You might hate dressing up for Halloween.
You might prefer an event where your cup runneth over with booze.
You might want to spend your Saturday night cozying up with a good book.
But, you… had… children.
Now, it’s NOT ABOUT YOU.
We initially had plans to attend a neighbor’s adult Halloween party, a highly-anticipated event in our hood.
Instead, I traded Jello shots for rum and Coke Zero at my mother-in-law’s house.
I planned to be something cute for Halloween, but couldn’t squeeze into the beer girl costume, probably because of all of the beer I’ve consumed trying to cope with parenthood.
Instead, I wore an oversized Anna costume with a wig and felt like a chunky Disney princess with head lice.
Alma wore her Dolly meets Elsa wig and complained about it the entire time, but refused to take it off.
The kids consumed just enough candy to become raging assholes for bath time.
Sunday rolls around and Oktoberfest is just around the corner from our house at the horse track.
Instead we head to Cracker Barrel and a farm in the opposite direction so the kids can enjoy a DRY fall festival.
At the restaurant, a waitress named Cessie is regaling us with stories about how much children love her while mine sit and sulk, refusing to answer any of her questions. (There’s nothing more embarrassing than someone asking your child how their food is and watching them scowl and shovel pancakes into their mouth with complete disregard.)
Can I vent for a moment about the perilous journey in and out of the Cracker Barrel lobby with toddlers? You are fortunate if you make it through there without one of them demanding a toy, grabbing a toy, breaking a toy.. or worse, breaking some super fragile, expensive Christmas tchotchke.
We make it to the farm and remember why we were reticent about going.
We tried a few years ago when Alma was just a baby.
She could’ve cared less.
We spent a shitload of money in order to check out some miserable bunnies, cranky goats and comatose pigs.
We were offered a free hot-dog and soda, for which you only had to stand in line for about 45 minutes.
Upon arriving, we are greeted by sour-faced, wrinkle-tanned, apathetic volunteers in neon green tee-shirts.
They are haphazardly snatching up kids by their armpits to place them on zombie ponies. (Picture Santa’s Elves at the mall in A Christmas Story)
I overheard one little girl request a specific pony and a volunteer with rotting teeth said, “Honey, I want a Ferrari, but oh well.”
Alma rode her horse like a stunt man from Seabiscuit. I was so proud… and then depressed while calculating the cost of riding lessons.
The kids got to feed a sketchy llama who kept whipping his ears back in irritation. They probably caught the next Bird Flu, Swine Flu, Goat Flu in the petting zoo.
I went to get on a choo choo train with the kids because I saw other parents boarding and the volunteer said snarkily, “Only one parent per train car, I thought I made myself clear.”
Awesome. You just go ahead and speed off in that unregulated vehicle with my unbuckled children as you zoom around your horse-shit ridden farm packed with miserable caged animals that don’t belong.
There were lemurs.
On a farm.
And a Zorse.
The highlight for me was plucking individual grains of food out of the dirt for the poor, neglected donkeys who they had penned just outside the petting zoo.
Alma was obsessed with the hay stack.
Huxley got to throw balls at a pumpkin.
The kids has a great time.
I stared longingly at the city block-long line for food and drinks, even though there was no pot of beer at the end of that rainbow.
Back at home, I carved pumpkins with the kids.
All that really means is that my husband ran out for pizza while I carved pumpkins solo with the kids staring at me and repeatedly trying to grab the ridiculously sharp cutting tools.
I had to yell at my son every few minutes that he was about to amputate his own finger.
Let’s be honest, does anyone actually enjoy digging out pumpkin guts or that pumpkin fart smell that fills the room? Does anyone who doesn’t use a store bought pattern actually end up with a pumpkin they’re satisfied with?
They rode ponies, they played in hay, they watched someone else do all the hard work for Halloween and what did they get most excited about?
Daddy returning with pizza.
Then, it’s laundry, pre-cleaning for the cleaning lady and battling my daughter to get her to go to bed.
By the time it’s all over, all we want to do is watch a good scary movie on Netflix and even that is impossible.
We pick one… it’s foreign and dubbed over in English.
We choose another movie, it’s got subtitles.
I am too tired to try and read while watching a movie.
We end up watching a few minutes of something I don’t even remember and go to bed.
All so I can get up at the butt crack of dawn, brave rush hour traffic, get cut off by some douche in a Mustang, fall asleep during a meeting, drink too much crappy station coffee, get jittery and write about dead people.
Well, it’s not about me anymore.
At least they’re happy.
I attended a rave for kids over the weekend!
But, first let’s recount another epic restaurant failure.
We took the kids to Lee Roy Selmon’s for lunch.
Huck was asleep when we arrived. I wish he had stayed that way.
As soon as the food arrives, he wakes up pissed off and starts crying. My husband tells him to stop crying or he will get time out. So, he starts WAILING.
Then, my daughter starts crying because I told her she can’t have any birthday cake at my niece’s birthday party because she’s refusing to eat anything but Mac ‘N Cheese.
Can 3 year olds get scurvy? I bet mine can.
I have literally eaten a few bites of food before my husband is trying to hail down the waitress to get the check and I’m shuttling two screaming kids out of the restaurant.
Outside, in the blistering heat, I use distraction techniques to shut them up.
“Do you hear a plane?”
“Look, a lizard!”
It works until we get to the car, when my daughter starts being a giant Jackass. Every 2 seconds, she’s saying “mommy.”
“Mommy, get my Cinderella dress off the floor.”
“Mommy, I want juice.”
“Mommy, I’m being good now so I can have birthday cake.” (Oh, hell no you can’t.)
“Mommy, I want a snack.” (Go, F-yourself you little meatless, veggieless, fruitless monster.)
We took my food to go so I could eat it in the car, but my blood pressure is soaring and I know if I eat I am going to be trapped in a bathroom, destroying the toilet at the bowling alley for my niece’s party.
Which brings me to the rave.
We arrive earlier than anticipated since lunch was cut so short. We take them to the arcade area and try to show how them how to play Skee Ball.
We take a shot at air hockey.
Alma refuses to play.
Huck sits on the table and my husband accuses me of trying to injure our son because I hit the puck too hard.
We walk over to the party once it’s started. Seconds after the obligatory round of cheek-kissing, they shut off the lights.
I am blinded by neon and can no longer see my children.
The theme is candy.
Tweens are running around sucking on ring candy and I’m having a flashback to the time I ended up at a rave, sitting miserably against the wall with some douche bag spinning glow sticks in front of my face saying, “Are you rolling? You’re so rolling. Are you rolling?” (For the record, I was NOT.) (That same night I ended up in the women’s bathroom with some chick who asked if I was having fun. I told her, “Not at all.” She offered me cocaine.)
So, now I am desperately trying to herd my children around the table where I’m sitting on one of the most uncomfortable, perpetually swiveling chairs.
I am envisioning their melon heads being shattered by some pre-adolescent boy wildly swinging a bowling ball.
My daughter is repeatedly refusing to drink fruit punch because she wants juice. Abuela offers her the same drink and calls it juice. Alma drinks it and loves it. (Then snidely says, “Mommy, it’s not fruit punch. It’s juice, see?”)
I’m digging apart pieces of crappy, overpriced pizza for my son, the tomato sauce burning through my hangnail. (Pizza that I cannot eat because I am lactose intolerant.)
There’s some pizza-faced, “slow” girl who works for the bowling alley lurking around to make sure the correct number of adults are bowling at each lane. I resist the urge to trip her. I mean, it’s dark. No one will see, right?
I love bowling and I’m pretty darn good at it. Doing it basically blindfolded while trying to keep my toddlers from being abducted by potential pervs?
I buy a pitcher of shitty beer. It does not make me feel better.
My son has been given a little birthday balloon on a plastic stick. He proceeds to hit himself in the eyeball with the stick. (2 days later and it’s still red)
Awesome, now I’ve blinded my son for the sake of a little kid rave.
My daughter is hopped up on candy (Candy is not birthday cake, she has informed me.) and I am still STARVING.
In the car, my spoiled leftovers smell like cheesy, unclean, fat person butt. (Which surprisingly does not keep me from being HUNGRY.)
We have no food at home. I get groceries. I cook. I hate everything.
The next day, my husband needs to get some work done so I end up taking the kids to see the new Planes movie.
I’m down with talking dogs. I can even chill out with phallic-looking Muno and his genital warts.
They lose me at communicating planes, helicopter and tractors.
My son is demanding to “walk around” during the movie.
My daughter drops her smuggled banana bread onto the floor.
At one point, she’s sitting on the floor, sticky with God knows what and I DON’T CARE.
I come home to find my husband still working and I die a little inside.
We manage to wrest him away from the computer long enough to hit up the mall park.
It smells rancid, like hot, unwashed hair.
Big kids are trying to jump from a giant fake hotdog to a giant fake Coke cup, threatening to squash my tiny tots running in between. My husband yells at them to stop and other parents are looking at his NRA hat suspiciously.
My son poops and I take him to the family restroom and discover we don’t have any wipes in the diaper bag. I am wiping him with Starbucks napkins, hoping other parents don’t notice. Within minutes of being back inside the park, he poops again.
We have to leave because there are no more Starbucks napkins.
Now, Alma starts screaming because we didn’t take them on the cars outside the park. (The little motorized cars that we refuse to pay for so they can jiggle from side to side. I always tell them to just get inside and enjoy their Goddamned imaginations.)
At home, Alma wants to blow bubbles outside even though it’s blazing hot.
I suffer for ten minutes, drenched in sweat. Then, I take her to look at animals at the pet store and buy a coloring book at the craft store. We emerge into a torrential downpour.
My husband works through the entire night.
He’s going out of town this week.
I watch Ray Donovan alone after the kids are asleep and cry into a glass of wine.
Looking on the bright side, there’s half a bottle left.
I’ve learned the dirty secret to potty training and parenting in general.
My daughter has an entire closet packed with My Little Ponies from her toilet training days. It wouldn’t surprise me if the mere mention of Rainbow Dash made her want to tinkle.
We just started trying to potty train my son and thankfully his vice is infinitely cheaper. Chocolate!
We just happen to have a lovely stash of leftover Easter candy (in a Halloween bucket) to inspire him to ditch the diapers.
My daughter is cheering him on because she knows she gets the consolation piece of chocolate whenever he pees on the pot.
Is it worth potentially spending several weeks with insane children hopped up on sugar in order to be done with diapers? Absolutely!
If I never have to change another blowout diaper, I will be a happy lady. My son’s dirty diapers smell like spicy thai food. It’s no joke.
I have to say, Huck has been taking the transition like a champ. He will squeeze out a couple of drops on cue if it means he gets a chocolate egg.
I do wonder if this means he will someday be 30 and using a restroom, bewildered by a sudden urge to eat something sweet.
It doesn’t hurt that he gets to rock Buzz Lightyear undies during the process. He looks ridiculously cute in them, with one exception.
The other night at dinner, my daughter growled in disgust and pointed at my son’s crotch and said, “His hoo ha is out!” (Hoo Ha being the best name I could come up with for her private parts)
Why in God’s name would they make underwear for toddlers with a hole in the front for their junk to peek out?
It was like, “Hey guys, what’s for dinner?”
We’ve been calling my son’s private part his “piton.” (pee-tone) I won’t say what it means, but porn stars have them… apparently Robin Thicke as well. It’s something most English speaking people won’t recognize as a “dirty word” and it doubles as a compliment.
There was an equally disturbing sight on Sunday while the kids were playing with the water table in the backyard and I noticed Huck’s piton popping out of the top of his swim trunks. I guess maybe he really does have a piton.
Back to bribery. It has become my go-to technique.
The other day Alma was having a major meltdown at Target. For the first time, she was scanning the aisles for anything she could potentially want and demanding I buy it. We ended up with a My Little Pony watch she can’t read, some new undies that sag off her skinny behind and a pink rubber lizard.
I had no idea that lizard would become a supreme being to her. It was from that weird little dollar section at the front of the store. You know, where they stock crap for kids that will break within a day.
Within an hour of getting back home, Alma is sobbing hysterically because she lost her pink lizard. Tears streaming down her face for that useless, lead-tainted, neon pink Chinese piece of rubber junk.
I spent forever hunting for it. So did my husband. So did Alma. (while hiccuping through tears)
The end result? Mommy heads back to Target to buy a one-dollar lizard. (and a bottle of Prosecco)
I get back home and instead of embracing me with gratitude she says with the attitude of a teenager, “Cut the tag off.”
I leave her watching My Little Pony with the evil lizard to start laundry and lo and behold, the original pink lizard was in the washing machine.
It’s now a slightly gooier, perpetually sticky version of it’s newly acquired sibling.
I guess it’s better than what I imagined to be the impending end result…. my dog shitting out a half-digested glob of neon pink.
What have I learned from all of this?
Don’t take the kids to Disney.
Don’t promise a day at a water park.
Hit the dollar section at Target and stock up on extra holiday candy. The cheap solution to parenting.
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.
Whenever my husband tells me he’s going out of town on business, my stomach sinks. I feel pressure under my tongue like I’m going to vomit. I expect it’s similar to how I would feel if I were to find out I was expecting a third child.
Ok, maybe not that bad… but close.
I know it means I will inevitably be late for work, arriving frazzled, in border-line meltdown mode. That’s how I feel when I am 5 to 10 minutes late, even if I work through lunch. You can imagine how I feel when I’m actually out sick. I was racked with guilt when I was in the hospital with MRSA.
I am not normal.
My life is planned down the second.
Alma demanded braids this morning. That’s all it took to ensure I was 5 minutes late. Hard to believe? I frequently have to decide whether to pee before work or arrive on time.
My “lunch breaks” are spent buying milk to store in the work fridge and canceling all of the appointments I can’t make because I can’t even use a vacation day to see a Doctor. I’m just so valuable.
So valuable that I could create a daily list of criticisms longer than my grocery list. We have two kids. It’s a long-ass list.
I see the sunrise on the way to work. I watch it set on the drive home. I know, I know… there are people who would say, “Be grateful you have a job.” Oh, I am.
It’s so awesome to be able to afford to enjoy absolutely NO time with my children or husband.
Well, I do have my weekends. This past weekend was a blast. We had a party to celebrate our son’s 2nd birthday. I ate too much, drank too much wine and had to delete all pictures where you could see my arms. (Not a fan of my arms right now. I have “drink too much” arms. Not even lugging around a 30 pound kid can cure that.)
Birthday parties are a blur. Afterward you question whether you were rude to anyone, did the food taste good and WHAT HAVE WE DONE BY GIVING OUR TODDLERS CAKE AND CHOCOLATE??
Nothing compares to post-birthday party meltdowns.
Sunday, we took the kids to a state park to enjoy the great outdoors. Nothing great about my daughter demanding I carry her for miles through snake-infested woods, sweating my ass off and constantly having to stop so she could throw sticks in the river.
My son had a blast. He’s a future hiker.
Alma… she’s a future shopper.
She spent an hour before leaving crying hysterically because we wouldn’t let her wear a white lace skirt and light pink church shoes to go hiking.
I knew we made a mistake when after just a couple of minutes of walking she started saying, “I’m sweating. My knees hurt. I’m hungry.” Her “knees” hurt?
Yeah, that’s a new thing. “I can’t walk up the stairs because my knees hurt. My feet hurt and my arms and my toes.” She’s a classic bullshitter.
The day at the park started out with us saying, “Maybe the kids will be ready soon to try out camping.”
It ended with us saying, “Let’s never leave the house again.”
We’re terrified to even go out to eat anymore.
HELP, we’re being held hostage by two very small people with astonishing strength and an inability to communicate effectively!!
You’d think all of the action of the busy weekend would wipe the kids out and they would sleep like logs.
My daughter slept like a log, if you picture a little blonde log rolling out of a bed at 2 a.m. and screaming incoherently, “I don’t want i! I don’t want it!” (I have no idea why she was saying that)
Throw in the fact that this weekend one of the dogs snatched away a piece of bread packed with the other dog’s medication and then proceeded to projectile vomit around the house for an hour and you might begin to understand why I have “drink too much” arms.
The very first time you feed your baby ice cream, it’s adorable. You watch their little face scrunch up in shock at how cold it is and then warm up to the luxurious goodness.
You might as well have just stuck a needle full of smack in one of their chubby arm rolls. It is liquid kid crack and now you’ve just opened the door to a lifetime of agony and suffering, trying to ween them off the sweet stuff unsuccessfully for eternity.
A granola bar will never be enough again. Now, they will want chocolate.
You will try to switch to sugar-free popsicles only to find the allure of sweet, sugary ANYTHING is too great. You’ll try to save it for special occasions like holidays and birthday parties, but find that bribing them to consume a single kernel of corn will be worth a single Whopper.
But, you’re wrong! Moments later, like a ticking time bomb they will transform into monsters. Alma is a she-devil, a banshee, demanding more, more, MORE! Huxley is a Tasmanian Devil, doing a crack dance to rival the best-of sites on Youtube. (See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7Go6q9i1T4)
They get that crazed look in their eyes like they might turn Dahmer for just one more bite of cake.
Even if you do succeed in denying them sugar most days, they’ll come back from your in-laws hopped up on PCP. (Pink CuPcake)
Then there’s those evil bakery ladies at Publix, just waiting to ruin your entire grocery trip with a free cookie for each kid. Like it isn’t tough enough to get everything into the cart and keep your kids grubby paws off the stuff. Now their paws are REALLY grubby, melted chocolate chips crusting onto the corners of their mouths like little savages who ripped through the ripe flesh of a chocolate-bleeding creature.
The ride home is AMAZING. The nap you hoped they would take is a distant memory thanks to some miserable bitch in a hairnet.
I just asked Alma if she likes chocolate and ice cream. Her response, “I want a piece of chocolate because I ate all my dinner and my belly is full.” You can’t even mention it without her getting the shakes.
“My name is Hannah. I gave my kid ice cream and chocolate.” (She’s never gonna make it through the withdrawals. I gave her a popsicle. She’ll want chocolate again in 10 minutes)