Outed by dinosaurs

toy_story_3_rex_poster-p2282518722292700628phc_500A few days ago I was driving around with Beckett, only half listening to his chatter. Which you can’t judge me for, because he is a talker and talks about EVERYTHING and so help me, if I listened to every single word he spoke, I would have to be committed. He once sang a song he made up about poop for 33 straight minutes. THIRTY THREE MINUTES. I mean. YOU GUYS. Of course I don’t pay attention to everything out of his mouth. It’s for my own mental protection.

So I wasn’t completely sure what we were talking about when he started asking me questions but normally I can just fly by the seat of my pants when that happens. Because let me be honest, we aren’t talking about politics or the economy here. We are typically covering such riveting topics as how a bird goes to the bathroom when flying and why clouds are sometimes different colors and if an animal would be able to break in the window of his bedroom and eat him.

But flying by the seat of my pants didn’t work out so well for me this time. Our conversation in the car when like this:

Beckett: MOM. I asked you a question. I asked what you know about Dinosaur layers.

Me: Layers? Like, layers on a cake?

Beckett: What?

Me: Honey, I don’t know anything about dinosaur layers. Are you sure that is the word you want to use? Do you know what layers are? They are like if you are stacking things, you get layers. Are you maybe talking about when you dig for dinosaurs, there are different layers of the Earth?

Becket: NO! I mean DINOSAUR LAYERS.

Me: Okay, so like, stacking dinosaurs on top of each other? Like that? You want to stack dinosaurs?

Beckett (now shrieking): MOM!! NO!!! Layers are not STACKING. I am not talking about STACKING DINOSAURS. I am talking about the secret hideouts that dinosaurs live in! DINOSAUR LAYERS!!!

Me (totally dumbfounded): Oh.

……..<DING!>……..

Me: OHHH. YOU MEAN LAIRS NOT LAYERS. Lairs. Dinosaur Lairs. ‘Cause, see, I was just thinking you were talking about layers.

Beckett (sigh. Like, BIG sigh): MOM.

Me: Wow, sorry. I get it now buddy. Lairs. Secret Hideouts. Got it.

Beckett: So? What do you know about dinosaur lairs?

Me: Not a thing.

Beckett (mumbles under his breath): You don’t know ANYTHING Mom.

Well crap. Y’all, he just figured me out.

Remember

It is past his bedtime. He is snuggled on his tummy, tucked in tight under his baby blanket that just barely covers his tippy toes. I lay next to him on my stomach, facing him so that we are nearly nose to nose. I slowly and gently stroke his hair as I sing “You are my sunshine” quietly. All is still and we slowly come down from the day together, relaxing into the darkness of the evening. Slowly, so slowly I hear a sound start to rise from him. It is a soft keening, building in his throat and before I know what has happened there are giant tears slipping down his cheeks. And the keening rises to a wail of anguish and suddenly he is sobbing and choking out the words,

“I don’t want you to die.”

“I love you so much.”

“Please mommy, please don’t die.”

I press closer to him so that his tears spill onto my face and I rub his back and murmur to him that I am not going to die, that I am going to be with him for a long, long time. And he clings to me and sobs and his hot breath warms my face and my heart aches with all the love I have for him.

And he cries himself dry. And exhausted, he sleeps.

I pray that when I look back at this time of Beckett’s life, I remember. More than just wild and silly and terrible threes, I pray I remember his heart. His giant capacity to love. I want to remember that when Kate is sad he tries to make her laugh. That when I am frustrated he always, with wide blue eyes worried, asks if I’m mad at him. That he wants me to smell his breath after he eats. That he loves dinosaurs.That his favorite color is blue. That he cries if I walk up the stairs too fast for him to keep up. That any time I put on a dress, or make-up, he tells me I am beautiful. That he still asks me if I’m sad that Pops is gone. That he gives the best hugs. That his hair curls when he gets sweaty. That he is the most animated child in his class during chapel, and that he sings with his whole body. That he, in all honesty, wants to live with me forever. That he cried this morning because Kate will move away some day when she “grows up.” That he loves apples so much he eats two or three a day. More if I would let him. I want to remember the way his hair smells after a bath. The sound of his giggle. How much he loves babies. And that the thing he fears most in the dark of night is that I would someday go away and not come back.

Please, God.

Help me remember.

Conversations with a lunatic

Beckett CamelBeckett: What are the green things in this bread?

Me: Zucchini. Its zucchini bread.

Beckett: I want banana bread.

Me: We don’t have any banana bread.

Beckett:….

Me:…..

Beckett: I want banana bread.

Me: We don’t have any banana bread. We only have zucchini bread.

Beckett: I don’t like zucchini bread.

Me: You liked it when you ate it this morning for breakfast.

Beckett: That was banana bread.

Me: Nope.

Beckett: YES!

Me: Guess again.

Beckett (now in near hysterics): YES IT WAS AND I WANT BANANA BREAD!!!

(I take the plate of offending zucchini bread, walk into the kitchen. Walk back to the table with exact same slice of zucchini bread)

Me: Here is your banana bread.

Beckett (Takes a giant bite): YUM! Told you Mommy (proceeds to finish slice of zucchini bread)

Me (muttering to myself and shaking my head as I walk away): It is NOT banana bread you lunatic.

A reminder

I’m pretty sure God does some kind of sorcery on parents that makes us forget the worst parts of having kiddos so that we are dumb enough to do it again. And for some, again and again and again. He is a tricky one, that God. Making us focus on all the LOVE and the JOY and the FULFILLMENT and the blah, blah, blah WHY HAVEN’T I HAD A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP IN FIVE YEARS AGAIN!?!?!?! Oh, yeah. I have kids.

Most recently I am being reminded that three-year olds are total jerk faces. And I’m allowed to say that, because I love my jerk face beyond all reason, but sweet mother when I tell Beckett not to jump off the back of the couch and he proceeds to do JUST THAT while maintaining eye contact to ensure I do not miss one second of his defiance I want to wrap him in a red gift bow and leave him on some other family’s porch. MERRY FREAKING CHRISTMAS NEIGHBORS.

There is just something magical about the age of three. Like, black magic. Seriously, half the time it is like they are the babies you know and love, snuggling and kissing you and the next minute their heads are spinning in circles and they are screaming so incoherently you think a priest might be in order. In a mere five seconds, a three-year old can go from pure happiness to utter despair, usually for reasons beyond a sane person’s understanding, like because the word “blue” sounds weird or you didn’t tap your nose three times before you asked them to wash their hands.

And God help the sibling of a three-year old. Because those poor kids are up against an unreasonable enemy. I mean, Beckett loves his sister. Like, LOOOOOOVES his sister. But he is three. So instead of being kind or just playing nicely with the one he loves, he torments her. His snuggles are aggressive. He makes annoying noises or, his new favorite, interrupts her repeatedly when she is talking. If he gets her squealing, either out of pain or irritation, he lights up like a Christmas tree. I don’t think there is anything more important in his whole, three-year-old world than getting a reaction from his sister. Nothing. Except maybe snacks.

The good news is that I’ve had a three-year old before. So while my memory of how terrible it was when she was three is foggy thanks to divine intervention, I very distinctly remember how lovely she was when she STOPPED being three.

Eight months people. Eight. More. Months.

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Say Cheese

This morning while getting ready for school, Kate put on some sticker earrings. So of course B wanted some. I obliged him, because its not like his preschool friends are at the developmental stage where they openly mock other kids. I mean, Beckett eats his own boogers sometimes and he still has friends in his class, so I’m pretty sure a little bling isn’t going to ruin his rep just yet.

Sadly, when I picked him up I had to have THIS conversation…

Teacher: Did you put earrings on Beckett this morning?

Me: Uh, well, his sister did (slight bending of the truth to avoid judgement from particularly judgy preschool teacher).

Teacher: Oh, Okay, because he told me that his mommy put them on him.

Me (mental headslap): Oh, haha, the things these kids say…

(awkward silence)

Teacher: Well, so, ANYWAY… today was picture day.

Me: OH.

Teacher: Yeah. And, well, we tried to take them off, but he wouldn’t let us.

Me: OH.

Teacher: So, yeah, he is wearing those earrings in his picture.

Me: Oh.

Teacher: Yeah. Haha, even the photographer was all, IS THAT BOY WEARING EARRINGS?? And I was all, HE WON’T LET ME TAKE THEM OFF! Haha. So. Um. See you next Monday! BYYYYEEEEEEE.

(Teacher waves and walks off)

Me (to Beck): …. Thanks a lot buddy.

Beckett: (big grin)

Me: *SIGH* I have to call your daddy. I don’t think he is going to like this one.

That thin, thin line

Lately I’m walking a pretty thin line between keeping it all together, and completely, totally, losing my shit. It’s pretty super.

Just ask my kids.

While they are (mostly) innocent bystanders, my poor children are usually the tipping point that takes me from a stressed out, slightly depressed momma to a raging maniac. You know what I DON’T need when I’m deep in thoughts of how to describe illness and loss to your sister? I don’t need you TO BE A TWO YEAR OLD. That’s right. You heard me. STOP THAT RIGHT THERE. The stomping and arguing and yelling and learning to be INDEPENDENT. I don’t NEED THAT RIGHT NOW. I need you to be sweet and pliable and still prefer snuggles to running into the street pell mell, like you have a teeny tiny death wish. THAT CAR ISN’T SCARED OF YOU. You are not actually a T-Rex. You also can’t wear underpants if you are going to poop in them constantly. Oh, and P.S., we AREN’T out of juice, I was just tired of arguing with you about it SO I LIED.

A few weeks ago when I was knee deep in self-pity and worry, I was in the office writing and researching some fun old CANCER stuff when B wandered in. He had been watching a show with Kate, but since he has the attention span of a gnat, he decided to come and see what I was up to. I was up to CODE RED emotional state, nearing tears or a nervous breakdown. When I didn’t pay him enough attention, B sidled up next to me in a quick snuggle fake-out and then with a mighty ‘WHACK!’ he slammed his hand down on the computer, effectively erasing everything I had just written. I let out a mighty sound. I’m not sure what exactly how to put this sound in words. Part primal shriek, part groan, part exasperation and part anger. I put my head on the desk in my hands and squeezed my eyes shut and pretty much started to hyperventilate.

Beckett of course hit the ground sobbing. I was too wrapped up in my own emotions to comfort him. Because, you know, thin line. I kept my head down on the desk and tried to keep from lashing out, because I knew it wasn’t really what B did that I was angry about. Without lifting my head I told him, very sternly, “You need to leave. Now.” He literally crawled out of the room and I couldn’t raise up out of my emotions enough to care.

Not my finest moment.

My head was still on the desk when I heard some shuffling at the office door. I raised my head, ready to let loose with my anger. Make myself somehow feel better by making him, a poor, tiny toddler, feel worse. I just had so much inside me and he was the tipping point.

But when I looked up, it was Kate in the door. With a slightly terrified expression on her face. The look on her face struck me, and I lost my anger immediately. It drained away as quickly as it had come and all that was left was sadness, shame and that hollow feeling that sits in your stomach when you know you’ve done something you can’t take back.

Kate stared at me for a second and then said to me, “Um, Mom? I don’t like it when you scream at me, and I don’t think you should scream at Beckett either. I tried to wipe all his tears and snot off, and I got him to stop crying. You should probably say sorry.”

Wow. My first thought was to quibble a bit, because her words put me in such an ugly light. I mean, I didn’t SCREAM per say. I mean, lets call a spade a spade. It was more a reaction than a scream. I mean, sometimes I YELL. Maybe that was a YELL?

No. Lets call a spade a spade. I screamed. I took my anger, fear and sadness and balled it up into a tight wad of emotion and threw it at my two-year old. And it hurt him. As much as if it were a physical thing. And my daughter. My little warrior. She cared for him. She helped him. And then SHE CAME TO ME and stood up for her brother. Even though she was afraid I was going to… SCREAM… at her next.

Oh my heart.

A friend of mine who has been faced with an unexpected and terrible loss recently, wrote to me with these wise words. “What I have learned (the hard way this last year) is the constant challenge of trying to be present and emotionally available when you are so emotionally raw and stripped. It’s such a backwards situation. How is any human supposed to deal with very real adult emotionally heavy and suffocating concerns and still have the emotional fortitude to crawl on the floor with your littles, parent with patience and not be a blubbering mess.”

I could not have put it into better words. What it feels like to have such a heavy weight of pain and sadness within while you try to parent. Her advice to handling this was to be honest. Instead of trying to hold it all in where the only option is to lash out when it all becomes to much, she let her children see her heart. Her hurt. Her sadness. And it seems to me, that has to be the way. Because I would rather my children grow up knowing and understanding emotions and how to deal with them in a healthy manner, than seeing mommy fall off that thin line, causing damage to their little hearts and sweet souls in the process.

How blessed I am to have such wise friends. Now if I can just be a little more like them. I think we might just all make it through.

Labor day

I’m laying in bed nursing a terrible head cold while Ben takes the kids to the gym, so I can get some rest and they can have something to do and he can work out, which I think means watch something on his iPad for the allotted two hours of child care. Or, NOT… no, sorry, I’m mixing up MY workouts with his. He actually works out. So this is how we are spending our holiday. Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day is a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. I know this because I looked it up on the U.S. Department of Labor’s website and it told me so. Labor. I know ALL ABOUT labor. You know what I call labor?

Potty training.

And we are in the throes of it. Right down deep in that thick, dirty, dark and scary part of potty training. The part where you want to believe you’ve got it all cinched up, until someone poops their pants in the middle of the library and you are all, “Hey, whoa there buddy, slow your roll. THIS IS THE LIBRARY MAN.”

It all started last week. I’ve been purchasing potty training tools on the down low for the past month or so, just knowing that when it was “time” I wanted to be “prepared” — ha, like anyone can be prepared for toddlers and bodily fluids, but hope springs eternal.

Well, I wasn’t ready last week, but when we got home from Target Beck dragged a package of super hero underpants out of the bag and said, in his sweetest voice, “PEEEEEAAAASSSSEEEE?” and then he batted his big ol’ blue eyes and I handed him my credit card, the keys to the car and a pair of underpants.

Huh. Now what? See, I was not ready yet. For Kate, she had been reading potty books and sitting on the potty before bath every night for months before we really started the good stuff, like panties and bribes. But Beck jumped the gun on me, we hadn’t gotten there just yet. So I rushed to iTunes and downloaded the only cartoon about potty training (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, for the win!) and sat his little underpant clad tushie in front of the iPad and told him, sternly, to pay attention. About 15 minutes in, as Daniel gets a high five for going on the big boy potty, Beck unloads his bladder on our kitchen table bench. Riiiiight.

So I grab him, run to the little potty and let him finish. And then scream like a pre-teen at a Bieber concert, give him an M&M and a few stickers and then let him flush the big potty. He was pretty proud of himself.

So then for the rest of the day we played downstairs and he ran to the potty every time he had to go, and we did it. WE DID IT ALL DAY LONG WITHOUT ANOTHER ACCIDENT! There was some leaking before he caught himself a few times, but he was getting better and better at knowing when he had to go and by the end of the day I was all, WHAT? POTTY TRAINING GENIUS UP IN HERRRRRRRRR’.

The next morning he woke up, took a duece in the potty and I got all smug.

And that was my downfall.

Because I was all, “My son is a freaking genius. Potty training GENIUS. He is TOTALLY potty trained after, like, 12 hours right? So lets get out and run some errands. Lets go to the library. Hell, lets go to DINNER.”

I got all crazy. I have no excuse. Except, while I couldn’t remember much of Kate’s potty training experience, I knew it was easy. She was just easy to potty train. Except for that ONE accident. THE ONE. But I was all hopped up on my son’s incredible awesomeness that I didn’t do the one thing you should ALWAYS DO.

LEARN FROM HISTORY. Don’t repeat the same mistakes.

I didn’t do that. I laughed and maybe spit on my potty training history.

And history gave me the big F-YOU by taking Kate’s big potty training snafu (which involved poop and a Target) and jacked it up on steriods and let it loose in my sons underpants.

He pooped in the library. He pooped in the restaurant. He pooped in the last pull up we had and then he pooped while GOING COMMANDO (Ben’s fault here, I take no responsibility for thinking a potty training toddler should EVER go commando).

It was, in the middle of dinner, when Beck got off his chair, stood up and poop slid out of his shorts and down his leg that I learned my lesson. And ordered another glass of wine.

OHHHHHH. Right. 12 hours accident free AT HOME does not a potty trained child make.

So it is a work in progress. WORK. LABOR.

Happy LABOR Day, friends.

May your labor be a little less messy than here at The EdelSpot.

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Nothing to see here. Just reading my library books, pooping my pants. Like a BOSS.

Conversations of a mad woman

A sane person should never have these conversations. And I’ve had them all. GO FIGURE.

“Don’t wipe your boogers on your car seat. Well, I can’t REACH a tissue, I’m driving. Okay, fine then, wipe them on the car seat. Just don’t eat them.”

“Do not let the dog lick your food before you eat it. I don’t care that you are sharing, don’t share. Yes, you SHOULD share with your friends. But do not share with the dog. Yes, unless he is starving, then you can share. No. Jackson is not starving right now.”

“I don’t know what lady bugs eat, but I’m fairly certain peanut butter isn’t it. I’m also fairly certain that petting her like that is going to kill her.”

“Sure you can clean all the bathroom floors, what a fun game. Here is a wipe. Yes. Yes that IS gross. Here are some plastic gloves to wear. Now get to cleaning.”

“I am NOT calling you names. Hellion is a term of endearment.”

“Everything that is covered by your swimsuit is private. Do you know what that means? Good, so what are your private areas? Yes, and yes. And no. That is your armpit, it’s not private. Okay, fine, sure, it’s private. Don’t let anyone touch your armpit.”

“If you sit still, I will give you a cookie. No, you know what, if you sit still for just five more minutes, I will give you 10 million dollars. Fine. I’ll keep the dollars, here is your cookie. Sucker.”

“Be a giant! Come on, be a giant and eat your trees. Yummy. See? Mommy is a giant, YUM! Ew, yuck, yeah, don’t eat those. Let me put some butter and seasoning on those trees, plain broccoli is super gross.”

“Go play. Mommy just needs a few minutes of privacy. Don’t bang on the door with a toy Beckett. Kate, I can hear you telling him to bang on the door. Stop it. Guys, seriously. Just a minute. Go away. GUYS! THE NEXT SET OF FINGERS THAT REACH UNDER THAT DOOR ARE GOING TO BE CHOPPED OFF SO HELP ME GOD.”

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Awesome sauce

Things at the EdelSpot are generally pretty awesome.

I realize that if you just glance through my posts, you may see a disgruntled woman complaining about life, her children, her life with her children. That couldn’t be further from the truth and if I don’t say it, I am doing you all a disservice.

I love my life. I love everything about it. From the messiness, to the lack of sleep, to the days I want to tear out my hair or run away to Argentina, I love it all. Because it is perfect in it’s lack of perfection, and it is MINE.

I once met up with an old friend that I hadn’t spent much time with since my children were born. She reads (or used to read) The EdelSpot. And at some point in our conversation, she made an offhand comment about how I don’t even like my own daughter.

Pause for righteous indignation.

Actually, pause for an internal brain explosion. HOW COULD YOU THINK I DON’T LIKE MY OWN DAUGHTER? Clearly, we are not close friends any more.

But the truth is, she had a point. I probably spend most of my time sharing about the latest shit storm or parenting fail over here. But that is because NOT EVERYONE NEEDS A RAINBOW. Seriously, when you are having a hard day, and you feel overwhelmed and you haven’t showered in a few days and you have to yell at  your daughter that if she wipes another booger on the furniture SHE IS GOING TO TIME OUT UNTIL SHE IS 20, the last thing you want to do is see how FUCKING AWESOME another mom is doing. Because then the shame spiral kicks in and  you are forced to pour cereal into a bowl for the kids and turn on some Dora so you can go lie in the bottom of the shower in the fetal position and cry because WHHHHYYYYY????? WHYYYY is it SO EASY FOR THEM AND NOT ME?!?!?!?!

Or maybe that is just how I handle a hard day.

The point is, I actually LOVE my daughter beyond all words. I love my son. I am madly in love with my husband and we have been given riches beyond my wildest hopes and dreams. Are we perfect? Nope, not a single damn one of us. But we have our good days and our bad days. Our good moments and our bad moments. And we support and love each other through this life.

One of the things people say to me is “Thank you,” for being real about the challenges of being a parent. But I’ve realized that maybe I give a really one-sided version of the story. With B’s birthday this week, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on how lucky we are. And I decided I need to sprinkle more of the good in with the bad. Even if the good is a little less entertaining, at least it is 100% real.

So get ready. It’s time The EdelSpot blows a little sunshine and roses up your behinds my friends.

Because life is good.

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Potty Mouth

Happy Throwback Thursday friends! Todays #tbt comes to us from October 11, 2011. To set the stage, B was just two months old and I was, um, er, coping. Sort of. Enjoy!

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It came to my attention a few weeks ago that when I am sleep deprived, I have the humor and vocabulary of an adolescent boy.

It all started when I was reading a new book to Kate. It is about a princess who outsmarts a dragon, and at the dragon’s door she uses the knocker to announce her arrival. And for some unfathomable reason, when I got to the word “knocker” I laughed my ass off. Which then sent me into a shame spiral because, I mean, SERIOUSLY?

I can only think it had something to do with how tired I was (and am). Also, since I’m still nursing, the word knockers seems pretty accurate for how heavy and awkward and just plain unsexy my boobs feel. KNOCKERS aren’t something you dress up in lace and shimmy at your husband. KNOCKERS are stout things that you stuff in thick cotton bras and hide in a t-shirt that has baby drool and last night’s dinner smeared across it.

I have knockers. And I found that to be freaking hilarious (because lets be honest, if you don’t laugh, you might just have to cry about something like that).

A few days later I experienced another “I’m a ten year-old boy” vocabulary melt-down. This one came about thanks to a “I’m new to being the mom of a boy” moment. When something new, er, popped up, I decided to turn to my trusty friend, Google, for answers. I sat down with my computer and typed in “Why do baby boys…”

I couldn’t finish the question. My brain was so tired, it had shorted. My entire vocabulary had just up and vanished. I just stared at the screen for a short while and then the only, and I mean ONLY word I could think of to describe what I was trying to research was this:

“Why do baby boys get BONERS”

(head slap)

WHAT IN THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME? I may be irreverent, and silly and sometimes crude, but ladies (and any gentlemen who actually kept reading past the section about my hooters) if my brain were firing on all cylinders I would NEVER be stupid enough to do a Google search about BONERS. Let alone baby boners. I’m nearly positive that I’ve now been flagged on some FBI database, but what shocked me was that GOOGLE KNEW WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT. Without blinking an eye, Google provided me with results from various parenting forums about the medical reasons a baby gets an ERECTION (OHHHHH riiiiiiight. Erection. THAT is the word I was trying to think of.)

But more shocking to me than Google’s understanding of the terminology is the fact that of all the words in the world to describe what I was searching for, I chose to use the word boner. Which, I have to be honest, I think I’ve used, like, um, NEVER IN MY LIFE. Its just not in my vernacular. Honestly. But when existing on only a few hours sleep, apparently its the only word to surface through the haze.

I’m so proud.

And THAT, my friends, is why you might not be seeing me in public for awhile. My knockers and I have to get some rest before I’m allowed in polite company again.