Mountain View Mommy: Sand, Trucks and Testosterone

January 30, 2007

2007: the year of the Girlfriend

Filed under: Thinking — by mvmommy @ 11:49 pm

I am claiming 2007, to be the year of the Girlfriend.   

2004 was the year of the Andrew – filled with the amazing joy of becoming parents
2005 was the year of the pregnancy – filled with sickness, insomnia, and prenatal depression
2006 was the year of the Justin – filled with the rebirth of the joys of parenthood but with a whole new set of ground rules, and introduction to the chaos that is called ‘a family of four’

But now that everyone is sleeping well, eating well, not collapsing in a pool of tears when I move towards my purse (which indicates I am going to eventually be moving to the door), I am liberated once more.  

I have been using this liberation wisely and aggressively.   Every chance I get, I go out with my girlfriends.    Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t get many chances.  But if the window is cracked, I am going to find a way to squeeze my body through it and head to the nearest restaurant that has a bar, with the most available girlfriend I can find at that moment. 

This is harder that it seems.  Many of my closest friends have moved away to places that don’t require you to sacrifice your first born and a limb to live there.   So with those friends, we make phone dates.    However, for the girlfriends who are still living here (and have given up on any dreams of saving for the future), most of them are mothers now.  So one of us is always up to our ears in diapers, bathing kids, or putting them to bed.   And even when we plan to meet, someone’s child gets sick or husband gets home too late, and our plans are thrown in the toilet.  However, if the calendar’s align and we do make it out of the house, we have to cross the next hurdle.   What are we going to do?  The ground rules usually are: 
1. close to home – in case a child emergency calls us back
2. casual – because who knows if we are going to find the time to clean up prior to leaving the house… so a fresh shirt and deodorant will just have to do
3.  must serve alcohol – because what mother and wife doesn’t want to celebrate getting out of the house with a cocktail?
4.  must serve food – because we usually find that we are starving, because we have forgotten to eat most of the day due to chasing our children around
5.  must be fast – because despite our best efforts we all are tired by 10 at the latest.  It’s embarrassing, but you know it’s true.  And you know that when you get home, you still have to prepare for the next day… stock diaper bags, get car packed, layout clothes, set out food, plan meals, etc.  So again, fast is key.  Most moms I know can pack more into 2 hours than most people can in 5.

If you can master these hurdles, the pay off is so huge that you wonder why you aren’t doing this more often.    Being with my girlfriends actually makes me feel younger, more alive, and happier.  I am sure they are the secret to the fountain of youth.  

A couple of nights ago I went to dinner with a few friends.  I don’t think I have laughed so hard in weeks.  We weren’t in charge of anyone, and had nothing to do but enjoy ourselves.  And that is what we did.  We talked about serious things, funny things, and absolutely ridiculous things. We helped eachother through some emotional stuff.  We laughed at ourselves for our crazy parenting techniques.  We bragged about our kids to each-other.   We basically let out all the pent up stuff that was stuffed in the back of our brain, just dying to get out.   Only girlfriends can unlock that baggage, and let you feel normal for spilling it out there in front of them.  And only the BEST girlfriends can listen to it all, not make judgements, and better yet, make you feel normal for saying all the crazy things you just said.

I think I have fallen in love with my girlfriends all over again.  It’s almost like we are dating.  We are setting up times to meet.  Looking forward to them all week.  Calling one another giggling about past or future rendezvous.   Smiling, as we think back on something funny that was said.  And generally feeling like we are 21 again.   

That being said, girlfriends, since we are dating…. I would like you to send me some flowers, chocolate or wine for Valentines Day, please?  However, if you are really a good girlfriend, you know what I really want is another date with you (and I will share the chocolate and wine).   BUT, if you are really one of my best girlfriends, I don’t have to tell you what I want, you already know & you do it everyday.  Thank you.

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Don’t we all feel this way sometimes?

Filed under: Stories — by mvmommy @ 10:02 pm

This morning my son didn’t want to get changed out of his pajamas.  That is a regular occurrence, and who could blame him.  They are warm.  They have a full length zipper that is fun to play with.  There is no elastic around your waist that gets too tight when you eat too much.  And they have feet attached, thus no socks or shoes needed.   I mean, don’t we all want to secretly be dressed in footie pajamas all day long?

So our verbal battle began:   Yes, we need to get dressed to leave the house.  No, I don’t want to get dressed.  Alright, you can stay in your pajamas, but you can’t go visit your friends until you are dressed.   Good, I am staying in my pajamas.  Fine, tell me when you are ready to change your mind.   

About 5 minutes later I hear a whisper that says, ‘I am ready’.

So I immediately stop what I am doing, come on over and say ‘that’s great!   Let’s get dressed and have some fun’.  You know, trying to use that positive reinforcement they are always talking about.

As I am helping him change, Andrew says (in response to the decision to change his clothes):

“Mom, my mouth is saying NO.  But my head is saying Yes ”

I looked at him, confused at first.  And he repeated:

“My mouth is saying NO” (then exaggerates the NO, while pointing to his mouth) “But my HHHEEEAAAD is saying YES” (while he nods his head up & down, looking at me like I am idiot for not comprehending)

I just smiled at him and said, ‘Honey, we all feel that way sometimes… believe me”

He smiled & nodded like he was a little old man, acknowledging life’s difficult compromises.  And looked at me as if he was saying… I am glad you understand that it’s hard to be two & half and that wearing footie pajamas would have been an excellent addition to my play-date today.

Frankly it’s hard to be 33 too.  And I agree with you.  Tomorrow we will spend our day in pajamas … I promise.  

January 29, 2007

A Lesson in Anatomy

Filed under: Body Parts — by mvmommy @ 9:44 pm

The other day my sister was over for lunch. Andrew & Justin love Auntie Katie. She is fun. She lets them do what they want. And she finds them hilarious, which in turn makes them act hilarious.

While I was getting lunch ready, Andrew was talking to Katie. This is what ensued:

Andrew: “Your penis is sticking out”

Katie: “I don’t have a penis honey”

Andrew: “Mom, her penis is sticking out” as he is tugging on me to turn around and look

Me: “No Andrew that is just her zipper and it’s sticking up.” Katie folds down the zipper and tucks it behind the flap “See, it’s not a penis, it’s a zipper. Girls don’t have a penis, only boys do”

Andrew: “What’s that?” as he points to Katie’s sweater

Me: “What are you pointing to honey?”

Andrew: “That. THAT. THHHAAAAT” as he’s pointing to her chest.

Me: “Oh that is Auntie Katie’s sweater”

Andrew: “No under her sweater”

Me: “That is Auntie Katie’s chest”

Andrew: “Her chest and her BOOBS”

(Hummm, I don’t think I call my boobs… boobs. Are my boys trying to join some sort of childhood fraternity with this talk? Nathan! What have you been teaching our kids?)

Me: “To be polite, we call it her chest”

Andrew, mumbling as he walks back into the playroom: “Yeah, her chest AND her BOOBS, Mom”

Ahhhh, I am fighting a lost cause.

My alarm clocks

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 7:01 am

Since having kids, sleeping in is a luxury that I simply cannot afford. Not that I don’t want to, believe me I do. And if there was a way to pay my children to sleep in… they would be rich and I would be in bed still. However, to a toddler, sleep is overrated.

My kids are like alarm clocks. They wake up every morning at approximately the same time. Andrew usually wakes first. He will sit there staring at Justin across the room, waiting for him to stir. When he sees him move, he launches into song, a rehearsed story, or just a fit of laughter that results in banging on the walls. Justin will simply watch him and start laughing or bang on the walls like his big brother. Eventually I will drag myself from my warm cocoon of a bed, and open the door to two smiling faces and a fit of laughter. It’s the best alarm clock in the world.

However, some mornings, like today… the stars align and my alarm clock breaks.

I woke this morning to silence. My first thought was, oh crap is it 5:30 or 6 again? Why am I awake? I lay there thinking, go back to sleep. Don’t open your eyes. And I pull up the covers tighter around my head and try to ignore the fact that I want to brush my teeth desperately and go to the bathroom. If there was a way to do that without getting out of my warm bed, I wish someone would invent it & let me know.

Then after a bit of laying there, I realize that I am not tired. Humm, that is odd. I usually have insomnia, but I am always tired. What time is it? I crack an eye open and realize it’s 7:30. How is it possible that it’s 7:30 and my kids are still in bed? I dare not move for fear of waking the sleeping beasts. So I lay there. 5 minutes. 10 minutes. 15 minutes. Still silence, except for my husband who is snoring rudely in my face.

Now I don’t know what to do. If I move, I will surely wake them. They have the ears of a bat. Seriously, if I roll over, Andrew wakes and starts saying “hello?” I have to tiptoe by their bedroom door, but he still knows I am there. He then will start yelling “Knock Knock Who’s there?” It’s as if he can smell my fear of detection. So I lay there & listen. Still silence.

Do I get up? Do I lay here? Then I start thinking…. this is one of those rare moments of silence during the daylight hours. I could be drinking tea that is still warm and eating cereal that has not gone soggy already. It’s a special gift, and I shouldn’t be wasting it. I shouldn’t lay here! What was I thinking! Get up. GET UP! Every moment that ticks by is a moment further away from realizing my goal.

At this point, my bed becomes a trap. I know I must get out quickly & quietly. I gently slide out of it, so as not to disturb any of the men. I pee without flushing, for fear that the toilet will be too loud. I drip two drops of water onto my toothbrush so that the faucet won’t disturb their slumber. I literally tiptoe and run down the hallway, holding onto the wall for support to get to the safety of the staircase! I made it! I am downstairs! I am free!

How do I celebrate my freedom?

Once downstairs, I notice that there are things to be picked up and breakfasts to be made and email to be read. And before I know it… I never got that cup of tea and my cereal was soggy once again! And someone is upstairs already singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Ahhhh, focus Michelle. Focus. Time’s a wastin’

January 28, 2007

Introducing Testosterone A, B, and C

Filed under: Family — by mvmommy @ 10:01 pm

blog1.jpgI grew up in a family a females.

My mother was one of five sisters. My only sibling is a sister. My dog was female. My bird was female. We presumed that the fish was female. My dad, as an only child, was outnumbered on every level possible.

It can only be fate that I would end up surrounded by males.

blog4.jpgTestosterone A – Nathan – my husband. Luckily he grew up with females; he has two sisters. So I am fortunate to have a sensitive guy on my side. He can understand my need for chocolate, baths, and to talk incessantly… even if he can’t relate. He also is patient enough to let me drone on about my friends and family ad nauseam. He is smart enough to keep his mouth shut, even when I ask his opinion. And he is wise enough to ‘almost’ never provide unsolicited ‘helpful’ advice. He is a great father, and can easily pick up where I leave off with the boys. His ability to do what I do at home and with our kids is a blessing & a curse. A blessing, because who doesn’t want a man who can cook, clean, do dishes, feed the boys, play with the boys, and basically not just be a third child for me to take care of? I mean seriously. What woman doesn’t want a husband like that? I know I do & can’t believe I found this man to be my soul-mate and to share my life with. (yes, it’s sappy, but oh so true) At the same time, does he have to be so good at everything? There are days when it would be nice to know that things might fall apart if I left the house. I don’t wish chaos upon him or my children. However, it is sometimes helpful to know that ‘I’ as the ‘mom’ and the ‘keeper of the house and kids’ is necessary and dare I say ‘unreplaceable’ in our family structure. But at the end of the day, what do you want more: a man who needs you like a child? or one who can take care of your child while you drink your wine and imagine you are in a ‘Leave it to Beaver’ episode as you watch them play happily? definitely the latter (maybe minus the goody goody Beaver Family)

blog3.jpgTestosterone B – Andrew – born 7/04 (2.5 yrs) – sometimes referred to as ‘the A-bomb’ when things are going a bit rough in our household. Andrew is a fraternal twin. He had a sister Emily who passed away before birth. Sometimes I wonder if he is the way he is because he grew up with her. He is very out-going. He thinks everyone he meets is his friend. When we pass the park in our car, he yells “Hi, Friends”. When he wakes up, he immediate asks whose house he is going to visit, and starts listing his buddies & their mommies by name. He loves to be with other people all the time. Garbage Man Jerry. Lawn Mower Man Jose. Joey & his sister Katie with the cool bikes. Maddie next door with Jasmine the black cat. The list goes on & on. Andrew is the type of kid who makes you as a parent feel like you are the best parent in the world. If he is your first born, you assume that he is great because you ‘made him that way’. You pat yourself on the back because he follows directions so nicely, and has great manners. You congratulate yourself because he shares, eats well, sleeps well, and generally is very adaptable. You think, he must be happy because I am a great parent! Good job to me! It is parents of these kids that have lots of ggrrrreeeeat advice for the rest of the moms & dads out there. They don’t realize that their child is just born that way. That it is part of their personality. They are ‘pleasers’. Sure they are bad sometimes, and sure as a parent you have something to do with it. But if you have a child with an easy personality, the rest is going to come easy too. That is our Andrew. Fun loving, hilarious, and quite the talker. Like his mom, he never shuts up. I think I this blog could easily be about the things he says. But that is for another post.

blog21.jpgTestosterone C – Justin– born 11/05 (14.5 mos) – sometimes referred to as ‘Big J Man’ because when you look at him, he is HUGE. Everything about Justin is HUGE. His smile, his personality, his head. You gotta love this kid. Sometimes I wonder if Justin is the way he is because he’s the second child, and because he idolizes his big brother. When he was born, he refused to be put down. He would cry non-stop for hours. He can still pull that off, but with more volume and force. And then the minute you pick him up and hug him, he is the happiest little kid you have ever seen. He just needs more love. He needs lots of hugs, lots of kisses, lots of attention, and a little time to warm up – but the payoff is huge. His belly laugh is absolutely contagious. His smile melts your heart. And if he picks you as the person he loves for the day, it’s like you won the lottery. Those slobbery kisses completely make up for the temper tantrums that result from his frustration. His frustration stems from the fact that he thinks he is 2.5 like his brother, and yet his body is only 15mos old. Stupid body, holding him back already. Justin never wanted baby toys, he wanted trucks. He never wanted to crawl, he wanted to walk. He never wanted baby food, he wants what is on Andrew’s plate … exactly the same, no deviation. Frankly, he never wanted to be a baby. His determination to be ‘big’ is hilarious. There is no way this second child will be left behind or forgotten, you can count on that. He is ‘spirited’ (if you have read Raising your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka). He challenges me to work hard at being a mom and definitely makes me question if I am up for the task. And yet, he is also the one who gives me those moments that I imagined when I pictured being a mom. You know those moments … the Kodak commercial moments… where the baby comes up to his mom and grabs her face to look at him, and then goes in for a big open mouthed kiss while saying mama, throwing his arms around her neck, and smiling like he has won the lottery.  (Granted in the commercials kids are clean, as opposed to mine which are usually covered in the sand that stuck to them so nicely from the apple-juice they just drank.  And those commercial moms are always dressed in clothes that don’t have food stains on them.. with jewelry that hasn’t been pulled out of their ears and off their neck.  How is that possible?  )

blog5.jpgMy boys. I love them. They are funny, sweet, and as a girlfriend of mine says, ‘full of beans’.

Coming from an estrogen-centric family, I thought I could only handle girls. That our family would be full of girls. Thank GOD I have boys. I can’t imagine life without them or without the testosterone. I love the dirt. I love the adventure. I love the energy and the laughs. I love the body part jokes (yes, even at 1 & 2, they think their bodies are hilarious and instruments for comedy). I think I could have a football team of boys and rarely miss the estrogen.

Life outside of Primary Colors…

Filed under: Thinking — by mvmommy @ 5:22 am

Okay, Okay, I have caved. I will be the first to admit it. I am writing a blog even though I have previously insisted that I would not.

Yes, I said “writing a blog is no way to maintain a friendship”

Yes, I said “I don’t have time to write a blog”

Yes, I said “I don’t need the world to know my personal thoughts, only a select few need to know how crazy I am”

So, you might say ‘Traitor!’ ‘Hypocrite!’

Please let me explain. I am not writing this as a way for my friends to keep updated on my life. Yes, you can read it & chuckle at my mishaps. Yes, you may be entertained by my children. And yes, you might actually hear about something that I didn’t tell you personally via the phone or email. However, you should still expect to receive calls and emails and cards as usual. A friendship needs a personal touch, and I don’t expect my blog to do that. Okay? Okay.

However, I have decided that I need a life outside of primary colors.

If you have seen my house, then you have seen our living room. Which by a more appropriate name is the “playroom”. It is covered in blue mats. Why? Because I have boys, and boys destroy things, namely themselves. So the mats prevent their heads from looking like a map of the US Mountain Ranges. I digress. The floor is blue. The trucks are red (and by trucks, I mean about 100) . The hammers and tool-benches are yellow. Sometimes I wonder if there are other colors in the world. Oh wait, there is brown… that is the dirt on the floor from the sand and mud we have just brought in on the red trucks with the yellow shovel in the blue bucket.

I love my kids, I love my husband, I love my life… but sometimes I crave PINK. Yes, the color I grew up hating. I am not a girly girl. I was not into frilly dresses, or lots of makeup. But there is so much testosterone in my house, that pink is a refreshing change occasionally.

I find that I crave a creative and partially social outlet, that doesn’t involve building forts and digging in the mud. Yes, those are definitely fun too. However, sometimes it’s nice to drink a cup of coffee while it’s still warm and tell a friend about all the cute things your kids are doing (or not doing) without having to stop to yell across the room for one child not to hit the other.

So this extrovert needs a way to ‘purge’. The good, the bad and the ugly. The shades of things that I find in between blue, yellow and red. I find that I have bombarded my friends with stories that they may or may not want to hear. I have called family with thoughts that no person should have to listen to over, and over, and over, and over.

I have been reading many blogs by other parents recently, and I thoroughly enjoy reading their stories about their kids. I enjoy their insight into life, and keeping things sane in a job that has little to do with sanity. And I have found that just knowing there are other parents out there, that are making mistakes and still raising good kids, has made my job a lot easier.

If you are looking for great grammar, and perfect punctuation. You will have to stop reading. This is more of a stream of consciousness … and my own personal way of remembering the little things that float in & out of my days. The greys, the pinks, the oranges, the greens.

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