Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Awkward Mom and Sisters

Dearest Sisters-

(Now, before rumors of Awkward love-children start, we have to tell you that she means "sisters" in the largest possible sense. In fact, we think she is referring to the entirety of females. Like all of them. The Perfect Moms to the Awkward Moms. The Young Sisters to the Old Sisters. The Hawaiian Sisters to the Maine Moms. The Madagascar Moms to the Siberia Sisters. The Grand-Moms to the Not-Moms. All the Sisters. Even that weird multi-scarfed sister at the park yesterday who lectured Awkward Mom about the evils of sugar for about a quarter of an hour. She is gonna keep on eating sugar, but she means you too, Weird Many-Scrafs-No-Sugar Sister. You too.)

As I was saying, Dearest Sisters-


Each and every one of you. All of you; every single square in the massive, beautifully chaotic quilt that makes up the female part of the population of the earth. Now, don't get me wrong. I am fond of the men as well. They are cool and all. In fact, I am deeply in love with one particular man, for no one will ever get the genius of the Big Lebowski, the gloriousness of cheese, or me quite like Awkward Dad. And I am falling more and more in love with the other 2 men I share a house with; Super Toddler and Super Preschooler. All in all, an excellent man and excellent men-in-training. But this letter is for you, my sisters (Super Baby included!). For without you, there would simply be no me at all.

John Donne said that "No man is an island," and that is kinda what I am getting at. Now, Sarah Addison says that "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," and that is what I really mean. We are all connected. I am not me without the thousands of threads that connect me to you, my lovely sisters; my interaction with you and your generosity with me is what has formed me and continues to allow me to grow on my life journey. And I wanted you all to know how much I appreciate that and love you.

Do we disagree? Sure. Do we fight? Occasionally. Have I gossiped about some of you with Awesome Mom? Yep, as recently as yesterday. Do I even like all of you? If I am being honest, no. Some of you rub me the wrong way sometimes. But I love you. That won't change. I will love you always. Thank you for helping me on my wild journey of womanhood. For without you, there would be a big hole in the spiderweb of women, and we can't have that, now can we? Can't abide holes; someone might fall in.

Thank you to my Awkward sisters; blood or no. You remind me that I am not alone when I trip or forget to bring wipes to the park. You make me feel like I can get my children to adulthood with no major injuries or too many Freudian problems. You make me feel loved and understood with nothing more than a rueful smile and a wink across Aldi while my children see who can slam the freezer doors the loudest. You have been there. You are there. You will be there again. Next to me and with me; I will not be alone in my awkwardness. This is not Middle School. And for that, I thank you.

Special thanks for my mother, Queen of the Awkwards; whose openness and tact could broker peace in the Middle East if someone would just let her, who always has food or the willingness to make you something, who thinks that a little glitter and some artfully draped cloth can transform any space into a party, and who taught me to invite everyone on in, muddy shoes or not, because being generous is the best thing you can do for someone.  As I grow into adulthood, I treasure getting to know you in a sister way, as well as the always privilege that it is to be your daughter. I love you, Mom; thank you.

Thank you to the Perfect Moms, for what is a superhero without a nemesis?  But more than that, you remind me that there are other ways to parent. More intense ways, for sure, but just as valid as mine. You remind me of how boring parenthood would be if it was just me and the other awkward moms. We would have no one to gossip about, for starters. Your drive, focus, and organization is how car seats were created, lead paint was banned, and how millions of children are afforded a quality education. You are tireless champions of your children and of children in general. I may envy your adorable outfits and your confident manner and I may bristle under your advice and contempt. But at the end of the day, you make me a better mom. You make me examine what I truly find important in parenting and you make me grow. Although, I don't often say it, I really do love you guys. Thanks!

Thank you to the Crunchy Moms, and Crunchy Sisters in general, for all your energy in getting more Whole Foods around the country and freer access to quinoa. I know that I horrify you when I drink Diet Pepsi at the park and offer my children Cheez-its, and, though I might roll my eyes when you start in on the aspartame lecture, I really does touch me that you are concerned for my health. For the health of all of us. And for the health and well-being of our planet. Your hearts are firmly in the right place. Thank you for being your delightfully crunchy selves and you are right, carob really does taste a little like chocolate! Thank you for all the granola and thanks for being you!

Thank you to my Political Sisters; the ones right next to me on issues and the ones miles away, shouting at me. It is for you that our ForeMothers marched, spoke-out, and truly suffered for suffrage, and you honor them when you stand firm to your beliefs (whatever they might be and how vastly they may differ from mine). You honor them all when you stand tall and refuse to go back into the kitchen. Unless you feel like making a sandwich for yourself, that is. Thank you for inspiring me to think deeper, educate myself always, and proudly show up to vote for what I think is right. Thank you.

Thank you to my Pinterest Sisters. You make the world a more beautiful place with your crafts. You make the world a tastier place with your recipes. You make the world a better place with your art and willingness to share that art. Thank you.

Thank you to my Pinterest Fail Sisters. You keep us all humble. Your sense of humor is amazing and your openness is inspiring. But it is your willingness to try that moves me the most. You are truly Get-Back-on-the-Horse Women. Thank you.

Thank you to my Faith-filled Sisters. My Christian Sisters. My Muslim Sisters. My Hindu Sisters. My Free-Form-New-Age Sisters who have a penchant for tide-dye and too many necklaces. Whatever direction your spiritual searches take you, thank you for your constant reaching for the divine and the willingness to talk about God. Thank you for the rainbows you provide in the darkness of doubt. Thank you for the prayers. Thank you for the rock-solid support and lack of judgment that you provide to me in my own searching. God bless you. Thank you.

Thank you to my Atheist Sisters, who remind me that the world is full of numerous ways to journey and that goodness needs no formal house. Thank you for letting me disagree with you and secretly pray for you, with good humor and limited eye rolling. God knows that I love you all. Thank you.

Thank you to my Working Mom Sisters, who march into the working world with an energy and drive that I couldn't even fake on my good days. I can not imagine how hard it is to leave your children and go forth to maintain the world's stores, schools, hospitals, roadways, factories, and offices, and you do it everyday, while fielding calls about sick children, homework help requests, and incessant demands about what is for dinner. You do it all to keep the world's economy running and your children supplied in shoes and bread. You are truly super women; thank you.

Thank you to my Stay-at-Home Sisters, who do the sometimes thankless and unsung jobs associated with making sure the children stay alive today. Anyone who can skillfully navigate the labyrinth that school pick-up can be deserves the highest praise indeed. You juggle a million daily needs in an age that wants to know when you are going back to work. Work. Because I guess what you are doing now does not meet the definition of work. And you don't get mad when asked that; you just gently smile, smoothing down your stained shirt,  and talk about what a privilege it is to be able to stay home with your children. The privilege is being sisters with you. Thank you.

Thank you to my Not-Mom Sisters, who remind me that a family is not defined by the number of children in it. A family is defined by the love within it. You remind me that I am a human woman before all else, including motherhood. To only identify myself in my role as mother reduces me to only one part of a fascinating whole and puts a ridiculous amount of pressure on my children. You are a strong, varied tribe of endlessly interesting women and I could talk to you all for hours, if you had the time for that. Which you don't, being endlessly interesting and off on new adventures hourly. I am grateful for any moment I can steal with you though, thank you.

Thank you to my Grandmother Sisters. Your advice is invaluable, even when you want to give it to me in the parking lot during a rainstorm. Your repeated schooling to "enjoy it because it goes so fast" is finally sinking in. The delight that shines out of you when you behold my dirty, annoyingly energetic, sticky imps reminds me that childhood is messy and fast, and it is to be treasured as if it were the most priceless jewel in creation. For it is. You wanna know what else is priceless? You are. Thank you.

There are so many more groups of you that I could mention, but I will stop. You are all more than these groups anyway. You are all fully you. A foot in this camp, a finger in that pie; but completely unique and wonderfully you. Full of failures and triumphs, flaws and talents. Each and every one a thread on the magical spiderweb of women. Those of you that I get to see everyday and those of you that I will never meet. But sisters all. And I am proud to call each one of you my sister and I live my life in the attempt that you will be proud to claim me as well. Awkward or no. Once more, please know that:


Awkward Mom

I'm feeling like some cake. Anyone up for cake?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. Dating

The kids dating, that is. Not Awkward Mom. This isn't a key party, Readers.

There are these "Rules for Dating my Daughter" thingies that pop up occasionally on Facebook or other places on the internet. (Are there other places on the internet? I mean, other than Facebook, imdb, and this blog? I wouldn't know.) They are usually accompanied by a picture of a father holding a shotgun and involve a lot of talk about killing, shooting, maiming, and otherwise destroying the potential suitor. I get that fathers are supposed to be protective of their daughters and that, overall, these things are supposed to be funny in some way. I don't find them terribly funny and I am wondering why that is. I like to think that I have a pretty good sense of humor, but these things don't even get me to crack a smile. It could be because I am a mother and when mothers are presented as protective, we are presented as OVER-protective; naggy, complainy, and otherwise seeking to tie our children to our apron strings. Now, that does make me laugh; me, wearing an apron.

Many things disturb me about these "rules." I could write a whole blog post about why daughters are being presented as such fragile creatures, who seemingly lack any ability to defend themselves, chose boyfriends who aren't losers, and show the moderately good sense that you have infused in them since the day they were born. I could write another blog post pondering why these "rules" are always aimed at men, rather then the young teenage boys these girls are more likely dating; if a full-on man comes a' calling for your teenage girl, then, by all means, pull out your shotgun and call the police. But usually, her date is most likely a boy her age, with all of her "experience," possessing that aforementioned sense, and just as nervous/excited about dating as she is. Yes, there are predators and jerks that develop their predatory nature and jerkness during puberty, along with pimples and unseemly amounts of body hair, but I would like to think that most teenage boys are just as confused and scared as their female counterparts. I could also explore the fact that these "rules" seem to ignore the fact that one's daughter may be batting for the other team, as it were, and not be interested in boys as all. But I will leave that power-keg for another post.

No, the aspect of all of this that bothers me the most is the complete denial that young teen boys might need a little protection as well. (And no, that was not the type of protection that I meant, you guys.) I think it might be because I had boys first and that those boys are still tiny and little and look like babies when they sleep. I read these rules and I think "would I want some father waving a gun in their faces, just because they want to spend time with their daughters?" I think about Awesome Preschooler and Super Preschooler and their plan to marry someday. I think about how I would feel if the Awesome Parents presented Super P. with a list of rules that somehow indicates that what they think of him is that he is dead-set on hurting, using, and eventually leaving the girl that he has known and loved since they were both in diapers. I think about why there are different sets of rules for the genders. I think about how there are plenty of girls who are perfectly capable of hurting, using, and eventually leaving. I think about Super Baby; her intelligent and laughing eyes, her massive personality, and her lightening fast right hook. I think about how she would feel if we attempted to treat her like she was an object for her father and her potential date to feud over. That thought makes me sad and a little scared; seriously, her right hook is deadly. I think about many things, but mostly about how my children are such unique, beautiful individuals who could never be reduced to the mere role of aggressor or victim. And how I trust that they will pick partners who are equally unique and beautiful. And if they don't, well, I suppose I could buy a shotgun.....

Long story short...OK, well, less long then...is that I have created a list for anyone dating anyone under my roof. My children included:

1. You will be dressed at all times. Obviously, the pool and/or lake are exceptions, but as we don't have either of those here; clothes on.

2. You are totally welcome to hold hands and hug each other around me. Back-rubs are a gray zone and we'll figure that one out in the moment. As for kissing; close-mouth, no longer than 5 seconds. Just think of me like the Hollywood Hays Code.

3. As for anything else physical, ick, no, I do NOT want to see that, and you really ought to think about whether or not you should be doing it in the first place. Your age should directly relate to what base you are on; first base is fine for late middle school and on, as long as it still means what it meant when I was in late middle school and on. You better be in high school and getting good grades if you are on second base. Stay away from third until your SATS and college applications are finished. And don't even think about "going home" in my home. Or anyone's car, for that matter. Respect yourself. Respect each other. And respect my house. If I walk in on something that shouldn't be going on, that door is coming off the hinges.

4. Yes, I will allow you in your room with the door closed. I trust you. However, everyone in this house shares rooms and I will not restrict your siblings from going in there. And if you are smart, you should consider all of your siblings as potential spies. I am like Big Brother, I have eyes everywhere.

5. I want to meet the parents. If they are weird or Perfect Parents, I won't hold it against you or your date. I may gossip about them to Awkward Dad or my friends though; fair warning.

6. None of you that are mine have cars unless you have somehow bought them yourselves; you all know that, as Awkward Dad and I settled that before you were born. Those of you that aren't mine, you need to have insurance, functional windows (a plastic sheet with Duct Tape won't do), parental permission to drive, and normal decals in your windows. Mudflap naked ladies are not allowed. Nor is Calvin peeing on anything.

7. If you want to break up with each other, that is cool. It is your life; I won't tell you to hurry up or that you are making a big mistake. Even if either is true. I will however provide you with endless chocolate ice cream and a place to cry while it is all going on.

8. Please break up if you are tempted to cheat on each other. Life is too short for that level of drama.

9. You will not wait on the street corner for your date; they can pick you up at the house. Yes, parents are embarrassing; get over it. Besides, if you try to wait outside, then I will do something really embarrassing.

10. We do NOT call each other names in this house; joking or otherwise.

11. No one hits anyone. Ever.

12. I know that all of you have a lot of confusing feelings and mixed-up thoughts right now. Believe it or not, I was a teenager once too. You are going to make mistakes, some more serious than others. Please tell me when you get into trouble or do something dumb. I mean, I don't need the blow by blow, but keep me informed.

13. This one is just for my children: I will bail you out of jail. I will pick you up in the middle of the night. I will accept grandchildren before I am ready. That there will be large amounts of consequences for these actions goes without saying, but I will always love you. Always.

14. For those of you who aren't my children: I hope that your parents feel the same, but I can't make them. However, if my child loves you and you are good to him/her, I will grow to love you and protect you as well.

15. If I hear Barry White, or whoever is Barry White in 2023, coming from your room, I am busting that door down. Come on, don't be so obvious.

We reserve the right to alter and add to this list as the Supers actually become teenagers and we know exactly what we are working with. Or we could just let Super Toddler answer the door at all times; that should scare off anyone unworthy:

Robot/gun trumps plain ol' shotgun anyday.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. the Newport Aquarium

Awesomely aquatic aquarium adventures always adjure arithmetic. 

Long-time Readers will remember our trip to the Shedd Aquarium and the 12 Touring-a-Museum/Zoo-with-Children Rules. Turns out that the Newport Aquarium has some rules of it's own....

1. Make sure to buy your tickets ahead of time at Kroger. It saves you about $15 total. You could also pretend that every child you have is under age 2, but that approach limits you in terms of height, weight, and whether or not your child was listening during that Sunday school talk about the 10 commandments. Go with Kroger. The woman at the service desk won't know what you are talking about, but since deal-obsessed Awkward Dad is worse that a hoarder at tag sale, you will get your discounted tickets in short order.

2. Go on the first 70 degree Friday of the spring. You always talk about how you want to meet more people. Why not meet the entire city of Cincinnati at once? It is more efficient that way. Also, make sure it is "no stroller day" when you attend, and no, we didn't know that was a thing either.

3. Forget your camera. Be reduced to taking blurry pictures with Awkward Dad's iPhone. Get a few decent ones, but make sure they are of other people's kids.

4. Speaking of pictures, take all of them from either 2 inches away or across the room, like this:

Because close-ups on gator eyes are always good for a nice freak-out
when reviewing the photos later.

That way you can play your own version of Where's Awkward Waldo. 

5. This one is for the kiddies, so listen up, guys. When Mommy starts to freak out a little because of the crowd and whatnot, go super slow and get really interested in every touchable item and interactive display.

If you find drums to play, all the better! Act like you have all the time in the world and write a symphony or two while people push and swell around Mommy and her face turns sorta purple; she's fine. 

6. Make sure to find Nemo. If you can't, Dory will do in a pinch. 

7. This one is for the kids too; find a weird play-area/frog display. Stay there forever. Ignore your parents' pleading to see the rest of the aquarium. Who cares that it is packed with kids and about 12000 degrees? Make sure to insist that they take a picture of each one of you on these frogs: 

Obviously, don't make it easy on them; refuse to sit still and pose together. 

8. Regarding pictures in general, my lovely little ones; never, ever, look the same direction as your siblings. Especially if Mommy says anything like, "Oh, this would make a cute family photo." Adults like variety, so spice it up!

Priceless family memories. 

9. Since Awkward Dad adores Jellyfish, stay in the Jellyfish area until all of you feel like Awkward Mom in this photo: 

10. Watch some totally insane penguin show with a woman dressed as a penguin. Makes sure that Awkward Dad takes an upside-down video of all of it. By the end, you will feel like this: 

11. Now you are bored, over-warm, and getting sleepy. Let's jump-start that heart rate by losing Super Preschooler in the Penguin display, which everyone knows is the busiest area of the aquarium, next to the otters. Completely freak-out and flail around helplessly in the crowd, making sure to get backed into a corner, so that when you finally spy Super Preschooler, crying his eyes out and trying to go up the down escalator, you have to vault over a bench and a 3rd grade field trip to get to him. Hug him like he is returning from war before apologizing to that pregnant lady that you might have tripped.

12. Spend way too much in the gift shop. Duh. 

It was a spectacularly awkward adventure for our intrepid superheroes, but the best moment of the day was in the gift shop. Tired, crabby, and annoyed that Super Preschooler eschewed anything with the merest mention of the Newport Aquarium, or even sea life in general, for an overpriced, tiny, fake-velvet bag of "precious gems," Awkward Mom is impatiently tapping her foot and waiting to pay. She may have even been rolling her eyes at the awful crowd and the plethora of plastic playthings surrounding her. She orders Awkward Dad and the 2 youngest to find the stroller, which, if you recall, they were forced to leave at the coat check, it being "no stroller day." Super Preschooler won't let his "preciouses" out of his sight, so she has him with her when the cashier takes the bounty and does this:

Angel Cashier: Oh! Are you getting this magical bag of gems?

Super Preschooler: Yes!

Angel cashier: You know, it isn't quite full. I bet you could fit a ton more in there. 

Super Preschooler: Really? 

Angel Cashier: Yes indeed; and I have just the thing in the back, hang on! Back in a wink! 

We have to inform you that there is a huge line and it is the end of what has to be a long and exhausting shift, but he bounces away to leave Awkward Mom and Super Preschooler just staring after him, mouths agape. True to his word, he is back in a wink. 

Angel Cashier: Look! I filled it all the way up with these. (It is actually spilling up and over onto the counter) They are magnetic rocks; we just got them in and they aren't out yet, but I thought you might like them.

Super Preschooler: Yes, I do! Thank you!

Angel Cashier: You are most welcome. Oh ma'am, don't forget your free gift! 

Awkward Mom: My what? 

Angel Cashier: I see Kroger tickets in your hand, you get a free gift with those. Here you go! 

Awkward Mom: Ummm...thanks!

Now, every time she uses her free Newport Aquarium bag, Awkward Mom will remember the following:

1. Fairy godpeople are always around. Usually in the place you do NOT expect them to be. They are magic, so they tend to like surprising folks. 
2. Always buy your Newport Aquarium tickets at Kroger.
3. Call ahead to see if it is No Stroller Day. 
4. Always, always, follow the 12 Touring-a-Museum/Zoo-with-Children Rules. Always. 

"Mom! That's not Nemo at all!" 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. Potty Training

Well, you all knew it was coming. Put the sandwich down if you want to continue. Do-do. Do-do. Do-do. (Jaws Potty theme music) Someday, her sense of humor may elevate beyond 13-year-old boy. Dare to dream.

Readers, we have been on some truly magical adventures together; the Thomas Train Day with the fairy God-conductors comes to mind. You have toughed out some rough times with me too. You have stood fast with me through the birth of Super Baby, Super Toddler's walking refusal, Super Preschooler first day of Preschool; plus many a battle with Perfect Mom. But nothing, and I mean nothing, has been the harrowing, frustrating, trial and tribulation, stroll through the valley of the shadow of doubt that potty training Super Preschooler has been. It has been a mess; figuratively, literally, and every other way I can mean a mess. But you are not going on that messy trip with me, my lovely Readers. Not that I don't think you could handle it; I know you could handle it. You are all strong. Not that I can't handle the telling. It is still quite fresh, as far as battles go; in fact, I am still putting out little border-skirmishes here and there. And heck, I still have to do the other two Supers, so it is definitely on my mind. No, the reason I can't tell you is Super Preschooler.

I share a lot with you guys. Since most of what I write about is me and my awkward path through motherhood, it is fairly necessary to share a great deal about my children. Most of the time, I feel good about this. They are super children, so there isn't much bad to tell. I don't feel that anything I write here will embarrass them unduly later on, and if it does, well, I just hope that super forgiveness happens to be a super power that they develop as they age. The battles that I document here are, by and large, my battles. My insecurities. My awkward antics. Even though they are the superheroes and I tend to play sidekick, you are getting my version and take on things. My journey and my story. This story here is not mine to tell. Potty training is such a sensitive thing, such a private and unique story. I can't even really call it a story because, honestly, do people sit around the campfire and tell tales of their first pee? No, they don't. Because that is gross. Therefore, I am not going to tell you about Super Preschooler and his battle with potty training, except to tell you that I am very proud of him and his efforts. What I am going to talk to you about is talking about potty training with other moms. I believe this is called a bait and switch in the biz, but, believe me, as far as potty posts go, this one is the better one. If there were a better potty post, that is.

Talking to other parents about potty training is like kicking a hornet's nest. You aren't altogether sure what is going to come out, but you are sure that you aren't going to like it. Plus, why the heck are you kicking hornets' nests? That is not a good idea. Ever. Among moms, mostly of the stay-at-home variety, when a child potty trained ranks quite high on the list of what makes one's child impressive. It is like number 3, after when a child walked and when a child talked. There are a few others; reading, writing one's name, ability to access Netflix solo, drinking from a normal cup, ability to dress. But nothing makes a mom false-blush faster than saying, "Oh, Perfect Toddler? She has been using the potty since she was 14 months old. No big deal, considering she walked at 7 months and has been speaking in full sentences since she was a year. We are looking into early admission for Harvard, of course."

I don't know why this is such a bragging touchstone. OK, that is a lie. I totally know. It is the equvalant of saying, "Oh, you aren't done with your term paper? Poor thing, I have been done since last week." or "Oh, I don't even brush it, it just falls this way in the morning. Thank you." or "Stunning? Really? In this old thing? Bless your heart." Moms brag about their children's potty training because IT MAKES THEM BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE. The rest of us are cleaning up pee and poop that our children wear in a belt around the lower half of their bodies.We are having to wash or store these recepticals of waste. We are not as good as these non-diapered moms are in the clearest possible way; the abundance of fecal matter in our lives is 100% more.

Plus, everyone knows that part of the joy of having children is stealing their accomplishments and parading them around like they are your own. I don't have to tell you this, do I? That is like Parenting 101. Do I sound bitter, Readers? I am not trying to. I mean, of course, I am jealous of these moms. That is the whole point. They can't be better if no one wants to be like them. Then, they would just be like everyone else. And goodness knows, we can't possibly stop the cycle of mean girls and the girls that want to be like them. I mean, none of us would know how to function, right? My role of lesser mom is important to the mom structure, for without me and my sisters, the better moms wouldn't have anyone to mock. And then we, lesser moms, wouldn't have anyone to gossip about. And then we would have a glorious, egalitarian, mom utopia where we all drink wine and compliment each other on our beautiful hair and talk about other things, like books and politics and social issues, while our children romp together on the swings in the setting sun. We couldn't possibly have that, now could we? And, we are back to bitter. See, cycles!

Other than bitter, I am mostly just confused. When did it become socially acceptable to talk about toileting in public? Was I sick the day that this memo came out because I really don't recall it. But it continues to happen. Here is what happened in Super Baby's First Steps class last week:

Teacher who I am pretty sure I don't like but it is week 2 so I shall reserve judgment: Snack time!

Child 1: Yum, these raisins are delish!

Child 2: Yes, I love them.

Perfect Mom 1: Are they organic? We only eat organic.

Perfect Mom 2: Oh yes, us too.

Teacher: Yes, they are organic. Hey, does anyone know of anything happening in town this weekend?

Perfect Mom 3: Oh, well, Touch a Truck is happening in 2 weeks.

Child 1: I LOVE Touch a Truck!

Child 3: Me too!

Teacher: Great, anyone else? No? OK. Does anyone have any milestones they want to announce?

Me: (Gagging on the organic raisins that I am stealing from Super Baby's plate) Oh, announcing milestones? Is that a thing we do now?

Teacher: Yes, do you have any to announce?

Me: Ummmm...no.

Perfect Mom 4: Well, I have one. Perfect Toddler made poo-poo in the potty 2 times yesterday!

*Sounds of oohing and aahing from many moms, plus some sprinkle of applause.*

Newly Pottying Perfect Toddler: I go poo-poo and pee-pee in potty!

Perfect Mom 4: Yes, you did, angel!

Newly Pottying Perfect Toddler: I have to go right now.

Perfect Mom 4: Oh; that is wonderful. Thank you for telling me. You are such a big girl!

*More oohing and aahing and clapping, as they head to the bathroom.*

Teacher: When did all of your children potty train?

Perfect Mom 1: Oh, around 2 years, which I know is late. But I am starting much early with Perfect Baby here.

Perfect Mom 2: Oh yes, Perfect Toddler was around 16 months.

Perfect Mom 3: My Perfect Toddler was 15 months.

Perfect Mom 5: Yes, well, my Perfect Toddler was actually still Perfect Baby then. She was a year old.

Teacher: Oh, Perfect Dad? Do you want to come over here? We are discussing milestones.

Perfect Dad: No, I'm good over here by the legos.

Perfect Mom 6: I can't quite remember how old Perfect Baby was, but it was well-within the first year.

Me: (smiling inanely in the clear hope that no one notices my lack of a response, with a visible sigh of relief that there are only 6 other moms here)

Teacher: Yes, that is all very interesting. Now, when did you all potty train as children?

Me: (Gagging on the raisins again)

Teacher: Awkward Mom, are you alright? Would you like to share with us when you potty trained as a child?

Me: Ummmm...no.

Perfect Mom 1: Oh, I was a year. My mother was so on top of things.

Perfect Mom 2: Oh, me too. We are so lazy these days, letting it linger on and on and on!

Perfect Mom 3: I am sure I was under a year.

This goes on for awhile, but Super Baby is out of raisins (wonder how that happened?) and wants to ride the rollercoaster, so we vacate the snack table. I feel like a total loser. Now, I get to feel bad about the fact that my 5-year-old just figured out potty training, like last week. I haven't started with my 3-year-old, which means he won't get early admission to Harvard. I didn't think I was late starting with my 17-month-old, but it turns out that I am. And, on top of all of that, I get to feel bad about the fact that I have no idea when I potty trained as a child. I am fairly sure it wasn't at age 1, so add that to the loser guilt pile. Sigh.

Why does any of this matter? I get that it is something that we have to do, as parents, because, as a culture, we introduce diapers to our children, for convenience and sanitary reasons, only to demand that they stop using them a few scant years (or months, apparently) later. Hence, the need for potty training. What I don't get it is why this is a totally appropriate conversation for having with other, clearly intelligent and interesting, women over some organic raisins. Did anyone see a movie recently? Read a book? Have an opinion about North Korea? Make a tasty banana bread they want to share the recipe for? Figure out a new way to get stains out of silk? Learn a language? Travel to Prague? Have a card trick to show? Have a theory on improving classroom retention at the high school level? Try that new pizza place? Learn to knit? Have a thought about racial privilege in the post-modern era? Discover a neat new blog called Awkward Mom? Anything? Anything that doesn't have to do with urine or fecal matter? I'll even take something cute your toddler did yesterday, as long as it isn't braggy.

Because that's it, isn't it? Yeah, potty training is gross, but whatever. We are moms; we can handle gross. It is the braggy-I-am-better-than-you-because-my-child-can-defecate-into-a-hole-in-the-ground-praise-me-elevate-me-delight-in-my-genius-ness of it all that gets to me. We are all moms. We are all doing our best. We should all stick together. If you really want to talk about potty training and want some tips, go ahead. Have at it. Maybe wait until we are done with snack, but seriously, go to town. However, little whisper of warning; every child is different. For every potty-train-in-one-day-at-age-1 child, there is a take-3-years-to-figure-it-out child. Yours will probably be somewhere in the middle and the technique or approach that you use will have to be tailored to meet his/her needs, just like you have to do with everything else because YOUR CHILD IS SPECIAL AND UNIQUE AND WONDERFUL AND CAN NOT BE DEFINED BY WHEN HE OR SHE POTTY TRAINED.

So, just to not leave you with that CAPS LOCK shout-fest; a little epilogue to our First Steps Potty Snack Time:

Me: Watch out, Super Baby! I'm sorry, she gets on that thing and doesn't know how to stop.

Perfect Mom 4: It's OK.

Me: By the way, congrats on Perfect Toddler! That is really great. (I swear to you all that I was sincere and that there wasn't a trace of sarcasm that was detectable.)

Perfect Mom: Oh, yes, thanks. Kinda silly to talk about it at snack time like that. Guess I am just excited because her brother, who is 5, just learned as well and I am probably actually excited about that and the hope that Perfect Toddler won't take the 3 years that it took him, you know?

Me: Oh yes, I know. Hey, they put away the snack, but I have some raisins here in my pocket. You want some? They're organic.

Well, what kind of picture were you expecting?
Awkward Mom refuses to talk about his potty training, but happens to have a picture of it?
No, you'll have to content yourself with this snap of Super Baby.
Poor you.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Awkward Mom vs Reruns

Reruns? It isn't even May! We should really be doing sweeps week around here; the inaugural park day, Kindergarten info. night, finally talking about potty training, the trip to the aquarium where we lost Super Preschooler, adventures in gardening....come on, Awkward Mom! Get it together. OK, well, then you wouldn't be awkward, now would you. Nevermind.....

I will get to all of that, I promise. But not today. Today; things just got busy and weird and I just wanna play Plants vs. Zombies with Super P. and then eat some tacos. That's about what I can handle. So, what I am gonna do is direct you to a previous post or two that became timely today. Today, at church, we finally got our pictorial directory. Nothing makes you feel more like an adult than that formal family photo, with The Awkward Family (or perhaps an alias therein) emblazoned under it. It makes me feel official, like we belong somewhere. Like our little family unit is up for doing things, stirring the pot, and, in general, just getting stuff done. "Look here, the Awkward Family, what an adorable bunch of go-getters!"

I did feel that way until I started looking around at the other families; in their coordinated outfits and perfectly pearly white smiles. Not that our photo is bad. It isn't bad, but it definitely fits an awkward family. But, I am not giving in to Envy! Mostly because this is a church directory and to give in to one of the big 7 over a church directory makes it like 20 times worse, and we already have some explaining to do, like why Awkward Dad pointed to a picture of St. Francis the other day and called him Jesus and was corrected by Super Toddler.

So, while we bone up on Catholicism 101, you guys take a gander at the tale of actually getting the photo. And then maybe follow that up with a peek at some of the most awkward family photos this side of awkwardfamilyphoto.com. I'll give you a hint; they all look like this:

When this is the best one, you know that you are in for a treat!
Happy Reruns!
It's what's happening, you know.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. Mini Battle #6

We interrupt your regular viewing for this teeny, tiny post. We'll get you right back to 10 Hollywood hairdos or that list of the 100 burgers you must eat before you die in a minute. OK, maybe 5 minutes. 10, if you read really slow. Don't worry; those burgers will wait and your hair looks just fine anyway.

So, I had the pleasure of driving Super Preschooler and Awesome Preschooler to school yesterday. Per usual, they forgot I was there. Per usual, I took great advantage of this fact to peek into the 5-year-old brain.

They are sitting in the way back of the van, admiring a princess puppet doll that Super Toddler left back there a week ago.

Super P.: We should play puppets!

Super A.: But we only have one.

Super P.: Well, you can have it.

Super A.: No, you take it.

Super P.: It's ok.

Super A.: No, you take it.

(My heart is in danger of melting and making us drive off the road at this.)

Super P.: Well, we could play puppets next time you come over; I have a ton.

Super A.: OK. We'll play house!

Super P.: Ummm...house? Really?

Super A.: Yeah; I'll be the baby! You can be the Daddy.

Super P.: OK, but only with dragons. I have some dragons.

Super A.: OK, I'll be a baby dragon then.

Super P.: Or......you could be a princess. I think you would make a great princess.

Super A.: Really?

Super P.: Of course! Which one do you want to be? I'll let you pick between Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Princess and the Frog.

Super A.: Princess and the Frog!

Super P.: As you wish.

Super A.: That sounds fun! We'll do that next time, after school.

Super P.: As you wish.

Readers, I am serious. I thought I misheard him the first time. But no, he repeated it. I drove Buttercup and Westley to school this morning, Readers. Be still, my little 1980s heart. Be still.

And Super Preschooler hasn't even seen the movie yet, guys!
He is just naturally leading man. 
Which you all knew anyway, right? I thought so.....

Monday, April 15, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. Birth Order

It is not her proudest mom moment, but they never really are, are they? 

So, here I am, standing on the sidewalk in front of our house, throwing down with Super Preschooler.

Me: I told you to hold her hand!

Super P.: She was fine! She didn't go near the street.

Me: I don't care; I asked you to hold her hand and make sure she got to the car safe.

Super P.: Well, she did. She went right there. I didn't have to hold her hand.

Me: That isn't the point! I told you to actually hold her hand and get her there.

Super P.: (Massive eye roll.)

Me: You are her big brother; you need to help take care of her.

Super P.: She doesn't need help.

Me: Again, that is not the point! She might not think she needs help, but she does. I need you to look out for your siblings and do what I ask of you.

Super P.: OK, fine.

Me: You are 5 years old now.

Super P.: I know.

Me: You are the oldest, Super P. Please act like it.

Super P.: (Massive sigh.)

Me: Look, I love you. We are totally cool. I just need you to listen to me when I tell you something important like taking care of your sister. OK?

Super P.: Sometimes I wish I was Cool Preschooler.

Me: Why?

Super P.: Because he gets to be 5 years old but not the oldest.

I feel the cold blast of his statement knock the remaining wind out of my deflating sails. It doesn't help that he has a solid point to begin with; Super Baby is probably actually capable of driving the car, if we got her those blocks that Short-Round had in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. He's right. He's right on so many levels.

And I should know; I'm an oldest too. Now, birth order generalizations are a tricky thing. In some families, it reads like the Birth Order 101 and in other families, the youngest is a doctor and the oldest is a beach bum and the middle child is the most well-adjusted one there. I don't know yet where we will fall in the grand scheme of things, but one thing is sure. Oldest expectation is alive and well in Awkward Manner.

I still have my major encounter with oldest expectation tattooed on my heart. I was somewhere in my pre-teens, sprawled on the couch, trying to watch MTV while the youngest Awkward Uncle ran around and majorly messed with my hearing (and ogling) Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer. At my lite-hair-metal limits, I bellowed to my mother to make him stop. She calmly answered to "just have a little patience with him." I replied, with all my 12-year-old wit and sass, that one would have to have the patience of Jesus to deal with him. She paused on her way to the kitchen and fixed me with her golden stare (which did it's job of making me want to melt into the couch), before she cocking her head to the left in pretend deep thought and murmuring, "Well, wouldn't that be something to strive for, Erin?" Ugh, still stings to this day. Thanks, Mom.

So, along with the patience of the son of God, what else does one expect of the oldest? Well, apparently, around here, I expect Super Preschooler to always help his siblings, regardless of actual need. He is supposed to be polite at all times, but especially if we are outside of the house and any strangers, who will surely judge me and my mother abilities, might be watching. This also goes for anytime we are at a Perfect Mom's house or, let me be honest, anyone's house. I expect for limited potty humor, as it just encourages his younger brother to worst antics. In fact, being fairly serious at all times is nice, unless I feel like being silly. Of course, as soon as I am finished being silly, I expect him to cease as well. I want him to be neat, so things are clean, but also to encourage his brother and sister. I make him lead the prayer at dinner. I want him to be ready first when we are leaving the house because he can dress himself and certainly, at the ancient age of 5, won't need any help with tricky shoes or zippering coats. I expect him to share always, regardless of who had the toy first, and to give in when the child is younger and still learning, which happens to be nearly everyone he lives with. I expect kindness, manners, smarts, quickness, patience, and the ability to walk the whole way, as there is no room in the stroller. It is suddenly apparent that I expect a Perfect Preschooler, which is highly shameful, as who I have is a Super Preschooler. Super. Preschooler.

He is only 5 years old. Only 5, the sum total of one hand. And he is amazing for 5 years old. Actually, he is amazing for any age. He is the definition of super, with his quick wit, giving heart, and lightening-fast Angry Birds playing ability. I should be in a constant state of gratitude that I got him first and not Super Toddler, who is currently trying to color his sister's forehead with a red crayon. Right now, I am watching all the Supers romp together and I wonder how much of it is destined by personality and how much of it Super P. helps along. Is Super Toddler the rule-breaking, fun-loving, bruiser that he is because Super Preschooler is there, following the rules, providing structure, and there to catch him when he falls off the couch in a blaze of glory and monster trucks? Is Super Baby the mellow, peaceful, chow-hound that she is because Super Preschooler takes care of organizing play, fielding Super Toddler's more violent ideas, and giving her all his lunch? Am I able to sit here and type to you about all this because Super Preschooler totally respects the "give Mommy 10 minutes to finish this" even when 10 minutes turns into 20 minutes or 30 and an episode of My Little Pony? Yes, I am pretty sure he is responsible for more than half of it. Nature only gets you so far and Super Preschooler is a born nurturer.

He is also an oldest like I am an oldest. In total love with my siblings, but needing some space once in awhile. Organized, but a little messy in my thoughts. Extremely polite, but with a simmering temper underneath it all. Unable to stop the sillies, or the tears for that matter, once they start in full force. Smart, but longing for more than my books for company. Born with leadership skills, but not always the confidence or desire to pull them off. Perfectly capable of handling the pressure cooker that oldest of the family can be, but sometimes wanting to amble to the car in my own sweet time, checking out a flower or passing bug, without trying to catch the speeding baby who just wants to climb into the driver's seat.

I want to say that I realized all of this right there in front of the house. I want to say that I didn't hurry him into the car with an "OK, OK, but we are late. You can get your own seat belt on, right?" I want to say that I stopped the world; curled him into my arms, hugged him like I was never letting go, and whispered "Oh Honey, I get it. I totally get it. Sometimes, I want to be 5 and not the oldest too." I want to, but I can't. What I can tell you is that I just did all that right now. And confused the holy heck out of him, plus interrupted his current highest score of 11 times in let's-keep-the-big-bouncy-ball-from-touching-the-ground. His reaction was not what I would have wished for, but in keeping with my new "sometimes let Super Preschooler be just-5, and not oldest-5," I am gonna let it go. It is what Jesus would do, after all.

Well, still not her proudest, but better. For her. 

Super Preschooler: friend to all, even the less mobile among us. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. Body Image

I have a confession that relates to this picture:

OK, 2 confessions. The first one is that I really love Cracker Barrel. I know that I shouldn't; it is kitschy , cheesey (literally and not), and they had that whole discrimination thingie from the late 90s, which they say is totally cleared up now. I hope it really is because I have trouble resisting their food every time we are on a road trip. I know that I should sample local cuisine and patronize Mom and Pop diners when we travel, but Cracker Barrel and her siren song of hashbrown casserole on the side of biscuits and gravy keeps dragging me back. It's their cornbread that gets Awkward Dad. Super Preschooler has a thing for their pancakes, and Super Toddler finds the fact that a restaurant can have a store (and one with has remote control helicopters and monster trucks to boot) mind-blowing. For Super Baby, it is the sausage. Which brings me to confession 2:

My 17-month-old daughter eats like a trucker and I secretly love it.

I could watch her eat for hours, and she would eat for hours if we had that much food. Mountains of sausage. Whole apples. Blocks of cheese. Berries by the pint. She discovered Awkward Grandma's Clam Dip while she was in the womb and has not lost her taste for it at all. She's consumed 4 pouches of baby food in one sitting. Donuts by the dozen. Bowls of guacamole with no chips. (She finds chips just get in the way of shovelling the guac straight into her mouth.) Tuna fish sandwiches. Beans galore. Sweets of any shade and persuasion. Milk by the gallon. At age 9 months, she ate 3 tacos to celebrate the doctor's go ahead to eat solid food, which she had been doing for 3 months anyway. At Super Toddler's birthday party, she ate 2 enormous slices of deep-dish sausage pizza. (After that one, she left saucy hand prints all over the walls and I thought we were in the Shining for a full ten minutes.) We actually haven't yet found a food that she doesn't want to eat by the bushel or peck. Or pound. Or ton. Or liter. Or....you get the picture. Girl loves to eat.

She comes by it honestly. Awkward Women love to eat. I may have mentioned my mother's clam dip around here, a time or twelve. I seem to be the only one in my family who doesn't like to cook, but I always was a bit of a trail-blazer. I digress. Now, since Awkward Women also have the happy feet gene (which means we can't sit still for more than 5 minutes at a time unless in a movie theater or sending funny pictures of cats to each other on Facebook), we can afford our eating ways. For the most part. None of us are in the running for world's heaviest woman, which is up to 725 pounds or 550 pounds depending on which website you want to believe. We are all perfectly normal women; perhaps a tad more tree trunk than stick, but normal. Not according to us, however. According to us; we are slovenly blobs who need to lose about 3000 pounds collectively. And I am sure it is the same in any family where there are women who have access to any form of media and were raised in America's youth and beauty worshipping society.

But I am not here to talk about that or even take that juggernaut on. My ally, Frugal Mom, had an absolutely amazing post on it just the other day. Please go read it; I'll wait.

Back so soon? Isn't she a genius? She's a genius.

My point is....hmmm....probably should have thought of that while you were gone. You see, I watch Super Baby eat and it is delightful. Maybe because my maternal instinct is to feed my child. Maybe because both of her brothers are consistently underweight and I have to force them to eat most days. Maybe because it is an enormous validation for someone who is unsure about her own cooking abilities to have an audience that will eat absolutely anything. But mostly I think it is that the glee she exhibits while enjoying her food is infectious. Food is an f-word and some of the best words in the world are f-words. Drag your mind out of the gutter, Readers. I am talking about fun, festive, family, fortifying. Four phenomenal f-words that should describe all food. But another f-word lurks in the back of my head when I watch Super Baby eat. A word that has plagued legions of women since time began, awkward and otherwise. A teeny tiny f-word that has the potential to damage even the strongest psyche. Fat.

Super Baby is not fat. To be technical, she is in the 50% for weight and always has been. My hatred of growth chart percentiles aside, I cling to this data. I cling to it because sometimes I worry when I look at her. When I look at her arm rolls, her buddha belly, her chipmunk cheeks, her dimples, her solid legs that the lady at the library referred to as "pork chops" for some reason, her adorable plump fingers, her full baby hands, her luminous eyes gazing soulfully at me over the meatball sub sandwich she is tearing into. I look at her in all her resplendent, healthy, beautiful babyness, and instead of glorying in this magnificent 17-month-old baby girl who brings nothing but abundance and joy to my life, I mentally flash her to middle school and freak out. I royally start to freak out.

The world is mean. The world is mighty mean when it comes to a girl's body. Too thin. Too fat. Too tall. Too short. Too much. Too little. She isn't even two and all those toos are coming for her. They are coming straight for her in a way that they aren't coming for her brothers; let's be clear-eyed about this. There is a ton those boys are gonna deal with and that I am gonna fret about for them, but this fat fight is solely Super Baby's. As it was solely mine. And solely my mother's. And solely her mother's. On and on back to that magical age when  Peter Paul Rubens was painting. Of course, around then all the thin women were under fire, and I am not one to leave any of my sisters out in the cold. It all sucks and makes me want to use another f-word; telling the world to keep it's judgey paws off my beautiful daughter. But I can't. Well, I can, but it is gonna be pretty fruitless. They are coming for her whatever I do.

So, we are back to my lack of a point. I am not really sure what to do about this. Per usual, I didn't really plan this post out before I started writing it. I don't have an answer. Well, that isn't true. No, it is totally true that I didn't plan, you guys have to know that by now. But I do have some answers. Or the start of some. First of all, she isn't in middle school. She is 17-months-old and she is supposed to have pork chop legs. It means she is healthily her; filling in her short little frame like the host of Awkward Women that have gone before her. She is growing and eating to support that growth, and I could just embrace that instead of rushing her to some unpleasant adolescent experience that is gonna come faster than either of us want anyway. Secondly, every single woman in my family has survived being raised in America's beauty and youth worshipping society, and, though it certainly depends on the day and whether or not that day requires wearing shorts, we have all come to, more or less, appreciate our bodies. We have survived and grown into vibrant fascinating women who are defined less by our outward appearances and more by our curiosity and willingness to love life. Life in all it's shapes and sizes. Super Baby will get there too; in fact, given the way she is currently eating that bag of goldfish crackers and laughing at her brothers, I would hazard to say she is pretty vibrant, fascinating, and in love with life already. If anything, I should spend my worrying time thinking about how when someone takes food from her, she looks like this:

Yeah, I might wanna worry a little about that....

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. Stuff they didn't tell me

Below, in no particular order, is a list of stuff they didn't tell me. They being the legions of mothers that have gone before and who thought it would be a hoot to keep the following things from me and watch me figure it out myself and flail around awkwardly. I assume because they had to flail around awkwardly themselves. If you know a soon-to-be-mom, be kind and let her in on the following:

1. Fruit snacks are actually candy. They will gain you nothing but dirty looks from other moms at the park.

2. Schools, doctor offices, amusement park rides, and sometimes complete strangers will ask you your child's birthday. Sometimes you will forget. Please try not to be so hard on yourself when this happens. You will also forget your own birthday in the haze that descends after having children.

3. Until a child is 2 years old, other moms expect you to tell them that child's age in months. You, Dads and other people will find this weird. It is weird. And don't be ashamed if you have to do math in your head and it takes 10 minutes. If that mom is that curious, she can wait.

3. Regarding number 3, when asked how old your first child is, you will respond "16 months, 14 days, and 6 and a half hours." When asked how old your second child is, you will respond "a year and some change." When asked how old your third child is, you will say "I'm not really sure, what year is it?" When asked how old any child after that is, you will laugh manically and it will scare the person away. This is all perfectly normal, so no worries.

4. You will have endless reserves of strength. Your patience will be less endless, but it will replenish during the night, so that is cool.

5.  Snow Days will lose a little of their magic.

6. Christmas will lose none of its magic.

7. I hope you like sticky things because everything you own is about to become sticky. And no one can identify the origin of the sticky, so that is pretty gross if you think too much about it.

8. You will judge other moms. You will feel bad about it. Try not to feel too bad; it is just proof that you are human. Tact indicates that you try to keep it in your head or in the ear of an equally gossipy and understanding friend.

9. No one likes the toys that make noise. Don't buy these. When the batteries start to die, they will spontaneously go off and you will think it is a ghost and freak yourself, and your sleeping spouse, out.

10. Children do not understand the phrase "that is too much ketchup." There is also no child translation for "that is too much glitter," "capes don't really make you fly," and "not right now, Mommy is going to the bathroom."

11. You will think childbirth is the worst pain imaginable. You will realize that you are wrong the first time your child is sick and you can't do anything to make them feel better but hold them and listen to them cry.

12.  The words "oh, whew, it's just pee" will enter your vocabulary.

13. You will get to feel 13-years-old again when you go to the children's museum and there is a playgroup there and everyone has an adult to talk to but you, and your children will suddenly be incredibly independent and you are stuck there standing near the water fountain smiling hopefully at other moms who avoid your eye contact. You will cry when you get to the car. Go buy the big bar of chocolate, call someone who loves you,  and remind yourself that you will live to playdate another day. It has happened to the best of us.

14. You will lick your hand and smooth down your child's cowlick. I don't care what you said before you had children; it is gonna happen.

15.  You will also wipe your child's nose with your own sleeve. See number 14.

16. At any given moment you will be asked "Do whales have teeth?" "How big is China?" "Where do babies come from?" "How did Grandma get so old?" "What is on that lady's face?" "Why is the Hulk green?" "How old is the earth?" "Why can't I have any soda?"

17. To answer number 16, you could invest in a smartphone, but I'll help you out at little here. The answers are "There are some toothed whales. Non-toothed whales are called Baleen whales and they actually have plates with bristles instead of teeth." "China is 3.748 million sq miles or 9.707 million km." "Go ask your Dad." "From raising children." "Shush." "If your child is a nerd, answer that the original Hulk was supposed to be gray but due to printing issues, they decided on green, which they attribute to his exposure to gamma rays. No, gamma rays aren't green, but Stan Lee likes alliteration almost as much as Awkward Mom. If your child is not a nerd, tell him/her that the Hulk is green because he eats lots of vegetables." "The earth is 4.6 billion years old unless you are a creationist. Then, the earth is somewhere between 5700-10000 years old. Alter as your faith dictates." "Because I say so."

18. It really does go too fast. They do tell you this one, but they don't tell you that it isn't like a "your face will freeze like that" or "nice girls don't wear leather pants" or "your Uncle Steve had the same thing happen to him once, it's totally true." No, what is totally true is that it really does go too fast.

19. You will get fecal matter on yourself on occasion. Yes, that is gross, but you will live. You are strong.

20. P & G ads know exactly what they are doing. You know it too, but you will still cry.

21. You will spend a lot of time fantasizing about what your children are going to be like and what they are going to accomplish in life. You will daydream about this stuff at red lights, in line at the bank, while trying to sleep, while exercising, during commercials, and randomly throughout your day. This is normal. Your children will routinely shatter and obliterate these fantasies by being about 12000% more awesome than you could have ever thought possible. This too is normal.

22. Picture taking gets really difficult. 

23. Like really difficult. 

24. But it's totally worth it. 

25. It's actually all totally worth it. 

Please share with your soon-to-be-mom friends. No one should be shamed at the park or stuck with talking toys. Let's all be sisters here, ladies. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. Road Food

Our trip was extremely eventful and chock-a-block with awkward antics and adventures, most of them involving animals! Stay tuned, it is gonna take the next couple weeks to fully deconstruct everything into story-form. I can't say the same about the Awkward Mobile, poor thing was deconstructed about 16 minutes into our trip. I am still picking fruit snacks out of the air vents.

I have many stories, but only one that I am so burning to tell you that I am leaving the laundry and ignoring the immediate needs of my family in order to share it with you. It isn't long and it isn't fancy, but it is definitely memorable. It also isn't for eating, so put down the sandwich. OK; here's what happens:

We eat entirely too much road food one late afternoon, somewhere in Ohio. We eat in the car, parked on the side of the road, as we are in a hurry to get to Cincinnati and our hotel. Super Toddler is conducting his own private eating contest; chowing down on burgers, onion rings, and one very rapidly disappearing strawberry shake. Super Baby and Super Preschooler are eating at a much more sedate speed in the middle seats. Awkward Dad is rhapsodizing about our upcoming aquarium trip, and I am monitoring everything from the front seat. That is when Super Toddler generates an unholy gagging sound from the way back of the car. I believe that I have mentioned the children's vomiting styles before, and Super Toddler, true to form, is all business. In a move that belies his years, Super Toddler calmly throws up a waterfall of pink shake, with a few burger and onion chunks, just like it is just a normal Saturday kegger at the Pi Kappa house. He never loses control of the flow, as it were, and everything lands in the perfect vessel of his lap, bowled by his criss-crossed legs. He finishes, coolly ponders his lap, and then glances at the onion ring in his right hand that he NEVER LET GO OF. He takes a bite of it and thoughtfully gazes back into my horrified face. I am staring at him from the front seat, stupefied by his nonchalance and thus unable to speak. He cocks his head to the left and continues to chew his onion ring, when he says, "Hey Mommy, I think I might need a wet wipe."

Future frat brother and President of the local stick gun NRA. 

Stay tuned, Readers! We have got tales a'plenty to curl your toes and straighten your hair. 
Same awkward time, same awkward channel!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Out being Awkward; Back Soon

Fear not, True Believers! We are merely out gathering more awkward antics for our arsenal of amusement. We'll be back before you know it; same awkward time, same awkward channel!