My husband was away on business recently. Although my kids and I missed him, we had our routine down pretty good every day. After all the carpooling and rushing around, I was relieved to eat my dinner over the sink and stay up late watching chick flicks after the kids went to bed. I shamelessly watched a movie one night starring Miley Cyrus that made me cry so hard, I had to blow my nose and wash my face twice. As if this wasn’t embarrassing enough, I noticed that at the bottom of the movie credits, Netflix recommended movies and shows based on what I had recently watched. Every TV show and movie listed was appropriate for a 14 year old girl. I was mortified. Need I say more?
It’s not every day that you come in contact with something that means so much to you (and comes in adorable, convenient packaging). Not since I discovered Little Debbie’s® Swiss Roll have I felt such a confectionary connection. Meet my new best friend, Nutella & Go. This little snack can literally melt away kid-rearing stress without adding layers to my behind. (Due to the small size of the package, not necessarily my lack of self-discipline.) God bless America.
I pack these Nutella singles with mini-bread sticks in my kids’ lunches. (Boy, how I wish I had this snack when I was in elementary school.)
I think I’ve blocked out a lot of things over the years. Some intentionally, others no so intentionally, as a friend and mother of five so eloquently described, “I lost my mind once, then regained it again.” When my son was an infant, it was not fun trying to get him to fall asleep in his crib situated about three feet from our bed. Did I mention that we lived in a one-bedroom apartment at the time? He’d fall asleep in the infant carrier, so we’d lift him up ever so gently, and he would wake up and scream. We would position him perfectly on his side in the crib with those pediatrician-recommended pads. We’d rub his back, position the binky just so and he would drift off for about 30 seconds. Then he’d start to cry. Then cry some more. Then the wailing would begin. He was addicted to sleeping in his infant carrier. (And addicted to his binky, which is an entirely different story.) Had he kept up the carrier craze, it would have been not so pretty for many reasons. Namely, our pediatrician at the time said he needed to wear a helmet to prevent baby Calvin from having a flat head. Enough was enough. There was no reason for this nonsense. We were intelligent enough human beings. I gave birth after an ungodly amount of hours and my husband didn’t even pass out. Together, we could figure this out. We once tried putting him in bed with us, then carrying him to the crib, which kept him up for another hour or two. After several more nights of this, we tried something another couple had suggested, something I had read about but was afraid to try on my own. We let him cry it out for three nights in a row. Three more nights of agony worked. I’ve tried blocking out the part where I teach you why it worked. But my brain is a little fried. Bottom line: Baby Cal got it. He slept in his crib and did not need a helmet. Mommy mission accomplished, at least for a couple months until teething began.
I went to brunch with a few girlfriends the other day and after some small talk, we all started venting about our kids. It’s an inevitable part of lunching with the girls. And it feels so good to let it out. I had just spent all morning going back and forth with my daughter, trying to get her to school on time. She is actually an easy-going child, but she is starting to show signs of what I hope I don’t see a few years down the road. She used to get ready in five or 10 minutes flat. She used to spend most of the morning chatting with me while I made breakfast, fixed lunches, organized backpacks, fed the dog, and made sure I didn’t leave the house in PJ bottoms. This particular morning, my daughter was acting like a 17 year old and this mom had had it. Did I mention she’s 7 years old? She probably took a good 30 minutes to get ready, yelling from upstairs, “I’m coming mom….Guaa.” This is the point where I become my mother, “Don’t take that tone with me, young lady.” She walks downstairs, with perfectly brushed hair, wearing striped leggings and a cowl-neck top. “Mom, I was just trying to brush my hair and put on my clothes.”
My inner mom is wondering, “That alone should only take 7 minutes, tops. She doesn’t even take a morning shower or blow-dry her hair.”
I vented this during brunch to my friend who has two grown daughters and a 7-year-old girl. She looked at me, straight-faced, then smiled and said, “Good luck, my friend, good luck with that.”
No. I’m not dealing with a 7-year-old inner teen. Please no. This mom wishes to stay in denial a little longer, thank you very much.
In appreciation of the fact that my daughter is not yet a teen, check out this link to the movie 13 Going on 30 starring celebrity mom, Jennifer Garner, yet another actress I have never met and probably never will, but I adore anyway.
I have two kids. Through the years, my friends with one child often ask, “How do you do it?” To be honest, I don’t know. I guess I just do what needs to be done. So, I often ask friends who have three or more kids the same question.
I was at my friend’s house the other night (I’ll call her Cara) for our book club. All of the women in our book club have two kids, except Cara. She was hosting and her third child, a 7-year-old boy (I will call him Sean) often puts her over the edge. But we all secretly enjoy seeing how Cara reacts to his oh-so-7-year-old-boyishness.
Jackie Tangent: Sean is the cutest thing, like a mini Enrique Iglesias. He has dance moves like Mick Jagger and the sweetest boy voice. By the way, the only reason I know this pop singer is because my kids beg me to listen to him on the radio. Now I can’t get the song, “I Like It” out of my head. Here’s a taste.
So anyway, smack in the middle of our book club, Sean runs into the living room, asking Cara in a continuous stream of 7-year-old consciousness, “Hi, guys!!” “Mommy, whatcha doin? Hi mom.” “What’s that?” Grabbing crackers and cheese from the coffee table, “Mmmmmmm those are good, can I have more?” The look on Cara’s face was priceless following every comment. “OK, Sean,” she says. “Ok, Sean, thank you.” We couldn’t get enough of him, but she had had enough. She rushed through his questions, knowing it was not long before bedtime and he was trying to get out of being where he was supposed to be, which was not in the living room enjoying wine and cheese. “You need to go to back downstairs with your brother and sister. I love you. Good night. OK, Sean. Goodbye now.”
Cara says Sean follows her everywhere and wakes her up at 6 a.m. every day. We were all giggling about her after-Sean-was-born tales, especially the one where she had to hide in the bathroom, pretending to take a shower so she could get a moment of peace. We have all been through the ringer with our own, but most of us sitting there did not have a third. Cara, like all mothers, deserves sacred mommy “alone” time. By the way, I’m happy with two. We are done. But if, by some miracle, we have a third, I will welcome the idea with open arms. After I pass out and eat an entire bag of chocolate truffles, I will welcome it with open arms.
Do you ever get a moment of mommy time?
So I brought my 10-year-old son to a high school football game the other night. Jackie Tangent/sidebar: My son is becoming a tween, or in between elementary and teen years. (This is the Urban Dictionary definition of Tween: An age set overlapping preteens, ‘tween 8 and 14. A tween desperately wants to be a teen, but isn’t about to stop being a kid.) My husband was at home with our daughter, so it was just the two of us. The stadium was swarming with high school kids, parents and a few hundred tweens. I felt at first like it was the first day of school. I hadn’t seen that many Uugs paired with sweatshirts and jeans in one place. I realized I had forgotten to wear lip gloss and suddenly felt a blemish forming on my nose. I sat down next to some parents I knew from my son’s football team and although I tried desperately to focus on the game, it was all I could do to not have a panic attack at the sheer essence of teenager-mania that surrounded me. I know it’s coming. It may be five years away, but it’s coming. And I can’t help but enjoy this blissful state of denial a little longer. My mother-in-law tells me the teenage years are the worst. She had to deal with the hippy days and to this day blames the Beatles for the troubles kids got in back then. I don’t know what’s worse – yesterday’s hippies or today’s technology. I felt a sense of relief when my son walked up to me, without a cell phone, asking me if he could please have a hot chocolate. He called me mom in front of his friend. In public. And he wanted a hot chocolate. With whipped cream. I still have him for a little while longer.
OK, so I checked Facebook twice since writing this sentence. (Let me explain something to my fellow Facebook hater friends: I originally opened a Facebook account because I knew it would give me a chance to stay in touch with old girlfriends. I moved a few times in my life, so I have friends across the country. Now I find the social media tool as a fun way to distract me from things I’m procrastinating about.) Because I work from home, I get to be my own boss. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. I’m actually a pretty self-motivated person, but I can also over-eat myself into a coma, put off work until 3 a.m., procrastinate about projects rather than tackle them right away and aggravate my husband with my annoying habits because he also works from home. I’m either off Facebook for two months straight or I find myself checking it three times a day. Lately, I think I need to go on a Facebook diet. If you have any advice, please share.
Have you ever had a migraine? The kind of headache that’s so gnarly, it feels like something Sigourney Weaver tried to catch in the movie Alien hatched on one side of your head and escaped through your forehead? I never used to get bad headaches, even when I was pregnant, but since I turned 40, I feel one emerging at least twice a month. And ironically, it’s not so long after I have an amazingly healthy meal. Go figure. Although I’m not hanging over the toilet, I do feel like cow dung. I woke up with my head throbbing the other day. I tried hiding it from my kids and husband, pretending everything was hunky dory while I fixed breakfast and got everyone out the door. I tried working, but ended up moaning over my keyboard, holding my head in my hands. Then I remembered something a friend told me. “The best way to get rid of a migraine is to drink caffeine or eat something sugary.” Hello, have you met me? I’m all over that advice. I shoved my face with chocolate covered raisins. Then a piece of fruit. Then chocolate chips with the chocolate covered raisins. Then a cup of green tea. Within an hour, I was working, writing, carpooling, running errands, walking with my dog and kids and making dinner. Like I need another reason to stress eat, right?
Just for fun, here’s the trailer to the movie Alien