ABOUT ME

About me: I'm 40 and just added a gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 7-year-old Junior, our 4-year-old Everett, our new baby and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Loving and hating your partner (it's all their fault!)



And just like that, my vertigo disappeared. I'm doing great.*

However, Junior, my oldest, has not been doing so great. After informing me that he wasn't going to his school's meet and greet because they "aren't going to rob me of my last few days of freedom" —drama, anyone?—he promptly came down with a 103 degree fever and the puke bug and missed the first week of school.

Sneaky bastard.

This wouldn't have been such a big deal except for the fact that it's the first week that Cam has started sleeping through the night. 

The first week. In six months.

For many, many, many months—SIX—I've been waking up one to two times a night to feed Cam (Chuck? Who's that? Was he supposed to help or something?)

Six agonizing months. Waking and sleeping. Sleeping and waking, all the while listening to Chuck's fake snores as the monitor crackled with cries. And if I kicked Chuck to wake him up? He'd mumble "Huh? Wha?" and act dazed and helpless, like a little orphan adrift at sea.

I came to hate the "Huh? Wha?" face so much that I stopped kicking him. 

Sneaky bastard.

Even worse—yes, there's more!—I'm not the kind of person who can wake up, be awake for half an hour and then instantaneously fall back asleep the minute my head hits the pillow. Nope, that's Chuck's magic trick. Sometimes I lay awake for hours after feeding Cam, thinking and thinking and thinking:

How could I have had THREE children with someone who fake snores through the crying? How can Chuck lie there, pretending to sleep through all these feedings? How could I have spent eight years co-parenting with someone who hasn't woken up to feed one baby? What kind of sadomasochist am I to have married and spawned multiple times with this man?  

Etc., etc., etc.

SIX fucking months x three kids = a not-so-pleased Mrs. Mullet

But it's ok! It's all over now. I survived two nights of Junior waking up every two hours to barf and whimper because Chuck, that darling man, redeemed himself by getting up with Junior while I lay in wait for Cam—except that Cam didn't wake up.

Mwahahaha. Don't you love when you pick the right child to oversee? I was giddy. And Chuck was exhausted. It was a beautiful thing.

The best part is that Junior is better and Cam has slept through the night for four nights in a row so perhaps—per chance?—it isn't a fluke.

Yes, we're staying married and keeping the kids!

This calls for champagne.

*Because I can drink again.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Parenthood sucked the life out of the peaceful unknown; vertigo has brought it back

I don't want to write about what I thought I wanted to write about—how working from home while having vertigo and trying to tend to three children, even with the help of a sitter, is insanity—because bleh, that's what it is, insanity.

Cruel, cruel insanity.

No, I want to write about my BPPV physical therapy session and a piece of advice given to me by the therapist which was, "Don't walk around a lot with your eyes closed."

At the time I'd scoffed. Who the hell walks around a lot with her eyes closed, even without vertigo? When I recounted it to Chuck we both scoffed.

"Lame," he'd said.

But then the wise ass part of me wondered, Why not? So I tried it.

First, inside my house. I tripped over Legos and the dog, of course, but there's something soothing about slowing your gait and feeling your way around. Even something stupid like reaching for butter in the refrigerator made me feel calmer. My hand felt textures. My face sensed the cold. I could lose myself in a quick daydream about falling asleep on that smushy loaf of bread.

Things slowed down.

I slowed down.

And outside, the grass underfoot was wonderfully soft. I didn't know if I was walking in a straight line. I didn't care. Added bonus: I could hear my children shrieking across the lawn but I couldn't see them, which made it easier to pretend they belonged to someone else.

I jest. Kind of.
 
I'm not sure why I ended up with vertigo—and truthfully, it's been a huge pain in the ass—but it did confirm something I realized at the beginning of summer, when the kids spent the weekend at my mother's and Chuck and I were in charge of only Cam; it was quieter, it was less frantic, and I actually heard my own inner thoughts.

We slowed down.

That weekend I'd realized that I don't want to wear the over-crazed, neurotic suit of motherhood anymore. I don't want to give in to the manic speed of it, and as much as my children try to drag me there, I'm going to push back. I'm going fight for the health of my brain cells. I'm going to fight for myself.

And for now I'm going to keep walking around with my eyes closed. Just for a few seconds here and there. Just for that quick little burst of a time out. Just because it's nice, for a change, to not see what's in front of me.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Pssst, who's the hot mom with the huge tongue and bulging eyes? Why, it's me, Mrs. Mullet

I'm sorry it's been a while since my last post. I know my readers (hi Mom!) have been wondering where I've been.

Are you ready?

I've been at home.

No, wait, it gets better! I've been at home, walking around my house with the careful trepidation of someone who belongs in a nursing home. Why? Because....

Because...

I have had terrible vertigo. At my lowest points I've had to shuffle down the hall holding onto the walls, lest I go cross-eyed and collapse.

Gasp

Yes!

It feels like the room is spinning all the time. Look too quickly to the left? Spin, spin, spin. Stand up too fast? Spin, spin, spin. My eyes feel kind of twitchy in my head, too. For those of you who like to consume copious amounts of alcohol, like moi, it's the equivalent of the drunken spins, minus the enjoyable pre-gaming. 

At first I thought I was just tired and/or dehydrated. I have many children, one who doesn't yet sleep through the night, and I like my coffee and vodka. But after two weeks of shuffling and moaning, I—ok, my husband Chuck—had finally had enough. 

I went to the same doctor who told me I had an enlarged tongue (I know I'm painting a super sexy picture of myself right now, what with my wall clinging, gigantic tongue growing self). 

He asked me a lot of questions (e.g., "Have your children hit you in the head with blocks lately?"), then made me lie back quickly so he could look into my eyes. 

"I know what you have!" he said. "It's benign paroxysmal positional vertigo."

Gasp

Yes! 

Apparently benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is (a) annoying but not life-threatening and (b) annoying but not life-threatening. It's known on the street as BPPV, and I have to go to Mulletville Hospital for physical therapy (happily, the treatment has an 85% success rate). 

Because Chuck is tired of me shuffling around, clinging to the walls, he went onto Youtube and found some exercises I can do right at home, right away. Specifically one by Dr. Jo (quick synopsis, she has the annoying cheeriness of an overeager gym teacher, but she grows on you).



I tried the exercises last night, after the kids went to bed. Chuck played me the video and when I went horizontal on the couch he (a) knowing he wasn't going to get any action and (b) knowing I'd want him to count from 1-30 for me 10 times announced he was going to the neighbors' for a beer. 

I felt somewhat worse.

This morning I tried the exercise after the kids had eaten breakfast. Junior happily operated the timer on my phone so I didn't have to count and Everett actually dragged a kitchen chair into the den so he could watch. Cam bounced and babbled in his exersaucer next to me.

I felt a lot better. I was surrounded by my little gaggle of supporters. All the times they'd puked me on or slept on me or cried on me—all that time and energy came back tenfold with their concern: "Is it working, Mom?" and "Do you feel any better?"

It's weird, this parenting gig. I couldn't see straight but man, for those few seconds everything was crystal clear.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What to do when your children want to eat in the bathroom

Overheard in the bathroom:

Junior: Look, cheese!

Everett: Cheese!

Junior: This is mine. Get your own.

Everett: No fair, I want some.

Junior: I found it. It's my cheese. Go ask Mom for more.

Everett: I found it!

Junior: No you didn't. You always do this. You always try to take things from me. I found it.

Everett: Give me the cheese!

Junior: I told you, I found it. It's mine! Moooooom!

Everett: Moooooom!

Junior: Moooooom, Everett's trying to take my cheese!

Everett: Moooooom, I want cheese too!

Me, bursting into the bathroom: What the heck is going on in here?

Junior: I found this cheese. It's mine!

Me: What cheese? And we don't eat in the bathroom.

Junior: This cheese.




Me: Uh....

Junior: I found it, it's mine.

Everett: No, I did!

Me: Uh, guys, GUYS! That's not cheese.

Junior: What is it?

Everett: Yes it is! I want cheese!

Me: It's...it's....um....something you can't eat.

Junior: Why not?

Me: It just is.

Junior: What is it? Mom why can't we have it?

Everett: I want cheese! No fair!

Me: Guys, GUYS! Take a deep breath. If you want cheese I will get you some...from the refrigerator. Now please, hand over the...cheese.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Soon it will overtake my mouth and engulf my head and I'll be able to lick, like, 300 lollipops at once

I went and hired myself a babysitter. Right now, she's downstairs listening to Junior and Everett wax on (and on and on and on) about Lego Ninjago. I can hear her Oh, wow-ing and neat-ing them as I type. She's also squealing excitedly at baby Cam's coughs, coos and hiccups.

I appreciate her enthusiasm. She's only 23, you know; her brain cells are ripe for the challenge. Unlike mine, which have parachuted out of my head in search of more relaxing places, like the toilet bowl.

I also appreciate her for allowing me to do exciting, me-time activities, like going to the post office and a doctor's appointment without three children in tow. I just came from the ear, nose, and throat doctor, in fact. He shoved a mini mirror down my throat and told me, with no obvious sign of concern, that my larynx is eroding and that my tongue is enlarged due to acid reflux.

When he gave me the diagnosis and subsequently prescribed me a protein pump inhibitor, I couldn't stop envisioning my poor little larynx and tongue. I thought about what they go through on a daily basis as my children wax on (and on and on and on) about Lego Ninjago and I say "Oh, really?!" five thousand times a day—

"Oh, really?!"
"Oh, really?!"
"Oh, really?!"
"Oh, really?!"
"Oh, really?!"
"Oh, really?!"
"Oh, really?!"
"Oh, really?!"

 —and how when baby Cam coughs, coos and hiccups and I say "Sweetie!" five thousand times a day—

"Sweetie!"
"Sweetie!"
"Sweetie!"
"Sweetie!"
"Sweetie!"
"Sweetie!"
"Sweetie!"
"Sweetie!"

I don't have a degree in medicine, but isn't it obvious? My swollen tongue isn't caused by GERD. My children are the reason my tongue has swelled up to the size of a large bakery roll—and if I'm not careful, by the time they're in their teens it will be the size of a minivan.

And do you know who'll be thrilled? Who'll be looking at me like, Oh, baby where have you been all my life? Yes, Chuck.

Men!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I'm starring in the new Stephen King book!

After Chuck and I had been dating for a few years but before we had kids, family excursions consisted of me, Chuck, my younger brother and my father. This worked out well for my father. Chuck is a fellow history buff so when we'd do our guided tours of dusty, historic homes/plantations/mills/settlements, Chuck and my father would listen intently to the tour guide and try to drink in as much knowledge as they could.

My brother and I, on the other hand, would usually mock the tour guide—discreetly, of course—make lewd comments about our fellow tourees—again, discreetly—and/or escape the guided tour via an open window so we could make a run for it.

Like I said, my father was in heaven when Chuck came along. Until he'd had a comrade, he'd literally pass out from the exertion of trying to listen intently to the tour guide while simultaneously expressing his disgust at our juvenile behavior. Our trips usually ended with him throwing his hands up in the air and swearing at us under his breath.

Things changed as my brother got older. Chuck seemed cooler to him, I guess, so our family excursions began to feel more like "sausage and cheese" trips, with me starring as the cheese who stands alone (I'd certainly rethink that trip to France).

Then Junior came along—and there was more testosterone.

Then Everett came along—Ibid.

Then I found out I was having another boy. And I kid you not, when I turned 40 this winter and they all stood there singing me happy birthday—Chuck, my brother, my father, Junior and Everett—and I rubbed my 8 month pregnant belly—which contained another sausage—I felt like I was in some crazy Stephen King book in which every woman on the planet, save myself, had been eaten and I was the lone survivor of Womankind.

I wish this blog wasn't anonymous because I took a picture of all of them standing there and it's a lot of dudes.

Late at night, when the house is quiet, I think about why it is that I'm surrounded by men. Is my astrological star aligned not just with Orion but with his 25 brothers? Was I a tragic wannabe football player in a former life and so the universe is making amends by giving me my own team, so to speak? Or am I part of a psychological study conducted by Thomas the Train, in which researchers try to gauge the exact moment a mother's brain will explode after a decade of exposure to Percy, Edward and Gordon?

Of course, there is no real answer. I love all the men in my life and that's the only thing that matters. And I'd worry that our future family trips (with me, Chuck and our sons) are going to feel like "sausage and cheese" trips part deux, but hell, why start worrying now? Cam is only four months. By the time our boys are tweens and interested in spending weeks playing Laser Tag or camping, I'll be ready—to fly myself to a swim-up bar with some girlfriends.

Until then, I just need to remember to keep my hand out of my pants. Must...not...assimilate...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Just a day. Alternate title: We need a new diaper bag

"Two p.m. deadline?" I ask my boss. "No problem."

It's 7:45 a.m. Two p.m. feels like next week.

I pack lunches for Junior and Everett. I drop Junior off at day camp, then schlep Everett and Cam to Everett's preschool for a 9:30 drop-off. (Side note: I still dislike the pre-school teacher who, after eight months of greeting my child with a somber "Heeeeeey buuuuuddy' seems to be a better fit for a convalescent home.)

I say good-bye to Everett then schlep Cam to a 10:15 a.m. doctor's appointment because he's been waking up the last two nights screaming and has now developed pink eye. Am I cutting it close to my deadline? Yes, but I can do this. I can.

We finish up at the doctor's. It's an ear infection. I get back out to the car and rifle through my bag for the keys. I don't see them. Nooooooo. I put Cam's car carrier down and empty the contents of the diaper bag onto the trunk. Empty wrappers. Diapers (clean, thanks). Matchbox cars. Old crayons. Chapstick. A maxi pad. Squished granola bars. DSW coupons.

No keys.

I bring Cam back inside and ask if I left my keys in the office. Nope. Cam is getting fussy. He's not going to make it much longer without eating. I ask if I can feed him in one of the rooms.


While I feel Cam, I tear apart the car carrier, hoping the key slipped behind a cushion. Nope.

I call my brother. Can he grab a spare house key from my neighbor and meet me at the doctors with the spare car key? Yes. But no one answers at the neighbor's. I call Chuck. He offers to drive the hour home and bring me the spare key. I tell him that's crazy. I call AAA and schedule assistance. They tell me it'll be an hour.

I finish feeding Cam. It's 11:45. I empty the diaper bag one last time. No key.

I take Cam outside to wait for AAA by the car. I search my pockets. I scan the passenger seat for something glinting in the sun. Nothing. I decide to empty the bag one real, real last time. I feel something square shaped way down in the lining, way over on the side. Holy shit. It's a set of keys I thought I lost two years ago. I shove my hand deeper, pushing my way past crumbs and broken crayons and there, I find the car key.

Thank you, I say aloud, even though it's now 12:15. 

I call AAA and cancel the call.

"It will still count as one of your service calls," the woman tells me.

Bite me, I think.

I call Chuck and tell him the good news.

"I always hated that diaper bag," he says.

"We got it when Junior was born," I remind him. "Seven years is a long time to hate something."

"It's trimmed in pink. Can we get one that's cooler? More...manly?" he asks.

"With, like, boobs on it or something?"

"Sure," he says.

I drive home. I haven't eaten anything all day, so I shove an old granola bar from the diaper bag into my mouth. Cam misses his nap. I miss my deadline. I'm almost late to pick up Junior. But I'm giddy about a diaper bag with breasts on it, if only for its functionality: Nipples would make damn good key ring holders.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Yoga is for sissies

I forgot about this thing. Everett was four when we had Cam this February; the most taxing thing about getting him around was stopping mid-grocery shop to get him to the bathroom.

I've been carrying this thing around for three months now. My back hurts. My neck hurts. These damn carriers are heavy and there's no easy way to carry them when you're walking. You can't exactly throw it over your shoulder like a handbag. If you lean to one side, you pull all your glueteus sideus muscles. If you lean forward you chance kicking the carrier with your knees as you walk.

They're such a part of your baby's life though, you can't get around it.

I'm wondering, why the fuck don't more hospitals incorporate these into their Intro to Birthing workshops? No, really. Instead of wasting your time breathing and writing birthing plans, why aren't women (and men) wrapping up watermelons, placing them into the carriers and then doing sprints around the hospital parking lot? Mastering that is a tangible skill.

Yes, that would be the first class: Intro to Your Aching Back. Class II, Intermediate Pains: Your Back and Your Thighs, would focus on getting an even larger watermelon and bouncing the damn thing in the carrier on your knee for 20 minutes (yes, you can use doorwells for support).

That's all. I just wanted to vomit my ire at the dreaded &*^#%^#&*%@ carrier. Happy Friday!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Having three children is kind of kicking my ass

Which is why I haven't posted since, um, winter.

It's not the kids themselves who are giving me a good ole ass whoopin' (they've actually been dolls), it's all the stuff that goes along with them: the lack of sleep, packing lunches, the laundry, the mud pies, the LEGOs, the baths, reminding them not to wipe boogers on each other...you get the drift.

Never mind the dog that needs walking, the cat that needs petting (all 25 pounds of her) and the husband that's looking at me like Hey, remember when we used to use our bed for things other than storing clean laundry?.

On top of it all, Chuck was away for work in April when I came down with a sinus infection, upper respiratory infection and double ear infection. At night, when I fed Cam, I'd shove tissues into my nostrils to stop my runny nose and I'd let the tissue drape down over my mouth so I didn't cough on him. Genius, ey? I was doing pretty well with that until I got pink eye and had to watch him eat with the one eye that wasn't glued shut.

I believe my exact words to my mother the next morning were PLEASE COME HELP ME.

But that's behind us now. Now, three months after Cam's birth, I finally feel like I'm getting my sea legs. I'm back to work (from home), I interviewed some sitters (love you, Care.com), the sun is shining—well, it was this weekend—and instead of making myself miserable all summer by wearing maternity clothes, I treated myself to some forgiving tops that I can hide under until I lose that last 10 pounds (thank you, billowy Bohemian look, for being in style right now).

Ok, it's 15. I forgot how much I hate the lumpy post-baby body.

The only thing that's kind of terrifying me right now is the end of school. Yup, just me, the kids, the pets and the garden hose.

And vodka. Lots of vodka.