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Friday, June 23, 2017

Confessions Of A Stay At Home Mom

Confession: I've yelled at the dog already today and it isn't 8am yet.

After running back into the house numerous times AFTER getting the kids all buckled in so I can fetch the snacks I forgot, then Ellie’s water, then switching Benji’s pacey out for a clean one because he flung his to the floor in a cute baby rage because WHY AM I SITTING IN THIS CAR SEAT AND NOT GOING ANYWHERE, we’re on our way.

On our way to the gym with the kids and I just noticed I've got mango and oatmeal stains on my new white yoga top.  I actually noticed it before I left the driveway but the thought of getting unbuckled and going back into the house ONE MORE TIME makes me hulk-green angry.

I let Ellie convince me she didn't have to pee before we left.  Because, predictably, I forgot to get her to go again, after I got Benji ready to go, until I’m already snapping her car seat buckle shut and I am inclined to, REALLY WANT to believe her.  Also predictably, once we get to the end of our street she says she needs to pee.  Right now.  

I tell her to hold it.  I.  Am. Not. Turning.  Around. 

In sympathy, Benji poops while in his car seat.  I can tell by the smell the diaper isn’t totally containing things.  One problem at a time.

Once everyone has peed and Ben changed and the car seat mostly wiped off I drop them off at the day care.  I debate briefly whether to actually work out.  I decide I’m being ridiculous, I drove all the way here with two babies.

Of COURSE I’m NOT going to work out.  

I get some free hazelnut coffee and find a seat for my frazzled, razzled self.  I plug in my earphones and do what any red blooded mother with a few minutes of free time will do:  I slug coffee like it’s water, check Facebook and wait for the caffeine to walk out of my veins and pull my eyelids back open. 

Confession: If you drink wine from a plastic cup it doesn’t count.  Everyone knows this.

Most of the time, bedtime is my favorite time of day.

I’m pretty sure Ellie is already smarter than I am.

I can’t prove it but I think Benji is the reincarnation of those water torture people and he’s experimenting with sleep deprivation models to see which one makes a sane mom go crazy faster.

Confession: Sometimes I shop on Amazon when I’m mad at Bill.  The amount of things arriving on my doorstep is in parallel relationship to the level of irritation I’m feeling toward him.  It isn’t very mature, and I’m not proud of it but…there you have it.  The UPS guy can guess exactly how much help I’ve been getting at night taking care of Benji by the level of pain in his lower back from hauling all my extra boxes of…stuff.

I HAVE hidden in the bathroom to eat chocolate I didn’t want to share with Ellie.  And then lie about it if she happens to catch me finishing the last few bites.  “It’s spinach.”  I mumble.  But she knows.  Because, as previously noted, smarter than her momma.

Well that’s it, all my confessions for the day.  Or all I’m willing to admit for now.

“When I’m having a rough day with the kids I remind myself of one thing.  I could always be Caillou’s mom.”  Anonymous.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Healing America's Broken Heart.

I don’t know if my Canadian friends have heard about the shooting that took place in Alexandria?  

It was at a ball field where some Republicans were practicing for a bipartisan charity baseball game.  (Which has since taken place).  About 20 minutes from where we used to live.  With just-born Ellie.

This was a targeted hit.  A gunman opened fire only after confirming they were Republicans.  

This country feels like it’s heart is broken.  If this country were a human being, with a human soul and spirit capable of suffering I would say it has been broken for a long time.  We need to start healing that broken heart.

There is a certain amount of money and political capital in brutish rhetoric, in vilifying our opponent.  It gets ratings.  Ratings give recognition, gives that extra boost come election time.

It is clear that no matter what your political persuasion we all want our children safe.  There isn’t a Democrat or Republican alive or dead that would disagree with that.  

Those two boys, sons of the Captain of the baseball team who had to dive for cover from flying bullets are a prime example of how important it is to get together to create an atmosphere of unity.  This can't happen again.  

We need to start talking to each other.  And listening to each other.  We need to turn on the radio channels and the internet feeds that support the ‘side’ we’re NOT on.  At least once for every 5 times we listen to what supports ‘our’ side.

There isn’t a ‘them’.  A ‘those people’.  Even if we don't understand them or why they do the things they do.  We need to try.  Right now.  All of us.  Wherever we are, no matter who we’re with.  

There is just us.  Humans.  Doing what we think is right.  Taking steps to make sure the country we leave our kids is better than the country we live in now.  Because we all love.  We all hurt.  We all strive to follow the moral codes we’re established for ourselves.

We need to have compassion for one another.  And trust.  And faith in the democratic political system that we’ve been using for the last 215 years.  Unless someone has a better idea?

This blog post isn’t political.  It’s a call to remember our humanity.  Be humble.  Be kind.  Listen to someone you don’t agree with.  Listen with the open heart of someone who is sure we can disagree, and still love each other.

With the knowledge that only together, compromising, giving and taking, can we reach the safe middle ground that allows for the opportunities and freedoms we all take for granted every day.  And in this way, we can begin to heal the divides in this country.  

Not starting with the president, or with congress, with us.  

Here.  Now.  

With the people we interact with every day.  With people that, on first glance, we may have already decided we don’t like because of what they seem to represent.

It doesn’t matter what we say.  The only thing that matters is the spirit in which we say it.  An attitude that is respectful and open.  Our views may not change but we may just shift our perspective enough to realize we have more in common than different.  We may even learn something new about each other.

"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”  Thomas Jefferson.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Angela, The Fashionista. Or, Will Ellie Still Love Me When She Realizes I Have the Fashion Sense of a 12 Year Old

Ellie had a play date this week - right between getting over a mysterious fever and then coming down with a cold.  It was with her friends from school, at a splash park.  Maybe I should have cancelled but the fever was long gone and the cold hadn’t shown yet.

Anyway, it’s kind of fun meeting with people who are FROM Texas, and also who don’t have anything to do with ExxonMobil.  

(No offense to all the wonderful ladies I know and love who I met working there myself, through Bill and the EM groups I've joined.)

Anyway, the problem is the same, really, as in the EM groups.  I feel like whenever I meet up with them I’m walking onto the set of ‘The Bold and the Beautiful.’  And I’m more like, ‘Coronation Street’.  You know?  I like to think I’m shabby-chic but…maybe I’m just shabby?

Will Ellie ever be embarrassed by my wrinkled shorts and barely combed hair?  I mean really, I could have at least put make-up on.  I was so busy trying to get both babies out the door on time (fail - 20 mins late) I forgot to look at myself before I left the house.  Again.  As usual.

I totally expect teenage-Ellie will be embarrassed by my ANTICS.  

Singing in the car.  Kissing her goodbye in front of her friends.  Being weird about when she can have earrings.  (12?)  Being weird about when she can date.  (37?).  

But I’d hate for her to be embarrassed because I couldn’t be bothered checking to make sure my blue shorts don’t clash with my bright pink owl T-shirt.  (This is an actual shirt, one of my favorites until a sweet lady told me her 12 year old daughter would just LOVE that shirt.) 

She wasn’t being mean.  She was being honest.  Cluelessly telling me my fashion sense would intrigue her pre-teen.  She smiled.  I shriveled inside, just a little bit.  More like a sigh.

I wore it because it was one of my ‘new’ tops I just bought at a fancy boutique place.  I was trying to impress them, I guess?  

Mission ‘I’m a well dressed adult’….Fail.

Honestly I don’t know why I bother wearing anything other than yoga pants and tank tops.  (Actually getting time to GO to a yoga class is a complete fantasy).  But at least I don’t have to iron yoga pants.  And they’re usually black so they match with anything, AND hide the spit-up/finger-paint/avocado/brown stains that are PROBABLY chocolate I end up walking around with.

Anyway.

So I ironed some shorts.  And I’m going to try and check my reflection before I leave the house.  I am, after all, not a college student any more and I suppose I shouldn't present like one. 

Ugh.  It just takes SO MUCH EFFORT to put myself together before I leave the house.  I think, at almost 40 though, I need to bite the bullet, put on my big girl pants, and then iron them.  Or, ah, iron them first, THEN put them on.  Yeah. 

Not because I want people to like me, they will or they won’t and all the non-wrinkled shorts and stylin’ outfits in the world isn’t going to change that.  More like, I want to go out in public and NOT feel like a total schlub.

I digress.  I defer to Tommy in this matter.  

Tommy JEFFERSON, of course, who did you think I was talking about? 

“In matters of style, swim with the current.  In matters of principle, stand like a rock.”  Thomas Jefferson.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Fear and Teething in Texas, or, Top Three Ways To Survive TEETHING BABIES (when you can't just drop them off at Nana's)

Top Three Ways To Survive TEETHING BABIES (when you can't just drop them off at Nana's)

     1) Eat lots of chocolate.  Lots, and Lots.  And LOTS.

    2) Two words.  Frozen.  Banana.  (In a mesh teething bag - they have them in the grocery stores)

    3) Try EVERYTHING.  Most of the stuff out there to help teething babies probably doesn’t help but at least you’ll feel like you’re doing something.  

To Save YOU Some Time, Here’s a Quick Review of Stuff I’ve Tried:  

(Sort of Works) Amber Necklace.  (Actually this may have helped like 15%).  Until he wore it on a hot day and got a huge rash that it took me 7 days to get under control….he’s a delicate flower.

(Sort of Works) Teething toys.  This does NOTHING to help the pain but it gives his hands and mouth something to do so he’s not trying to put the dogs tail in his mouth. Or that dog-hair-covered-dust-bunnies-grape that fell to the floor three days ago you forgot to pick up.

Or, worst of all, one of Ellie’s kazillion stuffed animals that are lying around untouched for DAYS until Benji wants to chew the ear and then suddenly IT’S MINE!  And she wants it RIGHT NOW.  Then doesn’t bother to continue the charade for one second longer than it’s in her hands.  (Cue bunny going flying to another corner of the room as soon as she rips it out of Benji’s hands…)  

Am I raising a little despot?  Kind of.  And what does Benji do?  Blows raspberries happily because BIG SISTER LOOKED AT ME!!  SHE DID, SHE LOOKED AT ME!  Oh happy day!!

So.  Stinking.  Cute.  I digress.

(TOTALLY WORKS) Frozen Banana (or cold Watermelon/Mango, etc.)  Anything cold except for berries or citrus at his age.  (Six Months).  I put it in this little mesh bag with a handle he can hold onto and suck/chew away safely.  Gives me time to eat supper.  

(Sort of Works)  Teething gel. (minus the Benzocaine).  Worth putting it on, helps take the edge off I think.

(Works Well) Camilia Homeopathic Medicine for painful Gums and Irritability.  Made by Boiron.  I usually give him two doses and it works well for about an hour or so.  I like this option because I can try it before giving him drugs.  If it isn’t too bad, this works pretty well.  

But, when it gets acute:

(LAST RESORT BUT TOTALLY WORKS) Tylenol, and Advil.  

Dose by weight and by doctors advice.  When it’s really bad I give him Tylenol and Advil an hour later if he’s still crying/can’t sleep.  Non brand names are Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Advil).  Generic brands are cheaper and DO work just as well.

And how do YOU, Moms and Dads survive teething?  

First, buckle in, it’s going to take awhile.  Just, get comfy with the uncomfortableness of having a cranky baby.

Second, take heart/have perspective.  YOU CAN DO THIS.  It FEELS like this lasts forever, but it really doesn’t.  I have proof - my three year old has all her teeth.  

We’re not moms of sharks.  They have FIFTY teeth in 4 rows.  OUCH.

Third, THIS IS WHY THERE’S CAKE.  For EXACTLY this situation.  

Primary care-givers of teething babies DO NOT HAVE TO SHARE SAID CAKE.  This is in the Constitution of Every Country Everywhere on Planet Earth.  Trust me.  

If anyone argues with that, just drop the pretend ‘I’m doing fine and everything is great’ face and show them JUST A GLIMPSE of the crazy you REALLY are feeling, and they should back away.  Slowly.  This is YOUR cake.

Lastly, accept help when offered and take breaks when you can.  This isn’t a sprint, its a marathon.  Keep hydrated, parental units!!

Really lastly; 

“Adam and Eve had many advantages, but the primary one was they escaped teething.”  Mark Twain.

Really, REALLY lastly: 

“You don’t know real fear until you put your nipple into the mouth of a baby with teeth.”  Angela Yeh.