Monday, July 30, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Olympic Expectations

Just think of it as Awkward Mom's Average Olympics.

So, I have been watching the London Olympics and I have learned some things:

1. Danny Boyle is a genius.

2. Water polo looks ridiculously difficult.

3. It is really fun to yell "Beach Volleyball is on!", watch Awkward Dad come running into the room, and then innocently say, "Oh, didn't I mention that it was the men's team?"

4. I have not missed regular TV and it's commercials; the political ones alone erased all the guilt I felt about cheating on TV with Netflix. In fact, I think regular TV and I are headed for a divorce come August 12th.

5. NBC, I am not gonna pick on you because most of the internet already is and we have this fight every Olympics anyway, but I will say it as gently as I can; the U.S.A. isn't the only country in the world. I know that you spent a lot of money on all your Michael Phelps promos, but really, let's show some other countries once in awhile, especially if they actually win the event. And one more thing, Kazakhstan is a diverse and fascinating country; 1 trip to Wikipedia informed me that they are the 9th largest country in the world, may be the place where the apple originated, and have an adult literacy rate of 99.5%. Please tell this to your commentators because every time someone from Kazakhstan wins an event, all they talk about is Borat. Thanks!

6. Can someone give this lady a medal for just being awesome? She might need a back-rub while you are at it.

7. I never ever want the Supers to be in the Olympics.

I can hear the jaws hitting the floor from here. Did she just say that? Why would she say that? Isn't she watching all the NBC promos with Michael Phelps? Did she really just say that? Is she even American? I hear she is from some country called Awkward; isn't that where they filmed Borat?

Here is the deal, Readers. One of the recent commercials that I don't hate is the P & G one with all the kids. Go check it out, I'll wait. I challenge you to not cry when that little curly headed boy (who looks a wee bit like Super Toddler) climbs up that ginormous diving board and they pan to his mother holding her breath. I am crying just writing about it. It is a beautiful ad, but it doesn't make me want to sign the Supers up for diving lessons (is there such a thing?) or start daydreaming about fame and fortune. It does kinda make me want to buy Pampers and Duracell batteries, however....

My reasoning is two-fold. (Not for buying Pampers and batteries, that seems pretty straightforward.) I don't want baby Olympians and I don't want any other fame-riddled careers for my children for the following reasons:

1. I do NOT look good on camera. I have been watching the NBC promos and they always show the parents. Always. In addition, they usually dig up some ancient photo from the late eighties which shows an adorable gap-toothed future Olympian hanging from the banister while his/her mother gazes on in bemusement and acid-washed jeans. I do not wish to have my worry immortalized for all eternity on HD televisions across the country nor do I want proof of my lack of fashion sense available for anyone who knows how to operate Youtube.

2. And while number 1 is clearly the more important reason, I don't want my children pressured to be great.

This comment is misleading and shocking, as it was intended to be to keep you reading. (Maybe I should be making the NBC promos.) The truth is that my children already are great. All children are great, and not in that "everyone is special, so no one really is special" way. All children are uniquely great, every single one. Mine are so great that I do not want them to spend a single moment wishing to be something else.

But what if they want to be baby Olympians, Awkward Mom? What if they want to try out for America's got Talent? What if they want to start their presidential campaign early and create a baby United Nations in the neighborhood? Well, while that last one does sound incredibly cute, I would have to say no. Is that selfish of me? Am I denying the world the joy of seeing their potential talent? Am I protecting them needlessly from fame, fortune, and flight? Let me shock you even more, my lovely Readers. The answer is: Maybe, but I don't care.

When did fame and fortune become something that babies had to think about? When did fame and fortune become something better than living a good, happy life full of private experiences? And when has fame and fortune ever really worked out for anyone anyway? I read the magazines while waiting in line at the store (Oh stop it, you know that you do it too.), and I don't think this fame thing is a really good idea. Oh sure, the money is nice, but do you really want people going through your garbage or filming you on your way to yoga or having a field day when you gain 2 pounds? I don't and I really don't want anyone doing that to my children.

Here is my message to my children: I don't care if you get a tattoo when you are old enough to legally get one. I really hope you spell it correctly, but it is no longer my business. I have done my job of guiding you for 18 years and I really hope that you know the difference between right and getting a Tasmanian devil permanently etched into the small of your back. Fly free, little Awkward child, and please be careful with placement and tribal art.

What? It totally applies! If they want to push themselves beyond the limits of human ability (I told you I have been watching the promos) and attempt to put themselves in the national spotlight when they are old enough to do so, so be it. I will dutifully sit in the stands and hold my breath. I will even make pictures of my angels available to the promo-making people, even if I am wearing the 2026 equivalent of acid-wash. I will support and honor their dreams, but I will not create dreams for them. I am not trying to pick on the Olympic parents; I don't have a child that is hanging from the ceiling fan and desperately needs to get into gymnastics. Mine are 4, 2, and 8 months. Their dreams are, in order of age, to live in a castle with some princesses, to ride in a Monster Truck or maybe be a Monster Truck (not sure he understands the difference), and to chew on this wire in peace. Anything else would just be me forcing stuff on them.

Don't get me wrong; I want them to try things. I want them to achieve things. I want them to make something of their lives. I also want them to fail, fall down, and make mistakes. I want them to realize that life is long and complicated, and if you aren't peaking at 16, that is glorious. Because 16 sucks and 36 is amazing. Pressure may make diamonds, but it also crushes most everything else. I am not for coddling them and doing everything for them; I understand that getting hurt is part of life and that not everyone is going to like my children. Can't fathom why they wouldn't but some people are crazy. I think going down the really big slide by yourself sounds like a great idea, but I am not gonna push you down it. I don't know how many other platitudes I can jam into this paragraph, Readers. I am just an average mom; they don't make fancy promos telling me how to raise well-adjusted, well-balanced children, who are pretty satisfied with their level of human ability.

Bottom line: If my children grow up to be kind, thoughtful people, who love themselves and other people, who contribute to society in any positive way, and who never have a reality show, then I will be thrilled. Mostly because I won't have to appear on said reality show in all my awkward glory, but also because, even though the whole world won't know it, my great children will have become great adults. Sounds pretty great to me.

I keep telling her that the run-on sentence, adjective overuse, and general rambling are not Olympic events, even awkward ones, but she never learns. Still, she deserves at least a bronze medal for effort. Well, maybe fourth place then. Catch ya later, Readers! We have an Ikea tale that will curl your hair; stay tuned!

The moment that synchronized napping becomes an Olympic event, I take it all back, we are training right away!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Mom

No, Awkward Grandma has not gone rogue. It is more like we are battling the idea of "mom"....that makes it sound way more philosophical than it really is...maybe we better just let Awkward Mom complain about things in her own time.

Once upon a time, the Invisible Woman was the Invisible Girl. You know, until she married Mr. Fantastic and calling her a "girl" just sounded kinda icky. Jean Gray went by Marvel Girl (keep up the creativity over there, Marvel...) until she decided to let her consciousness play landlord to the Phoenix Force, which is an "immortal and mutable manifestation of the prime universal force of life and passion." By the time it took her over, made her eat a planet or 2, and drove her so insane that her teammates had to kill her, she was just going by Phoenix. Personally, I would have evicted Mr. "Manifestation" or maybe just screened my tenants better, but hindsight is 20/20. Robin (not the one who Joker killed) graduated to become Nightwing. The most recent Robin became Red Robin at some point, but that doesn't seem much of a step up in the world, so I am choosing to ignore it. Other than Batman (who was never Batboy, for obvious reasons), most superheroes have gone through a name change...or 12. (I am looking at you, Kitty Pryde.) It is the way of the world, completely natural, a sign of growth and maturity and the ever flowing ebb of life, and it totally sucks.

Readers, Super Preschooler has started calling me "Mom."

Not Mommy. Not Mama. Not Momma or any other way you feel like spelling it. I am grateful that he hasn't resorted to "Ma." Or the dreaded calling-me-by-my-first-name, which is totally not acceptable. We are an alias-only household, thank you very much. But Mom? Really? Already?

You all remember those little "mamas" that start to pop out of your baby's mouth at some point. Unexpected and glorious; like little fireworks to delight the doldrums of diapers and drool. That validation that you are special. You are someone. You are the light of their little world. That is, until you realize that they call everyone mama. The blocks. This banana. The cat. That little spot on the wall where the paint is darker for some reason. But that passes and soon it is Mama for real. You are the best; not Elmo, not Diego, not the lady down the street who has 8 dogs. You are Mama.

It turns into Mommy at some point, but that transition is sweet. Because Mommy can fix anything with a kiss and a sharp look. Mommy can swoop down to the church nursery and rescue you from those other mommys who aren't your mommy and don't know just the right way to cuddle you. Mommy always has snacks. Mommy will hold you all night if you have a bad dream. Mommy is magic. Mommy is beautiful. Mommy somehow knows all the words to every song ever, they might be different from the ones they sing at daycare, but Mommy's words must be right because she is Mommy. Mommy is perfect.

I like being Mommy. I don't wanna be Mom. (Read that in whine because that is totally how I typed it.)

Mom can be said with an eye roll. Mom can be screamed across the mall, with just the right note of embarrassment and fury. Moms can be lame. And old. And completely not in touch with anything the young people are doing. Moms refer to tweens as "young people," like we are in a 1950s movie. Moms are not perfect. Moms can't fix anything and usually make things worse. Moms stand helpless at the bottom of the stairs, watching little angry feet in non-sanctioned heels stomp up the stairs to slam doors. Moms spend a lot of time wondering where their children went and who are these little dictators in their place. Moms freak out and take the doors off the hinges because no one, and I mean no one, slams doors in this house. Moms have to remember that Rachel is the BFF this week, but not next week, when Toni is, because Rachel passed a note to Lee and that is so not cool. Mom sounds like a lot of work.

I am not ready, Readers. He is only 4. OK. He is 4 and a half. But he has a lovie. He still needs help buckling his seat belt. He wants me to cut up his meat. And at night, when he is sleeping and I sit there watching him because I am totally creepy, his face softens just so and I can see him as a baby. The baby he was just last week. Wasn't it last week? Feels like last week. Whatever. I am not ready for Mom, Readers. Not ready.

So I put on my big mom pants and I take a deep breath and I do what all parents throughout the ages have done when big ugly changes come storming into their house. I call my mom and cry for an hour. She calms me and makes me laugh. Offers to send some chocolate. And reminds me that he isn't calling me "terriblewomanthatgavebirthtomeandihate." So I say, "You're right, Mom, " and that "mom" doesn't sound mean or spiteful or harsh. There is no eye roll or sarcasm. It is a "mom" full of joy and love and gratitude. My mom's "mom" is a badge of honor. My mom's "mom" may have dipped it's toe in the mall-yelling, door-slamming, freaked-out-phone-calls of adolescence, but it survived to glow even brighter and bigger. My mom's "mom" is the adult version of "mommy."

OK. Mom-name-change, I am ready. Bring it. (But if you could hold off on the door slamming until we aren't renting anymore, I would appreciate it. Thanks!)

No surprise here. We have been calling her Awkward Mom for ages. Awkward Mommy just doesn't have the same ring. Now, Awkward Ma; that is a Superhero name change worth changing the letterhead for. Am I right? I'm right.

You know, Awkward Mom, he might not grow up so fast if you didn't do things like buy him a bunk bed that says for age 6+!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Door to Door Activists

Living in a house has so many benefits; tons of room, a giant yard, and way more ways to be awkward.

In our apartment we had very few door to door encounters of any kind. When someone has to scale the steepest stoop in creation, be granted entrance via a buzzer, and climb 3 flights of stairs just to sell you a vacuum, tell you about Jesus, or get some Halloween candy, they tend to wish you the best from the curb and move on to greener pastures. Well, we aren't in an apartment anymore; hello door to door activists!

We have had 2 in the 3 weeks since our move. The first one was an impossibly earnest young man who wanted me to sign his petition against junk food for children. Something about high fructose corn syrup, modifying the farm bill, and childhood obesity; I wasn't really listening. I was distracted by the fact that, as he was talking to me on one side of the screen door, the children were eating Skittles on the other. My frantic motions to Super Preschooler to throw the candy under the couch were misinterpreted as demands that he share with this nice young man, and while I am pleased that he is generous, sometimes I kinda wish he had telepathy instead. Needless to say, I signed whatever this young man wanted me to sign, wrote him a check, and might have promised him my next baby for all I know. I was kinda in a panic. Don't really want it to get out that my children eat Skittles at 4 in the afternoon while watching "You Too Can Build a Monster Truck." They might kick us out of Ann Arbor.

Well, I think this guy passed the word that I am an easy touch because less than a week later, a young woman shows up. Again, impossibly earnest and ridiculously young. She is asking for me to sign something about clean water. No Skittles this time, but let me lay the scene:

It is 6 in the evening. It is 101 degrees and our ceiling fan is broken. I am not making dinner. There are some grapes on the coffee table that may have been there since 10am; good enough. Awkward Dad is working on something in the office, Super Baby is in there with him. Super Preschooler is the only sensible one, napping in the air conditioned bedroom. I was getting Super Toddler in the bath when I am summoned to the door to talk about clean water. I have no recollection about my clothes, but I can say with some degree of certainty that they are stained and/or wet.

She starts telling me about her cause. She has gotten to coal's impact on the land, when I hear Awkward Dad emerging from the office. Now, you all know that Awkward Dad is not a fan of pants when he can get away with it. It is 6 at night and over 100 degrees; I think we all know how he is dressed (or not) and I am sorry for making you picture it. I bellow to him that I am at the door. He doesn't hear me. I yell for him to stay in the office. He ignores me and comes dangerously close. I turn and shoo him back up the stairs that are just out of this impressionable girl's sight. He grunts at me and hands me Super Baby, who immediately grabs my hair. I turn back to hear about rivers, while wrestling my hair back from the wiggling demon in my arms. Ah, crisis averted. Right...

She is well into her spiel and I am debating how small a donation I can give her and still alleviate my guilt about "the human impact on Michigan's great waterways" when I see her gaze shift to my left. Her eyes widen and she falters a little over her description of advancing "upsteam" solutions. I assume she is looking at the grape buffet, so I shrug it off. I mean, it isn't like they are Skittles or something. Plus, Super Baby has grabbed another handful of hair that I am desperately trying to keep in my head and out of her mouth; I have no great desire to look like Lex Luthor. Activist Girl continues on about the waterways for a spell, and then she completely loses focus and starts to sport a fairly embarrassed smile. About this time, a soft giggle emerges from my lower left. I do some quick math. Now, who isn't accounted for? Sleeping Super P. is in the bedroom. Pantless Awkward Dad is in the office. Scalping Super Baby is in my arms. Super Cat is trying to claw his way through the screen door, so that leaves Bathing Super Toddler... on my left.

I slowly turn and gaze down. It takes me a moment to completely take in his full glory. He is stark naked, hair puffed up in full-on David Bowie mode. His feet are firmly planted in 2 little puddles of his own making and his hands are posed just so on his hips. Hips that he is whirling in the most lascivious imitation of Elvis that I have ever seen, while he grins and stares right into Activist Girl's eyes. I swear that he winks right before he announces, in a voice as proud as it is loud, "Naked Penis!"

We are all hoping that Awkward Mom's check to the Clean Water Foundation clears before Activist Girl thinks it might be a good idea to call DCFS. Fingers crossed! Stay cool, Readers. Heat can do funny things to people....

Just your friendly neighborhood streaker.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Pickles

The long awaited pickle post. Prepare for positively preposterous phrases and awesomely awkward alliteration!

I like pickles. I am a fan. I even crave them when pregnant. Don't want 'em on my hamburger but other than that, pickles are just fine in my book.

Super Preschooler loves pickles. Loves. He is like 16 pregnant women and a dude with a sodium deficiency all living together in a Vlasic pickle cult with the Groucho Marxish stork as their strangely charismatic leader. Is it dinner time? Super P. wants a pickle. Is it breakfast? Super P. wants a pickle. Is it the middle of the afternoon at the park on a Tuesday? Super P. wants a pickle. Is it 2 in the morning? The boy is asleep! (I am not totally irresponsible.) But he is probably dreaming about pickles.

Well, during our jam-and-can awhile back (oh fear not, we are doing it again, and this time I will get pictures), I causally mentioned that we could also make pickles if we wanted. The boy's eyes grew about 3 times their size and he actually dropped a spoon. "You can make pickles?!" Now, I don't know if he thought fairies made them or if they dropped down from a dill field in heaven, but the idea that mere humans could actually make pickles blew his mind. Struck him speechless, which, as you all know, is not exactly normal for Super P. Well, after that wore off, he wore me out with his requests that me make pickles. So, I decided to give in and make sure he has some good stories to tell his therapist someday.

Now, the last time I made pickles was for my wedding. (Don't ask.) It had been awhile, but I was confident in my ability to troll until I found one easy enough for my liking. I was thinking like 5 ingredients or less. Found one! Looks like I am not the only lazy pickler on the planet. I am, however, toward the lazier end of lazy picklers. I didn't even buy jars. Now, I did buy jars for our jam foray and I faithfully water-bathed them away like tiny little bombs on my stove. Basically stood 8 feet away and turned the stove off with a broom handle, but I canned, Readers. I canned. Canned them in our air conditioned apartment before we moved.

It was 102 degrees the day I finally gave in to Super Preschooler's pickle pleas. Anybody wanna ponder what my proposal proved to be? Fridge pickles, it is!

Now even the recipe that I found had too many ingredients for me, so I altered it freely. Go big or go home, that is what I always say. OK, I have never said that, but I don't like sugar in my pickles and I didn't have any green peppers and I really really like garlic. Other than that, I kinda, sorta, maybe if you squint, followed the recipe. But really, you aren't here to learn how to make fridge pickles. You are here to see wildly out of focus photos that Super Preschooler took, so let's get to that, shall we?

Let's kick things off with a posed photo I took of Super P. pretending to pucker while pondering the potential pickle:

Note that he standing on a chair near the sink. A sink surrounded by dirty dishes...just noticed that. Oh well. Who else wants to be on a chair by the dirty sink?

Who thinks it would be a good idea to take pictures and taunt his brother from his perch on the chair by the sink?

There were about 13 more of those, but you get the idea.

There are exactly 19 pictures of me peeling garlic that all look like this one:

There are 12 pictures of the garlic and green onions sitting by the sink. The amount of garlic grows, but there are no other differences.

Here is a picture of the cabinets above the fridge:

And here is a drawer full of bibs:

Super P. decided at this point that he was good enough to work for National Geographic and he was bored. So, I took the camera and documented his pickle packing protocol. (Shoot, who am I gonna blame the fuzziness of the photos on now?)

He put every single pickle piece in with a ladle. I am surprised that we still aren't packing pickles.

Explaining his methods.

Every single piece had to be ladled, Readers. Every single one.

Super Preschooler thought the jars were pretty, and they were. Being jam jars and adorably small. But Superhero picklers (or picklers of any affiliation, for that matter) do not make puny pickles. He got to keep 1 jar:

The rest went into 2 leaky plastic containers that immediately made the whole fridge smell like vinegar.

And now, a series of pictures that we proudly call: a Preschooler and his Pickles:






Does anyone know how to properly praise for a pursuit that was positively professional and polished, while being a picnic, a piece of cake, and plain sailing? Ponder and post me your plan, please.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. No

You guys know that part in "Singin' in the Rain" when the sound messes up and the No, No, Nos turn to Yes, Yes, Yeses? Well, picture that.

Excellent Mom and I took the children to the mall today. I know. I know. But that is not what I am here to discuss. Most of watching children at the mall is a constant stream of "Hey, what are you doing? No. Stop that. Put that down. No. No. No. Come back here. No, you can't. No, I won't. No, you are not buying that. Stop eating that. No. No. No. Come back here. Hurry up. Slow down. No. What are you doing? Did you pay for that? Stop it. No. What a fun time we had, right? No."

I mentioned this to Excellent Mom, and she agreed. She also proved that she is more than aptly named when she pointed out that she tries to say Yes as often as she can because of all the Noing that we have to do. Sounds like a plan. And you are all here to witness my plan to say Yes to the Supers more:

Yes to trying to open it yourself even though it will take 3 times as long.
Yes to the ice cream truck.
Yes to staying up late and catching fireflies.
Yes to the pool, park, and that picnic I promised when you were 2.
Yes to dirt.
Yes to looking at you when you are talking to me.
Yes to sand. (Yikes!)
Yes to letting you walk even though it would be so much faster to carry you.
Yes to cuddles even when it is hot.
Yes to candy canes.
Yes to saying sorry.
Yes to watching Cinderella for the fourth time today.
Yes to going to church in your dress-up dress.
Yes to making mistakes.
Yes to finding you a jar for your new bug friend.
Yes to chalk.
Yes to letting you "help" even though it takes 14 times as long.
Yes to eating dessert first.
Yes to playing dinosaurs and making funny voices.
Yes to paint and not just the watercolor ones.
Yes to trust.
Yes to water guns.
Yes to snow balls.
Yes to sliding down the stairs in a box.
Yes to eating your Halloween candy any way you please.
Yes to being barefoot.
Yes to letting you lick the spoon.
Yes to respect.
Yes to mess.
Yes to singing loudly.
Yes to sitting on the floor.
Yes to crumbs.
Yes to letting you be friends with who (whom?) you want to be friends with.
Yes to not judging your grammar too harshly.
Yes to putting stickers on the wall, your face, and the cat, if you can catch him.
Yes to reading 18 books in a row.
Yes to markers.
Yes to marbles and jacks and toys with tiny pieces.
Yes to patience.
Yes to walks that go nowhere.
Yes to fart jokes.
Yes to taking your tears seriously.
Yes to breaking stuff.
Yes to drums.
Yes to dancing in public.
Yes to kisses even when you wipe them off.
Yes to bandaids that you don't need.
Yes to chocolate even when you let it melt on the couch.
Yes to loving you forever and ever and ever and ever and ever infinity.

Yes to delaying pickle posts yet again and yes to fabulous readers who are OK with that!
Yes, Yes, Yes.

Ready for church there, Super P.?

Awkward Mom vs. Heat

Oh, Awkward Mom, really? You are gonna talk about the heat? In July? Could you be more boring or cliched? You could? OK...well, go ahead with the heat thing then; we sure don't want to see anything worse than that.

Readers, it is 102 degrees today and we don't have central air. Now, don't feel sorry for us. I adore our house; we have a window unit in the bedroom, plenty of ice, and ceiling fans capable of producing tornadoes. We have ways to stay cool. The fact that the children think it is an affront to their freedom to be confined to the bedroom is something I am dealing with, even as we speak, but still, don't you worry about us.

We have a car and can escape to many an air conditioned locale. And we are going to do so very soon, as I am sweating onto the keyboard as I write this. Oh, sorry. Are you OK over there? Well, to be fair, I didn't know that you were eating.

I am thinking of heading over to Excellent Mom's lair; as it is air conditioned and contains super cool stuff, like a million toy horses, fairy wings, and, most importantly, Excellent Toddler herself. We are gonna be fine, don't you worry about us. Not that you were.

Basically, this is my typically long-winded way of telling you that I am not going to sweat out the pickle post for you today. It is definitely coming soon, mostly because the pickles' deliciousness is starting to make me feel guilty about my lack of pickle posting. I want to pucker pickles without pondering potential posts, so please be patient, it will, potentially, be posted pretty soon. Until then, enjoy these precious photos of the supers posing:

While the outfit choice appears to be season dependant, mess-making clearly happens all year long.

That is one way to take on the Joker.

I am not really buying the whole goth vibe here, Super Baby. Maybe if you frowned a little?

We are off to cooler abodes; hope you are all feeling as cool as you are inside. Join us next time; we have the pickle post, promise! Plus we have been dealing with pool people, popcles preferances, and pee. Well, it can't always be pleasing Ps, can it? Pop on back soon!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Awkward Mom and Marvelous Mom

If craftiness is a scale; Marvelous Mom is on one end and Awkward Mom is on the other. Sometimes team-ups are all about throwing very different superheros in a room and seeing what happens. Oh wait, that is every team-up. Ever.

So, I am gonna get that post of pickle-making to you super soon, but I want to make sure that your expectations are in the right place. I am no Marvelous Mom. Marvelous Mom is my oldest ally; we have been friends since we were 5 years old. (I suppose it is more accurate to say that she has put up with me since we were 5 years old.) She is the queen of crafts, and nothing, I mean absolutely nothing, scares her. She'll make a quilt despite not loving to sew. She'll bleach stuff with 4 boys running around her house. She'll make something called chalk paint, which, frankly, sounds horrifying. Even sand holds no sway over her; maybe I should have named her Fearless Mom. She fearlessly crafts, projects, handmakes, writes, photographs, and parents over here with her sister, Remarkable Mom, and her buddy, the Absolutely Fabulous Friend.

Marvelous Mom is the Swiss army knife member of your super-team. She'll gear up and float outside the spaceship to make a few welds, battle any villains she encounters out there, pop back inside to rock and calm the baby alien you all picked up on that latest mission, fly the ship to safety, and then make a delicious meal for everyone. She'd do is all standing on her head, but she isn't one to show off. There is nothing she can't do. She is, quite literally, marvelous. And I love her very much.

Marvelous Mom would never brag on herself. Luckily for all, she is friends with Awkward Mom and her super-powered big mouth. Check out Marvelous Mom's blog, you might even get inspired to be a little crafty-fearless yourself. If it can happen to Awkward Mom, it can happen to anyone.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Mess

Wait. You mean to tell me that children are messy? You're serious? OK. Well then, how do I get off this train? Why are you laughing?

I have kinda a Jekyll and Hyde thing going with mess. Except my Jekyll isn't exactly a doctor and my Hyde is more awkwardly annoyed than rage-filled, but you get the point. Here is the thing: I was raised by messy people. Don't get the wrong idea; we weren't living with 18 cats or dirty dishes everywhere. My parents just aren't that hung up about dust, dirt, or disgusting things growing in their fridge. They hold to the philosophy that things are just things, but people are friends. Even people with dirty shoes and a sweating bottle of beer. They won't even notice, they'll be so busy gossiping and fixing you something to eat. Me: I might have to hold back the request to take off your shoes and that mad dash to find you a coaster.

It is embarrassing. My parents raised me to be a loving person who doesn't judge on appearances, who enjoys the moment, who fosters goodwill and joy everywhere. I think they were mostly successful; I am a tad awkward, but I am usually on the superhero end of things. OK...maybe sidekick end, but I am no henchman. (Henchman sounds weird; is it always plural? Henchmen. Yes, that sounds better. To tell the truth, aren't there always at least 2 of them guarding the big bad boss anyway? I don't know that I have every seen a lone henchman. Don't get me started on how weird henchwoman sounds.)

Where was I? Oh yes, I was telling you about how my parents raised me to follow strange paths and go off in tangential directions in order to grow as a person....they really did, that is the funny part. I know that I have told you about my rockin' childhood and how I will never write a bestselling novel as a result (darn you, good parents!); I am not lying, they kinda knew what they were doing. Which is why my hang-up about mess is so embarrassing. Here is my theory: they gave me nothing else to rebel against. A teen has to rebel. I did it by having the cleanest room in the house.

So, I took my clean-Hyde to college and annoyed roommate after roommate. Then, I got married and annoyed Awkward Dad. They mostly heeded me in the picking up of pants and socks. The dishes, vacuuming, and organizing I just did myself. Reveled in it, if I am being honest. A whole house, all mine; all mine to have perfectly neat and clean. Changing my mind and method so often that Awkward Dad used to swear....and then swear that it was my hobby to hide his shoes from him. He might have a point. Inventing organizational plans for the closet, the pantry, or my brain became the highlight of my life for awhile. Sounds really scary and boring now. I think I was still rebelling from that haven of chaos I grew up in. Still playing house. Still trying to make it my own. Trying to recreate that warmth and welcome that only my parents' home had. Couldn't quite get it.

Well, faithful Readers, I am sure you all know what did it, what came next. You are so right: Along came Super Preschooler and a little part of my clean-Hyde abandoned ship. Oh, not the whole Hyde. Not yet. You see, Super Preschooler has enough of me in him to be a bit of a neat-nick. He likes to line up cars. He likes the cabinets doors closed. He has very specific ideas about how his crowns should be stored. Nope; clean-Hyde and Inner Planner hung around for awhile. That is, until this guy made his appearance:

He sent clean-Hyde running in terror. Haven't seen her since. Inner Planner proceeds to poke her projects and plans at me, but this princess, with her pertinacity for poses as precious as this, keeps her at bay:

These days my Clean-Hyde is pretty much gone; she does like the medicine cabinet to be just so and has a slight obsession with Ikea. I let her; it isn't a lot to ask.

I don't regret my time with Clean-Hyde. My parents couldn't have told me anyway. I had to go on that journey myself. They couldn't have told me that one day I would love 3 little people so much that I wouldn't care that my windows are full of fingerprints, that "artwork" covers every available space of the fridge and routinely falls inside of it, that I would have to unstick my feet from the kitchen floor if I stand there too long, or that one day I would even come to terms with sand. (Still working on that one, if I am being honest.) I wouldn't have believed them. I would have rolled my eyes and gone back to dusting. Being the good parents that they were, they just smiled knowingly and went back to making a mess. Darn it, I really wanted to write that best seller too.

Well, we are off to Ikea! Tune in next time for Awkward Mom's story about pickle making with Super Preschooler; she let Super Preschooler document it with the camera. Oh, get ready for stuff like this:

Oh boy. Well, there might be some pictures of the pickles....somewhere. Until then, keep on making messes, Readers!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Year One

Time flies. It all goes so fast. They grow like weeds. It is over before you know it. The thing about cliches is: They are said so much because they are often so true.

Dear Super Baby-

Today you are hot and have a tooth coming in, so I am holding you and dancing around the air conditioned bedroom, just to get you to smile. And it is working. Mommy is magical. Or air conditioning is. But mostly Mommy. I gently toss you up in the air (Because Grandma isn't here to see and freak out) and you laugh. That laugh is seriously the best sound on the planet. It is like a million happy noises all jammed into one perfect noise wearing a party dress and wrapped up in a bow that smells like strawberries and sunscreen and Christmas.

And then you land, safe in my arms, gazing at me like I am the coolest thing ever. You see, you haven't discovered Elmo yet. I am it. I am the best thing ever. You reach up to touch my face, just to prove that I am real and all yours. Tiny fingers, impossibly soft, grasp and cling to my neck, and we collapse onto the bed for a snuggle that lasts all morning. I wish it would last my whole life.

I am trying to memorize this moment. Trying to carve it into my brain, so that I can haul it back out when you are 12. When you are trying to leave the house in a mini-skirt you conned your Grandmother into buying. To go play mini-golf with some friends, swearing to me that no boys are going to be there. Promising me that the sleepover will be highly supervised and that Candi's mom is totally cool. But, Super Baby, she named her daughter Candi. And you roll your eyes at me. And we are fighting. And you still look like my little baby, standing there, hands on your hips, eyes blazing, and oh holy cats, is that eye shadow? So, I am dragging you into the bathroom and you are yelling that I just don't understand you and why don't I trust you, and baby, I totally trust you, but I don't trust 12 year old boys or mothers who name their daughters with stripper names. And you are crying. And I am remembering this same fight with my mother, minus the eye shadow, because let's be honest, she would have killed me. So, I let you go. I debate fitting you with a tracking device but I let you go. I wave to Candi's mom, who might have very pronounced frosted tips but seems responsible, and I let you go. Cry. And remember today.

Because today: Candi and her mom are miles away and you are my round little baby who is more likely to chew on a mini-skirt and you are snuggled up under my chin as I type this, absently stroking my ear with your tiny perfect hand and whispering your baby dreams into my neck. And I am tattooing it into my brain. Or maybe just writing it into my blog. Same thing.

I love you,
but eye shadow looks really silly in the daytime,
Awkward Mom

Could someone get Awkward Mom some chocolate and remind her that Super Baby is only 7 months and that we have to get through the rest of the teeth, crawling, walking, talking, counting, reading, potty training, kindergarten, and a few other milestones before we need to worry about middle school, mini-skirts, and makeup? Or if you are feeling tired, just send the chocolate. Catch ya later, Readers!

I know. Growing up is so lame. How about you stay my little princess forever, eh?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Pandora

Awkward Mom likes musical theater. I swear, I am not making this up. She really is that awkward.

Dear Pandora-

I want to thank you for being such a great service. I love that I can stream music, for free, in any style and type I choose. I love that you play on my brand new Grace Digital Audio Victoria; it totally classes up my kitchen. Here is a picture of it:

Classy, right? I love that it has a remote with thumbs up and thumbs down button. I would love it more if I could find the remote, but the thought was nice.

Basically, Pandora, you are the bee's knees; love ya. I especially love my Musical Theater Channel. However, that is what I am writing to you about today. Just as bees have stingers as well as knees, your Musical Theater channel has some hits and some misses. I was wondering if you could please address a few of your misses/stingers for me. I shall list them for the ease of your perusal.

1. Glee is not musical theater. Sorry, it just isn't.

2. I adore Wicked and Phantom of the Opera, but there are other musicals deserving of radio play. Plus, Music of the Night can get a little screechy by listen 14. Hate me all you want, you know it is true.

3. Les Miserables has other songs besides On my Own and I Dreamed a Dream.

4. I have soften my stance on you playing Disney on the showtunes channel. They do have their own channel, but if you want to cross over, that is OK. That said, please make sure that the song was actually in the movie and sung by the characters within the confines of the plot. Some poppy thing that played over the credits does not count. I don't care if it was Miley Cyrus; still doesn't count.

5. You are pushing it with Jersey Boys.

6. Loving the Sound of Music; keep it coming.

7. Ditto with the Hairspray.

8. Did you guys anger Andrew Lloyd Webber or something? Well, send some flowers, candy, whatever. Make it right. You are missing like half the catalogue of musical theater over here. I get that you like Phantom, but really, there is more.

9. Ditto with Stephen Sondheim.

10. Super Preschooler would like to request that, once an hour, you "play the song that makes Mommy stop everything and dance with us in the kitchen. Because she looks pretty when she is happy and I like it when she throws us up in the air." (He is talking about Mamma Mia.)

If you could consider these points, I would forever be grateful. This is me asking nicely. Please take action before I am forced to remind you that I have a B.F.A. and I am not afraid to use it for the forces of evil. (i.e. Requesting that you play more Chicago, Cabaret, and Cats.) Heed me and we'll all get along just fine.

Love ya!
Awkward Mom

PS I wouldn't hate it if you played Little Shop of Horrors once in awhile...just saying. I have my reasons.

What is that? Yes, we are pretty sure that bees have knees. Join us here next time, Readers; where the soundtrack is always earnest, belted to the rafters, and just slightly awkward.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Attitude

Well, Duh. Her attitude is awkward. What exactly did you expect?

Sometimes I get down. Sometimes I wish I had more money, tighter abs, higher cheekbones, nicer furniture, or whiter teeth. I battle Want like everyone else. I want prettier clothes. I want central air. I want a gardener. I want to eat delish food that I don't make and that doesn't make me gain weight. I want angel children who never get crabby or need diaper changes. I want a massive comic collection, centered on Marvel, that is beautifully organized, completely bagged and boarded, with most of them signed by Stan Lee. OK. Maybe I don't battle Want like everyone else, but I still battle him. In fact, one might say that Want is in the official Awkward Mom Rogue's Gallery, along with Sloth, Three, and the Public Pool Locker Room. (post coming)

Now, all superheroes know that the best way to battle Want it to ignore him. Oh, he hates that! But since he is everywhere (TV, Facebook, your neighbor's front yard), he is often hard to ignore. Especially for someone like me, who has the attention span of a gnat. I tend to see Want in all his many disguises. He lurks at me from that nice car. He spies on me from that perfectly manicured yard. He waves at me while hanging out with the Bikini Brigade at the pool. And the cocky jerk actually lifts his latté in greeting to me from the cafe at Barnes and Noble....oh, he is not nice. Which I suppose is a requirement if you are going to be a villain.

But then something happens to make me completely and totally immune to Want. At least for a moment. Here it comes (corny alert!):

While putting Super Preschooler in his dress-up Cinderella dress, I notice that it is looking very much like Cinderella's dress. Before the ball.
Me: Hey, Super P. I think you need a new dress.
Super P.: Nah, I like this one.
Me: But it is all ripped up and raggy.
Super P.: I really like it; you can make the rips into bows. See? Isn't that pretty? Don't I look pretty, Mommy? Mommy?Why are you crying, Mommy?

Awkward Mom may have won this battle, but there is a Want War coming. We have been spending time at the pool. The pool where moms with babies wear bikinis, designer sunglasses, and tans. Send her some strength, Readers. She is gonna need it.

Look out Project Runway; Super P. (and his make it work attitude) is coming for you.