Friday, September 25, 2009


So, I've been feeling old lately. Not like pass-the-Depends old, but more like, "Shit, that's in style again?" old.

There are obvious signs of age...lines on my face that weren't there before, a metabolism that used to be my friend and now betrays me any chance it gets, and early morning stiffness that takes about 15 minutes to dissipate. (Seriously, all I want at 6:30 a.m. is a fucking cane.) Then there are other signs like the fact that you find yourself looking backwards...a lot.

"Hey! Remember when we blah, blah, blah? Or, the time we went to blah, blah, blah?" Yes. I'm one of those "Remember when" people now. And then there's the music. Lately, I have listening to stuff I listened to in high school and college more than checking out any new stuff. (You know things have gone awry when you've listened to The Cure more than once in five-day time period.)

Occasionally, I'll hear from out of nowhere,"Gosh darn whipper snappers! They don't make music like they used to!" I'll roll my eyes, glance around to see who let the old fogey in, and then realize that I'm by myself. That was my voice and, yes, my words. I'll glance down and see two confused faces looking up at me and realize it's only the first of many times I will leave my children scratching their heads.

I grew up a child of the '80s and '90s. I spent my childhood with scrunchies, Smurfs, and the Cosby kids. I spent my college years swimming in an intoxicating mixture of self-empowered angst and youthful exuberance, which exploded in a flurry of plaid and Doc Martens. What I remember most about 17 to 20 is dancing. Lights, music, friends, laughter, and dancing. Driving home at 5 a.m., watching the sun come up, laughing at the poor shmos on their way to work as we made our way home, feeling the wind on my face and not having a care in the world.

The freedom, spontaneity and absence of responsibility during that time can never be duplicated.

Then it was time to grow up. But I really didn't want to. So, I went to graduate school in Colorado. Man that was a great decision. With the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, the party continued. I emerged with a master's degree and a killer hangover. Got a job at a paper and moved in with two girlfriends, while Cyndi Lauper continued to be the soundtrack of my life 'cause, you know, girls just wanna have some friggin' fun.

Then it was really time to grow up. Moved home to the D.C. area for better job opportunities. Met, or shall I say re-met, my husband. Part of my past (my little brother's childhood best friend), it was easy to see a future. Falling in love is one thing, but falling in love and seeing something beyond the giddiness of infatuation is something else entirely. I knew. He knew. Cliche or not, that was it. This time, I was ready to grow up.

So, I get it. I'll never be that young girl again with no one to think of but myself. No longer will I have the raucous laughter and silliness of youthful irresponsibility punctuated by a soundtrack of loud, throbbing music.

Today, I'm a mom and wife first. I have responsibilities. I have commitments. I have love.

That is, except for Fridays mornings in my car. After dropping M off at school and J off at Grandma's, I turn up New Order, really loud, roll the windows down

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

School Days

Five days a week. That's how often my little girl is in school these days. She had her first day last week. We did the obligatory first-day snapshot and off she went. And there I was. Left with just one.

I've had two for almost two years now. It was hard to comprehend a world when my arms weren't jumping apart in two different directions, story time didn't turn into a wrestling match because one lap just simply was not going to cut it, and my ears weren't ringing from the sheer volume of two children talking, crying, yelling, whining, laughing.

But there I was. With one. I wasn't sure what to do with him because I was so used to the frantic pace of the two of them.

So we went for a walk. Small puddles lined the path that is a short-cut to one of our many neighborhood parks (we don't have jack-shit for a yard, but for a consolation prize, we got parks, parks, and more parks). J ran ahead of me and stomped his way through the first puddle, sending tiny flecks of water flying.

He squealed in delight and proceeded to keep stomping. I watched him for a moment and then, out of habit, turned to look for her. Wait. She's not here. It's just us. And in that moment, I missed my first baby.

I turned to look at J's smiling, gleeful face and then, also out of the habit of rushing around with two, went to move him along to our final destination. When you have more than one child, sometimes you feel like your job is to "herd" them, move them along to the park, grocery store, inside the house, into the car, to the pool, wherever. But, then something curious happened. I stopped. What was the rush? We had all morning. We didn't have anyone else's schedule, needs, wants, desires to attend to.

"Go ahead honey. Stomp, stomp, stomp!" I said as I started to move my legs up and down. J laughed and jumped vigorously into another puddle, dampening the bottoms of his jeans.

His needs so often come second not only because she's bigger and louder, but also because activities with preschoolers are just more interesting than stuff with toddlers and infants. When we go out, usually it's to places geared toward M's interests and J is just along for the ride.

Given the freedom, though, all this guy really wants to do is stomp his little heart out in some mutha' fuckin' puddles. So we did -- for a solid 20 minutes.

When he was done (and I waited until he was done), I gave him some Goldfish crackers to munch on, we held hands, and walked on.

Preschool rocks.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lessons From Sting, Kyle MacLachlan and David Lynch

I'm a pants pooper. When I say that, I don't mean that you should be checking my drawers for chocolate swirls. I mean I can sometimes (fine, often times) have a glass-is-half-empty outlook on life. My husband is the opposite.

I'm always skeptical of T's hair-brained ideas when it comes to family activities. I'm freaked out by messes, injuries, and activities that I perceive to be "more trouble than they're worth." Nine times out of ten, though, when we follow through on them, I am transported to a magical place where I'm 9 years old again. Then, inevitably, I tuck my poop tail between my legs and say to him, "Yes, honey, you were right. That was fun. I had fun."

Our recent trip to Duck was no exception.

We had planned to check out the sand dunes, which if you are not familiar, are pretty fucking impressive. We're talking mountains upon mountains of sand. We went to the beach in the morning and planned to hit up the dunes in the afternoon. But, with a toddler nap time on the horizon, I was wondering how the heck we were going to swing it all.

"If he falls asleep on the way, we'll just carry him in, bring some towels, and let him sleep on the sand."

Easy, peasy, Japanesey. Right? Not when you have anal-retentive tendencies and are used to being hyper-scheduled, hyper-controlled, and just plain hyper. I reluctantly agreed.

The second issue was the boogy board. T was insistent that we bring it to ride the sand dunes, brah. Seriously? Do we really need to bring in a boogy board? Can't we just take leisurely walks around the dunes?

I relented. The boogy board came with...and so did my untrusting, unbelieving, unsure face, which T likens to an expression you'd make if you'd suddenly and unsuspectingly gotten a whiff of something foul-smelling.

J did fall asleep in the car on the way to the dunes. T carried him in, we laid him down on a towel and covered him with another. This is what he did while we took turns climbing the dunes:

M rocked it out, all the while squealing, yelling and laughing.

Take one with Daddy.

Take two, solo.

And as much as it pains me to write this, the boogy board was pure genius.

When J woke up, he promptly got into the dunage.

Fun with Dunes was a blast. And with most things that I resist because I'm scared, tired or can't relinquish the monster need to control, I am glad I conceded to the Powers of Fun. As a mom, sometimes I can get wrapped really tight about meals, naps, messes, routines, and all the other things that help me make sense of my day-to-day life with two small children. What was that line from Ferris Bueller's Day Off about inserting a piece of coal into Cameron's ass, twisting and getting a diamond? Well, you get the picture. It is a conscious effort for me to let loose and enjoy those carefree moments with my family.

So, with that being said, I'm glad I have Mr. Would You Please Fucking Relax nudging me from time to time....even though I don't always know it.

Plus, the boogy board did come in handy when we needed to transport an exhausted and extremely whiny preschooler back to the car.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Week of No Beach at the Beach

Outer Banks + Rain = Clamoring for Things to Do at the Beach that Don't Involve the Beach

The kids are staging a mutiny. Pray for us...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

40-Year-Old Intern

First week as an intern at For Your Old Eyes Only newspaper went swimmingly. Had some highlights and lowlights, but overall currently having a blast in my new position as Ass-Girl Extraordinaire.

Day 1: "You are the best intern we've ever had." - My New Editor/Boss
Almost as sweet of a compliment as when someone says, "Wow, you look really good for someone your age."

Day 2: "You sound so comfortable interacting on the phone." - Administrative Dude
Does he really think I'm a college junior? Listen up, MAN, I'm edumacated.

Day 3: Assigned to profile winner of this year's Ms. Senior Beauty pageant. I'll say that again. Assigned to profile winner of this year's Ms. Senior Beauty pageant.
Best. Assignment. Ever. I'll say that again. Best. Assignment. EVER.

Day 3, Part Deux: Viewed a number of pictures to go along with health piece on the importance of regular prostate exams.
Holy shit. My ass cheeks still spontaneously clench together when I think of the close-up of that white-gloved hand-- and I'm not even a dude.

Day 4: Promotion from Intern to Staff Writer.
I just did like the Little Engine and said to myself, "I think I can, I think I can."

Oh, and today, had to leave my internship early because both kids flared up with fevers of over 100 degrees. That's right. The intern had to leave because her kids were sick.

I could possibly be enjoying all this a little too much.