Apparently I will do anything for love…even that

Meatloaf is a wise man.

Or maybe he’s not. I don’t know. I never met the dude. Maybe he’s the kind of immature guy who unfriends you on Facebook because you never hit “like” on the pictures of his cat Harold. Honestly, I was just trying to think of a catchy first line that semi-segued to my topic. Which is that I am at a point in my life that I, too, would do anything for love.

But I won’t do that.

(And yes, you can stop reading now. That was a horrible introduction. Less paradise by the dashboard light and more gray Indiana winter endlessly whizzing by outside your car window. You deserve better. Use this time to “like” Meatloaf’s cat pictures or something).

For those of you still reading (thanks Great Auntie Mildred! How’s the sciatica?), it has come to my attention that despite all the sacrifices I have already made for my son, I’m going to have to make another one here shortly. A big one. HUGE. And as much as I love my kid, I just…I just don’t know if I can do it.

I mean, wasn’t it enough that during the roughly 47 months I was pregnant, I cut down from ten cups of coffee a day to just two? Or that I stopped drinking Diet Coke so he wouldn’t grow a third eye on his shoulder? Or that I gave up most alcohol? (I say most because my doctor said it was OK to have the occasional glass of wine and who am I to argue with science?).

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Not to mention, I selflessly gained 50 pounds during his imprisonment in my womb just so he would have an extra cozy living space. Because that’s just the kind of caring mother I was right from the beginning.

And even once he was out, the sacrifices continued. My sleep. My personal hygiene. My ability to talk to other adults in full sentences and free of caveman grunts. I gave it all up for him. And I even did it happily so considering one whiff of his head, which smells like flowers and unicorns and mermaid glitter and ambrosia dipped in chocolate and bacon, made it all worth it.

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Still, you’d think all that would be enough.

But no. Because now, at 13-months-old, he’s asking me for the biggest sacrifice yet. He’s making me…

…(Sigh)…

…he’s making me give up cursing.

Excuse me…I just need a moment. Come on, Aprill, get it together…

…(ragged breath)…

Yes, my baby, while not yet talking in words (or at least known human words) is at that stage where he is mimicking sounds. Already he has my frustrated Marge Simpson-esque growl down pat and can make the “fah” f-letter sound thanks to an overly helpful Grover on “Sesame Street.” He mimics the dog’s bark and my chipper “Hi!” that I say every morning when I greet him. He even does a good fake laugh when Momma is trying to entertain him and he decides to take pity on me and my sweet 90s dance moves.

All of which is to say that I have to give up cursing, else his first word be a non-Grover-approved f-word.

But here’s the thing, I’m not good at a lot of things (amazing stick figure art aside). But I am a world champion cusser. I mean, I can take one curse word and use it as a noun, pronoun, adjective, adverb AND verb in one single sentence. I’m even up-to-date on all the newest curse words, picking a new one each day to use like some warped word-of-the-day calendar.

Oh sure, I can turn it off when I need to. When I’m visiting with my in-laws or I’m hanging out with “those” moms who can actually say “H-E-Double Hockey Sticks” without collapsing into a fit of giggles because of how dumb it sounds. But I’ve never had to give it up in my own home. My cursing sanctuary. The place where I have always let my four-letter word creativity blossom and develop in a nurturing environment.

I’ve tried everything to curb my filthy mouth. For awhile I tried to use alternatives. You know, like “dang” instead of “dammit son of a bitch in hell!” or “fartknocker” instead of “douchebag asshat.” I even tried yelling “Fudge it!” but that just made me hungry all the time.

I also tried going cold turkey there for a bit, having my husband monitor my words. Alas, that just made every conversation go like this:

Me: “I mean, what the h-…heck was that d-…person-head f-fraking…thinking when they f-…freaking…oh my god…what was I saying again? I can’t remember anymore.”

My husband: “Frak if I know.”

Me: “Smartass.”

My husband: “Ah, you cussed.”

Me: “Sorry. Dumbass.”

And also, cold turkey just made me hungry all the time.

But by golly gee, I’m going to do my darnedest to stop this dang bad habit of mine. For my fraking son. Because it’s all fraking fun and games until he calls his kindergarten teacher an asshole because he didn’t get a smiley face sticker on his Thanksgiving turkey hand assignment.

So, I’m going to fraking do this. Even if it fraking kills me.

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Clogging the toilet bowl of equality

What fools we are, us women. Prancing around with our right to vote and our equal rights amendment as though they mean something. Thinking we can have our cake and eat it too (and if we eat it standing up in the kitchen it doesn’t have any calories).

Well, I have news for you, America. As much as we say the women’s movement has helped us come a long way, baby, we have been deceived. Like teenagers who get overly excited when a celebrity retweets them, we have been fooled into thinking we matter.

Think I’m crazy? Well, let me just give you an example of how far we haven’t come.

There is a segregated place that women are forced to go to almost on a daily basis that is so perverse, so medieval, so inhumane, it makes one think we haven’t moved forward one iota from the Dark Ages.

Naturally, the place I’m talking about is the women’s public restroom.

Yes, even though we finally have trendy T-shirts featuring Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s face, the fact that we are still forced to use these, dare I say, “facilities,” is outrageous. I mean, we can make someone with Julia Child’s voice a star and yet we can’t come up with a better bathroom system than the current one we have?

If you have never entered into a women’s public restroom (re: you’re a man who didn’t have the nerve as a kid to take the dare from your friends), let me enlighten you.

You’ll first recognize a women’s public restroom by the line outside of it. A line that swoops and curves around in a fashion that should never be seen outside of an amusement park (and only then in cases where it’s a ride that’s going to make you vomit in the fun way). Slowly and painfully do you watch the women in this line zombie shuffle…and shuffle…and shuffle…and shuffle…pausing to let a tumbleweed amble by…and shuffle, until finally they reach the door, where they wait in another line inside the restroom (since there are only two stalls to make way for the gigantic, unnecessary couch in the corner).

Mind you, this whole time their bladders are aching with the fire of a thousand menstrual cramps.

After what seems like a Bugs Bunny cartoon passing of time (the sun went up, sunk down, the moon rose, the sun came back up, back down, the moon rose…) they finally reach the stall door. And here is where the fun part begins.

Whoever was the first woman to decide it would be much more sanitary to “hover” over the toilet seat rather than making actual cheek-to-seat contact should be made to wear diapers and banned from all toilets. As for those of you that continue to “hover,” I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

Contrary to myths circulating fourth grade classrooms the world over, you can’t get cooties from a toilet seat and there is no such thing as a South American poisonous spider that hides under the lids and bites your lady business when you sit down. So sit your happy little ass down. Because you know what happens when you hover? You sprinkle when you tinkle. And you never, ever, clean it up. Which, of course, forces the next woman to hover, and the next, and the next…

BECAUSE NO ONE WANTS TO CLEAN UP YOUR PEE, YOU DISGUSTING HEATHEN!

And then, of course, there are the women who think they need to use a wad of toilet paper roughly the size of a basketball to clean their vaginas when they are done. This, in turn, causes the toilet to clog and also causes a shortage of toilet paper. Which forces the woman in the one lone stall that still has toilet paper to ration it out amongst her brethren, which merely slows down the entire operation and makes the bitter writer at the end of the line seriously weigh the pros and cons of getting a “urinating in public” ticket.

But wait, what’s it like on the other side then, you ask? Well, according to my husband, who for purposes of anonymity I will only identify here by the code name Ryan Hugene Huddle, men have rules of etiquette when it comes to public restrooms.

“When you first walk in and there is already someone at the urinal, you take the farthest one away from them. You always want at least one urinal between you and the other guys. If it’s not very crowded, you can even wait until someone finishes so as to avoid the ‘right next to each other’ urinal action.”

“But what if it’s really crowded?” I asked.

“Well, you can’t avoid peeing beside each other forever. Sometimes you just have to do it. But, honestly, when it comes down to it, we’ll just pee right there in the street.”

And there it is. Ladies, it’s sad but true what this says about our era. We may have burned our bras and went overseas to fight in wars, but when it comes down to it, we still can’t pee in the street…at least, not very discreetly what with our comically large, bowling-ball-sized wad of toilet paper and all.

The only thing I care about regarding the new royal baby

Kate Middleton in her third trimester looks like current un-pregnant me.

If I went on a 30-day juice fast.

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Rage Against the Green Bean

As someone who was born into a loving family that lived in a prosperous country during a fairly enlightened historical period, I have rarely had to use that most basic lizard part of my brain. You know, that section of the human mind that is devoted entirely to mere survival.

From the moment I was born, I’ve always had shelter. I’ve always had clothes on my back (even if those clothes were all neon from 1985 to 1988). I mean, I’ve never even really had to worry about where my next meal is coming from, let alone had to hunt or forage for my food (which is good because I have a suspicion that cheese, the main staple of my diet, doesn’t grow naturally in the wild).

Hell, I’ve never even been in a physical fight, unless you count the endless Thunderdome sessions I had with my cousins growing up, which I don’t. Sure, we may have legitimately been trying to kill each other but none of us had the upper body strength to actually do it.

So, you know, it was all good family fun.

But then I became a mom. And when you become a mom, that primal part of your brain is constantly lighting up like a Christmas tree. Actually even before you become a mom. During pregnancy, you turn downright feral at times. Or at least I did. We’re talking “hunched over and devouring a steak with my bare hands while growling if anyone else got too close to my meat” level of feral.

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I mean, we’re talking “striking out at anything that is a perceived threat” level of animalistic behavior.

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And then there was the heightened sense of smell, which allowed me to tell which bushes other pregnant women had peed on within the last two weeks.

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And when your baby finally is born, it only gets worse. For example, take how I reacted anytime someone else tried to comfort my screaming newborn. That sound, those piercing, stabby cries that are like throat punches to your very soul, should have had me overjoyed that someone, anyone, would be willing to take over for awhile (especially considering newborns like to breastfeed every 13 minutes and my body was still recovering from the gaping exit hole they slashed in my abdomen because my darling fetus thought the original exit was beneath him).

And yet, the maternal animal in me couldn’t bear to not be the one comforting him. It took everything I had not to rip that kid away from the nurses, or from my husband, or from both of our more experienced mothers when he was crying and scurry off into the corner with him like Gollum holding his precious. Because it was actually less painful to have an infant screaming in my face than to hear him crying in someone else’s arms. I just HAD to comfort him. HAD TO. My lizard brain wouldn’t let me not do it.

(Luckily this feeling passed quickly and by the time he was 2-months-old I was practically begging any stranger who had at least one arm and was not currently murdering anyone to hold my hysterical wailing BANSHEE for a FREAKING second just so Mommy could eat her sandwich WITH TWO HANDS FOR ONCE).

And then there are the lightning quick animal-esque reflexes that suddenly appear because nothing in the universe moves as fast as a message from a mom’s brain to her hand to “stop the baby from eating that firecracker.”

But nothing, NOTHING, brings my cavewoman brain front and center quite like when my now one-year-old refuses to eat the food I give him. I was actually shocked the first time I felt the rage building up inside me as he spit out green bean after green bean. And the more he resisted the food, the angrier I got. It got to the point that I was actually shaking and had to get up from the table and walk away.

Because, see, when you’re a mom, you only have one prime directive and that is to feed your children. (And judging by how my mom still stuffs me with food, this prime directive never goes away. Although, by the time you are grandmother, it has morphed into “must feed everyone within 500 yards.”). So, while the modern, logical part of my brain knows that this is just my son being a picky eater, every fiber of my cavewoman self is internally screaming “EAT IT! EAT IT NOW! OR YOU’LL STARVE! YOU’LL DIE! EAT IT EAT IT EAT IT! EAT ALL OF IT! AHHHH!”

And I know it’s only going to get worse the more he grows toward toddlerhood (the official toddler motto: “No! Icky! Poo Poo Head!”).

So, I guess the only thing left to do is buy a leopard skin unitard and a gigantic Nerf club and fully commit to this new role. Because he will eat those green beans.

Oh yes, he will.

Oog. Ugh. Grrrr…

How I lost all the baby weight (and then some)

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It’s all fun & games until somebody poops

For all the crap you have to put up with as a parent (and I mean that as literally as possible), the compensation of watching your baby grow into a person right before your eyes almost makes it worth it.

(Any other time I would say “makes it completely worth it and then some” but I just got done cleaning World War III from my baby’s butt and I’m still a little bitter and shell-shocked).

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Butt seriously (see what I did there?), there is no feeling quite like realizing that little bundle of cells that made you puke up everything you ate since 1987 is now a fully formed human; one with a sense of humor and a sense of curiosity, one with ideas and feelings, one with preferences and opinions (although granted, my human has had opinions from Day One…hell, we use to argue when he was still in the womb).

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And now that Riker is one-year-old, his personhood is out in full force. Take for example, the fact that he now not only wants to play games, but is inventing games. My little human! Who only a short time ago looked like a young (old?) Benjamin Button and couldn’t comprehend anything of the world beyond my boob!

(Although, in his defense, my boobs are amazing).

All day long now, we play his games. Some are simple. Take the game “Pretend To Throw Up Tiny Toy Chair,” which is pretty straight forward. He shoves a tiny toy chair in my mouth and I pretend to throw it up. He giggles, retrieves the tiny toy chair and we play Round Two. Which is the same as Round One. Which is the same as Round 109.

And it will go to Round 109. Oh yes, it will.

This game is similar to the one he invented with his Daddy, which is “Stop The Strange Noise Coming From Daddy’s Mouth.” However, this one is a bit more sophisticated. Sitting on the floor in the living room, Daddy will make a noise that sounds like a hamster drowning and being electrocuted at the same time. Riker giggles and then shoves the closest small toy available into Daddy’s mouth to stop the noise. Daddy then spits out the toy (extra points for long distances) and makes the noise again. Riker fetches the toy and the entire process repeats. Mommy serves as referee for this game.

Which she does from the kitchen.

While chugging wine straight out of the bottle.

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And, of course, “Taxi Driver.” This is a game where Mommy or Daddy (or Grandma or the babysitter or a not too terribly smelling hobo) picks him up and walks him around the house while he directs the adult where to go using finger-pointing and crystal clear directions such as “Gworp!”. The goal, as far as I can figure, is for him to touch every single thing we own that is above 2.5 feet high.

Other games, however, are more advanced.

His favorite is “Ball On Couch.” This is apparently a strategy game where the goal is for us to get his big rubber yellow ball onto the couch in one VERY specific location. Once we get the ball in that location, he takes it and throws it back onto the floor where it rolls away. We then argue over who has to get the ball (Me: “You go get it.” Him: “BAH!” followed by finger pointed at me). Once I retrieve the ball, I hand it to him and he works diligently on putting it back on the couch. Judging by how much he cries when the ball is not in the right position on the couch, you lose points anytime the ball is not in the northwest corner just left of the red stripped pillow.

There is “Kitchen Set Bulldozer,” which is really more of a single player game. This involves him pushing his gigantic toy kitchen set around the house while on his knees. My role in this is more of facilitator, responsible for moving obstacles (such as my leg) out of his way and redirecting his path when annoying things such as a wall or small-to-medium-sized animals get in his way.

Then there is “Traffic Jam.” Which, if I’m being honest, I have absolutely no idea how to play. All I know is that he hands me every single toy car he owns (which is a lot considering he is a male American baby and as such, my house just spontaneously produces little cars in response to his presence and scatters them around in every room) and then looks up at me expectantly. So I go vroom-vroom with them. I make them crash into each other. I drive them over his head and down his back. I even put them in a long line and just let them sit there idling but not knowing why they’re just sitting there idling so as to give him realistic expectations of what driving a car is really like. But I am obviously playing wrong because he keeps looking at me with a disappointed face and handing me back the cars with strict instructions to “Bah! Drrrr! Pfffft!”.

Luckily, my son is very patient with my incompetence and even though he is by far the more skilled player in all these games, he lets me sometimes win out of the goodness of his heart.

Or, at least, I think he sometimes lets me win. I mean, what else could “Derpaduh!” mean other than “I concede victory to you!”?

Five years down, eternity to go

As I sit here typing this, it’s my five-year wedding anniversary. Added bonus, this year also marks ten years since my husband and I first met.

I know, I know. So what am I doing writing and working on this oh-so-special day? But as I said, it’s been ten years. Using your anniversary to stare all googly-eyed at your significant other while you drink champagne and eat strawberries in bed is for new couples who haven’t yet had the experience of sharing a tiny bathroom while you both have the flu.

But still, this day is a pretty big deal, despite the horrible things that went down in that bathroom that we can never un-see. I mean, even after all these years, my husband is still my best friend. And I’ve only had two fantasies, three tops, of dropping a giant anvil on his head, Wile E. Coyote-style.

In all honesty, though, I love that man with all my…ugh, hang on a sec…what’s that, babe? … Babe? … RYAN! … What did you say? Are you talking to me or the dog? … Oh my god, if you’re talking to me, I can’t hear you. … Still can’t hear you. … Why the hell are you mumbling? … I don’t know, look in the junk drawer. … THE JUNK DRAWER. … Did you find it? … I said DID YOU FIND IT? … I can’t. … CAUSE I’M BUSY, DAMMIT. … I’m writing about how much we love each other. … I SAID HOW MUCH WE LOVE EACH OTHER, GRANDPA! Son of a …

Anyway, as I was saying, I still love that man as much, if not more, than I did on our wedding day. Which, trust me, is a lot considering the beer was flowing like wine at our reception and Momma was a VERY happy girl that day.

And now that we have a baby, we’re closer than ever. A child truly is the ultimate manifestation of love between two people and …ah, hang on…Riker, honey, Mommy can’t play with you right now. She’s writing about what an awesome wife and mother she is. Here, go play with Daddy’s cell phone. Just don’t throw…and you threw it down the stairs. Awesome.

Anyway, starting a family allowed us both to see each other in a new light. And while that new light isn’t always flattering (I haven’t plucked my eyebrows since November), there is this beautiful sense that you have created something that is not only bigger than you, but bigger than the both of you. And that bigger something is full of joy and love and yes, a bit of chaos, but chaos isn’t always a bad thing. Because, as the old saying goes…Oh, come on! What now? … Seriously, dude, you need to speak up. … No, I have no idea where your cell phone is. Now, can I finish this, please? For the love of …

ANYWAY, as I was saying, marriage is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. Wait, is that the saying? Well, it doesn’t matter. It still fits. I remember all the nights we sat around drinking wine, making elaborate plans those first few years. The things we would do. The places we would go. The shiny, shiny things we would buy because hey, it’s not like we’ll be poor forever.

And even though hey, we are going to be poor forever because kids need a lot of stupid, expensive crap, and even though I still haven’t been tapped to replace Tina Fey on SNL and he hasn’t yet turned into Batman, and even though our last vacation was to exotic Costco, what did happen was a decade of a very happy life together (minus one flu-ridden weekend that still gives us daymares).

You know, when it comes down to it, it really is the simple things in life that make it …I swear to all that is holy, if you two keep bugging me while I’m trying to write this, I will throw away both of y’alls toys and comic books, got me? Do not test me. And stop all that screaming. I’m almost done. Just give me a few more minutes.

Ugh.

Anyway…I don’t know. Marriage is great and junk. Blah, blah, blah. You get the gist. Now, if you’ll excuse me, one and/or possibly both of my beloveds is bleeding and it appears the dining room table is on fire.

P.S. While I’ve been busy making fun of my husband to collect some cheap laughs, he cleaned the entire house, arranged for a babysitter so we can go out tonight and took care of our fearless and highly mobile son (all while actually leaving me alone so I could write this). I know. I don’t think I deserve him either. Thanks for putting up with me all these years, Ryan. I love you.