Maybe I’m Doing it Wrong?

I don’t know whether or not being a stay-at-home parent is the hardest job in the world. I haven’t had every other job in the world. I have had my fair share of jobs. Jobs that I was fairly successful in. Jobs that I was pretty confident in. I know that, in comparison to those jobs, this one is definitely the hardest. Definitely.

Staying at home with my kids is undoubtedly the most rewarding thing I have ever done. It is also the most thankless, frustrating, lonely, isolating, and lowest paying thing I have ever done. And I know that I just made being a SAHM sound like the worst thing that anyone could ever do. And it isn’t. But it is, to me, definitely all of those things. But, obviously, that’s just the stuff that makes me want to stick my head in the oven.

Having a toddler is like trying to ride across country on a stationary bike.

I wake up, change her, feed her, play with her, clean up after her, try and deal with 17 tantrums before lunch, feed her again…you know…lather, rinse, repeat. But no matter how much I clean up, she is one step ahead. Destroying some other part of the house. And all that food I just swept up from under the high chair? I think someone just retrieved it from the garbage and placed it right back where it just was. And there is screaming about nap time. And the Today Show. And tooth brushing. And rain. And a closed door. (Like, if there is a closed door ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, my daughter knows about it and she HATES it. Which reminds me of this giant, orange cat I used to have.) I, now, fully understand these “Terrible Twos” I have been hearing so much about. And I hate them. (And then people tell me that THREE is worse. Which is SO AWESOME, because by the time I have a three-year-old, I will also have another two-year-old. I really screwed myself here, didn’t I?)

But this whole merry-go-round of crazy is sort of what I expected to happen with her. I mean, I have met toddlers before. I know they can be pint-size jerk-faces with wicked tempers and strong little wills. I knew that. What I wasn’t expecting, and what I couldn’t have expected not knowing exactly everything about everything, was how hard it was going to be to do all of this toddler stuff, while somehow also managing to keep a very large infant alive. You know, and sometimes even HAPPY.

What I’m saying is that I do all of that toddler stuff. And sometimes I do it while carrying a 25 lb infant. And sometimes there are two VERY unhappy kids in my house, both screaming for me at the same time. One is screaming because “OH MY GOD, THE TODAY SHOW!” and the other is screaming because “OH MY GOD, THAT OTHER SHORT PERSON IS HARSHING MY MELLOW*!” And then I want to cry. I try to hide in the bathroom for sixteen seconds but as soon as the door closes, almost to the point of the click of the knob, there is more screaming. Then more screaming from the other one. I have been discovered trying to sneak away. A door has almost completely closed. GASP!

There are still infinite bottles to wash and fill and feed to the baby. And there are infinite Cheerios and there are infinite tantrums and faces full of spaghetti sauce and diaper changes and nap-time battles and night wakings and sometimes, Mommy just straight LOSES HER SHIT. And sometimes I just wish that I could have A WHOLE DAY wherein no one spoke to me. No one asked me for anything. No one bothered me at all. I would sit by a pool with a book and a cocktail. And I would remember what those days were like when I didn’t have someone attached to me every second of every day.

And then I know I would miss all of this stuff. Because the babies laughing, you guys? The best sound in the world. And I’ve never had a job that paid in baby laughs. (I am not sure I would have accepted that job, though? I mean…that’s a confusing thing to think about. Because I really also like to get paid with money.) And okay, maybe I wouldn’t miss diaper changing. And temper tantrums. But I would TOTALLY miss playing and giggling and hugs and kisses and all the twirling I get to do with my little lady.

But seriously, you guys…hardest job I’ve ever had. And the noisiest. Holy shitballs. The noise.

*Seriously, if you know which movie this is from, you’re as sad as I am for quoting it. Yep. I said it.

**I just read this post by AM and this is absolutely not a rebuttal. I laughed my face off when I read her post because I was halfway through this one and thinking, “Dammit. What am I doing WRONG?! And I wonder if she would come over and show me how to work it! Ooooh! And maybe she’d bring booze!”

An Open Letter to Baby O: Ten Months

Oh, Oliver. My dear, sweet, adorable little man. You are getting so ridiculously big. You are almost not a baby anymore. It is so amazing to me how quickly this year has flown by. Just a year ago last week, we had your baby shower. I called it a “sprinkle” because I felt like it was a little insane of me to have had two full-on baby showers in 13 months. But, that doesn’t matter. It was a big party. And it was a whole year ago. And you are here and you are already turning into your own little person.

The last ten months has flown by, for sure. It is such a gift to have been able to stay home with you and watch you grow and explore this new world. It has been INSANELY difficult to be a stay-at-home-mom. But it has been well worth it (most days). I can’t help but feel that your infancy is going by too fast for me though. I mean, there have been plenty of times when I have wished you were walking and talking and capable of entertaining yourself (and/or your sister) so that I could step out of the room for 35 seconds without someone starting to wail like a hyena. But mostly, I feel like, when your sister was your age, she had me all to herself. And your dad was not working 16-hour days. And I wish that I could give you all of my attention. At least sometimes. But you seem to be happy. You are cuddly and completely smoochable. ALL THE TIME. (Well, except when you are screaming, which is rare and usually occurs when you REALLY don’t want to go to bed. But, unlike your sister, you usually settle down on your own and sleep like a little angel. You know…usually.) I promise that your dad is doing all that he can do right now to find a job that will allow him more time with all of us. And I promise that when that happens, you and I are gonna have some really good one-on-one time. Because you, sir, are the cutest, best boy I know. And I want ALL OF THE SNUGGLES.

You still look like a tiny version of your dad. Your eyes are big , like mine (but they are the color of Daddy’s), and your hair is blonde, like mine. But there is no denying that you’re his. (Not that there was ever any doubt! Don’t worry!)

You aren’t crawling yet. This, I must say, doesn’t surprise me. Your sister never really crawled either. You are lead to believe, when you have a baby, that all of you little nuggets do the same stuff. You know, generally. Not so, little dude. You and your sister are very different little people. But you have this, never wanting to crawl thing in common. You do, however, have a GREAT interest in squirming away from people when they are trying to hold you. Which poses a problem because you can’t GO ANYWHERE YET and you are more likely to end up on your head than anything else. We are working on getting you walking as soon as possible. Because your little noggin…your poor little noggin. The good news is that you stand REALLY well (assisted) and today actually cruised a little bit. And you turned all the way around to reach for me. It was a pretty exciting time. You looked very proud of yourself. And I took 87 pictures with my phone. Because…well…I’m your biggest fan.

You are lying down on the couch next to me right now, furiously kicking me while I type and throwing toys onto the floor. You seem very pleased with all of the noise you are making. You are very fond of making noise. A LOT OF NOISE. But I forgive you, because you are really cute. And I plan to pay you back for all of this noise when you are older. One word: AIRHORN. Be warned.

You have seven teeth and you feed yourself like you have been doing it all of your little life. You needed no instruction with a sippy cup at all. You’re just all grown up already. I have your college applications ready.

As always, I am so in love with you. More and more every day and I just thank all the gods and goddesses that had a part in bringing you to me. You are beautiful and amazing and I couldn’t be happier to get to be your mom.

To the moon and back,
Mom

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I’m Finally Doing It! (Alternately Titled: Swaggy McSwaggerson)

So, L is going to be turning 2. Like, super soon. And I have been hinting at a giveaway for awhile. And I have been deciding whether or not I want to give you guys booze or drink it myself. (I have, obviously, opted to drink it myself. Naturally.) But in honor of my L’s SECOND (holy shitballs, you guys!) birthday, I am giving one of you lucky followers a birthday gift! Hooray for you! The contest will start on May 1st and run through midnight on May 19th (L’s birthday) and you have to like the Broken Condoms Blog FB page to enter! I promise, I will not send you broken condoms. I swear to Cheesus.

Seriously.

Good luck! XO!

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Milestones are Stupid Bastards

Crystal @ Broken Condoms Blog:

I just re-read this post that I wrote 11 days before L’s first birthday. I realized that, not only is L still a total jerk in the sleep department, but this whole thing is about to happen all over again with Baby O. M. GEE. You guys. What the hell am I going to DO?!

Originally posted on Broken Condoms:

Since Baby L has discovered that, not only does she not hate her walker, but that she can move freely about the house without anyone chasing her and removing her from dangerous spots, she has become a fiend.  But not just for the walker. For standing and cruising and being mobile every way that she possibly can. Like, all the time. Even while sleeping.

I’ve read that it is normal for babies, while going through developmental changes, to have sleep disturbances. And that sometimes, with all the new stuff they are learning, it is difficult for their little minds and bodies to slow down enough to sleep like they had been used to doing. And man, internet, are we learning this or WHAT.

Baby L is a giant asshole when it comes to sleeping troubled sleeper.  She always has been. She wants to be on me. Or near me…

View original 766 more words

A Cruel Joke

Okay, you guys. Seriously. I am writing this from the edge of insanity.

L has decided that sleep is no longer necessary for her. She has, since right after her first birthday, been good about going to sleep on her own, in her bed, for naps and at bedtime. We lay her down awake, she goes to sleep, ba-da-bing. But for the last three days, she has been standing up in her crib and IMMEDIATELY starting to scream like she is being murdered. And today, it happened at naptime too. BA-DA-BOOM.

I took her to the doctor on Thursday last week because she was acting a little funny. Like, she was extra sleepy and extra clingy and the pediatrician told me that she has a virus (she has a few spots on her throat) but they did a rapid strep test and she was negative (THANK CHEESUS, because we just went through that…) and she hadn’t had a fever. But she had been sleeping fine at that point. Now, this starts. What IS this? Night terrors? The Terrible Twos? WHAT? Last night, after 40 minutes of trying to let her CIO, which I almost never do, I called the after-hours doctor on call and she told me to just let her keep screaming and that she would eventually go to sleep. Which I did. And she did. But I felt terrible. Worn down. Stressed out. Angry. I mean, first of all, who wants to hear their child scream for over an hour? Secondly, SERIOUSLY?! Isn’t that kind of MEAN? But I did it. And I did it again today when she was refusing to nap. And I made it exactly 61 minutes before I gave in so that I could FINALLY put Baby O down for his nap, and I went in and got her. And I told her to lie on the couch and stay there. And she did. She didn’t sleep. But she laid there quietly until I came and sat next to her. And now she is imitating me as I type this.

Have you guys ever experienced anything like this? What did you do? How do I make the shit stop? Because, I mean, I obviously can’t put drugs in her apple juice. Duh.

MB said to me today, “Just be strong. If you get her up now, she will never learn.” But I think he is an idiot. And I think his proximity to the blood curdling screaming may be making this a little easier for him to say.

Why I Need to Baby-Proof My Husband

Childproofing is a bitch.

We were pretty lax about it when we started because L didn’t seem to have much interest in things that weren’t HER things. Or, you know, my hair. So, we covered the outlets, and she figured out how to pull the little things out of the plugs and bring them to me. She unplugged all of the night lights. She seemed, not so much to want to play with the outlets themselves, but that anything that was in them should be brought straight to me. So, obviously, those little white plug things didn’t really help with anything. Really, the only thing that did any good was watching her round the clock so that she didn’t electrocute herself. We didn’t pad the corners of the tables and we didn’t put those SUPER ANNOYING plastic cabinet locks on everything because I found that she really only gets into the tupperware and, lets be honest, I doubt that a plastic bowl will be the cause of her first major injury. (We have them on SOME cabinets, but only the ones that contain any sort of cleaning chemicals and things of the like but I think that I actually have a harder time getting past them than she would. Parent-proof.) Then she started climbing on everything. Nothing is safe. How do you childproof for that? They don’t make a baby spray that repels babies away from dangerous things. You know, like that spray they make for pets that makes them not want to climb on/pee on things? (They really should develop this for babies. Because, aside from smearing peas on everything she could climb on, I can’t think of anything that would deter her.)

I can tell that I am going to have to, very soon, start re-evaluating this whole “baby-proofing” thing because Baby O is getting there. And by “getting there” I mean he is mobile enough to GET to things that are small enough to put in his mouth, however, not yet mobile enough to climb onto the dining room table and take a flying leap from it. And I have this feeling that it won’t be long before he will discover plugs. And cabinets. And…all sorts of potentially dangerous things…

Which brings me to my point: I can handle baby-proofing the house. Because I am home with the kids all day and I have developed a pretty good sense of what they can and WILL get into. I can see the little twinkle in their eyes when they see something intriguing. Like…anything that they can swallow and/or choke themselves with. I am getting SO good at spotting these things before they become an issue, you guys. SO GOOD. But I think I need to figure out how to childproof my husband.

MB seems completely oblivious to the fact that we have one kid who would love nothing more than for our entire house to be a climbing wall and another who would love for it to be made of tiny, brightly colored things that he can “taste”. So, he comes home from work, empties the day’s worth of tiny metal screws, nuts, and other weird stuff, pieces of wire, you name it, out of his pockets and onto a placemat on the kitchen table. We have a high table. No problem, right? Wrong, MB. You could not be more wrong. L can reach the place mat. She can reach it and she can pull it down, spilling tiny pieces of metal all over the kitchen floor. And even on my best day, I cannot guarantee that I got every speck of everything that has landed on the kitchen floor. So those little pieces travel into the living room. And become little potential killers of our baby. I tell him and I tell him and I tell him. And he cannot seem to wrap his head around the idea that he could just leave it in his work truck and then there would be no such issue.

I don’t know if this is a daddy thing or a parent who works outside the home thing or what…It just seems like none of this ever occurs to him. How can that be? After all the crazy he went about those stupid little plug things…

I googled “How to baby-proof your husband” but all I got was a bunch of relationship advice for new parents. Hell…maybe I should read that too? I am pretty sure killing your husband because he leaves tiny metal things all over the place isn’t the way to go…

Ten and a Half Things

There are so many things that I want to teach my kids. I want them to appreciate people. And life. And art. And love. And I want them to embrace their individuality. I want them to recognize that they are unlike any other people on earth. That they have skills and talents and strengths that no one else can match. And I want to empower them to find out what those things are. I am especially concerned about being a good role model for my daughter because I feel that I, as a woman, have to pave the way for her to become a proud, self-sufficient, confident woman too. And that is so scary to me. Because what if I fail? I think about this often. So often, in fact, that I map out conversations we will have when she is thirteen, sixteen, eighteen, twenty-two…I try and imagine how I will handle the hard questions. The ones that I wasn’t brave enough to ask or that no one was brave enough to answer for me. It all makes my head spin.

But then, what about my son? He has an amazing role model in MB. He really does. MB is kind and generous and thoughtful and loves his own mother (which is a really great way to tell if a man is worth your time, by the way he treats his mama) and would do anything for his family. And that is all great. But I started thinking about my contributions, or what they will be, to my son’s life and how they will differ from what MB brings to the table. I want so much for him. I want him to be the kind of man that his father is. But, and I think every parent can identify with this, I want him to be better than us. Better than the best.

I keep trying to figure out what I want to say to him in these moments in his life when he dares to ask me the hard questions. I keep thinking about what my responses will be. And I don’t know any of the answers right now. I know that being a girl is hard business. I, obviously, can’t speak about being a boy and growing up. So, I guess I will play it all by ear. Because, aside from directing him to MB every time he has any concerns or questions about anything, what else can I do?

I do, however, have a few things I want him to know. You know, from me. The one who carried him in her uterus for a really long effing time.

1. No one will EVER love you as much as I do. Ever. Like, there is no possible way that this could happen. You just remember that.

2. Don’t be a dick. Listen. There are going to be times that you will feel like you aren’t good enough. And everyone has those moments. And kids are mean. And they will make you feel that way ON PURPOSE. Don’t buy into that stuff. Don’t let people make you feel that way and DON’T DO IT TO ANYONE ELSE. (Do you hear me, son? Don’t be a dick.)

3. Don’t let anyone push you around. Don’t go around punching people in the throat. But don’t take any shit either. You are better than that. And if they are pushing you around, you are also better than THEM. Know that.

4. Be kind to the ladies. And not just because you hope they will make out with you under the bleachers. Be kind to the ones that you have no interest in making out with too. Because she is someone’s sister. She also possibly has a brother who will kick your ass. And, I have to tell you, son, I am not sure I would blame him. I have threatened many, many people for my own sister. So…

5. Don’t listen to the radio too much. This doesn’t sound like a big deal. But I have NO idea what kind of crap will be happening on the airwaves when you are older. I know what kind of crap is happening now. And pop culture is a trap. I am not saying that you aren’t allowed to listen to popular music. I am just saying that you shouldn’t let it suck all of the intelligence out of your head. (If you need an example of what I am talking about, please Google “2 Chainz”. The end.)

6. Laugh at yourself. PLEASE do not take yourself too seriously. PLEASE. You are amazing. But you are flawed. And sometimes, you are going to do things that are SO STUPID. And the only way to get through that stuff without sticking your head in the oven is to laugh like a madman at yourself. And it is OKAY.

7. Please, also know that your parents are flawed. We are going to do our damndest to make you proud. Seriously. But we are going to mess up. Probably a lot. But it is just because parenting is like driving while blindfolded.

8. Find something that you love and DO IT. I don’t care if it is cooking, writing, music, Civil War reenactment, ballet or football. Just do it. (I am not a fan of football, so I would prefer ANY of the others over this. But…whatever.) Don’t let me or anyone else tell you what you want to do or what you SHOULD do. You just follow your bliss. And I will be right there. (With a painted face and some kind of jersey on if absolutely necessary. Again. I would prefer…cooking maybe?)

9. When you love, love with your whole heart. And yes. It could get broken. And yes. That shit is scary as hell. But I promise, you will appreciate this advice someday. I PROMISE.

10. Be honest. Just don’t lie, man. No one likes that. NO ONE LIKES THAT.

10.5. Just remember that your father and I love you. Just because you are you. That’s all we need from you.

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