I have an Easter hangover and it has nothing to do with alcohol.
I’ve had the revelation that far too many holidays or special occasions involve parents not sleeping.
Christmas: Buying presents without the children knowing about it is nearly impossible unless you shop online. Then you open the boxes to discover damaged goods, wrong sizes etc. but it’s too late to send it back and get the right stuff on time.
You also have to hide the wrapping paper or you will end up concocting some bullshit story about Santa having the room for a bazillion gazillion presents, but needing the hookup on wrapping paper.
You spend all night stuffing stockings, putting presents under the tree so your kids can wake you up before dawn and destroy EVERYTHING you worked so hard on.
The Tooth Fairy: It’s the ultimate test of your parenting ninja skills. You have to be sure they’re soundly asleep and then sneak like a burglar into their room and steal something under their pillow. If THAT doesn’t wake them up, then you have another shot when you place the actual money under the pillow.
Easter: Again, waiting until the kids fall asleep so you can put candy in Easter eggs and hide them all over the house.
The kids literally have chocolate for breakfast. I caught my son sneaking chocolate eggs on his own several times before 9am. He had a chocolate clown face smile.
Then, it’s off to abuela’s house where she has jelly beans and cupcakes and ice cream. The kids are eating bunny shaped lollypops and skipping naptime.
Back at home that night, it’s a complete fiasco. They’re hopped up on sugar, bouncing off the walls, refusing to eat any real food or take a bath.
My husband actually started to time it during dinner. They could only go about 5 to 10 minutes between crying jags.
By the time they finally go to bed (kicking and screaming) I am starting to get a sore throat.
This morning, I wake up sick and am so tired at work my eyes are rolling back in my head like I’m possessed by a demon.
Three cups of crappy station coffee later and I feel like I’m having a panic attack. I’m pacing back and forth in the break room like a zoo animal held captive too long. My leg has Parkinson’s. It’s doing a solo Lindy Hop.
Last night I asked my husband, “Did they have fun?”
What I am really asking is, “Did they have fun, because I’m in holiday hell right now and if they DIDN’T have fun we are officially becoming Atheists so we don’t EVER have to celebrate a holiday again!!”
The first word out of my son’s mouth this morning, “Chocolate.” He can’t even pronounce his own name properly, but says “chocolate” with impeccable diction.
From now on we will only celebrate National Lazy Day. It involves not cooking, not cleaning, not consuming sugar, remaining horizontal and periodic naps. At this moment, I despise all of you childless bastards because you can have Lazy Day WHENEVER YOU WANT.
I just started on the HCG diet again.
I like to disaffectedly refer to it as the Help Control the Gut diet.
I won’t bother describing it. It works, removing fat from all of the right places during an insanely short amount of time.
It sounds awesome, if you don’t mind being perpetually exhausted and on the verge of passing out.
There are a plethora of subversive ways my life plots to derail the diet.
I go to my mother-in-law’s house and the evening begins with beer, nachos and queso. My father-in-law doesn’t even ask, just hands me a beer. I mean, when do I EVER say no to a beer?
My daughter asks me to blow on her nacho cheese which means I will inevitably have to touch it with my tongue or lips to be sure it’s not too hot. Biggest tease ever.
Thankfully no one notices I am steadily chugging water. I had no idea you could grow to HATE water.
The endless course meal moves on to toasted bread with olive spread. My mother-in-law asks me if I like sun dried tomatoes. I say yes, but I won’t be having any because because I am back on the dreaded diet. (She is aware of how said wretched diet works)
She says, “NO, no, no. I cooked all of this food. You are going to eat. No, no. You have to eat.”
I never know how to respond to statements like that. “Uh, no?” Awkward, awkward, awkward.
Then I get to watch as everyone eats rice and chicken along with assorted goodies, the kids sneaking Hershey’s Kisses and cookies.
Yesterday, I meet my husband and the kids at our favorite waterfront dive for lunch and he immediately slides a beer over and says, “This is yours.”
So sweet, yet so evil.
I had to push it back and instead choke down a drink with Club Soda that tastes like lighter fluid and is actually a “cheat” on the diet.
My daughter is great at sharing. I am so proud and so sick of her trying to force-feed me gold fish, fish sticks and mac n’ cheese.
Now, the world begins to conspire against me. We turn the clocks ahead an hour. My son is up late coughing and crying because he’s sick. My daughter wakes up from a nightmare at midnight demanding milk.
I drive to work, eyes half closed drinking black coffee. (which is allowed, but no other food until noon)
This means I am still falling asleep at work AND the coffee is shredding my stomach.
At lunchtime I have to walk past the vending machines to get to my pathetic portion of meat and veggies in the fridge. I NEVER notice the vending machines until I am on this diet. Now, I would stab a bitch for a corn chip.
Newsrooms are notorious for cakes, cookies, cupcakes, chocolate and everything bad. People just plunk it down on a desk for anyone to take, free of charge. Today, no naughty free crap trying to lure me away from the diet. But, someone has already offered me a Watchamacallit.
So, I sit here lips burning and fingers sticky from peeling an orange. I hate peeling oranges more than most people hate cleaning the toilet.
I have already started dreaming about carbs. I literally dreamed I was eating Tofu Woon Sen. It’s just vegetables, tofu and clear noodles… a meal most would consider “healthy.”
For me, it’s one more pair of pants I have to abandon forever to the widening abyss of items to donate to Goodwill that is my closet. It’s a living, breathing, gaping chasm, hungry for more.
But, not as hungry as I am right now.
I’ve never done crack or heroin, but carbs can’t be that far behind. I would eat uncooked grains of rice or raw pasta. I would snort bread crumbs.
Keep me away from all sharp objects.
I could create a life timeline purely using memories involving fast food.
I remember the first Champ Burger I ever ate from Checkers.
The fast food chain had just arrived in St. Petersburg and my mom stopped there while we headed to one of my brother’s soccer tournaments.
It’s not that it was anything amazing, but it’s a moment I relive if I ever have a Champ Burger now.
I can feel my legs itch from the summer grass, the sweaty hair tucked behind my ears and the tingle of the start of a sunburn on my cheeks.
The Filet-o-fish sandwich from Mcdonald’s brings back memories of trips to the dentist.
My mother used to reward me with them after every single trip to get cavities filled or braces tightened.
Now when I eat one, I can feel the numbness and struggle of trying to eat them after getting Novocain.
Subway was the food of choice when my father and I started doing Sunday lunch after my parents got divorced. I would get the 6 inch Cold Cut Combo and we would sit on a bench in a public park, talking awkwardly about the happenings in my teenage life. If I got that sandwich now, it would inevitably bring back the smell of the bread people would toss to the ducks nearby, something I did with my father even longer ago.
It might not qualify as fast food, but I would be remiss not to mention Coke Slurpees. While my first serious high school boyfriend introduced me to them, my relationship with this sacred beverage was solidified with the help of my then best friend, Marisa. We had a deal. When she came to my house to run through lines for plays (we were theatre geeks) she would bring along Coke Slurpees and Reese’s Pieces. I would return the favor when we rehearsed at her house.
Eventually Coke Slurpees were paired with Cheddar Cheese Combos on trips home after the beach.
Then they became how I survived pregnancy sans alcohol.
Coke Slurpees are my crack. I don’t think I could ever give them up. I’ve tried.
If it wasn’t the worst idea EVER I would consider getting a Coke Slurpee tattoo. It’s the longest love of my life.
Also in high school, nothing compared to ditching for lunch and hitting up the Wendy’s with friends. Those ketchup containers are THE BEST.
Then, there’s my time in Miami, spent working the overnight shift in news, drinking an inordinate amount of alcohol and never sleeping.
We could call that my “Drunkin’ Donuts” period.
I once had a DD and showed up at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Biscayne all slovenly and ordered sloppily, “Can I have a ham, egg and cleeeeeese?” The employee rolled her eyes.
There is a point to all of my greasy, fattening, sugary reminiscing.
Why do we try so hard to deny our children these standout fast food memories?
Why are we so hell bent at keeping them from the joy of speedy, nasty goodness?
I know, I know… America is plagued by the morbidly obese.
We’re the embarrassing mu mu wearing midwesterners to the rest of the world.
But, they call it a “Happy Meal” for a reason. It makes… you… HAPPY. I’m referring to the old-school ones.
No kid has ever cheered for apple slices and milk.
Granted, my children are still at the age where they prefer to dismantle fast food so it starts to resemble the REAL food it was made with. Alma wants a slab of meat and a piece of cheese, not a cheeseburger.
But, whether it’s Pizza Hut after football games or Taco Bell for Friday the 13th movie marathons, just about everybody has a memory tied to fast food.
So, give your kid a cheesburger.
Give them a memory to last a lifetime.
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.