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January 2017

Humor, Parenting

Valuable Lessons My Kids Have Taught Me

“While you try to teach your kids all about life, they teach us what life is all about.”

I recently read this quote and it really hit home. In my opinion there is really nothing more true. Every single day we strive to teach our children valuable lessons that they can take with them into adulthood. At least that is the plan. We put them in the best schools in hopes they will be smart and successful. We put them into tons of sports and clubs to ensure that they are well-rounded and have lots for friends.  But I think they end up teaching us so much more than we can ever teach them. So much more than we ever expected to learn. They teach us about love, patience, and respect. They teach us what life is all about…and other stuff. They teach us other stuff, too. Boy do they teach us other stuff.

Things like:

  1. Every single word to annoying Disney Channel theme songs. Every word. All day long, stuck in my head. Over and Over.
  2. That you really can survive on Peanut Butter Sandwiches and granola bars alone.
  3. You don’t die if you inhale your meals at an incredibly fast rate.
  4. If a three-year-old tells you to do something, you do it. No questions asked.
  5. Matching socks are overrated. Mismatched is the way to go.
  6. Band-Aids really do fix just about anything. Keep them stashed everywhere.
  7. Never give up. If someone tells you no, act like your kids…ask again 10,000 more times because they probably didn’t mean it.
  8. A family of five, a dog, and a cat can all fit into a queen-sized bed. I am living proof of this.
  9. The terminology and rules of Pokémon. Every single stat, every single character.
  10. A three-year-old’s voice can be louder than 100 people in a jam-packed bar. And you can’t escape it.
  11. Super Glue is not ideal for art projects.
  12. Going out to dinner with three kids is NEVER a good idea. NEVER.
  13. You can wear the same socks for 8 days in a row and no one will notice. Why change them?
  14. No matter what. The second you sit down; One of them will need something. Every. Single. Time.
  15. The smell of vomit on cloth car seats doesn’t come out.
  16. The smell of pee on around the toilet on wood floors doesn’t come out either.

So, yes, our kids teach us a lot. Valuable lessons about life, love, patience, hope…and LOTS of other stuff.

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The Loss of an “On-Demand” Movie: The Toddler Stages of Grief

When you have a toddler and their favorite On Demand movie has been removed from the “free” list, the pain is real. They can go from adorable, funny, and sweet to a possessed spawn of Satan as soon as they realize the movie is really gone. This is a death to them.

Like any loss, there are stages of grief. Here are the five stages of toddler “movie-loss” grief.

  1. Denial: It can’t be gone. No way is it really gone. It was just here yesterday. This is not happening. The “Monkey Movie” cannot really be gone. Parents: Please note, this is the warning stage. Shit is about to get real.
  2. Anger: You better be kidding me. You get that movie back before I go “Godzilla” on this place. I will destroy you and everything in this house. Parents: The toddler anger stage is one of the strongest and most dangerous forces on earth. This is when the screaming, crying, biting, flailing, kicking, and head-spinning starts. You can’t reason, you can’t argue, you can’t bribe, and you can’t restrain. There is no telling how long this stage will last. Just stand back and watch the amazing (yet terrifying) show until they move along into the bargaining stage.
  3. Bargaining: Just turn it back on. I’ll be really sweet and cuddly if you just turn it back on. Please? I’ll be your best friend? I might even consider eating some of my dinner. Please? Parents: It is unknown as to exactly what happens for the toddler to move from the anger phase to the bargaining phase. It could really be anything…. possibly pure exhaustion from the monumental tantrum in the anger stage. But beware, if you still don’t give them the answer that they want, they may revert back into the “anger stage”.
  4. Depression: None of these other movies can even come close to comparing to the “Baby Monkey Movie.” There will never be another one. I will cry myself to sleep every night dreaming of the movie that once was. My little toddler life is over. Parents: This stage also has a lot of crying. Less screaming, but lots of crying. Hugs may help.
  5. Acceptance: This new cartoon is not so bad, I guess. There are some funny parts in it. There is even a different monkey that is alright. Maybe I could get used to this. Parents: this is the stage where that cute, adorable, loving toddler slowly returns. You’ve made it through…at last for the next five minutes until the next crisis.

And the cycle then repeats itself with the new movie. Damn you “On-Demand” you are a blessing and a curse.

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Ridiculous Things I Have Told My Kids…That Aren’t Even Remotely True

In general, I am an honest person. I try to tell the truth, be open with my thoughts and feelings, and do the right thing. That said, if I’m being honest, I’m not above throwing out a quick, creative white lie (or a whopper, if necessary) to protect my kids, to avoid a mega meltdown, or just simply to have a second of peace and quiet for myself. I have discovered that with kids, sometimes this is necessary for survival.

Whether I’ve come up with some crazy story for why the Tooth Fairy didn’t show or a clever alternative to why the darn elf on the shelf forgot to move, if it’s for the good of your child, what’s the harm? I find myself coming up with some ridiculous things when trying to persuade my kids to do something, go somewhere, or just behave. Most of these things are crazy and not even a remote possibility. I, Barrie Bismark, have turned into a mom of empty threats. Here are a few examples of my tall tales.

Lie: If you don’t get your shoes on, I am leaving without you.
Truth: No, no I won’t. Where am I going to go? I mean, I’m pretty sure I would get arrested and go to jail if I actually left you.

Lie: Stop it now or I am going to turn this car around.
Truth: I won’t do it. I want to make it to work or the doctor on time. Plus, this is probably what the kids really want…for me to turn around and go home.

Lie: I’m counting to three. You better stop it.
Truth: I may be counting, but even I don’t know what happens when I get to three. Really, I have no idea. Maybe I’ll take something away, maybe I’ll yell louder. Who knows. The unknown is part of the ploy.

Lie: Pick up your toys or I am going to throw them away.
Truth: Actually, I won’t. That is a lot of work and I have spent a hell of a lot of money on them. I won’t really do that, even though the temptation is there.

Lie: See that guy working over there? He is going to kick us out of this restaurant. Now behave!
Truth: I have no idea who that guy is. He probably doesn’t even work there.

Lie: It’s ham…white ham.
Truth: It could be chicken, turkey, or really any other meat that remotely resembles ham.

Lie: Just wait until your dad gets home. You’re going to be in big trouble.
Truth: Nothing will probably happen. I’ll probably forget about it in the midst of the crazy, hectic dinner hour.

Lie: You better stop or I am going to come over there.
Truth: I don’t really want to get up. In fact, I probably won’t. Just stop trying to kill your sister.

Lie: The “Monkey Movie” is broken. We can’t get it anymore.
Truth: It is not broken. I am just going to explode if I have to watch it even one more time. Pick something else…anything else!

Lying really isn’t my thing. However, I do seem to do it, probably more than I should. What empty threats have you given your kids?

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11 Milestones You Won’t Find In Baby Books

There are certain things that parents look forward to seeing their children do for the first time. Watching them take their first steps, saying their first word, and losing the first tooth. These are all really important milestones that you don’t want to miss as a parent.

Typically, with your first child, you meticulously journal every single “first” they do, probably even take photos to document and fill out every single page of the baby book. Then the second child comes along. You do the best you can to document the same things as frequently as you can, but not with nearly the same momentum as with the first baby. Then the youngest comes along. She hardly has any photos, no journaling, and little to no documenting.

But as a mom of three young children, there are some other amazing “milestones” that I want to mention. These are not the usual things you think of, but to me, these things are BIG DEALS. You are not going to find these gems in any of the baby books. When you children can do these things, it means that you have survived some of the worst times of the early years.

These folks, are the real parenting milestones.

  1. Your child figures out how to blow their own nose with a Kleenex and figures out how to keep the snot from shooting out of their nose or mouth when they sneeze.
  2. They poop in a toilet AND wipe their own butt independently. They may not always do the best job, but they can do it.
  3. When your child can climb into their own car seat and/or buckle their own seatbelt. You no longer have to wrestle them into the seat and use physical restraint to buckle them in…they just do it.
  4. They can put on shoes without help, probably at a snail’s pace, but still…they can do it.
  5. When they can put on their own snow pants, hats, mittens, and boots without help and stay outside playing longer than three seconds.
  6. When they can barf in the toilet or into the bucket and not all over the couch, floor, bed, and carpet. This my friends, is a glorious day.
  7. When your child bathes alone and can get themselves dressed. No water all over the floor, no toys all over the shower, no crying about soap in their eyes.
  8. When they learn how to turn on the TV and switch to Netflix without assistance. Say goodbye to trying to figure out what the “monkey show” is or the “movie with the car”. They can find it themselves.
  9. When they learn that it is not a good idea to go running blindly into parking lots. They can get out of the car and stand there until you get the other children out. Truly amazing.
  10. When they can make their own breakfast. Mom can enjoy her coffee before it gets cold. Ok…probably not, but it was a nice thought.
  11. When they sleep in longer than you on the weekend. I haven’t experienced this one yet, but I hear the day is coming.

Every day as a parent is full of new experiences we get to enjoy and remember and challenges we have to survive. Every milestone is important. Yes, it might bring a tear to your eyes thinking back on all these little things…but once you reach them, it sure makes your life as a mom just a little bit easier.

Congratulations, you made it through this phase! On to the next.

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8 Things That Happen When You Have Three Kids

I confess. I might be in over my head. Anyone with kids has their hands full, but for me, having three kids is a bit more difficult than I had anticipated. I love each of my kids dearly, but the tree of them together can be more than I can handle at times. They push me damn near the point of no return just about every single day.

There is never a point in time when one of them doesn’t need something. Seriously, it would be easier to just stand in the kitchen and fulfil food and drink requests all night long rather than sit down for five minutes only to be summoned up again for the next request. After a long day, it is completely exhausting.

Parents of any number of children probably all feel the same way. It’s a lot of work. However, for me, when I had my third little bundle of joy, that is when shit hit the fan. I don’t know that is was her specifically, but rather just havening a third human to tend to that was so difficult. That said, the Hulk is not necessarily the easiest child. She is very stubborn, independent, opinionated, and busy. Hmmmmmm… maybe she takes after her mama!

I had heard that going from one kid to two kids was a hard transition. And it was, don’t get me wrong. I just wasn’t prepared for what going from two to three would be like. In my mind, it wasn’t going to be that different. Our house was already chaotic, messy, loud, and someone was always sick. What was one more kid thrown in the mix? Well, come to find out one more kid is A LOT.

With three kids, we are now not only outnumbered, but also majorly stressed out. Here are some things that changed when we had that third baby.

The need for a big family car. With the need for one more car seat, having three car seats/boosters all in a row just wasn’t going to work. Literally, they didn’t fit. Now only a minivan or SUV with a third row will do. It’s funny because even that isn’t big enough when packing up to go out of town. That thing is jam packed with all the bags, equipment, people and pets! Maybe a bus is a better option.

Someone is Always Crying. Could be any of the three kids…or sometimes even mom! Between the fighting, injuries, and pure frustration, tears are guaranteed multiple times a day.

Family pictures. It’s damn near impossible to get everyone to look in the right direction for a picture. Throw five people together for a quick snap shot, and it is inevitable that at least three of them will look angry, confused, annoyed, sad, or distracted…and mom always ends up looking mad. It is science. I personally don’t even think it is possible.

There is never a time when everyone has everything they need. Never. Ever…or at least I have yet to experience it. Can you get me milk, pants, socks, food, a show, more food, more milk, food again….it never ends. Then throw a couple pets into the mix. Hence the never sitting down.

Enormous, super-sized Costco packs of food and/or toilet paper last about a week. 5 people (three of them growing kids) go through an absurd amount of food and supplies. String cheese lasts 10 minutes. Goldfish…did I even buy them? They are gone 5 minutes after they are unpacked. Didn’t I just buy toilet paper? I guess when unrolling the roll is a game you tend to use more.

Privacy. It is non-existent. This might just be the case with kids in general, but since I have had three of them, someone is always there watching me. Even the cat and dog join in. Come on Gang, Mom has to Pee! There is no peeing alone, showering alone, even no sleeping alone.

Transportation Logistics. Only two driving adults and two cars; Three kids that need to get places. Catch my drift? It is physically impossible to be in three places at one time. I’ve tried.

Chaos is an everyday reality. It’s always loud. It’s always messy. It’s always hectic. Everyday. But I guess that is what I signed up for!

Even though these things stress me out sometimes, I love having my family of five (plus 2 pets). In truth, quiet would be glorious…but these days are short. I’m trying to enjoy them. One thing is for sure…NO MORE KIDS!

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A Letter From Your Threenager

Dearest mom,

I am writing this letter because I’d like to fill you in on a few things. A few very important things that you definitely need to know. You are always wondering why I get angry or lose it over the littlest things. You are always asking me the questions like “what’s wrong?” or “what do you need?” or “why are you crying?” In your mind I am an angry little dictator…always demanding something. Maybe I kind of am. The truth is, mom, you just don’t really understand me. I feel that my demands are very clear, but you somehow seem to mess it up every single time.

You just don’t get shit right. Simple as that. How hard is it to know when I want the pink cup or that I HATE those pants…or wearing pants at all? Sometimes, you even give me snacks that I hate. Never mind that I just asked for it. Come on, mom. Figure. This. Out.

Let me give you a few examples of your ineptitude.

  • You never understand my words. Literally. Are you stupid?
  • I don’t want your help. With anything. Ever. I can do it myself…until I do want your help. Then, drop what you are doing and help me immediately. Hurry! Do you want me to lose it again?
  • You are always rushing me. Just stop. If it takes me until hell freezes over to put on one slip-on shoe, then so be it. It needs to be just right…so stop rushing.
  • Pants are the devil. Stop making me wear them. I prefer to be pants-less at all times.
  • Sometimes I want a hug and sometimes I don’t. It’s up to you to know when.
  • Dinner? I don’t want that shit. I’d rather manhandle all the food on your plate or just eat the stashed candy I keep under my bed.
  • Stop trying to pick out my clothes. Seasons don’t matter. If I want to wear a tank top backwards and shorts when it is 10 below zero, then so be it. I’m a fashionista. You’ll see.
  • Please just don’t say no. To anything. I am three now. I can make my own decisions. If I want to do art while we are eating dinner, just let me. If I want to take a three-hour bath, let me do that too. If I want to play in the sandbox naked, that’s my choice. No more of this “no” shit. Kapeesh?
  • If I get frustrated about anything, it is going to get thrown directly at you. Probably at your head. Sharpen up your reflexes.
  • Figure out my moods…there are really only two: Raging mad or adorably lovey.

So, mom, next time you see me flop around on the floor, screaming hysterically, and completely losing my shit, you need to know it is because of you. Instead of trying to get me to stop, just wait until I am done, applaud my mad tantruming skills, and then give me a hug…and maybe some candy. Unless less I don’t want you to. Figure it out.


Your Threenager

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Hazmat Mom

Do you mind being puked on, spit on, or peed on? Do you enjoy spending your days wiping noses, sticky fingers, and poopy butts? If you answered yes to any of these questions, being a mom might be the job for you. 

All the mommies out there will tell you… you encounter some pretty repulsive things while tackling this parenting
thing, and most of them on a daily basis. Folks, raising kids is disgusting. Kids themselves are disgusting and they definitely have some questionable hygiene practices. Most adults (I said MOST) know how to deal with the body’s disgusting stuff in sanitary ways. Kids on the other hand, they are pretty helpless and don’t grasp the monumental grossness of what they are doing. That leaves mom to clean up the mess and try to teach them how not to be disgusting.

Motherhood is a serious business. I’ve heard that being a mom is the hardest and most important job of all…and after being a mom myself for the last 8 years, I would have to agree. Not only is raising a child into a respectable and kind human being difficult, at times, it is also pretty gross. As a mom, I’ve encountered feces, vomit, boogers, and spit more times than I can even count. I’ve seen things you could have never imagined pre-kids…and no matter how hard I try, I can’t unsee them. If I’m being honest, a hazmat suit would come in pretty handy sometimes.

Here are just a few of the hazardous jobs moms do:

Director of Regurgitation: How many times have you been puked on or spit up on? How much vomit have you cleaned up? Moms are regurgitation specialists, whether they like it or not. Not only will you clean up vomit and spit up, but there will also be oodles of spit out and chewed food, too.

Snot Stream Specialist: Kids always seem have a stream of green snot running down their upper lip. It’s just a fact of life with kids. It is mom’s job to eliminate this snot stream before it becomes a little warm snack for them. Just a heads up…watch out for the sneeze. Really. Watch out.

Fecal Matter Investigator: You will examine more poo that you ever thought. You will genuinely care about the color, consistency, frequency, and even smell of the poop and will have detailed conversations about it. Yes, you will talk about poop…with doctors, spouses, your kids, and even friends. AND…you will eventually touch it. Might be when cleaning out a massive blow out that reaches their hair, or perhaps you are fishing out floaters out of the bathtub, but poop will be in your hands.

Odor reduction Specialist: Kids smell. End of story. Mom gets to find the sources of all the smelly surprises and eliminate them before they become too pungent. Could be poop, could be sweat, could be rancid breath…use your imagination. Not only do we get to smell the children themselves, but then there is the rotten food, rancid milk found in a sippy cup in the car, or that small piece of chicken nugget found under the couch cushion.

Motherhood is a lot of things—some beautiful, some awful, and some really, really gross. We do this all without vacations, sick days, or raises. We are soldiers. We get this shit done. Literally.

Humor, Parenting

Dear Kids…Meet Dad

Dear kids,

I would like to formally introduce you to someone very special. He might look vaguely familiar to you and you have probably seen him around the house. He lives right here with us, and eats dinner with us each night. You know, the guy you rough house with, play outside with, and talk Pokemon stats with…He is your dad. I wanted to point him out to you, because I fear that you may not realize that he is here and can help you out with things, too. Whenever you want or need something, he must become invisible and you can’t see him. It’s the only explanation. I wasn’t aware of his superhuman camouflage power until we had kids. Now, I beg him to teach me his impressive incognito ways.

Here is the thing, kids. Your dad is a smart guy. His legs are not broken, and he is perfectly capable of doing all sorts of things. He can get you milk, he can answer hard math questions, he can get you a snack, and he can even help you locate your missing hats and mittens (ok…maybe that one is a bit of a stretch). I have also heard rumors that he is super good at helping put on pants and socks. I know I’m your mom and you clearly think I am amazing, but I am really not the only one in this house capable of doing most of the things that you are asking. I am so tired of saying, “Ask your father! He’s right there!” How can you not see him?

To prove my point, let me give you a little example of what I am talking about. Remember that time when I was upstairs in the shower and you decided you wanted a granola bar but didn’t know where they were? Remember when you walked past your dad in the kitchen, through the living room, all the way up the long flight of stairs, through the hall, through my bedroom, and finally into my bathroom to ask me to find them for you? Yeah. It would have been way easier to just ask your dad. He was right there! Could have saved a lot of time.

So, next time you are hungry, thirsty, hot, cold, hurt, sick, or in need of anything at all, let’s try something new…ASK YOUR DAD!



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50 Reasons My Kids Are Fighting

My children love each other most of the time…until they don’t. Then they hate each other. Once we hit that moment, there is no turning back. Anything the other person does aggravates the situation. Including breathing, smiling, moving, looking…well really just about everything. I know fighting with your siblings is normal…it has been going on since the beginning of time. But it’s completely exhausting playing referee constantly. I don’t think we can go two minutes without someone yelling, crying, screaming, and tattling. “Mom, she is looking at me” or “He said he doesn’t like me”. The fights are completely pointless most of the time. It blows my mind to think that half the time they play so great together, then at the drop of a hat, they want to kill each other over some stupid McDonald’s toy they found under the couch that no one has seen in two years. No joke…my kids have fought over garbage. Literally garbage.Conflict is a normal part of any relationship. But come on, kids, some of this stuff is just dumb. These are the 50 most ridiculous agreements my kids have. (Yes, 50)

  1. He is looking at her.
  2. He likes the cat more…no she likes the cat more.
  3. It’s her turn to sit by mom.
  4. She almost touched him.
  5. He wanted the blue cup. She got it last time.
  6. She smiled at him.
  7. He let the dog out yesterday when we got home. He always does it.
  8. Who started “it”.
  9. She was singing.
  10. She took the last granola bar.
  11. He wanted to shower first.
  12. Who gets anything first.
  13. Who gets anything last.
  14. He put my Barbie in his pants.
  15. Which toothpaste tastes better.
  16. Who is taller.
  17. Who won anything. Ever.
  18. She ruins his life.
  19. Who can run faster.
  20. Who has the most books.
  21. He took the last cookie.
  22. He got his dinner plate last again.
  23. She got to sit by mom.
  24. She touched my toothbrush.
  25. He’s in my room.
  26. Who gets mom’s phone first in the waiting room.
  27. Who gets to sit on what side of the bathtub.
  28. It’s mine…no matter what “it” is.
  29. What show to watch.
  30. She wanted to be first.
  31. She wanted to push the elevator button.
  32. He peed on the seat.
  33. You always open his door first.
  34. His blanket is not as warm as her blanket.
  35. Her feet smell too bad.
  36. The girls are copying him.
  37. She “stole” his book.
  38. Who gets the corner seat on the couch.
  39. She gets more hugs than him.
  40. Who gets the first piggy back ride upstairs to bed.
  41. Why does she always have more money?
  42. He “won” in the game. It’s not fair.
  43. She laughed when he tripped.
  44. He tripped her back because she laughed.
  45. Who gets to sit by the cat.
  46. Who is better friends with the neighbor?
  47. Who has bigger feet?
  48. Who gets to keep that special piece of garbage (literally).
  49. Who likes who more?
  50. Who started “it”?

Geez! This is only 50. I am sure I could list hundreds more! They come up with a new reason to fight multiple times a day. Now, I totally understand how my brother and I would drive my mom crazy. Mom, I’m sorry.

It is clear that my children have a love/hate relationship. I think that is probably the norm. I guess we can only cherish the good times when they are best buds and hope they don’t end up killing each other.

What ridiculous things do your kids fight about?

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