Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. Moving

Readers, the Awkward Family is on the move! And we are taking the awkward with us!

OK, so, here is what happened. We asked the apartment complex we live in if there was any way we could move into a three-bedroom apartment. We have been wanting more space for awhile, especially Awkward Dad, who is craving his very own Fortress of Solitude. (One a little larger than his current one: a corner of the dining room.) They smiled at us, wrote our name down, and we figured we might hear from them in the early summer (when our lease is up) with a polite oh-sorry-we-just-couldn't-find-anything-but-you-can-stay-in-your-current-apartment-with-a-nominal-rent-increase.

Turns out we were wrong about the efficiency and compassion of our apartment complex; no villains here. They called us the other day and told us that they have a three-bedroom that will come available in early April and do we want it? Well, yes, we want it. Do we really want to move all of our stuff in 8 days? With 2 kids. With 2 cats. With 2 stressed out adults. No, not really, but what's a space-challenged superhero family to do? Bite the bullet and pull out the boxes. All 2 of them. Yes, that is right, readers. I currently have 2 boxes with which to move and those are currently serving as "boats" for the Super Boys.

This doesn't even get into the big issue. Awkward Dad's vacation starts this Saturday. We are driving to Chicago. We will be back on Wednesday. Anybody doing to math out there? That puts up back home the day before we move. 1 day before. Anybody wanna loan me some spare sanity? And about 105 boxes? Thanks!

Fear not, fair readers! The Awkward Family have faced worst villains. OK. Well, that isn't entirely true. Maybe you better fear, fair readers. Hope to see you next time (from our new apartment) here at the Adventures of Awkward Mom!

Hey, we weren't kidding about the boxes? A little help here! Please!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. Naps

I suppose it should come as no surprise that the Awkward Family naps awkwardly...

So, it is 3:30pm, and I am trying to get the Super Boys to nap. I understand that most of your children are waking up from naps about now and that 3:30 is terribly late for a normal nap. I guess, we aren't exactly big on normal around here. The thing is we used to be. Normal that is. Well, semi-normal. Well, OK, not really, but their naps were earlier in the day once. This was when we lived in Illinois. For some reason, our move to Ann Arbor last summer altered sleep patterns for the Super Boys, and we have yet to recover. I think this is a two-fold issue; a Villain Duo, if you will.

You see, the Awkward Family has always lived in the Central Time Zone, but now we live in the Eastern Time Zone. No biggie, right? 1 little hour shouldn't be an issue for superheros like us, right? Well....turns out Eastern Time Zone (or the evil Dr. East Zone, as I like to call him) is a biggie and an issue. We still seem to operate on Central Time internally, regardless of what clocks, alarms, and 11:00pm news tell us. Can't shake it, folks.

Turns out evil Dr. Zone has a colleague in evilness, time confusion, and nap prevention. The nefarious West-Facing Windows! Our apartment faces west. Not southwest, northwest, north by northwest, or sorta west. Our windows (all our windows) face due west. West. We get absolutely no sun in the morning. We get all the sun in the afternoon. About sunset, I start to think the living room is on fire. Even the Super Cats won't lounge in the sun beams around here; they are that intense. Baron von West Windows is quite the sleep nemesis. Pair him with Dr. East Zone, and they are an unstoppable force of insomniac powers.

Anywho, all of this mischief caused by East and West (see what I did there? Word-play superpowers? Check!) has the effect of extremely late hours for the Super Boys. They wake around 8am (I can feel the envy laser beams from here!), but they nap (if they nap) around 3, to wake around 5-6, and then they see no reason why they can't go to bed at 10pm. Which isn't to say that it hasn't been later...on occasion...sometimes...ok, just don't call DCFS, please.

This doesn't even get into the fact the Super Baby enjoys a late night snack around 1am, which I suppose really makes it a early morning snack. But I think that has more to do with Super Baby's vampiric tendencies. Really, I mean it. Check him out: pale, voracious apatite, tendency to bite while snuggling into necks. Seriously, I am gonna try to get him on True Blood.

So, anyway, for a little less than a year, I have dealt with 3:30pm naps. And lately, they have been fighting them all together! Seems the Super Boys have decided that they don't need naps. At all. Do you have any idea how this affects playdates? Meal times? My ability to go to the bathroom in peace? It is madness. So, here is what I do: I lock them in their room. OK, now, judge if you need too, I am fine with that. I mean, get it on out, it's cool. Here's how I see it: There is nothing in there that can hurt them and I certainly listen for the "oh-no-I-have-really-hurt-myself-and-I-am-not-just-screaming-to-annoy-you-because-you-locked-me-in-here cry." I always unlock and open the door once they are sleeping. Well, look, we all know that I am not winning mother of year away. It works. Or, well, most of the time.

Sometimes naps happen, but usually, once the screaming stops and I start to wonder if the Baba Yaga came in the window and stole them or they found a magic portal to another world in the back of the closet, I peek in there. I typically find Super Baby asleep (vampires do like to sleep during the day, you know), and Super Toddler doing this:

In case you are curious, his bed currently contains 16 stuffed animals, the book he is "reading,"3 wands, and 2 pillows. Plus, a blanket covering 9 more books, 2 princess action figures, a comb, 5 flash cards, a broken crown, and the DVD case for Bambi.

Today is such a day. Sigh. Whatever, at least he is quiet and I got to pee in peace.

So, at dinner, Super Toddler was so tired that he fell asleep in his chicken nuggets. His face right in his ketchup and peas. It was vile and sad and pretty messy. It's OK though; Super Baby still ate them. See you next time on the Adventures of Awkward Mom!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Super Toddler Bedtime Story #5

Super Toddler's take on a classic. He is bolded this time; it is only fitting.

Once upon a time...

there was a princess.

Why am I not surprised? Yes, there was a princess.

A beautiful princess!

Yes, a beautiful princess. And...

she had sisters!

Oh really? How many sisters did this beautiful princess have?


12; oh my. And what happened?

The king locked them up!

He did?


Well, what happened?

They snuck out!

They did?

Yes, they snuck out and went to the woods and danced with the ghosts and got holes in their shoes.

Oh, wow. That is pretty exciting.

Yes. They snuck back in, but the king found the shoes.

The holey shoes?

Yes. But he was silly. So, they went again. And danced with ghosts every night.

What about the prince? Did he figure it out?

Nope. Ghosts!

Oh, OK. So, they just danced with ghosts all the time? In their holey shoes?

No, new shoes.

Oh, where did they get new shoes?

Fairy Godmother!

Oh, duh. Should have figured that one.

Yes, Mommy. Fairy Godmother! And ghosts. And fireflies!

I was wondering where those fireflies were...

In the forest!

Of course. Good night, baby.

Good night, Mommy.

Hey, you aren't gonna sneak out of here and go dancing with the ghosts are you?

He didn't answer me; instead I got a tiny little knowing smile...

Seeking ghost-loving, firefly-frolicking, father-defying princesses with holey shoes.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. Spring

Spring is here, readers! Spring is here! Spring is here! Spring is here!

So, if you haven't heard, Spring is here! This is absolutely thrilling news to the Awkward family, who have been doing serious battle with Stir-Crazy and his minion, Cabin-Fever. But now, they have retreated and we are ready to go play with Spring! (and the mud. and melting snow piles. and wind....but we'll get to that in a minute.) Right now, I am looking for jackets. Jackets, readers! Not coats. Not mittens. Jackets!

Turns out that Super Baby doesn't have a jacket. (Ever notice that grandparents and other well-meaning gift-givers always give tundra-worthy, fleece-lined snowsuits that never really fit in the car seat? No? Oh, must just be my family.) Anywho, I will not be deterred by the absence of baby jackets. An old sweater of Super Toddler's works just fine as far as I am concerned. We parade out into the warm 65 degrees that hasn't been felt in nearly 5 months. I actually roll the window down, and we jet off to the park. (I roll it up again about 5 minutes in when Super Toddler complains the wind "stings and burns," but let's not dwell.)

We head out to visit to our friend and ally, Park, and boy have we missed you, Park! Here is a pictorial of our reunion with Park. Pictures say a thousand words, right? Especially when I am way too tired to write after dealing with the wind, mud, and the seemingly undeniable urges of Super Toddler to run away from me towards traffic and/or strange dogs.

Super Toddler and Super Baby have distinctive slide styles. Super Toddler prefers to go down (normally at a speed that breaks the sound barrier). Super Baby likes to go up, but more often than not, he likes to lounge at the bottom.

Wanna see what Super Toddler is scowling at?

Super brothers are always crawling away when you want to play with them!

This visit to Park, Super Toddler decides to make sure that Awkward Mom's heart rate and reaction time are up to code, attempting this structure:




What do you mean "you forgot sunscreen?"
Well, just create a shadow over me then, I am sure that will work just fine, Mom.

Wind really really likes Super Baby's hair. Super Baby's hair thinks Wind is nice but a little aggressive. Definitely not a BBF.


Needless to say, our reunion with Park was all we could have wished! The fact that Awkward Mom got so much confidence from the encounter that she attempted the Botanical Gardens directly after with no naps and minimal snacks went as you might expect and does not bear dwelling on. Nor does the fact that Spring seems to have disappeared again into a fickle fog of freezing rain. See you next time on the Adventures of Awkward Mom!

Oh, and by the way, Spring is here!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Awkward Mom vs Many Villains

We here in the Awkward Family are fighting a barrage of evil villains. Awkward Dad is dealing with Over-Worked and sidekick, Tired. The Super Boys are dealing with Super Villain Cold, never a slouch in the evil doer department. Awkward Mom is battling Writer's Block, the dreaded holy-cats-is-it-ever-going-to-be-spring-again, and I-have-watched-so-many-Blue's-Clues-that-I-am-having-inappropriate-dreams-about-Steve. When we return victorious (as we will!), we'll tell you tales of playdates, princesses, and perfect purple parties. Back soon!

Super Baby was able to quickly defeat those wicked peas!

I don't know about Super Toddler though...looks like the ribbons are winning.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. the Doctor Visit (part 2)

OK, where were we? Ah, yes, we were pre-0%-height-Awkward-Mom-freak-out-complete-with-an-extra-helping-of-mom-guilt-and-self-indulgent-moaning. I mean, heaven knows Super Toddler's 3 year well check visit shouldn't be about him but about Awkward Mom and her barely concealed feelings of inadequacy. Everyone knows that every action and reaction of a mom's child reflects on her and earns her mom status and secret mom points redeemable for June Cleaver pearl necklaces and awesome floral aprons. (You didn't know that? Well, a conspiracy lead by What to Expect When You are Expecting keeps it pretty hidden.) Everyone knows that this whole parenting thing is really about the parents, duh....

So, the doctor has just told me that Super Toddler is in the 0% for height. I am staring at him, while trying to keep all my swirling feelings of inadequacy inside (at least until I can get home and blog about them...) but he must see them peeking out of my eyes. He smiles reassuringly, looking ridiculously similar to that awesome doctor from Field of Dreams who is always buying his wife hats, and says "hear that?" I continue to stare at him, half freaking out about the height thing and half trying to remember who played that doctor; "I'm sorry, hear what?" This time he actually laughs, "Your son." I turn towards Super Toddler and momentarily block out my relentlessly messy monologue of mom mistakes. Super Toddler is excitedly telling the doctor a story about a princess who heals the bunnies in the forest with magical bandaids and a poofing stethoscope. "Your son is just fine, in fact, I would hazard a guess that he is a tad advanced in some areas. Don't worry about his height. In fact, I would recommend less worry in general."

The rest of the examination goes well. The doctor listens to my frantic tale about how Super Toddler doesn't eat very much. He nods sagely and says "is it like that every day?" I am forced to say "Well, no, somedays are better." He laughs, "I wish I didn't eat the same amount everyday, then I might be able to lose some of this." He grabs and shakes his belly, a la Santa Claus, and both Super Boys shriek with laughter. I must admit I am smiling a little too. He tells me to continue to make healthy, balanced meals and let Super Toddler do the rest. (Now, I guess I have to make healthy, balanced meals...) He also tells me that I can give Super Toddler vitamins, saying, "They can't hurt him and I have a feeling they might make you feel a bit better too." With that and a wink, he leaves. I am starting to think that he actually is Burt Lancaster. (ps..thank you, imdb!)

So, we are hanging out in the exam room because we have been told to wait for both a shot and an eye test. Super Toddler, distraught by the doctor's departure, is hardcore rebelling against his robe. He has it up over his head and is swaying dangerously close to the edge of the exam table, while shouting that he wants his pants RIGHT NOW. Super Baby seems safe enough on his chair, merrily drooling and chewing on a tongue depressor, so I shift over to Super Toddler and tug his robe down. He immediately pulls it back up, so I pull it down. This little game keeps him distracted until the eye test technician arrives.

So, Super Toddler is shown a series of drawings. He rattles off the names easily enough, only getting stuck at the Panda Bear, which he seems to think better resembles a mouse, specifically one from Cinderella. The next part of the test involves the technician backing into the hallway and Super Toddler's eyes being covered one at a time with a little pink stick that is immediately dubbed a wand by Super Toddler. I am recruited into holding the "wand" over Super Toddler's eyes but Super Toddler wants to do some poofing and is not interested in the pictures that he already saw and named. I am trying to wrestle the wand out of his hands and over his left eye. The eye test guy is cheerfully holding out a picture of a house. And Super Baby is flying out of his chair and onto his head. This, of course, happens in super slow motion so my tortured mind can memorize it and play it back on repeat on nights when I can't sleep. Super Baby immediately starts screaming, so Super Toddler decides to join him. I gather up Super Baby and assess the damage. A rather red spot, but so far no bleeding or swelling. And hey, we are in a doctor's office if anything goes wrong, right? I cuddle him and Super Toddler poofs him, while the eye test technician (who, incidentally, looks about 15) stares at us in horror. I really don't think we are getting out of here without a psych consult....

We rush through the rest of Super Toddler's eye test and he seems to have prefect vision. Wonder how long that is gonna last with 2 parents and 4 grandparents with some serious glasses. Oh well, no need to worry about it now. Now, we have to prepare for a shot. Joy. I am hoping Super Toddler heard the nurse when he said if the shot goes well, he can have a sucker. I should not have worried. I am safely ensconcing Super Baby on the floor, when I notice the distinct absence of any conversation regarding princesses. I spin around to spy an open door and a shed robe (he is right, it is rather ugly) puddled in the doorway. My inner Sherlock tells me that something is afoot. Leaving Super Baby to whatever chewing delights he can find, I go dashing out into the hallway. I don't have to go very far before I find the crowd of bemused nurses. Super Toddler seems to have found the holy grail of toddler treats; an entire rack of stickers, row after row of rolled promise, enormous coils of shiny Nemos and colorful Doras. This mecca of childhood hangs just within his reach, so he is standing there in awe; naked (except for a blue and green polka dot Target diaper) both in body and desire. I have arrived in time to see his slightly shaking left hand reach up to reverently stroke Buzz Lightyear on the cheek, while his right one heads straight for Mickey Mouse's ears. He glances up at his audience and smiles, flashing his dimple, with charm pouring out of his very pores. They can't give him stickers fast enough and we return to this exam room, and the ugly robe, laden with 2 Buzz Lightyears, 2 Mickeys, a Dora, 3 Nemos, and, of course, a Princess Tiana.

The shot goes off without a hitch. Has Super Toddler stumbled onto something? Demand your treat upfront and you'll be so distracted, you won't notice the shot. I think the doctor is right, Super Toddler is advanced. And speaking of stumbling, you are not going to believe this (OK, you probably will believe it); I totally trip leaving the doctor's office. Totally trip and crash right into the door on my way out. Super Baby is asleep and doesn't seem to notice the jostling. Super Toddler gazes up at me, hands me a Nemo, and says "it's OK, Mommy. Don't worry." 0%, my foot.

Well, we don't call her Awkward Mom for her grace, poise, or delicacy. Super Baby, we maybe should have named Sleepy Baby, but Super Toddler, well, he is more than aptly named. Thanks for stopping by; all of our readers are 100%!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Awkward Mom vs.the Doctor Visit (part I)

Did you guys know that a child can score 0% on the Growth Chart? Yeah, neither did we....

So, Super Toddler is officially 3 years old. This means many things: we really ought to think about pre-school, potty training, developing healthy self-esteem, table manners, just plain old manners, that languishing college fund, maybe finally establishing a decent bedtime. Oh, the list goes on and on; I suppose we'll get to it one of these days...months...years. However, one thing that won't wait is the 3 year old well check visit. That is scheduled for today and I am not paying the $25 no show fee to get out of it, tempting as that may be...

So, we arrive at the doctor's office in our typical suave fashion; I may or may not have tripped in my attempt to open the door with my free hip. Super Baby was firmly planted on my other one when we left the car, but through a series of Super-Toddler-initiated delays, Super Baby has begun a southward journey that I am trying to remedy by shifting weight. The laden backpack I am carrying doesn't quite cooperate with that move and I do a sorta shuffle-step/lunge through the waiting room door; scaring several children and the receptionist. The parents are too engrossed in old issues of People and Sporting Life to bother with me. On second thought, there is no may not here, I fall into the doctor's office.

So, we check in and it turns out that I have to re-fill-in all the paperwork, as Super Toddler has never "officially" been seen here. The fact that he has been seen unofficially every time Super Baby has an appointment or the fact that he has been to the ER twice since our move do not seem to move the receptionist in the slightest, as she slides the clip-board to me. Nor does the fact that all the information is the same of Super Baby's and on file already. Nope, no getting out of it. So, I am gathering up shed coats, cooing over the fish tank for Super Toddler, preventing Super Baby's escape through the door that seemingly opens every 5 seconds, and trying to remember Awkward Dad's social security number and pick an emergency contact all at the same time. Goodness, I am just a font of grace today.

So, they call Super Toddler's name (his secret identity that is). Seems there are 3 in the room; it is like the Spiderman clones or something. There is much confusion until the nurse is forced to throw HIPPA to the winds and shout Super Toddler's full name across the waiting area. Super Toddler goes dashing into this woman's arms, while shouting at me to "come on Mommy." I do come on, with Super Baby, 3 coats, 4 gloves, 2 hats, 1 back-pack that loses it's sippy cup and 3 diapers halfway across the waiting room, keys, the aforementioned clipboard (half filled out), and my complete and utter exhaustion.

We stop short of any examination room, as Super Toddler is now old enough to be measured and weighed on the big scales in the hallway. I put down Super Baby, only to watch him escape into some poor unexpecting teenager's exam room. Oh well. Super Toddler is weighed at 30 pounds and is measured at 33.8 inches. This seems fine to me, but you best mark it because, yes, it comes back up.

We finally find Super Baby and an empty exam room. Super Toddler's arm is given a "hug" via the nurse's blood pressure cuff, while I try to keep Super Baby from eating a tongue depressor that he has found on the floor. Super Toddler is asked to put on a robe, which he is loathe to do, until I tell him that it is a dress. Then, he can't undress fast enough. The nurse leaves (most likely to order a psych consult) and I try to remember our previous doctor's phone and fax numbers.

By the time the doctor arrives, Super Baby has eaten all the snacks I packed for him and Super Toddler is rebelling against his "dress," as it "isn't very pretty." The doctor does his pediatrician stuff; making duck sounds come out of Super Toddler's ears, playing his tummy like a drum, and forging general good will that will be destroyed when the shots come out. While Super Toddler is enraptured by the doctor's light"wands" and Super Baby is eating yet another tongue depressor (just how many are down there anyway?), the doctor casually looks over Super Toddler's head and tells me that my first born is in the 31% for weight and 0% for height. I stare at him. He repeats it; 0%.

OK. Umm..ok.

Just a little rant here (a tiny one, I promise): Have you ever been in a conversation with a parent where they tell you their child is in the 95th percentile for weight/height/head size? Have you? Ever been on the receiving end of that one? When the mom (because, let's be honest, it's always a mom) tells you this news like she just aced on a test, all glowing and fake modest. I have been the recipient of many such a conversation. I can only imagine that it is rather fun to gush about this feat to friends, family, and total strangers. It must be impossible to keep such massive news to yourself. It must burn inside you until you have to share it. Of course, there is some pretense of shyness about it, we have all been told not to brag, but yet, the desire to keep such a monumental achievement of your child's (and well, naturally, yourself) must just prove too much for a mere mortal to keep inside. It must because it seems to happen all the time. All. The. Time. (rant alert!)

I wouldn't know. I have never been the one to tell this news because the Super Boys always hover between 25%-50%. Yes, yes, I know they more than make up for it in personality, charm, and general sweetness, but the Awkward Family makes 'em small. I am just being honest here. Do you have any idea what it is like to tell someone who just got the equivalent of an "A" that you squeaked by with a "D"? (OK, screw it, this one is not gonna be short.) I can tell myself that it doesn't matter, that he is proportional, that 50% is average, that there are growth hormones floating around out there, that huge children skew the results, that my child is a lovely, beautiful, healthy human being who will one day change the world in untold ways. Yep, all that. Doesn't matter. Doesn't matter a fig when you are facing Perfect Mom at twenty paces and she is armed with 95% and you have 25%. And now you are telling me that what I really have is 0. 0. The absence of a number. Zero. 0% This doctor just handed me the equivalent of a mathematical black hole, an eaten pie, a void, the utter nightmare of failing motherhood. My child has an "F" in height, readers. I just failed motherhood. (Rant over, cue the tears.)

OK, clearly, Awkward Mom needs a moment, readers. Head on back here later this week for the conclusion of Awkward Mom vs. the Doctor Visit; there are eye tests, falling babies, and streaking for stickers. Please come back; no shots, plenty of suckers!