Category Archives: A Bit ‘o’ Crazy

Happy Mommy Day to Imperfect Mommies Everywhere

Today at church it was brought up how differently being a mom is today compared to past generations, with all the ‘in your face’ expectations that we have now.  It used to be that you’d only hear advice/criticism from those closest to you (other than the silent judging from the strangers you might encounter on the street or at the store), but nowadays we’ve got all the Internet to tell us how badly we’re doing and how we could be (and should be) doing things/parenting/ life in general better.  Strangers on the other side of the world can suddenly become Cyber SuperParents, boldly exclaiming from the comfort of their computer chair (or table at Starbucks) how you can-nay, SHOULD- do all.  the.  things.

Its gotten to the point that, even those you know IRL (that’s “In Real Life” in computer speak- don’t you feel more knowledgeable?) will post carefully crafted pictures and posts to depict “The Perfect Life”- when you know full well that their life looks NOTHING like that.

I know.  Don’t try to lie.  I’ve been there.  I even have all the photos I DIDN’T post (because they weren’t “perfect” enough) sitting on my phone/computer because I can’t bare to delete them…because they’re pics of my boys, and my boys aren’t perfect and I love those silly, imperfect photos… just not enough to share with all of my Facebook world because, come on- my boys look dirty/silly/not posed/are picking their nose/my mom-skills could possibly be judged based on how they look or what they’re doing.

Which brings up why in the WORLD we have people on our social media sites that we even try to call “friends” if we question whether or not posting something will get us judged, but that’s another topic for another day.

Someone told me once that they only post the good stuff to social media because they don’t want anything negative to pop up in their memories, and I get that, but -for me- sometimes I LIKE to see the struggles I’ve gone through because it reminds me in that moment of all it took to get to where I am NOW.

I should also point out that, even when we don’t talk to our kids constantly about how they should look or act or anything (you know- healthy self image and self esteem and all), what kind of a message are we sending when we take for-freaking-ever to take that perfect shot JUST so that everyone we don’t know personally will ooo and ahh over it.  Honestly.

If we’re constantly told as moms (and dads) to “enjoy it while it lasts because it goes by so fast”, then shouldn’t we be posting about more than just the perfectly posed Instagrammable moments?  I’ve never heard anyone ever say,”Enjoy it while it lasts- it goes by so fast- except for the bad times.  Don’t worry about enjoying the bad times- like when the kids are throwing a fit or whatever- you’ll never miss that.”  Actually, I said that to my Grammie once and she wisely brought up that there’ll even be a day when you’ll miss the tantrums, because at least you knew where your kids were.  Now that my boys are getting past the baby stage, I actually have times where I miss those late nights, holding them when they couldn’t sleep, watching HGTV and the Food Network, knowing that I was the only person that could calm them down.

I should also point out that I’m pretty positive that not waiting on the ideal shot until a picture is taken is something that even my boys will get behind, because it means that they won’t have to spend 30 minutes of each and every major holiday morning waiting for all their brothers to just get it together, stop messing around, and for the love of all that is sacred and holy can we just smile already so we can take the dang picture to show everyone how happy we are, dang it?!?!

(Not perfect, but one of my absolute favorite Christmas pics!)

Here’s to all you fabulous, perfectly imperfect mamas out there.  You guys are amazing- make up or not, posed or not, perfect kids (BWAHAHAHA- man, that was a good one) or NOT.  You’re in good company.  I hope you all get the best scribbled cards, special rocks, and fistful of weeds- and maybe even a rollie pollie or 2.

From my Imperfect Brood to yours

Peggy Bundy ruined the vision of the SAHM

 stay-at-home-mom
Somebody said once that it must be nice to be a SAHM because all I have to do is play with my kids all day.  In PJs.  And watch TV.
They might as well have added in “eat bon bons and shop”.
Can I vent for a minute? Because it’s been a long couple of…15 years.

I get up every morning and survey the disaster that lies before me while I make some coffee- the ONLY thing that stands between my kids and death most days. Since I had just cleaned the day before, you’d think there wouldn’t be a lot to do, but you’d be wrong. Even if I finished the whole job AFTER the boys were all in bed, somehow the messes are new every morning. And since none of them will own up, we apparently have ghosts, too, which just leads into a whole new slew of issues I’ll have to deal with at some point.


I clean the living room and in 2 seconds (I am NOT exaggerating) it’s destroyed again. The same with the office, dining room, entry way- don’t even get me started on the kitchen and the bathrooms *shudder*.

*side note: when you have a toddler, always flush and NEVER leave the door open. If you have older kids, disregard this and just buy a LOT of bleach.

Cleaning while you have kids, well, people have compared it to shoveling a driveway while its still snowing, nailing Jell-o to a tree, and other things- might I add to that?  Its like trying to build a sand castle near the water’s edge at the beach: try as you might to get it perfect, a wave is always gonna come up and destroy it.  Another example is: trying to dig a hole near the water’s edge- you can dig for a year and that hole is never gonna get any deeper.  What it all comes down to is, progress in cleaning is slow, if at all, when you have kids.  Some people might say,”Then why bother?  Just wait for them to move out”, and to them I must ask,”So, how ARE your friends Mr. and Mrs. Cockroach and all of their kids?”
And, let’s just get this out of the way, the only TV that I get to watch regularly is Nick Jr.

What I’ve mentioned doesn’t even go into the fact that I do all of that while trying to take care of meals; driving to places the boys or I need to go; any appts.; breaking up the multiple daily fights; attempting to keep a toddler alive- which is NOT as easy as it seems.

*Side note: there’s a reason why, the younger the child, the more daycare providers are needed for any institution. You can’t take your eyes off of them. Think about that before asking a SAHM what she does all day, you know, if you value YOUR life.

But besides that, us SAHMs do this job willingly. Why? Because we’re crazy, masochistic, and we prefer that if anyone is going to screw up our kids, well, it’s gonna be US, dang it. No one is going to take our place- not even in their therapy sessions later.  We also don’t get any benefits of any kind.  We’re all kinds of crazy.  Or hard core.  I’ll go with hard core- sounds better.

I know you’ve heard it, but most people rarely think about exactly WHAT SAHMs have to deal with all day- I know I never did before I took on this job (and make no mistake- it IS a job).  Heck, even women that used to be SAHMs and then went back to work outside of the home forget what we ACTUALLY deal with.  I think its kind of like that amnesia that we get after we give birth- if we could remember the pain, its very likely that the human race would cease to exist.  Its a survival mechanism.  Or something.
So, the next time you see a SAHM, think twice about asking her what she does all day or, GOD FORBID, try and tell her about a great work from home opportunity you’ve heard about since she has SO MUCH time on her hands.
Oh, who am I kidding?  If you’re a SAHM, you understand everything I’ve said and are nodding you’re head.  If you aren’t, you don’t get it, likely never will, and you’ll continue to think that we live the easy life and that your job is harder because, well, the government pays you to do it, so it MUST be more important.
I tried, at least.

Your Sparkly Life is Blinding

FamilyWithPups1

(Image courtesy of Google & Norman Rockwell)

I’m sorry, but we can’t be Facebook friends anymore.

Its not you- its me.

Well, actually, its me being jealous of the perfect life you portray.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  DAY.

Normally, I can try and be happy for you.  I WANT to be happy for you.  I LONG for the feelings of genuine pleasure when I see your posts of your perfectly portrayed life.

I’ve even told myself to “fake it til I make it”, but today *sigh* today was the last straw.

Today- after I found cat food dumped into the toilet ; found cat litter (and poop) strewn about the bathroom floor; dealt with a toddler meltdown of epic proportions because I wouldn’t let him suck down an tube of Oragel; listened to fights over video games that started before any sane person should get up during the summer; stepped on THE SAME BLOCKS I had already told the boys to pick up 50 TIMES today; and then found my purse, with all its contents scattered over ever inch of my bedroom floor- I logged onto Facebook and got a virtual punch to my gut from your post.

There were your sweetpeas, like a  Norman Rockwell painting, in all your perfectly portrayed glory, doing something perfect-

And I just can’t deal.

I know- I’m behaving irrationally and making hasty decisions.  I’m blaming it on lack of sleep since- while your little darlings slept through the night with visions of sugar plums dancing through their heads, allowing you to wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed enough to go get a fancy coffee after eating a hearty, homemade, organic breakfast and then get in a workout sans kids- my night and morning was a TAD less smooth.  I went to bed with a toddler who took up half my space, got woken up in the middle of the night by a kid who had a nightmare and wanted to sleep with us, too, and then realized that my small amount of space had grown even smaller with the addition of the family pets.  I was then woken up WAY too early, made coffee myself, justified my coffee as my breakfast since that was all I had time for, and prayed for nap time.  And while your husband gets normal days off, mine works EVERY SINGLE DAY, so getting his help isn’t an option.

So, yeah- I’m tired, and bitter, and jealous, and MAYBE acting a little childish- call it a side effect from dealing with 4 imperfect boys in all their imperfection.

You’re a nice person- sickeningly so- but I’m just not mature enough to be happy for you 24/7- but, at least, I’m mature enough to admit to that.

And maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe your life isn’t perfect.  Maybe, like most of us, you’re just posting the highlights, and you keep your dirty laundry hidden away; but, while your highlights include you being crowned Miss America for the 5th time in a row, my highlight reel might sound more like,”Yay!  I made it through the day without any kid poop incidents!”  Which also leads me to believe that your dirty laundry is just that- you have a load of dirty laundry that *gasp* you haven’t done in 3 days… because you were building a house with Habitat for Humanity.

I’m honestly NOT a “misery loves company” kind of girl, but your sparkly life is blinding me.

Like I said, its not you, its me.

But if a day should ever come when you really do have a crisis in your life, you’re always welcome to call on me.  We can hide in my laundry room, sit on my oversized pile of dirty laundry, and attempt to block out the sounds of my boys trying to off each other, and I’ll listen as long as you need me to.  Chances are I’ve been there.

And I’ll try REALLY hard not to silently cheer if I see spinach caught in your perfect teeth.

12 signs you have an adorable parasite

Confession #329:  I’m not one of those “Pregnancy is so amazing- I could do it over and over” women.  I actually don’t understand those women.  At all.

I’m writing this with numb hands, so this is bound to be one of the longest posts I’ve ever written in terms of how long it’ll take me to get it out from start to finish.  WHY are my hands numb, you ask?  Pregnancy, my dears.  Its one of the lesser known evils of creating life from scratch.

Some of the books will talk about the side effects of pregnancy, but I think most women- like myself- always skim over those sections in lieu of the better parts- like “What vegetable does does junior resemble right now?” and “Aw!  He can blink?!”  We skim, that is, until that moment of “OMG!  Why can’t I feel my fingers?!” sets in., and then we’re suddenly scouring the internet and books we own, searching for any evidence that we aren’t abnormal.

So, I thought it was time that someone wrote down all the “joys” of pregnancy in one fell swoop, without the blinding fluff, so that fellow preggers like myself had a go-to guide for what the heck is going on with their bodies.

You’re welcome.  Or, I’m sorry. Or both.

***Just keep in mind that you might be one of the lucky ones that skates through your pregnancy with the greatest of ease.  Every pregnancy is different- take me, for instance.  I didn’t even KNOW I was preggo until I was 5 months- no sickness, no weird early cravings- nothing.  And now my hands are suddenly numb- something that never happened with any other pregnancy of mine.  These symptoms I’m posting are just my general observations of the lesser loved pregnancy details.***

1.  Morning Sickness.  The “morning” part?  Its a lie.  Some lovely ladies may very well feel like tossing their Double Stuffed Oreos at any time of the day, while some might just feel constantly queasy.  Some might be fine after the first trimester, and then there are some who -sadly- only feel better once they’ve delivered.  Of course, then there are those who never feel a lick of morning sickness- you are among the awe-inspiring.  I recently spoke with a girlfriend of mine who is also pregnant and some “well intentioned” woman said it wasn’t a good sign that my friend hadn’t been sick.  If someone -other than a doctor- ever seems concerned, ignore them.  You’ve been blessed.  Accept it and move on.  Chances are, you’ll probably come down with one of the other “joys” of pregnancy anyways.

2.  The need to pee- ALL.  THE.  TIME.  For whatever medical reason is out there, the second trimester is about the only time you aren’t constantly searching for a restroom.  The urge may or may not hit you suddenly.  I remember just recently being on vacation with the hubby.  We had a long drive ahead of us and I was sure I was fine right then.  I got in the car, and suddenly, the bathroom wasn’t close enough.  I know there’s a fantastic medical reason for why peeing constantly in the 1st trimester happens, but -just so you know- in the third trimester, its not just because your baby is taking up larger real estate.  Its also because they like to play kickball with your bladder.

3.  Peeing when you laugh.  Or cough.  Or sneeze.  And it gets worse with every succeeding pregnancy.  I used to laugh at those Depends commercials; now I not only sing along with the Tena Twist commercial, but I wonder if I should check into pricing.

4.  Constant fatigue.  Imagine you’re lying in bed, dying of thirst, and needing to pee a river.  Now, imagine your body says,”Eh- everything’s too far away.  You’re good.”  Sound ridiculous?  Yeah.  Notsomuch.  Sometimes the battle you’re waging is moving vs. not moving, and you won’t even have the energy to come up with a good reason as to why this is even a battle to be won.

5.  Cravings.  I honestly should have known I was pregnant the first time I thought that 4 pieces of cinnamon sugar toast -with more cinnamon sugar than toast- was a healthy mid afternoon snack… all eaten within a 5 minute period.  The funny thing is, I’ve always loved cinnamon and sugar, so this wasn’t a huge stretch.  Some gals might be like me and suddenly have a deeper desire for something they already love.  Of course, then there are those that suddenly find themselves dreaming of something they NEVER would have wanted.  It made me laugh when I heard about a gal who was a vegetarian, and she started salivating at the thought of a big, juicy hamburger.  Say it with me: I do not own my body.  I am merely a host to a parasite with a voracious appetite, and I must bow down to its desires… or else I’ll have dreams about those desires nightly.  Seriously- it happens. (If you start dreaming about something harmful, though, DO NOT indulge.  Tell your doctor- immediately.)

6.  Food aversions.  The evil brother of cravings is aversions, and sometimes its not just the taste that turns the stomach.  Sometimes the thought of the process the food had to take to get from farm to plate is all it’ll take to make you queasy.  The funny thing about aversions is that they’ll sometimes follow you even after pregnancy.  I woke up one morning to leftovers from the night before sitting in our sink.  I no longer find Hamburger Helper helpful.

7.  Mood Swings.  If you find yourself crying while watching the Folgers or Zillow commercials- well, ok, those make me weepy even NOT pregnant.  However, if you find yourself breaking down in the produce aisle because the only ripe avocado has a hole in it and then you get enraged at the insect that chose to eat THAT particular avocado, and then you get more upset because now you have to find something else for dinner, but then you get happy because you see frozen pizzas on sale- you just might be pregnant.  Shirts should be made available to all pregnant women that have a sort of apology or warning saying,”I’m hormonal- be nice.”  Of course, then we’d probably spill something on them and break down because it was our only clean shirt right then.

7.  Overheating.  Is it getting hot in here?  Nope- its just you.  Your baby and extra padding is now keeping you at a temp sometimes equal to the fires of Hades.  I’ve, personally, tried sleeping with an ice pack under my neck, slathering lotion all over while my fan blows on me, and sleeping in nothing but my knickers.  The thing is, its an all consuming kind of heat, so it really doesn’t matter what you do.  You can’t remove your skin, so you’re kind of doomed.

8.  Inability to breathe.  I’ve been told that when the baby drops, that I’ll regain use of my lungs, but seeing as how I kind of need my lungs to breathe, this information isn’t all too useful.  Sometimes, when I stretch my arms up really high and twist a little, I’m able to catch a big enough breath to keep me from passing out, but more often than not, I feel as if I have a tiny intruder slowly suffocating me from the inside.

9.  Rockin’ and rollin’.  As your baby gets bigger, its real estate gets smaller, so -just like you’re moving constantly to get comfortable- Jr. is, too.  The funny thing is, though, I don’t think my little guy is always trying to get comfortable.  I think he somehow obtained a bitty baby jackhammer and is attempting to increase his living space.  Whatever the reason for his insane movements, though, there are times that they go from being entertaining to being just plain downright painful.

10.  Heartburn and acid reflux.  Ah, yes.  There’s nothing I love more than the feeling of my digestive system being set on fire.  And its TRULY a not-so-rare treat when my stomach acids make their way up my throat and I nearly choke to death on them- and I positively LOVE when this all occurs while I’m getting a rare moment of restful sleep.  Pure bliss.

11.  Carpal Tunnel.  Also known as “I miss the use of my hands.”  This symptom is one that I’ve only recently been privy to during the course of this pregnancy, and I’ve got to say, I’m quite thankful for that.  If you’ve ever woken up and had to wait for your arm or foot to follow suit, then you might slightly know how AWESOME it feels to have that same feeling all day long in both hands.  Its been explained to me that the extra fluids I’m carrying cause pressure in nerves and such.  Its also been explained to me that the baby might just be sitting in a position that is incompatible with the circulation to my hands.  All I know is, its taking me FAR too long to write this post and its all due to my fingers feeling wonky.

12.  Restlessness at night.  Now, this is the real kicker.  We get to be exhausted ALL day long, and when night falls, sleep eludes us.  It makes sense, to a degree, when you take into account the need to pee, the overheating, the inability to breathe, the baby rockin’ and rollin’, the heartburn, the -God forbid- acid reflux, and hands that are so numb it hurts, but it just doesn’t seem fair.  Sleep should be our reprieve from the pregnancy pains, but, instead, it gets interrupted or done with altogether BECAUSE of the other pregnancy symptoms.

So, there you have it- 12 pregnancy sentences- I’m sorry, SYMPTOMS- that COULD happen to you.  If you’re just starting out, good luck and I hope you’re one of the lucky ones I’ve spoken of.  If not, console yourself that you aren’t alone and, also, that millions of us have eventually made it through to the end.

Eventually.

Its ok, though.  It’ll all be worth it when you’re holding your new little parasite in your arms.

 

The Devil Wears Pull-Ups

Confession #304: I’m convinced that Napolean had nothing on the Mini Master.

I remember once after I had the oldest Disaster, that my mom (or some other adult looking at the past through rose-colored glasses) clucked their tongue at me when I said that Camo was going through the “Terrible Twos”. “Noooo- they aren’t terrible!  They’re TERRIFIC!”  I compromised rather than arguing against their logic by saying,”Fine- the TRYING twos.”

But the facts are- the twos?  They’re genuinely TERRIBLE most days.  There’s a reason why that label has stuck around.  Oh, sure- its probably tough being at an age where you know what you want but lack the skills to communicate it.  But coming from someone who needs to translate “Toddler-ese” daily, sometimes the only “terrific” part is when they’re asleep… finally.

Let’s face it- being a parent is hard.  But what makes it just THAT much worse is when you want to cry, rip out your hair, and hide, and someone -attempting to be helpful- tries to convince you that things aren’t so bad; that the glass is half full; to see the silver lining; yada yada yada.  What we need to do as brothers and sisters in this war called ‘Parent-hood’ is call it like it is- hard.  Difficult.  Strenuous.  Downright Hellish at times.  And its ok to want a break or dream of Happy Hour or want to sell your kid on EBay (not that you should- or could… I checked).  And if anyone tries to tell us otherwise, we should be well within our rights to tell them very gently what they can do with their Pollyanna advice.

Just sayin’.

Now that I’ve stepped off my soapbox, I’m gonna go back to hiding, crying, and searching for loopholes in the whole EBay thing.  You’re welcome to join me- although, I’m preggo again, so you’ll have to bring your own drink.

Control… and other illusions

Confession #302: I have NO idea what is going on.

 

Have you ever been under the illusion that you have SOME sort of control over your life?

If you were still under that illusion, I’m sorry for shattering it, but the fact is, its really just that- an illusion. Like a fancy magic trick.

I was under the impression for a very long time that I had a little control over my life, but lately I’ve come to the conclusion that I really knew nothing. As in, zilch.

How so, you ask?

I had always been under the impression that my family situation was perfect for us. Some people tried to claim that having 3 kids was putting us at an uneven advantage with the whole 3 against 2 thing, but I disagreed. 3 kids was my ideal number. I KNEW in my head and heart that 3 kids was what we were meant for- so much so, that I got an IUD to close Boystown’s boy factory.

Or so I thought.

In April, I found out otherwise. In April, I found out that IUDs can give you the illusion of control without actually giving you any. In April, I found out that I was actually 5 months pregnant with our 4th addition to Boystown.

Yup. Another boy. And yes- 5 months.

So, basically, we’ve secured our spot here. We’re single-handedly keeping my husband’s family name alive.

So many times I thought that I knew where my life was headed. Life is funny that way. Just when you think you’ve got it all under control, life kicks you to jog your memory- sometimes very literally.

Its times like this that I’m reminded of a quote:

We make plans, and God laughs.

Well played, God. Well played.

To Whom It May Concern

Before every birthday or holiday, I am asked what the boys would like to receive.  This year I’m beating you all to the punch and posting this.

 

Yesterday I got out of bed- MY bed- and stepped on a Lego, kicked a Hot Wheel, and tripped over a block all before I reached my bedroom door.

After I got past the baby gate -which had OBVIOUSLY not done its job- I collided with a xylophone, 3 balls, a dump truck, and a toy drum stick.

When I got to the boys’ room, I had to yell for Bug to wake up- “yell”, because I didn’t want to wade through the sea of toys that carpeted their bedroom floor.  When it was apparent that no amount of hollering was going to wake up my sweet middle child, I inched my way through the toy Chernobyl toward his bed.  Even taking care to only step on soft, fluffy items didn’t save my feet from being gouged by a Spongebob figure and more Legos.

Part me hoped that he would stub his toe on a Thomas the Train figure so that MAYBE he would realize the need for cleanliness, but as I watched him deftly maneuver his way through the maze like a professional ballerina, I knew it wouldn’t happen.  This wasn’t his first dance in the ring- he’d long ago figured out where the land mines were.

After I left, I passed back by the dining room where a remote control car -sans remote- and an Optimus Prime mask sat waiting under the table.  I also happened to notice more colorful blocks with that well known logo that had been pushed to the wall in a long line, as if waiting for their turn to be a part of a sculpture that would never come to be.

And a glance at the wine cabinet revealed that it now housed -not wine bottles- but crayons.

I really needed coffee at this point, but a look at the kitchen -which was APPARENTLY the “happening” meeting place for MORE Hot Wheels- persuaded me to wait a bit longer.

After the older boys left for school, I went to turn on some PBS for the Mini Master so I could finally make some coffee, but I couldn’t find the remote.  I looked under the couch and found 3 more Hot Wheels.  I looked in the laundry room and found a plush Woody doll.  I looked near the office area and found 2 fake phones and a couple of plastic dinosaurs.

I finally found it, though.  It was in the laundry basket in our room, along with “Creepy Cat”, 2 ‘Little People’ animals, and another car, all covered by clean clothes.

After the boys got home, I demanded they clean.  I had just spent a good couple of days straightening up, and they destroyed it in 1, so this time THEY were cleaning.  Their lives -and my sanity- depended on it.  So they did.  They did a pretty good job of it, too.

But last night, when I went to tuck them in, I waded through a fresh sea of toys and stepped on the remote for that remote control car I’d seen earlier.  I put up the baby gate to the bathroom and saw a multitude of bath toys everywhere.

And everywhere I went, Legos created a path, like a trail of plastic bread crumbs, marking my path to freedom.

Now, I’m sure many of you would read that and say,”Well, kids need toys and they OBVIOUSLY make use of them,” but I feel I must point out some crucial info:

  1. Nicholas was the Lego and Hot Wheel culprit, and he wasn’t playing with them, as I later found out; he was using them as projectiles to bomb Stever the cat with.
  2. And neither of the older boys could find their shoes earlier on in the day (Nicholas likes to wear everyone’s shoes around the house so we can play the fun game of ‘Where are they?’), so the boys had torn all the toys BACK out to search for their much needed footwear.

To top it all off, once home, after finishing up with their chores and schoolwork and what not, both had claimed they were “bored”.  They’re both grounded from video games currently for unrelated reasons, so I told them,”You have a million toys- go play.”  Did they?  No.  I later found them making paper airplanes while the Mini Master walked around with his brother’s underwear on his head, growling.

So, the moral of my little story: they do not need toys, games, blocks, Legos, crayons, etc.  My feet and sanity cannot take it anymore.

Don’t want to show up empty handed?  Get them printer paper, or -apparently- underwear.  Please.

Maybe that won’t be the gift that has them shrieking from excitement, but I guarantee you, a week from the day, the rest of the toys will be strewn about, broken, missing parts, maybe never even having been played with, and there my boys will be.

Sitting among the chaos.

With paper airplanes.

And underwear on their heads.

While Mom’s Away…

For the last 6 years (roughly), I’ve had a weekly date night with my bestie, Alli.  What started out as a night designated to watching our favorite TV series together gradually became an excuse to hang out, drink coffee, and eat stuff we wouldn’t have to share with our little people, all while speaking in complete sentences and using adult words.

With her being a single mom and without a ready sitter at all times, I usually happily head to her house for our get togethers, and my hunny has always supported this.  Many times he’s even all but PUSHED me out of the house, claiming I’m nicer when I’ve had my girl time.  I do NOT disagree.  As a mama, I’m more relaxed when I’ve had time away- even when its just a couple of hours a week.

My hunny is a terrific dad, so I’ve never questioned what happens while I’m away…

until last night.

All I can figure is that our children multiplied like gremlins after I left and terrorized dear hubs into submission.  Toys had been strewn about the room, crammed into every corner, and paper planes littered my once-clean table, counters, and kitchen floor.  Goldfish crackers had been smooshed into the sofa and carpet, and a bottle of milk was on its side, slowing dripping its contents onto the floor.  But if that wasn’t enough evidence that a 3:1 ratio is bad in this house, sweet hubs elaborated:

“You know how, when you left, Cameron was holding Nicholas?”

“Yeah?”

“Well, as you were driving away, Cameron looked at me and said that Nicholas had peed and he could feel it through his shirt.”

“Ew.”

“Yeah, he thought so, too, when I pointed out that it wasn’t pee.”

After I finished gagging/laughing, he went on:

“Oh, and Jacob tried to jump the baby gate after his bath, but it ended up falling over- on Nicholas.”

“So, what you’re saying is, our youngest almost died from massive internal trauma?”

“Pretty much.”

And, if I thought I could escape by curling up in my bed, I was wrong.  The Mini Master left me a snack on my side of the bed.  Always the little sharer, he must’ve realized he was almost finished with his cracker and he hadn’t left me any, so he spit some of it out for me.

Now, I’m really wondering if this was a fluke or if last night was a regular occurrence and I just happened to come home before Haz Mat showed up.  In any case, one thing is for certain: while the mama’s away, the mice don’t just “play”- they throw a rave on steroids.

Pol-toy-geists

On the Discovery Channel and SyFy, they have shows about Ghost Hunters, Haunted Houses, etc.  I think they need to confront a REAL issue that occurs with REAL people and that takes place right here in our own homes: Pol-toy-geists.

I’ll never forget my first experience with a Pol-toy-geist.  Camo was a toddler, we were in my in-laws living room, and we watched in wonder as his little RC car rolled across the floor.

The batteries had died the day before.

Another time, I went into the kitchen at around 2 a.m. and his little kiddie computer (whose screen acted as the face), chose that moment to light up and say,”Hello!”

What IS it about toys taking a ghostly turn when the batteries start to die?

The other day, The Mini-Master’s Leap Frog activity toy took on a life of its own.  The Mini-Master was off destroying something, but -nevertheless- I could hear the toy’s music; not the jovial “Come play with me!” tune, though.  Oh, no.  This was more of a dreary, funeral march kind of song.

Jacob’s toys haven’t been innocent of all things eerie, though.  For the last 2 years, we’ve heard one of Jacob’s toys make its trademark ‘Little Einstein’ music- never an entire song, and only on occasion.  The problem I have with it is #1- I can’t find the dang thing to save my life- their room is THAT bad; and #2- the occasions the pol-toy-geists show themselves are when its the worst- late at night, when the kids are tucked in tight, the lights are out, and all of the sudden, over the baby monitor, I hear Beethoven’s creepiest concerto.

I’m really not quite sure why a seemingly sweet toy can suddenly take on a life of its own.  It just seems wrong.  When a battery is dead, the toy should be too, right?

Anyways, needless to say, when Jacob’s YMCA-Village People-Dancing Elmo died, I took an extra step to ensure its “demise”: I REMOVED the batteries.  Here’s to hoping no singing or dancing ensues until I get new batteries.

Dear Pre-Pregnancy Life,

Today, while I was out shopping, I passed by a rack of size 12s and I thought of you.  Just for a moment- because the Mini-Master decided it wasn’t right that I should have my eyes anywhere but on him- but in that moment, a mix of emotions filled me like you wouldn’t believe.

I tried to deny the way that I felt, but all the great memories got to me.  I thought about the trip to Hawaii when we were 17 and how I had complained about my hips and thighs then.  I was 17- I HAD no hips or thighs, at least, not like now.  I had a teenage body, void of birthing hips and stretch marks, wrinkles and less than ample boobage.  I thought about that night when my friend was describing me to someone else and she used the words “flat stomach”.  Now the only time I have a flat stomach is when I make the choice not to breathe or sit down by wearing too-tight pants.

As I walked through the store, my eyes drifted to the purses, and I thought of my ever present addiction- the one I’ve had to put on hold ever since needing a diaper bag.  Even as trendy as diaper bags have gotten -and mine is PRETTY cool- they’re still diaper bags.  They hold everything, though, so carrying a purse as well is kind of superfluous.

I strolled slowly by the cosmetics aisle and I thought about when I used to put on make up.  I guess “used to” isn’t exactly correct; I still do occasionally, but its almost like building a sand castle near the tide now.  Why put on make up when its going to be mauled off by messy face kisses and grubby hands?

I looked over at the men’s aisle as I headed toward the electronics and I thought about how many times Date Night has been thwarted.  We used to have money to do stuff!  We used to have the ENERGY to do stuff!  We used to not need a sitter crazy enough to watch 3 boys so we could do stuff!

I perused the DVDs, looking for something kid friendly- KID FRIENDLY.  I remember when our DVD collection didn’t include a single ‘G’ rating; when we didn’t need to say,”We should probably wait til the kiddos are in bed” when deciding what to watch on TV.

Buying new stuff would have to wait, though.  I wasn’t here to buy a movie- I was here with a purpose.  I headed to the kids/ baby department for the wipes.

Dear, sweet, Pre-Pregnancy life- as I made my way to the back of the store, where all the baby stuff was located, I kept thinking of you and how even trips to the store were different back then.  Lingerie meant Victoria’s Secret, not Kohl’s Clearance; necessities meant chocolate and other junk food, not diapers, wipes, baby food, and Gerber’s Puffs; PJs meant Frederick’s, not cotton PJ sets from Kmart; and toys meant, well, nothing by Fisher Price.

I have to tell you, though- as I stood there, comparing prices on sippy cups, diapers, and wipes, it hit me what else is different about this new life compared to you.

  • I waste less time on TV.  Oh, sure, the TV is on, but as a kind of defense mechanism, my mind has tuned it out so as not to hear the constant chatter of cartoon characters.
  • My husband and I have fallen in love with each other in a whole new way and we’ve learned to get creative with Date Nights.  (To be honest, that was done out of pure necessity.  It was either get creative or start carrying around each other’s photo so we didn’t forget what each other looked like.)
  • And, also, to be honest, my diaper bag IS really cool.  I’ve had loads of people ask me where I got my “purse” from.  I don’t correct them.
  • And my body?  If I ever have the money or the desire for it, I can get cosmetic surgery, but I’m not really disappointed with my wrinkles.  The stress wrinkles are linear badges of honor, and laugh lines should be cherished- and my boys make me laugh.  A lot.

Actually, Pre-Pregnancy Life, a lot of the feelings I had while I debated the different sippy cups were feelings of thankfulness.  You never got to hear a 5 year old tell his 11 year old brother that girls are made to be friends- nothing else; you never knew the pride that can come from looking at progress reports (and making a mental list of private colleges to send such smart boys); and you never knew how sweet and extremely gross -all at the same time- it could feel to have your face mauled by a 9 month old that has just eaten breakfast.

Sure, some things changed when we parted ways, but right now, as I sit next to my youngest who is slightly snoring and listening to my two older boys singing a duet of “Lollipop” in the next room, I’m pretty sure I made out better with the exchange rate.