the pleasure of a terrible guilty binge

This weekend I fell into a vortex of bad television. Do you have TV show you hate to admit to watching? Mine is embarrassing. Like, really really embarrassing. I have to preface the name of the show with a yes I know this show is terrible and anti-feminist and trashy and portrays Americans at their worst.

Have I built it up enough yet?

Toddlers and Tiaras.


It’s out now.

Yes – I know. Toddlers and Tiaras, the TLC series with an impressive rating of 1.8 out of 10 on IMDB. Toddlers and Tiaras, pretty much universally hated and looked down upon. As a college-educated, New York Times reading, Atlantic Monthly subscriber, an avid reader of literature, I should know better. I gladly look down upon people who love 50 Shades of Gray and usually avoid most “low-brow” entertainment, unless I enjoy it ironically like the Real Housewives Franchise.

But I can’t even ironically watch it. I know the show is rotting the brains out of my head, but I still love it. It is darn entertaining and I discovered the ninth season this past weekend and binged the whole damn thing over a couple of days.

Why? Why am I so amused watching 2-year-olds put on eyeliner and wigs? What about the frantic Moms, running around hotel hallways, late, swearing, bellies flopping all over, what pulls me in and entraps me so?

My guess is it’s the combination of a real-look into everyday people’s lives, unfiltered, that really intrigues me. Because, most of the pageant moms, they are putting up their airs trying to appear a certain way, but it is usually easy to see through their air-tanned facade. TLC has a way of showing silent shots of a cluttered house, desperate moments of an interviewed Mom blinking as they realize what they just said was utterly ridiculous, that makes this stupid show somehow seem endearing. At least, to me. There are layers upon layers of meaning if you really look close.

Plus, the kids are always amusing. The bratty ones slapping their mom’s in the face make me feel like I’m raising my kids right, and the super dedicated kids, who learn crazy routines and look happy on stage performing the, well, a part of me hope my own kids find a passion they love. Not a passion of pageants, of course, but just a passion for some event or hobby.

Anyway, my weekend wasted away, I’ve learned nothing practical or insightful about life by watching this silly show, but I was entertained and amused so I guess that’s worth something. And now I’m all caught up on the stupid insipid show and can go on with my life until the next season is released….


the gift of gifting

This time of year is full of birthday parties. And, like the Christmas shopping season, I find my anxiety rising and the thought of picking out a present. It’s not that I don’t want to give something thoughtful and nice; it’s I’m terrible at it.

There are some consumers who excel at buying gifts. I’ve seen it, I’ve been on the receiving end of an incredibly touching gift and besides feeling grateful I’m also in awe. And feel a little subpar. Because try as I might, I don’t think I’ve ever blown anyone away with an amazing gift that rocked their world.

Thank god for gift cards, amiright?

Most of my problem is I hate shopping. My husband tells me I love spending money, which is maybe true, but I love spending money on travel and Costco runs. Planning travel is my absolute favorite thing to do, but researching the best gift for a 6-year-old nephew is on a personal level of hell. I like to browse Target, but give me a specific shopping goal and I rarely meet it.

I usually give gifts with my eyes half-closed because no matter how much money I spend, I always feel like it’s not enough.

A few times I’ve tried to surprise my husband with something thoughtful, and he always guesses what I’ve bought him. This past year I did get a pretty useful, well-loved present for my kids, but in the nearly seven years I’ve had kids it was the first “hit”. And it was a used dollhouse I bought through one of those local-yard-sale-type apps.

I’m even worse at giving family and friends gift suggestions for my loved ones.

I know there’s a perfect gift-giving formula out there, something like the perfect gift equals want divided by need squared….but I was never strong in math and I’ve yet to crack the code.



ticking stink bomb

As I type this, half my attention is on my two-year-old. L is currently on the couch, legs crossed, without pants on.

Yes, friends, the time has come. We have ditched diapers.

It’s day 1. I did the 3-Day-Potty method with E, but he was much older (3 years, 2 months). He got the hang of it by day 2, although his comfort with taking BMs took another week or so, and he was in pull-ups overnight until he was about 4.5 years old.

is showing some signs she is ready. Plus, I’m tired of it. Diapering two babies in cloth is hard and I’m sick of it. I think I’m feeling this obscure pressure from other people I know who all had babies around the time period of L (February 2015) as well. Not that anyone overtly judging me. But when other moms at the library have babies who are younger than L with flat underwear bottoms I feel like I oughta suck it up and train her.

So far today she’s peed once. She was super upset, wanted a change of underwear, so that’s something… I’ve just resigned myself that today is going to suck, tomorrow will suck, I’ll scrub feces and urine from many surfaces, she’s gonna cry, I’m gonna cry, but after this window of annoying frustration, I’ll only have one baby to diaper. That’s worth it.

rainy weekend days

Need I type more?

It’s miserable and dreary outside; my kids are driving me up the wall, my dog is afoot at all times just pleading with me for a walk, yet the wind and the rain bluster on and it’s so vile out CPS will visit if my neighbors see me dragging three kids and an excited dog outdoors.

I could google “100 million ways to entertain your kids indoors” but I’m pretty sure the activities won’t inspire much beyond making a mess and ending up with me grumpily yelling at them for “not having fun”. I’ve already told E a few times today “Only boring people complain of boredom” but he doesn’t seem to care. Oh, and the number of times he’s said, “I’m Hungry, Mom!”. Not even 20 minutes since the last snack and he’s begging me for something else to eat. Out of boredom. Let’s make boredom and snacking fuse together in his brain, that’s a great healthy habit for his future, isn’t it?

E spent so much time home this week anyway, plus, this is day 5 of my husband being away, so I’m at my wit’s end. We’ve been spoiled by decent sunny weather the past few weeks so this bleak day is really throwing me off.

Anyway, complaining officially #over. Thanks for listening, interwebs.

earning the stripes

This weekend I took three kids to a county farm 50 minutes away and rocked it. I mean, I really did. It was easy, even. All by myself I navigated and educated and culture-ated the kids. I strapped two babies onto me, and my six-year-old walked along with me and we took in the baby animals. No fits. No screaming. No stress.

During these moments I feel like “mom-ing” is easy and I’ve got it down to a science.

Then someone up there decides my pride is growing at a cancerous rate or something and I’m knocked back down.

I got a call from school yesterday – my boy had an accident. Like, a bathroom accident. We didn’t hear much info beyond “it was bad” and he needed a change of clothes.

So, I entered the nurse’s office and found my poor child sitting on one of those puppy-training pads with a garbage bag tied around his leg. The nurse informed me his shoe was full of feces and the feces was all over his legs – ok, this is rapidly becoming explicit and not in a fun way so let’s just finish the paragraph with this: I’ve never before seen anything like this, and years of cloth diapering paid off just in that I didn’t add to the bodily fluid messes by vomiting. Spraying the poop of my two-year-old’s down the toilet made cleaning up my boy’s mess not seem as tragic or gross.

We came home and I took a garden hose to every piece of clothing he had worn, he hopped into the shower, I was informed via phone from the school that due to the explosive nature of what he did he wasn’t permitted back at school for at least 24 hours. We spent the afternoon outside, (E is fine by the way. I’m not sure what happened, really. He’s not sick in the least and hasn’t had a repeat) and internally I whined about having an unexpected weekend day with him home the next day.

It’s terrible.

But when he’s at school I have a routine set with the babies; gym-shower-lunch-nap-time. E is a great kid but him being home a full day adds a level of “what are we going to do now?” to each moment. Especially on a school day.

Anyway, said powers above punished me for my unkind thoughts in more ways. First, I made the dumb choice of brewing iced tea in an antique glass pitcher – I swear I never before knew the elementary-level thermodynamic rule that boiling water and glass don’t mix, so I was shocked and appalled when the gorgeous heavy pitcher literally exploded, staining the kitchen with red passion tea. Beyond destroying precious family heirlooms, I also managed to stub my toes and knees on various doors and furniture several times – stone cold sober I must add.

Basically, it turned into one of those days where I feel I couldn’t win and while my kids ran circles around me fighting and screaming and the baby needed constant attention I just wanted to give up, but, as every other mother knows, you don’t get to give up. Ever. Especially when your spouse is a pilot and away for days at a time.

I will finish this by saying today has gone much better. I got in a great spin class at the gym, we had a healthy lunch as a family together, and my little boy hasn’t said “Mommy I’m bored” even once, so that has to count for something. Days like today make up for days like yesterday, those days when you are reminded just how hard this whole parenting thing really is.


magic mornings

Mornings and I don’t click. I hate crawling out of bed. It takes mental effort to pry my eyes open. I wake up and anger is my first emotion.

I’m married to a morning man. He is at his absolute peak of productiveness in the a.m. He bustles and hustles and practically whistles around me.

And my kids.

My kids are those kids that wake up with the sun. You can hear the little ones cooing along with the birds outside; those adorable notes of baby bliss do little to brighten my mood, but I can sometimes move outside my tiredness and appreciate how charming they are. But I’d still rather stay in bed.

Why my biological makeup favors the evening hours and the rest of my family are best in the morning seems like a cosmic joke. Seriously. My kids are at their happiest, their cutest and their sweetest prior to noon each day, and I ruin the experience by slumping around and hating life.

I wish I could fake it every day, the morning chipper. Today was a good day; I guess baby H woke me up at the exact right moment of my REM cycle, because when the bigger two kids bounced in my room I was mostly awake and even allowed them to watch a TV program in my room, as opposed to my usual croak of “Go watch something in the living room”.

I teased my big guy, made a real breakfast for myself, sang and danced around the kitchen, and was on my second cup of coffee by the time my husband made it back from his 5 am gym visit. (5 am gym trip, let that sink in. Who is this creature I’m married to?) This odd, rare mood I’m in just reminds me how much happier I’d be, how much more I’d enjoy mornings if I were just wired differently.

So, once again, add another “my life will be perfect if I just change this” goal to my goal list. I will use this morning as the example; get out of bed, fake happy chipperness, and maybe just maybe the early hours won’t suck as much as they usually do. Just like a sore back, mornings are easier if I just get moving.

Now if only on the mornings where I struggle if I could have this post sent to me to remind myself of the virtues of the early worm and all of that….