What did those kids do to that nice lady?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Burp Cloth Blues

The other day I got the urge to clean out the hall closet.  When these kind of urges strike, I must abandon all other plans before losing motivation because once I start...I cannot stop.  The Gelato Family tends to get a tad nervous when I get in these purging moods; nothing is safe, not too much is sacred and I am usually in a somewhat...aggressive mood because it’s safe to say that the need to purge came from picking up everyone else’s crap all the time.  You don’t want to pick it up?  Neither do I.  Let’s just trash it, shall we?
There I was, happily dumping old towels, random pillowcases, that big, scented bar of soap we all have for no apparent reason, old bottles of medicine, but I stopped in my tracks when I came across a single, oh-so-adorable, brown polka-dotted burp cloth.  I had a flashback of the last time I cleaned out this closet and came across the same burp cloth and after much deliberation, decided I could not throw it out.  This burp cloth, apparently, is my kryptonite, and I cannot bring myself to put it in a bag made for trash.
I sat down on the floor and gingerly picked up the burp cloth.  I held it in my hands, turning it over and over, as if searching for some sign of the life it used to occupy...like a flash of my newborn son would be shown upon it.  I am suddenly 7 months pregnant, sitting on a chair at my first baby shower, surrounded by a pile of mysterious things, each item, each little teeny-tiny thing, a symbol of new life, new hope, new expectations.  Opening the package of burp cloths, I imagined using them and slinging them over my shoulder and wouldn’t I look oh- so- great with not only the world’s most beautiful child, but also a very stylish burp cloth?  Clearly I had this baby thing all figured out.
The life of a burp cloth, however, is not a pretty one.  Especially when said beautiful child happens to randomly spit up, oh, hundreds of times a day.  By day ten of newborn’s life, it doesn’t really matter if you are cleaning throw up with a fancy burp cloth, your husband's t-shirt that he may or may not be wearing, or that leaf that luckily landed beside you while sitting outside because HOW COULD I FORGET TO PUT A BURP CLOTH IN THIS VERY LARGE DIAPER BAG?  It may be shocking, but turns out that having fancy burp cloths, expensive baby clothes or, good Lord, a thousand dollar stroller, actually makes no difference in how much you love your baby or your ability to care for him.  In fact, those things can kind of make you look like an asshole sometimes.
I’m not quite sure what it is about this particular baby item that makes my heart beat a little faster.  Over the years, I have purged loads of baby clothing, toys, hooded towels, blankets...you just can’t keep everything no matter how it breaks a tiny piece of your heart to throw it out.  I guess my brown polka-dotted burp cloth is a survivor, just like I was all those years ago when I had absolutely no idea what motherhood had in store for me.  It was there for Son, it was there for Daughter, and it should have a chance to be there for a possible...round three.  (Husband just had an anxiety attack reading that sentence.)  
So for now, I keep it again.  I know that one day it will be put in a box with other treasured baby keepsakes, and when I am feeling time slip by too quickly and say things like, Oh, I remember that age, I will crack open that box and cry.  And there will be my burp cloth, waiting to wipe my sentimental, old lady tears away.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rules of Rest(room)

I’m going to go ahead and give a fair warning here; I will be cursing in this post.  I’ve been trying to be more ladylike and watch my language, but sometimes, certain things cannot help but bring out the truck driver in me.  (I will, however, keep it PG-13.)  I think you’ll agree with me as you read on.  Because the question of the day is:
This is a universal issue we need to address.  Frankly, if I needed to use the facilities for 20 minutes a pop multiple times a day, I might think about seeing a doctor.   I won’t pretend I don’t know what you’re doing in there: catching up on some reading, escaping reality, pretending you don’t hear the cries, maybe...other things, but, really, we’re going to have to lay down some ground rules if you gentleman are going to continue to need so many potty breaks.  I’ll do the honors.  
You do not get to lock the door.  If The Offspring get to barge in on me at any moment, you do not have the right anymore to request “privacy.”  (I just laughed thinking about privacy.)  Hey guys-ever changed a tampon while your three and five year old are watching?  Yeah.  Didn’t think so.
Sports or Business section, not both.  I’m lucky if I get to read my horoscope, which is only three sentences long.  One bathroom session=one newspaper section.
Pick the damn paper up when you are done and put it in the damn recycling bag.  I like sports, but I am not going to read about them.  And I have enough to feel anxious about, so I’m certainly not going to loiter away precious minutes reading the Business section.  I’m pretty sure your intentions were not to leave the paper in the bathroom for me in case I needed some reading material for my 45 second bathroom session, but if it was-NO THANK YOU.  I will love you more if you just PUT.IT.AWAY.   (This is actually true about most things: laundry, dishes, your bath towel, shoes...and so on...and so on...)
Any shared reading material is Off Limits.  Gross.  Ryan Gosling’s picture in Vanity Fair will never be same to me if I know he was in there, sharing a session with you.  And your iPad has waaayyyy more apps than my mine because YOU HAVE SO MUCH TIME TO READ APPARENTLY, so why do you need my piddly iPad?  Let’s just leave my iPad out of the bathroom, shall we?
Needing to use the restroom is no longer a valid excuse to not deal with Whiny Children.  Hold it.  Yeah.  You heard me.  HOLD IT.  Guess what?  I have to pee, too.  I usually have to pee.  I kind of have to pee right now.  But I need to wrap this up, get to the post office and the library before picking up Precious Cargo at school, so I’m going to go ahead and hold it a bit longer.  And I’m pretty sure if our children can hold it for 12-18 hours, (or that one time when a certain Son held it for five days...) you can hold it for just a few more minutes while the Little Children realize that their world is not ending.  I’m fairly confident you will not have an accident.
Listen, I’m not trying to take away your bathroom breaks, I’m just trying to find a way to make them less annoying.  Isn’t that what relationships are all about?  Compromise?  Granted, I’m just going to go ahead and tell you what the compromises are, but, hey, you never know what kind of...mood...I could get in if certain compromises are met.  In a former life, massages and candles and champagne were romantic, but in present life, not seeing the newspaper on the bathroom sink just might be enough to do it for me.  
And you wouldn’t want me to cancel our newspaper subscription, would you?
Didn’t think so.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dr. Doom

It’s almost that time again.  Time to sweat a little.  Time to question all the choices you made in the last six months.  Time to wonder why you just didn’t take that extra minute each night to get certain tasks done.  Yes; it’s time to take Son to the dentist for the fun game doctors everywhere love to play: How Good of a Parent Are You? For those of you who may not be familiar with the guilt trip accompanied by visiting any medical office pertaining to your children’s health, let me fill you in.  
Here in Gelato Land, we can’t WAIT to visit the dentist!  There are VIDEO GAMES!  MOVIES!  TOYS TOYS TOYS!  And of course, the token GINORMOUS FISH TANK!  It’s like a Wonderland of everything your pediatrician advises you to set limitations on.  But the dentist isn’t worried about the pediatrician.  The dentist has plenty of other things to make you feel bad about.
Like flossing.  
You will be interrogated.  And as your children get older, the medical professional interrogates you through your child.  Of course they don’t ask ME the questions because clearly I would lie and present myself as the perfect parent.  These people aren’t fools; they realize kids don’t know they are supposed to lie about flossing yet.  As the hygienist lets Son choose between 57 flavors of toothpaste and very thoughtfully asks him if he would like sunglasses on for his cleaning, I brace myself and send a telepathic message to Son begging him to please not throw me under the bus.  While she cheerily chirps away asking Son how often he brushes, how much juice does he drink, are his vitamin’s gummy or crunchy, does Mommy help you floss, do you think you’re well-adjusted, what colleges are you thinking about, how much TV do you get to watch, do you like vegetables, do you eat dinner together as a family...I just sit there and laugh nervously while tiny beads of sweat pop out under my arms and roll my eyes at his answers...like, oh...kids.  Yes of COURSE we floss each and every day and Harvard has been calling because they can’t believe the amazing hygiene this five year old boy has and did you know he has been accepted to the class of 2028?  Then I whisper a silent prayer pleasenocavities pleasenocavities pleasenocavities because I HAVE ENOUGH TO FEEL GUILTY ABOUT, OKAY?  It’s not that I don’t want my kids to have healthy teeth and gums, it’s just that sometimes at the end of the day, I want them to go to bed more.  So until I go all Alpha Mom on flossing, I’m going to have to rely on my superior dental genes and hope that it got passed on to my kids.  I mean, I did basically not visit a dentist for at least five years...those years when you have not one penny to your name and certainly not dental insurance...and my teeth not only survived but thrived.  (Except for that one tooth I had to pull out. R.I.P.) 
Just go ahead and accept that each trip to the dentist or doctor is a friendly reminder that, yeah, you could be doing things a liiiittle bit better.  As a mother, I already live with great amounts of guilt about what I did do, didn’t do, should do, want to do, feel bad for thinking about doing...just go ahead and add that I suck because I can’t seem to floss my kids’ teeth every night.  I’m going to be okay with that right now.   And, fingers crossed, so will The Offspring's teeth.