a sidewalk restaurant.

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Going down to the beach.

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Swimming in the pool.

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Relaxing.

 

Mango Hill resort and a visit to the Crocodile Bank Reserve park. July 2013

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Checking out the crocodiles.

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Learning to swim.

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Such a water baby.

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Fun times.

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My handsome men.

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At dinner.

 

So many memories, so little time to go over them all. I’m going to do one more post in this series, but right now I need to go get myself and the kids dressed for a little goodbye party that is happening at Glad’s office.

A Father’s Day Story

(This is a backlog post. It should have gone up last Sunday, June 16th. You may also be interested to know that I wrote most of it last year but saved it because I couldn’t find the shirts I wanted to give Glad and the kids for the occasion. I’ve since edited and updated it. )

 

Today is Father’s Day and I’m going to tell you a story about my husband.

Before I met Glad, I knew very little about superheroes. The only ones I was familiar with were the ones I saw movies of – Superman, Spiderman and the X-men. I had no idea any of them were interconnected in any way. I never read the comics or saw the cartoons.

When I met Glad, I thought he was an adult, and for the most part, he is. He works hard, single-handedly supports us, and takes care of bills and business and legal work.

But when it comes to superheroes, he is the biggest kid around!

My introduction to this love of his began when we were dating. He would bring movies for us to watch – Superman Returns and Fantastic Four are two I remember clearly. Then he began buying movies on CD – the Spiderman series, the X-men series and so on.

As new superhero movies came out, he taught me more about each one. The first lesson I learned was to never diss any of them. Ha. They are gods to him. Over time I learned that it was better to ask questions and learn about them rather than tease him for being into something so intensely.

When The Incredible Hulk was released, he went gaga, quite literally. I learned that he will attach himself to certain scenes once he has seen the movie and will re-watch those scenes hundreds of times over. I also learned that the Hulk is his favorite of all the superheroes and he sees himself as the Hulk. Yes, he does!

Marvel Studios taking over the stories of his favorite heroes made him so happy. He would literally dance in anticipation of the next movie and scour YouTube looking for trailers of the movies he was waiting for. When he is watching one of these movies, he gets as excited as my kids do when watching something they love. He will clap his hands and cheer and tell me how perfect the movie is and how Marvel got it exactly right.

So you can imagine his excitement when he first heard that The Avengers movie was coming out. For no less than a year, I had to listen to complaints about how long it was taking to release and why can’t it come faster? In the meantime, he enjoyed the Iron Man movies, Thor and Captain America.

As The Avengers release date drew closer, he imagined how he would get to the theater to see it. He actually planned to take a day off work and was going to see it more than once, but it didn’t happen. Finally, some friends of ours got him a ticket and the look on his face was pure ecstasy! He was speechless when he got home. All he could say was that it was perfect.

He claims that no movie will ever match up to The Avengers so he doesn’t want to see anything else, except, of course, for the next few movies Marvel Studios has lined up for release over the next few years. He tells me how he thinks they should go, who should be in them, and how the story should be. I told him he should just go get a job with Marvel Studios so he can get his two cents into every movie.

He loved Iron Man3 and last year’s Spiderman, and is waiting in anticipation to see Man of Steel (it’s in the theaters here now). Yes, I know Superman is not from Marvel comics. I have been paying attention to my lessons.

Over this past year, he has taught the kids about some of his favorite superheroes. Logan and Lila have seen scenes from The Avengers, know the names of all the characters, and are eagerly waiting for the day when daddy will say they are old enough to watch these movies with him. Logan claims to be old enough, but he sometimes has bad dreams with characters from movies he watches, mainly Rudy the dinosaur from Ice Age 3, so he isn’t quite ready for the intensity of The Avengers.

They pretend to be the various heroes; Logan is the Hulk and Lila is Iron Man. It’s really cute how Lila has gotten Logan into eating more green veggies so that “you can turn green like the Hulk”. Move over, Popeye, there is a new veggie-eater strong man in town.

To celebrate Father’s Day, I got Glad and Logan Hulk t-shirts, and I made the girls some special shirts that say “Daddy is my superhero”. I think they loved them, don’t you?

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Love those smiles.

Love those smiles.

Thank you for being there for us, Sweetie. You are truly our superhero! We love you!

Click here for more pics.

You Know You’re a Mother When…

My Mother’s Day Tribute to All Mommies

You know you’re a mother when…

… you wipe your child’s nose with your fingers and then wipe it on your shirt ’cause you can’t be bothered to go get a tissue (or you are somewhere where one isn’t available).

… you hear a crash but don’t go to investigate until (or unless) you hear a cry.

…you have wet wipes and an extra diaper in your purse even when the children aren’t with you.

… you hear the baby stirring but wait to hear a few cries before you get up.

… you can pick out you child’s cry in a room full of noisy children.

… you can block out fights and arguments that don’t require your intervention just to get a few moments to check your mail.

… you go to bed with one person (hubby) and wake up with four (or however many still get into your bed).

… you serve your children snack foods for lunch because you are too tired to fix a meal. What’s more, they want to eat it every day, calling it the best lunch ever.

… you know ice cream can solve any problem, for the children or you.

… hearing things like “hairbandaid”, “milks”, and “baby puppy” makes you smile. (Courtesy of Lila: “hairbandaid” is hairband, “milks” is breasts (as in “Mommy, those are your milks because that is where the baby gets milk from”), and baby puppy just makes a puppy sound cuter.)

… you can change a diaper in most any position, and in the dark.

… you know the secrets to “mommy magic” and use it on your kids.

… you actually do have eyes in the back of your head.

… you have fooled your children into believing that you are all-seeing and all-knowing, and you love every minute of it.

… you wish Mother’s Day was actually about you.

Am I the only one wishing Mother’s Day was a mandatory mommy holiday?

Making Watermellon Popsicles

As a follow up to last Monday’s post, here is how we made our watermellon popsicles. Lila and Scarlett wanted to help out; Lila added the sticks at the end and lots of questions throughout, and Scarlett stepped on my feet the whole time. Some help she was. 🙂
 
Mommy’s little helpers.

 First I cut the watermellon into chunks that the blender could manage, removing as many seeds as I could while cutting but not getting them all out. I blended it on high for about 15 – 20 seconds, enough to make it liquid but not grind the seeds that were left. I didn’t add any water; no need. I didn’t sweeten it either.
Then I strained it into a measuring cup that had a spout to make it easier to pour into the molds. I had to use a spoon to stir the mixture in the strainer to get the juice through. (If you have the patience to pick out all the seeds first, you can skip this step; plus, the popsicles will be thicker.)

We had just enough juice to fill each mold about 85% full, then we added tiny pieces of chopped watermellon to it.

Lila adds the sticks.

 And here they are, ready to go into the freezer.

 
 

Summer Fun – Popsicles

Where I live, summer is upon us already. With temperatures hitting 34 deg.C and rising, it is time to find ways to cool off. This is the first in a series of summer fun posts, with tips and ideas for ways to cool down on those hot days, and what better way to cool off than to eat a homemade popsicle?

Scarlett eating a homemade popsicle – first time she held it alone.

The other day I picked up a popsicle mold set so that I could make some for the kids. Like most kids, they enjoy popsicles, but having store bought ones on hand as often as they would like to eat them is not always possible, nor would I want them to eat those so frequently as they are full of preservatives, food coloring, and too much sugar.


 Popsicles are easy to make. First, get some molds. Any shop that sells plastic kitchenware should have them. But you don’t have to use molds – you can use disposable cups, or plastic cups, or ice cube trays. For the cups you can use a spoon if you don’t have sticks, and for the ice cube trays, use toothpicks.

Next, pick your juice. Any juice you have on hand will work – powder mixes, canned, boxed, or frozen – so long as you don’t care if it is healthy or not. All you do is pour it into your molds, add the sticks, and freeze. You could even add some chopped or blended fruit to the juice for extra flavor.

But if you want these to be healthy and nutritious, then you will have to make your own juice, which isn’t too hard if you have a juicer or blender. Many fruits can be peeled and cut into chunks, then blended (obviously with seeds removed). Then all you have to do is fill the molds, or if you want, you can strain it. But I think thicker is better for popsicles. Some may need sugar; others won’t, so sweeten to taste if you want to.

Orange and mango flavor Tang. That is my cold coffee on the side.

So far I have made mine from orange and mango Tang, a grape concentrate, and banana and milk. While I like my kids to eat healthy, I am not so picky about it always being 100% pure health food, so I do buy Tang and the occasional concentrate since they are cheaper than the pure fruit juice. Also, my kids are fruit lovers, so I know they will eat any fresh fruit I give them and they have them daily. Since it is watermellon season for us, watermellon popsicles are next on my list of flavors to try. I just don’t look forward to picking out the seeds before blending.

Flavor ideas:
– Whatever fruit you have in season. Citrus fruits, especially those with a bit of a sour tang to them are nice. Lemon, orange and tangerine, individually or mixed, are delicious.
-Berries: strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, etc.
-Banana and milk – I added a little cinnamon and a tiny bit of sugar. These should be roughly 3/4 banana for the taste to come through well.

Banana and milk popsicles.

Making tips:
-A bit of lemon juice can bring out the flavor of other fruits when mixed together, ie. with papaya.
-If you just want the juice, squeeze or blend the fruit and strain before filling the molds, otherwise, leave the pulp in.
-For sweetening you could opt for honey instead of sugar, if you prefer.
-Try adding yoghurt to your fruit for a frozen yoghurt option. I plan on doing yoghurt and mango as soon as mangos are in season as the combo is heavenly. Other fruits that go well with yogurt are bananas, papayas and berries.
-Remember that liquid expands when frozen, so don’t fill your molds to the brim.

Grape juice from concentrate popsicles.

Popsicles are a great way to get in some liquid on those hot summer days, and even if you child normally won’t eat fruit or have milk or yoghurt, what child will refuse a popsicle? Making your own ensures that the ingredients are healthy – you know there are no added chemicals or coloring or extra sugar (unless, of course, you are using the concentrates, but hey, no one can eat healthy all the time) – and your child gets a fun treat.

And mommies, while you are at it, make a few extra for yourself, cause you are sure to find it more fun to join your child outside eating popsicles than sweating inside doing housework. Try freezing your favorite coffee blend. You may need to make it a little stronger and sweeter than usual since freezing can mute the flavor. You could also add rum or brandy flavorings if you like, or make a mocktail with the flavorings. I’d say freeze your favorite drink, but alcohol doesn’t freeze so you wouldn’t get a popsicle out of that. Ha.
Above all, get creative and have fun with the flavors. And make sure you have enough molds cause your kids are sure to ask for them daily.

Enjoy!

Christmas Movies for Children

Do you like Christmas movies? I love them. They take me back to when I was a child and Christmas just had that magical feel to it, unlike now. I try so hard to feel the magic but it seems to be lost to me, probably because I have spent the last 8 Christmases in a country where it is only celebrated by a minority of people, so it is not in the air in the same way as it is in a country where Christmas is a major holiday.
 
I am trying to bring that magic to my kids. I want them to be excited about Christmas and look forward to the whole season, not just the gifts. We have our little tree up and have hung our stockings; each day we cut a number off our countdown chart and have a treat, and I frequently hear them singing carols. These come from the Christmas movies and cartoons they have been watching lately, though they did start watching some as far back as October. 🙂 When Lila goes around singing her version of “Jingle Bells” or Logan goes on with “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” for a half hour straight, or like today, they both sang (and I had no idea they had memorised the words) “The 12 Days of Christmas”, I know that they are indeed feeling the Christmas spirit.
 
So to pass on some of this Christmas spirit, I decided to share with you some of the Christmas movies and cartoons we have seen lately, just in case you need some ideas.
 
This is their top favorite, must-see almost daily cartoon. They love it and have the whole thing memorised. A great one for all children.
 
Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas 2004 (68 min.)
The sequel the the above cartoon, except done in computer animation. Their second daily choice.
 
Disney version of the Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol”.
 
Another current favorite. If they aren’t watching “Once Upon A Christmas” then they are watching this.
 
I believe this is an animated version of the book.
 
Frosty the Snowman 1969 (22 min.)
Cute short about a snowman who comes to life. Another favorite of theirs.
 
Cute story about a dog who saves his owners’ home from robbers, kind of along the lines of Home Alone, but with a dog instead. My kids enjoyed most of it since it has lots of animal scenes, but there is a fair amount of dialogue that will go over little kids’ heads.
 
Another dog rescuer movie. Not as great as the other Beethoven movies, but enjoyable. My kids found it to be rather long and too much dialogue for them, but older children would probably like it.
 
The Polar Express  2004 (100 min.)
While they watched it and enjoyed it, I don’t think they quite got the movie. It is more for older children. (Update 2012: They liked it much better this year.)
 
Blizzard 2003 (93 min.)
Just saw this one with Logan the other night and I think I liked it more than he did, though I think he lasted well through it, seeing as the story is aimed at older children, probably 8 – 12 yrs. It is about friendship and magical reindeer, ice skating, and thinking of others more than yourself. Santa is played by Christopher Plummer and the reindeer’s voice is done by Whoopie Goldberg. I thought it was well done and a great Christmas movie.
 
Update 2012: One of their new favorites is Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas 2011 (26 min.). They saw it on t.v. last Christmas and then I downloaded a copy. They watch it often with daddy. Full of fun and laughs.
 
And don’t forget some of the classics like “White Christmas” (1954, 120 min.). That is a great family Christmas movie, though you do have to like those old style movies to really enjoy it. This is one I watch every year without fail. Don’t know if my kids will last through it this year, but I’m gonna try.
 
Other classics:
It’s a Wonderful Life” 1946 (130 min.)
 

What is your favorite Christmas movie? Let’s make this list grow.

Fuzzy Mommy Brain – Do You Have It?

Have you ever gotten up from what you are doing and gone to do something else, only to forget what it was you got up to do? How many times have you walked into a room and not have a clue why you were there? Do you ever forget simple things, like whether you already wiped the table or turned the washer on? Did you ever put a pot on the stove and walk off, only to come back and wonder why it wasn’t hot yet and how you managed to forget to turn the stove on? Or did you turn it on and forget about it and come back to find the pot had boiled over? If so, congratulations, you have what is known as Fuzzy Mommy Brain.

This is totally my house right now.
Fuzzy Mommy Brain tends to occur sometime around the birth of your first baby, sometimes before the baby acutally gets there, and gets worse with lack of sleep. As we all know, a newborn’s only goals in life are to eat, cry, poop, and see to it that mommy doesn’t get any sleep.
The problem with Fuzzy Mommy Brain is that it gets worse over time, and the seriousness of it depends on how many children you have. Pets, never-ending housework, and spouses can add to the problem as well. Listening to kids scream and fight all day seems to enhance it by 100%, because the screaming damages what few good brain cells you have left.
I have three children, meaning I have this pretty bad. I suffer from Fuzzy Mommy Brain all day long. I can’t count the number of times in a day that I walk into a room and forget why I walked in. Or I open the fridge and forget what I wanted. Or I put the milk jug in the cupboard and salt shaker in the fridge. And yes, I often put the milk on to boil and forget about it the moment I walk out of the kitchen. I have to stay with it or, if I must leave the kitchen, I have to keep reminding myself that it is on so that I can come back for it.

If I don’t return an item to its usual place, it is lost to me. I can never remember where I put it and try very hard to keep everything in the same place so I can find it again. Just yesterday, I took the hairbrush from its usual place in the bathroom and left it on a shelf in the bedroom. I was in a rush to leave the house, with both girls in tow, so putting the hairbrush back was the last thing on my mind. Later my husband wanted it and I was surprised that it was missing. I was so sure I had put it back after using it.

Sometimes I feel as if I am losing my mind. I walk around, jumping from one job to the next, never quite finishing one, because as soon as I see one thing, it reminds me of something else, and that will remind me of something else. It never ends.
For example, as soon as Logan is off to school, I set about on my daily tidying and aim to get at least the dishes done and a load of laundry into the machine. So I clear the table from breakfast. When dropping the dishes in the sink, I see the dishtowels need changing, so I take the dirty ones to the laundry basket. That reminds me to put a load in, so I do. Once the load of laundry is in, I look up to see a cobweb in the corner, so then I get the broom to sweep it down. I take the broom outside to clean it and see the balcony needs to be swept so I do that. I come back for the dustpan and remember that the dishes are still waiting and that I haven’t wiped the table yet.

Do you get the picture? It goes on like this all day, unless I force myself to stop and think about what I am doing. Sometimes other distractions come up, phone or doorbell, kids fighting, diaper changes and so on. These interrupt my train of thought and make me have to rethink what I’m supposed to be doing.

Fuzzy Mommy Brain is what causes me to try to get my baby to blow her nose when she can’t do it, and what makes me mix up my girls’ names and call them each others names without realising it. It is what makes me think 20 times about taking the meat out of the freezer without actually doing it. It is what makes me mindlessly call out, “What’s happening in there?”, when the kids get too loud in their room, even though they are just playing and no one is fighting.
Fuzzy Mommy Brain is what made my mom try to put a bib on one of us instead of the baby once upon a time. I remember she was so distracted that the kid she was putting it on was pushing it away saying “No, mom, that’s not for me.” And she was saying, “Let me put this on you. Stop pushing it away.” Then she stopped and realised what she was doing and said, “Oh.” I imagine her brain was quite fried then. She also used to call all of our names before getting to the one she wanted. She’s had 8 kids, and often mixed up our names too.
As far as I know, there is no cure for Fuzzy Mommy Brain. Oh, well. I guess I will have to live with it.

Mommy friends, do you have Fuzzy Mommy Brain? How do you deal with it? Do you know of a cure? 🙂 (I wish.)

Growing, Growing, All the Time

Ok, here is a little something fun that I heard about once upon a time and though I’d share with you.
Have you ever wanted to know how tall your child will be when they grow up? Well here is a way you can find out. Of course, nothing is 100% accurate, but mothers who have done this say it is fairly accurate.
Maybe you have heard that by the age of 2, a person is half their adult height. Admitedly, the average 2 year old doesn’t look all that tall, but if you were to measure them you’d see. Lila was 35 1/2 inches on her second birthday, 1/2 an inch short of 3 feet. 6 feet is a rough average for most adults, so you could say she has reached half her adult height.
So here’s how it works. You have to measure your child – girls at age 2 and boys at 2 1/2 years. Then you double the measurement and you have it, their estimated adult height.

You know you have a 2-year-old in your house when…

…art projects turn into gooey messes that are tasted and spread around.


…something that doesn’t yet fit on the toilet only wants to use the toilet, not the potty.


…ALL the toys get dumped at playtime.


…underwear begs to be shown off.


…they begin to wear their attitude on their shirts.


…your floors turn rainbow colors…


when your artist runs out of space in the coloring book for that very loooong line.


…you try to get said artist to clean the mess (but end up having to do it yourself because he just can’t scrub hard enough.)


…the dog gets hugs from all angles.


…you just can’t get a proper posed pic no matter how hard you try.

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