Sunday, November 22, 2015

Moving Day

We moved a lot when I was a kid.

I remember 6 different moves before I was 15 years old. Our reasons for pulling up anchor every couple of years weren't lofty. Mine wasn't a military or missionary family or anything like that, but simply a poor one. My mom was young and single, so in order to capitalize on cheap housing options, we could never stay too long in one place--the rent always went up.

I think where they live, and for how long, matters to kids. Or at least, it mattered to me when I was a kid. I used to fantasize about how it would be to live the lives I believed my friends lived, some of whom went to college from the same house their parents brought them home to when they were born. To go to school with kids you'd known your whole life. To live somewhere where a door frame in the house marked your growth over the years. Where you knew all the good hiding places, and the quickest route to your best friend's tree house, two streets over. That was the life I wished I had.

Instead, my sister and I started over every couple of years, and since I craved the safety and security of the familiar, it was hard on me. One year in particular, when I was having trouble acclimating at my new school, I remember going to the nurse on average once every few weeks, having developed a legitimate fever from the daily anxiety I battled. Of course, she had to send me home, and since all I wanted in the world was to go home to my mom, I guess my little body cooperated.

I was as itinerant as the next fledgling kid in my college and post-college years, but I was so busy experiencing life and building rich relationships, it didn't bother me. Once I started working and gained control over where I lived and for how long, though, I've tended to grow where I'm planted. I've learned a lot about myself over the years and have come to terms (mostly) with the life my mom was able to provide for me. But I don't like to move and probably never will.

And in light of my own struggles in childhood, now that I have children of my own, I want to shape a life for them that wasn't possible for me as a child. I want them to track their growth by marks on a door frame. I want them to know the best hiding places for all their treasures, and to wear a path on the quickest route to their best friend's house. I want them to know the safety and comfort of familiarity.

A week ago, yesterday, marks a step in that direction. Last Saturday, we moved. I moved into my apartment in Midtown 5 years ago--a young, single woman who couldn't keep a plant alive. Today I'm leaving with a family. (I still can't keep a plant alive, but my partner can, so it's ok). Over the years, I put down roots. I cultivated deep and lasting friendships, nurtured a career, fell in and struggled with love. I developed an abiding love for my adopted city, endured pain and loss, weathered crises of faith, and brought my children home.

I grew up there, but now it's much too small to continue to hold all the life I have to live. Those peeling walls hold the memories of so many of my triumphs, failures, joys and sorrows, and the door frames keep a record of my growth. I will miss that place dearly, even as I stretch my cramped legs in relief.

We're suburbanites, now, God help us. Richmond Heights, thanks for the memories.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sometimes, I Wonder Why I Even Bother.

Conversation with The Artist, via text:

A: I'm at Whole Foods. We need anything?
Me: Yes! Milk, and some of that yummy basil salad dressing, thanks!
A: ...

Later that day...

Me: (looking in the fridge) Did you get milk, today?
A: No, after I texted you, I didn't check to see if you'd texted back, so I didn't realize we needed some.
Me: Wth...???

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Week In the Life of a Working Mom (Part 2)

Day 3: Hump Day
Dear Tommee Tippee,
Thank you for capitalizing on the inherent unsophistication of infants, making a bottle that, to them, handles like a boob. I don't know how you did it, but Lady totally fell for it. Her entire family, especially her Mama, is in your debt. You're miracle workers. Lying, little miracle workers.

Day 4: I Am In Hell
At least it feels like it inside my car, anyway. The AC went out in the car I just paid off last month. And just my luck, temperatures shot into the nineties after more than a week of 70-degree days. Today I had to shuttle my poor kids in rush hour traffic. It was ugly. The Bud kept telling me how hot he was, but he didn't like having the windows down, because he said the air was "too heavy in my face." Lady spit up BIG TIME in her carseat. I think she was overheated.

I grew up without air conditioning, which I don't remember being a problem. So, either weather inflation has increased the misery of summer temps 3% per year since the 80's, or they just don't make kids as sturdy as they used to.

We shouldn't leave the house. Thank God for Daddy's car. #tommorrowisanew...whatever.

Day 5: The Home Stretch
Friday, I love you so. Hearing your name gives me the hope of having nowhere to be "on time" for two whole days. Unscheduled bliss! Naps! No cars! Jammies all day!

If only I could get this excited about laundry and house cleaning...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Week In the Life of a Working Mom (Part 1)

I'm a working stiff, again, and it's been interesting, to say the least...
Day 0: The View from the Top
Somehow, the day that felt so far away when we first brought Lady home from the hospital has arrived. My maternity leave is really over. Tomorrow is my first day back to work and I'm freaked out, but determined to try my hardest to do this thing well. I've been here before and survived, right? How much harder can it be to get two kids and two adults out of the house each day, with sanity intact?  I read somewhere that when life is hectic, you should "help your tomorrow self" by doing as much as possible the night before, to minimize the chaos. That's what I'll do. I'll keep my focus on logistics, and all will be well. Today's preparations were intense, but I'm feeling ready. Laundry is done, lunches are packed, checks for childcare written, clothes laid out, all bags are packed and waiting by the door, and both kids bathed and put to bed with a minimum of fuss. I am a Working Mama Guru. I should teach this stuff. People will want to learn from me. I am kicking tomorrow's ass!

Day 1: Liftoff
Things went as planned. Sort of. Everybody got breakfast and left the house with their assigned bag(s)/kid, at least. I was almost too busy to focus on the fact that I was about to spend 9 whole hours apart from my sweet girl for the first time in her whole, tiny life. [Cue tears]. Lady and The Artist left the house on time, but traffic took its toll--Daddy reported that he was 15 minutes late to work after dropping the baby off. Back at home, with 30 minutes til go time, The Bud refused to get dressed and I lost my temper with him.


Somehow, I managed to leave the house only 5 min behind schedule, drop The Bud off at preschool, and get to work on time. Being back among adults feels pretty good, I'm not gonna lie. An hour later I realized I forgot to leave the check for preschool. Late fee. Reports from daycare were a mixed bag. Poor, little Lady strongly objected to our forced separation and went on a hunger strike. She barely ate all day. Sitter was encouraging and not at all concerned. She's seen it before. Tonight, I ordered new bottles that are supposed to trick babies who prefer to nurse into thinking a bottle is a boob. They'll be here in two days and I didn't have to brave the Target parking lot at 8:30 pm to get them. Thank you, Amazon Prime. I'm not completely confident this will work, but I'm willing to try anything to get her to eat. I don't know what I'll do if this experience turns her into an iffy eater, like her brother. Having two preemies has made me a mom I (smugly) was determined never to be--a mom who freaks out over if/when her kids eat. Oh, how the mighty have fallen...*Sigh* #tomorrowisanewday

Day 2: Faceplant
Today I woke up in a fog. The Artist and I were so tired from our respective days that we both fell asleep last night in front of the TV (me in a chair), without "helping our tomorrow selves." Crap. I dragged myself to bed in time for Lady to wake for her 1 am feeding. She was up twice more in the night. Making up for not eating the day before I guess. All that to say, this morning was tough. I overslept, and of course everything took too long to do. I sent a half packed and totally useless diaper bag to daycare. The Artist handled shuttling both kids, thank God, so I had enough time to scarf down a fork full of The Bud's leftover breakfast of pancakes with peanut butter on my way out the door and screeched into work only a few minutes late. No packed lunch today, so I made do with takeout. Not ideal, but not fatal.

In spite of it all, I was taking the day in stride. I handled a couple of different work situations with something approaching my normal level of competence, so I guess I got a bit cocky and relaxed my guard. Rookie mistake. When I pumped at lunch, I pulled my shirt down to attach the cups, instead of up. Did I lose focus and in the bustle to clean up all the parts and get back to work, did I forget to pull my shirt back up, and did I walk around my office for AN HOUR with my nursing bra (and breasts) exposed? Yes. Yes, I did.
I am a cautionary tale. *Sigh* #tomorrowisanewday
Stay tuned for the next installment of "A Week in the Life of a Working Mom (Part 2), Day 3: Hump Day..."

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Monthly Musings: November, 2015

• What is it about little kids that makes them eat foods with a definitive top and bottom (i.e. pizza, open-faced sandwiches), upside down? #notenoughwetwipesintheworld

• After a year of potty training, I have a four year old who still resists pooping in the potty, so accidents are common around our house. Have you heard the anecdote about the kid like mine who's parents "only had to make their kid clean up the mess themselves once," and said kid never had an accident, again? Yeah, me too. Unfortunately, mine is not that kid. He thinks cleaning anything is great fun, poop included. #iwantmymoneyback

• Next to my bed is an empty cereal bowl, stuffed with a napkin, a soiled burp cloth, and a disposable diaper that I used as a burp cloth after the first one died from overuse. The best thing I can say about that is, at least it's from today. #igiveup

Conversation in the car:
The Bud: Wook, Mama, I made this for you!
Me: I can't look right now, Bud, I'm driving. Can you tell me what it is?
The Bud: It's a heart. And it's black. #ghoulishgifts

Friday, July 3, 2015

Monthly Musings: July 2015

• Recently, I had the bright idea to make the (literal) first time I took both of my kids anywhere by myself be to take them to visit my family in my home town. It only took listening to my newborn scream for 20 minutes while I drove down the highway unable to make it stop on the first day, and The Bud puking all over me for 6 hours straight in the middle of the night on the last day, to decide never to leave the house alone with them, again. #whatwasithinking

• Loneliness is holding your puking (and resisting) preschooler over the toilet by the scruff of the neck with one hand, while nursing your newborn in the other, at 3 am. #calgontakemeaway

• The tag on a prescription I recently got filled for Lady had her name on the box sticker, in quotation marks. What, do the pharmacists think, she's a tiny, squalling figment of our imaginations? #idontgetit #misplacedquotationmarks

• Motherhood: eating the discarded crusts of someone else's bread for breakfast and calling it 'toast' since the beginning of time. 😝

• Newborn motto: we cry more before 5 am than most people (except our parents) do all day. #beallthatyoucanbe

• Daddy's Jobs:
1. Wrestling with the big kid, upon request.
2. Eating said kid's leftover cereal every day. #wastenotwantnot #gladidonthavetodoit

• I took a trip to the mall with The Artist today. It was so exciting, it felt like a field trip. I was so tired when we got home that I fell asleep sitting in a chair, clutching my phone in my hand, upright. I'm obviously not getting out enough. #babysteps

• The Bud came to me in distress, asking where his Diplodycus was. I was stumped, since I don't make it a habit either to play with, or to lose, his toys. So I said I didn't know, to which he replied, "it's in the fire engine!" #naturalconsequences #ifyouknewallalongwhydidyouaskme

• I love, I mean simply LOVE, HGTV. #fixerupper #DIYordie😍😍

• I don't know about yours, but my newborn has now slept almost 5 hrs in a row between nightime feedings, on two, non-consecutive days. #prodigy #gettingexcited #itsthelittlethings

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Welcome to My Circus

It probably surprises no one that it's been a while since I've posted: what, with the whole preemie newborn thing and all. If you've actually felt a hole in your life where my blog used to be (doubtful), I do sincerely apologize for dropping the ball. Things are happening, it just doesn't occur to me to tell anybody, since really, all I want to do is sleep and eat meals with both hands these days.
Anyway, I was talking to a friend who suggested I post a story I'd just told her on the blog, which, in light of my absence, seemed like a good idea. It's as good a time as any--The Artist is at work, The Bud at preschool, and Lady is napping peacefully for the moment, so lest I be guilty of further neglect, here you go!
A week ago, I got my first opportunity for a night out, sans kids. It was for a surprise birthday party for my boss. His wife invited me, so it seemed prudent to go. Some of my favorite coworkers were going, I'm starting to fit into my non-maternity clothes again (does that rev anybody else up, or is it just me?) and honestly, I wanted the time away from my house. Be gone for a few hours, recharge my batteries with adult conversation and beverages, then home to the loves of my life. Best idea, ever, right?

Ugh, you guys, it was so hard! I was so tired that I yawned and rubbed my eyes constantly. That's when I wasn't frantically searching for our MIA waitress so I could order food because I'm hungry ALL the time, and hadn't eaten for approximately 35 minutes (the length of the car ride to the bar). I kept getting distracted from conversations by my letdown which made me question my decision not to bring my breast pump with me to the bar. So now my coworkers and assorted strangers think I'm a space cadet with secret leaky boobs, who can barely stay awake in a loud and crowded bar, after having only 1 beer. Yep. Nailed it. #hardpartier

When I finally found an opportune moment to politely escape excuse myself, I went home.
On first glance, it seemed The Artist hadn't fared much better his first time alone with both kids than I had, on my own. All the lights were blazing in empty rooms. The house was a wreck, with the remains of peanut butter on toast (preschooler "dinner") left scattered on the dining table.  It was 10 pm. The Bud was still up, watching YouTube on the iPad. In our bedroom, I found Daddy nodding off in exhaustion, while Lady snoozed through her evening bottle, draped on his chest. Her diaper was soaked.

I woke him up to help me put Humpty Dumpty together again, then we both flopped into bed for our 3-hour nap. That's all our newborn allows us right now.

Yeah, we'll probably be ready to try this again soon. Next year, maybe.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Confessions of a New-ish Mama

As promised, here's a post from my archives that mysteriously never got posted. In the interest of full disclosure, I have no recollection of writing it. Like, none. I did read it, though, and it sounds like something I'd say, so here you go. Good luck to us all. And I can't figure out how to change the post date to today on my phone, so don't even mention it.


1. I have tasted my own breast milk, and not "by accident," like I've heard other moms say, I guess to avoid looking like weirdo cannibalistic, breast milk drinkers. *shrug* I have nothing to lose at this point by admitting I get why the littles like it. #tasteslikeicecream

2. For 3 days, I convinced myself that it was ok that I hadn't showered, because I didn't want to confuse my newborn over who was caring for her by smelling like soap instead of my natural scent. #notok

3. I've only given birth by c-section, but no one can convince me I don't know what labor feels like. Why? Because I've experienced the dreaded First Post-Partum Poo. #nuffsaid

4. There may be nothing funnier than watching The Artist lose his sh*t because the baby projectile pooped while he was changing her. #comedy #laughterthroughtears #itshappenedtometoo

5. I've deliberately stayed awake between Lady's 12 am and 3 am feedings more than once, just for a little peace and quiet, and to be awake but not have someone touching me. #touchedout #overwhelmedbyneeds

6. Intellectually, I know it can get annoying when a new parent bombards social media with pictures of their new kiddo, and/or status updates of all of her newborn "accomplishments," ad nauseum, but I am completely unable to stop myself. #ohwell #yougonehaftablockme

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

From The Bottom of My Heart

For those of you who hadn't heard, complications from pre-eclampsia caused me to get really sick and required my baby girl to be delivered early. I was in the hospital for five days and have been home for one.
They sprung me, today! (Actually, it was yesterday, but I'm not currently capable of doing anything on time, soooo...).

Five days post-partum is only a day longer than a typical c-section stay, and doesn't even beat my personal best (8 days), but I can tell you, these brief, five days have been tough. Having our Ladygirl born at 34 weeks gestation and me getting so sick derailed all of our plans and threw our family into a tailspin. When I think of the outpouring of help, love, and support we've received, I wish I had the time to come find each of you individually and kiss you all over your faces, until you feel sufficiently thanked (as rated by my overactive, post-partum love-o-meter, patent pending).

Since I don't, you'll have to settle for this little note of heartfelt thanks, instead:

Thank you for each call, text, email, gift, hug, snuggle, and hand squeeze. Thank you for the visits. Thank you for "dropping in" at the cost of a 5+ hour road trip. One way. Thank you for the rides, the meals, the babysitting, and the prayers. Thank you for the sincere assurances that I was radiant, even when photographic evidence proved that I looked like the exact opposite--a hormone addled, sleep deprived, insane person. Thank you for crying with me. Thank you for making me laugh until my incision ached. Thank you for all the congratulations, oohing, and ahhhing over the three (!) people I get to call family. I love them so much and it feels like you do, too. And most of all, thank you for the chocolate milkshakes; including the one the doctors heartlessly took away, the one I hadn't yet started to drink, the one they wouldn't even let me TASTE, because surgery.

Our birth story won't be complete until Lady is home with us. She's got the herculean task of figuring out how to take all of her nutrition by mouth and gaining weight at the same time, which is no small feat for a preemie. But she's shown herself to be as much of a fighter as her brother was in the same set of circumstances. I have no doubt that she's going to be home, very soon, so I pray in expectation of it every day. Will you join me?

To each of you who helped us carry our burden, you know who you are. Thank you for blessing us, more than I can say or repay.

Mmmmuuuah! 😙😙

Friday, April 17, 2015

Monthly Musings: April 2015

• Six words guaranteed to make Mama's blood pressure rise when coming from the mouth of her three year old: "Don't tell me what to do." #getsmeeverytime #threenager

• A month ago, I had a high BP scare at my prenatal appt. With my history of pre-eclampsia, there's a zero tolerance policy on anything that might signal vascular disease. I've overcome the threat so far with interventions of all kinds and things seem to be going really well. So, I tried to write about it. But what's come out so far is so raw, so full of ghosts, (not so) latent fear, and pain, that I can't bring myself to go deep enough to finish it. And I can't share it here. Not yet. Maybe I never will. 

• Rounding the bend into my 3rd trimester, I've developed a need for a regular infusion of chocolate milkshakes. I wonder if that has anything to do with me measuring 3 weeks ahead of my due date? Nah...coincidence, probably.

• The cliche that all men love showering their women with lingerie doesn't ring true around here. My man showers me with Cardinals gear. In the last month alone, The Artist has bought me 2 Cards' shirts (non-maternity, though I am politely termed, 'great with child,' and getting greater by the second), and a pair of earrings. That brings my Birds On A Bat gear total to 6, which seems like overkill, but the love behind it makes me blush. I've never been so full of team spirit. #CardinalNation

• I'm outnumbered around here, and have been for a long time. I know it, and I've mostly come to terms with it. I'll admit nursing a secret hope that Lady will help  balance the power after she's born. Be on my team. Or at least help me clean up the film of pee and peanut butter that's on all my stuff. But I've noticed lately that when The Artist talks to the ladybump, she goes nuts. Like, waaaay more nuts than when I talk to her. I'm starting to see my dreams of a ride-or-die sidekick turning to ashes. #teamdaddy #anotheronebitesthedust

• Today, I get my roots done and a trim. I've never been so excited about routine beauty maintenance before.  #thisisalmostforty #pregnantgrayhair

Thursday, April 9, 2015

When Mama Went Off the Deep End

It seems that I went through a paranoid phase when The Bud was three. I think he was winning...


Hey. This is The Bud, here. I hijacked my mama's computer to have a bit of a heart-to-heart with all the preschoolers out there. I can't read, yet, so I can't say for sure what she's been posting on this blog,  but I can hazard a guess that not all of it is...shall we say...complimentary to those of us in the 2.5 to 5 yr old set. It's time to fight back with the tools we have at our disposal.

Where my people at? Whaddup, playas??!

Why the gangsta lingo? And how am I able to type and spell, when I've just told you I can't read? Don't ask me questions you already know the answers to! I'm three. Why do I do anything? Because I can, that's why. And you'd better believe it. In fact, for the adults who may actually read this post, I pity you the mind f**k that'll have you trying to come to terms with the possibility that a three year old could actually hijack an adult's computer and write a blog post. Admit it: in some of your more paranoid moments (like after he figures out how to escape his bedroom in the middle of the night, after you've turned the doorknob around so that very thing would stop happening), you wouldn't put anything past the little bugger. Crazier things have happened.

But I digress. This post is to empower the powerless. We'll start with Tips To Avoid Bedtime:

1. Request that Mama read ALL the books to you before you can sleep. Every. Single. One.

2. Fake a stomach ache, requiring a parent to apply "tummy wotion" (rosemary essential oil--may as well be snake oil, for all its tummy soothing properties) to the skin over the offending organ.

3. Go pee, again, but not until you've announced your need to do so to both parents and gotten their buy in on the plan.

4. Ask for more dinner.

5. Ask for more drinks.

6. Ask for a snack, your missing blanket, or for help to find your favorite stuffed toy-which is only missing because you don't know (read: care) to look under your blanket for it. 

7. Ask to be tucked in. Again. You can't help it if Mama and Daddy have already fallen asleep. You need their help!

And if, by some fluke, your maligned parents are unmoved, and all these deflective techniques fail, fall asleep for a half hour, then fall out of bed and scream the house down. That'll do it. Ain't NObody gonna sleep for a while after that. 

I've given you my best stuff. Make me proud. And DO NOT tell them where you learned this stuff. Even if they offer you chocolate. 

Love, The Bud

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Loaner T-Rex

If you have a least one child, but haven't yet experienced the joy(s) of Friends With Children, trust me when I say, you need to getchoo some quickly.

Last night, some friends of ours who have three boys of their own, invited us over for dinner. It was delightful; a gift of great value to us. They gave us the gift of uninterrupted time. Now, this couple is pretty great with or without kids, but as any parent in the trenches will tell you, a special magic happens when two or more children are gathered together. They entertain each other, and it is glorious.

As another friend of mine with three children put it, when you have three kids, you don't even notice when another one gets added. I would add, no one does because they make themselves scarce. Brilliant.

The Artist & I are currently the beleaguered parents of one threenager, with the option for a newborn in three months, give or take a couple weeks. We are so tired. So tired of wrestling, playing dinosaurs, hide-n-seek, t-ball, trains, marbles, Jenga (The Bud cheats), catch, and duck, duck, GOOSE. So tired of pretending enthusiasm for the same dinosaur videos/movies over and over again. But since we're The Bud's only playmates at home, we are called into action on the regular.

Uninterrupted time is not heavy on the ground at our house. I confess that The Artist takes the brunt of this. I'm not great at playing on a good day. On a pregnant day, fuggedabottit. I take (small) comfort that with a pending neonate on deck, I'll shortly be pulling a more or less equal load, what with all the birthing and nursing and whatnot.

Anyway, so back to Shangri La. Don't be too jealous when I tell you how it all went down. We went inside. Our child, spotting other kiddos (and their toys), ran off to investigate.

We didn't see him again for a half hour.

We sat down and watched dinner being prepared. We had sparkling conversation. We laughed, we drank (well, they did), we ate food while it was still warm, and generally had a great time while the kids played somewhere else in the house.

Glorious, I tell you. Simply glorious.

There were hiccups here and there, of course. Occassional tears, requests for help in the potty, dinner refusals, whining, etc, but when you've been given the gift of time, it all feels bearable. We had a wonderful time.

And The Bud? He made out like a bandit, too. The big(ger) boys have the most awesomest T-Rex, EVER. It roars louder than The Bud (yay...), is a foot tall, and it's eyes glow a very intimidating red. Rumor has it that he used to walk, but being loved on by three boys has taken its toll. Still, though, very cool. He played with it from the moment he found it until it was time to go home, when he let us know in no uncertain terms by the tantrum he threw that we would have to pry that dinosaur from his cold, dead hands to get him to leave without it.

That's when the final miracle of our evening happened. Our friends' middle son (read: he's been forced to share his toys with a younger, less reasonable person his whole life, just to stop tears, so nothing phases him anymore), whispered to his mother, "Mommy, he can borrow it for a week."

My child has been in heaven ever since. He roared all the way home. He cuddled T-Rex in his sleep all night long, and when he dragged that thing into our room this morning at 6 am and was told he couldn't get in bed with us if he had it, he turned around and went back to his own room.

This is gonna be a great week.
Roscoe, the T-Rex

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Monthly Musings: March 2015

• The Bud has had a thing for watching dinosaur fight scenes on YouTube for some time now, and while I think it's weird, I haven't had just cause to object to the habit. He gets regular screen time for this, within limits, of course.

It wouldn't be a problem except he's expanded his taste to videos of other kids playing with dinosaur toys (I know), and in one particular video, a dad giving commentary in the background pronounces the 'T' sound in the word T-Rex more like the 'D' sound. I think English isn't this guy's first language, but it's hard not to hold it against him, because he's got my kid doing it. After he'd already mastered the T sound! The grammar and word usage nerd in me writhes. Writhes,  I tell you! This further proves that you can't trust the Internet to educate your kids. #umm...

• I've started a campaign to convince the Y chromosome bearers in my house that eating a warm biscuit with blackberry jam, as I do, counts as a yummy dessert. It's been unconscious, but I must confess that I do it so I don't have to bake to get them the desserts they really like. #cuttingcorners

• Today, The Bud, in answer to a question from me, answered 'yes, ma'am,' for the first time. #montessorieducated

• For the last 5 minutes, I've listened from across the hall to my son working himself from fake tears for dramatic effect to actual upset over the fact that we (I) only sang one chorus of 'Jesus Loves Me' with him before night-night. Then Daddy (aka: The Bleeding Heart) came home to discover the mayhem and to save his only son from his unfeeling mother. I live in a madhouse. #overtired #bothofus

• I'm a bit tired of seeing my mail carrier on the phone every time he's in the neighborhood, especially in light of the fact that at least once a week somebody in our building plays a game of Who's Mail Is It, Anyway because the wrong mails gets put in our boxes. #switcheroo

• It doesn't seem fair that now, while I'm doing, arguably, the most womanly thing there is to do, I have developed the hair growing capacity (and patterns) of a Sasquatch. #beardedmama

• Remember that friend in high school/college (usually a guy) who, when the question of food came up, no matter the time of day or what time they'd had their last meal, responded, "I could eat"? Well, that's me now, except it's pee, not eat. (Who am I kidding? I could probably eat, too). Any given time of the day, no matter when I last went, I can always go again . Ladies, I'm a social pee-er's dream, so invite me to dinner at your favorite restaurant. You'll never go alone. #icouldgo

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Monthly Musings, February 2015

• Recently, I went into the kitchen to find The Bud and The Artist making breakfast. The Bud was standing on a dining chair at the stove, flipping bacon with his favorite set of tongs. He was closely monitored by his father, of course, but it was essentially done, by himself.

He's SO gonna start wiping his own butt.

• I've decided Lady's anthem is Ray Charles', Nightime Is the Right Time. I get up to pee at least twice a night these days, & I've noticed that she's up nearly every time I do, kicking away at my beleaguered bladder. She's pretty busy during the day, too. Constant baby movements in utero are very reassuring, don't get me wrong. It just doesn't bode well for when she starts making time one The Outside. #jusssayin

• Dear Family Bathroom Designers: Please consider installing a commode with a quiet flush, if not in all stalls, at least in these units. I'd guess that most little kids don't love how loudly, or seemingly without warning public toilets flush. I get it. Theyre short, so it's like having a giant, spitting monster growling in your face while you have your pants down. For the uber-sensitive ones, like my kid? The unexpected sound is a pretty big deterrent against public toileting; if he goes, it won't be without a fight, and I'm getting fed up. That's where you designers come in. Only you can change the experiences of parents in public for the better. The choice is yours. Just know that if you continue on your present course, there's at least one little boy who's peeing in the sink.

Thank you for your consideration.

• I've discovered that if I wear one of The Artist's belts, strapped low on my hips, I can still wear my non-maternity pants with comfort & ease. It's a real budget saver. Remembering to put them back when I'm done isn't going so well, though... #unwittingthief
That's all I've got, folks. This has been a monster of a month. I jotted down what I could when I had the energy to think at all. Mostly in the shower.

See you next month!

Friday, February 27, 2015


We've had a bit of pooping regression in these parts, lately.

Since we started potty training, The Bud has never been truly on board with a daily toilet constitutional. Peeing is no problem, but since we took his precious diapers away, he's preferred a more stealthy approach to #2. It's not uncommon to find him ready to skulk behind a cabinet, or secreted behind a closed door to do his business, according to his preference. Which is in his pants.

And that's if we're able to anticipate him at all. More likely, he comes out of hiding after the dirty deed is already done to inform one of us that he needs his bottom cleaned.

Dread of having to rinse out dirty underwear every day has turned The Artist and me into a two-man, crack pooping face detection team. We've become adept at reading his social cues, facial expressions, and even the tone of the silence in the house, either of us ready to jump at a moment's notice to get him to the pot on time. I'd say we're working with about a 90% success rate. It's not a perfect system, but I call it progress. We've been tripping along, hoping for that magic day other parents in the trenches talk about: the day when their unwilling charges decide that pooping in the potty is all of a sudden ok, and start doing it. Without a fight. No muss, no fuss.

Sadly, The Bud's not there, yet. Maybe nowhere near. He's changed it up a bit, though. NOW, he holds it for as long as he can--up to 5 days (yes, I count)--then gives in to the pot when the pressure becomes too great. He's driving us nuts. Five days is waaay too long to go without...well, without. So, of course, when he finally goes, it's so gigantic that, let me just say, there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth. And stopping up of toilets, and fruitless plunging, and swearing daddies.

It's ugly ya'll.

Last night was bath night and The Artist was in charge. After a few minutes of splashing, I heard a desperate cry for help from the bathroom. I ran in to find that The Bud had skittered out of the tub to stand, naked and wet, next to his father. They were both staring in horror into the tub of water. I looked in the bathtub to find about a thousand makeshift tub toys floating in brown water. Yep. There was doody in the tub.

Apparently, The Artist hadn't checked for dingleberries, of which there were many, before depositing the kid in the water. How many, you ask? Let's call it a prohibitive number.*shrug* Could've happened to anybody, right? I have no idea. All I know is, I feel like we're stuck in a neverending loop of a sitcom episode called, 'You Can Lead a Toddler to the Pot, But You Can't Make Him Go.'

It didn't take long to realize that if the tub (and the boy) was going to get cleaned any time before 5 o'clock the next morning, Mama was going to have to step in. I put aside my disgust and innate germaphobia and did everything except set a blowtorch to the porcelain, the bath toys, (and the boy), and eventually it all did end, in a blur of scrub brushes and non-chlorine bleach. I've blocked out the details.


A moment I do remember, though, was after I saw what I was up against, I left the bathroom, headed for the basement and the big gun cleaning supplies. The Artist, fearful that I'd left him alone to deal with the filth, called out to see where I was. My instinct was to call back to him, "I am running away to a place where nobody can find me and nobody poops in tubs!"

I didn't say that, of course. I was too worried that I actually meant it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Dark Days and Bubble Baths

The Bud loves to go to church. Bedtime on Saturday nights is always easy because he has the anticipation of a morning of chocolate donuts and train tables ahead of him. Shallow, but it gets us out the door on time. If I'm honest, my reasons for going to church this morning were as mercenary as his--it was my one chance to get out of the house and let someone else watch my kid while having nothing physical asked of me for two hours.

I am spent.

I've nodded off a handful of times in the last few hours, marked by brief moments of consciousness at the hand of my three year old, reminding me unceremoniously that it's 'time to wake up now,' or 'it's not sweepy time now, Mommy.' Poor kid. All he wants is my attention, which I feel completely unable to give him, but explaining the whys to a person who follows each answer with yet another why would take more effort than I can currently dredge up, so instead, I stare at him wordlessly, wishing I was anywhere but here...

It's been a rough go, lately. Work is a nuthouse, The Artist and I are tense and crabby as we wrestle with finances and the impending reality of raising two children in a Crackerjack box, parenting a toddler is a constant exercise in frustration and futility, and doing it all while growing a new person inside my body? Yeah, that's doesn't make the rest of it any easier to handle.

If such a thing as A Dark Night of Pregnancy exists, I'm in it. And I've been here before. My circumstances this time around are quite different than the last--I'm not single, lonely, bereft, and scared for the prospects of mine and my unborn child's future. I'm not eaten up with the anxiety of a first-time mother. Well, not the same anxiety, anyway. There's always something to worry about, of course, but my worries this time are different.

This Dark Night, while different in a lot of ways from the one before, has this in common: the feeling of being completely unequal to the daily effort of living my life. I'm sick of opening my eyes in the morning, as tired as when I went to bed the night before, thinking 'I cannot do this. Not even one more time.' It's not self-destructive, so much as the slightly tantrumy urge to sit down amid all the things and just...have a good cry.


I get that what I feel is typical. I'm not reinventing the wheel, here. Jobs in corporate America have been around longer than I. So have relationships, pregnancies, and three year olds (God help us all). And in spite of all the muck and mess, people do get up to rave another day. It's ordinary. It's reality.

But, the world where I want to live is a lot less like reality, and more like a never-ending bubble bath, where the hot water never runs out and the suds never fizzle. Pregnancy brain is an old wives tale, not a well-worn excuse for failings. Misunderstandings, pride, self-centeredness, and unmet needs do not exist. Kisses really do heal all wounds. Parenting springs from an unending well of patience. Laundry, dishes, and cooking do themselves, and no one ever coined the phrase, 'decision overload' to characterize the poor schmuck, on his/her daily grind, fed up with the responsibility of it all.

Today my grind followed me to church. There I was offered a chance to be quiet and to rest in the stillness. It followed me to laughs with old and dear friends, who reminded me that while some things change, they also stay the same, and that feels really great. And it followed me home again, where I didn't get a quality nap, but I did get sweet cuddles  and giggles with my kid, all the way up to his (early) bed time. It followed me to the personal rock concert I'm getting right now from my guy, while my baby girl kicks and squirms in my belly. And the laundry is done.

I'd better get going. Tomorrow's another day on the grind.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Portrait of Valentine's Day

Disclaimer: this post contains graphic content. But, there's no need for gasping, clutching of chests, or any other such shenanigans. It's about Valentine's Day for parents of a three-year-old, for crying out loud.  Nobody is having any kind of sex, whatsoever. I hope that makes you happy.


7:00 am: Awaken to a small mouth-breather, standing 3" from your sleeping face, demanding help to go pee (he can do it himself, he just chooses not to first thing in the morning, when it would mean the most to his exhausted parents).

7:03 am: Crawl hopefully into bed and try to go back to sleep.

7:05 am: The kid climbs into your bed, takes over your pillow, and starts an annoying dinosaur growling war in your ear. Daddy gives up and lets him take the iPad, as long as he promises to use it in his room. With the door closed.

8:35 am: Reawaken with a start, guiltily realizing that you've let your child start his day watching almost two hours of unsupervised dinosaur fight scenes on YouTube. Do not get out of bed. The damage is already done, may as well savor the relative peace for a few more minutes.

9:15 am: Daddy gets up and starts coffee. You start the chai latte you've become addicted to since you successfully convinced yourself tea was just as good as coffee to kick start a day. Turns out, it is. Make breakfast.

10:30 - 11:15 am: Field 3 temper tantrums caused by various parental infringements upon the will of a threenager.

11:20 am: Spank and time-out.

11:30 am: Bath.

12:30 pm: Mama takes (an accidental, but much appreciated) nap.

1:30 pm: Daddy puts the kid down for a nap. This one's on purpose.

[1:30 to 4:00]: Blessed peace ensues.

4:30 pm: Family Jenga. The kid wins. He cheats, but tattling is frowned upon in your house, so...

After Jenga but before dinner is a blur, really. Somebody threw several fits over pooping in the potty, resulting in soiled shorts and wiped bottoms. *shrug* Could've been any one of you.

7:00 pm: Mama and Daddy finally sit down to a lovely, home-cooked Valentine's Day meal with the soundtrack to yet another fight scene echoing romantically in the air. The kid touches none of it. He eats cereal. Mama and The Belly got a single, precious sip of Daddy's wine. (Sue me, it was delicious).

7:45 pm: Mama calls a moratorium on tantrums for the day, declaring it (early) bed time. Books, prayers, songs, and kisses see the kid down for the night.

The day ends with Mama and Daddy, huddled together for warmth and strength, watching a movie and feeling the baby kick. Each declares today the best day, ever.

And it was.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Monthly (2nd Half) Musings: January, 2015

• Every year, from the day after Thanksgiving to the day after Christmas, I grit my teeth through the incessant drone of Christmas music. Call me a grinch if you must, but thirty days is too long to expect me to make the yuletide gay with any sort of holiday cheer left intact at the end. I'd be just fine with a week. However, it bothers me not one bit that now, after the final carol has been sung, The Bud has started singing Jingle Bells on a continuous loop. He sings it in the car, in the bathtub, when he's supposed to be sleeping. He's a veritable one-hit wonder of fa-la-las. You'd think I'd be annoyed, but truly I could listen to it all day. Maybe I don't mind so much because when he sings it, it sounds like this: "Dassing frew duh snow...inna n-n-n-n SWEIGH! Ober duh feels we GOOO...waughing all duh WAAY!" #threebonics
• Today, I wore a black turtleneck sweater, black skinny jeans, and black ankle boots. Sporting my current figure, methinks I strongly resembled a California Raisin. #notagoodlook
• In line at the grocery store, I stood behind a man and listened to him tell the cashier that, with freezing rain and sleet in the forcast, he was there to stock up on the essentials. In his cart was the following: a 4 pack of toilet paper and 2 cases of beer. That's it. Gives new meaning to the phrase, asses and elbows. #priorities

• The Bud, two of his dinosaurs, and I sang 'What Did You Have for Breakfast, Today?' this morning. On his list was cereal-oatmeal (kidspeak, for raw oatmeal and granola in milk), turkey bacon, toast, and juice. Dino 1 had turkey bacon and milk. Dino 2? A Tyrannosaurus Rex. #hedontknowhesfunny

• If you're pregnant, do not eat a loaded grilled cheese sandwich twice in a three-day period. The side effects are...don't. Just don't.

• I love my girlfriends. These long suffering beauties are the ones who regularly submit to hearing all the stuff I consider too wildly inappropriate for my blog, yet in spite of what they know about me, they persist in answering my calls and texts. #gottagosomewhere #TMI #girlfriends

• Dear steaming hot chai latte: You're first on my mind when I wake up. I eagerly anticipate our daily commute together--it's the best part of my day. I'm so sad when our time is over, and think of you constantly all day. It's a struggle not to reach out for you in late in the day. I feel your absence keenly...#infatuationisnotdead #caffeine

• Am I the only one who struggles emotionally with whether or not to use a gift card on practical stuff I might need, like plungers? It's all my money. It all gets used. I still have to buy that plunger. Still though...I'd rather spend "work cash" on it than a gift. #sophieschoice

• When I want The Bud to do something he hates, like submit to having his nails trimmed without an epic, life-or-death struggle, I've been encouraging him to identify with his daddy, The Artist. I'll say, "hmm, Buddy, your nails are getting kinda long. It's time to clip them short, like Daddy's." He idolizes his father, so it works every time. I realized last night that this kid is actually starting to pay attention to what I say and to draw logical conclusions, when he picked up my hand and said in all seriousness, "hmm, Mommy, you nails get too wong...time clip 'em short, wike Daddy's." Then he looked up at me, expectantly. I had two choices: 1) tell him something silly and condescending like, "oh, honey, mommies can have long nails, but daddies and little boys can't!" or 2) put my money where my mouth was and cut my gorgeous, well-manicured, prenatal vitamin enhanced nails to show my boy that rules sometimes do apply to everyone, whether they be big or small. Needless to say, today my nails (while still well-manicured) are a bit stumpy. # backfire #watchwhatyousay #parenting #sniff

Monday, January 5, 2015

Monthly (Half) Musings: January 2015

Happy New Year, you gorgeous people! I hope you've had a wonderful holiday season, and that getting back to the grind hasn't been too painful. Typically, I save my Musings for the end of the month, but with only five days under my belt this month, I've already logged so many that I thought I'd split them up--giving you some at the beginning and the rest at the end of the month--you know, like bookends. Here's to getting this shiny, new year off to a great start!

• On New Year's Day alone, I was cut off and aggressively tailgated by two muscle cars--one a BMW, the other a Dodge. Dear Muscle Car Drivers: if you don't want me to believe that you're over compensating for physical and/or mental deficiencies by your choice in automobile, please do yourselves a favor and refrain from such gross vehicular infractions, particularly while driving said muscle cars. That is all.

• No matter how strong the urge, do not go #2 in a public bathroom stall that you're sharing with a 3 year old. It won't be the semi-private experience you were hoping to have, trust me. #dontaskhowiknow #atleasthewasencouraging

• We just found out baby #2 is a girl (henceforth & forever to be known in this life and on this blog as Lady, short for Ladybug), and not a moment too soon, in my view. The menfolk in my house are currently holed up in the Bud's room, watching dinosaur fight scenes on YouTube. This baby is my last ditch effort to restore some balance around these parts. #outnumbered #desperate

• Thank God (and my friend Shannon) for maternity yoga pants. #namaste

• I had my first opportunity to park in one of those 'Expectant and New Mothers' parking spots the other day. Pulling out as I waited to pull in were two women in a truck with the windows rolled up, both taking deep drags from cigarettes. The driver met my eye with a "Prove I'm not pregnant; I'd really like to see you try," gleam in hers. Now I've seen it all. #secondhandsmoke #mustnotbeshowingyet

• How long can you expect to fear a little boy peeing in your eye? If you'd asked me an hour ago, I'd have said 'until he's 3 weeks old, probably.' That's the last time mine did it to me, anyway. I've since had to adjust that date to 'forever, and most likely, today could be the day.' Because he peed in my eye today. The only emergency eyewash kit I know about is not convenient to my house. #nodignity #unclean #OSHAfail

• Another perk of a second pregnancy: there's usually somebody else tagging along with very little credibility, and who still mostly agrees with everything I say, to blame for those uncontrolled toots that slip out in public. Plus, he thinks it's hilarious, so who am I to deny him joy? #winwin #threenager #noshame