An Every Day Rant

Do you ever sit down after cleaning house, look around, and think to yourself, “I’ve got it. My life is under control.”

Beware of that.  It’s one of the most dangerous things you can possibly do.

This morning I made that fatal mistake.  With the help of the boys, I cleaned the house.  By 10:00 AM, even dinner was steadily cooking in the crock pot.  I put Baby W down for his nap, finished the last few chapters of my book, and as I closed the back cover, I glanced around thinking “I’ve got it. My life is under control.”

Immediately I recognized the mistake.  It’s an open door, an invitation to chaos and madness; but in the moment of content joy, I tried to convince myself that this time was going to be different.  I was wrong.

Now it’s 1:05 PM.  Let me recount what has happened.

  1. Baby D, in a rush to leave the house to play with his friends said, “Is my lunch ready yet?” I know, that sounds innocent enough, but I heard it as a hot splash of his lunch splattered on my shirt.  I glared at him, slouched on the couch yet ready to dash out the door.  No one volunteered to set the table, or to calm Baby W.
  2. Baby W, wearing fresh underwear since his recent wet (and too short) nap, was dragging his high chair between the kitchen and the living room while yelling, “Mamma! Up!”
  3. Baby G, in his own world playing Destiny on the PS4.  I say this as if I recognized the game.  Truth is I hate video games.  He knows it so he plays them with the sound off in an attempt to ward off my negativity.  He does not, however, refrain from making frustrated comments toward the poor fellow on the TV who apparently was just shot or bombed or devoured by an alien – I have no idea what happens in the game.  There are floating bad guys that shoot lasers or something.  If you ever see PoisonIvy463, that’s me. Only it’s not me, it’s Baby G playing under the disguise of me.
  4. Lunch itself was good.
  5. Baby D ran out the door before I was even half done with my food.
  6. Baby G ran back to his alien world before I was even half done with my food.
  7. Baby W threw his food on the dog’s back.
  8. I threw the dog out the back door.

Break in list.  You must understand that while all this was happening, I didn’t actually disconnect from the virtual world.  I received Facebook notifications, text messages… asking how are you?  -how’s the potty training going? -what’s up?  Want the answers? The real answers?  I’m screaming like mad at kids for not being helpful and then scream even more when I see Baby W’s high chair is soaked.  He is soaked.  So, the answers in order are: losing my mind, God awful, and my blood pressure.

But let’s proceed with the list:

9. Baby W is throwing a potato (currently) at the cat.  Yes, you read correctly, a potato.  He found it when he was trying to squeeze past me in the laundry room as I started another washer full of toddler underwear, blankets, and now a high chair cover.

10. The dog is soaked because in the time it took to start the washer, the skies opened up and it poured.  It poured for no more than 45 seconds, but it was enough for the dog to run like he’d never seen rain before, and get soaked.

11. The food that Baby W threw on the dog’s back (a wrap) is now laying drenched in the grass being eaten by a turtle.

12. I just yelled, “No more snacks!” and now Baby W is racing toward his brother in attack mode because he knows he can’t attack me.  Casualties of war, you see.  Even the cat is trying to hide.


I know, I know.  It isn’t all that bad.  It’s a little unsettling, a little unnerving.  We look at Facebook and believe we see the realities of other people’s lives.  Moms who take the time to make personalized first day of school gifts for teachers, moms who make scrapbooks of their summers spent at the pool with smiling and visibly loving children.  I’m not even going to deny it, I’ve been guilty of plastering social media with images of a perfect house.  And maybe potatoes as toys, dreaded potty training, and kids who can’t seem to clean without being clearly instructed to do so is actually a perfect house.  Or as close to it as you get.  I just wanted to remind you of the chaos behind those pretty smiles.

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Potty Training Like a Pro?

Have you ever seen the Love’s diapers commercial where it shows how a mom treats her first baby with the uttermost concern, but then grabs scraps for her second baby?  A non parent might interpret this as a lesser degree of love or care for a second (or third, or fourth, etc) child; but they would be wrong.  As a parent of three boys, I can tell you that the degree of love and care does not change. [Pause for potty break] What does change, however, is your level of acceptance of what you can and cannot control.

I tried, for example, to keep Baby G (child #1) constantly sanitized.  I had a pack of wipes (generic? absolutely not) in every diaper bag (yes, there was need for multiple diaper bags), in every car, bedroom, and bathroom.  Oh, you spilled some juice on your shirt?  Goodness, no – let’s change you!  Let’s discuss the outcome: I changed his clothes too many times and wiped him too often – and he couldn’t care less.  Baby G enjoyed an all too regular meal of grass, crayons, and play-dough.  He preferred moments of nudity over cute outfits.

When it came time to potty train him, I bought the coolest looking potty chair and even a mini toilet seat for the grown up potty.  I used training pants and a timer set to 15 minutes to keep our potty training on track.  Outcome review: the potty chair became one of his favorite toys, after all, it was really cool looking.  It was never peed or pooed into.  Ever. [Pause for potty break] The mini toilet seat became nothing more than a hazardous donut for the grown ups and the training pants became a burden to my washer.  Worst yet, the timer became a dreaded tool – I wasn’t achieving anything in those 15 minute spurts between often dry potty beaks.  Baby G simply did not care about becoming a big boy when it came to the bathroom realm.  I’ll admit that eventually, I kind of gave up.  I figured I would still be changing diapers when he came home for spring break his sophomore year in college  Whatever, right?  There are worst fates in the world.  Then, one day I realized I was changing dry diapers.  I stopped putting diapers on him, and he started using the toilet.  No potty chair, no training pants, no mini toilet dangerous apparatus.  I didn’t actually do anything.

Since Baby D came so shortly after Baby G – and just seconds before the whole instant self-potty training occurred, I felt very at ease.  In fact, I do not remember using wipes, I kept a diaper bag in the car but never carried it around with us, and when I thought it was time to potty train, I just let it be.  I cannot tell you how old Baby D was when he stopped using diapers.  Maybe 2? Maybe 1?  No idea – he was such a piece of cake baby and I was such a laid back mamma.

So one would think that I would take my lessons learned and use them with Baby W.  He is almost 2, and about 4.5 million diapers later (or so it feels like), I am ready to potty train him.  Or rather,  I forgot what potty training a boy of mine means.  Let’s accredit this situation to the 7 year gap between having Baby D and Baby W.  While there were certain things I was smart enough to remember (a little bit of grass never hurt anyone, and play-dough makes for interesting poops later), other aspects of baby rearing clearly escaped me.  So I purchased a potty chair and a pack of training pants.  If you look in my bathroom now you will find that the potty chair has become the holder for [Pause for potty break] all of Baby W’s bath toys (two dinosaurs, three fish, 4 cars and some character from a Super Mario chess board game, FYI).  After going through the entire pack of training pants in less than one hour, I decided to let Baby W free roam [Pause for potty break].  This morning was an absolute success: he did not have any accidents (unless I find a hidden wet spot somewhere).  Then after lunch we took a dive in the pool.  It was so cold!  When Baby W’s lips took on a slight blue hue, I decided it was time to call it quits.  We came inside and I sat his bare butt in his high chair while I whipped us up a snack.  He was wrapped in a blanket, still warming himself from the too cold pool water.  Then, I thought I heard something: dripping water, a leaky faucet.  Only it wasn’t.  Baby W smiled as he was clearly feeling some warmth under that blanket.  So gross.  Frustrated I began wondering what I am doing wrong, what I need to do differently.

It required a bit of introspection to realize I am not doing anything wrong per say.  Neither is Baby W.  But some things I cannot control – and apparently – neither can he.  I will keep running him to the potty anytime he asks – hence the pause for potty breaks – and I will keep washing blankets, training pants, high chair seat cover, etc until Baby W is ready.  Then again, I might still be changing diapers when he’s home for spring break his sophomore year in college.  It could always be worse…[Pause for potty break]…

Being the Queen Bee

When I was just a little girl, a weird lady from our community claimed that she could predict not only how many children you would have, but also their gender and the order in which you would have them.  I caved in and had her check in on my future offspring.  She used a ring tied to a string and if the ring swung in circles it indicated a girl, while a straight back and forth swing indicated a boy.  My ring never swung in circles – just back and forth: three times.  So when I went in for my first ultrasound many years later, I was not at all surprised when the doctor pointed at that extra male appendage.  At the second baby ultrasound, again, the doctor showed me you know what.  By the time I reached my third baby’s ultrasound I dreaded that devilish woman and her stupid prediction.  I wanted a girl so badly.  Someone that could be like me, someone that would wear pink tutus and play with dolls.  But I knew deep down that I was bound to have yet another boy.  This time the doctor didn’t even have to point it out to me: I became an expert at decoding ultrasound pictures of little wee-wees.  So there’s that: no more chances of pink for me (have you tried paying the grocery bill for 3 boys and the dad?? No more babies allowed!)  But then something happened.

Maybe when I had Baby G I was too young to notice it.  And maybe when I had Baby D I was too busy with a toddler and a newborn to notice it.  But this time around with Baby W, I am older, more mature, calmer, wiser, and I tend to notice more details than I did with his older brothers.  There is just something between a boy and his mom that is so special and so grand and I have it threefold!

We were out with family one day and Baby W was passed around like a hot potato: everyone wanting to hold him.  He fussed a bit as all babies do, but when he got back to me, he just looked at me.  And I mean LOOKED.  His eyes were deep in mine.  I talked to him and I smiled at him.  I saw that look he gave back at me: it was so full of love, pure pure pure love.  It might be due to the fact that I am his sole source of food, but it has to be more than that.  I mean, I don’t look at the oven like that, and I love food!  But his look reflected peace, comfort, happiness.  I didn’t see that look on his face when he was with other people.

My eyes were opened now to this new idea that I might actually be really special out there to someone, that I might be the Queen Bee in a house full of boys.  I tested my theory in two ways:  with my older boys, and with another baby.

I started watching Baby G and Baby D: they don’t want to be swaddled and held close, but they do listen to me and react differently to me than they do with anyone else.  When they came home from school last week, I left them each a note on the door.   Baby G’s note was detailed: it listed the chores, his responsibilities, and then thanked him for being a great big brother.  Signed, I love you, Mamma.  Baby D’s was more simple, easier for a new reader:  a picture of a big smiling sun and the words: I love you so much! Mamma.  The boys’ reactions to the notes were similar to Baby W’s reaction when reaching me during his hot potato toss.  Their eyes shined with happiness and ease, and all it took was a note!  What power do I have over these boys?  What power does any mother have over her boys?

My second test involved another baby.  I used Baby M as my guinea pig.  He is my Godson and just a month older than Baby W.  He is a sweet beautiful baby boy, but the key to the test is that I am not his mother.  I held Baby M and I cooed with him and kissed him and cuddled with him, I looked at his face.  He looked content, happy even, but it was not the same.  He gave the boys the same look when they came in close and made silly faces at him.  He likes us, that’s for sure, but he doesn’t love me as deeply.  But his mamma – oh I saw him with her – he was mesmerized by her face, so thrilled to see her with him again.  She has that power too!

So today I sit here with the realization that I have been given this honor to raise three boys, just as that lady had predicted years ago. I won’t be playing with dolls or dressing them in pink, but I will forever be the Queen Bee.  The Man has told me that he fears the day the boys bring home their first girlfriend because he knows how rough I will be on that young girl.  So long as she is fantastic, smart, beautiful, great, amazing and…maybe I will be OK passing on the privilege of my being with my boys.

A Queen's Love

A Queen’s Love

My little cell

It has been nearly two months since my last blog – the dust has collected thick on this keyboard, but the time has slipped by me for a good reason: I have finally welcomed into the world Baby W.  Baby W arrived a full day late, and quite unwillingly at that!  None the less, he arrived healthy, strong, and beautiful.  After a nearly 7 year gap, I felt like a first time mother again (just without the pure fright of a first timer).  Still – when the good doctor placed the little baby on my chest for the first time, I looked down and my jaw dropped.  I remember feeling the same way 7 years ago, and even more so 9 years ago (accompanied by that aforementioned fright): it’s a feeling of amazement of life.

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The idea of creating a life is what mesmerizes me the most.  Everything starts out really small.  And I mean cellularly small: Baby M, Baby D, Baby G and even you and I, started out as a smear: a small, invisible to the naked eye cell.  Then somehow with meiosis and mitosis and whatever-osis, that cell turns into a little tadpole that floats around in the mommy causing a morning and afternoon and night sickness that puts Taco Bell to shame.  Then that tadpole morphs into an alien resembling creature until finally reaching the distinct figure of a baby.  And that, my dear friend, is when the real magic begins: a baby is born.  Such a small cell can now let out a wail and kick his arms and legs.  Such a small cell now has big blue eyes and a full head of hair.  What an amazing start to a life!

Skip ahead just one month and you see changes to that baby already.  Now Baby W coos for my attention when I look away.  He smiles when I blow raspberries on his belly.  He struggles to keep his small head steady on his neck as he takes in all the sights of this new world he was born into.  I can see from his expression that he recognizes me both by my scent as by sight.  I see he recognizes his dad and his brothers.  He has even grown used to the dog’s daily lick on the head.  And all this stemmed from just a simple cell.

I have the benefit of having older children so I have a preview of what is to come for Baby W.  Baby D, who is now just shy of turning 7 shows me the independence of a little boy who’s struggling to be a big boy.  He can lug a heavy bag of trash to the dumpster, he can set the table, and he can carry his baby brother.  He wants to prove he is old enough to have sleepovers and to ride his bike alone down the street.  Sometimes I take for granted all that he is capable of – but when I see him holding his little brother, I realize how big he actually is.  His once toddler-pudgy body has been replaced by a leaner body with little muscles ready for sports.

Just when I think I have caught my mind up with reality: that my baby is now a big boy, I am rudely awakened by the sight of Baby G, who at 9 years is also struggling.  Baby G wishes to no longer be viewed as a big boy, but a little man.  So here I have my first born son, the one who taught me so many motherly lessons (always, always, always have a diaper ready to go when changing a soiled diaper because once that fresh air touches his skin, it’s shower time…) and he most certainly is no longer a small cell, or a baby, or a toddler, or a little boy.  He is wearing deodorant, styling his hair, and beyond picky about the clothes he wears.  His sleepovers involve camping out, building forts, climbing trees.  With his friends they scoff at girls, read magazines and books on aliens and try building robots out of kitchen utensils.  I can send him into the store to buy milk and cat food – and trust that he will not only pick the right milk, but also give me back the right change.  He is becoming a responsible little man.

So what’s next?  When they become teenagers and I have to deal with little girls coming around the house, what will that be like?  Will I still remember how it felt that moment when they were first placed on my chest?  Or will I eventually forget that their father and I created them?  They grow daily, but I think it’s vital to remember that at some point they were just a small little cell.  So if need be, I will let the dust collect on the keyboard, because the cooing of a newborn is not only priceless, but it passes quickly and I do not want to miss a thing this little cell does!

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And baby makes three (or four or five or…)

Earlier this year I sat on a bench munching away at cherry tomatoes – the only thing that Baby W seemed to allow into my system.  I was about 5 months pregnant, and yes, the dreaded nausea just would not leave.  I saw a girl staring at me with that, “What the heck is wrong with that girl eating tomatoes first thing in the morning!?” So I hoped she was a mom and while patting my belly, I said, “Gotta eat what the baby lets me eat!”  She pulled out a bottle of water and said, “And drink whatever the baby lets me drink!”, as she returned a pat on her own belly.  YES! Not only had I found a mom to commiserate with, but I found a PREGNANT mom! Score!

My new friend, OV, turned out to be a really sweet girl from Moldova who was 6 months into her very first pregnancy.  She is married and her in-laws live locally, but her family, just like mine, is far, far away (across the big pond, to be exact).  So we bonded.  We bonded over morning/day/evening/night sickness, we bonded over husbands that just don’t get it, and we bonded over people moving clear out of our way as we waddled down the street.  But mostly, we bonded over the fact that our families, particularly our moms, were very far away.

This is my third go around with pregnancies, so I have to admit I have not been very scared (don’t quote me on that when D-Day arrives!), but poor OV: she was nervous.  I tried my best over the next few months to help her prepare, both mentally and physically for what was to happen.  “It won’t be pretty or clean; it will hurt like hell!  BUT, the moment they place that baby on your chest, you won’t even realize the doctor is still down under fishing for more gunk!”

We shared in baby shower laughters and glared down together the cruel, heartless people who made “WOWZA! Looks like you’re about to blow!!” comments.  (FYI, NEVER EVER say that, it’s not cool).  (Even if it is possibly true).

And finally five days ago I received a text from her: “Girl, I think my waters just broke!”  Let me be honest here: I was very happy for her, VERY.  But I also wanted to very much punch her. VERY.  I mean, how did SHE get to go into labor and NOT ME?!  Sure, sure, she was a whole month ahead of me, but the injustice!  I wished her well, of course, and asked that she kept me up-to-date.

Baby Mayson was born May 23 at 1.10 pm weighing a whopping 8 pounds 3 ounces and is 21 inches long.  He has a beautiful head-full of dark hair and dark dark eyes.  Beautiful baby!

When my jealousy subsided, and I knew Mamma OV had finally regained some kind of senses from what turned out in fact to not being “pretty or clean”and did in fact “hurt like hell”, I finally spoke to OV and she gave me a full recount of the whole endeavor (most interesting fact to me was an article she read stating that rolling gently – on your bum – on a yoga/exercise ball will ease and open your cervix – and within hours of rolling, her waters broke!)  But when I asked her the most grueling question: How do you feel as a mom? she surprised me: “It feels so weird.  🙂 I still cannot believe he came out of me! 🙂 Every time he cries or burps or farts, I have a small heart attack.  I don’t know how you are willing to endure the pain a THIRD time, but I definitely want more babies too!”  And there you have it!  U, moms, we all cringed and screamed and cursed for hours on end, but then it’s over – you hold that little prize and you realize you would do it all over again and again just to see his face!  Mother Nature is cruel and mean and kind of gross, but she is also absolutely beautiful and magical!

Attention all dads:  my second question for OV had to do with her husband.  Now you see, Baby W will be The Man’s first son, so he is a nervous wreck.  I have been searching for ways to ease his nerves, but this is my third go around and only his first.  I remember how scared I was, but I surely do not know how it must feel to be the dad.  So I asked OV how her husband and first time daddy reacted.  She said, “He was so very excited!!  I will never forget the look on his face when he first saw the baby!”  Moms, do you remember the look she’s talking about?  There are only 3 times in your WHOLE life that your man will look that amazing:  when he is on his knees proposing, when he’s standing at the altar looking down the aisle at you walking toward him, and lastly, when he sees his first (and yes, second, third, fourth, etc) born.  It’s a look of pride, joy, love – it’s, once again, Mother Nature at her best!

I saw OV today, holding Baby Mayson.  She was still the girl I met a few months back, who also took on the habit of eating cherry tomatoes like they were candy.  But she was also different today.  She truly became a woman, a mother.  That little baby became the new focus of her life, he has taken center stage and she could not be any happier.  And I swear to you, I also could not be any happier for her too!  Mostly because I also have a yoga ball that is about to be sat on… cross your fingers and wish me and Baby W godspeed!

 

Baby Mayson

Baby Mayson

Mamma OV and Baby Mayson

Mamma OV and Baby Mayson

Getting Started – All About Me

I have played with the idea of starting a blog for quite some time, but with so many blogs out there, who will ever take the time to read mine?  My conclusion?  It doesn’t really matter!  If you happened to stumble on my page, welcome!  If I coerced you to read it, thank you for obliging!

Let me tell you all about me:  I am close to reaching that first dreaded age group shift – the 20s are soon to be a thing of my past.  I am married to The Man.  I have two boys, Baby G and Baby D, and in just over 6 weeks, I will have another boy, Baby W!  Do you see why my blog page is entitled “No Pretty In Pink Here”?  All I have known for over 9 years now is blue, green, monsters, dinosaurs, Ben 10, blasting video games, football, baseball, basketball..the list is endless but does not include the color pink.

I was raised in Europe – a key point to understanding why many of my views are considerably liberal, but alternately, my family values are very traditional.  I believe in home cooked meals served at the table on a tablecloth, every day.  I believe in lazy Sundays after church. I believe in I love you’s and in kissing.  But I do not believe in baby talk – there are no boo boos or passies in my home.  I teach the right word from the start – affection and discipline; chaos and order.

My goal with this blog is to recount the ordinary happenings of life: birthday parties, school events, marital successes and struggles, pet drama…  The ordinary is exactly what makes the world go round, after all.

Enjoy reading,

The Woman

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Here we are!