The Funny Shorts Story

My son threw his shorts up onto the hall light.

I know he didn’t mean to, but it happened, and I couldn’t help but laugh.

My kids enjoy their baths together. For now, at least. After all, I do have one boy and one girl. But, in California, it’s a good way to conserve water, and they get to have fun together. Most of the time, they enjoy it.

Lately, my daughter has been a little fish. She’ll easily spend an hour in there turning into a prune. The novelty has worn off of my almost five-year-old. There are other, more fun things to do. He’ll last 15-30 minutes before he’s ready to get out.

That day was one such day. My little fish kept splashing and my big boy wanted out.

Now, my son likes being wrapped in a towel until he’s mostly dry. Not a problem. It’s easier to dress him when it’s on his own terms. So, after a while, my daughter decided it was time to get out, but I’d left her towel in my bedroom. While the water was draining, I hurried over and grabbed it, and noticed my son still didn’t have his shorts on. I told him to get his shorts.

I got my daughter out of the tub and wrapped her in her own towel. We left the bathroom, and my son still didn’t have his shorts on. I idly wondered why his bathroom chair and two pillows were in the hall, but he’s a strange little boy. While holding a happy, towel-wrapped little girl, I told him to get his shorts. Again.

He just stood there and whined.

I went to get his sister’s diaper on her cute little tushie.

My son still didn’t have his shorts on.

How many times have I asked by now?

He just whined at me and finally pointed down the hall.

Okay. I get it. I’ll get his shorts for him.

Except, I go into the hall and, there, dangling from the light, are his shorts.

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How he managed to toss them up there, I’m not sure.

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The One Thing Having Kids Taught Me About the Human Body (That I Probably Should Have Known)

I love that my kids are always learning and exploring and teaching me new things all the time. Their endless questions keep my brain working and Google functioning.

Now, I know the human body must grow as the child ages. I know they can’t stay little forever no matter how much I want them to.

We track how tall they’re getting. We marvel at how big their heads grow. We watch as their limbs stretch longer. Their little baby angel faces morph and their personalities shine through, evident in the naughty smile and glint in the eye.

But it wasn’t until my little girl opened her mouth one day and stuck out her tongue that I learned something new about the human body.

She was not quite one and had discovered how fun her tongue could be. She loved to stick it out, lick her lips, and lick everything in her path. She went from all hands to all tongue.

I marveled at how tiny and delicate her tongue looked. It was adorable. I stuck my tongue back out at her to get her giggling, and wondered at how much bigger it was.

I should have known it all along, but it was then that I realized the tongue grows, too!

I never paid much attention to my tongue. I never noticed it grew along with my head and face as it always sat so perfectly in my mouth. Being faced by a much smaller baby tongue had my brain lighting up.

Of course, I should have known this all along, but I’ve never given my tongue much thought; just plenty to taste. My husband probably thought I was a little bonkers (after all, he is a scientist and works closely with medical doctors), but it was new to me.

It’s amazing the things having kids teaches you and helps you discover. Now I’m finding myself studying their tongues and watching them grow. And missing those tiny little baby tongues.

I’m a Stay-At-Home Mom and I Sit and Eat Chocolate More Often Than You Think

It’s true, and I blame my daughter.

The stereotype goes that stay-at-home moms sit and eat bonbons all day. And sometimes watching soap operas gets thrown in.

When I was a mom of just one, I would laugh. My son was constantly on the move. There were warm days when we would take two walks a day. He loved going to the playground. He liked to run and jump, but had zero caution. The early years were always an adventure. I looked forward to his 50 minutes of speech therapy because it was the only real time I got to sit.

When my daughter was born, I seriously thought about just getting rid of the couch. Who would have time to sit? If one was always on the go, two were going to be on the go…in opposite directions. The couch was just going to get sad and lonely.

The first year with two kids was just like that. Both kids were constantly in motion. But something happened the second year, when my son turned 4. He discovered he didn’t always have to be doing something and it was okay to just sit, rest, and zone out for a bit. Okay. One kid down.

Not so fast!

My daughter was 1 and, having started walking at 11 months, the shine of being fully independently mobile had worn off. For some reason, mommy’s lap was all the rage.

Months later, at over 1.5, my daughter still can’t get enough of my lap.  She loves rolling around on me and doing her own form of gymnastics. And when she’s not squirming around, she just lies or sits on me. I think I’m her favorite chair. If I sit for a second, she’s trying to climb on me. If I’m holding her, she’ll contort herself to force me to sit down just so I don’t drop her. There are days when I’m constantly up and down and there are days when I’m stuck on the couch because this little person won’t let me up. But instead of soaps (I used to sometimes watch one with my mom and found it so laughably stupid that I now refuse to watch any at all), I watch PBS, and my husband and I are sure we enjoy Odd Squad more than our kids do.

Then there are the days when I’m sitting, but not serving as someone’s seat. Those are the days when sitting really means perching. My daughter loves chocolate, but she’s a complete disaster when she eats it. I’ve found chocolate smudges all over her body, even when she’s fully clothed. Chocolate sessions usually mean I sit and watch her like a hawk with a waiting wipe. She hates when I hover, but I would rather wipe chocolate off her than the floor, couch, walls, toys, TV…basically, anything within her short reach. And sometimes she takes forever to eat, so I get bored and eat some, too.

So, yeah, I’m a stay-at-home mom who sits on the couch and eats chocolate. Not every day, but enough that I notice.

Smile: My Miscarriage Story (Repost)

As October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, I am reposting my miscarriage story, which was originally posted on March 26, 2018.

My son was born 4 years ago, before “rainbow baby” was a commonly used term. I certainly hadn’t heard of it until he was 1.

Even though he is a rainbow baby, I have a hard time thinking of him in that way. He isn’t my rainbow. He is something else altogether.

I remember our excitement when we finally determined it was time to start trying for our first baby.  I was lucky; it happened on the first try. But the test line was so faint…but the box said a line was a line. I was pregnant.

Almost immediately I started feeling the effects. Going to the bathroom twice as much, nausea, dizziness. Then, when I was 5.5 weeks along, it happened. I saw some spotting and called my mom right away. She calmed me down and reminded me that some spotting can happen. It never happened to her, but she knew someone who’d had periods for most of her pregnancy.

I went to bed thinking I would be fine in the morning. But Doubt had crept in. For good reason. In the morning, I was bleeding. It was heavy and dark and I had to wake my husband to take me to the ER.

They called it a chemical pregnancy, which was devastating to hear.

For a week after, my husband and I read and researched. Through it all, I didn’t smile. My eyes were hard. My heart felt frozen. I didn’t care about anything.

The doctor said to wait 3 months. I was devastated. I had wanted a summer baby. But my husband is a scientist and found out we didn’t have to wait. As a matter of fact, after miscarrying, my body was primed.

So we tried again. And waited. Thanksgiving came and we celebrated with his mom. I should have known then, just 3 weeks after miscarrying, that something was different. I was constantly starving. I hate green beans, but couldn’t get enough of them. I was afraid to believe what I felt was real.

I had an exact 28 day cycle. My husband kept pressing me to take a test. I was queasy and getting headaches. But Doubt still sat on my shoulder. Finally, about a month after the miscarriage and 2 days past the 28th day counting from it, I gave in.

The test line was stark. Dark and demanding, it came up within 30 seconds. We were thrilled, but I was cautious.

The winter holidays came up. We spent it with my parents in Southern California, enjoying being away from snowy Philadelphia. My blood test confirmed my HcG levels were exactly where they should be.

But Doubt whispered in my ear. Phantom pregnancies were real. I might have all the signs and symptoms, but there might not be a baby.

At 8 weeks we had our first ultrasound. I went in with Doubt snickering in my ear. I studied the tech’s face, heart pounding. Her smile and confirmation of a beating heart shooed Doubt away. Momentarily.

I knew the miscarriage stats by heart, knew it could still happen. Doubt wasn’t done with me. It danced and twirled, taunting me. I was terrified.

20 weeks came. Heartbeat was strong, anatomy was normal, and it was clearly a boy, no doubt about that!

Finally, it was time to tell my classmates (I was in graduate school at the time). It was getting harder to hide my still tiny bump. Doubt still whispered in my ear, but I had to say something. I just kept it low key, fearful that a celebration would be my undoing.

The end of the semester came, and with it began endless rounds of studying for our comprehensive exams. It was exhausting, but it silenced Doubt for at least a little while.

Other than some concerns about his small size, the whole pregnancy was uneventful and easy, even. I continually pushed Doubt aside, ate well, exercised when I could, rested, but put off getting his bed (thanks, Doubt).

At 34 weeks, my mother-in-law finally convinced me it was time to get his bassinet. Good thing we did and I didn’t let Doubt step in again.

Saturday night I had painless contractions every 2 hours, but figured they were Braxton-Hicks. By Sunday night I was crying with pain. Could this be preterm labor? Please, no. We went to the hospital, found out it was indeed early labor, but I was far enough along that they wouldn’t stop labor. I was terrified, in pain, and couldn’t stop worrying about my little boy.

He finally came Tuesday afternoon at 34 weeks and 6 days. I held him for a minute before he was whisked away to spend the next 6 hours in the NICU.

Doubt taunted me again. Was he okay? Had his lungs had enough time to develop? Why were the nurses not telling me other than that he was still being observed?

It was night before he was given back to me, pronounced to be healthy with good lungs. I got to hold him and really look at him, study his tiny face.

That’s when it happened. That’s when I knew.

For the first time since the miscarriage, I truly smiled. This little boy was my smile. A rainbow after the storm? Sure.

But I call him my smile. He brought it back to me. Still brings joy to my heart. Even now, 4 years later, everything he is makes me smile.

time for a blogging break and time with family

Looking Forward to Break Time

The days are long for a reason.

We parents all know the saying.

The days are long, but the years are short.

Well, I’m starting to think the days are long for a reason. It may be tough, but every moment can be filled with teaching, whether it’s the ABCs or simply being kind to someone. As parents, we have more minutes than I want to count to teach something meaningful to our children, to find new ways to entertain them and make them laugh.

Because what could be better than a child’s laughter?

But I am looking forward to a break. Not a break from motherhood or being away from my children. But a break from doing everything all day five days a week on my own.

Not only are The Husband and I taking a 2 week blogging break, but The Husband is also going to be home both weeks! He’s really into science and teaching our oldest science, so I’m simultaneously looking forward to what they cook up and being a little terrified of what they’re going to do. Will I still have a functioning kitchen? Well, if they want dinner, I’d better!

Really, it means each kid will get a little more attention, each kid will get more opportunities to learn something from both of us. The days will still be long, but, with daddy home, there will probably be more laughter, more weird things for my kids to do and find hilarious.

But I can’t wait. I can’t wait to see what new thing my son turns into a mustache and how much longer my daughter can spin herself until she gets dizzy.

The days are long for a reason. They’re long so we can have more fun.

That and I’ve been going a little nutty on Pinterest and saving way too many pins with interesting kid activities that I’m going to want to try out. All at once. So, there had better be enough time during the day!

An Apology to my Cat

Dearest Xena,

My fluffy baby kitty, I am sorry, but I have introduced chaos into your life. I have given you not one, but two screaming siblings.

When you first came home with me, it was just us: you, me, dad, and sister hamster. It was quiet and you got plenty of attention, treats, and petting time. You were our little baby.

We didn’t tell you you would be an older sister. We didn’t know we probably should have.

You knew before we did that something was happening, but you had no idea what changes would come with it.

My beautiful, usually graceful kitty. You patiently went through our move from Maryland to Philadelphia. You weathered a 2 week vacation to Southern California extremely well. You eventually noticed my lap was getting smaller and adjusted accordingly.

But nothing could have really prepared you for a screaming child.

One day I disappeared for 3 days and your grandma came to stay with you. Then I can back, but wasn’t the same. However, there was not yet a screaming child. Your brother had to stay in the hospital a few more days.

Then it happened. Your quiet existence was shattered with the homecoming of this small, wriggly human. There was curiosity (thought I didn’t see it, did you?), but you didn’t let this squirmy thing get in your way. You just napped next to me instead of on my lap.

For a few months, things were quiet. You weathered our move to Southern California extremely well and loved all the sun. But this babbling little human was starting to look at you. I know you were confused, but carried on, even napping beside him. I have proof, pretty kitty.

Then he got older, started crawling and walking, and he finally discovered you! Moment of truth. Would you get along?

Nope. He screamed right in your face. I’m sorry, my precious cat. Not only was this small child who stole me from you screaming in your face every day, but he also started going for your tail!

I know, I know, my little kitty, your world was turned upside down. And just when you figured out how to live with him, we introduced you to your sister!

I know you were not pleased. You made that abundantly clear while I was pregnant. But she only tries to pet you and you seem so much more patient and tolerant. Maybe you just need a sister.

But no matter what, my fluffy kitty, you are my first baby. I promise my lap will be yours again soon. And, one day, you and your siblings will figure it out. In the meantime, I still love you, my precious cat.

Love,

Mom

Sleep Deprived Dreams

My daughter seems to be teething non-stop these days. While I’m glad she has more than two teeth, it means she sleeps very fitfully. Any noise will wake her. She’ll take an hour to settle down. She’ll just want to be held for an hour. And the teeth come in one…at…a…time. This mommy is tired.

For as long as I can remember, I have always had bouts of vivid dreams. Sometimes they only lasted a week. Sometimes they occurred almost every night for a month. I drew inspiration from them, used them as the foundations of my stories. I looked forward to sleep just so I could escape into an amazing adventure.

There were nightmares, too, terrifying dreams that kept me up and haunted my waking hours, until I was 14. They taught me the dark side of my psyche, showed me the darkness that lurked in my mind that could break free if I wasn’t careful.

When I got pregnant with my first, I had read about vivid dreams being common. I laughed and wondered how I would be able to tell the difference. Truth is, I couldn’t. Vivid dreams were par for the course for me.

After those long sleepless newborn nights, I looked forward to getting back to my usual dreams. But something was different. They were still vivid, but sleep deprivation had done something to them.

Details were clear as day. The adventures were more exciting. The people felt real, like I actually knew them. I was immersed in my dreams, feeling completely untethered from reality. It was like living a second life.

Night after night. They were almost nightly. But, with my son, that level of vividity passed quickly, when he established a nighttime waking routine that only wavered during sleep regressions.

Then my daughter came. And I returned to this amazing dream world. At over a year she still doesn’t sleep with any consistency. I spend more days sleep deprived than not. Sometimes I feel like a functional zombie.

But I don’t complain. Much. Hurry up and come in, teeth! I live for the nights when I do sleep. Because I know this dream world is waiting for me. I am ready to dive back into these incredible dreams, these sleep deprived dreams that provide enough wonder and adventure to help get me through the long days.

I want her to sleep though the night. But I am also not ready yet. Though I am ready for teething to be done.

Dream world, I hope you welcome me back tonight.

Instafamous or Blissful Obscurity?

I saw a shirt in a children’s clothing store that read #instafamous. Perhaps you’ve seen it, too. Perhaps your child even has it. I’ve seen at least one toddler wearing it already.

But it made me stop and think, and what better day to ruminate on it than the one where I write about blogging and over sharing?

Today, children all over the world are plastered across the Internet. By their parents. Their images, names, birthdays, and even how they were born can be found all over social media. I’m not saying this is wrong or these parents are doing something shameful. What those parents choose to do is not my business. My children are my business, not someone else’s.

Do you remember a commercial from a few years ago where two or three (maybe four) kids were making an absolute mess in a beautiful white bathroom? Instead of intervening and disciplining and having their kids clean up, mom and dad were secretly recording this fiasco for the sole purpose of getting a million views on social media. I don’t think I was a mom just yet, but I was aghast. What kind of parent exploits their children in an attempt to go viral?

I don’t share my kids on anything but highly private social media for family and people I actually know in real life to see. I will not record their antics for the amusement of others. Instead, I will be teaching and disciplining.

I would rather my kids grow up in blissful obscurity than become instafamous. I believe my children deserve that. They deserve the chance to grow up completely unknown without the pressure of the world watching them. I don’t know what the world holds for them. What if they’re interviewing for a job in 20 years and the hiring manager finds a stupid video from when they were 3 and it impacts how they think of my child? I’m a long term thinker. I consider what might happen in 50 years. I won’t do something now that could potentially have an impact on the lives of those other than myself years from now.

If you choose to share your children online, I’m not saying you’re doing something wrong or shaming you. You do what you think is right for you, your family, and your children. I’m only doing the same for mine.

Unless my kids request otherwise, I will raise them in blissful obscurity. I will never share their personal information or their pictures.

What Day Is It?

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I never know what day it is.

The sad part is I have a giant calendar hanging on the wall (that I change every day), a planner, a phone that gives me the day and date, a computer, a tablet, and a TV that tells me the day whenever I use the guide.

So, you’d think I’d know what today is.

Nope. Not at all.

I thought yesterday was Thursday. I thought tomorrow would be Saturday. I thought Tuesday was Wednesday. And, for some reason, thought today was Tuesday. Okay, I’m close. It’s the other T day.

But, in all seriousness, as a stay at home mom whose husband has a Monday-Friday job, the days run together. I know it’s the weekend because the Husband is home. I know it’s a weekday (which one I couldn’t tell you) when he’s not. While I’d like to blame Memorial Day for screwing me up, every week is like this.

Some days I give up and hope I figure it out eventually. Some days I stare at the calendar. Other days I’m asking my toddler what day it is. The funny thing is, I’m trying to teach him how to read a calendar.

I don’t know what day it is. I’ll probably never know what day it is. Don’t even ask me what today’s date is. I barely know what month it is.

What day is it?

“What Did You Do to Your Walls?!”


Earlier today I was reading  Harold and the Purple Crayon to my kids. It’s a cute classic from 1955 with a lot of purple (of course). While I enjoyed Harold’s creativity and hope my kids pick up on it, as an adult I wonder if his parents asked:

“What did you do to your walls?!”

I’m all for creativity and being imaginative, but, preferably, not all over the walls.

See, Harold draws a rather extensive adventure and, while I’d like to think it’s a dream, I can’t help but wonder, what if it isn’t? What if he’s actually drawing with a real purple crayon on his walls? What would his parents say in the morning?

If it were my kids, I would be screaming “what did you do to your walls?!”

And while that’s my question of the day, has anyone noticed that emaciated moose?! It was kind of Harold do give the pie leftovers to a moose (and porcupine), but did it have to be that skinny? And while I’m on that topic, how does this kid even know about hunger and emaciation?

Two theories. One. His parents are humanitarians and care about the people and animals in the world. They’ve taught him to be kind, give to the less fortunate, not be wasteful, and what hunger is. This is lovely and noble and, if Harold can handle it, a great message for kids.,

On the other hand, there are two related options. Either Harold is impoverished and knows hunger first-hand or his parents constantly tell him about all the hungry people and animals in the world to make him finish his meals. Either way, this is a depressing scenario.

When I read this book, which is cute and fun, I’m going to have to keep the first option in mind. After all, it’s a good message to give to kids old enough to understand. But I’d still be asking:

“What did you do to your walls?!”