Dying on the Oregon Trail

Sometimes we have big plans over the weekend and sometimes our plans revolve around fixing all the appliances and vehicles that need tending and the only fun that happens is the fun we make for ourselves. I actually tend to look forward to these kinds of simple unplanned pleasures and ended up spending most of the weekend cleaning, cooking, and turning what should have been a quick stop at the grocery store for egg rolls and face wash into an hour long Target expedition that ended in LOL Surprise Dolls for the girls and a new game for Matt and I (and a lot of other mundane items that we desperately needed but I kept forgetting). Matt of course gave me the side eye when I traipsed into the house with multiple Target bags and the kids came running in chanting, “What did you get us?!”

Surprisingly, even our two year old who is just getting the hang of stringing sentences together started shrieking, “LOL BALLS!! LOL BALLS!!” Yikes, I had no idea these things had even infiltrated her semi-limited screen time, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Willow likes whatever Olive likes and Olive likes anything with a series or the words “customize” in a YouTube video.

I spent the rest of the time through dinner explaining and then reexplaining why they couldn’t have them until after dinner and reminding them that I needed to actually make dinner, and listening to a lot of screaming and whining that they didn’t want to eat what I was cooking (Orange chicken and sesame noodles) when I had in fact not even boiled water yet. After losing my temper multiple times and chasing them out of the kitchen (and secretly regretting the open concept plan of our home because there’s no door to slam behind them), I somehow managed to muster dinner and eat while ignoring the fact that they were refusing to eat what I spent ninety minutes making. It’s fine. I’m fine.

We did eventually finish dinner and opened the LOL Surprise Dolls. Matt and I had to actually open them because our kids’ fine motor skills haven’t exactly mastered shrink wrapping and this ended up being a very hands on activity. The kids thoroughly enjoyed them and of course Willow immediately lost one of the doll’s shoes and cried bitterly at the end of the night when we wouldn’t let her sleep with it. At the end of the day I understand why my kids like them, with each new layer of shrink wrapping comes a new accessory or stickers or some other “neat” surprise (in the mind of a four year old). I know I’m a jaded parent because in my eyes at the end of the unveiling all my kids were left with a four inch doll in a fancy romper and diaper that they got to feed with a hipster bottle. I kept staring at the damn thing thinking….why didn’t they just put the doll, full clothed with accessories in the middle of the ball and put one layer of shrink wrapping over it. This is the toy equivalent of a meeting that could have been an email.

Once we eventually had the house to ourselves and the kids were asleep, I broke out the new Oregon Trail card game and Matt and I relived our childhood dreams of roughing it in a rickety covered wagon and dying from preventable diseases. It was actually a very fun game that we fully plan to play on the regular and I may be planning to go back to Target after this post to purchase the Oregon Trail Hunting card game so I can kill buffalo in card game form (I don’t know why but this was my favorite part of the game when I was ten and I do zero hunting in real life). There’s nothing like killing 500 lb. of buffalo in three minutes but only taking enough meat to make beef jerky (at least in computer life, in real life that’s cruel and wasteful). Is this living the American Dream? Shrink wrap and beef jerky?

 

When Life has Other Plans

I’ve been working really hard to make writing a part of my daily routine. That means finding chunks of time throughout the day in between preschool drop off and pick ups, during therapy sessions when Olive is busy with her behavioral therapist and Willow is either playing with them or napping. If I’m lucky, all these individual chunks of time equal two or three hours of writing every day. I’m trying to make this blog a weekly habit and I’m pushing myself to submit 2-3 pieces every week to different publications (starting this week).

One of the wonderful services that the Navy offers EFMP families is 40 hours a week of respite care. I started taking advantage of it during the last deployment and it has been a wonderful help for me to be able to run errands and get groceries without my kids and for Matt and I to be able to go on a monthly date night. I’ve recently realized that if I use my allocated respite hours for writing, this is the most efficient way for me to write and another great way to use my alone and child free time. I camp out at a Starbucks (the local one nestled in a Barnes & Noble has become my new favorite hangout), order a beverage, set up my laptop, and use the time to write untethered by the other responsibilties and distractions of my daily life as a stay at home mother of two.

I had my lovely child care specialist scheduled today while Olive was going to have her ABA session with her therapist so I would have five hours of straight writing bliss (I even planned to bring my book and treat myself to an hour of reading while I was there *sigh*). But of course life had other plans today. We’ve been passing around the cold bug the last month but it seems to have hit Willow especially hard. She’s had it since September 23rd. She was sick for almost a week and then seemed to be better for a few days and then seemed to get it again but with a bad cough. I really thought she was on the mend the last couple days but woke up again with what looked like the ooze from Ghostbusters seeping out of her orifices and a cough that would rival a COPD patient.

It’s a gray area when you have a lot of helpers (between therapists and child care workers) in and out of your home on a daily basis and one of your children get a cold. On one hand, she doesn’t have a fever or a rash which would be an immediate cancellation, but on the other hand I don’t believe its fair to ask people to come into my home to administer services when either of my children is visibly sick. I don’t cancel for every sniffle, but when other people are going to have to wipe kid’s snotty face and try to habitually avoid the direction of her cough, I draw the line and cancel. I first canceled respite and then called to make Willow a doctor’s appointment. Of course any doctor’s appointment during business hours (espeically with a round trip down town since that’s where the Naval hospital is) also means canceling ABA for the day so once I secured her doctor’s appointment, I had to text her therapists that were scheduled for that day as well.

And then I stood in my kitchen being pouty for twenty minutes and sipping coffee as I slowly realized my plans for child free bliss in a coffee shop, surrounded by books was out the window. Instead, I’m drinking more coffee, wiping snotty noses, writing this (and this is probably the only writing that will be accomplished today) with PJ Masks in the background and waiting for preschool pick up. The rest of the day will be spent carting kids to and from the doctor’s appointments, rage cleaning while I wish I was writing, and making this lovely meatloaf recipe (and lamenting the fact that I’m missing out on Starbucks coffee and nothing but the quiet in my head).

The part of me that demands I make the most of this day is also demanding I find other time to write today and to spend the time I’m not writing, snuggling these adorable, but super snotty toddlers. There’s still half a pack of unopened play-doh and two bins full of kinetic sand. So I guess my day is looking up after all.

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The Pictures You Don’t See

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I make a concerted effort to plan fun family “adventures” on our days off when my husband is home and the kids are free from the scheduled weekdays of my preschooler’s many therapies and school. It feels like I could waste so much time day to day and week to week, getting lost in tasks that barely make a dent in the housework and ever growing to-do list and letting the kids lose themselves in tablets and Netflix and never get out there and make our coveted memories. The ones that are all bright and shiny and post-worthy on social media.

We had been planning to take the kids to the local pumpkin patch the last couple weeks but plans had been derailed due to one illness and then another. We’d finally settled on Sunday to make the drive to Bates Nut Farm and planned to get there shortly after the place opened and hopefully leave around Willow’s nap time. I wasn’t naive enough to think we would have the time or the attention span to do all the attractions but surely we could get through the hay ride, face painting, and maybe the corn maze or pony rides while the kids were happy and cooperative enough to go along with a schedule. I expected once we got through three or four of the proffered family friendly activities we would need to pump the brakes, get the kids some food, make a mad dash through the patch to grab some pumpkins and then high tail it the hour car ride home. If I was lucky, we could spend the rest of the day posting cute pumpkin patch pictures on my Facebook page and recovering from our efforts.

At least that was the plan I had concocted in my head. In the attraction of making golden family memories, I sometimes forget that these outings are very often more work on my part as a parent than the amount of fun had by the entire family put together at the event itself. But that never stops me from planning them because I just can’t help myself.

The effort alone in getting a two-year-old and a four-year-old ready for the car can be daunting. Both kids need to be changed and dressed, about forty reminders to eat their breakfast (we call them “bite breaks”) while they are playing and watching their morning cartoons, teeth need to be brushed (and since they seem to like to take turns running from their toothbrush every day this is how I get all my steps in), and hair needs to be de-matted and brushed through all while our small children are screaming (Nooo! My hair! Don’t touch me! I don’t like water on me!). After about an hour of this nonsense, during which I’m filling a Costco cooler with enough snacks, diapers, and wipes to get through two hours of family fun it’s finally time to leave. Then Matt and I realize that neither of us has actually eaten anything or finished coffee. That means an extra ten minutes of throwing drinkable yogurt and granola bars in our bag and finding travel mugs to bring what’s left in the coffee pot for the car ride.

So finally after an hour and a half of this nonsense we’re on the road and I realize we haven’t packed juice boxes or blankets for the ride home making the eventual needed bribery options limited but we will have to make do with the bare minimum I suppose: Lunchables and Skittles (which are actually my bribery for adulting but I make sacrifices in the name of weekend outings). Once we arrive at the actual farm, I realize I’ve made another error in judgement. Assuming the dust and hay against bare skin would send Olive into a sensory turmoil (although she doesn’t have a lot of sensory issues, I always seem to misjudge what environmental triggers will or won’t be an issue), I dressed both girls in stretch pants and a halloween t-shirt. Unfortunately, although it was 75 degrees when we left, it was 90 degrees on the farm and we were all hot within ten minutes of getting there. Add this to the fact that the parking lot was already half full when we arrived (meaning lines would be longer and the kids would get overwhelmed more quickly from the crowds alone) and I knew we would have to readjust our expectations in terms of what we were going to be able to do at the farm.

The first family fun activity we had to check off our list was a pit stop at the porta potties. The bathroom was both badly needed and would be super frustrating but I found out after taking Olive inside the box of ill repute that she was terrified of portable toilets. She took one look down the portal of poop and started screaming as if her life depended on it, bashing into the plastic walls, and eventually managed to claw the door open (thank goodness we were both fully clothed at this point) and made a mad dash out of there with me chasing after her (and I really needed the damn bathroom at that point if I’m going to be honest). I can only imagine what my fellow pumpkin patch goers thought of this spectacle as I was in hot pursuit of a screaming toddler making a mad dash out of a literal hot box.

Thank goodness we had remembered the training potty in the car and we eventually were able to check off this first family fun activity (the only one that was free of charge by the way). Next we found the line for the ticket booth (which was a requirement for all activities, including purchasing pumpkins) and waited in an exorbitantly long line so we could buy enough tickets for the privilege to wait in all the other long lines to actually participate in any of the available activities (pony rides, hay ride, horse drawn carriage, corn maze, henna tattoos, face painting, balloons, bounce house, bounce slide). This was also the only line that both of my children were able to wait patiently for.

We decided that the best plan of attack was to start with the hay ride while the kids’ patience was most likely to hold out since it had the longest line. Unfortunately, Willow had used all of hers up in the wait to get the tickets and decided that she was done waiting for the day. My best efforts to get her to stop screaming and crying (snacks, water bottle, walking around the farm while daddy and Olive stayed in line) only seemed to silence her frustration momentarily and by the time we were headed to the front of the loading bay area I knew the likelihood of her not ruining the entire wagon’s experience with her banshee shrieking and violent flailing was at about zero percent so I abandoned the hope of actually experiencing a hay ride with my two smiling happy children (I still haven’t been on a hayride since college when there were actually zero children and copious amounts of rum).

I carried Willow kicking and screaming at extremely loud decibels to the shade of a nearby tree and waited out the tantrum, until she was tired of screaming and we were both covered in dirt and essentially looked like we belonged there. This seems like as good of a time as any to impart this kernel of wisdom: if you see a mother struggling with a screaming toddler trying to high tail it out of the immediate vicinity, don’t take this opportunity to stare, gawk, make snarky comments and asides to your friend, or otherwise pass judgement or humor on their predicament. Because I SEE you and just because my hands are full does not mean I’m not silently cussing you out, laying a curse on your next of kin, and judging you harshly and silently for being a monumental douche canoe.

Once Willow had cooled her jets and was at the level of “sniffling and sad,” I pointed out to her that there was a lemonade vendor and if she could wait patiently and quietly in line with me (that was only two people deep), I would buy her a lemonade while we waited for daddy and Olive to finish their ride. Although it took two attempts to get in line, because Willow decided yet again that lines weren’t worth her precious time (at which point the line was five people deep). I did eventually get her a lemonade which she held onto for dear life for the remainder of the visit and refused to share with any one.

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Once Matt and Olive met up with us Olive decided she was ready to have her face painted. We braved the line for about twenty minutes before Olive announced she absolutely did not want her face painted. She wanted to go on the pony rides, except the line for the pony rides was a good fifteen people deep and we knew the likelihood of Willow making it through both a line and sitting still long enough to enjoy a pony ride was minuscule so I kindly suggested to Olive that we go through the corn maze and then come back for the ponies. Luckily, she was at least minimally flexible to the idea and we headed for corn hell.

We weren’t in the maze for more than five minutes before the actual meltdown started. I don’t know if it was because she was entirely closed off by bales of hay in 95 degree weather (OK – I admit, not the most sensory friendly environment) or because she was still bent out of shape over having to forgo ponies, but Olive started getting pouty and closed off, stopped following us or responding to prompts, and then basically picked one corner of the maze to shut down. I tried to wait it out for a few minutes and I employed all the tactics we’ve learned from ABA (deep breaths, counting to ten, offering alternatives, setting a timer for a break, etc.) but nothing was making her budge and it eventually evolved into a crying hysterics that there would be no coming back from (At one point I began to wonder if she was turning into one of the actual towheaded children from Children of the Corn). At that point, it was time to throw in the towel and call in an end to our fun family outing. We made a mad dash through the pumpkin field and let each kid pick out a pumpkin (which almost became a second toddler crisis when Willow discovered much to her dismay that she couldn’t physically carry her pumpkin).

And then we all shuffled back to the car and headed back home to lick our proverbial wounds. In that moment, I broke down myself for a few minutes and cried (quietly too myself). We had driven over an hour to get there and stayed for an hour and fifteen minutes and had another hour drive home. The amount of planning and effort that goes into an outing like this between getting the kids ready and the car packed and making sure the kids behave and are safe and then getting them back home is exhausting, even when the day goes well. I’m not saying it didn’t go well but for the amount of moments we had that looked like this:

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There were five times as many moments that went like this:

 

Once I was done throwing myself a pity party, I gently reminded myself that I knew what my kids’ limitations were when it comes to lines, crowds, outings, sensory stimulation, and attention span and I decided to make this outing worth pushing their limits in 95 degree weather, no less. One day they may be able to come to the pumpkin patch and stay for three or four hours, enjoy every single activity and gorge themselves on fair food, but this was not that day. If I was going to take them places outside their comfort zone then I was also going to need to embrace the chaos that comes along with it. And even though the memories that are seared into my brain from this day will probably be unbearable heat, screaming, crying, and porta potties, I’m hoping what my kids will remember will be pumpkins, hayrides, and lemonade.

Pumpkin Spice Your Life, B*tches

Pumpkin spice is officially here. I guess it has been for some time. It was 107 degrees on August 31st here in San Diego when I was waiting impatiently for my iced latte and noticed this lovely board mocking me.

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Is this real life? Just to reiterate. It was 107 degrees outside and about 95 degrees in my car. I was half tempted to steal the sign, because not today coffee mermaid Nazis. Not today.

But now of course I’ve had about eight of them since they’ve made their grand reappearance because I’m pretty sure it isn’t really fall until you’ve pumpkin spiced everything in your life from your coffee to your antibacterial hand soap (who knew Hep A hates pumpkin spice almost as much as I do?!).

I was also up at 5:00 am yesterday making these lovely chocolate chip cream cheese pumpkin muffins because I figured they’d go with the vat of coffee I had planned for that morning. I’m probably over compensating for being a shitty parent and housewife in other aspects of my life but that’s really a conversation for my therapist. I highly recommend them, they were so unhealthy and delicious that even my two-year old who absolutely refuses to eat vegetables ate half a muffin with zero prompting. The other half she smashed into the carpeting of my car but that whole day my Ford Flex smelled amazing so I wasn’t as mad as I probably should have been.

This is the first year that I’ve really embraced the pumpkin flavored nonsense as part of my fall repertoire. I’ve always secretly hated pumpkin pie as a child and really used it primarily as a delivery method for whipped cream. Don’t get me wrong, I love fall. I’m the first one rocking a scarf and boots at play dates as soon as the air starts to crisp. We are usually that house on the street who couldn’t wait to put out carved pumpkins and so by the time trick-or-treaters make their appearance on October 31st, the smiling carved faces on our pumpkins are also rotting and covered in fruit flies (I maintain it adds to the spooky effect). While I’ve always enjoyed fall scented candles, I usually went for something in the apple and cinnamon family. But this year is different. I guess I’m finally saying yes to the pumpkin spice band wagon and it’s both freeing and utterly obnoxious. Because instead of just getting on the wagon, I have to also light it on fire and run it off a cliff Thelma-and-Louise style. That’s just how I like to ring in a new season.

So that started me thinking, why pumpkin flavored/scented everything? Why is that our symbolic way to ring in the fall season? Why not butternut squash? It’s not as if pumpkin on its own smells that particularly wonderful. It smells sort of like a hearty mud and if you’ve ever seen it come out of a can, it looks a little like something you might find in a diaper. In case you were wondering, pumpkin pie spice (eventually shortened to “pumpkin spice”) was originally a blend of spices concocted by McCormick and some of the other spicy big wigs in the 1960s to make it easier for homemakers to add spice to their fall life by blending the common ingredient for pumpkin pie (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice etc.) but of course did not actually include pumpkin because pumpkin is a vegetable. This would have been really nice to have when I was rummaging through the chaos that is our spice drawer, trying to find all of these exact spices for those damn muffins. Anyways, the spice blend eventually gave way to pumpkin spice candles, which eventually gave way to the masses just handing their wallets to Starbucks for making it rain PSL’s.

So now you know why we pumpkin spice everything, but why do we carve pumpkins? Well, if you thought it was an American tradition, you’re wrong. The symbol of the carved pumpkin or “Jack O Lantern” dates back to an Irish and Scottish tradition in which scary faces were carved into potatoes and turnips and lit up with lumps of coal to ward off the legendary “Jack of the Lantern.” Once these people immigrated to America and discovered the pumpkin a new tradition was born! And thank goodness, because if my pumpkin carving skills are any indication there is no way I should be carving fucking potatoes.

Now excuse me, I’m going to light a bunch of pumpkin candles,  lather myself in pumpkin spice lotion, double fist these fresh baked pumpkin cream cheese chocolate chip muffins, and make a Starbucks run.

A Lesson in Physics

Hooke’s law of elasticity is an approximation that states that the Force (load) is in direct proportion with the extension of a material as long as this load does not exceed the proportional limit.

Yield Stress: on a stress strain graph beyond the yield point (or elastic limit) the material will no longer return to its original length. This means it has become permanently deformed. Therefore the yield stress is the level of stress at which a material will deform permanently.

I’m beginning to understand why television moms with children on the spectrum are always portrayed as Type A, overstressed, controlling, and always at their breaking point. I used to think it was an unfair stereotype, but I’m beginning to see this may be an inevitable state of being.

I usually pride myself in being a fairly laid back person for the most part. The last few weeks have been trying to say the least between prepping for two back to school weeks for Olive as she’s enrolled in both a general education and special education preschool program with two different (both new) teachers with two different start weeks, we have a new ABA supervisor who started recently, and both of Olive’s occupational and speech therapy services needed to be renewed this month as well.

In theory these should all be fairly simple tasks and changes as my daughter is in preschool, not college and renewal requests should only involve her speech/OT office faxing paperwork to her doctor’s office. But when you combine the military healthcare system with the amount of paperwork involved with a child with special needs, problems and balls dropping seem to grow exponentially.

The first trigger of stressful eye twitching began when I went to pick Olive up from her first day in her general education classroom and I discovered that Olive’s case manager for her IEP never transferred her IEP to her GE preschool teacher. Not only had that not happened, but no one from the special education department or administration told the teacher that Olive was coming from the special education program or that Olive had ASD. Luckily, when Olive did have an incident that day in which she became upset, the teacher was able to talk it out with her, but it could have easily escalated and gone into the direction of a meltdown. Which is why when I realized that Olive had walked into her first day of preschool without a safety net, the part of me that constantly worries that  one of the balls I juggle for her will drop was crushed. Even though I knew I did everything I could have done to make sure that she was prepared for her first day of school, things still could have gone wrong. As a special needs parent, one of my coping mechanisms is to be as prepared as I can and to make her routines well managed and run smoothly. I contacted the program manager the day of the preschool orientation to make sure I didn’t forget anything, I hand delivered her IEP and authorization requests to the doctor’s office so her speech and occupational therapy wouldn’t be disrupted, I went back to school shopping and hand picked super soft t-shirts, socks, and stretch pants that I knew she could dress herself  before school and that I knew she wouldn’t refuse to wear (no dresses, no skirts, all cotton). I spent hours searching Pinterest for tree-nut free protein options and fun lunch ideas that I could pack for school because Olive refuses to eat any cheese, sandwiches, and most bread. Most of the time, she will only eat hot mac and cheese, nuggets, peanut butter on crackers, spaghetti, and Lunchables (which I know most schools prefer parents not pack).

There’s a reason when you see parents with kids on the spectrum they often have oversized calendars, schedulers filled with appointments, reminders, information, meetings, etc. They are always at therapies, meetings with schools, or doctor’s offices trying to advocate for something, push paperwork, or even just to get all of her services on the same page. I have a binder that (when I’m organized) has all of her paperwork for all of her therapies, referrals, respite logs, IEPs, etc.

Parents with kids on the spectrum may have refrigerators stockpiled for the five meals their kids will actually eat and  travel with a Costco sized cooler with preferred snacks, a favorite blanket, and a tablet because they know that the likelihood of the BBQ serving anything their child will actually eat is minuscule, but chances are their child will need to escape their surroundings at some point during the outing.

I spend most of my time trying to control what I can to make sure Olive has access to all the resources she will need in order to be successful, but no matter what I do there will always be elements that are out of my control. I’m writing this today because even though I delivered paperwork three weeks ago, one of my referrals was denied because the IEP wasn’t received and the authorization which I resubmitted later was not the right one (partially one of my balls dropping and partially speech and medical offices messing up on their end). I had to make three phone calls (the last one I was on the phone for an hour) to sort out the snafu so that her speech services aren’t disrupted and we don’t lose our slot on the schedule (it is next to impossible to get two back to back occupational and speech appointments and I cannot lose my spot). It ended in the doctor’s office promising to call me back (and if I miss their call I have no way to call them back because it’s a general appointment line). I spent an hour after the phone call with my phone attached to me while I tried to find the rest of the missing pieces for “Don’t Wake Hank” so Olive could use it during ABA. Somewhere between finding tentacle number 5 and 6 I misplaced my phone. It won’t ring for me when I call it from my computer and I can’t find it after looking for over an hour. I want to break down and cry and throw something and yell and scream but we are in the middle of an ABA session at my house and I cannot of course break down right now. Which is why I’m writing this.

Because I can’t magically make my phone appear. I know I will find it and I will sort out the mounting pile of paperwork that has become our day to day life and we will fix this problem eventually. Because some days I don’t have it all together and that’s OK. I’m also reminding myself that of all the bad days, I’ve survived 100% of them so far and that’s a pretty good record.

 

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The Tell-Tale Diaper

This gruesome tale is in honor of Blue on National Dog Day…

The last two weeks have been a slew of rushing from activities, meet ups,  and appointments and trying to beat the ABA therapist back to the house so I have at least ten minutes to shove clutter in less conspicuous places all while procrastinating our back to school to-do’s which starts on Monday.

Last Friday, I was frantically trying to finish getting the kids ready to go to a much needed play date. The tricky thing about morning play dates is unless we get somewhere before 10 AM we have an hour to be there before we have to turn around and head back for lunch and ABA. That means most mornings, I have a solid ninety minutes to feed both children, get every one dressed, caffeinated myself, eat breakfast, pack a diaper bag, make sure everyone’s teeth are brushed, redress Olive because she’s taken off her clothes, feed the dog, brush Olive’s hair again because she’s been rolling around the ground wrapped in a blanket, take away the permanent marker from Willow, unsuccessfully scrub off the permanent marker from Willow’s legs, warn the kids that we’re leaving in five minutes three times in twenty minutes, spill coffee on my clean shirt, rummage through the three loads of clean laundry still sitting unfolded in baskets because I have no other clean shirts (you get the idea of how my mornings tend to go around here).

Of course, right as I was in that golden moment of thinking we were actually headed out the door and I’m grabbing my purse and corralling the kids towards the mom-mobile, my nose picked up that Willow had pooped the diaper I had changed for her not more than five minutes ago. Not willing to break my forward momentum, I changed her quickly and efficiently on the couch (or just quickly if I’m being honest), put her back up right, and threw out the shit filled diaper without a second thought inside the kitchen garbage and headed out the door (where I most likely had to chase the kids in aimless circles around the SUV until I could actually physically get them strapped into the vehicle).

Now generally as most seasoned diaper disposal professionals (or DDP for short) will know, it’s always best to throw out a #2 diaper in the outdoor receptacles because gross I’ve long since given up on diaper genies with baby #1 because while a good idea in theory it involves emptying a canister that is basically the equivalent of plastic sausage links filled with excrement and regardless of how efficiently it seems to store dirty diapers, at the end of the day it’s still a ticking time bomb of fecal matter that is sitting inside your house. Its canister is even shaped like it might be a missle. Back to the matter at hand, the garbage was going to need to be taken out once I got back from the play date and not wanting to disrupt my forward momentum and needing both hands for the herding of small children I was about to undertake, it was just more convenient to throw it out in the kitchen garbage.

It turned out to be a big mistake which would haunt me for the rest of the weekend. When it comes to getting into the garbage, Blue is good at what he does. Since he is taller than the top of the garbage lid and being a bit of a cocky bastard, he does not wait for me to leave most of the time when he gets into the garbage; he will do the deed right in front of me because he has long ago shed the facade that I have any real authority over him or the house in general. He does as he pleases because he outweighs me by 75 lbs. He also doesn’t really need to knock over the can to get into the garbage, he just lifts the lid or removes it altogether and drops his head in like its some kind of trough. For a very long time, the garbage and recycling cans were moved on the other side of the baby gate if he was in the house with us which means they’re next to the restroom in the hallway leading into the bedrooms which is an awkward place for garbage. Luckily though he’d seemed to recently have matured and I’d become lazy in my habit of moving said cans.

Fast forward to two hours later when we got back from the play date at 11:45 am, which left me exactly fifteen minutes to clean up from this morning, feed the kids, and pick up the playroom before the therapist arrived. I walked into the living room to see Olive’s favorite twin sized fleece blanket spread on the hardwoods, covered in something brown and what looked like a quarter of the bottom of what once might have been a diaper.

Olive ran forward past me and stopped within inches of her blanket and before I could stop her, reached to grab it. Luckily she caught sight of Blue’s finger painting before I did and paused to assess the situation.

“Is that poop?”

“DON’T TOUCH IT!”

This time I scooped up the entire lot: shit covered blanket and half masticated diaper and threw it all outside. But that meant I had ten minutes to sweep up all the gel pieces that were littered like confetti in our living room, (and if you’ve ever swept up diaper gel you know those little guys are both feisty and defiant) disinfect the area and hope my Scentsy room spray would mask any of lingering smell. I also smirked at the irony that this happened to be the same blanket that  just two days prior her therapist deemed it necessary to tell me that she thought the blanket needed to be washed and inferred that it smelled. A sniff check later told me that while Blue may have napped with it recently, she just didn’t have kids or pets and perhaps didn’t know that smelling a four year old’s blanket is generally ill advised. I wondered what her opinion of the blanket in its current state would render this time around.

I had more or less forgotten about the incident until the next day when we came back from yet another morning play date and my favorite throw blanket was yet again on the ground. I didn’t realize anything was amiss until Olive grabbed the far ends of it and started dragging it to the couch to roll herself into one of her cocoons and saw a half digested Pampers fall onto the hardwoods. I quickly took the blanket back and waved Willow away from the puddle of vomit on the ground (because any puddle is a muddy puddle if you’re two years old and watch Peppa Pig) until I could locate Clorox wipes and paper towel. It was the longest thirty seconds of my life. So far.

I finally cleaned up the diaper, disinfected the area and threw my blanket in the washing machine and realized that this was the THIRD time I had picked up after the same shitty diaper in TWO DAYS. First, when Willow pooped in it, then when Blue ate it and again when he threw it up. It felt like no matter what I did, I was never going to be rid of that diaper. And then I looked outside through my sliding glass door at the litter of man-sized dog droppings waiting for me and realized that perhaps I never would.

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I’m Baaaaaack

You know when you have a friend you haven’t talked to in ages and the longer you go without picking up the phone and calling them the more awkward it becomes until you just can’t stomach texting them because you’ve been a bad friend and haven’t kept in touch?

That’s what this blog had become to me over the last year. I really wanted to write, but I’d been gone so long I didn’t know how to start. And the longer I went without writing, the harder the concept of actually posting something became. I had some really good reasons for not writing and some not great ones which I will get into shortly. I kept having these great ideas for blog posts that ultimately became hilarious Facebook posts because I just couldn’t get myself to sit down and give them the time and energy a quality blog post required. But I really want writing to be a part of my life and that won’t happen without this blog. So for anyone who was kind enough to read my writing last year, whether it was on Scary Mommy, The Mighty, or Hahas for HooHas or right here where it all started, I just want to say a big THANK YOU! I hope to have much more to share soon and will keep you updated if it appears anywhere but here.

Also, for my silence for the last year I’m so sorry! All I can say in my defense is I had a really difficult year between parenting through a military deployment, trying to navigate parenting with two small children, Olive’s pre-K and numerous therapies, and juggling too many balls in the air I went into deep survival mode and ended each day just too bone tired to write. Tired to the point of falling asleep in puddles of my own drool and waking up with my make up still on tired.

And I’ve got plenty to say so here goes……

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