About Good Times with Jess

I started blogging shortly after I got access to the internet in 2004. My blog and I have been very single, dating, traveling, bartending, very married and now I'm raising 2 kiddos.

Pandemic Hanukkah and Christmas = anything goes?

Being a Jew with two Jewish parents, there were no Christmas decorations in our home when I was growing up, but that didn’t stop me from having opinions about them.

It seemed to me colored lights were the only way to go. Why go to the trouble of decorating if it’s just going to be boring white lights?

At some point things changed, maybe when I was however old you are when you eat vegetables.

By the time I met Captain I favored white lights and a “classic” take on Christmas decorations.

Three years ago when we moved to the land of suburbia, Captain and I couldn’t have agreed more about the direction of our holiday decorating.

One year later I ask Captain,

“What do you think about a snowman by the back door?”

“Eh. I think it’s tacky.”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

The next year I mention,

“I’m still thinking about a light-up snowman.”

“I don’t know…”

And considering I had a newborn baby, places to go, people to see, I didn’t give the snowman another thought.

Now here we are. Pandemic meets holiday times. Our decorations came out weeks ago. We’ve been home, home, home and there are only so many times I can listen to,

“Mom is it time to decorate now?”

So everything came out. It was a week before Thanksgiving, but Hanukkah is early this year, so maybe that makes it ok?

I tell Captain,

“I’m going to Home Depot and thinking about getting a light-up snowman.”

“Really? I don’t know.”

“Let me rephrase that. I’m going to Home Depot to buy a light-up snowman.”

I also went down the Hanukkah internet rabbit hole. How have I managed to celebrate for 38 years without a light-up, menorah, throw pillow for the couch?

Back from Home Depot and with no back door, our only choice is to have our light-up snowman out front. BB and I set it up. She is over the moon. She talks to him. Hugs and kisses him. Worries about him when the weather turns. I tell Captain,

“The only thing we need now are some of those light-up presents for the other side of the front door.”

“What?!”

But I’ve worn him down. Because you know there are presents out there.

I run the whole thing by a Christian neighbor. Which is probably all of them. I relay to her Captain’s concerns about being “that” house with the tacky decorations. She offers,

“A snowman is within the realm of normal for this neighborhood.”

Next year it may be time for one of those giant inflatable menorahs, which is NOT in the realm of “normal,” but is anything anymore?

No more election weighing me down, just a small person on my head

My Vice-President Kamala Harris action figure doll just arrived. Technically it’s a Hanukkah present for BB.

Don’t underestimate the little kiddos. After weeks of hearing about Dump and Biden, BB heard us mention Harris. She said,

“A woman? I only heard you talking about two guys.”

“Yes, a woman vice-president!”

“A woman!” Her face lighting up.

It can’t come too soon. Dump in the white house is like my children playing in their rooms unattended. I don’t know what they’re up to, but I know it’s no good.

RB continues on her path of showing me how different two sisters can be. Seems like a combo of genetics and birth order.

BB made me work for my sleep until I gave up and started bed sharing. Then magically at 11 months she didn’t need me anymore and then unmagically at 18 months decided she did need someone. At which point she had night weaned herself and Captain was in the bedsharing, mat-on-the-floor rotation.

RB shows zero signs of not needing me for sleep. And is nowhere close to night weaning. A couple months ago she was in the mode of a snack every hour or so. I broke her of that.

When I did that with BB, she ended up rolling away from me and going to sleep without touching me.

Which in retrospect is very much like BB, she’s not a big hugger or into physical contact, even pre-pandemic.

RB is the opposite. When faced with no boob to suckle herself back to sleep with, she does not roll away. She rolls on top of me. If I let her, she will fall asleep with her cheek pressed against mine.

This is impossibly adorable, sweet, loving, the best, a little bit of heaven on a good day at 7pm. At 4am, ANY day, it is another story.

When she’s zonked and I start to slip away, her arm flies out and clamps down on my shirt like someone rising from the dead.

The king-size, floor mat means nothing to RB. We might as well just have a twin. And if I was feeling the slightest bit nostalgic: like someday my kiddos won’t even live with me nevermind sleep on my head, BB has other ideas.

We get off the phone with my mom. BB places her hand on my arm, looks me in the eye and says,

“I’m sorry your mom left you.”

“Thank you, but it’s kinda the other way around.”

“What do you mean?”

“When kids grow up, they want to move out.”

“Not me! I want to live with you forever, can I live with you forever?”

“Sure. RB too?”

“No, she’ll move out.”

Of course she will.

BB informs me that her future children, who will be living with me as well, will be named: Taylor Swift, Laurie Berkner and Buttercup.

Sounds like I’ll have two grandchildren destined to become musicians and one will be a pony.

My life.
Note all are 3+ except AOC is 14+. Is that a joke?

Time to go big orange clown

Sitting on pins and needles over here. Please please please let this election be a blowout for Biden. I know there’s no reason to expect this, but waiting days or weeks to see who won, while the criminal in office claims he won, is not how I want to spend the future.

This administration, this pandemic and not to be discounted entirely: my children, have aged me to the point that my insides feel OLD. Current photos of me look way younger than how I feel.

And my wardrobe isn’t helping. On a walk with a neighbor I remark,

“You look really put together!”

“I do?”

“Yes! Maybe it’s the jeans.”

I used to wear jeans all the time. Yes I still could. But when Captain is in snuggy, fleece pants, RB is in a snuggy, fleece onesie and BB is wearing a tutu, I can’t see any reason to wear jeans. Especially considering I just got a new pair of fleece pants.

Snuggy is winning. So when BB said she wanted to be a unicorn for Halloween and Target had unicorn onesies for the whole family, I didn’t have to give it much thought. And I should’ve because now I need to store a giant, adult, unicorn onesie.

On Halloween night, scantily-clad teenage girls pass us. I turn to Captain,

“What were their costumes?”

“I don’t know. Minimal?”

I prance along with my unicorn babies, my figure all but a mystery and I reflect on my life choices. In a different lifetime, the goal of my Halloween costume was minimal too.

I complete my life assessment as we trot through the neighborhood. I’m much happier and cozier. But I am going to go home and marvel at my Wonder Woman costume from 8 years ago.

If Biden wins, I’ll put on those 4-inch heels to celebrate. Or at least a pair of jeans.

And no matter what administration we end up with, I will wear my unicorn onesie again next year. My fleece pants fit under it perfectly

Looking a little sloppy. Next year I’ll make sure my horn is standing up straight.

Where should we live if the commuter rail means nothing anymore?

I voted. Crossed all my fingers and toes. Said a prayer. Internally swore at some Drump flags. Put on some hand sanitizer. Said another prayer. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t make me google how to get Canadian citizenship again.

The pandemic has me feeling unmoored. Why do we live here? Why this town? If Captain may never return to his office. We could live anywhere.

Our lives used to revolve around the commuter rail to Boston. It dictated wake-up time, meal times and pick ups and drop offs. Now wake up time is determined by two little people’s internal clocks and meals are dictated by me yelling from the kitchen or BB having a complete meltdown and yelling from wherever. Whichever one comes first.

After another day of Captain feeling grumbly about our living situation, I press the moving question. Are we sure we want to be here?

He gestures to the deck under construction,

“And leave this?”

Yes, it would be hard to leave the part of the deck that is finished. But the plywood part? I’m sure that can be recreated.

Or Captain could just move his home office. Right now it’s adjacent to the kitchen. I can imagine a few other places in the house that would be quieter. Really anywhere else.

He turns the question around to me. Big picture, I’m happy here. We’re close to Boston, the Y and Target. I may go to those places again someday.

I love our yard and our neighborhood. Even if the next-door neighbors now have COVID and Captain may never let BB play with anyone ever again.

Faced with no vastly superior options, we could be here another 17 years. Either that or Canada.

My good, little, huge, wild baby

We’re turning the corner on a year! RB is about to be one. How did that happen?

It’s a little blury. First everything was normal, i.e. it was 2019. Then 2020 hit. And if 2020 has taught us anything, there’s plenty of time left for more mayhem.

At the very least there will be a small, outdoor, socially distanced naming ceremony and birthday party for my little, huge baby. I was tempted to get a bouncy house. Captain was incredulous,

“For 3 kids?”

We’re up to 5 now, but point taken.

Everyone keeps asking,

“Is she a good baby?”

As my doula pointed out,

“She hasn’t broken any laws yet, so so far so good.”

Compared to BB, she’s been easy. RB is calm, smiley and exuberant. Food brings her great joy, as does climbing the stairs and getting her hands on any of BB’s forbidden toys. So maybe she isn’t as law abiding as we think.

She continues to throw her weight around and has started doing chin-ups on the kitchen table. She’s very motivated to make sure she’s not missing out on any food.

For the first 8 months of her life RB was content to lie in one spot on the floor, now she is making it clear that she will NOT be held back. That includes being unwilling to waste time on the changing table.

I never had to wrestle with BB to changer her diaper. I gave her a toy and she was happy.

RB will resist until we’re both covered in poop, diaper cream and tears. I buckle her down. That one strap across the waist is a joke. A five point harness would be more helpful.

She reaches a hand through her legs toward the poop. I block it. She reaches around to the side. I block it. She strains against the strap and tries to sit up in the poop. I put her back down. I hand her a forbidden barbie. She squeals with delight. With a false sense of victory I finish wiping. She sneaks a hand down the side and whips her poopy diaper out from under her.

I scream. She looks at me. I ask,

“Is it possible to potty train a one-year-old?”

BB comes running,

“What’s going on?”

I’m losing my mind.

With BB around, RB seems convinced she’s capable of doing everything a 4-year-old can.

BB knows what RB should and shouldn’t be doing and she’s good at letting me know. She’s not as good at preventing it in the first place.

My parenting style varies, but one main tactic is to avoid going near them and only intervene if I hear screaming.

BB yells,

“She’s in the toilet!”

I remove the baby from the toilet and remind BB to close the bathroom door.

Minutes later,

“She’s on the couch!”

Good grief.

Awhile later I hear,

“No no no, don’t do that! Mom she’s going to fall on her head!”

BB has been sliding down an overturned chair head first and RB has decided it’s a good idea to follow suit.

It’s not lost on me that BB may be instigating some of this. She does not always have her sister’s best interests at heart.

And before anyone says more supervision is key, which it is. BB headed into her first birthday with a giant gash above her eye that required a trip to the emergency room. So that’s what constant supervision got me.

All RB has is a small scab on the side of her head which makeup covered up perfectly for portraits the other day.

Here’s to another year of keeping the kids alive.

Curtis Construction Company: count on perfection, pray for completion

2020 I’m waving a white flag over here. You took Justice Ginsburg. That’s enough now. And on Rosh Hashanah no less, as fitting as that may be.

BB tells me,

“We’re not Jews.”

“Why do you say that?”

“We don’t look like Jews.”

“What do Jews look like?”

“They wear grass skirts.”

I have NO idea where this information is coming from. She goes to a Jewish preschool with Jewish kids who look all sorts of ways: mainly small and 2 to 5 years old. I have not seen anyone in grass skirts.

Jews aside, Captain is building a deck.

Not just any deck. A dry deck with a third garage bay and more square footage than the condo we used to live in.

We’re in year 2 of construction. I was never tempted to blog about it before, but dire times call for home improvement blogs. Or really whatever material I can scrounge up around the house.

I was under no delusions that it would be finished last year. And this year doesn’t seem to be its year either. Maybe next year.

We’ve been home since March, but the pandemic induced inertia is real around here. There are so many little projects I could’ve, should’ve done by now, but I keep thinking,

“Maybe tomorrow. Or maybe next month. Or maybe when we have a new president.”

We’ve been hanging out on the part of the deck that’s finished. It’s 5 feet off the ground with no railings.

Captain is as sick of it as I am, so it’s nice to have someone to commiserate with about it. As we snuggled on the couch and complained, I sighed and said,

“The good news is RB won’t even remember this.”

On second thought, I turn to him and say in my most serious voice,

“This better not go on long enough for her to remember it.”

Captain starts daydreaming about the changes we want to make to the kitchen. I used to enjoy planning this too. Now I tell him,

“Nope. I will die in this 1980’s kitchen before we remodel it for 3 years.”

2021 I hope to see you soon, feel free to bring some good news: a new president, 13 Supreme Court justices and a deck with railings and stairs.

Shanah Tovah.

Here goes nothing

BB is back in school.

I cried. She didn’t. I didn’t expect to cry, but something about leaving her for the first time in 6 months. Never mind that as safe as her school is being, we still had to sign our lives away, so there’s that.

BB makes many music requests for the car. Today I let her have her way and for whatever reason she wanted Humpty Dumpty blasted on repeat.

I keep meaning to get her hearing checked.

I’m not sure the last time you listened to Humpty Dumpty, but it’s not long. In a 7 minute car ride it’s possible to listen to it about 30 times. It’s also not inspiring. He falls down, gets broken and no one can fix him. I turn it off. BB shouts,

“AGAIN!”

“We’re almost at school.”

“I wasn’t excited, but now I am!”

Humpty Dumpty for the win?

It’s been an hour and a half and I haven’t heard from her school, not that I’m checking my phone every second.

And I have the baby to myself. A nice treat! Especially considering she’s napping.

I’ve been so overdue for blogging. Now’s my chance. I need to get in as many blogs as I can before school shuts down again and I won’t be able to remember what the heck I was crying about.

Storing up sun and thigh rolls to see us through the lonely months ahead

At the Cape savoring my last 2 weeks of denial before we’re home for a long winter.

RB is 10 months old and within 12 pounds of 4-year-old BB. BB tries to push her around. I warned BB her days for this are numbered.

BB declares,

“I had a tall growth spurt and RB had a wide one.”

RB is STRONG. Given a large stationary toy intended to stay put RB is most likely to heave it over her head and toss it across the room. She has accumulated many nicknames including Bam Bam and Destructo.

We had a well visit with the pediatrician. She goes through her standard list of questions:

“How’s she eating?”

I grab a chunk of baby thigh rolls, “These don’t happen by magic.”

“How’s she sleeping?”

“As to be expected.” Meaning she’s up multiple times a night.

The doctor reminds me,

“She’s old enough to cry it out if you want.”

“Yes.” I’ve avoided mentioning we’re bed-sharing. I may someday when our pediatrician has kids of her own.

“Does she transfer toys from hand to hand?”

“Yes.” And from feet to hand and from hand to as far as she can fling it.

I left BB in the middle of our playroom, formerly known as our living room, and headed to the car to load up for the Cape. I hear an immense crash and rush back in. RB is sitting there smiling, launching large toys across the rug onto the hardwood floor.

I’m continuing to enforce the hard truth that some of BB’s toys are for RB too. BB expresses concern for their welfare. I chalked this up to not wanting to share, but now I must agree BB has a valid point.

At the Cape my mom shared some of my brother’s old toys with BB. RB also got something to play with. BB was not thrilled,

“That’s MINE.”

“No it’s not. It’s Uncle J’s.”

My mom adds,

“Yes, and he wants both of you to play with it.”

BB who had been on the verge of a fit, sighs,

“Well that answers that.”

And there was peace. For 5 minutes.

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I love me some ruffly butts.

Our overburdened dishwasher just quit

We’re home and our dishwasher is broken. This may be what sends me back to therapy.

Like many of us, I’m totally fine and about to lose it. I just didn’t know the dishwasher would be the tipping point.

The Cape doesn’t even have a dishwasher. Maybe that’s in its favor. It makes no pretense of anything washing the dishes besides a person.

As the dishwasher-detergent subscriptions pile up, Captain is on the case. He’s fixed the fridge, the washing machine and the clothes dryer so I have faith even if we did call some repair people.

They’re backed up. Everyone’s dishwashers are breaking. Should’ve know. It’s another symptom of this pandemic, just like the backorder on exercise bikes, puppies and sweatpants.

I made that up. They better never run out of sweatpants.

We’re headed back to the Cape as soon as possible, but being there without Captain has brought BB’s lingering jealousy into relief.

At 6 am I’m jolted awake. BB’s little face is peering at me over the side of the bed. She whispers,

“I’m your first baby.”

“Yes! Of course!”

GOOD GRIEF and with that RB startles awake and starts wailing.

Never thought I’d get to the beach by 8am, but this is my year.

With Captain around to play Barbies and otherwise dote on BB, she couldn’t care less that RB is in bed with me. Without him around, she’s inclined to snatch every single toy away from her sister regardless of whether the toy is something she truly wants to play with.

She grabs a pot and pan lid from RB. RB screams. I mention,

“RB was playing with that.”

“But I NEED it.”

“You need it?”

“I don’t have any cymbals.”

And for many reasons this is about when we leave for the beach.

BB asks,

“Who do you love more?”

I have answered this question several ways. This time I try a new tactic,

“You love Frozen right?”

“Yes.”

“Do you love Frozen I or Frozen II?”

“Can I watch Frozen II?”

Sigh.

I pop into my obgyn office to get a mysterious spot checked out. No kids allowed. Yes I really had a spot. All is well. The doctor asks,

“Any postpartum depression?”

“No.” But can I tell you about my dishwasher?

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Magical unicorn escape from COVID at the Cape

At the beach! It’s kind of amazing. Only thing is I’m being followed around by 2 little people. They’re adorable, but A LOT of work. Technically only one can follow me around, the other one I carry. And technically the one that should be following me around marched herself out the door, down the street, to the beach, all by herself.

So maybe no one is following anyone around and it’s a free for all. BB is eating popsicles for all meals, RB had oyster crackers for dinner and I had ice cream cake for breakfast. It was my birthday.

BB also had a birthday. She’s 4! It was a Frozen extravaganza. Considering she didn’t get the friend birthday party she’d been planning all year, we went a little over the top: pin the carrot nose on Olaf, piñata for one kid and a pile of presents, including a ridiculous, ginormous unicorn that was not really my idea.

Last year at the beach there was another kid with a small, personal unicorn float. She let BB play with it and BB was in heaven. I was in the market for one of those.

I zip through Amazon. I see a $12 unicorn with hundreds of great reviews. Click. Done. Bought.

It arrives days before we leave for the Cape. I look at the box. There’s a picture of the float towering over an adult. What the heck? I look at the measurements for the first time.

Six feet long, 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. The recommended age range is 14+.

What have I done? I check Amazon for a SMALL unicorn float. They cost more than the gigantic one and they might not arrive in time.

BB gets the ginormous one. We inflate it over the course of a morning. Will it even fit out the door or will we have a unicorn in our kitchen for the foreseeable future?

I get it to the beach. Heads are turning. It is the most ridiculous, most beautiful, most eye-catching unicorn float on the beach. BB is in heaven. I’m saying a small prayer that it doesn’t fly off ignoring all social-distancing rules.

Nine-month old RB is jealous of her sister’s new toys. I bought RB a consolation baby doll in a boat. She picked it up, flung it to the side and reached for BB’s new mermaid. BB started crying because she didn’t have her baby doll like RB’s.

I give up.

Heading into this vacation I felt like I had a major phone problem. I’m on it ALL THE TIME. Current events has consumed me: the national disaster that is our abysmal leadership and locally my town is arguing over a racist mascot that should’ve been changed ages ago.

Since I’ve been at the Cape, phone time is down to 40 minutes a day. It turns out wrangling kids at the beach requires 2 hands and as many other adults as possible.

We’re going home to regroup, make sure Captain doesn’t stay too well rested and then we’ll be back, floating out to sea on a giant unicorn, while we can.

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BB AND Captain cheated.

Taking my corona to the beach

Running along in my hamster wheel. Preschool zoom is over. The 10am-10:30am slot of my day has returned to the other indistinguishable slots of the day.

BB is a little befuddled.

“There’s no more morning meeting?”

“Not until the fall.”

BB hangs her head. For someone who sat in front of zoom picking her nose, putting her dress over her head or leaving the video frame, she is more upset about this than I expected.

I explain that it’s normal to have no school in the summer and that if all goes well she’ll go back in the fall. But will she? Or if she does, will it be for long?

Who knows? But we’re going to the Cape for almost three weeks. I might as well take my hamster wheel to the beach.

Two weeks ago I considered the baby swing which is too big to take with us. At first I thought to myself, “Good. We need to break this habit.” Then yesterday I panicked and googled travel swings.

RB is already too heavy for them. She’s been pandemic snacking on the reg. She’s wearing BB’s size 24-month summer clothes and the diapers that almost 4-year-old BB stopped wearing this year. RB is 8 months old. This made me check the weight limit on our current swing. We’re about to max out.

Ok so no swing for the Cape. Maybe what I need is a rocking chair for the beach. I wonder if something like that exists? I google it. It does! And it has a cup holder. Sold.

I can see it now. Drinking a beer on the beach. RB having whatever of that makes it into my breastmilk and both of us rocking away.

The other night I pop open a corona. BB jokes,

“Oh no! Not coronavirus.”

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Both kids contained. My work here is done.

The slow slide into mom clothes

Black Lives Matter. Defund the police now. Recognizing my white privilege and continuing to educate myself. That’s where I’m at.

I’ve been procrastinating blogging. A fluff piece about my facial hair and the lengthening inseam of my shorts, didn’t feel like a constructive addition to current events.

I contributed funds. It’s what I can do while I cower in a corner counting my toilet paper rolls and wondering what happened to that virus.

I don’t want to wish away the summer, but I’ve read Dr. Seuss’ One Vote, Two Votes, I Vote, You Vote and I’m ready for November.

Things are reopening. Captain and I are not in total agreement about what we should and shouldn’t be doing. We’ve done zero take-out. I tell Captain,

“I want to get a haircut and I’d like BB to get one too. What do you think?”

“Does she need a haircut?”

Does anyone NEED a haircut? I don’t need Chinese food either, but it sure would be a nice break from whatever we’ve been eating out of the freezer. Last night BB said,

“When are you going to cook dinner on the stove again?”

Whenever you go to school.

As the day of my haircut approached I panicked. Aside from my adoring family, no one has been close to my face in months. The state of my facial hair is like the current cleanliness level of our home. I can’t be bothered.

Without my usual waxes, I tried to tweeze. Tweezing my upper lip is torture. I pull one measly hair and tears are streaming down my face.

Then I remember: I have to wear a mask! It will cover all stray facial hairs. Phew.

I mention my facial hair during our zoom book club. I’m informed that the Tinkle razor is the way to go. Ordered. I’ll try it and worse case scenario I’ll start wearing my mask at home.

A week ago I slipped into a pair of shorts. They felt funny. I was pregnant last summer so I haven’t worn my regular summer clothes in 2 years. The shorts fit fine, but there was something not quite right.

I contemplate them in the mirror. Is the 4 inch inseam too short? It seems like yesterday I bought them because my 2-inch, inseam shorts felt too short.

It also doesn’t feel like that long ago that I got sent home from junior high for wearing too short shorts. I couldn’t understand who would wear shorts with ANY inseam.

Last week I ordered some with a 5 inch inseam. I tried them on yesterday. NOPE. I’m not ready for 5 inches.

I ordered a dress too. I’m not thrilled with it. But then it crosses my mind: “this is the perfect house dress!”

House dress. That’s also where I’m at.

Gonna spend this summer living it up with my moderately short shorts, take-out dinner and a Black Lives Matter vigil. It’s gotta be done.

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Anyone else’s almost 4-year-old very good at issuing orders?

Are we still counting the weeks? Seems like right around that time with a newborn baby, when you start saying their age in months.

Staying home, month 3. Pretty sure we’ll be talking about this in years. Or however long it is until there’s a vaccine.

How crazy can we get until there’s a vaccine? Hugging everyone all day long? That’s what I used to do. Oh hi, let me give you a hug. Bye, how about another hug? Someone’s left over food? I’ll eat that and hug them too if they want.

Mother’s Day, whenever that was, started with hugs from the people I’m still allowed to touch. And a baby handover because as huggable as she is, I’ll have my bed to myself for Mother’s Day morning thank you very much.

Yes I started this Mother’s Day post a week ago. I’m not sure what’s going on around here, but it isn’t quiet alone-time conducive for blogging.

BB took the obligatory breakfast-in-bed to new levels. She ordered,

“Do NOT come out of your room.” And slammed the door.

Who am I to argue with that? Although I did try to come out for more coffee and was rebuffed.

Every morning I eat a chocolate with my coffee. I mention this to BB. She tells me,

“After you eat your breakfast.”

Being confined to my room has its limitations.

Can’t remember exactly when normal life resumed. It was still morning, but BB had one more trick up her sleeve. Again she told me to make myself scarce, but only after supplying her with a box, wrapping paper and a bow.

I gave her all the aforementioned plus some tissue paper. She rebukes me,

“I don’t know why you’re giving me tissue paper.”

I don’t know.

I was made to wait until dinner to open it, but it was worth it: a Mother’s Day crown made from dandelions, creeping vinca, crayons and emoji stickers.

BB led Captain in a rendition of “Happy Mother’s Day to you,” to the tune of the birthday song.

I didn’t know I needed a crown, but once I had it on, the day felt complete.

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No thanks pants! But maybe some clean underwear

Week 7. I’m turning into a pair of sweatpants.

I’ve been getting dressed. Not always sweatpants, often leggings. NEVER jeans. Usually a bra. I’m still leaking milk. If it weren’t for that, it would be no bra.

The rest of my family may also be turning into lounge wear.

On average I do the laundry once a week. RB gets a pass. Her clothing is labeled “sleep ‘n play.”

I’ve seen Captain in jeans. I haven’t washed any, so maybe they’ve been worn twice?

And now BB. As I sorted her laundry, it became clear the parenting around here is really slipping.

For all of last week, there was one pair of pants. No dresses. There were several pairs of jammies, but not enough to make up for the missing pants and 3 pairs of underwear. Three pairs of underwear for the entire week.

I’m not sure what happened. But every week is a fresh start. And we’re doing about the same this week. Maybe upping the underwear count.

We have never had more family time. And if I thought I was irritable. BB is fed up.

The other day the bathroom hand towel was on the floor where BB usually leaves it. I step over it on my way to the toilet.

Week three I stopped and hung it back up. Week five I tried to stop caring. Week seven I really don’t care.

I’m sitting on the toilet, being as quiet as possible, hoping no one will find me. BB shouts,

“Can you hang that back up?”

I say nothing. She storms in,

“Fine. If you’re not going to do it, I’ll do it myself.”

And she really does hang the hand towel back up, so that’s nice.

RB starts fussing. BB exclaims,

“Hold your horses, I’ll tend to you in a minute.”

I mention her pre-school zoom meeting is about to start. BB plops in her chair,

“I’m going to tell them to make this quick.”

Good.

We’re here. We’re holding our horses. And occasionally changing our underwear.

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Grocery delivery for the win, but who’s hoarding gefilte fish?

Safe at home week 5. Passover and Easter, check.

I had a precious grocery delivery scheduled for a few days before Passover. I was hoping to get things for the seder, including a 3 pound ish beef roast.

I unpacked the groceries. I didn’t disinfect them. We got a lot of what we needed and a few substitutions.

There were no chocolate chips, so they substituted coconut milk. There was no gefilte fish. Who bought all the gefilte fish? And then I pulled half a cow out of one bag.

It was a $60, nine-pound beef roast. Holy shmolies. Of all the years to have enough meat to feed all the Jews in my town.

Yes, there aren’t many Jews here. Which makes me wonder about the gefilte fish.

I called Peapod. It was the last thing I wanted to do. I’ll suck up the $4 for coconut milk that won’t turn into chocolate chip cookies, but $60?

Peapod tells me,

“We’re experiencing high call volumes.” CLICK

They didn’t even let me stay on hold. I finally get through. They give me a $35 refund for 6 pounds of beef I wasn’t expecting and I got to keep it! A Passover miracle.

The day of the seder arrives. The chunk of cow is on the table. BB has so many questions and that’s in addition to her required 4 questions.

I don’t know where the Jewish seder references fall with my readership, but had to go for that one.

We’ve been very open with BB about where meat comes from. She’s always enjoyed it and in the past has said things like,

“More piggy please!”

All of a sudden she’s very concerned about the cow.

“Is the cow not at the farm anymore? How did it die? Where did all the blood come from?   Why do we eat it?”

“Some people don’t eat meat. You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

“Why?”

“Many reasons including it’s not nice to the animals.”

“What about plants? Is it not nice to eat plants?”

“I don’t know about that, but we’ve gotta eat something.”

We ate this 9 pound roast for 4 nights and I’m still snacking on it a week later. BB’s questions were unrelenting. She seemed ready to swear off all meat. I mention,

“Just so you know, hot dogs, meatballs and dino chicken nuggets are all made from animals.”

These are three of her five favorite food groups.

As we filled the kiddush cup for Elijah, BB started sobbing. BB is terrified of all these characters: Santa, the Easter Bunny, Elijah, life-size Elsa.

Saturday night she sits down with Captain to make a list for the Easter Bunny. I mention,

“It’s a little late for this, the Easter Bunny finalized orders 2 weeks ago.”

Captain offers,

“Maybe you can guide us in the right direction? Jelly beans?”

“Chocolate.”

Not that jelly beans were sold out, it’s more why would the Easter Bunny bring something that I don’t want to eat?

BB leaves her lists in the living room and goes to bed. Using brown paint, Captain covers her lists with bunny footprints.

Easter morning she’s thrilled, but she has questions, so many questions.

“The bunny had muddy feet? Where did the bunny get muddy? Is it on the carpet?”

Seems like all of this can’t hold up to much more scrutiny.

After a breakfast of chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs and more chocolate eggs, BB poops in the potty, which is usually rewarded with a treat. I offer one. BB replies,

“Too many treats. Maybe tomorrow.”

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I’ve spotted my first gray hairs

What day is it? I’m delirious. I have everything in the world to be thankful for and I am. There’s even a sign in my kitchen that says,

“Start each day with a grateful heart.”

I do. I am. I’m also on the verge of losing it.

At the beginning of this I thought: ‘Oh good, time at home. I can recover from my postpartum hair loss and I’ll get all that stuff done that I’ve been meaning to do.’

Lies. All lies. My hair is growing in gray and I’m accomplishing less than when I was able to leave the house. It’s time consuming to compulsively check the news and hit “ignore limit” on every restriction I’ve set on my phone.

In an effort to cut ties, I started putting my phone in the kitchen cabinet. Sometimes this works.

In the vacuum void where a color-coded daily schedule would be, there has emerged a routine. Or at least things that usually happen:

Coffee. Non-negotiable.

Solo walks. Even in the rain.

Shower. Every other day. I’ve never been a shower-every-day type of person. No reason to go crazy now.

Preschool zoom meeting and a silent prayer that they don’t mention any more projects I need to do.

Encourage RB to roll over. She’s done it twice and seems to have decided that that’s it. It’s hard having the munchablest thigh rolls I’ve ever munched on.

Snack. When in doubt we all have a snack. Something other than baby legs.

Get BB outside. If it means she rolls down the giant pile of mud in our yard so be it.

Naptime. The ultimate goal of every day is to have both children in their rooms at the same time. Some days it works out better than others. It’s the only hope I have of getting a blog written before fall or whenever kids go back to school.

Now it’s the homestretch. TV. Dinner. Captain emerges from the library/office/toy overflow room. BB is no longer my responsibility.

BED.

Maybe emerge from putting RB to bed.

Back to bed.

Rinse and repeat.

Another sign in my house says: “Every path has its puddles… JUMP IN FEET FIRST.” Yes it’s yelling at me. We’ve definitely hit a puddle and I am doing some jumping. Thanks virtual Zumba.

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Blogging: Home Edition

Here we are. Home. Everyday.

Preschool is on Zoom. Zumba is on Zoom. Book club is on Zoom. A week ago I’d never even heard of Zoom.

I mention to Captain,

“I need to test out this so-called Zoom app”

“That’s what we use for work!”

Captain’s on Zoom too, but he’s not singing “Where is Thumbkin?”

Thumbkin is at home trying to social distance himself from Pointer, Tall Man, Ring Lady and Pinky.

RB is 5 months old and living her best life. Until now most of her life was spent being carted around wherever BB needed to go. Now she spends her days rolling around the living room floor and napping for however long she’d like.

BB is mostly unfazed with moments of clarity. The other day,

“I want to go to school.”

“I know you do. Remember we’re staying home so we don’t spread germs?”

“I cover when I cough. It’s so-and-so’s fault, he doesn’t cover!”

I explain that everyone everywhere is staying home. Except last week when I made a liquor store run.

We’re stocked up on groceries. I did that 3 weeks before the general rush on toilet paper. We have a fair amount of alcohol, but no rosé and I’m guessing we’ll still be home well into rosé season.

Captain’s productivity hasn’t been optimal. He remarks,

“RB’s crying is like nails on a chalk board.”

“Really?”

For whatever reason, her crying doesn’t bother me that much. Girl’s gonna be ok.

My sanity is being sustained by solo walks, but I’m missing my evenings out with girlfriends. I now see the benefit of a she-shed. Captain can do the kids’ bedtimes and I’ll go sit in the swing set with my rosé.

If I didn’t know I was going to be housebound for the foreseeable future, my life hasn’t changed all that much. I just get to wear my favorite sweatshirt a lot more frequently.

I’m trying to put my feet up because my vascular surgeon’s office called with this news:

“Your insurance denied coverage. We’re canceling your procedure.

When I pressed for more information, she declared,

“We’re in the middle of a pandemic you know!”

I’ve heard.

I also need to manage BB’s birthday party expectations. Is it normal for a kid to talk about her birthday party ALL year?

I had been thinking June, when her friends are around and still in school. Now that seems unlikely. There are parts of her plan I can still fulfill: a bucket of M&Ms and a bucket of Reese’s Pieces.

We’re stocked up on treats in general, but out of few key things like girl scout cookies. BB asks,

“Can I have one of those peanut butter cookies?”

“I’m sorry, they’re all gone.”

“All gone?! Where’d they go?”

“I ate them.”

“All 5 boxes?”

Shoot. She’s counting.

Last night she dropped her ice cream sandwich. She looked at me and said in an aw-shucks kind of way,

“Gravity.”

My homeschooling here is done.

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COVID-19: If I wash my hands one more time they’re going to crack open and bleed

COVID-19, coronavirus, where you guys at with this? A month ago I was FREAKED. No one else seemed worried and everyone was talking containment.

Containment seemed like a dream. I have a 3-year-old. I’ve seen her wipe snot on the living room rug and lick a table at the YMCA.

I’ve been through so many stages with this: concern, anxiety, preparing for the end of the world and now kinda over it.

Two weeks ago I did my apocalyptic preparation: not just stocking up on toilet paper, but enough mac n cheese and dino chicken nuggets to see us through to the other side.

An article I read said to stock up, but not hoard. Where’s the line? Twenty boxes of mac n cheese? Thirty? We’ll eat them all eventually.

And people are definitely hoarding because if you’ve tried to buy hand sanitizer, good luck. I put some rubbing alcohol in a spritz bottle. When in doubt I spray BB.

Two weeks ago everyone at book club was incredulous that I was stocking up. Maybe it was unnecessary.

If we were serious about not spreading this we’d all stop going anywhere right now, but if Captain is going on the train to work and BB is going to school with a bunch of petri dishes, I might as well go out for dinner.

I watch the server refill my water glass. The rim of the water pitcher makes contact with the mouth of my glass. I imagine that water pitcher touching everyone else’s glass in the restaurant. I’m thirsty. I take a gulp of my water. There’s no hope.

So if at some point we’re told to isolate, don’t worry about us, we’ve got enough chocolate to see us through.

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Disclaimer

I have my dear neighbor to thank for this mug:

I am a writer mug

When RB was a couple weeks old my neighbor arrived bearing dinners. She made TWO dinners: one for Captain and me and one especially for BB, a Dora the Explorer plate piled with dino chicken nuggets and mac n cheese.

Ours was delicious and BB is still talking about hers. As in,

“I want my dinner on the Dora plate P gave me. You remember the dinner she made me?”

Yes.

In addition there was the mug. I thanked her at the time, but was way more focused on the food.

Four months later, this mug is a highlight of my morning.

For years I’ve gone to bed looking forward to my morning coffee. This has only amplified now that it’s my sliver of alone time.

I shuffle into the kitchen in my slippers. You know the ones. The sun is rising. I pour steaming black coffee into my I-am-a-Writer mug. Life is good.

Not only am I alone, drinking coffee and eating a chocolate I don’t have to answer to BB about, I am being reminded by my mug that I am a writer. I’m not just a big human keeping two little humans alive. Some days reduce me to that, but then I get to wake up, get my writer mug out and try again.

I love all things coffee. I love drinking it; I love reading books where other people drink it and while blogging this I’ve learned that I love writing about drinking it.

In addition to boosting my self-esteem, I’m pretending this mug is fair warning to BB and RB.

I do not blog about them with impunity. I am aware that someday they may take real issue with being blog fodder.

I’m also hypocritical. I’m reluctant to post their photos on social media. Let them make their own internet trail when they’re ready or whatever age it’s acceptable for them to have a phone, 18?

So someday when BB and RB wave my blog at me and say,

“How dare you?”

I’ll point to my mug,

“You read my daily disclaimer and you continued to live here.”

 

Hi Mom I'm a blogger

After a couple false starts, ski team Curtis is coming together

Ski vacation was fun! Even if the effort required to travel and sleep somewhere new is almost enough to make me never leave home again. And yes our trip was over a week ago.

It was our first time traveling with 2 kids and our first ski trip in 3 years without any vomit. For 5 hours I rode in the third row of our SUV or however long it takes to lose feeling in the lower half of your body.

But it was worth it. We picked up my mom on the way. Not only is it helpful to outnumber the little people, but she did some major childcare. I skied every morning and got a couple nights out with Captain.

Captain and I had quality time with BB and so did the rest of the adults in the hot tub.

BB had the option of sleeping in the bed or sleeping on the couch cushions on the floor. They were very nice cushions. BB chose the floor. She also had the choice of underwear or a pull-up for bed. That choice was a mistake. Sorry couch cushions.

I booked ski-in ski-out because I knew that’s the only way I’d get a decent chunk of skiing time in before RB needed to nurse.

She’s not taking a bottle. She’s got nothing against it. She’ll hold it, play with it, chew on it. Just about anything to it, except drink from it.

A month ago I was miffed, but at this point if she’s happy ish, she can hold out as long as she wants, I’ll be at book club.

It was my first time at Stowe and my first time at our hotel. I slip on my comfy, well-worn slippers and head down to ski check. By well-worn, I mean I’ve been wearing them all day every day for over a year and they’re dead.

I see everyone leaving their shoes under the benches. I spot the same pair of slippers as mine. I’d hate to be left with someone else’s well-loved pair. I check my slippers so they’re safe with the ski-check guys.

I hit the slopes. First time skiing in 2 years and minimal post-partum core strength. It was weird and great.

By the end of the trip BB could even take a couple runs with me. And by couple runs I mean we went up the magic carpet and down the slightest incline while Captain walked with us.

We signed BB up for one day of ski school with the idea that if she liked it she could do more. She loved it! They skied, came in for cocoa, skied, came in for lunch, skied, came in for cocoa, skied, came in for pick-up.

I asked BB about her day. She compared it to her regular school, so she found the routine a little perplexing. She said,

“It was a different kind of day. We just kept skiing.”

Outfitting one small child for the snow, one time a day, feels like all I can manage, never mind multiple small children in and out all day long. Bless those instructors.

I return to ski check and hand over my boots. The guy says,

“Have a nice afternoon!”

“Thank you, I just need to grab my slippers from you.”

He returns with those bad boys and remarks,

“Good thing you checked these.”

Back home I tuck BB into her bed. She sighs,

“It’s nice to not be sleeping on the floor anymore.”

As if we’d been roughing it.

Although I agree, it is nice to be home.