Saturday, January 14, 2012


When a woman first finds out she is pregnant, a lot of things swim through her head.  I remember my first reaction quite clearly.  Number one, I am having a baby (mush mush).  Number two, what the hell have I gotten myself into (push push).  Number three, how in the f*** am I going to stop cursing in nine short months?!?!  

With a bit of work, I was able to limit my four letter words to adult time only by the time Violet was three months old.  Of course I substituted PG phrases, but what's the harm really?  I first caught glimpse of the harm when my friend and I were hanging out a few years back.  Her two year old at the time shouted out "Oh Crap!"  I actually gasped at the expression as if I had never heard such offensive language in my life.  Who'da thunk crap would sound so bad.  

Trying to learn from my excellent friend's experience, I watched my every word around the kids.  "Crap" was nowhere to be found in my vocabulary.    S***, f*** and d*** were way off limits.  
Earlier this week, Lily asked me if we were "flippin' late again?!"  Deep sigh.  Looking back at all of the things Violet has spewed since the word "dada" first emerged, I can't imagine what kind of landslide I have in store for me with Lily.  Let see, with Violet we had "hey mom, this water is freakin' hot," "are you just going to let that freakin' baby cry," "I'm not going into the bathtub with that fool," and to our new neighbors..."our dog is freakin' crazy."  

I was so proud of myself for eliminating the word "freakin'," not even realizing that I had replaced it with "flippin'."  Should I try to redeem myself with baby Ivy, or just hand-pick her offensive term?  I could try "friggin'“or give her a bit of a British flair with "blasted."  At least then I won't be so surprised when my beautiful baby girl's mouth matches her cute little sailor dress.

I can see it now...Matt Lauer asks my kids what they think about their mommy being named MOTHER OF THE YEAR!  Violet says, "There is no mom out there freakin' better than my mom!"  Lily says, "Yeah, she's the flippin' best!"  Ivy wraps it up with one word..."fool!"  I guess I ought to find myself a new goal in life.

The Golden Baby (2008)

I sit here, slightly roasted due to a lack of sunscreen on my shoulders, wondering how it is possible that I can successfully lather up all three children (four including my nephew), but manage to miss at least one spot on myself.  Could it be karma? 

Yesterday, I found myself quite distracted by Ivy's perpetual path of destruction.  I seemed to be one step behind her all day.  I was rolling with it.  Hell, I didn't even notice that I was cleaning up mess after mess.  Then came 4:32 pm (I don't really know the exact time, but it does make me sound a little more attentive doesn't it)?  I was vacuuming up the dirt from Doug's orange tree that Ivy found to be great decoration the kitchen floor.  It was really no big deal.  I was smiling to myself because I know that Doug truly believes that this twig will eventually bear fruit for us to enjoy.  Then Violet yells "Mommy!  Ivy has your lotion!" 

Now in most cases it is not a huge crisis to find your child sitting at the kitchen table, covered in half a bottle of lotion.  But your heart really starts to race when that lotion is a lotion with a hint of self-tanner.  Visions of my baby's skin streaked in bright carrot orange raced through my head.  I scrub her body with baby wipes, consider calling poison control, then come to my senses.  My husband, who happens to be a family doctor, had warned me to keep my lotion up and out of the way just the day before--clearly the kitchen table is now within her reach.  I didn't want to call him, but figured the kids would tell him as soon as he walked in, so I figured I'd rather tell him via telephone.  After the dial of shame, I threw her in the shower and scrubbed her down some more.
Luckily the crisis was averted.  There is no evidence of any artificial tan on the child.  Funny enough, I think Ivy's encounter with my lotion is the closest thing to a homegrown orange we will find in this house!

P as in Poop (2008)

I must admit I have used the "mommy brain" excuse more than once in the past five years.  There are times that it truly feels as though my IQ has been halved.  So why does some research suggest that motherhood actually makes you smarter?  How could that be?  Do I just have a warped view of my former life or is it something altogether different?

My theory is that I have temporarily shut off the part of my brain that allows me to say intelligent things.   The capacity to think is still there.  I just have to use my brain for other purposes at this point.  One day, I will flip the switch and blossom into a GENIUS! 

This temporary shutdown became abundantly clear when I made a complete ass of myself on the telephone.  We are looking into refinancing our home and the gentleman helping us out was attempting to give me his e-mail address.  I wasn't sure if I heard him right, so naturally I read the address back to him..."m as in mom, p as in poop..."  I kid you not, I said "p as in poop" as if that was the association any normal human being would make.  Then I start laughing so hard I thought I was going to p as in pee. 

I don't know which is worse; the notion that this man believes that I am a moron or that he believes I am a complete nut job.  If only I could shut off the part of the brain that cares about what other people think. 

O Tannenbaum (published in Tickled Pink)

The day we caught glimpse of our home's great room, my husband immediately began to dream about the Christmas trees we would set there in the future.  I knew at that moment, there was no way for me to truly imagine what I had in store for myself.  As usual, I was right.
Christmas 2006 was our first in the house.   Doug was almost as pumped about the tree in our future as he was about the birth of our third child.  He actually went out to buy the tree a week before Ivy was born.  Of course he decided it was too early to drag the honkin' tree in our house, so it sat next to our house.  Two days after the purchase, the wind really picked up and the tree ripped the drainpipe off of the side of our house when it fell.  My friend Jolie, who is all of 4'11'' showed up and attempted to prop it back up.  Well, the tree was twice her size, so she came in to the house to ask for my assistance.  Ha!  I was lucky to walk without grunting.  There was no way that we would be getting that tree up.  Without the help of my neighbor that thing would have stayed on the ground...with our drainpipe until Doug made his way home.

Ivy was born on the night of December 7th.  Twenty-four hours, and very few minutes later, Doug, Ivy and I were headed home.  Little did I know what Doug's plans were for our first day home.  Forty-eight hours after the birth of sweet baby Ivy, I was sitting on the couch (no doubt wincing as my infant was gnawing on me in an attempt to get nourishment) watching our ten foot tall decorated Christmas tree.  I thought to myself..."is this bizarre or am I just hormonal?"  After Christmas 2007, I can answer that with no hesitation.

When buzz about the new Sams tree began, I figured we would undoubtedly be seeing another 10 footer.  Next thing I knew, Doug had his nurses calling around town for an 18 foot Christmas tree.  It only took Doug a day to decide that would be too big.  He said that he would need to find something smaller, as our ceilings were only 18 feet high.  I, however, believe that he got a good old fashioned case of sticker shock and decided that $350 delievered was too much.  A couple days later, his nurse had found him a $75, 14 foot Christmas tree out in Sunbury...just a short 45 minute trip.

At this point I just kept my mouth shut.  I am not going to be the one to ruin his fun.  I figure, I will just let him deal with this monster tree.  It wasn't until the tree farm called to ask if we still wanted the tree (as it was originally the a nearby city’s tree), that I began to sweat this whole idea.  Doug immediately became manic.  He gets to have the city’s town square tree in his home?!?  It was apparent that he was not going to be calm until he had the tree in our house.  He looked at me with his puppy dog eyes and asked if he could go get it.  Of course I tell him to go ahead, but I wasn't going to be tagging along.

Images of Clark Griswold were dancing in my head as he headed out with Violet and Lily.  He had to assure me about 3000 times that the kids would be safe with the 14-foot tree tied to the top of the mini-van despite the torrential downpour.  Sure enough 2 hours later, I still had a family of five with the addition of one ridiculously large Christmas tree. 

It took my dad and Doug to get the tied up tree through the front door.  It took my dad, Doug, 4-year-old Violet and I to get the soaking wet tree into the great room without permanently damaging my carpet (Violet assisted by holding a blanket beneath Godzilla, as we drug it).  The kids were higher than three kids after a birthday party.  In addition to that my mom was being a complete Grinch, so I sent my mom to give them a bath so we could attempt to get the tree in the stand.  Luckily the three of us were able to raise the tree fairly easily and the kids survived the bath despite the fact that I had to ask my mother to stop leaving them unattended.  She was just so impressed by my one-year-old's ability to go under the water without crying and she was really curious about the tree...she couldn't help herself.

Later that night, Doug came to me a said he was surprised that I wasn't more upset about the tree.  Upset?  Where would that get me?  He then went on to admit that the tree was a bit ridiculous.  All I could do was laugh, pop some popcorn, sit on the couch, and wait for Doug to start decorating.  My, was that entertainment!  After two nights of Doug throwing lights, Doug standing on the second to last rung of the ladder holding a 3 foot long stick to hang ornaments,  Violet, Lily, and Ivy all trying to help during waking hours, we had a fully decorated Christmas tree.  Of course our puny star was a bit crooked, but I wasn't going to say anything. It added character.

At this point, my only rule was that Doug use the shop vac to clean up needles.  2006’s 10 foot tree broke the vacuum cleaner and permanently marked our white carpet, so I thought that it would only be reasonable to give the new vacuum cleaner a month-long vacation from the great room.  Doug agreed, so the month of December went rather smoothly.
I must admit, the tree was beautiful and it was amusing to witness the expressions of children and adults alike that came to visit our tree.  Even the pizza man said it was the biggest tree he had ever seen inside a house.  Little kids were awed by the sight of the tree.  Violet was excited to know that she would be able to see the top of the tree if she just climbed to the top of the stairs.  It wasn't even difficult for Doug to get the tree out of the house.  He and a friend cut off the branches until about 7 feet from the ground, and then they easily walked it out the front door.  The mess of needles wasn't so bad.  It only took an hour or so with the shop vac (no stains this time).  I am not sure that is a good thing.  Secretly, I was hoping that the tree would be such a pain in the rear to haul out that Doug would never want to do it again.  As Christmas season approaches, I can’t help but wonder what to expect of 2008’s treescapades.

My Joey (2008)

It is no secret among friends that I would like to lose the rest of the weight I gained during my three pregnancies.  Really it is more about being fit and looking toned that is important to me.  So, I decided I need to just use my gym’s childcare so I could work out.  I finally got my rear in gear and I headed to the gym with my friend Jolie to help free the joey from the pouch that is permanently attached to my body.  

Life was good. I don’t love the treadmill, but who does?  I did some free-weights to help firm the old lady arm flab that seemed to be a part of the package deal when I purchased my minivan.  Then I went to the machines.  
Now, I was already worried about the machines, despite the endless number of times I used machines at my last gym.  Still I attempted to look like I knew exactly what I was doing.  Of course that doesn’t often work for me when I am clueless.  I ended up asking a boneheaded question that left my looking like a complete dunce.
Oh it gets better.   I saw a guy that helps me out from time to time when I teach the toddler gym class.  I knew he was a trainer and was ready to pick his brain.  I wanted to know how the hell I was going to get the joey to flee the pouch.  He went on to say that there was no particular exercise.  Rather, I just need to "lose the weight."  Okay, I wasn’t feeling like a lard butt  that day until this moment.  Embarrassed, I let him know that I am technically in my healthy weight range.  He quickly put me in my place and let me know that my muscle to fat range is clearly not.  Dang!  I wonder why he isn’t married...I think I need a brownie sundae.

My Humps (2008)

Why is it that working mothers and stay at home mothers always seem to be dueling over who has it better?  Recently a woman wrote a letter to the editor of Parenting magazine because she didn't understand why stay at home moms were voted the population that most deserved a cup of joe.  She didn't understand why they needed it more than working moms.  Give me a break!  Just because I deserve a cup o' joe doesn't mean that my job is harder.  There are benefits and drawbacks to both working and staying at home.  Maybe we mothers ought to stop beating each other up, eh?

I know that I am very lucky to be able to stay at home with my kids, but there are certain times that I really do envy the working mother.  If you need to run into a store to pick up one item on the way home from work, it can be done in mere minutes.  With children, that simple task may take an hour.  If you need to go to a doctor's appointment, you schedule some time off at work and go see your doctor.  Last week I learned firsthand just how difficult such a simple task can be.

When my babysitter cancelled with less than 24 hours notice before my appointment with the breast surgeon, panic raced though my entire body.  About 10 phone calls later, I realized my fate.  The kids were coming with me.  My husband scoffed at my panic.  "You'll be wearing a paper gown," he says.
On the way to the office, I kept reminding myself that things could be a million times worse.  The lump in my breast today is my third.  The first was removed when I was 20 and was benign.  That was a huge relief, but I would be lying if I said I didn't nearly vomit when I first unveiled franken-boob.  The second was removed when I was 7 months pregnant with Violet.  It too was benign, and there were no complications with my pregnancy despite the surgery.  I  found this lump when I first became pregnant with Ivy.  After a needle aspiration and core biopsy, the surgeon determined that this lump was also benign and decided it was safe to wait and see if it needed to be removed.  I have been going back to the surgeon over the past two years to keep an eye on it, but on this very day I was sure that this visit would be my last.  At my ultrasound prior to the visit, my lump had decreased in size by over 60%.  How can I complain?

Now, I have a tendency to forget at least one Mommy thing.  For this appointment however, I was OVER-prepared.  I had toys, food, coloring books...the works!  My thought was maybe I could lure their eyes away from my examination.  I also talked to Violet for a couple minutes about what the doctor was going to do.  She asks if she can watch.  Hmmm...I am all about being open with my kids, but COME ON!  In my best Mommy voice I ask her if she likes privacy when she is naked or if she likes it when people watch.  She agreed to a little privacy.

In the ten minutes we all spent in the waiting room, patient after patient observed and commented on the fact that I had my hands full.  I politely nodded, thinking to myself NO CRAP!  I thought the nurse's eyes were going to pop out of her head when she saw the herd of children following me into the examination room.  I ignored this, hoping that I would be able to delude myself into believing that this happens every day.

Violet giggles as I undress from the waist up.  I try to bribe her to refrain from laughing by promising the girls my pink paper shirt if they behaved during the visit.  What could be more appealing than a patient examination gown right? 

In walks my breast surgeon.  She laughs uncomfortably when she sees the girls.  I am thinking to myself...YOU are uncomfortable?  She makes small talk and lets me know that my ultrasound showed great improvement.  She went on to say that this would be my last visit.  I was hoping she would turn and walk away, but no such luck.

You know what rocks about male doctors that work in women's health?  They are discrete.  In my experience, the women docs…not so much.  There I lay bare-chested while the good doc does what seems to be the longest breast exam of all time.  Lily and Ivy play quietly.  They could really care less about what was going on.  Violet on the other hand had her chin to the floor.  She was trying not to watch, but it was like a train wreck.  She couldn't help herself.  Poor child is probably scarred for life.

The days where I hang out at the zoo with my kids, or spend the day laughing and playing princess are the days that working mothers have it waaaaaaaaay harder.  On this day, I have them beat hands down.  Where is my flippin' cup o' joe?

Man…I feel like a Woman (Published in Tickled Pink)

Gotta love the annual GYN appointment, eh?  I went to see a new doctor today.  My husband referred me to him.  I know...weird already.  When I meet the man, he says "so we have a Sams here!"   Double weird.  I also notice that he does not meet my normal "ugly old guy" criteria and make a mental note to give Doug crap for sending me to a hot gynecologist.  I don’t know why that weirds me out, but it does.  Thank God the man meets his new patients fully clothed in his office first. We take a break from the abnormal and talk normal GYN smack talk.  That’s the end of normal.

I go into the examination room and strip down.  I am sitting there naked twiddling my thumbs when Shania Twain’s "I Feel Like a Woman" starts playing.  I of course laugh out loud, hoping no one is near my door to hear.  The hot doc walks in to a classic Chicago love song.  I swear I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

Moments later he asks me if I have any problems with incontinence.  I would much rather have this conversation with my unattractive wrinkly doctor.  Having an 8, 9 and 10 pound baby did do some damage to my bladder, but I let him know that I was fine as long as I didn’t wait until I needed to pee really bad.  Even then, it was like a drip not a gush!  That was not good enough for him.  He suggests physical therapy.

Is this some sort of joke?!?  Only I would need physical therapy for my hoo ha.  Why does this kind of thing happen to me? When I told Doug about the referral, he said he wasn’t surprised because Dr. McNotOldOrUgly specializes in pelvic floor problems.  I’ve decided Doug has been noticing a new post-pregnancy aroma.  I plan to get rid of any of my friends that thought I smelled like piss and failed to fill me in!

Guitar Hero: The Crime (published in Tickled Pink)

I always wondered about baby 911 calls.  I mean, what are the odds that your baby accidently hit 911?  Well, I learned the hard way this past weekend.  I was testing out my new Guitar Hero game while Ivy was sitting on the couch next to me.  Doug was in the house at the time, so I could justify my half-way parenting moment.

On my third try at a particularly frustrating song, Ivy kept grabbing the phone off the table.  I finally took it away for good.  As I was turning the phone off, I scolded her for messing with the phone, as it was interrupting my oh so important game.  About ten seconds later I was speaking to the good ol’ PD.   When they asked if everything was alright, it didn’t really sink in that they were calling per our request.  It was only after I responded with a very confused yes, that she informed me that they received a 911 hang up call from my house.  Mortified, I told her it must have been my one-year-old, as I had just taken the phone from her. 
It might be paranoia, but I could swear the woman did not believe me.  She sent someone over “just in case.”   How I wished I had gotten dressed already, but there was no time to worry about that.  I had to hide the guitar!  I would hate for Doug to know that the cops were coming by for a visit because I couldn’t tear myself away from my new and very fun video game.  Furthermore, I wouldn’t want the cop to think that I am one of those mothers (you know, one of those that I apparently am). 

As I was quickly tidying up, Violet asked what was going on.  I told her that the police were coming over because Ivy had dialed 911.  Almost immediately I realized mistake.  Three-year-old Lily’s bottom lip was quivering and it was nearly contorted into a Popeye-like expression when she asked if the police man was coming to take Ivy away to jail.  I quickly assured her that police officers don’t take babies when the doorbell rang.

I tried to convince the officer that everything was alright while he was standing on my doorstep, but it was clear that he would feel better if I invited him in.  So there I stood…tye-dye t-shirt, pj pants, and three girls lined up in a row, wide-eyed and quieter than I had heard them in days.  We just stood there until I broke the silence by saying, “see girls…the police man does not want to take your baby to jail for accidently calling 911.”  I am not sure if he left because he believed everything was okay, or if he was afraid one of the girls might ask him to take her baby sister with him…if only for a day.  He didn’t look like the diaper duty kind of officer.  He bolted out of here right quick!

Needless to say, Mommy only plays her Wii in the wee hours of the night now.

Flubber (2007)

Recently Lily's preschool teacher let us take home the flubber that they played with at school today.  For some reason I was feeling hesitant, but Miss Kim assured me that flubber (very similar to silly putty) is much cleaner than play-doh.  Heh!  My kids had it in their hair and ground into their clothes.  That, of course in their minds, meant that the clothes had to come off.  I didn't really care.  My only rule is that they stay away from the windows when they are gorillas (their new description of naked life).  I realize this is no easy feat in our house, but I would still consider that rule more than fair.  Seconds later, I hear 4-year-old Violet saying "Look Lily…I made a vulva!"  Can you tell she is the child of a doctor and a counselor?   I look up to find her sitting on the flubber, making quite the impression.  I was speechless...and tired.  I don't think Miss Kim will want her flubber back.  Our gorilla rule may be changing soon.

Bon-bons and soap operas (2007)

Wouldn't it be nice if you could have just one day with bon-bons and soap operas?  I am sure there was a time that I too believed that was the work of a stay at home mom.  I know there are believers, as I am sure there are some moms that may fit the bill.  I, on the other hand, cannot imagine that life.

In preparing for my husband’s office party, I decided to get the house cleaned by a professional.  I figured it may lighten my load a bit and more importantly, it may give me the opportunity to relax a bit.  Five and a half hours and a wad of cash later, the first floor and the stairs of my home were clean.  In reality, it didn't really lighten the load much and I only relaxed for a couple of minutes.  All the same, I was looking at a cleaner house than it would have been otherwise.

I'll admit, I felt slightly insecure about my lack of housekeeping skills, but that didn't put a damper on my wonderful mood.  My living area was completely clean.  I really couldn't imagine feeling anything but joy.  In exactly one hour, I had plans to go shopping with a friend for something to wear to the party.  What could top a day with my girls and some time to myself? 

Moments later, as I was watching my girls jumping on the couch cushions they had spewed throughout the living room, I couldn't help but wish there was some possible way for Calgon to take me away.   Why did I feel compelled to order the fam a pizza online?  Why did I leave my five-year old, Violet, and three year old, Lily, alone in my living room singing Hannah Montana at the top of their lungs?  A little more supervision would have prevented the destruction of my bliss.

I wouldn't trade my life for anything.  In a recent Parenting magazine, over 50% of those polled didn't see a problem with hiring a full time nanny or sending your child to day care if you are a stay at home mom.   Getting help with housework, I can relate to.  Getting a babysitter for a couple hours a week, I can absolutely understand.  But after one day bon-bons and soap operas, I would be anxious to go back to my life of feather boas and Polly Pockets.  I would be more than ready after that one glorious day.