Sleeping With The Enemy

1992-07-02     You know how satisfying it is to collapse into your comfy, cozy bed after a long, hard week of chasing around little people here and there and everywhere?  You know how much you savor each and every second you get to rest your weary bones?  Well, apparently, my bed had absolutely no interest whatsoever in providing a place of serenity for my tired tush the entire weekend.  I don’t ask for much, but I count on my bed to be there for me if only just for a few hours a day.  I mean, after all, that IS its job, right?

     Typically, I absolutely L-O-V-E my bed.  It’s one of those huge, oversized kings that sits way up high, so high, in fact, that I have to take a running jump to get in the friggin’ thing.  Because of this, I ended up getting into the habit of using the base of it as a step ladder to hoist myself up there.  I vaguely remember one day last week hearing a crack as I stepped on the baseboard but just dismissed it as a normal bed creaking sound.  However, by Friday night, it became clear that it was anything but a “normal” sound.

     My hubby was gonna be late getting home, since he was doing his fantasy football draft (you know men & their fascination with all things balls).  So, by the time I had finally tucked the kids away, eaten dinner, ran the dishwasher, and folded the laundry, all I could think about doing was drifting away to dreamland.  As I was hoisting myself into bed, I heard a REALLY loud pop.  I laid my head down on my pillow and realized that I seemed to be in somewhat of a tilted position.  I got back out of bed to investigate the situation and discovered that the entire frame of the bed had popped out on my side.  The baseboard was barely even hanging there. However, I was so exhausted that I got back into bed and decided to just sleep on an angle.  When I woke up in the middle of the night, my back was completely throbbing and I felt like I was on the Tilt-A-World at an amusement park.  My husband must’ve come home at some point during my restless slumber, so I scooched him over as much as possible and slept the remainder of the night dominating his side of the bed. Luckily, he was able to fix it the next morning, so I thought for sure that Saturday night would be my night to catch up on some zzz’s.  How naive I am….

     We were out pretty late with some friends on Saturday night for dinner, so I was hoping to maybe sleep in a little on Sunday morning. The kids had started school last week, and all the excitement from first grade had completely worn them out.  Surely, they would take the opportunity to sleep in a little on Sunday morning, right? (Ha!)  As I was lying there in my big, newly repaired bed, I thought I could hear giggling somewhere in the distance.  I opened my eyes to find my kids staring me right in the face. They jumped into bed with us and immediately began squirming.  They were kicking each other and crawling under the covers and doing anything but allowing me to catch up on those zzz’s.  When I finally got them to calm down and lie still, I was briefly able to doze back off again.  Within milli-seconds of me closing my eyes, I suddenly could feel a tiny finger pushing on my left nipple and a little voice shouting, “Ding dong!  Is anybody home?” It seemed that my son thought my boob doubled as a doorbell. Well, that was the last straw, so I ended up kicking everyone out of the bed. Clearly, it was just not going to be a place of solitude for me. Like it or not, I was up and at ’em and ready to start yet another sleep-deprived day.

     I have to say that my bed has really let me down.  And here I thought we had this close-knit relationship and common understanding between us.  I make it every day, and it greets me with open arms every night.  What happened to that arrangement?  It better sort through its little linen-related crisis quickly cause I don’t know how I feel about sleeping with the enemy.

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Signs of Parenthood

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     When you become a parent, your whole world is turned upside down. What used to be sacred no longer holds the same kind of importance. Priorities change, and your focus shifts.  You learn to pick and choose your battles and let go of things that aren’t worth getting your panties all up in a bunch.  And as much as you’d like to think you aren’t just automatically catagorized as Mommy or Daddy, there are tell-tale signs and all kinds of red flags advertising that you are in fact someone’s procreator.  

     You know you’re a parent if:

  • You’ve walked around all day completely unaware that you have dried up snot on the sleeve of your left shoulder.
  • It is perfectly normal to have a pirate eye patch on the floor of your dining room.
  • Your grocery cart is filled with things like chicken nuggets and yogurt tubes.
  • You’re blaring The High School Musical soundtrack in your car without even realizing it.
  • There is a purple slingshot sitting smack dab in the middle of your kitchen table.  
  • Sleeping in to you is anything past 7:30 a.m.
  • You get excited to run an errand as long as you get to do it alone.
  • Your purse contains broken parts to REALLY old McDonald’s toys.
  • You have Webkinz tags piled up all around your computer keyboard.
  • Rainbow Goldfish are a staple in your pantry.
  • You call a penis a peeper and a vagina a hoo-hoo.
  • Juice boxes sit proudly next to the wine and beer in your fridge.
  • Time out no longer has anything to do with sports.
  • You’re like a walking TV Guide for every kid’s channel on t.v.
  • Nobody even bats an eye to the fact that there’s a pair of pink Dora underwear lying on your coffee table.
  • Caffeine is your very best friend in the whole entire world.
  • You could put together an afternoon snack with the crumbs and food remnants in your car.
  • You’d give up a pinky finger for a good, cheap babysitter.
  • Your DVD collection has everything from Pulp Fiction to Madagascar.
  • You no longer care that your blinds are covered with dust.
  • You can get up from a meal to wipe someone’s ass and go right back to eating without even a second thought.
  • Poop is always a popular topic of conversation.
  • You’ve forgotten what silence sounds like.
  • You spend WAY more time with your washing machine than you do with your friends.
  • You’re more worried about lice than you are about crabs.
  • You could doctor a boo-boo with your eyes closed.
  • You say things like boo-boo.
  • The best part of your day is when it’s over.
  • You love your little one(s) so much that your heart hurts.

Express Lane, My Ass

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     Know that checkout lane at the grocery store that clearly states “EXPRESS LANE” and that claims you should only have “10 ITEMS OR LESS“?  Yeah, you know, the one you’re supposed to be able to whiz through when you’re in a hurry and need to get in and out of the store in lightning speed?  Well, I’m wondering why they don’t just go ahead and change the sign to what it really should say — the “TOO STUPID TO COUNT THE ITEMS IN MY CART AND/OR TOO SLOW TO MOVE ANY FASTER THAN A TURTLE LANE.”

     Since I am not a plan-ahead meal planner AND because I have two VERY hungry children in my house, I am constantly making a bazillion trips to the grocery store.  I usually only need to get a few items, so I hardly ever even grab a cart.  Instead, I opt for one of those little carrying baskets (which, by the way, would it really kill them to actually clean those nasty-ass freaking things every once in a blue moon?!  I swear I’ve seen actual diseases being created on the bottoms of those things.)  By the time I’m ready to check out, my little basket is usually jam-packed and quite heavy, and I’m more than ready to dump all my crap on the conveyor belt.  (Note, though, that my dirty little basket NEVER has any more than ten items in it, because I actually count them to be sure of this!)

     So, when I’m standing there in the EXPRESS LANE with my ridiculously heavy load of crap in my arms, and the person ahead of me is oblivious to the fact that she has 900 ITEMS in her cart, it’s not gonna sit too well with me.  Honestly, can she not read, or can she not count?  I’d be perfectly happy to count them for her and to point out that there are twenty other not-so-happy customers waiting in the fast lane behind me.  I was so impressed last week when a cashier actually told the idiot woman with the overflowing cart in front of me that she had four times the amount of items that would qualify her to be in the EXPRESS LANE.  The woman was all offended and huffing and puffing as she exited the lane, but the rest of the line practically erupted into a cheer of “Hell yeah, lady, take that!”

     Then there are the people who try to use the quick checkout lanes who are anything BUT quick.  Sure, they may have less than ten items in their cart, but they move about as slow as molasses going uphill in winter.  If you’re gonna be all indecisive and add more stuff to your order that’s all the way at the back of the store and then ask for a price check on an item that’s clearly already priced, even though the patient lady behind you with her twins is about to lose her flipping mind from having to referee two very tired children who are about to tear each other apart while standing in a lane that’s not even close to moving, then you might want to think twice about declaring yourself an EXPRESS customer.  It’s just a hunch I have.

     Maybe the grocery stores should also include a definition of the word EXPRESS on the sign in that lane, so that people can understand that “express” does not mean take your own sweet time.  And maybe they should have a talking conveyor belt with a flashing siren that totally calls you out if you put more than ten items on it.  I’m just full of ideas.  I’ll think of anything that’ll help me get in and out of that place faster.  Believe you me, I don’t wanna be there any longer than I have to be, especially when it’s full of a bunch of people with their heads up their asses who can’t count or move out of my way.

The Meet and Greet

149113391v7_240x240_Front     Today was the Meet & Greet with all the teachers at school, and my kids were totally psyched about meeting their mysterious new first grade teachers. I wondered if they’d even go to sleep last night from all the built-up excitement.  We’ve been hearing little things here and there about their teachers from kids who were formerly in their classrooms, so we were all anxious to finally set off to see the wizard (so to speak).  

     My daughter was ready and impatiently waiting by the front door of our house WAY before I was even close to walking out the door with them this morning.  The fact that it was raining did nothing to hinder anyone’s spirits, but when we finally headed out, my daughter was suddenly in a tizzy about her dress getting dirty on the walk to school. Apparently, she wanted to make a good first impression or something.  I had to remind myself that this was the same child who was playing with grasshoppers and dead cicadas just the day before, and now she wanted to get all prissy on me?!  Of course, my son was more interested in stomping in every single rain puddle he could find to see just how dirty he could get his shorts — yep, he’s all boy.

     When we finally reached the school, I wished I would’ve grabbed some Tylenol to stash in my purse (and perhaps even a flask).  It was about two hundred degrees inside the school, and the noise level was almost deafening.  Kids were running from room to room and parents were having to practically shout to be able to hear each other.  It was pure pandemonium. The few moms that I tried to talk to seemed just as frazzled as me.  I wanted to find our new classrooms quickly and escape some of the madness taking place in the halls.

     I was then faced with my usual mother of multiples dilemma — which teacher do we meet first?  My daughter was insistent that we go to her classroom first, while my son was adamant that we go to his. My daughter’s was the first room we passed, so we ended up in hers. Any time my kids meet teachers for the first time, they immediately snap into shy mode.  I can’t get them to shut up at home to save my life, but we meet someone new, and I suddenly become a pole behind which they want to hide.  We checked out the room and found my daughter’s desk and then moved onto my son’s classroom to meet his teacher.

     We then had to work our way through the hallway hysteria once again to locate their much-dreamed-about lockers.  I’m quite certain that my kids think the single most appealing thing about first grade is the fact that they get to store all their crap in their own personal locker.  Consequently, we had to stand there and open and close their new lockers no less than five hundred times each before they were satisfied and ready to call it a day.

     I was so relieved to finally exit the building and breathe in some fresh (and quiet) air.  Don’t get me wrong, I totally get it — everyone is excited and eager to start a new year, and so am I.  However, I just wish it wasn’t so much like walking into Mardi Gras — at least you get beads in New Orleans….

Back To School

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     When the packets with the class lists first came in the mail, I got a big lump in my throat.  And when I read through all the welcome information from the teachers, I thought I might cry. How is it possible that my babies will be starting FIRST GRADE tomorrow?!  The thought of finally being an empty nester during the day made me feel a bit weepy.  I wondered if I might get a little lonely without the constant sounds of my little companions.  And what on earth would I do with all that free time on my hands?  (Heh!)  But, then, my real life sucker punched me in the gut, and my kids started in with their end-of-the-summer screaming and yelling and pushing and shoving, and I realized that I very well might just go off the deep end if everybody doesn’t get back into some kind of groove as quickly as humanly possible.

    And I know I’m not alone in this sense of urgency.  Everywhere we go, I can see it on the faces of every mother we encounter.  We are all ready for our kids to get the hell out of our hair for a few hours at the very least. Our sanity is counting on it.  When we were at the beach yesterday, a few of the other moms and I were just sitting there in awe at the sight before us.  Kids were running in little packs here and there and everywhere like a bunch of wild banshees.  It looked like a scene straight out of Lord of the Flies.  I half expected a group of them to come tearing through at any minute with a sacrificial pig on a stick.  You could just feel an uncontrollable hyper energy in the air.  I even made my kids leave the playground area at one time because the behavior that I saw being demonstrated by the older kids there was borderline savage.  There was no doubt in my mind that someone would end up hurt.

     And it seems that every mom I know has succumbed to wearing her black and white striped uniform on a daily basis as the summer winds to an end. Sibling rivalry is at its all-time high, and brothers and sisters are on the verge of outright killing each other.  Everyone is overly tired and just plain bored with each other.  As much as my kids would like to think I can, I simply cannot be a 24/7 entertainment director.  I’ve got too much other crap to do!  I need someone else to step up to the plate and provide my kids with distractions so that they don’t beat the tar out of each other.  

     The bottom line is that kids, just like adults, need routine — we can all be better organized and accomplish a whole lot more if we know what to expect.  With us being gone for a week to visit the grandparents and then my husband’s stupid “staycation” last week, things could not be more chaotic around here. I honestly don’t know if I’m coming or going half the time.  We need more stability and order up in here, and thank God I can count on the teachers to help out in that department for the next nine or so months.  My bag of tricks is empty, and I’ve got nothing left up my sleeve.  It’s time for the reinforcements, baby.  Ring that damn tardy bell already!

**As a side note, don’t you wonder why all the moms in the cartoon up above have ENORMOUS knockers??!!

Crappy Kids’ Clothes

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     Every time I go shopping for the kids’ back to school clothes, I come home aggravated and disgusted.  Everything out there is either the wrong size, way too freaking expensive, slutty-looking, very cheaply made, or just plain fugly. Honestly, who comes up with some of these shiteous styles?  It really makes me wish I had the money to start my own kids’ clothing line with good quality clothes that don’t cost a small fortune.

     One of the biggest complaints I have with the kids’ clothing that’s out there today is the sizing.  It is almost impossible to find pants that actually fit right.  They’re either fifty miles too long or too tight in the waist. Now, I have to admit that the adjustable waistband was a pretty ingenious concept.  It has made a world of difference for my stick figure son.  The child can eat like a horse, but he is so flipping skinny!  I always have to pull the adjustable waistbands as tight as those suckers can go just to keep him from losing his drawers.  It’s too bad they don’t make adjustable lengths too. Then we wouldn’t have to roll them up ten thousand times to avoid tripping.  None of the shirts seemed to be sized appropriately either. Some of the supposed “size 6” shirts for little girls look like half shirts and some of the supposed “size 6-7” shirts for boys look like dresses.  What gives?!

     Another issue I have is the quality and price of kids’ clothing.  I was at Nordstrom yesterday in the little girls’ section and found a cute bold-printed dress that I thought my daughter might like.  When I pulled it off the rack, I realized that the thing was as thin as a piece of paper!  And it cost eighty bucks!  I’m sorry, but I’m not gonna pay that kind of ridiculous money for something that doesn’t stand a chance in hell of surviving multiple washings.  I then perused the jeans section and came across a pair of True Religion jeans.  I love True Religion (for me), and they were so cute and so tiny.  However, my jaw about hit the floor when I saw that this eensy weensy bit of denim cost a whopping $120!  Who in their right mind pays that kind of money for a pair of jeans their kid will most likely outgrow or completely destroy before the end of the season?!  It’s just crazy, if you ask me.  

     The other thing that really frustrates me is that it seems that so many of the kids’ clothing chains try way too hard to keep up with the latest, greatest trends.  I’m sorry, but the same things that might look o.k. on teenagers or adults do not necessarily work for little kids.  I’ve already ranted about my issues with skinny jeans for kids, but the same could be said for half the other crap that’s hanging on the racks.  Does my six year old daughter really need to wear a see-through minidress to first grade?  And does she really need to sport a ripped up jean skirt that barely even covers her ass cheeks? Why would I want to dress her like a hooker and parade her around town? Some of these designers should really be ashamed of themselves. Not only are half of the designs sleazy-looking and skanky, but they are also just downright U-G-L-Y!

     I don’t think it’s asking too much for me to want to dress my daughter like a little girl and my son like a little boy.  And I don’t think I’m crazy for wanting the clothes I buy them to be affordable but not fall completely apart in the washing machine.  Has the fashion industry lost sight of what it’s like to be a parent?  It seems like they’re too busy trying to cater to the celebrity kids and have forgotten about the average everyday family. Maybe those richie-rich people can afford to pay an arm and a leg for their kids to wear something once and then throw it away, but most people don’t have that same luxury (or that same stupidity, for that matter.)  I think it’s time for the fashion moguls to re-evaluate the crap they’re mass-producing.  Don’t you?

Backyard Movie Night

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     Last night the hubs and I decided to create a backyard movie theater for our kids.  I always thought the drive-in movie was such a cool concept, and since we don’t have anything like that anywhere near us, we decided to get creative. Sure, they may not have had the whole experience of watching it in the comfort of a cozy car, but they had blankets and lawn chairs and their very own personal servant (AKA, me!).  What more could a kid ask for?! 

     We started by taking a white sheet and securing it to the kids’ swingset.  I had gathered up a bunch of clothespins to attach the sheet but later found out that my husband had actually nailed the friggin’ thing into the frame. (Guess we won’t be using that sheet anymore….)  We hooked up a laptop computer to a projector that my husband had borrowed from work, and voila — the theater came to life!  I’m embarrassed to admit that we have about five thousand kids’ movies from which to pick, so deciding on the night’s big feature was a bit of a challenge.  After a bit of arguing, the kids eventually decided on Ice Age.

     They were bouncing off the bushes waiting for it to finally get dark outside, so we actually ended up starting the movie before the sun really even went down.  Their little adirondack chairs were positioned just so, and they nestled in with a big blanket that they shared between the two of them.  We could’ve shown them one super-long informercial and they could’ve cared less. They were just so pumped to have their own personal show, and really, who wouldn’t be??!!  I popped some corn and delivered it to their little seats as they sat and stared in awe at the big screen before them.  

     Apparently, word must’ve spread throughout the neighborhood, because before we knew it, one of their little friends had popped over and made himself right at home next to them in the front (and only) row.  I felt kinda bad for my hubby cause I know he really was hoping it would be a family thing, and then we ended up with an extra kid.  Other neighbors passed by here and there in the hopes that we might invite their kids over as well, and who could really blame them for wanting free babysitting? Fortunately, though, no one else ended up crashing the party.  The three kids who were in our little audience were in seventh heaven.  I ended up popping four bags of microwave popcorn and made no less than five trips back and forth between the house and the kids to deliver the snacks and the drinks.  I couldn’t help but think that I would be getting at least some kind of tip if, in fact, I were waitressing at a drive-in theater.  Like usual, though, I had to just chalk it up to being part of my bazillion responsibilities in the world’s worst-paying occupation.

     The kids loved the whole outdoor movie experience so much that we decided to have a neighborhood backyard movie night some weekend with all their friends once school starts.  Who knew that a sheet and a projector could actually keep our kids out of our hair for a couple of hours?!  The night was a huge success and ended on an even higher note.  The hubs decided to camp out in the backyard with the kids in the tent, even though it ended up pouring down rain once the kids had finally passed out.  I tried to talk him into bringing them into their dry beds inside the house, but he refused.  So I gave up trying to convince him because that meant that Mama got a snore-free night of sleep in a bed all to herself.  Giddy up! Backyard Movie Night rocks!