The Gremlins Are Not Pleased

I’ve always had a fairly decent sense of self-esteem.

In general, I like who I am. I’m capable, I’m dependable, I am worthy. I am enough.

But nothing – I mean NO-THING – has tested that like motherhood. Especially being a mom to demanding toddlers.

I am not a people-pleaser, generally. Yes, I like praise and I like to be liked, but I usually don’t bend over backwards juuust so that people will like me, or to try and make people happy. But gosh-freaking-dammit, some days there is no pleasing my kids.

They’re bored at home, or they tear the house apart, and so I plan to be out of the house for hours. That requires packing lunches and snacks the night before. And then I have to pack water, hats, swim suits, towels, change of clothes, sunscreen, flares, a hunting knife, the kitchen sink, etc, etc.

It’s a struggle to even get out of the house. My kids’ bowels let loose milliseconds before I try and get them in the car. And of course when I’m trying to get them to leave, they want to stay.

We get there, and they want to play but my daughter’s poopy AGAIN and I have to literally drag them both to the bathroom. I discover I only have one wipe. I finish the job with toilet paper, assuming I’ll be ok as long as I replenish before the next outing (**foreshadowing alert**). After that ordeal, they no longer want to play. So I grudgingly give a snack (string cheese, in an effort to scare their poop back up into their intestines for several hours), even though they practically just had breakfast.

I have to convince them to go play and leave me the frick alone. By convince, I mean I yell at them and get the side-eye from a neighboring mom. Then my son is too cold, or too hot, or too wet (too wet. at the splash. pad.) or bored, or wants to go home, or wants to eat more.

I finally give in and start breaking out the lunch and they WON’T SIT TO EAT IT. Suddenly they’d rather play. Mother of god.

Then, after smearing peanut butter all over my waterproof mat and daring the nearby honey bees to sting them, they gradually eat every morsel of food I brought, while I normally have to BEG them to eat a proper meal when I feed them at home. I actually stopped eating food meant for me and gave it to them instead. And by “gave it to them,” I mean they basically intercepted it on its journey between its container and my mouth.

Of course, they want to keep playing the second I declare we’re packing up to go.

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But guess what, my kid has a poopy diaper YET FUCKING AGAIN (I swear, I’m never letting my kids go berry picking unless they’re gonna be exclusively in someone else’s care 24-48 hours afterward), so eleventy minutes later, after scraping off a layer of buttskin trying to get my daughter clean with translucent, public bathroom tissue paper, we’re trudging to the car.

My kids scream for water and snacks the entire way home. I turned up the radio and swore silently in my head.

When I asked them, they both confirm they had a marvelous time. Hello, do I know you? Were we all at the same place, having the same experience? Because days like that make me feel like I can’t do anything right, like it doesn’t matter what I do – everything still blows up in my face, like I can’t win, like I’m not enough, like parenting is a buttload of work, and why do I even put forth all that effort to leave the house? Seriously, is it even worth it?

Depends on the day.

 

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The Tulip Fields

There was a storm brewing; they were on borrowed time.

But they were on a mission.

The troops were already fatigued and in low spirits when they arrived on the battlefield. The General and Officer oversaw the unloading and packing of gear and made sure there were enough rations on hand, then they set off.

They trudged through muddy trenches and seemingly endless fields. The icy winds whipped around them and tugged at their uniforms. It was hard to take in the natural beauty of their surroundings from under the weight of their collective burden.

Barely halfway to the rendezvous point, two of the weakest soldiers began to break down. There were flashbacks, tears, and one even collapsed in a mud puddle of despair.

There was brief talk of deserting the fallen solider. Perhaps another unit would take her on.

Enough! barked the General. We never leave a solider behind! On my count, heave!

There was no other option- she was carried by the General herself. Later, she’d receive a bronze star for her heroism (The General, not the solider).

More began to fall, and again, they were carried. It began to feel overwhelming. They didn’t think they could go on. Some were pressing to turn back, scrap the mission.

No. We’ve come too far. We’ve sacrificed too much!

Their objective was clear – keep going.

The General ordered the Officer to break out and distribute a portion of the rations, which were to be eaten during the march. There was to be no stopping. Delaying the arrival at the rendezvous point could prove a foolish mistake.

The hard tack revived the troops. They kept marching with renewed vigor, even loud, boisterous whoops of hope and joy.

And then, through the clouds, they could see it. Their destination. A warm welcome, fresh food and water awaited them.

They had made it, and they lived to fight another day. (The return journey back to their transport would be another story, of course.)

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Welcome to 5am

This moment-turned-short-story was a flash forward for me. My pre-mama self got just a little taste of wee-hours-of-the-morning one-handed trying-to care-for-everyone-at-once. Just a taste.
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NaBloPoMo Day 22

Psychobabble

I was up again.

My right hip was on fire, so I slowly rolled over onto my left side, trying not to use my sore, cranky, stretched abdominal muscles.

I stretched my legs out, my feet searching for cooler pockets in the sheets.

Tap, tap.

Aw, crap.  I woke you.

I rubbed my belly just under and to the right of my belly button.

Hey, Little Duck.  I love you.  Now go back to sleep.

I glanced at the clock.  About 5am.  I had already been up twice to pee, and Brian gets up for work in an hour.

Tap, tap.

I probably dozed for a bit before realizing that my bladder was too full to permit sleep.  To the bathroom I shuffled, after slowly tipping myself out of bed with my arms.  I kicked the cat out of the way.  Twice.

I came back, laid back down on my…

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50 Happy Things for 2015: Bloggers Unite in Flood of Gratitude

We are flooding the interwebs with positivity and gratitude today, Psychos!  After reading this, I hope you feel inspired to do the same.

I’m about to start a timer for 10 minutes (with a 2 minute grace period in case I am in the middle of an amazing thought when the first buzzer sounds) to list 50 things I am thankful for.  Let’s see how I do.

Ready, set, GO!

  1. My cute, sweet son.  He brings me joy.
  2. My husband.  He supports me unlike any other.
  3. My health, my health, my health.
  4. That we have a cozy roof over our heads this winter season.
  5. My education.
  6. Cookies.  My mom just sent my favorite kind in the mail!
  7. My mom!
  8. The rest of my family of origin.
  9. Books.  They take me to another place when I feel crappy in the place where I’m at.
  10. Movies, especially gooey Christmas ones at the moment.  Just watched Love Actually…squee!
  11. Socks.  My feet are always cold.
  12. Modern medicine.  Because illness sucks.
  13. My ability to learn new things.
  14. My husband’s patience with me…because being a SAHM is hard, and too often I take my frustrations out on him.
  15. Presents!
  16. String cheese.  Well, all kinds of cheese for that matter.
  17. Friends, especially the kind who tell you that you’re just as messed up as everyone else.
  18. My cat, even though she barfs on the floor.
  19. Jokes and humor and laughing.  Because I’d die otherwise.
  20. Coffee.  Like, good coffee.  Not coffee I make myself.
  21. (shit, I am halfway through my time limit!) Common sense people.  Like, non-cray peeps.
  22. Sunny days!  MY GOD, THE SUN!
  23. Swear words.  They are always funny.  Fuck.
  24. Having the means to travel.  Going to new places renews me.
  25. Cutting down our own Christmas tree, and how it smells.
  26. Ice cream. (How did I not write this yet?!)
  27. Moisturizer.
  28. Chapstick.
  29. Clean water coming out of the tap.
  30. Living in America.
  31. Indoor plumbing.
  32. Cereal!  I eat it everyday.
  33. Orgasms.
  34. The fact that I got through school before the time of social media.
  35. People who go out of their way to be kind.
  36. The Daily Show.
  37. Music that makes me wanna sing and dance – like Bruno Mars.
  38. Having dance parties with my son.
  39. Making my son laugh.
  40. A warm, comfy bed.
  41. (Ok, so my 10 minutes just ran out….time to start the 2 minute grace period.) Farts.  They be funny.
  42. Old people.
  43. Blankets.
  44. Cherry coke.
  45. Brownies.
  46. Vivid dreams.
  47. Peace.
  48. Being privileged enough so I am able to help others.
  49. Grapes.
  50. Frosting.  (Whew!)

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NOW YOU! – What are you thankful for?

If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list. The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When I finished my list, I took a few extra minutes to add links and photos.
To join the bloggers who have come together for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Click on the blue frog at the bottom of this post. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List.
Please note that only blog posts that include a list of 50 (or an attempt to write 50) things that made you feel Happy or 50 things that you are Grateful for, will be included. Please don’t add a link to a post that isn’t part of this exercise.

Wordless Wednesday: Domestic Goddess

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Usually, I loathe cooking on days that end in Y.


nanopoblano2015lightUpdate: So, I realize this post is supposed to be wordless, but I just was reminded by WordPress that today is my blogiversary!  I’ve been blogging for 4 whole freaking years.  Pass the limoncello!

The Opposite of Awesome

I was weighing myself because I’m pregnant and it was Monday.  I lead a very exciting life, I know.

Brian: “I wonder when you’ll weigh as much as me?”

Me: “What?  I’ll never weigh as much as you.  You’re always going to be fatter than me.  Always.”

Brian:  “Oh yeah?  Let’s see then.”

I write down my new weight for this week.  On average, I’ve been gaining about 2 pounds a week for a while now.

Brian then weighed himself.  To my horror, it was only about 3 pounds heavier.

Me:  “I don’t think so!  You didn’t eat enough for dinner!  Here, have this muffin.”

Brian:  “See?!  Only about another week and a half and we’ll be the same!”

Me:  “Hang on, let me pee and I’ll weigh myself again.  I probably have a few pounds of pee in here.”

Brian:  “But now you know how I feel!”

Me: “Please, Brian, tell me how it feels to be you.  Because this is so the same.’

Brian: “…it feels awesome?”

Me:  “Yes.  My swollen hands and feet feel awesome.  So does your baby’s head pushing on my cervix.  Do you know what that feels like?”

Brian:  “…the opposite of awesome?”

Me: “Now get in the kitchen and go eat some muffins.  But make sure to save me one.  Or ten.”

Fast forward to last night – another Monday night weigh-in.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s happened.  Brian and I now weigh the same.

He did an odd sort of happy dance.  I got into a sumo stance, pushed him over, and sat on him.

It felt awesome.

Riding the Moody Train

I think it’s time to admit it – this pregnancy has turned a corner.

I’ve been getting a little moody.

Usually, I love the heat.  I am a California girl, and I had been living in the central valley for the past 5 years.  I’m now realizing that what made living there in the heat even remotely bearable was that AC was pretty standard in both public and private dwellings – overused, even –  and because I wasn’t pregnant with an exothermic squid.

Recently, it got warmer here in Oregon than it was in my homeland, which doesn’t happen very often.  And we don’t have AC in our box-filled second story oven.  Result: I get a little moody, drenched in sweat, and exhausted from doing exactly nothing.

I’m starting to not see the point of clothing.  Or having to get up to use the bathroom.

The heat has also been causing my normally dainty hands and feet to swell like Johnsonville brats in a beer bath on the 4th of July.  In Hell.

I’ve taken to soaking my feet in ice water while doing nothing.  It helps on days that end in killmenow.

Speaking of beer baths, there’s this random cooking show that comes on TV in the middle of my day spent waiting for death, and today they were concocting delicious-looking cocktails paired with mouthwatering, listeria-laden deli meats with a side of E Coli-infused hollandiase sauce.  I wanted to punch someone and then put the entire contents of the show in my mouth.

In an attempt to stay alive, I’ve been trying to waddle down to our complex’s pool when it’s empty or nearly empty, which is never.  The water isn’t heated, but it’s still not cold enough.  Maybe next time I’ll bring down a tray of ice cubes to add to the mix.

I must say, being submerged in water feels pretty damn nice.  It actually reminds me of what it must feel like to be in the womb – all safe and suspended and weightless.  You’d better count your blessings while you can, Little Duck.  Cuz if being expelled from my uterus is anything like me having to heave my now heavier-than-ever body out of the pool, you’re in for some hard times, my friend.

I vote for staying in that pool until my due date.  It would definitely solve a number of my current issues.

Trying to sleep has been fun.  If by fun, you mean setting my feet on fire, mashing my calves in an electric mixer, and pounding a mallet on my bladder.  Either that, or by shoving bamboo under my rapidly-growing fingernails.  Either one.  You know.

The most interesting part is trying to turn my Moby Dick body over in the middle of the night without a) waking my husband, and b) falling out of bed.  The process is quite simple, actually.  Step one: wake up for the 1000th time to a full bladder, which isn’t really full, it’s just being squeezed down to the size of a raisin.  Shove my arms against the mattress in an attempt to right myself.  Try again if needed.  And a third time.  Waddle to bathroom, trip over the cat in the dark.  Pee – in the toilet this time.  Waddle back.  Gently lower myself into bed onto the side of my body whose hip burns the least.  Decide this side still hurts like a motherfucker (this word has gained new meaning since getting pregnant, btw), and begin the classic 8-point turn while holding up my belly with one hand, lest its dense weight slosh over before the rest of my abdomen, causing severe pain and discomfort.  Lastly, gently punch unborn baby back into a reasonable position that chokes my liver, rather than my bladder.  It’s not like I am using it, anyway (the liver, I mean).

So yeah, I’ve been having to waddle for quite some time.  I get it now, you guys.  My muscles are being stretched in ways they should only be stretched by Gomez Addams during foreplay.

And I know pregnant ladies complain about not being able to see their feet, and I suppose I get that.  My abdomen has never stuck out quite this far before, even after eating a few burritos.  But you know what concerns me more?  I haven’t been able to establish a visual with my ladygarden for far too long.  I mean, I can sense her, I know she’s there – but how is she?  I can’t tend to her anymore (because god knows I am not even going to attempt to approach with anything sharp with the aid of a mirror – everything being backwards and objects larger than they appear…), and that makes me sad.  She’s about to go through her biggest performance to date and she won’t even look her best (leading up to it, anyway).

I’m sorry, my dear friend.  You’re on your own now.  I’ll see you on the other side.

Psychos, I’ll leave you with a memento of happier times before The Fall.  This was taken several weeks ago when my list of ailments was considerably shorter.

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Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Lady

Hey, this is Brian.

Yup, the husband-of-a-pregnant-blogger-Melissa Brian.

I’m here to school all the partners of pregnant ladies so that they get through the experience relatively unscathed.

Can you believe Melissa actually let me on here to write my very own post?

Yeah, neither can I…because this is Melissa, and I am writing this from Brian’s point of view with his general oversight and mild approval.  Learn from these tales, my friends.

 Brunch-tastic

I decided to wait to eat breakfast on this lovely Sunday morning, opting for brunch instead.  Of course, Melissa wolfed down two bowls of cereal and about ten lemon poppyseed muffins before I even got out of bed, so I figured she’d be good for a while.

I walk into the room with my beautifully prepared brunch and I see that she’s on her computer.  I sit down next to her.  She looks up expectantly.  “What’s that?”

I paused, realizing my mistake too late.  Could I still get away?  Maybe I could pretend that I didn’t hear her.

I faced my fate head-on: “Uh…it’s a sandwich.  Made with this delicious bagel, pesto, lettuce…and from diseased deli meat and unpasteurized cheese.”

At Melissa’s rageful silence, I got up and backed away slowly, and once I was a safe distance away, I threw another muffin at her for good measure.

 The Hangry Plan

Pregnant ladies have gold medals in being hangry, so Melissa and I have learned to try and plan for the worst when we go out shopping or to run some errands.  We bring water and snacks, and we also conjure up contingency plans, especially since she’ll be less able to run and defend herself in the event of a zombie apocalypse breaking out mid-outing.

For this particular outing, I wanted to go clothes shopping, and I gave Melissa the option of staying home, but she insisted on getting out of the apartment.

Melissa: “If I get hangry, just drop me at Cinnabon.”

Me: “You mean when you get hangry.”

Pregnant glare.

Me: “And we may have to think of somewhere else, because they went out of business.”

Wide-eyed, panicked Melissa: “What?!”

Me, making sure I was more than an arm’s length away: “Ha, just kidding.  You totally believed me!”

Melissa: “You are dead to me.”

 

The Sperm Whale

We’re at the doctor’s office, and Melissa has some fetal heart monitors strapped to her belly to check some things out.  Everything was awesome, and when they took the monitors off, they had made two round impressions on her very pregnant belly.

As Melissa was getting dressed, I giggled.

Melissa: “What?”

Me: “Nothing, it’s just that you reminded me of a sperm whale.”

Melissa, her tone of voice flat-lining: “…a whatnow?”

Me, as I point to her belly: “You know, the sperm whale surfaces and the squid has been attacking it, and you can see where the squid’s suction cups were stuck to the whale.”

Melissa: “And that makes me a sperm whale?”

Me: “…a small, cute one!”

Melissa: “You know what else sperm whales can do?”

And without waiting for an answer, she sat on me.

 

The Jungle Cat

It’s 6 in the morning, and Melissa got up with me because she couldn’t sleep, so she was naturally hungry again.  But also because she loves me madly and couldn’t bear to miss seeing me off to work.  As you recall from previous blog posts, it’s my responsibility to feed the meowing, howling cat at this time of day.

After spending a few minutes in the bathroom doing disgusting boy things, I entered the kitchen and threw some kibble in the cat’s bowl.  The howling stopped, replaced by sounds of frantic gulping as she turned all of her attention to her food bowl.  I looked up and realized that my cat and pregnant wife mirrored each other – each were hunched over their food in intense focus, like jungle cats tearing their fresh prey apart.  Melissa even had on adorable cheetah print skivvies.

Foolishly, I reached over and patted Melissa’s bum.  “You’re like a cheetah!” I told her. And then I growled for good measure.

Melissa looked up from her peanut butter and jelly topped onion bagel.  “Huh?!” she said with her mouth full.

I pointed at her underwear and growled again.

She looked down and then quickly looked back up.  “Yeah, I can’t see what underwear I am wearing from this angle.  Thanks.”

“Well…it looks fabulous!”

And then I threw another muffin and ran away.

 

Welcome to 5am

I was up again.

My right hip was on fire, so I slowly rolled over onto my left side, trying not to use my sore, cranky, stretched abdominal muscles.

I stretched my legs out, my feet searching for cooler pockets in the sheets.

Tap, tap.

Aw, crap.  I woke you.

I rubbed my belly just under and to the right of my belly button.

Hey, Little Duck.  I love you.  Now go back to sleep.

I glanced at the clock.  About 5am.  I had already been up twice to pee, and Brian gets up for work in an hour.

Tap, tap.

I probably dozed for a bit before realizing that my bladder was too full to permit sleep.  To the bathroom I shuffled, after slowly tipping myself out of bed with my arms.  I kicked the cat out of the way.  Twice.

I came back, laid back down on my left side, and now realized that I was hungry.  Really hungry.  The kind of hunger that can’t be ignored.

I got up again.

The cat met me at the door, purring and mewing.  Brian usually feeds her when he gets up at 6, and so she’s expecting food from me that she’s not going to get.  I ignore her and shuffle to the refrigerator.

Without turning on any lights, I grab my favorite middle-of-the-night-pregnancy snack: mozzarella string cheese and Nut Thins crackers.  So salty, so crunchy. Sooooo delicious.

I sat on the couch and tucked into my snack as the first bits of light could be seen outside the windows.

Tappy-tap-tap.

By this time, the cat’s mewing had turned to howling.  She saw me eating and couldn’t handle it.

Now, not only am I worried about waking Brian up, I’m worried about annoying our neighbors, who can no doubt hear Sadie’s cries through the very thin walls.

Aside from giving in and feeding her (and risking that she’d get double meals if Brian woke up and fed her again), the only way to shut her up is to pick her up and hold her.

I scooped her up in my left arm and stood there, continuing to feed my face with my right.

After a moment I had a flash of what this looked like.  Here I was, waiting for the baby to arrive so that I could be up all night, tending to a cranky, whiny, hungry creature.

By the looks of it, I was already there.