Every year when it came time to yank the Christmas decorations out of the attic and begin to decorate, my mom went nuts. Like…. seriously nuts. Sure, she allowed me and my brother to help decorate (we fought every year over who got to put the creepy moving angel at the top of the tree) as long as it matched her very particular color scheme. Which was mauve. Yes, mauve. Mauve EVERYTHING. My eyes still burn.
Like most kids, me and my brother weren’t exactly master decorators, especially with our cornucopia of
hideous fantastic handmade ornaments we gleefully brought home to adorn the tree’s prime location branches with. Still, our mom oohed and ahhed as the garland went ’round and the lights flicked on, and we all drank (BARF) egg nog, listening to holiday music, and sat around and stared at the tree. Just stared at it. Probably imagining it with the plethora of gifts that would soon be below it.
We baked cookies, did crafts, watched Christmas movies, and even went caroling. There were big parties, pies, traveling, family get togethers (and soooooo so many fights) and when all the paper was torn and thrown away, all the cookies were gone and the left overs sent home, a new year began and I remember thinking every single January 1st, “I can’t wait until next Christmas!”
And then something happened, and everything changed: I had kids.
Adult Christmas is like an episode of the Twilight Zone.
I’m not a Grinch. My heart doesn’t need to grow ten sizes. I don’t need Tiny Tim or the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future to show up on my doorstep and show me the magic of Christmas and the errors of my ways. I’m just a parent, and the thought of Christmas exhausts me because that is what the holiday season is: EXHAUSTING.
First, there’s Thanksgiving, and the prep, and the shopping, and the traveling if you have to travel with kids who fight/complain/ask when you’ll be there five million times. Then you’ve got the picky little shit who refuses to eat anything and suddenly “hates” mashed potatoes, and they ruin their clothes before you can take family photos and when it’s finally all said and done and the kids are watching TV on the couch, you still have a million things to do, dishes to wash, and crap to put away, only to pull out more crap later.
Just as you’re recovering from Turkey day hysteria, it’s serious Christmas time (at least for us. I don’t do the early shizz. I just…. I can’t. One holiday at a time). Out comes the tree, and everything that goes along with it. The kids shout with glee! You ALMOST forget the nightmare that was last year. Almost.
They almost break every single ornament and nearly knock over the tree about seven dozen times. They complain and whine and fight over the stupid Buzz Lightyear with the hand broken off because SOMEONE dropped it but no one will claim responsibility. They boo and hoo about not getting the garland “just right” even though you tell them to do it however they want because you know once they’re done you’re just going to have to go back in and fix the entire stupid thing so it’s halfway presentable. They argue over stockings, even if they have names on them. They argue over the kind of cookies to bake Santa, and who gets to make them, and then make a GIANT mess and you end up obnoxiously helicoptering to make sure no one gets salmonella and dies or breaks a tooth on a giant piece of egg shell (YES IT CAN HAPPEN DON’T QUESTION ME). They argue over wanting the same toy, even though you’ve a) never said ANY of their asses were going to get it and b) no one said they couldn’t all get the same stupid thing. They fight for the sake of fighting.
You have to shop fight the crowds and the traffic, and the “out of stock”s in store and online. You have to get wrapping paper, and not just wrapping paper, but special wrapping paper you have to hide because it’s “From Santa” and THEY CANNOT SEE IT EVER OR CHRISTMAS IS ROOOOOOONED! We stress about getting the right gifts, sometimes even enough gifts (even though we fully believe they deserve coal and should be happy with even just a handful, we also know that ain’t gonna happen). And once it finally comes to the culmination, Christmas morning, and the paper we spent endless nights wrapping and hiding is shredded in under 10 minutes, we sit back and breathe a sigh of relief. They’re smiling. It’s over.
They get to “help”, and enjoy, and have happy memories, and I get a Christmas tree that doesn’t look like it was pulled from a dumpster, cookies that don’t give me food poisoning, happy, smiling, magic-filled kids, and possibly a shred of my sanity left over. They get to sing, and eat, and decorate and rip and play and eat some more and hopefully, every January 1st, they think “I can’t wait until next Christmas!” meanwhile, I want to collapse and never ever do it ever ever again. It’s a win/win. Mostly.
Last week, a violent illness ripped through my household, rendering the small males completely useless. Except their mouths. Of course it couldn’t disable their mouths, too. It was a strain of Man-Cold unlike anything I’d ever had the misfortune to witness before.
When it took out my 8 year old, he spent an entire day on the couch sleeping. Except when he wasn’t, and when he wasn’t he was complaining. And having me make him toast. And cover him with blankets. And get him any and ever thing he might need. When he felt a little better, he got to stay home in his pajamas and do whatever the hell he wanted all day while I still cared for him, making him toast, water, snacks even when he didn’t ask, and getting him any and every thing he might need.
When it took down my 6 year old, he spent an entire day refusing to sleep and complaining instead. The man-cold was strong in that one. He wanted toast, but didn’t want toast. He wanted jelly but didn’t want jelly. He wanted medicine but didn’t want medicine. He was tired but couldn’t sleep. His head hurt. His throat hurt. His horrible taste in TV hurt me. But still- I endured it. I got him the toast with and without the jelly. I made him special soup and covered him with blankets. He didn’t even have to ask- I got him any and every thing he might need.
The man cold has now taken down its third victim: Me. That’s right- I HAVE A MAN COLD! My head hurts, my body aches, I’m tired, I’m cranky, my throat is sore. I just want to lay on the couch in my pajamas and sleep while someone covers me with blankets and makes me toast and brings me things without me having to ask. And I DO have someone like that… Me.
Why don’t we moms get to man cold properly?
I didn’t get to lounge around wearing pajamas because I have kids to usher around like a proper chauffeur. No one was home to make me toast or cover me with blankets or bring me things. I made myself soup. Condensed. Because that’s the only crap we had and as the sick one, the only thing I has to energy to make for myself. I couldn’t just sleep all day because of things I hate to refer to as “responsibilities” and there’s no one here during the day to pick up the slack for me.
No. You see, I have come to a realization. Although we may WANT to man-cold, although we may DESERVE to man-cold with the worst of them, we simply cannot. Why? Well, because we’re women, and we don’t get man-colds. We get WOMAN-Colds. Which is like a man-cold, except we GET SHIT DONE OURSELVES. Power through. Because that’s just what we do.
….but I still want to lie down, complain, and man-cold like a mofo. A woman can dream.
Have you ever been shopping with a baby/toddler? No? Let me paint you a portrait please.
1. People ignore your stroller
Seriously. You’re thinking “oh that friendly-looking lady walking in this direction will probably walk around us. Surely she can see my stroller. Can’t miss it. Surely.”
Well guess what? She expects YOU to move out the way and make way for her to pass. Yes, you have become *that* annoying person taking up the space of three adults in the aisle it seems everyone suddenly needs to be in!
2. Baby WILL wake up as soon as you’ve spotted a bargain
Oh look, there’s a sale on! You’ve made it to the 70% off rack with what now feels like a gigantic stroller. You can see a top you fell in love with when it was full-priced last week… OMG, there’s only one left in your size. You move away from the stroller, reach up to get it and…
Your sweetheart who was previously fast asleep is now wide awake and not-so-angelic anymore, demanding you attend to her RIGHT now. In the seconds that you’ve turned to see if, perhaps by the grace of God that isn’t your child crying, the top is gone.
3. You WILL forget something
Even if you’ve written a list. Even if you’re holding the list in your hand the entire time you’re shopping. You’ll still go back home and realise that you either forgot to put something on the list in the first place (because you were busy getting the baby ready and out of the house), or you momentarily lost the ability to read while you were out because the baby was vying for your attention. Either way, its the the baby’s fault!
4. “Browsing” is no longer an option
If the baby is quiet/asleep/not bothering you, then you better roll up your sleeves and get your shopping done at breakneck speed. Oh and absolutely no eye contact with her please. For some reason, kids think you’re looking at them because you miss them and proceed to giving you the cutest, inviting giggles to distract you from the real reason you are there. No. Just don’t look.
5. Stopping for lunch requires a masterplan
Gone are the days when you feel the tingles of hunger after a fun afternoon of shopping, and stop by wherever the food looks good. No. Now you need to know if your stroller will even fit through the door. Does this place have highchairs? Do they have a changing room? Is there enough lighting for me to be able to see where the baby has flicked all her food? Are they going to take forever to bring me my order (because both she and I WILL get restless)? Are the other diners going to judge me when the inevitable meltdown takes place? Is the music too loud for my ageing ears?! Etc etc etc.
6. Some toys never make it back home
We have lost many good friends during a shopping trip (a hand-knitted monkey from my cousin was a particularly traumatic loss). How can you lose a toy, you say? Well, they are simply thrown overboard if little one is inclined to do so. If you don’t take any toys with you, you better have some ingenious way of keeping baby/toddler calm during a meltdown; if you do take a toy (and obviously it has to be something she is acclimatised with) then be prepared for that to possibly be the toy’s last ever day with you.
Dark, I know.
It’s baby season! EVERYONE IS KNOCKED UP! Sure as hell feels that way! Every few months there is an influx of ladies sharing positive pee tests, ultrasounds, and cutesy-poopsy “we’re expecting” photos flooding my social media feeds. Does it give me baby fever?HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHHAHAAA! Let’s laugh about that over a margarita, shall we?? No! It doesn’t give me frickin’ baby fever! It makes me happy my uterus was only a kind-of bitch this month and decided to shred my insides instead of turning itself into a fleshy nursery.
Still, all this baby junk has me thinking back–not at all nostalgically– at my time spent being a human incubator. Sure, I recall it, for the most part, as a pretty awesome thing. I mean, I DID get a kid out of it, right? But…. I’ll be honest, and even if it offends people- I hated being pregnant. It was awful. And maybe it wouldn’t have been so awful had people been HONEST with me- and I don’t just mean the sugar-coated “baby’s gonna play your ribs like the xylophone” bullshit- but the REAL HONEST NASTY TRUTH. Because pregnancy is gross. So is childbirth. So are children- but let’s focus, here.
Since I’m reminiscing, why not share all the best of the worst things that no one bothered warning me about?
1. Laser Nipples
Now, this isn’t the ol’ run of the mill “oh, honey, your boobs are gonna be super sensitive!” nonsense the tell you (that can also be confused with PMS sensitivity), no. I straight up felt like my nipples were going to explode. In the shower, I couldn’t even let the water hit them without excruciating pain. Wearing a bra hurt. AIR TOUCHING THEM HURT. Everything hurt. They always hurt. I guess it was the trade off for how wonderfully porno-y they looked.
It’s one thing for the pregnancy books to tell you that constipation is a natural part of the process- but it ain’t just constipation. Ohhhhhh, no. You’re not just full of shit. You’re full of shit, shit that won’t turn into food, and baby, all fighting for space like it’s the fucking Thunderdome. We already know who loses- you.
3. Dirty Dreams
Your boobs aren’t the only thing that might get porno-y- your mind is, too. Why is it that when we look the most like a whale, our brains decide to go perv-tastic? You’d think pregnancy dreams would be all baby faces, bedding, and butterflies, but no. I’ve never had more X-Rated dreams, people.
4. Ya might NOT Shit on the Table
All those nasty rumors about how you’re gonna crap yourself in front of a room full of people? Doctors and nurses who have seen worse, of course, but still PEOPLE! AN AUDIENCE! It’s training for parenthood where you’ll never poop alone again! Well… it’s not 100% accurate. I didn’t shit on the table, and ya wanna know why? Because going into labor, and all the insanity going on in my insides gave me the runs unlike any runs I’ve ever had before. I literally emptied my bowels while in labor to the point that I was completely empty by the time it was time to push out anything other than a turd.
5. Newborn babies are ugly
Don’t fucking lie. They look like weird old potato men. I mean, you LOVE them and in your hormone-fueled brain, they may appear to be beautiful, even with their weird fish eyes and red wrinkly faces and tar-shits, but yeah… they’re old wrinkly potatoes, sometimes covered in hair like little werewolves. Oh, and they’re covered in your insides. Fantastic.
Don’t ya just wanna run right out and get pregnant now??? Yeah…. me either.
When I got this month’s Netflix Stream Team assignment, I actually had the thought- “Man, I wish my kids were still making excuses to stay up at bed time!”
It sounds insane- but my kids have moved beyond the excuse stage and gone straight to UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. My 8 year old boy is a 13 year old girl. Mothers of 8 year old boys know this comparison is the truest truth that ever truthed.
Everything now, instead of the cute (yet obnoxious) excuses of legs not working, being too tired to sleep, the bathroom is just too far, the pillow is just not right, the porridge is just too cold, I get UGHed.
It’s bed time! Ugghhhhhh
Time to brush your teeth! Uggghhhhh
Can you please just get your pajamas on? UGHHHHH
Could you NOT throw your stanky underwear at my head? UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
I feel like I’m trapped in a Master P music video (and yes, I realize referencing that mess makes me old). It’s not fun.
It’s not just the annoyance factor that has me dreaming and wishing for days like the past, when the excuses were flowing and the UGH factor was non-existent. It’s one of those moments you have as a parent where something new comes out that didn’t exist when you had kids and you go THAT’S NOT FRICKIN’ FAIR!!!
Yeah…. thanks, Netflix.
Actually, you CAN thank them, because if your little ones are full of excuses, they have come up with the perfect way to SHUT THEM DOWN! They are giving you the parental MIC DROP moment we all long for!
Next time you find yourself in a heated bed time debate with your tiny terrorist, you can fake-relent and tell them they can watch an ENTIRE show before bed. They’ll think they’re getting the deal of the century, but you’ve got a card up your sleeve.
Netflix and Dreamworks Animation just launched Dinotrux 5 Minute Favorites. Ahhhhh yes. That’s right. They got exactly what they wanted- just 5 more minutes, an entire episode, one more show.
Now, I’m sure they won’t actually go without a fight, but you can rest easy knowing you SCHOOLED them so hard, and although they might argue, they cannot win. Bam!
Check out these 3 new Dinotrux 5 Minute Favorites on Netflix now!
New on Netflix for Kids and Families
@LaToyaJovena I'm a nonfic writer, and I thought a proposal was bad (and it is) but this is pretty torturous, too!
Remember today while you're cramming stuffing in your face that you're really just eating butthole bread. #Thanksgiving
#VoiceSaveEvan because DUH. That is all.
It amazes me that my kids can use my smart phone better than I can, yet still can't seem to manage to properly wipe their own butts.