frodo

Dear Husband, Before I Leave You To The Wolves Otherwise Known As Our Children

Dear Husband,

Much like Frodo, and his band of miniature misfits, you’re about to embark on a journey of great danger, confusing situations, and lots o’ poop ‘n screamin’. Okay, I don’t remember any poop in LOTR or The Hobbit, but as we all know, everybody poops. Even hobbits. Even Gandalf. Probably even orcs.

But(t), I digress.

In 8 short weeks, I will be jetting off to Vegas, and leaving you and our beloved children for four whole days. Having never left the children under your exclusive care for this long before, I think it’s fair to say we are both a solid level orange on the Holy Shit meter.

What will happen? How will you do it? What about bedtime? What about nap time? What about vegetables? How will you ever find the super secret parking spot at the park, or remember to pack an extra onesie in the diaper bag for the inevitable zoo poo that happens somewhere between the Tigers and the Komodo dragons? HOW WILL YOU DO IT?!?!?! AAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!

Before you pull the emergency exit handle, and pop out of this seemingly doomed airship in hopes of parachuting down to greener pastures, let me remind you of something: You have been a dad for exactly as long as I’ve been a mom. Exactly.

Every second of every minute, every hour, every day, every month, and every year, you’ve been a dad to our kids.

You know every freckle on our daughter’s face, every squeal and squeak she’s ever made. You could trace the cowlick on our son’s head with your eyes closed, and get him to smile even in the midst of his worst moods. You know what they need, when they need it, and (theoretically) how to get it to them.

Now of course it’s not so simple as knowing what they need, and them then accepting it. There will be battles. Oooooh will there be battles. But that’s not unique to you being there, and me being gone. I battle with them all day, every day over all the things they will battle you over. Shoes, pants, not eating cat hair… You will see.

But you will also survive, and they will survive, largely in part because you are not an Orc. You will have to get creative. You will have to be okay with an 8000% temporary increase in screen time, and a 9000% decrease in dishes involving eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms. But you will figure it out, and in the end, we will all be better for it.

So when the going gets tough, and the boy is screaming like a Dingo is sizing him up for dinner, and the girl is running around the couch naked with a spatula covered in grape jelly, just remember that we live in North America and there are no Dingos. But grape jelly is going to be a bitch to get out of the sofa, so maybe address that before tending to the littlest member of our tribe.

The only difference between us is my milk ducts are lactating, and yours are shriveled and useless. But you aren’t useless. You’re amazing and capable and old enough to buy beer to calm your frazzled nerves at the end of the day.

If you need me, I’ll be by the pool, probably without my phone. If it’s really serious and someone has been bleeding for a while, call the front desk and have them come get me.

xoxo


Image credit: Frodo

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Cat vs Toddler

Before I had kids, I had cats. Cats who I treated as kids. In my tenure as a vet tech, I bottle-fed many a litter of kittens, as well as a few puppies, a squirrel, a chipmunk, and three glorious raccoons. Once they were old enough to feed and clean themselves, I’d find homes for them, or make arrangements for them to be rehabbed into the wild.

Or at least, that’s what I’d try to do.

The thing about raising kittens, and not being a cat, is it’s really hard to teach them how to be a cat. Without a furry mama, they don’t always learn about bite inhibition, or appropriate times to use maximum claw force, especially in relation to human skin and couches. But kittens have a saving grace, and that’s being cuter than most human babies.

This brings me to Enzo Bear.

About 5 years ago, I was at working at a vet hospital in Rhode Island when a flustered woman walked in carrying a shoe box. She explained she’d found the box while taking out her own trash, and when she picked it up to throw it away, she’d felt the weight shift and peeked inside. She lifted the cover, and revealed a tiny tuxedo kitten, scarcely bigger than a Twinkie. His eyes were crusted shut, his breathing was raspy, and he was dehydrated.

The woman was understandably upset, as she didn’t want a kitten, nor did she have the finances to attempt a rescue, but her kind heart forced her to bring him in. We agreed to take him, and, in an effort to at least provide him a warm, safe space to die (if he didn’t respond to treatment), I volunteered to take over his care.

Fastforward to now.

Enzo Bear didn’t die, though he did give us a few scares in the beginning, nor did he ever find a new home, possibly because he is mucho naughty, possibly because I fell in love with his adorable kitten face and silly antics.

He is now a thriving, handsome, wild, daring monkey-cat, who thinks he’s a real boy. He gives high-fives, and has his own “place” (a trick often taught to dogs). He loves his girl, and is warming to the newest edition of our family, the boy. He cuddles with us every night, and follows me around the house every day.

But of all of Enzo B’s defining features, the one thing that stands out (besides his proclivity to bite strangers) is his stubbornness. Now there is a chance this has less to do with being hand-raised, and more to do with just being a cat, but compared to the other cats in my life, of which there have been many, none quite compare to The Bear.

Recently that stubbornness has manifested in the form of regular stand-offs with the girl. Cat vs Toddler, round after round they go. He sits on her things, and gets in her way. She hoots and hollers at him, and he just stares her down with his his signature squint. It honestly feels like he is her older sibling, intentionally pushing her buttons and establishing his place. He was first. She must honor him.

Our family wouldn’t be complete without our first born fur kid. But sometimes I wonder if there’d be just a titch less drama.

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(This hilarious comic was created by the oh-so-talented, Adrienne Hedger, of Hedger Humor. Be sure to stop by, and check out her musings on modern day parenting and life.)

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Do Good

There sure seems to be a whole lot of badness out there.

Too much hate. Too much violence. Too many innocent lives lost at the hands of a few evil people. With large-scale global tragedies occurring on a near weekly basis, it’s easy to feel as though bad outweighs the good.

But every day 353,000 little people are born full of goodness.

It is naïve to think every single one of these babies will be raised by people who will nurture the good. But, for the sake of not losing my faith in humanity, I’d like to think most will.

I’d like to think that every day, we are given the chance, or 353,000 chances, to do right. To raise children who will grow up and treat others kindly. To teach our children to be accepting and open minded. To show our children that love will always accomplish more than hate.

I’d like to think that every day, 353,000 more people are added to our army of kindness. That 353,000 more drops are added to the bucket of good that grossly outweighs the few bad seeds causing all this heartache.

There is bad out there. But there is an absolute monsoon of good. Do good. Be good. Teach good. Good will prevail.

tantrum

In Defense of Beautiful Pictures

 

Without a backstory, the pictures seem to be happy enough.

In one, our little girl lays stretched out in the summer grass, a freshly picked flower in her dirt-stained hand, an easy smile spreading across her lips. In the other, our grinning baby snuggles on a soft blanket, his dark eyes shining while his little hands fidget, fingers knotted together.

They are beautiful pictures captured at very precise moments of what was otherwise a difficult and abbreviated vacation where both kids were sick, and I spent nearly the entire time ping-ponging between whoever needed me more. When recalling the last five days, the adjective insufferable comes to mind, as does the vivid memory of my son throwing up inside my bra.

But my photo stream would beg to differ.

In it, a photo of my daughter at dusk, reaching through the dark leaves of a shadowy tree toward a glowing bulb on a string of lights. In another, she and I laugh while the wind whips our hair around wildly, a vibrant blue sky behind us. In perhaps the most ironic of all, a shot of my sleeping son, who, for all intents and purposes, didn’t sleep while we were gone (and continues to not sleep as I attempt to write this).

To someone who didn’t know better, these pictures make it seem like a pretty idyllic vacation, though I can assure you it was not. Now this isn’t to say it was all terrible. Far from either extreme end of the spectrum, the last five days were actually just pretty standard when living with two small children who are the human equivalent of heatseeking missiles for germs. It was busy and chaotic, and bookended by visits to separate pediatricians. We lost things, and found things, and got our fair share of new bumps and bruises. There were tantrums and tears, just as there was laughter and play.

It was just the latter of which I chose to capture and share with the world.

My reasoning behind this isn’t to broadcast my perfect life, with my well-behaved and always lovely children (sarcasm font). Far from attempting to fake anything, the purpose behind taking (and sharing) beautiful pictures is borne out of a desire to be more positive, and focus on remembering (and acknowledging) all of the tiny little moments that could otherwise be buried in bra barf and massive, back-arching, floor-thumping, red-faced screaming banshee-type tantrums.

Of course, for the sake of being “real”, as if these moments didn’t really exist, I could post a grainy photo of me laying on top of my daughter, pinning all of her flailing limbs to her bed, while I hum to her and beg (and plead, and pray) for her to stop moving and pleasefortheloveofallthatisholygotosleep. I could caption a blurry action shot of me bouncing my baby for the second straight hour in an 86 degree room “I have butt sweat and my armpits smell like the inside of a moccasin worn to Woodstock…and every day since!”

But I don’t. Because we all know how hard it is. And sometimes it’s really nice to remember how it can be easy too, even if it’s just for a second.

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All photos belong to HMDHM, except the cover photo, which I got online a long time ago, but can’t find the original source so if you know it, give a shout-out.

 

 

nightmare

10 Thoughts of A Mom Trapped Under A Sleeping Baby

Oh, you sweet little snoodle, you woke up! That wasn’t a long enough nap, I’ll hold you and you can go back to sleep.

Look at your sweet little sleeping face. Your puffy little lips, your dark eyelashes. OOOH I could just SMUSH you! I could smush you with kisses. One tiny little kiss on your tiny little lips won’t… GEESH! It was a tiny kiss, it’s not like I bit you. Easy now, easy, just go back to sleep.IMG_4427

Holy crap, you have a lot of earwax. Like, a ton of it. How have I never noticed this before? How embarrassing! I’m just going to gently wipe it… NEVER MIND! Okay, okay, shush shush, I won’t touch you again. Just go back to sleep.

Oh little poodle pie, such sweet little breaths. In and out, in and out. I can almost smell your baby breath. But I can’t. And now I want to. Maybe if I just lift you a tiny bit… OKAY, okay, okay, I won’t move. Just go back to sleep.

My tiny baby, your hard little head nestled into my elbow. Your head is sweaty. My elbow is sweaty. That can’t be comfortable for you. You are probably going to get sweat in your eye. Let me just adjust my arm… ALRIIIIIIIIIIGHT, I won’t. Just quit squirming and go back to sleep.

Oh my love of loves, look at your little fat feet. Tiny toes, with even tinier nails… tiny nails that are jagged and horrible. You look like a baby Ogre. A cute baby Ogre, but still, I should cut those. I wonder if they are sharp? I’m just going to feel… HEY NOW! I’m just looking! I barely even touched them. Close your eyes, just go to sleep.

Sweet baby, your little body is so round. It’s so round and so heavy for 13 pounds. Like, maybe you’re actually 33 pounds, because I’m starting to lose feeling in my arm. Scratch that, my arm is numb, and is limply hanging from the left side of my body. I can’t feel my hand, and I’m starting to panic. Let me just scoot…. SIMMER DOWN NOW, I’m just scooting. A girl has needs, like oxygenated blood flow to her non-dominate, but equally as important, limb! Now try to relax, and go to sleep.

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Little turkey, with your downy baby hair, like a head covered in tiny black feathers. You look like a bird. Like a turkey. Like a baby turkey, except bigger, like a turkey that is socially acceptable to eat. Oh man, I’m hungry. I want Thanksgiving to be here again. I could eat a whole turkey. Maybe I could just slide you into your bed, and make a turkey sandwich to hold me over. I’m just going to slowly… OH FOR THE LOVE, okay, I get it. I can’t move. I won’t move. You just go back to sleep.
Oh you wee little monster, you are so warm. It’s funny that we are the same species, because you feel at least 10 degrees hotter than me. Especially on my stomach, which, now that I’m thinking about it, feels weirdly hot. And wet. Because you peed on me. You peed in your sleep, and now we are both covered in urine. Fantastic. Let me just tuck this rag between… GIVE ME A BREAK, WILL YA?! You peed on me! Okay, alright, okay, shush shush, it’s okay, you just close your eyes.

My snuggly little muffin maker. Sitting here with you makes me so tired. Maybe I’ll just close my eyes and catch a few zzz’s myself. Yes, I’m so drowsy. This feels good. It’s so dark, and quiet, yes, sleep. I will… And now you’re awake. Naturally


image credits: Simmer meme, sleeping baby belongs to HMDHM, nightmare 

mass shooting

I’m Sorry, But Your Statistics Don’t Matter

I’ve had it. With the news of the tragedy in Orlando, my mind is absolutely spinning in an attempt to understand how this could happen again. My heart breaks for the fifty-three people who were murdered at the hands of a permit-carrying gun owner last night. My blood boils thinking about our elected officials who continue to allow this kind of outrageous and unnecessary bloodshed.

This morning we all wake to the same things: Polarized discussions about gun control, and our second amendment rights. The same arguments are thrown around again and again. Statistic wars are started, comparing gun violence to car accidents. Blame is placed on terrorism, religion, ethnicity, or mental health status. The fifty-three innocent people who lost their lives are lumped together under the title of mass shooting victims. A moment of silence will be held, a candle light vigil organized and attended. A few politicians will shake their fists and promise a change.

But nothing will change, and as harsh as it sounds, those fifty-three people will soon be forgotten by the heaping majority of their fellow Americans.

And then it will happen again.

Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

The victims are always different, the locations varied. Sometimes there is a reason (though this in no way justifies the action), sometimes there isn’t. But there is always one thing in common. Guns.

Not religion. Not ethnicity. Not intolerance. Not hate. Not terrorism. Guns are the common denominator.

America has a problem with guns.

We have shown time and time again that we are incapable of implementing a system for responsible usage, and yet, for reasons that are absolutely beyond me, we refuse to regulate them in any semblance of a reasonable manner.

The constitution got a lot of things right when it was first drafted, but much has changed in the nearly two-hundred and twenty-nine years since it was signed, and with the deadliest mass shooting in American history now in the books, isn’t it time we put our collective foot down and loudly declare enough is enough?

How many more people have to die before we demand a change? How many more lives can we comfortably justify the loss of in the name of maintaining our outdated and utterly abused right to bear arms? The weapons we are so vehemently defending our made-up right to possess are coming at the cost of human lives. Innocent men, women, and children are dying because we want to own something we don’t need.

Owning a gun shouldn’t be a right, it should be a privilege. And until we prove we are capable of owning them responsibly, and regulating them effectively, we shouldn’t have them.  

We can’t effectively or realistically regulate every person, nor can we get rid of murder all together. But, like just about every other first-world country out there, we can regulate guns, and thereby reduce the incidence of mass murder. It’s time. Enough is enough.

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Cover image comic, rainbow ribbon

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The Unappreciated Value Of The Mommy Blogger

“What am I doing?”

It’s a question I mumble to myself throughout the day, after I find myself mindlessly putting the milk in the cabinet, or re-snapping the baby’s onesie without first having put on a clean diaper.

More than parenting snafus, it’s one of the many questions my husband and I ponder regularly when trying to make giant, life-altering decisions, while we both navigate and attempt to avoid the rat race we currently find ourselves in. Where should we live? What should we do? What are we doing?

More recently, it’s been a question that pounds in my head with every tap of my keyboard, as I sit and write out things for my blog. With so much on my plate, finding time to write has been hard, but more than that, I constantly question what the purpose of my writing is. What am I trying to say?

A few weeks ago, a fellow blogger went on a now super-viral tirade that said, in essence, all mommy bloggers suck, and nothing we say has any value because it’s all sunshine and rainbows and lies.

This struck a chord, and the already dull ringing of constantly questioning myself bloomed into a full on clock-tower-at-noon sort of chiming. What am I doing?

Some of you may already know this, but (thanks to my writing) I have a job. This job requires me to scour the webs, looking for content to share with the eager, kind, and interactive fans of another much bigger site. I read SO. MANY. BLOGS. Every day, I read through story after story, looking for things that tug at my heart or make me laugh, things that teach me something, or make me nod in agreement as I silently mouth the words “YAAAAASSSSS GIRL!”

Sometimes I read something that seems insincere, or something that seems falsely inflated. But most of the time what I read is pure gold, pulled word by word from the heart, and woven into a story that in the end, more often than not, spells out the same message: You are not alone.

It doesn’t matter what the topic of conversation is, from conceiving or birthing troubles, to body image and toddler drama, and everything in between, the message is almost always the same. You are not alone. We have all been there. You will get through this.

And equally as unifying are the comments. “I needed this today” and “Thanks for sharing this, I didn’t know anyone else felt this way,” show up in just about every single thread generated from these posts.

With each one of these comments, the ringing in my ears becomes a little less, as I talk myself down from quitting blogging once again, and instead try to shift my focus to answering my question.

What am I doing? What are we, as “mommy bloggers” (or just bloggers, really) doing with our words and our stories?

The more I think about it, the clearer it becomes. We are throwing a lifeline, made out of tiny little strung together words, a rope anyone can grab and use to pull themselves up. We are leaving out a string of twinkle lights to follow through the choking fog they may find themselves in. We are sending up smoke signals, and graffitiing the walls, and shouting from the rooftops, and flying those planes that write messages in the sky, just to make sure everyone gets the message: You are not alone.

You are not alone with your fussy newborn, or your frustration and confusion. You are not alone with your miscarriages, abortions, or empty womb. You are not alone with your longing, your anxiety or your depression. You are not alone in your deepest darkest sorrows, or in your unparalleled joys.

We are spreading the word. And hot damn, does it feel good.

I may not know what I am doing when I put the milk in the cabinet, or what my husband and I are doing big picture with our life choices. I may not know what I am doing as a parent, or an owner of a fancy plant that seems intent on dying. But with every post I read, and a few of the posts I’ve written myself, what I’m doing as a blogger gets a little more clear.

We are messengers and story-tellers. We are weavers. We are glue. We are builders and maintainers of a beautiful community. And there is immense value in what we do.