Love in the Time of Neck Hair

My husband, Garrett, is a strong man- physically, mentally, and emotionally solid. He’s stoic and steadfast. He’s not overly animated when telling a story or explaining whatever the hell.

Let our two-year-old find a rogue hair growing out of the back of his neck, twirl it around her bony little finger then yank it, though, and he drops to his knees like he’s just been bitten on the left nut by a rabid meth squirrel.

Me: “What happened?”

Garrett: “Your daughter just did some kind of Vulcan nerve pinch or some shit. What the hell? Is there a hair back there or something?”

Me: “There is! It’s a renegade old man hair… want me to pull it out?”

Garrett: “Yeah but get it out on the first try- it seems to be attached to my soul and every pain receptor in my body.”

And although the sadist in me toyed with the idea of not plucking it as aggressively as I would need to in order to free him of his follicular nemesis, I was efficient and relentless in my attack.

And that restraint I, friends, is how you know you truly love someone.

(Also, I made a mental note of the coordinates of the hair’s location. I mean, hair grows back, he’s bound to piss me off at some point, and I need a reliable, surprise weapon. I love the guy but shit happens and I’m a realist.)

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Naked Time

This morning, I’d like to offer my sincerest apologies to the parents of the children who ride the bus with our elementary school-age kids.

You see, our sweet, immodest Norah always sees off her brother and sister as they head out the door toward the bus. She yells “Goodbye! Bye Bye!” and waves wildly. Today was no different save for the fact that she was wholly unclothed. She must have stood there, butt-ass naked, for a full 30 seconds while your children cupped their mouths with their mitten covered hands, pointed, and laughed hysterically.

Norah, noticing their waving and pointing then turned her wee, tiny toddler butt toward them and shook it. I’m not sure how long her little dance lasted, but she was full-on shakin’ it when I realized what was happening and quickly scooped her up and replaced her diaper that she’d abandoned in the hall.

So, I’m sorry, fellow parents. Norah was clearly in the wrong. I was busy drinking coffee so you can’t really blame me.

We usually keep our crazy locked up tight but toddlers are tricky little assholes and mine showed your children all her bits and pieces this morning in a celebratory fashion.

I beg your forgiveness. Or not. Whatever.

When Sleep Wins and the Baby Finds a Sharpie

Bedtime around here works like a well-oiled machine. The older girls get themselves off to bed, I’m charged with Norah and Garrett takes the boys upstairs.

Last night, Leo asked if we could switch things up- he wanted me to tuck in him and Ronan and read a couple of books.  That sounded great to me so I said to Garrett “Hey, tonight I’m going to take the boys up, okay? If you’ll just lie down with Norah- you guys can get your snuggle on and she should fall asleep pretty easily. I’ll be down after we read some books and say prayers.”

Garrett doesn’t love altering our system but he knows that I love reading to the kids and that Leo was clearly needing some time with me so he begrudgingly agreed. I kissed Norah good night, expecting her to be sleeping peacefully by the time I was downstairs again.

The boys and I snuggled and read books and said prayers. I tucked them in, kissed their cherished little heads and blew them kisses as I closed their door. My heart was full and I was thinking that Garrett and I should start trading off nights with the kids- allowing us to alternate spending those sweet few minutes before sleep with our littlest ones.

As I descended the stairs, however, I was surprised I heard Norah, through our closed bedroom door, giggling. “Awwww, that’s sweet”, I thought to myself “they must be still be playing”.

I opened the door expecting to see a Daddy and his toddler daughter playing ‘airplane’ or tickle monster or something else equally adorable.

Instead, I found Garrett- mouth agape and snoring.Two bedside lamps and the overhead light on. SpongeBob on the television and the volume sitting at about one thousand. My earrings were scattered on the floor and Norah was in her pajama top but no bottoms and was wearing her diaper on her head. She was holding a hot pink Sharpie marker and had lines and lines and lines of that color marker all up and down her legs and on the bottom of her feet.

I walked over to the side of the bed where he  lay domant, resembling a fit and very attractive hibernating bear. I poked him with a stick. “Hey- Sleeping Beauty- what happened? Did Norah overpower you with an ether rag?”

“Huh? What? What’s happening?” he asked all startled like.

“Well, I read to the boys and tucked them in. And you…failed miserably and now there’s a permanent marker covered 2-year-old wearing her diaper as a fedora and likely suffering permanent hearing loss from the volume of the television which is comparable to that of a jet engine all up in this room right now. Oh, and my earrings are, like, everywhere.”

He lifted up onto his elbows, looking thoroughly confused while turning down the volume. “I’m sorry- I guess I dozed off. What can I do?”

Me: “A diaper and getting that marker off her legs would be good.”

Garrett: “Yup- I’m on it.”

Me: “And there’s permanent marker on the comforter and I can’t find a few of my earrings so….”

Garrett: “Well, clearly we’ll need to replace the comforter and you’ll need new earrings.”

Me: “That’s right, honey, that’s exactly right.”

And that’s just one of the ways I’m confident I married the right man- even if he falls asleep as the wheel sometimes.

Not Easier, Just Different

Today is the first day of school around here. Our two middle school girls woke at the butt crack of dawn to begin the primping process. Straightening hair and then hating it and deciding on a bun but then hating it and going back to straight hair- it’s all very exhausting and it’s not even my hair. They both changed clothes three times and that’s after they changed their minds about the perfect outfit four times last night. They ended up with with a solid hour of absolutely nothing to do but wring their hands in nervous anticipation of a brand new year.

Our elementary school kids, on the other hand begged for “5 more minutes”- at least that’s what I think they said. I lost consciousness for a sec from their nearly fatal hot garbage breath that they aimed all up in my face. They grabbed clothes out of their closets that didn’t really match and I had to remind Leo that wearing underwear to school (or anywhere, really) is always a good idea. As they stood at the top of the driveway waiting for their bus, I asked: “Are you guys nervous at all or just excited?” “Um, neither of those words” Mia said, “It’s just school. I’d be nervous if I was going to jail and excited if was going to Disney World but neither of those are happening so I just feel…meh.” They were cool as cucumbers.

I watched them board their bus and breathed a sigh of relief- just like that, four kids out of the house for hours! The volume level, bickering, constant snacking, complaints of boredom and seemingly unending piles of wet swimsuits all ended in a flash. I damn near skipped back to the front door. Just the youngest 2 at home- this will be a cinch!

I was almost at the door when Ronan opened it and said “Hey, Mommy, Norah’s pooping on your bed. Come see- it’s yuck.”

By my calculations, that reprieve lasted 3 minutes.

The littlest two don’t eat, talk, or complain as much as the bigger kids but they will take a shit on your bed and then roll around in it. I would say six of one, half dozen of the other but, really, I think I prefer the constant chatter to out of diaper defecation.

This Xanax isn’t going to swallow itself, y’all.

Remarkably Resourceful and Incredibly Gross

It’s always interesting when kids are resourceful. Like the time Ronan yanked the feminine hygiene product disposal box off the wall in a grocery store bathroom and used it as a step stool so he could reach the toilet. Or when Leo couldn’t reach the milk in the fridge so he used the only thing liquid-y thing he could get his hands on- pancake syrup-in his cereal instead. And the time when Mia wanted chocolate milk but we didn’t have any and so she decided to put a handful of Hershey’s Kisses into a non-microwave safe bowl to melt them for 45 minutes. The smell nearly drove us to living in a hotel temporarily.

It was more disgusting than interesting when, after watching her sisters brush their hair in the bathroom before school, Norah, unable to reach the brush which was now back in the drawer, came walking out of the bathroom, all smiley and proud, brushing her hair… with the toilet bowl brush.

Kids are remarkably resourceful and incredibly gross.

The Feminine Hygiene Product Disposal Box

Earlier in the week, I had the littlest kids with me at the grocery store. We were no where near the restrooms when Ronan told me he had to pee. He’s still a newbie at this whole using-the-toilet thing so when he says he has to go, there’s no hesitating.

I had them both in one of those enormous, kid- desired car shopping carts which are nearly impossible to steer. In fact, in the ten minutes since we’d been in the store, I had already knocked over a display of Goldfish in the cookie and cracker aisle. I hustled them over to the restrooms at the front of the store. I abandoned the cart at the door and three of us hurried in. Ronan headed into the handicapped stall which worked out well since it was the most spacious and there were three of us in there. I closed the door, locked the little latch and helped him wiggle his pants down. The toilet in this stall was higher than normal ones, so he was standing on his tip toes trying to get his penis just so when I saw Norah crawling under the stall door. As I scooped her up and walked her over to the sink to wash her hands and knees, I heard Ronan say “Mommy I can’t reach it.” “I’ll be right there, buddy, let me rinse Norah’s hands”, I said. Before I made it back in to help him, though, I heard a popping noise followed by the sound of something being scooted across the tile floor.

In an impressive display of inspired resourcefulness, he had yanked the plastic feminine hygiene disposal box off the wall and was using it as a step stool. Now, I know he’s my kid so I’m a little biased but he might be the next MacGyver, y’all! If you ever find yourself in a fiery inferno or stuck in your car in rising creek waters, maybe pray that Ronan is around! A couple of Gummy bears, an empty juice box, a ball, a forgotten, half-eaten chicken nugget and some Legos…the possibilities of configuring these everyday objects into a life-saving device are endless!

I kind of guffawed when I saw him standing there on the box- proud and surprised by how he solved this little problem all by himself. He looked at me and smiled and said “I made a stool. I broke it.” Just so you know, there was no damage to the actual box- it just hangs on two hooks. I hung it back up on the wall but not before he tried to dig in it to see what was inside. While we were washing Ronan’s hands, Norah made her way back into the stall and was splashing away in the toilet water and wetting her own hair. We washed HER hands again and headed back to the cart.I buckled them up and took an extra second to look at the faces of these kids who make me feel (almost) equally joyful and disgusted. Conveniently, there is a water fountain just outside of the bathroom. I stopped there to take a Xanax booster and we went about our day.