On being a mom and peanut butter cups

Posted by houndrat on Saturday Jul 12, 2008 Under family life, husbands, mommies, parenting, Uncategorized

Moms complain incessantly? about the sneaky, manipulative and, well, hormonal ways of their teenagers (to put it quaintly).? And I’m sure teens come with a bevy of tricks up their sleeves.? I get that.

What? I don’t get, however,? is why those same mamas? don’t tell you this behavior can start much, much earlier—say, at age two?? Okay, so maybe not so much the hormonal behavior? (thank goodness!), but the sneakiness?? Most definitely.

I mean, I’m not one of those moms with her head? buried? in the sand? about her kids.? (Although, my son buries his own head in the sand—frequently.? So if you see him, no, that’s not dandruff).? I? own the peculiarities and challenges that? comprise my little mop-headed, opinionated, over-thinking? four year-old.? Hey, that was me standing in line at Barnes and Noble several years ago, clutching a towering stack of parenting books before my son even deigned to toddle.? Books with titles like “Parenting a Spirited Child”, and “How to Set Limits for Your Strong-Willed Child”.? ? And “How? to Keep Your Royal Pain? in the? Butt Kid? from? Driving? You? to Imbibe Massive Quantities of Alcohol and Smash Your Head and His onto a Very Hard Stone Surface on an Hourly? Basis.”? Okay, so maybe that last one? only existed in my brain.? ? But had? that title? been available for purchase, you can be 100% certain it would be keeping the other? manuals company on our bookshelf right now.

Still, there is no book on earth that prepares you for all the intricate nuances of parenting.? ? Or the minutiae of kids’ brains.? I mean, some children are just born thinkers.? And reasoners.? And lest you start thinking this is a wonderful thing, let me share a little story with you.

We call it “Connor and the Peanut Butter Cup”

Just before his third birthday, Connor is heading back home with hubby from some kind of male bonding experience, which, given my son’s utter enthrallment with trains at that time, undoubtedly consisted of the manly pursuit of visiting the hobby store and? fondling all the Thomas the tank engines.? For hours.? On the way home, hubby stops at the corner gas station for a drink, and of course, Connor asks for a mini Reese’s peanut butter cup (trust me–this is the lesser of many, many sugary evils that hubby exposed Connor to periodically at that same store).? ? Demonstrating? uncharacteristic restraint, hubby says, “You can only have one, and then we’ll bring another one home to mommy.”

So, moments after climbing into his car seat, Connor’s peanut butter cup vanishes, destined for a quick but fatal trip to Tummy Town.? And about a millisecond elapses before he’s demanding mine.? Hubby tells him, no, that one’s for mommy—you ate yours already.

Connor thinks for a moment, then says innocently, “Can I just hold it for mommy?”

Now, my hubby knows our son by now as well, so he’s immediately suspicious.? “You can’t eat it–it’s for mommy,” he reiterates.

Connor smiles again–”I know.? I just want to hold it for mommy, so I can give it to her when we get home.”

Melting under the radiant innocence of my son’s beatific grin, hubby caves and hands over? the peanut butter cup.? A few seconds later he hears, “Daddy, maybe I can just unwrap it and look at it for mommy.”

Hubby, who clearly did not read the “Setting Limits for Your Strong-Willed Child” book referenced above, says something to the effect of “Oh, that’s not a good idea.”? ? Basically, this kind of wishy-washy talk is like an open invitation to sin for spirited children.? Which means the wrapper? flies off said chocolate treat faster than the pants off a whore.? Then—”Daddy, this peanut butter cup’s broken.? ? Maybe I’ll? just eat this edge off, so it still looks pretty.”

By the time “No!” flies from my? sucker’s, I mean hubby’s,? mouth, it’s? too late.? The edge is gone.

? A? few moments later, “Daddy, it’s too small for mommy now.? I’m just gonna eat it all, and we can get her a new one later.”

Needless to say, I did not enjoy a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup that day.


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I don’t know how you spent your last few minutes of awake time last night, but I’m reasonably certain they weren’t squandered discussing the merits of Gordon Lightfoot.? Me?? Not so lucky.?

Here’s how it happened: Hubby and I are getting ready? for bed, and at a decent hour for a change. Not that we’ve been up partying and closing down the bars lately.? But in our baby-driven lives, even eleven o’clock is pushing it.

Just as I’m fluffing my pillow and channeling Doris Day by pulling on my pink satin mask (it was cheaper than black-out shades), disaster strikes.? Because instead of the hum of our white-noise maker (okay, so it’s really just a humidifier sans filter and water–call me MacGyver)? I hear hubby’s voice.?

The talking is? brief enough at first—a few questions about facebook and linkedin, and who he’s reconnected with so far.? Then, mysteriously,? the topic? jumps from old college friends to Phish concerts to, of all things, Gordon Lightfoot.? No, I really have no idea how that’s possible, either.? But those kind of? random neuron firings? happen all too frequently around here.? Maybe it’s the 60′s coming back to haunt me.? Which is mildly perplexing, since I wasn’t born until the 70′s.

Of course, then? hubby? has to look good old Gordon up on the computer.? I mean, how could? one possibly? be expected to ever sleep again until they were reminded of which songs he sang,? songs that most likely held the talent and longevity of a Milli Vanilli number?? So hubby grabs his handy-dandy laptop, only it’s not so handy-dandy because the battery is shot so it always requires a plug, as does mine, come to think of it, and then we’re in business.?

I was pleasantly surprised to? discover that Mr. Lightfoot actually sang some pretty good stuff, including Sundown and If You Could Read My Mind.? So, after wasting even more precious snoozing time listening to samples of his music, then looking up the lyrics to Sundown (what did he say in that line about “sneaking” again?), we finally settle in for bed.

And it’s still only 10: 20 pm, so we’re in good shape. Until hubby starts in with some Connor-isms from earlier that evening.? How this relates to Gordon Lightfoot, I have no idea—hence the emphasis on random neuron firings.? Apparently, my son was having a little chat about swear words.? Connor told hubby that he could start? using some? bad words? when he turned? five.? When my hubby inquired which words those might be, Connor says, “Stupid.”?

Upon hearing that, hubby heaved a sigh of relief, which was short-lived.? “…And f*ck,”? Connor continues, disingenuously.

? I wasn’t there, so I can only imagine the sound of my husband’s jaw slamming onto the concrete and his eyes popping out of his sockets and flying across the garage.? I mean, hubby and I have been known to utter the occasional “butt-munch” or “fart-knocker” at home (and yes, maybe I’ve? spewed forth with? “jackass” a few times while driving), but our profanity pretty much stops there.? But Connor has bionic ears, so who knows.

Hubby said it took him a moment, but he finally came up with, “No, that one’s not okay until you’re at least eighteen.”

Connor apparently thought about it for a moment, then smiled and said, “Or ten.”

After that, of course, all bets for sleep are off, as I’m left pondering how I’m going to convince my son that the “f” word is only legal for use once you’ve reaching voting age.

And I still don’t get what any of this has to do with Gordon Lightfoot.


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Laundry room woes (talk about airing our dirty laundry)

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday May 20, 2008 Under family life

Batman has the Joker.? Spiderman has the Green Goblin.? Paula Abdul has Simon.?

And me?? Well, for starters,? my nemesis isn’t a? person.? It’s a thing.? A place, really.? Sort of a household destination, if you will—one? that nobody enjoys visiting for long.? It’s……our laundry room.

Okay, so maybe my arch enemy isn’t as glamorous or exciting as most, but I’m telling you, my laundry room is possessed by the forces of darkness.? Or perhaps Rush Limbaugh—I have an understandably difficult time telling those two things apart.?

Seriously, though—my laundry room knows how to get its evil on.? I mean, how else do you explain the massive piles of dirty, smelly clothes that magically appear, even after I’ve just finished the fiftieth load of the day?? I’m convinced that I wash more clothes in one week than thirty Paris Hiltons’ could wear in a year.?

And how would anything rational explain the fact that I continuously leave clothes in the washer for too long, even though it seems as though I’m doing laundry non-stop, 24/7, like Carol Brady with a few (hundred) extra kids?? Forget the napalm— there’s nothing quite like the smell of mildew in the morning to make your nose hate your face.? And then there’s the dog food, which somehow? manages to jump out of the bag and onto the floor when I’m not looking.? Crafty stuff, that Evo.? I guess that’s what you get for an extra $20.00 a pound.

Honestly, you would think cleaning out the laundry room and keeping it tidy was a reasonable, attainable goal, right?? ? Well, for me, it’s about as attainable as climbing Mt. Everest, naked and barefoot, with a baby strapped on my back.?

And no chocolate.

I suppose I could tame the wild laundry room, if I really put my mind to it.? Provided, of course, that I’m prepared to ignore teething babies, querying four-year olds, hungry Ridgebacks, growling Rottweilers, and disgruntled husbands.? For about eighty hours straight.

Personally, I think clean clothes are overrated.? ? I mean, what’s a little baby spit-up, dog slobber, B.O, and four-year old slime among friends?? C’mon on, hang those baby blow-out pants right back up–she’s just gonna do it again, so what’s the point of washing them anyway?? ? Just think—we could single-handedly end California’s drought by banning the washing machine.

Exhibit A:? ? ? ? ? Be very, very afraid.

Exhibit B:? I’m surprised nothing has jumped out to bite me…..yet.

Exhibit C:? ? ? Those little round spots on the floor are dog food.? I’d pick them up, but they’d only be replaced by more.? Besides, Fergie likes a little snack while she stomps all over the clean clothes.

? Exhibit D:? Just in case you? were deluded enough to think? there was a semi-organized corner of the room.? If it matters, at least those piles are clean.

On second thought, I’m thinking a nudist colony might be in order.?

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Hubby makes progress

Posted by houndrat on Monday Feb 25, 2008 Under family life, husbands

Okay, so my hubby made HUGE progress this weekend in the picking-up, or as I like to say, the not-being-such-a-massively-disgusting-slob,? department.

? We didn’t get off to a good start, though.? On Friday morning, I was ready to pull out my hair.? Piece by piece. Until I was sporting the Bruce Willis look.? Why?? Because I was bemoaning the fact that a grown man either a) cannot find the trash can in his own home, after residing there for over two years or b) lives in a dreamland where trash miraculously morphs into the trash can all by itself or c) both of the above.

See, my husband had a little? snackie that morning, and left me to wake up to this:

Exhibit A:? Fortune cookie left on counter

Apparently, it was either a disgusting cookie, or he only opened it for the fortune inside.? Either way, he left the? cookie entrails? behind for me—how sweet.? ? Here’s hoping? the fortune said, “I see cleanliness in your future”, and not “You are destined to live your days like filthy swine”.

The next photo, though, is awe-inspiring.? This is a very rare moment, a once in a lifetime occurrence, and I got it on camera.? My husband was actually cleaning his hair cuttings out of the sink within minutes of making the mess!? Without any prompting from me!

If I hadn’t actually? recoreded this moment for prosperity, I would have thought I was daydreaming.

Granted, he left the vacuum in the bathroom afterwards, but hey, you’ve gotta crawl before you walk.? Baby steps, people, baby steps.

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There’s a Buzz Lightyear pinata in my closet.

Posted by houndrat on Saturday Jan 19, 2008 Under SAHM

Here’s a little something you might not know about me—there’s? a? 5 foot tall Buzz Lightyear pinata in my closet.? You see, one day, I was getting ready to hang up some clothes for the first time since my son was born (he’s the four-year old, by the way).? I walked (waded would actually be the more correct term here) into my closet, looked to the right, and presto!? There he was, the Toy Story hero in the flesh, er, plaster of paris.

Now, I grant you, my closet is a tad messy.? Yes, wiseass, that is an understatement.? So, if a sock puppet, a small rodent, or possibly even JFK had been found in there, I wouldn’t have been too surprised.? But a 5 foot tall Buzz Lightyear pinata?? That’s pushing the boundaries of randomness, even for me.

My assumption is when most folks pass a dude in a muscle t hawking Buzz Lightyear pinatas on the side of the road, they just drive on by.? And I think this assumption is correct—unless you’re my husband.? Apparently, he just had to have it—because you never know when a 5 foot tall Buzz Lightyear pinata might come in handy.?

Good ole? Mr. Lightyear? has? taken up permanent residence inside my closet.? ? Poor fellow is? now sans a hand–my son performed emergency surgery with a hanger, but alas, it couldn’t be saved.? ?

Come on Buzz,? my closet’s not? that scary.? Is it?

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Where, oh where, did my sick days go?

Posted by houndrat on Wednesday Jan 16, 2008 Under family life

Well, it finally happened.? I officially have the flu.?

I mean, it wasn’t like I had a shot in hell of circumventing it, what with my son tossing his snot rags to and fro throughout the house, and my husband? “borrowing” my toothbrush (isn’t it a universally known fact that a toothbrush is the one item you don’t share, even in a marriage?? I mean, really, it goes beyond the laws of all common decency).? Of? course, since histoothbrush was mangled beyond repair by the Ferger Berger, I guess his options were limited.?

Given that our house? at this point is probably one? enormous petri dish of flu virus, I probably stood less chance of getting sick than? if I’d mainlined the stuff.

By now, you’re probably asking–is there a point to this pathetic tail?? ? In fact, there is.? The point is that? this situation leads me to decry yet another indignity foisted upon the stay-at-home mom.? ? What I want to know is, where are? our sick days??

I mean, come on.? Every one else I know gets to call in sick.? The butcher.? The baker.? The candle-stick maker.? Heck, even the candle-stick maker’s dog walker can call in sick.? My husband just? took two sick days himself.? Of course, now that I’m on the down and out, he’s back at work, leaving me with two kids and three dogs, when my head feels like it just exploded and was sewn back together with fishing line.? Without anesthesia? (Been there, done that, during my homebirth—except it wasn’t exactly my head getting sewn together drug-free.)

The fact is, there is no calling in sick when you’re a stay-at-home mom.? And I think we should protest.? Unite as one.? Rock the vote, or something to that effect.? At the very least, we need to fire our human resources specialist.? Because, let’s face it–some of our perks (or lack thereof) suck.

I know, I know—look who’s whining now?

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Daily Whine Report

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Jan 15, 2008 Under kids, whining

Argh—they’re tag teaming me today!? Must invest in earplugs.

And ever notice how whining is a vicious cycle?? They whine to me, then I whine to you,? and so on.? ? ? Just call me the joy-spreader.? Um, which surely has a few connotations that I never remotely intended.? Yikes.

I think now’s a good time to go stuff? myself in? Finley’s crib and do a little Squawking of my own.

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Yo ho, Yo ho, I must have been smoking crack

Posted by houndrat on Wednesday Dec 5, 2007 Under kids, Uncategorized

I think somebody laced my water.? With crack.? I mean, what else could reasonably explain why I decided to have another birthday party at my home?? I said I would never do it again after last year, after my son’s third birthday party.? Do you have any idea the damage 5 or 6 screaming toddlers can do to your home in under five minutes?? And this year, I really did it.? I invited double that number, thinking surely some couldn’t come because of the proximity to the holidays.? Of course, every single one of them are planning to attend.? ? ? Just my luck–we? managed to invite? the only other families in San Diego County besides ourselves without lives.? Let’s just call it an experiment—how many four-year olds can you have in one house before it explodes? (and this is actually a real possiblity–ask me about my husband’s stash of illegal fireworks in the garage).

Okay, so we’ve invited a few too many guests, but that’s okay, right?? We have a large backyard and we’ve rented a jumpy, bouncy, moonwalk, kid crusher, whatever the heck it is those things are called these days.? We should be fine, right?? Not if you’ve checked the forecast for San Diego for this Saturday.? It’s supposed to rain.? Hard.? I suppose I should have expected that it might rain—I mean, it does rain about three and a half days a year here.? So that gave us a probability of, what, about 1 in 100 that it would rain on our party day?? Life is just not fair.? Now, I have to plan activities to entertain 12 screaming four-year olds inside our not-big-enough-to-accomdate-them-without-something-exploding house.? And we have to put the parents somewhere, too.? ? I’m thinking? the laundry room.? If I have enough booze, maybe they won’t notice.? And let’s face it, all the adults are going to NEED booze to get through this one.

And it’s not enough that I invited too many people. Or that I decided to have the party at our home again (perhaps explained by a sudden temporary brain aneurysm?)? No, somehow I think I’m Martha freakin Stewart when my son’s birthday rolls around.? That means I choose a theme (pirates this year), hand-make all the invitations, bake the cake from scratch, and make my own decorations, posters, party favors, etc.? If I were a crafty person, this might make some kind of sense.? Unfortunately, I am about as crafty as Homer Simpson.

It should be a hoot.? Want to come?? Look for the exploding house.

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