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Wish I’d thought of this first.

9 Apr

tumblr_ml008v6m861sn7lxto1_1280In case you have some burning desire to know how Seabass has been lately, this pretty much sums it up.

Thank you, whoever you are, for shamelessly documenting your son’s irrational crying.  It means a lot to me and all the other mothers of toddlers out there.


YOU’RE WELCOME: Spring photo purge

1 Apr

Tax day.

28 Mar
Cute and completely insane.

Cute and completely insane.

In our family, I’d say 15 percent of all days are pretty seriously awesome.  Most days are just okay – probably around eighty percent.  And what of the remaining five percent of days?  Atomically, horrifically, spectacularly awful.  To clarify, that means that about 18.25 days out of the year are atomically, horrifically, spectacularly awful.  And yesterday, apparently, we were due.

To be fair to my precious Seabass, the night before had set him up to fail.  Attending the 3rd birthday party for one of his friends, we were out late, and there was a fair amount of sugar involved.  For a kid who almost never goes to bed late or has access to sweets, Seabass was doomed to crash and burn.

But even aside from those circumstances, lately, Seabass appears to be ramping up for the Apocalypse.  He is loud, wiggly, sensitive, and clumsy.  In context, that means he’s waking the baby, constantly hurting himself, disintegrating at the slightest infringement on his independence, and DANCING ON MY LAST NERVE. So with all of this firmly in mind, I braced myself for a day of difficulty.

But I would have sold my cerebral cortex for a mere “day of difficulty” if I’d known how ugly yesterday would get.

Seabass lied to me three times.  The first time, I was folding clothes when I heard a startled arf! in the backyard.  When I arrived at the scene of the crime, Seabass held a toy hammer and Murphy appeared to be suffering the effects of PTSD.

“Did you hit Murphy?” I asked.

“I didn’t do aneefeeng,” said Seabass.

“Are you lying to me?” I asked.

“No. I’m not. [beat] Yes.”

The second lie came after I heard a thud and scared wail from Sweet Chuck.  She had been sitting up, but was now, suddenly, quite horizontal.

“Did you push Sweet Chuck?” I asked.


Did.  You.  Push.  Sweet Chuck?”

“No. [beat] Yes.”

The third lie was the worst because I actually saw what Seabass did before he lied to me.  He didn’t know I was watching as he barreled his ball-popping toy vacuum cleaner into a happily upright Sweet Chuck head-on, causing her to be horizontal – and screaming – once again.

“[Aghast] Did you just push Sweet Chuck down again?!?” I asked.

“No!  I didn’t!  [beat, starting to cry] Yeeeeeessssssss.”

All of this happened before 11:30 in the morning.  By lunchtime, I had the “FREE TO A GOOD HOME” sign ready.

The apex of all this awesomeness came when Jake called to remind me that he was scheduled to file our taxes with the accountant directly after work, and couldn’t help me put the kids to bed.  Putting 2+ kids down for bed is something that most moms or dads probably don’t fret about performing solo, but this mom doesn’t care for it so much.  Jake is my helpmate and the calm half of our marital equation.  I depend upon him.

Everything was actually going pretty well for a while.  Dinner was on the table promptly, Seabass was happily munching away at pasta, and Sweet Chuck was in her Bumbo for rice cereal.  About halfway through dinner, I noticed that she was staring off into the distance and turning a little red, but it quickly passed and we kept eating.  It wasn’t until I picked her up to put on her pajamas that the cause of her red face became clear.

People, there are blow-outs, and then there are supernova butt-blasts, leaving a trail of weeping and gnashing of teeth in their wake.  You wouldn’t believe such devastation could come from my sweet little sugar lump of a daughter, but it does and it did.  It did.

Wipe after wipe after wipe.  Wipe after wipe after wipe.  Pasty baby poop on my fingers, on my arm.  Her hand swiped into it.  I tried to keep her from putting her hand in her mouth.  Tried to keep the dog away from what he, no doubt, considers a rare delicacy.  And tried to stay calm while Seabass wrangled every single moment for new ways to be utterly obnoxious.

There was so much godforsaken poop, the only answer was a bath.  But the kitchen sink (where we usually bathe Sweet Chuck) was full of dishes.  It’ll have to be Sweet Chuck’s first bath in the bathtub, I thought, foolishly.  I ran to the bathroom with a naked and poopy Sweet Chuck in my arms, Seabass and Murphy pawing and squawking at me.  I placed her into the cavernous tub and started the water.  Her eyes became enormous and shrieks of terror began flying from her mouth.


Clearly this wasn’t working.  Maybe she’ll be okay in the bathroom sink, I thought, again, foolishly.  By this time, Sweet Chuck wasn’t going to be okay anywhere but Mama’s arms, but I tried anyway.  Again with the shrieks of terror and Seabass running laps around us.

Finally, I gave up and realized that her regular bathtub in its regular position was the only solution.  I hoisted the 25-pound screaming Sweet Chuck out of the bathroom sink and ran to the kitchen.  As I furiously threw dishes from one side of the sink to the other in order to make room for the infant tub, the warm, wet sensation of Sweet Chuck’s pee came over the left side of my body.  Par for the course, really.

The bath was had, the pajamas were donned, my clothes were washed, and sleep finally took over, I’m happy to report.  But it was the kind of day that leaves a mark.  I was in bed by 8:30pm, long before Jake came home.

There are many benefits to having children.  I hope it’s not gauche to say that tax credits are one of them.  When our accountant divulged how much our tax refund would be,  Jake decided to surprise me with these beautiful sparkles, picked up on his way home.

A little bling never hurt anyone.

A little bling never hurt anyone.

They don’t completely make up for the atrocities of March 27, 2013, but I love them anyway.

Free Agent

26 Mar

agen·cy noun \ˈā-jən(t)-sē\: the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power.

Was she really in my tummy just over six months ago?


19 Mar
My hero.

My hero.

I wanted to shout it from the rooftops, but this will have to suffice.  Oh, my sweet, gorgeous, kick-butt baby girl, I couldn’t be more proud of you.


14 Mar

wesmantooth2Jake and I watched the movie Anchorman last weekend.  It was, as always, epic. But it occurred to me that in keeping with nicknaming our children after obscure characters from puerile comedies, we should have called Sweet Chuck “Dorothy Mantooth.”



Shacking up together.

13 Mar

Guess what has two thumbs and still wakes up twice a night? –> This guy! <–

Sweet Chuck turns six months old next week, and we’re still getting up sometime around midnight and around 5am to hang out with each other.  Maybe that’s not too bad, considering friends of mine are thrilled when their 18-month-old *only* gets up four times per night.  Still, Seabass spoiled me with his extraordinary 12-hour stretches around five months of age.  Poor Sweet Chuck is living under some seriously high expectations. I mean, who goes for 12 hours without a snack?

The kids started sharing a room when Sweet Chuck hit four months.  Like most changes with kids, getting the two of them to share a room was, at first, so painful I thought I might die, and shortly thereafter, completely fine.  For the first couple of nights, when I was getting up on the hour to console one or both of them, I tried to remember that most kids across history and the rest of the world share rooms.  Usually, that bit of information inspired me to push through the discomfort [total carnage] of sleep deprivation [zombie madness].  But sometimes, it just made me angry that our house wasn’t bigger, like any true-blooded, privileged American’s house should be.

Jake calls this the 'retired gangsters in Florida" look.

Jake calls this the ‘retired gangsters in Florida” look.

Now, however, the whole kids-sharing-a-room thing is ritual.  And it’s downright incredible what Seabass sleeps through.  We’ve been “sleep training” (such a clever euphemism for something so soul-sucking) for weeks and even when Sweet Chuck is howling that she wants to party at 3:30am, her brother just lays there, fast asleep.  Amazing.

Of course, this could all change when Seabass graduates to a toddler bed.  That’s right: he’s almost three years old and he’s still in a crib.  Go ahead, look astonished.  Show your incredulity.

And then secretly reminisce about the good old days when your kid was contained for several hours at a stretch.

Better get used to these bars, kid.

Better get used to these bars, kid.

Mother’s Brain Spontaneously Explodes While Grocery Shopping With Children.

7 Mar
My gorgeous lovelies.

My gorgeous lovelies.

I usually shop for food in the morning when the kids are still friendly and semi-human.  But circumstances changed today, and I’m left anticipating a trip to the grocery store as soon as Seabass and Sweet Chuck awake from their naps.

Big deal, right?  No, not right.  So horribly, spectacularly not right.

Parenting is often an “if, then” equation.  If a street sweeping truck rolls past our house, then Seabass will require that we watch it together on the sidewalk.  If I let Sweet Chuck fall asleep in the car during errands, then she won’t sleep in her crib the rest of the day.  And if I take the kids grocery shopping in the afternoon, then I will most certainly die.  Of spontaneous brain explosion.

Seabass will whine about having to get in the car, then in the car seat, then out of the car seat, then out of the car, then in the cart, then out of the cart, then in the car, then in the car seat, then out of the car, then in the house.  Sweet Chuck will flash her pooping face right around the time we enter Trader Joe’s.  The store will be offering free samples of something like spaghetti and meatballs, which Seabass will almost certainly eat with his hands.  There will be a magnificent snot streak on my shoulder when I run into someone important like, say, my boss.  And I’ll probably buy too much booze.

Wish me luck.  And watch the headlines tomorrow.

Thank you, Mom.

28 Feb

Dear Mom,

It is your birthday tomorrow, and I want to make up for all the lame gifts I’ve given you over the years (ahem) with a few words of sincere gratitude.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

At long last, I am now a mother of two, just like you.  Now I see what you went through and what you faced to keep Dusty and me healthy and happy. Of course, I haven’t yet understood what it means to deal with the implications of a seriously hormonal teenage daughter or a son who decides to enlist in the Air Force during a war. But I have glimpsed just enough to know that you have suffered and sacrificed in the name of motherhood.  For all of it, I thank you.

Thank you for scratching my back while we watched TV.

Thank you for working from home so I never had to carry a key around my neck.

Thank you for giving me “the talk,” even though it would be many years before I would have a clue what a vulva is.  (And who am I kidding?  I still don’t really know.)

Thank you for paying through the nose for nearly 10 years of piano lessons.

Thank you for your incredibly forgiving and youthful genes.

Thank you for sticking by Dad’s side.

Thank you for enduring every single play and recital, for never making me wonder if you’d show up.

Thank you for insisting that we play outside while the sun was up.

Thank you for every time you had to erase and rewrite each of my phone numbers and addresses in your address book.  There were quite a few.

Thank you for giving me a sibling.

Thank you for spanking me when I bit him that time on the wagon.  You know the one.

Thank you for dealing with all the stupid boyfriends.

Thank you for caring about pretty things, for not letting me wear pantyhose and lipstick like the other girls in fourth grade, and for helping with questions of taste.

Thank you for sending me to college.

Thank you for letting me go 3,000 miles away for it, for never guilting me into staying close by.

Thank you for all the birthday parties, including the one where we ate outside but the wind kicked dirt in everyone’s eyes so we all had to pack inside our tiny house and my friends spread Barbie shoes into every nook and cranny.

Thank you for trying to teach me how to drive.  And thank you for driving me from here to kingdom come before I could do it myself.

Thank you for hosting our wedding in your home.

Thank you for being so faithful to me even when I am a raging mess.

Thank you for all the little packages, the notes, the gifts.

Thank you for bending over backwards to defend me, protect me, love me, and nurture me.  I want to be just like you when I grow up.





Baby machine gun.

22 Feb

expendables-2-comic-con-posterJake and I have such different taste in movies that we have recently adopted a simple “his and hers” method wherein we take turns with the Netflix queue.

Last night’s movie was The Expendables 2.  My pick.  Kidding.

Leading up to our screening, Jake was so excited about guns and mayhem that he, well…he turned Sweet Chuck into a machine gun.

I think we can safely consider this a companion piece to Seabass’ amazing pelvic dances from infanthood.