Monday, December 5, 2011

The Human Butt Weighs HOW Much?

Yeah. Hi.

I really hadn't intended to abandoned the blog for so long. I miss it. I miss writing. I miss documenting the lovely new tricks my children have been working on. Like just the other day, Rollie put on my glasses and did an amazing impression of Jonathan Limpnicki's character on Jerry McGuire. I just hope that resemblance doesn't continue into Rollie's preteen years.

But seriously...where has the time gone? Finn's already four months old and eating rice cereal. Just pause for a moment while you soak in his ridiculous potential. Eating rice cereal is only the first of many of his amazing feats. Oh wait...that's feasts. Not feats.
And for my next amazing feast--whirled peas

Middle Child Much?
And Rollie just finished his second season of soccer. Which means I just finished up my second season of shouting at him from the sidelines to Pass The Ball For God's Sake.

And Elsa is...still...Elsa....

But I'm not gonna lie. Three kids takes some work. And some time. I know...News Flash, right? Did you know the earth is actually round, too? ROUND? I can't make this stuff up, folks.

Does the 12-oz variety count?
What I mean is, in order for me to handle three kids and NOT want to shoot myself in the eye repeatedly with a Nerf gun is that I've temporarily ceased all other activities that don't involve clothing, feeding, bathing, cleaning up after or engaging my children in some sort of Imaginative Play...although lately Imaginative Play is Rollie pretending Elsa is a wide receiver and his sole purpose in life is to throw things at her, then tackle her. So I guess my role in all this would be that of Ed Hochuli. Which means I need to work on my arm curls with way more regularity.

But that also means that writing, reading, cleaning, shaving, eating balanced meals, and going anywhere where I might feel uncomfortable whipping out a boob (to feed Finn anyway), just ain't happening.

It is kinda nice, in a way. To have an excuse to be a Total Slacker when it comes to everything else in my life. Oh, haven't blogged in a while? Well, of course you haven't--you've got your hands full! Oh, you haven't showered in five days? Well, how could you--you're busy with three little kids! Oh, your house is a mess, you don't return phone calls, your kids are eating nacho flavored Combos for dinner again, your neighbors called the police because they could smell your diaper genie from across the street and figured it was a dead body someone buried beneath your house? Well what do you expect? You're home with your kids all day long!

Well, fear not, dear readers. I foresee more time to write come January, when Elsa goes to preschool two days a week and Finn will be napping for longer than ten minutes at a time. . And if both of you would like your fix in the meantime, I have an article coming out in Parents magazine's January issue. I've included the link if you simply cannot wait to read what marvelous parenting wisdom I have to bestow upon the reading masses. (Namely that whatever shreds of dignity you've managed to cling to throughout your teens and early twenties will be destroyed the instant you have children. But most of you already knew that.)

Plus, now I have a built-in New Year's resolution: Post More Blogs. Which means I don't have to make any other ones, including Exercise More, Eat More Vegetables, Try Not To Lose Track Of My Keys So Damn Often, and Empty The Diaper Genie Once In Awhile.

In closing, I'd like to post a few pictures of Jonathan Lipnicki, in case you weren't sure who I meant. Because really, the resemblance is uncanny. It did of course take some coaching on my end for Rollie to belt out the famous line. After several takes I convinced him to say, "The Human Head Weighs Eight Pounds," instead of, "The Human Butt Weighs Poopy Butt."

Everyone has an awkward phase...right?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Death Of A Salesmom

I recently came to the decision, possibly after inhaling too many Desitin fumes, that it would be a great idea to sign up for Rollie's school fund-raiser.

I don't know what made me think I would actually be good at selling things door-to-door. The last time I attempted this was selling citrus senior year of high school to raise money to go on the class ski trip. It was such a disaster. To this day I can't even look at a grapefruit without braking out in hives. Why my school chose citrus--something that literally grows on trees in Florida--and not a rarer commodity, like decent pizza, or a pro football team that doesn't suck, is beyond me. Although it would have been difficult to cram a bunch of linebackers into the back of my 1985 Chrysler Town and Country Station Wagon come delivery time.
I could have fit a few kickers, though.

And then there was the failed magazine subscription sale I attempted in sixth grade. I went out, made a whopping two sales, then lost the envelope with the collected checks until the next school year, when I was rearranging my room and found the envelope behind my bed, covered in dust bunnies and Halloween candy wrappers. For the next five years I had to put a lot of effort into avoiding eye contact with those two neighbors so I wouldn't have to explain to them why their copies of Family Circle and Dog Fancy never arrived.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Three's An Intestinal Parasite Waiting To Happen

So what's it like having three kids?

It's a question I've been fielding for about two months now. A question which for some reason is kind of hard to answer. I mean, I ramble a lot when I try to answer it. Although I've been rambling a lot when I answer any question lately. Yesterday at Publix it took my fifteen minutes to let the cashier know that I'd forgotten my coupons. I'm thinking of hiring someone to follow me around with a hooked cane and haul me offstage when my monologues get too long. Or I can download some Wrap It Up music on my phone to play in similar situations. I wonder what genre that would be under. Soundtracks? Classical? Maybe rap...get it?

ANYWAY, the main talking points I touch on when answering the aforementioned question are as follows:

Having three kids is really not that different from having two kids. Honestly. With two kids, you're used to chaos. Messes. Stumbling around the house bleary-eyed and borderline nauseated due to lack of sleep. You're used to laundry that multiplies when you're not looking. You're used to feeling at times like you've lost your mind, and you scream more loudly than a gaggle of fifth grade girls at a Justin Beiber concert. I guess the only difference here is that on top of all this, your clothes will often smell like spit-up.  And you have bigger boobs. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sugar And Spice And Dismemberment

Ah, the joys of having a daughter. Little girls are so sweet. So ladylike. They enjoy quiet activities like tea parties, dress up, coloring.... You can almost hear the cherubic, harp-like music whenever they enter a room, all smiling and clean and free from the intent to fart on you at every turn.

At least, that's what I always thought. Before I actually had one.

Don't get me wrong. I love Elsa. Really, I do. She's fun. She's charming. And she only occasionally sticks incongruous objects up her nose.

But over the past few months I've noticed another quality manifesting itself within this chubby little dynamo of a child: 

She is more manipulative than Hannibal Lector trying to get a cellmate to swallow his own tongue.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Picker Your Battles

I've learned a lot these past few weeks. 

If you're boobs are leaking in public, for example, another, sympathetic mom will most likely alert you to this fact, and possibly offer up her own embarrassing anecdote, just to make you feel less...well...sheepish. And wet.

And speaking of wet, another thing I've learned is that little infant boys don't always pee in a trajectory that will hit you, your curious daughter, and the nearest wall-hanging with the kind of water pressure that would make a fireman envious. Sometimes their pee is real sneaky-like (infant boys', not firemen's). You'll be changing him, quickly wiping and applying the necessary ointments and replacing the diaper like your diffusing a bomb, you'll snap the little outfit back up, all proud of yourself that you dodged another bullet, as it were. 

But when you pick up your grunting little angel and cradle him in your arms, you pause. What the....his back is wet. Why is his back wet? Is he sweaty? Did I lay him down in a puddle of water? What the F is going on?

What's going on is your son just performed what I like to call The Velociraptor. It's not the pee you see that's the problem. It's the pee that you didn't even know was there.... It's the pee he does off to the side, while you're too distracted by the prospect of getting a full-on golden shower to even notice what's happening. Plus, your son is looking at you all wide-eyed and alert, beguiling you with his innocence, that leaves you completely unaware that he's busy ruining another adorable outfit you've just put on him. Little brat.

However, I'd say the most important lesson I've learned as I stumble around the house in a bleary-eyed state of semi-consciousness, is Pick Your Battles has been elevated to a whole new level.

For instance....I decided to be all ambitious the other day and actually take all three children and the dog on a walk before I had to take Rollie to school (which, thankfully, has proven to be far less traumatic than last far anyway). I strapped Finn into a baby bjorn, shod my two older kids, grabbed the dog leash (after almost forgetting to attach the dog to it), and we were off. Why I decided I could do this without a stroller--or a shot of rum--is beyond me. I can't even blame pregnancy brain anymore, although surely there must be some follow-up ailment to account for questionable post-partum decision-making. Possibly hormones, possibly breastfeeding, possibly the fact that I tried on a pair of previously baggy, pre-pregnancy pants on the other day and couldn't pull them up over my ass. Which was not where I carried Finn, if memory serves.

So anyway, I chose to undertake this incredible journey around the block on garbage day. Add this to the fact that Rollie has been really into the show American Pickers lately, and you start to get the idea of where this walk was headed.

My entourage and I crossed the street and headed up a sidewalk that was practically impassible because of the amount of just...stuff piled up at the end of one driveway. Cardboard boxes, old wicker shelving, plastic bags of various sizes and shapes, broken lamps, broken picture frames and assorted other broken items that appeared to be circa the Carter administration. Minus the vicious, attack bunny-rabbit.

As I tried to determine the best way to steer my little ducklings around the pile, Rollie slowed down and eyed the items with keen interest. It's the same look he often gives these crappy plastic handcuffs that hang in the cereal aisle at the grocery store (which he has informed me he would like to buy so he could use them to handcuff his crush and lock her in his bedroom the next time she comes over....yeah, I know....aye-yay-yay).

Rollie: What is all this stuff, Momma?
Me: It's just garbage, honey.
Rollie: Why is it so much?
Me: I don't know...maybe they cleaned out their garage recently.
Rollie (now stopped directly in front of the giant pile and scrutinizing an especially tacky, gold-colored reindeer): ...Look, Momma.
Me: Yeah, I see it.
Rollie: Why are they throwing it away?
Me: I don't know. It looks like it's missing an antler.
Rollie: It's for Christmas.
Me: So it is. Come, let's keep moving.
Rollie: ...I'm gonna pick that reindeer.
Me: Oh, Rollie, come on. Don't go rooting through other people's garbage.
Rollie: But it's a decoration. We could put it in our yard.
Me: Wouldn't that be lovely?
Rollie: We could keep it out there until it rains, and then I could put it in my room.
Me: Rollie, I really don't want you to touch any of that stuff. Now come on or you'll be late for school.
Rollie (still not moving from his spot, transfixed on the golden reindeer, which now that the morning sun has hit it, is beginning to sparkle like a diamond in the rough): Look, Momma. I'm that guy from American Pickers.
Me: No, Rollie, you are not that guy from American Pickers. That stuff is gross and dirty and full of germs and if we don't keep moving you won't have time to play with any toys in your class before school starts. So let's GO.

Finally Rollie dragged himself away from the garbage pile and kept walking, all the while talking about what a find that reindeer was and how badly he wanted it for his very own. And as if the gods of all that is tacky and hideous was smiling down upon my son, Finn started fussing, which soon escalated into crying and rooting around on my chest in a way that meant if I didn't whip out my boob in about two minutes I was in for some full-scale, red-faced goat-like inconsolable baby crying. Forget the fact that I literally fed the kid 20 minutes ago. And changed him. And already dealt with one Velociraptor sneak attack.

And so I had to make a U-turn and lead my crew back home. Which meant of course, walking past the gleaming reindeer.

Rollie: Look, Momma. The reindeer is still there.
Me: Yep.
Rollie: Don't you think Dadda would like that reindeer?
Me: If Dadda knew it came from the garbage he would put it right back in the garbage.
Rollie: But it's not even dirty or anything, Momma. It doesn't look like garbage. (Translation: we wouldn't have to tell Dadda it came from the garbage.)
Me (sighing as I try to convince Finn that the pacifier I'm holding in his yelling mouth is indeed my nipple): Rollie...I...oh, whatever.Fine. I don't care. But I'm not carrying that thing home.
Rollie: I'll carry it home.

And so it came to pass that I watched my son raid my neighbor's garbage and pull forth his prize: a sparkling, golden, one-antlered reindeer. I walked behind him, watching him proudly strut home with the  treasure tucked beneath his arm, the cheap gold-flecked paint flaking off on his school shirt. At one point he raised the reindeer over his head like a hockey player who'd just won the Stanley Cup.

Rollie: Look, Momma. He's pooping on me.
Me: Nice. Rollie.
Rollie: I'm gonna put this in the front yard so Dadda can see it when he gets home.
Me: I bet he'll love that.

One man's trash...
So yeah. Pick your battles. Was I about to get into a heated tete-a-tete with my son about taking a relatively innocuous (albeit ugly-as-sin) bit of abandoned Christmas decor for himself? Nah. Not when I was starting to sweat, with a fussy baby strapped to my chest and an old dog panting at the end of his leash and about to take a dump in the middle of someone's beautifully manicured yard. So what if the reindeer ended up among my hydrangeas? And that Jeff was pretty skeeved out when I told him where it came from (although his response was, You should have made him pick that Christmas tree stand out there--we could use a new one)? I consider this a win in my column.

Although my other lesson of the day is: Don't take the kids out for morning walks on garbage day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

And So It Begins....

Well, I'm back.

Took a break. Gave birth. And now I'm currently enjoying the benefits of having parents who are both retired and are so sick of each other at this point that any external stimuli is a welcome break from sitting across from each other in a sticky booth, watching each other eat platefuls of turnip greens and rice pudding at their local International Super-Duper Buffet.

Their help mainly comes in the form of being extra audience members for my children, whose antics have grown tiresome to me, but Nana and Pop-pop find hilarious. And my dad is very, very good with his intimidation tactics. Why just last night I enlisted his help in making sure my children ate their dinners. He took his duty seriously, and proudly reported that Elsa ate every last bite of hers. Which she  subsequently puked up into the double-stroller 30 minutes later. But hey, Pop-pop got the job done.

Baby Finn....So sweet, so innocent,
so incapable of making fart noises with his armpit and a straw.
This entry won't be long, mainly because I am playing catch up with many things, including cutting my children's fingernails so they don't look like X-Men characters. But I wanted to let you know that Baby Finley Palmer has arrived. And he is perfect. Mainly because he can't sass me yet.

I also wanted to let you know that I plan on blogging a lot in the upcoming months, as I see the potential here for many many many entries.

In other words, I am in big, big trouble.

Stay tuned, dear readers. It's on like Donkey Kong.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Scrambled Brain With A Side Of Punky

I've got five days to go. My brain is scrambled, my belly distended, and I cannot walk into a room without feeling the overwhelming urge to grab the nearest container of cleaner, get down on my hands and knees and scrub (even if that means scouring the bathroom floor with a tube of toothpaste).

I know I've been failing to keep up with my blog, just as I've been failing to keep up with grocery shopping, the news, and the Kardashians. The main reason is that I simply cannot focus on anything. I am in a constant state of distraction. All I can do is feel my belly ball up like a frightened armadillo and wonder if this is it. If this is the beginning of The End. I've already called in my reinforcements (aka, my mom and dad), my overnight bag is packed, all the baby's clothes are washed and waiting to be worn, and I've sworn to Jeff that the other night he purchased my absolute last six-pack of O'Douls. Cannot tell you what a great feeling that was.

And so, I'm not going to try to write a blog entry because it will be a rambling, nonsensical mess (as opposed to my usual entries--linear, focused and rational, with only the occasional jibe directed at David Coulier.) But just in case you can't get enough of my usual stuff, I'm going to redirect you to a side-project I've been working on....

An article for GalTime about Rollie's infamous brand of humor. And I got to discuss it with none other than Soleil Moon Frye. I figured it would be cheesy to tell her that I used to have Punky Brewster sneakers. And they glowed in the dark. Maybe during our next interview....

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rollie Suave, Part II

It's official. Rollie is girl-crazy.

Yesterday I was without a car, and so I decided to walk to our neighborhood pool in the morning so that we could make it home before the heat of the day resulted in our collective spontaneous combustion. Rollie rode his bike in front of me, Elsa was strapped into the jogger, clad in her favorite (hand-me-down and hence too big and baggy) Dora bathing suit.

As we neared the pool, I heard splashing, giggles and squeals coming from over the privacy hedge.  Rollie, who had been pedaling vigorously so he could splash through a dirty puddle, came to a halt, eyeing the hedge with wary yet keen interest.

Rollie: Who was that?
Me: I don't know, Bud. Sounds like someone beat us to the pool.
Rollie: Are they friends?
Me: They aren't friends we know, but that doesn't mean they can't be our friends.

More splashing, squeals and giggles. The tone and timbre telling me that these friends were most definitely female. Which I think Rollie also realized, because I could have sworn he puffed up his chest a bit, sat a little taller on his bike, and started pedaling toward the sound. Kinda like how a peacock would, if peacocks rode bikes with training wheels.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Members Only...Without The Cool Jacket

Sorry I've been slacking lately....

Actually, the main reason I haven't written much in the past week is that I haven't really been home. I've been lost inside my local Costco, you see.  Wandering around for days, surviving solely on free samples of cocktail wieners, cream puffs and a special blend of vitamin water and my own tears. It was a terrifying, dismal ordeal that I am just now comfortable discussing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Family Ties...Minus Tina Yothers

I read an article in the NYT Motherlode blog the other day about how to make sure your kids grow up to be friends. Actually, I think the article was asking readers if there was an actual way to make your kids grow up to be friends. By means other than, you know...beating them with reeds until they promise to run right out to their nearest Piercing Pagoda and buy a Best Friends necklace for their sibling.

This subject has always fascinated me. I am very interested in the whole concept of sibling rivalry and the bonds that tie us all together in knots so complex that extricating ourselves from them is like trying to pull gum out of a 2-year-old's hair (or a gum wrapper from her nostril, which I've had recent experience doing, and proved to be more difficult than the Popcorn Kernel Incident).

I think this fascination stems from the fact that my five siblings and I are very close. Like, extremely so. Like, for awhile there it was almost an unhealthy, co-dependent kind of relationship, built on love, trust and mutual appreciation for Jaws, Star Wars and Silence of the Lambs. And alcohol.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Life Is Like A Box Of...Um...Something....

So...anyone notice that the number of blog entries I've been producing has fallen off in the past few months?

It's not that life in the Scott household is any less exciting, boisterous and blog-worthy as it once was. Oh no. In fact, just the other day I had to wipe Elsa's nose with my own shirt, because she herself was shirtless, let out an atomic sneeze, and nary a tissue was in sight. How's that for exciting?

Instead, I believe I've fallen victim to a phenomenon that plagues The Swollen and Annoyed: 

Pregnancy Brain.

And because I'm battling such a powerful bout of Pregnancy Brain right now, instead of coming up with something original to write, I'm shoplifting a snippet from my next book for you to enjoy, while I waddle off to the couch, snuggle up with my body pillow and remote, and see how many times I have to hear my children shriek in the other room before I have to hoist myself up and investigate (and possibly reattach a digit).

So without further ado, here is a segment from Chapter 5--The Fifth Month (aka, No, We Are Not Naming The Baby Jean-Luke Picard Scott Of The Star Ship Enterprise…I Don’t Care If It Is A Family Name)

I myself was a skeptic at first. Pregnancy Brain, I internally scoffed. What a bunch of baloney (ew…can’t think of baloney right now). So you’re telling me that just because my body is busy creating another life and giving me mystery twinges in my left buttcheek that my brain can’t remember to make sure I put on deodorant in the morning?

That’s exactly what I’m telling you. And it’s not just a chance of walking around smelling like a Taco Bell all day that shoots up five thousand percent. It’s the little brain functions we normally take for granted that will leave us wondering why we suddenly feel like we must have smoked waaaaay too much pot in college.

One day I was in the kitchen with my husband and he was nagging me about cleaning off the refrigerator. And while I can usually hold my own in an argument with the World’s Most Logical Man On The Planet, during the course of our conversation I found myself struggling for verbal breath.

Jeff: So you think you might want to take some of these pictures off the fridge?
Me (staring blankly at the ten-year-old pictures of our families during various vacations and other moments of merriment): Pictures?
Jeff: Yeah, you know…it’s looking at little cluttered.
Me: Cluttered? You think?
Jeff: You can hardly tell what color the fridge is underneath all this stuff.
Me: But I like it.
Jeff: Can’t you find some nice frames for these pictures.
Me: But I like looking at things.

That was my big argument. I like looking at things.  What I'd meant to say is that when I'm standing in front of the fridge, filling one of my gargantuan bottles with water to stave off another lovely side-effect of pregnancy--constipation--I like to look over the snapshots of yesteryear and remember the good old days when none of my siblings had yet to procreate, and we all still had fun together. (Yeah, doesn't that make you want to run out and get knocked up, too? Not only will you turn into Forest Gump for almost an entire year, but your days of carefree fun are so over. Oh yeah, and you won't poop again until the next presidential election.)

To this day when I’m having a brain fart (yes, I just used the word fart. After having kids I throw around potty words a lot more than I used to…sort of a disintegration of my intelligence), or I offer up a lame argument during a discussion with my husband, one of us will say I like looking at things. It serves as a humbling reminder that I am not always whip-quick on the uptake. Hard to believe, I know.

After doing some extensive research on the matter (ie, Googling it and finding a WebMD article), I have found that Pregnancy Brain is due to a number of factors—exhaustion, hormones, preoccupation with the fact that you can no longer fit into your fat jeans, let alone your skinny jeans. Pregnancy Brain will cause you to forget to swap your clothes from the washer to the dryer—until you notice the smell of rotting clothes coming from your laundry room. It will cause you to set down your purse, your keys, your toddler and spend the next twenty minutes scouring the house and swearing under your breath that you can’t find them (and you’ll really start swearing when you finally do find your toddler contentedly rubbing blush into your cream-colored carpeting). It will make you forget words, names, lyrics, the state capitals, and whether or not you like the show Jerseylicious (side note: you don’t). Some experts even believe that a pregnant woman’s brain actually shrinks. Watching Jerseylicious while you eat an entire bag of peanut M&M’s will do that.

Here endeth the Pregnancy Brain snippet. I'm off to sew Rollie's thumb back onto his hand.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Nobody Nose

And then there are situations when, even in a state of semi-panic, I can still visualize the blog entry that will come out of it.

So Friday I decided that the acrid smoke of distant forest fires that has blanketed our county for the past week was probably not the best thing my young children should be inhaling. And instead of coming up with some neat craft or indoor game for us all to enjoy together, I plopped the kids on my bed with some popcorn to watch Peter Pan, while I settled myself into the office chair and started pecking at the keyboard, determined to get in some uninterrupted writing before a.) Elsa decided she'd rather come sit on my non-existant lap and start pressing random keys until I gave up and paid her attention, or b.) Rollie lost interest in a movie he's already seen fifty billion times and started leaping from the bed to the rocking chair until he miscalculates one jump and winds up with a massive head wound.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Your Father's Idea This Was

Another thing I've learned as a parent of two young children is that concepts I take for granted as being relatively easy to grasp can blow the mind of a 4-year-old boy.

Take the movie Star Wars for example. The other day, Jeff decided that Rollie wasn't being mentally challenged enough by the idea that my belly is roughly the size of a bean bag chair because tucked away inside is a small human, and so he introduced Rollie to the magical world of Storm Troopers, Wookies, and Harrison Ford before he divorced his wife, got an earring and can only get roles where he is either about to retire, coming out of retirement, or on his way to a rest home.

Episode XXVIII--Mark Hamill Looking Like He Could Use A Nap.
And A Shower
And so we drew the blinds, popped some popcorn and settled in to watch Episode IV--Mark Hamill At His Aesthetic Peak.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Ben Dover

It seemed like a good idea at the time....

My dog has this really annoying habit of dropping pieces of his food all over the floor when he eats. And then not cleaning up after himself. Kinda like some other members of this household.

And now that I'm sporting a physique that causes some serious water-displacement in the bathtub, bending over to do anything is just not worth the effort. Even if I spotted a hundred dollar bill, a gift card to Target, a coupon for a free pedicure, an autographed picture of Matt Damon naked; none of these things is important enough for me to lean down over my behemoth belly and pick up. (Now if it were Matt Damon himself who was on the ground and needed help getting up...different story....)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Most Horrifying Place On Earth, Part III

Why do Jeff and I do this to ourselves?

During a moment of what could have only been total intoxication, we decided to take our children to Disney World this week. Not sure what my thought process was here: I know! What better way to celebrate my 30th week of pregnancy than to shlep our two young children around in the blazing-hot sun, weaving in and out of families who have a.) the personal bubble of a cheap suit, b.) three of their own kids, one of whom just dropped his chocolate-coverd Mickey bar on the sizzling sidewalk and is now having a DEFCON 2 meltdown, and c.) just purchased a fifteen-dollar princess balloon and are trudging along in front of us, their balloon banging us in the face and taunting our own daughter into thinking that if she screams loudly enough maybe we will buy her one, too.

Friday, May 20, 2011

And IIIIIII Will Always Love Yoooou-Tuuuube

Caution: The following blog entry may result in you getting a particularly irritating Whitney Houston song stuck in your head for the next several hours, which may in turn cause you to seriously consider taking a power drill to your frontal lobe. I cannot be held liable for any carpet cleaning bills you may incur from such procedure.

As Elsa gets older, one thing I've noticed about her (besides her amazing ability to speak to dolphins at the same pitch and decibel level) is that she loves to sing.

Perhaps this is a girl thing. Rollie isn't much of a singer. He'll sing once in a while, sometimes in a tune I can even long as it's Happy Birthday. But for the most part he prefers talking. And yelling. And making unintelligible noises and sticking out his tongue and just being obnoxious. Which, as we've all recently learned, is definitely a boy thing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's Not You, It's Me

You ever feel like some days you just weren't meant to get a single f-ing thing accomplished?

Yesterday was one of those days.

I swear, sometimes I can't tell if my children are being exceptionally naughty on a given day, or if I am just exceptionally irritable. Or if I'm exceptionally irritable because my children are being exceptionally naughty. And yes, that was a potential drinking game--every time I write exceptionally you're supposed to drink. Have one for me. Or ten.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Rollie Suave

So Rollie has officially developed his first crush. 

I'm not even sure how it started. They were at a park together, and from what I could tell, she stood around with her hands on her hips a lot, and ran away from him when he chased her. I suppose that's how all great love stories begin: Boy meets girl, girl puts her hands on her hips, boy becomes smitten and chases girl around the playground to steal girl's headband. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Preparation Anxiety

It's funny how now that I'm waddling around like an extremely tall and underdressed penguin, I've been getting a lot of those obligatory questions people are compelled to ask any expectant mother:

How are you feeling? Large. Slow. Like I can't possibly get any bigger, even though I have 12 weeks to go. I am also currently mourning the loss of my belly button. We had such a history together.

Do you know what you're having? A baby. Possibly male. Definitely enjoys sitting on my bladder in the middle of the night.

Do you have any names picked out? Yes. Unfortunately Jeff and I are failing to reach an agreement on any of them. This is the problem with being married to a man who went to high school with twenty thousand other people: every name I come up with has a negative association for him. Apparently there was a high concentration of a-holes at Lincoln High.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Snakes And Snails. And Snookie.

I've come up with something amazing. It's just a theory, really, but I truly believe that this will turn the scientific, anthropologic, mathematic and cosmetic worlds upside-down. I don't think the world has seen anything this earth-shattering since the revelation that George Michael is gay.

You ready? Here goes....

Four-year-old boys can be really obnoxious.

I know, right? Will your world ever be the same after reading those eight words? My apologies if it's hard for you to go on with life as usual. Unless you're my neighbor and life as usual for you means leaving garbage on your front porch and letting your miniature doberman use my backyard as a toilet. In which case I'm glad I shattered this life as usual thing for you.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Don't Quit Your Day Job

Back in high school, one of my dreams was to become a stand-up comic.

I would sit in class and watch my fellow schoolmates and teachers and take mental notes of bits I would deliver to an adoring crowd. I pictured myself in a bolo tie and shoulder pads, clutching a microphone as I paced the stage and occasionally paused for a sip of water in between jokes. I watched stand-ups on TV, stayed up on Saturday nights for Late Night At The Apollo, rented videos featuring Dennis Wolfburg, Paula Poundstone, Dennis Miller, practiced my impressions on my friends. I became enamored with a person's ability to have an audience rolling the aisles, and decided that one day I too would be up there, in the spotlight, shrouded by a fog of cigarette smoke and the drunken haze of onlookers, delivering punchline after punchline, the mother of immaculate timing and funky suspenders.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Belly Dance

You know what? My giant belly is really starting to come in handy.

It makes a great catcher for stains that would have normally ended up on my lap. It's a lovely conversation piece (now that people aren't afraid to acknowledge it as a pregnancy and not just an unfortunate over-indulgence of ice cream sundaes). It evokes smiles, nods, and--if I'm shlepping my children through a steamy parking lot and they're whining in harmony--looks of sympathy.

Most of all though, it gets me out of a lot of things I would normally have no excuse for. Now when I botch my parking job in the garage, leaving Jeff enough room to exit his car only if he possess the superhero ability to turn himself into a vapor, I just blame it on my belly. As in, I can't possible squeeze out of my own car if the door is too close to the wall. Sorry, honey.

Or like yesterday, when I brought the kids to the infamous Burger King play place so I could kill some time before Rollie's soccer practice and so they could pick up some cool diseases (hey, with flu season over, I really miss my pediatrician).

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bend It Like Rollie

In our quest to shape Rollie into a professional soccer player (who will then go on to marry an ex-Spice Girl, move to LA and be named one of People's 50 Most Beautiful People), we enrolled him in our local Under 5 soccer league.

Let me preface this by saying that I am so not one of those parents. You know what I mean...the ones who get all worked up, think their kid isn't getting enough playing time, yell at coaches and refs, and ultimately punch other parents in the head out of pure frustration and lack of anger management skills. I don't project my own failed attempt at soccer onto my son. I don't live vicariously through my children's successes because I wasn't quite good enough to make the US woman's olympic soccer league. Or even get off the bench much on my JV soccer team.

That is, I wasn't one of those parents until I started watching Rollie play. Because now that I've spent approximately 45 minutes sweating on the sidelines of a tiny soccer field yelling like an over-caffinated cheerleader as a flock of children follow a rolling ball around a field like a school of clumsy fish, I can see how parents get themselves whipped up into a tizzy. I sure jumped up and down waaay more than a woman in my delicate condition should have been, and I'm usually about as excitable as Ben Stein at a monster truck rally. Good thing Rollie's not yet capable of being embarrassed by his parents.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Devil Wears Nada

You know how about two months ago I was singing the praises of turning four? Of how great it was now that Rollie is four years old, he's so much easier to get along with and does eeeeverything I say now, and it's almost like having another adult (albeit one who enjoys potty humor just a little too much) in the house? I believe the word I actually used to describe Rollie as a four-year-old was...angel. Which I guess is sort of fitting. Lucifer himself was an angel at one point, right?

I don't know why I do this to myself. I brag about my kid being potty trained to someone, and two second later my kid pees in her undies right in front of us. I tell someone else how my kid is pretty outgoing, while my kid hides behind me and avoids eye-contact like a guilty defendant. I ask my kid to write his name in crayon so his granny can admire his penmanship, and instead he shoves the crayon up his nose and laughs like a stoner watching Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Kids can sense when you're asking them to perform like trained monkeys, and instead they act like the kind of monkeys you see at the zoo who throw sh*t at each other. So charming.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fraternity Hoes

I am starting to panic.

It's spring time in Florida. The azaleas are in full bloom. The trees are cloaked in splendiforous green. Pollen is coating everything, including my car, my patio furniture, and the grimy pair of pink crocs that have been sitting on my back porch for two months.

All of this is fine and great, except for one thing. Two words. First word...sounds like...fraternity. Second word...sounds like...hoes.

Yeah. Maternity Clothes.

Is it just me, or are most maternity clothes hideous? Jumpers. Overalls. Billowy tops with ties and straps and designs in prints I wouldn't make curtains out of for a gaggle of VonTrapps. And WTF happened to the Motherhood store at the mall? One minute it was right there next to the plastic, germ-infested kids' play place, the next minute, gone. Did the play place scare tomorrow's crop of would-be mothers into sterilization? I mean, I can understand how that would happen...I myself feel my ovaries curling up like party favors whenever I pass it and hear the screams or see little kids clamoring, sneezing, or chewing on the brightly colored equipment. But where's a gal like me supposed to go for anything that doesn't ride up, fall down, expose my butt crack or other wise give strangers a sneak peek at waaay more skin than they wanna see. I am this close to buying a pair of gladiator sandals and a bunch of white sheets and trying to get the whole toga look back in fashion.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Counting Sheep. And Condoms.

Ah, Daylight Savings Time.... How do I hate thee?

Not that I mind Elsa waking me up at 6:12 in the morning instead of 5:12. That part is definitely nice. I hear the little shuffling of toddler feet across my carpet, and I open one bleary eye to see the silhouette of my daughter before me, her hair in disarray, her hands clutching some object I know she didn't go to bed with...a crumpled bag of Goldfish...a package of wipes...a condom (true story...we'll see if we have time for that one). 6:12 is doable, it feels like I'm actually synced with the circadian rhythm of the rest of the country and not floating in some unpopulated time zone in the middle of the Atlantic.

But it's the new shift in bedtime that is throwing us all off. Whereas during the winter months when we're all in a sort of post-Christmas stupor, the kids would bundle off to bed at 7:30, leaving Jeff and me a few precious hours where we could laze around, reconnect, and pass out during an episode of Pawn Stars, now we spend those hours taking turns chasing our children (usually Elsa) back to bed so we can enjoy our new subscription to NetFlix without having to pause it every five seconds so our darling daughter doesn't catch a glimpse of something terrifying and refuse to fall asleep at all. (Side Note: Last night I actually fed that fear by telling her that if she didn't get her little heiney into her bed and stay there for the rest of the night, the MGM lion she glimpsed--who very well may be hiding beneath her bed--was waiting to snatch her by the ankles and drag her back into its lair if she got out one more time....What? Too harsh?)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thick As Thieves

Having more than one kid is wonderful. Your kid will always have a built-in friend. A life-long ally and confidant. Someone to stick up for them when the world is cruel. And, as with my own lovely children, someone to blame when something breaks or goes missing or the dog is sporting an interesting bald patch on the side of his butt where beautiful tufts of fur used to be.

Monday was the first day of routine normalcy after a long stint of visiting family elsewhere, family visiting here, or getting ready to go enjoy some pool, park or playdate merriment. We didn't have anywhere to go, anyone to see, or anyone to hide from behind a giant Easter candy display at Target because I let my kids dress themselves in outfits that made them look either a.) like they were trying out for a role in Oliver, or b.) had just run away from the circus.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Treasure I-S-L-A-N-D

Just got back from a three-day visit to my parents' 'Winter Home' in beautiful, bustling, only slightly overrun by buffets, dollar stores and decidedly creepy looking out-buildings Wildwood, FL.

Rollie and Elsa LOVE visiting their Nana and Pop-pop. They look forward to going for weeks, and when the joyous day finally arrives, they clamor excitedly into the car, swing their legs in anticipation, and don't even start whining for a full ten minutes into the trip. Their excitement stems from the fact that Nana and Pop-pop will laugh at antics that make my eyes roll so often my children think the irises aren't blue but in fact a slightly pinkish shade of white. Nana and Pop-pop find the entertaining hilarity in Elsa's Ovaltine escapades, or Rollie's incessant line of 'what-if's', or my own exasperated responses to each child's bid for attention. Nana and Pop-pop have already been there, done that, their own energies sapped long ago. Now my arrival is a sort of Punch and Judy show for their enjoyment...kind of like when spectators watched gladiators ward of lions and tigers. No doubt it's pretty amusing to see their youngest daughter barefoot and pregnant and running herself ragged to keep her own daughter from testing the tensile strength of Nana's antique tea set. And when needed, my parents did a good job of interjecting their own brand of the form of Pop-pop threatening to remove his baseball cap and expose his bald head to the transgressor. Worked every time.

One good thing about going to Nana and Pop-pop's house is that my children have pretty much free reign over the entire estate. The estate here being the glorified double-wide, the sunporch and the carport. My mother doesn't mind when Rollie loudly slams his cars into each other all over her nice wooden floor. My father thinks it's riot when Elsa pounds out a few chords on his piano with her sticky fingers, or plays Hide The Cell Phone, Hide The Remote, and his personal favorite, Hide Nana's Reading Glasses. And they both got an enormous kick out of the look on my face when I pulled into their driveway after a few hours of leaving the kids in their charge and found my children, clad in nothing but undies, a sopping wet diaper and their respective crocs, squealing and ducking from the spray of Nana's garden hose. At least I didn't have to give them a bath that night.

And of course, one of the visit's highlights was going on one of Nana's Famous Treasure Hunts. Although I'm beginning to think of them more as Nana's Famous Half-Hour Spent Digging Around In Dirt And Unearthing Everything Except What Nana Buried There A Mere Twenty Hours Ago. My mother, God bless her, kept leading a treasure hunt pep rally for Elsa and Rollie, asking them if they were excited to go on the treasure hunt, and telling them she'd apparently heard tell of treasure-discarding activity going on in the woods nearby, and that we needed to take a golf-cart ride there post-haste and see what loot awaited us.

Pop-pop, armed with the metal detector, swept the ground where Nana could have sworn Native Americans used to play with Matchbox cars and pennies from 1992, and the fun commenced. What began as a simple excursion to collect some of Pop-pop's sock-drawer change turned into a heated spelling bee between my parents:

Nana: Rollie, why don't you start digging here?
Rollie crouched on the ground and proceeded to paw at the ground with his bare hands like a fox digging up a dead muskrat.
Pop-pop: Move over Rol, let me check. Sound of metal detector beeping, indicating we were burning-hot-close to a surprise.
Nana: I'm pretty sure this is where I B-U-R-I-E-D it.
Pop-pop: This says there's something right H-E-R-E.
Nana: This should be where the A-I-R-P-L-A-N-E is.
Pop-pop: Keep digging, Rollie.
Me (noticing the amount of dirt amassing under my son's nails and getting really grossed out): Um, can't you guys use the shovel?
Nana (digging half-heartedly at the loose soil and dead leaves): Try again, Hon.
Pop-pop sweeps the ground again, metal detector beeping insistently now.
Me: There's definitely something there.
Nana: The shovel is hitting something.
Pop-pop leans down and pulls up what looks like a wheel off a dirty old roller skate.
Rollie: Wow....Is it treasure?
Me: Maybe if you're a Xanadu fan.
Pop-pop: Are you S-U-R-E this is it where you B-U-R-I-E-D it?
Nana: Yes. I even put S-T-I-C-K-S to M-A-R-K it.
Pop-pop: There are S-T-I-C-K-S all over the P-L-A-C-E.
Nana: Not like the ones I P-U-T there.
Pop-pop: You're like an amnesiac S-Q-U-I-R-R-E-L.
Nana: Oh, S-H-U-T-U-P.

In the end, Rollie and Elsa wound up with a wheel off an old shopping cart, a door stop, a plastic flower pot and 83 cents. Last I heard, Nana and Pop-pop are still outside digging. Although I'm thinking that the metal detector is picking up the hardware from Nana's new hip....

Friday, March 11, 2011

We're Going Streaking!

Having a baby is a lot like being inducted into a secret club. Or a fraternity. The first six weeks of motherhood are the hazing period. Only instead of swallowing goldfish and streaking through the quad, you're getting sprayed in the face by tiny streams of pee and shlubbing around the house with your boobs hanging out (because lucky you, your nipples are chaffed and cracked and the best remedy is to let them air-dry after every feeding. Although I'm sure you won't hear your husband complaining.).

Recently a couple in our neighborhood had their first baby. Before they were pregnant, they used to zip around in their sporty cars, the husband sometimes on his motorcycle, go on date nights, and basically enjoy the life of any couple who has yet to join up with Phi Beta Pooh. Jeff and I would watch from our driveway and wave, and then mumble something like Lucky Bastards to each other as we dragged economy packs of diapers from the back of the car and hollered at one or both of the kids to do not under any circumstances pick up that dead worm from the driveway, put that mulch in your mouth, or pee next to the garage downspout--for God's sakes everyone can see you there, can't you at least try to be a little discreet??

But a few months ago while out walking I spotted the female half of the couple sporting what was obviously a round, pregnant belly. (And believe me, I am not one to ask a women if she is expecting unless the woman is like, going into active labor and begging me for drugs.). So I struck up a conversation with her, during which I congratulated her, asked he when she was due, if she knew what she was having, and told her how impressed I was that she'd lived across the street from me for two years, seen the antics of my children and still decided she wanted one.

Then she said to me, "I'll probably be running over to you for advice once I have this baby."

"Really?" I asked, truly flattered that I must look like I actually know what I'm doing. Which I couldn't imagine was the case. I mean, doesn't she hear me shouting at my children pretty much every day, especially when the weather is nice and my windows are open? Do I really look like I have it together when I'm chasing my children down to get them into the car, or when Rollie is happily watering the shrubbery with his own personal stock of Miracle Grow, or when I'm out washing my car with them and having to constantly keep them from either drowning each other in the hose spray, or soaking me so that I look like I'm desperately trying to attract attention from the landscaping company that never fails to drive by on my car-washing days? (Shut-up, Jeff...I do too wash my car more than once a year.)

Anyway, we spied the balloons tied to the mailbox, the various visitors pulling in and out of the driveway, and Jeff and I knew the day had arrived, and these poor suckers could kiss their date-having, motorcycle-riding days good-bye. A few days passed, and we didn't see any signs of life from the house. The shades remained drawn, the garage door shut, the lights eerily dimmed. It was like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory...nobody ever goes in, and nobody ever comes out.

After Jeff reported that he finally saw the husband hustling into the house armed with bags of fast food, I decided to offer to make dinner for them one night. Because I was seriously so ravenous and so unable to do much of anything those first few weeks of Rollie's life but breastfeed my demanding little infant and shuffle around the house in a daze with my boobs out like a zombified Lady Godiva. If it weren't for other people bringing me food, I would have been left to nibble on battered moles left on my doorstep by neighborhood cats.

So last week I brought over one of the only edible dishes I can prepare, along with a six-pack of beer. The new mom invited me into a house that had yet to see the battle scars of a kid who is old enough to draw on carpeting or use wall space as his own personal booger despository. And when I asked her how things were going, she sighed the sigh of a woman who has recently discovered that it's actually possible to get negative sleep in one night.

"I think his nights and days are mixed up," she told me. "The doctor said the baby's using me as a human pacifier. He eats every two hours, even at night."

Man I felt bad for her. Because that is exactly what I went through four years ago. How long ago it seems when I was the one without make-up, a shower, a scrap of self-confidence that I was any good at this whole 'mommy' thing....Actually that pretty much describes me yesterday.

All I could really do was shove food and beer at her and assure her that soon she would learn to function on nothing but dry cereal, Diet Coke and three hours of sleep. Because the only reason it gets better is that you just get used to it. You make it through the initiation, you make it through the bleary-eyed crying jags, the desperate attempts to get your baby to take a damn pacifier or locate an appropriate spot to nurse him before he explodes in frustrated anger that your boob isn't in his little pie-hole like Right This Second. You get used to doing more laundry than a prison inmate, and hearing Nick Jr. shows singing away in the background, and regretting every bad thing you ever did to your parents because you are now a strong believer in the karmic synergy of the universe (which means I am in for an interesting round of adolescent bullshit from a certain female child of mine). 

And sometimes you love it all so much that you decide to do it again. And again. And, so help you God, again. That's when you move from a regular member of Phi Beta Pooh to the high priestess of the Fraternal Order Of People Who No Longer Go On Vacations To Places That Don't Have Grown Men Dressed As Cartoon Characters. They're an elite bunch. I'm still trying to figure out the secret knock. It sounds suspiciously like wine being uncorked.

Monday, March 7, 2011


A month or two ago I started an entry having to do with lessons I've learned since being a mother of two. I think I only got through the first lesson before getting distracted by God knows what, but I'm sure it had to do with me discovering Elsa on top of Rollie's dresser, the shattered remains of his piggy bank on the floor, or Rollie using my laptop's disc drive as a new place to shove his quarters.

Either way, this morning I learned another valuable lesson I'd like to pass along to all my dear readers.

Lesson Two:

If you're child enters a room and immediately says, "We're sorry, Momma," he is guilty of some atrocious crime. And his accomplice is just as guilty as he is, if not more so.

I set my children up with every conceivable luxury they could possibly want while I take my showers: Their favorite show (right now it's Bubble Guppies, which has so many gross incongruencies--underwater campfires, undersea airports, fish that can play the mandolin and sing in Spanish accents--I don't even know where to begin), cups of chocolate milk, a nice comfy couch. And this morning, since we'd just returned from a long walk around the neighborhood, I assumed they were fatigued enough to stay out of mischief while I was out of eye-sight and ear-shot for eight minutes.

Side Note: You'd think I would know by now that one can never to assume anything when it comes to children. They haven't ingested anything but bathwater and boogers in three days, but one can't assume they're hungry. They went to bed at 10, woke up at 4, and had fifteen nightmares in between last night, but one can't assume they'll actually take a nap today. Their favorite princess nightgown is buried beneath ten pounds of dirty, stinky laundry, but one can't assume they won't dig it out from the pile, put it on, and make it into the car, only to be discovered because the scent of sweat and bacon is heavy in the air.

The shower is a dangerous place to be trapped. The hot steam, the flowery soap, the fantastic water pressure can all lull a mother into thinking that since she can't hear anything but her own thoughts for a change, then everything beyond her foggy refuge must be copacetic. (My question is, if someone is aware of her own blissful ignorance, is she still in fact, blissfully ignorant? Or is she just a mom who would like to get in a decent shower for once without one of her children coming in and asking her where her penis is?)

I got out, wrapped myself in a towel, and then Rollie came into the bathroom.

Rollie: We're sorry, Momma.
Me: Uh-oh. What are you sorry about?
Rollie: We spilled our chocolate milk all over the place.
Me (already picturing chocolate milk sprayed across my beige walls like someone had stabbed the Nestles Quick Bunny to death): How did that happen?
Rollie: Elsa did it.
Me: What exactly did she do?
Rollie: I'll show you.

I followed my beloved son into the family room, where I saw all the makings of a crime scene: A stool had been pushed up to the counter, where I'd unwittingly left out the giant canister of Ovaltine. The canister was nowhere to be seen, but its contents had been dumped onto the coffee table and carpet. As I inspected further, I noticed little tire tracks through the brown powder, and the tread patters left on the couch cushions. And Rollie clutching a chocolate-covered toy truck in his sticky hand. I found Elsa standing in the corner of the room, the canister of Ovaltine sitting on Jeff's subwoofer, which was also now covered in chocolate dust, the surrounding carpet coated in the same Willy Wonka pixie dust. 

I didn't scream. I didn't freak out. I didn't threaten time out or drawing and quartering or anything like that. I was just so...exasperated with the whole thing that I didn't trust myself with any response at all. If I opened my mouth, the most horrible of accusations would have poured forth. If I touched one of my children they may have instantly burst into flames as my anger somehow passed from my fingers to their chubby upper arms. All I could do was wonder how long it would be before every species of cockroach on the planet set up camp beneath our couch and waited until bedtime before descending upon my family room and gorging themselves on sweet, vitamin-fortified goodness.

Then I started cleaning (starting with Elsa, who even had it in her hair). This was my best comeback. Oh yeah kids? You gonna make a gigantic mess while mommy's in the shower? Well I'll show you! I'm gonna get out the vacuum and start cleaning up after you! Take that, you little shits!

In all fairness to them, I really should not have left the Ovaltine so visible and accessible while I was out of the room. I've already had to clean up after the results of my indiscretion twice (once I had to make Elsa stay sitting on the floor, the canister in front of her, while I Dust-busted her lap). I had been keeping it way up high on a pantry shelf, to where Elsa couldn't reach it even if she was standing on her tip-toes on a phone book on a kitchen chair. So really, I'm the idiot here.

Lesson learned: Dump Ovaltine all over the place once, shame on you. Dump Ovaltine all over the place twice, shame on me. Dump Ovaltine all over Jeff's subwoofer...clean it before Jeff comes home, turns on the stereo and wonders why a strange, brown, powdery substance is puffing from the speaker.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Oh Yeah...I'm Pregnant....

So I'm approaching the halfway-point of my pregnancy. One week to go. One week until I'm officially 'Five Months Pregnant,' and thus entitled to that wonderful, amazing thing called Parking For Expectant Mothers.

I guess technically I've been entitled to that all along, but during the colder months, I was super-paranoid about taking these spots, then clamoring out the car in a bulky sweater and having other, more obviously-pregnant woman give me the stink-eye as they waddled past from way back in the nosebleed parking section. (This actually happened last month at our local Babies R Us, and while I normally wouldn't have opted for the Expectant Mothers spot, it was raining, I had both kids with me, and I was decidedly bloated that day anyway. I did make a bit of a show of hoisting myself in and out of the car and walking with the Pregnant Lady Sway, but I'm fairly certain those key marks on my car weren't there when I'd first arrived.)

What parking lots should really have is a designated area for people with small children. The spaces would be in rows littered with speed bumps, the parkings spaces themselves wider by a foot in all directions, with cart collection areas every other spot. And maybe a person stationed outside at all times to wrangle a stray toy or child and help you wrestle everyone into their seats. This area would be right up front, perhaps even alongside the fire lane, so people could distract their kids with the possibility of a fire engine sighting and the kids would press their noses to the car windows and give parents enough time to shove their crap into the back of the car and get the hell outta there.

Sorry, this entry wasn't meant to center on parking lots (or around them, or whatever preposition you're supposed to use with the word center...Amy? You out there?). But that seems to be a metaphor for this whole pregnancy: My mind wanders. I have not truly focused on this pregnancy with nearly the scrutiny that I had with my first (or even second). I have been almost too distracted to notice that I happen to be gaining weight, sporting bigger boobs and now have little bumps and burbles in my belly that I'm pretty sure are not the result of an unintelligent culinary decision at the Taco Bell Drive-Thru. I would like to marvel more at the miracle going on inside my body, but whenever I want to pause and reflect on this little gift, someone attempts to scale the bathroom counter to reach her brother's toothbrush and use it as a scrubber to remove the peanut butter smears she got all over the wall. Or someone else is tugging at my shirt, demanding I play Toy Story with him, starring his figurines from the movie and a tiny stuffed tooth he got from his dentist, who will be the protagonist of the story (the tooth, not the dentist).

Not that I'm, you know...complaining. I think when I was pregnant with Rollie, I had waaaaay too much time on my hands. I reflected way too much about the fact that I wanted to vomit pretty much the entire first trimester. Or that I couldn't button my favorite jeans anymore at precisely 22 weeks gestation. Or that my prenatal vitamins left a taste in my mouth that made me feel like I'd just eaten a container of Neptune Salad that was just beyond it's expiration date (which may have contributed to the whole "Think I'm Gonna Barf" feeling those first thirteen weeks).

Even with Elsa, I still had a daily opportunity to lie around and count the minutes until my next milestone, my next ultrasound, my next brownie sundae. Back in those days, I had a child who actually napped, I wasn't writing as much, and the house was still in decent shape (meaning I didn't take one look at the wall behind my kitchen table and feel like I was serving spaghetti to Jackson Pollock every night).

In a way, it's good that I don't really notice this pregnancy. It's definitely making the time pass more quickly. I don't feel as sick, as tired, I haven't been obsessing quite as much at how large certain areas of my body are becoming (including, but not limited to, my appetite for Cinnamon Toast Crunch). I'm trying to take this whole pregnancy in stride, just sort of going with it and hoping my vascular system doesn't completely collapse before the end of July (seriously...spider places I didn't even know I had blood flowing....And I say spider veins because they just sound cuter than vericose veins...almost like you'd want to have them as pets and not want to remove them yourself with a pair of sterilized pliers because you cannot stand the sight of them).

But do I really want the time to go by quickly? Am I really in a huge hurry to be a mother of 3? If you've read the entry where I tried that for a few days, you know that I'm quite ill-prepared for this next phase. And a bit terrified. If I think I don't have time now to reflect on anything, once the third one is here, I definitely won't have time to reflect on even the most banal of lives little questions (like why are there currently ten-thousand children's-sized socks residing in the crack between my washer and dryer? Or why is there an odd odor of chocolate-flavored cheese emanating from beneath my couch? Or how in the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks did my mother do this SIX TIMES?).

In all seriousness, folks, I really am excited and feel pretty blessed that I'm having such a smooth pregnancy. And I am currently taking bets as to whether this kid is going be a boy or a girl; we're not finding out this time, so you won't see a payout until July, unless we decide to keep all the money to save up for a Stinky The Garbage Truck toy.

Until next time, dear readers. I'm gonna go scarf up some Cinnamon Toast Crunch. (Or is that wolf down? Or wolf out?)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Anything You Can Do

I believe there is a special bond between little sisters and big brothers. Big brothers teach you how to be tough. How to 'shake it off.' How to fly over your handlebars and blow snot rockets and hit a fastball. They blow your precious dollies and Barbies to smithereens with Black Cat firecrackers, and while you are horrified and want to scream, you are also fascinated that such disregard for pretend human life exists. You are intrigued by the daring your big brother must posses when he passes his finger over a flickering candle flame, or builds his own ski jump in the front yard and practices helicoptering in mid-air. And when you try to imitate his roof-climbing, his fence-scaling, his rock-skipping, you find yourself falling painfully short, your skinned elbows and bruised ego reminders that you will never be as good at certain things. That when you finally beat him at ping-pong or Hunt the Wumpus, it's because he let you.

I already see this bond forming between Rollie and Elsa, and I love it. Sure, they get on each other's nerves, and sometimes I have to intervene before Rollie slide-tackles Elsa or she takes a chunk out of his arm (and sometimes I am way too late). But for the most part, their relationship has become familiar: Cool Older Brother Who Can Do Everything, and Adoring Little Sister Who Wishes She Could Pee Standing Up, Too.

The problem with this dynamic right now is that Rollie has picked up some charming phrases from God knows where, and now Elsa has caught them like they're chicken pox. Phrases like "Booger Head" and "Oh My Gosh," may not sound so bad when coming from an adult of lower intelligence or even a kid in elementary school, but when my 2-year-old daughter is prancing around the house in her plastic princess heels saying Poopy Butt over and over, it seriously makes me cringe. And wonder if other kids won't be allowed to hang out with mine because their parents don't want them to pick up up any obnoxious language. Soom I'll get calls from  other mothers from Rollie's class, and be forced to admit that yes, her son probably heard Snotty Penis Head from mine, and that I understand if Rollie is the only one in preschool not invited to her son's birthday party. At Disney World. All expenses paid.

I overheard the following conversation a few days ago.

Rollie: Hey Elsa, guess what?
Elsa: What?
Rollie: Boogers
Sound of both children dissolving into giggles.
Rollie: Hey Elsa, guess what?
Elsa: What?
Rollie: Poopy Butt!
Sound of both children dissolving into giggles again.
Me: Rollie....I don't want to hear that kind of talk, buddy.
Rollie: Elsa, guess what?
Elsa: What?
Rollie: Booger bottom.
Me: Rollie....
Elsa: Poopy Butt!
Me: No, Elsa, we don't talk that way.
Elsa: Poopy Bottom!
Me: Rollie, you can't use those words around Elsa.
Rollie: Why?
Me: Because she's little and she repeats everything she hears from you.
Rollie: But what if I have poopy on my butt?
Me: We don't say butt, we say bottom. (Man, could I sound stuffier and like I have less of a sense of humor? I actually prefer the word's shorter, more to-the-point, and for a Mom On The Go, possess that sort of succinct directness that is much more effective: I'm about to spank your butt seems to carry much more weight when I hiss it across a restaurant booth than I'm about to spank your bottom, which sounds like it came from a frail, proper grandma whose weak spanking would be barely register on the Pain-and-Humiliation-o-meter.)
Rollie: So I can say poopy bottom?
Me: Only in the correct context. Like in the bathroom. If you have actual poopy on your bottom.
Rollie: What if I have boogers on my bottom?
Me: ....Then we should probably have a lesson on proper tissue use.

It's not just Rollie's jokes that send Elsa into hysterical laughter. He's been pulling some physical comedic stunts that also tickle her funny bone. He pretends to trip and fall down, and not only does she chuckle heartily, she attempts the same nose-dive into the carpet (sometimes with tragic results). He mimes throwing up a stuffed animal, or plucking one from her ear, and she squeals with delight. I've heard him teaching her how to play games, how to draw pictures, and how to shoot hoops on their four-foot basketball net. And while she is an eager pupil, she still stomps on the rules, scribbles on the carpet, and knocks pictures off of end tables with her hook-shot.

I can just picture them in 7 or 8 years....they'll go off together and Elsa will be the one to come home with a bloody knees, the result of a bike jump attempt gone awry. Or missing a shoe because she tried to follow Rollie across a muddy field but one of her rain boots got sucked off her foot. Or she'll get stuck on the roof of their grandmother's house because she saw Rollie out there earlier but when she climbed  out there on her own, the window she crawled through shut and locked behind her and she was stuck on the porch overhang for half and hour wondering if she should shinny down a nearby tree or stay where she was until someone noticed the hungry vultures circling above the house. (Yes, these are all true stories....Matt actually got in huge trouble for the roof incident. Sorry about that one, Matty).

But for now I'll just have to keep stifling conversations about bodily fluids being emitted from the incorrect orifice, and trying to find clever substitutes for words both my children find uproarious. I think I need to invest in a good thesaurus. And lots of bandaids.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Birthday Suit

Yesterday, Rollie turned four.

I've been someone's mother for four years. To me, that doesn't sound like very long. I mean, four years is a long time for say, solitary confinement. Or to wait in line at the DMV. It is not a long time to be someone's mother. In that time, I feel like I should have much more figured out by now. I mean other than being an expert at changing the diaper of a child who is standing on top of an airplane toilet, while trying to keep said child from pushing the flight attendant call button, the flusher, and the secret bell you ring once you've joined the Mile High Club.

But I've only just begun. I've only reached base camp in what will certainly by a long, arduous and rewarding climb, where I will possibly lose a limb, or pass out and have to be rescued by a giant Saint Bernard bearing a little keg of whisky. Or if I'm lucky, a six pack of Michelob Ultra.

We really get shoved into parenthood though, don't we? We go into this whole thing knowing that we will have a baby, and that this baby will turn into a toddler, a preschooler, a kid, and hopefully, a functioning, relatively normal member of society, who may or may not one day be president, or at least be able to pay his rent on time. But nothing really prepares us for it. Not books, not classes, not snippets of advice and cautionary tales from other parents. This is definitely a Learn As We Go gig. And you know, for the most part I've been pleasantly surprised.

For example, I knew I would eventually have to cut Rollie's fingernails. But until I actually did it, I had visions of me accidentally lopping off a fingertip in the process. I knew I would eventually have to clean up his puke, and just assumed that it would be the most disgusting, Rob Zombie horror-flick scene I could imagine, with gratuitous projectile fluids and exploding torsos. But when the time came that I was on the business end of a barf-o-matic, it was more like a Rob Zemeckis puke scene, with tasteful special effects and catchy theme music and a sort of feel good ending that almost made me wish I had someone to share it with. I mean besides Rollie.

(Wow, I just realized that I've been pleasantly surprised at how un-disgusting my son throwing up was to me. I have got to get out more.)

Rollie has come a long way in his four years on earth. When I first started this blog, he was in the throes of being Two. He threw things, he peed on the floor, he refused to nap, eat, stay dressed or speak in complete sentences (or at least sentences that didn't unnecessarily include the word Poopy). Now that he's four, he pees in the toilet. Or outside. Or in an empty water bottle if we're out and about and I just don't feel like hauling everyone into a disgusting gas station restroom. So yeah, we've made some progress in the past two years.

The neatest thing about Rollie turning four is that he is experiencing things he'll carry with him for the rest of his life. He'll remember the time he ate breakfast with Winnie The Pooh (probably because it was the first time he could use the word 'pooh' and not elicit a Mean Mommy Face from me). He'll remember the nature hikes we used to take in our neighborhood (especially when Mommy realized we were trespassing on private property and hustled everyone out of the woods before the shotgun blast went off). He'll remember going to school and learning about numbers, letters, and how to wash his hands after handling something one of the multiple Aiden's in his class just sneezed on.

And if he doesn't remember the time he donned Elsa's homemade tu-tu, her princess heels, and pranced into the family room to show me his get-up...well...that's why God invented cameras.

Happy Birthday, my sweet boy. Your legs look amazing in those shoes.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Top O' The Food Chain

Remember back when Rollie was around 2-and-a-half, and every other word out of his mouth was 'Why?' (and every other word was 'No')?

Well, that phase seems to have been replaced by a new, more complicated version of the 'Why' question:

'What if?'

I've gotta say, this new variation on his line of inquiries is slightly less exhausting than having to answer 'Why' all the time (and being constantly humbled by the number of things I can't explain). On the other hand, Rollie is now presenting me with all sorts of scenarios I have never entertained before, and sometimes the hypothetical consequences of his 'what if's' are disastrous. Especially when we're at the zoo.

We went to the zoo yesterday with a group of friends. As we passed by the pens and cages filled with animals that looked benign but were surely just pretending that they couldn't rip out our larynx with a casual swipe of their giant paw, Rollie started up with his 'What if's'.

We stood before a sleek and restless leopard pacing its pen and while I tried to encourage my children to marvel at the splendor of the animal kingdom, Rollie had different ideas.

Me: Isn't he beautiful?
Rollie: ...What if I was in there with him?
Me: Um...I don't think you'd want to be in there with him.
Rollie: Why not?
Me: ...Because he might think you're food.
Rollie: Why?
Me: Because leopards eat little animals for dinner, and you'd probably look like a little animal to him.
Rollie: But I'm wearing sneakers.
Me: I know. Still, you're little and fast, like an animal he might want
Rollie: But I'm super fast with my sneakers. What if I could run away from him?
Me: Rollie, it's a leopard. They're even faster than you are.
Rollie: What if he couldn't catch me?
Me: ...Well then maybe you guys could be friends. (Hell, what do I know about the temperament of leopards? Maybe when their stomachs are full they like to just hang out with other animals, laze around and shoot the breeze and engage in the occasional footrace.)

We entered the snake exhibit, and after wrangling Elsa back into the stroller, I found Rollie standing in front of a glass enclosure, his mouth agape. I wandered over to him, and saw he was staring at an ENORMOUS anaconda. This thing was HUGE.  The Dirk Diggler of the animal world. And even with four inches of snake-proof glass between us and him, I somehow felt very vulnerable, like he was picturing how nicely his body would fit around us, how the sound of our bones crunching in his coils would be music to his ears...wherever they were.

And then Rollie's voice broke through my horrific reverie:

Rollie: What if I was in there with that anaconda?
Me: Trust me, you would not want to be in there with that thing.
Rollie: What would he do if I was in there?
Me: Probably eat you.
Rollie: But what if I was nice to him?
Me: I don't think it matters to him if you're nice or not. He probably eats nice animals every day.
Rollie: Like what nice animals does he eat?
Me: I don't know, like deer and zebras and stuff. (Yes, we have come a long way since the lion conversations we used to have a year ago.)
Rollie: What if he let me pet him?
Me: ...If he let you pet him, I guess you'd get to feel his skin.
Rollie: And then would he bite me?
Me: Anacondas don't really bite. But they squeeze.
Rollie: ...I like being squeezed.

I'm sure there was a huge discrepancy between what Rollie thought would happen with each scenarios he broached, and what actually would happen. All day long I had mental pictures of my son being eaten, squeezed to death, mauled, trampled, and impaled on a giant rhinoceros horn, while he was probably picturing himself lying in the sun with his new BFF's--the jaguars and the lions. They were furry, and probably soft. And cuddly. Until they got hungry.

Rollie's 'what if's' brought to mind this book my dad used to read to my siblings and I when we were little, entitled Peep of Day. It was a devotional book, but of course the only passage that we really cared about was all about how fragile the human body is (and this is an actual quote taken directly from the book...I think it was printed in the 1800's or something. Back when it was totally okay to terrify children into submission.  It's actually not such a bad idea now, come to think of it):

"How easy it would be to hurt your poor little body! If it were to fall into the fire, it would be burned up. If hot water were thrown upon it, it would be scalded. If it were to fall into deep water, and not be taken out very soon, it would be drowned. If a great knife were to run through your body, the blood would come out. If a great box were to fall on your head, your head would be crushed. If you were to fall out of the window, your neck would be broken."

I messed up is that? And there we sat, my siblings and I, snickering at the disgusting visuals of our bodies being torched, exsanguinated, drowned, and sustaining massive head wounds. This was the foundation of my childhood: What if (dot dot dot)?

Now that he's almost 4, Rollie seems ready to handle the brutal truths of his imagination. Are leopards friendly? Hell no. Do raccoons bite? Yeah, especially rabid ones. Do giraffes like to be pet? Only if you're about to shove a head of romaine lettuce into their pie-holes.

Which is why I felt compelled to buy him a big, stuffed anaconda from the gift shop on the way out. So he could at least pretend that anacondas are soft, furry, and they love to cuddle up at night with absolutely no desire to suffocate him in his sleep. I don't, however, think I'll be reading him Peep of Day anytime soon.