Every year since we first began dating, my husband and I have thrown a St. Patrick’s Day party. The tradition began as “kegs and eggs”, which was basically just an excuse for some serious day drinking. Over the years, as all of our friends began having children, it evolved into something a little more family friendly.
By the time we had our first child our annual green and orange clad shit show had morphed into something different. It had become part wild party and part daycare, complete with an arts and crafts table.
We served champagne and juice boxes, we catered to everyone. Continue reading
Well, Thanksgiving week has finally arrived. I don’t know how that happened, it was summer about a week ago, but suddenly the leaves are all falling from the trees and I am staring down the barrel of making dinner for 20 on Thursday.
Between mouthfuls of what will hopefully be the most delicious bird anyone in my family has ever eaten, we will inevitably discuss Christmas and what is at the top of everyone’s wish list this year.
Usually, I wait until the last minute to figure out what I really want and hastily throw a list together that includes scented candles and socks (although, between you and me, scented candles are my jam).
This year, I am planning ahead, and starting my list early. Today, even. And as I make it, I realize this list may be handy, not just for me, but for any of the moms that may be on your list.
Allow me to present to you a surefire list of Christmas gifts for any mom on your list.
- A full night of sleep. One that is done in a large bed, with plenty of pillows, and covers to be distributed however we wish. Oh, and we’d like to be completely and utterly alone. I’d settle for six hours, but the real gift would be 20.
- Clothes. Personally, I am on day four of the same pair of pants. I have three that fit me right now, but apparently the other two are currently in the vast wasteland that I like to call the laundry pile. Maybe the mom in your life needs new work clothes, or maybe it’s yoga pants, but I’m sure that she needs an additional something. And most importantly, something that fits. For me, this year it will be nursing tops. I can survive with the same three pairs of pants, but not the same two sweaters when the newborn comes. Dear Santa, please bring me a shirt that lets me get to my boobs as quickly as humanly possible, with at least two back-ups.
- Laundry service for a month. We are only a family of three right now but I do about six loads a week. Sure, the machines do most of the hard labor in this situation, but for every six hours of work they do, it means twelve hours of folding, hanging, and putting stuff neatly away in drawers for mom.
- A family photographer. The White House has a staff photographer that follows the Obamas around 24/7, so I would imagine that Michelle Obama is never missing from any Christmas morning pictures of the family opening presents. Now, I know that I’m not America’s First Lady, but I am the first lady of this family. And like most mothers, I’d like some shots of all of us together over the holidays. A camera with a self-timer, a selfie stick, whatever it takes to be a part of those Christmas morning pictures, Santa!
- Snacks that are both delicious and healthy. No, I’m not talking about chocolate that makes you skinny (and if we’re doing big gifts this year can we please do away with the word “skinny”). I am talking about healthy snacks that are already made. As moms we are often running around making sure that everyone else has what they want and need. We often end up famished and grab the closest and easiest thing to eat. This thing is rarely a bowl of freshly sliced fruit or cleaned and peeled veggies. An unending bowl of guacamole that is always freshly made and never turns brown? That would be the stocking stuffer to beat this year.
- Someone to do the dirty work. I am not talking about the temper tantrums or scrubbing toilets (but please see number seven) I mean poop and snot bubbles. Personally, I would like a week off from thrashing diaper changes that leave me, inexplicably, with poop under my fingernails. But maybe the dirty work for the mom in your life is spit up or changing a teenage boy’s sheets. I’m sure we all have that one dirty job that we need a break from.
- A cleaning service for approximately one month. This one is pretty self-explanatory. I’d like my month to be from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, or as I like to call, it “5 weeks of 5,000 messes”, but maybe that’s just me.
- A gift certificate for a Mom for Hire (and if that’s not a thing, it needs to be). This can be reserved for any time you are sick or hurt or are in some way unable to mom. It will be good for a surrogate mother for your children, and also one to take care of you, because sometimes a mom needs someone to mother them, too.
- A massage. There, this one wasn’t so hard, and it would easily fit into Santa’s sack. Mine can be given to me by my husband, but only if he suddenly possesses the hands of someone that cracks walnuts for a living. A gentle loving touch isn’t going to help these muscles. I need someone to get mad at the knots in my shoulders.
- A way to freeze time. Or more accurately, a way to hold onto these moments. I know sometimes we mothers complain (and some of us way more than others *raises hand guiltily*), but we know how short our time with our kids really is. Worse of all, the number of holidays that we get to spend with our kids under our roof is even further I wish I could bottle this time, these feelings, these moments, and hold onto them forever. Yes, even the high-on-freshly-baked-sugar-cookies-running-from-room-to-room-screaming-at-the-top-of-her-lungs, moments. I want to hold onto it all, because some day they will be gone.
I was on the floor when it happened. My daughter had been running around the living room, cackling like a lunatic. We were playing a game that consisted of her bringing out toys and piling them up on my chest while I laid on the floor. If the sounds she was making were any indication, it was the greatest moment of her life. Even I was having fun because all that was required of me was laying on the floor. Actually, I may have been enjoying it more than she was.
Oh this? It’s my murdering stick.
Then it happened. She came running up out of nowhere and jumped directly onto my throat with all the force her thirty pound frame could muster.
It knocked the wind out of me and for a split second I thought she may have actually done some real damage. I rolled onto my side, coughing and gasping for air as she let out another peel of that manic laughter and ran away, presumably get more stuffed animals so that we could continue our game.
After I recovered and was sure that I wasn’t going to die, I had an epiphany. Everyone always jokes that toddlers are like little suicidal drunk people. What nobody ever says is that sometimes they take a break from trying to kill themselves to try and kill you instead. Then I thought of all the other things that, despite the hundreds of articles I have read on the topic, nobody ever mentioned about toddlers.
- Toddlers are gross. Their feet that were once cute and oh-so-kissable, now resemble those of a runner after a race. They smell, they are sweaty, and there is toe jam. This does not bother them in the least and they will still try and put their toes in their mouth.
- They put everything in their mouths. I know that’s not exactly news, it’s basically Toddler 101. So I did expect it, but I expected toys, my cell phone, and the like. What I didn’t expect was that by everything, they meant ev-ery-thing. A tuft of cat hair that blew out from under the couch, into the mouth it goes. A fistful of sand from the water table, in the mouth. A loose bottle cap from the ground, mouth!
- You do a lot of yelling. And I don’t mean that you’re constantly correcting them (although real talk, you are always correcting them), I mean the volume of your voice becomes naturally higher. Maybe it’s because you are compensating for the amount of noise a toddler produces. Maybe it’s because nobody ever listens to you. Maybe it’s just because you have lost all control of your life.
- They are strong. Like, Lenny in Of Mice and Men, strong. Strong enough to yank their shit covered leg out of your hands and flail it around so it gets poop on everything you love and hold dear. Strong enough to make you work up a sweat while trying to pry something from their sticky death grip. Strong enough to make you question how effective a sleeper hold would be. I kid, I kid… kind of.
- There is a high probability that you will be on the receiving end of a head-butt that breaks your nose, cracks a tooth, or just completely knocks you unconscious. There is no shame in admitting a toddler kicked your ass. It happens (cracked tooth, checking in).
- You will alternate between absolute boredom and balls-to-the-wall mayhem from minute to minute. I feel like I spend all of my time mere feet from my daughter; watching her play, or reading her the same damn book over and over and over, bored to death. That is until I am spending all of my time chasing her from room to room yelling, “No” or trying to catch her after she has taken off running with something that she shouldn’t have. And how did she get that thing she shouldn’t have when I was previously just a few feet away? NO GOD DAMN CLUE. Which brings me to…
- I firmly believe that toddlers possess some sort of goblin magic. One minute my daughter will be sitting quietly on the couch watching TV, the next she’s got something that she shouldn’t have. And by shouldn’t have I mean, we don’t even own that particular toy, I have no idea where it came from, and did she just pull it out of the couch cushions? Magic. Nobody talks about it, but it’s real.
- There will be times that they do something wrong, and as a parent it will be your job to correct them, but instead you will be focused on making sure that they can’t see you laughing. Because some of the shit they do, while wrong, is freaking funny.
- Nobody is more self-absorbed than a toddler. Oh, this entire group of people that are sitting down and quietly talking in the living room? They would much rather be sitting in shocked silence as you stand in the middle of the room shrieking at the top of your lungs while lifting up your shirt and pointing at your belly button.
- You may find yourself simultaneously afraid that another child is going to injure your toddler, and afraid that your toddler is going to injure another child. They are simultaneously the bull in the China shop and the China shop.
- There may be times that you get irrationally angry at other children for the way they are interacting with your child. Maybe you want to punch the little boy at the playground in the head because he’s being shitty to your kid. Maybe it’s your kid that’s being shitty and you kind of wish someone would punch them in the head.
- It gets easier. Syke. That has not been my experience.
It does change though, almost daily. So far this has been my favorite part. This wild, unpredictable, toddler stage has been my parenting sweet spot. I won’t get too comfortable though. It’s when I let my guard down that things start to change. It’s also when she senses weakness and is most likely to pounce, and deliver that final fatal blow.