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.
Forget blood, sweat and tears. My weekend was all poop, sweat and tears. I’m starting to think that’s a far worse combo.
My son seems to have mastered pee pee on the potty. There’s the occasional partial tinkle in the undies, followed by completion on the pot.
For the most part, there are no puddles accumulating in our house.
Poop is another story altogether.
I’m starting to think he’s terrified to poop on the toilet, so he’s holding it in for as long as he can and then it sneaks out in increments. That’s the only possible explanation for the impressive number of times he pooped in his undies over the weekend.
At some point, we’re going to have to break down and start washing the undies. We’ve been tossing them in the trash. It’s so terribly difficult to want to hand-scrub shit off someone’s underwear. Anyone’s underwear. But, for such a small amount of material, those little Superhero skivvies are EXPENSIVE.
There was a pee pee incident when we went to a restaurant for lunch with the kiddos. (where the food was double-fried disgusting)
My husband took Huck to the restroom, he peed and within ten minutes of coming back to the table, he peed in his pants. I guess he wanted to leave as badly as we did.
My husband tells me he also stomped on the pee that puddled on the floor of the bathroom, so his socks were soaked in urine.
We didn’t bring any boy socks, so he ended up wearing hot pink socks with chicks on them under his cowboy boots. (An aside: He loved the socks.)
The kids played outside on a playground that couldn’t possibly be up to code. There were plywood steps, rotting from water exposure. The kids periodically ran back to the deck where we were because they were terrified of the bees. (Which were actually flies.)
We took the kids to play putt putt golf.
We are not a couple overcoming the challenges of parenting with mental disabilities. We’re just stupid.
Not only is it difficult to teach toddlers how to properly use a golf club and avoid water hazards, it’s nearly impossible to keep them from falling off faux cliffs when there is sweat literally dripping into your eyes.
Afterward I asked Alma if she had fun. She said, “No, it was too hot.”
To cap off the weekend, there was a 4:30 a.m. Monday morning wake up call. My daughter was bleating like a sheep because she couldn’t find her Rainbow Dash pony.
It was right next to her in the bed.
I fell back asleep and had a nightmare that I couldn’t pull off a Frozen birthday party for her.
I can’t wait to trade in all the poop, sweat and tears for some sleep, peace and quiet.
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.
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.