Monday, November 26, 2012

Abu Ghraib has nothing on my one-year old

She seems so harmless here...
I'm thinking of sending the 15-month down to Langley for some intense training on eliciting confessions out of terrorists.  She has a unique way of sleep torture that she is currently using on my husband and I, but I think that her talents could be better used in a proper facility.  I mean, there's a reason that sleep deprivation is a form of torture.  It works.  ...and my little girl has some mad skills.

She starts by several sessions of night waking 2-3 times each night.  She then gives you a taste of only one waking that is very short, and she easily goes back to sleep.  Finally, there is one morning that you wake up at 7:30am feeling strangely rested, and you come to the slow realization that she has slept through the entire night.  Erroneously you think, "things are on the right track."  In fact you get another night just like this one, and you begin to feel like this is the end of a sleepless era.

... but, don't mess with her.
D'oh!  You just jinxed it.

The next night and the week thereafter, it's 2-3 wakings in a night.  You see, she gets you rested and out of the swing of being unendingly tired.  Just as you get used to sleeping again and feeling like a human being, she slams you again with sleep deprivation.

The only thing keeping me from sending her down to Langley to hone her skills, is that unlike some children who get teeth two at a time at regular intervals through the age of 2, my child's body feels the need to present all the teeth at once.  ...and apparently, it hurts.  Another blogger I know likened it to imagining if your tibia slowly started to grow out of your skin.  Though I've no direct experience with this, I can imagine that it would hurt.  A lot.  So, I have some empathy.

Some of her sleep torture techniques are saved for when we are away from home as we were for this past holiday week.  My little one does not have adaptable sleeping habits, and I always enter into a trip as if she does.  If I remembered each past trips sleeping debaucles, I'd never really travel until they were 10.

You know that a particular night is not going well, when in the middle of the night you are reciting the words to the Samuel L Jackson narrated children's book, "Go the F*** to Sleep," in your head.  When this happens, I know that it's time for Dad to intervene and give me, and my breasts, a break.  These are not the mom thoughts I want to have...  Harper, in that moment, has unleashed my Mr. Hyde.  It is not pretty.

So, here's my offer, if you want to get some solid info out of your teenager about their escapades last weekend, while at the same time scare them into safe sex, I'm renting the 15-month-old out for a low, low price, if you act now...  but wait there's more!  I'll throw in my 4 year-old who sleeps well, but joins you in the middle of the night from a bad dream, and then proceeds to kick and slap you in his sleep as he rests perpendicular to your bodies.

That'll really scare 'em straight!  Any takers?  I'm even open to (and encourage) a full weekend!

I know I'm not the only one with sleep issues... care to share?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

Today is Thanksgiving, and this is the platform where I normally write about something my kids have done that just might put me straight into the looney bin if I didn't share it.  However, I just read this blog from a mom who has six kids, has been blogging for 5+ years, and she's been through a tremendous amount of changes in those years.  I'm sure there were days that felt like they'd never end, or that she'd never get her kids through puberty.  But as I read her blog today, I realized that with all the worry, frustration, lack of money, harried mornings, sleepless nights, little tiny hugs, giggles from the back seat, smiles at just the right time and more...  life just continues to plod on.  Even when there doesn't seem to be an end, there is.  For good and for bad.  The toddler will go to elementary school, to Jr. high, and to high school (knock wood), because we just can't stop time.

So, today I would like to reflect on some things I'm truly thankful for:

  • My husband, for so many reasons, but who, without him, I would have cracked up long ago.
  • My son, who randomly says "I love you mama," just before asking me for ice cream.  (Guess I don't have to teach him the theory of "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar".)
  • My daughter, who, right as I'm about to strangle her for screaming for one more thing, shoots me the best, most amazing smile every time.  (I mean, do these kids have survival skills, or what?!?)
  • My mom, who I finally understand why she didn't take that job that would have had her gone for months when I was little.
  • My dad for his sayings that I pass on to my children now.  The most recent mantra being, "Treat everyone the way you would want to be treated."  For future use, I've banked, "For every beer your drink, drink a glass of water." --- sage advice when sending them to college (knock wood).
  • My step-mom for being the go-between me and my dad when I was a teenager.  We had a relationship because of that.
  • My sister (who is technically a "step") for making me a sister and a friend after a fairly rocky start.  I depend on her as if we were blood, especially as my parent sounding board.  (Anyone who has weathered a child who painted the wall with their poop has some valuable advice to give.)
  • My aunt and uncle in South Carolina, my aunt and uncle in Mississippi, my husband's family, and my extended family from my step-parents for continuing to create a family filled with love for my children.
  • My dog Finlay, my fur child, who never lets me be in a room alone... even, and especially, the bathroom.
  • Finally, to the step-cousins who let us stay with them for this Thanksgiving holiday in Atlanta, GA, out of the goodness of their heart, not obligation.  (Unless, there was deal struck between their family and mine that we don't know about.)

I'm thankful for all of the above and more.  I am blessed.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Some people have a pool, we have a bathtub.

For those of you who don’t know, my day job is Director of Training at a dog training company.  As I see people and give advice on a daily basis, I’m a big advocate of the phrase, “A tired dog is a good dog.”  I also apply this theory to my children.

Now, please sweet baby Jesus, don’t start commenting about how a child is not the same as a dog.  I’m acutely aware that dogs are not people.  Let me show you:
  • A dog has four legs, a child has two.
  • A dog has fur and people have hair.
  • A dog’s brain is simpler than ours. 
  • A dog pees outside and people... oops!  This blog post negates that statement!
Anyway, I spend my days getting people to see that their dogs are not little children wrapped up in fur suits.  It actually behooves (I love this word, btw) a dog for people to expect them to do dog things.  But I digress.

For more insight on dogs being dogs, check out a blog post from my job on this exact point.

Aaaanyhoo...  all summer I’ve been going with a friend of mine to the beach with our kids.  As you can imagine, there are many bonuses to taking kids to the beach.  I especially enjoy going with this particular person because her son is in my son’s class, so entertaining Tommy is one thing off my list when I go there.  On top of that, there’s fresh air, open space, sand, water and sun, all of which will wear out a kid fast!  And yes, that’s my goal. 

As Fall has slowly been approaching, we have had a few chillier days so I’m faced with the dilemma of what to do to exorcise the unending energy from my four-year old, so when it’s time for bed, I don’t get much of an argument.  

The other day, I needed to do work, and Tommy needed a bath   I told him that he was going to bathe during Harper’s nap, and he asked me if he could “play” while he was in there.  A bright light went on in my brain!  

“Sure,” I said begrudgingly, “you can play for a little while.”  

I wanted to make it seem like I was really doing him a favor.  

Little did he know, I was thrilled because I knew that he would play in the tub, and I could get my work done.  It was win/win!  (Before you call DCFS, I was in the room next door, I could hear him the whole time... and he's 4.)

Finally, I heard him say, “Mom! Watch what I can do!”  I looked at the clock and he had played for an hour!  I ran upstairs and feeling small pangs of guilt as he showed me his severely pruned hand.  Then he said, “Ready? Watch this!”

He put his face in the water and then pulled it out with pride.  My first thought was, 

“Oh, I hope he didn’t pee in there,” 
and my second was, 

“This is better than a pool!” 

I realize this isn’t a daily solution, but in a pinch... country club Stewart is open all year long!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lessons in Potty Ettiquette

A few weeks ago, on my son's 4th birthday, we said a final good-bye to the "little potty".

For those of you who are perhaps not in the "little potty" stage of life, it is, in fact, a little potty for children to learn how to go "number one" or "number two" without the fear of falling in the giant hole that makes up the grown-up potty.  It's also the thing that allows boys to experience the advantage of their feet touching the ground clearly creating comfort for maximum play or reading time while pooping.  This, ladies, is where it begins.  Tommy actually would gather up toys to take with him each time.

Personally, I think of it as the item that helped me build up my gag reflex each time I dumped human poop from the potty's base into the real potty where it could then be flushed, but not before---oh no, my friends, not before---the poop's descent into the water created a geyser that spurted up the middle and landed "poop water" on the seat, and if I was very lucky, on my hand.  There's also the matter of washing it out, because unfortunately, physics works against you as the bin is turned over and the heavier item sinks to the bottom and then slides along the side creating what we, in this house call "poop streaks".   Highbrow stuff today, right?

So, just when I thought that we had gotten through the milestone of getting rid of the "little potty", I found out that there was more wisdom to impart.

First of all, with boys, there's the whole standing up factor.  Up until this summer, he hadn't done it 

and I blame my husband who doesn't lead by example on this front since he's convinced that the bathroom at home is the best place to brush up on his Sudoku skills whether or not "number two" is 
involved.  Cut to me one day on a walk and Tommy is anxiously crossing his legs needing to pee.  I look around, channel my college days of keg beer, and point him to the nearest tree.  He walks over and starts to squat.  Well, I don't have a penis, but my geometry is pretty good, and the straight line is 
pointing right at his shorts as he's crouched over, not at the ground.  Houston, we have a problem.

I run over to him, stand him up and his panicked look reminds me of the first time sex was explained to me.  

"Just let it go, honey."

He starts to squat again.

"No.  Standing up."

He looks at me, does it, then a grin spreads across his face in relief.  Just as I'm reveling in a little parenting success, I realize that as he's ending his pee, and I'm about to be taught another physics lesson.   As the stream weakens, it begins to fall and veers quickly towards his shorts.  I never knew there was skill and mastery to this standing up thing.  Not knowing what to do, I grab him and lean 
him forward so he's basically horizontally in my arms as he finishes.  
I learned later my husband knows more than he shows at home and that with a little hip jut out and a 
shake, the whole thing can be avoided.  Who knew?!?

Little did I know that there were more potty lessons to come...

Once he learned that standing up was an option, it was as if I had unleashed Pandora's Box.  Now there was no reason to wait for an actual bathroom.  In fact, for a few weeks this summer, he and his friend would wait until the end of camp to announce that they were going to "pee in the bushes".  Now, I could have made a fuss about that from the get-go, but doing so would undoubtedly make the allure that much more appealing.  So for the next several days as we left camp, two moons could be seen facing out of the bushes as they relieved themselves because they still hadn't gotten to the lesson about not having to pull their pants down to their ankles in order to pee.  Miss Manners might have something to say about that.

The coup de grace came a couple of nights ago while we were enjoying the best time at the beach from about 4-7pm.  After a couple hours there, Tommy came running up to me, once again doing the pee dance.

"Just go in the water," I said and turned to continue my conversation.

As I finished my sentence, I turned around to check on him since he's not a stellar swimmer yet, and what do I see?

Tommy has his suit down to his ankles and has started the process at the edge of the water, not submerged as we do in polite society.

Apparently, there was one more potty lesson I had forgotten.

I quickly ran over to him pulling his very wet suit, which was sticking to him, of course, and walking him into the water as he screamed, "I can't pee in my pants, Mama!"

Well, he has a point, right?  So, as there are so many exceptions in life, Tommy has learned his first and as we walked back up the beach, I could be heard saying, "Only in the lake, not in the pool.  You understand?  Not in the pool.  ...or the bathtub."

Who said life is clear?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


...said Harper, my second child, on her first birthday.

I am having tremendous pangs of guilt about the "double" dinosaur themed birthday I held a few weeks ago.

A friend of mine said once, "do your best as a parent... And then pay for their therapy when they're older."  Sage advice considering I'm pretty sure this is where her first session will begin...

"Well, you see I'm the second child and on my first birthday there is only one picture/video of me enjoying my cake.  The rest of the documents from this day revolve around 'the prodigal son' -Tommy and his friends," she'll say with great disdain as the therapist nods and takes notes documenting this first misstep.

Their birthdays are 5 DAYS apart, for God's sake!  I can't have two separate parties so that the one-year old, who won't remember a thing will be able to look back at pictures and know she was loved.

I really hope she doesn't see the picture (I mean pictures - there were many) from Tommy's first.  It was a bash.  Ridiculously so.

She did, however, get her own cake. This may or may not be because I'm kind of a sugar nazi, and I wanted her to have a less diabetes-inducing experience for her first taste of the vice we call sugar, but it was her own cake nonetheless.

 For the record, I would like to point out that this "poor neglected child" came 16 DAYS LATE!!!  Let's not forget that little tidbit.  I know I won't.  If she had come on August 1st as my biological clock said she would, we would have been able to have a little separate party for her in late July saving me at least one 50-minute hour with a Jungian student.

She doesn't have a clue that....

...the rest of the party is watching Tommy's cake!
To her future therapist:  You're welcome!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Glamor is My Middle Name

If you look at Angelina, Gwyneth, Madonna or any of the paparazzi-tracked moms, it would lead you to believe that motherhood is borderline glamorous - and easy. It especially irks me to see the section in Us Magazine titled, "Celebrities families are just like us."pictures that have quotes like:

"They clean up ice cream cone disasters." (yes, on the day the nanny has off)
"They manage their 6 kids at the airport.". (to their private jet)
"They go back to school shopping.". (at Hermes and Henri Bendel on Rodeo Dr.)
"They go to yoga." (when above mentioned nanny is back and private yoga instructor is off)

First of all, I can tell you that when I'm shopping with my kids (at Target), they aren't patiently sitting in the cart pointing to cereals on the shelf.  The one that can walk is running ahead, declaring his inner tiger and growling/roaring at complete strangers as they pass us.  

The same child rarely leaves the beach with a smile on his face, in a stroller being pushed by his hard body mom.  It's usually some variation of me in a t-shirt and skirt cover-up (that I swim in because my body is more semi-soft) sweating like a man, pushing the baby in the stroller and carrying a tall 3 year old under my arm like a football while he screams "I just want ice cream Mama!"  The ice cream cart is placed directly out the exit of the beach, thank you very much!

Second of all, do they really get a call from the sitter when they are at work that the 4 year old's poop is green, "I mean really green, Mrs. Stewart!".   To follow that up, do they say, "OK, save it for me to look at," in response to this call?  I think not.

I'm also pretty confident that at a family wedding, they do not find themselves locked in a bathroom stall with their little black dress pulled down to their waist as if they are trying to acquire beads at Mardi Gras, hand expressing milk from their overly full lactating breasts.  Just when I started to feel individually human again, a perfectly normal adult event turns into a human 4H demonstration.

Finally, do they ever find themselves dry heaving in front of their kids at a hairball the size of a guinea pig that they find in their tub drain?  

Sorry, I just didn't want to be the only witness to this.

Really? They don't just let their handyman weather the wave of nausea this produces?  

Look, I'm sure being a celebrity has its downsides, but I can say, without hesitation, that they are not just like us.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Mental Patient

So, for anyone that knows me, I loooove my kids. They are what get me out of bed in the morning...  Literally.  

Well, the fact that they wake me up before 7am, is not actually the part I love, but I look at their faces and often see what's right in the world in their eyes.  

That said, it can't be overlooked that I absolutely feel like my daily conversations with my 3 year old are similar to those you might have with mental patient.  Now, before you start to judge me for calling my sweet, innocent boy a mental patient, let me present you with exhibit A:

Me:  Tommy, what do you want for breakfast?
T:  Roooooaar!!!
Me:  Okay Mr. Tiger, what do you want for breakfast?
T:  I'm not a tiger, I'm a wolf soldier!  (a Kung Fu Panda 2 reference, FYI)

Now mind you, I'm probably still working on getting my coffee infused in my system, so I really just want to friggin' know what he wants for friggin' breakfast.

Me:  Got it.  Sorry.  Wolf Soldier, what do you want for breakfast?
T:  I don't know.  I'm thinking about it.
(I wait, assuming - a thing you should never do with a mental patient or a 3 year old apparently, see the similarity? - that an idea for breakfast will erupt forth.)
The good news is that this pause has allowed me to sip a little of my coffee.  
Nothing.  It's okay, we only have to be at camp in an hour.
Me:  Okay, I'm making you cheese eggs.
T:  Nooooooo! (then, tumbling into a crying, tantruming mess) I don't want cheese eggs!
Me:  Stop!  Reset.  (What?  It works with my computer!) What do you want?
T:  I don't want cheese eggs!
Me:  (In my best therapy voice)  I hear that you don't want cheese eggs.  What do you want?
T:  I don't want cheese eggs!!!  (Tears still)
Me:  (I get down in front of him and am now on my knees.  I too am yelling)  I won't make you eat cheese eggs!  That's off the table!  What do you want to eat?!?  (since he's irrational apparently I'm going to be too)
T:  I just don't want cheese eggs!!!  (for god's sake! I'm not running a prison camp here.)
I just stare silently at him willing him to stop whining.  (a Jedi mind trick)
T:  (quietly) I want cereal. 
It worked!  I had channeled Yoda, and it worked. 
Me:  (in my best Yoda voice) Cereal you will have young Tom. 
T:  huh?
Me:  never mind. 
The truth is that cereal is a perfectly reasonable request.  Its amazing we both had to get so worked up. 
T:  (teary) Mom, I just don't want cheese eggs.
Me:  (not wanting to go backwards) Yes, I think I understand that.
T:  I don't want cheese eggs.  Not off the table either.
Me:  Got it.  No cheese eggs.  Not on the table, not off the table. (I feel like I'm in the Dr. Suess book "Green Eggs and Ham")
Then, as if nothing has happened...  He goes back to "guys" and returns to battle.

See what I mean?  Mental patient.  

Exhibit B:

We had a sitter over who is great, but I was trying to figure out If Tommy had broken something the other day or if my sitter had.  
Me:  Tommy, what happened here?
T:  It broke
Me:  Yes, I see that.  What happened?
T:  I didn't do it.
Me:  Okay (I say breathing)  What happened?
T:  It broke. I think Carrie's mom did it.
Me:  Was Carrie's mom here? 
T:  No.

Mental Patient.  

These conversations are peppered with ones that make total sense, and I'm momentarily led to believe he's capable of adult reasoning.  

Then, I'm shot back to reality when I see him walk by my bedroom door naked and talking to his penis.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Waiting Room Angst

Now that I have two kids, theres really no excuse for a rookie move like going to the pediatrician for a regular check-up on a Saturday when you have other options during the week. That is a day designated for sick children and all the families who are unable to come on a weekday.  And there are a lot of them.  From both categories.  And they are all in the waiting room. Playing and hacking all over the toys so generously displayed.  I have the fortune of having a flexible job where I don't have to subject myself to the Saturday Horror Picture Show, and yet, I put this in my calendar willingly. 

Now I know lots of people say this, but I'm really not a germaphobe in the least.  My 8-month old crawls on a floor that is trafficked by a dog who gives a whole new meaning to shedding, a three-year old, and two adults.  The other day I found her crawling to me with what looked like a mustache, but was actually a tumbleweed of dog hair from under the fridge in her mouth. (she's a quick little thing, don't judge me)  Gross as this is, none of it had me investing in a Roomba and putting my daughter in a human hamster ball, but after my weekend jaunt to the pediatrician, I was really hoping to create a whole body antibacterial dip for my son. 

Not only is it busy in general with your average petri dish of a pre-schooler, it's also smattered with people who simply wouldn't be there if it wasn't for their poor luck of a sickness hitting on the weekend.  Therefore, when my son eagerly jumped into the pile of toys that I'm sure no one is rushing out to sanitize between strep, diarrhea, and stomach flu cases, I felt as though I was playing a very high stakes game of Russian roulette with his health. 

You know those Mucinex commercials with the little green cartoon guys representing phlegm balls? I'm pretty sure they were running a casting call for them from this waiting room.  

We survived, but since then, every time we go to the doctor, Tommy asks to play in the playroom, and I flinch at the flashbacks of that Saturday as I pass him the iPad to play Angry Birds.  The lesser of two evils, as I see it.

Bottom line, if you don't have to, avoid it like the plague. Literally.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I'm baa-ack!

So, you may or may not have noticed that my last post involved a very pregnant me waddling my way through getting on a train with 3-year-old, stroller and coffee in tow. That was 7 1/2 months ago, I think. Time seems to have a very shapeless form at the moment.

The good news, I did have the baby - it would be a sad state of affairs if she was still gestating, however, I'm convinced that given the option, she might still be in there. 16 days late - yeah, you heard me. ...and she still had to be kicked out via induction (but that story is for another time).

She was worth the wait.
The bad news is that seems to be the last time I had time to myself. I definitely should have enjoyed the hospital stay a little more. We slept, we ordered food, they brought it to us, and, we watched TV. What more could a girl ask for?!?

Needless to say, there hasn't been a lot of time to blog about anything, especially about jump starting my creative juices. The only juices I've jump started lately have resulted in leak stains through my shirt at very inopportune moments.  Being sleep deprived has me walking through my days like a zombie with a caffeine drip being the only thing to power me forward.

When I started this blog, I really hadn't planned on this being a "mom" blog, because, quite frankly, there are so many good ones out there, like this one and this one.  However, I'm truly in the thick of it.  "It" being motherhood.  Most of my life experiences lately seem to involve lack of sleep, spit up, or tantrums.  Sad as that may be, I must write about what I know in order to have a prayer of getting to the stuff in my head that I actually want to write about.  So, from here, I let the blog be what it will and see where it leads me.  Kinda fun, right?