ABOUT ME

About me: My husband Chuck, our six-year-old Junior, our three-year-old Everette 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, December 29, 2011

I may be a pervert


But there is something about this Scooby-Doo Chia pet—a gift to Junior from a co-worker— that makes me want to:

a. reach for a razor
b. tell my child to look away
c. make inappropriate comments about male parts

The longer I look at the box, the worse it gets. And we haven't even grown the hair yet—I mean ferns. Whatever the hell it is that comes out of that paste packet.

Ch-ch-ch-EW.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

We're having pizza and store-bought cake. Because Mommy loves you


Everette is turning one this week. I know, I know, plenty of people have children who turn one and yes, they've probably already blogged about it, but did you hear me?

Everette is turning one!

Somewhere in the last month I stopped referring to him as Diddlydoo, the nickname I so lovingly gave him in utero so people would stop badgering me about what I was going to name my child—people are so greedy for information, aren't they?

He's started crawling and babbling; the name Diddlydoo started to feel...piddlypoo.

My own birthday hits this time of year as well. As anyone with a birthday in late-December/early January knows, it's the worst time of year to have a birthday. Presents and cards are an afterthought, if they even come.

Plus, there's something downright shitty about clocking in another year against the backdrop of naked, barren trees and stiff brown grass. Reflecting on your life as you watch signs of life die around you doesn't do much for making light of crow's feet and laugh lines.

Gray, lifeless sky = ample tears about gray, lifeless hair.

I know, boohoo. Boohoo.

I'm not the only one who is doing some end-of-year reflecting. Junior's been doing some too, although it's aloud.

Me: "Junior, Everette's going to be one. Can you believe it?"

Junior: "I wish he was back in your belly. We had more fun playing when he was in there."

Me: "But soon you can play with him! All the time!"

Junior: "He'll probably still slobber on my toys."

Nothing sucks the life out of a happy preschooler like a younger sibling. I can literally feel the malaise settling in.

To celebrate Everette's birthday, we're having pizza and cake with some of the neighbors and their kids. It'll be a much smaller affair than Junior's first, for which we commissioned a damn cake and threw a 100-person bash.

Huh? Wha? Post-Christmas, pre-New Year's birthdays what again?

Oh right. Suck.

And ok, it's not just the time of year. I'm learning that everything you do for your second (or third or fourth) child is with much less fanfare.

But! It is not for a lack of love. Oh, no. I couldn't possibly love that high maintenance, diva-like, giggly, precious, precocious, daredevil of a boy any more than I possibly do. I can't kiss him enough. I can't tickle him enough. There are days that I literally want to eat him.

And really, amazingly, I don't even know him yet.

Happy birthday, you little stinker. Next year Mommy will bake some cupcakes.

Maybe.

Monday, December 26, 2011

I'm not sure what just happened



I think we celebrated Christmas, but I can't quite be sure. Everything after Friday afternoon is a bit blurry.

See on Friday, somewhere between my car and my office, I wrenched my back. Badly. In fact, the only way I could get comfortable at work was to stand. I sent some emails hunched over my keyboard, then decided I wasn't going to make it. I hobbled down the hall (while dragging my leg behind me) and out the door, straight to the doctor's.

(Side note: My co-workers are rallying to have me banned from the building. My water broke at work; I was pushed down the stairs at work; I have worn a thumb brace to work; sported a neck brace to work; hobbled around with a knee brace at work; slammed my toe in the door at work; and my ass has prevented me from working. If I showed up at work one day holding my head in the crook of my arm I doubt that anyone would be surprised.)

After driving to the doctor's my back felt even worse. The only way I could get comfortable in the waiting room was to kneel on a chair with my ass in the air. A nurse had to walk me down the hall. Then, while I waited for the doctor, the only way I could stop the pain from shooting down my legs was to assume the oh-so-attractive kneeling + ass in the air position again.

When the doctor came into the room, he took one look at me and promptly wrote me a prescription for muscle relaxers.

Bless his heart.

In my glazed over state, I spent the holiday weekend nodding demurely at whatever conversation was taking place. No one got on my nerves. No one!

I wasn't allowed to lift Junior or Everette or the 100-pound diaper bag or the Christmas presents. I didn't even lift the fruitcake.

I was so pliable that Chuck was even able to whisk me away to a holiday party. (The hosts were an engaged couple. She's Jewish; he's not. If their kids come out anything like their decorative bathroom towels, I think we know what religion they'll be:



Mazal Tov!)

So there you have it: Christmas 2011 was hazy and blurry and full of good cheer. I was physically unable to overdo it. Plus, my ass was in the air a few times.

Really, what more could you ask for from a long holiday weekend?

Friday, December 23, 2011

I have a tree


My friends have been very good friends to me. Before Chuck and I had children and moved into my childhood home in Mulletville Lite, my father lived here. He did not decorate for the holidays, even though he held Christmas Eve here.

The one decoration that hung was a felt elf that covered a whole in the wall he hadn't plastered over. It hung all year long.

Every December I begged my friends to join me on a tree cutting excursion for my father, the quintessential bachelor. In my mind, I did it for him (wouldn't a decorated Christmas tree make the house feel more like a home?).

To enlist their aid, I bribed my friends with alcohol and food. Mostly alcohol. And they came.

They drove all the way to Mulletville Lite, helped us pick out a tree—often trekking through snow-covered farms as the sun went down—then came back to the house to untangle lights, locate the ornaments in the basement, de-rust the tree stand, and finally (!) to decorate tree.

The ornaments were the half my father got in my parents' divorce settlement. It always struck me as odd that they divvied up the ornaments. Then again, ornaments were always a contentious issue, particularly their placement on the tree.

As I sit here this afternoon looking at our tree, I can't help but be thankful for my friends. Year after year they helped me erect a beautiful tree, which brought me a sense of happiness and completeness.

I'm also thankful for moving back into this house, and for my own family's tree, which is now decorated with new ornaments.

For a long time, sad memories were a constant in this house. The tree went up, and as happy as that was, the tree was still tethered to the past. It was the tree of my childhood.

I am thankful for new beginnings and the chance to heal this home. I am grateful for my little family.

I don't want anything for Christmas. I have everything I need.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. See you next week.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ay, Tuesday!

There's one holiday commercial I'm going to miss:



Cracks me up every time.

Know what else cracks me up? This book:



If you're looking for a last-minute gift for a mother, this book will make you laugh out loud.

I'm off to work now. And you! Quit scratching your ass and get baking those cookies.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ay! Monday

I took off half a day so I could go to Junior's holiday party at nursery school. The last time I took off half a day for something at Junior's school, we visited the Mulletville Lite firehouse. The fire chief took one look at our large group and remarked, "I've never seen so many parents on a kids' field trip."

That line is a good segue into an article I read over the weekend. I think it's one of the best articles I've read on parenting in a while.

I've got more to say about it (of course), but I've got to run. Turkey rolls are expiring on the counter.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In 20 years je me still souviens why I left

Tonight I'm going out for milk and I'm not coming back. I thought I should tell someone. Since I can't tell my friends, co-workers or immediate kin (sssshhhh, I don't want them to find me), you're it.

If anyone asks, I left because I have been sick for the last five days, and I have had to care for two sick children. One has clung to me nonstop, like a koala bear, and wants to sleep curled under my neck. The other begs me to sleep next to him, but really what he wants to do is play with the little hairs around my ears.

They can't make a NyQuil strong enough to help you sleep through shit like that.

My shirt is covered in mucus. It's not mine. I know that because I have only been able to sneeze onto the tops of children's heads.

I'm going to go to Canada. Every blogger I've met who lives in Canada seems really nice. I bet they'd take kindly to a homeless crazy woman covered in phlegm.

I won't be back until after Christmas. I haven't done a lick of holiday shopping, and I can't take the guilt. I started off strong when I bought that bag of Lindt truffles for the babysitter, but since we got sick and told her to stay away, her gift no longer exists.

So mum's the word, ok? I mean, eet eez ok?

Monday, December 12, 2011

An apple a day my fricken ass

The grand finale of Junior’s fever and stomach complaint wasn’t a pukefest...it was a double ear infection.

For that I am eternally grateful.

Vomiting was such a routine part of my own childhood that I kept a sleeping bag in the bathroom. No parent wants to add “sleeping bag” to her child’s Christmas list because she sees him following in her footsteps. There are things to be sentimental about.

Vomit isn’t one of them.

Junior’s health has been a bit of a bumpy road this past year. The craptastic relationship we had with his pediatrician didn’t help matters. The list I made for “Top 10 signs you should switch pediatricians” was accurate, sadly. To say the doctor sucked would be an understatement.

Why didn’t I end the relationship sooner? I didn’t listen my gut, and I was blinded by the pediatrician’s reputation at Mulletville Hospital. To many folks, he walks on water. I kept believing that the next visit would be the one where I witnessed his magic.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

This summer I finally listened to my gut. A mother I met at the library raved about a doctor in Mulletville Lite. Her children were grown, but she said Dr. Blahblahblah had treated her children like family. If your kid was really, really sick, she saw you on the weekend (everyone knows that kids get sick at 5 pm on Friday—everyone). She was also good at diagnosing illnesses other than colds.

Since Junior suffers from an as-of-yet diagnosed stomach problem, I was sold.

We joined Dr. Blahblahblah’s practice. During our first visit, I noticed a lovely picture of Dr. Blahblahblah in the waiting room. She had an ethereal look to her—healing incarnate. I couldn’t wait to meet her.

Over the next few months I took the kids in for check-ups. For colds. For shots. I met with the staff to talk about a procedure for Junior at the Hartford Children’s Center.

Still no Dr. Blahblahblah.

I peeked in the windows. I peeked in the Record’s Room. I peeked in the bathroom.

Still no Dr. Blahblahblah.

I kept believing that the next visit would be the one where I met this damn doctor. Soon! Soon it would be our turn!

Then, this past weekend Chuck and I had to take Junior to the Mulletville Hospital ER. His stomach was acting up. We wanted to get to the bottom of it.

As I was filling out the paperwork, the doctor asked who Junior’s pediatrician was.

“Dr. Blahblahblah!” I said.

I waited for him to say, “Wow! That doctor is amazing!” Instead he laughed and said, “Really? Dr. Blahblahblah’s been dead for at least a year.”

“Dead?” I said. “She’s dead?”

“Cancer. Terrible thing.”

I suddenly understood the picture in the waiting room.

It seems I "suddenly" understand a lot these days.

Please, learn from my mistakes. If you're looking for a pediatrician, it's great to ask for recommendations, but make sure to visit the office first yourself. Google him or her and read up on ratings, if there are any.

Call the pediatrician's office and ask:

1. What hospital the doctor(s) is affiliated with
2. How common it is to be seen that day
3. If they have a weekend answering service
4. If the pediatrician(s) has any particular specialty
5. How many doctors vs. nurses the practice has and if you'll be seen by an RN or LPN more often than not
6. How many years of experience the pediatrician has

And finally,
7. If the pediatrician is alive

Did I miss anything?

P.S. Lest you think I am a total idiot, Dr. Blahblahblah's practice still answers the phone "Dr. Blahblahblah." So you see...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

There are a few things I have learned


From my meager four years of parenting.

This is one of them: If your child has a fever and says he feels sick to his stomach right before going to bed, you grab that Tupperware container! You grab those suppositories! And you get your ass to bed.

Even if it's only 8:30 pm. Even if you're not tired.

Because what lies ahead is probably a horrific pukefest filled with tears and moaning (sometimes your own). What lies ahead is a child (or children) who wants to puke on you, despite your best attempts to usher him to the bathroom.

Despite your within-reach Tupperware container.

Never before in my life have I viewed the night time—what is supposed to be a time of repose and blissful slumber—as a vehicle for bodily battle and yet, as I type this, I can't help but think that I am arming myself and preparing to wage war.

Things will probably fly out of orifices. Simultaneously. I will probably get slimed. I will probably change pajamas and linens with the fervor of maid on crack. And, saddest of all, it will probably be 5:30 am before I am finally able to slither back into my bed, my hair matted to my face in a wet, crusty shellack of puke goo.

But godammit, I am smarter. I am faster.

And I am not tempting fate any further.

Goodnight.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

When couples talk and fall down

Chuck and I had a conversation tonight.

Imagine that! You can be married forever and still converse.

We discussed the details of me possibly taking a part-time job. He's been at his new job for a whopping two weeks you know. (Can you tell I want to get off the pot?)

Elements of our conversation felt oddly familiar. Like when Chuck said, "It'll be okay. We'll figure it out" then slammed 10 shots of tequila. And again when he clutched his heart, croaked, "We'll find a way to make it work" and then slumped to the floor.

Yes. That's when it hit me that we'd had this conversation before. As I stood over his trembling body I recalled how last year, almost to the day, Chuck and I were agonizing over the details of my unpaid maternity leave. Could we make it on his freelance income? What if no one wanted to buy his body parts? What's the street value of a complete Thomas the Train set?

I suddenly felt awfully grateful. If I take a part-time job and we land in the poorhouse, at least it's a conscious choice. And if it's going to happen around the holidays, at least no one will bitch when we give them hand-drawn pictures of the kids (hey, photo paper is expensive).

I jest. I don't know what the hell to do. In this economy. In this recession. In this maelstrom of foreclosures and lay offs and budget cuts.

Fuck.

I think I need to consult a fortune teller or call one of those psychic hotlines.

Maybe I'll ask her why one of us always seems to be lying on the kitchen floor. Start off simple.

Yes, simple would be good.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Anyone wanna trade grannies?

I’ve been wanting to write a post-Thanksgiving post for a week now and finally, seven days later, I have the chance.

Must...act...quickly...

At Thanksgiving dinner, I sat down next to my grandmother and I said, “Grandma, this is your ninety-fourth Thanksgiving. Tell me: Out of all 94 years, what sticks out as your happiest holiday? What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory?”

I sat back and smiled thoughtfully. Her white-gray tendrils curled around her glasses. She was sharp as a whip, God bless her. Three marriages and four boyfriends later, she was still a looker.

She thought and she thought. I waited patiently. She thought some more.

I imagined she was mentally sorting through years of warm holiday memories. That could take a while, right? Sifting through 94 years of Thanksgivings?

Heck, she'd spent 36 Thanksgivings with me. Maybe one of those had been her favorite. Maybe she'd regale me with a holiday memory I didn't even remember. Maybe I'd done something endearing, like—

—“I don’t have one,” she said.

“You don't have one favorite happy holiday memory?” I asked.

“Nope. None of them were very happy.”

She shrugged and took a bite of pie.

I shouldn't have been surprised. Just a few months ago she had handed me a pile of letters and cards I’d sent her as a kid and said, “Here, I found some of the junk you sent me and since I’m not going to be around much longer you can have it back."

I swear, when she finally kicks it and is laid to rest the grass is going to curdle and spit her back out.

(Seriously, if you ship me your sweet grandmother for Christmas I'll kick in a cashmere sweater. And some sappy cards signed by yours truly. Sappy, thoughtful, homemade cards. *Sniff, sniff*)