Night & Day

I loved being the baby of the family and the only girl. It meant I could get away with murder while my brothers took the fall. Muahahaha!

There wasn’t anything wrong with being the third and final kid except when it came to baby pictures. There are three total.

I always thought I wanted a little sister, but now I’m glad I never got one. I can’t imagine how she would’ve stole my spotlight! Sharing is still not my strong suit.

Birth order is fascinating now that I’m a mom with two girls. It’s always interesting to hear how it affects children and what characteristics are true. Lately I’ve been struggling with some mom guilt over not being able to give my second baby what I gave my first i.e. my undivided attention and patience. I don’t possess either of those things anymore.Probably never did!

This baby is lucky to get a bottle of milk thrown at her in between running laps around the front yard or a clean diaper before playing horsies or spinning. Forget story time or any kind of one-on-one time. This kid won’t even know what a book is. She probably won’t be able to read until she’s twenty at the rate I’m going. It breaks my heart because I was reading to my first born in utero and all the second born heard were reruns of Sesame Street, the never-ending whine of her older sister, and me shushing the whining. Granted, that’s all she still hears.

Everything is so different than before. There’s just no time. No time to sit still and read. No time to sit. No time to still. Definitely no time to read.

My guilt goes beyond reading though. The first one got professional photos done, four different sessions at 3.6.9. and 12 months. We have enough to wallpaper the house.

Professional shoot

Professional shoot

The second one got pictures at JC Penny…once.

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

While they’re still as cute, there’s just no comparison. The first one got all brand-spanking new clothes while the second one gets all her hand-me-downs, stains and all. The first one’s baby book is nearly done while the second one’s is completely blank. She’s 8 months, people. Eight months!

The first one will get to do everything before the second, while she watches from the sidelines. All the second one gets is shushed during nap time because she’ll wake up her sister with her squeals and then everyone pays the price. I never thought I could get frustrated with a baby–surely I’m a monster. Of course I love her with all my heart, but like I said, it’s different this time.

It’s too bad we can’t all be first borns or better yet, only children. I understand a little of why my own mummy will defend her first born tooth and nail They’re the cherished ones, the ones that got the best of us, or maybe the worst of us because we had no clue what we were doing and we have to defend them if anything but to save ourselves. Now I’ve just gone cross-eyed.

My only hope is that they’ll be BFFs, balancing each other out and when it comes time to split up my jewelry collection they won’t kill each other.

Lesson Learned

3 men

Remember in Three Men & a Baby when the grandma says, “I think she did a doodle?” when referring to the baby having a poopy diaper? Well, I wonder what she would call a volcano of poo erupting out of the top of a baby’s diaper? A doozle? A poozy? A whole lotta shit? This is what I found myself wondering as I placed my messy, squirmy baby in the back of my car as we were parked in the middle of the library parking lot. I didn’t know what to call this explosion of doo doo. All I knew was that it was everywhere.

It was our first visit to story time today. I was a little apprehensive, wondering if my toddler would behave and sit through it. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and heard my hubby’s voice in the back of my head saying she needs to be around more kids, so I committed to going. We arrived just at 11. As with most children’s activities, things tend to start a few minutes late while moms and kids straggle in. Not story time, they are prompt. Of course.

Hurriedly, I parked the car and threw my baby in the Bjorn before getting the big one out. We high-tailed it into the library where the librarian was already reading the first book. We quietly sat down in the back. Ok, I sighed, we made it. Two seconds later my daughter was shouting that she wanted a bean bag. So an understanding dad handed one down the line for us. Phew. Crisis averted.

Then I smelled it.

The little one had shat herself. And boy did it stink. There was another mom sitting close by and I inwardly winced, hoping she couldn’t smell the ripeness coming from our corner. A squeal of delight from the little one–who isn’t so proud and happy after pooping out their entire insides? Six sets of eyes turned to look at us. I smiled politely and tried to distract her. So I took her out of the Bjorn and that’s when I realized it wasn’t just a poopy diaper. It was a poo geyser and it was raining down on me.

Meanwhile, the big one started pulling books from the nearby shelves, exclaimed that her sister was “6 months” when really she’s 7 months going on 8, and took her sandals off. The librarian wasn’t even finished with the first book and I needed to leave already. But if I tried to leave, the big one would suffer a Chernobyl meltdown and then I’d follow suit and everyone would laugh at me.

So what did I do? Waited until the librarian went through the first book, sang a dang song about owls where everyone introduced themself, then read a second book about owls. The big one listened for five seconds at a time before pulling out more books and whining off and on. It was a complete disaster.

When she finished the book, she explained it was craft time and the kids could make little owls out of pine cones. They were very cute and I was bummed we couldn’t make one, but I had to change the little one. She’d sat in it too long as it was. So I went to put the big one’s sandals back on her but somehow they had poop on them. How, I had no idea. So she couldn’t wear them, she’d track it through the library. I had the little one pressed against my chest, hoping no one could tell she was oozing poop and I half-dragged the big one out to the car with no shoes on her feet. Mom of the year status.

Oh yeah, cause I failed to mention that the diaper bag was still in the car. What would I need with it when we were only going to a 20 minute story time?

Luckily, the big one didn’t have a meltdown about leaving.

At the back of the car, I threw the big one in and set the little one down to notice that I had poop all over my shirt, my hands, the big one’s shoes, and probably my hair, not to mention the baby! I smelled like a porta-potty at the fair. Makes me gag just thinking about it.

After what seemed like forever, I finally got everything and everyone cleaned off just as the parents and kids started making their way out of the library holding their little owls. Damnit, that would’ve looked cute on the windowsill.

So to salvage what ended up being a horrific first story time, we went to the park to look for squirrels. The big one was happy about that and the little one was happy to be clean and I was just happy to be out of that tiny, smelly room.

We’ll give it a go again next week. A little bit of poo will not stop this mummy. But you better believe I’m taking my hulking diaper bag in with me.

How You Doin’?

I don’t know what it’s like for other moms, but for me, every time I’m at the playground it’s like a blind date. But I’ve never been on one date in my entire life, so how would I know?

There is this mom dance like a mating call minus the mating. I’m there with my two kids, this other mom is there with hers. Our children run around and play together. We smile. They get along without any incident. We follow each other around, and then finally we speak. She’s new to the area, so am I. She has a 2 1/2 year old daughter, so do I. She seems normal, so do I. In other words, a perfect match. Like if we were on Love Connection, Chuck Woolery would ask if there would be a second playdate and the audience would vote for number 1 and we’d get to go out again for free. Man, I loved that show–so much bad hair (see below).

love

It’s sad and a little embarrassing that I’ve never been on a date. But I married my high school sweetheart, so we’re both completely clueless when it comes to picking up people. At least he better be. It’s obvious I don’t know a thing about dating. I thought guys still said, “What’s your sign?” as a pick-up line. If it was up to me I guess I’d quote Notorious B.I.G. and say, “What your interests are? Who you be with? Things to make you smile? What numbers to dial?” And if she knows what I’m talking about, then we could be friends.

My daughter is a terrible wingman, she leaves me in the dust as soon as she sees the swings. And then I’m the weirdo wearing a baby strapped to my chest pushing my daughter’s stuffed zebra in the swing next to her. Nobody wants to talk to that loony tune.

Before becoming a mom, I never would’ve started a conversation with a random stranger. My shyness was too crippling. But with two young babies, you’re forced to get out of the house and interact with your fellow mums if you want to sustain any shred of sanity. There’s really nothing to worry about as you already have so much in common, first and foremost being that you’re starved for adult interaction.

Awhile back, we were at the playground and my daughter was playing with a little girl who was about her age. They were having so much fun running around together. I waited the appropriate amount of time, assessing the situation before I committed to “getting chummy” with her mom, then we started chatting. She was very nice. Worked a part-time job at a nearby winery, and had good things to say about local schools. My Mom Connection was running high. She said she often brought her daughter to the same playground so she was sure we’d run into each other again–the blow off, perhaps.I didn’t have my phone so I didn’t get her number. Then we parted ways and I’ve never seen her again. The hubby couldn’t believe I let her slip through my fingers….worked at a winery–hell-o, what was I thinking?!? He went on about it for a few days. But I didn’t have my phone, what was I supposed to do? Write her number on my hand like some middle-school crush?

I’ve since joined a mom’s group in our area and am meeting some nice moms and my daughter is getting some socialization, although we have a long way to go. At our last playdate, my darling girl was eating a snack and every time one of the other children came near her, she screamed “NO!” and held her food close to her as if they were going to rip it out of her hands. So embarrassing. Before you think I’m starving her, we have two small dogs who constantly steal her food, hence the reason for her insane outbursts. But these kids don’t know that, they just think she’s  super hungry and stingy.

Maybe I don’t want her for my wingman after all.

Misery Sure Does Love Company

misery

Not to say that I’m miserable. Well ok, I am miserable on certain days but if you ask my hubby I’m miserable every day. That’s because he only sees me after I’ve put up with two screaming kids for twelve straight hours. Anyone would be miserable, am I right? He misses all the happy, silly moments that also make up our day.He mostly sees me when I’m at the end of my rope, my nerves shredded from a long day of temper tantrums and meltdowns times two.

Nobody understands my misery situation like my fellow mummy who also has two little ones. I got some much needed time with her this past weekend. She graciously opened up her home to me, the hubby, and our two darling lovelies. Yes, she’s that nice! She willingly agreed to house our crazy clan for a few days. It actually wasn’t as chaotic as you’d think having a 3 year old, 2 year old, 9 month old, and 7 month old all under the same roof. Luckily they have a huge roof!

It was so much fun! All the babies bonded and had fun playing together. And we got to vent/share all our mummy concerns and stories, making me feel like everything I’m going through and doing is normal. So it’s safe to say that we were definitely in good company comparing sleep schedules, fussiness, and eating habits.There’s just something special about swapping parenting stories especially when you’ve known the other mom since she was a kid herself. You still remember when you were in kindergarten together drawing pictures of unicorns and rainbows and now your kids are playing play dough on the dining room floor together. Special doesn’t even begin to sum it up.

The first night we were there, the men were “allowed” to go out to the baseball game what with it being opening night and all. Maybe we were trying to prove something, but we agreed that everything would be just fine without them. We waved off their concerns if we’d be alright on our own with four little ones to feed, bathe, and put to bed. Clearly we were outnumbered, but puh-lease, we could do it with our eyes closed, one hand tied behind our back, and a baby attached to a boob. So we told them to enjoy their night out, guaranteeing us our own night away for later during the weekend. Suckers!

I’m not gonna lie, at one point I thought we’d never get them all to bed before midnight because at any one time one baby (usually mine) was fussing and being ignored. It just can’t be helped when you’re chasing a toddler with sticky fingers and a poopy diaper.

But I’m happy to report that we had them all tended to and quietly tucked in by 8. After feeling like we’d won the World Series of child-rearing, we literally high-fived over our wine glasses and settled in for some more mom talk until our yet-to-be-mom friend joined us and relieved us of spending the whole night wallowing in our shared misery, um, I mean motherhood. We got on to discussing more pressing things like Real H-wives and the last time we bought new underwear, you know, what really matters.

Just Sayin’

Dec 2012 253

This is now my reality. The little one used to be a dream. Would sleep all night without a peep. Never fussed or cried. Would be so quiet that I’d literally forget about her in the next room. Then she hit four months and turned into a nightmare.

I struggled for weeks trying to figure out what was the cause of her constant screaming. Could it be reflux? Colic? A sleep regression? A mental leap? Teething? That she hated me and wanted to extinguish my will to live? Yes, that had to be it! Because at her multiple awakenings in the middle of the night where she screamed bloody murder with no end in sight, it sure felt like that was her intention. But she’s just a baby, not capable of manipulation the books say. Pssshshaw, sure she is!

She has everyone completely buffaloed that she’s still the perfect baby I bragged about in the beginning. (I know, bragging about her was my first mistake.) She grins and coos it up, blowing just the right amount of bubbles and blinking her huge expressive doe eyes. However, as soon as we’re alone again, she lets me have it — assaulting me with her rage like she’s the warden and I’m her lowly peon.

I think I’ve finally figured out the problem though — I was starving her. My milk supply was low and she wasn’t satisfied. Pretty awful, I know. I am a complete bear when I’m hungry and she takes after her mummy. So I can’t really blame her for being pissed. And now I think back to all those terrible nights when she wouldn’t nurse but would cry and cry from hunger. All the frustration and empty threats of jumping off a cliff could all have been avoided by simply giving her a bottle.

Just goes to show that even as a second-time mom I have no effing clue what I’m doing…just sayin’.

 

Inca Hoots

inca hoots

was the name of a store in the pathetic excuse of a mall in the town I grew up in. Nobody ever bought anything from it as it sold southwestern style wall hangings and wolf figurines. Not exactly the mall’s demographic. When we were twelve my friends and I used to walk through it for a laugh. It seemed like the kind of crap our grandparents would own, and probably did.

What brings me back to the memory of this sad little shop is my middle-of-the-night awakenings from my two lovely daughters. Except lovely isn’t the term I use at two in the morning. I won’t write what I actually say because I’d be hauled away and you’d think I was the worst mother in the world.

I no longer have the perfect baby and it really pains me to admit it. Literally pains me. I don’t know what the hell is going on with the little one (or the big one for that matter) but she’s stopped sleeping through the night, doesn’t want to eat at regular times, and can’t be soothed by anything. It’s my worst nightmare because added to that is the toddler who doesn’t know the meaning of slow down. She’s on turbo speed twenty-four seven. Plus we just moved into a new house so nothing is where it should be and it’s impossible to get anything done.

So on the off night that the baby is sleeping better, the big one will decide it’s time to scream and cry right when the hubby and I have just drifted off to dreamland. And then they take turns whining and whimpering until the sun decides to come up (or even before) and we’re forced to start the day with only three hours of chopped up sleep, hence “in cahoots.”

It’s like having not one, but two Stewies. They both want to destroy me. And will most likely succeed sooner than later at the rate we’re going. I’ve seen them give each other the look before the big one is carted off to bed. I see the glimmer in her eye that says, “Don’t worry Sissy. I’ve got the first round. You can sit back and relax for a bit…save up for your turn.”

And I’m sure this is just the beginning. They will conspire for years to come. One will always be the lookout whether it’s to get the chair positioned just right to reach the candy cupboard (yes I have a cabinet for candy, how do you think I survive each day?) or when they’re teenagers rolling the car down the driveway. Something tells me they will always have their stories straight.

We are so doomed.

Silencing the Lambs

One of those muzzles that Hannibal wears would do me a lot of good right about now. Maybe it would calm my toddler as she’s thrashing around during one of her many temper tantrums. Thank god she’s not a biter (yet) or I might really need one of those masks. I joke that I’m going to invent a line of children’s straightjackets (all in adorable and kid-friendly prints) and use my daughter as the poster child. But somehow I don’t think it’ll go over too well. I can just hear all the critics already–abuse this and unfit parent that. Blah blah blah.

I’m not a first-time mom anymore. I have 2 kids under my belt, so I’m a seasoned pro…hah. But I feel like a first-time mom again because I’ve entered the toddler phase. This is one phase I would like to skip entirely and maybe the next sixteen years for that matter. I find myself wondering if there is an age limit on those safe haven places. Would I be taken to jail if I abandoned my toddler there? Would jail be a nice retreat…think of all the reading and writing I could get done.

I wish that babies could stay babies forever. I love the sweet smells, the happy coos, the wide innocent eyes. I’m not ready to deal with the defiance my toddler is already exhibiting. She’s not even two yet–two more months to go–and we’re already deep into The Terribleness. I have to tell myself that she’s so advanced and that’s why we’re here ahead of schedule.

Yet, I fear I won’t make it out alive. My hubby fears for that too. Before he went back to work after Baby #2, he voiced his concern that I wouldn’t be okay with two screaming kids — lucky for me only one of them is a screamer. I told him we’d be fine and we are for the most part. We have a routine and do best when we stick to it. But when we veer off track, it’s ugly and I have to figure out a way to silence the lambs that doesn’t actually include any type of slaughtering. I guess that’s where my old friend wine comes in.

Hello, old friend.