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November 25, 2014

My Son Loves Me and I'm Questioning It

DISCLAIMER: This is a letter I wrote to my son for the sole purpose of putting his recent affections on record. As you'll probably recall, Dylan was born disappointed that his mom is female. He's a boy's boy through and through and though it may sound dramatic, I'm not trying to oversell the fact that he's barely tolerated my existence. 
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Dear Dylan, 

You’ve been my son for nearly 2 years, during which you’ve taught me the cruelest lesson ever: just because I have a son, doesn’t mean I have a momma’s boy (ouch). Oh well. You’ve also taught me that holding favoritism against you is impossible. Scratch that. Holding anything against you is impossible. Apparently all I see is when I look at your face is instant defeat aka my big fat perfect baby. Yes, I realize I’ve become as soft as the plush pals that sit in your bed. But alas, you’re finally reciprocating my love!!! 

Yesterday I was shocked to hear your teacher explain that when you don’t want to follow her instructions, you call out for “Mommy,” then bolt towards the window to check if I’m there to save you. Your teacher thinks the rebellion is really cute (thankfully), and I’m flattered/amused by your impression that mom is willing to bail you out of things that you don’t want to do. LOL. That’s not how it works. Regardless, thanks for thinking me when I’m not around. I especially love that instead of running away from me when I pick you up (like you’ve been doing for the past 12 months), you now run to me. Swoon! Victory dance! YAY! 

Other recent affections have also been duly noted. Like pulling me to your room for play sessions, or jumping on my back for unexpected hugs…I see you baby! And I like it. I’ve also noticed that you’re actually REQUESTING that I pick you up and hold you. It’s like you’re a different person! Who is this child seeking his mother’s attention? I’m grateful, yes, but seriously, what happened? You haven’t given me the time of day in two years! I’ve had to grovel for kisses, master the art of graceful rejection, and I’ve had to sit on the outside of your team daddy club meetings on countless occasions. And now you love me? Why am I even questioning it instead of knocking on wood like a smart person?! 

I can’t help but wonder. Maybe all my good-mom efforts are (finally) resonating with you. Maybe I’ve passed your stringent trial period. Or maybe this is a “tell Santa I was a good boy” Christmas conspiracy. Truthfully, I don’t care. Manipulate me all you want, I’m just delighted that you’re shining your light in my direction! Unprompted kisses!? YES! Your new found affections make the hair pulling, face slapping, and general brutality all the less painful. So thank you. I’m going to enjoy the next fifteen minutes of favoritism before you remember that I’m not your dad. 

Lovey Dovey, 

Your Mom 

P.S. I didn’t give you Ducky. He’s mine. I hope this doesn’t change things.

November 21, 2014

Mommy is Sorry.

My cute little long haired bum child
I’m a bad girl. Though I made a big time declaration that I was going to cut my son’s hobo-like locks, let’s be real: that was practically a year ago and I just couldn’t do it- I love his bummy hair! Even if it’s a knotted mop…even if it’s constantly bothering him…even if he hides food in it. Love is blind, what can I say? It wasn’t until people began regularly referring to my son as a girl that I started thinking he might need a trim. Nothing dramatic, just a little length off the back so strangers would stop telling me how beautiful my daughter is. 

I began searching for a kids’ salon but chickened out after reading one too many scary Yelp reviews featuring jagged cow-licked photos from disgruntled customers. Having waited nearly 2 years to trim Dylan’s locks, I couldn’t risk a bad experience. So I did what any over-confident mother would do, I decided to cut Dylan’s hair myself. Because, uhm, hello- I’m his mom. I can do anything. But there’s a problem (and it isn’t that I have zero stylist skills or experience), it’s my husband. 

Though I’m sure there are a lot of men in the world without two cents to spare when it comes to their children’s hair (part one of my argument), that’s not my guy. My husband is the kind of dad that examines the outfits I pick out for Dylan, shakes his head, and picks out something else…then irons it. So I spent a couple of weeks campaigning, stating that it would grow back (part two); that if I messed up, I’d take him for a real cut (part three); and finally, who was he to deny me the right to cut my own son’s hair, anyway? (The closer) All my efforts eventually paid off and I was given the Zepeda stamp of approval to move forward with Operation Snippety Snip. What a disaster. 

It started out great. Dylan sat stilly watching monster trucks on my phone as I combed through his head making little cuts to his precious curls. And when I was finished, I whipped out my blow dryer and dried his wet shaggy mop. That’s when I realized what I had done: I gave my son a first class bob. And it would’ve looked great….on an old woman. So let’s classify this under “never again,” “mom fail,” and “wtf,” cut my losses (literally) and bank on the fact that hair grows back. My love for Dylan may run deep but I can confirm that it is no longer blind. At all. Stupid retracting curls.  

Silver Lining: Though it was not my intention to butcher Dylan's hair for a blog post (evil laugh), it does make for great content..lol...

My bad...
You know it's bad when the blur doesn't help...

November 18, 2014

Don't Say the "C" Word - And Other House Rules

I’ve made a lot of life changes since becoming a parent, some voluntarily (e.g. work schedule) and some involuntarily. (e.g. I’m a “morning person” now, really? Sad.) And I’ve learned a thing or two throughout these adjustments; like coffee tables are for acrobatics, anything atop a counter is free game, and if you value sanity and/or peace (definitions may vary), then you live by the truth that there are some things you just DON’T DO and DON’T SAY to a toddler. Seriously. Though each child is different, I have a feeling I’m not the only one who: 
  • Won’t announce we’re leaving the house until we’re physically leaving the house. Utter “bye-bye” any sooner is like rolling out the red carpet for trouble to stomp on in its muddy shoes. 
  • Hides candy, chocolate, and chips from my child because sharing is never a onetime thing. Toddlers have selective memory partial to junk food. They will remember, and you will be harassed. Forever. 
  • Asks if they want _________. The answer is always no. And now? They’re onto you. i.e. “Do you want to go to bed?” Nope. You blew it. 
  • Gets punished for hypocritical rule breaking. Yes…I threw the remote onto the couch…but NO THROWING YOUR TOYS! Mom gets a time-out (though let’s be honest, it doesn’t feel like punishment).
  • Really REALLY has to watch what comes out of that mouth. “Oh sh**!” will be your child's new favorite term, requiring immediate damage control. “Mommy meant said ‘Oh grits! Sits! Mommy's new mitts! Oh that's the pits.'” It's what failure sounds like.
  • And when it comes to cursing, DO NOT by any means under any circumstances say the “C” word. Because unless you’re down for the cookie diet, there will be a hunger strike for days.
Being the personal assistant to a 2x2 (two years by two feet) doesn’t always come easy. My boss toddler runs a tight (but unpredictable and ever-changing) ship. And in order to navigate the cruel seas of moody toddler waters, I’ve had to learn how to acclimate. I mean, my ability to shove and chew an entire chocolate bar undetected is a practically a job acquired skill! How’s that for a resume polisher? 

November 14, 2014

Technology, Stem Cells, and a Car Seat Giveaway

Below is a post that was scheduled prior to the big news that..my older sister had her baby boy yesterday!!! Meet my day old nephew Dietrich! I'm already in love with this little guy...and by little, I mean 9lbs 10oz. Isn't he dreamy? Congratulations Veronica, Ed, and big sister Sofia!!! Welcome to the world little one!


And speaking about welcoming little bundles of joy in the world....

I would do anything to keep Dylan from harm, even if it means jumping out of a building, running in front of a train, or god forbid- killing an intruder. Parents want to protect their children, period. But what about the things we can’t control? Like diseases, blood disorders, and immune deficiencies? We might not be able to manipulate the future in our favor, but we can try. So when LifebankUSA contacted me and asked if I’d post about their Facebook giveaway, I agreed. Not only because you can win a fab car seat, but because I wish I would’ve known about LifebankUSA when I had Dylan. Let me tell you why. 



If you don’t already know, stem cells are the building blocks of our blood and immune systems and we all have them. Unfortunately, adult stem cells aren’t as versatile or durable as embryonic and they can contain higher abnormalities, whereas embryonic stem cells have the ability to develop into other types of cells that can repair organs, tissues, and blood vessels. Did you hear me? I said they can REPAIR ORGANS

Umbilical cords and placenta blood are stem cell rich and stashing them away is one of the most amazing benefits living in this day and age affords us. LifebankUSA has the technology to store and preserve your baby’s stem cells so should you ever need them, they’re available to you. You can learn more about their FDA approved clinical trials, the protection they provide, and their super technology here

I know that health issues are scary but I hope you find this information to be empowering. And if it isn’t, then at least I have an awesome Facebook giveaway to link you to! I’m talkin’ THREE Graco car seats! Visit their FB page and enter by 12/21/14. Winners will be selected by 12/31/14. Good luck! 


If you didn't catch it in the first paragraph, let me remind you that I agreed to share LifeBankUSA's giveaway after being contacted to do so. I received a giftcard for my participation but know that my opinions cannot be bought and though I had no plans to post this prior to being contacted, I don't participate in campaigns I don't already agree with. So how's that for disclosure, FTC?

November 12, 2014

That One Time I Let My Toddler Do Whatever

I was at the sink doing dishes [will they ever just stop?] when the piercing sounds of clinking-clanking metals startled my little rabbit heart. I turned around and lo’ and behold, every pot, pan, and lid we own was spread across the tile floor. It took Dylan seven seconds to accomplish such, a new record, I thought. Color me impressed and irritable. “Dylan, put them back!” I barked whilst making a mental note to rinse each piece before reuse because well, you know toddlers, they’re germy…and the pots don’t belong on the floor. Dylan smiled and continued to sit on the floor with all the “toys,” then promptly gave me his back. Whoa dude, blatantly pretending ignoring me? He really is starting to mirror my behavior. 

The kid is smart, I gotta give him that. He knew I was too preoccupied with soapy hands to abandon post. So I tried something else, “Dylan, can you show mommy how you put it away like a good boy?” He’s either uninterested or he’s onto me, regardless, clink clink clink. I turn back to consider my options. I can:

(a) Stop, put it all away and return to the dishes at the risk of another record-breaking cabinet extraction; 
(b) Put it all away and put off the dishes (TEMPTING!); 
(c) Beg Continue asking Dylan to put it away (he wont); or 
(d) Give up and accept the noise, the possibility of broken glass, and the guilt of knowingly allowing him to rebel.

Easy! I choose (d) and accept the premature demise of any respect I possess as an authoritative figure. I also choose to omit such incrimination from my post-day share time with the husband. Dad doesn’t need to know everything, why burden him…right

With the dishwasher finally loaded up and my jaws permanently clenched from biting my tongue, I was ready to reclaim Dylan’s toys as my cookware. But then I noticed something...Dylan wasn’t just playing with the pots and pans, he was assembling them. He devised an entire system of lining them up by size, matching each to their respective lid, then scrambling, repeat. I couldn't resist; I surrendered.

sat across from Dylan and asked what he was doing. He showed me how the big lid doesn’t fit the small pots but it fits 2 of the large ones, and how the tiny little lid just falls into the big pots [CLINK]. 

And before I knew it, I was dropping lids on the floor too. Sure, I may have sent the "wrong" message and maybe he'll think playing with cookware on the kitchen floor is all good [shudder], but the kid made a freaking puzzle! Props. Plus, I did get the dishes done. So I’m proud. Of the both of us. 

November 10, 2014

When the Fever Becomes an Infection

I have a fever that I just can’t shake. But before you panic and have me quarantined by the CDC, my current state shouldn't alarm you. That is, unless you have a baby...in which case you should HIDE THEM FROM ME IMMEDIATELY. 

Hi, my name is Rebeccafaith and I have baby fever.

It’s all very new to me. I haven't been the baby-craving type. Even when I was pregnant with Dylan, it was more of a fact than an achievement. Sure, I was excited and looking forward to being a mom, but there was no list with a box to check off, and being impregnated wasn’t filling any sort of void or offering me a sense of purpose…that I was aware of. Cause you know....babies. They change your life. Wiping asses quickly becomes no big deal and you'll still love them even after being forced out of bed six times a night. And as they grow and get bigger, there's the chance you'll be left wanting another one. It's madness. It's purpose. It's a void I didn't know I had. And it's definitely the fever.

But my baby fever is becoming an infection. I can tell because:
  • I use every opportunity to remind my husband that Dylan needs a sibling. Just look at him! He wont share! He needs a sibling to jack his toys. 
  • I choose to "forget" all the work that comes with an infant.
  • I also choose to "forget" how expensive they are.
  • I randomly drop subjective one liners like, I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket, honey.
  • I've developed the super ability to spot and identify babies of all ages. Babies! They're everywhere!
  • And once spotted, I point them out. Aww! Look at how cute that baby is! I SAID LOOK!
  • My automated reply to "Dylan looks so big" comments are, "Yeah I'm ready for number two."
  • I'm only half kidding when I ask if I can keep your baby.
  • I have no shame in my morbidity: When we die, Dylan won’t be alone if he has a brother or sister.
  • I buy pregnancy tests "just in case" I might need them..someday. 
  • I make weird hippy-dippy declarations like, I have so much love still left to give!
  • There's officially a list. With a box. To be checked.
This feverish infection isn't really my fault. I mean, just look at how quickly they grow! Plus, it's not like I'll be this crazy forever because luckily, there's a cure. And it's just what the doctor ordered: A baby. 

November 5, 2014

How To Piss Off Your Toddler

It’s so fun to unexpectedly discover something you’re really good at; like the moment you realize you bake a mean coconut macaroon (eh-em)

And then there are things you don’t necessarily want to be good at but rock anyway; like pissing off your toddler (which I’ve apparently mastered). Whether it’s a talent or a skill, I’ve somehow become exceptionally proficient in provoking meltdowns. No effort required! When it comes to eliciting fits of fury, I am the reigning queen mom expert here to share my intel. These are just a handful of tried and tested ways to piss your toddler off: 
  • Ask them if they want something when they don’t. 
  • Pick them up when it’s time to leave. 
  • Say no. Works every time
  • Secure your toddler in their car seat. 
  • Stop at a red light. 
  • Intercept your bundle of joy as they fall off the couch. 
  • Talk on the phone. 
  • Try to feed them vegetables. Sometimes, feeding them anything does the trick.
  • Approach them too quickly. Especially in the morning. 
  • Change their clothes. 
  • Change their diaper. 
  • Take something out of their hands. 
  • Refuse their request for cookies. 
  • Misunderstand their babble. 
  • Restrict them in any way. 
  • Exist. 

If you haven’t caught on, let me explain: everything pisses off a toddler. Though the screams, the flailing deadweight body thrashes, and the physical abuse I put up with on a daily basis is hard on the nerves, I’ve accepted the terribles and my skilled ability to provoke it. And quite honestly, if you’re not pissing off your toddler, you’re doing it wrong. 

November 3, 2014

Halloween Fail, AGAIN.

Just like last year, Halloween was a bust. Though we had big plans to trick-or-treat with the cousins and party like one should when it falls on a Friday, we ended up staying home with a miserable toddler. Dylan was sick y’all, like REALLY sick. He had a cough throughout the week but he didn’t complain too much; but by Friday morning, he was stuffy and looking all sorts of ill. Dad took him to the doctor in the afternoon only to discover that Dylan was suffering a double ear infection and fluid in his lungs. YEAH, FLUID IN HIS LUNGS. The doctor put him on a breathing machine that improved his airways by 3% and eliminated the possibility of pneumonia. Thank the heavens! But still, he was miserable and in obvious discomfort. 

Though we don't normally allow it, Dylan slept in our bed that night. I wanted to keep an eye on him and I’m glad I did, but man! It was a painful night of no sleep for all. Dylan was delirious throughout the night, waking up, sitting up, falling over, crying, you name it. And around 7 am I heard him say, “Trucks? Trucks?” But before I could even open my eyes he slapped me in the face. I was too tired to react so he slapped me again. I just love that boy. Jkghkjdfgd. 

The rest of the weekend consisted of making soup, watching the Doodlebops over and over and over and over, trying to cheer Dylan up, baking cookies, and buying Halloween candy on clearance since we didn’t have a stash to raid. But in case anyone’s counting, we’re 2 for 2 for Halloween fails. Last year he slept through it, and this year he was too sick. Will we ever have a normal and successful Halloween?! We’re going big next year. Not only will it be on a Saturday, but it will be Dylan’s FIRST Halloween.

October 30, 2014

Answering the Tough Questions

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 
I have this very special friend, her name is Tamara (Like Camera). She's my dream girl! And I'm not just saying that because we have the same personality type (INFP). This is my second round of #AAF with girlfriend so in case you're wondering, her kids are still way too adorable, she still takes whimsical photos, her husband makes pumpkin stew IN A HOLLOWED PUMPKIN (seriously) and I love her even more. Make sure you read how she responded to my questions on her blog, here!


What is #AskAwayFriday? Well…
#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County as a place for us to connect with other bloggers by asking them ten questions to really get to know them. The sky is the limit with the questions you ask! Meeting other bloggers and making new friends is one of the best parts of this online world!


Tamara from Tamara Like Camera,
Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter,
Christy from Uplifting Families,
Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings
and
Amber from Bold Fit Mom
And Co-host for the next 2 weeks: The Singapore Writing Homemaker.

TamaraLikeCamera


1. It's Halloween today! Are you dressing up? Is Dylan dressing up? What are your weekend Halloween plans? 

The plan was
Dylan=Peter Pan
Dad=Captain Hook
Mom=Tinkerbell (because I never want Peter to grow up!) 
But I didn't get my costume in time (fail), dad wouldn't have dressed up anyway (it's like pulling teeth), and now Dylan is the only one sticking to the plan. On Halloween I'll go to work with blood smeared all over my face, enter my Diz-Demo[lition] Monster Truck mini-pumpkin our annual mini-pumpkin decorating contest, then the fam head over to my sister-in-law's house for trick-or-treating with the cousins and a Halloween bash! 



2. What's something that amazes you? 

Early childhood amazes me. When I look back on my own childhood, little things like sending poetry to publishers at 8, wanting to learn how to meditate at 10, and rushing to do any project that involved writing a story, were all just "things" I was doing at the time. But now, I see that those "things" are who I really am and have always been. I was most myself as a kid and I feel like I'm only just now building back that connection. 

Just look at me, celebrating like a boss from the start!
3. When was the last time you really pushed yourself to your physical limits? 

I'm pretty freakin' lazy, yo. Honestly. Last Saturday, Zepeda and I rearranged our entire room and I consider that pushing my physical limits. lol I'm so lazy that I block out anything involving physical activity. I'm still [emotionally] hurting from a day of snowboarding 4 years ago! 

4. What's a dream vacation you can't wait to take with your family? 

Right off the bat I want to say HAWAII!!! But let's dream a little bigger and go with GERMANY! It's where my mom is from and I desperately want to take everyone in the world there, especially Zepeda and Dylan, to show them this magical place where chocolate and candy falls from the sky and pretzels are bigger than 1 year olds. 



This photo sucks (because I took it). 
5. What blog post were you most afraid to publish, but did anyway?

EVERY ONE OF THEM! Though I can't imagine a life where I'm not writing, knowing that it will be read makes me feel exposed. I'm just waiting for the "WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?" comment to crush me. Please be nice, I'm sensitive under all this sass. This one made me very nervous for backlash.

6. Will you be going to any blog conferences in 2015??? What are your next plans for your wonderful blog? 

I'm going wherever you're going! I'm considering BlogHer, but really I'm just waiting for you to lay out our itinerary. As far as plans for my blog, monetize, monetize, monetize. In order for me to feel like I've achieved my life's dream and goal of being a successful writer, I need to make millions of dollars. And in order to make millions of dollars, I need to publish a book...I'm working on it.

7. I know you asked me something similar to this, but what is something hilarious that Dylan has said or done lately? 

Uhm...well Dylan doesn't speak in complete sentences AT ALL. He's still asking for things with a single word, "aqua?" But!! This morning I was sitting in bed with him and he looked over at me and said way too clearly, "Shubah shubashuba let's get on the bus." WTF! Maybe we've watched too much of this. Considering all things, I thought it was hilarious. 

8. As you know, I just read and reviewed "My Other Ex." If you could restore one broken relationship, which would it be? 

This is tough because I'm fiercely loyal. So once something terrible happens that forces an "ex" relationship, I have zero interest in considering restoration. I honestly cannot think of a single relationship I'd like to restore. Nope, not Kenny. Nope, not Shanda. And definitely not you, Michelle.

9. When did you immediately click with someone you had just met? What was the long term result? Are you close with anyone now that you really disliked at first? 

There are two extremes here because on the one hand, I'm very clickable. I am extremely empathetic and can relate to anyone, plus I genuinely and generally care, so people are comfortable with me quite quickly and I learn a lot about them. But I don't click with others as easily. It takes me a long time to feel like I really click with someone. Actually, I typically dislike the people I end up clicking with. For instance my husband, I couldn't stand him. Who did he think he was, anyway? lol 

Didn't see THIS coming!
10. I want a funny Halloween memory. WITH photos. Or any Halloween memories with photos.

All my favorite memories of Halloween are the same: rushing from house to house to collect the most candy, filling up a pillowcase, going home, dumping it out, counting/sorting and then trading with my four sisters. The best part about having 4 sisters on Halloween was having 4 people to trade candy with. Especially the younger ones. "I'll give you 20 Smarties for 5 Twix." I mean, who takes quantity of quality? Little sisters. And here are some Halloween photos!!





Thank you Tamara! Your questions blew my mind. Don't forget to send me our conference schedule! 

October 29, 2014

I Don't Want to Dream.

I had an entirely different post scheduled for today. But then something happened. You see, I’ve always experienced very vivid and memorable dreams. It’s great when I dream of eating my way out of a chocolate bar but disappointing when I wake up without one. And then there are times like this morning, when I woke up at 3am with tears pouring down my face because I had dreamt of escaping a violent man at a crappy motel in a bad part of town during a business trip. The dream ultimately resulted in my husband and son going back to the motel to find me, forcing me to rush back and retrieve them, only for the man to reappear, kill my husband with one blow to the head, while I attempted to frantically re-escape with Dylan in my arms. Seriously brain? Where do you get this stuff?! 

So of course, in my 3am grog, I swore someone was breaking into the house. And not just “someone,” but a reader of this here blog that I don’t know of but sits behind the screen, obsessing over my life. Seriously brain? SERIOUSLY? And there’s no talking me off the ledge! I sat up and listened for commotion but heard nothing- because hello, it was a dream

Regardless, it terrified me. I’m irrational like that. I mean, I sleep with a knife under my pillow if my husband is out of town. And when I’m the only one home, I play a game called, “Where’s your weapon?” which consists of identifying objects within reaching distance that can be used to stab someone’s eye…or chest…or whatever. But quasi-violence isn’t the only crazy fantasy I buy into. When I wake up from a husband-cheating-on-me dream, I grumpily roll over and ask him if he has anything he would like to tell me. Because “You were kissing so and so, RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.” He laughs, so I give him frost bite with my eyes. 

Am I crazy? Are other people affected by their dreams like this? I have a few reoccurring classics too- like one where I watch my body fall off a cliff in the desert and land smack on the ground. And like a shitty movie, I see my lifeless body from a birds’ eye view as the shot pans out further and further away. I’m dead way before I wake up. SERIOUSLY BRAIN!? 

I can’t take it! Please, someone, save me from my imagination! This dream business is too much! So assuming I get a good night’s sleep, regular DIZMOMMY programming will resume tomorrow. Think cute stories of toddler life and sweet California sunshine- or anything other than being hunted down by a freak stalker. Thanks guys!

October 23, 2014

Moms In Da Club

Mommy Club fringe benefits are legit. Running late? Blame the kid. Don’t wanna go? Blame the kid. And my favorite: I broke it…so I blame the kid. (Gotta milk it while he’s still too young to throw me under the bus!) I knew I’d enjoy my Mom Club membership! But what I didn’t know, and what I’m just learning, is that sometimes, the mom club is really like a club. I’m talkin’ bottle service, VIP booth, stimulant-spillover, full blown CLUBBY CLUB CLUB. 

It all started when I was doing post-dinner dishes and the kitchen lights suddenly went out. What the? I turned around and saw a proud Dylan against the wall with his head contorted in my direction and one hand hovering over the light switch. Good news? The world isn’t over, Dylan just figured out how to turn the lights off. Bad news? He can only reach high enough to turn them off…so turning them back is on me. I walked over and restored light. Within seconds, he restored darkness. Despite my pleas, we went back and forth several times. Did I mention Doodlebops were on T.V.? With all the flickers, the running to and fro, the high pitched squeals from the speakers, we were basically tripping on acid in the club. You know, mom life. Always trippin’ on something. 

When the strobe show was over aka I finished dishes in the dark, I embarked on my next gig: bottle girl. Super glamorous, I know. I popped a bottle (Yes- he still gets a bottle at night. Pathetic? Maybe.) And promptly escorted Dylan to the VIP booth, otherwise known as my room. I lingered a bit just so he’d know I was available for any further requests (within reason, buddy. You don’t own me.). And when the bottle was empty, it was time to call it a night. I took him to his room and laid him in his crib, hoping he’d be a big tipper, but all I got a measly wave goodbye. Another ungrateful patron, I thought as I smiled and shut the door. 

That’s when I heard my best customer yelling for me to return. Obviously he’s delusional, or maybe he had too much to drink. But there’s no re-entry in this club buddy! So I did what any smart bottle girl does to a non-tipping, turnt-up patron- I ignored him, walked away, and went somewhere quiet. I’m off the clock buddy. Sometimes you just gotta shut the mommy club down for a members only after party. Heck, we deserve it!

October 21, 2014

Outsmarting the Universe

I’ve come to realize that I’m pretty magical, it’s as if I have super powers! Hear me out: Almost every time I make a declaration such as, “Dylan’s never had separation anxiety.” The opposite immediately becomes true and I suddenly find myself smacked in my face by separation anxiety’s ugly hand. My ability to manipulate reality byway of a bold announcement is practically witchcraft. There are times in which I’m not mindful of the danger this type of power possesses, and will say something stupid like “he’s being so good!” when we’re at a restaurant in the middle of dinner. Bad call mom, bad call

So in an effort to milk this super phenomenon in my favor, I have a handful of assertions I’d like to throw out into the Universe: 

I won’t win the jackpot when I play the lottery.
Dylan is never going to stop hitting and yelling at me.
I’ll always forget to take meat out of the freezer before I leave for work.
I’m way too busy to have time for myself.
Dylan is constantly making a mess.
I’ll never see Kobe Bryant play in person!
My next baby is totally going to be a boy.
Dylan favors dad, case closed.
I can never find the clothes I like in my size.

Alright guys, I’ll let you know how this theory plays out. Hopefully it will result in someone (eh-ehm) being the favorite parent of a well-behaved Dylan, who rocks killer threads at a Laker game [courtside seats], with a hefty bank account, pregnant with a girl, and there will be thawed meat by the afternoon. Obviously I’m a dreamer…and a genius. 

October 17, 2014

About This Whole Parenting Thing....Coming Clean

Today I’m going to come clean. Sure, I’ve been pretty honest about the whole “new mom” experience. I’ve admitted to serial killer concerns, I’ve discussed our toxic relationship, and I’ve even shared the unruly and unpredictable behavior responsible for stripping my energy and hair pigmentation. But boy oh boy is there more to child rearing than just food on the floor and slaps to the face! Yes beloved readers, I’ve been holding back. You see, the truth is that having Dylan has made me a more interesting person. Sad. But let me explain...

I used to do the same thing every day. In other words, I hardly did anything at all because I’m a lazy homebody. It was so fun! I would come home from work and fall into the couch like an accent pillow and gel my brain out to T.V.  Plans were made on the fly, with no pressure to engage in activities I didn’t feel up for [aka most of them]. Now? I have to leave my cave home for the sake of entertaining the kid, and he’s the only one falling into the couch like an accent pillow. He’s testing gravity- he’s like a scientist! (I tell myself when he falls.) 

Instead of going wherever the wind was blowing, “kid friendly” dominates the forefront of my mind, guiding me to crazy awesome parks, tadpole beaches, and the toy aisle of grocery stores. The kid makes everything more fun! We don’t just listen to music, we experience it. We don’t just drive in the car, we hunt for trucks. And there’s no such thing as blending in these days; Dylan is either forcing me into conversations that he’s initiated with strangers, or he’s drawing attention from all directions by acting a fool. Oh, you have kids too? Instantly we’re friends. 

And as I continue to develop parenting skills, I inadvertently become a participant in extremely embarrassing public displays of parenting fails. Like when I accidentally triggered my dog’s killer instinct by running through a flock of geese, resulting in Dylan’s stroller tipping over and nearly throwing him into the lake in front of a dozen concerned strangers. Good times.

I had no idea how uninteresting and boring I was in my childless life! So yes, I may have forfeited the luxury to sleep in on weekends, and my shot nerves will surely fast track gray hairs, but if you ask me what I did last weekend- you’ll never hear me say, “Not much.” Because even when we do stay home, there’s a gravity testing scientist living there, ready to unlock a new level of fun, destruction, and crazy. I think I’ll keep him. 


October 14, 2014

Rolling the Dice

I am all about fun and common sense. Shrugging my shoulders at the foreseeably stupid with a, “That’s what you get” attitude comes easy. But now that I’m a parent and I have a duty to protect my son from his own stupidity misjudgments, I’m realizing how very little I enjoy hearing the voice of reason come from my mouth. 

Dylan’s ability to transcend the seemingly safe into the dangerous is a major contributor to the woe. My kid could be in a padded room full of down feathered pillows and still figure out the quickest way to break a bone. Do you know what that kind of talent that demands of me? Supervision. And I don’t just mean watching him like a pigeon on a telephone wire, I mean SUPER VISION. Like eyes on the top, the sides, and on the back of the head type vision. And after repeating cautionary tales and explanations as to why we don’t run in the street, climb on top of tables, or stand on objects with wheels, all I really wanna do is look the other way and say, “Didn’t I tell you to be careful?!” Because he doesn’t listen and I’m sick of being so damn bossy. 

And recently, I gifted Dylan freedom. I no longer stroller him up when we walk the dog. He loves it! But for me, it’s more work. When he isn’t running up to neighbors’ doors to bark at their barking dogs (which is hilarious), he’s waiting until I’m preoccupied with picking up our beagle’s crap to perform staircase acrobatics. He’s calculated like that. But I’m steadily becoming desensitized to all the madness that is parenting a feral child. So yesterday, when Dylan bolted ahead of me, I rolled the dice and said OH FREAKING WELL. I kept my mouth shut and watched on as Dylan jumped in the air and planted his ass flat on the sidewalk. Like, intentionally. And he did it again: ran, jumped, and slammed his butt in a sitting position on the concrete, laughing hysterically. I shrugged. I just don’t get it. Doesn’t he have a tail bone? 

Clearly the kid is made of leather and can withstand a little trauma. He thinks it’s funny! And since I’m sick of being a rule maker/common sense enforcer/future seeer/probability-statistic-computer, I’m going to revert back to my natural state of shoulder shrugs and told you so’s. My little concrete ninja wants the freedom to learn common sense the hard way, literally. And so begins a bountiful series of, “I told you! Be careful!” Pray for us guys, this new approach could go either way.

 

October 9, 2014

My Terrible Son - Who I Adore

My obsession with figuring out why Dylan acts the way he does is pointless. Not just because I can come up with 12 worthless situational/transitional theories attributable to his sketchy antics at any given moment, but because I don't need to. Yet there I go, chalking up his attitude problem on a case by case basis, isolating each incident of absolute fuckery from the next, when the cause is and has been clear as day: TERRIBLE TWO'S.

When it comes to Dylan growing up, there’s a theme I play into called resistance. I resisted giving up onesies, transitioning him to solid foods, giving him sippy cups, and I’ve clung to bottles, formula, and the swaddling practice as if it would add extra hours to each day. I can’t help myself!!! I pretend, deny, plant my feet into the ground and get dragged through time instead of admitting that he's getting older...too fast. LIKE SUPER FAST. Blink-an-eye-and-he's-filing-taxes, fast. So when the "uh oh, early case of terrible two's" suggestions began surfacing in response to Dylan's snubbing, screaming, and downright freaky behavior, I ruled it out. NO WAY. Terrible Two's? He's only 1. See, that’s another thing I do. When you count your child’s age in months, they get older each month. But when you count age in years, they're 1 for a good while.1 See how sophisticated and logical my denial is? 

Unfortunately, I can no longer resist the terribles…it’s gotten really bad guys. The other day, Dylan nabbed a fistful of my hair as I carried him home from the park, shrilling "NOOO!!!" in my ear, and jerked his hand back, hair and all. That's when I realized I needed a pixie cut, stat. And later, I realized that this has become my new normal. EVERYTHING cues a "no" from that boy. And not just a single "no," six or seven of them. Even the things he asks for and wants get no’d. And there’s nothing casual about it, he shrieks 'em like a nasty pre-teen girl who just got told she isn't allowed to shave her legs like all the cool girls do.2 And speaking of legs, Dylan's are weapons. He kicks, he pushes- he even shoves his feet in my eyes. 

So assuming Dylan doesn't poke my eyes out, it's time to see him in a different light. He's not a baby. He's a little human that wants to grow up like all the other mean children do to their mothers. He’s aching for independence and there’s no sense in resisting the inevitable. Plus, if I don't stop trying and carrying him everywhere, I'll be bald by next Spring. So FINE. Grow...but preferably just out of this stage. Yeah?

1 OKAY! I admit, he's 20 months now. *sniff*
2 Random analogy, I know.

October 6, 2014

Civilizing Toddlers: It Takes a Village (Don't Teach Him That)

Being a parent is a challenging gig. And child rearing in the early years is a freak show of its own because let’s face it, toddlers are outrageous. They’re practically cavemen! They express themselves freely with little (if any) reservations and as a result, anything goes. My toddler performs all kinds of crazy, he throws handfuls of food just for laughs and then screams when there’s no food left to eat; he slaps his own face when upset and then cries in shock when it hurts. But please, don’t let the antics fool you. He’s much smarter than the grunts and limited vocab let on, so trust me when I say: don’t teach him that. 

Look, I get it, toddlers are cute. Their shameless, curious, and the barbaric nature is all part of their charm. Have you seen how happy boundless freedom makes a toddler? Better yet, have you seen how quickly a “no” can revert them to the dark side? A toddler’s wrath can be straight up demonic. So stopping a bratty tike doesn’t always come easy. Especially when it’s not your kid. But trust me when I say: DON’T TEACH HIM THAT! 

Please understand that I have to take the kid home with me and there’s no way he’s going to forget all the fun he had running amok on your watch. When I herald, “Dylan has someone’s phone! Whose phone is that?” I’m not only trying to protect your technology from the clumsy, chubby fingers of my little guy, I’m also protecting myself. So when you reply with, “It’s okay, it’s an old phone. He can play with it.” Uhm, no. Just look at him! Throwing it on the tile floor and laughing, smashing the screen with his hands, oh and now, he’s stomping on it. My toddler can’t tell the difference between phone models and can’t identify what’s valuable and what isn’t. But what he does know, is that he finally got a taste of the forbidden fruit and it’s time to juice it. That’s when my psychic abilities kick into overdrive and premonitions of my phone being eradicated by a giggling 1 year old flood my mind’s eye and I really can’t see anything else. 

Look, I understand. Their conduct is seemingly innocent behavior in toddler-world. But when my boy gets caught hitting your youngin’ because he wants a toy all to himself, I will intervene with a, “Dylan, no hitting. That’s not nice, say sorry.” EVERY TIME. And when he resists the apology, hits again, and you interject with, “Oh, it’s okay!” Please know that it’s not. It’s really, really not. Sure, my violent tot isn’t intentionally trying to inflict pain when he swats a child, he isn’t evil or cruel, and I realize he’s just expressing how he feels in the moment in the only way he knows how (i.e. I don’t feel like sharing, back off.). And okay- he lacks impulse control and is as feral as a scarred ally cat, but I have this mindset that prevents me from allowing him to lay the smack down; I call it parenting. 

Let me be clear: While I revere the kindness bestowed upon my little guy and the impassive demeanor towards the untamed, whirlwind of buffoonery that is toddler life is very much appreciated- I must civilize the brute. So when you see me getting all authoritative with boundaries and shit, please adhere. I don’t expect [or want] you to discipline my toddler, but please trust me when I say: Don’t teach him that. It takes a village. 


October 2, 2014

Pretending Not to Laugh

My 1 year old is a master scammer. He likes to pretend he doesn’t hear me when I tell him to “Come here.” And when I ask him a question he hates, such as, “Did you go poo-poo?”, he goes mute. But I’m not just dealing with selective hearing- I’m dealing with selective comprehension, blatant avoidance, and a twisted sense of humor. Dylan's messing with me on a daily basis and it’s hard not to laugh when he gets all defiantly clever. Just look at him! 

The kid has a pretty good sense of what a “no-no” looks like. So instead of committing them, they “accidentally” happen. His favorite non-offense includes pushing food he doesn't want to eat right off the table and straight into our dog's mouth, then looking to me with his fakest concerned face and saying, “Oh no!” Only to turn to the dog and shout, “NO, doggy, no!” Uhm, Mr. Dylan: reprimanding the dog for eating food you just gave him is as nonsensical as saying, “oh no!” for what clearly was NO accident. And still, he beams with, “MOM! CAN YOU BELIEVE THE FOOD FELL LIKE THAT? AND THAT IS ONE BAD DOG! 

And my favorite? Blatant avoidance. If I want fifteen minutes to myself, there’s a magical phrase for that: “Dylan, let’s go change your diaper!” Nothing will drive him away quicker. If there is any indication that it’s diaper time, Dylan suddenly has a million different interests to keep him occupied. He’ll pretend he’s in the middle of a great book he can't seem to put down; he'll play with a toy he hasn’t touched in weeks; he'll even lay on the floor and cuddle with a stuffed animal, as if the cuteness will change my mind. And when I finally have him cornered, "Come on, diaper time!" He dawns the largest grin and let's out a cheery, “Hiiii!” Translation: "Oh, were you saying something? I’m sorry, I’m so busy I didn’t even hear you. How can I help beautiful?" Master manipulator alert! 

Obviously, there’s a lot of pretending going on in our house these days. Dylan likes to pretend he isn’t mindful of rules by creatively manipulating me, and I like to pretend I'm not amused.

September 29, 2014

Who Am I Kidding Here?

Yesterday was my niece’s birthday and we went to Chuck-E-Cheese to celebrate. I was super excited because I’ve had Chuck-E-Cheese on my mind since the gestation of Dylan! Running around and blowing money on kid games is totally my thing. So before we got there, I had a mental list of favorites that I wanted to play; and when we arrived, the list doubled with all the other things I saw flashing and calling my name. Like the three-seater quarter ride that was monster truck shaped, mimicked off-roading, and had big bright headlights that flashed on and off. I mean, HELLO! Dylan loves trucks! It was fate. But you know, Chuck-E-Cheese requires patience. And on weekends? A Xanax. 

When it was finally Dylan’s turn to ride the truck, he was too confused to really enjoy it. And I was confused too, because I saw the truck tip back and it wasn’t tipping back for Dylan. But there was no time to experiment because the ride was way too short and the pressure to get off was real, as parents waited for their children’s turn to hop on. FINE. We moved on to other things…like basketball and flaming finger and things I couldn’t figure out but were fun anyways because they gave me us tickets and played excitable music. Then it was back to the truck because I’m obsessive like that. It’s genetic I think. 

I spotted a couple of kids riding the truck but there was no line so I ran towards it and waited for the rats to finish up. As they hopped out, I jumped in to stand guard. I motioned for my husband to bring Dylan over and when he did, I put my hand out for some tokens. The heavens opened up as I stuck ‘em in the monster truck. “Are you ready Dylan!?” I was delighted! I noticed a foot pedal and instantly knew I had solved the truck tipping mystery. I couldn’t wait to show Dylan what this thing could really do! And it was awesome. We rode that thing until we ran out of tokens. It was SO fun and definitely made Dylan’s first trip to Chuck-E-Cheese a success. 

Once we got home, my husband mentioned that he couldn’t believe I rode the truck. “I know! Me too! It was so fun.” There were so many kids, yet Dylan and I got to ride it like…5 times in a row with no line! 
"When we started tipping back, Dylan clenched onto my arm. It was so funny, I think he was scared!” I reported. 
“It’s a good thing you rode with him. I don’t think very many adults are riding those things.”
Wait. What? “Really? Why, was it weird?” 
“Yes.”
Oh. 

But come on! It was a three-seater! And I’m short! So I practically fit! And without my assistance, how else was the truck gonna tip back? I like rides! And games…and to be honest, I don’t pick up on kid-only restrictions. But then I saw the picture- and now I understand. Who am I kidding? It changes nothing! You see, I’m a fairly oblivious person. And as a result of overlooking things (like groups of people and social norms), I’m not easily embarrassed. So in a lot of ways, I am an embarrassment. 

Sorry Dylan! But guess who's growing up weird?

September 24, 2014

The Full Circle Effect: Parents Gone Grand

My relationship with my grandparents always came easy. The love, the treats, and the lack of discipline equaled full-time fun. Whereas the relationship with my parents was a bit more complicated because growing up there were uhm…rules and expectations. But just like my parents predicted so many times before, I’ve come to value and appreciate all they’ve done for me. And as life will have it, the roles have been reversed and they’re finally the freewheelin’ lovebugs I always knew they could be. Only instead of giving into everything I’ve ever wanted and letting me get away with way too much, Dylan gets to reap the benefits of parents gone grand. And me? I’ve become them. Specifically, I’ve become my dad…and I couldn’t be more proud. 

Though it is evident that I’m my mother’s daughter, let’s just say if people started calling me “Carl,” I’d respond without wondering why. Because: 

Our middles names are “Fervent.” I mean, not technically, but practically. I genuinely find excitement in everything, just like my dad. This zestful nature makes life really fun for Dylan (and for me). Though that same enthusiasm and passion for all things can evolve into… 

Intensity. Because I’m easily interested and engaged in each moment, my passion can spill over into being hands on, in your face, and quite frankly, a bit intense. And if I go a little overboard, especially with the rule breaking, at least… 

I have no problem apologizing. Wrong, right, who cares? Even if my intensity is seemingly justified (NO KICKING THE DOG DYLAN), even if my intention is pure (DON’T RUN INTO THE STREET!), even if I don’t have to apologize because I’m the parent, I will and I do. Being “right” is less important to me than the impact my reactions can have on others. Even if… 

I feel important. Not more important than you, which is the whole point. We’re all equally special. I take everyone seriously, kids included, Dylan included. I can’t help but listen and consider what he feels and what he has to say despite the fact he is a 1 year old. Unfortunately my consideration can appear misleading when it involves something like his desire to eat cookies for dinner, so uhm…sorry kid. But hey! I very briefly thought about it, therefore… 

I expect some things. It’s completely unrealistic, but I expect Dylan to listen, follow instruction, or convince me why he shouldn’t have to. I’m open to clever persuasion, though again, there are no guarantees. But at least… 

I’ve held onto my inner child. I genuinely enjoy being silly, making up stories, coming up with games, and chalking everything up to be a result of magic. The kid in me gets it. So it’s highly likely that Dylan will still be writing letters to the North Pole when he’s 17, and he’ll be super bummed when can read and figures out that “Arrow Burger” is actually In-N-Out; but all the fun of childhood will be just enough to spill over into his adult life. 

So that way, when it’s Dylan’s turn to be the enthusiastic, intense parent who still feels like a kid but is compelled to make rules that he will later feel the need to apologize for enforcing too harshly, he will be proud to assume the position because he’ll appreciate the results. And this will allow me to be the freewheelin’ lovebug parent gone grand, returning to my childlike nature and spoiling the crap out of my grandkids like it’s a full-time job. Sigh. The circle of life- it’s a beautiful thing. 

And To My Dad: Thanks for making my childhood magical, and for making me, you. You are free to overindulged Dylan because hey, you've earned it! Happy Birthday. (PS. If I’m you, does this mean it’s my birthday as well?) I love you Dad!