Tag

motherhood

Turns Out My Kid is THAT Friend

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Every kid has that ONE friend. The “dumper” who goes into the playroom and just dumps. toys. everywhere.  The one that causes trouble, makes messes and encourages chaos.

My 4-year-old, Piper, is not that friend. But somehow she manages to turn all of her friends into THAT friend.

For years I’ve wondered why all her friends are so dang naughty! She’s not a toy dumper or a particularly bad mischief-maker but every single friend she has is horrible!

Her very first friend was her cousin, Michael, who is a year older than her. Those two are TROUBLE together.

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Once in a rented beach house they took every single board game and dumped out every piece and card into a giant pile and mixed them together.  They’ve dumped boxes of cereal on the ground and stomped in it, they went into my walk in closet and threw every single thing into a pile on the floor.

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But my favorite was when they got into a bag of nail polish, got naked (of course) and painted their entire bodies. Their “delicate areas” were meticulously covered. Super fun. My biggest regret in life is not getting pictures of the nail polish fiasco of 2016 but I was too busy calling the carpet cleaning company.

She has another friend Matthew who I adore but who I always told my husband was a serious trouble maker. These two once got into a potted houseplant, tore it apart and scattered the dirt EVERYWHERE. I couldn’t take my eyes off those two.

Recently she got a new friend, a sweet little three-year-old named Raygen.


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“Surely this friend won’t cause as much mischief as every other friend she’s had over,” I optimistically thought. NOPE. They constantly also get naked in the backyard, cover themselves with sand and paint on walls.

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Turns out when I left Raygen out of this picture I really was protecting the innocent.

“WHY IS MY DAUGHTER ATTRACTED TO THE NAUGHTIEST KIDS EVER?” I thought.

Then it hit me. Wait…who is the “common denominator” in all these situations? It’s PIPER!! She IS that friend! I’ve been living in denial!

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Piper is the youngest child and, by nature, lives to entertain. She thrives on making other people laugh. (Her favorite joke currently is to ask people how to spell I -Cup.) Well, what is funnier to any toddler than destruction of property? The answer is nothing. Nothing is funnier. It turns out Piper is creating havoc in order to make her friends laugh, and then they do it, in turn, to crack her up! Who doesn’t love making people laugh?

In fact, one time Matthew’s mom asked him why he did something particularly naughty and his response was “because Piper thought it was funny.”  I don’t know why I didn’t realize this sooner!

We had a new friend over for a play date this afternoon and I walked into the sweet little boy hysterically laughing. Piper had overturned about five toy bins and was walking around the room hitting everything with a hammer just for the sheer joy of entertaining.

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She’s basically all Three Stooges wrapped up into one tiny, adorable package.

So to every mother who I assumed had the naughty kid I say “I’m sorry.”  Sorry I always blamed them,  never assuming my sweet child was creating disaster in her wake.  And I’m sorry to every home Piper visits. Ever. For the rest of eternity.

Tales Of Real Life Goblin Sharks (And How To Avoid Them)

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There exists in the wild a rare but uber-creepy predator called a Goblin Shark. The human form, however, is much more common and even more vicious.

The thing that makes the Goblin Shark so eerie is that it swims along, like a seemingly normal fish when all of the sudden it opens its mouth and a second mouth shoots forward and attacks its prey. Like it literally shows up out of nowhere and bites. If you don’t believe me, watch this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eh_HUIJkRzU

Ok so it might not technically be a second mouth but that’s exactly what it looks like! Then the appendage-mouth goes back inside and takes it’s normal form again.

As we were watching this Goblin Shark do it’s thang’ I realized I’ve been Goblin Sharked and maybe even been a Goblin Shark at one time or another. You know when someone says something kind of nice to you, but then it’s followed up by what you’re pretty sure is a fancily-dressed insult?

The statement starts off innocently enough but then reaches out of nowhere, spears you in the gut and goes back inside so suddenly the person has walked away before you even realize you’ve been Goblin Sharked!

Another form of Goblin Sharking is where the foe uses a sticky-sweet voice and you think you’re about to hear something nice, but what comes out is a total slam. My dad calls this a “poop-filled Twinkie.”

It’s like a passive-aggressive way of totally hurting someone’s feelings without looking like a totally bitty to the rest of the world. From the outside the Sharkette looks like a regular fish minding her own business, but it’s that moment the freakish hidden mouth shoots out that sticks with you.

I say no more! To the Goblin Sharks out there, either own up to your predator ways or keep your second mouth shut! And to those of us getting Goblin Sharked, let’s start calling them out!

To the former classmate who commented on how “nice and curvy” I’d gotten since high school I’d like to go back and say, “Hey Goblin Shark! I just had a baby six months ago and that sounds a lot more like an insult than you probably meant it to.”

And telling me my son’s hair is so “fun!” but am I planning on cutting it soon?? Obviously you don’t think it’s cute. Your second-mouth didn’t fool me there.

The real ocean-born Goblin Shark is rare in the wild but too common in the world of women. And because kids tend to learn by example, I’d bet you’d find a mini Goblin Shark in any 4th grade group of girls. So please remember, an insult dressed as a compliment is still ugly.

I Tortilla-Bombed a Mexican’s House

tortillaIf you think that title sounds completely racist, you’d be right. But wait! It was all a misunderstanding, I promise!

Let’s back up a bit.

Last week I flew to Seattle to help my sister Heather move here to Boise. Yay!!! We spent days packing,  boxing and bubble wrapping while listening to early 2000’s R&B. It was glorious. Then the night before the move Heather’s husband declared that keeping anything from the fridge would be completely disgusting. So we gathered it all up to give or throw away.

Heather has a neighbor who is probably the sweetest person on planet Earth. She’s Mexican-American and from everything I’ve heard from Heather she couldn’t have asked for a better neighbor. We decided we’d take all the non mystery-meat fridge food to this neighbor, Josi, to see if she wanted anything. There was good stuff in there! Salad dressings, cheese, olives…. tortillas.

“Josi was telling me how it drives her crazy when people assume she makes great Mexican food and asks her to bring it to parties,” Heather told me upon seeing the tortillas. “For a church function, the Relief Society president asked her to bring homemade tortillas and it really bugged her!”  Apparently Josi does make incredible homemade tortillas, but the assumption is still irritating/racist.  Then she told me a story how at a “favorite things” party at church Josi happened to open up a bag of tortillas that someone else brought and everyone (except Josi) thought it was hysterical.

So after hearing these stories I gather up two half gallons of milk, bags of cheese, some bottles and a bag of tortillas in my arms and we start walking down the street in the dark. We ring the doorbell and knock on the door but no one is home, so we head back to Heather’s. When we get close to Heather’s house I look down and my tortilla bag is upside-down and empty.

“What happened to the tortillas?!”- Me.

“Oh my gosh! I heard something fall on the doorstep but my arms were so full I couldn’t see anything and the bag of tortillas was still in your arms so I thought we were fine!”- Heather.

“You mean to tell me, we just dropped a bag of tortillas on your Mexican neighbor’s doorstep and ran?”- Me (through fits of horrified laughter.)

“Yes!” -Heather.

At this point we’re about to pee our pants from laughing so hard and our arms are still full of food.

We decide to go back into Heather’s house to unload our arms and then go back and get the tortillas off the doorstep.

We make it back to Josi’s house and upon seeing tortillas spread all over the front porch we erupt into more pee-inducing laughter. (We’ve both had 3 kids, laughing must be done cross-legged.) So we rush up to destroy the evidence and just as we’re bent over picking up the mess we see a car round the corner and suddenly we’re blinded by headlights.

We freeze.

“What are you guys doing?” – Sweet Josi.

I don’t know if I still thought it was funny or if I was so horrified I couldn’t control my emotions but I could still barely talk. I could see how this looked!

“We were bringing over armfuls of food from the fridge and we dropped tortillas on your doorstep!”- Heather.

(We had no armfuls of food.)

“You dropped tortillas on my doorstep?”- Sweet Josi asks doubtfully.

I finally compose myself enough to explain that we DID have armfuls of food and only noticed the tortillas were missing when we got back to Heather’s…. this is not looking good for us! Suddenly I feel like we’re on an episode of Seinfeld or Modern Family!

We could only explain ourselves and hope Sweet Josi bought our story but what are the odds people!?

I guess maybe it’s a good thing Heather moved? She might have potatoes hurled at her house next week.

The Guilt, Fear and Joy of Motherhood

Is motherhood supposed to be this heartbreaking?
Is it supposed to be so full of this fear, dread and guilt?
We wish the best for our kids. We want them to be the most athletic, the smartest, the most talented and sometimes they’re just…not. Sometimes they’re not extraordinary at anything in the world’s eyes and you have to remind yourself that all you really want them to be is who they ARE. And happy.
We feel guilt that maybe they’re not a piano prodigy because we didn’t play Beethoven to them in the womb with headphones. We worry we didn’t read them enough books when they were toddlers. We feel guilt that they learned to read by watching PBS.
We worry that they’ll be bullied… we worry that they will BE the bully.
We dread the day that the innocent spark of youth will be lost from their eyes.
We fear the day they want to go to dance class in hot pants and a tank top instead of a pink leotard and a tutu.
We feel guilt because we haven’t changed that chore chart in months or even made the kids do chores because it’s too fun watching them play Mermaid-Pirates with each other and we’re so just grateful they get along.
We worry we’re not giving our kids enough of us and too many “things.”
We worry we’re either too hard on them or not hard enough. Sometimes the intense love we feel for them rips our heart out again and again which we would gladly do because when it all comes down to it, we would die for our kids.
Then at the end of the day when we’ve yelled at them three times to brush their teeth and their lights are finally off all they want…at the end of the day… is US. They want mommy. We are ENOUGH for them and they are ENOUGH for us.

How I Ended Up Driving Home in My Bra

FullSizeRenderIt all started innocently enough. I was strolling through The Home Depot with my 17 month old son, Derek and my 4 year old, Amber. We had just adopted Derek and I was still trying to adjust to being his new Mommy.

Derek had pooped so much that it was defying gravity, coming out the top of his diaper as he sat in the cart. As we approached our mini van, I told Amber to wait outside the van until I had changed Derek’s diaper so she didn’t smell it and gag.

Amber was going through a phase that if she smelled even her own poop in the toilet she would throw up all over herself!

I laid Derek down on the floor mat and began wiping the thick sludge off his little bum. It was at that moment that Amber popped up her head (she was hiding in the back seat instead of waiting outside as instructed.) She got one whiff of the dirty diaper and started gagging. I yelled at her to “get out of the van!!” She tried but began throwing up all over herself in the process.

Knowing I would be mad, Amber came around to my side of the van crying and covered in puke to tell me how sorry she was. Her crying got worse as she discovered it was in her hair and then she started to pee! I looked away from helping Derek to see her standing with legs spread apart as the urine ran down her legs and made a large puddle in the parking lot.

I went to Amber to console her, get her to stop crying and to help her strip off her pants that were wet when Derek, who I left in a new diaper still laying on the floor mat, rolled out of the van and fell into Amber’s puddle of pee.

My poor baby! Picking him up, I looked at both of my gross looking children and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

I didn’t have anything with me to clean up Amber or to cover the car seat where she would sit and I didn’t dare go back into Home Depot at this point, so I took off my shirt and wiped her as clean as I could with it.

I drove home in my bra and after giving both kiddos a good bath and getting them down for nap time, I went and scrubbed the back seat of my mini van for the next hour. NOT the day I had planned.

I hope to this day the surveillance camera in their parking lot did not record all of that!

Mourning the End of the “Baby Stage”

12010775_10206353885059406_5966553687864573812_oFor more than seven years my life has been full of babies or toddlers and everything that comes with them: diapers, bottles, temper tantrums, more diapers, more temper tantrums, more diapers… you get the picture.

That’s all changing. (At least the diaper part. I’m sure the temper tantrums will stick around). My baby is about to turn 4. It’s a day the hubs and I have been waiting for. No more babies or toddlers means a new kind of freedom for our family! I should be ecstatic! I’ve basically been waiting for this day since my boys were born. Want to know I secret? I’m a little sad. I’m realizing that every new step, every new milestone they make, means they’re taking one more step farther away from me. They are becoming more independent. Each day they need me a little bit less. Even though there is a part of me that is thrilled by that, it breaks my heart a little.

When my 7 year old, Ben, was born, I was fully entrenched in a television news career. I’d met my goal of anchoring in a major market. I’d spent more than a decade focusing on building a career, and my goal was to keep working and fit this new baby into my life. Well, that didn’t happen.

I did keep working, but I changed professions, because after baby #2, I needed a job that would allow me to be a mom first. Over the past almost seven years my life has morphed into something I didn’t expect. I became a mother. Every decision I make about my life always comes back to that: I am a mom.

I am also a friend, a wife, a sister, and a citizen. I’m also outgoing, opinionated, and I think, kind of funny, but at the end of the day I am forever a mother. I didn’t expect this role to define me the way it has, but it has, and I’m still learning to embrace it.

Now that these two little people don’t need me as much, I have to admit, it’s tilting my axis a bit. They’ve become my true north, my compass, if you will, and things are changing, and I’m sad. My life has become consumed in so many ways by them, by their needs, their wants, and let’s be honest: my main goal has been to keep them alive and healthy. So far so good.

I am in a bit of mourning right now. I look at Ben and I can barely remember him as a baby. It’s only been 7 years, but I have a hard time remembering that first year of motherhood and all the insecurity and anxiety and fear I had in this new role. Now I’m pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. I’ve managed to get two kids through babyhood and toddlerhood fairly unscathed (talk to their therapists in 20 years, and they might tell you differently). So I feel good about where I’m at as a mother.

I’m getting ready to go down a new path, an uncharted path of motherhood. I’m entering into the school age phase of motherhood, and I’m scared. I don’t know this world. I don’t know how to mother in this arena.

I’m missing my babies, even the diapers. I don’t know if I’m ready for this next phase of life. I think I know why: the last seven years have gone so quickly I can’t believe they’re ending. I know I’m going to blink, and the next seven years will have gone by, and these two babies of mine will be on the cusp of leaving my home and spreading their wings and flying away. I’m not ready for THAT phase! So for now, I’ll figure out this new phase of motherhood and hopefully I won’t be too much of a hot mess… but the odds aren’t good.

 

THAT Conversation With My Son Took an Unexpected Twist

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I had THAT conversation with my 7-year-old the other day. You know the one… how do babies get out of their mommies?

Our drive home always takes us past the hospital my youngest son was born at, and some days we shout out, “There’s Joey’s hospital!”

That’s exactly what we did the other day, and then everything changed when Ben, my 7-year-old, said, “Mommy can babies be born any place besides a hospital?”

Innocent enough question… so I thought.

Here’s what happened next:

Me:” Yes, babies can pretty much be born anywhere, they don’t have to be born at a hospital.”

Ben:” But then how do they get out of their mommies tummies, since they have to be cut out.”

(Point of clarity: I had two c-sections, so my boys have always seen my scar and they know that’s how they got out of mommy’s tummy. Apparently Ben assumed, innocently enough, ALL babies get out that way.)

Me: “Not all babies have to but cut out of their mommies.”

 Ben: “They don’t?? Then how do they get out of their mommies?”

Oh God. I started sweating at that question. I wasn’t expecting that zinger. So, do I tell the truth or go down the path of least resistance? Yeah… I decided to tell the truth.

Me: “They come out of their mommy’s vaginas.”

 Ben: “They do?!?” This was said with a look of horror on his face. “What do they look like?!?” Again, the kid looked like he was about to faint.

 Me: “The babies or the vaginas?” (I was hoping he’d say babies.)

 Ben: “The babies.” (Oh thank God he said babies!!!)

 Me: “They look like all other babies who come out of their mommies tummies.”

 Ben: “Aren’t they covered in poop?”

 Me: “No. They come out of the vagina, not their mom’s bottom.”

 Ben: “Well, they’re connected, so wouldn’t they have poop on them?”

 Me: “Ben, vaginas and bottoms are not connected.”

 Ben: “Uh, yes, they are. “

 Me: “You have a penis and a bottom, and they’re not connected. Neither are vaginas and bottoms.”

 Ben: “So babies don’t come out of vaginas covered in poop?”

 Me: “No, honey, they don’t.”

Joey (3 years old): “Why we keep talking about ba-ginas?!”

Yeah, good question.

I had no idea when Ben asked his innocent question it would turn into an anatomy lesson.

I’m sure some of you might think I took the conversation too far, or that I didn’t need to be so detailed in my descriptions, but I want my kids to have the right age appropriate information, and I want to be the person to educate them.

So, this was NOT the conversation I expected to have with my 7-year-old, and let me tell you I was sweating bullets when we were having it.  I really wanted to tell him that other babies come from storks, but I just knew that wouldn’t fly (no pun intended) with Ben.

Hence, the honest conversation about where babies come from.

The conversation wrapped up like this:

Me: “Ben, are you glad you had to be cut out of mommy?”

Ben: “YES!!!”

I bet.

Confession: I Didn’t Love My Baby Right Away

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An embarrassingly honest picture.

It was the night I, and the entire city of Boise, had been waiting for. Just for different reasons. Boise State was playing Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl in what would become known as one of the greatest college bowl games of all time.

By the 4th quarter I was sure those stomach pains weren’t from the bean dip. I was in labor with my first baby. By the time we got to the hospital I was beyond ready for my epidural. Unfortunately for me, the nurse informed me I had to wait an hour to see if I was progressing before she could admit me.

I wanted to grab her by her lanyard, pull her right up into my face and tell her, “If I’m not in labor, I’m DYING. There’s no way I’m going home tonight!”

Three hours later I was dilated to an eight and only then did I finally get that blessed needle in my back sent straight from the Gods of childbirth. I thought I was home-free! In the final stretch! Almost there! Then, it all came to a screeching halt.

After 17 hours of labor, a failed epidural and a baby that refused to come out straight I started pushing…and pushing…and pushing. I pushed for three hours and the nurse hadn’t even called the doctor yet to say I was getting close.

Until I puked.

That little bundle of joy decided the pressure of me throwing up was all she needed to make her way out- without the doctor’s help.

It was finally over! I didn’t care that I would need a million stitches following the 9lb 2 oz baby. I was ready to hold my precious love! She was placed in my arms, I looked down at her and… nothing. No swell of love, pride and joy. In fact, I distinctly remember my first thought was, “I hope that’s not really what her nose is going to look like.”

From there the next 24 hours were a blur. I said all the right things. “Isn’t she beautiful?” “I love her so much!” “I want to hold her all the time!”

What I was really thinking was “What is wrong with me?” “Why did everyone lie to me about what this feels like?” “I’m going to be a terrible mom!” “I’m so tired- take her away so I can sleep!”

I didn’t hate my baby. I didn’t even dislike my baby. She just didn’t feel like my baby. And no one had prepared me for this lack of feeling.

The love and bonding didn’t hit all at once but somewhere around day four I remember crying on the couch because the love I felt for her was so overwhelming. I instantly wanted to have 12 more babies just to capture this feeling. I knew there was nothing I wouldn’t do to protect her.

I did love and bond with my baby, just not right away.

In retrospect, I had just been through 20 hours of labor, pushed for three hours and puked out my baby. I had so many stitches I couldn’t sit up straight for 10 days and my nipples were bleeding from all the nursing! I think I was just too exhausted and traumatized by the birth process to feel anything.

While it only took a few days for the strong bond to develop I’ve since learned that not bonding immediately isn’t uncommon. It’s just one of those things we don’t go around announcing to mother’s-to-be.

“Just so you know, I totally didn’t love my baby right away. So don’t be alarmed if you don’t either.”

But it is something we should talk about! One internet poll of new moms reports 69% experienced “love at first sight” with their newborn, while 31% did not.

If I had known I wasn’t a freak of nature I wouldn’t have been in such a panic. Worrying about my feelings probably inhibited my bonding even further. If I had known it was normal, I would have given myself a break and allowed the bonding to happen.

And FYI baby #2 and baby #3 were completely different experiences. After smooth labors I did experience baby “love at first sight.”

 

 

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Another honest picture. There are really no good pictures of me until two days later.

10 Ways Being a Mom is Like Being a Bartender

1. You spend an inordinate amount of time on your feet, standing at a counter.

2. You listen to everyone’s woes – the whining, the crying, the unintelligible mumbles.
3. You break up fights between belligerents who will not listen to reason.
4. You wipe down that counter you’re standing at – many, many times a day.
5. You’re the keeper of all the good stuff and your patrons are not above begging, bargaining, or flirting to get what they want.
6. People get distracted, miss the counter and spill their drinks. You clean up.
7. You get yelled at if their drink is not the exact, crazy-specific way they ordered it. (“But I wanted the OTHER KIND of orange juice!!!!”)
8. Often there is a lot of very loud fun happening around you. At least they look like they’re having fun. You’re at work.
9. Those around you are prone to sudden bursts of affection and unexpected declarations of love.

 

10. It would all be easier just to call them a cab and send them on their way.

Role Reversal

courtesy: Kris Millgate/www.tightlinemedia.com
courtesy: Kris Millgate/www.tightlinemedia.com

I’m loud. I’m impatient. Those are the two reasons I don’t golf, but my son wants to golf. He may be the only person I know that is louder than me. He’s also impatient and we both have painfully short attention spans. We are not what you call a ‘greens’ dream team, but here we are with clubs and a cart on a late summer afternoon.

I chose our tee time for a reason. Idaho Falls offers Big Hole Golf for beginners every Saturday at 4 p.m. and when the kids come to play, the better golfers stay away.

The holes are double the usual size, but the green to get there is still the usual forever distance. I’m on swing 10 of a par four and I’m only halfway down the fairway. The hit and miss is killing my muscles. The hit hurts my arms when I slam into the ground. The miss messes with my back when I swing myself into a knot.

“You have to bring your arm up high and swing really fast so your ball will fly,” my son tells me as he sends a ball sailing with his driver and I dig up another chunk of sod.

I’m not issuing any rules or being bossy on the course. My son is and I’m letting him. He loves hacking at the ball, choosing clubs with his eyes closed and off-roading the golf cart through the rough.

Since I’m not playing parent, I try his approach and find golf really is fun. Hacking at the ball makes me laugh. Choosing a random club keeps play interesting and driving in the rough is certainly a more exciting ride. Reversing roles with my son is a great idea and he loves playing the grown up while I pout about my terrible score.

The next time your child wants to try something new and you don’t know how to do it, try it right along with them. You don’t have to be a know-it-all to enjoy it all.

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