September 30, 2010

Cry Me a River of Pee

Our son is a sprinkler system. And over-hydrated sprinkler system, if there is such a thing. He always has been, since birth.

Our biggest challenge is keeping him dry overnight. I think my mother finally believed how bad it was when she had two nights with James recently. Everything but the walls were wet when she woke him.

Now, the Expert and I usually wait until the very last second to change him before we go to bed, sometimes as late as midnight or one in the morning. Still, by sunrise that kid has managed to wet his pants, his bed and the curtains. Well, not the curtains, but you get my point.

I'm not sure if it's the amount of liquid or the sheer force of the liquid that is causing the leaks. Also, he's at the age where he can take off his diaper. So there's the overhydration action, plus force of spray, coupled with playing with diaper....equals a huge mess.

Here's what we have tried:
1) Of course, changing him right before we go to bed into overnight diapers. Placed high in the front and tight around the waist. This is the best thing we have found, but still, in the morning the diaper often weighs in at thirty-six pounds and we have a very wet toddler.

2) Plastic pants over the overnight diaper. This was last night's escapade. I just knew these would be the hero of the day. Nope. Insert buzzer sound. The only thing that remained dry was about two inches of pajama pant. Bedsheets still soaked.

3) Cutting down his liquids before bedtime. This tends to reduce, but not eliminate the problem, but dang, if the kid is thirsty, he's thirsty. I'm not going to deny him water.

4) Two diapers. Yes, I've said it. I have tried one diaper on top of another. Still no go, and James is so confused by this one. But it's good comic relief: Oh, my goodness, lookee there! Two diapers on James. I got two diapers!

Now, I know. We could change him every three hours. Yes, I agree that this appears to be the last sensible remedy: setting an alarm and changing him around 3am. But geez. What's the point of having a three year old, if we are up changing diapers like a three-week old? Plus, the extra diaper change is not fool proof. He has managed to wet through two diaper changes many, many a night.

Am I just a terrible parent because I don't want to do this? (Don't say yes, yet).
It has been almost three years, and for the first time, all of us are sleeping through the night. Three years. I do not want to get up to change diapers at 3am ever again. We are done (spelled: D-O-N-E) having children, and I cannot bear the flashback to a newborn state. I break out in teeny tiny hives. I almost think that I am physically unable to handle the newborn patterns again. And that is what this diaper situation feels like. Ok, this all sounds terrible. But you guys are used to me by now anyway. If I can talk about stinky feet, then I can talk about pee.

Whine whine whine.... I can see all of you nodding and saying, just change the kid. So yes, I am selfish. But I also need to sleep in order to be a functioning member of the working society. Okay, okay... fine. I will set my bloody alarm and wake up to change him. Unless... ding ding ding!

Two things we have not tried:
1) A pad (think: Poise) inside the diaper. This idea was from our nanny, who is most often stuck with the morning swamp of the room after wake-up. I greatly appreciate her input into my Operation Do Not Set Alarm To Change Diaper mission. My concern with this idea: the pad gets wet first and the diaper, now being blocked by the pad is absolutely useless and we have a bigger mess than before. Unless we put the pad horizontal around the rim of the diaper like a leak guard. Maybe that's the spirit. Does it seem cruel to put a pad on a boy's diaper? I am kind of giggling at the lunacy of it. But what if it works? I have created a new diaper prototype I can sell to Pampers and make millions. Anyway, apparently our nanny purchased the big puppy pads by mistake, which I think may actually pan out better. A little wrap-wrap, tuck-tuck action around the side and outside of the diaper may do the trick.

2) Next stop: adult diapers! Size XXXL. Hmmm. This may work too. Adult diaper on top of baby diaper. And the picture would be priceless.

I'm certifiably crazy. But I'm certifiable mostly because I haven't slept in three years... Imagine how bad crazy will be if we make that four years by setting an alarm to change a diaper.

Hello, Depends!

September 26, 2010

Take Me Out of the Zoo

Trip to Zoo Atlanta today. The Atwood monkeys should be glad they were not abandoned at the monkey exhibit. What a day! Seriously though, the zoo was fun. The trip started a little rough when I almost got in a brawl with the ticket people. I had a coupon and they wouldn't take it. As the Expert always says: Save a dollar, lose your mind. Coupons never seem to pan out for me.

Anyway, James and Stella both enjoyed the animals. Lots of oooohs and what's that! type of excitement. Those two kids are just so busy - what a struggle to keep up with both of them. I think they whisper to each other: quick, distract the old people - you go this way, I'll go that way! They are baby ninjas.

Highlight of the day was, for sure, the petting zoo, where James screamed "pet it! pet it!" but would not pet the goats, and Stella used a goat brush for her own mane.

Sydney Wrap-Up

9/17/10, Friday
The Expert is already in Sydney, so I am ridin' solo like Jason Derulo.

3:55 pm
The plane is almost full, the doors are almost closing and I am quietly rejoicing because the seat next to me is vacant. The Expert lovingly used his SkyMiles to upgrade me to Business Class, so I am feeling pretty sweet and relaxed. Then I see this guy wandering onto the plane. I’m thinking, don’t sit by me, don’t sit by me. But I was thinking this for no real reason. Well, the real reason is that I don’t want anyone to sit by me. I am praying for two seats to myself. In Business Class. So spoiled. But he looks nice enough. And then, he sits down. Apparently, I’m in his seat. He doesn’t care. One point for the new guy.

Well, the new guy is Chatty Cathy, my worst airplane fear. Stuck on a flying tube with chitter chatter and no end in sight. I’m thinking, crap, I have five hours of chat now? Come to find out, he is actually Chatty Carlos from Lebanon.

Our flight attendant is super flamboyant flight attendant extraordinaire. He loves Carlos. He serves Carlos first. He daunts over Carlos. It's hilarious. Regardless, I was glad to have a friend on the flight. Until Carlos told me about the seatbelts.

4:55 pm
Me: Why do we have to wear seatbelts on the airplane? It’s not like a seatbelt is going to save us in a plane crash.
Chatty Carlos: No. But eef you heet an air pocket, zee zeetbelt vell come in very handy.
Me: Air pocket? What are you talking about?
CC: Zometimes, ze plane vill hit an air pocket, and then eets like a roller coaster, and den, eff you heet the air pocket, you vill freefall and you vill hit the roof of the plane.

Nice Carlos. Thanks for the anxiety. Seat belt on. Check.

6:00pm (Los Angeles time)
I arrived in LA alive. As I am checking in at the Qantas terminal, this woman at the adjacent ticket counter accosts me, tapping me on the shoulder and saying, How do you have such a HUGE bag, and it only weighs 22 pounds? Her beady little nosy eyes are glaring at the scale, weighing my bag. She looks back and forth between my bag and her husband, in disbelief. I crane my neck and look too. I glare back saying, I think the Aussies are speaking in kilos. Either that, or I am packing a whole helluva lot of cotton candy. Her husband then glares at her, like you nosy old biddy. I second that.

Sitting at the bar in the Daily Grill in LAX, and feeling pretty awesome. I haven’t had this much time to myself in a long time. I’m thinking that the Expert is pretty lucky with all his travels. Yeah, he’s working hard and missing the kids, but quiet time to think is something I do not access very often. This is nice.

I boot up my laptop, have a drink and order a cobb salad. The bartender is rude, but I don’t care. He can stick it. So I’m snack attacking on my cobb salad and watching all the people pass by and I’m thinking… I wonder where she is going, I wonder where he is going, what's he thinking. And then I realize, that even inside my own head, I sound just like my mother.

9/19/10, Sunday
7:00am (Sydney Time)
Landed in Sydney. Yes, that is correct. I completely lost an entire day flying. It just vanished. For me, September 18, 2010 just does not exist. Put that one in your pipe and smoke it. Weird.

The Expert meets me at the airport, and I am so glad to see him. That fifteen hour flight from Los Angeles was torture. Coupled with the five hour flight to LA, plus five hour layover...that's a long day. On the Qantas flight, I was next to another Chatty Cathy, but I cut him off with headphones.

The Expert and I did the Circular Quay tour, took a gazillion token pictures with the Opera House looming in the background. After a while, we head back to the Swissotel Hotel and take a swim. The weather is pretty chilly, so after the laps, I am eyeing the hottub. Then I see the hairiest man ever emerge from the steamy tub, and I'm thinking I don't think I can get in there. The Expert says, suck it up and I hop in. One-two-three-four-five seconds and I'm out. Creeped me out. I was scared I was going to get stuck in the hairballs floating around in that thing. Ick.

After a fabulous dinner, the Expert had to head back to the Convention Center, and I walked to the hotel. I stop at the corner convenience store.
Water, Diet Coke, peanut butter M&Ms and gum = $20.
Being in Sydney = priceless.

I hit the sack at 7:30pm. Don’t even hear the Expert as he comes in.

9/20/10, Monday
The Expert wakes up grouchy. This is a working trip for him, so I think he’s crabby that he doesn’t get to play all day. He’s grumbling along and I’m like, “Hey, what’s with the crabby tude?” And he’s still mumbling and grumbling under his breath, so I’m like, “If it wasn’t a twenty-four hour flight ordeal to get home, I’d be OUTTA here.” And then we crack up, because that’s preposterous. This is the first time in my life, I literally, cannot be “outta there.”

I was able to Skype with the babies, but once we hung up, I knew I could not do that again. Strangely, it was too hard, and I cried when we logged off. I missed them more than I imagined.

After the Expert Grouch left for the day, I took a long walk down to the Sydney Opera House, stopping at a little placed called Hole in the Wall Espresso. The Korean ladies behind the counter continuously commented on my hair, and I tried to tell them over and over that it wasn't "real" red, and they wouldn't believe me. I am thinking, ladies, really. And they're saying, oh, to be born with hair that color. I say, no, no, I wasn't. And we just talk in circles for five minutes, getting no where. I leave there trying to figure out what in the world happened. Oh, and I ordered a "flat white", which is an Aussie version of a cappucino/latte something. I think. And I had best Ricotta and Sundried Tomato breakfast sandwich ever.

I walk around Circular Quay awhile, before taking the train back to Darling Harbour.
I lunch by myself at a seafood restaurant called Nick’s.
Hostess: “How many?”
Me: “One.”
Hostess: “All by yourself?”
Me: “Yup, just me.”
Hostess: “All alone?”
Me: “Yes. Alone. Me.”
Hostess: “Do you have a reservation?”

Ugh. I order wine and the waitress talks me into ordering this Local Snapper Pie. Blech. It comes, and that’s what it was. A pie chock full of fish. Blech. And here’s the super blech: it was $40. Nice.
Have I mentioned that everything is ridiculously expensive in Sydney??? Everything is twice the price, and equally as nice.

Drinks with the Expert and friends in the Hotel Executive Suite. This is fancy. But it is only faux fancy, because my husband’s business partner managed to swindle the hotel into a pass to the Suite. We in turn, swindle our way into the Suite with them.

Dinner at Bavarian Bier Café, where in the spirit of me, my beer arives with a hair in the foam. Yes!! The Hair Curse follows me all the way Down Under.

9/21/10, Tuesday
Today was the day I had been waiting for. I woke up bright and early. The Expert and I have breakfast in the Executive Suite again. Nice!

I hop a taxi to the area of Sydney known as the Rocks. I am stoked about the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. Awesome.

Tuesday night we were scheduled for a fancy dinner at Bird Cow Fish in Surrey Hills. The Expert and I were both too tired. Instead, we headed back towards the Rocks and found a pizzeria and had a perfectly fine dinner. We walked the streets for awhile and ended back in the hotel by 10. Thirty minutes later, we were asleep.

9/22/10, Wednesday
Last day in Sydney.

The Expert was heading back to the conference, and I was at a loss with what I was going to do for the day. I did know that I had one final mission in Sydney: 1) Find Koala Bear; and 2) Pet Koala Bear.

After breakfast, Operation Pet Koala (“OPK”) commenced. I was walking towards the train and saw a sign: KOALAS. Sweet. This was the Sydney Wildlife World at Darling Harbour. I had a coupon and it was close to the Convention Center. I hovering outside at 9:00 am sharp, waiting when the gates opened.

I am running through the exhibits in pursuit of OPK. I see a sign, “KOALAS THIS WAY.” I go. The exhibit is closed. Reportedly, the koalas were still sleeping. The lady at the exhibit says I should just wander around and see the other animals. Come back and thirty minutes. Bollocks. Okay. So I go.

I see the crocodile. I walk through the kangaroo pen. For the record, kangaroos are disgusting. They look like large rats, stink like giant poop-pens, and hump like rabbits. The area held about twelve kangaroos. I walked by the pen three times and each time, I saw at least one pair, all paired up and humping. Busy creatures.

9:45 am
Throughly over all the other exhibits, I scurry back to koalas. I see koalas! I have picture taken with koala! I pet koala! And…koala kisses me on the nose. OPK is a huge success. I am elated.

Chinatown and Market City. I buy a scarf in Market City and feel much more Australian. I have another lunch with the Expert before hopping the Manly Ferry from Circular Quay.

The Manly Ferry is apparently quite historic, and I understand why. The Ferry passes by the Opera House and provides spectacular views of the Harbour and the landscape. Highly recommend.

I had scheduled for us to see a play at Opera House, thinking that would be the perfect end to a perfect vacay. Well, that play is a blimy disaster. Asphalte is some sort of convoluted hip-hop dance deal, that sounded really awesome on paper. We left twenty minutes into the play - the Expert and I really could not contain ourselves, and we were getting the hairy eyeball from some of the patrons. The only way out was just to leave. Horrible. Shame on you Board of Directors for the Opera House. James and Stella could put on a better show than Asphalte. Because I picked the play, I am bracing myself for the ridicule that is going to ensue from the Expert. Here’s the thing. I thought it would be important to actually see a performance at the Opera House. Not so much. This play was tragic. Our friends went to the Marriage of Figaro, which I think could have gone either way in success for failure. At least we could escape the crappy play. I don't think one can just walk out of the main opera theater.

9/23/10, Thursday
Farewell, Sydney. It was a whirlwind tour, but I am so thankful I had the chance to go.

Arrive home the same day we left (again, freaking time zone travel), where Stella runs towards her daddy with a fervor I have never seen before. James runs to me. I am delighted to see the babies. I really missed the little boogers.

September 25, 2010

Super Down Under

The Expert and I are back in the States. And officially, we have been snapped, rubberband like, back to reality. I have lots of updates and stories about the trip, but right now, I have screaming monkeys wanting out of the cages, er... cribs. Hope to update ya'll soon!

September 16, 2010

Heading Out!

Tomorrow is my big trip to Down Under. The Expert is already down there, so I am heading out by myself. I am suddenly terrified and wondering why I did not find a doctor to prescribe me some sort of anti-freak out drug.

Interesting, the Expert told me that I should also enjoy the flight. He says, the flight will be the first time in three years that no one will be needing something from me. Even though it's an airplane ride, no one is going to be screaming "crackers" or pooping in their pants next to me (well, I hope not anyway). But knowing me, I will be sitting next to sixteen newborns. Ha. But in all reality. There are no emails, no text messages, no questions, no answers. Just up in the air.

So I'm looking at the anxiety through those goggles. And I feel better about the flight since my friend Diana (who is also in the category of scientist, a/k/a the Experts) posted this on Facebook: "When you are next in your car, put your hand out the window, horizontal to the ground. See how the air is pushing it up? That's "lift". Air is a medium just like water - think of the plane as swimming in the air." Nice. The airplane is a swimmer. Sweet!

Actually, the more I think about it - the issues are stemming not from the trip, and not really the flight, even though that is disconcerting. And it's not the packing (which truly gives me the most anxiety).

My biggest fear is leaving James and Stella. I know they are in good hands. But I just think I am going to miss them terribly. And it's only really for one week, and a work week too - they only see us about ten hours a week during a work week anyway. So I am trying to tell myself that they are only missing ten hours of us. But that's the thing also: both the Expert and I are gone. Usually, just the Expert is gone. Now, we are both 24 hours away from getting to our babies. That's crazy.

But I will miss their stinky feet and kissing their slobbery mouths. I may not miss the tantrums and throwing of food.... but man, I am going to miss those babies.

If I die from some strip search gone arwy in customs, please tell my children that I loved them and that they should stop stealing toys from each other. Because no one likes a thief!

Sigh. Love ya'll.

September 14, 2010

Good Quote

.....Just because. Sometimes we simply need a reminder.

"Motherhood is about accepting the limitations of time and energy, which stretch beyond you, even if sometimes it feels they could consume you.

Search for and hold on to your own true self. If you lose that, what kind of mother can you be?

Things are always changing, no matter how much we might want things to stay the same. You could take a picture of your kids every single day, and every single day, they'd just be getting older. That's a fact. A heartbreaking fact. But still a fact.

So seize your days and dwell in them fully. Look to your children because they know how to inhabit brief periods of time with extreme passion. And for nothing more, really, than the sake of those moments. They can help you remember that, if you only slow down and let them.

Feel fortunate because chances are good you actually might be."

-from the movie, Motherhood

September 12, 2010

Brit Boy

James is upstairs, just waking from his nap. The monitor is on. And I swear, I am hearing him sing a rendition of the ABC's... in a British accent.

The Art of Letting Go

I have two personalities. Lazy Bum and Control Freak. I function about 92% of the time in Control Freak ("CF") mode.

I think motherhood will either force a Control Freak to:
1) genuinely freak out, or
2) find art in the craziness.

I think I may have a combination of the two. Some days, I can take the greasy fingerprints on my clothes and laugh about it. Other days, I swear I am about to tear my clothes and stick my head in the oven.

I made eggs for breakfast. I plopped Stella down with her own eggs, a biscuit. I turn around for one split second, and Stella had her grubby mitts in the middle of mine.

After breakfast, James found a Christmas stocking. I have no idea where he found it. One by one, he tore the decorative jingle bells away from the stocking. I watched him do it, and I truly did not care. My control freak was still sleeping. I watched as James "jeengled" the bells in his greedy little fists. I watched as Stella crouched quietly in wait, until James let down his guard. She stole the bells, and ran away. James screamed and freaked out. I watched as they ran laps around the house, James screeching, "My bellllllls" and Stella looking over her shoulder, squealing in delight. After ten laps, I took the bells. They both freaked out, and the bells went in the trash when no one was looking.

Result: fifteen seconds of peace and quiet.

Thomas the Train popped up on the tube, so dancing and merriment commenced. I had visions of a future on Broadway. Minor jazz hands. Fabulous. But then Stella walked in front of James, and he just shoved her to the ground for no apparent reason. Hello, Mr. Spoon. More mayhem.

About eight seconds later, Stella and a bowl of goldfish crackers emerged (also, do not know where that come from) and ten additional seconds later, the goldfish were thrown on the floor.

And so it went.... all morning long. Monkey see, Monkey do. Don't do that. Sit down. Come here. Do not put your fingers down your diaper. Who pooped? You get back here.

My Control Freak could have really done some hardcore controlled freaking today. But instead of nutting up, I chose to embrace crazy, pull out the Nikon and make art out of the goldfish. I literally laughed out loud when I saw a rogue jingle bell in the midst of the mess.

The Art of Letting Go. I do not possess the talent very often, but when I do, it's a beautiful thing.

September 11, 2010


The monkeys are exceptional playmates. They are best at causing trouble and scheming a way to escape the house and terrorize me in general. But I think our little Irish twins are going to be good friends.

Today, James taught Stella how to roll one of those pull-back-and-go cars, saying, "Go get it, Sissy" and "Good Job, Stella Rae." Times like this I think I can handle being a mother of two. These times are in sharp contrast to the hair pulling and scrapping that sometimes ensues from a theft of toy.


Have you hugged your people today? I hugged both my babies and told them I loved them this return, I got a slobber kiss (Stella) and a painful "honk" on the nose (James).

Nine years ago today, I was having my wedding dress altered and watching our world change forever on the rusty television set that hung in the alteration store.

This day always makes me remember those who have been lost and to say I love you to the people I love... because one never knows when our time is over.

September 7, 2010

Only the Only

I was an only child. The weird quiet kid with no siblings. Okay, so I wasn't quiet. Still. Having sibilings is a complete enigma to me. Raising siblings, for me, is one flight into the cuckoo's nest.

These babies are the craziest, most pasionate two monkeys I've ever imagined. Monkey See, Monkey Do. They are practically Irish twins, and I think of the more as Irish Travelers, picking from your pockets and creating new schemes with every move.

Regardless of the pains and scares they cause, I am glad they have each other. I am thankful that they are able to be siblings, together and playmates. I missed out on that a little. And for all the crazy mothering I do (or don't do), I do know....I did something right by having two.

September 2, 2010

Welcome, Stella

Welcome to the Terrible Twos, Stella!
We are so glad you have arrived!
Meltdowns over the xylophone, books, crackers, and life in general. Screams that are twice as fierce as those of your brother. Random hitting of cabinets, of walls. We are so excited that you are here! James has been lonely, so this is super special! The whole thing is like Doublemint gum. Double the fun.