A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

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Life as Pictures: when they are equally brave and annoying

Things are good. I was asked to teach for the same university for the fall semester. I’m pretty jazzed about that…a bit surprised too. I felt I did a good job, but this is a grant funded gig. I assumed when I wasn’t asked to return shortly after I finished, they moved onto other agendas. I don’t quite understand the mission of this department subset. Other cool things…did I mention I was nominated for a nonprofit Board? I’ve volunteered for them in various capacities for a few years, but I hadn’t considered and opportunity like this. It was flattering to be recommended by the Executive Director, Board Chair, and Vice Chair. It isn’t unusual for superiors and colleagues to sing my praises to some extent, but I’m always flattered and humbled by this kind of positive regard…and then I proceed to find ways to dismiss the accomplishment and undermine my positive mindset…I’m working on that…


Mr. Man is an interesting character. Some things I can’t get him to do for the life of me, but going to the dentist and receiving shots is a total nonissue. Of course, if I had shades like that maybe I’d be down with it too… Actually, while I’m phobic of needles, the dentist never bothered me. As a middle-aged woman I continue to have excellent oral hygiene. The dentist and hygienist were shocked he had no issue throughout the appointment…totally chill. We spend quite a bit of time talking about bravery anticipating scary things. It’s worked surprisingly well. About a week before appointments we start having discussions about these things…doctor’s visits…dentist…whatever that might be considered unpleasant or scary. Sometimes Little Man will frantically wave his hands and tell us to stop talking. Literally. He interrupts us mid sentence saying, “Stop talking,” in a rushed breath. We do. But, we still manage a healthy dose of normalizing fear, discussing bravery and the process of confronting fear. These days my son will ask me what I’m afraid of and what I do about it…and I will confirm that I am afraid of an irrational shit-ton of things. I think, however, it’s helpful for him to hear of all the things the family members he admires fear. After all, everyone is scared of something.


I can’t believe it, but I have potty training news! The peanut gallery can FINALLY get off my back…for now. My son isn’t quite there yet. Sometimes he will urinate in the toilet. Most of the time this month he decided to use the toilet to poop, which is quite a lovely thing. He’s pretty good at wiping himself as well. Given there are easily about three poops a day per child, I’m livin’ large. It isn’t perfect. Little Man isn’t ready to transition to full-time potty (probably because he doesn’t yet realize he will be left alone to eat a snack and read a book for a few minutes). We haven’t had accidents so much as expressions of his reliable need to control people and his environment. His refusals to poop in the toilet seem directly related to very specific events I don’t want to get into, but for the time being are unavoidable. And, the day after his first toilet dump, he didn’t scream and tantrum when I mentioned buying underwear. He chose the above selection. I can’t stand that show. Their notion of diversity are having both blond and brunette White boys…one of them is the leader, and totally obnoxious. The girl is not quite White, but simultaneously is. She has an exotic name, so that must count, right? (Oh, look, there are my tonsils!) I say this because the lack of diversity, lead girls, and general stereotyping in children’s programming GREATLY bothers me. But, I digress. Mr. Man seemed keen on his underwear, but Warrior Queen seemed significantly more so. My money is on her using the toilet shortly after her big brother stops needing diapers during the day. She’ll see him strutting around in his annoying Cat Boy underwear, and that will be the end of diapers for Warrior Queen!


Mr. Man enjoys puzzles. I’d been giving him puzzles for a three-year-old, which are much too easy, but he enjoys repetitions like that. This one is the first four-year-old puzzle he’s tried. He could probably do it himself, but prefers it as an activity to do with an adult. For the first time in my life I enjoy puzzles…because I can manage one for a four-year-old. It took a bit for Little Man to sit for this one, but he enjoyed schlepping all the pieces around. This was the first time we managed to get through it without him building something random and incongruous with the project of piecing together the thing. I never did find that piece, and it’s unbelievably annoying.


This is not an impressive game of the retro Pick-up Sticks. This is Warrior Queen battling me over an almost full box of pasta. It was already open and resting on the counter. She apparently can scale our island to grab anything and everything off the top by using the drawer handles as a ladder. I had my back to her for a second…of course, that’s a parenting motto: “It was just a second!” You’d think I wouldn’t be a total idiot about where I place things, yet… She wanted to carry it over to me, but I’m not THAT much of an imbecile. Her wanting to “carry” it over consists of shaking the box and dumping the contents everywhere. But, that’s not what happened in this instance. There was no shaking with a gradual overflow of objects out of a container. Warrior Queen cut right to the chase and immediately dumped everything, subsequently screaming as I tried to retrieve the completely empty box.


Warrior Queen spent a good fifteen to twenty minutes refusing to eat anything but the broth of this soup, which is just wrong. Who doesn’t passionately love chicken noodle soup? I mean, I’ve had bad chicken noodle soup, but it’s practically an art to completely fuck it up. I remember looking down for a moment, and when I glanced back, this was the situation before me. I even checked the ground and her lap before marveling at her efficiency of sucking down the cup’s contents.


Naturally Nurtured to…Greatness?

I often consider the pulls of nature and nurture…mostly because I receive a certain thrill from contrary responses to the most mundane of topics. It’s a funny thing because I loathe debating, but there exists an even more passionate dislike of arguing. The mere whisper of confrontation leaves the same sour taste as the residual vapors that refuse to depart hours after opening our diaper bin.

Stomperdad was kind enough to publish a piece of mine on his site. I hope you will visit him to read beyond the above tease. You can find it here.

Life’s a…Scream

Dishes piled high; some in the sink.

But, the kids aren’t screaming.

Chocolate smeared faces, and coating the walls.

But, the kids aren’t screaming.

Toys strewn on surfaces; I massacred my feet.

But, the kids aren’t screaming.

Did the toddler just throw that? It dented the wall!

But, the kids aren’t screaming.

Coated head to toe in baby mystery goo.

But, the kids aren’t screaming.

Lunch thrown together. Is grape jam a fruit?

But, the kids aren’t screaming.

The floor is sticky; not sure what it is.

But, the kids aren’t screaming.

Sofa askew, toddler stripped off his clothes.

But, the kids aren’t screaming.

Baby chewing a dog toy; no hope that it’s clean.

But, the kids aren’t screaming.

Is it nap time yet? I’m pulling patches of hair.

But, the kids aren’t screaming

Toddler gives me a squeeze. Baby smiles with a coo.

No longer am I screaming.



If These Toddlers Could Talk…

This isn’t my tale to tell, but fantastic nonetheless. My husband walks over to me in the kitchen while our children are occupying themselves. Apparently, our two-and-a-half-year-old Mr. Man greeted his father with, “Hello, sweetie pie, have good day?” Subsequently, patting my husband on the tushie and scampering off.

Silver Linings

Overnight had all the makings as a prelude to a hideous day. My husband had an obligation to attend Saturday. He didn’t sleep well either, but I was the one to retrieve the hungry infant. I was tired and angry that he didn’t rise instead. Midway through the 4am feeding I climbed down from my wooden cross. Had I asked for him to own the task, he wouldn’t have hesitated.

Image result for martyr on cross

(This is how I see myself managing to function well before the sun even considers appearing. Thank you, State Hermitage Museum!)

I was set for a challenge. My husband would be leaving early, I would be left with a toddler recovering from a garden variety nose cold, which translates to energetic enough to destroy the house, yet grumpy enough to be annoying. I was also left with an infant pursuing every attempt to return to my uterus in the most fussy way possible. I can’t blame the Warrior Queen. She is sick and teething. But, as much as I empathize, it isn’t pleasant.

Immediately, my daughter was disgruntled. Usually, she knocks off after the first feeding for a spell; not this morning. Her trend the past couple days are early morning poops that could wake the dead with her shrieking. She is formula fed, which yields to what looks like a painful product at times…or maybe she’s just a talker. My son had a speech delay, so I was not blessed with unhappy baby babbling complaints in incomprehensible utterances that seem to make perfect sense.

Image result for angry baby

(Web Awards has nothin’ on Warrior Queen…)

I’d meant to exercise. It’s one of the few things that can pull me out of a funk, even one induced by restless sleep. But, my fierce girl only got it together as Little Man was singing his greeting to an empty room. The day was looking dodgy, and it barely began.

Image result for cabaret dancer

(Vintage Everyday perfectly captures what I see in the monitor when my son awakens from a good sleep.)

I’d tried with lukewarm aggression to find an engrossing activity, but to no avail. Flummoxed, I opted for a seldom used diversion these days. We drove to the mall.

It’s an interesting thing. It doesn’t really matter what type of terror greets me in his crib; Little Man does well out and about for the most part. Saturday was no exception. However, as much as I knew he would be fine once we left the house, our destination turned into such a remarkable day.

My daughter sat in her bucket, smiling the way she does. Raspberries are her thing lately. With an expressive tongue jetting between her lips, she excitedly told me stories. For now, even though I’m a distant second to her brother, she’s still pretty tickled to see me. Her smiles encompassing so much of her face, they leave me expecting the top of her head to unhinge and fall behind her.

Our first stop was something to eat. The stores weren’t open yet, but a chain café was. I bought a turkey sandwich with avocado for my breakfast…because c’mon, avocado… It goes without saying a large iced tea accompanied. My son treated to an overpriced container of grapes. I love that they were such a indulgence for him. The fact that they were the size of a baby’s fist made him jubilant; telling me how large the items of his second breakfast were. I suppose that’s the purpose of genetic engineering…conversations for toddlers…

Image result for grapes size of baby fist

(InyMiny thinks it’s all about the turtle, and that’s all well ‘n’ good, but they were some serious grapes…)

Little Man heeded me for almost the entire two-and-a-half hours we were there. He was delighted to travel throughout this expansive building finding all the elevators. He has the height of a child a year older, so he relished pushing the buttons, and feeling the slow pull to the next floor. There was very little arguing. There were no attempts or tantrums to use the escalator after I explained upon our arrival we couldn’t partake. Mr. Man took no issue with me using the potty. My son excited to wash his own hands the big boy way.

We walked up ramps and stairs. He told me of the sights he witnessed. He laughed. He experienced; all so mundane, yet wonderful.

He used a water fountain for the first time. Well, he tried to use it. He shoved the bottom part of his face in the cold water, but it was simply amazing to him.

Image result for child drenched in water

(Not a story for CNN, but Little Man rivaled this child in deft water fountain maneuvering.)

We ended our outing with a red balloon. I love the ones this store provides. They are free, and last maybe a day before deflating in a pathetic fizzle.

Little Man didn’t nap, surprisingly the Armageddon of a cranky toddler did not ensue. I read books and we pieced together puzzle pairs. Warrior Queen was only content when I held her, so her big brother helped me with pacifier duty. It was all inexplicably lovely.

A second large iced tea I smuggled home got me through, and my husband finally arriving home allowed me to exercise. As tired as I was, I felt terrific.

After sitting on my chest while I rested on the sofa and read some more stories, my son requested me to read him final good night tales, and tuck him in. I crashed into oblivion not much after.

Breakfast of Champions

I’m still sick, but reverted back to my pre illness state of coherence, so I vaguely make sense in brief conversations, but I can’t actually remember the conversation once I’ve journeyed ten minutes from it.  It is a pretty wicked cold that passed to my husband…because of the, “what’s mine is yours,” jazz.  So, as the less sick spouse, I took the kids out early this morning for breakfast before a visit with my parents.

My cold is well into its second week, but I can’t remember exactly how long I’ve had it.  Existing in the throws of early infant days hits my memory profoundly, leaving me to feel as though I’ve always been sick.  Taking my children to breakfast this morning reminded me of my real life, not this current experience of me periodically in tears from exhaustion and frustrated with my poor husband who certainly didn’t ask to share my earlier misery.

While the first reasonable night’s sleep in almost a week greatly improved my homicidal perseverations toward humanity…and the idiots sharing my road; preparing breakfast wasn’t something worth tackling.  We ate at a local diner with questionable interior design, but the best vegetable omelets I’ve ever eaten; even the mushrooms are fresh among the impressively plentiful variety of roughage.

Our trio entered the virtually empty space and chose a seat.  My son in a high chair looking at the traffic along the rotary outside, pointing and unintelligibly discussing the various trucks passing.  But, I hung on every word.  My daughter sleeping in her bucket.  I ordered my meal and my son’s blueberry pancakes (The blueberries are fresh and the amount almost ruin the integrity of the cake!).  The service is usually slow at this establishment, but I soaked every piece of this morning.  I basked in one of the wait staff commenting I had beautiful baby boy, even though I changed her out of her brother’s pajamas…because Warrior Queen is an infant and resembles this:

(Pat has a better hairline, but this is the identical facial expression just before spit-up seeps from her mouth or she is about to take a dump.)

I reveled in my son’s excitement of having a return to a typical peaceful and low key outing.  I felt exuberance anticipating my omelet…my son was equally invested in the arrival of his food.  The meal arrived.  My son expressing his excitement with his mouth agape in an “O” that wraps around and hugs his teeth.  Eyes wide, he waited patiently as I cut his stack of pancakes, but really he was transfixed by the bacon.  I completely understand his reaction.  Bacon is fabulous, and I would sign any petition enacting it as a superfood.  Yeah, I get that it has fat and yadda, yadda, yadda, but who isn’t so happy they almost wet themselves while eating it?  But, maybe it’s me.  I have twelve more baby pounds to lose, so my order arrived with the Canadian counterpart cooked well.  It’s a deficient alternative, but kept me from snatching my son’s pieces out of his hands and mouth.  We all have our strategies.

My daughter woke, so my attention vacillated love between my blissfully eating son and my daughter who also seems to relish our typical togetherness atmosphere.  My meal was rewarded with smiles, and I barely missed my breakfast lacking the salty magnificence of regular bacon.  My fierce girl is almost laughing, some of her smiles so large gasps sporadically escaped her mouth.  My son occasionally looked down and pointed.  Maybe he would smile or comment on his sister’s excitement.  He looked back at me after each gesture with his fist of bacon or fork of pancake, before cramming the selected food in his grinning mouth.  He looked at me with all the love I’m tickled he still has, seemingly every tooth on display in between mouthfuls.

It was such a simple morning, and some day these simple moments might be more difficult to come by.  Even though my children won’t remember, I hope I can always replay every expression of theirs in my mind, cementing anything from having the chance to wipe my mind’s eye clean.

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