Monthly Archives: October 2016

Checklist for road tripping with small children

  1. Run to the store to buy juice boxes, goldfish crackers, raisins, assorted cheaply made toys designed to be hurled into the backseat at the first sign of a tantrum.
  2. Eat all the leftovers in the fridge, even the questionable ones, over the three days leading up to the trip. The ancient pizza, the fossilized Chinese food, the milk on the verge of going bad, the giant vat of bean soup everyone hates but mom keeps making because it’s cheap and has at least a 2 percent nutritional value. Eat it. Eat it all.
  3. Do everyone’s laundry because every single person in the household only wants to bring the outfits they wore for the past five days.
  4. Run back to the store because you just realized you are out of dish soap and need to run the dishwasher before you leave.
  5. Spend 45 minutes looking for suitcases in the attic.
  6. Realize suitcases are still in the corner of the bedroom where you left them the last time you took a trip and still contain the dirty laundry from said trip.
  7. Unpack suitcases.
  8. Do laundry. Again.
  9. Run back to the store AGAIN for Little Swimmer diapers because the hotel has a pool. Pay $10 for an entire pack even though you will likely only use one. Cry briefly in the car.
  10. Gather all the chargers for everyone’s electronic devices. Keep removing chargers from the pile of chargers because everything needs to be charged.
  11. Look up route on Google Maps. Cry again.
  12. Drop dog off at the dog-sitter’s house, who you found off of after surfing the website for five whole minutes. Feel huge waves of guilt you are abandoning your dog with a complete stranger. Try not to look too concerned when she opens the door and looks 12.
  13. Run back to that godforsaken piece of crap store AGAIN because the Little Swimmer diapers were the wrong size for your toddler. Also fork over another $10 for another pack because what if your freaking 4-month-old wants to swim too? Give $3 to a bum in the parking lot so you can take a swig from his brown bag whiskey.
  14. Pack. Or more precisely, try to fit basically everything you own into every suitcase, backpack, tote bag and ridiculously large purse you own.
  15. Drag all the luggage to the car the night before. Play the world’s least fun game of Tetris.
  16. Start drinking heavily.
  17. Wake up hungover at 4 a.m. Throw everyone in the car with their pajamas on. Get snippy with your significant other over whether the coffee pot is still on.
  18. Run back into the house to search for Mr. Doody, the stupid stuffed monkey your toddler can’t live without. Give up search after 20 minutes. Go back to the car and see your toddler holding Mr. Doody.
  19. Try not to murder your significant other when they ask if you checked the coffee pot while you were in there.
  20. Climb into the driver’s seat.
  21. Re-enact Ryan Reynolds’ car scene from “Just Friends.”
  22. Calmly put the car in reverse.
  23. Take a deep breath as you pull onto the highway and both children immediately start crying.

Checklist for the return trip home

  1. Hurl everything into the car.
  2. Throw suitcases into the corner of the bedroom and unpack eight months later when you need the suitcases for another super fun family bonding trip.

I’m running away from home

If you would have asked me 10 years ago what I saw myself doing in the future, arguing for 23 minutes with a toddler about appropriate places to poop would have been fairly low on the list (which, by the way, the bathtub, Momma’s bed and the dairy aisle at the grocery store all equal Not Appropriate for any of you toddlers out there reading this).

Winning the Pulitzer Prize, divorcing Orlando Bloom so I could marry Ryan Reynolds, sailing on a fancy boat with a clever name like Ship For Brains; all of these answers would have probably come tumbling out of my mouth (No, YOU were a delusional 25-year-old!).

Even jail wouldn’t have been too outlandish an answer (No, YOU have issues with authority!).

But running on a trail with actual running shoes when nothing was chasing me and/or I wasn’t trying to make it to the liquor store before it closes? That wouldn’t have even made it ON the list.

Running for fun? Pffft. In my book, those two things are mutually exclusive. Much like, say, a delicious vegan meal or a funny Kevin James movie.

And yet, here I am, sweaty and gross and begrudgingly emitting an aura of health because I just got done with a run. A run I did ON PURPOSE.

It all started because after I had my second baby my body was 80 percent mush. And, to be honest, I’m not really comfortable in my own skin when I’m above 75 percent bodily mush. So, as much as I hated it, I gritted my teeth and ran (well, did a weird walk/sad jog hybrid before working my way up to my current level of just a sad jog).

But then a funny thing happened. I started to look forward to these runs. So much so, in fact, that I was actually willing to do them at 6 a.m., watching the sun rise while my perky ponytail swished back and forth like I’m goddamn Kate Hudson in some rom-com. Not because I started to like to run. Oh god, no. It’s the worst. But because that 45 minutes hoofing it around the park gave me an escape from my kids.

I love my kids. Of course I do. You know I do. Just like I know you love your kids. Children are amazing human beings we occasionally want to murder.

And so that we don’t murder them, we do insane things like literally run away from home (albeit temporarily).

The best part is that even though my main motivation while running is that at some point I will stop running, all this exercise is helping me get back to myself. To the person I was before I considered a trip to Target by myself as a luxurious vacation.

It’s easy to lose yourself in the demands of parenthood. To remember that you are not just a glorified sippy cup re-filler and breathing boob milk dispenser. Having children changes you to your very core but it doesn’t erase your former self. That person is still in there, waiting to come out occasionally so they can look around and say “why the hell are we running?”

Running helps me remember that I’m a complex person with interests outside achieving the perfect brown color on a grilled cheese sandwich. And on the other end of the spectrum, although I have yet to feel that mythical runner’s high, I have experienced what I call “cranial radio static.” This is when your brain just stops and there’s no thought; just music and pavement and your feet going one in front of the other and heavy breathing and chaotic jiggly butt movement. And as a mom and a writer and a woman who keeps up with the news in 2016, anything that helps you turn off your brain even for a short while is a miracle.

But most importantly, now that I have kids, I want to be healthy enough that I live forever. I want to be the unbelieveably old lady with the leather face that says wildly inappropriate things at Christmas about losing her virginity and terrifies her infant great-grandchildren because she looks like the Crypt Keeper and sounds like Marge Simpsons’ sisters. But she don’t care. Cause she lived through both 9/11 and the Kardashians.



Rawhide bones double as binkies, right?

Everyone tells you. Everyone. But of course you don’t believe them. You didn’t believe them about breastfeeding hurting so bad it made you want to shoot yourself in the face. Why would you believe them about this?

But it turns out they’re right. (On both accounts. I can’t be around any weapons until my nipples are mine again. I like my face too much). And when it comes to having kids, the second time around is indeed completely different.

It’s not that you set out to treat your second baby differently. And it’s not as though you love them any less. You love them the same and for the exact same reason you love your first: They’re the most amazing human being ON THE PLANET (crazy how you gave birth to all the best people who’ve ever existed…what are the odds?).

It’s just that the situation has changed. Because as much as you’d love to take a snuggly nap with them or go on a gentle stroll through the park with them or even take five minutes to huff that magic-scented aura wafting up from the top of their head, you simply can’t. You can’t because chances are extremely high that there is a toddler trying his best to kill himself somewhere.

Not to mention you have more experience now. No longer can an 8-pound human trick you into believing that they can nap ONLY while sleeping on your chest. HaHA! Those clever little slightly demonic imps and their manipulative ways. But you’re onto their game. Here’s a section of the floor not covered in Legos, kiddo. Nighty-night.

And here are all the other reasons my youngest is bound to need a therapist some day:

The Scenario: The Crying Game

First kid: *barely mews*

Me: *sprints over immediately, hurdling toys and small pets* What’s wrong, baby?!? You alright? Aw, come here. Momma will make it all better. There, there.

Second kid: *has been screaming bloody murder for the past 22 minutes*

Me: *knee deep in poopy toddler diaper* Stop being such a drama queen! I’ll be there in a minute. Or possibly 45 minutes. Definitely before bedtime. You’ll be fine.

The Scenario: Stranger Danger

(First kid)

Close Acquaintance: Aw, may I hold him?

Me: Sure! *dumps gallon of Purell over their head*

Close Acquaintance: He is so adorable.

Me: *hovering uncomfortably close* Thank you! I just…would you mind…his head needs more support…oh god, please just give him back *rips him out of their arms, hunches over the baby all feral-like and growling*

(Second kid)

Hobo on the street: Aw, may I hold her?

Me: Sure! *throws her football-style into his chest* Hey, I’ll be back in three hours. Probably. Have fun! Thanks!

The Scenario: Breastfeeding

First kid: *stares lovingly into his eyes, my own welling up with tears* I didn’t know I could feel this much love.

Second kid: *running down the street chasing naked toddler while baby clings desperately to wildly flapping boob* GET BACK HERE RIGHT NOW! SO HELP ME WHEN I GET AHOLD OF YOU, KID! DAMMIT! YOU’RE MAKING ME LOOK LIKE A BAD MOM!

The Scenario: Dropped Binkie

First kid: Burn tainted binkie in ceremonial cleansing fire before running out to buy 36 brand new sterile binkies.

Second kid: Stick binkie covered in dog hair immediately back in their mouth, realize three hours later it was actually a section off the dog’s ancient rawhide bone, shrug and continue making dinner.

The Scenario: Nutrition

First kid: Pour over any and all literature regarding childhood nutrition. Join breastfeeding forum online. Breastfeed exclusively for the first six months before pureeing mountains of organic sweet potatoes and green beans.

Second kid: Hey, how did you get ahold of a slice of pizza? Can I have a bite?

The good news is that while my second little angel got the short end of the stick during her early years because of her unfortunate place in the birth order, it will be made up to her ten-fold during her teenage years. Because by the time we’re done surviving puberty with our eldest, we’ll likely be too tired to put up much of a fight with her.

And we will welcome her fiancé, Lizard, (you know, the one with the face tattoo and booming underground opium business) with open arms into our family.