Ode to the maternity swimsuit: A Haiku


Teenage night terror
Pup tent shrouds devastation
Ride the lycra wave

Trust me - I'm a doctor

Me: Now Vicki - the one and only thing you have to worry about when taking this picture is that my bra doesn't show. We may use these for Christmas cards and I don't want to Super Bowl this shit.

My sister-in-law Vicki: Relax. I think I'm capable of taking a simple picture.

And yes, all twenty-seven look just like it.

This year the Mayers will be sporting a living room themed Christmas card.

The vacation: Part dooce

In what may have been the most optimistic and naive parenting decision of all time, last week Nick and I took a family vacation to Florida.

Your brain starts to register the reality of a 13-hour road trip with two small children around 30 minutes into the trip, when you feel like you've already been in the car for an eternity but realize you're just passing the homes of your friends who've moved to the suburbs.

The reality really starts to slap you in the face when, four hours in, you're just crossing the state line and after doing some quick math on your fingers realize that what should be a 13-hour road trip will more likely end up being 18 and the people who told you it will only take 13 hours are lying bastards. Jim.

It's so weird - I could physically feel my will to live escape my body somewhere around the Tennessee/Mississippi state line.

Lucky for us Nick's entire family went as well, providing us with unlimited free babysitting services and we even had the luxury of a few nights out.

Our date night was especially interesting, when we pulled up to a popular Destin seafood restaurant to see patrons sprinting out of the restaurant in a bug-eyed panic. Like most sensible adults, my first thought was Grouper Revolution, which is actually pretty disturbing if you think about it for too long.

But as the people rushed by I caught wind that the reason for the mob was something way less frightening... the stairs down to the beach behind the building had collapsed. Which taught me a valuable lesson - when using the stairs always walk about 4 seconds behind someone fatter than you.

I know what you're thinking and don't worry - we were able to enjoy our tasty fish dinner as scheduled after the ambulances and police cars left.

Our second day there I learned another valuable lesson - dolphins look a LOT like sharks when you're looking down on them from a 6th floor balcony.

I also learned that even the most elderly and frail can haul major ass out of the ocean when you scream !SHARK! and point behind them from your 6th floor balcony.

In addition to a few nights out, we also were able to enjoy a nice afternoon pontoon boat ride with Nick's siblings while his parents watched the girls.

If you've ever been pregnant or in AA you know what I mean when I say that being the lone sober person on a boat with a group of drunk people is like being trapped in the chimp house at the zoo, complete with the throwing of feces.

It was actually fine until, on the way home, there was an "incident". I'll spare you the details but it involved urination, a busy boat pass which we stopped in the middle of, no one listening to my sensible logic and me completely losing my shit, storming out from behind the wheel cursing everyone and demanding to be taken home immediately.

Anhyoo, as you can see the first annual Mayer family vacation was a rousing success. I use the word "vacation" extremely loosely because collectively we only spent an average of 28 minutes on the beach. Apparently Ellie is terrified of both the sand and ocean and the only thing that didn't send her head first into a trembling tailspin was standing on the stairs at the pool or watching Baby Einstein.

The ride back to St. Louis rivaled the ride down to Florida in terms of times in my life that I've most been tempted to do heroin. We decided to drive straight through, so as not to prolong the torture.

The day before we left Nick started to come down with a virus, and by the time we left had a crushing headache and muscle aches so bad he was literally almost unable to move.

Which meant that I drove the entire way back by myself.

And entertained the kids by myself.

I don't want to say anything too specific or incriminating here but I will say that I was really impressed with my ability to drive while not actually looking at the road at all. By the end of the trip I was sitting Indian style with my back to the steering wheel flipping made-to-order omelets for neighboring cars.

When we finally reached the home stretch with one hour left we were just about to breathe a sigh of relief that the day from hell was nearing a close when we saw lightning illuminate the huge tornado to our left.

Please see previous post on my three super phobias: Snakes, heights and tornadoes.

It's an interesting thing about the Honda Accord. Many people buy it as a sensible family sedan, but what most don't realize is that it can accelerate from 80 to 110 in a snap. And it's able to maintain a really smooth ride at that speed for a significant amount of time.

As I white knuckled the steering wheel with one hand and tried to muffle my shrieks with the other (I was trying to inflict minimal psychological damage on the girls in the off chance that we actually survived) I prayed death would come quickly and painlessly, and I cursed myself for ignoring my earlier instinct - to ask the McDonald's cashier if they could put hot fudge on my McFlurry. "OF COURSE THEY COULD HAVE... IT'S McDONALD'S!" I sobbed through my screams. "I swear if I make it out of this alive I'll never have another dessert without hot fudge!"

Nick craned his head this way and that to try to see where it was going, which was only possible when the lightning struck, and calmly told me to go faster. With every flash it was closer, closer, and it looked we were right about to drive into it. I was sure with the next flash its little tail would be knocking on my window asking if I wanted some candy when by some miracle, right before it reached the tree line next to the highway, the top half sucked up the bottom half and it was behind us.

Luckily, we made it out unscathed. I mean, this looks normal, right?

Lying in bed that night the blogger in me was kicking myself for not taking video, but that video would have also erased any shred of dignity I hoped to retain as I tried to use Lila as a human shield.

Next year we fly.

Or just go to the pool.

The vacation: part I

I would like to begin this post by giving a shout out to the most important person who has ever lived, Ray Kroc.

Please bow your heads in a moment of silence.

Ray - may I call you Ray - right now you're sitting on the top of the slide of salvation in that playland in the sky, wondering about the origin of that brown gelatinous substance and whether or not you'll need some sort of shot after you've accidentally touched it. I regret that I never fully appreciated all you did for parent kind while you were still alive because I would have personally driven to your McMansion and offered you a fry.

I'm sure back when you had this great idea for a little hamburger shop called McDonald's you had no idea that someday, somewhere, a 16-weeks-pregnant Mom driving cross-country with a 25-month-old, a 9-month-old and her defeated, catatonic husband would find beautiful refuge in your glorious playlands strategically located off Highway 55.

They have offered us a place of rest, where I can change endless poopy diapers, throw away countless poopy onesies, wipe away never ending poopy streaks off legs (did I mention that Nick accidentally fed the little one a container of prunes the night before we left?) and offer my kids a place to run free from the confines of the car seat... all while enjoying a McFlurry. And a Big Mac. And a Quarter Pounder. And my daughter's leftover cheeseburger Happy Meal.

Hey stop looking at me that way... I'm 16 weeks pregnant, DAMN IT!

It's our first family vacation. I use the word vacation lightly. As a stay at home Mom, it's a vacation where I've brought along my co-workers, my boss, and a stack of client files that I have to work on each day, primarily during meals and at bed time.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining about being at a beautiful beach or about staying at home with my kids every day. I'm just saying this is the first vacation where I have to dance like a monkey to get someone to eat her grilled cheese while my grouper gets colder by the second.

It's also the first vacation where I'm sober enough to remember checking into the hotel. Nick and I usually crack open our first Corona as the plane is taking off and by the time the hotel shuttle picks us up we've long since moved on to a little game we call shirtless tequila shots.

Pulling into this hotel on Saturday Nick was testing out his McDonald's Playland iPhone app and I was singing along with the Dora CD that has now been burned into my brain in a continuous, mind numbing, 4-day loop.

The awesome part about this vacation is that we are staying in a condo with Nick's family who double as great babysitters. So it's been a giant party for me to go out and watch Nick and his siblings drink to their hearts' content and then taxi them all home.

And, once we convinced Ellie that sand is not made of venomous snake teeth, she actually likes the beach. She likes the beach for a whole 5 minutes before she wants to go back inside and watch Baby Einstein.

Life is good.

Texts from last night

On Tuesday night my single friend Carrie came over to cut my hair and help restore it to its natural color. Blond. If anyone asks, my natural color is blond.

Ellie and Lila are both at that fun little stage where they need my constant and unwavering attention every moment of every day, which makes going to the bathroom a real party by the way, so I was a little nervous about how this was going to go. Luckily, our other friend Amy also needed a haircut so she offered to come over and entertain them while waiting her turn.

She was 1/2 hour late.

It's interesting what two years' worth of conditioning can do to increase your tolerance of children acting like ass holes. For instance, after about five minutes Ellie walked over to the baby gate, yelled, and shook it because she wanted out.

My interpretation: Oh, good thing that wasn't one of the bad screams or Carrie would think I'm a super bad Mom.

Carrie's interpretation: KILL IT WITH FIRE!

The next morning, as Ellie was shoveling pancakes into her face and Lila was sucking down her second bottle I was trying to remember what I fed them for dinner the night before. Did I even feed them dinner? Oh Christ... did I forget to feed my kids dinner?


I texted Nick to ask if he remembered me feeding them dinner but apparently that wasn't important enough for him to stop what he was doing at work and text back, so I quickly resorted to exposing myself and texted Carrie and Amy.

Me: Do either of you happen to remember if I fed my kids dinner last night?

Amy: You fed Lila stuff out of a plastic tub and Ellie ate pizza. Don't you remember yelling at her to sit down when she eats?

Carrie: I remember one screaming for 10 minutes about yogurt. Now I know why.

Right. What has become one woman's everyday mundane, insignificant enough not to recall, is another woman's hysterectomy.

The list

Me (picking up phone): *sighhhhhhhhh* Hello? *uuuuggggggghhhhhhh*

My Sister Beth: What's wrong?

Me: I'm sitting here next to Ellie. She's glued to the TV watching Barney while eating a Happy Meal. I can now literally cross every last thing off my list of Things I Will Never Allow My Kids to Do. I think part of my soul just died.

Beth: Lighten up. Nobody likes an overachiever.

Me: I knew I could count on you to make me feel better.

Beth: You're welcome.

The heat my god the heat

Over the weekend my sister Beth and her two sons braved the car jackings and smog that inevitably accompany a visit to the city and came for a visit. You all remember Beth - the one with the horrible IBS and shits her pants every time she shifts her car into drive? Good times.

Anyhoo, they live deep in downtown cow town so every time they come to visit we kick it up big city style.

On Friday we went to the Magic House, which incidentally now costs a weeks' salary. Luckily Beth owed me some money from the birthday gift we bought Mimi (our Grandma), a carton of Cowgirls and 6 pack of Zima, or as Mimi calls it, brunch. So she footed the bill.

Also included in the price of admission at The Magic House: every germ in the history of the world.

Saturday we went to the zoo, which was an awesome outdoor activity for 102 degrees. At one point Lila's hair burst into flames. We only stayed long enough to let the smell of the penguin cave permanently cling to our clothing so we spent the rest of the day smelling like we needed needed a dose of antibiotics from the local clinic.

As we were leaving there was a flood of new parents arriving and pushing their newborn babies in the stroller/car seat combo, all of whom thought they were doing their babies a good service by draping a blanket over the handle of the car seat for shade. What they didn't realize is that in a half hour when they went to check on the baby it will have turned into a raisin.

We were trying to figure out what to do with the rest of our afternoon when I remembered that I had bought a Groupon for the Museum of Transportation. Our neighbors told me it was pretty cool so we decided to check it out.

What they didn't tell me is that the Museum of Transportation is where dreams go to die.

The first bad thing that happened is that on the way in we were gang banged by a family of locusts.

The second bad thing was that the creation station (or something - it was how I convinced my 8-year-old nephew to come here over the Science Center because I told him it was the COOLEST thing in the world, even though I had no idea what it was) was closed for a private birthday party, sending him into a tail spin of pre-pubescent disappointment and turning me into a lying bitch.

We were the only ones in the entire place because everyone else who tried to come in was still getting ass raped by the locusts in the parking lot. Also, by now it was over 300 degrees.

The Groupon included four miniature train rides and we were the only ones on the train. My sister and I sat near the front, her with her 1-year-old son on her lap whose hair had now exploded into a righteous Afro, my pregnant ass holding Lila whose sweat was dripping down her face as she chewed the seat in front of us with one arm and trying to hold Ellie as she screamed her balls off because she didn't want me touching her with the other, and my 8-year-old nephew sitting with his arms crossed, glaring out the side on the very back seat of the train, still pissed about the creation station.

The train took off like a shot and did two mind numbing laps around an overgrown field with some abandoned train parts scattered around before we pulled back into the station.

I mean, I guess it would have been a cool place if you care about trains and transportation stuff.

Which I don't really.

At all.

In the least.

So then we went home and made nachos and I ate an entire can of queso dip and had my daily glass of wine and everything was better.

Then end.