Saturday, October 5, 2013

Surviving Seaworld...with a Hangover

Why would you EVER take your kids to Seaworld hungover? Sometimes you can't help it. Sometimes your husband's sister comes into town and you all decide to bike around Coronado and stop at a few bars. You drink one glass of wine. Then another. Then another. And because you lack the self control that most 36-year-old humans have, you lose count.

Enter: debilitating hangover. Not the kind you can talk yourself out of with pancakes, Gatorade, and fresh air. The kind where you wake up with your contacts in and eye makeup smudged on your pillowcase. The kind where you're still wearing your shirt from last night, complete with uncomfortable push up bra. (One boob is mysteriously out of the bra.) The kind of hangover that oozes doom and damnation like pus from a festering wound. 

It's 6am, and you only know one thing for certain: you're going to puke.

On your way to the bathroom to hurl, you bump into your five-year-old daughter. What day is it, you ask yourself. Is it a school day? And then you is Saturday, Daddy's working, and you have hired a babysitter to watch your two-year-old so you can take your older child out for a special outing: Seaworld. 

Oh fuck.

"It's Mommy & Marley day!" announces your daughter with glee. "We are going to SEAWORLD!" And she gives you the biggest, most genuine hug ever.

You're not getting out of this. You're going to Seaworld. You're going to Seaworld HUNGOVER.

Now, there are a lot worse places to go hungover, but Seaworld is towards the top of the list. It's crowded, there's not a lot of shade, and it smells like fish. 

I don't like to suffer in vain, so I'd like to pass along a few nuggets of wisdom.

Top Ten Tips for Surviving Seaworld Hungover
1. Assuming you've managed to puke a few times and purge the toxins from last night's wine binge, you'll need to refuel. Head to your nearest taco shop and order up a bean, cheese, rice and guacamole burrito. If your kid is cool, she will think that eating in a dicey taco shop is a fun and unique experience. She'll even split your burrito with you, saving you like a million carbs.
2. Do not go to Seaworld if the temperature exceeds 70 degrees. Do not go when it is 95 degrees like Dumbass over here. (That means me.)
3. Beware of the shows. It seems like it would be relaxing to watch Shamu frolicking about in the water. But in reality, you're just sitting there, baking in the sun like a crusty, dried out scab. And watching that chick dressed up like a bird flying around and doing acrobatics can make you really dizzy. 
4. Do not under ANY circumstances enter Elmo's Bay of Play. And for God's sake, don't let your kid climb up the rope stairs and enter the complex network of overhead tunnels and descend into Satan's Labyrinth of Lost Children. Whoever invented that should be shot. Unless you want to be one of those wild-eyed parents scanning tunnels for their kids, climbing up the rope nets, dropping their keys and frothing in fear. They're probably hungover too.
5. Don't forget your bottle of water. Duh.
6. DO head to the Shark Encounter,  Turtle Reef and Aquariums. These areas are dark and air conditioned and only smell mildly of fish.
7. If you think you're going to puke, go to the Penguin Encounter immediately. The super cold air works wonders.
8. Avoid the tall spinning tower. First, it spins around. Second, if you think you're going to puke, there's nowhere to go. You have to wait for that damn thing to come back down.
9. Don't let your kid buy the fish to feed the sea lions. Obviously.
10. If you really get into trouble, Seaworld does serve beer. Just sayin'. 

In case you're wondering, I did manage to pull myself together and have a great time with Marley at Seaworld. On the way home, I asked her which "Marley and Mommy Day" was more fun...last month, when we went to go see Flight of the Butterflies at IMAX and the science museum when I was spry, organized, and well-rested, or today. She answered defiantly, "Today!"

So yeah, I'm not winning any awards here for Super Mom (as far as I know Super Mom doesn't get hungover because she has super powers) but at least I got my shit together and was able to enjoy my sweet little girl. Peace out.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Top Ten Signs You're Totally Obsessed with Sleep

I never was obsessed about sleep. In fact, I'd call myself specifically NOT obsessed. You can sleep when you're dead, right? Like many twenty-somethings of yesteryear, I spent more than my fair share of nights drinking cranberry vodkas on the dance floor until the wee hours of the morning. I'd wake up the next morning, still in my clothes, with only a slight hangover. After a quick stop at the drive-thru for a breakfast burrito, no one would know I was operating on four hours of sleep. Only my smudged eye makeup lived on to tell the tale. I mean, who cares about sleep when you can catch up the next day?

Enter, motherhood.

I thought I knew a lot of things, but I NEVER KNEW that it was possible to function with so little sleep. I just couldn't believe it. There you are, totally clueless, you aren't sleeping, and you are supposed to take care of another LIVING HUMAN? A BABY human that can't do anything on it's own? What the fuck? What kind of sick joke WAS this?

Luckily, I survived. Now that my youngest daughter is turning two, I am proud to say we are all sleeping pretty well...for the most part. But I am still VERY protective of my sleep. It is my PRECIOUS, PRECIOUS thing that no one should take away from me. I guard it with the same intensity that I guard my first glass of wine. NO ONE EFFING TAKES THIS FROM ME, GOT IT? Yes, you could call me obsessed.

Top Ten Signs You Are Totally Obsessed With Sleep

1. Your nightstand looks like a homeopathic drug store. It is littered with Sound Sleep, Deep Sleep, Midnite, Valerian root as well as the remainder of last night's Sleepytime Tea. You don't always need these wonderful items, but it's nice to know they are there for you. Just waiting. On your bedside table.
2. You can only sleep with ear plugs. Otherwise, every small sound is a little voice calling "Mama!" or your baby gagging in its sleep. Or you hear the silence of SIDS, which is ridiculous, because SIDS is silent, how are you supposed to prevent that? (If you say co-sleep I will slap you.)
3. You sleep with a special deflated pillow. (You must also travel with this pillow.) Once, your husband "fixed" the pillow by swaping it with another, fuller pillow. You didn't sleep for 2 weeks until you finally figured it out in the middle of the night and woke up your husband through clenched teeth, "DID YOU SWITCH MY PILLOW???" and your husband said, "Chill out, you're scaring me." Turns out, he put your pillow in the baby's room. You were so desperate you were willing to risk it all, and you WENT INTO THE BABY'S ROOM AT NIGHT and got the pillow out.
4. You apply special lavendar lotion (which is supposed to relax you and encourage sleep) all over your body before you go to bed. You radiate lavender now, which is kind of cool, because...lavender smell! You know?
5. To you, Ambien is the most awesome, potent, addictive thing out there. After a surgery, you took the prescribed amount of Ambien and felt amazing......aside from the Ambien-induced online shopping (thankfully, you didn't complete the purchases, you just put some ugly-ass clothes in your cart on six different websites.) You treasured the Ambien but were afraid of becoming addicted, so you got a sharp knife and cut the pills into smaller and smaller sizes so you wouldn't "shock" your system by going cold turkey. It worked!!! (Except at the end you were just taking little "flakes" of Ambien, which your husband thought was weird, but he already knows you're crazy, so who cares.
6. Sometimes you dream about Ambien.
7. If someone offered you an Ambien at a party, you would probably leave the party so you could go home and take it and fall into a deep, beautiful slumber.
8. When you plan a vacation, the first thing you think about is "Where will we all sleep? How will we all sleep? What if no one sleeps? Maybe we shouldn't go. I wish I had some Ambien." You go anyway, and it's usually pretty fun, whether or not anyone sleeps.
9. Morning sex is completely out of the question, because if the kids are still sleeping, it's still technically nighttime, and nighttime is for one thing only...sleep!
10. You break into a panic when your friends make dinner reservations for 8pm. Because then you won't get into bed until at least eleven, and less than eight hours of sleep is INSUFFICIENT!!!!!

Anyone else out there totally obsessed with sleep???

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Top Ten Spring Break Survival Tips for the Stay-at-Home Mom

Before you know it, Spring Break is upon us. That's right folks, school's out...welcome to an entire week with the kids at HOME! What the fuck are you going to do?

Don't dismay. I am here to help! Here are my Top Ten Spring Break Survival Tips.

1. Come to terms with what "Spring Break" means as a mother. If you're like most, "spring break" still conjures up images of hot babes in bikinis (us, ten years ago) doing body shots off hot, chiseled men (our husbands, rather--other people's husbands, ten years ago) in Mexico, back when it was safe to actually go there (ten years ago.) Fun, fun, fun! I am here to remind you (because you ALREADY know this, you do!) that things are different now. "Spring Break" is not a "break" now unless you are a teacher and it's not "fun" unless you are 19-years-old and sucking tequila out of a straw. Spring break is many things to a thirty-five-year-old mom, but it is NOT fun.
2. Make sure you know when Spring Break actually IS. Do NOT, I repeat do NOT be a complete idiot and plan a "Spring Break Family Vacation" the week prior to the real Spring Break because you failed to check the school dates, ultimately taking your kids out of school for an entire week when school is in session to play in the sun, then securing your time at home with them for yet ANOTHER WEEK when school is out, giving yourself two nonstop weeks of action...STUPID STUPID STUPID.
3. Don't assume that your nanny will actually show up to give you one morning off. Don't make an appointment to get your unibrow waxed or your nails done, or entertain any fantasies about yoga, or even waiting in line at Starbucks alone. Because as soon as you start to make big plans, your nanny will get sick and NOT SHOW UP.
4. Assume the worst in general. If your one-year-old is going to take a dump in the bath tub, it will happen when your misbehaving 4-year-old is out of school for Spring Break right after she has stomped on her friend's sandcastle and your husband is out of town for work. It will follow that there will be a maximum number of toys in the tub during the time of the poop, tainting not only Jasmine, Tiana, one of Cinderella's horses, several My Little Ponies, but also a naked Ken doll, eight legos and several wash clothes. It would also make sense that your one-year-old would try to scoop the poop out with her bare hands then smear it all over her hair and the side of the bath. And of course, this would ONLY occur the very day after the cleaning lady has come to scrub out your nasty bathtub.
5. Do not under any circumstances let your husband travel for business to L.A. during "Spring Break," and text you pictures of all the delicious food he is eating and glamorous beach-front hotel bars he is drinking at, most likely with hot models and actresses in direct eyeshot. Especially when you're eating stale cereal for dinner, haven't washed your hair in two days, are sporting globs of acne medication and extra-thick glasses. (And, don't forget the unibrow.)
6. DON'T get crazy and take your kids to the Seaworld or the Zoo. What, are you high?
7. DO escape the spring break hoards by planning fun backyard playdates with your friends, preferably with champagne. If you don't have a backyard, it's time to make some friends. Bonus points if they have chickens. Double bonus points if they send you home with bags of kale, chard, or other leafy greens fresh from their garden. (Ladies, you know who you are, thank you!)
8. DO ambush various family members with "surprise" visits, drop off your kids, and drive like mad to the nearest yoga studio. You need yoga now like never before, girlfriend.
9. Remember it's OK that you are bat-shit crazy. Anyone would break from reality after watching two or more kids all day with no breaks. It's not you. There is nothing wrong with you. YOU DON'T NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP OR ANTI-ANXIETY MEDICATION OR AN INTERVENTION OR THE SUICIDE HOTLINE. YOU DON'T, YOU DON'T! THE VOICES ARE YOUR FRIENDS, THEY MEAN NO HARM, THE VOICES...
10. Drink more wine. It is always there for you, it never talks back to you, and it never shits in the bathtub.

Thank you for reading! I hope everyone out there is having a freaking awesome Spring Break!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Top 9 Reasons Being a Stay-at-Home Mom Isn't the Hardest Job in the World

Don't get me wrong. Being a stay-at-home mom is hard. Sometimes it downright sucks. It definitely makes you crazy: shifty eyes, an unfocused gaze, slurred speech, an inability to comprehend anything beyond a first-grade level. Lots of yelling, some swearing, possibly tears and moments of violent aggression. A state-of-mind similar, perhaps, to drunkenness--or some forms of mild retardation.

Some stay-at-home moms start to look pretty crappy, too. You know one when you see one. The token spit-up stained sweatshirts, oily hair, over-grown eyebrows. It's even scarier when you see it in the mirror.

Not to mention the pressure of surviving each new day...changing diapers, doing dishes, surviving a grocery store trip with two wild children, one of whom is intent on knocking over every display in the store. Excluding passing banter with your husband, sometimes conversations with another bonafide adult are days apart. It's not easy. Its actually really, really hard.

Whatever. It's still not the hardest job in the world. Here's why.

1. I know what my goals are. Keep the kids alive. Don't burn down the house. I set the bar pretty low, but at least I know what my expectations are.
2. I'm my own boss. Not some asshole in a suit.
3. I can't get fired.
4. If I'm feeling really lazy, I can wear jammies all day. And so can my kids.
5. I might not have time to shower, but I can still make time to order some awesome shit online.
6. I can start drinking wine at 5:00pm. Heck, some people are still at work at 5pm!
7. I can work out every day! If my kids are healthy, and weather is agreeable, I can load them up in the Double Bob, hit up Stroller Strides and go for a run. Or throw those little fuckers in the bike trailer and ride uphill. It might not be Pilates, but it burns a boatload of calories.
8. I don't have to worry that the nanny isn't spending enough time reading to my kids. Those days when we watch back-to-back movies all day on Apple TV? I've only got myself to blame!
9. Each new day is a new adventure! That's right. It's never the same. Today your baby barfs when you give her milk. Tomorrow it's soy products. You never know what you're going to get! Wow! That's the beauty of it!

To be sure, it's a thankless job. No one comes home and says, "Hey, the house isn't on fire! Both kids are still alive! Honey, great job!"

But if something goes wrong, I'll know it's my fault. There's some freedom in that. And those tears, those blowouts, those tantrums, those projectile-vomits...I'm the one that's there to see it, I'm the one that's there to witness it. I'm the one that's there to chase the tears away, to clean up the puke, to sanitize every corner of the crib. And when the smiles come, when the "I love you's" come, when those absolute squeals of happiness come, it makes it all worth it.

Almost. :)

P.S. And if you think I wrote this to cheer myself up after being stuck inside with two sick kids for almost three weeks, you might be right.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I'm Going to be a Reality T.V. Star!

Just kidding. But I was asked to try out for not ONE--but TWO reality T.V. Shows! So put that in your pipe and smoke it.

The first casting call is from a company in New York called Castle Pictures. According to the link they posted on my blog page, they are casting moms in a new reality cable show. "This ain't Real Housewives, this is more like Actual Housewives," reads the website. "As in women who live in the actual world, have actual Cheerios stamped into their rugs and wipe actual snot out of actual noses."

So far so good. We have a lot of "actual snot" in our house.

The site goes on to describe how they're looking for four mom-bloggers who will invite camera crews into their homes to capture the humor in their daily lives and to document their "real, unfettered mothering moments."

Then I'm asked to send in a 2-4 minute video that demonstrates both my "talent for monologue" and my "situational humor." gets better. The SECOND casting call was from a British outfit called KEO Films. They are looking for families who would take the "once of a lifetime opportunity" to spend a week living with the Amish--and being filmed for a reality show. Living with the Amish! Oh, the humanity.

Both these casting calls were posted either in the comments section of my blog or on my QuestionableParenting Facebook page, both of which have been hugely neglected for the last four months. So it was a kick in the pants to see them. But if there is one thing that would make really, really boring and ugly reality T.V., that is me being a mom. And so, for your reading pleasure...

Top 10 Reasons I Will Never Appear on a Reality T.V. Show
1. When I catch a glimpse of myself in my bathrobe, inch-thick glasses and a juice mustache--yelling at one of my kids or stubbing my toe on the highchair and cussing--I wonder how I manage to keep my husband from running away with a waitress. Frumpy moms do NOT make good T.V. Let's keep it pretty, folks.
2. I don't want NO ONE, not NO ONE witnessing my "real, unfettered mothering moments." No one wants to watch a baby sling a shit-filled diaper all over the living room or see me hang too many groceries over the back of my double Bob and flip it over with my kids inside. I'd like to maintain custody of my children, thank you very much.
3. I'm not exactly drowning in a "talent for monologue" or "situational humor." Sure, sometimes I write funny shit, but I'm not very funny in person, unless I'm really, really drunk. Which brings me to point #4.
4. No one needs to see me select and uncork my bottle of wine at 4:55pm so I can pour myself a nice glass at precisely 5pm without breaking stride.
5. The camera would rarely get a clear shot of my face, since it is always hovering over my iPad while I do some online shopping. In fact I'm pretty sure when my kids are asked to draw a "picture of mommy" in school there will be an iPad where my head should be. (Hello, Amish.)
6. Princess-speak runs rampant in our house and gets really old, really fast. Sure, it's cute the first time you overhear Strawberry Shortcake say to Princess Aurora, "I went to the grocery store and bought some cheese." "You did, Strawberry?" "I did, Aurora! I followed my heart!" But when your kid wants to play, "Pretend I touch the spindle, and I die" 50 times in one day or play "Under the Sea" on repeat, you kind of want to walk into a fast-moving truck.
7. No one needs to follow me to Zumba class where the average age is 50 years old and there are belly dancing belts are involved. NO ONE NEEDS TO SEE THIS.
8. I spend a good part of my day unpacking my online purchases, then repacking them and emailing my husband the shipping labels so I can return them since we don't have a printer. That's just not good t.v.
9. On the rare occasion that my husband and I go out to dinner and I'm looking good, it's only a couple hours until my eyelids fall to half-mast from drunken fatigue and I appear to have some sort of speech disorder. Again, not good t.v.
10. I love going to Stroller Strides, but I don't think the general public needs to see moms breastfeed and do power lunges at the same time. (Actually, some perverts would probably be into it, but that's just messed up.)

Get it, people? No one will PROCREATE if we unveil the ugly truth about motherhood and being a stay-at-home mom. Writing about it is one thing but seeing it in all its glory is quite another. There is no more unglamorous job in the world. True, the benefits are out-of-this-world...the unconditional love, the perfect moments of sheer joy..but that mushy stuff won't translate.

If you see a frumpy mom on T.V. taking their kid to soccer practice, you're not going to say, "Wow, she's a great mom!" You're going to say, "Wow, she looks like shit." At least I would. So I will do the world a favor and keep my frumpy ass off television and in my living room, drinking wine and online shopping, where I belong.

Monday, January 7, 2013

My Christmas Was Better Than Your Christmas

Most families do boring shit on Christmas, like happily opening presents, lounging around in jammies, eating turkey and drinking egg nogg. LAME. Not my family. We like to spend it in the emergency room.

This is the SECOND YEAR IN A ROW we've gone to the E.R. on Christmas Day. It's pretty awesome, and it could be the start of a catchy new trend. I know, you're totally jealous. But before you start hating me, let me fill you in on all the gory details.

Last year, my husband stabbed himself in the hand with a wine bottle opener. True, we'd been drinking mimosas since we woke up, and it was probably the second bottle of wine we'd cracked. (For some reason, various family members think our house is a free-for-all on Christmas Day, and they come over and booze it up. While Ian and I are very light drinkers, as hosts, we like to make wine available to those members of our family with drinking problems.)

It was an epic and bloody battle, but let's just say the wine bottle opener won. Ian staggered into the dining room with blood spurting from his hand, then promptly sat down on the floor and passed out. (Disclaimer--he didn't COMPLETELY pass out but he ALMOST passed out.)

Luckily, we live two blocks from the hospital, so we jumped into the Jeep and cruised right into E.R. The doctors laughed, stitched him up, billed us heavily, and before we knew it--we were back home.

This year, we weren't so lucky. Holland, our 19-month-old, got a balance bike for Christmas. (I know, I know, she's pretty young for a balance bike but RELAX that's not how it happened.) After many long hours of eating, opening presents, and more eating, we decided to go for a "nice family walk" by the Bay. Holland quickly tired of cruising on her balance bike and wanted to walk, while Marley rode her Disney Princess bike with training wheels. Marley asked me if she could go down the "steep hill" down the road, which she has ridden down many times with no problems. I said, "Sure!"

I got a weird feeling in my stomach, but she'd gone down this hill so many times, what could go wrong? I ran ahead to the bottom of the hill to watch for cars, and Ian walked with Holland and the rest of the family.

"It's clear Marley, go!" I yelled, and Marley sped down the hill like a bat out of hell. But she handled it like a true champion and made it to the bottom. Then, a scream rang out.

It was Holland! She had tripped over Ian's foot and face-planted into the asphalt. Ian quickly scooped her up.

"She's OK, she's OK," he yelled. I took a closer look.

"She's NOT OKAY!" I shrieked. "SHE'S MISSING HER TOOTH!"

Well, I guess that's an exaggeration, because there was a broken, bloody stump left where front tooth used to be. It looked terrible. It looked painful. It looked like MY BABY KNOCKED OUT HER FRONT TOOTH HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

"Weren't you holding her hand?" I asked, which is apparently the WRONG THING to say to the person who was supposed to be watching the baby when she fell and knocked out a tooth. A family fight promptly ensued.

So we all jumped in the Jeep and drove to the emergency room on Christmas. Again.

24 hours later, after one trip to the E.R., one trip to the dentist, one traumatizing tooth extraction, three doses of antibiotics and two doses of Tyelnol with codeine, my baby was happily toddling around like nothing had happened, sans a front tooth.

As the dentist pointed out, it could have been worse. She could have broken her nose, or part of her jaw. She could have had a concussion.

Now she's my little Toothless Wonder. I like to think it gives her character. And her smile still lights up a room, gap-toothed and all.

So when people ask me, "How was your Christmas?" I like to think I have the better story.