Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Schooled by Logic

There are times when I think I may have made a big whopping mistake by breeding children. Those times have been relatively frequent for the past few weeks. I think the combination of mass amounts of snow, bitterly cold temperatures, a small house, the pressures of Christmas, an overworked husband, a teething baby and incredibly energetic children has just taken a good trouncing on my soul.

At times like this, I tend to forget that the kids are just They constantly do goofy-ass things that I don't understand. Take, for instance, the Middle One. Just this morning, she was running in circles (and no, that is not a figure of speech) on our rug in the living room. After watching her for about 3 minutes, and getting dizzier by the minute, I finally said, "Anni, knock it off. Quit running in circles."

Her response?

"But Mama, it makes me happy."

And there it was. The answer that kicked me in the ass just hard enough to make a dent in my at times too-thick skull.

What does every parent want for his/her child? Happiness. And I'm pretty sure the majority of us don't really care how that child achieves happiness, as long as it's safely.

Does it make any difference in my world if my kid wants to run in a circle in the living room? Not one bit. Do I get why she wants to do it? Not one bit. But if it makes her happy, am I going to let her do it, and probably 90% of anything else that might make her happy?

You bet your ass I am.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Times, They Are A'Changing

So, somehow I conned my husband into throwing a jewelry party for me. And by conned, I mean I suggested he call his buddy, who happens to run a bar, to see if it would be feasible for him to gather a group of men, in a bar, where there is both beer and greasy food, on a Sunday afternoon, during a football game.

Wait a minute...who exactly got conned here?

But I digress.

Anywho, he gets a few guys to show up, we get a few orders, we have a few drinks and everyone's having a good time. I had dropped the kids at my mom's for the afternoon and went back to hang at her house, leaving the husband and a few of his buddies at the bar for a couple more hours. I offered to be the designated driver (purely because inebriated men are much more likely to buy jewelry than sober ones) for anyone who needed a ride home.

So, I pick up the husband at 6pm. He's got one other guy who needs a ride home. The kids are in the middle seat, super excited to see their daddy. Husband rides shotgun. Buddy rides in the way back.

Now, let me paint you a more detailed picture of the men in this equation.

Husband stands at 6'2, usually sports a baseball hat, some sort of Carhartt jacket, works with his hands all day, avid hunter, would love to be an avid fisherman but has 3 kids and prefers to hunt. He's not overly macho, but you certainly wouldn't confuse him for a metrosexual (even though he does clean up real nice).

Buddy is shorter than husband, but built Mack truck style. Shaved head. Camo jacket. Also an avid hunter. Works with the husband, so knows the meaning of manual labor. The guy is completely hysterical, but if it came down to a fight, you'd definitely want him in your corner and not the other way around.

So, Husband and Buddy are a little schnockered, but not out of control. Kids are excited to have people to talk to in the car besides Mother Dearest (have I mentioned Middle Child has taken to calling me Mother at bedtime?). Husband decides some tunes are in order and is bragging to Buddy about the girls' ability to sing Jimmy Buffet songs. So, the whole car is rocking out to some Jimmy Buffet, girls and grown men having a grand old time.

Then, things take a slight turn.

Jimmy gets a little old, so Buddy starts asking the girls what other songs they know. He starts listing off songs (ABCs, Itsy-Bitsy Spider, Humpty Dumpty, etc.). The girls, of course, know all these songs, and more, and are eager to share their vocal incantations with Husband and Buddy. Next thing you know, 6'2 Husband and shave-headed Buddy are singing along, at the top of their lungs, Itsy-Bitsy Spider, complete with hand gestures.

Now, I'm pretty sure neither one of these big, tough guys ever really envisioned this moment in their lives, but I can tell you right now, it made me love both of them a little bit more and it's probably a moment none of us will forget.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sh*t Happens

This morning, my husband was home from work for a few hours, so I had a solo ride to pick up the oldest from preschool. I was sitting at a stoplight, looking at my fingernails (no, I'm not an abnormally vain person; I got acrylics put on for a friend's wedding a couple weeks ago and I'm still not used to the silly things). So, I'm looking at my nails and I notice something underneath the middle nail on my right hand. And upon closer examination, including the ever-important sniff test, I came to the following conclusion:

I had sh*t on my hands.

My youngest, god bless him, awoke from his nap happy as a clam and covered in sh*t. At this point, I'm running a little late to pick up the oldest and the husband in knee deep in plastic window covering and a "helpful" 3-year old, so it's up to me to de-sh*t the 10-month old. This involved in-depth wiping (at least 4 wipes, for you seasoned pros, so you know it was a messy one) and a complete wardrobe change. I get him situated, do a quick hand wash and hand him off to his dad so I can pick up the 4-year old.

Now, I've changed a few diapers in the past 4 years. If I had to guess, I'd say no less than 84, 612...but that's a rough estimate. And I can count the times, on one hand, that I've actually gotten sh*t on myself. And as I sat at the light (yes, this light is unusually long), I was amazed at the role sh*t has come to play in my life.

Before you have kids, sh*t isn't really something you talk about, and if you're a woman, it most certainly isn't something you ever DO. But once kids enter the equation, your life, to some extent, is ruled by sh*t. You talk about sh*t, you worry about sh*t, you discuss sh*t with pretty much anyone who will listen. It happens, people, sh*t happens.

For example, there was the time my oldest awoke from her nap covered in sh*t. (This seems to be a recurring theme in our house.) My oldest was around 9 months old and woke up from her nap COVERED, and I do mean COVERED, in sh*t. There was no special reason for the debacle. It was simply a lovely early summer afternoon, the husband and I were doing some yard work while the baby napped, and she decided to throw in a little something extra to make the day extra special. Upon discovery, I had no idea what to do with the kid. She was, as was her brother, happy as a clam and yet covered in sh*t. I didn't want to put her on the changing table, thinking it best to contain the sh*t if at all possible; I didn't want to put her in the tub with her clothes on, because it seemed to defeat the purpose if the sh*t got all over the clean tub before I even got any water in it. So, I, panic stricken by this point, rush around trying to find my husband, so one of us can hold the sh*itter, while the other one stripped her. Well, my darling husband apparently worked up a bit of a thirst mowing the lawn and walked down to the corner bar for a cold one, unbeknownst to me. You can imagine how thrilled I was to learn about that. Anywho, I finally attempt to strip the sh*tter while holding her, trying my best to not get sh*t anywhere else. And I was the master, let me tell you. I held her over the laundry sink, careful not to get sh*t on her face or in her hair. I thought, "Hell, this is a piece of cake. I'll get her stripped, stick her in the tub, hose her down and we're good to go."

And then it happened. I was so happy with my mothering capabilities and sh*t retention and ability to keep the sh*tter from crying, I kissed the little darling. And what did I kiss, you may be wondering?

I kissed sh*t. Not only did I kiss sh*t, I then got so grossed out when I realized that I kissed SH*T, that I wiped my mouth as fast as possible, only to spread the sneaky sh*t that was on my hand ALL ACROSS MY FACE.

That's right, folks. I was, quite literally, a sh*t head.

And as important as sh*t is in a parent's day to day life, it is more important that you don't leave your preschooler AT school once her day is over. And so, I drove, sh*t finger and all, to preschool to pick up the 4-year old. And I'm pretty sure no one knew, but even if they did, chances are good they've got a couple sh* t stories of their own and they'd be the last ones to judge.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rainbows, Puppy Kisses and Other Crap

This past Saturday I turned 34.

I like my birthday. Always have. I like getting presents, I like opening presents (ok, who are we kidding...I freaking LIVE for presents), I like getting a little extra attention, I like that I don't have to be in charge of the day but I can be if I want, I like eating whatever I want, I like making wishes - I pretty much like it all.

And I don't mind getting older. Although I will admit, 34 sounds a LOT older to me than 33 did. I do mind the gray hair that appears to be attached to my increasing age, but that's why someone got the bright idea to become a hairdresser, right? Just so I don't have to acknowledge my grays. Kudos, original hairdresser, whomever ye may be.

This year for my birthday, I decided to make some resolutions. For me, a new year begins with my birthday, rather than a calendar year. It just seems to make sense. I might make a few half-hearted attempts at a New Year's Resolution, but it's usually in the crapper by the end of that first week. So this year, instead of doing the New Year's thing, I'm going to start early.

Being a stay-at-home mom, I've found that's it's really easy for me to get stuck in a certain mindset. And for the past few months that mindset has been "Will this day never end, why can't it be bedtime, I'm so hungry I could eat my foot, will my stomach never be flat again, I'm so crabby I can barely see straight, where is the Chardonnay, why don't we EVER have enough chocolate in this house, why must this bra be so damned uncomfortable, oh great here's another friggin' bill, and if I ever see another gray hair on this head I'm going to lose my ever lovin' mind!" More or less. Usually more.

And quite honestly, I am sick to death of having this mindset, but it's a nasty old habit to break. I'm just not one of those naturally peppy, morning loving, puppy kissing, rainbow coming out of my ass kind of people. I tend toward the sarcastic, the dry, the realistic...and there's absolutely nothing wrong with these tendencies. What's wrong is getting so mired in looking only at the negative that my entire day is spent looking toward the end instead of appreciating the moment.

Part of this is because I am a planner...and right now I've got no plans.

Part of this is because I do the same thing, day in and day out, and it gets old.

Part of this is simply because it's easier to stay stuck that it is to break out of the muck.

But today (well, Saturday, actually), I made a resolution - a goal - a vow, to myself, to start digging out of the crap. To start appreciating the fact that my 4-year old is smart as hell and that's why she makes me crazy; to laugh more at the fact that my 3-year old is almost constantly in a state of undress; to look at my 9-month old, knowing that he's my last baby, and not want to rush him toward potty-training (like that would ever happen); to look at my husband at the end of the day and know that no matter how god damned tired we may be, we both did the best we could today.

And to know, above all, that what I'm doing now matters in a way that nothing else has really mattered before...and I'm not talking about being home with my kids. I can't honestly say that my kids are any better off with me being home than they would be in daycare. I don't know if that's true or not. And I don't really care, because it simply doesn't apply to my family right now. What does matter is that my kids have a mother who is deeply involved in their day to day lives, hopefully for the better, and that we're all in this together.

And hopefully, we'll all make it out alive. (Please refer to sarcasm comment above.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Sex Talk

Disclaimer: If you are my mother or will have trouble looking me in the eye the next time you see me, you probably don't want to read this.

So, my dear friend is getting married next week and I'm in the wedding. Technically, I'm the "matron" of honor, but I hate that word, so no one's allowed to call me that anywhere other than the program. In an effort to help her with her pre-wedding preparations, I sent her a big long list of things she needs to do. One of the items was as follows:

Pack a bag for the wedding night. Lingerie and some comfy clothes for the next day.

She responded with some sort of garbled choke about the idea of the lingerie. I told her to pack it simply for the sake of packing it. If it doesn't get used, no harm done. After the newly anointed husband has removed all the pins from her hair, helped her out of her heavy dress and applied balm to her blistered feet, the mood might be broken anyways. But chances are, they'll do the deed and crash for a few hours. The deed may not be orgasm-inducing, but there's something to be said for having sex (or making love) or whatever you want to call it, on your wedding night. It might not be great, but it will be the first time you do it as married people. It's a moment, if nothing else.

Having relayed this information, I got to thinking about the topic of sex and the various types of sex people have. No, I'm not a sexual deviant or anything like that. But all women know there are a lot of different kinds of sex to be had. And the types of sex evolve over the years...substantially.

Here are a few I've come across over the years:

New Relationship Sex: This is the type of sex that you have for about the first 3 months of a new relationship, provided, of course, you're sexually compatible. This sex is teeth-rattling, head-banging, dehydrating, note-taking worthy sex. You have sex at least 3 times a day, you drop everything in order to do it and you swear you've never had it this good. This sex is so all-consuming you rarely see the light of day, you eat in your bed and you run out of clean clothes. And you don't care even a little bit. You don't work out and you don't need're burning so many damn calories you could consume 6 Big Macs in a single sitting and not bat an eye. This sex is great, but only last for so long...because if it lasted for more than 3 months, you would both die. Literally. Death.

Relationship Sex: This is the sex that comes after New Relationship Sex. You've sustained yourselves long enough to have entered into a relationship, hopefully you don't have to worry about other "members" in your club, and you still do it as often as you want, but with more sleeping involved. It may not always be as excited as New Relationship Sex, but it won't kill you either.

Wedding Night Sex: I know this sex gets hyped a lot, but I don't get it. I suppose if you've never had sex before, (a topic hardly worth touching on, in all honesty) it's an extra-special night, but I don't know a single person who had mind-blowing sex on their wedding night. At the end of the day, you're tired, you're quite possibly hungry, maybe a little drunk and married. Save the good stuff for the morning and go to sleep already.

Pregnancy Sex: There are a lot of myths about pregnancy. The glow (it's oil), the crazy bursts of energy (never had even one) and horny pregnant women willing and able to take on and make up all sorts of crazy positions. My poor husband was so excited for the horny pregnant woman...he was sorely mistaken. Don't get me wrong...we had sex when I was pregnant. But was I jumping his bones twice a day, every day? Not a chance. At some point we did christen a new position though. We called it the Turtle. I would lay there, he'd attempt to curve his body over my huge belly, and sex happened. Neither one of us miss the Turtle, although it was always good for a laugh.

Barnyard Sex: This is post-pregnancy sex. And no, it's not at all what you're thinking. When the oldest was tiny, we'd put her in her barnyard play yard, so she would be occupied while we did the deed. To this day, that particular music drives us both wild.

Cartoon Sex: Hey, the kids have to be occupied by something if we're going to get around to it. They're too little to go outside and mow the lawn. The cartoons will have to suffice.

Multi-tasking Sex: Also known as Shower Sex. This folks, is multi-tasking at its finest. Not only do you get clean, your significant other gets to feel like they're getting some of the naughty stuff, and you can probably get the shower scrubbed down too. Win-Win-Win!

Late Night Random Sex: This is the good stuff. This is the stuff you have in the hopes of one day, when the children are all out of the house, regaining a little of the New Relationship Sex. It's the sex you have at the end of a long day, after the kids are in bed, maybe after a glass of wine or two, right as you're drifting off to sleep. One of you thinks, "Hey, why not give it a shot?" and after a little "convincing", the other thinks, "Yeah, what the hell, why not?" Time periods differ, but the end result is go-oo-od.

And you both wake up the next morning with a shit-eating grin on your face.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Heavy Gets Mushy

In our house, I am the Heavy. In your house, you may have a different name for this position - El Jefe, Enforcer, Sergeant, Captain Bossy Pants. Whatever you call it, chances are good there's at least one of you in your household...and chances are good that if you're one of the aforementioned persons, then you are NOT your kid's favorite parent.

I'm OK with being the Heavy. I'm home with the kids during the day, I spend the most time with them and I firmly believe they need a certain amount of rules and routines in their daily lives in order to make them functioning members of society. No, I don't expect them to be running a government by age 5, but I do expect them to be able to go to the grocery store and behave themselves in a reasonable manner so the store doesn't come crashing down around us.

Being the Heavy, however, has its pitfalls. I'm the one who says no - no, you can't have candy for breakfast; no, you can't throw your sister in the toilet; no, you can't stick your broccoli up your nose. I'm the one who tells them to be quiet when another sibling is sleeping; the one who makes them change their underwear; the one who makes them go to bed at night.

In essence, I'm not the Fun One.

For the most part, my husband gets to be the Fun One. And he's really good at it. Now don't get me wrong...he's perfectly capable of being the Heavy when he needs to be...and he backs me up when my Heavy-ness enters the equation. But by and large, he's the Fun One and also the Favorite.

When the Fun One enters the house after work, the girls shriek in delight and the baby can't get off my lap fast enough. The girls do everything in their tiny powers to keep the Fun One's full attention, while the baby bounces up and down, trying to get in the middle of the action. When the Fun One enters the building, the world comes to a screeching least our little corner of it.

The Fun One says he's the favorite only because he's not home enough. And I can see his point. I also know the Fun One says this to make me feel better. The Fun One is a smart man.

So, what, exactly is my point here?

My point is this:

The other night, all the kids were in bed, as were the Fun One and I. The house was quiet. It was dark. Everyone was where they were supposed to be, sleeping away the night. All of the sudden, my middle kiddo starts screaming in her sleep. She must've been having a bad dream. I woke up immediately, of course, since the Heavy is known for her listening prowess. The kiddo starts screaming, "Mama! MAMA!" I go in and check on her...she's still sound asleep, but restless from the dream. I tuck her back in, smooth away her hair, kiss her forehead. She quiets down and rolls over. I go back to bed.

As I get back into bed, everything once again in its place, I have an epiphany:

I may not be the Fun One, but I am the one all the kids call for in the middle of the night. I'm the one they call for when they need something - anything; be it soothing from a bad dream, a wipe for their butts, a kleenex for their noses, a cookie or a hug. Sure, the Fun One does all these things too, but in the clinch, they're all calling for the Heavy.

Being the Heavy can be a downer; it gets tiring being in charge of all the rules and regulations. But realizing the Heavy benefits, at 2 a.m., when the house is dark and quiet, is pretty freaking great.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm a WHAT?!?!

So, I'm a mom. And yet I wonder, how the hell did this actually happen?!?! (And yes, I do realize it's been a while since I've posted. So it goes.)

I've got friends who are moms. I've got friends who are dads. I'm a mom. My husband, bless his heart, is a dad. My mother and mother-in-law are moms. My father, step-father and father-in-law are dads. And although I do know the logistics of the birds and the bees, I continue to the hell did this happen?!?!

Yes, I know...I did the deed. My husband was there...he, indeed, took part in the deed-doing...and enjoyed it immensely, I might add. And yet, here we are, parents. And, I must confess, I'm sort of dumbfounded by the whole deal.

As of now, and for the past 4+ years, I've been in charge of another person's life. And as of today, I'm in charge of no less that 3 peoples' lives, in addition to at least a portion of my husband's life and, on a good day, at least 1/1oth of my own.

And do I know what I'm doing? I like to think so, but I'm not so sure that's actually a factual statement.

Take today, for example. Today, I went to conferences for my 4-year old. Yep, you read that correctly...I went to conferences for my 4-YEAR OLD. My oldest child does not yet participate in a full school day and she still has conferences. I would've preferred to drop her off at preschool for her 2.5 hour day, but instead I went to a 5 minute conference.

But I digress...

So, at her conference, I learned that the 4-year old can count to 30 (that's right, folks, the kid is, indeed, a genius), she has friends, knows her colors, knows her shapes, and likes to play in the kitchen.

I also learned that she has trouble with conflict resolution (read: she thinks the other kid is being "mean" when she goes to play something else) and has trouble deciding which hand to use when she cuts with scissors.

Now, as this child's mother, I can see why she would have trouble with conflict resolution, because before children, I was likely to hide my head in the sand rather than solve the problem in question. If I was upset with you about something, I could have a wicked fight with you, IN MY HEAD, and that would pretty much be the end of it.

As far as the scissors go, I'm blaming that on her father.

And as far as conferences go, I will tell you, in all sincerity, that I came home from conferences a little flustered. I know I've got a smart kid and I know I've got a good kid. And I fully expected the preschool teacher to tell me exactly that. And she didn't tell me that I don't have a smart or that I have a dumb kid (although that's probably not legal) and she didn't tell me that I've got a good or bad kid (again, a legality issue), but at the same time, she didn't tell me exactly what I planned on hearing.

And that wasn't her job.

Her job was to tell me what she sees in school, when my kid interacts with her and with other kids.

And my job, as a mother, is to realize, and accept, that the preschool teacher isn't my kid's mother, that she doesn't know every inch of my kid, that she doesn't know what my kid smelled like when she was born, that she doesn't know what my kid's favorite anything is, and that my kid, simply, is not her kid.

My job, as a mother, is to know that Abigail is ridiculously smart, cries at the thought of missing her father for a minute, loves the color purple (or pink or blue or green, depending on the day), prefers her broccoli with NO cheese, had a penchant for Barbie (in spite of her mother's best intentions) and tells knock-knock jokes that don't make any sense.

And while there are days when I don't have the slightest idea what I'm doing or why I'm doing it, I have all the confidence in the world that my kid, my Abigail, is going to be the best kid she can possibly be. And that some day, she will know which hand to use for scissors.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dirty Little Secret

Good Morning. My name is Maegan and I am a klepto. And it's all my kids' fault.

It started off innocently enough. Doesn't it always? When my oldest was 1, she had a prescription that needed to be filled monthly, so at least once a month, I'd put her in the stroller, the baby in the baby carrier, and we'd make the short trek up to Walgreens. Once there, I'd do a little shopping, but since my hands were full, I'd put stuff into the bottom of the stroller. I'd only pick up small things, like a bottle of water, some energy drinks, maybe a snack for the older kid. By the time I got up to the prescription counter, at least one of the kids was fussing, so I'd pay for the medicine and whatever happened to be in my hand. It never occurred to me to recall the items in the stroller...until I started walking home. Invariably, I'd get hot and thirsty on the way home, so I'd grab something cold from the bottom of the stroller and realize, "Crap. I didn't actually pay for this, did I?" But by that point, I'd be more than halfway home and I'll be damned if I'm going to walk all the way back to pay for something that I didn't actually mean to steal.

Since baby #3, it's only gotten worse. Now, whenever I go to the grocery store, I've got the baby in the front of the cart, usually at least one other kid in the cart and the other one hanging off the sides. Fragile things like eggs and bananas must be kept away from kicking legs of destruction, cases of Diet Coke tend to squish small bodies, and so they are squirreled away at the bottom of the cart. Once it's time to pay, it's every man for himself as I attempt to keep 2 kids from pushing the buttons on the conveyor belt, because the teenager who rings me up likes to put the bread in front of the canned goods. I need to contain 2 energy-laden bodies within a 2-foot radius so they don't get run over by an 80-year old woman's scooter cart, hand over coupons, stick a nuk back in a baby's mouth, bag groceries, pay for groceries, answer at least 80 different questions, get the groceries in the cart, get my change, check the receipt, corral 2 kids through the parking lot, put 3 kids in car seats, unload groceries, and return a cart to the corral...all in preferably under 7 minutes...or one kid is sure to blow. So, do I remember the various sundries on the bottom of my cart? Sure, I do. Once I start unloading the damn thing. And by that point, I've got 3 kids loaded into a car, as well as perishable groceries, and I'll be damned if I'm going to go back into the store and pay for the stuff the on the bottom of my cart.

Really, I don't steal on purpose. And I'm sure most kleptos say the same thing. But the way I figure it, I've left plenty of paid items in stores since I've had kids. I have no idea what they are, but I'm sure I've done it. And technically, it's the cashier's job to check for items on the bottom of carts. If my 3 and 4-year olds know there are mirrors on the side of the cashier's booth, then the cashier should know they're there too. I never steal stuff from Sam's Club, because they automatically check the bottoms of carts. In fact, they encourage you to leave things there! Imagine that!

So, am I sorry I steal stuff? A little. Will I encourage my children to steal stuff? Absolutely not. But if there comes a day when they have kids of their own, and they're tired and under-caffeinated and happen to shoplift a few things, unintentionally of course, I will laugh with them and direct them to this post.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a chilled Diet Coke calling my name...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

And the Award Goes to...

Yesterday, I won an award. It's a self-nominated award, but it's an award nonetheless. Care to know what it is?

World's Worst Mother.

That's right folks. For August 23, 2010, I, Maegan Schmidt, was the world's worst mother. No, I didn't beat the children or leave them on the side of the road or feed them to alligators, but the title still remains.

Here's why:

I started the day with excellent expectations. I have the girls scheduled for gymnastics camp all week and they were really excited to go. I bought myself an egg timer over the weekend with grandiose thoughts of trying out a new cleaning regimen (15 minutes per room) and achieving a sparkling house. It was supposed to be wicked hot yesterday, which it was, but then it's supposed to turn into a beautiful week. The State Fair starts this week. We got a big check in the mail from one of my husband's recent jobs. All should've been right with the world.

Here's what really happened:

We started off the day with a 6am voicemail from an unhappy customer wanting some sort of recompense on her floor, because the color didn't match the sample. She never actually saw a sample, so technically it would be IMPOSSIBLE to match, but apparently, that's neither here nor there. So, job stress to start off the hubby's day. Sweet. But I was not to be deterred.

The little girl woke up with a dry pull up! Score 1 for the day. She went potty on the potty, I cheered, we were right back on track for the excellent Monday. A little while later, she pooped in her pull up. I was deflated, but very good about simply reminding her she needs to poop in the potty and not her pull up. We get her changed and we're right back on track.

After about 4 tries, which is 2 more than usual, I finally get the baby down for his nap. Rather than start my magical new cleaning routine, I sit down in front of the computer. For WAY too long. And the day starts taking it's turn...

Baby wakes up and refuses to eat like the usual machine he is. He's moving around, won't sit in my lap, keeps stretching out his legs, wants to stand and is getting cranky because he's hungry, but won't eat. Sigh. In the meantime, the girls have asked approximately 80,000 times if it's time for gymnastics yet.

I feed the girls lunch, we do potty breaks, put on our leotards, get the hair done, finally get the baby fed enough to get him through the 35 minute car ride to the gymnastics center. I go to change the baby and Little Girl poops in her pull up...AGAIN. Enter awards time...I completely lose my mind and YELL, yes, actually YELL at a 3-year old for pooping in her pull up. She looks at me, completely nonplussed, with a dead stare. I want to throttle her. I ask her why she pooped in her pull up, which I know to be a stupid question, and she shrugs and says, "Because I wanted to." I leave the room, attempt to compose myself, do a miserable job of it, get her changed, apologize for having yelled at her, explaining Mommy shouldn't have done that and she's VERY sorry, and load the kids into the car.

On the ride to gymnastics, my car is a cacophony of noises that I simply cannot tolerate. The oldest has taken to making noise simply for the sake of making noise and it makes me nuts. On any given day, it makes me nuts; yesterday, it made me quasi-murderous. I asked repeatedly for her to be quiet, or to just talk to the baby with words and she simply would not do it. My husband called on the way over and I confessed my horrible yelling moment. He asked if I made the Little Girl cry; I confessed that I did. He just sort of sighed, made murmurings about understanding my frustration and told me she forgave me. I reiterated the fact that I'm the World's Worst Potty Trainer, in addition to several other areas in which I completely suck and hung up the phone.

Got the girls dropped off at gymnastics. They were excited. I was excited. Took the baby over to Barnes and Noble, bought myself a high calorie coffee, thinking that would be a quick fix to my craptastic day, ordered a sandwich from a snotty barista and prepared to settle in to write out Little Girl's birthday party thank you notes. Baby had other ideas. First he wanted to eat. Then he didn't want to eat. Then he wanted to eat my sandwich and drink my coffee. I finally relented a bit with the sandwich, just to stop him from yelling at me. I tried to get him to sleep. No dice. I scarfed down my sandwich and we went off to Petsmart to pick up 40 pounds of dog and cat food. Baby finally fell asleep on the ride back to gymnastics, over 2 hours past his regular nap time. I thought I'd get at least an hour to read my book, so I went into the gymnastics studio, careful not to wake the baby. He slept like an angel until I set down the car seat. Then all hell broke loose.

He wanted to get out. NOW. He wanted to crawl. He wanted to climb on me. He wanted to pinch and pull my hair and yank on my necklace and scratch and chew on my face. And all I wanted was one hour of peace, quiet and no one touching me. So, now I'm crabby at a 6-month old who won't do what I want. I mean really, how dare a 6-month old not do what his mother wants! I feed this little bugger on an instant basis!

Everyone falls asleep on the way home. Husband calls and says he's going to be home...late. Perfect. Get home. Think a picnic is a good idea for dinner. Open the fridge and a shelf comes crashing down, spilling bottles of various condiments across the kitchen floor. Get the girls' picnic ready, get baby's bottle ready, come back to find the girls stabbing each other with toothpicks. Baby fights me through 8 oz. Girls are making so much noise, none of which appear to be words, my head is buzzing. Baby refuses to sit still. Room starts spinning. Girls finish dinner and I send them upstairs to watch a movie. Baby is cranky so I attempt to put him to bed. He starts screaming. I leave him in his crib, hoping and praying he'll just fall asleep. He does not. I go downstairs, try to open a bottle of wine and THE CORK IS STUCK. I burst into tears. "Mother's Little Helper" my ass! Baby is still screaming. I go upstairs, pick up the baby, shove a nuk in his mouth and go sit on the couch. Baby sits still for a moment and then starts climbing all over me again. I'm just staring into space, thinking "Did I make these creatures on purpose? What the hell was I thinking?" Husband shows up a few minutes later, says hello to the girls, opens my bottle of wine and takes the baby. I think the day might be done.

Oh no.

You see, I still have 3 children to put to bed. And in the process, they will break me. The oldest takes over 10 minutes to get her jammies on. While I'm literally standing there watching her. The Little Girl refuses to go potty, so I have to pick her up, physically strip her clothes off and put her on the toilet. The baby starts screaming again. I finally get the girls into bed and the oldest has the audacity to ask me for a kiss good night. I do it, but I so did not want to. Baby is still screaming. Husband and I go downstairs, where I'm forced to watch Antiques Roadshow. Baby is still screaming. Husband tries to get baby to sleep. Unsuccessful. He comes downstairs about 3o minutes later. Baby is still screaming. I go up with a few ounces of formula. He takes about 4 sips. I lay down with him. He falls asleep in about 25 seconds. I'm still dressed, but I'll be damned if I'm going to move. I get him in his crib about 45 minutes later and I'm cooked. Burnt to a crisp.

So, folks, that's how I earned the World's Worst Mother award, at least for yesterday. Like I said, I didn't beat the children, but I did yell and say some truly awful things in my head. It was a day over which I had absolutely no control and it showed in every single movement I took. It was terrible, it was horrible, it was awful, it was no was a VERY BAD day.

And why do I tell you this? Because maybe you need to feel like you're better than other mothers out there. Or maybe you need to feel like you're not alone. Or maybe you need a good laugh. Whatever the reason, embrace it, embrace your kids, embrace any peace and quiet you can get, and hopefully we'll all make it through one more day.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Suck It, Barbie

So, I've been running. Well, I call it running, but it's more of a mishmash of running (1%), jogging (85%), walking (10%) and limping (4%), combined with a LOT of sweating, a plethora of cursing and so much head shaking (as to why exactly am I doing this god awful activity) that I get dizzy.

Not only am I running, but I get up early to do it. Yet another conundrum in my world. I am the furthest thing from a morning person. Hell, I'm barely an afternoon person and only a semi evening person. I'm a sleeping person. And yet, 4 days a week, I get up early, like in the 5am region, to go for a run. My husband is both amazed and impressed that I'm doing this. That makes me feel a little better.

When I am out on my runs, I happen upon various specimens of humanity. Take this past Saturday. As I trudged through 12 miles of humidity and wind, I encountered:

1. Creepy Guy. Chances are good he was perfectly harmless, but he was out for a walk at an early hour, wearing long pants and a grungy t-shirt. I noted all distinguishing features, noted my escape route and picked up my pace a little. I'm sure I had my bad ass expression on too, so even if he was Creepy Attack Guy, he knew he couldn't take me.

2. College Girl. She was adorable in her ponytail, fresh face and ipod. She didn't know what a wrinkle was, most likely had no kids at home waiting for her return, only had to wash her own laundry, didn't know the benefits of 2-day old coffee and had yet to experience her first gray hair. She said hello pleasantly and went on her merry way. She made me a bit wistful.

3. Middle-Aged Lady. I don't really know what middle-aged means, because for some strange reason that particular age gets further away the older I get. I don't think I'll ever reach it. In my world, middle-aged is like my mom's age. This lady was a little heavier set, rockin' the arm weights, doing her morning exercise. It looked like it was a new routine for her, like she was doing her best to get healthier but wasn't about to not eat that baked potato at dinner that night. Rock on Middle-Aged Lady. Good for you for working out and doing your thing.

4. Victoria Secret Model and Abercrombie Man. You know these two...the chick in the size 0 super short shorts and running bra and the bronzed dude sporting an 8-pack and sunglasses. They bopped along, perfectly timed, glistening in the sunshine. If they were dead white, I swear they would've been vampires. I just shook my head and kept sweating.

5. The Mom. We ran past each other twice. We both wore determined faces and you could tell we were both trying to enjoy some alone time, but instead, were making various lists in our heads. We sort of smiled at each other, shook our heads in the "can you believe we got up early to do this" way that only 2 non-runners can easily interpret and moved past each other, each thinking, "I wonder how much shit she has to do when she gets home."

6. The Barbie. This was the 45-year old woman with the blond ponytail, swinging in timed perfection. She had on a pink tank and black bike shorts. Her stomach was perfectly flat and I instantly hated her. Yeah, I know, she probably hasn't had a kid in the past 5 months, but still. It's the principle of the thing. A woman 10+ years my senior should not have pants smaller than mine. It's simply wrong and it makes me bitter. It made me even more bitter when she wished me "Good Morning" in a voice so chipper and sweet it made my teeth ache. I wished her a good morning as well and continued on my run. As we went on our merry ways, I comforted myself with the following thought:

Well, maybe she's actually only 23 and never had a child and just looks REALLY old.

It could happen, right?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Guilt Free Parenting

Yesterday was a day at my house. Yes, I realize it was, for all intents and purposes, a day at everyone's house, but it was one of those days at my house. The girls were coming down from a sleepover/birthday party high, which means a little extra brattiness, a little extra sass and a whole lot more arguing over who gets to play with the new toys. I was exhausted from hosting the birthday party, the house needed to be re-cleaned, the children still needed to eat at regular intervals, I lost the 3-hour potty training poop battle I had raging with my 2 year get the picture. By 3pm, I was cranky and didn't want to do anything other than sit down with my book and a glass of wine. I gave serious consideration to calling the high school girl who sits for us on occasion, just so I could get away from the noise for a couple hours. But, it was a little late to call her, so I hopped on Facebook for a few minutes and ended up IM'ing for a few minutes with a friend down in AZ. Getting a little adult interaction helped quell the crabbies. My friend doesn't have kids, but she did live with me for a few years, so she understands my natural introversion and the necessity of naps in my world. As I rarely get a nap these days, I think she's just impressed my head isn't doing an exorcist move most days.

After a quick chat, I slathered up the girls in sunscreen, turned on their new Hello Kitty sprinkler, put the baby down for a nap, grabbed my book and poured a glass of wine. I felt a little guilty about it. My husband worked like a crazy man all last week and this week he's doing it again. His job is very physical and he comes home tired and sore pretty much every day. He rarely works less than a 10 hour day and here I was, with my book in hand, sipping some Chardonnay. Sure, I felt a little guilty. But then I thought: So what? A little guilt isn't going to make this day any worse at this point. I need a little break and I'll be damned if I'm not going to take it. I'm going to sit here, relax for a bit, let the kids play and then get dinner started. I'm not totally checking out for the evening. Just for an hour or so. That's reasonable, right?

So, I took my "break", got interrupted about 7,000 times and the day continued as it always does. The world did not come to a screeching halt because I read my book for a few minutes and wasn't 100% immersed in the land of 2 and 3 year olds.

And maybe a little guilt isn't really that big of a deal. Hell, I was raised Catholic...I've got it down by now.

By the by, my friend also sent me this link last night. Perfectly topic appropriate, right?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Back to Me

I don't know about you, but if you have kids, and I've got 3 of the little buggers, your life can easily take on a whole new direction. Particularly where small children are concerned, they have immediate needs, on a minute-to-minute basis, that must be met as soon as humanly possible. Butts need to be hosed down, tummies need to be filled, noses need to be wiped, entertainment needs to be get the idea. As they get older, they can wait a little longer for certain things, but by and large, the majority of a parent's day is spent bowing down to the whims of those 42 inches and shorter. It's sort of like a reverse ride at get taken for a ride over and over, but you're kind of getting the short end of the stick.

Now, my kids are pretty young. We're coming up on birthday season in our house. My oldest will be 4, the middle will be 3 and the youngest is 4 months today. With younger kids, you need to be "on" for a majority of the day. You can choose to be off, but you're pretty much guaranteed a huge mess somewhere that's extraordinarily difficult to clean, so it really does behoove you to be "on". Now, I made a conscious decision to have children. I knew it would be a lot of work; well, truthfully, I had an idea it would be a lot of work, but it's one of those things you don't really know until it happens. And most days, I take the work willingly. I figure if I made a conscious decision to have children, the least I can do is pay attention to them and try and help them become people other people will want to be around on a regular basis. That being said, I also find my own life lacking a bit. Like part of me is hiding somewhere. And that part really wants to come out and play.

Before kids, I thought I was a pretty good person. I liked being around me. Other people didn't seem to mind being around me. But once the kids showed up, I spent a lot more time at home and sort of became encamped there. When I was pregnant, that took over my life. When the baby was born, that took over my life. As the baby got older, I was still nursing, so that was still a major part of daily life. But now we're at the point where we're done having kids (much to my husband's relief) and I feel like it's a really great time for me to be looking toward the future and to get some "me" back. Yes, I'll still be the mom, but I'll also be the Maegan. Sure, I'll be answering to "Mom" (and all it's various forms) far more often than I'll be answering to my given name, but at least Maegan will be back in the game.

To that end, I've set myself a couple goals. And if other people know about those goals, then I'll be a little more likely to stick to them, so here they are:

1. I'm going to run the marathon. I attempted to do this 2 years ago and made it halfway. I thought that was pretty good, because I am SO not a runner. But this time I want to finish the damn thing. I don't need to do it in record time. I don't need to look pretty doing it. I just need to finish. I started training this week. And it's not pretty. But I'm doing it...and at an obscenely, horrendously early hour in the morning...before the kids wake up. I figure that way I start the day with just myself to worry about...and I get gratifying looks of astonishment when people ask me what time I woke up that morning.

2. I'm going to take a sewing class. It's something I've wanted to do for years. I have no idea why, really, but I want to, so I'm going to. And (gasp) I'm hiring a babysitter so I can actually do it. Watch out!

3. I'm going to put a lot more effort into my new-ish business venture. I started selling a jewelry line a couple months before #3 arrived and it's been relatively successful. Now I just need to get into the habit of keeping the ball rolling. It's a lot easier to keep it rolling than it is to start it up again every few weeks.

So, there you have it. A few goals for yours truly. Perhaps you have some goals for yourself you've been putting off...feel free to leave a comment about your goals. Maybe it'll help you keep yourself accountable. Or maybe just thinking about them a little more often will be the fire you need to get you going. However you choose to get around to your goals, I wish you success. Please let me know how they turn out...I'll be rooting for you.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go pop a few ibuprofen because my legs are killing me...and I need to call the sewing shop and register for my class.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Public Service Announcement

This afternoon, my husband and I and our 3 kids met another couple and their 2 kids at a local restaurant for an impromptu lunch. Now, I tend to think my kids are incredibly well-behaved and know how to act in a restaurant, but I also know that every child has his/her limits. My kids are still quite young, so their limits are that much more, for lack of a better word, limited.

Prior to motherhood, I worked a variety of jobs. Most of them were restaurant-based. I've washed dishes, cooked, waited tables, run food, tended bar, managed. Pretty much anything you can do in a restaurant, I've done. With that being said, I have very specific expectations of my children when they are in restaurants, because I've been on the other side of the equation. You know...the side that has to clean up the smashed Saltines, the plates filled with various liquid substances, the tables covered in unknown goo.

And so, dear readers, I offer you this public service announcement. Please feel free to pass along these helpful hints to your family and friends and any stranger on the street. Your local service industry worker will love you all the more for it.

1. While you may think your children are God's gift to this earth, your server could pretty much care less. Your server is there because it is his/her job, not because s/he is extra excited to see your kid, who is more likely than not, going to make a mess in said server's section.

2. Maintain your child. Request a booth, if at all possible, and put your children ON THE INSIDE. As you well know, children have a tendency to escape small areas and sitting on the outside of a bench is simply too much for their little bodies to bear. They must escape, in which case, they run the risk of being run into by someone carrying a tray full of heavy plates containing (hopefully) hot food or a bevy of beverages in hefty glassware. If you don't want your kid to get clonked in the head with a steaming plate of hot turkey sandwich, put them on the inside of the table. Now, I'm not saying you, the parent, won't get clonked in the head with a steaming plate of hot turkey sandwich covered in gravy, but if you're nice to your server, you stand a pretty good chance of a safe delivery.

3. The restaurant does not stock Saltines in order to appease your child's pre-meal appetite. Bring your own snacks. And if your kid spills said snack all over the floor, apologize for the mess and tip a little extra.

4. Use plates. I'm assuming your child eats off a plate at your house. Same rules apply in a restaurant. And if your kid refuses to comply and makes a huge mess all over the table, again, apologize and tip a little extra. Are you seeing a pattern here?

5. If your kid turns into a screaming banshee over the course of the meal and people are starting to stare, take the kid out of the restaurant. People will love you for it and most of them will give you sympathetic smiles as you walk past, as opposed to murderous stares if you stay. Kids have fits. People know that. People understand that. People do not need to be subjected to it longer than necessary though.

6. Yes, your child should eventually learn to order for him/herself. But if it's an hour before a hockey game, the restaurant is jam-packed, and your server is running around frantically trying to keep all his/her customers happy, now is NOT the time to encourage little Jimmy to practice his ordering skills. Just place the order and be done with it.

7. The steps in any restaurant are not your child's personal playground. Especially if your child is a toddler. Do you have any idea how many shoes have stepped in God knows what before you let your child crawl up those stairs? You cannot be certain those wet spots are water, people, and little Suzie isn't legally allowed to drink until she's 21. Shudder.

8. Don't blame your server when your child's chicken fingers are delivered and they're hot. Hello! They're cooked in a vat of hot oil! They're gonna be hot.

9. If you're eating at a place that serves liquor, chances are good it doesn't serve chocolate milk or apple juice. If your kid's gonna have a fit, bring your own. No, your server won't make it for you "special." And believe me, you don't want to be messing with "special" orders, particularly on a busy night. You've seeing "Waiting".

10. Even if your kid is really good and does well in a restaurant, they can only stay for so long. Keep that in mind when you order. If you have to eat in shifts, do it. If you're extra smart, you'll order the kid's food when you place your drink order. That way you won't have to deal with hungry kid. Sure, when your food comes, you'll have to deal with fidgety kid, but that's a whole lot easier that dealing with cranky, hungry kid. And no, you won't get to eat your food when it's hot, because you'll be dealing with fidgety kid, but you're the one who wanted to go to a restaurant. What did you expect?

And always remember people:

When in doubt, tip a little more.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Some of you may think Mother's Day is a Hallmark holiday. Apparently, we have a woman named Anna Jarvis to thank for the holiday and not Hallmark. See her story here:

Regardless about how the holiday came about, I've just got to say:

Hell, yes, I deserve a day dedicated to me!

And who am I, you may ask? Well, I'll tell you:

I'm the woman who carried you for 9 months. I didn't have morning sickness...but I could have.

I'm the woman who suffered through sleep deprived nights before you even arrived. I let you kick me in the liver, dance on my bladder and bruise my ribs.

I let you suck the blond out of my hair (I still miss it sometimes), make me look like an idiot for 9 months because I was too freaked out to color my hair while you were inside me and dealt with the fact that I shed like a woolly mammoth for months after you were born.

I let you exit my body the "natural" way. And let me tell you, there's nothing natural about 10 cm, salad tongs, vacuums, episiotomies, stitches in the lady parts, the post-partum poop episode(S) or post-partum hemorrhoids.

I let you eat from my body. That is wacky in a way nothing else can be considered wacky...and let me just mention - bloody nipples.

I let you wake me up whenever you want. For as long as you wanted.

I clean up god knows what just came out of your body. From either end. All over me.

These are just a few of the things I do and/or have done for you. And, yes, I do them willingly and with love. But that doesn't mean I don't like a little thank you now and then.

If you are a mom, Happy Mother's Day to you. If you have a mom, Happy Mother's Day to her. Believe me, you and she deserve it.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My Biggest Fear

My (current) biggest fear is that I will have to drive a minivan...and soon. But this makes it all a little better:

Monday, May 3, 2010

Off Her Game

A friend of mine came over on Friday evening. She brought her 3 kids with and all the kids "ate" dinner together. The babies hung out together on the floor, the 3 girls ran around the house in various states of undress and the 2-year old boy chased my cat for about an hour. The mom and I shared a glass of wine, which consisted of about 3 sips apiece by the time she and the kids got back in the car. It was a chaotic evening, but exactly what one would expect from a house filled with 6 kids, ages 4 and under, at the dinnertime hour.

Later that night, I got an email from my friend in which she apologized for the chaos and for being "off her game."

I promptly returned her email and informed her there was no need for an apology and I had no idea she was even close to off her game.

Here's the thing moms: No one knows when you're off your game. You might feel like you've lost all control, you might be more sensitive to the noise at a certain point, you might feel like you're chewing glass, but no one else can tell. Sure, if you're screaming and the neighbors down the street can hear you, then you've entered into the danger zone. Child services may be on their way. But if you're doing the job, the kids are fed, butts are clean and at least 1 of your 3 children are smiling, on a rotating basis, then you're good. You might not feel good, but they do.

And there's no need to apologize for that.

Friday, April 30, 2010


Last night, my two oldest were complete stinkers at bedtime. It was the end of a long day - they hadn't taken naps, they were tired, I needed some quiet, their dad was at a reunion party so I had no interference being run, the baby was get the picture. So, when I went upstairs at 8pm, an hour after they should've been asleep, I threatened to take precious items if I had to come upstairs again. Usually, just the threat is enough.

Last night was not that night.

I let things go on for a while, because, honestly, I don't like to take their things away. It's not a warm, fuzzy feeling in my world. But by 9:15, a full two hours past bedtime, they were still going strong and I WAS NOT. So, I went upstairs, pulled them off the floor (they were hiding under one's comforter and screaming at each other at dog-level decibels) and took Blankie (those of you whose children have a Blankie understand the importance of the capitalization) from the youngest. She knew I was serious, got into bed and went to sleep.

Next up, the oldest. She doesn't have a particular precious. She has rotating preciouses and, truth be told, I didn't know which item it was yesterday. She has a kitty pillow she sleeps on every night, so I thought that was a safe bet. I took kitty pillow.

She said, "I can sleep without kitty pillow."


I have no idea how old I was. I don't even know what my sister and I were doing to get in trouble, but my mother had completely had it. We each got a spanking. A good, old-fashioned, over-the-knee spanking. (And I share this story not for the capital punishment angle, but mostly because my mother has the upper arm strength of a gnat, so don't think she was some 6'4 linebacker or something like that.) So, I got spanked first. I was properly apologetic for my misdoings.

Next up: baby sister.

She gets her spanking, stands up and says the stupidest thing you could EVER say to a mother so at her wits end she's resorted to spanking.

She said, while looking my mother dead in the eye, "That didn't hurt."

Well, let's just say, the next one, immediately following said statement, did hurt. And, apparently, baby sister learned a valuable lesson - when getting spanked, keep your mouth shut and nobody gets hurt.

It was the one and only time I remember getting spanked. I'm certain the only reason I remember it is because of my sister's ill-timed remark. Because, as she said, it didn't hurt.

Flash foward.

My 3-year old tells me she can sleep just fine without kitty pillow. I see red. I hear ocean waves in my ears. I take a deep breath, force myself not to scream. I start removing precious items from said 3-year old's bed at lightning speed. By the time I'm done, she's lucky she's still wearing pajamas. I look at her. She looks at me, mouth agape and eyes wide. I ask her if I should continue. She shakes her head and lies her head on her pillow. I say good night, shut off the light, close the door, walk downstairs, still slightly shaking, and drain my glass of wine. I watch tv for a little longer, put the baby to bed, get ready for bed myself. I go in to check on the older 2, shortly after 10pm. They are both blissfully asleep. I breathe a sigh of relief, praying tomorrow's bedtime will go more smoothly.

Then, I wimp out and return Blankie and kitty pillow to their rightful owners.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dance Dance Revolution

This year, I decided the girls needed an activity to do, so I signed them up for dance class. I wasn't sure if they'd like it or not, but they absolutely LOVE it. They get so excited every week when I tell them it's a dance class day. The older one takes a tap/ballet combo and the younger one just has ballet. They have the same teacher, whom they ADORE. All in all, it's been a really good experience for all of us.

At the end of the year, the kids have a recital. Each class puts on a little group performance. They have special costumes. They have to wear their hair a certain way. They may wear makeup. They also have Picture Day.

Cue "Jaws" music.

This was my first experience with Picture Day. And what I've deemed the Pageant Mom. Pageant Mom is a scary beast, let me tell you. I was afraid...very afraid. And I don't live anywhere close to Texas. That's where I think the scariest PMs live. But I could be wrong.

So, here's the deal: When they sent home information about pictures, they essentially told us the kids needed to wear their costumes. That was really the only instruction. For the recital, they need to wear their hair a certain way and we may want to consider putting a little blush on the kids so they don't get washed out under the stage lights. But for pictures, they didn't need to do anything special aside from wear their costumes and show up at the appointed time.

The 2-year olds' class went off without a hitch. The kids were adorable. They did their individual shots, then a group shot, got their suckers for being troopers and off we went.

I assumed the 3-year old class would go the same way.

Well, you know what they say about assuming things. Only this time, I wasn't the you-know-what.

Apparently, once a little girl hits the ripe old age of 3, the PM comes out in full force. And a force it is.

So, I'm sitting in the hallway, with my 3-year old. She's cute as can be in her little costume and her naked little face.

Then the other 3-year olds start rolling in. It was like a freaking Jon Benet Ramsey parade. And if you've seen the pictures of that kid, then you know what freaky looks like! These 3-year olds had on mascara, eye shadow, blush and sparkly lip gloss. Hair was curled and sprayed within an inch of its life. Moms were fussing over exactly where the hair should fall over the shoulder. They're working on poses. It was all I could do to not stare.

The advice I gave my kid? Smile with teeth. And please god, don't look at these other girls, and their crazy ass mothers, and think "Hey, they're prettier than me."

Something tells me I might not be cut out for the world of dance. Or, perhaps, my kid will be the one who says, "Mommy? Do I have to wear this crap* on my face? It feels funny. I'd rather make mud pies."

*Ok, so she better not say "crap" but we'll all know that's what she means.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Work for It

A friend's post today was about the lack of an immediate "bond" with his kids after he and his wife adopted.

You can read his post here:

This got me to thinking...

While he had a little warning, not to expect a Hallmark moment the second he met his kids, birth parents don't really get this warning. And, to be honest, they need one. Especially if birth parents have more than one child. The first kid sort of lucks out...there's a newness never experienced by the parent. Every smile has a nuance, every cry is immediately answered, every diaper is barely wet before it's changed, every bottle is warmed to the perfect temperature. For every child after that, I have a piece of advice for you:

You gotta work for it.

It's not that second and subsequent children aren't loved. It's simply that the connection takes longer to build. The newness of the first child isn't there anymore. Parents have heard all the cries, have been through the sleepless nights and they're over it. And here's the kicker...nobody tells you it's ok to not be over the moon over your latter children, or even your first, for that matter. Nobody says, "Hey, you know what? You might not like your kid too much the first few months. You might resent the hell out of that baby for ruining your sleep and your ability to function like a human in the daylight hours. You might feel like you need liquor on a more consistent basis. You might have a shorter temper with your first born. AND IT'S OK."

Well, you know what? It is ok. And 99% of the time, that feeling will subside. I don't know if it's different for dads, but I know it was very different the 2nd and 3rd time around for my husband. It took him a full month to connect with our 2nd. Up until then, he was tired, I was a wreck, neither one of us knew which end was up and the baby gave him nothing. Then, on her one month birthday, he was holding her, talking to her and she cooed at him. I saw the whole thing happen. His shoulders relaxed, the two of them had an in-depth conversation, he looked over at me and said, "Ok, she got me now. We can keep her." I nodded my assent and they've been inseparable ever since. The same thing happened with number 3. We get to keep him too.

So, if you've got more than one kid, know it's ok to not be over the moon immediately. It will, most likely, come. In the meantime, give yourself a break and remember that LOTS of other parents have experienced the same thing.

And most of those parents did, in fact, keep their kids.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mission Completion

Anyone of you familiar with Little Einsteins? Every episode they have a mission to complete and at the end of their mission, once they've completed what they've set out to do, they yell, "Mission completion!" and do a little song and dance.

Well, I'm in my office/playroom, listening to the girls watch a Strawberry Shortcake video before they head off to bed, and I'm doing an internal song and dance.

I set out to blog for 30 days straight. Today is 31. MISSION COMPLETION!

Granted, some days' posts were on the lame side. But creativity cannot flow at gush level everyday. Some days you need a little help. Regardless, I set out to blog for 30 days in a row and that goal I accomplished. I'm quite pleased with myself. They say it takes 30 days for something to become a habit. I'm not sure whether or not that's true, but I do know that for the past 30 days the idea of posting was always in the back of my head, until I got the post for the day done. I think that's half the battle. The other half was coming up with an idea and actually getting it written.

Now, it's time for a new goal. I'm pretty sure post-pregnancy abs take longer than 30 days to fix (as it were), but I've got a wedding coming up in November and I think I better get on the stick now. In the meantime, I think I'll keep going with the blogging. I'll make a sincere attempt to do it daily, but on the days when I'm too tired, I might just give myself a break. And that will be just fine with me.

Now, onward and upward dear readers! And feel free to drop and give me 20 for the next 30 days. No pain, no gain, right? Lord knows that's the only way the 3 children exited the premises...lots of pain, preceded by a good chunk of gain.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Best and Worst

When it comes to parenting, there's the good, the bad and the ugly.

Here's an article looking at the best and worst parts of motherhood:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Laugh of the Day

This morning, the kids and I walked to the bank. On our way there, we pass a bunch of little stores and the girls get a kick out of looking in all the store windows. One store is a little religious goods store and they have various Nativity scene figurines in the storefront. My oldest was particularly interested in finding a specific figure:

Child: Hey Mom!

Me: Yes?

Child: Where's baby Jeez?

Me: Who?

Child: You know, baby Jeez? Where is he?

My thoughts here are twofold:


1. My oldest is on a real familiar footing with baby Jesus.


2. I'm getting a lot better at not swearing.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Motherhood Quiz

Everyone has a different opinion on motherhood.

What's yours?

Take a quiz here:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

To Coexist or Not Coexist

I was trolling through the Web, looking for some writing ideas and I came across an interesting article. I'm not specifically endorsing any products here, but the article itself is rather interesting.

Check it out here:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Perspectives on Motherhood

Tonight is an amazing night in my house. Tonight, there is absolute quiet in my house. Tonight, there are no children in my house.

How we lucked into this night, I have no idea. Nor do I have any complaints. My girls do the occasional sleepover at the grandparents' or aunts' houses and tonight is one of those nights. My mother actually offered to take my oldest overnight, but we had already planned for the girls to go to my sister-in-laws, so I jokingly offered my 2-month old son in the oldest's place and my mom actually took me up on the offer, so I have a child-free house.

When I told my husband of the plans for the evening, I was very excited, telling him this would be the first time in over a year we would have a kid-free house for a night. He looked at me questioningly, because the girls have been on lots of sleepovers. The baby, however, has not.

In my world, the baby has been around for more than 2 months. In my husband's world, the baby's been around for exactly as many days as he's been alive. I attempted to explain to my husband that although the baby's been on the outside for 2 months, he was with me for 40 weeks prior to that, so even on the nights the girls happened to be gone, I still had a child with me. He just looked at me blankly. Rather than try to expound upon my reasoning, I just told him that any mother would agree with me. He gave me a "whatever" sigh and went back to watching TV.

Well, I had 3 other mothers in my house this evening and as I relayed the story to them, they all asserted that I was 100% correct.

Vindication, thy name is mother.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Locked in the Vault

Today was one of those days - you know, when you wake up in the morning and you swear it's a Monday. The baby woke me up at 5:15, ate a quarter of a bottle and then went back to sleep. The girls were on the cranky side and just steadily increased the crank factor throughout the morning. I'm trying to get my house clean for a party I'm hosting on Friday and none of the stars were in my favor.

The girls finally crashed in the early afternoon and the baby finally decided to stop eating for a few hours. It started to rain while the girls slept and we had a pretty good soak going by the time my eldest awoke. She asked me if she could wear her puddle boots to dance class and I decided to one up her. I told her to put her boots on, I took my husband's old raincoat out of the closet and we went outside to stomp in some puddles. About half an hour later my middle one woke up and joined in the fun.

When I was in middle school, I vividly recall a summer rainstorm. The rain was warm but came down in a sudden downpour. The sewers backed up, so there was a really fast running stream down the curbs on my block. My dad pulled me outside, no raincoat or puddle boots needed, and we floated sticks down the gutter streams. It was really warm outside and the rain was perfect. I'd always liked rainstorms, but there was something about that day, being with my dad, that made the rain that much better.

My girls might be a little young to remember this day, but I've got it locked in the vault.


This morning, my 3-year old told me she wishes her eyebrows were green. And since wishes tend to be on the crazy side, I thought, hmmm, for what do I wish?

Here are just a few things on my wish list:

1. I wish Caribou delivered. And honestly, if that company had any brains, it would start a delivery service pronto.

2. I wish the cleaning fairy existed. She'd be the big girl version of the tooth fairy, in my book.

3. I wish my husband could read my mind. It would be so much easier for all of us.

4. I wish my children could answer the question "WHY?!?!" when I ask.

5. I wish money grew on trees...or at least one tree...that happened to be in my backyard...and invisible to everyone but me.

6. I wish motherhood came with some sort of manual. I've never been a fan of gambling. And if this ain't a crap shoot, I don't know what is.

7. I wish time had a rewind and fast forward I could fast forward to retirement on the days I really need too...or rewind to a day when all I had to do was snuggle a baby all day long. I think it would help keep things in perspective.

8. I wish I knew all the answers.

9. I wish I could always shield my kids from harm...always.

10. I wish I knew what the future will bring.

Wishes are great. They give hope to your dreams and a break to the day-to-day. And if nothing else, they give you a little added hope for the future.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Guest Blog

A dear friend of mine follows this blog and she wrote me a little blurb today. She's a self-professed Daddy's Girl and in the past few years has grown to appreciate her mother on a whole new level. Although the children I deal with on a daily basis are under the age of 5, it's interesting to think that one day my children may very well be in my position - a parent to a young child. I never really thought about that when I was little. My mom was simply my mom. I assumed she'd always been a mom. She was a professional.

Most days, I feel far from professional at this whole mom thing. I have a moment from time to time, but mostly I feel like a knock off. My friend's blurb struck a cord with me though, so I thought I'd share it with you as well. Perhaps give you a moment to relive your inner child moments, with the wisdom of the years to help you along.

He will always be my favorite. He will give the best hugs. I am 33 and I will still scream in delight when he walks in. He's killed every monster and showed me how to do it. She will be the one who knew. Who sat with me when my heart broke the first time. Who I called to tell everything to, because I always told her everything. She didn't have to be my favorite, she's my MOM. She doesn't hug- she holds. I am 33 and hope to love like her someday. He taught me courage. She taught me strength.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pet Peeves

Since becoming a parent, I've encountered a whole new world of pet peeves. And no, I don't mean the constant repetition of phrases a toddler goes through, baby talk, exploding diapers or fire hose spit up sessions. I'm talking about pet peeves of the "adult" persuasion and there are 3 main offenders.

1. Idiot drivers. Particularly idiot drivers in parking lots. Most especially, the idiot parent drivers in school parking lots who just dropped their own children off at school and are now careening through the parking lot as fast as humanly possible while I try to maneuver my 3-year old, 2-year old and 2 month infant, in his car seat, through a minefield of minivans.

2. The non-door holders. These are the lovely individuals who will look right at me, my diaper bag, infant in a car seat slung over one arm and two children holding onto the same hand of the other arm, walk in the door in front of me and then not bother to hold open the door for any of us. This also applies when you have one or several children in a stroller and are attempting to enter or exit an establishment. These lovely people, I'm 99% certain, have a special spot in hell reserved. They'll be the extra hot seats.

3. The close parkers. These are the people who park too frigging close to your car. They either park so very close that you can't open the car door far enough to disengage a child from his/her car seat, or just far enough away that you can get the door open enough to disengage the child but not far enough that you can get the child all the way out without scratching the close parker's car.

If you, or someone you know, are one of these offenders, take heed. Someday you will have to walk a small child through a parking lot or maneuver a small child into a building of some sort. Someday you will have to get a small child out of the back of your car. You will know the frustration of which I speak and you'll have only yourself to blame. If you repent now and start acting accordingly, chances are good, if I ever meet you, I won't be forced to kick you in the head.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Points of View

There are lots of parents in the world. And all of us do it differently. A friend of mine recently started his own blog, and his first topic had to do with parenting. It gave me pause for thought, so I thought I'd share his thoughts.

Check it out here:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Parenting 101

I do not claim to be a parenting expert. My oldest child is 3 1/2, so I've been doing the mom thing for about that long. I wouldn't qualify myself as overly, or perhaps "stereotypically" would be a better term, maternal. I hate to bake, so freshly baked cookies are not on my radar. If my kids' hair looks goofy, sticking up in all directions, I'm ok with it. In fact, I sort of prefer it. I don't sew my kids' clothes, nor do I come up with elaborate hairstyles for them on a daily basis.

While I might not do certain things as far as the kids are concerned, there are lots of other things I do, on a daily basis. And you know what? Not all of those things are fun. And I don't like to do a lot of those things. But I do do them and do you know why? It's the parenting style I like to call:

Suck it up.

I had 2 instances this week where I wanted to tell another parent to suck it up. And both instances really irked me, so I figured, let's look at the topic.

Instance #1:

A mom noticed a wood tick in her son's hair. She freaked out. And rather than remove the tick, she made a teacher do it. Because she doesn't like ticks.

Well, I also hate wood ticks. They creep me out. They're disgusting. But if I see one crawling around my kid's head, guess what I'm gonna do? Suck it up and get rid of it. Because that's my job.

Instance #2:

A mom had to take her kid in for his well check, which included shots. Only she doesn't like shots, so she made her friend take the kid in for the shots.

Well, let me tell you. Nobody likes shots. And if they do, that's a whole other topic, most likely inappropriate for a "mom blog". Shots hurt. They make kids cry. Nobody likes to see their kids cry. But, if you do the vaccination thing, and I do, then you know what happens? I suck it up. You know why? Because I'm a mom and that's my job.

Now, like I said. I'm not a parenting professional. But if you're going to have kids, then there are parts of the job you aren't going to like. It's not all cuddles and giggles. And it's not supposed to be. No job is all rainbows, monster paychecks and lunches out. If you're going to take a job, you take all of the job, not just the fun parts.

You don't like poopy diapers? Well, neither does your kid. Suck it up.

You don't like giving your kid medicine? Well, s/he doesn't like taking it. Suck it up.

You don't like giving your kid a bath? Well, s/he doesn't want to be the smelly kid. Suck it up.

You don't like making dinner every night? Well, your kid probably doesn't like eating it every night. Both of you...suck it up.

You have to do the not-so-fun stuff people. You don't like it. Your kid doesn't like it. But if your kid knows you'll be there and take care of it, you're providing a sense of security and balance that your kid both needs and deserves. And isn't that what parenting is really all about?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I promised my kids we'd bake cookies today.

Friday, April 9, 2010


My girls are working on their joking skills.

The current favorite joke:

Q: Why did the chicken sit on the eggs?

A: Because he didn't have a chair!

They're also big fans of the knock, knock joke.

Here was today's prize:

Knock, knock.

Who's there?


Cow who?

Aren't you glad it's not an orange, or a banana, or chocolate, or a fruit?

Oh boy, it's been a long week.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jealousy Addendum

Yesterday, I posted about being jealous of my husband because my daughters love him more than me. After I posted, I went in to check on the girls before I went to bed. My oldest had klepto'd my favorite pillow, which gave me pause for thought. Maybe there are times when I am the favorite. There are definitely times when they ask for me, first and foremost.

Such as:

1. When they need a really comfy pillow.

2. When they need their favorite clothes/blankie washed.

3. When they wake up in the middle of the night.

4. When they're sick.

5. When they're hungry.

6. When they're thirsty.

7. When Dad said no.

So, maybe Dad isn't actually the favorite, but he's definitely the preferred the majority of the time. And I'm ok with that, since there's a good chance they'll be puking sometime in the future and mine will be the first name they call.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Jealousy Factor

I hate to admit this, but I'm a tiny bit jealous of my husband.

No, it's not what you think. He doesn't work with some hot little piece who fawns over him all day long. And he doesn't have some sort of uber-glamorous job where he hobnobs with all the beautiful people all day long. And he doesn't come home from work every day whistling Dixie.

But our daughters do love him more than me.

At this moment in time, my husband goes to work and I stay home with the 3 kids. That wasn't the way we planned on it happening, but it so happens that's the way it worked out, so that's where we are. He usually leaves for work before 8 a.m. and on a good day, he's home before the girls go to bed, around 7 p.m. He works really hard and his job is physically and mentally exhausting. I really appreciate the fact that he goes to work everyday and makes the money that pays the bills and keeps us in our house. In exchange, I keep track of the munchkins, clean the house (insert chuckle here), make sure the bills get paid, do the cooking, make the doctor's appointments, endure the vaccinations, get up with whomever wakes up at night and all the other stuff entailed in daily life with 3 small children.

And yet, in spite of all the stuff I do, in plain sight of our children, he is the favorite.

My girls literally scream (yes, scream) with joy when their dad walks in the door. They barrel towards him as if they were on fire and he was the only remaining fire extinguisher.

Do they do this when I come home? Of course not. I'm lucky if they get off the couch to give me a kiss. And if they do, it's most likely because either I or their father have instructed them to do so. Both my daughters have puked on me more times than I can count and they can't be bothered to turn their heads when I walk in the room.

My husband says they act like this because he's gone all day and barely gets to see them.

Me? I hope at least my son decides I get to be the favorite, once he's old enough to choose.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thank You

I take my older kids to classes at our local Early Childhood Family Education. The girls love their classes and I thrive on a little schedule to our day and a little interaction with fellow adults. During the class time, parents and kids separate. During parent time, the instructor tends to have a little lesson plan mapped out, which is a change from past classes. Truth be told, I'm not a big fan of parent time these days, but today's class made me laugh out loud.

We have journals for class and we usually write in them every week. The instructor supplies us with a topic or we can write on something of our choosing.

Today's topic:

Thank your child for making you a better parent through his/her challenging behaviors.

So, here goes:

Thank you, 2-month old, for waking up at 2 a.m. when you and I both know you're fully capable of sleeping through the night.

Thank you, 3-year old, for waking up at 5 a.m. and crawling into bed with me and sticking the icicles you call feet into the small of my back. And thank you, thank you for falling back asleep...and then snoring like a bulldozer for the next 2 hours.

Thank you, 2-year old, for waking up at 7 a.m. You're my favorite.

Thank you, 2-month old, for eating like a champ...and then crapping through your 4th outfit of the day.

Thank you, 3-year old, for talking like a baby ALL DAY LONG. It's so pleasant, so lovely, to hear you talk baby talk when you've been speaking in complete paragraphs since you were 18 months old.

Thank you, 2-year old for taking AN ENTIRE HOUR to get your pants on. Thank you for coming downstairs every 3 minutes in your diaper. Thank you for your stubbornness and persistence. Thank you for finally getting the damn things on.

Thank you, 2-month old, for taking a killer nap this afternoon, so I could eat lunch in peace. You're my favorite.

Thank you, 3-year old, for helping me straighten up the living room and not complaining. You're my favorite.

Thank you, 2-year old, for making me laugh while you "danced" in dance class tonight. You're my favorite.

And finally, last but not least,

Thank you, Cub Foods, for having a sale on Chardonnay this week. You're my favorite.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Post-Partum Body Bliss

My youngest child is 8 weeks old (2 months for those of you who don't do "week" speak). I have officially lost all the weight from the third pregnancy, plus an additional one pound. I was literally ecstatic when I stepped on the scale and made that discovery. I did a little dance, immediately informed my husband, who in turn suggested we "celebrate", and had a little extra bounce in my step that day. Now, it seems the time has come to start attacking the pounds I still carry from my first two pregnancies. Something tells me that's going to be a lot more work.

Being pregnant puts your body through its paces. Crazy things happen. Your hair stops falling out. You might get stretch marks. You may put on an obscene amount of weight. You crave strange foods. Your hormones rage out of control.

But what about after pregnancy? Well, after pregnancy, there are dirty little secrets that mothers forget to tell each other.

1. Your hair starts falling out. It doesn't just "fall" out. Clumps of it stick to your hands when you wash your hair. Your brush is so overwhelmed with excess hair you'd think you just brushed your golden retriever after a long, cold winter. Your bathroom sink and floor looks like a Wooki slept there. And drains are no longer your friends.

2. Your skin can look like you're a 12-year old boy with a penchant for all things greasy. If you were lucky enough to have that "glow" of pregnancy and have the best looking skin of your life, you might catch the downside of that on the post-partum flip side. Or you could be like me and have pregnancy hormones rage war against you on the outside and then post-partum hormones do the exact same thing 40 weeks later. Good time, I tell you. Good times.

3. One post-partum upside: Your boobs look fabulous! Especially first thing in the morning. They put a plastic surgeon's best work to shame. But with this fabulosity, comes a anyone who has a desire to touch the beauties. Because if any hand comes near, it's sure to get slapped faster than a mosquito in July. As good as they look, those suckers are rock hard and they can hurt like hell until they've been deflated properly.

4. Stretch marks. The "war wounds of motherhood". And let me tell you, they look good! I didn't get any with my first, got a few with my second and the third really went for the gold. The marks on my stomach look like the flames of hell are reaching out to get me.

5. Your stomach. I've heard the "deflated balloon" reference more than once. I prefer the "guy who likes to make his belly button talk on his 50-year old beer belly" reference. It's a lot closer to reality. A deflated balloon actually gets pretty flat once it deflates. My belly is nowhere close to flat. Now, I don't actually go around "talking" with my belly button, but I could, and if I did, and you were drunk, you'd think it was hysterical.

6. Hemorrhoids - they're not just for pregnancy anymore! And let's just say, I have a close, oh-too-personal relationship with that statement. And it's one I hope to NEVER repeat again. Shudder.

And finally...

Here it is folks. The big one. The one NO ONE speaks of. What could it be? Steel yourselves. I'm going where no mother has gone before.

7. Post-partum poop. That's right - poop. No one will tell you this, but the code of silence MUST be broken. The first poop you take after you have a baby is quite possibly, quite literally, quite unimaginably - AS PAINFUL AS LABOR. That's right. You heard it here first. And do you know why it's so bad? Because no one warns you about it! And do you know why else it's so bad? Because while when you're in labor, you have this lovely little hormone your body releases so you don't actually remember the pain of labor. Yeah, well, your ass doesn't come with that lovely little hormone. Neither does it come with the ability to stretch to 10 centimeters, which is what you will feel like you both need and deserve as you sit on the toilet, crying and begging for it to JUST STOP! I know it's an ugly topic, but it must be said people. And please, if you know a pregnant woman, especially one who's pregnant for the first time - do the poor woman a solid and tell her about the first poop. She'll thank you later.

So, there you have it...some of the blissful moments that accompany you through your post-partum journey. A form of birth control in it's own right.