Might Want to Lawyer Up

It’s a perfectly nice summer morning in Texas; a balmy 94 degrees outside at 8am.  The kids are eating breakfast.  I decide to make a pot of foffee.  As I’m filling the carafe with water and scooping the grounds into the filter the questions begin…

Max: Hey Mama, what are you doing?

Me: I’m making some coffee.

Max: Are you making coffee?

Me: Yep!

Mason: You are making foffee, Mama?

Me: Yes, I am.

Max: Are you?

Mason: You are?!

Me: Yes…

Max: Is that coffee?

Me: (deep breath)…Yes…

Mason: What is that?

Me: It’s coffee.

Mason: It is?!

Max: IS it?

Me: WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!?!  I WANT A LAWYER!!!

This little scenario is played out multiple times each day.  In fact, you could easily substitute words like: laundry, toast, vacuum or slightly-dirty-vodka-martini in the dialogue above and you’d have a pretty accurate idea of the conversations I have throughout the day.  This, my friends, is life with the Preschool Gestapo.  You think you’re doing good.  Living a peaceful, if not entirely quiet life.  Just minding your own business when suddenly you find yourself in the middle of an interrogation so expertly executed the CIA should be taking notes.  Hell, maybe they are.  In which case I think I’m owed some sort of monetary compensation.  It takes a lot of organic, free range whatever-the-fuck to fuel genius like this.

You always hear about how kids are so inquisitive, driving their parents crazy with all their questions. I remember babysitting for kids who were going through that “why” phase.

Why is the grass green?  Why do cats sleep so much?  Why the hell do people listen to Nicki Minaj?

 I don’t know kids.  The world is an effed up place.  I’m just here to collect $25 from your parents.  Do you have any chips?

See, nothing to it!  Surely I could field a few questions from my own amazing, beautiful, brilliant children one day.  As it turns out, I can!  I can absolutely answer a few questions.  I can even answer several questions…if they’re spread out over a reasonable amount of time, like oh say…a week or so.  But that’s not really how kids roll.  They’re not really into “subtlety” or “moderation”.  However they are very thorough so bonus points for that, I guess.

I have a theory that you could get a confession out of even the most hardened criminal if you sent preschoolers to conduct the questioning.  I’m pretty sure the ideal set-up would be one 4 year-old and two 3 year-olds.  The four year-old would have a bigger vocabulary and an additional year of question asking experience under their belt while the three year-olds would supply the brutally endless repetition.  It would be really cost-effective too.  I’m thinking it would take about seven minutes -tops- to get the suspects to break and the kids could easily be paid in cupcakes and stickers.

Case closed.

You’re welcome.

Sans Kids

I am craving a getaway. Just a little weekend away with The Hubs and without the kids. It all started when I saw a photo a friend posted on Facebook. It was a picture of a beautiful pool surrounded by lush landscaping with the caption, “…full-service cabana by the adult only pool.” I died of jealousy on the spot. Lucky for you I bounced right back to blog about it. You’re thanking your lucky stars right now, aren’t you?

After my miraculous resurrection, I realized, with some surprise, that the part of the photo caption I was most jealous of was the “adult only” part. See, I’ve always been OK with kids. Prior to having my own children I wasn’t really a lover of kids in a general sense. I liked some kids – namely, the cute ones – but I did not (and do not) believe in the Theory of Universal Cuteness. Sorry. (But obviously YOUR baby is cute, so no need to throw things at me.) All that to say that I was largely ambivalent about babies. If they were around, cool. If not, cool. I thought people who went out of their way to avoid kids were just being ridiculous. I remember going on a date with a fellow many years ago who requested that we switch tables at a restaurant because there was a child nearby. I was shocked and completely turned off. And he ended up being a total prick, so my instincts weren’t entirely off base.

Once I had children, I found that I was far more tolerant of them than before. I understood that they would make noise and messes and it didn’t mean that they were feral little creatures whose parents were obviously inept. I became much less judgmental and much more sympathetic. (Though, for the record, I still feel strongly that children should be taught manners and good behavior.)

So why the sudden change of heart? Why does “adults only” or essentially, “NO KIDS!” suddenly sound like paradise?

Because I finally get it. I finally understand the overwhelming need for quiet and calm. Initially, I thought any situation where I wasn’t directly in charge of children would be relaxing, like: Oh, that baby is crying? His mother will take care of him while I drink this margarita. No worries! But it’s not really like that. My mom instincts still kick in and my brain starts spinning, “Maybe he’s hungry? I wonder if it’s too hot/cold in here? Is there a changing table nearby? Oh poor thing, maybe he’s over-stimulated. It IS really noisy in here…” and on and on and on. I can’t turn it off. It’s possible that I’m the only person whose brain works like this but I’m willing to bet I’m not.

Having children warps your brain.

Need more evidence? Let me present Exhibit B, a little something I call Sappy Mom Syndrome (SMS). Say you’re enjoying a lovely lunch out with your spouse. It’s so nice to finally have a little time together. You can order your food without rushing. You can set your drink anywhere on the table – anywhere!! Nobody is going to grab it! CPS will not be called because a toddler has started chugging Merlot while you were getting crayons out of your purse for him. It’s bliss. You start to relax. Maybe you say something scandalous just because YOU CAN. Then, two tables over, you see a cute little girl sorting splenda packets while her parents guard their drinks and stack all the flatware on the far side of the table. It’s just like when you go to lunch with your little one. *sniff sniff* You start to wonder how your little guy is doing. Is he happy with that grandparent? That grandparent whose mission in life is to give him everything his little heart desires. Probably not. He undoubtedly misses you and is desperately hoping you’ll come home and cut off his grandparent endorsed cookie binge. Maybe you should just call and check on him? No, no. That’s silly. Just text. Yes, just send one really quick text. And ask for a picture. Maybe a few pictures. Or a video, just a quick one! Aww – now the little girl is playing Fetch That Crayon! with her daddy – how sweet! This is a really good time to think about how good your baby smells and how soft their chubby cheeks are and how you plan to squeeze them for six straight minutes as soon as you get home. Next thing you know, you’re asking for your check and discussing the fastest route to get home. If you hurry, you can be there when your little angel wakes up from nap… Boom! SMS strikes again.

Suddenly “Adults Only” takes on a whole new meaning. It’s not just for grumpy DINK’s* whose mojitos go flat at the sound of a stray giggle. It’s the only hope I have for taking a true break. A break not just from the constant activity of caring for two young children but from the incessant mental noise that goes along with it.

So if you ever come across me lying in a lounge chair, unable to form a coherent sentence, you’ll know that I’ve finally reached vacation nirvana; that glorious moment of knowing that my children are perfectly fine and that I can just BE.

Also, you’ll know that I’ve probably had one too many cocktails, in which case you should have someone bring me a very large bottle of Smart Water and summon Ryan Gosling to carry me back to my room. I just want to make sure we all know the correct procedure for this: Step 1 – Smart Water. Step 2 – Ryan Gosling. And if there is no readily available Smart Water just go straight to Step 2. Studies show that Ryan Gosling’s sweat is 4x more rehydrating than the leading electrolyte beverage so I’ll just lick his face…or something…don’t worry…

* DINK = Dual Income No Kids. A phase in my life that I have fond memories of.

Fun can Suck It.

You know that song We Are Young by the band Fun?  I know you know it.  It’s on the radio all the freaking time.  It’s super popular.  “Toniiiiiiiight….we are youuuuunngggg…gonna set the world on fiiiiiire…”  blahdy-effing-blah.  Seems like a great drunken anthem.  The kind of song that comes on at the bar when everyone’s had just enough booze to start singing all their favorite songs loudly and without shame, usually accompanied by hugs.  It’s probably very good for that sort of thing.  I can see myself singing it happily with a beer in hand…about eight years ago.

And therein lies the problem.  This song sends me hurtling into an early mid-life crisis every damn time I hear it.  But it’s catchy, so I listen to it anyway.  Because I’m really good at torturing myself and you’re supposed to play to your strengths, right?  So I listen to this song and think many things.  Things like:

  • But I’m not young anymore!  (insert hysterical sobbing here)
  • I barely managed to put on mascara today.  I think “burn(ing) brighter than the sun” is a little ambitious.
  • Then the doorman from the movie Knocked Up is in my mind saying, “I can’t let you in cause you’re old as fuck. For this club, you know, not for the earth.” (except I kinda think he means for the earth too…and if you aren’t familiar with that line, you need to be. You’re welcome.)
  • Wait…Target has quart-sized mason jars on sale?!  Oh HELLS YEAH!!
  • Holy fuck I am OLD!

It’s really depressing – and a little ADD – but mostly just depressing.

And the worst part of it is that I thought I was alone.  I thought I was the only person in the world who was thrown into an existential crisis every time this song was played.  I would ask people about their opinion about it, casually, of course:

Hey, so you know that song “We Are Young”?

Yeah!  I love that song!

Oh. Uh…Does it ever make you feel like you don’t know who you are anymore or like your glory days are already behind you or like maybe you need a cooler haircut…or something?

What?  No.  It’s awesome and I feel amazing every time I hear it.  In fact, you should totally see this adorable video of my toddler singing it with me.  We’re both very cute and youthful.

Then another little piece of my soul would shrivel and die.  Because I’m old and that’s the kind of shit that happens when you’re old and you get confronted with your oldness.  It’s the circle of life.

However, today I experienced a breakthrough.  Something amazing happened.  No, I did not work through all my issues and confront my mortality.  (Seriously, who wants to actually deal with their problems?  Why do you think bourbon was invented?!)  In a blessed turn of events I stumbled across something that gave me hope; proof that someone – somewhere – has a psyche as fragile as mine.  That lovely soul went so far as to parody this song and for that, I will be forever grateful.  My spirits are lifted and better yet, I am entertained.

Now, it’s possible that this little ditty went viral four minutes after Fun released their distressing single and I’m only just now hearing it because of, you know, The Old.  But I’m ok with that.  I just want everyone to get in on this sardonic naval-gazing goodness with me and have a little laugh.  I’ll warn you, there are a few rather rough bits in this.  Mostly just crude humor – nothing too awful – but consider yourself warned.

Disclaimer: Just for the record, I seriously love my family and my life and I wouldn’t trade my oldness or boring housewife crap for all the epic bar fights in the world.  

Sticker Love

Today was a great day.  One of those days when you’re firing on all cylinders.  The kitchen is clean.  Dinner is in the crock pot.  The house smells delicious.  The kids are endearingly non-feral.  Complete bliss.  I needed this day.

The boys asked to color. Finally!  I’ve been practically begging them to do something that doesn’t involve throwing, running or jumping off furniture for oh…about six months or so.  It was nice of them to finally take me up on it.  They sat at the kitchen table with crayons and stickers and happily created stuff for a solid forty minutes.  I’m pretty sure this won’t happen again for another year.  It was awesome.  As if that wasn’t enough, Max decided to throw in some extreme cuteness.  It went a little something like this:

Max: Hey Mama!  Did you ever have stickers ever since you were born?

Me: Well, yeah.  I used stickers a lot when I was a little girl.  I don’t really have stickers now though.

Max: Mama, I will buy you some stickers so you can have some.

Me: Aww!  Well thank you Max!  That’s really sweet.

Max: Umm…but Mama, it will be a couple of days before I get the stickers, ok?  Daddy and I will buy some for you but it will be in a couple days.

Me: Ok baby. That sounds good.

And then I melted into a little puddle of happy mommy love.

I realize this is about a million times more adorable to me than it is to anyone else.  But here’s the thing that was so epic about it; it was serious affirmation.  It was evidence that I’m not doing everything completely wrong and that maybe, just maybe, I’m doing something right.  My baby thought about someone else’s happiness.  He was willing to spend his hard-earned money (hey – he had to pee in the toilet a LOT of times to get that money!)  to bring a little of that happiness to me.  I felt really proud of his curiosity, his generosity and even his funny little way of managing my expectations.  He didn’t want me to be disappointed that I wasn’t going to get stickers instantly so he made sure I knew that it would take him a while to get them.  My boy is growing up, thinking of others, being kind and generous.  And yeah, some of that is natural to him, he’s a sweet kid.  But I also like to think that some of the lessons we’ve tried to teach him; thinking of others, being kind, being helpful etc. are finally being put into action.  For all the days when I feel like I’m not getting through to him (“Why did you just push your brother down AGAIN?!”) this little moment is incentive to keep on going.  It was a proud parenting moment.

And then he asked me if his dinosaur had a penis.

Man, I love this kid.

The Sliding Scale of Terror

It’s an election year. Everybody hates everybody and nobody hates anything more than I hate politics. But I believe, with all my heart, that there is one piece of common ground we can all find. A place where we can all finally agree. A utopia of like-mindedness. A little place I like to call, The Absolute Hatred of Spiders.

And if you don’t agree, you can get the fuck off my blog.

Because spiders suck. They’re gross and ugly. They’re shifty and nefarious. They are conniving bitches who will eat the last cookie and think nothing of polishing off your best scotch. In short, they are total assholes. Allow me to explain…

Once upon a time, we bought a new house. A lovely house with many windows, including a nice big window over the kitchen sink. A window that some clearly deranged spider decided to build a web in. (Exhibit A: Spiders show no respect for personal property. They are hooligans.) So I vacuumed up the unattended web and figured the spider would get the hint and move on. As it turns out, spiders aren’t good with subtlety. She built another web right back where the old one was literally overnight. (Exhibit B: Spiders have vampiric tendencies. Not the sexy kind.) I was mightily displeased and thus began a vicious turf war on my windowsill. Everyday I would clean up this web and EVERY night the spider would rebuild it and go into hiding during the day. The strain of the situation began to wear on me. I would stumble bleary-eyed into the kitchen each morning to assess the damage and spew curses when I saw the web of defiance. Finally there came a day when I saw the icky rebel in action and I killed her. Or at least I thought I did. Until the next morning when I walked into my kitchen to see one long strand of web spanning from the ceiling to the counter, right across the kitchen sink. It shimmered in the morning sun, a delicate and indisputable “Fuck You”. So I totally snapped, filled my cabinets with C4 and blew up the entire kitchen in a fit of fiery rage. Actually, no. But I was really pissed and wrote a very long and strongly worded email to a dear friend who had the good grace not to make fun of me. You’ll be relieved to know that I prevailed and the spider did eventually meet her demise. You’ll also be relieved to know this paragraph is finally over.

So, perhaps you now understand how truly awful spiders are and how I may just have a smidge of the PTSD where arachnids are concerned. Perhaps you will also understand how the following announcement struck fear into my very core.

It’s about 6:45am. The Hubs and I are in our bathroom getting ready for the day.

Max walks in and says, “Mommy! There’s a spider in your room! A big, wriggly one!”

Time stood still. The Hubs and I looked at each other and began doing that silent communication thing that couples do:

Hubs: “Don’t freak out!”

Me: “OH MY GAWD I’M FREAKING OUT!!!!!”

Hubs: “Why don’t you have a prescription for Xanex?!”

Me: “WHY DON’T I HAVE A PRESCRIPTION FOR XANEX?!?!?”

Etc.

Armed with shoes and an intense longing for prescription drugs, we went into our bedroom to assess the situation. There was no spider to be seen. Which could only mean one thing; he was the kitchen spider’s unstable ex-boyfriend coming to exact revenge on us in the most painful way possible starting with psychological warfare. Obviously. And it worked. Because on the Sliding Scale of Terror this falls precariously close to the “All Music Other Than Nickelback Has Been Destroyed” end of the spectrum.

Let’s all take three cleansing breaths to release that horrifying idea back into the ether.

I lived the next 36 hours in a state of high alert. I was like Jason Fucking Bourne up in here. I carried a weapon on my person at all times. I regularly patrolled my bedroom and at long last my vigilance was rewarded. I saw The Target, went into cardiac arrest, located The Target again, hyperventilated, looked at The Target some more, thought about sealing off the room and waiting for The Hubs to come home, checked to make sure The Target hadn’t moved, girded my loins and finally killed the bastard. Death by flip-flop. Booyah. Then I tried not to puke on myself as I destroyed the evidence and framed the next door neighbor for the crime. You can never be too careful. Spiders are vengeful beasts.

Altruism – You’re Doing it Wrong

This morning was busy.  Hectic.  Filled with demands from small people.  You know, normal.  And two hours into the non-stop activity that is an average day my patience was starting to wear thin.  Which was obviously the perfect time for my just-ate-breakfast-twenty-minutes-ago children to start asking for snacks.  I offered them stick cheese, aka string cheese.  Max, my three-year old son, happily takes his and runs off.  Mason, the two-year old, takes his, looks at it then asks me to “make strings” for him.  See, his daddy always pre-strings his cheese for him because he is a daddy.  He has nothing else to do.  As the mommy who was still hoping, nay, longing, for some coffee and (dare I say it?) food, the extra sixty seconds it would take to dismantle sting cheese into a more edible state was a fucking eternity.  So I did what I imagine all beautiful and practically perfect in every way mothers would have done.  I said, “Arrrghhhhhhh!!!!”  (as I worked on the string cheese prep, of course.)

The boys stopped in their tracks and said, “Mommy!  Why did you make that noise?!”

ME: “Because mommy is tired and hungry.”

MASON: “You are hungry?”

ME: “Yes.”

MASON: “DON’T EAT MY STRINGS!!!!!!!”

And yes, he totally said it Shouty Caps style.  Because that’s how I raised him; to scream at starving people.  Show no mercy, son!  NO MERCY!!

So after I handed off the uneaten strings, laughed and pondered my failure as a parent I poured a bowl of cereal and refused to talk to them until it was eaten.  Except for when I had to get up and take Max to the bathroom.  And break up a fight over a golf club.  And refill Mason’s cup of water.  And ask them to get three ice cubes out of the freezer because drinking bourbon neat before 9am is just uncivilized.

Then we went to the library.  Where we should have checked out books on charity and great humanitarians but we didn’t.  We opted for dump trucks and dinosaurs instead.  And thus the cycle of egoism continues.

Namaste.

Let the Blogging Begin!

I have no idea how to start a blog.

You’d think I would.  I mean, there are approximately a zillion blogs already in existence and I’ve read my fair share of them.  I guess it’s just different when you’re the one doing the writing.

You may have noticed my tagline, “only a decade after everyone else…” I think that pretty well sums up my feelings about starting this blog.  I know blogging is old news.  Everyone has a blog.  There are many, many people out there doing this better than I ever will.  I’m ok with that.  For the most part.  Just don’t tell me about all the other amazing bloggers out there, ok?  Because then I’d get all depressed and start bingeing on ice cream.  Specifically Ben & Jerry’s Late Night Snack.  I highly recommend it for all your emotional eating needs.  That or bourbon.  Which is obviously a drink but is also highly recommended.

So, other than sub-par blogging, what should you expect here?  I’m glad you asked!

1. Plenty of “mom talk”.  I am a SAHM with two toddlers.  It’s inevitable.

2. Many, many examples of bad grammar…run on sentences and superfluous commas like a mother fucker up in here.  (If it gets totally out of control, you are certainly welcome to let me know. NICELY.  I’m hacking these posts out during nap times and late at night, so have mercy, please.)

3. Profanity.  Why?  Because I like it and my inner sailor needs a place to be heard.  Also, see #1; I have two toddlers.  I have lots of reasons to want to curse and very little opportunity to do so.  If that’s not your thing, no worries.  But you should totally try it.  SO cathartic.  The cursing, not the toddlers.  They’re great but definitely not cathartic.  At all.

4. Fabulous recipes and lots of foodie type talk.  I LOVE FOOD!  I enjoy cooking for my family and love to entertain at my home.  I can’t wait to share some of my favorite recipes with you!

5.The occasional book review or recommendation. I am a bookworm.  I read mostly fiction these days, but I’m always interested in good books, so if you’ve read something great lately, let me know.  I’d love to hear about it!

So let’s get to it, shall we?  All those belligerent cookie recipes and child-rearing anecdotes aren’t going to write themselves, now are they?