Thursday, January 31, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. Stats - battle 2

Vanity strikes again. Awkward Mom has been looking at her stats.

So, in an effort to get other people to read my blog, I have joined a mom blogging community. It is called and the link to it is over there on the right. Clicking on it increases my "ranking" in the community or something. I am not the greatest at reading all the rules about stuff. I really hope that this ranking isn't tied to responsibilities in the community because if it does, they are in for a rude surprise. Anywho, it was actually quite a difficult decision to rush this mommy sorority because I am kinda afraid of people reading my writing. "Now, Awkward Mom," you are thinking, "you are being relatively insane. Like more insane than usual. You are aware of how reading works, right? I am reading this right now. People are reading your writing right now." Yes, Readers, I am aware of that, but I know you. About 75% of you are my friends and family who followed this link from Facebook, 15% of you are people who follow me and leave kind thoughtful comments all the time (Crunchy Mom, Frugal Mom, Balanced Mom, etc.), and 10% of you is my mother. (My mother totally counts for 10%, she is amazing.) My point is, you all already love me. Opening myself up to a forum of writing women who I don't know is really intimidating for me as a writer, as a mother, and as a person. But, at the same time, I feel drawn to further join the blogging world and put my words out there a little more.

So, rather than write about those deep and complex feelings, I am going to tell jokes about how people accidentally landed on my blog this week.

1. "burt reynolds fig leaf picture" (4)
Oh dear Readers, 4 people out there really want to see this:

Go ahead, soak it in. Go wash your eyes out with Lysol if you need to, I'll wait. Back? OK, what I think happened is that four pervs or, let's be generous, aficionados of American culture of the 1970s were looking for the aforeshuddered photo and they found my post about Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum. I feel bad for them really; all they want to do is ogle Burt Reynolds, but they had to wade through like 14 paragraphs of my ponderous prose before they were able to do so in peace. So sad.

2. "art" (2)
Any kind of art? Usually when one searches for art, one has a general idea of the art one is seeking; Renaissance Art, Modern Art, Children's Art Project, Uncle Art. Who is so bored or listless that they will look at any old art? Well, 2 folks are, we know that. And we know that they are now even more disappointed after being guided here and seeing Burt Reynolds and his barely hidden junk. Michelangelo's David, he is not.

3. "pictures of a birthday cakes for a moonshiner" (2)
Oh holy cats, what is this? And 2 people searched for this? And it lead them here? Grammar aside, I do not even know what this refers to. Are these pictures of cakes for moonshiners to eat? Are these cakes with pictures of moonshines on them? Why do moonshiners eat different cakes than the rest of us? Or take pictures of them, for that matter? Goodness, this search just poses more questions than it answers.

4. "red cheeks on a toddler" (2)
These poor folks are clearly looking for BabyCenter or WebMD and they got led here to look at this:

Not a bad sight by any means, but hardly what they were looking for.
5. "akward mom" (1)
Hey buddy, don't feel bad. Sometimes I still do this if I am typing it in a hurry. No worries.
6. "awkward mom" (1)
See, now you're getting it!
7. "awquad mom" (1)
Hmmm...I see that we have taken a step backwards.
8. "momatthedoctor" (1)
OK, I get why this maybe led you here. I mean, I do take the children to the doctor on occasion. Doesn't usually go well, but I have been known to do it. What I don't get is why you have never heard of a space bar.
9. " momma got me a balloon" (1)
Did she? Spectacular! Now, does she know that you are online telling everyone about it? Because if you are young enough to still call her Momma, you are not old enough to be on the computer alone. And if you are old enough to be on the computer alone and you are calling her Momma, we might have another issue or two to talk about.
No judging though; Awkward Mom is a complete no-judging zone. In fact, don't listen to her. You have no issues at all. You call your Momma anything you please, just don't call her late for dinner! Hmmm...that might have played a little bit better differently worded. In 1920. In a vaudeville house. That ranking might be a little low for awhile...
Look! Momma got me a balloon too!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. Mini-Battle #3

"My cooking is so bad my kids thought that Thanksgiving was to commemorate Pearl Harbor." Ah, good old Phyllis Diller. She gets us, she really gets us.

I may have mentioned that I do not like cooking; about once or twice or maybe a hundred times. There are many reasons for this, the following is just one of them.

Me: OK, now we scoop out the flour.

Super Preschooler: Like this?

Me: Well, yes. Less on the floor and more in the bowl, but yes.

Super Toddler: Time for eggs!

Me: No! Sorry, baby, just not yet. And please, not in your hair.

Excellent Toddler: Can I help?

Me: Yes, of course. Please move over, Super Preschooler.

Super Preschooler: No! I want to help!

Me: You can all help.

Super Preschooler: Fine. Move over, Super T.

Super Toddler: Ouch!

Me: No pushing. Please pour some of this in.

Excellent Toddler: Like this?

Me: Ummm, sure. Who doesn't like salty banana bread?

Super Toddler: Eggs!

Me: Not yet. OK, let's mix this dry stuff. OK, nice try. Now, let's mix what is left in the bowl a little slower, K?

Super Baby: Sausage?

Super Toddler: Ouch!

Me: Not right now, honey. And no pushing! OK, time for sugar. Hey, who ate the sugar?

Excellent Toddler: Not me.

Super Toddler: Not me.

Super Preschooler: Mmmm.

Me: Sigh. OK, move over. I have to get some more sugar. OK, now we cream the butter and sugar. Not with our hands, Super T! I am going to use a hand mixer, it is dangerous, so we are all going to put our hands on the top and I will guide....

Super Preschooler: Like this?

(Sounds of butter hitting the cabinets, the fridge, Super Toddler's face, and the sink.)

Me: Sigh. No. Not like that. Here, let me do it.

Super Preschooler, Super Toddler, and Excellent Toddler: But I wanted to do it!

Me: Look, look, you can help me put in the dry ingredients.

(Explosion of flour.)

Me: Oh wow, you all look like Charlie Sheen after a bad night.

Super Toddler: Who Charlie Sheen?

Me: Never mind, time for eggs!

Oh, there is more, but you get the point. However, what is utterly fascinating is that the banana bread that Awkward Mom made earlier, all by herself, was the ugliest and blandest banana bread in creation. The salty Charlie Sheen banana bread was gorgeous and ridiculously tasty. There may have been a stray eggshell or two, but overall? Best banana bread ever. They say that the most important ingredient is love and they are correct. Because they loved making it and Awkward Mom loved eating it.

In the spirit of completeness, I feel the need to show you my 35th birthday cake.

Don't let the plates fool you, this was total eating with hands event.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. School

Psst...hey, Readers, you bored? Wanna rock the boat and got a nasty sense of humor? OK, figured as much. Here is what you do; go find a Mom's baby playgroup. Just walk on in and say the following, "co-sleeping." Or "cloth diapers." Or even (brace yourself for this one), "Breastfeeding." No, there is no need to say anything else, that will do it. Do what? Oh, nothing much, just cause a tsunami of judgement to rival any reality show ever.  It won't matter if that room is full of the most level-headed, gentle, kind, un-Perfect Moms in creation, there will be tension unparalleled. Wanna know why? Because you have just invoked the Infant Trifecta, a terrible trio of parenting choices that sow derision and hostility among mothers. It is kinda like saying the name Voldemort out loud.

I thought that this part of my life was over. I thought I was confident and strong in my motherhood, safe in my mom friend net. I naively assumed that no villain could match the sheer power of separation and superiority of the 3-that-must-not-be-named. I was wrong. I had yet to think about School.

When my mother was growing up, there were public school kids and Catholic school kids. I think my father might have walked 20 miles uphill in the snow to a one-room school house somewhere, but they do things different in Iowa. (Go Hawkeyes!) Now, when I went to school, there were publics, catholics, and the montessori kids. Simple enough, eh?

Wanna know what is going on now? You can send your child to private school (catholic, christian, prep, Waldorf, Friends, independent, or other), public school (traditional or charter), or good old Montessori (Gotta shout out to Awkward Dad's mom, who runs a Montessori school!).  Not doing it for you? Well, you could homeschool; using a cooperative, a traditional curriculum-based approach, or an unschooling method. You could deschool, but schooling of some sort is required before this approach is apropos. And then, there is always an "autonomous learning" approach, which my extensive research (a brief trip to Wikipedia) revealed to be unclaimed by any schooling camp.

Is anyone else tired? I am tired. If you aren't tired, you are probably mad at me or formulating responses to me about the need for structure or how different children learn or how uniforms are lame. Notice that I didn't say a word about what schooling I think is best and yet I can already feel the tension racing along the Wi-Fi. This is the power of parenting-issues-that-must-not-be-named. Wait, I am getting another vibe; you might like me a ton, but you think I should stay the heck away from this total bomb of a topic. And you might be right, but I have always lived dangerously. School. There, I said it. School. School. School. Does Beetlejuice show up now?

My parents are ridiculously intelligent and diverse people who are, at this present moment, most likely reading 11 books between them. (And I mean, right now. While they are also reading this blog post and bemoaning my sentence structure.) They have a knowledge about a variety of issues, from animal husbandry to World War II battle strategy to the wedding customs of the Assyrians. They speak well, write well, and, well, are well. I can not touch them and won't even try. Seriously, sometimes I am sitting here writing and I misspell something so bad that spell check doesn't even come up with anything. So, I open another window and start typing it in Google until Google figures it out or I use another word entirely to avoid the whole mess.

Needless to say, I did not inherit their intellect, but what I hope I did inherit was their ability to talk about anything without starting a fight. Nothing was off limits in my parents' house, conversationally speaking. Here is a partial list of things I have discussed (without a fight) with my parents: abortion, the Irish Civil War, my socialist phase, women's rights, Iran, every U.S. election ever, Nazis, adoption, religion, the American Civil War, majoring in fine arts, the Spanish Civil War, animal rights, climate control, and whether or not eggnog is appropriate to drink outside of December. My parents hold to the rule that nothing is so dangerous that it can't be talked about, and to further illustrate this point, I am currently drinking egg nog out of a mug with 20 banned books listed on it, which was a Christmas gift from my mother.

I am not sure about my plans for Super Preschooler's Kindergarten. We are majorly leaning toward Catholic school, but we are still exploring options. I do know that I will not be homeschooling because I am, at heart, deeply lazy. Other than that, I am fairly open. I welcome comment and thoughts, especially from Wonderful Mom, because she could be superintendent tomorrow with her school knowledge. I am not afraid to talk about school with you guys. Let's take the power out of parenting-issues-that-must-not-be-named; we are all friends here. Well, unless you are a Perfect Mom who accidentally got here and read this far along. Not sure how you got here, you might want to click here instead. OK, are we all back to being friends? Good. Readers, we are all just trying to do what is best for our kids. Sometimes that is public school and sometimes that is homeschooling and sometimes that is leaving Mommy alone while she is eating chocolate in the bathroom because it is the only room in this whole house with a lock. Wish they taught that in school.....

Seriously, did she summon Beetlejuice? Because daylight come and I wan' go home.

Tee-hee, never gets old....

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. Cake

Awkward Mom always wins her battles with cake. He is a lesser-tier villain. Kinda like Stilt-Man.

My birthday is coming. My 35th birthday. This means many things. 35 is officially adult; at least it always was when I was younger than almost 35. Part of me wants to redefine "officially adult" as 40, but part of me wants to embrace this. My mother told me once that when she looks in the mirror she is often surprised because she expects to see herself in her 30s. I asked her why 30s, and not 20s or 40s or age 9. She said it was in her 30s that she was busy raising us and that is how she sees herself. She was full. She was happy. Not that she isn't happy, busy, or full now (seriously, I can never find the woman), but there is something special about a house full of kids. Of course, that something special is also a little like this, but mostly nice. My 30s have been my favorite age so far, and I have high hopes for year 35.

But my impending birthday also means that cake is coming. And you have not had cake until you have had awkward cake. At my baptism, there were no less than 3 cakes. No one has a very good reason for this; there may have been miscommunication or overgenerousity or a sale at the holy bakery. No one really knows. However, know this; all 3 cakes were consumed. Our ancestral line arches back into antiquity; long, awkward, and completely gluttonous.

Here is my 5th birthday cake; a little crooked, a ton delicious, and sporting a strange elephant candle. Plus, I am rocking that crown and the kitchen was rocking its 80s curtains. Perfection. 

This is my brother's 3rd birthday.
Not a fork in sight and exactly what flavor is green? 

I began my 6th year with sweet pink frosting and a complete disregard for self-control.

Year 10 was when my father lost his mind. 

Let's fast-forward a tad; surely I will have learned some artistry or manners by age 25. Nope. Here is my 25th birthday cake, lovingly made by my friends. It was then dismantled by me and the same friends; don't let that fork in the frame fool you. We ate it like a pack of wolves; hunched over, with our hands, slightly growling. Husbands and boyfriends clinging to the outer walls of the room in terror. I have a picture of it, but, as I love my friends and love remaining alive, I have declined to show it. Picture it. I dare you. 

Here is me at age 26, convinced that Super Cat needs some of my awesome Tasmanian devil cake. 

Oh holy cats, we have kids now! More excuses for cake!

The Elmo cake was a big hit. And then we decide to serve Super P. the eye because, really, the best gift for any child is future material for therapy sessions.

Timing is everything with birthday cakes.

No, I take it back. Theme is everything with birthday cakes.

Age 1 (Super Baby) is the year Awkward Dad lost his mind.
That is a Whole Foods German Chocolate cake with organic chocolate shavings.
She got no other gifts as a result.

Do NOT invite the Transformers to your birthday party until you own a steam cleaner.

I am looking forward to my birthday and the new beginnings that it brings. I am looking forward to another year of parenthood and the adventures ahead. I am looking forward to being full, busy, and happy in my mid-to-late 30s. But make no mistake, I am most looking forward to the cake. 

Hey, did you spot the 1-21 birthday candle where's-waldoing it in Awkward Mom's childhood photos? Do you know that they still make these? We are not entirely sure how we feel about the symbols that accompany each age. There is a stork for age 1, but we assume that is actually for 0 because what 1-year-old wants a baby for their first birthday? The teddy bear for 3 is fine, as is the tricycle for 6. The book shows up around age 9, OK, cool. Then there is a bike for age 12, yes, we can do that. It is the 2 entwined hearts that pop up around age 15 that gives one pause. The graduation cap for 18 is refreshing, and then there are a pair of rings for 21. A pair of rings, eh? Well, 2 purity rings seems a bit excessive, we were just gonna get the kids one each but I suppose 2 would really drive the point home. We are gonna have to ponder this, 1-21 birthday candle. We'll get back to you. 

The best thing about cake is eating it as messily as possible. 
Trust us on this, we are professional messers. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. Stats

This doesn't even warrant Mini-Battle status. Just stat.

Every so often I check out the stats on my blog; I suppose that is vain and weird, but whatever, today I did. There is a part that shows you how people get to your blog. No great surprise, most of my traffic is from facebook and my wonderful friends! But some people stumble on here through google or some other search engine. Do other search engines even exist? Anyway, here are the poor people who were clearly looking for something else and wound up here.

1. (2)
10 to 1 that this was my mother, both times. No one but a internet neophyte types the .com part.

2. toddler villain (2)
This means there are 2 people in the world who really need a mom's night out. Or they are super villains themselves and looking for tips to create the perfect villain family. Either way, hope they get some help soon.

3. wet diaper (2)
Wow. Can we say new parent? If you are looking for help from the internet with that wet diaper, you have not been doing this very long.

4. baby and mom christmas photo (1)
Hmmm....some not particularly seasonal person would like a baby and mom photo. Any photo? It isn't the best way to search for one's own photo, so maybe he/she isn't picky. Although, the Christmas part seems to be important.

5. stuffed penguin costume shedd aquarium (1)
I can only hope that this is a sea-life loving mom looking to give her child a fun day out, and not a deranged Chicago-based taxidermist.

6. super scary when you see it (1)
I'm not even sure why this led to my blog. Super awkward, maybe, but super scary? Not really. At least, only first thing in the morning. And what exactly is this person looking for? A movie? A haunted house? Just a scary item to look at? I suppose we will never know. I should hook this person up with the toddler villain people! Those can be some super scary sights, let me tell you!

However you got here, we are glad you are here! Pull up a chair, sit a spell, maybe leave a comment about your latest interent search. Awkward Mom's might have been "shirtless Jonas Kaufmann." Might have been....only google knows for sure.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. Guns

First off, we need to apologize to anyone who found their way here and expects some sort of intelligent or well crafted essay for or against guns. Awkward Mom is rarely political, and she is less often correct. Secondly, we need to apologize if you came here desiring pithy sayings about the second amendment or heart-rending stories about the need for gun control. Nope, fresh out. Fear not, there is a plethora out there on the interweb, if that is what you are into. Either way. No, here you will find the vague, out-loud thoughts of a mother struggling. Struggling with what, you might ask. Guns? Violence? Children? Motherhood? Writing this post? What to make for dinner? Where all those M + Ms went that she thought she had so well hidden in the pantry? Yes. All that. That about covers it.

2 things happened last week. Super Preschooler asked me if guns were real, and Super Toddler asked me if guns were real. I answered that yes, guns are real. Super Preschooler burst into tears and said that was really scary and wrong, and Super Toddler broke out his winningest smile and immediately asked if he could have one.

Important studies, that I am way too lazy to cite or look up but I swear are true, say that little boys, when denied toy guns, will make them out of anything. Legos, tinker toys, dolls, empty wrapping paper tubes. Some draw them out on paper, and some draw them in the dirt with sticks. Some just use the sticks, full stop. Showing great geographical vision, Awesome Mom's brother made his gun out of a state of Oklahoma puzzle piece. Awkward Uncle was also denied toy guns, and, being the rule follower that he is, contented himself with an army of He-men and Transformers because there is nothing violent about sword-wielding Tarzans or car-morphing robots that look like this. Does it even count as a gun if it is your arm? I mean, it isn't like Megatron can help that. Oops, sorry, Awkward Dad has just informed me that it isn't a gun, it is a fusion cannon. Yeah, massive difference there.

Speaking of Awkward Dad, if there was ever a household that wasn't denied guns, it was his. Awkward Dad's Dad actually gave him a Red Ryder BB Gun, but, to my knowledge, he never actually shot his eye out. Furthermore, Awkward Dad went trick or treating around age 10 as Indiana Jones, complete with fedora, bull whip, and a toy pistol that his father painted black and made so realistic looking that Awkward Dad was stopped by some passing police. Now, in the Awkward childhood home, we were not even allowed water guns. We had these animals that would spit water at you when you pulled their tails. Might have been more realistic if they bit you when you pulled their tails, that is what I would do. Water spitting isn't really a deterrent, now, is it? (I was also denied Barbies, but that is a whole other post that I am gearing up for, now that I, too, have a daughter. Stay tuned!)

What's my point here, Readers? I don't really know that I have one. My brothers and I don't desire guns unduly because we were denied them. Awkward Dad isn't housing an arsenal because he had them. Awkward Dad and I are still figuring out what to do with our kids. A little late, I grant you. You see, this decision got delayed because of Super Preschooler. All he is packing is a wand. He just never found guns that interesting or useful in his particular play, so we didn't think to make a rule about it. Then, comes Super Toddler. He seems cool with pirate swords and light sabers for awhile, but soon enough, he starts shoving Super P.'s wands in his pockets and whipping them out at lightening speed. He would aim them, and jerk them up while pow-powing gun noises, dropping more imaginary cartridges than The Boondock Saints, the first or the second one. (Why did they make that sequel? Didn't they kill everyone in the first one? It seems like they even got the camera man at one point....)

Around this time, we all watch Star Wars as a family. While Super Preschooler is designing what he would do with Leia's hair and Super Baby is delighting that we are allowing her popcorn, Super Toddler is embracing the dark side of the force. This is how Awkward Dad loses his mind, and Super Toddler gets a blaster. Star Wars love blinds you, Readers. We can't help ourselves but go insane when our children express interest in our childhood loves. We are children of the 80s, after all. But don't think that this is new, Readers. There was a reason that Awkward Dad was gifted a Red Ryder BB gun. Parents want to recreate the joys of their childhood with their children; it is totally somewhere in the top 10 reasons why having kids is awesome. But I am not kidding; Super Toddler merely mentioned Star Wars, and Awkward Dad fits him out like he is bullseying womp rats on Tatooine. For some reason, we convince ourselves that a "blaster" isn't really a gun. And anyway, I mean, he might need it. After all, didn't Greedo shoot first? Super Toddler might need to protect himself.

Anywho, Super Toddler gets this "blaster" and then all hell breaks loose. All of a sudden, all play is gun play. All games involve "shooting" and "killing" and big elaborate deaths that make me think I am raising tiny Quentin Tarantinos. Super Preschooler, the mystic, is so thrilled to have a fighter on his team that he embraces guns wholeheartedly. (Yes, I just made a Dungeons and Dragons reference. Let's just move on, shall we?) And you would think that they would be content to do this gun stuff in the house and get it out of their system and then be adorable, politically correct, Ann-Arbor-angel babies out in public, right? If you answered yes, please retain that naivety, it is charming. Nope. If anything, it is worse. Here we are, at my church small group:

Super Toddler: I bad guy! I kill you.

Super Preschooler: Die, bad guy!

Child they roped into this: So, I point this tinker toy gun at his face?

Super Preschooler: Sure, or his chest. Either will kill him just as easily.

Child they roped into this: Pow! Pow! You dead!

Super Toddler: Oh, they got me! Mother of Mercy, is this the end of Rico?

Might be paraphrasing a wee bit, but that is how is sounded in the CHURCH NURSERY with a picture of Jesus on one side and a benevolent St. Francis frolicking with lions and lambs on the other side and the judgment of all 12 years of Catholic school raining down on me like a flood.

And most of my half-hearted attempts to intervene do not go well:

Super Toddler: Pow! Pow! I shoot you!

Me: Hey, no guns.

Super Preschooler: Why not?

Me: Well, um, because they are bad.

Super Toddler: Cops guns. No bad.

Me: Right, well, yes, police have guns to keep the peace. That is OK.

Super Preschooler: Well, I am pretending to be the police with a gun.

Me: Ummm...

Super Toddler: I want gun too! I police.

Super Preschooler: No, we need a bad guy. You be the bad guy!

Super Toddler: I want gun too! No fair!

Super Preschooler: He is right. It isn't fair. He needs a gun too. You always say to play fair.

Me: But, no, that isn't what I mean. Oh, just don't shoot your eyes out. Where is the chocolate?

I don't know what to do. My children aren't bad. My children aren't trying to really kill each other. In fact, this is what they think of that:

Super Toddler: I kill you!

Me: What does that mean?

Super Toddler: It mean; you bad guy. I kill you.

Me: But what does kill mean?

Super Toddler: But, you mommy, you don't know?

Super Preschooler: Wow, Mommy, I thought you knew everything.

Me: Just tell me what you think it means to kill.

Super Toddler: Put in jail.

Super Preschooler: Stop the bad guy and put in jail.

Me: Couldn't you just say put in jail then?

Super Toddler: Too long! Kill better.

Sigh. I feel like I am going in circles here. Play is how children work things out, play is how children learn about each other and the world. Play is how I have a couple minutes to sit here and write to you guys. I don't want to control their play. I don't want to control them. I do NOT want to give up the couple minutes that I have to write to you. But they are my responsibility and it is my job to guide them to adulthood with skills and confidence and respect for all life. Guns are real. Kill doesn't mean put in jail. But watching my sons play together isn't all horrifying and confusing. They are teaming up, they are squaring off. They are making rules and structure and, though is sounds crazy, they respect each other during their gun play games. They have to agree on when a hit is a hit, and they tend to fight less when they are fighting, if that makes any sense at all. They match the great rules of action films without even trying. The bystanders are totally off limits, even if their baby sister crawls into the line of fire. The good guy always wins. The bad guy always loses; has the best death scene (that goes without saying), but always loses. But no one is really facing death here. In fact, death means less to a couple of coppers and robbers playing children than it does to the writers of the X-men. No deep truths are happening here, they are just playing. But isn't playing how they learn?

Oh, I don't know what this says and I don't know if it is right. But know this, no one is getting a Red Ryder BB gun around here anytime soon. I am working it out in real time, and I am sharing it with you because I know that you are too. We are figuring it out as we go, which I suppose describes most of the parenting decisions around here. It has worked out so far. That it has been awkward is not news, and I assume this will be no different. I'll take awkward, I know awkward. I can do awkward. All I ask is that I figure this one out before Super Baby want to play with Barbies.

We would never presume to tell the government how to do its job, but while you are convening committees to figure stuff out, could you maybe create one to monitor out-of-control nerd fathers who want to share Spiderman comics with their children (whether or not their children want this) way too early? And while you are at it, please make it a law that these fathers are not allowed to refer to their impressionable daughters with healthy eating habits as the "Kingpin." It is not an endearing term, even though he means it well. Please do something about this. Thanks!

Don't be fooled, that kazoo is deadly in the right hands, I mean, mouth. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. Mini-Battle #2

Shakespeare says that sleep "knits up the ravell’d sleave of care." He also thinks that sleep is "Nature’s soft nurse" and that "our little life is rounded with a sleep." The man enjoyed a nap, that much is clear. Super Baby says that sleep is "a total waste of time when you could be playing with me. Wake up. Wake up Wake up. Wake up. Wake up." We are totally paraphrasing in the interest of time; she went on quite a bit longer but this is a mini-battle, after all.

If 2 night owls and a morning person walk into a bar, I mean their parents' bedroom, there is little punchline. Really more punching of the actual variety. Super Toddler is a sleep puncher. He is also a sleep kicker, talker, roller, mover, shaker, yeller, and toy stealer, if Super Preschooler's accusations are anything to go on. Super Toddler has been in here since last night around 10pm, when he finally fell asleep, nearly folded in half up by the pillows, using a pen to draw on the wall. At least, he didn't need any company; although, upon reflection, he probably should have been monitored with that pen. Super Preschooler, on the other hand, refused to go to bed until he was read to, sung to, talked to, and cuddled. He seemed contently on his way to sleep when he popped out into the living room around 11:15pm, right we were watching the body being discovered in the freezer. That did not help matters at all, and then he announced that a monster was under the bed and he needed more cuddles to combat it. I still don't know who put the body in the freezer, but I think it was the minister. Always the quiet ones. I vanquished the monster, but he, and Super Preschooler, somehow made it back in our bed around 3am. No one had the heart, or more likely energy, to move them. And I have no idea why Super Toddler wasn't moved in the first place. Super Baby showed up around 7am, when Awkward Dad plopped her and a bottle of milk next to me on his way to the shower. She drank fairly quietly, when she wasn't loudly talking in my ear about being healthy, wealthy, and wise. I think that is what she said. I don't know, I was half asleep.

I had just gotten all the way back to sleep. Martin Freeman and I were having tea in a beautiful garden somewhere. He is more John Watsony, but he has those adorable curls from the Hobbit. Hey, do I come into your dreams and judge your choices? Do I? Well, OK, I know that I was pretty harsh on those of you who have a thing for Justin Long, but ladies, come on. The man is a baby. Some of your preschoolers look older than him. OK. OK. Each to her own, I apologize. So, Martin and I are gazing adoringly at each other when these lovely butterflies start to hover around the table. How picturesque. And it would stay that way, but they start to dive-bomb me. Butterfly after butterfly just hurls itself into my face; suicidal skippers, all. I fling my arms in front of my face and start to blink rapidly. Martin starts to kick me under the table, which isn't very nice; doesn't he see these butterflies attacking me? I am getting ready to spat with him, when my rapid blinking banishes the beautiful garden and replaces it with my cluttered bedroom. I try to focus on Martin's face, but it slowly morphs into a overfull, and hazardously leaning, basket of laundry. He is still kicking me, however. Oh, never mind, that is just Super Toddler. And the butterflies?

Super Baby is standing in the bathroom doorway, the morning sun haloing her hair and bathing her face in beauty. She laughs like a little sprite, leans over, and pulls something out of a box on her right. I don't have my glasses on, so everything is hazy and slowed down somehow. She seems to be weighing the object in her hand, preparing just the right arc and velocity needed to get it to my face accurately, and then, like the superhero she is, she flings this flash of white toward me. I am only able to shift slightly, weakened as I am from the previous evening's antics, so the tampon just grazes my cheek and goes on to plow into Super Preschooler's ear. He waves it away and continues to snore. I look back at Super Baby to see that she has reloaded and is hurling yet another tampon towards me, like some gynecological gunslinger. She is also chewing on one; it is poking out the right side of her mouth, a la Groucho Marx. A baby Groucho Gaucho in pink feeted pajamas grins at me from across the room; guess it is time to get up.

In the Bard/Baby Battles of sleep, youth always triumphs. Youth and deadly aim.

Just like this. Only, you know, with a feminine-product cigar. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. Sisterhood

"Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for each other.” Carol Saline is standing in for our narrator today; she is slightly less sassy. Slightly.

Super Baby and I are in her new First Steps class, and I am standing here next to the sensory table. Super Baby is fascinated by the little fabric balls that they have in there today. Fascinating and tasty, it seems. I am fishing them out of her mouth, when I happen to glance up and see Perfect Mom working on puzzles with Perfect Toddler. He knows all his colors, shapes, letters, and numbers up to 20. It appears they are moving on to an animal puzzle, if her proud and excited "Yes, that is a giraffe" is anything to go on. I don't know for sure, as Super Baby has somehow got a fabric ball up her nose and I am a bit distracted.

I am trying to figure out exactly what it is about Perfect Mom that drives me so crazy. So, she is tall and thin and terribly beautiful. That isn't her fault; really more her parents'. She wears makeup everyday and knows exactly how to apply it. Whatever, that is really more preference and skill. She rocks the fitted sweater with skinny jeans tucked into knee-high boot winter look, but so does Excellent Mom and she is one of my best mom friends on the planet. She takes every moment to educate and parent her children with patience and structure, which is clearly the result of much study and thought. So, she isn't lazy like a certain awkward somebody we all know. Her children walk, eat solids, talk, potty train, read, and clearly master puzzles alarmingly early. Whatever. Awkward Dad tells me that this is hardwired into some children and has nothing to do with parental intervention. (I think he loves me deeply and is full of it, but let's pretend he is correct.) Therefore, it is hardly her doing or fault that her children are combination Norman Rockwell models/von Trapp singers. On the rare occasions that I have been in Perfect Mom's house, I have been stunned by the order and cleanliness. However, Amazing Mom's house could be in Better Homes and Gardens and I adore her. (Her children also approach Rockwell/von Trapp land most of the time.) So, spacial shininess isn't solely the reason. Her car? Eco-friendly and clean. Her book choices? Up to date and challenging. Her television? She doesn't watch it often and typically only to watch PBS. Her political affiliation? Strong but not preachy. Even the woman's purse is perfect; some Prada or Coach that she found for a steal at a thrift store. What exactly is the reason? None of these things are offensive. The woman is perfect; you would think anyone would be happy to be friends with her and I chose her for my nemesis.

As with anything, it is really more the sum of the parts here. All of these things in one person are annoying, given that I can't even get 2 of these going at one time. So, it is all about me. Charming. So, now I am Selfish Mom on top of being awkward. Well, I can defend myself slightly. I have had encounters with Perfect Mom when she has shoved her perfectness in my face and clearly judged me for my lack of it. Here and here come to mind. Then, there are the numerous times that I have tried to talk to Perfect Mom at the park or pool or parenting place of your choice, only to be shot down like a pre-J.D. Victoria. Or that look she gets on her face when she sees the blob of oatmeal on my shirt but is just too polite and mature to mention it, but I see her looking at it with her perfect little nose wrinkled up just so. Ugh. She is so perfect! I hate her.

Of course, I don't really hate her. Dislike her? Yeah, I might admit to that. Want to be her? On occasion, yes. But the problem here is that I really want to love her and I fail time and time again, which forces me to look at my own pettiness and jealousy in all its clear ugliness. The thing is; I seek a sisterhood. (Hang around long enough and I will get to the point.) I have no sisters of my own, and I always wanted sisters. That whole von Trapp thing again; I might have a slight obsession with the Sound of Music. Don't judge; Julie Andrews is a force of nature. Anyway, I tormented my mother by asking for a sister, pretty much everyday until somewhere in adolescence. For, it was in the dark days of adolescence that I started making my own sisters. A strong sorority of woman that I love to this day. I prefer women friends. Might have something to do with going to an all-girls high school, but I think it really crystallized in the confusing, crush-filled, days of college. That is when I figured out that boys are nice and all, but girls are who I want to confide in, laugh with, and cry to. Boys have their place, but girls will always have your back. And your front too. Especially if the top you are wearing is ridiculously ugly. A true sister will tell you about that, right away. Even offer to switch with you. Now, that is love.

I have not stopped. I seek a sisterhood wherever I roam; pulling friends to me on this journey until we resemble a slightly crazed band of wandering women. Perhaps at times, witches, but mostly wizards with wondrous wit and warmth. The women that I have gathered into my gaggle of gypsies, this epicenter of estrogen, my society of sisters, are as varied and wonderful as some delightful metaphor that escapes me right now. This is because my friends defy description (because it certainly couldn't be a lack of my literary prowess). Their aliases try to capture them: Awesome Mom, Marvelous Mom. Consummate Chef. Excellent Mom. Amazing Mom. Wonderful Mom. Manga Mom. Phenomenal Mom. Professor PhD. And so many more, a source of comfort, support, and challenge for me always. But these monikers are nothing compared to the complex, kind, thoughtful, intelligent, strong, and rich hearts that beat within their owners. This is an amazing array of amazons. Let Prince Hal keep his merry band of brothers; when I decide to invade the fields of Agincourt, I shall do so with my sisters beside me.

Currently, my vasty fields of France are the treacherous shoots and ladders of motherhood. My sisters have been stronger than ever during this tumultuous time of change for me. In fact, my very motherhood is how I have met many of my newer sisters. Newer, but not lesser. I really do not think I would have made it this far into motherhood without them. Awkward Dad is wonderful, see here for how. Oh, and here. But my sisters weave a net around me, really more quilt, to catch me when I fail and fall. Their laughter brings me back from the brink, and their tears remind me that I am not alone. They are never judging or cruel when I am awkward, which, let's be honest, is pretty much all the time around here. When I have a blob of oatmeal on my shirt, one of my sisters quickly tells me, hands me a wet wipe, and reminds me that she had one on her shirt yesterday.

Which brings me back to Perfect Mom. I want to love her. I want to embrace her and pull her into our group of sisters, where she belongs. She must be so lonely out there, doing it all herself. I guess she has other Perfect Mom clones for company, but we all know that clones are not all they are cracked up to be. In fact, things often go disastrously wrong. And I must be honest; yes, I have had a few run-ins with Perfect Mom, but these days, I am the one avoiding her at the park/pool/parenting place. I have such a strong mom sisterhood now that I often feel nothing for Perfect Mom but pity. This is not right. The darkest villains can be redeemed. Doctor Octopus has taught us that; movieverse Doc Ock, that is. I am not totally on board with the current Spiderman craziness. Give me time. Anyway, Perfect Mom is my sister too and I need to make room for her. Maybe it is because I don't have a real sister that I forget that while sisterhood certainly has von Trapp moments, it also has Brady Bunch moments. Perfect Mom is my Marcia. And while she makes me crazy a lot of time, she can come swing her perfect hair in my band any day of the week. It might make it easier if she had a little oatmeal on her shirt though; which sister of mine wants to undertake that? Anyone?

Sarah Addison Allen will take over closing duties today: "We're connected, as women. It's like a spiderweb. If one part of that web vibrates, if there's trouble, we all know it."

Pretty sure this one won't have trouble gathering a sisterhood.
Perhaps there will even be traveling pants involved. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. Mini-Battle #1

Dearest Readers, it is not all epic daring-do over here, despite Awkward Mom's tomes to that effect. Everyday is rife with unexpected dangers and opportunities for Awkward Mom's unique brand of "superheroing" to display itself in full glory. We have, so far, been only documenting the major battles; the Gettysburgs, the Iwo Jimas. But we all know that Awkward Mom's personal war with parenthood is full of unsung heroes, untold tales, and more awkwardness than a million trenches could possibly contain. This is merely the first in a new series we are naming: the mini-battles.

It is 6:32pm. Dinner is not ready. That is really all you need to know.

Me: Super Toddler, get that out of your mouth. Toy snakes are not for eating.

Super Toddler: Hungry! Want food!

Super Preschooler: I am starving, I am so hungry; I may die!

Me: I'm working on it, just hang on. Get that out of your mouth; snakes are not food!

Awkward Dad: Well, you know, that really depends. In many cultures...

Me: Are you serious? Really? Couldn't you just back me up for once? We all know you are smart. We all know that you know stuff. We all know you are the doctor, and I am the lame housewife. Yes, yes; Genius Awkward Dad! Always educating the children with infinite patience and literal truths. Children, yes, snakes are food in many cultures around the world. Should we cook up your snake tonight?! Hand it over, I'll put it in the pot.

Super Preschooler: AHHH! NO!!! Murderer!

Super Toddler: My snake! Mine! AHHH!

Awkward Dad: Just calm down.

Me: You calm down! You. You! In fact, you make dinner. You watch them tomorrow, I'll go to work and play doctor for awhile. Have fun educating them on the culinary habits of the world when you have just changed your 14th diaper and the cat throws up and the bills show up and they won't nap but they need to and you can't get to the phone because someone decided to put it in the fridge along with 18 legos. You. (Bursts into tears.)

Awkward Dad: Super Toddler, get that out of your mouth. Snakes are not for eating!

More often than not, mini-battles are colossal losses for Awkward Mom and allies. But, fear not, Readers, we are winning the war; we are totally winning the war. "Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts." Look! Look! Winston Churchill liked alliteration too!

Apparently, snakes are for hugging. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. Movies

You might want to open up imdb right now. In fact, let's do it for you. Here. OK. Leave that open; you are gonna need it.

I love movies. Love them. And if I can, I love to see them in the theater. Not opening night. Not in 3D (that's a whole other post, folks). And not in a majorly crowded theater. Just in one full enough so that I am not the only one laughing at the funny parts, the only dorky one gasping and hiding my face during the intense parts. One just loud enough to hide the opening of my snuck-in soda pop. There is little that I enjoy more than the lights dimming and that green preview screen showing up. It ranks up there with the birth of my children; I really really love movies. Right now, with the continuation of $5 Wednesdays and Awesome Mom's famous Oscar party to prepare for (Super P. is thinking of dressing me in teal this year...he claims it is in), I am seeing a lot of movies in the theater as opposed to my other love, Netflix. (Still love you, Netflix; you are rock solid and adding the entire run of West Wing was a thing of beauty.) It has been mostly amazing at the theater this winter, no complaining here, although I could have done without that preview for Dark Skies, yikes!

I recently saw The Hobbit one and a half times (long story), which was wonderful. (Martin Freeman, call me! Seriously. Awkward Dad says it is OK.) But what I really want to talk about is this preview I saw for Pacific Rim because I saw it twice and it really stuck in my mind. Pacific Rim looks like a fairly tame, pretty standard Monster/Robot action movie, especially when you consider that it is directed by Guillermo del Toro, who has a stunning imagination, tortured vision, and, I am willing to bet, some seriously messed-up imaginary friends. I am sitting there, sipping my illegal diet Cherry Pepsi, listening to Awkward Dad try to slowly and quietly open a box of Rasinets (which made it so much louder), when I see Super Preschooler. No, no, don't worry, it isn't really him. As much as I want to, they aren't really ready for Middle Earth just yet. He, and the rest of the Supers, are home with the sitter. No, the actor that Super Preschooler would be, if he were an actor, is standing there, all heroic and military and intense, giving a big speech about defeating the monsters and "cancelling the apocalypse!" He is shouting; he is passion itself. It is pretty stirring. The camera pans to the left and Super Baby comes into view, a stunning but serious-minded scientist who isn't quite comfortable with the results or ramifications of her genius. She is biting her lip and looking adorably brilliant; all the acting going on is in eyes as deep and wise as the ocean. They shoot to the unholy alien monsters and then to some enormous robots and the handsome soldiers that are going to "drive" them. They linger on the leading man. You can tell he is the leading man because he looks blindingly cute and clean-cut, but slightly conflicted. I am not interested in him. I am looking over his left shoulder to the fun-loving burly guy who winks at the leading character while doing some silly trick with his robot. Ah, there he is. I have located Super Toddler.

Super Toddler is John C. Reilly. Kevin James. Danny Kaye and Donald O'Conner (No, that's not the same guy. I swear it.) Joseph Cotton. Jean Reno. Steve Buscemi when he isn't being creepy. Super Toddler is Winston from Ghostbusters. Sergeant Horvath from Saving Private Ryan. He is Grandpa from Little Miss Sunshine. Joshua Deets from Lonesome Dove. Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore from Apocalypse Now. John Blutarsky from Animal House. Uncle Eddie from National Lampoon's anything. Sometimes he is there for comic relief. Sometimes he is there to die selflessly to save the hero. Sometimes he is there because he is crazy and likes the smell of napalm in the morning. But know this; he is there, he knows exactly who he is, and if you aren't careful, he will steal your movie. Or at least, every single scene he is in. Super Toddler is bold, brave, and barely bad. (He is really more mischievous, but we all know about my weakness for alliteration.) Super T. is not shy, conflicted, or unsure. You are going to have adventures with Super Toddler; it is a foregone conclusion. Super T. is Charles from Super 8, Vern from Stand by Me, and pretty much anyone in the Goonies.

Star Wars? He is Chewbacca. Indiana Jones? Sallah. Godfather? Tom Hagen. Wizard of Oz? Cowardly Lion. Pretty in Pink? Duckie. (Duh. But with Super T. in that pompadour, no way she is going home with Blane, let me tell you.) Taxi Driver? Wizard. The Maltese Falcon? Joel Cairo. Breakfast Club? Andrew. Almost Famous? The drummer. On the Waterfront? Father Barry. The Philadelphia Story? High Society? Mike Conner; he prefers the one where he sings. Robin Hood? Little John. Citizen Kane? The Third Man? See previous paragraph for reference to Joseph Cotton. (Then go re-watch The Third Man; just amazing.) Marx Brothers? Harpo.  I could do this all day long. That is, if I wasn't pushing the limits of my children's lego interest as it was.

Super Toddler is not neurotic enough to be in a Woody Allen film, and he is too full of warmth and life to be in a Kubrick movie. (Yes, I said it. Comment me, I would love it. It'll take me back to college.) Super T. pops up in war movies and westerns as grizzled sergeants and sheriffs. Sometimes a moonshiner, just to keep things interesting. In the musicals, he is always the tap dancer. In the horror movies, he breaks the tension with some comic relief. In the blockbusters, romantic comedies, and dramas, he is the friend. And what a friend he is. He is the Duke of Exeter from Henry V. He is George Stone from the Untouchables. He is Mickey in Rocky. He is John Watson from any version of Sherlock Holmes except the Basil Rathbone ones. (Nigel Bruce, I love you, but Super Toddler is not likely to step on important clues or befriend the bad guy.) He is Donal Logue from Just Like Heaven, John Candy from Splash, Bruno Kirby from When Harry Met Sally. Bets are good that Super Toddler will have a wagon wheel coffee table someday. He doesn't care, he thinks it looks cool.

But it would be lazy to just see Super Toddler as a fun-loving friend character. Super T. is a man of action. He is Thor. He is John McClane. He is Josh Duhamel from Transformers. Super T. is strong and steady. You want Super T. on your side. If Super T. was in Lord of the Rings, he would be Sam, but he would have little patience for Frodo's antics. Super Toddler would snatch that ring out of Frodo's conflicted hand, hurl it in the river of fire, throw Gollum in after it, poke the Eye of Sauron in its, ummm, eye, and saunter back to the Shire, dripping in Ork blood, eating an apple. Super Toddler is not here to play around or stare poetically at the sunset. Super T. likes to brawl, eat, and laugh, but he is no villain. Super T. is a true friend and a brave comrade. He has got your back, the next round, and, if you aren't careful, your girl. Super Toddler has got this. Don't worry, he's got this.

In about a week, Super Toddler will turn 3 years old. I am not sure how his amazing confidence could get any bigger, but I am sure it will. Super T. rarely disappoints. He is a glorious toddler, a wonderful son, and the best friend you could want. His presence adds a particular sense of  merriment to our house that no one else could bring. I am sure a conflicted leading man phase will happen at some point (I am predicting somewhere between ages 13-18), but that solid steadiness underneath and boundless mirth will bring him back from full-on tortured hero. I am sure of it. Let others have their name above the movie title and the achingly beautiful close-ups; Super Toddler's doing just fine over here, feet kicked up on the table, drinking a beer (I mean, apple juice), telling a joke that has them rolling in the aisles.

To ring in his third year, Super Toddler has requested a Transformers party. The invitations have a sedate picture of Optimus Prime on the top. Fine, makes sense. But underneath this wise leader of the Autobots, there is an equally large picture of a leering Megatron; devil eyes, corpse nose, teeth like a shark. The text above his head says "Let's Party," and thus are we asking the parents of Super Toddler's friends to trust Megatron with their angel babies for the afternoon. When we queried Super Toddler that perhaps the invitations were a mite scary, he replied, "Megatron not scary. Megatron a goof, Mommy! I get him, don't worry." See, we told you. Super Toddler has got this.

Mom, I got this, don't worry.

 Seriously, it's cool. I totally have this. Pose away over there, I'm good.
No worries. I've got this. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Awkward Mom and Crafty Mom

Man, 2 blog posts in one day? Awkward Mom has got to be avoiding something....does she have a book club coming up? Well, whatever. Super Mom Team-up Time!

Well, Readers, it has finally happened! I have found a crafty mom that I like! (Marvelous Mom doesn't count; I have known her since I was 5 and kinda have to love her.) Now, it is very chic to be crafty these days, I think Pinterest in and of itself proves this. Many of the moms that I know have some craft in their blood and are talented in untold ways. Just ask me about the absolutely wonderful wall hanging that Wonderful Mom made me for Christmas! No, I am not denying the craftiness of my friends, it is ample.

But go check out Crafty Mom's web page and tell me that her moniker doesn't fit her. I suppose she could have a longer title, like the Crazily Creative, Clever, Coolly Cultivated Curator of Crafts. Yes, I think that about covers it. But in the interest of time and space, we'll shorten it to Crafty Mom. Please go check out her blog and Etsy shop. Personally, I wouldn't say no to anyone who wanted to buy me some of her adorable floral journals. My birthday is coming up, you know....hint, hint.

Anywho, a big welcome to Crafty Mom. Her blog is now linked in our blog list over there to the right. OK, Awkward Mom, how about you get off the internet now, I think you might have some children to feed.

Awkward Mom vs. the Garbage Man

Awkward Mom, I am pretty sure that the accepted term is "Trash Collector."

Now, long-term Readers will know of my avoidance of house-hold chores. Heck, I am pretty sure short-term Readers could pick up on that one rather quickly too. I am not an award-winning housewife, by any means, and I would not recommend eating off my floor, although you might find more than a few morsels down there. Super Baby hasn't mastered her hand/eye coordination just yet. But there is one household task that I actually enjoy doing; taking out the garbage.

I am a purger at heart and there is nothing I enjoy more than clearly out a space. The nitty gritty of scrubbing a space and the boring drudgery of maintaining said space are whole other matters and not ones that brings me joy. But the moving of stuff? The getting rid of stuff? The throwing away of stuff? Ah, that delights my soul. Probably a bit too much if you ask Awkward Dad where some of his stuff went, but it is what it is. Therefore, I derive great pleasure from clearing out trash cans in our house and carrying them outside to the big garbage can and the bright blue recycle bin; like some grouch priestess offering stuff to the trash alters. I am not kidding. I really like taking out the garbage.

Garbage day is Tuesday, so I do a sweep of the house garbage and haul the cans out to the curb Monday night. This is quite fitting because I still have hope for the week on Monday. Monday is that day of possibility when the week hasn't really worn me down yet, and I have grand weekly plans of cleaning schedules, Perfect-Mom-type crafts and outings, and strict budgets. Purging our house of diapers, banana peels, and used tissues just feels right on Monday. I will also confess that there might be more than one used-up coloring book and perhaps the 800th picture of stick figure Mommy with a giant circle, where her stomach should be, tucked in between flattened cereal boxes and yogurt cups, heading for the recycling bin. This also feels just right. You can judge me if you want to, but let me tell you, this circle is just ridiculously large.

This past Monday night was different. Awkward Dad decides that he wants to help out. Not sure if it is one of his new year's resolutions or he has suddenly become a purger or he is avoiding his work notes, but he wants to "handle the garbage" tonight. I am not pleased. Now, this isn't because Awkward Dad isn't good at cleaning. In fact, he is a much better cleaner than I am. He is one of those who actually enjoys scrubbing something clean, he just doesn't have much time to do stuff like that. Whereas I have the time but not the interest, he has the opposite problem. No, it is just that garbage is my thing. If he wants to "handle" cleaning the bathroom or vacuuming the living room, I am sure as shooting not gonna say no. But, he seems to think that garbage is how to best help me for whatever reason. Well, whatever the reason, and I am leaning towards avoidance of notes, he gathers up the garbage in the house, looking through it first! How do you like that trust? After he rescues a couple "masterpieces" of Super Preschooler and a ratty looking comic book (that he has 2 copies of!), he drags the cans to the curb. We all go to bed, some more miffed than others, and await Tuesday.

Tuesday dawns clear and bright. I can hear the rumbling of the garbage trucks up and down the street as I lay there listening to Awkward Dad get ready for work and shove Super Toddler's arm out of my face. Hmmm....Awkward Dad is getting ready for work. Just what time is it anyway? Oh Holy Cats! It's Tuesday! Super Preschooler has preschool! Super Baby starts her new First Steps class! I have to get Super Toddler to Amazing Mom's house! So, before you know it, I am hurling children in pants and throwing Cheerios at them, while somehow buttoning coats and getting shoes on. You see, it is no longer Monday. It is Tuesday, when the reality of the week starts to crystallize, and the image coming into focus isn't quite my fantasy of competency and grace.

Awkward Dad leaves in a blur of papers, and we quickly follow. I am standing by the driver's side sliding door, which is completely iced over and refusing to open, when I happen to glance at the garbage cans. They are haphazardly leaning into each other, still completely full, and the handles are facing the road. I glare after Awkward Dad's car, but he is escaping. Not so me, who is herding the children around to the unstuck passenger side door, when I hear massive brakes squealing to a halt right in front of our house. I barely have time to register the enormous garbage truck blocking my driveway when its horn beeps. One really should say that it blasts, there is no beeping about that sound.  Then, this happens:

Garbage Man (oops, I mean Trash Collector): Hey, do you live here?

Me: Super Toddler, get in the van!

Super Toddler (in the awed voice of the newly converted): Garbage Truck. Garbage truck!

Me: Yes, I live here. Super Toddler, get in the van!

Trash Collector: Look here, you are not meeting the requirements for trash pick-up.

Me: Excuse me?

Trash Collector: I skipped your recycle can because it is too close to your trash can and it is facing the wrong way. They are both facing the wrong way.

Me: I know. I was going to fix that. You see....Super Toddler get back here!

Super Toddler: Want to touch! Want to touch!

Trash Collector: They are also way too close to that tree. Guidelines stipulate that you must place the cans 8 feet from any low hanging branches.

Me: Super Toddler, get back here. Trees, OK. I didn't know that. I am sorry.

Trash Collector: They should really be placed over there.

Me: Well, that isn't our yard. That is our neighbor's and he is kinda particular about his grass. Super Toddler, stop touching that!

Super Preschooler: How come Super Toddler gets to ride the garbage truck?

Me: He isn't riding it! He might be touching it though, Super Toddler, stop that! Yes, yes, he is mine. I see him, thank you, well-meaning couple walking their dog! Can I put them over there instead?

Trash Collector: I suppose, but they are facing the wrong way.

Me: Yes, I know. You see my husband did that. I know which way they are supposed to face and was going to fix it after I got the kids in the van.

Trash Collector (with the contempt this deserves): Humph. I'll take the recycling, but you are gonna have to move that trash can. And you are gonna have to move him.

Super Toddler: Look me, Mom!

Me: Get down here, Super Toddler! OK, thank you.

I gather Super Toddler off the garbage truck, which causes blasting of a whole other ilk, and I stash him in the van. I plod through the snow, amid the cacophony of car horns and mumbling neighbors, to our trash can, which promptly falls over at my touch. White garbage bags tumble out onto the matching snow and one rips open, while, behind me, the garbage truck roars to life and proceeds to pick up my illegally placed recycling can. I can hear Super Toddler's screams from here. As cars race around the idling garbage truck, their owners stare, with a mix of pity and frustration, at me hunched over in the snow, picking up my garbage and putting it back in the can. Tears prick my eyes, as I force down my embarrassment and pick up dirty diapers, banana peels, and used tissues. You know, upon reflection, I don't think I really like taking out the garbage anymore.

Upon further reflection, we aren't sure about the term trash collector. Trash collector sounds like something more appropriate for hipsters looking for lamps in the dumpster than the man of authority and barely contained wrath that shamed Awkward Mom yesterday. Garbage man doesn't really fit either. General Garbage? Totalitarianist of the Trash? Sergeant Stricture and Statute? shall comes to us in time. But until then, Awkward Mom will be the only one taking out the garbage, 8 feet over from the tree.

Don't feel too bad for Awkward Mom; she gets to look at this all day. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. the Origin Story

This is Awkward Mom's 200th post. So, she is gonna celebrate by posting a bunch of pictures and talking a lot of nonsense. We are not quite sure how that is different from posts 1-199, but whatever. Let's let her have this.

Awkward Dad's beloved The Amazing Spiderman just reached issue 700. They celebrated this milestone by ending the comic and doing some really messed-up stuff, even by comics' standards. I have no intention of ending this blog at post 200, and I am certainly not gonna do anything messed-up. Well, no more messed up than this:

This is the entire Awkward family, plus Awkward Uncle, at Greenfield Village's Halloween celebration this year. That still gives us no right to look as insane as we look, and sadly, it looks like the awkward gene is alive and well in the Supers. At least Uncle Awkward is actually smiling and looking the right way.

This also raises some questions about awkwardness as a superpower. How is it acquired? Is it passed on genetically? Is there a vaccine somewhere? Not sure, but this leads us to a discussion of superpowers, in general. (Heck, it is my 200th post; if I want to get nerdy, I am gonna get nerdy.)

There are 3 main ways of attaining a super power in the comics world. Within the Marvel universe, that is. (Hey, that is mostly what I read, and this is my analogy. If you want a more DC take on things, go talk to Phenomenal Dad. Warning though: there is a lot of space/alien/green ring stuff, and the talk will take 14 days at least. And that is only if he leaves stuff out.) Now, 3 ways: One can be born with one's superpower, like the X-men or Namor. Well, Namor is technically a mutant too. OK. So, option one is mutation that you are born with. Now, some mutations don't show up until adolescence or thereabouts. Makes sense to me, have you met any teenagers? Total mutants. Now, option 2 is to take a bath in some gamma rays, get anything radioactive to bite/fall on you, or have the government inject you with some superpower stuff. Basically, get someone to give you superpowers. Option 3 is to be insanely rich and just make your own, a la Iron Man. OK. Now, given all these options, I wonder which one applies to me:

Yep. I'm an option 1; I was born awkward, and no waiting around until adolescence for this superpower to show up. Pretty sure it was apparent to my parents from day 1. Speaking of adolescence, no way I am showing you anything from that time. Or college for that matter. In fact, let's just skip to this guy:

Readers, I married him. Then, we did this:

And then, we did this:

OK, well, to be fair, Awkward Dad has very little to do with that cupcake. Anyway, shortly after came Super Preschooler, Super Toddler, and Super Baby. Pretty sure that was when you guys joined us, right? Well, around then, at least. I have really enjoyed my run here on the Adventures of Awkward Mom. Enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I don't really have any plans to stop. At least until the Supers reach adolescence and get really awkward. Like awkward enough to demand that I stop writing about them on the internet. Of course, by then we will probably have something beyond the internet that I can embarrass them with. Dare to dream!

Thanks for getting us to 200 posts, Readers! Parenthood isn't always an easy journey, but with you guys along for the ride, it is less lonely, more manageable, and a hell of a lot for fun! See ya next time; same awkward time, same awkward channel!