When Your Baby Becomes A Kid

Having a baby is the most life-altering thing any human being can do.  Man, woman; gay, straight; single, married, it doesn’t matter.  Whether it’s your genetic material or someone else’s, having a baby in the house is going to fuck your day up.  These days you can’t throw a rock and not hit a blog post or book or article about the trials and tribulation of having a baby.  But no one talks about what happens when they’re not babies anymore. I mean we all know teenagers suck, but what about those wonderful school-aged years when the only they’re doing at the speed of light is learning what not to do. Not to mention, being influenced by other kids.  Correction, other, shittier kids. You know longer have full control over what they learn and how they learn it, which totally sucks!

My oldest son recently turned 8.  I, believing the lies told me by my parental predecessors, thought things would be getting easier by now. We’d be able to have a wrongmeaningful conversation, common interests, and even a developing sense of mutual respect.  Boy was I wrong. What I got were conversations that contain the word “um” approximately 8,000 times about people I’ve never met and things I’ve never heard of, the constant demand to fain enthusiasm 24/7, and a never-ending need to talk myself out of striking a child.  You spend years teaching your child to talk.  Then, you immediately regret that decision.  They never stop talking.  Never.  Ever.

now I get itHe’s reached the age where he is trying desperately to understand adult conversation and nuances. However, he has the attention span of the fruit fly so he zones out halfway through the answer to a question he just asked.  So when he says the words “Ooooh! Now I get it.”  That means he has no idea what the fuck I’m talking about. He’s just moved on to whatever random thought just came into his head like, I wonder if now is a good time to bring up that thing I did at Grandma’s house  months ago that has nothing to do with what we’re talking about right now.

And I swear to God listening to this kid tell a story should be illegal under the Geneva Convention. It is the most torurous experience in my life.  “Mom. I, um, went to Jack’s house and um we played this game um that has this um thing and you have to do this other thing to  um make this one thing happen.  It’s just like the one I played at um I don’t remember his name’s house. You remember?”  Ummmmmmm……what?!?! For Christ’s sake.  I would almost rather work at a college bar on a Friday night full of Sorority bar crawls that’s four deep with dumb bitches who have never had anything stronger than Malibu….almost.  But of course I can’t tell him that.  I have to pretend to be interested and care, because he needs validation.  I need a boob job and a wine of the month membership, but you don’t see me bitching!

So, if you’ve just had a baby, enjoy these moments when they sleep all the time and don’t speak.  Trust me the spit up and shit is worth it.  Just remember, the day is coming when you will have to interact.  And they won’t be like those cool kids on sitcoms.  Rudy Huxtable isn’t real. (Too soon?)  Kids don’t make witty jokes or say the funny thing at the right time.  They will, however, rip ass in the middle of the grocery store and laugh relentlessly.  So, it’s not all doom and gloom.

As for me and my first born, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The other day I made some smart ass comment and he goes,  “Is that sarcasm?”  I’ve never been more proud as a partent.  He’s such a great kid with all kinds of creativity.  He’s sweet and kind and thoughtful and a great big brother.  He has more love and generosity in his little finger than most people do in their whole bodies.  But if this phase doesn’t pass and soon, I would recommend buying stock in duct tape and Pinot Grigio.

Pinot Grigio

 

 

It’s Christmas. Be Nice, Damnit!

A couple of weeks ago I was out grocery shopping with my two youngest (ages 1 and 2).  Our typical routine consists of getting those hot deals on all things processed at Aldi, then boogying over to Meijer for the fancy generic food they just don’t have at Aldi.  Nevertheless, by the time we get to check out at Meijer everyone is in a Code Red situation.  The 2-year-old is tired from running through the store, the 1-year-old probably missed his morning nap and is fighting an internal battle on whether he’s more hungry or tired.  At this point, it’s a toss-up.  There is a meltdown just around the corner.  I know it, the cashier knows it, every retired person in Bloomington-Normal shopping with us on a Thursday morning knows it.

Needless to say,  I try to make it through checkout in record time.  I place everything on the belt in a way that makes sense for bagging.  If I’m buying booze (HAHAHAHA “if”)… tenorWhen I’m buying booze, I keep it for last so I can have my ID ready. However, it doesn’t matter how prepared you are there are too many variables.  Too many things out of your control.  Those sons-a-bitches who design these stores know that stressed-out parents like me will do anything to shut their kids up in the check out lane so they fill it with candy, and toys and random shit that no one on this planet ever needs….ever.

So, the 1-year-old starts fussing because it’s feedin’ time.  The 2-year-old wants all theKung Pao miniature princess dolls that as soon as we get home, will mean jack shit.  I’m shoving every cracker I have in the diaper bag down the baby’s throat, while trying to distract the girl one with anything that won’t cost me any more money.  I get all the groceries on the belt, I’m sweating like George Costanza housing Kung Pao Chicken, and now there is someone behind us in line, which for some reason elevates my stress level.

We get all checked out.  Bags back in the cart.  Debit card swiped, then inserted because I can never remember which one it is.  At this point, my anxiety is to a max.  I still have to get everything and everyone in the car, home, out of the car, fed, and napped.  Ugh….

Then, the woman who had braved standing behind us in line looks at me and says, “Wow.  You make that look so easy.  I remember doing it, but I don’t remember it being that easy.”

BIQWWmlCQAEN7hOI almost burst into tears and hugged her.  At first, I thought “Well, Gotcha Bitch!  Cause I’m a fucking wreck!”  But I took the high road and said, “If you were in my head you wouldn’t be saying that.  But thank you very much.”

That woman, whoever she is, has no idea what she said meant to me in that moment.  When you go anywhere with little kids you feel like a pariah.  The minute you walk in you can actually hear the eye rolls.  I can’t say I blame them. Other people’s kids are annoying.  Just remember that we’re doing the best we can.

So whenever you see a mom, a dad, anyone straight up owning a stressful situation, whether it’s kid related or not, give them credit.  If you’re thinking something nice about someone, say it. It sounds so simple and yet it’s something I’ll admit I rarely do.  Why?  Shouldn’t we be lifting each other up?  Especially this time of year when everyone is stressed out, be nice.  Find the good.   You never know when you could be making someone’s day.  I know I will never forget that woman at Meijer who made all of my stress and efforts seem worth it.  She made me like everything was going to be ok, and there was nothing I couldn’t deal with.  So, whoever you are Meijer Angel, Thank You! And as for the rest of you, I know people suck but try to be nice.  Maybe they won’t suck as much.

be-nice-gif-10

 

I Don’t Know How To Talk To People Who Are Good With Kids

Mr Rogers

I am, admittedly, a mediocre parent at best.  I mean, I love my kids, I don’t beat them, they are all still alive, and according to their pediatrician, they are healthy and thriving. But I am not a baby-talk mom.  I don’t do the whole pandering thing very well.  I talk to my kids like they’re just short adults who can’t drink.

Recently, I took the babies to a Story Hour at the public library.  The gals conducting the Story Hour were great.  One was older, in her late 60’s I would say.  The other a little younger, maybe in her 50’s.  They were very welcoming and patient and calm with the kids.  They spoke their language and read each story with the kind of enthusiasm I give a really well-crafted Old Fashioned.   I was not only in awe of them, I was painfully awkward around them.  My daughter has the social anxiety of someone who grew up at Grey Gardens, and wouldn’t let me go to save her life.  Both ladies would try to engage her in some conversation without forcing her or making her uncomfortable.  Saying things like, “I like purple. Do you like purple too?”  “Would you like to color with all your friends?” “Oh, I love your picture.”  And, “Aren’t they all just so great?!”

My daughter has the social anxiety of someone who grew up at Grey Gardens, and wouldn’t let me go to save her life.  Both ladies would try to engage her in some conversation without forcing her or making her uncomfortable.  Saying things like, “I like purple. Do you like purple too?”  “Would you like to color with all your friends?” “Oh, I love your picture.”  And, “Aren’t they all just so great?!”

I could NEVER do that.  I would say things like, “Would you like a Xanax?” “You’re never going to move out of your parent’s house if you can’t even talk to people,”  and “Your picture looks like Michael J Fox drew it.”  All grossly inappropriate.  Funny, but inappropriate.

Since the girl spawn wasn’t feeling awfully social, these ladies kept trying to engage me in conversation instead. They used nice words, didn’t make fun of anyone, didn’t say one swear word, and spoke with sincerity.  What kind of witchcraft is this?!?!

Them: “Oh it’s ok.  I have those kinds of days too.  We don’t always have to talk if we don’t want to.”

My Thoughts: “Yeah…It’s not ok to not speak to people who are speaking to you!  That’s fucking rude!  I’m not trying to raise an asshole over here.  I’m sorry she’s being so fucking weird!”

My actual words trying to sound like a good mother: “Oh yeah… (awkward laughter) It’s ok… (awkward laughter) She’ll get there…(awkward laughter) What are you going to do?… (awkward laughter) Thank you…”

I don't know what to do with my hands

The Russian, mail-order-bride mom spoke more fluent English than I did.  All I could think about was how uncomfortable I was, and how I couldn’t wait to get out of there, pound a beer, and drop a series of F Bombs just to bring be back to homeostasis.

So, to everyone out there who truly enjoys children in all their bizarre glory, and who can genuinely make the effort to engage them on their level, I applaud you. I find you weird and completely unnatural. But you are clearly a better person than me and much more qualified to raise my kids.