Night Out: Husbands vs. Wives

Husband's Night Out: 

(The morning of said night out)

Him: "I'm going to go to a game tonight with [insert guy friend’s name here]."
Me: "Okay, what time is the game?"
Him: "Seven."
Me: (Mentally calculating drive and parking time.) "Okay. So you'll be here for dinner, pjs, and leave around 6:15-6:30."
Him: (Blank stare.) "No. We're having a beer before. Leaving here around 5:00. Okay?"
Me: (Painfully biting tongue.) "Sure thing, jerk." (The "jerk" is silent.)

Wife's Night Out:

(Early evening, said night out)

Me: "You remember that I'm going over to [insert girlfriend’s name here]'s house tonight right? I sent you a text when we scheduled it last week and I mentioned it again yesterday and also this morning?" 
Him: (Blank stare.) "Oh. Seriously? Tonight? Right. Um, okay, sure, okay." (Deer in the headlights look.) "What time are you leaving? It's not, like, dinner, right?"
Me: "Yes, dinner. I was hoping around 6:30. I fed the kids. You just have to put them in pjs and put them in bed."
Him: "Yeah…it's been a really long day. But…go. You should go. We'll be fine." (Looks totally unconvinced.)
Me: "How about this? I will bathe them and put them in pjs. Then you literally just have to put them in bed like half an hour after I leave. Okay?"
Him: (Still looks totally unconvinced.) "Sure thing, jerk." (The "jerk" is, of course, silent.)

We really aren't so different, after all, are we? HA. 

(*Please note, this post has been slightly exaggerated. Because it makes a better story that way, obviously.*)

Can New Moms & Old Moms Be Friends?

There is this scene in "When Harry Met Sally" where the title characters are debating whether men and women can ever really be friends. It is a recurring theme throughout the film, which I am sure you know. (If you don't know, I'm not sure how we know each other because I believe in and quote this movie like other people do the Bible.) And because I often relate my real life to my favorite movies, I had a play date the other day that made me think of a similar conundrum with a twist:

Can new moms and old moms ever really be friends? 

"New" and "old" are of course in reference not to age but amount of time entrenched in motherhood. I'd say the cutoff for newbies is one year, but it is open for debate. It also factors in how many children you have, so maybe new moms are new moms until they welcome another small human into their world. Because all of us "old" moms know how much more things seem to change upon arrival of the second one – not just double, as one might imagine, but exponentially.

What brought me to this conundrum was a playdate with a friend who I hadn't seen since my baby shower when I was expecting T. It's been a loooong time. She is now a new mom to a 16ish month old boy, expecting a little girl this summer. We were always friendly, attended each other's weddings, etc. and seemed to have a good rapport. So when she mentioned getting together, I thought "sure, why not?"

In retrospect, there were so many "why nots." The most obvious being that she is still a "new mom" and I am an "old mom." She still travels with snacks for her kid. She hasn't succumbed to allowing the television to babysit her child yet. Her kid doesn't kick, or hit, or bite other kids – yet. See the pattern here? "Still, yet." Because all of us old moms would wager a guess that these are things – like many others – that will change in the coming months with the arrival of baby number 2.

So when A decide to act like her bedroom was a steel cage match and the prize was her toys, rather than that she was having a new friend over to play, I think my old friend/new mom was more than a little shell-shocked and horrified. Add to that an infinite chorus of T screaming "Moooooommmmm, can I play Angry Birds on your iPad? Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeee?" and we had a recipe for the worst play date EVER. Whereas my "old mom" friends wouldn't bat an eyelash, because they know what I know – we've all been there at one stage or another, with one kid or another.

I have to give my old friend/new mom credit, she toughed it out for longer than I would have as a new mom to T. She was gracious about A being vicious, ill-tempered and mean. She even offered up the obligatory "we should do this again sometime" on her way out the door.

But my husband (who is benefited/cursed by having a home office and got an earful of our ill-fated playdate) summed it up best when he emerged from his office after the wailing had finally abated and said, "so, you'll never see her again." To which I replied, "of course I will. In about six months or a year, when she's an old mom."

Until then, to my old friend/new mom – thank you for trying to be gracious and putting on a brave face. I forgive you for whatever you told your husband about my children when you recapped the event. And I look forward to hanging out again sometime in several months – I bet we'll be able to laugh about this then.

PS The inspiration for this post came partially from K, for when I told her about our ill-fated play date, I believe her response was something along the lines of "Oh L, you know better than to hang out with new moms." And yes, I do.

It’s Karma, Baby

I believe in Karma. Not in a crazy incense, patchouli oil and crystal worshiping kind of way, but more in a gravity kind of way. I don't give it much thought, I just take it for granted and believe in it like "duh, obviously."

So last week I was feeling like it was a distinct possibility that I had done something, sometime, particularly nasty that was coming back to bite me in the ass. I couldn't put my finger on it, but it must have been something HORRIBLE because the week sucked. And it kept. Getting. Worse.

We don't have to get into the specifics of the suckiness here, as our readers (at this moment, just me and my BFF Katharine) are well versed in those particular white whines. But the pinnacle of the suckiness occurred on Sunday afternoon. T and I were driving back from our after hours pediatrician appointment, almost to the pharmacy to pick up the antibiotic for his double ear infection. (Side note: if you know me, you know this is a big deal. T is 4, A is about to be 2, and the total number of times I have taken them to the after hours pediatrician equals ZERO. Until now.)

I casually reached over to the passenger seat for my purse. Casual reach quickly turned into frantic fumbling, throwing miscellaneous papers and receipts onto the floor. I pulled into the nearest parking lot, made one more futile effort to locate my purse – wallet – life inside the car knowing full well it wasn't there. Realizing with a sinking stomach that I had put it on the hood of the car while I strapped T into his booster. And failed to retrieve it.

Weekend just went from bad to wayyyyy worse, and I got to spend the remainder of it on the phone with various financial institutions and police stations in an effort to protect and/or recover my identity.

Flash forward 18 hours, back at the pediatrician's office for T's annual 4 year check up. The husband was roped into driving us, as clearly I cannot be trusted to operate a moving vehicle without losing something important. Did not want to risk losing kids. A came along because our pediatrician is awesome and checks both kids ears regardless of whose appointment it is, often saving me from making a separate appointment to diagnose the same germs.

Anyway. Pediatrician's office, 9:25 am.
Receptionist (with attitude): "You know your appointment was at 9, right?"
Me: "Nonononononononono! (Considering curling up in fetal position on floor.) I mean, um, I'm pretty sure our appointment was at 9:30."
Receptionist: "No, it was at 9:00 and there is a fifteen minute rule and she can't fit you in. Can you come back?"

At this point, I actually started crying. And in my mind, all I could think of was "I need something to go right. JUST ONE THING. I need to not screw up JUST ONE THING." Deep breath, wipe tears, try not to scare children. Turn to husband. "Babe, we have to leave. I got the time wrong."

Husband (checking voicemail): "It's okay, someone found your purse. We can go to the police station and pick it up."

And that's karma, baby. Sometimes, when it really counts, you get what you ask for. If you're me, it means continuing to return the change when the Dunkin' Donuts lady gives you too much back or to keep going back into a store to return an item that A shoplifted or doing anything that just feels like the "right thing" because when the shoe is on the other foot – it'll come back your way.

Oh, and the person who returned my purse? They returned EVERYTHING in it – including the $181 in cash that was the kids' Christmas money yet to be deposited. That person is my hero. I hope karma sends them a winning lottery ticket. Worth at least $182.

Things Change

Today was not my day. I won't bore you with the mundane details, as I am fully aware that my problems – while very real to me – can easily be classified as petty, annoying "white whines." But perception is reality, and today mine sucked.

The icing on the cake came mid afternoon, in the observation room of T's gymnastics class when A looked up at me and said, "Mumma, I pooped." My first thought was, "really, because I just suckered your dad into changing a poop about an hour ago." Followed quickly by "I have no idea where the diaper bag is. And the odds are not in my favor that it is in the car."

What are my options here? I can't pretend I don't know – four other mommies and one grammy just heard my child tell me she pooped. Even if I don't have a diaper, they don't know I don't have a diaper so I have to at least pretend I'm going to change her. Also, it really smells, so I can't even fake a look in the diaper and say, "no no silly girl, that was just gas."

Which leaves me with – schlepping out to the car, fingers crossed that the diaper bag is there. Or maybe a stray diaper hidden under the seat, partially obscured from view by a mountain of fruit snacks and lost action figures. No such luck. I will not tell you what the next step was because A and I made a firm pact in the ladies room of the gymnastics place that we would never speak of it again. I will tell you that it was not pretty, and I judged myself a little bit even as it was happening. Desperate times and all that.

The point is – how did I get here? How did I become a mommy without a diaper bag? Because four years ago – yup, J was born exactly four years ago tomorrow – I was a diaper bag packing pro. I never left the house without a fully stocked diaper bag, including:

– 10 diapers and a full package of wipes (not travel sized, the full package)
– Changing pad
– 3 complete outfit changes, including socks
– 2 receiving blankets
– No less than 2 or more than 4 burp cloths
– 17 assorted sample sizes of diaper rash cream (in spite of T never actually suffering from diaper rash)
– 2 pacifiers (which remained in there long after T just quit taking them around 5 months)
– 3 mini bottles of hand sanitizer
– Mini first aid kit and nail repair kit, including scissors
– Books and toys, including crayons, markers and coloring books
– Snacks and $15 stainless steel baby sippy cup (which T never actually drank out of. EVER.)

It used to take me at least 30 minutes before we went anywhere with baby T to empty, inventory and repack the diaper bag. My husband didn't even try to help – he would just sit quietly with T, trying not to move or make eye contact while I was packing the bag. It was safest for both of us that way.

Fast forward four years – not only have I not packed the diaper bag in months, I apparently cannot even remember to put a diaper into my purse for emergency purposes. So I'm making a little promise to A and I tonight – two promises, actually. 1) I will put together "in case of emergency" mini diaper kits and stash one in each of the cars, and 2) We will work on getting on board the potty train, because I clearly cannot be trusted.

UPDATE: I told you I cannot be trusted. The following day, I grabbed two extra diapers so we wouldn't have a repeat performance (because I haven't gotten around to the ICE diaper kits yet)…and left them on the kitchen counter. And A peed through her clothes at the Bounce Zone. Thank goodness her Auntie had an extra Pull-Up. I. Cannot. Be. Trusted. Poor A.

An Open Letter to T’s Preschool

Earlier in the week I received an email from T's preschool. It said:

"Hi All,

Parents have asked for a family class list for play dates and birthday parties. Attached is a copy of the family class list."

Perhaps it should have bothered me that said list included my home address and cell phone number, but I am pretty sure that most of Jack's classmates are internet (iPhone) savvy enough to Google us and find basically the same information, so… who cares. What alarmed me about this particular electronic communication was the thought process that followed:

1. Birthday parties? Wait, so if T doesn't get invited to any birthday parties after the distribution of this list, does that mean he is the smelly kid in class? Or the kid who picks his nose? Shoot, he does that annoying throat-clearing thing now, which we keep joking about is like that kid on The Middle that whispers to himself all the time…

2. Again – birthday parties? T is turning 4 next week, does that mean I am supposed to invite other kids to his birthday party? (The birthday party that is still more of an abstract concept than an actual plan at this point, but still…)

3. Play Dates?! Substitute the words "play dates" for "birthday parties" in thought #1. Repeat with thought #2.

Am tempted to reply all with this:

"Hi all,

I am T's mom. In spite of my asking (bordering on nagging) T to tell me about his day every day upon pickup, he prefers to spend his post-preschool ride home alternately hounding me to listen to "Country Girl" on the radio or demanding to play Angry Birds on my cell phone. Therefore, I have no idea whether he has formed friendships with any of your children and if so what their names might be. We might like to invite some – or all – of you to his upcoming birthday party. Unless your kid mentioned that T is the smelly kid in class, or the nose picker, or the kid who incessantly clears his throat, in which case you can disregard this entire message.

I look forward to hearing from (at least one of) you soon. Even if you want to email me anonymously and confirm that yes, T is any of the above 'that kid'."

Getting Back the Funny

Once upon a time, when I was someone's assistant and spent oodles of work time online shopping and sending personal emails (don't judge me!) I used to be quite funny. I once came up with this brilliant idea to approach the Improper Bostonian and pitch them my column. I hadn't actually written anything even remotely resembling a column, just witty daily email diatribes to my roommates about the joys of commuting on the Longwood Medical Area shuttle and a pair of lovebirds we dubbed "the makeout trolls." The name of the column would be "Better Than Ezra" as a nod (or a dig?) to our favorite Improper columnist – my column would be like his, only from a girl's perspective and much funnier.

Ah, to be 22 and underemployed all over again…

Looking back, I doubt I was ever "Improper Bostonian columnist" funny – but I was certainly much wittier than I am now. So the goal for the initial months of this blog, I think, is to keep writing through the stuff that sucks until I find the funny. Luckily, I don't think I actually have any readers at this moment, so only I will know how long it takes me to find the funny.

My Love/Hate Relationship With Car-Carts

I have two kids under the age of four. From time to time – most often fueled by a fear of what may happen if we don't get out of our pajamas and our house – I take them both grocery shopping with me. Yesterday was one of those lucky days. And it went a little something like this:

T: Ooooh Mumma, I want to ride in the car cart. (For those of you who don't have these – and I'm not sure who you are because if we have them in Maine you must have them where you are – they are these horrific kid cars attached to the front of shopping carts. People put children in them and then the small people are completely obscured from parental view. If you aren't careful, your kid could likely climb out in produce and you might not notice until you get to dairy. But I digress…)
A: Ride! Car! RIIIIIDDDDEEEEE in CARRRRRRRRR!

Me: Internal struggle while I weigh the pros (quiet, happy, seemingly well-behaved children) with the cons (germs, e coli, germs, the fact that one or both of them are likely to lick some part of the car cart or their hands or eat food off of it). I relent. And because we were in the parking lot when we spotted the vehicle in question, I couldn't even do a quick wipe with those cart sanitizer wipes. Which might be fine, because I'm pretty sure there is enough alcohol in those wipes to intoxicate my children from the aforementioned licking, eating and finger sucking.

Anyway, the trip through the grocery store went (mostly) smoothly. T: definitely "rested" his cookie on the seat of the car cart then ate it; ditto for A with a piece of cheese. So gross, but once you commit to the car cart you just kind of have to go with it and bathe them in baby wipes once they return to their carseats.

Segue to dinner time. T is wandering around the house mumbling "Mumma, it's so cold in here." Considering that he usually strips down to his Captain America underpants the second we walk in the door, I wasn't overly alarmed. Until I noticed that, for once, he was fully clothed. And apparently freezing, in spite of the flaming red cheeks that he was also sporting.

A little less than 24 hours – and a sleepless, very feverish night where I compulsively googled "meningitis symptoms" and "supermarket shopping carts causing toddler death" – later I can confirm that he has a nasty bug, most likely the flu. Which I am blaming entirely on the car cart.

I Resolve…

In 2011, approximately 463,291 mommies made the resolution to start a blog of some kind – blogging about their kids or kid-related topics. Of those over 400K, 39% actually followed through, and of that 39% approximately .009% are still writing today.

I totally made that up. I have no idea if any of that is true, but it makes me feel better to fabricate random statistics that support the hope that I am not the only person who has been saying "I should write a blog" and not following through for…um…four years now.

It is easy to make excuses for why I do not have time, but let's be honest – I watched two hours of The Jersey Shore the other night that I will never get back. I could have been doing something slightly more productive, like blogging. (Or at least blogging on the iPad during commercial breaks.)

So instead of resolving to become the next best mommy blogger out there, I resolve to do better than I did last year. And since I only wrote one – that's right, ONE – post I am already halfway done with my resolution.

Happy 2012!