Play dates Make Mommy Drink

My daughter had a friend over today and I realized…play dates suck. For the most part, they’re like babysitting except you don’t get paid. You’re responsible for someone else’s kid for however long they’re at your house and you can’t yell at them or let them get hurt. In a way, it’s worse than babysitting.
My kid started laying the groundwork for this play date by annoying the ever loving crap out of me a few days beforehand. “Can Abby come over on Saturday?” (Names have been changed to protect the innocent)
I bit my lip. Saturday was going to be my “free day”; the day hubby was working and not following me around the house or insisting on accompanying me to the store. On free days I like to get my nails done and buy stuff online cuz he’s not breathing down my neck. I don’t have to get dressed if I don’t want to or even shower. I get to watch whatever I want on TV (once I bribe the kids to let me actually have the remote) I certainly didn’t need another kid thrown in the mix on a free day.
“I don’t think so,” I replied. “We’re busy Saturday.”
“But whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?” She demanded to know. “What do we have to dooooooooooo?”
“Clean,” I retorted. “We have to clean.” And buy boots at DSW and get a pedi, I added silently. And take a nap. Oh, and go to the gym.
Before you call me selfish, just remember, she sees her friends five days a week at school. She’s on FaceTime with them for hours a day. I get one free Saturday a MONTH. One blissful day full of potential and it’s usually taken up by baseball games or some sort of practice. And cleaning. So nah nah nah poo poo.
Well, that didn’t sit too well with the princess. She cried, she stomped, she begged, she pleaded. She did her chores without being asked and cleaned her room. (Sort of)
After following me in the bathroom while waving the iPad with her friend on the other end of it in my face (yes, I WAS on the toilet), I finally broke down, scrambled to rearrange my “relaxing” day and let her have a damn play date.
That word makes me cringe, by the way. It sounds so…planned. I remember just hopping on my bike and going to friends’ houses. There was none of this formal arrangements. There was no discussing with the other mom. Ugh, that’s one of the things I REALLY hate about play dates; talking to the other mother on the phone and making idle small talk while you wait for the kid to find the shoe they’ve so conveniently “misplaced” when the mother comes and picks them up. Oh and that, “what time should I come and get them?” question. Grrrr. I don’t know how your kid is going to behave, lady. I might want you to come get them before you’ve even left the driveway.
Usually though, it’s NOT the other kid that makes the play date unbearable. It’s the circus in which I reside that makes me want to fling myself into traffic when I hear those two little cringeworthy words uttered.
First off, the dogs are a force to be reckoned with. The little one absolutely, positively does NOT like strangers in her house. She’s small and cute and kids who haven’t met her yet think she would be great fun to play with but by God they are totally wrong. She’s a Bitch with a capital B. I have to watch her like a hawk to make sure she doesn’t bite the kid’s hand off when they try to pet her.
The big dope is another story. He LOVES guests! He wants to sniff them and knock them to the ground so he can lick their faces and any other body part unfortunate enough to be exposed. Most kids are appalled by his 99 pounds lumbering at them and they do NOT appreciate their butts being forcefully invaded by his nose. I have to keep him in a restricted area which breaks his heart, resulting in him literally crying and whimpering for the entire play date.
If that isn’t enough, my daughter turns into a blithering idiot when she has friends over. Yeah, yeah, I know, that’s not nice, but it’s SO true. All of a sudden she is a hundred times more annoying and obnoxious than she already is on a normal basis. She talks in a squeaky baby voice. She wants to go outside and jump on her pogo stick in the rain. She drags the friend into her brother’s room and hides under his bed to spy on him which results in him screaming. She jumps on couches and leaps off of beds. She brings all the toys downstairs into the living room which results in my stepping on a Lego in my bare feet. I’ve even found her in my bedroom going through my underwear drawer once when she had a friend over. It’s like she is getting her rebel self out while she knows I’m not going to flip out in front of her friend.
Meanwhile, all I can think is that this kid is gonna fall and split her lip or the dog is going to rip her apart and she’s going to need stitches. I am all of a sudden sleepy with a headache and I can’t nap with another kid in the house or discover I need to run to the store and I can’t leave the stranger’s kid alone with mine. I smile when they ask for a snack. Of course, being the good nurse I am, I always make sure they don’t have allergies. I can just imagine the headlines: “School nurse gives allergic kid peanut butter sandwich for snack”. If it’s summer, I stare at them while they’re in the pool, certain that if I go to the bathroom, they’re going to drown. I clench my teeth and pace while I hold my bladder and count the hours till they go home and I can relax again. The whole thing makes me want to open up a bottle of wine.
I hate play dates. My stomach hurts just thinking about it. It’s too much responsibility! I can’t take it! That’s it…no more play dates…my kids will just have to be antisocial.

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Thank God My Ovaries Have Shriveled Up and Died

I babysat my 2 year old nephew the other day…overnight, and I’ve come to a conclusion. I’m too damn old for a toddler. Thirty eight year olds should not be chasing a two year old around.
Let me preface this by saying, my nephew is a normal toddler. He isn’t in need of a straight jacket or Ritalin as of yet. Which begs the question…how the hell did I survive not once, but twice with a full time two year old???
Maybe it’s because back then my house was child proofed and now I’m living with the “if they stick it in their mouth or electrocute themselves, they should have known better” kind of mantra . This kind of thinking doesn’t work with a two year old.
My sister dropped him off at 6:30 and I asked the kid in my high pitched sing songy auntie voice, “And what time will you go to bed?”
My sister avoided my eyes as she replied, “Oh, probably around 11…”
I glowered at her and I’m surprised she didn’t melt into the floor. 11:00 is basically what time I would go to bed on a night out. I am OLD. I am in my pjs at 9, tucked into bed by 9:30 and snoozing away by 10.
“We’ll see about that,” I retorted. (I had him asleep by 10 so I consider that a triumph)
Then, the chase began. I swear I got more cardio than a week of boot camp just chasing the kid around the house to preventing him from scaling the dresser drawers like Spider-Man or smashing my Precious moments to the floor just for the delight of watching them shatter.
First his eyes grew wide when he spotted my Scentsy. For those of you who don’t know, Scentsy is a flameless candle thingamabob that smells really nice and doesn’t put my firefighter husband into shock when he discovers I left it on all night. It’s very discreet and doesn’t even look like a candle but damn that kid was on my snowman Scentsy like it was a piñata at a birthday party. Within seconds he had the lid off and was dipping his fingers in the wax. I screeched in horror. Now, the wax isn’t hot, so I didn’t worry he was going to burnt himself or anything like that. No, I was more concerned that he was going to break the cute little carrot nose off of the thing.
As I was disconnecting that, Mr. Elusive dashed off towards the sliding glass doors of the dining room where my daughter had lovingly cut out snowflakes and taped them to the door in the shape of a snowman. Apparently, he was drawn to snowmen because before I could get into the room, I heard two distinctly different noises that made my blood run cold. Blood curdling shrieking from my daughter and squeals of delight from the two year old. Oh yeah, he ripped them all down and was stuffing the pieces into his mouth.
As I consoled the sobbing eight year old, I caught the escape artist toddling off. I followed him to the kitchen where his eyes grew wide at the sight of the overflowing recyclable bin. I snatched the wine bottle out of his hands before it met an untimely death at the hands of my ceramic tile. There was a drop left in the bottle. I didn’t want it to go to waste.
In that brief nanosecond it took to pour the drop down my gullet, he took off again. This time chasing our cankerous 10 year old dog. She was a puppy when the kids were little; happy to play and be chased. Now she was an old lady who wanted to be left the hell alone. Kind of like me.
“Crap!” I muttered, flinging the wine aside. She would bite him for sure.
Sure enough, he had her cornered and was attempting to pat her. With a shoe. She snarled and I snatched him away just in time. Her jaws latched onto the shoe instead of him.
It was at this point that my husband shouted from the other room.
“Can you keep it down in there? I’m trying to watch TV.”
I was tempted to go beat him with the shoe but instead I gritted my teeth and sat the kid down.
My sister claims all the kid does is sleep and watch TV at home. Apparently, my house is like an amusement park to him because he does none of that. Either that or she gives him coffee before he comes over and cackles as she drives off.

“Listen,” I said, trying to remain calm. “Aunt Heather is too old for this crap. Why don’t we sit down now and watch TV?” I suggested with that smile we all use on toddlers. The kid laughed in my face and took off again. I glanced at the clock, counting down the hours till I could realistically try to put him to bed. It was 7:02.
After chasing him relentlessly for another hour, in which he took a bite of all the apples in the bowl on my table, drove a match box car over the flat screen TV, broke off the ladders to all my husband’s fire truck, nearly choked after shoving an entire piece of garlic bread into his mouth and sat on the door of the dishwasher, I begged my daughter to watch him for five minutes while I sat down and took my pulse.
I slumped onto the couch next to my husband who was completely oblivious to the mayhem as long as it didn’t interrupt his TV show.
“Is he sleeping?” he asked me.
I stared at him in disbelief, but only for a second. Because just then, a crashing noise came from the kitchen followed by a wailing toddler. And I was off again…
After he left the next day, I wrote a poem:

Dear God,
Please ignore the curses,
That I slung at you,
Several years ago,
When I was quite blue.

I may have been mad,
At you at the time,
But now birth control,
Doesn’t cost a dime.

No rubbers or a pill,
No pulling it out,
The fact I can’t have more,
Makes me want to shout.

No heart palpitations,

Or little plus signs,

Will worry this girl,

If Aunt Flo’s not on time.

I love my little nephews,
And even my niece,
But the fact the go home,
Puts me at peace.

Since I am too old,
To chase little tykes,
Who stick gum in their hair,
And fall off of bikes.

I’m lucky for sure,
That I had my two,
Before I turned thirty,
And didn’t have a clue.

Thank you oh Lord,
For setting me straight,
And taking away,
My ability to procreate.

The Sneaker Freak

My son has an obsession. It’s not what I would consider a normal teenage boy obsession like comic books or collecting baseball cards or prank calling cute girls. He’s obsessed with sneakers and socks. Odd, yes?
The problem began back in the summer when he came home from hanging out at the mall with his friends. Of course being the involved parents we are, we grilled him when he got home. “Who did you talk to?” “Did you see anyone else you know?” “What stores did you go in?”, etc., etc. Usually we get the one word answers or grunts, but this time, he held a bag up proudly.
“I bought socks!”
Socks? My husband and I exchanged concerned glances. This is the boy who has an “emergency sock” collection at the foot of the steps, just in case he needs socks in an emergency. It’s more like he’s too lazy to bring the socks upstairs because he also has an “emergency sock” collection stuffed in the couch cushions.
So anyway, he was so excited to show us these socks that were “the comfiest socks ever”, oh and by the way, they were $16 a pair. Uh, what??? He did not even blink an eye when he said this so he obviously did not think that was a ridiculous thing to spend his allowance on when I would be quite willing to buy him packages of Hanes that include 8 pairs of socks for $5.
We laughed it off…and laughed at him, but if he wanted “special” socks, we were certain the novelty would wear off soon.
Nope…it got worse. A few weeks later, we asked him what he wanted for his birthday. Like Ralphie in The Christmas Story, he rattled off some make and model and color of some shoes. Thrilled that he was finally giving us an idea for his gift, we asked for specifics, like where we could buy them and how much they were…you know, important stuff. It was then that he informed us that these shoes cost $120. $120 for shoes???? I don’t pay $120 for sneakers and I’m a runner. We laughed for a few minutes (okay, several hours) and told him to find something else. He flopped around, sulking for quite a few days, muttering under his breath about how unfair we were, blah, blah, blah, blah..
Then, the damn kid one up’d us. Since nobody knew what to get him for his birthday, everyone gave him money. What did he use the money for? You guessed it…the stupid $120 shoes.
We sighed, defeated, but we assumed it was a one time thing. How wrong we were.
A few weeks later, he came to me, waving his iPod in my face. “Look at these! I want these!” He was making me dizzy. I had to rip the iPod out of his hand to see what it was. My face fell when I realized it was another pair of shoes.
“Where did you get this picture?” I asked.
“Oh, its an app,” he replied.
“An APP?????? For sneakers?” I inquired incredulously.
“Yeah. It tells you the shoe’s release date,” he explained.
I had to sit down. This was hurting my head. “Release date? Like movies and music and books and stuff?”
“Yeah,” he nodded enthusiastically. “These come out Nov 5th and if we don’t get there at 7 am, they sell out.”
Oh, sell out…yeah, okay kid. Sure. Shoes don’t SELL OUT.
“I have enough money saved to buy them,” he volunteered.
“And how much would these be?” I asked while taking a sip of coffee.
“$140,” he deadpanned.
I spit coffee clear across the room.
Needless to say, we did not go to the mall at 7 am. In fact, we didn’t even go that day. And you know what? The stupid %&$ shoes sold out just like he said they would. In fact, they had a raffle to be able to have the honor of purchasing these shoes. Because apparently, my son is not the only teenaged boy obsessed with shoes. After he got the shoes he wanted for Christmas, he went out THE VERY NEXT DAY and brought another pair with his Christmas money. And of course, matching socks for every pair. He would look totally put together if the rest of his attire matched his socks and shoes. The other day he came downstairs with red and blue sneakers, red and blue matching socks, black and yellow hoodie and gray and green shorts. I turned to his father and said, “Get a load of that…he thinks he matches.” To which my husband replied, “He doesn’t???”
In the last five months I have stooped to a new low. I admit, I have scoured the mall(s) looking for the sneakers he wanted for Christmas (only because he won’t give us any other ideas). I’ve watch him proudly post pictures to Instagram of his newest kicks. I have tagged behind him on his sneaker quest many a Saturday afternoon. (The sneaker quests usually end in tears because “I told you we needed to get here when the store opened!”)
But anyway, why have we given into this obsession? Why have we allowed him to blow his shoveling money, gift money, etc.? Because, like anything with parenting, there’s a lesson to be learned here. He’s going to want something soon…to go to the movies, buy a girl a gift, a video game…something. And he’s going to be broke. And bored. But damn, he’s going to have the awesomest collection of shoes. That won’t fit him in two months because he’s growing like a weed. But that’s okay because right now the shoes he’s buying…are my size 😉

My son crying because we won't let him get yet another pair of shoes...

My son crying because we won’t let him get yet another pair of shoes…