Diapers, Dance, & Dookies

I came across this old entry from 2008 that I never published. I thought I'd share this older entry with you from my personal diary of life as a mom in an unforgiving world. Enjoy:
We made it to Shelby's dance class on time. One miracle accomplished. When she disappeared into the studio, Ana decided to use her new found voice to try talking to her sister through the one-way glass. The screeching was incredible. This little baby was capable of big noise. I, of course, thought it was adorable. But judging by the disapproving looks from the rest of the crowd, opted to head outside for a walk. The fresh air turned sour the minute we stepped outside. I noticed my hand felt strangely warm and the sweet smell of caramelized baby poop told me this loud crooner had done a dooker. Great. The ONE day we walk to dance class and although my huge purse holds enough contents for a week of survival in the Congo (food, books, silverware, onesies, makeup, diapers, rocks?). I cannot find the wipes. PERFECT. Turning to face the scowling mothers, Ana and I reenter the crowded studio room, followed by the overwhelming stench of her diaper. Thankfully, one woman mercifully noticed my plight and offered help. Thank god the mommy code requires moms of all stages to carry wipes in their car. By the time Ana was clean and poop free, Shelby had finished class. We walked the three blocks back to Foster's before I remembered I'd left the dog in the car. Kiley, our seasoned chocolate lab, has grown accustomed to this type of treatment. She lumbered out of the cramped trunk looking in need of a walk. Feeling adventurous, I decided to head out for one more jaunt to the bank. What could happen in one city block? Just the biggest dog shit of all time dropped on the porch of the nicest building in town. She didn't even bother to hit the lawn. Nope, welcome to Fidelity Title, be sure to watch the shit. And not a bag in site.


Alien Life Forms on Earth

I've been caught in a two year episode of "The Dating Game: My Search For Compatible Friends in My Home Town." It's been nothing short of a learning experience...about myself.
From the first breath of life, we, as a species, are introduced into social settings, we are expected to communicate and cooperate with others outside our immediate family unit. Why? Because the other extreme is never leaving the house, never learning what it feels like to have your toy stolen or a classmate share her cookies, never giving a compliment, or receiving one, never understanding how to make small talk with the grocery checker, never learning to love. It is a study in reflection, finding ourselves through the interaction and interpretation of others.
As a stay at home parent, I recognize my need for other adult friendships and conversations... because if I don't interact with other adults, the other extreme is yelling "MINE!" all the time and making farting noises everytime I see a horse. And each time I have the opportunity to interact with others (I sound like a friggin alien sometimes, I swear, (Robot Voice) "Weirdo One to Mother Ship, Confirmed Interaction With Humans, Repeat, Confirmed Interaction With Humans")....
Sorry, I'll get to the point without the robot voice: Every time I meet someone new, I learn more about myself, my analytical self, my creative self, my sense of direction in life, my values and my priorities. As the saying goes, "Never Judge A Book By It's Cover", but now I'm wondering if the cover is somehow correlated to that person's values and interests. Okay, that sounds shallow. Dare I digress? (Why not?! You all know I'm crazy by now anyway)
"An Analytical Interpretation of Me"-in 15 sentences or less: I take pride in my family, and am protective about our time together. I pride myself in the look and feel of my home, I value controlled chaos. I exist more sanely with a tidy living room (that's because all the other rooms are full of laundry piles and exploding closets-but that's what doors are for, right?). This means I value my home as a sanctuary for thought, play and family life. I like real furniture. I hate fake flowers. I also take pride in how I present myself, what I choose to wear, that is, IF I make the effort to get dressed. Lately, I'm batting about a .400. Other tidbits of info: I love to travel, exercise, and have an extreme appreciation for literature, I am a musician, I sincerely appreciate the use of manners at all times, I like bright colors, I despise lavender. I am cynical and self conscious. I have a sense of humor. I love all forms of water; ocean, lakes, rivers. (Seeking someone to share this with, please call me at ....)
Seriously, though, what does this say about me?
Where am I going with this? Each time I meet someone new, experience their way of life, their values, their style, their family, I walk away with a new perspective on me and my way of life. I'm not looking for my diabolical twin, I'm looking for a few strands of a common thread in other people, some way to recognize parts of myself, a way to be inspired by their values and thoughts. It's not simply judging the book by its' cover, it's observing how that person came to create that cover, what they're doing to make the cover, decorate it, protect it, relocate it, and care for it. And then, when applied to me, it's how the look and sound and feel and laugh and conversation of that other book in it's cover makes me feel when I'm in their presence. What thoughts and inspiration I may have with that other person.
OMG, I AM an Alien! I never realized it until I wrote this blog entry! I'm finally out of the closet. Phew, that's a relief.
If I could reflect on a few of my dearest, closest life time friends, what could I say about their book covers? And why can I call them my dearest friends? Because their book covers are woven from some, not all, of the same common threads that my own life contains. Because they inspire me to think about new things, to be more creative or more savvy, to be a better parent or a more thoughtful friend, to be a better spouse or a better athlete. Because in my humble (alien) opinion, that is the definition of a friend.


I Used to Run Marathons...

Gone are the days of hillside living when John and I equally split our weekend days (one for his beach trip to go surfing, the other for my long training runs). Here to stay are the unavoidable beach days, where he checks the surf religiously from all facets of our property, including the driveway, the roof, the Internet, texting resources, and phone conversations with his surfing cohorts therein saturating both weekend days with the looming possibility of an All Time Surf Session at any point in the day! AUUGHGHHH! What have I gotten myself into?
Funny enough, I never anticipated this problem when we moved nearer the beach. Probably because when we moved, I happened to be recently incapacitated with child and soon to be second child growing ominously in belly. My long run days had run out a few years back. Go surf, daddy, just get home in time to rub my feet and give baby a bath. And hurry it up because we've got a kitchen to remodel! I had traded in my running shoes for a Cat's Claw and a hammer and I had pushed my marathon days into memories.
And now, Mommy FINALLY got her groove back and I stand, jogging in place at a crossroads: Negotiating independent play time for both well deserving parents on the weekends. He needs a few hours for his surf session, I need a few hours for my training run.
Where to go from here? To be a good wife, one must understand the soul surfer. He, like a bird riding the warm breeze of a summer night, follows the ocean's waves wherever they may roll, whenever their crashing song calls his name. Which means, I gotta let him get good surf so we can all be happy, otherwise he's a real bear to be with. And waves don't have a publicist to memo their upcoming weekend agenda. So, for 2 years we've worked our weekend schedule around the swell, our family days are an abysmal orbit around daddy's surf schedule.
Which means, if I intend to make time to do extended runs, I either need to arm myself with some mace and a DayGlo running suit so I may jog in the dark hours of morning before sunrise, or I need to lay down some ground rules.
Momma's got a new plan and Elmo's got my back, apparently "Learning To Share" is a universal dilemma, not limited to toddlers. Soul Surfer, you've finally met your match and her name is MOMMA.


The Mobile Make Up Artist

Because I often value my appearance when it is too late, when we've finally loaded up in the car and are significantly late to our destination and I glance in the rear view mirror as we barrel down the highway and shriek, "Auughh! What is that scary looking haggard thing staring back at me?" I have learned to keep a secret stash of tools in my vehicle.

I keep a small zippered bag with foundation, mascara and lipstick-because these are my keys to happiness-in the driver's side door of my car for moments like the above mentioned one (make that more than one).

My other key to happiness, when I need a few seconds to myself to unload groceries or have an uninterrupted phone conversation, I let my kids play in the car. That's right, send Child Protective Services, I said it, I put my children in the car, check the E-brake and shut the doors, because so long as they can't find the keys, they won't be looking for me either. And I can get a few minutes of peace and quiet.

As I'm sure you've guessed where I'm going with this, yesterday I grabbed the last of the groceries and peeked in on my two little rugrats. Shelby saw me before I saw the baby and she made a fast, and guilty exit, while stifling her giggles. My secret stash of make-up wasn't so secret as it was strewn across the back seat of the car.
And then Ana turned around to face me from the front seat, grinning happily and chewing on a tube of chapstick. I'd venture to bet that in most countries, this would be offensive:


Cleaning the Beach

I watched a woman and her daughter diligently picking up trash on the beach in the Montana De Oro State Park this weekend. They wore gloves and carried plastic bags. Since most people, besides my own husband (who was carrying an abandoned beer can and several random pieces of plastic at the time), don't usually gather trash of their own accord I assumed them to be part of a Girl Scout Troop or something. And I admired the inspiration organizations like these provided for goodwill and positive community participation. Of course, we had John in our family for inspiration, who never returned home from the beach without a piece of beach trash.
As I pondered the saintly qualities of my own husband, I watched as the woman neared closer to a creek bed where she set her sights on something on the water's edge. Then she did something that made me shutter, she placed her gloved hand in her mouth (the dirty glove she used for picking up the trash) and bit down on the end of her glove. IN HER MOUTH! Using her teeth to pull the glove off her hand, she used her bare hand to reach into the water and retrieve a piece of plastic.
Now, I ask, what part of this is sanitary? My own husband carried trash in his bare hand, but I knew him well enough to know that he would not put his hands in his mouth until he reached the bathroom sink across the parking lot.
And then I realized the irony in beach cleaning. It is common knowledge that in various countries around the world, including ours, garbage dumps are located on large ocean barges where, at full capacity, they head out into the sea and dump the colorful disgusting piles of junk right down onto the ocean floor. It's no wonder our beaches are awash with various pieces of garbage.


Seven Happy Things

As we bloom into spring these days, here are seven things that bring a smile to my face:
1. Sunshiney warm days and splashes of wildflowers alongside the roadways.
2. More daylight and earlier bedtimes!
3. Good friends and smiling conversations.
4. My daughters dancing to "Bella Dancerella" in the living room.
5. Gardening in the sunshine.
6. One stiff extra dirty martini on a childless date with my man.
7. The promise of summer around the corner, warm weather, sundresses and swimsuits, carefree days and vacation time.