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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.