March 10, 2018

The things I know and Mom-fear.

I know the answer to thousands of questions everyday. I could tell you why the sun was moving so fast through the clouds. I could tell you why the rain washed chalk off the driveway or why we brush our teeth and wear socks. I could explain why ketchup is red, how to get downtown, why scabs peel off boo boos, why we don't pee in the pool or what garbage can be recycled.

I can tell you that I did 9,024 steps today - mostly up and down the stairs forgetting socks, a binky, the nose sucker, laundry or looking for a blanket. You know, the stuff Mom's slay through.

I can tell you what a Gila monster is or when to use a backhoe rather than an excavator. Or, when to use the jock itch butt cream vs. vitamin D.

I can tell you the last time my husband and I had a one-on-one date (December, 29.)

What I can't tell you, is how to hold yourself together when panic snakes through your fingertips, ripples up your arm and grabs hold of your entire being. When your head tells you not to overreact, but you are choked by the panic you fight.

A few weeks ago I had the baby in a shopping cart's seat for the first time. We were in the baby section grabbing diapers, in the back of a store. My son suddenly stops talking and jumping through the aisle. With wide eyes he yells that he has to go to the bathroom, of course. Off we go and he is sprinting - he knows the way well - and I am trying to keep up with the baby in the shopping cart. I can see him straight ahead and we will catch up. My son darts right, towards the bathroom. So far, so good. We will be there in 5 seconds. Except, the aisle is blocked off with boxes of new display items. I look left, I look right and I'm calling his name. He isn't answering and I don't see him. I am by the men's bathroom door, it was closest, did he go in there? I step away from the cart and I yell into the bathroom for him, he isn't there. I push the shopping cart and run to the women's and burst in, he isn't there.

I went cold. I unbuckled my baby and grabbed her out of the seat and ran back and forth around the bathrooms. My eyes darting 360 degrees. I'm calling out for him and swallowing hysteria, trying to remain calm and not draw too much attention to my horrible mom-ness. But I can't find him and he isn't answering me. I threw my vanity to the wind and began asking everyone, "Did you see a little blonde boy, blue coat?" They stop what they are doing and help. An employee goes to page him as I'm squeezing my baby tight to my hip and running around clothes, through clothes and boxes. I hear someone say, "It's OK, I'm sure he is here. It has happened to all of us." (Thank you, kind woman, for the mom support, I really needed it later.)

And then. He is there. He steps into the aisle calling for me with tears in his eyes. I grab him and I'm shaking. I feel my face burning and my blood warming. I drag him into the bathroom to yell at him, I'm so angry.  I begin breathing, heavy, in and out, and let him talk. He got lost because the aisle was blocked off, he couldn't find the bathroom - and then he couldn't find me either. I breathe some more. I grab him, hug him, kiss him, tell him that I am so sorry and that I was really scared. He says, "I love you mommy. I didn't mean to do that, I'm sorry." And then, "I still have to pee."

The whole ordeal spanned about 4 minutes. I know you are thinking that I am the hovercraft kind of mother to flip out like this. But I'm not, I swear. I let my kid play in the backyard with his neighborhood friends and they are not in my eyesight every single second. We have rules and boundaries, and he has earned that. (And, I count on other parents to be watching too.) But something like this is the stuff nightmares are made of on the 6 o'clock news.

We left the store and talked about it the entire way home and on and off throughout the evening. I can't stop thinking about the children and families recently left broken. Who has felt that panic turn to gut-wrenching pain. For two weeks I had nightmares about my 4-year-old in a school shooting, kidnappers in vans screeching to a halt beside my car as I loaded groceries, and break-ins that I threw lamps and underwear at intruders. I think this fear, or not being able to handle this fear, could be reason enough to not have children.

I took a break from going to any store with the kids - until my wine stash was too close for comfort of running out. But here is the thing, I refuse to live in fear. I will love, mold, and grow little people who will persevere...and stop fucking running away from their mother.

November 15, 2017

Close-calls in parenting.

Newsflash: Being a parent is really just a series of close-calls and lucky-as-shit moments.

If I'm not almost living the worst scenarios, then the absolute even worse scenes flash before my eyes and I can't erase them. As a parent I try to be on guard all the time. I'm scanning the parking lots, looking through car windows, checking behind me, making sure I don't unlock my car too early -- while still being fun, loving and totally awesome whenever I can be. 

But, maybe I shouldn't sit my baby on the couch while I grab the car seat. Duh. Common sense. Some have it, and some just can't be expected to every second of the day.

And maybe never let your moving (running or walking) child out of the car first. Leave them strapped in as long as possible.

Definitely, do not let a dangling spider allow you to set your freshly bathed babe in fleece pj's on a granite countertop. This, my friends, could result in potato pancakes smashed into the once freshly bathed babe as she was saved in the nick of time. (I won't get into the rage over this one.)

Also, you have to be weary of that beeping carbon monoxide detector.  If this ever happens to you, go get your in-laws' device to check against yours, send your husband to Walmart with 20 minutes to closing time and call the fire department to come over for a walk-through while he is gone.

Should I stop with the self-incrimination?

I didn't go through pregnancy for nothing.

The worrying never ends, but at least with it I get to hear the laughter of my littles and feel the best kind of love there is. A parent prays that the laughter lasts forever and ever.

October 20, 2017

Stay At Home Mom - Reason 100.

I put the baby down on her play mat. I peeked in on my son now playing with hot wheels on a race track and calmly walked up the stairs. I glazed by the family picture frames and wedding photos on the walls and entered the blue serenity of my bedroom, with insanely oversized furniture, and into my tiny but beautiful bathroom. 

I closed the door and screamed. But, I tried to mute myself so I immediately started coughing. And then, sobbing as I slid to the floor against the door.

I can't do this. 

I can't do this. 

Ican'tdothisIcan'tdothisIcan'tdothisIcan'tdothis.

I stood up. I splashed water on my face and patted it dry. I walked back down the stairs lugging the weight of my embarrassing despair and guilt.  

I can try again. Tomorrow I will be better.

And it was. I had coffee sitting on my driveway in the sun, the baby in her bouncy chair next to me (in the shade) and my son chalking in the morning light. It was beautiful. It's why I am here.

March 29, 2017

Freezer Meal Prep = Nesting, not resting.

38 weeks along and I was determined to get the baby room finished, her clothes washed and organized, diaper stations stocked and family meals in the freezer. I had to take a few days off work to get it done, but LIKE A BOSS, I did it (and thanks to my Mom for helping organize baby clothes).

I really wanted to go the extra mile with this meal prep thing. I have no idea what our life will be like with another little one and it's already exhausting just thinking about what I can make for dinner every day. It's a hot topic in our family since we both work full-time. I get frustrated that dinner always falls on me, which is mostly because I get home first, but also because we insist on family dinner so if I waited on my husband to take a turn the 7:30 pm dinner would not bode well for our toddler's bedtime schedule.

After doing some Pinterest-ing I decided on 8 freezer meals - like some of these taco meat style recipes, Ravioli Lasagna and used spinach ravioli, Tuscan Pasta, Chicken, Broccoli, Bacon & Potato Bake and a few of my own, like Pepperoni Baked Ziti and Lasagna. I was going for "easy to prep" -- multiple dishes that I could cook in bulk -- and sat down to make my grocery list. I like to organize my lists by the direction of food sections that I walk through the store. It is so annoying when I get all the way through the store and realize I freaking forgot the cilantro. 

So, armed with my grocery lists I trekked the aisles. I had to make 3 store stops for the best prices, including buying foil pans to make even cleanup a breeze, and $134.79 later I was exhausted and hurting, but done.

For me it was best to do all the shopping in one day and tackle the cooking the next when I was refreshed.

Beef, Bean, Cheese Burritos
Steps to the finish line:

1. I started with cooking up my chicken and beef and keeping the seasoning simple: garlic, onion, salt and pepper. I was prepared to doctor each up for its recipe as needed.

TIP: One dish called for bacon and I opted to try a pre-cooked bacon package and I would say it was worth it for the major savings on mess and time.

2. Chopped veggies and potatoes and also portioned them out for each recipe.
Tuscan Pasta with sun-dried tomatoes

Chicken, Broccoli, Bacon & Potato Bake
3. Once the meat was off the stove I boiled pasta to stay ahead of the game while I focused on piecing the beef meals together.


TIP: Don't forget to spray the pans!

4. Set up the chicken dishes and added pasta where it was needed. Again, focusing then on one recipe at a time kept it organized.
 4.  Once I had my lineup completed I covered each pan with heavy duty foil.  I placed the full recipe in a sandwich bag and taped it to the top of the pan, with the burritos I wrote the instructions on the freezer bag. Whatever works.

 
5. Into the freezer they went.

All in all, the whole cooking process took 4.5 hours and I still feel damn good about it. #MomGoals.