March 23, 2011

Aunt Mommy

I was a stay at home mom today.  Playing trophy wife isn't really fun when: I need to be at work, and I'm not a trophy.

Regardless, I had three hours to accomplish some work while the kids were at school.   As I drop the kids off, two of the teachers re-introduce themselves to me.  Again.  Even though I have met these people several times now.

I love being made to feel that I am oh-so-uninvolved.

I love it.  Love love love. Love it.

Drop Off #1:
Teacher:      Hi, uh, who are you?
Me:              Oh, um. I'm James' mom.
Teacher:      Oh, the Mother.  Nice to meet you.
Me:              Actually, we've met before.
Teacher:      (thinking) No.  I don't think so.
Me:              Well, we have.
Teacher:       Huh.
Me:               Alrighty.  Well, I'll be back to pick him up.  Me.  Mom.
Teacher:       Okaaaay!

Drop Off #2
Teacher:       Oh, welcome.  And you are...?
Me:               Stella's mom.
Teacher:       Wow!  Okay!  Nice to meet you.
Me:               Actually.... nevermind.
                      Nice to meet you, too.
Teacher:       We just never see you, that's all.
Me:               Yeah.  Just call me Aunt Mommy.

March 21, 2011

Don't Forget the Lyrics

My son is upstairs singing, "I like to move it, move it...I like to move it, move it."  Funny, but I'd like for him to sleep it, sleep it.

Oh, wait.

Now, I hear him singing the words to James Taylor's "Sweet Baby James."  A song that I have been singing to him since he was born.  I think it's brilliant that he, at three years old, knows the entire song.   Of course, really... he should.

But what is most brilliant is the look on Mia's (grandma's) face when he sings the lyrics.

My mom listened to James sing over the weekend.  He spouted out the lyrics, and she looks at me, horrifed and says, "Why are you teaching him to sing that song!?!"

He sang:
"As the moon rises
He sits by the fire
Thinking about women 
And glasses of beer."

I smile at her.

She says again, "What song is this???"

I grin.  "What, Momma? 'Sweet Baby James'?"

Even at thirty-one, I can't resist getting a rise out of my mom.   And I wonder why God gave me that crazy son of mine...

The Sweet Baby James lyrics episode was almost as good as when mom thought we were giving James a "Bud Lightyear" toy for his birthday.

Pants Off to You

James and Stella's refusal to wear pants is really causing concern.  Hopefully, I can remedy this before the teenage years.

Life Overwhelming

Sometimes I find myself overwhelmed to the point of tears.  Parenting, I know, is a large part of the overwhelming sensation. The frustration, the pain.  Parenting, I always blame.  But then I think back to five years ago... I was often overwhelmed to the point of tears back then.

And there were no children around.

And ten years ago. At age 21, I was overwhelmed.  No kids.  No mortgage.  No debt.  No lawyers (ah, the good ole days).  Still frustrated and overwhelmed.

And five years before that. And before that. Still overwhelmed. About something.  I was born with a sense of overwhelming, I am certain.

Hypothesis: I am the type of person who will often find herself overwhelmed, irrespective of the time, place and circumstances. This is because: (a) I have the bad habit of consistently taking on more than I can handle; or because (b) I am just a regular old Chicken Little who is easily overwhelmed.

(a) or (b)?  Who knows.  Probably depends on who you ask.  Most likely, I am a little bit of both.

I am not sure what triggered this post.  Maybe just a self-reminder to step back, be thankful and breathe a little.

Today feels good.

But I know that, in time, I will find another issue to overwhelm me.  So I tried to make a distinction today between life and circumstance. Life as a whole shouldn't overwhelm me. Sometimes I think "oh my life is impossible," when really it's just the present circumstances or period of stress that feels impossible.

My life is wonderful.  The day to day circumstances may smell a little, at times (mostly of poopy diapers). But life? Good.  As for the circumstances that overwhelm me, I want to roll with the punches a little more gracefully, and think about the big picture, the beautiful life, its tapestry as a whole...

I want to be like this, just a little more often.  To appreciate the small gifts, to open my ears and be still.

"If you were a house, this is where you would want to be built. On rock, facing the sea, listening."
        -from the movie, Life as a House 

Happy Monday, everyone.  I hope this week is beautiful.

March 17, 2011

My Favorite Child

Hubabaloo is spilling out in the mom blog world from this article: "Mom Confession: I Think I Love My Son a Little Bit More."  I see where the writer, Kate, attempts to go with the article, but she fails to make the confession in a way that makes people empathize with her.  Because some things, no one wants to read.   Here, she loves her son more than her daughter.  She loves the youngest, snuggly kid more.  She blames it on the lack of bonding with her oldest daughter at birth, the difficulties with her first born, la la la la.

Facts, which are all surprisingly similar to James and Stella (only my son is the oldest).  James is a fighter - has always been.  Stella is a lover - has always been.  James is by far the more difficult child.  Stella has been easy from day one.

The author, Kate, writes a follow-up article, wherein she defends herself as "I Am Not a Perfect Mother" and explains that the article was offensive to people because: "It probably struck a little too close to home for many of you…you’ve had those same thoughts about one or more children in your darkest, most private times…and found it obscene to see your own worst thoughts out in the light of day."

Whoa nelly.  Now, thems just fighting words.  I can just imagine the Perfect Mothers of the World uniting (oh, I'm not invited either, don't worry), lighting a candle, and praying for this woman. Now.  

I think Kate missed the boat from the get-go.  The name of the article should have been: "Motherhood Sucks So Bad Sometimes, that I Don't Like Either of My Kids."  

The misstep in Kate's article is the failure to distinguish between "love" and "like".

I have two children. My Favorite Child is whichever one of the two is being good and not giving me hell at that given moment.  I like James when he's hugging Stella, reading quietly, playing hard and being sweet.  I do not like him when he's being a total tool, pain in the ass, brat of a three-year old.  I like Stella when she's carrying around her baby doll, kissing her Daddy, and sucking her thumb.  I do not like the child when she's the postergirl for the Terrible Twos, biting the ever-loving crap out of her brother, and I'm stuck worrying that she's going to carry on that nonsense at preschool. 

Yes, I have two children.  Who I love exactly the same.   My like for them, however, is a giant, swinging pendulum which changes as quickly as Stella can strip off her diaper and run out the front door.  

But the love for my children is woven into the very fibers of my being, and that love is the same for both of them.  And yes, I think instinct is absolutely tied to love.

Think of it this way.  I am walking down the middle of the road with a child on each side of me.  Some danger comes across my path (truck, bus or alien landing).  I'm not going to protect one child over the other.  Rather, I am going to throw myself into the danger and push both of them out of the way.  

Oh, and there's always the organ donation test!  I have two kidneys and two kids.  Each needs a kidney that matches mine. Well, they both get one, and I'll figure out something else for myself.   

Love is a sacrifice.  Love is action.  Love is commitment.  Love is instinct.   And I have the exact same sacrifice, action and commitment to both of my kids.  Period.  I love them the same.

Kate seems to draw the line on love at annoyance and picking which kid is easy.  She says, "My son [the youngest] was the only person I have met under ideal circumstances in my entire life.  For us, bonding was instant and uncomplicated." There you have it.  Her son was easy, and the bond was uncomplicated. So at her worst (?), she's a lazy parent who is incapable of distinguishing between like and love, and thus, she fails to make the connection in her own brain that an uncomplicated life (of course) equals more warm fuzzy feelings.  But does more warm fuzzies equal more love?  I think we're still talking like here, people.

Again.  Love is a sacrifice.  Love is action.  Love is commitment.  Love is instinct. 

Being a parent is exceptionally gratifying and beautiful, often fun, and full of really awesome Norman Rockwell moments. Being a parent can also be one's worst nightmare, a swift kick to the face and a seemingly  complete loss of self.  But to pick out one child and make a statement like, "hey, that's the munchkin I love more" is just plain parenting stupidity.  

And it's a shame that Kate's blogging isn't lucrative enough to support the endless therapy she just created for her daughter.  All from the choice of word and failure to make a time/space distinction:  love versus like. 

Does this post even make sense? 

I know... people in glass houses.  Sure, my kids will probably need therapy from me cross-dressing them, or my random Mommy Dearest moments. Well, I'm hoping my blog will make enough money for their joint therapy fund.  Shut up.

Right now, I love and like both James and Stella equally.  Because it's 5:15am and they are beautiful sleeping angels.   Ask me again around the 5:15pm dinnertime witching hour....when the children morph into alien pods, and then quickly hatch into baby demons.  

Baby demons who I love completely equally, mind you....

March 14, 2011

The Child is For Sale

Me:        Sit down in your chair, James.

James:   You go away, Mommy.  You gotta be kidding me.

What ARE They Talking About? Part 2

James:        Stella, you go to time out!  
                    Now, okay?

Stella:          No.  I no time out.  Bubba time out!

James:        I tell you do something, Stella Rae, and you do it, okay? Now, time out, okay?

Stella:          No!!! Time out! You.

James:        Stella!!! I said do it.  You are in big trouble, sissy.  

Stella:          I not.  You time out!  Bubba.

James:        I am not in time out, Stella!

Stella:          Time out! Time out!  

James:        Sissy, you stop it! You don't know nothing. 

Stella:          No no no!

James:        Ahhhhhhhhhhh!  Stella is bugging me, Momma!!

March 12, 2011

Saturday Stickers

James is obsessed with stickers.  As for me, I love to pick stickers off the table. One by one... teeny piece by teeny piece.  I love it.  Just how I love to spend Saturday.

And yes, those are money stickers.  Gotta teach them to be good with money early on.

March 10, 2011

What ARE They Talking About?

James:        Stella, don't you say "no" to me.

Stella:          I nooooo!

James:        You stop it Stella Rae!

Stella:          I uh no you cookie!

James:        Don't say cookie, sissy! You can't say it.

Stella:         No!

James:        I said don't say "no" to me again anymore, Stella!

Stella:         No!

James:        Sissy, you stop it saying that right now.

Stella:         No no no!

James:        Momma! Stella say no to me!

March 7, 2011

This Month is Busted

I am officially declaring the craziest month (plus 6 days) ever... officially over.

Last night, I spent a few hours in the ER with James due to a hyperextended/dislocated elbow (a/k/a "nursemaid's elbow").  The doc popped the elbow back into place, and we were quickly back into business.  But still... I have decided that this insanity cannot continue.  This week is o-v-e-r.

Last week started off with James' barking cold and cough that carried on for three days.  Then hump day shone with the likes of Puke-a-Palooza, Part III. Professionally, I had two crazy days of Court. Then, last night was an episode of Busted Elbow, starring James and Gwinnett Medical Children's ER (which, by the way, was awesome... kudos). Prior to that, Stella was just in time for Happy Virus Day.  There was the flu outbreak with James.  And the Expert gone to Down Under. We won't even talk about the stupidity that was my favorite court case ever. This month-long craziness is over.

Two funny things about the trip to the ER.  This was the first trip to the ER with either of the kids.  That's some sort of miracle, I know.  But the best part:  I switched myself and the kids to a high-deductible health care plan - six days ago.  No help there. Oh, Alanis Morisette - sing it for me....

Month = over.  Thank you for playing.  On to shiny, happy butterflies and chocolate of some sort.  Ok? Ok. Deal.

Time to workout to save my sanity.  Happy Monday, everyone!

March 5, 2011

Is it Wrong...

....when I see the Facebook Page labeled "I LOVE BEING A MOM," I just can't bring myself to click "like"?

Is it because I know the "types" of mothers who click "like"?  I blame that.  Obviously, I am a mom. I love my kids. But the thought: I heart being a mom ...just isn't something I'm willing to "like."  

Being a mom is like saying: I like having wee people be the boss of me. I like never sleeping. I like being pooped upon.  It's counter-intuitive.

I would click "like" for:  I love my kids.  I think my kids are funny.  Kids are hilarious.  Kids are worth having. My kids are way better than your kids.

But to "like" the page "I love being a mom"... perhaps, a play on semantics, but... I ...just... can' ...."like."

March 4, 2011

Puke-a-Palooza III (God Save Us!)

On this episode of the House of the Sick and Afflicted....The terror of Puke-a-Palooza Part Uno and Dos were shamefully minute compared to the hell that was Wednesday evening's Puke-a-Palooza Part III (God Save Us)...which stretched into the wee hours of Thursday morning.

9:30pm, Wednesday night
The Expert is quiet.  Unusually quiet.  I ask him what's shaking.  He says he doesn't feel very well.  I run to the store for the Pepto-Immodium essentials, just in case.  While I am gone, he starts upchucking.

I blame him and his crazy cooking for poisoning himself.  This time it was the smoked pork ribs from Monday.  That damn meat, I say.

He agrees.

The Expert returns to the bathroom.  Cursed meat.

I am getting ready for bed, washing my face, and I hear familiar distance screams of horror.  From upstairs.  The boy child.  Oh no.  Seriously cursed meat.

James has painted the entire room.  It's bad.

We put James in the tub and clean up the mess.  The Expert is sitting on the floor near the tub also looking pale.

James throws up again.  In the tub.  He cries.   The Expert is a shade of green at seeing James.  I tell him to go downstairs.

12:00am, Thursday morning
I rock James, but he won't get back in his bed because he thinks the bed made him sick.

"I no like my bed!" he says.

James is in bed with us.  He throws up two more times.  It's pitiful.  The Expert is holding it together, despite the surrounding mayhem.

Then, James settles down to sleep in between us. Things get quiet.

Just as I doze off, I am bolted awake...sweating.  Dear God.

And I am the worse thrower-upper in the world.  First, because I rarely do it. And I avoid it all costs.
I tell the Expert to get me the trashcan. And then I start.

I lean over the bed and make an offering to the gods of sickness.  James is sleeping soundly beside me, and the Expert is huddled in the other bathroom.

James's turn again.

My turn next. This time, I am laying on the floor in the bathroom, with a pillow the Expert tossed at me, because if I move, I might die.

The Expert, bless his soul... I will stay married to him forever.  He cleaned out my trashcan.  Took it "out back" and hosed it out.  Even in his state.

At some point, all three of us are sleeping.  There has been no peep from Stella upstairs, thank God.  At some point, one of us went up and checked on her.  But I can't remember who. Maybe we sent James...

Up and at 'em.... Time to get ready for Court.  The room is spinning as I repeat to myself: I love the law, I love the law, I love the law.....

But in all seriousness, Puke-a-Palooza Part III was the most ridiculous scenario ever.  Our nanny and her daughter also participated in the fun from their house around the same time that night.

The only one who went unscathed was Stella girl.  Turns out, the Expert's cooking wasn't to blame.  Stella was probably the carrier.  Little stinker.

March 2, 2011

Product Review: Princess Leia?

Princess Leia TM Infant/ToddlerAs a part of a product review program at Costume Discounters, I was asked to pick a costume for one of the kids, try it out, and review it.   I was stoked.  I picked out the costume, requested that it be shipped to my work address, and I waited.

I received an email from one of my co-workers saying that my "Halloween Costumes for the kids had arrived" and wasn't I just a Sucker Mother for ordering so far in advance.

Au contraire!  I could never be so prepared!  Halloween is October, people.  But I'm sure the Sucker Moms are making treat bags as we speak....

So, I had browsed the costumes at Costume Discounters to pick out the one I wanted, and I saw this: Princess Leia for Stella girl.  Holy cow, it was awesome.  And hilarious. Two things I love.

And I have a co-worker who dressed up as Leia for Halloween, and I desperately wanted to present her with a photo of Stella as Leia... to do her legacy its proper honor.

I bring the costume home and unwrap it.   The kids are so excited.  Turns out, the size I ordered was massive. I ordered a Toddler 2-4, and Stella is a 2T.  It would have swallowed her.

So I held the costume up to the boy child and made an executive decision. Perfection. I mean, really... why have children at all if you can't dress them up?

The robe is a pretty great material for the price.  Felt-ish feeling polyester with velcro closures, and it's the perfect length for a three year old (the 2-4 size).  Actually, the Toddler 2-4 is perfect for a 3T kid.  Of course, it's "costumey" material, but quite nice.  

I am less than thrilled with the felt "buns" to wear on the head.  They kinda look like poo, but that's part of the appeal I think.  Or cinnamon buns... MMmmm... Poo buns.  So the poo buns were a little loose, but I think the costume overall just ran big, and therefore, the head piece also was large.  Nothing a little bobby pin action wouldn't fix. 

But the mission was accomplished:  the costume was awesome and hilarious. 

And James was a fan. James is rarely a fan of anything [right now, he's throwing his Thomas trains around the playroom, chanting: I no like these TRAAAAAINS!!!"]. So. Anyway, he liked Princess Leia.

And I like dressing my son up in ridiculous things because he tortures me on a daily basis. And this just feels so wrong, it's right.

I give the Princess Leia costume from Costume Discounters FOUR out of FIVE BlogVentures stars.  

If the headpiece had fit a little better, then it would have clenched the title. Love the robe.  I think it will make a nice transition from Leia to Christmas Angel costume too.

As for the Poo Buns... I think I could have fun leaving those lying around in random places around the office.

True Love

I was text chatting with my husband just a bit ago.  He's still at work, and I'm at my second job (a/k/a Zookeeper Extraordinaire).  It went something like this:

The Expert:    How are the kids?

Me:                 Kids?  Oh, I only see things climbing the walls.

The Expert:    Okay. I'm leaving here in 3 minutes.

Me:                 I'm warning you, the children may not be alive when you come home.

The Expert:    That's okay.  I understand. 
                        ....And I forgive you.

Ahhhhhh. Now that is true, true love.

I kid, I kid.

Oh, kids....