Monday, June 17, 2013

My Big, Fat Ass Might Have to Apologize

Apparently, air travel and I do not agree with one another.  Or maybe we’re mortal enemies and just no one told me.  And, frankly, that would have been a useful thing to know before last Thursday morning when I woke up the entire family at an ungodly hour to drive an hour and a half to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport to catch a flight so we could go visit my parents in Missouri. 

Because if I had known that air travel and I were mortal enemies I might have done things differently.  Like, maybe, taken the bus.  Or a train.  Or ridden camelback across half of the country without stopping at any point to rest or pee.  Because each of those things sounds a lot more fun than what actually happened.

You see, last Thursday we were having horrible storms.  And by “we” I mean pretty much the entire north-eastern part of the country, from Chicago to Maryland.  And horrible storms mean horrible delays.  Our flight, for example, was supposed to take off at 11:45am, but did not actually take off until 2:30pm.  Which wouldn’t have been a problem had my husband, Quinten, and I not been travelling with our three-year-old daughter, Iris.  Who, I should point out, had a tantrum at 11:00am because we told her that we didn’t think that a busy airport terminal full of angry passengers whose flights were also delayed was an appropriate place to play hide-and-seek.  I would be remiss if I did not point out that said tantrum happened exactly 45 minutes before our original flight was supposed to take off. 

This did not bode well for the rest of the day. 
A day wherein we missed our connecting flight out of Chicago-Midway by several hours and ended up on a flight from Chicago to Louisville, KY before we finally arrived in St. Louis two tantrums, three crappy-airport-food meals, seven purchases of new toys from airport gift shops, two trips to tiny airplane bathrooms that aren't built to hold more than one anorexic dwarf with a toddler who needed to pee, and three crying jags later, at 9pm, only to discover that, somewhere in the tangle of bookings and rebookings that had taken place that day, Southwest Airlines had lost our luggage.

We could have driven from North Carolina to St. Louis and arrived earlier.  I am not exaggerating.

Remember when I was complaining about my experience on United Airlines back in April?  Yeah?  Welllllllllll…as much as I hate to admit it, I might have to rethink what I said. 

See, yesterday, I was trying to remember the last time I travelled by plane and had nothing to complain about.  And I can’t do it.  I cannot remember the last time I traveled by air and didn’t have something go wrong…. delays, rudeness, luggage complications, car trouble at the airport, airsickness, missed connections, or Iris being the holy terror of the skies.

Back when I was pregnant with Iris, I was living in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Once, while Quinten was in Atlanta for an extended work program, I decided to visit him and flew out of the Dayton Airport because the ticket was half the cost of flying out of Cincinnati.  Stupid move.  My Delta Airlines flight was delayed for four hours because one of the plane’s tires went flat.  Who has that problem?  Whose plane gets a flat tire?  Mine!  My plane does, that’s who.  And the best part?  The ironic part?  They had to bring a repair crew up from Cincinnati to fix it.  I got into Atlanta at 1:45am instead of 9:00pm.  I bet the Cincy-to-Atlanta flight got there on time. 

Three different airlines.  Three separate occasions.  Three awful experiences.

I might have to apologize to United Airlines for my earlier tirade.  Because, at this point, I am forced to admit that it may not be them….it may just be me. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

In Which My Punishment Fits My Crime

There are some things you just don’t say.  Or even think.  Ever. 

For example, you really shouldn’t ever say, “At least it can’t get worse,” because when you say that, immediately, it will get worse.

Also, if it looks like your child is almost potty trained, please refrain from saying something like, “By George, I think she’s got it!”  You think you’re being funny, but what you’re really doing is ensuring that, within the next 24 hours, your child will have the most spectacular potty training meltdown in potty training history.  Like taking-off-her-panties-squatting-on-your-favorite-chair-and-laying-the-largest-turd-you’ve-ever-seen-except-you-do-not-see-it-so-much-as-you-feel-it-because-you-sit-down-without-looking spectacular.

And, please, for the love of all that is holy, never, EVER say something like, “I think I’ve got everything ready for tomorrow’s play date.  The morning should go really smoothly.  For once, I’ve got it handled!”  Because then, while you sleep, you will dream you are peeing and you will wake up at 5:30am and realize that you are actually peeing.  In your bed.  As an adult. 

*blink blink*


I mean, hypothetically, of course. 

Hypothetically that’s what could happen if you say something like that. 

It’s not like I know. is the part where I have to tell you that I am the biggest hypocrite in the world.  Here I am the woman who is always preaching that we moms shouldn’t judge other moms, and claiming that I am a parent and let-parent kind of gal.  But then…then, one of my dearest friends, Amy (mother of Bella, who’s 3 and my daughter, Iris’s, best friend, and baby Zac, the sweetest child on the planet) tells me this story:

Amy:  So, the other day, I’m out running errands with Bella and Zac and, by the end of everything, I have tons of crap all over the front seat of my car….my purse, the diaper bag, papers and receipts and my phone and just everything strewn everywhere.  I get home, park in the driveway, and I have to collect everything so I can carry it into the house.  And it’s taking me a while.  Bella is in her car seat starting to fuss and fume because she wants to get out of the car.  Zac is sleeping and I don’t want Bella to wake him up, so I reach back and unlatch her and tell her she can get out of the car, but to stay in the grass in the front yard so I can still see her.  Which, I assume she’s doing because, hello, I have to clean up the mess in the front seat so I can’t really pay much attention.  A minute or so later, I get out of the car and go around to get Zac’s car seat out of the car and I see Bella, on the grass, of course, but down by the mailbox, panties down around her ankles, squatting, ass to the street, pooping.  She was POOPING!!  And right then, my neighbor across the street comes walking out of his house and sees the whole thing.  She is bare-assed, pooping in the YARD for the whole world to see!!!

Do you know what I did when Amy told me that story?  I did exactly what anyone with a heart would do in that situation.  I smiled and told her that it was okay, that it could have happened to any one of us, that we’ve all suffered humiliation at the hands of our children, that, in time, she would think this was a really funny story.  But, all the time I was smiling and feeding Amy that line of bullshit, I was thinking Iris would never do something like that!  No way!  Not MY child!

Sometimes I just can’t control my brain. 

I did mention that I am the biggest hypocrite in the world, didn’t I?  Or maybe just the Western hempishere.  But, hypocrisy or not, I know better.  I know you should never ever ever ever never think thoughts like that.    

Not one week after Amy told me that story, while I was chopping up bell peppers to use in our dinner, Iris and our almost-housebroken puppy, Penny, were running around the kitchen.  Quinten had just gotten home from work and, before he could even ask what I was making for dinner, Quinten started shouting “No no no no no no no!” and half-dove towards the floor near the kitchen table.  I dropped my knife and dashed over and to see the following scene playing out as if in slow motion:

There is a puddle of pee on the hardwood floor and a slightly-guilty looking corgi trying to slink away.  Iris is bent over the puddle, leaning forward as if to maybe smell the pee?  Or try to, God forbid, taste it?  I didn’t know just what she was trying to do, but, whatever it was, she needed to not be doing it.  She needed to not be doing it rightnow!!  Quinten reached her first, pulled her up and away from the puddle, and snapped, “What are you DOING?”  But he did not get there soon enough.  He did not get there before at least an inch of Iris’s hair had fallen forward into the puddle and had gotten sopping wet.

Sopping wet with pee. 

Sopping wet with dog pee.

My daughter had just dipped her hair in dog pee. 

In.  Dog.  Pee.

Let’s just say that, on that particular night, bath time happened before dinner time.

Also, I owe Amy an apology.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Why I May Never Get a Normal Night's Sleep Around Here

The other night, on my way to bed, I crept into Iris’s room to check on her while she slept.  Which does not distinguish it from any other night.  I’m always sneaking in there to watch her sleep because….well, because I’m a mom.  Besides, she looks so damned cute while she sleeps. 

But, what does distinguish it from other nights is that, on that particular night, quite unexpectly, Iris spoke to me.

Iris: Don’t let Daddy get in your bed with you.
Me: (taken aback, having not been prepared for a conversation just then) Umm…well…ummm…actually, it’s his bed, too, sweetie.
Iris: You have to share?
Me: (pulling her blanket back up to cover her arms and noticing that her eyes are not open) Yes, sweetie, Daddy and I share our bed.
Iris: THAT's not good.
Me: (laughing) I’m okay with it, sweet pea. 
Iris: I’m so proud of you!!  (pause)  Now you have to go to Daddy.  He needs you.

Whereupon, she began to snore a soft baby snore.  Which is when I realized that, at no point during our conversation, had Iris actually been awake. 

I shouldn’t have been surprised.  I’ve encountered this sort of thing before. 

You see, my husband is also a night talker.  Which I discovered way back when Quinten and I were still just dating.  One night, after spending a lovely evening together, he and I were asleep in bed.  Now, I’m a light sleeper.  I wake up several times a night as a matter of course.  And just about anything can do it…the dog softly whining downstairs, Quinten rolling over in his sleep, a car driving down the street outside, the barometric pressure changing, a caterpillar crawling across a leaf on a tree two miles from my house. You know, the usual.

Anyway, on this particular night, at about two in the morning, I woke up for a reason I was unable to identify, and, instead of trying to figure it out, I just decided to roll over and go back to sleep. As I was mid-roll, I heard:

Quinten: Wait a minute! Wait a minute!
Me: What?
Quinten: Listen!
Me: (straining to listen...I mean, maybe he heard someone in the house, or the dogs whining in the other room)
Quinten: (silence)
Me: (still listening) What are we listening for?
Quinten: The bees. They could be building a hive around the building.
Me: (rolling over to look at him, confused) The BEES?
Quinten: Yeah. Like that time we were in that building with all of those bees.
Me: Baby, we were never in a building with a lot of bees. (pause) And it's winter. There won't be bees outside right now.
Quinten: Okay.

And then he was sleeping soundly again. And I was giggling uncontrollably.  (
Just so you know, I spent the next few years teasing him unmercifully about that.)

Then, later, after we were married, Quinten would sometimes shout out a single word in his sleep like “Durango!”  (To this day, he cannot tell me if he meant the Dodge SUV or the city in Colorado).  Or, sometimes, we’d have another conversation:

Quinten: I'm really proud of you.
Me: (surprised) You are? Why?
Quinten: For bringing up all that wood.
Me: What wood?
Quinten: All that wood.
Me: (giggling) Sweetie, I didn't bring up any wood. You're not awake.
Quinten: Okay.

And then, a few years later, this happened:

Quinten: (suddenly and unexpectedly sits bolt upright in bed, waking me up)
Me: What is it?
Quinten: (getting out of bed, purposefully)
Me: Quinten?  What is it?  Did you hear something?
Quinten: (striding partway down the hall, then squatting in a football-player’s three-point stance)
Me: What’s going on?  Is something wrong?
Quinten: (looking back and forth, rapidly)
Me: Are you awake?
Quinten: (standing up, walking back, and getting back into bed)
Me: What was that?
Quinten: (lying down and covering himself with the blankets) I don’t know.
Me: (starting to laugh)
Quinten: (snoring)

Does it make it funnier when I tell you that he was completely, bare-assed naked while this was happening?  Because I think it makes it way funnier. 

Quinten disagrees.

Anyway, genetics being what they are, I should have known the next step would be what happened two nights ago, when, at 1:30am, I woke up to Iris crying in her bedroom.  Or, rather, sobbing.  Sobbing is a better description.  Adrenaline pumping, I threw myself out of my bed and sprinted down the hall.  Where I found Iris, still lying down and covered with her blankets, just like I’d left her when I put her to bed. 

Me: Iris?  What’s wrong, honey?
Iris: (crying harder)
Me: (sitting down next to her on the bed and softly smoothing the hair on her head)  Sweet pea?  Is there something the matter?
Iris: (through great, heaving sobs) The….El...E...Phant….Toooooook….My….Ballooooooooooooonnnn!!!!!!
Me: (suppressing a giggle)  Honey, there’s no elephant and you didn’t have a balloon.
Iris: (howling angrily at me) No!!!!  My….BALLLOOOOOOONNNNNN!!!!!
Me: (trying to remain reasonable) There is no balloon, baby.
Iris: (screeching unintelligibly at me like a banshee on meth, starting to kick her feet and flail her arms)
Me: (in my most soothing voice) Iris, sweetie….There is no elephant.  There.  Is.  No.  Balloon.
Iris: (continuing to screech, kick and flail)  I!!!!  Want!!!!!  My!!!!!  Balloooooon!!!!!
Me: (sitting back and waiting for about 30 more seconds of crying and thrashing until Iris stops and stills, then kissing Iris’s cheek, leaving her room and collapsing in a heap of giggles in the hallway)

So, yeah, thanks to Quinten and his stupid genes, Iris can even have tantrums in her sleep. 

And, apparently, we’re still on about the balloons.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

No! More! Fake! Cookies! Everrrrr!!!!

Ah, cookie baking time.  A time-honored mommy-daughter activity.  Which we engaged in today.  Because we are that kind of family.  And because I’m tired of Iris asking for cookies when I don’t have any.  And because the days after school lets out for summer are long, man.  Loooong.

Anyway, at about three o’clock today, when I had almost reached the saturation point on my tolerance for whining and I was exactly one minute away from becoming this:

No! Wire! Hangers! Everrrrrr!!!!!

I got the brilliant idea of making cookies with Iris. 

I mean, what kid doesn’t love making cookies with her mother?  And then eating them still warm from the oven?  It sounded idyllic.  It sounded ideal.  It sounded like an activity that would kill a few hours of this interminable afternoon.

I pulled out a recipe for the oatmeal-zucchini cookies I made for Iris last summer.  The cookies that she’d have gorged herself on had she been given the opportunity.  Oh, don’t look at me that way, they’re actually quite good.  Both my husband and I love them.  And, last summer, Iris really did think they were the yummiest treat ever. 

So, we measured and poured and mixed and tasted the batter and pronounced it good.  Then, as directed, we dropped spoonfuls of batter on parchment-paper-lined cookie sheets.  We put them in the oven and got them out and they looked like this:
Yummy, golden-brown, oatmeal cookies!!

 However, when I offered one to Iris, she looked at it like I’d pulled it out of the toilet.
Iris: I don’t want those! 
Me: Why not?
Iris: Those are not cookies! 
Me: Yes they are! 
Iris: No. I want REAL cookies!!!!”

Nothing I said or did would convince her that these were real cookies.  Not eating them in front of her.  Not having her father eat them in front of her.  Not talking about how we’d just made them together and put them in the oven together and taken them out together and how could they possibly not be cookies?  I could not even wedge a crumb between her pouty lips. 
Iris: I only want REAL COOKIES!!
Me: Sweetie, those ARE real cookies.  You helped me make them.  Don't you remember?
Iris: (tearfully) I just want you to make me some (sniffle) real (sniffle) cookies.
So, yeah, I just spent the better part of this afternoon making five dozen cookies that I cannot convince my daughter to eat. 
Anyone want them?