He was a drummer in my cousin's band. Sure, he was squat and hairy, but I'll never forget that moment he professed my future. I was an awkward 13 year old trying too hard. He said, "You're gonna be a real heart breaker someday, honey. " He took a drag from his cigarette and tightened his bolo tie. I walked on clouds of confidence for months, if not years, in hopes of some truth to that conversation. It wasn't until my twenties that I had enough dates to actually consider breaking hearts. And it wasn't until my twenties that I discovered things like fearlessness, unbridled passion, and sex appeal. I know what you're thinking and no, I never worked as a prostitute. I just metamorphosized into something other than Kafka's cockroach, and I enjoyed it. But you can never truly appreciate what you had until you're standing in the checkout aisle in yesterday's pajamas, infant on hip, obligatory bags below eyes and find yourself staring at the perfectly shaped buns of some college girl in front of you. Which calls to mind a few differences between life in my twenties and life today: lingerie with snaps and flaps is now for "let downs" instead of pick ups, now I'm the one giving the lectures, "routine bedtime" is no longer an insult, and my convertible is a car seat, not a car. Oh, yeah, and the term "youth" only applies to me in the form of night cream. Here's to growing old.
Today, I believe in superheroes. I recently embarked on a mommy & kid's field trip with some friends. During our picnic lunch I engaged in conversations regarding hot topic politics, enhanced organic cooking, and new year's resolutions that would make Gandhi blush. Stay at home moms gone wild. These women were serious about shaking up the world "one toddler at a time". Running marathons for a cause, pledging to be even more involved as a stay at home parent (above & beyond the sacrifice of just "staying home"), infusing their pancakes with spinach and wheat germ???? These people are possessed by goodness. Call Matt Lauer! Call Oprah! Get these women a cape & some stilettos! Today my girlfriend told me she wants to convert to cloth napkins at all her family meals. Laundry is laundry, what's 3 more squares in the load every day? She's right, you know. She was also the only woman I know who said she would use cloth diapers with her first child and actually did. We'd all like to think we can be easier on the environment until it comes to scrubbing & scraping poop with our bare hands. The buck has to stop somewhere. Tomorrow I'm going to be a superhero, cape and all.
Shelby's latest line of questioning ends in this sweet, lilting voice, "What for?"
I will point out that ending sentences with a preposition is a genetic flaw, inherited by her father.
Her most recent topic: the skeletal system. Her question, "What are the bones in your feet called, Mommy?" And being the smart ass that I am, I responded, "Metatarsals." My 3 year old took a second to digest this and then said, "Metatarsals are the bones in your foot mommy, and metacarpals are the bones in your fingers."
And so it was the sun shone down upon the land and angels sang in harmony,"This is the sign you needed. Aaaaaammen!" And I looked up and finally knew the reason I write that big fat tuition check every month. Preschool.
I just spent the last hour (truth be told, 3 hours), hopping from blog site to blog site across cyberspace. Don't ask what highly intellectual activity my children have been involved in all morning. I had some interesting thoughts as I stared into the faces of perfect strangers on my computer screen. Questions like, why do people have public blogs for completely dull topics like past political races, or graduation pictures? And, why are those men standing around naked on the beach in that picture? And why can't I be as popular as Orangette or the Gluten-Free Girl? And what kind of person posts pictures of every plate of food they've eaten over the last month? Nonetheless, I am inspired. And intimidated. It makes me reconsider the caliber of my talent when compared to some of these bloggers, naked men excluded. Check out these inspiring women, orangette.blogspot.com and glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com. Very cool.
When we moved from our 4 bedroom track house to the postage stamp bungalow last year, John and I agreed that 2 kids was our new limit.
When the inevitable question arose, sometimes daily, "What are you going to do with TWO kids in ONE bedroom?" I always rolled my eyes and haughtily answered, "SHARE, it's a growing trend in third world countries. Heard of it?" Final last words.
After 5 months of juggling two fashion fiend, shoe collecting girls in one room (okay, maybe that has something to do with mommy), here's some of my own tips and tricks:
#1. WHITE NOISE: We already burned up one humidifier testing this theory. The key is to buy the ones that don't require water to run their fan.
#2. BLACK OUT BLINDS. A darkened room is definitely where its at. Money well spent.
#3. CLOSET ORGANIZERS. I don't have them, but I definitely need them.
#4. CURTAINS FOR CLOSET DOORS. They are always closed and therefore help to make the bedroom look tidy. Kids can slip behind them to get into their stuff, hold a puppet show, play beauty runway, whatever, I don't have to look at it.
#5. REALISTIC GOALS. Coughing, wheezing, and wake ups mean it's time to split the parents and kids. Daddy goes to the sick room, Mommy needs her rest.
#6. MATTRESS SPACE. Don't even think about putting your toddler in one of those cute little mini-beds with her old crib mattress. What it comes down to is this: if you don't want your kid sleeping in your bed with you, you better be sure you can sleep in their bed with them.
#7. SLEEP CIRCUS...you know the nights, when they come in your room 3 times before you give in, get in your bed, get out of your bed, want you in their bed, don't want you, want daddy, etc.
#8. DOOR MIRRORS. If you're like us and have those ghetto fabulous hollow doors, hanging a decent full-length mirror on one side seems to work well as a sound barrier. I know, hanging a heavy glass object at guillotine height in your child's room may sound a bit iffy. It's ONLY a suggestion.
#9. FAITH. I believed my kids could share for the simple truth that I had no other choice, and inevitably, they have learned to sleep through eachother's nighttime noises.
#10.TIME. 5 months down, 17.5 years to go.
It was the point in my day when I gaze at my children and actually burst with pride and love. The mid afternoon hump when they're awake and happy, before the late afternoon meltdown, after the lunchtime whining. The girls and I were sitting at the Foster's Freeze with an ice cream sundae. Ana had a wondrous look on her face as she stared down the fish tank. Shelby was a vision of blond curls and dirt mustache. I couldn't have been happier, sitting there with my children. It was at this moment that Shelby decided she did not like peanuts in her whipped cream and sprayed peanut shrapnel all over the back of Ana's car seat. When she tried the maraschino cherry she immediately chewed and then, spit that out, too. "I don't want to eat the nut, Mommy." I tried to assure her that these special cherries don't have a pit. She willingly chomped down on it again only to spit the dripping red stickiness out all over the table. "I don't think that's a cherry, mommy." I quickly gathered my kids and left a $2 tip on the last clean corner of our table.
So, my only single friend called me today to complain about her life. HAH!! I know she calls for perspective, and she always gets a bigger dose than she bargained for. Today, she called while she was perusing the racks at Anthropologie (yeah, shopping, alone, in a major metropolis, with no time restraints and a quiet, empty house to return to whenever she was good and ready....I know! What's she doing calling me?) Why is it that the grass is always greener? It was at this time that Shelby decided to attempt a half-gainer into the bath tub while Ana had accomplished her second gooey blowout of the day. What's with my kids? The conversation went something like this, Friend, "My week has been crappy. I hate the poeple I work with, and I have a date tonight and nothing to wear." Me, "Check this out, my husband left me for a night, my oldest just drained the tub...onto the bathroom floor, and the baby just shit on me. Did you say you're shopping?" Friend,"Did you say you've been shit on?" Me, "Every day."
Both of my daughters suffered severe episodes of cradle cap. In fact, my first baby had such scaly scalp after a trip to the dry mountain air of Lake Tahoe that the sections connected to resemble more of a yellowish layer of dragon skin. When it got a little crusty a few days later one chunk on the front of her head would flap up in the wind. I brought her with me to teach a piano lesson with her "flap" and permanently traumatized a seven year old. Three years later, I introduced the same student to my second child. He took a step back, squished up his face and asked, "Uh, is her head gonna crack open like Shelby's did?"
I've learned the secret to this nasty problem. Olive oil. Rub it on with a your hands and comb out the yuck. Saturated Q-tips work well for behind the ears. Goodbye Cradle Crap. Hello grease.
I will spend money on a babysitter. Even when I can't afford it. In the past month, I have been out to dinner with my husband. Twice. And today we played a round of golf and made time for a beer with friends. The price for these outings is outrageous. But it must be cheaper than marriage counseling.