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.