An Open Letter to the Big Kids Formerly Known as Baby L and Baby O

Dear Big Kids,

Mommy has been a bit of a slacker on these open letter things. And, you know, on writing in general. Mommy is lame. But, by the time you read this, you will be WELL aware of that. And you will probably even have some other really colorful adjectives to describe Mommy too! Can’t wait!

Either way, I thought it was about time to get on in here and write you a little letter to let you know what you have been doing lately to drive me batshit insane make the world a hilarious and beautiful place to live.

We had some big changes in 2017. We bought our first house! It was something that your Daddy and I were super excited to get to do for you. We wanted to make sure that you had a place to be your “forever home”. And by “forever home”, I mean, the home that you live in until you are old enough to get a real job and make money so that you can move out and Daddy and I can start to day drink and do crossword puzzles in the hot tub (you know, the hot tub that we can’t afford until you get out of our house). Anyway, so yeah! We bought you a house! This should explain to you why you only got 250 Shopkins and race cars for Christmas instead of the 35 million others that you asked for. Just remember that. WE BOUGHT YOU A HOUSE.

L: You turned 5 in 2017! I can’t even believe that you aren’t that squishy, big cheeked baby that you were yesterday. Or, I guess…5 years ago…but whatever, you get it. You are sooooo talkative. You talk ALL. THE. TIME. And you know everything. You do. You will tell anyone who asks. You are the smartest. (You really are super smart, but you’re sometimes really damn annoying about it. Until you start designing rockets or curing cancer after school, we can do without all the “I KNOW. I am SO SMART” business. Just saying.) You love Kindergarten. Your teacher, Ms. Smith, tells me often how super sweet you are. You are. You are so sensitive and lovely and caring to everyone. And it warms my heart to see you blossom in this way. I do worry sometimes that people might take advantage of your kindness and I have to push this out of my head and remember to be cognizant of your feelings and watch the people who surround you. I feel so fiercely protective of you that sometimes it physically hurts me. Sometimes, I think that you just need a little time to develop your resting bitch face so that you can mask all that sweetness and keep the assholes away. I will be there, though. I can give you tips on that, for sure.

You are a bossy little thing. You love art and music and are sassy as hell. Currently, you talk back a little too much for my liking but I have a feeling this might just be a way for you to test the waters and see what you can get away with. (For the record, the answer is NOTHING, dammit.) You are about 42 lbs now and your favorite color is purple. Your best friend is a little boy named Aiden and when we went to your Open House for your class, you and he held hands and ran around and it made me so happy. (Your Daddy was not as pleased about this but…I mean…I don’t think that is going to change, like, EVAR.) You have nearly perfect grades in school and you love to PLAY IN THE DIRT….WHICH MAKES ME WANT TO STICK MY HEAD IN THE OVEN. (PLEASE STOP IT WITH THE DIRT ALREADY!) I will forgive you this for now. FOR NOW. But only because you are my first born and I am fairly certain you will take care of me when I am old. Maybe. You love tacos, and pizza but mostly, CHILI. Oh my god, I hope this passes soon because I used to really love chili and now I feel like I make it every other day and I am pretty sure that I am now 83% beans. But as long as you want it, my dear, I will make it. (And then I will eat popcorn and cheese for dinner instead. Because that is what love is.)

O: Oh my goodness. You turned 4 in 2017! And you started preschool! And you were SOOOOOO devastated that you wouldn’t have a whole three hours alone with me every day to help me with grocery shopping and going to the post office. I have to say, it took a minute to get you to feel good about going to school but you are doing great now. (You still refuse to eat or drink anything there, which is puzzling but I think it might just be because that is still something you get to do with me which your sister is not home. But OH, THE DRAMATICS!) Your teacher is a very nice lady named Miss Eunice who Daddy thinks doesn’t speak English at all, but really she just speaks quickly and without any enunciation at all. It makes me wonder how in the hell you are learning anything. But you are! You can understand her, which just proves that you are ALSO a super smarty pants. Duh. The teachers at school call you “Smart Guy” and you have a few little friends in your class.

You, unlike your sister, do NOT like to get dirty. It is somewhat unavoidable since you are a boy and a boy is basically a loud noise that is covered in dirt. But you are surprisingly better at keeping your clothes and hands clean than your sister is. (She is a HOT DAMN MESS.) You love noodles of any variety. And pizza. And BACON. (If you weren’t obsessed with bacon, I’m quite sure your dad would insist you weren’t his. But you look just like him and I am pretty sure that if you could, you would push me in front of a moving car to get to the bacon.)

You are the absolute best cuddler in the whole world. You are the perfect size now where you fit right beside me and I can wrap my arm perfectly around you and it is my favorite place in the world to be. You are a wonderful little dude. You are quite particular about EVERYTHING. I feel like you are going to be the guy who breaks up with his long time girlfriend because she puts the toilet paper roll on upside-down. (I will be almost not mad at this because, 1. You can’t have a girlfriend, you are my son and 2. I HATE THAT TOO.) We are working together to mellow you out a bit. You seem to be taking after me in this department and I’m not worried (YET) but we need to make sure you aren’t 20 and screaming at a waitress because of the tomato snot that is still lingering on your sandwich so that you KNOW that they put a nasty tomato on it and then took it off when they double checked the ticket. (Not that this has ever happened to me or anything…) Anyway…working on it.

You kiddos have grown so much and are SO FULL OF PERSONALITY that it both breaks and warms my heart simultaneously. Sometimes when I am hugging/cuddling/looking at you both, I get all sad because I know that this time with you is so fleeting. It breaks me into pieces to think about it. But then I am comforted and hopeful. Comforted that you are becoming such amazing little humans (maybe both because of and despite my influence) and hopeful that I will get to be there to see you through on your journey and offer you all that I have to give you. I hope that you never have to wonder how much you both mean to me and how loved that you are by me. I am your biggest fan. I am that idiot at the sporting events who is completely covered in body paint and is screaming like a moron and waving a giant foam finger. I am that guy for you. (And when you picture this guy, I want you to do it right. He is painted half blue, he is shirtless, balding, and has a giant beer belly. Because if you are going to do it…well…give it all you got.) Just remember that. I am your big, fat, drunken, blue sports fan. I love you both with everything I am. I can’t wait the circus that is to come.

To the Moon,

Mom

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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.

Little Shrieking Monsters

Ta-da! I have returned from the trenches of parenting two toddlers (if only momentarily) to update you on said parenting of two toddlers.

I really don’t know where to begin. I mean, they are 2.5 and 19 months now. So, there’s THAT little tidbit. And if you know toddlers, then you know that that means that the “Terrible Twos” are in full swing around here. Nothing is safe. Walls are riddled with multicolored crayon art, DVDs are used as skates to slide around on the hardwood floors with, tables are being climbed, cribs are being escaped from, molars are coming, tantrums are being thrown (not just by the kids, mind you, I am pretty good at them, myself), there is hitting, there is pushing, there is fighting over things like empty paper towel rolls or a lone sock.

Things are interesting.

L is at the point where she can hold an entire conversation with you and she will tell you all about how it isn’t nice to hit people and that if you eat all of your chicken, mommy will be so proud of you and maybe then you get to go to the park. She will then promptly decide that she doesn’t like chicken and then start hurling it at O. So…needless to say, we don’t go to the park.

O is at a really fun age now. Although it is fun in that he is hilarious and singing and dancing and running around trying to imitate his sister, the tantrums he is starting to throw are not so much fun. He is much louder and persistent than L was. L was definitely a hurl-yourself-onto-the-damn-floor type of fit-thrower, but she generally got bored with the tantrum and moved on to something else fairly quickly. If I had know that those were MILD tantrums…if only I had known. O’s are a little more intense. They usually stem from him not getting to hold something. Like my coffee (this actually IS familiar) and basically start out with these blood-curdling shrieks of SHEER HORRIBLENESS. And just when you think that it can’t get much worse because you are quite certain that your eardrums have likely already exploded, it gets louder. More shrill. MORE HORRIBLE. And it lasts forever. No amount of time seems to make these things end. He is an angel one minute, and the next he is a HORRIBLE, SHRIEKING MONSTER. And don’t you even try and console him. DON’T YOU DARE. That will make it worse and your eardrums surely will explode now. SURELY.

But he is a cuddly little dude and his smile is possibly the best thing EVAR.

L has also gotten glasses. It BROKE MY MUSHY MOMMY HEART when they told me she might need them (I don’t know why, it isn’t like glasses are the worst thing to ever happen to a kid, right?) but I sucked it up. I have to say, they seem to give her even MORE personality, if that is even possible! She looks like a tiny Tina Fey sometimes and I just want to put a little business suit on her and sit her at a news desk and let her tell me some jokes about politics. But it might be a little too soon for that. I will keep you all posted.

So, there you have it, folks. Life is super loud and super messy around here. And sometimes I want to jab ice picks into my temples. And sometimes, I would gladly sell any part of my anatomy for a good night of delicious SLEEP. But sometimes it really is totally worth it. Even if I am only partially conscious to witness it. This shit is EXHAUSTING, ya’ll!

 

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An Open Letter to My Childless Friends

Hey guys! Long time, no see. I know. You might remember me from that one time when we went to that martini bar and drank the sweet, sweet nectar of freedom. Or that time when we stayed up until four in the morning watching all of those really cheesy 80’s movies.  You know, or that time…well…you remember. No need to tell on myself here.

I know, I know. It has been too long!

I wanted to try and explain to you the reason for my absence. It’s not you. It’s me. Well…no, it isn’t. It is those two little people who live with us.

You’re probably wondering a few things. You know, like, why I don’t call, why I don’t email, why I don’t come to your little parties or have dinner at your house, why we don’t drink that sweet nectar together anymore, or why I don’t invite you over. Please allow me to explain.

1. I don’t call because I can’t possibly dial the phone with a toddler on my hip and one wrapped around my legs. You see, I have yet to master the art of tongue dialing. And really, even if I could figure that out, I can assure you, phone conversations with me during the kids awake times, are no good. They kind of go like this:

Me: Hey! How are you doing? I meant to—L, DO NOT step on your brother’s head!! Sorry. Anyway, I meant to call—L, I am SO SERIOUS. Stop.  I meant to call you yesterday because I saw that thing that you po—SERIOUSLY? What are you DOING? Hold on a second. (Put phone down and REGULATE by separating the kids to avoid severe bodily injury that they will inevitably inflict on one another.) I’m so sorry! She’s trying to step on O’s face and I just don’t understand WHY! Uggghhh. Anyway, I can’t remember what I was saying. Oh, yeah, I saw that thing that you posted on Facebook and I was going to call because I heard about something that—I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS. Seriously. Stop it!  I have to go. I think that the kids have just flushed all of my underwear down the toilet.
CLICK.

I really don’t want to have to subject you to that.

2. Emailing is also a little challenging. Not as noisy for you. And the beauty of email is that, after the kids bang all over the keyboard while I am trying to type, I can delete the nonsense that they have typed. However convenient this is, you know, for you, it makes email writing a time-consuming and challenging task. And I dunno. Maybe you don’t mind getting emails that look like this:

Hey!!! What’sjogiasjfroiw u-joidfja98en

What’s up!> DFJKJAFPIJDApoajpvmzpvokem 4575r4545a8ojr9i80uejgnv

I am going to snd a aogjhv;l alink

aijasdof;lI

IU amaofhs just going to call you later. THis

ajfsijoakfns

IS STUPID.

3. The reason I don’t come to your parties is simple. I don’t have a sitter. Because I never have a sitter. I AM THE SITTER. That is all.

4. We don’t drink that sweet, sweet nectar together at that lovely martini bar anymore because I just don’t think it is appropriate to bring the kids there. Not because I don’t think that they would enjoy the ambiance or anything, because they are classy little people, but you know, I think that I would prefer to DRINK the martinis than to have my kids crawling all over the place and spilling the damn $10 drink all over me. Just saying.

5. I don’t come to your parties/cookouts/dinners because I LOVE YOU TOO MUCH to bring my kids to your house. The thought of bringing my kids to your house causes me so much stress that I sort of want to sharpen 85 No. 2 pencils and then stab myself in the temples with all of them. This has no reflection on you at all. But, you know that glass thing that you have on that table that looks like it could be tall enough that the kids can’t reach? If I bring my kids to your house, that glass thing is toast. And that table is NOT TALL ENOUGH. Also, you know that brand new carpeting you just had installed? Kiss it goodbye. Because things will be spilled. There may even be vomit. Because, why WOULDN’T there be vomit if I bring the kids? Be for real. You don’t want us to come. And you could argue right now, “Oh, come on, they’re not bad at all!” and I would offer to go and live in your nice, clean house and offer you mine, which is covered top to bottom in Cheerios. And then you would remember that thing you heard someone say one time that went something like, “We have kids. we can’t have nice things.” And you will know that it is all true.

In closing, I would like to remind you why you are still friends with me. First, because I love you and you know that. And no matter how busy I am or how many times I forget to return your call or miss a party, I still miss your pretty face and am waiting for the day when my life becomes just a little easier and I am better able to be a friend to you. Second, because you know that I would do anything for you. It may not seem like it now, but I will always be there when you need me. Always. And third, I make a kick ass pot of chili.  I mean, if that isn’t enough for you…I don’t know what else I can say…

Bear with me, y’all…And I promise not to be mad when you have YOUR kids and completely ignore me because you can barely remember to put pants on. P

Promise.

An Open Letter to O: One Whole Year

Dear Oliver,

Well, we made it. You are officially a year old. This means that your father and I have survived your infancy. I am pretty proud of us. I mean, come on. It is sort of a big deal.

Your actual birthday was fairly unremarkable. I mean, if you don’t count that I burst into tears no less than 30 times. Because, as you probably will know by the time you read these letters, I am a total sap when it comes to you and your sister. L helped your cousin and your Aunt Amanda make cupcakes with a nauseating blue frosting so that the mess would be substantial enough to be photo-worthy. (Success!) You ate spaghetti. And by “ate spaghetti”, I mean WORE SPAGHETTI. The mess was epic. It was a good day.

We had your birthday party this past Saturday. You wore a shirt that said, “If you mustache, I’m one” and we baked your birthday cake and fashioned it into the shape of a giant mustache. Because…you’re practically a man now, little dude. Your sister has already stolen all of your new toys and/or lost the pieces to them. Honestly, it took longer than I had anticipated.

20140616-163934.jpgYou are a little madman right now. Once you started really crawling, you didn’t stop. It took you a really long time to realize that, if you want to go somewhere, you could just hoist your little self up and get going. But you have mastered it. And you are FAST. I put you down in one spot and I turn my head for a second and you are gone. Almost always trying to shut yourself in a room so that you can scream at the top of your lungs for me to come and rescue you. Or, you know, trying to pull shit out of all of the outlets in the house. You are a sneaky little shit. But you are learning so much new stuff every day and you are so proud of yourself when you figure things out. It is hard to believe that in a year, you will be the age your sister is now and running around and talking and singing and doing all sorts of little kid stuff. It is also hard to believe that one year ago, you were just a tiny little meatloaf. All brand new and delicious. And, while you are still totally edible, you are just so big now. You are growing up so fast. And I can’t figure out why it is all so shocking to me. I just watched your sister grow, so quickly, from a baby into an honest to goodness little kid. And it was terrifying. And beautiful. Just as it is with you. But still, every time I look at you, I wonder where the time has gone.

I wish and hope so many things for you, my dearest boy. I hope that you will grow to be the kind of man your father is. Loving, kind, generous, selfless and hilarious. I hope that you will realize the value in all people. (Even some people that you have probably heard me say some not so good things about. Because that will happen. And, for that, I am sorry. Because even those people have value. I just may not know what it is. I don’t know everything. Except that…Yes, I do. I am your mother.) I hope that you are nice to your sister. I hope that you know that you two are so loved and such a gift to your father and me. I hope that we show you that enough. I am going to do my best to make sure that I do. And I am going to do my best to be an example of humility for you and L.

I can’t wait to see who you will become. But at the same time, I wish I could push a pause button sometimes just to hold on to these moments that are flying by too fast. You are a beautiful little soul.

As always, my little love, you are the light of my every day. You make all the other nonsense worth it. You are the love of my life. I hope you know that always.

Here’s to another wonderful year and so many more to follow. I love you. I love you. I love you.

To the moon and back,

Mom

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The Times, They are A’Changin’

I want to write about L turning two. I really do. But it happened so quickly that I can’t even put any of it into words. I can’t believe that I have a two-year-old and in a little over a week, Baby O will no longer be a BABY. He will be ONE. And I will be the mommy of TWO EFFING TODDLERS. How did this even happen?

Things with O are progressing just as they did with L. He didn’t have much interest in getting around on his own until just a couple of weeks ago. It seems like a lightbulb went off inside his head and he suddenly said, “Hey. Wait a minute. I guess if I want to get from HERE to THERE, I need to get on this shit.” And he did. He isn’t walking yet, but he is really trying. Like, if you try to put him down on the floor into the seated position, he hurls himself backward in protest. Sitting is NOT COOL, you guys. Not cool at all. So he crawls and opens cabinets in the kitchen and knocks things over and rips paper things apart. And, even though I seriously JUST DID THIS with L, I had forgotten how crazy babies are when they are just starting to explore their world. Holy shitballs. I am in so much trouble.

L is a sassy little thing. And O is on the move. There are tantrums and loud crashes and Play-Doh eating (purple is the favorite). There is the bumping of little noggins and the fighting over toys. There’s transitioning from formula to whole milk and solids only. There’s potty training looming on the horizon and just SO MUCH NEW STUFF.

I love that, in the near future, the kids will be able to enjoy (or not enjoy so much) each other’s company. They will be able to play together at a more even level and they will learn from each other. I am so excited for all of that. But man, it sure terrifies the shit out of me. I remember that short time when I only had the one kid. I remember how difficult I thought it was. And now, present me wants to go back in time and slap the shit out of past me for ever complaining about it. Because SHIT JUST GOT REAL. I have definitely eaten my words. Definitely.

Currently, O just annoys the piss out of his sister. If he reaches for a toy, she instantly grabs it from his hands. Generally, he giggles at her and picks up a different toy. But occasionally, there are meltdowns. Sometimes, he gets angry when she snatches things from him and screams like he is being stabbed in the temple. Sometimes, the fact that he reaches for another of HER toys angers L so much that she screams like SHE is being stabbed in the temple. Sometimes I scream like I am being stabbed in the temple because all of the screaming is just too much to bear and well…if you can’t beat ’em…

L’s tantrums stem from everywhere. She isn’t as bad as some two-year-olds I have seen. But she definitely is a drama queen. Yesterday, she had a coronary because O was eating a cracker. So, I gave her a cracker. Then she screamed more. Because she did not want a cracker. Today, she is obsessed with her juice cup. If there is no juice in her cup, there is a meltdown. If I take the cup to refill it so that there will BE JUICE IN THE CUP, there is a meltdown because she is not holding the FULL CUP yet. It is challenging. And sometimes I do want to run away from home. But mostly I think that a good pair of ear plugs would be sufficient. Well…maybe.

The other day, a friend attempted to do a Cake Smash photo session with O. And HE was the one having an epic meltdown. Because it would definitely be too much to ask that BOTH of my children be in a good mood at the same time. This is pretty much how it all went down.

This about sums it all up.

This about sums it all up.

 

 

An Open Letter to Baby O: Eleven Months

Dearest Oliver,

Yesterday was my second Mother’s Day as an actual Mommy. It was also the day that you turned 11 months old. Your father had to work so he was not able to spend the day with us, so we spent the day with your Grandma and Papa and you were an angel. You and your sister (read: your grandma) bought me a bottle of wine and some lilies because flowers are what you are supposed to get your mother and wine is the only thing that keeps your mother from pulling all of her hair out after she has spent five hours trying to get you to go to bed. So, it was only right. The flowers are beautiful. The wine is gone.

I just can’t believe that you are almost a year old. It really doesn’t seem like THAT long ago that you were still kicking around in my belly and keeping me from sleeping. Well…I mean…you are still keeping me from sleeping but it is much louder now that you are out. SO LOUD. You have definitely got some lungs on you, kiddo. Even when you’re happy, you are the loudest kid ever. EVAR.

I am about to start trying to get you off the bottle, which I don’t think will be difficult because the only thing, so far, that you will not eat, is mac and cheese. And I don’t understand that, because I think you missed the chapter in the handbook about how, as a baby/kid/anyone in the world you are supposed to love mac and cheese. I am hoping you will get there. Because MOMMY loves mac and cheese. And I plan to make it a lot. And not always the homemade kind. Sometimes it will come from a box and you will eat it. And you will LIKE it. Because it was made with love. And margarine.

You are pretty much too big for all of your clothes right now. I don’t understand how you are so giant. You came out of me a whopping 6 pounds, 8 ounces and now you weigh a pound less than your sister! I am hoping that once you start walking, you will stop growing SO fast and you will be able to wear your clothes more than one time before I have to send them over to your cousin. (Seriously, kid, this is getting expensive.)

We just took our first family vacation last week. We went to the beach to visit your Auntie Fish Head with Grandma and Papa. You didn’t care much for the beach. But you really hate being in a stroller so I always think that it isn’t the outdoors that you hate. Just not being able to run. You seem to want to be free! Belts and things really piss you off. It was a short vacation, but it was the first one and it was really nice to get out of the house and have some new surroundings and some time with your daddy. He really hates that he has to miss out on all the new things that you and your sister are learning every day. And, he’s working on changing that.

I am working on getting your birthday party planned right now. It has been a bit difficult for me because your sister’s party is this coming weekend and I want to just get through it before I start planning for the big FIRST BIRTHDAY party. I am sure it will be wonderful though. There are so many people who love you kids and I am so lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life who support and love us all.

As always, you are my favorite little boy. You are adorable and smart and your giggle is just THE. BEST. THING. EVER. I am so lucky to be your mom. I don’t know where I would be without you. I love you, my beautiful little man.

 

To the moon and back,

Mom