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Tips for the OneHander Years

Tips for the OneHander Years

You may know that I like to call kids who can count their age on one hand "onehanders". I loved referring to my kids collectively as "my onehanders" because I had four kids 5 & under. But a few months ago, my oldest went and turned 6 on me and I officially have a two-hander now. While I'm sad about the loss of my favorite joke, I figure since I've successfully made it through with one kid I'm an expert on those little years. (I'll wait for those of you who know me to stop laughing). So today I'm going to share with you my best tips for surviving the onehander years!

1. Don't try to show them things you see out the window of your car. I know, we're supposed to be engaging in conversation and it's a great vocabulary lesson, and we should totally talk to our kids about all the things, all the time. But let me tell you about reality:

You spot a construction site way up ahead. It's huge, there's some time before you get there, and it's on your toddler's side. He's going to love this!

You: "Hey, look! A construction site!"


You: "Hey buddy, do you see that construction site? Look out your window! There are big diggers and a huge dirt pile!"


(you give up and drive past)

Child (staring out the wrong window): "Mama! Where's the construction site! I wanna see the diggers!!! What color is it? Where is it Mama??"

You: "Other side, buddy, look out the window on your side"

Child: (frantically strains to see out the wrong window) "I don't SEEEEE IT!! Where is it Mama?"

You: "Well, we're past it now. Let's keep looking for more construction sites!"

Child: "I want to see the diggers!!! Where are the diggers?!?! Diggers!!! Diggers!! Go back Mama! Go back Mama! You didn't show me the construction site! Where's the construction site! I want to see it! I want to see it! Turn around! Turn around! Go back!!!"

2. Use kitchen shears to cut their food. Can we just go ahead and put an end to this "pizza cutter v scissors" debate? Scissors. Hands down.

3. Never ever say, "I don't need to do ____ yet. We still have time" It is NEVER too early to start getting ready for the next thing. Have some free time at 10 am? Go ahead and start making dinner. Somehow got everyone dressed and ready 15 min before you have to leave? Just try and load them in the car. Going to have to wear clothes next week? Pick them out now. The interruptions are constant and varied, but you can count on something happening. Fights, spills, and diaper changes are a given. How many times have you tried to walk out of the house, only to be stuck behind a child who was just standing there and you find yourself saying, "Move! Please, for the love, just move!"?? Am I the only mom who, despite having 4 kids, repeatedly forgets that I need to feed them all every morning? Don't even worry about trying to explain to people why you're late. Their eyes will just glaze over when you say, "Well, there was a fistfight over what color the toy was and the dinosaur's head broke off and the toddler spilled juice while the baby threw her food down and my kids decided they needed to build grasshoppers out of play doh and popsicle sticks and there were meltdowns when I told them we didn't have time and then I finally got them buckled in the car only to realize I was still wearing my pajamas."

4. Put the clean diaper under the dirty one before you start changing it. Be ready. Clean diaper underneath, 2 wipes out, 3rd wipe sticking up and easily accessible, distracting toy in child's hand, diaper cream nearby....and GO!

5. Put them in the cutest outfit they have, every day. I'm really bad about this one. I'm picking out clothes for the morning, spot the cute outfit that I love, and say, "But I'm not going to see a lot of people today!" and put him in the same old t-shirt he wears every day. Kids grow FAST. He ends up wearing the cute outfit twice and then outgrows it and I'm sad. We live in the digital age. If you want people to see that super cute outfit, take pictures of it and post it on Facebook - that's what it's there for. Even if you don't, it will still make you a little happier all day long and that's totally worth it. The days are long - if it makes you smile, it's a total win! (P.S. Let them play in it, too. It will be fine. You can wash it.)

6. OxiClean MaxForce is the best. I basically soak my kids clothes in this as soon as they take them off (see my previous note about letting them play in their cute clothes...) MaxForce, not regular OxiClean. Because my kids are MaxDirty.

7. Changing clothes to the correct size and season is a huge, hard job. I have no tips for this. It's an overwhelming task. I was hoping maybe someone else could come up with some tips for this one?? Keeping four small children in clean, weather appropriate, clothes that fit is a full time job that is apparently beyond my skill set.

Got any more good tips for me? I have 3 onehanders left, and I need all the help I can get!

Sarah O’Dell spends her days taking care of her four small people (3 boys and 1 spoiled rotten baby girl) and trying to come up with creative responses to “You sure have your hands full!” As an extrovert who spends most of her time at home with little people, she is frequently found on Facebook sharing the details of her less-than-Pinterest-worthy days to make other moms feel a little more normal.


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