I am a 30-something mom of three and wife of more than 11 years. I work nights doing data entry from home and attend college part time to get a degree in special education. I stay home during the day with my youngest son and my older son and daughter are twins in 1st grade. Please use a direct link if you want to include my items on your site. You may do what you want with the items you make from my free stuff with the exception of selling them on Etsy. I have an Etsy shop and don't want to compete with my own designs. I welcome comments and questions. Find me on Facebook for your chance to win Freebies!

A few little things I have learned....

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I was reminded today, as I talked with a friend who is a first time mom with an infant, how much I have learned as a mother.

1) For example, until every child that comes into my house is over the age of 13 I will not have eggshell or satin paint covering my walls.   There IS NO SUCH THING AS WASHABLE eggshell or satin paint, I don't care what the company advertises.  I learned this the hard way.  Speaking of walls, sunscreen hand prints do NOT wash off of walls.  Whatever greasy ingredient that sunscreen contains seeps quickly into the paint and to remove those precious shiny prints it takes a couple of coats of KILZ in addition to the two to three coats of paint.  Oh, and the prints ran the length of a living room wall.  It is semi-gloss from here on out.  Maybe not the height of fashion but infinitely more washable.

2) Washable markers are only MOSTLY washable.  The blue marker isn't as washable as the rest of the pack.  When Patience decorated herself from head to toe with "washable" markers using blue and black to make Cheetah designs ALL over her body (no area that she could reach was left ignored) the black washed away and she retained blue spots for nearly a week of daily baths.  

3) Never assume that a toddler can't reach something no matter how high you put it or if you lock it up.  The only locking mechanisms I have found to keep my kids out of things are a) a child lock on a cabinet that is out of reach of them standing on a counter and b) a combination padlock.   Seriously, they grow like weeds and what they can't reach one day they will reach the next.  I won't ever forget the honey bear I left sitting on the kitchen counter one day.  The twins were about two years old.  I HAD to use the restroom.  I was absent from the room for 10 minutes at most.  I came downstairs to a living room and kitchen covered in honey.  I have never been more grateful for leather furniture and more horrified by carpeting.  I steam cleaned that carpet a minimum of 10 times after that and it was just never okay afterward.  (keep in mind it was well used carpet when we moved into the house though)

4)  Speaking of carpet.  I will never buy carpet to cover a floor.  Not ever!  Carpet is nasty.  There is not a vacuum on earth that can actually get it deep down clean, there is not a carpet cleaner that has ever been invented that can get rid of the grime that people grind into it.  Every adult, child and animal that has tracked through your house has left a little piece of themselves in your carpet that will never go away.  I realize that the same thing happens on hard floors but the difference is that you can actually GET HARD FLOORS CLEAN!  It is possible.  I know that once a week my hard floors are completely clean and scrubbed, the dirt and grime are gone so at the very most I have a weeks' worth of grime on them at a time.  Seems so much better to me than the alternative.   I wish we could be that family who has white carpet that stays white, but it's never going to happen.

5)  Do not have a toddler without having a concentrated orange cleaner like GOO GONE or DiSolve IT in the house.   Patience went through a phase of putting anything she could find in her hair, this included Vaseline, Desitin Nighttime (the super thick stuff) and Mentholatum.  Her favorite was the Desitin.  I tried shampooing it, which did nothing to break any of it down.  I tried dish soap, which helped but there is no way to keep a toddler still while you soap, rinse, blot and repeat the 6 times it takes to break it down this way.  Then someone suggested using cornstarch, this actually worked the best of what I had tried so far and was alternated with a dish soap wash.  After two rounds of cornstarch and dishsoap her hair was about 90% grease free.   Finally someone suggested DiSolve It to me.  I was extremely careful to keep it away from her eyes and massaged it into her hair, let it sit for a minute and used children's shampoo to rinse the orange oil out of her hair.  After one course of this her hair was 90% clean, we went through it again and finished with some adult conditioner as I felt her hair needed some pampering.  When rinsed and blown dry her hair was perfect.  By far easier than any other method I have discovered.   These cleaners are also great for getting greasy stains out of clothes, I apply the cleaner and let it sit for 5 minutes or so and apply dish soap directly over it to break down the oils before I toss it in the wash.  It has saved a lot of clothes around here that I thought were toast.  Also, it gets gum out of carpet AND hair!  I love both products but the spray bottle that the DiSolve It comes in is much more convenient.

6) Speaking of cleaning products OXY Clean is my best friend.  My husbands' cat is persnickety to say the least and she has left more than 100 stains over the years on items I wish I could have gotten clean.  Last year I discovered that OXY Clean will remove most of these stains even after they have gone through the dryer.

7) Scrub your stainless steel sink with dishwasher detergent.  It will shine but make sure you rinse it all the way.

8)  Magic Erasers are Gods' gift to home makers...they clean walls, clean floors, and get the burnt off crust from around your stove burners.

9)  Standard baby gates aren't narrow enough for bedroom doors of older homes and 5 year olds are horrible at closing doors.  Chance is obsessed with the cat food and water which is now shut behind our bedroom door but when the twins use the computer the door often gets left open and it is like the 15 month old has a radar to tell him he can get to the goods.  On the same note Chance likes to play in the toilet.  I think we have finally won the battle to keep the bathroom door shut...at least he hasn't made it to the toilet to play in over a week now.

The most important thing I have learned (and try to remember at the most difficult times) is that messes don't matter.  The child who just decorated the wall with a sharpie wasn't being malicious but was expressing her inner artist.  The child who decorated the leather recliner with the sharpie and signed it with his name when he was 2 wasn't following the rules but Christian had just signed his name (well his nickname Bubby) on ANYTHING and he was only 2.   Kids like to test the boundaries we set up for them to see how far those boundaries will stretch.  It is what they are SUPPOSED to do.  As long as they aren't being nasty it can always be dealt with without yelling.  I keep reminding myself of this.  Because it is an area where I am constantly failing.   I am loud by nature and when I am annoyed or angry it just escalates.  Maybe putting it out there will help keep me in a state of constant vigilance so I can become better at using my "indoor voice".

2 comments to “A few little things I have learned....”

  1. I'm from NY (specifically, the New York City area) -- I don't have an "indoor voice" -- I just YELL!!!! :) It's also an area that I'm lacking -- and like your post says, it's important to remember that kids are kids and in order for them to learn how to engage the world around them, they need to understand the flexibility of "rules". But as parents, we need to be their guides and love them for all the things (good and bad) that they may do.

  1. Can I just tell people I am from NY, when they ask why I am so loud? LOL.

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