Friday, May 30, 2014

A Nose For Dallas.

Not long ago, I had an experience that left me thinking, "Well, that only happens in Dallas." Before you get stereotypical, it did not involve a cowboy, cowboy hats, cowboy boots, or the Dallas Cowboys.

No, this involved my nose.

Before moving here friends warned me I didn't wear enough make-up or have enough of a predisposition for plastic surgery for Dallas. I laughed, wondering if they were serious and wondering where I would make my home if a make-up and/or plastic surgery requirement would ban me from entering the city limits.

I needn't have worried.

A few weeks ago, at a cavity-filling appointment, the dental hygienist said, "I LOVE your nose!"

Confusion took over my face. Why was she referring to my nose the way some people refer to shoes?

"Hmmmmm," I thought to myself, 'I've been working out' or 'it's just because I'm breastfeeding' don't seem like appropriate responses for this one. Do I say 'thanks' or do I need to get into genetics??"

She completed her thought before I started stammering.

"It looks so natural!!"

And then I realized, she didn't think it was real. Now very unsure how to respond, I gave her a closed-mouth smile and waited for the exam to begin.

If only my friends who warned me about Dallas could see me now. I suppose they were right. My realness is apparently so real it borders on faux and for that I've been accepted! Oh, Dallas. Do I laugh or cry? I just don't know.

Happy Friday and may all your noses be real.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

It's Spider-Man's World. We're Just Lucky To Live In It.

Growing up, I focused on Barbie’s Dreamhouse and left the action figures to my brothers. I emerged from childhood with truckload of Barbies and Cabbage Patch Kids and miraculously, little knowledge of super heroes.
Now, with boys of my own, it’s time to pay attention as my “ignore in lieu of the Dreamhouse” strategy won’t be in their best interests. This isn’t about pink and blue toys. This is about me as the most un-fun and un-cool Mom on the block when I’m calling Mr. Freeze, Fro-zo; Poison Ivey, Itchy; and The Riddler, Punctuation Dude if I don’t work on my boy toy knowledge.
Now that I’ve looked beyond the yellow balconies, the only thing I see is Spider-Man and this observation has sparked a few questions.
Why do I have Spider-Man stamps in my wallet and why am I excited about it? Why did I notice the Spidey Happy Meal while ordering my 3:00 pick-me-up milkshake last week and shiver with glee? Why is there a pair of Size 3 Spidey pajamas already tucked away in my sock drawer for my son’s next birthday? Why do I wish they came in adult sizes?
Why is my two-year-old the [incredibly] proud owner of Spidey sheets, light-up sneaks in two sizes, pajamas, cars, a mask, a toothbrush, a yo-yo, and a giant blanket? Why can he shoot faux webs from his hands with sound effects as tantalizing and crisp as a Bose speaker? Why can he locate Spidey from a mile away in any retail establishment be it a toy-store, big box store, or grocery store? (Ok, I know the answer to that, Marvel Comics. I’m just sayin’ the webslinger’s likeness is EVERYWHERE. The check-out at Hobby Lobby? You’ve sold out.)
I asked someone recently when it was that Spider-Man came back. This person told me very kindly as you might when explaining to your two-year-old that the wind won’t blow his hair off, “Wellllll, I don’t think he ever really went away.”
And then I remembered.
I remembered 12 years ago seeing the new Spider-Man movie with my then-boyfriend, now-husband. For weeks after, he shot webs like a little boy and tried to teach me to do the same. My form and sound effects needed work. I laughed. Ok, I laughed a lot during those web slinging sessions, but they seemed childish to me, a person who was about the take the GMATs to attend graduate school and embark on real life, where Spider-Man did certainly not exist. Especially for someone who was never having children. HA!
Well, haven't the tables been turned on me, Spidey.
With two boys and one Spidey-obsessed husband I’ve accepted that this world belongs to Spidey and I am just living in it. It’s not Batman’s or Thor’s or Wolverine’s or The Hulk’s. We are as tightly wrapped in webs as a newborn is in a Velcro swaddle.
How do I know this?
I know this because if you roll by my house on a random Wednesday night there’s a good chance you’ll find me in a Spidey mask, shooting webs and chasing a little boy clad in Spidey PJs who is in hysterics at “Spidey-Mommy.”
And Spidey-Mommy doesn’t miss, because she can hardly remember, the Dreamhouse. Well played, Spidey. Well played.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Yep. That's My Milk With TSA.

In all my travels, I have never had TSA inspect my milk. That is, until today.
Luckily, they gave it back, but the Mr. TSA Agent and I shared, what I thought to be a very awkward experience.
He first opened my cooler and had to sort through the conical pump pieces which still had some milk on them. They weren’t dripping wet, but they had clearly been used recently and not washed.
“Sorry,” I said sheepishly although in hindsight I wish I hadn’t apologized and had instead grabbed my boobs and grunted or said, “Yeah! That’s my milk!” Thank God men don’t make milk. We’d never hear the end of it.
“Oh, I’ve seen worse,” Mr. TSA responded. I should have pressed him a bit on this statement because I’d like to know what TSA finds worse than a milk-laden pump part but I just wanted the inspection to end.
Next, he pulled out two of my full six-ounce bags (Moooooo!!!) and went looking for his supervisor. It takes a lot for me to feel uncomfortable, but I felt uncomfortable as every person waiting for his or her shoes had my milk flashed in front of them while Mr. TSA Agent sought a supervisor. I instinctively hugged my chest and later concluded this was to make my boobs look smaller so no one would peg me as the lactating traveler.
Hands pushing down chest, I started sweating when I caught a glimpse of Target’s Up & Up double arrow logo on the swaying bags.
WHY had I chosen this week to test out generic? Why didn’t I just stick with Medela instead of going all savvy consumer? Why? Why? WHY?! Would they stay closed? If they opened, would I become the “Oh...I’ve seen worse” example for TSA?
The found supervisor, who must have been trapped IN the conveyor belt given the amount of time it took to find the man slowly re-calibrated the testing machine so Mr. TSA Agent could test my milk for explosives. None found, he set it back in my cooler amongst more wet pumping parts and a cloth diaper, also damp with milk. Instead of thanking him, I APOLOGIZED AGAIN and said, “that was weird.” Apparently, my self confidence was stuck back in the security line.
He looked at me, pure and simple confusion stamped across his face, and said, “No it wasn’t.”
So, the next time TSA manhandles your breastmilk in its generic Target bags, don’t feel weird about it. They don’t.
Shameless plug! Flying? With a baby or toddler? By yourself? Don’t forget my handy-dandy guide as you embark on your summer horror vacation plans:
Sorry. That was weird, too.

Monday, May 19, 2014

To the Emergency Room! Twice.

There are times when you proclaim to the world you will write more and then sit for weeks waiting for content to fall from the sky and other times when you do so and the content tree suddenly blooms to life. I am experiencing the latter.

My two-and-a-half year old made his maiden voyage to the Emergency Room (ER) last week. I was inside and heard his blood-curdling scream. Ten seconds later my husband and he stormed in the house, both covered with his blood. Pretty soon, we were all covered in blood and five minutes later a new babysitter, on her way to meet the family, arrived.

"We're not normally bloody," I said lest she think there were bodies in the basement, and then asked her if she could stay with the baby while we took the boy to the ER. They glued him back together and we were on our way, our little boy happy that the incident got his parents' full attention for the first time in three months and my husband and I wondering if we could find that glue on Amazon.

Fast forward to this weekend. From the baby's room, I heard my two-year-old's blood-curdling scream from the bathroom and walked in to find him and my husband covered in blood. He'd slipped in the tub and had a deep gash on his chin.

"Ooh," I pantomimed to my husband, "that needs a stitch." Now, I've never seen a cut that definitely needs a stitch, but I did start my college career as a Pre-Med student. Combine that with my Mom Instinct and I'm practically a doctor.

My husband scooped him up, got him dressed, and headed out. He was upset that the little boy had been hurt again but the little guy was excited for some good old one-on-one emergency room time with Daddy.

With two ER visits behind us in just as many weeks, I have many unanswered questions like:

1. No, really. Where is that glue on Amazon?

2.What do I tell Child Protective Services when they show up at my door because they think we like to push our kids down the stairs for fun?
[Sidenote: If you've arrived here because you just googled, "Pushing kids down the stairs for fun" so you can go all Spider-Man vigilante on the sick bastards who do this, re-read the context. You're in the wrong spot!] 

3. Where do I get my ER Loyalty card?

The first two will solve themselves. Child Protective Services will see the bruises up and down my leg that match the parts and pieces of all the baby-holding apparatuses strewn about and immediately understand this is a genetic thing. Super glue will work in a pinch if Amazon hasn't gotten into the medical products game yet but what about the third question? Is there really no ER Loyalty card (she asked with the same gravitas of Carrie Bradshaw typing mind-blowing relationship questions across the TV screen)?

Emergency Rooms, why have you not figured this out? Moms love loyalty programs and you see, all moms have kids. A large percentage of these kids spend childhood in your waiting rooms. The ER that gives their mom an app to clock points is the only ER she's going to.

Start with "Make Five Visits in Three Months and Your Sixth Is On Us" as a test and go from there.

Don't believe this will work?

I get points at Gap and Old Navy to buy more kids clothes. Oh, ok, I'll be honest. I use those more-often-than-not over at Piper Lime to reward myself with new shoes for kicking-ass at motherhood.

I get free hummus or tabbouleh almost every time I eat at Zoe's.

I get discounts on Amazon commodity purchases  (read: diapers & wipes) because I purchase with such frequency.

My lifetime value as a mom of two young boy is ENORMOUS to you. Make me consider you the way I consider the place offering me a free Greek Salad and I will be your loyal customer until the end of time.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Writer's Block.

I think it's safe to say I've been suffering from writer's block for a year. I'm at my best when I have things to mock and right now, aside from my daily appearance, I don't have much to make fun of. Life is good and writing about how good life is sounds boring with a capital B.

I've toyed with the idea of shutting this down and receding quietly into a suburban life of lattes and SUVs, but I just can't do it. I know the three of you who regularly read this are breathing a HUGE sigh of relief. I hear it blowing across the dry Texas plains now.

I can't do it for two reasons.

The first is that when I am so inspired by life's ridiculousness, whether it be crock-pot meals or ombre hair, I want to capture it.

The second is that there is a writer inside of me trying to get out and I can't give up on her quite yet. It was back in first grade that I knew she was in there. During free time, I would sit down with my handy #2 pencil and write [very] short stories. Was I cool? No way, but my stories about little brothers who drove their big sister MAD made me so happy I just didn't care.

And so now, I need to get back in the saddle with little stories of little boys who drive their mommy MAD.

Long before I had children, I had a little book on my writing desk called, "The Writer's Block." It was a prop that showed the outside world how I defined myself and helped prospective home-buyers fancy themselves in a writer's haven when considering our home as theirs. I never opened it.

I found it today, battered and bruised after a few short years of co-existing with a toddler. I opened it and finally thought it might be time to use it.

So, for the next 30 days I am going to write three times a week about random, random things to get back in the writing zone. Bear with me, my dear 3 readers. I don't know what's about to happen, but I'm hoping to find the writer buried underneath babies and toddlers and marketing and household operations. She's in there and she can't wait.

PS - I loathe posts that apologize for not writing and think this borders very close to the edge of such an apology letter. I wrote it to keep myself accountable. We will not speak of it again.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

If You Give A Two-Year-Old A Snack.

If you give a two-year-old a snack, he will tell you the snack you've procured is not to the liking of his refined little palate, run to the cupboard, and pull out your secret stash of M&Ms.

You will open the fridge and try a kung-fu mind trick to lure him away from your chocolate and over to the perishables.

His bright little eyes will rest on the giant, unsliced watermelon inside.

"Dat!" he will scream with the confidence of a global leader.

"Ok!" you will say while rummaging around for an appropriate watermelon slicing knife, knowing this feat of impending manual labor is small price to pay to secure the well-being of your M&Ms.

Once the watermelon is cut into six-thousand bite-size pieces, the two-year-old will taste one and say, "I don't want this. Make me peanut butter and fluff."

You will think about waging a war over watermelon until you realize that six-thousand pieces of the fruit within arm's reach of a two-year-old on the brink of a tantrum will quickly become six-thousand tiny weapons of mass destruction. He will know this and meet your eyes for a dangerous, yet brief, game of chicken.

"Say please," you will say as you put the watermelon into a Tupperware container smugly smiling because YOU really won the battle: you're now armed with a veritable fruit arsenal for the next snack stand-off.

Once the watermelon is put away and the fluffernutter is half made, your two-year-old will profess his love of watermelon. You will ignore this.

While enjoying his marshmallow delicacy disguised as a healthy sandwich, your two-year-old will ask for milk. No, make that chocolate milk.

For a few minutes you will try to convince him that plain milk is tastier than chocolate milk. Alas, his cries of, "No it's not!" will escalate in direct proportion to your exhaustion and, dammit, Hershey will find his way to the milk.

The chocolate milk will remind him of that one time many weeks ago when he drank chocolate milk outside. He will ask to go outside. Fresh air will sound nice to you so you'll go.

Outside, he'll notice the sandbox and ditch the chocolate milk.

Once 85% of the sand is outside the sandbox, he will notice his hands are dirty.

"Can you please turn on the hose so I can wash my hands, Mommy?" he will ask in his sweetest voice.

Proud of his impeccable hygiene, you will comply and in the blink of an eye your two-year-old will stage a solo coup, usurp the nozzle, and soak you both.

As you towel him off and decide the hose episode definitely counts as your shower, you will notice that you are a tad hungry yourself and abscond to the kitchen for a granola bar.

Despite your ninja moves, your two-year-old will sense you are eating and he is not and catch you red-handed.

"What's dat?" he will ask, the cool excitement of a CIA agent holding an incriminating folder of evidence lacing his high-pitched voice.

You will contemplate eating the evidence before turning to face him but his show of power back at the hose has made you feel brazen and you know he will smell oats and chocolate on your breath should you lie so you turn and simply say, "It's a granola bar."

"Ohhhhhhh," he will say back slowly as he assesses the deliciousness of the food you are not sharing. Once he's decided it's high on his delicious scale he will ask abruptly, "can I have a bite?"

"No," you'll say.

"Why?" he'll ask.

"It's mine," you'll say and add, lest he think Mommy is not a good sharer, "and I need the energy in these calories to take care of you."

The tantrum held at bay by little more than hope and marshmallow fluff will be held no more.

As he flails and wails begging for your granola bar you will rack your brain for one, JUST ONE, diversionary tactic. It will arrive on the wings of a dove.

"The ducks!!!" you'll scream triumphantly recalling the success of last week's duck-feeding session, "let's go feed them!"

He will stop mid-cry to assess your seriousness. Should you add "tomorrow" or "later" to your previous statement he is prepared to start right back where he left off.

You will not say either because you mean it and to show just how serious you are you will add, "I'll get some bread."

You will run to your room for a dry shirt and upon your return, find your two-year-old eating the bread.

"That's for the ducks, you silly goose!" you will say with 10 times more levity than you feel.

"But I want it," he'll shoot back and only after a five-minute conversation during which you try to explain the following equation:

Bread For Ducks + Two-Year-Old Eating This Bread = No Bread For Ducks & No Trip To Duck Pond

does he put the bread down.

"I have an idea!" you'll shout hoping to re-inflate his excitement, "run and put the bread in mommy's [impossibly large with contents capable of keeping us alive for two weeks should we get lost in the woods] diaper bag and then we'll go!"

Now, this trip to the other room will take far too long and while you will undoubtedly enjoy those 45 seconds of staring silently at the wall, you will begin to wonder what's happening and embark on a search and recover mission.

You will find him in the living room surrounded by many of your bag's contents and rifling through those remaining within.

"What are you doing?" you'll ask.

And he will say, "I'm looking for a snack. I want a snack."

And we all know what happens if you give a two-year-old a snack.