If You Only Knew

Hey everyone, I need to interrupt my post to bring you this news.

Katie over at Chicken Noodle Gravy just dished about No. 7! In all seriousness, I am incredibly flattered by the feature that Katie wrote. Head over and check it out and while you’re there take some time to explore Katie’s blog – she’s a wonderful writer. Chicken Noodle Gravy is one of my absolute FAVORITES!! Thank you so much, Katie! I’m floating somewhere up around cloud 9 right now…

We will now return to our regularly scheduled programming…

How many times a week do you figure you want to run away? I don’t think I’d be exaggerating if I claimed that I want to abandon ship at least once during a 24 hour period. I’ll go ahead and say it, out the seven days in a week there are likely at least five (or many more) minutes per day in which I’d like completely disappear.


Truthfully, in those dark moments I’ve wondered if my family would even notice or regret my untimely departure. I don’t think that they would and I’m not sure that I’d blame them.
Last month, I survived a week of school vacation without a husband for the better portion of said Hell…er, I meant to say school vacation. By the time I was attempting to muddle through the eighth day of solo parenting, I was cracking. Mount Vesuvius had sprouted on my left cheekbone, along with some freshly carved lines courtesy of a week-long frown bender. My voice had taken on that raspy, Marge Simpson quality as the result of yelling.
Sometimes I think my vocal cords might be permanently damaged. I’ve run to hide in the bathroom and wonder if my children’s memories will be composed of a red-faced, screaming freak they called ‘Mommy’.

image courtesy Google image search

Any remnant of what was once pretty and toned is quickly fading away. Gwen is absorbing all that once was. She flips and twirls her long hair while I come to terms with my new pixie cut. We perused some photo albums this week, the ones that contain mostly pre-children photographs. “Oh Mommy!” she said with a breathy sigh, “You used to be so beautiful!” Gee, thanks…I think.

I stepped out of the shower one morning to find an audience. There they were lined up like judges minus the score cards. “Mommy, why is it grey under your eyes?” “What happened to your toenail polish, Mom?” “Hey, how come your butt crack sticks out of your jeans when you bend down?” “Don’t you wish your hair was long and beautiful like mine?”
I slowly turned and faced them with my blackened eye-bags and chippy toenail polish and, without words, gave them a look that made them run away. Then I went to find some pants that didn’t expose ass cleavage and I cried in my closet. 
I sobbed because I felt trapped and resentful. I sobbed because I don’t earn my own paycheck anymore. I sobbed because I’m tired. I sobbed because I feel like a hamster on a wheel, doing the same thing every single day. I sobbed because I felt guilty for sobbing about all of these things.

If you really knew me, you would know that sometimes I fight the urge to run.

Mama’s Losin’ It Note: I’m not losing my grasp on sanity. I wrote this in response to Mama Kat’s weekly writing prompt. I chose “If you really knew me, you would know that sometimes…”

That Rat Bastard!

I’m a shitty mother. I’m on my second day of temporary single-motherhood. In all seriousness, I can’t fathom how single mothers function without losing their minds. I take great comfort in the fact that David will be home tomorrow night. In the meantime, I hope that lousy bastard is enjoying his peaceful weekend at a hotel sans children. Asshole.

Day One started out nicely enough. Gwen cried when she found out that her Daddy wasn’t coming home. I hugged her and provided vast amounts of comfort, but she continued bawling until I finally told her to cut the dramatics. A visual representation of my level of patience when it comes to whining little girls is this: o. Yes, that’s right. My patience could fit in that tiny little ‘o’ that I typed back there.

As the day wore on and I began to dread the complete lack of “me” time I’d enjoy over the next 72 hours, I decided to fight fire with fire. Off I went to the grocery store to stock up on crappy food that we wouldn’t normally eat. Okay, let me rephrase that. I bought a bunch of crap that under normal circumstances, I’d never let them eat but Daddy would because he’s the nice one. I bought the ingredients for cupcakes, I bought microwave popcorn to drizzle with Reese’s peanut butter chips and Nestle chocolate chips (you’re welcome for the shout out, corporate giants who peddle crappy food to my children). I also stocked up on pizza dough and all the fixings, then rented Despicable Me. Those kids rolled over on their Daddy and declared me the nice one right there in the grocery store. Suckers.

We baked cupcakes together and I only yelled once. I let them frost their own cupcakes then eat two. I let them make their own mangled pizzas but couldn’t refrain from adding broccoli to the toppings.  It was a good night. The kids went to bed a bit later than usual and I knocked back two glasses of wine before passing out from a mixture of exhaustion and booze. This being nice crap isn’t easy.

Day Two had a bit of a bumpy start. For a week, I’ve made David check the mouse traps that I set in the cabinet holding the dog food. For a week, the mice have successfully avoided death by Victor. Well, I think that one of those furry little bastards was waiting until David went away to sacrifice himself.

I’m not one of those women who shrieks and jumps on a chair at the sight of a mouse. I actually think they’re kind of cute. We happen to have field mice with those big, black teardrop shaped cartoon eyes, long whiskers, a furry white under belly. After the rats in Boston, these little critters look like a Beatrix Potter illustration come to life. However, I don’t want them in my food. Dead mice freak me out and there he was, laying in the cabinet with a smooshed head, rigor mortis and that long tail. I shrieked and slammed the cabinet shut. Gwen and Kate each mimicked my performance while Joe barely registered a reaction.

Stella was the only family member willing to help out. Initially, my plan included her picking the mouse up in her mouth and then I’d send her outside to “dispose” of it. Good plan, right? Wrong. She happily went into the cabinet and starting gnawing on the mouse right there. I seriously could have shut the cabinet and let her go to town and I don’t think she would have moved until it was gone. I wasn’t interested in hearing tiny bones cracking or Stella’s tongue lapping up gooey mouse parts. So, I made her come out of the cabinet and began to rethink my mouse removal methods. Stella began digging the cabinet to get back in, which prompted me to act.

Much to the delight of my children I found a paper bag and while emitting an insane sounding, “OMIGOD, OMIGOD, OMIGOD” over and over again, I picked up the trap and sealed that stiffened little creature into his tomb. The kids all giggled when I ran to the garage to pitch the corpse of our tiny thieving friend. I performed a shrieking heebie-jeebie dance in honor of the sacrificial rodent. He’s entombed in a Baby Gap bag, still wearing his trap. He had a good life and spent his final days noshing on expensive dog food. God Bless Mouse.

I don’t care how cute they are, if his buddies come looking for him tonight, they’d better watch it! Another Victor is baited and ready to take out the next rat bastard who tries to filch the dog kibble.”

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Ten years ago, if someone had told me that someday I’d love a person capable of biting his own toenails without feeling a lick of shame about his disgusting grooming habit, I would have scoffed. That’s right, I would have completely disregarded the person prophesying my love for a dirty toenail biter. The prophet would have been on the receiving end of one of my trademark sneers of disgust (I don’t do that on purpose, they are naturally occurring phenomenon). I’d have bid that person a curt farewell and turned on my heel without a bit of remorse at leaving an insane person in my dust. Well, if I had scoffed at that prediction, I’d look like a fool today and I’d be forced to apologize for being such a self-righteous, snooty bitch.

This afternoon I called Joe into the bathroom to help him clip his toenails. (Yes, this is one of the more glamorous requirements of motherhood.) I’ll admit it, in the winter months when their little feet are covered in socks, I tend to forget the toenails. So shoot me, there are worse acts of neglect than failure to clip a six-year-old kid’s gnarly little toenails.

Anywho, since he was in the middle of a rousing game of Super Mario, my beck and calls were being largely ignored. Somewhere around my third and increasingly screechy demand to “get upstairs RIGHT NOW or so help me…”, he yelled back, “It’s okay, I trimmed them myself!”

Silenced by his declaration, I stood in my bathroom with the toenail clippers in hand, wearing a look of bewilderment. In one of those weird moments where a million different scenarios rush through a mom’s mind, I wondered how he had found the clippers. I worried that he had cut himself or even worse, had gangrenous ingrown toenail festering.

Trying to play it cool, I meandered downstairs and asked exactly when he’d last trimmed his nails. “Uh…all the time”, he absently responded while ground-pounding Bowser. I began to think that I’d missed some sort of shift in maturity that carried a new interest in personal grooming. “So, what did you use to trim them?” My question was followed with a sigh and a look of annoyance. “Well, Joe?” He impatiently answered, “My teeth” and rolled his eyes. If he had added a ‘duh’ to the end of his statement I wouldn’t have been shocked.

After a lengthy discussion about proper grooming methods, I left the room and began pondering some of the atrocious, gag-inducing moments we’ve experienced over the past six years. 

It all began with the dried up umbilical cord. It fell off and clung to the front of my shirt as I held my newborn son. All I could see was that tiny little blackened and shriveled appendage. I gagged and someone had to come in and remove it for me. Needless to say, I’m not one of those mothers who lovingly placed the disembodied umbilical cord into a tiny bag and pasted it into a baby book for future viewing.

Months later, following a week-long vacation, we returned to our little apartment with our newly-crawling son. Our cat, a very fuzzy Persian named Rosie O’Kitty, held down the fort in our absence. Despite the cat sitter’s daily interaction, Rosie tended to get a bit miffed when we left her alone. Getting miffed caused her to do weird things, like lick herself incessantly. Evidently, Rosie was pretty miffed that week because she had hacked up hairballs all over the floor. Stifling my gag reflex, I walked around the apartment and picked up petrified wads of cat hair/vomit before the baby was allowed on the floor. I wiped each spot with disinfecting cleaner and congratulated myself for having it all under control.

Minutes later I heard chewing sounds. Thinking it was Joe’s teething ring, I continued unpacking and stumbled upon Joe’s teething ring. It took a millisecond to realize that whatever he was chewing on wasn’t good. Overcome with dread, I bent down to peer beneath the table. There he sat with his chubby little fist wrapped around an old, dried up hairball that I had missed. He used his new teeth to chomp on the dried cat hair/vomit repeatedly as I scrambled to reach him. I think I screamed and threw up in my mouth all at the same time. David came running and cringed when he saw what I was holding in my hand. Joe sat on the floor crying at the loss of his new teething ring. I sat on the floor crying in disgust. The cat sashayed over to me and stuck her fuzzy ass in my face.

Yet, I don’t think anything can trump the mother of all disgusting things. It happened last summer. It was a warm, sunny day not unlike the day before. Except that we had a new puppy…and a one year old. Our (blissfully childless) friends were minutes from our house after a long drive and, as David confirmed their location via telephone, Kate entered the kitchen wearing a face full of chocolate. Her hands were coated in it too. I thought, ‘Huh…well, that’s odd. We don’t have any chocolate in the house.” It was right about that moment that the smell hit me. My mind focused in on the fact that the thing in her hand wasn’t a melting chocolate bar. I shrieked and threw up in my mouth at the same time. David grabbed Kate and disinfected her while I scrubbed the area rug in our living room.

There was a lot of manic swearing and mouth breathing as we cleaned the baby and the rug. I’m pretty sure that I kept yelling, “Oh my god! Do you think she tasted it?”

These are the kind of things that people need to tell you about before you have children.

*Chocolate frosting…but it seemed appropriate.

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