Chip off the Ol’ Block

It’s when you see yourself in your children that you really start to worry for their future.

I’m officially worried.

My four year old is exactly like me; she’s a sensitive spitfire full of piss and vinegar who takes things too personally, wears her heart on her sleeve, and does everything possible just to get a reaction. Karma is in full force, people. Now I know exactly where that expression, “chip off the old block” comes from!

People say that it’s great to have a strong-willed child because she’ll stick up for herself and be driven later on in life, but that does nothing to help me put up with her ridiculous attitude until we get to that point (if we even make it to that point). And how do I know if she’s strong-willed and not just an A-hole? Or is that one and the same?

One of the best things about having kids is seeing pieces of yourself in them, but it’s also the worst. In one moment it’s endearing how much my daughter sounds and looks just like me. The way she says, “Seriously!” after dropping something on the floor, to how she responds, “What a bummer!” finding out McDonald’s ice cream maker isn’t working. I especially see myself when she throws her head back and laughs, eyes twinkling with silliness. She’s like a cuter, smarter, funnier caricature of me. These are the moments when it all makes sense.

But then there are the other moments, like when she throws a fit because not everything goes her way, which is my signature move. Or when she scrunches up her face in a terrifying scowl, crossing her arms in disgust before stomping off because it’s not her turn to choose a movie. Or when she bursts into tears because that little line on her sock isn’t lined up just so. These are the moments when I’m confronted with my own terrible behavior.

It scares us to see our children act like us because we want them to be so much better than us, to be everything we’re not, to not make our mistakes, and to know a happiness we’ve never known. And then despite all our exhaustive efforts, they end up exactly like us anyway.

My daughter and I are going to clash our whole lives because we’re too much alike. One day I hope we’ll sit and laugh about how she was as stubborn and feisty as her mama, and it’ll make me proud instead of crazy. But until then, as soon as her father gets home, she’s his problem. Come to think of it, that was exactly what my mom did with me, and once again it hits me that I’m more like her than I’ll ever know or admit.

Buh-Bye Babyhood

When I was pregnant I couldn’t wait for my babies to get here. It seemed to take for-ev-er. Then they were born, life fast forwarded four and a half years, and now they’re so grown up. The little one just turned three, and now she’s a full-blown miniature person, leaving her babyhood in the dust.

She’s hitting huge milestones back to back, and I guess that’s why it feels like this chapter is done. We just gave her a “big girl bed,” and she’s so in love with it. She asks me to come look at it no fewer than ten times a day. I’m only mildly bittersweet about it, I say, tears streaming down my face.

Parenthood is this weird limbo. You’re stuck between wanting to keep them your babies forever, and wanting them to grow up and leave the nest sooner than later. Believe me, I’m absolutely DONE having babies, and needing to care and nurture one, but I’m not done holding onto them as if it was the first time.

I’m ecstatic they’re gaining more independence, doing more for themselves because that means I don’t have to do every single little thing for them, although most of the time that’s exactly how it feels. Baby steps, I guess.

So adios, diapers! Arrivederci, crib! Au revoir, babyhood! It was fun while it lasted, not to mention life-changing in every way imaginable.

 

3 Candles

Dear S,

Happy 3rd Birthday, darling girl! It seems impossible that you’re three years old already, yet here we are.

Where does the time go? Probably the same place where my sanity and all the missing socks end up. I say this every time another birthday rolls around, but I can’t believe you’re another year older. Time is rushing away from me, refusing to slow down, just like you. Each day you’re getting a little taller, your hair a little longer, you’re changing and maturing right before my eyes. Please stop.

You are a delight in every sense of the word. Just seeing your little face with your plump cherub cheeks and your huge expressive eyes makes me smile. You are quite the character, and as much as it pains me to admit it, you’re already such a little diva. You furrow your brow, cross your arms, and roll your eyes just like a pro. (I have no idea where you get it from.) I’m so afraid when you become a teenager. Please don’t.

You love doing everything with your big sister: “barrel racing” in the front yard, coloring pictures together, playing horses and Barbies. The two of you together is everything. The other night you asked to sleep in her bed, and while it didn’t last all night, I thought that was the sweetest thing in the world.

Every night I put you to sleep, reading, rocking, and singing to you. It’s my favorite part of the day. Your body curled up in my arms with your tiny arms wrapped around me. Your little voice telling me you love me back. I’m always so exhausted by this time that sometimes I just want it to be over so I can rest, but then I realize there’s no better place than in your parent’s arms, so I rock you a little longer and squeeze you a little tighter because you won’t always let me hold you like this, although I hope you prove me wrong.

We have big plans for your birthday today. A trip to the zoo, and then a party with friends and family, even a rainbow donkey pinata that you’re head over heels in love with. Something tells me you’re gonna be more in love with what’s inside the ill-fated rainbow donkey.

Wishing you a magical 3rd birthday, Sweet Pea. You truly are my sunshine. We love you!

Sunshine

 

Making Memories

Memories have always been important to me, and now even more that I’m a parent. I’m always taking pictures of my kids, recording videos, trying to capture a specific moment in time. For what though? So we can show them when they’re older? Look here, see, you loved smearing food all over your face, and here’s the time you were running around the front yard naked. I guess it’s to remind ourselves of everything because we’re too busy living it to remember it.

It’s interesting what triggers our memories. The other day I saw a navy blue S that reminded me of going to the bank with my father when I was little. The bank’s logo was a blue S that somehow engrained itself in my memory and popped up out of nowhere. All of a sudden I was standing inside that dark, musty bank playing with the metal chain holding the pen in place at the counter, running my fingers down the felt ropes as we waited in line, and hopping on one foot to the other envisioning the donut I would soon select. I hadn’t thought about going to the bank with my father for 30 years, so it seemed like a strange thing to remember, but I was glad that this forgotten time and place came back to me. I didn’t even realize it was still in there, and all triggered by this random blue S.

We took our girls to see Inside Out awhile ago. It was the little one’s first trip to the movie theater, so naturally I committed it to memory. She loved it all: the popcorn, the fruit punch, and the giant TV, as she called it. Her little face was lit with excitement the entire time.

As much as the movie is about memories, it’s also about emotions —  joy, anger, disgust, fear, and sadness to be exact. Even though my girls are young, they’re walking, talking, screaming, fighting, loving bundles of emotion, so the movie thrilled and terrified me, giving me a look inside their crazy, little heads. I know as they get older things will only get more complicated and I should just enjoy this time where everything can be fixed with a snuggle. Way easier said than done.

As parents, we try so hard to give our children the best of everything thinking it will ensure an amazing upbringing. It’s one of the reasons why parenthood is so difficult because things aren’t always so easy and nothing ever really goes as planned and we worry too much. Writing this it dawned on me that what made going to the bank with my father special was not what we were doing, or that I got a donut out of the deal, but that I was with him, holding his hand, being his little sidekick. It all seems so simple then. Hold their hands, be with them, and they’ll remember that more than anything. And also, take them to get a donut every now and then.

 

 

Motherhood, Interrupted

We went, we selfied, we danced…because that’s what you do when you go to Las Vegas as a married mother of two.

Moms Gone Mild, Sin City 2014

My mom friends and I loaded up our Mom-mobile stocked with every snack and necessity known to man (cause we’re moms)…

before

On the Road

…not to mention practically every shoe from our closets (cause we’re girls)…

Never Enough Shoes

Never Enough Shoes

…and headed to Vegas this past weekend. None of us cared that the drive would take several hours, in fact, we welcomed it. We were happy to finish one conversation and only take care of ourselves. It didn’t matter what we were doing as long as it involved getting away from our children. We love them to death, but when you spend as much time with them as we do, you need a break. So that’s just what we got, and it was the best time ever!

My Girlz

My Girlz

We were able to forget the very thing that brought us all together in the first place (motherhood) and enjoy our freedom. We got our hair done, we shared clothes and jewelry, and never stopped talking or laughing. We danced the night away into the wee hours of the morning, (my feet still have the blisters to prove it.) Surprisingly, no one lost anything, except our voices, and there was not one moment of drama, but plenty of inside jokes and new dance moves.

Getting Down

Hershey Rollin’

For three stress-free days we didn’t have to be moms. We didn’t have to worry about the things we worry about on a daily basis, and it was exactly what the four of us needed. Now it’s back to our regularly scheduled lives of playdates, tantrums, and bedtimes, but for those three days when motherhood was interrupted, man, did we live it up.

Cheeeeese!

Cheeeeese!

And So It Begins…

The day my three year old started preschool was a momentous moment in my motherhood career. I was finally going to get a little break and a breather while she was at school for three glorious, whine-free hours. I wasn’t going to be one of those moms crying her eyes out because she couldn’t leave her child, but I was going to be one of those moms with tears of joy streaming down her face doing a happy dance of freedom.

happy dance

Just like this

The morning of my daughter’s first day, she got dressed, donned her horsey backpack, and stood in front of the fireplace to have her picture taken. Once she would finally listen to my direction, and I was able to get a good one, we then took another one standing by the front door. And another one next to the car. Now that I think about it, I was trying to stop time, capture every moment before she was officially a student.

Driving her to school, I was nervous. How would she do at drop off? She’d never been to daycare and had only been left with family members up until then. Would she cry and scream? Throw a tantrum? To calm my nerves, I turned on the music. And wouldn’t you know it, that damn Frozen soundtrack was playing. Of course it was on, Let it Go. Of course.

let it go

But not the movie version, the Demi Lovato version, which made it all even worse. My eyes filled with tears. What the hell was wrong with me? I told myself I wasn’t going to cry. And there I was driving my daughter to her first day of school, realizing that this was the beginning of the end, and she’d be off to college before I knew it. Which doesn’t sound all that bad now, but let’s face it, it’s terrible. I’ll be so old and exhausted by then, that is, if I even survive the teenage years.

It was not so long ago that my little girl was a little baby, and now she was going to school for the first time, and the enormity hit me like a gust of icy wind. Here I was releasing her into the real world, sending her off to make her own path, and it was too much to process. Luckily, whenever I get emotional and overwhelmed by the feelings of motherhood, my kids know just how to distract me by having a complete meltdown or needing one of their million needs met. They keep me from over-thinking things, or thinking things at all, really.

So by the time we pulled into the parking lot, my avalanche of emotion stopped short by their cries to get out of their seats, and I was able to collect myself. We went inside her classroom, only after taking more pictures outside the door. Everything went well. She didn’t cry, she wasn’t afraid, she was a little unsure, but it didn’t stop her from sitting at the table and playing with the freshly made playdough. It went better than I imagined. She was ready, the only thing I had to do was let. her. go. Oh god, here come the waterworks again. Damn hormones.

And so begins her journey to success, and Mummy’s journey to freedom.

Why I Cried

Why I Cried

 

Two Candles

Happy 2nd Birthday to our little Cheeto!

177

My baby turns two today and that fact makes me want to cry both happy and sad tears simultaneously. Happy because she’s that much closer to getting out of diapers, sad because she’s that much closer to getting out of diapers. Happy because she’s getting bigger and finding her voice, sad because she’s using that voice to scream at her sister.

Since I can barely keep up with anything these days, I had to make sure I wrote her a birthday letter before it was too late.

Dear Miss Bear,

Happy Birthday, Bun Bun! 2 years old going on 20. Your little voice is one of my favorite things in the world. It’s just so sweet. Everything you say is followed up with “Mama” and it melts my heart. However, we need to work on your pronunciation some more. Whenever you say the word, frog, it sounds exactly like duck…but with an f. So naturally, your father and I ask you which animal says “ribbit” way more than we should. Just don’t let me catch you saying, “Frog you, Mama,” anytime soon.

You are quite the little pistol, so it’s a good thing your Bambi eyes and blond curls make up for your fiery,  yet loving, personality. You need that though to put up with your older sister as she gives you enough competition as it is. The two of you together run the show around here, and I hope you are as thick as thieves your entire lives (although I don’t condone any actual thievery). Most of the time you guys are fighting over toys, and soon enough it will be clothes and the bathroom, but there are moments when you hold hands and laugh together and those moments fill me with so much joy.

Two years ago I hugged your little body against mine for the first time and it is one of my most treasured memories. Now you hug me back and squeeze me with all your might and it is the best feeling in the world.

We had an absolutely perfect day playing at the beach, running from the waves, squealing with delight, my three favorite faces ever.

Happy Birthday our darling girl. We love you!

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

 

What I Love About Motherhood

My mom has told me repeatedly that babies are cute for a reason…it keeps us (parents) going. With all my complaining about motherhood because I’m exhausted and beat down I decided to write a quick list of the moments that keep me going and to maybe prove to you that I do indeed love my children.

The Top 10  Moments I Love the Most

1) When they’re quietly reading books together

2) When they’re napping

3) When they hug each other

4) When they’re napping

5) When they wrap their little arms around my legs

6) When they’re napping

7) When they smile for no other reason but they see me

8) When they’re napping

9) When their laughter is the only sound in the whole entire house

10) When they’re napping… for the night and I don’t have to hear them for 12 glorious hours (if I’m lucky)

Obviously there are a million other things I love about my children (and a million other things that drive me absolutely insane too) but I thought if they ever come across my ramblings then maybe they won’t hate me as much if I throw a sappy one in there every now and again.

 

Eff This!

It’s all too much!

This motherhood and parenting thing is for the birds! And not even, cause as soon as baby birds learn how to fly they’re gone, kicked out of the nest to take care of themselves, unlike my babies who won’t be self-sufficient for at least 20 more years and then there’s no guarantee that they’ll leave. (Kill me now!)

My nest won’t be empty for a looooonnnggg time and it gives me hives just thinking about how much longer I have to do all of this. And don’t you dare tell me this is the easy part. I will go ballistic on your ass!

sahm

How was my own mother SAD when she became an empty-nester? Her AOL account name was PJMTNEST when I went off to college. Mine would have been YAFREAKINGHOOTHOSEASSHOLESAREGONE@aol.com I’m going to throw a raging party when they’re both in college, hell, I might do it when they both start elementary school.

I can’t wait until the day I have my house back to myself and it’s quiet and I can sit and listen to the birds chirp and eat a meal without someone poking me or asking me “why” 5 million times a day or screaming at me because she wants a bowl of Cheerios to dump all over the floor. I realize it’s 30 years away, that’s why I’m so freaking pissed off!

If you can’t tell, I’ve been really overwhelmed with this stay-at-home-mom business lately. It feels like it’s too much 99% of the time.

list

When you wake up and fantasize about going to work just to get away from your kids, then it might be time to make a change. So then I start thinking about getting a job and how great it would be to feel validated and like I’m actually doing something and then the other side, the mom side, throws her 2 cents in and says, “But you’ll miss so much. They’re only this age for a short period of time. Do you really want someone else raising your kids?” When they’re both screaming at me and fighting over toys and pulling hair and screaming louder the answer is YES! I DON’T CARE WHAT I’LL MISS AND THEY MIGHT NOT LIVE MUCH LONGER IF THEY’RE IN MY CARE ANYWAY SO BETTER TO LET SOMEONE ELSE DEAL WITH THEM!

I wish I was one of those laid-back moms who lets everything wash over her as if she didn’t have a care in the world. How do you not care that your house is a goddamn disaster, your kids won’t listen to you, there is yogurt crusted onto your dining table (at least you hope it’s yogurt), you have more dirty dishes and piles of laundry than you can count, the dogs are barking at the wind, and someone smells like shit. She’s the mom who tells me that it’ll get better with time, much like my own mother. But no, I’m a crazy basket-case mom because I deal with two little mini-me terrorists all day, every day. It’s exhausting and I think I’ve hit my limit. Besides, my mom told me months ago that it was going to get easier and I’m pretty damn sure that it hasn’t.

So if you never hear from me again it’s because I got out and got an effing job!

happy