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Leave Your Germs at the Door

These things just happen to me.  I can’t explain it.

When I had my first baby, and I became a Stay at Homer, I found myself home all alone quite a bit, feeling really blue.  My mom gently pushed me to join the local Mom’s Club chapter.  “Ugh,” I whined, “I don’t need new friends,” and I threw myself on the couch, still in my jammies, cuz that’s how I rolled.  It was probably 2pm.  But, yes, I DID need new friends: mommy friends.  Because as much as I wanted to pretend I was still up for gallivanting around with my college girlfriends, staying out past 9pm with them (gasp!) was not so easy when I knew I had a date with a baby at 3am.  My girlfriends weren’t home all day, up to their elbows in poop stained onesies, and for some reason they didn’t want to talk about poop (strange?) so finding some gals who lived near me AND were Moms AND were also home all day changing diapers sounded like the sane thing to do.

I emailed the local chapter, got an email back, (too quickly if you ask me, because, really, I wasn’t positive that I REALLY wanted to join), but I went to a meeting and met some fabulous women, with kids, who lived in my neighborhood.  Yay.  Mom was right.  We’d have play dates and official meetings (sure I’ll be the Secretary!) and park days and make-baby-food days, and walking days, and gossiping days (we NEED our gossip, need it darn it).

Jump to a couple of years later, and I now have a 2 year old and an 8 month old.  We are having fun with our Mom’s Club friends, and it was a Friday: Play date day!  Now, we had had a few incidences during play dates with kids flooding bathrooms and smearing poop, and while we forgave, we’d never really forget, so I swore my kids would NEVER make unnecessary messes at other people’s houses.  My kids would NEVER.  never.  So, the play date was in my neighborhood, far enough that it would take 3 minutes to drive, not including the time needed to load and unload the kids into the car seats, but close enough that I could walk it in 10 minutes or so.  My calculations are most likely off, but whatever, you get the gist.  It was a beautiful day so I loaded up the jogging stroller with 2 kids and all of our gear and our snack (every play date is a potluck!), and feeling super successful, strolled out.

We arrived at our destination incident free.  I unloaded the stroller, my 2 year old ran into our friend’s house, I picked up my 8 month old, and she threw up on me.  Just a little bit though, so I thought maybe the walk was too bumpy for her, no big deal, I figured it was just glorified spit-up.  I walked into the house, laughed it off with my mommy friends, and wiped off my shirt.  But my shirt still smelled.  Smelled bad.  And my 8 month old was clingy and warm.  Not good signs.  But I pretended everything was FINE.  just fine.  I was not going to be the mom who brought the sick kid to the play date.  (This denial would come into play again at her 1st birthday party, and I am still apologizing for the stomach flu that went home with the goody bags.  AND taking credit for the weight everyone lost.  You’re welcome.)

So I am sitting in my friend’s cozy living room, in her comfy leather arm chair.  Leather.  Oops, I better move.  So I walk into the kitchen, holding my 8 month old, standing over the tile, not quite sure what to do or who to tell.  As I get distracted and start to join in on the latest gossip (her neighbor did what?!?  that lady is crazy!), my baby girl vomits uncontrollably all over my shirt, my hair, my pants, the tile.  The other Moms kicked into action and grabbed paper towels and helped me as best as they could, while trying to stay cootie free and ushering all the other kids out of the kitchen.  And all I could think about was getting my kids out of there and going home.  But I didn’t have my car.  Oh geez, I only had the stroller.  Walking home with a puking kid?  Yay.  And while I had 4 changes of clothes for the kids in the diaper bag, I had nothing for me.  This was going to be an awkward smelly walk home.  But my friends had another idea, and while one Mom friend held my daughter (saint!) I suddenly found myself in my friend’s shower, in my clothes, trying to wash puke down the drain.  Yuck.  Look who’s making the mess now.  I was so mortified.  And then it got a little worse.

As I turned the shower off, standing there in my soaking wet clothes, wondering if this was one of my better decision making moments, my friend kindly tossed some clean clothes of her own into the bathroom.  Bless her heart, but she’s about 6 sizes smaller than me.  Walk home in wet clothes?  Or walk home in what should be sweats and a T-shirt but on ME will be booty pants and a clubbing top?  I shivered.  And my shirt still smelled.  So I went with the dry booty clothes.  My face probably totally red, I walked fast out of the bathroom, grabbed my kids and tried to get the heck out of dodge.  But another friend had a different idea.  She offered to drive me home to get my car.  I took the offer and we drove the few minutes to my house to get my car.  I ran in my house, peeling the gifted outfit off of me as fast as I could, threw on some pajama like outfit, got into my car and went back to get my kids, hoping that my daughter hadn’t puked again.  In the end, she was fine, but by the time I got my little circus home, I wanted to cry and sleep and eat a box of cookies all at the same time.

I never walked to a play date again.



Nap Time in Our House

Nap time.  Yes, I get a nap.  My naps are between 5:30am and 6:15am.  The baby wakes at 5:15am, I feed him, put him back to bed, and then I get another 45ish minutes of sort-of-sleep.  Still jealous?  Moving on.


When you have your first baby, after you get over the shock of having a baby and the crazy need to stare at them when they are sleeping, napping for the parents is so easy.  The baby is sleeping?  Well then so will I!  And you have the opportunity for a 2, maybe 3, hour nap.  There are no older kids who need you to help them with the potty, no older kids who forget their inside voices, no older kids who think jumping off of the couch won’t create the loudest noise on earth.  But don’t forget to turn off your phones, turn on the noise machine, tell the dog to be quiet, leave a note on the front door that says “if you even think about knocking i will call the police”, and make sure no one within a 5 house radius is mowing their lawn.  I once went outside and yelled at my next door neighbors for talking in their driveway.  It was nap time.

When my first baby was a few weeks old, we got into the routine of baby up at 7am, eat, watch The OC on Netflix, baby eat again at 9am, and then he’d fall asleep.  And we’d be on the couch, all snuggly, and most importantly, the remote would be within my grasp to turn down the volume on The OC. (I watched the entire series during the first few months of his life.  But for some reason, the theme song does nothing for him now.  You can do that.  Watch the shows YOU want to watch when you have 1 baby.)  So I’d weigh my options: put the baby in his crib and risk waking him by tripping on my walk down the hall or stepping on a noisy toy, OR just stay where we are and I can sleep too.  So the lazy mom in me would pick option #2 and I’d bunker down on the couch, TV off.  But wouldn’t you know it the phone would ring or a family member would knock on the door or that fork that was precariously balancing on the edge of the sink would fall and clatter and MAKE NOISE.  And nap time was over.  And I’d swear to myself “next time, I am putting baby IN his crib with the noise machine ON, and everything else OFF.”

When our second baby arrived, we also had a 2 year old.  I learned my lesson with my first baby, so when it was nap time for baby #2, she went right into her crib, noise machine on, door shut, phones off, note on door, dog muzzled.  And my 2 year old and I would snuggle on the couch, turn on Sesame Street, and we’d have quiet time.  Sometimes my 2 year old would fall asleep and then so would I and the whole house would be napping and it was fabulous.  And then came baby #3.

When our third baby arrived, we had a 5 year old and a 3 year old.   There is not a noise machine loud enough to block the noises this family makes now.  During the baby’s precious nap yesterday, an entire plastic box of 40 markers crashed to the floor from the kitchen table.  And I managed to crash into and knock down a folding table.   That nap lasted about 10 minutes.

Not counting the naps the baby takes in the car, because we are ALWAYS in the car, his best naps obviously occur when both kids are at school.  So here’s my routine with baby #3:  Up at 6:15am, feed him, put him in the living room in front of 154 toys, wake up other kids, make lunches, make them get out of bed or else, feed them, remind them to get dressed, brush (their) teeth, baby in car seat, off to school, go to the other school, home at some point where I feed the baby again, and he usually falls asleep.  Noise machine on, everything else off, baby in crib, close his door.

And then I sit still, very still.  I read a book, I read on the computer, I DON’T turn on the TV because that makes noise.  I don’t dare talk on the phone or go to the bathroom.  I might eat, but hidden in the farthest corner of the kitchen and I can’t open the fridge.  If I obey all these rules, he might sleep for 25 minutes.  And the SECOND he wakes up?  Before I rescue him from the crib?  I go into “get-er-done” gear:  In about three minutes I empty the dryer, put laundry on my bed, go to the bathroom, feed the cat, feed the dog, load the dishwasher, empty the trash, put breakfast away, listen to my messages, put the clean linens in the closet in the hallway…everything that I couldn’t do while he was sleeping.  Because a sneezing fly can wake baby #3.

And that’s how we nap in our house.



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A Dork is a Dork, of course of course

I am a dork.  Certified.  I thought I’d grow out of it, but, yeah, that hasn’t quite happened.  A quick look in the dictionary will tell you a “dork” is someone who tends to look odd or behave ridiculously around others.  I am really good at that.

In second grade, when asked as a class to declare out loud what 1+2 equals, I yelled out “thRRRRReee!” with a rolled R sound.  The teacher stopped class and asked “who said that!” and while everyone around me pointed at ME (ack!), I pointed at the boy who always got into trouble and quite effectively saved myself.  In third grade I bit a girl for not “pitching” the kickball to me the way I wanted her to.  In Jr. High, riding home in my friend’s dad’s very clean car after a Girl Scout camping trip, I dumped a hand full of crumbs into my hair to prevent making a mess in the car.  In college, on the very first day of my very first internship, I managed to park in the PRESIDENT’S parking spot all day long.  It was right next to the elevator and said it was reserved for the company I was interning for.  I thought it was my lucky day.  “I’m the INTERN!” I later declared to the ticket wielding parking attendant.  Dork.  Dorky Dorky Dork Dork.

Lately, I’ve been backing into vehicles for sport.  Still a dork.  Even as an adult.  More so as a Mom.

So, back in September, on the, oh, I don’t know, second day of Preschool for my daughter, I had a cringe worthy dork moment.  The elementary school didn’t start classes until the next week, so I had to take all 3 of my kiddos to the second day of Preschool.  As I was getting my daughter settled in her classroom, my 3 month old declared it was time to eat (ie started screaming).  And when an infant wants to eat, there is no “hold on sweetheart” or “just a minute” or “you’ll eat when we get home”…there is only “you’re hungry?” and then you immediately feed them.  I wasn’t so super keen on nursing the baby in the preschool room, so I asked the teacher if I could leave my oldest child with his sister in her class while I ran to the car to feed the baby “real quick”.

Twenty seconds later I am standing in front of my car, with a screaming baby on my hip, trying to decide where to sit in the car so that I cannot be easily seen.  I decide on the middle row in my minivan, where the windows are tinted, and I climbed in and got situated.  It was sort of warm, so I rolled the windows down a smidgen.  And locked the doors.  You never know.  About two minutes later, the very large SUV parked right next to me beeps, like someone is disarming the car alarm.  Two women and an energetic kid approach the SUV.  They are talking and laughing and cannot see me in my car, feeding my baby, at all.  At all at all.  I am hidden for sure.  But I can see them and hear them – they are a mere foot or two away from me.  All of a sudden, the little kid THROWS open the passenger door of the SUV, which in turn slams into my car, which shudders.  A small earthquake.  Two things come to mind, 1) that left a mark for sure and 2) do they really not know I am in here?  The mom lets out a yelp which turns to a chuckle (I swear), tells the kid to “be careful!” and looks around to make sure no one saw.  She glances at my driver seat, which is empty, so she must have assumed my car was empty too.  Only it wasn’t.  I was in there.  As she buckles her kid in the SUV, I start to freak out that this woman is about to leave the scene and I will never find her again to pay for the damages!  (Though I should have figured I’d see her on a regular basis since her kid goes to the same school as my kid.)  So, I introduce her to the Dork.

I stop feeding my baby, who doth protest very loudly.  I engage the sliding door to open, forgetting that I had locked the car.  So my car alarm goes off.    I pop out of the middle of my car with a screaming baby and a blaring alarm, shouting “you hit my car!” all while feverishly pushing all of the buttons on the alarm thingy on my key chain.  Enter, Dork.

She jumped back.  She gasped with her hand over her mouth.  Yep, she had no idea I was lurking in my car.  She looked at me like I was ca-razy, gave her friend a “can you believe this lady?” look, and as I examined my car, she flatly told me that her door didn’t even hit my car.  Really.  “Yeah it did. It was like a small earthquake!” I said.  But she probably didn’t hear me, what with the screaming baby and car alarm.  I couldn’t see any marks on my car, so all I could do was give her my dorkiest look.  And she returned my look with something I am all too familiar with.  That look that says “you are so weird.”  And she got in her car and drove away.

I stopped the alarm, laughed at myself, climbed back into my car, closed the door, and didn’t bother to lock it.  I see her every time I go to my daughter’s preschool, and I avoid her lest she recall my dork-mom-moment and give me that look again.  Oh, and I try not to park next to her.


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Walk of Shame

Sometimes I get the urge to take my circus for a walk, while my husband is safely tucked away at work.

While these details are specific to our walk yesterday, these shenanigans always happen and I have yet to learn my lesson.

We have a dog.  I will elaborate in another post, most likely to be titled “I voted no” because I voted no on getting a dog.  And I constantly declare “I voted no” as a way of saying “I told you so.”  Anyway, she’s 6 months old.  So she has the 6 month old crazies.  And as Cesar Millan will tell you, she needs about 2 hours of exercise a day.  So that things like this don’t happen:

Our dog has figured out how to turn on the water nozzle. And how to make a muddy mess.

Yesterday, it had been over 2 weeks since she got to go on a walk.  We are so bad.  But I voted no, so, not my problem.  However, yesterday at 3:20pm, I felt guilty and started the ball rolling to get my family on a walk.

The kids were excited: they willingly and joyfully turned off their video game.  There is success in that alone.  Jackets, shoes, and helmets went on no problem.  Then they jumped on their bikes.  And then they started riding up the sidewalk, while I was still in the house, barefoot, trying to decide what was going to happen first: stroller out of the car? but where do I put the baby while I am getting the stroller out of the car?  leash on the dog?  but dog will go CRAZY when she sees the leash.  and where will I put the baby while putting the leash on the dog?  if i get the stroller out of the car and the baby secure in the stroller, do i leave the baby outside in the stroller while i wrestle the dog in the house to get her leash on?  where are the kids?

After a frantic run out front, i wrangled the bikers back to the driveway with the implicit instructions to WAIT FOR ME.  It was now 3:35.

I stood idle for another 2 minutes, with the baby on my hip, calculating, adding, subtracting, measuring, analyzing, trying to figure out HOW I was going to get the baby in the stroller and the dog on a leash without breaking any laws.   My own personal River Test.  (A mom, a dad, 4 kids, a prisoner and a cop need to get across the river, but the prisoner HAS to be with the cop, the mom can’t be alone with one of the sons, only 2 people can cross at once, yada yada yada.)

Baby in the exersaucer.  Mom to the car.  Stroller out of the car.  Check on the kids waiting patiently on the driveway.  “Mom COME ON!”  Check on the baby.  Find the leash.  Go to the backyard.  Wrangle with the dog, ahem, Puppy.  Walk into the house with the Puppy, ahem, CRAZY, on a leash.  Make Crazy sit.  (Yes, she has a name.) Take the baby out of the exersaucer and exit the house.  Shut the front door with Crazy inside.  Put the baby in the stroller.  Walking backwards, with eyes on all 3 kids, open the front door.  Grab the leash.  Grab the keys.  Walk out the front door.  It was now 3:50.

My easy going “yay bike ride” kids?  Starting to argue.  The circus has begun. We huddle up and I give my instructions:  a) it does NOT matter who rides in front.  we are a nice family going on a nice walk. b) when i yell STOP, you better stop.  Or we’ll call Daddy.  c) no fighting.  d) ride your bike SLOWLY so mommy can keep up.  After some glazed over nods and the tightening of a helmet strap, we were off.  Two kids riding their bikes on the sidewalk, side by side, mommy pushing the stroller with a behaving puppy on a leash and a baby who was laughing at his siblings on bikes.

Success!  25 feet later, all hell broke loose.

“Ahh!  He’s in FRONT of me!  STOPPPPP!!!!” Now I suddenly had 2 kids pedaling as fast as their little feet would go, one unfortunately in front of the other, the other caring way too much about her place in the sidewalk parade.  I was trying to catch up.  I really really need a jogging stroller.  This would have helped.  I yelled for them to stop.  Then some random kids show up out of NOWHERE and want to know about our puppy.  Our puppy turned to Crazy.  So I wrangled her, apologized to the mom, all while keeping my eyes on my kids who were heading for the horizon.  Luckily, my kids stopped at the corner to yell at each other.  Once I caught up, we had another family huddle.  I went over my instructions once again.  My middle child?  Tantrum.  On the sidewalk.  Next to a block wall.  The sound echoed into every house within a 10 mile radius.  The puppy started digging up the grass in the parkway.  My oldest kid?  Did what I wanted to do and got out of there.  Started riding away.  Which put the tantrum-er into full blown murder mode.  And she rode her bike after him.   Well, at least we were marching on.  By the time I caught up, the tantrum had escalated and she was standing, crying, demanding that I carry her bike home because she was too tired to ride it.

Right then, a skateboarder rode by.  And the puppy freaked and lunged in front of the stroller, taking me with her, tripping, knocking the stroller, and freaking out the baby.  My oldest kid was by now down the block, off of his bike, hands on his hips, waiting.  A neighbor drove by slowly, and stopped in front of my circus.  “Are you new to the neighborhood?” she asked.

“Nope, just been in hiding” and I gestured to what was happening around me as if to say “this is why, lady.”  I had one kid down the block, stomping his feet.  Another kid screaming her helmet off.  And a puppy now LUNGING at this neighbor in her car.

“Well, your family is just beautiful!  Have a nice walk!”  And she drove off.

I shook my head, and leveled with my screaming child.  “Look, I cannot carry your bike.  I have but 2 hands, one is pushing the stroller and the other is holding the leash.  You may certainly walk home and we’ll leave your bike here and come get it later.”  And I started walking.  And she screamed louder.  My son, bless him, walked back to us, grabbed his sister’s bike, and pulled it alongside him as he rode home.  His sister followed for a while, and eventually jumped back on her bike.  By the time we arrived home, we were mentally exhausted and relieved.  It was 4:11pm.  The kids were happy though and quickly put away their bikes and got out a blanket and made a picnic while they waited for Daddy to get home.  The puppy looked like she could have used another 2 hours of exercise, but she’d have to wait another week or so.

We survived, but I needed time to recover before I took the circus for a walk again.   And yes, I will do this again.  And probably again.