Monday, December 2, 2013

Definitions: Nap Time & Quiet Time

Dear Boys,

Clearly you need some clarification about what "nap time" and "quiet time" mean.  I know this because everything you are doing is the exact opposite of what you are supposed to be doing.

Let me elucidate.

"Nap time" means sleeping.  It does not mean jumping, singing, banging blocks together, faux crying or walking out of the room every 5 minutes to tell me you love me.  I love you, too, but I will feel that love much more heartily if you STAY IN YOUR ROOM.  "Sleeping" means you lie down on your bed and you close your eyes and you stay there for an extended period of time.  You do not sing, you do not play with your toys, you do not throw books all over the floor and "ice skate" on them.  Sleeping requires stillness, so when you get up after 30 seconds and tell me you can't sleep, THAT is why you can't sleep.  STOP. MOVING.

If you truly, actually, sincerely try to sleep (remember: that means NOT MOVING) and cannot fall asleep, then it is still quiet time.  Does that mean you should jump on your bed and make siren sounds?  No, it does not.  Does it mean you should pretend to have to pee or poop (or both!) once every 15 minutes and inform me of your attempts?  No, it does not.  Does that mean you should come out of your room repeatedly and ask for new toys?  NO. IT. DOES. NOT.

"Quiet time" means that you must be quiet.  As in, not noisy.  As in, a lack of sound.  As in, SSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.  Stop yelling, stop singing loudly, stop practicing gymnastics on  your bed.  Just quietly read your books, or quietly play with the toys in your room.  Twiddle your thumbs.  I don't actually care.  Just do it quietly.  That is all I ask.

Quiet time is not the time to decide that you HAVE to have the giraffe you gave to your brother a year ago.  I'm sorry you miss him.  It's been a year.  It's time to move on.

Quiet time is not the time to decide that, in spite of the mass quantities of milk and water you downed at lunchtime, you are parched.  Because you are not.  So quit it.

Quiet time is the time for quiet.  Not necessarily because you need it- although, trust me, you do- but because without a brief moment of quiet in an otherwise "Mom, mommy, mom, MOOOOOM!" filled day, I will lose my mind.  That's right, sweetie, this isn't about you.

Mommy needs this time to rebuild the energy it takes to feed and wipe and chase and feed and calm and wipe and entertain and wash and help two boys under five.  You are tiny energy vampires, and without the time to recharge, I can't play trucks with you the way you like.  If I don't have quiet time to eat my own lunch at 2pm, I don't eat and then I am cranky.  If I don't have nap time to load the dishwasher and answer emails and attempt to breathe for 30 seconds, I have a hard time keeping my cool when you ignore my instructions for the seven bazillionth time.

Mommy needs nap time- or at least quiet time- so that I can be a better Mommy.  It will help us all, my little squishies.  So, please.  Stay in your room.  Stop coming out and asking asinine questions.  Stop flying around your room like a broken toy airplane.  Stop pretending to cry.  Stop making those ear-splitting noises.  Just. Stay. Quiet.  Please.  And thank you.

All my love,
xoxo Mama

*    *    *

p.s. If you missed my latest post over at Rattle and Pen, you can read it here.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Sick Post & Still More Things They Say

This isn't a real post.  This is me being overwhelmed and, therefore, WAY behind on everything.  Hi! How ya doin'?

The past month has been one long sick-fest in this house.  (Hence the month-long break in any sort of posting or writing 'round here.)  The Big One caught a nasty case of 90-year-old-emphysema-hack at preschool, and then he brought it home.  And he shared.  He shared with all of us.  So kind to share.

So then the Little One caught it, and it turned quickly into croup.  Goddamn, croup is the worst.  It's terrifying and sad and means that the croupy kid gets zero sleep.  Which means that one or both parents get zero sleep.  Which usually means that one or both parents get the thing that started the croup.  Which is exactly what happened.  Sonofabitch.

Thankfully, this round of croup only lasted about three days, but the hack and runny nose and generally shittyness lasted well beyond that.  All told, we were stuck at home because of one kid or another for two weeks.  TWO WEEKS.  Have you ever been stuck in house with two sick kids and a sick you for two godawful weeks?  Let me give you some ground-breaking information: It sucks.

We watched so much PBS Kids and Sprout and Disney Jr. that I thought all of our brains were going to explode.  Even the KIDS got tired of T.V.  That does not happen.  There was water, and tea and juice and soup and no one wanted any of it.  There were blankets and kleenex and snot smears on everything.  And whining.  So. Much. Whining.  The kids were whiny, too.

And then, just when everyone started to get better and feel human again, the Big One got nauseous on the swings during a park date with his dad, and puked all over the car.  And you know what sucks even more than two weeks of house arrest?  Puke in a car.  And trying to get puke OUT of a car.  It's no small feat, my friends.  Booster seat covers- not washable.  Actual seats in the car?  Spot clean, only.  Seat belts?  IMPOSSIBLE TO CLEAN.  Even the end-all, be-all of puke cleaning- the MAGICAL Nature's Miracle (no seriously, it is amazing, and they didn't even pay me to say that)- couldn't get the puke smell out of the seat belt.  That little bugger got soaked 3 times AND wiped down with soap and water AND got a good Febreezing... and it still smells a bit vomity.

If you teach your children nothing else, teach them to vomit AWAY from the seat belt.

Or, better yet, teach them to TELL YOU when they're going to vomit.

But you guys, in spite of all those bodily fluids and all the whining and the general ick, something amazing happened.  Some good came out of this darkness.

And here it is: The Little One learned to use his Coughing Corner.  It's a whole new world, people.

*      *      *

And here are some cute things my kids are saying lately:

Little One
-fweet = sweet
-pupcakes = cupcakes
-fweeszers = scissors
-schrank = drink

While eating a salami sandwich: "Lawmi!  Deeeeewishus!"

Big One
- mackin = napkin

-Explaining digestion: "When you eat something, if it's too hot, you spit it out.  If it's too cold, you spit it out.  If it's just right, you swallow it and it goes down your mouth, into your froat, and into your belly.  Then it goes around your belly, to your pooper section."

Your pooper section.  The more you know, people!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Department of Redundancy Department

I spend all day every day saying the same things over and over and over.

"Stop running."
"Quiet feet."
"No jumping off of the furniture."
"No screaming."
"No bashing."
"No hitting."
"Stop taking your brother's toys."
"No pushing."
"No kicking."
"No bonking."
"No screaming."
"Flush the toilet."
"Use your words."

I am losing my mind, people.  We are living in an apartment with a cranky downstairs neighbor, and my kids just have to alter their behavior.  It's not fair, but they have to.  They just do.  But they will not.  AND I AM GOING FUCKING CRAZY.  I am repeating myself so often that I'm annoying even myself, and I'm starting to feel like the teacher in Charlie Brown cartoons.  Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah.

I can't.  I cannot repeat myself anymore.  They're not listening and I've said everything so many times that it's beyond redundant.  It's too much.  It's too much for them to listen to, it's too much for me, it's too much for everyone.  We're all gonna end up in the loony bin if this continues.

So.  We're trying something new.  We're going to try a book that a number of people have recommended and hope like hell that it does the trick.  And if it does work, I will sing the name of said book loud and clear for all to hear.  

It's time.  We all need to shut the hell up and get along.  Or else... they're coming to take me away, ha ha!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Yesterday, I came across a picture of myself holding the Little One under a rainbow.  I'd forgotten about that day.

We'd spent the afternoon at a friend's house, enjoying ourselves, but also realizing that we've ended up a bit on the periphery these days.  Not by anyone's intention, just circumstantially.  We don't go out much- we can't because money (none) and kids (two)- and we don't socialize nearly as much as we used to.  Not nearly as much as we'd like to.  We've gotten wrapped up in our own lives- in the ups and downs- and have forgotten to reach outside of our own little bubble.  We've almost forgotten how.

So anyway, we were on our way home from a lovely day that was both wonderful and bittersweet, because we realized how much we missed our friends, and we realized what hermits we've become.  We were driving quietly along and then there in the stormy clouds ahead of us, a rainbow appeared.  And not just any rainbow.  This was a big, bright, huge rainbow.

We were both struck by how giant this thing was.  I told my husband to pull over.  He looked at me like I was crazy- it was bedtime and we had two sleepy, cranky kids in the car- but then he got that sparkly look and pulled over anyway.  We jumped out of the car, unbuckling the kids, and we gazed at that big beautiful rainbow for a while.  Danced underneath it as it started to rain.  We took pictures of each other standing under that grand arch and just reveled in the beauty for a minute.  We stopped and looked.  We took it in.  We did the wildly illogical thing and enjoyed for a moment.

And it was glorious.  We weren't in the prettiest place in the world- just pulled over on the side of a busy road next to strip malls and chain restaurants- but it was perfect for a moment.  Because we stopped.  We looked.  We saw.  And we were together.

Sometimes I forget how important together is.  Not just as a family, but as people.  As friends, as loved ones, as lovers, as parents, as humans.  Together.  We all crave that intimacy, that understanding that we are in this together, and we get it.  Someone gets it.  That we are not alone.

I'm realizing quickly how much I cherish the people in my life and how often I forget to tell them- to show them- how important they are to me.  To just stop and enjoy them.  The people that tell me their stories and listen to mine.  The people that laugh with me, and cry with me.  The people that grin at my kids as they leap about the room, or the people that shake their heads with me as they screech and act like tiny monkeys.  The people that bring me joy, that encourage me, that bolster me, that support me.  My people.  They do a lot for me, and hopefully I do the same for them.

So, Squishy readers, don't forget: You are not alone.  You have people- even if it's just me and these words on a page.  Even if it's a text telling someone you love them.  Even if it's a voice on the end of a phone line.  Even if it's the person sitting next to you.  You have people.  Don't forget.  Stop.  And enjoy.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Growing Up & A Great Article

So much is changing with my little people every day.  They are artists and musicians, actors and detectives, scientists and mathematicians.  They want to see and learn and hear everything.  They bounce all over, soaking it all up.  And they are becoming the slightest bit more trustworthy and independent.  They are finally (FINALLY!!!) starting to play together for short periods without screeching, so from time to time, I get a moment to myself.  Sometimes I can pee without an audience, you guys!  It's a miracle!

And I can talk to them.  I can talk with them, and it is such a pleasure it catches me off guard sometimes.

The Little One's speech is growing by the day and he's able to tell me so much more about what he thinks about and observes around him.  He can tell me what "fwaired" him in the shadows behind the door.  He can explain his nightmares to me (in simple terms, but still).  He can tell me when and where he's hurt.  And he tell me when he's excited about something.  He can tell me me loves me, or wants a kiss, or wants to "cwimb on yap and wead a book."  He surprises me on a daily basis with his new tricks, and though he also surprises me with the depth of his stubbornness and willingness to test me, I adore that little boy to pieces.

The Big One.  So big!  He is so expressive now.  He's picking up words left and right and- to my delight- is using them.  Correctly!  His context is spot on, and he gets it.  My English teacher heart soars with every new word.  He's picked up gorgeous, humongous, enormous, and glum.  And he's used them all.  I cannot tell you how much I love it when he asks what a word means, and I watch him absorb the meaning as I explain.  My wonderful little word sponge.

They are so big already.  It happens so quickly.  I've found myself drawn to pictures of them both as babies, as though I can preserve that tiny part of them if I just remember.  If I only remember.  But they're no different.  They are bigger, more capable, naughtier... but they are still the same babies that I held and cuddled back then.  I look at the pictures and I see the same expressions, the same mischievous grins, the same goofiness, the same heart-breaking quiver when they'd begin to cry.  They are the same.  My babies.  Always my babies.

Here's a bit of their latest adorableness.  Enjoy and swoon with me at their preciousness, won't you?

Little One:
Thomas = hummus (this may tell you where his loyalties lie...)
Frinkle far = Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (That one took a while to figure out.  I kept thinking about Farkles the Unicorn.)
Fwaired = scared
Fweep = either sleep or sweep, depending on context

Big One:
After seeing a picture of me at my wedding, the Big One said, "Mommy, why are you wearing a blanket on your head?"  Touche, little dude.

"Mommy, you're a real superhero."  Damn skippy.

"I feel glum."  Well, then.

*  *  *
Also, in case you don't follow me on Facebook (HEY!  YOU SHOULD FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK!!!), here is an article that is in beautiful opposition to all the "lean in" and "opt out" articles popping up all over the place.  It rings true for me, and likely rings true for many of you, too.

"For the average married mother of small children, it is often cheaper to stay home - even if she would prefer to be in the workforce. It is hard to "lean in" when you are priced out."

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Love Letter

Dear Sweet Boys,

I love you.  I really do.  Sometimes I can hardly contain the amount of love I have for the two of you.  I want to swoop you up and cover you with kisses.  I want to hug you until the sun goes down.  I want to sing to you and smooth your hair and play with your little fingers and toes.

But I can't.  Because you keep making that awful hooting sound.  You know the one.  The one can shakes the bones of my skull.  The one that makes my eye twitch and my blood pressure go through the roof.  The one that I ask you- over and over, every single day- to STOP MAKING.  That hoot.

Quit it, please.  It's horrible.  It makes me crazy.  It gets in the way of my adoring you.  Nothing you do will ever make me stop loving you, but when the two of you start hooting together, I'm afraid my head will explode.

So remember: I love you, and no hooting.  Ever.

Thank you, my darlings.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I Did Not See That Coming

There are a great many things about parenthood that never crossed my mind.  I knew it would be hard sometimes, trying even, but I didn't think about the ridiculous minutia that would eat up my life.  None of this is major.  None of it keeps me up at night.  None of it is newsworthy.

And yet.  Good god.  It's the little things.  It's the little good things that make me love this parenting gig, and it's the little annoying things that make me want to rip my hair out.  There are plenty of both, but these are some of the annoying variety that make me stop in my tracks on a daily basis and go, "Really?  REALLY?"  Which probably makes me look really crazy.

Here are just some of the things that I did not anticipate:

  • Every second of food preparation takes time.  You know it's going to be complicated when they're babies, but you think it's going to get easier as they get older.  They'll eat what I eat!  Maybe.  But I still have to cut up grapes for the love of god.  Everything needs to be triple washed.  Not too hot, not too cold.  Placed in the correct receptacle.  Provided with the correct utensil.  Anything goes awry and it is rejected.
  • Sleep is a production.  Like a full-on, directors, grips, make-up artist, craft service table, special lighting, sound check, dress rehearsal with costumes production.  And it has to be exactly the same every. single. time. or there will be no sleep.  And oh holy hell, we all need the sleep.
  • The screaming.  There is a lot of screaming.  Usually it comes from them, but (unfortunately) sometimes it comes from us.  And it is just so... LOUD.  You hear other kids screaming and you think, "Not my kid!"  And then it is your kid and you're like, "Well, shit."
  • That I really would never get to eat a warm meal again.  Again, this was one of the things where I was like, "Not me!  I will not cater to every tiny desire my kids have.  Nope!"  But then, it's real life, and your kid becomes a vacuum cleaner, so by the time you've finished triple-washing and cutting the organic grapes into quarters, you plop them down in front of your kid, who INHALES them and immediately thrusts the bowl at you with, "More."  Damn it.
  • Leaving the house will take at least half an hour (with an additional 15 minutes for each additional kid) and you will always forget something.  The diaper/potty, shoes, jacket, snacks, drink production is relentless.  I keep thinking it will get easier and faster, but it never does.
  • I am no longer capable of talking on the phone or carrying on an intelligent, adult conversation.  If the kids are awake, they interrupt every 5 seconds.  If the kids are not awake, I am too tired to carry on an intelligent adult conversation pass the remote please.
  • Every one of my anxieties would be quadrupled in reference to my kids.  I would begin to have horrible fantasies about all the possible harm that could befall my little babies.  I would worry endlessly (beyond my usual psychotic barrage of worries) about all the things that have happened or might have happened or could happen if x, y, or z were to occur.  I would have to stop reading any and all books about parenting or children because of the sheer volume of anxieties said books create in me.  
  • That I would become a nutty mama bear type.  I didn't think I would be so protective of my kids. I thought I would be able to remain logical (HA!) and see when I needed to let them figure things out and when they were, in fact, being assholes.  But holy shit is that a struggle!  Every fiber of my being wants to coddle them and protect them and rip the face off of anyone who hurts them or their feelings.  But I don't.  I mostly don't.  It's still hard, though.  
  • I now cry at the drop of a hat.  I was never the weepy type.  I used to cry (and when I did, BOY did I), but never as easily as I do now.  Now, if you look at me funny, I may burst into tears.  Show me a picture of a brand new baby = misty.  Commercials involving children going away to college?  Waterworks.  Movies or TV shows where kids may be in danger?  Hysterical sobbing. I could barely watch The Hangover because I spent the entire movie worrying about that poor (FICTIONAL!) baby.  I am a lunatic.  A weepy, sobbing lunatic.
  • I will never, ever sleep again and Daylight Savings will become the worst thing that's ever happened to me... twice a year.  I knew sleep would be tough while they were babies, but I did not realize that I would become freakishly attuned to their every tiny noise and that said tiny noises would continue to wake me up until the end of time.

On the upside, I did not anticipate the level of joy and wonder these kids would bring into my life.  I underestimated the amount of love I was capable of feeling in a single moment.  I had no idea the kind of glee my own kids could bring out in me.  I hadn't the faintest idea how much enjoyment I would cull from a single snuggle.  So there is that.  There is definitely that.

UPDATE: A friend reminded me of another thing I did not see coming

  • That I would be constantly exhausted for the rest of my life.  No matter how much sleep I get, no matter how much coffee I drink, even when I'm filled with glee and sunshine and kittens and rainbows... still. so. tired.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Night Terrors, Nursemaid's Elbow, Barf and Fireworks... OH MY.

Well.  That was a week.

Last week was tricky.  Last week was tricky enough that I couldn't really write about it until this week.

Hi Last Week!  I'm looking at you with some distance!  I have perspective!  And you still suck!

First up: Our first foray into night terrors.
I had heard of night terrors and know a few people whose kids have had them, but I didn't know any real details.  I was hoping we might have passed that window.

We did not pass that window.  Apparently, that window is open.

I was watching T.V. one day last week while my husband was out running errands, and I heard this strange gaspy noise over the monitor.  It was quick, and I wasn't sure what I'd heard, so I turned down the sound on the T.V. and listened closely.  I heard it again- a strange, sudden gasping- followed by a sudden cry.  I jumped off the couch and ran to the Big One's room, where I found him gasping and panting, looking panicked on his bed.  I asked him if he was okay, if he'd had a bad dream, and he started to sob.  He started to cry so hard that he began to hyperventilate- something he's done since he was a tiny baby- and then started to cough and gag and choke on the coughs.  I pulled him into my lap and he pushed me away; trying to calm him only seemed to make it worse.  I couldn't figure out what was wrong.  I wasn't sure if he was terrified from some awful dream, or if he was having his first asthma attack (his father has asthma and I'm constantly terrified that he'll get it as well), or if something was seriously, frighteningly wrong.

In the middle of this, my husband walked in the door and saw what was going on.  He was equally confused and also tried to comfort our son, but got the same reaction.  It only seemed to upset the Big One more.  We asked if he wanted to lie down and sleep, and he said yes, and then hiccuped and gasped himself to sleep.  We must have checked on him eight times before going to bed that night, but he seemed fine.  His breathing normalized fairly quickly and he slept fine the rest of the night.

In the morning, I asked him about this episode, asked him if he'd had a bad dream.  He had no idea what I was talking about.  This child has a freaky memory.  He can literally remember things from when he was two years old.  He ALWAYS remembers his dreams.  Of this most horrifying experience, he had no recollection.  Nothing.  Nada.  It was at that point that I realized it might be night terrors.  I asked some friends and Dr. Google and realized that was likely the case.  Night terrors.

The next night the exact same thing happened.  Identical.  Except this time, we'd read a couple articles and listened to some advice.  We tried not to touch him much or talk to him too much.  We tried to just sit with him and quietly coo at him until he calmed on his own and went back to sleep.  Again, he remembered nothing in the morning.

I supposed it's good that they don't remember these things in the morning.  I think it's better that they don't recall the look of terror and helplessness on their parents' faces.  Night terrors are scary, but I'm relieved that it isn't my son that's terrorized by them.

*   *   *

Hi.  Feeling upbeat?  Cheery?  FILLED WITH UNICORNS AND GLITTER?!?  No?  Okay. That'll happen later.

SO.  Last week the kids also caught a lovely summer bug, which resulted in high fevers and the Little One's first barf.  After eating strawberries.  And taking cherry Tylenol.  Can you picture it?  YOU'RE WELCOME.  The poor kid puked bright pink vomit all over himself, the couch, and the bathroom and scared the bejeezus out of himself.  Did I mention it was also the hottest week we've had this summer- mid-90s- and we have no air-conditioning and no cross-breeze?  Mmm hmmm.  Nothing quite like the smell of fresh vomit on a hot day.

This bug went from one kid to the next, and we were down for the count for a full week.  Stuck in a house that smelled like barf on the hottest days of the year with fevers.  And half the couch out of commission.  It was swell.  But they got better!!  And Nature's Miracle really is a miracle and took the vomit right out of our couch.  Seriously, it's amazing stuff.

*   *   *

SO, also.  Ever heard of nursemaid's elbow?  It's super common, and it's super fucked up.  It's a partial dislocation of the elbow that you can find out more about here, but all you really need to know is: #1. It can happen when you swing young kids around by their arms, lift them quickly by the hands, wrists, or arms, or if they go boneless while holding your hand (and you try to hang on to their hand OR lift them by the hand).  #2. It really hurts the kiddo and makes you feel like shit if you're the one holding the kid when it happens..  #3. Once it happens, it WILL happen again.

The Little One has now partially dislocated his elbow FOUR times.  FOUR.  And it sucks, you guys.  There is screaming and crying and pathetic whimpering.  There is cradling of the arm and looking at me like, "Why won't you make this stop?!?!"  IT SUCKS.

This time- the FOURTH time- the Big One did it.  It was totally an accident, they were just playing and the Little One reached out and the Big One grabbed his arms and pulled and I yelled for him to stop and it was already done.  I knew before he even cried.  It happens so quickly and easily now.

Last time, the third time it happened, we were at the Big One's birthday party and friend was there who happens to be a doctor.  He did a little research on the spot and fixed it right then and there.  And he showed us how.  It was quick and seemed easy and once it's fixed it's all better.

So, this time, the Little One was whimpering on my lap while the Big One was intermittently hiding in his room and bringing apology offerings of blankies and stuffed animals, and there I was on the internet refreshing my memory for how to do this.  And wondering whether I could do this.  Can I reset my own child's elbow?  Can I?  NO.  Yes?  No?  Yes.

I went back and forth wondering which was worse: Was it worse to drag my two and half year old hurting son downstairs, torque his dislocated elbow into a car seat, drive him (crying) to Urgent Care, and wait for who knows how long for them to snap it right back into place?  OR was it worse for me to try and do this when, really, I have no idea what I'm doing.

I decided the former would suck more.  I don't know if it was the responsible choice, but it was the choice I needed to make.

I'd watched two doctors fix his elbow one semi-complicated way in Urgent Care, and I'd watched my friend (and his research video) do it another, easier looking way.  I decided to go the easier looking route.  I looked up a million different tutorials on how to do this and finally found one with very clear pictures that made sense to me.

The hard part was trying to hold my poor boy still enough to get a proper hold on his hurt arm.  It was awful right up until I did it.  But it was quick.  And I did it.  I popped my son's elbow back into place and I watched the immediate relief.  And then I cried into his hair as he reached for his lovey with the arm that he had just been unwilling to move.  I did it.  We did it.  I did it.

Nursemaid's elbow sucks.  I know it will probably happen again.  And I know I'll probably have to fix it again.  And I do not look forward to that.

Be careful with your squishies.  They are small and much more fragile than they seem.

*   *   *

Okay, STILL not filled with unicorns and kittens and rainbows and poufy clouds and sunshine?  No?  BUT THIS HAS BEEN SUCH A HAPPY, UPBEAT POST!!!   Eh em.  Okay.  It's coming.  Really.  Here.

SO, also, also.  Fourth of July happened in there.  While the kids were sick.  And everyone was exhausted.  And our house still smelled like puke.  And no one was sleeping.  BUT.  Because no one was sleeping, we got to watch the fireworks with the Big One.  And that.  That, my friends, was amazing.  Watching his little eyes grow wide in the dark while he listened to these strange sounds- sounds that scared him- and watched the lights bursting in the sky....  Well... that made us forget about all of the crappy stuff.  We bundled together on the balcony and drank hot cocoa and stayed up way past our bedtimes and talked and talked and talked.  And we watched the fireworks.  Together.  And we hugged the whole time.

So there.  Warm and squishy, after all.

*  *  *
Once again, this post has NOT been sponsored in any way by Nature's Miracle.  I'm just really, really glad it took the puke out of my couch.  Like, REALLY glad.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Where's My Village & More Stuff They Say

I have a new post up at Rattle & Pen about the disappearing "village" in modern parenting.  Where's my village, yo?  Go check it out here.

But while you're here!!  Here's some more adorableness from the mouths of my little lunatics.  They're nutballs, but I love 'em.

Big One:
"That's my spirit!" meaning, that's the spirit.

Holding an improvised vacuum extension limbo pole over my head:
"Mommy!  Let's lahmbo!"
"You mean limbo?"
"Yeah!  Now it's you're turn to mambo!"

"up-spied-down" = upside down
"up-spied-up" = right side up

"Lightning the Queen" = Lightning McQueen (from Cars)

Little One:
"Meez" or "pweez" = please
"brudder" = brother
"wap" = lap
"tincrumbers" or "kidcumbers" = cucumbers
"Fprinkles" (aka: sprinkles) = goosebumps
"fwaht-fwahts" = flip flops
"swars" = stars
"shit" = sit OR chips, so he very often says things like, "Daddy shit.  Brudder shit.  Shit, meez!" or "Yummy shits.  Eat shits.  More shits, pweez."  I love it so hard.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lil' Picasso

Apparently, someone has artistic aspirations.  Permanent ones.

Look what we found after coming home from our first night out in a year:

What's that?  Oh.  That's Sharpie.  Permanent, permanent Sharpie.  Would you like to know where he found it?  Let me tell you.

So.  For the first time in a year, ONE ENTIRE YEAR, we had the opportunity to go out- without children, in public- and spend some time together like real live people.  A very exciting prospect, no?  One of our best friends was in town for a gig (he's a spectacular musician), so it was a chance to get out, see a friend, listen to some amazing music, and enjoy ourselves.  Our normal babysitter (read: my kind father, because we have zero dollars) was out of town, but we had been lucky enough to find a dear, kind friend who was willing to babysit free of charge.  Hurray!  A night out!  It was going to happen!  So much fun would be had!

We arranged everything so that we could get the kids in bed before we left.  We figured that since the Little One had recently learned how to climb out of his crib, this was our best shot at making this an uneventful evening and easy on our friend.  We are dumb.

We managed to get everyone in bed before we had to leave, but it was down to the wire and pretty clear that the Little One would be up and out in mere seconds.  Our friend, who is a saint, said not to worry, that she'd take care of it, and sent us happily out to have fun.  So off we went.

Now, here's the thing.  The Little One is not a child of subtlety.  He is loud.  He is rambunctious.  He has never been sneaky in his whole life, because where's the fun in that?  We figured that if he climbed out of his pack n' play in our closet- I MEAN, in our attached nursery- he would stomp around like he always does and our friend would just pop him back in bed.  Easy.  No problem.
Like I said, we are dumb.

He did just that 3 or 4 times.  He popped out of bed and stomped his way around for a minute or two until our friend went in and popped him kindly back in bed.  No problem.  Then, there was silence.  No sound of sliding doors.  No stomping.  No sneaky little toddler feet padding around anywhere.  Our friend quietly tried to get a little work done and listened for him, but didn't hear a thing.

UNTIL.  She heard a big, loud, crash coming out of our room.

She ran in to find that the crash was a pile of papers and a laptop pulled onto the floor.  And then she noticed his cheek and his hand.  Black marks.  What were they?  And then she turned on the light.

And oh the horror.

Please note the squiggles on the travertine tile.  What you cannot see are the squiggles on the wall, the comforter, the carpet, my nightstand, my husband's desk chair, his keyboard and his desk.  Kid straight up tagged the joint.  He went nuts.  But he was purposeful!  Check out the strokes.  I kinda like his style, actually.  Abstract Expressionist, perhaps?

My friend just turned in circles, surveying the damage.  She just kept saying, "Oh, Little One.  Oh, no no.  What did you do?  Where else is it?"  He proudly led her from drawing to drawing, until he realized that she was horrified.  She asked him where the markers were, and he led her to the jackpot- a little collection of pens and Sharpies hidden in his pack n' play.  She had no idea where he'd gotten them.  As she was standing there aghast, he started to realize that his art was, perhaps, not appreciated as intended.  She led him to his bed where he crawled quietly back in, eyes the size of dinner plates.

She tried to wipe some of the Sharpie off, but of course, it's Sharpie.  'Twas a no go.  Then our poor kind soul of a friend worried herself silly and called her mom, her husband, and I think even her sister, wondering what to do.  She felt terrible.  She was panic stricken that all of this had happened on her watch- on our one night out in a year.

When we came home, she was staring blankly at the T.V. looking shell-shocked.  She jumped up and said solemnly, "So... something happened."  She quickly reassured us that no one was hurt, but that the Little One had somehow ninja-ed his way out of bed and had gone a-huntin' around our bedroom.  Where he had found Sharpies.  And used them.  Liberally.

Both my husband and I clapped our hands over our mouths, and then started to laugh.  She was clearly so mortified and obviously felt responsible, and here all I could think was, "Yup.  That's the Little One. Of course he did."  I hugged her and tried to reassure her as she tried to describe the damage.  We peeked at some of it, shaking our heads and rolling our eyes at our kiddo.  Of course he did.  And, had we been the ones here, it probably would have been much, much worse.

What we later realized is that he had climbed up on top of my husband's desk and reached way back to to the very back corner of a very tall shelf to reach those Sharpies.  Sharpies I didn't even know existed.  Sharpies I'm pretty sure he didn't know existed.  I think he was just exploring and, in his fervor, happened upon the most amazing discovery!  He also found scissors up there, but thankfully didn't try to use them.  He was content to draw... and draw, and draw, and draw.

In the morning, he hopped out of bed at 6:30 and stood by my bedside to wake me with a request for Cheerios- same as he does every morning.  I sat up and asked him what he'd done last night.  His response, with great glee and pride while pointing at the giant circle he'd scrawled on the wall: "Draw!!"

*   *   *

That 2nd picture is me trying to clean the Sharpie off the tile.  The Little One was "helping."  Thank you, Little One, but I think you've helped enough.  
Alcohol did the trick, by the way.  No no, rubbing alcohol.  I mean, a drink wouldn't be too shabby after a discovery like this either, but that's not gonna get the Sharpie off of anything.  Alcohol took the Sharpie right off the tile.  It did NOT work on the door.  Smearage happened.  Not helpful.  The only thing that got the Sharpie off the door was the Magic Eraser (bless those inventors) and much time and elbow crease.  Still working on the wall.  The comforter, carpet and wood furniture are goners.

This is not a sponsored post and I've received no compensation from the Sharpie peeps or the Magic Eraser peeps.  They have no idea that I'm writing this.  It's just a funny story and I'm just really, really stoked that the Magic Eraser worked.   

Friday, June 14, 2013

Blogiversary, New Gig, and Busy Days, OH MY

You guys, I'm totally cheating on you.  I'm sorry.
Nope, I'm not sorry actually.  I'm ecstatic!  I'm delighted to announce that I am now a regular contributor over at Rattle & Pen.  Amazing women writers writing about life.  What could be better?

(Remember how, in my very first post ever, I said that wanted to be able to say, "I AM A WRITER" and mean it?  Well... guess what, peeps...  WHOA.)

Also, I just realized that this little blog is two years and 4 days old today.  Happy Birthday, Squishy!  Thank you to those of you who have been reading from the beginning, and welcome to my new readers.  You're all awesome.  If you'll keep reading, I'll keep writing.  Promise.

So, point is, I still love you.  I swear.  I'm not abandoning Squishy and I'll be back to my snarky mommy blogging posthaste.  I PROMISE.  I have a gazillion posts started, but just haven't had the time to finish any of them.  (Husband graduated with his 2nd BFA yesterday- WOOT!- in-laws are in town, kids are nutballs, etc.)  BUT I WILL.  Soon.  I have stuff to tell you.  Stuff involving Sharpies.

Anyhoo, in the meantime, go read my latest post up at Rattle & Pen here about writing in public and the awesomeness and weirdness that comes from it.  Hurrah!  (And thanks for your support, dear Squishy readers.  I really do love you.)


Monday, May 27, 2013

Guest Contributor: Rattle & Pen

I am honored to announce that I am the first guest contributor over at the amazing Rattle & Pen.  Please take a moment to read my essay, "Raising Feminist Sons," here.

I am a huge fan of the talented women writers at Rattle & Pen and I feel privileged to join them.  The pieces found here speak to the experiences of so many of us.  Read through and see for yourself.


Saturday, May 25, 2013


photo credit: katy tuttle photography

The Big One turned to me today- out of nowhere, in the middle of lunch- and said, "Mommy?  When I'm big, can I go everywhere with my family?  I want to stay with my family.  I don't want to be alone.  I'm scared to be all alone."

And then my heart broke into a million little pieces.

*   *   *

Earlier today, he and the Little One ran ahead of my husband and me in the hallway.  They jumped into the elevator before we even turned the corner.  They are normally so good about waiting for us.  But this time, this time they forgot.  And as we turned the corner and the elevator doors closed, I heard the Big One yell quietly in surprise, "Nooooo!!!!"  

We ran as fast as we could, but we couldn't get to the elevator before it started moving.  They had already pushed the buttons inside when the doors closed.  My husband bolted down the staircase and I waited where I was, in case they followed the directions I had once given them to stay where they were.  I was hoping they would come right back.  But they didn't.  I could hear the Big One whimpering softly.  He was scared.  I listened as the elevator stopped at this floor, and then that one.  I didn't know which.  And then I couldn't hear them anymore.  And I couldn't hear my husband.  

I started to yell through the elevator doors, hoping they could hear me.  

"Are you okay?  Boys?!?  Babe, do you have them?"

Nobody answered.

I opened the door to the concrete stairwell and yelled down the staircase.

"Did you get them?  Are they there?  BOYS?!?"

Still nothing.  

I had no idea what to do.  The elevator was still moving up and down, up and down, but I couldn't hear them anymore.  Was I supposed to stay?  Should I run down and try to find them?  What do I do?

I was pressing the elevator button and trying to listen in the stairwell and the elevator shaft, when I finally heard them.  I heard my husband quietly telling them that he was frightened.  How scary that was.  That they mustn't ever do that again.

The doors opened.  The Big One walked out, looking stunned, and wrapped his arms around my legs.

"Mommy.  I was lost.  I didn't want to be alone.  I lost my family."  

I knelt down and hugged him.  I told him how scary that was.  How I didn't know where he was or how to get to him.  I told him that he must never do that again.  

The Little One bounded around us, unfazed and babbling excitedly about his adventure.  

"Mommy!  Lost!"

We talked about what happened with the Big One as we walked back down the hallway- how he shouldn't have run ahead, how we've talked about this before.  We told him he'd done a good job staying with his little brother and that he kept him safe, and that was good.  

I asked my husband where he'd found them, and he told me they were the first place he looked- the lobby of our building.  We never go to the lobby.  I have no idea why they got off there.  I asked my husband why he went there first, since it seemed most likely that they'd have gone to the garage where we were headed.  He shrugged.  Said he had no idea.  He just went there first because it was the closest to the street.  And if they'd gone out into the street...

I shook my head.  That wouldn't have been where I would have looked.  I'm glad he went down the stairs instead of me.  I told the Big One it might have taken me a while to find them, and that scared me.  I asked him to please, please, never do that again.  He nodded, but he just kept saying the same thing over and over.

"I lost my family.  I was alone.  I lost my family."

*   *   *

I see so much of myself in this little big boy of mine.  Some of it fills me with pride, and some of it makes me worry for him.  

I know his fear of being alone.  I had the very same fear when I was a little girl.  In some ways, I still do.

I got lost riding my bike to a park one day when I was seven and very nearly lost my little mind.  I was inconsolable.  People stopped their cars on the street to see if I was okay.  I wasn't.

They helped me find my way, eventually, but the seed was already planted.  I could get left behind.  I could be left alone.

When I was eight, my parents tried to leave me home alone for a reasonably short period of time because they couldn't find a babysitter.  I was a responsible little girl and was perfectly capable of staying home alone for a little while.  But I had never stayed home alone, and I was terrified.  I begged my mother to stay home, to find me a sitter, anything but leave me alone.  I remember so clearly the feeling of panic, tears streaming down my face as I pleaded not to be left alone.  As I tried to explain how frightened I was.

When my mom tried to leave, I completely lost it.  I sobbed and screamed and shook and implored.  She tried to reason with me, to tell me that I would be fine.  That it would be okay.  I didn't believe her.  

Eventually, she made the 400 necessary phone calls and found someone who was willing to drop everything and come over.  And I can still feel the absolute relief I felt at that moment- the solace of knowing that I would not be alone.

I don't know how this fear became so entrenched in me, and I don't know how I managed to pass it along to my son.  I hope I can teach him that it's okay to be alone.  That, sometimes, alone is wonderful. 

But until then, I will teach him that I am here.  That he is loved and supported by his family.  That we are watching out for him.  And that even when those elevator doors close on him, we'll be waiting on the other side.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sometimes, There is Good

Oh, hi!!!  How are you?!?  I know.  It's been a while.  We really need to do this more often.

This week has sucked.  The kids have been sick with fevers and coughing and have been exhausted human barnacles.  And now we're on to the aftermath of the sick which involves all of the whining, but none of the reasoning.  It sucks and I'm drained and it sucks.  But rather than talking about the suck (the whining... SO MUCH WHINING), I'm going to talk about something else.  Because I've had enough of the suck for today.

Instead, I'm going to talk about some things I've noticed lately.  Good things.  Silly things.  Things that make me smile.  Because really, those are the things I'll remember (and want to remember) in the long run.  So here they are. Some things that don't suck.

- The other day I told the Big One that I used to love to eat frozen peas when I was a kid.  He looked intrigued, so I gave him some in his school lunch.  He ate every last frozen pea.  I gave them to him again today, and the grown-up at his table at preschool raised his eyebrows and said, "Frozen peas, huh?"  And he smiled and said, "Yup!"  And I smiled, because, yup.  That's my guy.

- Kid perspective is awesome.  It is only after having kids that you get to hear things like this:
Big One - "Sometimes? Beans look like they're barfing."

- I noticed a little while ago that the Little One says, "Okay" in a very specific, adorable way.  I realized about a week ago that he says it just like me when I'm trying to comfort them.  I realized yesterday that I say it (and, therefore, the Little One says it) exactly like my grandmother says it.  I love it so much more now.

- Parenthood makes you realize weird things about yourself.  For example, I have learned that when I am pissed off or anxious, I clean the kitchen.  Why?  Dunno.  It makes me feel less anxious, certainly, but I think it also gives me an outlet for my anger.  (So many pots to bang around and stubborn counter stains to scrub at!!)  I just saved myself $500 in therapy!  Good job, me!

-Also, the sun came out (in May!  In Seattle!) and these things happened.  And they were good.

 Kid yoga is awesome.  We are stars.

 I am not as angry at the juice pouch as I look.

As you can see here, I am part vampire.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Armageddon Days Are Here Again

Oh god.  My two year old is climbing out his crib.  A lot.  I can't keep him in it.  Oh god, oh god, oh god.

This is the end.  My only friend, the end.
There will be no more sleep in my house.  Naps might be done.  And they still need naps!  I STILL NEED NAPS.  It's going to be all exhaustion and crankiness and edge all the time up in this joint.  Oh, god.

For the past couple of days, we have spent every naptime and every bedtime putting the Little One back in his bed every 2 minutes.  Last night, we did this for 3 HOURS.  And then I woke up at 3:45am to a tiny person standing next to my bed staring at me.  It was terrifying.  I put him back in his crib with strict "NO CLIMB!" instructions.  At 7:15am, he was back.  With trains.

Then, at naptime the next day I put the child back in his bed 25 times- TWENTY FIVE TIMES- before I finally gave up because around put-back 23 I'd switched him from his pack n'play to his crib and he fell and cried the 25th time he climbed out.

This sucks.

If I can convince the Little One to stay in his crib (and I'm pretty sure I won't be able to convince him to stay in his crib), there may be a couple months of hope remaining.  Hopefully just long enough for us to move out of our current place and into one with separate rooms for each kid.

But if I can't (and it really seems like I can't... I've already counted his actual crib out what with the falling and all)... I'm going to have to switch him to a toddler bed.  Which means I'll have to switch the Big One to a toddler bed.  Because they share a room and the Big One will not have that kind of injustice.  Which means that the magical cages... I mean CRIBS, I've managed to keep my boys in will be no longer.

(And to those of you saying, "OMG!  You still have your 4 year old in a crib?!?!"  I say, YES.  YES, I DO.  AND IT HAS BEEN AWESOME.)

What will happen when I switch a 4 year old and a 2 year old to toddler beds simultaneously?

I can only assume the Apocalypse will begin.

So... start gathering canned goods, people.  This shit is going down soon, and it is not going to be pleasant.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

People Are People

It's been a tough couple of months for lots of reasons.  I've talked and whined and written about it plenty.  My husband's incredibly busy with school, we have two small children in the trying throes of toddlerhood, my mom is sick, we're trying to balance everything with no money and little support, I've been in this damn boot, and now... the accident.  And the resulting pain/soreness/stiffness/aching.  It's a lot.  It's too much.

It's been enough that I broke down in tears multiple times in one day a couple weeks ago.  Half because everything I have to do 739 times a day (lift 30lb children, load and unload dishwashers, load and unload washing machines, pick up and/or move 3487 trucks and cars and trains and blocks, lift 30lb children some more) hurt like hell, and half because I was/am exhausted. 

Most days I can handle it.  I can remember what really matters, or at least postpone thinking about the stuff that's hard.  But for a few days a couple of weeks ago, I was out of places to put it.  I didn't have any storage for hard left.  So it poured out of me in the form of tears.  

The kids were concerned initially, but then mostly ignored me.  They're little and they've seen me cry before.  I always explain why I'm crying ("I'm sad," "I'm hurt," "I'm really frustrated") and then usually go hide.  Which is what I did this time.  But then.  Then the most amazing thing happened.

The Big One came back in the room after the initial check-in, dragging a blanket.  He tucked me in.  "So you can feel better, Mommy. I'm sorry you're sad and ouchie.  I love you."  And then he hugged me, oh so gently, and stroked my shoulder, and smiled at me with the most beautifully empathetic look.  

And then I really started crying.

Because here's the thing.  I KNOW my boys are sweet.  I know they are loving, and kind, and wonderful.  But sometimes... sometimes I see them being boys, and I get worried.  I see them wanting to kick and hit and destroy and hurt, and I don't understand it.  And it scares me.  

People roll their eyes at me and give me the ol' "boys will be boys" speech.  And I understand that that's true to a point.  As much as I've tried to resist the idea, boys and girls behave differently.  They just do.  But it still scares me.

And then awful things like the Steubenville rape case and the Boston Marathon bombings happen, and my brain is filled with worries about whether or not I'm doing things right.  Whether or not my boys- my sweet, kind, wonderful boys- could ever be capable of that kind of violence.  And what scares me so completely is, I think the answer is yes.  

Not because I feel that my boys would commit such a hateful, awful crime.  But because I think everyone is capable of terrible things.  People do terrible things every single day.  People with parents, with children, with brothers and sisters, with pets and grandparents and people who love them.  People who have been raised in every possible way, with every possible advantage or disadvantage.  People do horrible things, and I don't know how to stop it.

So.  Instead of sitting around feeling helpless and hopeless, I think about what I can do.  I teach my boys empathy.  I can teach my boys that hurting other people is not okay.  I can teach my boys that power is not the ultimate goal.  I can teach my boys that sex should not used, but should be shared between two people mature enough to care for each other and stop if there are any questions or hesitations.  I can teach my boys to use their words instead of violence.  I can teach my boys to stand up for others- to speak up for anyone who cannot or will not speak up for themselves.  I can teach my boys that sometimes doing what's right is hard and might feel terrible at the time.  I can teach my boys not to be slaves to their bodies, to their hormones, to the media.  I can teach my boys that people- ALL people- deserve respect and kindness.  

And possibly most importantly, I can show my boys what all of this looks like.  I can model respect, kindness, and doing the right thing.  I can show them that they don't have to be what other people tell them to be.  I can show them that fear doesn't have to control them.  I can show them what love and acceptance and respect look like.

And I can think about what I am already doing.  I can think about the look in the Big One's eyes when he came to check on me as I sat on the bathroom floor crying.  I can think about how he chose to help, to make me feel better.  

I can believe that my boys will never, ever allow themselves or their peers to act with such hatred, such disregard, such ignorance as the people around the world who commit and allow violence and hatred against others.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Quit It

You know how sometimes, when something terrible has happened, some people say something like, "God/The Universe/Life would never give you more than you can handle," and you just kinda want to punch them in the neck?

Yeah.  That.

Except it's ME I want to punch in the neck.  Because I found myself saying that very thing... to myself.  "Self!  You can do this!  People do this all the time!  Buck up and be a woman!  None of this is more than you can handle!"


Two weeks ago, the Big One and I got in a small car accident on our way home from preschool.  Because, as my mother-in-law so aptly put it, we needed that like a hole in the head.

It was my workday in my son's co-op preschool class, so I was enjoying some rare alone time with the Big One.  We were happily chatting about our day at school and I slowly approached this terrible uncontrolled intersection that people always speed through.  I looked, saw no one, entered the intersection, and BAM.  Got T-boned on the left side.

Thankfully, we were all okay.  It could have been way, way worse.  My kid was in the car with me.  We're all okay.

The Big One is still fine- didn't have a single sore muscle or red mark- and I could not be more grateful about that.  He didn't even cry after it happened.  Just looked at me with this mildly surprised look on his face and said, "Mommy?  Did we just get crashed?  We should call 911."  So, he learned that, apparently.

I escaped relatively unscathed, too.  Just a cervical strain and back sprain, which will hopefully be helped and healed by some prescribed massage.  We have a great insurance company (SHOUT OUT TO USAA!), so the fact that this could have sucked so much more does not escape me.  I am grateful and thankful and all of that.  I am.

However.  COME ON.  Have you ever tried to take care of a 2 year old boy and almost 4 year old boy with a jacked up neck and back?  AND A GODDAMN "WALKING" BOOT?!?

It's getting ridiculous around here.  After a week, I was just barely able to bend and pick something up without yelping.  Driving sucked.  Getting dressed sucked.  After two weeks, I'm finally able to move about almost normally, but it hurts.  Doing laundry and dishes sucks.  Lifting 30+lb kids really, really sucks.  And I have to do all of this ALL. DAY. LONG.

You guys, I did not think I could get any whinier.  BUT I CAN.

This fucking sucks big crinkly balls.  You heard me.

I've been in this damn boot for 9 weeks now.  My husband has been working his ass off creating a game at school and handling his team, so he hasn't been home much.  Even over "break" he spent much of his time working.  The kids are on fire lately- in total terrorist mode.  They're testing the boundaries and fighting the power and doing all the things that are completely developmentally appropriate, but the screaming, hitting, and ignoring me is so infuriating I can hardly contain the screeching that wants to escape my throat.  There's our usual lack of money and all the fun that comes along with that.  My mom has been ill for a while and the hope we had for recovery is waning.  And now, this accident.  And all the gazillion phone calls and emails it entails.  Plus a neck and back that only sort of work and hurt like a motherfucker.

I just.... ugh.  A week ago I was completely out of the patience and strength required for quality parenting.  I don't know if I was doing a good job before, but last week I was definitely not.  I let the kids watch way too much T.V. because I can't get on the floor to play with them and I can't intervene every 5 seconds to stop them from killing each other or destroying the house.  I was snapping at my kids and my husband left and right.  I was completely exhausted.  Exhausted from lack of rest, lack of relief, lack of resources, lack of help, lack of patience, lack of calm, lack of energy, lack of... everything, it feels like.  I feel spent.  And frustrated.  And weirdly complaisant. 

Then, I decided to do something about it.  I decided to dig down deep while my husband was around for break and we chose to focus on the positive.  To be patient even when we felt like we couldn't.  To play with the kids and give each of them special time and to be present- even though we're both exhausted.  

And you know what?  It helped.  It didn't fix everything and we're still having to work very, very hard not to get overly frustrated and focus on the negative, but it helped.  It helped enough that to feel some relief.  And maybe that's enough.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


On Thursday, I allowed the children to watch a stupid amount of T.V. so that I could catch up on laundry.  LAUNDRY.  It took SIX HOURS to finish it all.  And there's still a basket full of unfolded kid laundry.  Urgh.

So, to make up for Thursday's idiocy, I decided to make Friday a good day for all.  At the urging of some lovely ladies in my life, I decided mid-afternoon to take on a 64oz water challenge.  And I did it.  In 3 hours.  Holy bathroom trips, batman.  I also decided to spend quality time with the Big One, since he so rarely seems to get it.  

I had the pleasure of spending a luxurious hour and a half of uninterrupted play time with my beautiful boy, and it was glorious.  I forget sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day, how much I enjoy watching my boys as they play.  Watching his little eyes light up as we sent the construction trucks speeding across the living room made my day.  He created an entire little construction scenario- we were building a building, complete with pipes!- and I suggested we use the blocks to actually build the building.  The look on his face was so exuberant, so filled with pure glee, that I burst out laughing.

We got the blocks and built building after building.  Building them together and knocking them down, over, and over, and over.  It was heaven.  Some our construction held, some of it failed.  But always, we worked together.  

I need to remember that.  Always, we worked together.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wait, What?

After dinner the other day, I had an actual argument with my child over whether or not I could stick a marshmallow in his belly button.

It ended in long a fit of giggles, of course, and by the end of it I laughed so hard I cried.  I needed that.

I repeat a point I have made many times before: Parenthood is weird.

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I was pro-mallow-button, by the way.  Obviously.

Monday, February 25, 2013

What I Want For Them

As parents, we think a lot about the future.  How to make sure our kids have a stable future.  Doing what we can to guarantee a happy future for our kids.  What we can do to keep them safe so they HAVE a future without insulating them too much.

We think about the big picture, but we rarely think about the little things. I don't, anyway, and it's the little things that really make life.  The inside jokes and the private moments.  The shared love of weird foods and that song that always makes you think of that one time with that one person.  The nonsensical traditions and same-ol' stories and holidays you've shared.  Those are the things you remember.  The things that make families so idiosyncratically wonderful (and, sometimes, awful).

So when people ask what I want for my kids, I tend to stick with the obvious: happiness and health.  And I do want that for them.  Desperately.  But I want so much more.  I want the little things in their lives to make them laugh until they can hardly breathe.  I want them to cry with joy.  I want them to experience beauty and make beauty.  I want them to know and live and bask inside the kind of love that they have allowed me to feel.

And, so.  What I want for you, my sweet, uber-naughty little boys.

I want my boys to love vegetables, to really look forward to a good salad and relish rainbow colored food.  I want them to be art and book lovers, to find the painting they can stare at for hours or the book they quote and reread until it's battered and dog-eared and riddled with annotations.  I want them to continue to love to dance, to be willing to bop up and down without caring who's watching, to lose themselves in the music and surrender to it well into old age.  I want them to love poetry.  I want them to be able to find the humor in any situation and to create it if they can't find it.  I want them to be true to their word.  I want them to understand sarcasm, because sometimes it's the only way their parents are capable of communicating.   I want them to enjoy cooking and baking and practice both with glee.   I want them to never be afraid of who they are and to live proudly and confidently.  I want them to do what they love.  I want them to be good friends- to each other, and in general.  I'm want them to learn to handle disappointment with grace.  I want them to be willing to scrub a toilet or do laundry and to do both competently and without being asked.  I want them to be feminists and to understand that equality IS and doesn't need to be earned.  I want them to always remember how to play.  And finally, I want them to always, always, always be willing to sit and have a cup of coffee with me.

(Although, honestly, I'd settle for just being fully potty-trained first.)

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This post was inspired by a discussion amongst an amazing group of women that I know, but don't actually know.  They are brilliant and kind and hilarious.  They very often make my day.  And their kids are going to be some seriously amazing people.  Thanks, Smarties.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

And This Is Why I Can't Keep Up With the Laundry

Here was my morning:

Me: Putting laundry in washing machine.
Little One: Taking laundry out of washing machine.
Me: Putting laundry in washing machine.
Little One: Taking laundry out of washing machine.

Me: Putting laundry in washing machine.
Little One: Taking laundry out of washing machine.
Me: Picking the Little One up and placing him outside the laundry room.

Me: Continue putting laundry in the washing machine.
Little One: Sneaking back into the laundry room to continue pulling laundry out of the washing machine.
Me: Removing the Little One from laundry room again.
Me: Turning washing machine on and adjusting controls according to desired washing result.
Little One: Sneaking back into the laundry room and pushing ALL OF THE BUTTONS so washing machine is now nowhere near desired washing result.

Me: Removing Little One's hands and resetting controls according to desired washing result.
Little One: Pushing all of the buttons again.
Me: Removing Little One's hands and resetting controls according to desired washing result.
Little One: Pushing all of the buttons again.
Me: Removing Little One's hands and resetting controls according to desired washing result.
Little One: Pushing all of the buttons again.

Me: Removing Little One from the laundry room again and placing laundry baskets in his way.
Little One: Throwing laundry baskets, and clean laundry therein, all over the hall whilst slamming adjacent bathroom door and yelling, "WWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!"
Me: Glaring.

Me: Setting dryer according to desired drying results.
Little One: Climbing over laundry baskets and strewn laundry to dryer where he can commence pushing all of the buttons so dryer is now nowhere near desired drying result.
Me: Staring at Little One.  "No."  Removing Little One from laundry room.

Me: Setting dryer again according to desired drying results.
Little One: Pushing all of the buttons again so dryer is nowhere near desired drying result.
Me: Setting dryer according to desired drying results and wondering why the "Lock Controls" button DOES NOT ACTUALLY LOCK ANYTHING AT ALL WHAT IN THE FUCKING HELL.
Little One: Pushing all of the buttons again so dryer is nowhere near desired drying result.

Me: Pushing start because who cares about the desired drying results kill me now oh my god.
Me: Walking away and shaking head.  Contemplating noon drink.