Monday, June 20, 2011

The first rule of Toddler fight club…..

When I was pregnant with Shea and before I knew whether I was having a boy or a girl, my former boss at Plush Puppy Pet Grooming and I were talking about having kids in general. She said, “I hope you have a girl. Girls are so easy. With boys you have to worry about them killing themselves.” At the time I thought, What a weird thing for her to say. Are all boys suicidal? I must have missed something in health class about that…. It wasn’t until I had Shea and he got a little older that I realized she didn’t mean suicide, she meant the dangerous and klutzy things that all boys do on a daily basis.
From the moment Shea took his first steps I knew we were in trouble. This kid literally cannot go a day without hurting himself. Our record for emergency room visits is twice in two weeks, both for open bleeding head wounds. I’m honestly shocked that we’ve gone almost three years now without stitches – he always manages to shred himself in places that they can’t stitch.
New List: Shea’s Injuries –or- Evidence for when Child Protective Services is called
1. Dent – forehead, tripped on carpet and hit outward corner of wall
2. Gash – nose, walking holding a sharp stick, tripped on own feet
3. Gash – nose, pulled flower pot off bookshelf, hit self in face
4. Dent – eyebrow, tripped on daddy’s big feet and hit end table
5. Open Head Wound – scalp, spinning around, fell and hit head on broken off knob to drawer
6. Open Head Wound – forehead, upset by being disciplined, literally threw self off of bed and hit nightstand
7. Bruise – toe, being chased by dad, kicked wall, may lose toenail
8. Gash – finger, dad closed hand in back door
9. Dent – Forehead, tripped on own feet, hit head on doorstep of grandparents house
10. Gash – Forehead, tripped on crack in concrete, bounced head off of said concrete (this one actually almost made me puke because when his head hit the concrete it sounded like someone smashing a pumpkin or watermelon… surprisingly did not bleed that badly…)

Add to this list countless other bruises, dents, gashes and ouchies……

As a mother and as a first-time mother at that, the first couple of times this happened I bawled my eyes out, but now when I hear the tell-tale “thunk” followed by the “Ahhhhhhh!!!!!” I sigh and roll my eyes, casually stroll over to assess the damage, ask him if he wants to go the hospital, which is almost always a “No…” and then follow up with a pat on the head and a kiss on the ouchie. I’m trying to raise men here, not cry-babies…
That is not to say I am not embarrassed when I take my children out in public and they look like they’ve just escaped the Lost Ark. We go to the park sometimes and see these little girls, wearing their glittery pinks and purples complete with Hannah Montana purses and Posh Spice pedicures and here comes my kid, his glasses are crooked from smashing his face into the ground, shirt is stretched out, pants barely fit and he looks like he just got done with toddler fight club – dripping blood from a recent spill and covered in bruises in myriad stages of healing, a rainbow of browns, greens and purples…. I am just waiting for that one time that the doctor, or checkout girl at the grocery store calls CPS and I am put under suspicion of child abuse. Let me state for the record – I DO NOT beat my kid. He does that well enough himself! And most parents would understand that boys are boys, and they rarely present unblemished, however my son likes to embellish the truth….
After one of the listed incidents, let’s see…. Ah yes, number 6, we went to the ER, certain that this would go down in history as Shea’s first stitches. However, due to the triangular shape of the wound, they suggested we let it heal naturally and sent us on our way, with a 950.00 hospital bill for some soap and a band aid… The next day I had an OB appointment and my doctor looked at Shea and said, “Oh honey, what happened to your head?” and Shea looked up at her with big blue watery eyes and said, “Daddy spanked me….” Silence…. Matt and I quickly looked at each other, both with the same stunned, “What the f…..” expression and quickly babbled random sentence fragments to try to save some face and keep ourselves out of jail. What had actually happened was Shea had done something, I can’t remember what, probably hit one of us or did something naughty, so Matt set him on our bed to try to talk to him about what he had done and Shea, in his glorious rage, threw himself off the bed and hit his forehead on the corner of the nightstand leaving quite a nice hole in his head.
Let me sidetrack a moment and relay the story of what happened in the ER that night…. Shea was close to two and a half, it was around Christmas time because I remember there being reindeer stickers on the windows in the ER. Matt brought Shea into the living room and Shea was crying, Matt was rolling his eyes and saying, “He hit his again throwing a fit….” “MATT!!” I yelled. “What?” he said, puzzled. Matt was holding Shea outward and wasn’t seeing what I was seeing. He saw a toddler throwing a fit, I saw the toddler throwing a fit with a waterfall of blood gushing out of his forehead. Matt turned Shea around and said, “Oh shit!” and we ran to the kitchen. I pressed a towel to his head and tried to kiss some tears away. I lifted the towel to see if the bleeding had slowed down and to assess the damage and almost vomited on Shea – There was a deep hole in his head and I swear I saw skull…. I yelled, “Matt get the car, we’re going to the hospital.” Matt scoffed at me, sauntered over and said, “Nicole, you’re overreacting, there’s no way you can see skull.” He looked at the hole for what seemed like several minutes, quietly grabbed the keys and went to get the car.
I sat in the back seat holding Shea on my lap and telling him we were going to go see the doctor. “NO! I’m ok, I feel better…” Shea said. Shea happens to be terrified of doctors, band aids and hospitals…. “Honey, you have ketchup on your head and we need the doctor to clean it up ok?” (At this point, blood was ketchup in the Piper house….) “NOOOOOOO!!!!” And as he screamed the blood started pouring again from his head. “Shea, they are just going to look at it and then they’ll give you a sticker, ok?” I’m listening, his face seemed to say.  “And you’ll get a sucker and mommy will buy you a present, ok?” He agreed to my terms just as we pulled into the hospital parking lot. Of course everyone and their cousin was in the Hillsdale Hospital ER that night and we were last in line behind everyone with a scratchy throat and a paper cut. You’d think that a toddler gushing blood from his head would take priority, but you’d be wrong… My grievances with Hillsdale Hospital is another story I will not get into now…. Anyway, the registration nurse came over and asked what was wrong. Hmmm… I’m holding a bloody towel to my kids head, he has a tummy ache. “He has a hole in his head,” I said nonchalantly. To which the nurse’s eyes got really wide and my kid started freaking out…. In retrospect I should have worded that differently… oh well. The nurse asked me to move the towel so she could see it and Shea started screaming, “NOOOOOO!!!! There’s no ketchup! There’s no ketchup!” Everyone in the ER started cracking up, Shea was so nervous his eyes were the size of dinner plates and he was vibrating. The nurse was really good with him though and gave him some stickers and eventually won his trust. When we finally went into the treatment room there wasn’t much to be done. The bleeding had stopped so they cleaned it really well and showed us that because of the odd shape they couldn’t stitch it, in fact there wasn’t any skin to stitch, the nightstand had actually gouged out the skin in a deep upside down pyramid shape. So they put a band aid on his head and sent us home…. Long story to get back to where we started…. Fast forward to the OB office….
Matt and I are babbling about the nightstand and the fit throwing and thank God my doctor had had two boys and she was very understanding. But what the hell? My kid just told my doctor that we hit him and that’s how he got his head wound!? Not cool.  And that wouldn’t be the first or last time my kid threw me under the bus. One night while spending the night with my parents, he told them “Mommy hurts me.” My dad said, “Oh yeah?” and Shea said, “Yep. She slaps my legs like this…” and started hitting himself in the thighs. My parents asked me about it and I was stunned. It was funny and SO not funny at the same time. Why would he say those things???
Long story short, boys are so clumsy and as a parent and a mother of boys you have to have a strong stomach, keep a well stocked first aid kit and know the shortest route to the hospital.

New List: Shit my kid has ruined.......

 Any parent will tell you that if your house is quiet, it's not time to relax, it's time to panic because that means your kid is decimating something expensive or irreplacable. There's a website dedicated to this, called "Shit my kid has ruined" where parents can send in pictures of things their kids have destroyed, it's very funny. As I do not have pictures to contribute I thought I'd just make a little list here of things Shea has ruined forever:
1. Couch - he has peed on the couch several times, but the cushions are machine washable so that's no biggie, but one time he burrowed behind the cushions and after a few minutes I realized he was being very still and quiet. I thought maybe he had fallen asleep back there...nope, he was drawing pictures on the inside of the couch with a black ink pen.
2. Laptop Computer - Matt left his laptop on the floor while it was charging, left the room for a minute to get something to drink and when he came back Shea had picked all of the letter keys off of the keyboard. About 3/4 of the keys were completely OFF and he couldn't get them to go back on again. One laptop - completely useless now.
3. Brand new Cell Phone - Matt's cell phone got ruined from being outside and having lots of sand and dirt in it so he went online and ordered a new phone. It was 80.00 and supposed to be more durable than the last one, including a new feature: Water Proof. It came in the mail and Matt opened it and activated it, set it on the counter and turned to open the rest of the mail. I walked into the kitchen and asked to see his new phone but it wasn't where he had set it. We turned around to sit it sitting in the bottom of Shea's water table that he got for Christmas, and yes, it was full of water at the time. New phone + 5 minutes with a sneaky 1 1/2 year old= destroyed phone? Nope - it really was waterproof, but if it hadn't been....
4. Irreplacable pictures from when I was a baby - I had taken a few pictures from my parents house of me when I was a baby and put them neatly in a scrapbook that I had spent a lot of time decorating. One day I caught Shea pouring water into said scrapbook. Most of it was fine, except for one page with pictures of me and mom that there are no copies of and no negatives... :(
5. Kodak Printer - I opened the paper tray of the printer one day so I could print something only to have 20 or so hotwheels cars fall out of it. The printer was then broken for several months until a whole day of messing with it fixed the problem.
6. Ipod touch - Caught Shea chewing on the actual ipod. = cracked screen, but still usable.
7. Several dishes - when a two year old wants to find out what wil happen if he throws a glass bowl onto a tile floor, there is much fun to be had.... NOT!
8. 75.00 floor lamp - Matt and I lived in Japan for a year and when we came back we wanted to decorate our apartment "Japanese" style. We bought a floor lamp that is black, wooden and has a paper "lantern" looking square top - it's very "Japanese-y". Caught Shea coloring the paper lantern part with orange and green non-washable crayons....we DID tell him he was only allowed to color on paper....
9. Sterling Silver airplane piggy bank - a gift from my dad's aunt and uncle for Shea. Hmm...guess what happens when you bang it on the floor repeatedly? One of the "legs" falls off....
There are so many more things he has broken - a ceramic dog dish, a couple necklaces, souvenirs from Japan, clothes, the list goes on and on and on.... my advice - hide the nice things you have and don't buy any "new" nice things until they are out of the house.....!!!!!

The dreaded Norovirus – or – Being Sick vs. Being “Mom” – sick

…Because there is a difference. And any mom will tell you – we are fricken’ superwomen. A mom can  get up in the morning, make breakfast, dress the kids, send the husband off to work, clean the house, do the laundry and whatever else needs to be done while at the same time, be dying from whatever super bug happens to be going around at the time. I know, because I’ve done it!
When I was younger, if I got sick, even if it was just your run-of-the-mill common cold, I would stay home in bed, or parked on the couch in my pajamas watching “The Price is Right” while eating my chicken noodle soup and nursing a hot mug of Thera-Flu. Not anymore. I’m a mom now… Mom’s come last, didn’t you know? If the husband is sick, he stays in bed, tossing and turning and moaning and whining – he gets sympathy. The wife takes care of him, brings him medicine, takes care of the kids by herself. If the kids get sick, mom is the one who cleans up the barf, takes the temperatures, tucks them in bed and funnels fluids down their throats. But who takes care of mom when she’s sick? Mom…that’s who. Mom takes care of herself and EVERYTHING and EVERYONE else, all at the same time.
In November of 2010, I was six months pregnant with Kellan and Shea was about two and a half years old. Matt was in Maine for work, he had been there for over a month and we had no idea when he would be home. We weren’t even sure if he’d make it home for Thanksgiving. (a little back story on Matt – at the time he was travelling the country, digging up unexploded ordinance. His job at the Coldwater newspaper wasn’t paying the bills so he took a major leap into a completely different job field. The paychecks were a lot better, but this meant he wasn’t home much at all). My parents were a life saver. They really helped me a lot with Shea; I was practically a single mother at that point, with Matt gone so much, and on top of it, pregnant… life wasn’t exactly easy for me. One weekend, my dad’s uncle was having his 90-something birthday party and they invited Shea and I to go along. We went, had cake and home-made ice cream and Shea got to play with a ton of other little kids. I was doted on and lots of hands were rubbed over my very pregnant belly. That night we went back to my parents’ house where my mom had a pot roast waiting in the oven and I ate my butt off. I had a mountain of food on my plate, we’re talking rolls, potatoes, green beans and a hunk of meat that would for sure be settling on my ever-growing hips the next day. My plate was fuller than my dad’s, and that’s saying something!
We stayed for a little while and when it started getting dark, Shea and I headed home. As soon as we walked in the door my stomach started to hurt. God, I ate way too much, I thought. So I grabbed a Vernors and put on my Sea Bands (motion sickness bracelets that are supposed to help relieve morning sickness and nausea in general) and we went to bed. I kind of tossed and turned for awhile but then I started sweated and feeling very very queasy. I didn’t even make it to the bathroom. I grabbed the garbage can that we keep near the bed and hurled my guts up. Everything I had eaten that day, heave after heave after heave. I couldn’t breathe. I ran to the bathroom holding the bucket and kept puking, and puking and puking. I had never vomited so much in my life. And the whole time I was thinking, “Oh my God! My mom food-poisoned me!!” I probably threw up for another couple of hours, didn’t sleep at all and the whole time I was waiting for Shea to start throwing up too, because he had eaten the same food. And I was just waiting for 7:00am so I could call my parents and see if they had been food-poisoned too. I was going to bitch my mom out for this!
As soon as it was daylight I texted her, “r u guys feeling alright? Cuz I’m not!! been throwing up all night.” And she texted back, “I’m fine, but ur dad was throwing up all night 2! must b the stomach flu, what? Did u think I gave u food poisoning??” Hmm…the plot thickens… How could only two of us have been food poisoned? Mom was right, it had to be a “bug”. Mom said she would try to find time to leave work and bring me some Gatorade and to just relax and stay in bed. Yeah right! I have a two year old and that two year old… is SHEA! How am I supposed to stay in bed and rest, this kid bounces off the walls every moment he’s awake. But I did. Cuz I’m a mom. There wasn’t anyone there to take care of me. Matt couldn’t come home, dad was puking too, mom was working, my in-laws were in Florida, my mother-in-law was in Kalamazoo, my sister-in-law was working, my siblings were not in town – there was literally NO ONE to take care of me. I had to do this myself and take care of Shea too. I laid in bed for a while because Shea was still asleep. At one point I heard my back door open, the dog barked, and my mom’s voice said, “SHHH! Shut up you stupid dog!” and I thought she’d come in and check on me, like she used to when I was little, but instead I hear something “thud” down on the table and then squealing tires back down the driveway. She had put the Gatorade out for me and gotten the hell out of Dodge before she caught whatever stomach bug I had. Who could blame her? Shea woke up just then and we went about our day. I fed him and changed his diaper making sure my bucket was close by. And I told Shea, “Mommy is sick, we need to relax today,” but that fell on deaf ears.
That afternoon my mom called and told me that 19 other people who had been at that birthday party had been throwing up that night and one of them went and was tested, which came back positive for Norovirus. The worst part of it all was that I was PREGNANT! while all this was happening. But I lived through it and I feel like I could do anything now!
New List: Things I’m not scared to do anymore, now that I’m a mom….
1. throw up
2. kill spiders
3. hold a child’s vomit in my bare hand
4. pick someone else’s booger (just my kids’, not anyone else, still working on that)
5. go to the gynecologist – they’ve literally seen my insides, there’s nothing more to hide or be embarrassed about
6. kill snakes – no wait, I’m totally still scared of snakes ,that one’s not going away

In conclusion, mom’s rock. Simple enough. You have to grow some thick skin when you become a mom or you’ll never survive motherhood.

Wieners – or – Raising Boys, A whole different animal….

Before I had kids, but while we were trying to get pregnant (there wasn’t really any trying, one day we were like, “Hey let’s have a baby!” and the next day I was pregnant) I had this picture in my head of long haired little girls with pink dresses and Barbie dolls…. What I got was two little boys who eat dirt, laugh when they fart and can’t keep their hands out of their pants. I say, “they” even though Kellan is only three months old and hasn’t actually done any of those things yet, I am simply predicting the future…
If you don’t have kids, or if you only have girls, or if your baby boy is still a precious little infant, than you may not know, but let me break it to you – little boys are OBSESSED with their wieners. I cannot even count how many times a day I yell, “Shea! Get your hand out of your pants!” It’s ridiculous. I’m beginning to think he has a mental problem. (Future Shea, I am so sorry if this embarrasses you, please forgive me, it’s just good material….)
New List: Inappropriate places Shea has played with his wiener:
1. Walmart – while sitting in the shopping cart. Me: SHEA! What are you doing?? Shea: (as loud as he can yell) IT’S MY WIENER!!!!
2. At the Eye Dr. – while sitting in the exam chair, DURING the actual eye exam. Thank God the doctor was looking closely at his eyes and didn’t notice Matt swatting Shea’s hand away from his “junk.”
Ok, those are the only two places I can think of that this has happened, but I’m sure there are more. I have probably blocked them from my memory.
 The day we had Kellan, the pediatrician came to the hospital to examine our new little bundle of joy and Matt said, “Um, hey… we’ve got a two year old who will NOT leave his wiener alone…..” Dr.: Oh yeah, that’s normal. Matt: Really? Cuz it’s like… ALL the time… Dr.: Totally normal. Matt: Ok, so like, he’ll grow out of it…or….? Dr.: (laughs) Oh, no. No. They just get better at hiding it….
I’ve even tried compromising with him. I’ve accepted the fact that it’s going to happen so one day I sat Shea down and said, “It’s ok to touch your wiener, but you have to do it in your room or in the bathroom. You don’t do that in front of people. Understand?” He said, yeah, he understood… That night, Shea got up from playing and headed toward the bathroom. Matt: Hey Buddy, do you need to go potty? Shea: Nope, I need to go play with my wiener…. Oy vey… But he continues to stand in the middle of the living room and watch cartoons while “exploring” himself. What’s a mom to do? I’m afraid to send him to preschool for fear of the inevitable phone call from the teacher that my son is being “inappropriate” at school.
While we were in the process of moving to Atlanta, the boys and I stayed with my parents for a month while I was healing from childbirth. One night, my mom had finished giving Shea a bath and sent him out into the living room in just a towel. He dropped the towel, jumped up onto the couch next to my dad and started dancing around singing, “Look at my wiener, look at my wiener!” I thought my dad was going to have a heart attack. He was both laughing and horrified at the same time. He covered his eyes and pleaded with Shea to get dressed. Shea then started bouncing on the ottoman singing, “Do the… wiener dance! Do the…wiener dance,” to the tune of the Huggies “Potty Dance.”
And this wiener wonderland extends beyond himself. He’s been known to ask people if their wieners are ok. One day he asked ME, “Mom, is your wiener ok?” Me: I don’t have a wiener, I’m a girl. Shea: oh…. You have an….inside? Me: (what the f…….? Where did he “invent” this knowledge) Don’t worry about it Shea, that’s not a nice thing to ask someone. Shea: Oh, sorry. Are your boobs ok? Me: *sigh* yes, Shea, they’re fine. Thanks for asking.
I don’t know what to do. How do you teach a child what’s appropriate and what’s not? I’ve become a broken record saying it to him and it doesn’t seem to be sinking in. I don’t want him to grow up with “issues”, you know? I think it’s our fault, mine and Matt’s. I read in one of those baby books that when you change the baby’s diaper, DO NOT make a face or gag or say “that’s disgusting” or the baby will grow up to have psychological damage and think that their “privates” are dirty and disgusting. So I told Matt this exclusive information and whenever we would change his diaper, no matter how nuclear-explosive or vomit inducing it was, we would smile and say, “Yay! Good poop!” Must have been reverse psychology and we instilled in him a psychological “bonus,” if you will, that his “privates” were unequivocally awesome. Major back fire.
Shea will one day do as the doctor predicted and become a master of deception with his wiener “endeavors.” And one day he will know that I wrote this and posted it online for the whole world to see and he will hate my guts, but come on, when you are a mom to boys, you just have to laugh at stuff like this or it’ll give you a stroke.

By Popular Demand: List of things I now do with a boob hanging out....

This one is dedicated to all my BZ Feb. 2011 Due Date Club friends - and to breastfeeding mom's everywhere... GO BOOBS!
Things I now do with a boob hanging out:
1. Balance the check book
2. Play Farmville
3. Watch American Idol
4. Talk to Verizon Customer Service Representatives
5. Shop Online
6. Read a book
7. Play Toy Story or some other game with older child
8. Drink Coffee
9. Eat Breakfast
10. Eat Lunch
11. Eat Dinner
12. Play Rock Band - Vocals only
13. Sleep
14. "People-watch" in the Wal Mart parking lot from the back seat of the Jeep - don't ask....
15. Sit outside and enjoy the nice sunny day... covered, of course
Feel free to add to this list any funny/crazy things you've done while simultaneously breastfeeding your baby!

Peach Puke Fest 2009 – or – The Amazing Stomach of a Toddler

The things I let my children eat. If the “me” from three years ago saw what was kept in my cupboards today she would die of a heart attack. Let’s back this story up a couple years, say…oh, 2008, the year Shea was born. Back then I was a little more idealistic, a little self-righteous and convinced that I was THE most knowledgeable mother on the planet when it came to babies and their diets. Shea was exclusively breast fed for the first few months of his life. When we started supplementing formula we bought the top of the line “almost exactly, kind of like breast milk” formula and he continued to breast feed until he was almost two years old. When it was time to start solids, about 6 months old, nothing passed my baby’s lips unless is was certified Organic, no dyes, no preservatives, no MSGs, all-natural, grain-fed, free range, hoity-toity, stick your nose up in the air, snooty and THE BEST, money could buy. If the me today, could meet the me from back then, she would slap her and laugh…
One of these SUPER foods was Earth’s Best Organics, pureed peaches. I thought it sounded awesome, and who doesn’t like peaches? Well, ask that to my 7 month old who projectile vomited them across the living room. That’s weird, I thought. Up to that point he had never in his life thrown up. He never even spat up when he was a newborn. The next day, following the “three days in a row” rule for detecting food allergies (give me a break, how has the human race survived this long?) I fed it to him again. This time, all seemed ok so we put him in his car seat and headed into town. Half way to the grocery store we heard, “Bluuuuuuuuh, YACK!!!!” He had projectile vomited all over himself, the car seat is a puddle of peach puke and Matt and I just look at each other, horrified. What do we do??? We ended up going to my parent’s house to hose out the car seat, air out the Jeep and enjoy a little pool time… Let’s not waste the afternoon because of a little puke, right? Day three, I am thinking we should ditch the peaches, this just isn’t working out. A call to the pediatrician calms me down a bit, the doctor doesn’t suspect an allergy, he just thinks Shea is not a fan of peaches. Try again in a few months.
Fast forward – Shea is older now, walking and talking. We go to my grandparents’ house who happen to have a peach tree. Grandpa Holland picks a ripe peach and helps Shea eat it. Shea is inhaling this peach and saying “mmmmmm” in between gulps. Hmmm, ok, he likes peaches now. A few hours later, after we are home, “Bluuuuuuuuh, YACK!” Peach puke on the carpet….. Ok, no more peaches for Shea, ever…..
But back on track, I think all mothers start out like I did. You want the best for your baby, but eating that way is just not practical. Eating Organic all the time IS ideal, but that’s not the world we live in. America today is the Mecca of processed factory-made chemical packed food products. And I think raising your children on a strict Organic diet is setting them up for an embarrassing moment of shitting their pants in front of their friends the first time they go out alone and eat McDonalds. You have to give a little.

New List: Disgusting and/or appalling things my kid has eaten….

1. I’m folding laundry and Shea (age 2 at the time) comes up to me eating something. Me: What’s in your mouth Shea? Shea: I don’t know. Me: Spit it out!!! Upon examination it is a piece of fish stick. When did we have Fish sticks?? Ummm…..Thursday. That was three days ago. Shea just ate three day old, room temperature fish sticks. Dear god…..
2. I’m typing on the computer and Shea (age almost 3 at the time) comes up to me eating something. (are you sensing a pattern here?) Me: What are you eating? Shea: Cheese. Me: Where did you get cheese? Shea: I found it under the couch. Seriously? Me: Come on, that’s disgusting. Who knows how long that has been there?
3. I’m watching TV and Shea (age 2 and a half) comes up to me….yada yada. Shea: mmmm, Mom I found a raisin. Me: Are you sure that’s a raisin? Shea: I think so. Me: What if it’s poop? Shea: (Spits it out all over the carpet.) It was in fact a raisin and not poop.
4. Shea comes out of the bedroom spitting (age 2). Shea: Mom this is yucky!! Me: What is it?? Shea: Blue stuff. Me: Where did you find it? Shea points at the laundry basket and I see blue laundry detergent has dripped on the handle and Shea has scraped some off and eaten it. Me: Why did you eat that??? Shea: ‘Cuz I wanted to eat something… well, yeah
5. Me: Shea are you eating paper??? Shea (age 2): No, mom, it’s a napkin….
Shea could win Fear Factor with some of the things he has eaten and honestly, I used to have a heart attack every time I caught him eating something weird off the carpet, but you know, you just have to get over it. And he’s never had food poisoning or thrown up after eating any of those things, not even the nasty old fish stick. At this point, with the new baby and all the responsibilities I have that keep me from being able to hawk-eye him, I can’t get so worried with him eating shit off the floor. It’s going to happen. And do you think my cupboard is full of nutritious organic snacks? Hell no – Right now we have chocolate chip Teddy Grahams, mini-Hershey bars, pop corn, pudding snacks, Cheez-its, and barbecue chips. I feed him fruits and vegetables every day, the rest I just have to give in a little. Yes, he eats McDonalds, I bribe him with chocolate but I am proud to say that at almost three years old, he has never had pop. So there….

Atlanta Traffic – or – The things I used to do….

It’s 8:15am, I am driving home from dropping Matt off at the airport in Atlanta, he’s on a business trip to Texas again, I will be alone with both boys for three days. Going 80mph in a 55mph area, not because I like to speed, not because I’m in a hurry, but because that’s how people drive here. I don’t even know what highway I’m on, the GPS speaks and I listen… I’ve lived here for only a month and a half and I have no idea how to get around. I can get to the grocery store and back and that is the extent of my knowledge of my new surroundings. Traffic is bumper to bumper, the heart-stopping brake-lights flashing intermittently – I’m trying to concentrate on what the GPS lady is telling me to do, while simultaneously begging my almost three year old, Shea, to please be quiet and watch his movie, and please stop poking your three month old brother in the face and please stop whining, no I can’t put Blue’s Clues on right now, Mommy is driving, Oh God, did I just hear Kellan poop?, no we’re not getting McDonalds, for the love of Jesus Christ please SHUT UP!!!! … Oh my god, did I really just say that? I did, I totally just screamed “Shut Up” at my three year old. Call CPS, surely someone driving past heard me scream at my kid and now I am officially a terrible mother. How did I get here? What happened to leisurely car trips? To putting in my favorite CD, rolling the windows down and just driving, knowing how to get where I was headed? Hmmm….
               New List…. Things I used to do:
               1. Cook.
I used to have fun cooking. Now I feel like I am a contestant on Hell’s Kitchen, but instead of the blond Gordon Ramsey screaming at me and calling me a donkey, it’s the blond three year old screaming at the top of his lungs for I can’t even understand what while I desperately try to throw together a semblance of a meal while bouncing an infant who is teething and cranky AND fighting the urge to hit myself in the face with the frying pan I am using.
               2. Go to the bathroom.
I used to be able to shower and use the toilet whenever I felt the need. Now I have spectators. Shea insists that he accompany me on these trips and I don’t dare leave Kellan in the living room alone with Shea. I have come out from the bathroom or laundry room, to find him with a sucker being shoved in his mouth or on occasion, covered in Hot Wheels cars.
               3. Eat my own food.
I used to be able to grab a snack, or a quick lunch, sit down at the table, or couch and consume said food in its entirety. Now I have to sneak like a ninja to the kitchen with a plan in place, I have to KNOW what I want and where it is. Once I make it to the kitchen undetected, I have to stealthily open a cupboard or fridge door without making a sound. One wrong move and out of nowhere, a little voice behind me says, “Can I have some?” ….sigh….Yes, Shea, you can have some. EVERY time there is food in my hands, “Can I have some? Can I have some?” I’ve even tried saying, “No, you can’t. This is mine” Which elicits glass shattering shrieks, tears and convulsions. I’m actually surprised he doesn’t weigh 300lbs. The kid eats his own meals and snacks and usually half of everything I dare to bring out of the kitchen. On a positive note, I am losing weight….
               4. Play the guitar and/or sing.
Since I was 12 yrs old I have been playing the guitar. I would play for hours until my fingers were so sore I physically couldn’t play anymore. I even used to open for local bands (back in Michigan) and would pack the coffee shop downtown. Now, when I’m feeling the musical urge, I will wipe the layer of dust off of my Alvarez and start playing a song that reminds me of my youth only to be told, “Mommy, be quiet, I can’t hear Dora!”
               5. Balance a check book with two hands.
This task is now done with one arm holding a writhing, whiny three month old while trying to get him latched on to nurse and the other hand trying to write legibly and work a calculator. I am the master of multitasking… This could also be filed under the “Things I now do with a boob hanging out” list….
               So here I am…now at a standstill in traffic on, Ah! I-285… see I’m learning!, I feel horrible for telling my kid to shut up, he’s pouting and making me feel worse. Kellan is starting to fuss, my stress level is now through the roof. But when I really think about it and put it all in perspective, I realize I wouldn’t trade it. Not for a second. These boys are my heart and soul and I’d give up all the “used to’s” in a heartbeat for them.
               “Shea, mommy is sorry. I said a bad word to you and I’m really sorry. Do you want mommy to put on Blue’s Clues when we get home?” He looks up from his pout. “And I’ll get you some Teddy Grahams?” His pout pulls up into a half smile. “And we can play outside after lunch.” He’s beaming, but I know I had him at “Blue’s Clues”. “Ok,” he pushes “and we can play Rock Band and sing Lady Gaga?” “Sure thing Buddy, just let mommy concentrate on getting home, Ok?” He’s ok with that and I feel a little better. Kellan is back asleep and traffic is moving again. GPS lady tells me to exit the highway and I’m back on a familiar street, I think I can get home from here without her. Breathe, breathe, breathe.