Month: December 2014

Ten Things I Said I’d Never Do That I Actually Do All The Damn Time

Oh, parenting. I, for one, was an incredible parent before actually becoming one. I remember scoffing at people who treated nap time like the second coming of Jesus, thinking stupidly and arrogantly, “my kid will just adapt to my schedule, or learn to sleep on the go. Obviously.” HA! HAHA! In hindsight this couldn’t be funnier, as we now have a kid who has such fussy sleep patterns, I would actually prevent the second coming of Jesus if I thought it was going to wake her up. Before becoming a parent, I was a fountain of ignorant things. Here are just a few:

1. I will never say “No.” No is bad! No is negative! Just saying “no” isn’t as effective at teaching them why they can’t do it! Turns out, no is impossible not to say. It flies out of my mouth before I even know what I’m saying, often in rapid fire succession, as I turn to catch her perched precariously on a shelf, clutching a chopstick she’s dug out of a drawer somewhere, that she is now using to point to her eye with. No is not my favorite, but no happens.

2. We will never use the iPad to distract our kid. I used to roll my eyes and think letting a kid play with a phone or iPad during travel or while enduring a long wait somewhere was lazy. Then I had a kid who won’t tolerate a car ride longer than 30 minutes without screaming to the point of hyperventilating. I get it, now. I get it.

3. We will not let her keep us in. Forget her keeping us in. I have a rule in the house, which is if I’m not wearing a bra by noon, I’m not going to put one on. I am so tired. It’s so much work to go out. I love in. In is in, and she’s just a convenient excuse.

4. She will eat what we eat, when we eat, at the table. Another pipe dream. We don’t have a table. We eat things other than macaroni. We don’t want to eat dinner at 5 every day. Some day this will be true, but for now, I’m just happy if she eats.

5. We will not let our kid watch TV. Oooh, we were so cute in our naivety. TV is poor people’s childcare. There, I said it. Sometimes you need 30 minutes to do something without someone dangling off your back pockets screaming at you. Do I let her watch re-runs of The Maury Povich Show? No. But I have a hard time believing that an episode of Sesame Street now and again is going to cause irreparable mental harm.

6. I will not have a kid who always has crap all over her face. Kids, it turns out, are kind of gross. They produce liquids out of any and all orifices at an astounding rate, and on a rare dry day, they will still certainly have ample opportunity to dribble, smear or paint their faces with any number of liquefied food products. Couple this with Baby 1.0’s reaction to me trying to wipe her face (picture someone trying to fight off a swarm of bees, while simultaneously attempting to do the hula), and she almost always has at least one crusty patch of something somewhere above her neck.

7. I will always find time to shower, dress, and brush my teeth in the morning. There are days where this happens early, there are days when this happens late, and there are days where this doesn’t happen at all. You don’t have to tell me I’m gross. I know it.

8. I won’t dress my girl in all pink. This one is extra stupid. I would dress her in all puce if that was the color people gave us. She looks cute in pink, she would look cute in puce. In my mind, the color I put her in will in no way, shape, or form, dictate anything about her personality in the end.

9. I won’t get all weird and attached to her toys and clothes. This one I need to work on. Her itty bitty baby clothes, that used to cover her itty bitty baby body, will never leave my possession. And neither will anything that I have a memory of her playing with, because obviously, part of her soul is now attached to these items. So back off, Judgy McJudgerson, and leave me here to sit in the closet huffing onesies in an attempt to smell her newborn smell just one more time.

10. I will not let Baby 1.0 use my jeans as a napkin. Who am I kidding? Considering the alternative of wearing a body suit made out of paper towels has yet to be invented, I will let Baby 1.0 use my jeans as a napkin, and I won’t think twice about it until I go out into public with 1/4 cup of dried yogurt smeared on my inner thigh. Then I will wish, yet again, that someone would invent a body suit made out of paper towels.

photo 2 (2)

There are more things I said I wouldn’t do that I now do daily. So many more. Oodles and boodles. A truly shameful amount. But enough about me, I want to hear about you! What did you say you’d never do that you now do all the time?

I Communicate Real Good: Why Right Means Left In Our House

I am, what could be described as, really, really terrible at directions. I think my navigational nincompoopery somehow ties into my math brain, or rather, complete lack there of. While I haven’t ever asked, or dug down into my childhood medical history farther than the time I got frostbite on my ankles, I am starting to wonder if maybe I had a partial lobotomy at some point, and am subsequently missing that part of my brain. Symptom-wise it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch. I’m forgetful, I drool (in my sleep), and can be wildly impulsive. On the flip side, I can be so paralyzingly incapable of making decisions, I will often find myself standing in my kitchen swaying back and forth, trying to decide if I’m going to put my rapidly cooling toast on a plate or a paper towel. In the end, I usually just forego both, and eat my cold toast hunched over the sink like some sort of barbarian with modern-day plumbing.

Lobotomy or not, looking back, I think I’ve pretty much always had this issue. I’ve consistently relied on my hands, for example, to determine with certainty my left from my right. Even worse, I was once pulled over in a Super Target parking lot by four cops who had assumed my erratic driving was the result of excessive alcohol, rather than just being very, very lost. In a parking lot.

This problem was most recently brought to my attention Saturday night, when trying to follow directions to a nearby friend’s house. It wasn’t complicated, and all told required fewer than 5 actual turns. Additionally, I had the directions on my trusty iPhone, but instead of being lazy and letting her tell us where to go, I decided to take charge and use the old “follow the blue dot” navigational method first made popular by one, Christopher Columbus (or so I heard). My husband was driving, and fortunately, being very patient with me. Our conversation went a little something like this:

Me: “Ooookey dokey, Artichokey. You are going to stay on this road for, like, a while, and then bang a right on 23rd. I mean 24th, or actually I think it’s Fullerton” (said with major degree of overconfidence as I squint at my phone).

Hubs: “Okay…” (said with mild degree of doubt because he has a general sense of where we are going). Me: “Whoa! It’s getting close. Are you driving 90 or something? Remember you are turning right,” (said with urgency because I miscalculated how far we had to travel).

Hubs: “That doesn’t make sense, Hun…Right? Are you sure?” (said with calmness that belies his probable annoyance at my inability to read directions from a phone screen without screwing them up).

Me: “Yeah, it’s right. You’re turning this way… (at this point, picture me wide-eyed and panicked, wildly jabbing my whole hand toward my stomach in a way that makes me appear as though I am auditioning to be both the stabber and the victim in a low budget slasher film, yelling, “Right! Right! Right!” because I am trying, but failing, to make sense of the blue dot rapidly approaching an intersection where it appears we need to somehow turn behind us).

Hubs: Briefly glances down at phone because for some reason, me pointing behind us, through my stomach, and yelling “right” over and over, doesn’t compute… “We need to turn left.”

Sure enough, we needed to turn left. He then, patiently, tries to explain to me, like some kind of sailor, that the map is oriented in a “standard North/South” configuration, and because we are traveling South, I need to say the opposite direction of what it looks like on the map. I’m not sure if he thinks I’m tenured at Hogwarts as a Professor of the Dark Arts, or maybe a direct descendant of whoever invented the compass, but looking at a map with a line going to the right, and then purposely instructing him to turn left just isn’t going to happen. Period. And it didn’t happen, because for the remaining 4 turns we had to make to reach our destination, I told him the wrong direction. Every. Single. Time. And my mind was blown, every single time, when we needed to go the opposite direction. The scary part was that I was actually trying.

So what gives? Can one teach themselves a sense of direction as an adult? Or ever? Are some people just born with the natural ability to navigate, while others, like myself, would fly out to sea never to be seen again, if given a pair of wings and an iPhone? I don’t know the answer to these questions. But I can say, probably my best asset is having a husband who has accepted my directional deficiencies, and instead of belittling me for giving him the wrong directions for the umpteenth time, just knows when I say right, I probably mean left.

Parenting In 5 words Or Less: #3

In light of the horrible tragedy in Pakistan, it seemed important to remind myself that for however difficult life can be with a kid, I cannot possibly imagine how hard it would be to continue living without your kid. My heart breaks for those families.


Traveling With Kids: the fastest way to knock a few years off your life via immeasurable stress

Just in case you’ve been living in a hole since Halloween, I’m here to tell you the holidays are upon us. With Christmas a mere 9 days away, we are edging closer and closer to dawning our ugly sweaters and dodging awkward hugs from distant, drunken relatives. Even worse, for the most unlucky of us, it is nearly time to embark on trips, some short, some very far, with kids in tow. While it is romantic and sweet to picture your holiday travel day as serene as riding in a horse-drawn sleigh while being gracefully pulled over the river and through the woods, more often than not, it’s hours upon hours spent in a cramped metal tube, hurdling through the air at 700 miles an hour, while your baby bounces happily on your bladder and tries to rip the hair out of the arm belonging to the sour-faced gentleman sitting to your right.

horse drawn sleigh

This is 50% dreamy, and 50% Donner party.

Having traveled cross-country relatively recently with Baby 1.0, let me first and foremost offer my deepest condolences to anyone about to board a plane with any baby too young to appreciate an iPad. When we moved from the East Coast to the West Coast this summer, the iPad didn’t yet have the hypnotic effect it now has on Baby 1.0. The two cats we were traveling with, and also had with us in the cabin of the plane, were equally unimpressed with its powers. Spending 10 hours traveling with three mammals who were incapable of understanding why you had essentially kidnapped them, and were enforcing a strict “no screaming, no meowing, no pooping, no moving around” rule, was A-W-F-U-L. It was a very long day, that without question knocked a few years off my lifespan.

we made it

My smile says “I’m so happy” but the bags under my eyes say “I just aged 10 years.”

For those of you who hate people who travel with babies, let me assure you, people who travel with babies hate it more than you. Physically, it is a test of endurance comparable only to the Iditarod, or maybe one of those 100k races people run with no shoes. Mentally, it’s a total brain drain, as you have to think through, plan and pack for every scenario that could possibly happen with a young child over 10 hours not in your house, which, if you’re wondering, is literally anything. Barf, poo, barfpoo, boredom, hunger, insatiable thirst…all of these things and more are potentially on your horizon, so you pack and repack and pack and repack your diaper bag to the point where it won’t close, a visual that closely resembles the feeling in your head right about then. To top it off, remaining in constant physical contact with your child for 10 hours requires the patience of a Saint. For those wondering just what it is like, but aren’t lucky enough to have a small child and an impending trip planned, I find the experience could best be replicated by following these steps:

1. Surround yourself with a few hundred people who hate you, crowded into a very small space

2. Purchase one 30 pound turkey carcass

3. Attach turkey carcass to wind surfing kite

4. Hold onto turkey carcass at all costs, as it attempts to escape your clutches by leaping, spinning, pulling and twisting with remarkable force

5. Rig turkey so that at unpredictable times, it rips your shirt up and exposes your nipple

6. Do this for 10 hours without losing your cool or deserting your turkey

During this time, you cannot eat or drink anything because the turkey carcass will slap it out of your hands onto one of the people standing by judging you, nor can you pee because if you show it once that getting up out of your seat is possible, you will never be able to convince it walking up and down the isles 175 times isn’t allowed.

Of course, this isn’t how all babies act on a plane. I hear there are babies who sleep the whole way, or who just curl up on their parent’s lap and suck on a paci while they contemplate if they are indeed aging at a slower rate than those other babies 30,000 feet below them. But if you have a spirited child who doesn’t believe in sleep, I’m not going to sugarcoat it, you have your work cut out for you. There is no amount of toys or snacks that will make this easy, though they will help. But the very best news is, unlike many difficult childhood situations like sleep issues or colic for example, there is an actual end point to this misery, and it’s measured in hours.

baby on plane

This baby is doing quantum physics, and his mom is reverse aging. Lucky gal.

So pack exactly 49 pounds of luggage into your biggest suitcase, fill your diaper bag to capacity, and say a prayer to the travel gods. I, for one, will not be traveling, but I will raise a glass to you brave women warriors taking to the skies this week. Godspeed, my friends.

Image credits: Sleigh, airplane dental exam pic is us, baby boy on plane , cover image