What Most Of Us Are REALLY Thinking At The Park

I have a confession to make.  I absolutely hate going to the park with my kids.  Before I started this blog, I might have been hesitant to openly admit such a thing.

Other parents seem to genuinely love the park.  As soon as the spring arrives and the weather warms up, I constantly see “off to the park with the kids on this gorgeous day!” pop up all over my Facebook news feed from other moms. Friends and family tell me that they spent the entire day at the park and loved every second of it.  People really seem to adore that place.

Now don’t get me wrong; that’s totally cool.  If you actually enjoy the park, then that’s awesome for you.  I really wish I had whatever genetic indentation I would need in my DNA to enable my experience at the park to be enjoyable, but  more power to you for having it. Seriously.

Unfortunately, to me, there is literally NOTHING enjoyable about taking the kids to the park.  To me the park is like hell, if hell consisted of rowdy children, bored-looking parents, bacteria-ridden play equipment, rubber flooring, and randomly scattered foliage.

As I mentioned, before I had this blog I wouldn’t have been so eager to share my harsh feelings on this subject.  I would have been scared to come off looking like a crappy mom or a big jerk.  But I’m learning more and more, with every blog I write, that I’m rarely alone in my parenting thoughts.  And hating the park is likely to be no exception.  In fact, I’m willing to bet that the majority of you are already nodding your heads in agreement.  Maybe even some of you “off to the park” Facebookers will secretly be with me on this.

I mean, can’t we all just finally admit it, once and for all? The park sucks.

Below you’ll find a collection of thoughts I’ve had while at the park with the kids.  You will most likely find them shockingly similar to your own thoughts.  If so, I would love to know. And if not, go post that shit on Facebook or something.  No one needs that kind of positivity around here.

Just kidding!  Maybe.

What Most of Us are REALLY Thinking at the Park:

Oh look, our kids are playing. Awkward silence, awkward silence, more awkward silence…. Ugh I can’t put off the obligatory small talk any longer. “So how old is she?…Oh, she’s adorable…..My daughter is two….Aw thank you… Yes they do sure grow up fast….” Gag.  Soon I’m going to start pretending I don’t speak English.

Of all the kids in the park, of course my kid decides to play with the hacky, rashy, booger-covered one who is definitely carrying some mutant strain of coxsackie and chicken pox, heretofore known as poxackie.  I might as well round up the pediatrician and the pharmacy now and be ready for it.

How old do your kids need to be in order to become the highly unaware sitting-on-a-bench-checking-her-phone-while-the-kids-play-by-themselves mom?

Clearly there is no minimum age, since I’m pretty sure that baby poxackie over there belongs to her– and he needs a babywipe or ten to the face ASAP.

Pleeeease, baby, don’t pick that play structure to climb. Look! There’s a little one over there that’s just the right size for you! Ok, I guess the tallest one it is.  I just love being that psycho mom who literally climbs inside the jungle gym with her kid to keep him from plunging to his death.  And now you want to climb up that ginormous slide? By yourself? Oh, silly me. Of course not by yourself. Mommy’s here! Climbing the ladder right behind you! So let’s get this shit over with.

If I have to climb up this damn slide one more time, I’m going to strangle myself with a swing chain.

Swings! That’s a great idea! Standing in place definitely beats chasing these kids all over the park.

20 minutes of “standing in place” later: “Push higher, mommy! Higher! Really high!!!” Oh, how I wish I were.

Time check: 2:30p.m..  Seriously?? We’ve only been here for 45 minutes??  HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? I swear it feels like three hours.  So time stands still at the park, but naptime is over before I can finish my coffee.  Of course.

Poxsackie’s mom has some really cute sunglasses on. I wonder if they’re cheap and just look expensive, or really expensive but look like they could potentially be cheap. Either way, I wonder where she got them. Oh shit, where are my kids??

When the heck did they turn on the sprinklers?? Uh-oh. There are some big kids in there playing a bit too roughly. Do I go grab my kid and get soaked, or stay dry and just leave her alone? Eh, she’ll be fine.  How bad could they be?

Not my best decision. Where’s that band-aid I had in my bag for the last year and a half? When did I lose it? Why do I never have a band-aid on me when I actually need it?? Well, on the bright side, she’ll probably be too upset about her boo-boo to want to stay here any longer.

Wrong. Do I not know my own kids?

Is that sunburn? Crap! I forgot to put sunblock on these kids! I mean, it’s not like I’m at the beach or anything.  I knew I should have brought my big diaper bag. There’s definitely some sunblock in there.  And band-aids.  And probably some bribery candy for when it’s time to leave, too.  But who the hell wants to lug a giant bag around the park? You can’t climb up a slide wearing a giant diaper bag.  And how on earth does that mom who always just wears the little Louis Vitton shoulder pouch always have everything she needs?  Are those things like tiny bag-shaped clown cars?

I will literally pay you in lollipops not to go anywhere near that sandbox.

It’s so freaking hot today.  Where’s the damn shade, anyway? Would it kill them to plant a few more trees around here??

“Mommy I have to pee!”  Come again? You have to PEE? Here? At the park? The PUBLIC park?? In that nasty filthy bathroom over there??? Are you sure you can’t just hold it?? At least try for me? No??? Fine. But forget the poxsackie. You’re about to get a toilet bowl STD.

Ok, I think I’ve had enough. “Kids! Time to go!  Yes I know you want to stay but it’s time to go.  Mommy is two monkey bars away from a nervous breakdown right now.  No, NOT one more time on the slide….  Not the swing either! LET’S GO! Oh don’t you dare start crying.  Shut those waterworks down, missy.  Now where did your brother go? What?? THE ICE CREAM MAN IS HERE??”

Shit.

At least one of us is having fun.

At least one of us had fun. It’s all that really matters….. Right?

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25 Reasons to Love and Hate Kid Clothes

I can’t help but miss the days when the only wardrobe I had to worry about was my own.  I’ve never really been an amazing dresser. And now that I have to pick out my kids clothes too, I’m pretty stressed out.  It’s just a lot of fashion decisions for someone who doesn’t even know the difference between yoga pants and sweatpants (but definitely owns several pairs of each).

Dressing the kids gets even more perplexing – and expensive – as they get older.  Sometimes it can be rewarding, when they look all adorable and stuff (for however long that lasts).  But most of the time it’s just plain frustrating.  So here’s my take on the whole thing, in twenty-five reasons to both love and hate children’s clothing (in no particular order).

She tried.

She tried.

  1. I’m no mathematical genius, but isn’t 24 months and two years the same exact thing? Like, mathematically and stuff? So why the hell are they two different sizes? And can someone tell me which one my kid should be in?
  2. I have no idea what they call those little bands along the inside of the waist on your kids’ pants that makes them tighter, but they’re the greatest thing to happen to moms since post-c-section Percocet prescriptions.
  3. When it comes to sneakers, velcro is the ONLY way to go.  Why do they even make sneakers with shoelaces for kids who are too young to know how to tie them?  To torture parents?  Because that’s what stopping every five minutes to tie your two-year-old’s shoe feels like.  Slow torture. Right up there with potty-training.
  4. Why are pajamas more expensive than actual clothes?  I’ve been wearing the same ratty, torn-up old t-shirts to bed every night for at least a decade, yet these kids get to cozy up at the end of the day in the very best sleepwear that The Children’s Place sale rack has to offer. What the hell?
  5. Baby laundry is so deceiving. Because one load of the baby stuff equals four loads of adult laundry.  Which, by the way, is also sitting on your laundry room floor waiting to be folded.
  6. Baby socks MUST have grips on the bottom.  I mean sure, you could buy the cheapy ones they sell over at Kmart, but you’ll regret that little attempt at thriftiness when you see the bill for the emergency room visit.
  7. Baby pajamas with zippers will always trump baby pajamas with snaps.  Everyone knows that.
  8. Summer clothes + long sleeve onesies/thermals = instant winter wardrobe.
  9. Baby bathrobes.  Got at least five of ‘em at my baby shower.  Gave away at least five of ‘em with tags still attached. NO ONE USES THESE THINGS.
  10. Baby sunglasses: possibly even more useless than baby bathrobes.
  11. Baby shoes: equally as useless as baby bathrobes but cute enough to be totally fine.
  12. Crocs for adults are a big fat DON’T.  However, crocs for kids are a big fat DO.
  13. Tie dye clothing for kids will forever be a big DON’T.  And FYI, tie dye anything at all is actually an abomination to the entire fashion industry.
  14. They need to just stop selling kids clothes in white.  I mean if I were smart, I’d stop buying white clothes.  But my kids always look so cute in white.  Until they do absolutely anything at all and ruin everything.
  15. Do they even make kids jackets with fully-functioning zippers? I feel like there is a 75% probability of stuckness at all times.  Nope, that’s not a real word.
  16. Every parent has sent their kid to school with their pants on backwards, two different shoes on their feet, and/or without any underwear on at least once or twice.  Don’t feel bad, it happens.  Your kid didn’t care and neither should you.
  17. Girls’ clothes are A THOUSAND TIMES more complicated than boys’ clothes. And I’m catching on slowly.  For example, I know my daughter is supposed to like be obsessed with tutus or something, but I’m still not totally sure when the tutu-wearing is supposed to be taking place.  Like what’s a tutu-appropriate occasion?  If anyone wants to clue me in on this, please feel free. We’re a little tutu-phobic over here.
  18. Blue t-shirt in child’s small- $8.99.  Blue t-shirt in child’s small with Frozen character on the front- $18.99.  Screw you, Disney.
  19. Online shopping for children’s clothing is possibly more addictive than crack.  You didn’t really need to buy food this week, right?
  20. I know I’m going to get some slack for this one, but I’m not sure that the bow on top of your child’s head should be larger than her head itself.  Seriously, it looks ridiculous.
  21. Baby tights + a onesie + a dress/skirt + a dirty diaper = party’s over, time to go home.
  22. Wet bathing suit + a dirty swim diaper + publicly naked toddler = why you should avoid the beach. Also time to go home.
  23. “I WANNA PUT IT ON MYSELF!” when you’re already running late. Darn that pesky independent phase.
  24. Boys shorts have the longest shelf life of any article of clothing.  I literally squeezed THREE summers out of my son’s shorts.  I practically cried when I realized he finally outgrew them this year.  But then I went to Old Navy and spent a jillion dollars on summer clothes and felt better.
  25. My last reason can definitely be filed under “love”.  Because an adult could never rock this onesie– but my little guy sure did 😉Scan 18

So Many Hugs, So Little Time

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I love how affectionate my children are.  Little M just gave me one of his trademark bear hugs, a lengthy, tight squeeze that brings on the warm and fuzzies every time.  Totally the best feeling ever.

But I can’t help but wonder…. What on earth will I do when my kids no longer want to hug me???

How will I bear it when I can no longer simply outstretch my arms, anytime I want, and wait for the nearest little person to come barreling across the room to wrap their own miniature arms around my waist?

As annoying as these toddler years can be –the crying at bath time, tantrums at dinnertime, breaking up fights, preventing them from accidentally killing themselves, praying for their bedtime– I’m still pretty bummed that they won’t just stay little forever.

Parents of older children love touting the expression “little kids, little problems- big kids, big problems”.  While obnoxious to hear on a regular basis from the seasoned pros, there’s likely some truth to the expression.  A lot of truth, actually.

For example, while I must keep at least one eye glued to my two-year-old at all times to ensure that she doesn’t climb up a wall, reach for the knife rack, and then walk around holding one by its blade (true story), at least it is guaranteed that I won’t be too far away to ensure she doesn’t stab her brother for stealing her juice.

Now fast forward 16 or 17 years.  No longer will I ALWAYS be less than two feet away to help her avoid making disastrous mistakes. I won’t be able to turn down a date with the wrong kind of guy for her, and I won’t be there to yank the car keys from her hand before she steps behind the wheel after having her first drink.  I already hyperventilate thinking about that happening, and she hasn’t even had a sip of soda yet.

It’s just that right now my kids look up to me, and I don’t want that to stop.  Right now, every knee scrape, every broken toy, every bad dream is very easily mended with a kiss and a cuddle from mama.  But how will I feel the day I pose the question “all better?” and am stung by a negative response? What’s mama cuddles to do then?

What if I go and do something completely psychotic like try to have another baby or something?

I already find myself lamenting over how tiny they are in their precious baby pictures.  I can’t help but wonder if I might one day successfully locate a giant pause button that will freeze their childhood for a little while.  I just need to soak up all that angelic innocence now before I blink and they’re moody, miserable teenagers who curse the ground I walk on.

At the same time, though, I’m also excited to see what amazing adults they will grow into. I know they will make me so proud someday and I look forward to basking in the glow of their success.  I’m also pretty psyched to sleep past 7:30a.m. once in a while too. Oh, the paradoxes of parenthood.

I suppose there’s comfort in knowing that they will always be my babies, whether they are actual babies or not.

Now excuse me now while I go hug my little boy for the twentieth time today.

Saying Goodbye to Ike

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My dog, Ike, passed away this week at the very ripe age of 13 years old.  He’d been a member of my family for more than a third of my life–first when I lived at home with my parents and then when I left and started a family of my own. He was very sick and his last few days were rough, so I’m glad he’s finally at peace.

Today my house feels empty without him.  He’s not in his bed snoring loud enough to be heard two rooms away.  He’s not wagging his little ass by my feet, waiting for me to scratch his butt. He’s not under the kitchen table, looking to gobble up the kids’ bountiful leftovers.  He’s not peeing on the deck or humping someone’s leg or doing any of the crazy stuff that sometimes drove me nuts.

It’s so hard to believe he’s not here anymore.

Instead of depressing you (and myself) anymore than I might already have, I’d rather celebrate everything that was wonderful about him.  He was a very sweet, very funny dog.  There was something so….hilariously unenthusiastic about the way he lived his life.  If you have ever met a lazy English Bulldog, you probably know what I mean.

So here are some of my favorite memories and pictures of my sweet little Ikey:

  • He was the laziest dog on earth.  My father always said he was “two steps away from a stuffed animal”.  My uncle once called him a “slug with legs”.  When I took him to the dog park, he’d lie in the grass and watch the other dogs run around until he fell asleep. This picture’s not at the dog park, but it might as well have been.

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  • He hated cats.  When he was younger, all you had to do was say “go get the cat!”, whether there was a cat nearby or not, and he’d go crazy.  He actually knocked the screen door off its hinges at my parents’ house a few times trying to get at this mythical cat we’d always been training him to attack.
  • He was the perfect footrest for my kids, and he didn’t mind one bit. FYI, he was a great foot-warmer too.

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  • In the winter, whenever it was so cold that even the sidewalks were sheets of ice, I used to put on his leash and tell him we were going “Ike Skating”.  I’m so clever.

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  • Is this not the best doggie photobomb ever?

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  • Also the best toddler nap partner ever.

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  •  He could get comfortable anywhere.  I call this picture “Ikezilla”.

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  • He was as kid-friendly as they come.

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  •  He was such a little fatass.  He NEVER missed a meal in his life.  Even in his final days, when he could barely walk or see or hear at all, he would still manage to sniff his way over to his bowl and scarf down whatever yumminess we put in there for him.  I always said that I would know his time was up when he passed on a piece of chicken. That finally happened fifteen minutes before his last visit to the vet.

My life won’t be the same without my Ikey boy, but I know it was his time to go.  He defied the odds that were stacked against him as an English Bulldog, having lived a very long, healthy and happy life.  I can feel nothing less than blessed to have been his mommy.  I will miss him forever.

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