Part of becoming a parent is slowly accepting that every stupid saying or cliché about having kids, especially ones you’ve heard from your own parents, is 100% true:
There is nothing like the love you have for your child – true
You will worry that you could never love another child as much as your 1st but somehow you do – true
Your dog will become significantly less important to you with each child – sorry, Lola, totally true
There’s nothing better than a well-rested kid – oh sweet Jesus, true
Summer break is not a break for you – OMFG I FEEL LIKE I’M GOING FUCKING CRAZY THIS SUMMERRRRRR!!!
Last summer I was so good about finding fun activities and camps for the boys to do. I knew I was going to be super pregnant and fat and miserable and cranky, so I planned. This summer? I haven’t done shit. Nothing. The only real “planned” activities we’ve done have been things other people have planned in my moms group. That and backyard swimming in the blow-up pool I got from Target. Speaking of which, helpful hint: if you buy a blow-up pool from Target, go ahead and also buy a quick pump so that you don’t spend hours each day smashing your foot down on a manual air pump that might as well be a fucking toddler trying to blow out birthday candles it’s so goddamn slow!! Andy bought a pump for a camping trip (yes I did say “Andy” and “camping trip” in the same sentence), but I when I used it on the blow-up pool for the first time, I had to hold back tears of joy. THE EFFICIENCY!! Man. It’s the little things, you guys.
So besides swimming and play dates, I’ve mostly been yelling at my kids all summer. Yelling at them to stop fighting. Yelling at them to get their fucking clothes on. Yelling at them to finish their food. Yelling at them to stop jumping on the couch. YELLING AT THEM TO STOP YELLING!! Yelling at them to go the fuck to sleep. Please. Just go to fucking sleep. As you may or may not know, all 3 of my children are sleeping in the same room. Like a goddamn orphanage. And for a long time, it was great. They went to bed great. They didn’t get up too early. Great. However, the past few weeks? Mmmmm…..not so great. Nick and Adam will stay up for sometimes over an hour just chit chatting away. Sometimes yelling. Sometimes fighting. Sometimes playing. Sometimes throwing all the pillows and blankets onto the floor. Sometimes wrapping themselves into a cocoon of blankets. Sometimes sneaking into each others’ beds. Sometimes lowering toys down to the bottom bunk using some kind of pulley system. But never sleeping. So Andy and I take turns marching up the stairs and threatening to take away some toy or Legos or fun planned activity (joke’s on them, I don’t plan any fun activities!) And eventually they fall asleep. But the whole process really fucks up our lives. We have a sleep book we like to reference called “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” (Easy now! Try to hold back your eagerness to get your hands on this steamy, hot thriller.) So Andy decided to try to figure out why our children were turning into anti-sleep zombies. Turns out, Nick is an asshole. LOL LOL JK JK. I mean, he is an asshole, but more specifically, he was over-napping some days and under-napping other days, so it was screwing with his bedtime routine. (Turns out kids really need consistency and routines and summertime doesn’t really lend itself to being either of those things. Refer to above: Summer break is not a break for you). To remedy the jacked up schedule, the book suggests you only allow your kid to nap 1 hour a day (you’re supposed to set a timer), and make sure to keep a consistent routine at bedtime. Let me preface by saying, we’ve tried this method the past few days, and it seems to be working pretty well. And I know it sounds terribly straightforward and simple. However, you should know that when you are a parent, and you’re being asked to wake up a napping child whom you KNOW needs more sleep, every fucking bone in your body will resist. You will start to question whether or not it’s the right decision. You will start to question ALL your life decisions. Am I where I want to be in life? Why haven’t I accomplished more? Should I have waited longer before chopping all my hair off again? Is it too soon?!?!? PRESSING QUESTIONS!!!! But, after a few minutes of being kind of pissed and groggy, Nick has gotten his shit together and seems to keep Adam up for less time at bedtime. And when the kids are quiet and in bed, there is no greater time in all of the world.
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and I know you’re just DYING to know what is new in the lives of each my children. So let me fill you in…
Adam is going to turn 5 in August and go to Kindergarten. Fucking. Kindergarten. He got into a public charter school in the KCMO district called Citizens of the World and I’m prrrrretty jazzed about it. I will tell you, I’ve had to grapple with conflicting emotions surrounding charter schools and whether or not that’s the best decision and if I’m being hypocritical saying I’m pro-public schools and then going with a charter and if Adam’s taking the spot of a kid who doesn’t have many options for quality schools and if I’m choosing to send him there simply to be exposed to kids from different races and cultures and backgrounds but is that treating people of color like a commodity that boosts my own kid’s resume? etc. etc. ETC… Parenting comes with a fuck ton of guilt and you’re constantly feeling like you’re being judged or criticized for making the wrong decision. So besides saying, “Screw you! I’m doing the best I can!!” (to the imaginary people judging me right now), here’s justification for my decision: I believe Adam is ready to go to kindergarten. The public school in our district doesn’t allow kids to enroll for kindergarten unless they are 5 by August 1 (which Adam will not be). We are not Catholic so it doesn’t make sense (for us) to pay for him to be part of a faith community we no longer identify with. We aren’t interested in paying an amount comparable to college tuition (for real) for him to go to a private school. We want to stay in our community and have Adam be exposed to the entirety of our community – not just the areas that house people who look just like us. If you can’t tell, I’ve been feeling strangely defensive/nervous/excited about our choice. But above all else, I think Adam’s going to really love it. He started reading in the past month or so, and it’s been pretty wild listening to him read stories to us and to Nick and Tori. This summer, his behavior has been a little more challenging than usual. (Probably because of the lack of fucking planned activities). So I think he might be just as excited as I am for school to start up again. I try to tell him that he’s the big brother so he needs to set a good example and not do things like push Nick or physically pick up Tori and move her away from his Legos (although if I’m being honest, it’s kind of nice when he moves her so I don’t have to). The other day I was talking to Adam about an online story I read. It was about 2 preschool friends who ended up getting married when they were older. I asked him if he thought he would marry any of his preschool friends and I started listing some of them. Annabelle? Noooo. Charlotte? Nooooo. Lo? Nooooo. Tripp (a boy)? To which Adam said, “No because Tripp is a boy, too.” (Cue fireworks in my brain, flashing lights, sirens. Important teachable moment happening!! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!! Do NOT fuck this up!!). I started explaining how boys can marry boys and girls can marry girls and it just depends on who you love. Adam thought about it for a while and was like, “Ya, like I love Nick and Tori.” (fuck fuck fuck fuck you’re ruining this!) I tried to further explain that there were different kinds of love, but as soon as I started, Andy gave me a death glare from the other room and mouthed, “What are you doing??” Which, to be fair, I have no fucking idea.
Ohhhh, Nick. Sweet little asshole, Nick. Besides the whole sleeping/not sleeping bullshit, Nick has pretty much been the same. He’s getting better at building his own Lego creations and making up stories about different characters or construction vehicles. Much like Adam, he pronounces certain words with a kind of accent. And once he decides on a pronunciation, he will NOT be corrected. I got into a straight-up argument with him about how to say the word “regular.” He says, “regweelar”. So I tell him, “no, it’s regYOUlar”. “Regweelar!” “No, regYOUlar.” “REGWEELAR!!” “REGYOUUUUU know what? Who fucking cares, you’ve clearly already won this argument.” (The ending to every argument you decide to engage in with a 3-yr-old). Nick has also started giggling when he gets in trouble. As in, I grab him and take him to “time out” on the chair and he looks at me and grins and fucking giggles. So, that doesn’t make me want to hulk out or anything… And as much as he drives me crazy, he does have some funny little quirks. For example, he enjoys “hiding” things in random places. I found the TV remote inside the case of our couch pillow. When I went to get my sunglasses out of their case, I pulled out a Lego instead. I found my driver’s license inside the Paw Patrol airplane (I should probably keep better track of that…). And I’m afraid Nick will never be known for being light on his feet. When the kid runs, the whole fucking house shakes. There’s no heel-toe movement, it’s just FOOT, FOOT, FOOT, FOOT. And it’s always when Tori’s napping. In fact, both boys find it impossible to not do the loudest things in the world while Tori’s sleeping. It’s probably part of their evil plan to destroy my life. Seems the most likely explanation.
Well, any hope I had for having a baby that actually sits still is out the fucking window. Tori is all over the goddamn place. Her favorite activities include pulling up on everything, getting into cabinets, pulling everything out of cabinets, finding any and all cords, putting cords in her mouth, finding any and all Legos, putting Legos in her mouth, pooping out small Legos, crawling through the dog door, eating the dog food, climbing up the stairs, pushing the front door open, climbing onto the stool and onto the couch….basically, ALMOST FUCKING DYING EVERY FUCKING MOMENT OF HER LIFE!!! And maybe she wouldn’t put herself into such precarious situations if she was my first kid. If I had the time and ability to fully baby-proof and watch her every move. But she is my third kid and I have a third-time-parent mentality. Soooooo good luck, girlfriend! Along with being the largest of my fat ass newborns, Tori is going to be the first to walk. It seems like when I’m least expecting it, I look over and she’s just standing up. Giving me a ridiculous, fucking adorable grin, as if to say, “Muahahaha!! Nothing is safe!!!!” And, as with most milestones, I have a strange mix of emotions. I keep encouraging her to take steps and helping her walk while holding my hand and then I’m hit with overwhelming sadness and panic because once a kid starts doing something, they don’t stop. I can’t ever go back to having a kid that doesn’t walk once they start. It’s a very strange feeling. I’m constantly trying to get Tori to say, “mama”. But, she must be in on Adam and Nick’s plan to destroy my life because all she seems to say is, “dadadadada.” If you ask her where the fan is, she will point to it most of the time. If you ask where her doggy is, she will look right at Lola. (She fucking loves Lola). If you ask where Alexa is, she will look at the fucking Amazon Echo. But me? Her primary caregiver? Source of food and love and comfort? Vessel that shoved her out into the world?!?! She won’t ever look at me when asked where mama is. Betch.
Besides not planning anything and just trying to hold onto my sanity each passing day, this summer has been filled with mice. Yes, mice. It was first discovered that we had mice when my sister was babysitting and Lola started going insane; running after something that had scurried across the kids’ playroom floor. Lola eventually went outside and paced around in the garden, so I presumed (hoped to God) that she had “taken care of” the mouse and I didn’t need to worry about it anymore. This hope was strengthened when I found an almost-beheaded dead mouse in our driveway a couple days later. In my naïve mind, I assumed Lola had killed the mouse, taken it into the yard, and then the mouse’s family had dragged its body into the driveway to shame us for bringing such tragedy upon them. Obviously. So, imagine my surprise when another mouse was spotted walking out of our bathroom into the guest room!! I went and got the traditional mousetraps, thinking it would only take 1 or 2 nights to be rid of our mouse problem. WRONG! (#trumpsamerica). Instead of catching the mouse, we were essentially feeding the mouse. Each morning we would find the trap, still set, without the food. As you might imagine, I got pretty frustrated. Also, back it up. Shouldn’t my fucking dog be able to take care of the mouse?! Isn’t that one of the reasons people have pets in the first place? To protect them from strangers and unwanted animals?!?! Goddamn Lola. Anyways, in one of my obsessive searches, I decided to push the couch back and check. Since I had the couch moved, I thought I might as well clean behind there, so I got out the vacuum and sucked up an embarrassing about of dust and dirt and food. At one point, I noticed there were lots of tiny little brown things that all looked kind of the same. It only took me a second before I realized they were mouse turds. So, naturally, I didn’t want to just leave them there. I vacuumed them up. While I didn’t find the actual mouse, I felt better about the couch area being clean. I decided to Google “mouse turds”, like you do, just to make sure that’s really what I saw. The good news is, I was right. They were mouse turds. Duh. We have a mouse. Mice enjoy turding it up wherever they walk. Hence, mouse turds under the couch. The next sentence I read was something like, “Whatever you do, don’t ever sweep or vacuum up the mouse shit because some mice have Hantavirus that lives in its poop so when it’s vacuumed it shoots Hantavirus out into the air and then you breathe it in and your whole fucking family DIES!!!” I mean, that was the basic gist of it. So I immediately fell into a deep, dark, Internet hole of despair. I was absolutely convinced that I had killed my family. The mouse turds were probably everywhere. Knowing Tori, she had probably rolled around in mouse turds. Maybe even had some for a snack. All I could do was just wait for all of us to get fevers and throw up and shit until we die. I texted Andy, apologizing for killing our family, and I was literally on the brink of tears, obsessing about it. Listen. How is that supposed to be common knowledge? Whose instinct, upon seeing mouse turds while vacuuming, would be, “Waaaaait a minute. I think this is a potentially fatal situation, I should probably just pour bleach all over these tiny brown specks and then burn the goddamn house down so my family doesn’t breathe in a deadly virus. And then die.” Nobody thinks that! Unless you work for the fucking CDC!! So this fear started to takeover my life, which means it also took over Andy’s life. We ended up catching the mouse on a sticky trap. Its tail got stuck and it dragged the trap into the next room. So Andy found it and euthanized it in the toilet……..it was trying to kill us, OK?!?! What were we supposed to do?? Dress it in little pants and a bowtie and call it Stuart Little?! No. That movie is fucking MISLEADING! Even though the mouse was gone, I was obsessed with finding any and all mouse turds. And I guess you could say, the moral of the story is: 1. No one got Hantavirus (shocking, I know). 2. I got back on anti-anxiety meds. Huzzah!! Praise Be!! Under His Eye!! Can I tell you how amazing anti-anxiety meds are? I’ve been off and on them since I was 19. They are fucking life changing. Every time I start back on them, I wonder why I didn’t start earlier. Sure, I still check my pulse at least once a day just to make sure it’s still there, however, I don’t spend hours trying to kill an incredibly rare virus that isn’t there. I mean, if Lexapro is looking for a poster child, I’m it. Lexapro: So you don’t burn your house down looking for mouse turds.
As much as I am an emotional robot, I feel like I need to say that Andy has been a fairly exceptional husband this summer. He surprised me on our anniversary with a weekend trip to New York City to see my favorite Broadway shows and go backstage (he obviously reeeeally wanted to get laid). I don’t work over the summer, but Andy still takes Tuesday afternoons off, so I get help with the kids to restore some of my sanity. He’s incredibly patient with my irrational fears and anxieties and supports whatever decisions I make as far as being on or off medication. He also reads any and all articles regarding Trump, so I rely on him to keep me informed about the state of the world, knowing he will filter as needed to keep me from spiraling into a full on depression. Pretty much everything he tells me can be summed up as: “Trump still sucks. Here is how he was a creep/a liar/an idiot today.” Or, “Psssh, caring about emails was soooooo 2016.” (You guys didn’t think I could get through a post without talking about Trump, did you? Don’t worry. I still hate him.) But I am grateful to have had lots of family time this summer. I know it’s only a matter of time before we will have 1 million activities to work around, so I can deal with going a little stir crazy. Because when I’m not losing my mind, I’m having a lot of fun being silly with my little monsters. Plus, I feel like summertime means you can start drinking whenever you want, right? So that’s worth a little crazy.