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.
NaBloPoMo Day 22


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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Snacks on a Plane



We’re going home to California for the week of Thanksgiving and I’m all excited to BE there, but I am not at all excited to GET there.

Here’s how it’s gonna play out. I pack and worry and scream to try and make everyone be on time. Then I’ll worry some more about what we forgot and being on time. Dylan will break down in the security line and go to his dark place where he goes limp on the floor. Audrey will thrash so hard in the Ergo that she’ll ram her head on my sternum and make several bruises. And that’s all before we get on the plane.

On the plane there will be more thrashing and seat kicking and trying to reach buttons and wanting to crawl down the aisle. And the kids will act up too. (See what I did there? I’ll be here all week.)

Once we touch down in the land of milk and honey, we’ll be greeted by loving, rested grandparents ready to whisk our children away for stimulating play and healthy snacks while Brian and I fall asleep pass out for 5 days. Then we’ll wake up and eat turkey and mashed potatoes and go comatose for another 3.

Too soon it will be time to get on another plane and head back to Waterworld Oregon, where hopefully our cat hasn’t resentfully pooped on our pillows and vomited in our shoes. All the dirty laundry will steep in a small, smelly mountain in the hallway where I hope it will get so rank it’ll one day grow legs and walk itself into the washing machine.

I’ve decided that I’d actually like to enjoy our trip, so I plan to re-blog some of my favorite old posts while I’m gone, especially since I have some new readers and I’d like to share some pieces of which I’m rather proud.

Stay tuned, dear Psychos.

NaBloPoMo Day 16

Things Motherhood Has Brought to My Attention

  1. My patience (though it runs short at times), overall, runs deeper than I ever could have imagined.
    • Sure, I lose it and blow up at my kids. Just this morning I stomped on the floor and yelled when my son spat out cereal onto the floor. But, for that one time of losing it, I experience at least 50 more times when I’ve stuck with it, dug deep, and kept my cool beyond what I thought was possible of myself in that moment. And I have no idea how that happens. That’s a lie; yes I do.
  2. Being a mom has brought my and my family’s mortality into sharp focus, causing me to make decisions based on whether or not I’d have regrets on my deathbed.
    • This may sound horribly morbid, and while it is morbid, I don’t think it’s horrible. Watching my kids grow up like weeds before my eyes reminds me how short and precious life really is, and this just shoves all the important stuff front and center.
  3. I don’t have control over anything. Like, at all.
    • While this is easy to type and easy for my intellectual brain to grasp, my emotional core is still working on accepting it. I have a feeling I’ll always come back to rage-cleaning the kitchen when I feel like my life is more out of control than normal.
  4. Working with a partner to try and raise two healthy, happy, fed, (mostly) clothed, well-adjusted kids is the hardest thing ever.
    • What threw me on this one is that I thought the hardest thing ever would be staying at home, by myself, with these kids all day everyday. And yes, when Daddy is home I get the physical help with the child-wrangling. But, when he’s not here there’s no discussion about what there is to be done (unless you count the one constantly running through my head) – I just do it. There’s no need to communicate, “Ok, you do this and I’ll do that” I just do it all. There’s no need to scream at the other person, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! WE’RE LATE!” because, during the day, it’s just me. Often, the effort it takes to try and work together and delegate and communicate (read: scream to each other over the din of also-screaming children), is so exhausting that it feels easier to just bare down and do it all. (Does anyone else feel this way? I feel like I did a shit job of explaining what I mean, because I am in NO WAY ungrateful for the job my husband does raising our kids and keeping the household together. There’s no way I could do this job alone and stay sane.)
  5. I can do more on little sleep than I ever thought possible.
    • I don’t function well on little sleep. I turn into a rabid zombie chainsaw killer. While I still suffered (still suffer-ing, actually) with each kid, there’s just something amazingly tender and potent about your chillins that make you want to do the opposite of kill them, even on scary few hours of sleep.
  6. (Going along with the previous point) Never underestimate the power of naps.
    • Naps come from heaven. Naps are good for all involved. Covet them. Create time for them. Force them if you have to.
  7. I need free time to feel like myself.
    • This wasn’t obvious to me when I had a whole shit-ton of free time, but it sure is now.
  8. I have a feeling that raising these kids is going to be my life’s most important work (with therapy a close second).
    • My kids will be kind, thoughtful, compassionate, productive human beings if it’s the only thing I do.
  9. I am really good at this mom gig. Like, I kick ass at it.
    • Seriously. As hard as it is, even though I constantly make mistakes and lose my cool. I learn from those mistakes, I model how to say sorry and repair the damage. I remember doctor’s appointments. I know where 90% of the toys are in my house at any given time. I keep my house more than bearably clean. I can get two kids diaper changed, dressed, fed, potty, shoes, socks, jackets, car seats, out the door in 45 minutes. You heard me! I get fairly good sleep. I make my bed everyday. I help keep our cat alive (wait, we have a cat too?!). I pack for vacations and camping trips and beach trips and walks to the park…and I remember 99% of all the things we could ever need in case of the zombie apocalypse. I do the laundry AND FOLD IT. AND PUT IT AWAY! Sometimes that only takes a week to complete. I remember to buy toilet paper. I remember birthdays and parties and shopping for gifts for said parties. And wrapping the damn present for said said parties. Not to mention remembering to BRING said wrapped present to said parties. I kiss boo-boos and give hugs and make lunches and clean up. I clean up all fucking day.

…and then, after all that, I get up and do it again the next day, and the next, and the next.

NaBloPoMo Day 7

Tough Right Now

Life is really tough right now.

I knew it would be, but this doesn’t make it any easier.

People ask how I am doing, and what am I supposed to say?  I tell them the truth – that it’s hard and that I am doing the best that I can – but if I truly stop and express to them just how hard and just how much I struggle, then I fear I’ll just fall apart.

I need more human contact.  My son needs more human contact.  It’s good for us.  But getting there, getting OUT, is SO. FREAKING. HARD.

Today we got up and tried to get to playgroup.  I got up around 7:45.  The playgroup started at 10:30.  By 11:45 I was still feeding my youngest a bottle.  I texted to cancel.  We ended up taking a walk, by ourselves, in the freezing cold because it was the easiest and quickest way to get outside.  Yes, it was better than nothing, but man, it sucked.

And that’s the thing – I don’t expect perfection, but I feel like I am trying my hardest and that I’m still failing.  At some point in the day, I’m always failing SOMEbody.  Sometimes it’s me (because I can’t make social contact with friends), or the baby (because she’s screaming hungry and has to wait), or my toddler (because he’s screaming that he wants to go outside but has to wait), or my husband (because he listens to me complain and cry and fall apart).

I usually start the day off trying my best to cope, like today.  But the time ticks by and more and more gets in the way of reaching our meager goals (getting to playgroup), when it finally comes crashing down because my toddler kicks me in the jaw and I burst into tears, or my baby won’t nurse even though I know she’s hungry and I burst into tears.  These days, it’s rare to get through the day without feeling like the walls are crashing down on me.

I have glimpses of hope and reminders that life gets better.  I try and hold onto those.  But living in the moment requires breaking down, because the here and now is often unbearable.  That’s why I am always on my damn phone – if I can just check out for a minute, maybe I can regroup and reenter my life.  Or just pass the time; maybe when I lift my head, things will be different.  Better.

So I’m coping.  At least I am getting more sleep these days, but I am still choosing sleep over most other things.  I choose sleep over chores, over human interaction, over getting out of the house.  Because if I am not moderately rested, nothing else matters.  That may sound dramatic, but it’s true.  Here’s the catch, though: if I’m not a zombie physically (sleep deprived), then I’m a zombie emotionally (isolated).  It’s like I can’t win.

Not to mention that this winter, everyone and their mom is sick.  Everyone in my family was sick a month ago, including my newborn, and that was pure hell.  Less sleep and meeting with other people all mean a higher chance of getting sick again…so perhaps hunkering down is what we just need to do right now, even though I don’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter at the moment.  I suppose all these circumstances just mean I super prioritize what get togethers we try and attend.

Lest I begin rambling, I will simply repeat my point in closing.

Life is really tough right now.

Baby, all I want for Christmas is you

Hey, guys.

I don’t mean to brag (yes I do), but I got the best Christmas present this year:


Her name is Audrey and she’s perfect.

I’m so lucky and grateful and full of hope and excitement…and I’m also a completely sleep deprived hot mess.  Wee!

Happy New Year, everyone!


The Cranky Mommy Waddle

My son just turned two.


He’s active.

He’s kinda like a time bomb, actually, and if I don’t get him outside burning off steam, he’s going to explode yucky kid goo all over the walls of my house.

And so we walk to the park.

Well, I waddle.

I can’t move very fast anymore.  Moving hurts me.  And while it’s great that there are several parks within a few blocks of my house, my kid still insists on running away from me, often into the street.

Jesus ouch goes my fast waddle.

I’m told this is a common problem (the running into the street…but I guess also the waddle.  but I was originally referring only to the running).  So why can’t parents with brains design human parks like they design dog parks?  Toddlers and dogs ain’t that much different, folks.  Fence them in.  Mommy’s tired of running.  And by running I mean waddle-shuffling.

And another thing.  Plant some damn trees.  I know this is Oregon, but occasionally we have this thing called sunlight.

I have delicate skin that’s constantly being sucked dry by my greedy fetus.  And my pregnant body is already 1002 degrees.  Mama needs the shade.

And while you’re at it, add in a little Starbucks booth.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just big enough for a sexy college dropout barista and that whoosh-whoosh machine that makes the foam.

Cuz sleep is getting harder to come by and we all know this is only going to get worse.  I need to stay just conscious enough while I’m resting my eyes in the shade so that I can take my dog-child back home after he’s burned off a sufficient amount of evil.

See you tomorrow, fellow park-goers.


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.


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.

Mood Swings from the Jungle

I’m generally pretty moody in the morning.

And by moody, I mean that it can really go either way – I can be the sweetest sparkle cuddle-monster, or I can be a murderous bloodthirsty jungle panther.  And so far, pregnancy has only widened the gap between these two extremes.

What causes the pendulum to swing, you ask?

Sometimes it’s the direction of the wind, like Mary Poppins’ menstrual cycle.  Other times it’s if the planets are in alignment or if our pantry is sufficiently stocked with poptarts.

Brian gets up for work considerably earlier than I do, considering the work I do now – creating life – I’m so freaking good at, I can do it in my sleep, thankyouverymuch.  He has two alarms: one quiet, melodic one and one so loud and jarring that it wakes the dead.  I’ve grown to hate them both.

Since moving to Oregon and living under Stompasaurus Sex, I’ve taken to wearing earplugs while I sleep.  Sleep is very, very important to me.  I love sleep, and it usually loves me…except when one (or both) of the dreamwreckers named Stompasaurus and Pregnancy get in the way.

So, having said all this, every night is a crapshoot concerning how well I’ll sleep and whether I’ll end up awake when Brian gets up for work in the morning.  And even then, if I end up awake, there is no telling what mood I’ll be in.

Picture the scene from this morning:  Both of Brian’s alarms had gone off.  The second one had successfully summoned several demons from the depths of Hell, and as a result, I was awake.  Because I was awake, I had to go pee.  Naturally.  I got up slowly and made sure I had my bearings, partly because it was still dark, partly because my center of gravity is constantly changing and I am in danger of tipping over even when I am sitting down, and partly because I was wearing earplugs and can’t hear danger.  I was also wearing this really cute zebra print onesie that I can barely still fit into, and the night before I had pranced around saying I was a pregnant zebra and made fierce growling noises.

“You know zebras don’t growl,” Brian had commented when I demanded he pay attention to me.

“Have you ever seen a pregnant zebra?!  I’m sure they have plenty to growl about, if they feel anything like I do.  RAWR!”  Was my reply.

Back to the morning.

Brian, ever the survivalist, says he never expects me to be friendly in the morning, just to be safe. “So I’m always wary when you come near me,” he explained, “Like I’m being approached by a wild animal, and I’m the human with poor night vision.”

So I shuffle back from the bathroom, and decide to help get Brian out of bed, lest he fall asleep again, miss work, and is unable to support his wife and unborn baby zebra.  I decide that the best way to do this is to hit him on the head.  Once he got up, I lunged closer to him, and he froze.  I went in for a warm, cuddly wordless hug that only a deaf, half-asleep, pregnant zebra can give, and then fell back into bed exhausted.

Brian backed away slowly and shut the door behind him, having survived another morning.

Sleepless in Portland


You don’t really know me.  I mean, I met one of you briefly, but I am pretty sure you were…indisposed at the time, so does that really count?  But see, I know a lot about you.

To the best of my knowledge, there are three of you.  Two females and one male.  One of the females we’ve lovingly nicknamed The Laugh, because it sounds like a cross between a dodo bird and a hyena.  And it’s constant.  You know what?  Nothing is that funny.  Unless you’re flying high on life, I suppose.

It seems as though all three of you have some sort of unique locomotion disorder where you’re required to wear lead-soled moon boots at all times – even in the middle of the night.  Of course, it also doesn’t help that the floors/ceilings in this place are creakier than a Disney Haunted Mansion and thinner than the skin of an 80 year old woman.  For that, you get a little bit of slack.  A little.

You all have amazing stamina, what with your alternative sleep schedules.  Quiet one night, up screaming until midnight another night and then up again five hours later to argue about how uncomfortable your moon boots are.  Or there was last night, when you chose to dance around intermittently between the hours of 2 and 4am.  Look, if you’re going to have a dance party, the least you could do is invite us.  It’s only the polite thing to do.  Instead, I was jolted awake and torn apart from my dreamland boyfriend, Jake Gyllenhaal (Bubble Boy had been on Comedy Central that day.  I assure you, he was much hunkier in my dream than he was in Bubble Boy.  Complete with stubble.), and every time I was just about to drift off and rejoin him, your moon boots again met the ceiling directly above my head.

Speaking of parties, do you remember that fateful night we met?  Your dance moves were so synchronized that we watched our ceiling flex inward several inches, and it was then that we knew we had to meet.  I can only guess that your excitement at having visitors was the cause of you fumbling to get your door open to greet us!  Let’s be honest – your glistening eyes gave you away. We totally understood when you didn’t invite us in – I mean, you can only really play Twister with a limited number of people.

We wish that sometime you’ll take the time to get to know us.  For instance, we enjoy sleeping uninterrupted for about 8-9 hours during the night.  Every night.  We also like being able to hear our television at a reasonable volume.  When we can, we pride ourselves on helping others, so please let us know if you need help removing those moon boots.  I know a guy who gets things done.

So please, don’t be strangers.  Or do – we imagine that your progressive and carefree lifestyle will lead you to new and exciting places, and who are we to stand in the way of that?

Sincerely Yours,

Sleepless in Portland