Sunday, May 27, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Excuses

She is gonna lay it on thick....just so you know.

Sigh. There are so many reasons why this blog post is a week late and why it will be comprised primarily of pictures. Many many reasons. Reasons and villains that I am just too tired to fight, let alone type about. Long nights, crazy children, and the sluggishness that descends on me whenever the temperature hits over 80 degrees. (I think hot weather is my kryptonite....well, hot weather and housework and maybe writing blog posts at 10pm when I would rather be eating chocolate and watching French comedies on Netflix.)

It isn't that I don't have things to say. I have loads of things to say. Not very interesting things, but things! Things like how Super Baby has reached that beautiful 6 month phase where she is sturdy enough to set on my hip and I no longer have nightmares about her gigantic head snapping her fragile little neck as she lolls it around, trying to watch her brothers romp. Brothers, who are in an adorable "super team-up" phase. Oh sure, they have spats, but spats that are resolved at the end of that comic book issue, not spats that produce spin-off issues or cataclysmic comic universe changes. Things like how the pool opens Tuesday and that I had to buy Super Baby a swimsuit and that there were more bikini options than a spring break on Key West. Many, many things. But the summer is long, I'll get to them. For right now, I am heading off to eat some candy and watch a movie about impossibly chic and skinny French people. Let's enjoy these photos I took of Super Baby after she rolled across the living room into the vacuum wire. Let's all note that I took the pictures of her before I removed her from the vacuum wire. Let's all not call DCFS. Enjoy:

Why yes, I was thinking of putting this in my mouth. Is that a problem?

Silly Mommy! How could something so delicious-looking be dangerous?

What a fun summer we are gonna have, now that I am on the move!

Yeah....I don't get her either. But I am sure she'll run out of candy at some point and actually blog about something. Summer is always a cornucopia of awkward moments; even the most uninspired of us (cough Awkward Mom cough)should be able to come up with a tale or two. Maybe if we are really lucky, she'll get her act together and explain this photo:

Horse-awkward is always worth the wait!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Awkward Mom and Timers

Just when you thought she couldn't get any more awkward....

OK. OK. I may have been playing the latest Her Interactive Nancy Drew game for the past 3 days straight. Readers, I am sooooooo close to finding the tomb! Yes, this is the 26th game they have put out, and yes, I have played all of them. And double yes, they are aimed at 10 year old girls. But Readers, ask me anything about Egyptology; I am like Wikipedia over here!

Now, don't you fear. I have dealt with these obsessive gamer days before and I have learned from experience. I have changed clothes since Saturday. My children are eating, and no, it isn't grapes and cheese sticks. I have made dinner every night! Well, technically Awkward Dad made dinner over the weekend, but people ate. It counts. I didn't blow off Super Preschooler's school today even though he asked if we could stay home and "help Nancy." I was tempted though, because that is ridiculously cute. All is functioning over here. Wanna know why? Mom secret, lazy housekeeper secret, procrastinator secret....the timer!

The timer: it's not just for time-outs anymore! I use the timer to reduce everything I have to do into tiny manageable 10 minutes sections. So much better than "Ugh, i have to clean the bathroom." Now, it is: "OK! Let's see how much of the bathroom I can clean in 10 minutes! And when I am done, let's see how much of this chocolate I can eat in 10 minutes!" Quite a lot, it seems....of the chocolate. The bathroom took a couple rounds.

I am timing my game play, so I don't get all wrapped up in pretending to be Nancy (how wonderful would that be, eh? My desire to be Nancy Drew will have to be another post altogether) and forget to change diapers, leave the house or, you know, bathe. Plus, it makes the game last longer. Readers, the timer is a miracle! Go get yourself one right now.

Looks like her "let's see if I can write a blog post in 10 minutes" is doable. Not particularly inspired, and definitely not edited, but hey, doable. By the way, we are pretty sure Awkward Mom knows that true gaming involves Diablo 3 and a case of Red Bull....pretty sure....Anyway, we'll be back to documenting truly awkward parenting just as soon as we decode this papyrus....check back later!

Baby mystery here, just perfection.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Sleep doctors

You know what, I wash my hands of her. I do believe she is avoiding that to do list!

I'll make this quick, I promise; it isn't like the Help is gonna read itself. But I was reading Crunchy Mom's latest post about sleep techniques, which is super fun by the way (go read it, I'll wait), and it got me thinking: why should Time Magazine have all the fun? I mean, I like to stir the pot too, Time Magazine! Quit hogging all the pot stirrers!

So, let's get controversial! Who's with Dr. Sears? Who's with Dr. Ferber? I will tell you true; I am with whatever hot TV doctor wants to come on over here, get these kids to sleep, and give me a foot rub, but I am pretty mainstream that way. Of course, in most realms of my life, I am forever waiting for someone hot from TV to show up; hasn't happened yet, but that doesn't mean it is not going to!

Here's me being serious for a quick sec: Ladies (because, come on, you all know that men do NOT stress about this mess), relax.

Oh, wait. You want me to explain that? Readers, come on! I got dinner to make and 150 pages to read by Friday and I think someone in here needs a diaper....OK, that diaper has waited this long.

Are your children fed? Good; you are doing fine. If it wasn't organic, was organic, you made it, you grew it, someone else made it, someone else bought it, breast-milk, formula, soy milk, it was green, blue, purple, you cut a moldy part off, you bought it at Whole Foods or Aldi; they are fed. You are a good mom.

Are they wearing clothes? Good. If they are handmade, store bought, disposable diapers, cloth diapers, ugly, 3 sizes too big, dress up clothes, stained, old, still have a tag on that you forgot to cut off, covered in paint/mud/grass-stains, branded with something, or from Walmart; they are clothed. You are a good mom.

If they aren't wearing any clothes, is it because they took them off voluntarily, like to be naked, got away from you while you were starting a bath, got away from you after a bath, or are potty training? Whatever the reason; you are a good mom, you just have a streaker on your hands.

Are they playing with something? Good. If it is an expensive toy that shouts at them, a computer, a wooden block, a book, your sock, you, some puzzles, trucks, cars, the cat, your phone, your keys, some fancy device that promises to make your child a genius, or a paper box; they are learning. You are a good mom.

Do they sleep? Good. In their bed, crib, bassinet, your bed, with you, a chair, the floor, under the bed, on top of the desk, in front of the fridge, sitting up, laying down, on their back, on their front, under the covers, on the covers, wearing pjs, wearing the clothes they played in, naked, with a doll, with 18 stuffed animals, with a pillow, without a pillow, with a truck they like, with the cat, with the dog, on the roof; they are sleeping. You are a good mom. (Roof-sleeping is reserved for those with an advanced degree in sleeping or for those planning to join the circus.)

If you got them to sleep by singing, with hypnoses, by nursing, holding them, letting them scream, noise machines, CDs, mobiles, talking to their brother or sister, cuddling a stuffed animal, cuddling a truck, reading to them, rocking them, giving up and letting your partner deal with it, giving up and letting your mother deal with it; they are sleeping. You are a good mom.

Do you love them? Good. You are a good mom.


OK, that diaper has reached a critical stage, must dash. But when I get back, I want some controversial comments!! Come on, ya'll have opinions that are more interesting than mine, I wanna hear 'em!

PS...Congrats to Crunchy Mom for getting some sleep!

Awkward Mom vs. The Shedd Aquarium

We are gonna be honest with you guys; Awkward Mom is dragging over here. She needs a vacation from her recent vacation. (It might be better to call it a in, "Let's trip over to this relative, and then trip on over to this one, oh, and we better trip up over here because Awkward Dad thinks it looks cool. Well, that, and she just flat out trips a lot.) It doesn't look like this week is gonna be any vacation though. The Super boys are still on Central Time and going to bed late. Awkward Dad is catching up at work and also going to bed late. Which means, you guessed it; Awkward Mom is going to bed late. You would think all this late bed-timing would mean some late-rising, but Super Baby thinks not, so it does not.

On the house cleaning front, we think the Super Cats had a catnip party while we were gone, if the evidence under the bed is anything to go by. Awkward Mom is still drowning in laundry, and it didn't help that Awkward Dad took the set of keys with the laundry key yesterday...not that anyone is pointing fingers. Now, she did shake the unlaundry-keyed set at him when he got home though, suppose that is comparable to a finger point. And she is about 150 pages shy of finishing the book-club book that has to be read by Friday for the book-club that is her house.

Lordy, looks like we are not gonna get much outta her in terms of a post today, are we? Guess we will just have to use that old stand by, the pictorial post! (We know your secret, Readers.....we know that you enjoy them more than Awkward Mom's bloated prose. Fear not, we won't tell her. Let her think we are really disappointed, but understand, given her recent return from her "trip.") Enjoy!

I am sure my weird-other-voice narrator has explained things to you, so I will get right to it! One of our stops on our trip was to the Shedd Aquarium. I have never lived on a coast or in Hawaii, so this aquarium is terribly impressive to me. Check it out next time you are in Chicago, you won't be disappointed. I will let you explore the astounding aquatic adventures for yourself; you are here to hear about the awkward. Well, here is it, in all it's fuzzy glory. (because Awkward Museum Rule 1 is: "always forget the camera in the car and resort to using Awkward Dad's iphone that no one really knows how to use effectively.") Enjoy!

Awkward Museum Rule 3: When visiting any place remotely cool, make sure that your children force you to spend an unhealthy amount of time in the "children's area" and make sure they try on as many "playclothes" as possible, preferably ones that someone has spilled something unidentifiable on.

What is that, Readers? Oh, Rule 2? Well, Awkward Museum Rule 2 is to make sure that your visit to any large and fascinating museum falls on Field Trip day for most of the city's middle schoolers. We are awkward overachievers and picked a day most of the high schoolers were there too; lucky us!

Awkward Museum Rule 4 is really one for the kiddies, so listen up little ones: When playing in the aforementioned "children's area," which, for the point of illustration, let's make an inexplicable camp-site in the middle of an aquarium, make sure to fight very loudly with your sibling over a fake piece of bacon. Draw as much attention as you can and be very very loud; it is field trip day, after all, there are loads of big kids to compete with. In fact, make sure to slam into a few of them if you can. Since I know that pictures can help when building proper fight technique, check out this fighting form:

Awkward Museum Rule 5: Once you have successfully beaten your brother off and are in sole possession of the fake cooking set, make sure to gloat and have your dad take a lot of pictures.

Awkward Museum Rule 6: When your 4 year old child tells you, "Gee Dad, Jellyfish are cool and all that, but why don't we skip going through here a fourth time and look at some of the other fish," you might wanna think about who the parent is here. Just saying. But yes, Jellyfish are very very cool.

Awkward Museum Rule 7: Do NOT go see any Dora/Diego 3D movie. I don't have to explain this one, do I? Just don't.

Awkward Museum Rule 8: Make sure your Super Baby travels like this the entire museum trip:

They really like it when you park them in a corner facing the wall too. Oh, and don't forget to forget them in the shark room, so you can go racing through there, pushing middle schoolers out of your way like Jaws himself has busted through the glass, when you finally remember that you have 3 kids. If you don't believe in strollers or just forgot yours in the car with the camera, carrying them asleep-half falling-out-of-a-sling or awake-chewing-on-said-sling-with-one-leg-not-all-the-way-in are also 2 very acceptable awkward modes of museum travel for babies.

Awkward Museum Rule 9: Another one for the kiddies; Hey Guys, see that second "children's area?" Spend even more time in it than the first one. Who cares that you are late for the "Aquatic Show"! Your parents don't care that they had to spend extra money on the show. Make a couple friends while you are in there too; make sure to pick the ones with the unfriendliest parents. Oh, you found a friend who pushes you down and then lies about it? With aggressive, rude parents wearing NRA shirts? Oh, A+ in awkward, my little friends!

Awkward Museum Rule 10: Make sure to dress up the child who doesn't want to dress up. Then take about 324324 pictures of him refusing to smile.

Awkward Museum Rule 11: Rush in late to the Aquatic Show. Realize that your baby needs a diaper. Try to leave quietly. Come back when the air-raid siren that is your middle child starts to make people's ears bleed. Try to carry them both up the stairs that are simulated to resemble rocky coastal terrain. Fail and fall into a nice gentleman from somewhere down south. Try not to die as he helps you pack up the contents of your bag that have spilled open onto his lap. Burst into the hallway to be told that there is no reentry. Trip into the bathroom to find out that the diaper was just a false alarm. Watch otters and seahorses for the rest of your time at the museum and call it a win.

Awkward Museum Rule 12: Spend entirely too much money in the gift shop. Duh.

Man, those seahorses are cute, aren't they? Are you gonna tell her that she only had 2 pictures of sea life in an entire post about the aquarium? No? OK, I'll do it. Maybe after her book-club though...We'll be back with more awkward antics in a jiffy. Just as soon as she finishes the laundry, reads that book, cleans her house, and figures out how to make a cheese ball. You all might want to help her with that one; anyone got a good recipe? Comment it to us super quick, she needs to not kill the nice ladies in her new book-club. Thanks!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Home Sweet Home

After carting your children to every known Awkward relative in the Midwest, blithely disregarding naps, any sort of "quiet time," or bedtimes before 11pm, subsisting on milkshakes and cookies, and braving downtown traffic and 2 Chicago landmarks on a field trip day, feeding your children Combos for dinner in the back of a mini-van going 80 mph, just so you can finally get home, sleep in your own bed, and not have to answer "are we there yet?" one more time seems pretty darn sensible.

I am hoping to spend the next week seeing my children in positions other than these:

That and I intend to blog all about our whirlwind tour de family for you, dearest Readers! We have it all: toy trains, real trains, gardening with Grandma, sharks, jellyfish, exactly 1 Dora/Diego 3D movie that I am still recovering from, and more Awkward family members than you could shake a stick at! Not that you would want to shake a stick at them....hit them with a stick maybe....oh Readers, I jest! (sorta...) Anywho, let me get my bearings, find all the places that the Awkward cats threw up while we were gone, and do about 13 loads of laundry. Then I will be back to tell you all about it. Missed ya!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. the Open Road

We are heading west for a week to see family and gather some more awkward material. Considering our families, I predict a veritable awkward goldmine. Stay strong, true believers; we'll be back before you have time to miss us!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Thomas' Day Out - part 2

So, here in Ann Arbor today, it is 86 degrees and sunny. Seems Spring has decided to give up his villain/hero waffling and just cede the session to Summer. This was not remotely the case last Saturday...

Seems that most of you are familiar with the Day Out with Thomas phenomenon; at least no one guessed anything other than C. in my Thomas quiz....although look for option B. to be my next theme party. Therefore, I am gonna speed on through our experience in a photo post!
Cinders and Ashes!

Super Baby's ready for her close-up with Thomas.

The drivable-play-cars were a huge hit! But the Supers know where the real fun is...

Pretending to gas-up. I swear that they did this most of the time they were in there.

Yet another of our frame-worthy photos with Sir Topham Hatt.

Super P. looks thrilled with his ride on Thomas. Of course, he could also be tired from posing for the 2378977th picture that Awkward Dad insisted on taking. I won't even talk about the videos....

The mean, Engine, himself! Complete with creepy rolling eyes and piped in whining voice! The children react like they are meeting the Beatles.
So, I have one favorite part from our Day out with Thomas. The children are in the toy train tent, a bustling locale for many reasons: we are all trying to get out of the cold and rain, they are selling popcorn (and Awkward Dad swears he saw some beer, but I think it was a mirage), and well, toy trains are pretty awesome. Unlike the toy trains at the Henry Ford Museum, or just about anywhere else, there is no fence up around these beauties. You can get close enough to feel them whizzing by your eager 2-year-old face.

It also seems you can get close enough to touch them, which we discover when Super Toddler completely derails a Thomas train that he just had to reach out and "pet." It flies off the track like something out of an action movie, and every adult head in the place turns to look at me, like something out of a horror movie. The children could all care less; there are about 14 other trains still breezing by. Parents are shooting daggers at me and you can hear their similar thoughts; Borg-style. "Are they gonna stop letting the children close to the trains because that awkward-looking mom's child stopped one. Just kick them out and let our children continue to play. I don't want to go back out in the rain and take more pictures with Sir Topham Hatt."

Just as they are all reaching for their pitchforks, a technician approaches. He looks official and slightly frazzled in that way that train enthusiasts always look and he pulls a pretty neat Red Sea parting on the crowd. I think it is the impressive Santa-beard and striped overalls. He has a controller in one hand and the other hand reaches toward the derailed train. Time stands still and all you can hear is the rain quietly tapping on the tent. You can feel the crowd hold its collective breath, as he places the train oh so gently back on the track. He flips a switch and Thomas races away like nothing happened. I feel the laser-eyes of the crowd stop boring holes in my head, so I start to breathe again. The technician leans over to me and whispers, "so worth it." I must look confused because he nods his head in Super Toddler's direction. I look at my son and the enormous grin now spreading across his face. I turn back to thank this wonderful man, but he only has eyes for Super Toddler. Their grins match perfectly, and, as I watch them watch the trains, I suddenly don't feel so cold and crabby anymore. With a quick ruffle through Super Toddler's hair, this magical toy train conductor slips back through the crowd and disappears. Well, duh; I should have known. You see, Fairy God-persons come in all shapes and sizes, sometimes it is easy to forget that. But they certainly walk among us; sometimes they just like to wear striped overalls over their wings.

Well, they survived Thomas and his Day Out, although I bet Awkward Mom is gonna insist on a Thomas Day In next year. Some news, my lovely Readers: the Awkwards are heading west! They leave on Saturday for a 9 day tour de force tour de extended family which will test not only patience, precise packing, and Super P.'s burgeoning potty training, but their very cohesiveness as a family. Yeah...the tales from this trip are gonna be terrifying, so be sure to check 'em out in a couple weeks. If Awkward Mom doesn't completely lose what is left off her sanity. Catch ya later, Readers!