Its just a dent- it’ll buff out

My youngest, Nicholas, no longer has his new baby smell.
Just so we’re clear, I mean that in the metaphorical sense, not the literal. Personally, I could do without the dirty diaper/spit up smell that comes in most brand new models, so I’m definitely not going to complain about losing that.
No, I’m talking about him officially losing his “newness”. With cars, it might be that first scratch or spilled soda on the interior; with a new house, maybe its the family dog peeing on your brand new carpet; with my brand new baby, though, I let him roll off the bed.
Its not like I intentionally invited him over the edge into the abyss. I set him on the bed in a mound of blankets and then turned my head for a millisecond.  Unfortunately, that was the millisecond my sweet little 2 month old decided to roll over for the first time.
Just so we’re clear, he’s ok. However, the new baby feel? Right out the window. He made it through his first tumble alive. He’s no longer a baby- he’s a warrior. He stared death in the face and mocked it openly.
Ok, so I might be overstating the direness of the situation.
Its funny how parents’ reactions change with each child that comes along. When my oldest son fell off the bed-
Yes. He fell off the bed too. Its nearly a right of passage for the boys in our home. I don’t know why- it just is.
Anyways, when my oldest son fell off the bed for the first time, I practically wanted to take him to the hospital to get an entire work up- EKG, EEG- the works. When my 4 year old fell off the bed, I was scared, cried, but then started to laugh when my husband pointed out that if he makes it nowhere else in the world, he’ll have a lucrative career in the circus because his flip technique was impeccable. Today, when Nicholas fell off the bed, I sat down at this computer, updated my Facebook status detailing my failure as a mom, and then proceeded with this entry. 
Not that I want another child- I’ve said that a 3rd boy was God’s way of saying “don’t do it again”- but I’m wondering if I would just toss him off the side of the bed to get it over with, saying,”You’re going to do it anyways…”
Too much? 

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!”

Mommy Guilt

In the last 10 years that I’ve been a mom, the biggest annoyance I’ve found isn’t with kids that argue- although that IS annoying; it isn’t with finding the curdled milk sippy cups stuffed under the couch that I had told my preschooler to put in the sink…a week ago- though, that IS disgusting; it isn’t even with the constant battle over messy rooms.
No. The biggest annoyance?
Mommy guilt.
Its like a fly that won’t leave you alone.
“You should take your kids to the park!”
Bzz.
“You should be spending more time with your kids!”
Bzzz.
“Your kids should have nicer clothes!”
Bzzzz.
“You should be breastfeeding!”
BZZZZ!!!
Now, usually these statements that go through my mind are followed by the tiniest, most pitiful of whimpers in defense of my actions, and they usually all stem from me trying to do something for myself or something out of my control:
But its raining.”
But you’re trying to eat, sleep, clean, etc.”
But you can’t afford it.”
But your boobs were getting ripped off by that little creature and you look SO much nicer with a set.”
The problem is that they’re merely whimpers and its difficult to hear whimpers over loud, blaring THX surround sound volume.
Its a bit pathetic, actually. Personally, deep down, I know I deserve a medal just for keeping them alive. I mean, if you knew me, you’d understand- I don’t have a green thumb. Mine is black. Plants only come to me if they’re looking for a way to die. I’ve tried growing plants from seeds- they die. I thought that my problem was that I didn’t know how to nurture them into mature, strong, independent plants, so I bought plants that were already mature, strong, and independent. All that did was prove that I know how to take away the will to live from plants of all ages. In fact, I’m pretty sure I saw one plant take its own life when it realized who was taking it home, because it was slumped over the stake in its pot (describing the type of plant it was) as if it was trying to drive it through its heart. That one was brown by the time we reached my house.
All that to say, I’m doing a pretty awesome job of just keeping 3 kids alive and thriving, so I shouldn’t feel bad when things don’t go EXACTLY according to my wacked out fairy tale idea of mommyhood, right?
So, I’ll TAKE that shower so I’m not stinky and dirty looking! I can wrestle 5 minutes to myself. I washed my hair last week anyways.
I’ll eat that sandwich- heck, I’ll eat it at the table sitting down! Ok, that’s pushing it. The counter maybe. I’ll eat it AT the counter. A half a sandwich. Ok, a piece of bread! I’ll eat that piece of bread without fear of neglecting my kids!
And I won’t worry about the breastfeeding, bottle feeding battle!  If I choose to breastfeed, well, God gave me 2 boobs for a reason, right?  Isn’t one of them supposed to be a spare?  And if I choose to bottle feed then I will accept the consequences of possible BPA poisoning and psychological damages that stem from not having a mommy who gave him her boobs to give him life.

Oh, who am I kidding?
I WILL win the Mommy of the Year award!
Um, can you send it to the tired, dirty looking, boobless, anorexic gal rocking back and forth in the corner? Yeah, that’s me.

Ah, the sounds of nature

As you slowly open your eyes, you can see sunlight overhead.  In the distance, you can hear water trickling and smell coffee brewing.  You’ve barely raised your head off your pillow when you hear the sounds of something akin to a National Geographic special on animal packs- growling, hissing, screeches of pain…

One might think they were camping somewhere off in the wilderness.  Not you.  You know that you’re home, and those sounds you hear aren’t TECHNICALLY animals- they’re your children trying desperately to thin the herd.

Unfortunately for me, I cannot afford ignorance.  I know all too well that I’m not camping, although the question of whether or not the  sounds are coming from wild animals is debatable.  I’ve read in books about small children who awaken their sleeping parents with cereal, convinced they’re helping guard their parents’ hearts against the evils of cholesterol-

-or was that a Cheerios commercial?-

-either way, I’ve heard the tales of small children who behave in a way that makes their parents go,”Awwww….”, but so far I’ve only experienced small children that make ME go,”Ahhhhhhh!!!!”  Small children (with not-so-smallish intentions to maim and destroy) who awaken me with the gentle blood curdling screams that only a mother could ignore.  Sounds of crashing and evil laughter gently rouse me from my peaceful dreams, while every nerve in my body screams at me to run as if a hungry bear were on my tail.  But, much like you wouldn’t be able to outrun the bear, I can’t escape my job as mom- or, as I lovingly refer to myself, zookeeper.

Suuuuure, camping is great if you want fresh air and scenic views, but if you want to save a few bucks, let me know.  I have a big living room where you can pitch a tent and wait for the howling to start.

The Greatest Diet Plan EVER!

Tired of all the weight you gained during pregnancy- either your own, or your wife’s? I’ve got a GREAT diet plan. I guarantee you that if you follow this -to the letter- that you’ll be back in your pre-pregnancy pants in no time. As a precaution, I must inform you that -before starting any diet plan- you should check with your doctor first.
First, make sure your baby has colic. If you’re baby doesn’t have colic, but is just difficult (i.e.-a normal baby), this will still work, but you might have to try a little harder. If you were one of the blessed individuals who had an easy baby, whisper a prayer of thanks and stop reading here. Chances are you were also one of the ones that wore your pre-pregnancy pants out of the hospital, and therefore you have no need to read any further.
Now that you have your colic-y/ difficult baby in hand, you are permitted a brief moment in which to cry hysterically and throw a brief tantrum. Its good for the soul, but its also good for getting your heart rate up. There now- you just lost a few warm up calories. I bet you’re feeling skinny already!
The next step in this incredible diet is to listen to your baby cry hysterically until you finally give in and walk him/her around the block a couple of times. Since most colic-y babies have their witching hour around the same time every day for longer than a half an hour, this will ensure that you not only get the doctor recommended half hour of exercise, but you’ll probably rack up some bonus hours as well. “But his crying will cause the neighbors to think that I’m torturing him!”, you might say. All the better, I say! You’ll be forced to walk faster (since the cracks in the sidewalk will help to tame his demons), thereby increasing your heart rate and metabolism. Presto! Quicker fat loss!
After you’ve walked around the block until the soles of your shoes have worn off, you’ll probably be hungry, which brings me to my next secret of dieting success- little food. I don’t mean eating small objects. I mean, eating small amounts. Let’s face it, if you’re experiencing the horror that is a colic-y baby, you epitomize the definition of “fast food”. Anything that can be held in one hand and eaten quickly is your meal of choice: sandwiches, corn/hot dogs, small hamburgers, Snickers candy bars, etc. “But none of that is very healthy!”, you might complain. Well, #1, neither is skipping meals altogether, but also, you’re only eating what can fit into one hand, and isn’t portion control what doctors everywhere stress when speaking to their patients? And, let’s not forget- you’re burning off all those unwanted calories (see last step described).
If you’re either unable to walk around the block for some reason; it has no positive affect on your baby’s cries; or you’re just looking to increase your workout benefits, you also have the alternative option of what I like to call “Rocking Sit ups”. In this twist on an oldie but goodie, you sit on the edge of the bed and rock your body back and forth while holding your baby. If you’d like, you can combine a couple of the steps- maybe try this while crying? Screaming burns calories, as well, but I wouldn’t recommend adding that to the routine unless your baby is out of ear shot, as it has a tendency to cause your tiny dictator to increase his own volume. This exercise also has a fun twist as you can change it up once your kiddo is older: when you’re past the point of frustration and starting to lose it, find the nearest corner and rock back and forth.
If, however, you’ve reached a point where you’re just too tired to walk or rock, here are two routines you can try that are more of a band-aid than a solution, but they still work. Sometimes you just need a quick fix to boost your self esteem, anyway:
Once your baby has you in tears from exhaustion and frustration, take a quick peek in the bathroom mirror- the tears will instantly distort your vision and take away your ability to see your body fully. Voila! Instant fat loss! Sure, at the back of your mind you know its still there, but before you allow that to drive you into deeper depression, remember that your red face with puffy eyes and snot running out of your nose is now bound to draw a LOT more attention than those few pounds you gained during your pregnancy.
Yeah, your right- that doesn’t help nearly as much as the other routines I just posted. Well, as I said, these non-exercise routines are merely band-aids- not solutions.
Now, the next routine only usually works for first time moms (since most well-seasoned moms said good bye to sleep LONG ago), but if you’ve got 2 or more kids already, you MIGHT be able to do this step, due to the pure exhaustion of the multitude of tasks on your already full plate. I’m talking about INSOMNIA. During this step, the lack of sleep causes you to LITERALLY forget who you are, what you originally wanted for yourself in the first place, as well as, the inability to care about what you look like. A word of caution in performing this routine, though: performed incorrectly, there’s a chance you could alienate everyone around you, defeating the purpose of losing weight.
Sure, you could argue that you’re trying to lose weight for HEALTH reasons, but who are you fooling?
I must also point out that BORROWING someone’s colic-y baby to lose non-pregnancy related weight gain is not only allowed, but its encouraged!  I’m sure the parents of that baby would embrace the idea of handing over their crying baby to you to further your weight loss goals, if you so chose.  You might want to do one of 2 things if you take this route, though:  either, 1- write up a contract stating that you’ll take the baby for its first 6 months of life (since continuous work on the program is the fastest way to your goal weight), or 2- find out the times that the baby is most colic-y, and write up a contract stating you’ll take him/her during those times.  This will help you tremendously, as the parents of colic-y babies quickly fall unknowingly into this weight loss routine and you don’t want to lose out.
As I said at the beginning, I urge you to check with your health care professional to be sure that this diet is the right one for you before trying it, but I’m sure that there are many of these routines you are already performing- its just a matter of combining some of them and working on them daily. After all, dedication to the diet plan is the surest way to ensure optimum results.
Let me know if any of these techniques work for you! I always love to hear feedback!

And I made this choice 3 TIMES…

I want the instruction manual that was supposed to come with my kids.

I also want to know why I was never allowed to register my kids to receive a longer warranty.

Ya know, you bring home this soft, sweet smelling, adorable little bundle and you think “Wow, he’s all mine.” And that first night you start looking around for the missing manual.

Its nowhere to be found.

Still, you think “I can do this”, so you stick it out. Little do you know that he’s prepping his lungs because- like any other muscle- he knows that if you don’t use it, you lose it.

You tell yourself “At least he’s healthy” and then its “Wow, do his lungs really inflate THAT MUCH?”.
Then after awhile you find yourself sleep deprived muttering useless things like “Now, now. There are coyotes in 3rd world countries that don’t have lungs as strong as his”.

Doesn’t make much sense, huh?

Did I mention “sleep deprived”?

As you continue to rock this child (secretly starting to wish that you could rocket him into orbit) it hits you that you’ll never be able to give him back.

You think about calling the hospital and asking about the return policy, but you remember how they gave a nervous chuckle when you joked about taking one of them home to help out, and you think better of it.

You console yourself with the fact that he won’t always be this age- needing you so much. Days turn into weeks, weeks into months, months into years. Suddenly you’re looking at this CHILD who isn’t a BABY anymore and you find yourself thinking “He’s not a baby anymore. He doesn’t need me at all.”

From somewhere in the distance you hear a subtle ticking.

As it gets louder and louder, the logical side of your brain tells you “Run!!! Run while you have the chance and don’t look back!!!”

Yet you reminisce about the soft, sweet smelling, adorable little bundle you brought home from the hospital.

You don’t stop to think about why hospitals have decidedly short stay times for new moms.

Baby with colic?

No problem- he’ll be going home in 1 DAY!!

As the ticking becomes the only sound you hear, the logical side becomes less of a yell and more of a pitiful whimper in anticipation of what’s to come.

For months you hear nothing but joyful thoughts of cribs and play pens.

And then it happens.

Your blessed first born starts to realize that he isn’t going to be the only one, and the acting out begins.

Suddenly, the logical side of your brain wakes up from the self-induced coma and starts to wail- too late.

Now you’re back at the beginning, and its not so bad.

The labor wasn’t THAT difficult- now that its over.

And he’s just this tiny, little, helpless thing.

So soft.

So cuddly.

A sweet scent of baby powder.

Oh, poor baby… he’s crying…