Non-Maternal Instincts

Nonmaternal Instinct

Playdates. What the heck?

Playdates. What a joke. Going-out-of-their-mind moms gather their ornery-and-surly children so that they can practice socialization while the mommies run their mouths. When actually the kids fight over cheap toys and wind up with gum in their hair and black eyes. And the moms, bless their hearts, are so hungry for adult interaction that they don't even notice when the kids smear glue all over the dog.

Yep, playdates aren't always what they're cracked up to be.

We have attended two separate playdates in which my son was found in the master bathroom of the host's home, in the master bathtub, running the master bath water. And the kicker, the bathtub wasn't empty. It was full of the master's stuff - clothes and razors, to be exact. See what happens when I'm let out of the house to interact with other adult humans. My son ends up practically drowning himself while playing with razors.

And then there was the time when my darling friend, a new mommy, came to my house because her walls were caving in on her. I was so excited to love on her and her then three-week-old. Well guess what, I failed miserably. Not only did she come to MY house, but she brought ME lunch, and she held MY baby, and she cleaned up after MY son. She's supposed to be the rookie! She left two hours later and I prayed really hard for a time machine because I desperately needed a do-over. That playdate needed a reset button like nobody's business.

That very same day another dear friend stopped by for dinner. Though she doesn't have kids, she insisted on playing with my kids so it absolutely counted as a playdate. Her visit ended with a literal cry for help when our dog attacked her and then ate her sock whole. So what if he thought she was playing. I'm quite certain her life flashed before her eyes, and I shamefully hugged her farewell as she wobbled from my house sockless.

The very next day my gal-pal and her little goldilocks came over for a visit. My son, who is obsessed with the exact toy or object that is in the hands of the other child, yanked sunglasses from goldilocks' hands. They were her sunglasses. And she wasn't letting go. And because my son is an absolute rascal, he pulled harder and snapped her glasses in half.



Playdates always leave me exhausted and embarrassed. More often than not, I leave playdates running for the bar. But I tell ya what, I won't stop playdates. Sure, playdates might result in exhaustion, vandalism, and alcohol-consumption, but they also foster a camaraderie that reminds us moms we are not alone. Because while my son is filling up bathtubs with razors, someone else's son is decorating the wall with a sharpie. We are not alone.

But more importantly, as our kids build a fort in the soot-covered fireplace, us moms chat over burnt coffee confessing to one another about the time(s) we lashed out in anger and yelled at our child. While our kids drink food coloring, we discuss our frustration with budgets and finances. The topics at a playdate aren't for sissies. Postpartum depression, broken marriages, accumulating debt, and other issues usually left on a therapist's couch for $120/hour.

Sure, playdates aren't all their cracked up to be.

But as insane as playdates can be, they might just be the one thing in a mother's day to keep her sane.

Non-Maternal Instincts

I originally posted this in November, 2008. Though the post begins by addressing the holiday season, I thought it was the perfect post for this uneventful-week-in-February as both my children have RSV.

Blegh humbug.

Nonmaternal Instinct

Get out your kleenex (and if you're like me, it's probably tucked in your sleeve).

'Tis the season for over-liquoring the eggnog, singing nonsensical carols, making out underneath the mistletoe, sitting on old guys' laps in the middle of the mall, re-gifting bubble bath and perfume, and surviving the snottiest nose in the animal kingdom - my son's.

It seems that when any normal person catches a cold the worst of it is evidenced by a rudolph-colored sniffer, half-flaked away because it's been kleenexed raw. But when my son catches a cold, it appears as if Mount Vesuvius erupted all over his face.

It starts with his nose. His baby schnoz is filled with flourescent-colored boogies partially hanging out of his putrid-yellow encrusted nostrils. From there, two long streams of thick snot run from his nose onto his lip at just the right spot for a good lick-up (and lick-up he does - Eww!). Occasionally he rubs his nose causing the yellow, green and brown medley to be smeared across his upper lip and cheeks and chin. From afar he looks like he should be starring in a gruesome horror flick - Watch out for Baby Loogie and A Nightmare on Plegm Street.

And because the runny, snotty mess usually lasts an entire week (if we're lucky), his tiny button nose (now hidden beneath a week's worth of crusty phlegm) begins to collect dust, dirt, and other substances usually only found inside a vacuum bag. No joke - just yesterday I yanked a couple of dog hairs that were embedded in the snot scab attached to my son's snout.

And because our little germ magnet can't figure out how to make his coughing and hacking effective, nothing ever actually comes up. Rather he lives in a permanent state of raspy breathing making him sound like a mini Darth Vader.

And this all comes just months after all the pediatricians and specialists and researchers and media got together and banned the crap out of cold medicine of any sort for children big and small. So my dear little snot bucket is left to drown in his own goo. Poor kid. He's startin' to make the dog on National Lampoons Christmas Vacation seem healthy (coincidentally, I think that dog's name is Snots).

Dear God who so generously gave us each a sniffer for breathing and sniffing and picking,

Please give my son his health back (thus giving me my sanity back). He didn't do anything to deserve this. If anything, it was might fault. I probably didn't wash my hands enough or sanitize his toys enough or keep him living in a bubble long enough. My precious little baby simply wants to breath again without having to draw oxygen from the coral reef barrier surrounding his air passage.

And as you work on clearing up his itsy bitsy honker (How do you do it? A snot-sucking vacuum? A boogie-blowing power washer? I'd love to know your secret as my son's snotty nose is one for the record books), I'll finish another load of laundry full of clothes, both mine and his, that have fallen victim to my son's snot rockets when no kleenex was in reach (hence why I now always keep one tucked in my sleeve).

Non-Maternal Instincts

Nonmaternal Instinct

Winter. A time suck.

I know what you're thinking. Oh, how cute. What adorable children. Those are the most darling babies I've ever seen. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's jazzy and all, but you know what I'm thinking when I see those pictures?

  • 2 onesies
  • 2 sets of leg warmers
  • 2 sets of snow pants
  • 2 shirts
  • 2 coats
  • 2 sets of gloves
  • 2 hats
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • 2 pairs of boots
Are you counting? Of course you're not. That's t-w-e-n-t-y s-i-x individual items of clothing that I am required to put on their cute, adorable, darling bodies before going outside. (What do you mean, required? Oh, I mean that if I don't, then their cute, adorable, darling bodies will turn blue and fall off, and that's not so cute, adorable, and darling anymore, now is it?)

So, here's the scoop. I actually like winter. Seriously, I love Ohio because of the seasons. All of them. But I NEVER EVER EVER thought winter could be so stinkin' time-consuming. In order for me to get myself and those cute, adorable, darling babies out the door, I have to set aside the first half of the morning. And then we go outside and do whatever it is small children do in the snow (what do they do? Oh, they eat it. So that's fun.) And then I must set aside the second half of the morning to remove the 26 items from their cute, adorable, darling and now sweating bodies because guess what, they crap in their diapers and it's my job to change them. Steamy and stinky. More fun.

So, tell me, what would you do if you were me? I'll tell you exactly what I do. I throw on my robe and slippers, waddle my goosebumped booty outside, scoop up a bunch of that fluffy white stuff and plop it in a bowl. So my kids can eat it. Because they can do that in nothing but their diapers. And it only takes me 30 seconds to toss on my robe and slippers. Boom. Done.

And the bonus, they are even more cute, adorable, and darling in nothing but their diapers, take my word.

Non-Maternal Instincts

Nonmaternal Instinct

Giving Linda Blair a run for her money.

Have you seen The Exorcist? You know, the Linda Blair movie about a young girl possessed by some freaky demons (I suppose all demons are freaky), and in the most memorable scene her head does a 360 degree turn and she curses terrible profanities (I guess all profanities are terrible) and she pukes up nasty green stuff.

Well, we experienced that here just last week. In real time. In real life. With real people, not cute child actors like Linda Blair.

You see, the stomach flu trampled its way into this house, and as it hit each member of my family, it became progressively worse.

It started with me. I swore it was only food poisoning that I blamed on clearance mushrooms (yes, there is such a thing, and I buy such things). And then my husband started vomiting (though nauseous, I never threw up), and again, I blamed clearance mushrooms. But when my baby boy started puking EVERYWHERE, I realized it wasn't the clearance mushrooms after all (My son snubbed the clearance mushrooms. He's a total food snob).

But let me tell you, watching a little one vomit is like watching a scene from The Exorcist. Minus the 360 degree head turn and terrible profanities. And my son's vomit was slightly pink, not green. But other than that, my son gave Linda Blair a run for her money.

I am SO thankful it is behind us. I am SO thankful that Harper never got it. I am SO ready for cold and flu season to be over.

Exorcisms just ain't my thang.

Non-Maternal Instincts

Nonmaternal Instinct

Originally posted in January, 2009

Before reading this post, please read Part One.

The Couch Escapade, Part Two

I know what you are thinking. I marched back into Value City and got all Edward Scissorhands on Dottie's beehive, leaving a foul-fingered masterpiece on top of her lady-lost-her-mind head of hair.

Oh, how I wish I could tell you that was true.

But remember I told you there was a blessing that came of all this? Well, there is a pretty, soft, buttery, oh-so-cozy ending to this escapade. That I promise.

So after my near-Towanda moment, I vowed to find the couch of my dreams.

That following weekend, we hit the stores - new and used (Yes, I said used. And before you haters judge, let me make two things clear: 1) We have a young son who travels with crumbs, drool, and boogies; a dog who tracks in dirt, mud, and critters; and a baby-on-the-way who will surely litter our home with spit-up stains and the occasional oops-I-missed-the-diaper; thus we have no need for a showroom piece of furniture, and 2) I aim to make green choices whenever I can - a used piece of furniture satisfies my favorite mantra - Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!)

Not having much luck, I remembered that there was a JC Penny outlet store in a land far, far away. Okay, so the outlet was merely on the other side of town, but when your side of town contains over a dozen furniture stores and a few consignment shops, a 1/2 tank of gas for JC Penny is hard to justify. But like Veruca Salt wanted her Oompa Loompa NOW, I wanted a couch yesterday!

So here is how the JC Penny outlet works: every piece of furniture has a colored sticker on it. Each color corresponds with a percentage discount starting at 50% going up to 90%. We soon found several pretty, soft, buttery couches, all 50%-70% off! We were looking at $2000-$3000 couches selling easily for under $1000! Score.

One such couch was very much in stock. We found five of that same exact couch, but strangely a couple of them were 50% off, a couple were 60% off, and one was 70% off. Curious, indeed. We couldn't figure out why the one was so much cheaper, so we asked one of the I'd-rather-be-with-my-boyfriend sales gals. She said that the longer the couch sits in the store, the cheaper it is.

Uh, works for me!

We didn't have to think twice - we asked the darling little sales gal to put a SOLD tag on that bad boy. Before making the not-so-big-purchase-after-all, we made another loop around the outlet. While reveling in our bargain, a young family approached us.

"Excuse me, we saw you folks looking at that couch, and well, we looked at it too, but it appeared used. There's dog hair in the cushions."
Hmmm. Not sure what to say, "Um, thanks, we'll check it out."

Thinking he might be right, we moseyed our way back to the golden ticket and started the cavity search.

WHAT IS THIS? Dog Hair?! And crumbs?! Ewww! Thank God for the don't-let-'em-fool-ya angel who brought this travisty to our attention!

I frowned, hubs shrugged, but being the optimist that he is, he said, "well, we can still get this style couch for 100 bucks more, no biggie, let's go check the others."

Um, I should mention that the same mother who once embarassed me in the department store because she manipulated her way into a great bargain actually taught me a thing or two. And remember that Don't mess with the pregnant lady mentality? Well, it all kicked it.


I wasn't going to just buy the next couch because this one apparently was on it's ninth life.

So I flagged down the darlin' sales gal and showed her the results of our cavity search.
Poor girl, her expression couldn't have been more telling. 'Oh shoot' is a nice way of putting it.
Fortunately, she had a walkie talkie. Walkie talkies call managers. Managers mean, "I ain't paid enough to deal with this crap."

Manager appears. For the third time, I pry apart the cushions revealing the leftover sandwich and shaggy beast hairs hidden beneath.
Manager wasn't happy.
Manager was very unhappy with mystery employee who okayed this fine furnishing onto the sales floor. She gives us this spiel about "this should never of happened, these things are supposed to be sent back, I'm gonna find out who did this, and it ain't gonna be pretty."

Okay, fine, whatever, but here was my question, what happens when the couch is sent back (to where, JC Penny reject hell?)

"Oh, they're destroyed," replied Manager.

D-E-S-T-R-O-Y-E-D. What do you mean, like, insinuator-destroyed?

"Um, yeah, basically, but let me look at the ticket. I need to see that ticket."

She pulls the ticket, glances it over, and starts scribbling. It seemed very official with her big important pen and strong scribbles.

Then she comes close - real close-talker close. I could smell her sour cream potato chip breath. I could see her chin hairs. And she whispered, "I'll mark it down 90%."


Okay, this couch was originally $2000; 90% off made it $200. I don't care whose dog spent a week living the good life on its buttery goodness, that couch was SOLD (again)!

Once again, before the haters judge (and really, I know they're just jealous), the couch was probably returned to the original store then sent to the outlet. Because there were several others of the same make we knew that it wasn't a used couch from a previous season. If anything, it spent a week in some hungry man's living room, then it was returned.

I am SO not above that. Not to mention, we saved this beauty from fire and brimstone! We saved a couch! Not only did we get a holla-back-girl kinda deal, but I satisfied my desire to go green! Oh, ain't that just happy?!

Jesus loves me.

Non-Maternal Instincts

Nonmaternal Instinct

Originally posted in January, 2009

The Couch Escapade, Part One

This post doesn't necessarily belong under the category of non-maternal, but in some ways, it does.

Remember the movie Adventures in Babysitting? Great movie. Anyway, there is a line in that movie that I cannot repeat, but the gist of it is, "Don't mess with the babysitter."

The Couch Escapade is two-fold. It has a "Don't mess with the pregnant lady" mantra, and for any of us who have been pregnant or even menstrual, you know what I mean. When my hormones are whack, I DARE someone to cross me. I know that sounds harsh, but we have all been there (unfortunately for me and anyone who comes in contact with me, I'm going to be there for several more months, at least).

Secondly, the Couch Escapade is the story of a hidden blessing. I'll explain more about that later.

For those of you who follow me on twitter, you know that we have been in the market for a couch.

For those of you who do not follow me on twitter, we have been in the market for a couch.

Well, we bought a couch.

But that's the end of the story.

Let me start from the beginning.

Last week I went to Value City to look at furniture. Value City really isn't a city, it's just a store with well-priced furniture. And technically, all cities are value cities as they are all full of things with value, no? But I digress.

Value City was having a Leather Clearance Extravaganza {rolls eyes}. All that means was that they had some really ugly leather furniture on sale. And by really ugly, I mean fluorescent orange and lime green. It was gross. I don't know how they can call it a sale. They are going to have to pay people to take those couches. I'm not kidding about the colors. Go see for yourself. I guarantee those orange and green couches are still there.

Anyway, I did manage to find one set (everything was being sold in pairs) that I liked. It was brown, leather, and my style. But it was still out of our price range.

And that's when the lady with the bright-red bouffant entered my life. Oh, is she special! I'll call her, "Dottie."

Dottie and her big, red hair, saw that I was interested in the brown leather set. She saw me sitting on the couch, working my hiney into the soft pigskin. She spouted off a bit of information about the couches, "100% italian leather all-around," "blah, blah, blah."
I told her that I liked them, but we really weren't in the market for a set, and it was out of our price range.

That's when she got funny (first red flag - actually - the first red flag should have been the hair). She looked around, realized no one was looking, and then she pulled out her black book. I got nervous. I thought she was going to show me a list of all the men she had been with on that couch. I mean, she was acting really funny.

She showed me the black book. Inside was an ad that was set to hit the papers the next day. It advertised a special that was going on the next day. She was giddy. She said, "that set goes on clearance tomorrow," (I thought, is it not already on clearance? Whatever).

I asked, "what do you mean?"

She said, quoting the ad, "it is $200 cheaper starting tomorrow."


"Yep, but you'll have to get here first thing, that's our only one left."

Hmmmm, I thought to myself. Now that's not a bad price. And we could use both pieces, it just wasn't what we needed, per say.

So I pulled the, well-I-have-to-talk-with-my-husband card.

Though in the back of my head, I'm thinking, "This is a deal! I like extravaganzas!"

Dottie reminds me to be back first thing in the morning, and I tell her I like her hair okay.

Later that day, I see this ad on T.V., and it's for the same couch set, but the deal starts a different day, so I call Dottie.

She tells me that she misread the dates (second red flag) and the ad on T.V. is correct. She asks for my name and number, and she promises to call me to confirm this (she is a very confused lady).

She calls, she verifies, and we arrange to meet on a specified date and time for the exchange.

She whispered a lot on the phone, adding to the excitement of the deal. At times, I felt like I was arranging to buy something illegal, that's how secretive she was about the whole thing. I like living on the edge.

Sure enough, I show up to purchase the set, she starts ringing me up, and I notice that the price isn't reduced. I mention something. She acts confused (RED flag!). She says she'll be right back. I watch as the red bouffant enters the manager's office. She returns seconds later. It's not looking good. She seems disappointed. She seems very un-Dottie-ish.

And guess what? She failed to read the fine print in the ad (and I never thought to look at the ad closely myself; she was the one who worked there, after all). As it turns out, only the heinous orange and green couches were on clearance-clearance. The pretty, buttery, brown leather ones were not.

She gave me a look of, "don't you still want it?" I gave her a look of, "I'm going to hit you." I did not hit her. I did not key the furniture on my way out, although I considered it. I did not park in the back of the parking lot, waiting for her to leave the store, only to ruffle her feathers after her shift. Jesus intervened. Jesus made me turn around and walk away. Jesus told me to keep walking, if they were desperate, they would chase me. They did not chase me. I kept walking. I cursed. Jesus understood. I cursed again. Jesus said, "that's enough." I got in my car and had a mini temper tantrum. I repeated, over and over, as if Dottie was sitting next to me, "Don't mess with the pregnant lady. Don't mess with the pregnant lady."

I guess you could say that was my prayer. I think all the pregnant angels listened to me.

Because the story gets a lot better. I mean, it gets good. Like pregnant-lady-eating-fried-pickles-and-Rocky-Road-ice-cream-good.

But you'll have to wait for the delicious ending.

Rest assured, I'm sitting on a brand new, pretty, buttery, brown leather couch right now as I type. But you will have to wait until next week to find out how.


Non-Maternal Instincts

Nonmaternal Instinct

This is what it looks like . . .

. . . when you do late night grocery shopping and are too tired to put anything away so you leave it for the next day and then it's the next day and you wake to crying babies and you must drag yourself out of bed to feed them and then you decide to lug them to the library for enrichment (because it's much easier for the library to enrich them; I can't even put my groceries away let alone enrich my children) and as you are making good time and think you might even be on time to library enrichment the dog pukes up a sock and now you have to soak, scrub, and clean the carpet but only after you move the dining room table out of the way because the puking dog just had to puke underneath the table and next thing you know you are home from the library and your babies are crying again because it's lunchtime and they are hungry and you are responsible for feeding them lunch because you are the mom.

And that is what it looks like.

Don't judge.

Non-Maternal Instincts

Nonmaternal Instinct

Dog Edition

Pray for him.

Since Henry's arrival over 18 months ago, this precious dog has become the culprit of one very serious crime.

Sock snatcher.

Sock devourer.

Sock eat-and-puke-upper.

And this once patient momma ain't gonna take it anymore.

I know, I know. He totally looks like the type of dog who cuddles up to your legs and nuzzles his head between your feet.

Yeah, he does that.

After he puked up his 96th sock.

So pray for him. His days are numbered.

Non-Maternal Instincts

Nonmaternal Instinct

Mommy makeover shows are for the birds.

You know Mike Rowe, the crazy host of Dirty Jobs? Well, I'd like for him to join me for a day.

No, I take that back. Five minutes is all he would need to get some footage.

You see, yesterday, as I was rushing to get my kids out the door, I scooped up Harper and ran upstairs to change her diaper. We quickly bounced back downstairs, and as I made my way over to her car seat, I felt it. And I heard it.


She puked. All down my back and all over the floor.

It was typical baby vomit - curdled and stinky.

And here's the best part. I was so far past the point of caring that I grabbed the grungy washcloth from the kitchen sink and haphazardly wiped it up. I didn't even change my shirt. Nor hers. Take that, Mike Rowe!

After my I-don't-care-if-I-smell-like-vom clean-up job, I grabbed my son to put on his shoes, and "Ka-Choo!"

He sneezed all over the front of my shirt, covering me with green snot boogers.


And once again, I grabbed the grungy, baby vomit stained washcloth. I really didn't care.

And this is why mommy makeover shows make me batty. Because they grab these snot-covered, sweatpants-wearing moms from the grocery store and transform them, making them unrecognizable through designer clothes and hair dye. But the reality is that no mother is ever going to look like that on a daily basis. And no mother is going to stop living her vomit-soaked reality because she smacked on some department store grade make-up (seriously, why is make-up sold from behind a counter under lock and key?) No practical mom is going to allow her makeover-show, fancy-expensive outfit to be covered in vomit and snot. Heck no! That's why we wear our grungy sweatpants everyday (that and because we can't fit into anything else, but that's another post).

So Oprah can go on making mommy's look all hot and stuff, but those mommy's are just going to sell those clothes on eBay when they get home. Trust me. If I looked so bad that some t.v. show producer had pity on me and awarded me with a $500 outfit from Nordstrom, I'd swap those overpriced clothes for something that could really make a difference.

A maid.

Non-Maternal Instincts

Nonmaternal Instinct


I was so desperate that I didn't foresee the aftermath.

Of course he was happy, so I accomplished my goal.

Yet the mess and clean-up that followed sent me right back over the edge.

But when two babies are screaming and the dog just puked up a sock, momma will do anything to bring peace.

And let's face it, chocolate is peace.