Picture Perfect

It’s no surprise that my kids drive me crazy. They are the loudest, most demanding little soul-suckers that ever walked this earth. Couple that with my extreme fatigue and we’re just a shitstorm waiting to happen.

Whenever we visit my mom I have an out of body experience where I see myself as the frazzled, exhausted cliché of a mom that I’ve become. Wearing the typical “mom” uniform of crusty yoga pants and T-shirt, I vent to her about my frustrations and wonder how she survived motherhood without downing three bottles of wine a night.

It’s not always like this though. There are snippets in between the madness when everything is lovely. And those snippets are what I put on Instagram for my friends and family so they see the illusion of my “picture perfect” life.

beach scene

waves

running

While scrolling through all my photos it looks like my life is pretty great, and at times it is, but I never have the chance to sit back and reflect on it or even enjoy it because everything is so damn crazy!

However, this morning the girls and I sat at the desk and watched a slide show of old photos play across the computer screen.

holding handswalking away

snuggles

beach

I held one on my lap while the other leaned against us and we all smiled while I explained the pictures and for a couple minutes I was aware of my luck. Then the little one tried to propel herself onto the desk while the other one tried to smash the keyboard and just like that, it was all over.

Parenthood is exhausting and frustrating and beautiful and heartbreaking. I never realized that it would be living for these tiny, fleeting moments where everything comes together and breaks apart all in the same instant. It’s wanting to pause every happy moment and fast forward through the rest of the chaos. It’s wanting to keep them this way forever and wishing they were already grown up. It’s everything all at once and for this reason I’m happy to have my wineglass waiting for me at the end of the day.

wine

 

Not Wrong, Just Different

Somehow my brothers and I survived our childhood with few broken bones and only a couple stitches here and there. My mom laughs about not having car seats for us when we came home from the hospital or helmets when we rode our bikes — so it’s a wonder I’m sitting here today in one piece.

It’s been 30 years since my mom raised a baby, so it’s safe to say A LOT has changed. But it’s also safe to say that nothing has changed, as all babies really need is food, a clean diaper, and love.

Seeing all the gadgets and thingymajigs that I have for my daughter: the fancy stroller with its 5-point harness and shocks, the diaper genie that magically swallows dirty diapers, the video monitor, the shopping cart cover…it all makes my mom feel like she did everything wrong.

When I told her that some of my daughter’s first solid foods were mango and avocado, she looked at me as if I’d given my baby a shot of tequila. I reassured her both mango and avocado were on the “first foods list” from wholesomebabyfood.com, but from her reaction she clearly thought I was insane. But she didn’t have the Internet when I was a baby, all she had was one Dr. Spock book. So how would she know? Plus, it was the 80’s — people were drinking Tab soda and organic wasn’t even a blip on the radar.

I know how she feels though. I constantly question whether I’m doing things right. In 30 years, if my daughter has children, there will be a whole new parenting style with a whole new set of gizmos to accompany it. I’ll feel like an utter failure when she asks me what I used to do with her. I’ll laugh like a crazy person and say, “We used to put you in a car seat! Can you imagine?” Because by then, we’ll all have flying cars and babies will be equipped with ejection seats and parachutes.

The way my mom did things, and the way I’m doing things isn’t wrong, it’s just…different.

Mummy Milestone #28

I finally became one of “those parents” with the screaming child in the restaurant. However, in my defense it took a good 9 months for it to happen, so I think I deserve some kind of pat on the back. (But it’s not like she’s been out to that many eateries — probably under 10.)

I’ll have you know that I promptly left the restaurant once she let out her first, ear-piercing shriek. I wasn’t about to stay and enjoy my spicy sesame chicken when it was my fault for bringing her out in the first place.

The wheels were set in motion when the hubby called to ask if I wanted to join him and his mom for lunch. Why yes, going out to lunch during the middle of the week is one of my favorite things to do (or at least it used to be), so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. But the timing could have been better…a whole lot better.

I take full responsibility because I knew my daughter was tired and due for her afternoon nap, but I thought that she’d be fine if I was holding her. I was just thinking that my trade-off for her not napping like a “normal” baby was that she’s almost always very mellow and well-behaved when we’re out and about. Well, damn if they don’t love to prove you wrong.

I almost called and canceled, but the lure of midday dining was too strong (and I’m completely selfish). So I kept the date and met them against my mummy’s intuition. We sat down and threw every toy at her from the diaper bag. We even let her play with the chopsticks despite the jagged wooden edges. They were keeping her happy…for the moment.

At first I didn’t worry too much, even brushing off my husband’s concerned look at her first sign of fussiness. The din from our fellow diners and the music overhead was pretty loud, so her first squawks went unnoticed. But as I walked back to the bathroom to rinse her pacifier for the second time after she spit it on the floor, a blood-curling screech followed me, prompting a reaction from an older lady sitting at the sushi bar.  I knew then what I had to do.

Get the hell out of there!

I did not want to be “those people” with the screaming kid, garnering angry stares from everyone sitting around us. So I quickly inhaled a few bites of chicken, gathered her up, and went home.

There you have it. I reached a new mummy milestone and I survived. Scratch that off the list and wait for the next one.

How Did This Happen?

Today is my baby’s 9 month birthday…makes me misty just acknowledging it.

So in her honor, I’m going to borrow an idea from SquareOneNotes’ blog and write her a message to commemorate this momentous day.

SweetE — you are getting so big I can hardly remember the days when you used to curl up in a tiny ball and sit on my chest. Or that every time I blinked, you pooped your pants. Or how we used to sit up through the night, holding you while you slept, watching crappy movies because that’s all that’s on at 3 am.

You’re crawling all around the house now and no matter how many times I sweep, you look like Pigpen from the Peanuts’ gang — your own little solar system of dust orbiting around you at all times. You have two bottom teeth and while you haven’t tried to rip my nipple off (yet) I continue to put myself in harm’s way for your nutrition. (Now that you have teeth, you seem like you’re 9 months going on 3 years.)

When I look back at your baby pictures, you have changed so much I hardly recognize who you were. Your father and I were so worried when you were itty bitty that your belly button would always look how it did after your stump fell off and that you’d never grow a neck…but the stump flattened out and you’re slowly getting a neck…phew. Nobody told us these things. (Despite these worries, you’ve always been the most beautiful munchkin ever.)

Your daddy and I live to make you laugh. If there was one thing I could bottle, it would be your laughter. It is positively priceless. There’s nothing your father and I won’t do for a giggle or a smile, including hopping around like a couple of monkeys. You enjoy being scared, and despite the fact that startling a baby is probably bad karma, I continue to make you jump. You just love it so.

You’ve taken a dump in the bathtub twice now, so I know you’ve got quite the sense of humor and you’re going to be the ultimate prankster.

You’re becoming very opinionated and you’re not afraid to make your voice heard. Just like this morning when Mummy was singing Ariel’s Lament from The Little Mermaid to you and your response was fart sounds. I can take a hint and I applaud your honesty.

In closing, I love you more than is humanly possible and I’m so thankful for you (even though you send Mummy on a rollercoaster of emotions on a daily basis).

Happy 9 months, my snuggle bunny.

Perpetually Late

I make plans and the baby laughs so hard she pees her pants. Good thing she wears diapers.

Whenever I try to plan something or say I’m going to be somewhere at a specific time, my daughter decides to take a marathon nap. No joke. Every. Single. Time. It’s like she turns into Stewie from Family Guy but she doesn’t want to kill me, she just wants to murder my plans.

When she takes these spontaneous long naps, you know there’s no way I’m going to wake her up to stick to my schedule. What am I completely nuts? If that baby is asleep, it’s a gift from God and I run with it…or sit my butt on the couch and enjoy every last moment of serenity. Screw my plans and arriving on time. The world can wait, dammit.

My mom told me to get used to it, that it was all part of being a parent. I know she’s right. But it’s hard to give up my punctuality. I was always on time before, and now I’m perpetually late. Friends and family are subjected to last minute texts that read, “Sorry…on my way” or “Just leaving now.” Or “Baby  just pooped and barfed everywhere…be there never.” This is expected with a little one but it takes some getting used to.

There is the rare occasion where I can get the diaper bag packed with everything from the nursery, the babe fed, changed, and strapped in, my wallet, my phone, my sunglasses, and keys and be out the door with just enough time to arrive ten seconds early. But it’s a full-blown production involving precise coordination and a functioning brain, so sometimes things get left behind.

Luckily, most everyone is understanding. They know how unpredictable being a Mummy is. I, on the other hand, need to get used to it, because I have a feeling I’m going to be running late for the rest of my life.

Loud Noises!

Every Sunday my baby becomes an orphan — an NFL orphan. The hubby and I are admitted football fanatics so when the clock strikes 10 on Sunday morning (during football season), our sweet baby girl is left to fend for herself. Not really! We’re not that horrible. But I’ll admit we pull out every single toy, fan them out on the floor, and let her have at it while we soak up every single touchdown on the Red Zone channel. At least we don’t handcuff her to the crib with a bottle and a book. Now that would be neglect.

I didn’t used to be the type of woman who liked football. I hated being an NFL widow. It was so annoying when the hubby watched countless hours every Sunday while I was left in the lurch. But if you can’t beat ’em…

Now I find myself yelling at the TV, cussing up a storm, all but grabbing my crotch and spitting on the ground. I used to think the sport was barbaric and now I’m the barbarian. My poor child has to witness her mother going ape when one of her players scores a 88-yard rushing TD or when her quarterback gets sacked and fumbles causing her to lose points.

I wonder what goes through my daughter’s head when she sees her mother and father jumping around like a couple of idiots, screaming at the weird picture box anchored to the wall. It must be quite a strange sight and will probably scar her for life. Maybe I should lock her up in her crib with a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Whatever it takes to keep her as close to normal as possible, because with parents as crazy as the two of us, she doesn’t stand a chance.

They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!

What do they call it when you do the exact same thing over and over expecting a different result? Oh yeah, CRAZY!

My life right now is the very definition of crazy. Each night before the hubby and I go to bed, I’m optimistic that our daughter might sleep 8 uninterrupted glorious hours, allowing us to do the same. And each night she shatters all my hopes of ever sleeping through the night again. Yet, the next night just before I close my eyes and drift off to some sort of rest, I think, maybe tonight’s the night.

Who knows where this glass-half-full person came from. I’ve always been a Negative Nancy when it comes to…well, everything. Perhaps Motherhood has changed me from a lifelong pessimist to an optimist? I doubt it, if anything you’d think motherhood would do the opposite. Take a sweet Pollyanna and crush her spirit until she’s a snarky cynic. Sleep deprivation and permanent stretch marks will do that to a gal.

Maybe I have no choice other than to be optimistic about this for fear I’d end up in the loony bin wearing a straitjacket talking to my imaginary friends with drool running down my face. Actually, that’s probably what I look like in the morning anyway: pajamas askew, hair mussed, mumbling like Rain Man while I stagger down the hall like a zombie. If you didn’t know I was a new mom, anyone in their right mind would have me committed. Hey, maybe that’s not such a bad idea. I bet those loons get all the sleep they want!