Sniffle, sniffle; snot, snot.

I wrote about Conor being good about wiping his cold and snotty nose with tissue, but he recently adopted the “norm” — to wipe his nose on his sleeve. Ew.

Early in the morning, by the time we get to school, his sleeves already have a long wet spot. So much for freshness and cleanliness!

I’ve since left a box of tissue in his cubby, put tissue in each of his pocket and instructed him to replenish his pocket stash as soon as he used one. We consistently call him on it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

I searched online for help. I don’t want to give in to using a product that “cures” the symptom when there’s a way to properly address it. But you know, he gets busy hanging out with friends and playing and whatever else that keeps a pre-schooler busy!

Here’s what I found. Has anybody used Sniffle Buddies before?

I’m having an internal battle because if I bought this product, I’m caving in to convenience. I have the patience to consistently tell him to wipe his nose with tissue. Yet, I’m not with him all the time! That’s what sucks.

Anyway, if you’ve tried this let me know please.


What my pre-schooler feels about boys kissing boys

Conor happened to look at the article I was reading online that had an embedded video. The article was related to the movie Twilight, and the video was something about gay men.

My kid saw 2 guys sharing a sweet kiss and here’s what he said:

Conor: Two mans kissing? Yuck!

Me: First of all, it’s men not mans. Second of all, what’s wrong with that?

Conor: A boy should only kiss a girl.

Me: There’s nothing wrong with a boy kissing a boy, or with a girl kissing a girl. They have the right to do that. If you see a person kissing another person and you’re not comfortable about that, just look and walk away. Your reaction is not relevant. Now, would you kiss your friend K****?

Conor: Yes.

Me: What about E***?

Conor: Yes.

Me: So there’s nothing really yucky about that, is there?

Conor: Still yuck.

I’m not sure if that’s the best conversation to have with a kid who’s nearing 4 years old, but I had to let him know what I stand for as his mother/parent.

What I’m surprised and worried about is the reaction. Our family is not against any sexuality or religion, so where did he get that? Maybe at school? Is it innate? I don’t want to think that our reaction towards sexuality is innate, but that it’s influenced by our environment…but what do I know???

My toddler is a vampire!

It must be due to the latest Twilight movie because Conor decided to bite a classmate. For the first time, and I hope the last.

Image from

The teacher felt bad not to have noticed, I felt bad to be the parent of a biter…but, in a way I’m not very apologetic about the whole thing especially after hearing my child’s side of the story.

My child is very particular about his personal space. You would think a toddler can’t have a good grip of that concept yet, but my child broke that mold I think. He can articulate “<Name of kid>, I need my space!” and walk away. He even tells us, his parents, if he wants to be left alone. The first time I saw him very upset was at 2 years old. It surprised me that I was like deer crossing a road at night waiting to be hit by a car when it happened–I stood there frozen witnessing my child yell at the other 2-year-old boy “No, D! No hit!!!” If his eyes could spit fire, they would. That’s what he appeared to me. When we reprimand him, he usually goes to his room–or some other place away from us–to be by himself.

We sat with him that night to get a better idea of what happened. The other boy “hugged” him and was “beating” him. Expound on the beating part, Conor said he was hugging and kicking him.

Did you tell him to stop? Yes. When? Before I bit him. Where were your hands? Couldn’t you just push him a bit to let go of his hug? He was hugging me tight.

Well, if that were me it did make sense to use something else for self-defense–my teeth.

Did you say sorry? No. Do you think you should? No.

Uhm, this is tough. Let me think about it some more over the weekend.

The teacher told me that they are working with the other boy to learn to respect boundaries. All of us were shocked to find out that Conor resulted to such aggression, despite being very articulate about his feelings. By the way, no blood trickled, no skin broken.

We talked with him about how biting wasn’t the best thing to do. We talked with him about ways to resolve that problem. He knew that he could’ve walked away and told his teacher about the annoying kid, but if you were locked in someone’s arms and they are stomping or kicking your feet…well…after learning about the teachers currently working with him on the concept of boundaries, Conor may have been dealing with him for a while now and just couldn’t deal with him any more.

I keep thinking about it and it led me to an imagined scene at middle school–we get called called in because our child punched a kid. Of course, I worry but I also have faith in my child and in my parenting with Jon. We are not stepping in, nor have discussed approaching the other kid’s parents. Some social things are better left learned as you go along in life.

My child doesn’t pick fights, never has, but he is no pushover either. Childhood can be tough, especially being around kids who have no respect for boundaries or are simply socially inept. My parents NEVER interfered with any fight I had with other kids when I was growing up. I think I will continue that practice. Then again, I was with really nice kids and no direct experience with bullies.

Today, one of his teachers told me about a conflict yesterday my son had with the same kid. Though both apologized, the other boy wanted to hug to finally resolve that conflict but my son could only offer a handshake. It was left to simply saying sorry because neither was willing to give in. I’ve always wondered about my son having an old man’s soul. He’s barely 4! A toddler who wants to shake hands instead of hugging? But, I’m glad that he knows when to be civil and when to be truly loving.

Honestly, I’m proud that my child knows his limits, can articulate his feelings, never picks up fights and is not a pushover. I feel bad for the other boy, but consequences are part of learning and growing up. His parents should really work on teaching him about personal space it looks like. My child is not perfect and certainly pushes his boundaries; but he is not tolerated for any bad behavior displayed in our presence and we give full support to his teachers to educate him in all aspects.

My toddler and his piggy bank

I took my toddler to watch Puss in Boots for the first time last weekend. The dark theatre proved to be a good place for imagination. Needless to say, he probably watched half of it with full attention and half imagining he was in a cave or something like it that I couldn’t understand.

Anyway, after that I decided to take him to the mall across the road. My intention was to get him a pair of exercise pants for gym class. I got his attention diverted to going to the ice skating rink after seeing a toy shop as soon as we stepped in. I’m not familiar with the malls here yet because we hardly go to them, otherwise I would’ve chosen a different entrance believe me. Walking past a few more shops and he spotted a toy from RadioShack, which was right next to the photo shop I realized I needed to go to. I still managed to divert his attention but he didn’t forget! After getting the printed photo (for him to take to school), he had me running after him as he ran back to RadioShack.

Strategically, one of the shop employees approached us, and with my toddler starting to get grumpy I gave in and bought the remote control truck for $10.98. Of course with all the enthusiasm playing with it at home, it was easy to justify that purchase. At that time, though, my first reaction was no because I tend to say no when it comes to unplanned toy purchases.

But I tell you that I talked him into paying me back using his piggy bank money. I don’t feel bad about this, but I also didn’t’ take the money out just yet. He may not have plenty of toys like my friends’ kids do, but he has more than enough to entertain himself without sacrificing creativity.

As early as 3 years old, he was introduced to saving. He’s nearing 4 now. Everytime he sees coins lying around, he grabs them and announces that they will go to his piggy. We pay him for things we ask him to do when he does them outside of his responsibility that is putting his toys away. It pleases him when he makes his piggy fat and tells us that he will one day take his piggy to the big bank (a real one) to save them there. I’m not quite sure that he truly gets it but he already knows that if something has to be bought, the money comes from me and that has to change.

His face turns lemon when I tell him that if we bought something he wanted, but he doesn’t need, that he will pay me back using his piggy bank money. Half the time he changes his mind, the other half he is solid about his wants. I think it’s a good learning tool for him to associate spending with emotions and logic. He’s still very young but it’s never too early to learn about money.

Small houses and extended travel

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~Mark Twain

Since my previous post about wanting to be more physically present as a parent, I’ve mentioned to my husband plenty of ideas that have excited me. I believe that these ideas would mean more quality time with my child and husband. I just went crazy for 3 days imagining and setting goals!

1. Live in a Tumbleweed house.

He showed these tiny houses to me a few years ago, but at the time my interest was elsewhere. As I’ve solidified my minimalist principles over the years, the idea of living in a small space has attracted me. Imagine not needing a vacuum cleaner! I like sweeping anyway. Imagine life of simplicity! So delicious to think about.

I found Land Watch when we were stumped about where to park our tiny house. This set up feels so viable and attractive to us, particularly the aspect of renting it because we want to…

2. Go on extended travel.

While living as a transient during the transition from NZ to USA, I stayed in a furnished studio with only the basics and I was content. I knew that I could do that for the long haul and not crave for extravagance or affluence. I didn’t have cable, but I enjoyed renting videos for $1 each. I walked a lot, used public transport, and realized that I like living in the city than in the suburbs.

Anyway, I checked the internet for families who have done this sort of thing and I was inspired. Oh, much needed inspiration! So I talked to my husband about this idea and the outstanding concern is his career. His career path tends to be location-dependent as it requires people interaction. I work in IT and can work anywhere. I’m willing to do entry-level jobs in IT if we travel extensively. Jon mentioned that he could teach English as an option, which is not bad at all. The idea that only one of us works at any given time is ideal. We can spend more time with our kid!

I’ve found awesome blogs: Soultravelers3, Delicious Baby, and My Family Travels to name a few. All I can really do for now, other than live as a minimalist and a frugalist, is to drool.

3. Take the kid to the Galápagos Island.

Image from

We almost decided to do this for January 2012, but the goal to replenish our emergency fund won over. Our target EF of $15k is projected for November and I can’t wait! If we really want to travel for at least a year, we need to be wise with our finances now. What this brought upon was more resolved to…

4. Pay off the friggin’ student loan.

And all of its $35k glory. After we reach our target EF, we plan to double our student loan payments to $1k. Aack! I’m still nervous about putting in such a big amount to the student loan but this is the only debt that has chained him. But, it’s time to get rid of it. If there’s one thing I learned from choosing to be with someone with student loans is that I don’t want my child to have to go through the same fate at all!!!

Out of excitement, we created 2 savings accounts – one for our travel plans and another for our cave (dwelling/house/home/abode) that we are not sure what will be yet. We’re quite happily renting a friend’s house and, to be honest, I’m not interested in being a home owner again. After having lived with such flexibility, I just don’t know if I will ever want to have a mortgage again ever.

We’ve pretty much decided to wait until our kid is 5 or older to do extended travel. We want him to remember some of it and still give him the opportunity to see the world through a child’s eyes. My husband and I hardly talk about taking him to Disneyland, but we will; it’s just not a priority.

Parenting for 59 hours

I haven’t been inspired for the most part this year. When life was more hectic, I hardly had the time to ponder but now it’s a different story.

This year, particularly after the big move, I seemed to have more time to think about where we are headed as a family — and me as a parent.

Maybe because we rebooted ourselves? All of a sudden there aren’t many stuff and bills to tether us down — no car payments, no mortgage, no insurance payments, no house improvements to plan for, etc.

Since having a kid our savings barely moved up. With our lightness now and with more money left to save, we’ve saved an amount that we couldn’t get to for 3 years.

I’ve told my husband the discontent I’ve had about working 40 hours a week. I like what I do in my career but it’s just not engaging me anymore. For the most part, I feel like a robot at work.

I’ve played with ideas about being a stay-at-home mom, teaching toddlers, and playing with my kid in such silliness. Mainly because if I do decide to stop working, I know I need to do something that has a purpose. It must be about something that makes me not notice the time or require me to work 8 hours a day.

I know this is not being lazy because it’s not. I want to spend MORE time with my toddler who’s growing fast. This led me to calculate the amount of time my husband and I individually spend with our child. We both work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

A week has 168 hours, 56 of which are spent on sleeping. The little man is usually asleep between 9 and 9:30pm (with almost 2 hours of nap daily). So, we each get to spend 59 hours a week with our child and this, to me, is unfair when I’m not even completely happy spending 40 hours a week at work that is not inspiring me anymore! Weekends become extremely busy with catching up on laundry and spending as much quality time as possible with our little man.

I don’t have romantic notions that if I were a SAHM that I would be constantly with my child and doing so many things. On quiet weekends, we have a number of concentrated fun times with him that have in-between times spent doing our own things.

Missing so much of his growth worries me, despite the fact that we’re very engaged parents. I wish I knew what I would want to do when I can stop working. I mentioned to Jonno that once we pay off his student loan, I can entertain the idea more. For now I’ll spend some of my time thinking of what I can and want to do when I stop working for money.

Thank you, Daddy!

I would not know how to respond to male-function-related questions as a woman, but of course there’s always the internet to save me.

There’s a million reason why I appreciate my husband for being an awesome father. My recent reason is a truthful answer to:

Why sometimes I can move it, sometimes I can’t?

It being his ding-a-ling.