Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Five Diapers You Meet When Your Kid is Constipated

Sometimes my kids are full of shit. Like, actual shit. And no matter how much they grunt, push, and wiggle their little toddler hips, they just can’t seem to shake it out.

I know I’m in for trouble when little Ollie starts rocking on his heels, his hips jutting back and forth sporadically like a mini Danny Zuko with a lego up his ass, moaning “Diiiiiinky.”

Surely I can’t be the only mom with an occasionally anal-retentive toddler. (Can I get an “Amen!”? Or possibly a tot-sized enema?)

When your kid is constipated, everyone suffers. And by everyone, I mean you. Not only is it painful to see your child grimacing and writhing around because he can’t get his shit together, but his uncooperative excretory system becomes the center of your entire day. If his bowels don’t move, no one moves.

Have to go to the store? You can’t. He’s trying to poop. Want to sneak off to take a quick shower? Sorry, he’s just about to poop. Need to make a phone call? Good luck hearing anything over your kid shrieking about how much he needs to poop.

The thing that sucks most about all this is that when your kid’s still in diapers, you’re the one having to constantly check, change, and chuck them. You are the Maid of Mudpies, the Queen of Caca, the Disposer of Doo-Doo.

Unfortunately, constipation typically doesn’t end with one singularly disgusting blow-out. It resolves itself in stages. Here are five diapers you can expect to encounter once your backed-up kid finally gets the shit show started:

1.  The “Gotcha” Diaper. Sometimes the putridly sweet, telltale scent of banana-and-fishy-cracker-infested crap hits your nose, and you’re certain that your kid has finally taken a dump. He even insists that he pooped. Relieved that the defecation drama is finally over, you grab the wipes and a clean diaper, and pray to find a nicely formed, bowel-baked keester cake resting beneath his buttocks.

SURPRISE! It was just gas. You are staring at a perfectly pristine diaper.

via memegenerator

And now your kid’s uncomfortable squirming is even more troublesome, as it is preventing you from putting said diaper back on.

2. The Tick Turd Diaper. When your kid’s been constipated for a while, the first fecal matter he starts shedding is this itsy bitsy teenie weenie hella-not-a-lot shitini*. We’re talking so small, it doesn’t even warrant the term “pellets.”

*This would actually make a pretty catchy parody.

Have you ever tried to kill a tick? It’s nearly impossible. Their outer shells are ridiculously hard (also, coincidentally, brown). Ticks have a tendency to latch on to things, or hide in little crevices and hard-to-reach skin folds. Sometimes you find them lurking in your hair or on your clothing hours after you thought you’d rid yourself of them. They’re also tiny. Very. Freaking. Tiny.

Imagine a diaper filled with copious amounts of ticks that smell like they bathed in hydrogen sulfide. Now imagine changing that diaper while your kid is flailing his legs about like a ballerina with tourettes, effectively hurling them onto every surface within a three foot radius, where they'll inevitably latch and burrow in.

3. The Skid Mark. This happens when your kid is prairie doggin’ it. That poop is like a little shitterfly that just can’t quite burst from its anal cocoon: It emerges and retreats repeatedly, leaving a tiny trail of brown (sometimes green—or, if you’re kid’s got hemorrhoids—a little red) behind as evidence of its escape efforts. This one's a fairly easy cleanup.

(Let’s be honest: “The Skid” is not exclusive to kids. We moms do a lot of laundry. We see things.)

4. The Cocoa Powder Diaper. Before your kid finally poops, he will sometimes manage a little “squirt.” The problem with the squirt is that it’s hard to catch right away. Your child usually doesn’t even notice that it’s happening, as it tends to eek out during a sneeze, a cough, or the hysterical laughter that always accompanies a kid’s fart. If you don’t catch a squirt in its original consistency, it dries into a disgusting powdery substance that gets trapped in all of your kid’s nooks and crannies.

Often, if you even manage to get at it with a baby wipe, all you end up doing is spreading it. If you’ve ever spilled cocoa powder while baking and tried to wipe it up with a sponge, you know what I’m talking about. It stains everything it touches, and sometimes you accidentally inhale some of the particles that are sent airborne during your cleaning efforts.

Don’t be surprised if you’re sneezing out shit for a day or two.  (Ahh….ahhh….ahpoo!)

*Note that poop found in the "Cocoa Powder Diaper" kinda looks like brown crack. 
Apropos, considering its source of origin.

5. The Paradoxical Hallelujah!/Holy Shit! Diaper. This marks the end of your excremental journey, and it will be filled with relief (for you and your kid), horror, and poop. Lots of poop. You can expect it to arrive within ½ to six hours of pumping your kid with fiber gummies and the “special pink candy” otherwise known as chewable Pedialax tablets. You can also expect it to look like the chocolate river in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Just don’t expect it to smell like it. And try to keep your little Oompa Loompa from playing in it, or he might end up shoving his hard-fought accomplishment in your face.

After dealing with a constipated kid all day, you’ll probably want to get shitfaced. Just not that way.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Things That Might Make Trimming Your Toddler’s Nails Slightly Less Excruciating

Once your kid hits the Terrible Twos, attempting to trim his fingernails is kind of like finding yourself immersed in a Kiddieland version of Jurassic Park. Quasi-ultrasonic raptor screeching? Check. Thrashing pterodactyl claws? Check. The compulsion to latch on to an electrical fence (remember poor Timmy)? Bigfatfreakingcheck.

The stress of it all can be so overwhelming that it sometimes propels you into your own spiral of “Terrible Twos”—the kind that send you running to the bathroom like a T-Rex is chasing you down.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could save yourself (and your bowels) the shart-ache of toddler-nail-clipping with just a few simple tools? If you’re adamantly nodding your head yes like a creepy bobble-head right now, consider the list of such tools provided below: 

Earplugs. For obvious reasons. If you’d prefer to stop the shrieking at its source, you could opt for duct tape; it would be equally effective, and probably a little more satisfying to apply.

Goggles. Unless you enjoy having tiny, crescent-moon shaped fingernail shards piercing your retinas.

Nail clippers designed to look like electrical outlets. He seems to take no issue with jamming his overgrown talons into those.

Football helmet. This would be of particular use during “kickoff,” i.e., when your kid starts flinging his feet around like a donkey with tourettes. If you don’t have a lot of “natural” padding (which you likely don’t, since you’re forced to engage in regular vigorous toddler wrestling just to get a damn pinkie nail clipped), you might as well go for full body gear. Also, you may consider a cup in your “end zone” if you don’t want a foot up your uterus.

If the prospect of trimming more toddler nails in the future makes a botched hysterectomy sound sort of appealing, you could skip the cup.

Daddy. Seriously. Where the hell is Daddy? How does he always happen to be called in to work immediately after you pull out the itty bitty nail clippers?

A tiny straightjacket. Rope is a cheaper option, and a little less likely to wave a big red flag in the face of child protective services when you purchase it. Although, if they do show up at your doorstep, you might want to try handing them the nail clippers and locking them in a room with your kid— padded walls optional, depending on how strongly you want to get your point (or the point of your kid’s claws) across (as in, across that naive CPS worker’s face).

An Asian. Because inappropriate stereotyping. 

Instant Fingernail Removal Powder™. Wait, that’s not a real thing? It needs to be a thing. Someone go make that a thing.

Fingernails are just dead skin cells, right? Can’t Rogaine just, like, reverse its formula or something?

A time machine. One that allows you to go back approximately three years and tell your husband, “Not tonight, honey.”

Kidding! Kidding! (Mostly.)

Wine (or Xanax) (or both). Rationale should be self-evident. Unless, perhaps, you’ve already gone there and can no longer tell your boobs from your butt cheeks.

Since most of these suggestions aren’t exactly practical, responsible, legal, or invented yet, you might consider a little reverse psychology: Allow him to watch Jurassic Park, and tell him that dinosaurs prefer their kiddie-kabobs extra crunchy, so if he wants to let his nails grow out as t-rex bait, you will fully support his efforts.

Monday, June 8, 2015

11 Things My Kids Do That Make My Heart Happy*

*and turn me into a big, cliché-dropping sap

My kids drive me plantains (bigger, tougher, and a little more complicated to prepare than your run o’ the mill bananas). They’re toddlers. It’s kind of in their job description. But they also counterbalance the deeply-rooted desire to rip my hair out by—well, the roots—when they do things that fill me with all da warm and fuzzies.

There are tons of things the minions do on a daily basis that make me melt faster than Frosty the Snowman sunbathing in Texas. Here are 11* of them:

*Why 11, you ask? Why not stop at 10 like the legendary—now retired—David Letterman? Well, I kind of like the symmetry of the number. As well as the fact that it's comprised of parallel lines. Nonparallel lines freak me out. They lead to collisions. And options. And options lead to making decisions, which I suck at. Hey, Mr. Frost, if two roads never diverge, you never have to deal with the anxiety of choosing one. 

Also, it consists of two “1”s, which is symbolic of my kids (they are both my #1 buds).

Orrrrrr…there actually are 10, but my motherhood-reduced-IQ caused me to somehow skip #5 altogether, so the list is mis-numbered, and I'm too tired and lazy to change it.

1. Imitate me. They say that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”* When my kids imitate me, of course I’m flattered. They want to be like me! They do love me! I must be getting at least some of this “motherhood” stuff right!

*Who is this “they” I speak of? “They” are the Google gods, and their response pops up when I offer the phrase “imitation flattery saying” on their shrine—commonly known as the “search bar”—because I can’t remember the exact wording of the quote I want to use.

Granted, this doesn’t always work out in my favor. Trystan has begun saying “Big feek mess!” whenever he spills something (for those of you not well-versed in Trystan lingo, that’s “Big FREAKIN mess”—I don’t drop the actual F-bomb around my kids). And Lord help me if they ever bust open the bathroom door while I’m putting in a tampon. While that might reduce the number of shitty diapers I have to change throughout the course of the day, they probably shouldn’t be running around plugged up like that.

However, when I catch them dancing in a horrifically awkward way or reaching for the pull-up bar*, it makes me feel like I’ve downed a pint of Butterbeer. Seeing them aspire to be like me is the greatest compliment they could give me.

*Yes, they actually ask to do pull-ups. 

Pull-ups: No longer just for potty training

2. Hug my legs. It’s pretty much as high as they can reach when I’m standing, but the warmth of those little squeezes somehow makes it all the way up to my heart. On that note:

3. Hug me like they’re never going to see me again. I wish we could all remember to do this with the people we love. Every hug—like every moment—should matter.

4. Eat.*

*When they actually do it. I’m not referring to the “eating” known as “throwing all our food on the floor and laughing hysterically about it."

I love watching my boys eat. Maybe it’s because it took me so long to actually appreciate and enjoy food, but there is something beautiful in the way they fervently shove whole strawberries in their mouths, devour turkey bacon*, and meticulously lick the icing off of a cupcake.

I can vividly recall the first time I realized just how much fun it is to watch them eat. We were on a long car trip, and I’d made the boys a PBJ for lunch. It was nothing special. In fact, it was pretty subpar compared to their usual homemade fare: two slightly stale pieces of bread, and the peanut butter and jelly that comes in those tiny single-serving packets, all slapped together at a Holiday Inn’s continental breakfast bar earlier that morning. But the way Ollie was eating it, you’d think it was the inspiration for the famous dancing banana song (which, coincidentally, we danced to all the time when they were babies). He kept biting it, pulling it back to study the little impressions his crooked teeth had made in the bread, and then grinning broadly—his teeth stained purple from the jelly—before going back for more.

Kids can find the utmost joy in the most mundane places. And it’s awesome to see. 

*Trystan thinks turkey bacon was delivered to this Earth by God himself.

"And on the 7th day, God rested. After frying up a 
pan of delicious turkey bacon for Sunday Brunch."

6. Say “Cuddle Mama” or “Sit Mama.” Is there any better feeling in the world than that of being needed?

7. Actually, just the way they say Mama in general. I love the way it pops out of their lips like a bubblegum bubble that just can’t stand the pressure of another breath. Every time they say it, it reminds me that they’ve given me the greatest gift in the world—the opportunity to be a Mama. And not just any Mama, but their Mama. 

8. Laugh hysterically together. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more beautiful sound than the carefree harmonization of my kids’ laughter—of Trystan’s maniacal, high-pitched squeals offsetting Oliver’s surprisingly low chortles. If Joy were a movie, their laughter would be its soundtrack.*

*Shit, what do you mean, it IS a movie? Why haven't we been contacted? My boys could be in the recording studio now, beefing up their college savings funds.

9. Say “Bye, Jesus!” when we say “Amen,” while pointing to the sky. For them—at least for now—the subjects of God, religion, and the afterlife are not hot topics of debate or big questions waiting to be answered. To them, it really is this simple: We talk to Jesus during prayers. Jesus is in Heaven. Heaven is in the sky.*

If only that sort of absolute, undoubting faith were as easy for the rest of us.

*I have had to clarify—on occasion—that “No, that airplane is not Jesus. And no, he's not riding in it either.”

10. Ask me to read the same story over and over and over again. Do I sometimes get tired of reading If You Give a Cat a Cupcake? Sure. But the monotony is far outweighed by the 60 cumulative pounds of cuddly toddler in my lap, and the joy of watching them proudly point out the pictures, telling me what’s going to happen before I even have a chance to turn the page.

Plus, I love that I’m raising a couple of bibliophiles (refer back to #1).

11. Smile. It means they’re happy, which means I’m doing something right. Plus, their smiles are infectious.*

(Yes, Oliver is part vampire.)

*Are you smiling yet?**

**Are you sick of asterisks yet?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Excuses and Poetry

I know my posting has become a little erratic as of late, and I apologize for that. I hope my apology doesn't come off as a presumption that anyone actually cares when I don't post for a while. I would like to think I have at least a few loyal followers out there. Besides my cats, of course. But I get the impression they aren't really "reading" when they come sit in front of the computer as they are not-so-subtly reminding me that it's time to be fed. 

There are a few reasons I haven't been posting as often. They are as follows:

1. My family just returned from two months in Indiana, and I've been busy unpacking all of our shit, putting it away, and then putting it away again after the minions pull it back out.

2. Texas is freaking hot, and I think my brain is melting and escaping through the ever-oozing pores all over my body. I'm considering putting it into vials and selling it on eBay. Let me know if you're interested.

3. I've been doing a fair amount of writing for Scary Mommy and Mamalode. The more of my writing that's published there, the less of it that's published here (simple subtraction, folks). If you've not yet checked out my stuff there, please do so. AND TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND ENEMIES AND RANDOM PASSERSBY ON THE STREET. AND TELL THEM TO "LIKE" AND "SHARE."

4. And, umm, these guys:


They are awesomesauciness to the extreme, but they are also a handful. And mischievous. And quite fast. And since I'm a Mama first, sometimes writing gets tossed on the back burner (where, coincidentally, Trystan's hand almost ended up recently, when he decided it'd be fun to "help Mama cook egg.")

Alrighty, enough of my stodgy excuses. I did actually intend on posting something a little more polished today.

Which brings us to....(drum roll, please) (Hey, that was pretty awesome; I just heard an actual drumro—nope. Shit. Oliver just stuck a piece of his Hot Wheels race track in our box fan).

Ah, screw it. Here's the poem:


Pas de Deux
(Dance for Two)

His shadow dances
to an internal composition,
pulsing to the drum-
beats of a buoyant heart.
A figure born of light

and substance, it caresses
the fading opacity
of antiquated walls, hugging
corners and bounding
upward. It gracefully jetés

to the aged ceiling,
kissing radial cracks
in the moulding. It undermines
the pull of gravity. Falling
stars for feet,

it pirouettes on wishes,
tiny toenails like crescent
moons, suspended
in the enigmatic
intersection of time and space.

He dances with one foot
in each world, maintaining
a vital balance:
He pulls from the light
to bring life to the darkness.