Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cutsey-wootsy phrasey-poos

Four days since my last post, wow. I know it looks like I've been slacking, but I promise I haven't. Another little facet of my life is that I run an etsy shop ( and travel around to craft shows on weekends that I can to sell my wares. (Doesn't that make me sound old-fashioned? "sell my wares.") Anyway, that's my contribution to the family as a stay-at-home-mom. I make earrings and headbands, and I sell them online or at craft shows. Well, in the past four days I've made and listed forty earrings and/or headbands. It's been hectic, and I got distracted. I'm sorry.

Back to the show!

I don't follow many blogs for the same reason I don't look at other crafters' jewelry shops if I can help it - I don't want to be accused of cribbing. But there IS one blog that I follow religiously, and I even pariticipate in an online discussion about it. It's the blog of a pagan grifter who makes all sorts of rediculous claims, including that she is married to certain gods and that Freddie Mercury comes to her as a spirit and refers to himself as "Auntie Freddie."

Now. I have absolutely nothing against paganism. As a matter of fact, through the discussion thread I've been a part of for several months as we've followed this blog, my perception of people who are pagans has changed. They're just folks like anyone else, and just like in every religion, there are salt-of-the-earth type people and there are kooks. What I DO have a problem with is someone being a grifter and robbing people blind through manipulation.

But there's something about this person that the others have a problem with, and it always makes me squirm. The writer of the blog we follow uses words like "yummy" and "tummy." When the other participants are railing about how obnoxious those words are, I always shrink a little. I use those words.

Which brings me to my point. When you have children, No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, cutesy words and phrases are going to seep their way into your everyday vocabulary.

Before I was even pregnant with my oldest son, I swore I wasn't going to be one of those moms who did babytalk to my child. I felt like it wasn't good for their development and I told myself I wouldn't be a babbling fool. For the most part, I stuck to it. I used adult words instead of nonsensical words and avoided babbling. But yummy, tummy, butt-butt, and other various cutesy bullshit worked its way in there. I'm still not sure how. But I found out how deeply it had entrenched itself one night in a most humiliating fashion.

There was a period of time after my oldest, Andy, was a year old that I was single. And being single, I went out very occasionally. On one evening, I was out with a girlfriend, Mitzi, and I had a bit much to drink. She was driving me home, and I suddenly felt carsick. I rolled down the window to get some fresh air. She kept asking me if I was alright and I assured her that I was fine. Suddenly, though, I was not so fine and asked her to pull over the car.

"Mitzi, pull over."

"Mitzi, pull over."


Yes. I said "Quick like a bunny." To my friend. Who is an adult. Who thought it was hilarious.

But that's not all. I have a diploma (that I don't use) in medical transcription. Both of my parents are registered nurses, and my mother has been a nurse for 39 years. My entire life has been drenched in medical terminology and medical knowledge. I am not medically ignorant, not in the least. I've almost always had pleasant experiences with doctors and nurses, and I think it may be because I have at least a slight idea what I'm talking about and can use the correct terminology.

So I went to the doctor for what I thought was a gall bladder attack. My doctor came in and asked me what the problem was, and I proceeded to tell him what my symptoms were, rattling them off without putting a lot of thought into what I was saying. Then I noticed him looking at me a little funny, and I realized what had just come out of my mouth. I had just told him I was having pain not only in my upper right quadrant, but also in my tummy like I was about to have a really yucky poo.


Did I really just say that?

Oh, FFS.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rules of Possession

I went to visit my mom Thursday in my hometown, an hour away from where I live now. She was keeping my nephew, who happens to be two weeks younger than my 2-year-old. Since I was there (and I'm not there all that often anymore), my brother stopped by our mom's house to eat his lunch and see my kids. He set his food out on the counter and my nephew climbed up on the barstool next to him, dutifully. My mom gave Asher (my nephew) something to eat - even though he'd already eaten - and the two dug right in. And then I heard this very one-sided exchange...

"Asher, that's Daddy's ketchup."

"No, Asher, leave that alone, that's Daddy's ketchup."

"Asher, I said no, that's Daddy's ketchup. You have your own ketchup. Leave Daddy's ketchup alone."

(like a frustrated child) "No, Asher! That's DADDY'S ketchup!"

"Fine! Have my ketchup. I'll just use your ketchup."


And so it goes. You think something is yours, but it's not. That's what nobody told me. Once you are a parent, nothing is ever completely yours again. You must share everything or surrender it to parenthood completely.

That sounds much more dire than it actually is. It's not all horrible, but it's certainly frustrating. Let me give you another example from my own life - today at lunch.

I fixed my children's lunches, scrambled around to make sure they were fed, and cleaned up afterwards (not something I always do. I'm not the best housekeeper, to say the least.) After all was said and done,  the children were sitting in the living room quietly and happily watching Special Agent Oso and picking their toes. So I made myself a simple peanut butter & jelly sandwich then sat on the couch next to the laptop. Suddenly, they were there. And I don't just mean nearby. I mean on top of me.

Before I'd taken my first bite, Katie, my daughter, started actively pulling on my clothes and limbs, desperately trying to get into my lap. Charlie, my two-year-old, was actually on top of me making chomping sounds and trying to get to my sandwich. I let Katie take a bite first and then Charlie, and Charlie pulled a third of the sandwich back with him - apparently he has somewhere learned to rip his food like a T-Rex with a gland problem. I allowed myself a single bite, but before I had swallowed Katie had her mouth open like a baby bird and Charlie was chomping again. They each got a bite, and then I got another one. Charlie's third bite was the last of the sandwich, and he tried to take part of my finger with him (there's still a mark there.)

From the minute your child is born, the contents of your pantry and refrigerator subtly change. Where there used to be 7 types of gourmet beer, now there are 6 tiny little bottles of breastmilk. Your pantry now has 8 strained vegetables and 4 pureed fruits instead of 4 varieties of olives for that AMAZING dish you used to have time to make. As the kids get older, instead for the Kashi you like and used to eat (But seriously, does anyone like Kashi? really?), there's Cheerios, Kix and Trix. These aren't terrible changes, and they're worth it because of your little heathen angel, but they're different.

Parents, you've been there. The greedy little eyes every time you take a sip of your coke. Sticky little hands in the popcorn bowl. The baby-bird mouth when you're eating an ice cream bar. You walk away from you pop-tart and come back to crumbs. You've all been there. Tell me you've been there and I'm not just raising gluttonous little heathens. Please?

So what do we do? Well, as I see it, there's not a whole lot we CAN do. We could piss and moan, of course, but that won't do any good. Swallowing it and pretending it's the greatest thing in the world won't either. It's a big, steaming hunk of crap sometimes to have to give up part of just about every meal to your kid. As much as you love them, sometimes you want to act like them, stamping your feet and screaming - NO! That's MINE! Mine mine MINE!

My advice - find something you like and claim it as your own. Share if you want, but mark your territory and make damn sure that yours is yours. It's as good for them as it is for you, actually - kids at school don't generally walk up to each other and take bites of each others' sandwiches. As for me, I share my food with my kids all day long (obviously), but I don't share drinks. It has nothing to do with germs, it has to do with claiming something as my own. And as they get older, I'm getting better about claiming the occasional two bites of food in succession as my own.

Maybe, for their birthdays in August, I'll treat myself to three bites of cake right straight in a row.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Mommy by any other name

My two boys had speech delays. Neither of them really started talking until well after they were two, and I spent more time praying and worrying that they would never talk than I can tell you. I practiced with them, sitting in front of them in their high chairs and car seats saying things like "Say 'Mama.' Come on, baby, say 'Mama.' If you just say 'Mama,' I'll buy you a car. Come on, big boy. Come on..." To this day, I can't believe how abysmally stupid I was to offer to buy my kid a car if he had said "Mama." I mean, really.

Then, all of the sudden, they were talking. And they didn't stop. THEY JUST. DIDN'T. STOP.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Nobody ever told me that "Mommy" would ever be anything other than the most blessed word in the English language.

Raise your hands if you've seen the Family Guy skit with Stewie standing by the bed where Lois is lying, and he calls out "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Momma! Momma!" etc. until she raises up and screams "WHAT?!" right in his face.

Now raise your hands if you've had a moment (or fifty) like that.

Wow. That's a sea of hands.

I never daydreamed that the sound of my child calling my name would make me want to tear out my hair and scream "MY NAME IS NOT MOMMY, MY NAME IS ANYTHING BUT MOMMY, CALL ME JOAN. CALL ME BEULAH. CALL ME ZUUL FOR CHRISSAKE, BUT DON'T CALL ME MOMMY!!" But, alas, there are days...

"Mommy, what's for supper?"
"Mommy, Charlie took my toy!"
"Mommy, I want something to drink."
"Hey, Mommy, are you trying to be private while you go to the potty?"
"Whatcha doing, Mommy?" (this is especially grating after being asked and answered for the 84,000th time.)
"Mommy, can I _________?"
"But, Mooooommyyyyyy I don't WAAAAANNAAAA take a baaaaaath!"
"Mommy! KatieBug BREEEATHED on me!"


At the time I was practically begging my children to say "Mama," I had no inkling that I might one day be internally sobbing and begging my children to shut up. None. If you had told me that hearing "Mommy" all day every day would be like Chinese water torture, I would have pshawed you. I believed to the depths of my hopeful little soul that hearing my angelic little children say the word "Mommy" would open the heavens and cherubs would play harps and my heart would fill with love and Israelis & Palestinians would hug each other in peaceful embrace and all would just be right with the world. And, to be honest, the first couple of times they said it, it was like that. But damned if it didn't quickly turn into a word that almost is like a death knell for peace and quiet. I know now when I hear someone holler "Mommy!" from the next room, especially with that tone, shit's about to get real. Mommy'd better put on her bitch pants, here comes trouble.

And then you have moments like about 45 minutes ago, when my two-year-old came running up to me for no reason at all, caught me in a huge tacklehug, kissed me in a disgustingly messy peanut-butter coated kiss, and said "I love you too, Mommy!"

Awh, dammit. He made me love the word again.

Monday, June 18, 2012

First Post - Introductions

Hi. I'm Haley. I'm a mother to three angelic kids, ages six-and-a-half, two-and-a-half, and thirteen months. Two boys, one girl. In that order. God save me.

With my two oldest children, I had baby showers. I actually had two baby showers with my oldest son. And at all three of these showers, the conversation was the same. There was talk about breastfeeding vs. bottle-feeding, when the baby would sleep through the night, how much help or hindrance the baby's father would be, and endless, endless discussion about cutesy stuff like clothes. There were some mentions of practicalities, like diapers and gear, but on the whole, the discussion was fluff.

Like almost every other pregnant woman in the western world, the minute I was able after I found out I was pregnant, I ran to the local bookstore and got a copy of "What To Expect When You're Expecting." This covered all the gross stuff. Mucus discharge. Constipation. Leaky boobs. Okay, that's great, but what about the practical, real-life applications? I was still on my own.

My mom, a life-long nurse, was a valuable source of information for some things, like the fact that mylecon is liquid gold (seriously, it is) but on some others, I was flying blind. And very, very shortly after my oldest son was born, I found myself crying out loud, "Nobody told me about this shit at my baby shower!"

And there you have it. The premise of this blog. There are so many things that are just never told to us by mothers and nurses and doctors - either intentionally in some conspiracy of silence, or through some kind of forgetfulness virus that infects everyone who has ever had anything to do with having a baby in the history of ever. And I'm a little tired of it. My friends pop up and say, "I never had any idea it would be like this!" and I feel like a schlub, because I was sucked into forgetfulness virus thing. Well, no longer. This blog is to examine those things that are rarely said out loud, and when they are, they're whispered at playgroups. I feel confident that I am not the only person that has experienced these things. I'm damned certain that I'm not the only person that has experienced these things. I feel 100% confident that right now, somewhere, one of you is reading this thinking, "Yes! I've thought there was some kind of conspiracy, too!"

So I'm going to talk about the things that have surprised me as they've happened with my little surprises. Some of these things are going to be out-and-out funny. Some will be gross. (Come on, face it. Kids are disgusting.) Some are going to be poignant. Some may make you cry. But I'm going to do my best to put a humorous spin on things and to, above all, be honest with you and myself.

Let's get real. Because nobody told me this shit, and someone really ought to say something.