My parents would probably both kill me for posting these pictures, maybe for different reasons. I stumbled across these the other night in a box of old stuff that’s migrated from house to house to apartment to apartment, traveling across an entire lifetime.
My parents were married for 23 years. They’ve been divorced now for 19. While it could make me sad to see these old snapshots, it doesn’t. Here’s why: it serves as a reminder that every couple goes through major changes in their lives and there is always the chance they can drift apart. But, every married couple was once madly in love and ready to conquer the world.
We should all remember that time, if nothing else to remember there’s somewhere to get back to when things have fallen apart. Don’t kill me mom and dad.
My daughter has undiagnosed OCD. Or maybe all toddlers are just batshit crazy.
You know the little loop on the back of toddler shoes? My daughter has a massive meltdown if it’s not tucked in. She won’t let me cut them off, they must be tucked in. And if they don’t stay tucked in, it becomes a temper tantrum every few minutes.
She has to have 3 of everything. 3 headbands, 3 stuffed animals to sleep with and 3 “rinse and spits” after she brushes her teeth.
She recently forced me to take a fancy church dress and lay it over her feet in bed and then cover it with the bedspread. I have no idea why.
She refuses to wear any shirt or sweater with a raised flower on it.
Lights on, door open, blanket on to sleep. If these strict requirements aren’t met, there will be hell to pay. Do not test her or she will punish you with new demands of computer time, a Christmas movie in January or heaven forbid, a tea party.
As I mentioned in previous posts, she needs to be carried like a baby from the bathtub and refuses to walk down the stairs because it makes her “feet hurt.”
Spaghetti can only have butter on it, no red sauce whatsoever. Nothing should be tainted with parmesan cheese. Banana bread shall have no nuts. Egg McMuffins are great if you remove the ham so she can eat the egg white and scrape the cheese off the muffins, which are promptly tossed to the dogs. Olives are sinful. Eating green beans means separating them and only consuming the tiny bean portions inside. Frosting is fantastic, but the rest of the cupcake is bullshit.
When she’s sleepy, she needs complete quiet. When she wakes up, she is the devil.
Here are the advantages of having a moderately neurotic toddler:
She’s never going to run into traffic. She’s too busy telling ME to be careful and watch out for cars.
We will never forget to buckle her in the car, because she screams if you wait too long.
We will never forget her IN the car, because if we get our son out first she will completely lose her shit. “You forgot me!!!”
She’s going to love flossing her teeth. She tries to all the time already.
She will never be filthy, because a single hair stuck on her hand is a crisis.
But, whatever makes her this way has to be the same thing that inspires her to randomly say “I love you” or hug me for no apparent reason. Whatever makes her this way also makes her hysterically funny, sweet to her brother and exceptionally smart. This morning when she was looking out the bathroom window in the dark, I asked her if she could see anything. She said, “My ferlection!” (reflection.. close enough for me to consider her brilliant) I love my eccentric little girl.
I am a horrible mother. I missed a phone call from daycare and didn’t even get the message for an hour that my daughter was sick. They said she’s complaining that her belly hurts. Which can only mean that she has a urinary tract infection which has caused kidney failure and/or a tumor and/or her organs are all shutting down and that hour I wasn’t aware may have made the difference between life and death.
Or it could be a belly ache.
But, it still stands that I am a horrible mother. If I didn’t work, I would be able to ask her to explain how it hurts, figure out if she needed to go to a doctor, make an appointment if needed, give her Saltines and Ginger Ale and watch 30 back-to-back episodes of Super Why cuddled under a blanket with her.
If I didn’t work, I would be a fantastic mom. If I didn’t have kids, I would be a phenomenal Producer. Because I am a working mom, I kinda sorta suck hard at both.
Today, my husband needs to pick up a rental car for work, so he has to leave the kids with his parents. If I stayed at home, I could pick them up from school. Tomorrow, he has to head out of town at 5:30 a.m. That means I have to try and shower, get ready, get the kids ready and get them to school when it opens at 7 a.m., encounter rush hour traffic and get to work late.
I will be sweating, even if it’s 45 degrees outside.
My ears will be ringing from all of the screaming.
If I stayed at home, Alma could wake up leisurely and we could bicker about what she’s going to wear for an interminable amount of time. Instead of sweating, maybe I would actually end up SMILING.
My husband just called the daycare and they say Alma was just “tired.” What the hell? Yeah, when I’m exhausted I always confuse it for a stomach ache. So, it could still be the swine flu or appendicitis. But, I won’t know until it’s too late, because I’M WORKING!
I always knew I was going to be the kind of parent who stresses gender neutrality in order to ensure that my children didn’t feel pressured to conform to their “accepted roles” in society.
We chose gender neutral crib bedding for our daughter with cute little sexless lambs. I bought white, yellow and beige onesies. I even dressed her in a black jumper at one point and she looked crazy cute.
What I didn’t anticipate was that my children would naturally fall into the defined gender roles of pretty pink princess and tough guy.
I hate pink. Like, not a little bit. I really, really, really hate pink. I was a tomboy growing up, maybe because I had two older brothers. I lost my two front teeth because my brother was trying to pick me up by my head by squeezing two pillows on either side of my face and lifting me off the ground. One of the teeth literally popped out. (I laughed… until I saw the blood)
My daughter adores pink. She wanted our new house to be pink. She wants to ride a pink horse. She wants to paint her nails pink. She wears a pink tiara to school. She likes skirts, pink ones. Dresses, pink ones. She had to have a pink bike, pink sunglasses and pink cowgirl boots.
Oh, and purple is okay too.
She wants me to braid her hair every morning, she prefers to wear tights and despises being dirty.
I recently tried to gauge which sports or classes she might be interested in. I offered up soccer, gymnastics, dancing, swimming, football and horseback riding. She chose dancing. (and horseback riding, but I am still trying to track down that elusive pink pony)
The only problem? Alma can’t dance. At all. She does weird spastic movements to music and makes ugly faces and crawls on the floor. She’s like a drunk chick at Freaknik. I can’t wait to see what she does when we put her in a tutu with all of the other gals.
My son’s first word was “ball.” He is obsessed with balls, in particular soccer balls. He can now drop kick a ball better than most grownups.
This morning, he walked into our bedroom crying and immediately threw a Mickey Mouse dodge ball at me across the room. He slept with it!
He steals the Hungry Hungry Hippo balls (the answer to the previous post’s riddle about what I had to clean up off the floor) and puts them in the trash, the laundry basket, hidden behind books on the shelves and tucked into fake plants.
He is aggressive and violent, he loves rough housing and being outdoors. One of his first several words was “Outshide.” (outside) All he ever wants to do is be outside. He likes riding lawnmowers, bikes, choo choo trains and cars. He is a man’s man.
There is an exception. Huck LOVES shoes. Not just any shoes. Pretty pink shoes. He constantly steals Alma’s pink boots and her pink sneakers. I thought it was just a shoe fetish, so Santa brought him cowboy boots for boys. He still steals the pink ones.
So, at the end of the day I think I ended up with a girlie girl and a dude’s dude and I have to suck it up and accept the fact that they are exactly who they are: A future fashionista (shudder) and a mountain hiking soccer player in heels.
Our second vacation with the kids, we decided it made more sense to drive. We wanted to save money and didn’t want to deal with whole airport fiasco like the last time. The drive from Tampa to North Carolina wasn’t so bad. We drove overnight so the kids could sleep and they mostly did. We got there in the morning and the plan was for my husband to take a nap as soon as we got there.
Within hours, he started to feel sick to his stomach.
Then the puking began.
He was laid up in bed for 24 hours, periodically rising from the dead to give the potty a long embrace.
Shortly after midnight, the virus wrapped its slimy tentacles around my daughter. She destroyed a comforter, so we relocated to another bed in the house where she proceeded to puke all over again. She would puke, cry, I would comfort her, start laundry, relocate and then the whole process would begin again. Eventually, we ran out of unused sheets and beds and opted for a towel on a bare mattress.
Shortly after breakfast, it got me.
My son is apparently some kind of mutant soldier or machine. Never got it. (little S.O.B.) (Wait, that means I’m the “B”… nevermind)
So, it was pretty much 3 days quarantined in a guest house, sleeping and puking.
By the time we got to my mom’s in South Carolina, everyone had recovered. By the last day of the trip, it hit my mother like a brick wall. Her joyfully insane boyfriend was setting off fireworks in the backyard while Alma screamed in terror and my mom kept shouting “STOP IT!” from her bed in between vomiting in a bucket with her loyal dog by her side.
That was the night we drove home. My son screamed the entire way home. Think I’m kidding? I’m not. I silently cried so much that there were no more tears by the time we got home.
Pulling into the driveway, my husband and I nearly said simultaneously, “We are never going on vacation again.”
Our kids? Well, they promptly fell peacefully asleep the second we arrived home.
Why can’t we just picture the reality of screaming children, endless vomiting and a nervous breakdown and STAY HOME? Maybe because all of the rest of you hide your misery, post awesome pics from Disney and the beach, preferring to say you had a fantastic, relaxing vacation.
You’re all full of shit though, right? Right???