My husband mentioned in passing that he cut our one year old’s hair before he took the kids to daycare yesterday. I was surprised but not terribly concerned. We cut his hair two months ago and it looked great. So great I felt kinda bad for not cutting it sooner. So then Scott mentions that he didn’t think he did a great job this time. That set my radar off. I started worrying that my baby had a buzz cut. My husband’s ex-military. This is a valid concern. But then he says it’s the back he’s concerned about. He thinks it’s a little too short and might stick up. Which is an odd thing to worry about since the front of my baby’s hair like this:
My baby left the house like that. So I started thinking maybe Scott was trimming with the hair pulled to the side and didn’t realize how uneven it would look when it fell forward. Because in my head, part of marriage is giving your spouse the benefit of the doubt at moments likes this. But then, my son walked away from me, and I noticed the back:
Dude, my baby has been sheared. There are 3 or 4 different lengths going on back there. And the sides didn't match either. One ear had hair covering it and the other didn't. I had a haircut similar to this when I was 10. I got ahold of scissors and thought I could cut my own hair. I was wrong. And so was my husband. Because, seriously, hair sticking up is the least of this kid's problems.
Scott would like everyone to know that it's very difficult to cut a one year old's hair by yourself. He would also like you to know that his wife has a great sense of humor and laughed long and hard when she saw her baby's hair. He thinks other men should learn from his example and not mess with their baby mama's pride and joy.
When our daughter was a few weeks old, Scott and I discovered the big deep dark secret that only other parents understand. It is that moment at 3 am when you’ve tried everything and the baby is still screaming and you’re more tired than you’ve ever been in your life and the screaming is like knives in your brain and you’re so frustrated and you have nothing left to give and all you want is for the moment to end. That’s when the revelation hits you. This is how people end up shaking babies. I would never shake my baby. Never. But I can kind of see how it happens. Plenty of things I can’t see. Plenty of awful things people do to their children. But that one's different. I can't pretend that a part of me doesn't feel empathy for them. I think that’s why the message Alec Baldwin left his daughter recently doesn’t offend me the way it does some people. Because all I heard was frustration. Why should child custody hearings drag on that long? Why should getting your child on the phone be that hard? Sure he was rude and wrong and inappropriate and all the other stuff. But parents say things they regret. Because they’re human. Every parent in America should summon up in their mind their worst parenting moments. The kind you tearfully admit to your spouse late at night and never mention to relatives. Then they should ask themselves how that moment would stand up to the scrutiny of others if it was on tape. Maybe your worst moment wasn’t as ugly as Alec's. Maybe yours was uglier. Either way you have one. Or you're lying. Parents should go easier on each other. It’s a hard enough job without other people telling you how much you suck.
This started out as my husband's favorite one line response to dumb questions. In my hands, it's become a fun parlor game ideally suited for a spouse prone to losing things. Ask me anything. Go ahead. Where are my car keys? Good one. I’ll play your game, where are your car keys? No, seriously, I think I left them on the counter. Have you seen them? I’ll play your game, have I seen them? Ha, ha. Very funny. They were right here. Did Georgia pick them up? I’ll play your game, did Georgia pick them up? Stop saying that. I’m late. Do you know where my keys are or not? I’ll play your game, do I know where your keys are or not? A word of caution though. This game is really only fun for the person playing. Kind of like hunting. Only less bloody. And funnier.
Fruit Loops with marshmallows are yummy. Eat em out of the box dry with no milk yummy. After dinner bowl for desert yummy. Why do they even bother to sell them without marshmallows anymore? I mean, yeah, they’re still tasty without the marshmallows. But what’s the point in tasty when full-on yummy is next to it on the shelf calling to you. I’m not even a big sugary cereal eater. I limit my Fruit Loop intake due to concerns about how quickly I tend to inhale it. Once a year, I break down and buy myself a box. For me, it’s the equivalent of breaking down and buying a box of Twinkies. The rest of the time I mostly eat Kix and Corn Flakes and Cheerios. Sometimes when I’m feeling wild I buy Honeycombs. But Honeycombs recently changed their recipe and now it totally sucks. The texture is different and it’s not quite as sweet and it’s the cereal equivalent of New Coke. I’ve sworn it off until Post publicly swears my box won’t ever contain that crap again. I also once bought a box of Corn Pops. They're okay. Most of the other cereals don’t impress me much. Frosted Flakes seem like Corn Flakes with a bunch of sugar on it. I could do that myself at home. Cocoa Puffs seem too chocolatey and Trix is the ugly stepsister of Fruit Loops. Cookie Crisp intrigues me sometimes. I mean, I like chocolate chip cookies. A lot actually. But the cookie aisle is only like two aisles away so if you get me in the mood for a cookie I start thinking maybe I should just head over there and buy some real ones. I recently bought my annual box of Marshmallow Fruit Loops and let my three year old daughter have a taste. She’s been referring to it as “candy” ever since. If that doesn't say yummy I don't know what does.
I’m on day 6 of no Dr. Pepper. The first couple days involved headaches and high levels of fatigue. I’ve been drinking more water and going to bed earlier. Oh, and let's not forget the ibuprofen I took. Yes, lots of ibuprofen. I’m feeling a lot better. I think. It’s taking some getting used to. I’ve been drinking milk with dinner and I had a small Sprite when we took the kids to McDonald’s on Saturday. Sprite. The horror. But I feel less up and down throughout the day. And I’m starting to have more energy. I used to think people were odd for changing their diet so they could feel better. I mean, if you weren't trying to lose weight, I couldn't figure it out. Now I’m doing it. Weird. But, yeah me! I’m thinking to really feel significantly better I need to reign in my sugar intake too. Sonic Fresh Fruit Slush Friday. Chocolate malt Saturday. Margarita and sopapilla Sunday. Not my best track record. But since it was Dr. Pepper free I’ll take it. One thing at a time.
I think I need to give up watching Who’s Wedding is it Anyway?. There’s something moderately depressing to me about watching someone spend $125,000 on a wedding. That’s a lot of money. In some cases, that’s a house. And if it’s not a house, it’s at least a really good down payment on a house. Sometimes I watch the show and the people obviously have the money to burn on an event like that. Most of the time, however, you get the distinct impression the girl is pissing away her dad’s retirement or maxing out her future husband’s credit cards. And that’s depressing. Especially when they talk about spending $30,000 on things like flowers. Those flowers are going to die. It’s nice that they’re pretty and all but, for real, they’re going to die. And you’re going to be paying for them for the next five years. Last night, one girl’s dress cost $10,000. And it wasn’t even that pretty. That’s the part that killed me. The top made her breasts look weird and the bottom mostly looked wrinkled. For $10,000 I expect the thing to make me look 20 pounds lighter and 10 years younger. And for that matter it should iron itself and throw a load of laundry in for me while I sit on my ass at the computer.
My one year old son screamed for hours last night. Literally. Eventually, I sat down and watched American Idol. My husband, who has been out of the parenting trenches for three weeks continued to comment intermittently on the screaming. Not me. I was over it. It’s not like I left a screaming child out in the front yard to freeze to death. I deposited a well fed, clean, freshly diapered child in his crib at bedtime after no amount of Baby Orajel, Tylenol, ear drops, rocking, walking, sitting, back rubbing and singing seemed to improve his teething overtired state of mind. If I held him he’d push away to try to get down. If I put him on the floor he’d flop around screaming some more. So be it. It’s a milestone as a parent when you discover that you have the ability to proceed with life as normal while your child screams.
I slept a full 8 hours last night. In a row. Score! When I woke up this morning I couldn’t figure out why neither of the kids weren't awake yet calling to me. I felt so refreshed I thought for sure I had somehow overslept. Only the kids weren’t awake yet. Rock star! I went to the bathroom by myself. I got toilet paper off the roll for myself. And then I got dressed without having to show anyone what color my underwear is today. Then, like my day wasn’t going well enough already, my husband called an hour later. Their training is sort of over. Sort of meaning they got their phones back but they don’t come home for another two days. Which isn’t perfect but still way more awesome than yesterday. I was so busy smiling into the phone I couldn’t think of much to say. I'm still wearing the big old donkey smile right now. So I’m smiling and well rested and only I know what color my panties are. Today is a good day.
I’ve crossed worrying about Dannielynn Stern’s paternity off my list of things to ponder while brushing my teeth. I’ve replaced it with trying to figure out how that 8 month old baby got amphetamines, methamphetamines and nicotine in his system. Specifically, the police said the amount found in his blood was too much for it to be incidental. Oh. My. Word. I’m in favor of the use of torture tactics to find out from that mother and grandmother what happened because that’s unbelievable stuff. 8 months old. 8. Before I had children, 8 months old was a vague concept to me. Now, my mind immediately summons up images of my own kids at that age. If you gave methamphetamines to an 8 month old you should never get near another kid. I’m super paranoid giving my 1 year old Benadryl. Kids can die from a Benadryl overdose so I stress out checking the dosage on the bottle and making sure I read the markings on the medicine dropper right. I also once made my husband call poison control after I thought we gave our 3 year old too much Tylenol. She’s fine. Turns out, she could swig pretty much a whole bottle of that stuff and do nothing but get a good night’s rest. Methamphetamines, however, I’m thinking it doesn’t take a lot to OD an 8 month old. And I’m pretty sure the crack whore giving it to him isn’t a pharmacist working out the dosage based on his weight or anything. The mother has since admitted that she’s addicted to drugs but doesn’t think she has a bad problem. She’s six months pregnant and still doing drugs. I guess “bad” is a relative term in that situation.
Today’s the day. Yesterday, I let myself have everything my heart desired all day knowing that it would be the last day of that kind for a long time. There was Taco Hell for lunch and lots of Dr. Pepper and shrimp and chocolate pop tarts. It was yummy and remarkably guilt free and now I’m done. I even remembered to weigh myself first thing. I once set myself a deadline to start a diet on a Monday morning only to cast the resolution aside after I forgot to do the initial weigh in. Skipping a Sonic milkshake is not worth it to me unless I can see concrete proof that my weight is going down and pants that button are not enough for me. I like numbers. I like to watch them go down. I weigh everyday when I’m trying to lose weight. It’s a little routine first thing in the morning that reminds me to watch what I’m eating. It’s borderline obsessive and I don’t care that Weight Watchers says I should only weigh once a week. Whatever. Everything else they have to say I really like though. I use their points system and I firmly believe in it. I’ve successfully used it 3 times. Once several years ago when my regular pants size got tight and then following the birth of each of my two children. I loved that I could still have Dr. Pepper on their plan. It just cost me 3 points. My magic number is 163 by the way. That’s 163 pounds. I figure I’ll fess up to that too while I’m at it. Keep me honest. And hopefully motivated. I’m thinking of shooting for 145. It’s a healthy weight that gets me into all of the clothing in my closet and doesn’t require starvation to maintain. I’m not good at starvation. Clearly.
If acknowledging the four Dr. Peppers I drank last Tuesday wasn’t enough to make me start reevaluating my current dietary choices, discovering the night before an important interview that none of my fancy shmancy dress slacks button really kicked things up a notch. On top of that, nothing is open on Easter. I thought maybe the mall would be open in the afternoon. I didn't discover my mistake until I arrived at the empty mall parking lot with my two small children in tow. Because I’m stupid like that. Just the fact that I was going to attempt to shop for last minute pants at a mall by myself with two small children should speak volumes about the level of my desperation. Resigned to my complete lack of options, I ransacked my closet and made do as best I could. I’m hoping it’s not a bad omen for this interview that I’ll be wearing unbuttoned pants disguised by a chic Anne Klein belt and a kickin black jacket I have no intention of unbuttoning. I’m going to disguise the huge blow to my confidence with a big brave smile and a diet that starts tomorrow.
I learn new things from my daughter everyday. Today's lesson was about how much suntan lotion one square foot of carpet can absorb. Turns out, about 8 ounces. On the downside, that's like half a roll of paper towels and several minutes of scrubbing. On the plus side, it really gives the house a nice tropical smell the rest of the day.
My breakfast of champions is an ice cold Dr. Pepper. Juice is for health nuts. Coffee is for the masses. Pepper is for the unrefined. And that’s me. I also prefer Hershey’s chocolate to Godiva. So there. On particularly rough mornings, I drink my Pepper straight out of the fridge. That is not, however, what makes me happy. Ice cold Dr. Pepper makes me stand up and take notice. It zings when it goes down my throat. It picks me up by the bootstraps and sets me on my feet ready for the day. I believe the perfect chill is achieved after the can has been in the freezer at least 1 hour but no more than 2. Less than an hour and it’s not cold enough. Over two hours and it starts to freeze. Next thing you know it’s not coming out of the can right and the syrup/carbonation consistency per sip is thrown off. Texas is a good state for ice cold soda drinking. There’s no greater soda than the ice cold soda on a hot day. Like full-on Texas hell hole suck the life out of you heat and maybe you’ve been running errands walking across some mammoth sized sizzling parking lot and the air conditioning’s off when you get home so it’ll take a few minutes to cool down and it took three trips to get all the bags in from the car and you stand in front of the open freezer door while you pop it open and take the first sip. Aaahh. Good times. I used to drink one a day. I’ve been kind of tired and overworked lately so that’s climbed to a ridiculous 3 a day. And Tuesday I know for a fact I had 4 which is diabetes waiting to happen ridiculous. Which is why I’m going to give it up entirely. Once I drink the rest of the 24 pack sitting in the kitchen that is. Because it’d be silly to let perfectly good soda go to waste. Which is exactly the sort of excuse people make so they can delay something long enough to forget about it and then never do it. Whatever. Pepper makes me happy.
I spoke to my husband last night for the first time in nine days. He sounded tired and isolated and really excited to hear my voice. I’d like to say I didn’t cry. However, that would be insane. I’m surprised I didn’t start crying as soon as I heard his voice. I miss him so much. I lay in bed after the kids go to bed and sometimes it’ll start to creep into my mind and I’ll just refuse to think about it. I’ll try to find something to watch on TV or go surf Ebay. I’ve also eaten a box of Whoppers. And a box of Hot Tamales. And Georgia made me get ice cream sandwiches at the store. She’s a bad influence. Scott told me he dreams about me every night and his voice broke a little. He says it’s been really hard and it feels like he’s been gone forever. I knew exactly what he meant. Our house looks the same as it did when he left. So does the stuff in it and our kids and the piles of laundry and the mail thrown on the counter. But none of it feels the same. Nothing's the same without him.
We have two dogs. One is a 100 pound Rottweiler named Ike. He is the most wonderful dog I’ve ever met. Smart, gentle, loyal, patient, loving, and reassuring when you’re home alone. Our other dog is a two year old terrier mix named Twister. He is everything Ike is not. Hyper, slightly stupid, a notorious bed hog and apparently immune to training. I firmly believe that putting up with Twister is how we are atoning for the perfection of Ike. There are days when I want to kill Twister. Like, say, this morning when I discovered a hole he chewed in the pillow top bed I love. I’m pretty sure I love that bed more than Twister. Like if someone held me at gun point and made me choose between giving them the bed or Twister I think I’d keep the bed. Although now the bed has a hole it. But still. I started out calling Twister the ugly red headed stepchild in our family. He’s since been downgraded to foster child. I prefer to think of him that way because it’s less permanent. Like maybe his real family is out there somewhere and someday he’ll return to their loving arms. Doesn’t make me a bad person.
It wasn’t the 1 a.m. wake-up call to find a missing rubber ducky in my three year old’s bed that did me in. The duck went flying as soon as I flung the covers back so that actually went fairly quick. However, that was followed by the world's dumbest dog deciding he needed to go outside at exactly 2:13 a.m. Then my one year old decided to get in on the action around 4 . He opted for "get the hell in here don't you care that I'm dying" screaming. I was in the kitchen with him 30 minutes later still trying to figure out how to make him happy when the aforementioned three year old came wandering in to ask what her brother and I were doing. Like we're having a party and we didn't invite her. And with that, she picked up Jack's popcorn popper toy and started popping her way around in the dark with Jack following behind laughing and squealing. Perfect. Three hours later that same stupid rubber ducky came up missing again. I should buy a lottery ticket. It's clearly my lucky day.