Welcome, Spring

10 Apr

We are READY for you.

Last winter worked out because the newborn and I just hibernated for 3 months.  He laid around drinking milk and eating his fist, and we were outright told by the doctor to limit his outside-the-house time because of the flu and whatever other nasty winter bugs were around.  Sure thing.  You don’t need to tell me twice to stay inside when it’s 11 degrees out.

This winter? BLECH.  He was an 11-15 monther on the move.  I worked hard to get him out of the house even if it was just to walk around the grocery store for 40 minutes to buy one sweet potato.  When we were stuck inside, I feel like all I did was utter the same commands to an oblivious audience of one.  Teeth are not for biting/hands are not for hitting/cups are not for throwing/pieces of mulch from someone’s shoe are not for eating/the oven door is not for pull ups/the dog is not for mixed martial arts/da capo al fine.

This morning we made a glorious park trip and I’m reminded how much he needs this kind of time– to run completely free, without me over his shoulder and without gates, walls, and locks blocking his every move.  He was beside himself with joy.

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Stay wild, toddlers.

The Nameberry Drinking Game

31 Mar

If you haven’t heard of it, Nameberry is a baby name website for over-thinking Generation Y females. And you know I love it as much as the next person. Their greatest feature is a ticker at the top of the page showing live name searches. You will get a glimpse at others’ taste that’s both fascinating and hilarious and, as it turns out, lends itself perfectly to a drinking game.

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  • Drink if you think you lived in an apartment when you were 23 with a floor plan named this (Williston, Winston)
  • Drink for every x that replaces a ck (Jaxon, Hendrix)
  • Drink for villains in Happy Gilmore (Shooter)
  • Drink for every poor kindergartner who will have to explain, “It’s a bible name, OKAY?” (Bathsheba, Balthazar)
  • Drink if there’s a dog on your block with this name (Coco, Bud)
  • Drink for 3 vowels in a row (Mireia, Isabeau, Theia, Caia, Caoimhe, Ouen, Alaia, Ngaio)
  • Drink for other crimes against vowels (Aobheann, Dearbhail, Gavriil)
  • Drink for 2 letters (Do)
  • Drink for every buzz kill who crashes our party (Edward, Richard, Thomas)
  • Drink for parents who want you to know they’re intellectual because they read one book in 9th grade (Holden, Atticus)
  • Drink if you think there’s a tag still on your luggage with this airport code on it (Nyx, Ryo)
  • Drink if it sounds like the Ehrmagerd Girl is trying to say “Joshua” (Jerusha)
  • Drink if there is an adult club in your city with this name (Mystique, Aphrodite, Calypso, Electra)
  • Drink for models of cars (Beretta, Forrester, Denali)
  • Drink if there’s a county in your state with this name (Essex, Jefferson, Washington)
  • Drink if there is no chance this person will get mistaken for a delicious cheesy snack (Dorrit)
  • Drink for one syllable inanimate objects (Brick, Rock, Field, Lake, Fee, Air)
  • Drink for any other random nouns (Answer, Canyon, Comet, Holiday)
  • Drink if the most common side effects include new or worsening heart failure, headaches, rash, and nausea. Remember to tell your doctor if you have an infection or signs of an infection. (Demeter, Lyra, Ginevra, Yaiza)
  • Drink if you just can’t anymore with this (Elixyvette, Mungo, Jermajesty, Ixchel, Kool, Ptolemy)

The Cloth Diaper That Made Me Question Everything

24 Mar

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Lower right: the diaper from the buttocks of Lucifer himself.

Upper left: the assailant, cleansing himself of his sins against humanity.  (Via Burt’s Bees and some floating turtles, duh.)

People, I do not know what to do with this beast of Hell.  I’ve never seen anything like it in my 14 months of cloth diapering.  What caused this? Is it Jupiter in the tenth house? Is my child the reincarnation of Vlad the Impaler or some other despised despot? WAS IT THE LIMA BEANS? Probably the lima beans.

It remains locked in the bathroom until I can think of some way to, how do I say this delicately, free the impossibly adhered excrement.  I am deciding between eating the $17 and completely throwing it out, or painstakingly trudging the hose out of the basement and hooking it up outside so I can power wash it in 30 degree darkness.

Either way, disposable diapers get the point today.

#BLECHHHHH

How to Eat Two Pounds of Cashews in 4.5 Days

19 Mar

As a non-food blogger I hesitate to share recipes.  Mostly because I am about as far away from a foodie as is possible, which you’ve probably already deduced by the frequency with which I bring up ants on a log.  One international reader commented that this was her first time hearing about ants on a log.  WUT? Zero prep! Three food groups! It’s a party on a celery stalk! Anytime you see some stupid Pinterest thing trying to sell you an easy 5 minute meal, you should ask the question: IS IT ANTS ON A LOG? If not, the window should be closed immediately and you should roll your eyes and make a psssshhhhhh sound at your monitor.

But sometimes I like when non-food bloggers post recipes because I know it must be something special, and my ears perk up and I’m all, go ahead with your message, I’m listening. So with that in mind, let’s talk cashews.

I came across this recipe on– YES, I ADMIT IT– Pinterest.  (You can follow me on Pinterest if you enjoy following people who update twice a year.  BTW, did you hear you could melt crayons with a hairdryer?) The author of the recipe is “on a mission to empower healthy lifestyle transformations” which is funny because I’m on a mission to eat blocks of Cabot cheese, contemplate exercise, but ultimately decide to stay at my desk and read Twitter feeds of various The Bachelor contestants.  Nevertheless, we have something in common, and that’s these cashews:

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Your first action item is to get raw cashews, which you can find in the aisle with the bulk bins, at least at the grocers I frequent.  I won’t tell you how much they cost because my husband reads this blog.  But I ask you, can you put a price on your heart health? NO.  But if you did, you might say it was somewhere around $7.99/pound.

Here is the link to the recipe again.  The only thing I changed was using olive oil instead of coconut oil, because bleh coconut yuck.  I know as a wannabe Earth Mother I’m supposed to worship the stuff but it tastes like coconut and bleh coconut yuck.  It also calls for hot paprika and I will save you the Google here– hot paprika can be made with half regular paprika and half chili powder.  (The more you know.)

Seriously, guys, I GORGED myself on these as soon as they came out of the oven.  Gorged! On a healthy snack! That’s why you must know about these.  And as the title of this suggests, all two pounds were gone in 4.5 days.   They would be so easy to transport for a get together, package for holiday gifts, et cashew cetera.  I’m in lurve.  You will be too.  Go forth and eat.

The Things That Happened at the Car Dealership

26 Feb

The more senior of our vehicles (the one I drive) had to go in for some medical attention this week due to the facts that it was making noise, had a water leak, had one of those dashboard alert lights on, and was in general behaving in a busted manner.  It also frequently has hissy fits wherein it takes 20 attempts to start and I make a scene in parking lots, and recently I got to live out a lifelong dream of having a tire explode on the highway.  It was buckets of fun.  The old girl has her issues but we (mostly I) love her, and she has many more miles to go before I drive that Chevy to the proverbial levee.

As I mentioned on Twitter, this was a parental learning experience for me.  When I made the appointment, the place asked me if I wanted to drop off the car or wait.  They estimated it would take an hour and I elected to wait, because come on, the mini-toddler and I can manage an hour.  Anybody can manage an hour.  I think I have been watching too much Olympics and believed too strongly in my own capabilities.  When in doubt, assume you suck more than you think you do.

I brought a few books and toys, a sippy cup, and the backpack carrier– figuring if all else failed, I would just put him in there and walk him around (which he loves 99/100 times).  And you know, we did manage an hour.  What we failed to manage was the two and a half hours it actually took to resolve the HIGHLY COMPLEX car diagnosis of: NEEDING AN OIL CHANGE.

We spent that time in the “customer lounge” with a bunch of other adults doing adult things.  Playing on phones, reading, having conversations with other adults, watching the TV.  I burned with jealousy.  Meanwhile I was basically starring in a very humiliating public show of chasing my child around.

Sometimes I would have smug moments before I was a parent when I saw bad toddlers and children running amok in public places.  I would always ask the question in my mind: why aren’t you controlling your child’s behavior? PEOPLE, I WILL GIVE YOU THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION.  You can’t control the child because you are two steps behind the child, cleaning up the last mess they made before sprinting off to get into new trouble.

Here are some things my child did.  Peed through his diaper requiring a diaper and outfit change at the dealership bathroom.  Undid 14 months of cognitive development by watching Bethenny.  Went up to a woman’s office and mouthed her glass wall, as I frantically peeled him off and said “OMG LEAVE THAT WINDOW ALONE, LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL AND WINDEXY IT IS.”  Ran up to a Camaro on the show floor and grabbed a wire on it (YEP).  Writhed and shrieked as I tried to put him into the backpack.  Bit me when I put him into the backpack.  Pulled down my shirt when I put him into the backpack.  Squeezed open a thing of coffee creamer while in the backpack. (That I gave him to play with because I am not an intelligent person.  I am, however, a person who smelled like French Vanilla all day.)  Discovered a stack of brochures for upholstery insurance and flung them over his shoulder one by one.

In the lounge there was a little kid table with two buckets of legos.  At first, this was a sign of hope for me.  See, other women and children have done this before.  It can be done.  After round four-ish of my child dumping out the lego buckets, the lego table took on a new, grimmer symbolism.  In every scuffed lego, I saw the reflection of another poor mother who had made the bold and foolish attempt at waiting out the car service. I imagine it was like traveling in a Conestoga Wagon and seeing on your path a skeleton with an arrow through the chest.  Basically.

Actual text exchange with my spouse:

Me: I AM NEVER DOING THIS ON A WEEKDAY AGAIN.
Him: Yea, car service sucks no matter when you do it.
Me: FALSE, I would be enjoying myself a great deal if I was alone.
Him: You can do it.
Me: I am actually going to cry.

As we passed two hours, my sanity began to further erode.  A gentleman said to me, “I think the little man is tired!”.  YOU WOULD BE CORRECT, GOOD SIR.  I decided much longer and I was going to approach the desk and ask for the car back, in whatever state of dismemberment it was in.  I would put my feet through the floor board and drive it home like Fred Flintstone if it would get us the eff out of here at this moment.

My name was finally called to the desk– twas from the very lips of angels!– and we were done.  When they  pulled the car up I felt like I had completed a marathon.  Like I should just drop to the ground from mental and physical exhaustion.  May all of womankind read this tale and heed this imperative warning.  Drop your cars.  DROP YOUR CARS!

Hi

25 Feb

Sometimes I will stumble on a blog that comes from what I believe is the genre known as “fashion blogging” and I wonder who these women are are getting to take 25 pictures of them every day.  It must be their husbands or SOs, right? I’ve always wondered how those couples handle those exchanges with straight faces.  Take a picture of me up against this tree. Take a picture so it looks like I’m walking.  Now I’m going to look away from the camera and push my hair behind my face, take a picture of that.  Are they at least laughing at themselves?

Yesterday I had to make such a request.  “Jeff, I need something to put on the blog, take a picture of me eating these ants on a log.” Answered with, “Yea your blog is lacking lately.”

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So there is that for you.  I’ll be back again soon with something involving more brain cells.  Maybe. Same excuses, different day.  Smell you all soon!

Scenes from a Tuesday

29 Jan

I walk in from the other room to find Frogson asea in an ocean of dumped-out Cheerios.

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As the author Douglas H. Everett states:  “There are some people who live in a dream world, and some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.”

In his defense he did assist in clean up.  (He’s in a different outfit because it was like 5 hours later)

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A Year in 1,306 Words

28 Jan

I wrote the first draft of this earlier this month, when our boy turned one.  Recapping a year seemed and impossible task, but I read once that if you can list memories, you can write memoirs.

It was January.  You were born.

We took you home on a rainy Friday.  You wore a white sleeper with bull dogs, a patch on your lapel proclaiming that you were Daddy’s Best Friend. “Don’t Stop Believing” was on the radio when we climbed into the car and drove off with you.  In a coincidental twist of fate that I’ll always remember, it was the same song on the radio a few days before that, when I climbed into the car to go to the hospital and have you.

I learned to properly affix diapers to your tiny self, and gave you sponge baths in the sink, and held you against my chest.  You wore your sleeper with the frogs, the blue one with the snowmen, your pants with dogs on the feet.  I sang to you when I put you to bed– In My Life and Sweet Baby James.  You woke every few hours and I nursed you and burped you, counting 200 or 300 pats on your back just to keep me awake.  Through the window I could see the road on the other side of the woods, and I watched occasional headlights drive by– feeling comforted knowing others were out there awake, wondering who they were and what they were doing.

It was February.

You were now a person with a belly button.  You wore your yellow sleeper with the ducks, an outfit we had been gifted before we even knew that you were a boy.  Back when you were a peach or a pomegranate or some other petite piece of produce, and the idea of an actual baby in a duck sleeper was so very surreal.  I tried to take you out.  Every time I would fumble with your car seat, forget your pacifiers, struggle to load you into your carrier while the freezing wind hit us both.  I had the same thought every time: I don’t know why I even bother trying to leave the house.  One day I looked out the window and saw a woman down the street walk out her door and load her baby into the car like it was nothing.  I assumed she was some brilliant, genius kind of person and it would never be that effortless for me.

It was May.

The trees had leaves and I couldn’t see the road on the other side of the woods anymore.  You played on your furry bear mat.  You spent your days squealing, kicking your legs, and arching yourself into a macaroni shape as you learned to roll.  In the car I’d marvel I could pass you a toy from the front seat, and a small hand would reach up like a periscope and take it from me.  You put in your tummy time, propped in the Boppy on your elbows, working so hard to pull your head all the way up until your eyes met mine.  I did the biggest double take of my life the first time I went to get you from your crib and you had rolled yourself into a different position.  We rejoiced as the weather warmed.  We drove with the windows down, singing along to Slowhand.  We sat outside at Chipotle.  I nursed you on our deck.  The butterfly bush in our flower bed grew and grew– it was seven feet tall, engulfed the front window, and practically attacked me every time I walked up to the house.  I had planted it as a little sprout back during your second trimester.

It was July.

It was summer and you squirmed as I put sunscreen on your ears and nose and tiny curled up feet.  You wore bucket hats all the time– the white one with the navy stripe, the one with the grasshoppers, the plaid one.  You slithered across the house on your stomach, and ate bananas, and bounced in your Exersaucer.  We went everywhere– down turnpikes, past distant sky lines, over suspension bridges, across state lines.  You spent your days in one piece creepers– always with a whale or a crab or a puffer fish or some other nautical fauna.  Great catch! Pinch me, I’m cute! Ahoy, ladies! We were at the beach with your family and you’d come home for your nap with a diaper full of sand.  In the late afternoon we’d sit on the porch– you on a lap, the adults with glasses of wine, the dogs sprawled and snoozing.  At night your cousins helped give you baths and picked out your PJs.  I realized it was these summer days that I had dreamed of.

It was September.

You still couldn’t sleep.  You’d cry on the monitor and before I rolled over I’d say a silent prayer: please just tell me we made it to 12:30.  Sometimes we did and sometimes it was 10:52.  You learned.  You were a baby who could tear up magazines, pick up Cheerios, cruise laps in your crib.  You sat up in the bath tub all by yourself, and amidst a sea of toys, always went right for the same purple parrot.  We took the requisite fall pictures of you– on a bail of hay, next to a pumpkin, propped in a bin of gourds.  You wore your sneakers with the baseballs, and always a jacket with ears on the hood– your red one, your blue one with the polar bears.  One day we went to the grocery store and encountered three different sets of parents with babies under a month old.  All of them looked at you and had the same reaction: Just so…. big! I wondered if the torch had been passed– if for someone else, I was the woman I saw out the window over the winter.

It was December.

You began every day the same way, a chorus of bwa bwa bwa bwa bwaaa da da da da daaaa! I began every day the same way, with songs from your library music class in my head.  Way up high in the apple tree, one little apple was looking down at me! You took a step.  Then two, then three.  By the time we rang in 2014, you could bolt across a room.  It snowed and you watched the snow blowers in silent awe.  You climbed everything.  (Everything.)  You squealed and cackled when we tickled your ribcage, held you upside down, played peek-a-boo.  You chased the dog around the house, whacking him with an open palm or pulling his ears, me always rushing over to console the poor guy and show you how we touch gennnnnnt-llllly.  You took breaks from nursing just to look up at me and smile and reach out for my face.  More than anything in the last year, it’s that face that will be imprinted in my memory forever.

It’s January again.

I spend a lot of time thinking about all the Januaries that came before.  Before you chattered to me from the backseat of the car.  Before the carpet became threadbare in the spot where we stand to change you.  Before I could list the furnishings in the great green room and tell you what the caterpillar ate through on Tuesday.  Before the subtle reminders of parenthood surrounded me– the sippy cups in the dishwasher, the tiny socks speckled in the laundry basket, the covers on the outlets.  It will be like that again, when you’ve grown up and flown away from us.  During the frustrations and the exhaustion I kept coming back to that reflection.  You’ll want these moments back someday.

Soon it will be 2:55 a.m. and your days as a baby will be behind you.  But tonight I’ll put you to bed like I always do.  I’ll kiss your blonde hair, still damp from your bath.  I’ll hug you close.  Sway you gently.  Bring your head to rest on my shoulder.  And hold on to that feeling.

Blurbs

19 Jan

A belated note about something Christmasy.  Guys, I love sending holiday cards.  Probably more than I should.  It’s sick.  I’m not proud.  I love getting them in the mail even more.  Bill, bill, junk, junk, bill, some “open immediately” piece of marketing gimmerickery that I’ll be duped into opening because I’m a gullible idiot and if I throw it out I’ll lay awake at night wondering that maybe it was really important, bill, bill, junk, SQUEEEEEEEEE CHRISTMAS CARD.  I have to share my favorite one from this year, received from our beloved friends Angela and Marvin.  Not only did Angela give me permission to do so, she told me she would be “extremely honored” so it’s with great pleasure that I present this:

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Yes, my friends.  While Pinterest freaks from sea to sea were putting forth ultra-manicured family portraits, Marvin was dressing up as Cousin Eddie.  I know you will all join me in saying BRAVO.  I cracked up for like 10 minutes upon receipt of this.

Speaking of Christmas and Gimmicks.  Starbucks cups.  I tweeted about this before, but the red Starbucks cups really do bore their way into my very soul and infuse it with the joy and wonder of the season.  Not an exaggeration.  I repeat: sick/not proud.  I can’t explain it.  Who else thinks it’s the biggest bummer ever to make your first January Starbucks trip and get stuck with a crappy depressing soulless spiritless white cup? This came up in a chat with some chick friends the other week, and everyone was in agreement that the change was FAR too abrupt and a more gradual transition was needed.  We jokingly brainstormed possibly a splotch of red could stay on, the cups could be pink and gradually fade.  All excellent ideas.  Starbucks, take note.  FEAR THE MOMMY DEMOGRAPHIC.  God bless The Bachelor or I just do not know HOW I would get through winter.  I wish that was a joke.

Birds.

Guys.

I need you to look at these birds that were, I don’t know, sunbathing behind our house? They were just hanging out in the trees with their wings spread like this.  Actually kind of terrifying.

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I’d never seen anything like this before.  Anyone have insight here? As a former zoo volunteer I should have a better command of the behavior of our avian amigos, but everyone there knew to distance yourself from the bird people.  You would think the resident weirdos at the zoo would be the invertebrate or reptile people, but it’s well joked to be the bird people.  I say this all in a good-natured way of course, because I love all creatures and friends-of-creatures.  Even terrifying birds that will probably visit me in my nightmares.

Pinterest.  I know.  I can’t let it go.  I actually kind of despise Pinterest at this point.  I am overdue to do a long post making fun of about 100 things I have saved up to make fun of, but today I just need to present this:

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I’M SORRY.  I don’t know who this individual is and I hope she won’t find this because I’m sure she’s a lovely person but COME ON.  What exactly is the point of this, to show the world just how perfectly put together you can be even during birth? Gawd, I hate what Pinterest has done for birth and parenting.  Bringing babies into the world and parenting them is hard work, it’s serious, it’s dirty, it doesn’t always come wrapped up in a pretty box.  It does lend itself to some sweet photo ops (which everyone knows I take full advantage of like the next person), but some days I just wonder if people are letting this crap get ahead of the important, substantive work we do as people raising humans.  I’m realizing I might have more to say about this so maybe I’ll pick up this topic another time.  In summation: I hope at some point in this woman’s labor she pooped on that pink polka dot gown.  The end.

Motivated 12-Month-Old Seeks New Opportunities

13 Jan

Dear Hiring Manger,

I am pleased to submit my application for your Part Time Kitchen Assistant vacancy. I have 12 months of strong background in the home kitchen industry. My current supervisor’s selfish need to make me breakfast and hand scrub my sippy cups has resulted in an ability to work independently and make high-level decisions with minimal supervision. Although I am grateful for the experience I’ve been afforded, I am seeking a new environment where creativity and innovation are celebrated, instead of met with exasperated sighs.

I am confident you will see that my application outshines that of my peers. Here are just a few examples of some strengths I bring to the table:

  • Maintain impeccable cleanliness standards through the identification and consumption of stray pieces of dog food, remnants from last night’s dinner, and other varia.
  • Assist in loading and unloading the dishwasher wherever applicable. Recognized for expertise in selecting sharp objects from utensil basket.
  • Test structural integrity of kitchen drawers through application of body weight.
  • Work in conjunction with canine colleague to explore and investigate contents of trash can.
  • Perform routine removal and reorganization of the cupboard containing cookie sheets, muffin tins, and cutting boards.
  • Ensure quality standards by unloading and inventorying boxes of straws, ziplocs, picnicware, lunch bags, and napkins.
  • Maintain hygiene code by licking contents of recycling bin.
  • Attempt to clear obstructive devices blocking access to cupboard containing cleaning chemicals. The successful completion of this action item remains my top goal for professional development.

In addition to these core competencies, my talent has also resulted in me being called upon to execute various other special projects as assigned. Examples include chewing on refrigerator magnets, emptying the bag of dog food onto the floor, placing self in cupboards and/or the bottom drawer of the oven, upturning the dog’s water dish, and biting the thighs of those distracted while working at sink.

I appreciate your consideration and look forward to discussing my very robust skill set in person. My salary requirements may be fulfilled with cheerios, discs of banana, and watered down apple juice in an Elmo cup.

Thank you,
12 Month Old

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