Thanks for the gems, mom.

I’m trying so hard to repair my funny bone. It was broken in my mom’s car accident from 700 miles away. But to survive this, I need to be able to flex it – at least for my family, who have come to depend on it as a part of their life. So that when one of them is caught brown-handed feeding a dirty diaper to the pugs (again), I can laugh about it and share it with all of you, not curl  up on the couch and melt into a pathetic puddle of saliva, snot and tears.

I love my mom. She made me into the person I am today. A few months ago I would have denied the hell out of this, but she also bestowed her amazing sense of humor on me…because she loved to make people happy. Even when life gave her the New Jersey salute, she continued to crack jokes, wear silly hats, and share her love of life with others. I can feel her spirit urging me to soldier on. To tie a splint around my fractured funny bone and let it heal. She was and continues to be my hero.

I started flipping through some of her old photo albums while we were cleaning out her house and found more than a few gems that she left behind. Now let me warn you, these are not the proudest moments of my childhood. Thanks for the gems, mom.

 

I like to call this one ‘Teen Angst.’ My husband calls it ‘being a bitch.’

EPSON MFP imageI freaking HATE clowns. HATE THEM. The only thing creepier than a kid in a clown costume is a kid in a clown costume standing next to a large tank of combustible materials. LET’S BURN THE MOTHER DOWN!

EPSON MFP imageReally, MOM??? Why didn’t CPS stop this!? Friends, neighbors, family?? Anyone? All someone had to do was hide the damn crimper!!

And speaking of CPS…apparently they never got their hands on this little gem. SHOVEL FASTER, child!! I actually remember the neighbor giving me a dime after this because she pitied my poor, frozen soul.

This was a camping trip I went on with my Brownie troop. This would be my first, and last overnight camping trip for many, many years. That night, an apocalyptic storm tore through the campgrounds. Everyone’s tent flooded except two, including my humble 4-person abode. I distinctly recall the odor of wet dog and shit. The next morning, someone found a pair of poop-stained underwear in the campground bathroom. And someone decided it was a fabulous idea to give these turdy panties, which said Wednesday on them, to my mom and tell her they were mine. In the name of everything holy, it was Saturday for God sakes!! Worst. Camping trip. EVER.

EPSON MFP imageThe only thing more horrifying than a clown doll is a Pee Wee Herman ventriloquist dummy. I say throw it in the kerosene pit we started earlier and BURN IT ALIVE!

EPSON MFP imageMighty morphin’ brownie! BROWNIE POWER!!

EPSON MFP imageLike father like daughter. Gotta love the fanny packs.

And somewhere in NJ in 1984…

scaryeasterbunnyOh why , mom, WHY!?!

 

I invite anyone who is brave enough to share their not-so-proudest childhood moments with me on facebook or twitter (madmomdiaries).

 

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Missing Mom: Real consequences of impaired driving

Chantal Kreviazuk – Leaving On A Jet Plane

Tonight I had to explain to my two-year-old son why he will never see his grandmother, Mama J, ever again. I kept it simple. I told him I was sad because I miss Mama J, and that she had to go to heaven. I told him that heaven is a happy place, with singing and dancing and angels, and most importantly, God. But I also told him heaven is a place where we can’t visit. So if he sees me sad, it’s because we can’t visit Mama J and I miss her very much.

He rested his head on my shoulder and listened to my words as I rocked him. “Mama J loves you and Eva so much. She’s so proud of you. You’ll always be her little buddy.”

Mom (right) and me at my wedding in 2007.
Cape May wedding, July 7, 2007

 

My mom had a passion for life and a magnetic personality that everyone loved. She pushed her jokes off on whoever would listen. She also perpetually embarrassed the hell out of me. Just a few weeks ago, when Eva, my three-month-old princess, and I arrived in Myrtle Beach, she picked us up at the airport holding a gigantic sign that read, “Jennifer and Eva are here! Hip, hip hurray!!” While she was waiting for me, she pointed at a limousine driver holding a small sign with a name printed on it and laughed at him. She smiled at him and mocked, “My sign is bigger than your sign.” Neener neener. Of course her sign was bigger than his. Her sign was bigger than the Spirit Air emblem on the side of the airplane. This was my mom. She was awesome. She was happy. And she was embarrassing as hell. But I wouldn’t have had her any other way.

I talked to her every day, several times a day. There were times that I would answer the phone and she would gleefully sing, “So kiss me and smile for me, tell me that you’ll wait for me, hold me like you’ll never let me go…because I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again…” This was her theme song before every visit. I’d roll my eyes and smile and ask her if she finished packing yet, and she would say, “I can’t wait to see Danny and Eva.” Then she would pause and say, “Oh yeah, and you, too.” Those babies were the twinkle in her eye. The truth is, I’m pretty sure she liked them more than me. But I’m cool with that. I like them better than me, too.

The last time I heard her sing that song, I was the one leaving on a jet plane about a month ago, to come visit with Eva. We just hung out like a couple of friends, gossiping and making funny faces at Eva, talking about everything and nothing at all. She talked me into taking a helicopter ride while she waited on the ground with Eva. I didn’t know what the big deal was – I mean, I had just flown down in an airplane. How different could it be?? She said it was a gift for my 30th birthday and insisted on paying extra so I would be the only passenger. This way, she said, I’d be able to get “the whole experience.” After I landed, my mom asked me how my flight was. And for the first time ever, I told her she was right.

She then took me to Patrick’s Mobile Home Park, where Myrtle Manor was filmed, and to Ocean Boulevard to browse the shops. We shared secrets, we laughed about how we were hustled by the store employees to buy an obnoxious Barbie belt, and we just hung out like two friends. When I left her at the airport, I gave her one last hug goodbye and told her that I loved her and would see her again soon.

Two Wednesdays ago, she called me while I was napping. I usually don’t answer my phone when I’m napping, but this time, instead of hitting the red button, I chose the green one instead. “Hey, I’m taking a nap with Eva. Can I call you back?” She told me, “Sure, that’s fine.” I then fell into a deep sleep.

I woke up two hours later, and in the rush to prepare dinner, I forgot to call her back. At about 8 p.m. my phone rang. This time it was my grandfather. He was incoherent and I told him I didn’t understand what he was saying. He stopped sobbing and spoke slowly and clearly. His words sank into a pit of vomit in my stomach. “Your mother is gone, she’s dead. Your mother is dead. ” She was on her way to Walmart with her boyfriend to pick up some pork chops and potatoes for dinner. An alleged drunk driver coming from the opposite direction crossed the center line and collided into her front driver’s side. My mom was killed instantly.

Damn it, if I would have known that would be the very last time I would ever hear her voice, I would’ve told her that I loved her and that she was my best friend in the whole world. I would have told her that I hope I could be just like her one day. I would have packed her up in my suitcase with me the day I flew home instead of flying home without her. More than anything in the world, I wish I had taken the time to call her back the other day, because that is one moment I will never get back.

She was the grandmother of my babies. She was my mom and my best friend. And now my kids will never know her. She wanted so badly to see Danny and Eva start school, to watch them grow and to be a part of their lives. That was stolen from her. And instead of a loving mom to cry and hold on to, I’m left cradling a cold, metal urn with her name and a couple of dates etched into the side.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 9,878 people died in alcohol-related auto accidents in 2011. That’s about 27 families a day who receive similar phone calls that they will never hear their son laugh, their daughter cry, or an ‘I love you’ from their mom or dad – ever again. And that’s 27 people a day who will leave a barbecue, a bar or a friend’s house, and believe that they’re fine to drive home – and will kill a child, a mother, a father, someone with a family and a life. Someone who doesn’t deserve to die this way.

It’s my hope that by sharing my story, someone, somewhere, will say, “Hey, I just read this horrible story. We’ve been drinking. Let’s call a cab tonight.” I pray that no one ever again has to live the horror of answering that phone call. Just call a cab, a friend, anyone. Please, don’t become a statistic.

 

 

 

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Love on a leash

backpack

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you have a strong opinion on child leashes. In my experience, I’ve found most parents can be classified into one of two categories: pro-leash parents, who have found that leashing their wandering offspring in public keeps them sane, and their children safe and secure. These parents have given a collective middle finger to the rest of parental population and their looks of shame.

The second group, the ANTI-leash coalition, can be further subdivided into two groups, those who were leashed kids themselves and have experienced some resulting childhood trauma and friends of these traumatized adults who have heard the tales of horror and embarrassment.

I can remember  the Velcro bracelet my mom wrapped around my wrist that tethered us together with a rainbow-colored phone cord. My mom was perpetually terrified of everything,  especially stranger danger. Kidnappers lurked in the most conspicuous places (because apparently, back then everyone wanted to kidnap a snot-nosed little brat). Halloween candy had to be double and triple checked for needle holes ensure they hadn’t been drugged by an addict looking to share his stash with a town of unwitting kids. The snow cone maker I asked Santa for when I was 5 – I finally got it when I was 14. FOURTEEN! I didn’t care about making snow cones then, I was more interested in boys, drinking wine coolers, smoking cigarettes in the locker room and everything else I shouldn’t have been getting into. Perhaps my mom cut that leash a little too soon.

So in light of my own experiences, I say leash your kids ’til they’re college bound! You may get some disapproving looks from those who ‘know better’, but at least you know your kid isn’t trying to set the neighbor’s house on fire. So when 16 and pregnant comes knocking on your door asking for your son, you can confidently say with a smile, “Wasn’t my boy. He’s on an eight-foot leash.”

I would love to one day meet and buy the mastermind behind the child leash a beer to thank him or her for saving my sanity, and the sanity of all the other pro-leash parents of toddler delinquents. I recently took the kids to the Camden Children’s Garden. Before we left, I found myself wondering how I would safely navigate a toddler and an infant through the streets of scenic Camden. We have a baby carrier, but baby girl has been entirely too pukey for me to confidently store her vomit cannon within inches of my face for two hours. I’d be playing with fire. So I busted out the child leash that I found in Target.

No more coiled plastic dragging behind me on the floor, no more velcro, no more rainbows. Just a monkey and his furry tail. And Mr. Baby Monkey has Danny on lock down. If he were to break away from me and run full speed ahead toward the ghetto of Camden, Mr. Baby Monkey would stop him right in his tracks. No crystal meth for this toddler, thank you.

Danny loves this monkey so much, sometimes I’ll put it on him in the house just for shits and giggles. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he loves it just as much 15 years from now. I kid, I kid. I wouldn’t force the boy to wear a monkey on his back when he’s 16.  What kind of parent would I be??? I’m sure we’ll have GPS chips for kids by then.

 

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Keeping your sanity with two under two

“If my kids are fed and still alive at the end of the day, I’ve done my job.”

Thanks to my wonderful mommy friends who always know the right thing to say at the right time. Without you ladies, I would still be chanting ‘I’m a little teapot’ in a corner somewhere.

With two kids under the age of two, I found myself just the other day rocking in a corner, incoherently singing the verses of ‘I’m a little teapot.’ I broke two dishes within 20 minutes, the second of which landed shards of broken ceramic in the macaroni and cheese that was cooking on the stove. The macaroni and cheese that my 21-month-old was waiting for so impatiently.

While my toddler had a complete and total meltdown on the floor, TheOneWhoPoopsAlot screamed bloody murder at the top of her itty bitty lungs. Both my babes were hungry, both needed me right NOW, lunch was ruined, the sink was overflowing with dishes, and I was completely overwhelmed. I sat down on the floor next to my screaming babies and bawled. All three of us, crying in synch. HOW DO PEOPLE DO THIS?!

My husband, bless his heart, tried to offer a word of encouragement: “All the other moms figured it out, I’m sure you will, too.” But then I thought: Awesome. Everyone else in the world has this mom thing down pat except for me. I must just really suck at life.

So I sought the advice of fellow mommy friends for support. The same mommy friends who I had assumed had it all figured out. Supermoms. The ones who vacuum with one hand while carrying a toddler on one hip and an infant on the other. While looking damn good at it, too. I realized then that all my supermom friends who had to juggle a baby and a toddler struggled in the beginning. And I realized that I needed to cut myself a little slack. As long as the babies are fed, dry, and not playing in the chemical cabinet, the day has been a success.

The next day, I woke up and said to my husband, “I’ve got this.” I had no expectations, other than making sure the vultures were fed and dry. Yes, my expectations were low, but guess what – I did it! And the dishes, a load of laundry AND I put on deodorant. And what. Yes, I want a medal. One I can wear out in public that says, “I kept my kids alive today, what did YOU do?!”

I smiled as I melted into the couch cushions the other night, and said to myself, “I WIN.” And just as I began to study the back of my eyelids for a moment, my oldest sat in front of the couch and colored on his arms and legs with blue and red markers.

Oh, hell. We can’t win them all.

But we can try. Here’s a list of a few things I’ve learned during the past four weeks to help keep my sanity intact with two under two:

  1. Wear your baby and never again forget where you left her! And whether you prefer a Moby wrap, Baby Bjorn, Boba or velcro, I’ve found that having two hands to clean cheerios and crayons out of the heater vent is much easier than having none.
  2. The early bird gets the worm. And  shower. And a cup of coffee. And maybe if you’re lucky like I was the other day, a little deodorant and a chance to brush out that bird’s nest growing sideways on your head. I like to wake up about an hour before my son usually wakes up in the morning so I can have a little extra “me” time to get some things done that I ordinarily wouldn’t have a chance to do. And when I say “me” time, what I really mean is, me and OneWhoPoopsAlot. Still, one dirty diaper in the morning is easier than two.
  3. Child labor! Even at just 21 months, my son loves more than anything to help with housework. My little workhorse works long hours for little to no pay, and he LOVES it! He does laundry, helps to load the dishwasher, wipes down the table, the patio doors, helps to change OneWhoPoopsAlot’s diapers…and all he wants in return is a little chocolate, some mommy kisses, and maybe a Thomas the Train video. And bubble time. And someone to change his poopy diaper. And a piece of cheese. And to push him in his truck. And to feed OneWhoPoopsAlot a blueberry. And to hold his stuffed doggie and his choo choo and his sippy and one sneaker he found underneath the couch while he chases the dogs with his Tonka truck. Okay, so maybe the pay isn’t so bad after all.
  4. When we’re not eating macaroni and cheese and hot dogs for dinner, I’ll use my oldest’s nap time to prep dinner. And I keep it simple. I’m still learning this two under two thing, so if you’re coming to our house for dinner, don’t hang yourself on expectations of a gourmet meal. And honestly, I won’t do it if it takes longer than 30 minutes to prep. I’m not lazy. With a baby who wants to nurse every 30 minutes some days, I’m realistic.
  5. Try to keep new, exciting toddler-friendly activities on hand at all times, such as wooden puzzles, flash cards, books, blocks, the Hungry, Hungry Hippo! Stay far, far, away from window markers. Unless you want your toddler and everything around him to look like this:  Marker Moustache
  6. A supermom is like a leprechaun. Have you ever seen a leprechaun? No. So don’t try to be everything to everyone all at once or you’ll be the one rocking the corner singing your own tune that no one knows. Someone told me once that it’s one day at a time, but really, in the beginning, it’s one hour at a time, with a countdown to nap time. If you can make it to nap time, you’re halfway there!
  7. And don’t forget about your oldest! I know how busy mommyhood can be with two in diapers, but the big brother/big sister needs one-on-one mommy time too! So remember to cherish all the marker mustaches and poop wall murals and macaroni and cheese hand prints on the windows. Because one day much too soon, these moments will disappear.

 

kept the kids alive

 


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And then there were four…

I’m back – and with a brand new itty bitty souvenir! Eva Elizabeth ripped through a gaping hole in my uterus at 9:55 a.m., Monday, Feb. 11, and boy, was she was pissed.

As I lay on the operating table, I overheard my doctor remark at Eva’s head of thick, black hair, followed by, “Watch it! She’s got your scissors!” Eva obviously didn’t want to leave the familiarity of her baby cave. I mean, with free rent and warm weather every day of the year, I can’t say I blame her. Still, I was not prepared for the wrath of Ms. Eva E. and the wreckage she left behind. But the juice was so worth the squeeze.

Eva's birth

The conversation in the room went from shots of tequila to cries of pain fairly quickly after Eva was born. Someone was ripping apart my organs from the inside, and it hurt to breathe. Where was my tequila, damn it?! Oh that’s right…that’s what got us into this mess. I didn’t want to call my husband away from the baby, because she needed him more than I did. And at that moment, I didn’t have the slightest clue that anything was wrong. My ob is apparently very good at playing it cool under pressure. If they had a cool guy class in med school, I would bet my lunch money that she aced that shit.

I’m no sissy, but that was the WORST pain I’ve ever experienced in my life. I looked at the anesthesiologist, my new bff, and begged him to show me mercy. Or morphine. Or for the love of God, whatever would just make the vultures stop ripping apart my insides. I recall this generous man tinkering with my IV line and offering me an oxygen mask. It must’ve been the good shit, because it was good night world, before I even closed my eyes.

I woke up in my hospital room, and my husband was standing across the room, saying, “You lost blood.” Then a few seconds, or minutes, or maybe an hour later, the doctor was standing in the exact same spot, across the room, repeating the same words and adding a few extra – uterus, lucky, maybe, transfusion, lucky, hysterectomy, lucky, and no water til 5 p.m.

Apparently when you bleed alot you get thirsty. Walking through the desert for days on end without water thirsty. I came out of surgery just after 11 a.m., and was instructed NO WATER for another 6 hours. My husband later shared that I had tried throughout the afternoon, unsuccessfully, to barter with the nurses: a newly patched uterus in exchange for one styrofoam cup of ice water. Sounds fair.

I had a great time a few days later scrolling through some old texts from in between bouts of unconsciousness. One was sent to a friend, telling her that the doctor couldn’t “get my uterus back in.” In my drug-induced stupor, I thought what my doctor had explained as a severe hemorrhage was actually a stubborn uterus. Or maybe an angry uterus, badly beaten from a 7 lb. 6 oz. dark-haired diva who wasn’t ready to give up her vacation home. My doctor decided not to do a transfusion since my blood levels were borderline, and kept my rabid uterus intact. That woman is my hero.

The only thing that I regret about Eva’s birth is that I don’t remember nursing her that first day. My husband held her while she breastfed since I would nod off in the middle of conversations like a college girl who partied a little too hard. But she was delivered healthy and feisty, and though I wasn’t exactly in the best shape, I would eventually be okay too. After a few weeks of the granny shuffle, iron therapy and a few exploding toilets, I’m home, doing the mom thing, loving on my big boy, my baby girl and the man who has taken such amazing care of the three of us.

I have so much to say about our adventures home with two under two. But I’ll save it for another post on another day. This is just the beginning of many adventures between the four of us…

Danny and Eva

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Human Bowling Ball: The Sequel

Someone please tell me that it gets better than this.

I am a human bowling ball: now 35 weeks pregnant with nearly as wide a circumference as I am tall. Everything was just peachy when I was pregnant with my son, who is now at a 19-month culmination of chocolate-induced hysteria, crayola wall murals and toddler tantrums. Everything was novel and fun during the first pregnancy. It was amusing when I couldn’t tie my shoes because my fat, swollen feet were spilling out of the creases. It was HILARIOUS when I couldn’t get my pants on at the end because I couldn’t lift my legs up high enough. I embraced the extra chins I tacked on the last few weeks of the pregnancy. I was fat and happy.

This time is an entirely different ball game. It’s not just my shoes that I struggle stuffing my feet into, but I now also have to shoe two swinging toddler feet. I never had to worry about playing defense with my belly before – but the second I lay down my guard, my little soccer player is kicking a goal directly at the remnants of a stretched out belly button – which also happens to be baby girl’s tiny heiney. I’m convinced this sweet baby girl will be born looking for an older brother to target her revenge.

I also fondly remember cursing each of the 13 steps in our old condo. Every bit of the 48 lbs. I had gained during the pregnancy had piggybacked onto my thigh muscles, screaming, “Carry me, weakling!” But I would make it up the stairs and chuckle between gasps of air.

This time, I make the impossible climb up a flight of stairs while carrying a sleepy 25-lb. mama’s boy, in addition to my 6 lb. womb princess and the extra umpteen pounds of cheeseburger helper and chocolate goldfish scattered throughout my veins. By the time I reach the third step, every muscle fiber in my legs is quivering and crying out, “Have we died and went to hell!?”, my heart is thumping to the rhythm of Zoot Suit Riot and I’m gasping for air like an asthmatic smoker in a marathon. And I’m thinking, I wish I could jump in a time machine and slap my previous pregnant self in the face with a twinkie and tell myself to lady up and stop complaining. I had it made. One baby to spoil and love on…then we had to go and drink a bottle of wine. And everyone knows, wine grows babies. Just like the Grow-a-Dinosaurs we had as kids, where you place a peanut-sized foam creature in a jar of water and it expands to 5 times its size, a Grow-a-Baby lies in the bottom of every empty wine bottle. The Grow-a-Baby, however, will continue to expand in your belly thousands of times over and suck out every ounce of youth left in your body.

The first time, I also never had to worry about sharing my sweetest pregnancy cravings with a walking garbage disposal. Now every time he hears the sound of a candy wrapper or the fridge door, he’s tugging on my pant leg. NO, you cannot have mommy’s chocolate kisses. There’s only half a bag left.

Today I indulged a craving for Taco Bell and bought my little guy a churro. I tried to hand it to him in the back seat, but my prince had fallen victim once again to the backseat coma. I carefully placed the stick of warm cinnamon goodness back in the bag, with every intention of giving it to him later. After polishing off three soft tacos on the way home, and little man was still naively snoozing through a mid-afternoon snack, my mind wandered to the churro now cooling in the bottom of the taco bell bag. And within a moment’s time, I realized that I was now holding an empty churro wrapper. I learned today that guilt tastes a lot like sugar and cinnamon. But in my mind, I kept trying to justify it – all those times I had to share my chocolate kisses, my strawberry yogurt, my jello…

I had it so good the first time around and I had no idea. When pregnancy fatigue kicked in, I could lie down on the couch without worrying about a small child playing with knives and prescription meds while I snoozed the day away. I didn’t have someone trying to shove toilet paper between my legs when I would have to empty my pancake bladder every four-and-a-half minutes. I also didn’t have to crawl around on the floor to pick up 200 plastic balls – and who ever had the brilliant idea to fill a play tent with those god-awful balls deserves to waddle around half-crippled with a youth-sucking grow-a-baby tucked snugly under his or her rib cage.

Why oh why didn’t someone warn me!? Please, someone, anyone, tell me that it gets better than this. That all the sweat and tears and half-eaten chocolate kisses will all be worth it, that it gets easier. For the love of everything good in this world! Please tell me that I’ll be able to pee in peace one day and that I won’t be stuck living out the rest of my days as a human bowling ball!

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What I wish someone had told me before baby

Once you become a parent, you quickly discover that parenting advice is everywhere. From the shelves at the local book store to the grocery store checkout line, it’s in your face: don’t sleep with your baby, you could squash her; don’t give baby a bottle at bed time; give plenty of juice; don’t give any juice; don’t pick him up when he cries, you’ll spoil him; vaccinate; don’t vaccinate…

Before the pee even had a chance to dry on the pregnancy test, we found ourselves drowning in both unwanted and much needed parental advice. There are some things, for reasons unknown to me, that are kept top secret to expecting parents – classified information that blissfully ignorant moms and dads-to-be have every right to be warned about. Here’s my list of parenting tips that I believe every parent-to-be has an inherent right to know about raising an older baby/toddler.

1. Your house will never be clean for increments longer than 30 seconds. No matter how fast you clean, your two-foot tornado can rip leftovers out of the trashcan and throw 150 legos in the toilet that much faster. Here’s a few tips from a past post to help keep your house “clean,” in spite of parenthood: Supermom’s List of Dirty Little Secrets.

2. Speaking of trashcan, trashcan snacks are the perfect toddler snack. Easy to access and just like a fine wine, trashcan snacks only get better with age.

3. A sippy cup is a dangerous weapon.

4. A forehead can also be a very dangerous weapon.

5. You will get shit on your hands on a semi-regular basis. And on your pants, your shirt, and maybe even on your face. So if you don’t like to get down and dirty, being a mom or dad may not be the right job for you.

6. You will have to read the same book. Over. And over. And over. And over. So make sure you choose books that you actually enjoy reading 15-20 times a day.

7. Make at least three spare sets of keys. And if you find yourself involved in a last-minute game of hide and seek with a pair of keys, look everywhere you wouldn’t put them: a cereal box, the bathtub, dog toys, trash can…

8. No matter what gourmet feast you’ve been slaving over in the kitchen for the past eight hours, it will never be better than a peanut butter and jelly sammich.

9. An empty box is so much more fun than even the most expensive toys.

10. Before you eat that delicious chocolate chip cookie your toddler is waving in front of your face, know that just a moment before, that adorable little hand was digging for gold inside his diaper.

11. Clorox wipes are GENIUS for cleaning up shit smears in odd places.

12. Your toddler will plan and scheme to poop exactly when you do, so while you’re helpless on the commode, she has the perfect opportunity to use her overflowing diaper as a butt coaster to slide across the bathroom floor and color the wall and floor an earthy shade of brown. I don’t have any advice for when this happens other than, just go with the flow. And Clorox wipes. Lots of ‘em.

13. There will come a day when you can’t figure out who pissed on the floor – the kid or the dog.

14. Dogs eat baby poop.

15. Cotton balls make great confetti.

16. Dangerous things are just more fun!

17. Your mini-me will have a massive shitsplosion or projectile vomit the second you bring her in public and forget the diaper bag. It’s just Murphy’s Law. See Murphy’s Law of Parenting.

18. Guard your coffee, tea or Red Bull with your life. Turn your back for one second and you’ll be chasing a two-and-a-half-foot midget thief off the ceiling for the next three hours.

19. Always keep an extra caffeinated beverage on hand in the event of #17. You’ll need it.

20. Silence is a bad omen.

21. Memorize the keys on your keyboard, so when your toddler rips off your F, N and K keys, you’ll still be able to Google, “Find a new keyboard.”

22. Forget Gangnam Style. I’ve Been Working on the Railroad is the best jam ever.

23. No matter how you raise your child, whether you choose to breastfeed or formula feed, co-sleep or crib sleep, attachment parent or parent by wild animals, some childless old hag in the checkout line at Walmart will always know better.

24. Routine will be your lifeline. And the earlier you put your tot to bed, the more time you’ll have to polish off that bottle of wine. Just remember: shit happens when you party naked. That’s what got you here in the first place!

25. If you cherish indoor plumbing as much as I do, you’ll keep your bathroom door shut at all times. Your mini will try to flush anything and everything she can down the shitter the second you’re not looking.

There aren’t enough hours in the day to cover everything, so please, feel free to add a golden piece of advice you wish someone would have given you in the comment section below!

 

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Revenge of the Giant Pigeon

So we’re supposed to have company over tonight for dinner. Cook a 20 lb. turkey for the first time ever, you say? Why, what a BRILLIANT idea!

I should have seen this as a bad omen on Friday morning. After I asked my awesome and amazingly sweet husband to pull the turkey out of the freezer before he left for work, I came downstairs to a cool new knicknack sitting on the hutch.

I had no idea – I thought it was freaking hilarious and just stuck it back in the fridge. It’s the blind leading the blind between the two of us trying to figure out how to cook a turkey. And as I would later lament, 48 hours is not NEARLY enough time to thaw a 20-lb. bird.

By noon on Sunday, I had a half frozen turkey swimming in a sink full of cold water. Every 30 minutes or so, drain and refill. Drain and refill. Once 2 p.m. rolled around, I realized that even if I didn’t stuff the turkey, we wouldn’t have dinner until at least 8 p.m. So I pulled that heavy bastard out of the sink and freed him from his plastic apparel. I had intended to pull the innards out in one fell swoop, but was NOT prepared for the arctic turkey tundra once I got my hand inside. Where were the gizzards and guts!? Everything was one big turkeycicle! As my toddler monster started pulling out all the pots and pans out of the cabinets, I frantically started pouring in hot water – I mean, you can’t cook a turkey with a bag-o-giblets, right?!

By 3 p.m., I finally got my cranky toddler down for a nap. I could feel the second hands ticking down my spine. My panic heightened. I looked around at my chaotic kitchen: the counter was flooded with pink water, the empty turkey wrapper was still lying in the middle of the floor, and several empty boxes of stuffing littered the counter top.

So I did what any sane, hormonal, pregnant woman would do. I said fuck the gizzards and stuffed the frozen piece of shit.

I called my husband to tell him we might be eating a little later than usual, maybe about midnight or so, then calmly asked him where our foil was so I could get the party started.

Then, sweet turkey revenge struck from beyond the grave: there’s no foil. And Danny’s still sleeping. Even if I hadn’t encountered any other obstacle, I had no way to roast my giant pissed-off turkery bastard.

Ditching the sane act for a more desperate look, I sat down on the floor in front of the stove and bawled until I couldn’t see the turkey fucker through a flood of tears. I may or may not have even cried, “fuck you, pigeon!” once or twice at the slab of poultry sitting on my counter.

It’s now 5 p.m., and we have no dinner for tonight. I figured sitting down and writing for a little while would help my shattered soul recover from being beaten in a battle of wits by a dead bird with a vengeance. Maybe we’ll just have a store-bought rotisserie chicken tonight.

On second thought, maybe I’ll just take a break from poultry altogether and order pizza.

Fuck you, pigeon.

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Murphy’s Law of Parenthood

After a day like yesterday, I often find myself wondering who I pissed off in a past life to experience the disasters that I do. I love my son more than anything in the world – he is my angel – but what comes out of that child’s butt is more akin to ancient black magic than anything angelic and holy.

It’s Murphy’s Law of Parenthood – anything that can go wrong, will go wrong when you’re least prepared. We went grocery shopping last night after dinner. It’s always fun to take Danny along shopping as he loves to grab whatever is within his reach and throw it in the cart, on the floor or even in someone else’s cart. He thinks he’s helping mommy. I was two aisles away from the baby section when I first smelled disaster: it was a fresh, familiar odor that I’ve tackled single-handedly many times over. And of course, we have a poomergency and the diaper bag is a quarter mile away in the backseat of a parked car (thank you, Murphy’s Law!). Ok, no big deal. It’s just a shitty diaper, right? I figured I’d just finish up in the spaghetti aisle, stroll over to the baby section, and snag a bag of diapers and wipes off the shelf. Easy fix.

Within those two or three minutes, the smell magnified. The aisle that was just jammed with shopping carts was now completely vacant. Danny didn’t seem to notice: he was harmonizing a Danny original that echoed throughout the store, while bouncing up and down to the beat of his tune. Bouncy bounce. Bouncy bounce.

I picked him up out of the shopping cart once we wheeled our way to the restrooms. I felt the slickness on my arm and I knew, shit just got real. With a diaper in my mouth and a package of wipes under my chin, I carried him through the restroom door by his armpits. There was poop EVERYWHERE. This wasn’t an adorable widdle baby shart. This was a stage five massive volcanic butt eruption, with brown lava spewing out the back of his diaper and up the back of his shirt, nearly reaching the back of his neck. As most experienced parents know, this kind of poop is infectious, so by this point my hands, arms and jacket were also covered in toddler butt lava.

Being the awesome mom that I am, I was completely unprepared, so after cleaning him up, I just dressed him in his winter coat and jeans and quarantined his soiled shirt and my poo-smeared jacket in a plastic shopping bag. I paid for our groceries (the poor cashier couldn’t check her smelly customers out quick enough) and strapped a very happy, albeit shirtless Danny, in his car seat and brought my angelic toddler volcano home.

I offer a heartfelt thank you to the onlookers in the bathroom who offered moral support when it was needed most. It was encouraging to hear that toddlers eventually grow into independent adults and that Danny will be able to wipe his own ass one day. One day. Unfortunately, that day was not yesterday.

P.S. Rot in hell, Murphy’s Law.

 

 

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