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.

baby g2 baby wbaby d boys 1


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]…

When did we grow up?

Today, my little brother and I decided to take the pillows from our bedroom and use them as impromptu sleds.  We slipped into the pillowcases and placed ourselves at the top of our staircase.  We didn’t see stairs, however.  We saw a tall, steep mountain covered in snow.  With one small push we started gliding down the mountain, over every bump we held tight to our sled.

Also today, my little brother and I decided to put on a show.  We wrote a script, made sock puppets and a backdrop for our set.  We even drew up invitations: “You are cordially invited to the Baileys’ Spectacular Presentation at 6 pm in the Play Room”.

And also today, while reading “The Orphan and the Doll” by Tracy Friedman, I held tight to my own dolls hoping one of them would come to life and talk to me like the doll in the book did with the little orphaned girl (sure, I was not an orphan but still…)  But as I lay in my room reading and fantasizing how bad my life could actually be, I heard a most terrible and saddening meow coming from outside my window.  I peaked out to see a litter of kittens stranded in my neighbor’s back yard surrounded by a rafter of turkeys!  Surely about to face imminent death by pecking, the kittens had to be saved!  I jumped out of my bed and fantasy world, and ran to the rescue.  A few jumps over low walls and fences and I was looking at my bedroom window from the turkey’s side.  Armed with a stick in hand, I swatted at the feathered giants while collecting all the kittens.  I ran back into my yard, angry at these villainous neighbors for nearly allowing such a massacre.

But, let’s let the truth be told: none of this happened today.  In fact, it all happened such a long time ago.  I am now nearly at my first anniversary of my 29th birthday, and my little brother is now bigger than me by half a foot (ok, maybe even more- I don’t understand where my short genes came from).  My question is, when did we grow up?  One day we really are playing and fantasizing, and then next thing you know, you cringe because the electric bill shows up in the mail again (didn’t we just pay them??)

Sometimes I don’t realize that I am a grown up, though.  Example: when I am out shopping and I see teenagers, I just assume they see a teenager too.  Then when they almost bump into me and say, “I’m sorry, ma’am” I realize a most dreadful truth: I am antique.  These are the moments I like to step back and really look at my life.  When I get home, I click my garage door opener and pull my SUV into the garage filled with bikes and footballs and tools.  I get the dreaded electric bill out of the mailbox and I even find the newspaper from this morning.  Neither are for my dad.  They are both for me.  I kindly pass the bill on to my husband (how nice it is to have him deal with the bill paying portion of life).  The newspaper is for me, however.  I want to know if there is any progress on that bridge being built down town, because that’s a lot of tax payers time and money being spent – yikes! Did I just say that?  How antique of me! 

Once in the house, I realize there is so much to do:  dishes need to be washed, laundry needs to be done, dinner needs to be cooked, pets want attention, kids need some serious tending to.  The worst part of all this is that no one is paying me to do jack!  This isn’t a babysitting gig, or a set of chores laid out by my mom.  This is my life.  I am the one that creates the chore list for the boys who glare at me when I tap my finger on the invisible watch on my wrist.

So let me ask this again, when did we grow up?  When did I stop sliding down the stairs, stop putting on puppet shows, and stop reading books about heroic dolls that brought out the hero in me too?  When did I accept a life of responsibilities and become my own mother and father rolled into one?

What about you?  When did you grow up?

I think today I will resort to being a child again.  I am going to the park, I am playing with my cats, and I will send my little brother a script that we will act out.  I might even make invitations.  I will do all this today, but only after I do all my antique, grown up things, after all, the cable bill came in today.

The wall I jumped to rescue the kittens (our house was the "newer" one)

The wall I jumped to rescue the kittens (our house was the “newer” one)

Me and my brother in the days of pillow sleds and puppet shows


My little brother and I, more recently

My little brother and I, more recently