Category Archives: A Haut Mess

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.

 

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.

Spring Cleaning time- grab your survival gear

I really don’t follow all the “in’s and out’s” of groundhogs, so I’m not really sure if its officially Spring or still Winter, but in this house?  We’re Spring Cleaning.  Yep.  Groundhogs be damned, we’re breakin’ out the Swiffers over here.

Honestly, though, I’m a TAD OCD on the cleaning front, so “Spring Cleaning” is almost a weekly thing, but around this time of year, I can blame it on new grass, baby animals and the like.

Yay for excuses!

It can be kind of scary when cleaning certain areas of my home, though.  If you haven’t read it, I wrote a post a while back on how bad things can get over HERE, and I meant every word.  I’ll admit- I only have boys so my experience is a little bit skewed. I  can’t compare it to what it would be like raising girls, but they (boys) just SEEM dirtier.  I mean, even nursery rhymes have pointed out how much more disgusting they can be:

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?

Frogs and snails
And puppy-dogs’ tails,
That’s what little boys are made of.
What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?

Sugar and spice
And everything nice,
That’s what little girls are made of.

See?  Mother Goose was a wise old bird..

Seriously, though, no matter what you have -boy or girl- and no matter what room you’re cleaning, you KNOW there are certain areas you skip due to time, patience, etc.  Those places that you’re pretty certain don’t have crumbs that will attract bugs and that aren’t a priority because, well, guests won’t generally check there. Sure, you tell yourself that you’ll get to them one day, but, well, they aren’t a priority, sooo… later.  You’ll get to them LATER.  After all, the kids rooms have mold growing and something moved in the fridge…

For me?  Today was my “later” and the place?  Behind the TV stand.  Normally, this wouldn’t even be a big deal.  I mean, how bad could it be, right?  Its a TV stand, for Heaven’s sake.  So, I stuck the hose attachment onto the vacuum and plunged the tip down into the crevice and…

*thump!*

*thump, thump, THUMP!*

I jumped and almost knocked over the vacuum.  What in the WORLD did I vacuum up?!  A cat?!?  After peering into the vacuum canister, though, I realized- my dust bunnies had morphed into dust jackalopes.

So, the things that I realized on this fine (possibly) Spring day?

  • Evolution.  Its not just for monkeys anymore.
  • When bunnies grow up, they become rabbits.  When DUST bunnies grow up, however, they become household legends.

 

Living with kids- its not for the weak

“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…”

These are the words that keep flowing through my head as I find myself going through the motions today.  Its just another one of those days that has decided to zap the last of whatever it is that keeps me going.  Let me take you on a mental tour of my home right now, shall I?

As you walk though the front door, you’re greeted by something that’s akin to Hurricane Katrina with just a hint of “God, what’s THAT?!”  You check the address outside the door in the hopes that you’ve made a mistake- this cannot POSSIBLY be the right place.  But it is, so you attempt to trudge on.

Easier said than done.

You wade through the mounds of toys and -God help you- empty boxes that you realize were SUPPOSED to be turned into cars, trucks, playhouses, etc., but have now been broken down into unrecognizable forms.  You look around, wondering where FEMA has disappeared to, because this should most definitely qualify as a state of emergency… and then you realize that if they ARE there, you couldn’t find them anyway.  Suddenly, it hits you that you’ve only made it through the front door, and the rest of the home is waiting for your inspection.  After trying -unsuccessfully- to brush off the shudders that are now coursing through your body, you put one foot in front of the other.

In the dining room, you look under the dinner table and you see crusty breakfast cereal that was never cleaned up and has now permanently attached itself to the carpet.  No need for a baby book, here!  Dynamite will not loosen it!  You’ll be able to point out to the kids -once they’re grown ups- the ACTUAL food they used to eat.  Astounding!

You walk- well, you shuffle, anyways- into the living room, scream, and search for another room -ANY other room- to run to.  You at once think about attaching yellow caution tape to section off the unnatural disaster, but in the end, all you REALLY want to do is find a safe zone.  Every man for himself- if someone else is crazy enough to enter, that’s THEIR problem.  You hurry past the living room, trying desperately to rid your mind of the horrors you just witnessed, as well as trying to find your footing on a floor you cannot see.

You say a small prayer and work your way toward the kitchen- or, what, in an ideal setting, MIGHT be a kitchen.  You know that before this place was inhabited there was a sink.  You look to where you saw it last and gasp- a pile of dishes 50 feet high now engulfs the entire left side of the room.  No wonder you couldn’t see the kitchen through the pass-thru- the pass-thru is now a wall consisting of dirty cereal bowls, pots, pans, and the rest of what must surely be all the dishes and utensils the home holds.

What’s that smell?  Oh, GROSS- one of the kids must have found a moldy sippy cup and set it on the counter.  Better late than never; and at least it shows that they were cleaning out their room, right?  RIGHT?

To keep from gagging, you hurry on your way to check on the rest of the apartment.  First stop?  The guest bathroom- a.k.a. the Boys’ Bathroom.

Upon entering, you pause at the toilet- can males NEVER learn how to aim properly?!?!  You feel a need -an uncontrollable URGE- to get clean, but that’s not going to happen in THIS sink.  Somewhere along the line, the middle child felt the need to squeeze out an entire tube of toothpaste into the sink.  The bathroom is smelling minty fresh, though, so you thank God for the little things and back on out.

That’s when you feel the need to run.  To run fast and hard and long to escape what -in some distorted definitions- might be described as a room, but OH NO!  Not THIS place!  Much like a 20 car pile up or a nuclear explosion, you want to look away, but can’t.  As you gaze from the door -because that’s as far as you can make it- you think you see the faintest of outlines of a set of bunk beds and possibly a small table and -HA!- and organizational device that must have been left for comedic purposes because its OBVIOUSLY not in use…

Did something MOVE in there?!?!?!?!?!

You slowly creep away -to avoid being attacked by whatever is currently occupying the space- and turn to head toward the master bedroom.  You want to wash your brain to get rid of the scenes you’ve just encountered, but you can’t.  You realize with a resigned feeling that once you’re out of here, you will need to undergo therapy for PTSD.

The master is the only room where you aren’t scared.  The bathroom is clean!  The bed is made!  No toys to be found!  Serene music coming from the iPOD set up, and…

-what’s that rocking back and forth in the corner over there?

THAT would be me, people.  And, let’s be honest now- if you were living in the place I just described, wouldn’t you be going a little crazy, too?

Self Esteem? What’s that?

I’ve figured out that becoming a mom can really mess with your self-esteem.

Sure, you did something that no man could do- and kudos to you for doing it!- but I’m pretty sure- no, I’m positive- that if men were actually ABLE to give birth, the human race would have ended with Cain…

and I’m not so sure I would have blamed Adam in the least.

So, maybe boasting about my ability to run the race that is “labor and delivery” is less of an accomplishment and more of a walking, talking testament to my insanity.  When you really think about it, all moms are masochists.  Even if you didn’t willingly go through labor or a c-section- if you took the adoption route- you still made a conscious decision to let your heart walk around outside of your body.  If that’s not asking for pain, I don’t know what is.

And then, after its all said and done, not only do you have a baby to show for your efforts, but now you have many other “badges of honor”: bags under your eyes from lack of sleep, a saggy stomach, stretch marks, and swollen- well, yeah.  I’m actually in awe of the women I hear about with kids only 10 months apart- with them, for WANTING their husbands near them so soon after, but also with their husbands, for not being scared off.

Me?  I did everything but put up a barbed wire fence around my side of the bed.

Of course, my husband is wonderful.  He tells me I’m beautiful everyday.  I love his dishonesty.  Its like that song that says “Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies”- it NEARLY changes my perception of myself momentarily when I look in the mirror.

Nearly.

Until my  sweet, honest 4 year old climbs onto my lap and says,”I love how fluffy you are, Mom.”

“So, you wanted boys, huh?”

Noah was given an ark to build. Moses was sent to lead God’s people through the desert to the promised land. And me? God gave me boys.
Its funny how after you have one boy, people ask you with every succeeding pregnancy, “So, are you going to try for that girl?” My answer is a resounding “NO”.
I’m pretty sure that God wanted to ensure that I never try for another child by keeping my hands full with 3 boys. Yes, we wanted 3 kids- 3 boys? Debatable. Sure, we knew what to expect with boys… but there’s the problem: we knew what to expect with boys. Well, we THOUGHT we knew what to expect with boys. I’m starting to wonder more and more as they get older.
Today I walked in on my 2 oldest sons using whatever wasn’t nailed down as projectiles. These items included, but were not limited to, blocks, crayons, and -at one point- a plush Elmo chair that actually sang as it hit Jacob. It was as if Elmo was singing out a war cry, which seemed to instigate Jacob, who retaliated by picking up a tee ball bat and swinging it at his older brother’s head. Cameron quickly used a pillow as a shield while wielding a plastic drumstick, but Jacob couldn’t have cared less because he was already on top of a craft table they have in their room ready to jump on his brother’s mid-section.
I’m unsure of why I allowed the fight to go on that long-
Eh, who am I kidding? It was a long day and if they knocked each other out, I wouldn’t have had to listen to another fight later.
Which I did.
Because I ended up stopping that particular fight just in time.Eh, give me a break- blood is difficult to get out of fabric surfaces.  I couldn’t have let it go on too much longer.
And no, I won’t tell you who “won”, although, in the future, if you see Jacob’s name in lights at a boxing match, don’t hesitate to place your bet on him. The kid has some moves. Its as if he’s being positioned by some unseen force…
When I finally stepped in, though, to stop the madness, that’s when I realized that this -these boys- are my mission from God. They looked at me with pissed off looks and whined, “But mom! We were having fun!” Yeah. Fun. Its all fun and games until Elmo takes you out.
If I can raise them up to adulthood without them killing each other (or me killing them- I’m kidding! Sort of.), then I’ll win God’s favor.
I have to tell myself this, honestly, because its either this or God is up in Heaven right now saying, “HA! You asked for 3 kids! Well, here you go!”