Well, there’s always tomorrow

I have never wanted to star in a reality TV show. I have happily hate-watched enough of them to ever wish that kind of scrutiny on myself.

So, imagine my surprise, then, when I had kids and suddenly realized I was one.

Every day of my life now is pretty much the kids binge-watching their favorite reality show, “Keeping Up With Momma’s Sanity.” Followed by the spin-off, “Here Comes Vodka.”

Those adorable little sponges absorb every single little thing I do with their big eyes. And then repeat everything I say with their even bigger mouths (including curse words they “may” have overheard a “certain” parent say).

Which is why I want to be a good example for my children. I really do. I want to be the friggin’ best example of humanity that has ever existed for them. But since that will never happen (I once told my entire second grade class that Santa didn’t exist), I’ll settle for trying to be the best version of myself for my kids.

sketch1512503438114.png

Here’s who I want to be. I want to be the loving dog owner who is always patient and kind with her aging dog, Buffy. The kind of owner who never gets annoyed with his incessant, loud barking because she knows his eyesight and hearing is going and so every fast movement and loud sound is clearly a gang of pirates attacking the house, which can only be stopped by his heroic barking efforts.

I want to be the loving mother who keeps her cool at dinner when both kids are complaining about the home-cooked meal placed in front of them, even though they also complained about lunch. And breakfast. And every meal the day before. And the day before that. And everything I have placed in front of their mouth holes that wasn’t chocolate since the day they came into existence.  

I want to be the confident professional(ish) writer who works hard and leaves a beautiful published legacy for her family.

I want to be the loving wife who definitely doesn’t bury her husband under an angry verbal avalanche of “guess what YOUR children did today?” as soon as he walks in the door.

But here’s who I am.

I am the loving dog owner who patiently tolerates my aging dog Buffy’s panicked barking…up to a certain point. And then I will yell back “SHUT UP, BUFFY! SHUT UP! YOU’RE KILLING ME! YOU’RE *definitely not a curse word* KILLING ME!”

I am the loving mother who once snapped and threw both kids’ dinner plates out the window.

I am the professional(ish) writer who, when suffering from a bout of writer’s block, slams shut her computer and yells “WORDS ARE DUMB” and then hides in the kitchen to shove unhealthy amounts of cheese in her mouth.

I am the loving wife who also assaults her husbands with verbal tsunamis, verbal monsoons and, on one particularly bad day, a verbal tornado (when he was still in the driveway).  

Sigh.  

It’s enough to keep a girl up at night worrying about whether or not she’s ruining her kids.

But then I remind myself that, from time to time, I’m also the mom who will spend hours every day reading books to her children until they get sick of it (and they never do). And I am Darth Vader Momma, who will have light saber fights with Stormtrooper Riker with one hand while holding Baby Yoda Mae in the other, and even resists the urge to correct her 3-year-old on why this situation goes against “Star Wars” canon.

sketch1512503423396

I’m also the loving dog owner who carries her dog up and down the stairs when the temperature drops too low, kicking his arthritis into high gear. And then gives him all the mashed potatoes her daughter didn’t eat because him such a good wittle puppeh, isn’t him? And then quietly cleans up the vomit the next day because his aging system can no longer handle human food.  

I am the completely not confident writer barely scraping by who still writes and never stops writing because she loves it. And then fiercely hates it. And then loves it again.

And I am the loving wife who makes naughty stick figure drawings for her husband and hides them in his computer bag.

sketch1512503404405

I am a work in progress. And ultimately, perhaps that’s the best lesson of humanity I could teach my children. That no one is perfect but every day is another chance to be a better person.  

Eh…nah. It’d be much better if I was just a much better human overall. One who didn’t eat her kid’s last chicken nugget when they weren’t looking.

But still, every day is another chance to be a better person.

Advertisements

Stupider things

Here is the thing they never tell you about being a parent (or at least not in an official pamphlet form): Once you get to a certain point, past the “oh god, I just really need both of us to survive this” stage, you will spend the majority of your parenting time arguing.

Arguing about very stupid things.

For example, say you buy your small child a sprinkled donut. Because he INSISTS he wants a sprinkled donut. But then he hands it back to you and wants you to take off all the sprinkles. All the sprinkles off the sprinkled donut that he REALLY TRULY wanted. Because he apparently only likes the ghostly essence of sprinkles on a sprinkled donut.

Because 3-year-old logic.

Now, as a parent, you have several options here.

You could flat-out refuse, because it’s a ridiculous request. Which will likely lead to a stupid argument and end in a tantrum (yours or his).

ef1cc397-51fa-42a2-af5f-17882e90be76.png

You could try to reason with him. Which will likely lead to a stupid argument and end in a tantrum (again, yours or his or, let’s be honest, both).

0db2c5e6-11d1-491d-ab38-145359dd4ce6

And lastly, you could just shut up and do it. Which means every time you get donuts now, he will ask for a sprinkled donut and ask you to take off all the sprinkles. Which means, six months from now, you will likely have a mental breakdown as you are scraping sprinkles off the 27th donut, and while you are busy rocking back and forth in the corner, sucking your thumb and sobbing, your small child will turn to his father and ask HIM to take off the sprinkles. Which Daddy will likely refuse to do (because he’s not an idiot). Which will lead to an argument and a tantrum as they are driving you to the nearest asylum.

5a756041-a301-4054-b2f1-f981bc7ba57c

Sigh. In case it wasn’t already clear, there are no winners in these kinds of scenarios. Only survivors.

And yes, I know. Hey, man, with kids, you have to pick your battles. But that’s the thing. I already am picking my battles. Which is how he won the stupid pizza argument.

What’s the stupid pizza argument? So glad you asked. The stupid pizza argument began because my 3-year-old claims to LOVE pizza. But what he really means is he loves pizza crust. And only the crust. If there is even the tiniest remnant of cheese or sauce or anything that actually makes a pizza a pizza, on that pizza crust, he will hand it back and ask you to remove it. It doesn’t matter if your big ‘ol dumb adult eyes can’t see this alleged speck of sauce. You are to remove it. All of it. And he will hand it back to you over and over again until not even one of those nerds on one of those CSI shows could find trace elements of sauce.

I know, I know. Ha! Ha! Kids, huh? They’re so funny with their weird quirks. But wait! There’s more! Because once the pizza crust has been professionally picked clean, he will then proceed to dip it into a small bowl of pizza sauce.

PIZZA. SAUCE.

No matter how much I explain the irony, my son doesn’t get it. So, do we go through this whole ritual every single time we have pizza? You bet your happy ass we do.

Because you have to pick your battles.

But you can’t always give in either. Because then they know that they own you, which, sure, doesn’t seem that bad now. But wait until they’re 17 and you’re having the stupid “being a dj is not a career” argument and they won’t listen to you because you decided when they were three that it was just easier to pick the sprinkles off the goddamn donut.

Which is why you simply can’t give in during the stupid “stop saying shut up” argument even though you know how stupid it is and even though everyone is staring at you because you are the crazy person yelling at your son to shut up about saying shut up because only grown ups can say shut up so knock it off and shut up because I am gradually going insane and so many brain cells are committing suicide right now.

44caaf7d-eb94-4ed9-b804-b8c0b1af0209

And so, in conclusion, alcohol is terrific.

Cheers.

 

Giving thanks for this dumpster fire of a year

I don’t know about you guys but, for me, this has been one doozy of a year. Trying to juggle two small children and marriage and jobs and deadlines and ever-rising bills and the tattered remains of my social life, all while being chronically sleep deprived and all while the outside world appears to be crumbling around us, has taken its toll.

I’m tired, ya’ll.

And disillusioned.

And anxious and overwhelmed and whatever emotion that googly-eyed emoji face is supposed to portray.

And yet, at the same time, I’m also blissfully happy in those in-between moments, when I turn off the TV and my phone, and remember to actually live my life and look my family in the face and kiss my husband and squeeze my little squishies until they giggle so hard they fart.

Welcome to 2017.

But that’s the great thing about Thanksgiving. No matter what kind of year you’ve had, you can always find something to be grateful for, even if it’s just the little things in those in-between moments.

Like tiny, little, giggle-induced, baby farts.

And with that I present what I am thankful for this year:

 

  1. That I have two beautiful, healthy children…who are napping right now.
  2. That I have a smoking hot husband…who is napping right now.
  3. That because everyone is napping right now, I can get the good, expensive chocolate out from its secret hiding place and eat it in the open.
  4. That my smoking hot husband will take care of our two beautiful, healthy and unreasonably energetic children while I drink wine in the kitchen cook the Thanksgiving dinner.
  5. That the chances are high I can convince that same husband to stick his hand up the giant turkey’s butt and take out the gross innards so I don’t have to.
  6. That we already bought all the food we need for Thursday and don’t have to get in a slap fight with an old lady at the grocery store over the last of the cream cheese.
  7. That no one in my family likes sweet potatoes so I don’t have to bother making sweet potatoes because sweet potatoes are garbage.
  8. That even though we can’t have a big Thanksgiving with all our family, since both mine and his live far away, this in turn means we can wear sweatpants to dinner.
  9. That I am healthy. Except for this weird rash on my neck. And that other weird bump on my wrist. And that thing where my legs randomly go numb. I’m sure it’s fine.
  10. On a related note, I’m grateful that we can still afford health insurance for the time being.
  11. On another related note, that I have never taken health or life advice from Gwyneth Paltrow’s website Goop.
  12. That even though we are living in the darkest of all possible timelines, coffee still exists.
  13. As does wine.
  14. And rum.
  15. That my son’s fall soccer league finally ended and I no longer have to pretend that soccer is awesome or fun.
  16. That my husband bought bathtub crayons for our kids, which we adults use to write dirty messages to each other in the shower.
  17. That I have wonderful, amazing friends. Who I rarely see. Or talk to. But when I do, also love to curse an obscene amount.
  18. That the season of letting my kids just wear footie pajamas all day is finally upon us.
  19. That now that I’m a grown-up I can just have mozzarella sticks for dinner but insist my children eat all of their green beans.
  20. That through it all, I’m still here, chugging along, still writing and still trying to find the humor where I can.

How to get your kids to eat Thanksgiving dinner

I have mentioned many times in this particular column of mine that I love Thanksgiving. The holiday that asks nothing of you besides gluttony and drunkenness. I don’t even mind that I’m now the one in charge of the cooking, because in the end it all leads to the gluttony and drunkenness. Plus, I found a recipe for deep-fried stuffing balls that has completely changed the entire Thanksgiving game, if not my entire life.

What I don’t love, however, is being the parent of small children at Thanksgiving. Because after spending eight hours cooking, the last thing I want to do is spend another eight hours negotiating with tiny picky dictators about trying the food I just lovingly poured my heart and soul into. Not even eating the food, mind you. Just trying one microscopic bite. A bite so small that technically it shouldn’t exist according to current laws of physics.

But no matter how delicious everything is, no matter how much it has been bathed in practically pornographic amounts of butter and lard, no matter how kid-friendly I attempt to make everything, my children will take one look at their plate and immediately start howling about the disgusting mush of dog poop and gravel I apparently just set in front of them.

True story. This is the conversation I had with my not quite 3-year-old last year:

“I can’t eat this, Mommy. It’s gross.”

“Which part is gross, baby?”

“All of it.”

Ah, music to an exhausted and slightly drunk Thanksgiving cook’s ears.

He doesn’t even like mashed potatoes, which I didn’t even know was humanly possible.  

And this year, his younger sister just learned how to shriek “No!” so it should be a beautiful dinnertime duet of denial this time around.

But I decided that after last year, which ended with a tantrum (and my toddler was crying too) and an exclamation of “oh, just eat a stupid roll,” that I would do things differently this year. I would come prepared this year. I would WIN this year.

Which is why since March I have been brainstorming ideas on how I can get my kids to eat my Thanksgiving food without tears and fighting and threats (or at the very least, only minimal threats). And I am here to share my wisdom. Because, according to my research, it’s not impossible to get even the pickiest of kids to eat Thanksgiving dinner; it just takes a little ingenuity.

So, here are your Aunty Aprill’s tips for tricking getting your kids to eat Thanksgiving dinner:

Mold the mashed potatoes into an elaborate statue of a Mickey Mouse.

Tell them sweet potatoes are potatoes made with candy.

This one is rather labor intensive, but if you can, puree some turkey and stuffing and then, using a syringe, stuff some M&M’s with the puree.

Hire a playground bully to stand menacingly in the corner and glare at them until they take three BIG bites of the three bean salad.

Tell them Christmas won’t come unless they eat everything on their plate.

Instead of a turkey, mold some mac and cheese into the shape of a turkey (but the GOOD kind from a box, none of that fancy, homemade, gourmet cheese sauce crap).

Don’t feed them for three days beforehand. Who’s brussel sprouts sauteed with butter and bacon are icky now, starving peasant child?

A less severe version of the above tip: Only feed them peas and water three days beforehand.

Tell them that Elmo made the cranberry sauce.

Pour melted chocolate over their entire plate.

Use sibling rivalry to your advantage. Whoever eats the most turkey gets the most Christmas presents.

Only serve rolls with butter. Or, if they’re really picky, only serve butter.

And, if all else fails, just drink wine until you don’t care what anyone eats.

7faaee5b-d997-4173-ac99-802818cc6dd6.png

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

 

Death (doesn’t) become her

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately.

Oh, sorry. That might be a bit too heavy of a sentence right off the bat. This is meant to be a “humor” column, after all. Let me start over.

Good morning! How are you? I’m fantastic. My toddler had a meltdown inside a store and I dropped a meatball on my baby’s face. But Starbucks is now selling their Peppermint Mocha Latte again so it all evened out.

Also, I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately. Not any particular death. Just in general. Like, what does it all mean? Is there an afterlife? Will the mortician doing the makeup on my dead face get my eyeliner right?

But mostly, I’ve been obsessing about how I definitely do not want to die. Like, ever.

You might think that something like that should go without saying, but then you are likely a well-adjusted person with a 401K and someone who didn’t spend the first 35 years of their life thinking okra was some kind of seafood.

Not that I ever wished for death (the Great Flu Vomitpalooza of 2015, which occurred right after the Great Chinese Buffet Overindulgence Shamefest of 2015, notwithstanding). I fully enjoy breathing and all that comes with it. It’s just that in past I was always fairly laid back regarding mortality.

This was especially true when I was young, because when you’re young, you are invincible. Death is merely theoretical. Like, yeah, everyone dies. Of course. I never will but sure, yeah, I get it. Everyone dies.

Except me.

Then I got older and started having to adult full-time. And while I now truly understood that, yes, I too will die someday, I was still somewhat ambivalent at this point because paying taxes and dating are just the worst. I didn’t want to die, per se. But, hey, if it meant not having to awkwardly break up with Craig via text and would end this epic hangover from hell, I wouldn’t, you know, rage against the dying of the light or anything.

930ad0f1-d2d2-4750-974e-65e6ab8607c3.png

But then I had kids. And those adorable little jerks changed everything because the millisecond after looking into their tiny screaming faces for the very first time, I knew that I absolutely had to live forever. FOREVER. I can never, ever, ever, ever leave them. EVER. I’ve often heard people say “my children are my reason for living.” Well, my children are the reason I can no longer die.

EVER.

Seriously, the thought of leaving them reduces me to heaving sobs and the ugliest of ugly cries. I have so much more to teach them! So much more to show them! At least 80 more Thanksgiving dinners with them where I ruin the day with another Star Wars vs. Star Trek argument!

And then there are the million more days I need with them because they are simply the best human beings to have ever existed.   

Because that’s the thing about having kids. Even with the exhaustion and the fears and the tantrums and the mysterious smells emanating from under the couch, my kids make my life more. More colorful. More fun. More beautiful.

Every holiday is magical again. A walk through the woods is full of gnomes and fairies again. And love is back to its purest, simplest form again.

It’s life in Technicolor.

And there is no way I’m missing out on a single minute.

So, currently my plan is to live to 114, where I will be raising my great-grandchildren because my granddaughter June is a complete hot mess because she was too spoiled by her grandmother. And by then, when I finally do kick the bucket, the technology will exist to link up my consciousness with a computer, turning me into an awesome old lady robot who says completely inappropriate things in a cool robot voice.

cd8b554b-7e1a-4e54-806e-92fc2fb785f4

Or better yet, I will become a vampire. And when my children die, I will spend the rest of my immortality just chilling at their grave sites and going trick-or-treating with my great-great-great grandchildren and eating all the descendants of the people who bullied me when I was in elementary school.

Because the alternative is no longer acceptable. I simply cannot ever leave my kids.

I’m not just going to rage against the dying of the light.

I’m going to punch it in the throat and knee it in the balls.

 

It’s the season of the sick

It’s almost Halloween, guys! The candy! The costumes! The cocktails! And most importantly, the release of season two of “Stranger Things”!

Truly, it’s the best time of the year.  

Ahem…

If you’re single.

But if you happen to be a parent, October really does live up to its reputation as the scariest month (and not just because your kids won’t let you binge-watch “Stranger Things” no matter how much you beg them).

Forget the mountain of treats that turn your offspring into manipulative and heartless sugar addicts. And all the idiots ordering that stupid zombie drink at Starbucks that takes the barista three hours to make when all you want is a giant-ass dark roast so you don’t collapse on top of your toddler. Or even the fact you can’t find a decent Halloween costume because they only make slutty costumes for women and you now have mom boobs that look ridiculous in a skimpy “Rainbow Brite” outfit.

926f6a3d-7ee0-4f11-aa4b-bc4baa0e1fc2

No, this is the scariest time of year because this is when it all starts. The season of the sick. The marathon of mucus. The tsunami of tsissues.

That relentless march of germs that invade your children’s bodies and doesn’t quit until that one beautiful week in May when everyone in your family is finally healthy again. (And then promptly begins again that beautiful week in June when everyone suddenly comes down with an awful summer cold).

It all starts NOW.

My kids don’t even have to be around other kids to get sick this time of year. If anyone within a 23-mile radius encounters even a single germ, my children somehow know (probably via mucus telepathy), and they immediately start ripping through tissue boxes like we own stock in Kleenex.

True story. We just got back from visiting family in Ohio. Now, my extended family has approximately 18,000 small children as members. Of those 18,000 children, approximately 17,999 were sick. Or just getting over being sick. Or just starting to come down with something. Or coughed sometime in September but we weren’t taking any chances.  

So, we quarantined our children, even though it interfered with all our plans. We hunkered down at Memaw’s house and hosed down their tiny bodies every three hours with a gallon of hand sanitizer followed by a blast of Lysol directly to the face.

715f03bc-da01-4051-8ed2-c53b378c7837

And yet, AND YET, my little one still woke up one morning with a fever. Which she kindly passed on to her older brother because she licked his eyeballs during a fun game of “Wrestle Until Someone Cries.”

And then she broke out in a horrible rash. But he didn’t. Which made for a particularly rousing game of “What’s The Amateur Diagnosis?”

We specifically avoided any and all people, healthy or sick, going as far as to jump on top of anyone under five feet tall like they were a germ grenade if they even THOUGHT of approaching our babies.

sketch1509310053630

But it didn’t matter. Because it never matters. Because life is short and cruel and full of snot.

WHY ARE CHILDREN ALWAYS SICK? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, their immature immune systems and other science “facts.” But seriously, WHY ARE CHILDREN ALWAYS SICK?

It’s never when you need them to be sick either. Like when you need a viable excuse to get out of your friend Dave’s “Make Your Own Calzone” party. Or when, say, the latest season of “Stranger Things” becomes available and you need a guilt-free reason to put them in a Benadryl coma so you can watch it.

Oh no. Then they are the picture of health and pestering you endlessly to go to the playground or the library or “parent” them in any discernible form.

They only get sick when it is the worst possible time. Like, oh, I don’t know, on vacation.

And then they stay sick forever.

And ever and ever and ever and then a brief recovery just in time for you to begrudgingly attend Dave’s “Game of Thrones” wine tasting party, and then ever and ever and ever and ever.

Here soon I won’t even be able to remember a time when one of them wasn’t sick. They will just pass germs back and forth with each other all fall and winter and for the next one hundred million months. And they’ll be miserable. And I’ll be miserable. And Daddy will be miserable (mostly because his wife is an asshole when she’s miserable).

On the plus side, however, maybe I will finally get to watch “Stranger Things.”

Where did I put that damn bottle of Benadryl?  

 

This is my face.

My son has spent approximately 1,277 days on this Earth. My daughter, roughly 455. Counting the ones I took today, I have exactly 18 billion photos of them.

Oops. Sorry. 18 billion and one. They just did the cutest thing, you guys.

And they look amazing in every single one of these photos, even including the newborn “Benjamin Button” ones.

(No, YOU’RE bias).

By contrast, I have been alive on this planet for about 13,200 days. Thanks to the invention of the selfie, there are now probably 18 billion photos of me floating around too. The only difference is, I like seven of them. Actually, more like six (in that one photo, my eyes are doing that weird thing).

Yes, I know. Female hates how she looks in photos! Shocker!

This revelation is right up there with me admitting my feet are always cold and that I don’t understand the appeal of “Entourage.” But I bring this up for a very good reason. Because I have recently come to terms with some vital facts and it has made a huge difference.

I’m 36. This is my face. I need to get over it.

Now, if those three above sentences don’t seem like a revelation to you, congratulations, you are likely a man or a well-adjusted, confident woman. However, if you’ve ever taken 100 almost identical photos of yourself and then agonized for hour and a half about which one to post and then spent another 33 minutes trying out different Instagram filters to find the one that thins out your face the most, then you understand how huge this is.

I have wasted so much of my life either trying to micromanage every single photo I appear in or avoiding cameras all together. Because all I saw in every photo of me was every flaw a single human body could possibly house. Too fat in this one. Nose all wonky in this one. Too pale. Stomach rolls. Greasy hair. No makeup. Arm flab. Dumb smile. Double chin. Triple chin. Everywhere a chin, chin. Crow’s feet (or, in some lighting, the whole damn crow). Forehead pimple. Bad posture. Crooked teeth.

I can go on…

Dark circles under my eyes. Cellulite. Sausage fingers. Flat hair. Dull hair. Frizzy hair. Freckles. Acne. Acne scars. Thin lips. Fat thighs. That weird flub that hangs out around the side of your bra.

Yeah. It’s exhausting hating how you look in photos. Especially in this social media era where photos are taken and shared roughly every 2.3 seconds.

And so, I decided to just let go. Let it all go. Let go of the iron grip I was using to try to hold onto the face that got shared in public. BECAUSE TECHNICALLY IT’S ALL THE SAME FACE.

This is my face. This is my body. And in every photo, that is how I look at that particular moment.

Guys. GUYS. The freedom that comes with this revelation…you guys…such a weight has been lifted.

I’m now more than willing to let my husband take a picture of me playing with the kids when I’m in my pajamas and sporting my best Swamp Witch hair. Because I want to remember that moment. And because, yes, some days I look like a Swamp Witch.

Now when a parent wants a photo of me, I don’t say “how about later, when I look better?” I shut up and pose.   

And now when my friends whip out that cell phone, I smile and BOOM. That’s it. Done. No more “let me see it” followed immediately by “let’s take another one” followed by “let me see it” followed by “let’s take another one” followed by “let me see it” followed by nothing because we are dead because we got caught in this stupid loop and couldn’t get out because no matter how many photos we took, we magically never ended up looking like Angelina Jolie.

(Which is so dumb. Because even if we did look like Angelina Jolie, we still can’t afford Angelina Jolie’s stylist, meaning we still wouldn’t look like Angelina Jolie.)

Of course, every road that leads to brilliant revelations like this one are full of potholes. I mean, do I still want people to only post photos of me where I look good? Of course. I’m still embarrassingly vain. But now, if they don’t, it no longer bothers me because it’s more important to me to be part of the picture. To be part of that memory. To have people in my life that want to take a photo with me at all, than it is to look great in it.

Oh god…guys…is this…is this what being well-adjusted feels like?