Thursday, February 23, 2012

Damn those cracked nipples

The bedroom door was closed and it was very, very quiet—both telltale signs that something was amiss. My son was supposed to be putting on his pajamas.

I knocked gently.




I knocked louder. The door swung open. Junior stood there in his pajama bottoms. His shirt was nowhere to be seen.

"It's not working!" he shouted.

"What's not working?"

He pointed to his nipple. "Nothing's coming out!"


"I'm milking myself," he said, like I was an idiot, "and nothing is happening."

"Junior, honey, only moms can make milk. Not little boys or even dads."

He threw his hands up in the air. "Why didn't you tell me this sooner?"

I'm going to go ahead and file this one under "Things I didn't think I'd need to explain."

Funny, isn't it, what we take for granted?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The crux of it

I had some time to reread my blog. Yes, I just blogged about not having enough time for anything, now suddenly I'm blogging every two days and rereading posts to boot.

Life is weird like that.

In rereading some posts, I realized what a crazed, whiny nutbrain I sound like. Granted, life is chaotic right now (two kids, two working parents, overeager grandparents), but I want do better. I want to see better.

The first step is this.

The second step is...well, the second step is usually the harder one, isn't it? The second step is when you actually get off the pot, then the ensuing steps kind of fall into place.

One hopes.

All I know is this: Last week I tacked up the following quote from Anaïs Nin on my wall at work. My co-workers have since accused me of being a nerd. I don't care. They don't get it:

“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.”

I think I am going to quit.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I couldn't help it. This yanked me from my blog-cation

When I first saw this one-armed, legless, headless man I laughed out loud. I thought it was a joke. It's not, though, apparently. In fact, it's such a non-joke that it has a moderate sell out risk.

For a "dream man arm pillow!"

Scoff, scoff, scoff.

Then I read some of the reviews. One woman wrote that it went well with her mullet. Others wrote that they were lonely and that the pillow felt like the real thing. Minus the head.

There's something sweet about that image of someone who misses a loved one—because of a death or a divorce—cuddling up to this half-man dressed in a pajama top. We all need a sense of comfort, especially at night, as we close our eyes and try to breathe through the ups and downs of the day. What better aide than a stuffed man that doesn't talk, fart or snore?

What, right?

Why, a half-woman with little round boobies, that's what.

I didn't read the reviews. I just don't want to know.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thanks for the unfollow, jackass. It's all your fault


We’re coming up on the five year anniversary of Frogs in my formula. I find that somewhat astounding, if I do say so myself.

Five years worth of writing.

Five busy, crazy, joyful, tearful years. It seems like everything under the sun has happened. I had pimples. I had children. I had a job, then I didn’t have a job, then I did. My husband Chuck had a job, then he didn’t, then he did. He chased ghosts. We moved. We had fleas. We had a hurricane. My parents moved. My cat died. I burned dinner. I hated my birthday. I drank too much. The list goes on and on.

I’ll never forget the first time I hit “publish” on this blog. For someone who’d just graduated from grad school with a degree in writing, hitting that button was akin to flipping all the big publishing houses the bird. I didn’t need them to put myself out there. I didn't need anyone but Blogger.

I was free to let it all hang out.

As I quickly discovered, there’s a downside to letting it all hang out, especially when your husband gushes openly about your blog. Way too many people (both friends and acquaintances) found out who I was. It made blogging really damn hard—still does. Even more pressing than “If I make up a name for him/her will he/she still know I am talking about him/her?” is “Do I want him/her to know that about me?”

Way too often the answer is "Hell no."

Blogging come back to life for me last year, after the birth of my second son. I had all new material. Spit-up. Breastfeeding. Sleep deprivation. Hot stuff.

But—shocker—managing two children is a huge time suck, even with things like TV, naps and babysitters. Children have a second sense about time: They know when you want to do something for yourself, and they choose that moment to vomit or poop or catch their finger in the door.

If there's one thing I've learned, to parent is to constantly swim against the current.

I'm not sure what I'm saying exactly about this blog. The mere thought of breaking up with it is enough to give me a panic attack. I love the bloggers I've met because of this blog. Love. But let's be honest, lately the posts have been strung together like a chicken running around with its head cut off.

And what the fuck? Could Follower #296 quit following me then unfollowing? Quit dicking me around.


Life is a little out of sync right now, and until it comes back into focus I need to take a little vacation from blogging. Who knows, it might just mean posting once a week. I do know that I'd hate for this blog to become a wasteland. Not after five years.

We can make it, baby!

We can.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Either she's the adult version of my invisible friend or I'm experiencing a psychotic split

Here's the thing (and this is me and Beth Brown talking): I know I should be grateful that I have a babysitter who comes to our house to watch the two kids, and that my mother babysits, and that Chuck's mother and step-father babysit BUT fucking a, as I lie in bed on Sunday nights and imagine the week ahead I can't help but think of this—

That dude waving his hand? He's shouting, "Go on down to Frogmama's house! Make yourself at home! She won't be there!"

And I know I should be grateful that everyone who comes into my home is trustworthy (as far as I can tell, anyway) and probably isn't snooping through the bills I accidentally left out or taking inventory of the number of empty wine bottles in my recycling bin, but I can't help but feel like this as I allow the revolving set of people into my home each week*—

That dog with his head in my, er, the dog's butt? That's my mother-in-law as she rummages through my fridge and wonders why everything we have is organic. She raised Chuck on Hungry Man beef stew. Is there something wrong with that? Did he have to go and marry such a hippie?

That dog looking off to the right? That's Chuck's step-father, thinking of all the underwear that needs folding.

But hey, one down, four to go, right? Now let's see, who's coming tomorrow? Oh, right. The babysitter—

Which means that both kids will go into the tub immediately after she leaves. I know, I know, I'm such a scent-free, dye-free, hypo-allergenic hippie. (Have you seen the sodium count on those Hungry Man soups? The woman is a former nurse for frick's sake.)

P.S. In all Beth Brown alternate reality seriousness, my friend informed me that there's a woman named Beth Brown who is a writer, blogger, and artist. Just like me. Gasp! The one major difference? She is a paranormal investigator...just like Chuck. Double gasp!

Uncanny coincidence or another sign from beyond from the sea captain?

(Would it be overkill to do another mwhahahahahahaa here? Yah, I thought so.)

*Photo credit: Mother (fucking) Nature

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The downside of self-introspection and pretending to be someone you’re not

Something I wrote is going to run on a certain website in the next few weeks. I’m psyched, but also disappointed. I submitted the piece under my nom de plume, Beth Brown. It’s hard to watch someone else who is really yourself get all the credit for something you did.

You, of course, know me as Frogmama. Until recently, I’d been using the pen name for pretty much everything. But it conjures up all kinds of weird images: a small human, for example, with an enormous amphibian head. A head so large that the poor frogwoman can’t stand up without falling over. That bothers me. One can’t parent if one can’t hold up one’s head.

You may also know me as Mrs. Mullet. That doesn’t quite ring true either. I used to live in Mulletville, but I fought hard against assimilation. I don’t have a mullet, therefore how can I be Mrs. Mullet? I should be Mrs. Anti-mullet.

So, I thought about it and settled on Beth Brown. Beth because it is my middle name, brown because it is my favorite color (unless it’s the color of a face mask). Also, you can’t get more functional/oatmeally/sturdy shoe-ish than a two syllable name like Beth Brown (no offense to anyone who might actually have this name—I bet you’re a hell kitten).

Some days, I love Beth Brown. She is what my life needs: a no-frills fall guy. She professes her parenting failures without regard for recourse. She admits she can’t breastfeed and that she doesn’t want to be supermom, all without shame. Her mousy hair is short and poker straight. She has a little pudge but she doesn’t care. She’s solid.

Beth Brown nails it.

Other days I resent her. Even though she affords me a safe little umbrella under which to write, the bitch gets all the credit for this blog. (By “credit” I mean the $40 a year I make from BlogHer and the trickling stream of traffic. Damn that Beth Brown!) She’s the one who has the guts to be out there alongside the bloggers who have put their real names and photos on their blogs.

If I wasn’t worried about getting dooced and losing my job because of my blog, I’d come clean with my true identity in a heartbeat. I’d love to just be out there, like red lacy underwear flapping on a clothesline. I’d love to out myself to my Facebook friends. To post a status update of “I AM BETH BROWN/FROGMAMA/MRS. MULLET!”

Then, of course, I’d have to deal with my sister-in-law learning how I really feel about her dick husband. Vag would know that I thought of him while getting vagged. Would my conservative Bob Villa-esque father really want to read about my water breaking at work? And the children. What about their privacy?

And let’s not forget about Mulletville Corp. Good God, they’d probably sue the pants (and red lacy underwear) right off me for outing the staff and their incompetencies. I’d be cast out into the parking lot and egged as I drove away. My name would be scum.

And where would Beth Brown be? Hmmm? I’ll tell you where! Smugly polishing her shoes and avoiding my phone calls, that’s where. She didn’t write “How to poop at work” now did she? She didn’t make an ass of the Marketing Head. She didn’t hate her babysitter for using too many dryer sheets. Oh, no, she’s above all that. I made her do it.

I enabled her.

It’s complicated I tell you, this relationship I have with my secret identity, which is also my public identity. Com-pleee-ca-ted. And I’ll just say this once: If Beth Brown starts sleeping with my husband Chuck, I’m going to clock her with one of her shoes.

Luckily for her, those red lacy underwear are well hidden.

(Sigh. I know Chuck, I know.)

Monday, February 6, 2012

When self-indulgence makes you sick

If your child complains of feeling nauseous at dinner...

And even if you put him to bed without incident...

If you yourself feel a wee twinge of not-so-goodness after doing the dishes but swear you won't succumb to the bug (I'll go down fighting!)...

And even if you want to relax and treat yourself to a little "spa" time in your bathroom because you put said child to bed without upchucking...

If you stumble upon a free sample in your cosmetic bag...

And even if you think Perfect! A mini facial...

Do not use this product:

You will gag upon application.

The minty, earthy smell will not prevent you...

...from hurling after the picture is taken.

Sick mothers of nauseous children really should be doing more product testing before this shit gets put on the shelf. Can I get an amen?

Make laundry fun — and punishable

I don't know why there's so much effing laundry. Yes, there are five of us, but we aren't going anywhere. Part of me feels ...