Holidays are never normal in my family.
I think it’s a safe bet that they’re never normal in ANY family.
My family celebrates holidays days after or sometimes before the actual holiday.
I work in news, my mother works in news, my brother and sister-in-law work for the TSA.
The news never stops and neither do travelers.
This year Thanksgiving was the day after Thanksgiving.
The drive to my brother’s place in Orlando was tolerable, despite the refrain “Are we there, yet?” (I eventually said, ‘yup, we’re there. We’re hugging everyone hello and sitting down on the sofa for a chat. CLEARLY, WE’RE NOT THERE YET.’)
My clan was the first to arrive, so I was unabashed in my dash to the kitchen to make a rum and Coke. My husband went for the moonshine.
This is not a euphemism. He brought a jar of moonshine. (smart man)
It wasn’t long before my mother arrived and launched herself head first into the kitchen, sweating off all her makeup and slaving over the hot stove.
Her boyfriend starts slamming moonshine with my husband, partners in crime.
Before the buzz wears off, I’m belting out Frozen songs to backup my niece when she forgets the lyrics.
I pile my plate high with carbs, a move I will regret when I see the pictures from the event later. (untag, untag, reevaluating ethical stance on lipo, untag)
My daughter gets two outside time outs in the span of an hour. During the latter of which, she inched dangerously close to the gator-infested lake and said, “I don’t want to be anywhere near you!” (I resisted the urge to reply, “The feeling is mutual, but alas, I can’t temporarily dispose of you.”)
Just when my buzz starts to wear off, someone sticks my four-month old niece on my lap and my holiday celebration is OVER.
Let me preface this by saying she is the sweetest, most relaxed infant ever. She’s a far cry from my babies, who were inclined to spontaneously toss their heads back and crash to the floor. She’s so strong she can stand for several minutes while you hold her hands. She holds up her head like a champ. She’s adorable… and the very last thing I want to be holding for over an hour on Thanksgiving.
There is the panicky feeling of being responsible for such a tiny human being that ISN’T mine.
There’s the horror of feeling like for only a moment, I once again have a newborn.
I will reiterate: I adored being pregnant. Childbirth was by no means “a blast”, but an experience I would suffer through again with enthusiasm. I would even consider having more children, if my current ones weren’t complete hellraising, demon seeds.
My niece is a peaceful little pile of cuteness.
My babies were belly-aching, crappy breastfeeding, perpetually crying, never napping monsters.
They had RSV, lactose Intolerance, cradle cap and mystery rashes.
As they grew older, it was MRSA and lice and fifth disease.
My son is about to turn 3 years old and he’s too terrified to poop in the potty.
His butt cheeks are like vice clamps.
If there is ever a day when I don’t have to wipe the crap out of that little muscle bum, I will throw a party.
Not kidding. An entire celebration dedicated to diaperless life. There will be confetti, shot out of a bum-shaped launcher.
After countless minutes bouncing this pleasant little girl on my lap, she starts to get wiggly and obviously hungry.
It’s my big break! I will be able to recapture my buzz with a quick stiff drink!
I report to my brother that his progeny is in need of sustenance, waiting for him to alert his wife that it’s time to secretly whip out a boob.
He hands me a bottle.
The holiday wraps up after my son lays a couple of noxious turds in his diaper, my grandparents massacre the bathroom with their own excrement and everybody is suddenly feeling painfully sober.
I hold my breath to give my (literally) stinking grandparents a hug goodbye, always wondering if it will be the last.
I don’t want my last memory of them to be clenching my teeth and plugging my nose. Instead, it would be my grandmother asking me twice what my daughter’s name is during a 5-minute conversation.
The drive home from Orlando is hell.
We hit bumper-to-bumper traffic because of an accident.
My son is sobbing for no apparent reason, which all but guarantees he has an ear infection.
Then a tree frog lands on my thigh, scaring the bejeesus out of me. (I can’t make this up.) I watch the dang thing wobble across the dashboard, dragging around one of Alma’s hairs, perching, poised to jump on my husband’s face causing the crash that will kill us all.
I was thankful for being back at home.
Oh, and for my husband, who still managed to provide much levity with his drunken shenanigans.
I’ve been trying to determine the worst part of potty training and I am torn.
Before ever beginning potty training, I would’ve predicted it was having a child that was completely un-potty trained. It’s hard to imagine anything worse than a baby diaper blowout.
There’s the soak-through overnight diapers.
The, “Oh, crap, it’s crap and the wipes have dried out” moment.
Or, “I am driving and the foul odor of rancid diarrhea is wafting through my car but I am not in any kind of position to stop driving and even if I do, where in God’s name am I going to change the child?”
That was all pre-potty training though.
Now, I am an expert and I have narrowed down the disgusting reality of infant excretions to two top contenders:
The Partial Poo and The Surprise Plop.
My son is ready to be rocking undies solo any day now, but he still has too many accidents to confidently leave the house sans diapers.
The Surprise Plop: When Huck tells me, “I gotta go poo poo” and I get excited and start encouraging him, rushing him along to the toilet. I pull off his undies and surprise! Plop. Onto the floor drops the nug he already squeezed out.
The Partial Poo: When Huck tells me, “I gotta go poo poo” and I get all excited until I realize his face is already red, eyes watering because he has since started to push it out.
This means I will attempt to get him to finish on the pot and end up using toilet paper to try and wipe off the poop that has already squished all over his little, white tush.
That never works, so he will have to hobble awkwardly back to the bedroom where I can snag the wipes and effectively give him what all parents know as the “wipes bath.”
Not to mention that while we’re doing all of this “training” we’re also cramming both kids full of chocolate as bribes.
So, it’s like poop and chocolate, poop and chocolate. It’s enough to make you turn lent into a yearlong event to give up sweets.
The best part about potty training? We’re not there yet.
I still despise that every time my daughter has to go to the bathroom we have to be involved in the wiping process. Lord knows if we didn’t get the job done, she sure as hell wouldn’t.
So, the best part of potty training? Probably comes at around the same time they get their driver’s licenses.
By then, there will be a whole host of new complaints about a lack of cleanliness.