My personal parenting saga. Enjoy.
My personal parenting saga. Enjoy.
Before I had children, I knew that parenting would be challenging, rewarding, ridiculous, amazing. . . but still there were a few things I didn’t know or expect and ultimately, I was entirely unprepared for. To name a few,
Today, my 3-year-old became a 14-year-old. I asked Caroline something – can’t remember what it was. We were out in the backyard. I was watering some potted plants. Her response – a disgusted sneer and “Hush, Mama!” FINGER RAISED. Yeah, fucking FINGER RAISED to me!
My mouth dropped. Jason equally surprised as I was, immediately looked up from his phone to me, then to Caroline.
“Caroline you do NOT tell your mother to hush. Do you understand me?”
Her response? Take a guess. . .
She looked at him, then again at me, and said “You hush, Mama!” Walked her tiny ass inside the house. Slammed the door closed.
Fuck me. I’m not even kidding.
She’s not even fully potty-trained. I mean, Caroline still shits her pants. . .
1. Bacon is everything.
2. Bandaids will fix it (Daddy can confirm).
3. Fuck shoes, man.
4. Cricket (6-pound Shih Tzu) is perhaps, the funniest little creature on earth.
5. Chips are a fundamental food group.
6. Every sentence you speak can (and should) begin with “I want”.
7. Open every drawer, you never know what you’ll find.
8. Mommy drinks coffee or wine.
9. Every day is somebody’s birthday.
10. Bedtime is for the birds.
11. Daddy has a penis. Ew, that’s gross.
12. You have two options, wipe it on your shirt or lick it off.
13. Wearing a dress makes you pretty.
14. “God” is usually followed by “damnit” (Daddy can confirm).
15. You can make up your own words.
16. Everything is edible.
17. Just use your face as leverage.
18. Oh, they WILL fucking carry me.
19. Whatever it is, spread it around.
20. Big girls use the potty.
I had hoped that Caroline would learn to share once Claire came along. The little shit desperately needed a sibling, for countless reasons - sharing was a big one. And as it turns out, Caroline does share. . . it’s just kind of obnoxious the way she does it.
You see when I allow Caroline a bowl of Lucky Charms under the condition that she share with Claire, the following sequence of events occurs:
Caroline rushes with the bowl over to the couch.
She backs herself into a corner.
Claire clamors for the bowl from the ground, but can’t reach.
Caroline carefully selects the shitty cereal bits for Claire and hands them to her one at a time.
Caroline shoves as many marshmallows as she can possibly fit into her own little chunk face, internally praying to Jesus that I can’t see what's happening from the kitchen.
I scream across the kitchen, “Caroline, give your sister a marshmallow RIGHT NOW!!!!!”
Caroline picks out a crumb of a marshmallow, hands it to Claire, “Here, Cware. Here you go.” And continues shoveling any remaining marshmallows, so not a single one more can be spared on Claire.
Ugh. It’s exhausting - monitoring Caroline as she "shares".
It makes me feel a little better knowing that, one of these days, Claire is just going to sit on her.
I’ve gone to a few wellness visits for my kids with my own mother in tow.
It’s safe to say most mothers between the ages of 25 and 40 who just read that are already laughing.
If you don’t understand the humor, let me explain. Within mere moments of the first grandchild being born, Jesus Christ himself swoops down from heaven above and ordains your parents (and/or your in-laws), as the mighty all-knowing grandparents. Upon doing so, the mighty all-knowing grandparents understand that the proper upbringing of your child depends on their spoken advice. Many of you may already know that the mighty all-knowing grandparents also tend to have impeccable delivery and timing. And nothing they say should bother you at all because they are, in fact, “only trying to help”.
So back to the wellness appointments. . . with, as I stated before, my mother in tow. These appointments have always begun and ended with me wanting to kick my mother in the face. . .
The conversation usually goes something like this. . .
Dr. Sue (the pediatrician who was also my pediatrician when I was a child): “Hello, how’s everybody doing today?”
Dr. Sue: “Okay, good and is this-
My mother interrupts: “Chandler, we are not good. Tell the doctor what’s been going on.”
My inner dialog: Jesus fucking Christ.
My outer dialog: “What?”
My mother: “You know.” Her eyes popping out from under a furrowed brow.
Me: “No, I really don’t.”
At this point in time, I’d bet Dr. Sue would love to turn right the fuck around and walk out of the room (as would I).
Now my mom turns to the doctor: “Sue, I just don’t think ‘normal’ children scream like this. Trying to put her seatbelt on is a nightmare. Don’t you think something could be wrong with her?”
As it turns out, lots of grandparents believe their grandchildren are “different”, “Autistic”, “delayed”, “ADD”, “ADHD”, “Dyslexic”, “behind”, “slow” . . . they’ll come up with all kinds of diagnoses for you. Because you know, you’ve never worried about this shit yourself. Apparently, the mighty all-knowing grandparents believe that you yourself are so damn retarded that you’ve never even thought of the possibility, let alone researched or asked anybody who knows anything about anything, certainly not a pediatrician, about your child potentially being “different”, “Autistic”, “delayed”, “ADD”, “ADHD”, “Dyslexic”, “behind”, and/or “slow.”
One time my mother sent my father with me to one of Caroline’s doctor appointments. I shit you not. She wanted Caroline, who was 2 at the time, in speech therapy. And I'm certain that my father was suppose to advocate for that. Dr. Sue – thank Christ for Dr. Sue, shut that shit right down. But I mean FUCK!!!!! I actually asked Dr. Sue (in front of my father), what I could do about grandparents who were out of their fucking minds. . . You’re surprised? Wait to see what you end up doing, my friend.
“She does really like her chocolate milk. . .” (Caroline’s allowed one glass per day and she always wants it first thing in the morning), my father says to the doctor in a truly bizarrely accusatory manner. I’m sorry, but what the fuck does that make Caroline? A chocolate-milk-a-holic? Perhaps psychopaths like chocolate milk the same way Caroline does? Right up there with hurting animals huh?
And all this time I figured liking chocolate milk was a “normal” 2-year-old thing.
“Can’t we do something to get her to stop throwing food on the ground?” She was 2.
“Don’t you think she should know how to count to twenty by now? I know another 2-year-old and he does that.”
“She’s been putting her shoes on the wrong feet!” She was 2.
To those who feel they may be navigating these waters soon, don’t fret. Intentions matter most – it’s better to have grandparents who care too much.
And by the time you have your second child, you’ve learned a thing or two.
Have you ever looked at your kitchen countertop and wondered “what in the fuck are my three-year-old’s filthy crocs doing up on my kitchen countertop”? I have. . .
Anyway, it’s been another long day. . . Earlier, I thought I may write about Claire pulling a tissue with a dead spider wrapped up in it out of the toilet to eat it earlier today. But I don’t know, it just seemed so typically gross for us.
- by the way, this was on Jason’s watch . . . just saying.
I’m going to write about something else. . . completely unrelated to my current day-to-day life. Think pre-children days. . . when Jason and I were better looking, less exasperated, and . . . better looking. At some point in time during our pre-children relationship, Jason and I took a vacation to Washington D.C.. Jason and I ALWAYS have a damn good time on vacation together. It’s easy for us to find the right balance of relaxation and adventure. Washington D.C. was no different. We slept in, ordered room service for breakfast, hit museums and art galleries (the Renwick was exceptional). It seemed the only hiccup was that Jason had signed us up for this Segway tour. I was not thrilled about it. For one, it was cold (we went to D.C. for New Year’s). Two, we had to wake up early to catch a cab just to get to the Segway tour place. And three, we were going to ride around looking like two serious geeks in helmets on Segways going slow as fuck all around D.C. playing a glorified game of follow the leader?
BUT. I was, in fact,
I’m telling you – everybody should have a Segway! It’s a goddamn blast. I’ve been begging Jason to buy me one ever since. I think he’s too scared I’ll run over one of the children or something, which I kind of understand. After all, the guy who invented the Segway died by driving off a cliff on one. Google it.
Figuring out the Segway is pretty frightening at first. . . because the direction and speed of the thing has NOTHING to do with the way you hold its handles (like it might with a four-wheeler) – it has to do with the way and how hard you lean your body. So naturally, you step onto the platform of the Segway, lean forward to grab the handles, and suddenly the whole damn thing is moving forward. At this point, you’re out of sorts, trying to get your balance and keep your cool while grabbing for a non-existent clutch and looking like a real moron. Meanwhile, all the other newbie Segwayers are feverishly watching you (they’re trying to figure out how NOT to do what you’re doing when their own moments of truth come). Ultimately what happens is your tour guide has to swoop in and save your pathetic “too cool for a Segway” ass because you’re moving a measly 2 miles per hour, but steadily toward an actually really fucking busy intersection, all crazy eyed because you legitimately can’t figure how to just lean back a little bit and stop the damn thing. . . Hey, it happens to be very counter intuitive. BUT you do, in fact, get the hang of the Segway. . . and I’ll tell you what. . . that part doesn’t even matter that much. Sure, I may have looked like the worst Segwayer of the Segway pack for that brief moment in time, but as it turns out, everybody gets to look like a complete ding dong at some point along the way. And it’s watching the other Segwayers fuck up that’s really something. In fact, it’s the best goddamn entertainment I’ve ever personally experienced.
There was a family of four in our group and I think two other couples. So once we all got going in a single file little duckling line we came to a cross in the roads, or more specifically a speed-bump. All of our eyes widened when our tour guide confirmed that we would in fact, have to go over the speed-bump. A few of us made it over the speed-bump just fine (*COUGH*ME). To my dissatisfaction Jason was one of them (I always want to beat Jason, at like. . . everything). But one poor soul, a relatively young tallish guy who was doing the tour with his girlfriend, somehow got the idea that if he could just pick up some speed and get the fuck over the thing quickly, it all would be fine. The logic was fair (at least to me), but what actually happened was he picked up more speed than he anticipated and fucking flew over the speed-bump – getting serious air. He nearly landed, but leaned forward too hard and ultimately ate shit – holding tightly onto to the Segway handles while it spun around in circles on it's side in the middle of the path. I think his girlfriend was impressed. From what I can remember, he had to go back to the Segway place and chill for a little while. The rest of us, who passed the speed-bump test continued on (duckling style of course). . . An hour or so later, I was really getting into it I was speeding along behind Jason, feeling like I had finally found my calling and testing the limits a bit (high on adrenaline and whatnot). Well, I accidentally bumped into Jason from behind and to this day, I’ve never seen the man so obviously agitated and panic stricken. He looked back at me, unbelievably pissed, and yelled “YOU GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!” And I just couldn’t help but absolutely DIE laughing. . . it still makes me crack up thinking about it today.
My story is getting long winded. . . and I really need to go shave my legs. So this will have to be my abrupt conclusion to my Segway story. Maybe, I’ll pick it back up sometime down the road. But really the conclusion is, all y'all need to go try out a Segway.
My husband, Jason, is an only child. Yes, that’s right. . . somehow, I married an only child. Those of us who are not only children know a few things about the only children. I can testify that most of our collective believes are in fact, very fucking true.
I am going to share with you just one of Jason’s only childisms. Jason is perhaps a hypochondriac. . . at the very least he is “very in touch with his body” (as Jason’s best friend, Paul, puts it - they've been best friends since they both were 9 years old). Besides having an absolute obsession with triple antibiotic ointment and Band-Aids, Jason updates me approximately every 2 hours about how he is feeling. To fulfill his need to provide regular updates, but make the task truly effectual, I created a sort of checklist for Jason. I’ve been talking about doing this for him for a long time. . . That way, he can just check things off throughout the day and provide the final list to me at the end of the day.
Here it is:
Today, I, Jason, feel like. . . .
___ I have a cold
___ I’m getting a cold
___ I’m getting over a cold
___ I have a headache - it’s not horrible, but present, more of an annoyance really
___ I have a pulsing headache
___ My throat hurts
___ I know this is probably too much information, but I’ve been coughing up green oysters of snot and crap
___ I do things a bit more obsessively than the average person, but I really think separate from that I build up blisters easier and faster than the average person
___ I’m getting better
___ I’m getting worse
___ I’m neither getting better nor getting worse
___ My back hurts
___ My neck hurts
___ My arm feels weird and tingly and numb
___ The hair on the top of my foot has been rubbing against my shoe and it hurts
___ My hair hurts because I’ve been wearing my hat so much, do you know what I’m talking about?
___ You know, this little cut on my finger doesn’t look that bad, but, man, it hurts a lot
___ I’m actually pretty sunburnt
___ This crusty/chapped skin on my eyelid is getting better
___ Man, this crusty/chapped skin on my eyelid was getting better, but now it’s getting worse
___ My tummy isn’t happy with me (after swallowing 5 slices of pizza in approximately 1 minute and 22 seconds)
___ I have heartburn (no shit. . .)
___ I’m dehydrated
___ I really needed a little sugar quick there
___ I’ve got to trim this nose hair, it’s rubbing the inside of my nose and it really itches
___ You need to look at my razor burn, it’s really mean looking
___ My chest feels weird, I know it’s just in my head, but I’m scared I’m having a heart attack or something (now he’s going to take his blood pressure 8 times over the next hour)
___ Never mind about the cold, I think it’s just allergies
I have also started documenting some things I never thought I'd hear Jason say to our children (him being the kind, gentle parent). Apparently this COVID quarantine stuff is getting real. Here’s a few gems from today. I heard this one while lying in bed this morning:
“Caroline. . .get a grip.”
And a few others:
“CLAIRE, STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT! DAMN IT ALL!!!!”
I had to ask Jason about this one - apparently Claire was eating doggy food (again), so he ran over to take the bowl away, and as a "fuck you" maneuver Claire slammed her hands into the doggy water bowl.
“YOU’RE GOINT TO EAT THIS CHICKEN, CAROLINE, OR I’M GOING TO LOSE MY SHIT.”
I personally think his shit's already been lost, but what do I know.
It bothers me that Caroline seems to be a Daddy’s girl. If you knew how much slave driving I fall victim to at the merciless hands of Caroline (and Claire, now that she's a bit older), you would feel the same way. But something Jason said last night did make me feel significantly better regarding the matter. . .
Every evening before bed, Caroline demands that her daddy reads her a story. My response to this is always “Hellzzzz yeah!!!! Peace mother fuckers!!!!” (inside my head of course. . . okay fine, sometimes aloud). Then I proceed to watch an episode of Bravo TV Housewives. I do occasionally notice that story time has gone on for quite a while (MERELY AN OBSERVATION - NOT A COMPLAINT). Anyway, what Jason told me is that one night, months ago, Jason had read almost the entire Cat in the Hat, down to the last sentence, when Caroline suddenly interrupted him and said she didn’t want Cat in the Hat, she wanted Green Eggs and Ham. So Jason started reading Green Eggs and Ham. It was this very moment, I believe, when Caroline pinned Jason as a real dumb dumb. And ever since then, Daddy has to read the bedtime story. . . or stories, as the case may be.
My children have put in tremendous work to do us off. I am truly impressed. I firmly believe Caroline is the next Napoleon. And Jason is now fully realizing the depth of her criminal little mind. We switch off getting up with them in the morning. When it’s my turn to “sleep in”, I mostly lie in bed listening to both children scream without pause. Every now and then I get Jason’s cry “GODDAMNIT, *insert Caroline, Claire, or Cricket!” roaring over their screaming. Usually some glass shatters or a loud thud occurs – undoubtedly Claire’s head on a hard surface (I suspect after a Caroline karate-chop or dropkick – something along those lines). By the time I get up, Claire has been condemned to her crib, Jason has a headache, and Caroline’s playing on the laptop she wasn’t allowed to have 10 minutes beforehand.
Did you know that if a child asks you for 1) chocolate milk 2) orange juice 3) apple juice or 4) Gatorade 600 times a day, she ends up with zero cups of water? Well done dentist parents. . . well done.
I’ve considered tracking Claire’s weight gain and nutrition. She has started eating dog food in quantities unknown to man. Due to our current state, my husband and I can no longer interfere. All in all, she seems to be a stout healthy little thing. I am however kind of pissed that we are running out of the ridiculously expensive kidney care prescription-only doggy food.
Jason and I have been gardening a lot in the backyard. And yes, we leave the 1- and 3- year-olds to their own in the house. It’s kind of like a Vegas policy at this point, “what happens in the house while mommy and daddy are doing yard work, stays in the house.” Today I did kind of regret the new survival tactic my husband and I adopted. I checked on Caroline (Claire was napping) to find her without underwear and in a state of pure pride about using the potty. She did fine really. It’s not her fault that after 6 days of holding in her poop, a mountain of MiraLAX, and one suppository that a gross amount of poop leakage occurred, covering the entire surface of the Elmo potty seat. So she took her fifth bath for the day. Mommy did more disinfecting and cloroxing.
All in all, we are creating precious memories together. I don’t know how memorable they will remain after this next glass of wine. . .
Louisiana, United States