The Power Struggle is Real

Having more than one kid has turned me into a white, maternal version of Rodney King. “Can’t we all just get along?”

These little bastards will fight over anything and everything. Then they try to play it off in the most contemptuous manner. As if they have no clue how they’ve gotten into this mess in the first place. The look on their faces is a cross between Elle Woods and Forest Gump. “Who me? What did I do? No, my brother’s face just fell on my fist.”

I’m over it.

The latest power struggle is about seating placement on the couch. It starts from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep. Personally, I could care less who sits where, but these fights aren’t quiet and throughout the day I find myself hissing through clenched teeth and an angry voice, “DON’T WAKE UP THE BABY!” I can’t seem to get a handle on it and I’ve tried everything. Assigned seating, couch rules, strict monitoring of couch placement, nothing is working. They are the sneakiest little couch bandits. One minute, everything is fine, I go to the bathroom, and all hell breaks loose. I’m about one more fight away from getting rid of the couches all together. “Here you go suckers, sit on the floor.” That’ll teach ’em. Let’s be honest though, I’d be cutting off my nose to spite my own face, and ass, and circulation. I need a better plan than that.

I’m thinking of investing in a barrage of whoopee cushions and strategically placing them all along both couches. The look of complete surprise on their little argumentative faces would be priceless. Crap, that won’t work. These are boys. Fart noises are their national anthem. This is not a good idea.

Ohh, maybe I can try a shit-ton of water balloons… Haha, you wanted yummy comfort and now you’re soaking wet. But…. guess who’s going to be the one to clean up the couch, change everyone’s wet clothes and have to do an extra load of laundry? Yup, you guessed it… me. Backfire city.

OH MY G-D!!! I’ve figured it out. This idea is going to win me a Nobel Peace Prize for sure. I’m taking the cushions… ALL OF THE CUSHIONS. If you want to sit on the couch you can come to me for a cushion. You may only have one cushion at a time (this will stop all the fights over who was laying down first, who is touching whom, who’s butt is in the other brothers face, eyes, foot). This idea is parenting gold right here.

I AM THE SMARTEST PERSON IN THE WORLD!

Now I’m off to test operation cushion.

But first, I have to vacuum the couch.

I hope it doesn’t wake the baby.

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Introducing Solids: 5 Easy Steps so You Don’t Lose Your Shit

So your baby is ready… or your pediatrician says your baby is ready for solid food.  If you’re a first time parent… Yay!

If you’re like me, and this ain’t your first rodeo.. not so much.

Ugh.

Starting a baby on solid food is a milestone for sure, it’s also a huge, fat, pain in the ass.  It takes babies much longer to eat solids then it does for them to drink a bottle.  They (and their little intestines) have just gotten used to processing breast-milk or formula… now lets chuck some processed vegetables or fruit into their GI tract, or, if you’re really balls-to-the-wall daring, meat.  As you can imagine, since it’s only taken anywhere from 4-6 months to get to this point, I’m sure it’s going to be a cakewalk.  Keep dreaming, John Lennon.  You will end up with something on your face, but it won’t be cake.

Step 1, Dress the part

I have loads of my friends who do Tough Mudders, Color Runs and the like.  They wear spandex and tutu’s and they are ready to get dirty and look pretty.  Here we concentrate on the former not the latter.  You are going to get dirty, pretty… not so much.  Be prepared.  Be prepared like a Wilderness Girl at the annual jamboree with Phyllis Nefler at the helm.  And I don’t mean Gucci bitches… I mean a shirt you hate and comfy pants, maybe even just underwear. But don’t forget some sneakers in case you need to make a fast getaway from a baby about to projectile vomit.  New textures can do that to a baby.  This is one of the infinite number of reasons every shirt I own is stained with something.

Step 2, Mind your Peas

Some people say cereal first, some say cereal never.  Since I’m on my third and the other 2 have no food allergies my doctor said to start him on vegetables.  On my 2nd child I thought it would be easier and more cost-effective to make my own baby food.  In the end it was neither, and I could never get the consistency right. Just another waste of time to add to the time suck.  This time around I didn’t even try that route.  We began with peas.  Who doesn’t love peas?  Let me take that back, lots of kids hate peas when they are growing up because they are green and similarly named to number 1 in the bathroom.  But babies?  Babies love peas.  Although peas are usually a hit with taste, they also look like the dirtiest food to pass from your spoon into your baby’s diaper.  And that is gross.  You’ll be in hell for the first bowel movement post peas, but they usually eat them up just fine.

Step 3, Have the proper equipment

You need the proper tools to successfully feed a baby solids.  A bib is a must (unless you have them shirtless, which I rarely ever do).  You’ll need one of those little spoons with the a plastic tip (trust me on this) and you’ll need a 5 point harness of some kind as baby is probably not able to fully sit up by himself.  Now you might even want to make sure you have a bucket or garbage can right next to you (especially if you are already pregnant again) while feeding little Johnny because watching him eat, and spit out, and re-eat the spit out, can make anyone nauseous.  If you have a really queasy stomach you might want to have Hubby do all the solid feeding and hide in the bathroom with a bottle glass of wine until it’s over.  It’s not pretty.

Step 4, Know your audience

Okay, so you’ve feed little Johnny twice and he’s done really well.  Next time you are sure to be over ambitious and schedule a meal when other people are going to watch him.  Do not do this.  I repeat, do not walk down the path to show off to the Jones’, Grandma, or even your own older children.  This will not go over well.  Unless you consider Exorcist as movie with a good ending.  Just know your role, stay in your lane and keep feeding time under wraps and during down moments until he’s been doing it for months.  Then you can try to show off.  But I can pretty much guarantee that his first time in front of an audience he will sneeze peas all over grandma, barf on older brother or just refuse anything you offer him outright (thus making a liar out of you).  And as cute as it can be to watch him eat, it’s just not worth the aggravation.

Step 5, Expect failure and deal

Solids will start off bad.  He’ll spit them out, he’ll cry, he won’t want them. But, like it says on the bottle… Lather, rinse, repeat.  Eventually, at some point in his life…. he will be a good eater.  Or at least an eater.  He’s going to get big and learn that he needs food to survive.  Hopefully he chooses something other than chicken nuggets and french fries, but lets not worry about that just yet.  Right now, it’s your job to just keep shoveling things, lots of different things, into his mouth, and take the massive time-suck that introducing solids is, and make it your bitch.

Best of luck moms! Happy Feeding!

 

 

 

The Stay-at-Home Mom’s Guide to The Summer of George

I was a Seinfeld fan from the start.  Maybe it was the story about nothing.  Maybe it was Kramer.  Maybe it was the fact that it was so freaking scripted but it wasn’t Who’s the Boss or Cosby Show scripted.  I still can’t put my finger on the full reason for my reverence… but “The Summer of George” was my favorite episode.  Hands down.  Ever.

If you’re familiar with Seinfeld (and this episode) then you remember that George had been fired from his job with The New York Yankees.  While he’s wallowing in his sadness he discovers that he has been allotted a severance package that will last for approximately 3 months.  And that is when George decides he is going to “really do something with those 3 months.”  He’s going to read a book (from beginning to end, in that order).  He’s going to learn to play Frolf (Frisbee-golf).  This is going to be the time for George to “taste the juices and let them drip down his chin.”  Now, being the lazy bastard that he is, George doesn’t really accomplish many of his goals but every time summer rolls around, I’m so fucking jealous of George and the idea of “that” summer.

It is currently the third week of summer camp for my older kids here.  I’ve been feeling, a bit, low…. let me take that back,  the monotony of it all has made it Groundhog Day around here.

Summer is turning out to be just like Fall, Winter, and Spring.  The same.  But hotter… It’s like a shitty song on repeat and I’ve already skipped too may songs on Pandora to listen to something new.  The incessant loads of laundry and meal planning, the grocery shopping, the drop-offs, the pick-ups… there must be something else I’m supposed to be doing…

And then it hit me.

My older kids are in camp until 3:45 EVERYDAY!!  That is almost 2 hours longer then the normal school day for my Middle Monkey and my Hubby isn’t an asshole about my jobs around the house.

It’s almost like I’ve been given a severance package too… but this one is with TIME!

And around here, time is like money.

I’m really going to live.

I’m going to do all the things I don’t normally do!

I declare this… “The Stay-at-Home Mom’s Summer of George”!

Here is my Top 10 list of things to do…

10. Go see the movie Chef, during the day, with my 4 month old baby.  {Because no one takes a baby to the movies… but I have to see this}

9. Drive to the Eden “strange fruit” winery (which is over 1 hour away) and buy kiwi wine.  {Because no one takes a baby to a winery… but I have to try this}

8. Finally hit up a spinning class.  {Even though I’m petrified}

7. Put on a bathing suit and take the baby to a public pool.  {Ugh, but it has to be done}

6. Get a pedicure. {Because damn, my feet are toe-up}

5. Travel the 30 minutes to the Norman Love Confections and take the chocolate tour.  {Because chocolate}

4. Take the baby to the beach and only pack one bag and an umbrella.  {It’s harder than you think}

3. Have lunch or brunch with a friend once a week.   {Because friends and food}

2. Read a trilogy.   {From beginning to end, in that order}

1. Eat a peach, alone, without any children asking for a bite, and let the juices drip down my chin, just like George.

You Want a Piece of Me?

Everyone wants a piece of mommy.

Everyone.

This isn’t always a bad thing.  But it is an exhausting thing.  And I’m starting to wonder where their need for me ends and where my need for myself begins.  And just writing that sentence down makes me feel super guilty.  Which is really fucked up.

I’m not blaming my family.  Don’t think that for a minute.  I made the conscious choice to bring all of these little people into the world.  There were no surprises, no “oops” babies, no regrets.  But how can I still tend to all of their physical and emotional needs, while still preserving a slight sense of self, and not feel bad about it?  Considering it’s 1pm and I just realized I haven’t brushed my hair or teeth today (I know, gross) I really need to figure this out.  I did remember deodorant though, so I’ve got that going for me.

A good mommy friend of mine just opened a spinning studio.  It looks beautiful and exciting and she’s been asking me to come in and take a class.  Who am I kidding?  She’s a personal trainer, she doesn’t ask.  She’s got my number because I need a drill Sargent and I love her sweet ass for it, but I’m not gonna lie… I’m scared shitless of so many different things about this, so much so, that I’m really walking the plank with little baby steps.

Fear number 1…

I am in awful shape.  My baby is 4 months old and the only exercise I’ve done is lift a wineglass to my mouth.  I have no endurance, a sagging, three-peat, c-section belly and I’m winded after a diaper change.  What if I make a fool of myself, even more than normal?

Fear number 2…

I haven’t had great experience with spinning class.  I took a spinning class once at the local YMCA.  I was young, in shape and childless at the time.  I did the class for 10 minutes, said “Fuck this”, hopped off the bike and scrapped the shit out of my shin on the pedal.  While I hobbled from the class, bleeding, I vowed to only stick to workouts I like. Which, by the way, have turned out to be “no workouts”.

I’m amazing at not working out.  I could take the gold medal in that.

Fear number 3…

And this is the most completely ridiculous and irrational fear… What if I really, really, like it?  What if I like it so much that I have to get a sitter for my kids and actually make time for myself?  What if I actually get in shape?  Will I be able to maintain?  Will I have to make separate meals for me and the rest of my family?  Will working out cause me to miss out on things I’d normally have to sit around and bear the burden of being the only one to do them?  Can I make a plan and follow through on it when it has nothing to do with my children’s happiness but everything to do with my health?  Would that make my selfish?  I feel so strange about taking time for myself although it doesn’t make any sense when I say it aloud.

Eek!

She tells me that all I have to do is stay on the bike.

If I can stay on the bike I’ve done it.

If that’s the case I might just sit there and not pedal.

It’s All About Perspective

I hate to be late.

Tardiness is my number 1 personal pet peeve and now that I have 3 kids, running late is kind of a given. So I usually have to talk myself off a mental cliff when it happens. But this afternoon was just curveball after curveball thwarting every attempt I made to be on time.

The older kids have to be picked up from camp at 3:45.

3:45, 3:45, 3:45… since this is such a difference from our normal school schedule I have 3:45 resonating in a sing-song voice in my head from noon on. I even set my phone alarm to remind me to leave the house at 3:30.

Well, at lunchtime I realized we were out of cold cuts and that would be unacceptable when I went to make lunches for tomorrow. I opted to leave the house early and stop at the grocery store on the way. Of course at around 2:50 the baby was ready to eat, so that was curveball numero Uno.

After a quick bottle (thankfully the baby just pounded 6 ounces, burped and we were off) I headed to the grocery store. Where I grew up in New York we had deli’s… lots and lots of deli’s, and those guys have lightning speed. They can make you an egg sandwich and cut you a pound of ham faster than you can walk into the place. It’s times like this I really miss the everywhere-ness of the NY deli.

As the baby and I approach the deli counter in the supermarket… I sigh. It’s packed. I pick #52 and they are on 49…. shit, I’m going to be late. As I’m checking the time on my phone and anxiously tapping my foot, a friendly old lady asks if she can ogle the baby. Of course she’s adorable and in love with his sweet little face. I can’t resist a conversation as she starts telling me she’s a mother of 7!! SEVEN! And I think I’m outnumbered!! {Headshake} By the time we’re done talking I look up and there are on number 53. Shit. Some evil, redheaded, moo moo wearing troll has stolen my beloved deli clerk. Now I’m going to be really late… and I’m super pissed.

Excuse me, I was 52

“Well, they’re on 53”

{No shit, exasperated sigh}

After I finally get my lunchmeat it’s now 3:46…. Fuck, I’m super late. Anxiety unfurls in my belly and I can feel my blood pressure spike. As I walk to the checkout line I remember a former shrink who told me that chronic lateness is the true sign of someone who is bored with their everyday life and needs to feel that adrenaline that comes with rushing. I don’t really know if that psychobabble bullshit is true or not but yes, my adrenaline has spiked. And I’m not a fan of that feeling.

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I get to the express lane and see that the whole freaking store has decided to join me there. Double shit, another curveball and my imagination is running wild that my children are sitting at camp, last to be picked up, with the anxious staff that is probably desperate to get outta there, cursing me under their breath for being late. Ugh, I hate that I’m sending out the vibe that only my time is valuable.

When I finally get to pick the boys up it’s 4:07.

I’m annoyed with myself, annoyed with the redheaded, moo moo wearing troll. Annoyed.

I apologize to the camp director (who doesn’t seem at all bothered by my lack of time manners) and explain the curious circumstances that made me late. He jokes that this could be fodder for my blog. “Yeah right”, I say… “There’s no blog here.”

On our drive home 9-year-old asks me what happened at the deli counter. I explain the whole story to him… The grey haired lady who loved his baby brother, the bitch troll who stole my spot in line (he knows how much I hate to be late)…

“Mom, she didn’t steal your spot, you missed your turn.”

{Lightbulb epiphany} Holy crap, you’re right, I did miss my turn.

“Happens to the best of us.”

Thank you little man. It’s all about perspective.

 

When Desperation Wins, Summer Mother and the Indoor Play Place

Macklemore-1

Whelp, summer is officially upon us.

Which means, if you’re anything like me, these little animals that we call children are home.

All day…

{sigh}

So after 2.6 million games of Candy Land, breaking out the Play-Doh, countless hours of Lego building, becoming an imaginary superhero, bike riding, baking, cooking, laundry… I have mentally and physically left the building. And sadly, we are only on the second day of summer break.

At this point I am certifiably insane… You know how I know this? Because crazy people do desperate things. And in my desperation I did something that I hate to do with all my mind and body. I packed up the family Truckster and took my kids to an Indoor Play Place.

The Indoor Play Place is the final resting stop for all frazzled parents everywhere. You can see the look of defeat on each and every one of our faces. We are screaming it behind our fake smiles “I GIVE UP!”.

Because no one with the proper mental facilities would pay $12 for their kid to run around and jump in an indoor bounce house at a strip mall. No one in their right mind would allow their kid to play with a plastic toy that was just in a strange child’s mouth. But Summer Mother isn’t all there. She’s desperate. She’s trying to fill the time void until the next meal, the next nap, the next bedtime. Summer Mother isn’t practical, she’s crazed. And where do the crazy parents hold the meetings for their 12 step program? The Indoor Play Place… that’s right.

This, my friends, is one step above the park and one step below maximum desperation… Chuck-E-Cheese. I’m not there yet.

But it’s only Tuesday.

My toddler entered the Indoor Play Place like a little version of Macklemore entering the club… one hand in his superman underwear, mismatched ensemble he put together himself of a NY Jets Jersey (Johnathan Vilma, by the way, who hasn’t played for the Jets since 2007), a plaid vest and pajama pants with a paisley pattern. Yes, he rocks your Grandpa’s style. His other hand is reserved for the thumbs up sign he’s throwing at the little Blond girl in the corner who has lifted her dress high above her head exposing her Frozen undies. I watch his eyes as they dart around the room, sizing the place up, undoubtedly looking for the most dangerous or disgusting thing to play on/with. He cracks a smile from ear to ear and runs off in the direction of the dress up corner. Before I can even form the word…. “Wait…” he has placed a plastic Fireman’s hat on his little head. He’s dancing around singing a fire truck song and I’m putting “buy RID Lice Shampoo” on my shopping list.

The Indoor Play Place isn’t for the faint of heart.

As I begrudgingly hand over my $12 to the establishment I find a place without gum or nutella stuck to it to sit down. This is the part of the Indoor Play Place that sucks for parents. The waiting. There are 3 loads of baby laundry on my bed that I have to fold today. Can’t do that here. I need to marinate a pork loin for dinner and buy a fresh salad but instead I am sitting in a vacuum. No sane person would do this.

I’m tending to the baby, making small talk with another mom who looks about 1 step away from institutionalization. She’s wearing 2 different sneakers. They aren’t even the same brand let alone the same style or color. I decide to keep this observation to myself. Nothing good can come of her knowing that right now.

My 3-year-old calls, “Hey Mom, watch this”, while he  hangs from a rafter, clearly not part of the actual maze the Indoor Play Place has put together.

“That’s lovely honey,” I mutter, not wanting to battle it out here. There will be enough battles when I try to get him to leave.

He finally approaches me with those words no Mom wants to hear in a public place, “I have to go potty.”

I’m starting to think my toddler might actually be reviewing public toilets for Zaggat or Yelp! because he has sat on every public toilet in a 50 mile radius.

I then venture to the restroom with him where he proudly sits on the toilet and sings the ABC’s while his little legs dangle. The last time this happened was at a Golden Corral restaurant (don’t ask) and the whole family was sick for a week. Of course the baby is now ripe and needs a diaper change too… I whip a gallon of hand sanitizer out of my purse and make the changing table fit to lay my changing mat on. I can’t help think about some of the college bars I frequented back in the day. Considering there aren’t any drunk 20 somethings here, this bathroom could give them a run for their money. I wipe some asses and we leave that nasty place. A minute more and I might have puked.

After 2 hours I’m finally able to get him to leave without incident promising him the ultimate toddler treat… frozen yogurt.

Make mine a double.

Suppertime Confessions of The Babywearer

It’s another night and I’m wearing the baby.

I’m not complaining. Wait, am I complaining?

I really shouldn’t be. I loved “wearing” him for 9 glorious months. It was awesome actually. If every time I strapped this child to my chest I was given a dose of my pregnancy hormones, I’d be just fine. But this isn’t a sci-fi movie. That would be a cool premise though… gotta remember to come back to that.

What pisses me off about this whole “wearing the baby” thing, is that it’s my husbands fault.

NO…. not like that. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Okay, put it back in the gutter, have a dirty thought for me, and now, come back to reality.

It’s my husband’s fault because the baby likes to sleep on his chest. And my hubby, CAN SLEEP ANYWHERE!!! THROUGH ANYTHING!  It’s a gift, and I’m totally jealous.

So, the big boys are at soccer practice with Daddy and I’m wearing a baby. The baby. My baby.  At least I finished making the rigatoni first. It’s super hard to cook while wearing a baby.