Ten Things I’ve Learned Living With Little Boys

Ten Things I’ve Learned Living With Little Boys

I have been “mothering” for a little over six years, now.  Actually, if you want to be real about it, I’ve been “momma bearin’ it” for a little over six years.  I’ve done a lot of things I had previously said I’d never do.  I’ve said a lot of things I never thought I’d say — or have to say (one of my favorites: “Please stop trying to lick your brother’s eyeball”).  I’ve slept more than I thought I would have, and I’ve also slept much less than is probably necessary to function.  I’ve figured out that I’ll cover pretty much anything in ketchup if it’ll get my kids to eat and that I may be an enabler to my two-year old’s fruit snack addiction.  That said, I have learned quite a lot living with little boys.  I’ve Google’d, Bing’d, Wikipedia’d, and WebMd’d pretty much everything there is to Google, Bing, Wikipedia, and WebMd regarding kids (and on how to maintain my sanity sans booze).


I posted a status the other day on my page about needing to learn to check the inside of my shoes before putting them on thanks to having Things 1 & 2 running around.  That got me to thinking, “What all have I learned since I’ve been a boy mom?”, which inspired this post.  This is the kind place my brain goes to around 10 o’clock every night instead of closing up shop for the day.  But it’s to your benefit this morning that my poor old brain is overactive, because here are my top ten things I’ve learned while living with my little monsters boys:

  1. It is absolutely vital that one check one’s shoes before putting them on.  It is in my house, anyway.  I’ve killed many a toe thanks to Lego blocks and even small action figures finding their way to the deep, dark recesses of my footwear.  I check those bad boys with a flash light and, some days, even something pointy so I don’t have to sacrifice my fingers.  My kids think they have jokes these days and I’m just waiting to “find” a frog or something in there.
  2. No matter how long and hard you preach, socks and underwear will likely never make it to the washer.  Shirts, pants, and even a stray tennis shoe will at least get to the floor in front of the washer.  I’ve washed plenty of change and even a wallet or two (oops…).  But I have to check under beds and other pieces of furniture for undergarments.  Connor, the two-year old, has taken to throwing his socks away these days, so I also raid the trash.  It’s pretty fantastic.
  3. Your kids will never need you for anything of dire importance once your buttocks are firmly planted on the toilet.  They will, however, need you to open a jar of pickles (why are you even in the kitchen?!), to ask about the theory of relativity (relatively speaking), and “why is brother wearing a blue shirt, because wasn’t he in green earlier?” (<— that happened).9b7ac1fff5f9305ce0181d24821e1202
  4. Sleep is a distant memory that I’ve grown to resent.  A night without the kids?  Sleep!  Not. even. close.  Housework?  Yep.  Binge Netflixing?  Naturally.  Simply sitting in the quiet?  Sure.  But sleep?  Not I.  I don’t sleep when my kids are home, and I physically cannot sleep if they’re gone for the night.  I’ve learned that I’m an utter weirdo, in that respect.
  5. “Batman and Mario are most certainly real and how dare you question their existence?!”  That conversation not only took place, but I felt sure that Gabe was looking at resumes for other mothers on the slick afterward.  I’ve learned that Mario, Batman, and even the Ninja Freaking Turtles are very real to little boys and damnit, do not question it until they’re at least in high school.  And even then… sore subject.
  6. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse will buy you a good five minutes worth of a shower.  That’s probably it, though, unless your kids zombie out to TV.  My oldest is guilty of that, but the little one will notice five minutes in that he’s not glued to my ass.6e9e5ca87735e1e5d80de6503442e8cc
  7. Little boys are rough and sturdy, but only if you let them be that way.  When Gabe was very little (about Con’s age), I watched his every move like a hawk.  Someone called me out on it and I backed off slightly.  Now that we have Connor?  Psh.  Unless there is a tremendous amount of blood or bones jutting out, our motto is, “Shake it off.”  Insurance premiums are expensive enough without tacking on minor cut and bobo costs.
  8. Little guys will always need cuddles even if they’re embarrassed to admit it.  Gabe has turned a page in his cuddle bear life; he no longer appreciates it when I give him a kiss (or a hug!) goodbye at daycare.  I’m lucky to get a fist bump.  But, if I play my cards right and no one is looking, he hugs me tight just as I’m walking out the door.  Only for a second, though — “the guys are looking, mom.”  Connor is only cuddly on his terms… he’s catlike, in that sense.  A grouchy little turd who wants cuddles one minute and will claw your eyes out the next if he thinks you’re enjoying getting loves.  I’ve learned to be as nonchalant as possible with that kid in regards to “love time”.
  9. There is nothing little dudes won’t take apart and try to put back together.  As is the case, my house looks like a replica set of “Sanford and Sons” on the regular.  We’re working on it, but some days it doesn’t even pay to act like I care.
  10. And finally, I’ve learned that little boys are tough and rowdy and put up a great “he-man” face, but they are pretty insecure little creatures, too.  Most days I tire quickly of being constantly called upon and tugged at… but I know one day it’ll all be long gone and I’ll miss it.  Funny thing, missing what you had once it’s gone.  So this evening I think we’ll curl up on the couch once homework, bath time, and supper is done.  We’ll have popcorn and watch Hocus Pocus and I’ll live in the moment while it’s here.  And I’ll probably wonder, most likely around 10 o’clock, what else they’ll teach me.  And I’ll wish I knew where the time goes and why, when it does, does it go so quickly.


Beachin’: A Paul Family Vacation

Beachin’: A Paul Family Vacation

We had our first family vacation on Labor Day weekend.  We’ve taken little trips here and there, but we’ve never done “vacay”.  There was always something: kids too little, weather’s bad, “lets STAYcation instead”…. you know the drill.  Anyhow, we took the kids to Pensacola for the weekend and they LOVED it.  I loved it.  And don’t say anything, but no matter how much he denies it, the hubs had fun, too.

111 miles (and one kid) down. 288 to go. #paulfamilyvacation #vacay #roadtrippin

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I’m not even going to lie: I was plumb nervous about our first (and possibly last) family vacation.  The kids are still small and beaches are notoriously crowded and what if they gripe about the sand in their buttcracks, etc.  But the beaches weren’t that crowded and the kids didn’t gripe about the sand (much).  We went to Fort Pickens, which Gabe fell in love with since he’s all about soldiers these days, and Connor is my true-blue beach bum.  He had so much fun “swimming” in the ocean with Ev and building sandcastles with Bubba.  I’m not big on beaches (GASP!), but I’m a sucker for seeing my kids let loose and have a good time.  We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves but by the time Sunday rolled around we were ready to be back home to wash off the sand and sleep in our own beds.

The trip to Pensacola was a doozy.  The kids were fantastic (Connor slept most of the way there), but the traffic through Baton Rouge was horrendous.  About 9 hours into what was supposed to be a five hour trip, the kids started getting restless.  Luckily, I’d brought some of their favorite reads and, so we wouldn’t have to stop at every rest stop for snacks, snack kits.  The little kits were simple but proved to be SUPER fab to have once we were all in the truck together for 10+ hours.

Thick traffic? Fussy toddler? Momma's handy dandy snack kits to the rescue. #ziploc #snackattack #momtotherescue

A photo posted by Sarah Carley-Paul (@spaul136) on

I just used Ziploc mini containers and picked up the kids’ snack faves from Target and packed them into a carry-on.  Best thing I’ve ever done in my whole life, probably.  Those of you who have hongry kids know what I mean and that it’s no exaggeration.  You go prepared, or you pretty much commit parental suicide.

We finally made it to Florida and I swear to you I’ve never been so grateful to see that state line.  I’m twenty-seven years old and I felt like an antsy toddler come 10:30 Friday evening.  I thought I was going to kill Evan when he made an “emergency” pit stop for freaking Taco Bell.  But we made it to the hotel and wasted no time resting up for the next day.  Saturday came super early (Connor was up and at ’em by 6 o’clock), so we got dressed, ate some breakfast, and headed for the beach.

Beachin'. #paulfamilyvacation #vacay #pensacolabeach

A photo posted by Sarah Carley-Paul (@spaul136) on


We spent a good part of the day beachin’ and sight seeing, then returned to the hotel with two EXTREMELY tired little guys for some much-needed naps.  Let me take a minute to say just how proud I am of the boys’ behavior.  I know I said earlier there was some nervousness, but my goodness they were fantastic.  They both kept their hands to themselves and didn’t touch anything they weren’t supposed to.  Gabe even asked some really great questions about the forts and batteries at Fort Pickens.  To say I was, and still am, impressed is an understatement.  Good to know we can take them places without fear of embarrassment or having to fork over hundreds of dollars in the event of a disaster (i.e.: breaking a priceless artifact, etc.).  Thumbs up and gold stars from this momma!

We spent most of Sunday at the beach and perusing the streets of downtown Pensacola.  Our checkout time was at eleven, but we left a bit earlier so we could maybe catch some sights on the way home and beat the Labor Day traffic back to Cenla.  The drive home was a bit more trying for the four of us who, by that point, were sick to death of being in such close proximity to one another.  We all went crazy at some point or another but managed to squeeze in one more stop in Abita Springs.  Enter the Abita Mystery House.  Gabe LOVED it, Connor wasn’t all that impressed, and my nerd husband enjoyed it more than he thought he would.  It was neat, but I was more into being able to stretch my legs one last time before we hit Alexandria.  Entry into the Mystery House is only $3 per person (Con got in for free) and there really are some crazy-neat things to see in there.  One of the funniest things to me was when Gabe saw a typewriter and said, “Mom… how do you see what you type?!”  Oh, Lawd.  If he only knew.

Aliens. #abitamysteryhouse #goofballs #paulfamilyvacation

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We had such a fun time with each other and, aside from a few minor frustrations, made some really great memories with the kids.  I can’t wait for our next big adventure.  Thanks for having us, Pensacola!  Until next time.

My other heart. #mommabear #littleguy #paulfamilyvacation

A photo posted by Sarah Carley-Paul (@spaul136) on


My heart. #mommabear #littleguy #paulfamilyvacation #mommaofboys

A photo posted by Sarah Carley-Paul (@spaul136) on


Beachin'. #paulfamilyvacation #pensacolabeach #beachin

A photo posted by Sarah Carley-Paul (@spaul136) on

Postpartum Depression and Turning Corners

Postpartum Depression and Turning Corners

Every year, I try my best to write about my personal struggle with postpartum depression.  It was such a huge part in the turning of chapters in my life, and I feel obligated to share with other mommas who may be experiencing, or could experience, the same hell I lived in for several months of my life.  PPD is left largely undiscussed.  No one really talks about the post-natal depression because it still widely viewed as “taboo” or a “non-issue”.  Hell, the “baby blues” are barely mentioned.  That fact has left me gobsmacked ever since Gabe’s arrival six years ago.  In fact, the longer I think about, the more ludicrous it’s absence in every-day talk seems to me.

Even knowing my family’s history of varied mental illnesses and depression, my OB/GYN at the time didn’t even warn me of the possibility that I might develop the problem.  I was very young — twenty at the time — and might have heard of PPD in passing, but never at length, and never from the one person who could have filled me in.  I don’t blame him in particular — I blame society, mostly.  A society that is in no way, shape, or form idyllic has these contorted views of what the “ideal” mother should be.  I’m telling you right now — the society that runs the world today should have no say in what an “ideal” mother is.  Plain and simple.

But backing off blame, I’m here to urge anyone who might have this problem or knows someone who might have this problem to seek help — NOW.  Asking for help is not embarrassing.  It does not make you a bad mother.  It does not take away from your parenting abilities.  IGNORING the problem, however, will absolutely emphasize the problem not only for the mother, but also for the people that surround her — including her child(ren).


I have found that opening up a bit about my own conflict with PPD has helped a few women seek help and counsel regarding their own struggles.  It is still somewhat difficult for me to come forward with my own story, but it is something I am more than willing to do to spare anyone of the terror that went on inside of my own head.  So, here goes:

My Gabe was born on August 20th, 2009.  As luck would have it, my heart truly began beating on that day.  I, however, wouldn’t have that feeling of pride and warmth for several months after the fact.  All my life I’ve been told of these miraculous stories of “adoration at first sight” upon a mother holding her baby for the very first time.  That this feeling of pure bliss just soaks down into very fiber of their being without question and without exception.  A love that, as I’ve said before, is nearly nauseating.  I didn’t have those feelings.  In fact, I was very nearly numb to everything — except terror and the unknown.  The unknown of what I was experiencing; the surprising terror of being petrified — of an infant.  I couldn’t wrap my head around it and I was certain no one else would be able to, either.  So I kept quiet.  I kept quiet for nearly a year.

I’ll go to grave believing that a plethora of factors contributed to my depression; family mental illness, being overweight and in an unhappy relationship, working three jobs from sun-up to sun-down… I believe all these things contributed to my issues.  Add to that a rash of unstable post-natal hormones?  I was just waiting for someone to put me in a padded cell.  My attitude towards everyone, not just myself, was deplorable.  I couldn’t not cry — any and everything made me bawl.  I was living with my parents at the time and refused to be left alone with my own child — I was out of control on a downward spiral.  I needed help and I knew it.  But, due to my fear and hardheadedness, I decided to wait.  I waited almost too long.

For months, I would climb into my grandpa’s old leather chair when my parents would settle down for the night.  So every night from 10:30 to 4:30 the next morning, I would sit there, in my “safe place” — forcing myself to stay awake.  I feared that if I slept, I would hurt Gabe.  He slept soundly every night in my arms — never suspecting; trusting me fully.  He didn’t know that the person he trusted the most had no faith whatsoever in herself.  One day after a long night, I couldn’t tell if I was awake or dreaming.  Awful thoughts and fears poured into my mind as though someone had removed the top portion of my head only to fill it with fright.  Horrified and feeling monstrous, I finally sought help.  Adding to the fear of losing my mind, was the new thought that I could feasibly lose my child.  That the possibility of having my son taken from me could lie in whomever I sought counsel.  Sitting in the counselor’s office didn’t help any — waiting alone, wondering what would be said… what would be thought.  Finally, after what seemed like hours, my name was called.  I was led to another smaller office where I waited once more.  I considered running — I considered calling the appointment off under the guise of a “reschedule”.  What little common sense I felt I had at the time finally took course and I stayed, anxious and alone.  And then someone with the kindest eyes came in.  She held my hand.  She listened.  She let me express every fear I had, no matter how silly or unreal.  I talked until I was out of words and cried until my face was sore.  And after all was said and done, she hugged me the tightest hug I’d ever been given.  She assured me that I was not crazy and that everything would be fine; no one was going to take Gabe and no one wanted to.  To this day, I have not experienced the kind of relief that I did in that room.

We continued to meet for quite some time.  I was prescribed a strong antidepressant that gradually became less and less.  The last day of that prescription, I enrolled in a local college — I had been given two new reasons to live my life fully.  I finally had my little boy, even though I was never physically absent… and I’d been given my life back ten-fold.  It became my wish from that point to today to educate and spread the word regarding postpartum depression in its every form.  I hope you will do the same if you took anything away from this post.


Postpartum depression is real and horrifying.  But there is help and hope.  For more information on PPD, follow this link.  If you or anyone you know is suffering from or could suffer from this problem, please seek help and encouragement.

Gabe Turning Six

Gabe Turning Six

My sweetest Gabe,

Today, you are six.  Six years ago, I held you in our hospital room completely shaken.  Terrified of the unknown and of the little one that I held so tightly in my arms.  It all seems like a dream; like it happened forever ago.  And yet, I remember it all — I remember you — so vividly.  You were precious, and though I was experiencing some postpartum problems, you were so trusting and so comfortable with me.  Almost like you were soaking in every moment while you laid in my arms — as though you hadn’t been physically attached to me for nine months, prior.  I’ve never been so in love with and more terrified of anyone in my whole life.  You shook my world and threw me for loops I still cannot explain.  I’ve tried; I got nothin’.  But I can tell you this…

You were my first heart throb.  My look into both wonders and terrors my heart cannot always clearly decipher.  You are my popcorn giggling, wild one.  You are the reason all those years ago that I pulled through at all.  You were, and are, my hero.


That’s not to say that you aren’t a tough one to handle from time to time.  You are not perfect; you are not angelic.  You are a hardheaded mule of a kid.  You are all boy — unless sweat is involved.  You have broken my heart once or twice (s’ok, though — it’s normal) and you have lit fires in me that the pits of hell envy.  You have, unfortunately, adopted your mother’s knack for all things clumsy and scare me with said clumsiness on the regular.  You, much like your younger brother, are part of the reason mom keeps a hard cider stocked fridge.  But, also like your brother, you are my beautiful little guy.  And I love you as bright as the sun shines.

You are compassionate and tenderhearted.  You love everyone and cannot understand how I can muster such hard feelings for some.  You are special and will do great, great things.  I plan on asking you a dozen questions later on things you like; bear with me… I’m getting old and nostalgic.  Your Aunt Catie says I’m already there, so you can thank her for that.  But for now, here are a few things about you that I think are pretty terrific… even the not always so great things.  Because they make you, you.

  • You love your little brother with everything you have.  I know one day this will change.  Not that you’ll love him less — but little brothers and big brothers do not always stay so close… and then one day, it’s like nothing ever changed.  For now, you’re smitten.  Thank you for that.
  • You have an affinity for pizza, YooHoos, and donuts (not necessarily in that order… or all together).  If I’d let you, that would be your meal of choice at least until you get married.
  • You build things with such flair and ease.  I’m very proud how well you do things with your hands and your fascination with figuring things out.  Though, I’m not always excited about all the broken toys lying around the house.
  • We’ve had a hard road since finding out about your SPD/ADHD diagnosis, but you really have made some awesome strides.  We haven’t really told you about it because to us, you’re normal.  And really, you are.  You love to learn and I’m confident that your “road blocks” will be just that: road blocks.  You can’t do everything, bud — but there’s NOTHING you can’t do.
  • You like to play dress up — usually in your Superman cape and a bow tie.  Don’t ask me why; I really couldn’t tell you.  But you call yourself “The Professor”, which is all kinds of funny and peculiar.
  • You are quirky.  I love it.
  • You are loud and loaded with energy.  I don’t always love that.  7 A.M. comes early on Saturdays, kiddo.  You’ll understand one day.
  • I put the “Motherhood HooDoo curse” on you and Connor the other day in a fit of pure agitation.  I’d take it back if I could.  But I can’t.  So, apologies if your kids are The Children of the Corn.  I’ll love them, anyway… but you’ll understand if I sleep with my eyes open.  Won’t you?
  • You’ve taken to bribing me lately.  Or, should I say trying to bribe me.  You’re really bad at it, which gives me confidence that you probably won’t be an outlaw one day.
  • Reading is one of your favorite things to do.  And by reading, I mean making me read any book so many times that you could repeat it by memory in your sleep.  True story.
  • You love your “Padre” dearly.  When he and I first got together (you were two, then), that was my first priority.  He was the first and only guy I’d dated after your dad & I split.  You loved him from the start and he has loved you like his own.  Pretty sure you believe he farts rainbows — although I’m here to tell you he does NOT.
  • You were born with an irregular ear lobe.  It’s not deforming (obviously) and hardly noticeable.  It’s pretty much your birthmark.  You came home the other day devastated because some kid teased you about it.  Honey, if your ear lobe is the only thing you’ll ever be teased about, be grateful.  People pay for their ears to look like that these days; at the very least, be thankful you’ll never chuck out $100 for a cosmetic ear lobe change.
  • You call Batman’s Bat Mobile the “Batmanbile”.  I correct you so you won’t be embarrassed, but that’s one of my favorite things.
  • If I’d let you walk about the house (or the yard, for that matter) in just your underwear and Converse, you’d be set for life.  For legal purposes and modesty’s sake, I cannot do that.  Again, one day you’ll understand.


You are the Calvin to my Hobbes.  Not a day has passed that I haven’t been honored to be your momma — even on the hardest of hard days.  You may not like me much some days, and you may not always understand, but I hope one day you’ll get it.  I hope, sooner than later, that you’ll understand how deep my love has run for you.  Happy birthday, sunshine.


Connor Turning Two

Connor Turning Two

My littlest grizzly bear,

Time has flown by in a whirlwind, leaving you at an altogether difficult age for all parties involved.  You, vehemently searching for your independence — all the while still needing momma & daddy; and the rest of us, wanting you to find your independence so we can catch our breath — all the while needing you to want us a little while longer.  You, not unlike the daunting task that is parenting, are a ticking time bomb wrapped in a riddle.  To say I have enjoyed every moment of your life would be false.  You are HARD.  You are WILLFUL.  You are the toe up my nose every God bless-ed morning at 2 A.M.  But you are also an award winning hug giver.  You are the smile and the giggle every afternoon at five when I pick you up from daycare.  You are my “for no other reason than to flush the toilet” toilet flusher.  You are part of my heart-song and the reason for our hard cider stocked fridge.  Most importantly, you are my beautiful, blue-eyed, old-soul little boy.  And I love, love, love you.

my boys2

One day you will grow up for good; you will not remember the headaches you caused any more than you will recall the smiles you so casually produced.  You will grow up to be tough and strong, despite your small stature.  You will be fearless and bold; I hope you will also be kind and compassionate.  But for now, you are the hell-raising, ankle-biting age of two.  Compassion and kindness are not often synonymous with “terrible twos”, so I will keep praying that you develop those traits.  Until then, here are some things about you that I am somewhat fond of:

  • You call anything not water, “moke”.  Probably because I made the mistake of giving you a sip of my Coke once, and in a fit of desperation to get you to drink anything else, I called your apple juice, “Coke”.  You replied, “moke?”  And so it stuck.  I have no shame.
  • You love hot dogs (no judgment, Earth Mommas) but refuse to eat them if I cut them up.  So I watch you like a hawk anytime a hot dog of any ilk is in your presence.
  • You are your bubba’s biggest fan.  Which is crazy, because before you came along, I thought I would always be his biggest fan.  But you have beaten me, bar none.
  • If I’d let you, you’d eat a family size box of gummies EVERY DAY OF YOUR EXISTENCE.  But hey, if a bag of gummies gets you to relinquish your pacifier and get out the door every morning, then so be it.  Again, no shame.
  • In keeping with the “m” theme, you call your binky (pacifier) “mink”.  Actually, you always say, “my mink! my mink! my mink!” anytime you’re looking for it — even if it’s in your chubby little hand.  I’m going to miss that one day… but probably only after we’ve paid off your braces for pacifier-induced overbite.  You also call Mickey Mouse “meeka moush”.
  • You are a foodie most days, but only on your terms.  If food is not made to your liking, or if you’re simply not in an eating mood, to the floor it goes.  Or my hair.  Or to the walls.  Wherever.  Did I mention that you’re a hard kid?  If not, there it is.
  • You twirl my hair when you are falling asleep.  This is sweet but also painful.  I recently cut my hair and you were not happy with me.  Don’t worry, though; my scalp is paying for my treason.
  • You say “please” (peesh), “thank you” (tay-too), and “bless you” (bess ooo) without prompt and with much gusto.  And if thanks are not reciprocated?  Well, it’s no skin off your back to simply repeat it a million times.  We’ve learned to belt out a quick, “Thanks Con”.  But one day, when I’m grilling you for, “Yes ma’am” or, “thanks”, I’ll miss it.
  • You still love being tickled and you LOVE playing in homemade tents or peek-a-boo with Gabe.  You should know that he loves it — even if he is five going on sixteen.
  • Speaking of,  your bubba adored you from the moment we found out about you.  He was three, then.  You are his buddy and he is your hero.  Most days the two of you are inseparable.  Hearing you both cackle makes my heart beat harder than I ever dreamed possible.  Until I hear a crash… or nothing at all.  Then my heart beats with the fear of a thousand lost souls.  Time moves like icebergs as I’m rushing to see who is dangling who by who’s toes… or who has climbed the bookshelf… you get the idea.
  • You mourn (literally, mourn) for Gabe every weekend that he is gone until he comes back.  Then, in an instant, those little eyes turn from gloom to euphoria.
  • Your dad comes home on Fridays more often than not.  The moment you hear the door, you run to him as though you hadn’t seen him for years.  I love that.
  • You wait for me at the door every day before I pick you guys up from daycare.  I love that, too.
  • You call blueberries, grapes, and strawberries “bapples”.  You call apples “berries”.  And you call bananas, “nuh-nana’s”.


You are a mess, my love.  A wonderful, loud, chaotic little mess in size four tennis shoes.  But you are MY mess.  OUR mess.  And we love you as big as the sky.  Happy birthday, my little bear.


Can I Get a Sleep Stunt Double?

Can I Get a Sleep Stunt Double?

Lemme tell you guys a little something about myself (if you don’t already know):  I hate co-sleeping.  Hate. It.

I’m not talking about my husband, so much.  That is, until he puts his big, cold man feet on me or steals the covers.  Then, maybe.  But, no — I’m talking about the children.  The Hobbitses.  The little people that siphon energy and live off of sleep-hungry parents, such as ourselves.  The boys can sleep anywhere: vehicles, Target, high chairs… but when we need them to sleep?  When we announce last call for bedtime?  When we’re begging and pleading and reading the millionth story and getting the thousandth cup of freaking water??  No dice.  “Sleep?  What is this sleep you speak of, crazy woman?!”

C. sleeping in his highchair.  Because it's not his bed, that's why.
C. sleeping in his highchair. Because it’s not his bed, that’s why.

See that picture?  That’s Con sleeping in his high chair.  Because it’s not his bed, that’s why.  Also, please pardon the mess; he’d just eaten dinner.  By eating dinner, I mean painting with it and the passing the hell out because why not.  Anyway… back to the horrors of co-sleeping.  Last night, after we’d eaten dinner, completed homework and chores, and had our “stalling in the bathtub because I don’t want to go to bed” bath-time, I attempted to put both guys down to bed.  It was 8:30, right on time, and God bless it, they simply weren’t having it.  Gabe was all, “MO-OM!  We’ve only read four stories!  I wanted five!  SEE?? I’m THIS many, so we need one more story!  Mo-om!  MOM!”  And Connor, of course, caught his second wind after having fallen asleep in his oatmeal and was just… everywhere.  Does it make me a bad mom for having considered just leaving him in the chair, covered in oatmeal, just so he’d stay asleep?  ‘Cause I’d be straight-up lying if I said the thought had never occurred to me.  In fact, it “occurred” to me while I washed the dishes (while he was still in the high chair), helped Gabe with homework (see: high chair), and completed some back-to-school paperwork (..ditto).  It even occurred to me when I went to go start the bath.  In fact, on the way to the bathroom I distinctly remember thinking, “He’s safe and buckled in.  Not like he’s stirring, or anything.  Gah-dangit, I have to wake it up.”

Anyway, I succeeded in getting Gabe to sleep only by threat of removing Mario Kart from his very existence until he’s forty.  Connor… I wasn’t so lucky.  My shadow isn’t as glued to my ass as Connor is, guys.  So, I stayed up with him.  I thought, “Maybe if I watch enough Murder, She Wrote, he’ll pass out.”  As if!  I watched half a season of Murder, She Wrote before turning it off.  I’m not going to say I was getting ideas, because I wasn’t… but if I had.  Oh, if I had.  So off to my bed we went.  I did the usual “prepare the bed for the acrobatic toddler” routine and laid pillows everywhere (knowing that they’re only there for peace of mind), and attempted to wrangle the bull that is Connor.  Around midnight, he finally dozed off.  I must have done likewise shortly after, because before I knew it is was 3 o’clock in the morning and Gabe was there.  In the middle of the bed.  Leaving a good two feet of bed UNUSED.  I’ve drawn a primitive diagram for your enjoyment of my misery:


Yes, Legos.  I’m telling you — they turn up when you least expect them.  They were NOT there when I laid down.  At least, I don’t think so.  Anyway, this was at 3 A.M.  It gets better (…worse??):


My kids are contortionists, I tell you.  In a past life, I’m sure both were members of the Russian circus… flying off the trapeze and managing to move their bodies through tiny hoops of fire.  Apologies for the roughness of my drawings — much like there is a reason for my not being a dancer, there is also good reason why I am not a cartoonist.  The bottom two images are between 4 AM and no sleep o’clock when I decided to say, “Screw it,” and removed myself from the clutches of drool-covered toddler hands.  Oddly enough, I was still running later than I would have liked to have been for work.  Hell, at least I can stare blankly through the windshield while I’m driving to work.  That’s pretty much as close to sleep as I’m going to get to for the next, oh… rest of my days.  What is that in dog years, I wonder?  Gah, I’m tired.

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an actual cartoon from an actual, and one of my favorite, cartoonists.
Back to School Bank Robbery

Back to School Bank Robbery

I was reading over the remaining school supply items for Gabe in my memos yesterday.  On that list?  Copy paper and three large glue sticks.  I keep forgetting about the paper — ironic, since I work for a copier distributor.  But the glue sticks?  I always remember those.  Two things stand out in my mind about glue sticks, y’all: sticky mess that my children will inevitably try to lick off their hands and WHO THE HELL PAYS FIVE FREAKING DOLLARS FOR GLUE STICKS?

How my wallet feels about back to school shopping.
How my wallet feels about back to school shopping.

Have I ever told you guys that I’m notoriously cheap?  No?  Well, I’m cheap.  About things like glue sticks, anyway.  So excuse the hell out of me for thinking that $4.75 (practically $5) is a bit steep for glue.  Glue that, knowing my five year old son, won’t make it even two weeks in to the school year.  Also, it is abundantly clear that Mr. Elmer has monopolized the glue market on the back-to-school frontier since there are literally no generic (but equally good!) brands to be had around August 1st.  It’s a phenomenon, really.  Every year on August 1st, hundreds of generic (but equally good!) glue brands go amiss until school resumes and then BAM!.  Those crafty little suckers are back on the shelf like they took a month long staycation.  Anyway, I eventually bought the blasted things after a heated discussion with myself at Target.  After a few side-eyes and uncomfortable throat clearings from fellow shoppers, I finally got over myself and tossed them (and a pair of scissors, for good measure) into my cart.  The only other thing I find completely overpriced and ridiculous are backpacks.

backpack, (bak-pak) n.: a forty-five dollar zippered piece of fabric that will inevitably tear mid-year; a forty-five dollar zippered piece of fabric that children carry everything else in except what they are meant to carry; a “sound investment” that will get left at home “on accident” on the most inconvenient of days.

...that happened.
…that happened.

And have y’all seen some of the designs on said backpacks?  They’re nuts!  I was walking through Target the other day (another, other day.. I’m there too much), and saw a bag covered in donuts.  DONUTS.  I pity the girl walking around with a donut bag this year.  I saw one that was shaped like Sponge Bob (..I can’t even) and another was a modified fanny-pack type thing that a newborn wouldn’t fit in.  Yeah, that’s real efficient.  Here, why don’t you make that thing useful and carry this torn-in-half tissue in there?  Careful, now… don’t strain yourself.

Gabe’s only in first grade, so I still understand the whole school supply thing.  And the list we had this year was, by comparison, not so bad.  His pre-k list was outrageous.  “Ms. Rose, I see here we need to fill out a form and send a check for one hundred dollars for NASA training?  Th-that’s correct?  Alllrighty then.”  I had to buy glitter glue that year, y’all.  GLITTER FREAKING GLUE.  Ask me how many times Gabe came home looking like he’d tried to catch Tinkerbell.  Go ahead.  Ask me.  I’m over it.. really, I am.  But don’t ask me how long it took me to buy the glitter glue and please, for the love of Jesus and pronged folders, don’t ask me how hard I cried over the price tag.

Boys of Summer

Boys of Summer

It’s the end of July, and you know what that means:  BABY GOT CLASS!  Thank Jesus.  Y’all, I can’t take much more of this summer “vacation” bologna.  Daycare drama is infinitely more “Days of Our Lives” than grade school could ever be.  You know Gabe came home a few days ago saying how most of his friends have girlfriends?  THEY’RE FIVE.  Six, tops.  Thanks a lot, MTV.  When I was six, all my parents had to worry about was whether or not I’d come home with gum in my hair… again.  They never worried about me and my siblings coming home all, “Yeah, so I met this guy at recess today.  We totally took a nap together after he shot Cheerios out of his nose.  I think he’s The One.”

Gag me with a spoon.  Kids that young don’t even KNOW the struggle and its realness.  But, I digress.

Anyway, school’s coming up soon.  I’m excited enough to go school shopping on the second craziest weekend of the year (tax free weekend) yet still dreading the unavoidable emptying of my pockets.  The kids’ birthdays are also in August, so we’re already tapped out.  But it’s alright, because school!  Do the thing, make the grades!


I took the boys’ “annual day of birth” pictures early this year because this month is already jam-packed full of open house meetings, doctor’s appointments, and other various activities.  They were not completely thrilled with my decision because A) it was hot and B) they’re kids and don’t like to cooperate.  Such is life.



their excitement is overwhelming.
their excitement is overwhelming.

We made it out alive, but barely.  I don’t understand the headache of birthday pictures… or just good pictures, in general.  If I tell the kids to say cheese at 7 A.M. on a weekend, fresh out of bed, in just their underwear and superhero capes, it’s not problem.  “What’s that, you say?  You need a bad millionth picture of us?  Absolutely!”  But good pictures?  “What, mom?  You need us to cooperate?  These pictures are going to family, you say?  Hang on… let me bang my head through a wall.”  Drinks may or may not have been had after the fiasco that from here on out should be called, “annual day of mom forgetting what a pain in the ass this is” picture day.  At any rate, we’re at the weekend.  Praise Jesus!  I’ll probably be begging Monday to carry its ass in t-minus twenty-four hours.

Happy Friday, y’all.


On Letting My Heart Take the Hit

There are things that the heart will never learn to accept.  Somehow, it is easier to have one’s mind accept certain facts of life.  The human brain is (mostly) logical, after all.  No one ever said the heart beats on logic — and if anyone did, it was a cruel lie.

Gabe is gone for another long weekend.  I hate it.  I hate that he’s gone.  I hate where he’s at.  I hate that I’m not with him.  I hate not knowing how he is.  I hate it all.  He’s gone for another weekend with his “dad”; another round of things that have made my old heart bitter and full of hate — something I’m trying to drill into my kids as something, “we don’t do”.  If they only knew that momma was the biggest hypocrite on that ugly, four letter word.

I’m an admitted hypocrite on a lot of things regarding my kids; we all are, aren’t we?  Like it or not, hypocrisy is one of many driving forces of this great big world, and it has not been lost on me.  Not on everything, mind you.  I don’t tell my kids, “No, you can’t watch Game of Thrones,” and then turn around and watch it myself because, 1) I may be the only person in America who doesn’t care for the drama, and, 2) my kids have this tendency, it’s a gift, really, to walk into the living room well after bedtime and during the worst scenes of movies.  So, yeah.  Anyway.  I’m a typical motherhood hypocrite.  “No, you can’t have ice cream for dinner.”  I’ll admit that I’ve hidden in the pantry with a Skinny Cow bar for “dinner”.  You know how it is; don’t point fingers.

I’m a hypocrite to my kids for my kids.  Y’know?  So when I tell Gabe to love his dad, I’m preaching hypocrisy.  Because there are days, more often than not, that I’d just like to open a can of whoop-ass on that man.  When I tell Gabe not to hate…. I know, with a guilt-riddled heart, that I have no right to tell him so.  But I’m lying to him, and to myself, for him.  It’s crazier sounding typing it than it does reading it, I promise.  I want him to love his dad because he is his dad.  And, no, I don’t want him to hate the man — no matter my feelings.  I don’t want Gabe to ever know just how little his own father cares for him; that the only reason he’s over there is to fulfill a “parental right,” whatever the hell that means.  I’m all about being honest with my kids, no matter how much it hurts.  But this… it seems to great a revelation for my five-year old’s head to fathom.  So I let it go.  And I’ll continue to let it go — even when he ultimately realizes what we all have already, one day.


Gabe will never, from my lips, know just how much effort I’ve put in.  How much fight I’ve fought and how many tears I’ve cried.  It’s not his fault that his father and I didn’t work out, after all.  He didn’t ask to be here, split amongst two entirely different families as though he were furniture.  Who would?  He can never know the resentment I’ve felt… knowing that I will never be the fun-carefree parent and will always be the steadfast, stick-to-my-guns parent.  I won’t be his greatest confidant for a long time, if ever, because I’m rough and tough on him.  Not to be ugly; not to be unfair… but because I live and breathe for that child.  Because I know he’ll make his own mistakes and I don’t want him to make those of my own, too.

I have hated for almost six years now sending him into an environment that I wouldn’t willingly walk back into.  I hate that I’ve allowed this to happen.  I hate that I didn’t put a stop to it when I could have because of my own juvenile fear.  I hate that I send him in blindly and I hate waiting for him to come back home.

To say that I wish I could take it all back… that I wish to reverse time… I can’t.  My life would be significantly less meaningful without my Gabe.  He’s here no matter how he got here, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.  And I hope he never understands my heartache; I hope he never has to send his children back and forth blindly.  I hope he doesn’t do what his momma did.  I hope I’ll never have to console him for this.  I hope he’ll never understand this particular brand of lies and hypocrisy.

I watched my own dad’s experience with this — the apple doesn’t fall far, you know?  I never in a million years imagined I’d have to deal with this.  But here we are, some twenty something years later, and my heart’s taking a hit that I could never wish on anyone else.  The pit in my stomach is roughly the size of Rhode Island, and there it will remain until he walks back through our front door.  Six years should be enough time to be accustomed to something; almost numb to it.  The way my heart tells it though, this is no different than day one.  For all it knows, that’s exactly what it is.

Do not tell me, “He needs to see his dad, too.”  Clearly, he sees the man.  I’m not withholding, no matter how much I’d like to.  Every situation is different; this is not my swipe at a grown man because we didn’t work out.  This is a confession of mine, plain and simple.  At the end of all of this… I just want Gabe to know that my heart is full with love and pride for him.  I fear that will never even cross his mind; irony’s cruel reality.

Reliving the Terrible Twos

Reliving the Terrible Twos

Before Connor, I thought I had learned a lot about parenting in general.  Gabe was almost four when Connor made his grand entrance, and in nearly four years I considered myself a “parenting pro”.  These days, I consider myself a parenting buffoon.  Bill Cosby said it best when he said this in one of his routines:

“[Two children] qualifies, because a person with one child, I don’t really call them a parent… because there are too many things left out.  For instance, if something’s broken in the house, you have one child, you know who did it! See, you don’t have to go through “I… I… I…”. You know the child did it! Also, people with one child do not have to go through “Willyoustoptouchingme?” I mean, if you got one child and the child is doing that, then you gotta take it away.”



And he was right, y’all.  The older I get, the funnier that man becomes to me.  I don’t care if everyone is butt-hurt over whatever happened forty years ago.  The man was a parenting genius, and it’s funny because it all rings true.

Like I said, before I had Connor I thought I had this whole parenting gig figured out.  Gabe was such a good baby and not that bad of a toddler.  I knew what he needed and what he wanted, and unless I was at school or work, he had my undivided attention.  When I was pregnant with Con, Evan & I included him on everything throughout my pregnancy and I can say with certainty that he never felt left-out or unwanted.  He loved Connor from the moment he knew about him (adores him to this day) and was over the moon when he finally got to meet “liddle brudder”.  I was positive that having two would be no different except for the obvious addition.  I was WRONG.


Two years and a few figurative heart-attacks later, I realize just how retarded I must have sounded to anyone who already had multiple children.  My house is a wreck.  My nerves… they’re a wreck.  I have forgotten the meaning of sleep and sanity, and I’m still trying to figure out how it’s even humanly possible to be SO PISSED OFF at my kids and at the same time LOVE THEM EVEN MORE than I did prior to pissed off-dom.  It’s a crazy thing, parenting two children (or maybe just boys…?  dunno).  Don’t get me wrong — single-kid parenting had its challenges.  Like… ah, hell.  I can’t think of anything.  Because everything that I used to think was hard or a pain in the ass… it really wasn’t, in hindsight.  There was a point when Gabe was challenging and I remember thinking, “How… the hell do people do this?!”  And now all I can do is laugh at my former self.

Connor has surpassed, “challenging”.  If I’d given birth to Connor first, the likelihood of there having been a second child would have been… not at all likely.  Connor is night to Gabe’s day.  I’ve never met such a strong-willed kid.  At least, I’ve never met such a strong-willed child that I didn’t want to throat punch on occastion*.  Forget the terrible two’s; Connor knows no prejudice to any age.  After six months, the jig was up, and he went from sweet, tiny little thing, to HOLY HELL, DON’T GIVE IT FOOD AFTER MIDNIGHT.


I love both of my boys, don’t get me wrong.  I only joke about all of this because I make horrible, ugly faces when I’m crying, and I’m not trying to do that to you guys.  That said, isn’t adding levity to some situations the best way to get over them or to keep one’s sanity?  Gabe has his faults, that’s for sure.  Connor isn’t alone in antics and shenanigans.  But Gabe isn’t as good at hiding his shenanigans; craftiness isn’t his strong suit.  That’s probably for the best since the (almost) two year old seems to think he’s Billy the Kid incarnate.  I am officially taking a backseat to parents who have more than two kids and who have not lost their minds.  Hats off to you guys — I really have no idea how you do it.  And SAHM’s?  Know that I’m sending you a mental Nobel Prize.  Staying home with 2+ ankle biters under the age of 18, and without visions of straitjackets in your head… that’s both admirable and terrifying.  Meanwhile, I’m over here trying my best to not spill my beer while I’m rocking in a corner come  two o’clock every afternoon.  All kids are different.  Maybe not wildly different as is the case with my boys, but they’re different nonetheless.  What discipline or praise may work on one child will probably not work on the next.. or the next, or the next, etc.

For example, Gabe came home the other day with a report on unusually bad behavior.  I took away Legos and anything with a screen.  His chore list increased, as well.  I told him that he could earn stuff back over the course of a few days if I received reports of good behavior.  Over the week, he steadily earned back his freedom.  I haven’t gotten a bad report on that kid since.

Connor doesn’t learn that way.  Let’s just say that we have a local exorcist on speed dial.  We’re still trying to figure out what gets his attention.  Granted, he is two.  But I’d already figured out Gabe’s kryptonite at this age, so I’m hopeful that Connor’s will turn up soon.


Connor is not all bad, obviously.  He can be so sweet and he is smart and wildly independent.  I know his independence can eventually be great thing.  Gabe has to work for things; not that he’s stupid or slow, because he’s not.  But if you’ve kept up with my posts you know what little road blocks Gabe has had to learn around.  Connor comes by things naturally and with ease; he clearly does not have all the disadvantages Gabe does.  And I’m thinking that’s a big part of his current problem.  He knows what he wants and he knows how to get it; he just can’t quite figure out how to communicate that.  It will come, in time… and with that time his attitude will smooth out.  Until then, I’ll be over here hugging myself, with or without the help of a jacket.  The Terrible Twos are here… and I’m still not ready for them.
*No children were harmed in the writing before, during, or after this post.
**Day drinking was also not a factor.