Husband, House, and a Whole Lot of Crazy

So, my husband came home.What a deployment, let me tell you.I won't lie....more

She's Different

I went to get a hamper full of dirty laundry out of our room yesterday.I left Gloribeth grabbing her toes on the play-room floor....more


I hit a wall sometimes.A big, tired wall.I don't want to be touched.  I don't want to be talked to.  I don't want to see anyone or go anywhere or do anything.I want to wear pajamas and sip warm teas and coffees and read books in my bed while occasionally watching a movie.Doing so was always a rare occurrence in my life when I was a grad student.  When I was a professional.  When I was just a wife.But as a mommy? It just doesn't happen.  Ever.Even if the hubs isn't deployed, I don't have sound-proof rooms in my home.  We don't even have a bedroom door that locks.  I can't even take a 20-minute nap without Ella running in, yelling, "Mama! Mama! ...more

Two-Year-Old Talk

So Ella all but came out of the womb talking.A lot of her friends say a few words and phrases by 2 years old.Ella talks in sentences, nay, paragraphs.It's her thing.  She didn't wean early, walk early, or become some scientific phenom by 18 months of age.But man alive.  This girl inherited the gift of gab.  A lot of people with a toddler and a baby get "out touched," i.e., feel the urge to scream if one more little hand grabs their skirt and pulls.I get out-talked. Which is saying something because, dude, I'm a talker.A big talker.But what I wouldn't give for five minutes of peace these days.Yet, to no avail.  She talks.  I listen.  And I record a few tidbits so you can enjoy them, too.***Ella is potty-trained.  But she still requires frequent reminders to hit the bathroom, otherwise she gets really caught up in playing, and I'm left with a pee-pee trail from the toys to the commode as she makes an unsuccessful attempt to dash there.So, I find myself working "Do you have to pee?" into conversations about colors and shapes and the proper way to "gently touch" little sisters all the time.One such day, while discussing green beans in the kitchen, she made a funny face.  So I asked, "Ella, do you have to go potty?"She immediately responded without skipping a beat."No, Mama.  I pooped last week."Well, then.  I guess we're good.***I was looking through old photos, and she was perched over my shoulder.She pulled out one of the hubs and me from a stack of wedding photos.She pondered it and talked about "mama's pretty dress" for a while.Then looked at my husband and yells, "Oh, dere's a cute dada! Dere's a cool dada!"Funny, huh?I thought so, too.  I also thought we were done, but we weren't.Anyone who comes near our house has to see the picture and hear her say "Dear's a cute dada!  Dere's a cool dada."I'm letting it go, simply because she's only got five, 10 years max, before "cute" and "cool" aren't going to ever proceed her father in her vocabulary ever again.***Going hand-in-hand with the potty-talk is the undie talk.  And Ella is downright obsessed with her "big-girl undies."Last week, I found her sitting on the floor at my mother-in-law's feet.  In the bathroom.  Which she'd barged into so she could "See Gam-ma's big-girl undies, mama?"Everyone cool wears big-girl undies, according to Ella.  And if she sees yours, it's sure to strike up a conversation.Which is why just yesterday I was in the bathroom counting everyone we knew who wore underwear."Yes, Mama wears big-girl undies.  And Gam-ma wears big-girl undies.  And Ella wears big-girl undies. And Nonnie wears big girl undies..."The list kept getting longer and longer with any potty-trained female she could think of.Until, finally, she summed it up."Pop-Pop wears big-girl undies, too."Pop-Pop, my dad, now needs an adult-sized pair of Dora the Explorer boxer-briefs.He has to represent the  big-girl undies well, female or not.***Ella often says really long sentences, but because she talks really fast, she tends to get words mixed up.For instance, Marvin the Dog got a hold of a stuffed monkey she has and pulled its arm off.  I set it up on my desk to mend later that week, but every so often, she comes back and insists on re-capping the story.Which, initially, was presented like, "Marvin for lunch ate the arm monkey, too," instead of "Marvin ate the monkey's arm for lunch, too."Luckily, we curbed that.  Well, most of it.She still walks around observing things (me making sandwiches, for example) and asks, in very disjointed word flow, "Mama, what's dose sandwiches doin'?" It's so incredibly cute, I can't fix it, even as an English teacher.As far as I'm concerned, she can talk like that till she's 45.***I was getting dressed like I do every morning when Ella walked up in front of me, put her hands on my shoulders, and goes, "Mama! ...more

A Flower Girl

Last week, I braved a cross-country flight with the girls to go to my baby brother's wedding in Phoenix.Well, I didn't just go, per say.Ella was in the wedding.  She was their flower girl.It was a lovely wedding.  Lots of planning and time and effort went into it, and it couldn't have been more beautiful.  And my 2 year old was a piece of the puzzle.I got on the plane to Arizona sweating.  I lost sleep over it, people.Toddlers aren't known for being cooperative under pressure.  They can be gun-shy.  (Ask any parent who tries to get them to say "Hi, Grandma! I love you!" on Mother's Day.) And you put them in a big, white, pouffy dress, and they are either going to roll in dirt or tear it off the second you relax.Plus a three-hour time change?  Staying in a strange time-share for five days?  In a dry-dry-dry heat in June in Arizona?Heaven help me.Luckily, Ella rose to the occasion.  I may have pumped her full of snacks and made every single person in that church ooh and ahh over her gorgeous little dress, but she owned it and looked adorable walking down the aisle, holding my dad's hand.She was a hit.Until 9 p.m., when the dancing and fun really got going, and Ella had a tantrum because she couldn't join my brother in removing his new wife's garter.So, we left.Thank God my old college roommate has relocated to Phoenix and came to the wedding.  I'd never been able to schlep a tantrum-ing toddler, pouffy dress, diaper bag, and baby - in heels! - out of the country club, back to the condo, and into their beds without her.It was a whole different kind of wedding experience.We're a week and a half out, and I'm still tired.And I went to bed by 10:30 p.m. on the wedding night.Though there was the flight back to Georgia, where both my children screamed for about 30 minutes, and on the second connection, Ella threw a knock-down, drag-out tantrum for at least an hour, making me that mom.It was so bad that I am basically a shadow of the woman I used to be.The flower girl killed me, you see.Well, that and spending an hour in the bride's room, surrounded by adorable, perky, beautiful 21-year-old bridesmaids, who made me feel like a fat, saggy, frumpy, old toad.I adore my brother and my new sister-in-law.  And being there for their wedding was exactly I needed to do.But I am also darn glad he's the baby of the family, and we're all married now.Because I don't want to do that again any time soon.***Be back later this week when I am no longer traumatized by the stares of those other patrons on the ill-fated plane we took back home.Never again, I tell you.  Never again ....more

Happy Birthday, Sassy

I don't know if there are words to describe your relationship with your first-born.It's a mix-up of such crazy intensity that it only pails in comparison to something otherwordly and neon.While we jokingly call them the experimental model, they are so much more.They are loved and cared for and watched over with such a deep passion that at the end of the day, they leave us spent.It's why mothers worry about having enough love for a second child ....more

Mom Fail

I desperately wanted at least one daughter when I knew I'd have kids.And so far, I've got two.Sugar and spice and everything nice. Blah blah blah.I've got two girls, but I've yet to find a cutesy little rhyme that fits what's going on here.You see, I love my girls.  But  I am so not a "girl mom." ...more

The Bathroom Escape Revealed

OK.  Admit it.Sometimes, when you can, when you've had a rough day or just need a minute, you stand up, grab your cell phone, and head for the bathroom.Sure, you have to pee, or, you know.  But that takes a few minutes.And that's where the phone comes in. You can answer nature's call for 90 seconds and then answer any other calls on your phone for the next 15 minutes before your children or husband get suspicious.I do it, I'll ...more

Surviving Marriage to Those Who Serve

It was 7:45 a.m. Monday. I was breezing down the road toward the meeting spot I hit every morning, my jogging stroller in the trunk and the girls in their car seats.I was getting ready for my morning workout with a few other military wives - the same thing I do every weekday morning - when "I'm Proud to be an American" came blaring over the radio."Hmm, that's odd," I thought, wondering what station I was turned to.I was also ...more