Friday, September 27, 2013

Listening to the Littlest

When Colin and Tyler were younger, they both went through a phase where they often refused to leave the house without an eyeliner mustache.  I honestly can't remember what started the trend; I just remember sitting them on my bathroom counter and watching their eyes light up when they saw their mustaches in the mirror.

There never seemed to be any rhyme or reason behind their desire to have a mustache one day and go without one the next.  When they wanted one, they would simply appear when I was putting on my make up, and I would draw one on.

It was during their mustache phases that I came to an important conclusion about one of the greatest miracles of childhood.  Small children are blessed with a gift that we are all born with but after a time lose.  They are able to hear God's voice and follow his guidance without question.  In a crowded room, they can still pick out the unique cadence of his voice and with unwavering trust do as he asks because it wasn't so long ago, that all they knew was the kindness of his arms and the warmth of his love in heaven.  

I came to this realization one day when I was in Wal-Mart with my mustached men.  That day, I took a moment to actually observe the reactions the mustaches provoked in other people.  It was amazing.  I watched the light return to an old man's eyes when he saw them.  I stopped to chat with him awhile, and he confessed that he'd recently lost his wife.   Sometimes he came to Wal-Mart when the loneliness was to much.  That day my mustached men filled his heart with joy, an emotion he hadn't felt in quite a while. 

I observed a middle age woman's footsteps become a little lighter after she stopped to smile and chuckle at the boys.  Apparently her sons were off at college, and she enjoyed taking a moment to remember. 

Then there was the pregnant woman who delighted in daydreaming about what motherhood had in store for her, and the single woman who smiled because she was no doubt dreaming of what might be.

My mustached men served a greater purpose that day.  They were a reminder of all the good that this world has to offer.  They brought joy and hope to everyone they met because that morning they listened when God whispered in their little ears, "Today I need you to remind people that in a world filled with sadness there is always joy, there is always hope, and there is always happiness."  

Keep this in mind when your little one insists on leaving the house dressed as a Power Ranger, a Ninja Turtle, or a Disney Princess.  Just smile, tell them you think they look amazing, and be thankful that you get to be a small part of the amazing gift of joy they are planning on delivering that day.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Pearly Gates of Grandmother Hell

When my oldest son, Colin, was 2, he used to spend one day a week with my mom.  They used to go on grand adventures together while I stayed at home and tried to maintain my sanity.  

One day after visiting a local petting zoo, Colin convinced his Nina to take him to Burger King for lunch.  The sun was shining and this particular Burger King had an outside play place with huge tunnels.  

After they ate their gourmet lunch, Colin decided it was time to go play, which led to a little bit of a problem.  Colin wanted to play in the tunnels, but he was to scared to play in them by himself.  My mother was an amazing woman who was always up for an adventure, but even she had her limits.  She had absolutely no desire to spend anytime crawling around in Burger King's nasty play place tunnels in the 100 degree summer heat.  She also didn't want to hurt Colin's feelings, so she started desperately trying to come up with a plausible excuse that would get her out of Grandmother hell.  

While she was trying to formulate her excuse, a group of what she described as "scary looking thugs," came outside to eat their lunch by the play place.  Mom breathed a sigh of relief because God had just given her a solution to her predicament.  She leaned over and discreetly whispered in Colin's ear, "Honey, I can't play in the tunnels with you right now because someone might steal my purse."  She patted herself on the back because Colin just smiled and said, "Okay Nina."  He got up, and she thought he was going to go play in the tunnels by himself.  Nope.  He had a plan too.  It's important to point out that at two Colin spoke in perfect English.  There was never any doubt about what he was saying, so Mom had no doubt the thugs understood his every word when he walked over to their table, yelled to get their attention, and said, "My Nina really wants to play in the play place with me, but she can't because she's afraid you guys are going to steal her purse.  So don't steal her purse, so she can come play with me."  Then he walked back over to her, held out his little hand, and she had no choice but to follow him into the pearly gates of Grandmother hell.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Two Good Moms Take Two To Short Children to the Fair

My friend Jennifer and I like to go on grand adventures with our children.  We never initially set out to go on a grand adventure fate just always intervenes.  Last night we made our annual pilgrimage to the county fair.  I left my 2 year old at home with her PawPaw because she'd spent the night before projectile vomiting.  While projectile vomiting isn't totally unacceptable at the fair, I figured we'd have more fun without a sick baby.

When we arrived, we bought our four kids unlimited ride wristbands, and then we each bought ten ride tickets for ourselves.  The last time I visited the fair and purchased an unlimited ride wristband for myself, I was 17 years old.  I ended up spending most of the night puking in a trash can surrounded by EMTs.  I knew if my 17 year old self couldn't handle the Gravitron, that my 30 something self didn't stand a chance.

Once we'd spend approximately $9 million dollars to enter the fair, Jennifer and I were determined not to leave until we'd gotten our money's worth.  We headed to kiddieland to begin our amazing night of fun, only to discover we had a big problem.  Our older kids were an inch to tall to ride the kiddie rides and our younger kids were an inch to short to ride the bigger rides without a parent.  This was a huge problem because Jennifer is also a fair puker.  Neither one of us could watch the spinning rides without getting queasy.  There was no way either of us was going to make it through the night if we actually had to ride them!  Conventional wisdom would suggest that the easiest solution to this problem would have been for one of us to stay with the little kids in kiddieland and for one of us to take the big kids to ride the bigger rides.  Unfortunately, that wasn't an option because the only reason Jennifer and I agree to take the children to the fair each year is so that we can spend the night hanging out and chatting.  Splitting up was not an option.  We needed a plan B.

Our first thought was to try to sneak the big kids on the little kid rides.  The people who run the fair never appear to really enjoy their job, so we were hoping they wouldn't really care if Colin and Abbey were to big to ride.  Turns out they did.  After Colin and Abbey got thrown off of a few rides, we immediately began formulating plan C.  We went to the part of the fair with the bigger rides, and tried to sneak the little kids on.  Our first thought was to just let them walk on with their older siblings, and try to convince the ride operator to let their 8 year old brother/sister serve as their parent/guardian.  This worked once.  The second time we tried it, the ride operator rolled his eyes and looked at us like we were stupid.  Trust me when I say nothing boosts your self esteem quite like being looked down on by someone who operates a Tilt-O-Whirl for a living!

While we were trying to come up with a new plan, we found the maze section of the fair, and we were absolutely delighted when we discovered that all four of the kids could do it together.  Our bliss lasted for all of 5 minutes, when they had a shift change.  The new ride operator immediately flagged our children as unable to participate because they were all wearing flip flops.  Because Jennifer and I are awesome parents, we spent 10 minutes arguing with the ride operator.  We didn't see why he was going to pull them out of the maze now when they'd already run though it 7 times without an incident.  That's 10 minutes of our lifes we'll never get back. Our kids were still banned from the ride, and we'd managed to get the eye roll and the are you two stupid look from yet another fair person.

It was time for plan D, where we tried to teach the too short five years olds to stand on their tippy toes each time they were measured.  The problem with plan D is that it required finesse, which isn't something 5 year olds are really good at. We found an abandoned corner of the fair, and conducted a short seminar for Holly and Tyler, our two to short kids, on how to appear taller than they actually were.  We instructed them to kick up as much dirt under their feet as they could before it was time to be measured, and then we attempted to show them how to slowly raise themselves up on their toes, to add a few extra inches to their actual height, when they were measured.  Tyler, who only needed about a half an inch to be tall enough to ride without me was able to pull this off with enough finesse to be convincing, but Holly, who needed a whole inch and a half to ride without Jennifer, kept getting caught.  We were in line at the Tilt-o-Whirl, and Colin, Abbey, and Tyler were already strapped in ready to ride when the ride operator flagged Holly as to short to ride without a parent. He was very kind and offered to let Jennifer ride without tickets.  When she told him that wouldn't be possible unless he wanted to clean up her vomit, he offered to let me ride it for free.  I politely declined, knowing that my free ride on the Tilt-o-Whirl would quickly be followed by a very expensive ride to the emergency room.  The ride operator was slowly losing patience with us and infomed us that Holly had to have a parent ride with her, or he wasn't going to let her ride.  That's when we were struck with the most brilliant idea ever.  Jennifer looked at the operator and asked, "Does it have to be her parent or will any parent do?"  The ride operator apparently wasn't prepared for her question because he just shrugged.  Jennifer, who is a lawyer during the day, had found her loophole.  We spend the rest of the night making friends with other parents in line and pawning our two to short children off on them.  

"Hi, my name's Rachel, and this is my friend Jennifer.  We're both pukers.  Would you mind terribly riding this god awful fair ride with our children because if we ride it with them, we are going to projectile vomit during the entire ride.  It looks like you'd be sitting behind us, so we're guessing you really don't want that to happen."  

You'd be surprised how many people preferred riding with the kids over the possibly of being puked on!  We'd found a solution to our dilemma!  We spent the rest of the night chatting while we watched other parents try not to hurl, and all of our children had a blast!  

We ended the night at Dunkin Donuts because where else do you take four children, who were beyond exhausted, right before bedtime?  Jennifer and I toasted our fair brilliance, while our overtired children, who were now hyped up on sugar, bounced around like maniacs.  We stayed until the poor night manager came over and asked us to please leave, so she could close the store and go home for the night.  

Yup, nothing screams that's a good parent quite like going to the fair and spending the night teaching your kids to cheat the system.  It's alright though.  I told Jennifer I'd save her a seat in Mommy Hell.  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dear Husbands Everywhere

I'm going to let you all in on a little secret, that whole penis helicopter trick you've been perfecting since you discovered you had a toy in your pants, isn't sexy.  It's not you.  It's me.  I promise.  The thing is by the time you get home and perform it for me, I've already seen it approximately 900 times that day. Remember we have boy children, and they too are trying to perfect their penis helicopter act. 

They have also reached the age where nothing is funnier than potty humor.  On any given day, I get mooned at least 100 times.  I blame those bastards over at Disney, who thought it would be a good idea to make the movie Brave.  Once our children were exposed to the "Feast you eyes!" scene, they were hooked for life.  They don't seem to care that I do want to feast my eyes on their butts.  Thankfully, I have managed to convince them that public nudity is a no no.  I would really rather not field that call from the school principal!

I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking, "without my famous penis helicopter trick, how will I ever entice you to be my bedroom wrestling partner ever again?"  It's easy.  If you really want to have the best sex life ever with your wife, offer to keep the children on a regular basis.  I know!  It's a crazy idea!

You see during the day, in addition to being mooned and watching the penis helicopter trick all day, mothers spend most of their day being molested in some way or fashion by their children.  We get licked, poked, force fed, cried on, peed on, pooped on, and cuddled all day long.  By the time you get home from work, all we want is to go five minutes without someone touching us.  

So instead of complaining about how your wife is never in the mood like she used to be before she gave birth, be proactive.  When you get home, send her to Wal-Mart all by herself while you stay at home and let the children molest you.  Surprise her when she gets home by having all the children fed, cleaned, and in bed.  It's every mother's dream to come home from Wal-Mart to a quiet house.  I promise you if she starts to associate getting out of bedtime routine hell with your sex appeal, it won't be long before you feel like you're on your honeymoon again.  If you don't believe me, try it just once.  You can thank me later.

Wives Everywhere

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Potty Training's the Pits

My mother in law came this weekend, and ever so kindly reminded me that Annabelle wasn't potty trained yet.  Apparently, we are falling behind because my niece, who is 3 months younger than Annabelle, is completely potty trained.  I had to stifle a laugh because my niece is a first baby; whereas, Annabelle is a third baby.  First off, I don't think you should compare children, but if you are the type to compare children, you ought to at least compare apples to apples, which means you can't compare a first baby to a third baby.  My first born was potty trained weeks before his second birthday because I didn't know any better.  I was a first time mommy, who thought potty training was a blessed event that would make my life easier.  Hahahahahahaha!!!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  Small children have a lot in common with terrorists.  They are power hungry, and they love to torture their parents.  A potty training toddler is a toddler ripe with power.  

When you finally decide to make the transition between diapers and the potty be prepared to be a prisoner in your own home for at least a week.  Potty training children have zero bladder control, which means you'll spend approximately 85% of your day transporting your child back and forth from the potty.  At first they'll be excited about using the potty; however, their excitement ususally runs out around the third trip, which means you'll have to find ways to keep them entertained while they sit on the potty.  If your little terrorist decides he/she wants you to sing and dance in exchange for his/her cooperation, you'll sing and you'll dance.  Probably, they will also insist on being bribed for their cooperation.  You'll do it because they've got the upper hand in the negotiations; after all, the only thing worse than cleaning up a poopy diaper is cleaning up poop that's running down a potty trainer's leg because their underwear isn't made for the containment of hazardous waste.

Once you make it through the first week of potty training boot camp, it'll be time to venture out of the house with your little
ticking time bomb.  The grocery store is only 10 minutes from your house.  Surely you can make it there without having an accident.  Nope!  Once upon a time, you took your little terrorist in a nasty gas station bathroom.  It was so bad that you almost lost your lunch three times before you got your pants down.  Remember how your little terrorist thought that was awesome and hilarious?  They've been dying to go back, which means he/she is going to demand that you stop the car at the first gas station they see.  They'll demand that you stop or else they're going to poop in their pants!  You better get used to it.  Potty trainers adore watching their parents sweat it out in disgusting bathrooms!  In fact, most veteran parents will tell you that there is a definite correlation between the how nasty a public restroom is and the amount of time a small child will need to spend in there in order to get his/her business done.  For instance, if you hit a Quicktrip that has just been cleaned, you'll barely be able to get settled in before your little potty trainer will have relieved his/herself.  Whereas, if you have to stop in the middle of nowhere at a bait and tackle shop that hasn't seen a cleaning crew since before you were born, your little potty trainer will have to poop.  It will be one of those terrible poops that they have to strip completely naked for and that takes forever.  If you're really lucky, they'll also need to hold on to the side of the toilet with both hands to help gain the strength to squeeze it out!

Potty trainers are also terribly allergic to the idea of mothers consuming warm food.  Trust me when I tell you that once a mother begins the potty training process, it will be at least 3-5 years before she is able to eat warm food in a restaurant setting.  The second a potty trainer senses that warm food is headed towards the table, he/she will immediately be struck with the overwhelming urge to pee!  Once you arrive in the bathroom, the urge to pee will immediately be followed by the urge to poop.  Children cannot poop in a restaurant in an expedient fashion.  It's physically impossible and probably against the laws of nature!

Then there is the expense of potty training a child.  What you didn't see that one coming?  You thought you were going to save money since you didn't have to buy diapers anymore!  Do you have any idea how much it costs to have a toilet replaced after your child decides to wipe his/her own butt the first time and then flushes an entire roll of toilet paper and a half a box of diaper wipes down the toilet?  Add to that the expense of big girl panties/big boy underwear and the cost of all the crap you've got to buy to bribe your child with to gain their cooperation, and you could buy a new car.  

So no, don't be in a hurry to potty train your child.  Wait until you are both ready because let's face it you're still going to have to wipe their butt until they are at least four or five.  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Driving While Mothering (DWM)

I keep waiting to get pulled over by a police officer, who suspects I've been drinking and driving.  Not because I'm one to drink and drive.  I actually don't drink anything stronger than Coca-Cola; however, more often than not, I travel with a car full of kids.  If ever I were to get pulled over, I imagine the exchange would go something like this.

Police Officer (PO): Ma'am have you been drinking?
Me: Nope.  I can't remember the last time I had alcohol.
PO: We'll ma'am I pulled you over today because I just observed you swerving all over the road.
Me: I can explain.  My son was having a hard time getting his shoe off, so he started kicking his feet back and forth.  When the shoe finally came off, it flew right at my head.  I probably swerved when it hit my head.
PO: This is worse than I thought.  Are you telling me you've been driving while mothering?
Me: Excuse me?
PO: I count three small children in this vehicle.  Were you driving while mothering?
Me: Define mothering?
PO: The baby is sucking on a pacifier.  Have you had to retrieve a fallen pacifier and stick it back in her mouth at anytime during your drive?
Me: At least once every five minutes.  It's either that or listen to her scream.
PO: So you are also admitting to driving under the influence of a screaming baby?
Me: I guess so.
PO: At anytime during your drive did you consider just driving off of a cliff?
Me: There are three children in this car with me.  Of course I did.
PO: I also see that the children are watching a movie in the car.  Now I'm addressing the children.  Is that the same movie you've been watching since you left the house or did you ask your mother to change it while she was driving?
Ever Helpful Small Child #1: We made her change it twice.  The first time we made her change it because we didn't like the movie.  The second time we made her change it because it always upsets us when Simba's dad dies in the Lion King.
PO: I see you are currently watching Finding Nemo.  Doesn't Nemo's mom die in that?
Ever Helpful Small Child #2: That doesn't bother us.
PO: Does that piss you off?
Me: Just a little bit.
PO: What are the children eating?
Me: McDonalds
PO: Were you passing out food while you went down the road?
Me: I can't give it to them all at once.  If I do, they spill everything everywhere.
PO: Don't you have a kitchen table you can feed them at?
Me: Seriously, if we only ate when we had time to sit down at the table, we'd all starve to death.
PO: So let me get this straight, I've got you for swerving to avoid a flying shoe, failure to keep your eyes on the road while retrieving a fallen pacifier, illegal DVD change, waitressing while driving, and driving under the influence of a small
Me: That sounds bad.
PO: Ma'am is that a Valium necklace you just licked?
Me: No...
PO: You mean to tell me that you didn't take dental floss and use it to string a bottle of Valium up like a candy necklace, so you could lick/nibble on it when the children get the best of you?
Me: No...
PO: Now that's a shame.  My wife's birthday is coming up.  We have three kids too, and she'd been begging me for one.
Me: In that case its yours.  There's still about half a bottle left on it.  I just started using it a few hours ago.
PO: One more thing.  Is that a dead body I smell?
Me: No, that's just the smell of rotten feet.  My youngest son doesn't like to wear socks.
PO: Its making me feel a little lightheaded.
Me: It has that affect on new people.
PO: (Coughing uncontrollably) Its probably best if I let you head on.
Me: Thanks officer.  I promise the lightheadedness and feeling that your going to vomit will pass quickly.  Have a great day.  Hope your wife enjoys the necklace!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Shower Nazi Strikes Again

So I made a terrible error in judgement this morning. The children were playing sweetly in the living room, so I decided to take a shower in the spare bathroom that has a shower curtain instead of the master that has a glass door Annabelle can't open. Twenty seconds into my shower, I'd had just enough time to put shampoo in my hair, a naked Annabelle pulled back the curtain all the way and demanded to join me. So whatever, I put her in. She immediately started to scream because she wanted to be picked up, so I picked her up. I quickly realized that washing your hair while holding an almost 2 year old is nearly impossible, so I went to sit her back down and discovered that I was covered in a yucky brown substance. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that my daughter had POOPED all over me! At this point, I had shampoo running into my eyes, I was frantically trying to wash the poop of of me, and not step in the poop on the shower floor, and all of a sudden Annabelle starts to scream bloody murder. Turns out, she'd grabbed the bar of soap and was attempting to wash her eyes with it! The best part is that when we got out of the shower, Tyler walked in and said, "Oh Annabelle took a shower with you!" I told him, "Yeah, and she pooped on me!" His response, "That is so cool!!! Was it a big turd?"

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cause I want to be real friends

We've all felt that good awful, heart stopping, gut wrenching panic that comes when we have a new friend over for the first time for a mommy play date.
We spend hours trying to get the mystery stain out of the couch, we rid the fridge of everything that could possibly be considered a blue ribbon winner in the local science fair, and we break the garage door opener, so that there is no way in hell the new friend might accidentally get a peak inside and report you to hoarders!  

You panic because you went to her house last week for a birthday party and it looked like Martha Freaking Stewart lived there.  You almost puked when you arrived.  All of her dishes were done, her laundry room was the picture of perfection, her bathroom was free of toothpaste spit and toilet rings, and, to make matters worse, all the books sitting on her coffee table looked like they were filled with actual thought provoking material!  You sat on her couch that looked like it came straight out of the Pottery Barn catalog.  You tried in vain to locate one mystery stain, and you didn't find any Cheetos stuffed in between her cushions!  

Crap, crap, crap!  You really liked her, but now you aren't sure if this friendship will survive.  Just worrying about the amount of work that will go into making your house look like that makes you break out in hives!  All friendships have their issues though, so you decide to hang in there.  After all, she didn't run for cover when your child fed hers a booger the first time you met!

You will continue on like this for the first few play dates.  Each time you enter the other's house it will be spotless, and you will secretly hate each other a little bit.  Then the most amazing thing will happen.  You will plan a play date at a neutral play place, but something will throw a wrench in your plan.  Perhaps the McDonald's play place will have a mystery smell or maybe you'll run into that mom you both despise with the kid who still bites despite the fact that he's six, and you'll have to make a quick exit!  Neither one of you will want to end the play date that you've been looking forward to all week, so she'll invite you to her house for a play date that she didn't have any time to prepare for!  

Probably, she'll say something like, "you can come over as long as you promise to look past the awful mess!"  You'll secretly roll your eyes because you're sure her idea of a mess is nothing compared to your idea of a mess!  

When you get to her house, she'll open the garage door, and your heart will grow three sizes!  She can't report you to hoarders because her garage is worse than yours!  No wonder she's always made you come in through the front door!  
You'll walk into her kitchen, and you'll experience an overwhelming feeling of joy that you thought you could only feel when the anesthesiologist showed up with your epidural!  There's crap everywhere!  Her sink, filled to the top with unwashed dishes, will make you want to do a happy dance.  If you're lucky, she'll offer the kids juice boxes, and you'll get a sneak peak at the science fair experiments hiding in her fridge!  Make note, because chances are, her kids will be your kids' main completion for the blue ribbon!

When you enter her living room, you'll look around for the Pottery Barn couch. It won't be there anymore.  There will be a couch that looks like it could've been the Pottery Barn couch at some point, but it will be hard to tell if it is actually the same one, due to all the stains and the abundance of Cheetos that cover it!  Perhaps you'll sit on something hard, and when you go to inspect it, you'll discover its the same trashy romance novel you've been reading when you're really supposed to be "playing" with the children!  When you finally find the though provoking novels, you'll discover their true purpose, they're just the right height to prop up the broken leg of her antique China cabinet!  Sometime later in your friendship, when you've been friends long enough to know she'd never spend real money on books with an actual plot, you'll ask her where the thought provoking books came from. She'll roll her eyes, and say, "My mother in law gives them to me every year for my birthday.  Apparently, she thinks there's still hope for me!"  Because she's you're friend, you'll laugh hysterically both knowing that there isn't any hope for either of you!  

You will leave your friend's house that day and you will no longer be friends.  You'll be best friends, sisters even.  

**Because I want to be real friends with each any every one of you, I am going to conclude this blog entry with pictures of what my house looks like at this very minute. I just want you to know that it makes my day every time, I see a new fan on Facebook or when I see someone sharing one of my posts.