Life Happens


Forgive me readers for I have sinned. It has been 6 months since my last blog post.

I am filled with excuses of why I have not written.

Dare I say that my kids were so well-behaved this summer that I had nothing to write about? I know no one wants to hear about how wonderful someone thinks their kids are so I was left speechless and without good stories of their classic asshole behavior.

When that moment passed…

We started a major rehab project on our house and I was the general contractor. If you want to get a rehab project done in an effective and timely manner, make a mother the General. General Mother….. at your service!

Wrapping that project up…

Once Thanksgiving hit, we were celebrating holidays and birthdays non stop. I love the holidays but add three birthdays and an inter-faith marriage and you get one giant fucking fiesta November through February! I swore that after I had my first child during the holiday season I would never let that happen again. My second child was born a month early, weaseling her way into the holidays and my third child was born ON a holiday. Merry Happy Christmukkah Birthday Everyone!

And just in general…

Life! WTF? It’s January 20th, 2016? How the hell did that happen?
Shitty reasons to abandon my blog but reasons nonetheless.

So now it’s a new year. 2016! The kids are back to their normal, crazy, wild, feisty selves and the rehab project is almost complete. I hope you will stick with me while I recommit to making you laugh. Making you cry. Making you feel like you’re not alone in this crazy world of parenthood! More coming soon….I promise!

Summertime

’Twas the night before summer camp, and all through the house
Not a creature was listening, not even my spouse.

The foot lockers were packed by the front door with care,
In hopes that the camp bus soon would be there.

The children weren’t nestled all snug in their beds,
They were driving me bat shit crazy instead.

And I in my yoga pants, and Pa with his beer,
Just wanted to relax, watch the World Cup and cheer.

But inside the house there arose such a clatter,
I yelled from the couch, “What the hell is the matter?!”

The summer had been absolutely amazing thus far,
But now the children were acting really bizarre (and by bizarre, I mean like assholes).

 

 

Our summer began with Mayan sun and hot sand,
Enjoying time with family and guacamole on demand.

Frolicking on the beach and swimming to and fro,
Pina coladas in hand and our skin all aglow.

Then the little one said, Mom I have to admit,
I pooped in my pants, but just a little bit!

More rapid than a cheetah I ran him upstairs,
OY, Montazuma’s Revenge! I started saying my prayers.

On sunscreen! On goggles! On swimsuits, let’s play!
We won’t let a case of the runs ruin our day!

To the top of Tulum! To the top of the slide!
To swimming with Dolphins and snorkeling the tide!

 

 

The weeks after Mexico were spent chilling by the pool,
No camps, expectations and apparently no rules!

And one thing I noticed when they have time on their hands,
They are constantly questioning and making demands!

Mom, can I have an omelette? Give me something to eat!
I don’t want something healthy, I want something sweet!

As I drew in my breath, and was turning around,
Up the stairs came more children with questions abound.

Get me dressed! Where’s my lunch? And I can’t find my shoe!
What’s the password? Where’s your iPad? There is NOTHING TO DO!

Oy! What about all the toys stacked high to the sky?
MOM, let’s to Target to add to the supply! (hell NO!)

 

And my girl, how she twinkles! Her dimples, how merry!
Has one simple phrase she repeats like a canary.

Any statement of fact or mere suggestion I make,
Will be met with this response, make no mistake.

Don’t eat that banana, its got a rotten spot.
That banana is rotten, she says “NO IT’S NOT!”

The sky is blue, that’s the book that I bought.
The same three word reply that she says, “NO IT’S NOT!”

 

 

The kids were getting restless and ready for action,
math workbooks and cleaning were met with dissatisfaction.

My husband spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
His day filled with peace and quiet, lunch with friends what a….lucky man.

THEN the day we all anticipated was finally here,
Two weeks at sleep away camp, there was nothing to fear!

I sprang from my bed, to my team gave a shout,
Get out of bed and get dressed, it’s time to get the fuck out!

And everyone heard me exclaim, as the bus drove out of sight,
“Adios mother fuckers! I’ll sleep well tonight!”

Sleepless in St. Louis

If you have ever Googled “two year old bat shit crazy crying in the middle of the night” then this blog post is for you!

C was a pacifier baby. We called it his binky. We had hundreds around the house. He would sleep with 30 of them in his crib at all times and I kid you not, I could go from a comatose sleep state to a full sprint to get that binky back in his mouth at the slightest hint he was waking up.

C was never a great sleeper. Since he was my first-born I did not know any different. I was happy to rock him to sleep. I was thrilled he had a binky. I was even good with letting him sleep in the swing, bouncy chair and in the car. I just wanted him to sleep!

We moved C into a twin bed at age two when his baby sister was born. He loved it. He relished the freedom and used this as an opportunity to take full advantage of what his room had to offer. On several occasions I found him asleep on the floor by his book shelf. He would often sneak through the Jack and Jill bathroom into his sister’s room and fall asleep in her closet. Eventually we removed everything from his room and secured the bathroom door. His room looked like a room in a mental ward. Just a mattress and nothing else. We had to bolt down the air vent on the floor because he loved to pull the metal vent cover off and play with it and even tried to slide down the AC duct.

So it was no surprise that when C was around two and a half years old he was diagnosed with a sleeping condition. It could be defined as the “I’m going to be an asshole and get up all night just to drive you bat shit crazy syndrome.” It started off gradual. One night here, one night there, until soon he was up every night for hours at a time. The situation played out differently depending on which side of the bed he chose to wake up.

My side of the bed went down like this; I would wake up to C standing at the edge of my bed staring at me. No words were spoken. Just a stare that is eerie enough to wake a mother from a dead sleep. I am fairly certain he whispered “REDRUM” every once in a while. I would take C back into his room, tuck him in, and sit on the side of the bed until he fell back asleep. One time I also fell asleep. Sitting up. On the side of the bed. Only to be woken up when my face hit the floor. Once he was asleep, I would sprint back to my room and dive bomb into my bed only to be woken up REDRUM style repeatedly throughout the night.

On the nights when I was not in my side of the bed because I was dealing with M, who was a newborn at the time, C would venture over to my husband’s side of the bed. After poking him, prodding him, pushing him, smacking him and sticking his finger up my husband’s nose, he would finally get up and return C to his room.  Then he would promptly crawl into the open twin bed next to C’s bed and the two would fall right to sleep.

After months of this routine I was barely surviving on little to no sleep. My husband and I did not agree on what technique to use in the middle of the night, and the final straw occurred when one day I received a call from C’s day care. “Your son is an asshole from 3pm on and he refuses to take a nap. Fix it!” I told my husband that obviously what we were doing was not working. Between the newborn and the first-born we had not slept uninterrupted or in the same bed for the entire night in 6 months.
We had to admit that we didn’t know what the hell we were doing and we needed professional help. This would have been the perfect time for me to check myself into a luxury spa for a week and eat, drink and sleep to my heart’s content. But instead, I booked the first available appointment at the renowned sleep clinic at a local hospital.

The first order of business was for the doctor to rule out any medical reasons why our son was waking up repeatedly. Once it was determined that he was healthy and fit, we sat down with the nurse to go over other possibilities.

During the initial consultation, the nurse asked us about the bedtime routine. I explained that there was nothing wrong with our bedtime routine. It was the middle of the night that was a problem. I told her that we would give C a bath, brush his teeth, get his pajamas on then read a book, snuggle, then lights out. Then we would get him a drink if he said he was thirsty. Then we would get him a snack if he said he was hungry. Then we read him one more book if he said “one more book.” Sometimes, if he says he is itchy, we get him some lotion. Then MAYBE one more drink and a trip to the potty. But then it’s lights out. Occasionally he needs ONE more snuggle, drink and book. But then really. It’s lights OUT.

The bed time routine took approximately an hour and a half. The nurse told us that our routine was unnecessary and we needed to set out a new plan. I explained to her that my son was truly thirsty and hungry and itchy at night. I “explained” this to her as if she was INSANE to suggest that he was none of these things. Then, and I will never forget this, she whipped around in her swivel chair and pulled open her filing cabinet and retrieved a sheet of paper. She handed it to me. The title on the paper read “TOP TEN STALL TACTICS TODDLERS USE AT BEDTIME.”

I’m so hungry!
I missed you all day! I need one more snuggle!
I want to try the potty now! I have to pee!
I’m itchy. I need lotion.
I’m scared!
Just ONE more book!
I need to brush my teeth!
I’m sooooooo thirsty!
I just need to get out of bed and get one more……
One more song pleeeesseeeee!
Well shit.  C had mastered every single one of those techniques. A+, 100% perfection. I was stunned to learn that not only did we have a nighttime problem but a bedtime problem too!

When we were done with the meeting I felt better that we had a thoughtful, calculated, detailed plan. I was ready to take this sleeping disorder head on. I asked the Nurse, ”So, when do we bring C in to meet with you?” She replied “You don’t. The issue is not with HIM. It’s with YOU!”
And she was right! Turns out my husband and I were the assholes.

A Little Bit Country

Only those who know me really well know my rootin’ tootin’ country side so most would be surprised to learn my parents raised me like a modern-day Jewish Annie Oakley. At the tender age of four, my dad taught me the skill of marksmanship. He used to take me out to abandoned rock quarries and we would shoot dynamite filled tennis balls. By age six, I was zipping around on my mini Y-Zinger motorcycle. By 21, I could drive stick, change my own tire, start a fire and bait a hook. That is the fun of growing up just a little bit Country. You learn how to get shit done!

My kids are now the perfect age to be inducted into the “Annie Oakley Club.” So every once in a while, us city slickers venture back into the wild, to be one with nature and discover all that middle Missouri has to offer.

A few months ago we decided to spend the weekend at my husband’s uncle’s lake house. A little ole house in the middle of no where Missouri. I call this place, and all places like it, “The Tick Farm.” It has everything one needs to enjoy a weekend of country living, including, but not limited to, thousands and thousands of ticks.

It was so nice to unplug and have some down right dirty country time fun. The kids were having the time of their lives riding motorcycles, catching frogs at the “crick”, fishing and riding on the back of the tractor. I was so proud watching my 9 and 7-year-old buzz around on their dirt bikes. Strong. Confident. Brave. I was enjoying the day as well, and was having a blast watching my children be one with nature….and then this happened…

We were wrapping up the night with a little small talk and moonshine (aka Budweiser) on the screened in porch (screened in I assumed to keep the bugs out) when at approximately 10:45 pm a giant, winged, exoskeleton packing insect flew like a bat out of hell right into my eye. I am certain it identified the lone city slicker in the bunch and yelled “bonsai” the whole way towards my cornea. Fucking kamikaze.

I ran into the bathroom where I desperately tried to get the bugger out. I found an emergency eye washing kit in the bathroom, an item I am certain is found only on tick farms, and proceeded to irrigate my eye trying to drowned out the tick tac with wings.

After an hour of unsuccessfully trying to remove the bug, my eye was swollen and I was exhausted. I would have googled an extraction method but of course there is no internet service on the tick farm. I decided to sleep it off. Maybe the bug would crawl out of my eye while I slept?

By 6:00 am it looked like I had gotten into a fight and my eye was throbbing. Certain that the bug was laying eggs inside my retina, I quickly dressed in my camo tank top and capri pants (what else does one wear in the country) and woke up my husband. He thought I was crazy and was not about to schlep me to the eye doctor which was God knows where.

Fortunately, we brought extra adult supervision, so I woke up my cousin (because that’s who you bring with you to the country), and informed him he had to take me to the hospital. Being city folk and all, we had no idea where the closest hospital was so we just got in the car and took off. Moments into our drive I realized that he too was wearing camo. We were the Camo Cousins. All we needed was a pick up truck.

We arrived in a small town called Mexico, MO. Fortunately there was an actual hospital there so into the emergency room we went.  It went down like this…

The triage nurse asked me all the pertinent questions and when she got to the “Do you smoke?” question she automatically scrolled down and selected “yes” as the response on the computer screen. When I answered “NO” she looked at me, and apparently the three other heads I had grown, before changing my answer to no.

The doctor was quick to come in and I informed him that I had a bug in my eye and pointed to the exact spot above my eyeball under my eye lid where I was sure the rapscallion had migrated. He suggested, “I’ll bet the bug is out and you just FEEL like you have a bug in your eye.” Me: “Say what?!”

He did an initial assessment and proclaimed that there does not seem to be a bug in there after all. It’s probably just a scratch. Me: “I say Sir. But enough is ENOUGH! I have had it with this motherfuckin’ bug in my motherfuckin’ eye!”

Then he came up with THIS brilliant plan. He said…and I shit you not… “I am going to invert your eyelid. Did you ever do this when you were in high school? The kids around here do it all the time.”  Me:  “No I didn’t invert my eyelids! What the fuck are you talking about?”

Before I could explain that I spent my high school years drinking in the desert while listening to Ice Ice Baby like every other normal high schooler he had my eyelid twisted inside out and filleted open. Then I hear “Well I’ll be! There’s a bug in your eye! Here he is!” Me: “NO SHIT!”

He scraped it out with a large Q-Tip. One would think that the eyelid would automatically revert to its natural state after such an ordeal but apparently not. My eyelid stayed inverted for what felt like long enough to take a selfie and scare the shit out of all my high school friends. Mission accomplished.

The doctor then said that I would need to use antibiotic eye drops and that he would write me a prescription for pain meds. I inquired, “Don’t you think I can just take ibuprofen?” He looked at me, and the three heads I had grown earlier, and said “But I can write you a prescription for pain meds.” It was as if I was literally the first person in the history of this hospital to turn down pain meds.

After our hospital ordeal, we decided a big country breakfast was in order. So off to the local diner we went. This place was amazing. Exactly what we needed. It was filled with local folk and had the crispest bacon we had ever seen. My cousin and I ordered one of everything on the breakfast menu. The bill was $16.94. I love the country!

Before returning to the little cabin in the woods we needed to stop at Dollar General. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, better than going to a Dollar General in a small town.

We wandered the aisles uneventfully picking up trinkets for camp care packages I would later send to the kids. A nice old woman entered the store and the checker asked her how she was doing. She replied “I would complain but it wouldn’t do me a damn bit of good!” Fair enough.

We finished up and I began unloading our basket when a man walked in and approached our checker. He was upset because the item he bought yesterday was defective and needed to be returned. I turned to look at this person who was interrupting our check out process only to discover he was wearing a polo shirt and his underpants. And nothing else. I turned around to face my cousin and mouthed the situation to him. “Underpants? Underpants. Underpants!!!”

It was time to head back to the farm.

Despite the bug incident, we had the best time experiencing country life for the weekend. I am thrilled we have the opportunity to raise strong, confident, frog catching, motorcycle riding, camp fire building kids who aren’t afraid to get down and dirty on the tick farm. I hope they end up a little bit country. And I will never forget the look on my daughter’s face after i returned from the hospital, when I grabbed a helmet (with a full frontal face shield/bug guard) and hopped on the motorcycle and tore off into the sunset. I swear I heard her yell “that’s one bad ass mother fucker!”  I love the country!

Momzilla

As soon as I gave birth to my first-born, I became what Urban Dictionary defines as a “Momzilla.” A new mom who is so baby focused she is obsessive and could develop into a control freak. Whose good mothering traits such as knowing better get blown to massive Japanese-lizard proportions. An overbearing bitch of a mom who is always right.

I can admit it now. I remember writing pages and pages of notes and instructions and taping them up on my kitchen cabinets for those who were fortunate enough to be left alone with my son. I sanitized every pacifier that fell on the floor and asked anyone who entered my home to take off their shoes, produce their immunization record and take a Silkwood shower before even looking at my child. I demanded that the house be completely quiet at all times while running white noise machines in every room.  Even a barking dog from 10 houses away would send me into a frenzy. I made baby food, and home-made wipes, and only played Celine Dion’s CD of lullabies for boys in my car.

But at least I was not alone! It seemed like this motherly mindset affected even my most grounded friends. I had to have an intervention with my dear friend after discovering that she carried the video monitor around with her everywhere she went and was incessantly clicking the “video on” button to check the status of her peacefully sleeping, totally quiet, baby. When confronted, I challenged her with a 10 second video monitor stand-off. It was as if I had pulled the crack pipe right out of her mouth.

Another friend was so sleep deprived after having her first baby that she accused her pediatrician of staring at her lactating breasts. “You looking at me? Are you looking at MY large nursing BOOBS???!!!’ She shrieked. Never mind that her pediatrician was a woman. She later went on to accuse her mother-in-law of giving her newborn a rash because she was snuggling her to closely and wore cheap perfume. Turns out the baby had roseola.

All the decision-making and worry can fuck a new mama up. I was never neurotic or irrational before I gave birth! But flash forward 10 years and motherhood still has me bat shit crazy.  Now that I am a seasoned parent, I have an entirely different set of neurotic, nonsensical, irrational worries and fears. These days it goes a little something like this;

I have this fear that if I fly alone then something bad will happen to me. The chances increase if flying over water. However, if I am traveling with any or all of my children, then I will be spared any harm. This sense of safety while traveling with my children may be because when I fly with my children, I have no time to think about bad things happening because I am so wrapped up in making sure they don’t act like assholes on the plane.  Anyway.

The first time I had to travel outside the country, alone, I was a nervous wreck. Even though I had this amazing adventure planned, I could not shake the list of horribles going through my head. I knew once I landed on firm Spanish ground that I would be just fine, but the thought of getting on an airplane, alone, and flying over water for 8 hours was stressing me out.

I decided there was only one way I was going to make it though this long flight to Spain. I needed to be anesthetized.

There was one problem. I was literally having anxiety about taking anti-anxiety pills! Other than the constipating Oxy pills you get as a parting gift with each C-section, I have never taken anything good. But just like my birth plan, I knew I needed only one thing. DRUGS. Of course, since real-life drug seekers have now ruined it for the rest of us, I had to actually go in and see the doctor.

So I set up an appointment for a physical. This was my way in the door. I went through all the routine pre-physical blood work and showed up at my appointment ready to make my request. The second my male, non OBGYN doctor entered the room, I began to worry about what sort of physical exam he was going to have to do. What exactly was I willing to endure for these drugs? Despite the fact that I have given birth three times, I have managed to keep the viewing of my privates to a minimum thus far and I would prefer to keep it that way!

After we exchanged pleasantries and I confirmed there would be no rectal inspection, he completed the physical. The doctor was just about to send me on my way when I announced, “The physical is not why I am really here.” He paused. “I am here because I need drugs. I need something that will make me sleep for the entire flight to Spain but will not render me unconscious on the off-chance something does happen and I need to scramble over seats to get to the exit row or, God forbid, swim to my life raft after sliding down the evacuation slide. And I must be able to put on my oxygen mask first before helping others around me. But under no circumstances do I want to be awake on the flight. Especially while flying over water. Did you see the movie Open Water? Well, that is exactly why I need drugs. Thank you.”

After listening to me speak in a stream of consciousness, the doctor, without a word, sat down, took out his nifty pad, scribbled something magical and replied, “This should take care of things.”

And it did. I slept the entire flight. I made it safely to Spain and enjoyed five glorious kid free days. Turns out, the anticipation was far worse than the actual fear. I still have no idea what was in that prescription bottle. But what I DO know is that it mixes beautifully with a glass of wine.

I have come to terms with the fact that irrational fears and worries are just part of being a mom. Before I became a mother, I traveled to foreign lands without inhibition. I hopped on airplanes held together by duct tape. I raced cars, fast. I loved heights. I never thought twice about sharing cups, even with random strangers. I watched Law and Order SVU. I did lots of dangerous things. And now that I have kids, it feels a lot harder to take risks, to be dangerous, to be wild.

Don’t get me wrong. I am still fun. I have been known, on occasion, to roll down all my windows and the sun roof in my mini van and blast music and have a dance party in my seat. And I can certainly rally, and sing Karaoke at a tranny bar until 4am with the best of them.

But I find that those irrational fears brought on by motherhood still influence my decision-making some of the time. I am constantly trying to find that delicate balance between practical, responsible, reasonable, grounded, level-headed mom and thrill-seeker. So all I can do is hold on to those little hands for dear life as we travel through this existence together. No matter how well-balanced I am, I’m always going to be white knuckling it. I have kids after all!

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