Thursday, June 18, 2015

sh*t my kids say, vol. 4

My kids were born with this amazing survival mechanism called "Be irresistibly cute at the exact moment one or both parents are preparing to throw you out the window." See examples below.

Bedtime has been drama lately. The worst thing in Jack's life is going to sleep. He hates it, just like his dad. It is a grave injustice that DM gets to stay up later than him (not me, I hightail it to bed as soon as humanly possible). It's just NOT FAIR! The other night there was a bunch of ballyhoo, and then we were talking things out, and he said "Well, that's the first fair thing I've heard you say all night!" Ha.

At bedtime I tell Colby I'll stay "an extra minute" if she promises "no fussin' and fightin'" when I leave. This morning she said "Mama! No fuzz last night! Can I get a stickah?" And the other night I came home to a bunch of dinnertime drama and C said "Mama? Daddy is making Jack eat his dinnah and he is SUPAH fuzzy about it."

This reminds me of the other day when we were cajoling J to eat some bacon. This kid is DEFINITELY going to be a vegetarian. He is always asking "Is dis made out of aminals?" Watching Charlotte's Web did not help. Anyway, we were trying to get him to eat some fried Wilbur and he was not having it. Colby (who definitely digs on swine) said "Jack, you hass to eat it so you can gwow big and stwong and helfy. If you don't eat your pwotein, you won't be my big brudder anymore, you'll just be my little tiny baby brudder."

And here's something they both like to say lately when things don't go their way:
"I do not agree with this plan."
Too effin bad, kid. This is not a democracy, this is a benevolent dictatorship, and you are pissing Chairman Mom the hell off.

The other night was "just one of those nights." I said "Oh man, this is not a good situation." Jack came up to me, put his hand on my head and said, "What seems to be the twubble, Mama?" He was my favorite child that night :)

He's such a little love, he is always worried that people are going to be sad or have their feelings hurt. Like if for whatever reason we drive two cars somewhere, he gets so stressed out choosing who to ride home with, because he doesn't want anyone to be sad! And he loves giving compliments. The other day he said "Mama, you are the best at painting toenails. The best in the WHOLE WOILD!" Then he looks over at DM and says "Daddy, even though I didn't say you were the best at painting toenails, I love you VERY much, and you are very good at lots of things." <3

And he's the best big brother. He Colby's biggest fan and cheerleader. He's taken to holding the door open for her and saying "After you." (And she, in turn, does it for me <3) The other night she was trying to climb up on our bed and he said "Can I give you a hand, sistah?" Oh yeah and he feeds her sometimes. Right at the point in the painful and dramatic Spanish soap opera that is dinnertime where we're about to throw her in the river for fish food, he steps in and starts playing "Chugga chugga choo choo, open up, the twain's coming into the tunnel!" with her taco salad.

sorry. i don't mean to offend. this just makes me laugh.
And the girl is such a little bossypants. I know you're not "supposed" to say this about little "grill" chiles, but I can't help it, its true.

C: Here Jack, you can have this toy. *Gives him the toy.* Now say 'Thank you for the toy!'"
J: Thank you for the toy!
C: You're welcome!

C: Hey! Who dwopped my scissahs?
J: Me.
C: Say sorry!
J: Sorry.
C: Dat's okayyyyy :)

She's a love though. Most of the time.

C: I love dat bading soup [bathing suit] you are wearing, Mama! Who got dat for you?
Me: I got it for myself.
C: Aw, dat was so nice of yourself.
It was, wasn't it? ;)

Then again sometimes she's not. She bit her brother this weekend. When I scolded her (well, after an initial period of indignant rage at being called out), she said "I'm da wittow sistow. I don't know any bettah." *Eye roll.* Lord help us.

The kids are big Star Wars fans. The other night C and DM were petting Feta and she was breathing heavily. Colby said, "That must be Darf Vader in her belly."

J: "No, he's called C-FWEAKY-O (instead of C-3PO) because he fweaks out all da time!

Me: I have a Mazda, and Daddy has a Toyota.
J: I like Daddy's car the best, because it has Jedi Master Yoda in the name!

The other night Colby was looking at a picture from our wedding, and she asked where she and Jack were. I said they weren't born yet, they were just a twinkle in their daddy's eye. She holds the picture up to DM and says "Daddy, do you remember this picture when I was twinkling inside your eyebowl?"

Speaking of before they were born, somehow we got onto the subject of when they were in utero.
C: I didn't like being in mommy's belly. It was scary in dare.
J: I loved it! It was like a cozy bouncy house!
C: Well I didn't. It was dark and I was lonely.
Yikes. Poor kid. Who knew you could eff them up before they were even born?!

C taking my picture with the phone:
Me: How do I look?
C: Mmm. Not so good. Let's twy dat again.
*Takes another picture.*
Oooh, dat looks fabulous mama!

J was in the middle of a major malfunction. I told him to calm down, and try breathing through his nose. His response: "How am I supposed to do that, Mama?! My nose is totally stuffed up! Do you think I'm some kind of fweaking wizard or someting?!"

C: "Mawmaw -  I am SO fweakin' out about dis!" (Apparently we're teenagers now?)

Washing machine = Wet Dryer.
Dryer = Dry washer.
Nail salon = Toe nail store (ew).
Aquarium = Shark zoo.
Seal = Doggy dolphin.
Swimsuit cover up = Bading Soup Jacket

C (in a public restroom with both kids): Mama, why you got a hairy butt?
Me: That's not my butt. That's... can we discuss this later?
J: Why doesn't Colby have furry pwivates like you do?
Ah, the innocence of youth.

J: Nobody can have any fun or play any games while I'm pooping!
FOMO, No. 2.

C: I need pwivacy when I poop. But not when I pee.
Totally get that ;)

The kids are also freakishly specific and accurate in estimating the number of poops they have? They've taken to timing their daily constitutionals to the last possible moment before bath time, when we're already running late for the evening's action-packed agenda. I usually grumble about it a little bit and last night J said "Don't worry mama, this will be quick, I only have 2 poops!"
Me: How can you possibly know that?
J: I can just tell.

Colby recently found, somewhere, a little square of that waffle-type non-slip drawer/shelf liner material.
C: Dis is my blankie from when I was born-ded.
Me: That's not a blankie, it goes on shelves.
C: Nope. It's my blankie.
So, she's currently snuggling and sleeping with some shelf liner. Awesome mom.

"blanket" [< said in creepy michael jackson voice]
Speaking of Michael Jackson, my kid is so not PC. She refuses to believe Michael Jackson was a man. "Nope. He's a grill." Period. End of sentence.

Oh and C's new thing is she will do something (eat the last quesadilla slice, bend her paper, etc), then freak out because her quesadilla is gone or her paper is bent. Then when I point out that she is the one who did said unforgivable action, she starts crying "NO I DIDN'T!!! I DIDN'T SEE MYSELF DO IT!!!" I can't get too mad because I definitely do that sometimes with really delicious foods or beverages or an entire pack of Rolos.

Jack: You know what I like?
Me: What?
J: Being a kid. It's pwetty gweat.
Yeah dude. Seems like a pretty sweet gig! <3

Top reasons CPS might come knocking this week:

The other morning, Jack starts singing out of the blue:

"Bad bad whiskey.
Bad, bad whiskey.
Bad, bad whiskey, 

Made me lose my happy home."
(It's a song by Buddy Guy. And, apparently, I need to be a little more careful about editing my iTunes playlists!)

Another morning, the kids froke out because I wouldn't let them take beer bottle caps to school with them.
Me: Those are not toys. They're sharp and they could hurt someone.
J: Well Daddy let's us play with them.
[Choice words for Daddy in my brain.]
Me: Well he shouldn't. They're not toys. They're garbage. Grown up garbage.
I tell DM about this later and he said, "Yeah, I'll be throwing those away from now on."
I inform him that J said "Daddy lets us throw them at the dart board."
DM: Well how else are they gonna work on their caps game?!"
[More choice words for Daddy in my brain.]

And in closing: DM: "Holy shit. We made tiny humans. That is never gonna be not-weird."

To see more funny sh*t, see volumes 1, 2, and 3, as well as sh*t my husband says.

If you liked this, you'll love my essay in I Still Just Want To Pee Alone. Buy it HERE!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

excuse the mess

OMG this:

From Inspirational Quotes for Moms by Robyn Welling (fellow I Still Just Want to Pee Alone contributor) on - Check out the rest. So funny.

I think about this a lot. I always hear these inspirational/positive mothering mantras of "embrace the chaos," "messy = beautiful," and "don't worry about keeping a clean house, spending time with your kids is so much more important, they'll be off to college before you know it and you can mop your floors then, with your own tears, shed over the memories you didn't make with your children because you were too busy cloroxing your toilet for the 93rd time in a week..."

"The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."

Okay I'm going to go fill a mop bucket with tears now.

I appreciate this theme, really I do. Theoretically, I'm all about keeping it real. But here's the deal. I clean (parts of) my house, like, three times a day (floors, counters, toilet seats), AND we have a housekeeper, and it's STILL a total pigsty pretty much any given day unless we're expecting company. There are legos and hotwheels and assorted sports paraphernalia and loveys and blankies and discarded ninja/princess costumes and dirty clothes (why is it that sweaty sock-balls simply CANNOT make their way to the hamper, my husband's included?), wet towels and soggy swimming suits on the carpet, the chewed-up trail of dog-toy detritus our pup leaves in her wake, the dirty dishes (didn't they JUST get washed this morning?) and piles of laundry (if anyone can figure out how on God's Green Earth four people create thirty-seven times their body weight in dirty laundry, I will personally award you the Nobel Prize in physics), the ever-present slimy puddles of water and sticky smears of toothpaste on the bathroom counter, and let's not forget the pee, oh THE PEE, everywhere, and I mean everywherebut inside the toilet (<how? and why? and... how??? I will never, ever, ever ever, understand). Your forearms will stick to the counters and table. Walking on my floors barefoot is a harrowing adventure in sensory perception... "Man, I really hope that's a raisin." When people ask me if they should take their shoes off  when they enter our home, I answer "Lord no!" I wouldn't walk on my kitchen floor barefoot if you paid me. That is why God made slippers.

I will admit I used to be a total neat-freak, and I have had a (very) hard time letting that go. But I assure you, the past 5 years have been an exercise in significantly lowering my standards. And yet. If I literally did not clean, it would be three weeks before we overrun by a colony of rodents, carried away by a fleet of fruit flies, and/or had CPS come calling for an inhospitable living environment. And if you came over, you can try to claim you wouldn't judge, but in your heart of hearts, you would be planning your call to TLC. The American viewing public eats this shit up - probably because it hits so close to home.

What I really don't understand is how pretty much everyone manages to keep up enough to stave off the raccoons and social services? It's SO hard! Is there some secret I don't know about? Are you people holding out on me? Is that what basements are really for? If yes, I need to move to a basement state ASAP because our very visible garage and closet space is not cutting it. I cannot imagine if I didn't have a helpful partner, or couldn't afford to pay someone to clean my house once a week, or if my kids weren't obsessed with vacuums and Pledge.

Anyway. Thanks for pretending you aren't judging. That's worth something. See you all at our next meeting of Clorox Wipes Anonymous.

Of all the peccadillos I've passed on to my children, the strange penchant for cleaning products has been by far the most effective ;)
I drew a "Vacuum Ninja" for The Boy's lunchbox one day (the letter of the week was "V.") He was a fan ;)
Vacuum Ninja (Princesses) in the flesh
By the way, this blog post came across my news feed this morning from Rubber Shoes in Hell - Housekeeping: Slut Level. (It's so funny to me, I feel like this happens a lot - like I'll have a few posts in the chute and then posts on these exact subjects will pop up and I'm like, DAMN YOU, Hive Mind! Stole my thunder!) Anyway, she talks about how there was a seedling growing out of her sink, which reminded me of the apartment I rented in college that had mushrooms growing out of the walls in the bathroom. After I moved out the landlord was complaining to me about water damage and I was like, Gee, d'ya think?! There was a forest of FUNGI sprouting out between shower tiles and flowering from the actual wall. That would've been the first clue that something was amiss behind the plaster. Still. I think I might actually prefer shower-shrooms to the eternal stench that is a little-boy-toilet.

Update: A couple of friends pointed out that I'm basically full of shit, as evidenced by the fact that I have the time and energy to illustrate lunchbox napkins. They make a good point. (Though, as I said to them, this is by no means a daily occurrence. AND, don't tell anyone, but somehow over the last 6 months or so, DM has taken over full responsibility for packing lunches (and he's amazing at it, he even makes heart-shaped sun-butter-and-jelly sandwiches <3), which frees up time for my napkin art. I'm not going to look this particular gift horse in the mouth.) So yeah, okay, obviously I have some free time. I just choose to spend it doing spectacularly stupid shit instead of what desperately needs to get done. Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, if you will. Basically, it's like, I could be engulfed in flames, and think, "You know what I really need right now? A pedicure."

The end :)

Friday, June 5, 2015

in lieu of flowers, send underwear

“Mom is dying. Like, today,” the text message read.

The text was from my BFF Claire, to my other BFF Betsy and me. It was a WhatsApp message, actually, because this is how we have to communicate with each other while Betsy is in disease- and poverty-stricken third world countries without cell service, which is often.


There have been scares like this before. Edie (Claire’s mom) has been unwell for most of the 15+ years we’ve known her. They’ve been down this road before. But Claire is not one for drama or hyperbole, particularly not when it comes to her mom. Something about this time made the others seem like fire drills. This was real. This was a fire.

My first thought was, “I need to be there.” My second thought was, “My boss(es) are going to kill me.” I cannot tell you how sad it makes me that this was the next thought in my brain. But it was. This was a Tuesday. I had taken off that morning for my kids’ cultural enrichment – going to the preschool and talking about Norouz – Persian New Year – (a month overdue because – life). Though I am 0% Persian, my children are 50%, and honoring that heritage is something that’s important to DM and me. I’d also taken sick days recently for some virulent strain of preschool plague that wracked our family, and I knew I had more time off coming up for a “nebulous important engagement” (a.k.a. book signing for the book that no one knows I’m in), plus impending knee surgery. I can never quite shake the feeling that my superiors at work think I’m utterly full of shit with my requests. I mean, how many sick kids, doctors appointments and family emergencies can one woman have? Well, you’d be surprised. The final complicating factor was that we had a family camping trip that weekend for my sister’s birthday. My brother was coming in from out of town. It's an annual thing. No offense to my family or his, but I would probably try to murder DM in his sleep if he sent me on a camping trip with his family and didn’t show up for it, and I assume he feels the same, so that was definitely a consideration. Oh yeah and there weren’t any return flights on Friday.

I went to go tell X, my work BFF, about my dilemma. She cut me off mid-laundry-list of bullshit quotidia. “Who cares?! Get on a plane! Today! I have points on Southwest, do you want them?” (And this is why she is my work BFF and life coach – her uncanny ability to cut through the crap and arrange last-minute travel plans). F work. I mean, not really. This is me:

But I really, really don’t want to be the person that is so consumed with work that she forgets about LIFE. Your best friend’s mom is dying. Work will understand and if they don’t you need to find some people to work for that don't suck. Nothing is more important than this. 

Meanwhile, Betsy is arranging a flight back from Haiti, so I figured I better stop pussy-footing around and get myself on a damn airplane.

I told my brother and sister what was going on, along with my so-called travel "plans" (a one-way flight to Fresno, return status unknown). My sister replied, “Are you sure she even wants you there?” This stopped me in my tracks. My skin got hot and I felt a flame rise up in my chest as it does when something gets me really fired up. This was probably mostly because I was afraid she had a point. I had spoken with Claire, asked her if I should come, and she said no, thank you, that wasn't necessary. But she wouldn’t say “Yes” even if she wanted me to. It’s just not her style. By the way, my sister is basically the sweetest person you will ever meet, and does not have a malicious bone in her body. She wasn’t trying to be mean (and she later apologized), she was just legitimately concerned that I was going to commit a grave social faux pas. She explained that if our dad was on his deathbed, she wouldn’t want to have friends there distracting her. I got defensive. “It’s not like we’re going to take her for a fucking pedicure.” (Funnily enough, a pedicure is exactly what Claire would suggest once we were there. She’s a people pleaser.)

I texted Betsy in panic mode and asked, “What if she doesn’t want us there?” Betsy replied, “She does. Anyone else, I would say no. But we are her people.” And it’s true. These are the caliber of friends you make in college, when you're floating, un-moored, through the wicked waves of elation and homesickness and freedom and confusion and mild to moderate identity crises and shared shower caddies and sickly sweet wine coolers, trying to find yourself, and you grab onto these friends for dear life, and you never let (some of them) go. These girls, we've shared beds and bathrooms and shitty beer and underwear (ew). We did each other’s makeup (badly), and held back each other’s hair. We shared our most sacred secrets. Betsy was my freshman year roommate and she’s the only person besides DM (and my kids, I guess ;)) I could ever imagine living with. Claire and I met at a frat party where we fell in friend-love and decided to go pee outside together, and regretfully chose a thorny rosebush in which to do so. We had a shared passion for the San Francisco 49ers, and made plans to watch the game the following morning. It was as awkward as any other sober Sunday morning you could imagine, but I’m so glad we persevered because we really are forever-friends.

All of my friends, actually.* I remember when we were in our late twenties, one of the husbands of our group warned us about the “post-30 spread,” and he wasn't talking about the size of our butts. He was referring to the reality of college friends growing apart and losing touch after they turn thirty. But we’re halfway through this decade and I’m happy to report we’re only closer for it. I remember when I got engaged, someone warned me to choose bridesmaids that I knew would be in my life forever, because it’s so sad to look back at wedding photos down the road and have your kids ask, “Who is that?” But these are my people. My tribe. My band of misfits. I have made "Top Shelf" friends before and since. But going through “the shit” really cements a relationship in a way that only divergent views on politics and religion can tear asunder ;) Together we’ve been through break-ups, make-ups, unrequited love, blind dates, bad haircuts, terrible bosses, jobs that make you wear "kiss my taco" t-shirts and skorts, sickness of loved ones (in body and mind), new homes, knee injuries, infidelity, pregnancy scares and infertility, weddings and an annulment, our parents divorcing and finding someone new when we're supposed to be "grown-ups" and immune to the earth tilting on its axis this way... together we've endured the loss of parents and pregnancies, carried babies in our bellies and brought them forth screaming into the world (with mandatory live-stream email-threads), we've held these brand new babies in our arms thinking, "Now what?"... then come the toddlers, preschoolers, and almost kindergarteners (WHAT?!), family pool parties and barbecues, wondering if/when we'll be too "adult" to play beer pong... and all that the future holds. My kids will look at wedding photos and they will know every last one of those crazy fuckers, dammit.

ANYWAY. I went. I wasn’t particularly useful when I was there. But I was there. I arrived late at night, without transportation or a place to stay. I texted DM and was like, “I’m in a cab. There’s no Uber here. I don’t know where I’m going. Guess I better find a hotel.” DM: “Uh, what exactly were you planning on doing? I just assumed you were renting a car and staying at their place.” Me: “Yeah. A car would have been wise. I didn’t exactly plan this out very well, or, um, at all.” I found a hotel (there was no way I was making Claire put out fresh towels as I was already paranoid I was imposing). Betsy arrived with a car the next morning. We sat. We held hands. We drank coffee. We ate (or, pushed food around on our plates). We reminisced. We talked about nothing and we didn’t talk at all. We said I love you. We said goodbye. We bought a shit-ton of junk food and booze from Trader Joe’s to donate to the cause, and the check-out gal 100% thought we were high AF. This is my M.O. in times of need: ply people with food and alcohol, talk too much, say the wrong things, hug, cry, listen, clean, needlessly organize shit, hold babies, bake cupcakes. In lieu of flowers, I'll send new underwear, or vodka, or trashy magazines whose pages can free your mind from the strangle-hold of grief for half a minute, or all of the above, because I know you need that more. And when all is said and done, expect a gift basket and a scrap book. For better or for worse, that’s how I do.

I came back for camping, and Edie passed the next day. I am glad I had that time with my family. I needed those hugs, and my big babies' warm bodies nestled next to me in sleeping bags (or, as it happened, barfing all over the tent ;)) But I’m sad I was drinking bourbon out of a plastic cup and roasting s’mores to the sound of crashing ocean waves while one of my best friends in the entire world was in a hospital room gently ushering her mother’s spirit to the other side. Choices are hard. But. Choosing “your people,” even when they say they don’t need you, even when it’s not that simple – that is never the wrong one.

photo credits to my sis <3
* "Best friend isn't a person, it's a tier." - Mindy Kaling. See also, Best Friend Rights and Responsibilities. #NoMatterWhat

Other stuff about BFFs that I love:

The No-Bullshit, No Drama Friendship Manifesto from Renegade Mothering. Love this. My friends have never done anything but make me feel like a hotter, smarter and more capable woman, wife, mother and friend than I really am. These are the type of people we need to surround ourselves with. I also love this line: "When my kids are acting like shitheads and you’re like “Hey child, No.” I won’t get all righteously indignant. Instead I’ll look at you in gratefulness for dealing with the little bastards so I don’t have to."

When Close Friends Live Far Away on The Mid. Waaaa. This made me sad. And made me want to build a Bestie Row immediately. "I want to go to the grocery store with you. I want to see where your kids go to school and see them run and hug you when you pick them up in the afternoon. I want to sit with you in your kitchen, and cook with you at your stove." Just kidding. I'll watch you cook instead ;)

How Do You Know If Someone Is Your Best Friend - 21 Ways To Know Your Love Is For Real, from Bustle. "Like, you guys will be discussing global warming, or who has the best fish tacos, and suddenly you’ll feel the urge to change into a dress because it’s too hot. Your BFF won’t even bat an eye, and will just keep talking about the environment and tacos."