5 days of nuggets: Day four: EASIER THAN PARENTING.

5 Sep

I recently added to the mayhem around here by tiling our new kitchen’s backsplash.  I wouldn’t have done it myself if I hadn’t been graciously assisted by a little clutch of girlfriends – all fellow moms – who have each done some time tiling in their own homes.  At first I felt a bit rotten asking them to help me, but they all answered yes without hesitation, arguing that a day’s worth of hard manual labor was easier than parenting.  Touché.

Easier than parenting.

Me and friends not parenting for a day. 


5 days of nuggets: Day three: THEY WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF CHEERIOS.

4 Sep
Snack happens.

Snack happens.

5 days of nuggets: Day two: RUINING IT FOR THE REST OF US.

3 Sep
First day of school.

First day of school.

There’s an old Saturday Night Live sketch that parodies a round-table talk show, and it’s called “Ruining It For The Rest of Us,” wherein a moderator asks several guests to describe how they ruined some part of everyday life for the rest of mankind.  One man arbitrarily puts razor blades in Halloween candy.  Another man uses a store’s private restroom only to pee all over the walls, the mirror, everywhere, just for fun.

Is this clear as mud? I couldn’t find the sketch anywhere to show you. Sorry.

The punchline is this: I believe the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market in San Luis Obispo will forevermore prohibit three-year-old boys from peeing in its restroom because of Seabass.

The untamed Seabass has only recently learned how to recognize the onset of urination and defecation.  On Monday afternoon, he felt the urge while in the produce section and alerted Mama, who – with Sweet Chuck strapped to her chest and a handful of eggplant – scampered with him to the bathroom to make it all happen.

After one glance at the adult-sized potty, Seabass announced confidently that he wanted to pee standing up. For the first time.

Now, I don’t know how the male apparatus functions in such a situation.  I mean, I know that guys stand up to pee, but does it come out straight? Sideways? Up and to the left?

Bingo.  In this case, up and to the left.

Oh, AND EVERYWHERE ELSE.  It was like the freaking Fourth of July in there.  What else could I do but run for cover?

We will not be peeing standing up for at least another couple inches’ height, for everyone’s sake.

5 days of nuggets. Day one: THIS IS LOVE

2 Sep


This is the branch of kangaroo paw that Seabass found on a recent bike ride and insisted on planting in the back yard.  How much does he have Daddy wrapped around his little finger? Daddy not only dug a hole, inserted the branch, covered it up and watered it – he also gave it a sturdy stick to lean on and introduced Seabass to the myriad seductions of duct tape.  Now that, my friends, is love.

Sweet Chuck has Dracula disease.

21 Aug

So…for whatever reason, our sweet baby girl got her bottom two teeth and her top two canines first.  Can’t picture it? Here’s what that looks like:

Our little Jack-o-Lantern.

Feel free to really zoom in here.

When she smiles at me like that, I just can’t keep from laughing.  I’m sorry, precious Sweet Chuck.  You look completely ridiculous, even as you look completely adorable.

Why are her teeth growing in all wonky like that?!?  Nervous that this might be a permanent condition – Dracula disease – I asked her pediatrician if there are, in fact, teeth up there ready to come out.

“Oh yeah,” she said, peering in with a little flashlight and tongue depressor. “They’re there.  They’re just taking their time.”

Once she reassured me that Sweet Chuck won’t look like a jack-o-lantern forever, I started to kind of hope that the teeth don’t come in for another couple of months, because, well…




Scene involving excrement from a recent swim lesson.

20 Aug

Lo and behold, Seabass is using the potty.  And it was all his idea, just like you said it would be.  Thanks for keeping the hope alive, friends.  I gotta say, it’s been awfully nice to hear him scurry to the bathroom and potty on his own while I’m cooking dinner or nursing Sweet Chuck, as though he’s done it all along.

Navigating summertime pool fun with his new-found love for underwear and le potty has been tricky, though.  Questions arise like “Why don’t I need to wear underwear in the pool?” and “What do I do if I need to poop when I’m in the pool?”  You’d be surprised how difficult it is to explain these mores to a young human.

And clearly I haven’t done a very good job, as evidenced by the following scene from a recent swim lesson.  Keep in mind we were surrounded by gobs of parents/kids.

Me: [dripping wet, holding Sweet Chuck in one arm while wrapping a towel around Seabass with the other]: So, sweetie?  How was your swim lesson?

Seabass: Good! [now yelling] MAMA I PEED IN THE POOL!!! I DIDN’T POOP, BUT I PEED!! IN THE POOL!!!

If he peed in the pool, what, oh what, are they bathing in?!?

If he peed in the pool, what, oh what, are they “bathing” in?!?

Confidence and poise, that’s me.

5 Aug

Once upon a time, I really enjoyed driving, but that era had long since past.  In this particular moment, all I could do was try to breathe and tell myself over and over again, “You’re okay.  You’re okay.  You’re okay.”

I was driving down a 7,000-foot-high mountain with Sweet Chuck and Seabass in the back seat after a week at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Uncomfortable turns and sheer drops off the right shoulder had me more than a little anxious. Since my early 20s, I haven’t been able to handle heights or grand vistas like the ones I was seeing through the passenger’s side window.  But who else could take the wheel? Jake was home remodeling our kitchen by himself.  We were in Southern California to get out of his hair.

To complicate matters further, my driver’s side mirror was gone – smashed to itty bitty bits in the middle of the night by a hit-and-run driver – and Grandma and Grandpa had been nervous for our safety.  So, just before we left their house that morning, this happened.

So much better.

MacGuyver, eat your heart out.

On one particularly hairy turn down the mountain, my palms started to sweat.  “You’re okay, you’re okay,” I muttered to myself.  Sweet Chuck started scratching at her ears, which were no doubt popping from the effects of a steep descent.  “You’re okay, you’re okay.”  And then Seabass started whimpering, I thought out of fear because his mommy sounded loony.

“My back hurts!” he mewed.  “When you twisty turny on the road, my back hurts!”

“I’ll try to take the turns as gently as I can, sweet boy,” I replied. But it was no use.  The next thing I knew, guttural barfing noises emerged from the back seat.

If it wasn’t for the godsend of a turnout on the side of the road that very instant, I would have had hot Seabass chunder all over the inside of my van, which, more importantly, may have wound up at the bottom of a canyon due to driver instability.  But I flew into action at the sound of vomit and made the turnout just in time to catch Seabass’ honk with a plastic bag.

I’ve only ever seen Seabass barf once before, thankfully.  This time, I marveled at how slowly yet forcefully it came out.  It reminded me of those underwater volcano videos we used to watch in science class.

Poor little boy.  He was pretty well shaken by the whole experience, and Sweet Chuck’s crying couldn’t have helped settle his nerves.  I stroked his little back and kissed his head.  And what do you know? Not three minutes after I’d removed the barf and wiped the corners of his mouth, he was asking for something to eat and requesting The Incredibles in the DVD player.  Before long, we were down the mountain and both kids were happily in their own little worlds.

We made it to Santa Barbara in three hours, fifteen minutes – a record by all accounts! – and decided to visit the darling Santa Barbara Zoo for a peak at the animals, a train ride, and lunch on the lawn.  I strapped Sweet Chuck into the Ergo and Seabass chirped excitedly alongside me, holding my hand.  The weather was pristine and the animals even seemed happier than usual.  Despite a rocky start, I was officially having a good day.

We eventually made it up the hill to the Zoo Cafe, where a long line of hungry people snaked around the building.  We took up residence behind a vacationing Indian family of about two dozen members, each of whom wanted a quesadilla.  You would think that an order for a billion quesadillas would go pretty quickly, but each of them ordered and paid individually.  I feared for the happy attitudes of my children, but Sweet Chuck gummed the strap of the baby carrier contentedly, and Seabass stood quietly in line.  It was as though they’d been drugged.

We finally made our order and picked up our food, bringing it over to the lawn where both kids could roll around and eat without greasing anything or anyone up.  Sweet Chuck had just started crawling, so she was scooting to her heart’s content, and Seabass made friends with the Indian boys while munching on his PB&J.  I was even able to eat a salad without answering Seabass’ machine gunfire-style questions about life, or keeping all food and sharp dining implements out of Sweet Chuck’s reach.  It felt like life was happening.  I felt like I’d finally found my groove.  You never would have guessed that my car sported a sagging bumper and a duct-taped side mirror, or that I’d nearly had an anxiety attack that morning, or that my son had ralphed nineteen pounds of oatmeal into a Stater Brothers bag just hours before.

“Excuse me?” I swiveled to see a family seated nearby, the mother smiling at me.  “How old are your children?” she asked.

“The baby is ten months today, and my son is three,” I answered.

“Wow,” she gasped, looking at the man next to her.  “I was just telling my husband that you are my inspiration.  I can’t imagine bringing my two kids to the zoo alone.  You look like such a natural mother. No, really! I’m jealous of your confidence and poise.”

Now, I want you to take a moment and think back on what you know of me.  Think back on the posts this blog has featured. The hair-tearing.  The sackcloth-wearing.  The gnashing of teeth.

Now imagine someone attributing the above words to me.  TO ME.  I was awestruck, dumbfounded and speechless, just like you are right now.  That’s why I started to laugh.  And not in a cute, self-deprecating way.  More like in a sort of creepy way.

“Well,” I choked, “that is A MIRACLE.  Really, you have no idea how funny that is to me. But thank you.”

Here was a lesson I needed to learn right then and there: looks are deceiving.  Sure, you hear those words all the time, but that’s usually from the outside looking in.  This time, I was on the inside looking out, appearing to have my ducks in a row and the world on a string. It was my moment to learn that everything is not as it seems. That woman you think has it all?   Who drives the nice car and whose kids have clean faces and who smiles a lot? She might be dying a slow death inside.  Or she may have just been breathing into a paper bag in the ladies’ restroom.  You just don’t know.