Archive for the ‘motherhood’ Category

Motherhood Has Made Me Gross and Weird- September 28, 2015

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Before I became a mother I found gross things gross. I wasn’t squeamish about too much, but I was repulsed by the repulsive as most normal people are. During birthing class with my first child I couldn’t stand the childbirth videos that showed the mother kissing the baby with afterbirth all over it. I thought, “Ugh! Come on! Let the nurse do her job and clean that up before you put your mouth on it!”

Then I birthed a baby of my own and kissed her fresh and wet without hesitation. I’m quite certain the cord was still attached when my lips met her shiny forehead. I didn’t know it then, but that was the beginning of lowering my grossness threshold. Poop on onesies and smeared boogers naturally became a part of parenthood along with car seats and knowledge of Disney Junior programming. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer in showering and good grooming, but yucky stuff has just became less of a big deal. Drop a cracker? 5 second rule. Baby poop on your elbow? Wash it off and move on.

Last week something I did made me realize how bad it has become. My son got his cast off. After nearly four weeks in what we dubbed the “Hulk arm,” a technician used a scary saw to cut off the his green cast. I held him and held my breath as the saw went through the plaster, or whatever material casts are made of these days. I didn’t breathe not only because I wanted to hold still enough that my baby didn’t get cut, but also because I didn’t want to inhale the scent of rancid toddler cast. You can imagine how icky that thing was. Keeping a child under age 2 clean is a task in and of itself, but a toddler in a cast?! The bread bag on his arm in the bathtub only went so far. His cast got moisture and grit in any number of crevices at his wrist and elbow. Poor little guy. I cringed at the open blisters and sores that had made spots on his skin raw. I hated seeing the atrophy at his wrist. In my opinion his arm still looked a little crooked, but I’m not an orthopedic, so I don’t know any more about bones than what a game of “Operation” taught me. (The charley horse is the toughest to remove. No, it’s not the wishbone. Don’t start that argument with me.) The tech threw the cast in the trash.

Wait, he didn’t even ask me if I wanted to keep it. Do people keep casts? I feel like people keep those little baby casts when babies have crooked feet, right? My sister kept her cast when she broke her foot in middle school. Wait. All her friends had signed it, though. Come to think of it, I thought that it was kind of gross that that thing sat in a plastic bag in her closet. Ew. Right. I don’t need the cast. That’s gross. The tech left us to wait as he got a lighter and washable brace for my son’s arm.

That’s when things got strange. The little guy was entertained by my phone as I wandered over to the trash can and peered in. There it was. That tiny green cast. I thought about how his arm would never be that tiny again and how one day I’d forget he was ever that small. Sappy, yes. Not that unusual though. I’m his mother, of course I feel sentimental about odd things, but what I did next was over the top.

I picked the damn thing up out of the trash and held it. Then, making sure no one was looking, I kissed it goodbye. I KISSED IT! I pulled a piece of garbage out of the can and TOUCHED IT WITH MY MOUTH! What was wrong with me?! It’s trash! Granted, the cast was on the top of the trash in relatively innocuous looking wastebasket, but it’s garbage nonetheless. It stinks! I stood in a doctors office with my son, cuddling medical waste.

I came to my senses and put it back in the waste basket before going to checkout at the front desk. I was like, “Heh, heh. So funny. I heard people keep old casts. So gross, right!?” The receptionist replied, “Oh, we have people keep them all the time. It’s not unusual.” Validation. That’s all I needed. Validation for my gross need to keep that thing. I requested the staff retrieve it from the trash for me. They wrapped it up and brought it out. I gratefully tucked it in the stroller and got out of there before they could identify me as the freak I am.

Motherhood has made me so weird and so, so gross.

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My Toddler Fell Into The Pool Yesterday- July 3, 2015

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

My toddler fell into the pool yesterday.

He’s okay. Everything is fine. It was not as dramatic as that sentence may lead you to believe. I think that’s part of the reason it was so scary. It was such an ordinary scene. Such a quick incident.

In a nightmare I had last summer when my son was a baby he went under water in the pool. In the dream I couldn’t reach him. He slowly sunk deeper beyond my reach. I heard my own screams and my daughter’s screams as she swam beside me, begging me to reach her brother. It was wildly dramatic and frightening. I woke startled and upset. It was awful.

Yesterday was nothing like my nightmare. It was a typical Thursday morning. I toted my little ones with a stroller full of stuff into the pool. My daughter had her group swimming lessons or “Junior Swim Team” class. This left me wrangling the wild little bull that is my 19 month-old. It’s an hour of entertaining toddlers who can’t go in the pool until class is over. He whined to get out of the stroller when he saw his little friend. They threw toys in the shallow end of the pool. They ran. The other mothers and I caught them and told them not to run. The class was going on in the lanes, dare I say “swimmingly.” I took my little swimmer to the bathroom while another mother watched my son. We came back. Everything was fine. I assured my impatient little guy it wouldn’t be too much longer before he could get in the pool too.

Well, you could say he got in the pool.

I was standing RIGHT THERE. I was outside the water at the shallow end, watching my daughter in her lane. My son was right by my leg, near the edge of the pool. I watched my daughter with her instructor as I turned to put something on the stroller. I don’t remember what it was. My phone, my drink, my sunscreen. Something. I had something in my hand. I walked three steps to set it down. That’s when I heard the splash.

I turned and saw him flip over in the water and his head pop up above the surface. I pulled him out so quickly I barely remember it. I grabbed him tight and took him over to a chair. He screamed and cried. He was scared and mad that he had water in his nose. I wrapped him in a towel and held him until he calmed down. I looked around and saw some sympathetic, knowing looks from parents. I saw some relieved looks from lifeguards. I eventually avoided all their gazes, worried I was being judged as a bad mother.

I felt awful. It took me awhile to calm down. It took him no time at all. He wanted to get off my lap right away and run to the other toddlers who didn’t have mothers who let them fall in the pool.

This was my brain:

“What if he had hit his head?! He was like, a foot from the pool steps. We should’ve joined a pool with one of those endless edges. I think he had been reaching for a toy, the toy I let him throw in the empty shallow end because he was having so much fun. I never should have let him throw toys in the pool. This is why we rented a beach house with no pool on vacation last week. Was I watching the class for too long and not paying enough attention to him? Did I have my phone? Had I been looking at it? Someone texted me earlier. Another mom had borrowed my sunscreen. When did she hand it back to me? Was it right then? What did I set in the stroller?!? WHY COULD I NOT REMEMBER THESE BASIC THINGS!?!”

There is one thing I did right. He had his life jacket/floaty thing on 45 minutes before the pool was open for us to swim. That was during most of the class while we waited. I like to put it on him right when we get there for this exact reason. He has a Puddle Jumper. Some parents don’t like the Puddle Jumper because it tips kids forward a bit, putting their faces in the water, but it has worked for us.

puddle jumper

This was right after he fell in.

I worried that somehow a flotation device would hinder and delay the kids’ swimming. I heard that it was bad to let them use them because they become dependent on them. I read about how they may not understand that they don’t have it on and they’ll go running in the pool even if they don’t have it on. Blah. Blah. Blah. Whatever. His head popped up above the surface instantly today. That’s all I needed to see to know he’s wearing his Puddle Jumper the second we get to the pool.

Funny thing. After he fell in, he couldn’t wait to start jumping in the pool to me when it was time to swim. He had more confidence and did not feel the need to cling to me while we were in the water.

I am still beating myself up. I’m still replaying those three seconds in my head. I’m still thanking God he didn’t hit his head. Thanking God it wasn’t worse. I keep imagining both kids drowning. It sucks. We got back in the water. I was still shaken, but I didn’t want the kids to see that. I didn’t want this to make them afraid of the water. Next week I will bring some games and toys to play with further away from the pool. I’ll bring more snacks to see if I can keep him strapped in the stroller longer. Lord knows I’ll put him in his Puddle Jumper and watch him even closer so that a quick accident with little consequence will never become my tragic nightmare.

Please be safe this summer!

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Mama’s Water- May 11, 2015

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Since becoming a mother and my children got big enough to be interested in eating and drinking things other than milk, my water is never mine. I try to drink a lot of water. I keep bottles and cups with me all the time. My children cry and beg for a sip of my water. Henry just screams, “Ice!” Charlotte sometimes asks for sips, or just takes it. They chew my straw. They put their grubby little hands in it. They back wash into it. It’s gross.

I got a cute water bottle from a friend for Mother’s Day. I announced that “This weekend, my water is mine! It’s my Mother’s Day present! Ya’ll are not drinking my water all weekend!” I just wanted a cup all my own. No preschool ickiness. No snotty baby germs. Please!

That lasted for about 12 hours. I caved. They climbed on my lap and begged to share sips from the pink straw. They took it from my hands, shook it around and splashed cold drops on their clothes. Charlotte took a drink, “Your water is the best, Mama!”

Sigh. I thought of all the times I took my mother’s food or drink and she let me have it. I stole fries off her plate at the seafood restaurant we took her to yesterday. She let me. She didn’t say anything. That’s the kind of selfless thing mothers do, even if they want to be selfish on “their day.”

I think these pictures perfectly sum up my life and Mother’s Day 2015.

Mothers Day 2015

 

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Confessions of a Car Hoarder- 04-17-15

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

I am sharing with you now a great weakness and constant source of shame in my life. This is my car on a Thursday. Oh, full disclosure, this is the clean car my husband left on Monday. Never mind my actual SUV, the one I destroy drive most weeks when he’s not away on business.

car hoarder

My husband calls me a “car hoarder.” At the end of a week, my SUV feels like a vehicular landfill. It’s like a dirty old purse on wheels. Crumbs, crumpled receipts, granola bar wrappers, Hot Wheels, jackets, muddy socks, nearly dried lip gloss tubes and empty wipes packages litter this rolling shrine to my perpetual mediocrity.

I will say, it is SLIGHTLY better now that I don’t have a breast pump in there all the time. Occasionally it’s become a point of contention in our marriage. My mom has even said she doesn’t like to ride with me. I see the looks on the faces of the preschool teachers when we go through carpool. They help my child out of her Goldfish encrusted car seat and watch her stumble over toys that have become buried on the floor for at least two weeks. That’s next to the half-filled water bottle graveyard. Sometimes I squeak out a meek “Excuse our mess!” I cringe whenever someone helps me load something in my car.

That’s when they see my shame. They see my nastiest, sloppy habit. Our house is nice. It’s not pristine by any means. A 4-year-old and 1-year-old live here, but it’s not terrible. But my car…it has always been a problem. In college I drove an old 1992 Toyota Camry. My sister always said I “smelled like my car.”

I see moms with their immaculate minivans and sparkling SUV’s. How do they do it? I do clean it out, sometimes. At least every other week I have to overhaul and take everything out. I have reflected on this flaw and have figured out why my car becomes an auto wasteland every week.

  • We are always in the car- We are out the door every morning. I like to consider myself an “In The Car Mom” instead of a “Stay At Home Mom.” Oh! Look out Twitter! I’m gonna start #ITCM. Oh, that’s already been taken by a seemingly fine international educational institution. Never mind.
  • We eat in the car- I only let the 1-year-old eat the applesauce pouches in the car for fear of choking, but the 4-year-old can down an Egg McMuffin or some Chick-Fil-A Icedream in the good ol’ Peg Perego Convertible seat any time. I half-heartedly scold her for tossing the spoon on the floorboard when she’s done. What can I say to her? I know it lands on car mat where empty Starbucks cups go to die. She knows it too.
  • I let my kids take toys in the car- I try to hurry them out the door and I hear, “Wait! I gotta get my My Little Pony-Sofia The First-book-ball-figurines-or-whatever! Please! I just want to play with them in the car!”
  • I don’t take everything out everyday- When we pull in the garage in the afternoon after preschool, a workout, errands, lunch, pickup and a play date, my kids are wiped. I drag them in, often hungry and tired. I grab my keys, my phone, the baby and the kid. I leave the rest. We tumble into the house only to find a dog ready to be let out before they run to the pantry for a snack. Unless there are groceries in the car, I rarely go back out there.

I guess I’m writing this to hold myself accountable. This is my confession that will hopefully spur me to clean up my automobile act. I’m getting my stuff out of the car each night. Starting tomorrow.

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Pajamas: Why Kids Need More P.J.’s- January 7, 2015

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

I was with a group of moms recently when someone asked for “practical advice” for a first-time mother. This woman was compiling ideas for an “advice book” or something for a baby shower to give to the mom-to-be. Practical advice. Okay. Advice on diapers and milk supply went around the group. I suddenly blurted out, “Pajamas! Buy more pajamas than you think you need.”

Everyone paused and looked at me. One said, “Oh yeah. Totally.”

Right now I am literally going to air my dirty laundry. Take a look, this is the inside of my washing machine this week before I ran it.

pajamas in the washing machine

These are just the pajamas that are visible. Every load of laundry I do has at least one set of pajamas in it. Think about it. What is your kid often wearing when they do the following?

  • Leak through their diaper
  • Wet the bed
  • Puke
  • Get a bloody nose
  • Eat pancakes with syrup
  • Eat popcorn and chocolate milk while watching a movie
  • Smear chocolate candy from their Easter basket or Christmas stocking on them

That’s right! Their pajamas! My mom asked me what I should get the kids for Christmas. “They both need pajamas,” I replied. My daughter got some Hello Kitty pajamas and (shocker) some “Frozen” pajamas. That’s another thing. Are you a mom who hates tacky character shirts for kids? Well, let them get their Lightning McQueen-Dora-Ninja Turtles-Doc McStuffins-Sponge Bob fix with pajamas! You’ll get the satisfaction knowing your kid will likely barf and pee on the tackiness. The satisfaction will wane when you realize it’s just more laundry. Here’s to more sleep!

Charlotte and Henry in pajamas

Side Note: I used to be a mom that didn’t like tacky character t-shirts. That ship sailed when the S.S. Princess Everything docked at our house awhile back.

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