Time Flies

Oh, dearest Blog of mine,

Where has the time gone? I remember a time when my only worry in the world was how I would ever get all of the Cheerios out from between the couch cushions before MB got home! Remember? L and O were just little tiny loaves of precious baby and I was all aflutter about the joy and chaos of parenthood. Until, well…Until I was close to a breakdown because of that whole chaos part.

I am here to report to you, my dear friend, that the chaos has far from slowed. L has just turned 4 and O will be three in exactly one week. There are still Cheerios everywhere. But now there is also couch diving and wall coloring and kicking and hitting and blood. Yes, sometimes there is blood. Because adorable, clumsy little O is ALL boy and falls on his face a lot. (Which only partially surprises me because his body has just now started to catch up with the size of gargantuan cranium. Some choice family members used to call him “Frankenhead”.)

I have to say, I have genuinely missed blogging. I have. I would have thought that, once these little monsters were a little older, I would have MORE time to myself. I would have thought that they would be more independent and able to entertain each other and I would be able to sit down, have a cup of coffee, and…you could really just insert anything here because at this point, sitting down and having a cup of coffee would really be enough. The rest is just a pipe dream anyway.

MB is, at least, now working at a job that affords us time together. And he actually even has time off, (Gasp!) and can take some of the responsibilities away from me so I can shower without imagining I am hearing blood curdling screams from the living room every time I lather up my (insanely long and unmanicured) hair. The truth is, this parenting thing KICKS MY ASS pretty regularly. It is not without its charms. But, true to form, I still want to stick my effing head in the oven at least once per day. One day, I will enlighten you. That day can’t be today. Because it is 3pm and there is half a sandwich, torn into about 300,000 pieces sitting on the floor in front of me and I fear that if I don’t get off of my ass soon and clean it up, the kids will wake up from their naps and be STARVING (because they are ALWAYS starving, unless it is a meal time) and eat it. Sometimes, I think that if I stopped giving them meals and just tossed food at them while they run back and forth from room to room, we wouldn’t waste so much. But, again, this is all for another day. (But if you have ever tried to feed a toddler anything, then I probably don’t have to explain. Also, I think they might enjoy it if I tossed food at them like this. They would think it was a game. Or they would pretend to be ducks. Oh man, I can’t imagine the noise. Jesus. I am stressed out just thinking about it.)

This is all very much just a drop in to let the universe and the blogosphere know that I am still alive and capable of making sentences. And I do plan to come back with something that is not complete nonsense. I do. And soon. Because I think that maybe this is where I left all of my sanity.

Until then, if you get bored, I am missing the matches to about 37 pairs of socks. So…keep your eyes peeled.

Advertisements

La-di-da-di…Learning to Potty

So, a few months ago, my mom bought L a training potty. And it sings when the kid goes to the potty successfully. I am not terribly excited at the prospect of another noisy gadget for these, already ridiculously loud kids. But it was a nice gesture. And it meant that I didn’t have to buy one.

The thing literally sat at my mom’s house, never touched, until about two weeks ago. And then I put it in my car and left it there until three days ago. I don’t want to potty train. I think we all know how smoothly sleep training has gone. (Read: How much I have threatened to kill myself over the past two years due to bedtime/naptime battling.) I feel that this is going to be a disaster. I have been dreading it since I MADE this baby. And as fond as I am of the idea of only having to change ONE person’d diapers, I am even more terrified of trying to make this happen.

So, I put the training potty in the hallway next to the bathroom because I couldn’t think of anywhere to put it, seeing as my living room is in a constant state of TOTAL DISARRAY, and I expected to ignore it for as long as possible. And then today, L woke up in a great mood after her nap (a rarity these days as she is battling an ear infection/separation anxiety and a nasty case of the Terrible Twos) and walked with me out into the hallway, asking for juice. I walked to the kitchen to realize that she wasn’t behind me. When I retraced my steps to find out where I had lost her (read: what she could be quietly destroying while I was distracted by her request), I found her sitting, fully-clothed on her potty. She was smiling as big as she could and making a “sssssssss” sound. (Seriously? Not so subtle.) So, I asked her if she wanted to “go pee-pee on her potty” and she said, “PEEEEEEEE-PEEEEEEEEE! YES!”

I took her shorts and diaper off and she sat back down. She did not “pee-pee on her potty”, but she did continue to make a “ssssssss” sound. I can only assume that this was a simulation of peeing. And that’s fine. And I seriously hope that this means she is ready and that this is an indication that this will not be the terrible process that I have envisioned in my head for the past 23 months.

I know that this is a big step! I know that it is exciting and everything! But holy shitballs, I don’t wanna, you guys!

Do you mommies (or daddies) have any tips for a reluctant potty trainer?

20140421-180000.jpg

this is not exactly right.

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!”

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…

An Open Letter to Baby O: Seven Months

Dear Ollie,

Just a few days ago, you turned seven months old. And I sat and thought and thought about how, just a year ago, your sister was at this stage and I just can’t believe that, a year from now, you are going to be doing all the crazy things that she is currently doing. And then I thought and thought about what kind of crazy things she will have learned to do in that span of time and then I thought, “HOLY HELL! How will I maintain any sanity with TWO TODDLERS who will inevitably be refusing to take naps, throwing food all over the walls and floor, flushing strange objects down the toilet and learning to effectively TANTRUM?!” You know. Among all the other things that I haven’t even thought of yet. This all scared the bejesus out of me. Because OH. MY. GOD. I am already averaging 2-3 days without showers because I can rarely ever contain the two of you long enough to turn the water on, let alone, get in there and wash my damn hair. Yeah, you guys are making me suffer right now, FOR REALS.

So, yeah. I am freaking out a little bit about the future of my sanity. (Or the lack thereof…) But I am also really excited for all this fun stuff right there on the horizon for you. Pretty soon, you will be getting all brave and trying to dive off of things, like your sister does! Ooooh! Okay, this doesn’t thrill me, it just gives me a heart attack. But you WILL be learning to crawl and pull yourself up and stand and then WALK. And then I will lose my shit because, as much as I want you to do all of that stuff (because you weigh FAR TOO MUCH for me to carry you much longer), I am only one person and you guys outnumber me and can fit into small places that I cannot. Danger. SO much danger.

But I am excited that you will pass through all the really annoying parts of infancy. Take, for instance, your most recent development, wherein you gave up sleep. I don’t really know why you have done this all of a sudden. Because you have always seemed to enjoy sleeping. Much more than your sister ever did or currently does. You have been a little sleeping angel. That is, until the DAY that you turned 7 months old. And then you decided that 4:30 am is an appropriate time for singing songs at the top of your lungs for long periods of time. I am grateful that you aren’t crying during these times. On the contrary, these times seem like very joyous events for you. Good for you, buddy, for having a healthy love of music. Can I just suggest that maybe we try loving it more, like sometime around 9 am instead? That would be cool.

When I think back on L and her sleeping (or NOT sleeping, in her case) patterns, it dawns on me that when she was exactly 7 months old, she decided she hated to sleep even more than ever before also. So…I am hoping that you do not continue this into toddlerhood. Because if you do, you will both be sleeping in a tent, in the back yard. Which is probably a total lie. Because I will probably be the one sleeping in the yard. Let’s be for real here.

You have two teeth now and I am sure that more are right there, just waiting to make my life a living hell push through those juicy little jaws of yours. You look more like a kid every day and not so much, anymore, like my little baby boy. It is so insane that you are almost as big as your sister at such an early age. But, again, your father is the Jolly Green Giant. So…at least we know where you get that from. But you are pretty much your father’s clone in most ways anyway. So I was expecting as much.

You are generally still one of the happiest babies I have ever encountered. Your giggle is so infectious. You love it when I hold you in the air and pretend to nibble on you and you laugh like this is the best/funniest/most entertaining thing that has ever happened in the history of the world. And I love the sound of your happiness more than I can ever tell you. Your big, hazel eyes are wide with curiosity already, and it is as if you are trying to take the whole world in, all the time. You seem to be sizing everything up and becoming a little genius before my eyes. You seem like an old soul to me. You seem, to me, to be a lot like my Grandpa Ollie, your namesake. And I think it is wonderful. I couldn’t have asked for anything better than you. I am so excited to see who you become. I hope, every day, that I can be a good example to you. I hope the same for your sister. I hope that I can teach you to be the kind of person that you can be proud of. I hope you will learn to be kind and gentle like your father and I hope you value the importance and opportunity of education and knowledge. I hope that you belly-laugh every day. And I hope that you find the joy in making other people belly-laugh as well.

Being a parent is one of the scariest things I can think of. I hope that I do you proud, my little dude. Because I couldn’t live with myself, otherwise.

You two are the loves of my life. And I value every second of every minute of every day that I am lucky enough to have you. I hope you remember that always.

To the moon and back,

Mom

Daughters

So, I never thought I would have kids, much less a daughter. The thought of having a daughter was like…well…there wasn’t any thought of it. Because I just KNEW that if I had kids, I wanted a son. A son just seemed easier. Like, I wouldn’t have to have “the talk” because, obviously, as the opposite sex parent, I would get to be oblivious of all those nasty things that happen to boys during puberty. I wouldn’t have to explain that it is totally natural. I wouldn’t have to pull a Dan Connor and advise him to “put a book in front of it”. Because…gross. I don’t want to know about any other uses for your books than reading, kid. That’s Daddy’s department. I don’t have a penis.

But then I found out I was pregnant. With L. And she didn’t have a penis either. And holy shitballs, you guys. What the hell was I to do with this tiny female fetus? A fetus that would eventually go through a totally different puberty that warranted ZERO books. Puberty is totally shitty for girls. Because it isn’t just embarrassing. It is messy as hell. And, much like in pregnancy, things happen to your body that you not only can’t control, but don’t understand. And those things make PREGNANCY, like, POSSIBLE. Which is terrifying. And maybe the thought of that is MORE terrifying for the PARENTS of these little things. Because no parent wants a pregnant, barely pubescent kid. And you, as the parent, are responsible for making sure that this little spawn of yours understands that all this mess and embarrassment comes with some responsibility. How do you teach this to someone who can’t even drive a car? Or drink legally?

I know I have  a little while to stew on this, you guys. L isn’t even two. Right. I get it. But I definitely think about it a lot. Because as her same-sex parent, I want to make sure that I am a role model. And an information source. A trusted one. Because I sure as shit didn’t feel comfortable talking to anyone about anything like this. But I also waited until I was 19 to have sex. And with someone that I genuinely loved and trusted and planned to be with forever. And I definitely don’t regret that three-year relationship. Because I was responsible. But not because I had anyone explaining why I should be. But because I am just a pretty logical person. And I am kind of scared of everything. So…the combination did me well. I just want to make sure that my kid…you know…isn’t a total ignorant mess about the whole deal.

There are SO many things I worry about with my little lady. As she grows, I hope that she doesn’t ever get caught up in bullying. I hope she isn’t bullied either. But I hope that if she is, she will be strong and confident enough not to fall into a trap that threatens to ruin her. Because she is beautiful. And she is already so smart and funny and amazing. Kids are so mean. And society is mean to kids. We make them believe that they have to be this impossibly beautiful, thin, imaginary person. We make them small. We make women small, in general. And women are NOT small. We are the center of the universe, ladies. We are where life starts. And we are responsible for the next women. And we will plant the seeds for the women after them. And we have to do them proud.

And this scares me.

We don’t need more Kardashians. (Please, Cheesus, no more Kardashians.) We need more strong, brilliant, beautiful women. Women who are strong because they are proud. And not women who are famous for the size of their asses. Or whatever those Kardashians are famous for…

We need to lead by example.

It is especially daunting because, though I know I am strong, I am sort of delicate. I have anxiety and I like to blend in more than I like to be seen. And I could definitely benefit from being a little easier on myself these days, after two babies in two years. I have to be the one to show L that she, despite whatever flaws she might think she has, IS BEAUTIFUL. And to do that, I have to start recognizing the beauty in me. Because that’s where it all starts. With me.