Monthly Archives: February 2016

6 Things I Learned in 6 Years of Marriage

Marriage is a hard thing to portray realistically. Whether in writing, on TV, or in movies, it’s almost always oversimplified or overly dramatic or contains sex scenes where the wife isn’t covered in stubble and the husband has on stain-free underwear with working elastic.

On social media, it’s reduced to sappy platitudes like “Marriage is two imperfect people coming together with love and trying not to kill each other with machetes.” Written, of course, in a ridiculous font over an image of a sunrise. Or a mug of tea. Because apparently everything sounds much deeper when written over a mug of tea.

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Which is why in honor of my sixth wedding anniversary today, I’ve decided to share the six very realistic things marriage has taught me so far:

1.Regarding compromise

Yeah, he’s a stupid idiot who doesn’t scrap the plates off before sticking them in the dishwasher. But hey, you’re a hot mess who can’t seem to get her life together enough to change the toilet paper roll.

You not only live in a glass house, you live in a glass house TOGETHER. Probably with only one bathroom. Choose your battles wisely.

2. Regarding sex

Have it.

Oh sure, it can be hard to fit it in (heh, dirty) what with both of your crazy schedules. But remember to make time for it.

Unless you haven’t caught up on the new “X-Files” episodes on Hulu. Watch those first. I mean, priorities, am I right?

3. Regarding hunting and gathering

Every Saturday morning, my husband wrassles our 2-year-old to the ground, hog ties him, throws him over his shoulder and heads to the grocery store. The reason for this is two-fold:

a. To restock our supply of cheese for the week (and other much less important food since an all-cheese diet is frowned upon by science because science doesn’t want us to be happy).

b. To give Momma a much needed hour of alone time.

When I became pregnant again, he added to this weekly ritual and started picking up my favorite donuts on his way home from the store. (Boston Kreme, for those of you playing at home). Every week without fail he does this. He even remembers to pick up my smutty tabloid magazines at the checkout. He’s amazing.

The point of this story? Never pass up an opportunity to talk up your spouse in public. Between the everyday stress and the bickering and the bills and the broken showerhead and the tendency of SOMEONE, not that I’m naming names, to give our toddler ridiculously crumbly cookies on the couch, it’s important to remember you’re in love and on the same team.

4. Regarding gender roles

Contrary to popular belief (and 98 percent of Hollywood movies), wives are not horrible troll creatures with a doctorate in nagging. In fact, all the wives I know are wonderful, competent, unique individuals who smell like coconut shampoo.

So, if you are married to a horrible troll creature who nags you, it’s probably because you are equally horrible and troll-like and refuse to pick up your socks.

5. Regarding reproduction

Speaking of movies, when you’re pregnant, it’s not like how it is in said movies. Your loving spouse will not run out at midnight to get you a cheeseburger, no matter how much you remind them there is a tiny human foot just lounging in-between your ribs. True story:

Last Tuesday, 9:14 p.m.

Me: I really need a cheeseburger.

Ryan: Oh yeah?

Me: Like, REALLY bad. It’s all I want in the world. I mean, all I want in the world besides using all my heart and soul and energy into making this child of yours *heavily bats eyelids*

Ryan: How about I get you one this weekend?

Me: That’s not how this works.

Ryan: Pretty sure that’s how it works in this house.

Me: …

Ryan: Are you mad? … Honey? … *gets hit in head by violently hurled copy of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”*

6. Regarding the tiny, drunken human you both brought into this world

Parenting is hard. Really hard. And because it’s so hard, you need to remember to go easy on each other. Most humans don’t grow up to be serial killers regardless of how their parents sleep train them (or don’t sleep train them). Not to mention, most humans end up being decent adults regardless of when they first ate sugar. It’s also doubtful there will be any permanent damage from that one day Mommy was super tired and let them watch three episodes of “Sesame Street” in a row.

If the other parent is there every day, trying their best, willing to play/feed/change them and busy calling a priest to perform an exorcism when your child’s face turns dark purple during hour three of the world’s most epic tantrum, then there isn’t much you can fault them for.

More importantly, let us not forget who the real enemy is:

That goddamn awful Curious George.

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The real reason I’m only having two kids

My baby just turned 2-years-old. My teeny, tiny, itty-bitty, little baby is now a steak-chewin’, question-askin’, opinion-havin’ little man.

Sigh. Ah, how time flies and all that.

Of course, any time you get to celebrate a child’s birthday, it’s a time of joy. Perhaps a bittersweet joy but a joy nonetheless. And it remains a joy all the way up until the moment your adorable, big-eyed offspring looks lovingly up at you and asks you to open their giant pile of small, impenetrable toy jails.

Seriously, have you ever had to liberate a child’s toy from modern day packaging? It’s like the escape scene in “Shawshank Redemption,” only on a slightly smaller scale. Giving birth was less frustrating and complex.

First there is the plastic. But not just any plastic. Oh, no. No, this plastic was whipped up in the bowels of Hell and no weapon forged by man can destroy it. That alone is bad enough. But then the toy manufacturers decided that these pieces of demonic plastic that encase the toy needed to be fused together in an alchemy concoction that is so supernaturally strong it likely lists virgin blood and unicorn tears among its unholy ingredients.

Then there are the zip ties that are usually included, because imprisoning baby dolls and shiny cars in Satanic plastic doesn’t go far enough. These zip ties usually fasten said toy to a piece of superfluous cardboard like tiny choker collars and S&M cuffs. Oh, and standard scissors can’t cut these things. They don’t even make a dent. In fact, I’ve broken no less than three sharp knives trying to free Barbie and G.I Joe from their respective miniature torture chambers. As far as I can figure, a grenade might do the trick but only like one of those really big bang-bang military grade ones.

Sometimes toy makers like to switch it up and also add random gigantic staples that can only be removed with three bottles of wine, a steady supply of Vicodin and a sturdy butter knife (or, better yet, a tiny titanium crowbar).

And let us not forget the sadistic bastards who use full-on bolts to secure the toys in their packaging. BOLTS. Those things used to fasten steel in cars and houses and skyscrapers are also apparently needed to keep Buttercup, the shiny, new My Little Pony, from shifting during transportation.

What do these people think is going to happen from the time a toy leaves the factory to the time it arrives in an eager child’s sticky little jam hands? A tsunami of volcanic lava will flood a toxic waste dump and as a result become a sentient volcano monster named Magma Mike and the only way to defeat him is to throw tightly packaged toy tractors and farm animals at him?

Or perhaps this is some sort of secret government plan to enforce population control in a way that can’t be traced back to our elected officials. Sure, you’d love to have more kids. So would I. But the thought of having to go mano a mano with even MORE toys every Christmas, let alone another whole birthday, is simply too much to bear.

Whatever the reasoning is, at least it’s a relief to know that all your hard work and not insignificant hand wounds are well worth it once you get to see the look of pure happiness on your child’s face as they play with their great new toy. Which they do for all of seven minutes before discarding it to go roll around in some bubble wrap.

And let us not forget that on the plus side, should the apocalypse happen, we can all rest easy knowing that an army of Fisher-Price Little People and Bratz dolls will survive in mint condition and hopefully keep Magma Mike satiated once we’re all dead.

 

Adventures in home haircutting

When it comes down to it, despite our differences, I think all parents want the same thing for their children. And that thing is that their kid doesn’t end up killing them as revenge for a horrifyingly awful home haircut they received when they were 2-years-old.

No? Just me then?

Well, rejoice and sleep tight tonight because I sure as hell never will again.

I’m not even sure how it all got so out of control. One minute I’m trimming his bangs and then suddenly BAM! I’m reenacting the topiary scene from “Edward Scissorhands.” Mercilessly I hacked my way across his skull as bits of murdered fluffy baby curls swirled chaotically in the air and the snip, snip, snip of the pathetically dull scissors filled the room.

I should have known things were going bad judging by the utter terror on my husband’s face.

hairut_ryan

But it just didn’t hit me. And so I kept going. Snip, snip. Oblivious. Snip. Reckless. Snip, snip, snip. And SOBER, for god sake.

Until, suddenly, horrifyingly, it did. It did hit me.

Hard.

And as I surveyed the damage on the tiny battlefield I could only think one thing:

“There goes any chance I had of ending up in a decent nursing home.”

haircut_front

I had turned my beautiful baby boy into Lloyd Christmas. Into Moe from “The Three Stooges.” Into, god forgive me, Shia LeBeouf post-meltdown. My baby’s hair was a mess. Just…oof. Such a hot mess.

The back looked like it had lost a battle to the death with a deranged weed whacker while the left side looked like a terraced field in some exotic land. As for the right, it looked like the bastard child of a pixie cut and the mid-90’s Caesar haircut, a la George Clooney on “ER.” Most of the top was confusingly left long while the front resembled my own bangs that I brutally hacked as a child right before school picture day in 1988.

haircut_back

In my defense, I’m an idiot. An idiot who thought years of butchering my Barbies’ hair with asymmetrical mullets could translate into real world haircutting skill.

Hint: It doesn’t.

But, oh, how I want to be the kind of mom who can do these types of things. You know, those Do-It-Yourself queens who can sew buttons back onto their children’s shirts and can serve a beautiful, homemade birthday cake without the disclaimer “The middle is still a bit raw and I may have lost my wedding ring in there so be on the lookout, everyone.”

These are the moms who make their own non-toxic cleaning solutions and actually attempt to get stains out of clothes instead of just convincing themselves that the wine stain makes that skirt look even MORE trendy. They can do crafts that don’t end up looking like rejects from an animated Tim Burton film and they have nice handwriting and they actual own first aid kits. They know how to fix things and make things and don’t have to pay other people to do all this stuff for them.

Legend has it there are even women out there who can cut their family’s hair without making them look like a Simpson character.

And then there’s me, who has yet to pick up her 2-year-old son’s birth certificate from the county clerk’s office, has not one, but three, giant mystery stains on her hardwood floor and is banned from ever using a glue gun again because of an unfortunate accident involving a rather sensitive part of her husband’s body.

The good news is that ultimately all this makes me a fantastic parent if you consider the definition of a parent to be “someone who, if they’ve done their job right, have made themselves obsolete.” I mean, hell, I’m pretty much obsolete now. As soon as he learns to cut those crusts off his sandwiches, he might as well move out because we will pretty much be at the same adulting level.

Then again, who knows? Maybe I can learn to be one of those moms. I mean, if he go from a leaky lump of clay who sticks spoons into his eyeballs into a short, almost-human who can average getting roughly 65 percent of his chili in his mouth using said spoons, then honestly how hard can it be to remember to buy band-aids and rubbing alcohol so I’m not frantically running down the aisles of Walgreens with a screaming and bloody toddler in tow?

Hell, maybe I’ll even attempt the very adult act of throwing a dinner party again.

Just as soon as I figure out where my husband hid all the knives after last year’s Gumbo Disaster of 2015.

 

 

With liberty & naps for all

There are a lot of things wasted on the young. Youth. Beauty. A ridiculously high metabolism. Expensive toys when junk mail and an empty shampoo bottle are apparently just as exotic and entertaining.

But perhaps worst of all are naps. Naps are so completely wasted on the young. Yet we hand them out to children like beads on Mardi Gras. Yes, we, the parents, who haven’t had a chance to nap since 2009, give unlimited sleeping time to any two-bit juvenile who can fake a halfway decent yawn.

Actually, no. Forget the young. You know what it is? It’s a bigger issue. A much bigger issue. Because in our society, naps are wasted on the undeserving.

You know who needs naps? High school kids. These awkward creatures have jam-packed schedules, piles of homework and a tsunami wave of hormones assaulting them at all times. Not to mention, they have a daily routine that is the complete opposite of what their biological clock is telling them. I’m old but not so old that I don’t remember what it was like. I routinely didn’t fall asleep until 2 a.m. when I was 17. And yet, I had to be up at 6 a.m. to get ready for school (because eyes don’t aggressively slather black eyeliner on themselves). And yet these teenagers get yelled at for finally succumbing to the siren call of sleep just because it happens to be in the middle of chemistry class. Or, worse yet, woken up early on weekend mornings because it’s apparently illegal when you’re a parent to let your child “sleep all day on such a beautiful day.”

You know who else needs naps? The middle-age-ish sect that are busy taking care of both their offspring and their aging parents. Because you know who the two most ungrateful species in the world are? Aging parents and children over the age of 12.

And let’s not forget pregnant ladies. They need naps most of all. And I’m not just saying that because I happen to be knocked up right now. They really do. One, because creating life cell-by-cell is wicked stupid hard, and two, everyone will be much safer if I can JUST CLOSE MY EYES FOR 10 FREAKING MINUTES, OK!?!

But NO. No. Who do we give naps to? Babies. Babies who have their entire lives ahead of them to nap. They literally are experiencing the world for the first time and what do they do with this wonderful new discovery? Sleep through everything.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have old people. Old people who could die at any moment. And what do they do with the precious time they have left? They nap. And I mean, hardcore nap, like napping is an audition for death and they’re trying to get it perfect. And yeah, sure, you could argue that they’ve earned all these naps after a lifetime of working and raising their family but I can guarantee that when they really needed all these naps was when they were working and raising their family.

And then there’s these guys. Children. With the energy they give off 20 minutes after eating a candy bar, young children could fuel most European cities for a year. Yet, we INSIST they take a nap. And then they have the nerve to FIGHT it. Tooth and nail. In front of their exhausted parents who haven’t seen the inside of their own eyelids in over 19 hours and it’s only noon.

But perhaps most twisted of all, we give unlimited napping privileges to cats and dogs, the only family members who don’t contribute anything to the household (and please, no cheesy comments like “oh, but animals contribute so much love to your home”…of course pets love you but what I need right now is for my loving dog, Buffy, to get off his lazy ass and make dinner for everyone). No job. No responsibilities. Food and water just magically appear. Yeah, no, I can totally see why they need to sleep 22 hours a day.

Well, I say it’s time we finally take a stand and end this madness. We should march on Washington! No more naps for the undeserving! Naps for all or naps for none! Attica! Attica!

Or, I don’t know, something like that. I’ll put it on my to-do list. Right now I have to put my toddler down for night-night.

Sigh.