Shaken Parent Syndrome

Holy hell, what a train wreck!

You may recall that I was hit by a car while walking about nine months ago. I still have pretty intense headaches from that, and have totally switched my diet to try to address those.

This means that every day for lunch, I eat a green smoothie packed full of anti-inflammatory ingredients. 

Our routine is that I make my shake as the kids are eating lunch, and then I bring it upstairs and set it on top of my dresser while I'm getting them ready for nap. Up until now, that has been a perfectly viable solution. 

I say up until now, because today someone totally blew that routine out of the water. The crappy part is, I'm still not entirely certain how it all went down.

See, usually I take Sterling and put her on the potty, then I go and put Bennett down for nap, I come back to wipe Sterling, and put her in bed. It's a pretty smooth operation. Usually. 

Today, I put Sterling on the potty, and came out to discover B had escaped back downstairs. 

I went down to retrieve him and his handful of contraband crackers. When I got back upstairs, S was waiting for us, stark raving naked. 

She confirmed that she hadn't used the potty, so I put her back on. I was walking back out into the hall to wrangle B when I saw him holding my smoothie bottle. 

He stared up at me in Oh Shit, She Is Gonna WHOOP My Ass terror, threw the shake bottle over his shoulder, and took off in crazy haphazard toddler running. 

My shake went EVERYWHERE. Luckily, it's packed full of puréed stuff like kale, spirulina, and blueberries. You know, stuff that doesn't stain. Oh wait...

What followed was 15 minutes of me on my hands and knees scrubbing frantically at the carpet. 

And while I was trying to keep that lovely  mixture from staining?

B was dipping his crackers into S's toilet bowl and eating them. All I can hope is that she never did get around to peeing. Which seems totally likely, right? Totally. 

The biggest question I am left with is how B got the shake off the top of the dresser in the first place. The dresser is probably a good foot out of his reach, even on his tippiest of tippy toes. Honestly, I doubt S could even reach it, but I'm not *quite* as confident on that one. But of S DID get the shake down, how did B get it? She isn't one to share fun stuff with her brother, ESPECIALLY when it's naughty fun stuff.

So now folks, I got myself a mystery. But I don't see myself re-creating the situation again to figure out how to crack this mystery.  

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Demoralizing Daddy

Man. What a loooong ass weekend. 

See, John has been working 80 hour weeks for the last 6 weeks or so. Brutally long days. No weekends. We were all fried

So when this holiday weekend rolled around, we were desperate to kick back and really relax. 

The kids and I were completely recovered from the stomach flu and we had a big weekend of festivals and fun planned. 

And then a severe case of croup hit B. Nothing that steroids and lots of quality time with a nebulizer couldn't fix (eventually). 

And then the croup hit Sterling. And life got fun. 

And then it took me out, who even knew it was possible for adults to get the croup?

But yep, what followed was four days of hacking, snotty, raspy misery. 

Freakin awesome. 

Daddy valiantly stepped up to the plate to wrangle monkeys. It was amazing to have his help while I was so sick, bit it was the furthest thing from relaxing. 

What it DID do is give John a taste of life as a solo parent. And I had a heyday capturing some of his thoughts. 

So I thought I would share. These were actual quotes from my husband:

J: A FOUR day weekend? Whose flippin' bright idea was that?!?!


J: Man, it's only Sunday??? Jesus!


J: How early is too early to start doing shots of Jack? I really need to know. Stop laughing, I'm not joking.


Me: It really bugs me when you comment on how at the end of some days, I seem fried and miserable. 
J: But you DO!
Me: So you're not fried and miserable after today?
**Looooooooong Silent Pause**
J: Oh. Good point. 


J: I think Daddy's baby cup is full. 
Me: What the hell does that mean?!? Oh wait, that you don't want a third!
J: No. I mean that I had been really missing them, but I'm over that now. I don't think I will miss them for a looooong while now. 
Me: So that means you don't want a third?
J: Oh no, I'd totally still love more kids. 


J: Huh, they must be feeling better. They have been SO well behaved and low key today!

Uhhhhh, or it COULD be that I've given you a free pass today buddy and you've spent about an hour and a half, cumulatively, with them. Either one...


The great irony is that by midday through the workday today, he will have completely forgotten how brutal the weekend was and be all moon eyed over the kids again. From afar. 

Too bad there aren't any 24 hour drive-through vasectomy places. I think I likely could have sealed the deal this weekend...

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Guess The Mystery Liquid, My Least Favorite Game

Who wants to play "Guess The Mystery Liquid"?

It's pretty easy game, really. All you do is take a quick peek at the picture above, and then shout out the first liquid that comes to mind. 

I can pretty much guarantee that you will only need one guess. And no, it's not tequila. 

I wish. 

Because if it were, I would have gotten out a straw and slurped that puddle right up rather than spending 20 minutes on my hands and knees, scrubbing with white vinegar and cursing under my breath. Then another 30 minutes bathing the nasty little monkeys.

Nope my friends, that special puddle is the direct result of a little girl who was feeling ornery. 

She had stripped down naked right before nap time and was running around like a loon. I suggested (repeatedly) that she pause in her racy rambling to hit up the potty. 

She repeatedly assured me she didn't need to go. 

Which is ironic considering that about 2 minutes later, she yelled out "uh oh Momma, I pee. It an accident!", then proceeded to let loose the mother of all puddles. 

Um kid, if you are announcing your "accidents" ahead of time, they might not exactly be so accidental. 

Just so you know. 

And then, as I was making a dash for the rags and vinegar to clean it all up, homeboy decided that it looked like a perfect opportunity for some splash time fun.

Freakin. Awesome.

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The Real Gift

The secret that I never realized until I became a mom? That birthdays are really for the parents.

Everyone sings happy birthday to the child, celebrates the child, lavishes gifts on the child. 

But really, it is a day of celebration for the parents who nurtured those babies. The parents whose lives suddenly took on a whole new meaning the moment they first gazed upon the face of their future. 

Whether parents by birth or choice, love is what really makes birthdays theirs. It is a day to celebrate their love, their legacy, their sacrifices all wrapped up in one beautiful, uniquely wonderful bundle. 

Every single time one of my children has a birthday, I am reminded all over again of how wonderful and special they are. I am reminded of how lucky I am to be given such a incredible gift in my life. And I'm reminded of the moment that I first saw their beautiful little faces.

Its true, not all parents find love at first sight. When I had Sterling, I was so wrapped up in a panic attack from the anesthesia that all I really felt was relief that she was out OK. But it wasn't long before I was bowled over at the intensity of my love for this tiny little creature. If we let ourselves, we will invariably find a love more intense, more true, more honest than any other.

That is the true gift of birthdays, a reminder of that moment when you truly fell in love with your child. Whenever it happened, however it happened, that is the greatest gift of all.

That is why birthdays are really for parents, it's a celebration of the day that their lives took on a whole new meaning. A day to be grateful for the gift we have been trusted with.

That is why birthdays really are for the parents.

Happy birthday 3rd Sterling Rose, I am incredibly blessed to have the gift of you in my life.

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How My Kid Lost A Hand Thanks To The Stomach Flu

Well crap, I even suck at being a sick momma. 

It all started with a stomach bug. 

It hit each of the kids like a ton of bricks and I had my fingers desperately crossed that it would pass me by. 

It didn't. 

So there I was, trying to enjoy a good puke in peace. But toddlers are kind of like cats. When you want them around, they want nothing to do with you. But when you need a few solo moments, they are pressed up tight against you, poking little fingers in all kinds of places they don't belong. 

This was no exception. 

Sterling bent over the toilet across from me, offering lots of helpful commentary and asking a million questions. 

"What you doin' Momma?"

"What that noise?"

"Oooooh yucky! So stinky!" 

"You sick? You go doctor to get medicine?"

"You OK Momma? You happy?"

"I flush toilet now? Now? I flush toilet now?"

And Bennett did his valiant best to slam my head with the toilet bowl lid as many times as possible. 

Each time I stopped him, he belligerently yelled "GO!" in my face.


So in a fit of desperation, I decided to shut them both out of the bathroom so I could hork in peace. 

Yes, I knew that they would stand on the other side of the door and scream the whole time. 

Yes, I knew it would likely scar them for life, and be its own unique episode in their therapy. 

No, I didn't care. Because I knew I would likely throttle the next kid that whacked me in the head with a toilet bowl lid while I stared down into the watery depths of a toilet and silently contemplated my misery. 

So I relocated them in shifts. First I smuggled Bennett out and shut the door. Then I wrangled Sterling and pushed her out.

I tried to shut the door behind her, but met some resistance. Thinking that they were both pushing back against the door, I pushed harder. They were both screaming at this point, so I didn't think anything of it.

I pushed again, but I was having a much harder time getting the door shut than I expected. Then I noticed a set of little fingers sticking through the back of the door, right by the hinge.

Evidently, I had been repeatedly trying to push the door shut on Ben's little fingers. 

Freakin' awesome. 

He was full on red faced furious at this point. He had started by being pissed when he was kicked out of the bathroom party. Having his little hand shut in the door just ratcheted everything up to the next level.

He sat in my lap and screeched in my face for a good twenty minutes. Which is AWESOME for nausea, by the way. 

He then climbed down to screech in my face while he tried to slam me in the head with the toilet bowl lid. Again and again. 

Point made buddy, point made...

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My Girl Is An AWESOME Sharer...

The other day, my girl made me incredibly proud. And by "incredibly proud", I mean "cringe in mortification". 

We were at an open play day at a local spot and I was happily chatting with a few moms I'd just met. 

A little boy with a large birthmark on his face arrived.  

Sterling immediately started peppering me with questions about what was on his face, how it got there, and why.

I did my best to quietly explain that it was a birthmark and that he was born with it.

She pushed for a better explanation, asking whether it hurt, and I remembered the birthmark she has high up inside one thigh. 

I said "His birthmark is just like your birthmark. His is just on his face."

She thought about it for a few moments, and then asked "So I can see it?"

"Yep, his is on his face so you can see it."

She sat thoughtfully for a few moments, and then that explanation seemed to suit her.

About 20 minutes later, I look over and she was standing in the middle of the gym with her dress hiked up and her leggings and underwear pulled down, pointing at her crotch area.

A crowd of little observers was clustered around her. 

I did the Momma Shuffle Of Mortification over to her, and hissed under my breath "What are you doing?"

"It okay Momma, I showing them my birthmark!" she probably proclaimed. 

Oh. Cool then. THAT makes this totally acceptable. Totally...

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Dead Mouse Mayhem

Today my children learned about the transient nature of life. And about the correct way to dispose of a mouse carcass.

Or not.

I also discovered that I am an insane softie. Or a scaredy cat. Not sure which. Allow me to explain. 

See, when we came down to the play room after nap today, we found this little bugger waiting for us. 

Now I hate dead stuff. It's just not my thing. 

But I knew I had to Mom Up and find a graceful way "deal with the situation" before Bennett could poke it with a toy or Sterling could scoop it up and slip it into her purse. 

I found myself a handy little bucket and decided that it would officially be my "dead mouse handler". 

Armed with the bucket and a HUGE handful of toilet paper, I crept towards the little bugger. In the back of my mind, I was terrified that it might suddenly spring back to life and rush at me with its mousy little jaws snapping in fury. As little as I wanted to go near the mouse, my two little helpers were desperate to get at it. They both did their best to dodge around me while I played defense with my bucket and worked up the courage to tackle the mouse.

After a few gentle nudges to make certain it was dead, I carefully shimmied it into the bucket. It landed with a hollow thunk. 

Awesome! Yay for me! I did it! With a mental pat on the back I straightened up, a part of me secretly expecting a round of applause from the invisible audience. 

Then I realized. Oh shit, now what do I do with it???

I considered chucking it out into the woods, but that didn't seem right. I had no idea how it had died, but if it was from poison, I didn't want to kill something else in the process. I thought about popping into the garbage, but then I realized it would likely start to smell before the garbage pick up on Monday. 

And so the only viable option I could think of was to flush it. It works for goldfish, right?

Not incredibly dignified, no, but I couldn't think of anything better. 

So I slid its furry little body into the toilet and flushed. 

The little mouse went several times around the bowl, floating merrily along the top. The bowl emptied, the mouse remained. 


I flushed again, this time pressing down on the flusher handle (that's a technical term) with extra vigor and purpose. 

Again, the mouse floated. 


Stumped, I piled some toilet paper on top, hoping that would help weight it down. 

It didn't. 

In an act of desperation, I piled copious amounts of toilet paper on top until the whole mass sank, THEN I flushed. 

It looked like this was going to be the perfect solution… until the toilet chugged hollowly in that classic sign of a clog. 

Oh crap! 

With visions of reaching into the bowl up to my shoulder to fish out a soggy mouse carcass, I flushed a final time. 

The bowl filled. Kept filling. Reached that point where it almost overflowed... and then suddenly flushed. 

I've never had such a memorable toilet flush in my life. Actually, I have, but never in an instance involving a mouse carcass.

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Better Watch Who You Are Bugging, Kid...

Sterling is TERRIFIED of all things buggy*, ladybugs and spiders top this list.

And when I say terrified, I'm talking screaming-trembling-clawing up my leg to get away-irrationally spewing gibberish-full on tears-terrified. 

To matter how much PR I do trying to justify their existence by pointing out how helpful they are, she still always wants me to "keel it, Momma". 

Which sucks because I have a hard time killing beneficial critters. 

And also because they give me the heebie jeebies too. 

That's part of the Catch 22 of being a mom. I can't give any indication that I'm also freaked out by bugs, because that will only add fuel to her fear. Instead, I've got to swagger in there confidently and deal with the creepiest of creepy crawlies, as if it's no big deal. 

So last night, as we were doing our nightly clean up of the playroom, she started screeching about a spider under the sofa. 

Spiffy. Nothing better than hand to hand combat with a creepy crawly in tight quarters. 

So I dropped down on all fours to check out my opponent, because there was no chance she was going to calm down until that spider was relocated. The child has eagle eyes when it comes to bug spotting and won't rest until the situation is taken care of. 

I searched around, and saw nothing. Crap, so much for trapping this bugger to move him outside. If he's that hidden, he must be in a crevice somewhere. 

So I moved closer. Still no spider. 

Finally I asked her, "Sterling, WHERE is the spider"

She pointed to the right side of the sofa. "Right there. Ooooh Momma, it's gonna get me!" And then she shivered theatrically. 

I searched again. No spider. 

"I don't see it. Where?"

"Right THERE Momma, oooooh, I so scared".  

I searched a few more moments, and then suddenly a realization hit me like a bucket of cold water. 

Wedged under the end of the sofa, about two inches from my nose, was a wooden block... with a picture of a spider on it. 

I pulled it out. "Is this the spider you were talking about?"

"Oooooh SCARY spider, don't get me!" And then she covered her mouth with a little hand and began giggling. 

Oh. Funny. 

"YOU my friend are a turkey!"

"No Momma, I funny."

At least one of us thinks so...

*Yes, I know That spiders aren't insects, but this is a freakin' blog post. So for coherence, I'm referring to anything creepy crawly as a "bug".

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Happy Mother's Day To Me?

Well hell, THIS has been a crazy beginning to Mother's Day weekend.

It should be NO surprise that my kids decided to kick things off in style.

It all started out at about quarter after 5 this morning, when Sterling began screaming frantically. 

John is a super early morning person, so he jumped out of bed to go see what was up. She was standing naked, in the middle of her bed, shivering. 

When he went to put her jammies back on her, he discovered that they were still completely zipped up, with the neck tab snapped and everything. Somehow she had shimmyied her entire body through the neck hole. 

He was getting ready to put her back in bed when he realized that the sheets were wet. 

I know the exact moment he discovered it because I heard his drowsily bellowed "oh shit". 

Her first official bed wetting. 

So being a problem solver, he brought her in and slid her into bed with me. Usually she sleeps until eight, so I'm sure that seemed like a logical solution.

It wasn't. 

About 20 minutes into our snuggling, just as I was slipping back into sleep, something hard rammed into my face in an explosion of stars. 

Letting out a string of expletives of my own, I sat bolt upright to see Sterling smiling gleefully at me from the other side of the bed. She had evidently chucked the freakin TV remote at me. 

"I want to watch TV mama? Pweeeeease?"

After contemplating whether to beat her senseless with that damn remote, or give in to her demands in an attempt to get little bit more sleep myself, I flipped to some obnoxiously simpering children's programming. 

At first I thought this is the answer to my sleep prayers. It was, until my little personal commentator piped up in the shrillest voice possible at 6 in the morning. 

"What's that boy doing Momma? Why he sad?"

"Why is that W red?"

"Three! There are three little pigs! They SO cute!"

"Why is Elmo happy, Momma? I funny?"


"I talking Momma, you hear me talking?"

Yeah kid, I hear you talking...

So throughout all this, John had been running errands. He got back right around 8, just in time for Bennett to wake up. 

John went in to get him up and suddenly starts yelling "Oh freakin hell! Oh hell! What is that?!?!?"

So obviously, I jumped out of bed to go investigate.

Evidently Bennett had explosively vomited all over his room. It was all over the sheets, all over the headboard and footboard, on the walls, on the carpet, and coated all over him. 

The crazy part is that he hadn't ever peeped. 

So we spent the next 30 minutes stripping the bed, wiping down everything that got spattered, and scrubbing the boy. 

Good times. 

The kids were cleaned and dressed, so we headed down for breakfast. John, a bit frazzled, disclosed a surprise. He had gone to a French Patisserie on his errands and brought back a selection of goodies. 

They were beautiful and delicious. Neither of the kids were interested. That is, until the chocolate croissants came out. Then suddenly Sterling's appetite was piqued. 

She grumpily mowed through several bites, then suddenly started spitting chewed up chocolate croissant everywhere. 

Evidently she wasn't quite the fan she thought. Her loss. But it was the final straw for John. 

His carefully laid plans to take the kids out shopping to give me the morning alone in blissful silence was scrapped. There was NO way he was taking Grumpy and Pukey Grumpy out in public. 

And so, at 9 a.m. we all headed down to chill in the playroom. Which was almost as nice as taking a bath and running around naked in an empty house. 


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Flying Squirrel Flop

My son just ran down the length of the sofa, hopped up onto the arm and did a "flying squirrel" off of it.

And then was PISSED when he hit the floor and it hurt.

Want to guess what he immediately came back to try again? Because I guess it didn't hurt enough the first time...

Uh, what did you expect there buddy?

I love my boy, but this is yet more proof that I in no way understand him.

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Perhaps Freud WAS Right...

Today we had quite the interesting gender discussion.

Sterling was running around naked as I tried to wrangle her into jammies for nap time. 

Sterling: Hey Momma! Look at my balls!

Me: Um, you don't have balls baby. That's your vagina. Girls have a vagina. 

Sterling: Ben has balls?

Me: Yep, Ben is a boy so he has balls. 

Sterling: I have Ben's balls?

Me: Nah, lets let Ben keep his balls. 

Sterling: But I want balls! I LOVE balls!

Me: Oh sister, that's another discussion for a different time. 

Sterling: Ben loves his balls. 

Me: I can't argue with that. 

Sterling: Daddy is a boy? Daddy has balls?

Me: Uhhhhh... yeah?

Sterling: Can I have balls?

Me: Um. Can you help me think of other girls? (yep, the best defense is diversion). 

Sterling: Amaya is a girl. Liana is a girl. Mommy is a girl. Chloe is a girl. Lara is a girl. Teddi is a girl. Violet is a  girl. Elizabeth is a girl. Jenna is a girl. Sophie is a girl. Hannah is a girl. 

Me: Awesome, you are right! Can you think of any boys?

Sterling: Logan has balls. Bennett has balls. Ethan has balls. Daddy has balls. Owen has balls. Finn has balls. Vincent has balls.

Me: Uhhhhh

Check and mate...

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My Girl Needs To Shop

The other day I overheard Sterling and John having an interesting discussion.

S: You went to work today, Daddy?
J: Yes, I went to work.
S: You get a raise?
J: No, I didn't get a raise today. Why do you ask?
S: I want to go shoppin'.
J: Really? What do you want to go shopping for?
S: Shoes.

What can I say, that's my girl ;-)

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A Hit And A Miss

I'm pretty confident my little monkeys missed me while they were at their grandparents last weekend.

Sterling has spent all day snuggled happily in my lap with her blanket, while she rubs my face and tells me how much she loves me.

Bennett meanwhile spent his morning making up for lost days abusing me. He brought pretty much every implement of torture over and whacked me in the head with it. Repeatedly.

I've been whacked with a maraca, a flip flop, a wooden truck, a water bottle, a baby doll, a plastic bowling pin, a jack in the box, a toy bento box, and a tambourine.

I've been pinched. Repeatedly.

I've been bitten. Repeatedly.

He has pulled my hair. Repeatedly.

And he has proven that a well delivered knee to the crotch hurts girls too. That one only happened once, thankfully.

All done with a manic gaze of gleeful adoration in his eyes so I know it is coming from a loving place.


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The Diaper Dumper

This may come as a surprise to you, but my kids have a bit of a tenuous relationship with clothing.

So it was hardly a shocker today when Bennett casually strolled into the living room completely butt naked, brandishing my little kitchen broom victoriously over his head like a mini nude gladiator.

The bigger question was where in the world his clothes and diaper had gotten to.

I wrangled Sterling and together we searched the entire first floor several times, looking for them. Nothing.

Sterling even crouched down and checked under all the furniture to see if he'd stashed his cache under there. No dice.

I had reached that point where I was almost ready to throw in the towel and slap a new diaper on him, when I remembered his chore.

I like the idea of giving my kids chores. Even though they still young, I feel it's important to teach them responsibility. Plus, I've only got a limited number of "free kid labor" years, and I fully plan to take advantage of them. While teaching responsibility.

Granted, Bennett's only real chore right now is putting his diaper in the garbage after I change him. But still, it's something.

As soon as I remembered that, I did the ultimate gross mama thing and went to dig through the garbage. Which unfortunately is something I have become VERY familiar with.

Perched happily on top, folded as if it were brand-new was his diaper and his shirt. And because I had changed him less then 15 minutes before, I was unwilling to let a brand-new diaper be discarded so easily. I have to be honest, I fished that baby out and slapped it right back on him.

After all, that puppy was likely going to touch FAR nastier things than a banana peel in it's service lifetime...

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