Tag Archives: sesame street

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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Spongebrain NoPants (or How to Make Your Kid Wicked Smart)

I’d always heard the phrase “a child’s brain is like a sponge, soaking up everything.” But it wasn’t until I had a kid of my own that I began to truly understand just what that meant.

Their brains are, indeed, little sponges. Little, tiny, thirsty sponges that soak up any and all knowledge. In particular, any knowledge that may be left in the dwindling juices of their parents’ sleep-deprived brains.

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It’s all very sudden. One day they’re just lying there like adorable lumps of leaky clay, completely uninterested in Mr. Cloppity McHoover that you keep jangling in front of their face. They downright ignore your Oscar-worthy reenactment of “On The Night You Were Born” (complete with your dead-on impression of a tap-dancing polar bear). And as for peek-a-boo? Forget it. They couldn’t care less that you freaking DISAPPEARED for three seconds and then came back using nothing other than the power of your hands (which, let’s be honest, is a little hurtful).

And then BOOM. Suddenly they wake up and want to know EVERYTHING. What does Mr. Cloppity McHoover taste like? Let’s bite his face and find out.

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What is the symbolism and literary merit of dancing polar bears? Let’s gnaw on this book spine and find out. Where does Momma go during peek-a-boo? Let’s bite her finger and make her yell because it’s the funniest thing in the world.

Before you know it, they move onto the big questions. What’s that? And then there’s what’s that? And, of course, perhaps the biggest question of all, what’s that?

Yes, my son, who at 16-months still can’t (or more likely won’t) call me Momma (and instead refers to me as “Eh”), can say “what’s that?” so clearly and distinctly that it would make even poor Professor Higgins* weep with joy. I mean, granted, he’s had plenty of practice considering he’s asked me this question no less than 683 times a day, every day, for the past two months. But still, being that I’m his Eh, it makes me proud.

And exhausted.

Oh, so exhausted.

Don’t get me wrong. I love that my son wants to know all the things. But when I say “all the things,” I really mean All. The. Things.

He doesn’t just want to know what a tree is. Or even what a leaf on that tree is. No, he wants to know what every single leaf on every single branch of that tree is.

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And even that would be hypothetically doable, this game of naming everything in the known universe, if it weren’t for one teeny tiny detail:

He never, ever remembers a thing.

Yes, toddlers have horrible, horrible memories. Oh sure, he remembers the important things. He never forgets that 5 a.m. is TIME TO WAKE UP. Even if he stayed up until 4 a.m. the night before. Doesn’t matter. Cause 5 a.m. is TIME TO WAKE UP. No exceptions.

He also remembers that he’s not supposed to pull Mommy’s books out from the bookshelf. This, of course, doesn’t mean he doesn’t do it. He does. All the time. He just knows he’s not supposed to be doing it while he’s doing it, which is why he runs drunkenly on his tiny legs every time he snatches my copy of “The Hobbit” and hides oh-so-cleverly behind his playpen, which is made from 100 percent see-through mesh.

And he also remembers with startling clarity who Elmo is, which is why if you dare to even whisper the “E” word in our house, he will run drunkenly and directly to the TV and point and cry until that little high-pitched red demon is on the screen.

But as for anything else, WOOP! In one ear and out the other.

And that is why I just spent the last hour with him looking through all the pages of his “Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site” book. Not reading it, mind you. But slowly turning the pages and stopping every time we came to a page that had the moon on it so he could point to said moon and ask “what’s that?” while I answer “the moon…again.”

I’m sure, developmentally speaking, this is a very good sign. Of something. I have no idea what. My college childhood development classes** were many years and many, many beers ago.

So, I’m not complaining.***

Because in the end, curiosity in children should always be nurtured. No matter how brain-dead it makes you.

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*Old white dude from “My Fair Lady” who has a fetish for Spanish weather.

**Oh yeah, in addition to my journalism degree, I have a teaching degree. So, sleep tight tonight knowing that someday I could be the one in charge of your child’s brain…Muah-hahaha!

***Ha! Just kidding! This whole thing is pretty much one long complaint.

The Importance of Being Boring

It doesn’t happen all at once. I suppose that’s why it happens to so many people. It just tends to sneak up on you. And by the time you realize what’s happening, it’s already too late.

Suddenly, you’re boring.

I should know. I have completely morphed into the most boring person alive (even including that guy I met seven years ago who started every sentence with “Well, actually,” and thought a three-hour diatribe about how much he hated George Lucas—while wearing a “Star Wars” T-shirt, mind you –was an appropriate response to the question “Hey, how are you?”).

Granted, the very idea of “boring” is relative. What you find boring and what I find boring could be vastly different. For instance, the few times I have accidentally watched sports is only because alcohol tends to hang out wherever sports are happening. And I’m the kind of devoted drinker that will pretend to care about 11 burly men in ridiculously tight pants if it means society will give me a free pass to get drunk at two in the afternoon.

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And you, for example, may find books boring. Or fancy cheese. Or Saturday Night Live. Meanwhile, my life goal is to find a job that just lets me read all day while eating fancy cheese and the only time I’m interrupted is when Tina Fey and Amy Poehler take Instagram selfies of the three of us with the hashtag “Best Friends Forever.”

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Legend has it there are even people out there who find math exciting. Yes. Math. That thing with all the numbers but also, cruelly, letters and tiny hieroglyphics. But just like so many other legends, their existence is hard to proof (but if you look hard enough, there are cosines of them everywhere).

Sorry. I’ll stop being so acute. Math puns are a sine of a big problem. Never drink and derive, kids.

But the kind of boring I’m talking about, the kind of boring I have turned into, is universal. It’s the kind of boring you become once you have a baby. And while our society may be fractured on pretty much every topic imaginable, we can all agree at least that parents of young children are just the worst.

We are utterly obsessed with our children. They are all we think about. They are all we talk about. And they are all we think everyone else in the world wants to think and talk about.

Granted, in our defense, nature makes us this way because it knows that only an obsessed person could find the energy to pull a kid away from the computer cord 200 times a day, every day, without their head exploding. But that biological explanation is a poor consolation prize for the innocent barista I cornered for 27 minutes with my rambling monologue on how my son used to love bananas and now he hates them.

And the worst part is that we don’t even care that we’ve become boring. We don’t care that the only thing we can contribute to a discussion about Netflix shows is that Ricky Gervais was on an episode of “Sesame Street” and it made you laugh so hard that you scared little junior. Or that the last book you read was “Let’s Go To The Baby Animal Farm!” And you actually LIKED it. Or that the only political opinion you have these days is that someone should probably be elected president but here, look at this rash on my baby’s butt…do you think it’s regular diaper rash or something more serious?

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Oh my god, we are so boring. Which is why you see us parents of young children hanging out in clans. We’re the only ones who can put up with each other. And even then, we are secretly hoping Brenda shuts up about her stupid kid soon so we can talk about our own vastly superior kid.

The good news is that this too shall pass. The kids will get older and become more independent and with that freed up space in our brain that used to be occupied by cutting the crusts off approximately one million sandwiches, we will remember that we used to be a person too. A person with interests and hobbies and dreams and poop stain-free pants.

Yes, someday we parents will become people again.

But until then, you totally think it’s weird that my baby no longer likes bananas too, right? I mean, what’s up with that?

Apparently I will do anything for love…even that

Meatloaf is a wise man.

Or maybe he’s not. I don’t know. I never met the dude. Maybe he’s the kind of immature guy who unfriends you on Facebook because you never hit “like” on the pictures of his cat Harold. Honestly, I was just trying to think of a catchy first line that semi-segued to my topic. Which is that I am at a point in my life that I, too, would do anything for love.

But I won’t do that.

(And yes, you can stop reading now. That was a horrible introduction. Less paradise by the dashboard light and more gray Indiana winter endlessly whizzing by outside your car window. You deserve better. Use this time to “like” Meatloaf’s cat pictures or something).

For those of you still reading (thanks Great Auntie Mildred! How’s the sciatica?), it has come to my attention that despite all the sacrifices I have already made for my son, I’m going to have to make another one here shortly. A big one. HUGE. And as much as I love my kid, I just…I just don’t know if I can do it.

I mean, wasn’t it enough that during the roughly 47 months I was pregnant, I cut down from ten cups of coffee a day to just two? Or that I stopped drinking Diet Coke so he wouldn’t grow a third eye on his shoulder? Or that I gave up most alcohol? (I say most because my doctor said it was OK to have the occasional glass of wine and who am I to argue with science?).

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Not to mention, I selflessly gained 50 pounds during his imprisonment in my womb just so he would have an extra cozy living space. Because that’s just the kind of caring mother I was right from the beginning.

And even once he was out, the sacrifices continued. My sleep. My personal hygiene. My ability to talk to other adults in full sentences and free of caveman grunts. I gave it all up for him. And I even did it happily so considering one whiff of his head, which smells like flowers and unicorns and mermaid glitter and ambrosia dipped in chocolate and bacon, made it all worth it.

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Still, you’d think all that would be enough.

But no. Because now, at 13-months-old, he’s asking me for the biggest sacrifice yet. He’s making me…

…(Sigh)…

…he’s making me give up cursing.

Excuse me…I just need a moment. Come on, Aprill, get it together…

…(ragged breath)…

Yes, my baby, while not yet talking in words (or at least known human words) is at that stage where he is mimicking sounds. Already he has my frustrated Marge Simpson-esque growl down pat and can make the “fah” f-letter sound thanks to an overly helpful Grover on “Sesame Street.” He mimics the dog’s bark and my chipper “Hi!” that I say every morning when I greet him. He even does a good fake laugh when Momma is trying to entertain him and he decides to take pity on me and my sweet 90s dance moves.

All of which is to say that I have to give up cursing, else his first word be a non-Grover-approved f-word.

But here’s the thing, I’m not good at a lot of things (amazing stick figure art aside). But I am a world champion cusser. I mean, I can take one curse word and use it as a noun, pronoun, adjective, adverb AND verb in one single sentence. I’m even up-to-date on all the newest curse words, picking a new one each day to use like some warped word-of-the-day calendar.

Oh sure, I can turn it off when I need to. When I’m visiting with my in-laws or I’m hanging out with “those” moms who can actually say “H-E-Double Hockey Sticks” without collapsing into a fit of giggles because of how dumb it sounds. But I’ve never had to give it up in my own home. My cursing sanctuary. The place where I have always let my four-letter word creativity blossom and develop in a nurturing environment.

I’ve tried everything to curb my filthy mouth. For awhile I tried to use alternatives. You know, like “dang” instead of “dammit son of a bitch in hell!” or “fartknocker” instead of “douchebag asshat.” I even tried yelling “Fudge it!” but that just made me hungry all the time.

I also tried going cold turkey there for a bit, having my husband monitor my words. Alas, that just made every conversation go like this:

Me: “I mean, what the h-…heck was that d-…person-head f-fraking…thinking when they f-…freaking…oh my god…what was I saying again? I can’t remember anymore.”

My husband: “Frak if I know.”

Me: “Smartass.”

My husband: “Ah, you cussed.”

Me: “Sorry. Dumbass.”

And also, cold turkey just made me hungry all the time.

But by golly gee, I’m going to do my darnedest to stop this dang bad habit of mine. For my fraking son. Because it’s all fraking fun and games until he calls his kindergarten teacher an asshole because he didn’t get a smiley face sticker on his Thanksgiving turkey hand assignment.

So, I’m going to fraking do this. Even if it fraking kills me.

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