Sunday, March 8, 2015

Parenting tricks learned in a college town

It has been awhile! I apologize for disappearing. Strange and wonderful thoughts I would peg as perfect blog topics have continued to cross my mind over the course of the past two years. I guess somewhere in the process of getting married, starting a new job twice...and becoming a resident of two new states within three years, has kept me occupied. But don't worry, I have a feeling those strange blog-worthy thoughts will never leave me, and I have good intentions of documenting them 'Under the Big Top' more frequently.

The second move (mentioned above) has led my handsome hubby and me to the great state of Texas. While we did leave some top-notch folks behind in Iowa, we drove away from the icy roads as quickly as we could without slipping off the road. Our move, which has resulted in us living in a small condo for the time being, has provided some awesome blog material. Why? We are now living in the middle of college students again, and our son (cat Mick) and daughter (dog Jess) both live inside our tiny condo with us. 

I began a new job last week, so until then, I stayed at home doing contract work for my former employer. Anyone who knows my need for social interaction would probably wonder how I did not go crazy staying inside all day. The answer: our children. 

Mick and Jess met when David and I were dating. Mick, an only child, was not pleased at a young slobbering dog invading his space. Poor Jess, only wishing to play, got hissed at and swatted with razor paws. That has been a few years ago, so we were hoping our condo (with no yard) would work out for the short term. We have been pleasantly surprised at how well our furry kids are getting along. I have been more surprised by the parenting skills I've learned while being home with the two. I'm quite sure when we make our own less furry children (hopefully they will be less furry...I have a lot of hair), I will be an excellent mother from the observations Mick and Jess have provided. 

Parenting skills brought to you by Mickolas Stink-Butt Hardee-Noellsch and Jess Piglet Noellsch:

1. If you burn food while frying it, your kid WILL jump out the window.

One night I was trying the best I could to be a good Southern wife, and make David one of his favorite side dishes: fried okra. My mother has always done a beautiful job at frying okra, so I knew deep down it must be in my blood. I cut up over a pound of okra knowing I would probably burn most of it. When this thought crossed my mind, I probably should have also thought about the fact that we were living in a tiny condo and the smoke would have nowhere to go. I will say that we ended up having more than enough perfect fried okra to eat after I left the kitchen. I will also say my mascara was running and David's eyes were red because I'd officially smoked us out with the first burned batch. David had a great idea...opening the two windows in the living and kitchen areas. It did cross our minds that one of the windows was where Mick sat fairly often to people watch (the very fine parking lot view) and sunbathe, but we just thought we'd keep an eye on him. An hour or so later, we awoke on the couch to find...or rather not find Mick anywhere. Sure enough, we run downstairs (oh yeah, did I not mention that we are on the second floor?!?) with flashlights, and using my super detective work, I shined the light directly under both open windows and find cat paw tracks. We found him alive with eight lives to spare (maybe seven...we had a scare in Iowa with him eating a couple feet of gift wrapping ribbon) hunkered down under a parked car.

2. Kids get major props from siblings for doing stupidly courageous things.

In continuing the story from above, Mick was cold, wet and scared when we retrieved him from the parking lot. We dried him off and observed him in the kitchen to make sure he was okay. Scared Mick disappeared, but "Yeah, I'm the cool cat who just took a two-story leap into the parking lot, show me some respect, dawg" Mick was strutting around like a hero. And Jess showed him major respect.

3. If you leave something tempting on the counter, your kid will get into it.

David recently celebrated his 29th birthday. He loves chocolate and peanut butter, so I just knew he would love a recipe I saw a friend post on Facebook: a chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter cheesecake with a brownie crust. Everything was going well, but the cheesecake portion was still chilling in the fridge when we were ready to go out for David's birthday dinner. We got back home and saw orange wrappers everywhere. Yes, Jess had managed to get 14 Reese's Cups off the counter (to be used for decorating the cake), and had eaten every last one. She received punishment, but I know she'd do it again. Oh yeah...a few days later, orange wrapper evidence showed up in her poo. BUSTED!

4. If you feed your kid crap, he/she will poop on your floor.

This one is straight forward. David tried to feed Jess cheaper dog food, and she couldn't control her BMs. 

5. Kids are annoyingly persistent.

Maybe he has short-term memory problems, but if a door is open that Mick knows he's not supposed to enter, he will try to enter. He runs out when he sees me...but 10 seconds later, and he's back.

6. Something kids can't have is always more desirable (that goes for all ages, actually).

Day two of Texas we went to one of David's favorite places: Sam's Club. We decided we needed to get Jess a baller dog bed if we were going to keep her off the furniture. We found one spacious enough even I could fit in (and have actually tried out). It was so comfy! We both agreed there was no way she could resist. Sure enough, the next couple of times we came in the condo we found Jess on the humans' couch. She's gotten better, but I still see paw prints now and then.

7. Don't rely on an automatic feeder to feed your kids.

Sometimes the batteries go dead and your kid is whining for a legit reason. If they're chunky and need to go on a diet, this is a good option because you don't look like you're starving them on purpose. That was a joke. I repeat: that was a joke.


I strangely felt like that was a good one to end on. If there has to be an end, end strong...or making people wonder.

Well, I thought I wanted to tie in another college-related topic into this post, but I have rambled on long enough. Yep, I haven't changed. But I've learned when I've said to much, and seven paragraphs ago was probably it.