The Madness of Momming

Oh, the memories.

The marvelous, glorious, wonderous memories.

With my oldest son’s recent birthday, it’s fair to say I’ve been reminiscing a tiny bit.

Especially after rummaging through both of my boys’ baby boxes yesterday afternoon.

Sure, it’s been 15 years since I first became a mom.

But one question still lingers:

How the hell was I ever allowed to leave the hospital with a small, helpless, living human being in the first place?

Did I look like I had any clue as to what I was doing?

If I did, it must’ve explicitly been the pain medication talking.

Would you believe I’d actually packed an Eeyore rattle toy in my hospital bag?

In case my newborn child wanted to play, I reasoned.

Oh, and I’d also brought along a book.

You know, for the downtime following that whole childbirth drama.

Clearly, I was delusional from the very start.

Sure, I’d skimmed through the suggested reading material on pregnancy and babies and all that fun stuff.

But really, how hard could it be?

Right?

Did I mention I had zero experience?

Seriously, not an ounce.

I had no younger siblings.

No younger cousins.

No babysitting experience.

I mean, I worked in a toy store for a brief stint when I was in high school.

But that only served to reinforce the fact that I surely wasn’t a fan of screeching, demanding, whining little monsters.

And so my baby was the first baby I’d ever held.

What was I doing?

How was I expected to be responsible for such a tiny little human being when my ability to take care of myself was likely questionable?

My husband and I were practically kids with a kid, really.

The baby is awake?

Why is he awake?

What am I supposed to do?

Didn’t he just eat?

How much is he supposed to eat?

Is he eating enough?

Is he ever going to stop eating?

Why won’t he sleep?

Why is he still asleep?

Why won’t he go back to sleep?

Is he teething?

Is he hungry?

Why won’t he stop crying?

Does he hate me?

Oh my God. 

My baby hates me.

I’m the worst mommy in the world!

Sniffle, sniffle…sniff.

Oh.

Ewwww!

Oh, I’d read What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

And then I read What to Expect the First Year.

No other book series can make a person feel like such an epic failure so quickly.

Even if the baby was only a mere twelve days old.

If anything, those books made me a nervous wreck.

I was convinced I’d be going through my child’s life as a sleep deprived, anxiety-ridden zombie.

A zombie who’d inevitably make all the worst choices, and ultimately screw up her child’s entire life because of said sleep deprivation.

So I stopped reading.

So what if my baby preferred sleeping in his car seat over using the nice bassinet we’d bought him?

So what if I wasn’t dragging him out on stimulating play dates at three months old?

So what if he liked to shove Mega Blocks in his mouth when nobody was looking?

So what if I secretly hoped he wouldn’t eat all of his of delicious banana baby food so that I could finish it off?

I had relatively little idea of what I was doing.

But I had lots of love.

And patience.

And sheer determination.

We’ve managed to survive, so that’s gotta count for something.

In spite of all the sleepless nights.

I’ve never been one who could thrive on broken sleep.

It makes me scary.

But you know you’d reached a whole new level of exhaustion when you watch Plaza Sesamo halfway through at 2 o’clock in the morning before realizing that it isn’t actually Sesame Street.

And that it was entirely in Spanish.

Huh.

No wonder nothing made sense.

But the good news is a person can eventually adapt to existing in a zombie-like trance.

I do sometimes marvel at how we’ve managed to make it this far in life.

And all things considered, I think we’re all turning out A-OK.

From day one, these boys of mine have been teaching me more than I could ever possibly teach them.

And that’s saying a lot.

Motherhood is the biggest, scariest, most rewarding roller coaster ride of my life.

And I am happy and honored to be on this magically maddening adventure.

Even if it makes me crazier than I already was in the first place.

It’s totally worth it.

~Happy last Friday of the month! Hope you guys all have a terrific weekend!~

That Eeyore rattle in the middle? I honestly wasn't joking when I said I'd packed him in my hospital bag. Yeah. Let that sink in for a moment.

That Eeyore rattle in the middle? I honestly wasn’t joking when I said I’d packed him in my hospital bag. Yeah. Let that sink in for a moment.

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Back to School Motivational Deficiency

Well, now.

Isn’t that fascinating?

I just read somewhere that there are hundreds of thousands of words in the English language.

Whoa.

That’s a lot of words.

And with so many word choice possibilities…

I can usually think of something halfway intelligent to say.

Something clever.

Something catchy.

Something smart-assy.

Especially when it comes to writing.

But school started this week.

And, like my boys, I wasn’t really feeling it.

I’d been sick as a dog all week from all the summertime stress.

I mean, fun.

Yeah, summertime fun.

But sending my favorite monsters off with one of my infamous motivational lunch notes for the first day of school was simply a must.

What can I say? I miss my favorite crazy people when they're at school.

What can I say? I miss my favorite crazy people when they’re at school.

Ummm…

Okay, so it wasn’t very subtle.

And it’s only a whopping two words in length.

But I’m not gonna lie.

I kinda like my kids.

(Shhhh! Don’t tell them!)

In the meantime, I’ll be drinking mimosas and sharpening boatloads of pencils while they’re at school.

Gotta get my money’s worth out of that automatic sharpener, right?

Oh, who am I kidding?

I managed to sharpen exactly 32 pencils before my hand cramped up to the point of being virtually nonfunctional.

And then I had to get back to attending to the never-ending mountain of laundry.

Ah, well.

So long, summer fun.

It’s back to business, as usual.

Sigh…

~Happy Friday, friends! And… Happy Birthday to a very special 15 year-old (you know who you are)! Have a terrific weekend, everyone!~

An Ode to an Oldie

I’m his favorite sister.

And he’s unquestionably my favorite brother.

This may be largely due to a technicality, but I’m pretty sure it still counts.

It’s sort of a process of elimination by default.

But I have to admit, it sure makes it easier when you only have one sibling to choose from.

It’s about to big a huge milestone birthday for this favorite brother of mine.

The big 4-0!

And with that said…

Happy Birthday, Dante!

My awesome, absolute favorite brother.

He is every bit as unique as his name.

But then, it’s not like anyone in my family is capable of doing normal very well.

He and I are obviously related.

Despite the fact he used to try to convince me I’d been adopted.

(News flash: We look far too much alike for that to have been true. So there!)

Sure, he’s more than a whole foot taller than me.

(He enjoys teasing me about how I’d clearly stunted my growth by becoming a vegetarian at too young an age.)

But we both like to write.

(Yup! He writes, too!)

And we’re both funny.

(His favorite word is haha.)

At least, I think I’m funny.

Hmmmm…

I must be pretty funny, because he’ll typically reply to my texts with one of three responses:

  1. haha
  2. lol
  3. funny

He’s got a delightfully dry sense of humor, but he truly is a man of few words.

For this reason, we tend to text far more frequently than we talk on the phone.

Whenever we do have an actual phone conversation, he’ll mutter an occasional word here and there.

Which helps reassure me he didn’t get eaten alive by his feisty dog mid-conversation.

And then he’ll proceed to breathe intermittently into the phone like Darth Vader.

Oh, well.

Some people just don’t know when to shut up.

Growing up, he was paradoxically my best pal…

And worst nightmare.

Thanks to my favorite brother, I learned how to swim.

Or perhaps more accurately…

I learned to swim because he’d otherwise have kept trying to drown me in our backyard pool.

For fun, of course.

Because this, apparently, is what bored children do to keep themselves entertained.

(Note to parents: Think carefully before you send your kids outside with painfully vague instructions, like “Go find something to do”. Nothing good ever comes out of this.)

We’d make the most of our excruciatingly short pool season in New York by excitedly jumping in as soon as the pool temperature warmed up to a bone-chilling 59 degrees.

Hey, it seemed like a totally bright at the time.

But this may well be one factor in why there are clearly some things wrong with us.

Bloodlines run deep, but crazy runs deeper.

He also got me permanently banned before I’d ever had the chance to play an instrument.

My parents made the fatal error of allowing him to play a trombone in the school band.

He wasn’t exactly what one might call a natural.

The odds of him winning a medal for his performance weren’t sounding very favorable.

And I suspect I wasn’t the only one who’d felt that way.

A year or so later, we ended up selling that trombone to the first person who showed up at our garage sale, just to make it go away.

But alas, so started my future path to choir.

At least I wasn’t making everyone’s eardrums bleed.

And then there’s what I affectionately call Dante’s Shop of Horrors.

He used to set up shop in his bedroom, with an assortment of toys, stuffed animals, and other goodies on display, in an attempt to make a few quick bucks.

Did I mention most of the items in his shop already belonged to me?

But I’d always feel sorry for him, and so I’d end up buying my own crap back out of pity.

After all, the boy had a real hunger for life.

He’d count his earnings and walk to the store to stock up on more crap.

Including an assortment of treats, like dozens of those cheap apple pies that contained no real apples.

Money well spent, I know.

But then he would always surprise me with cute little stuffed animals he’d won from the claw machine.

Which made up for a lot.

Like when he’d change the channel on the one tv in the house and kill my few remaining brain cells with never-ending marathons of Beavis and Butthead.

(Those brain cells have yet to return.)

Or when he’d blare Metallica’s Enter Sandman on repeat, shaking and rattling the house all odd hours of the night until the vibrating floor would eventually lull me to sleep.

(I’ve known every word of that song by heart since 7th grade.)

But I think of him affectionately whenever I hear She’s a Maniac.

(It’s one of his favorites.)

And whenever I hear Journey’s Any Way You Want It, I can’t help bursting out in laughter.

(I still can’t figure out why he hates that one with such passion.)

I can’t help myself.

I always crank that one up and sing along at the top of my lungs whenever it comes on the radio.

I wonder if, subconsciously, I like that one only because I know it annoys the hell out of him.

It’s entirely possible.

Aren’t siblings the best?

Anyway, I’ll leave you all with this wonderful picture of baby me playing nicely with my big brother.

(And just to be clear, I was sooo not adopted.)

~Happy Friday, friends! Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!~

Don't feel too bad for him. He probably started it...

Don’t feel too bad for him. He probably started it…

Sadistic Shopping Frenzy

God, no.

Not this again.

How is it already that time again?

I’m just not ready yet.

And I’m pretty sure my kids aren’t, either.

Want to know the secret to blowing through loads of money in a matter of hours?

Have kids!

Have lots of kids!

And then cram those crazy kids into the car and go shopping for their gazillion back to school needs!

I don’t even want to think about how much we’ve already spent.

And I only have two kids, not a whole busload of them.

Yeesh.

With a week and a half until school starts, we hadn’t gotten around to shopping for most of the necessary school supplies.

Until yesterday.

Prior to yesterday, we’d only managed to shop for underwear, socks, and shoes.

And very little else.

Because last week was far too soon to even think about all this back to school nonsense.

And because I’m clearly a glutton for punishment, we went to Walmart.

Or, more specifically, we went to Walmart twice.

In one day.

So much for one-stop-shopping.

The only redeeming thing was that we’d gone to two different locations.

Walmart #1  had most of what we needed…

 But it didn’t have much of a selection of binders.

Who knew it was so difficult to find the perfect binder?

One that zippers shut and doesn’t pop open and create an explosive mess?

Is that too much to ask?

And we just had to have pens in a minimum of 5,000 different colors.

And that mini automatic pencil sharpener…

Because who in their right mind enjoys the tedious task of sharpening six dozen pencils in one sitting?

It was either that, or pay five times the price for the convenience of pre-sharpened pencils.

At least the pencil sharpener will pay for itself soon enough.

If it lasts long enough, that is.

But at least I knew better than to wait until tax-free weekend to start shopping. 

I can barely handle Walmart on a good day.

An hour of pushing and shoving my way through Walmart is almost enough to drop me to my knees in the center of the wine aisle while hyperventilating into a paper bag.

So there we were at Walmart, smack in the middle of the chaos.

Like that’s ever a good idea.

And then those boys of mine did what they do best:

They wandered off to the electronics department. 

So much for that.

Ten minutes later, they were busy trying on new heads.

Plush mascot heads, that is.

For whatever unfathomable reason, there was an enormous bin of assorted animal heads by the checkout area.

Such an interesting choice of so-called impulse items.

Was Walmart getting ready for Halloween?

In August?

As if back to school madness wasn’t already maddening enough.

But at least I managed to buy myself some cool new notebooks. 

Because why the hell not, right?

Besides, I needed a few more notebooks.

It sure beats scribbling my jumbled, random thoughts on toilet paper in the middle of the night.

Anyway…

A few days earlier, I had taken my younger son to Dick’s Sporting Goods to look for clothes.

Usually, he’s all about Nike.

Nike, Nike, Nike.

And nothing else will do.

But he didn’t like a single article of clothing at Dick’s.

He did, however, see exactly one backpack he liked.

An $80 Under Armor monstrosity.

More heavy-duty weapon than child-friendly carryall, it resembled The Hulk, condensed and smashed into a sturdy, yet incredibly unsightly, backpack.

Its water-resistant properties and ability to take out a large rodent obviously justified the exorbitant price tag.

I would have considered spending that much on a single backpack…

If- and only if- my child would’ve been willing to walk to and from school every time it rained.

You know, to get our money’s worth.

Oh, and it would’ve also needed to last until he’s 18.

At the very least.

Sounds reasonable enough, no?

Needless to say, we left without getting a backpack.

He didn’t like anything else there…

But he did buy a plush deer.

Priorities, priorities.

I suppose there’s no need for shirts or pants when he’s perfectly content wearing nothing but shorts and his favorite hoodie, anyway.

But alas, it’s almost time again.

Back to the madness.

Back to school.

As long as we make it through the year without telling everyone to Go to Michigan, I’m sure we’ll be just fine.

~Happy Friday! Can you believe it’s August already? Where is the time going? Geez! Anyway, hope you all have a fantastic weekend and enjoy the last few weeks of summer break!~

This, apparently, is what school supply shopping looks like...

This, apparently, is what school supply shopping looks like…