Move Over Tony Stewart


I mean it. Get the heck out of my way!!

You haven’t seen aggressive driving until you have a mama possessed in trying to get a cranky toddler home before he falls asleep in the car and thinks that five minutes is his allotted nap for the day.

Peanut was full of crank and vinegar at lunch with a fellow high heeled mama and her sweet little three month old munchkin (oh, remember the days when you could, theoretically, go anywhere at any time of day because the little one would sleep wherever they were and naps didn’t have to be in a crib between the hours of 1 and 3pm?), so I knew we must be tired and in need of some serious nappage.

Lunch was a bit across town from my house, but no big deal. I had a few tricks up my sleeve for
keeping the peanut awake. Until coming upon major construction at a major intersection along my route home. Those 15 minutes of sitting were the beginning of the end. The lids started to get droopy. The breathing more rhythmic and slow. When we were finally past it, nothing I could do could keep this guy awake.

UGH!

The transition into the house wasn’t much better. I couldn’t get the key in the door. There was a clown of a squirrel running around the driveway and catching my drowsy guy’s attention. The cat started her typical complaining for food (even though her dish is full). I’ve put him down in a wet diaper because I thought for sure the act of changing him would REALLY wake him up. And our neighbors yard guys just showed up for some high-powered leaf blowing (which is usually not a problem as long as we’re already asleep when they start).

Now I hear him babbling away through the monitor. History tells me we aren’t getting a nap today. And boy that makes for a rough afternoon for mama. At least I had a nice lunch out (thanks again, Miss M. and little Libby). And a babysitter coming tonight so the hubby and I can go to a cooking class date night (part of his Christmas present) that does include wine.

Before I give up on the nap, I think I’ll update the resume. I got some mad driving skills! And I’ve seen Days of Thunder a few times.

“Rubbin’, son, is racin’.”

Isn’t that all I really need to know? Move over NASCAR dads, this soccer mom is drafting and aiming to make a move on the high side (cause, as Cole Trickle showed us, passing up high is way more dramatic than down low).

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From Bad Mommy to Good

Motherhood is a fickle friend. You can go from feeling like the best mom in the world to the worst in a matter of moments. It’s irrational the things we blame ourselves for and silly what we pooh-pooh that, on the flip side, we should totally be taking credit for.

Last Wednesday, peanut took a header on the playground stairs. He ended up with a horrible black eye. There was no serious damage done, but we were headed home this weekend for a few family events. Nothing like dark purple bruises on your face to be documented forever in photos. Not to mention the unsolicited comments at restaurants and rest areas along the way about how cute your son is, but check out that shiner (oh, really? I hadn’t noticed). At least one of the family events was peanut going to a hockey game with the hubby and hubby’s dad, peanut’s Opa. A black eye blends right in there! Although I didn’t feel there was anything I could have done on the playground differently (lost-footing is a common, and expected, side effect of toddler hood), I did feel responsible for some reason.

But the silver lining? Peanut completely perfected “thank you” during our trip home. He started saying “ank you” on Thursday and during the six hour car ride on Friday would politely repeat it every time we handed him a toy or snack. The best was an unsolicited “ank you” he gave the grandparents when they handed him rocks to throw in the creek behind their house.

I totally feel like a parenting genius! “Ank you” very much!

Double Jeopardy?

Something’s in the water.

I’ve written before about how I don’t think we’re ready to add to our family with baby number two yet…but I’m starting to feel the peer pressure.

I recently learned that two people I know who had their first babes around the same time I had peanut are pregnant with numero dos. And two of my college gal pals with slightly older children are due in the next few months with their second course. And two mommies I’ve met in the last year who have little ones under age 18 months have recently announced their pregnancies. I’m surrounded by pregnant women! All who have done this before and seem super excited to be doing it again. So why don’t I feel “ready?” Is it bad that I’m enjoying being my pre-preggo size again? What’s wrong with me? And how do you know when you’re ready for another?

It seems like a totally different decision as the first time around. The first time, it’s a little bit of a leap of faith that “now” is the “right” time. You’ve never been a parent and everyone you know continues to tell you throughout your pregnancy that you have no idea what it’s really like until the kid arrives. You’ve never been pregnant before, so a lot of the focus is centered on you and your body. There is all the research and the shopping and the newness of everything.

Considering having another should be easier, I would think. You have a reasonable expectation of what pregnancy is like, even if the second time is nothing like the first. You have all the gear and can be much more realistic about what you would really need.

But, and this is where I stumble on a very big BUT, this time we won’t be alone. I’m already mommy to someone and that brings in two times the issues. How do you get through the physical challenges of pregnancy while chasing a toddler? How do you make the first child understand/feel comfortable/welcome the new baby/attention getter? Where would I physically put this hypothetical second child and all their gear in my house that is already taken over by Little People, picture books, blocks and stuffed toys?

I suppose it’s another leap of faith. Luckily, the hubby and I agreed no discussing number two until age two, so I’ve got some time to just enjoy my peanut before contemplating his need for a sibling.

Until then, I’ll stick to bottled water, thank you.

A Flashback

Earlier this week, there was a minor bruhaha about whether Barack Obama had plagiarized a speech by the governor of Massachusetts. Honestly, I don’t really have an opinion on this matter – seems like it could be a political blame game or a staffer mistake or any number of blurry-lined issues related to campaign politics. But the story did bring me back to sophomore year in high school…never really a good place to go, is it?

During World History class, Ms. Jones assigned us a research paper that was fairly open ended. We had to compare, I believe, something we were studying in class with its modern equivalent and explore how the ancient was influencing the present. My dad is a residential designer, so architecture was a natural fit for me. I loved flipping through his architecture books and started to notice some similarities between the medieval architecture we were studying and some of the Frank Lloyd Wright photos that filled my father’s office.

I set about researching and writing an extensive paper on this subject. I was so proud presenting it to my dad the night before turning it in. He provided me the books and resources, but stayed out of the analysis, encouraging me to come to my own conclusions. When he finished reading it, he laughed. He said that Frank Lloyd Wright would certainly not approve of my paper since he felt his design was unique, organic and from the landscape – not influenced by the stuffy, classical architecture of Europe. And honestly, it was that attitude that allowed FLW to truly change the face of American architecture…

But that’s neither here nor there.

When our graded papers were finally handed back, I was so excited. That was short-lived when I saw my very low B at the top of my paper. I immediately went to Ms. Jones to see where I had failed. She indicated that these ideas were certainly not my own. I asked for the opportunity to prove myself and arrived at school the next day with every last book I used for my paper, pages marked where I had compared photos or concepts and asked her to revisit my paper. She ended up raising my grade to a high B, but told me she still didn’t believe that I could write such a good paper.

WHAT?! So much for being rewarded for hard work and perseverance and talent.

This whole experience is still a sensitive subject for me (obviously!). I kept that paper and found it a few years ago when we were moving. I sat and reread it amongst all the boxes and damn if it wasn’t still a great paper. Still deserves to be an A. But I learned probably more from that one paper than anything else in that whole year of World History. I learned how to think for myself and defend my ideas when they were under attack. I learned the bitter taste of low expectations. I learned that there are some people you just can’t please. I learned that maybe I was a pretty good writer.

And I learned the importance of respect. Ms. Jones lost mine. But I gained a little bit more respect for myself. I guess for that, I have to thank her.

I guess.

Just A Typical Sunday Evening

I’m constantly amazed at how enhanced my multi-tasking skills have become since I became a mother. I thought I was a pretty good multi-tasker before – always more productive with 20 things to do than 2 – but this weekend, and truly last night, embodied how productive I can be.

Throughout the weekend, I had been taking a series of 45 minute breaks from convalescing with the cold that just won’t go away to prime and put up three coats of paint in our bathroom. I had already commented to the hubby on how the lack of sick time when you’re mama toughens you up to power through an illness (of course, I told him this probably Saturday night while clutching a steaming cup of tea in one hand, a box of Kleenex in the other and cuddled under a blanket on the couch).

Then came Sunday afternoon.

I was waiting for paint coat number two to be ready for coat number three (I thought priming before I painted red on the walls was supposed to cut down on the number of coats it took to cover…oh well) and by waiting, I mean dozing on the couch while the hubby and peanut played. And by played, I mean watched the Daytona 500. Somewhere after 4pm, the words “we’re seeing a defined hook in the cloud formation” cut through to my sub-conscious and I found myself sitting up on the couch before I was even fully awake. Hooks in the cloud formation of a strong thunderstorm are a good indicator of tornadic activity. And me and tornadoes don’t particularly get along.

We watched the radar for awhile and at 4:45, the hubby announces that it might be a good idea to get in the closet (our designated “safe” area). The next hour or so went something like this:

* 4:45 – 5:15 Hang out in the closet with two adults, a cranky 18 month old and a weather alert television. Oh, and a basket of musical toys because mommy wasn’t thinking about how annoying said 18 month old would be playing harmonica in a closet.
*5:15 Give up on closet and see that all we’re getting is a strong dowsing of rain (alleluia!).
*5:16 Put water on to boil for rice pilaf.
*5:17 Decide to put up third coat of paint. Leave hubby in charge of stirring in the rice.
*5:47 Painting completed (it’s a small bathroom and I’m speedy!). Hubby begins paint brush clean-up (because I’d rather volunteer to do all the painting than to actually clean it all up) while I commence heating of the prepared rotisserie chicken and the steaming of the broccoli.
*6:07 Sit down to complete dinner, glass of wine and no need to paint after dinner.

Unfortunately, the rest of the evening was spent blowing my nose profusely and living through a horrible sinus headache that insisted on sticking around through breakfast this morning. But my bathroom’s red walls look pretty good…except I think they may need a fourth coat.

Maybe tomorrow. I think I’ll stick to single-tasking today.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Some days can be pretty rough as stay-at-home-mom. I am the kind of person who thrives on feedback. All the jobs I’ve held are results oriented – you either get the story in the paper/on TV or you don’t, you either make the sale or you don’t. I always knew where I stood. Being a SAHM has been quite the adjustment in this respect. I find it much easier to blame myself for the bad stuff that happens (the colds, the bumps and bruises, the temper tantrums) than to give myself credit for the good.

This afternoon was no exception. Peanut pulled a nice clump of hair from my head and laughed when I tried to “discipline” him with timeout only to go back to attempting to pull my hair again when timeout was over. He threw several kicking fits for no reason I could discern. At 5, I was calling the hubby to remind him to come home (as if he had somewhere better to be, but it’s my not-so-subtle way to say if there is any way you can get home sooner rather than later, today would be the day to do that).

But after peanut’s dinner, he was a bit giggly and started trying out one of his new words: “happy.”

I asked “Is peanut happy?”

“Happy baby!’ he responded.

I have no idea if he meant it or if he’s at an age where he can mean it, but needless to say, my heart is still a puddle of sappy goo. And if he can mean it, well, I should say that’s one of the best reviews I’ve ever gotten on the job.

*sigh* Happy Mommy.

That Giant Sucking Sound You Hear…

…is just me trying to breathe through my nose.

How in the world did these cold germs penetrate my Lysol, Purell, hot water and soap protected fortress I erected last week while peanut had his tummy bug? I have literally washed away a layer of skin – my poor hands are dried and cracked from all my washing, drying, alcohol-gel slathering paranoid behavior. And yet here I sit, apparently under water since I can’t hear clearly and my head has the pressure of the Atlantic Ocean concentrated right on the bridge of my nose.

I have been hoping that it’s just allergies, but the aching, chills and overall fatigue are really not helping that theory. Oh well. Pass the Kleenex. And the Purell. I’m not totally convinced there aren’t little tummy bug germs still lurking somewhere in my house waiting for my immune system to be compromised.

At least illness does bring moments of comic relief here at chez HHM. When I blow my nose, peanut will sometimes stop pulling the cat’s tail what he’s doing, point, smile and say “snot.” The kid can’t say please, thank you, or grandma yet, but snot. Oh yeah. That’s my boy.

Living on Wisteria Lane

I admit to being a Desperate Housewives fan – of course a lot of that is my being a huge Felicity Huffman fan. I would seriously watch just about anything she does. (By the way, how fabulous is it that her hubby, William H. Macy, is the narrator for PBS’ Curious George cartoon? Love it!) You can find me (pre-writer’s strike) on Sunday nights following the antics and drama of Wisteria Lane. Although I always wondered what kind of neighborhood this was with everyone home all day, running into each other as they bring their trash to the curb and having weekly poker games?

Admittedly, and thankfully, our little neighborhood of 80 homes is NOT Wisteria Lane. But, as I’ve realized, we live in a pretty unique place. I ran into a neighbor friend the other day at the playground across the street from our house. And by ran into I mean that while peanut and I were taking part in our post-nap ritual of checking the mail, we saw our neighbor and her three year old playing and quickly made our way down the hill to the park to have some adult conversation play. While enjoying the fabulously spring-promising weather we’ve been having, she commented that she was so looking forward to consistent warm temperatures so “I can have a life again!”

And it’s true. Where we live, there are impromptu gatherings at the playground, Friday night picnic dinners in the park during the spring, summer and fall (as long as there are decent temperatures and daylight), book club, garden club (totally code for chatting ladies who drink wine and plan neighborhood parties, activities and an occasional fundraiser – yes, I’m most definitely a participant. Didn’t you see wine listed?), and afternoon gatherings at the neighborhood bus stops. With a newborn, I would eagerly watch the playground from our dining room window for folks, then run out the door, baby strapped in the Bjorn, to descend upon the more experienced moms for advice or just much needed conversation. I forget sometimes, until I’m talking to friends that don’t live down the street, that this is a somewhat unusual situation in today’s hubub of suburban McMansions and overscheduled parents and children.

As the temperatures continue to rise with the daffodil buds here in the South, I, too, look forward to the warmer weather and the promise of “a life” as we gather on a Friday night with a beer and a pizza and two very adorable little nearly three year old girls who like to pretent peanut is their baby and watch over him so the hubby and I can have a real conversation with a few of our very awesome neighbors. So thanks ladies of the CV – you have made it easy for us to call this place “home.”

Although a cute plumber in the neighborhood would be nice. We should really work on that.

Phone Call From the Hubby While on My Way to Gal’s Night Out

High Heeled Mama bracing for the worst as the cell phone rings while driving with a girlfriend to happy hour (since peanut’s been recovering from a tummy bug this week).

Hubby: Hey. Um, how do you get pee stains out of the carpet?

HHM: What? Why is there pee on the carpet?

Hubby: I took peanut’s diaper off then went to start the tub for his bath. When I came back into his room he was peeing on the floor.

HHM: Why did you —

Hubby: It was like 15 seconds!

[HHM and High Heeled Friend, Jenn, trying to stifle their laughter in the car]

HHM: I would just blot it with paper towels and check under the sink for the Resolve.

Hubby: Well, I put a diaper on it face down real quick cause I figured it would be absorbent.

Can’t really argue with that logic, now can you?

Super Crappy Week

So the week started Sunday night with the Super Bowl:

And I think we all know how that ended. 😦

Then the hubby and I had our 2008 “budget talk” – I mean that’s just never a fun way to spend an evening.

Wednesday morning we woke up to peanut covered in puke. Seems everyone I know (in my real life and my internet life) with kids has experienced some kind of tummy bug in the last few weeks. What I’d like to know is why peanut keeps getting sick? Keeping him out of day care was supposed to mean he’d stay healthier, right? Since December we’ve had a bad, bad cold, “the fever” and now this. Can someone let me know if we’re done for awhile? And does anyone have any hints for mama so I stop worrying every five seconds if I’m going to be next?

Wednesday was also our property tax appeal hearing. We’ve spent the last two weeks gathering information and evidence to support our cause. The hubby went downtown to present our case, but still no dice. Oh well. We tried. They did freeze our rate for the next couple of years so we won’t have to worry about next year, at least.

And then last night my beloved Tar Heels fell to our nemesis. Granted, we were without our fabulous point guard and our secondary point guard who is already out for the season. And considering, we actually didn’t play badly. But we still lost.

Thank goodness it’s Thursday and time for mama’s monthly happy hour. Mama needs a cocktail.