Friday, September 27, 2013

Nathan is Three and Nothing Has Changed

He was driving me crazy yesterday, so when he wanted to go outside in the back yard and play, I gratefully allowed it and closed the door after him to continue making dinner. I checked on him. He was sliding pieces of wood down his slide. Approved activity. I smiled at him and told him that I loved him. He needed to hear it. There had been a lot of reprimanding that afternoon. He smiled back at me and, in a love-induced bout of honesty, said, "I ate dog food."

"You went into the garage and ate the dog's food?"

"Uh huh!"

*sigh* "Don't do that. That's really gross and it will make your tummy hurt. Don't eat dog food and don't even go into the garage. You know you're not allowed to do that."

"Oh. Otay!"

I went back to making dinner. He eventually came rushing inside, "Mommy!! I want to show you what's in my bucket!"

"Okay, Sweetie. I'll come see, but let me finish putting this together and get it into the oven."

"Otay, but I want to show you what's in my bucket."

This went on for the next five minutes, while I finished dinner. Finally, after more nagging than the end of the day has patience for, I asked him, "Why don't you just TELL me what's in your bucket and I'll come and look when I'm done?"


"Charcoal? You put Charcoal in your bucket?"


 I wrote, "get a hysterectomy" on my to-do list and lectured him about charcoal. Which he already knows he's not allowed to touch. He's so no ready for self-supervision yet.

Frozen dinners forever.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


This morning Nathan walked into our room for the second or third time (he'd been sent back to wait in his room until 7am - it's the best rule we ever implemented - thanks, Holly!).

"Mommy, I want AIDS."

"Nathan say, "eggs""




"Say "gggg"... Goat ... gggg... Goat"

"gggg... doat!"

This goes on for ten minutes until Jon and I give up and get out of bed. I start to strip the sheets. It's wash day. Nathan asks me, "Mommy, what are you doing?"

"I'm taking off the sheets to wash them."

"Oh," he says, and then replies with perfect pronunciation, "That's interesting."

 I give up.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I Have No Shame

I used to have a sense of propriety. Then I had kids. The end.

We were flying back home from the East Coast. This means that we had to fly on an aeroplane with two childrens.

Confession: I sort of like flying with the kids and Jon at the same time and I always find extra reserves of patience and calm, because, in addition to having help, I feel like a rock star every time he looks at me with wide, traumatized eyes and says, "How did you do this by yourself for two deployments?!" I nod, knowingly, and then I acquiesce to share snippets of my vast parenting wisdom. (I am vastly wise about parenting.)

We were in between flights and I think it goes without saying that Jon and I were absolutely exhausted to our very marrow and the children were wired and giddy. Because that is a basic law of physics. Travel causes all energy to exit parental reserves, whereupon it is transferred to their children. The equation looks like this:
 Ep = Ek x 0
 where Ep= Energy of the parent and Ek= Energy of the kids

Also, this rule applies to every single situation, ever. Not just to travel.

Back to the airport. In between flights in Denver. Jon and I were tired. Nathan had to go to the bathroom, as did I, so I took him with me. He peed, mostly into the toilet, and then it was my turn. While I used the facilities (I told you, I have no shame, so prepare yourselves), Nathan-the-indomitable decided that, since he was finished, it was time to leave. He proceeded to unlock the stall door. I stopped him from my seated position and tried to explain in an inside voice that he needed to wait for a more appropriate time. For instance, when my pants were up.

"Oh. Otay. Mommy, did you poop?" He asked me at the top of his lungs, in order to reach the ears of all 137 persons in the restroom.

I stared back at him, unsurprised, yet mildly alarmed.

"Oh! Otay. Can I see it?" continued my offspring, still yelling.

I said no, so he peered around me and, using his very best diction and highest volume, he hollered, "WOW, Mommy! That's a YOT of POOP!"

Thanks, son. And no, it wasn't a yot of poop. But it doesn't matter what actually occurred, because when we exited the stall, all anyone believed was what they had heard a not-quite-three-year-old announce to them.

And that is why I have no shame. My son stole it, along with my energy, and has been leaving pieces of it lying around the various places we have been. Like the Denver airport.

You're welcome.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

When the Dog Gets to the Diapers

I went to a friend's house tonight and I stayed too late. It was a good hour past the kid's bedtime when I left.

(Bad Mom: -2 points)

I got home and realized that I'd forgotten to close the door to Evelyn's room. I realized this when I saw diapers (used, of course), torn to shreds and spilled out all over my carpet and the floor in the nursery. Henry was hiding in the back yard.

(Forgetting to close door: -1 point)

I managed make Nate pee, put his pajamas on, brush his teeth and throw him into bed in the first 5 minutes. Then I fed Evelyn. Then I put her to bed. She stayed asleep.

(Teeth brushing: +1 point)
(Kids in bed in 15 minutes flat: +2 points)

At this place in the story, I have broken even on the good/bad parent scale, point-wise.

You know how when you break open a used diaper, there are all those silicony beads inside? No? That doesn't happen to you? Your dog doesn't break open diapers and grind poop into your floors when you're gone because he started getting back at you every time you leave the house when your husband started deploying and because you forgot to close the door to the nursery and you think diaper genies are stupid, so you use a regular trash can? Oh. Well, when you break open a used diaper, there are all these beads and they're silicony. And they're impossible to pick up. And this happens to me on a regular basis, because I think diaper genies are stupid and so I use a regular trash can and I don't get sleep and there's not enough coffee, so I forget to close the door. 

But I noticed something tonight when I was picking up the torn-open diapers with my bare hands (because that's just what starts to happen when you keep having kids (mental note: stop having kids)). I noticed that where the silicony beads touched my carpet, there were light spots. The diapers kind of sucked dirt out of my carpet and so there are slightly cleaner spots where the beads had been sitting. I've cleaned my carpets with a stand-up carpet cleaner like three times in a row and they haven't gotten this clean.

(Initiating partial-carpet cleaning cycle by leaving nursery door open: +3 points)

I'm three points up. Helloooo, Cabernet!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Being a parent of the Pinterest generation is tough. The 3% of overachieving moms ruin it for the rest of us. They really do. One of thousands of areas in which I come up short is taking pictures. I mean. I have my iphone. And it's loaded with random pictures of my kids that I snap just as they stop doing the cute thing they were just doing. So I try. But I always have grandiose ideas of holiday memories that will be forever immortalized in a frame on the wall or a scrapbook on the coffee table. Christmas outfits holding sweetly smiling children, who are peanut butter and booger -free, whose arms rest lightly around their darling siblings. Everyone is looking at the camera at the same time. Easter pictures with eggs and bunnies and pastel. Valentine's Day cards in the mail, displaying red and pink-clad offspring asking their Auntie to be their Valentine.

Quick! Take a picture! I'm going to need to remember this someday!

It just doesn't happen like that. Evelyn barfed on her little leprechaun-cute green on St. Patty's Day and I forgot to put the glittery green headband on her androgynously bald head, since green isn't exactly gender-specific. So I didn't take pictures. Even though I freakin' love St. Patty's Day and geek out on all my friends and stuff corned beef and cabbage down their throats and sing Irish drinking songs to my kids. They cheers with milk. Cow and breast. We've got all kinds.

The point is, my pinterest-dreams rarely solidify into the perfect pictures. And it is one of many things I hold over my head to force me to be a better mother.

By the way, it doesn't work. Holding things over my own head, I mean.

So I suggest this: let's give ourselves a break. Let's quit living in the "not-good-enough" mentality that makes us forget the good stuff. Let's take pictures when we can (it IS important) and then let's enjoy being with our kids instead of forcing them to pose for one more for facebook.  I'll check my phone while my kid shovels sand at the playground and you can show up to our playdate in yoga pants. I'll break out the pre-cooked, sliced chicken every now and then and you can buy art for your baby's nursery instead of making it out of marshmallows and salvaged wood. I'll frame iPhone photos and we'll cheers over the convenience of disposable diapers. And we won't judge each other.

Deal? Deal.

Quick! Take a picture of me not freaking out! I'm going to need to remember this someday!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Rules I Never Thought I'd Have to Make

1. You're not allowed to put your cow to bed in Evelyn's crib while she's asleep.

2. Do not pull the baking soda out of the cupboard to "clean" the carpets with the entire box.

3. You are not allowed to hit Henry with a butterfly net. Or your blanket. Or Thomas. Or that basket.

4. You are not to steal the phones from the purses of my childless friends and take pictures of mommy nursing the baby. If this happens, there will be no future children for you to play with.

5. If you wipe that spilled baking soda on (my friend) one more time, I will clean. it. up. Take THAT!

6. DO NOT talk about mommy's boobs, your penis or nipples in public. In fact, don't talk in public at all.

7. You are not allowed to "wash the dishes" unless I give you permission.

8. If I hear the microwave go on ONE MORE TIME when I'm nursing the baby and putting her down, I will sell you.

9. Never, ever, ever wipe your own butt after you poop. Lord help us all.

10. Once a piece of food is in the dog's bowl, you are no longer allowed to eat it.

11. No, you may not poop on the back lawn.

12. No, I do not want you to pour your pool water into my coffee. Why would you even ask?

13. Speaking of water: Do not start the bath by yourself, do not enter the bath headfirst, do not turn on ANY of the sinks unless I say it's okay, I don't care if you can - do not turn on the hose, stop pouring water on your electronic toys, don't drink the paint water, don't squirt Henry or me or Evelyn or anything with water, stop sticking your fingers in Henry's water bowl only to lick them off and DO NOT turn the temperature dial in the shower while mommy is in there.

14.  Get that orange crayon out of your nose.

15. Don't spit at people we don't know.

16. Don't spit at people we DO know.

17. Stop reorganizing the apps on my phone into folders.

18. No, you may not eat the succulents.

19. Stop feeding Henry your yogurt, under the table, with a spoon.

20. Do not stand in the window naked. The neighbors will judge. be continued...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Up, Up and (if only we could get) Away

Both of my children are peacefully sleeping right now. Which makes it hard to sit down and think about The Plane Trip. There are few quiet moments in parenthood and most of them are indicators that Nathan is on top of the refrigerator, so I tend to savor the restful moments and not muddy them with dwelling on the incidents that make Chernobyl look like spilled glass of milk. But I’ve been putting it off, so here is an account of the The Plane Trip.

I had help. My dad was in town for a business trip and we wisely booked our flight to Virginia together, so that the adult to child ratio would be two-to-two. Or, if you consider the following events, two adults to one baby and one Hurricane Sandy, which is more like two-to-thirty seven. And also a baby.

I have no lack of airplane stories featuring Nate. He earned his nickname, “wolverine” on a plane trip to Utah. He sobered his “let’s have more kids” father on a pretty mild trip to Virginia. And this time, he successfully secured the voluntary sterilization of all travelers on United flight 257 from San Diego to DC. The first indication of which, they may have noted, was upon taxi toward takeoff, when Nathan wriggled out of his seatbelt, stood up in his seat and loudly announced, “I be right back, Mommy”.

Oh no you jolly well will NOT, my boy.

And thus it started. It proceeded like this:

I jolly well WILL press the call button, kick Evelyn in the head and climb over the seat in front of us with a rebel yell ... simultaneously. 

You jolly well will NOT.

King Kong meets Godzilla and neither back down. FOR THE REST OF THE FLIGHT. Apart from a couple 20 minute naps (necessitated by pure exhaustion), Godzilla screamed at the top of his lung, flailed and turned an alarming shade of red whilst King-who’s-your-momma-Kong held him in a wrestling hold to keep his flying feet from hitting the seat in front of him, Evelyn and his grandfather… simultaneously … for, pretty much, the entire flight. Upon landing four hours and forty-five minutes later, my dad (who does not exaggerate) turned to me and asked, “Do you have bruises?”

When we escaped the plane, a man who had been sitting in the very back came up to my dad and asked if it was Nate who’d been screaming that whole time. We were in row 10. Of approximately 40.

And that is how I became deaf.

That is also how I justify the statement that I am a battered woman. I will henceforth refer to Nathan as, “My Abuser”.  My dad has renamed him “The Tasmanian Devil”. Evelyn simply thinks of her brother as a noise machine.

She slept the entire time.