December 5, 2013

4 Years, 8 Days, and 4 Hours Ago...

It's hard to believe, but 4 years, 8 days, and 4 hours ago (along with some odd number of minutes and seconds I'm not going to bother calculating, because I'm a right-brainer and we don't do math) we welcomed a new person into our family.  He actually came out looking like a small toddler and already had rolls you could hide your cell phone in, but he was perfect.  There is nothing in the world like a brand new baby, and no joy you can compare it to.  And here we are, 4 years, 8 days, and 4 hours later with a handsome and charismatic little preschooler.  His rolls are gone, but he still can find places to hide our cell phones.  And he is still, and always will be, perfect.

I know that maybe this isn't the word most doctors would use to describe Owen.  My first unofficial medical publication entitled "The Idiot's Guide to Owen" outlines some of the reasons why, though the list seems to grow almost daily.  In fact, here is a recent diagram of Owen's anatomy: 

Ok ok, I lied - it's just a fingerpainting my daughter did. But if I could see inside Owen's system, I'll bet it looks a lot like that painting does.  But you know what?  He is still perfect.  He is every bit as perfect as any child could possibly be, and no amount of flattened tracheas, food aversions, or vascular anomolies will change that.  He is exactly who he was born to be and he shows me each and every day why we are the luckiest people on earth to have been given such a beautiful and yes, perfect, child.  It's been a challenging, yet wonderful 4 years.  This post may be 8 days and 4 hours late, but I hope when he turns 18 and reads this he won't hold that against me.  After all, I also posted pictures of him in diapers so he'll have better things to complain about anyway.

I love you, Big O, Happy Birthday!

November 25, 2013

"And finding a Christmas tree..."

Yes, it might be true that we have had Christmas lights up outside of our house since Halloween.  And yes, it might be true that we put up our Christmas tree two weeks ago.  But, my friends, it wasn't until today that this got real.  Today, November 25, it happened - I heard "12 Pains of Christmas" on the radio.

There is a local radio station that has been playing Christmas music for weeks already, maybe since July even.  This station is the one we have the pleasure of listening to at work.  All night.  Every night.  For hours.  The problem is that there are really only about 6 true Christmas songs, so within a span of about 60 minutes you get to hear various renditions of "Winter Wonderland" sung by Berl Ives, Martina McBride, that lame backup guy from N'Sync, and your neighbor's dog.  Every once in a while they will sprinkle in a little original holiday gem by Jessica Simpson, but that's usually the point where my ears start bleeding and I have to leave the room.

But the "12 Pains of Christmas"?  That's the true sign of impending holiday season.  It isn't going to make your heart overflow with spiritual awe and wonder like "O Holy Night" (I think this photo of Jesus inside of some bird doo even does a better job of that).  It doesn't possess the harmonious vocals of Whitney Houston or Josh Groban (in fact, I think they just grabbed some people off the street and handed them note cards...).  No, "12 Pains of Christmas" is a classic because it speaks the truth about how this crazy holiday has become, well, crazy.  It marks the turning point where you go from the lovely fantasy of "let's-sing-Christmas-carols-and-then-snuggle-up-by-the-fireplace-and-have-some-hot-chocolate" to the frenzied "crap-I-forgot-to-buy-Christmas-cards-and-I'd-rather-stick-a-hot-poker-in-my-eye-than-risk-my-life-at-Walmart".

Certainly you've heard this yuletide melody, right?  

"The first thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me
Is finding a Christmas tree 
(This isn't so much of a pain to us, since finding it simply means unearthing the giant box from beneath the staircase.  Perhaps, in our version, it would be "and assembling the Christmaaaaaas tree!"   But, I suppose that doesn't have the same ring to it...)

The second thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me:
Rigging up the lights
(True Story:  My husband has been attempting to rig up the lights that encircle our living room window for 3 weeks and counting.  The final string is on some sort of Union Strike and despite having been replaced three times, it refuses to cooperate until it gets promoted to first string or moved to the cozy indoors.)
And finding a Christmas tree

The third thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me
(Well, I don't really get hangovers.  I can barely even use a corkscrew.  But I do live with two loud noise machines who stumble into things a lot, and I work late and they wake me up early meaning I survive many days on >5 hours of sleep, so I guess I can relate to this one after all.)
Rigging up the lights
And finding a Christmas tree

The fourth thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me
Sending Christmas cards
(Ah yes, the Christmas cards.  Each year I vow to amaze people with my Martha Stewartesque card making skills.  And then I wake up and realize I have like, a week?, to get cards in the mail before they become New Year's cards instead so I make a run to CardMart and sort through the ransacked piles of loser Christmas cards with polar bears drinking eggnog).
Rigging up the lights
And finding a Christmas tree

The fifth thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me
Five months of bills!
(Shopping tip:  If you are paying for a toy longer than your child will actually play with it, that was not a fiscally responsible purchase.  Toys in our household have a general lifespan of about three months before it is put away in a closet and unearthed the following Christmas as though it were a brand new toy.  This way, you get much more mileage out of it.  It would also explain why my son is currently enjoying an infant bead maze situated on the floor in his room.)
Sending Christmas cards
Rigging up the lights
And finding a Christmas tree

The sixth thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me:
Facing my in-laws
(Don't have too many complaints on this one.  In fact, most years all we have to do is show up and eat - which, if you know of my cooking skills, is nothing short of heavenly.)
Five months of bills!
Oh, I hate those Christmas cards!
Rigging up these lights!
And finding a Christmas tree

The seventh thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me:
The Salvation Army
(I cannot image ringing a bell for more than, say, 5 minutes.  On the one hand, I respect those darn bell ringers for their loyalty to the cause but I imagine their ears ring while they are sleeping.  In fact, they probably wake up in mid-February having nightmares about the bell growing teeth and trying to tear their ear drums out.)
Facing my in-laws
Five months of bills!
Sending Christmas cards
Oh, geez!
I'm tryin' to rig up these lights!
And finding a Christmas tree

The eighth thing at Christmas that such a pain to me:
(My sweet little almost-4-year old would be happy with a jar and a box for Christmas, but the older one has got a serious case of the "gimmies" right now and can turn into a bloodthirsty lunatic in the presence of a certain robotic toy dog or anything with a horse/princess/cat on it, which means we are currently limited to the safety of the mop and toilet bowl cleaner aisle.) 
And whataya mean "YOUR in-laws"?!?
Five months of bills!
Ach, making out these cards
Honey, get me a beer, huh?
What, we have no extension cords?!?
(We have used two, or maybe three, in addition to borrowing one from my inlaws to try and assuage the Christmas Light Strike of 2013).
And finding a Christmas tree

The ninth thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me
Finding parking spaces
(If there is not a parking spot open in the lot, I do not want to go inside.  Period.  The NASCAR wannabes can continue their parking lot laps, I am going home to put my PJs on and shop online instead).
Facing my in-laws Five months of bills!
Writing out those Christmas cards
Now why the hell are they blinking?!?!?
And finding a Christmas tree

The tenth thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me:
"Batteries Not Included"
(The single most disappointing thing a toy retailer could possibly do to a child on Christmas is to send along a beautiful and long-awaited gift with Santa, only to have it unable to spin or scream or dance or whatever because mom and dad do not own size E3D batteries.)
No parking spaces
Get a job, ya bum!
Facing my in-laws!
Five months of bills!
Yo-ho, sending Christmas cards
Oh, geez, look at this!
One light goes out, they ALL go out!!!
(It's in their contract...)
And finding a Christmas tree

The eleventh thing of Christmas that's such a pain to me:
Stale TV specials
(Everything I've ever seen on an infomercial I've wanted to buy, from overpriced microfiber rags to the 14-in-one drill bit set with matching lipstick case.)
"Batteries Not Included"
No parking spaces
(This is *SO* Owen.  Also, he waits until my shopping cart is full and we are at the farthest point in the entire store from a bathroom.  It's a sixth sense, really.)
She's a witch...I hate her!
Five months of bills!
Oh, I don't even KNOW half these people!
Oh, who's got the toilet paper, huh?
(Why are people stealing toilet paper?)
Get a flashlight...I blew a fuse!!
And finding a Christmas tree

The twelfth thing of Christmas that's such a pain to me:
Singing Christmas carols
(I'm a mom.  A a mom, you are required to sing Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer at least 18 times prior to Christmas.  It's in the manual.)
Stale TV specials
"Batteries Not Included"
No parking?!?
Gotta make 'em dinner!
Five months of bills!
I'm not sendin' them this year, that's it!
(Just call them New Year's cards, remember?)
Shut up, you!
(I wonder if there aren't actually people out there who hire out their services as light-riggers.  If so, I wonder if my husband would consider it.  He becomes a little bit more Clark Griswold-y each year, I bet he'd make some decent money.)
And finding a Christmas tree."

The song is every bit as heartwarming as a leftover fruitcake from two years ago.  I hope, this week, as Black Friday shoves its way into Brown Thanksgiving, that we take a moment to consider how ridiculous we look celebrating Christmas and how all we really need this holiday season is some time with our families.  And maybe a massage.

November 19, 2013

Whose Underwear is That?

"There's never a dull moment".  I don't know who wrote that, but I'd be willing to bet that that person was a parent.  Of preschoolers.  Take last Thursday, for example - I picked up the kids at school and we headed home.  As usual, once we got home Owen requested to play on the tablet (and by play, I mean he will accidently click on ads until he manages to find a raunchy Miley Cyrus video on YouTube).  Maybe 20 minutes after we get home, Owen goes to use the bathroom and comes back out requesting jean-buttoning assistance.  I oblige, and it wasn't until I kneeled down that I noticed something...unusual.  Owen was wearing someone else's underwear.

I sat there for a moment, trying to sort through his sock drawer in my head in order to convince myself that at some point in time, we had in fact purchased these and maybe I just hadn't seen them in a while.  But it was no use.  These definitely were not his.

Me:  "Owen, why are you wearing someone else's underwear?"
Owen:  (silence)
Me:  "Owen, where are YOUR underwear?"
Owen:  (silence)

Ok, I get it.  He's pleading the 5th.  That's fine, it's ok.  I'm no Mariska Hargitay but I've watched enough Law & Order to know that if you're going to get them to talk you have to pull out the big guns before they ask for a lawyer, or start screaming for graham crackers.  Then they are as good as gone.

Me:  "Owen, you need to tell me whose underwear that is or I'm going to put the tablet away."  (add this to my list of sentences I never expected to hear myself say...)
Owen:  "But it's ok, Mom, they're clean."

Wait...what?  Call me naive, but it wasn't until RIGHTTHATMOMENT that it occured to me that these strange underwear may NOT have been clean.  :::shudder:::  All sorts of bizarre endings to this mystery started swirling in my head, I think one of them involved a standoff at the lego table?, until I realized the absurdity of this whole situation.  It's pretty obvious what happened, and so I decided to just lay it all out there so that he knew that I knew that he knew.

Me:  "Owen, did you steal those from Bear In Underwear's backpack?"

Slowly, his deer-in-the-headlights look transformed into a mischevious grin and he started laughing.  I laughed, too, because standing in front of me was a tiny person who was throwing his head back like an evil overlord who had just captured his arch enemy...and then stole his underwear.  How is that not funny?  It was ridiculous, and hilarious, and confusing, and every kind of thing I should be used to by now as a mom.  Eventually I discovered his real underwear crammed into the bottom of his backpack along with a handwritten note from his teacher explaining that she keeps backups, "just in case".  I guess that's relieving (pun intended). 

Never a dull moment...


November 18, 2013

The Resurrection

Well, I guess that's enough procrastination and apathy for now...I'm back, and I'm ready to blog again.

When I stepped back from my blog, I somehow got the impression that doing so would miraculously create another 5 hours in my day.  I'm here to tell you - it didn't.  Instead, I filled my free time (all 20 minutes of it...) watching Friends reruns and doing Google searches about weird diseases and how to make a snowman out of cottonballs.  It wasn't until I downloaded Candy Crush on my phone that I realized I was in trouble.  I needed to get back to writing, and FAST, before I started lining up the kids' Halloween candy in sets of three.

So, if you're one of the four people who used to read my blog, welcome back.  If you found my post by Googling "cottonball snowman", you have my apologies - all I did was just read about crafts, I didn't actually *do* any of them.  But stick around, if you want, I might have an upcoming tutorial on what you should do if your child comes home in someone else's underwear.

Until then...