to my sons,
sometimes i can’t fall asleep because there are too many words in my head. they won’t stop coming until i write them down. i don’t know what’s motivating me to write this particular piece to you now when you’re 4 years old, but in case it’s because i’m destined to die tomorrow i’m just gonna go for it.
i don’t have plans for you. i don’t have a right to. your path is up to you and whatever higher power you may choose to believe in. having said that, be on alert that while you make your way down that path you may come upon some very tempting short cuts. i’m telling you from experience that they all likely lead to hell. so in an attempt to save your souls and ensure my sanity i am absolutely refusing to raise assholes.
to avoid becoming said assholes i need your commitment regarding the following:
be honest. the truth is all there is. no version will do. the more afraid you are to tell the truth the more you can be certain you need to tell it. cowards lie. and you two are the bravest bad ass ninjas i know. trust yourself to do the right thing and you will. follow through with what you promise and be someone people can count on. take pride in that. don’t just let yourself be the truth in your own story. be the truth in everyone’s story. stand up for what you believe is right but be open to accepting that sometimes you may be wrong.
BE A SUPER MAN.
find and believe in your power. the superheroes have nothing on you. remember, without Clark Kent “Superman” is just a costume. get what i’m saying? it’s the guy inside the suit who achieves the greatness. you won’t find your greatness by becoming someTHING. you’ll find it by being someONE. you were both blessed with beauty, charisma, humor, energy and a flame inside of you that ignites with passion, joy and love. Colt and Jett, my “Jolt”, perfectly named. you bring a jolt of electricity to everyone you touch. don’t use these gifts to manipulate, deceive, or destroy. use them to become super men.
BULLIES ARE BULLSHITTERS
they are not worth your time and certainly not worth your thoughts. there will always be people who find pleasure in trying to knock you down. but remember the saying,
don’t dare become one of these people. stay happy. happy people don’t feel the need to hurt someone. they feel good for others who succeed. and feel confident in their own potential for greatness. the only thing worth knowing about bullies is whatever they say or do to you has absolutely nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. and you have 100% power over how much or how little they affect you. no one can make you feel anything. no one can hurt you unless you choose to feel hurt. no one can convince you of something unless you choose to believe it. you have control over how you feel. understand that all words are just sounds that came out of someones mouth one day and somebody decided they would mean something. those sounds can be so deafening they end your world or they can be completely muted. the choice is yours. if you believe in yourself and know how worthy of love you are you will be immune to such poison .
HATE & CRIMINAL ACTIVITY THAT WILL PUT YOU IN JAIL AND ME IN A MENTAL INSTITUTION
the choices you make do not just effect you. they will have an effect on other people most of the time and will always have an effect on me. try to understand the magnitude of the love i feel for both of you. i lay with you at night and the reality of the power of this love chokes me. i’m barely able to breathe and then i suddenly notice i’m crying. and this intense, pretty crazy, emotional reaction happens when i see you SLEEP. in our most peaceful moments. when we are wrapped in joy. now, imagine what the fuck it would do to me to see you in jail?
the only bars i can survive seeing you behind were the ones from your cribs. i know my limitations. i know i am nowhere near strong enough to endure pain when it comes to you two. if i ever have to visit you in jail all i will see is my baby staring back at me and then i’ll go home and tie a noose around my neck.
i know the love you have for me goes as deeply as mine for you. i can feel it. so if you should experience lows in your life where you don’t love yourselves enough to stay out of harms way and are tempted towards destructive choices, please keep the imagine of me hanging from a noose in the very front of your mind.
don’t you dare steal anything. ever. earn everything you have otherwise it won’t matter to you. i guess i should probably stop spoiling you to make sure this sinks in easier. if you are tempted to take something that doesn’t belong to you, take a quick look inside yourself. there you will find riches far greater than anything you are planning to steal. don’t get caught up in what someone else has and make that more important than who you are. i am grateful to have never known jealousy and i pray you never do either. it seems terribly poisonous and unnecessary.
now that i’ve established i don’t want you stealing, i also don’t want you using the hands i made you to evoke pain and suffering. unless your life or your families lives are being threatened there’s really no need for you to be hitting or hurting anyone. Ever. use the hands i made you to please, to create. not to inflict harm on the skin and soul. don’t waste your energy on anger. it’s useless and only distracts.
i realize there are a lot of scary ass crazy bitches out there who are sent here from hell to fuck up your lives. and for a time many can hide their crazy well and you may not see it coming. if you are unfortunate enough to find yourselves engaging with one of these types it may seem only fitting to haul off and throw her face into a wall. but please, allow me. I DO NOT WANT MY SONS HITTING ANY GIRLS!
now boys, so far you haven’t handled the word “NO” with much grace, so i feel it’s important to add a section on rape just in case you continue to struggle with this concept. every time in the past 4 years when i’ve told you NO and then went back on my word and gave in, or let you get away with something after i told you not to do it, i realize i may be fostering the rapists within. NO needs to mean NO. NO MATTER WHAT. i think it’s probably supposed to be my job to drill this into your heads and my failure to do so only means that i suck as a parent. it does not mean you’ve been given a justifiable excuse to go rape crazy. when a woman tells you “No”, let a vision of me in a straight jacket screaming in a tiny windowless room be the very first thing that pops into your mind should you even think about proceeding.
hate and discrimination will suck the very life out of you. it is not for you to judge someone else’s life or choices. if you’re on the correct path you will have your hands full with your own.
if you must look up to someone choose that person wisely and carefully. don’t be followers blindly following the herd. SEE EVERYTHING FOR WHAT IT ACTUALLY IS especially when someone is holding a blindfold over your eyes. you can get into trouble if you fail to do this.
i am a very strong person and i can handle a great deal before i break. i can recover from a lot with minimal battle scars. except when it comes to you two. i have no defense against my love for you, i have no prayer of controlling or minimizing it and i’d never want to. and while it’s not your responsibility to take care of me, you sure as shit should want to do your part to avoid bringing me to a place i can’t come back from. things will happen to us all during our lives that we can not control, but as your mother, i am begging you to avoid putting me through hell by choices you willingly make. i could not survive an hour on this planet without either one of you. that’s not me being dramatic, that’s me admitting i am not strong enough to survive you. i can’t stomach seeing either of you in pain. so please make careful choices! and i will not be able to cope with either of you contributing to the evil in this world. so don’t.
as i type these things to you now i can’t even imagine you ever needing to read them. you are both made up entirely of love and light. colt, you’re the most generous person I’ve ever met. you will give your friends anything no matter how important it is to you in order to see them happy. sometimes i worry you’ll be giving out your organs even though you’ll need them to survive! you are so free and you already know fear is a lie. you are inspiring. and jett, my bite sized CEO. you are right when you insist “it’s my wowd(world)! i decide!” the world you are creating is a spectacular one and we will all benefit from living in it. you both always insist on being the ‘good guys’ when we play dress up. i have every faith in you that you will remain as such. you both love with every piece of you. and you will do great things. so long as you can avoid becoming assholes.
DRUGS, ALCOHOL AND OTHER DESTRUCTIVE WAYS TO NOT GIVE A SHIT
i’m praying genetics helps you out here. you don’t come from a family of substance abusers. there’s hardly one of us who even drinks more than twice a year. one of my favorite things about our family is we are always having way more fun than every one else and we are doing it stone cold sober. well, minus some occasions once upon a time when i was drunk out of my mind and made every wrong choice possible. and i know you guys probably will too. but don’t make a habit out of it.
if you’re only going to take after me in one area let it be this; find fun and comfort in things you can’t eat, drink, smoke, snort or shoot. i find so much enjoyment in board games it’s ridiculous and i hope you always do too. relying on drugs and alcohol will ruin everything that is you. it will mask your uniqueness, and extinguish your spark. it will make you numb and vacant and terrified. it will make you an asshole. fear, boredom, insecurity and a host of other lies people tell themselves prompts the need to let a liquid or a pill make their choices for them. don’t fall prey to such lies. don’t destroy what i created.
there is no such thing as boredom. if you think you’re bored a substance won’t rid yourself of it but your imagination will. think of how dull a blank piece of paper is and yet what you create on it can change an entire life, even the world. it all depends on how big your imagination is. treat the “boring” days as blank sheets of paper and get to work!
if you find yourselves stuck in some lows that are a struggle to climb out of, before you start popping antidepressants like candy, check in with yourself. are you absolutely certain a chemical imbalance is causing your unhappiness? or could it be the choices you are making and the thoughts you are letting yourself believe about your life and who you are? try changing those before you resort to medication.
WHORES HAVE HEARTS TOO
okay, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and assume, given your disturbing obsessions with my lady parts, that both of you will most likely be attracted to women. if this turns out to not be the case, i will write another letter regarding men when the time comes. although much of the same applies to both.
i make a very important promise to you. i promise to never put up with a man disrespecting me. i promise to value myself so that you do not grow up watching a woman back down, or let herself be treated as anything less than an equal to a man. i promise to never give you any reason to believe you should get away with devaluing women.
if you’re anything like your father, the girls you will be interested in probably won’t be born for another 15 years or so but when you do meet someone of interest it truly doesn’t matter whether she’s younger, older or your same age. it only matters that it’s legal and that she is your equal and treated as such. when you decide to engage in dating and sex, keep these things at the very front of your mind: even if a girl does not respect herself that does NOT give you the right not to respect her. we all have our own journeys through this life, we all have our highs and lows, don’t you dare use another’s low to your advantage. remember, whores have hearts too.
if a girl chooses to send you naked pictures of herself do not make her feel as stupid as she is for doing so by sharing them with your friends or posting them all over the internet. doing so looks far worse on you than it does on her. if this isn’t enough incentive than maybe this will help you avoid such gross disrespect; if you exploit a woman’s trust in you, you can bet your asses i WILL find out about it. i will come into your bedrooms while you sleep and bring a camera. i will take photos of your penises and i will tag you in them all over Facebook. i am not at all above being creepy as hell for the greater good. try me.
do not make sex videos without the woman’s knowledge and do not share them without the woman’s permission. in fact, do not share them at all. this shit makes you an absolute fucking asshole and i REFUSE TO RAISE ASSHOLES. if i ever find out your penis is starring in a sex tape all over the internet you can kiss that thing goodbye along with your life as you know it.
imagine how you would feel and what you would think about a guy who did the above to me? i don’t want you to ever feel that way about yourselves and i don’t want you to be the reason a woman can’t trust the next guy. if you can find me somewhere in the eyes of the women you are with i am confident you will always choose right over wrong.
even more importantly than having respect for the person you are sleeping with, have respect for YOURSELVES my loves. if you do you won’t put your bodies in dangerous and destructive positions with dangerous and destructive people.
don’t sleep with whores just because you can. i’m sure they are fun as hell, but a girl with self-respect can be a helluva lot more fun and she’s not gonna want you when you are covered in genital warts and there’s green shit oozing from your dicks. i promise you. the whorey ones will let you proceed without caution and i am gonna be pissed as hell if there’s a bunch of girls running around aborting my grandchildren or making me become a grandmother before i feel like one.
someone who doesn’t respect herself will not be able to respect you. she won’t know how. someone who does not love herself will not be able to love you. not in the way you deserve to be loved. she won’t know how.
**this must be said: do not use your identical DNA to trick each others girlfriends into sleeping with you. i hear identicals do this and however hilarious i happen to think it is, it’s just going to cause fights between you guys so probably best to avoid.
choose to give your heart and everything that goes with it to a woman who truly deserves it. do not be blinded by a woman. SEE HER CLEARLY. because i guarantee you i will and good luck getting her through the door if i don’t believe she has my sons’ best interests at heart. she doesn’t have to be perfect. in fact, i strongly recommend against that. you’ll have a terribly dull life with a “perfect” woman.
choose someone who will take pride in her body but will also polish off a cheeseburger without puking afterwards. and don’t you dare make douchebag cruel comments about anyones weight or body. not everyone is as perfect as you are your majesties. and she may be in a low in her life where she’s not strong enough to tune out your words. contributing to an eating disorder is an asshole move. your mommy suffered through one for a portion of her life. know that. i could have died from such self-destructive bullshit. if so, you would not be here. the three of us would have missed out on far too much AMAZINGNESS. what a tragic waste it could have been. don’t stand in the way of the world’s future with cruel remarks. if despite my words you decide to tease someone for their weight i’ll withhold food from you for a week. let’s see how much you enjoy starving.
choose a woman who challenges you to grow. don’t pick someone who obeys your every command. sure that personality trait can be fun in the bedroom but be sure it stays there. pick someone who makes you think and enlightens you and who is not intimidated to disagree with you. pick someone who is Strong. who doesn’t rely on you for her self-worth. unless you become a firefighter or a cop it’s probably not gonna be your job to save anyone. pick someone you can spend your life loving, not rescuing. i realize we are all works in progress and the chances of any of us finding someone who has ALL their shit together are incredibly slim if not impossible. expect to work through issues together but choose someone who has worked through most of them already so you can enjoy the ride together instead of being wiped out by it. remember a relationship will only ever be as healthy as the least healthy person in it. don’t rely on someone to “complete you”. that is not only completely backwards but is completely unnecessary. i still can’t understand why everyone sobs and “awwwws” during that scene in “Jerry Maguire”. when i saw that part i wanted to throw my raisinets at the fucking screen. you are already complete. you are already whole. you were born that way. we all were. too many of us let the bullshit of life break us apart until we talk ourselves into believing we need other people, or substances to put us back together.
what i know of love i’m learning from you guys. you are the teachers. the older i get the more i learn from those younger than me. you have far more of the answers at four years old than i do at thirty-four. don’t let anyones age fool you into believing they are wiser than you.
if you choose to marry, make her your queen. princesses are for daughters. make your wife your equal. nothing less nothing more. let your wife wear the crown in your life even though i better be wearing it in your hearts.
and should you wonder when the “right” time for you to become a daddy is, i suggest it be at the first sign of life turning stale for you. when you’ve stopped being surprised by experiences, people. stopped being awed by things you see, places you visit and music you hear. when you begin taking things and love for granted and stop finding joy in EVUHRYTHING. when you’ve stopped PLAYING make a kid STAT!!! you will experience everything all over again through your child’s eyes and believe me, everything is even more exciting this time around. my advice to you as fathers is to take time, a lot of time, to be silent. to listen. to look. to really SEE and really HEAR your children. i know you both catch me doing this all the time. i just stop what i’m doing and stare at you. i do this because i’m memorizing the moment. memorizing your faces before they change again. i’m simultaneously grieving over the child you were yesterday that i’ll never get back, while celebrating the one you became today. you will do this too as a father. and always hold your kids a little longer than they think they want you to.
if some day THE ONE should turn into someone you don’t know or don’t particularly want to know, then you must choose your happiness first. don’t stay in a relationship that makes you unhappy for the ‘sake of the kids’. that does them no favors. if your children grow up with a miserable marriage as their primary example of love, then they will likely seek that out for themselves one day. if they grow up with an example of two people who had the maturity to value their own happiness enough to divorce that will teach them not to waste their life staying in something that doesn’t make them happy. anybody can be miserable, it’s terribly easy. but happiness is reserved for the truly brave.
don’t put your father and i on a pedestal. its dangerous for you to do so. we don’t deserve to be there. we are human. we are flawed. know who we are, love us endlessly anyway but be careful not to put us higher than we deserve to be. the pain we’ll cause you as we hit you on our inevitable fall down will be too great. we are figuring our way through life just as you will be. you will see things we can not. the hardest words to mute are the ones from our parents. as your parents the things we say to each of you and do will have the potential to affect the men you become. if you let us. don’t give us the power to affect your life negatively. we don’t have that right. take in our good and toss out our bad and be smart enough to determine the difference. every day i am working on being the best mother i can be for you but i will never achieve parental perfection. we will never intentionally hurt you, but as you have already learned; accidents can hurt just as much.
LAUGH OR DIE. IT’S THAT SIMPLE.
how anyone survives this life without a sense of humor I’m sure i don’t know. find the funny in everything guys. it’s the most fun way through this.
your life will be everything you believe it can be. it can be as enjoyable and fulfilling as you decide to make it.
curse a lot. sometimes there’s a word you’re looking for and nothing else will do.
don’t do something with your life, do EVERYTHING with your life. explore every interest you have. have many!
have drive that stems from the inside out. from wanting to be the best you that you can be instead of being driven by rage to prove someone wrong or to prove anything to anyone.
have passion. have intensity. have goals and do some work towards reaching them every day. don’t let money decide what you are worth and be careful not to make it the ultimate goal that drives you. doing so will likely destroy you in the process.
thrive on talents and exploration and always look towards the light.
let yourselves be vulnerable enough to ask for help, but aware enough to know you possess all the tools you need to climb out of even the darkest of holes.
look out for one another. you compliment each other beautifully. use a strength of yours to help your brother through a weakness of his.
choose an outlet to share your stories and do so without censorship or fear.
say yes, almost always.
and never. never.stop.playing.
you are my gifts to the world. my works of art. turn my work into a masterpiece; become men.
the world’s reached its asshole quota.
once upon a time in the very near future a mommy named Me will open the most important school in all the land. a school that will save all the parents like Me from being total fucking failures. this school will be named ‘forget me not’. it’s logo will be a naked child with an empty lunchbox. the logo will read: “you supply the kid, we supply everything else.” okay, maybe the logo kid should be wearing undies since the school doesn’t plan on supplying the pedophiles…
it matters not what district you’re zoned for and there is no tuition so cost won’t be an issue. the only criteria you have to meet in order to be admitted is that each and every student must have parents who can’t get their shit together. every parent needs to be just like the mommy named Me.
below is the checklist to determine whether you are a candidate for the school of ‘forget me not’. if you meet at least six of the ten qualifications you are eligible:
1. You send your child to school more than 3 days a week without brushing their teeth.
2. Someone comes to the school at least twice between drop off and pick up to bring your kids shit you forgot.
3. You haven’t signed up for classroom snack in at least four weeks or you’ve signed up for snack in the past month but forgot to bring it.
4. Your child comes to school in shorts and a t-shirt because you’re apparently the only parent that doesn’t check the hourly weather forecast each morning to know that between the 10:30-11:30 playground hour the temp will drop from 74 to 70 and you didn’t pack a sweater or snow suit. You also wonder how everyone else knows when playground time is. Did they email a schedule???
5. Your kids are sent to school in something that hasn’t been washed yet (bodies and/or hair counts).
6. You believe pajama day, bring your favorite bear to school day, striped shirt day, halloween parade day, pizza fridays, graduations, lunch in general, paying tuitions on time or at all, creative projects the kids are too young to do on their own, getting to school by 830am, homework and all the other school related things you have to remember and prepare for are purposely designed to reveal the failure that you are and that the only “good” parents HAVE to be functioning on some serious stimulants or NEVER thinking about ANYTHING else.
7. You can’t ever remember which days you signed up for school lunch and which days you are supposed to pack it. Or you leave for school without their lunches that were sitting in the fridge, completely packed, staring at you when you reached for the milk ten minutes ago. This results in frequent trips back to the school or very hungry kids.
8. Your kids grew out of all their school clothes six months ago and you keep forgetting to buy bigger sizes even though the uniform store is INSIDE their school. you actually have to walk right by it EVERY day in order to get to their classroom.
9. You’re ashamed to admit you have been woken up at 9:15am by your fully dressed toddler standing beside your bed pulling on your arms while wearing a backwards t-shirt and shoes on the wrong feet with a breakfast of airheads sticking out of his pockets demanding that you “stand up mom! we need to get to school. we need to see our fwends!”
10. You’ve driven your kids to school without realizing it was Saturday.
* You are only required to meet one of the above criteria if you are a stay at home parent who makes your kids take the bus to school so you can sleep in. You are then considered a bonus round winner and will be guaranteed admission into the ‘forget me not school’. Congratulations!
* * *
before my twins could crawl i had my shit T.O.G.E.T.H.E.R. my diaper bag was so famous around town that it named this blog. i was carrying around a super target in that thing. prepared for anything those babies threw my way. usually vomit. i had everything needed in that bag to survive for a month on a mountain in the freezing cold without any limbs -just in case, ya know, that ever happened…which it could have…you never know….
and then something happened that dramatically and instantly changed the mother i was. the babies started moving. began crawling, then they stood up and W A L K E D. slowly at first, then picking up speed. they got faster, and faster and stronger and stronger and climb-ier. and what could i do but RUN (usually towards a bar). we haven’t stopped running, the three of us, four on the days my husband is in town. every day of our lives has been a chinese fuckin fire-drill since the moment they stood up. thank god they are out of diapers because there’s no time to even think about what to put in the diaper bag, let alone actually be able to pack it. there’s no telling how much scotch tape they could wrap around the cat in that minute and a half.
so when is there time to have actual thoughts needed to remember things? i have a vague memory of reading a letter from the school fairly recently that said: “REMINDER: PAJAMA DAY IS TUESDAY!” how was i supposed to remember something that seemed like a lifetime away? there was no telling how many disasters and travesties we would have to survive before then, after all it was only monday! and yet no matter how many ways i tried to justify my forgetfulness, the ache i felt in my heart for having made my sons left out bystanders forced to watch their excited friends show off their favorite pjs was unbearable. i had forgotten something more than just pajama day. i’d forgotten that the things that seem so trivial as an adult and barely worth your attention to remember are THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IN THE WORLD to a child. perhaps my shortcomings are why god made them twins; so they’ll have someone to lean on and bitch to while they suffer through the humiliations and frustrations of growing up with a disorganized mother.
on a good note the more chaotic and demanding life becomes the more i find myself grateful for the little things. like how fridays at school are show and share days instead of show and tell days. because if they were show and tell days the twins could tell their class how mommy forgets to send them to school with a toy to show every week and so one week she frantically ran back out to her car in hopes of finding a toy hiding under the seats. when she found no toy she decided to give us some gauze from the first aid kit that came with the car. and it wasn’t even G week….
anyway, back to the pajama rescue:
i sped through every school zone to get their pjs to them as quickly as possible all the while seething with irrational displaced anger at the excellent school my children go to:
who has special dress days on a tuesday anyway?! why do schools even do these “special” things? don’t the kids have enough fun with all the toys and computers and the playground? is this just to torture the parents? as if we need ONE MORE THING to remember to do??? these people make toddlers their profession so how can they not understand that every day is fucking survival mode! every day we are dodging lacrosse balls and nerf pellets and just trying to make it to bedtime without a casualty. can’t the schools help make this a bit easier by giving us less to think about? less to do? less to remember?
that’s it! i‘m gonna build a school! a school where no child will know their parents think about other things more often than what days to pack their lunches. a school that will have a supply room bigger than any classroom filled with extra striped t-shirts, extra pajamas and an abundance of halloween costumes. a gigantic refrigerator to hold all the would be forgotten lunches. clothes that actually fit. soap for the kids whose parents haven’t made time to bathe them in the past week. show and share items for every letter of the alphabet. this school will have transportation that will pick the children up at their doors. all the parents have to do is give them a door to walk out of and the rest is up to the administrators. the school will be built right next-door to social services so when the time is right they can supply each kid with a brand new mommy and daddy.
then, when the crazy wore off, i sobbed the rest of the way. i cried for every moment my babies felt left out and less special. knowing your children feel badly about themselves is hard enough to endure, knowing you are the reason is impossible to forgive. i cried with frustration over how in the hell i can memorize hundreds of pages of scripts or every word from every conversation between my husband and i that pissed me off throughout the past decade but i can’t remember the letter of the week is V? i cried not just for my irresponsibility and inability to prioritize this time but every time i’d made it more important to be on top of assignments for work than on top of what i needed for my children. nothing has ever or will ever be more important to me than them and yet i’d forgotten their lunches twice that week, forgotten their pajamas and as i pulled back into the school remembered i was supposed to bring their favorite stuffed animal too.
after a sound proof cursing explosion inside my car in the parking lot, i decided it more important to get them in their pjs instead of spending more time going back for the stuffed animals. when my sons saw me walk in the room their faces made me want to cry all over again. they were beaming ear to ear as if a ninja turtle had just walked into their school. they instantly started to show me off as if their friends hadn’t met me before. “look we mommys here!” “this is my mom!” they looked SO PROUD to have their mom there. me. the forgetful, disorganized mess who was crying and cursing in the parking lot for ‘screwing them up for life’.
they were happier than i’d maybe ever seen them. they didn’t care why i was there- that it was because i’d let them down that day. they didn’t even ask for the pajamas. didn’t mention them. it was as if they’d forgotten all about it. all that mattered to them was that i was there. with them. sharing in part of their day. THAT is what made them feel special. more special than any pair of pajamas ever could. no matter how horribly i thought of myself that day i had the ability to make these two precious people feel so special. just because i was me.
as i write this i am reminded of a few months earlier when i had again forgotten to bring their lunch. i was so late getting it to their school that i saw them sitting at the lunch table watching their friends open their lunch boxes while they sat there with nothing. not sad. smiling and asking what their friends had for lunch. it was as if they knew i’d come through for them. i would probably be late, but i’d come through. as soon as i picked them up from school that day they ran up to me hugged me and said “thank you mommy for bringing us we lunches!”
when i finally had them all dressed in their pajamas (an hour late and 2 sizes too small), just before they went running back into class shouting “look at me spongebob bejamas” jett kissed my cheek and colt said to me (with a playful smile as if he knew i was in the midst of a breakdown) “you weally late mom.” then he threw his arms around my neck and whispered into my ear “thank you mama” and then he was gone. running off with his brother to their next exciting moment in toddlerhood.
* * *
so while it’d be helpful if the mommy named Me opened a school one day to prevent all the mommies like her from being total failures, maybe she doesn’t really need to…..
a bit has changed while i was on writing hiatus. my little chicken nuggets finally turned one, learned to walk, and ARE SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT! i finally chilled the fuck out, got confident as a mother, and got some freakin sleep. when i woke up on their birthday i realized we had all made it through the first year with very few battle scars and that i’d done a pretty great job for someone whose first experience with an infant came with an exact replica.
i had protected them from all of the first year Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad potential disasters and was feeling pretty good about myself until they started to walk and i quickly learned i hadn’t seen nothin’ yet! our days are filled with a whole lot of jumping, sliding and leaping and that’s just me trying to prevent them from grabbing the 400,000 deadly objects that they somehow find wherever we are. if they were any older i’d have them evaluated for suicidal tendencies.
aside from the necessary prevention acrobatics, i’ve found our days pretty damn boring since they’ve started walking. if they want their cup, they walk over and get it. if they want to play with their toy car they climb in and steer it around the room. so what’s a mother to do? i began to fear i’d be laid off. i decided i’d better step up my game and start to teach these puppies some new tricks before they declared me pretty dang useless. i asked sami (who is now called mimi) to buy a bunch of age appropriate learning cards and puzzles while i brushed up on my rusty teaching skills and came up with a weekly curriculum that even she was impressed with. colt and jett are super duper active so we do one activity indoors and one outdoors each day. for example, a day may be filled with story time at the library and water parks, or gymborees and a visit to the animal farm. we have learning time and nap time at home in between. the boys are stimulated and i am out of house arrest so it’s a win-win. my husband is happy with our new routine and encourages all our activities. well, all except for one.
i enrolled the boys in dance class. it’s a one hour tap and yes, ballet class, once a week. the class will help them develop their muscles, be exposed to classical music, and most importantly, will teach them to keep the open, non judgemental minds they were born with.
i posted adorable pictures of my sons in their white onesies, black leggings, and ballet slippers on my facebook wall. the startling number of text messages, comments, emails and phone calls i have gotten over how upset the photos made them, their husbands, wives, or kids has prompted me to write this entry.
“Why are you trying to make your kids gay?”
“If my wife did this to my son I would divorce her!”
“How could you do that to them?”
“My husband saw the pictures and I’ve never in ten years of marriage seen him more upset or…or….confused!”
“Take them out of that class NOW. It is NOT FUNNY!” -my very upset 11 year old stepson.
“They are going to grow up and punch you in the face.” – the only words my husband could muster when he saw the pictures.
the most fascinating part of all the responses was not the passion with which they were given, but the hypocritical way most prefaced their comments: “Look, I have nothing against gay people BUT….” or “I’m not homophobic or anything BUT…” and then went on to tell me the reason ballet class for boys is so horrific is that it’s going to make them gay.
one comment by a male relative was particularly interesting and was the only one i gave enough credit to to contemplate. “Look, I have no problem with dancing boys. If boys want to dance that’s great, but I just think they should be given a choice.”
hmmm. point digested and taken.
maybe he is right. maybe i don’t have a right making a decision like this for them and forcing them to be involved in something before they have an understanding of what it is. then he continued: “Why don’t you get them involved in some pee wee sports camps instead?”
and there it went. all his credibility.
it’s okay to enroll them in sports before they are old enough to choose for themselves, before they have an understanding of what sports are but not okay for dance? and why is that? perhaps it’s because it’s not about waiting until the boys have an understanding of what ballet is, it’s about waiting until their understanding of ballet is what society has decided it should be.
the brain washing happens early on. my friends 7 year old daughter laughed at the pictures and said “that’s for girls!”
i am not conducting some experiment in which i put my children through ridicule and torment in order to make a point. and i know that a blog entry and some photos of young boys in ballet shoes are not going to convince the world to change. my goals aren’t that big. but i have a goal and a responsibility to protect the minds of my sons. their minds deserve to be their own. free. and their hearts free to love. whatever and whoever they choose to. if i give the world two more neanderthals who actually believe that ballet slippers on a one year old determines his sexual orientation, or that their sexual orientation matters in the least, my mission as a mother will have failed.
i pray our sons try many different things to find what feels right for them and makes them most happy (drugs and illegal activity excluded). they play with soccer and footballs most of the day and i can already see they will be athletic. my husband doesn’t believe me but i swear i will encourage sports as much as i do anything they are passionate about. (hopefully they’ll choose the indoor air conditioned ones…)
so far the boys don’t seem to be fans of the dance class. they are too young to understand how to participate and they throw a fit when i put their tap shoes on. i’m told it takes about 4 classes before they want to get involved so we’ll stay a few more weeks but may be in the market for a new activity soon. if they don’t enjoy it they will have decided that on their own without having been affected by generations of bullshit trying to convince them what it is to be a real “man”. ironically, most of the REAL men i know ARE gay!
moral of the story: even if the ridiculous theory that ballet and tap dancing toddlers buy one way tickets to the Rainbow Train were true, then i’ll be incredibly proud to have two absolutely Fagtastic boys!
the final details of the twins birthday party are completed. they will be one on saturday.
one. jesus. feels like they should be turning four…..
over the last twelve months what used to be motionless porcelain dolls have morphed into walking, talking, wrestling creatures. and they did it on 5 hours of sleep a week. all right so they are not entirely walking and talking. they each take three steps and fall down and the only words they say are ‘apple’, ‘up’ , ‘ball’ and call everything else ‘fish’. the way i see it as soon as i get them consistently on their feet my job is done. i will be officially retired. i brought them into this world healthy by not eating any sushi during the pregnancy. i taught them how to chew, swallow, sit, stand, say a few words and take a few steps. not really sure what i’m supposed to do with them from this point on. they’ve got the fundamentals down. we have gone as far as we could together and now it is time to release them into the world of daycare where it’s every toddler for himself.
the closer we get to august 13th i am surprised at how nostalgic i am feeling. WARNING: following quickly behind this blog entry will be a very sappy one. for now i will spare you.
Jett was feeling kind of cranky this afternoon. he didn’t want to eat his dinner, didn’t want to share his toys, he only wanted to fling his body onto the floor and reach up for me with a pissed off look on his face shouting “MOMMMMMMMMMM!” instead of thinking about how i wish it was still legal to beat your child, i found myself getting a little lump in my throat. he calls me “mom”. a year ago no one could do that. hell, a few months ago no one could do that! i wonder if i’ll feel as touched the day he calls me a bitch………
anyway, their birthday party has gone slightly overboard and i wouldn’t have it any other way. there’s not a party big enough to thank these two for what they have brought into our lives. i suggest the ridiculous people who say ‘why are you throwing a party like this for one year olds? they aren’t even going to remember it!’ learn to live in the moment. if you knew you were going to get alzheimer’s would you never want your birthdays celebrated? would you want to stay home all alone during the holidays? it’s all about TODAY people! and if today happens to be the day my kids were born then you can expect an over the top celebration.
we chose a pajama party theme since all they do in their pajamas is want to party. the invitations came in a box full of feathers and the details were ironed onto a miniature pillow hand sewn by my incredibly talented friend Trina who is a party planning genius! the responses we have gotten over these invites are pretty hilarious. the hands down winner was a friend of mine who had to cut the box open because it was stuck in her mailbox. the feathers went flying everywhere. her dog went wild barking at the feathers. and a neighbor watching nearby reported her for ‘trying to stuff a bird into her mailbox’!
hopefully she’ll be out of prison in time for the party.
i despise the phrase “stay at home mom”. it pains me to type it. it sounds like a prison sentence. unless you happen to live at neverland, or a bar, how much does that suck? the four walls start to turn on you after a while and you know it’s time to call for backup, otherwise known as: The Nanny.
if you happen to be a “____ __ _____ mom” who doesn’t need or want to work but needs and wants to go to the gym, get a manicure, work on her blog, or have lunch from somewhere other than a drive thru, you’ll need a nanny.
and as only a true “____ __ _____-er” knows, the nanny is for you, not the kids. you’re the fully developed human in the house having to basically co-parent with this stranger so just like the kids didn’t have a say who you picked to be their father, they shouldn’t get to decide who their nanny is either. sure it’s an added bonus if the kids happen to like her but it’s really not the priority. you’re there most of the day with them so the couple of hours a week you step out for yourself it’s not the end of the world if they find her boring or think she smells funny. so long as she doesn’t smell of alcohol…..
i realize my entire blog could be titled ode-to-a-narcassist.com since i can even twist the nanny to being more for me than the kids but if it weren’t for me the kids wouldn’t even exist so i feel my point is justified.
too bad gil didn’t. he insisted i stop being selfish and hire someone for the kids, not a “friend for me to hang out with all day”. well god forbid i should be able to enjoy the company of anyone older than an embryo.
i gave in and did it his way. at first. please note it was easier to find a husband than it was to find a nanny. five minutes before i delivered the boys i finally found one. an older woman with 26 years experience. she was a mother herself, took excellent care of the babies, kept a very organized nursery, blah blah blah. by the time the boys were three months old she and i were having a personality conflict. she didn’t like mine. and since i only like people who like me, she had to go.
i decided to do it my way this time and hire the perfect person for ME. no more of these people i only knew about through the recommendations of strangers. no more craigslist searches. yes, gil MADE me post an ad for the caretaker of our children on craigslist. i wrote one that only jesus was qualified for. i got two responses, one from a man saying he’d like to cook for me in a loin cloth, and the other from a woman who requested a picture of my husband before she sent her resume. i sent her a picture of a friends husband and deleted the ad.
this time i was going with who i knew in my gut was the only perfect person to raise my children with me.
a nineteen year old, former high school student of mine (yes, i taught high school. that’s another story).
this probably doesn’t sound like the best candidate for a new mother with infant twins and three stepchildren but i chose her because i know her. (and because babies fall asleep within 30 seconds of lying on her chest which was a huge selling point for me.) i know where she comes from, i know her family, i know all her stories. i know her husband. yep, she got married at 19. to a south african. but he’s a pretty great guy who’s not entirely in it for the green card so leave her alone about it.
she’s young. she hasn’t nannied for 20 families and she doesn’t have her own children, but what she gives me no one else can. peace of mind. i can leave my babies in her care and have PEACE OF MIND. the ‘mama traumas’ never once enter my mind- is she beating them? does she neglect them? does she ignore them when they beg to be held? does she leave them in front of a tv and read a magazine? is she stealing from our home? is she sleeping with my husband? all these worries that moms can’t help but wonder about since they never REEEAALLLY know their nannies, i don’t have. which is a great relief considering all the other things i’m busy worrying about.
the downside to this familiarity is that she argues, okay, fights with me. a lot. but in the way a couple who have been married a really long time do. this is different from fighting with a strange bitch in your house who is trying to tell you how to parent. that kind of fighting makes me shout: “i don’t care if you have 36 children and gave birth to them all by yourself in the back of a van in the middle of a shark tank. NO ONE knows MY children as well as i do!”
except for sami. and she just might love them as much as i do too. okay, impossible, but she’s pretty close.
the reason sam and i fight is because she parents colt and jett as gil does. like they are her fourth and fifth children. she doesn’t agree that they need to go to the doctor every time they have dry skin. she doesn’t rub their head for 45 minutes after they bump it on the side of the crib, and she thinks it’s perfectly safe to feed them chunks of food bigger than a fingernail. she thinks i’m a huge pain in the ass but we are far more similar than she’d like to admit. her husband even calls her the “younger, blonder version”.
at the end of each day i decide to let her live because i see the boys smiles and hear their squeals when she walks in the door in the morning. i watch them reach up for her and give her kisses during the day, and i wipe their tears away when she leaves in the evening.
as incredible as she is with them she is even better with me and doesn’t know i appreciate that. i am so blessed to have a friend like her during the most challenging, transforming year of my life. to know even when she doesn’t agree with me she always supports me because we have the same objective: to make sure these boys are safe, happy, healthy, and not jerks.
for the record it looks like my selfish quest for a nanny happened to be the right fit for the whole family so everybody wins. i know she is perfect for us because she knows that the sun rises and sets in those little boys eyes and we parent better together than any couple i’ve ever met. if she sticks around she’s going to be directly responsible for two beautiful men with gigantic hearts, charismatic personalities, confidence and open minds (thanks to the pink pacifiers she insists on buying them).
sam’s own mother died very unexpectedly this past january. her death is teaching me to let people know how much they are appreciated and loved. i’ll start with her daughter.
thank you sam for being an irreplaceable part of our family. i find it very ironic that at a time in your life when you need to be the one being taken care of you choose a job taking care of an entire family. this is either the most unhealthy thing i’ve ever heard of or a testament to the strength, perseverance, or sheer beauty of your character.
perhaps it’s all of the above.
you’re doing great kid.
for any of you hoping to find a man to have children with, let me give you the most important advice you will ever get. stop wasting time with the bullshit questions i asked when auditioning potential mates: “what do you do for a living” “are you a batterer” “do you have any STDs” “do you have a criminal record” “what is your parenting philosophy” “how many kids do you want” “your place or mine”?
none of that matters. there is only one question that you need to bother asking when seeking the father of your children, it’s the ONLY one that matters: “How old were you when you started sleeping through the night?”
my husband hid this critical information from me date after date, year after year. it wasn’t until the twins had three full months of terrorizing me from 9pm till 6a under their belt that i called my mother in law near tears from the exhaustion. it was then that she revealed the source of all that was evil.
“Oh yeah, don’t I know it. Gil was four years old before he slept through the night.”
FOUR YEARS old!!!! i bred with a man who didn’t fall asleep and stay asleep for more than two or three consecutive hours until he was FOUR YEARS OLD! i honestly would rather her have told me his real name isn’t even gil and he has another family living in argentina no one knows about. if i had learned this information when i delivered the twins i would have left them at the hospital.
now let me say that looking back there were signs. red flags, if you will. since i started having slumber parties with him i quickly learned he only required three hours of sleep a night to be an energized, fully functional human being. i must have been blinded by love to not think this was anything to be concerned about. to miss all the signs. i figured as long as he wasn’t waking me up what did i care?
since this betrayal my eyes have been much more open. i would have thought since he was always up all night anyway, that when the twins arrived he would welcome having nighttime companions and readily take over the night shifts. however, i’m finding it suspicious that since the twins were born he suddenly requires a full 8 hour stay in dreamland in order to carry out his work day. how did he manipulate me, someone who should be tested for chronic fatigue syndrome, into doing the night shift every freaking night (minus a few that he took over when i’d gotten to the raging-bitch-making-everyone-miserable point) while he snores away in the guest room? i’ll tell you how. because i’m the mom and apparently that means a night-shift time card came with my c-section scar.
it’s just as well because when gil has one bad night with the twins he becomes the walking dead for a week. he then starts to spew venom at me for not doing “my job” so that now he’s too tired to do his. when he refers to raising our children as MY job i know it’s only a matter of time before i’m starring in my very own episode of “snapped”.
and this brings me to now. nine months of nightly torture. one baby wakes and decides he wants to tell me all about his short dream in gibberish for 30 minutes before he falls back asleep. 45 minutes later another baby wakes screaming, about what i don’t know. gas drops, tylenol, and a pacifier later and he’s back down. 45 minutes after that baby 1 wakes again crying for food, when i refuse to feed him in the middle of the night he continues to cry waking baby 2 up and they have a beautiful duet for the next several hours that would make your skin crawl. finally i feed the little
bastards babies around 4 while giving them the same bleary eyed lecture about how they are 9 months old, in the 92nd percentile, and eat more during the day than a football team so they don’t need food at night! they laugh at me. finish their bottles and fall asleep. until 5:30. then they are up jumping in their cribs, giggling, ready to start our day. “and so it goes and so it goes and i’m the only one who knows”.
i’ve listened to mothers, i’ve read the books, i’ve tried EV UH RE THING. this is who they are. they are freakishly happy, healthy, and energetic on 5 minutes of sleep so i’ve accepted this is what our life will be like. it is in their dna so i don’t fault them. i fault their father. they can blame him when they are never invited to sleepovers because no one’s mother is going to want a creepy little boy up all night cooking in her kitchen.
during the 30 seconds of sleep i get each night i have a reoccurring dream. i dream of a better day when i have a narcoleptic little girl just like mommy…..
so to wrap up, when you’re in a beautiful restaurant looking across the table into the eyes of a man you are falling in love with and ask him The Question, unless he says anything under 6 weeks (in which case verify with his mother) RUN. and stick him with the check for wasting your time.
for those of you future mothers who, like me, failed to see this bigger picture and already married a freak of the night, there is only one way to save yourself. adopt.
god be with you.
we landed back in florida tonight to find the airline lost one of our car seats. i was searching my imagination for all kinds of creative ways to get both babies home safely (and legally) when southwest offered to loan us their vile, crusty car seat from 1986.
deciding which kid to sacrifice to the seat wasn’t nearly as sophie’s choice as it seems.
i readily offered up colt. sorry buddy, but i begged you to sleep in this morning…..
ever since i created life all i seem to think about is death.
when i was pregnant i had panic attacks before every ultrasound because i’d convinced myself one or both babies were probably dead. i could never wrap my mind around the idea that they were going to come out. somehow, through my whole pregnancy, it didn’t really sink in that at the end of the vagina (or in my case, operating table) a person would appear. let alone two. i never read one word or learned one thing to do with the babies once they were born.i spent the entire 36 weeks and 2 days preparing for the upcoming week of the pregnancy. that seemed like more than enough to study. i had to learn the many different reasons for the many different types of fluids coming out of my body. i had to worry about twin to twin transfusion syndrome. had to google every possible sign of premature labor. and let’s not forget the endless hours of kegel exercises i was instructed to do by everyone from the doctor to the ice cream man (i admit i only did about 4 and thank goodness cause what a waste of time all that vagina squeezing would have been given i ended up with a csection).
it’s really a wonder how anyone works while pregnant with all the required squeezing and googling….
i told myself to stay focused on how to keep the babies safe while they were inside me and i’d worry about how to keep them safe on the outside if we ever got that far .
i’ve spent most of my life as a human contradiction so it came as no surprise to anyone that although i didn’t believe these babies were ever gonna hatch, that didn’t stop me from the most obsessive nesting my family & friends have ever seen. i had my entire hospital bag packed when i was 16 weeks pregnant. it sat by my bedroom door month after month until one day my husband needed the suitcase for a trip and dumped out all of my neatly organized birthing equipment. i threw my most hormonal tantrum to date. i even installed the car seats right after the baby shower and drove around with them empty for two months. gil found it necessary to tell me how creepy he found this every day and refused to ride in my car.
i remember waking him one night when i was 6.5 months pregnant because the high chairs were not assembled yet and i was starting to panic. he sleepily muttered something about babies not even using high chairs till they are 6 months old and if i continued to be psychotic he’s sleeping in a hotel.
i’d like it to be known that this is not me. was not me. i had never been THIS person. i’d never been obsessive compulsive or anal retentive about a single thing. in fact if we were voting on personality types i’d have been voted ‘least likely to give a shit’.
before i got pregnant i can’t remember a time anything kept me up at night. i always slept like a baby (THAT’S the oxymoron of the year!). looking back, this nesting hyper-drive must have been my way of telling myself i would psychologically be prepared for motherhood as long as every detail of my home was. and it did help.
for me motherhood is extremely out of character. i’m one of the most selfish people i know so this whole putting- someone- elses- needs- before- my-own thing is to say the least totally unnatural and very very terrible. i am also organizationally challenged so to be sure i am the mother my sons need me to be i go overboard. i would now be voted ‘best person to know in the event of a natural disaster’.
my diaper bag is stocked like nothing you’ve ever seen. i have sunscreen, wardrobe changes, a lifetime supply of wipes in ziplock baggies, 240 diapers, infant tylenol, teething rings, baby food, bottles, cases of formula, blankets, fire extinguishers, the how to survive a volcano eruption handbook, and you get my point. the stroller with the two boys in it weighs less than the diaper bag. but i need it that way. i need to know i’m prepared for the explosive diarrhea in the middle of the mall, for the chance we get stuck in stand still traffic for two days and the kids need food, for this gi gAN TIC responsibility.
since the boys recently began crawling our house is looking as loaded as the diaper bag with the endless amount of gates, locks, and padding. no one in the house can figure out how to use a toilet anymore but at least we’ve made it thru another day with no casualties!
even though we live in fort knox and have a nanny so there is aways an extra set of eyes on the boys, we still have a potential near death moment every freaking day. i really don’t know what’s wrong with jett. colt seems accident prone which you can’t fault him for, but jett really seeks this shit out. he will find the one item in the entire house that could cause him to spontaneously combust and he will crawl toward it with more ambition than i’ve ever had for anything. if you prevent him from getting it he obsesses and looks at you with hate in his eyes for saving his life. self-destructive nature….no idea where he gets that from…..
so yeah, every day i’m terrified i’m going to drop the ball and something’s going to kill them. so again, i go overboard. i put my hand on their chests 4 times a night to make sure they are breathing which is probably the reason they’re still waking up all night long at 9 months. the boys have three pediatricians, a GI specialist, an allergists, an acupuncturist and a masseuse. very rarely does a week go by without a visit to at least two of them. my husband and skids call me the “munchausen mom” but i believe that’s a misdiagnosis. i don’t take them to doctors for attention, i take them to so they can assure me they are healthy and fine and that i haven’t done some terrible damage to them, yet. and i can exhale. for a moment. but just a moment. cause once i learn they are okay i start to fear i am not. am i terminal and don’t know it? will i die soon and not see my kids grow up? will today be the last day i kiss them? what are they going to do without their mother? since i’ve had kids i find the pressure to stay alive overwhelming!
my husband thinks i need a therapist on speed dial and a shipment of zanax fed-exed every day. as the days go on, however, i’m starting to think he’s the crazy one along with people like him who have several children and with each one become more relaxed. i don’t think it is what everyone claims it to be-that you get more seasoned with each one and the neurosis of being a first time parent wear off and by the fourth kid you just strap him to the roof of the car and off you go. it is clear to me that your mind must just shut off at a certain point. your emotions must have to shut down somewhat or how could you survive? if with every child you went through anxiety like this every moment of every day how could you function? no one would have more than one kid. so you must have to stop “caring” to a point. it’s got to be as if a self protective shield goes up when another baby is on the way that says ‘fuck it. what will be will be. i gotta get some freakin sleep’.
it’s not an accident there is an I in the middle of anxIety. there I am surrounded by all this fear. but i am not alone. i am squishing two other people in there with me. so as i see it i can get on some sort of horse tranquilizer, or be prepared to attend a lot of family counseling sessions with two very angry men (make that three) pointing fingers at me.
the moral of this parenting story is that there is no way not to screw up. i can go down the safe path of baby proofing their lives and keeping them healthy but it will likely result in two highly neurotic men who wear bubble wrap to work.