I’ve learned quite a lot over the past six years as a parent. I’ve learned what to do and infinitely more what not to do. Kids are often times the best teachers to have; from our kids, we learn how to live and how to love; how to be humble and how to be proud; how to keep it together when we ultimately just need to lose our shit. You get the idea. As a mom of two mad-crazy little guys, ages 2 and 6, I have begun to really lose my shit lately. I’m not as cool and calm as I always thought I’d have been; my 12 year old self figured I’d be a hip, laid-back mom. BAHAHAHAHA. These days, I’m so high-strung that a Stradivarius would be envious. Thankfully, I have realized this and I am trying to find the humor in things that would normally set me off like a Roman Candle. Because of my new-found work-in-progress, I have begun writing down little snippets of what parenting is to me. Now, you may find yourself jumping on my bandwagon, and you may leave here today thinking I’m a total fruitcake (and… you’d be right). Nevertheless, parenting is, like I said before, a life lesson for us all. And so, for those of us who live in the real world of make-believe and near parenting-induced alcoholism, who also do not have the benefit of expensive live-in nannies, I present to you my list of “parenting is…”. I hope it at the very least brings you a chuckle if not a Katniss-esque salute of sympathy. I’ll be starting my list with one point that ventures towards the macabre — but I know y’all will feel me on this…
- Parenting is: plotting out for weeks on end the murder of America’s favorite fictitious character, Mickey freaking Mouse. Call it hateful, throw around the term “kill-joy”…. but that mouse is a parent’s nightmare on crack. Now, did I personally always feel so violently towards the peppy, over-the-top excited little dude? Nope. There was a time I, too, was rather fond of Ears. But Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has rendered me irritated, at best, with it’s unrealistic expectations of childhood behavior. Not to mention, he’s Connor’s idol and a small mutiny occurs in our home every time that damn mouse is refused. My mind is leaning towards a Saw like end to the Mouse. I’m thinking a backwards mousetrap. Too much? Oh, well.
- Parenting is: wanting to get housework done, but the toddler is sleeping on the couch, and if parenting has taught you ANYTHING its, “Don’t wake the bear.” Hello, Netflix marathon.
- Parenting is: stress eating cheap pizza because “For the love of God and my waistline, quit stalling and do your math facts!” Move over, skinny jeans; the muumuu is strong with this one.
- Parenting is: hovering around the fridge, spoon in hand, avoiding hard stares and denying any knowledge about the banana pudding on the second shelf (behind the Country Crock, adjacent to the Dijon) and arguing that, “No! I’m not going to eat anything, promise! DON’T JUDGE ME, TODDLER!”
- Parenting is: a conundrum. On the one hand, parents love to their kiddos sing pretty much anything. On the other hand, hearing the chorus of any song over and over on continuous loop because that’s literally the only part of the song they know makes people want to pull their hair out and throw darts at the walls. See also: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse freaking theme song. Scooby Doo’s theme is equally annoyingly endearing.
- Parenting is: telling the kids to shake it off after pretty much any injury, knowing full well that if it were YOU, you’d either A) swear at the air until the “ouchie” goes away, B) cry like your two year old who has been refused Micka Mouf, or C) stress eat anything that doesn’t move.
- Parenting is: repeating yourself calmly a thousand times over, in the most serene of voices, until something in you snaps and suddenly your neighbors all think you’re a metal-band groupie and, “Oh my gawsh, she ate a bat’s ear off, I swear!”
- Parenting is: hearing yourself say things — things that should never be said — and not knowing which direction the day will go afterward. Case in point: I always say weird, off-the-wall things to my kids. They do weird, off-the-wall things, after-all, and well… shit happens. But the other day, I said within a five minute span, “QUIT LICKING THE DOG!”, “No, we cannot sell your brother. No, I do not care that you need more Legos.”, “Santa does not bring presents to little boys who pull on their private area.”, “Please quit putting your butt on the window and put on some pants.”, “No, wiping your ass is not one of my favorite things to do.” “No, I do not think I look like Velma.”, “We do not point guns at the mail lady.”, “No, I do not think she looks like Velma.”, “No, I will not smell your finger.” Five minutes. No lie. I’ve thought about bringing my kids in for testing, but I’m afraid I’ll never get them back from testing.
- Parenting is: s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g… until your six year old breaks down that impenetrable code (damnit, ELA). Then, parenting becomes speaking in movie references to anyone who will understand because said six year old is all, “I ain’t droppin’ no eaves.”
- Parenting is: attempting to reason with a screaming, tantrum-throwing toddler, only to realize that it would be easier to do and sing the Hokey Pokey backwards and in Pig Latin. It would also be more enjoyable.
- Parenting is: looking feverishly at that untouched bottle of wine in your fridge and managing, somehow, to save it for the weekend even when it’s been a Monday of a Wednesday.
- Parenting is: ending most days with someone in tears, someone else covered in Nesquick, and you on the verge of nervous breakdown… but, one way or another, finding the humor in it all, odds be damned.
- Parenting is: guidance, chauffeuring, chaperoning, disciplining, kissing booboo’s, and scaring away the monsters.
- Parenting is: being loved and getting to love. It is special. It’s a gift. It’s humbling. It’s pride-bearing.
- Parenting is: an experience. Several experiences, really. Ones that should be spent with your kids, not at your wit’s end. It’s hard, it’s tiring, it can be a nightmare; but it’s worth it. They’re worth it. And so are you, momma and/or poppa bear.
This Thanksgiving, I’m especially thankful for my kids. I am proud of who they are — even if they drive me positively berserk. They are my reasons to be thankful for anything; I am blessed beyond measure. And tired. I am so, so tired. Time for the daily battle with Mickey Mouse. I’ll give you a hint who wins: it’s not me.
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.
Thanksgiving is nearly here, y’all. “But it’s three weeks away!”, you say. Y’all don’t even know. Thanksgiving is THE holiday meal of the year in my family. We do it big and we do it good. Even Christmas dinner, which is usually gumbo or maybe a ham, can’t light a candle to Turkey day for us; it’s simply tradition. It’s a tradition I’m glad to pass down to and share with my little ones. Our counter tops are loaded down with fried turkey, spiral ham, praline topped sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and cranberry sauce, among other things. We are Thanksgiving traditionalists — not much passes the threshold that is wild and wacky. That said, there have naturally been some exceptions: pumpkin pie cheesecake, pecan pie cheesecake, sausage balls and even a brisket (or two) has been known to make a rare guest appearance every now and then. But there are some things I’m relieved to say will likely NEVER make way to our Thanksgiving smorgasbord — things that I’ve only ever seen before in nightmares and brief cameos in Ye Olde Medieval Festivals. Here are just a few that made my stomach absolutely churn:
- Deep Fried Stuffing on a Stick. There is so much wrong with this, I don’t even know where to begin. Just knowing there are people who have fed this to their kids makes me feel less guilty about “Chicken Nugget Tuesdays” at our house. Not much less guilty, but I’ll take what I can get.
- Turkey Cake. No, this isn’t a Cake Wars confection that is actually a cake cleverly disguised as holiday fowl. No, no. This is essentially a meatloaf (only… with turkey) “frosted” with mashed potatoes and other varied toppings — depending on the “chef”. Really, it’s a festive shepherd’s pie. Thanks, but I left school lunch back in 2006 where it belongs.
- Regular holiday food — Fear Factor style. Picture this: the scene is perfect. Dad’s carving the turkey, mom has made her famous Pecan Pie (puh-kahn.. not PEE-can), and grandma is passing around the croissants. Every one is settling down to dive in and — wait, what’s that? Is that… a mealworm?! Yep. From my native state of Louisiana, comes “buggy” food. The folks down at the Audubon Insectarium in NOLA topped their turkey day noms off with things of the protein-rich variety — and we’re not talking vitamin supplements. No worries; most of us southerners can smack down on a holiday meal, mealworm and cricket free.
- Gravy soda. Once again, I have no words. All I can imagine is someone opening jarred gravy, pouring in some soda water, and going to town. Kill me now.
- Tofurkey. This poor food item (if you could call it that) has been the butt of everyone’s Thanksgiving day joke since… well, since someone thought it was a good idea and served it to their family. I would love to have been a fly on the wall for that Thanksgiving dinner nightmare: “‘Let’s have Thanksgiving with the cousins’, you said. ‘It will be fun’, you said. I told you we should have gone to the Chinese buffet!” Ah, sweet memories.
- Turbaconucken. This just sounds like congestive heart failure waiting to happen. And perhaps it could be if it is paired with Deep Fried Stuffing. On a stick. Basically, this is one of those Turducken things… but wrapped in bacon. I’m all about bacon. And turkey. And chicken. Nooot so much duck, admittedly. But turbackonucken? If I have a hard time saying it, I don’t think I want to eat it.
- Jarred gravy and canned cranberry sauce. As a southern girl, this hurts me to my very core. Two of the most important facets of “the dinner” itself, and you can’t take the time to make it? Tsk, tsk.
- Gluten-free rolls. I understand people who have an allergy to gluten or just do not or cannot eat it for health purposes. That said, I’d cut off my left, big toe for gluten. Actually, that really explains a lot about where I carry all my weight. But damnit, what good is a roll without gluten? It’s carb blasphemy! I just can’t even.
- Turdunkin. Listen, y’all. I love turkey. And I freaking love donuts (as per the size of my backside). And while some breakfast foods may pair well with some not-so breakfast foods (check you out, chicken and waffles!), some things absolutely do not hold the same reputation. Enter: Turdunken. Basically, this is a turkey basted in Dunkin Donuts’ Coolattas and stuffed with, get this, Dunkin Donuts. I have a legitimately hard time believing this could possibly taste worth a damn. What a waste of good donuts.
- And last but not least, Twinkie Stuffing. Is there really an explanation necessary for this particular dish? No, I think we can all gather what kind of food mutiny is going down, here.
I’m sure there are a few here and there that I missed, but these dishes managed to wrangle their way into my mind and burn themselves into the deepest recesses of my memory. That said, I am going to go over my menu for, oh, the millionth time. Any strange family holiday dishes you’d like to share? I’d love to know what the “black sheep” of your Thanksgiving menu may be.
Ah, exhibitionism: it ain’t for all of us. My two-year old, however, has certainly taken a shine to it lately. Usually for no rhyme or reason at all, at any time of day, I can find Connor butt-naked, riding some kind of toy or, like the other day, attacking his completely grossed out older brother, with nary a care in the world. Take the other day, for example: he had been playing in his room when the doorbell rang. It didn’t occur to me then (though, perhaps, it should have) to check him out before he came bounding into the living room STARK FREAKING NAKED while I signed for a package from UPS. I don’t know who was more mortified — me, or the UPS guy. But Connor was delighted to show off his current lifestyle choice and showed zero signs of self-consciousness.
This is a relatively new thing to Con. Not too long ago, he hated being naked. HATED. IT. Like, “I will put on every ounce of anyone else’s clothing if I am not supplied with my own” hatred. I’m not sure when the change occurred, but this new thing… I’m not feeling it. Thankfully, he’s a little fella; I can still fit him in 24 month onesies without them looking all kinds of ridiculous. I’ve thought and thought about what could possibly have triggered the new-found love for streaking; here’s what I’ve come up with.
- Luke Bryan. No, I’m not saying Connor is stripping for Luke Bryan. Keep your imagination in check, partner. But the other day Mr. Bryan’s song Strip it Down came on, and while LB usually makes my kid cry (not even kidding — I always have to change the station in the car his songs come on), this time Connor stripped it down. Subliminal message? God, I hope not.
- Potty training. Rather, the ongoing joke in this house that we call “potty training”. For Connor, this simply means he sheds every piece of fabric and discards his diaper or PullUp accordingly. But instead of running to the potty, he goes Marathon Man on me and runs, loose as a goose, through the house. Kid’s pretty fast when he’s not suited up.
- He’s Tarzan incarnate. He’s always had an affinity for the outdoors; perhaps he’s just trying to live out a past life? We live in rural Louisiana; I can’t have little nude dudes running around my house. They have laws for that around here, for crying out loud.
- He really enjoys grossing out our semi-modest six year old. I really think I’ve hit on something here. Connor comes bolting around a corner like a skinned squirrel and Gabe just dies. Con thinks Gabe’s revolted cries for help is hilarious and climbs all over him like a spider monkey. I’ll admit — it’s pretty funny. Kind of contradicts my “keep to your personal space” rule, though.
- He’s a two-year old boy who has recently found every guy’s favorite body part and is innocently living the dream. This is probably the real reason, although not as fun to think about like my Tarzan theory. Gabe and Connor are night and day about EVERYTHING, and it oddly didn’t occur to me that they could be polar opposites on the subject of “modesty” (whatever “modesty” means in the light of little boys, anyway). Gabe likes to be COVERED — even when he sleeps. Connor, on the other hand, would be happy if I’d let him roam Target in the buff. Obviously, that ain’t gonna happen. I may as well let well-enough alone, though, and take solace in the fact that, for now, his little tush is still cute and said tush can fit into snap-able onesies. Praise Jesus! Hopefully this little phase of his won’t last too much longer… our UPS guy still can’t look me in the eye and with Christmas around the corner this could pose a problem.
And today’s theme is….COLOR! Hope you’ll play along!
1. My favorite color is green.
2. My home decor color palette includes a lot blues, greens, & yellows. Maybe varying shades of white, as well.
3. Other people always tell me I look good in the color green or purple. I can pull off pink pretty well, too.
4. The color I detest is orange . Not coral, mind you. But (being politically incorrect here — apologies) like convict orange. You know… those jumpsuits they wear? Perhaps I should have said hunter’s orange. Yes. I think that might have been a better choice. Ah, well.
5. If you were to look in my closet most of the colors you’d see would be blues, greens, pinks….
6. A color that I simply cannot pull off no matter how hard I try is red. I have never been able to wear red, and I really wish I could. Not a violent red… or even a dark red. More rosy… a feminine red, not femme fatal red.
7. The color of my favorite dress is oh geez. I’ve just recently bought a few great dresses. I guess right now though my favorite is this cute yellow one I bought at Old Navy. Super cute without being super fussy, y’know?