Monday, April 30, 2012

Pardon Me, But There's Vomit On Your Chanel

A few weeks ago I joined Twitter. I know. I know. But if I’m going to make the effort to get this blog off the ground, I need people to actually read it. Therefore, I’m like totally into social media (hair flip, valley girl accent). Anyway I have been seriously amused by the Twitter bios. If you’re not familiar, I’ll explain: you have 140 characters or some other nonsense to write a little bio, and it shows up next to your ‘avatar’ (profile picture), all of which is intended to catch people’s interest so they’ll ‘follow’ you. Whatever. I didn’t make it up.

So you scroll down the list of prospects and click on people who seem interesting or like-minded or whatever you’re into and it kills me the stuff people put up there. There are of course the born-agains, the sober people, the shock-factor people (“anarchist mother of two who yearns to piss you off and eat your young”), the granola moms with their silly acronyms ( SAHM, BF, CD-ing, AP, NoVax), and the ones who are ooooo sooooo baddddd (“I drink whiskey, have tattooed arms and drop the F-bomb a lot.’”). But lately my favorites are the fancy and [evidently] well-dressed women who write things like “fashion savvy mother of two” or “hip mama in stilettos” or “fashion-conscious San Diego mother of four. You’ll find me drinking cabernet in my Chanel.”

Now I have nothing against these women. I just can’t for the life of me understand how they do it. I mean, the sheer logistics of my life negate any possibility of my wearing $600 sweaters. Or stilettos.

First of all, my day almost always involves some sort of bodily related emission ranging from drool to poop-stains to things I’d rather not discuss. And I think I’d be really disturbed if indeed there was vomit on my Chanel. Or maybe part of wearing Chanel is the ability to afford Chanel, which brings me to another reason I wear Old Navy…finances. No need to expand that topic. Speaking of expanding, let’s be honest, I’m too "thick" for designer clothes. Yeah. Some of us missed the memo about exercising after childbirth. [I do, however, run frantically after two toddlers all day, which I hear burns tons of calories, so I should be covered.] But even if I had money and a life without random excretions and they made fat people Gucci, who the heck has time for that kind of effort?

Now don’t get me wrong. I have standards. I shower. I wear clean clothes. Mostly. And if I don’t have any, I very carefully sift through the hamper, thoughtfully contemplating my choices until I locate something without visible stains or an overtly unpleasant aroma. I mean, that can take a while. And I absolutely draw the line at wearing maternity clothing past 7 months post-partum (in public). I only wear flip-flops in light rainstorms and I’m perfectly willing to iron a piece of clothing for a special event. Like a wedding. Or a funeral. Of somebody I really care about.

Perhaps they are experiencing some other version of motherhood.

Or maybe they aren’t. In that case, I kind of admire them. Though I think it’s a little obnoxious to walk around flaunting one’s thinness and general health etc. by looking all hot with a 2-month old, I think it’s pretty cool when women take care of themselves for real after having a baby. Most of us generally feel like we’ve been hit by a Mack truck after giving birth and this feeling sort of continues for, oh, I don’t know, forever. And our appearances may reflect this feeling.

Plus, if you’re like me, you look back on your “pre-baby” days as your “hot days” – and, since that ship has sailed (far far FAR away, replaced by, well, not hotness), you figure you might as well stop trying. And since most of us don’t have a nanny, cook, housekeeper (or three), crazy-rich husband or even the inclination to drop thousands of dollars on fancy labeled clothing, the statement “Pardon me, but there’s vomit on your Chanel” probably won’t be sent our direction anytime soon. However, most of us are able to put a little thought and time into ourselves, in whatever way we like to put time and thought into ourselves, and I think there is real value in this, in taking care of oneself before being expected to take care of others.

Because if my well is dry, I’ll have nothing to give.  And if I have nothing to give, but am forced to give any way, things go poorly. Understatement.

So here’s to my version of Chanel and stilettos, and yours, whatever that looks like.

Because I’m good enough and smart enough and gosh darn it, people like me.

BuahHAHAHAHAHAHA! (sorry. the Stuart Smalley thing was funny.)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Little Sunshine in April

If you missed these fabulous people and their thoughts, well, you are in luck.
 I'm about to make your day.
Because I'm awesome like that. 
And I like all of you.  A whole lot.

Here is a list of blog posts that rocked my socks off this April.  Take a minute and check these gems out:

To Spice Up Your Life:
iMom 30 Day Marriage Challenge
Ordinary Courage The Worst Advice Ever
Positively Positive The Myth of Life Balance
Six Sisters' Stuff 50 Fun and Cheap Date Ideas

If You Need a Bit of Inspiration:
Just. Be. Enough. What Is Your Label?
Letting Go, Letting God Comparison Kills
The Marathon Mom It's A Season
This Radiant Life You Can Do Anything
Amazingly Awake Amaze Yourself and Let Go

The Woes Joys of Parenting:

To Craft Or Not To Craft:
Creativity My Passion Upcycle Veggie Containers
DK Designs Aloha Summer Door Wreath
Through the Eyes of the Mrs. Superhero Cape Tutorial
M K Arts T-Shirt Shag Rug
Steals and Deals for Kids Make Your Own Cute Coasters
One Good Thing DIY Bath Bombs and Lip Balm
Martha Stewart DIY Leather Cuff Bracelets

Friday, April 27, 2012

Things I Would Write On Bathroom Stalls

Gonna be honest, I enjoy reading the vandalism in bathroom stalls. I mean when else do you have that much entertainment while peeing?

Well, unless you consider watching a toddler remove the contents of a bathroom vanity entertaining. If that’s entertaining, I get entertained daily. But I find it more annoying than entertaining.

And there’s always a lovely variety of little bathroom memos, depending on where you are, of course. Dive bars and music halls always provide some super riveting stuff involving penises and who loves whom (I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself with the “whom” thing) and all that nasty dirty stuff. My favorites though are the I’m-hammered-and-weepy-because-I-just-found-my-boyfriend-kissing-some-slut-so-now-I’m-going-to-write-horrible-things-about-him vandalism. You know, like “Johnny Smitherman gets it on with farm animals.” And then his phone number.

At college, there’s more cultured vandalism. You know, English majors getting all deep and stuff, quoting Whitman and whatnot: “And your very flesh shall be a great poem.”

I’m sure old Walt is elated. “I sound my barbaric yawp over the pissers of the world.”

And the Jesus people. Not the "people-that-remind-me-of-ME Jesus people. The ones that think others will accept Him into their heart while doing number two one day at a rest area off Highway 9.  “Jesus loves you.” I always want to write back “Jesus wants you to stop defacing other people’s property you crazy loons.”

But I don’t.

Actually, there are all kinds of things I’d like to tell the general, young, female idiot population in bars and music halls [how do I know they’re idiots, you ask? Because they’re writing in bathroom stalls]. You know, I’d like to just write a few words of wisdom and little tidbits of awesome.

I wish I wouldn’t say things like “little tidbits of awesome.” I mean come on. Not only is it meaningless, but I sound like a geeky old person when saying it.

Oh well. The cool ship sailed a Long.Time.Ago, as I have demonstrated for you folks on more than one occasion.

Anyway, here are a few things I’d write on a bathroom stall, were I the type of person to write on bathroom stalls:

Ladies, someday you will stop being so competitive with each other, because you will realize other women are not the problem. MEN are usually the problem.

Oh come ON, admit it. You love it when Cyndi Lauper comes on the radio. You also love “Born in the U.S.A.” by Springsteen. So stop trying to be so cool.

Speaking of cool, that hipster guy you’re with? Yeah, he’s totally flirting with your best friend.

No, honey. No. He is never going to leave his wife for you.

You think you’re hiding it, but we all know how drunk you are. And we think you’re an idiot. And no, you can’t dance. You are not smooth. Not smooth at all. You do not have moves like Jagger.
Even when you’re doing that super-slinky I’m so hot don’t you wanna nail me dance? Yeah, it’s still bad and we still think you’re an idiot.

I realize you’re 21 years old and easily excited, but really sweetheart, there’s no need to squeal EVERY SINGLE TIME you see your friend across the room or OMG THAT ONE SONG comes on.

Less perfume. Less make-up. Less hair-flipping. Fewer fake tans. Fewer lower-back tattoos. Fewer walks of shame. Better world.

This will suck tomorrow.

Most importantly, if you flirt with my oddly attractive husband one more time because I’m older and less hot than you, my stretch marks and I will kick your teeth in. And then, I will write about it in the bathroom stall.

And with that, lil’ ladies at the bar, I bid you “goodnight!”

Haha. That was fun.  I should try this more passive-aggressive approach to blog posting more often. :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Motherhood Is Not For Quitters

I have had the extreme pleasure lately to post on one of my favorite parenting websites.  If you haven't taken a gander over at, you are totally missing out.  It has saved my sanity many times and gives daily advice on how to raise kids to be happy, healthy, and God-centered. A few weeks ago, this post I wrote was published there.  Here's a "take-two" in case you missed it:

I heard a brilliant lyric the other night that has stuck with me: In the end, at least they’ll say “she tried.”

That’s the thing with parenting a child like Mr. Grouchy Pants. So much of it is sheer sticktoitiveness.

Waking up, every day, and just TRYING. Not necessarily succeeding. Often times failing. But always, always trying.

Quitting is so easy these days. You don’t like something? Quit. Hate your job? Get a new one. Tired of your marriage? Get a divorce. Sick of your facebook friends? Hide them. But parenting is one of those things that you just can’t quit. No matter how hard it is, no matter how badly it hurts, no matter how much you think you stink at the task. No matter how loud he yells or how painful his words. A mother can’t be a quitter.

I’m not gonna lie. I’ve thought about it. Who hasn’t?? When Grouch is in a rage and our world is upside down, I can think of a million places I’d rather be. There are times when I even say those words: I quit. Yep. I’ve said it. And I’ve run out the door and down the street. I’ve jumped in my car and driven out of the driveway. Because sometimes you just need to know you CAN.

And I raise my fist to heaven and ask God WHY and I squeeze my eyes tight hoping I’ll face a new reality when I open them. I shriek from the depths of my gut, a horrible, wailing sound; the cry of a woman in pain, in mourning for all that my life is and all that it was supposed to be.

And then, eventually, I lift my head. I open my eyes. I inhale, and exhale, and inhale again. And that little voice in my head, the one that speaks wisdom, says you can do this. You HAVE to do this.  He is yours. You cannot quit him. . . . I never quit YOU.

It's in these moments of spiritual revelation that I bask in. Just inhale and exhale and smile, knowing God has heard me. And though most days I have NO IDEA what I'm doing as a mom, He is the perfect parent. He knows my little monsters better than I do, inside and out.  Knows their deepest desires and most precious needs.  And within all that they are and all that they need out of this life, God gave them ME. . .He chose ME to parent.  I will breathe, count to ten one last time, and trust that He knows what He's doing.

I thank God that He is not a God of "Try".  He is a God of "Success".

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dear God, Could You Give Me 5 Minutes. . .

Dear God,

I'm not asking for much here, just five kid-free minutes to myself.  I'm not asking for a good shower--the one where you shave your legs and pumice your heels and slather your limbs with sea-salt-lemon-mimosa foaming body scrub and exfoliate whatever bits need exfoliating.  Nothing like that.  Just five minutes under a stream of hot water so I can shampoo the ick out of my hair, slop on a litle conditioner, swipe my face with one of the baby's washcloths, and just be. Please let there be peace while this happens--please no sibling fights, no screams from down the hall, no toddlers taking a nosedive from the top of the bunkbed, no phone calls or doorbells.  I left everyone happy and safe, please could they just stay that way until I'm done?  Then, I promise, I will emerge like Lazarus from the tomb to be a patient and sweet-tempered mom ready to start her day--with shiny hair to boot.  Thank you in advance.


Monday, April 23, 2012

He's A Mean One These Days

We already know this, but let’s say it again just for funsies: toddlers are lunatics.

Beyond pooping on themselves and attempting to grab it, waking up ready to party at 5am no matter what time you put them down the night before, and seeking out their own physical demise on a pretty much hourly basis, they have some seriously warped social behaviors.

For example, the grabbing stage.  Also known as the biting stage, whacking stage, or pinching stage.

I have a grabber.

Oh yeah. That Mr. Stinky Pants. He’s a mean one these days.

A couple days ago we were at the mall playplace (I know, I must go there a lot), and there was this super sweet little girl around 13 months toddling around, kind of following Stinker, who was of course sprinting around the mat like a bat outta hell while yelling “apple” [which is odd, considering none of us had an apple].

So this little munchkin walks up to my 2-year-old (looking rather calm and innocuous I might add), Stinker's looking at her like he fears she might knife him, or steal his imaginary apple (oh I don’t know I’M GUESSING).

And just as this little girl gets close, Stink stares her down with the toddler death eyes and just gives it to her. BOOM! Grabs her little cheek like a little hellion.

My heart jumps. I immediately hold Mr. Stinky Pant’s arm down, telling him “no” and “gentle.” He’s looking at me like “Whatevs, mom. That kid was all up in my business.” I tentatively release his arm and BOOM! He does it again. I move him. I apologize profusely.

So yeah. I have the evil grabber kid.

Usually mothers are pretty understanding, well, if they have a kid who’s been through this stage. The fellow playplace mom was way cool – apparently her innocent-looking toddler assaulted some unsuspecting newborn at a recent playdate. Score. Real mothers. LOVE THEM.

But most of the first-time mothers whose kids haven’t reached this jewel of a phase look at me like I’m some sort of trash-dwelling creature with trash-dwelling creature offspring. I wonder if they think we all walk around the house grabbing each other’s faces when we’re mad.

You know, they’re still all smug and crud, basking in the infinite goodness and purity of their little bundle. Sure it’s never going to change.


Just wait, lady. Your little beam of sunshine will soon be gnawing the nose off her friend’s face.

And you’ll feel bad. Soooo bad. And you’ll get embarrassed. And you’ll look up quickly at the eyes of the mother, wondering what you’re gonna get: “Oh, no worries. My baby does that too!” — or that face. That furrowed brow and quick sweep picking up her baby and moving away – the face and body and gesture all saying “Come on, honey, let’s get away from this obviously deranged toddler and his obviously subpar mother.”

When those women, those “If you were a better parent your kids wouldn’t be such delinquents” women look at me with that face of disdain, I like to imagine the day when they get the call from the school informing them that their little Johnny bit Sally on her forehead during Circle Time.


Payback’s a "you-know-who".

But for now, I'll just go upon my business trying to keep my little grabber from ripping the cheeks off of innocent baby bystanders. Wish me luck!

Friday, April 20, 2012

That's What She Said

There are many phrases that instantaneously fly out of my mouth at this point in my life that I never ever thought I’d hear. And yeah, I blame it ALL on parenting. Cause kids? They just constantly do weird crap. Here are just a few of the ridiculous words that I’ve uttered over the past several years:

“Get that pea out of your nose!”
“Mommy’s boobs are not horns.”
“Don’t shoot your brother.”
“Please keep your hands out of your pants when you’re in public.”
“Don’t pick your nose.”
“You won’t have any friends if you eat your boogers.”
“Do not ride the dog.”
” Shoes go on your feet, not the kitchen table.”
“Go to sleep or you’ll be short forever.”
“Plastic bags don’t go on your head.”
“Please don’t put your socks in the flower pots.”
“We do not eat bananas when we’re taking a poo.”
“Do not wear Mommy’s bra on your head.”
“No, rocks do NOT belong in the bathtub.”
“It’s not polite to spit at the neighbors.”
“Yes, you have to wear pants to the birthday party.”
“Mommy will go to jail if you don’t go to school.”
“Do not eat your toothpaste.”
“M&M’s are not a breakfast food.”
“We color on the paper, not on the wall.”
“Dead dandilions do not go in Mommy’s purse.”
“Do not suck on nickels.”

Can anyone relate?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

When You Want To Give Up. . .Don't!

One of my best friends just gave birth to her very first baby--such a miracle. It seems like such a dream, such joy, such sunshine and rose petals right now. I pray her path through motherhood stays just as sweet as it is at this very moment. But for the times ahead, the times that are a bit more difficult, a bit more overwhelming, a bit more "overcast" than they are right now. . .Becky, love, this post is for you.

It also seems so many of us are going through the ringer lately. So many of my friends have been approaching those "throwing in the towel" moments of motherhood. This post is for all of them.

And it’s also for you.

This post is for those days when "get over yourself" is the last thing an exhausted, I-can’t-take-it-anymore, run-down mother needs to hear.

Can I just take your sweet face between my hands and look into your tired eyes and tell you what you’re doing is exceptional?

Tell you that motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Period. And I’ve worked for some very high maintenace individuals; property management, customer service, marketing and advertisement for over 300 clients, a nation-wide print publication company.

And I still maintain that having the 24/7 responsibility of a child is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. By far.

Being at some else’s literal beck and call will lay you low. It will rob you of a sense of self that can take time and tears to rediscover in this new identity of motherhood. Give yourself grace to realize that and to mourn the loss of who you were, before you begin to embrace the who you’re becoming.

I remember when I was just a two-month-old mother and the baby would cry, looking over at my mom, an aunt, anyone else in the room and wondering why on earth they didn’t pick him up?
I couldn’t accept the daunting reality that his crying would be my forever responsibility.

There will be days when you just want to be done. When you want a pass. When you want to go back to your books and late afternoon naps and movie nights on the spur of the moment.

This doesn’t make you a bad mom.

This makes you a human being going through some of the profoundest growing pains ever designed.

I have some small suggestions for those moments. And I’m going to open up comments today for the wise moms who’ve travelled this road of motherhood much longer to please share. To please encourage. To please offer their advice for how to navigate the desperately alone moments of motherhood.

For now, from the little experience that I have had, here is my advice to you:


1. Get more sleep STAT.

Each time I’ve had a baby, I’ve often found myself in irrational arguments with my husband during those first few months. And he knows enough now to call a time out and tell me to go and take a nap. This used to make me mad and I’d fight it all the way till I passed out in the bedroom. And emerge hours later filled with a renewed love for life and baby and husband.
You need a babysitter, mom, husband or friend who can gift you with time spent sleeping. Not cleaning, not watching TV, not grocery shopping. Just sleeping. It’s essential.


2. Take a time out.

It does not make you a bad mom if you need a break. It makes you a wise one who is taking care of herself so that she can keep taking care of her baby. Whether it’s a few hours at the mall, going to a movie or a weekend away. You will need this as much as you need sleep and oxygen if you are going to keep on keeping on. Make plans, friends, right now.


3. Call a girlfriend.

The daddy can’t be all things to you. He just can’t. Even if he wants to; even if he tries to. At some point you are going to need girlfriends who’ve been there, cried that and can offer a different kind of comfort. Surround yourself with them. Don’t let the baby cocoon leave you isolated.
Seek out your friends, your mom, the kind lady at church or the next-door-neighbor with twins. You need a woman to confide in. Regularly.


4. Eat what you love, not just what you’ve got time for.

Moms are notorious for eating leftovers or crackers or food that’s cold, or fast to fix or forgetting to eat at all. Work in meals that you love, that you get to eat while still hot, and while someone else is holding the baby.


5. Chocolate.

Enough said.


6. Get real with God.

He’s a parent. He knows what it feels like. He designed the system. Go ahead, tell Him how you really feel about it. Vent. This is the most honest kind of prayer. Give Him all your frustrations, your exhaustion, your desperation and hear how He listens to you.

Then know this – when you collapse at the end of a day; when the baby finally sleeps for a few snatched hours; when you close your eyes with no thought but the desperate need for sleep – He stays up, friends. He stays awake and sings over you. Sings! All through the night. Just for you.
God promises to love me all day,
sing songs all through the night!
~Psalm 42:5-7 (The Message)

7. Laugh & cry.

Because there is so much of the ridiculous, the hard and the wonderful wrapped up in motherhood. Go ahead – let some steam off. Sometimes that takes tears and sometimes, especially with girlfriends who’ve been there, laughter will heal you best.


8. Know when it’s time to ask for deeper help.

This list, it’s a beginning. But if it doesn’t help. If you don’t find your joy emerging from the fog. If you feel alone and isolated and desperate. Then you need to find a wise and professional counselor who can listen and give you the tools to help yourself.  This choice does not mean you are weak. It means you are strong.

I love all of you immensly and wish I lived close enough to come over with cookies or cake or celery if that’s your fancy. But know this, you are not alone. You walk a familiar road trodden by thousands of moms over the decades who have struggled to find the balance between the miracle of motherhood and the quiet desperation that sometimes arrives in it’s wake.

Just admitting that out loud – that may be the first step to starting to feel normal again.

So please pipe up in the comments – share your encouragement for moms who have a desperation simmering just below the surface of fine.  Or voice your own desperation for us all to relate to. We are encouraged sometimes in just the knowing that we are not alone.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dear God, About This "Time-Out" Thing. . .

Dear God,

HELP. We have three minutes left on this five-minute time-out, and every second is slashing at my soul.  I swear, I'm not going to make it without your help, Lord.  My son is sitting on the hardwood floor in the hallway, banging his head in rage against the wall and howling in pure fury.  Why do those stupid discipline books make it sound so easy?  Your child breaks a rule, you discipline him coolly and effectively, and POOF--He grows up to be a collected, self-composed adult.  Here in the real world, nothing is clear-cut.  Yes, my three-year-old bit his brother in rage, hard and on purpose.  (I have to say, that if "said brother" had taken my lollipop from my own bare hands and threw it in the dirt, I might have thought about biting him as well. . .but that's beside the point.)  Time-out, no question.  But in his eyes, he was justified. God, please remind me that it's not always like this.  We have days of such joy, days of such sunny sillines, days of peace and play.  Today was not one of those days. Today was filled with whining, crying, tattling, eye-poking, hair-grabbing, and a few plastic bats to the head.  Oh, and the biting. Lord, the biting. My son is still weeping in the hallway as if his little heart will break, and that's enough for me, God.  Forgive me, but I can't take it for the full five minutes, and neither can my poor, exhausted son. I hope you won't mind if we take a time-out from time-outs.  Let this moment not stunt my progress in the discipline department. Please and thank you for understanding, Lord.  I knew you would.


Monday, April 16, 2012


There are a lot of things that we as parents can teach our kids; like how to count, the alphabet, how to wipe their own butts, etc. But I’m finding that there are some things that are just un-teachable. They either have it or they don’t; like comic timing, the ability to do math in their heads, and  heart. (As in, “He’s a good player, but he doesn’t have heart. You know, you can’t teach heart.”) Also falling into this category is sarcasm. Or, as my son calls it, "sarcrastic." (As an aside, just because it’s funny and also because I don’t feel like writing this down somewhere else and someday I’ll re-read this and be glad that I wrote it down here, my son is in that five-year-old stage where he’s trying to use big words a lot but he can’t really say them or, in the alternative, can’t remember them exactly. For example, they’re learning about the ocean at school, so he brings up suction cups a lot, like on octopi and starfish. Except for some reason he calls suction cups ‘infections.’ I never correct him because I don’t want him to stop doing it, which some people may think is bad parenting but I don’t really care because it’s super funny. He’s also been using ‘literally’ a lot lately, which he pronounces, ‘lirally.’ As in, ‘mom, it lirally smelled like a fart.’ (He’s also been talking about farts a lot, but that word he pronounces just fine)).

Anyway, sarcrastic is a concept that my son is having a hard time understanding, and no matter how hard I try to explain it to him, he just doesn’t get it. A recent conversation went something like this:

My son: Mommy, you have an ugly pimple on your chin.

Me: Wow. Thanks, buddy.

My son (cocking his head to one side, like a confused dog): Why ‘thanks?’

Me: Dude, I’m just being sarcastic.

My son (sighing with annoyance): Mommy, I keep telling you, I don’t know what
that means.

Me: And I keep telling you, it means that someone says the opposite of what they really mean. So when you tell me I have an ugly pimple on my chin and I say ‘thanks,’ what I really mean is…well, [struggling to think of a word that means the opposite of ‘thanks’], I guess what I mean is, that wasn’t such a nice thing so say, and it sort of hurt my feelings.

My son (head now almost parallel to the floor): I still don’t understand.

So then I try to explain it again, but this time I attempt to speak his language. "Okay," I say. "Let’s say you farted and it was really, really stinky, and I said, wow, that smells so good. That would be sarcastic. Get it?" He cracks up, and I can tell he’s thinking, heh-heh, she said fart. "Okay, okay," he says, excitedly. "What about this: "Why did you just throw that ball?"

Huh? This time I do the head tilt.

"Mommy, I’m being sarcrastic. Because you didn’t really throw a ball. Get it?" I tell him that’s not sarcasm, that’s just making stuff up. So I give him another example. "Let’s say it’s bedtime and I give you a kiss and tell you I hate you so much. That’s sarcasm, because I don’t hate you, I love you."

He laughs. "Okay, okay," he says. "How about this: you are a poophead." I sigh. I can see that this is going about as well as when I tried to teach him how to tell knock-knock jokes when she was four, and he came up with: Knock-knock. Who’s there? Shampoo. Shampoo who? Shampoo conditioner! And then cackled for like, three hours because he thought he was so friggin’ hilarious.

I tell him no, that’s just calling me names. Literally.

We go back and forth like this for a while, and finally I tell him that maybe it’s better if we hold off on the sarcrastic until he’s a little bit older. Because I know he’ll get it eventually. He can’t be my child and not be able to be sarcastic. It’s just not genetically possible. So I’ll stop trying to teach him. I’ll be patient. And in the meantime, my son and I can just go to the beach or something, and check out the infections on the starfish.

Friday, April 13, 2012

No Further Questions

I think I’ve developed an allergic reaction to question marks, thanks to my unbelievably inquisitive children. They have completely beaten me down with all their constant questioning about every freaking little thing under, over and beyond the moon. I’m quite certain that I would completely crumble if ever called to the witness stand in court because my brain comes freakily close to blowing into tiny bits after one too many queries. Here are just a few of the mind bombs my little nuggets have dropped on me lately:

** Mama, would it hurt if you almost shot your toe off?
** Mama, can you grow a penis?
** Mama, why do boogers taste so salty?
** Mama, how far can you jump?
** Mama, what was the very first pet?
** Mama, how fast can you drive?
** Mama, how old is God?
** Mama, what’s the latest you’ve ever slept?
** Mama, how many people have Wi-Fi?
** Mama, how big can you smile?
** Mama, who invented lockers?
** Mama, what’s the biggest poop you’ve ever pooped?
** Mama, what’s farther, Heaven or outer space?
** Mama, how do the chickens get into the eggs?
** Mama, why does the dog eat his barf?

Please leave your answers to any and all of these questions in the "comment section" and I will pass them on to my toddler.  I'm much too tired to dream up some creative responses.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Killer Comebacks

I am sooooo sick of all the parenting buttinskis out there who think they can go ahead and stick their nose into everyone else’s motherly/fatherly business. It absolutely amazes me how easily these people just spew their opinions like they’re friggin’ Dr. Spock himself. If I wanted to know what you thought about the job I’m doing, chances are, I’d ask you. However, I don’t give a rat’s rear entrance what you think, so keep your unsolicited advice and/or comments to your own nosy self. The problem is that I’m always great at coming up with a killer response AFTER the fact, but I wish to everything I could come up with a clever “mind your own business” comeback right there on the spot.

The worst is when your kid is throwing a fit the size of Texas somewhere out in public, and you get that shake of the head from a nearby gawker. On the inside, you’re screaming, “Move along people — there’s nothin’ to see here“, but on the outside, you put your best poker face forward and act like you’ve got it all under control. But then the lolly gagger drops the old, “Are you gonna just let him cry like that?” on you, and you just stand there in shock, thinking, “Did this hag REALLY just say that?!“ And instead of punching her in the face as you explain that your child is being a brat today, you freeze in your tracks without even the slightest rebound coming to mind. It’s only afterwards that you think of twenty clever things you SHOULD have said to her.

It also sucks when someone of “authority” such as a doctor looks down his nose at you as if you should be hauled off for child endangerment right then and there. I just recently experienced this with the old geezer at our pediatrician’s office who is WAY overdue to retire. Dr. Scrooge had apparently seen that my son was playing his Ipod while waiting for him to wobble his very ancient booty into the exam room and felt it his duty to read me the riot act about the horrors of video games and the damage they inflict on the developing brain. This grumpy old fossil all but demanded that I limit my son’s playing time to no more than thirty minutes per week. Ha! As if! Once again, I sat there dumbfounded at the audacity of this man who clearly hadn’t hung out with a five-year-old for more than ten minutes at a stretch, yet I still found myself unable to shoot back at him with something witty until, of course, I was pulling out of the parking lot later and came up with a whole flippin’ list.

I wish it could all go down like the scene I experienced at the mall this morning, where one of the nearby moms just ripped right into a Nancy Know-It-All. This mom’s five-year-old son had tagged along to window shop and had stopped by the playplace for some rest.  He proceeded to do flips on the mat to entertain himself. And let me just tell you that this boy has got some mad gymnastics skills! He’s just incredible to watch. However, Nancy Know-It-All on the bench next to me felt obligated to question the safety of what the kid was doing, as if his mom (who, by the way, was standing RIGHT THERE) was completely clueless. It was AWESOME then to watch this mom whip right back at her by telling her, “it’s not at all unsafe IF you know what you’re doing” and that perhaps “SHE shouldn’t’ try it.“ I’ve never so badly wanted to bust out into a fist pump as I did at that particular moment.

Maybe I should just start a standard list of comebacks so that I’m fully prepared for any one of these confrontations in the future. I could keep it in my wallet and refer to it if and when necessary. I mean, it wouldn’t be weird if I told some busy body who’s all up in my business to hang on for a minute while I fish out a response from the bottom of my purse, would it?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dear God, A Prayer About My Kids Diet. . .

Dear God,

Would you care for a rice cake topped with peanut butter, grated carrots, and honey? No?  How about a cottage-chees sundae?  Perhaps silken tofu with avacado and pear?  None for you, thanks?  Well, guess what, my toddler feels the same way.  He would like to eat Goldfish, graham crackers, cheezits, bananas, Goldfish, fruit snacks, Goldfish, Cheerios, poptarts, Goldfish, mac-and-cheese, hot dogs (the bad kind with nitrates), and Goldfish.  Notice the lack of pureed parsnip, broccoli dippers, or whole-wheat anything.  As my own mother keeps saying, "Those green beans would go down better with a little butter and salt."  I tell her the rules have changed, but in my heart, I think she's right--is a tiny dab of butter and a few grains of salt really going to set my little one on the path to morbid obesity?  Those "best" toddler diets are like world peace.  God, a nice idea but not attainable in our lifetime.  Please help my little mosnsters to grow up healthy, as active and muscley and athletic as they come.  And in the meantime, please don't punish us if we relax a little about what he eats and doesn't eat--including that modern-day manna from heaven, Goldfish. Thank you.

Miss Banana Pants

Monday, April 9, 2012

Are You Ready For Parenthood?

So occasionally I come across some little quiz or whatever “helping” people determine if they’re ready to become a parent. This is, of course, totally ridiculous, because there is no possible way anybody could ever be “ready” for the train wreck that is New Parenthood.

You can’t prepare for that. (Neither the joys nor the horrors.)

Go ahead, read BabyCenter and Parenting Magazine, buy all the books, let them lull you into a space of confidence and security…but get ready to fall EVEN HARDER once that kid comes and you realize they sold you LIES.

I repeat: there is no preparing for this.

There are, of course, our super over-achieving types who make spreadsheets to record poops and pees and have money coming out their ears and therefore buy all the gear and DO EVERYTHING PERFECTLY – but, in my experience, those are usually the people who suffer the most, especially when their kid turns out to be the most non-spreadsheet-adaptable human on the planet. Invariably, they end up with the kid that defies all logic, routine or reason.  They have the freaking nutjob baby who sleeps one hour a week and wails the rest of the time. (While watching Baby Einstein and doing flashcards, of course.) By the way, Baby Einstein is the only thing my baby would watch for more than 12 seconds…SCORE!

But if a checklist actually existed that may actually help people determine whether they are ready for day-to-day, on-the-ground parenthood, it would (in my [dark, twisted] opinion) look something like this:

Are you ready to be a parent? Let’s find out! Mark all the items on the below list that are true for you. If you choose 20 or more, you’re ready for parenthood!

I only like to sleep when other people tell me I can sleep.
I enjoy using the restroom in the company of others.
I like poop.
I like poop on my hands.
If I were to, say, find silly putty stuck between my bed sheets, I’d think it was cute.
My greatest pleasure in life is driving humans around in a hurry.
I believe money should be spent on character-building activities of questionable value and Starbucks.
Quarterly sex will suffice.
I enjoy receiving unsolicited advice from toothless women who smell like gin.
I also like it when they touch my belly.
I seek opportunities to engage in outrageously high-stakes activities for which I am totally underprepared.
If I could, I would wash approximately 12,000 garments a day.
I like guilt.
I like constant talking and a low hum of irritating, indecipherable noise.
I prefer my boobs closer to my knees.
When walking around my house barefoot, I throw food and small toys on the ground because I like the feel of them between my toes.
I prefer to work during vacations.
In restaurants, I like to walk around every four minutes and eat my food standing up while chasing a squirrel on crack.
My goal in life is to act every day exactly like my mother even though I think I’m not.
I’m okay with never seeing the floor of my car again.
I’m ready to want to stab myself in the eye with a toothpick on a sometimes hourly basis then somehow, at the end of the day, cry because I realize my life won’t always be like this.

Now why don’t they write THAT on BabyCenter?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Someone Is Missing

Have you ever had a feeling that something is missing, but you can't quite put your finger what it is? I've had that a lot lately.  But it's more of a who than a what.  I'm not even entirely sure how to put it into words, but someone is missing from my little family.  And I'm not quite sure who that someone is. It's an unsettling feeling because it's seemed for a while now that our family dynamic is perfect. What more could we need or want?

BC and I have been done with having kids since, well. . .Stinker came along.  He was quite the surprise, actually, as we were doing all we could to "prevent" said surprise from happening. God sure has a sense of humor.  And boy, is he creative! I'm even more convinced than ever that if God has a plan and a purpose for someone, he will do whatever it takes to bring that little person into being. Even against our better judgement.  And how His judgement is SO much better than ours!  So almost three years ago, on Father's Day no less, we welcomed our littlest bundle of crazy into the world.  He has been my walking, breathing, living JOY. Looking back, there is no way that I would have wanted to "prevent" him from happenning. Though we weren't sure that we wanted more than one child, I can't imagine my life without my little Stinky Pants.  There would be a huge void.  A hole.  A missing piece.

Which brings me back to my point. I had a dream a few days ago that there was another little human in my house. I say that loosely, because I couldn't tell you for a fact that this little person was a little "he" or a little "she". Just that they were here and it felt right.  Now I've been known to have some pretty far-out dreams. Just this week, I've been a music producer, a spy, at the hospital for the birth of my new niece/nephew who came out a monkey, and also started an orphanage for cats.  Anyone who's heard me talk about them knows that I have the most crazy, graphic, absurd, extraordinary dreams.  My creative mind just goes into overdrive at night!  But this dream was a tad different. We were just going about our normal life with THREE little people in our home instead of two. I woke up and thought nothing of it the rest of the day. But ever since, everytime we are playing at the park, sitting down to dinner, or I'm watching the boys and BC wrestle on the living room floor, I have this resounding thought in the back of my mind. Someone is missing.

I know plenty of my friends would tell me that this all means that we are supposed to have another baby. Fat chance, my husband would say! It's a little bit more complicated than that to me. Who knows if we are to increase our family the old-fashioned way intentionally, or if we are to just wait and pray and ask God who is missing.  We've talked about adoption, fostering, etc. before. . .could that be what this is about?  Who knows. But there is a void, and I know that where God places a void, He will also send someone to fill it.

I mainly share these thoughts with you all because I'm practicing this new thing called transparency. And maybe, just maybe some of you have had some of the same feelings. If you have, I would LOVE to hear about it!  I will continue to wait expectantly for God to reveal His plan.  I feel like He's always up to something lately!  It's exciting.  But this feeling that I have that we are missing someone in this family is something that I've not experienced before.  It's an eerie feeling. In my own selfishness, I'd love to pray that this missing person is of the female persuasion, as there is quite enough testosterone to go around the Clark household!  I just know that whomever it is, will make there way eventually.  And knowing God, it will be in the most unconventional, surprisingly perfect way.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Clark Constitution: Amended

Every household has its own set of rules which its members are expected to follow. Most of them are pretty reasonable expectations that allow the inhabitants to peacefully co-exist with one another. Lately, however, I’ve been feeling like our little Constitution needs some serious amending. Here are just a few of the additions that I think need to be attached to our domestic guidelines:

1. Do not not ride mommy like a horse when she bends over to do laundry.
2. Do not lick people, especially strangers.
3. Do not eat your boogers.
4. Do not pee in the front yard.
5. Do not put your Legos in the oven.
6. Do not shoot your brother .
7. Do not spit on the window.
8. Do not shove Goldfish up your nose.
9. Do not drink your bath water.
10.  Do not wear Mommy's bra on your head.
11. Do not eat M&M’s while taking a dump.
12. Do not stick your head in the trash can.
13. Do not throw balls at the windows.
14. Do not kick your Daddy in the balls.
15. Do not answer the door in your birthday suit.
16. Do not put the milk in the kitchen cabinet.
17. Do not put dead bugs in Mommy’s purse.
18. Do not eat toothpaste.
19. Do not put your underwear on the kitchen table
20. Do not put popcorn in the toilet.
21. Do not pull your "pee pee" out in public.
22. Do not eat dog food.
23. Do not collect rocks in the bathtub.
24. Do not call random strangers "dude" when you meet them.
25. Do not honk Mommy's boobs.

There are so many other things that I would like to add, but because I am outnumbered by the male persuasion in this house, I know that they would be veto'd. I will stick with these and hope for the best.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Once Upon A Tantrum

Both of my boys have always been ecstatic about bathtime. Until they turned two. Whoever named the "terrible twos" obviously had children like mine.  I'm not entirely sure what happened. One day they are splashing around, squirting little boats, and getting their superheroes lost in bubbles, the next day TERROR. One day, right around age two, Stinker simply refused to get in the bathtub. So I didn't force it.  I let him crawl into bed with a days worth of sweat and "boy-ness" and fall fast asleep. Day two rolls around and I run the bathwater. TERROR sets in immediately. First the refusal.  Then the shreiks and tears and wiggling to escape the bathrom entirely. I relented again and just washed the oldest monster, scrubbing the dirt away for the both of them. What's one more day? Maybe tomorrow will be better. . .  On Day three, we began the process again.  Night after night for at least a month we would go through the same motions.  Let me set the stage:  I ask Stinker to get in the bathtub, to which he politely replies, "I no want a bath." In my sweetest Mommy voice I explain that he is two years old and that he doesn't always get what he wants.  I tell him that baths are good for him and everyone has to take a bath.  He simply looks at me, totally taking it all in.

Not to be deterred, I try a new approach, excitedly exclaiming, "Come on honey!  Look at all the bubbles!  Let's play in the bubblebath!"  At this point, big crocodile tears start streaming down his face and the shreiking commences, "No bath, no bath, no bath!!!"

I ignore the tantrum, lift him to his feet and practically drag him down the hallway to the bathtub.  Fright turns to anger and then to infuriation. He makes his best "I hate you, Mom" face, turning beet red as I pick him up, kicking and screaming and eventually get him into the tub.  And then, a funny thing happens.  As he splashes water on himself, he remembers: Hey, I like the bath!  The bath is fun after all!

By the end of the whole process, Stinker likes the bath so much that he doesn't want to get out. After all, the bathtime struggle isn't really about the bath at all. It about obedience. Stinker is two years old and just simply doesn't want to obey. He thinks that he should be the one to decide whether he gets in the tub or not.  He is young and testing the boundaries. He's trying to figure out just how much control he has in his little life.  At this point, that's not much.

It's so hard to discipline him for his disobedience, though I know I'm doing the right thing by forcing him to obey.  It would be so much easier if he would just obey on his own. As I'm reminded nightly of his disobedience, I realize just how much little Stinker reminds me so much of myself.

I hate to think about how much I've dirtied my life up daily because of my disobedience.  I am so thankful that God, in His grace does not always allow me to win.  Because usually the fight is not really about what He is asking me to do.  It is not about the bathtub.  It is about me, trying to figure out just how much control I have over my little life.  At this point, not much.

I would love to say that I am an obedient child of God, but I would be lying to you. I don't always do what He asks of me. Though I am getting better day by day, there are moments that I shreik in TERROR at the unknown of life.  I kick and scream and try to wiggle free and escape his will just like a disobedient two-year-old, because at times, it seems just too much.

So God picks me up, exhausted from struggling and plops me in the center of His will for my life.  And then a funny thing happens. As I kick and scream and wail, I remember:  I like being in the center of God's will for my life. God's plan is usually pretty amazing, and usually a whole lot better than the one that I had planned.  I am so glad that He does not allow me to win. 

And so I will continue to win the nightly bath time struggle. And continue to remember to parent the way God is parenting me. With patience and gentleness and grace. Long live the "terrible twos".