Welcome to Parenthood, Check Your Life at the Door

At times, the first year of parenthood is a literal shitstorm. And on top of that, it’s a shitstorm of emotions.

Our lives change overnight. One minute we’re just a couple of normal, carefree people and the next we’re mothers and fathers in charge of a tiny infant who we want to have the very best life. But we’ve never done anything like this before, so we feel as though we’re screwing them up no matter what we do.

Now that my kids are toddlers, it’s hard for me to even remember the first year of parenthood. It’s all such a blur of random memories. Thank god for pictures because a lot of it has been lost to sleepless nights and crazy chaotic days or just my own self-preservation.

And speaking of pictures, #NewDad, is an awesome new picture book for adults.  A first time dad documents his journey into parenthood with humorous photographs and funny anecdotes that we, as parents, can all relate to. When I say “picture book” it’s almost like his Instagram account has jumped off the screen and into your hands. The opening page is a photograph of the author, Josh Gloer, resting his head on the steering wheel of his car while the caption reads, “Just took a nap…at a stoplight.”

newdadBeing a new parent is utterly exhausting and this sums up every parent’s life well beyond the newborn stage. You think  you’re just going to close your eyes for a brief respite, and the next thing you know, you’re drooling and a police officer is shaking you awake.

From being sprayed with spit-up, to “nailing” a work presentation with poop on his arm, to being in bed on a Friday night by 9 o’clock, Gloer captures the quintessential milestones in the life of a parent perfectly. Never do we feel more unprepared and more unsure of what to do when we become parents, but the best thing to remember is that we’ve all been there, it’s normal, and as Gloer puts it, “If you’re a #NewDad…you get it.”

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.

 

Obsessed with Books

We go to storytime every week.

It’s our religion.

I don’t know if it’s more for me or for my daughter as I’m just as obsessed about getting new library books as she is. It must be what Carrie Bradshaw felt every time she passed a shoe store. My palms get all sweaty and my heart skips a beat seeing all the book spines lined up.  I want ALL the books and I want them now!

I can’t help myself from perusing the shelves while my daughter sits and listens to the librarian read aloud. For the length of those three books, I’m in hog heaven imagining I had time to read at all. I end up checking out books that I know I’ll never finish–a classic case of my eyes being too big for my stomach. If that’s not an addiction, I don’t know what is. I could care less if my little girl is behaving and listening while sitting criss-cross applesauce, just let me look at books and imagine sitting in a quiet room, or better yet, an island in the sun with my book and a daiquiri.

I wanted to pass on my love of reading and books and I think it’s already taken. She loves to read all day, sometimes choosing them over watching a movie (which makes me really proud). This is what the corner of her dresser looks like at all times:

Library Books Galore

So I’ve decided to start writing about our favorites. I’ve come across so many children’s books that I absolutely adore that I want to share them with someone. Whenever the storytime lady reads one that I’ve already checked out, I yawn and shine my knuckles on my crusty shirt, “We read that ages ago. Get with it, lady.” Not really, but I do feel some sort of smug satisfaction that we indeed already read it. How stupid, huh? I can’t help it.

Our newest batch of books includes Crankee Doodle, Little Oink, and Hank Finds An Egg.

Hank Finds An Egg

Hank! My Hero!

I instantly fell in love with the photos in this book. It features an adorable little teddy bear named Hank who *surprisingly* finds an egg in the woods!

There aren’t any words in this book–which is somewhat an issue for a writer as myself–as the story is the guts of the book–however without words, it gives the writer in all of us a chance to create our own story. The author, Rebecca Dudley, created a storybook with whimsical pictures and a heart-warming storyline featuring a bear who wants to return a lost egg to its rightful owner. When we see all the trouble he went through to get the egg back to its home, do we then, truly understand Hank and his journey.

There’s something truly magical about Hank and his quest to get the egg back to its nest.

mama and hankHe’s a gentleman in an age where chivalry has died. Sure, he could go ahead and eat that egg when the economy has tanked and he’s ‘hankering’ for a Whopper but all he gets are some sprouts and berries. But no, he goes and delivers that egg to its Mama, like a true gentleman. There should be more dudes like Hank in the world. Out, not just for himself, but for mankind.

Check out this enchanting book if you still believe in happy endings…and I’m not talking about the kind at the massage parlors.

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.

You Dumb Bastards

I don’t get out much. This is nothing new. The other day I was in a normal grocery store as opposed to the tiny hick market I usually frequent and I saw Star magazine. (The tiny hick market by our house doesn’t have trash magazines next to the registers thus limiting my pop culture knowledge to zilch.)

Says official...gotta be true then!

Says official…gotta be true then!

When I saw the cover of Princess Kate and it said, “It’s official! She’s Pregnant” my first thought was, “You dumb bastards” to quote a favorite Kevin Smith movie, Mallrats. Then my second thought was, “Of course she’s not pregnant, you don’t believe these rags. How can it be trusted when the story next to it is about Jessica Simpson’s weight or what Miley Cyrus did with her tongue now?”

Didn’t the Royal Couple just have Prince George? Wasn’t that hullabaloo only three months ago? My two monsters angels are close in age, but not THAT close! My next thought after calling the Prince and Princess of Cambridge dumb bastards was, “Ha ha! You will know my misery.” A millisecond later it struck me that “They’re royalty. They probably have nannies coming out the yin yang. And will never know my misery. So go on and have ten more!”

I already feel sorry for their alleged second born child though. Can you imagine following in these footsteps?

george

Any subsequent birth or baby would pale in comparison to this level of perfection.

As everyone knows you go all out for your first born — brand new everything. Nothing but the absolute best! And in Prince George’s case literal parades thrown in his honor, his birthday a national holiday.

So what does the second one get? Hand-me downs and an empty baby book or in this case a smaller crown with less gems and an older brother who can do no wrong in his mother’s eyes…even if he declares war on the rest of the world.

That poor alleged second child!

Addicted to Chachi

Remember that show Joanie Loves Chachi? Joanie loves ChachiYeah, me neither. It was before my time. Spinoff from Happy Days, Scott Baio from Charles in Charge fame? Anyway, the “Chachi” I’m talking about here is my daughter’s beloved nickname for her pacifier…which she still has. I’m so embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I let my 2 1/2 year old still use a pacifier. I was always one of those people who said as soon as the kid could walk, that thing was gone. Yet, here we are a year and a half after she started walking and she clings to them like a junkie to a needle, like a fat kid to cake, like me to my shred of sanity.

We called the pacifier a paci or passy like other families, bypassing the outdated term of binky. Chachi came about organically. She called it something that sounded like chachi and it stuck. She even had a little song and dance about it. “I got a chachi. I got a chachi” swaying her little hips side to side while waving her chachi in the air. chachiIf you asked my friends, it sounded like she was singing about something else entirely.

She’s a full-on chachi hoarder! It’s not like she’s happy with just one. Oh no! That would be far too simple. She needs a minimum of two and prefers three or more. I remember how it happened. When she was nine months old we used to stock her crib with a couple extras for those middle of the night wakings so she could flail around and find one in her sleep. Well, that ultimately backfired on us and now she needs them to cuddle and rub against her nose. However, this might be more than a learned behavior it might be genetic and the person I have to blame is myself! Apparently I was a chachi fanatic just like my chip off the ol’ block. However, I called it a poey (Long o sound like Joey with a p–didn’t want you thinking I called it a pooey). I used to rub my nose with the poey to soothe myself as well. One day when I was two my mom told me “no more poey” so I calmly turned it over without so much as a fuss. Not going to be the case for my little petunia. I’ve been getting her used to the idea that chachis are only for babies and now that her sister is no longer a baby, we need to pass them on. She adamantly refuses this conversation and idea. I’ve even told her the chachi fairy will bring her an awesome present, yet she tells me she’s not giving them up. Eff the Chachi Fairy in so many words.

Not too long ago I read something by Erma Bombeck about pacifiers from her book, Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession. She talks about the mothers of her generation being closet pacifier advocates. She never wanted her own mother to know that she used them with her children. I get it. I start to perspire when I think about the world witnessing my giant child with a chachi in her mouth. I can just hear the judgement swirling around their heads. Lucky for me she only uses them in the car and in bed.

Erma writes that the pacifier signaled that we can’t cope with our children. Ding! Ding! Ding! Hit the nail on the head–at least in my case. When her mother saw her grandchild with a pacifier she said, “Do you know that if you keep using this pacifier, by the time this baby is four years old, her teeth will come in crooked and her mouth will have a permanent pout?” To which Erma replied, “Do you know, Mother, if I do not use that pacifier, I may never permit her to become four?” My sentiments exactly! And why my toddler still has a chachi obsession! If she didn’t use those things at night, who knows what kind of crappy sleeper I’d have on my hands. Guess I’ll find out soon enough when I take them away.

“We American pioneers of the pacifier have given it the respectability it deserves. After all, what other force in the world has the power to heal, stop tears, end suffering, sustain life, restore world peace, and is the elixir that grants mothers everywhere the opportunity to sleep…perchance to dream?”

Amen, Mama!

Wish I could’ve remembered this passage when I was up at 2 am this morning frantically searching the dark corners of my baby’s crib for her stinking pacifier to quiet her uproarious cries. Maybe then I wouldn’t have cursed those plastic pieces of crap to hell. Then it hit me, I’m the chachi pusher.

Hello, my name is One Funny Mummy and I’m an addict…of peace and quiet!

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!

Forever Hold Your Peace, Lady!

Today as I stood in the checkout line at the grocery store allowing my 18 month old to hold my bag of candy so she’d be quiet, this woman standing next to us said, “Oh you’re going to have another one pretty soon.”

“Yep, 3 or 4 more weeks.”

She responded with an exasperated look. “And how old is this one?”

“18 months.”

“Was it planned?” She asked.

Instead of saying it was none of her business like I wish I had, I said no, but it wasn’t unplanned. I politely laughed and said I was getting it all over with in one shot and never looking back to diapers or sleepless nights. (Hah, yeah right.)

She then proceeded to tell me that she started potty-training her son when he was…wait for it…four months old. Four months old?! Riigghhht. Like I really believe that. She was such a “veteran” that I doubt she remembered where she parked her car, let alone forty-some odd years before. Then she went on to share how she could only deal with one kid at a time, that’s why she spaced hers out 8 and 10 years apart. I’m sorry but that just sounds like torture to me. Why would you want to go backwards and do the whole baby thing over again once you have a ten year old? But did I say that to her face followed by a look of extreme disapproval? No, because I have manners and a filter, unlike her.

A checker rescued me and I was happy to leave Negative Nelly behind, but she kept right on talking as I made my way into the next lane. I couldn’t see her face anymore, but I could hear her jabbering away at me, spewing out more unwanted advice on how to potty-train my infant. At first I pretended to care as I hurriedly threw my items on the conveyor belt, then I said screw it and let her talk at the wall of magazines and bags of chips separating us.

To the next bitter lady that makes me feel this way about my life choices I shall say, “I’m happy my kids will be so close in age (ask me again in 2 months) and I could give a rat’s ass that my 1 1/2 year old is not potty-trained yet. Thank you, ma’am.”

God, I hope I never become that lady. And if I do, as my Mummy likes to say, “Just put a pillow over my face and say goodnight.”

Pinteresting, Very Pinteresting

I could blame my lack of blogging on chasing around my 17 month old toddler or I could blame it on my lack of creativity because baby brain has officially taken over, but I’m going to blame it on Pinterest. I’m a little behind in joining the craze, but now that I have, I see what all the fuss is about. It’s like window shopping without any kind of budget or guilt, loading up my online shopping cart with everything my little heart desires only never pressing proceed to checkout. I can “pin” and “repin” all sorts of pictures of outfits, dream homes, recipes, and accessories all the livelong day and not spend one cent (the hubby loves this part of it).

It should be called Greediest though as I want almost everything I see. Good thing I’m not a shopaholic or else this would be like crack cocaine.

So for those who don’t know what Pinterest is, it’s basically an online bulletin board of anything and everything you could ever want. It keeps all the things you like in one place so you can daydream and wish upon a star that you had enough money and time to actually attain any of it. It’s really sort of depressing in a way. Sure it’s great for recipes because that’s stuff you might actually use in real life, but the photos of faraway places and million dollar kitchens is just a fantasy and always will be. Makes me a little sad and adds to this fog of denial that I’ve been living in for…oh, probably my whole life.

Somehow seeing everything I’ve pinned in one place is enough though. It’s my 50 Shades of Grey, so to speak (no, I haven’t read the book…yet). It completely takes over my brain and enslaves me. I can’t help but look at my boards throughout the day and pin things I just have to have. Like that dress I could never pull off or those shoes that would collect dust in my closest.

Really, it’s nothing like 50 Shades of Grey. It’s probably the antithesis of it because it’s like shopping abstinence and we all know there was no abstaining of any sort in that book.

Guess I’ll keep enjoying my new-found addiction until this baby comes along and I have zero time for anything again!