Three Years

8 Jul

I seem to have stumbled upon this picture tradition on July 4th.  (Edited to note I realized the first one was Labor Day.)  I have to awkwardly ask Jeff to come over and take it. (“Why?” SHUT UP AND JUST DO IT OK.)  This is Frogson’s transition from mango, to bag of potatoes, to OMG my lumbar region just can’t handle anymore of your “up” requests.  Except I of course end up honoring all said requests because my heart melts into Snack Pack Pudding when he toddles over, picks those arms up, and belts out his signature chorus of UPUPUPUPUPUPUPUP!

The picture shows up dinky but you can click to make it bigger.

three years

What Happened in the Back Seat: A Tale of Anguish, Struggle, and Triumph

3 Jun

There exists a fabled horror known to all parents.

It transcends generations and geography, eclipses the barriers of language and economic status.  Its mention elicits the same response from mothers, fathers, and all who have come to know of its repugnant existence.  Merely utter the words to another parent and a mask of sobriety will befall their face.  Eyes turn downwards, teacups come to gentle rests on saucers.  When the initial sting of memory passes, their eyes turn back to yours apprehensively.

They say, I know the thing of which you speak. I have been there.  

I have smelled its stench.  

I have recoiled in terror at its sight. 

I have been forced to rid it from the earth with the power of only my hands.

I have found my way out of the depths; I have triumphed. 

I have survived the car seat poop. 

The stories begin the same.  A beautiful day, a drive with the windows down.  With your approach, red lights submit to green.  You are overcome with a feeling of contentedness, of joy, of deftness at the parenthood craft.  Your child’s nap time awaits at home, a glistening oasis.  Where will the nap time journey take you, oh masterful parent? A soothing shower, a delicious meal, a cleaned home? A smile crosses your lips as the possibilities are laid out before you in a glorious buffet.

And then, something in the atmosphere is amiss.  The shift is startling, sudden.  The nerve receptors in your olfactory system come ablaze in a fury.  High-level cognition shuts down and a primal urge overtakes you, begging you to find the answer: What, oh pray tell WHAT, is the origin of that smell?

The Where’s Spot? book, you realize, was only a grim foreshadow of this moment.  Is there a garbage truck behind me? No! Is there a horrible catastrophe involving sewage spewing from the ground? No! Is there a manure processing plant on this street that I’ve just never noticed? No, no, no!

The backseat.

The backseat is the origin.

Oh hail, holy queen, mother of mercy, our sweetness and our hope, the backseat is the origin! 

The severity of the stench, you are aware, points to only one horrifying conclusion.  The seal of the diaper is compromised.  A Chernobyl of poo awaits you.  You allow yourself the indulgence of a brief moment of panic. Then, you summon the requisite composure to change your hideous reality.  It is your only hope.

Your mind desperately scrolls through the options at your disposal, each more incomprehensible than the last.  Could you pull over at the next parking lot?  While you will lack the full arsenal of tools and resources that come with home base, there is the promise of immediacy.  No.  No.  The fear of botching the attempt and digging yourself deeper into this crisis is too much.  You must press on.  Sweet child, strapped into a putrid pool of dung, forgive me– we must press on!

The few moments that separate you from home drag on tortuously.  The distance between red lights is like the distance between prehistoric geological epochs.  Your only plea with God is this: let the child’s hands not find their way to ground zero.  Let whatever foul calamity come to me, the upholstery, the child’s garments, the car seat cover (hand wash only)– but spare the child’s hands and by extension, his face (Lord have mercy) and mouth (CHRIST HAVE MERCY).

You have made it home.  A beautiful sight is curled beside the driveway.  Oh, majestic, benevolent serpent– the hose.

Working with the swiftness of a Civil War medic, you begin.  You remove the shorts, the t-shirt, the diaper.  Each layer reveals more gore.  It is overwhelming, all-encompassing, worse than you could have imagined.  A nude toddler stands in your lawn.  What the neighbors must think is trivial as you work furiously towards your goal: Cleanse the buttocks.  Control the damage.  Restore order.

The hose’s shower setting proves woefully insufficient.  No, more force will be required.  It is the only language with which this nightmare will  negotiate.  A bellicose grimace sweeps across your face as you adjust the setting: jet.

The child whimpers in protest at its icy chill.  You cry to him, Submit yourself to the hose! It is your only path back to righteousness!  The jet performs its noble duty.  The chunks of excrement are driven to the ground, seeking their return to the depths of Hell from which their genesis came.

Soon, the final remnants of your odyssey are washed away.  There is only you, still breathing hurriedly.  Your child, bewildered by a barbaric driveway hose-blast.  The child’s shorts, doused clean.  They will be worn again.  Maybe not this week, when the memory is still too much to bear.  Maybe not before they’ve been through the washing machine twice.  But they will ride again.  You will not let the car seat poop have the satisfaction of claiming them.

A tear of victory, a prayer of gratitude.  And an admonishment:  Be gone, car seat poop.  I have driven you from my child, from my vehicle, from all that is sacred to me.

Oh, you will strike again, this we know.  The dance will continue, from generation to generation, nation to nation.  But we will triumph.

We will prevail.

We will rebuild.

Together– a global army of survivors united in common cause– we will slay you, car seat poop.

Blurbs

15 May

Last night Bruce Springsteen came to town and we were there.  I am a pretty serious fan.  I won’t bore you with critical analysis of the show except to say it was amazing, as they all are, because he is a brilliant, brilliant artist.  I WILL tell you how much embarrassment I have for myself the day after.  You guys.  Live music is a problem for me.  It makes me lose my mind.  I just have to dance and scream the lyrics as loudly as possible.  Our section was kind of tame so I’m pretty sure everybody hated me.  And the dancing is, like, NOT a normal kind of dancing.  As a baseline I just jump up and down.  When something particularly moves me you can find me like this:

passion_05_worship_edit
Sometimes I just end up flailing about like you’ve seen on Woodstock footage:

woodstock-dancing

Except they’re probably under the influence of many powerful hallucinogenics whereas I’ve probably had like 1.4 Yuenglings.

Instagram.  You guys.  I got a smart phone recently.  You can read here about how I smugly put off finally getting one.  I am now officially addicted to Instagram.  If that makes me lame then WHATEVER.  I never really got the Instagram thing before.  Like, OK, you can post pictures? GROUNDBREAKING.  2003 called it wants Webshots back.  But something about those stupid filters really does make it so much fun.

I also adopted a new philosophy about the social component of it.  Instead of letting it go through and just auto-populate every depraved soul from my Facebook, I went through and hand selected a tiny group of people who I genuinely enjoy and am not bothered by.  The result is an entirely different kind of social media experience, in that I… ENJOY AND AM NOT BOTHERED BY IT! I just scroll through and hit that heart button over and over because I really do like it all.  Not like stupid Facebook where you have to wade through idiotic Buzzfeed articles to stalk for newborn pictures.

Another thing I want to blab about: waking up with alarm clocks.  Does anybody else have a serious problem getting up from sleep? It’s a lifelong problem of mine.  It takes me a long time to become aware and alert.  Have you ever seen someone with a concussion?  You ask them things like, who’s the president? Rihanna.  What’s your birthday? Eleven.  What year is it? Sweet potato.  This is me every morning.  It’s actually kind of a horrible way to start the morning.

A few years ago I invested in this special sunrise alarm clock which was allegedly very effective in helping this exact problem.  Yea, click on it, it’s $118.  Apparently this is what you do when you have two white collar jobs and zero children to feed.  BUY $118 ALARM CLOCKS.  The thing doesn’t wake me up.

So, that leaves the phone.  With my old phone, the alarm would go off and two choices would pop up on the screen: snooze and dismiss.  This confused me every time because in my sleepy haze, those options are the same.  Snooze? YES! Dismiss? AND HOW!  Frequent over-sleeping resulted.

Now the smart phone is WORSE.  Instead of words, it has two little icons.  One is a “zzz” which kind of makes sense, but the other looks like this:

droid alarm dismiss eye

Which means my inner monologue looks like this:

Brain: What is that?
Brain: I don’t know, like, a hazelnut with a cue ball in the middle? And it’s shining?
Brain:  Is it the thing that’s on Argentina’s flag?
Brain: PHONE A FRIEND

So, eventually my brain works out that it’s an eyeball.  Or a sun eyeball, whatever.   When I’m still 98% asleep and thus have a negligible IQ, just knowing that it’s an eyeball is no help.  YES, I WANT TO CLOSE MY EYEBALL, GREAT SUGGESTION, *TAP*!  Over sleep.

Yanni! We were promised Yanni! I know for real I am blogging about Yanni next I swear to you.

Reading Rainbow

1 May

Umm, it’s been forever since I made a few book recommendations here.  I don’t mean like I am some self-appointed authority on what you should read (finally the blogger hath spoken…. OFF TO BARNES AND NOBLE), just that I always love hearing what others are reading, and make a lot of my choices that way, so maybe you do too and this will be helpful.

For full coverage of what I’m reading (the same sarcastic first parenthetical applies), I use and love Goodreads.  (I also apologize for some redundancy in my reviews there).  (OK, done with the parentheticals).  Here are some highlights from the last year or so.  (Apparently it has been that long.)  (Sorry I promised I’d quit with these.)

Gone Girl

As I mentioned on Goodreads, I was a bazillion years late to this party.  This was the It book of what, like, 2012? I finally got to reading it.  I was kind of in a reading rut and wanted something that I knew would make me turn pages.  I was surprised to find the first half kind of slow and circular, but then crazy stuff happens in the middle and I could not put it down.  Like, I basically let the toddler have his way with our house while I frantically read this in my bathrobe.  It was like The Great Gone Girl House Trashing of 2014.  I don’t know if we’ve recovered.  Anyway, it’s good stuff, not like wildly prolific, but engaging and suspenseful even if you think that isn’t your thing.  You will hate the female protagonist more than you think you can hate a fictional character.

Transfer of Power

OK I know please let me explain myself to you.  This is not my genre.  When Jeff and I’s relationship was in its infancy, he was telling me how he wasn’t big into reading.  I suggested that maybe he just wasn’t reading the right material and there was a lot of fiction out there I could see him really enjoying.  One day he came home with this.  I responded with something like, “AHAHA what is this! Transfer of Power!  What’s next? Burden of Valor? Brotherhood of Duty? Call of Gallantry? Let me guess, [mocking baritone] Agent Spike Remington is BACK with his ragtag platoon of renegade snipers… WILL THEY OUTSMART THE BAD GUYS BEFORE THE BAD GUYS OUTSMART THEM?” Etc.  And he sadly pointed out that he had taken my suggestion and tried to give reading a chance and I had mocked his selection.  I apologized and said he was right and one would think it would have been long forgiven and forgotten.  One would be wrong and he is STILL bringing it up to this day. As a gesture of goodwill and closure, I read this book.  Let me tell you… it is exactly as cheesy and ridiculous as I would have thought AND I could not put it down.  In the middle of it I had this big breakthrough and I said to myself, I realize what I’m reading. This is chick lit for men.  This is exactly what this is.  Bombs, guns, hostages, damsels in distress, snipers, guns, parachuting, undercover agents… just imagine a beautifully woven tapestry of every ridiculous Wesley Snipes movie ever, and that’s this book.  And as I indicated, I was hooked and reading it at red lights.  Honestly, if you want to give this genre a try or just want some light vacationy material, it’s pretty entertaining.

The Orphan Master’s Son

To take an abrupt turn back to seriousville, there is this.  I read this under the motivation of Elliequent’s Pulitzer Prize Reading List Challenge .  AKA the PPPPPRRRLLC (hashtag).  This book is a wild, incredible story.  It’s moving and sobering and I just can’t do it justice with my words.  It’s not a light read but will open your eyes as to what’s going on in the far corners of the world.  Everyone knows North Korea is a bad situation but if you’re like I was a few months ago, maybe you don’t really know what’s going on over there.  After reading this, I can’t believe the atrocities there are not on the front page of every newspaper, every day.  Unbelievable.

A Fort of Nine Towers

Along the same lines is this, which if I had to pick one thing to recommend, here you go.  I would say it’s the best book I’ve read in four years.  This is the memoirs of a kid growing up in Afghanistan in the 1990s and it’s absolutely, positively brilliant.  Like Orphan Master’s Son, it’s very difficult to read in parts.  The author is almost exactly my age, which somehow really made it especially difficult and heart-wrenching to process.  Like, everyone’s read and been horrified by Unbroken, but somehow that book felt a little more distant, a little less relatable since it happened in a different generation.  But amidst the horror of these memoirs, and I do mean horror, there are so many hopeful, touching, beautiful moments in this.  Really, really, really cannot recommend enough.  I said as much on Goodreads and PEOPLE, the author “liked” my review.  I don’t think I have ever been so flattered.

 Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care

Yes, I’m going here.  And I could write about 15 posts on this subject but I won’t, because it’s so sensitive and because  it’s so complex/conflicting that I haven’t even decided how I feel about everything.  Here’s one thing I am certain of: women should HAVE KNOWLEDGE about maternity care so they can confidently make their own choices alongside their providers.  Do WHATEVER you want but just know.  On the front cover of this book there is one review saying something like, “Every woman who even thinks she might someday be pregnant needs to read this” and I will just agree and leave it at that.

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Happy reading!  Stay tuned here because the topic of my next post is Yanni.

 

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.

——-

  • 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

image

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:

9675a14258b0b539f3d4880fdc85028a

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!

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