Nine days of missing BB

BB is back. Nine days she was gone sailing. It was Captain, my in-laws, BB and her menagerie of stuffed animals.

Day 1: Bon voyage! I’m excited for her and glad to send her on her way.

Day 2: All appears well.

Day 3: Do I need to go get her? Day 4 is the last day she can bail. If not day 4, then it would be day 9, whether or not anyone decided on day 5 that that was a mistake.

Day 4: It’s a sailor’s life for BB; she’s committed to the duration of the trip. Block Island here they come. Captain says sometimes she acts “silly.” My interpretation of that is he’s glossing over bad behavior, but that’s on him. See you in 5 days!

Day 5: I’m poring over their photos. Can’t get enough.

RB is a lost soul without BB and our usual beach crew. She keeps attaching herself to random kids whether they want her or not. And when they refuse to make eye contact she walks closer to them, waves and yells,

“HI!!!”

RB’s standard volume is a 7 out of 10. When she feels strongly about something, anything, like making friends or being all done with breakfast, it’s a 10. The kids still don’t make eye contact. I try to drag her away. She refuses to acknowledge subtle social signals.

I redirect her back toward our stuff. There’s a new family setting up next to us with a fellow toddler. I think we’re in luck.

RB heads straight for them. I hover nearby. She takes a peek in one of their buckets. I’m hoping to make eye contact with the mom. Maybe share a smile, offer some of our toys, I see a bright future for poor RB who is desperate to socialize.

The mom really won’t make eye contact. I move closer. She moves the bucket away from RB.

Not so subtle. I make one last ditch glance for eye contact and I drag RB away for a swim. When we walk by later, the dad says,

“You’re welcome to play!”

I really don’t think we are.

Day 6: I miss BB.

Day 7: I really miss BB.

Day 8: I fall asleep creating all the unlikely catastrophes that can happen to anyone anywhere at anytime. A little bit like how when either kiddo sleeps 30 minutes later than usual I assume they’re dead.

Day 9: I’m reunited with a very-much alive, tan, instantly grown-up, sailor BB.

She spends the first hour of the hour-and-a-half drive home regaling me with stories. Stops. Says,

“Mom, I can’t tell you everything.”

And that was that.

She did tell me,

“I had one fight.” (with my MIL)

“What happened?”

“She wanted me to use the bathroom and I didn’t want to.”

I assume it was because BB didn’t have to go, but it turns out it was more of an issue than that. Captain tells me,

“She didn’t want to use any bathrooms besides the one on the boat.”

“Any? What did you do?”

“She went outside.”

“Outside? Like everywhere?! All the time?! Even at restaurants?!”

“Well a lot, yeah, there was grass.”

Huh.

BB returned with an additional stuffed animal, “Shiny the Block Island unicorn,” who was added to her already crowded bed. I tucked her in with 4 bunnies, 1 puppy, 1 caticorn, and Shiny. She said,

“There are a lot of people in here.”

“There are.”

“I wish I had someone to sleep with.”

Did nine days of her sleeping with Captain doom my summer? I remind her,

“What about all the people in your bed?”

Big sigh.

“What about your long-lost sister?”

Bigger sigh.

“How about I check on you later?”

“O-KAY.”

And I make my escape. Turns out there are limits on how much I missed her.

Beach birthday bonanza rain or shine

My baby is 5! I’m 39. And the class fish is still alive. However old he may be.

I’ve never met anyone happier to turn 5. BB canvased the beach, proclaiming her birthday far and wide. She was magnanimous enough to mention mine was coming up as well.

While I didn’t shout 39 to the world, no one would’ve heard me over tropical storm Elsa. I did tell quite a few people about my glorious birthday dinner with Captain, WITHOUT our children.

I may have mentioned my plans for a throw-down party next year. Mark your calendars.

I’m very happy to cling to my thirties for one more year. It’s got me comparing to 29. I’m much more content, big dreams have come true, I’ve lost some muscle tone and a lot of sleep.

I feel like more dreams can come true, but the sleep and muscle tone may be gone forever.

The summer beach plan is in effect and aside from enough rainy days for the entire season, so far so good. If anyone is going to test my resolve to be here all summer it’s RB. But then she’d test my resolve wherever we are, so I might as well be where I want to be.

It comes down to chasing RB around the suburbs or chasing RB around the beach.

I may be glorifying BB’s toddlerhood, but I don’t remember 21-month-old BB testing EVERY SINGLE LIMIT. ALL THE TIME.

The minute I turn away, there’s a very good chance RB will be standing on the kitchen table or scaling a bureau in an attempt to get the fish. As long as he may live.

The good news is that there are no tables at the beach, just rain.

RB’s attention span seems to be about as long as it takes her to yell the word,

“DONE!”

So no attention span.

We went out for BB’s birthday dinner. RB wouldn’t even let us put her in the highchair at all.

“DONE DONE DONE!”

BB said,

“This is the best birthday! Bester than last year.”

She doesn’t mind if RB’s not at the table.

BB wanted a fancy birthday drink. Last year she didn’t like her Shirley Temple. I was at a loss, but then it came to me. I ordered it for her.

She took a big sip, smiled and sighed,

“What IS this drink?”

“Sprite.”

“Sprite.” Said with so much reverence. As if she’s ready to worship whoever created soda. Kind of like I’m ready to worship anyone who manages to sustain RB’s attention for more than a minute.

As of Saturday, Captain and BB went sailing with my in-laws for nine days. Amazing for her and a very mixed bag for me.

It’s a little quieter and calmer here, but RB does not know what to do with herself. I almost miss the sibling fights. Everyone has 2 feet on or near the ground and are somewhat occupied.

BB has been begging to share a room with RB. This is good news because there are limited options at the Cape. And bad news because whoever wakes up first makes sure they wake up the other one. Refer to previous mentions of lost sleep.

I’m also missing Captain, in large part for his sandcastle acumen. It’s impressive, occupies many children not just our own and is enjoyable to watch from my beach chair.

It turns out deck building is a transferable skill. He’s also amazing with playdough. His current creation is drying on the counter.

So while everyone’s gone, I have not taken up the sandcastle mantle and we may or may not be catching up on sleep. But I have managed to write a very overdue blog post.

As far as the bad beach weather goes. It better be DONE.

The vantage point from my beach chair.
Dining out.
Play-Doh creations by Captain

As BB would say, this is all about my foots

I don’t know when the last time is you went to the podiatrist. For me it was Monday. Nothing has made me feel quite as old as this did.

When I hear the word podiatry, I think of eighty-year-olds. I remember hospital rounds with my dad and old guy toes with nails so long they were curling in spirals at the end of his feet.

In retrospect, feet sticking out of a hospital bed were just about eye level for 7-year-old Jessica. No wonder that memory is here to stay, even if on a good day, I feel lucky to remember my name.

After answering numerous sports-related questions, I’m guessing people younger than 80 go to a podiatrist. I can get over myself, or continue on with a whole post about my feet. You’re welcome.

Twenty-five ish years ago, probably the year I grew 4 inches all at once and had no idea where my body started and stopped, I fell going up the stairs. I don’t know what I did. Broke a toe? Dislocated a toe? Whatever it was, it hurt BAD, but I wasn’t going to tell anybody and risk not being able to go play.

I had always been fond of that toe. I loved that it looked it like ET. It healed kinda funny and I was left with one ET toe, the counterpart on my other foot.

After the original injury I could never bend it again, but it’s also never given me any pain. So c’est la vie. Or so I thought, until a few weeks ago I wondered, is it growing? Nah.

Then without me mentioning anything, my mom asks,

“Is your toe getting bigger?”

YES! I think it is! In general I’m the opposite of a hypochondriac, but now it was a little hard not to worry. As far as I know, my toes should NOT be growing.

I make a podiatry appointment. I feel awkward. They ask,

“Was there an injury?”

“Yes? Twenty-five years ago.”

I head in for my appointment. It’s a hot, beautiful day and I’m in a new sundress and flip-flops because why not? This getting out and about thing feels so novel.

As I’m waiting for my x-rays, I overhear the technician speaking to another patient,

“Oh wow, look at all those necklaces! We’re going to have to take them off.”

I can only imagine this being said to someone under 5 or over 80, which may confirm the podiatry demographic.

Once in the exam room, the doctor walks in, takes one look at me and walks right back out. I hear him tell someone in the hall,

“If they’re wearing a short dress, I need you to cover their legs.”

“…”

“Anything above the knee.”

I’m grateful for that clarification, because even if I don’t consider myself podiatry old, I feel a little old for a “short” dress. Also I don’t define a dress above my knee as short.

With my legs properly covered, the doctor starts off with the good news,

“Looks like arthritis.”

“Is it normal for it to suddenly grow like that?”

He makes a face. I realize,

“Has it been growing all along and I just noticed it?”

“Your warranty expired when you turned 35.”

So it did.

He offers,

“It’ll keep growing and if it ever starts to bother you, we can shave it down.”

“Shave it down?!!” I’M GOOD. “Is there anything I can do to stop it from growing?”

“Flip flops aren’t great.”

“Never mind. Not sure why I asked, if I’m not willing to make any changes.”

I take my toes and unwarranted self out of the office. The receptionist calls after me,

“Hope you feel better!”

“Thank you I feel great!” If just a little bit closer to 39.

…..

And if you feel like you want more about my feet, click here for a fun post from 2008.

BB and me, just before my warranty expired.

If anyone can rock their entire wardrobe in one day, it’s BB

While we’re talking about fashion, BB dressing herself tests my self control almost as much as trying to do arts and crafts together.

Over a year ago it was easy,

“BB it’s the middle of winter, you cannot go to school in your bathing suit.”

Six months later it got a little harder,

“I don’t think you’re allowed to wear Minnie Mouse ears to school.”

“Can you just ask them?”

Turns out she IS allowed to. Too bad they got buried in the bottom of the dress-up bin after that.

Now we’re at the point of no return. In the morning BB asks what the weather is like, what activities are on the docket and what sleeve length I would recommend. She takes it from there.

This makes it sound like she’s amenable to my input, but it’s a ruse. It’s permissible to yell ideas up the stairs, but setting foot in her room before 9am is certain disaster.

My picking out a specific item of clothing will, best case scenario, result in my being scoffed at, or worst case, cause a complete melt down.

I avoid the melt down. Just like I’m capable of doing a decent job on a toddler arts and crafts project, I can also match a shirt and leggings. But I’ve let this go. Or so I keep telling myself.

It’s harder to match a tank top, sweatshirt, leggings, skort, 3 bows and a headband, but now that I’ve seen it done. Why not go to school like that?

BB tells me,

“I need help tucking in my shirt. You can’t see my skort.” Very true.

It turned out to be a peer-approved ensemble and she came home happy.

She’s confident. And her confidence is a precious, slippery thing. But does one say anything about over-confidence? I’ve erred on the side of nothing.

There was an art show at her school. The artists ranged in age from two to six. BB declares,

“I’m the best artist. I’m great!”

“You’re very good.”

“I’m better than Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Monet and Kandinsky.”

“Oh yeah?” I don’t know about all that, but at 4.75 BB has more art appreciation than I had after my entire education. BB adds,

“So-and-so just scribbles. Their mom is going to be very disappointed.”

She’s an artist and she knows how she wants to dress. I’m all for it. Even if each new combination tests my resolve. And yes I know I’m the one supplying the clothing. I just didn’t anticipate everything being worn at the same time.

For swim lessons she put on a one piece and then put on a two-piece bottom over the one piece.

I offer,

“You’re wearing two swimsuits. You could wear the bottoms with a top or just wear the one piece.”

“Mom, I know these don’t match and I know I’m wearing bathing suits with two vagina parts. That’s how I want to do it.”

Two vagina parts. Who can argue with that?

Partially vaccinated and READY TO PARTY or at least eat outside at a restaurant

One shot down, one to go! Good thing, because I just opened my last box of Girl Scout cookies.

From January until now I survived on 30 boxes of cookies, an immense amount of coffee, a normal amount of wine (just earlier and earlier in the day) and a renewed appreciation for being healthy, aside from all the cookies, wine and coffee.

The mass vaccination site brought me to tears. WHAT A YEAR. Hard to believe we might be pulling out of this. I wondered how long I could sit there with Captain under the guise of ruling out anaphylactic shock while enjoying a brief moment together without our children.

I wouldn’t be in a decent place without: sunshine, solo walks, people I managed to see, friends I got to talk to, frozen food, take-out, RB sleeping through the night, Captain and I sleeping in the same bed again and the Elsa doll that sings “Let It Go” in its entirety.

At 18-months old BB was starting to sing the ABCs. At 18-months old RB is singing “Let It Go.” As in she is belting out the one word she knows all the time. Something like this:

“GOOOOOOOOO!”

Throws her arms out to the side, turns in a circle,

“GO! GO! GOOOOOOO!”

I cannot begin to describe the volume on this.

I wonder if I’m failing RB or if her doing everything BB does is somehow going to work out for her. She may not have many words, but she’s ready to join BB’s pre-k soccer team.

In a year of groundhog days, tasks were on repeat. Laundry. Cleaning. Food. Start over. But for whatever reason, there’s one task that never ceases to surprise me: cutting the kiddos’ nails.

I survive giving two slippery characters a tubby, plop them in front of the TV and cut BB’s nails while RB screams at me for holding BB and not her. Then I cut RB’s nails while she screams at me to release her.

Then I brush my hands off and think to myself, ‘That’s that!!’

Only it isn’t and two weeks later I’m shocked to see how long everyone’s nails are.

This has been going on for years.

Anyway. Not sure where I’m going with this post. But did I mention we’re on our way to being fully vaccinated?

BB questions me,

“So if the parents are vaccinated, does that mean the kids don’t have to wear masks anymore?”

I wish! But this does mean we’re a lot less likely to die and leave you orphaned.

So cheers to that.

Cookies are very VERY important.

Stepped on another parenting minefield. I did not make it out unscathed

First the pandemic, then the demise of skinny jeans. I thought we had hit rock bottom, but last week I sank to a new low. I embarrassed 4-year-old BB.

My intentions were pure: loving, caring parenting, but like many moms before me, all I was was an embarrassment. I knew this was my destiny. I just thought I had a few more years before the pedestal I was enjoying crumbled beneath me.

It started with a potty break. Or 50 of them. BB was going to the bathroom every 10 minutes. I called the doctor. They recommended going in. So we did. But not before we went to the bathroom one more time.

What was I thinking? Of course they wanted a urine sample from BB and of course, even though she felt like she had to go, she didn’t. We exited the bathroom empty handed and returned to the exam room to drink apple juice.

Five minutes later,

“I need the bathroom.”

“Let’s wait a little bit. Remember it feels like you have to go, but you just went and you didn’t.”

“I really need to go.”

I manage to get her to wait another five minutes. Then she becomes adamant. We give it another shot. It’s a single use bathroom, very large and private.

I don’t know who’s tried to get a urine sample from a 4 year-old, but contrary to Captain’s assumption, I was NOT relaxing nearby. I was on my hands and knees in front of the toilet, elbow deep in the bowl, trying to keep the sample cup pressed against her crotch because she’d squeeze out a drop here or there and I didn’t want to miss a molecule.

She declares,

“I don’t have to go.”

“Can you try a little more? If not, we need to go back to the room and wait until you can.”

She agrees to keep trying, but is upset about the whole thing and not relaxed at all. I’m sure that isn’t helping.

After I gave birth to BB, I was torn from end to end. I sat on the toilet afraid to ever go again. And I’m talking about urine. They had me relax my jaw, wiggle my tongue and make a “lululululu’ sound. It worked! It’s very hard to keep your crotch clenched if your mouth is completely relaxed.

I offered this hard-earned advice to BB,

“Imitate me, lulululu.”

“Shhh.”

“What? Do it with me. LULULULULU.”

“MOM! SHHH!! They’ll hear you!”

My legs are burning from squatting in front of the toilet. I keep missing precious drops of pee because as soon as BB starts to go at all, she drops her head down to watch, which means I can’t see what I’m doing and pee trickles up my arm. I’m doing everything I can and all I’m succeeding at is embarrassing her.

After 15 minutes in the bathroom, we both regard the urine barely covering the bottom of the sample cup. BB asks,

“Is that enough?”

“I don’t know.”

We exit. I hold out our offering to the powers that be. I whimper,

“Is there any way that this is enough?”

“Oh yeah.”

I have never been so relieved in my life. And thank goodness BB is healthy. She just needs to stay hydrated. She’s never been one to drink enough and my reminders were useless.

Now all I have to say is,

“Make sure you drink, we don’t want to go to the doctor.”

She runs for her water bottle. Maybe out of fear of the urine sample or an embarrassing mom. Or both.

Let them wipe each other’s butts

I can almost taste this vaccine. And it feels like it’s going to be an amazing summer.

When the pandemic started, I had two little people who were determined to fight over anything no matter what. I went with the motto of not negotiating with terrorists.

Then at some point during the slog of this past year, as both kiddos screamed and fought over one puppy stool because the 5 other stools in our home are NOT the same as the puppy stool, I thought to myself: “Maybe life WOULD be better with TWO puppy stools.

I put it in my Amazon cart to think about it, then immediately clicked “buy now.” Sure, I’ll throw $20 at the wall and see if it brings us a little peace.

It did not.

It has proved my initial reaction correct. No negotiating. If they are determined to fight with each other, duplicate items will not appease. I’m better off saving my money for a rainy day or whatever day it is when we go out without our children.

I just read an amazing parenting book. It covered many tactics I’ve read elsewhere, but the way this book put everything together and told me exactly how to do it, really resonated. We’ve made changes and things are looking up.

The book makes the case for few or no toys. I’m not rushing to get rid of everything, but I sure wouldn’t mind scaling back on the gift giving. Why does the Easter Bunny already have a huge bag of gifts in my closet? We don’t have room for what we have. I climb over a trampoline to get to my couch.

And if I thought duplicate items would also be interchangeable. I was very VERY wrong. BB knows which puppy stool is hers and RB is NOT allowed on it.

This post has more all caps than usual. Maybe a reflection of the strong competitive feelings around here.

BB claims she and RB are “besties.” I want to believe that. And considering BB is now willing to change RB’s poopy diapers, maybe it’s true. And don’t get confused. Willing is very different from able.

One theory of the book is that allowing BB to “help” with the dirty diapers today, creates a go getter, self initiator who may, two years from now, wipe RB’s butt all by herself. And if that isn’t parenting success, I don’t know what is.

You’re right. They’re not EXACTLY the same. The original is missing some whiskers. It’s been noted.

I love you people, just don’t touch me while I’m sleeping

Sleeping arrangements around here are flexible. There are numerous options, some more desirable than others. As I was reminded of the other night, when BB’s feet sidled up to my cheek.

When BB was born, I was under the false impression that a crib would be useful. By 5 months old we abandoned even attempting it and she moved into the bed with me. Captain moved to the couch.

From 11 months old to 18 months old, BB slept in her crib. Miracles do happen.

From 18 months to 2.5 years old, we took turns sleeping with BB on a mat on the floor in her room, next to her awesome, car, toddler bed that proved more useless than the crib.

From 2.5 – 3 years old BB slept by herself, in a full-size bed, in her room.

From 3 – 4 years old BB and Captain slept in her full-size bed, in her room.

From 4 until present day, except for Valentine’s Day, BB has slept by herself, in her room, with 3 night lights, the hall light, and many whispers downstairs to see if anyone wants to come up for another snuggle.

When RB was born, I wasn’t messing around. She went straight into our bed.

When she got roly poly, we moved to the mats on the floor. Captain started taking the occasional turn.

And miracle upon miracle, at 15 months old we night weaned and for the last month she has slept by herself in her crib. Praise be.

Captain and me, in our king size bed, with no little people. It’s a real treat. I look forward to it almost as much as I look forward to coffee.

Then BB started begging to sleep with us. I tried to put her off with vague,

“Oh maybe someday.”

“When? What day?”

“We’ll see.”

“Tonight?”

“No.”

“Tomorrow?”

“No.”

“What day? When can I sleep with you?”

“How about Valentine’s Day?”

And that is how I agreed to her sleeping with us again, for ONE romantic night.

We all fell asleep parallel with each other. BB somewhat closer to Captain as he has agreed he can sleep with any of us snuggled up to him. But it turns out he has his limits. Around 1am I hear him grumbling,

“This is ISN’T working!”

BB is so far away from me; I’ve been sleeping so well. I peer over. Captain has all of 3 inches of mattress. He moves BB over. Two hours later: KICK KICK KICK. Feet are pounding into my lower back.

King size beds are big, but not big enough for a 4.5 year old to sleep horizontally with anyone else. I move her body back toward Captain.

I’m fast asleep again. Then WHAM to my face. WHAT IN THE NAME OF?! I wake up ready to fight someone. BB’s feet are at my head. Her face is snuggled up next to Captain’s and they’re both snoring away.

I need my coffee. BB is in heaven. She asks,

“When can I sleep with you guys again?”

“I don’t know.”

“When?”

“Father’s Day.”

She likes to sleep sitting up. You do you baby girl.

My legs. More than you ever wanted to know

A year ago, when the pandemic was just a twinkle in our eye, I went to the vascular surgeon to see about my painful veins.

Nothing against RB, but it was her pregnancy that did me in. My veins bulged, throbbed, ached. I wore compression tights every day and then after I gave birth my veins had the nerve to clot, cause more pain and then a residual dull ache for the rest of time, otherwise known as the last 15 months.

My surgeon suggested wearing compression tights forever or radiofrequency ablation. An almost painless in-office procedure that would relieve my symptoms and required no down-time for recovery. Sign me up!

On the way out the door, I asked,

“Does insurance cover this?”

“Usually.”

I bounced out of the office with a surgery date of early March 2020.

My insurance denied me. My surgeon recommended another ultrasound. We resubmitted the claim.

Denied.

My surgeon was confident that it should be covered, so we appealed.

Denied a third time. It’s now July 2020.

Our health insurance is a real con.

My aching legs were low on my list of concerns for 2020, but they were unrelenting and followed me around everywhere.

My surgeon, still confident my procedure was medically necessary, submitted my claim for an external appeal in August 2020.

In November 2020 my insurance informed us that they had never submitted it for an external appeal. We tried again.

January 4th 2021, I received a letter:

“Carrier’s decision overturned… procedure is medically necessary… request approved.”

I danced a little jig and tried to remember exactly what the procedure was again. Something to do with my legs.

And in case I was getting too smug about my insurance coverage, a follow-up letter said the procedure would only be covered until March 31st, 2021.

My surgeon was fully booked. They squeezed me in.

My left leg was completed last week and my right leg is scheduled for next week.

The left leg day will go down as one of the best days I’ve had in a very long time: several hours out of the house, without children and a successful, insurance covered procedure.

As the surgeon injects anesthesia in multiple spots along my leg, he keeps muttering,

“I’m getting a lot of resistance.”

“Resistance?”

“You have young skin.”

“YOUNG SKIN?! I feel very middle-aged.”

“Well your skin is young.”

And that sealed the deal. BEST day. I tell him,

“I feel like I’ve aged so much in one year.”

“Haven’t we all.”

My young skin and I skipped, hopped, hobbled out of there. My left leg already feels like a million bucks. Holding my breath for my right leg.

I have to wear compression tights again. I’m supposed to wear them for 2 weeks after each procedure. After my pregnancy I was ready to burn these tights, but as I squeezed my legs in and smushed all the extra thigh up and out of the top, I was hit with intense waves of nostalgia.

The last time I wore these I was pregnant with RB. I may end up storing these in her memory box. I’m sure she’ll appreciate that.

A few days before my procedure, BB’s school mentions,

“Waiting on a COVID test for a classmate.” And p.s. someone at school has lice.

Classmate’s test was negative and knock-on-wood, no sign of lice. Never felt so good to return to the pandemic status quo, but with at least a leg up.

Who knew foot finger puppets could be so disturbing?

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.

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.

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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