Pound Town

Thanksgiving is upon us in a few short days and I could not be more excited about it. I never used to enjoy it all that much for whatever reason. I really like stuffing a lot so not sure why the overabundant quantity of that thing alone wasn’t enough to put my negativity aside for the day. I think it had something to do with the level of boredom and predictable annoyance of the day’s events. Eat until you are so unbelievably uncomfortable that you want to take your pants off but can’t because you know, Great Aunt Amy is there and she’s old school when it comes to undressing in front of relatives. Sweet lady though, but don’t ask my Grandma. She’ll be over in the corner projecting negativity all around while rolling her eyes at the fact that Great Aunt Amy is genuinely happy and (gasp!) smiling again. The nerve of that woman!  I love you Grandma.

It also could’ve been the mountain of dirty dishes awaiting the women folk coupled with the fact that anyone with a Y chromosome got a free pass to amble into the living room immediately post feast with an unbuckled belt and claim their spot for the rest of the entire day reclined on the couch watching football and high-fiving themselves for eating the most coconut crunch. On a separate but related note, I’m thankful for guys who aren’t pricks.

Or maybe it was the fact that Grandma would ask me the same condescending question every goddamn year without fault, “Were you out late having fun last night Jill?”

“Newsflash Grandma! I’m actually not 18 years old anymore! I’m 30 and have a couple kids now and a real life job so maybe that’s why I look so tired and smell funny?” It wasn’t, but still.

Then one glorious day out of nowhere everything changed all because one young pilgrim bravely arrived to our Thanksgiving feast dressed the exact opposite of what might be categorized as appropriate holiday attire. I owe him my life and honestly cannot to this day imagine the balls it took to purposely seat himself down in between Mom and Grandma at the dinner table while wearing a weathered Mountain Dew t-shirt that to the keener eye actually read “Mount and Do” and then proceed to fill his plate like a goddamn boss whose only care in the world was getting the white dinner rolls before they were all gone and he had to settle for the whole wheat ones. Gross.

I imagine it’s one of those ‘had to be there’ deals, but listening to my Grandmother inquisitively recite “Mount and Do” in a “I know that’s not quite right but can’t really put my finger on it” tone repetitively throughout the entirety of our Thanksgiving meal was hands down THE BEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ME IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. I had to remove myself from the table twice, because it was that funny and I am that immature. The angry, “That’s enough Margaret!” bark from Mr. Grumpy Pants sadly brought the fun to an abrupt and untimely end while immediately bringing back vivid childhood memories of the strictly enforced zero tolerance for fun rule at the dinner table. Face forward, engage no one, refrain from speaking, and don’t you dare even think about taking the last piece of bread you selfish little asshole. Ahhh, memories. Regardless, it was a pleasantly unexpected game changer that set into motion from that day forward an unspoken yearly attempt of oneupmanship by the comedic geniuses of the family to transform Thanksgiving from barely tolerable to almost pretty enjoyable. I honestly cannot wait.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for my beautiful family, wonderful friends who truly appreciate me and all of my dysfunction, lifelong memories of my Grandma’s all around negativity, the men in my life who understand that people with boobs actually have the ability to enjoy watching football too, inappropriate dinner conversations, a brother who is almost as funny me, red wine, a husband who will do the dishes if I angrily stare at him long enough from across the room, and the promise of a brave young man to ask his sweet and innocent mother if she’s ever been to Pound Town.

Pass the stuffing.

 

 

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It’s Poop!

I really like that my kids are now at an age where they can theoretically do stuff for themselves. It’s nice. Frees up more time for me to ponder the world and my place within it. That said, I typically try to avoid going anywhere outside of my own head to gather information and/or form opinions. If I could live in a cave in the mountains of Montana, I probably would, but sadly I’m not fond of the dark, no one will currently go with me, and I assume it’d be difficult to buy wine there, so on to bigger and more realistic problems. Like the fact that my adorable baby boy is unable to effectively wipe his own ass.

The kid is the sweetest 6 year old boy you will ever meet. Heads into the bathroom proudly declaring to the world, “Going poop Mommy. I’ll do it all by myself.” I immediately freeze in time and space and begin frantic self talk. “It’s going to be fine. There are bigger life problems. Breathe. Take a deep breath. Seriously if you don’t breathe you will literally die standing right here in your kitchen and then WHO WILL CLEAN IT UP?”

I really enjoy watching my children spread their wings and gain a sense of independence and confidence along the way. I don’t want them to live here forever. In addition, as nice as it sounds to believe my beloved offspring will always need their mother, I know my days are numbered. I typically like to poop alone too, so I get it.

Here’s the problem. He unequivocally cannot do it. Not only can he not do it, but he can unequivocally not do it. I have demonstrated, educated, reiterated, and drawn a map. “Got it Mommy!”

No he does not.

I don’t want to be the type of mom that enables her children. I want them to do things for themselves. I refuse to raise children incapable of being capable. I don’t do their homework when asked. It’s not because I don’t get it either. It’s because I don’t get it and they need to learn how to become functional members of society and not wait around for someone else to do their shit. That said, it’s poop.

I gave him the benefit of the doubt the other day. Let him do his business in private and didn’t even hover outside the door. Walked in there several minutes later only to discover a perfectly formed thumb print made out of actual poop on the top of the toilet paper roll. Let me be crystal clear. This is not a house where this sort of thing might be even remotely considered appropriate. As such, my detective brain immediately kicked in.

Is this some sort of intentional clue left behind for someone to uncover?

Are their longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates in there somewhere that will save someone’s life if examined under a black light?

I consider to investigate briefly, but then remember, it’s poop.

We are not cavemen. We do not live in a cave in the middle of Montana and even if we did, I would bring toilet paper and disinfecting wipes and 5,ooo cases of red wine because I am a planner and under no circumstances ever is literal poop left on the top of a toilet paper roll acceptable. Ever.   

Cats are assholes

I turned 42 the other day and I could not have handled it worse. The day vacillated between driving around listening to sad country music, drinking (yes drinking) myself into a brown gravy coma, and desperately trying to somehow reason out why I hate my birthday to appease all of the inquiring minds out there that desperately need an answer. Every year this happens to me, or I should say, I happen to me. I get inside my head and sabotage the one special day out of the year I get to share with a mere 19 million other people in the world. My little brother can’t even wrap his head around it and he’s the grumpiest person I know. “Everyone likes their birthday Jill.”

Do they? Because I definitely don’t and the concept of “everyone” includes me if we’re going to get technical here, right? I feel that after four decades of life, I have earned the right to form opinions. Besides, I like other things. I like the day before my birthday (I actually really like that day a lot for some reason). I like nighttime picnics. I like most of my family and friends. I like brutal honesty sans one ounce of bullshit. I like not answering the door for solicitors and/or unexpected guests (Sorry Mom.). I like the smell of Autumn. I like non-cheap red wine (Sorry honey). I like winning (especially against said honey). I like clever sarcasm and crude language. I like screwing with people (figuratively, not literally). I like the color grey (yes, grey). I like extra gravy. I like surprising people. And I like OTHER PEOPLE’S birthdays. I just don’t like my own. The horror!

People just can’t seem to wrap their head around it. I know it doesn’t make any sense. Who doesn’t like their own birthday? What kind of sad and pathetic human being could I possibly be?

Please refrain from intervention. I promise I am not having a mid-life crisis. I know this because I asked my therapist last week and she said, albeit with a bit of an eye wander, that she definitely doesn’t think so and I believe her because she likes me. To be certain, I googled “midlife crisis” on my internet machine shortly thereafter. Based on the search results, I am also close to almost certain that I do not have it. I simply do not meet the criteria.

  • I have zero desire to reclaim my youth (Been there, done that. No thanks.).
  • I don’t want to trade my minivan in for a sports car. (I have three kids. They wouldn’t all survive in such close proximity to each other and I’ll be damned if I’m making extra trips regardless of how cool my ass looks behind the wheel of a pre-owned two door sedan with Tay Tay on full blast and the windows down.)
  • I don’t want botox (I simply prefer to be seen in the dark.).
  • I don’t want a younger hunkier bed partner (I want to sleep alone.).
  • I don’t want to reevaluate my goals. (My goals are rock solid. To be the next Tina Fey or Amy Poehler by next week and to eat less Cheetos.).
  • And so on and so forth.

Nothing traumatic or sad ever happened to me on my birthday either, so no need for speculation or pity in that regard. I decided on my own with my own brain at a very young age that birthday festivities in my honor were simply not for me. I quit having parties by third grade. It was my choice. They always made me cry. I don’t know why. No one was mean, everyone brought presents, Mom always made cake, and I got to wear a big hat. Turns out I just couldn’t be bothered with even trying to meet the expectations of being the birthday girl. Who gives a shit. Everyone just wants the cake. I get it. Keep the hat.

It’s not the getting older thing either. I could honestly care less at this point. I stopped keeping track of my age at around 34ish. Just didn’t seem pertinent anymore after kids. That’s not to say I wasn’t extremely flattered that one of my son’s first grade classmates told me last week at the “fall party” on Halloween that I looked like I was 23 years old. I gave him three overzealous fist bumps and immediately and quite loudly declared little Petey my new best friend, but that’s beside the point. The point is I will probably never be asked to volunteer at another class party again.

Maybe it’s because I can’t handle being the center of attention for a whole day? Maybe it’s because I put a lot of time and effort and enthusiasm into acknowledging everyone else’s birthday on the planet and the half-assing it on my behalf is quite frankly just not up to my standards of awesomeness because I’m that self absorbed? Maybe its because my grandma isn’t alive anymore to take me shopping and give me a disgusting lemon drop that’s stuck to the bottom of a unclean mason jar that I loved and savored every single suck of? Maybe it’s because I don’t want presents but I do but I don’t but I do? Maybe it’s because I don’t like cake (Yep! I said it!)? Maybe it’s because asking my children for one goddamn day to not be assholes to each other because it’s their mother’s birthday is apparently just too much for their tiny brains to grasp? Maybe it’s because I actually enjoy breaking into tears every year on my birthday for no reason at all because it just feels nice? Maybe it’s because I’d rather have zero expectations on any other day of the year than to forcefully smile my way through 24 hours of inevitable disappointment just because it’s my (and 19 million other people’s) birthday and I could give a fuck less? Maybe I don’t care that you care so much about why I hate my birthday? Maybe I’m grumpy like my brother? Maybe you’re judgmental?

I don’t like my birthday. And I hate Mother’s Day too. And cats. And birds.

Deal with it.

 

 

Jillybean

I’ve always tried to do my own thing and be my own person. Being true to who I am and being okay with it is not always easy in today’s world of quick to judge anything/everything, but I do the best I can with what I have to work with. Thankfully I’ve had many guiding forces in my life that have served as wonderful role models, one more notable than the rest.

There’s something about the way she would yell at her kids that was greatly inspiring. Even now as I look back as a full grown adult with kids of my own, I wonder what it would be like to have that sort of parental confidence and zero fucks to give whether or not anyone else approved. Don’t even begin to judge her either. Her kids deserved it. I know because I was usually with them when they did. Nothing but a bunch of assholes we were and she knew it. Yet somehow she found a way to tolerate our shenanigans and love us all the same. She impressed me like no one else in this world ever has/will.

I have a tendency to be drawn to unconventional personalities. People that try too hard to conform to other people’s standards of how to live life and/or attempt to tell others how to do so are not people I generally choose to be around. It’s a personal preference and she undeniably makes the cut. I have drawn from her examples of parenting and friendship and love of life over the years and tried to apply them to my own life in ways that I hope would make her proud, not that she would ever tell me. Sugar coating is not one of her strengths, nor are terms of endearment. It’s refreshing.

She used to call me Jillybean. I hated it. I would cry and storm out of her house and the moment I would walk back in she would say it again and then come over and give me a great big bear hug and say, “It’s okay Jillybean. I love you goddammit!” She had such a unique and honest way with words. I wonder why I don’t swear more in front of my kids just thinking about it. It’s clear they’ve been exposed (mostly by their own grandparents), so why bother to refrain from what seems to come so naturally. Who is really benefitting from this approach anyway? Regardless, she made an impression on me as a young child and it has carried me into adulthood. She is the type of human being I aspire to be.

The message? Be yourself. Don’t take life too seriously. Swear if you want to. Work hard and vacuum your damn house. Have fun. Have fun. Have fun, and above all, drink a lot of beer. Damn can that woman drink beer.

I used to be a bed wetter. One of my favorite and most memorable childhood memories is when I pissed the bed and I had to wake her up in the middle of the night to explain what had happened.

“EXPLETIVE EXPLETIVE EXPLETIVE, go the fuck to bed Jillybean, I’m sleeping!”

I never wet the bed again.

I love you Crazy Darlene.

 

 

 

Code Brown

I have high expectations of myself. I also tend to excel in pressure situations. As such, when I was first informed of such a risk, I was completely unbothered and amused. The thought was so outside of the realm of possibility from a personal standpoint that it was simply absurd.  I control my own destiny at game time. In addition, I pride myself in having more self control and basic dignity than the average joe, so I was highly confident my ducks were in a row. Carry on with your nonsense givers of advice, I got this.

In hindsight it seems so simple and preventable. I let myself down and as a result will never be the same. There is no turning back and/or fully recovering from something like that either. I will never be able to retrieve or genuinely claim any sort of dignified identity ever again. Whereas I was once self assured and confident, I am now incredibly weak and insecure. Even the tiniest most basic of tasks has since become a mountain of uncertainty and self doubt.

It couldn’t have been more than a dime in diameter, maybe a nickel, I don’t know. The actual size is debatable yet sadly irrelevant. My husband tells me all the time that size doesn’t matter and he’s a scientist so I almost always believe him. What matters is the actual physical existence of something in time and space. The “now you see it, now you don’t” phenomenon still implies that someone actually saw it once. There’s proof!

I could feel it. I felt it, okay? I couldn’t see it but I knew it had happened. It’s been over a decade yet I close my eyes and still immediately feel the shame. Despite the fact that most feeling in that region was virtually gone, I knew it had happened. Maybe I’m a medical marvel, who knows, but explosive rocket-like projectile force out of a bodily orifice is impossible to ignore regardless of actual site specific nervous system sensation. Besides, the, “Oh dear don’t make eye contact” expression on her face immediately confirmed it. Her nonchalant and pathetic attempt to run off with the evidence without being noticed failed miserably. Does she even know who the hell I am? I’m not the type of person you pull stuff over on lady. I’m the puller, every single goddamn time! The fact that hubby dearest was cowering in a corner wishing himself into the invisible man to avoid any sort of confrontation was predictably annoying yet strangely unimportant at the time. The difference is I know stuff about him too. A tit for tat knowledge of unpleasant and humiliating personal traits and experiences feeds our relationship. She knows nothing else about me! This is it! You only get one chance to make a first impression!

I can tolerate a basic degree of bullshit from time to time, but blatant lying to my face regardless of the intent is not one of them. I asked her a direct question and she not only attempted to discredit my intelligence by answering dishonestly but went one step further and completely changed the subject.

“Meet your new baby Mrs. Veldhouse. Congratulations, she’s beautiful!”

I pooped on the table. Nothing else matters.

Dear John,

In order for a relationship to thrive or to even be classified as a relationship at all, some sort of regular reciprocal interaction must take place in which both parties acknowledge and respectfully respond to the other person’s concerted and life sucking efforts to indeed grow the relationship. I’m a trier to say the least. I’ve never been one to give up on anything. Quitting has never been an option for me in any phase and/or aspect of my life, ever. It’s a weakness at this point. You lured me in with your sick promise of contributing to my overall self worth and personal list of accomplishments. Clearly I am the sucker in this scenario and you my friend are not only not my friend but a master of disguise. I see you watching me from every angle, growing like a tumor in every hidden corner of my existence. I hear you snickering when I open a door, any door, every door, everywhere. I’m not sure why it has taken me this long to connect the dots but I have indeed finally connected them and the picture it has produced before my very eyes is one of complete abandonment of my soul. You ring your bell and I come running, over and over and over again like an overzealous handmaid under your spell, desperate for self worth and importance. I let you swoop in and take advantage of my affinity for order and I am utterly ashamed of myself. Whereas your false promises might’ve once seemed incredibly sexy and alluring, you have become nothing but a complete joke and waste of time and space. It’s difficult for me to say that to you. We’ve been simpatico for quite some time, a sick codependency entrenched in a fear of the unknown, or what else might be out there for us, or for me to be more perfectly blunt. Rest assured, there is nothing else out there for you. I give you life. You are nothing without me but a lonely pile of stench frantically seeking attention for your pathetic and constantly evolving disgust.

Make no mistake about it, we are through. I’m done. Begging for attention at this point will get you nowhere. I see now that my life without you is one of hope and promise and projects that can actually be completed. A life that offers opportunity to be proud of an actual real life accomplishment and not one that is smugly waiting for me to accomplish it again five minutes before thinking I had already accomplished it. Get my drift? I am crawling out from under your grip and I can finally breathe again. It’s glorious!

I don’t love you anymore, okay?! I don’t know if I ever did and by saying that I feel like I have lost a piece of who I thought I was as a person. Love can’t exist without a ongoing cooperative effort from both parties you absolute soul sucking egomaniac. If you had any selfless awareness at all, you would’ve tried harder. After all we’ve been through together, you should’ve tried harder. Alas, it’s too late for us. You don’t deserve me. I am better than you. I have other things to do and while I am not quite certain of what those things are, you can be sure that today is the day I release myself from the pangs of guilt and reclaim my life. I fully intend to disregard you like nothing I have ever disregarded before. I will walk over you, on top of you, under you and/or around you without a damn care in the world. I don’t consider myself a vindictive or vengeful person, but the thought of you choking on your own stagnant pool of filth while I eventually run out of clothes and prance around naked in your presence arouses me like I have never been aroused before. I am alive and I am free!

Go fuck yourself laundry pile. I quit.

Identified Weakness

I can do a lot of things.

I can shoot a basketball relatively well from a short distance away from the hoop while not being guarded. I can peel the entire surface area of an apple peeling without breakage and/or interruption. I can remember birthdays of my grade school crushes on a yearly basis without fail. I can not poop for a week and still ambulate around somewhat normally. I can touch the tip of my nose with the end of my tongue. I can lip sync Ice Ice Baby in its entirety like a boss. I can pretend to be interested when I am in fact not. I can take a nap as soon as I wake up. I can avoid elevator buttons and public door handles and still manage to function in society quite well. I can turn my husband into a 13 year old boy by simply not wearing a bra. I can tell you the difference between your and you’re in no uncertain terms 777 times and you will still fucking use it wrong. I can use sarcasm and dark humor to hide emotional pain and anguish. I can be Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy in the same night without so much as a costume change. I can also give vaginal birth to three kids and still somehow love them immediately afterwards. I’m gifted like that.

Do you know what I can’t do?

I can’t put a bun in someone else’s hair. I’ve never had long hair in my life, which is kind of weird because I’m almost 42 years old and a girl. I’ve also never been a dancer or anything that would require me to even attempt to put my hair in a perfectly formed circular roll on the top of my head. Quite honestly, I think my personality jives more with the messy bun type of situation but I’ve never had to explore my affinity for the bun in any form. It’s a skill I have never needed or even remotely wanted to acquire in my entire life as a human being on this planet.

Do you know what else I can’t do?

I can’t put a bun in someone else’s hair when they are angrily screaming at me to do so. I have limitations. Tolerating shitty behavior, forming a bun on top of a head under pressure and not losing my mind when asked to do both at the same time are definitely three of them. Not to mention the 13 bobby pins that are doing absolutely nothing to help ease my pain. All of a sudden I hate myself. More importantly, in 2.5 seconds she is going to see them poking out at every angle and shit is going to get real.

Serenity now!

Fuck picture day.

Gut check time

She wants to “walk around downtown.”  What the hell does that even mean these days?  It’s probably some middle school code language for something not good, or even bad.  How would I know, I’m 41 (i.e. not cool anymore).  I barely even remember middle school let alone the exact methods I used to snow my parents into thinking I was actually just going to “walk around downtown.”  Regardless, there was no getting away with much of anything in the town I grew up in.  It had 3 streets.  And 2 cops.  My friends and I literally had to walk past my own house at least five times during the walk just to make it not seem weird and/or suspicious to the locals that we were walking up and down one street all night long.  Not to mention the fact that my parent’s business was on the corner of main street, right by where the stop light would be if the town ever decided to put one in.  Walking around downtown during business hours meant literally waving to my Mom and Dad through the giant glass windows that faced main street as they greeted and then served their valued and loyal customer who two minutes before I walked past the window had already told my parents, “I just saw Jill walking around downtown.”  

To make matters worse, her genes sadly work against her in this department.  Her dad was a little shit when he was a kid.  Damn him.  And damn karma.

“All my friends get to do it Mom.” 

Well that’s just great.  They clearly have horrible parents, or no parents at all, or really stupid parents.  I am not stupid and this ain’t my first rodeo.  She doesn’t know what I know.  If she did, she would understand my reservation to let her do anything outside the boundaries of our home without parental supervision from now until the end of time.  I’ve been schooled before by the universe’s random acts of unkindness bullshit.  Really shitty things can happen to really undeserving people through zero fault of their own and that’s all I’m going to say about that.  I am on to the universe and it’s shenanigans.  My kids are off limits.  I got my dukes up, eyes in the back of my head, and a delusional sense of control that you can pry from my dead hands someday.  I actually dare you.

My children should be grateful to have such a caring and loving mother, not annoyed that I probably just saved their life by saying no to each and every request that may or may not pose danger.   Damn the universe and damn trustworthy and responsible children around the world that give their parents absolutely no reason to say no to an age appropriate request.

She’s going to “walk around downtown” today after school with her friends.

And I am going to spy on her.

I’m kidding…

Or not.

Metaphorically speaking

I don’t know why I’ve let it go on for so long.  I know better.  As a rule, the longer I let things fester, the worse things get for everyone involved.  Truth be told, I don’t even think they want to be here anymore.  They have to know how I feel about them.  I’m not sure I ever really liked them nor do I remember what the hell possessed me to bring them home at separate and unrelated moments in history in the first place.  They don’t even go together, each one silently repelling the other while projecting negativity all around.  I want to start over, but how?  So many things rely on them.  Oh, they’d love nothing more than to think this is all about them, but I have news for those soul sucking egomaniacs.  It’s not.  They would’ve been long gone by now if it wasn’t for my inability to think outside the box.  Change is hard for me.  Almost as hard as big decision making.  Both require a certain skill set that I have yet to attain, despite really needing/wanting it.

I’m pretty sure I hate them at this point.  I’m not proud of it.  I for sure hate myself for not standing up to them and what they represent.  Stagnation.  Indifference.  Boredom.  Regret.  One has a giant fucking snowflake on it okay?  It’s almost April.  No one wants to look at a giant fucking snowflake anymore, even if it’s really pretty.  Sadly, that’s the best one of the bunch and I’d be a complete dick if I get rid of the best one first.  The fact that I couldn’t have cared less to pack it away with its chipper seasonal friends a few months back speaks volumes, but that ship has sailed.  I went all in on the complimentary fucking snowflake because it made sense at the time and prevented me from confronting the real problem.

Then there’s the big guy who clearly missed the memo that burnt orange is definitely not what all the cool kids are doing anymore.  Even I know that and I own one purse.  Let me tell you something else about Mr. Ginormous Eyesore.  He scares the living shit out of me, okay?  I’m not sure I have the balls to even get near him without surgical gloves and/or a long stick at this point.  Ugh. 

The middle one is a great big sad and pathetic story of its own.  What used to be sparkly and full of intrigue, now appears weathered and dull and completely insignificant.  Truth be told, no one would even notice if it was gone, poor thing.  Its personality has literally been chipped away over years of misuse to reveal an abrasiveness I never thought possible.  It hurts and I don’t know what the hell happened.  It used to be my favorite one.  Yes, I pick favorites.  Sue me.

Let’s assume for a moment that I can actually go through with replacing them.  What if I make the wrong decision?  What if they don’t get along with the ceramic elephant in the room?  I can’t get rid of the elephant in the room.  He’s symbolic and he has a name.  It’s Gustavo.   The whole return process and thought of starting over at square one is so unbelievably exhausting that I honestly don’t think I have the stamina to recover from something like that.  I know my limits and pointless running around from place to place with nothing to show for it at the end of the day is definitely one of them.  I’d rather take a nap.  Doing things that don’t matter have become highly bothersome.  It’s hard to care.

That said, it’s not like it’s a bedroom or the office where I can just close the door and no one will be the wiser.  There is no door.  It’s the living room for fuck sake!  People will notice and then draw conclusions regarding my personality, general appeal, and overall worldly significance.  What does Jill bring to the room?  Am I bright and cheery, purple and mysterious, brown and feckless, white and crazy?  It’s a giant fucking snowflake and it’s almost summer!  You do the math.

I need new throw pillows.  Whatever.

Royalty

There are certain things/procedures I swore I would never voluntarily choose to undergo and this one definitely tops the list.  Things happen though.  Time has a way of passing us by in a flash until all we are left with are memories of youthful days gone by.  Days when little to no maintenance was required to simply just be.  Like many ignorant souls before me, I took that for granted.  I now have to pay the price.  As I sit her typing this very sentence, I reflect on my decision to move forward and examine the process that led to my current state of swollenness and regret, accompanied only by a lingering and diffuse pain so widely disproportionate to the site specific problem area that nothing in the world makes sense to me anymore.

Call it a sixth sense or whatever, but I had a feeling going into it that it would be bad.  Who comes up with this stuff anyway?  Regardless, I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t the kid with baby soft skin and three pimples playing dress-up in a white coat and the cascade of emotions that immediately followed our introduction.  He couldn’t possibly be ready for something like this!  Someone else was surely coming in.  Where was his mother?  Why was he asking me to verify my birthday?  That’s none of his damn business.  It’s Tuesday.  He should be in school!

Then it hit me, like 41 bolts of lightning into the chair I was reclined and lying defenseless in below.  No one else was coming.  Furthermore, that overly confident toddler over there sharpening his tools was my surgeon and I am old enough to be his mother.  In one fell swoop, the world as I knew it and my place within it seemed implausible and foreign.  Newsflash granny!  He’s not young.  You’re old.  Not old old, but old enough to now require routine procedures performed by a kid half your age designed to fix problem areas that have simply worn out because of the aging process alone.  Ugh.

This wasn’t supposed to happen.  I go above and beyond with daily routine practice to specifically avoid shit like this.  Furthermore, I refuse to be the exception to the rule unless it involves lottery tickets or extended family gatherings.  Here’s a random idea!  Why don’t we all take turns side swiping each other with one of grandma’s old cast iron frying pans.  You know, the ones you can’t even buy anymore without some sort of special permit because they double as weapons.  At least in that scenario I’d have an outside mark to account for my pain.  It’s definitely a stretch, but maybe in that instance if I were to desperately plead to my children to refrain from behavior that would require me to raise my voice because mommy’s face hurts so unbelievably bad when she speaks they would actually listen to me because well, I would have a visible welt and maybe (God willing) a gaping wound to show for it and not just be standing there like an idiot with a bruised ego and face that could double as half a chipmunk.

I digress.

It hurts to talk.  The involved postoperative tissue stretches out when I open my mouth, even just a little bit, and this is very uncomfortable.  Furthermore, the intensity of discomfort directly correlates to my voice volume.  I explained this to them in no uncertain terms.  I just don’t want to yell.  Is that too much to ask?  In the whole scheme of life, I don’t think so.  The only expectation is to behave in a manner that doesn’t warrant yelling from an outside party.  They don’t have to be perfect.  I am capable of restraint and gentle reminders.  I am not a monster.  But repeated poor behavior at some point leads to yelling.  It’s simple math.  Do they like it when I yell?  Do they want to be the direct cause of my pain?  Why can’t they exist in the same space for five minutes without an on-call crisis intervention unit awaiting in the wings?  It’s not that they don’t care about me.  They are not monsters.  They just don’t all care about me at the same time.  With three of them, this leaves room for multiple scenarios of non-caring and poor judgment and thus more yelling.

I really shouldn’t be taking this out on them.  They are not programmed to give a shit yet about much of anything besides their own immediate gratification and/or whose turn it is to pick out the next new box of band aids.  I get it.  Someday their concern for my well-being will be sincere.  They will ask me how my day was and genuinely care that I found it quite bothersome that the man-child who I swear was playing the clarinet at my daughter’s middle school band concert last week just performed minor senior citizen surgery on me like a goddamn champ.  He was so professional and caring and only a tiny bit condescending…

“Are you sure you still feel that?  It’s unusual to still feel it at this point.”

And I was like, “Yep.  That’s why I jumped off the table just there.”

And he was like, “Oh I’m so sorry, do you need a break?  Maybe we should reschedule?”

And I was like, “I’ve had 3 kids okay?  One almost without an epidural.”

And he was like, “Okay, well, uh, are you sure ma’am?  I haven’t had to do this in a while.”

And I was like, “You’re ten years old.”

And then I was like, “O.M.G.  He thinks I’m a fragile old person!”

And he was like, “You’re doing a great job.”

And I was like, “I’m so proud of you.”

Extreme pain and shock kicked in shortly thereafter.

There will definitely be a bill.  I was also promised a crown in a couple of weeks for good behavior.  My kids will be so jealous.

Geriatric or not, I’m going to be a queen.  Nothing else matters.

 

 

 

Mr. Teddy and Me

It’s 11:00 in the morning and I just woke up from a nap.  I did it yesterday too.  It wasn’t so much a nap as it was hiding under the covers in a shivering ball of uncertainty for an hour or so, but surprisingly a mid-morning nap sounds less pathetic, so I’ll stick with that.  It’s where I generally go to think when there is big thinking to be done.  Let’s face it, if there was ever a time for a big idea, yesterday would’ve been it.  Or today.  Pretty soon it will be tomorrow and the expectation will be for something even bigger.  A gigantic idea.  What if tomorrow passes and it becomes the next day and I still haven’t even formed a micro idea.  Before I know it, it’ll be the weekend AND NOTHING EVER GETS DONE ON THE WEEKEND!  What if too much time passes and the mere idea that I might have a big idea disappears like the trash on garbage day, never to be seen or heard from again?  What if I already literally threw something away that would’ve inspired my big idea?  That’s it!  I’m going to start saving everything!  That’ll definitely help.  More clutter will provide more possible inspiration for ideas.  Brilliant idea!

Maybe it’s the complete darkness underneath the covers that’s inhibiting my big idea?  That’s plausible.  Maybe I should open the blinds or consider turning the side table lamp on low?  Maybe I need an actual light bulb on to have an actual light bulb moment?  What an idiot idea.  The light stays off.

Thank God.  I look terrible.

Maybe I should weed out the bad ideas first and start thinking about the things I definitely do not need, like a hug.  Trust me.  Someone tried it.  He almost died.

Maybe it’s the sudden lack of daily structured chaos?  Empty space and time with no clear direction.  I am not doing laundry.  Laundry is not a big idea, nor is it the first thing I want to tell people I did with my alone time.  I will sit here upside down in my bed tangled up in a ball of sweaty sheets FOREVER (until the kids get home) before I start doing laundry.  Oh look, Mr. Teddy!  How’d you get down here?  Why do you always smell so weird?  Why am I talking to you?

It’s the kid thing.  They’re gone.  Left on the bus yesterday morning one by one by one (even the littlest one this time) with their eager smiles and crazy ambitions ready to embark on a new school year with overwhelming zeal.  I smiled, gave them all a hug, saw them off on the bus, waved until they could no longer see me, and proceeded to swim home in a sea of ugly tears, alone.

“Get up!,” I thought.  “Do something!  You have no excuse to not do something now!  Take a bath.  Read a book.  Search your soul woman!  Opportunity awaits!”

Nothing.

I don’t know what to do.

It’s too quiet.  I followed a housefly into the next room simply to have an annoying sound within earshot, just like the good old days (yesterday and every day before that times infinity).

I miss them.  What the hell is wrong with me?

Like a boss

It was definitely not a spur of the moment decision.  I’ve been thinking about it for quite some time.  The risks were obvious.  Judgment, guilt, shame, humiliation, just to name a few.  I’ve heard whispers of it behind closed doors in certain social circles, but have questioned whether or not a person could actually get away with such a thing.

“You can really do that, and it’s legit,” I would ponder, followed by the obvious retaliatory thought any decent mother would have, “I could never do that.”

Turns out I can, and I did, and I took another one down with me in the process.

Text messages were exchanged and the operation was promptly set into motion.  We were fully committed.  Over thinking was not an option.

As we approached the drop off room for our belongings, my heart was racing like it never had before.  Adrenaline surged throughout my entire body in one tidal wave after the next, drowning any message of reason and/or self-doubt my brain was drastically attempting to fire.  Beads of sweat began to form along my brow as the physical signs of my desperation began to show.

“You can turn around.  It’s not too late.  You’ve done nothing wrong,” whispered the entire universe.

Another herculean wave of adrenaline bitch slapped them all to their wobbly chicken shit knees.

“Proceed my lady,” suggested the fairylike woman sitting atop my right shoulder wearing a surprisingly modest swim top and speaking in a British accent for added appeal.

The locked gate was a definite reassurance.  They would surely try to escape.  This will keep them in, I mean safe.

The stone faced teenager from behind the desk wasted no time in beginning her interrogation.

“Can I have your card ma’am?”

I should’ve already had it out.  I was told in no uncertain terms to already have it out.  I thought I did!  Where is it?  Calm down!  They’re going to think you’ve never done this before!  Everyone is looking at you!  FIND YOUR CARD AND HAND IT TO HER YOU FUCKING IDIOT!

“Silly me, here you go sweetie pie,” I said, because apparently I am now 85 years old and from the south.

I hand it to her, but not before she has clearly grown tired and annoyed with the lack of familiarity I have with the entire, and actually quite simple, exchange process.

As she disapprovingly scans my card, she continues on with the questionnaire formalities.

“And where will you be?”

Silence.

“Where will you be in the building ma’am?”

She’s holding a pencil.  She’s going to write it down!

I had so much I wanted to say, “You don’t know.  You’re so young.  It’s hard sometimes.  I barely ever get to talk to adults.  It’s just for a little bit.  My husband has been gone all week.  Look at all the neat things in here.  This is way more fun than where I’m going anyway.  Please don’t judge me.  Please.”

Instead I took a deep breath, looked her straight in the eyes, and as a cloud of diffidence slowly picked me up off the floor and floated me toward the exit, I sheepishly answered, “The pool.”

Maybe she’ll think I’m exercising?  Doing laps or something?  It’s plausible.  This is a gym after all, I thought to myself while suddenly wishing I owned a swim cap for the first time in my entire life.

I kept walking, fighting any urge I had to turn back, trying to appear aloof and fitness-like.

I looked to my sister for any small sign of encouragement.

“This is the best idea you have ever had,” she said as she confidently stepped toward the light with her head held high and towel draped across her shoulder like a goddamn boss.

The next thirty seven minutes were spent lounging outside on an actual lounge chair next to a glorious sea of aqua blue, all the way down at the deep end, where the adults sit, and as far away from the zero depth entry point chaos as we could possibly get.

We had a real life uninterrupted conversation.  I got to actually look at my sister’s face while I talked to her.  She’s so pretty.  I forgot about her high forehead, just as I’m sure she had forgotten about my right temple mole and uneven nostrils.  We felt the warm sun on our pale cheeks and took notice of the beautiful white fluffy clouds floating overhead for the first time in at least a decade.  I thought one looked like a turtle.  She thought it resembled a shirtless Jon Snow in battle.  And we laughed and we laughed and we laughed.

“We should probably go get them now.”

“Yep.”

So we did.  But not before we made the arduous yet extremely satisfying climb to the top.  Step after step after muscle pounding step until we reached the unreachable summit.  A place that has until now only existed in our wildest dreams.  We sat atop for a brief moment, looking down on the world, the world we would soon return to, trying not to be phased by the single file line of impatient eagerness waiting directly behind.

And then we did it.  We let go.  We let go of our guilt, of our shame, of societal expectations, and our basic human dignity as we plunged to the bottom of the kiddy slides without a care in the world or knowledge of the teenage lifeguard waiting to catch us in the water below.

“I won!,” I screamed.  Because I did.

It was clearly time to leave.  Thoughts of our moppets were back with a vengeance as we made our walk of shame exit from the water, weaving in and out of frantic mothers (who I’m now certain hate us) and their hundreds of screaming offspring splashing haphazardly around with their godforsaken noodles waiting for their next unsuspecting victim to whip upside the head.

Not today asshole.

As we hopped on the guilt train with sun kissed cheeks to retrieve our most prized possessions, we began to wonder if we did the right thing.  Are we terrible mothers?  Our dear children must hate us for leaving them amongst strangers.  Dear Lord, they’re probably in a corner sobbing uncontrollably this very minute!  What kind of mothers would do such a thing?  “We’re coming children!”

They didn’t want to leave.  We got there and they didn’t want to leave.  One actually hid from us and another one refused to don her shoes as she gave us the death stare from across the room.  I’m pretty certain we wouldn’t have thought this 38 minutes ago, but she’s so darn cute when she’s mad.

They didn’t miss us.  They didn’t want us.  They didn’t need us.  They were having fun without us. I wonder if they care what their peers would say?  How dare they not want to be with us every single moment of every single day?  How dare they enjoy a short break from our constant nagging, I mean company.  We are their mothers!  And more importantly, we could’ve stayed longer!

Don’t worry kids, we’re cool.  Next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water balloons

It’s not like I’ve been blindsided or anything.  The writing has been on the wall for months.  I guess I was just hoping that it was a phase.  That he’d come to his senses or at the very least not be so rude about it.  I talk a pretty tough game, but I am incredibly crumbly on the inside.  I have feelings, just like everybody else.  I may not wear them on my sleeve for the whole wide world to see, but I have them.  Like right now, I feel betrayed and somewhat bitter.  I know it’s all part of the deal, but still.  I like to think there are people out there who still enjoy my company.  I can be a pretty cool cat if the circumstances are just right.  I know for a fact at least one person would even call me “fun.”

SO THERE!

My baby boy is bored to tears with me.  Keeps asking to play with Jimmy down the block.  Can I go to Jimmy’s house?  Can Jimmy come over?  Can you call Jimmy’s mom and set up a play date?  I want to go to Jimmy’s!  Every five minutes.

I get why Jimmy appears more fun than me.  For one, I don’t play cars and Jimmy does.  For whatever reason, the part of my brain responsible for imaginary play became completely nonfunctional after I turned the age of ten.  No amount of trying to access it is helpful to any party involved, and in some cases can make the situation terrifically worse.  I completely suck at it.  It’s not like I haven’t tried.  Furthermore, I know the well-meaning and sweet grandmother at the store would wisely say, “They grow up fast.  Play cars now because one day you will wish that you did, and you will really miss the invitation.”

I beg to differ kind granny, but I’ll keep you posted.

I do other things though.  I read books.  I play catch.  I bake cookies.  I ride a bike.  I can facilitate art projects.  I know how to play ‘hide and seek’ and most traditional board games.  I can drive to places, like the park, or the pool, or Costco.

“I don’t want to go to Costco again!  Costco is sooooooo boring!”

He used to enjoy shopping with me.  He would beg to go with.  And I didn’t have to entertain him or offer rewards in the process.  We would just delight in being in each other’s company.  Now I have to give him reasons to want to hang out with me.  It’s like a daily job interview where I’m sitting across the room from him, wringing my sweaty hands, desperately providing reasons why I am qualified for the position, while silently bad mouthing poor little Jimmy in my head.

I sat in a chair and let my son throw 60 water balloons at me last week.  Sixty.  Get my drift?  After I was attacked from all angles, was cold and wet, I was given nary a sympathy hug.  I didn’t get a towel either, just a forlorn soul wanting a real playmate.  After that, I built a personalized car wash out of a cardboard vodka box from Costco for him to zoom his cars in and out of.  He did it seven times.  It took me an hour to build it.

“Can I go to Jimmy’s house now?”

“Not today Bud.”

“Well then can you have a baby brother for me?” 

“No.”

“Why?”

“Because Mommy has had as many babies as she is physically, emotionally, and mentally capable of dealing with.” 

“What does that even mean?” 

“It means Mommy’s heart is full.”

Even if I wanted another baby (which I unequivocally do not), someday that baby will be almost 5, thriving in every way possible, heading to Kindergarten in a few short months, and wanting absolutely nothing to do with me.  I can’t keep having babies!  It hurts, and they’re expensive.

We have one month left together before the shit show of summertime ensues with the other two heartless miscreants who have selfishly moved on without their mother.  One month.  The pressure is mounting.  His immediate future with countless jimmies is planned.  Mine is not.

I have feelings too!  Who’s going to be my Jimmy when I want to play cars?

Kiss my ass grandma.

 

 

Floating band aids

Mind over matter. Words to live by indeed.

There are certain things as an adult that I can choose not to do. The ability to make choices based on one’s preferences and/or inability to engage in less than desirable activities simply because I don’t want to is one of the highlights of being a grown up.  For instance, I can choose not to eat at a buffet style anything, for the rest of my life.  I can choose not to dip into the community Skittle bowl that adorns a  random conference room table without answering to anyone.  No one else is affected.  I simply walk away and get on with my life.

It becomes a bit tricky when you become a parent. I don’t want to intentionally pass along any irrational fears to my children, so I make a conscious effort to bury them way deep down inside.  Should nature overcome nurture or should they come to their senses and choose to avoid public restroom door handles on their own volition, so be it.  Until then, I will put my game face on, set realistic expectations, allow my kids to be kids, and take one for the team when the call comes in.

Spring break water park fun here we come!

The kids were so excited, and why wouldn’t they be? This is a kid vacation.  No adult over the age of 30 chooses to put themselves in this type of situation unless they have children and/or are clinically insane.  It’s part of growing up.  The fun parts slowly get replaced with insight, general awareness, and looming fear.  Decent parents choose to overlook their selfish tendencies and instead put their children’s needs and desires first.  I, if anything, am a decent parent.  My kids undoubtedly had a blast, I physically appeared as though I was doing the same, and my children will store this event in their long-term memory bank with the rest of their delightful childhood memories from now until eternity.

Do I wish that I wasn’t so uptight? You have no idea, but that ship has sailed, so let’s move on with today’s lesson plan.

Survival tips for the not so chill parent.

The hotel room: The key to a happy stay?  Low expectations.  Let’s be real here.  This is a zoo sans the locked cages.  Animals run free, exploring their terrain, feeding off the land, scratching at will, and smearing pizza sauce everywhere. The room is a threat and serves only as a launch pad.  Get in and get out.  Spend as little time in there as possible and only go back when it’s dark, you have become severely disorientated, and are so ridiculously tired that you could/would sleep in a pile of dirt.

The wave pool: My kids really loved this one.  Maybe it was seeing the pure panic on their mother’s face each and every time a tidal wave would forcefully drag her beautiful young children under water, maybe it was the steady wave of bodily crud exiting unseen crevices floating aimlessly around desperate for host reattachment, or maybe it was the floating hair (spiral shaped and dark in color) that rivaled the actual amount of water per surface area. It’s not yours, but what a nice thought.

The lazy river: What’s not to love here?  You’re floating in packs of strangers going around and around and around and around.  You want to get out?  Lol!  Sit down asshole.  You’re not going anywhere.  And that floating band aid you’re trying so desperately to avoid?  It’s coming, and you can be certain, he’s bringing his friends.

The hot tub: If sitting in a bubbleless lukewarm cesspool that has exceeded its capacity twice over is your thing, then bring your fruity umbrella cocktail and undiapered toddler on in and join the party.  The more hair on your body, the better.  Please be sure to rub up next to your neighbor and maintain physical contact at all times, because after all, we may be perfect strangers, but we’re all here for the same thing.  Relaxation.

The water slides: You can get maximum enjoyment from this scenario if the lines are long and you are forced to stand in a never-ending stairway to heaven miles and miles up in the sky.  The steady drip drop on your forehead of crotch juice from up above might seem like unnecessary torture at the time, but rest assured when you finally reach your destination and get to nestle into the tube that maintains a consistent 1/4 inch full of “water” and has once occupied every single ass crack in the history of mankind and then participate in the three second plunge to your probable death, it’ll all be worth it.

The kiddy pool: This might seem like a safe bet, but don’t kid yourself.  It’s the bathroom.

Take five: If you need a break from the water activities at the exact same moment that every other occupant does, then head on over to the arcade.  Be sure to take a second mortgage out on your home before doing so though, because that crane game with the giant ball prize is going to kick your ass and it will get personal.

Once every family member has a ball they don’t want to carry around, go ahead and bounce them all over to the the lazer tag area. It’s a great family activity and guaranteed fun for all ages.

“Mommy, you shot me.”

“That’s the point of the game honey. Here, shoot me.” 

“But Mommy, you shot me.”

“Oh my gosh! I shot you!  I’m so sorry!  I’m a terrible mommy!”

Turning in: Need a break from the stress before bedtime?  Grab a bag of Cheetos, head back to the hot tub for a handful of hugs without commitment, and bury that shit way deep down inside as you watch your children frolic in the sea of hairy band aids and make lasting memories with their super chill mom who just bravely upped the ante and dropped a Cheeto on purpose in the whirpool.

See you tomorrow mister.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Folding socks

A real life grown-up called me smart the other day.  Not ‘smart’ in the context of being a wiseass either.  The smart that means intelligent, and insightful.  My reaction was basically one of shock.  I sat there bemused and disoriented desperately trying to find a socially appropriate response.  Instead I cried.  At least three real tears.  Not because someone actually thought that I have a well-functioning brain, but because I must’ve done or said something that not only provided evidence to support that comment but also warranted verbal acknowledgement.  I wonder what it was, and more importantly, if I can do it again?

It happens less and less these days, where the parts of my brain responsible for metacognition begin firing at a level that will actually produce meaningful thoughts and ideas. It’s a direct result of the lifestyle I’ve created for myself as a stay at home mom.  I’d love to blame my children, or better yet, my husband, but (sigh) the fault is my own.  Whereas I used to actively seek opportunities that encourage higher level thought processes, I now opt for folding socks.

Of course I felt like an idiot when I started crying. The poor woman at the receiving end of it will certainly choose her words more carefully when addressing me in the future.  I wanted to hug her, really tight, and ask her to be my new best friend.

I don’t quite know how to explain it, but here’s a meager attempt. I threw a surprise birthday party a few weeks back for my 8 year old daughter’s lifelong best friend and loyal companion.  I bought a balloon, a gift, and even posted a celebratory picture of her on Facebook.

She’s a stuffed animal, and I use the word “stuffed” loosely as she could easily double as a hand towel these days, but I digress.

I threw a surprise birthday party for a stuffed animal puppy conveniently named ‘Puppy.’ I pulled it off without a hitch, and couldn’t have been more proud of myself.

I don’t know why it’s important to me. Feeling smart.  After all, the mere definition of it is widely disputed and most certainly varies depending on the audience.

Yet…

The last time I was even loosely complimented on my intelligence involved my oldest daughter falling on her knees in utter amazement because I remembered where she put her shirt, “Mom! You’re such a genius!”  The time before that was a shout out from my four year old son for reminding him to put his underwear back on after he took a shit, “How did you know that Mom?!” My middle child bypasses me altogether now in favor of the know-it-all wannabe she lovingly calls Siri. “Hey Siri, what’s 2+2?”

I knew that one!

Hey Siri, where’s the matching pink Hello Kitty sock asshole?

And a real life grown-up called me smart the other day.

 

 

Dinosaur Dan

I can’t do it anymore! I am a grown person and you cannot make me do it.  There’s too many!  For the love of God, look at that stack!  It’s an unrealistic expectation and I’m putting my foot down.  There’s gotta be at least 27 there!  What the hell is wrong with you?  Don’t look at me like that either, all sweet and innocent and eager for knowledge.  Turn your head away when I’m talking to you.  You’re too damn cute and I can’t do this while looking at your face.

Here’s the deal. I just don’t like dinosaurs.  Never really have.  Any interest and/or curiosity I once had in them is definitely gone as a direct result of our special reading time together.  I know you really like them and this is super hard for me to say, but I cannot read anymore dry facts about the Compsognathus.  I shouldn’t even know about that one.

No one should.

It’s not so much the whole realm of dinosaur literature that I need to get away from, but much more so those that are specifically categorized as non-fiction. I think I’m allergic at this point and/or at the very least have developed ‘situation specific narcolepsy.’  By the time I know what’s happening, I’ve put myself in a coma after page two.  And then I see you sitting there so engaged and interested and it makes me feel so unbelievably bad about myself.  It’s not fair.  Shame on you.

I hate to state the obvious and/or insult your intelligence at this point, but you’re 4 years old. Maybe take it down a notch and choose your reading material accordingly.  Soon enough you will be a fluent reader.  When that day comes, I will fully support your decision to dig deeper and further explore the 700-900 additional classifications of dinosaurs out there just waiting to be read about on the shelf.  They’re not going anywhere, trust me.

I’m not trying to squash your curiosity and/or interest level either, so do not even go there.  Here’s the hard truth.  One fact based book about a Megalosaurus is the same as another fact based book about a Megalosaurus.  The cover might look different, but the information is the same.  Capeesh?

Please don’t cry. We can read ‘Dinosaur books’ anytime, so long as the dinosaur to speak of is wearing a funny hat and the entire process involves changing the inflection in my voice at least twice to tell a story with an actual ending.

It’s nice when the dinosaur has a name too…

Like Dan.

It’s analogous to your disdain for broccoli. It gets worse over time.  Repeated exposure is not the answer, so please stop asking.  Please.

That said, I love you. Furthermore, I guarantee that if you end up being a world famous paleontologist some day, I will be front and center at your very important symposium, so unbelievably proud…and equally bored out of my fucking mind.

It’s not you, it’s me.

‘MERICA

I’m looking for something to do. Something that plays to my skill set which for the past 5 or so years has exclusively involved working with children on a 24/7 basis.  Several options come to mind, but one clearly stands out amongst the rest.

As such, I’d like to take this opportunity to announce my bid for the Presidency of the United States of America.

I feel like that should’ve been harder to publicly state, given the enormity of the sought after position. Yet I strangely couldn’t care less, and let’s face it, if you’ve tuned into current events of late, neither could you.  I will go one step further and admit that not only do I not care, I am currently thinking more about how to get my kids to eat the meatballs “with the gross gravy” that are in my oven than I am about how to gain anyone’s vote.

They won’t eat them, but that is not the point. The point is to highlight my ability to coerce infantile beings to reluctantly come to the table on a consistent basis to bellyache at record breaking levels while simultaneously fighting every instinct that I have to simply not care.

Not giving a shit = problem solved.

I, my friends, am a problem solver. “Chicken nuggets anyone?”

I am also a great liar. Little white lies are where I generally excel, but I’m good at the big ones too.  My ten year old daughter still believes in Santa.  And the Tooth Fairy. Sigh. It’s gone too far now.  I’ve done too much.  Honesty will make me look weak and idiotic.  No one votes for an idiot, especially when she’s a woman.  Right? 

I’d like to say that teaching fiscal responsibility is a mastered trait, but it appears that I pretty much suck at that too. My 8 year old daughter wouldn’t accept a dollar the other day for doing absolutely nothing because her little brother got two. Guess what?  He got three and she still thought she won.  An impromptu lesson in the value of money followed, which ended in her smugly stating before skipping off into the sunset, “You don’t need money to be happy mom.”

Perfect.

But hey, if you’re into the status quo, and let’s face it folks, who isn’t, I have zero ability to bring any sort of peace and unity to any number of ridiculous and often imagined predicaments between two or more parties. I’ve spearheaded and personally implemented several approaches, some more socially accepted than others, yet to no avail.  I’ve made peace with it.  They’re children.  Tiny human beings with even smaller brains to support their ignorant agendas.  You can’t reason with children, nor do I intend to.  They need encouragement, and prizes.  Who wants a lollipop?  Washington D.C., here I come!

As nice as the ‘hope and change’ thing sounds, I’ve learned the hard way that zero expectation leads to zero disappointment. My 5 year old son still nonchalantly eats his boogers in plain sight despite repeated and desperate public objection. “They’re yummy mommy.”

Who am I to judge personal taste?  To each his own. Ugh.

In short, my kids have always wanted to live in a house with a bowling alley. Based on the current playing field, I figured this was our best shot.

I promise to get regular haircuts and to not purposely be a ginormous prick.

Vote for me.  I’ll give you a meatball.

 

 

 

Destiny is a comfortable bitch

The anticipation has been building for months, not to mention the heated debates, sleepless nights, and general unrest that comes along with any major life decision. It was virtually unbearable at times.  Gut wrenching.  All consuming.  Mentally depleting.  We came at it from every angle possible.  The visual aids were detailed and abundant and I’m pretty sure I even did simple math in my head at one point.

The end result was a mutually agreed upon spousal decision. We were ready.

We knew what we were up against, but the preparation involved was fool proof. We entered the building together more determined than we have ever been in our entire lives as a cohesive unit.  We would be tested, that much was certain.  An impromptu side hug shoulder squeeze set everything into motion.  “Get in and get out. Let’s do this.”

Within nanoseconds we spotted that slippery bastard heading straight for us, but expected nothing less. “Don’t mention the kids,” I said. “They have nothing to do with this.”

It should have been easy. We were living the dream, simply going through the motions, awaiting the inevitable moment to drive off into the sunset with a newfound freedom, coolness, and slick factor that has been lost on us for all these years. It’s been so incredibly long.

And then it happened. We got too cocky.  It’s all a blur, but it definitely happened, and now we are left with nothing but hindsight and lingering self-doubt.

Why did we invite him into our bubble of dreams? We didn’t need and/or ask for a demonstration.  Yet there that little man-child sat way back in the distance, fumbling around like an idiot trying to prove how “comfy” he was as he choked his knees down his throat before trying to verbally speak his extremely implausible point, “See?”

I silently screamed, “Stay focused!”

But I couldn’t. He was so physically small.  My mothering instinct took over almost immediately and I frantically moved forward in an effort that I’m 100% sure saved his life.  He couldn’t breathe!

This wasn’t supposed to happen!

“Get out,” I mumbled.

We were tricked. They shouldn’t have been sitting next to each other.  They are not friends.  They have absolutely nothing in common.  Yet there it was, strategically placed for the weak to admire and adore in secret denial next to its sexy more sophisticated second cousin thrice removed.  A seductress in plain clothing, opening its doors ever so slightly, tempting us to take a perverse glimpse from our periphery and admire it’s unexceptional grandeur, if only for a moment.

Imagine an ocean of space, that if you could see beyond (which you can’t), would simply yield more goddamn space.

It shouldn’t have been so hard. We are weak human beings, completely incompetent of following through with a simple step by step plan.  Furthermore, I went against the advice of some of my nearest and dearest friends.  What was I thinking?  I never think for myself!  Alas, I did, and now the world as I know it has forever changed.  There is no turning back.  Back room deals were made.  Money has changed hands.  Dear God, I think I signed something!

In the end, it was my decision and I take full responsibility.  I don’t understand it, but I refuse to judge myself as a result.  There is no substitute for space.  Period.  Nor does it matter that not one of my three children plays soccer and/or has any small interest in pursuing it in the future whatsoever.  My identity has been perpetually solidified and I am strangely at peace.  While I’m not particularly proud of myself, I am surprisingly just okay with admitting that we checked what little was left of our preexisting phatness at the door for all eternity and bought another (insert expletive of choice here) minivan.

It’s white like heaven and floats on the road like a cloud in the sky. And I will never be cool again.

 

Christmastime with Buddy

Season’s Greetings to those who engage in merrymaking at this special time of year!

We are eyeball deep into what we like to call the Christmas season around here.  The music, the lights, the perfect ornamental displays scattered about the house bearing the invisible “do not touch or else” signage, the non-verbal threat the mere presence of a shady elf figure represents, all equally playing an important role in the ever-present joy that continues to erupt out of our chimney in a mystical cloud of glittery holiday cheer.  Good luck getting down that bad boy Santa, it’s full.  Find another route!

My name is Buddy and I’m 4 years old. This is my first year being truly present in the holiday season.  Despite the continuous loop of Christmas music my mom has playing at a distasteful volume in the van, it seems pretty cool.  I saw Santa at the mall the other day and gave him a half-hearted wave from five stores down and one story up while sucking my thumb and holding onto mommy’s neck for dear life (I love my mommy). I also love cars, monster trucks, superheroes, dinosaurs, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I’m cute as a button and growing like a weed.  Not sure why because I never eat my veggies.  Ever (Eew). My favorite words are “poop” and “butt crack.” Just try not to smile when they come out of my adorable little mouth contextually sound.  Consider it a dare.

Miss K turned 10 this year and is currently in her last year of elementary school (YIKES!). I really like Miss K a lot.  She’s so nice to me and just an all around great big sister.  She keeps busy with basketball, piano, choir, and mothering me where mommy falls short.  She enjoys unloading the dishwasher and eats all of her vegetables with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye.  In lieu of Christmas gifts this year, she is asking that everyone donate to save the pandas (Yep). She’s a good kid and “behavior wise” the best in our bunch by a mile (Mom and Dad included).  She was born that way.  I guess you either got it or you don’t.  Let’s move on to ‘the empress.’

Princess Mae just turned 8, but I’m sure you got the memo on that already. She and I have absolutely nothing in common.  Regardless, I make it my daily goal to connect with her on a brotherly level in so many special ways.  It’s a thankless job, but I’m highly committed.  The sparkle that Her Highness brings into our lives on a daily basis is simply beyond measure.  Trying to contain it at a manageable level can prove to be a bit of a parental challenge.  She simply wasn’t made to live under such ordinary conditions.  She was meant to run free in a make-believe land of rapping unicorns, storytelling miniature pink poodles handing out free cotton candy, and an inviting sea of cool chocolate milk to take a dip in when the stress of it all becomes a bit too much to bear.  We’ve collectively put forth our best efforts as a family to encourage a stronger grip on reality, but the resistance we are met with far exceeds anything we are humanly capable of successfully dealing with.  As a result, we regrettably admit the existence of the unicorn from now until THE END OF TIME and in exchange get to keep our heads.  It’s really a no brainer.

Mommy and Daddy are doing great. They each turned 40 this year and handled it better than expected, given their age.  Daddy continues to keep everyone guessing in regard to what his job really entails as it seems to change on a weekly basis, but it’s all just part of his cover.  Only I know the truth.  He’s Spiderman…but don’t tell Mommy.  She’ll just worry.

Mommy is the best mommy in the whole entire world. Granted I have no point of comparison, but she means well, she tries really hard, and thank goodness she’s not a quitter.  She hopes to one day be hailed ‘a satirical genius’ after writing a book about nothing parenting related.  I’d buy it…if she let me…and gave me some money.

May your season be filled with laughter, love, good health, humble gratitude, a little sparkle, just the right amount of Christmas music to suit your particular taste, and an easily accessible entry point for Santa Claus and his poopy butt crack.

XOXO,

Buddy (not the elf)

Married with children

My husband and I are getting reading to celebrate our eleventh wedding anniversary. I use the term “celebrate” loosely as we are basically both hoping we remember the day when it arrives and then get through it without any unforeseen drama that might interfere with our annual high five and anniversary embrace as we gaze into each other’s eyes and proclaim in perfect unison, “Fuckin A! We made it. Again. We are awesome.”

It usually ends in a heartfelt kiss. We’re very fond of one another. It’s a classic love story.

We really have nothing to complain about. We have three beautifully healthy children, a roof over our heads, income to support our extreme and lavish lifestyle, a goddamn minivan, reciprocal love, and mutual respect for one another’s less than desirable traits. Our tolerance for one another has grown and blossomed in a manner that has far exceeded even our own wildest pre-marriage dreams. We can thank our kids for that. They make it easy for us to disregard any spousal needs in lieu of their own. Gone are the days of petty adult arguments and one-upmanship. We have standards to set and must now lead by example.

When thinking of the evolution of our marriage, the following term comes to mind. Tater tot hotdish.  I’m no marriage expert, nor should I be, but personal life lessons learned from the aforementioned can be applied across the board to any couple looking for insight and/or relationship advice from someone who’s been in the trenches and made it out a stronger and less self-serving person.  See below for specifics.

Grow up. There was a point in time when the “how to” specifics of preparing this creamy casserole dish tested the very limits of our proclaimed love for one another. My way was right, his way was wrong, he refused to see it, a wooden spoon may or may not have been flung forcefully across the kitchen, and we didn’t talk for days. Perfectly reasonable and highly relatable no doubt, but violence is never the answer. Especially in front of the children.   

Mix it up. Everything (except the tots of course). Marriage cannot be successful if you don’t try your absolute best to form a cohesive unit with your partner in a determined effort to mesh together as one being. Layering ever so carefully to avoid blending is not only a waste of time, but discriminatory, tasteless, and just plain wrong.

Agree to disagree. Simply don’t make it. Agree to disagree and never ever enjoy the gloriousness of tater tot hotdish in each other’s company ever again. Ever.

Life’s a game. Have fun with it. Prepare two pans individually, but in each other’s company.  Maybe turn on some music and open a bottle of wine to accompany the mood.  Not only will you be sharing space in the kitchen working toward the same common goal, but the eye fucking alone that exists as you both dip into your deliciousness at the end of it all is sure to bode well in the bedroom if you ever start speaking to one another again.

Extend an olive branch. Don’t be a dick. Give the other person’s way a shot. You fell in love and married him/her after all. But add celery. Big chunks. Everyone loves a surprise.

In a pinch, cry. My mom taught me this one. Don’t let your kids see it though. That would just be setting a bad example of how to get your own way. Be a role model, but honor thy mother.

Plan a family meal.  Bring everyone to the table.  You’ll forget what you were arguing about and form a united front in a matter of seconds if you go down this painfully disappointing road. Been there, done that times infinity. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  Let’s eat.

“What is that Mom?”    

“Tater tot hotdish.”

“It looks gross. And why is it all mixed together like that? I’m not eating!”

Be a good sport. Glance across the table, raise your glass, give a heartfelt “you win asshole” nod to your partner, and call it a day.

Married with kids, in a nutshell.

Cheerleaders

What is it about kids? They can lighten any serious situation with a bat of an eye, the hint of a giggle, an impromptu, “I love you mommy,” just when you need it the most. They’re funny too. Even when they’re not trying to be. “Mom, I’m never going to eat poop again.” I don’t know how, where, when, or most importantly why he ate poop, but I feel good about his decision to not do it again.

To steal a line from a well-known past television show, “Kids say the darndest things.”

Ah, indeed.  I can be having the worst day ever, take one look at them, and suddenly not have a care in the world. Poof! All of my worries and insecurities are washed away in an instant.  Motherhood is special that way. It does something to a person’s soul. It’s a slow process and those closest to you might not even notice a difference. They might suspect something is different, but there’s nothing obvious to really stick a pin in. Much like if you were to tint your eyebrows just a shade too dark. People might examine you more closely eager for a clear answer, but they won’t be able to really say what the hell is wrong with your face with any bit of confidence, unless the “they” we are speaking of are my children. They’re very talented observers. I would go so far as to call them gifted, but now I’m just bragging, and I hate parents like that.

While they don’t necessarily thank me as often as I would like for the insurmountable shit that I do on a daily basis that goes virtually unnoticed, they demonstrate their gratitude in other special ways. Depending on the delivery, they can be real confidence boosters for someone like me who doesn’t generally get out much.

“Mom, is that a red pea on your face? Can I touch it? Again with the humor. So unpredictably funny and a great use of the imagination to boot. It’s a valid question really. Why do I have the marks of adolescent puberty growing on my face? I’m almost 40 for fuck’s sake. And no one’s touching anything! It hurts.

“Mom, why do you have eyelashes growing on your legs?” I love inquisitive little minds, almost as much as I love cool weather and long pants.  God bless the Midwest.

“Mom, do you have a mustache?” Until this very moment in time I was not aware that I did, but turns out after close examination, I absolutely do. It’s like living with that special best friend(s) who has no real regard for your feelings, but will tell you in a heartbeat that you have a piece of lettuce stuck between your two front teeth in an effort to save you from any further public humiliation that automatically comes along with just being in their immediate presence.

“Do you use teeth whitener mom?” An open ended question that could be interpreted one of two ways, but the suggested intent is crystal clear based on the tone. This type of inquiry is second only to the statements that begin with, “No offense Mom, but….”

“Your armpits smell mom.”  I did not invite them into my bubble, yet here they are, again, poking their nose around where it doesn’t belong.  I am not showering again for them.  Fuck that.  I chalk it up to the aging process (see turning 40 comment above).  Next week I’ll probably smell like my grandma’s house.  You know the smell.  Anything to give me a little physical space from time to time is cool with me.

“Ugh!  Stop dancing mom.”  My kids hate it. Behind closed doors, I capitalize on that shit. It’s funny, because I can’t dance.  Tit for tat kids. Two words. “Stanky Leg.” Boom.  Who’s the boss now?

“Why don’t you have a real job Mom?” I guess it’s a valid question from a kid’s perspective. I could be the mom who starts crying and then delves into a 30 minute explanation of how my job is the most important job in the world because doing what I do on a day to day basis is filled with endless rewards, gratitude, and reasons to do nothing but smile all the live long day. But I generally don’t enjoy talking to myself, and quite frankly, I’m sick of the sound of my own voice.

Instead, I will choose to pick my own zits, not shave my legs, rub vinegar in my pits, and drink yet another glass of teeth staining red wine.

I know the risks.  Leave me alone.  Mommy’s pretty on the inside.

Job application

It has begun.

The speculation. The guessing. The anticipation and excitement that typically leads up to a very well-thought out response to the question everyone and their pet goat has started to ask based on the fact that my youngest child will be entering Kindergarten next fall.

“So are you going to get a job?”

Several responses come to mind, most of which would not be considered socially appropriate answers to such a seemingly innocent question. I’ve managed to bite my tongue up until this point, but it won’t last. It never does.  Ho-hum.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s on my mind too. I’ve even been working on my new cover letter, which currently reads as follows…

Dear Hiring Manager,

Thank you for this opportunity to apply for such a rewarding and fulfilling position within your company.  I have lots of skills that would compliment this position quite well.  My current strengths include multitasking, time management, conflict resolution, selective listening, eating bon bons by the fistful, mind control, filling out repetitive forms, and folding socks.

Despite any complaints they might have of my job performance in the past, I think my current staff would agree that I am a real bucket filler as a rule.  I will list them all below as references.  It’s probably worth noting here that none of them have an actual phone, so your chances of getting a hold of them are pretty slim.  Sorry about that.  You win some, you lose some.  I also thrive on teaching life lessons through personal experience.  You’re welcome.

The job expectations were somewhat vague in your posting, so not sure what you’re expecting as far as actual physical presence goes, but I will basically be available between 9:30-2:00 on any given weekday.  I have some kids and a husband who travels for work on a frequent and often spontaneous basis.  Also, I will need some leeway with sick days and unplanned absences (“limitless” is the best word I can come up with), since this parenting duty and the logistics that go along with it will fall almost solely on me based on our family’s circumstances.  As a consolation prize, my husband gets free gourmet Biscoff cookies as a travel perk and I am not above sharing them with my co-workers (#yummo).

Working holidays would be a pain in my ass, so if we could just avoid that altogether, that’d be great.  That said, I’m a real go-getter.  I get shit done, regardless of hangover level.  I also have a Master’s degree, so that’s sure to be good for something, right?  LOL (winky face).  I had a license to practice something a while back too, but I don’t want to limit myself to days of yore.  I’m really up for anything, so long as it boosts my overall confidence and doesn’t enforce any sort of dress code above and beyond jammie level.  It’s not necessarily a deal breaker, but would certainly be a huge inconvenience and force me to at the very least look around elsewhere before accepting your shitty offer.

If background checks are your thing, it might be worth mentioning before googling me that I have a blog attached to my name somewhere out there in cyberspace that may or may not be offensive to some/many based on their predisposition to appreciate sarcasm and the use of curse words as frequent adjectives in general.  It’s not me though.  Unless you like that sort of thing?  In which case, you’re my new best friend.  Yay!

It should go without saying that your decision whether or not to consider me for the above mentioned position will not only affect me, but every inquiring mind out there really wanting/needing to see me have a real job.  I’d really like to give them an answer they can sleep well with at night.  With the absolute highest level of misplaced confidence, you could call me a “people person,” but now I’m just gloating.  I’ll work on that.  My word is my bond.

Basically, if you have the need for a responsible party to come in, simply fill space, and have no real responsibilities whatsoever, I’m your girl.  I can promise that this job will not be my priority, but look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience to discuss how my skills can further meet your least important needs.

Sincerely,

Just a mom

P.S.  Resume unattached,  because I forgot how to write one.

Poopyface

It seems like just yesterday.

I can still hear the screaming when I close my eyes.

I break into a cold sweat.  Again.

I open my eyes to make sure I’m not dead.

I am not.

I close my eyes and the screaming resumes.

It’s getting louder now.

I have no control.

Of it, of them, of anything.

I begin to peel the skin off of my weathered face using dull, jagged fingernails.

I should’ve clipped them days ago.

Why didn’t I?

It doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t hurt.

Not as much as the screaming.

So I continue,

Peeling.

I close my eyes tighter.

I am drowning in a pool of aimless indolence.

My newsfeed reeks of summer fun and smiles galore.

I want to take a picture.

I need to take a picture.

Haven’t posted for days!

Smile goddammit!

The summer sun, strangely uninviting.

I do not understand.

Moments of scheduled chaos lead to moments of nothingness.

Opportunity for imaginations to soar,

For creative power to erupt.

Hmpf!

Asshole expectations.

You can’t do something with nothing.

How dare I make them try.

I am ignorant.

A poopyface.

Unable to teach unconditional love and kind inclusion.

Their eyes, glassy with boredom.

The kind of boredom that precedes an epic battle,

Between them.

For no reason at all.

None.

Zilch.

Forced handholding on the sofa elicits torturous cries for help.

Ear piercing caterwauling.

I begin to scratch at my eyeballs,

But this physically hurts, so I discontinue.

I need not more pain.

I open my eyes and spot guacamole from a distance.

I remember that I am hungry.

Have I eaten today?

They have, 53 times give or take, but have I?

I briefly consider, but emptily recall,

We have no chips.

The chip phantom paid us a visit and left nary a crumb.

Again.

My nightmare continues.

Swells of vociferous protests beg for intervention.

I speak but no one hears me.

I scream and the world screams back.

Not at me though.

I am invisible.

Unheard.

Unseen.

Nonexistent.

I open my eyes and discover,

It is not yesterday.

It is today.

And I am ALIVE!

I heave a sigh of relief.

I hear something familiar, but choose not to listen.

I am on a mission.

A renewed purpose within reach.

So close…

Welcoming rays from the sun invite scores of possibilities.

My heart is full.

Humbling opportunity awaits.

For Poopyface, and all who obediently follow,

The chip crumb path to the end of the line.

Aha!

Summertime greetings to you and yours.

The Good Mom

I can bullshit my way out of pretty much any situation.  Sarcasm is indeed a gift and highly under-appreciated and/or utilized in my humble opinion.  It can get you out of the damnedest of predicaments without so much as batting an eyelid.  I use it a lot.  Some might argue too much, but I don’t surround myself with people who don’t get me.  It’s not good for my soul.  There’s room in the world for all kinds, and to each their own.  Thankfully, I can choose my friends.

That said, I was recently asked a question that I was unable to answer.  It happens sometimes.  In an ideal world, I would be sitting behind my computer and could take ample time to process and then write a well thought out response.  Internal processing.  This is where I excel.  I do not like to be put on the spot in public and quite frankly avoid it at all costs.  I need to think before I speak as a rule.  Give me a topic and put me behind closed doors away from everyone else and I am a goddamn genius.

On a related note, someone recently had the nerve to ask me TO MY FACE, “What is a good mom?”

I’ll be damned if I couldn’t answer it.  I sat there looking into space waiting for something/anything to roll off my tongue.

Speechless.  Awkward silence.  Nothing.

Unwanted flashbacks from college ensued.

“Great question.  A real thinker.”

Pause.

“Someone who loves their kids.”

Wow, good one Einstein.  Go back to Kindergarten.

Long story short, I couldn’t answer the question.

And then I started thinking, can anyone?  I mean really answer it in a way that would satisfy the general population and not create an uproar of debate from around the globe.  I’m not talking about the mommy wars bullshit either.  Yawn.  Just a general statement, maybe a healthy paragraph, but definitely not a book.  A book would be obnoxious.  Please don’t do it.

Please.

Here’s the deal.  I think that I am a good mom.  I think that my kids think that I am a good mom.  Yet, I have no idea how to adequately define what a good mom is in such a way that wouldn’t result in the immediate release of blood thirsty hounds to my jugular vein in three seconds flat.

I definitely know that I am not a great mom.  I roll my eyes and say “fuck” way too much behind my offspring’s back to get that badge.  Plus, I’m not on the PTO.  I definitely could be, I just don’t want to be.  It’s a choice.  There are several other examples that immediately disqualify me from waving the coveted “World’s Best Mom” flag on my doorstep as well, but I’m not in the business of self destruction, nor am I an idiot, so I’ll stop here with that.

Regardless, Good is what I aspire to be and what I am physically and emotionally capable of.

Maybe this makes me a bad mom?  Hmm???  Such a conundrum.

Maybe I should ask the world wide web what I am?  Surely someone out there knows the answer and can once and for all provide me with some clarity.  In today’s day and age, experts/critics are everywhere.  They are waiting for you to provide zero context and impart a blanket statement, such as, “I love it when my house is clean.”  Seems perfectly harmless, but I guarantee that this seemingly innocent statement (used here hypothetically and solely for purposes of proving a specific point, i.e., it didn’t really happen in real life, a.k.a., I made it up) will offend at least 5 people in 3 seconds flat.

Expected responses include…

“A clean house is a sign of a wasted life.”

“Must be nice to have time to clean your whole house.  Get a job.”

“I feel sorry for your kids.  The time you spent cleaning your house, they spent making memories…without you.”

“I’m not sure what you are implying here, but I don’t like it.”

“For so many reasons, I am highly offended.”

“I love it too!  Are we sisters?!  I’ve found the most effective way to maintain a clean house without causing too much stress for yourself and/or your family is to get the kids involved.  Make it fun by creating a flow chart, or game so to speak.  And always keep Magic Eraser on hand, but locked in an overhead cabinet beyond the reach of young children, for obvious reasons.  Check out my blog for more great lifestyle tips.”

O.M.G.  Shoot me.

Let’s come at it from a different angle.  This is not a contest people.  There is no prize for “Best Mom Ever.”   There will never be a winner.  It is not an Olympic sport, but let’s imagine if it were for moment.  Just for fun.

  • You stopped breastfeeding your child three months in because you got a terrible case of mastitis that led to an even more disgusting GI infection that forced you to choose between pumping and dumping for three weeks straight or formula feeding your child from that point forward…and you chose formula!  Disqualified for life, you selfish bitch!
  • You slept with your infant child in your bed and had two sips of wine before doing it, at church.  The Olympics are not for you.  Jail, on the other hand…
  • Oh a whim, you sent Cheetos to school for your kid’s healthy snack.  Participant ribbon revoked!
  • You let your toddler sit on your lap as you backed your minivan out of the driveway.  Safety first asshole!  You will now be put to death by jellybean stoning from the annoying kid down the block who eats his boogers.
  • You had the audacity to proclaim out loud that you don’t always love being a mom (which to the general public also implies that you don’t love your kids).  Find your seat in hell.  And get comfy.  You’re not going anywhere.
  • You feed your children frozen Mickey Mouse shaped chicken nuggets at least twice a week.  Your children will immediately be removed from your home and be raised by the winner of the Mommy Olympics, thereby receiving quinoa and organic raw spinach for every meal from now until death.  As a consolation prize, you will receive a lifetime supply of Mickey Mouse nuggets and will, as terms of your probation, have to Facetime the local authorities at dinner time each and every night while they watch you chew (and swallow) your daily ration of at least four. 

Good God.  How did we get here as a collective group of grown women? I don’t know why I care and/or get irritated with that which is our current state of ridiculousness.  At this point, I guess I should just embrace the differences of opinions out there and come to terms with the fact that having a sense of humor when it comes to parenting is just highly frowned upon by a shit ton of people.  I’m disappointed in myself that I have let the mere anticipation of these opinions shake my confidence.  It’s truly disheartening that it has come to the point where no one person can say out loud with any bit of confidence, “I am a good parent,” without a bunch of assholes out there yelling, “Prove it!”

We have become an absolute joke.  And who doesn’t love Mickey Mouse?!

God bless the Disunited States of Parenthood.

Whodunit?

Someone read my blog the other day.  The entire damn thing.  That’s 92 posts from start to finish.  Shocking, strange, and quite honestly, humbling at the same time.

I don’t make a habit out of reading my previous crap, but this intrigued me to take a walk down memory lane.  I regretted it almost immediately.  I should’ve known better.  I compare it to a mediocre actress watching her performance in a terrible movie (e.g. Dakota Johnson in Fifty Shades of Grey).  Slowly inching lower and lower in her seat until she is literally under it, crawling through chewed bubblegum and half eaten popcorn while desperately searching for the nearest exit to finally escape the pain of her self-proclaimed “talent.”  Thank God I was in my own home.  I finally just put the wine bottle on the floor to save myself the energy it took to stand up and pour a hefty refill.

I started editing them.  On the floor.  I have no idea why.  I mean what are the odds anyone is ever going to go through all of them again?  It was either that or delete the first half of it from existence, and that is not happening.  I have put way too much time and effort into this ridiculousness.  Deleting is not an option.  Besides, how bad could they possibly be?

I quit seven minutes in.  Turns out most of the early ones are irreparable, and more importantly, not worthy of anyone’s time, let alone mine.

Which brings me to my original point.  Whodunit?  For real.  I want to know who/what read my entire blog in one fucking day.  I have my own theories.

  • The President of the United States of America.  The clock is ticking.  Maybe he’s searching for hobbies?  Maybe he’s currently making a list of television shows to catch up on in his soon to be free time?  Spoiler Alert Mr. President!  John Snow dies.  (HBO asshats!)  Maybe he wants to read something mind numbing and crappy?  Maybe he hates his job and just wants to pass his last few days in office reading Jill Veldhouse’s blog while pretending to examine, with a pen in his mouth for good measure, to read a really, very, extremely, important bill that will never get passed because everyone just plain and simply sucks?   I totally get it.  Why not just choose to read something that is neon-blinking-lights-suck-ass from the get go than spend hours sifting through and trying to decipher Pig Latin bullshit only to throw it back into the bouncy house of infantile children trying to beat the shit out of a half elephant/half donkey piñata that, SON OF A BITCH!, is empty.  “Whaaat?  No candy?  Waaaaaaaaaaaaah!”  It’s a clear choice.  Thanks Prez!
  • The CIA.  Bring it on assholes.  I have nothing to hide.  Well, maybe a little, but who doesn’t?  Regardless, game on.
  • My daughter’s 10 year old friend.  I was informed that she has visited my blog.  Please stop dear child.  Furthermore, show your search history to your mom.  Curiosity killed the cat.  Obviously, this is not a threat.  I’m not stupid.  I have the CIA on my ass.
  • My 10 year old daughter.  We have a verbal agreement.  If she reads my blog, I read her diary.  Tit for tat.
  • Amy Schumer, Kirsten Wig, and Chelsea Handler (collectively, as a group).  I am happily married and as straight as an arrow.  That said, all of these bitches are at the tippy top of my hall pass list.  I like to think all three of them spent the day reading my blog together while holding hands, soaking their feet in a kiddy pool, drinking Coors Light, and eating bean dip.  P.S. Call me.
  • Lorne Michaels.  Maybe he thinks I’m a good writer?  Or better yet, maybe he thinks I’m oddly funny in that dry stupid nonsensical sort of way?  I don’t necessarily have a face for television, but most of his stellar team doesn’t, so there’s that.
  • A secret admirer.  Flattering, somewhat creepy, highly unlikely, yet not out of the realm of possibility.  Regardless, I feel the need to be as transparent as possible in such circumstances.  I like to boil bunnies.  Peace out.
  • Miss Scarlet.  In the library.  With a candlestick.
  • Barnyard animals.  Maybe my blog was printed off for kindle to warm the animals on a cool night and/or shredded and mixed with kitchen waste for hog chow? Maybe a disgruntled rat found a clip of it and brought it back to the barn to save a small pig from his ultimate demise?  Maybe Charlotte weaved a web that read Jill Veldhouse and the world took notice and saved some pig?
  • Martians.  Maybe the worldwide web and all of its interweaving signals into outer space finally got the attention of an alien life form about ready to destroy earth with one flick of earwax when he intercepted a signal from Jill Veldhouse’s blog that reminded their kind that we are all, without a shadow of doubt, a bunch of absolute fucking idiots incapable of intelligence, hindsight, foresight, and/or the ability to jump around in a bounce house together without slowly killing each other off for nonexistent candy rewards.

God speed little green man.  I got this.

Piss on it

The date was set,

The sun was out.

A perfect chance,

To run about.

The park, the sand,

the slides, and more.

A giant playground,

Kids galore.

Each mommy sits

amongst her peers

In peaceful space,

Her children near.

Peers, yet strangers,

sharing time.

Smiling politely,

Being kind.

For our dear children,

We’re in the zone.

In hopes they’ll play,

Leave us alone.

Precious small bodies,

Running with glee.

Each mommy proud,

Of her child running free.

Then the wind shifted,

And my back was turned.

The look on their faces,

Judgmental, and stern.

“Oh my,” says one mommy,

“Oh wow,” says another.

“Who brought that kid (pause),

And who is his mother?”

Another one sighs,

And then rolls her eyes.

I turn my head slowly,

And part of me dies.

His ass meets my gaze,

So blinding and white.

Almost obstructing,

the stream from my sight.

Standing up proudly,

His friends circle round.

Applauding, encouraging,

He holds his junk proud.

In the sandbox, he pisses,

The one meant for play.

Some kids, now excited,

The sand is now clay.

The walk of shame next,

Quiet cussing, dry tears.

An invisible sign that reads,

“Assholes stand here.”

The piss keeps on flowing,

An arched steady stream.

Momentum soon slows,

but then picks up more steam.

Why is this happening?

What does it mean?

An FU from the sky?

Meant for just me?

Our eyes finally meet,

And a stare-down begins.

The game is not over,

But it’s clear who will win.

Wrap it up Buddy,

Show’s over, nice work.

Can’t wait to get home,

To help wipe off your smirk.

Desperate raking soon follows,

Dry sand over wet.

Mr. Cool Kid can’t quite,

Get his pants up just yet.

Poor little Buddy,

Ran into a hitch.

Newsflash dear son of mine,

I’m not your bitch.

Head in my hands,

We walk away slow.

So proud of my son,

And his golden rainbow.

Tonight, I’ll drink supper,

and reflect on the fact.

That my kid thinks it funny,

To possess zero tact.

Today’s lesson is simple,

And one not to miss.

The world is your toilet,

Go ahead, take a piss.

College 101

To my beautiful, awesome, intelligent, and soon to be a college freshmen niece,

I love you.  That’s what I want to say first.  It’s the most important point, so I want to be clear from the get go.  Because I love you, there are things I feel compelled to say to you as you begin this next very exciting stage of your life.  I certainly don’t claim to know every answer to all of life’s questions, but I am confident that I know more than you.

I probably seem pretty “old” in your eyes.  However, in my eyes, I’m your age.  No shit.  It was just yesterday that I was you.  Roll your eyes if you must.  That’s what I would’ve done at your age.  I rolled my eyes a lot back then.  I thought I knew everything.  Looking back, it turns out that 11 times out of 10, I was dead wrong about pretty much all of it.  It’s called hindsight and I have it now.  You do not.  It’s a tricky thing that will inevitably kick you in the ass more than a handful of times in your life.  You will learn from it, grow because of it, and make better decisions in the future as a result.  Awareness is a beautiful thing.  To that point, in your current state of youthfulness, YOU ARE NAIVE.  It’s perfectly normal at this juncture in your life, so no worries.  If you’re even slightly aware of it, you will be one step ahead of the game.  If you disagree, this just reinforces my point.  Trust me, you are.

As such, here are the top 10 most important  things that I want/need you to know.

1.  You will make mistakes. Lots of them, and good for you if you do.  Learn from them.  Be a better person because of them.  And then make some more, because that is how life works.  I mean, don’t intentionally be an ignoramus, because that’s just not cool.  It’s the opposite of cool.  No one likes an idiot, especially a fake one.

2.  Be yourself.  Be true to who you are. If you’re scared, challenge yourself, don’t run away.  Unless it’s from some douche bag at a party who after one glance at you announces to the world that you are his soul mate.  Then run for the hills, but not before kicking him in the balls.  He doesn’t deserve you.  No one does.  Live your life for YOU without thinking about how it affects anyone else (i.e. any guy, etc.).  You owe it to yourself to discover who YOU are first and this won’t happen overnight.  It’s a gradual process and will require some real soul searching and self exploration.  At the end of the day, your identity should not be tied to anyone else’s.  At least not yet.  When you think of yourself, you should think of YOU.  That’s it.

3.  Stay put!  The first month or two of your freshmen year is when most friendships and alliances are formed.  Being this is your first real stint away from home, this might seem like a looooooong stretch of time, but when it’s over, it’s over.  You do not get a do-over.  These critical first few weeks are when you will establish your core group of friends for the entirety of your college experience.  Make no mistake about it, if you are not present and don’t participate, you will soon feel like an outsider and then withdraw from the whole experience as a result.  It’s not easy to become part of a group once it has already been formed.  Trust me on this one.  Granted, you will miss home and everything home has to offer.  Your home (and everyone in and around it) will miss you terribly too.  It won’t be easy at times, but try really hard not to play into your insecurities.  I guarantee you that if you step outside of your comfort zone, you will not be disappointed in the long run.  Give it a real chance.  That means staying put (i.e. not leaving campus for a while).  Maybe even consider leaving your car at home for the first few months (Gasp!).  If you do get miserably homesick and desperately want to escape to some place more familiar and safe, fight the urge.  Engage yourself.  Put your phone down.  Seriously.  Put it down.  It’s okay.  Get involved in anything/everything.  Meet new people.  You’re good at it and they will be better off for knowing you.

4.  Study.  Hard.  It’s not a joke.  This shit is real.  I neglected the whole “school” portion of college for a larger chunk of time than I would care to admit.  As a result, I had to dig myself out of a giant GPA hole to even consider applying to grad school.  It was not easy, or fun.  Always try your best.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Take it seriously, but not too seriously.  You see how this gets a bit tricky?  Guess what?  I failed Probability & Statistics and I tried really hard.  Sometimes you just gotta cut your losses.  You can’t be good at everything.  Occasionally, shit happens, even if you try your best.  Cut yourself a break periodically.  It’s okay.

5.  Don’t label yourself!  Explore options.  If you think you know what you want to be when you grow up, you don’t.  You’ll just have to trust me on this one.  Don’t choose a path too soon.  Keep an open mind.  Don’t limit yourself.  There are endless career opportunities out there, most of which you currently have no idea even exist.  Be a sponge and soak it all up.  You’ll have plenty of time to choose a specific path in the future.  Right now, be content dabbling in everything!  There is no limit to your potential.  I guarantee you that if you do this, you will surprise yourself.  Who knows, you could be the next highly sought after Sommelier (average pay 80,000, up to 160,000).  On that note, I expect some sort of a kickback if you choose this path.  Write that down.

6.  Have fun.  And lots of it!  You get one real college experience.  One.  Make it count.  It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a pseudo-adult with a license to have an absurd amount of fun and get away with blaming college for your behavior.  Once you’re an actual adult, this changes, so enjoy it while it lasts.

7.  Be responsible. Make good choices.  Use common sense.  Don’t drink and drive and/or get in a car with anyone who does.  I know you’re smarter than that (I wasn’t), but some things just need to be said regardless of the intended audience.

8.  Stay away from the assholes. Even if they’re really cute.  Especially if they’re really cute.  Usually these are the worst ones.  They will want your attention and go to great lengths to get it.  You are beautiful.  Stunning beyond words.  Trust your instincts.  Keep your feelers out and don’t let some muscle head idiot with a six pack and a wad of 20 dollar bills fool you.  His dad probably gave him the money (Punk ass).  Make him/everyone earn your trust and do not under any circumstances grant it prematurely.  Assume that all guys you meet at college are dicks, unless they give you multiple reasons over an extended period of time to suggest otherwise.  It’s unfortunate for the good guys, but who ever said life was fair?  If they’re worth knowing, they’ll stick around to plead their case.  Patience is a virtue.

9.  Make GIRLFRIENDS first!  For real.  This is critical.  These chicks are instrumental to your happiness.  If you don’t have them, you will miss out on one of the most spectacular and rewarding aspects of the college experience.  Bitches stick together.  Word.

10.  Call your Mom. A lot!  She misses you already and you’re not even gone yet.  That said, I guarantee you that if you call her after your first week of classes and tell her that you want to come home, she will not have the strength to discourage you, so don’t do it.  You will always be her baby girl.  To be honest, I already miss you for her, but if you need to call someone regarding the above topic, call me.  Here’s what I will say to you in no uncertain terms, “Put your big girl panties on and stay the course.”  Then I’ll send you a care package with fresh chocolate chip cookies and a note that says, “Park your cute little ass right where it is and eat a cookie.  I love you.”  I’ll probably draw a smiley face and everything, but don’t misinterpret it as sarcasm, because it is not.  I might even include a twenty if you play your cards right.  I’m pretty cool that way.

Stay awesome sweet girl and if you take one message away from the above rant, please let it be the following…

Always pair yoga pants with a long flowing shirt.

It’s the new fad.

You’re welcome.

XOXO,   

Auntie Jill

Meet Virginia

I knew it was coming.  My feelers have been out for months anticipating the inevitable.  The Body Changes letter.  DUN-DUN-DUUUUN!

Childhood memories of my own immediately surface as I envision sitting nervously amongst my grade school peers trying desperately to look cool while secretly digging an escape route to China under my desk.  The word PENIS spoken out loud in and of itself sent half of the class into a statuesque shock and the other half into bouts of awkward posturing interrupted by nervous laughter.  Add the DIAGRAM on top of it and the whole world seemed to stand still.  Time stopped.  I’m sure of it.  Tick tock, tock tock, tick tock.  Yep, there it is, staring at us with its one beady little eye, embracing its good buddy the scrotum, both spelled out in bold letters on the chalkboard as if we were going to take notes for later reference or something.

What kind of a word is scrotum anyway?  It just sounds gross, regardless of its meaning.

Thankfully, I am a grown-up now and no longer have to participate in such potentially humiliating public instructional forums against my will.  My kids however, are not so lucky.  It’s an uncomfortable, yet necessary, rite of passage.  My goal as a mother is to make the process as educationally painless as possible.  I really have no problem discussing the subject matter with them.  We don’t sit around the dinner table and openly discuss human anatomy, but if they ask a question, I answer them in very general, age appropriate terms.  I tend to reference the penis in conversation as I would the elbow or any other body part, with direct eye contact and as little awkward posturing as possible.

Above all things, I want to create an open line of communication.  I’d rather have some control over their learning curve than wait for them to stumble upon it on the internet and/or from some know-it-all asshole on the school playground.  I choose to play offense.  As such, in anticipation of this glorious event, I bought my child “the book” a few weeks back with instructions to skim through it at her own pace with the added promise that her mother would sit down and read it with her and discuss it point by point at a time of her choosing down the road.

One hour later she threw the book on my lap.  “Finished Mom.”

I was expecting many questions, none of which were the following list of ten.

  1. So you know those pictures of how boobs grow? What stage are you in Mom?

      “The last stage.”

      “Umm, yours don’t look like that.”

  • What I wanted to say, “You are so incredibly perceptive and spot on dear child.  This is what 4 decades of basic life and 3 breast feeding children will do to your boobs.  It pretty much sucks.  I know they look like they should have a category of their own or maybe they don’t even qualify as breasts anymore.  Regardless, thank you for stating the obvious and giving me one more reason to never walk around the house naked again.”
  • What I actually said, “This is a cartoon illustration and cartoons aren’t real.  Nobody’s look exactly like that.  It’s a generalization.”
  1. So do you even need to wear a bra?
  • What I wanted to say, “Fuck you.”
  • What I actually said, “Probably not, but it’s socially appropriate and it makes mommy feel better about herself.”
  1. What do you call that stuff that leaks into your underwear again?
  • What I wanted to say, “Vaginal discharge.”
  • What I actually said, “Vagina juice.”  What can I say, I froze.
  1. What is Virginia juice Mom?
  • What I wanted to say, “It’s pronounced Vagina honey.”
  • What I actually said, “It’s pronounced Vagina honey.”
  1. Middle child pipes in from a distance, “Do I have a Virginia Mommy?
  • What I wanted to say, “It’s pronounced Vagina!  And yes, all girls have one.”
  • What I actually said, “Go play.”
  1. Middle child who never does as told, “What’s a Virginia Mommy?”
  • What I wanted to say, “Stop saying Virginia!  It’s VAGINA!  VAGINA! VAGINA! VAGINA! VAGINA! VAGINA!”
  • What I actually said, “It’s a state honey.”
  1. Why is it called the “Public Area” mommy? Because (nervous pointing and disgusted eye roll),  it should not be public at all!
  • What I wanted to say, “It’s actually called the “Pubic Area” sweetie, named for the bone residing in that general area.”
  • What I actually said,  “Exactly!”
  1. What does menstrate mean?
  • What I wanted to say, “It means that once a month hundreds of sleeping ninjas in your gut will awaken with a vengeance and try to claw their way from the inside out.  You will feel like punching everyone in the face, your own face will sprout unsightly things, you will have to wear a diaper in and/or outside of your ass, and no one around you will give a shit.”
  • What I actually said, “Every woman does it.  It’s a gift.  This is what allows us to bear children.”
  1. Does Daddy do it?
  • What I wanted to say, “Nope, lucky son of a bitch!”
  • What I actually said, “Nope, guys don’t get to do it.  Only girls.  We’re special that way.”
  1. What does Daddy get to do?
  • What I wanted to say, “Smile and have a penis.”
  • What I actually said, “Take the garbage out.”

I was prepared to answer where babies came from.  I was prepared to demonstrate proper use of the sanitary napkin.  I was prepared to delve into the pros and cons of societal shaving trends.  Yet, here I sit, puzzled, trying to argue my decision to wear a bra by explaining to my children why objects that might appear nonexistent in space still succumb to the earth’s gravitational pull.  Not to mention, my own indolent Virginia, whose worthless accessory muscles make pissing my pants when I so much as sigh heavily a common occurrence, the promise that the ninja bastards will soon be awake and ready to play yet again, and the ridiculous task of trying to convince my sweet daughters that it’s all something to look forward to with enthusiasm, like a goddamn party filled with unicorns, rainbows, and butterfly wings for that added bit of reassurance just when you need it the most.

I want a new topic.  And a boob job.  Not necessarily in that order.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner.  Hallmark and buffet style restaurants alike are eagerly awaiting the world’s offspring to hop on the appreciation wagon and ‘Show a Mom You Care.’  I dread it every single year.  Mostly because there is a stark contrast between what I imagine Mother’s Day to be and what it actually is, despite anyone’s/everyone’s best intentions.  It should be a day for moms around the world to completely check out, for the entire day, without being the subject of judgment or ridicule.  For exactly 24 hours, 1 day in May, every single year, I do not exist.  Carry on children, I love you, but I’ll see you tomorrow ready to resume my role with a new attitude and skip in my step.  Of course I love being your mother.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world, nor am I wishing these precious years away, quite the opposite in all honesty. But that is not the point.  The point is, Mother’s Day is not about you.  It’s about me, and all of the other moms out there who have been anxiously awaiting this once a year valid excuse to disengage from their ginormous and never-ending pile of motherhood crap.  No offense kids, but today, I am invisible.  Mommy’s a magician.  Now you see me, now you don’t.

The whole idea sounds quite nice in theory.  A day set aside by society to honor all mothers near and far.  Silent permission to be selfish and treat thyself first.  A free pass to engage in activities that otherwise would not be engaged in without at least some small level of guilt (i.e. an afternoon nap, a martini at noon, an uninterrupted bath, a Netflix marathon that doesn’t involve hitting the pause button every eleven seconds to discuss yet again why it is not okay to throw sharp objects at your little brother, etc., etc.).

I call bullshit on the whole damn thing.  The self inflicted shame in and of itself is enough to make me want to fast forward to the next day.  “Why can’t we watch tv with you Mommy?  It’s Mother’s Day.  We should watch something together as a family.  You could make us some popcorn, oooooh, and milkshakes!”  The guilt is beyond measure and it always comes down to a choice.  Spend the entire day with my children, who for all practical purposes are the sole reason I get to celebrate this monumental day, or send them away thinking they are the only children in the world not spending Mother’s Day with their mother, who clearly must hate them.

Here’s the deal kiddos.  I love you.  A lot.  I love you more than I could ever possibly explain in words and more than you could ever possibly imagine. I love you so much that the thought of not being your mommy and/or not being around to take care of you and protect you in a few short years from this shit ass world for the rest of your life drops me to my knees gasping for air.  Motherhood has done something to me, and it’s not all unicorns and rainbows either, but back to my original point, a list of Mother’s Day demands.

  • Do not wake me up early to eat overcooked pancakes with a plastic spoon that are over-drizzled with a secret sauce.
  • Do not ask repeated questions about what extra fun things we’re going to do to celebrate the day, as if it should include a trip to the zoo or something.  Mommy hates the zoo, and it’s not your birthday.
  • NO GIFTS.  Although I do truly cherish the handmade treasures and wrapped up nicknacks I already knew I had, I want them all tomorrow.  Sorry kids, but I don’t want to share my moment attempting to exercise enthusiasm for the clay ‘thing’ I am certain never to guess its intended purpose for without absolutely crushing the soul of the creator, and/or listening to my offspring endlessly argue over which of their gifts mommy likes best.
  • I also don’t want to spend the entire day repeating the following phrase 97 times in a sing-song voice, “All I want for Mother’s Day is for my children to listen and be nice to each other.”  Good one.  It’s probably just best not to ask what I want.
  • Above all else, I do not want to go out to eat.  This is not a treat.  This is a fucking nightmare.  No thanks.  Catch me in twenty years when you have table manners and a checkbook.

I realize that one day I will undoubtedly crave my children’s presence on Mother’s Day. At that point in my life I will have all the time in the world to take a nap and/or reminisce about those perfect Mother’s Days of yore when little Buddy gave me a bouquet of dandelions and then sneezed on my waffle.  However, my children will not be living with me then.  I will have time between visits to miss them.  They will have out-grown their desire to forcefully push one another into the corner of the coffee table to claim the first hug from Mommy on Mother’s Day.  Their handmade gifts will be something I might even consider hanging on the wall in plain sight.  I might get actual flowers and not a handful of weeds that I am allergic to.  If I raised them right, they will say “please” and “thank-you” without being reminded and/or threatened.  They will clear the table without whining and/or offer to pick up the check.  And so on and so forth.

If they can’t come to visit me on Mother’s Day, I’ll be okay.  I will take great comfort knowing that they are, God willing, at home with their own offspring, enjoying a well-deserved napless day of overcooked pancakes with a plastic spoon and their very own pile of weeds to nurture and adore.

I just want one day to not feel shameful for wanting to be selfish.  I want one day to not worry about them.  I want one day to not feel completely responsible for everything.  I want one day to drink wine for the fun of it and not because I am scared shitless and over-analyzing what being a mom means.  I want one day, that doesn’t include my own death, to feel at peace with the fact that I simply don’t feel like being a mom for one goddamn day.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Stupid is as stupid does

A B C D E F G,

Gummy bears are after me.

Some are red, some are blue,

Some are peeing in a shoe.

Now they’re running for their life,

Because the green one has a knife.

This is what my soon to be 4 year old son currently sings on a continuous loop to the tune of the Alphabet song.  It’s awesome.  He learned it from his sisters, who learned it on the bus.

Damn the bus.

He knows it word for word, which really pisses me off, mostly because he still cannot recite the actual alphabet with any consistency.  Believe me.  I’ve tried.  He has no use for letters and couldn’t care less.  He goes to preschool too, but it appears only for the socialization and endless supply of animal crackers.  Alas, at the end of the day, he’d rather sing about homicidal gummy bears than learn his ABC’s.  He doesn’t even like Sesame Street.  I can only presume because it provides way too much scholarly information.  Letter of the day, counting to 10, who wants a nap?  Puhlease.

It’s concerning to a somewhat laughable degree.  We recently received a notification from the school district indicating that it’s time for pre-Kindergarten screening.  I never worried about this with my girls, but they had actually learned to trace a straight line and recognize the letter “A” by the time this very important test was administered, so we all slept easy.

That said, I had “conferences” with his preschool teacher a couple weeks ago.  It went something like this, “He is so happy.  He just loves to play.  He is an absolute joy to be around, and I’m sure he can count higher than six?”  It was a question.  Uncomfortable laughter followed.

Of course he can count higher than six.  I think. 

When my oldest child was born, a sales rep came to our door selling a series of classic old school children’s books.  We invited him in, he told us we would have a genius child if we read these books to her, and then like fucking rookie parent idiots, we sold our souls and bought the whole damn set.  Quickly thereafter, we realized that the interchangeable word for kitten (i.e. pussy) that reoccurred throughout every story in each book was too much for our reading aloud comfort level.  Yes, we are immature children and couldn’t get past it.  All the same, I am in control of what I teach and do not teach my children.  This much is certain, if they ever nonchalantly refer to a cat as a pussy, I will have failed as a parent.

Regrettably, the books eventually made their way into storage never to be read from again.  Seriously?  Pussy?  Even back-in-the-day?  C’mon.

In any event, it’s probably my fault that my son would rather not be an active participant in the learning process.  The fact is, I tried much harder with our first two children.  By the time the third one rolled around, the novelty of trying to breed a genius simply wore off.  Eh whatever.  Plus, who has time for it?  I’m at the point where I am banking on the gene pool to pull him through on this one.  Nature versus nurture?  I choose nature.  His dad is smart (like genius, borderline obnoxious, smart).  Some of that is bound to rub off on him.  It’s basic science.  And if not, he’s always got his mom’s glowing personality to fall back on.  Sigh.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Don’t feel sorry for the little ignoramus either.  He’s a master of disguise.  I overheard him counting his highly prized family of Matchbox cars the other day.  He got to 26 before I walked in unannounced, pointed a finger directly at him, and screamed, “Ah-ha!  Gotcha!”

He immediately started sucking his thumb, assumed the fetal position on the floor, and then asked to watch Cailou.

Fuck no.  No Cailou, ever!  Until the end of time.

As if I needed a reason.

The important point here is that I am on to him.  Furthermore, he IS going to preschool screening, whether he wants to act like a fucking idiot or not.

We’ll see how far he gets when he’s 25, still trying to fly under the radar, playing with his cars, and answering “Boobies” to any and all questions directed his way in an effort to pass himself off as a dolt to the general public. 

Should be good entertainment at the very least.  Pass the gummy bears.

      

Eureka! Women are bitches.

Despite being of average intelligence, I think I have an elevated sense of how the world works (i.e. common sense).  I have never operated under the assumption that anyone owes me anything.  I wear big girl panties and take responsibility for myself.  People who chronically play the victim card make me sad.  That shouldn’t imply that I am against a little healthy complaining from time to time.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Plus, sometimes I just like to bitch about things.  It seems to come naturally, and I tend to embrace my strengths.

That said, I had an epiphany the other day intra-quibble.  It was really more like a mind blowing, punch you in the gut realization that came out of nowhere and from the most unlikely source.  His candid response after listening to me whine endlessly about current life obstacles (i.e. my inability to form a meaningful connection with anyone willing and/or capable of throwing me a goddamn bone) and other small, yet loosely related annoyances, “Women are bitches.”

He was trying to comfort me in his own special way.  He didn’t wink or anything.  Just sat there drinking his beer without a care in the world as if he had just told me the sky is blue.

What a dick. 

I spent the next several days obsessively analyzing his asshole comment in a sad attempt to form some sort of an intelligent rebuttal for when our paths would cross again.  In doing so, I began to reflect on my past and present relationships with the female sort in a wide variety of contexts.

Here’s the thing.  I came up with nothingN O T H I N G.

I was perplexed.  I decided to take a walk and clear my head.  How can this be?

In the midst of my conundrum, a small plane flew in from out of nowhere, did a goddamn loop de loop in the big blue sky directly above my head and proceeded to artistically spell out for all the world to see…

 “All women ARE bitches.” 

Eureka!  And Fuckin-A!

Finally!  An elementary answer to every simple and/or complicated question ever posed in the history of history.  How did I not see this?  All of a sudden, everything made sense and I felt a quiet calm take over my body as my brain began to connect the obvious dots and draw the exact same conclusion in less than one minute.

Settle down ladies.  It’s going to be okay.  Bitches can still be awesome.  Clarity changes nothing.  It just removes the bullshit from the equation.  Besides, there is obviously a bitch continuum.  All bitches are not created equal.

Here’s the breakdown.

The Bitch Bitch.  She’s the real deal.  She knows she is a bitch, and everyone else in the world agrees.  She doesn’t even have to speak.  You just know.  Walk away.

The She Means Well Bitch.  She utilizes her inner bitch to stand up for the slightly weaker bitch forms.  She is no match for the big dogs, but she means well, hence the name.

The Crazy Bitch.  Is she crazy because she’s a bitch, or a bitch because she’s crazy?  That’s a thinker.

The Mean Bitch.  She takes being a bitch to a whole new level.  The world probably needs her to a certain extent, but not sure why.  She sucks.

The Nice Bitch.  My mom.  Nicest woman in the world, but do not piss her off.  For real.

The Martyr Bitch.  This bitch thinks she has a higher purpose and truly believes that her bitchiness will in some way come back to benefit the entire bitch population someday and thereby earn her a spot on the Bitch Wall of Fame, which obviously doesn’t exist, but you can tell her that.  I’ll be over there.

The Fun Bitch.  You really want this bitch to be your friend.  Especially if you yourself do not fall under this highly desirable category.  You need her to help you channel your own bitchiness into something more positive and exciting.  She is the bitch I aspire to be.  Sigh.

The Smiling Bitch:  This smug bitch even smiles in her sleep.  It’s unnatural.  Do not trust her.  She’s up to something.

The Married Bitch.  “Till death do us part.”  Enough said.

The Sarcastic Bitch.  This bitch holds a special place in my heart.  I ❤ her.

The Exercise Bitch.  Newsflash.  Everyone’s going to die someday.  Maybe take it down a notch.

The Behind the Scenes Bitch.  This bitch appears sweet and innocent on the outside, but you do not want to turn your back to her.  She will cut your throat at the first perceived threat, real or not.  I got my eyes on those bitches.

The “I Can’t Help It” Bitch.  Nope, she can’t.  Moving on.

The Know it All Bitch.  This bitch knows everything.  Just ask her.

The Princess Bitch.  Her highness is above manual labor, seeks immediate gratification, smells like sugar, demands frequent compliments from her subordinates, and is very fond of the color pink.  I think I may have given birth to one of these bitches.  Time will tell.

The Perfect Bitch.  This bitch makes a list of the lists she has to make.  She’s got all of her ducks in a row and has a rotating schedule for her aprons.  She also wakes up in the morning with minty fresh breath.

The Stylish Bitch.  I don’t know how this bitch does it, but she can pull off the Canadian tuxedo accessorized with a macaroni necklace, a banana clip, green crocs, and look fucking cool while doing it.  She also has a closet reserved for small handbags.

The Messy Bitch.  This bitch thrives on chaos and laughs if her kid gets sent home from school with lice.  She doesn’t sweat the small stuff and reuses her bath towel several days in a row.  She despises the Perfect Bitch, and vice versa.

The Martha Stewart Bitch.  Wanna know how to fold your fitted sheet into the shape of an owl or learn how to make an ornamental cupcake that also tastes delightful out of soap?  She’s your gal.

The Pretentious Bitch:  She values her own opinions immensely.  She exaggerates her importance and attempts to impress by using complicated words incorrectly and out of context.  She spends a great deal of energy trying to convince other bitches she is more successful and smart.  She reapplies her lipstick a lot in an effort to really drive home her nonexistent point.

The Youthful/Sexy Bitch.  This bitch wears her perfectly fitting tight yoga pants and sports bra to the grocery store to buy three bags of Doritos and a 12-pack of Coke while the entire store population (men and women) dreams of taking her to bed.  Bring the chips.

The Old Bitch.  Been there, done that.  She’s earned her badge.  Now unwrap that bitch a butterscotch.  She’s fucking royalty.

The “I Wish I Wasn’t a Bitch” Bitch.  No one likes a cry baby.  Shut the fuck up.

The Drunk Bitch.  This bitch will get you arrested.  Something about the combination of alcohol and years of suppressing her inner bitch demon makes this bitch someone you do not want to have to drive home after an all-nighter at the VFW.  Call that bitch a cab.

The “Holier Than Thou” Bitch.  I’ve seen it in every phase of my life.  For some reason, this bitch immediately brings the Bitch bitch out in me regardless of the circumstances.  Watch your own bobber girlfriends.  Jesus and I are cool.  And even if we weren’t, you bitches would be the last bitches I’d call.

The Enthusiastic Bitch.  She seizes the day, everyday.  She loves life even when it sucks, which is admirable, yet slightly obnoxious.

The Feminist Bitch.  Women are applauded by this bitch for calling her a bitch and men are hung upside down by their balls in the middle of Town Square for nonverbally maybe sort of suggesting it.  She’s hard to be around, regardless of your gender.

The Antithesis Bitch.  She’s in there somewhere.  Tick tock. 

The Victim Bitch.  This bitch thinks that I am picking on her right now.  She believes I’m trying to send her a hidden message and will be extremely offended as a result.  Ho hum.

The Competitive Bitch.  You’re better off just letting this bitch win.  It’s not worth it.  Good game.

The Problem Bitch.  A first cousin to the Competitive Bitch, this bitch wins the blue ribbon for one upping everyone else’s past, present, and/or future predicaments.  If you have a hang nail on your big toe, she has gout.  If your kid gets grounded, her kid gets arrested.  If you buy a bad banana, this bitch will purposely toss it to the ground, slip on it, and make you drive her to Urgent Care for stitches.  I got one less problem without this bitch.

The Literal Bitch.  This bitch will read this post and deduce that I am a swinger who has no friends and hates Jesus.  She will be disgusted by the above reference to my daughter’s bitch tendencies (poor innocent thing), and offer several parenting suggestions.  She will be appalled that I called my Mom a bitch and assume that we are estranged as a result.  She will pray for me and probably write a comment under the name, Anonymous Angie, stating in no uncertain terms that the world would be better off without bitches like me. 

The “I’m Not a Bitch” Bitch.  Yes you are.  Trust me.

Personally, I like to think of myself as the Eclectic Bitch, deriving ideas and style based on a diverse range of criteria from the entire bitch continuum.  What can I say, I am a social chameleon.

In a perfect world, we would all grab a beer and hug it out in a group effort to form the nonexistent “Happy Bitch” faction.

But we won’t.  Because the sky is blue and we are bitches.

Every damn one of us.

Applied science

I overheard a conversation between my daughters a while back that was a bit concerning.  One of them was trying to strengthen her argument by providing a series of specific examples.  Among them, “Because she’s too old and grumpy.”

The “she” is me, as if I had to spell that out for you.

I thought nothing of it at first.  Eh, whatever.  As time went on though, it started to bother me more and more.  Is that really what my daughter thinks of me?  A crotchety old hag?  Maybe I should grow my chin hairs out, get a bunch of cats, and call it a day?  That would probably be easier than trying to defend myself at this point, but I’m generally not one to take the easy way out.  Besides, I hate cats.  So there’s that.

Truth be told, I was a bit offended.  When searching for words to describe myself,  grumpy would not top the list.  Indifferent maybe, but not grumpy.  I definitely don’t walk around all day humming Disney tunes while sporting a permagrin, but I don’t think that qualifies me as a crusty grump.  I will even go on the record right now and say that I can be a really fun person when the circumstances are just right.  I am certainly not bubbly.  Quite frankly, that kind of personality is off-putting to me.  I don’t know why.  It makes me uncomfortable for reasons I have yet to explore.  In all honesty, I think I would choose grumpy over bubbly if my hand was forced, but that doesn’t really add to my case, so let’s move on.

My thought process shifted back to the accusatory person in question.  The spade who called me a spade, behind my back no less.  There is no doubt that we could both benefit from smiling more.  Several interventions come to mind.  Maybe we should both take a laughter yoga class?  Maybe I should tell her some jokes or learn to juggle?  Maybe I should serve chocolate chips as a side dish at every meal?  Maybe I should sit down with her and demand specific examples that led to her disappointing and very sour conclusion?  I’m sure that would end well. 

Maybe I should get out of the house?

Twist my arm.

I went to a seminar the other day.  I have to do it every once in a while in order to keep the professional license that I haven’t practiced under in years and probably won’t again anytime soon.  But you never know, so I go through the motions.  Just in case.

I rarely have any expectations regarding the subject matter.  Of course I choose topics that are loosely related to my past professional and personal interests, but at the end of the day, a fish is a fish is a fish, and these things almost always end the same.  A napping marathon with, if you’re lucky, free bagels and the opportunity to pee alone at designated break times.  It’s nice.

I don’t know what I did to deserve it, but as it turned out, this particular course was not only engaging, but (Gasp!) enjoyable, sans bagels!  It surely helped that the good doc splits his time between being an expert in Applied Biopsychology and a wait for it…successful stand-up comedian.

No shit.  http://www.drbrianking.com

Regardless, the topic couldn’t have been more appropriate given my current status quo.  The objective was to discuss evidence that supports the age old idea that laughter may indeed be the best medicine.  I’ll spare you the scientific details.  Partly because I’m lazy and don’t want to cite references, but mostly because I don’t have the delivery skills to make the content seem even a little bit interesting.  That said, the take home message was clear.

Lighten up, laugh more, and pass that shit around the circle, because odds are, you will live longer as a result.

Sounds good to me.  Who doesn’t want to live longer?  Sign me up.

The whole thing got me questioning the reasons I don’t smile more often.  It’s not hard.  It’s actually pretty easy.  I’m doing it right now, as I type this very sentence.  Granted, it’s creepy, and forced, and currently making me a bit uncomfortable, but it’s a smile, and apparently even a forced smile has the potential to positively influence our health and wellbeing.

Case in point, did you know that based on the manner in which you hold a pen in your mouth, you can trick your brain into thinking you’re either sad or happy?  Turns out our ridiculously complex brain has the motivation and energy of a slug.  It thrives on habitual responses.  In other words, it’s fucking lazy.  Obviously I am over-simplifying things here, but I find it fascinating that I can literally be pissed off at the world, position a pen in my mouth in such a way that activates the smiling muscles in my face and VOILA, a portion of my brain thinks I’m jolly based on the position of my face and releases a little happy juice as a result.  It’s measurable.  I don’t know how, but it is.  God bless smart people.

It’s not very often these days that I am afforded a chance to actually apply the knowledge that I learn in these courses to my everyday life of boogers and permission slips and temper tantrums, but as luck would have it, an opportunity presented itself.  I seized the moment with open arms when my beloved spade of a child was in the middle of having her 487th moment of the day.  Because she shares her mother’s affinity for absolute soul sucking stubbornness, I go head to head with her several times a day.  It always ends the same.  She’s pissed, I’m pissed, and we both proceed to slowly drown in our sea of unhappiness and despair, only to do it all over again twenty minutes later.

Regardless, on this particular day, I was fully committed, and it was not easy.  I let her come at me with everything she had.  I stood there, looking at her looking at me, waiting for me to predictably reciprocate in the normal manner of disgust and anger.

I walked away, returned seven seconds later, gave her a pen with specific instructions on how to appropriately hold it in her mouth, and proceeded to watch her actually, albeit reluctantly, do it.

She looked so unbelievably ridiculous standing there all pissed off, red faced, and stoic with that pen in her mouth.  I instantly smiled, which was not my intention, but it felt nice, so I ran with it.  It almost turned to laughter, but I fought the urge.  I didn’t want to be rude.

I felt my misplaced grin gradually begin to take over my entire face (and by extension add at least three minutes to my life) as I offered the following insightful words to my disgruntled and slightly befuddled child.

“Everyone’s a winner honey.  Keep the pen.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use it or lose it

I’m going to admit something.  Something that I have known for a while but have kept secret for quite some time now.

I am bored.

Not so much bored, as much as B O R E D.  Like out of my fucking mind, write stupid nonsensical fish stories, bored.  It’s not because I have nothing to do.  I have plenty of things to do.  I could list them in order of insignificance, but for purposes of brevity, I’ll skip it.

I’m not quite sure when it first hit me, but it’s been a creeping realization that has gradually gained momentum over time.  I am reluctant to shout it from the roof tops for obvious reasons.

Most notably, no one wants to hear or really cares that I am bored, and who can blame them?  “Oh to have such problems as to be a stay at home mom with nothing to do but feel sorry for yourself and all of the extra valuable time you get with your children that countless working mothers would kill for on any given day.”

I don’t want to hear that shit either.  Who the fuck cares.  I would kick my ass too if I was on the receiving end of that sorry ass rant.

This is not about my kids.  It’s about me being unable to find any meaningful value in any of the day to day crap that doesn’t involve direct interaction with my children anymore.  It never used to bother me.  It was all just viewed as part of the job.  Robotically replacing the toilet paper rolls, refilling the soap dispensers, wiping the dried spit tracks out of the sink that seem to regenerate at the speed of light the exact moment I turn my back to them, the endless pile of dishes (sigh), the laundry (wash, rinse, repeat times fucking infinity), meal planning, and by extension, grocery shopping, packing creative lunches that my children will actually eat day after day after day, packing snacks (healthy ones no less), sweeping the pile of toast crumbs up for the umpteenth time only to realize that it has been immediately replaced by a pile of macaroni and cheese that missed its mark, again. 

And so on and so forth.

When all added up, it usually equals a busy and often very exhausting day, and maybe I should just be okay with that.  I guess there’s a certain level of accomplishment and pride that comes with keeping busy and not just sitting around on my ass all day.  Right?

I fully realize that these are not real problems, and that many of these tasks are not necessarily necessary.  I get it.  We could function just fine without a kleenex box.  Regardless, it all suddenly feels like a colossal waste of time.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe it’s because much of what keeps me busy all day long could easily be delegated to a robot or anyone over the age of five.

I’m fairly certain there is a portion of my brain that has become completely nonfunctional as a direct result of disuse over the past few years.  The rest of it functions at half capacity at best (Insert fish story reference here).  For purposes of this argument, I tried to come up with a list of daily higher level cognitive functions that I routinely perform.  Ten seconds in, I found myself desperately trying (and failing) to scrape a crusty booger off my kid’s bedroom wall.

I literally fixated on how to get it off.  It can’t be that difficult.  There has to be a way.  It’s can’t stay on there forever, can it?  What am I doing wrong?  Should I Google it?

These are the questions I ask myself throughout the day.  Among others, such as…

    • Would my children survive if I didn’t cut the crust off their toast?  Of course.
    • Would they implode into a cloud of dust if I wasn’t a phone call away to bring their library books to school at the drop of a hat (the exact books that they forgot after being reminded of at least 3 times)No.
    • Would they contract a rare bacterial infection if I wasn’t present to remind them to wash their hands after every single visit to the bathroom?  Probably not.
    • Would my 7 year old daughter be better off if I wasn’t around 24/7 to assist in wiping her ass after taking a dump?  Without a doubt.

She’s seven. And a half.

I know.

Simply put, it’s becoming a bit too convenient for everyone involved and I find myself reluctantly morphing into a complete and total bitch because of it.  I can’t explain why I suddenly hate turtles.  I just do.  Nor can I explain why a teeny tiny portion of me suddenly finds it slightly obnoxious that my beloved husband continues to climb the corporate ladder, one accomplishment after another after another, for the sake and betterment of our family, while I’m at home obsessing over crusted-on wall snot.  I should be grateful that I have been afforded the opportunity to be bored and virtually void of higher mental stimulation altogether.  After all, this was a joint decision, mutually agreed upon by both parties after deep thought and examination of every variable involved.  Ironically, it is also one that I continue to firmly stand behind (albeit in a non-cheerleader sort of way).

It all came to a head a few days ago when I picked my oldest child up from an afterschool activity.  She hopped in and before even closing the door proclaimed in absolute shock and disgust, “Oh my gosh Mom!  You need to clean out Dad’s car!” 

Well now we’ve opened a can of fucking worms, haven’t we?

I have created a society of complete enablement.  My 7 1/2 year old daughter does not know how to adequately wipe her own ass.  My 9 year old daughter thinks it’s my job to clean out her dad’s disgusting excuse of a motorized vehicle.  My 3 year old son has nonchalantly walked out of our bathroom more times than I would care to admit, proceeded to hand me his socks, and without making eye contact arrogantly walked away while stating the obvious, “Here Mom.  I peed on my socks.”

The take home message is crystal clear.  I am Cinderfuckingella.  Worse yet, I have no one to blame but myself.

A few days ago, I overheard a woman, with misplaced bubbliness, offer the following wisdom to a disheveled mother who was clearly having a bad day, “The days seem long, but the years go fast.”

Thanks for the tip Nietzsche.  Like I didn’t feel bad enough about myself already.  Go fuck yourself.

Save the suggestions for the nonexistent suggestion box.  I get it.  I need to smile more.  Not sweat the small stuff.  Get a hobby.  Guess what?  You’re reading it.  It’s my one thing.  This ridiculous excuse of a blog forces me to form a series of full sentences that otherwise would not have been formed.  It encourages me to spell words, use proper grammar and appropriate punctuation, sequence events in a logical manner regardless of the content (Insert stupid fish story reference here, again), and by extension ignites neurotransmitter activity in a the frontal cortex of my brain that would have otherwise turned to pudding months ago.

I don’t care what anybody says, the Scarecrow was a goddamn genius.

           “I would dance and be merry,

           Life would be a ding-a-derry,

           If I only had a brain.”

I hear you man.

Chapter 1

The sea was unusually calm.  The sky, crystal blue, had a quiet and magical aura to it.  Nature had come to life with the return of spring.  Birds were singing, squirrels were squirreling about like their bastard selves, the air was filled with pleasant scents of new life, and the promise of tomorrow had new meaning.

Yet, off in the distance, she found herself alone.  A fish out of water, flapping around on the shore desperately trying to flip flop her sorry ass self back to life in the sea, but to no avail.

There she laid.  Gasping.  Twitching.  Fighting.  Flipping.  Flopping.  Again and again and again with such urgency that the family of turtles peeking up from ten feet out suddenly felt sorry for her.  Their freakishly small reptilian heads quickly disappeared immediately after making eye contact.

She knew they weren’t going for help.  She could see them out there, shamefully hiding, passing a joint, and attempting to camouflage themselves among the weeds.

Her eyes, blinkless, desperately scream for help.

No one hears.

She begins to hallucinate and lose focus.  If only she could close them for just a brief moment, the world might not seem so unwelcoming and sour.  But she cannot.  Because she is a fish.  And fish don’t blink.  Ever.

As the unyielding rays from the blinding sun build in ferocity, her mind fixates on the absence of a moist eye.  The reality that she is physically unequipped to remedy such an unfavorable predicament is lost on her.  Her system is shutting down.  The stench radiating from her near lifeless body is gradually intensifying.  The air reeks of rotting sea life and the light sea breeze has picked up at an astounding rate.  Others will soon know.  Time is running out.

Staring out to sea with the one eye that isn’t buried in the sand, she imagines a tidal wave building on the horizon.  It can’t be real, yet her massive glass lips begin to form what can only be described as a tilted grin.

Acceptance and quietude calmly build within, offering a glimmer of something less laughable and absurd.

She stops flipping, flopping, flapping around like a fucking idiot waiting to be discovered and saved.  No one is coming for her, most notably the family of turtles lurking in the distance with their backs to the horizon.

Their eyes meet again and in true nonfish form, she winks at them.

Fucking turtles.

 

Strategery

Happy Anniversary to me!  I’ve been doing this shit for a year now.  It honestly seems like just yesterday when I sat down at the computer half pissed up, bored with my life in general and googled, “How to start a blog.”

Back in my working days, my coworkers and I would gather on an annual basis in a mandatory meeting of the minds to discuss the past year’s accomplishments, identify areas of improvement, and set goals for the future.  We had a big whiteboard and everything.  An idea map if you will.  It’s called “strategic planning” and if you want to die from boredom, you should definitely try it.  My boss tried so hard to engage us and truly went the extra mile to encourage participation.  She brought bagels and everything.  Bless her heart.

Although the process itself is beyond mundane and can make even the most sane person seriously consider poking their own eyeballs out with the edge of a half eaten bagel, it’s a necessary process, and one that any successful business must undergo on a regular basis to be a real competitor.

I’ve reached a point in my journey where it would benefit everyone involved if I take a step back to reevaluate, reflect, gather my team (i.e. me, a pile of pistachio nuts, and a cheap bottle of wine), and spearhead a strategic plan that will either ensure my ultimate survival or enable a quick, yet graceful exit.

Just to be clear, I don’t want to do it either, but it’s happening, right now, so consider yourself warned, and prepare yourself for a series of dry meaningless facts.  Feel free to offer suggestions (active participation is highly encouraged), or choose to opt out at any time.  It seems like an obvious choice.

Let’s start with the numbers.

82 total blog posts:  That’s 6.83 blog posts per month, or 1.57 per week.  Incredible, I know.  I honestly don’t know where I found the time to consistently write such mediocre crap.  What can I say?  It’s a gift.

23,247 total views to date:  It’s currently climbing at less than a snail’s pace even as I type this very s e n t e n c e . . .

185 twitter followers:  I was pretty proud of this number, given the fact that most of these people are perfect strangers, right up until the moment I realized that Kim Kardashian has 28.7 million followers and she has no talent to speak of.  #buzzkill

111 blog followers (a.k.a. My peeps):  What can I say, I love people who aren’t afraid of commitment and/or over-the-top usage of the word fuck in all of its glorious forms.  Word. 

A couple hundred Facebook friends who by default, and at a minimum, are forced to scroll past my posts with an eye roll.  Sorry guys, if I could single out the people who actually want to read my blog via FB, I would, trust me.  That shit alone has caused me more stress than I would care to admit.  The liking.  The non-liking.  The suspense.  The creepers.  The secret admirers.  The interpretation and insanity of it all!  What does it all mean?!

Don’t get me started on Facebook.  I don’t like it, but I digress.

Truth be told, the novelty has worn off, and I am literally and currently boring myself to death.  In my quest to find enlightenment and define a new direction, I sought the advice of the most brilliant man I know.  He’s a business guy, and as such, asks the tough business guy questions.

“What do you want to accomplish?  What are your goals?  Who is your target audience?  What’s for supper?  How can you get from point A to point B in a specific sequence of well thought out events?  Let’s make a list and visit each idea point by point.”

I did what any reasonable person in my position would do.  I took an aspirin and turned to someone else.  Someone more on my level.  Someone who won’t ask questions, but will simply just listen without passing judgment and/or expecting an intelligent answer.  Someone who truly gets me.  Someone I confide my deepest darkest secrets to on a daily basis with no hesitation whatsoever.

“Buddy, you got a minute?”

“Yeah Mom.  You wanna play spies.”

“Sure.”

One would think that lying face up underneath a blanket covered coffee table would be the last place a person would find the answers to life’s more difficult questions.  One would think…

“Do you think Mommy should keep writing Buddy, and if so, in what capacity?  Give me a topic.  Anything at all.  Unless it involves parenting.  I think I need to branch out.  No offense.” 

“Shhhhhhhhh, they’re coming.”

“I’m at a turning point Buddy, just not sure where to go from here, or if there’s anywhere to go at all.  Do you have any advice?”

“Your legs are too long Mom.  Pull them in.”

“Done.  I just need to get more out of it, know what I mean?  Or maybe I need to scrap it altogether?”

“You brought snacks?”

“No Buddy, I said scrap, not snack.”

“Whew!  That was a close call.  I need my spotting scope.  Where is it Mom?”

“Here.  Seriously though.  What do you think Mommy’s calling is?  Be honest.  I can take it.”

“Poop.”

(Sidebar:  “Poop” is his default answer to anything he doesn’t understand and/or know how to answer.)

Of course he didn’t mean it in the literal sense.  Poop is not my actual calling.  I clearly pushed him too far.  He didn’t understand the question.  I need a whiteboard.

Bagel anyone?

 

Do you like being a mom?

The following series of questions has come up so often in small talk conversation during my few short years as a stay at home mom that I could honestly set my watch by it in most circumstances.

“What are you doing now?  Are you still (pause) at home?  Do you like it?”

For starters, it’s just a ridiculous question and I absolutely hate answering it.

“Do you like it?” 

I consider several responses quietly in my head.

“I like it like I like a banana.  A 1-2 day window of perfectness in a week long period.  Not too hard, not too mushy, and with no surprise brown spots in the middle to completely piss me off and ruin my perfect moment.” 

Yeah, metaphors probably wouldn’t be well received and/or understood, especially when they are stupid.  Moving on.

“I like it sometimes.”  Well there’s a simple answer and one that will without question imply that I am miserable and actually do not like it, at all, not even a little bit, and that is just not true, at all.

“It is what it is.”  Oh boy, that leaves something to the imagination, doesn’t it?  This implies that I am a pathetic “fill in the blank” person who can’t even answer a simple damn question and would rather let someone else figure out how I actually feel about it.

Here’s one, “Nope, not at all.  I can’t stand my kids!”  What can I say, sometimes I just like to fuck with people.

How about, “I absolutely love every waking moment of it!”  Well, this would just be a blatant cry for help and certainly infer that I am in dire need of a weekend stay in Crazy Town.  Been there, done that.  It’s overrated.  Sigh.

I guess I could take the honesty approach and admit that I have absolutely no idea how I feel about it on any given day.  Not because I don’t love my kids.  Do not even go there.

But…

Before they were born, I didn’t really care much about anything.  I mean really care.  I was responsible for no one but myself, which at times was more than enough.  Selfish as it may sound, I kind of miss being, well, selfish.  Sure I had worries, but they were simple, insignificant, meaningless worries, like how to deal with a bad haircut.

The truth is, the moment I had children, my whole world crumbled around me.  I honestly wasn’t prepared for it.  My outlook on life was completely destroyed from the moment I peed on that stick for the very first time (Save the eye roll, I was 29, happily married, and it was planned.). 

Immediately thereafter, it started.  The thinking…and thinking…and thinking…and thinking.  Suddenly everything I did actually meant something.  But what?  It was too much for my simple mind to comprehend.  My inability to make sense out of this day to day thing we call life and parenting and what it all means in the big picture is/was all consuming..

Thus, more thinking.  Not scholarly, “How to apply the pythagorean theorem to everyday life,” thinking, but random off the wall thoughts and questions that have no real answers regardless of the angle you take.  There is no making sense of the nonsensical, no matter how hard you try, trust me.

What is my purpose?  Is there a purpose for any of us or are we all (as science has proven in the physical sense), truly just a bunch of random and insignificant molecules bouncing off one another for a brief moment in time waiting to be replaced by another bundle of molecules until inevitably in 5 billion years (give or take), the sun will burn up and suck the earth into a black hole and obliterate, well, everything.  Except heaven of course.  That will still be here/there/somewhere, right?      

A bad haircut sounds really nice right about now.

To be painfully honest, motherhood has transformed me in ways that I would never have imagined pre-children.  It’s not all unicorns and rainbows either, at least not for me.  It’s an all consuming blanket of worry, fear, doubt, and hope that what I am doing on a day to day basis (simple and robotic as it may seem sometimes) has purpose, means something, and will inevitably contribute to the bigger picture (whatever that is) in a meaningful way.

Before I had kids, things were simple.  I didn’t think much about the future and I certainly didn’t put any pressure on myself to make a difference.  It was nice, quiet, peaceful, but more than anything, extremely ignorant.  Ignorance can be a gift.  What I wouldn’t give for just a moment to not obsessively ponder the reason the universe gave me children with nothing more than the following inferred instructions…

“Here, have some kids.  Please understand that in doing so, you are in control of their happiness, safety, basic survival, and ability to one day successfully contribute to the bigger picture.  You are ultimately responsible should they fail at any/all of the above mentioned life goals.  Do not screw it up.  For real.  But have fun with it nonetheless, because you know, life is short.”

Zoloft anyone?

To quote a handful of great  historical figures, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

To have power, you must also have control.  Control is an illusion.  As a parent, this terrifies me to my inner core.

This is what motherhood has done to me

Do I like it?

It is what it is.

Hunger games

I took my kids out for lunch yesterday.  They love to go out to eat.  It is a treat for them.  Not so much for me, or any other adult that happens to be in our presence, but circumstances call for stepping outside of your comfort zone from time to time.  Besides, children can benefit from several life lessons offered by the dining out experience.  Unfortunately for parents everywhere, socially acceptable behavior cannot be adequately practiced in the comfort of one’s own home.  You need to get them out in the elements.  They need to be exposed and tested on a regular basis to assess progress over time.

“Table for 4 please.”

“That’ll be 35 minutes.”

Here is what a reasonable mother who decided to take her 3 young children to a busy restaurant for lunch would’ve heard, “Get the hell out of here!”

Not me though.  Nope.

Oldest child:  “Mom, how long is it going to be?”

Me:  “Thirty five minutes.”

Oldest child:  “Thirty five minutes?!  Seriously Mom?!”

Me (forced smile)“Yep.”

Middle child:  “Ugh!  Can we go somewhere else?  Thirty five minutes!  I want to go to McDonald’s.”

Youngest child (Buddy) begins stomping around in a circle and proclaims in his non-inside sing song voice:  “McDonald’s YAY!!!  Weeee’re going to McDoooonald’s, weeee’re going to McDoooonald’s, weeee’re going to McDoooonald’s…”

Me:  “Chill out Buddy.  We are not going to McDonald’s.”

Buddy in his fake cry voice:  “Waaaaaaaah!”

Me:  “Look, they have toys!”

Buddy:  “Cars!  Brroooom, broooom, brooooom…”

Oldest child:  “Hey!  Why do they get to go before us?  We were here first!  That’s not even fair.”

Me:  “Because they probably called ahead honey.”

Oldest child:  Sigh.  “You should’ve called ahead Mom.”

Me:  “Wow, great point!  I’ll remember that for next time.  You are such a thinker.”

Middle child:  “Now how long Mom?”

Me:  “Twenty minutes.”

Middle child:  “That’s so long!  Can I have your phone?”

Me:  “No.”

Middle child:  “Why not?”

Me:  “Because you don’t need to constantly stare at my phone.  Maybe we could try having a conversation?”

Middle child:  “Okay.  You should get a new phone.”

Me:  “Why?”

Middle child:  “Because your phone is really old.  You should get the 6.  It’s way better than yours.”

Me:  “Huh?  My phone works just fine.”

Middle child:  “We should get a new car then.” 

Well now there’s a leap.

Me:  “There is nothing wrong with our van (aside from being a van).  Besides, a new vehicle costs a lot of money.”

Middle child:  “So.” 

Oldest child:  “Yeah, our van is fine.  It just has a little rust on it.  You can barely even tell when it’s dirty.  Anyway, we need to save our money so we can afford to buy food to eat.  Right, Mom?”

Me:  “I have a headache.”

Middle child:  “Hey, they just called my name Mom!  Let’s go!”

Me:  “Your name isn’t Maggie, and besides, they will be calling MY name, not yours.”

Middle child:  “Ugh.  I wish my name was Maggie.”

Me:  Sigh.  “Me too.”

Oldest child:  “Umm, Mom (she points)…”

Apparently my lesson on financial responsibility and economics was less than engaging for my three year old son, who decided unbeknownst to me to wander across the room and confront/wrestle the innocent little boy (half his size) who had “stolen” a car from the kiddy table.

Me:  “I’m sorry, he’s not usually like this.”

For real.

After an on the spot lesson in sharing, I drag him back to our corner with the realization that sitting is no longer an option for me.  Wide and ready stance it is.

Buddy:  “OH MY GOD!  Who broke the green crayon?”

Me:  “Shhhhhh.  Buddy, we don’t say Oh my God.  It’s disrespectful, and it’s Sunday.”

Buddy:  “Okay Mommy.  Can I say Holy Buckets?”

Me:  “Knock yourself out.”

Buddy (fist pump):  “Yes!”

Middle child:  “Buddy, just say OMG next time.”

Me:  “No, don’t say that either.”

Middle child:  “Why not?”

Me:  “Because he’s 3.  And more importantly, it’s annoying.”

Oldest child:  “I know, right?”

Middle child:  “Hey Mom, what’s a funeral home?  I mean, what do they even do in there?”

Me:  “Here’s my phone.” 

Middle child:  “Yes!  How much longer now Mom?”

Me:  “Ten minutes.”

Oldest child:  Eye roll, hands in head, heavy audible sigh.

Middle child:  “How about now?”

Me:  “Fifteen.”

Middle child:  “What?!  You just said 10, how can it be 15?!”

Me:  “Don’t ask me that question again.  If you ask me that question again, the time will go up.  Are we clear?”

Middle child:  “That’s not even possible (death glare).”

Oldest child:  “Mom, Buddy is laying on the floor.”

Buddy:  “Waaaaaah, my pants are wet.”

Me:  “That’s because you laid in a puddle Buddy.”

Another impromptu lesson in cause and effect follows.

Middle child:  “How much longer Mom?”

Me:

Middle child:  “Just kidding.”

Middle child:  “But seriously.  How much?”

Buddy:  “I have to go potty.”

Me:  “You just went.”

Buddy (grasping his man parts for dear life):  “I have to potty right now!”

I believe in Karma.  I have issues with germs.  I believe that the reason my son insists on going to the bathroom every single time we enter a public venue is a direct result of my past transgressions.

Me:  “Fine.” 

I knew he didn’t have to go.  I would’ve bet my life on the fact that he didn’t have to go, but I wasn’t about to call his bluff and create another scene.  At any rate, I suddenly had to go too.”

Buddy:  “Don’t come in with me Mommy.  I need some privacy.”

Me:  “Not gonna happen Buddy.”

Buddy:  “I don’t want to go in that one.  I want to go in the big one.”

I always choose the smallest stall.  Based on past experience, it’s a no-brainer.  I need to be within easy reach of the lock.  He thinks it’s funny to unlock the door when I am at my most vulnerable point.  He’s such a jokester.

I consider briefly revisiting the topic of indecent exposure, but am quickly distracted by my son’s crystal clear intentions and the abrupt realization that I have ridiculously underestimated the distance between my sitting self and the door.

Me:  “Don’t do it Buddy.”

Buddy:  Sly grin.

He can be such an asshole sometimes.

Me (under my breath):  “I am so stupid.”

He has bat ears.

Buddy:  “Mom, you shouldn’t say stupid.  Stupid is a bad word.”

Perfect.  I think we’ve had enough learning for the day.

“Check please.”

the season of MIRACLES

I yelled at my girls 33 times in less than an hour last Friday morning before I dropped them off at school.  That’s at least 13 over par on any given day.  It’s the chronic non-listening and constant horse play combined with the mind numbing craziness of the holiday season that eventually pushed me over the edge.  The game of “Beat the Clock” gets the best of me every single time.  It’s really my problem.  I suck at games.

To make things more interesting, my son was sick.  If you’re a parent, you know the drill.  Rotating shifts of Tylenol and Motrin combined with sleepless nights, pushing fluids, lots of snotty hugs, and just the right amount of consecutive back to back Caillou episodes to make any perfectly healthy person feel like crap at the end of the day.

And then there’s the waiting…for everyone else to get it.  You know it’s coming, it’s just a matter of time.  No amount of obsessively following your sick child with latex gloves and disinfecting wipes around the house makes any bit of difference either.  You can’t wipe everything down.  You can try, but you will fail.  You could do nothing and the end result would be the same.

That said, it’s almost Christmas and we have places to go.  The last thing I want is to admit that I cannot contain my child’s germ infested bodily fluids in a proper manner and then admit that it was my fault the entire extended family was not only exposed, but then infected as a result of my incompetence as a mother.  Tis the season for giving I guess, or mental breakdowns in my case.

It happens every year.  I turn batshitcrazy at a time when everyone else appears to be unconditionally welcoming the hustle and bustle of the holiday season with open arms and an ear to ear grin.  Throw a sick kid and two squirrelly girls who can’t contain their excitement to an appropriate level and all bets are off.  How dare they run carefree in the house singing Christmas carols at the top of their lungs and cut 73 kleenexes into snowflakes in the very room I just carefully vacuumed my way out of!  There is no time to re-vacuum!  There are bags to pack, appetizers and baked goods to prepare for transport, presents to wrap in coordinating paper for each family unit, and let’s not forget the secret wrapping of Santa’s gifts and subsequent disposal of all evidence immediately thereafter.  Quite frankly, I’m sick of wrapping his gifts.  Furthermore, I think Santa is lazy and inconsiderate.  And I’m out of scotch tape.  Again.

To top it off, my husband comes home from selfishly working a job that enables us to buy all of these presents and dares to smile at me!  “What are you smiling at?  You have no idea what it takes to pull this circus act off.  Are you even aware that we have to wrap Santa’s gifts?!” 

Just when I think that things can’t possibly get any worse, I get a phone call from my sister, who couldn’t care less about my problems but instead wants to talk about hers.  “I have this friend whose son has cancer…he had a bone marrow transplant…he was getting better…he is four years old…they were hopeful…happy…then he got the flu…which was not the flu…four years old…recurring cancer…odds stacked…it’s Christmas…he’s four…what?”

“No, seriously.  What?”

Oh, and it’s almost Christmas and I’m not done wrapping my gifts yet.

Examining one’s perspective can be ugly, yet quite necessary at times.

 Dear 4 Days Ago Self,

If you’re looking for your children, they are in the basement trying to keep their pre-holiday excitement to a level that you deem appropriate given these beyond stressful circumstances.  May I humbly suggest that you punch yourself in the face really hard, regroup, and then go give each of them one million hugs followed by an impromptu family viewing of “Elf” under the covers with a limitless bowl of unwrapped non-minty candy canes within easy reach of all parties involved.

P.S.  There is a stockpile of scotch tape in the first drawer to the left of the kitchen sink. 

Your call.

http://www.youcaring.com/search.aspx?keywords=Cal+Reinhardt+#.VJl8axSQuDY.mailto

#teamcal

Once upon a time

I generally don’t get my kicks out of spending a small fortune on birthday parties for my children, but it was her GOLDEN birthday.  Beyond that, she expects a lot and at the end of the day, I just really dislike arguing with her.  She’s as high maintenance as they come, not because she is an entitled brat, but because she truly believes that she is a princess.  Judge me if you will, but I’m not about to tell her otherwise, nor do I want to be around the day she finds out unicorns aren’t real.

Who am I to rain on her parade anyway?  In a few short years, she will undoubtedly realize all on her own what a fucked up world we live in and that no matter which way you spin it, reality bites.  For now, I am perfectly content having an extremely naive 7 year old who skips and hums her way through life believing that she lives in Fairy Tale Land with a timeshare in Hollywood.

Besides, it was a perfect idea.  Hire a princess to attend and orchestrate the most spectacular golden birthday party of all time.  Of course it’s beyond ridiculous, but the excitement leading up to the event was beyond gift enough for me.  By the time the day finally arrived, the expectations far exceeded even a trip to Disney World.  I was half inclined to don a princess dress and wear a sparkly tiara myself, but I wasn’t drinking, so that’s a deal breaker every time.  Regardless, the anticipation was almost unbearable.

“Mommy, do you think Sleeping Beauty will arrive in a carriage?”

“Probably not honey, it’s pretty cold out.”

Shortly thereafter I hear my husband sarcastically proclaim from the next room, “Umm, I think your princess is here.”

All color runs from my face as I glance out the window to witness what appeared to be Sleeping Beauty struggling to free herself from behind the wheel of a brownish colored dilapidated Ford Taurus station wagon.  “Really?”

I go into crisis mode.  I cannot deal with my daughter’s questions right now about why a princess drives a brown car.  It makes no sense.  Brown isn’t even a real color.  Son of a bitch!  I knew we should’ve went bowling!

Turns out that that should’ve been the least of my concerns.

The best thing I can say about the whole experience was that Sleeping Beauty did not actually put anyone to sleep.  Her Highness was here for one hour.  It felt like days and I’m pretty sure I aged ten years or more in the process.  Aside from the lacey pink dress and sparkling tiara, my Dad could’ve pulled it off with as much enthusiasm and grace, and he is far from a bubbly sort of guy.   

Five minutes in and I knew that I had made an enormous mistake, but obviously there was no turning back.  The only realistic option was to sit back and witness what can only be described as a terrifically uncomfortable and beyond awkward series of events led by a princess who clearly missed her calling as a behind the scenes anything.

Q&A Session:  “Where do you live Princess Aurora?”

“I don’t know.  Far away.”

“Africa?”

Nervous giggle, “Maybe.”

Seriously?  Africa?  Maybe?  You’re kidding, right?  Are you drunk?

The Presentation of Treats:  Hooray!  Treats!  What a perfect way to lighten the mood and shift momentum.  That is, if you tend to get overly excited about stale Halloween candy in the shape of multicolored neon skulls and cross bones, which nobody does, ever, especially when given to them by a princess, as a party favor, in December!

A disgruntled guest states the obvious, “Don’t you think this is a bit inappropriate to give away at a princess party?”

“Why yes, yes I do sweet child.  Maybe you and I can hang out for a beer in 15 years or so and talk about it.”   

The Autographed Photo:  “That doesn’t even look like you.”

Yet again, another spot on observation.  No resemblance, whatsoever.  I can’t imagine how this has never come up before, but maybe I’m being overly critical.

Moving on…

The Coronation:  Ahh, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the crowning of the birthday girl.  I paid extra for this option and it couldn’t have been less worth it or more anticlimactic.  Quite honestly a few of our guests trickled off into the next room to watch the weather channel during the ceremony.  Thankfully my daughter, God bless her, was none the wiser.

Now what?  The awkwardness reached epic proportions seconds later when it appeared that our dear princess had finished with her pre-planned activities well ahead of schedule and then stared at me like a scared and lost small child from across the room non-verbally pleading for me to tell her what to do next.

You have got to be kidding me right now.  I planned nothing.  NOTHING!  I paid her to plan shit for me.

The silence and blank stares eventually get the best of me.

“Would the princess like to eat a cupcake with the birthday girl?”

“But Mrs. Veldhouse, the pizza isn’t here yet.”

“Today’s a special day.  Cupcakes first!”

“But we want to eat our pizza first.”

“Sorry kids, not gonna happen.  I promise to explain it to your parents later.  Now, please sit down and eat a fucking cupcake with the lifeless princess.  She’s waiting for you.  Either that or she just had a stroke, but regardless, cupcakes all around!”

I watched the clock tick tock down to the last possible second.  No way in hell was she going to leave before her full hour was up, regardless of how ridiculously uncomfortable we all clearly were together.  “Who wants another cupcake?”

The Goodbye:  As our time together comes to an end, I proceed to bend over as I write out the check with a big fat, “Fuck You Your Highness” in the memo line.

“Mommy, can the princess stay and watch me open gifts?”

“No.”

“Why Mommy?”

“Because the princess has plans.  Please say goodbye.”

“Can I watch her leave Mommy?  Did she come in a carriage?”

Long pause………..

“Oh.  Is that her car?  Why is that her car Mommy?  It’s brown.”

“Who wants a beer?”

Fear factor

The fight-or-flight response (also called the acute stress response) is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival (www.wikipedia.org).

In layman’s terms, if you are exposed to something that scares you, you will either put on your game face and confront the situation, or shit your pants and run the other way.

Repeated exposure seems to be the gold standard as far as desensitization to the feared stimulus goes.  Personally, I don’t agree with it, but then again, I have absolutely no desire to confront any of my fears, ever.  I’m cool with them.  I’m over here and they’re waaaaay over there.  Although probably not the preferred method, at the end of the day, I choose avoidance.  It works for me.

It gets a bit more tricky when dealing with my children.  Of course I don’t want to raise a bunch of irrational pussies, but who am I to judge what they should or should not be afraid of?  I’m sure they have their reasons, just as I do with my seemingly absurd phobia of loose change and persistent fear of cats.

My oldest child is spot on with age appropriate fears.  Mean kids, mommy not being home to tuck her in at night, the house starting on fire, the boogie man, etc., etc.  My middle child is pretty much scared of everything nonrelated to unicorns and rainbows, which basically falls under the “anything that is real” category (i.e. heights, blood, uneven terrain, dying in general, mommy dying, daddy dying, anyone dying, playground equipment, clowns, the sky falling, swimming (and thereby drowning), the sun burning up and as a result, the earth dying, etc., etc.).  She’s a thinker that one.  Quite honestly, I frequently get scared sideways answering her questions about hypothetical situations I have never even considered as an adult.  Regardless, I have an uncanny ability to very convincingly pull shit out of my ass under the most dire of circumstances, especially when the target audience is under the age of ten and easily distracted by sugary snacks.  “Who wants a cookie?”

Most of the above mentioned fears are legitimate and therefore worthy of some discussion.  I can at the very least empathize with them and try to offer reasonable explanations that will most often diffuse the situation and minimize any lingering nightmares as a result.  That said, there are limits to what I am capable of as a parent.

My son is scared of stickers (insert eye roll here).  Stickers.  Actually anything with an adhesive back (i.e. band aids, tape, postage stamps, temporary tattoos, wall decals, and so on and so forth).  You might be thinking, “What’s the big deal?”  To which I would respond, “You do NOT understand.” 

Riddle me this.  What is the first thing all medical professionals, friendly cashiers, the librarian, police officers, the haircut lady, teachers (really any public figure outside of your home), offers your child as a parting gift for good behavior at the conclusion of your visit to their establishment?”

Sigh.

Fucking stickers.

“Would little buddy like a sticker?”

Smile.  “No thank you.”

“Oh, c’mon mom, let little buddy have a sticker.”

Here we go again…

I refuse to be portrayed as the bitchy mom who won’t even let her kid have a sticker, even if that means exposing my child to his primary trigger in a very public venue.  What kind of mom would refuse the sticker offering?

Exactly.

Fine lady, you win.  “Want a sticker Buddy?”

And then he’s gone, as predicted.  Off like a shot, running and screaming like a delusional lunatic with his Spider Man hat pulled down over his eyes as if he was just confronted by a giant sized cat offering him change for a dollar.

Seriously, who is scared of a goddamn sticker?

Tis the season

It happens every year like clockwork.  I sit down with myself and have a very intense conversation regarding the family Christmas card.  Why do I do it?  Does the end truly justify the means?  Does anybody really care?  I mean really?

I even write the stupid letter, despite popular opinion that in general these letters are at best worth skimming through to the end, and at worst, not so much.  I put a lot of pressure on myself to make my letter fall into the former category.  The editing process in and of itself is brutally time consuming and beyond exhausting, but I am fairly confident at the end of it all that my mom will definitely (probably) read it in its entirety.

Let’s start with the paper.  You can’t print off your masterpiece on a plain white sheet of paper, unless your goal is to put it on the fast track to your recipient’s recycling bin before they even finish unfolding it.  “Nice touch with the office paper.  Maybe next time you can scribble your heartfelt message with a brown crayon on a piece of notebook paper and not tear the edging off for that extra special touch asshole.”

Once you buy the paper that both compliments your family’s personality as well as the contents of your very personalized letter, you will spend hours attempting to format it to ensure the words fit perfectly amongst the snowflakes and wintery backdrop you’ve carefully selected, only to realize that the fucking snowman’s left boot at the bottom right hand corner of the page is obstructing your wishes for a happy holiday season.  Change font style, edit margins, drink a bottle of wine, and make a game time decision to decrease font size to a degree in which only a Christmas elf’s eyes could read without a magnifying glass on a good day.  Increase “Happy Holidays” to 20-point bold font and call it a day.

Let’s move on to the actual photo now, shall we?  Selecting one picture always seems like the simplest route, right up until the moment you realize that after combing through your photo files for several hours you do not have one single picture of your family that is suitable for even a spot on your own refrigerator. You quickly decide one picture is not the path for you and begin frantically arranging, cropping, and rearranging the perfect collage that will scream above and beyond everyone else’s on the wall, “How adorable!  Just perfect!  Peace on Earth indeed!”

Okay, so your letter is done, your photo cards have been delivered to your front door, and now it’s time to turn your attention to the godforsaken address list.  Inevitably a handful of your friends have moved in the past year, surely for the sole purpose of making this process even more miserable for you.  You consider removing them from your list altogether for being such inconsiderate pricks, but remember tis the season to be jolly and decide to put the leg work into figuring out where they actually live now so they aren’t so unbelievably disappointed and thereby cancel Christmas as a result of not receiving your card.

With the address labels ready to go and your entire monthly paycheck transferred over to the U.S. Postal Service to cover the cost of postage, now begins the last and least enjoyable leg of this ridiculously mind numbing journey.  Stuffing the envelopes.  Of course your stupid letter doesn’t fit inside the envelope provided by the photo company without your pathetic attempt at origami.  Fold, refold, and then mistakenly fold the fucking photo card in the process.  “Great, Buddy’s face has a crinkle in it now.  There is no excuse for me to be alive!”

Last but not least, you begin the licking. Half way through, your husband’s concern for your pale green complexion prompts him to suggest that maybe you should consider using a damp sponge.  He decides to temporarily move out based on your nonverbal response alone and you carry on with your own undesirable method because you’re simply that damn stubborn and apparently not all that smart to boot.

Shortly thereafter, the Victory March ensues.  You take three trips ever so carefully walking the perfectly stacked piles of perfection down to the mailbox, choosing to ignore the obvious fact that you most certainly do not have this many friends in real life. Instead, you slowly raise the red flag which symbolizes yet another extraordinary personal accomplishment while singing “Joy to the World” in your head as you proudly proceed back into the house.

You return inside with a rejuvenated spirit, immensely comforted by the thought of how much joy your time and effort will inevitably bring to others in just a few short days.  “Ahhhh, it was all worth it.  Tis the season for giving.”

Approximately seven seconds later, Captain Obvious drops by to remind you of what’s really going down here and kills any sort of buzz you might have been feeling as a result.

Here’s the deal.  I enjoy receiving Christmas cards from my friends and family.  I display them on my wall for all to admire and adore.  I do my part as a gracious recipient, but I don’t make the rules.  As such, in the blink of an eye, the holidays are well over and any reminder of them makes you want to puke.  It’s just simply time to move on.

With a heavy heart, it happens.  The time, the money, the coordinated outfits, the stuffing, Dear Lord, the licking!  It all comes back to you in a wave of raw emotion, “It’s too soon!”

For a brief moment you are convinced that you are way too caring and not strong enough to go through with it.  You have a conscience.  You feel guilt, heavy guilt when it is warranted.  You’re not proud of yourself, nor can you say that you’re not just a little bit disappointed in the fact that you know full well where your precious holiday greetings wind up at the end of it all.

I can’t take it anymore!

I THROW ALL OF MY CHRISTMAS CARDS AWAY AND I KNOW THAT YOU DO TOO!

No hard feelings.

Happy Holidays.

Elf Stew

His creepy face is in the box,

It does no good to change the locks.

That pompous grin, those cheeks, THE EYES!

Nowhere to run, he’s much to wise.

Out of sight, but not of mind,

Against his will, he’s been confined.

He’s had months to plot and plan,

He’s built momentum, sold his brand.

Look around and you will see,

Where there’s one, there’s 93.

They’re multiplying, save yourself!

They’re everywhere, on every shelf.

Your newsfeed reeks of his control,

Reminders that he stole your soul.

He sucked you in from just one glance,

That goddamn smile, you had no chance.

Brought him home and praised his name,

Couldn’t wait to play his game.

A few days in and you got wise,

But it’s too late, you’ve told the lies.

You’re now his bitch till death do part,

And he can’t die, he has no heart.

You’ll do your job and stay up late,

Tell more lies, suppress more hate.

Lose sleep and wonder where he’s at,

You’ll cover up when in the bath.

For all you know, he’s watching YOU,

Those blinkless eyes, so fucking blue.

Days feel like weeks and weeks like years,

You’ll grow weak and cry real tears.

Where to go next, he’s been everywhere!

Take a deep breath and say a quick prayer.

On the fireplace mantle or atop the TV?

Sit tight while I go get your dumdum degree.

Compose yourself, THINK!  This isn’t a joke.

He’s laughing at you and just left for a smoke.

Snow angels, bubble baths, a date with a doll,

Don’t even consider that shelf on the wall!

Sky diving, road trips in Barbie’s pink jeep,

A tissue box fit for a king’s good night sleep.

You drink lots of wine and wish it away,

Then hear a faint whisper, “I’m ready to play.”

The kids hear it too and soon it begins,

You shut your eyes tight, but still see his sick grin.

You peek inside his cardboard dwelling,

His body language is quite telling.

He winks at you. That motherfucker!

And just like that you are the sucker.

Hooray, he’s back!  Look Mom, it’s true!

But why is he in our Christmas stew?

Won’t that hurt him, can he swim?

His face is boiling, where’s his grin?

We can’t eat him. He’s our elf!

He must have fallen from the shelf?!

Yeah that’s what happened, he fell in.

Little stinker feels chagrined.

Don’t worry kids, go back to bed,

He’ll return after clearing what’s left of his head.

Who’s the boss now silly wintery sprite?

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

 

 

Lock and Load

“Mom, I have a boyfriend in town now.”

Several concerns come to mind, most notably is the fact that my daughter is apparently, and unbeknownst to me, currently involved in a long distance relationship.  Secondly, she has just proudly admitted to now cheating on this poor guy with a local.  Thirdly, she is six.

Six going on forty four.  She is a goddamn cougar in a little person’s body.  Careful what you sign up for boys, and make no mistake about it, you will be her bitch.

On the one hand, I get it.  I was in grade school once.  I had a different boyfriend in each grade.  Back in the Dinosaur Era, having a boyfriend in elementary school meant going to great lengths to avoid having any contact with one another whatsoever.  It was perfectly harmless.

“You wanna be my boyfriend?  Great.  We will no longer talk, look at each other, stand in close proximity, or so much as breathe in one another’s general direction.  Any attempt to do so and you will automatically forfeit your right to be my significant other until the end of time (or at least until the 5th grade).  I sincerely hope that you can agree to the terms of this agreement because I love you, and I know that you love me, you know, because you checked “the box.” 

I should probably just embrace the innocence while I can.  In a few short years we’ll be dealing with the real thing, and I can already unequivocally confirm that I will not handle it well.  I will go so far as to say that my daughters will most likely hate me, but I’m fully prepared for it and quite honestly couldn’t care less.

Been there done that.  I know way too much and I’ve been out of the loop for decades.  God only knows what teenage dating entails these days.  I watch Dateline and let me tell you, “Not gonna happen on my watch.”  I may not be the hippest mommy on the block, but I am definitely not a prude.  Regardless, some of the shit that goes down nowadays between boys and girls I don’t even understand the meaning of.  Don’t try to Google any of it either.  There is no definition or parenting manual that walks you through it step by sickening step.  It’s a secret fucking language that old people are not privy to, not even in the slightest.  “You do what with what?  How do you even spell that?”

I have friends who have teenagers.  The insight they have shared with me is beyond disturbing.  Do you want to know what in some sick adolescent circles has replaced the “goodnight kiss?”

No.

You do not.

Trust me, and you’re welcome for not disclosing.

I know I’m getting ahead of myself.  My girls are still young and fairly innocent as far as exposure to such behavior goes.  Besides, raise your kids right and they will make the right decisions.  Right?

Here’s the problem with that logic from my point of view.  Despite a valiant effort on my part, most days I feel like a monkey could do better than me at parenting my children.  There is no sure bet that when the day comes and my children are running free into the sweaty and hairy world of adolescent hormonal perverts, that they will not beyond a shadow of a doubt become one themselves.

I can’t even get my six year old daughter to consistently tell the truth about whether or not she brushed her teeth.  How can I possibly assume that in a few short years she will miraculously turn over the honesty leaf when confronted with a direct question regarding a recent class fieldtrip.

“Did you play chicken on the bus?” 

“OMG Mom.  What is wrong with you?  Of course not.  That is so 2nd grade.”

Perfect.  Wake me up in fifteen years, give or take.

The Fun Gene

Halloween is just around the corner, and my children are on an anticipatory sugar high just thinking about it. What’s not to love?  An endless pile of sugary snacks that will last well beyond the next candy inspired holiday, individualized costumes resulting from months of planning and preparation, and the ever enjoyable process of carving pumpkins.

I get it. It’s fun for the kids.  I have very fond memories of myself as a child participating in such festivities, which is why I would never intentionally let on to my children that I have had a small change of heart when it comes to the annual revival of the jack-o-lantern.

I can’t help but wonder, “Am I the only one? More importantly, am I missing a fun gene?”

We carved pumpkins last night. This is literally the most fun my kids have on a yearly basis not actually doing anything.  Aside from picking their own ridiculously complicated design, pulling out three handfuls of glop and then tracking it all over the house, they do nothing.  Unless you count checking in every ten minutes to make sure “they” are doing an acceptable job and then take credit for the end result something.

“My pumpkin is the best one of all! Right Mommy?”

“It’s very nice, but technically it’s not really your pumpkin, given the fact that I have been sitting here for the past 45 minutes carving lips on your ridiculously tiny fairy’s face.”

Regardless, everyone in the family gets a pumpkin (including our stuffed family dog), whether they want one or not (i.e. me). Aside from being well represented in everyone else’s pumpkin, by the time I get to my own, the novelty and excitement has just simply worn off.  I don’t want to do one.  Not even a little bit.

Gone are the days when pumpkins were carved in the way pumpkins were meant to be carved, using a combination of three simple geometric shapes to create the resemblance of a nonsymmetrical face. Triangles for eyes, a square for a nose, a rectangle for a mouth, and Voila, a beautiful masterpiece in fifteen minutes or less with a refresher course in shape recognition to boot.  Want to branch out and switch up the order of shapes used for any or all of the above mentioned facial features, way to go overachiever!  You get bonus points for creativity.

Fast forward to present day and pumpkin carving has evolved into a competitive art form where the appreciation of the simple geometric shape has sadly taken a back seat to complicated patterns and sophisticated designs only a brain surgeon’s fine motor skills could successfully pull off without a hitch.

Google “pumpkin templates” and be prepared to slip into a coma from the shock alone. Once a decision is finally made, you better pray that you have ink in your printer.  If you do not, you will be free-handing that SOB under the watchful eyes of the pumpkin Nazis, who accept nothing but absolute perfection of course.  There is no room for error. None.

Heavy sigh.

How could I have been so stupid? There is something seriously wrong with me.  Who cuts the circle out in its entirety with the fairy still in it?  Not only am I an idiot, but I am an idiot holding a very somber fairy (with freakishly defined lips) in my own bare hands as I stare in absolute disbelief and horror at the pumpkin before me that now resembles nothing more than a pumpkin with a very large hole in it.  I can’t make that hole into anything else!  And what the hell am I suppose to do with this fairy?

Maybe she won’t notice?

“OMG Mommy!!! You ruined my pumpkin!  Fix it!  Can you fix it?  You can fix it Mommy, right?!  Where’s my fairy?!”

“Ummmm, she’s right here honey. Would you like to hold her?  I think she would like that.”

“DADDY!!!!!”

Mister “I Can Fix Anything” reluctantly takes a break from carving his own beardless garden gnome (he had his own set of problems), quickly disappears from the room, only to reappear with an arrogant swagger, a couple of toothpicks, and his godforsaken patience.  In 8 seconds or less, the lifeless fairy has not only been miraculously resurrected, but now sits atop her illuminated throne in all of her glory on our front step for all to worship and adore.

Perfect.  Daddy’s a hero and Mommy’s a fairy killer.

I wonder if there’s a costume out there for that?

Happy Halloween.

Never say never

I am a woman of my word.

That said, every once in a while, if the argument presented before me is well thought out, logical, and has a series of valid points, I can be swayed. It isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that behavioral change can occur after some real time and serious reflection.

Right?

The chore charts are back. I swore up and down that I would never expose myself to such ridiculousness again in my entire life, yet here I sit, staring at those energy sucking bastards on the fridge as they pompously stare back at me.

“Don’t misinterpret the situation jackasses. We will never be friends.”

I put the kibosh to it a couple of years ago. What was supposed to be a simple lesson in responsibility for my children turned into a vexing lesson in restraint for me.  I needed a chore chart for myself to get through the whole nauseating process.

  • Don’t angrily scream at your children as you yet again define the expectations of the chore chart for the umpteenth time (every single night).
  • Don’t draw blood as you bite through your tongue trying not to angrily scream at your children while defining the expectations of the chore chart for the umpteenth time (every single night).
  • Don’t down a bottle of wine while biting through your tongue in the midst of angrily defining the expectations of the chore chart to your children for the umpteenth time (every single night).
  • Don’t collapse on the floor in complete defeat, thereby allowing your children to step on and then over you to put a sticker on their chore chart next to “the thing” that they did not even “sort of” do.

Epic whining, desperate begging, empty promises, and a countless pile of IOU’s in place of even 80% completion of any of the predetermined tasks on the list.

And don’t get me started on those f**king stickers.

Who put a sticker next to, “Don’t independently put stickers on your chore chart without your mother’s approval?  Take it off.  Now.”

It doesn’t come off. No amount of scratching, wiping, teasing, and/or scraping will allow you to rid that exact space of the evidence that there once in fact was a sticker there.  Don’t kid yourself, what might look like a vacant space to the naked eye is without fail always misinterpreted as a clear victory in the eyes of my children.

“Yep, that’s where my sticker was. I sort of got a sticker there, see?  I am awesome.”

Obviously my hesitation to go down that road again is well supported by historical facts.

Regardless, everyone deserves a twentieth chance, and my kids were genuinely very excited about getting such an opportunity.

One, because she just really wants to prove that she is responsible and sincerely wants to “help out.” Both of which she already is/does.

The other one, because she just really likes stickers.

You know how the saying goes. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, not gonna happen.”

Game changer kids. No stickers!  Acknowledgement of the accomplishment of individual tasks will be well supervised and marked with a smiley face drawn with a very soft touch using a number two erasable lead pencil.

Obviously I did it for the responsible one. She deserves it and shouldn’t be punished for her sibling’s total disregard for the whole process.

Her chart is full, every day. And she gets bonus smiley faces for extra shit that she does on her own volition.

The other one?

The other one eagerly sat next to me as we listed her expectations.

Pick your toys up without whining. With a smile, “Yep Mom.”

Do your homework without whining. “Okay Mom.”

Eat your dinner in less than 90 minutes without whining and/or sitting on your green beans. “Fine.”

Brush your teeth for more than .5 seconds without whining and/or angrily questioning the dental god’s reasoning for ruining your life. “Whatever.”

Be nice to your brother. “OMG Mom! That’s too hard!  This is so not fair!  I don’t even like him!”

It’s been a month.

Her chore chart is B L A N K.

Furthermore, I have removed it from the fridge and placed it at the bottom of a pile of more useless shit that sits in the corner of my kitchen collecting dust and eagerly awaiting recycling day.

“Do I get a smiley face for recycling Mommy? Saving the planet is good, right?”

Insert frowny face in permanent marker here.

A Teaching Moment

Something very unpleasant happened to me over the weekend.  Something so unpleasant that I can’t even bring myself to share the raw details.  Suffice it to say, it was not pretty, nor was I prepared for it.  Quite honestly, I am still scraping up my remains as a result of the endless band of yoga pant wearing mommies who angrily ran me over in their minivan parade a few days ago.  Wow.

Maybe I deserved it or maybe I didn’t, but at the end of the day, no one likes a cry baby, so I’m going to keep any amount of whining that I feel is completely justified given the circumstances, to myself.

What I am not going to do is allow such a wonderful teaching opportunity escape me.

Please take your seats students and allow me to present today’s lesson (Feel free to take notes.).

HOW TO HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR IN SIX STEPS (www.wikihow.com/Have-a-Sense-of-Humor, with Jill Veldhouse as a co-contributor for purposes of this blog post only).

Step 1: Find your funny bone.  If you’re physically looking for it right now, please stop.  More importantly, stop reading now.  You are well beyond the scope of what I am able to teach you here.  God speed though.

Step 2: Know the difference between being funny and having a sense of humor. “Both are important, and it’s usually difficult to have one without the other, but it’s not impossible.” For example, you might completely suck at telling jokes, but appreciate and appropriately laugh at a good joke when told by someone who is in fact funny.  It’s okay.  Be aware of your limitations and accept the fact that your funny bone (again not a real bone) just isn’t very funny.  I’m sure you’re good at other things.

Step 3: Understand context. “What might be humorous, or even funny, could also be seen as clueless, or even tasteless, depending on the situation.” Scroll through a few of my recent blog posts for specific examples on this one.  The take home message is simple.  If you don’t fully understand the context, something that was intended to be funny might easily offend you.  In this case, the fault usually lies with the ineffectiveness of the story teller, unless the story tellee unequivocally just sucks as a person, then it’s anyone’s best guess.

Step 4: Stay above the fray“To develop a sense of humor about things, try and stay objective. Much that we call humor is victim related (e.g. the guy who slips on a banana peel,” the dumbbell wielding crazy mom at the park, etc.). “If you are that person who slipped on the banana peel and ended up in traction for six months, you might not find the banana peel jokes funny at all.” And for good reason.  Whoever made that joke in front of you is an insensitive jerk and clearly doesn’t have a good grasp of context and/or what is funny (See steps 2 and 3 above).

Step 5: Lighten up. “Not everybody’s humor will be the same as yours, and what might tickle them to death might make you yawn, or even make you throw sharp objects in their general direction.” Seriously, you don’t have to analyze and judge everything.  It’s exhausting and quite frankly, no one gives a shit.  Find a hobby, unrelated to anything involved with being funny or having a sense of humor.  Maybe try knitting.

Step 6: Watch and learn.  “If you’ve already got a sense of humor, you know what makes you laugh. If you don’t have a sense of humor, you have a lot to learn.”  To those less fortunate souls, may I humbly suggest that the first step you take be to remove the giant stick from your terribly constricted anus in a gingerly fashion.  You certainly don’t want to rip it off like a band aid.  It’s likely been in there for a while.  Proceed with caution, but do it nonetheless.

Or call me. I’d be happy to do it for you.

Perspective

Mommy Wars.

Apparently it’s a real phenomenon. You might ask, “Are you f**king kidding me?” To which I would reply with an eye roll, “Apparently not.”

This is to date the most ridiculous thing I have ever been exposed to in my entire life.

Mommy Wars.

It’s a buzz term. Google it, hashtag it, shout it three times from a mountain top.  Then sit back and prepare to be amazed at the overwhelming amount of material out there and the absurd amount of people who choose to partake in the festivities. 

Reality check.  Of all the shit going on in our world today, the fact that the term war is affiliated with motherhood is simply laughable.  So many people with so many opinions that at the end of the day, if added all up, would result in one big ball of insignificant crap.

Make no mistake, this is a direct WTF to every critic out there who is so quick to judge others for the sake of reinforcing their own superiority complex.  Seriously, STFU and read your kids a book or something.

Here’s the harsh reality for every mommy out there (myself included). You might want to sit down for this one.

You are a mom. You are not a super hero, nor are you special.  Billions of people have assumed the same role as you since the beginning of time.  It’s true.  Get over yourself.

Furthermore, you don’t have the answers to life’s most sought after questions regarding all things that fall under the parenting umbrella. Nobody does, because there is no clear answer and/or manual to follow that ensures your children will grow up to be happy, well-adjusted adults and will thereby contribute to society in a positive and meaningful way.  Try your best, love your kids (a lot), have a glass of wine, and relax.  It’s not rocket science.

Anyone new to the game, please allow me to introduce a few of the hot button topics out there regarding “all things motherhood” that have sparked so much debate over recent years followed by my very humble two cents worth.

Organic food? Go for it, or not.  Whatever.  I grew up eating Spam, liverwurst sandwiches on white bread, and fruit rollups, and I even graduated from college (gasp!).  

To schedule or not to schedule? Here’s a thought, go with the flow and see what the day brings.  You can pencil these exact words into your calendar if it makes you feel better.

Breast feeding versus bottle feeding?  Give me a break.  Read the research (or not), make a decision, and give your kid a damn hug.  They’ll be just fine, regardless of your decision.

Co-sleeping versus not? With your child’s safety at the forefront of your decision making process, do whatever it takes for you to get a couple hours of sleep.  By the way, good luck with that in either scenario.

To craft or not to craft? I choose the latter.  I highly doubt this personal decision will ever negatively influence my children’s well being.  If it does, so be it.  I hate crafts.

To work, or not to work? I’ve done both, and guess what?  Neither one is better than the other at the end of the day.  For real.  The constant bitch fest that occurs between SAHMs and working moms is exhausting.  Be honest.  You both wish you could be the other one every once in a while.  Some food for thought.  The grass isn’t always greener.  Insight is a magical thing and can surprisingly reign in even the most superior of egos.

To criticize or not to criticize? Not.  Never ever.  Seriously.  Watch your own damn bobber.

I digress.

Why am I so upset about something so silly?

Because I read the news the other day.

I never do it. Quite honestly, it scares me to death.  I can’t allow myself to get distracted and/or anxious over things I have absolutely no control over.  If I did, my kids would never leave the house. Ever.

Headlining topics of that day:

  • Mommy wars (See above):  Very important stuff right there.
  • Terrorists plotting, training, hating (everyone):  We sit and wait for them, again, but we are told time after time not to let fear influence how we live our life because then “the bad guys win.”
  • Ebola:  Fucking scary.  That’s it.
  • School shootings, bullying, and all other things school related:  This is what I know on the topic.  It gets more and more difficult for me to smile (knowing what I know), and enthusiastically insist to my children on a daily basis, “Have a great day at school kids” before retreating back inside the house biting my nails and trying desperately to distract myself…from myself.Maybe I should read the news?” Ugh.
  • How about a tear jerker that slams some real and very raw perspective in our faces? Consider the story of a 29 year old recently married woman who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and as a result has made the unimaginable and beyond devastating and painful decision to end her life on her own terms in just a few short days.  I can’t even begin to wrap my head around it, and quite honestly can’t stop thinking about her as a result.

She had hopes of being a mom.  She will never be one.  What kind of mom would she have been if given the opportunity and would you approve of her methods?

Mommy wars.

Pretty unimportant at the end of the day, huh?

http://www.thebrittanyfund.org

Mr. Sandman

I like to sleep. I would put it right up there on my list of favorite things to do.  I know that sounds pathetically boring, but it is what it is.  I’ve never been one to seek much adventure.  Besides, I’m always tired. Always.

One of my college professors told me that on average, he gets 4 hours of sleep per night and always feels refreshed and rejuvenated when he wakes up to start a new day.

He was an odd duck.

Nevertheless, I spent countless hours in his classroom learning very fascinating facts regarding anatomy and physiology, yet this is the one thing that I continue to ponder to this very day.  How is that physiologically possible? I want to know.  I should’ve asked him.  Why didn’t I ask him?

Because it was college, and who asks questions in college, unless it’s in reference to where the next party is. Right?

Here’s what I think, nobody feels rejuvenated and refreshed after four hours of sleep or less.  N O B O D Y (unless it’s a nap). I’ve thought long and hard about it and have come to the clear conclusion that he was either a robot, a liar, or never had kids.

That’s it!  He never had kids!  Maybe I could function like a normal human being if I had four hours of uninterrupted sleep on a nightly basis.  It still sounds like a long shot, but stranger things have happened.

Regardless, get ready to learn something people (sort of).

Research has shown that there are generally four stages of sleep. The first one involves drifting off to the point that your body often produces an involuntary and sudden muscular jerking motion as it fights off your brain’s urge to shut down.  If you have a husband that snores, this is the exact moment you wish with all of your might that your involuntary and unintentional muscle contraction results in a stiff upper left hook to his face because after all, his obnoxious “noises” are the reason you were temporarily brought back to life in the first place and as a result now have to go through stage one, again.

Stages 2 and 3 involve transitioning peacefully into a very deep sleep. This is when your body repairs itself from the shit storm that you put it through that day and prepares you to get your ass out of bed and function the next day without looking and/or feeling as if you were just hit by a truck.  Your body is so relaxed and nonresponsive during this stage that you might even wet the bed, but won’t give a shit about it because you are so peaceful.  I refer to this stage as the unattainable “big fat fuck you” stage.  No amount of wine, Tylenol PM, or magical ointments rubbed in a circular counterclockwise motion on your temples will allow you to achieve it.  Oh how I long to be so deep in slumber that I piss the bed…the same one that my snoring husband shares with me.

Stage 4 is referred to as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.  This is the stage where your eyes (although closed) go bat shit crazy in their sockets trying desperately to free themselves from all of the anatomical shit that holds them in place.  A better, more free place.  A place that does not involve being involuntarily confined to a person’s face while having absolutely no control of their own destiny.  A place where at the end of the day, they can choose what they want to look at.

Sorry little buddies.  Physiologically speaking, you need a brain to function.  Without one, you are simply just a Halloween party favor.  What can I say, reality bites.  Don’t shoot the messenger.

Sometimes I start writing with a clear topic in mind and then mid-way through realize that I have once again went off on a ridiculous tangent and have no idea how to bring it all together. This is one of those times, and I am not about to start over.   

In summary, I am tired because I have a husband that snores, two creepers who at separate times during the night quietly sashay into my side of the bed, both of whom forgot their stuffed animal friends, whom they cannot sleep without, to which I immediately retrieve (separate times), and then proceed to channel my best hot dog impression in the middle of them both because God forbid they touch each other or Daddy dearest, who is occupying 2/3 of the bed and sleeping like a goddamn baby.

“Dad smells funny and he’s making creepy noises.”

The remainder of the night involves me trying desperately to remove myself from the hot dog bun in a manner in which if I was successful would certainly qualify me for an extended headlining magic show contract in Vegas.

Vegas sounds nice, and I’ve heard it’s very calming for the spirit.

Maybe someday.

Regardless, it always ends the same. Birds chirping, blinding sun piercing through the tiny gap between the curtains directly into the same two eyeballs that waged war on me the night before, and at least one child who annoyingly rolls over and tells me that I smell like Cheerios.

It’s the sweating. Between my eyes throwing a kegger inside my head all night long and my physical self desperately racing around from bed to bed to bed every thirteen minutes to find somewhere, anywhere to comfortably rest my weary head, it’s inevitable.  I stink.

“Mommy, can you wash my sheets today?”

Not a fucking chance.

say CHEESE

I feel like I just finished a marathon, or at the very least just sprinted up a few flights of stairs to the theme song from “Rocky.”  Either way, I am going to chalk this morning’s personal accomplishments up in my win column, right after I collapse in a ball on the floor and come out of my self-induced coma.

It’s Picture Day at school.  It’s days like today that I secretly wish for just a brief moment that I would’ve had all boys.  The process of preparing for such an event when you have girls is well, it’s completely fucking exhausting, that’s what it is.  I got up extra early, drank three days worth of coffee (extra bold), and gave myself a quick pep talk in an effort to prepare myself for the absolute shit show that I knew would immediately follow, regardless of how much we preplanned the night before.  “It’ll all be over in a little over an hour Jill. You got this!”

“Rise and shine girls!  It’s Picture Day!”  

Pulling off Picture Day preparation without a hitch is no easy feat in this family.  My two girls couldn’t be more opposite when it comes to their opinion of this annual school event, and it’s absolutely imperative that one realize this and engage them both accordingly.

One couldn’t be less enthused by the idea, “I hate picture day. You have to get all dressed up and practice smiling and it’s dumb.”  No one has ever asked her to practice her smile (never ever).

The other one stands in front of the mirror actually practicing her smile, attempting various poses, and simply just admiring the beauty in which God has bestowed upon her.  “I’m so pretty Mommy. Which smile do you like better?  I like all of them.”

One reluctantly gets dragged out of bed, rolls her eyes at the suggestion of a shower, and goes through her closet like a lost soul trying to find something, anything to wear on this ever important day in history.  Ten minutes later, “Does this shirt make my neck look too long Mom?”

The other one carefully displays her bright purple sequence dress that her grandmother bought for her over a year ago (which is now two sizes too small) out on her bedroom floor with one of her sparkly princess tiaras placed strategically at the top.  She is so unbelievably excited.  How can I say no?  I have to say no.  I should really say no.  I decide to just awkwardly smile and walk away.

The hair is another story.

One is perfectly content going to school with a wet head and offers several eye rolls at the mere suggestion that her mother maybe blow-dry it for the occasion.  “Ugh, fine Mom. Whatever.”

The other one has a bullet point list of specific steps I must take before even grabbing the comb.  “I want it straight on the top with curls at the bottom and then glitter spray everywhere. Glitter spray everywhere!  Okay Mom?!  And are you going to order a limousine for me today?” 

“Come again?”

She wasn’t kidding.  She honestly believes that she is a princess.  A real one.  I am certainly not going to be the one who tells her otherwise either.  She is a force, and I pick my battles. “Dear Lord, please help me get her hair right!”

All the while I am thinking, “Can I really let her wear that insanely way too fancy and borderline inappropriate mini-dress to school today, with those furry black boots that are a size and a half too big, with that tiara? She can’t wear that ridiculous tiara, right?”

There she stands, still in front of the mirror, smiling, admiring, beaming, complimenting, “I’m as pretty as a princess!”   If only I could bottle her confidence.  I would give half of it to her sister and would use the other half to buy her a damn limousine.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and we are seriously running out of time.  They still haven’t eaten breakfast or brushed their teeth.  I still haven’t packed their lunches (Why the hell didn’t I do that last night?), or finished my 17th cup of coffee, or brushed my own gritty teeth.

“Mom, don’t forget to put the picture packet in my backpack.”  

“Son of a bitch!  The picture packets (plural)!  Where are they?”

Where the hell else would they be but under one of the many piles of never-ending shit on our kitchen counter, and of course they are B L A N K.

“I didn’t fill them out yet!  What the hell is wrong with me?!”  It’s not like I can just check a box, write out a check, and be done with it either.  There are 27 “packages” to choose from, 7 color backgrounds, 5 poses, personalization options, and the god forsaken a la carte menu.  I think I’m going to be sick.  Eeny meeny miny moe.  Whatever, I suck.  Here’s a blank check.

“Mom, you haven’t sprayed glitter in my hair yet!  Mom!  Glitter!!!”

“Hey Mom, doesn’t Buddy have preschool today?”

“OMG!  Buddy has preschool today!  Buddy, get your shoes on.”

“But Mom, doesn’t he need to brush his teeth or hair or something?”

“He looks fine.  Get in the van.”

Ass sac

My kids want a dog. Bad. I keep telling them that we will get one “in a year or two.” I am lying. I’ve been saying this for several years with the hope that they will grow out of it. They keep reminding me of my promise and I continue to play the timing card regardless of the timing. “Now is not the right time to get a dog kids.” They hate me for it. I can see it in their eyes as they walk away with exaggerated sighs and shoulders draped forward as if I just cancelled their birthdays. Meanwhile, here I sit in the hole I have dug for myself, buried in a heap of lies, gasping for air, and wishing I had just been an asshole in the first place and declared in no uncertain terms, “No dog. EVER!”

It’s a definite struggle for me as a parent. I know that having a dog can be a truly rewarding experience for a child. I had one as a kid and I absolutely loved it…until it died.  And then we got another one and another one and another one. They all died. The first one of kennel cough (I can still hear the ceaseless wet hacking from behind the couch.). The second one mysteriously disappeared without explanation after several mishaps with the toilet paper roll (My parents are monsters.). The third one passed on of old age and/or from repeatedly pissing on our Christmas presents, pick one. The fourth one died tragically, the direct result of an unfortunate and untimely encounter with a very large truck. The phone call came from my Grandmother, who really had a way with words, God rest her soul.

“Don’t worry, she got hit right in the head Jill. She didn’t feel a thing. It was smashed.”

“Wow, thanks Grandma. What a huge relief.”

The fact is, I really don’t want to expose my children to the whole death and dying of a pet thing. It sucks, and I honestly don’t want to go through it again myself. Aside from that, my likes and dislikes have changed dramatically since my youth. For instance, my affinity for animals in the house is gone. I like things clean, and furthermore lay awake at night if they are not. On a related note, you know that thing a dog does on a frequent basis where it toboggans it’s ass across the floor like it’s performing in some sort of a circus act? I used to think it was funny. Then I grew up and read a book.

Here’s some food for thought. According to vetmedicine.about.com, “Dogs scoot because their anal sacs are bothersome (Whose aren’t?).” What are anal sacs you ask? “They collect the oily secretion of the glandular tissue that lines the anal glands (Come again?).  Normally a bowel movement is sufficient enough to express the sacs (but sadly, not always). If your pet seems predisposed to having anal sac problems (i.e. scooting), speak to your veterinarian about learning how to empty the anal sacs at home to prevent further problems (Excuse me? And more importantly, fuck off! I have carpet!)”  

This much is certain. I am not emptying anyone’s anal sac, let alone my own, ever. Nor am I going to put myself in a situation where I have to choose, “Squeeze the anal juice from my dog’s ass glands, or spend a ridiculous amount of money for someone else to do it and then judge me because I did not.” No thanks. Ass gland squeezing is a hard line for me. I’m out.

Let’s get beyond Ass Juice City for a moment though and casually step into the Land of Obviousness. I’m not an idiot. I know who will be the primary caregiver/walker/buyer of food/taker to the vet/picker upper of shit on a daily basis despite dramatic claims to the contrary.

“We’ll take care of it Mom, we promise! We’ll walk it and feed it and bathe it and pick up the poop and you won’t have to do anything!”

“How about we start with the room you promised to pick up four months ago or the teeth you promised you quote/unquote just brushed? Or how about just ‘listening’ in general? Let’s have another go at that first?”

Don’t get me wrong. I love dogs. I love them like a grandmother loves her grandchildren. Pet them, give them snacks, throw them a ball every once in a while, shower them with hugs, and then hand them off to their parents when they shit their pants because that shit ain’t yo problem. I don’t want something else to take care of and be responsible for. My cup runneth over when it comes to taking care of other people’s shit. That said, how can I deprive them of this experience? They’re only young once. Am I really okay with being the only thing standing in the way of my children achieving their hopes and dreams?

The answer is clear and just like the American Girl doll I swore I would never buy a few years ago, I know how this is all going to go down.

I bought two, along with an assortment of ridiculously over-priced accessories.

Let the ass sac squeezing begin.

Maybe tomorrow kids.