That Time I Talked To Anderson Cooper (Or Not Really)

Both of my kids are sick and my husband is chugging DayQuil like it’s water, because The Dave mostly just drinks water and Snapple. His body is a temple, y’all. Baby J is getting his first tooth and all I can do is beg the gods of teeth and boobs for sweet mercy. Also, this past week has left me a little bruised and worse for wear. So, I’m going to do a link dump. Yes, I know. I hate those too. I really do. Every time I see them, I’m all…yuck_imdone_medium

 

 

Because they aren’t real posts. So, feel free not to “Like” it or talk internet smack about me. I deserve it. But the internet is all about sharing and I do want to share. I do. Also, I will start off with a little story about me and everyone’s favorite handsome news anchor, Anderson Cooper.

AndersonCooper

On Tuesday, I got an email inviting me to view a Google chat with Anderson Cooper and CNN’s Kelly Wallace, wherein they would be discussing the morality of babies and the research done by the Yale Infant Cognition Center. I’ve been rabidly following the work of Paul Bloom and Karen Wynn. Also, like any American, real American, I love me some Anderson Cooper. So, I responded by saying, “Sure, I will tune in. Thanks for the invite!”

That’s when I got the response that basically translated to, “Um. No, idiot. We want you to join us.” So, I was all, “Okay. But you are the idiot! I bring nothing to the table.”

In sum, I got to do a Google hangout with Anderson Cooper. Fun fact: He never spoke to me. We had some technical glitches and then Anderson (as I call him now) had to leave. So, he was on the actual hangout for two minutes. Most of the time he just read important documents (probably about where to find the National Treasure), while the rest of us made idle chit chat. And as we all awkwardly sat around waiting for Google to fix the problem, Paul Bloom asked Anderson Cooper (right, I can’t keep up the charade) if he had done one of these “hangout things” before. Without even blinking, Anderson Cooper responded, “Yes, with the Dali Lama.”

Snap.

I now imagine, in a month or two when Michelle Obama asks him if he’s done one of these “hangout things” before, he will respond, “Yes, with Lyz Lenz.”

Because I’m delusional.

Here is the link to the CNN piece about babies and morality. And here is the link to the Google hangout,  I make some awkward jokes about psycho killer babies, so that’s worth something.

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Also, fun fact, I’ve been writing columns for my local newspaper. They are fun. Old media is super cute. I feel all vintagey. Like I need to bang out a screed on a typewriter. I am a lone reed.

So, maybe you should read them, if you find yourself locked in a jail with nothing to entertain you except the ghosts of your past, your crushing guilt and a computer where all the smutty sites are blocked.

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I am very proud of this piece about magic and childhood and how much beauty I find under the table. Brain, Child magazine was kind enough to publish this.

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I recently reread “Mise-en-Scene for a Parricide” by Angela Carter (it’s a story about Lizzie Borden). And I loved it all over again. The description of the weather was so oppressive and perfect. Also, the story is so lush, like all of her stories and twisted in a way that makes you feel like you are viewing the world through damaged glass.

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My friend and former roommate, Alison, sent me this essay about photographing the little things and I believe all of this about writing.

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Mallory Ortberg is my favorite. Also, she just gave me some nightmares: “Official reports have recently confirmed what you have long suspected: that the dim and as-yet-formless shape hovering at the foot of your bed or perhaps just outside your closed (but locked? Did you lock it? Is it locked, or is it unlocked?) window is very real and the only thing keeping it from moving any closer is your constant, wakeful vigilance. ” Curse you, Ortberg.

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This: A rapper named Lizzo from Minnesota. So, of course, I’m already inclined to like her. But this video and this song? Amazing.

Leave me your links. I’ll read them and then provide a thoughtful* comment.

*Poop jokes are considered thoughtful.

This is Love

It is Valentine’s day and I’m in a hotel surrounded by diapers, juice, Tylenol and clothes. Ellis is sick and I’m trying to make her nap. Jude is in the adjoining room playing with Dave. They are both laughing a stuffed puppy. The Olympics are on. We are all tired. We’ve been snapping at each other. But all I can think about is how much I love them.

We are in Omaha to visit the girl who was my maid of honor, and I was hers, we’ve been friends since sixth grade. She’s always been the Anne to my Diana. She’s always the one who had the guts to do what we both thought about. When I just talked about it, she dyed her hair black. While I just dreamed, she got dread locks. In high school, she pierced her own belly button. I still am too chicken to get any other piercings besides my ears.

I’m here because she lost her son this week. He was only 11 months old and he didn’t wake up from his nap. Just like that. So, simple and yet so confounding. I never met her son. But in the past few days I’ve been learning about him. How he was a snuggler. How he was almost walking, not yet, but close. How his sisters loved to pat his head so much they rubbed off his baby hair. He loved cheerios and a was a first-rate food spitter. They were going to go to Disney World in two weeks to celebrate his first birthday. The snacks for the trip have been sitting on counter. Everyone who flows through the house has been eating these snacks–whittling away at the supply, a bag of chips, some crackers, a candy bar, skittles.

I can’t be here forever, even though I want to be. But this isn’t about me. I can escape and she can’t. I can sit in this hotel room and get surrounded by other cares–are there crackers? Is Ellis well enough to swim? Should I curl my hair? Who thinks about curling their hair?

I’ve been cleaning her house. Making people eat.I can’t fix things so I make a sandwich. I can’t make everything better, so I clean the floors. It’s a cruel symmetry. When you have a baby people come to hold the baby, clean your home and make you food. This is what we are all doing now, but our arms are empty and we are all one hug away from a sob.

My friend was telling me the story. Of getting the call at work. Of going to the hospital. Of seeing her child surrounded by doctors and nurses. She said that she went to him and said, “This is a child who is loved. This is a boy who is so loved.”

I don’t know what I am doing here, really. I don’t know what to say. No one really does. All we do is walk around and talk of movies, where are the paper towels, has everyone eaten, is everyone drinking water, he looked so cute in that hat, and I love you, I love you, I love you. Over and over and over.

It’s Valentine’s day and all we have here is just love–love to pour into that big empty place.

If you’d like to help. My friend’s church is collecting donations for the service. Here is a link to an email her church sent out. At the bottom of the email is more information about where to send donations.  

7 Easy Meals That Your Whole Family Will Love

When Ellis was little, I decided she would eat what we eat for dinner. If she didn’t like it, well too bad. And then I would serve her the leftovers for lunch. I still do this. Although, now with two kids, dinner is more like, casserole, instead of avocado chicken and watermelon and feta salad. Or, here is your quesadilla  while daddy and I scrape leftovers out of this moldy tupperware. But at least in her babyhood, I did everything right. I made her baby food. I did all that baby-led weaning. I didn’t feed her processed Gerber cereal.  Now, she’s almost three and regardless of what I put in front of her she wails, “BUT DAT TOO YUCKY!”  And I’m like, “It’s macaroni and cheese!” Then she yells, “But it too cheesy for me!”

And then, I disown her because there is no such thing as too much cheese. Ever. I mean, we are Midwesterners. Cheese is a moral value here. Also, I realize that even by talking with my child I fell victim to a classic blunder, the most well-known is this: never get involved in a land-war in Asia. But only slightly less well-known is this: don’t argue with a two-almost-three-year-old.

So, here are some dinner ideas for you. You can thank me later.

Toast

1. Toast

Why bother with real food, when you can just smear nutella on bread and say, “Fill up your ham holes!” Bonus points for toasting the bread or actually serving a side of fruit. Oh wait? You actually do that? Do you think you are better than me? LEAVE THIS SITE IMMEDIATELY!

2.  Popcorn

Trust me, it’s all they really want anyway.

3.  Soup

You know that soup that you make by throwing chicken in the crockpot along with corn and some taco seasoning and then everyone is supposed to love it? Well, make that and force your kids to eat it. Then, while they are eating it and demanding chips and a napkin, you can sneak Hershey’s Kisses in the kitchen.

4.  Shrimp Fettuccine with Spinach

AHAHAHAHAHAAA! Like anyone besides you is going to enjoy this. Plus, by the time you get to sit down to eat it, it will be cold and the small circles of shrimp will remind you of your shriveled dreams.

5. Cheese sticks

Because no one ever said, “Hell no, I don’t like a cheese stick!”

6.  Frozen pizza

Bake. Serve. Enjoy the chorus of, “Mmm, mom! Thanks so much for dinner.” Then die on the inside because when you made homemade blueberry muffins earlier that day, your two-year-old cried and said, “But I want chocolate rainbow muffins.” You can never win. Do you know that? You cannot win.

7. Go Out to Eat

Seriously. Just don’t try. Go out to eat. Then, let your kid order whatever they want. Proceed to feel stabby when your kid then orders macaroni and cheese and cries because they brought her macaroni and cheese. But hey, at least you don’t have to do dishes. So, there is that.

What Moms Do When They Are Alone

Disclaimer: Yes, this post is sponsored. And sure, I’m getting paid for it. But I honestly love my Cartwheel app and my dates to Target alone.

What moms do when they are alone in no particular order: 1. Sleep. 2. Clean up your crap. 3. Cry. 4. Eat all the candy. 5. Go to Target and stay there for a long time under the guise of running errands.

Target Photo

Breastfeeding sometimes makes me feel like I’m tethered to the wall. Want to have lunch? Sure let me ask my captors, the boobs.  Boobs, can I go out? What? Sure, you can leak every time we hear a baby cry as long as I can have two minutes without someone mauling me. Deal.

When I do get the chance to escape – when hungry babies have been satiated and the toddler is under adult supervision and I tear out of the house, shoving my coat on as I yell, “See you suckers!” and slam the door – when that happens, do I run to go frolic in a meadow? Get a massage? Do I grab some drinks with the ladies? Hell no. That would require pants and all I have are leggings and a sweater and shoes that might match.  I go to Target. Why? Coffee. Also, deals. Also, there is something so soothing about being able to browse aisles of attractive and affordable throw pillows that gives me an inner peace. Maybe the zombies will come. Maybe my kids will kick me in the shins when I get home, but I’ve got some coffee and a coupon for bras. Bring it on, Universe.

Basically, what I’m saying is I’m just one minivan and two soccer players away from suburban momdom. But, I’m okay with this. I’ve made peace with this aspect of my life one relaxing latte and Market Pantry box of brownie mix at a time. I remember my mom would go grocery shopping and be gone for hours. What took her so long? Why did a run for milk take two hours? Was she actually visiting her secret second family? What else could she possibly want to do away from us for so long? Now I am a mom. Now I understand. Now the chance to grocery shop alone feels like going to the beach after days of trench warfare. I’m covered in spit up, blood, and I smell faintly of fecal matter, but who cares? I’ve got coffee and coupons and no kids.

Yesterday, I went grocery shopping alone and while I was out at Target, I stood in line scanning my items with my phone in case the Cartwheel app had a deal and they almost always do. Even nursing bras, which almost never go on sale. And let me tell you about the time I was able to use a coupon for K-cups, plus they were on special, plus Cartwheel had 10% off. It was like the holy grail of momness. (Sidebar: Cartwheel  has more that 700 coupons to use on in-store purchases, and can be used on your desktop, tablet, mobile web or iPhone or Droid apps. You start with 10 spots to fill on your Cartwheel list, but you can get more spots by earning badges, which are awarded by reaching savings milestones–$10, $25, $50, I’m working on the $100–and interacting with Cartwheel (such as adding an offer from one of the app’s item collection to your list). I’m now addicted to getting badges because that’s how fun my life is.)

So, while I was scanning my app, a lady came up behind me with three items in her cart. “You can go ahead of me,” I said.

“Oh no,” she said. “I’m fine.”

“No, really. I’m out without my kids. I’ve got nothing but time.”

She laughed, “I have two-year-old twins at home. I’m staying here. Behind you. Because I’m on a date with myself.” She won.

 

What do you do when you somehow manage to leave the house alone? Leave a comment below and you will be entered in a drawing for a $1,000 Target GiftCard®. See the rules below.

 

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The Reasons My Child Can’t Sleep

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1. She needs her wands.

2. She has too many wands and wants to put them away.

3. She has on underwear.

4. She feels too “rusty.”

5. She feels too “wakey.”

6. The cup on her shelf is not “scoocheded in.”

7. “Mommy was dweaming about princesses, but I want to dweam about princesses!”

8. Baby Jude is sleeping “too much.”

9. Her room isn’t pink enough.

10. She needs a fancy dress to get her “sleeps out.”

11. She got her “sleeps out lasterday.”

12. Daddy yelled at the monsters who are just nice guys and daddy needs to be nice.

13. Her “‘testines are making poo poo.”

14. She already sleeped.

15. She had too many stories and now she feels storied.

16. There are wolves.

The Reasons I Can’t Sleep

1. My toddler won’t stop talking.

 

Flotsam

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Every night, I clean up the house. I start in the kitchen and pick bangles off the counter and fish a wand out of the sink. I use the broom and brush up a few extra cookie crumbs and bits of dried noodle that spilled out of the bowl of pasta I let Ellis play with while I cook. Then, into the dining room. Under the table are dried grapes that I missed from the night before, a Princess Anna doll and an Aladdin with a missing head. In the living room, I step on Sophie the Giraffe and I curse and hop over and step on a butterfly teething toy that vibrates and then I feel weird, because the vibration on my toes feels kind of nice. The living room has rings in the sofa, head bands under the couch, some days, in a rage of cleanliness, I take bikes and boxes (“ships” as we call them) and move them to the basement. They always meander on back up. In an old jewelry box is a bunch of chalk (“Wook, diamonds!”) and in a piggy bank are small cardboard books. In the box that holds the cardboard books are plastic coins for the piggy bank. I pick up each piece of wreckage from our day and return it to the box, the basket or the shelf where it belongs. Some nights, I venture into the playroom, but more often, I reach inside and turn out the lights without even bothering to look at the floor.

I am not a clean person. I live in a perpetual state of rubble. I have a habit of leaving mugs by the computer and CDs out of their cases. The clothes in my drawer aren’t often folded and there is a pile of hair bands behind the headboard. But having children has made me understand the need to pick up.

I try not to clean during the day. I have only so many hours. When the kids are quiet, I rush to the computer and write as fast as I can until I hear the first babbles of need and cries of “I need to poop a wittle!” Some days that time is only 15 minutes. Other days, it’s as long as two hours. But the clutter needs to be contained before it overwhelms me. So, I try to take 10 minutes before bed and clean up the mess.

Some days, I clean angrily. I’m upset that this is my job. Upset that I’m the picker upper of shit. Dave helps when reminded, but he need reminding. On the angry nights, I huff and puff and toss and grumble. I hate this part of parenting. The janitorial service. I have Ellis clean up her messes, but sometimes it’s not enough. Mickey is in the food basket and there is a ruby red slipper in the blocks.

Other nights, I like the ritual. I like to pick through the pieces of flotsam and jetsam and remember how the baby chewed the crown and made the 2 year old cry. I pick up some food of the carpet and remember how she tried to feed him milky Cheerios from her breakfast. Do NOT feed the baby! Keep your milk at the table! I find a cup stuffed with aluminum foil and remember that she made me coffee with it and I had to pretend to drink it. Then, when I told her it was delicious she scoffed, “But it’s just pretend coffee!” At the time I felt like I couldn’t win, but the act of picking up–foil in the trash, cup in the kitchen basket–makes me feel like maybe I really did win after all.

Some days the clutter consumes me. I cant sit until order has been restored and that plate full of rubber bands (“It noodles, mom!”) has been cleaned and the rubber bands returned to their proper resting place. Other days the clutter comforts me. It reminds me that we were here. These little moments happened.

I had a writing instructor who once told me that “Detail is devastating.”  So, I think about that every night as I get ready for bed. There is a piece of cracker in my bra, although no one has eaten a cracker all day. A sock on the floor. A Tinkerbell band-aid on the wall. All of these things make me want to laugh and curse, because I’m the one peeling a band-aid off the wall at 10:30 and because the person who put it there told me the wall got “a hurt” because she ” ‘frew a ball at it.”

In the Bible the Israelite on their journey out of Egypt set up monuments at places that had significance. Where the golden calf was sacrificed. Where the water flowed from the rocks. I sometimes think the mess in my house, each misplaced toy and lost object, is a monument to insignificance. The small little pockets of time that are the building blocks of my day. It’s all so small, so messy, so beautiful and overwhelming.

Bladder Wars

Taking my kid to the bathroom has been the biggest exercise in humility and grossness since pushing a baby out of my vagina and pooping on the delivery table.

We started potty training this time last year. Ellis was interested in the toilet, so we let her sit on it. We read some books. Watched some shows. Look, Daniel Tiger pees on the potty. Then, right after she turned two, we pulled the plug and did a weekend from hell. I locked myself in the house with Ellis. No diapers. Just her, me and a princess potty. It worked, for the most part. I didn’t have the guts to continue onto the third day. Because after a being locked inside for two days with your toddler and pools of urine something is going to give. And I learned my kid is stronger than me.

But for the most part, we were okay. She had an accident every couple of days. And getting her to poop took  a little extra effort, nothing some lollipops couldn’t fix. We were fine. Then, the baby was born.

There is no way that small sentence can accurately convey the enormous upheaval our house went through. I might as well type .”Then, someone dropped a dirty bomb in our kitchen.” Or, “Then, Jesus came down to earth and kicked me in the groin.”

Ellis took to that change by constantly crapping in her underwear. It’s been six months and we are finally working our way out of that stage. She still has accidents, but they are less intentional and more because she didn’t get to the bathroom on time. And she likes to take herself to the bathroom. That happened overnight. One day she was whining for me to take her up the stairs. Then, the next day I heard her in the bathroom and found her washing up. Poop in the potty and a little scribble on her potty chart. Done and done.

So, for a few weeks, I’ve been reveling in the peace.  We are out of this. This stage is over. Onward. To boys and college and whether that bikini is appropriate or not. Except. Wrong.

Some kids use their hands as weapons. Other kids prefer screaming or throwing their food. My daughter? She uses her bladder.

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Today, she started refusing to pee. I don’t know why. She’s been a little out of sorts. Nothing abnormal. I used to think she was sick when she was cranky, now I know she’s just being a jerk. So, just general kid stuff. And I’ve been handling it like someone who is sleep-deprived and requires three cups of coffee in order to put on pants–really well. But today, it all came to a tipping point, when I put her on the toilet, she just sat there. And sat there.

“Pee,” I said.

“Okay, okay, calm down!” She said holding her hands up.

Another minute went by.

“Pee.”

“I will mom. Just wait for it…Wait for it.”

I waited. Nothing. I was sick of sitting on the bathtub. My back hurt and the baby was whining from laying on the mat for the past ten minutes. So, I picked up the baby and left. I came back five minutes later and she was singing a song about a rainbow.

“Are you done?” I asked.

“No, I just singing about wainbows and ponies.”

“Please pee.”

She twirled her hair in her finger. “I will if you just wait for it.”

Nothing. This lasted twenty minutes. Twenty minutes every time I put her on the toilet. And there was a four-hour stretch of time when she patently refused to do anything. And I started to think that maybe this was just me. Maybe it was all in my head. Maybe this is what kids do. Maybe there was no liquid left in her.

But tonight, As Dave took her upstairs to start the bedtime routine, he put her on the potty and she peed. It took 20 seconds.

I’m losing.

Not funny

3% Done

When our children reach a milestone, Dave likes to tell me what percent done we are with raising them. Yesterday, Jude hit his six month birthday. As we sat on the couch, watching people die brutal deaths on “Criminal Minds” and reflected on the past six months, Dave smiled and said, “We are three percent done raising him.”

I responded how I usually do, by physically assaulting him. Dave likes to use math to ruin my fun. On a nice summer evening as we relax in our Adirondack chairs, he’ll turn to me and say, “Summer is 80% over.”  And he does it with the kids, because it kills me. More than bloody violent TV shows or apocalyptic soothsaying about the GMOs in my food, telling me that I might be done raising my kids cuts me to the raw center.

He’s wrong. I know he is. You are never done being a parent. Even when you want to be. Even when your children do leave. You never finish. (Also, he’s the man who says our kids will never leave the state for college because they will miss him. So, I know he’s messing with me.)

But Jude is 6 months old and we are three percent done.

JQ 6 months

These past six months have been some of the hardest in my life. Not because of my children, but because of me. I’ve seen myself do things I never wanted to do–placate my children with sugar and television. Yell. And yell some more. And all of you “I don’t yell” people, if you have a better way of getting your two-year-old to stop feeding the baby peanuts right this second, I’d love to know. Because when umbrellas and wands are flying, I don’t have time to say, “Hey sweetie, could you not do that around the baby?” before someone dies.

Every time my voice gets sharp these days, Ellis likes to wag her finger and say, “Dat’s not how we make fwends, mom. We have ta talk in a nice boice.” Then, I say, “I’m not your friend, I’m your mom. And if you shoot the baby with your cannon one more time, no princess dresses for the rest of the day.”

70% of my life right now is threatening people. The other 30% is spent wiping shit.

It’s a hard reality and not because I don’t like it or love my children, but because all of this reduces me to my raw center. I’m tired. I can’t remember my kid’s birthdays. I have oatmeal cemented on my sweater. And when I hear Jude merrily babbling in his crib in the morning, I feel guilty that I’m not just as happy to wake up as he is. He is such a happy baby. Born in July with a little piece of sunshine in his heart. He is so easy going (unless you try to give him a bottle, then, watch the hell out). He loves to sit and watch his sister dance and twirl. He loves to wiggle on the floor and stretch and stretch for that shiny crown. And when he finally grabs it and shoves it in his mouth, Ellis cries, “No! Crowns don’t go in moufs! Dat too ‘pecial for spit” Then, he laughs.

I love this kid.

I fear this kid.

lyz jq

When we sit on the couch, he loves to dive for Ellis’ hair. He grabs a golden fistful and yanks. She yells. He laughs. I have to explain to him, “Buddy, we don’t pull hair.” He laughs again. He’s probably a sociopath.

He also likes to screw with me. His night sleep still isn’t consistent. Some nights he sleeps 11 hours straight. Sometimes he wakes up at midnight and then three. When he wakes up, we give him the pacifier and let him find his way back to sleep. The sleep books say this should train them in a week. We’ve been doing this for a month. Jude doesn’t let you train him. He trains you.

If this had happened with Ellis, I would be freaking out. I’d be consulting friends and family. Desperately Googling, “Why won’t my baby just learn things?” But what I am learning is this: It won’t last forever. None of this does. These daunting mountains of this week are soon forgotten by the valleys of the next. When Jude is refusing to potty train, I’m sure I will only vaguely recall that he didn’t like to take a bottle or patently refused to roll from back to belly (what can I say? I make lazy babies).

It’s a trite lesson. Akin to the advice that makes me cringe: “Oh just snuggle them.” As if snuggling them magically gets you rest or unlodges the pieces of toast from between your toes. But I think what it means is this: Today won’t decide the rest of your child’s life. I think a lot about all the anxiety I had about Ellis’ naps at this age. Would she ever learn? What should I do? I bought black out curtains and sound machines. I tried Ferber and crying. Every time she slept on me, I thought, “This is it. I’m ruining her.” And maybe I did. She’s still a terrible napper. But stillness comes in small moments. I wish I would have rested in them more.

This is the blessing of the second child. You don’t get all the developmentally appropriate books. Your parents don’t spend hours teaching you what the Emu says. But you get more patience. More eye rolls and smiles. More let-it-go, let-street-justice find it’s way. More donuts for breakfast.

Speaking of which, it’s worth noting that Jude’s second bite of food was pie. He loved it. Second babies win.

We Don’t Hammer Our Sisters

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This is what happened when I ignored my kids and tried to make a doctor’s appointment. Crying baby not pictured.

Besides the sleep, eating a whole meal by myself, and not smelling like puke, the thing from my pre-baby days that I miss the most is adult conversation. It’s gotten worse since I quit working. Because even though I worked from home, I was still able to sustain a 15-minute phone conversation without having to stop and tell someone to stop picking their nose. Now? I’m lucky if I can get out an entire sentence before I have to interject with don’t lick the baby!

I have seven siblings and I used to get so irritated when I’d call home from college and phone conversations with my mom would go something like…

“Mom, I’m on the honor roll and…”

“Oh, honey that’s great. Caleb, put down the matches! No. NO! Not on your sister.

“Mom, I was asked to write for the…”

I will seriously ground you if you don’t stop kicking! Enough. Boogers are not funny. Honey, your father and I are very proud of you. When is your next break? Can you send me your schedule?”

“I sent it yester…”

Those are not for eating!” Click. Dial tone.

Now, I understand. Ostensibly, I go to play dates in order to talk to another adult while my child plays with another child. But that never happens. Last Friday,  Ellis went to play at a friend’s house and when I came to pick her up, I tried to chat with some of the other moms. One mom sat on the floor and during our brief five-minute conversation, she had a whistle shoved in her mouth, a raspberry blown in her face, her hair pulled and her shirt lifted up.

Our conversation went something like this:

Me: “How are you doing? Ellis, stop picking your nose!”

Her: “Great, we have…mrfghlghs...No, don’t put that in my mouth!”

Me: “Don’t lick your friend! We don’t lick our friends! Did you have a nice Christmas?”

Her: “We did, we stayed here and Santa…Uh uh! Don’t hammer your sister.

Me: “Sit on that chair until you can stop taking toys from the baby. Now. NOW! We traveled and…Don’t stand on the chair. SIT!”

Her: Why do we bother? PUT MY SHIRT DOWN!”

And Dave doesn’t really understand this lack of conversation. He will come home and I’ll be all, “I haven’t spoken to a human in days!” And he just shakes his head and says, “Didn’t you go on a play date today?” Then, I hurt him.

But once Dave comes home, dinner is consumed and the kids are in bed and the house is quiet, having a conversation is the last thing I want to do. Dave will sit next to me on the couch and say, “How was your day?”

And I respond by lovingly telling him, “DO NO COME ANY CLOSER! DON’T TOUCH ME! DON’T TALK TO ME! JUST DROP THAT REMOTE CONTROL AND SIT IN THE CORNER!”

People wonder why there are so many “mom bloggers” on the internet? Here is your answer. Because writing this blog post is the first time I’ve actually been able to finish a complete thought. Now, if you will excuse me, the baby is trying to eat a power cord.

11 Signs I’m a Grown Woman

It took having two children, but I realize now, I’m a grown woman.

I think it happened this year, when I found myself asking people about insurance and actually caring about their answers. I heard myself say things like. “This applesauce has no high fructose corn syrup!”

“You guys! Towels are on sale.”

“I really love my Shark! My floors are sooo clean.”

All without irony. And said in that really high excited voice I used to reserve for the opening of a new wine bar or a novel by my favorite author. I still love those things. But Chris Adrian hasn’t come out with anything new in years and I can really only handle one glass of wine these days before things get dicey. It’s a rule: Once you have two kids and you have a glass of wine, both kids will wake up at 4am and then you will have a headache for a week. Whatever, guys. Downton Abbey is worth it.

I remember being in High School and looking at my mom and the moms of my friends, who all seem really interested in decorating with Mason jars and where the silk flower arrangement should go–the mantle or the table or maybe the buffet?–and whether to use butter or margarine, and I wondered how did that happen? These were intelligent women. They all had a college degree. And all their brainpower was going toward deciding whether that last cup of Earl Grey would keep them up all night. Or maybe they should just have chamomile? Yes, or maybe a lemon zinger? Wait, does that have caffeine?

I’m less smug now. Mostly because I overhear myself saying:

“I have a coupon for socks!”

“We use only vinegar and water on our floors.”

“Do you have Earl Grey?”

And there is a part of me that is really disappointed. But there is that other part of me that’s all, “Wow, a coupon! FOR SOCKS!” And then we high-five.

Here are other signs I’m a grown woman:

  1. I say the word “brunch” a lot.
  2. I like coffee mugs and find them charming.
  3. I’ve thought about my grave plot
  4. I can have a 20-minute conversation about Spanx.
  5. All my pantyhose are “control top.”
  6. I get really excited to go to Target at 8pm. Alone.
  7. I can’t decide whether my decorative Mason jars should go on the buffet or the mantle.
  8. I tell people to use applesauce instead of oil in all their baking recipes.
  9. I don’t even need a recipe to make a casserole.
  10. The idea of jumping for any reason sounds terrible. Don’t make me tell you why. See also: I cross my legs when I sneeze.
  11. All my friends post “daily encouragement” in their social media feeds. You don’t need daily encouragement if you are 20 and can still wear a bikini.
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