An Unrecognizable Version of Myself

Friday, June 10

A few weeks ago, I decided, VERY UNWISELY, to take the boys shopping at Homegoods after church on Sunday.  I guess I was feeling the holy spirit from the service or something because it wasn't until hindsight that I realized that it's always a terrible idea to take the boys shopping.  Always.  In any case, we went shopping, and when it was time to check out, Clark tried to hand a giant truck to the cashier, as usual.  AND...as usual, I said that we weren't taking the truck home with us.  And AS USUAL, Clark flipped his lid and started screaming and whining and generally flailing his arms around in the air, so I decided to tell him that if he would stop crying that I would give him a piece of candy when we got to the car.  So he stopped and it was amazing!  Except, you guys, I did not have any candy.  So even though he stopped crying, I started panicking about how I was going to fulfill my promise.

The entire time I was paying and the entire walk to the car, Clark kept proudly saying, "Mommy give me candy when we get to the car!" and I kept cringing inside a little, because he just wasn't going to forget, and the truth is that, sorry Clark but MOMMY IS A LIAR.  And then he got into his carseat so nicely, and I buckled him in, and he looked at me earnestly and asked again for his candy that his mommy promised, and then I braced myself for a meltdown and was about to tell him that mommy forgot that she left the candy at home, when all of a sudden....I looked down at the floor of my car, and there in the corner, way up under the drivers seat and deeply matted into the carpet, I saw a half eaten green lollipop.  IT WAS A MIRACLE.  Like God himself put that lollipop there.  So I reached under the seat, pried it out of the carpet (not an easy feat, I may add), licked it a few times to remove the carpet fibers and mysterious other particles, and handed it to Clark.

AND HE WAS HAPPY.

And then.  Last week I made another unwise decision when I decided to take a shower in the middle of the day while the boys were still awake.  I don't know...I momentarily lost my sanity and thought that maybe, JUST THIS ONCE, I could sneak upstairs and take a four minute shower without them noticing.  I mean, forget shaving my legs or conditioning my hair.  I just wanted to wash my body so that I could get dressed in real clothes.  I went upstairs, got in, and....  Do you think the ability for kids to hear shower water running is like how dogs can hear high pitched whistles?  I think so.  Because all of a sudden,  both boys barge in and charge straight toward me.  Maybe this makes me a bad mom, but just this ONCE, I didn't want to share the shower with anyone.  And so, when Henry walked up to the door and tried to push it open, I admit that I used my foot to stop the door from opening.  And then he cried because he couldn't get in.  And then Clark walked up to the solid glass door, and started beating on it.  I mean, he had his face completely pressed toward the glass, eyeballing me while screaming and pounding his fists on the door. Both boys turned into maniacs. I'm not exaggerating when I say that they were behaving as though a serial killer was after them. Were they gnashing their teeth? I think YES. And I kept thinking that this must be what the people on The Walking Dead must feel like, if it were real.  My kids were like real life zombies trying to get to me, and it took all my strength to keep them at bay long enough to just wash my dang feet.  It also took about 45 minutes to calm them down after my shower was over.  (If I could insert an eye roll emoji here, I would.)

And then today.  I went to Stroller Warriors, which is a group I'm in that runs with our strollers then does some strength training when we are done.  And I had my double BOB, and when it came time to put my boys into it, I straight up handed them each an electronic divide to occupy them (Kindle for Henry, iPad for Clark), and a bag of chips (Cheetos for Henry, Lays for Clark).  The me before kids would have never done either of these things.  But the me before kids didn't have a mom belly that desperately needs some exercise...OR the understanding that sometimes one will do whatever it takes to get your kids to just relax in the stroller for twenty minutes.  FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

Sometimes I try to look at my day-to-day life through the eyes of the me before kids.  I wonder what I would think of the things that I do and how I mother.  The truth is that I would be shocked.  I wouldn't recognize the person that I've become.  Cheetos for a toddler?  No.  Watching your baby cry while you lock them out of the shower?  SO SAD.  But the truth is that I am also so much happier than I ever could have imagined.  If I could go back in time and also somehow glimpse the emotions that I feel every day--the overwhelming feeling of love and thankfulness that I have for my boys--I would not have comprehended it.  There is no way to put into words or even understand how you will feel until you're there.

And so, to the person I was in my twenties, I am most certainly now an unrecognizable version of myself.  But the person I was in my twenties is sort of unrecognizable to me at this point, too.  So I guess we are even.

Gingerbread Train

Wednesday, December 23



It will be fun
, they said.  Your toddler will love it, they said.  Your family will make magical memories, they said.

THEY LIED, and by they I mean the inter webs.  You know what I hate about Pinterest?  When I get on there, there's all kinds of pictures of activities for toddlers that make me feel bad about myself.  Like...LOOK! 

This mom made homemade pinecone bird feeders after breakfast this morning! 

This mom just got an old box and turned it into an elaborate Thomas train using scraps of leftover Christmas wrapping paper and finger paints!  

And THIS MOM just made a giant felt Christmas tree complete with elaborate felt ornaments for her kids to play with (but she had to squeeze the activity in after making homemade baby wipes and homemade goldfish crackers so it's not perfect!  WOMP WOMP.)  

Meanwhile I'm over here like, hello, I can't even get my toddler to eat anything for breakfast besides hershey kisses, someone in this house smells like poop and I haven't yet identified the culprit, and OH, also I'd rather stab my eyeball out with a spoon than create a giant crafting mess immediately after cleaning up the breakfast mess (finally...at 11AM).  So we aren't crafters.  We are more GO-ERS.  I like to take the boys to the park or to playdates or the Y. We like to get out of the house.  Not stay in it.

In any case, Christmas is approaching so I figured I should probably attempt some sort of craft, and according to everyone on the internet and also the pictures on the front of the box of the Gingerbread Train, this would be an easy activity.  I mean, how hard can it be?  The gingerbread is pre-cut, and all you have to do is glue it together and then decorate it with the decorations that are included. Also, the box says AGES 3 AND UP, which leads me to believe that a 33 year old woman can handle it.

FIRST OF ALL.  I opened the box and immediately realized my mistake in thinking this would be easy.  There are bout eight million various pieces of gingerbread (okay maybe 12), all slightly different sizes of the same basic shape: SQUARE.  How do you know which piece goes where?  Well there are no directions so you rely on either the completely unhelpful pictures provided, or your ENGINEERING DEGREE.  Oh, you majored in English?  That sucks.  Should have thought of that before you started.  

After putting together the caboose, then taking it apart twice because we accidentally used the engine parts, we finally got the caboose and engine put together. Please note that this process took 45 minutes.  About five minutes into it, while Clark was attempting to "help", we turned on Thomas and Friends and relegated him to the couch so that we could concentrate.  Then it was time to decorate.  Jared started using the giant bag of icing glue, but he apparently didn't know his  own strength, squeezed too hard, and made a giant hole in the side.  So now we had to decorate the whole thing by sticking our fingers in the icing and smearing it all over.  Henry was fussing so Jared smeared icing on the kitchen table in front of him, where he spent the next 30 minutes happily licking the table and smiling. 

We then start to look for the decorations only to realize that Clark had emptied them all into a bowl and was eating them on the couch.  I irrationally told
him  "NO NO NO!" and confiscated the fun bowl of bright candy, which caused my toddler to cry. Because,  this is obviously no longer about our children having fun. (AHEM.) Jared and I then proceeded to decorate the train.  By ourselves.  Clark came over and continued to pluck the gum drops off of the train one by one, ensuring we didn't over-do the decor or anything. It eventually got done and looked like it just chugged through a spring tornado, but hey.

Then it was done. And Jared smiled really big and proclaimed, "That was such a fun family activity for the boys.  I think they loved it! Let's do this every year."    And then I poured myself a glass of wine.  THE END.


Henry is One

Wednesday, December 16




THIS baby.  

It's what we say all the time about Henry.  He's just...beyond any other words I suppose.  He's the sweetest little love nugget and is constantly surprising us by being sweeter and happier every single day.

His birthday was on the first of December.  We woke up as usual, and I sang him Happy Birthday  very first thing (like my mom always did and still does thirty-something years later), and we headed downstairs for breakfast.  In the middle of washing dishes awhile later, I suddenly heard the sound of Henry vomiting in the other room.  Seriously vomiting.  I dropped what I was doing and ran into the living room to find him STILL vomiting, EVERYWHERE.  Like, more vomit than seems possible for a one year old baby.  Then I see laying next to him on the floor one of those stupid oil containers for the Bath and Body Works Wallflowers.  You know...the oil part that you put into the bottom?  I don't know how, but he somehow got it open and drank some of the liquid.  I picked him up and he continued to vomit up bile and then moved on to dry heaving without skipping a beat.

And now listen.  In the very best of circumstances, I'm a complete SPAZ ATTACK when the kids are sick.  I don't do well with illness and I go from zero to PANIC in about five seconds.  Like...when I found a random peanut M&M in Henry's mouth two weeks ago, after I fished it out, it took all my self control to not call 911 because I was so worried about the possibility of anaphylactic shock.  (He had  Benadryl and was fine.)  So when Henry had obviously ingested fragrance oil and couldn't stop puking I almost had a heart attack right then and there.

I immediately called Jared, who told me to call Poison Control.  DUH.  I called them, and HEY HEY!  Once again they answered the phone by saying, "Hello Mrs. Wilson."  They then verified my address and phone number, which they already had IN MY FILE.  Because as it turns out, if you have two boys that  eat all kinds of crap they aren't supposed to and you call Poison Control, they start a file on you that NEVER DISAPPEARS, which will make you feel like Terry, the Poison Control operator in Pittsburgh, may have doubts about your parenting abilities. That's the bad news.

The good news is that the Wallflower oil isn't poisonous, but tastes so terrible that it causes people to vomit up ALL THE CONTENTS OF THEIR STOMACH should they ingest it.  Also, according to Terry, kids eat these things all the time.  WHY YES, it does make me feel better to know that other mothers have ALSO never considered the potential danger of autumnal fragrance oil in their entryway outlet.  I'm not the only moron.  HIP HIP HOORAY.

The OTHER good news is that Henry stopped puking pretty quickly and perked up.  Also, his breath smelled like Autumn Leaves for the rest of the day, which, I'm not going to lie, was pretty amazing.  When I picked him up from childcare at my gym later that day, the worker even said, "I don't know what it is, but he smells so good today!"  I'm like, OH YEAH, thats just the smell of parental negligence.  Glad you like it.

We had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner (Henry's favorite!), and then had a small birthday cake for him after that.  Judging by the mess, he loved dinner.  However, he stuck his finger directly into the candle flame while we were singing, which actually left a tiny burn mark on his finger and caused my eternally happy baby to cry uncontrollably, so that sucked for him.  Then he got his gift, a talking Elmo doll which he absolutely loved, and even though Clark tried to convince us it was "MY ELMO", we penned Clark in another part of the house so Henry got uninterrupted play time with his  own gift for about ten minutes.

I can't believe my baby is one.  Does everyone say that?  Probably.  But I really feel like I just brought him home.  And now he's one.  He crawls up the stairs at lighting speed.  He says CHEESE when we take his picture.  He cries for ma ma ma ma ma ma anytime he's not firmly planted on my left hip, which I secretly love.  He tries to feed his food to everyone who will dare to make eye contact, including a scary motorcycle biker at a pub we went to last week.  (The nice man pretended to eat it.) He smiles constantly, bats his unfairly long lashes at EVERYONE, but saves his most adoring gazes for his brother, to whom he's utterly devoted.

We love you so much, Henrykins.