Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pregnancy Insights: Belly Bands are the best thing ever. Buy them.

So, you're pregnant. Or not, and reading this anyway, and therefore, you are awesome. Anyway, just as you learn more and get smarter with each child, you also get smarter with each pregnancy. One of the hundreds of things that I got smarter with throughout my pregnancies was the maternity wardrobe. 

In the beginning of my first pregnancy, I experienced the pregnancy bloat, the point where you’ve clearly expanded your waist but it’s not clear why. I went from having a perfectly flat stomach to having a spare tire. And as a side note, nobody looks at that and thinks, “oh, she’s about twelve weeks pregnant.” They think, “oh, she had about twelve too many beers every night for the last month”. I clearly recall one day walking into the gym with Nate, and upon looking down at my spare tire jelly roll, I said to him, “I just look fat, huh?”. He simply said, “Yep”. I appreciate his honesty. 

But I digress. Basically, I started out the pregnancy without a weight problem, and then I got the pregnancy bloat, and then I gained an extraordinary amount of weight - in spite of eating correctly and exercising. So because I didn't know any better, I purchased actual maternity clothes, which in this case ended up being a good thing since I went up about five sizes. But I learned a lot about maternity wear and most importantly, that most of it sucks.

The second pregnancy, I had not lost all of the weight from the first pregnancy, and I had saved all my maternity clothes since I was planning on having another baby. However, I for some reason lost some of the excess weight for the first half of the pregnancy, then barely gained anything the last half. And if you're thinking "bitch", remember that I just said that I blew up in my first pregnancy. Don't hate me. There's nothing to hate. Promise. So I basically ended up wearing my regular bottoms with some maternity shirts sprinkled in. 

And to my surprise, even if you do not gain an extraordinary amount of weight, if you are anything above four feet tall (as most people are), your belly will be hanging out of the bottom of your biggest maternity shirts by the last couple of months. IT WAS SO ANNOYING. I really wanted to write the maternity clothes designers and complain. Clearly, the ones making the clothes have never actually been pregnant. They make them wider, but not much longer. How does that escape them? But complain I did not, as I didn't have the energy to write a letter. Instead, I bitched and moaned and graduated to wearing Nate’s shirts and looking like a tent. And listened to him joke that I was going to stretch them out. Thanks, dude.

The third - and more wise - pregnancy, I refused to buy maternity pants (I had gotten rid of everything because we weren't planning on a third... surprise) and instead bought and was also given some belly bands, or tummy sleeves, or whatever else they are called. This is highly recommended by me, and hopefully you don’t blow up, so you are still capable of wearing your pre-pregnancy pants. Or, in my case, my " still chunky from the first pregnancy so my new two-sizes-bigger pants". 

This particular tummy sleeve is at Motherhood Maternity, linked here. Basically, you leave your pants unbuttoned and unzipped, and this band is tight enough to hold them up. And if you're worried about your pants slipping out of the bottom and falling down, they won't. I've never had that happen, or even heard of it happening.

The benefit of belly bands is four-fold:

1. They are cheaper than maternity bottoms, so instead of buying new pants, shorts, and skirts, you wear your existing ones. 

2. When your maternity shirts get too short and your belly starts hanging out of the bottom of them, the band hides all that. It's an incidental shirt-extender.

3. They are so great for postpartum use. They accommodate you throughout all your shrinking phases until viola, one day you just don’t need them anymore and that, my fellow mommies, is a day you celebrate with gusto! 

4. After you don't need them anymore, you can still use them to add that layered look under your regular t-shirts, which I do. 

So start out with a couple belly bands, and try to stretch that bottomwear as far as you can. Literally and figuratively! Or, if your ass gets too big for your regular clothes, just buy regular pants a size or two bigger and belly-band them. You'll appreciate having regular clothes that actually fit you after you have the baby. 

And since I had the babies in the summer, I also wore a lot of dresses. Like, the long, stretchy, flowy cotton type dresses. They are so comfy, your belly doesn't hang out of the bottom, and you don't have to worry about shit fitting - a dress will, provided that you buy them big enough in the first place. 

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Friday, February 24, 2012

The gift infomercial

With three small children, we have more toys than a whore has condoms. And they are probably some of the most annoying, useless, frustrating, money-sucking things out there. The toys. Just to be clear.

Over the years, I have learned that most toys are a giant waste of money, for a variety of reasons:

1. The kids won't play with them longer than 10 minutes. Total.

2. Many are shoddily made and will break- if not the first time they are used, then shortly after.

3. If it was a toy that your kid would have played with longer than 10 minutes, #2 will apply. It will break. The first time it's played with.

4. If they make noise, the volume is either too loud or louder than too loud.

5. If it takes batteries, it will eat batteries like a fat kid eats candy.

6. The messier it is, the more the kids will like it.

7. If they have many parts, several parts will get lost and the toy will be rendered useless.

8. If they have small parts, you will step on them, while barefoot. Repeatedly. Legos. Enough said.

7. They will take up a giant amount of space in your house.

8. You will constantly be telling your kids to pick them up (or doing it yourself, for those who do not delegate).

9. No matter how hard you try to keep the parts together and the toys organized, you will fail.

I'd like to say that I appreciate it when people buy toys for our kids but I wouldn't be being entirely truthful, as I've previously explained here. I appreciate the gesture, and that they want to do and buy something nice for them, I really do, but the toy just doesn't always have a happy life in our house. I know the boys are still pretty young, but they are terrible when it comes to toys. They're destructive, they have low-to-no impulse control, they fight over them, they don't respect them - no matter how much we try to talk to them about that, they just don't have the reasoning skills yet - and they have the attention span of gnats. Their dad and I would almost rather they had no toys. Except for a few that actually entertain them.

Here's what I have learned that kids (boys) like, up to age 5, since that's all I know about so far:

Under age 1: Tupperware and wooden spoons.

Age 1: Washcloths and cups. They stick the washcloth in the cup, pull it out. Stick it in, pull it out. Stick it in, pull it out. I think you get it. And board books and things to stack. Like Tupperware.

Age 2: Toys that go, like cars. And blocks and books. And wagons - both to be pulled in and to pull themselves, and mini things to push, like toy shopping carts and toy strollers.

Age 3: Dirt and sticks. Firetrucks, dump trucks, and train tracks. Still into the shopping carts and strollers. Things they can throw, kick, and swing at. Balls, in other words.

Age 4: Things they can move on, like scooters and bikes and stuff. Things they can color/draw/write on and with. Paper and crayons, in other words.

Age 5: Handheld gaming systems, like Leapfrog, the Nintendo varieties, MobiGo. Dirt. Sticks. Nerf ball guns.

See? Really simple. Well, except for the gaming stuff. SIMPLE, people. Everything else sucks. The other day, it was just Brandon (18 months) and me for the afternoon and evening. This is what he played with, for hours:

A jar with a marble in it.
An empty laundry basket.
In the shower, an old sticker he carried in there and the cap from my shaving cream.

He completely ignored the bedroom full of toys. Completely.

Oh, I forgot water. Most kids LOVE water. We've had this water table for 5 years and it has not let us down. You just have to occasionally get new water toys, or old sippy cups that no longer have functioning lids work fantastically with it. And sandboxes. We bought a $20 hard molded plastic swimming pool and a few 50-pound bags of sand for $3 each at Home Depot. We now have sand  ALL OVER our backyard but don't let that discourage you.

But if toys must be bought, here are a few rules that I think should be implemented:

1. If it takes batteries, you have to buy an accompanying pack of batteries for it. Not a 2- or 4-pack, a giant multi-pack. Like, a Costco-sized pack. It's just nice of you to do that. Really, really nice.

2. If it's obnoxiously loud and annoying, don't buy it. You think you're being funny, but you're really testing the parents' self-control and sanity. Not actually funny. Small children are at stake.

3. ASK THE PARENT if it's something they think the kid might like. Really. And if the parent says no, then listen to them. If for no other reason than to not waste your own hard-earned money. Or, get suggestions from the parent. Sometimes, there may even be some sort of "group gift" that the parents are striving for, something that's too expensive for the parents to buy themselves, that you can contribute to. We've done that, and it's awesome. It cuts down on the needless amount of toys, allows us to get things for the boys that we otherwise can't afford by ourselves, and the boys are incredibly happy. We make sure the boys know who all contributed to the gift. No one gets shafted in acknowledgement and appreciation there.

4. Think outside the box. Toys aren't the get-all, end-all for gift-giving. When asked, I've suggested things like passes to some of the amusement parks or children's museums in our area. It's the gift that keeps on giving, Clark. And if the pass is too expensive, which it probably will be, many places offer gift cards. So you can still contribute towards a pass - just ask the parents if a gift card from wherever would help out. Or even gift cards to places where they can go get special treats. We've suggested Jamba Juice gift cards for the boys, and they freaking LOVE those. We do, too, because we use them as bargaining chips/rewards. And we make sure they always know who they are getting the Jamba Juice from: "This is from the gift card that Uncle and Aunt So-and-So gave you at Christmas." So you don't have to worry about the kids being disappointed about opening just a gift card. The younger ones don't even care or "get it" anyway, and the older ones are usually old enough to understand that they will get the actual present at another time, especially if they've experienced gift cards/passes before. Which can be awesome; it gives them something to anticipate. Look forward to. We could all use a little of that in our lives. Now, when we tell our boys they have a pass/gift card to somewhere, they know what it means, and they are STOKED.

I can hear the other side of this in which people gripe and complain that my philosophy and what I wished people practiced takes away the whole idea behind gift-giving. Giving a gift is supposed to be about the thought that the giver put into it, and the recipient (or the parents of the recipient) are supposed to just be grateful that they were given anything at all and keep their pie-holes shut.

I get that. I really, really do. But it just has come to the point for me that it's just too much. It's overwhelming. So overwhelming that it has actually pushed me to this point of preferring that they were not given half of what they are given. That's crazy, huh! Especially since we are not a family of great means, and there are other things that would provide more use and help us out more than another toy. That the boys aren't even going to play with. That's going to take up space in our rapidly-shrinking house. Yes, houses shrink, did you know that?!

So all I'm saying is, work together, people. There's really nothing wrong with just making some sort of attempt at ensuring that your money and efforts are going to actually be put to use. I would really hate to buy something for a kid and have it end up shoved in a closet, never to be played with or used, and then just trashed. I always make the effort to just ask, "Hey, what does so-and-so need or want?" And I try to have it be something that genuinely helps out the parents, AND is good for the kid, too.

Then everybody wins. 

**If you didn't get the "It's the gift that keeps on giving, Clark" reference, then you have missed out on the greatest Christmas movie ever made, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. And you should watch it. And then you'll wonder how you've lived life without having seen the movie. Okay probably not really, but either way, it's a classic.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Things that will make your life easier: Dry Shampoo

Just in case you didn't know, the experts say that it's actually not recommended to wash your hair every day. And just in case those experts don't know what the rest of us do, hair can get greasy pretty quickly, and if you have kids, hair can get boogery, pukey, and food-encrustedy even quicker. Yes, I totally just made up those words. And spell-check is pissed about it. 

Anyway, as a lot of us also know, trying to wash, dry, and style your hair every day can be a feat to accomplish and I love getting a two-ish day pass after each wash. But the grease? Not so great. I may be sporting enough to fry some chicken but I don't really want to advertise it, even though in my hippie town, it would go completely unnoticed. So my sister-in-law happened to mention John Frieda's Luxurious Volume Dry Shampoo to me and I bought some and I loved it and I have since bought lots more. And I want you to know about it, too. Between washings, when your hair gets a little greasy and/or limp, this is the cure.

Bam. Basically, you aim the nozzle at your roots, shake and spray, and this little magic potion of powder and some liquid substance squirts out, and you work it through your roots, and viola! You have eliminated the grease, and given your roots a nice little bit of body, too. Just pay attention to the directive "work it through your roots", because if you don't, you might end up looking a little dandruffy (yes, spell check, I KNOW that's not correctly spelled). So just double check that some stray powder isn't lurking. 

Now for the boogers, puke, and food, this spray won't help, but some spot washing will. 

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Want to buy a toy for the boys? No, thanks!

Occasionally, and by occasionally I mean too often, the boys will receive a toy that makes me want to throat punch someone. I'd say the gift-giver but that would be incredibly unkind and sound like I am ungrateful. Which, truth be told, I'm partially ungrateful. I'm thankful and touched that the person went to the time and effort to thoughtfully purchase something for my children with their hard-earned money, I am just not thankful for what they chose to buy. 

Make sense?

I readily admit that I am a total ass when it comes to toys. I mostly dislike them all, because they are either too noisy, too messy, too battery-consuming, too frustrating, incredibly disappointing, or end up costing us a bunch of money to buy the "extras" that actually are required to make the object of any use. 

But there are the special few that hold that coveted place of being despised with all my being. As soon as the boys remove the wrapping, I instantly recognize if the toy falls in that category, and I have a physical reaction: a sinking feeling in my gut and joyless smile that doesn't reach my eyes.

Because I know what's going to happen. They're going to play with the toy, and I'm going to go insane. 

I'm writing this particular post at this particular time because I just came from the garage, where "the bookends" (the oldest and youngest) were playing with one of the toys they received for Christmas. It has a thousand parts, it's flimsy, they don't even know what they are supposed to do with most of it (which is actually fine, it allows them to get creative and make up their own games - win), and basically, I just can't stand it. It puts me in a bad mood. I end up getting frustrated, and yelling and swearing. You know, letting the finer points of my personality emerge. And then I get even madder that a stupid fucking toy drove me to that! 

So I'm sitting here, venting, because it allows me to work out my anger and express all the emotions that go into the psychology of gifts. 

Yes, the psychology of gifts. 

Allow me to explain. If my husband or I had bought the toy, and it sucked and caused all kinds of grief, then we'd simply either toss it, or most likely resell or donate it, and hope and pray that somebody with infinitely more patience is who receives it next. Because I would HATE to pass something that drove me insane on to somebody else, and it then drives THEM insane. I'm not about that. I want to help, not make things worse for people. Even if I don't know them. 

BUT. If we didn't buy the toy and somebody else did, then I feel that I owe it to them to allow the boys to get their use out of the toy. Right? As much as I want to, I can't just throw the damn thing away. Nor can I let them destroy it inside of 5 minutes, or lose the parts, which sadly seems to be their tendency. Even though I know the gift-giver will most likely never know that I tossed it or gave it away, I just can't bring myself to do that. Money doesn't grow on trees for the friends and family who give my boys gifts, so I can't bring myself to disregard their generosity, even if it comes at the price of my sanity. 

So, I'll sit in the garage or in the house with them, and try to keep them from breaking the flimsy parts, try to keep Brandon from choking on the small parts, try to keep them from losing the parts, try to keep from swearing and getting mad, and failing miserably at it all. Then, I'll marinate in guilt for getting frustrated with the boys, for not having more patience, and for wishing that they never received the gift in the first place. Bad me.

Ah yeah. The joys of motherhood. Toy angst.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Example #1 of why the park sucks

In case I haven't yet proven my point about why parks suck in my last post, I have a rather charming park story that basically sums up why they suck. And why Other Peoples' Kids can suck. And, why Other People can suck.

The other day, I hit up the park with a great friend and her daughters. Going with her makes it 100 times more tolerable. We gossip, commiserate, whine, wish we had wine, and get to be the crazy moms who are actually disciplining our kids, to the horrified stares of others.

Anyway. Connor, who is 3, had stolen away to the far end of the park and was laying over the seat of a swing, swinging back and forth. Once I figured out where he was, thanks to my friend spotting him, I eyeballed him for a minute, then strolled over to have him come back to the other end with the rest of us. As I was approaching, I witnessed this:

The approximately 7-year-old little asshole kid on the swing next to him started spitting on him. Like, leaned over his swing and began spitting on unaware Connor's back and head.

Now. One might think that my first reaction would be and should be instant outrage, and I ought to just storm up to the little asshole kid and flip out on him. But, because I have been patronizing these 7th circles of Hell for some time now, I have actually become quite immune to these types of events. In fact, because kids and their parents can be such complete and total assholes, I have come to expect them.

This is what I did instead. I did a scene evaluation (yes, I know I'm a dork). First, I looked around for the parent. Pretty much half the time, they are nonexistent and have no idea what their kids are doing. The other half are present, and watching, and doing not a damn thing about what their kids are doing. This time, Mom was present. And watching. And not doing a damn thing about the fact that her kid was spitting on another kid.

Second, I evaluated whether or not I should say something to the mom and/or the kid. One might think it should be obvious that I should say something, as spitting on another person is generally considered unacceptable, but really, I have learned, people. I have learned that most parents think their kids are the Second Coming of Christ, and not only that, this mom had just witnessed what her kid did, and did nothing about it! So what is my saying anything going to do? Change her entire parenting style? Suddenly make her capable of disciplining her child? I think not. But on the other hand, jerk watches her kid spitting on some other kid and does nothing about it probably deserves a little earful from someone. So, I was debating what to do as I walked up to them. Then, as I got closer, the option of my saying anything at all was immediately shelved, because clearly, there was going to be a language barrier. None of them were going to understand a thing I said. 

Third, I evaluated whether or not it was possible that Connor might have done something to incite the little asshole kid. Not that this excuses spitting, not by a long shot, but some kids (and their parents) are dipshits and have zero conflict resolution skills, so spitting or some other form of violence seems to be the only outlet for them. And if Connor was somehow being a little punk and inciting this kid, then obviously I need to recognize his part in this ridiculousness. Then I realized that I had just been watching them for the past minute and didn't see anything to warrant him getting spit on (What really does warrant that?), so unless something had happened before that, he was most likely in the clear.

So, short story long, I bribed Connor off the swing with the offer of some fruit snacks, threw the mom and kid the hairy eyeball, and got him the spitting hell out of there.

hate the park.

What would you have done?

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The park sucks.

Yep, I hate the park. And wouldn't you know, my kids love it. They must be normal. Anyway, the reasons the park sucks abound.

ABOUND, people.

I'm not sure which is worse, my hatred of Play-Doh or my hatred of the park. Okay, I think the park wins. It's worse.

Initially, in my evaluation of exactly why I hate the park so much, I figured it was mainly because of that dreaded thing known as Other Peoples' Kids. Then, I thought about it more and I realized that the park isn't much more tolerable when I am there alone with my children, so it can't just be that.

It's only the tip of the iceberg.

If I had to place a definition of the park in the dictionary, this is what would appear:

park [hell-hohl]

1. A mind-numbingly boring place in which bacteria, viruses, cigarette butts, dog crap, pedophiles, horny teenagers, and assholes with little kids gather.

2. The primary objective of the kids in this gathering spot is to pick up illness, injuries (usually caused by some other kid while their parent isn't watching, or even worse, is watching and doing nothing about it), miscellaneous bad habits from other kids, and repeatedly offer their parents bark dust french fries from their "restaurant". Also, to seek out the dog crap, step in it, then wander over to the pile of cigarette butts and chew on one or three while Mom is keeping sibling from getting kicked in the head by some other kid, and then wash down the butts with a swig from a crushed beer can. That someone peed in.

3. The primary objective of the parents is to not shoot themselves in the face from boredom and misery while repeatedly pretending to be excited and grateful for the bark dust french fries, and to not shoot another kid and/or their parents in the face for their basic asshole behaviors. Also, to continually scan every exit point and have mini heart attacks when one child is out of sight for several seconds lest some creep has led said child out of the park to do unspeakable things, and try not to have a mental break down from All. The. Fucking. Screaming.

Maybe you don't feel the same way, but most likely you have several gripes of your own to add. So do I.

The park seems to bring out all kinds. All kinds of freaks, all kinds of ideas on how often to bathe one's child - from daily, to every other day, to once or twice a week, to apparently, once a month in some cases, all kinds of ideas on appropriate parenting practices, and all kinds of ideas on discipline - for some parents, it doesn't exist. 

Sometimes, I am fortunate enough to sidestep the "all kinds" and get to be alone with my children at the park. I actually seek those parks out, and have one favorite that is not only usually quiet, it's entirely gated so I don't have to constantly eyeball every exit for the straying child, therefore leaving me time to read, play Angry Birds, go through my wallet, text, or whatever else I feel like doing that doesn't require me to watch Ethan slide down the same slide for the 700th time. This year. 

The gates, however, do not keep the boredom, dog crap and illness-causing germs out. Nor do they prevent Brandon, at 1 and 1/2, from putting everything, everything, he finds in his mouth. So technically, I don't sit around and read, text, etc.... yet. Oh, and it doesn't have a bathroom. Thankfully I have boys... they've watered a few trees. 

And before anyone gets all up in arms about how lucky I am to even be able to see my kid slide down the same slide 700 times, because blind people don't get to see that; I get it. I really do. I am phenomenally lucky to be able to see, walk, talk, and so blessed to even have kids in the first place. I feel that very deeply. Well, most of the time. But it doesn't take the pure monotony away. No matter how hard I try for it to, it just doesn't. 

Anyway, I wish, upon entering a park, parents were handed a drink and whisked off to the adults-only section, preferably with a friend or two accompanying them, unless quiet and alone time is sorely needed. 

Within the adults-only section, there would be two subsections, one in which small talk among strangers is desired, and the other, the small talk is not desired, so leave me/us (if with friends) the fuck alone section. In other words, the "no, I don't feel like filling you, a total stranger that I am never going to see again, in on my due date, gender of the baby, whether or not I am going to circumcise/breastfeed/co-sleep, or the age of my kids, when they walked, talked, and potty-trained, and whether or not I circumcised/breastfed/co-slept so you can get all judgey on me- I am here to forget that my kids exist for a few precious moments" section. 

And the kids would happily play in an entirely different section of the park, supervised by qualified, trained individuals.

That would be my kind of park.

My next post is going to share what happened the other day at the park. I'll call it Example #1 of why I hate the park. It's a real life story, people. Of straight-up shittiness. And since there will more of those stories to come, I have no doubt in my mind, be on the lookout for future examples. 


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Saturday, February 4, 2012

No matter how you spin it, stretch marks are ugly.

So I don't know if you've seen it recently, but there is a photo circulating the internet that provides a nice, fiery take on stretch marks. 

It's inspiring. It's fierce. It's empowering. It makes me want to stand up and scream out "HELL yeah" while doing a triple air punch and then karate-chopping a mirror. Are you ready? Here it is.

Did you do it too? Did you stand up and scream while karate-chopping a mirror? 

Actually, I don't really feel like doing that. Inspiring and "own yourself" as that message is, I actually don't look at my stretch marks like that.

Because they're ugly, no matter how you spin it.

I received my first stretch mark at either 31 or 33 weeks, with my first pregnancy. I can't believe I don't remember anymore which week it was because it was really upsetting to me. I literally cried when I saw that first slash worming its way through my skin.

Incredibly superficial, vain, selfish and petty? You betcha! But I don't care!

I cried because I knew it was just one of many that were on their way. I still had weeks and weeks to go, and I did not want my mid-section turned into... well... a rash of goddamn tiger stripes. Or more accurately, to look like I had been attacked by a tiger.

Deep down, I had been hoping to - but understanding that I probably wouldn't - escape pregnancy relatively unscathed physically. Before becoming pregnant, I had a nice body that I put time and effort into, and I was comfortable in my skin.  

And once I saw that first stretch mark, I knew it was over. Even if, after the baby was born, I returned to the exact same physique (which, duh, I did not), my skin was not going to be the same. Unlike the pregnancy, this was permanentSure, one can say to me, "hey bitch, it was for your babies, get over yourself" but that's not going to change my attitude. What it will change is the position of my hands - into a big sarcastic two thumbs up... with my middle fingers. 

Because, as mothers, we are expected to adopt the attitude that anything, anything, that has to do with or is for our babies is to be embraced with love and respect and joy. And if we don't, then GASP, aren't we just miserable bitches who don't deserve our children. I don't buy that. 

And three babies later, it's quite clear that I am never going to. I don't think we should be expected to celebrate every single thing, good or bad, just because it has to do with our kids. That's basically worship. Now, I love my babies. Good God, do I love them. But I don't worship them, nor do I worship everything that has to do with them. Especially the bad.

I definitely don't worship my stretch marks. Being pregnant, especially with my first, I knew that my life was changing and I would be giving up a lot of myself (including, eventually, large chunks of my sanity) for those babies, and I was fine with that. Now, they have my heart, they stole my sanity, can I just have my old body back, please? I don't want to permanently wear some "badge" of motherhood, although my c-section scar isn't going away, either. My kids are my badge. And I don't need to wear them to be reminded of them. They take care of that just fine on their own.

Oddly enough, my c-section scar, for some reason, doesn't bother me. Probably because I don't really see it, and it's relatively low so nobody else does, either. And it's kind of cool to be able to show the boys the scar and be like, "Hey, look, that's where you came out of." The moms who gave birth the other way certainly can't do that. Or at least, they really shouldn't be doing that.... *shudder*

Maybe when my boobs are sagging so low that they cover the marks, I won't really care about them anymore. In the meantime, I do not celebrate them. But for those of you mamas for whom that saying empowers: YEAH! What an awesome way to look at those stripes. Stand up proudly and wear those belly shirts - metaphorically, please. I just won't be standing there with you. I'll be busy shopping for some StriVectin. (Does that stuff actually work, anyone know?) 

And finally, I really want to give a shout out to the person who typed the caption in the photo and correctly used "you're" and "your". I really like that. I appreciate it - and that they didn't use the ungodly "ur", either. Very nice.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Who would you follow into the dark?

The other night, Nate was giving the two older boys haircuts and baths, and instead of bathing Brandon in the hair-filled bathwater, I decided to put him in the shower with me, in the other bathroom. I told Brandon, "come on", and had him follow me down our dark hall, and into our dark bedroom. Our bathroom is on the other side of the bedroom, and it was dark, too.

It wasn't until I had crossed our dark bedroom and got to the bathroom door that it hit me: it's dark. Going down the hall, Brandon had been following several steps behind me, and when I reached the bathroom door I thought, he is probably scared and is no longer following me. I turned around, fully expecting that he would have stopped at the bedroom door, hesitating in the last rays of light, unsure of whether or not to go on, into the dark.

I expected that because that's what I would have done. It's not common for us, as adults, to just blunder blindly into the unknown, into the dark. Even if we're following someone, it's instinct to hesitate and just make sure for ourselves. There's not a whole lot of people we would just blindly trust and unquestionably follow, no matter where they go, especially when we can't see the path in front of us.

But when I turned around, Brandon was right there. He did not hesitate to follow me, even though he could not see. He trusted his mom. And that's what little kids do, they trust implicitly. They take our hand when we walk into the street, even though we technically may be leading them into harm's way if we do not notice the car barreling towards us. But they don't think about that. They trust us. Whether it's within their own familiar house or someplace unknown to them, we are their whole world, and they will follow us anywhere. 

It's so easy for me to forget the depth of that in the chaos and craziness of everyday life with three small boys. Most days, I am crabby and annoyed with their antics, their excessive energy and noise. I'm counting down the hours until their bedtime and peace and quiet. As awful and crazy as this sounds, it's really easy for me to forget how important I am to them. 

But that night, Brandon reminded me. It's hard to explain, but it struck me very deeply. Probably because I need to remember this more often: We are their world and they trust us so deeply that they will follow us into the dark.

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