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.

Get busy livin’

The day I found out that it was in fact cancer, and how advanced it was, Ben was out of town. I got the news during my kid’s quiet time, and spent the hour crying and texting a few people that knew I was waiting for the results of the biopsy. Despite kind offers from sweet friends to take the kids while I got myself together, I couldn’t, for some crazy reason, ask for that help. Once they woke, I took the kids to a playground so I could sit on a bench and cry behind my sunglasses without them noticing. I bought a movie, let them watch several hours of TV. They got pizza for dinner. I ate my version of comfort food, the junk I never let in my house, potato chips with ranch dip and cookie dough. I drank some wine. I basically checked out.

And then I got busy. I scheduled family photos so that we could have some good ones of my dad and the kids before he started to physically show how sick he is. I pulled my camera out every time Dad was near the children, frantically capturing memories. I made a list of things to do to help make sure the kids wouldn’t forget him. When he was gone. I thought about getting videos of him reading books so the kids could watch them. Record him talking about some of his past history, the stories he has told me a million times that I forgot because, until he is no longer there to tell them, they didn’t seem that important to remember. I’m ashamed to say it, but I started preparing for his death.

A few days ago, Ben casually walks up to me in the kitchen and mentions something he would like to get my dad. Something for him to enjoy during chemo. I literally froze. I stared up into my husband’s face and was reminded why I was so deeply blessed to have him in my life. While I was talking the talk of getting my dad the finest treatment available, while I was urging him to see doctors and be proactive, I certainly was not walking the walk of the faithful. How could God receive my prayers for healing when I was so clearly preparing for those prayers not to be heard, or answered? And how could my father fight the good fight when part of his support team wasn’t truly FIGHTING but had already thrown in the towel?

That day, Ben changed how I was going to cope with this tragedy. I quit living like I was waiting for the end. We began conspiring. Things for Dad’s treatment. Fun surprises. No more moping. I started planning meals and cooking for the family again instead of letting them survive on junk food and sandwiches. I showered. Stopped canceling on friends who wanted to see me. I rejoined the land of the living with a new purpose. Focus on life. On the right here and right now. On the FIGHT.

Dad has an appointment to see a team of doctors at MD Anderson in Houston next week. One of the best cancer hospitals in the country. Dad is ready for the fight.

And now, so am I.

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The long game

A week and a half into our school year and Kate is already pulling the, “I don’t want to go,” card. She seems to truly enjoy school now (thank you GOD), so I’m chalking it up to her not being a morning person. Like, at all. She takes a lot of time to get revved up. Usually a show or two, some milk, some cuddling with the dog, some books, maybe half a frozen waffle, a glass of water, a trip to the play room for some mindless entertainment and then a trip to the bathroom. And then, AND ONLY THEN, am I aloud to suggest, ever so sweetly, that it is time to get dressed for the day. If we are in a hurry, and she is not allowed to warm up in her very own way, be prepared for some hysterics. I could tell her we have to hustle because we are going to go to Disney World and MICKEY HIMSELF with all his angels princesses were coming over to the house to fly us there personally with MAGIC FREAKING PIXIE DUST and she would throw herself on the ground and scream, “BUT I HAVEN’T WATCHED WILD KRATTS YET!!!”

So THAT is what I’m working with. So far this year she has been pretty okay with the whole process of getting out the door, which I attribute to the newness of school. But apparently that wore off this morning.

When I told Kate to get dressed, she told me no. That she didn’t want to. That she hadn’t played yet. So I informed her that it was a school day, and that she had to get dressed and she would play at school. That’s when she brought out the BIG GUNS.

“I don’t want to go to school.”

“Why?”

“I just don’t.”

“Is something wrong?”

“No. I just don’t…. (searching for a reason…) I just don’t like that I have to lay down there.”

“Well, you have to do quiet time here, so just think of it as your quiet time there. I can talk to your teachers and see if you can read a book or something instead.”

“NO.”

“Kate, you have to go to school, so if you have a problem we should talk to your teachers.”

“MOM NO, Don’t talk to my teachers. I just don’t want to go.”

At this point, I am lost. I mean, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t want me talking to her teachers because she doesn’t really have a problem with school, but for the life of me I’m not sure what to say next. Do I threaten? Force? Stuff her, leg by skinny little defiant leg into her clothes and strap her in the car? Do I bribe? Plead? Frankly, I haven’t had enough coffee for this. Ben overhears and comes in and picks up his little girl and sits on the bed. They put their heads together and start having a quiet little conversation and I throw my hands up and walk into the kitchen to feed the child that is currently NOT testing my patience today.

Not three minutes later, Kate comes, skipping out of the bedroom fully dressed and ready to eat breakfast. I stare, in pure wide-eyed amazement at my husband. He smiles and I mouth, “WHAT DID YOU SAY TO HER?!” He shrugs the modest shrug of a man who knows he has done something truly amazing but doesn’t want to let on that HE thinks he just performed a miracle. I make a mental note to buy him a beer and give him a good smooch the next chance I get.

We finish getting ready for school and get loaded up in the car and start down the road. It is quiet for a bit and then Kate says,

“Mom. Do you know what Daddy told me?”

“No, what?”

“He said that if I go to school every day, and then go to school every year, that someday I will get to go away to college. And then, after I go to college, I can have my own house. And when I have my own house, I can FINALLY get my kitten or a puppy.”

A lightbulb went off. Genius. My husband is a PARENTING GENIUS. He used bribery, but in the best possible way. He played the long game. He took preschool and packaged it with a lifetime of education and topped it off with the one thing she DESPERATELY wants but can NEVER have, as long as she lives under the same roof as my highly-allergic husband. A cat. He bribed her with the hope of a CAT in TWENTY YEARS. The man should belong to MENSA.

“But, I’m really going to miss you when I go away to college Mom.”

Ah. There it is. Out of the mouth of babes, a gentle reminder that I don’t have forever. While I struggle to make it through the here and now, sometimes I need to think like Ben, and focus on the long game. And try to find joy in every difficult, head strong moment as it happens.

Now you’ll have to excuse me. I’m going to buy my man a beer.

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Just when it can’t get worse, it gets better

Happy Throwback Thursday Friday friends! This week had been a whirlwind full of new schools, angst, bodily fluids and a little mania, so we got slightly off course. However, I have a #tbt that fits perfectly with my week, a gem from back in 2011 when Kate was potty training. Reading it made me feel slightly better about life, because whatever was happening in 2011,  Kate NEVER poops her pants now (uh, obviously). So even though sometimes it feels like I will be throwing away soiled underpants for a lifetime (seriously Beckett? At Chic-Fil-A?!?!?) let this serve as a reminder… THERE IS AN END. POTTY TRAINING DOESN’T LAST FOREVER. Enjoy, and happy Thursday Friday!

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Yesterday I was having a rough day. Not only was I coming down with a cold, but I had no energy and no patience. After ten plus days of 100+ degree weather, I was toast. All I wanted to do was lay in bed with the a/c turned down to “FREEZING”, while reading some senseless romance novel and rubbing lotion on my ever-expanding belly. Instead, I found myself rolling around on the floor of our play room, reading a book about Elmo’s first day of school for the 500th time and playing dolls while my two-year old literally used my aching, 35-week pregnant body as a jungle gym/barca lounger.I finally needed a break and hauled myself into Kate’s mini-chair (which I barely fit into). She followed me from across the room and handed me one of her dolls. “Say HI” she demanded for the millionth time. I burst into tears, tossed her doll across the room and sobbed “I don’t WANT to say “hi” Kate. Please, please for the sake of mommy’s sanity, please PLEASE play BY YOURSELF for just one tiny moment.”

Kate looked at me with VERY little pity for a moment, then wandered across the room to find where I had thrown her doll while I continued to boo-hoo. And in a case of perfect timing, Ben came home while I was still pulling myself together, so he got the full tattle-tale report from Kate who indignantly told him I threw her doll and cried. I gave her the stink eye, but apparently she is impervious to its power because I swear she just smirked at me over her dad’s shoulder and repeated “and then SHE CRIED daddy!”

Ben decided I needed to get out of the house so we packed up and headed to the mall to run some errands. He promised to be in charge of Kate and let me just wander around, leaking hormones and hopefully de-stressing. We walked into the mall and I mentioned, “By the way, keep an eye out for the closest bathroom everywhere we go. You want to be able to book it if she has to go.”

I don’t know if that comment jinxed my poor husband, or if this was all destiny, but not five minutes after I sat on a bench to do a little zen people watching, I saw Ben RUN out of a toy store with Kate in his arms. He ran down a hallway that I knew to be a dead end and then came running back out with panic on his face. I decided to take pity. “Bathroom?” I called. He nodded and I trailed him shouting directions to the closest toilet. He disappeared in the men’s room as I came huffing around the corner. I sat outside and waited to see if he needed any help.

Five minutes later, I heard Kate giggling and saying “OHHHH BUBBLES.” Another minute or two and Ben popped his head out of the bathroom to ask if we had any extra clothes. I had to tell him no, I had been a little too mental when we left the house to be my normal, prepared self. He popped back into the bathroom and then came out carrying Kate with paper towels wrapped around her bottom.

“Can you tell she is naked under there?” he asked me.

Not to get into too many details, but apparently Kate had some bowel troubles and Ben had to throw away her panties and wash out her pants. Which meant he had to carry her through the mall half-naked. With me trailing them, alternating between laughing out loud and then giggling to myself the whole way. Because, when it happened to me, yeah, it was pretty traumatic. But to see my daughter poop on my husband? That is some funny stuff right there.

We get to the car and use every wipe, sanitizing gel and napkin we can find to ensure both Kate and Ben are squeaky clean. And thanks to an extra set of Kate clothes in the car, we are able to head back into the mall to finish up our errands. The only real issue is the leftover poop stains on my husband’s long-sleeve work shirt. He rinsed and rolled up the sleeve to hide the offensive stain, but wasn’t sure if it was enough.

Ben: “Can you tell I’ve got crap on my sleeve?”

Me: “No, but you are wearing an undershirt, why don’t you just take your button-up off?”

Pause.

Ben: “Gross, no. I’m wearing a V-neck”

Pause.

Me: “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA”

Have I mentioned how much I love my husband?

Not quiet

So Mr. EdelSpot has taken a new job. A new job where he may be allowed to work from home more. Which sounds like a dream. Or it did to me, until I thought back to the times he has worked from home in the past. It goes a little something like this.

“Daaaaaaaaaddy. Oh DAAAAAAAADDY. Why isn’t daddy opening the door. I can see him in there. He is looking at me and mouthing something, but he isn’t coming to the door. Oh well, I guess I could JUST YELL LOUDER!!!! DAAAAAAAADDDDDYYYYYY!!!!! You know what, he can’t hear me because he has that phone up to his head. Maybe if I rattle the door he can hear me. Here, just a little harder and I THINK I CAN GET IT OPEN. Nope, just need to kick the door a little maybe. Here, a big KICK!! What, No, Mom, I need to talk to Daddy. Don’t pull me away from the door. It’s my DAAAADDDDDYYYYY. (Insert shrill screaming as I drag her from the office doors). DAAAAADDDYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Now, flash to 15 minutes later when whatever business call Ben was on has ended.

“LIZ. Seriously?”

“Um, yeah. Sorry about that. See, Beckett had a poopy diaper, so I had to change him and she slipped me. I mean, she saw that moment of weakness when I accidentally got baby shit on my knuckle and was scrubbing my hands clean and decided to make a break for the office door. I thought it might be quieter if you just WAVED YOUR DAMN HAND AT HER SO SHE COULD QUIT SCREAMING AT YOU, but I see how that was not an option. Because you needed your hand to do something important, like, oh, wait, NO YOU DIDN’T YOUR WERE JUST TALKING. So, tell me, why didn’t you just WAVE YOUR HAND AT HER? MY BAD for thinking that was an option.”

Obviously, Ben gets annoyed at my suggestion that he go jump in a lake, and I get annoyed that he thinks I can wrangle my children every time he gets on the damn phone, because that man is on the phone ALL THE TIME, and then we both quit speaking to each other and someone slams a door. And a preschooler or toddler then has to go to the door to peek inside and whisper, “Daddy? You mad? Can I come in? Want to play?” And he gives me THE EYE and I drag both kids upstairs to do something quiet. Like, um, hm, ummm, quiet, let’s see, ummmmmm, yeah. We don’t DO quiet. Guess we will go to Target for a few hours.

And then, as I’m letting the kids tear apart the toy aisle to kill an hour and fielding dirty looks from store employees, I’m all, “Hm. Maybe working from home is going to be a bit of a problem.”Image

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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