Nose picking, spitting, and incessant talk of poop... am I enduring these things because I'm the mother of boys, or are all parents experiencing the same age-related, gender-unbiased attacks on their senses?
In our house, the word "poop" (or "poopy", rather) has actually become so prevalent that it has defied the laws of grammar and has elevated itself from noun to adjective... Example: "Poopy daddy", "Poopy house", "Poopy mommy" and so on... Hey, I didn't say that my son was creative in the exercising of his new addition to the English language.
What manner of thinking sparks inquisitions like this from my eldest: "Did brother poop? Can I see it?" Furthermore, why does he run to see the cat puke on the floor when I exclaim, "EEW! Gross!"? And why does he spit into the sunlight that filters hazily into the house so that he can play in the reflective mist that sprays from his lips? And why, why, why does he feel the need to pick and eat? I know he's getting enough food, and I'm going to take a leap here and assume that it tastes better than nose gold.
I guess in my parent-induced haze called "survival mode" I just learned to ignore the constant nose picking (and sometimes eating), but when my Ukrainian Au Pair asked me what she should do when my 4-year-old picks his nose, I guess I didn't have a good answer:
"Um... tell him not to because it's gross... but then he'll probably do it again because he's getting attention... but if you don't say something, then he might not know he's not supposed to do it....? I don't have a good answer for you, I'm sorry. Kids are just gross."
As an adult, of course I think I'm smarter than my children, but playing mind games with someone a fraction of my age and losing doesn't say much as to my higher intellect. I keep telling myself (and others), that they'll grow out of it and that being gross is just a "phase", but is it?
What about that line in the movie Frozen when Kristoff asks Anna about her precious Hans:
"What if he picks his nose... and eats it?"
"Excuse me sir, he is a prince!"
"All men do it..."
Isn't there always a twinge of truth behind any comment?? AND, it's Disney! Who are we to question them? But in reality, can you imagine a grown man on a first date... finger buried in his nose... having an off-menu appetizer? Yeah, that would be a "CHECK PLEASE!"-no-second-date-don't-call-me-EVER moment.
Maybe boys don't ever grow out of their "gross" phase... perhaps they just learn to hide it better... in the privacy of their bachelor pads and in the company of their male friends. As I sit here in my office at this very moment listening to my son making spitting noises outside my door, I realize that I may never know if growing out of the gross phase is even possible so to that end, I'll just pacify myself with our house motto of "Kids are just gross"... maybe I'll even have it crocheted onto a pillow so I can pass it down to them when they have kids!
Image Credit: Egypttoday.com
The other day, it occurred to me that I may be getting "too old" to wear certain things without looking like I'm trying too hard to be young... things like short shorts. Furthermore, for quite a few years, every time I have stepped foot into Express, I feel like I am teetering on the edge of being too old to shop in that store... (even though when I made a joke about that very insecurity to the 20-year-old sales associate, she replied, "Oh honey, you should see some of the things I've seen...")
At the ripe old age of 34, and after having watched enough makeover shows featuring style guru Stacy London, I feel as though I finally reached the point of needing to have at least one age-appropriate pair of shorts in my wardrobe... ones that flirt with touching my knees. Can I still rock the short shorts? Heck yes, I can, but the aging female mind questions, "Should I?"
No, my kids aren't yet old enough to tell me that I'm embarrassing them, but I certainly don't want to be that mom whose children have more common sense than she does (even though in my family photo, it looks like my son is trying to get away from my mom shorts!). And so... I bought some rather long shorts at The Limited, and let me tell you, when I tried them on without heels, I looked like a stubby-legged mom... unrecognizable to my own eyes.
Okay, I knew these types of shorts could be worked with (I'd seen it done on TV)... a cute top, some cute heels... doable. Ironically, adding fuel to my aging fire, that same week when I went to the hair salon in 6" spike heels, one of the stylists told me that she usually sees me in "cute flats"... Oh - My - God... it was like she had hit me in the face with a handful of floor hair. I had been wearing so many flats that someone actually noticed. For shame - I was clearly slipping.
I had, in fact, become entirely too comfortable in my everyday mom-wear, and it was unacceptable. Note to self - make some more effort, woman! What happened to the cute put-together, accessorized, heel-wearing girl whose feet had mastered running in 6" heels? She became the mother of two very active boys who could no longer balance on stilts while simultaneously carrying an ever-reaching baby on her hip.
Gathering dust on the shoe rack by the door, my fashion-forward heels long to be worn and can actually be seen cringing and crying silent tears every time I choose the flats over them. Sure, they sit near the exit hoping to be chosen one day, but in becoming more mom-practical, my feet have actually gotten less accustomed to heels, and my aching feet scream with after-cramps from wearing them on the once-a-month special occasion called "date night".
Will my feet ever again feel comfortable in heels?
I hope so, or I'll have to have one heck of a shoe sale.
What is the age that women should give up short shorts, long hair, high high heels, and shopping at high fashion stores? I don't know, but I hope it's not 34!
If the first step to recovery is admitting there's a problem, then I think I'm safe from the Age-Appropriate Fashion Police so I think I'll slowly (VERY slowly) introduce higher necklines, longer shorts, and maybe shorter hair... but NOT shorter heels!
#motherhood #Fashion @ExpressLife @TheLimited
Oops, I did it again - planned a party whose scope was well beyond the time I had to execute it to the level at which I envisioned. I mean, all mothers want the coolest, most exotic, and out-of-the box party theme that time and money can muster, but how much is too much? Do we mothers even get to enjoy the party after being so exhausted from making sure it's perfect for the kids who are too young to even know what's happening?
Regardless of the fact that my own personality is my own worst enemy, I was able to pull off my Cookie Party Birthday Bash - a combined birthday party for my two June littles. (And no, I don't think that combining kids' birthday parties is a cop out of any sort... it's just courteous time management for all of those invited).
The first step in planning a successful combined party is to keep in mind the differences in the children and to select a theme that makes sense for both. My children are both boys, and cookies are timeless, ageless, and genderless. The problem? Not one cookie-themed-party-related item existed on Amazon.com... and so I turned to my own computer, my printer, and Etsy.
In futile efforts to save some money on this year's gathering, I created a Facebook page and an emailable birthday invitation. Stamps - who needs them? Everyone is on social media these days. I mean, why pay 49 cents per invitation (plus printing costs) just to have some angry bald guy crumple it up as he begrudgingly stuffs it into a mailbox in a very untimely and unreliable manner? (Oh wait, that's just my mailman...)
As for the main attraction - the cookies - well, as the time drew nearer, and my free time grew smaller, I toyed with the idea of buying cookies from the bakery instead of making them from scratch. OOH - the amount of SH$% I got from my husband about that... even though he had NO intention of making any himself. Guilt or no guilt, I never want to disappoint so there I was... slaving away in a cookie-baking sweatshop hell (in the heat of the summer, mind you) of my own Type A making. What had I gotten myself into?
Five kinds of cookies later (some double batches, mind you)... my freezer was busting at the seams with full-on Type 2 diabetes. The sad thing is, that wasn't the hardest part. I needed to come up with party favors and decorations that not only matched my theme but my color scheme as well.
Because it's the adults who suffer through kids' birthday parties as much as the children, it was only fitting to give out adult favors to show my appreciation. What's a better favor than a jar full of homemade cookies? A jar full of homemade cookies with custom theming, hand made by the hostess, of course.
I found a perfectly coordinating ribbon at Michaels, and the rest I hand made and cut out. As for kids' favors, well, I knew I didn't want to send already sugared-up children home with more sugar... the parents wouldn't ever bring them back. So... I found some great little "felties" (small 1" diameter felt cookies) on Etsy that I put into custom themed take-out boxes also from Michaels.
The entry table featured a custom sign (made by me), coordinating balloons (ordered from Amazon), the favors, the custom cookies I ordered from the wonderful owner, Colleen, over at Eileen's Colossal Cookies, and little Starry String Lights from Restoration Hardware (which, by the way, are great for using to decorate for any party).
Each side of the main food/cookie area was flanked by a cookie jar themed for each of my children. These amazing cut-outs (the names, the cookies with letters, the happy birthday sign, the centerpiece cookies and milk) were custom made by The Sutton Company on Etsy (and were very, very affordable).
All of the little confetti cutouts of cookies and my boys' names and their ages, were done by me with a lovely side effect of hand cramping. Note to self - invest in a circle cutter. The last thing I'd like to mention is that if you're throwing a cookie party, it's only standard procedure to provide recipe cards for all of the homemade cookies so when someone asks you for the recipe for the cookies you slaved so hard over... you'll have them right on hand... (and you can also use them as decor).
As for dinner, I put my husband to work grilling burgers and hot dogs for which I had all guests pre-RSVP for so I knew what to buy. Party spreadsheet? No, that doesn't sound like me at all... Grilled meats, my mom's famous potato salad, fresh fruit, individual bags of assorted chips, and cookies - so many cookies = dining success. The food was enjoyed by all, but the flaw in planning a grill party is the unpredictability of the weather... but this year, we actually lucked out.
In my haste, I forgot to photograph the napkins and silverware that I painstakingly gathered into a bunch, accordion folded the napkins, and wrapped with that nice brown and blue ribbon because when you're serving buffet style, who has enough hands to grab a plate, a beverage, AND a napkin AND silverware? I mean, that's just inconceivable.
(... yeah, that's a cookie barrette in my hair, and there's a milk one there too... somewhere.)
Was the party a success? Yes. Was I exhausted? Yes, my feet and legs throbbed. Was my 4-year-old sweaty and sugared up? Yes. Did my 1-year-old sleep and cry through it all? Yes. Do I have regrets? Not a one... but next time, I'm having it catered!
Special Thanks to:
#birthday #parties #homemade #custom #typea
For more obsessive type a backstory...
Let's be realistic here... as mothers (or parents in general), we have so many wonderful, elaborate ideas that we wish would manifest themselves from idea to reality with the wave of a magic wand, but unfortunately, real life is not so accommodating. I recently spoke to one mother of four who said that when she had "only" two children was able to create custom parties, write in her blog, do things she liked to do. However, with a guilty tone in her message, she confessed that her parties now consist mostly of store-bought generic items, and she no longer has time to do any side projects that she enjoys or takes pride in - like blogging.
As I'm coming to realize, being able to OCD my way to the perfect custom party, a meticulously clean house, or having perfectly groomed children is becoming harder and harder to facilitate with work and life running at full speed in the background...
What I want: The perfect Pinterest-worthy, custom-themed birthday party
What I can manage: 95% homemade and custom with 5% generic and store bought - ooh - I was so close!
What I want: A home that sparkles - no clothes strewn about, no stray toys, and not a speck of dust to be seen
What I can manage: Vacuuming once a week, dusting once every other week, grabbing small tufts of cat hair out of my baby's hand before it reaches his mouth, and tolerating a few straggler toys that always manage to be underfoot when I'm in a hurry.
What I want: To be able to provide home-cooked, from scratch meals for my family every night of the week
What I can manage: 80% home-cooked, 10% takeout, 10% foraged items from the freezer
What I want: A perfectly orchestrated work/life/family balance
What I can manage: Organized chaos, Advil, and a glass of fruity, sparking wine
What I want: Happy children who love me unconditionally
What I can manage: Happy children who love me unconditionally
I know I obsess about everything, but obsessing over too many things you can't manage will drive you insane and make you a total witch with a capital "B". So, is it better to have perfection and to be a total witch, or is it better to strive for manageable and keep your wits and dignity about you? I think we all know the answer...
Don't worry if you don't have the time to make handmade decorations or if your floors have an unnaturally gritty and sticky texture... what matters most is what we should all strive to focus on - the happiness of our families, and the rest is just details.
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One hectic Saturday afternoon as I was in the bathroom trying my best to quickly undo the overly complicated closure on my jeans so I could pee in the two-second window I was given, I was reminded of something my husband frequently says: "Only women would put up with this!" Logically, what sane person would make getting into and out of pants so complicated? What if there was a gastrointestinal emergency? Crap would happen - literally.
I'm not exactly sure what it is that makes men and women so different in their levels of tolerance, but I guess that's usually (and I said "usually") why the women (the mothers) have more patience for emotional, irrational children than the men (the fathers) do.
The most reoccurring thing that my husband cannot seem to fathom about women is why we would ever stand in a long checkout line to buy something we don't "need" and could essentially buy elsewhere... case in point: Why are the lines so long and slow moving at places like Victoria's Secret, Express, Michaels, etc. (and why is it so damn hot in there too)? Every time he accompanies me on a shopping excursion to one of these infamous places, he says in an I-want-to-be-heard-being-annoyed voice, "Only women would put up with this! Men would drop their stuff and leave!" (Oh yeah, and he actually did say that in Michaels not long ago, and one of the women in line turned around and offered, "You sound like my husband!"... there were no other men in line, by the way.)
Is that true? Would a man really create a scene like that just to avoid standing in a line? But I usually NEED those things from that exact place... so there we stand as his frustration grows ever more obvious by the narrowing if his eyes, the sighing with impatience, and the growing redness of his face.
Furthermore, my husband always gets annoyed when I complain about a problem, but I don't actually want a solution... I just want to vent and move on. Women understand that logic when speaking with other women, but men will never understand the complicated intricacies that embody female communication.
Do the long lines and their snail's pace annoy me as a woman? Of course they do, but I'm willing to endure the annoyingly slow line so that I can go home to be annoyed at a later date by the overly complicated clothing that I just purchased so I can then earn the right to complain about said annoyances to my husband who will then be annoyed that I'm not interested in his solution to my problem.
Women... can't live with 'em... you know the rest.
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When I married my husband all those long 11 years ago, did I ever think that I would be in competition with an electronic device for his attention? Um, not so much. Is it even fathomable to foresee your significant other's kryptonite as a flat, emotionless piece of plastic (an iPad, a smartphone, an XBOX, a PlayStation, etc.)? Unfortunately, this "other woman" seems to win out in many relationships... but as my inquisitive 4-year-old son would ask, "But why?" To that question, I have no answers... I just don't know.
As humans, we are all susceptible to falling prey to the addiction of technology even though there are more important things going on in the world around us - like interacting with the living, breathing members of our families. I can say with utmost certainty that no one will look back at a long life and say, "Gee, I sure wish that I had played more games on my iPad." (well, I bet our generation probably won't say "Gee".)
Addiction to technology can happen slowly until, without warning, everyone in the household is sitting on the couch with an iPad, messaging back and forth and never exchanging a spoken word. At one point, it had gotten so out of hand in our household that I actually threatened to put a wig and a skirt on my husband's iPad since he seemed to be more interested in "her" than in our family.
Oh yes, "she" (the ever-hated and sometimes jeered at iPad), had essentially become so much of a distraction to family time that she had literally manifested herself into being the other woman in his life. It's sad, but it's true. Confronting this issue time and time again, I finally got through to him, and now that boxy lady has a restraining order against her, and so she must keep her distance from him between the hours of 5:00pm and 8:00pm - Family Time.
I had imagined when his square-faced lover was out of the picture, that his eyes would be opened to the real life around him like in the movie The Island when the clones emerge from their underground prison for the first time, eyes adjusting to the sunlight and taking in every wonderment around them... and so it was.
Fortunately for him, my husband is now able to experience and enjoy the ever-changing personalities of his young boys, something I didn't want him to miss out on or regret. And even though the other woman's siren song calls to him during family time, he has come to understand and realize that there are more important things in this world than the lure of technology.
For my husband - Congratulations, you have been set free. Thank you for making the effort and changing (and for putting up with this blog).
Image Credits: iPad air (piratstudenterna.se), face (lauriefishbone.blogspot.com)
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Mother's Day doesn't necessarily mean a "day off" for mothers ("days off" for mothers are like unicorns or fairies... we've all heard of them, but no one has seen one), but here's my Top 5 Things to Do on Mother's Day:
Whatever you do on Mother's Day, know that you are amazing, you are appreciated, and you are loved.
Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers out there!
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Every time there's something mildly wrong with one of my children, I struggle with the notion of running to the pediatrician or waiting it out. Calling the pediatrician often times results in a response of, "I can't diagnose it over the phone - we'll have to see him; he could have an ear infection. When do you want to bring him in?" First of all, my eldest has NEVER once had an ear infection in his long, almost four years of existence so I refuse to believe that every issue is the result of some default diagnosis of an ear infection.
Obviously I want advice from a third-party medical source, but do I want a side of guilt along with it when they tell me they need to see him even though I don't know if it is entirely necessary? If I say no, that puts guilt on me to come in, and if I choose not to, I'm a bad parent (I can actually hear the nurse judging me silently over the phone).
However, whenever there is something wrong, it always seems to become apparent only on the weekends or at a time when seeking help from the regular pediatrician isn't an option. Is it just me, or does that happen to every other parent?
Regardless of what I decide to do, I just hate the game of not knowing what's wrong, feeling like I'm supposed to know what's wrong, and then having to make the decision to run the kids to the doctor to be told that nothing is wrong. Maybe I should have gone into medicine... then I'd be able to diagnose my own insanity.
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For those of you who have ever felt like you were suffering from baby buyer’s remorse, this one’s for you!
Not everyone was born with the mothering gene, and Cyndi Frick, was definitely born without it. In this brutally honest book, she tells it like it is: Prince Charming doesn't exist, happy endings are bulls*%#, and some days being a parent is synonymous with being diagnosed with clinical insanity.
Join Cyndi, a recovering mommy meltdowner, as she battles her selfish, Type A personality (kicking and screaming) through a sarcastic and enlightened journey to motherhood. She’ll be “that” friend who vocalizes what you think but are too afraid to say. When it comes to parenting, misery loves company, and sometimes it’s therapeutic to know that you’re not the only one suffering.
Potty humor? No, not me... but you know what I'm talking about. Any woman who has been married beyond the honeymoon phase knows that a man (husband and/or father) can disappear for extended periods of time into the bathroom for who knows what reason. Do men go in the bathroom to escape their wives, their screaming children, the horror that is being a husband and father (even though we women bear most of the burden)?
I personally cannot fathom how a person could sit willingly on a toilet for so long that one's legs would fall asleep, but whatever the reason is, if they can find sanctuary in one of the smallest rooms in the house, why do so many men seem to demand a "man cave" on top of all of the ones that already exist in the house? They should list houses as "3 bedrooms, 2.5 man caves".
One evening as I was sitting next to a fellow swim mom in a way-too-hot and chlorine-filled mist, we became locked in a battle of whose husband spent more time in the bathroom. Shockingly, I had to admit defeat to her: "My husband spends an hour out of every hour in the bathroom" to my "my husband spends 20 minutes of every hour in the bathroom". I admire you, fellow swim mom... forge on.
As I tipped my hat to her, she told me that her husband used his "time away" to watch episodes of Breaking Bad on his phone using Netflix. Hmmmm... I can't possibly imagine sitting for 45+ minutes on a toilet just to watch TV, but maybe that was his only escape? Regardless, I find their excuses ridiculous: movies, video games, "reading"...
Most of you women can relate to what I'm getting at so if your man tries to request a special "man cave" all for himself and his friends, you can simply point to the bathroom and avoid losing another room to your husband's many "hobbies".
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