Friday, February 29, 2008

Freaks of nature

My children are brilliant freaks. How could they not be, look at their mama. The brilliant part, not the freak.
Yes, they are brilliant freaks, and not in the conventional sense, although I don't think there is a conventional use of the word freak. They don't read, write, or speak another discernable language. They are not Picasso's, mini Mozarts, or baby Einsteins (although they really like that show!)
They are brilliant freaks in their own ways, like mutant superheroes. I guess all those x-rays I took while pregnant without donning the lead vest (that things heavy!) created superbabies. Bug is faster than a blinking eye. Blink once, he's gone, and all you can do is follow the sound of stomping feet. (He runs a bit flat footed, just like his daddy, whose also freakish.) He is also an escape artist extraordaire. No child safety device, door, or gate can hold him. He simply watches you while you install it, then within a few days, he's successfully demonstrating the child like sponge mind that he has. It's really frightening how quickly he evades capture and successfully completes his mission. His superhero name: the Scarper.
Boo is his wing man. His superhero name: the Punisher. He's very quickly learned how to make another child or an adult submit to his will, either by batting his stunningly beautiful blue eyes (complete with girlishly long lashes that I want to pluck and put on in place on my own) or by an unending whine that will make adults beg for mercy. (Really, I beg, and offer bribes. I'm weak, I know.)
Punk's final superpower is still as yet undisclosed, but I suspect its going to have something to do with men. She already grins and they melt. Really, into sticky little puddles that I then have to scrub and mop up. Very inconvenient. And they occassionally leave stains. Her superhero name: Poisen Oozy, of course!
So now you see why I think my kids are brilliant freaks. They've managed to turn their frightening child powers into lucrative hobbies that I'm certain will one day become fantastic careers that will probably have me seeing them only on visiting days. I'll be so proud!
Honestly, I'm very proud of my children. They are sweet (most days) and wonderful and more entertaining than any reality TV show. And they are all mine, for better or worse.
Share how your kids are brilliant and win --hey, we're all greedy, prize grabbing pigs, right? Check out or to find out how. Or don't. More goodies for me!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

There's something in the air

And its making my boys crazy.
Today, while I was interviewing (AKA trying to appear grown up and professional in my hooker heels) my boys went insane and took their daddy, whose mental stability was already questionable, with them.
First, it was the whining. "Daddy, watch NOGGGGINNN!" If you even so much as approach a remote control in our house, my oldest, Bug, will wake from a dead sleep to whine those words.
Second, its the mini Harry Houdini's. My boys can escape anything. Gates, no problem, Child safety latches, they laugh. A strait jacket with extra padlocks . . . well, let's just suppose we haven't really tried that one. Forget I said that.
Months ago, my husband won me a gift certificate to a chocolatier. I've hoarded that certificate for months, and finally decided that I was stressed enough to need a treat. Out of a 1/2 pound box, I got six chocolates. And they were scrumtious! Bug certainly thought so, because he ate the rest. My precious liquer and coffee filled preciouses ("My precious. My precious!") graced the palate of my culinarily uneducated child. (Insert the pearls before swine proverb here)
They tried to flush my make up down the toilet, and succeeded in a few precious cases. (When I can't pull my face together for tomorrow's interview, I'll know exactly who to blame, with their beautiful, dewey child skin that needs no cosmetic enhancements!)
They gave their sister a new cuddle toy for her bed, a bottle of Soft Scrub.
They peed in the house.
They did whatever in the heck they wanted when my husband closed his work weary eyes. (Silly man doesn't learn, does he?)
I've spoken to friends and their children are suffering from the same affliction. There must be a pheremone released into the air that's making my angels behave like the heathens I pretend they aren't.
Right now, I'm huddled in front of my computer, trying to type softly, clutching the baby and praying they don't hear me. Its almost bedtime. If I can just go undetected until bedtime, I might survive.
If not, I'll throw them the baby and run like hell.
Even this mama has her priorities.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The truth about loyalty

I have a job interview tomorrow.
Let the panic begin.
I haven't interviewed for a job in SIX YEARS! I mean, what if its all changed? What if I don't know the secret handshake? What if they don't like me? It will be like high school all over again.
Okay, the flashback has passed. I think.
I've been with my current job for six years. That means I've been loyal through a miscarriage and three babies. I was loyal when my husband was deployed to Cuba for a year (and not as a detainee).
I've been a good (Alright fair. Okay passable, geez, leave a woman a little self esteem, would ya?) employee. I've driven in on ice and snow just to make sure the clinic was still in one piece and the dogs and cats weren't pet popsicles. I've handled irate clients, angry dogs, and pissed off pusses.
And my penis wrinkle of a boss cut my pay and hours back to the point where I have to look at my three kids and explain that "Mommy can only afford to feed one of you, you'll have to fight it out amongst yourselves. Let me know how that goes." (My money's on Punk. She may be little, but she's sneaky.)
My loyalty got me royally screwed. Without the benefit of lube, if you know what I mean.
So I've had to pull on my big girl panties and put myself on the market. I even labeled myself slightly used, handle with care. This breech of trust hurt, and its a hurt I won't get over any time soon, I'm sure.
So I've done the frantic destruction of my closet looking for one outfit that isn't jeans or scrubs. Then the mad dash to the store when I realize all the grown up clothes I own are from three pregnancies ago and won't even fit over my big toe (another thing to thank my precious babies for when they get older--did you have to crave those blasted Twinkies every day?). I've hunted up my hooker heels and hose, cringing at the thought of giving up my comfy tennis shoes. I stared at my reflection in the mirror, realizing that the casual no make-up look I've gone for for the last six years will have to change into an adult, professional.
And all I can think is I was loyal.
And look where it got me.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Privacy, fantasies, and the Highland Warrior

It took a total lack of privacy for me to really feel like a mother.
I am a mother, so privacy isn't something I'm terribly used to. After giving birth to three children and nursing them all, there's not much of my body that hasn't been exposed to the city at large. Or at least that's how it feels.
I have been in stirrups, conversing with my doctor about my toe nail polish while trying to imagine how much longer its going to be.
I have had at least four people staring at my nether regions, one with their hand buried within said regions, trying to determine my dilation or lack thereof.
My insides have been on the outside as all three of my children were cut from my body.
Everyone in the hospital (I may have missed a custodian or two) and my pediatricians office have seen my breasts, examined my breasts, and commented on the supply in my breasts.
During my Essure procedure, people were in a out, greeted by the sight of me in stirrups, open to the world, because it was demonstration day. My response? "Well, it's nothing half of town hasn't seen by now. Come on in!"
Do you see where I'm going with this?
Privacy and modesty are things of the past.
But I have to draw the line somewhere. And I draw the line in the bathroom.
And its probably not where you'd think that line would be. I don't care about company while I'm on the throne. Or putting on my make up, brushing my teeth, counting crows feet or gray hairs.
My line is right around my bathtub. That's my own personal no fly zone.
I do not want to talk, to share, or even to see another soul when I'm up to my eyebrows in bubbles and immersed in both scalding hot water and some tawdry romance.
I don't want to see my husband when I'm wrapped up in Scotland with a Highland warrior. (Who, for the sake of my marriage, we'll say looks exactly like my huband.)
I don't want to hear my children calling for me when I'm submersed in a fantasy life that is totally sans children. (I love you, but just go away. Let mommy decide whether or not to drown herself now or later, honey.)
I want the outside world to fade away for at least thirty minutes. I want that "Calgon, take me away" moment. Or that Roseanne fantasy with the beautiful bath and hot attendants. I want to pretend I'm someone else for thirty minutes before I return to my own life and begin slugging away at feedings, dirty diapers, and runny noses.
And its not because I don't love my life. I do, in the same way an alcoholic loves his drink. Obsessively, compulsively, and uncontrollably. But no twelve step program can cure my addiction. "My, my name is Crazy and I'm a Momaholic."
"Hi, Crazy!"
I just think in my mom contract there should be one little section that reads, "Under no circumstances, under penalty of a slow and painful nagging death, will any one person disturb Mommy while she is at her bath."
Or with my Highland warror.
That looks just like my husband.

When good boys go bad

Thanks to my husband's strange obsession with police shows, most notably Cops, my two boys can now sing the words to Bad Boys. You know the ones, "Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?"
Such wonderfully well written lyrics, sure to make any mama proud.
Now, when I tell Bug or Boo that something they've done is bad, I get the song sung to me. Loudly and off key. Most often accompanied by dancing and shaking their booo--tay. This makes appropriately disciplining my children a challenge, to say the least.
A part of me laughs whenever I'm treated to this Broadway calaber peformance. The rest of me cringes, seeing a future as trailer trash whose one shining moment of glory is being caught in the back seat of their Ford Pinto with a *ahem* lady of the night.
I don't know whether to cry or be proud. I mean, one day I might be able to brag to my fellow blue hairs that my son was on television!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

When I wasn't looking

My oldest son, Bug, turned into a little boy.
I don't know when it happened.
It seems as though I put him to bed a small squishy baby and he awoke the next morning with long legs and a full vocabulary and I don't know when it happened.
I think there is an instant in time when our child changes from a baby to a child. Admittedly, there are years in between, when body's develop and brains mature, but there is an instant, when, as a mother, I looked at my oldest and realized he wasn't a baby any more.
He no longer has that baby smell, that heady mixture of milk, sweat, and spit up that combines to make a mother not murder her child, but to hold him close instead. There was a lingering spot behind Bug's left ear that held that smell longer than any other part of his body. I remember pressing my nose to it and greedily sucking down that smell.
Now he just smells like stinky little boy.
Boo still has that spot, harbored in the crevice on the back of his neck. I find myself wondering when it, too, will fade away and leave me only sweet memories of my baby boy. I wonder which morning I will wake to find my sweet toddler has morphed into a little boy overnight.
Oh, I still have Punk, but she's a girl, and smells different than my boys ever did. Not bad, just different.
I'm wondering if there will be a moment in the future when I'll awake to find my boys will have morphed into men, and I'll be trying to find some remnant of the little, stinky boys they've left behind.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Virgin Territory

When I first became a mother, it was so fresh and new. I had idyllic dreams of a natural drug free birth a baby who nursed perfectly from the start, and a happy Leave It To Beaver family.
What I got was Pitocin, failure to progress, and emergency c-section, a child whose latch was all wrong, and post partum depression.
I bet old June Cleaver never went through any of that.
A few years and two more children later, I look back on my naivety in wonder. Especially when I hear first time mothers to be announcing the same intentions I had in the same "I know better than the rest of the world" voice.
I wish them all the best, I really do. And I refrain from telling them about the real experience.
I won't tell them that they lose all sense of self and the owership of their own body. I won't tell them that they willl look at their screaming baby and yell back. Or that they'll sit in the midde of the floor and sob because they did yell back. That they'll obsess over every wet and dirty diaper and how much their baby eats or doesn't. That they'll announce every new thing about their baby to anyone who'll listen. And that eventually, their child will tell them he hates them and their heart will break as they reply, "But I still love you."
The good far outweighs the bad, and the good days are treasures we'll horde for the future famine as our chidren grow. But the bad leaves little scars on a very tender heart that will never entirely heal.
It was virgin territory for me not so long ago, and I've stumbled and fallen flat on my face. But I've pulled on my big girl panties and gotten up. And they will too. Each and every time.

They've got him by the . . . balls?

My youngest son has to have surgery. Where, you ask? On a pair of very sensitive buddies that rarely see the light of day. His Wingnuts.
(Just reading that line probably made some man's buddies crawl back up where they started out)
I'm a fairly liberal mom when it comes to the human anatomy. After a husband and two boys, the Wingnuts don't hold a lot of mystery for me. They're just a fact of life, something to be wiped and powdered. (My boys, not my husbands. Just to clarify, he does his own wiping and powdering.) I've seen them jiggle as the boys flash through the house after baths.
Ho hum.
But I found myself today discussing my son's Wingnuts with more people than have even seen them, including the hospital staff when he was born.
At first, I tried to be professional and clinical. I used all the correct terminology. I primly crossed my legs and tried to look like talking about Boo's Wingnuts was something I did every day. (All the while watching out of the corner of my eye as he got his head stuck in the handrail of a stepstool.)
But I was secretly relieved when his surgeon called a spade a . . . ball. It was a relief to hear the common vernacular used instead of tapdancing around a sensitive subject. It was a release, a guilty pleasure.
Go ahead. try it. You can say it with me. Baaaaalls. Don't you feel better?
Even a very well educated doctor says it, so it has to be okay?

No princess and the pea

There is no sleep to be had at my home for anyone over 3 1/2 feet tall.
My boys go to bed easily and with minimal fuss. They just wake up at an obscene hour, yelling at me from their bedrooms, demanding food, drink, and the luxuries of life like the wee little lords they are. I'm sure their future wives will thank me later on.
My baby had declared a war on me. She won't sleep and screeches if I get more than a hairsbreadth away from her. I think she's been taken over by aliens and is using physical contact to suck the life from my body, but that's just my theory.
Reason doesn't work, since she knows she has me by the tatas.
Begging doesn't work. She just smiles, knowing she's got me by the tatas.
Bribery fails, because . . . well, you get the picture.
She's never heard of the Geneva Convention, or if she has, she's disregarding it with all the concern of a militant warlord.
When the gods created babies, they were smart, just in case you weren't aware of that fact. Not only can they survive the strangest things, such as being throw hundreds of feet by tornadoes, but they have built in tortures devices too.
Exhibit A: A baby's ability to only sleep when their parent can't, say in the car. The police frown on parents driving while asleep. I've tried it.
Exhibit B: What other creature will a mother willingly allow to teethe on her breasts in order to feed them? Cats, dogs, and all other intelligent mammals wean their young very quickly once they grow teeth. And we're at the top of the food chain? Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it?
Exhibit C: How much do we spend on babies every year? On clothes, diapers, formula, pictures, toys, etc? And how much do we spend on ourselves?
Do you see where I'm going with this?
My daughter has declared war and I can't even get the basic rights any other captive would have. I want my Red Cross care package, complete with Oreo cookies!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It's Beginning to look a lot like . . . RSV

Everywhere we go.
My almost eight week old daughter developed what looked like a simple cold last week. It progressed, and like a good and dutiful mama, I watched her. From afar. With a can of Lysol in each hand.
I watched as her breathing became more difficult, as her little chest retracted. We ran a humidifier 24/7, vicks, salined, and suctioned until her little nose was so sore I hurt, and sat in a steamy bathroom until I was dehydrated and we were both sweaty. I lost three pounds--of water weight.
Nothing helped.
So I took her in to see the pediatrician. Not her pediatrician, who everyone knows is wonderful and who everyone is conspiring to make her so impossibly busy she can't see her regular, favorite patients. (i.e. my kids) Another pediatrician in her office, whom I don't like and who I wouldn't trust with my husbands care, let alone my oh so precious kids.
And she said those dread three letters-- R.S.V.
And then talked about hospitalizing Punk.
Imagine me clinging to my daughter, crying in a Maddona-esc manner (beautifully, without the runny nose and spotchy complexion) as I plead to be allowed to take my child home. In reality, I was no where near beautiful or Maddona like. I was a panicked mommy trying to figure out what went wrong.
Some discussion and negotiation later, Punk went home with me, and I began 36 hours of no sleep and wrestling Punk into a small mask for breathing treatments. Imagine trying to hold a slippery fish still in order to put a mask over its face. That was me. At three a.m. and every four hours for nearly two days.
Let me mention there has to be a better way.
Thankfully, the heavens open up and a ray of light came down upon my blessed little girl--okay, my baby heathen-- and she improved. So no nasty hospital for her.
But there is a quiet padded white cell waiting for mommy after this experience.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Its over

No more baby making day for me. I had the Essure tubal sterilization done yesterday ( and in the next three months, my body will become unable to conceive a chid.
Its bittersweet. While I loathe being pregnant--and who wouldn't with non stop vomitting, strange sharp pains, and nerve damage caused by my last baby--I will miss the new baby phase.
Punk is my last. So every time she does something, it will be the last time I ever experience that joy as a mom. Or that headache.
There will no more new baby smells. No more small solid bundle curved up against my breast. No more first smiles, first steps, first words. No initial wonder at what my body as created and nurtured. When she's done them all, we're through.
But there also won't be any more leaking at the sound of a baby's cry, no more waking every three hours to see to another's needs. Aside from sickness, once she learns to sleep through the night, my next phase of sleeplessness will occur when my kids start dating, driving, and grow up.
So Punk and I are traveling this road together. The last time I will travel it. Eventually, she'll find her way to this road again, as a mother. And she'll have her own bittersweet realization when it reaches it end.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Contagion Continues

As if it wasn't bad enough that Bug has this sinus junk that's going around, he oh so kindly shared with the rest of our family, including his seven week old baby sister, Punk. So I have three sick children.
Bug isn't content to just lay around on the couch and be sick. No, he has to follow me into whatever room I've gone into and announce in a scratchy voice, "I'm sick." Just in case the free flowing snot, flushed cheeks, and honking cough didn't tip me off. Thanks son.
Now Boo does the same, toddling behind me to announce, "Sick, Mama, sick." And then cough. Convincingly.
I'm waiting on Punk to do it.
We've killed off a bottle of children's tylenol, more pediatric vicks than I care to admit, vapor strips, vapor bath--you name the vapor product, we've done it. I've steamed my children in closed bathrooms with hot showers until they are par boiled and irritable. I've held them down and slathered any exposed body part with a greasy, camphorous substance, and I've chased them with tissue in hand demanding that they "Blow like you mean it!" I lay in my bed in the middle of the night, exhausted from working all day and being SUPERMOM at night (Capable of catching a bogey in two seconds flat!)
I've lost my mind.
Welcome to my world.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The House of Phlegm and Snot

There is nothing better than being awoken to a child coughing so hard and loud it sounds like a two pack a day smoker. And then discovering that your child has coughed so hard he's thrown up.
That began two night ago. since then, I've been on ICU nurse detail. Bug is sick. And he'll tell you in a wispy, cracked voice that he is sick. So I have Lysoled, steamed, medicated, Vick's, and sterilized everything he's come in contact or looked at in the last two days. I don't hold out a lot of hope that Boo will remain free of contagion, but at two years old, I can at least do something for him.
My little Punk is only six weeks old. Having a winter baby had already sent me into a panic regarding flu and RSV. I have been a germ Nazi since she was born. And now I find myself staring obsessively at her, waiting for chest compressions or any signs of illness, ready to wisk her off to the emergency room.
Which would be full of sick people, too.
My maternity leave ends tomorrow, making me abandon my baby and my boys to my husband's care. He's a man. He tries, honestly he does. But he's a man. He just doesn't get it. I know he'll take the best care of them that he possibly can. I also know that they will kick his parental butt.
Most days, I'd laugh. Crying seems more appropriate now.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Considering the unthinkable

How do you know its time for your three year old to begin attending a dayschool?
Is it when you discover no child gate can hold him? When he's outwitted every child safety product brought into the house? When he's teaching his younger brother all the tricks? After they've destoyed your five disc DVD changer? Pulled the wallpaper border off the walls? When is enough enough?
Yesterday was enough.
Yesterday while the baby and I were out, my husband sinned. He fell asleep.
Bug and Boo escaped, going into my washroom to do some laundry--wasn't that sweet of them? What helpful boys.
A baby bottle, Bug's beloved Penguin and Woobie (a Noukie Paco Doudous) later, Bug decided to add laundry detergent. The entire box. Half of which went into the washer, the other half on the floor.
Boo, being a bright child, realized that they would be in trouble for the mess, and grabbed the mop. Then, both boys figuring out that it wasn't going to work, they ran like hell.
Leaving a trail of little white footprints all over the hardwood floors.
I began looking into dayschools that very day.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Qualifying for sainthood

There are very few perils a parent faces that strike fear in their hearts like trying to potty train a child. Boo, my three year old son, is causing my husband and I to tremble at the knees and beg for mercy. I would promise him anything--candy, money, women-- in order to have him miraculously able to control his bladder and bowels.
He doesn't do bribery, by the way. I tried. Even Pamela Anderson wouldn't sway him.
So I answer not only my own calls of nature, but his, which he announces at the top of his lungs, any time, any place, in front of everyone.
In the store. "Mommy, I have to Pooooopeeeeee!" (You'll notice the phonetic exaggeration placed on Poopee. Every syllable must be drawn out.)
At home. "Mommy, I Pooooopeeeeed!"
"Mommy, Bubby Poooopeeeeed!" (He has to share.)
And my personal favorite. "Look, Mommy. One poopee. Two pooppee. Three poopee. Plop!"
And if I don't move fast enough, the inevitable, "Look, Mommy!" And when I do look, I see a child with his had in the toilet and I cringe, knowing what has just occurred and what the result will be for me.

Monday, February 4, 2008

And I thought this was a good idea why?

I'm one of those mothers you see in the store and avert your eyes from. Yes, I'm the car wreck, the drowning woman gasping for her last breath. I am that woman. You now the one I'm talking about. That woman's hair is pulled back into an untidy ponytail, her socks may match, she's lugging a four hundred pound diaper bag, trying to reason with an unreasonable toddler, pulling yet another box of cookies out of a preschoolers hands, all the while jiggling a baby on a shoulder covered in spit up. Her children are dressed better than she is in her tired yoga pants and t-shirt.
You can't look away, but, like a wild animal in the zoo, you're afraid to get too close.
I'm that woman.
I'm the mother of three children under four years of age.
Two boys, Bug and Boo, and a six week old daughter, Punk.
I'm outmanned, outgunned,and outmanuvered at every turn.
My children know it. You know it. Hell, even I know it.
If you get too close,you'll hear me whispering, "And I thought this was a good idea why?"