The wiser incisor

The past two years I've learned that there are quite a few things that people expect you to automatically know about keeping your kids healthy. 

"People" being the Division of Family Services.

For instance, when I brought Ellie home from the hospital I remember staring at the baby bath tub for about three days before finally gathering enough courage to actually get her wet.  After a two hour ordeal ending with both of us questioning our life choices, I poured myself a nice tall glass of wine and thought, "Thank God I'll never have to do THAT again."

It wasn't until she started smelling like a blend of cottage cheese and feet before I figured out that baths are supposed to be a monthly ordeal.

What am I, a psychic doctor?

Now that she's two we have a whole new set of challenges ranging from clipping her nails to combing her hair.  Perhaps the biggest of all, though, is brushing her teeth. 

Since I brought Lila home from the hospital 10 months ago, my M.O. has been to employ whatever means necessary to make Ellie like me again.  So when she insists on just sucking the toothpaste off the brush and calling it a day I dust off my hands and say good enough.

Clearly I need some help. 

Which is why I was so excited to be invited for a sneak preview of the newly renovated Delta Dental Health Theatre downtown earlier this week.  The theatre, which features interactive play exhibits, shows, special events and programs is a great way to get kids involved and excited about keeping their teeth from rotting out of their head.

I mean come on - who doesn't love a gigantic set of illuminated teeth and a talking toucan?

To celebrate the $145,000 renovation they're hosting a FREE family fun grand opening event on August 6 from 10am - 4pm featuring a host of activities for kids of all ages.  The event will kick off with a parade including people you might be (all too) familiar with - Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, Buzz Lightyear and Elmo (all available for one on one photo opps with your kids after the parade).

The festival will feature a variety of games, a bounce house, face painting, a balloon artist, a pirate juggler and numerous educational displays.

Also, the first 500 kids under 12 will also receive free tickets to a future visit to the Delta Dental Health Theatre, a tote bag and other give-a-ways.

And of course I'll be there signing autographs.  I'm also available for photo opps with your kids.  You can recognize me because my daughter is the one who looks like she has meth mouth.

Again, the event is FREE!  If you feel so inclined you can also bring canned food items for Operation Food Search.

For more information about the event or to learn about the theatre check out their website.    


A very wolfy birthday

So yesterday was my birthday. 

You know, birthdays used to be a really big deal until I was like 23. 

Now instead of losing sleep in the good kind of birthday anticipation, I lose sleep in the bad kind of anticipation that accompanies turning a year closer to death. 

Surprisingly, though, I held up really well. 

Well, until the end of the day when I wolfed out a little.   

I was hanging out with my bestie bloggers at a happy hour event and someone mentioned my birthday and I bragged that I was turning 35.  I honestly expected the group's reaction to be one of shock and disbelief because, in my mind, aside from the stretch marks which have completely riddled my stomach, I still look like I did on my 21st birthday.

Man that was a good time.   

So young.  So bendy.

So blackie outie. 

Anyhoo, rather than slam their fists on the table and declare me a liar, everyone just nodded sympathetically and said, "Yeah... 35... that's a big one." 

Holy shit... people believe I'm 35.   

Of course no birthday is complete without a burrito so I left the event to pick up Chipotle for Nick and me and on the way there I started feeling very nostalgic.  Suddenly, as if it were some test from God to see what I'm really made of, Far Behind by Candlebox came on the radio.  This song immediately catapulted me back to the summer of 1994 when the dorm tower elevator door was slamming shut on my parents' smiling faces and I was actually starting to believe they were serious about leaving me all alone at college.

I was scared shitless but had so much ahead of me... lifelong friendships, learning who I was and growing into the person I wanted to be, drinking so much at fraternity parties that I blacked out entire semesters... and now suddenly I'm a 35-year-old pregnant woman driving to Chipotle.

My life is going too fast!  And as Candlebox sang dumb ass lyrics that make absolutely no sense I just started crying, maybe partly because I used to think that song was so deep, and you know how that goes - once you start crying you can't stop and suddenly everything sad that ever happened in the world worms its way into my mind and before I know it I'm sitting in my car outside Chipotle and Bette Davis Eyes is now blaring through my speakers and I'm sobbing, "AMY WIIIIIIIINEHOUSEEEEEE!  WHY GOD WHY?" shaking my fist at the ceiling of my Accord.

Luckily I at least have my family to lessen the sting.

Me:  (returning home from Chipotle) Here's the Chipotle - I had a minor breakdown.

My Sister-In-Law Vicki:  Why?

Me:  Because I heard a song from college and it made me really nostalgic.

Vicki:  Was it on the oldies station?


So there you have it.  Here's to another year. 

Planet Ozark - Preggie Style

This weekend we packed up the whole fam damily and headed to my parents' house in Planet Ozark to drink beer and ride wave runners.  Not in that order, officer.

Which, for a 20-weeks-pregnant woman with a 2-year-old and 10-month-old translates to: 

This weekend I spent an entire day feverishly packing a suitcase for four people and then driving three hours listening to Dora to spend the night in a home filled with the ghosts of painful reminders of my awkward and ostracizing youth to watch other people drink beer and ride wave runners as I wistfully looked on, baking my insides in the 105 degree heat.

But overall it was a fun weekend.

Our first stop was, of course, a mercy detour to the local Phillips 66 to pick me up some Busch N/A where we ran into a man wearing a diaper.

Of course this type of thing is commonplace in Planet Ozark, so I nonchalantaly grabbed my camera phone to take a picture to add to my Collection of the Fucked Up.  What was unusual about this, though, was right as I snapped the photo my brother-in-law appeared out of nowhere and without a word they gave each other a hand slap and a finger snap. 

Go figure. 

When I asked him the next day why he had given the man in a diaper a high five he told me he might like to run for County Commissioner one day and he was, in his words, "Politicking." 

Never mind that we were three counties from his home town and this strategic career move would take place when he retires from the Army in about 20 years.   

Anyhoo, as we arrived at our friends' house I was feeling rather conspicuous about being very obviously pregnant and drinking what appeared to be a fully loaded Busch. 

Which gives me an opportunity to vent a little frustration.  I would really appreciate if the Budweiser packaging department would come up with a beer called "Don't Look At Me Like That You Asshole This Is Non-Alcoholic Beer.  No, Seriously - Wipe That Judgmental Look Off Your Funny Face My Hormones Are Really Bad Today And You're About To End Up On The Business End Of An Episode Of Snapped."  It would be bright yellow with hot pink lettering and maybe some flashing neon arrows.

But lucky for me we were in the really classy part of Planet Ozark and my self-consciousness about the font size of the N/A was quickly washed away as I noticed a woman fill up an empty Corona bottle with lake water and hand it to her toddler for a refreshing drink.

Watching this at least gave me a distraction from the obsessive thought that had been consuming my brain for the past 30 minutes - how much bacteria was in this water and whether or not it could make it far up my vagina enough to somehow give my unborn baby prenatal swamp ass.

I figured if the toddler was drinking it straight and still breathing it couldn't be that bad.

But we'll find out for sure in about two hours at my 20-week ultrasound. 

Which, now that we're talking about it, if you have a spare moment please say a private prayer that this thing isn't hermaphrodite.

But no judging if you have a hermaphrodite.  I'd just prefer it to be one or the other. 


Sucker punch

This morning Lila and I had our first fight. 

We decided to check out the Discovery Room at the Science Center which, by the way, is a really nice way to spend a hot morning. 

Anyhoo, we walked in and the minute Lila saw all the toys she was like "SMORGASBORD BONSAI!!!"  and bolted away from me in search of some good eats.

I mean seriously, nothing was off limits.  Every time I pulled something out of her mouth two more things went in.  Also every time I pulled something out and told her she was embarrassing us with her ape like manners she gave me this face.

This face was also punctuated with her chubby little arm taking a swat at my face, which is a new and fun development I'm really excited about. 

Realizing I was fighting an uphill battle I decided to do what I do best and give up.  I just sat on the stool and watched her, yelling stuff like, "Oh good... you're going to shove that in your trap too?  It should taste really good because I just saw some kid step on it.  You know, why stop at the balls?  Let's swing by the bathrooms on our way out and give your little palette a real culinary treat." 

Clearly Ellie was as mortified as I was.  After a while we both just pretended like we had no idea who she was.     

And everyone was happy. 

Until someone comes down with a case of the itis. 


The Princess Potty - Part I. Also Part Final.

Some days Karma is in your favor.  You know, like when I won the lottery.

But other days, there's a hurried rapping on your front door and you rush to open it because in the back of your mind there's a chance that your high school boyfriend sent you flowers.  That's what I always think, anyway.  Except insert the word "imaginary" before high school.  Anyhoo, when you open the door you are shocked to see it's actually Karma, naked, throwing open his rain coat and violently whirlybirding on your stoop as your horrified neighbors look on.

That's the Karma I've known lately.  In the past week...

1.  Nick drove off with my car keys on his trunk.  When later questioned about the whereabouts of my car keys he answered, "well I saw them on my trunk when I was putting the kids in the car, but I figured you'd take them off before I left."  Apparently I was supposed to have done that somewhere in the six second time span it takes him to put our children in their car seats and walk to the driver's seat and start the car.  While I was inside taking a nap. 

2.  Someone stole my granola bar out of the stroller while we rode the train at the zoo.  And I'm not talking about some cheap-o, second rate granola bar.  That thing was frosting topped and it was supposed to give me the energy not to faint while pushing a double stroller up a big hill.  It was sitting in the compartment next to my Blackberry, which I would have gladly traded for a snack as I contemplated whose ass I could kick on the way out if only I had the strength.

3.  Someone stole one of Ellie's sandals at the pool.  It's not so much the sandal itself, though if given the choice I would have much preferred them to take both so I don't have the daily reminder of carrying a 30-pounder in one arm and a 22-pounder in the other arm the length of a football field while toting this little ole thing

staring me in the face every morning as the lone sandal sits on the counter sadly waiting the return of its mate. 

So when my instincts politely asked me to postpone potty training until my luck and general attitude toward life hits an uptick I told them to butt out like I usually do. 

I am a schedule person.  The day my girls turned four months old I gave them cereal.  The day they turned six I gave them baby food.  On Ellie's first birthday I took the bottle out of her mouth, gave her a pair of tennis shoes and told her to keep up.  So, naturally, when she turned two it was time to stop pooping her pants.

One would think that if given the choice any civilized human being would prefer to shed their waste in a toilet, where the most minimal amount actually touches the skin.  But I think the invention of the Stadium Pal - whose slogan is "When you gotta go but you wanna stay" - puts the general attitude toward soiling oneself into perspective. 

Why would anyone choose to take time out of their busy day stacking blocks or throwing fits to sit on a boring toilet?  Even if it is covered in princesses and has a rhinestone flusher.

So the more I read and talked to my Mom, who, by the way, reminded me five times in a 20-minute phone conversation that she had me potty trained by 18 months, I learned that the only way to make this happen is to just dive in and put her in some underwear.

Let me just say that the thought of putting a little person, who has expelled the most rotten of all the foul raunchiness you would swear is from Satan himself in her diaper, into nothing but a pair of underwear and setting her loose around my home goes against every moral fiber of my being.

I apologized to Dora as I took her smiling face out of the package and told her this was not going to end well for either of us.  Then I set the microwave timer to 15 minutes, and Ellie and I walked into the playroom and just sort of stared at each other.

Then she got on the couch.

"No no no!  Not on the couch!" I screamed, startling her.  "Why don't we go stand in the bathtub for the next nine minutes?  Fun!  Or, even better, want to go play on the deck?  I'll just be watching you from the couch in this air conditioned room.  And you could even sweep up while you're out there!  What a lucky girl!"

She responded to my suggestion by peeing all over the carpet.  And some books.  And some blocks.  I'd be lying if I said that wasn't one of the creepier moments of my life - someone maintaining direct eye contact with me while urine runs down their leg. 

Of course by the time I rushed her into the princess potty there was nothing left in her bladder and poor Dora was over in the corner looking around for a knife so she could repeatedly stab herself in the face.

Repeat scenario countless times over three days substituting carpet, books and blocks with my leg, Nick's leg, couch and... well... just about everything. 

I guess I'm just a little confused about how this is better than diapers.  With diapers I have the freedom to change her at my convenience.  I don't have to clean up pee five times a day.  Our house does not smell like a stable. 

This whole thing is starting to evoke the same feelings of parental failure I had with breastfeeding.  Which I handled like a champ by crying and quitting.        



The Bearded Boob

So you all know how I always do my best not to be judgmental or make fun of other people.  When it comes to joking about the misfortunes of others I really try to take the high road.  I mean sure... I'll publicly ridicule anyone who doesn't look or act exactly like me every chance I get, but that's where I'll draw the line.      

Despite my usually admirable discretion, I will tell you that this morning I saw a bearded woman breastfeeding a baby and I can't just let that shit slide.  I must go public.   

Today started off like any other day.  We woke up, got dressed, and met my Fussy Friend Stacey and her daughter for breakfast.  After breakfast we met up with our pregnant friend Andi and her son Nicholas at the Missouri History Museum for a free concert by Mr. Saxophone

By the way, typing all of those words in that order brings everything about my life into perspective and I don't like how it sounds one bit.

Anyhoo, so there we were, watching our kids dance like they were on some sort of euphoric heroin trip

when the woman next to me leans over and says "they're really enjoying it, aren't they?" 

I look over to smile and notice she has a FULL BEARD.  I mean, we're not talking a little stubble.  Not a few strays.  A FULL BEARD.  It was black.  And it had a moustache.  She engaged me in further conversation and my eyes struggled to maintain contact with hers as the beard acted as a magical magnetic field trying to lure them downward with its beautifully tantalizing force. 

My eyes were starving to take a look so once we were finished talking I pretended like I was looking past her so I could discreetly get my fill of this thing.  And I quickly had to look away because I could feel my pancake start to claw its way up from a warm place of comfort in my stomach. 

A few minutes later I was ready for another good stare but she was gone.  Where oh where had my little bearded pet run off to? 

Well let me tell ya.  I looked across the room and there she was, sitting on the sidelines of the dance floor, breastfeeding her one-year-old.  No cover, no nothing.  In front of a crowd full of people.  I've frequenly had nightmares where I would somehow find myself doing the same thing and wake up in a cold panicked sweat.   

Okay.  Let me first go on record as saying I'm as pro-breastfeeding as the next woman.  I breastfed two babies and I know how it is to be stuck in a public place when one of those little suckers needs a snack.  However, I'm also anti-bearded-woman's-nipple-all-up-in-my-mix.  I mean, the room was full of men, women and pre-pubescent boys who are right now locked in their rooms questioning their sexuality.  And by questioning their sexuality I mean sawing their little penises clean off. 

I almost didn't write this post because I was afraid that Beard might read it.  But upon second thought I hope that she does.  I PRAY she does.  In fact, please allow me to take a moment to issue a public statement:

Dear Beard,

I know you've had it tough.  I can only imagine what it was like as a young girl, wondering why all your friends had faces like china dolls while yours was that of a wolverine.  But you're an adult now, Beard!  You have the control!  So many options are begging to be taken advantage of.  You can shave it, wax it, or if you want to really embrace your womanhood you can laser it off and finally escape the Land of Misfit Toys once and for all. 

The fact that you have two kids tells me that you've had sex with someone at least twice, so I'm guessing I speak for more than myself when I enter this plea. 

Let me be clear - if you do decide to take action, just because you no longer look like Orson Welles doesn't make it any better when you whip out your boobie in front of a packed roomful of kids.  Please... PLEASE... a Hooter Hider... a burp cloth... a Kleenex... ANYTHING! 

At the very least, if you're going to insist on doing nothing, please at least grow your beard to a length long enough to cover your lactating nipples. 


Everyone in the world who is not blind 

18 Weeks

Why yes thank you, I have been working out. 

The Fourth of JuFly

Please allow me to take a moment to introduce you to the newest pain in my ass.

These here are from the 4:00-4:15pm slaughter.

We have lived in our house for three summers. For three summers we have welcomed swarms of The Flies From Hell into our home for a very confusing two-week period.

These aren't your everyday normal house flies. These flies are large, appear drunk and have big red eyes that peer into the depths your soul. They have no regard for self-preservation and will actually fly right onto the swatter in some sort of masochistic suicide attempt. Yesterday one snuck up behind me, landed on my shoulder and whispered "got any peanut butter?" right before I smashed its ass.

They've gotten so out of control that I just swat them and leave their little carcases heaped in a mass grave by the couch, carting their lifeless bodies to the trash can every 15 minutes.

Or maybe that's just because I'm really lazy. I actually do the same thing with chicken bones.

This year, though, the flies have taken it to the next level. On Friday afternoon I was swatting at a super jumbo one on our office wall. As I went in for the kill I realized it was actually two flies who appeared to be dry humping and, shocked and nauseated and trying to turn my head from the insect atrocity, I accidentally hit our Internet modem knocking out our service until a tech could get out here two days later.

Then on Saturday Nick went down to the basement to read his nudey mags, AKA start some laundry when he noticed a whole mess of them on the wall. His gut reaction was to pour an entire container of bleach on them, sweep them up, and dump them down the sink.

This wouldn't be the first time that Nick's gut reactions have required the assistance of a plumbing professional.

The next day after I actually started the laundry I heard what sounded like someone peeing on the basement floor. Which wouldn't normally be unusual but Nick was at work. Upon inspection I found that the laundry sink had clogged and the basement had flooded.

I texted Nick.

"Did you put something down the basement sink? It's clogged."
"I found a bunch of flies down there."
"Were they from the mouse in the trash can?"
(did I mention that the heater cleaner guy found a mouse in our heater and put him in the trash can three months ago?)
"I don't think so. They were on the opposite wall."
"What else did you put down there? It's really clogged."
"Just some small debris - nothing that should have clogged it. Use the plunger."

Oh fabulous.

If I know what's attractive - and I think I do - it's a 5-months-pregnant woman standing in ankle deep water plunging a bunch of dead flies out of her laundry sink.

As I plunged and cursed and plunged and cursed some more, and pieces of what I can only guess used to be a pizza box floated to the top, the object of my frustration slowly shifted from the flies to my husband.

Who is a lot harder to kill.