(As in: everything makes you want to, and your kids do nothing but)

Tag Archives: children

My life post retirement at age 34:

I get a full night’s sleep.

I’m sure it won’t always be the case.

There will be earaches, nightmares and Alma launching herself head first from the bed like a circus stuntman.

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But, for now, I’m RESTED.

My children wake up slowly. No screaming, crying and face-smacking over which outfit I choose.

They eat real breakfast!! This morning we made blueberry pancakes and banana pancakes. It might seem like no biggie, but as a former working mom, I feel like a stay at home mom rock star!

We’ve read books together, colored together, gone to the library and flown airplanes.

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We’ve also taken the dogs to the vet, gone to the dentist and hit up the Super Target for batteries and dish soap. So glamorous!

I’m still adjusting to the nasty realities of daily life with petulant midgets, I mean small children.

I spend a shocking portion of my day wiping butts. I had no idea how frequently my kids still pooped. It goes in. It comes out. They have straight guts like unpotty trained puppies.

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I still feel my blood pressure skyrocket when my son cries for no good reason: He hates slip-on shoes, Alma got the yellow straw, he can’t find his Ninja Turtle ball.

I envision drop-kicking our dog like I’m going for a field goal when he barks incessantly during naptime.

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Living in Florida, any of our exercise time means sweating bullets, getting back into the car with sweaty pits, bum, upper lip, no more makeup, hair lookin’ like a swim cap.

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Not a good look. Now I know why some moms find it’s easiest to give up on looking cute. I left my cute in a puddle on a playground.

I can’t say I miss grownup conversation, because even that was rare at my former place of employment.

But, my chats with my son about how his member looks like a castle are not very gratifying.

Other mind-numbing topics include: Why we have nipples, how God made dogs, what veins are.

We have also not made it past the stage where it’s cool to count poop. “Mommy, I did two dem!”

So, fish sticks and temper tantrums.

Sweat stains and poo math.

But, I get to watch my son finally color inside the lines.

I watch my daughter kiss my son’s hand to wake him from his nap.

I get to see the countless tiny moments I’ve been missing for nearly five years.

So worth it.

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For Mother’s Day, we went with my in-laws to the beach.

My son is sick, so on the long drive there we enjoyed the soundtrack of incessant hacking punctuated by simultaneous shrieks of “Weeeeee” from both kids whenever we went over a “hill” on the highway.

When we arrived there, we began the Sisyphean task of unloading tents, umbrellas, beach toys, coolers and I began lathering the kids in sunscreen.

When I got to my son’s nose, maybe because he thought I was going to wipe the snot, he freaked out and started smacking me in the face.

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He got an epic car time-out, during which he cried out a bunch of the snot.

I finally got him to stop crying by distracting him by helping pigeons get some water at the shower by the parking lot.

Then halfway to the beach he starts screaming again because he sneezed out more snot.

At the beach, he perks up and has a great time, but my daughter is refusing to go into the water because there are waves.

Never been an issue before. She tells me she’ll go in the ocean when she’s five.

They drop cookies and cheese puffs in the sand, still trying to pick them back up to eat them. I question their common sense.

huck beach

We stay just long enough for it to make sense that we built a second G-D home on the beach before packing up and heading back to the car.

We decide to head to Chili’s with my in-laws, because every other restaurant is packed with mothers.

My son falls asleep just minutes before we arrive.

Lunch starts fine, with him sleeping on my husband’s lap. But, he wakes up moments after the food arrives and starts crying.

My mother-in-law assumes it’s because he’s sick, but NO. He ALWAYS wakes up like that.

So, I take him outside for a stroll, to watch cars whiz by and interrogate him.

“Do you want juice?” “Do you want chips?” “Do you need to go potty?” “Do you want corn on the cob?” “Do you want two-for-one margaritas?”

He goes with juice, so we head back inside where he refuses to leave my lap, so I cannot eat.

The juice (and my daughter’s chocolate milk) arrive just in time for us to leave. That earns the waiter instant dick status.

At home, you’d think my son would get back to that interrupted nap, but no way. He’s up for the long haul now. So, we take a bike ride.

During the bike ride, my daughter decides to ask me why we don’t live forever.

Last time she asked me, “Who made God?”

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Nothing like a relaxing bike ride with Alma.

When we get home, my husband and I trade off struggling through naps and watching the kids.

I want to shout Amen and dance with snakes when bedtime arrives.

dancing with snakes

But, noooooo! Alma says her belly hurts because she’s still hungry.

I struggle between thinking she could possibly be going through a growth spurt and be legitimately hungry and assuming she’s just making up the typical excuses to stay up late. I also don’t want to set the precedent that eating in bed after brushing your teeth is okay.

I offer her “squeeze fruit.” (glorified applesauce) She says she only wants Goldfish.

I tell her she can eat Goldfish, but she has to sit on the floor because she’ll get crumbs in her bed.

I bring her the Goldfish and she starts crying because she says she wanted bread. (I was apparently supposed to deduce this telepathically.)

telepathy

I bring her the bread and leave. Moments later, she’s yelling at me from her room to come and throw away the crust she doesn’t want.

There’s a several minute fight.

“You have two working legs. Throw it away yourself!”

More crying. I find her crumpled on the floor of her room with a wad of crust in her hand. So, I drag her to the bathroom and make her throw it away.

Now, she’s wailing that the chunk of middle bread she wanted was in the pile in the trash. So, I pick it out and send her off.

I start to feel guilty.

I picture her someday telling her college boyfriend about her wretched mother who would send her starving to bed with a mashed up piece of bread plucked from the garbage.

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I go back to her room to talk it out and find her sound asleep, the chunk of bread uneaten inside her curled up little paw. I kiss her cheek and toss it out.

We pick our battles.

My husband I have talked about how incredibly sick we are of constantly telling the kids, “No.”

We do let some stuff slide. In the car ride back from the beach, we let Huck shove crackers from his Lunchable under his seat belt buckle, showering crumbs around my car. Alma was rubbing circles of ham on her thighs.

That’s cool.

Whatever.

I digress.

We finally have the freedom to have a couple of beers and watch some mindless crap on TV when… I hear Alma crying.

She has puked all over her bed, her pajamas, her hair.

It’s a mad dash to bathe her, brush her teeth, wash sheets. (Although my husband tends to just toss stuff in the trash. We lost two fluffy pink blankets last night.)

I threw out the bathmat. Once there are chunks in that thing, there’s no getting it clean.

I disinfect the tub twice over, because Lord knows if one kid gets a stomach bug, we’re all screwed.

She sleeps through the night and I feel like we’re in the clear.

Until I get a text message from my husband this morning that she crapped her undies overnight and several times since.

Now, I spend the entire day at work feeling pressure under my tongue like I’m going to puke.

The paranoia that could inevitably lead to me actually tossing my cookies.

So, that was Mother’s Day.

I did get some lovely earrings and a watch from the husband.


I was under the misconception there would be less crying when my newborns became babies.

When my babies became toddlers.

Little did I know the crying would continue daily well into my children’s 3rd and 4th years of life.

My daughter cries in the morning when my husband leaves her to come downstairs because she isn’t cooperating while getting dressed.

She cries at night because her Hello Kitty hat fell out of the bed and she doesn’t want to get out of bed to retrieve it.

She cries louder when I threaten to shut her door if she doesn’t stop crying.

She whines when her brother touches her.

She whines when she can’t get her shirt over her giant melon head.

She whines when I break the devastating news that we will not be eating Ravioli every night.

My son whines because his blanket has slipped down to the bottom of the bed.

He whines because I tell him he needs to put his sippy cup on the counter when he’s done.

He whines and transforms into a tiny T-Rex, flopping his stumpy arms because I won’t put “Baymax” on a perpetual loop on the T.V.

crying t-rex

He cries if you even suggest he’s going to get time out.

He cries with shame if he hurts himself.

Last night, he cried at 2 a.m. for no apparent reason that we’ve been able to discern.

Most days begin with the sound of crying raining down from upstairs as I cook my breakfast and lunch for work.

Most days end with someone crying for some stupid reason before bed.

Most nights, sleep is interrupted by someone crying because they fell out of bed, had a nightmare, have an earache or in my son’s case… who the hell knows why?

Last night, I had a Come To Jesus talk with Alma about the crying.

A shut the door, sit down, look at me chat.

I told her that as she approaches age 5, it’s becoming increasingly ridiculous for her to whine and cry.

I told her she needs to start verbalizing her emotions, using words to describe how she feels. Say, “I’m sad.” Say, “I’m mad.” Say, “I’m an irritating a-hole and think you’re a shit mom.” (Okay, I didn’t say that.)

Her response was, “There’s a big kid at school who whines all the time.”

“Okay, he’s a dork.”

I said, “Do you hear me whining and crying all the time? No, cause I’m a big girl. I don’t go around saying, “I’m tired! Wahhh!” “I want to wear ripped jeans to work! Wahhh!” “I don’t wanna write about dead babies and riots and mass shootings! Wahhhh!” (Definitely didn’t say that.)

I made her paraphrase back to me what I was saying to be sure she understood.

Less than an hour later, she was in her room, screaming like a banshee, tears streaming down her face because she couldn’t find her Frozen lip gloss.

“Oh, the horror! The tragedy! How will you survive SLEEPING without lip gloss?”

These are the moments when I really start to feel a deep connection with parents arrested for duct taping their kids mouths shut.

I thought crying at this age was reserved for broken bones and stranger danger.

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I don’t take a lot of pictures of them when they’re crying. Pouting? I got that covered.

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My children have perfected the “orphan look.”

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Do my kids just suffer from weak constitutions?

Should I be prying their eyes open, forcing them to watch videos of real suffering like A Clockwork Orange for kids?

clockwork orange

Or maybe I am the only parent who feels their blood pressure rising with each meaningless wail.

The only one whose skin crawls when their child is shrieking needlessly.

The only one who sprouts spontaneous tears as soon as their child starts crying.

Damn.

I’m the one with the weak constitution.

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So, I just finished up a story about a 19 year old accused of violently shaking his 2 month old daughter until she had a fractured skull, ribs and bleeding in the brain.

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I’m still waiting to update the story on the 150 people killed in a plane crash in the French Alps.

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Before I started that one, I wrapped up the arrest in the cold case murder of a 64 year old, unarmed hotel security guard who was shot twice in the back by a robber.

William Williams - Cold Case victim

In-between stories, I cried all over the desk after reading a friend’s blog about her friend’s 21 month old son who died unexpectedly last week.

Yesterday, I sobbed on the drive home after a stop at the vet’s office to get my dog’s medication. I saw a woman holding a little boy on her lap in the parking lot as they wept over a dead pet.

When I have a spare moment, I am overwhelmed by sadness over my mother’s struggle to care for my grandparents alone.

They have Alzheimer’s and dementia.

She works full-time in the news business too and comes home every night to soggy adult diapers stuffed in the dog food canister and profanity-laced tirades from my grandmother who is perpetually threatening to kill herself or escape. (When she’s not berating her husband, who has no memory of her insults just moments later.)

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Last night as I worked out, I sweat, cried and worried for a friend whose marriage is falling apart.

Along with the endless sorrows of this life, I had to fight off panic today when I realized I missed a phone call from the day care because Alma was screaming that her eyes were burning for some unknown reason.

Then, I cried because I feel like a shitty parent. For missing the call. For not being able to rush to the school to pick her up.

Then again for the mother I don’t even know who just had to bury her son.

I am worn thin from the misery, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I love hard, even though it means I hurt deeply.

I care for complete strangers and take pride in my empathy.

I hurt for my family and friends, but I also celebrate their joys like it’s my own private party.

And at the end of the day, when I put my daughter to bed, she will give me a real hug and a kiss on the cheek and tell me she loves me and it will be enough to prepare me for another day of tragedy and despair.

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My son will ask me to read him a book and rub my arm nonchalantly and lay his head on my shoulder and I will feel like I can walk around with the weight of the world on my shoulders forever.

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So, you survived the endless pooping newborn months.

You managed to tackle toddlerhood without your child escaping diaper-clad from your home or flying down a flight of stairs.

Time to celebrate?

No way. Now, you’ve reached the creepy kid stage.

Children are basically small stalkers and perverts and they get a free pass.

Allow me to use my own as examples:

My kids constantly want to watch me bathe. I don’t have a clue what they find so fascinating about my personal bathing habits, but it’s not cool and locking the door is the ONLY option.

They also want to watch me use the potty. Again, my bodily functions don’t vary much from anyone else’s, so I don’t understand their obsession.

They’re also obsessed with their own bodily functions.

Each child, every time without fail, feels the need to share the number and size of their poops. “I did three! One big, two tiny!”

I’m like, ‘Uhhh, I don’t care. I just know I can’t wait until you can effectively wipe your own butt.”

Just about whenever I get my son undressed for his bath, he points to his chest and says, “What’s this?”

“Your nipple?”

“What’s this?”

“Also your nipple.”

“Do you have nipples?”

“Yes.”

“Does Alma have nipples?”… and so on and so forth. Bathtime is one long list of people who have nipples.

Last night, I bent over to pick him up off the couch and he reached into my shirt and said, “I want to touch! Squeeze! Squeeze!” Nothing like getting goosed on the boob by your kid.

They love to share their bodily functions. Alma sees nothing wrong with wiping her snot on my blanket. Occasionally she will drag her hand across my cheek, leaving behind a wet streak. I will ask her why her hand is wet. “I licked it.” (‘Cause that totally makes sense.)

Huck doesn’t mind that I use the bath towel to remove the shit-ton of wax from his ears, as long as I can show him what it looks like afterward so he can say, “Ewwwww.”

Children are also morbid.

The other day as we were walking through the park, I noticed a black snake writhing in the parking lot, it’s head squished by a van that had backed up over it. I tried to urge Alma to walk away and she started whining, “I want to see it! I want to see it!”

She also told me about a classmate who killed a lizard at school. She went into graphic detail about how he chopped off its head.

Then she told me that same story again… and again… and again.

Children are not only creepy, stalking, morbid, perverts. They also know how to REALLY bring the awkward.

Randomly the other day, Alma turned to me and said, “So, when I grow up will I have someone in my belly?”

It’s sweet that she already aspires to become a mother someday. It’s adorable that she’s planning her brood. It’s totally NOT a conversation I want to delve into with my FOUR year old.

In conclusion, you thought you were done with the yuckiest part of parenting? Nope, now they can just TALK about all the nasty stuff that comes with being human. Welcome to Kids Are Creepy.


So, we’re at some family-neutral restaurant eating wings when Alma starts to act up.

She’s sliding around the booth like an eel, smacking her chin on the table, worming her way onto the filthy floor.

I threaten her with a “bathroom time-out.” Before she even blinks again, she’s grinning maniacally, slithering back under the table.

So, I drag her to the bathroom and go inside a stall with her. Instead of whimpering and apologizing, she’s grinning at me with hate in her eyes.

She’s in full-on batshit crazy mode.

So, I tell her I am going to leave her alone in the stall for her time-out.

I close the door, waiting for her to at least utter a half-assed ‘sorry’ when instead, she says “I don’t even want to look at your FACE right now!”

At which point, I drag her back out and my husband and I tell her she’s not going to attend her friend’s birthday party. That’s where we were heading next, so I drop off my husband and son at the party and drive Alma home.

She’s now raving like a lunatic, screaming, spit flying from her mouth, digging her hand into the back of her throat and gagging.

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I put her in her room for time-out, while she continues to shriek and flap her arms wildly in my general direction.

I tell her through tears that I wanted her to go to the birthday party, but her behavior is the reason why she can’t go.

She screams louder.

She screams for an hour.

When it turns to a shuddering hiccuping, I go back in and ask her if she knows why she got time-out.

“No.”

I said, “You were not listening, sliding around in the booth and then you told me you didn’t want to look at my face during time-out. You were mean to me. Do you want to be mean to me?”

“Yes.”

I said, “If you act badly, you can’t do fun things like to go to birthday parties.”

Alma: “I’ll just go to the next one.”

Seriously?

This was me sticking to my guns.

The most epic time-out of my parental history and she doesn’t give a shit.

If she’s this vicious and ungrateful now, will we be bailing her out of jail when she’s 13?

This weekend, we took the kids to the beach, to the park, out to lunch, bought them Big Hero 6.

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We cooked for them, we bathed them, we cuddled on the couch suffering through episodes of My Little Pony and Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

We do so much for them and so very, very little for ourselves.

I asked Alma if she had any fun this weekend at all.

Her response… “I didn’t go to the birthday party.”

She got another time-out at dinner for playing with her food. My husband threw her food in the trash.

I’m the mom who is secretly sneaking some leftover mac n’ cheese into the fridge, just in case she really is starving and apologizes or acts even remotely like a normal child.

I am the mom who cries as she’s tucking that tupperware into the fridge.

I am the mom who is tucking it right next to the rum I bought in order to make it to Monday.

I am the mom who is starting to feel like she’s losing as a parent.

My daughter can be so sweet, yet so evil.

So kind, yet soul-crushing.

I watched her at the park playing on the see-saw long after she was done so the other little girl could keep bouncing.

She will find a quarter in the mulch and look at me to see if she should put it back down, just in case it might be someone else’s.

She will rush to get me a band-aid if I have a hangnail.

Then, she transforms like Ed Norton in Primal Fear.

ed norton primal fear

Sticking with the Norton theme, she’s Tyler Durden from Fight Club, pouring lye on our hands.

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Such a sweet face.

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I know the devil inside.


The real story behind the sweet pictures of our Sunday trip to the zoo.

(Worth noting: My son was sick the night before and we were up with him every hour until he woke up for good at 4 a.m.)

Things started off remarkably well.

The first animal we saw was some kind of warty hog that had buried himself under a pile of hay with only his rotund rump exposed. Despite this, my daughter shouted with glee, “This place is fun!”

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We dodged dive bombing parrots inside the aviary.

We saw white rhinos, including the enormous lumbering bull that my daughter was determined to call the “mommy rhino” despite some obvious danglage of dude parts.

Both kids were amped inside the exhibit I call “Snakes and bugs and stuff.”

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We made our way through the shrimpy funk at the stingray tank and got splashed by mungy water during a feeding.

Then, Alma made her first demand for a toy.

Here we go.

I tell her she has enough toys at home.

She says she wants a different toy.

I say she should start to learn to enjoy the experience of being somewhere fun without taking home a token toy.

Her attitude shifts and the next thing I know she takes a swat at my husband with her bunny.

I take her bunny away and tell her she has to apologize for hitting him with it and she bursts into tears.

She’s crying hysterically while we walk past the flamingos and coy pond.

People are staring, but I am not backing down.

Eventually, she apologizes and we recover on the carousel.

carousel

Afterward, Huck wants to go on the tiger train rollercoaster and we’re pumped when we see that he’s over the required height.

Alma and I stand by to take pictures while the boys wait in line and then I see them come back out of the line.

Huck is crying.

They’ve told him he has to be 3. My husband told them he turns 3 next month and they still turned him away.

We try to appease Huck with a watermelon icee and he’s NOT HAVING IT. He’s grunting like a gorilla and swatting the air.

“Do you want to go to the petting zoo?” “Do you want to see more animals?” “Are you hungry?” “Do you need medicine?”

With every question, he does an angry Michael Jackson moonwalk away from me.

moonwalk

I finally get him to calm down enough to take a spoonful of the melted icee and he promptly gets brain freeze and spews it across the ground outside the penguin exhibit and starts screaming.

Moments later, Alma starts choking on her icee. This is just SO MUCH FUN.

Later, we’re standing in line waiting for the “train” (hoping to make Huck feel better) that takes you around the zoo for a brief and underwhelming tour. The kids are eating Doritos, which means mostly just dumping them along the walkway and stomping them into tiny pieces.

Of course while we’re waiting in line, they notify us one of the trams is shut down so it’s a longer wait than usual. (Now, 20 minutes) Then, the speaker system breaks on the working tram while we’re in line and it’s another 20 minutes.

Alma yells, “Mommy, Huck pushed me!” Huck says, “I said I was sorry.” Then he hugs her.

I overhear people standing nearby saying, “Awww” and “There’s still good parents out there.”

There it is. The balance between cracking the whip and showing the kids a good time.

“Here’s a fantastic day where you don’t have to do anything but have a good time. We provide the snacks, juice, icees, rides and carry your crap around. We wipe your bums, bring changes of clothes and spend a gazillion dollars all so you can have a blast.”

They behave badly and we give time outs, take their stuff away and trouble shoot.

People see them throwing a massive temper tantrum and probably think, “crappy parents.”

People see them hugging and apologizing and think, “good parents.

The fact is, we’re good parents BECAUSE we don’t buy into their temper tantrums.

Alma never got a toy. She got to keep the zoo map.

alma pouts bunny

We did not try to smuggle Huck onto the kiddie rollercoaster. (Although it was tempting) He got the tram ride where he kept saying, “There’s no animals. There’s trees.” (An astute observation)

We’re trying so hard, but it’s a battle and one that doesn’t usually end with pleasant memories and grateful children.

As we walk back to the car, Alma is pouting because she didn’t get a toy.

Huck whines, “Where’s MY map?”

Then he crashes, drooling on the car seat.

We were hoping to go out to lunch. Instead, it’s McD’s and buying groceries and consoling Huck when he wakes up and tossing out the kids uneaten peas and watching Batman and breaking up fights over legos and “Don’t hit your sister!” and “Stop crying over everything!” and yes, that’s moonshine in my Coke.

There were good moments at the zoo: Alma in heaven on her horse, Huck mesmerized by otters, the moment when Alma randomly started patting Huck sweetly on the head.

otters

Was it worth it?

Ask me when the kids are in their 20’s and we find out if they even remember this stuff.