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Bad Parenting Moments: February 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

Just put that anywhere.

If a man's home is his castle, then this mom's home must be a moat. I'm not quite sure when we took the turn from home to livable storage unit, but, the transition was akin to waking from a long-term coma. Instead of flowers and loving family, I awoke to paint your own jewelry boxes, glitter pens and  wooden train tracks that lead to the next episode of Hoarders. Even without worldly possessions, we are a family of 6 living in a home built to house 4 comfortably. With our treasures, we are pressed into every corner like poisonous gas permeating every pore during a fumigation. Add the cautionary circus tent, crushed cereal bar underfoot, several remote control cars and an air of disaster annnnnnnd,VOILA! Welcome to our lovely home.

Although I am a notorious night-organizer and ninja-purger, every surface of our floor and every cabinet is brimming with Grade-A crap. A virtual wonderland of items that I painstakingly, like a struggling entry-level magician "make disappear". Later in my act, these items are somehow replaced by less useful and larger items. *Poof* Magic!

Upon returning from February break away from our own home; creating messes, chaos and littering things-n-stuff over the expanse of someone else's home, I returned to find a box full of plastic bats, nine plastic devil tails and a rubber hand sitting on my counter. Useful and necessary? Check and check.

This is the magic portal of time and space. Meaning precisely that, at no time, must any space be unfilled. *ghostly whisper* If you clear it, more crap will come.

Living this way has been a test of patience and physics as I scientifically prove that, indeed, you can cram 10 pounds of stuff into a 2 pound bag and then stuff that bag into a travel sized, reusable snack bag and then that into the middle console of my van.

In this sea of confusion where toys and functionality perish, I spend more time than I care to admit (all day) searching for the items amidst the toynado. I have become my own Momgyver, fashioning band-aids out of Barbie's sweatbands and searching for the lost mates to socks in the toddler's medical kit.

The broom handle has become every lost toy's personal Bat Signal. "Diego, the broom is on the way. Sit tight, little buddy. We'll find a way to get you out of there. Is there anyone we should call? Dora is already on her way with Boots and Map."




The children navigate the cluttered chaos of home like professionals. Finding bliss while surrounded by their things. Unaware of their need of a junkie's intervention. Like Gollum, eagle eyes on and arms encircling their precccccccciouus.

Meanwhile, I plot. Making mental notes, developing my hit-list and filling virtual give-away boxes in my mind. Closing my eyes; imagining clean, uncluttered space. Wishing for a black hole in the great galaxy of home; knowing full well that all black holes must lead somewhere and, judging by the looks of things, they all lead directly back to my property.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Check please!

Every time we venture out to render any of our local eateries functionally useless and terrified in our wake, I think, "That was so nice. Let's never do that again."

Yet, a month or two later, like a bad dream you can't quite recall, we try again and then, I remember so very clearly the horror. Oh right, in that last dream, no one made it out of the cruise ship alive.

No one makes it out of the cruise ship alive. Ever.

Why yes, I'd love a refill of Diet Coke. I'll just toss the empty cup to you over the throngs of children wearing macaroni tribal face art and eating straw wrappers. Yes, you can also bring the check. Yes, please add the customary 40% for not calling the authorities to have us physically removed. Yes, I would like the molten lava cake to go. I would also like to bring your bartender home for a few hours. I can't quite get the Dark and Stormy right.

Under the table it looks like a fight that no one won.

My face looks like a fight lost due to seven years of mothering Vikings.

My husband looks for the closest emergency exit.

Things are shouted. Terrible things. Things that have waitstaff playing a to-the-death game of rock, paper, scissors in the kitchen in an effort to avoid our table. Things like, "MOMMY, THIS IS SO FUNNY. I SAID COCKPORN INSTEAD OF POPCORN. COCKPORN! IS COCKPORN A WORD?"

Step right up and get your hot buttered cockporn. Oh yes, and the check. We'd love the check.

They always want to order their own food. My son orders his food loudly in the direction of anyone who will listen immediately upon entering any fine dining establishment that does not suddenly close for a suspiciously well-timed yet impromptu Department of Health inspection upon seeing our minivan enter the parking lot.

Often, I will look across the expanse of corn dogs and table to fashion my napkin into a white flag of defeat. Signaling with the glare of the rescue fire I've built under the table that it's time for my husband to start the van while I gather coats and whatever is left of my dignity.

Often, over the loud requests for an ice cream shaped like a walrus, I will see adults staring at our table. May I suggest an eatery that does not have an ice cream cone as a mascot? Oh ye adults without children, what are you doing here? Get thee to a steakery! Run. Don't turn back. Don't worry about us. We'll be ok here...as soon as we get the check. We'd love the check now.

On one hand, they must learn how to eat out in public. On the other hand, I keep getting banned from public places. On the other, other hand, can you PLEASE bring the check now?

Random Stranger: "Oh, your children were so lovely and well behaved."
Me *wipes mustard from eyebrow with stray floor fry*: "Why, thank you! We're working on it!"

We're working on it.

Mother-farkin' CHECK. PLEASE.

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Friday, February 8, 2013

The perfect storm.

Schools are cancelled. Children are home. Wine bottles are on display in my kitchen, giving it an air of classy disaster.

I am watching children remove snacks and mixing bowls from cabinets. Hair unbrushed, sliding in pajamaed feet from kitchen to living room to playroom. On the world's most redundant loop of action since the film Speed.

Diaries have already been fought over and a slinky lay forgotten directly in the middle of the sixth stair; abandoned by the children upon its failure to make it, "all the way!".

A tent and tunnel have been set up leaving parental oversight virtually impossible. My view of the chaos restricted by blinding neon blue and yellow polyester. Chocolate pudding sits on the baby's pajamas and face. Abandoned there as a reminder of my failure to successfully hide and administer her morning dose of antibiotics.

I may or may not have washed my hair yesterday. From where is sits today, on top of my head, disheveled and in the hot pink rubber band I found under the bathroom sink in the box of super-plus tampons, it's impossible to tell.

This is what Motherhood looks like at my house on snow days. This is what Motherhood looks like at my house on most days.

And, that's ok with me.

The snow is falling; softly then wildly. At times, a tornado of flakes beats against the windows making its presence known. It has nothing on the storm inside these walls. Surrender. My littlest snowflakes are the only real major force of nature to be reckoned with today.

I have no interest in crafting, baking or Donna Reedifying my day of diminished urgency away. There is no need to load children into a car for school pick-up. No need to shower and put on clothes or go through the pained process of putting on the make-up I seem to use with less frequency when attempting to bamboozle the public into believing I care enough to put on makeup.

I will do nothing. I will sit with my coffee, in the middle of this kitchen cocktail of scrambled eggs and crushed cheerios and let the chaos swirl around me. The perfect storm.

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Wash, Rinse and Repeat

Once a week, I shower alone.  Porn stars aren't seen naked as often as I am. When I shower with my small guest, I am either holding her or, she is sitting in between my feet, frozen in the official hopscotch placement of 3, 4 to make room for her small, yet everywhere, body. I lather my hair next to the shower wall perfecting the look of Quasimodo, head on shoulder, one eye open - keeping faithful watch over my splashing companion; allowing the soap to slowly migrate down fiberglass to avoid the risk of burning her delicate corneas. This process moves like molasses or a wagon on the Oregon Trail weighed down by too many sacks of flour and Cholera.

While posing in perpetual Awkward Facing Dog, I slowly crouch, like a cave woman, in a position that screams, "I have made FIRE!"; soap in eyes, I  blindly search for my washcloth. I consider my choices of body wash. I could use something fragrant with scrubbing beads that smell of empty promises to replenish and restore my skin currently serving a life sentence of dryness without possibility of parole. Instead, I grab the 3-in-1, no tears baby wash knowing that the best hope of completing this shower with moderate success is to allow my limbs to serve as soap sprayers and the vinyl mop strips found at the local car wash. My soapy seconds are recycled onto the hair, face and body of the uninvited guest at my cleanliness cotillion.

This is your shower on drugs.

On Sundays, I shower solo. On Sundays, while the world is praising their God or wearing foam fingers in celebration of their preferred suited victors, I am searching for any excuse, short of shaving, to stand for just two more minutes, completely alone, upright and perfectly still under water that has not been heat checked and rechecked for baby level Defcon-5 temperature appropriateness.

Then, something happens. Guilt creeps in like a guilt-mongering guilt-o-meter measuring my guilt at an all time high. Because, when your time is never your own, having a moment alone feels odd. And, tucked inside the happiness of having it, I start to plant and water that small seed of questioning in my core. Do I deserve this time? When, just downstairs, children are hungry and crying and asking and asking and asking, should I give this up too? For the greater good or to administer the perfect crust removal?


On Sundays, in the chaos of preparing for a new week, I find peace, restoration and humanity in my 15 minutes of watery solitude. My church of the Lady of the Indoor Plumbing and her patron Saint of Ives.

And, a choir of Dove soap sings Hallelujah.