children

To Sleep Perchance to Dream

I realize children are our future and we should teach them well and feed them on our dreams, and a smile from a child is a package of sunshine and unicorn farts.

Terrific.

But my little package of sunshine and unicorn gas has been in the habit of yelling my name in the middle of the night with an invitation “to come sleep with me” in his twin bed, which really means “no sleep for hours then when I finally sneak back into my bed, a 30-minute respite before the next primal scream and  I relent and just let him sleep in my goddamn bed.”

All this after me or my husband begin the night lying awake in his bed until he falls asleep, and realizing my child has a later bedtime than me.

Nightime is beginning to resemble that surreal hellscape I stumbled through when I was a barely function bag of cells “mothering” a newborn baby.

This morning I had a lengthy discussion about the merits of phrenology to detect lice when it became clear that  a) I don’t know what phrenology is and b) I was actually talking to the coffeemaker.

There is a reason sleep deprivation is such an effective torture technique.

I vaguely recall my smug, child-free self boldy declaring “I would NEVER let my child sleep in my bed” when I would hear of parents getting kicked in the face multiple times by a child sleeping perpindicular to them.

I also vaguely remember rambling on about how I would never cook separate meals for my kid and he would just “eat what I’m eating.”

Aw, sweet, young Speaker7, you dumb fuck, you.

I’ve consulted all the experts like the random people who somehow have time to answer questions on wikianswers:

sleepstrategiesMy options are limited. I could keep things as is and die earlier from it, but at least that’s sort of a type of sleep. I could engage in a nighttime battle with a victor who has more energy stores than the hottest part of the sun. Or I could spend the time making out with Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice because I swear he was just in my kitchen a second ago talking to Kato Kaelin about O.J. Simpson’s latest book “Okay I did It.”

It’s likely karmic retribution. I slept in my parent’s room so much, they kept a mattress tucked under their bed. I had convinced myself I was going to be murdered in my sleep. Amityville Horror may not be the most comforting bedtime story.

In fact, the last time I slept on my parent’s floor was when I was 23 and home for a visit. I had mistakenly assumed I could handle a viewing of the movie Scream without thinking I would be the next to be gutted and strung up a tree by Ghostface. After a fitful night of continually turning on my light, I gave in and curled up on the floor of their room only to slink out early in the morning.

So judging by my track record, only 20 more years of this. That third option is looking pretty good.

Speaker7’s bout of sleep deprivation is only making the experience of posting daily as a member of the Nano Poblano Team even more sheep. When I move my hand slowly in front of my face, I can see leprechauns. 

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Lowering the Bar

I recently learned that The Tooth Fairy has been known to give children $10 for their discarded teeth.

I’ve attended children’s birthday parties that appear to cost more than my wedding. I’ve seen star charts created to award children for simply existing. Oh little Bobby is breathing so AMAZING today, isn’t he!!! Here’s $100.

This is insanity, people. Insanity. Why are some of you setting the bar this high?

When you act in this outrageous fashion it diminishes the sense of accomplishment I feel when I discover my child has a pair of clean underwear to wear.

I have no problem admitting that I routinely fail in my role as parent so perhaps I’m not the best to insist on some standard rules of engagement. But when little Timmy’s Easter haul is worth more than the GNP of Uzbekistan, I think we can all see that things have gotten out of hand.

Therefore, I think parents can agree on some basic ground rules.

1. Santa Claus. Can we establish that Santa Claus gives one gift and one gift only? And let it be kind of a crappy gift like tube socks or a box of chalky Whitman’s Sampler. This way the children feel a sort of begrudging resentment to Santa like they do when they have to write a thank you note to Great Aunt Hilda who routinely gives a box of holiday-colored sporks. Then in 10 years, let’s have Santa die in an avalanche so there can actually be peace on earth.

2. Tooth Fairy. $10 for tooth? Seriously? Fuck that noise. I say no money. I say let’s use her to our advantage to scare children into better dental hygiene. I don’t know about you, but getting my 3-year-old to brush his teeth is about as easy as getting Kayne West to stop referencing himself. Let’s instead have the Tooth Fairy leave ominous notes like “Dear little Sarah, I picked up your decayed tooth. If you don’t do a better job brushing, I’m going to come back one night and take them all. Love, the Tooth Fairy.”

3. Birthday parties.

toomuchridiculousnessThis. This right here is how you get a 9-year-old Nathaniel bitching on Twitter about how much he hates his fucking parents for buying him a black iPhone rather than a white one for his half birthday. Let’s scale back a bit, parents, shall we? Does your three-year-old really need a Marie Antoinette-themed party complete with a one-of-a-kind Palace of Versailles bouncy house and cardboard cutouts of disgruntled peasants? No. I’ve seen my son be entertained for over an hour by the simple act of throwing a tennis ball over our garbage can enclosure. Add a cake and that just became the best birthday party in his short life.

4. Easter.

fuckingnutsThere is no reasonable explanation for buying this much chocolate for one child unless your child is expecting a shiv in the back at the playground and needs some allies. All you’re doing with this display is guaranteeing you will be shelling out $70 to the Tooth Fairy in the near future. Along the same lines as Santa, let’s have the Easter Bunny give one piece of candy and let it be an elephant peanut or a Necco wafer so the kiddies won’t be too upset when the Easter Bunny is inadvertently shot and killed by Elmer Fudd in 2018.

5. Pinterest.

lastminutecostumemyass

Oh this? This is a “last-minute” Halloween costume idea. Really? Maybe on a planet were a minute is the equivalent of five months. There are many such devious DIY ideas on Pinterest that are designed to set a parent up for failure, and make you wonder where all these other parents have the time to make a DIY DeLorean time machine out of crepe paper with their children while you don’t have the energy to construct a ball from a hunk of dried-out Play-doh. How about we make this easy DIY genius responsible for your failure. Say, if you can’t easily make this, the DIY genius is forced to come to your house and make it for you. Or at least gets punched in the face.

I get that people love their kids. I do too (mine, not theirs). But we do no one any favors when that love manifests itself into over-the-top materialistic displays that leave some kids with less wondering why Santa is such a withholding dick.

Let’s lower that bar, parents. Your wallet and sanity will thank you.

Keep on Pushing Me Baby

Did you know that you can give a soon to be 3-year-old an IQ test?

You can.

And when that almost 3-year-old would prefer to hit a balloon around a room rather than answer inane questions, that nearly 3-year-old earns the distinction of “borderline.”

Yes, my son scored in the 2 percentile of “total bullshit bullshittery” category on his IQ test. He was average in other made-up areas and low in I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Butter Hoopery. I have a glisteny report that details it all and it sort of tastes like margarine.

Three years ago today, my son was born. That day was going to be a gorge-athon of hamburgers and french fries when my water unexpectantly broke and I underwent an emergency c-section because my kid was breech. He was a month early. He came out in the shape of a potato head with the same spindly arms.

He had trouble lifting his head. He didn’t walk until 18 months, but fuck if he didn’t know all the letters of the alphabet by 2.

We got on it early. By six months, he was in physical therapy. Six months ago, he started occupational therapy to help his fine motor skills. His therapists say the same thing: “He’s smart as get out; he’s just low muscle tone.”

Because of his birthday, he’s being moved from the county to the local school district, and this is why he’s suddenly “bordeline” and in the words of Madonna, it’s like I’m gonna lose my mind.

Even the IQ administrator stated the test doesn’t adequately gauge intelligence. So why are we doing this exactly?

Tomorrow he has his first committee on preschool special education meeting. The day I learned about this meeting, my “borderline” son read the word “toys” in a new book.

Something seems a bit off. In the same way, giving every child the same state assessment to judge a teacher’s ability seems like an inadequate form of measurement.

Tomorrow will be a success if I do not throw a chair through a window.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

You know how you discuss your uterus at work?

Yeah, I didn’t think that happened. Unless you work in a gynecology office or in porn or for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (Aw snap! Clarence Thomas jokes are soooooo 1991. Better rinse off that Coke can).

But I talked about my uterus at work, or at least I answered questions about it. It seemed odd at the time…mainly because it is completely #$!%^*^!%$ odd.

Here’s what happened:

Another coworker is pregnant with her first child. Since I’m not a hoarder nor planning on having anymore children apart from the one, I am giving her a ton of my old baby items that my 19-month-old no longer uses. She is very grateful cuz that sh*t’s expensive and you use it for about 5 minutes. She is not the problem.

Before a work meeting began, I let her know that I had some bottles, a sterilizer and a feeding chair in my car.

Won’t you need those for your second child?  asks someone else very appropriately since my childbearing decisions clearly affect her and I was including her in the conversation by not addressing her in the slightest. Uh…no, I answer. This is a really good time to have a second child.

At this point, I am really enjoying the direction this conversation is headed…probably in the same way single people enjoy being asked when they will get married, childless married couples when they will have children and the elderly when they will die.

Oh, I’m just having the one, I breezily say and continue my conversation with my pregnant friend.

You can’t let your son be an only child, chimes in another coworker.

Um….I can’t do what now?

He’ll be lonely.

Yes, my daughter and son are best friends, says the other.

Have I suddenly become a character in an after-school special about peer pressure? Hey man, everyone’s having second babies. You don’t wanna be a loser, dawg.

That’s sweet. My brother used to kick me so hard, he’d knocked the wind out of me. I’m good with the one.

It’s really much easier with the second one. You don’t even notice it.

Really? I don’t really notice another human being completely and utterly dependent upon me for his or her survival? Alright then, let’s get with the babymaking.

There are many reasons why I’m only having one child. These are reasons that I’m not completely comfortable discussing with people I work with but barely know at all..especially at the start of a work meeting.

Since these questions will likely continue until I reach a certain age, I need to come up with a better response than “uhhhhhhhh.”

Here are my ideas for possible responses (please let me know your fav in the comments section):

1. I would LOVE to have another baby!!!! With your husband! And you videotaping it!

2. Your question just gave me menopause.

3.  It’s weird. After the first baby, my uterus packed its suitcase and up and left without even leaving a note.

4. The satanic cult said they only needed the one.

5. I suffer from adult baby syndrome. My doctor said I would need to give birth to an adult to take care of me.

6. Oh, so you want to know about my husband and my lovemaking sessions? Great! I’ve been waiting to tell you about them for like, ever. First we light all of our Paula Deen Crisco-scented candles until our living room smells like the midway at a state fair. Then my husband lets the gimp and monkey out of the cellar. While the gimp teaches the monkey to whistle Nelly’s “It’s Getting Hot in Here,” my husband begins to cut pieces of his clothing off and stuff them into his mouth. By this point I’m done eating the peanut butter sandwich I’ve made in the kitchen and become part of the quartet as the monkey begins spinning like a whirling dervish….wait, where are you going?

7. Oh see the psychic told me my next child would ask completely inappropriate personal questions of work acquaintances and I didn’t want to inflict that on anyone.

Don’t be a gerbil in a cage

Ann Curry has a crisis. Her house is a mess although it’s unclear which of her houses she’s talking about–probably that unoccupied $2.9 million townhouse that’s been home to some squatters. Her photos aren’t even put in her photo albums!! They’re, like, stuffed in some box. Wait–people still have actual tangible photographs?

But it turns out it’s good that one of Ann’s houses are a mess because it shows she’s not trying to be a “supermom.” Today I learned from Today that some people actually think of themselves as supermoms and that these people are likely to be very depressed according to a supermom study. I personally have become depressed from just watching this Today show segment because I realized I was watching Today.

An assortment of supermom experts are interviewed (I believe it’s a major offered through the University of Phoenix). One says that if you are a mother who doesn’t mind that your husband is a lazy pile of garbage, you will feel less depression over having to do all the housework and childcare after toiling all day in the mines. I don’t see how that’s better than being a supermom, but okay.

Another supermom blogger says she embraces supermomdom. She says this via Skype because she’s trapped in her apartment with two young kids. She’s a happy mom, she says with a tight smile. Keep it together, Supermom…You are a SuperGODDESSmom. . .You can scream into your pillow when the camera’s off. . . okay make your eyes wide, but not too wide when you say “We certainly are not all depressed.”

So how did this supermomphenomenon get started?

Motivational speaker Lisa Earle Mcleod says that women visualize that their lives should look like magazine photo-ops. Hopefully not this one:

The Mona LisaWomen need to chill, says McLeod, author of the blog “How Smart People Can Get Better At Everything.” Women need to focus on purpose and not perfection and when they have a larger purpose, or special purpose if you are Navin R. Johnson, then they have a filter to focus on what’s important, according to McLeod. If you’re just focused on perfection, “you are a gerbil in a cage!” She kind of shouts that last part, but then I remember she is a “motivational” speaker.

So buck up, moms. You just have to find a larger purpose while you are working that job and raising those kids and doing that housework and finding that filter and avoiding that gerbil-in-a-cage thing. And then you can get better at everything.