By Theresa Janaitis of Mommy Dearest Inc.
We all have a few tricks that we keep up our sleeves for when times get rough. I read about these all the time and marvel at the success stories that these moms are bragging about. Titles usually sound something like this: “How to Get Your Child to Eat Beets with This Delicious Chocolate Smoothie,” or “Never Lose a Toddler Sock Again with This Nifty Trick,” or even “How Much to Medicate Your Kids for Peaceful Air Travel.”
I am here to share with you my own “Mom Tricks” that haven’t exactly gone viral. However, I am not a quitter. One success and several thousand subsequent fails does not have me throwing in the towel just yet. I aim to master at least one of the below before my child turns 10. I’ve got five years to figure this out, but I have a feeling that I need every minute I can get. Here are the stumpers.
We co-sleep, and shit, I am tired sometimes. We have a lot of peaceful nights, but we also have plenty of nights where I am clinging to the edge of the mattress for dear life while my child flops all over the bed, arms flapping into my face unexpectedly, kicking me in the back, breathing one millimeter from my face while coughing directly into my mouth.
When the early bird wakes up at 6:30 am and wants to immediately start a full-blown conversation about why bird poop is white, I revert back to my old stand-by Mom Trick: fake sleeping. I have only been successful at this once, but the one time she actually fell back to sleep with me was so effin’ glorious that the possibility of it happening again keeps hope alive. My determination to get a few more minutes of sleep keeps me from fully accepting this as a FAIL.
The Bunny Bell
My daughter had a crazy fear of the “bell button” in elevators. It all started with a kid at the mall who insisted on pressing it about 40 times while we were in the elevator and the mom did nothing to stop him. Can you say traumatic?
Afterward, each time we got into an elevator, she would worry that someone would press the button and the loud bell would start ringing. At our lowest point, she would outright refuse to ride the elevator with any kid who may have that squirrelly “bell button presser” look in his eye.
In an attempt to make the bell button a bit friendlier, we decided to take a picture of it, name it and decorate it with something she thought was nice. This turned out to be a bunny, and his name was Daniel. We spent hours talking about the bell button, fielding hundreds of questions as to why it is there, why that kid wanted to press it, why his mom didn’t stop him. Either way, Daniel the Bunny Bell did zip to help the fear of the bell button. We still have to have the occasional agreement with friends about who will press the buttons before getting in, and if your kid starts getting that squirrelly look, we will take the stairs.
Bunny Bell FAIL.
This particular activity is the ability to scarf a mini powdered donut in the amount of time it takes your kid to wash their hands (in my case this is equivalent to turning the water on and then off again without ever getting hands wet and definitely never using soap). Being able to swallow the donut whole earns bonus points.
The timing of the donut wolf is typically around dinnertime while I am cooking and am super hungry myself. It’s RARE that we have things like mini donuts in the house, so finding the sad and lonely donut that needs to be put out of its pathetic misery is always a special moment.
Popping it into my mouth unnoticed is tricky if my child is home and likely to round the kitchen corner the moment it hits my lips. Sending her to wash her hands before dinner is an easy way to occupy her, even if for five seconds. The part that trips me up each time is the powdered sugar. No matter how hard I try, eating that mini donut will result in me looking like Al Pacino in Scarface when my kid inevitably barrels into the kitchen to show me how well she scrubbed her hands. This immediately results in her asking about what I am eating and demanding to smell my breath.
Unwrapping the Secret Snack
You know the snack that you keep in your purse for emergencies, or the random piece of Halloween candy you find in there while wildly searching for your keys? Try unwrapping that snack around your kids. I swear, children under the age of 10 have supersonic hearing and are able to detect the sound of crunchy snack wrappers from miles away.
As soon as your eyes make contact with that wrapper, it sends a signal to the kids: “Alert! Alert! Mom found something in her purse. Looks to be a snack of sorts, has a crunchy wrapper and high calorie content. Prepare to launch the question!” We all know what question that is: “What are you eating and can I have some?”
There are several ways that I have attempted to open one of these wrappers without being noticed. The loud-cough-and-frantic-unwrap, the turn-up-the-music-louder-in-the-car-and-unwrap, and finally the slow-and-steady-wins-the-race-unwrap technique. Results tend to err on the FAIL side, especially when it happens to be a really good snack that I don’t want to share.
Here is where all of you come into play; I am accepting advice on how to turn these epic fails into wins. In the meantime, I will be exhausted, taking the stairs while looking like I just left a cocaine party while being questioned about what snack is in my purse by a firing squad of one (four-year-old).
This post was originally published on Mommy Dearest Inc.
About the Author
Growing up in Upstate New York, I spent much of my childhood singing the soundtrack to “Annie” whilst dreaming of running away to Hollywood. Nowadays, I spend much of my time drinking wine with my lady friends at play dates and scrubbing permanent marker off of body parts. When I am not consumed with these activities, you can usually find me negotiating with my five year old or taking pics with my iPhone. Formerly, I was a number-hating number cruncher, a marketing gal, and a buyer of clothing and rugs. All of which led me to actually running away to Hollywood, where I am still an actor and storyteller. Oh, and btw, I hate sand, know-it-alls, and whining. I am Theresa and I currently reside in Los Angeles with my surfer-dude husband and my sweet girl. Follow Theresa at Mommy Dearest Inc., on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.