Thursday, April 28, 2011

Once Upon a Time…

Sooo… I don’t know if I have mentioned that I’m sort of a writer.  I say sort of for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that saying “I’m a writer” is one of those things that kinda sounds snobby and self-important, a couple of things that I think I sometimes am but am really trying hard not to be.  It kinda sounds to me like saying, “I’m a model,” or “I’m a personal trainer.” I have definitely said the latter (I’ve had more jobs than Heidi Montag — just a totally different kind!), but not the former. ANYWAY, I’m kind of a writer because I don’t do it full time.  My “real” job, for a consulting firm, is as a “technical writer” (so technically, I guess I AM a writer).  And in the past I’ve been a freelance writer, working from home (which involves a lot of baking, television and laundry. Oh, and some writing.)  When I did that, I actually had work published in magazines that people had heard of and even a story published in a book, which was the first time I think my parents started calling me a writer.  And of course, I’m writing this. But since I don’t actually think I have any readers yet (due to a complete lack of mentioning to anyone that I am writing this blog and zero efforts made to publicize it), I’m not sure this counts.

Anyway, none of this is really important to the topic at hand, which is that I have found a new quirky love, thanks to Jen Lancaster, author of “Bitter is the New Black,” which I have not read. I have it on my Kindle (LOVE THE KINDLE) but got distracted by Jean Auel’s last book in the ridiculously verbose series, “Clan of the Cave Bear,” which I think I began reading when I was seven. And even though the last few books haven’t been as good as the first couple, I’m quite goal oriented and cannot stop reading a series unless I’ve gotten to THE. END. Alas, Jen’s book will wait. BUT her blog is wonderful RIGHT NOW! And recently she had a post about the six word story…
Supposedly the origin of this comes from a bar bet with Ernest Hemingway.  Someone said he couldn’t write a short story in six words.  Legend has it he countered with the story:

For sale.  Baby shoes.  Never worn.

I am in love. But can I write a six word story? Don’t know. Let’s see.

Platform shoes, steep driveway. Visiting hospital.

Lunchbox screams incessantly. Mother pours wine.

Guilt-inducing baby fall causes insomnia.

Hmm… mine are more like headlines. I will think on this a while… perhaps an easy way out of the self-induced pressure of writing a blog would be to decide that Thursdays will be SIX WORD THURSDAYS… wait, that sounds dumb. SIX WORD SATURDAYS! Yes! That’s it. Now you’ve got something to look forward to, dontcha?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Stark Survival

I want to be a calm nice loving mommy.  I want to be the kind of mommy who spends countless hours having quality time with my children.  Instead, four days every week, I am the mommy who picks my kids up from preschool at 3:30pm when I finish work (I work 24/hours a week, which seems like nothing if you’re putting in 40 – and holy crap if you are doing that and taking care of little monsters at home too – but somehow 24 hours ends up being more like 28 when it’s said and done and I still have time for almost nothing else.  That’s another post.)  So I pick the monsters up and they fight and scream in the car.  Usually Turbo has something interesting in his hands in the back seat that Lunchbox tries desperately to grab but can’t, so he ends up screaming. Or Lunchbox didn’t take a good nap at school and is generally just feeling like a tiny douchbag and so screams all the way home.  Or Turbo feels like a douchebag so he does something purposely to make Lunchbox scream all the way home.  In other words, by the time we get home, I usually have a headache and then get to play the “What the hell’s for dinner?” game.  Sometimes I plan ahead.  Like the third Thursday of every month that ends in “h.”  But only in leap years.  So usually I’m screwed.

Given that I need about 20 minutes to work my special brand of culinary magic, it seems like it’d be easy enough to set the kids up with a drink and a snack and some Backyardigans and get to it.  But instead, this is the time of day when my children are at their most monsterly (especially Lunchbox, who was once my jolly happy baby and is now my whiny, grumpy little wordless wonder.  The Major has taken to calling him “Tiny Whiney.”)

Today, as I created a new taco-type dinner food with ground turkey, canned diced tomatoes and a lot of cheese, I thought I’d scored a minor victory since the boys both went outside to play.  But I was wrong.  Instead, I proved yet again that I am not a very good mommy sometimes. I was emptying the dishwasher, watching the boys play around the slide and playhouse out the kitchen window.  Lunchbox decided to climb the ladder up to the slide. He has only done this with supervision previously, but he appeared quite confident today. Until he got to the top rung, when he slipped through the ladder, hitting his chin on the top rung just before he crashed down to the bottom of the playhouse. I think I flew out the door screaming, “oh no, oh no…” He was fine because, evidently, he is made of rubber.

Once the Major was home, I was trying to deny further responsibility for the monsters, and was sitting at the table pretending that I was reading a magazine when a commotion on the stairs raised my attention.  But not soon enough.  This time Lunchbox came skidding down the entire length of the stairs riding atop Turbo’s bike helmet.  My heart was in my mouth and I yelled things that were not as PC as “oh no” while I raced to see if he was breathing or bleeding or broken.  Again, rubber.

Lunchbox is finally in his crib, fast asleep, and I feel like the worst mother in the world. I get only a few hours to spend with these guys on the days that I work, and I spend a lot of that time just trying to survive them (and hoping that they’ll survive.) We can deny it all we want and sing the praises of work/life balance, but I think that GUILT is truly the anthem of the working mother.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bunny Come And Gone

Easter weekend over.  It was a good one, and doubly fun because it was my birthday (despite Turbo’s belief that no one but him really ever has a birthday.  He opened all my gifts for me and was absolutely miffed to find clothes and a purse inside those festive boxes.  He let me have my gifts once he established that they did, indeed, suck.)  Turbo was great with the grandparents.  He said amazing things like, “May I be excused, please?” and “This is a great dinner, mommy!”  The other one…not so much.  I don’t know exactly when Lunchbox entered this phase, but I’m ready for it to end.  This is that phase where he spends most of his time moaning or just plain screaming and no one is ever quite sure what the hell he wants.  There is a lot of pointing and grunting, but once you hand him the thing you thought he was pointing at, he often just flings it to the floor in total frustration with the idiot adults around him who evidently have not been practicing at baby charades nearly hard enough.

I love that little Lunchbox, but he had me at my wit’s end this weekend and I’m not sure how either of us will survive this phase.  My parents left this morning with me standing, slightly hung over (we tend to be too festive together) at the door, Lunchbox wrapped around my leg screaming bloody murder.

I just wanted to write this to let them know a couple things:  Firstly, it does seem that I will survive this day afterall… it has gotten slightly better (and exponentially better now that it’s nap time and I’ve taken care of the, ahem, “Easter candy problem.”)  Secondly, that I love them and am so glad we got the chance to spend the weekend together.  What made it all even better, was that my brother came up for a couple days, too, so it was a total Call Sign Mommy family fiesta.  I think the Major may have been slightly overwhelmed, but he said he was happy to see me having such a good time.

Since Turbo’s school has elected to go ahead and let the kids come for the rest of the week (and is not taking another no-reason holiday this week that I’m aware of), I’ll be back at work tomorrow and things will go back to normal.  Until then I’m enjoying my forced day off (at least I’m enjoying it when Lunchbox isn’t screaming.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Craptastic

I deal with a lot of crap.  You might think I’m being all philosophical and what not, but I’m totally serious.  I handle quite a lot of other peoples’ poop, and I know I’m not alone in that.  It’s one of the things that “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” (also known as “You Cannot Possibly Live Up to the Standards of This Author” or “What to Expect When You Have No Freaking Idea What You’ve Gotten Yourself Into with this Kid-Having Thing”) doesn’t really mention.  Oh sure, it talks about how often newborns poop and how to tell diarrhea from that yellow breast milk poop.  But it should really feature a whole chapter on how to prepare for being the custodian of kid crap.  And it should be up front about what’s really coming down the pike here.

I’m talking about how any mother will have her hands in kid poop for the better part of a SOLID FIVE YEARS.  I’m talking about the days and nights spent worrying about how much they pooped when they were tiny, or what color it was.  We were in the hospital five days with Lunchbox when he was five weeks old because he DIDN’T poop.  He seriously pooped like once a week, and he was breastfed (at least for a little while, and that’s a whole other story and one that will not welcome comments from moms lucky enough to have entire freezers full of excess breast milk or those who want to explain how I didn’t try hard enough. Thanks.) Anyway, I’m just sayin’ – there really should be more poop preparation.  My big kid, Turbo, is almost four and I’m evidently not done with his poop even though he’s out of diapers and partially self-sufficient in the bathroom.  For some reason he still needs to tell me every single time he needs to poop or pee.  Which, yesterday, was part of the problem.

Mornings are not my favorite time.  Well, actually, if they’re quiet, and they involve coffee and mommy free time, then they ARE.  But workday mornings are not my favorite time.  I’m usually rushing through the effort to get my ridiculous hair into some kind of configuration that doesn’t reveal my gray roots or horrific split ends or make me look like a ten year old, while simultaneously arguing with Turbo about whether or not it is a school day.  Yesterday I had some early success convincing him that it was, indeed, a school day, and he trundled off to put on his clothes, which we lay out the night before.  I guess while he was getting dressed, an urge must’ve struck because he came into my room again and yelled desperately, “MOM! I have to POOP!”  My usual answer, “Then why are you standing here talking to me?  Go poop!”  Turbo ran the maybe thirty feet to his bathroom and then proceeded to offer a somewhat frightening commentary.  “Oh no. Poop everywhere. Oh, man!  Huh… gonna have to clean this up.  Poop on my pants.  Crap.” (he now says “crap” in oddly appropriate circumstances, though I am trying to break him of the habit, lest they threaten to kick us out of our ultra-polite Montessori school…)

I finished my hair and decided I’d better go see what was up, dread in the pit of my stomach.  The scene was too grisly to fully describe here, but let me just say that it involved Turbo needing a bath, the floor and toilet needing a Clorox scrub, and my Pottery Barn bathmat and Turbo’s clothes needing an immediate hot wash.  I might have questioned Turbo about how this could have happened a bit excessively, but I was mad.  Especially when I said something about how there was poop on the floor of my bathroom and he started screaming “This is MY bathroom!! Not YOURS!!”  I told him that when he cleaned up the bathroom himself it could be his but until then, it was mine.  I also pointed out that maybe, if the problem was that he just didn’t quite make it in time, he could save some time in the future by not coming to tell me that he had to poop, and JUST GOING TO DO IT.

Not my favorite way to start the morning.  The Major, snug in our bed, heard the commotion and some of my not-so-pleased remarks, and called out, “I’ll clean up the floor, just leave it.”  I still can’t imagine that he thought I (I, who tend to be just the teensiest bit anal in the cleaning department – and I’m not saying that in a good way to make others believe I’m oh-so-perfect. It’s a problem. More on that another time) he thought I was going to leave poop on the floor indefinitely in hopes that he’d remember to clean it up later… Like poop should ever be left chillin’… agh!  I was not a very happy camper yesterday morning, but at least Turbo offered, “Sorry I pooped on your rug, Mom.” One for the hard sayings log.

Just another in the never-ending series of what we now refer to as “Craptastrophes.”