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.


A quick trip to DC (and also down memory lane...or something)

Wednesday, September 16

So it turns out that life as an attending is pretty amazing for many reasons, one of which is that your hours of work per week are closer to 40 than 80 (WHAT?!) and you occasionally get days off during the week which means that you can plan impromptu trips to DC just for the heck of it. 

TWILIGHT ZONE.

So, all that to say that Monday morning we packed our bags and got in the car and headed North. Two and a half hours later we arrived in DC (to a hotel in Dupont to be specific), and my heart was full and happy and I felt like I was home. You live somewhere for eight years and that sort of happens...it feels like home, right?  Except it turns out that if you live there eight years as a DINK (that's DUAL INCOME NO KIDS in case you don't know) and return with your one baby and one crazy toddler, you may be unfamiliar with which attractions are kid friendly and which Metro stops have good elevators, but HEY. Also, related: NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOU ANYMORE. 

The sad reality is that I returned to DC as a boring old mom. Yup. Our first day there, we checked into the hotel and then took Metro down to Chinatown. We walked to Matchbox for lunch, the first restaurant I ever visited in DC, and still my favorite. By sheer coincidence, they seated us as the exact table I sat at for my very first visit, and also the table I sat at for my third date with Jared. I asked our twenty-something waitress to take our picture. Clark was screaming because he wanted apple juice. Henry was crying because he wanted LEFT BOOB. Jared was annoyed that I wanted a picture and I was trying to pose in a way that made me look skinny. And the waitress? Looked annoyed. Trying to diffuse her annoyance by telling her the story about how it was special to return to our special table with our two babies only served to make her more annoyed and even though I didn't actually see it (because I was in high-level hostage negotiations with my toddler),  I'm positive she rolled her eyes at me. 


Then. We decided to walk down toward The White House, and past The Treasury. When we got to the gate that is between Treasury and the East Wing of The White House, I stopped and showed Jared. I reminisced about walking through the gate to get to work every day and about how much I loved that job. I told Jared, for the tenth time maybe?, the story about the time I walked into work and a family had their face pressed up against the gate looking in. About how when I showed my badge and the gate opened, the mom proclaimed. "Look kids! A real live worker! Let's watch where she goes!" I told Jared about how the memory always stuck with me because it was a reminder of how lucky I was to work there. And then, as my happy memories were swelling up inside me and threatening to spill over, I wheeled my stroller toward that gate and walked toward the entrance, calling a flippant, "Jared take my pic!" behind me. 

BUT. Then a Secret Service agent appeared and firmly instructed me to turn around and walk away. And I was genuinely confused and told him, "But you don't understand. I used to work here! Every day! I just want a picture to remember." And he totally didn't give a crap. He looked at me like I was a liar. Or crazy. Or both. NO SYMPATHY. And he told me again to step away. As in, "Ma'am, I've already warned you once." 

And then some 24 year old girl walked up in her heels and cute little figure and cheap suit (we were all there at 24, it's fine) and scanned her badge and breezed in. She didn't even notice me. And that's when I had the realization that I'm totally irrelevant. No one cares about me.  I'm a washed up mom that may as well be from Iowa and drive a minivan. But then Clark started yelling at me that he needed his WA-WA. And so I realized I'm still important, but it's totally different. And that was its own epiphany I suppose. Isn't Clark sweet to remind me in that moment?

Also I realized that cute flats no longer cut it in the city, particularly when pushing a giant double stroller. And so, not only am I a boring, irrelevant mom, but I also now own THESE: 


PRAY FOR ME. I feel I've passed for point of no return.  But my feet feel amazing. 

Related confession: I secretly daydream about owning a minivan.