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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What They Really Think

This evening I read a Facebook chain post that actually caught my attention.  It asked:

“WITHOUT ANY prompting, ask your child these questions and write down EXACTLY what they say. It is a great way to find out what they really think. When you re-post put your Child’s age.”

I decided to give it a try…


Baby D – Age 8

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Stop talking.

2. What makes mom happy?
Me helping around the house

3. What makes mom sad?
Feeling sick

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
Lots of things: when I said I like turtles and she said aint nobody got time for dat.

5. What was your mom like as a child?
I don’t know…kind?

6. How old is your mom?
31

7. How tall is your mom?
6’4”

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Cook, I think

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
School stuff

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Research and the other stuff you do at school

11. What is your mom really good at?
Cooking and being a good mom

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Umm, messing up

13. What does your mom do for a job?
about to be a social worker

14.What is your mom’s favorite food?
pasta!

15.What makes you proud of your mom?
for being nice

16. If your mom were a character, who would she be?
wonder woman or cat woman

17. What do you and your mom do together?
we do stuff outside and in public

18. How are you and your mom the same?
we look the same

19. How are you and your mom different?
she’s a girl and i’m a boy; she has long hair and i don’t; my nose isn’t as big as hers

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
She says I love you

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?
Italy, but we don’t go there too often because it costs too much money.

22. How old was your Mom when you were born?
in her 20s?


Baby G – Age 11

1. What is something mom always says to you?
No!

2. What makes mom happy?
I don’t know, being quiet. You don’t smile much for some reason.

3. What makes mom sad?
I don’t know, you never tell me.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
She doesn’t.

5. What was your mom like as a child?
Getting hurt a lot

6. How old is your mom?
31

7. How tall is your mom?
5’4”

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
I’m guessing reading.

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
I don’t know! Maybe work on school stuff?

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Writing an article.

11. What is your mom really good at?
Being a mom

12. What is your mom not very good at?
hmmmmm

13. What does your mom do for a job?
doesn’t have a job. unemployed.

14.What is your mom’s favorite food?
Chocolate.

15.What makes you proud of your mom?
Everything.

16. If your mom were a character, who would she be?
Marge Simpson because she has to do a lot of work and she groans like her when shes frustrated.

17. What do you and your mom do together?
we sit in the same car, we live in the same house, eat the same food at the same table…

18. How are you and your mom the same?
Both smart and better yet, both good looking

19. How are you and your mom different?
She hates electronics

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
She says it.

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?
Golden Coral


But here is the real kicker: I am going to provide my own answers and see how well my kids really know me!

The Woman – Age 31 and strong

1. What is something you always say to the boys?
Stop it, basta, no, quit talking, get over it, dinner’s ready…

2. What makes you happy?
My boys agreeing and playing nice, puppies and kittens, back rubs, foot rubs, head rubs, neck rubs, hand rubs, leg rubs…catching the trend here?

3. What makes you sad?
The kids fighting, bills, ignorance, bills, poverty, hunger, bills…

4. How do you make your boys laugh?
I think I’m pretty funny, thank you very much.  I have some witty jokes. Knock knock…

5. What were you like as a child?
Shy when I was itty bitty, then probably bossy, a control freak, snappy…you know, like me today.

6. How old are you?
Show me yours and I’ll show you mine.

7. How tall are you?
5’3″ on a proud day 😦

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
Laying on the beach, reading, writing, taking long baths, swimming with the kids, hanging with the kids, eating (let’s be honest here), some R rated stuff…

9. What do you do when the boys are not around?
Probably that aforementioned R-rated stuff.  And clean, and read, and write (hence, now).

10. If you become famous, what will it be for?
I hope my kids nailed this one: for achieving something great in my chosen career path, or for writing something so memorable that it keeps being shared for ages!

11. What are you really good at?
Taking charge.  It’s my way or the highway, people.

12. What are you not very good at?
Following.  See question 11.

13. What do you do for a job?
According to the IRS, I am a student; but I am also a chef, chauffeur, cleaning lady, laundry person, babysitter, teacher, deviant R-rated partner (don’t be jelly).

14.What is your favorite food?
What isn’t?  I love most anything pasta, I love vegetables, and meats.Yum. And sushi.  And gyros.  And Italian pizza (the real stuff, not that DiGiorno crap). Oh and BBQ. I love me some good BBQ.  Yea. I love food.

15.What makes you proud of yourself?
My boys. I know, I know – sappy moment. But for real, I am so proud that I have never had to worry about them academically because they have always been at the top; I have never worried about them socially, because who doesn’t love my kids?  They are kind, sweet, beautiful – I mean, I did make them!

16. If you were a character, who would you be?
I am slightly disappointed my Batman-fanatic kids didn’t think of Poison Ivy because I would totally be her, just in a backwards sort of way.  I don’t actually poison anyone, but I do kill any plant that I touch (silent prayer for my big boy tomato plant growing in the backyard…)

17. What do you and your kids do together?
There isn’t much I do without them – they are always around.  A-L-W-A-Y-S. It’s ok, though – they are pretty cool cats.

18. How are you and your kids the same?
Baby G has my drive to be on top – he will always strive to be the best, because, well, that’s the gene I past on to him. He got 99% of his dad.  But that 1% is all me. 

Baby D has my kind heart.  No, no – don’t laugh at the thought of me being kind.  I might actually say the most cruel words you’ve ever heard, but I say them with the kindest intentions.  At the end of the day, though, I will flip backwards to help anyone!  Baby D once said that when he is rich, he will buy us a beautiful, huge house to live in and then he will buy another equally beautiful and large house for the homeless people to live in.  That, folks, is a kind heart. 

Baby W is a little too little to really gauge, but he seems to have my carefree spirit.  Act now, consequences later.  I feel that way about Burger King as he does about leaping off the back of the couch.  Tomat-ow Tomah-to.

19. How are you and your kids different?
Baby G is analytical and precise.  That isn’t genetic, it’s learned; learned from his detail-oriented, borderline panicky step-father. 

Baby D would spend hours glued to his video games if I let him.  It blows my mind because once I force him to disconnect, he is the most sociable and outdoorsy child I know! I do not like video games. I try to feign interest in Pokemon names, or how to run a play on Madden…

Baby W still hasn’t learned to pee in a toilet.  Thankfully, we are very different there!

20. How do you know you’re showing your boys that you love them?
I tell them, of course.  But greater than that, I do as much as I can for them.  Like, everything. 

21. Where is your favorite place to go?
Hawaii. I absolutely love it there. The smell of eternal summer.  Perfect.  But, that being said, I also love Italy, France, Germany (sometimes), the mountains – oh I love and miss the mountains! Lakes, rivers, the beach….

22. How old were you when your boys were born?
Baby G: 20

Baby D: 23

Baby W: 29


I am pretty sure that if I read this list to the boys, they would say, “Oh yeah! I knew that!”.  I wonder how well I could answer these same questions about my own kids.  Maybe it’s time to put the laptop and the books away, and play a game of “get to really know each other”!

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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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