Saturday, September 13, 2014

Who's on First? The truth about parent dynamics.

I over share. I know this is a shocking surprise as you read a blog about my life.

During a conversation with a male colleague who also has two young children, we got to talking about how things operate in each of our respective homes and we realized that we share a similar set-up. In both of our homes, one parent is the MVP while the other is the backstop.

For team Rich, I play the role of coach, team manager, equipment manager, referee, orange slice provider, water boy, chauffeur and cheerleader, thereby earning my MVP title. If I go down, we all go down.

My husband, on the other hand, plays backstop. His one job is to prevent someone or something from getting past both of us.

This realization of the dynamics in my home got me thinking about how being MVP of the household is not a job I actually want. Sure, there's a lot of pressure that comes with backstop, but there's also a lot of work that comes with MVP.

Backstop doesn't require constant attention so long as you have excellent reflexes. (This is where my husband would tell me it's "ninja-like" reflexes, not just excellent reflexes). MVP requires all senses to be operating in high gear at all times.

Backstop doesn't have to bring anything to the game. MVP is the game. MVP gave life to the players (ah...that giver of life thing never gets old).

So, as I settle into the third day that my backstop is on a boys golf trip, is it so surprising that I'm pondering how I can just be a spectator one of these days?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ad Age

Here are some ads that I view differently as a parent than I did when just a consumer.

Nike, "Just do it"
This used to be an inspiring statement that would actually motivate me to workout. I would see a Nike ad and want to go for a run. Since becoming the person who plays the parent card as an excuse for not exercising, the Nike slogan is now how I refer to everything I think my kids should inherently know how to do but don't. Examples? Sleeping. Just , as the book says, Go the Fuck to Sleep. Just do it .You're tired and can barely keep your eyes open but somehow don't know how to get from zombie to asleep?  Pee in the toilet and not next to it. Just do it. I can't be more specific about where to aim.

Coca-Cola, "Have a Coke and a smile"
Fuck you, Coke. You can't fix my day. How about Have a rum and a Coke and a smile? That's speaking the language of parents.

AIG, "We know money"
No you don't. Pampers does.

Allegra, "The relief goes on "
That's not Allegra, that's what I call nap time.

"Got milk?"
Not as funny as you might think when said to a breastfeeding mother.

Chevy Trucks, "Like a rock"
Try a toddler throwing a tantrum who is dead weight while face down in (insert name of whatever store you no longer visit).

Disneyland, "The happiest place on earth"
Wrong. Happiest place on earth is a restaurant that doesn't allow children.

Energizer, "It keeps going, and going, and going..."
There's not a parent out there who hasn't looked at an over tired child who is behaving as if having a manic episode and thought "Holy shit. He/she keeps going, and going, and going...." When is this going to end?!

Wrigley's Doublemint Gum, "Double your pleasure, double your fun"
I dare you to say this to parents of twins.

Oscar Mayer, "I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener"
Because three year old boys need another reason to walk around saying "wiener."

Kit-Kat Bar, "Give me a break! Give me a break!"
No comment.

Burger King, "Have it your way"
Spoken to the child who wants to wear a tutu on top of a bathing suit on top of a dress with pants underneath, dress-up plastic Cinderella shoes and three headbands.

Nissan, "Enjoy the ride."
I'm trying.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Don't Ask. Don't Tell.

Let me tell you, be better than me. Don't ever ask your three year old what they know about what you do/provide. They have no clue and they don't care. Selfish little fuckers!

Having just come off a week of family vacation - and as the person responsible for packing everyone's shit and therefore being responsible for unpacking - in the throws of frustration of putting so much stuff away, I asked my son, "Reece, do you know who brought all of your favorite things to be the beach?" I held my breath, hoping to hear him reply with a loud and grateful "Mommy!" but instead all I got was "The car." Technically, he's right that the car brought his stuff to the beach and perhaps I should be proud, but I was furious.  Determined to make a point, I entered a conversation that I can't now forget. And it's ruined me.

"Reece, it was mommy who packed all of your favorite things for the beach. Wasn't that nice?"
"Mommy, want to go outside?"
He has no interest in this conversation.

"Reece, do you know who packs your lunch for camp?"
Dagger to the heart as I think about how stressed I get each morning as I try to create lunches that will make him so happy that he'll exclaim at the lunch table "I love this! Mommy packed all my favorite things!"  I now realize that the lunch table conversation probably sounds more like, "I saw a trash truck today."

It;s a humbling reminder that what a three year old cares about is exactly what my son asked me about when I tried talking to him. He wants to play. He wants to spend time with me and do things with me. There's no concept of why and how, just who and where. Something I need to learn and value. My measure of myself as a mother is all about how I care for my kids; that they always feel safe and loved. But I realize that what Reece measures is time spent together.

So next time, the question I ask will be "Who played with you today?" For that, surely he'll say "Mommy!" right? Or he'll say, "Let's go watch a show." So I've got that going for me.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Mind of the Baby Sister

I love my brother.
He’s so silly.
Ouch. Why does he hug me so tight?
I think he wants to kill me.
Now he’s being nice.
Oh, there’s mommy. A witness.
I want his toys.
Why does he want my toys?
When will I be able to play with toys?
I want to eat his toys.
I want to eat the carpet.
I think I want to lick the floor.
I licked the floor.
Why doesn’t anyone care that I’m licking the floor?
He took my toys.
I’m going to cry.
VICTORY! Mommy picked me up.
She had to put down her wine.
She loves me.
Whoops, I threw up.
That didn't bother me at all.
Mommy will change my clothes, right?
I have to poop.
I will do that right after she changes my outfit,
And then I will throw up again.
I need to put something in my mouth.
I’ll eat my toes.
Why are my toes so far from my face?
I hate reaching for them.
Where's my brother?
Ouch! He threw a toy at me.
I hate him.
I love him.
I wanted that toy anyway.
I'm going to eat that toy.
I pooped.

And repeat.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

If Toddler's Ruled the World.

If toddler's ruled the world, it would be a much simpler place.

A place where fights and wars ended with two words. I'm sorry.

A place where polution would never be an issue because NOTHING is trash. Everything is a treasure.

A place where we wouldn't use so many plastic water bottles a year that we could circle the earth so many times because once you have your favorite sippy cup, that's all you would ever use.

A place where every animal would be adored. Trust me. There are kids who love rats and pigeons.

A place where beauty wouldn't be a consideration for children don't judge appearnces.

A place where any house that has a toy, cup, ball, train, hose, doll or pet would be just the right size.  It wouldn't matter how big or small or fancy.

A place where sadness would end with the promise of a "special treat."

A place where people shared their belongings so everyone would always have something.

A place where pain would be alleviated with kisses and band-aids.

A place where chicken nuggets were a staple of one's diet.

A place where medicine only came in cherry, grape and bubble gum flavors.

A place where naps would be mandatory. And if you couldn't sleep, you would be required to at least rest in cozy jammies for an hour.

Now granted, this would also be a place where people pee and poop in their pants.

A place where anger would be expressed by stomping one's feet and then crumbling to the ground and laying there. Face down.

A place where tiny sober people would wander the streets aimlessly like little drunks.

As I piece this all together, it's quite clear that 3 year olds have a better base on fundamental principles of how the world should work than those who actually lead it.  Where's that kid president when you need him?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

One Direction's "The Story of My Life" - The Sleep Training Edition

Written in these walls are the stories that I don't want to explain
I leave the door open as if a masochist to hear her pain
If she could talk, she would tell me in the morning she doesn't want me to leave her to cry it out alone
Seems to me that when I die these words will be written on my stone

And I'll be gone, gone tonight
May the ground beneath my feet suddenly open wide
The way that I've been up all through the night
Is it heaven or hell?  I'm somewhere in between

The story of my life
I take her home 
Only to want to drive all night just to be alone
And time.... Is frozen
The story of my life
I've lost all hope
I give her love
Which she takes until I'm broke
The story of my life 

Written by doctors are books that address her sleepless rage
Leave the door open but baby stays right there in her cage
I know that in the morning now I will feel relief that nighttime is done
And though I'll wake broken, another day will have just begun

And I'll be gone, gone tonight
There's going to be another screaming fight
The way that she refuses to sleep tight
And there's nothing in between

The story of my life
I swaddle her tight
I've practiced for months to make sure it's right
And time.... Is frozen
The story of my life
I've lost all hope
I give her love
Which she takes until I'm broke
The story of my life

And to think I had been waiting for this time to come around
But baby trying to teach you to sleep is like chasing the clouds

The story of my life
She just won't sleep
I've read the books,
Just f-ing do it please
And time.... Is frozen 
The story of my life
I've lost all hope
I give her love
Which she takes until I'm broke
The story of my life 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Isn't it ironic? Welcome to parenthood.

Almost everything about being a parent is ironic.

You spend your formidable years trying to prove your parents were wrong about everything, only to learn once a parent yourself, that they were pretty much right about everything.

You become a parent of young children and suddenly switch from coffee mugs to drinking from a hot beverage to-go cup with a lid even though you're not going anywhere. Ever.

Everyone in your house is tired, yet no one sleeps. My least favorite irony.

You yearn for your child to say "mommy" or "daddy" only to later resent the sound of those two syllable words as the name is generally followed by the words "I need" or "come here" or "I want" or better yet.... shrieks.

You spend your teenage years and twenties (if not longer) learning self love and how to take care of yourself emotionally and mentally. Only to later give yourself entirely away to these little people and forsake your own sanity to raise them as best you can.

You wait for major milestone moments to happen, praying that you don't ever miss one. Then the moment comes and you're watching it through the lens of your iPhone, totally missing the chance to be "in" the moment.

You have an instinct to run to your child when he or she falls, but later learn not reacting or even laughing or clapping are more productive. They learn it's ok to fall and you learn it's ok for them to fall, too.

You think your child is the most beautiful thing you've ever seen, yet society tells us not to tell our daughters how pretty we think they are.

You think your child is bright, but studies show reinforcing "smart" doesn't help your child gain confidence. So what are we left to tell them you often wonder?

You encourage them to be social and make friends, yet you wonder if those friends will be the very ones your own parents often referred to when they would say "We trust you. We just don't trust your friends."

You encourage independence, yet fear the moment you're not longer needed.

You want to be their friend, but know there's a difference between friend and parent. And parent is the job title.

At this early stage of parenting experience - only three years in - the greatest irony of all is that for as much as I "prepare" by reading and talking with friends and total strangers I meet in the park or play groups - I'm completely unprepared. I guess it really just comes down to doing the absolute best job you can, even though the child may not feel like we really tried at all. And this is when I will refer them to irony #1....about finally learning that our own parents were mostly right about everything.