Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. Photos

No sleep. Breakfasts that consist of diet Pepsi and Candy Canes. Weird crusty stuff in one's hair, at all times. Accidentally answering the talking toys like they are phones. Never really locating the source of that smell. Deciding to blog in picture form because the words you are typing all blur together. Welcome to Awkward Mom....3.0.

So, I decide to take a picture of all three of my children; to capture the exhilarating joy and heartwarming charm of life with 3 little superheros. A photographic treasure by way of Norman Rockwell meeting Hallmark in the von Trapp mansion (minus the Nazis). Just a tiny time capsule of sweetness to brighten the dark winter ahead.

Yeah.........Here is what actually happened:

Well, 2 outta 3 aint bad. We are thinking of framing the last one, despite the presence of rouge maracas and bug eyes.

And no, we have no defense for why Super Toddler looks like a member of Our Gang.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Awkward Mom vs Christmas

Awkward Mom is doing heavy battle with Super Toddler's 4 level garage and car ramp (level 3 is being a real villain), but she wanted to take a moment to sip some eggnog and wish you all a Merry Christmas! May your Christmas Eves be restful, your Christmas mornings joyfully chaotic, and your family dinners just awkward enough to be amusing!

Merry Christmas from the Awkwards!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. Three

Hey, readers, you know that moment when you are in the kitchen and you think "Hey, I would like some juice." So, you reach into the fridge for some juice and it reminds you that you forgot to take out the chicken for dinner, so you open the freezer door (while holding the juice in one hand and holding the fridge door open with your leg), narrowly missing the side of your face with the freezer door....or actually hitting it, if you are awkward. You somehow unwedge the chicken from between the ice cream and those year old frozen strawberries you saved during your smoothie phase, and you throw it onto the counter, but it falls off. Which alerts your toddler or cat or dog that you are in the kitchen and available for food procurement, so he/she comes racing in, right towards the open dishwasher that is full of dirty (and pointing upward) knives that someone in your family insists on putting in there, despite Martha Stewart's warnings about dulling. So, you let the fridge door slam, which causes the butter dish (whose little door went missing months ago) to fall and break within the fridge, and you snatch up the chicken with one hand because the juice is in the other one, and you kick the dishwasher closed with your leg, but you are trying to avoid stepping on your kid/cat/dog, so you fall, and the chicken lands in your lap and the juice spills, all over said kid/cat/dog. Yep.....congrats, you have just encountered the villain Three.

Three is a magical number; good and glorious things come in threes. Clovers, trimesters, wise men, Musketeers, Bee Gees, cheers, crowds, coins in a fountain, stooges, triangle sides, Bronte sisters, Neapolitan ice cream, french hens, penny operas, traffic lights, bean salads, tenors, dimensions. The Trinity is pretty awesome. As is Three Dog Night and Three piece suits. Seriously, check it out: Peter, Paul, and Mary. Three Times a Lady. Faith, Hope, and Charity. Small, Medium, Large. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Snap, Crackle, Pop. Rock, Paper, Scissors. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. And my three beautiful children. I can't stop thinking of threes, it is a truly magical number! And as with any magic, there is a dark side......

The villain Three is as powerful as he is subtle. A little extra, a little over two. Not hard, right? I can handle three, no problem.....no, no, readers. Yes hard, and yes problem. I can not handle three! Wanna know why? Three requires juggling. I mean, come on, juggling? Juggling, readers. And I have circus fears, as it is......

Here's how I figured it out; it has recently come to my attention that I only have 2 hands. 2 arms. 2 legs. 2 lungs. 2 eyes. 2 ears. Holy even numbers, Batman! What on earth am I going to do with three children? The math just doesn't work. Looks like I am gonna need to learn to juggle.

Now, happily for me, turns out that all parents already know how to juggle some. It is a super power that comes standard with all kid models, and even my rudimentary skills work quite well on the villain Three. In the house. I know my house; the layout, the distances, the DVDs that can mesmerize Super Preschooler long enough for me to get Super Toddler a cheese stick. I know the special car that the Super Toddler loves, which will buy me time to feed Super Baby. I know that if I put Super Baby in the swing and play one Timmy Time, I can take a shower, complete with shampooing and conditioning. In fact, one could say that I am a master of juggling. In the house.

However, if juggling in the house is like juggling soft little balls that fit perfectly in the hand, juggling outside of the house is like juggling knives....sharp ones that no one has ever put in the dishwasher...in fact, they take them to a tinker and have them sharpened on some bi-yearly schedule....knives that cut tin cans and quarters and whatnot....oh, and they are also on fire. No sane novice juggler in her right mind would attempt to juggle fire knives so early in her juggling career.

This is, of course, what I decide to attempt. Last Thursday. In the snow. At 12:30 pm. For no good reason; other than, Super Preschooler wants to make a gingerbread house. The Supers were all being good. Super Preschooler was sharing cars with Super Toddler. Super Baby was sleeping like an angel. The Super Cats hadn't thrown up on the rug in 2 days. I was sated from lunch; full of food and of my own vanity, but wherever blames lies, I decide it is a great idea to head to Target and get gingerbread house making kits.

And this, my good readers, is where we need to leave you. For the moment. Three was hiding out in the living room, watching Finding Nemo with everyone, but it seems he is bored. Super Baby is rousing from her nap, that smell is 1...no 2....diapers in need of changing, that melodious noise is Super Cat throwing up under the dining room table, the phone is ringing, and the laundry needs switching over. Must dash. Back super soon to tell you about the Target trip....but before we go, quick question: who has a polite response to the following:

Wow, are you having enough to start a baseball team?
Just having them all at once, eh?
Irish twins?
Gonna get yourself a reality show, if you keep it up.

Because blank stares are not working anymore. Awkward Mom's eye has developed that twitch that usually indicates the sass is threatening to come on out. We like Target and we don't want to be banned, so advice is welcome. Thanks and back in a flash!

A juggling trifecta: crown, sword, X-men. Told ya great things come in threes.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. Sloth

In Awkward Mom's defense, how can she get any work done when she is looking at this all day?

Super Baby is showing early mastery of Adorableness, Sweetness, and Eyes-that-make-you-want-to-give-her-just-about-anything. The super is strong with this one.

Super Toddler would like you to wait a moment and let him finish a couple slices; he promises that we'll be back just as soon as we can. Mostly to explain this:

Needless to say, there has been a great deal of adjusting, walking, dragon fighting, tent peeking, and rocking out lately. Stay tuned and if we are less than quick with new posts, just think of it as a hiatus. Feel free to read some old posts. Re-runs, if you will. We recommend the one where Awkward Mom totally embarrassed herself, which would be the one that starts with Awkward Mom vs....

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Awkward Mom vs Birth

Well, Awkward Mom won that battle, no need to drag it out. Or gross you out with all the details.......Of course, it might be more appropriate to say that Super Baby (nee Super Fetus) was the real champion of the birth battle. And now, for the moment you have been waiting 9 months for.........

It's a Girl!

Yes, a girl will be joining the ranks of the Awkward Family! I mean, a girl other than Awkward Mom....and I am sure she will be a bit more graceful and put together. She is already in the running for the most serene baby we have ever seen. You know, the kind you have to wake up to feed. Crazy! So, we are all adapting to our superhero family of five and we'll let you know how that goes. If I had to guess, I would guess awkwardly, but that is just a guess....

On to the important part; PICTURES!

Super Baby's 2 modes seem to be sleep and ponder. I think we have a super genius joining the family.....or a sloth.

If any of you were worried that the Super Boys were suffering any sibling resentment, this photo should relieve you. They came to see Super Baby, ignored her totally, and played with the hospital bed buttons, esp. the nurse call light.....but that is a different tale totally.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Memos to Super Fetus

To: Super Fetus
From: Awkward Mom
Date: 11/11/11
Re: Birth

Bladder, Back, and I called a meeting and we think that 11/11/11 would be a perfectly magical day for your arrival. Let us know what you think!

To: Super Fetus
From: Awkward Mom
Date: 11/12/11
Re: Birth

Seems that you were busy 11/11/11, must have been something else on your calendar, like some rib-kicking or something. No problem, 11/12/11 looks just as nice to me, Bladder, and Back. Mull it over, get back to us with a real contraction. No more fake ones, please. That just confuses matters. Thanks!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. When is my due date again?

Fear not, fearless readers! The great Clutter Monster that has taken up residence in the living room has not eaten Awkward Mom! It may have eaten Super Cat, haven't seen him all day. But Awkward Mom is just fine; doing endless battle with the Trimester Three Triad: Tired, Tense, and Terribly Tricky Third T Word that the Thesaurus won't yield up that means I-want-this-baby-out-of-me-NOW. Until then, cute pictures of the Super Boys!!

Flying first class at the Henry Ford Museum, nothing but the best for Super P.

Super Toddler has found better travel accommodations.

Totally lame attempt at a Halloween photo; of course the Halloween pumpkin is the only one looking when the Great Pumpkin is on the TV......

And, of course, Halloween costume photos! (Our camera died on October 30th, not kidding, so these are from Awkward Dad's iPhone.....better than nothing, I suppose!) Enjoy!



PS...Awkward Mom's due date is November 15th....but Super Fetus is full-term now, so if anybody speaks fetus, come over here and convince this child the world is a fab place and he/she needs to be in it. Now. Right now. Please hurry.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. The Trimester Three Triad

Newsflash! Super Toddler took his first steps on Thursday, October 6, 2011! Exactly 7 months and 27 days after BabyCenter sent us that email telling us that he should have already taken them. He was stark naked, trying to get away from a diaper change; motivation really is everything, it would seem.

Yes, I know I owe you a home visit post. I have it somewhat written; can't quite finish it. Guess the pain is too fresh. Not to mention the villains we are dealing with over here. Readers, let me just tell you; the Trimester Three Triad have taken up residence at Awkward Manor.

You know; Exhaustion, Fake Labor, and Bored-of-Being-Pregnant-Want-Baby-to-Hold-Now. Now, these are the Triad bosses, but they have tons of minions that stomp in and out like they own the place. Currently, Self-Doubt is sitting on my chest. He was roused by all the comments regarding my size I have been getting lately. (Side note, please don't ever ever say to a pregnant woman, "Are you sure that is your due date? Because when I was 8 months, I was much much bigger than you." Believe me, someone in the 8th month of pregnancy has felt every one of those 8 months and is 2 steps away from making your lip much much bigger for daring to rob her of any of it. Oh, and the response, "You don't look pregnant at all" never sounds nice. If you think I look like I have a beer belly, please keep it to yourself.) Lurking over there in the corner, looking really shifty, is Panic, I-can't-Stop-Making-Lists, and I-feel-like-John-Hurt-from-Alien-please-don't-let-the-baby-come-out-the-same-way. Oh, it is a non-stop party over here.

To be fair, Exhaustion has been here for awhile. Guess he scouted the place out for the other guys. I can not sleep. There is little to no sleep going on. I toss. I turn. I move. I kick Awkward Dad and his snoring out. I fall asleep for a couple minutes and then go get him because I heard a noise that may or may not have been in my dream. I toss. I turn. I get stuck while turning. It is endless. So, I ask BabyCenter (when will I learn?) what to do. Take naps. Oh, I see, take naps. When exactly? Super Toddler naps like a champ because he doesn't exactly like to sleep at night. I think he might be in league with Exhaustion. Super Preschooler sleeps like an angel at night but as given up his afternoon nap in favor of this: "Mommy, Mommy, look, I can do a hand-stand on the couch. Mommy, Mommy, how many is 2? What is blood? When is Halloween? Is it Halloween today? Can I be a ghost? Mommy, Mommy, look, I am a ghost, doing a hand-stand on the couch. Mommy, Mommy, can I have a snake? How many is 4? How do you spell Halloween? When is Halloween? Mommy, Mommy, can I have some markers? Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy. Nothing, just wanted you. Mommy, Mommy, look, I drew you a picture. On the couch. Mommy, Mommy, what's wrong?"

Fake labor has arrived. And that is what I am calling her. I don't care that her real name is
Braxton Hicks Contractions and that, according to "What to Expect When you are Expecting" (seriously, when will I learn?) she is actually very helpful in the very early labor process. Whatever. Every single time I feel one of her fake labor contractions, I get excited. I think, "This is it! Here we go! Gonna meet Super Fetus soon!" And then, the contraction goes away. And nothing else happens. Well, now, that isn't quite true. Stuff happens. Someone needs a diaper, a cat throws up, someone wants a cookie and throws a fit when handed an apple slice; you know, stuff. But not exciting birth stuff that will require someone else to deal with the diaper, the vomit, and the fits for a few days, while I go to a fancy hospital with nurses that bring me ice and let me sleep and give me a little baby to hold. And yes, I am aware I may be skipping over some other unpleasant "stuff" here, but you have to know that the sheer power of Bored-of Being-Pregnant-Want-Baby-to-Hold-Now can render you blind to memories of the other aspects of birth. He is an extremely powerful villain, kinda like a Doctor Doom or a Galactus. You know, the more I think of it, the more Fake Labor is like a herald for Bored-of-.....you know, I am just gonna call him Bored. You all know what I mean and I am too exhausted to type his whole name. Anywho, Fake Labor is Bored's Herald; kinda like Silver Surfer is to Galactus. Yes, that is it. And yes, I really nerded out there, sorry.

My whole point is that I am in my third trimester.

Really? That was my whole point?

Oh, and I can't seem to manage to finish my other post because of it.

Really? Because that doesn't make it any better a point.

Hmmm....not sure what my point was.

Hey, did I tell you that Super Toddler walked?

Sigh. Let's let Awkward Mom get it together, shall we? Check back here soon, perhaps she'll somehow nap and be able to be a little more coherent. Same awkward time, Same awkward channel!

Walk? Like all the time? Lady, come on. I gave you those few steps the other day, give me a break. I am busy right now standing in a hole in this Elmo table. Check back with me in a few. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. Perfect Mom

Frankly, we are not sure what number battle we are on here with Perfect Mom, probably 1604. We were waiting to document it in blog form until we had a big one on our hands, and this, my dear Readers, is a doozy.

OK, so here is what happens. Excellent Mom and I head to the park. I am not going to tell you where this park is, mostly to protect the guilty, but I will tell you that I have no intention of heading back anytime soon.

Super Preschooler is playing by the merry-go-round. He wants to play on the see-saw, but since Super Toddler and Excellent Toddler want to swing, that makes see-saw kinda just see. Which isn't as fun. So, he is pushing the merry-go-round sadly, and the toddlers are swinging. Excellent Mom and I are probably gossiping, can't remember, but that is a pretty good guess. The swings are maybe 8-10 feet from the merry-go-round and Super Preschooler is in full view of the rest of the party. (You all know that is about to become important.)

A swarm of boys (ages 3-4) descends on the merry-go-round; Super Preschooler is elated! He begins pushing it with them and all is joy....for about 2 seconds. Perfect Mom appears on the scene and yells, "Stop, stop, there is a LITTLE boy there. Wait until he leaves."


Then, she arrives at the merry-go-round, puts a protective arm around my son, and loudly announces to the park "whose LITTLE boy is this? Where is your [extremely neglectful] mother, LITTLE boy."

I wave and say (no need to shout when you are 8 feet away), "He is mine. He's fine, I can see him." And for the record, I swear I say this civilly.

She says, "Oh, well, come get him. They are going to go too fast for him."

"I am sure he will be fine, he has been itching to go fast on that thing."

"Oh no, I am sure he will get hurt. He is so LITTLE."

OK.....now my voice gets icy, I'll admit it. "He is their age. He is 3 and a half. I am sure he can play on the merry-go-round too."

"They are going to go too fast for him. He will get hurt."

I do NOT want to fight this woman, I really don't. I walk over there and pick Super Preschooler up, while saying to him, "I am sorry, Super Preschooler, but it seems these boys don't want to play with you." Was that childish? Perhaps, but it is the truth. Well, their mom doesn't want him playing with them, so same thing at this age, really.

She verbally leaps at me. "That is NOT what I said! He is too little, he will get hurt." She turns to gossip about me with her friends, while the boys (plus a little brother, who is most likely 2) pile onto the merry-go-round.

I just walk away and resume pushing Super Toddler in his swing. Super Preschooler, not in the slightest upset (this is important for later, folks), goes off to pick up acorns.

This should be the end of it, but remember, this is Perfect Mom.

About 30 minutes later, Excellent Mom, Excellent Toddler, the Super boys, and I are having a pleasant picnic lunch. Not a Skittle or Cheezit in sight, I am most proud of myself. It is a lovely day and the children are all happily eating fruit. This day is certainly on the upswing. Except it is totally not. Perfect Mom approaches and says to me "I want to revisit our encounter."

Seriously? Because I really really don't. (Of course, I say this in my head and turn politely to her instead.)

For the briefest moment, I fantasize that she is going to apologize for excluding my child or embarrassing me, but please. This is Perfect Mom. She doesn't make mistakes. She crouches down between Super Preschooler and me and the rest is the crazy-making lecture of the century. So, here you go (to the best of my knowledge I am not exaggerating this and Excellent Mom can correct anything I left out):

Perfect Mom: I just don't understand why you were upset.

Me: Ummmm...well, I was watching my son, I was right there, and when you asked whose child he was, I suppose I got defensive. (Check out my mature "I" statements, Readers!)

Perfect Mom: Well, I always stand right next to my child, so I didn't see you. He is too little to play with them.

Me: He is short for his age, but he is 3 and a half. He is their age, he could have participated.

Perfect Mom: He would have got hurt.

Me: You don't know that.

Perfect Mom: Well, the most damaging thing of all was when YOU spoke for us and said that we didn't want him to play. You spoke for us and that wasn't true, you said we didn't want him to play and that was damaging to all the kids. That was so damaging to the kids. (She is stage whispering this to me 2 inches from Super Preschooler's ear. I assume the whispering is to protect him from further damage.) It was SO damaging that you said that.

Me: But it was true.

Perfect Mom: I never said he couldn't play with them.

Me: But you did.

Perfect Mom: It was so damaging.

She leaves. And I am left with that uncomfortable feeling of rage that I know will be turned inward on the ride home. Excellent Mom, an excellent friend with a great sense of emotional intelligence, looks right at me and says "This is her issue, not yours. You were fine."

I know in my head that she is right, but I don't think anyone can explain it to my heart. Or my stomach. Which is now in need of those Skittles. Or maybe some chocolate....a cake of some sort....brownies, that would be good...excuse me please....be right back...perhaps some ice cream...no...no...Waffles!

And let the self-pity party begin! We swear that we will get to the home visit at some point, patient Readers. But Awkward Mom has left the building, emotionally speaking, and she is also physically on her way to the kitchen to rummage around. How about we get back to you on the home visit, eh? Thanks!

He looks 3 and a half, right? I mean, I know the fashion sense is early 20s raver, but everything else says 3 and a half, right?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. the Mini-Van

We regret that we must interrupt your regularly scheduled program with this urgent announcement: The Awkward Family now has a Mini-Van! Just to be clear, we don't regret that. Just the interrupting. We shall return you to your regularly scheduled programming just as soon as Awkward Mom stops looking at Wonderwall on MSN.....might be awhile. Here are some pictures of the new Awkward-Mobile to tide you over!

Same make and color as the old Awkward-Mobile. We tried to convince Super Preschooler that we used magic to "grow" the car. He wanted to know why it took all day then. Never try to pull the wool over his magical eyes.

A whole row all to himself....at least until November.

Just noticed those keys there.....nice one, Awkward Dad.

Giving the steering wheel a kiss. The fact that while kissing the steering wheel he blew the horn so loud that it brought all our neighbors to the windows still does not affect the cuteness.

Here's to many an adventure in the new Awkward-Mobile!

(And yes, there are already Goldfish and Cheerios on the floor...)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. the Home Visit (part 1)

Oh, poor Awkward Mom. Not only is she in a tizzy because Super Toddler won't toddle. Not only has she endured the physical therapy evaluation (we thought we would spare you that particularly heart wrenching battle) and been told that Super Toddler has a "35% walking delay." Yes, we know; we would all like to see the math there....isn't it really just 0% walking or 100% walking? Anyway. Not only has she also been told that Super Toddler has a possible speech delay and "over-flexible knees" (whatever that means) while simultaneously being told that there is actually nothing physically wrong with him and the walk delay is most likely his own stubbornness and physical therapy will only be mildly effective. (Lotta onlys here, folks.) Not only all this, but now, yes now, she has to endure the indignity of a home visit because the physical therapist wants to "inspect Super Toddler's home walking environment." Yes, dear Readers. Let the battle begin.

So, it is pouring rain and Super Toddler and I have just dropped Super Preschooler off at Preschool, where he is going on 2 weeks without an "accident" or any "concerned" notes sent home in his backpack, which, incidentally, I have remembered every class! (But that is an another, happier post...) Sensible parents are heading home or to some other dry post to wait this out, so, of course, we are not. We are going to Toys R Us to buy a walking toy for Super Toddler's 3:30pm home visit with his physical therapist. Have I had a week to do this? Yes. Do I remotely have the budget for this toy? Nope. Am I just doing this to try and impress this woman and convince her that I am taking his delay seriously because she may have casually mentioned at the evaluation that I should encourage him to use his "walking toys" more often? Maybe. OK, yes.

Do I even know what a walking toy is? No, not really. OK. Should be a fun trip.

And it would be, if Toys R Us was open.......shoot. I quickly call Excellent Mom, who has agreed to go with me on this fools errand (mostly because she is a saint), and we reroute to the craft store. We spend the time it takes for Toys R Us to open gossiping, ogling shiny holiday supplies, and perusing grow-buddies. This is the best the day will get; it is all downhill from here, folks. Excuse me, oh, you have a question? Oh, grow-buddies; you know, those tiny capsules or itty bitty creatures that you put in water and they grow to 15 times the size. Super Preschooler is in love with them. Oh, they are just called magic capsules? And it is fairly undignified for a grown woman to refer to something as a grow-buddy? Huh. OK, well, good to know. Anywho, I buy a couple grow-buddies for Super Preschooler (a ghost, a black cat, and a castle), and we are off to Toys R Us.

Excellent Toddler jets off for the train table and Super Toddler loudly protests his inability to do the same. But I am focused, heartless, and relentless in my pursuit of this milestone of his, despite his cheerful disregard. I plop him in the buggy and wheel him into the bowels of the store, aimlessly seeking "walking toys."

Hey, Readers, guess what? Turns out that there is such a thing! Turns out there is a whole aisle of such things! Can you imagine? And it also turns out that Super Toddler and I hate them all. These things are amazing; eye-popping purples and pinks, ear-bleeding noises of the sugariest lullabies and most annoyingly happy music. Walkers shaped like trucks, trains, lions, dinosaurs, baby strollers, lawnmowers, and fire trucks. There is one alien looking one that I think might be alive and I have since had a very disturbing dream about. Walker after walker with shiny bells and whistles that just make Super Toddler yawn. And prices that make me want to faint. Oh well, that was fun. Guess he'll be crawling to that graduation, after all.

But just when I am ready to give up hope, Excellent Mom swoops in with an idea of genius. (This is so the reason I asked her to come.....and why I am friends with her in the first place. Now, why she is friends with me is a mystery for the ages.) Excellent Mom suggests one of those toy shopping carts. You know, the cute orange ones I think they have been making since my mother was a toddler. Genius. We find them in the play food aisle. Super Toddler loves it. I love the price. All is good. (Especially with the newly freed Super Toddler, who heads straight for the train table.) Let the walking race begin! Well, not literally. I mean, unless it is a crawling race; then I am sure Super Toddler would win; hands (and knees) down.

Oh, puny Awkward Mom. That is quite enough. I am serious. That is totally enough out of you today. Don't you have children to take care of? Really; hasn't Netflix done enough today? I thought so. Go on. There you go.

Anyway, Readers. Tune in next time for the actual home visit battle. This was merely the set-up. And goodness, it wasn't even all of that. The perfect-walking-toy-shopping-cart-of-delight did have one nearly fatal flaw: it wasn't assembled. That and the directions called for 2 types of screwdriver, a scissors, and a hammer. A hammer, seriously? Have we discussed Awkward Mom's construction abilities? Do we even need to? Plus, Super Preschooler was home by then and wanted to "help." Oh Readers, I will spare you. It got done. Super Preschooler may have learned some new words that we aren't gonna tell Awkward Dad about. Right? But, it got built in time for the 3:30 home visit. Where it sat in the corner, ignored by Super Toddler and the Physical Therapist, but we are getting ahead of ourselves. Tune in next time! Same awkward time, same awkward blog!

Walking toy of wonder!

(glow wands and rave bracelets not included....and certainly not in there during the home visit!)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. Walking

We know what you are thinking, and don't worry, Awkward Mom has not broken anything. We are aware that her tendency to trip is concerning and that, for some unknown reason, she always crashes into the stove when she rounds the corner from the kitchen to the pantry, but rest assured, dear Readers, she is still able to walk. It is Super Toddler that isn't walking. And there is a reason this post isn't titled: Super Toddler vs. Walking. Super Toddler has absolutely no issues with his lack of walking; left to his own devices, he would merrily crawl through the world (at record-breaking speeds, mind you) much like a super-charged tank, busting through anything that got in his way. Super Toddler will take you out at the ankle, believe me, he has no pity for legs that get in his way; early and elderly walkers be warned. Nope, this is definitely Awkward Mom's battle.

So, Super Toddler has not walked yet. I suppose this makes his name rather misleading, but I digress. Super Toddler is 20 months old, as of yesterday. Depending on who you ask, this situation is:

(1) slightly unusual but not bad

(2) perfectly fine

(3) really starting to hurt my back

(4) horrible and makes me the worst mom on the planet.

(OK, the third one is me.....and a little of the fourth one too.)

According to the doctors and nurses, the average walking start is between 14-18 months. As our doctor explains to me (our comforting and soothing "Dr. Graham"), in order to make that "pretty bell-shaped curve," some children walk at 9 months and some wait until they are 2 years old. His nurse further reassures me that there are children who walk at 2 years old but you don't hear about it because their moms are usually too embarrassed. I, personally, think they are just drown out by the moms talking (loudly) about their 9-month-old walkers, but that is just my opinion. Super Toddler has been examined for physical impairments in his legs and hips, by the way. Despite a slight over-flexibility (which, frankly, I thought all children had), he is perfectly fine. Hence, the medical profession thinks Super Toddler will be teaching your next Thursday yoga class and his lack of walking is slightly unusual but no big deal.

My mother, aunts, and any woman I know of that generation just laugh at my worries. "Children are supposed to crawl, it is good for their brain development," they chant at me, as they hand me Dr. Spock's book and some chocolate. My mother claims to have no idea when I walked or crawled or any other milestone whatsoever. (She does however have one bragging touchstone; my first word was Flamingo. She likes to share that one. Oh, and that I made her go into labor during the Blizzard of '78, but again, I digress.) Basically, all the women I know with grown children think that I should calm down. They seem to be well aware of how brief these early years are (and how fleeting and small the worries are). I suppose they are just more concerned with the sons that won't move out of their houses, the daughters that just lost jobs, and the state of their IRAs. All of them seem to think that Super Toddler is perfectly fine and that he will walk when he is ready. My Super Friend, Magnificent Mom (who isn't of my mother's generation, but has the wisdom to be) likes to say "It isn't like he is going crawl across the stage to get his college diploma." So, general opinion here is CALM IT DOWN, AWKWARD MOM!

But my back hurts.

And......the opinion of every random mom I meet at every playgroup, park, store, street corner, doctor's office waiting room, BabyCenter thread, blog entry, magazine, and parking lot seems to be "Oh my goodness, he hasn't walked yet? That is horrible. I think you should just give up and start working on Super Fetus because that older one of yours is so small and clearly not potty trained and this one won't walk at 20 months and they are both clearly not going to Harvard now. You poor poor thing. Thank goodness Perfect Toddler walked at 6 months, she is already on the waiting list for Yale." I may be paraphrasing a wee bit, but you get the message. The ugly, pitying, judgmental, horrid message. The message that, for the same unknown reason that we horde insults and disregard compliments, I allow in to wreck havoc on my mom confidence, while I won't listen to the wise women in my life and the entire medical profession.

Well, the whole point here is Super Toddler isn't walking, and about 2 Fridays ago, after a particularly trying evening with the super kicker (AKA Super Fetus), I call the doctor's office in tears. It is mostly about Super Preschooler and his lack of potty training (but that is an entirely different post and one that neither I nor the general public is ready for), but at the end, I sneak in my concerns about Super Toddler. She tells me to go take a nap and she will tell the doctor about it on Monday. I sigh and lie on the couch. I don't nap, but Netflix may be on and it may be on Pawn Stars. Anywho, it is good that I don't nap because 10 minutes later, the nurse calls me back. (I think my tears got to her.) She has called the doctor at home and they decide (even though they aren't concerned and don't think anything is wrong and that I really should be taking that nap) to refer Super Toddler to a physical therapist. I promise to take the nap (I don't; the pawn store might be buying the BatMobile. I am not missing that.) and I thank her profusely.

Now, for some reason, this "action" makes me feel a ton better. Logically it shouldn't. Nothing happens for a week. Super Toddler continues to crawl. Well-meaning moms continue to stare pityingly. And my back still hurts. But I have a referral. I have confirmation, something official. Someone professional is going to look into this. Someone is going to help me. Someone is going to fix this.

Oh, naive Awkward Mom....

Tune in next time, Dear Readers! Super Toddler is in physical therapy and he could care less, but Awkward Mom is hoping this is the cure for the crawling! However, all is not roses; first there is a giant hurdle to overcome. A hurdle of such insurmountable proportions that it gives Awkward Mom pause and makes her wonder if just letting Super Toddler crawl across that graduation stage isn't all that bad. She has to endure the dreaded Home Visit.....(cue scary music. You should have some, Halloween is just around the corner, you know. You also must know that Awkward Mom will NOT be making the Super Boys' costumes this year. I mean, you must have guessed that, right? What else would make sense? What? Wait; is this thing still on? Oops!) Anyway, join us next time here at the Adventures of Awkward Mom!

Walking? You have to be kidding. I am going straight to driving.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. Preschool

I think we oughta make that "Awkward Mom vs. the first day of Preschool".....because we all know the battles are just beginning.....

So, here he is; Super Preschooler:

Oh my goodness! How did that get in there? That wicked villain, Nostalgia and his sidekick, Holy-Cats-Time-is-going-So-Fast must have been at it again! Let's try this again, shall we?

Here he is; Super Preschooler:

That's better. Yes, Super Preschooler (as he will now be known, unless I get lazy. Then I might shorten it to Super P....I'll let ya know) took the plunge today and went to Preschool! We all trooped down there; Super Preschooler, Super Toddler (aka the Super formerly known as Super Baby), Super Fetus, and me. I don't think Super Fetus wanted to go, but sometimes you do what you gotta do for family, eh?

We all showed up (15 minutes early! You would think we were excited or something...) and listened dutifully to the teacher's introductions....OK, I might have been the only one who did that, but we know now that free play is from 9-9:30, "accidents" will be reported via cell phone, and no peanuts are allowed in the room. There was other stuff, but I thought it was best to gather the urgent info on the first day. Plus, a letter came home with Super Preschooler with all the rest. My very first piece of school-related paperwork! Sent home in Super Preschooler's backpack! Well.....it would have been sent home in his backpack, if I had remembered to send him in with a backpack and not left said backpack in the car....as it was, it was sent home to me in a plastic shopping bag. I know. I know. Picture it, dear readers: Super Preschooler, standing there on the corner, waiting to be picked up, surrounded by other Dora-packing and Lightening McQueen-laden children, forlornly clutching his PLASTIC SHOPPING BAG. Sigh....and we are off to a rather awkward start, it would seem.

But, the teacher is sweet and seems to understand that some children have awkward parents, so Super P. (yes, I like that) is also holding a purple backpack in his other hand. This purple backpack is called the "Magic Bag" and is given to one child everyday, in order to put a special object into it to bring back to the class for Show and Tell. I suppose that makes it a "Show and Tell Backpack," but, let's be honest, "Magic Bag" sounds a lot cooler. So, Super Preschooler has been given the honor of the first Show and Tell. He wants to bring a fairy, but we don't have one, so he says some pretty earrings on mine will have to do. I am not sure that is a good idea, but I imagine we will find something we can all agree on by Wednesday.

By the way, Super Toddler was seriously not pleased that he was stuck with me for the morning and his brother got to play with a bunch of new kids and toys.....more importantly, new toys. He tore it up during Free Play/Parent Introductions and even got into a fight over some cars with a kid twice his size. Double sigh. Now, in the introduction letter, there is a section about wanting a parent-helper to be present at each class. There is even a sign-up right by the door. However, there was also that part in the teacher's speech (where I could swear she was looking right at me) when she mentioned that siblings are not encouraged if they are distracting and we should not feel obligated to serve as parent-helper if it doesn't work for us. I'll let you know how that goes.

I am also fairly sure the teacher didn't break eye contact with me during the entire "what will happen if your child isn't quite potty trained and has an accident while he/she is here," but I totally expected that. I'll also let you know how that goes, because, as we all know, that one is just a matter of time. Personally, I am thrilled it wasn't today!

All in all, we survived. Some more than others. I am sure Super Preschooler is gonna be fine. Super Toddler is gonna resent his lack of preschool-fun for a bit, and I am starting the long road of panic and empty-nesting and wondering where the time went, sprinkled with some oh-wow-shopping-with-one-child-is-a-lot-easier. Expect that last part is gonna change come November, isn't it? Oh well, back to panic.

Way to be brave there, Awkward Mom.....

OK, readers; update time! In view of the recent name changes, here is a little guide. This is now Super Preschooler (AKA Super P.):

OK, well, technically, this is a picture of Super Preschooler and a friend.

This is now Super Toddler (or Super T...might as well embrace the lazy.):

Wow...OK, well, technically, this is shirtless Super Toddler, Buzz Lightyear, Rex, Super Cat, and food/drink. Pretty normal, actually.

Super Fetus is rather camera-shy, so no photo there. Plus, we are letting he/she keep the mantle Super Fetus until the big reveal, come November. At that point, we'll officially declare a new Super Baby! Oh, it is a season of changes, Readers! Meet us back here next time. Super Toddler has a physical therapy visit this week; the therapist wants to inspect his "home walking environment." Yea.....we will totally let you know how that goes....See Ya!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. the End of Summer

Despite the store ads proclaiming "BACK TO SCHOOL" that have been up for, oh, about 3 months now, Labor Day weekend and the unofficial start of fall took everyone here by surprise! Being as we in the Awkward Family view fall as an ally, with her cooler temperatures and crunchy apples (Summer's sweltering heat and requirements to wear bathing suits in public keep him on the villain end of things), this is usually a favorite time of year around here. However, it isn't every fall that Super Toddler changes identities and becomes Super Preschooler, and it isn't every fall that Awkward Mom is grotesquely unprepared for that.

Oh my. My baby is starting preschool in 6 days. What am I going to do? How am I going to feel? Think I can potty train him by then?

Fear not, gentle readers. It is only for 2 days a week and for 2 hours at a time and the teacher is already aware of the lack of potty training process going on in these here parts. So, really, all this transition amounts to is a change to his weekly routine and a change to his blog-sanctioned name. That's all. That's it. The whole shooting match. Right?

Oh, and well, a sign that the little baby I held in my arms just the other day (wasn't it last week? 3 years ago? Really?) is growing up faster than I would like. And with this, I join ranks with mothers across the ages. Sigh.

But more on this later. He doesn't start until next week, so I am gonna do what all sensible people do when faced with a change they don't particularly want to deal with. I am gonna change the subject! (And get some chocolate, hang on.)

OK. Back. And eating some of Awkward Dad's birthday chocolates. You won't tell, will you? Yes, Awkward Dad had a birthday this weekend! I won't tell you his age, as he is all in a tizzy about it. The Super Boys gave him a card, some stickers, multiple kisses, and the chocolates I am currently eating. We had Chinese food for dinner several nights this weekend, endured the zoo on Labor Day (making sure to see the ape house this time), and we generally let him have his way around here (a unprecedented feat).

Awkward Dad's birthday is usually Labor Day weekend and it is part of the hints around here that summer is ending and fall is on its way. So, I am going to use this time to shove every summer related post I didn't do this summer into this post (in picture form, of course). Enjoy!

We weren't very heavy on the milestones this summer. I have already mentioned Super Toddler's complete lack of potty training interest. Super Baby has followed suit with no interest in walking (in fact, he had an evaluation today and will be starting physical therapy in the weeks to come.....no doubt followed by freaked-out-Awkward-Mom blog posts). That said, the boy sure can climb stairs.

We took many trips to the park this summer, mostly with our good buddies, Awesome Toddler and Excellent Toddler. I will admit that I was a little deterred from the park after my run-in with the organic-brownie moms, but I persevered and continued to provide outdoor structures for my children to climb. My children, in turn, continued to provide me with plenty of adrenaline by climbing said structures backward, upside down, and way too close to the edge. That all my park pictures look like the one above is something I have no excuse for other than sheer laziness.

Ah, the pool. Although, it is really AH, the pool! (i.e. Do I really have to put on a swim suit and parade around in public? Really?) I valiantly took the Super Boys to the pool at least weekly for a good stretch there (that most of these outings were initiated by Excellent Mom will stay our little secret, eh?) and we (and by we, I mean, the Super Boys) enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, despite the presence of toy-stealers, splashers, and those moms who bring a whole picnic of healthful delicious food that causes your child to look with disfavor at the bag of goldfish crackers in his hand. Yes, despite the bikini wearing moms with 6-month-olds, the damp locker rooms with horror movie lighting, the bugs, the sunscreen in the eyes screams, the wet towels all over the car, the 2 hours of prep for 1 hour of pool time, the sunburns, the weird rash Super Baby got, the teenagers, the difficulty of explaining "adult swim,"and that encounter with that mom I hadn't seen in awhile who declared "you don't look pregnant at all" while we are wearing swim suits and swim suits clearly show everything and mine shows a belly that I think looks like a pregnant belly but I guess she just thought I had let myself go, it was a successful pool season. We did go to the Spray Park once, and you all know what a nemesis the spray park is for the Awkward Family. Well, this time, it wasn't that horrible and I did remember towels. What I forgot was Super Toddler's swim suit, so he went in a swim diaper and I was "that mom" in front of the whole play group. Oh well; when am I not "that mom" anyway?

The Awkward Family took one vacation this summer; we went to Cleveland to visit some college friends of Awkward Dad. This resulted in the climbing of hotel furniture, the delicate balance of eating out with childless friends, and an attempt to steal ZZ Top's car. Pretty standard, really.

There have been several trips back to the zoo this summer, although no more solo trips. Turns out Awkward Dad likes to be included in animal viewing. The zoo in the summer is, well, you know what the zoo in the summer is like; hot, crowded, and full of overpriced frozen lemonade (which Super Toddler has a serious love for). The upside is pictures like this one of Super Toddler dressed as a bee. Priceless.

And the rest of the summer looked like this:

Lots of shirtlessness, beating on things, bandaids, and one very memorable trip to the Science Museum. Lesson learned: the Super Boys are fans of electricity but not of animatronic dinosaurs or IMAX films about space. Ignoring this will result in screaming and stares from other parents. You have been warned.

Thanks Summer! And now, onward to fall! and preschool.....oh shoot, I need more chocolate....

Stay tuned, fearless readers, this fall should usher in a new age in the Awkward Family. The age of preschool. The age of Super Baby's first steps (we hope!). The age of Super Fetus' arrival. All of which will result in name changes all around; except for Awkward Mom, that is. No other name truly fits this Maven of Mischief, this Tireless Tripper, this Seeker of the Slippery Slope. Nope, she is just awkward. Join us for more awkward antics and adventures here, at the Adventures of Awkward Mom!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. the Ultrasound

Here it is the long awaited...or maybe just late...telling of Super Fetus' 2nd Trimester Ultrasound.

OK, so here we are: wandering around the University of Michigan hospital at 7:30am, looking for the section where they do the ultrasounds. My tired brain is not only questioning the sanity of scheduling this at such a horrifying hour but the sanity of adding another child to the lopsided circus that we represent as we make our (tripping-random-shouting-and-or-laughing-dropping-diapers-out-of-a-half-open-diaper-bag) way down this hallway that I am sure we have been down before. But mostly I am questioning the sanity of the good people of Ann Arbor who built this enormous hospital; for while I am sure cutting edge medicine takes place within this very walls, I am fairly certain a good number of patients get lost looking for it. The parking garage actually has a floor 3 and 1/2, in addition to 7 other whole numbers, and the hospital itself (which I think is actually about 8 hospitals in one) is so confusing that I am seriously waiting for the Minotaur to come strolling around the next corner. Awkward Dad is confidently parading down the hallway, heeding the last directions of 2 lefts, a right, then another left that we got from one of the smiling greeters that magically pop up occasionally. But that was awhile ago and, as Super Toddler and I trail behind, I am starting to think it was 2 rights. Shouldn't we have seen the ultrasound section by now or at least another greeter? Did the Minotaur get her? I am really starting to worry about this when Awkward Dad stops before an unassuming door and proudly announces that he has "found it!"

We enter to be confronted with a space that appears to be the size of a normal hospital. An entire hospital-sized space just for ultrasounds.

Little back story here: Super Toddler and Super Baby were born while we were living in Central IL (hardly a backwater), and yet, our hospitals were nowhere near this large or, dare I say, confusing. There have been many new experiences regarding Super Fetus and his/her care here in Ann Arbor. For example, I now know what an internal ultrasound is. (I will spare the details for the more sensitive reader.) My doctor has one of those in his office. Apparently external ultrasounds need their own wing, hence this dawn trip to the hospital. Now, I am not trying to complain and I am sure I am getting the highest of quality care, but, oh, never mind. I am totally complaining.

So, somehow we are still early, and we are put in a waiting room to, well, wait. We settle in; Super Toddler flies over to the box of toys, Awkward Dad and Super Baby commence a riveting round of "I've got your nose," and I peruse the magazine options. Not able to face How to Get your Pre-Baby Body in 3 weeks, Crafting the Perfect Birth Plan, or 7 Secret Killers Lurking in your Nursery, I pick up a year old issue of Newsweek. All is good (if a tad boring) for 5 minutes. Then, Perfect Family walks in. Sigh.

She is sporting a Hollywood baby bump, cradled by perfectly pressed pants and artfully draped in a clingy, yet not sleazy, summer blouse, and offset by coordinating sandals, handbag, and sunglasses. Perfect Dad is polo perfect and Perfect Toddler is matching, from his cap to Crocs. They are lavishing praise on Perfect Toddler for his recent trip to the potty (I assume in the one down the hall or else that is really weird), and they take one look at us and sit as far away as possible. Super Toddler's requests for Perfect Toddler to play with him are roundly ignored. Awkward Dad starts shooting those super-powered eye daggers he has, and I start to watch the clock intensely. Perfect Toddler declares that he is hungry and Perfect Mom pulls a plastic container out of her handbag (is that real leather?), which contains carrot and celery sticks, pita bread, and hummus, beautifully housed in little compartments. Not to be outdone, Super Toddler declares he is hungry. Feeling rather proud of myself, I pull a bag of grapes (still in the bag they came in) out of the diaper bag and hand it to him. He fixes Perfect Toddler with his gaze, eats one grape contently, and then declares the next one to be dirty. We are miraculously saved by the arrival of the ultrasound technician.

We troop down the hallway to a room as dark as a cave. Having done this before (Illinois Ultrasounds aren't that different), I hop on the table and get ready. Super Toddler hops up too. We have a long discussion about why this can't happen. He pouts and perches on the very edge of the chair next to me, about eye level with my belly and his yet-to-arrival brother/sister. After 3 years, my complete and utter lack of personal space is as familiar to me as it is to all parents, but this technician seems a little freaked out and asks him to move. He leans back into the chair, which, by the way, is the only chair in the room, and thus relegates Awkward Dad and Super Baby to loom over me in the corner behind my left ear. Already this ultrasound is shaping up to be most awkward on record for the Awkward Family and it hasn't even started yet. (Spoiler: it gets worse.)

So, we quickly tell her that we don't want to know the gender. We have been told to do this every time we are heading into an ultrasound. She does look surprised but says "OK." This is the last thing she says for the next 25 minutes.

I am serious. She squirts on that ice cold jelly stuff (which completely weirds out Super Toddler) places the wand on my belly (Super Toddler is not impressed with this wand's magic, in the slightest), and away we go. She starts looking for Super Fetus, who periodically emerges in and around the dark corners of my uterus; it is kinda like watching a nature program where they go looking for blind fish and electric eels at the bottom of the ocean. (Especially given how much like a love child between a Fish Mutant and Skeletor babies look at this point in development. Don't glare at me. You know it's true.) Except those nature programs have better narration. The silence is eerie. Super Toddler and Super Baby apparently think so too, so they begin to talk and wail, respectively. Super Toddler maintains a running commentary of the process that sounds something like this:

"That is a wand, but not really a wand. Not like a straight wand like Cinderella's Fairy Godmother or a star wand like a magical princess or like a glowing wand. Not a glowing wand. Where is the baby? I don't see the baby. We are having a boy, like Super Baby. It is dark in here. Not a Cinderella or a Sleeping Beauty. I like the baby. Mommy, I'm hungry. I wanna go to the zoo. That is not a real wand. I'm still hungry. We are having a girl like Cinderella. We could call her Cinderella. I would make her a dress, like the mice. The mice would make her a dress. Like a wand. I need a wand. Not like that wand. But a real wand. With a star. Those are the best. Glowing with a star. That is a wand, but not a real wand"

Super Baby is now on Awkward Dad's shoulders in an attempt to calm him down. Awkward Dad has walked him over to the corner-mounted TV monitor, which is showing the peeping Super Fetus. Super Baby, perhaps showing his middle-childness early, is swatting at the images and continuing to cry.

The technician has found the heart and she focuses on it. Again. Again. And again. This goes on for what feels like hours, but is probably more like 10 minutes. However, I never remember previous ultrasounds taking this long and I sure don't remember so much focus on the heart. I am completely convinced that something is wrong, so I break this unwritten room code of silence and I ask, "Is something wrong?" She says, "Oh no, it's just that..." She trails off and doesn't speak again for 15 minutes.

We more than make up for the silence of the technician. Awkward Dad retreats to the corner to shush and entertain Super Baby, who continues to whimper and laugh randomly. Super Toddler's speech about wands is still going on and my internal monologue is rattling on about heart defects and specialists and maybe my mom could live with us for awhile and how good is our insurance and on and on and on. I am about to lose all decorum and shout at this woman to just say something, anything, cough, something, when she smiles and says, "OK, time to look away. I am going to check for the gender now."

I am so startled by this string of words, that is takes me a minute to process what she is saying. Wait. Hold on. What?

Now, when Super Toddler and Super Baby were Super Fetuses (Fetui?) and we had the "fun ultrasound," we told them we didn't want to know and that was that. No one mentioned gender for the rest of the (much shorter than this, by the way) ultrasound. Our previous doctor even told us that he requested not to be told so he wouldn't accidentally spill the beans to us. Therefore, I am suddenly interested. Why does she need to know?

So, I ask. She looks appalled. "Well, the doctor needs to know." But this doesn't satisfy me (and plus, I think I just want to keep her talking), so I tell her about our previous doctor. Again, she looks appalled and sputters, "But what if something was wrong? How would the doctor know?" Alarm bells sound. Is something wrong? Does she know something already? Is she just nosy? What could it be? Am I am going to have to break with Christmas Morning and find out this gender anyway or risk some major problem for the rest of my angel's incubation? What? Who? How? AHHH!

Luckily, Awkward Dad's super-common-sense takes over and he calmly asks if there are any "gender disorders" that can be corrected in-utero. Well, no, she doesn't think so. OK, he says, if you need to look, go ahead, but, as we stated before, we don't want to know. Thank you and can we please continue? He shoots me a look that is a combination calm-down-don't-worry-I-think-she-might-be-new-and-or-crazy-the-baby-is-fine-but-Super-Baby-and Super-Toddler are-gonna-lose-it-if-this-doesn't-hurry-along. I silently agree and we all find a spot on the floor to look at.

That is, except Super Baby. Super Baby, who is now quiet for the first time in close to 45 minutes, is staring at the screen and at Super Fetus', ummmmm, well, stuff. Great. OK. Well, that might be something to worry about later. Like way later. Puberty later. For now, let's all get a good look (or not) and finish up here, eh?

No such luck. Turns out the technician wants to go look at the heart again. I am starting to think that Super Fetus is going to be born in this room.

Fear not, readers! The rest of the ultrasound only took another 20 minutes. Turns out the technician was new and eventually had to bring in a more experienced (and chatty) technician to find the rest of the measurements, which, by the way, were all fine and dandy. Including the "stuff" one that we still know nothing about. Well, everyone but Super Baby, that is....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. Sleeplessness

You know how we were battling Napkin-Face and his antics of distraction last week? Well, this week, we are contending with another villain with unprecedented powers of persuasion regarding non-blogging. See this fellow here:

Looks a lot like Super Baby, right? Well, I think it is actually his evil twin, Sleepless Baby! This super villain has not slept through the night in 6 days. And you all know what that means. Awkward Mom has not slept through the night in 6 days either.

Interestingly enough, Sleepless Baby and his demands have no effect what-so-ever on Awkward Dad. I think he has what is known in some circles as Dad Hearing, an incredibly strong superpower that filters the noises children make. I love you Daddy would get right in there. Daddy, I need a diaper would be filtered right out; as are most sounds made during the hours of midnight to 8am. Sadly, I was born with Mom Hearing, which enables one to interpret every baby cry into its subtext. Sleepless Baby likes to wake me with if-you-don't-come-rushing-in-here-right-now-you-are-a-bad-mother-and-I-will-never-attend-Harvard-or-have-any-of-my-dreams-come-true-oh-by-the-way-I-just-blew-out-my-diaper-and-I-would-like-a-snack-because-that-dinner-you-made-Mom-well-it-didn't-really-hit-the-spot-OK-thanks-good-talk.

Although, to be truthful, Sleepless Baby has had competition in the keeping-mommy-awake department in the form of Super Fetus; master of the bladder squeeze, the double charlie-horse, and the dreaded I-feel-like-dancing-the-cha-cha-up-against-mommy's-ribs-at-4-am. Needless to say, I am battle weary and lacking coherent (let alone half-way witty) blogisms. Check back later, I am researching baby Valium...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. Whatever this is

We keep meaning to return you to your regularly scheduled Baby Fetus Ultrasound story, but we are currently dealing with whatever this super villain is:

We are thinking of calling him Napkin-face. Although, to be honest, Napkin-Face is not really preventing the telling of the next tale. It is more likely it-is-hot-and-Super-Fetus-has-a-mind-of-his/her-own-regarding-my-sleeping-patterns-and-I-would-rather-lie-here-on-the-couch-with-Mickey-Mouse-Clubhouse-on-repeat-then-do-anything-else-I-mean-it-I-am-thinking-of-calling-Disney-up-to-see-if-they-will-sell-me-some-Handy-Helpers-to-feed-me. And that, my dear readers, is not a villain to be taken lightly. More soon.....we hope.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. other Moms

We regret that we must interrupt your regularly scheduled viewing of this blog with the following rant. This rant, which can not be helped at the current time, is in direct response to Awkward Mom's morning outing. We apologize, in advance, for the lack of Awkward Mom's usual jovial tone, and for the presence of much whining, self-pity, and complainy catty commentary. We will return you to your normal viewing of badly framed photos of the Super Boys and Awkward Mom's gleeful forays into awkward antics just as soon as we can. (It is probably just best to let her get it off her chest.) Please bear with us and thank you.

My open letter to the Moms of the World.
Dear Moms (specifically those in Ann Arbor at a certain park around 10 this morning):

After some not-so-careful deliberation and an entire box of chocolate, I have formed my thoughts into, what I feel is, a fairly concise yet thorough statement. These are just a few ideas and suggestions regarding your future interaction with peers that may not share your specific ideology, but for reasons of geography and sanity must utilize the same parks as you. Thank you.

1.) Even if I did not arrive at the park via the summons of the same Meet-Up email from your "co-op playgroup," you can still talk to me or my children. I do not think that our mediocrity is contagious, but if it is, I think longer exposure is necessary for full-blown effects.

2.) If you do brave it and talk to me, loud demands of "How old?" in the general vicinity of me and my child is going to result in the answer "33, and you?" It is not my fault if you don't get it.

3.) Regarding the previous point, before launching into full out child comparison with me, you may want to consider some warm up questions or statements, such as "Nice weather." or "He's cute, what's his name?" or "My name is Perfect Mom, what's yours?" They will avoid sass and allow the conversation to progress beyond blank stares or lame pretending to not speak English.

4.) While I am thrilled that your child knows all the planets in the solar system and how to count to 100, you might want to consider including some manners into your home-school curriculum. At your discretion, of course.

5.) No, my 18-month-old is not walking, but he is very skilled at getting where he needs to go. You do not need to scream at your child to "watch the BABY!" every time my child is within 14 feet of yours. This is not having the desired effect; your child proceeds to startle at your voice and steps on my son as a result.

6.) I can see my toddler and have spent the last 3 and 1/2 years carefully gauging how far away from him I can be and still sprint there in record time. Plus, he waves at me about every 5 minutes with a "Mommy, mommy, look at me!" Your repeated flailing of arms and shouts of "Whose Child is this? Missing Child!" are not particularly helpful. Especially the 3rd or 4th time.

7.) Yes, my son is interested in princesses. My son. If your daughter comes to the park dressed in a complete Belle outfit, with a crown and matching shoes, he is going to try to talk to her. I believe the complete interaction was "What a pretty dress!" I don't feel that this necessitated her screaming or the loud shouting that he was a "weirdo," while running to you for "protection." Nor do I feel that your giggles where particularly appropriate. Sheer maturity forces me to refrain from telling my son that your daughter is a "weirdo" for showing up at the park in a dress-up dress in the middle of July.

8.) While we are on the subject of daughters, I fully endorse and support your interest in raising spirited, assertive young women. That said, if any of your daughters repeatedly punch my son again, and your response consists of permissive (and rather proud) looks, I will be putting her in a time-out myself. Fair warning.

9.) Yes, my son was eating a Dum-Dum. I now understand that your daughter has never had sugar and perhaps can even see how she was "carried away" by the presence of said Dum-Dum. (Although, and sorry for the digression, but to be logical about it, how would she even know what it was, never having had sugar...) Anyway, I still do not think that the mere presence of the sucker warranted her grabbing it out of my son's mouth and shoving it into hers. I suppose I understand your lack of apology, given your stance on sugar, and, by the way, thank you for the unsolicited lecture on its evils, but I will continue to periodically offer my child candy when and if I feel like it.

10.) I also want to thank you all for your loud discussion of no-sugar, gluten-free, organic brownies, with spinach. If I am ever in the mood for such an abomination, I will totally look up the website you mentioned.

11.) While we are on the topic of volume-control, you might want to alter yours when discussing the formula-feeding mother on the bench across the park. I am pretty sure she can hear you, but if you are really concerned that she is not aware of La Leche and the benefits of breast milk, it is much more polite to address those thoughts to her and not to your friends within her hearing. If you are thinking of approaching her, I will tell you now, she has probably struggled with and weighed her decision carefully and is really not in need of any rude and thoughtless comments from people who don't know her and her situation. Ditto regarding the other members of the infant trifecta; sleeping and diapering.

12.) Yes, I am aware of organic granola bars. I will continue to buy the ones that are on sale. And yes, I also know that I can make my own. Thank you and yes, yours do look delicious.

I suppose I could continue, but frankly, I am out of chocolate and need to change the DVD I have playing for my children right now. I will close by saying this: I respect you all as moms. I think being a parent is the hardest job in the world. We are daily wrestling with numerous decisions that ultimately add up to getting our children to adulthood successfully, with the least injuries and therapy bills possible. We all make different decisions along the way (many many different decisions, if today is any indication), and I will continue to respect and defend your right to make those decisions any way you chose. I would ask that you please respect my right to make mine. Thank you and good luck.

Awkward Mom

PS....Motherhood does not necessitate that you completely lose your sense of humor or ability to discuss things that are not your children's milestones. Just saying.....

Sigh, well, it looks like she is done. We return you to your regular programming and promise to tell you about Super Fetus' ultrasound super soon!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. Trimester 2

Trimester 2; otherwise known as "can-hair-even-grow-there?"

So, here we are in Trimester 2. Right there, you can tell this is not the first baby of the Awkward Family. The first time; you know exactly how many minutes pregnant you are. People ask how far along you are and you rattle off the specific week. I know the specific week for about 2 minutes, once a week, when BabyCenter sends me my weekly guilt email. You know, the one where they tell you that gaining 5 pounds during the course of the whole pregnancy is perfectly sufficient or that you should be playing Brahms directly into your belly 4 times a day, while you eat kale. (The only one I listened to was the one when they told me not to worry but to continue the same exercise routine I had before I was pregnant....I'll just let you guess why that one appealed to me.)

But back to my forgetfulness. Yes, poor Super Fetus. I don't have any idea what week we are in right now. In fact, I am a little confused on the month too. (I'll be honest; months 4 and 5 always blend together for me.) However, I am very very sure we are in Trimester 2. I know this because I have reached glowing.

Although, it might be more truthful to tell you that I am glistening. Shining. Damp. Perhaps a bit moist (ummm....ew). OK. OK. Sweating like a stuck pig. It does not help that I have never reached glowing in the summer before (Super Toddler and Super Baby being winter babies); to experience glowing in July must be akin to walking on the surface of the sun. I do NOT even want to think about all of you who are in Trimester 3, but if you want to come over and lean into my freezer for awhile, I won't judge. I am pretty sure that is what glowing really means: completely and utterly unable to control one's internal temperature and filled with a burning desire to sit in front of a fan and eat ice cream pretty much every waking minute.

Not that sleeping minutes are much better. When I am not waking to visit the bathroom, I am having vivid, disturbing, and flat-out inappropriate dreams about all the Backyardigans. I can't really face them on Netflix in the light of day and have been pushing Super Why these days. I feel the need to knock on some wood right now because I don't know what tonight will bring and if Princess Pea spells anything too graphic in my dreams, I am gonna be stuck with uncomfortable morning after vibes. Super Toddler will not tolerate a break from his favorite spelling princess.

All in all, Super Fetus is showing him/herself to be a master of body manipulation. He/she tired of nausea-inducing around the end of Trimester 1 (I think he/she figured out that particular superpower had a nasty side-effect of reducing food intake), but we are going strong with spontaneous fatigue. Super Fetus apparently also has the ability to control gravity, sending me careening into walls and tripping over air at a moment's notice. But his/her particular favorite seems to be the ability to cause rapid and embarrassing hair growth. And just in time for pool weather. Super indeed, Super Fetus!

But let me tell you one benefit to Trimester 2, Super Readers. Uh, oh, that doesn't bode well for tonight's dreams....but that isn't what I wanted to tell you. What I wanted to tell you about was the Trimester 2 ultrasound. This is what my doctor refers to as the "fun" ultrasound. I believe it is so dubbed because the baby looks more babyish than at the first ultrasound but less like Modok, which, let's face it, is how babies can look during a Trimester 3 ultrasound. Go ahead, look him up in Wikipedia. I'll wait. Mean, but true, you gotta admit....

Anyway, the fun ultrasound! I also think it is so named because this is the ultrasound when you can find out if you are having a boy or a girl. But since we are strictly opening-Christmas-presents-on-Christmas-morning people, we are going to wait. No judgments of you like to open your gifts Christmas Eve, or even December 15th or 7th for that matter; I imagine that it must have been a truly magical moment to find out who you were waiting for in the sacred dark of that ultrasound room. For myself, after hearing the doctor shout "It's a boy!" in the ridiculously joyful chaos of Super Toddler's birth, I have become an addict to the surprise. The waiting and guessing are kinda fun too, which makes me think that maybe I will wait to tell you about Super Fetus' ultrasound. Come back and I promise to tell you about wands that were not really wands, how 2 toddlers deal with a hour long sit in the dark (staring at the most boring movie in creation) and just how much of a voyeur Super Baby really is. It'll be just like Christmas morning....ummm wait, that didn't come out right....

So, the battle with Trimester 2 continues to rage. That the battle seems to consist of Awkward Mom remembering that she is in Trimester 2 is certainly an unique problem, but far be it from us to judge. Stay tuned for Awkward Mom's awkward retelling of a decidedly awkward ultrasound. See ya soon!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. the Dance Class

Probably should have named this one Awkward Mom vs. half the Dance Class.....that would more accurately represent who won the battle.

So, Super Toddler has shown a burgeoning interest in dance for awhile. The child took his sweet time learning how to walk, but since then he has certainly branched out into skipping, twirling, and a bizarre concoction that is a little bit Charleston, a smidgen Jitterbug, and mostly we all fall down. Since most of his bedtime stories take place at a ball, I suppose his dance interest is no big surprise. His current dance idols are Elmo, the man who gets all wet (aka Gene Kelly), and the man who dances on the ceiling (aka Fred Astaire...although, I am sure Super Toddler would be enamored of Lionel Richie as well. Just haven't found that one on YouTube yet).

Well, being the Super Hero Mom that I am, I thoughtfully enrolled him in a dance class.

(Full disclosure requires us to point out that it was Marvelous Toddler's parents who enrolled her in said class and passed on the information to Awkward Mom.)

Anyway, back to my wonderfully thoughtful mothering: I enroll him in a dance class. A class that is aimed at 3-4 year olds to "teach fun and creative dance in a playful, musical setting." Yes, please memorize that, it comes back up. Especially the playful and musical parts.

So, being the good mother that I am, I talk up the class for several days, getting him terribly excited about being able to dance on a "real dance floor," with other "dancers." I, sadly, have to kill his dreams about tutus and tap shoes, but he is still pretty happy about the prospect of this dance class, as we head out to the studio. Plenty early, just to make sure we find it. My ongoing war with getting lost is forever raging....

2 wrong turns later, I pull into the parking lot of the dance studio, 15 minutes early! Sometimes (rarely, but still) my super-time-skills fire on all cylinders. We make our bumbling way in and meet the teacher. Her complete lack of ability in talking to children should be setting off some alarms, but there is fun music playing and I really really want this for Super Toddler. While Super Baby takes off across the huge dance floor and Super Toddler asks the teacher the whereabouts of Elmo, I scan the room and the walls full of photos of past dancers. There is not one male dancer to be seen. I feel the soft alarm bells start to ring, but I am forced to ignore them in my mad dash to rescue the stereo system from Super Baby's curious fingers.

Thankfully, the class starts about then. I stash Super Baby next to some legos, but my thankfulness starts to wane almost immediately. The class seems to consist of 2 other students (Marvelous Toddler has not yet arrived); both Amazonian girls. I am still not convinced either one was really 3, despite what their parents said. One is asleep, her parents having brought her straight from her nap, and the other one is ...hmmm...how to put this politely? Well, basically, she is Perfect Toddler, from her hair bow to her gleaming patent leather shoes. Let's just say her attitude matches her shoes and hair bow. The music is shut off and the children are told to form a circle on the floor of the seating area, just within sight of the shiny dance floor. Super Toddler's disappointment is palpable. Perfect Toddler perches primly next to the teacher. Sleepy Toddler is propped up on a bench by her parents, and Super Toddler decides to roll into the circle like a log from the doorway. This provokes the first (of many) "Now, Super Toddler, please sit down" from the teacher.

Each child is asked to say and spell their name. (Still not entirely sure what spelling has to with dance, but I am game at this point.) Perfect Toddler spells hers perfectly, big surprise. Sleepy Toddler just stares at the teacher, but her eyes are open, so I suppose that is a start. Her name is spelled for her, via her parents. Super Toddler spells his; with a wink and an extra X, just for kicks. He is corrected by the teacher for his troubles. He is also told that he needs to sit in a crossed legged position, like Perfect Toddler. He starts looking back at me with some worry.

The teacher begins with rules of the dance studio. This is a very long list that I (and I imagine the normal 3-year-olds in the room) immediately forget. The big one appears to be no running, as, and this is a direct quote, "you could fall into the mirrors and they could break and kill you." OK. Can't exactly argue that one, but still......

OK, so, time for dance? No. It appears that we need to stretch. OK. Well, I suppose that makes sense. There are 3 to 4 different stretches. Super Toddler doesn't know any of them and tries for awhile. However, pretty soon, this decidedly "non-dance" activity and the tantalizing presence of the dance floor start to get to him, and he is interspersing his attempts at stretches with attempts at escape. The next 10 minutes sounds like this: "Good job, Perfect Toddler. Super Toddler, sit down, please. Let's do our butterflies! Can you do a butterfly, Super Toddler? Sit down, Super Toddler. Look at Perfect Toddler, do what she is doing. Want to join us, Sleepy Toddler? Sit down please, Super Toddler. Let's make a bridge with our legs. A bridge, Super Toddler. Come on, you can do it. Sit down, please! Excellent work, Perfect Toddler. Like Perfect Toddler, Super Toddler. Just like her. Sit down please!" Super Toddler rolls over to me and whispers, "when do we dance?" I urge him to return to the circle, as the teacher turns to the assembled parents and says "there is always one, in every class."

Alarm bells? Pealing full force.

The teacher moves the class to the middle of the dance floor, so I attempt to breathe and give this a chance. I am hoping for music. None is forthcoming. The teacher tells the children (Sleepy Toddler has followed them out there) to sit in a circle for more stretches. I am distracted in an attempt to keep Super Baby off the dance floor, but I can feel Super Toddler roll his eyes. He tries one more butterfly (I think he just likes the name) before giving up entirely and turning away to make faces in the mirrored wall. The teacher is giving a speech about listening and following the leader when Marvelous Toddler shows up. Super Toddler is thrilled. He bounds over to embrace her, completely ignoring the teacher's lecture on running and disrupting the class. Perfect Toddler is asked to demonstrate the appropriate stretches for Marvelous Toddler and it appears that stretch time is going to be repeated. Super Toddler is not having it. He tells the teacher he is tired of stretches and wants to dance, please. I have a brief moment of gratitude for the please, before melting into the floor. The teacher instructs Super Toddler to go sit with his mother, while turning and stage whispering to the Perfect Parents that boys can be so interested in their own way sometimes.

Super Toddler reluctantly comes and sits by me. He asks where the music is and if there is going to be ceiling dancing or not. I ask him if he wants to leave. He says no, but he would like some music. I fight the urge to agree with him and ask him to follow the teacher if he wants to stay. He nods and returns to the circle where is appears they are at last allowed to stand. There is some activity involving teddy bears, but I miss it entirely as Super Baby has discovered the bathroom and is merrily playing the toilet. This extraction takes some time, so I miss Super Toddler's big rebellion. I can hear it however, and it sounds like this: "something, something, teddy bear, Super Toddler, please stop twirling, stop it, stop it, crash, bang."

I turn to see the teacher restraining my oldest child; his legs flailing and her nostrils flaring. I put Super Baby down and head across the dance floor. I ask if he should sit out, and she tells me that he needs to leave. She hands Super Toddler to me, while I stare at her. She tells me that he is clearly not ready and there is nothing wrong with that (although all her body language is telling me that there is) and that he is just too interested in his own way to fully engage in the class. We won't want to ruin it for everyone else, now, would we? I numbly nod at her. He is welcome when he can learn to interact properly and thank you for coming. I pick up Super Baby (howling since his interrupted playdate with the bathroom) and I walk Super Toddler past the wall of shame the other parents have erected. Super Toddler starts frantically looking back at Marvelous Toddler and pulling on my hand.

"Why are we leaving, Mommy? Class isn't over."

"Well, sweetie, we have to go. It is time for us to go."

"Why, Mommy? Why?"

"It just is, Sugar."

His lower lip trembles and the tears start flying. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I just want to dance!"

"I know, baby, but we need to go now." The lameness of my answers are ricocheting all over the beautiful acoustics of the room, and I glance back in just time to see Perfect Toddler's parting smirk. 3-years-old, my foot.

It is one of the longest and most exhausting car loadings in recent memory. I am so grateful once we are finally safe in our car that I pull out of the parking lot like something out of the Fast and the Furious. I want to put distance between me and the scene of the crime before I let the tears fall. And fall they do, as soon as I pull over onto a shady tree-lined side street to let the self-pity completely take over. I am pondering my complete and absolute failure as a mother when a little voice in the backseat beckons me.

I look into the rear view mirror to see my rebel child smiling at me like a beautiful rainbow. "Mommy, don't worry. It's OK. Don't worry. Please don't cry, I love you. I had a good time, Mommy. Don't cry. I love you." 3-years-old, my foot.

So, immediately after this one, Awkward Mom took the Super Boys to Toy R Us and bought them anything they wanted. BabyCenter can kiss it.