Lie to me, baby

It started with the vegetables.

As soon as my baby was able to chew anything besides my tender bosoms, I shoved as many vegetables into his mouth as I could, cheerfully exclaiming the whole time how incredibly “nom-nom” they were.

It was the first lie I told him.

Vegetables are not, in fact, “nom-nom.” They are horrible. The only reason we humans eat them is so that we live past the age of 24 (or because the restaurant is out of the fried cheese appetizer so we settle instead…sigh…for the fried pickle platter). And yet there I was, putting on an elaborate show about how delicious they were to my 6-month-old.

“Look, Mommy eats them. Nom-nom-nom,” I repeatedly said as I did that optical illusion trick where I turned to the side and made it look like those disgusting mashed peas were going into my mouth (because babies are adorable but extremely dumb).

I lied to him because I didn’t want him to turn out like me, someone who cried the last time she had to eat a tomato (in my defense, I was only 28-years-old). I want him to have a wider palette at the age of 6 than I do at the age of 33.

But this lie, this tiny, little white lie, was just the first of many. Because the sad thing is, childhood is built on a web of lies. A web of lies weaved by the people who are supposed to love the child the most.

It starts innocently enough. Take Santa, for instance. You just want to add to the magic of Christmas, right? Everyone does it. What’s the big deal?

Nothing.

Until the day you realize you are essentially saying, here, kid, sit on the lap of this strange man who reeks of gin while Mommy takes 58 photos with her phone and then pays the nice elf who smells of marijuana $35 for an identical photo while you tell the strange man what you want for Christmas so he can break into our house and leave it under the tree we murdered specifically for the occasion.

And that’s just the beginning. There are so many more lies coming my son’s way.

There’s the tooth fairy. Hey junior, stick that body part that just fell out of you under your pillow so a magical creature can break into our house and purchase it for 25 cents using the honor system (although with the current rate of inflation, my son will likely be getting a check for $200 under his pillow with a note in the memo to please not cash it until next Friday).

And the Easter Bunny, where, the thing is, sweetheart, some super-intelligent rabbit lays eggs and then paints them and hides them and you have to dress up in a turquoise shirt and khakis in order to go find them. And then we all eat ham until we get the meat sweats.

And don’t forget St. Patrick’s Day. See, honey, Grandma is going to babysit you because Mommy and Daddy have to get drunk today to celebrate the birth of the leprechaun. It’s the law.

And as he gets older it’s only going to get worse.

Where do babies come from?

Well, when a mommy and a daddy really love each other, they do a special hug and then mommy hates everyone for nine months and that’s how we got you!

Do girls have cooties?

Yes. Stay away from them until you are 35. Then find a nice one right away and give me 11 grandchildren.

Where do people go when they die?

Who wants to go get ICE CREAM!?!?

Why do I need to learn algebra? I’ll never use it once I graduate.

Don’t be silly. I use algebra every day. For things like…taxes. And…uh…grocery shopping. Why do you think it’s called “pi”? Solve x for “e.” And you get pie. Now shut up and do your homework.

So, are all these lies necessary? Yes. One, because they really do make childhood more magical. Or at least they did for me. Kids don’t care why that strange man wants to give them free toys or why a fairy wants to hoard their tiny body parts or why a rabbit poops eggs to celebrate spring. They just want free toys and free money and free rabbit poop eggs.

Two, they shield kids from important life facts. No one would ever reproduce again if they knew at the age of five what their Daddy was doing to Mommy (or vice versa) during their “special hug.”

But most importantly, we need little white lies to survive as a species. I mean, of course none of us have ever used algebra after high school (unless you’re like a wizard or an engineer, which are the same thing in my book). But if we told kids the truth, then there would be riots in the streets and eventually we would stop teaching algebra until it became like a dead language and that would be the day the aliens invaded and the only way to stop them is to solve that stupid triangle thing. Only no one will remember how to solve it and we all die horrible fiery deaths.

Which is why the first time my son catches me in one of these lies, I’m going to tell him I had to do it for national security reasons.

I’m a patriot, really.

A eulogy for procrastination (that I’ll finish writing later)

When you have a baby, many things are added to your life. Pure joy, for one. A love you didn’t know was possible, for another. Happiness. A sense of meaning. Wisdom (well, relatively…babies are super dumb so you are super wise in comparison).

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Of course, it’s a bit of a trade-off because you lose things too in the process. A good night’s sleep. Daydrinking. The ability to talk to people without mentioning poop or very private medical details.

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But the thing I miss the most is procrastination.

We’ve been friends a long time, procrastination and me. We first met in high school, where we spent countless mornings in the girl’s bathroom together, furiously copying Misty’s Spanish homework in the seven minutes between arriving at school and the first bell (which wasn’t really cheating because I was totally absorbing the material as I sloppily scribbled it down…el gato esta en la microonda, comprende?).

Procrastination is also the reason why I read “Huckleberry Finn” in one night in college, closing the cover at 4 a.m. and realizing I had just read one the greatest books of all time as I drifted off to sleep (and then continued sleeping right through the exam).

But once you have a kid, being able to procrastinate is the second thing to go, right after the ability to watch any TV show in which a child gets kidnapped.

Yes, no longer do I possess the luxury of putting things off. Oh, trust me, I tried. There for awhile I kept my same kitchen cleaning schedule of “only do the dishes once you find yourself eating soup out of a Frisbee using a shot glass.” But then what ends up happening is that all the bottles and sippy cups are dirty and you have to wash an individual one in the sink like some kind of peasant and all the while the baby is screaming because he’s hungry and you realize you’re just going to repeat this whole horrible process in three hours unless you finally just cave in and load the dishwasher. And before you know it, suddenly you’re emptying and reloading the dishwasher every single day.

It’s the same way with the laundry. I put off doing it until the evening I realized Riker was completely out of clothes. So I just slapped my old Nirvana T-shirt on the kid, tucked him in and called it a night. Except I didn’t get a wink of sleep that night because I kept worrying that, of course, that night would be the night something horrible happened and I’d have to take him to the emergency room and the doctor would take one look at this tiny thing swimming in Kurt Cobain’s face and immediately call child services because I am obviously an unfit mother.

And let me tell you, you will only once, ONCE, miscalculate how many diapers you have and say to yourself “oh, that should be enough, we’ll just go to the store tomorrow.” Because babies can sense when you only have three diapers left and they view it as a personal challenge to use them all in the next 37 minutes.

I don’t even procrastinate on paying bills anymore. Because while having my electricity cut off and my landlord knocking on the door while I drink vodka in the dark and praise my creative spirit that wouldn’t let me sell out (I am CREATING ART, I have a DREAM, dammit) seemed very “la vie boheme” a few years ago, it’s just irresponsible and sad when you’re a parent.

But I think what I miss procrastinating the most on is this right here. Writing. As I type this very sentence, it’s been two hours since I sat down and started this column. And I’ve sat here this whole time, just typing word after word, until they became sentences and the sentences became paragraphs. I haven’t gotten up. I haven’t checked Facebook and Twitter. I haven’t made myself a snack or Googled new diets as I ate my snack or online shopped for clothes I would fit into thanks to my new future diet.

I just wrote.

Now, if you’re not a writer, you might think “well, yeah, that’s how it works.” But it’s not. Writing is the thing writers spend the least amount of time on. When a writer says they’re writing, what they’re really doing for three hours is anything else in the world followed by ten minutes of actual writing followed by Googling their own name as they eat Cheetos.

And I miss that. Deeply.

But here I sit. Actually writing. Because my husband has stuff he needs to do today and in a few minutes it will be my turn to play “Let’s Not Kill Ourselves!” with the baby.

So, for those of you out there who are still able to procrastinate, enjoy it. Luxuriate in it. Hug it, kiss it, then air hump it and spoon it for an hour.

Because once it’s gone, once you actually have to do the stuff that needs to be done all the time, you’ll miss it.

Or at least you would if you weren’t busy sweeping the floors because you just pulled your baby out from under the table and he looked like he went a couple of rounds with some mammoth dust bunnies on steroids and lost.

The morning routine…

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Sorry, not sorry, but really sorry kind of not really

I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions. In fact, I prefer to live every day like it’s New Year’s Eve, eating too much cheeseball and wearing outfits that are inappropriately shiny. So, when I say this next thing, it’s less a resolution and more…some sort of synonym for resolution that I am too lazy to look up.

I am done saying “sorry.”

Not that there is anything I’ve been saying “sorry” for in particular.

And that’s because I say “sorry” for everything.

For. Everything.

Which is why it has to stop.

See, I grew up in that unique part of the Midwest (re: everywhere in the Midwest) where saying “sorry” is right up there with breathing and playing corn hole (not as dirty as it sounds). We say “sorry” more than we say “like” and we, like, say “like” like a lot.

Of course, not everyone raised in the Midwest is like this. For instance, people who need to legitimately apologize for things never do. Like your crappy unemployed ex-boyfriend (I can change him!) who wrecked your car or your racist, meth-addicted cousin who always ruins Easter by doing lewd things with the ham. However, your great aunt Selma, who just cooked a seven-course meal for 43 people, will apologize profusely because the homemade apple pies made from scratch are a bit too tart because her grocery store ran out of the apples she prefers to use and even though she went to seven other grocery stores to try and find them she had no luck so please forgive her.

I personally am one of the worst “I’m sorry” abusers. At this point, saying “I’m sorry” is pretty much just a reflex. For example, here is a list of things I’ve actually apologized for in the past year:

My husband having a nightmare.

Liking a Taylor Swift song.

Talking too much.

Not talking enough (usually to the same person and within the same 15 minute period).

Making a woman move her gigantic purse from the subway seat next to her so that I (and the almost 20-pound baby strapped to my chest) could sit down.

The lasagna being too cheesy (as if such a thing exists).

Making the coffee too strong (as if such a thing exists).

Bumping into a coat rack (to the actual coat rack).

sorry rack

There being nothing good on TV.

For taking too long to write on the weekends.

For forcing my son to eat vegetables.

For forcing my husband to eat vegetables.

For forcing my dog to eat the vegetables my son and husband both stealthily threw on the ground.

Hitting that guy in the face with my pregnant stomach repeatedly when I tried to awkwardly get up from a teeny-tiny restaurant table (although that apology might have actually been warranted).

sorry bump

It has gotten so bad that I’m pretty much just apologizing for existing. For taking up space and oxygen. For daring to be a person with opinions and faults and bad moods and quirks and interests and guilty pleasures and a less than stellar record of walking without knocking anything over.

But the last straw, the reason I have to put a stop to this now, is that I realized I was constantly apologizing to my baby. My 10-month-old baby. A tiny human whose only goal in life is to kill himself in ever-increasing creative ways (his latest: whacking Mommy’s face before she’s had her coffee).

No parent should ever apologize to their kid for doing the day-to-day things that keep them healthy and alive. And yet, there I was. Saying sorry, I know you don’t want to but it’s naptime. Sorry, but you can’t hurl yourself off the couch headfirst. Sorry, but you can’t shove that fork (where the hell did you get a fork?) into the outlet.

And I know if I don’t end this now, I will eventually release into the world one of those 23-year-olds who can’t do his own laundry and thinks he’ll become a world-famous electro pop DJ.

But most importantly, I don’t want to raise my son into a man who thinks it’s normal for a woman to apologize for everything. Because too often, we do. It’s a bad habit too many of us need to break.

And mine ends today.

Sorry, but that’s just the way it’s going to be.

New year, new blog title

Say hello to Chick Writes Stuff.*

Don’t worry. Nothing else will change. The web address is still aprillbrandon.com. The writing will be the same. And believe you me, my art skills have NOT improved (if anything, they’ve regressed).

I’ve just never really liked the original title (which I thought of four years ago after taking a Tylenol PM and drinking a vodka and cranberry).

*Thanks go out to my good friend Nick for the suggestion.

Napper’s Delight

Guys. GUYS. My baby napped in his crib.

No. No, you don’t understand.

My baby.

Napped.

In his crib.

For one glorious hour and seven minutes (and 46 seconds, but who’s counting), my child slept in the daytime in the actual space that is specifically and scientifically designed for just such a purpose. As opposed to where he has taken every other single nap of his entire short life, which was in my arms (or his father’s arms, or his grandparents’ arms or that hobo’s arms that one time I REALLY had to pee in a sketchy Starbucks).

Not that I didn’t try to get him to nap in his crib. I did. I do. All the time. However, this is how it usually turns out:

Flashback wavy lines…Flashback wavy lines…Flashback wavy lines…

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But this time, I don’t know if it was a fluke or maybe he was just really tired that day or if it’s that he’s finally old enough to realize that the crib is actually his bed and not the Sarlacc from Star Wars. But he slept. And after only 11 minutes of “my mother abandoned me and I’m going to die” level crying.

So what did I do with that one hour and seven minutes and 46 seconds, you ask? Well, you know that “Flight of the Bumblebee” song? Yeah, have that running through your head as you read the following.

nappers 1

First things first, I ran to the bathroom to grab the nail trimmer! Where I clipped four out of the ten gnarly hermit nails I had been wanting to trim since March! Before remembering I had to do laundry! Because I was down to my pregnancy underwear that I had to safety pin to my pants so they didn’t fall down! So I ran to the bedroom to start sorting my giant mountain of clothes! Which I did for 2.5 minutes before remembering I could actually eat something for once without a tiny human being clawing at my legs! So I ran to the kitchen and opened the fridge! Just basking in the glow of the refrigerator light and the knowledge that I could eat whatever I wanted and not just grab the first convenient thing I saw, which was usually something disgusting, like two-week-old Chinese food or celery!

nappers 2

Before I could eat though, I realized I could finally read the Sunday newspaper! Even though it was Tuesday! And the newspaper was from three weeks ago! But first, I wanted to make more coffee! Because I would need more caffeine to do all the things! All. The. Things! Ooh, coffee and the newspaper! AND A BISCOTTI! I needed a biscotti too! But we didn’t have any! I could run out and get some! Oh wait! No I can’t! My kid is just napping! Still needs an adult present! Oh well! Wait, what was I doing!?

nappers 3

A book! I could finally read one of my books languishing on my nightstand! But which one!? Oh, but first I should shower! NO! A bath! Oh my god, a bath! I miss baths! And then I could read my book in the tub with my coffee and biscotti! Oh yeah, I was making coffee! Where are the filters!? I can finally shave my Sasquatch legs and use that fancy sugar scrub!

Cookies!!! We don’t have biscotti but I could make cookies! Wait, why do my nails look weird? Oh yeah, I didn’t finish trimming them! I could do that while I finally start watching “Twin Peaks” on Netflix! Right after I call everyone I’ve ever known since I can now finally talk without Lil’ Captain ChattyPants constantly trying to grab my cell phone! But who to call first!? Wait, wasn’t I making coffee? Where are those damned filters!?

nappers 4

Ooh, actually though, I should probably use this time to clean. Hahahaha! I crack myself up! Searching for “Supernatural” bloopers on YouTube while stuffing my face with cheese it is instead!

Oh crap. Oh crap, crap, crap. What was that noise? He’s awake!? Already!? But I haven’t DONE anything yet! Sixty percent of my nails are still scary witch lady length!

Oh well. Guess there’s always the next time he naps in his crib.* I mean, now that he did it once, I’m sure this is bound to become a regular thing, right?**

*Still waiting.

**I’m typing this one-handed as he naps in my arms.

New Year’s Hangover–Parent Style

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