As I held my new niece for the very first time, I marveled at her perfect little face and how fragile and tiny she was. I was impressed by her full head of hair and the tiny lips already poised to smile in her sleep.
Then, I was relieved that she wasn’t mine.
Maybe it’s because the entire drive to Orlando, my children kept throwing their respective Spiderman and Hello Kitty balls on the floor of the car and whining that I needed to pick them back up.
Maybe it’s because my daughter wouldn’t stop yelling and waking her little brother up once he finally fell asleep.
Maybe it’s because my son threw a temper tantrum in the hospital room and started kicking me, then his Nana and then anyone in his general vicinity.
Or, maybe it was watching my daughter cower in front of her own family, melting into nothing because she was uncomfortable about the presence of a baby. She chose to peer out the window as if there was nothing more fascinating than the rooftop of the building next door.
Maybe it’s the dozen times this past weekend that I had to peel soggy undies over my son’s little legs. (along with a couple chunky poops) To say he’s regressed is an understatement. We’re starting from scratch.
Maybe it’s the previous day when we made the mistake AGAIN of going to the beach. We chose a closer one, but that didn’t stop my daughter from complaining about the duration of the trip.
Once we set up our mobile beach home, it wasn’t the sound of waves crashing on the shore or seagulls that filled the air.
It was, “There’s wind in my eye!” “There’s sunscreen in my eye!” “There’s sand on my hands!” “I want my shoes on!” “I want to go in the water!” “I want to go on the sand!” “I want more oranges!” (“We’re out of oranges, honey.” “I want more oranges!!!!”) “Put me deeper in the water!” “Take me closer to the shore!” “My belly hurts!”
All I could think is THANK GOD I have a week off coming up for my birthday. My plan was to have several days of “me time” with stress free trips to the beach, naps and reading for more than ten minutes without passing out from exhaustion. Then, we were going to do our first weekend without the kids since they were born. Stay at a hotel with a pool, drink too much, sleep too much and remember how much we actually enjoy each other’s company.
We drop off the kidlets at my in-laws after the beach so we can grab a couple of adult beverages and drink off the feeling that having kids at all was a giant mistake.
The first thing my mother-in-law says is that they’re heading to Vegas to celebrate their anniversary… the weekend of my birthday when we were going to get away. I die a little inside.
While having drinks, I tell my husband that life will get easier once Huck gets potty trained and that all I need is several days in a row where I can really work with him.
Big mistake. Now, it looks like instead of a staycation, I will be cleaning up piss and shit for a week. Can I just work instead?
So, yeah… that new baby smell does NOTHING for me. I’ll just use baby powder.
The cute itsy bitsy clothes? I’ll buy Alma a doll.
The thrilling feeling of bringing another human being into the world? Been there, done that, twice.
Maybe I would feel differently if one of my kids had been a dud. Maybe we hit the jackpot of batshit crazy and annoying. Maybe we’re not strict enough. Maybe it wouldn’t feel so difficult if I didn’t have to wrap up a shitty weekend and head back to a wretched job.
I love my children, but they are the little sticks of dynamite that have blasted my biological clock.
All that’s left are gears and cogs, tears and daydreams.
Congratulations to my big brother and his wife… and good luck with that.
ON SLEEP ATTIRE:
Alma: “Why is Daddy working?” (at night)
Me: “I don’t know.”
Alma: “Maybe he hates his PJ’s. Wait, does Daddy have PJ’s?”
Me: “He sleeps in his undies.”
Alma: “That’s kind of disgusting.”
ON DEAD ANIMALS: (after a bike ride where a bloated, dead turtle was spottted)
Alma: “Flies love flat turtles that are dead. They fly around and around and when it gets dark they fly away. When the sun comes up, they come back and fly around and around because they love dead turtles.”
Alma: “Dolphins blow water out of their brains, right Mama?”
ON HER BAD BEHAVIOR:
Alma: “Santa brings presents to good girls and boys. Huck won’t get presents cause he’s soooo naughty.”
Me: “You’ve been pretty naughty lately too.”
Alma: “When I was a baby, I was a good girl a lot of times. I’ve only been naughty sometimes.”
Now Huck’s turn.
ON HIS ABILITY TO RUN QUICKLY:
Huck: “I run fast like SUPERMAN! I’m Super Huck!”
Boys really are just more easy going.
I struggle endlessly to discover new and awesome movies for my kids to watch.
Disney flicks are way too pricey to buy.
My daughter wants the Barbies and Ponies and my son likes the trains and cars, so they rarely agree.
The greatest challenge is finding something I will watch without constantly checking Facebook updates or playing solitaire on my phone.
Here are my top 5 current and contemporary kid flicks.
Say what you will about it, but there is something incredibly freeing about belting out ballads, especially with midget backup singers.
I love Anna’s quirkiness. She drools, looks like crap in the morning, has a severe chocolate addiction and falls for a stinky dork with a family of trolls.
2. Meet the Robinsons.
Plots centered on adoption tug at my heart strings. It gives us a glimpse of a super villain as an innocent child. The mom is a bad-ass who thwarts a brutal attack where meatballs are used as weapons.
It has a song by Rufus Wainwright that I ADORE.
This can’t be a kid flick. It just can’t. Chock full of grownup metaphors.
4. Hotel Transylvania.
I hate Adam Sandler, except for in this movie.
I dig monster humor.
And there’s this line. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXveWvxYz3A
5. Free Birds.
Owen Wilson. Amy Poehler. Woody Harrelson. George Takei. (I had you at Takei, didn’t I?)
My husband would add Fantastic Mr. Fox to this list, but a friendly reminder to fellow parents: Your kids repeat what they hear, so only watch it if you’re a-o-k with the kidlets saying, “What the cuss?” or “This is a total clustercuss!”
Parents of little ones, please add your suggestions and justifications. I am always searching for better alternatives to playing with the dollhouse.
Picture a koala bear whining perpetually. Or a turtle neck sweater that cries for no reason. Or the Incredible Hulk keeping a mom in a headlock while EXCLUSIVELY wearing skirts. This is my daughter. She is going through a phase (Dear God, let it be a phase) where she is beyond clingy.
She is single-handedly bringing back the choker necklace of the 90’s by BECOMING a choker.
She repeatedly gets down from the bench during dinner to give me a hug, despite being told repeatedly to withhold affection until after we eat.
She lies on top of me, kicking me over and over and over and then when I finally break down and yell at her she says, “I just want to give you a hug!” (Or kick the shit out of me)
She wants me to carry her, she wants to cook with me, she wants me to color WITH her. Inevitably when we color together, she gets bored and starts scribbling spastically all over whatever masterpiece I’ve created.
Sometimes I feel like instead of giving birth to a child, I actually have a parasitic twin attached to my body.
I am being manhandled by a blonde troll 24/7. Sometimes I feel badly about how irritating I find her demands for constant attention and contact.
The other night I told her it was time to bed after we finished reading and she started to fake cry. I told her to read a book on her own and she went ape crap.
I got annoyed and told her to pull it together.
Then she said, “I can’t read a book on my own, BECAUSE I CAN’T READ THE WORDS!”
Now I’M the dick. It has to be incredibly frustrating to be just a few letter sounds away from being able to read by yourself.
That being said, I am starting to think it’s strange that my children have ZERO ability to entertain themselves. (even together)
As I have previously posted, I suck at pretend.
I harbor a secret desire to burn her dollhouse down.
I can only find so many ways to rearrange the six pieces of furniture.
My mouse family mostly just wants to chill on the couch and watch TV. Speaking of, my children won’t even watch television alone. They demand to have company to zone out.
I have on more than one occasion plunked my daughter down on the couch, put on a new movie and tried to sneak in a nap in the bedroom. (Door open. I am not a HORRIBLE parent.)
Within ten minutes I will hear the heavy breathing of a small being standing next to me, staring at me, waiting for me to open my eyes.
It’s like I have my own personal serial killer, who is determined to murder me with crappy kid movies.
She won’t even sing without me. If I stop singing Frozen songs because I am doing something totally unimportant like trying to help her little brother poop on the potty, she starts to whisper-sing, looking uncomfortable like she just forgot her lines in the school play.
I probably shouldn’t talk considering that my mother could’ve nicknamed me “the tumor” until I was in high school. But, seriously, was I this annoying?
I’ve started calling her an Australian Sheperd. “The Aussie has considerable energy and drive, and usually needs a job to do.”
That’s my kid.
If you don’t give her a task, she’ll throw a shit-fit and possibly even piss on the rug. (Maybe not, but her temper tantrums ARE escalating.) She is a lovely child. Brilliant, hilarious, spirited and driven.
Now, can someone please borrow her for a couple of hours so I can have a hot date with my husband?
There are skills that make any good mother something akin to a superhero. In my estimation, stay at home moms have the hardest gig. But, working moms have it rough too. They also develop superhuman powers, often not found in everyday women.
1. The ability to apply all makeup while at stop lights on the way to work. No smudges, no crazy lady eye shadow. To the women who even tackle plucking their eyebrows behind the wheel, kudos… and I’ve been there.
2. They have learned the fastest way to get to and from work. Yeah, they’ve been late fifteen times trying different routes, but now they have it MASTERED .
3. The ability to do laundry incrementally over several days.
4. They are phenomenally low maintenance. Only 10 minutes to shower, dress and get out the door? No problem.
5. They have dismissed the iron as an extraneous appliance. Clothes that wrinkle are dedicated with love to Goodwill.
6. The secret ankle shave allows them to wear capris or long skirts unabashedly.
7. They have found a way to effectively eliminate ALL down time. Down time? What is that? Walk through the front door after a long commute home from a crappy day at work and immediately start COOKING.
8. They have bid a fond farewell to food snobbery. You simply can’t waste precious time coming up with organic, healthy, creative meals and snacks. Sometimes it’s just a banana and a smile for breakfast.
9. The ability to give off the appearance of extreme concentration during a meeting when you are actually falling asleep.
10. They can change a diaper in a single bound, at the speed of light. Casual diaper change when you’ve got somewhere you have to be in order to pay the bills? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I am 98% sure I am having a full-blown identity crisis.
I am confident in my gender preference, sexual preference and my current status as being married and a mother.
Everything else is up for grabs.
When you become a parent your priorities don’t just shift. You don’t just put your needs on the back burner. You set them on fire and watch them turn to ash and waft away in the wind.
When it comes to my self-worth, I didn’t put all my eggs in one basket. There was a basket for being a successful News Producer, a basket for looking good, a basket for being loyal and loving and a basket for maintaining my sense of humor.
I didn’t drop the basket, but I may have crashed the delivery truck.
I have always wrapped up my self-confidence in a blanket of compliments. I was a great writer. I was skinny and attractive. I was smart and witty. Quirky and fun. Deep and loyal. Cynical and acerbic.
Now, I just feel old and tired. I have been told I am a bad writer and a bad Producer.
I drag my baby weight around like a yoke around my… well, let’s be frank here… belly.
My sense of humor is more bitter than acerbic.
Fun… what is that?
I have forgotten what it feels like to feel awesome.
I know it’s hidden in there somewhere, but you can only be told you’re not good enough for so long before you start to really believe it.
You know how it would feel if someone told you that you have an ugly baby? That’s how it feels when you love something tremendously and are told you suck at it.
I never proclaimed to be a stellar writer, but it’s something I’ve done like it’s a compulsion for my entire life.
To be told that I blow at it is a REAL BLOW.
It has made me question whether I ever had any talent to begin with. Is the full extent of my skill blogging, like this is some extension of a Dear Diary? Is my writing this right now proof of that?
I would be content if I was just focusing on raising two wonderful children, being Suzy homemaker but, instead I am stretched thin like a rubber band across the gap between work and home.
I haven’t changed how much effort I put into my job, but suddenly have hit a ceiling. While I continue to pour effort into a job where I am underappreciated, my home is collecting dog fur and grime and a stranger is cleaning it up. My kids have started to know when “Linda cleaned” the house.
I am opting for canned veggies, fish sticks and mac and cheese for the kids when I want to master a real meal.
I want to have someone take a picture of me that isn’t just from the shoulders up that I don’t immediately have the urge to delete.
There is the person I was, the person I am and the person I want to be.
They are all entirely different. I would love to say I’m ready to dig deep and reach that goal, but I’ve got to get out of the hole I’m already in first.
I need to be able to pour my heart and soul into something and have someone say just one time, “job well done.”
Let’s make it one word. Kudos. It’s cheap, cliche and a candy bar. I’ll take it.
That being said, I am now going to rush to the store to buy ingredients to make a bunch of fancy food and still try to make it to a block party on my cul-de-sac without vomiting from anxiety.
My job might suck sometimes, but it will never be as bad as being a daycare worker.
1. I occasionally have to clean up someone else’s shit. (something they’ve done wrong)
You ALWAYS have to clean up someone else’s shit. 2. When my kid ends up with a boo boo, my initial response is “What did you do?”
When kids end up hurt at daycare, parents come to you and demand to know, “What did you do?”
3. I sometimes look forward to work as a break from the kids.
You come to work and find EVEN MORE KIDS.
4. If my kid is throwing a massive hissy fit during drop-off, I can walk out that door and head to work.
You are the one left with the hissy fit. 5. I can take my bored kids to the beach, mall park, shopping or museum.
You have to come up with creative, safe things for a BUNCH of kids to do. 6. I am emotionally invested in my children so I find things that they do to be quirky, cunning and clever.
You find them creepy, manipulative and irritating.
7. We can threaten our kids with “pow pow” even if we never spank them.
You have to rely on firm, clean language for discipline. 8. I can celebrate my child’s milestones.
You get one kid potty trained and there’s another little shitter waiting in the wings.
9. I frequently deal with stupid adults.
You deal with stupid adults AND stupid kids.
10. I work in a business where it’s difficult to get promoted.
Your promotion would have to involve NOT working at a daycare anymore. In summary: I can’t say enough for the people who work their asses off wiping my children’s asses, teaching them, keeping them entertained and ALIVE for several hours five days of the week all year long. Bless your hearts. (but please stop charging so much)
If you can’t be stupid with your kids, you’re stupid.
Studies (that I made up in my head) show that singing, dancing and general tomfoolery with your kids makes them happy.
I used to be insecure about singing in front of my husband. I know I can sing. I did show choir in middle school, dabbled in musical theater and can kill it at karaoke.
But, I know I can’t hit the high notes and occasionally I murder a melody.
While my husband was recently out of town on business, I rediscovered the sheer joy of not giving a shit what anyone thinks about my voice.
So did my kids.
We scream-sing Itsy Bitsy Spider during double bath time. We butcher the lyrics to Let it Go from Frozen and break the sound barrier with Olaf’s In Summer.
We used to do “dance party” in the evening, playing various styles of music from Pandora. While that doesn’t keep the kids attention for very long and typically degenerates into sibling violence, it’s inspired both kids to shake it like a Polaroid picture.
My son has great rhythm like all Cuban men, so I’m told.
My daughter is spastic, but maybe she’s just into interpretive dance.
The other night, I randomly started spitting a hip hop beat and watched in delight as my daughter started to get down and she was ON BEAT. She might stink at ballet, but she’s going to blow minds with her contemporary.
My husband ridicules my “peacock” move and my “stank face” but it’s worth it to hear my kids laugh.
Even if my children don’t end up on American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance, (shows that will no doubt be long since forgotten by then) they will smile more, laugh more and feel more free.
I’m beginning to find that humor and the ability to laugh at yourself is a key component to parenting.
Call us weird, call us kooky but don’t ever call us joyless.