Category Archives: Holidays

What My Kids Did On My Summer Vacation

Hey! Hi! How are you?! We are Aprill’s kids! And we want to tell you all about what we did on our summer vacation.

This summer was great! We did so many fun things! And we did all those fun things for roughly an hour and 15 minutes before having dual marathon meltdowns! Mommy said this was because when we get overstimulated we turn into evil swamp demons! She’s so funny!

Like any good summer vacation, ours started early, with a trip in mid-May to visit family far away. We even got to fly in an airplane! Surprisingly, we both behaved extremely well during the flight. So, of course, we made up for that by refusing to sleep in the beds provided for us every night! And instead crawled into the bed our parents were sleeping in, not letting them get any sleep for seven nights straight! Because who needs sleep on summer vacation?! Who doesn’t love waking up to a baby foot in your mouth and a toddler foot buried in your rib cage?!

On Mommy’s birthday in June, we went to a pond to swim. Except neither one of us wanted to get wet. Because we can all agree that the best part of going to any body of water in the summer is baking in the hot sun while sitting on sand the temperature of lava!

There were also a bunch of little day trips this summer to fun and exciting places! Where we’d get in the car and complain, and then we’d get out of the car and complain, and then we’d go do stuff and we’d complain, and then our parents would finally give up and say “fine, we’ll go home!” and then we’d complain about not wanting to go home. Traveling truly is a priceless experience!

We also spent a lot of time this summer at the library. We did so many interesting things there, like pretending to listen to books during storytime but really just trying to steal the other kids’ snacks.

We also did a bunch of fun stuff at home!

One of our favorite things to do was climb all over Mommy when it was 92 degrees out with a humidity level of one thousand. This was especially fun that week that the air conditioner broke! The best part of this game was Mommy would pretend to get mad and holler “get off me!” but that just meant she wanted us to do it more!

And what is any good summer vacation without some cool treats?  Even though Mommy forced us to eat our popsicle outside, sticky melted popsicle juice still magically appeared inside. Mommy said bad words. It was so funny! We laughed and laughed and smeared our disgusting sticky hands all over the TV and then laughed some more. Which is why we repeated this exact same scenario with ice cream.

Speaking of the TV, we also spent a lot of time this summer whining and crying about wanting to watch very specific movies! Even though we have already seen those specific movies 78 times! And when Mommy finally relented, we would watch exactly 17 minutes of the movie before deciding to ignore it because climbing the bookshelves that are definitely not attached to the wall seemed way more fun. Even though this activity was bound to end in certain death!

The best part of this summer is that it’s not even over yet! In two weeks we will actually be going on real vacation even though all the cool and important people of the world are already done vacationing. SOMEONE (and I’m not mentioning names although it rhymes with “if you don’t like it plan it yourself next time”) was a bit late in trying to book a place to stay anywhere close to water and so was stuck with dates at the end of August.

We can’t tell you how excited we are to yet again share a room with our Mommy and Daddy and not let them get a wink of sleep! It’s the kind of stuff memories would be made of if it wasn’t impossible to make memories when you are brain-dead from chronic sleep loss.

Now most people feel sad when summer vacation comes to an end. But not us! Since neither one of us is in school yet, these good times can keep right on rolling into the fall. And winter! And spring! And next summer! And next fall! And next…

 

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I’m a Fitbit person now

Guys, it’s been nice knowing you. You’re all swell, really. But eventually all good things must come to an end. So, while I enjoyed our time together, it’s a new year and time for me to move on. Time for me to leave you in the dust as I walk exactly…*checks wrist* …6,101 steps away from you.

I’m a Fitbit person now.

Yes, dear readers, thanks to my husband and a very merry Christmas, I am now the proud owner of a Fitbit, those magical little devices that shoot laser beams into your arms and let you know just what a lazy sack of human pudding you are on a near constant basis.

What a time to be alive!

Needless to say, I instantly fell in love. There is something weirdly intoxicating about having every single movement and moment of your day logged by a tiny robot who gives you electronic stickers and trophies when you do good (like walking in a circle around your house while eating frosting straight from the container instead of eating it on the couch like some kind of barbarian). I should hate it. The lazy me terrified of Big Brother that I have been for the past 30-odd years should absolutely loathe it. But I don’t.

Because I’m a Fitbit person now.

And don’t worry. It’s not like because I have a Fitbit now that I’m a better person than you or anything.

Except I’m a better person than you now.

Just look at how this divine little watch has improved not only my life, but the life of my family. Our house is now filled with health-conscious conversations such as this:

Me: Guess how many steps I’ve taken today!

Husband: Is it much different from the amount you told me 15 minutes ago?

Me: 879! Wanna know how many times I was restless last night while sleeping?

Husband: I haven’t even had my coffee yet, babe.

Me: You only have yourself to blame.

And this one:

Husband: Hey, can you run upstairs and grab me the tape? I don’t know where you put it.

Me: No.

Husband: Um…please?

Me: I can’t. My Fitbit is charging.

Husband: …

Me: I want credit for walking up the stairs.

Husband: …

Me: You only have yourself to blame.

And this one:

Toddler: Momma, can you carry me?

Me: I wish I could, sweetheart, but then my Fitbit doesn’t log my steps when you’re in my arms.

Toddler: …

Me: You only have your father to blame.

I mean, can I help it that I’m pretty much the healthiest person alive now? I have a resting heart rate of 55, thanks to lugging around two adorable children (who I’m pretty sure are made up of chicken nuggets and quark-gluon plasma, the densest material ever created) all day around the city. And thanks to living on the second and third floor of our rented house, I climb on average 18 flights of stairs a day. Shoot, I burned 43 calories just in the time it took me to eat half of a leftover holiday cheeseball.

And, AND, I managed to get 15,000 daily steps in last Wednesday, enough to earn me the Urban Boot badge, thankyouverymuch. I can’t believe I spent all those years walking around without a computer logging every step like some kind of idiot. What a waste!

Alas, clearly, my family doesn’t understand.

I guess I can’t blame them. I mean, I’d be bitter too if I had never earned the Happy Hill badge or the Weekend Warrior trophy.

But I’m hoping, my dear readers, you do. That you do understand why my health has become my top priority and why I only want to talk to other people who know at any given moment exactly how many steps it took them to walk to Starbucks in their fancy athleisure wear.

So, please, by all means, keep reading my blogs and columns. But if you see me in person, let’s just ignore each other and awkwardly avoid eye contact. Which should be easy enough. I’ll likely be looking at my wrist anyway.

I’m a Fitbit person now.

 

Dear Virginia, where the hell is Santa Claus?

There’s a famous (at least for me) story from my childhood where I looked at my mom one day and just bluntly said “Santa Claus isn’t real, is he?”

“No, he’s not, sweetie,” my mom replied.

And that was that.

But the famous (infamous) part came next. Because I went to school the following day and felt it was my duty to kindly inform several of my fellow 2nd grade peers of this breaking news.

Surprisingly, this did not help my popularity.

And now all these years later, the joke is on me. Oh, karma, you wily minx. Little did I know that in my 30’s I’d still be dealing with the whole “does Santa exist?” question. Because I’m a mom now and I gotta tell you, I can’t find that bastard anywhere.

But let’s start at the beginning.

My son’s first Christmas, when he couldn’t have cared less (since his only interests back then were my boobs and old, gross, fast food receipts) we were lucky enough to randomly run into a Santa while out and about in early December. So we plopped our son down and took a million photos as you are legally required to do. Easy peasy. And they are photos we cherish to this day even despite the fact that both my baby and Santa look like they’re being held at gunpoint.

So, naturally, I just assumed that was how it worked. Last year, I figured we’d run into another one while out shopping or looking for a restaurant that sold spaghetti tacos (did I mention I was pregnant again?). We never did. Luckily, my son was still young enough that it didn’t really matter and I didn’t really care about anything except spaghetti tacos and not puking on random strangers whenever I left the house.

But this year, oh, this year, I came prepared. He’s almost three. And this is his sister’s first Christmas. Time to stop phoning it in as a parent. So, starting the day after Thanksgiving I started Googling where and when Santa would be. I was leaving nothing to chance.

Imagine my surprise then, when two Sundays ago, we went to meet Santa and he wasn’t there. Apparently “Santa will be taking photos until 5 p.m.” meant if you showed up at 4:30 p.m. he’d be gone on what I can only assume was a very important Santa emergency involving happy hour eggnog shots. Luckily, people working the event were super helpful and reassured us that they had “no idea where he was or if he’d be back.”

I was mad, sure. The Momma Bear in me wanted to start mauling people with my festive Santa hat. But I managed to keep my calm. We still had one more weekend before Christmas and my toddler got chocolate as a consolation prize, so crisis averted.

Still, again, I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. I checked, then double checked, then triple checked when and where Santa would be this past Saturday.

7 p.m.

No less than three local event calendars said 7 p.m.

Santa would be hanging out in this particular location until 7 p.m.

Looking back, I should have known better. It was the same location that Santa had abandoned to go on a bender the weekend before. But, silly me, I thought if we showed up three hours before closing time, he’d be there.

Ha!

He wasn’t.

Needless to say, I was frothing at the mouth at this point. And again, the helpful people working the event assured us that “um…I don’t know, man.”

So, again, my son got chocolate as a consolation prize. But I am running out of time and one more no-show by Santa is likely to give my toddler diabetes.

I need some chubby, red jerkface to sit on his ass and interact with my freaking children before I lose it. I need a photo of my baby girl screaming on his lap and one of my son doing that weird toddler smile where it looks like they forgot how to smile. It’s Christmas. Why the hell can’t I find a Santa? Why is this so hard? WHY AM I BEING PUNISHED FOR A MISTAKE I MADE WHEN I WAS SEVEN?!?

Sigh. This is a good lesson for you kids though. Apparently once you’re on the naughty list, you stay on that naughty list. Santa does not forgive nor forget.

Well played, fat man. Well played.

 

What parents really want for Christmas

Christmas is great, isn’t it? Magical when you’re a kid. A celebration of the beautiful life and beautiful lives you’ve created when you’re a grandparent.

And a red and green tinged tsunami that destroys your home, your finances and your sanity when you’re a parent.

wave

Ah, yes, ‘tis truly the most wonderful time of the year.

Of course, don’t get me wrong. I still love Christmas. The endless excuses to drink booze alone is enough to make any self-respecting writer love this holiday.

I just hate that I’m the one in charge of making it happen now. The decorating, the cooking, the gift buying, the logistics of holiday travel…sigh. And no matter how much I bribe my toddler, he refuses to take over the responsibility.

Is it any wonder that this time of year turns all of us parents into stressful balls of burning rage?

So, with that in mind, I decided to create a list of what we adults of the parental persuasion really want for Christmas this year. Because, sure, another sweater is nice, but the ability to go into a store without any meltdowns over a 99 cent candy bar is the gift that keeps on giving.

And so…ahem…

Number one with a bullet: A nap.

Number two with a tomahawk: Another nap.

The ability to wrap presents without a dog or cat lying on the wrapping paper.

The ability to wrap presents without losing the scissors every 30 seconds. Ditto the tape. And that stupid pen. IT WAS JUST HERE.

To lose 10 pounds every holiday season while still eating an entire cheeseball on the couch as you watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” for the fifth time.

A working eggnog fountain (with extra bourbon) in the kitchen.

Pets and small children who consistently admire the Christmas tree from a three foot buffer zone.

Mandatory shock collars for people who whine about the war on Christmas and Starbucks holiday cups.

Actual snow on Christmas. And then we just fast forward to the month of April.

That your child forgets that VERY BAD WORD they think is hilarious to shout in public.

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No lines. None. Not to buy gifts, not to see Santa, not to get overpriced holiday-themed lattes in allegedly controversial cups.

Stabbing the Elf on a Shelf in a violent fit of rage and then burning the carcass in a cleansing ceremonial fire without scarring your children for life.

To hear “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” just once without someone pointing out how creepy and rapey it is.

A worldwide shortage of batteries.

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A worldwide surplus of wine.

Not getting further into debt.

Christmas tree lights with anti-tangle technology and a lifetime guarantee for each individual bulb.

Time to read all those books you got last year as presents.

A machine that dresses your children in winter gear so they can go play in the snow while you sip coffee and flip through a magazine.

Bags under your eyes that don’t look like you had to pay the extra airline fee because they’re so heavy.

Socks. (Seriously, I’m out).

More time to cuddle with your kids, less time cleaning up their room and explaining why we don’t take the marker and color all over Momma’s unattended watch when she’s in the other room.

Old school office Christmas parties with free booze and lampshades.

Old school office Christmas bonuses.

World peace or whatever. I guess.

But mostly, a nap.

I got thanks coming out the wazoo

Hey, have I mentioned how much I love Thanksgiving? Because I do. Oh, so much. And not just because it’s a holiday where it’s acceptable to drink all day.

This year in particular I’m looking forward to because it’s the first Thanksgiving where our whole family is complete. Both kids are now officially out of my uterus and I plan on having no other occupants in said uterus unless my husband wants brutally whacked with a frying pan. So, I am just filled to the brim with the Thanksgiving spirit (and here soon the Thanksgiving spirits).

Which is why I wanted to make a list of all the things I am thankful for this year because there are just so many. For instance…

Not being pregnant like I was last year when I almost puked on three-fourths of my husband’s lovely extended family.

Not being pregnant like I was last year so I can drink wine before I’m required to stick my hand up a strange turkey’s arse.

Not being pregnant like I was last year so I can eat my famous cheeseball again, soaking up all the delicious possible listeria guilt-free.

Not being pregnant like I was last year because, surprise!, I hate being pregnant.

And in non-non-pregnant things to be thankful for:

Joe Biden memes, which I suspect might be the only thing holding the country together at this point.

Not leaving my house on Black Friday but snarkily tweeting about it from the comfort of my couch.

Both my kids are beautiful and healthy and think Momma is just the greatest. Even when she’s having a bad day and isn’t.

Finding friends who like and accept me regardless of my cliché love of pumpkin spice.

That panty hose are no longer a thing.

I know I say this every year, but toilet paper, because, I mean, think of the alternative.

Being an adult and as such having the freedom to have ice cream for breakfast! And a wheel of cheese at lunch! And a beer whenever I want! As long as I do all those things while hiding in the bathroom from the rest of the family!

That moment amidst the chaos when you’re handing your small children back and forth with your significant other because one needs fed and the other needs a diaper change or whatever the reason, and your hands briefly touch while exchanging the kids and you feel so connected, so bonded to them. And you become more than just a team. You become a tribe. And the love is so strong in that brief moment that you almost can’t stand it.

Basil ice cream (it’s a thing and it’s amazing).

That when I look at my children, I’m still blown away by the fact they are mine and I get to keep them.

Accidentally stumbling upon a recipe for Deep Fried Stuffing Balls while looking up Thanksgiving ideas and feeling a swell of pride at being an American in a year where being an American was extremely difficult.

My family is finally at the point financially that we can afford to get two toppings on our pizza. Three, if it’s a special occasion.

There is going to be a revival of “Gilmore Girls” on Netflix (and more broadly, that we live in a time where the end of a beloved TV show isn’t necessarily the end).

Tiny, chubby baby feet that you have to use all of your willpower not to bite because they are the most adorable thing you’ve ever seen and for some reason humans always want to bite really adorable things.

My stupid dog. God, I love that stupid dog.

Our son isn’t even close to being potty trained yet but at least he is to the point where he can tell us loudly in public that he is “GOING POTTY RIGHT NOW, MOMMA! YAY!”

Having the power in the palm of my hand to reach out to other moms, other writers, other rabid fans of the TV show “Supernatural.” All of those things can be extremely isolating and I can guarantee I’m not the only one who has found a haven online to help get me through the bad days. For all our handwringing about how technology is turning us into a bunch of zombies, at least we are bunch of zombies with online friends who understand what we are going through.

Strangers who randomly tell you to have a Happy Thanksgiving.

And on that note, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Another annoying post defending Thanksgiving

Guys, I love analogies. I love analogies like how bad writers love a good cheap gimmick. Which is why I want to begin this particular column about my love of Thanksgiving with the following cheap gimmicky analogy:

Congratulations, everyone. We have all turned Thanksgiving into the classic middle child of the major holidays.

See, at one time Thanksgiving was a pretty big deal in America. But now, jammed in-between the ever-growing juggernauts of Halloween and Christmas, it always gets overlooked. And sure, just like so many other middle children, it’s maybe not as fun as Halloween or as exciting as Christmas, but it’s still a good, solid holiday.

Now, Halloween obviously plays the role of the oldest child, not so much for any particular trait per se, but because it comes first in the calendar year and I really need this analogy to work. Although, if I really stretch it, Halloween could be like your high-achieving cheerleader daughter who suddenly goes through a goth phase and dyes her hair purple and only wears black and starts getting C’s because she’s focused on writing her death poetry. And also she starts getting drunk, like really drunk, while wearing sexy Harry Potter uniforms.

And Christmas is clearly the beloved youngest child, who can do no wrong and no one ever tells it no, which is why it has turned into a spoiled brat that sucks up all of Mommy and Daddy’s time and money.

Poor Thanksgiving. The quiet peacemaker. It’s just trying to get the whole family together at the table for nothing other than good food and good, but strained, conversation that is desperately trying to avoid bringing up politics. Would you like more mashed potatoes, it quietly but excitedly asks. Or maybe some of the turkey that took 18 hours to prep and cook? Or any of these other eleven side dishes?

Except, no one hears it. Because there’s Christmas, screaming in its highchair for more attention and throwing poinsettias at everyone, while Halloween mopes and snacks on the giant bowl of leftover candy that is mostly just yellow Starbursts and generic Tootsie Rolls at this point. Thanksgiving just wanted one day that is focused on them but no, because not only is Christmas making a scene but Christmas also had to bring over its rowdy, juvenile delinquent friend, Black Friday. And now everything is chaos and everyone is at the store because Black Friday conned them into thinking that getting into fistfights over cheap flats screens and environmentally irresponsible Keurigs was a great idea.

And so poor Thanksgiving just sits there alone at the table, sullenly eating a turkey leg and drinking wine straight from the bottle (which they will replace because Thanksgiving is a polite, responsible holiday…as long as no one brings up politics).

Well, I, for one, refuse to let Thanksgiving drink that wine alone. One, because I have never turned down a glass of wine in my life. And two, this holiday is worthy of our love and attention.

I love Thanksgiving. LOVE it. I loved it as a kid when the women of my family would shoo me out of the kitchen while they mysteriously made magic happen. And I love it now as an adult when I’m the one in the kitchen mysteriously making moderate-to-severe knife cuts and a whole symphony of curse words happen (and somehow, magically, edible food).

Everyone gets all dressed up but goes absolutely nowhere, just looking hella fancy while hanging out in the kitchen. There’s no stress to look skinny in a sexist costume or pressure to find the perfect gift for a husband who thinks “whatever, you know what I like” is an acceptable answer to the question “what do you want for Christmas this year?”

The only goal for the whole freaking day is just to devour food that has been bathed in almost illegal amounts of butter. To drink wine and watch a parade and talk about the weather with your uncle for an uncomfortable 12 minutes because it’s a topic least likely to bring up politics.

There’s no pressure to have a good time, even, or to make it a magical day for children. It just is what it is. The only thing you’re required to do is give a list of things you’re thankful for and even then you can lie because, I mean, who’s going to know?

So, guys, I think we all should apologize to Thanksgiving for our benign neglect of it. It truly deserves better. A prominent place on the fridge to hang its construction paper turkey hand art.

Christmas will just have to learn some patience. *ducks as another poinsettia is thrown at her head*

The narrow view of fatherhood

One of the first things you learn as a new mom, besides how to dodge jets of baby urine like Neo in “The Matrix,” is how much society hates you. Oof, and man, do they hate you. And me. And anyone whose uterus used to have an occupant.

It doesn’t matter if we work or stay at home, breast or bottle feed, wear yoga pants or fancy tailored lady trousers with actual working buttons. Moms are just the worst. Because keeping tiny psychopaths with a death wish alive and molding them into decent people who don’t think smearing poop on the dog is a ripping good time is apparently easy and therefore deserves no respect. Or really deserves anything other than your anger and utter contempt.

(This is mostly because no one really notices the million different wonderful and difficult things that you do as a mom until you accidentally blink one day for the first time in three years and an alligator or a gorilla snatches your kid. In which case, they suddenly have all kinds of opinions about your parenting skills and decide the best way to express those opinions is to send you death threats.)

*Daintily steps down from soapbox*

ANYHOO, as I was saying, tough as it is to be a mother in this day and age, what tends to get lost in this tsunami of collective maternal hatred is the smaller, yet still potent, wave of what I call “daddy disapproval.” Because see, we don’t hate dads. Oh no. The complete opposite. We love them. Absolutely adore them, in fact.

Just as long as they never stray outside the very rigid perimeters our society has laid out for them. Perimeters, I should add, that that same society is constantly changing on a very rapid basis (which is why wearing matching princess dresses with your daughter during a trip to the grocery store will earn you the title of “Father of the Year,” but only buying her pink, girly toys will earn you the title “Male Chauvinist of the Year”).

For example, we expect dads to earn good money to provide for their family. However, he’s not supposed to work overtime or ever put work before his family because he also needs to help take care of the kids. And unload the dishwasher. And show up to all the soccer games (even though soccer is quite literally the worst invention mankind has ever come up with). Granted, working moms are also expected to do all this, but at least society allows them to bitch about it. Whereas if a man dared to complain about the unfairness of it all, he would swiftly be drowned out by a chorus of enraged and exhausted women, and would then be beaten to death by a barrage of overstuffed diaper bags.

And never you mind that men are more involved than ever in the day-to-day operations of childcare. Dudes are not allowed to talk about how hard it is to be a dad. Ever.

On the positive side, dads can still be the strong type if they want. Just not the silent type. Because the evolved male is no longer allowed to be emotionally distant from his children.

However, he also can’t get too emotional with his kids. One of the few freedoms we still allow moms, wretched creatures though they are, is that they can get mad at their children. They can yell at their kids in public and make veiled threats of bodily harm without raising any red flags. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hollered “you do that again I’m gonna beat ya’ ‘til you’re dead!” to my 2-year-old on the playground and not only did no one bother looking up from their phone, they most likely couldn’t even hear me over all the other women screaming things like “knock it off, Kolby, or so help me I will rip your arm off and then smack your face with your own hand.”

Now imagine a dad doing that.

Yeah.

Speaking of red flags, as a woman I can sit in any park or playground regardless of whether I have children with me and no one will think anything nefarious about my presence. And I mean even if I’m sporting a trench coat, sunglasses and a giant telephoto lens on my giant camera. Meanwhile, a dad who dares to try to breathe air that close to other children without a kid velcroed to his own body needs at least two forms of identification, a copy of his paternity test signed by his doctor and a note from his wife giving her permission for him to be there.

And chances are good several concerned citizens will still call the fuzz on him.

I could go on and on. We judge dads if they are horrible at sports. Or if they can’t teach their kids how to fix a flat tire. And then there’s the super fun dilemma we put them in regarding the lack of changing tables in men’s rooms.

It’s a very thin tightrope that we make modern dads walk (I suppose to match the tiny, little boxes we try to stuff moms into). And what it ultimately comes down to is that our refusal to value child rearing ends up hurting everyone. Dads are doing more than ever but rarely get noticed or praised for it. Mostly because when you’re both overworked and exhausted, like pretty much every set of parents I know, it can be hard to acknowledge the other’s contribution.

So, perhaps instead of expecting parents to be perfect in the face impossible odds, we could, oh, I don’t know, make it a bit easier to raise a family in this country. Starting with paid maternity AND paternity leave. And maybe affordable daycare, or even almost affordable (as opposed to our current model of “only affordable if eating is not vital to you”). And perhaps, hey, everyone could chill with the pitchforks and torches and death threats for awhile.

And that is my very awkward and long-winded way of saying Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads out there. We love you and you deserve better.

We all do.