Tuesday, March 31, 2009

this might be a true story

Once upon a time there was a mother who always tried to do her very best. And one day, she realized that her son was getting older and might be ready to reach a new milestone – potty training. The mother had never potty trained anyone before and wasn’t really sure what to do but she was confident that she could get the job done, especially with such a smart son. So the mother talked about potty training with her son and bought him underpants to get him excited and got a cool looking potty chair for him (can a potty chair look cool?) Anyway, the mother really talked it all up, as she tended to do, and picked a date to begin – the Monday after they returned from vacation: P-Day.

What the mother couldn’t foresee was that her other son would develop a terrible ear infection the night before P-Day. AND, the mother hadn’t even thought about the fact that she would also have five other kids to watch and care for while she was trying to teach this one to eliminate waste only on the potty chair. Adding to her misery, she also decided to begin a diet that same day.

By noon, this poor, poor mother had changed her son’s entire outfit four times. They were 0 and 4. The other five children could sense her weakness and circled around her head like turkey buzzards as she continued diligently to coax her son to “just make some potty, please.” As her blood pressure continued to rise, large amounts of milk were spilled on the floor, one child ate a handful of sand, and someone threw up in the living room (strangely, she never found out who…) That afternoon, her son managed to make, not even exaggerating, ONE drop of urine. It was a miracle that was immediately rewarded with two M & M s for the son and two Tylenol for the mother.

The next day, the potty chair was gone. And it wasn’t seen again for a long, long time.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On the road again, just can't wait to get on the road again...

We made it to Florida and back. It was a good time. But here are some traveling tips that I wanted to pass along to you, my good friend:

1. The first day of a trip during which one will walk several miles, fly on two airplanes, drive close to 200 miles, and be hurrying through airports with a two-year old and a baby is NOT the day to pilot a new style/cut/brand of underwear. Enough said.
2. Assuming that the airport parking will be available and not leaving any extra time for unexpected circumstances is the best way to ensure that absolutely no parking will be available. At the risk of sounding like my mother, leave extra time just in case.
3. If you will be spending time on the beach, try on your new swimsuit before you go on your trip.
4. If your young son says, “Mommy, my mouth feels yucky,” while you are sitting in a restaurant, take him out immediately – he probably isn’t kidding.
5. Going along with #4, it is wise to keep an extra change of clothes for each child in the diaper bag to avoid having to buy a new wardrobe in a Cracker Barrel giftshop.
And finally…
6. If you will be traveling with small children, it always helps to have a small flask of vodka in the diaper bag. For your or the baby, whichever one needs it more.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I don't want much - just a teeny tiny trophy

I spent a long time in school and working before I became a stay at home mom. And now I work, but still at home and aside from the Big Brother lady with the cane from DHS, I am my own boss. Which is nice. But what I really miss about not working in the world is the feedback. Like, in school, you get grades and they provide feedback for how you did. And when you work, you have evaluations. And paychecks and sometimes bonuses. But when you stay at home with your kids or have a home daycare, there isn’t a whole lot of feedback.

Okay, I have to take that back – there isn’t a lot of positive feedback. I certainly know when I accidentally put milk into someone’s cup instead of juice because they tell me in a very shrill voice while throwing the cup on the floor. Or if I help someone put their sock on and it feels funny on their toes, I know they will immediately dissolve into a puddle of tantrums on the floor until I fix it – and that, too, is feedback.

Yesterday, Wyatt was playing in his Exersaucer. He was having a great time, jumping up and down and turning in circles. When he started to get fussy, I pulled him out and went through the usual checklist – he wasn’t tired and I knew he couldn’t be hungry so I tried the diaper change. As I pulled off his little pajama outfit, I found a surprise. Apparently, a few little turds had somehow escaped his diaper and slid down his leg. And then he jumped and turned in circles for twenty minutes. It was not a good surprise. But despite the fact that I had four other kids to take care of, I didn’t panic. I got to work, wiping him clean and changing his outfit and rinsing out the remains of the surprise. And when he was all clean and smelling fresh as a daisy (well, not quite…) I looked around. I know what I was looking for - I wanted someone to tell me that I had done a good job or give me a badge or hand me a brownie. But that didn’t happen.

Does life set us up for this letdown? We spend two decades getting rewards for everything we do – in school we got the coveted scratch-and-sniff stickers, and then there were trophies for playing baseball even if you never actually hit the ball once the whole season, and good grades for studying and it just kept going. But now I do what I think is a really important job and some days the only feedback I get is someone asking for more little smokies at lunch.

Do you think the economic stimulus package includes bonuses for stay-at-home moms?

Monday, March 9, 2009

don't even think about trying to use a coupon

This weekend I had a really unpleasant shopping experience. And it didn’t even happen at Wal-mart. In fact, I usually try to stay away from naming people or places when the experiences are bad to be nice. But I’m not going to do that – the bad experience was at Stage in Elk City. Stage. On Main Street, next to Terry’s Furniture.

And here it is:

Bryan’s birthday is this week. He’s hard to buy for. Whenever I ask him what he wants he tells me “nothing.” It’s very helpful. So I decided that I would go and look for some cologne for him. The problem is that I had no idea what I wanted. So I went to the one place in town I could think of that sells cologne – Stage, with Wyatt in tow.

When I walked into the store, it was dead quiet – crickets chirping quiet. There were an abundance of employees standing around but no other customers that I could see. It was a perfect set up. I put Wyatt down next to me in his little car seat and told the lady that I needed some cologne for my husband but I wasn’t sure what I wanted so I might need to smell a few.

I’m not sure if someone put pee in her coffee or maybe she ran over her own puppy on the way to work but that woman was unhappy to have to help me. I was obviously putting a real damper on her day by making her (gasp) work. It was very unfortunate that the first five colognes I tried smelled like my old dentist, my father, a dirty locker room in high school, the trunk of my grandma’s car, and an Avon catalog. But that wasn’t really MY fault, right? I was tempted to just pick one and go but then I thought, “I’m going to have to smell this every day…” Plus, cologne is not cheap. I didn’t want to spend $60 on something that reminded me of getting my teeth drilled – I need cologne that smells like – well…, that makes me want to rip Bryan’s clothes off. And so, despite her constantly rolling her eyes at my questions and sighing LOUDLY when I asked to smell something else, I kept a-smellin’.

I finally found one that didn’t remind me of anything – perfect. The saleswoman then put it on the counter and told me to get in the back of the line to pay for it, as there were now other customers. How kind of her. I waited and waited. Wyatt was on the floor in his carrier and I turned to look at some women’s perfume while I waited. I heard a little girl’s voice say, “Whose baby is that?”

“He’s mine.” I tried to sound cheerful even though I had just dealt with the rudest saleswoman on earth and wasn’t feeling very cheery. The little girl looked me up and down and asked, “Is he your grandbaby?” If her mom hadn’t been right there, I probably would opened a can of whoop-a** on her. I am only 31 years old. I wanted to grab a clearanced Isotoner slipper and beat her with it. But I held off on the idea and politely told her that he was in fact my child, not my grandchild.

In the end, I paid at a different register with yet another disgruntled worker. Why were all of these women so mean? Perhaps they get a special parking spot if they go without smiling for their entire shift. Or maybe if they make a customer cry, they win a longer lunch break. Who knows. But next time I’m in the mood for personal pain, I’ll go there instead of Wal-mart.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

technology is my friend

A conversation via text message between husband and wife:

Laura to Bryan: Is there something wrong with the vacuum? It sounds like it is sucking up gravel…

Bryan to Laura: I haven’t used it. Maybe something is caught in it. I will smash it against the wall when I get home and see if that helps.

Laura to Bryan: Well in that case something is wrong with Winnie too…

Thank heaven for the technology that allows these urgent conversations to go on during the work day!