Archives for January 2012

Poo-Poo Beans

I’m tired. Not just physically tired but mentally. I am unofficially mentally exhausted.

People like Demi Moore can afford to check their mentally exhausted yet freakishly toned and surgically enhanced bodies into posh facilities to rest. They can melt down in private or under the care of a well- trained psychiatrist. One who is able to decipher the frozen expressions of those unable to move their botulinum toxin-filled faces.

The rich and famous check themselves into retreats in Malibu to examine their feelings, kick their habits, and lament about their man-child’s infidelities. Call me cynical but I imagine there are some massage treatments and gourmet meals included in the package. Someone makes the bed, cleans the can, and washes the dishes too.

Well around here we take a nap when we’re exhausted. Then we wake up, suck it up and confront that which exhausts us. For me the culprit is poo.

I am tired of poo. It’s been seven years. Seven straight years of tending to the fecal waste of other human beings.

Kate will turn three in February and so far Kate has shown no real interest in using the potty. She has gone through weeks where she successfully tinkles/wee-wees/pees/pee-pees (or whatever fun word I can think of to inspire her) on the potty. Then she decides that she’s over it, craps in her training pants and demands that we “wipe her butt.”

I’ll admit that I haven’t really pushed the subject lately. She’ll go when she’s ready right? After all, I highly doubt she’ll be crapping her pants at the junior prom. And if she is, who’s the freak? Not me.

One of the joys of having three children is that by the third, you’ve stopped comparing your child’s development to other kids. When competitive mommies ask, “Is she potty trained yet?” I nonchalantly say, “Nope, she’s still crapping her pants.” (I don’t really say it like that…or maybe I do.) Then I quietly enjoy the looks of confusion, horror, and pity that come my way. It’s usually newbies who get caught up in the whole “Junior crawled/walked/spoke/pooped at 2 months” rigamarole. Who the hell has time for that business?

Well, yesterday morning Kate conned me. She actually listened to my half-hearted instruction to go sit on the potty then minutes later, nonchalantly entered the room and announced that she’d pooped. Gwen and I stared at one another in stunned silence. Then we ran to look.

And there it was. A little nugget in the Baby Bjorn.

We danced and clapped and wooped it up and then I said, “What kind of present do you want, Kate?”

“I want poo-poo beans.” (That’s Kate-speak for M&M’s.)

After dropping Gwen off at preschool, I drove my tiniest child to the grocery store to buy those poo-poo beans. I also figured I’d get a little shopping done while I was at it. Halfway through the shop Kate asked, “Is dere a bafroom in dis store?”

“Yes, do you have to go?”

“Yes, but I go at home.”

So I cut the shop short, picked up a bag of poo-poo beans at the register and high-tailed it out of there so Kate could crap in the comfort of her own home.

In the car she happily popped poo-poo beans into her mouth after hollering out the color of each one. She laughed and sang and kicked her little feet. Oh, we had such fun!

Then she got home, decided to hide in her room and proceeded to poop in her pants. She conned me. She threw me that little nugget with the  sole intent of procuring a bag of poo-poo beans. Go ahead and doubt me, but I’m onto her game. She’s diabolical.

This morning I saw a clip on the news about Demi checking into a facility and immediately thought of myself. Mostly because I’m selfish like that. With my head still cradled in my pillow, I imagined the news anchor telling my version of the exhaustion tale…

Kelli, the world-famous mother of the foul-mouthed toddler, Kate, has checked herself into a rehab facility citing poo exhaustion. Sources say that Kelli has recently been seen popping poo-poo beans and chasing them with pinot grigio. Her publicist denies the reports.

A Different Kind of Post

This is one of those moments when I wish I was still blogging every day. That I was still actively involving myself in link-ups and writing prompts and commenting like crazy. It’s not that I don’t want to, I’m just concentrating on writing. I chose to turn around, retrace my steps and find the path I couldn’t follow all those years ago.

But I wish I was still out there speaking to all of you every day because I need your help. I’m hoping that those of you who visit No. 7 will take a moment to read about my friend Jessica.

Jessica is the mother of two beautiful little boys. Both boys are in preschool – the same preschool as Gwen. That’s where I met Jess.

You know how sometimes you meet someone and instantly feel goodness surrounding them? That’s what I got from Jess. But when we first met there was also a sense of sadness surrounding her that I couldn’t understand. Something was wrong. Back in September I didn’t know her well enough to ask why. I don’t like to pry.

It turns out Jessica’s best friend Karolina had passed away over the summer. She was young and vibrant and loved and she died quite suddenly from a brain aneurysm. I’ve learned this gradually.

For a while now Jessica has been having intense and painful headaches. She pushed her doctor to run tests to find the reason and I think her friend Karolina was guiding her to keep pushing for those tests.

Her doctor resisted at first but Jessica insisted. Jessica knew something wasn’t right. She was worried that maybe the headaches were a sign that she might have an aneurysm too.

Last week she found out she does not have an aneurysm.

She has a brain tumor.

She has two beautiful boys, a husband and friends who love her. Even those of us who haven’t known her for a terribly long time.

Maybe that’s because I spend time with her son at preschool. He’s sweet and thoughtful and like Jess – probably because of Jess – he’s the kind of person who makes you feel good.

I can’t begin to imagine the fear and stress that Jessica is experiencing as she waits for surgery on February 3rd. There are so many unknowns. She’s struggling with what, or how much, to tell her little boys. She’s busying herself with organizing her life so while she’s in the hospital her family will know what to do.

She’s started blogging about it. Writing through her fear, confusion and any other emotion that bubbles to the surface.

So the reason that I’m telling you all of this is because Jessica could use the support and encouragement of other women. Mothers, sisters, friends, aunts, cousins…strangers. Please rally around her and her family and do whatever you can. Say a prayer, write a note of encouragement at her blog and share the links I’ve posted below.

photo courtesy Photos by Colleen

For donations: 

Jessica’s Blog:

Thank you, friends.

BAD MOTHER: Why I Didn’t Really Miss Them

First, can I just tell you how incredibly lovely it was to spend 10 whole days away from my children? Go ahead, gasp and shake your head at my brazen statement. Jump to conclusions and assume I don’t love my family. Send me hate mail.

It won’t bother me.

I am relaxed.

Ten days in the company of talented writers does that to a person. Ten days talking about what I love – words, books, writers, craft – ahhhhh. That Stonecoast winter residency was a very expensive spa retreat for my soul.

Harraseekett Inn photo courtesy Kerri Dieffenwierth

It didn’t hurt that we were eating and sleeping at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport. I spend the first few days quietly humming, Heaven, I’m in Heaven…then realized that people were staring.

I didn’t wash a dish or make a bed for TEN entire days.  I was not required to cook, wipe hineys or perform booger removal. There were no fights to break up, no need to remind anyone to wash their junk and the scent of poo never wafted to my nose as other humans passed by.


Of course on some level (buried so deeply inside my ecstatic mind that it hardly registered) I missed my family. I love them dearly. Really. So I refrained from looking at too many pictures and I tried to avoid my husband’s Facebook updates while he documented his single parent experience.

It was my family who seemed riveted to his posts. You see, among my people there aren’t many men who would stay home for ten days and assume the role of Mr. Mom. I’m amused by the way my family eyeballs Dave with a mix of suspicion and skepticism, always wondering exactly what his deal is – if perhaps he’s slightly touched. 

After ten years, the women have grown to love him and the men…well, he confuses the shit out of them. They don’t come around much.

All I know is that I came home to a clean house, happy children and one amazing man.

I’ve been back for nearly a week now. I walked through the door suffering from exhaustion but strangely recharged. My state of post-residency fatigue made it an interesting week. Fatigue led me to do some stupid things and a blog post will follow, but for now I am simply glad to be home. Mostly because ten days away from my children actually caused them to miss me thus, they have been angels for the past week. Either that or ten kid-free days soothed my raw nerves.

Whatever…check back in a few days because this morning my right eye started to twitch and Kate called Joe an “ass.” Something tells me that life will be business as usual by Tuesday afternoon.

Distractions and Bad Hair Advice

Yesterday morning I sat on the couch perusing Etsy and watching Rachael Ray. I haven’t watched daytime television in months. Hell, I haven’t watched any television in months. Except for every single episode of the Vampire Diaries after discovering free episodes on Netflix two weeks ago. If you were wondering where I’ve been (humor me), my face was plastered to my iPad while I drooled over a hunky blood sucking monster named Damon.

You're welcome

But I was talking about how I was loafing around yesterday morning…

There I was, loafing around on the couch and wishing there was just one more episode of Vampire Diaries to watch before the big premiere on Thursday night.

The ridiculous part is, I have a lot of shit to do. On Friday I’m leaving the family for ten days to go to the winter residency for my MFA program. I have eleven eighteen-page manuscripts to critique. I also have readings to complete before faculty and graduate presentations. I’m almost done but sometimes my brain needs a break from all those words.

So there I was marveling at felted bunny rabbits on Etsy. Not that I’m really in the market for felted critters, but have you seen what these people can create?!

photo courtesy Sarasark Etsy Shop

courtesy SteviT Etsy Shop

I was also half listening the Rachael Ray’s monologue. When she started dishing about the best hairstyles of 2011, I thought, If Jennifer Aniston’s hair is mentioned in this segment, I’m gonna throw my slipper at that flat screen.

They didn’t talk about Friends or Jennifer’s “Rachel” cut but they did talk about Brooklyn Decker’s tousled bob. Or, as Kyan Douglas called it, a tossled bob.

So I was sucked in. My pixie cut has successfully grown out to the bob stage. If I can call my uncombed bob “tousled” and get away with it, I’m all for it!

Fast forward twenty minutes and I was standing in the bathroom following the How to Make Tousled Waves instructions of some broad on the internet. She told me that to get that tossled…no, I’m just going to stick with tousled… She said to get that tousled look, I should put mousse in my hair, braid 5 to 7 sections and twist into little buns. Then when dry, take the bun braids out and lightly shake my fingers through my hair.

And I listened to her.

I didn’t have mousse on hand so I grabbed some of Dave’s hair gel and proceeded to braid just like Smarty McHairdo told me to. Unfortunately, I also had no bobby pins so my buns were held in place with an insane combination of doggie hairclips and rainbow hued curly-cue bows from Gwen’s collection.

Hair Bow Instructions how to make hair bows twisted, layered, over the top

Photo Courtesy Birdsongbows Etsy Shop

I stepped back to admire my handiwork in the mirror and thought, How great is this? Now I’ll totally get through this awkward grow-out stage!

I was quite pleased with myself. I’d finally found a way to harness my waves and make them work for me.

As my bun braids dried, I swirled a makeup brush in my mineral makeup and buffed my face…swirl and buff…swirl and buff… I hollered, “Girls get your shoes and socks on! We’re leaving soon!”

And I meant it. We’d be leaving really soon because my hair was tousling. All by itself. In those braid buns that Smarty McHairdo told me to make.

What a frackin’ time saver!

Gwen walked into my bathroom, skidded to a stop and openly gawked at my head. “Ummmmm, Mom? What’d you do to your hair?”

Her face was filled with concern. No, maybe that was confusion…or fear. Whatever. She thought my lid looked crazy.

And it did.

So I pretended I was ready to go. I acted as if I fully intended to meander through the Maine Mall with 7 mini-bun braids wrapped in puppy dogs, curly bows and butterfly clips. Mostly, I do things like that because I like to torture my children and provide them with subject matter for future therapy sessions.

Gwen laughed then abruptly stopped and grew serious. “Seriously?”

“Yeah, why not? You don’t like it?” I turned and admired my head in the mirror.

“You look crazy. People are going to stare at you. They’ll probably laugh…and call you crazy. It’s not pretty, Mom. Not pretty at all.”

“Oh,” I said, feigning crippling disappointment. “What should I do then?”

“Take it out and brush it,” She said. Her tone inferring I’m a filthy animal who rarely brushes her hair.

“Okay,” I sighed.

Truthfully, I was looking forward to my tousled waves. My bob would rock those tousles like, like….a woman who’s completely bat-shit crazy.

Tousled waves my ass!

I looked like a freaky Muppet. No, I looked like a troll doll-Muppet hybrid.

Thank God for headbands. And a little girl who knows a crazy hairdo when she sees one.


I’ve opened my own Etsy shop and will be adding more goodies after January 16th!