Gross Little Kids

The other day I took my 3 year old nephew to the water park. Now, it’s been nearly a decade since I’ve had a child of that age (okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration…7 years) and in that brief encounter at the water park, I was reminded of the extreme grossness of having little kids. Here are my top ten grossest moments of having little kids.
1. They wear Pull ups. A pull up is not really a regular diaper. It’s worse because it’s actually more of a “hey, don’t pee yourself! But if you do, I’m here for you, buddy! But DEFINITELY don’t poop yourself. That won’t be good because your mom/dad/grandma/aunt will have to figure out how to wriggle your dirty butt out of that underwear like diaper without getting it all over their hands and your legs.
2. They lick everything. Nothing is off limits; hands, feet, boogers, banisters electrical cords. I watched my nephew lick a blow up pool the other day. I wonder if it tastes salty. Maybe this is where Miley Cirus got her start.
3. We eat their scraps. By scraps, I’m referring to food. How many moms go around cleaning up the dishes after their toddler has long abandoned the table and spoon that last bit of Mac and cheese in their mouth? Admit it. Everyone did it. And it’s really gross if you think about it and refer to number 2. But at some point in time, this becomes off limits because there is no amount of money you could give me to eat the pizza crusts my teenager has left on his plate. God knows where HIS mouth has been.
4. We wipe their snot off with our hands and don’t even flinch. They wipe their snot on our shirts and we don’t even change until the next day. I can actually recall picking the dried and crusty boogers out of my sick kid’s nose on several occasion. As a school nurse I can tell you that there’s no way in hell I’m doing that for any other kid but my own.
5. The stains…oh God the stains. their shirts, their pants, their faces. Is that chocolate or blood?
6. They are fascinated with toilet bowls. They will stick anything in there to see if it flushes, floats, whatever. Nobody’s tooth brush is safe from a toddler.
7. They never, ever want to get clean. My son used to practically hover above the bathtub when I broke out the shampoo. It was easier to give the cat a bath than to wash the inch of hair that he had on top of his head. I admit, there were times that I just sniffed his head and determined that it didn’t smell toobad and that we could just skip the hair washing for the time being.
8. They touch EVERYTHING. The walls of a bathroom stall, the floor of the bathroom stall. And they put their hands down their pants All. The. Time. And in their mouths. And most of the time, in that order.
9. They want to come in the bathroom with you. I recall on more than one occasion I was on the toilet and one of the kids wandered in and sat on the floor with a book or crayons and carried on like it was the most normal thing in the world. Notice that most of this list is about bathroom habits?
10. They let you kiss them. Their cheeks, their arms, their chubby little bellies. And they don’t even wipe the kisses off or turn their heads. Which might just make them the sweetest, grossest kids :).

FaceTime Is Ruining My Life

Okay, maybe the title is a tad bit dramatic. I’m not totally adverse to technology. I admit, it can be a wonderful thing…the advances we’ve seen in just my lifetime are mind boggling. Who would have thought twenty years ago that would have a way to talk to people via social media on the other side of the earth…people we have never even met but call “friends”? Who would have ever thought I could have been sitting at my daughter’s basketball game writing a blog post on a tablet instead of watching while she stops to tie her shoe for the hundredth time during the game? Who could have imagined that you could send your husband to the store for bread and milk and send him a text while he was there to pick up chocolate and tampons? And seriously, when you were stretching the telephone cord from your parents’ kitchen all the way to the hallway so you could have a little peace and quiet while you giggled with your friends about the cutest boy in school, did you ever once imagine your own children would be talking face to face to their own friends on their cell phones or tablets…no phone cord needed?

I’m sure that you could argue that the benefits of technology are overwhelming. Texting is an awesome concept for quick messages when you don’t have time to talk to people. Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with relatives halfway across the country. Google is well…when was the last time YOU picked up a twenty pound encyclopedia or walked around with a song in your head and couldn’t remember who sang it? And then…there’s FaceTime. Yes, technology can be wonderful, but it can also be the bane of our very existences. FaceTime’s an insane concept for me to wrap my brain around. Ten-year-old me thinks that the idea that I could not only talk to, but SEE my friend miles and miles away while I did my homework, ate dinner and walked the dog, is inconceivable! Hell, I was excited when three-way calling and call waiting were invented. It was great being able to listen to not one, but two of your friends breathe while you watched TV, only putting down the phone to run to the bathroom during commercials. Now our kids can WATCH each other watch TV, pausing anytime they want.  And…it’s getting on my nerves. FaceTime might as well be named “We Have No Privacy Time”. Because that’s exactly what it is and I don’t even use the damn thing.

I just never know when FaceTime is running in my house. I could be screaming at my kids to pick up their socks off the couch in all sorts of colorful language and I glance over at the coffee table and my daughter’s friend is staring back at me, blinking with shock, her jaw on the floor, saying, “My mommy never uses words like that”. I’ve come out of the shower in a towel to find my daughter sitting in front of the bathroom door on FaceTime with my nephew…no warning…just his grinning face shoved in my face as he asks if my daughter can come play Legos. And my sister says she’s had my daughter’s face shoved under her nose while she’s half asleep asking if she can come play Legos. My husband has to have pants on at all times, and I can’t walk around braless anymore in my own house. Nor can I dance around the living room using the lamp as a makeshift stripper pole while “Pour Some Sugar on Me” blasts from my iPod anymore. I gotta tell ya…that really puts a damper in my Saturday morning cleaning routine.

The kids are constantly “with” each other…it’s like they don’t know how to be alone. And therefore, I never get to be alone. You hear voices all the time…you don’t know if they’re your kids or kids that are in your house that shouldn’t be or you need meds or they’re just on FaceTime. And kids are ALWAYS in your house via FaceTime. Not only do I have to listen to my daughter practice the trumpet (a noise that sends neighborhood cats ducking for cover), I have to listen to her best friend practice the recorder *cringe*. And that kid’s poor mother is treated to my daughter’s *ahem* singing. And incidentally, my singing, too because Face Time is always there…like a hidden camera show. Because heaven forbid they pick up a book or talk on the phone (do kids even do that anymore????) or go outside and play. What fun is that when you can watch your friend in their pajamas across town plant fake vegetables in their online game while their mom screams at them to clean their room in Spanish? Now THAT’S entertainment.


One Piece of Pie At a Time

Have you seen this article?

I’ll give you the gist of it…it basically says that we cannot do it all. As hard as we try, to have balance, we either have to sacrifice things or be content with the notion that we are doing a crappy job with SOME aspect of our lives. This is the battle that moms go through every single day of their lives. I’m not saying that fathers don’t fight to keep things in balance, I’m just saying they aren’t as affected by it as women seem to be. I think that’s because as mothers, we are constantly feeling the need to be superwoman. It’s in our blood to want to be everything for everybody, often sacrificing ourselves in the process. For me it’s not only about balancing family obligations (being a good mother AND wife), my “real” job, my writing, keeping the house from falling apart, not gaining 400 lbs by eating donuts and drinking coffee non stop to stay awake, and still having a life. It’s about being good, or at least semi-decent at it because otherwise I feel like a big fat failure at all of it. And no, I’m not trying to sound like a martyr (I can hear my husband singing “Wind Beneath My Wings” as I type this), but I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I think it’s ingrained in almost every single mom with a pulse.
The article says “Family, Fitness, Friends, Work, Sleep…pick 3”. While those categories are a little broad, it’s so true it’s almost scary. As much as we strive to have balance, we can’t devote what we need to to all these categories. I think there’s more like “Family, Housework, Fitness, Eating Healthy, Work, Sleep, Friends/Leisure…pick 4”, but that’s just my personal opinion. However many categories you think there are, the idea is still the same. Life is like a pie. You need to divide it as best as you can. You can cut it into 8 pieces for sure, but those pieces are going to be thin and likely to fall apart when you lift them out of the pie. And even if you manage to get the slice on your plate, it’s not going to be as filling as say if you had divided the pie into 4 or 5 pieces…you’re going to be missing the filling or the crust and you’re still going to be hungry.
The same thing holds true with balancing work and family and all that other stuff…while you may be able to pull it off, you’re not going to be doing anything to the best of your ability, leaving yourself feeling like a failure. The pie represents a day…there’s only 24 hours and only one of you. There’s only so much you can do. If you manage to work and cook and work out and do all the housework…you probably got 3 1/2 hours of sleep. I can write amazingly funny novels and help my kids with their homework, but I’ll have an ass the size of Canada.  Or I can chose to stay home and not work at all so I can clean the house and be an amazing wife, mother, and friend, but we’ll be dirt poor and live in a shoe box (at least it wouldn’t be hard to clean!). Likewise, if you are healthy and fit and spending lots of time with your friends, you probably are sacrificing your family time to do it. And I’m not saying that’s necessarily a BAD thing. Because honestly, that’s the only way we CAN do it all. One piece at a time. We cannot be there for everybody AND ourselves every single day.

Some days we need to call out of work to take care of our sick kids. Some days we need to leave the kids with a sitter and have a date night with our spouse. Some days we have to put in the extra hours to get the work done that pays our bills. And some days we need to blow it all off and go to the spa and take care of ourselves. Balancing isn’t necessarily about giving something up, it’s more about knowing WHEN you need to sacrifice one piece of your life for another. I think the hardest part about this is that we don’t want to neglect the other pieces of our life, but unfortunately, that’s the only way to keep it together.
I wish I had the answer….I wish I knew how to not lose my mind from feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of doing it all. But I’m starting to see how impossible that is, how unhappy that makes people, how unhappy that makes me. Instead of doing it all I’m going to focus on staying sane and trying to enjoy each piece of my life. After all, why eat the pie if you’re not going to enjoy it?