This Is The End…Sort Of

by The Momma on May 15, 2012

Today is the end of Noodle Knobs as it currently exists.

I can’t tell you the sadness that I have typing that sentence. But along with the sadness comes a little bit of relief, a little bit of acknowledgement that it was about to be the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back, a little bit of knowing that it’s time.

When we started Noodle Knobs, it was because we wanted a place to share the funny and ridiculous parts of parenthood–the parts that made us scratch our heads, that made us roll our eyes, and that made us laugh. Because, let’s face it–kids are weird, yo. And claiming them (and this whole parenting thing) as weird doesn’t diminish our love for them at all…it just means we’re sarcastic, silly people who happened to also have a kid. And we figured there were more people like us out there who would connect with the kind of absurdities that we found funny. And we did. Because here you are.

We always knew that Noodle Knobs was going to be a labor of love. Oh, sure, we had some ideas on how to make some money from the site (our never realized plan of selling the comics as prints, mugs, and the like. An army of NK merchandise set free in the world…ah the dreams that never come to be), but we knew that it was mostly going to be work with no real payoff other than personal satisfaction. But the AMOUNT of that labor was…well, it was a bit surprising. For me, I took the majority of the writing and the promotion (most of the FB and Twitter stuff came from me.). I dealt with guest posters, and a small bit of advertising and promoting, and generally tried to get people to read. N.C….well, N.C.’s part was harder. Every single post on Noodle Knobs came with an illustration, which took anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. And the comics? Well, the comics were a true labor of love. N.C. put his considerable talents into every comic, and they can take hours. Hours, that I’m sure you all know, that are in short supply with a toddler around.

In the end, it’s time that is our downfall. Time, in short supply to begin with. I work full time, have a side business, and have another blog besides this one. N.C. is home with the kid mostly-full time, while trying to have a full-time art and illustration career. In the end, every spare minute is battled for, fought over, doled out and counted. In the end, Noodle Knobs was the one place where we could scrape a few extra minutes for “the rest.”

And so Noodle Knobs as a website comes to an end. With a bit of a whimper (mine, most likely), and an enormous thank you to those of you who have read, and commented, and laughed, and shared, and commiserated. Thank you, thank you for making this so much fun. You’re our people.

However, we won’t be abandoning Noodle Knobs completely. All of the current Noodle Knobs material will be transferred over to my other site, Ramble Ramble where it will live comfortably until the end of time (or blogging, whichever comes first). N.C. will do the occasional Noodle Knobs guest post there in the form of a comic strip or illustration, as time and the inclination hit (He has a couple of comics in the works already that I know he wants to share), and I will write any posts I had planned for Noodle Knobs over at my site (an upcoming post I’m working on: Everything I Need To Know About Life I Learned Potty Training My Toddler).

So while we say goodbye to Noodle Knobs as its own distinct place, I hope if you’ve enjoyed what we have to say here, you’ll follow us as we move it to its new home. We’ll miss it here, but I promise we’ll keep it up over there.

And thank you, for all of you who read, and laughed, and commiserated and shared. You’re our kind of people.

 

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A Tale of Impending Doom

by The Momma on April 10, 2012

I knew Sunday that we were doomed.

It started with a little cough. Just one little cough, every few hours. Alone, I might have been able to attribute it to allergies or one too many gulps of salty seawater at the beach the day before.

But with it, we noticed a certain…stillness. Now, in YOUR house, a child who sits quietly watching TV might not be cause for alarm, but in OUR house? This is a kid who bounces off the wall even with a 101 fever. Who moves and climbs and does, even when he’s watching TV. So to see him sit, quietly, curled up in the crook of my arm?

MAYDAY MAYDAY. We have an impending doom situation here!!!

Oh, he was his normal happy self. We did a couple of Easter egg hunts (once with candy filled eggs, once with Cheerio filled eggs. Both equally enjoyed. Why do we bother with candy again?) and he enjoyed his Easter basket, and gleefully played with his new Thomas and Percy toys, choo-chooing all around the living room and kitchen. But there was a lot of sitting. And wanting on mommy’s lap. Or next to daddy. And there was that little cough. That pesky annoying harbinger of doom.

Sure enough, Monday morning at 5:30, the Noodle started to cough. Really cough. He coughed for a good hour, before waking up completely. And as I left for work, he and Daddy were laying in bed, watching Thomas. This alone is not normal. In the morning, he wants to get up! And go! And play upstairs! And have breakfast! If (and this is a big IF) we can get him to hang out in our bed, it usually only lasts about 15 minutes before he’s up and vibrating to start the day. Monday morning, he was perfectly content to lay in bed. And he was getting warmer by the minute.

See?

We’re doomed.

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…About All the Toys in the Bed

by The Momma on April 6, 2012

The Daddy: The Bed- Serene Place to Sleep or Supplemental Toy Box That Just Happens to be Soft and Squishy??

The Momma: Well, let’s see. Given the fact that I can count at least 5 toys the kid HAS to go to bed with, and there are another 5-10 at the foot of his bed? I’m gonna go with Toy Box.

D: Man, you go in there to take him to the potty (awesome, by the way) and he wades through an ocean of toys just to get to the edge of the bed. We used to have to worry about the kid smothering as an infant, now we have to worry about him banging his head on a toy during sleep?

M: Or getting a bruised rib? Like when he slept on Thomas the Train one night and woke up with him imprinted on his ribcage?

D: Exactly! It’s like this kid figures out new ways to be strange. During the day, try to get him sucked into playing with his toys and you’d think we were forcing him to work in a salt mine. Sleep time? Oh no, NOW he wants to get all imaginative.

M: What is WITH that? I mean, it’s adorable to hear him over the monitor yammering about Dorry and Percy and Zoom Cars and Bunny, but…DUDE. SLEEP.

D: This is one of (as opposed to everything else we do, right?) those times where I wonder if we need to nip this in the bud quick. On the one hand, he sleeps in his room where his toys are, but on the other hand, I fear escalation. It’s simpler toys now, but when he gets older, is he gonna want to take his video games in there?

M: Um, yes.
M: But I’m not sure we can really stop that just by stopping him now. I mean, isn’t that partially just a KID thing? I totally did that with books, I’m sure you did it with stuff. I think to an extent, that’s just…kids.

D: I can’t imagine for one moment you’d think I ever avoided bedtime when I was a child. I mean, it’s not like I just stay up and play video games until the wee hours of the…
D: OK, yeah fine.
D: It’s his new imagination taking flight in an adventurous wonderland of excitement. What we need to do is take the engine out of that plane early so he just crashes…into sleep. Speaking of crashing, that metaphor was not my best.

M: Yeah, not your best.
M: But yes, it’s a hard thing when we know how much he needs to sleep and he just wants to play. But I also know that this will change. He goes through these phases and then changes to something else, and the toy in the bed obsession will fade at some point (before coming back some other time, I’m sure).

D: I know this has become a running gag on these chats- that the kid is just going through a phase, but it’s the same old irrational fear: something new comes along and I’m not sure if it’s a behavior we need to correct or a phase we need to endure with patience and calm.

D: How do you know which is which?

M: Blind dumb luck?
M: In reality though, I think it’s more a case of picking our battles. This is one where, honestly, it’s probably not worth getting worked up about even if it is a behavior and not a phase.

D: Yeah, as new fun phases go, this one is more comical than concerning. Seriously though, if he starts waking up with bruises, those toys have got to go!

M: Deal.

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The Soundtrack to Our Descent Into Madness

by The Momma on April 2, 2012

They’re two, they’re four, they’re six, they’re eight
Shunting trucks and hauling freight
Red and green and brown and blue
They’re the Really Useful Crew.

All with different roles to play
Round Tidmouth sheds or far away
Down the hills around the bends
Thomas and His Friends.

Thomas he’s the (omg, wait, there’s another verse?)
James is vain but(seriously, it just keeps going)
Percy pulls the (how many of them are there again?)
Gordon thunders (shit, 8. Damnit).
Emily really knows (how to drive me crazy)
Henry toots and (ok, we’re almost done now)
Edward wants to (One more. We can do this).
Toby, well let’s say, (Whew, finally over!)

They’re two they’re four (OMG AGAIN?)
Shunting (hehe, that sounds naughty) and hauling freight
red and green and brown and blue
This song’s too long, holy hell, it’s true.

All with different roles to play
Like driving me crazy while they play
Down the hills and round the bends
THIS FREAKING SONG NEVER ENDS!!!

And when it finally does end, the madness keeps on giving. It grows on your brain like a damn fungus.

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…About the Witching Hour(s)

by The Momma on March 30, 2012

The Daddy:The Tantrum-Fest Witching Hour- How Much Does THAT Crap Suck?

The Momma: Oh.My.God. THE WITCHING HOUR. Otherwise known as when did my child get possessed by a demon?

D: It was interesting to note that it seems to be pretty common, as I noticed at a recent later playdate. The other kid, right in the 5-6 range started to lose it. Additionally it seems to not matter whether he’s at home or at daycare.

M: Yeah, as evidenced by the fact that his teachers have a tendency of saying, “he had a great day until about 4:45…”

D: I’m hoping that news is given to most of the other parents as well.

M: It’s funny, when the Noodle was younger, my mom in particular would talk about the witching hour. But it really wasn’t until he hit the full on TWO range that the witching hour really became something to…endure.

D: I know, it’s like some kind of irritating switch has been flipped. I don’t see that switch getting flipped back anytime soon either. For now, Imma keep trying ways to trick him, even if it ends up being letting him watch a movie or something. Because that particular chunk of time has the potential to ruin an entire day’s worth of happy mood for the Daddy sometimes.

M: Yeah, and let’s not even mention that a good chunk of what is basically my only time with the kid all day is SMACK in the middle of that horrible horrible time. Yeah, that’s good times.

D: This may be one of those great times to open it up to our avid readers and ask for their suggestions or experience vis a vis this lovely bit of evening jackassery. At this point, I’m open to all suggestions! We’ve tried feeding him, giving him alone time, playing with him, running around with him. No matter what, he’s on a super short fuse.

M: Yes, PLEASE. If any of our readers know any tricks PLEASE PLEASE share!
M:
Seriously, this kid is basically hell on wheels from about 4:30 to…what, 6? 6:30? Bedtime?

D: I think the peak of his werewolf-like turdformation hits at around the 5:30 to 6PM range. By then we’re getting into dinner time and while he’s probably still just as delightful during that time, the structure of dinner helps to eliminate the problem somewhat. And that’s a BIG somewhat right there.
D: Now that I type it out, that may end up being our fix right there- some kind of structured activity that derails his Mr. Hyde mannerisms.

M: You might have something there. All I know is that anything we can do to all survive that time period is WORTH IT.

D: Maybe that will be the next task- develop some new SOMEthing during that time that is only during that time, and see if it helps squelch the demons. Cuz seriously, that becomes Mommy and Daddy need a drink time wicked fast.

M: Hey, nothin’ wrong with a drink or two. It’s just the needing them every DAY that’s the problem…

D: Yeah, I heard somewhere that’s not the route you want to go with parenting… Man, THAT’s gonna get us some hate mail!

M: Bring it on. It can’t be worse than the daily witching hour(s).

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How Candy and Pee Go Together

by The Momma on March 26, 2012

The Noodle has been working on potty training for a while now. And besides the inordinate amount of TIME we spend on the bathroom floor, it’s going well. Dirty diapers haven’t made an appearance in months, and now we’re just working on the wet part.

The kid has no problem with the mechanics of peeing in the toilet. But the concept of “holding it”? Or “telling us” that he needs to go potty? Well, that’s been a LOT harder.

Enter: the candy bribe.

Or, I guess more accurately, re-enter the candy bribe. When we first started working on toilet training we did the candy reward thing when he had successfully gone potty. We tried stickers and other rewards, but our kid has never really cared that much for stickers and our praise really doesn’t go far enough for him. So candy it was, until that just kind of…fizzled out. At some point, he stopped asking for candy every time, and we stopped offering and after a couple of weeks, the candy up and disappeared.

But now, we’re trying to get him to understand the concept of telling us he needs to go potty & holding it until we can find a bathroom. So, we’ve brought back the candy–one tiny candy (right now, it’s one PEZ. We’ve also got a few m&m’s around here somewhere that we can use), IF he tells us he needs to go potty in time.

It’s working REALLY well. (She says knocking on every wooden piece of furniture in arm’s reach).

So that’s awesome. But, I’ll admit: it grosses me out. This whole thing of tying bladder & bowel elimination to a food “treat”? It never fails to make me cringe a little. I’m not a germaphobic person, and I’m especially not a germaphobic mom, but there is just something so sort of ICKY about this pairing to me. I mean, it’s not like he gets the candy ON the potty, but still. Even the mental connection kind of grosses me out.

I’m comforted by the fact that: 1) This won’t last forever (or, if he keeps this up, even another week) and 2) He’s getting REALLY good at washing his hands before his candy.

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Post image for …About the Baby Monitor (Again)

…About the Baby Monitor (Again)

by The Momma on March 23, 2012

The Daddy: The Baby Monitor, Take Two: When is it time to let go?

The Momma: When they pry it from my cold dead hands? Or when he goes to college? Wait, I probably don’t really want to hear what a teenage boy is doing in his room all the time.

D: No, I could probably say from experience that you indeed do not.
D: I kinda feel like we’re getting there pretty soon, if for nothing else than to ignore his yelling, which sounds kind of inhuman when I type it out like that.

M: Well, but when it’s 9pm and he’s just yelling “Where ARE you MOMMY??” to delay bedtime? Yeah, we want to ignore that nonsense.

D: Yeah, of course that’s what I’m talking about here. Not locking him in his room with no audio. I’m not a TOTAL monster! And, when half the time it’s just him yammering or sighing or singing- we need to get our sleep right?

M: Well, and like we said last year, the damn thing clicks and squeals more than the kid does. So yeah, that whole sleep thing.
M: But there’s also this: the child is loud enough that he will CLEARLY LET US KNOW when he really needs us. Do we need to hear every whisper and sigh? I mean, I still have leftover “oh my god he’s going to smother himself in his sleep and we won’t hear it” anxiety, but really, is that logical? No.

D: Yeah, the old fears that he’d fall, get smothered or in some way or another become unable of LOUDLY announcing whatever displeasure, irritation or just plain boredom are long gone. This kid doesn’t do anything quietly, as we’ve found when he’s in there for a timeout and we DO turn the monitor off for a minute or so and then we can still hear him THROUGH THE FLOOR!!

M: Floors and walls are no match for his vocal cords. Clearly.

D: So in that vein, do we need to hear every breath, rambling or complaint when he’s in there the few times by himself? Much of this might not be so bad if it weren’t still for the interminable CLICKING OF THE MONITOR. Makes me want to scoop out my own eyeballs with old used wooden spatulas.

M: Or the random squealing it does when the cat/dog/air gets too close? At 1 am? Yeah, probably not.
M: But it’s still kind of hard to give it up…

D: Same here. We may have actually become mildly addicted to having it frankly. Think of older generations that didn’t obviously have the tech we have today. And then think of the Knob if he ever has kids of his own. It’ll most likely be a full high-def motion tracking 3D movie, recorded constantly and available live on his smartphone from anywhere in the world.
D: We honestly don’t NEED to have it, but both of us have an emotional need to want every bit of control we could possibly have. The baby monitor is one of the best examples of that.

M: Yeah, yeah, we’re control freaks. I don’t deny it.
M: I do feel a little bit of silly mommy emotion about it though. Like, this is one of the last vestiges of his babyhood and all.

D: Well, I would say that there have been several “last vestiges” so far, and this won’t be the last. There’s honestly no rush if we’re not both convinced it’s the best idea, and honestly I’m not, necessarily. It raises the interesting question of when we should make the decision though. I think it will help us move to that next level of parent-kid relationship, but again, no rush.

M: I do think we’re edging closer and closer to that line. Maybe one day I’ll just end up throwing the stupid thing into the wall when it cackles at 2am and that’ll be the deciding factor.

D: Well, as you said before, “Or we’ll break this one. And I swear, we’re not buying a freaking 4th monitor.” So, that could be our timeline, if you want. Then it also gives it a sort of gladiator armageddon quality to it. When it dies, it dies forever.

M: Now that you’ve said that, the thing is going to last another 10 years.

D: Well, then that will give us a more interesting topic when he’s about 13- The Kid’s Privacy- Should we finally let him have some?

M: Well, you know, it’s either the baby monitor or a hidden camera. His choice.

D: True, “Audio or visual surveillance, boy! You decide!”
D: This kid is so screwed.

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I Am a Parenting Ninja

by The Momma on March 19, 2012

I always KNEW I’d be a ninja someday. I just didn’t know that it would only happen because I became a parent.

But make no mistake, I have become a ninja, and I have the Noodle to thank.

When he was little, my ninja skills developed. I learned how to shift sides nursing so fast he never had a chance to squall. I learned how to change a diaper so fast, he never had a chance to pee in my face. I learned how to extricate myself from the bed without moving it or waking him up. I was fast, light on my feet, and silent.

As he got older, my ninja skills increase. I was able to get spoonfuls of veggies in his mouth in between spoonfuls of fruit so he never noticed. I was able to distract him with something while he got a shot. I was able to silently leave his room after putting him down in his crib or bed so he never had a chance to miss me. I was industrious, clever, and moved noiselessly.

Now, my ninja skills continue to serve me well. I can move a toy he’s not supposed to have faster than he can see it. I can tiptoe into his room, adjust his blankets, and never wake him. I can hide cookies before he can want them. I can sprint to catch him before he falls. I am quick, agile, and move on silent cat paws.

I am a parenting ninja.

(Sometimes)

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The Dinner Negotiations

by The Momma on March 13, 2012

I’m fairly certain we’re doing it wrong, but dinner time has become the great bargaining game. Here’s what a typical dinner sounds like at our house these days:

The Noodle: NO CHICKEN. NO BROCCI. NO SWEET POTATO. RAISINS!

The Momma: Bud, you can’t have raisins for dinner, we’re having chicken, broccoli, & sweet potatoes for dinner.

The Noodle: ALL DONE!

The Momma: Bud, you haven’t eaten anything.

The Noodle: AALLLLLLLLL DOOOOOONNNNNNNEEEEE!

The Daddy: Bud, remember, we’re having oranges for dessert if you eat your dinner.

The Noodle: ORANGE!

The Daddy: Only when you eat your dinner.

The Noodle: ORANGE!

The Daddy: Ok, how about this. You can have ONE slice of orange if you eat TWO bites of chicken.

The Noodle: OK! *chows down, while holding his hand out expectantly for the orange slice*

*repeat*

I…yeah, I’m almost POSITIVE we’re doing this one wrong. I mean, we’re basically bargaining to get him to eat. Which I KNOW sets a bad precedent. I KNOW.

But.

I also know that our kid becomes, much like his momma, an insufferable JERK when he’s hungry. And I know that half the time he’s not eating only because he’d rather get down and play–he’s hungry, he likes the food we have, he just finds sitting at dinner to be boring compared to running around like a loon. And I know that the bargaining only works–ONLY–when he’s actually hungry. Because if he’s not, even bargaining for his absolutely favorite things won’t work.

But still, I do cringe a little every time we do it. Even while I’m laughing, because DUDE. Half the time we’re bargaining bassackwards. “If you eat one bite of your hotdog, you can have this apple.” “If you eat two bites of pizza, you can have some prunes.” Here kid, you can have this nice healthy FRUIT if you eat that total junk food, FTLOG.

Yeah. We’re totally doing this wrong.

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The Daddy: Daycare Behavioral Issues- How Much to Worry, and How Much to Let it Go?

The Momma: You know, this one is hard. I’m not sure if it’s harder BECAUSE he’s only in 2 days a week, or if would be even worse if he was a full-timer, but it’s hard to get a sense of how best to handle this.

D: Agreed. Would he do better with more interaction with more kids, more often? Would it be worse? And then of course, if it is worse, how does it feel to think we may have “the problem rowdy child” of the group (though I think we both know HE wouldn’t be the one of his group).

M: Ugh. Plus there’s the question of whether part of the problems comes from things being handled differently at home than at school? Because there’s bound to be differences.
M: All in all, a less than fun element of this daycare thing.

D: Right, should we be more adapting to how the process is handled there? Because I know it’s crazy to expect them to adapt to each kid’s parents’ method of teaching and discipline. Once again, this will probably get chalked up to another overthinking thing, and it will probably get resolved on its own, but again there’s that uncertainty thing. How much should we be concerned versus how much are we going to overcorrect?

M: Well, I mean, I think there’s overthinking, and then there’s worrying that your kid is on route to being the disruptive kid in the class–one is a problem we clearly have (overthinking), but if the kid is acting up in class (and not listening, not following directions, etc), I think it’s important that we figure out how to address those things.

M: Sure a big part of it is that he’s TWO, but I don’t think that addressing the challenges in this case is overthinking.

D: No, but staying aware of keeping in mind that this could just be part a developmental phase- ironically something specifically that I should keep in mind more than you. We need to address the behavior, we need to always be diligent with teaching him how to be civilized, but some of the frustration could also be in his language development, we’ve already seen that as that gets better, his behavior, mood and all-around jackassery gets better.

M: True, all very true. I mean, we’ve seen leaps and bounds forward in the last few weeks as his language has exploded. And his teachers have acknowledged that too.

D: We could just very well be in the middle of a transition period and thus the question- how much to worry? Argh. This parenting thing is a real bitch for someone who’s so used to looking for clear, logical solutions. Complicated difficult solutions, to be sure, but still. Answers. Time seems to be the new barometer for experience.

M: I think this is one of our biggest struggles as parents–removing our need to analyze and clarify and logic our way to an answer. Because kids, man. They defy logic.

D: It’s this weird confluence of letting go of control and at the same time, trying to frame a structure to let this thing you love, that’s under your care and guidance, thrive in the best manner possible. It’s like you take your entire lifetime of experiences and knowledge and use it abstractly, while embracing the idea that at the end of the day, you ultimately have no control over this experience.

M: Oh man, not having control. It’s hard. Particularly when it feels SO important.

D: I’m sure that’s the rub. The feeling of an urgent need for control in an uncontrollable situation:

Parenting- you’re not in control™.

M: Ain’t that the truth?

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