Tag Archives: parenting humor

One thousand birthday hats

Here’s an interesting question you’ve probably never been asked before: Did you know it was possible to be bad at celebrating?

Me neither.

And then I had kids.

My children are awful at celebrating. Just terrible. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries. They’re hopeless. They’re even bad at those faux holidays like National Talk Like A Pirate Day (you should hear their sorry excuse for a pirate accent).

I’m hoping it’s just their ages but it’s getting to the point that I’m slightly worried this may turn into a permanent part of their personalities.

Take this past Christmas, for example. First of all, I had to wake them up. A baby and a 3-year-old. I woke THEM up. The only day of the year their sleep-deprived mother would happily get up at 4 a.m. and they decide it’s the only day of the year they want to sleep in. And then, after every present they opened, they wanted to STOP and actually play with that gift instead of ripping into all the other brightly wrapped packages like demented honey badgers. You know, like the rest of us red-blooded Americans do with our presents.

Before that was our anti-climatic Halloween. After getting candy at maybe six houses, my oldest proclaims “ok, let’s go home now.” I mean, who does that? A tiny human dressed like a Viking riding a dinosaur apparently.

And don’t even get me started on Thanksgiving. Eight hours of cooking only to have both of them eat a roll in under three minutes and ask “can we have pie now?”

And those are the major events. They’re even worse at the holidays on the JV squad.

On St. Patrick’s Day, they didn’t want to leave the house. My red-headed children. On the holiest day of the year for redheads. Those selfish un-fun offspring of mine also refused to wear the tiny leprechaun outfits I bought them even AFTER I explained that Mommy and Daddy might be able to score a free beer at a pub if they would just play along.  

Valentine’s Day? Forget it. Same with Easter. Last July, when my youngest turned one, it’s like she didn’t even KNOW it was her birthday. And neither could care less about the fact their mommy and daddy will be celebrating eight years of marriage this month without any attempted murder charges on either of their records (no small feat, thank you very much).

It’s not entirely their fault, I suppose. I mean, children are perpetually living in the present and feel they deserve cake at any given moment. So, it’s understandable they just don’t “get” the big deal about special days. (Whereas us adults are caught in a horrific loop living between the past and the future, skipping the present entirely, and feel guilty eating cake even if we do deserve it. Which is probably why we do love holidays and birthdays so much. It forces us to act like kids for a day.)

Plus, in all fairness, my youngest just figured out was an elbow was so the intricacies of societal celebrations might be a bit above her paygrade.

But next weekend will be the real test. My oldest will be turning 4-years-old. The first birthday he’ll probably remember and the first that he gets to have opinions on.

So far, the outlook isn’t great seeing as how I’m currently more excited than he is. Here is how our conversation about his birthday plans went:

Me: What do you want for your birthday, baby?

Him: Oh, um, how about some presents?

Me: Sure. Yeah. Any specific ones?

Him: No. Just some presents.

Me: Awesome. That’s really helpful. What kind of cake do you want?

Him: Oh, um, how about carrots?

Me: Like, carrot cake?

Him: No.

Me: So, you want carrots instead of a birthday cake?

Him: No. I want cake.

Me: Well, that clears everything up. Anything else?

Him: I want a birthday hat.

Me: I WILL GET YOU A THOUSAND BIRTHDAY HATS.

I’m still determined though to make it the best birthday ever. Because even if he may not get the big deal, I do. His life deserves to be celebrated in a big, big way. Because he is amazing. Because he is smart and wonderful and kind and funny. Because the world is a better place with him in it. Because the beginning of his life marked one of the greatest days of my life. And because every day since that first day has only gotten better.

Now, does anyone know where I can buy a thousand birthday hats?

 

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To Whom It May Concern (yes, you)

I didn’t want it to have to come to this. No one ever does. Love means never having to hire a lawyer. Or at least it should.

But, alas, here we are. It is indeed regrettable but unfortunately necessary at this point.

And so, it is with a heavy heart that I must inform you, dear children, that you are in violation of our prenatal agreement.

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Actually, you’ve both been in violation of various parts of it for quite some time now. Remember Section 1, Subsection C, Paragraph 2? Thou shall not give the mother stretch marks?

(Note: I don’t really know much legal jargon so I just mixed in a bunch of Biblical vocabulary to make it sound more official. Also I was getting high on cheeseburgers every day during the drafting of the original document so I can’t really be held responsible for my state of mind at the time).

Well, I do have stretch marks. Lots of them. My hips look like they’ve been mauled by a cranky tiger.

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But since you both kept up your end of the Principal Birth Accord and came out healthy and with the appropriate amount of digits, I’m willing to waive the Stretch Mark Clause. Especially in light of the fact that you have both remained healthy and have kept all the aforementioned digits in excellent condition. (Although I do feel it pertinent to remind you at this juncture that Section 5, Paragraph 6 forbids those digits from coming within three inches of the nasal area).

However, I need you both to immediately cease and desist with any and all public tantrums. A fetus is able to hear inside the womb starting at around 16 weeks, so I know you heard me when I said “you are never allowed to flop on the floor, kicking and screaming, while occupying space on public property.” This is what’s known as a verbal agreement, kids. Which is legally binding.

Probably.

Which means that last week, when the two of you threw a simultaneous tantrum inside the grocery store because you both got the exact same number of stickers from the cashier, which made Defendant No. 1 mad because, and I quote, “I wanted more stickers than her,” and made Defendant No. 2 mad because, and I quote “MORE ‘DICKERS, MOMMA,” you were in violation of Section 8, Subsection K, Paragraph 2, AND Paragraph 7 (the latter of which specifies that any and all tantrums may not be about something ridiculous and/or dumb).

And did you or did you not kick my bladder in acquiescence when I asked you to agree that thou shalt never complain about what I cooked for dinner? Let me refresh your memory: You both did. Hard. In fact, one of you agreed so heartily that I peed myself a little.

And yet, almost every meal that is not composed of just a giant bowl of ketchup is met with a resounding chorus of whining and various other dramatic theatrics. Meaning you are in violation of Section 10, Paragraph 37, also known as the “Shut Up And Eat It” stipulation.

And I think we can all agree that last night’s flagrant disregard of Section 17, Paragraph 1, commonly referred to as the “No Pooping in the Tub” restriction, was highly regrettable and caused no small amount of distress, both mentally and physically, for all involved.    

As is noted in great detail in Section 26, Subsection F, Paragraph 3 through 119 of the Prenatal Agreement, I love you both very much. Which is why, despite these unpleasant legal matters, I am still willing to act as your Maternal Unit with the priviso that you reread and reacquaint yourself with the particularities of Section 45, also known as the “Knock It Off” contingency, and Section 48, also known as the “So Help Me” eventuality.

Cordially Yours,

Momma

 

Dinner.

(Based on a true…and disgusting…story)

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Kid(not)napped

Funny title, huh? Ha-ha! HA-HA-HA! Oh yeah, LAUGH IT UP, CHUCKLES. My entire life is ruined but I’m glad YOU find it so hilarious.

Oh man. Wow. Sorry, you guys. That was uncalled for. It’s just, I’m exhausted, you know? From all the not sleeping my oldest is doing.

I knew this day would come. I mean, he’s almost 4-years-old. He napped longer than a lot of kids do. And, as that famous Robert Frost poem goes, “nothing gold can stay.” And silence is golden. Right? Or something. So, it has to go away. Eventually. Or something. I don’t know. I’M SO TIRED, YOU GUYS.

But knowing that kids eventually stop napping doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. I also know that kids are messy eaters but that doesn’t mean I also don’t cry a little bit every Spaghetti Wednesday at our house.

Honestly it wouldn’t even be that bad except that my second kid is on the short list for the prize of “Crappiest Napper Of All Time.” The first year of her life, she would only nap if someone was holding her. It took months to get her to nap in her crib, followed by even more months of training to get her to nap in her crib for more than 12 minutes.

So it only makes sense that now that she is finally napping like a normal human baby, her brother doesn’t want to nap anymore because WHY SHOULD MOMMY BE ABLE TO WATCH A TV SHOW WITH CURSE WORDS AND GRATUITOUS NUDITY!?

What these kids don’t realize is that nap time is not for their benefit. It’s not for their physical and mental health. It’s not for their overall well-being.  

It’s for MINE.

I need, NEED, that hour or two alone so that I can make it through the day without throwing a tantrum or having a breakdown. Just a small window of time where no one is yelling “MOMMA!” Where no one needs anything. Where no one is being a tiny, nosy, little Sherlock Holmes and asking “Momma, why are you hiding in the kitchen? Are you eating cheese again? Can I have some?”

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IT’S MY CHEESE! MINE!

I try to remind myself that I should just relax and enjoy these all-too-short early years before they start school and sports and having even more opinions. I mean, I love them so much. Both my kids are amazing human beings and I should really be viewing this, the end of the nap era, as a wonderful opportunity to spend even more time with my oldest baby who is not so much a baby anymore.  

Ah. It’s a nice thought.

But then my kids holler “Momma!” 62 times in eight minutes and destroy the entire living room with a single Go-Gurt and I start crying as I dig through my closet for all the black clothes I can wear in official mourning of the naps’ untimely demise.

Sigh.

At least I have my memories of those three glorious golden weeks where they both napped at the same time and, for the first time in almost four years, I was able to pluck my eyebrow and make two of them again.

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The Great Grilled Cheese Meltdown of 2017

Maybe it was because my husband has been swamped with work lately. Or maybe it was because we couldn’t find a babysitter so I could join him at a company Christmas party for a few glorious kid-free hours. Or hell, maybe because it was Tuesday…I think it was Tuesday…but really it doesn’t matter if it WAS Tuesday because the demands of motherhood never, ever stop, making the very concept of time irrelevant. And the concept of death, for that matter, since I can guarantee the kids will only visit my tombstone to ask me to refill their sippy cups and can I help them find their Batman toy?

But regardless of the reason, I had a meltdown over a grilled cheese sandwich. A flip out over the flipping of a sandwich. An existential crisis over an extraordinarily mundane dinner.  

It was all the pan’s fault. That stupid non-stick sticky pan. I should have gotten rid of it ages ago. But who wants to go pan shopping? I get 45 seconds of free time every day. Like I’m going to use it to do something necessary and grown-up and boring. Pffft.

So, since I am selfish and immature and use my free time to do outlandish things like pee and write curse words on Facebook, the grilled cheese sandwich stuck to the pan. Which destroyed the flip. Which destroyed the sandwich. Because while “technically” it was still edible, I was making it for the world’s most discerning and acid-tongued food critic in the entire world…

A preschooler.

A preschooler, mind you, who considers potatoes too exotic and spicy.  

(And that is a direct quote).

The whole reason we were HAVING grilled cheese for dinner in the first place was because it was supposed to be easy. I was tired. I didn’t want to fight about how my meatloaf smells weird and the lasagna looks like dog food.

(Also direct quotes).

And then the kids started fighting in the living room and the dog started barking at the kids because he thinks the solution to every kid-related problem is to just be louder than them (which is also pretty much my parenting method) and it just seemed like too much effort to butter some more bread and throw cheese on it and so…

I lost it.

I dramatically threw the whole mess, ruined sandwich, stupid sticky pan, any semblance of remaining dignity, into the sink and dropped to my knees right there in the kitchen and let out a primal scream. And then I cried a little. Not really a real cry but one of those “I wish someone could see me so they could feel sorry for me” cries. But still, it did include real tears so if you HAD seen me, you’d probably feel a little sorry for me.

And then, as I knelt there on the floor and looked around, I realized, with the clarity that comes after the release of intense emotions, that the pan is just one of the thousand items in my house that have completely lost their usefulness and are skating along the thin ice of their former reputation. Because my whole life is out of control. Because children are tornadoes of pure love and pure chaos.

And that’s why there is a case of Stella Artois beer bottles sitting in an obscure corner of our kitchen that has been there so long I’m pretty sure it’s essential to the structural integrity of our house now. The beer that was bought because hey, let’s try something new. And the beer that was abandoned because, hey, it tastes like alcoholic boogers.

Or the tupperware full of used batteries that I can’t get rid of because I want to properly and responsibly dispose of them but I don’t know how to properly and responsibly dispose of them and also don’t want to bother looking up how to properly and responsibly dispose of them.

Or the ever growing pile of Swiffer sweepers in yet another corner, only one of which isn’t broken, which is also coincidentally the one I can never find.

I need to get rid of all this stuff. Gain control. Any control. And I try to. Especially every year at this time. Because while I can blissfully ignore it the rest of the year, the thought of Christmas coming up and all the shiny new things that will be lovingly piled on top of all our old crap makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a candy cane.

But Aprill, you might be thinking, couldn’t at least part of the solution to your problem be to just ask for a pan for Christmas? And, yes, you’re right. But no. Ew. Gross. Why should my Christmas be ruined with a practical gift when I can so easily just buy a new pan myself?

Which I will totally do.

Eventually.

Maybe after the Big Omelet Breakdown of 2018.

Or the Pancake Freakout of 2019.

Or the Even Greater Grilled Cheese Meltdown of 2025.

To be honest, I’m probably going to be buried with that stupid pan and that ancient case of Stella beer.

But hey, at least my ghostly essence will have something to refill my kids’ sippy cups with when they come visit the cemetery. I’ll even throw some used batteries at them for their stupid Batman toy.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

(Kid)-free at last, (kid)-free at last

Hey, do you guys remember what it was like before you had kids? Like, what you used to do on a typical pre-spawn Saturday, when you had a million hours stretched out in front of you where you could do anything you wanted? And, most importantly, if candy tasted better eaten out in the open instead of while huddled in a corner of a locked bathroom, like a junkie mainlining M&M’s?

Yeah. Me neither. Apparently there gets to be a certain point in parenthood where you can’t remember what it was like before you spent 85 percent of your day refilling sippy cups. Personally, I think this forgetfulness is a survival instinct. Your brain suppresses those pre-child memories so that your head doesn’t explode when you have to get up at 5 a.m. on a Saturday now and get ready and cook breakfast that no one eats and deal with three tantrums before finally getting them to soccer practice and then head to the grocery store because you’re out of milk and then immediately head back to the store when you drop the milk in the driveway and it explodes all over everything and then you look at the clock and it’s only 9:15 a.m. and you cry a little.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because at the end of this month, I will have four glorious days all to myself. No kids. No husband. No dog. Just me and my questionable decision-making skills, all alone. I’m heading to a beloved friend’s wedding in Portland, Oregon, and there will quite literally be an entire continent between me and my responsibilities.

And. I. Can’t. Wait.

I’ve never been away from my kids. Oh sure, an hour or three here or there but never overnight and certainly never in a long enough time frame for me to permanently ruin whatever is left of my tattered reputation. And I plan to fully take advantage of this particular gift I have been granted by the grace of the parenting gods and my friend Adriana’s airline points.

Because, see, a lot of moms will tell you that “I don’t even know what I’d do with myself without my kids.” Seriously, I Googled “What do moms do when they are away from their kids?” and the pickins were slim. It seemed to be a tie between blogs where moms boringly describe “it was great for 15 minutes but then I just missed the kids so much, so I just sat here like a lump until they came back” and news articles about moms who run away from their children permanently. Because even in motherhood, we women are still reduced down to the sinner/saint, madonna/whore archetype.

But not me. Oh no. I’m hitting that sweet spot right in the middle where I’m going to run off and do awful things and not feel guilty once and then come home to my loving family smelling like happiness and stale beer.

So, first things first, I’m going to start off slow. I want to read a book. Read all the books, in fact. And every newspaper and magazine from the last three years.

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Then I will drink all the booze. ALL OF IT.

Sleep in. Until 7 a.m. Maybe even 7:30.

Take a long, long, long shower. Or hell, a bath. And then actually style my hair into something other than “messy bun.” Like “purposefully messy bun.” And then I will pluck my eyebrow until there are two again.

Eat a cheeseburger for breakfast and an entire cheesecake for dinner. WITHOUT having to share ANY of it.

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Make a huge mess. And don’t clean it up.

Run around my hotel room naked.

Run around the hotel naked.

RUN AROUND THE ENTIRE CITY NAKED.

Smoke a cigar with some old men wearing fedoras.

Steal one of the fedoras and run away laughing maniacally.

Set my daily planner on fire and cover my face with the ashes and do a ritual pagan dance to every known deity devoted to chaos.

Write my novel!

Start a rock band!

Finally learn to juggle those fire sticks!

Buy a bunch of spray paint and become the new Banksy!

Rob a bank and give all the money to the poor!

I WILL DO ALL THE THINGS.

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Right after I buy my kids a bunch of souvenirs and text my husband dirty hotel room nudes, of course.