WWAD? (What Would Audrey Do?)

My mother bought me a beautiful book about Audrey Hepburn written by her son. It’s called Audrey Hepburn: An Elegant Spirit. Since she’s my ultimate style icon, I can’t wait to read it. After quickly flipping through the book, I came across the sweetest picture of her holding her son when he was an itty bitty baby. She looked so peaceful and serene that I immediately felt unworthy of my children because I don’t know if there’s one photo of me holding my babes that looks as sweet.

On a typical day this is what we all look like:

angry bears

Let’s take a closer look. Yep, that’s one angry Mama Bear.

angry mama

Not very Audrey.

baby bear

And that’s one angry Toddler Bear. Throwing fits cause that’s what she do.

daddy bear

And panicked Daddy Bear with his “Oops I crapped my pants” look.

My days are far from perfect. Especially lately.

I imagine Audrey led a pretty perfect life. I mean, just look at her.

lovely

If she were a family of bears, this is what they would look like:

perfect

All happy and shit.

But to make myself feel better, I’m going to say that she had some rough days with her son. I bet she didn’t raise her voice like I do or want to strangle the bejeezus out of her toddler like I want to, but I bet she got frustrated and counted to ten while taking deep breaths or locked herself in the bathroom for a three minute escape.

Some days all that gets me through is thinking of this moment:

asleep

When we’re all asleep and I’m free to dream that I’m Holly Golightly wearing a glittery necklace eating a croissant in front of the Tiffany window instead of the grumpy Mama Bear that is my all-too-true reality.

sigh

sigh

 

What the Hell is a Virtue Anyway?

You know, it’s when something’s virtuous. Like that means anything to me. My life used to be words, but now my brain is complete mush and I couldn’t define the word virtue if my life depended on it. Kinda like Winona Ryder’s character in Reality Bites trying to define irony during her job interview. Irony…when something’s ironic. “I know it when I see it.”

One of my favs

One of my favs

So if patience is a virtue then I’m the least virtuous person ever. I’ve never had much patience and any shred that I might have left since becoming a mom is used up on my toddler by 9:30 am. I don’t even have enough patience to make it through the two minutes on my electric toothbrush. Who has that kind of time? I ask it every night.

When I’m standing in line at Target and the old lady in front of me buys four cases of Diet Coke and a package of Depends then stands and peruses her receipt as if she’s checking lottery numbers, I tap my foot and sigh as loud as possible not giving two shits that I sound like a jerk. I never did this before becoming a mummy. I used to politely smile and wait my turn, but I don’t have time for bullshit anymore people…I’ve got two screaming mimis at home and a family member who is doing me a favor so I can run out and get toilet paper in peace.

I wish I could be the laid-back relaxed mom who says “no worries” and actually means it. I’m the complete opposite. Everything is a worry and all you morons are in my way. I should get that tattooed on my forehead. Then when I’m driving 45 in a 25 or losing my cool waiting in some sort of line then everyone around me will know where I stand.

One time I was waiting in line to get gas and of course the gas station was packed with cars in each lane. My two ticking time bombs were strapped into their seats directly behind me, so I was on edge to begin with. I waited behind a lady in a truck who was taking a painfully long time. Finally after what seemed like ten hours (every minute is an hour in baby time…kinda like dog years) she was getting ready to leave but she didn’t pull away like any normal person, because she couldn’t, her truck wouldn’t start. Arrgh, so I wasted ten hours minutes waiting for nothing and then I’d have to wait another ten minutes before I could even fill up. So I sped off opting to go to another gas station five minutes down the road only to see it was shut down for a remodel. Such is the luck of a virtueless mummy!

Needless to say, I’m a work in progress.

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’.