10 Tips for Surviving Disneyland With a Toddler

disneyland

1.Buy your tickets online and print them out at home instead of just checking the park hours like my rookie ass. It will save you from waiting in yet another line because at this point you’ve already waited 20 minutes in line to park, 15 minutes in line to ride the tram, and another 20 minutes in line behind the lady who is buying annual passes for every single member of her family. As you’re well aware, waiting in line is against a toddler’s everything.

2. Two hours later, or as soon as you get inside the gates, buy an ice cream cone or cupcake or both. No doubt you will already be cursing your stupidity for taking your kid(s) to the “Happiest Place on Earth” so sugar will at least trick your brain into thinking it was a good idea for 10 minutes.

3. Know that you will become asshole magnets attracting that stupid drunk group of people. They will undoubtedly stand behind you in line for the tram — karma for all the times you were those loud, belligerent assholes. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em by bringing your own flask because I still never found out if Disneyland sells booze.

4. Avoid driving through LA to get to Disneyland. Driving through LA is never a good idea. Stay nearby in a crappy hotel or freeload off a relative who lives close by even leaving one of your other kids with them to make your experience more enjoyable.

5. Bring a bag of toys and books to distract your little one while you stand in lines that last for days. You won’t be able to give her your phone because you need something to distract you also.

6. Don’t let yourself become “hangry” and settle for breaded chicken chunks and limp fries because it’s the closest thing. Just eat popcorn, churros, and cotton candy all day. Avoid the cafes and restaurants cause all they sell is overpriced microwavable frozen food.

7.When your child who normally naps around 1:00 starts acting like a whiny jerk, just give her more sugar like the moms on Toddlers and Tiaras. It totally works.

8.If you want your toddler to stop talking about going on the carousel for the millionth time, take her on the teacups cause she can’t speak when she’s going cross-eyed.

9. If global warming is in full effect and the weather is unseasonable warm, seek refuge in A Small World. It’s air-conditioned and it lasts a long time.

10. Feeling regretful at any point in your visit? Take a look around and notice all the other parents sporting the same FML look of frustration as they try mercilessly to please their overwhelmed youngsters. Try not to high-five your spouse when you see other children throwing a tantrum and yours is behaving, cause your time is a-coming!

BONUS TIP

11. Look up an actual article with helpful tips for surviving Disneyland with a toddler. You’re welcome!

Another Birthday Letter

To Our Kooky Lil Bundle-of-Fun,

Happy 3rd Birthday Lovey Bear! You might as well be turning 23 today instead of 3 because you’re just so grown up now. You are quite the little character, telling tales using your hands like an even tinier Roberto Benigni. In fact, you look a lot like him. Same crazy hair, miniature body, and insane excitability. I’m going to enroll you in Italian classes tomorrow to complete my vision.

You

You

Him

Him

 

That old cliché is true…it seems like just yesterday your father and I were bringing you back from the hospital, staying up all night holding your precious little body, and staring at you with such wonder. We couldn’t wait to hear your little voice for the first time or find out who you’d become. I know you have a lot of growing and changing still to do, but I love who you are and will love who you’ll be no matter what. You are so smart and want to discover as much as possible. You love horses and balloons and books. Your favorite song is Alphabet Pony and you love interpretive dance. You make me laugh the best laughs of my life and that is everything.

We took you to Disneyland for the first time (cause you were free) and your favorite part was the carousel and picking out which color saddle you wanted. You loved A Small World and Dumbo and had more sugar than real food. You picked out a pair of glittery red Minnie Mouse shoes and you wore them home. All in all, it was a great day and I’m glad we could go.

I hope your birthday was as special as you are. Daddy and I love you like crazy.

All my love,
Mama

Piece of Cake

Having one kid is cake. But you could never know this until you have two.cake

When our children are away from each other, it’s like they’re different kids. The baby is the happiest little angel never screaming or crying like she normally does in her sister’s presence. And the big one is her most sweet and charming self when she has all the attention and the patience of parents who don’t have a fussy baby to placate first. It makes me wonder what the second one would be like if she were the first born and vice versa.

It’s like those Luvs diaper commercials. You know the ones — first time moms vs. second time moms. Where the new mommy is breastfeeding in public for the first time in a busy restaurant. She’s nervous someone will see her boob, her baby is screaming cause she’s starving, and Mommy has a full-blown panic attack. The next scene shows the same mom with her second baby. She could care less about a cover-up, her boob is free, the baby is happily nursing away while her toddler throws crayons at the waiter who is ogling said boob. She gives the waiter the, “My eyes are up here” move with her fingers and proceeds to place her order. And just like that, a veteran mom gets her wings.

The other commercials are equally awesome, showing how a second-timer can leave the house with only a handful of Cheerios and a spare diaper, or let a greasy mechanic hold her baby while she writes a check for her new brakes. These are things a first-timer would never do. A first-timer has the entire house packed into the diaper bag and car before heading out anywhere and no one who hasn’t bathed in Purel and had all their vaccines can come close to touching or even breathing on your first born. But second born, shoot, you’d let a group of house-trained monkeys come in and do the job if they were willing to put up with your jerk of a baby.

As a second-time parent, there are a million things I’ve said and done that I never guessed I would. I openly curse them in the middle of the night in my exhausted stupor. I leave them unattended, asleep in their beds while we go next door for dinner. Before you get all Judgy Judgerson on me, I totally have the video monitor that alerts me if someone is crying or being kidnapped (although the signal only reaches the corner of the dining room). What? It’s not like the doors are unlocked and not like we live in a major city. We live in the sticks and have two of the yappiest (I mean, meanest, toughest, tear-you-to-bits) dogs in the world, so no way anyone is getting into the house without us knowing. And besides, we’re right next door….if we were Oprah, it’d be like they were just in the East Wing of the estate. No biggie.

Thinking back, I never left my first-born alone in the house even to go get the mail. And when she was strapped into her car seat waiting in the driveway, I’d lock the doors while I walked the 100 steps to the mailbox even though she was never out of sight. Now I go strap them in their car seats while I come back in the house to get the rest of our crap, moving as slowly as possible, enjoying the fact that they’re locked down and not running circles around the kitchen island while I’m trying to fill sippy cups and snack bags.

We start out as over-protective Mama Bears who fiercely watch over our babies and then whether it be because we’re tired, or more relaxed, or more experienced (and definitely more frustrated), we learn to let go just enough not to go completely cuckoo and to actually enjoy the odd moment of parental bliss i.e. naptime.

To Spank or Not to Spank? A Squirrel Satire

tree squirrel

Once upon a time there lived frazzled Mama Squirrel who, one day, took her two baby squirrels to the nearby playground to get out their chitters and squeaks in the fresh air so she wouldn’t be a complete nutcase by dinnertime.

Turned out all the other Mamas had the same idea and the playground was packed with skittering feet darting all around.

Mama Squirrel’s two little ones were playing well with the others until a bossy chipmunk wanted to use the counting toy and forcefully moved Sister Squirrel out of the way.

“No, Chippy Chipmunk,” her mother squeaked angrily. “You need to play together!”

Chippy huffed and continued on. Sister Squirrel was very understanding, swelling Mama Squirrel’s heart with pride…for once.

Meanwhile, Chippy’s mom proceeded to tell Mama Squirrel all about her dilemma just getting to the playground. First, her best jumping branch broke and she had to wait over an hour for the handyman to come fix it, then she had to nurse Chippy’s baby brother for a half hour only to be rewarded with a blowout on their journey over, but not before almost getting creamed by a guy riding a bicycle and texting at the same time. Mrs. Chipmunk was obviously distraught and Mama Squirrel knew exactly how she felt. That easily could have been her morning.

Out of nowhere, Chippy, still upset from being reprimanded by her mother, took out her revenge on Baby Squirrel, extending both arms and forcefully pushing her down. Poor Baby Squirrel didn’t do a thing!

Watch out, Baby!

Watch out, Baby!

Mama Squirrel swooped in, rescuing Baby Squirrel before Chippy stamped on her tail or gave her rabies.

Looked something like this.

Looked something like this.

Mrs. Chipmunk, with Baby Brother, strapped to her chest, didn’t miss a beat. She grabbed Chippy by the arm and swatted her behind three times and said, “We do not push anyone. We’re going home.” And off they went, Chippy’s mom pulling her by the arm while Baby Brother slept peacefully in his pouch, oblivious to what his future held.

Mama Squirrel felt badly for Mrs. Chipmunk, they’d only just gotten there and what an ordeal it was to do that! At the same time, Mama Squirrel was happy that Mrs. Chipmunk had no qualms about spanking her beloved little Chippy in front of a playground full of other mothers. Not only did she see what happened (because there’s nothing more annoying than when a mother doesn’t see her offspring behaving badly) but she took matters into her own hands, literally, and showed Chippy that pushing was not acceptable behavior. Now, if it had been Mama Squirrel, she wouldn’t have spanked because what does that teach them? It’s confusing to their wee chipmunk-sized brains. Yet, if Mama Squirrel was being honest, there was a tiny part of her that reveled in the punishment because who has the acorns to that these days? Apparently, Mrs. Chipmunk does, that’s who!

One Funny Mummy Goes Viral…Not Really, But it’s a Start!

This morning I was shocked to find an email from an editor at BlogHer in my inbox saying they were going to publish my most recent Mom Code post on their Family blog page. Immediately I felt like I’d won the Pulitzer Prize, wait did I say Pulitzer? I meant Publisher’s Clearing House and that dude with the ginormous check and balloons was knocking on my door ready to hand it over. I’m pretty sure the feeling would be the same…total elation!

Yahoo!

Woohoo!

This came at just the right time to give me a small piece of validation to keep going because lately I’ve been questioning if I’m even a writer anymore because I don’t have a spare moment to reflect or observe or do writerly things and it’s starting to mess with my mind and, no doubt, my mood.

I was so excited and beside myself that I immediately went to BlogHer’s website so I could see my post, but it wasn’t there. So I thought maybe it would be published sometime this week. So I went back to my inbox to reread the email and only then did I notice the date, December 26th…four days ago. The day after Christmas. Who checks their email the day after Christmas? Certainly not me! Isn’t the whole world on pause from the 25th until January 1st because it sure seems that way according to the amount of tourists walking around the tourist trap of a town next to us and also according to the TV as absolutely f*ck all has been on. Plus, I normally wouldn’t have even checked that email if it weren’t for that Target debacle. (Man, Target has really been letting me down lately.)

So I was bummed I missed seeing my post on the front page of their Family section, but completely unbummed that they selected my post in the first place. There is no monetary compensation (although that would’ve been icing on the cake) but there is a profound sense of accomplishment especially for someone who deals with poop all day. I’m super proud and thrilled. Hopefully, there will be more to come!

Mom Code

My sister and I think we’re hilarious. It’s probably a “you have to be there” kind of hilarity, but it’s ours and it’s one of the things I love most about her. Every time we get together we’re brainstorming about our newest venture whether it be a taco shop where we sell delicious tacos and silk-screened tees, a book store/jungle gym for kids, a dessert/champagne bar, an eclectic home furnishings boutique, or a reality show about our comical conversations in dressing rooms. Yeah I know, we’d be the only viewers, but if that Ryan Lochte had a show and only half a brain then surely they’re just giving them away to anyone. A gold medal and rock-hard abs are totally overrated and will only get you so far.

We think it’s a brilliant idea inspired by that one time I got stuck in a sweater or that other time we went bra shopping schnockered off our asses and I ended up buying a massively padded bra that sits stuffed in the back of my delicates drawer despite having been measured and trying on fifty different bras. In my drunken stupor I grabbed the wrong one because what do I need with a push-up bra anymore? I have enough to worry about. Tucking my boobs back into my bra while chasing my two maniacs at the playground is just one more hassle this Mummy has no time for.

Our newest idea/fantasy is to have a TV show called Mom Code modeled after MTV’s Girl Code.

girl code

Since we’re no longer the shiny, young thangs we used to be but mentally and physically exhausted moms who need a glass or four of Chardonnay as a reward after a particularly hard day, we know that Mom Code is more suited to us than what these twenty-something millennials are talking about. These gals discuss things like the timeline for farting in front of your boyfriend or girls who can’t walk in high heels or how a porn star’s va-jay-jay resembles a walrus patty. My favorite comedienne is Nicole Byer whose catch phrase is “I can’t!” Everything she says cracks me up!

sad

“People don’t want to hear about your diet. Just shut up, eat your lettuce, and be sad. #ICan’t”

Mom Code moments happen every single day and when they do, I yell, Mom Code! and then text my sister cause I know she will sympathize, probably already having gone through it. So I’ve decided to put a little list together so that one day I might look back and laugh. I apologize in advance for all the poop references…it just goes with the territory. Oh hey, that’s one #MomCode

You look out the window and see the sunrise and your first thought isn’t, “Oh how beautiful” but “Ah crap, how early is too early to start drinking?” Mom Code

You don’t care if your toddler plays with matches and locks her baby sister outside, you will sneak away to take a dump in private if it’s the only thing you accomplish all day. Mom Code

You are now the proud owner of  yo-yo boobs…push them up and they just yo-yo back to their new southern location. Mom Code

It’s weird to see your actual name or initials cause now you’re just Mom. Mom Code

While furiously scrubbing your skid-marked toilet you unknowingly step in the fresh dog poop hidden on your poop-brown bathroom mat. Mom Code

You’re unsure if the booger crusted to your cheek is your own or your toddler’s and then you wonder how long it’s been there and who all has seen it. Mom Code

After changing a bajillion poopy diapers, you suffer from PPS…Phantom Poop Smell where you randomly catch a whiff just sitting on the couch then search tirelessly for the source of the stink yielding no results. Mom Code

You could feed a small African village with the amount of Cheerios, Goldfish, and raisins from under your two car seats. Mom Code

Any job sounds better and a million times easier than taking care of two demanding whiny-pants day in and day out. Mom Code

You give your fellow mom a knowing smile when her little one is going ballistic in the middle of the store (and feel smug as shit that it’s not yours this time). Mom Code

Silence means one of two things: they were finally successful in killing each other or one of them is happily drawing poo hieroglyphics all over the hallway while the other one eats handfuls of sugar directly from the bag. Mom Code

You eat every meal standing over the sink or the kitchen counter or sometimes even over the toilet. Mom Code

Mom Code like Girl Code is universal. How would we ever survive without it? Yeah ok, with a lot of wine. While it doesn’t seem particularly funny when you’re going through it, I try to tell myself that someday I’ll look back and laugh and even miss it.

Get Cancer or Save a Quarter?

Such a toss up.

I buy the Target brand Up & Up shave gel cause everyone’s always saying generic is the same stuff as the name brand only cheaper.

cheap assPlus, the bottle is bigger than the others and being the mini-Sasquatch that I am, I go through it pretty quickly. (Funny though cause I rarely have time to shave my legs anymore, but I’m still blazing through the shave gel…go figure.)

This morning as I lathered up, I noticed a disclaimer staring back at me.

WTF?

WTF?

How had I never noticed this sentence before? Details are my thing. And you would think that the word “CANCER” would have caught my eye at some point. How long have I even been using this shit, I wondered. Ah, feck.

How could Target and the state of California knowingly sell this to me and many other unsuspecting customers who don’t have time to read labels?!

Those A-holes!

Maybe it was the work of Skintimate or Gillette trying to sabotage their competitors?

I picked up my husband’s name-brand Gillette shave gel and turned it over and over in my hands, trying to find the disclaimer that his might possibly maybe somehow give him cancer. Nope, didn’t find it!

I’m appalled, Target. How can you state that you make “good products at good prices for good people” when right next to it is a warning that it might give me cancer?

Promises, shmomises

Promises, shmomises

Cancer is not a good price. I’m pretty sure the last time I checked, cancer was at the top of the list of things I never want (along with a Backstreet Boys reunion and a third child.)

I’m aware that in this day and age it seems like everything has the potential to cause cancer–breathing, walking in the sunshine, goddamn genetics–but you can bet your ass that if I see the C word on something that I slather all over my body on a daily basis then that shit’s going in the trash.

MOM CODE.

Living Under a Rock

It’s a sad, sad day when your own mother is hipper than you. When she knows more about what’s current and trending than you do. Makes me want to get a facelift or better yet, some Botox. Not really, but sheesh, it’s alarming. Give the old woman an iPhone and she’s Queen of Social Media spouting off words like YouTube and Yelp. I’m surprised she doesn’t have her own Twitter handle before me.

About a month ago, my sister sent me a video called, “What Does the Fox Say” and ever since then I’ve wanted to shoot, skin, and wear that fox to a Sunday brunch. Not really as I could never harm a fly, seriously, I apologize to a fly before I smack the crap out of it with a dish towel. Who does that? It’s a FLY!

foxphoto

The fox song is a catchy tune that Auntie played while my daughter was staying at her house one weekend so I never had a chance. It was funny the first hundred times listening to it and watching my girls bounce up and down to the music. The fact that the big one knows the words and sings along makes me laugh, but now it’s just gotta go. We’ve probably added 20,000 views alone.

Well, come to find out that this video is quite popular. Here I was thinking it was a kid thing. Apparently the group Ylvis was on MTV at the VMAs and the song was used on DWTS (not that I watch either of those things). Then my own mother asked me if I’d seen the latest spoof from SNL with Kerry Washington, “What Does My Girl Say.” That was the moment I knew my mother was more relevant than me and I just wanted to crawl back under my rock and pretend that the outside world didn’t exist, like I do 99% of the time.

I wish I had the brain power and the energy to make my own video called, “What Does the Mummy Say?” so my daughter could sing it in her adorable little voice. She’d say, “Go to, Go to, Go to Sleep” “Eat your, Eat your, Eat your peas” and “Time-out, Time-out, Time-out, NOW!” “What does the Mummy say?” It’s an instant classic, a bajillion views…in my head.

Year One

Today was the little one’s first birthday. What the what?! How is that even possible, you ask. I’m not sure. Life is a complete blur since the second one came along. I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like when you have 3, 4, or 5 kids. Good thing we’re stopping at 2!

When the big one turned one, I thought I was going to need a tranquilizer to stop my incessant crying from losing my baby, but this time it never even crossed my mind because I don’t have a moment to even think about something like that anymore…the curse blessing of a second child.

I’m trying to recreate the first one’s birthday for the second one so looking back, she can’t say that her sister was the favorite or anything like that. So in staying true to that, I would like to write a letter to my daughter about her first year. So here goes.

Dear my sweet darling,

One year old! It’s hard to believe. It seems like we were just leaving the house at 4 am to drive up to the birth center to have you. I remember crying a little at the thought of our family of three changing to a family of four and not knowing how everything was going to shift. But you came along, with your lovely little face and you fit into our family as if you’d always been there.

I was over the moon that I had two little girls–sisters–who would (hopefully) grow up to love each other and be best friends. I think you two are well on your way despite the lack of sharing and all the pushing going on these days. You seem to have your own language, yelling and shrieking back and forth, making Mummy crazier by the minute and you two closer.

You are a complete joy, except for when you’re tired…you become a complete bear, so thankfully you have the most kissable cheeks and adorable grin. They have saved you on many occasion.

You’re walking everywhere–sooner than your sister so you can brag about that someday. It’s the cutest thing to see you on two feet, stumbling around like a zombie baby. The only downside is that you’ve had more concussions than an NFL quarterback and a black eye from slipping in the tub. Your father is one click away from buying you a baby helmet on Amazon. But don’t worry, Mummy won’t make you wear it.

My most favorite thing is how you smell like toast when you wake up from your naps. The way you squeal and point whenever you see a bird. And how you scrunch up your nose when you smile. Oh, and the way you think you’re jumping by bending your legs and propelling your tiny body upward.

We took you to the zoo today for your first birthday. It was the perfect day–sunny and not crowded at all. Mummy was the only one to have a meltdown when I learned we couldn’t get nachos because the zoo changed their menu…the nerve!! (What’s the zoo got against delicious chips bathed in cheese and beans?) You were most excited to see the gorilla and you loved sliding down the hill with Daddy on a piece of cardboard. Then after taking a nap during the car ride home, we opened presents on the floor. We got you a cute book called Miss Lina’s Ballerinas, a pink owl pillow for you to carry around the house instead of the couch pillows, and a stand-up play center with lots of flashing lights and loud noises. You loved everything! After your sister asked to eat cake literally 100 times in a row, we put your party hat on, lit your one candle, and sang to you. You clapped along then ate your piece of cake with a huge smile, smearing the frosting all over your face. It was priceless! I tried to capture every second between three different cameras…not the easiest thing to do!

Now you’re snoozing away, conked out after your sugar rush and crash, officially one year old, officially a toddler (although you’ll always be my baby). I’m so excited for what the next year will bring. I’m sure it will be filled with giggling, tea parties, and lots of twirling.

I hope you had a very Happy 1st Birthday, my precious cutie pie! We love you more than we can say!

Hugs & Kisses my little Bun Bun!

The Mayor of Poopville

My sash?

My sash?

Might as well be my new title. It’s not normal to pick up poo off the bathroom floor every day…or maybe it is if you’re me and you have two babies.

I was so smug when I first started potty-training my daughter a few months ago. One day she decided she had to go and she was going to do it on the toilet. Super easy…but I should’ve known it was too good to be true. She really set me up for defeat. Her first time going #2 ended with her exclaiming that she “Went poop in the potty” and when she came to get me to show me, sure enough there it was in all its humongous glory. I wasn’t even trying to potty-train and it was happening. That was my little genius!

Now, pooping her pants is a daily occurrence. I try so hard not to get frustrated and upset with her because I’m aware that she’s only two years old and she’s still learning, but you would think that after squeezing one out in her undies caused an unfavorable response the day before (hell, even ten minutes before!) that she wouldn’t do it again. Wrong! I catch her worried deer-in-the-headlights duty face and know that I’ll be retrieving her stinky grenades once they fall from her pants as I hurriedly take them off of her in the hopes that she’ll finish her business in the appropriate place. That’s never the case though and I’m left with a doo-doo speckled floor and a baby trying to crawl right through it.

It’s a complete nightmare and beyond upsetting. I have to lock the little one out in the hallway while I clean up the bigger one and the floor which results in the little one screaming bloody murder because she’s all alone and the other one starts in with her ridiculous line of questioning. “You happy? You’re so proud of me? You’re not happy? You mad? You happy?” On endless repeat until she’s cleaned up and off the potty or until I slam my face against the door jamb–whichever comes first.

If it’s unclear, this is one of my personal levels of hell.

When I try to vent to the hubby, he doesn’t get it. How could he though when he’s never had to clean up as much doo doo as I’ve had to? And will continue to, there is another baby after all. (Kill me now!)

As far as Poopville goes, the hubby just passes through town every now and then, having to deal with it every once in awhile. He couldn’t even point it out on a map. Guess I’ll have to own my title and work on throwing a parade in my honor. I can see it now. The float will be covered in toilet-paper roses. I’ll sit on my throne waving my toilet brush scepter wearing a tiara made from empty toilet-paper rolls while a symphony of flushing guides me through town.

Maybe I should just be happy that I’m the Mayor of something, although I’d rather it were Skinnytown or FilthyRichTown. I’ll have to settle for Poopville for a little while longer. Who am I kidding–at the rate we’re going–a lot longer.