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Carrie Elle

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Friday, March 30, 2012

When Kids Ask Tough Questions (or...More Proof I Have No Idea What I'm Doing)

I have encouraged Jack's curiosity from Day One.  And, as a result - I have answered a million questions about cement trucks, thunderstorms, ice cream and scorpions.  I have scrolled through jellyfish picture after jellyfish picture on Google images and watched every volcano movie YouTube has to offer.

I think I do a pretty good job answering most of his questions.

But - his questions, until recently, have been easy.

No, I don't know what a purple jellyfish is called, but I can find out.  I have no idea if a storm is coming, but we can look at the weather map.  I don't know why there aren't any volcanoes in Texas, but I can make up a pretty good answer that is mostly correct.  

The questions are getting tougher, though.  Last week, we had two conversations that ended with some real doozies.

The first one went a little something like this:

Jack: Did baby Claire come from your tummy?
Me: Yes (he knows this - we have this conversation daily, and Claire is almost eight months old).
Jack: How did she come out?
Me: She came out of my vagina (he knows this too).
Jack: How did she get IN your tummy?
Me: Uhhh...that's where babies come from.  They grow in their mommy's tummy.
Jack: But how did she GET IN YOUR TUMMY?
Me: .......silence.......

Here's the thing.  I want to be honest with him.  I'm not going to make anything up.  I want to tell him the truth (unless, of course, we're talking about Santa or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, but that's a whole different post).  

But he's THREE!

How much truth can a three-year-old handle?

I don't know the answer to that.  I didn't expect to get this question until he was older.  And if we were older, I'd have more of a plan.  A book that explains these things, or something!  But...right now?  I am just at a loss.

So, I did what any good mom would do (ha) and told him that was a great question and that I'd get him a book to explain how babies get into their mom's tummies.  

Which led me to a massive search on Amazon, which ended up leaving me with even *more* questions about what's appropriate for his age and level of understanding.


But that conversation has nothing on the one we had the next day.

Driving to the Arboretum, we start talking about dinosaurs - and in no time, that leads to Jack asking where the dinosaurs are today.

Me: They're all dead.
Jack: How'd they die?
Me: I don't know.

This goes on...and on...and on...until I say something along the lines of, "Maybe they died in ice and lava and because they ran out of food."

There is silence while this information is processed.


Jack: Will they come back?
Me (oh shit...I can see where this is going...) Umm, no, they won't come back.
Jack: Why not?
Me: Because they're dead.


Jack: Do people die?
Me: Yes, people die.
Jack: Where do people go when they die?
Me: To heaven.
Jack: Where's heaven?
Me: Well,'s kind of in the clouds?
Jack: Are there toys there?
Me: Yes.
Jack: Do people come back from heaven?
Me: No, once they go to heaven they stay there.

This goes on, and on...each question leads to another one.  I can tell Jack is getting agitated, and his questions are getting more intense.  He wants to know if people stop walking when they die, what heaven is like, if people can visit heaven for awhile and come home, and worst of all...he wants to know if kids die (to which I say, "not usually" and leave it at that...although with Jack, there is no leaving it at that).

Now, I am trying (trying SO hard) to be upbeat and honest without scaring him - but at the same time, I am trying to change the subject.  Like, trying to change it every other question.  Let's talk about airplanes!  Or our upcoming cruise!  Or our friends and the picnic we are about to have at the Arboretum!  But he will not be deflected.

Then comes the real kicker.  He asks me if I can show him pictures of heaven on my iPhone (is this a 21st century kid, or what?!).

Me: No, there aren't any real pictures of heaven.  No one on earth knows what it looks like.  They can only guess and draw pictures, but I can show you pictures people have drawn.
Jack: How do the pictures get here?  Do people in heaven draw them and throw them down to earth?

At this point, I have exhausted all of my creativity and can hardly keep up with these questions...and, I can tell Jack is upset by this topic despite his relentless curiosity so I just want to TALK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE, ALREADY.

And somewhere between a conversation about how babies get made, and a casual conversation about dinosaurs that turned into a detailed discussion of the afterlife...I realized that I really have no freaking idea what I'm doing.  Again.

These conversations that we have - often meaningful and perceptive in ways I never imagined a three-year-old could be - make me nervous.  Not because I don't want to answer his questions (although sometimes, I really don't), but because I don't want to mess this up.

This is such an impressionable time in his life.  His little brain is plastic - bending and absorbing and pliable, and at the same delicate.  I take great responsibility in how I answer his questions and to me, it's very important to take him seriously - I want him to know his questions are important, and I want him to always ask questions.

Yet, I stumble.

There's a pretty clear line in the sand when it comes to small children and Truth versus Too Much Information.   There are lots of things that they just don't need to know yet, and mostly, it's pretty easy to figure out what those things are.  But sometimes...I'm just not so sure.

I am stumbling (none too gracefully) through parenthood, waiting for some clear signs or sage advice to appear so I can gain my footing and just know what to do, already.

And until then, I do the best I can and just hope to heaven above I'm not going to ruin my child by answering "Where do babies come?" incorrectly.

And so I ask do you answer a child's tough questions?  Seriously...what do you say in situations like this, and what's appropriate for a three-year-old (especially when he wants to know how babies get in tummies)?

Monday, March 26, 2012

An Introduction

Hi, everyone!

I just wanted to take a few moments (paragraphs?) to introduce myself.   I can be, umm, I'll try to keep this short.

My name's Carrie.

I'm a stay-at-home-mom of two kids - Jack (3) and Claire (8 months).  I'm in my mid-thirties (and, I admit it was kind of shocking to type that out - my mid-thirties...what!?!?).

I blog because I like to write, and also because I think it's important - it's amazing to go back and read through posts from a few years (or months!) ago and see how much things have (or have not!) changed.

Most of my random blog traffic comes from people who are looking for tutorials on how to make a burp cloth or a saddle pad - neither of which I am currently capable of making.  Not even *kind of* capable, actually.  So - if you are one of those people looking for such a tutorial - sorry!  This blog is named after what I felt like my entire life revolved around when it was created (basically, projectile bodily fluids from a little being) and my favorite hobby, ever (riding horses!).

met my husband in Las Vegas when I was 21 (way back in 1999 - practically before technology, it seems), and a few years later we moved to Texas.

And by Texas, I mean out in the country - which was often awesome , except that we lived in a house that was (no joke!) infested with scorpions and brown recluse spiders (scorpions are very hostile and unpleasant...brown recluse spiders, luckily, are not).  I have pictures.  But I don't want to scare anyone away, at your own risk!  And know that there's more where that came from.

I am a horse-lover through and through, and own a Connemara pony named Seamus.  Who I haven't ridden in four years.  But, I did recently get back in the saddle again.

Also?  I love cloth diapers, iced tea, books (real ones, with pages) and yoga.

I am very happy that you are here and I really hope that you'll stay!

Please introduce yourself, I would love to know more about you!  :)


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The 21st of March


It's March!

This means warmer weather (not that we've had a really cold winter in Texas this year), shorts (noooo....) and longer days.  All signs are pointing towards Summer (which, let's face it, SUCKS ASS in Texas...but it's better than freezing...mostly...).

And today was one of those beautiful Spring days that is totally worth remembering.  Even though we didn't really *do* anything.

When I started this, way back in September, I really hoped I'd have some exciting events to record.  Alas, it's been mostly mundane.  And today was no exception, except it was really, really pretty outside.  And I went to Starbucks (always worth recording that!).

So, March 21st, 2012?

It went a little something like this.

9:30 AM

It's 9:30!  And I've forgotten, until just this second, that Claire is EIGHT MONTH'S OLD today and that means we are supposed to do a morning photo shoot.  Which I forgot all about.  And Charles had a work meeting.  So we missed the nice light we get in our room in the morning.

Oh, well.  It will be the Eight Month + 1 Day photo shoot, tomorrow, I suppose.  

But this picture of Claire sums her up right now.  She's always coming, or going.


With Claire and Jack following me everywhere I go (EVERYWHERE!!) I clean the ever-loving crap out of the bathroom.  This includes the bathtub and shower, which I clean in my bare feet (using baking soda and hydrogen peroxide) - literally scrubbing the floor with one hand and blocking the baby from climbing into the shower with the other - while Jack cheers me on, "Good job, Mama!  Good cleaning!"  

I also had to include the closet in this picture because I *finally* cleaned it like it deserved to be cleaned after literally months of not being able to see the floor properly (as you can see, the closet is big - and this is where I did all of my Christmas wrapping - and I was reminded of this pretty much every day for the last three months because there was still WRAPPING PAPER on the floor...not to mention rolls of ribbon half-empty tape dispensers...everywhere).


Nap time!  I hold her for awhile, and then decide to go ahead and put her in her crib and see how that goes.  She stays asleep for...any guesses??

12 minutes.  12 FREAKING MINUTES.  Long enough for me to eat lunch though.  And...hard to be mad when I walk in and see this face peeking out at me.


Diaper time!  And no, diaper laundry is not nearly as awful as it sounds.  I find it...relaxing.  Kind of therapeutic.  Not unlike cleaning stalls or raking a barn aisle.  It's...satisfying work (I know, kinda weird that I like all these jobs associated with poop, ha!).

And with this...the house is clean.  

Well, mostly.

It's clean...except for Jack's room.

Because OMG.  This is what Jack's room looks like.  And cleaning his room with him in it is...not easy.  So, I decide to wait until he's at school tomorrow before tacking this disaster.


Claire turned exactly eight months old today, and she learned a new trick.  She taught herself to sit up (from a laying down position).  Now, I am not sure when Jack learned this trick...but it's safe to say it was much farther down the road.  

This new trick was great fun, and resulted in more than one rescue as Claire tried to sit up in inappropriate places.  For one, I had to get her out from under her jumper (which is behind her in this picture).  Also, in one of those put-the-damn-camera-down-and-take-care-of-your-kid moments, I had to retrieve her from under this end table right after I took this picture. 

So, after rescuing Claire I got her all dressed up and we went to STARBUCKS!  Yay!  This is kind of ridiculous...I put a bow in her hair so we could drive-through...but that is the fun of having a girl.

Jack reads his new volcano book on the road, which he received in the mail from his Aunt Polly. And while we are on the topic of volcano books, it appears that every volcano book in the United States that is geared towards children uses the same fifteen or so pictures with just slightly different text.  So if your kid is into volcanoes, let it be known that one book will suffice.


I try to get a picture of the three of us, but this happens.  Claire tries to get the camera, Jack tries to get Claire, and so on and so forth.


It's sooooo nice out today.  So, we walk to the park.

And to my surprise, we have the place to ourselves!  That is, until some kids come and find a duck egg (I am assuming it's a duck egg) under a tree.

Then I see this cloud, and it reminds of the scene in Up when Ellie and Carl are watching the clouds floating by and all of a sudden they all turn into fluffy little cloud babies.  <3

As we walk back home and I see a streetlight that looks like it belongs in Narnia.  Not Random Suburb, Texas!


Yoga!!  The bottoms of my feet feel like they've been burned off from all that standing around in baking soda and hydrogen peroxide earlier today.  But I'm a trooper and I vinyasa my way through it.  

Seriously - I love yoga more and more each time I take a class.  Not only because it gives me a much-needed break, but also because it helps me find my center.  And makes me stronger.  And clears my head.  

You should try it sometime.


Do you see this?  This is my bathtub.  The one I cleaned earlier this morning.  The one that was full of toys and a baby bathtub just hours ago.

I kicked the kids out.  They can use (and pee in) their own tub.  I am claiming this one for ME.  And after Claire went to bed tonight (well, after she went to bed and then woke up and then went back to bed again...), I soaked in this big, clean tub and remembered why I wanted a big bathtub to begin with - because it's awesome.  


And here's me.  In all my makeup-less, wrinkly glory (getting old's a real bitch!) in the light of my laptop, trying to get a picture that's okay enough to intentionally put on the internet as quickly as possible because I know my time is limited, and Claire will be up (again! I've already put her down four times tonight!) before I know it.

I don't think my forehead is that big in real life.  But who knows. 

And while the baby is still asleep, I think I'll actually take a few minutes to edit this.  Imagine that.

Peace out!