Birthday Gifts

giphy-facebook_s[1]A conversation with my son, Bryce.   He will be turning five in a few weeks.

Me:   What do you want for your birthday?
Bryce:   A Dj set! (He then starts to imitate scratching records with motion and sound.)
Me:   So you can drop a fresh beat?
Bryce:   Yes!
Me:   Where did you learn about DJ turntables and scratching records?
Bryce:   America’s Cutest Cats!

Happy Friday everyone!

My Sick Boy.

party germsThat moment, when you reach across the bed and feel his forehead, praying that the heat has left his little body in peace…

Bryce has been sick with a nasty virus for the past week.  We’ve battled six days of high fever and other bodily functions I’m sure you’d rather I not go into detail about.  Well, that’s too damn bad cause I’m totally going into detail about it.  The kid has had diarrhea like an arterial spray.  I’ll let that visual sink in for a moment.  You’re welcome.

My kids are both very healthy.  They only get sick once or twice a year, but when they do get sick, it’s serious.  It’s a knock you on your ass for a week kind of sick.  Their bodies hold onto infection like a fucking grudge.  It’s horrible and scary.   When you’re holding your child while their body feels like it’s on fire with heat, you can’t help but be terrified for them.  They get that glazed look in their eyes, and when they talk, half the time it’s delirious gibberish.

I took Bryce to the doctor on day five of the fever and she told me it was a virus going around that was lasting 7-10 days.  She said his fever shouldn’t last for more than five days.  I explained to her that we were already at day five, as Bryce lay in my arms burning up at 103 degrees.  She reprimanded me for allowing him to have dairy products.  I explained that I was giving him whatever he wanted to eat because he had no interest in food and had already lost two pounds in five days.  She scowled at me.  I scowled back.  She is not my regular pediatrician.  (She was correct though.  I shouldn’t have allowed him to eat yogurt and milk.)  Then Bryce had a meltdown in the office when the nurse tried to give him a dose of Tylenol.  With tears in his eyes and a hot pink flush to his face he explained that their Tylenol was different than our Tylenol, and he preferred to wait until we got home and take our Tylenol.  He said their Tylenol was yucky because it wasn’t the right color.  I eventually got him to take it, but with the last sip he gagged and then regurgitated a large portion of the dose back at me.  I carried him to the car, both of us splattered with Tylenol vomit.  Good times.

i-need-a-sick-day-to-recover-from-my-kids-sick-day-19c3d[1]For six days I monitored his temp, coaxed him to take medicine to reduce his fever and slept with him so I could feel his body and watch his breathing.  I held cold packs to his back, forehead, stomach and legs.  He would look at me with glassy eyes and say, “Am I still your little fireball, mommy?”  It was the kind of fever that could have killed your child before the days of modern medicine.  Thank God for modern medicine.

Finally, this morning, as I reached for Bryce’s forehead next to me on the pillow, I felt it.  That cool, dewy ring of sweat around his head on the pillow.  The gross, disgusting, beautiful ring of sweat that indicates his fever has broken.  His little body was so quiet and deep in sleep, which was a blissful change from the constant moaning, rocking and shivering from the past six days.

I’m exhausted.  I’m relieved.  I can’t wait to get the hell out of this house.  I need to drink wine on the beach and watch the sunset with my beautiful kids and my husband.  I need to take him to the park and watch him run, and climb, and laugh, and play.  I need to see him smile with excitement, health, and joy.  That’s all I need.  🙂

Vacation!

Hello, world!  I’m home!

The family and I spent nine days visiting with friends and relatives throughout the Midwest.  I call this trek our annual Midwestern Tour, as we hit Illinois, Indiana and Michigan in the same week. This time of year the area where I grew up is amazingly beautiful.  You wouldn’t believe how green everything gets.  Even the corn fields look beautiful when I haven’t seen them in a while.

We spent the first couple of days in Chicago, then drove south to central Illinois to visit my grandmother.  We then drove three hours north through Indiana and Michigan to reach my mother, other grandmother and various relatives who live in the area.  It was fast, organized, exhausting and incredibly fun.

Here’s the highlight reel…

10635748_10152955877379574_8811372455149121989_n[2]While in Chicago, my college friend hosted a house party and invited all of our girlfriends from school, along with their families.  We BBQ, drink, laugh and relive our glory years together while our kids run around and make new memories and form new friendships.  This year the adults sent the kids to the basement to play so we could play the game, Cards Against Humanity.  If you’ve never heard of it, it’s an adult card game of mostly vulgar and inappropriate topics.  If you’re not too uptight and appreciate a dirty joke, then this game is for you.  I will say that I did surprisingly well in the game, and my two most popular cards read, “Altar Boys,” and “Two Midgets Shitting in a Bucket.”  Feel free to use your imagination here as to what these cards may have been in response too.  🙂

We visited my grandmother, who is 94 years old.  I’ve always had a very close relationship with my Nanny and she’s an incredible woman.  She is in amazing health but starting to lose some of her short-term memory.  We looked at the same photo album about four times, and although it was new for her every time, I continue to be amazed at her ability to remember details about family history from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  Her own mother was born in 1897, and every conversation feels like a history lesson, but one you don’t want to miss.  When I ask her how it feels to be 94, she tells me, “getting old is not for sissies!”

St. Joe lighthouse

St. Joseph, Michigan

While in Michigan, we visited with several of my high school friends, my mother, grandmother, aunt and a few cousins.  I went to my favorite childhood restaurants.  We drove to St. Joe and took the kids to Silver Beach, which is on Lake Michigan.  My kids ran down the pier alongside the lighthouse, disbelieving that Lake Michigan wasn’t as big as our Pacific Ocean back home.  I found a lake house there I would like to buy for the low, low price of 1.6 million dollars.  What a steal!  LOL!  At one point Bryn looked at me, while having dinner outside on a patio overlooking a beautiful lake active with boats and jet-skis, and she said, “I can’t believe you got to grow up here!”

Yeah, I got to grow up there.  It’s funny how so often in life we don’t appreciate what we have until we can look back with some perspective.  Growing up, I didn’t appreciate the beauty of the fields, the lakes or the small community that looked out for each other.  I took it for granted and was more excited to see other places.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that the older I get, the more I appreciate where I come from, and this annual trip means more to me every year.  I want my kids to experience the things I loved about growing up in the Midwest.  Admittedly, my kids have opportunities that I never had as a child, and I’m thankful for that.  But I also want them to appreciate the simplicities of life.  The small things and traditions that add up to big things when you look back on your life and remember what you loved most about your childhood.

lake canoeingI want them to gorge themselves on strawberries while picking them fresh from the fields, and then bring the berries home to make fresh strawberry jam in grandma’s kitchen.  I want them to canoe the rivers of my hometown and camp under the stars, even if it’s just in their grandmother’s back yard.  I want them to catch fire flies,  sit around a bonfire in a field with their cousins, learn to water ski on the lake and marvel at the incredible beauty of the leaves turning in the fall.   I want them to know who their people are, and why, no matter what they choose to do in life, it will always be special that their family comes from this incredible place.

So yeah, it was a good vacation.  😉

 

 

What’s up with Wanda?

Hello, world!

Lately I seem to have difficulty finding time to attend this blog with any regularity.  I’m envious of all the amazing bloggers I follow who seem to have the time, energy, and creativity to post weekly, if not multiple times each week.  How do you do it?  If I can post once every two weeks, I feel accomplished.  And in order to do that I have to hide from my family and make them pretend I’m not home.  I am so very behind on my blog reading, it’s pitiful.  I’m trying to catch up, so if you see me comment or like five of your posts in one day, I’m not really stalking you.  Much.  As far as you know.

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I guess this post is really just a mish-mash of catching up.  You know, sort of a ‘What’s up with Wanda?” kind of thing.  Not very exciting, but here goes…

happy squidBryn got home from camp!  She was tired, happy,  and her dirty laundry smelled like Hell farted in her face.  I’m not kidding.  I gagged as I was loading the washing machine.  It was a weird combination of body odor, some outdoorsy kind of smell, and dirt.  Aside from that, I was so happy to have her home!  You could say I was giddy.  I couldn’t stop hugging her and I could tell she wanted to be hugged.  She said she had a great time, and they kept the kids so busy she didn’t have time to miss us.  They did nature hikes every day, learned some cool outdoor skills, and got to do fun science experiments that included dissecting a squid and building a model structure that was designed to withstand an earthquake.  They studied marine biology, engineering and geology.  She loved it and we all survived the week.  Well, everyone but the squid.

The hubs and I started the My Fit Foods 21 Day Challenge, and we are currently on day 14.  No coffee, no alcohol, and no sugar for 21 days.  The diet involves eating three meals and two snacks per day, and My Fit Foods provides all the meals and snacks, fully balanced and portion controlled.  The diet is completely clean with no processed food, gluten or added preservatives.  The food is pretty good.  Honestly.  The hardest part is denying yourself all the things you would normally eat or drink that become routine and habit forming.  Like coffee.  And wine.  I really miss coffee and wine. 11188254_10152787327525737_6854965520899974824_n[1] I also miss eating out.  I love good restaurants, and eating out is a huge part of our social activity as a family and while spending time with friends.  That’s been one of the hardest habits to break in the past two weeks.  Oh, and you also have to drink what they call the My Fit Cocktail.  You mix it up first thing in the morning and down it before breakfast.  It’s a combination of unsweetened cranberry juice, apple-cider vinegar, and lemon juice.  It’s like a super cleanse, detoxifying punch to the face.  I won’t miss that when the 21 days are over.  We started this challenge as a way to break some of the bad habits we’d fallen into with ordering out and just over-indulging in our favorite restaurants and meals, far too often.  Also, despite my working out with a trainer, my ass seems determined to hang on to its double-bubble, and I needed to shake that up.  So far, it’s paid off.  Dan has lost eight pounds in 14 days, and I’ve lost five.  The plan is expensive, so not something a person or family can sustain over more than a few weeks time.  It’s also time consuming in a way.  Although the program prepares all the food for you, you still have to deconstruct the meals so that you can eventually re-create the type of meals you need to eat on your own once you finish the challenge.  That’s what I hate about dieting in general.  It’s the constant awareness of everything you eat, why you eat it, how often you eat, and the combination of foods to maximize the effect on your body.  It’s exhausting, and did I mention that I really miss wine?

Amen

Amen

My son had his pre-K promotion ceremony last week!  The two classes put on a Hawaiian themed performance, singing Beach Boys songs and muddling through some nicely choreographed but poorly executed dance moves.  At the end they were all called up by the pre-school director and given little scrolls of paper tied to look like diplomas, but in actuality the papers were blank.  (The kids were given real certificates later.)  It was adorable, and as usual, most of the parents devolved into the most self-centered, inconsiderate versions of themselves.  It’s sad really.  It seems every parent is willing to piss off ten others by hogging the good camera angles instead of just getting their picture of their kid and then moving aside so another family can get some decent pictures.  We have no useable pictures of Bryce because of the mob of parents who kept standing up to take pictures, or kept raising their cell phones above their heads to video the performance.  All we have are pictures of the top of Bryce’s head and the arms and asses of several other parents who refused to sit down, despite the director halting the show to ask parents to be considerate of others in the room.  Dan was about to lose his shit because the dad sitting in front of us kept standing up every time Dan tried to get a picture.  He started to get mouthy with the guy, so I leaned over and quietly informed him that the asshole in question was the father of the boy whose birthday party Bryce was invited to the next day.  He’s actually a really nice guy.  So, the bottom line is, don’t be that parent.  Don’t be the douche-bag dad or mom who only cares about their own kid at a performance and denies other families the opportunity to enjoy the experience as well.  And remember, all the other parents whose experience you ruined, will talk about your douche-baggery for years to come.

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My older brother, who is also one of my best friends, had major back surgery yesterday morning.  He has a degenerative disc disease that destroyed the cushion between a few of his lower vertebrae, and he was at the end of his options for any type of less invasive medical intervention.  He’s only 42 years old and has been living with chronic, debilitating back pain for years.  Yesterday morning he had an ALIF (Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion) for L5-S1.  Let me tell you, it’s some serious shit.  The surgeon entered through his abdomen to reach and fuse the lower part of his spine.  Think about that for a moment, and let the gravity of what that entails sink in.  He made it through surgery like a boss, and I’ll be traveling to Texas next week to help my sister-in-law take care of him while he’s recovering.  I’m anxious to be there with him, and the past week building up to the procedure has been stressful.

So, there you have it.  That pretty much sums up the past two weeks.  Throw in some housework, ten thousand loads of laundry, constant ass-kicking’s from my trainer, some butt-wiping, end of year school activities and there’s my full plate.  🙂  And just to leave you with something funny that made me laugh…..

Have a great weekend!

Have a great weekend!

 

Wanda Says…Settle down tiger, it’s just camp.

kids campI sent my daughter off to camp today.

Her entire fifth grade class left this morning for science camp.  They get to spend five days in the San Bernardino Mountains, doing science experiments, learning about nature and doing a ton of other cool stuff, like archery and zip-lining.

Five days.

And no contact with parents is allowed.

No contact.  For five, whole days.

I’m a fucking mess.

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She was pretty nervous about going, and the last few days have been hard for both of us.  Hard for her because she was suffering from anxiety and nerves.  She’s never been away from us for that long.  Hell, she only started feeling comfortable doing sleep-overs this year, and she’s ten years old.  Outwardly, I’ve been supportive and encouraging.  I know this is important.  I know she needs to spread her wings and begin to learn to be more independent.  She needs to see how capable she really is, and that can only be achieved by working through tough stuff.  In this case, it’s working through her separation anxiety and realizing that she will be ok and can have fun, even when she’s missing her family.  In this sense I’ve done nothing but tell her how much fun she’ll have and what amazing memories she’ll make.

Angry VolcanoInwardly, I want to shout and scream and demand that the school bring my baby home now!  I can’t believe I paid for this shit!  I can’t believe I agreed to let my daughter go two hours away into the mountains and be supervised by people I’ve never met.  Doomsday images keep floating through my head.  What if there’s an earthquake?  THE earthquake?  The big one that will supposedly redefine the west coast?  How would I get to her?  What if there’s a bus crash?  What if she meets up with a bear?  What if some asshole ten year old from her class shoots her with a goddamn archery arrow?  What if one hair on her beautiful head is damaged in any way?  I will go ape shit and rip that camp apart looking for retribution, that’s what!

(I’m taking some deep breaths right now.)

This was probably the wrong week for me to give up wine and coffee, but that’s a post for another day.

The truth is that my heart feels like it has a giant hole in it.  The house feels empty.  The hallways sound hollow.  She’s only been gone for twelve hours and her absence has left its mark on all of us.  This morning her little brother cried.  He loves her so much, and he couldn’t understand why his Bryn was leaving for so many days.  I held it together until the bus pulled away from the school.  Then I couldn’t stop the tears.  Other parents saw me quietly crying, despite my giant sunglasses covering my face.  They offered me sympathetic looks and as a few of them tried to talk to me all I could do was put up my hand to ward them off and march home, crying the entire way.  My husband held me and offered to take the day off work so we could spend the day together and take my mind off of Bryn’s absence.  While I adore his gesture and love him more than words can say, I decided to just keep busy and get on with my day.

A few of the other parents have been thoughtful and kind enough to text and email me today, checking in to see how I was doing.  While I truly appreciate their consideration and thoughtfulness, it makes me feel like a giant candy-ass.  For fuck’s sake, it’s just camp!  My head knows this, so why does my heart feel like it will be ten thousand years before I see her again?

We’re a close family, and we don’t like to be separated.  I’m so thankful for that.  I’m so thankful that our family unit is so connected that when one of us is missing, we are all affected.  I grew up in a household where that wasn’t the case, so I am doubly appreciative of the bond my husband and I share with our children and with each other.  It’s priceless.

And learns how to do her ponytail!

And learns how to do her own ponytail!

So, I am now trying to banish the ugly, apocalyptic thoughts racing through my head and find the silver lining.  I’m trying to focus on the good things that will come from her week at camp.  She will learn how to manage a bit without me.  She will learn to be more independent and self-assured.  She will learn how to keep track of her own stuff.  She will learn how to pack her own damn suitcase when it’s time to come home.  And, for the love of God, if one of her friends actually manages to teach her how to do her own hair, then it will be worth every tear shed and every expensive dollar that it cost to send her there.

So, if you feel like contributing, I would love to hear your best camp story.  🙂

Wanda Says…On the subject of Dutch Ovens and growing up with boys.

1335019610129_4651640[1]I have two brothers.

I am the middle child of three and grew up sandwiched between two rowdy, rough and tumble boys.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how growing up with my brothers and the experiences we’ve shared has shaped my personality.  Growing up in a house outnumbered by boys is not an environment where you can afford to be delicate or have a thin skin.  In our household everyone had colorful, strong personalities, and it was very much an emotional and physical battleground for attention and personal space.  There were three of us, so two were always ganging up on one, and being the only girl, I often got the short end of that stick.

As a child I was very gullible and believed everything my older brother told me.  He once told me if I ate the crust of bread I would turn into a werewolf.  I believed him and refused to eat bread crust for several weeks.  He also told me that if I didn’t wear a training bra, my boobs would grow under my arm pits because the bra “trained” my boobs to grow forward.  After a week of refusing to take off my training bra, even in the shower or to sleep, I had to confess to my mother my fears of having arm pit boobs.  She punished my brother for his lies and I could finally sleep without having nightmares of waking up with a deformed chest.  These are two small examples of how my brother liked to dupe or manipulate me, and because of his special training, I like to think as an adult that I’m more savvy when it comes to seeing through people’s bullshit.

Screw you guys.

Screw you guys.

I am desensitized to the smell of man farts and have been since I was seventeen years old.  There are only so many Dutch Ovens a girl can survive until she completely loses her ability to give a shit.  Great, you shit your pants next to my head and threw a blanket over me to trap the smell.  Good for you big boy, can we move on now? But don’t forget to sleep with one eye open.  Of course, I am now married to the one man in the entire world who doesn’t think it’s polite to pass gas in front of anyone.  I believe this is Karma rewarding me for all the fart related suffering I endured as a teenager.  However, I do have a four year old son, and so far he is not following his father’s example in this regard.  But then again, neither is my daughter.

Male nudity doesn’t faze me, at all.  When my brothers were teenagers they became more conscientious about their state of dress around me, but that didn’t stop them from engaging in typical, immature male behavior.  There was enough mooning, bull dogs, flashing, pressed ham and dares to streak across the neighborhood to prevent me from ever being curious about dangly man parts.

fightingI am not capable of being a doormat for anyone.  Growing up,  I had to learn to hold my ground with my brothers.  We fought a lot.  Sometimes with words, and sometimes physically. My mom was a single mother with three kids and she didn’t have the time or energy to be a referee for every little thing.  I remember when I was maybe eight years old, my older brother would hold me down and dangle a stream of spit over my face, waiting until the last second to suck it up into his mouth.  I hated this.  It felt like torture.  One time in particular, I had had enough and I snapped.  I  can clearly remember the anger and frustration over not being able to move while he pinned me to the floor and taunted me in the way only siblings can do.   My anger became physical, and somehow it fueled my strength.   I kicked my legs up and over his shoulders pulling him down backwards.  Then I pinned him to the ground and spit right in his eye!  He cried and screamed, and I felt soooooo good.  I was victorious! I was David and he was Goliath and I bested him with my legs and a wad of spit!  Then my mom grounded me for un-lady like behavior,  so that took some of the euphoria out of my victory, but that was the last time he ever did that to me.

While growing up with my brothers could be frustrating and traumatic at times, I remember always looking up to my older brother when I was young because he knew how to do all the things my younger brother and I couldn’t do.  He could work the TV and VCR.  He knew what channel everything was on, and when we finally got cable he and I would sneak out of bed in the middle of the night and watch HBO and Showtime when our mom was asleep.  One time, we snuck out of bed and watched A Clockwork Orange, and we both agree that movie scarred us for life.  Another time, all three of us took our mom’s tape recorder and we sat in the boy’s bedroom and made a swear tape.  We took turns saying swear words and recorded ourselves cussing and laughing so hard we couldn’t breath.  It’s hard to believe how funny we thought the word “butthole” was.  I also remember we liked playing hide and seek in the house, and on one occasion my younger brother hid in the clothes dryer.  So I slammed the door closed and turned it on to get him back for wrecking my brand new yellow bicycle.  It had rainbows and streamers all over it, and he wrecked it trying to jump it off a homemade ramp in the driveway.   Again, I was outnumbered by boys and felt such victory in that moment!  (I only let him thump around in the dryer for about ten seconds, but those ten seconds were sweet!)

1351013924343_2717243[1]Although I would have denied this as a sixteen year old, the truth is that I loved growing up with my brothers.  There were cycles of bonding and revenge, maturity and immaturity that bound the three of us together.   My brothers were very protective over me as teenagers, taught me how to defend myself, to be independent and take shit from no one, especially them.  To this day my older brother is one of my best friends.  We talk on the phone several times each week, and sometimes a few times a day.

For good or bad, Dutch Ovens or unending laughter, I wouldn’t trade my brothers or our memories for anything.  🙂

PS–My older brother called me today as I was writing this post and I told him what I was writing about.  He said, “Do you remember when I used to hold you down and do the spit stream over your face?”  Ahhhh, good times.

 

Wanda Says…Busy, busy, busy!

This isn’t a real post.  This is an I-don’t-have-anything-fun-to-write-about-but-don’t-want-to-ignore-my-blog post.

Things have been busy around my house between managing regular daily life and preparing for Christmas, and it seems like all the funny stuff I think to write about is either way too personal or inappropriate.

So, not that anyone cares, but this is a mash-up of everything that’s been going on at my house in the past week…

My husband and I have been trying to find an efficient and safe way to remove silly string from my drive way.  Let me say that not anticipating the mess and difficulty of cleaning up silly string after my daughter’s birthday was an epic fail on my part.  Epic.  We are having a serious drought here in southern California, and I thought once we had a good rain it would dissolve.  Yes, that makes me an idiot.  It didn’t dissolve and my driveway looks like shit.  Vinegar helps to loosen it up and we’ve used a putty knife to scrape it off, but we can only work small sections at a time.  We don’t want to use chemical solvents because the run-off will end up in the ocean.  And spending an hour at a time on my hands and knees scraping the concrete is less than ideal.  If any of you have a suggestion for this, I would be happy to hear it.

We got the tree up and decorated it last weekend.  It’s beautiful.  I love my Christmas tree. With the bow at the top, it’s about nine feet tall.

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And this is Santa.  He likes hanging out in my tree.  He’s cool like that.

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Ho Ho Ho!

The rest of my week has been a continuous flow of cooking, baking, Christmas shopping, helping with homework, play dates and housework.  I hate the housework and the cooking but I love the baking and shopping.  I love listening to Christmas music when I bake.  I think it makes everything taste more Christmas-y.  I also did my Christmas cards this past weekend, and every year I ask myself, “Why the hell do I still send out Christmas cards?”   They are such a jolly pain in the ass.  😉

That’s about it.  I’m sorry I haven’t had time to keep up with my blog reading, but hopefully tomorrow I can squeak out some time to catch up on everyone else’s posts and see what’s been going on in the world.

Happy Wednesday!  🙂

Wanda Says…I’ve touched poop with my bare hands.

smelly diaperI’ve done a lot of disgusting, undesirable things since becoming a mom.

For example, at various times and for various reasons I’ve caught both of my kid’s pee, poop, and vomit with my bare hands.  This was usually in an attempt to redirect the flow or minimize the splash zone.

I’ve sniffed butts, armpits, underwear, diapers, and feet to determine the source of offensive odors.  You know you’re a parent when you have no qualms, whatsoever, about picking up your small child and smelling their ass in public to determine if he or she has a poopy diaper.

When Bryn was three years old, she crawled into bed with me, woke me up and told me she had an upset stomach.  I laid her down with me and began to rub her tummy while questioning her about her symptoms.  Before I knew what was coming, she sat up and threw up all over both of us in the middle of my bed.  It was everywhere.  She was hysterical and we were both covered in vomit.

What?  It's just a little pee!

What? It’s just a little pee!

When my son was an infant he shot a stream of his pee into my open mouth when I was changing his diaper.  With baby boys you can never let your guard down while changing diapers. You have to be focused and quick to avoid disaster.  He was laying on his back on the changing table and I was talking to my husband.  His timing was perfect.  I was distracted while doing two things at once, and his pee shot straight up into my face as I turned my head and opened my mouth to talk.  Believe me when I say that was a startling, gag-worthy experience, and one I hope never to repeat, ever.

Another time while at Disneyland with the kids, I was holding Bryce on my hip while waiting in line to meet Mickey Mouse.  He was two and not yet potty trained.  He peed and pooped in his pull-up at the same time, and the two substances mixed to form a watery concoction that leaked all over my clothes from my waist down to my thighs.  I had extra clothes for him and was able to buy a new shirt for myself at the gift shop, but was at a loss to replace my jeans.  I smelled like I had the Hershey squirts for the rest of the day, and I wasn’t the only one who noticed.

When my daughter was five we were in the bathroom at Midway Airport in Chicago, Illinois.  Midway is a pretty nice airport, and their bathrooms are actually nicer than most, but when you have hundreds of people moving through them everyday they just can’t be that clean.  Well, after using the facilities, my daughter accidentally dropped orange cather favorite stuffed animal, a little orange cat named Spooky, into the airport bathroom toilet.  We both froze. And then, without thinking,  I did what any self-respecting, child loving woman with a Mom Card would do…I reached my hand into that Godforsaken pee-germ bowl of bacteria and I saved Spooky.  I rinsed him in the sink of the bathroom, wrapped him in a roll of paper towels, and then asked the cleaning woman in the restroom to pour straight bleach on my hands.  When we arrived at our hotel, I soaked Spooky in hot water and shampoo (it was the only soap I had).  Bryn was sad that I wouldn’t allow her to snuggle Spooky after his traumatic nearly-flushed down the toilet ordeal, but she understood that he needed to be thoroughly decontaminated first.  After arriving home at the end of our vacation, I put Spooky through a hot water cycle in the washing machine and high heat dryer before he found his way back into Bryn’s arms.

What I find noteworthy about these foul experiences with my children is how becoming a parent changes your reaction to them. Instead of becoming physically ill myself after being thrown up on, or grossed out by the ordeal, my first thought is of my child’s comfort, fear and how to make it better for them.  Instinctually, my own needs become secondary to theirs.  I will walk around Disneyland with my son’s poop on my jeans, and not make a federal case of it so he doesn’t feel shame.  I will bathe and wash my germy toiletdaughter’s hair before I wash her vomit out of my own hair so she will know her health and comfort are more important to me than a little (a lot) of throw up.  I will stick my hand in a disgusting airport bathroom toilet to save a beloved stuffed animal before I will allow my daughter to suffer that loss.

I have earned my Mom Card, and God only knows what their pre-teen and teen years will require of me.

Now I would love to know…What is the most disgusting thing you’ve ever done for your kids?  🙂

 

Wanda Says…True Confessions: My parental failure as the Tooth Fairy

tooth fairyMy Tooth Fairy track record was spotless…until today.

Last Friday night our family attended the annual Halloween Carnival at Bryn’s school.  At some point during the carnival, Bryn was eating a candy bar and accidentally ate a loose tooth.  She told me later she felt something hard while she was chewing but thought it was a peanut in the candy bar so she just swallowed it.  She showed me the gap in her teeth when we got home, and she expressed her concern that the Tooth Fairy wouldn’t come because she didn’t have a tooth to leave under her pillow.  I assured her it wouldn’t matter and the Tooth Fairly would come.  Keep in mind, Bryn is ten years old now, so that should tell you how good I am at playing the Tooth Fairy.

But I forgot.  I totally forgot.  Last night, I went into Bryn’s room to say goodnight and to collect my nightly snuggles.  This is what I found on her bedside table…

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It was so cute and totally something Bryn would do.  And of course I felt horrible that I had forgotten.   So I said, “Oh, that’s really sweet Bryn.  I’m sure the Tooth Fairy will come tonight.”  And then Bryn says, “Well, that note has been sitting there for three days and she hasn’t come, so I doubt it.”

Do you hear that?  It’s the sound of my heart breaking.  It’s the sound of my failure as a mother.  My daughter left a note for the Tooth Fairy in plain sight on her bedside table, and not only did I forget that she lost a tooth, but I totally failed to recognize it or pay attention.  I am an asshole.  It doesn’t take a lot to remember to give your kid a dollar for a lost tooth.  It’s not hard.  And I blew it.  Later, I went to bed vowing to rectify this situation.

I woke up this morning and dressed.  I walked down the hall to wake Bryn up for school and saw that damn note sitting on her bedside table.  I forgot again!  What the fuck is wrong with me?!  So I crept back to my room, gathered enough change to equal a dollar, and snuck into her room.  I put the change on her table and then collected the note and put it in my pocket.

I woke her up and started to get her clothes together for her.  I casually mentioned that the Tooth Fairy finally came.  Bryn looks at the money, then looks at me with the most perceptive, adult expression I’ve ever seen her wear.  She then says, “I find it interesting that the Tooth Fairy finally came after I showed you the note last night.  You didn’t have anything to do with this, did you?”  And she smiles.  It was a knowing smile.  It was a ‘you’re-busted-and-you-can’t-deceive-me-any-longer’ smile.

I did the only thing I could at that point.  I confessed.  She’s ten, and I was lucky I got away with the charade as long as I did.   I looked at her and said, “You’re right.  I am the Tooth Fairy.  I am so sorry I forgot about your tooth, but you can’t tell your brother!”

LeprachaunShe took it well, which was a relief.  When she was in third grade I had to tell her that Leprechauns weren’t real and she lost her shit.  She was so pissed at me.  But her class was building Leprechaun traps for St. Patrick’s Day and she kept going on and on about how she was so sure the trap she designed would work.  So her response this morning was a welcome relief.  She smiled, hugged me and acted like it was no big deal.  She got her money, which at this point is probably more important to her than believing in the Tooth Fairy.

Despite her forgiveness and understanding, I still feel like a bad mom.  There are only so many things we can do for our kids to instill a sense of magic and wonder in the world.  And I suppose the fact that she is old enough to know the truth signifies the end of some of that magic.  And that makes me sad.  😦