Monthly Archives: August 2011

Old news

So today, several friends posted a link on Facebook to an NPR blog talking about how parents need to be more honest about how tough parenting can be. The blogger wrote how you aren’t supposed to talk about how hard/miserable/mind-numbing parenting can be, but it’s time to start being more honest about things.

Um, duh.

I don’t know who the author’s friends are, but he needs new ones.

He talked about how he had been visiting friends with newborns and how despite the dark circles and vacant stares, they wouldn’t admit to how exhausted they are and would only whimper out how cute their baby is while falling asleep in their coffee.

This would NEVER happen around me.

Look, I adore my kids. ADORE them. I truly think they are the greatest things on Earth. I think they are better than everyone else’s kids (sorry) and it is not possible for me to love anything more than I love them.

You will rarely hear me saying that, though. Or at least those exact words.

Anybody that knows me for more than 2 seconds can see how crazy I am about them. And anybody that knows me for 3 seconds will learn that they can drive me batty. And it’s not just because I’m a whiner (I am). It’s because parenting is freaking hard, kids are nuts and moms are tired and looking for sympathy.

If you were to look through my Facebook status updates for a year, I guarantee most of them would be some self-deprecating, weak attempt at humor in regards to some crazy behavior Declan is exhibiting or my lack of sleep since having Simon. This isn’t because I’m an overly negative person. I’m not. At all. I overshare this crap for several reasons. One, because all day long, I deal with the emotional roller coaster that is a 3 year old and a 6 month old, and I need to vent so I don’t die. Two, I need responses from other moms to make sure what I’m dealing with is normal. And three, because parents need each other.

I have always been honest about my feelings on pregnancy and parenting. I probably have scared a friend or two with this honesty, but I would much rather prepare them for the reality that is coming than yank their chain. There’s nothing worse than having a horrible day with your kid and then feeling like you are all alone in your misery. I think that by denying the tough times or glossing over them could actually lead to disaster.

Not too long ago, I was on the elliptical at the gym (AKA my therapy) when a nice lady whom I don’t know struck up a conversation with me. We were discussing how our gym time is our break from our kids, and how nice it is to work out and get a break, etc. She began kinda spilling her guts to me, which happens to me alot (I’m chatty, it brings out the chattiness in others. It’s a gift.), but she seemed the type to keep to herself more, so I was surprised. Anyway, she was telling me how she has kids with major age differences (17 down to 7 months) and how she is 42 and is having a hard time being a “new” mom again. At first, it was just general talk about sleepless nights and fussiness, but as she kept talking, my ears really perked up. She made it clear that she is in a very “old school” marriage, where she handles 90% of the child rearing while her husband works, plays golf, coaches, etc. She described how her youngest is high needs/clingy and how she never gets a break from her, how she stopped breastfeeding because it was all up to her to feed her, etc. I could tell she was completely brain dumping, so I was just smiling and nodding, with an occasional “I know, girl, I know!” Then she said “Do you ever just want to leave? Just pack up and go to an island? And never come back? I do. I wish I could.”

I was speechless. She meant what she said. If I had given her a ticket to Bora Bora right then, she would have grabbed her water bottle and hit the road for the airport. This woman was tired.

Through all her unloading on me, she kept throwing in sentences like “But she’s a really beautiful baby,” or “My (new) husband is so glad to have a daughter ” or “I’m really blessed, I know.” She was apologizing for her feelings, basically, which leads me to believe that she doesn’t have friends that tell the truth about parenting. She didn’t have anyone saying to her “ARE YOU FREE FOR MARGARITAS NOW????! BECAUSE I NEED ONE!” like I do. I’m glad to have friends that bitch about their kids. Because that’s how I know it’s normal to bitch about mine. I may need my girls’ nights out, and even my weekends away, but I have never wanted to run away and never come back.

So parents, tell the truth. Reach out to your friends. Gripe about your kids’ behavior. Talk about how horrible pregnancy is. Tell the horror stories. Not to scare anyone, but to normalize it. So that we can all realize we are in this together, and there’s no such thing as perfection.

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Documenting the abuse

I wrote recently about how mean and abusive Simon is to me before bed. AKA snuggling.

Well, now I have photographic proof of his assaults. If I ever turn up missing, go straight to him. Don’t let his gummy smile fool you. He’s VICIOUS.

"Who told you you could take pictures?? On the floor. NOW."

 

"I'm going to beat you with this Memory card!"

 

"Now, the claws!"

 

"Now go make me some pureed zucchini, woman."

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Red Writing Hood #1

The challenge: This week’s assignment will require the fewest number of words ever: we want you to write a story – your choice of topic – as a tweet. That’s right. One hundred and forty characters. Not words. Characters. Make us laugh. Make us think. Make us want more.

Mostly, have FUN with this. You’ve earned it.

“It wasn’t natural. I wanted no pain, no surprises, and no mess. One took 24 hours. The other, 25. The result? 2 boys and a happy, numb mom.”

 

I want to try some more. I think that first one was lame. Here’s a fun one:

“Summer vacation filled with dancing, class wars and a botched procedure. Bad guys are good, Rand-reading waiters are bad. Baby+Johnny 4ever. “

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Big girl writing

So I just stumbled across a web site that has my mind reeling. Seriously, the longer I sit here reading it and thinking about it, the more excited I am getting.

It’s called Write on Edge, and according to their description, it’s “where inspiration meets community.” OK, what does that mean? From what I can gather, the editors of the site post “prompts” on Tuesdays and Fridays. On Tuesdays, they present a topic and writers can either publish a fiction or nonfiction piece based on the prompt. On Fridays, memoirs are the focus. I guess you blog on the topic or prompt and then link up to it, and other writers critique it? No idea. But I’m intrigued.

The more I think about it, the more I want to write. Somehow, I want to be a writer. What does that mean? I don’t know. I don’t know what possibilities are out there, what to shoot for or where to start. I guess all I can do for now is write and get involved with groups like this to put stuff out there more.

So while this blog has primarily been my spot to reflect on my life as a SAHM and modern housewife, as I get more involved with the WOE site (assuming I do get more involved), some pretty random posts may show up here. I welcome any and all feedback, bad or good. I hope getting involved in this will push me to stretch my writing muscles. As I wrote about recently, I’m doing my best to challenge myself physically right now by getting into shape, so this is a way to challenge myself mentally. Hopefully I will see results and enjoy myself just as much with this new adventure as at the gym. At least it’s free!

The topic for this week has to do with worst memories, so my first shot at this may be a doozy. Stay tuned! (ETA: I’m wrong, that was last week’s topic. But stay tuned anyway!)

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Sweet dreams

So I’m writing this as much as for posterity as I am to entertain my legions and legions of fans.

Or, as they are also known, my mom.

Anyway, tonight as I was putting Simon down, I was thinking how funny our bedtime routine has become. We have this weird, albeit long as crap, choreography going every night, and it is just too damn cute. I want to write it down so I’ll remember it one day, like when he’s too big to cuddle or being really bad and I want to sell him on the black market.

So, we start pretty early, about 6 or 6:30. He’s had his bath, then I inhale dinner while holding him while wrestling my plate out of his grubby little paws. Seriously, this kid has a GRIP on him. Babies are freakishly strong, actually. If you haven’t had one, you probably think they are just weak little blobs of slobber and angel tears. They aren’t. They are little mega beasts that can rip out your eyebrows on a whim. Seriously.

Ok, so I’m now stuffed with whatever I made for dinner that I basically shoved down my throat without chewing, and we head into bed before he loses it. I lay him down to put him in his little sleep sack, and he starts fussing and crying like he’s being beat. I ignore this. Finally I stop the torture and we settle in to nurse. Within minutes, his little eyes are closed and he’s in this dream state of eating and sleeping. So peaceful and so sweet.

It’s a lie.

He does this for 30 or so minutes. He is actively drinking and won’t let me stop him if I think he’s done. No, he’s calling the shots. So I enjoy this time and relax, read my Nook, play Words with Friends, etc. Once he’s finally done, one of two things happen: I lay him in his crib and he stays asleep, or I lay him in his crib and he wakes up. Either way, I head out the door as part of the charade that he’s letting me off the hook that easy.

If he stays asleep, I know better than to do anything involved or away from home, because he’s not staying asleep. At least he hasn’t yet. Within 45 minutes, he’s up and wailing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no problem letting him cry. But I’ve been trained learned that if he’s not DONE, he will cry for 45 minutes or more until he gets his way or passes out. However, if I go back in and give him what he wants, he is asleep sooner and we are both happier. So he wins this battle.

If he wakes up immediately, the same thing happens as above, but faster.

OK, so whether it’s been 10 minutes or 45, he’s up and I head back in. I pick him up and head back to bed with him (we nurse on the bed in his room). But now, he’s a totally different baby than he was an hour before. He is WILD. He’s had his little power nap or relaxation time, and now he’s ready to go!

I’m not.

But here’s where he really gets me. This is the No. 1 time of the day that I am the center of his world. The rest of the day, his focus is on 1. Declan 2. The cat 3. This funny stuffed doll my mom got him 4. Anything colorful and 5. Me. So we snuggle. And by snuggle, I mean he beats the shit out of me.

It rocks.

Seriously, now this kid lights up like the Fourth of July and Christmas tree combined. He is all smiles, and when I hold him on my lap, he jumps and claps and goes crazy. Then the make out session starts. I DON’T MEAN A REAL ONE, FREAKS. But that’s what I call it whenever a cute boy comes at me with his mouth wide open, ok?

So yea, now I’m No. 1, biotches. He LOVES me now. He grabs my face and latches on to my cheeks or nose or eyes or mouth or chin and drools/bites/sucks all over me. Then he digs those razor-sharp little baby claws into my eyes or up my nose and pulls me to him for more. Sometime later, he aims for my hair, and when he does, OUCH. No wonder moms suffer postpartum hair loss. It’s not the hormones, it’s the little monsters they birthed. He grips my bangs (or what’s left of them) and YANKS so hard that if he wasn’t a cute little baby, I’d probably slap him.

But he is, so I don’t.

So this goes on for a while. Pulling and slapping and biting and scratching. I typically feel like Boof after her 7 minutes in heaven with Scott in “Teen Wolf.” Eventually, the beating slows down and Simon is ready to settle in. So I lay him down on me, ready for the next part of the routine, what I call the Stoner Phase.

Exhaustion is setting in, and my little fighter is getting sleepy. His eyes are glazed over, he has a goofy grin on his face, and he starts making this funny growling sound, kinda like singing but not in tune (like when I sing, which doesn’t stop me either). Then he raises one of his hands in the air, and starts waving his fingers around really slowly, kinda like Vanna White revealing a recently purchased vowel. He watches his fat little fingers like a hippy at a light show at Bonnaroo, and sings to his hand, or me or the little dragons he is hallucinating. Whatever. He gets in a couple more hair pulls and face bites before he finally rubs his eyes and I know the war is won, and I am the victor.

A few more minutes of nursing, or if he’s not hungry, of snuggling in the dark, and I can lay him down wide awake, and he kicks his little legs, snuggles with his puppy and that’s the end of it. 90 minutes have gone by from start to finish, and while I know it COULD go a lot faster if I didn’t go back in and get  my nightly beatdown, but where’s the fun in that?

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To tell the truth

So today Declan got his “welcome” letter from his new pre-school teachers today (YIKES!), and included in it was an “About Me” form.

The topics were basic: Favorite Color, Favorite Food, etc. But when I sat down to fill it out, I kinda panicked. I was torn between telling the truth vs. what makes us look like, well, good people.

I determined that every topic had several answers: The truth, what I wish was the truth, what Declan would say is the truth, and what I wrote.

So in the interest of full disclosure, I thought I’d fill the form out in full here, so that way I’m not totally lying to anyone.

  1. Name: OK, an easy one.
    What I wrote: Declan Wampler
    The truth: Jeffrey Wampler. I’m one of those awful moms that calls her kid by his middle name. When pre-school begins, so begins Declan’s journey into school form/roll call hell. Sorry, kid. It just sounded better that way.
  2. Birthday: No questions here. 4/3. We got one right.
  3. Favorite Book: Hmm. Well, Declan really likes books, so that’s good. At least I don’t have to totally lie and make up something because he never gets read to.
    What sounds best: “The Little Prince”
    What Declan said: “NO! I don’t LIKE books!” He wasn’t in the mood for this homework.
    What I wrote: “The Big Book of Dinosaurs.” He does love that book. Some times.
  4. Favorite Color:
    The Truth: He doesn’t care.
    What he said: “I like purple crayons.(He was holding a purple crayon) I don’t want to do this any more.”
    What I wrote: Green, blue and purple. Even though I”m a liberal, cool mom, I felt kinda weird saying my son’s favorite color was purple. I dunno why. Sue me.
  5. Favorite Food:
    This one got me. How I answer this speaks volumes about me as a mom.
    What I wanted to say: “Organic carrots, free-range chicken and tofu patties.”
    What Declan said: “Mirrors.” No clue.
    The Truth: If he truly planned his meals, he would eat eggs and cinnamon toast every morning (Ok, he does, that’s not so bad), macaroni and cheese for lunch/and or dinner, Oreos for snacks and pizza. Occasionally, he would likely request chips or cereal. Oh, and cheese sticks.
    What I Wrote: Macaroni and cheese, pizza, hamburgers.
  6. Hobbies:
    Wait, what? Three year olds have hobbies? Shit. We don’t have any.
    What I wanted to write: Soccer, Art Class, Piano Lessons
    What Declan said he likes to do: “Nothing.” He really wasn’t cooperating.
    What he would do all day if it was up to him: Watch NickJr. Run around. Scream really loud. Watch more TV. Jump on something/someone.
    What he does all day: See above. Oh, and we go to the store a lot.
    What I wrote: Painting, playing dinosaurs, games. (Does “Jump on Mommy’s neck when she’s not looking” count as a game? Yes? Good.)
  7. My favorite thing to do at preschool is:
    That remains to be seen. I am hoping his answer is “LEARNING!” but I’m sure it’s going to have to do with water fountains or standing on tables.

So, yea. I knew if I painted the picture I wanted to see, after about 15 minutes of his first day, my cover would be blown. So I had to find the gray area between what makes me look like a stellar parent and, well, the truth. Hopefully, Declan’s charm will make up for my shortcomings, and that will earn me some extra credit.

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Dirty words

The day has come where our lack of morality is showing itself through our child. Declan has discovered cussing. So far, he’s steering clear of the Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television (NSFW or Kids), but he has dropped the “dammit” bomb a few times, with the first time being at Target in front of some poor old woman. We are handling it the way parents have for generations: trying not to laugh and telling him that’s not an ok word to say.

But I’m realizing there’s more to “bad words” than just cussing. For example, recently he showcased his listening skills by sighing and going “I swear to God!” every time I asked him to do something. I realized he was totally picking that up from me, therefore proving that despite his actions, his hearing IS, in fact, fine, but that I needed to watch my mouth. I told him that the phrase wasn’t nice and that he shouldn’t say it and Mommy and Daddy shouldn’t either, so we can all help each other say better things. I’ve switched him to saying “I swear to goodness!” most of the time, although yesterday he pulled out a “I swear to dammit!” and I realized that 3 year olds aren’t very bad-ass.

I’m now petrified that when he starts school in a couple of weeks, he’s going to rattle off all kinds of goodies that he’s been storing up and we are going to be THAT family that no one’s kids are allowed to hang out with, like The Addams Family or the Bundys.

But then I started thinking about what all qualifies as a bad word. Like, is “oh crap” acceptable for a 3 year old? What about “shoot!”? Or the fact that Declan’s favorite word right now is “Weinerbutt,” is that wrong? If it is, we are screwed. We call each other “weinerbutt” and “boogerbutt” and “boogerhead” all day long. How’s that going to go over at the Play-Doh station? Probably not great.

Overall, Declan has pretty good manners, despite his foul-mouthed parents. He says “please” and “thank you” without being asked, says “excuse me!” when running you over and he always apologizes after having a tantrum in public. But I’m thinking we need to curb the “what rhymes with fork? I know! Dork!” conversations, along with announcements regarding bathroom habits and gas expulsion. Or invest in Orbit chewing gum to clean up our dirty mouths. 

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