Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Will Smith Has All The Answers

I think it's important that you know that I am now quoting Will Smith songs as an integral part of my parenting techniques.

Yesterday I actually said the following to Aiden, "through life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad.  Let God deal with the things they do, because hate in your heart will consume you too."

Feel free to now break in to song...."Just the two of us..." 

I don't know why this came out of my mouth, but it is really good advice.  Maybe tomorrow I'll throw out some Miami lyrics, surely there's probably a little lesson hidden in every one of Will's songs. 

In other news, Alex wants me to go see a therapist. 

(Surprisingly not for my recent tendency to turn to Will Smith for words of wisdom.) 

I think I agree with him. 

I'm angry.  I'm often too angry to be nice to our children, even when they aren't actually being horrible. 

I know you might be shocked, but it's true...there are moments when my children aren't horrible. I hate to admit it since I'm firmly stuck in the tortured stay at home Mom mode recently, but they can be great.  They are particularly good after some time away.

I had a life altering good time with my girlfriends a few weekends ago.  The weekend with these amazing women is by far my favorite of the year, this was no exception.  We basically lounged all weekend in a gorgeous home, on a serene lake, in an adorable Indiana town. 

Bliss.

Oh, and we went on a boat.

Everything's better on a boat.  I bet Will would agree.  Does he have a boat song?

These women (plus Kathryn and Carrie who are not in the photo) make me so happy!


Stella and Cole did great with my parents, and Aiden had a wonderful time staying home with Alex.  It sort of made me think that everyone should just have stayed where they were.  My parents did a great job raising me, surely they could take care of Cole and Stella too while I ride around on a boat with my girlfriends for the next few years. 

You know what else is making things a little better around here?

That's right. A Simplehuman, 13 gallon, fingerprint proof, trashcan.  I didn't get the recycle combo, but it's fantastic.  I love it.

I don't foresee it joining the trashcan graveyard we have in the garage anytime soon. Will should rap about trash cans, they really can make a lot better in one's life.



Hallelujah!

Also life altering...much like Will Smith, I too now have a job.  I get paid money and get to leave my house.  If only it were to be a rap star or to make my kid star in another Karate Kid movie. 

I went to work on Tuesday and it was all sorts of wonderful.  I put pretty jewelry in packages and wrote little messages to the recipients. 

(Order something and I'll write you a note!  www.noondaycollection.com!) 

There were no children there.

There were just adults working on ideas and resolutions to problems and periodically talking to me. No one whined or asked for juice....not once.  I think I might move there.  I didn't sign anything about not sleeping there and they have some really comfy looking scarves.

I completed shipment after shipment without interruption.  My friend asked my opinion of a scarf color option and it felt joyous to care about yarn colors instead of the exact location of a microscopic sized plastic gun that I have never seen.

I was asked to think about a photo spread concept and it immediately filled my brain for hours after I left.  I felt like I was an important, worldly, capable woman, even when I was back in my minivan driving to a doctor's appointment with children complaining of an inability to "hold it" until we made it to the office. 

The only downside is that there are so many gorgeous pieces of jewelry accessible to me that I surely will be spending way too much money on accessories.  What's a working girl to do though? I have to look good.  I'm currently coveting these:







I'm in quite a pickle. 

My Mom left Tuesday (shout out for Mom's birthday!!!) and with her departure brings the actual start of summer. Aiden's been out of school for over a week, but attempting a day with just the kids and me means summer is officially legit.  I'm scared.

My Mom only booked a trip here because I literally was falling apart the week before I left for Indiana.  I honestly couldn't handle another day around here.  I had locked myself in my bedroom to cry while the kids ran around wild.  I did come out to save the dog when it sounded like they were being a tad too playful with her.  I might be sad, but I'm not cruel.

I'm not sure if you've noticed, but I'm not writing very often.  I don't have the time, or more importantly the energy to work it in to my waking hours.  I'm too drained and far too overwhelmed to do much more than shower and zone out to TV or a trashy book. 

(Shades of Grey is next.  Brace yourself Alex, there's been talk.)

Notice I haven't mentioned Cole?  I can't even talk about it anymore.  I don't know what to do with him and I am emotionally drained from thinking and worrying about it.

The Cole update can come tomorrow.  For now it's important I go to sleep.  I fear it might take me at least 30 minutes to get Gettin' Jiggy With It out of my head. 

It's just such a good song. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My J.O.B. Demands

This is the text I received from my friend Scott yesterday.

"What is going on with u...I feel something is "off"

Despite his offensive text spelling and punctuation, which makes me wonder how we went to the same high school, he is totally correct. Something is seriously "off" with me.

Yesterday I even felt apathetic about watching the season premiere of The Bachelorette, almost opting out entirely.  Clearly that is symptom worth medicating or listing on a form of some kind.

Fear not though people, I was 110% on board once I saw the man with the bobble heads, the creepy man dressed as Mrs. Doubtfire, and the dude with the jam box. 

Can I call it a jam box in 2012?  It still feels right.

By the way, I love the water CEO and the former NFL player as of right now.

Over the years many people have suggested I get a part time job to have a break from the kids.  I have long loved this suggestion, but in reality it's challenging to find a part time job that pays enough to cover child care, is willing to hire my skill-less self, and will work within my time restraints.  I've prayed many a prayer for something to sort of fall in to my lap that fits when the time is right.

Remember my normal sounding pedicure and yogurt friend from yesterday's post, Jessica?  She's actually the founder and co-owner of a really cool company that I've probably only mentioned 6,000 times so you might not remember, Noonday Collection

She casually suggested I should come to her office and help ship packages and stuff. 

After a quick conversation from my other life-giving friend Jessica, who watches my kids, I was pulling out my old pantsuits and slipping on my power high heels.  This might sound odd because I would just be shipping stuff, but it felt good to reminisce about the days of employment.

Noonday Jessica's sweet friend and coworker Renee, who handles such messes like myself, emailed me the details and offered to send me a job description.  The truth is, the job description could say anything and I'm game, but I felt it was a good idea for me to come up with my own list of requirements for any position I fill. 

I was just about to email it to Renee, but thought I should share it here first in case you think I should add anything else.  All additional suggestions are welcome.


Leslie's Workplace Requirements:

  • Under no circumstances will I be required to escort any one under the age of 15 to the grocery store, at any time, regardless of the number of items needing to be purchased.

  • I am responsible solely for my own bowel movements and can not participate in any way, shape, or form with the dealings of any other individual's poop.  No exceptions.

  • Long descriptions of any of the following will be forbidden in my presence: action sequences of fictitious ninjas, conversations between two people under the age of 5 about farts, acts of physical violence performed against someone by someone that can't yet speak, or toy hopes and dreams that one fears will never come true. 

  • My workspace must be free of screaming.  Even joyful screaming will not be permitted.  If said screaming does per chance occur, I can not be held liable in a court of law for any acts of discipline I involuntarily attempt to implement.

  • I do not tie shoes other than my own, and even that is not ideal.  I would like to formally request someone be assigned to tie my shoes.  This feels reasonable.

  • I am never in charge of snacks, or food preparation of any kind, unless alcohol is involved. 

  • For religious reasons, I can not be asked to push anyone, for any reason, on the swings.  I am willing to watch from a safe distance.

  • No crayons or washable markers.  Permanent markers only.  I prefer the brand name, Sharpie.

  • Any music played within my workspace must be free from themes of animals, alphabets, skipping, and all flowers and plants of any kind.

  • All questions requiring me to explain any of the following; time, death, sex, or any expression such as "it's raining cats and dogs," or "I'm sexy and I know it," will result in my immediate resignation.

  • All my personal trips to the bathroom will be done without the accompaniment of any coworkers, coworkers family members or friends, or pets that are suddenly welcome at the office that day.  I pee alone.

These demands are, of course, non-negotiable. 

I'll keep you all posted to see if things actually pan out, but the entire idea of going to such an amazing workplace, where really impactful work is being done, even once a week, makes me breathe a little easier. 

Where would I be with out the Jessica's in my life? 

Thank you both for helping to try to keep me sane, Lord knows I need it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

There Goes My Mind Again

After being the primary caregiver to all the kids for the majority of the weekend, Alex summed up our current feelings toward our children in one statement last night. 

"With as much time as you are forced to be with our kids, I don't understand how you don't completely hate them."

This statement brought me great joy.  My current frustration with this role was finally validated.

I normally wouldn't have felt such a need for validation, but last Thursday night I had been hysterically crying while storming around the kitchen, screaming things at Alex like, "I can't do this anymore.  I'm done. They are too much by myself all the time.  I want to leave." 

The whole scene just really started the Mother's Day Weekend off right. 

Alex had just stared at me.  He never said a word.

He was probably a bit frightened of me, which was a very appropriate response.

Most likely he was extra terrified because he had just gotten home and really just wanted to  know what was for dinner so he could just eat because he was starving.  He's too smart to have asked. I saw him poking under foil, opening doors to all potential food holding devices, even checking the microwave to be sure he didn't miss something. 

He didn't talk to me all night.  He knew I had tipped over to the dark side and probably assumed what I needed more than anything was just a chance to not have to take care of anything.  I needed a little space. 

He was wrong. I really wanted him to tell me he'd come home before they were all in bed more often.  I wanted him to ask me how he can help.  I wanted him to help me figure out a solution of some sort, some way to help me not feel so insane and overwhelmed and angry. 

I wanted  him to suggest that he and I fly to Barbados and pretend the kids just didn't exist for a while.

I also assume he was desperately rethinking Mother's Day, knowing some HEB flowers and the kids coloring a card wouldn't be enticing enough to calm my apparent rage and guarantee I would actually still be around when he got home from work Monday night so he didn't have to be alone with them all day, every day.  Forever.

He's an intelligent man, so he came home early Friday and essentially took over the kids after that.  I left Saturday morning to meet with a behavioral therapist for Cole, (Yeah!,) and then spent the day getting my hair cut and colored, my fingernails done, and indulging in the rare and blissful treat of a pedicure and frozen yogurt with my friend Jessica.  Girlfriends make everything better.

I topped the day off by having our babysitter come so Alex and I could go out to dinner.  It was a fantastic, much needed break from life with my kids.  I felt like an actual person and didn't yell or feel like stabbing anyone all day long.  It was so strange.

Then Mother's Day came.  I essentially believe my Mother's Day was on Saturday.  Spending Sunday around my children, regardless of my husband's involvement and efforts to make it nice for me, was so draining.  They don't yet grasp the concept of a day for someone else. They are incessant in their requests, activity, complaints, and chatter.  They are so very present and all consuming.

The break helped though.  I think it helped a lot.  I feel slightly more sane, and even handled Cole's freak outs today better than usual, even when he knocked over my bedroom chair. 

I didn't cry once today. 

That's huge.

I have my high school girls' weekend this upcoming Friday-Sunday in Indiana and there is not another weekend of the year that I look forward to more.  I can not wait. 

To amplify the excitement, my Mom has generously booked a flight to come back to Texas with me for a little while.

Losing your mind has it's perks.

A huge shout out to my Mom for being willing to spontaneously plan a trip to Austin and take on my three children with me.  Just knowing that she is coming brings me great comfort.  Moms are the best....but apparently you don't know this until you've pissed them off for years. 

My apologies for Mother's Day 1977-1995 to my Mom. 

My Mother's Day 2032 is going to be the best!


Monday, May 7, 2012

I Might Make A Really Good Kale Smoothie, It's a Recipe-Ish


Stella and I went to the park last Friday with my friend Jennifer.  Stella roams the park, completely apathetic about me and my whereabouts, while Jennifer and I chat about forty different topics broken into 3 minute segments, never once concluding our discussion on anything. 


It's the way we do conversations as Moms.  It's an acquired taste.

While we were sitting on a grassy area discussing the problems of excess in our lives, we are very conscientious, a woman walked by with her very tiny baby boy, chasing an almost two year old little boy.  I casually said, "oh look at that tiny baby!"  The woman looked and me and essentially sniffed/sighed with a look of exasperation.


I took the liberty of re-enacting this situation with me playing the woman, Alex playing me, and our new dog Bea acting as the baby.  I figured  this way you would know exactly what I was talking about and it might make you feel better to see someone (me) look like an idiot for a few seconds.  I am so nice.






I told you I would look like an idiot for you. 


(More idiocy coming soon:  Me dancing to xBox's Dance Party III.*)


I assume this woman's reaction was a result of annoyance, exasperation, and a general feeling of "Yeah, tiny baby that has jacked my life.  Super cute.  Why did I have these two small children so close together?!?!?  Why did I think it would be a good idea to unleash the walking one so I can chase it with this tiny, fragile one?  I hate that smug lady drinking her Starbucks and chatting with her friend on the grass.  Does she even have a kid here? I bet it's the little two year old stealing all the sand toys and pointing in her mouth obsessively about her gum. I need a glass of wine.  I wonder if there is an eHow on making meth." 

I can assume all of this because I've been there.  I have so been there.


As I thought about this woman's annoyance at her tiny baby, my mind naturally drifted to Eleanor Roosevelt. I mean, when doesn't it? 

You know how Eleanor thought everything could be fixed with a large kale smoothie?  No? 


I swear it was her that said, "No kale...No joy."


Kale solves everything.  Actually, kale really solves very little except possibly constipation and fights some toxins so it could prevent cancer, but that lady doesn't care about toxins right now.   

As Eleanor was whispering in my ear, I knew what I had to do.  I had to write that poor Mom a recipe-ish for my kale smoothie. 


Dear Sniff/Sigh Mom,



I know you probably don't remember me.  I'm just one of the masses of people commenting on your baby and annoying you at the park last week.  I don't know you at all, but this aspect of your life, I get. 








I totally get it.


I know you are fighting exhaustion and wondering how you ended up dealing with so much poop and chaos when a few short years ago you were able to order cocktails while dining out and jump without peeing yourself.  Those days are gone sister, but there can be joy-ish again.

Let's be clear, it won't be real soon, but joy will surely happen...just don't have any more babies for a little while.  I assume this isn't on your mind anyway, but I thought it was important to point out. 


Also, since I don't know you, it's probably important to point out that having sex is what gets you babies.  I feel like I need to be thorough in case you are someone that thinks you can just pray and not get pregnant.  Or possibly you are involved in the making of some Lifetime Movie and you think you can't get pregnant if you sneeze after sex, or you are nursing, or if you are in a pool, or any other fun myths floating around impregnating people. 

If you are involved in the making of a Lifetime Movie, maybe about postpartum depression, I think I could do a bang up job in a walk on role such as nurse, judgemental lady at grocery store, supportive/unsupportive friend, or really anything.  I am relatively bored here at home and being part of a made for TV movie would up the excitement between preschool pick-up and waiting for the school bus. 


I'll let you think about that, but for now I think I can help you with your overwhelming sense of frustration about your current situation.


Your first mistake was not having both children strapped down or enclosed in some sort of cage.


Wait, did I say cage? I meant, safe enclosure.


There is lots of fun to be had at Gymboree (not the clothing store), jumping places with blocked off toddler areas, and your car. I'm not kidding, my oldest used to play in the car for hours while I nursed, rocked, or cried with his baby brother just outside the vehicle. Good times.


Your second mistake is that you didn't drink a kale smoothie. Or maybe you did, but it works better for the format of this blog-letter if you didn't.


I figure if you were drinking some kale and could restrict the area of movement for both your kids, you might be really excited about life. I also recently had a fantastic experience with a very nice witch doctor that I think might be able to help you....I'll send you his information.


Given your expression at the park, you probably are thoroughly annoyed by my ramblings now. It's possible you think a kale smoothie sounds nasty and you are just going to give up on me, but that would be wrong. There's ginger in it so it must be good. 
Unless you don't like ginger because you hate Asian cuisine, in which case I would again recommend the witch doctor. If you hate ginger you probably have some deep seeded issues, like you won't go to Costco on Saturdays or hate magazines, two things I find impossible to make sense of in case you were wondering what the hell those were about.



Clearly I've angered you in your exhausted state. Let's get to it.

Here's what you need.




1 lemon (small) peeled
1 orange (large) peeled
1 green apple, quartered
1 kiwi peeled - (optional - if you hate New Zealand and all of Asia)
1 1-2 inch piece of ginger, peeled (try to be nice to Asian cuisine, did it every hurt you?)
4 or 5 pitted dates
3-4 kale leaves
2 cups ice

I use a VitaMix to make this and I probably love that blender more than my children.

(I said there would be joy in future, I didn't say it would be constant.) 

If you think you are at all interested in blending up vegetables and fruits to make your food, run to the store to buy this.  I assume you will make just enough off your made for TV movie to pay for it.

You are probably wondering about the origin of this recipe.  Yes?

Or maybe you want to throw something at me, I understand.  I'm going to tell you anyway.

My friend Sabra, who looks just enough like someone from a Ralph Lauren ad to intimidate you, but is actually really nice, started me on this recipe with some green lemonade drink she allegedly makes every morning.  She uses a juicer and tried to tell me her daughters beg her for it like it's ice cream, but I think she might be a liar...unless she forgot to tell me she serves it with ice cream.

I tried it her way and it was rough for me. 

(She also has a little difficulty comprehending the use of the word smoothie here, but I think it has to be a smoothie if I'm blending up whole foods, not just juicing.  Can we just agree that I'm right and that Sabra should just stick to intimidating people with her good looks and then surprising people with her kindness?)

I feel I might be losing you, hold on.

Then, I talked to my neighbor Sue and she said she adds dates to her kale drinks.

Throw in an orange, kiwi, and some ice and it's genius! 

I'm basically tell you I'm a genius for adding an orange and some ice, and sometimes a kiwi. 

Voila!



You can adjust the amount of ginger or add another fruit, like I threw in some grapes the other day so they wouldn't rot and it basically made no difference at all, but I ate those grapes.

All you have to do is blend all that together and then drink the goodness until you no longer want to abandon your children in the park, which would probably mean jail time and you probably couldn't see your kids anymore and eventually you probably would want to, I think. 

Just drink the kale and don't leave your kids.  Am I inspirational or what? 

Just think about what you could become if you met my witch doctor!





*This is probably a lie, but it could happen.  Maybe for charity.  Or a hostage situation.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

So Yeah, We Were Kicked Off 34th Street

Where have I been? 

Well, this little thing called life seems to be getting in my way quite often lately.  I can't seem to get the laundry and food preparation done, much less take the time to stop and tell you all about it. 

It affects me when I can't write though.  I am cranky and feel extra disorganized.  My mind is clogged with a thousand blog post topics and one-liners that are really fantastic, but seem to have disappeared by the time I get to a computer or piece of scrap paper to jot them down. 

I've been in a bit of a depressed fog all weekend.  My sinuses are killing me, my children are wild, and I haven't had an actual conversation with my husband in over a week...much less any quality time.  If you add my lack of writing or time to complete anything on my priority list, I am a mess. 

All of this leaves me feeling beyond down. 

If I were prone to alcoholism or drug use, I would be hitting it all pretty hard right now.

When I woke this morning I was in so much pain that I immediately started steaming hot compresses on my sinus passages. 

(Yes, Mom, I hear you when you suggest such nonsense and I do actually do it.)

As I leaned over my sink with the steaming washcloth I cried and wallowed in feeling trapped in this house and chained to these kids.  Lots of self-pity, super healthy and very good for clogged sinuses.

I followed that by the netti pot and some more tears over my lack of clarity about my current place in life.

Next was Mucinex D and self doubt.

By 11 am I had stopped crying though and decided that it's possible that I just need to do something on my massive list of tasks over which I wallow in self-pity every night because non of it is getting done.  My former therapist taught me this trick.  It is essentially the only thing I remember from my time with him.  So after months of therapy and lots of money, I retained the ability to make lists and cross off to-do items.  Genius and so innovative!

Nothing fuels my positive energy though like completing something I have put off, so maybe that therapist knew his stuff .

But then Alex suggested we all go eat hamburgers.  So what's girl to do? 

Eat some hamburger, of course. I think my therapist would have done that too.

(Turns out this also makes me feel happier....Mom, I'd like you to refrain from any comments about how I need to eat more regularly or more often.)

Now that I'm writing though I feel caught up in all the posts I've written in my head the last week or so.  The truth is, a lot has been happening and I'm not sure where to start.

For today I'll just cover Cole.  I don't know if I have the emotional or humor energy to cover the other topics now.

I took Cole to a whole body health doctor.  He specializes in acupuncture, witch craft, chiropractory, diet, massage, and voodoo.  Just kidding, he doesn't advertise voodoo or witch craft. 

He tested  Cole's food sensitivities with a strange, seemingly pretend muscle test that freaked me out and mesmerized me.  He could have just been David Blaine, but I believed in what he was doing.  He talked to me a lot about Cole as a baby, my pregnancy, Cole's diet, and the stress level in our house. 

Uh-oh.

The doctor ordered a brain chemistry test for hormones related to sleep, and then he felt Cole's head a lot, which I am sure had something to do with Cole's spine but I think he was casting a spell.  I watch The Vampire Diaries and watched a handful of that show Charmed, I know how things work.  This is all out of my normal boundaries and I was fairly certain we were going to have to light a candle and chant until a feather levitated, but I trusted and loved how the whole thing went. 

Turns out I really dig witch doctors.

The end result was that Cole has a dairy intolerance which is jacking with his system.  Apparently this can change all sorts of things in a young, growing body and cause your balance of hormones to get all sorts of off kilter, affecting things like behavior, sleep, diet, sinus pressure, etc.

Not that Cole has any issues with those things.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  

If you would like a quick look back at some of the more noteworthy Cole prompted blogs, here and here and here and here are a few to give you an idea of my life with Cole over the past few years. 

Oh, and my personal favorite, here.

Poor kid has dark circles under his eyes constantly, can't hold it together when anything is off kilter or requested of him, sleep is a challenge all around, and he is anxious and fearful of the most insane things...flushing toilets, bathtubs filling with water, new people, dark-ish-ness, being alone, a variety of toys, my hair when it's wet, spiders, and all sorts of other things. 

Yes, some are normal kid things, but all of it together is too much.  Cole has become a huge issue for this family.  We are falling apart here with the tension and stress.  It's time to try a witch doctor and if it means taking dairy out of his diet, goodbye cow milk! Hello soy and coconut and almonds!

The doctor does also want to adjust his neck on Thursday and I have gotten a slew of very passionate responses from friends and family members about this one.  People seem to love or hate chiropractors.  There is not a lot of gray about this profession, and unfortunately I am all gray when it comes to my opinion.  I'm still working on the answer to that method of treatment.

For now though, we've removed dairy from his diet and I am experiencing the joy of having a child with a diet restriction.  Let me sum it up for you:  it blows. 

We called four hamburger places before finding one that could handle a dairy free bun AND burger.  We all wanted ice cream after, but Alex and I pretended that was an awful idea, even though we both were salivating over the milkshakes, because Cole can't have it.  We even called our favorite yogurt place to see if they had a dairy free option, no luck.

I keep thinking of all the things he can't have now and it makes me sad.  Nutella, Starbucks hot chocolate, donuts, enchiladas, bagels and cream cheese, butter.  Oh butter.

Cole loves his almond milk though, sweetened and unsweetened, and has no problem with the soy or coconut milk yogurts.  I prepared almond milk cheddar cheese quesadillas the other night and all three kids gobbled them up like they were full real cheddar!  Suckers. We haven't tried pizza yet, but our local pizza place offers soy cheese for an extra $1.50 (all the speciality stuff costs a pretty penny.)

According to the witch doctor though, after four to six weeks without dairy we will have a new kid. I am assuming he means Cole's behaviors will be transformed, but he could actually be working on a replacement kid for us right now.  Either way, I'm praying that this makes a difference like I've heard it can, so my sweet boy can feel better and enjoy his life more often. 

Or, we can work on getting used to the new kid.  I hope that kid likes bunk beds....

I sure pray I get to keep Cole though.  Surely the witch doctor wouldn't dream of replacing someone with the capacity to look this adorable.

say SOY!