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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Snowmageddeon 2015

The only thing which has gotten me through this day, beside mass consumption of wine, is that fact that it’s March and lord help me, there won’t be another snow day until 2016.  I wrongly thought this morning, at 6 am when the Commander awoke eager and ready to tackle his new suburban snow field, that a snow day in the suburbs with a 5 year old and a two year old, would be a million times better than last year when we were in the city with a 4 year old and a 15 month old.  I am a fucking moron. 

“Look outside, mommy! Look!  Can we go build an igloo now?” the Commander begs already trying to locate his snow pants.  The sun barely reaching above the snow covered trees and my coffee yet to brew, I optimistically suggested waiting until his brother woke up --- naturally, without the poking and prodding that Commander was offering.  “I don’t want to wait.  I can go out alone. I don’t need you.  You sunk.  I am going outside.” Managing to convince the Commander that the snow wasn’t ready, we calmly watched TV until TIT screamed bloody murder from his crib. Then all bets were off, and Snowmageddeon began.

I defray tackling the winter wonderland until nearly 11am by offering a variety of child-friendly activities. Inevitably, they are all a colossal failure which should have given me pause and provide a harbinger for how the rest of my day would go. Now taking kids out to play in the snow requires more prep work than a surgeon getting ready to do open heart surgery.  First, I begin with the less hostile child.  The Commander agreeably puts on two shirts and his snow pants while I chase the TIT through the house.  “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy,” the Commander wails from the backdoor.  “Hurry!!”  In his haste to get outside into the icy tundra, he fails to put on socks and just tosses his snow boots on.  “You need your socks,” I scream as I hold the TIT down still trying to wrestle off his diaper.  Now TIT is a different story.  He wants no part of winter wear and is content to go outside in a diaper and his Batman pajama shirt. Undeterred by the howling wind when the door opens, the TIT is simultaneously crying from the cold but barreling forward to get outside.  I manage to get 87 layers of clothing on him; snow pants, socks, a thermal shirt.  But the gloves, that’s a whole different story.  I try the mittens first but he is adamantly against them.  I then try gloves, but I might as well be rubbing acid in an open gapping wound, because TIT will have none of it.  At this point the Commander has aggregated a bountiful array of snow toys including my old hockey stick, a beach shovel and some buckets.  While I am trying to figure out which of these items is ok to bring outside, TIT has removed his jacket because, “Don’t want jacket,” makes a ton of sense to a stubborn 2 year old. 

So the Commander and his daddy are working on building the igloo but TIT just stands, frozen, gazing into the white sea of snow shaking and gloveless. I thought logic would prevail and once TIT touched the icy snow he’d realize that while the gloves aren’t great, they are the best option.  Fuck me for assuming common sense was in the arsenal of a toddler, because TIT continues to dig holes with his bare hands crying as his tiny little fingers turn red.  I take the obligatory winter pictures of boys in their backyard and think it makes more sense to bring TIT inside than allow him to get frost bite and have no way to get to the hospital because our driveway has yet to be plowed.  I scoop him up and bring him back inside and start the laborious process of removing the 87 layers of winter wear.  I mean, why would anyone, toddler or adult, want to stay outside in freezing weather for no good reason.  But “NO. GOOD. REASON.” is what drives this child.  Clawing at the door, naked, he is trying to get back outside to his brother and his dad. So I make the executive mother decision that outside time is over and it’s lunchtime and make the Commander forfeit his igloo fort and come inside.  It’s not fair, but it’s the only thing, which will stop the crying, and that is all I care about. Protesting, the Commander slams his shovel into his techno-color igloo and begrudgingly comes inside. 

Next on tap: popcorn, hot chocolate and a movie! What’s better on a snow day?  Silly, silly me.  My terrorists have a different idea than the Norman Rockwell-esque picture perfect suburban snow day.  They want no part of this shit.  “I want hot chocolate but I want it cold,” Commander bellows as he strips naked from his snow gear.  “You mean you want chocolate milk?” But that’s not what the Commander wants. He is specific.  He wants 2 parts milk, one part coco mix, heated for 39 seconds on high in his personalized Elmo cup.  He wants 10 mini marshmallows.  Not 7.  This kid won’t do math a day in his life at school but he knows exactly how many fucking marshmallows are in his cup and he knows how many more he needs to get to ten.  Meanwhile TIT, still with glowing red hands, in spite has started to dump every basket of toys.  I stay calm. I pour wine. It’s noon. It’s five in London.  We are all good here. 

Now my two are a rare breed.  Part little boy, part tiger-blood superhuman creatures, they are the only two children who DO NOT want to watch TV or a movie or enjoy playing with their variety of electronic devices that don’t require intense supervision or for me to wield a lightsaber and slap the shit out of them.  The Commander offers to watch Star Wars as the movie choice, but I know better. I know that he doesn’t watch this movie; he acts it out.  Not being in the mood to dress in a Darth Maul mask and be chased, I give them two other options.  Penguins of something or other and Frozen.  Since the Commander would rather have his eyes gouged out by Elsa than watch that movie, I knew the winner.   And for a few minutes, my two semi-naked little boys completed my vision of picture perfect suburbia.  They sat cuddled under a blanket, each with a bowl of popcorn calmly watching the plight of some baby penguin drifting astray on an iceberg.  I knew better than to high-five myself yet.  I was cautiously optimistic that this euphoria could last the whole 96 minutes of the movie and I could just sit. Sit quietly. But just like that, for NO GOOD REASON, the TIT takes his bowl of popcorn and tosses it on his brother. 

The Commander screams, “Hey! Make him stop. Mommy, make him stop.” Before I even have a chance to intervene, TIT then takes the Commander’s bowl of popcorn and throws that too.  “What the (I Stop myself before the FUCK) happened over here?” TIT points to the Commander and says, “Max did it. Max did it.” I saw the whole thing go down and I know the little hellion is lying.  I am amazed that at 2 this kid has lying down to an art he has mastered. He has the finger point, the look of surprise and disgust, as he throws his brother under the bus.  “He did not do this. Don’t lie to me,” I say.  He back peddles.  He thinks for a minute.  “Daddy did it.”

I pour some more wine and add the movie to the list of “Tried and Failed” for the day.  Then it dawns on me.  The reason we moved to the suburbs.  The whole thing which drove us from the city out to this sleepy suburban hollow.  It was in front of me the whole time.  THE BASEMENT!!

Yes, that’s it. That is what will save me for the next 8 hours.  Now before we moved into this house a month ago, I spent hours pondering how to make this area of the house the most delicious, child-friendly utopia imaginable.  I mean Chuck E Cheese meets Disney fucking World.  I had our contractor build a rock wall with a repel rope.  I put in a swing, a basketball hoop, a trampoline and added every toy we ever amassed. No kid in their right mind would ever want to play upstairs where there are unstained rugs and wedding crystal.

 I lug down a bottle of wine and a variety of snacks.  I forgo the healthy options; I have no fight left in me. I need what I have to get me to bedtime.  I decide, “Sure” and “Yes” are the words I will utter to all their requests for the rest of the day.

 “Sure you want an ice pop? Why not. Have two!”
“Soda! A-OK!! You got it.”
“Let’s have the whole box of cookies! Why stop now!”
“Let mommy open the Shiraz and then you can eat those chemical laden cheese balls from Costco!”

I set up an obstacle course downstairs.  I call it the “Kiddie Olympics” and I promise presents to the winner.  My goal: to tire the fuckers out.  The Commander is eating this shit up.  He’s climbing the rock wall, making three baskets in a row, jumping on one leg and then the other.  He runs up the stairs and down and up and down.  He’s adding numbers, reading words and I contemplate for a few minutes becoming a kindergarten teacher. I don’t stop barking commands until he breaks a sweat.  TIT on the other hand, has no interest in participating in my games.  He finds his favorite toy: electrical cords. 

This kid has cars and a Cozy Coupe and Leap Frogs, but his favorite things to play with are wires.  He’s not particular.  He likes iPhone wires. He likes extension cords.  He likes lamp wires. He likes computer cords.  He likes to carry them around and when he gets really ballsy he likes to try and plug them into outlets.  For NO GOOD REASON.  I offer alternatives, but there is nothing better than a brand new extension cord. That shit is gold.  Screw the iPad; Mommy got a brand new shiny wire.  I have to divert my attention from the Olympic games to address TIT’s impending electrocution.  And he is pissed when I take the wire and try and put it high up on a shelf.  It sends him into an electric frenzy of punching and kicking and screaming.  In the process of trying to control TIT, the Commander loses focus and interest in the Olympics and heads up stairs to “go swimming” in our bathtub.

My husband, snowed in as well, but “working from home” has managed to lock himself away in an upstairs office for most of the mayhem. I am pretty sure “Working from home” in part meant reading the WSJ and hiding from his offspring.  But now the Commander wants to his goggles and the bubble bath and go swimming with his brother and daddy.  I am more than happy to allow this to occur and throw all boys in a bath before I go and locate another bottle of Pinotage.  When I return to the bathroom, to my new beautiful bathroom with my new beautiful tub where I am sure the builder of the house envisioned as a relaxing oasis, I find the remnants of a tsunami.  Bubbles and suds overflowing everywhere running down the side of the tub and across the bathroom floor.

It’s 4:30. I am now two melatonin gummies and four hours away from bedtime. I have unleashed every mothering activity from my depleted arsenal short of baking cookies.  I think momentarily about tossing that in there.  And then I look at the bathroom floor and the mess. And I think about the basement and the array of toys scattered around and the crushed goldfish and spilled hot chocolate.  And then I think about the kitchen and the family room and the popcorn covered rug that has now been jumped on and crushed into the cushions of the sofa. I think about the dishwasher full of clean dishes that need to be put away and the sink full of dirty dishes which need to be loaded. And I surrender.

I quit.
I give up.
They win!
Winter, I am your bitch.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


There are few things I hate more than marketing with two children.  I have avoided it like I do public toilets, only relenting in dire circumstances. Today was one of those times.  Target alone is my Zen; Target with children is a prisoner of war camp.  But I was out of everything, my refrigerator was barren and I had resorted to giving TIT old cans of formula for the last two days when I was struck down with a virus and out of milk.  I had no choice.  I readied myself with a cup of black coffee (because I was out of cream) and a mantra chant to provide me strength to survive Superfresh with two kids.

The Commander cannot leave the house these days without dressing in full Star Wars regalia. Clad in his Jedi robe, his lightsaber hanging from his Nike shorts he filled the top of TIT’s stroller with his arsenal of weapons.  “I need my other water gun,” he wailed as I tried to strap a feisty TIT into the stroller.  “I need the blue gun! Zac needs a gun. He needs one too, Mommy!”  I focus on the task at hand, a rather simple on of just getting out of the house with my sanity and two kids in tow and I try to ignore he requests for weaponry and satiate it with an ice pop, one of the only food items in the house. 

I take no list and think surely I can pull it all together when we get there.  Just the basics, I tell myself. Nothing fancy, no crock-pot dinner tonight, we will dine on microwavable delectables.  I am happy these days with hummus on some Triscuits but I was out of that too, so it would have come down to macaroni all around.  The walk to the market was fine and I high-five myself mentally that I have accomplished walking five blocks with one kid in a stroller and one destroying pigeons and squirrels in his wake with an electronic lightsaber.  But all bets are off when the doors to Superfresh swing open and the Commander sees the coveted and all too present vending machines pushing crappy tattoos and plastic balls for a quarter.  “Can I have a ball? I want a green ball.  I can use it to destroy the angry birds. I want that ball,” he says pointing to a swirly green ball deep in the middle of the machine.  And if it was only a quarter for him to shut up, I’d gladly pay the sum and continue on with my marketing while he’d inevitably bounce the ball behind a stack of feminine products which would cause me to search on my hands and knees through Kotex boxes to locate said ball.  But these people who stack these vending machines know better and the ball he wants, the prized swirly ball is not the one, which is going to come out.  With my luck, it would be a pink princess ball, which would send the Commander into fits of hysteria. So I say No to the ball which then sets the tone to the rest of my shopping experience. 

I want this to be quick.  I want to grab a gallon of milk, some cream, a few vegetables and some odds and ends.  I want to be in and out in under 10 minutes without any carnage and without any catastrophes.  But I am sure we all know how this story is going to end. 

I make it to the produce aisle, but not before grabbing TIT a few snacks along the way to buy his silence.  So while he is munching on some dried cherries, I take all of 30 seconds to inspect some blueberries when I hear TIT scream. I turn to find the Commander unloading a full water gun on his brother.  The Commander is laughing his ass off as his brother is being drenched in a water gun filled with Washington Square fountain dysentery-laden water. I am disappointed not because TIT is crying and wet and I should feel bad for him, but more so for that fact that now I definitely need to bathe him after he has been shot up with water that is a bathtub for the city’s homeless.  “PUT THE GUN DOWN,” I scream at the Commander. I scream loudly because I have to be heard over his convulsing giggles.  Every purveyor of fruit drops the melon that they are holding and looks our way and I realize that shouting “put down the gun,” in a crowded supermarket may be just as bad as screaming “fire” in a crowded theater.  With my head hung low, I grab the Commander by his wrist and rip gun from his sticky little fingers and toss it under the stroller. “You cannot shoot your brother. You don’t shoot babies in supermarkets.”  People are staring but I have already, 7 minutes into this journey, reached the “I don’t give a fuck” stage. 

Undeterred the Commander moves on to a different weapon and is a few feet ahead of us making lightsaber swooshes to the pineapple display.  In a pathetic attempt to regain my composure and standing as a decent mother with other shoppers, I ask the Commander what type of fruit he wants in his lunchbox this week. “I don’t want fruit. Fruit sucks. I want fruit gummies.” It is then I realize that the Commander is wearing his shoes on the wrong feet.  I would stop to address, but I fear the looks I would get if anyone caught the stench of his shoes when I removed them from his feet. “Max, your shoes are on wrong,” I say. “Do you want to go and change them?” He looks down at his feet and then up at me.  “Why? This is how I like it.” So I decide it’s not worth it and let him keep wearing them since he seems to be walking just fine. 

I had managed to get through the produce department and was working my way over to dairy when TIT became disenchanted with the dried cherries.  Rather than handing them back to me, he dumps the bag out all over the floor.  I try to pile them up, kicking them into a pile in aisle 2, but the Commander has gotten a few aisles away and is trying to get something on a high shelf.  “Mommy!!! Mommy. Mommy???” he is wailing from afar. I find him in the chips aisle trying to reach for a bag of Lays on the top-shelf. TIT gets in on the action and is yelping and gesturing towards the Pirates Booty that seems to be the better choice.  So I grab a bag, bust it open and dole out to both boys.  The savages are momentarily tamed and I take the opportunity to grab some milk, cream and yogurt. 

I have filled the entire under-carriage of the stroller with a week’s worth of groceries and am ready to check out before I press my luck and try to recall any forgotten items in a final sweep of the market.  But checkout is the hardest part of this journey and I had to time it correctly.  I needed to make sure I wasn’t behind an Extreme Couponing contestant or anyone who was going to need any extra assistance.  Hoping I picked the right line, I bend over to start unloading my haul onto the conveyor belt.  TIT had been relatively peacefully once he was mauling a huge bag or Pirates Booty and the Commander was fighting Battle Droids and Storm Troopers right in front of the cereal aisle.  I begin to place the bagged apples on the belt when I get rammed in the butt with a lightsaber from behind.  Shocked that I am being anally attacked in the checkout line at Superfresh I jump up at lightening speed, hitting my head on the handle of the stroller only to turn and find the Commander in the “force push” position wanting to battle me.  “Let’s fight,” he challenges me. “I lightsabered you, Mommy. You need to fall down and die.” Clearly, I wanted to at that moment but I couldn’t because now TIT had discovered my other favorite part to supermarkets: checkout lane candy.  I look over and he has covered himself in the stroller with M & Ms and Twix Bars and it trying to tear open the wrappers.  “Mommy, Mommy. You need to lie down on the floor and pretend you are dead.  Lie down. Scream, pretend you are bleeding and your guts are coming out.” He is yelling loudly, but not loud enough to drown out TIT’s  “OPEN! OPEN.” 

I chose to do neither; and clean the diabetic shock-inducing buffet off TIT and try to strong arm the lightsaber from the Commander.  “Do you have your loyalty card?” the checker asks oblivious my own personal hell which is happening feet away. TIT goes back for a second swipe at the candy and refuses to take no for an answer.  He has now inched his way forward in his seat and is standing and trying to wiggle free from the harness to get the gum.  He manages to snag a package of Mentos and looks at it quizzically.  “Put it back. I am serious,” I say to him.  He ignores me as he always does and starts making lightsaber noises and slashing the credit card machine to his left.   “Paper or plastic?” the checker asks me again as he is bagging the groceries.  Do I really give a rat’s ass? Plastic, paper, garbage bags? I don’t care. Just bag it fast so I can get the F out of here before all hell breaks loose. 

I make it out of the store and survive the walk a few blocks, as I am repeatedly wacked with a lightsaber.  TIT refuses to stay in his stroller. He is hysterical and has managed to work free from his restraints.  So I stop to adjust and realize that I am going to have no choice but to carry him the remainder of the way.  I reach in to untangle his leg which sends my precariously balanced stroller flying.  TIT was balancing the weight of the groceries hanging off the back and when I removed him the entire stroller tips backwards, dumping out half my groceries on the ground.  No one stops to help as I am trying to catch rolling fruit and contain two toddlers.  “Mommy? Mommy. Can you put Zac down for a minute? Can we have a water gun fight before we go home?” Mommy, can I have one of those? Can you open that box? Open it. Open it.”  Amidst the chaos, the Commander sees a box of Blue Bunny ice cream cones and thinks at this moment on the street; his brother shoeless and wailing and my groceries spread across a cross walk, it is a perfect time for a fucking ice cream cone and water gun battle. 

As I throw every last item I find on the ground into the bin on the stroller, I notice a ball of mozzarella cheese and a wedge of Brie in TIT’s seat. He had managed to pilfer some items from the store and hide it behind himself in the seat. Over the years, my children have managed unwittingly shoplift a large array of odd items in our travels. Anything stroller level is fair game and many times winds up tucked behind a guilty toddler.  I think, for a very brief second, about going back to return the items. It would be the right thing to do and as a good mother who is trying to teach my kids good things, I should take back the cheese. I think this for all of six seconds until the Commander slaps me again with the lightsaber. So I am sorry Superfresh on 5th Street, IOU.  And I do promise to repay you the next time I market peacefully alone without my children.  

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Final Act: The Flight Home

I get nervous when we roll up to TSA screening.  Nervous because I am worried what they will do when they find the arsenal of weapons in the Commander’s Star Wars backpack which he refuses to put in the check thru.  I am sweating, my ponytail has fallen to the side and my eye make up is running.  I look like I just finished an Olivia Newton John workout circa 1985 and I look guilty of a crime. I wonder if the outline of 3 water pistols and a lightsaber will set off alarms and if the TSA agent will actually deem these items dangerous because the Commander will go all Osama Bin Laden if they try and confiscate them and I may actually be stuck in Disney forever.  I sweat more at this thought.

I begin to disrobe. “Your jacket and shoes, ma’am,” the TSA agent motions for me to put them in the bin while TIT is now loose from the restraints of his stroller and very interested in the conveyer belt which he thinks is just another ride at Disney.  With one shoe off, TIT decides to make a break for it and tries to dart through the metal detector while the person on the other end is getting the wand waved over them.  I try to grab him but I can’t and I don’t want to piss these TSA people off because they have a lot of power when you are trying to smuggle chocolate milk and super soakers on a domestic flight.  “My son,” I say pointing to TIT who is now deciding which way to run while I am in pursuit.  “I need to grab him before he boards a flight for Miami!” One of the TSA guards tries to detain TIT by standing in front of him until I can get through the metal detector.  TIT looks up at his challenger.  Despite the hulking size of the TSA agent and the unfamiliar face, TIT isn’t deterred.  He tries to shake him, spin left and bolt right, but he tumbles into the guy’s knee and falls to the ground.  “Hold him,” I scream to the agent, almost hoping that this guy pins my 19 month old on the ground because I really don’t think he gets the fact that this kid has solid moves and will take off faster than most flights in this airport.

I get the special treatment because TIT’s actions and they test each bottle of milk and each Pediasure for explosives.  The TSA agent rummages through my bag with gloved hands, inspecting every item in it as he removes each piece one by one.  My carry on is cavernous, every pocket filled strategically with items to “Shut them the fuck up” on the plane.  I have goodies, snacks, milk and enough changes of clothing that my kids can depart, arrive and travel in 3 totally separate outfits.  I have bribes, dollar store gizmos, Xanax and Benadryl (for them).  This is Orlando so I am sure he’s seen worse. He gives me a “my thoughts are with you, but I am so fucking glad I am not on your flight” look as his rezips my tote and sends me on my way.

TIT is going through a daddy phase.  I am grateful because it gives me a good excuse to hand him off.  “Oh wow Matt, look how excited he is to see you,” I say as TIT screams Daddy over and over again when Matt walks into a room.  But TIT doesn’t just reserve the bellowing of “Daddy” for just Matt, he is impartial and any male to walk by, TIT will scream “Daddy”.  So as we are getting comfortable in our seats on the plane, TIT is hollering “Daddy” to every man to walk down the aisle.  And he isn’t just saying it, he is screaming at the top of his lungs and now ending the word with a quizzical question mark and pointing.  “Daddy?” “Daddy?”  I try to laugh and say equally as loudly as TIT, “Oh no, ha ha ha, Daddy is right there,” as I point to my husband and assure all the men getting on the plane that TIT is not a product of a sperm bank.  I swear that he gets this and he is just laughing his little balls off inside, because he starts doing it louder and emphasizing the question mark and pointing with exaggerated excitement.

Matt for sure has the easier seat.  We always split up, two and two, because we all know how well man-on-man defense works.  He takes the Commander and pours him some Sprite in a cup and you would think he just cured cancer by how proud he is at this accomplishment.  The Commander is leisurely drinking his Sprite and playing Angry Birds on his iPad when over here in my row, the TIT has taken apart a Wendy’s hamburger and is throwing fries at the seat in front of me.  Matt looks over, smiles and turns the page of his magazine.  But I know that the iPad has only 28% power and I know he is going to be fucked somewhere over Georgia when that shit goes out.  So I smile back at him and hand TIT another fry, which he looks at, and screams “Daddy?” 

It’s a short flight, only 2hours and 15 minutes and we are already about 55 minutes into the flight.  Zac had given up on screaming Daddy somewhere over Georgia and the Commander’s iPad is still working.  Score one for Matt because once the novelty of annoying people with his incessant  “Daddy?” wore off, TIT just made it easy on himself and went with the pirates torturing baboon noises.

“Ayyyyy ugh ayyyyy, RRRRRR!”

At a pitch ten times as loud as the engines roaring, “ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR, EEEEEE AW EEEE AW EEEEEEE AWWW”

“Switch seats with me,” I say to Matt. “No way, why?” he asks as his seatmate, the Commander reclines, arm behind his head and watches at movie on the iPad. “Because it’s only fair. I have been sitting with TIT the whole time. You got the easier kid. He’s driving me nuts.” 

TIT understands the power of torture.  He, even at this young and nubile age, has mastered the art of humiliation and enjoys inflicting pain upon his parents.  In my efforts to shut him the fuck up, I went to song before I attempted dance.  I belted out the alphabet about 100 times. If I lowered my voice below a dull roar, TIT would wail and I’d have to sing it louder again.  But then he grew tired of the alphabet song and I was forced to a low point, to place I didn’t want to go in public. I had nothing left but to reach for the one and only song to soothe him as a baby.

“Put an A upon a slim gold bar take an E a Phi and that is who we are. With our colors that are green and white, AE PHI will be our guiding light…” I sang. I sang very loudly, loud enough that people two rows up turned and looked back at me. I crooned and swayed and sang the entire sorority rush soundtrack for him. TIT was now gleeful at my public humiliation. Downright chipper, TIT is giggling with delight when the Commander’s iPad goes dead. 

I see it happen. The Commander looks forward and turns the iPad over.  He shakes it.  Probably a fix-it move learned from his father.  When he realizes that it’s dead, he gets a panicked look, which most likely matched both his father’s and mine. “It’s dead, Mommy. My iPad is dead.”  I reach for my bag and go to the “emergency compartment, but the Commander has smartened and no way is some crappy dollar store toy going to soothe the beast.  “Do you want to play with some Angry Bird cards?” I ask, reaching over my husband and handing him a pack of unopened cards.

“No.” I see the tears start to well in the bottom of his eyes.  I have seconds, only a few before the eruption into a full-fledge tantrum so I have to act quickly.  I see the man in the row behind us buzz for the stewardess and assume he is either going to ask for another drink or ask for us to be thrown off the plane over Virginia. But then I realize the iPad mini was in my bag and I reach for the last iDevice with any power.  It only had 12% but I was hoping it would last us until the final descent. 

The TIT who had been silent for about 10 minutes got bored. He has saved the energy he could have been using during that respite and come back louder and stronger with these unearthly barking sounds.  He alternates between laughter and hysterics and casually glances over at me to decide which one is more torturous to me.  “Do something!!!” Matt says as he takes another sip of his cocktail and reaches for an alternate publication.  “What the fuck would you like me to do?” I say, curse word and all.  Because really, I had done song and even some dance. I had read some horrible Brown Bear shit. I fed him fry after fry. I was out of tricks.  I am unclear as to what brilliant plan my husband wanted me to apply at 35,000 feet.  But then it dawns on me and I reach in the seat pocket and pull out the barf bag.  I take some crayons in my bag and make a puppet and I am pretty sure I just won mother of the fucking year! I am queen of the mile high mother’s club. I manage to silence TIT and my husband as I act out a full puppet show for him with inked up barf bags. 

The pilot comes over the loud speaker and announces we have begun our initial descent and I breathe a sigh of relief.  I know that in less than 15 minutes we will be back on ground and I am 35 minutes away from being back in my own apartment.  The Commander, going on 4% iPad juice is playing a game peacefully.  I feel the plane begin to inch its way down through the clouds. The sights on the ground become clearer and I gaze out the window enjoying the fleeting moments of quiet when I turn to hear TIT making some new noises.  They were muffled at first, then he got louder with some grunts and groans.  These were new noises and I wasn’t sure if he was trying out some new sounds in the hopes of giving our seat neighbors a parting gift.  Then I see his chest heave in and out, his mouth opens and it’s like a scene from the Exorcist.  A volcanic eruption of chocolate milk and French fries come flying out with seismic force.  I had just used the barf bag for my puppet show, oh how irony loves to bitch slap me and I am down to about 5 wipes in my Huggies container.  I start to try and catch the next bout of vomit with the US Airways magazine but it’s too late and I am covered in chunks of chewed potato pieces.  I reach in my bag to grab the only thing I can find which is absorbent and I start to wipe us both down with a diaper. 

If our neighbors didn’t see the incident, they most definitely smelled it. The vomit had mostly landed on TIT and me and I quickly filled my barf puppets with what I was cleaning up off the floor.  “When we land,” I say to Matt while wiping my vomit covered neck off, “We run. We get off this plane quickly and with purpose. Grab everything – bags, kids, car seat and just go.”

We all ride in silence until the flight lands, even TIT is quiet.  And for the last 10 minutes of this miserable flight, despite the fact I smell like fraternity house and any hint of Xanax has worn off, I find my rare slice of smelly quiet luxurious.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Man on Man vs. Zone Defense

There were plenty of reasons I only wanted two kids: I would never drive a minivan, like EVER; I want my family to fit at a 4-top table and not need to wait for a booth and my doctor won’t prescribe more than 30 Ativan in a month, and lord knows that would not be enough I if I had three kids.  But mainly, the reason for my desire to have only two kids was that I thought it made sense from a defensive standpoint.  Two kids and two parents meant that we could play man on man defense.

I had told Matt this from the get-go and imagined that he was on board for this plan too.  Divide and conquer. There were two of them and two of us. We were bigger, stronger and smarter and if we worked as a team the job would be manageable.

 In the beginning he was game. “Sure, I’ll stay home with TIT while you take Commander to the birthday party. It’s his naptime. I wouldn’t want the little guy to miss a nap,” he said laden with saccharine kindness.  So while baby TIT slept blissfully in a swinging Mama-roo, Matt would read the Wall Street Journal and watch DVR college wrestling while I climbed bounce houses to retrieve the Commander who refused to leave even for cake and pizza. All that was required at that point, was to flip him over occasionally and give him a bottle. Who even needed to change a diaper? It’s not like his nose knew the sniff test like mine and whether honestly or not, he denied ever smelling the stench of a dirty diaper that filled every room of the apartment.

Matt opted to take take TIT as his man. Who would blame him, the job was sedentary and required little more in the infant days than just burping and feeding.  And TIT was an easy baby. But as TIT grew into the beast he is, Matt’s strategy of Man on Man shifted to more of a Zone defense. 

On a recent Saturday morning when both kids decided that it was time to rise and shine long before the sun, Matt managed to sleep through the caucophony of explosions that were occurring in the living room as TIT and the Commander took turns catapulting themselves off the sofa.  “I need Nilla. I’m thirsty. I am soo sooo thirsty. I need it now,” the Commander whines just as TIT plows his Cozy Coupe into the side of the dining room table and gets out to survey the damage.  I avert my eyes from the Commander towards TIT’s accident scene and the Commander goes haywire. “Mommy, Moommmmmmy. I am talking to you. Did you hear me? I need Nilla. Nilla is my morning drink. Mommmmmy, do you think Bobba Fett drinks Nilla. Mommmy, Mommmy?” TIT is crying because he can’t reach the Commander’s Lego X-Wing fighter that I am pretty sure he will either try to consume it or throw and destroy it.  Either of those actions will send the Commander into a mad tantrum, so I go and deal with TIT first which then sends the Commander into tears because his immediate needs were not met with immediate action.  And my husband still continues to sleep.

I save the X-Wing fighter from peril and move it to a high shelf out of the reach of either child and think to myself that I may just be a superhero mommy saving the day. But just as think “problem solved” as I step off the chair and look at the X-Wing fighter that has lived to fight another day, both kids lose their minds simultaneously. “Give me back my X-Wing fighter. I need it! I need it.” The Commander is now trying to move other pieces of furniture to climb up to the kitchen cabinet to go and retrieve it.  He’s balling his eyes out uncontrollably. “You sunk,” he screams at me, his version of “you suck” but somehow has gotten butchered, thankfully, into “You Sunk.”

I am about to go all good parent on his ungrateful ass, “Do not talk to me like that,” I say.  “I need to save it from your brother before he breaks it. Mommy is helping you.” I am attempting to explain this to him, that his X-Wing had to moved to a high up place so that it wouldn’t be destroyed by the Dark Side aka his brother.  He seems to weigh this in his mind and there is a pause in the tears, long enough for TIT to scream at the top of his lungs and make a run for his step stool which he carts around the apartment for purposes just like this.  The howl from TIT reminds the Commander that he’s there and the Commander dashes over to punch his brother and then pinch and twist his skin. Surprisingly, TIT doesn’t cry. He briefly pauses and then resumes carrying his stool to the cabinet. He can only reach high enough to get to the shelf with the sippy cups and kids’ utensils and not reach the X-Wing.  TIT realizes that his plan is flawed and failed, so in anger he tosses a bunch of sippy cups and plastic bowls with monkey faces to the ground causing a huge crash sound.  And my husband still sleeps.

“He threw my bowl!” the Commander screams infuriated. He hadn’t used these bowls which he condemned as “too babyish” in eons, but that doesn’t diffuse his anger.  He runs over and whacks TIT again.  I threaten time out and he makes a run for our bedroom. “Daddddyyyy Dadddy, Daddddy!” the Commander who alternates between tears and screams tries to engage my husband who is still asleep…with ten pillows over his head to muffle the screams.  “Daddy, Daddy. Wake up!! Zac is bothering me and Mommy took my X-Wing fighter away. Can you get me Nilla? Nilla is my morning drink and mommy won’t give it to me. I am so thirsty. Daddy, wake up. WAKE UP!!!” My husband comes out of his cocoon, peeking his eyes up above the covers  and blinking sleep away.  TIT charges the bed too and now both kids are attacking him. I don’t try to save him because, really, I have been dealing with this ALONE for nearly 2 hours now. “I need another five minutes,” he says as both kids use his back as a trampoline and he retreats under the blankets again. “I’ll watch them in here,” he offers. 

So now the bedroom is his “zone”.  He staked out this position a long time ago and usually offers to defensively “cover” this area.  Mistakenly, he thinks putting an episode of Cailou on and burying himself in a cave of fluffy bedding is a good defensive move.  I allow him to foolishly remain in this warped reality because I know what’s coming. “OK,” I say  as I close the bedroom door leaving him with two wild beasts on the loose, “You have both of them.” I leave and go pour myself my eighth cup of coffee.  It takes only five minutes and I hear a crash and then, “CARRIE! CARRIE! HELP ME!!”  I sip the coffee slowly. I don’t rush. 

“What happened?” I ask when I walk into the room to find the Commander had made a lightsaber out of a metal hanger and TIT is walking around with a bottle of Febreeze spraying it at the Commander while making shooting sounds with a microscopic lego piece of the Death Star in his mouth.  I am horrified at this sight and pretty sure that next diaper change, I am going to find some pieces of the Death Star in TIT’s shit. “Matt, seriously, you can’t let them play with these things. Someone is going to get really hurt. It’s a metal fucking hanger? Someone could lose an eye.” I remove the hanger from the Commander’s hand and swipe the Febreeze from TIT, which send both of them into hysterics again. “Give me back my lightsaber. I need it. I need it. It’s mine. I want it back.” He makes a run for the bed to get my husband to take his side. “Daddy, Mommy took my toy. I need it back. I need my lightsaber.” While this is going on, TIT goes into the bathroom and finds a pump of lotion and comes out pumping it and making shooting sounds at the Commander who is now weaponless, pantless and jumping on top of my husband who somehow is still trying to close his eyes during this madness.  “Zac put it down,” I say as I try and wrestle the Neutrogena lotion from him before it’s all over the floor.  I disarm TIT who reacts by going after his brother on the bed.  He surprises him and pushes the Commander down from behind and the Commander lands square on the pile on the covers which is my husband. “Ouch,” he screams, muffled from beneath piles of blankets.  “Can you take them in the other room,” he begs. 

“Nope, this is your zone, my friend,” I say as I leave and close the door and head out to the living room, my zone which for once is quiet and serene.