My Toddler, Chuck Norris

image(5)

I cook almost every night.

Sometimes it’s an escape.  I day-dream that I”m a world-class chef about to serve my love on a plate to some A-list celebs.  They rant and rave about the party in their mouth.

Sometimes it’s a freaking chore and a half because in actuality I’m cooking for a bunch of little boys who would prefer frozen chicken nuggets and Velveeta shells and cheese to any of my homemade delicacies.

Back in our heyday… BC (Before Children), the Hubby and I would dine out quite a bit.  At least 5 nights a week.  It was a complete and total waste of money but in BC world, money didn’t matter.  We worked, we ate, we drank.  I vividly remember leaving my job (where I got to wear pencil skits, fitted button down shirts and heels) and going to a bar… ALONE… and indulging in many dirty martinis.  BC was the shit.

Fast forward to now… AD (After Delivery), and dining out is a novelty.  And with 3 kids you have to be prepared that their behavior will quickly go to shit and you won’t even get to eat.  That’s happened on numerous occasions.  One kid will act up right after we order and we will run from the restaurant, to-go boxes in hand.

Saturday night we went out for dinner with the children.  We had a fantastic time, the food was excellent and they were really well-behaved.  It was bliss and completely out of the norm.

We had leftovers from that dinner which our waiter kindly sent us home with.  I’ve been dreaming about this doggie bag for two damn days!  I couldn’t wait to be able to quietly and without interruption enjoy them for lunch today.

But the best laid plans can always go to shit.

The big kids were at camp, the baby was taking a nap and it was just mommy time.  That in itself should have had me on high alert but I was just so excited for my food.  The microwave beep made my mouth water!  I was super hungry.  I hunkered down with a huge plate of food on the coffee table while I sat down to eat on the couch (a big no-no in front of the kids).  I was watching some amazingly mindless daytime television and had just popped the second bite of food in my mouth when the phone rang.  I absent-mindedly answered it expecting to hear a solicitor on the other end.

It was not a solicitor.

It was camp.

My 3-year-old had been running, slipped, and fell (headfirst) into a metal bleacher.  He was fine, but bleeding and they thought he needed to see a doctor.

I put down my fork, packed up the baby, and rushed off to Middle Monkey with speed and focus that I had forgotten I possessed back in BC.

The fifteen minute drive to camp felt like hours.  It was raining and there was a cop behind me.  Sometimes having a wonderful imagination is a bad, bad thing.  This was one of those times. Visions of my beautiful but precocious child bleeding and crying blurred my vision.  When I finally arrived at camp I didn’t even turn off the car or move the baby, I just threw my car in park, left it running and went to assess the damage.

As I met the camp director at the curb she filled me in…

“He’s doing great.  He’s such a trooper.  The cut looks deep.  We have it under control.  He might need stitches.  He didn’t even CRY.”

Wait? What?

“Yeah, he didn’t even cry.  Not at all. He’s unbelievable.”

{Unbelievable is an understatement}

As I walked into the nurse’s office I found my little man, sipping on a juice box with a big gauze pad taped to his forehead.

“Hi Mom.  I fell.”

I heard buddy.  You okay.

“Yeah, I okay.”

Does your head hurt?

“A little.”

Holy shit.

My kid is Chuck Norris.

This little boy, who cries when he can’t have two packs of fruit snacks… This little shit, who annoys his brother to the ends of the earth, where he is finally forced to use physical violence to subdue him (barely) and then he cries like a hungry infant… This MONSTER, who weeps when I ask him to pick up a book/a toy/a sock, or worse, put down the toilet seat… This terror who sobs when he has to finish his dinner to get desert… doesn’t cry when it’s the real-time for tears?

The time when he could really be hurt and everything should be super scary is the time he has decided to be cool, calm, and collected.

Fuckin’ Chuck Norris.

And he really didn’t cry.

Through 3 hours at the emergency room, through 5 stitches in his forehead (right above his eyebrow) he was the biggest 3-year-old badass I’ve ever seen in my life.

When we arrived back home he ate an ice cream sandwich and fell asleep watching The Lego Movie.

I’m just sitting here watching him sleep and counting my blessings that this was our first trip to the ER with 3 boys and it was only for stitches.

My leftovers can wait until tomorrow.

 

Advertisements

The Nap Drop and How I’ve Screwed Myself This Summer

Parenting doesn’t come with a manual.  Period.

When I’ve tried to describe parenting to people without kids I often use the example of a scientist.  Each kid at each different stage of their life is almost like coming up with a hypothesis and trying to either prove or disprove said theory.  Everyday you suit up in your lab coat (yoga pants), you have your Bunsen burners (microwave) and your beakers (bottles of formula) and you keep meticulous notes (post-it’s piled on the refrigerator door) as to your findings.

Dropping my 3-year-old’s nap this summer was a bad idea.  It was a hypothesis that has been completely disproved by my toddlers personality late in the day.  It is entirely my fault and I will take one for the team on this.

He was not ready.

He is not ready.

But the problem with kids, unlike scientific data… is that they are human beings.  You can only manipulate kids so far, while scientific findings can be skewed to the left or the right.  And this ain’t G.I. Jane. We can’t “un-ring” that bell.  I will never be able to get nap time back now that he has seen the no-nap world.

When we started planning for the summer we decided to send both of our older kids to the same day camp.  The 9-year-old loves this camp and it just seemed like the logical and proximate choice for his little brother as well.

Only problem, camp ends at 3:45… which is 45 minutes after my toddler would usually start his nap.

“No problem”, I said.  “He can handle it”, I said.

Silly mommy, naps are for 3-year-olds.

He’s now a month into camp and although he loves being a big boy and all his new friends he comes home from his day cranky and exhausted.  Trying to get him to lay down and relax at 4 in the afternoon is pointless and futile.  He won’t do it.  A couple of times he’s passed out on the ride home but I can count those instances on one hand.  And when he has fallen asleep in the car he has only once stayed asleep when I brought him into the house.

In so many words… I’m fucked.

The afternoon nap was a win/win situation for everyone involved. The toddler got much-needed rest, and woke up ready to wreak havoc on the rest of us with a smile on his face.  I had 2 much-needed hours of time without him.  I was able to accomplish so much in the afternoon.  I will look back on the time of nap as a peaceful time, before I marred the kingdom with my foolish dreams where I wasn’t a captive in my own home from 3 to 5PM.

All I can do now is pass on the wisdom of my idiocy to you.  Please, please, please… for the love of all things holy, hear my cry (actually, at this point it’s more of a sob mixed with a wail followed by a gulp of wine).

If you are still blessed enough to have a napping child… hold onto this time with a fierce grip. Heed the words of Jack from the Titanic and “don’t let go”.  Screw Frozen… and “don’t let it go”.  I’m telling you this because I don’t want anyone to go through the evenings of crying and whining and complete exhaustion I’m going through right now.  I’m telling you this because no sane person should have to deal with a 3-year-old attached to your leg, crying, “DADDY!!!! DAAAAADDDYYY!! I WANT DAAAAADDDDY!!!” over and over again for 45 minutes as you try to roast a chicken and your Hubby is running late.

I’m telling you this as a public service.

I’m telling you this as a friend.

Learn from my mistake.

Long live the nap!

 

 

 

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.

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.

image(2)

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.

 

The Big Box Store Meets The Little House

 

After many years of avoidance I finally re-upped my Costco membership. These kids eat A LOT! And we eat a lot.  And the baby hasn’t even started eating solids yet… so yes, I’m screwed.

Costco is the place where dreams are made and bank accounts are broken. As a new member, you don’t really know what is a one-time-only bargain price and what they stock on a daily basis. So every time I hit that bitch with a list, I buy the items on said list and then some extra shit that I think is a good deal.

While I’m shopping I’m usually thinking “this is a good price” or “oh man, I can’t swing that now, hope it’s here the next time”. And everything seems small when you’re at Costco… because the place is so fucking big. Most items (that aren’t big-ticket) are under $10. Then I get to the checkout line and I die when I see my total. Then I bring everything to the car and die again because I have 2 car seats, 3 kids, a stroller, a soccer bag, and my huge diaper bag already taking up necessary room … and I realize, if I can barely fit this shit into my car, where the hell am I going to put it in my house.

Which leads me to the real point of this blog… I don’t have a small house. Well, maybe it’s small for 5 people, but my house seems so much smaller because I’m terrible at organization, and I don’t like to get rid of things.

We built this house. We’ve lived here 11 years and we still have no freaking clue where to put shit. We definitely need to throw things away. Lot’s of things. But there is always that nagging feeling that you’ll need this obscure thing someday and you won’t have it and you’ll say, “Damn, I had that… now I have to go to Costco to get it.”

I don’t like that feeling.

I bought a Foodsaver at Costco today. You need a Foodsaver if you’re going to have a membership at Costco… unless you are trying to get really fat (which I’m not). But I have no clue how to use it… besides its awesome ability to vacuum suck a bottle of wine. Ironically, we drink wine pretty fast so I really don’t need to store it for long periods of time… but I digress.

So tomorrow the big kids start camp and I’m starting my new project. The Costco project.

Out with the old (please) and in with the new from the big box store.

Or just out with the old.

Hopefully I make the cut.