The pain

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Along with 96% of the Earth's current population, on Friday we headed west on I-70 bound for the Lake of the Ozarks.

Where we promptly dropped the kids off with my parents and drove on to where the REAL action was, Overland Park Kansas.

There's few things that beat watching your husband throw back a few hundred beers with his old college buddies while you and the other pregnant wives look on with jealousy coated in morning sickness.

Despite the ever present soberness, it was a very relaxing time. Especially Sunday, when I cracked open my much anticipated book Bossypants and laughed my ass off for three hours at our beautiful hotel pool filled with fat little Midwestern butterball kids, none of which were my responsibility to keep from drowning.

It was glorious.

Incidentally, here is the un-glorious side effect of laughing your ass off for three hours at a hotel pool filled with fat Midwestern kids:



Not pictured: My already blistering scalp.

This was about 1/2 hour after getting out of the pool and it only got worse over the next 24 hours. See how if you connect the cancer spots it looks like a unicorn that's been stabbed in the rib cage?

My ancestors didn't see much sunlight and my skin is normally a nice shade of Albino Swede. When I was a kid at church camp if anyone forgot their flashlight they just made me walk a few steps ahead of them.

What I'm saying is that I know that I only have a very limited time in the daylight before I burst into flames so in my defense I will say that I was only in the sun about 45 minutes before I found a nice spot in the shade.

Apparently 45 minutes was 43 minutes too long.

Perhaps the worst part about this situation is that it's like my kids' razor sharp claws are drawn to the most burney parts. On Monday night Lila had a really upset stomach and every time she would have a little stomach pain it felt like I was being slashed with shark's teeth.

Now all that's left to do is wait for the molting to begin. I'm thinking that if my epidermis comes off in one clean piece I can mount it on my wall. That would at least allow me to skip that whole pregnant belly paper mache nonsense.

The stick

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In an effort to maintain our reputation as a free wheeling family living a crazy life in the fast lane, last Friday Nick and I spent the evening swinging the girls at the park.

The previous Friday we had decided to be really adventurous and take the family to Bar Louie. This little episode ended with me carrying two screaming kids out the door in one hand and our boxed up dinners in the other, while Nick leaned over the table ravenously chugging every last drop of his second beer.

In the car on the way home we made a vow to one another that we would never ever try something so stupid again.

Shockingly, there was only one other loser at the park. She had three boys and the youngest two were almost the same ages as Ellie and Lila.

I held Lila on my lap and we watched the other kids swing as her young son was crawling around the swing area. Her oldest son came running over from playing in the wooded area and pointed out that the little one was chewing on a stick.

To which the Mom casually replied, "Oh, it won't hurt him," with a wave of her hand.

I was immediately jealous of this woman's cool prowess. Her son was eating a stick and she didn't even flinch. Had that been one of my kids I would have been halfway to the Mayo clinic with poison control on one line and Dr. Oz on the other.

I looked over and the little boy was not only chewing on the stick, he was crawling toward me with the stick in his mouth. Not sideways, like a dog would carry a bone, but long ways, like someone would use a straw. Like the way that would impale his brain if he tipped forward.

"Errrr... he's crawling with it - do you want me to take it out of his mouth?" My voice trembled, as I tried to make her think I was cool too.

"No, he's fine," she said, barely glancing my way.

She must have noticed the beads of sweat starting to form on my forehead because after a couple of minutes she walked over, took it from him and tossed it into the woods.

This woman was a freaking rock star. Was it the fact that this was her third? Was it the fact that she had boys? Was she just trying to make me look like an uptight bitch in front of Nick?

When I was a kid I was afraid to do everything. Climb trees, scale fences, ride a bike, swim... when I was eight my Mom had to resort to using the one thing that I cared about to bribe me into jumping off the side of the pool - money. She told me she would pay me $1 if I did it.

It took me all summer. And I had to put my towel right on the very edge in case I got any water in my face.

The next year she told me she would pay me $5 to jump off the diving board. That one took a couple more years.

The high dive was $10... I never made it. Though I did actually climb the ladder once and stand on the edge for 10 minutes as the kids below shouted profanities at me while waiting their turns.

Some time last week I realized that my timid nature has affected Ellie and I need to seriously lighten up when she wouldn't even go near the slide as the other kids were climbing and sliding down like crazy.

Probably because every time in the past she had tried I made her wear a repelling harness and safety helmet.

But she was so little! The one time I let her go up the stairs by herself to the slide she slipped and split her lip. I kicked myself for days for not being more protective.

Now I think her spirit has been broken and she's finally just given up.

I'm sure that when it comes to this third baby I'll be throwing teething branches into its crib before I know it.

Right now I just need to work on pulling the branch out of my ass before I have to bribe Ellie to leave the house.

Master P

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Yesterday I took Ellie and Lila to a joint check-up with their pediatrician, Master P. They're on the same vaccination schedule so I've always opted to take them both at the same time so as not to prolong the inevitable torture.

These appointments are extremely enjoyable and I usually leave everyone in the waiting room with the impression that I'm a really good Mom.

I walk in the door wearing Ellie as a leg warmer and walk out wearing her as a screaming scarf.

She doesn't like the doctor.

I mean... REALLY REALLY does not like the doctor.

"Lila's really mellow," Master P said, looking in Lila's ears as Ellie was attempting to crawl into my brain via my eye socket. "That helps to... um... balance things out."

I knew what he meant. He meant that if I had TWO children acting like Ellie then bad things would happen to me mentally.

Interestingly, I found out that since her 18-month appointment Ellie has grown three inches and lost two pounds. This came as a shock to me for two reasons:

1. I knew she looking hot in her little jeans but I had no idea she was losing weight
2. If you go by the old rule and double her two-year-old height, she will grow to be six foot one.

What and what.

I never thought I'd have such a problem getting a child of mine to eat. My sisters and I used to punch each other in the face over the last hunk of meatloaf. I can't even get Ellie to sit at the table longer than it took me to microwave her hot dog.

I've tried every kid food imaginable: mac and cheese, pizza, frosting... she'll usually take one look and bolt. Leaving me to pillage the leftovers. Hey, they can't go to waste. There are starving children somewhere. In my house.

I've never had any problem with my appetite so I totally can't relate to what she's going through. Do I force her to sit at the table while she screams to get down? Do I try to make mealtime fun and let her come and go as she pleases?

The only thing she'll eat is ice cream. What am I supposed to do? Take her to the Dairy Queen every day? Then am I supposed to order a jumbo Blizzard so she doesn't feel like she's in this all alone?

Sometimes being a Mom is hard.

The hang on tight

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Saturday started off like any other day. I woke up at 6am and through bleary eyes gave myself a pep talk about how every aspect of my life was my choice as I changed two diapers containing enormous steaming dumps.

We were having some friends over for dinner that night, so I had to go to Wal-Mart to pick up a few items. I saw they had a 5lb. beef log on sale which obviously I needed.

Lila is now big enough to sit in the front of the cart and rather than sitting in the back under a blanket of frozen goods Ellie prefers to do what she has termed the "hang on tight." Misleading in its nomenclature, the "hang on tight" actually means "run around the store and pull shit off the shelves while people chase me and judge my Mom."

I usually give her two chances and then it's back into the cart we go. Saturday was no exception, after pulling out both the bottom head of lettuce and the bottom lime causing an avalanche of produce, I had enough.

This is where things got a little sketchy.

Upon placing her into the back of the cart she immediately began gyrating like she was being electrocuted and screaming at the top of her lungs. It wasn't a normal scream... more like a panicked and dying wildebeest that had been possessed by a tornado siren with snot and spit flying everywhere out of its face.

She had thrown tantrums before but never like this. Chicken, 5lb. beef log, lettuce... everything went flying around the cart.

I was at a total loss for what to do. I tried talking to her but her eyes were crazy and I was scared for my safety. I knew the best thing to do was to probably abandon the cart of groceries in the store, along with her in it, but I couldn't leave. This was my only window of errand availability before the daily tag team of naps began. I knew my only option was to go like the wind.

Of course when you're trying to go like the wind in a grocery store you can't find a god damned thing. Taco seasoning, black beans, mushrooms, margarita salt... all disappear into the grocery pit of despair.

I knew this moment eventually would come; I've seen it a million times in the grocery store with other poor bastards. And I thought that when it was my turn I would be met with sympathetic gazes and at least a couple laughs with an "oh mine did the same thing" reassuring pat.

Hell no. People were coming to the end of their aisles, wide eyed, boxes still in hand, and peeking around to see what the hell I was doing to this child to make her scream so loud. Then they were giving me the most awful, judgemental looks as if this is all somehow related to the fact that I had a glass of wine or fifty when I was pregnant.

"WHERE! THE! HELL! IS! THE! MOTHERFUCKING!!!!! TACO SEASONING!!!!! AAAAAAHHHHH!!" I flew through the aisles like a mad woman while Beelzebub threw her screaming self around the back of the cart. I actually think I blacked out for part of the trip in some sort of self preservation mental defense strategy.

The next thing I knew I was back at home with nothing but a Wal-Mart bag full of lettuce, beef logs, tequila, Dum Dums and a Transformer pinata.

It was an awesome dinner.

Ba donka donk

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So my ass came in last night.

Contrary to what you might be thinking I'm thinking, I'm actually quite excited. I've never really had an actual ass before. I'd like to say that it looked like the Crypt Keeper sat on a pancake, but it was more like the Crypt Keeper sat on a waffle. But with more dimples. It was the damndest thing - despite the fact that there was no actual meat on my ass it was still covered in cellulite.

The weight of this thing is overwhelming and it's already thrown off my center of gravity a couple of times today. Also, if I look off to my side I can actually see it in my peripheral vision. And it is fabulous.

I've been standing in front of this mirror bouncing up and down on the balls of my feet for the last half hour because it reminds me of the wave pool at Hurricane Harbor. I wonder if I laid on my stomach and scooted back and forth if it could actually propel me across the room.

Oh look - I can balance a shampoo bottle on it like it's a little shelf.

I'm going to keep working on some moves - I'll keep you posted on what else this thing can do.

The whambo jambo

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This morning I had my 10 weeker with J.T. my Trusty O.B. and he asked me if I'd like to have another ultrasound. You know, because I suffer from a common pregnancy complication called freaking out.

Of course I would never miss an opportunity to get violated by the whambo jambo so I hopped on the table. The ultrasound tech mentioned that little Pinkie (that's what Nick calls it) was a jumpy little thing as it was zig zagging around my uterus. I decided not to mention that it might have had something to do with the three Diet Cokes and can of chocolate frosting I had eaten for breakfast this morning.

As I was standing at the counter making my next appointment, I noticed a woman on the other side of the partition checking in for hers. She was wiping away tears and taking big shuddery breaths.

Ech - I knew that waiting room shudder.

I shimmied out the door and into the waiting room where she was sitting, hoping I could slip past her without her noticing me.

But she did. She looked right at me, then down at my ultrasound picture that I was holding like it was some delicate priceless artifact excavated straight from Jesus' tomb, then my big ole pregnant belly. At first she smiled but then she looked down, covered her eyes and burst into tears.

Shit - I had become public enemy #1.

Before Ellie I had two miscarriages and had sat in that same chair, with that same shuddery sigh, watching those loathsome bitches skip out of the ultrasound room with their little pictures in hand, wondering how many times I could stab them in the face before the police riddled me with bullets.

It seemed as if everyone in the world was effortlessly pregnant and it was always being shoved in my face. Seeing her burst into tears I knew exactly what she was thinking and I wanted to sit in her lap and tell her everything I had been through and that I DESERVED to be pregnant.

I also wanted to tell her that it would all work out for her, but I don't know if it will. Maybe her uterus is shaped like a one legged unicorn or something and she's just shit out of luck.

I felt guilty all the way to the elevators. But somewhere in the parking lot I reminded myself that my dues had been paid, and I had been sad for a long time.

Now it is time for happiness. So I pulled out the glossy pic of little Pinkie and planted a kiss on what I imagined were the lips.


Happy birthday to ya

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It seems like only yesterday that I was lying naked from the waist down on a cold and sterile OR table while a nurse with a very confused look on her face hovered over me with a razor wondering how in the hell I was able to manage one side looking like Telly Savalas and the other side looking like Buckwheat caught in a windstorm.

It had been a full six months since I had seen my netherlands face to face and over time they had become rugged terrain; a woolly mammoth taking a nap in the desert.

Though it seems like only yesterday, it was literally a lifetime ago. My other lifetime. We lived in a condo, I had a job where I talked to at least five people every day. People who weren't cashiers at Target. I still referred to myself in the first person.

Over two years I have learned more lessons than I can begin to write about. Mainly lessons I learned the hard way.

Perhaps the most important lesson I've learned is that babies are much more durable than one might think. They can eat paper, suck on wet wipes, choke on chips, do (unintentional) back flips out of swings, fall down stairs, wear clothing bought from Wal-Mart and survive blows to the back of the head from the ceiling fan with minimal consequence.

If I had to assign a title to the past two years it would be "That One Day I Almost Went to Jail."

I never thought I would have a daughter with such discriminating taste; only a select few make it into Elliot's inner circle. You're in like flint as long as you're a dog, squirrel, blankie, paci, penguin or ice cream. And if you're an airplane or garbage truck you at least have a fighting chance.

Those not invited into the inner circle include: Anyone that has the potential to require the sharing of toys, mascots, anything that comes into contact with her hair, non-ice cream food, pediatricians, nurses, and little sisters.

Happy second birthday to my little Ellie - my favorite little ice cream scapegoat.

Tonight we feast.

Holy F

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Holy F.

This was last weekend. You know, when I was 8 weeks pregnant.

For accurate scale, please note that the bitch directly to my left is 22 weeks, and the slut two over is 30 weeks.

My mind can't even begin to wrap itself around what I'm going to look like at 22 or 30 weeks. My uterus is going to resemble something in between the Trump Tower and Saturn.

My stomach muscles were never what one might call "acceptable", or "not nauseating to look at" but at least they held strong until I was in the teen weeks of both previous pregnancies. Now they look like a forest that has been annihilated by a team of bulldozers. They have completely surrendered to what they know is the inevitable.

Welp... no use crying about that which I have no control. My pancakes are getting cold.