Archive | Stupid Things That Happen to Me RSS feed for this section

Laugh Track

28 Jun

Whine: I just finished my yearly summer gig (It pays! Can you believe it??). Which means that the two weeks I spent waking the kids up and shipping them off to various babysitters was just enough to train their little bodies to be up and at ’em right at 6:15am. I like money as much as the next gal, but I’m not sure it was worth if they keep this up.

Cheese: You get a whole lot done when you start your day before Matt Lauer has even had his coffee.

Did you ever see the episode of [insert name of favorite sitcom] where [insert name of male character] had two dates in one night? Somehow this lovable goofball [I’m imagining Kirk Cameron as a young Mike Seaver here, although my extensive archival research did not produce evidence of said Growing Pains episode] had managed to get himself in quite a pickle, with one lovely girl waiting for him at the table of the Italian restaurant and the other standing by the punch table at the school dance. The camera cuts to Mike Seaver [or whoever] changing his tie and pocket square as he runs back and forth between venues, trying to call the right girl by the right name, often with the assistance of [insert name of awkward yet loyal best friend].

I always hated the two-dates-in-one-night episode. First, because I really hate tension. And what’s more tense than two angry girls in 80s shoulder pad dresses sparring over the adorable yet slightly-chagrined leading man? But I also hated those episodes because they were just. so. unrealistic. Nobody pulls off being in two places at once. Ever. Not even for the thirty (twenty-two without commercials) minutes of a sitcom. But apparently the live studio audience always bought it hook, line and sinker because they laughed with every close call and pratfall.

I live my life now trapped in a sitcom cliche.

Except for instead of two dates in one night, I’ve got three kids and one me. I run back and forth from room to room, putting out fires. Some are figurative.  Big Sis is in my bed in timeout for dishing out some unauthorized Swift Justice on Lil’ Sis. I turn on World Cup Soccer just to make the consequences that much more severe. I call it punishment by vuvuzela*. Lil’ Sis is sitting in the empty bathtub waiting for me to finish cleaning up the “oops I forgot I don’t wear diapers anymore” spot from the hall rug and come hose her down. All the while, Brother Bear lays screaming  in his bed as if his toenails are being ripped off by a hungry troll. Which is only partly true; I fed the troll this morning.

Scenes like this litter the sitcom of my life. Running back and forth, trying to remember whose name is whose and where exactly I was going in the first place and why there’s a bag of cheese under the pile of unopened mail. Except there’s no laugh track. And all the time I spend cleaning up bodily fluids in real life would be conveniently edited into a thirty-second montage complete with quirky background music. Good grief what I wouldn’t give for some quirky background music. The laugh track I can live without because cleaning up pee is never as funny in the moment.

But give it a couple of hours (days if it’s a really bad one) and I have edited the whole thing in my head down to what it really was, just a sliver of time in my twenty-two minute episode (I get NO commercial breaks around here) where I lost the numbers game (Kids 3, Mom 0) , sandwiched between the ubiquitous moments of character building and requisite sappy ending. Then I bring it you, my live studio audience, and we can all have a good laugh. I hope.

Mr. Dad reading to his live studio audience.

*Vuvuzela, in case your household calendar does not orbit the local/international sports schedule as mine does, is the sound of thousands of atonal horns being blown without skill like the droning of a stadium filled with tone-deaf bees. Also known as the South African fans at the World Cup. Trust me, it’s torture.


Life’s a Beach

11 Jun

Whine: People should not drink Coke Zero at 11pm if they wish to go to sleep anytime before 2am. People should also not leave their 4 year-olds unattended in the kitchen the next morning while they are sleeping off the late night, lest little hands decide to cook their own “syrup toast” in the toaster oven.

Cheese: At least some 4 year-olds come tell on themselves when the smoke from the scorched syrup fails to wake up their mommy.

Let me give you a word of advice: When that nagging little voice inside your brain finally manages to break through your permanent baby-haze and warns you that you are in over your head, be smart enough to stop and listen to that little voice. Or at least grab a life preserver.

So when my mom decided that we should all go to “the lake” (a one-acre man-made glorified swimming pool) for the day when my sister and her family came in town, I should have thought twice.

Then, when Mr. Dad asked if he could go golfing in the morning before our lake day, thus leaving me alone to pack swimsuits and waternoodles, apply multiple coats of sunscreen to slippery little urchins, and somehow get out the front door without causing harm to a child (with or without intent), I should have thought three times.

And when we finally arrived with fourteen bags full of swim diapers, trail mix, arm floaties, and diet cokes to a cloudy, drizzling sky, I should have just stayed in the car.

But, I am a Mommy. I can and will do anything for the amusement of my children. Including, but not limited to dancing a jig in the middle of the grocery store aisle, making cupcakes to celebrate the fact that it’s Tuesday, and checking out 700 books from the library and keeping them two weeks past their due date, thus incurring a fine of approximately 1 million dollars.

So against my better judgement, I got of the car and began to set up camp while the rain sprinkled down, doing my best crazy-lady-who-mutters-under-her-breath-about-life’s-injustices routine. I hid Brother Bear underneath an umbrella and the girls scampered off with their aunts and cousins undeterred by the rain.

Within minutes, the rain had been completely scorched away by the glaring, hateful sun and my preparations were hindered by the fact that I could not see through the streams of sweat pouring down my forehead and into my eyes. I continued my muttering routine, while trying to keep an eye on my children who like to run off and get themselves into mortal danger. (Death by fiery syrup toast, anyone? How about by imbibing three gallons of dirty lake water?)

I finally got settled in, only to realize that it was time to feed Brother Bear (again). Big Sis had also had an unfortunate going under/lifeguard rescue moment and was completely OVER this whole lake thing, which she emphasized quite vocally until I let her lie down in the backseat and read (thank goodness I shoved some library books into one of my fourteen bags) while I sat in the front to feed the baby. Some lake day. It makes me laugh at my former self, whose biggest beach worry at age 14 or 19 or even 27  was the fact that I looked a little jiggly in a bathing suit. Hahaha, I thought that was jiggly?

Eventually, we coaxed both Brother Bear and Big Sis back into the water. I found my happy place in a hot pink raft shaped like half a barcalounger, complete with two cupholders. One for my trailmix and one for my Diet Coke. Brother Bear slept peacefully on my chest, while I scooted us around like an uncoordinated sand crab and watched the girls splash and slide and jump in the water.

But then the reality of potty breaks (or not, I sure hope they clean that water. . .) and hungry tummies and more sunscreen broke into my personal nirvana and I was back on duty.

After hot dogs and chips and de-sanding and changing diapers and clothes and finding missing blankies, we piled into the car and headed home. The backseat was eerily quiet, as everyone immediately slipped into unconsciousness when we shifted into drive. Mr. Dad took the rare moment of quiet to ask me if I’d had fun.

Fun? Well, that’s one word for it.

Oh, Canada: Guest Post by Rachelle

19 May

Whine: How may Canadians does it take to clear an overpriced package of diapers through customs? Too many.

Cheese: Somehow Lizzie Rabbit (my two-year old) understood just how imperative it was that she use the potty chair this week.

So I’m just back from Canada, eh.

I followed my loving husband (aka Go Daddy, due to his uncanny resemblance to the Energizer Bunny) here on a business trip.  It all went surprisingly well. At first.  The girls and I spent a relaxing day at the park and the art museum, followed by naps just before Go Daddy arrived back at the hotel after a long day of meetings. (He’s partly responsible for that ominous sounding “One World Alliance.”)

Once Go Daddy finished with his business making alliances with the world, he was itching to get out and do something (hence his name). So we gathered our two little darlings (two years old and 3 months old) and headed to the aquarium.  We took a cab there no problem. Unfortunately, after a loooooong day of smudging up the glass trying to get to the fishies, we discovered, much to our dismay, it was not quite so easy to get one back to the hotel.

So we walked back. Four miles. During nap time. It was all I could do not to join in the yelling and screaming that was coming from the exhausted kiddos. We finally arrived back only to have Go Daddy decide that we should take a water taxi to the nearby island for dinner.  After a surprisingly pleasant dinner, we got home around 11pm. Pacific time, my friends.  I only tell you this to let you know how tired we were before things got really ugly.

The next day we went through customs to our standby flight, taking care to mark our bags properly, crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s. Well, two cancelled flights later we were still in Canada and the bags were on their way home — wait for it — with the diapers. We went back through customs to another hotel and began to seriously dig into our resources.  “Lizzie Rabbit you must only use the potty from here on out”  “Tiny Tura,  no pooping, okay?”  We all ended up in various states of nudity because that’s all we had left.  But, you know, it’s Canada, so it was alright, right?

Once we handwashed a few items and made it to the airport I had to walk aboot a kilometer to the domestic terminal to the only pharmacy in the whole airport, only to find out it was closed on Sundays. Then I found a 7-11 nearby sure they would have diapers becaise I saw them there when I was desperately searching for wipes earlier in the week.  By the way, homemade wipes are awful, or at least I am not very good at it.  Well, irony of ironies, this 7-11 had lots of wipes, but no diapers. Of course.

I finally prayed, literally, for a miracle.  I randomly stopped in a magazine stand to cheer myself up with something trashy to read (there’s no therapy quite like that of Star! Magazine), and low and behold- diapers!   “Yay!”  I actually yelled that, out loud, and the cashier said “Congratulations, that’s our last pack.”  We finally did make it on the plane, but we had a very hard time trying to explain to the customs officials why we had no luggage and only a bag of diapers to our name.

Rachelle is married to Go Daddy (who is Mr. Dad’s “little” brother) and a very full-time mother to two little darlings. She spends her “free time” rearranging the eye shadows in her Caboodle and would love to work as a frappuccino tester for Starbucks when she grows up.


Through the Looking Glass

6 May

Whine: I am living in the Poop Years. Every day I clean up poop. Off bottoms, out of clothes, off the floor of the public restroom stall. Some sweet day I will look around and realize that I have not cleaned up anybody’s business all day long, and that will be a very good day. But for now I arm myself with Resolve carpet cleaner and lots and lots of SoftSoap.

Cheese: Angsty teens doing melodramatic ballet to my favorite 80s uber-cheesy love ballad? Yes, please.

Yesterday it happened. I have always wondered when the day would come when one of my kids would figure out that they could turn the deadbolt and lock me out of my own house.

Well, yesterday was that day.

I unloaded Lil’ Sis from the car, unlocked the front door, tossed my keys down, and turned to retrieve Brother Bear from the car.  Then I turned to discover Lil’ Sis smiling at me from the other side of my front door glass. I tried the handle. Nothing. I banged on the door and shouted encouragingly for Lil’ Sis to turn the lock and she made a few feeble attempts. Nothing.

Then my little imp, who looked concerned about the situation for all of one nanosecond, turned tail and wandered off to explore the empty house Home Alone-style. I watched helplessly from the driveway as she toddled over to the table, still replete with unwashed breakfast dishes. My cries of horror went unheeded as she reached up to take a big drink of the milk that had been sitting out since breakfast.

I frantically called Mr. Dad who suggested I try the windows and see if any were unlocked. I was glad when there weren’t any, as we all know how it goes when I try the window approach to home entry. By that time Lil’ Sis had wandered back to smile and wave at me through the double-paned glass of the front door. Then she ran off to the far reaches of the house, probably to scald herself with hot water or pull bookshelves on top of herself.

No, of course I didn’t panic or freak out or think about calling 9-1-1.  Ok, maybe I did. But then I moved on to more productive behavior. I managed my internal near-hysteria by doing the following:

1) Thanking GOD that Brother Bear was not locked inside with his doting older sister, who would surely have suffocated him with kisses and hugs and pillows or bitten his toes off (she actually tried that the other day).

2) Running through all of the possible window-breaking scenarios to see which one would be least likely to cost me lots of pain and/or money.

3) Thinking what a HILARIOUS blog post this would make once I got Lil’ Sis out of there without drinking all my household cleaners or cutting her own hair.

4) Praying.

And miraculously, after I rang the doorbell about seven hundred times, Lil’ Sis walked back over and turned that lock.

I pushed open the door and scooped up that little sweetie, repeating over and over what a good job she did and how much I loved her as I squeezed her as hard as I could. Then I gave her guardian angel the rest of the day off. Heaven knows he needed it.

Home Alone 4: Revenge of Lil' Sis

Dear Whine and Cheese

22 Apr

Whine: Today I made the mistake of buying the sisters each a butterfly net. Then, once I got the nets off their heads (and mine, once) I spent the better part of my afternoon bug hunting with the girls. And by “with the girls” I mean me digging through the dirt with a stick and picking up worms with my bare hands while they called out encouragingly from the safety of the swingset. 

Cheese: I got a “Bravo!” and a “Take a bow!” and even a “You’re an expert, Mom!” Man, if I’d known worms would make me so popular, I would have bought a worm farm a long time ago.

So NOT my idea.

Many of you out there are wondering just exactly what it takes to survive as a multi-child mom. I’m no octo-mom, but being home alone all day with three little urchins requires some creativity, and I’m happy to answer your burning questions. (Actually, if they’re burning, you should probably see your doctor.)

Dear Whine and Cheese,

Since having my baby a month ago I haven’t figured out how moms actually eat. Doesn’t my baby realize that if I don’t eat, neither does he?

Sincerely,

About to Eat my Own Arm

Dear, um, Hungry,

You’ve asked the central question of motherhood. Whether you are struggling to eat because your jelly-bean-sized fetus is rejecting all nourishment or because every time you get some food multiple someones are a)crying, yelling and hollering or b)climbing on top of you trying to get a bite, you’ve got to figure out how to eat, lest the very underpinnings of our civilization (i.e., happy mommas) crumble and fall apart.

That being said, here are a few tips for avoiding the low blood sugar meltdown:

1) While you sit in your car to nurse the baby who screamed through all twenty-four aisles of the grocery store to the pitying (judgmental?) glances of midday shoppers, scrounge around through the jumble of bags until you stumble upon something edible, like a bagel or a candy bar or a few of both. Wash them down with a warm Diet Coke or the cup of day-old water that has hints of dog hair floating around in it. I’d go with the Diet Coke if I were you.

2) When a lovely, kind and compassionate person brings dinner for your family, immediately serve yourself a plate, shoot your husband and kids The Death Look and run to your bedroom. Enjoy your feast while you sit on the floor and watch the reruns of Hoarders on A&E, because at least someone’s living room looks worse than yours.

3)  Two words: Drive Thru. Because they can’t get to you — or your food — if they’re strapped into their car seats.

I hope this helps you retain all your appendages, for this week at least.

Yours Truly,

Whine and Cheese

Dear Whine and Cheese,

I’m now a mother of three. How on earth am I supposed to leave the house, let alone grocery shop?

Sincerely,

Old Mother Hubbard

Dear Mother Hubbard,

When grocery shopping it is important to remember a few things: your grocery list, your coupons (all expired, of course), and a few giant lollipops. Don’t hesitate to utilize the XXL-sized Racecar shopping cart. Just be warned that you will need to complete a driver safety course in order to maneuver the cart without knocking over the cardboard display filled with sample-sized bottles of Irish Spring bodywash that not one of those pitying midday shoppers will help you pick up. Also know that despite the ungainly size of the cart, no actual groceries will fit inside without a delicate house-of-cards-like arrangement. By the time you reach the check-out your chips will be totally crumbled and the labels will be ripped off all your boxes of cereal, but at least you’ll have food to rummage through when you’re stranded in a parking lot feeding The Hungriest Baby Who Ever Lived.

Yours Truly,

Whine and Cheese

Dear Whine and Cheese,

I’m thinking of having children. Should I have noise-reducing headphones surgically attached to my ears?

Sincerely,

La, La, La, I Can’t Hear You

Dear La La,

You pose a fascinating question. Certainly the sounds of early childhood can be overwhelming. The crying in the night when you just barely just fell asleep. The shouts of “she’stouchingmeWAAAHH” from the back seat. The disturbingly loud and metallic crinkle of the new biodegradable chip bag (seriously, SO loud!). The dollar store cd of kids’ songs whose squeaky fast-forward sound makes you wonder if when recording a cd for the dollar store you pay for the recording studio by the minute.

But if you were to muffle all the cries, shouts, crinkles and squeaks, you’d also be muffling the sound of the tiny sweet baby stretching and yawning next to you. And you might miss out on hearing your six favorite words: “Mom, I have to go potty.” (Even if it is a false alarm.) And when you’re up to your wrists in worm slime, you might need your ears free to hear the encouragement of your biggest fan.

So, La La, I wouldn’t attach the headphones, but I’d sure keep ’em handy for roadtrips. Or trips to the grocery store. It’s hard to push a huge grocery cart with your fingers stuffed in your ears.  

Yours Truly,

Whine and Cheese

Some People Never Learn, Part II

27 Jan

Whine: I took two crabby cats to my local superstore to get antibiotics for them both. After all the hassle of parking in another state and waddling a cart through the throngs of other cheapskates, all the way to the pharmacy, they had the nerve to look me in my tired eyes and tell me they didn’t have the medicine. Because ear infections are rare conditions and it must be hard to acquire the exotic medicine required to treat them, right?

Cheese: Don’t worry, though, I didn’t leave empty-handed. Luckily for me, the Girls Scouts were standing at the entrance selling their crack cookies. I felt it was my civic duty to buy at least a few boxes. I don’t want to be a jerk to the Girl Scouts, do I?

In a recent post I highlighted that I am a slow learner. I might learn your phone number the first time I hear it and remember it for the rest of my life, or learn the name of every designer on all seven season of Project Runway, but when it comes to things that are actually useful, I tend to require extreme remediation. As is evidenced by the fact that I have on more than one occasion let my children run amok with bare bottoms and then had to clean up the consequences. Here are a few more things I wish I had learned the first time instead of the second, third or fourth:

#1) Markers should be put away in a cabinet that is way up high and cannot be reached by four year olds who prefer to express themselves creatively with body art.

Side note. The other day, during supervised marker time (I’ve finally learned), I turned my back for all of thirty seconds and she wrote all over her legs (because of course she wasn’t wearing any pants, we clearly don’t believe in pants in this house). When I scolded her, she began crying and rubbed her eyes. Dark blue marker streamed down her face; she looked like she should be singing lead vocals on Karma Chameleon.

#2) Do not serve spaghetti on the same day in which you have mopped your kitchen floor. You are just setting yourself up for an extra dose of Futility Frustration (which is in high enough supply when you have small children). It’s kinda like getting your car washed when the forecast calls for rain. I suppose you could also solve this problem by never mopping your floor.

#3) Some things should be left for people with actual skill. Like predicting the weather, diagnosing my kids’ various illnesses (just say NO to Google MD), but especially sewing. Straightly sewn lines evade me like the Holy Grail evaded King Arthur and his knights. I would save a lot of swearing and frustration if I would remember this before embarking on a highly-complicated project like sewing a pillowcase or cutting fabric into straight lines.

#4) Sugar is not my friend. A box of Hot Tamales is not the solution to my droopy eyes, and in fact is the cause of the other parts of me that may or not be droopy. A better solution to my droopy eyes would be to stop playing solitare after the 50th game and get my droopy parts to bed.

#5) Pregnancy makes me extra tired. Extra hungry. Extra weepy. Extra large. I am surprised by this every time. You’d think I’d have this down by now. When I am pregnant, I should know better than to: stay up past 10pm, eat a salad for dinner, look at baby pictures of my kids, or walk any distance further than the couch to the refrigerator. Yet I try one or more of these things every day and am shocked when I’m exhausted, starving, sobbing and out of breath (usually at the same time).

And as an additional word of advice (this one’s a freebie) one should avoid watching Steel Magnolias (or A Baby Story or telethons of any kind) during this time. Ocean’s Eleven, however, is highly recommended, especially when in labor.

#6) Whatever it is, it won’t last forever.  Kids eventually learn to use the potty, to keep their food on the table intead of under it, and to do things all by themselves. So the sooner I learn to laugh it off, the more I can find the good parts of stuff. Like learning to find the humor in the fact that I have to get off the phone with my sister because Lil’ Sis won’t stop pulling down my pants (darn you, elastic waistband!).  Or enjoying getting to see Big Sis explore her “mad scientist” alter ego even though it always involves lots of yarn, at least one roll of tape and tons of clean up because soon she’ll be headed to school, and I won’t get a front row seat to the inner workings of her unusual little mind anymore.  

And clearly I’ll never learn, as typing that last paragraph is enough to send my tired, weepy self on the hunt for a box of tissues, or Hot Tamales, whatever’s closer.

The spider has caught a lil' fly in her web. She's a mad scientist, I tell you.

Magnetic Personality

21 Jan

Whine: I woke up this morning at 6:30am because I could not stop sneezing. Why in the world did my nose decide after lying in  the very same bed all night, that all of a sudden it was a hotbed of allergens? Stupid allergies.

Cheese: Today Big Sis said, “I think you’re great, Mommy. Great and awesome.”  I was really touched, so I pretended like I hadn’t heard her and asked her to say it again. Then I wrote it down, made her sign it and got it notarized. She may need to be reminded of that someday.

Check out this new blog feature!

If you enjoy reading/following my blog, but the agony of constantly checking for a new post is making you crazy (because I know you all wait for each post with bated breath), please note the cute little button on the side of the blog that says “Sign me up!” —->

Simply type in your email address in the box above the button, then click the button. You will receive an email (if you don’t, be sure to check your junk mail/spam folder) and you will have to click the link in it to confirm your subscription.  

Back to our regularly scheduled post:

I think Lil’ Sis’ feet might just be cute little magnets for excrement. Another case in point: The other day we went to play in the backyard at a friend’s house. We headed out and did a preliminary check for any doggie <ahem> remnants. The coast looked clear and I set Lil’ Sis free to roam.

Then I heard shrieking from inside the house. Using my highly-tuned Screamometer, I determined that the shrieker (Big Sis) was in actual, physical pain (as opposed to the usual Extreme Emotional Trauma), so I went running inside the house to discover a boo boo on the knee that required immediate kisses and hugs.

When we all settled down and headed back outside, I realized that my delicate Lil’ Sis was wearing her brown shoes again! Except the ones I dressed her in that morning had started out pink. How she found a pile of grossness (again) where none previously existed and trailed it into a path (again) is beyond me. All I know is that for the second time in a week, I was cleaning up poop, which in my opinion, is two times too many.

As my friend and I sanitized and sterilized our way through the yuk, we tried to hold a conversation to distract ourselves from our grim task. At one point we realized how ridiculous we sounded, two grown women talking like cartoon characters because we were both breathing only through our mouths. I hear that skill is very valuable when you live with boys, though, so I guess I’m glad for the practice.