What did those kids do to that nice lady?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Training Day(s)

Recently, as I began the potty training process with Daughter, I was quickly reminded that there is Potty Training and then there is Poop Training.  Potty training is all M&M’s and Unicorns but Poop Training is more like hellfire and rodents.  Now, this is only my experience as I understand that there are kids in this world who just ...go poop...in the toilet...like it’s NO BIG DEAL.  (Flashback to Poop-Training Son: saw a friend with his boys at the park and his son had just taken a poop.  In the park bathroom.  With no trauma inflicted on either party.  I. Was. Amazed.)  I held out a very small sliver of hope that Daughter would just poop like a normal person on the toilet and we would laugh and dance about how wonderful and easy it was to both potty and poop train her and she would become my new favorite child.  But Daughter will not be so swayed.  Daughter has her own ideas about where her poop should go and it’s not the toilet.  Or a diaper.  She prefers to just hold it as long as possible, sometimes a day or two, and then just...go. Most likely in her adorable princess undies.  Which, although somewhat pleasingly poetic to me that she chooses to quite literally shit on Cinderella, is mostly annoying.  And kind of gross.  (Not to mention there is no money saved on diapers if I must keep buying underwear because I’m just...not...going to clean the offending Princesses.)  
There is supposedly a theory that girls are easier to potty train than boys.  That theory is false in the Gelato House.  When Husband reminded me that Son, too, had accidents, I reminded him that Son had three accidents in a year and Daughter has three in a day.  Not that I’m comparing them or anything...God...who does that?  But I do have to remind myself that this, too, will pass, and she will eventually poop on the toilet and hopefully stop demanding to wear Ariel on her butt.  This whole process is just another gentle reminder that kids are hard and having expectations can prove foolish and, oh yeah, Daughter is the boss of me.  Because who else gets to poop in their pants and then demand that I play 6 rounds of Curious George Discovery Beach Game and by the way get me a snack and I would like ice in my water, please.  
I know...I know...one day I'll be that lady, watching a young mom stroll through a store with her kids and I'll stare longingly, wondering where the time went, but before I tap her on the shoulder to harass her about enjoying each moment, I will remember that she probably has to go home, clean poop out of someone's underwear and then make a dinner that nobody will eat, so instead I will give her a silent cheer, an evil laugh...and be on my way.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Unplugged (?)

Lately I have been pondering with the idea of pulling an Oprah on my kids and denying them the pleasure and magic that is television.  Really, the only thing stopping me is because I know how painful it will be.  For me.  Now, if you are one of those parents who’s kids “don’t watch TV,” well, let me be the first to congratulate you.  And then call you a dirty little liar.  I’m sorry to call you names, but I have a hard time believing that there is no TV.  But also, if it is true that you are so magnificent and wonderful that your kids do not watch or need television for you to maintain moments of sanity, well, then, calling you names makes me feel better about myself.  (And I worship you.)
No matter how much or how little television my kids watch, I always feel a little bit bad about it, like I’m doing something wrong.  Maybe it’s because those high-pitched voices of Dora and Diego make me want punch myself in the face or maybe it’s because I feel like I’m not being creative enough or that I should totally be doing a craft with my kids instead of fast-forwarding to the good parts of The Real Housewives to try to finish the episode before the 23 minutes of Curious George come to end...but I am tired of feeling such shame over television.  (Like we need something else to feel guilty about.)  Now, don’t worry-the Gelato Kids are not sitting in front of a glowing screen all day, unless, of course, one of them is barfing or if I am barfing and let’s just say that if there is barf involved-that damn thing is on.  Like most kids, their TV time is monitored by Husband and myself.  But I completely depend on the magic of television at times and I’m not quite sure what would happen if I unplugged that thing for a day, a few days...a week.  What would happen when Daughter struts into our room at 5:48 am and I tell her sorry-no Wild Kratts this morning?  I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t be reasonable about it.  Or those times when I need a little personal space while making dinner?   Or just personal space in general?  Frankly, I’m worried about my own personal safety.
Perhaps I feel guilty about it because, let’s face it, watching your kids watch TV is...scary.   The glazed over eyes.  The little spittle of drool dripping down those chins.  The constant desire for a SNACK!  Just a couple of junkies getting their fix.  But, oh my God, it’s so quiet.  And you don’t even need to be scared about that quiet because, no, nobody is drawing with a black sharpie marker on the inside of their ear, nobody is getting partially to fully naked, nobody is eating crayons...no, no, no...they are simply killing brain cells silently on the sofa and it is wonderful.
But what’s really pushing me to even consider turning the tube off for a bit is The Offspring’s incessant need to ask for television.  Can we watch a show?  Please?  Can we watch another one?  When can we watch a show?  I want to watch a show!  LET US WATCH A SHOW!  These pleas followed by an emotional breakdown when told No, Sorry, Nope, I said no, Too bad, Go cry in your room, YOU DON’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT, are exhausting.  There is really no need for them to be so consistent in their badgering of me for television.  You would think they have no toys or games or scooters or markers or IMAGINATIONS, which of course, they have all of those things.  I think part of the problem is how easy television is these days; you can watch any show at any time without commercials-not like when WE were kids and after walking UPHILL both ways from school, were lucky to catch an episode of The Brady Bunch before flipping that thing off and heading for the backyard, because, you know, there was nothing on.
So, to watch or not to watch, that is the question.  I may need a bit more time to mentally prepare for the possible void of television in the house; I mean, how many rounds of Go Fish and Sorry can I play before I start twitching?  But I am intrigued by what this experiment could bring our family.  
Oh, and don’t think that thing wouldn’t come on at 7:30 pm when all is quiet in the house.  Really, Mama can’t miss her shows.  These are my brain cells and I’ll kill them if I want to.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

And now...what?

I sat here for some time staring at a blank computer screen wondering how to start this post, which is exactly what this post is about.  Where to start.  How to start.  Again.
For the past five years, my daily existence has been one consisting of parks, snacks, diapers, potty training, tantrums, maintaining sanity, sleep training, tantrums, bribery, board games, library trips, lots and lots and lots of walks, and the occasional tantrum.  And while it’s been hard and lonely at times, it has mostly been wonderful and I feel so grateful that I have had this time with my children.   While my kids are still young, in just a couple of short years they will both be at school full time and that forces me to wonder...what’s next?  Where do I go from here?  It’s not Tennis Club, that I can assure you.
I met Husband when I was 22.  I married him when I was 24.  He knocked me up when I was 25 and at 26 I was a first time mother, overjoyed with this new person in my life, but at the same time wondering what happened to my Other Life; the life I was hoping to create when at 18 I moved to New York City to study theatre.  A life I continued to create when I moved to LA at 21.  Along the way I worked the usual round up of restaurants, coffee shops, theaters, the random office gig, usually two or three jobs at once to scrape by, while I hit up acting classes and auditions.  (And it really was fabulous, by the way.  If you’ve never been young and broke in New York City...you kinda missed out.)  And then suddenly, I had this new life-a life that surprised everyone, including myself.  But I dug in and devoted myself to Husband and my son and then my daughter and each day I feel a little bit bad about the things Husband has missed-those moments that only I was the lucky witness.  (I also kind of hate him for...other... things he misses.  Let’s keep it real.)
So now I’m left with this question: what do I go back to?  While many twenty-somethings use that time in life to figure out a career, I was figuring out a family and now all I feel is anxiety about getting a job-not because I don’t want one (I mean, just not wearing flip-flops every day is enough to tempt me) but because I’m so unsure of what it is I could do.  I’d be happy to wait tables a few nights a week, but that’s not really a long-term solution.  Even Husband knows how miserable He and I would both be if I got a job answering phones.  I feel like there is still life in my dreams but that’s a difficult road to climb again.  What do you do with a resume that has a 5 year hole in it?  What do you do with a resume that says you studied theatre for God’s sake?  There are insecurities happening here, people and it’s intimidating to think about going back to a world that, while you were home raising babies, was progressing without you.  Friends get promoted, technology seems scary, and the only skills you feel you possess can get you a job...watching children.  
I know I will figure it out; I have usually managed to figure most things out eventually.  I mean-come on-my kids were on a sleep schedule by the time they were four months old so I can do anything.  And who knows-maybe there is something new out there waiting for me.  Maybe there IS a job description on Craigslist that says Wanted: A Stay at Home Mom Hoping to Make Some Money Who Studied Theatre.  (Actually...come to think of it...there probably is a listing like that on Craigslist but maybe not under the...category I’m looking for...).  My hope is that the next five years will be spent working on my dreams again...however it is that they may have shifted and rearranged themselves. Some dreams don’t die for a reason. You never know....maybe in the next five years this Gelato Mama will be the one bringing home the bucks while Husband stays at home with the children.  I just might have to have another baby in order for him to fully experience the good life...(Don’t be scared, honey...just think of all that SEX that comes along with procreation...)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I love you, I love you not, I love you...

Here’s a secret: right now I’m thinking about Food. In ten minutes, I’ll still be thinking about Food.  Two hours ago, I was thinking about Food. What I ate for breakfast, what is available for lunch, what should we have for dinner?  Will The Offspring be completely offended if I dare serve chicken that is not breaded?  What if I put peas on the plate?  How many calories are in that slice of bread?  Wait, no...no bread.  God, I miss bread.  Do we have snacks?  Did I pack snacks?  My stomach is growling.  Did I remember to eat breakfast?  Crap.  I forgot breakfast.  It’s 2 pm, maybe I could eat lunch now?  Do I have the makings for a salad?  Why is Trader Joe’s out of the chicken burgers?  Don’t they know I put those in my salad?  Maybe a veggie burger today.  Can I eat carbs for dinner tonight?  What’s for dinner again?  I want a cookie.  
I don’t want to think about Food so often, but I can’t help it.  Not only my Food consumption, but the consumption of my children and if I am setting them up for a lifetime of failure based on the fact that, yes, sometimes I bribe them with delicious things to get them to do what I want.  Judge me judge me judge me.  I know you are, anyway.
Here’s the thing: Food has spoken to me and it wants me to know that I am it’s bitch.  It will rule my thoughts, strike fear in my soul, and hold me hostage.  It needs me to understand that it is the boss of me and if I don’t obey, there will be trouble.
For instance, Food goes ahead and makes something so wonderful, like Bread.  And here we are, happily eating Bread.  But then Bread says...hey, lady...you can eat me as much as you want, but there will be Consequences.  Let me introduce you to my friend, Lettuce.  And Lettuce is all....hey....put some turkey in me, roll me up and call me a sandwich.  I’m delicious and crisp!  YOU ARE NOT A SANDWICH, LETTUCE.  But, okay.  I guess I’ll have Lettuce to avoid those Consequences.
But then other times, Food is all....what’s your problem, lady?  I introduce you to Bread and you blow it off for Lettuce?  Bread’s feelings were really hurt and you should apologize.  Go get Bread now and eat it.  EAT IT NOW.  
Still yet, I see Food sitting there on The Offspring’s shoulders and it’s whispering-Don’t eat that.  Don’t you dare even pretend to eat it.  Don’t even let your fork touch it.   Tell her you don’t like it. Tell her again. Why would she put Broccoli on your plate?   Really, Broccoli?  Start whining.  Louder.  Really loud.  Now leave the table and cry.  BWHHHHAAAAAAAA!!!  Now, come back, quick, and ask for a treat.
And then of course there is this: Chips.  Salsa.  Why can’t I stop?  Why can’t I stop?  Someone take my hand and remove it from the chip basket.  Oh, that’s delicious.  Why is this so delicious?  Stop.  No. I can’t.  I WON’T!  Yes-FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WE WOULD LIKE MORE CHIPS!  You know, for my kids.  
I can’t be the only one with these thoughts...right?  This is just one area of my life where I wonder...is this normal?  Am I doomed for a lifetime of feeling guilty about pizza?  Because I really, really love pizza and I need it sometimes.  Do men think like this?  Because as I watch men eat, it just doesn’t seem like they...worry too much about the fact that they just ate a burrito that rivals the size of my 2 year old.  They seem so...free...with their food.  They are not Food’s bitch.  Food is their bitch.  I want Food to be my bitch.  And I’m working on that.  But until then, I’ll go ahead and order the burrito bowl...yes...a burrito in Lettuce.  And good God, don’t put rice in there!  But, I’m going to need some more chips.

Friday, January 6, 2012

And then He was Five...

Five years old.  My firstborn, my son, is now a five year old boy.  It seems to be a magical age...I remember my 5th birthday and the pink bike I received...as I remember so many things about being a whole five years old.  Each time I look at my son, I can’t help but wonder if this...this moment...is a moment that will be imprinted in his memory forever.  Will he remember back tickles and renditions of Babymine at bedtime?  Or the bunk beds he shares with his sister?  Maybe his first skateboard.  I wonder, if as a grown man, he will return to the park by his boyhood home and stare at the tree he so lovingly climbed and say to himself...it seemed so big when I was a boy.  I am constantly amazed at the things he can now do for himself.  He needs no help getting dressed; buttons and zippers are just fine.  He runs to a friend’s house for a play-date with glee and hardly glances back.  He gives me attitude, he makes up jokes, he can play a game and complete puzzles without my help.  And his face...oh...his face is a delicious mix of baby and boy...his cheeks a constant reminder of that bundle I first held five years ago.
Five years ago, when I held him tight for the first time, I thought to myself-how could I possibly love this child any more than I do at this moment?    Please remain this small, magical person forever because I’m pretty sure my heart will explode if my love for you were to grow.  I was but a fool.  Each day I love him more.  Each day brings a moment that I will try to remember forever.  Each day my heart grows bigger.
So sure.  Kids are hard.  Sometimes he makes me crazy and I write about him and his sister and even use curse words.  But I love that crazy.  I wouldn’t take any other crazy and trade it for my crazy on any day of the week.  That boy...that bundle I held for the first time a whole five years ago...has taught me many lessons, the most important being that nothing is more sacred or more important than my job as a mother.  I’ve made mistakes, I’ll make more, but if he always feels loved and safe, I’ll know I’m doing an okay job.  
So to you, my dear boy, here’s not to just five more years, but to 105 more years.  I love you more than you will ever know.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year, New Rules

On Sunday, I asked Husband what his schedule was like on Monday, the faux holiday.  I mentioned I wanted to perhaps get a pedicure at some point during the day.  He said he really needed to go to work.
Sunday night, a last minute Rose Bowl ticket was waved in front of his face like a piece of bacon.  He no longer had to work.  
One hour for pedicure=not possible.  Entire day for Rose Bowl=completely doable.  
My New Year’s Resolution: try not to be so visibly irritated with Husband when these things happen.  Also, try to say Have Fun.  And, of course, actually mean it.  After all, I get it.  I understand...it’s the Rose Bowl.  I’m not totally heartless...just a little selfish and petty.  
But if I have to make that kind of sacrifice in the New Year, I’m going to go ahead and bestow a few New Year’s resolutions on my family.  They’ll thank me later.
I’ll start with The Short People:
One: Whining is no longer an acceptable form of communication.  Furthermore, you are no longer allowed to complain about things like THIS IS THE WRONG BOWL! or WHY ARE MY GRAPES TOUCHING MY CHICKEN?   Also, no more bitching about the sun and how it’s too hot.  First of all-it’s 65 degrees outside.  Second-last time I checked you were a five year old boy, not an 85 year old woman.  Man up.
Two: Waking up before 6:30 am is unacceptable as I am not in the mood to see your face before then.  I’m surprised you haven’t picked up on this considering that when you walk into our room at the butt crack of dawn, I do nothing but roll over and curse.
Three: There will be no more hoarding of little pieces of crap, random garbage found on the street, rocks for your “collection” or the last 84 pieces of paper you happened to scribble on and call a picture.  The joy I get from throwing this shit away is amazing.
Four: Learn how to take a shower.  Baths are getting kind of annoying.  Also, get over this thing about water touching your face.  Also equally annoying. 
And just so He doesn’t feel left out, a few suggestions for Husband:
One: Will rub Gelato Mama’s legs and feet every night because she loves it so.
Two: Will refrain from calling “networking” work.  You’re “cocktailing.”  If you just call it what it is, it may not irritate me so.  (Most likely not, but it’s worth a try.)
Three: Will take kids to park by Himself at least once a week for minimum of two hours.  After all, Short People need their Daddy time and Mama’s need their EVERYONE LEAVE ME ALONE time.    
Four: Will attempt to close things.
To be fair, I’m sure Husband and Short People have some requests of their own.  I’ll go ahead and make a few educated guesses.
From Husband:
One: Make some money.
Two: Earn income.
Three: Contribute to bank account.
Four: Bring home the bacon.
From Short People:
One: Take us to Disneyland
Two: We would like a trip to Disneyland
Three: Disneyland sounds awesome.  Let’s go.
Four: If you were a nice Mom, you’d take us to Disneyland.
Of course, I have a few other resolutions that are all positive and shit but those aren’t nearly as fun to talk about.  In this coming year of 2012, I hope most of all for the continued good health of my family.  Also, a trip to Italy.  Income would be fabulous.  And most importantly, a trip to Disneyland. Even though the thought of spending the day in such a place sends shivers down my spine...I will do it.   After all...I’m a nice mom.  
Happy New Year to you and yours....thanks for reading my words and may you continue to do so...