Curtis and I aren't religious fanatics by any means, but we both grew up attending church regularly, and we both agree that we feel better when we do go. Plus we feel it's important to give our kids some sort of religious/spiritual foundation (not to mention a chance to play with other kids their age). But since we moved here a year and a half ago, his work schedule has been so crazy that we haven't had time to really find a church we like and attend it on a semi-regular basis. We've been to a few, and have had trouble finding one that seems "right." I can't really explain it, but at our last church (shoutout to the peeps of Central Christian in Las Vegas!) we felt comfortable from the start, like we belonged, like it lined up with our beliefs.
We thought we'd found something similar here. The church is a lot like the one in Vegas - obviously much smaller, but with the same sort of young, contemporary, laid-back vibe. I was relieved to think that maybe our "search for church" was over ... until we had a problem.
Not with the church. With the kids.
First of all, I told Curtis we needed to go to the 9 o'clock service rather than the 10:45 - after all, the kids' naptime is normally 11:30. But who was still in bed at almost nine this morning? (Hint: not me! In fact, I can't even remember the last time I was still in bed that late, but that's a whole different blog.) ... Yeah. So by the time we got everyone ready, we had to go to the 10:45 (aka "dangerously close to naptime") service.
When we got there I started getting strategic. I knew Colin would be fine going to his Sunday school class, but Cameron is a total mama's boy (not to mention, this morning, a tired mama's boy). So I suggested that I drop Colin off and Curtis drop Cameron off - with one catch.
"Stay in there with him for a few minutes," I said. "He'll do much better if we don't just drop him off with strangers and leave."
But when I finished dropping Colin off, which took me all of 30 seconds, Curtis was already waiting in the hallway - sans Cameron. I shot him a look, but he just said, "Cameron is fine. Let's go."
Guess who started crying within two minutes?
Long story short, even though initially they managed to calm him down, we got paged within the first ten minutes of the service and had to go retrieve a near-hysterical Cameron from his room. We couldn't go back into the sanctuary with the screaming, squirming baby. The service was broadcast into the lobby, but it wasn't the same; still, we stayed because we just knew Colin was having fun in his classroom.
... Until we went to pick him up, and the guy told us - a little irritably - "He didn't want to participate much." There was no further elaboration on that statement, so I don't know if Colin was acting up or just being antisocial or what, but still. Ugh. I left church this morning feeling like everybody else's kids were normal and mine were somehow socially defective.
Seriously, though, if my opinions had been taken into account (early service, staying with Cameron until he was comfortable) I think it would have gone much more smoothly. But what do I know? I'm just their mother, who's with them 24-7 and can predict their behavior before it happens.
I'm tempted never to try it again, and to just hope that the CD of children's Bible songs (over one full hour - thanks sooooo much, Nana) that we listen to in the car will suffice as my kids' religious education. *sigh*
This, for example, is what happens when he's given a chocolate cupcake (to say nothing of the rest of it being smashed into his hair and smeared onto his face):
Or when he's in the vicinity of a mud puddle. Mind you, there were FIVE adults present when this happened, and he was still too quick to be prevented:
Then there's this, the "treasure" (also known as a popped Applebee's balloon which he dug out of the TRASH) that I found stuffed into - get this - the DVD drive of my computer (which he has since broken, again):
Give him a crayon, and he'll color ... the recycle bin.
And finally, the reason(s) he's not to be in the room when we put away groceries:
I'm not saying my oldest was never like this, but Colin doesn't possess the amount of destructive capability in his whole body that Cameron seems to possess in one pudgy little finger (thank goodness!). And the child is quick - he can do any amount of damage in the blink of an eye. If Mommy wants to go to the bathroom by herself? Forget it. If he spent three minutes out of my sight, I'd better be prepared for some sort of massive cleanup by the time I get out.
He's just lucky he's so adorable and affectionate!
I don't know if you've noticed, but my most recent sidebar poll said, "What's the grossest part of motherhood?" One of the choices was "other," and I asked those who chose that option for an explanation. I was rewarded with an e-mail from one of my friends, who said she had voted "other" because her choice for the grossest thing, pooping while giving birth, wasn't on the list. She doesn't have any kids yet, but says that the thought of taking a dump on the birthing table scares the crap out of her.*
*Pun totally intended.
This made me laugh, because a few years ago, I was so in that boat. When I was pregnant with my oldest son, I feared that exact thing more than any other aspect of giving birth - even the pain! The thought of squeezing a baby and a used placenta through my va-jay-jay in front of total strangers, and in front of the husband who'd once considered me sexy, didn't faze me ... but the thought of delivering a dump on the table had me paralyzed with fear. And then ... *cue ominous voice* ...
June 7th, 2005, Las Vegas, Nevada: I remember it like I was yesterday. (So okay, that may be because it was the day my first child was born, but still.) I had just began pushing. It was the very first stages, the experimental pushes to see if the baby was moving down like he was supposed to - I don't even think the doctor had been called in yet, just the nurses. I'd had an epidural, so I didn't really feel anything specific. "Push like you're having a bowel movement!" they tell you ... and like a good girl, that's exactly what I did.
That's when I saw the nurse efficiently wipe downward, then fold and dispose of, one of those big absorbent pads that had been underneath me. And the realization dawned on me: oh my God, I must have pooped.
In my head, for months, I had been envisioning the scenario: I would poo on the table and everyone would plug their noses and suppress snickers, thinking how disgusting I am. My doctor would go home to her husband and be like, "Eww, one of my patients shit on the table today. Gross," and they would share a laugh at my expense.
But for all my fears, the poop incident was amazingly anti-climactic. No one - not even my husband, who saw the whole thing (God love him) batted an eye or made a comment. It was quickly and unceremoniously taken care of, and everyone continued to focus on what was really happening: the birth of my baby. Even I didn't focus on it for long, because no one made a big deal out of it. In fact, it was such a non-issue that I had to ask Curtis later if it really happened.
In retrospect, it really wasn't that big of a deal. I mean, yeah, I took a dump in front of strangers: the same strangers who had just inserted my catheter, probed around wrist-deep in my hoo-ha, sopped up the mess when my water broke, and viewed my cellulite-dimpled ass when they helped me tie my gown. Not to mention that they do this kind of stuff for a living, and that a large percentage of women (not just me) take a dump during the birthing process. And when I thought about it that way, I never feared it again. I hoped it wouldn't happen, sure - and with Cameron, it didn't - but if it does, it does.
Even though my perspective has changed now, my biggest birthing fear is - surprise! - still poop-related. It's that first postpartum poop, when you've got to push but your desperate not to bust any stitches ... ouch.
May has been by far the worst month of my LIFE, hands down, bar none. I seriously haven't had one good day since, like, the 2nd of the month. And it doesn't appear to be getting much better, though I'm trying my very hardest to be optimistic (obviously it isn't working, can you tell?). I promise I'm not usually this much of a downer, but damn. Is karma coming back to bite me on my ass for something horrible I've done? ... On second thought, don't answer that. ;)
I don't usually blog twice in one day. But today has just been all-around frustrating, and here's why. I love, love, LOVE a clean (or at least picked up) house. To be in an environment of chaos and disorder irritates the crap out of me. But since I've been sick for two days, and Curtis has been working, here's what my house looks like right now:
Anyway, so that's that. And I didn't even take pictures of my bedroom, or the bathroom ... but suffice it to say, they're equally disgusting. I still feel like crap, but I figured that the mess was making me feel even worse ... so I pulled myself up by the bootstraps this evening and tried to improve my situation. I got a load of laundry in the wash and came back upstairs to clean up a bit.
While I was moving throughout the house picking up this and that, I noticed that I could smell the detergent from upstairs. I thought it was odd, but I figured it was just the first thing I could actually get a whiff of in two days, and that's why it was so strong to me. Little did I know, though, that this was the reason why:
One of the cats had apparently knocked my economy-sized bottle of detergent off the washer and onto the floor. (And to add insult to injury, the little bastard hadn't even knocked off the generic version - it had to be the pricier one. Go figure.)
I don't even know how to go about cleaning up a mess like this. Logic tells me to sop it all up with towels and then throw them in the wash (sans soap, naturally) ... but my washer is high-efficiency, which means it takes very little detergent, which means a load of soap that big would almost surely make an even bigger mess. I'm out of paper towels. Meanwhile, the kids were running amok upstairs and I was praying they wouldn't come down to the laundry room and track all over the place.
So I sopped it up with four towels, a bunch of bedsheets from the hamper, and a T-shirt. I could rinse them out in the sink ... but my sink is full of dishes. I could rinse them out in the tub ... but my tub is full of toys. (I could remove the dishes, and the toys, but who wants to do all that after cleaning up a mess of that magnitude?)
I've just washed the soapy sheets by themselves. I've got a few more loads of laundry to do anyway, so I figure I'll just toss a soapy towel in with each load. Surely that won't overload the washer with suds ... right?
I'll keep you posted.
-While the kids play in the bathtub, I run to grab a Kleenex for my snotty nose. Upon trying to dispose of said Kleenex, I realize that the trash can is nearly overflowing, so I quickly bag it up - and return to about a half-inch of soapy water covering the bathroom floor, and two drenched, innocent-looking little boys staring at me.
-I shout a desperate, "What have you done?" which startles Cameron and makes him cry. Can't find a clean towel to sop up the watery mess; remember that there's a used one stuffed into the toy box (?). When I come back, Colin is crying too. Great.
-Cameron follows me into the living room to get the towel, bawling louder than ever, dripping sudsy water all over the place, and squats ... to pee on the floor. With horror, I realize that I'm out of paper towels.
-I sit on the couch and cry, too.
I couldn't help it. It was one of those times when you just feel completely overwhelmed and do not feel like dealing with anything that's in front of you ... y'know? And then there's the horrible domino-effect realization: oh my Lord, I'll have a newborn to add to the mix in a mere three and a half months. Oh shit, if I can't even handle two, how am I ever going to handle three? Should I start saving now for my kids' therapy? Needless to say, I was reduced to blubbering nothingness for a good two or three minutes.
Anyway, I'm in a better place mentally, but not feeling much better physically today. The only thing is that the cold has moved its way down into my chest, so I'm horking up some disgusting sludge (the first of which made its appearance at breakfast, causing Curtis to nearly hork up something of his own. Hey, I couldn't help it!).
But since motherhood doesn't stop when you're ill, I had to oblige the boys in their normal morning playtime. I told Colin that his room was a hotel, and that I was a guest who would be lying down. Then I closed his bedroom door. The kids were contained in a safe area, with me less than a few feet from them, I was resting in bed, and Colin was thrilled that I was "playing" in his room - ah, the cleverness. It was awesome until Cameron wiped his runny nose along the bottom of my bare foot (which is an indescribably gross feeling) and then found his brother's cup of water from last night, dumping most of it down my front before I could get it away from him.
So WHY am I the only one interested in just lying around and taking it easy??
Seriously, if I could do anything with my weekend, I would spend it on the couch. I'd be trying to recuperate. And that's exactly what would be on my agenda, if only the kids would cooperate. But even despite the sickness, do you think they're feeling lethargic? No. Are they interested in chilling out, watching TV? No. They still want to run around - exponentially whinier and grumpier than usual, but still as energetic - and get snot all over everything.
Not only is that not conducive to me getting extra rest, it actually makes my job harder at a time when all I want to do is lay down! Curtis is working twelve-hour shifts all weekend, so I pretty much won't see him until Monday, which doesn't help my predicament. And while I drag my (sick and unmotivated) feet, the house slowly deteriorates around me. Dishes and laundry are piling up. There are crumbs, toys, and a towel from last night's bath littering the living room.
Over the sound of Cameron coughing up a lung, Colin just yelled, "Ugh! My nose is vibrating!" I'm not sure what that meant, exactly, except he sounded pissed. But does that make him want to climb into bed and get better? Absolutely not. He's off to drag out more toys and pick on his little brother - vibrating nose be damned!
Maybe if I close my eyes and wish hard enough, a maid and a babysitter will magically appear, Mary Poppins-like, on my doorstep.
Or more realistically, some catastrophe would happen while my eyes were closed and then I'd be left to deal with a clogged toilet or a mysteriously bald cat ... because we all know what happens when Mommy turns her back.
I've had plenty of stuff wiped on me since I became a mother, sure. But lately Cameron, my youngest, has taken it to a new extreme. He's getting a few new teeth and has a cold with a runny nose - a combination which leads to the lower half of his face being perpetually slick with drool and snot. So what do you do when you're 16 months old and can't reach the tissues? Wipe it on your mom, of course!
I guess it isn't very motherly to run away when you see your baby approaching you, but seriously, I hate being used as his personal handkerchief. I blot the yuck from his face as often as I can, but unless I want to abandon all my other daily duties in favor of following him around with a tissue, there's no way of catching every nasty drop. So he takes it upon himself to rid his face of the slime. Which means that no matter what I'm wearing, there are odd crusty smears just above the knees (his face-level when he's standing on the ground) and on the left shoulder (his preferred wiping place when I'm holding him). It's the ultimate accessory: nothing screams "Mommy" like patches of dried snot.
The worst came last night when, at like 12:30, Cameron decided to wake up. I put him back in the bed and laid beside him, where he coughed all over me, spraying my face with moisture, and then wiped his face on my T-shirt until it was literally sticking to my skin (ugh!). This morning, I awoke with a lovely sore throat.
Coincidence? I think not. More like consequence ... the consequence of being a human Kleenex.
I'm a total foodie, and love to watch cooking shows. I have my favorites, but one thing bothers me about cooking shows as a whole: at the end of a segment, they always - always - taste their creations. It drives me crazy. You tempt me for the better part of thirty minutes with your tantalizing preparations, chefs, and have the audacity to savor it in front of me while I watch like a starving dog, knowing full well I don't get a single bite. Asses.
And you, Giada DeLaurentiis, are probably the worst of the bunch.
It's bad enough that you're cute and petite with a huge rack, despite the fact that you cook and eat for a living. If I were a chef I'd weigh 800 pounds and still wouldn't have any boobs, so that's the first unfair thing. But then you proceed to take a huge bite of whatever you've just cooked and mumble with your mouth full about how fabulous it is. "The Nutella is so creamy, and the toasted hazelnuts and chocolate chips give the brownie such a delicious crunch," you teased through a gooey bite of dessert on your show today (without even emitting a fine spray of food particles; how do you do that?). And all I could do was watch, and wish that I too could taste the creamy crunchy confection. And that, like you, I would still be skinny after eating it.
It isn't just Giada, of course - the vast majority of cooking show hosts do this. It's like they're taking up some extra air time with a nice little "in your face!" for the viewers. Sometimes they even film their friends eating it, and then I really feel left out. There they are at a finely decorated table in some pristine outdoor setting, eating some fancy gourmet dish prepared by a professional chef, and I'm huffing up and down on the Wii wondering if we're out of ramen.
It isn't fair.
His presence creeped me out. He was just sitting there looking at me.
Curtis was at work, so I texted him about the incident. The following is the exact message I sent:
"There was a big black man on my desk and now it feels like they're crawling all over me."
As you can imagine, he sent me a pretty confused reply: "What??????? Black man?????"
Obviously it was some kind of weird slip. I totally meant to type black ant - it was a big black ANT on my desk, not a big black MAN ... LOL! I hadn't even noticed the mistake until my poor perplexed husband texted me back. It was hilarious because I am a stickler for self-editing and it's rare that I make even a one-letter typo, let alone an entire word. But there it was, changing the whole meaning of the sentence and bringing to mind visions of, like, Mike Tyson - or better yet, Michael Clarke Duncan, the huge guy from The Green Mile - sitting on my little desktop.
... And then "crawling all over me!"
Moral of the story: proofread everything - even texts!
I think I've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: I am NOT one of those cute pregnant girls. You know the ones who look like they've shoved a beach ball into their dress? The ones whose arms, legs, faces, and rear-ends remain svelte and un-dimpled while their adorable "baby bump" pokes out in front? Yeah ... that's SO not me. With my oldest son, I gained eighty pounds; with my second, NINETY. That's like strapping a fourth-grader to my midsection, folks - not pretty. By the time I'm nearing my due date, I'm forced to wear the most maternal of maternity clothes: tentlike garments with gaudy bows or other dumb embellishments. Because when you get that big, you just run out of choices. (As if people weren't already gawking with disbelief at my massive size, they also get to "tsk-tsk" my horrible taste. Fun!)
With each pregnancy, I've sworn not to gain an excessive amount. Obviously that hasn't worked well for the first two, but the third time's a charm - right? I haven't packed on as many pounds so far, and I credit that to my six- to seven-day-a-week Wii Fit regimen. For at least thirty minutes, I heave my hefty self on and off the balance board in a movement that resembles step aerobics (only fatter). Whatever it is, it gets my heart pumping, which I figure is the point.
I don't know why I'm so faithful to my Wii Fit, though. That thing is borderline abusive. It tosses the occasional crumb of encouragement, but for the most part it's a passive-aggressive punisher. It didn't acknowledge my 30th hour of exercise, or my 50th day - though it keeps track of those things. Instead, it sweetly points out that I'm now in the "obese" category (I can't tell it that I'm pregnant!) and suggests that I may be neglecting my child. Yes, really! See for yourself!
(That was in response to the stupid thing asking me about Colin's posture lately - a question which came out of left field - and me choosing "about the same" as an answer.)
Anyway, despite the abuse (or maybe because of it - I'm a glutton for punishment), I persist. And though I haven't set foot on the thing for two weeks now - a fact which I'm positive will not go unnoticed and un-scolded - I'm going to get back on it today and hope to negate the effects of my recent stay at Junk Food Central, a.k.a. my mother-in-law's house.
Wish me luck. :)
But when I saw her, I couldn't believe it was really her. Against the stark hospital-white sheets, anchored by an arsenal of tubes and monitors, she was silent and small and fragile. Her brown eyes weren't sparkling as usual behind her glasses, but hidden by closed eyelids. Her new haircut, that I had just convinced her to get on my visit a couple weeks before, was marred with a barren patch of stubble to accomodate the pump draining fluid from her brain.
And more than a week later, at her funeral, I still had trouble cross-referencing my mental picture of Grandma - vibrant, full of life - with the overly made-up old lady lying in the casket. This lady had painted fingernails; my Grandma had never painted hers that I could remember, because they would have gotten chipped while she gardened or cooked or canned or sewed or played with babies. This lady had lipstick and heavily caked foundation, which I realize were probably a necessity given the circumstances, but which my fresh-faced Grandma would have never worn.
It all happened so suddenly. I was supposed to be at her house on May 5th - the day after her accident. We were planning a family trip to Arkansas, her old homestead, just next month. And now ... she's gone. I can't call her up for a chat any more. I can't tease that she's a stubborn old bird or tell her, "Stay out of trouble, old woman" when I leave her house. I can't count on her freezer being stocked with Schwan's microwaveable brownies in anticipation of my visits. For the first time in my entire life, Grandma isn't there. I am officially out of living grandparents, and a part of me feels strangely orphaned.
As Grandma would want it, life must move painfully forward from this point - although mine will never, ever be the same without her. So I'm back to the motherhood grind. Back to my usual level of "clerty"-ness, and to uttering phrases such as "Well, if you hadn't been trying to put socks on the cat, this wouldn't have happened."
While I love to work out and be active, and I'm actually a decent dancer, sports have never been my strong suit. In school, P.E. was nothing short of disastrous for me. From kindergarten on up, I was lagging behind everyone else panting, dislocating or hyperextending something, getting hit in the face with various balls (hey now, we're still talking about athletics, you pervs!), or falling ungracefully into puddles/off bleachers/into other people. Elementary school was the worst, when the P.E. teacher would pick team captains and then said captains would alternately choose team members - I was always among the last, if not the very last, picked: "Ehh, we've got Rita," (insert reluctant tone and uncomfortable shuffling). And team sports? Forget it. The only thing I ever attempted was track my freshman year of high school, where I complained about shinsplints until the coach moved me to discus and shotput, and then ended up completing the season as "manager" - accompanying the team on the bus to meets and doing menial tasks like distributing water bottles and such. I should have gotten a jersey that said "STRAIGHT-UP DORK" where the name and number should have been.
But here's the thing, and any other mom can relate: when you become a mother, even if you possess NO athletic ability whatsoever, you suddenly develop this insanely honed coordination when it comes to your kids. I noted this this other day when I was playing with the boys. I intercepted Cameron from eating a ladybug with one hand while simultaneously preventing the nightstand from falling over on Colin (who was trying to climb on it). It's like some weird gift that comes with giving birth. I may not be able to hit a homerun to save my life, but I can stop a chocolate milk spill in mid-topple ... halt a toddler's efforts to brave the stairs in mid-step ... locate and position a puke receptacle before the first heave (which, oddly, seems to work for pets too - I'm forever sliding a piece of paper under a hairball-horking cat).
So if your idea of "sport" is bargain hunting or synchronized swimming, and you know you'll never be the MVP no matter how hard you try, don't fret. When it comes to motherhood, I guarantee you'll surprise yourself with your agility (moms, am I right?). It's amazing what physical feats you can accomplish when you know that a few quick moves will save you from having to clean up an epic mess!
Whoever said "variety is the spice of life" obviously didn't tell that to my husband's sperm, because ...
For those of you counting, that's boy number THREE. Penises galore! As much as I was hoping for a baby girl, though, I'm surprisingly excited. I love my boys, and hey - at least I'm familiar with raising kids of the male variety. (Plus there's nothing more fun than watching them wrestle and play and do mean things to eachother ... ahh, brotherly love!)
This was to be our last baby ... but now I'm not so sure. At the rate we're producing male offspring, I'm almost tempted to try to whip up an entire baseball team. ;)
Tell me: what, exactly, is that hanging on the wall behind Sophia's head?
Call me a big perv, but does it look a little ... erm, phallic to anyone else? This is the best screenshot I could get, but trust me, it looked like that in every scene - leading me to run for my camera. (And it is hanging in Blanche's kitchen and all ...)
Talk amongst yourselves! :)