The One Where We Talk About Uteruses (Make That Uteri)

Our four-year-old daughter, Rhys, recently asked, “Mom, where was I before I was in your tummy?”

Me:  “Great question, Rhys.”

(To myself:  Whaaaaaaaat? I’m in over my head. I better stall for time.) 

Me:  “I’m really not sure, honey. Let me ask some people. I’ll get back to you.”

(To myself:  Who do I call about this? How do I phrase this question on Google? Who is this kid?) 

Rhys:  “Was I in heaven?”

Me:  “Maybe. Do you remember being in heaven?”

Rhys:  “No. But I know Auntie Marie is there. Because she died. Was I dead too?”

(To Myself:  Why do I get all the hard questions? Where’s Mike (my husband)? Go ask your dad, kid.)

Me:  “No, honey. You weren’t dead. You were actually in my body from the day I was born. Girls are born with the eggs that can make babies inside them. You have your babies inside you already. When you grow up and get bigger, if you want to have babies, you can help them grow in your tummy too.”

(To myself:  Tummies? Really , Mary? Babies don’t grow in tummies. Ridiculous. This poor kid needs a mom who knows what she’s doing.)

Me:  “Rhys, you know how I said you were in my tummy? My tummy is where the food I eat goes. Babies grow in a part of a mom’s body called a uterus. You have one, I have one, and Ava has one.”

Rhys:  “And my friend Tomas has one. He said his utters hurt last week.”

Me:  “Boys don’t have a uterus. Only girls have them.”

Rhys:  “Tomas isn’t a girl but he has utters. Maybe Tomas and I can have a play date? Can we borrow your utters?”

Me:  “We can‘t share our uterus with Tomas or anyone else, honey. Your uterus is in your body, right here underneath your belly, just like mine.”

Rhys:  “Tomas will be sad. He wants to have a uterus too. Maybe you could call him?”

Me:  “We’ll break it to him next time we see him, ok?”

Rhys:  “Ok, Mom. (Pause) I’ll tell Tomas to ask Santa for a uterus for Christmas!”

What are the chances I’ll be getting a call from Tomas’ mom? How likely is it Rhys will talk about her uterus in preschool? Will Tomas ever be invited/allowed over for another play date? Stay tuned for our next episode! 

Merry Christmas, Tomas!!Photo courtesy of Google Images

Merry Christmas, Tomas!!
Photo courtesy of Google Images

Over the River & Through the Woods (With Our Lives in Canvas Bags)

My family is the reason airlines created baggage allowances. When we fly somewhere, the airlines’ built in limitations serve our family well. When we drive, we jam as much stuff as possible into our mid-sized SUV. And then we add the living, breathing human beings. If there’s room.

Our kids aren’t babies any more so our days of lugging diapers, bottles, pack ‘n plays, bouncy seats, etc. are long over.

Now, our list of necessities is ten times longer.  We suffer from bag lady syndrome – every canvas or plastic bag in our house must be filled with things we cannot live without, even for a one or two-night visit.

Toys for Overnight Trip – 4 yo Style (yes, those are plastic Easter eggs you see)

On our Thanksgiving trip last week to visit my husband’s family, I sat with my feet propped on two bags of Barbie “accessories” the entire drive to Michigan. If my kids had their way, my husband would have driven with one of two snack coolers on his lap (to make room for yet another American Girl doll’s suitcase, of course).

We planned for an overnight visit, but we were prepared to stay until Easter. Bathing suits – check. Do we live in the Midwest? Yes. Do our relatives have an indoor swimming pool? No. But who knows when an opportunity to swim will arise? We like to be prepared.

In addition to the necessities any family needs for an overnight stay:

  • Three outfits each with matching shoes
  • Workout clothes and running shoes (in case running suddenly appeals to us while in Michigan)
  • Toiletries (including bubble bath, because our 4 yo may suddenly develop an affinity for baths)
  • Two coolers of snacks (have you ever experienced the dearth of snack food options between Illinois and Michigan? Appalling.)
  • 18 books (you might think I’m exaggerating. You’d be wrong.)
  • Light-weight jackets and winter coats, hats, scarves and mittens (to accommodate any sudden changes in temperature)

We also made room for the following:

  • Library books to return (in case we happen to pass by the library on our way out of town)
  • Clothing donations for Goodwill (the ones I’ve been meaning to drop off for the past three months – in case we also happen to pass Goodwill on our way out of town)
  • The items we need to return to Marshall’s and Target (in case we have time to return them to a Michigan-area Marshall’s or Target)
  • Two scooters (just cause)
  • Basketball (do I even have to explain this one?)
  • DVD Player with sixteen movies (precisely enough for our 150-mile trip)
  • Four baby dolls plus accoutrements
  • White string, tape, PlayDoh and art supplies (no reason necessary)
  • Two American Girl dolls with their own luggage
  • Four board games and a partridge in a pear tree (actually, a power washer)

Power Washer? Check. You bring a power washer with you on Thanksgiving too, right? Oh. Yes. We. Did.

Now that we’re home, who is going to put all this stuff away? Let me be more specific. Who is going to put all these things away in places where we might actually find them again?

Christmas is right around the corner. And we’ll be making the same drive to Michigan on Christmas Day. Perhaps we’ll leave the car packed until then. If we leave one of our kids at home, I bet we can jam all the presents in. We’ll just need more canvas bags.

Lessons Learned (Vol. Seven)

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was lovely, filled with family, food and several rousing games of Family Feud. If you haven’t played this engaging, easy-to-play family game, consider this my recommendation.

*I was not paid in any way for this recommendation, but I am available to be a paid spokesperson for a variety of family board games, including Connect 4, Twister, Sequence, Scene It, Life, Hiss, Trouble, Candyland, Chutes & Ladders and Chess, all big hits in our house.

Hear that Hasbro, Gamewright, Mattel, Jax Ltd. and whomever invented Chess? Sign me soon or prepare for a bidding war!

Other than my fabulous rip-off of Laura Numeroff’s equally-fabulous book, If You Give a Moose a Muffin, last week was light on the writing side for me. If you missed my post If You Give My Kid a Donut, check it out. It’s a favorite post of mine!

I hope to be back in writing mode next week, after I spend 22 hours tomorrow in front of my computer snagging all the Cyber Monday deals. I can’t say I need anything, but I have a hard time passing up a good deal (and enjoy seeing how much time I can waste shopping online).

If you plan to do your own online damage, check out Jo-Lynne’s roundup of deals. Passing up Loft’s planned 50% off sale tomorrow would likely cause me physical pain. Or at least that’s what I’ll tell my husband. (Musings of a Housewife)

On to my lessons of the week …

  • And here’s another heart grabber from Ado about compassion and heart, two traits I’d like to call upon in myself over the coming weeks. (Momalog)

I’ll leave you with this quote from Sara’s article:  “… if we are open along the way of realizing our own visions and dreams, we will also become the puzzle pieces for the visions and dreams of others.”  Amen. And happy Sunday to all!

Learn anything meaningful, outrageous or inspiring last week? Share your wisdom here!

If You Give My Kid A Donut …

Photo courtesy of WikiMedia Commons

If you give my kid a donut, she’ll ask for a glass of milk to go with it.

While you’re pouring her milk, she’ll sit on a stool at the kitchen counter and happily pick apart the donut, eating only the insides.

While she’s busy eating, she’ll send an absurd number of donut crumbs onto your newly washed floor (the one you wash once a month whether it needs it or not).

When you notice all the crumbs, you’ll mutter under your breath and grab a wet paper towel to clean the floor. While she watches.

While you’re on your hands and knees, her older sibling will try to snatch the donut remnants off her plate. Without asking.

While hitting and screaming, my kid will pull her plate of glazed scraps to safety, knocking over her full glass of milk in your direction.

Because you are still under the counter, cleaning up donut crumbs, the milk will spill all over your head.

When you feel the rush of cold liquid down the neck of your sweater, you’ll squeal, stand up quickly and promptly hit your head on the kitchen counter.

Hitting your head that hard will cause you to swear like a sailor.

As you stomp and moan, you’ll remember reading that people who swear aloud when injured feel less pain.

While you’re testing this theory and questioning why you can remember random research but never where you put your keys, the children will laugh hysterically at the milk in your hair.

While the children shake with glee, more crumbs from the donuts they’re still eating will spill on the floor.

As the crumbs hit the floor, you’ll yell like a deranged lunatic and rub the growing bump on your head.

Seeing the bump on your head will remind my kid of donuts.

And she’ll ask you for another.

When you reply “no” to her (with a twinge of “not a chance in hell” in your tone), she’ll repeat the word “shit” to your face.

As you watch her face break into a grin, you’ll decide to blame this entire episode on your husband who bought the donuts in the first place.

While you’re busy blaming your husband (and deciding you’ll never have sex with him again), chances are, your husband will come in to the kitchen and ask, “Who wants another donut?”

Inspired by the wonderfully silly children’s book “If You Give a Moose a Muffin,” by Laura Numeroff. 

Kid Lit Blog Hop

Lessons Learned (Vol. Six)

Taking time away from blogging and my computer last week felt hard and wonderful.  As I’ve come to realize, this morning in fact, my relationship with blogging is a bit twisted. Exhibit A:  This conversation with my husband, Mike, as I started writing this post:

Me:  “Honey, what did I learn last week?”

Mike:  “How about that you and Ava are both afraid to talk to boys.”

Me:  “True. But I haven’t posted about that yet.”

Mike:  “Oh. So you don’t learn something until you post about it on your blog?”

Me:  “Exactly. Nothing actually exists until I post about it.”

Mike:  “You are what you blog.”

Me:  “You’re a genius!”

I spent a lot of time last week planning our upcoming trip to Disney World and focusing on my in-person relationships with my husband, kids and a few good friends. Although I didn’t post anything, I did learn some interesting lessons for upcoming posts:

  • Hosting dinner parties makes me twitchy.
  • Expressing anger and frustration with my husband and kids instead of at them feels pretty. damn. good.
  • Though I never would have believed it, after years of exercising alone, I’m loving group boot camp with the moms from my daughters’ school.
  • Planning a trip to Disney World is an intense, full-time job, one made exponentially harder when I insist this trip be the one-time highlight of my daughters’ childhood. Pressure, anyone?

While I didn’t read as many blog posts from others as I usually do, I learned plenty from the blog-o-sphere last week. Here’s a sampling:

  • Worried about the forthcoming Apocalypse (12/20/2012)? Missy from Literal Mom has some intriguing, unusual tips for preparing. Apparently, some people need to be encouraged to dance naked in their backyards on a regular basis. How is it possible people are only now learning the joys of this practice? (Literal Mom)

That’s me! What did you learn last week?

Happy Sunday!

Lessons Learned (Vol. Five)

I loved last week!

My candidate won. Our two daughters cuddled on the couch reading together every night with nary a fight. I asked for and received insightful support and feedback on my writing. I had several good hair days in a row. I won a writing award. And … wait, did you just read that? My post, Rushing Is the New Crack, won a writing award from Yeah Write!

Life is good.

Other Highlights:

  • While I’m fairly certain hurricanes aren’t prevalent in the Midwest, as a future precaution, I now know what not to do should one rip through Chicago any time soon. Thank you, Ice Scream Mama! (Ice Scream Mama)
  • Note to self:  do not admit to our pediatrician that we don’t own a thermometer. Who knew a lack of thermometer constitutes a parenting fail? Not this Mary, and not me. I’ve always thought the cheek to forehead method worked just fine! (Giving Up On Perfect)
  • Coco Puffs, Kool Aid and Mr. Salty Pretzel Twists, oh my! I’m not the only one who vividly and fondly remembers the food mascots of my youth. If you don’t remember, Angie’s got you covered with this memorable essay. (Childhood Relived)

Learn anything last week you’d like to remember? Or hope to forget? 

Happy Sunday!

Rushing Is the New Crack

The time is 9:03 am. I have to leave my house in 22 minutes to arrive at my 10 am dentist appointment on time. Instead of writing this essay, I would be wise to get in the shower and get dressed. My morning would run much more smoothly if I pushed my chair back and moved purposefully toward the bathroom without stopping to water a forlorn plant or check what’s trending on Twitter. But I won’t. This essay can’t wait. And earlier this morning, cleaning the crumbs off the counter before I drove my daughters to school couldn’t wait. Unloading the dishwasher, checking my blog stats, plucking a stray eyebrow or Googling an ex-boyfriend typically can’t wait either.

I suffer from “just one more thing” thinking. And though I have no actual proof, I routinely believe I can squeeze in one last task before leaving the house and still get to where I need to go on time. While I’m rarely more than a few minutes late to a meeting or appointment, I’m constantly rushing.

Why is rushing so appealing? I’m convinced I’m addicted to the anxiety, the stress and the adrenaline that rushing brings. The adrenaline makes me feel alive, gives me energy and keeps me from feeling any pesky feelings that might intrude on my day. Adrenaline is my drug of choice, and the fastest way for me to mainline adrenaline is to set-up my day for maximum rushing opportunities.

At times I’m in denial about how long I need to complete tasks. And I enjoy seeing how much I can do in the least amount of time. I’ve convinced myself I can shower, dress, and eat a snack in less than ten minutes, so if I have 11 minutes before I need to leave, I may as well type out one last email. Or check what’s trending on The Huffington Post this morning.

Some days I allow myself plenty of time to get ready, only to add in an arbitrary task before walking out the door.  Doesn’t everyone see the value of folding the socks I’ve avoided all week before leaving the house? I’m talking about efficiency, people.

If I gave myself plenty of time to get where I’m going, I’d have nothing to rail against, no anxiety to fight. And god knows a lot of important tasks wouldn’t get done!  Why would I possibly want to arrive somewhere early and give myself all that unfettered time to think, feel and interact with people? Scary.

I’m loathe to procrastinate on starting a project or paying a bill, but try to get me out of the house on time and I rebel, playing beat the clock with myself and enjoying a constant series of internal calculations:

“If my appointment starts in 30 minutes and my drive time is 23 minutes, I can leave now and be at my appointment with seven extra minutes to spare,” I’ll think. “Or I can check Pinterest for a new smoothie recipe before I leave – that’ll take one or two minutes tops!” Right?

I wish I wanted to change. My husband wishes I wanted to change. What I want is for everyone to get out of my way while I’m rushing so I can enjoy my adrenaline hit in peace.  Is that too much to ask?

Unfortunately, I seem to be modeling unwanted behavior for our two daughters. Or so they tell me.

“Mommmmmmmm, you’re rushing me again!” our nine-year-old exclaims, exasperation clinging to each syllable. “Your two favorite words are ‘hurry up!’”

Who taught that kid to count anyway?

While I’m not proud when I hear our four-year-old scolding her dolls, “Hurry up, girls, we’re going to be late, hurry, hurry,” I am amused that her dolls respond to her urgings only slightly more often than my kids respond to mine.

Look at the time! Two minutes before I have to walk out the door. Forget the shower, I’ll have just enough time to find photos to accompany this post and hit “publish.” And maybe check Zappos for a new pair of boots.

While some adrenaline junkies need this …
Photo By Norcal21jg, via Wikimedia Commons

I prefer to get mine the old-fashioned way.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Linking up with the supportive folks at Yeah Write. Check it out and come join us!