Who the Hell is Plastic Man?

Which book do you want me to read you tonight?  I ask without even having to guess.  Batman and Friends!  Woo-hoo.  I am so sick of reading this book.  Every night.  Every night we read Batman and Friends.  Every. Damn. Night.  Do your kids pick the same books to read over?  It can be physically painful to read a book over and over every night.  My anxiety is already through the roof because I want to walk out and shut that light off- of sweet Jesus how I want to shut that light off!- but no.  And then to read the same book?  Again?  Does Guantanamo have Batman and Friends?  Maybe they should look into that.  In my opinion it could be more effective than water-boarding.

So tonight following the showers-teeth-brushing-jammie-pick-books-fuck-show we are laying in bed reading… Batman and Friends!  It’s tonight, on my forty-eighth reading of the damn book that it occurs to me: Who the hell is Plastic Man?!  Is this guy for real?  He’s wearing plastic pimp sunglasses and has a stripper costume on.  Seriously?

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Initially, I was required to gain vast knowledge about tractors and construction equipment.  By the time my Cub was 18 months old, I could tell you the difference between a backhoe, front loader, skid steer, straddle-carrier, forklift, knuckle-boom loader, skidder, grapple truck, log-feller, and so on.  Next it was tractors and farm equipment.  I knew my Kaboda from my Massey Ferguson; my Husqvarna from a Cub Cadet.  I could name implements (yes, that’s what they are really, called) like combine harvesters, plows, round hay balers, hay rakes, row-crop planters, harrows and disks.  And then came the John Deere.  The 8020s, Model C, Johnny Poppers, Waterloo Boy, Spoker D and the Lindeman 420 Crawler.  I knew articulated and styled versus unstyled.  And now we have moved on from tractors and discovered superheroes.

So back to Plastic Man.  Now I am not here to break down (or build up) any gender stereo-types here but as a female product of the ’80’s, She-ra was my superhero.  I did on occasion watch He-man but didn’t really get into Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman or Green Lantern.  I knew who they were, I guess but my knowledge was peripheral at best.  It wasn’t until I was gifted three boys that my understanding of superheroes has be broadened.  Significantly.

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Who the hell is Plastic Man, you ask?  Well according to Wikipedia, Plastic Man started out an abandoned 10 year old criminal, cracking safes.  It wasn’t until he was shot and fell into some kind of chemical bath and nursed back to health in a monastery that he found his new Plastic Powers and began fighting crime.  Wow.  Who makes this shit up?!  He also has a sidekick, Woozy Winks.  (Seriously folks.  No joke.)


So now I am an expert on tractors, construction and logging equipment and Plastic Man.  Now who’s the Princess of Power?

Peace, Mamas.


Twenty-Four Hours as a Mama


5:00pm- Husband calls: Cub has (another) migraine and is going to skip lacrosse.  Again.

5:15pm- Mama arrives home, takes dinner (prepared last night) out of the oven.

5:20pm- Cub vomits.

5:30pm- Mama tucks Cub in bed with Tylenol and bucket, ensures that towels are covering every square inch of carpet surrounding his bed.

5:40pm- Mama sits down to dinner.

5:45pm- Mooch complains of stomach ache.  Shit.

6:00pm- Mooch goes to bed.

6:15pm- Mama cleans up kitchen.

7:00pm- Mama brings Zook up to bed, which is shared with Mooch– Who is now moaning.

7:15pm- Mama nearly loses her shit and Husband comes up for relief.  Did I mention I appreciate this man?

8:00pm- Mooch, moaning again.  Shit.  It’s coming.

8:02pm- Mooch vomits.  Mama is a little slow with the bucket.  Mama brings Mooch downstairs to bathroom, cleans him up, changes his shirt.  Husband attempts clean up.  With Mama’s bath towel.  Never mind the last bit about appreciating him.

8:15pm- Mooch goes back to bed.  Mama finishes clean up.

8:30pm- Quiet.

9:30pm- Mama goes to bed.

9:45pm- Moaning.  Mooch vomits again.

10:15pm- Mama tucks Mooch back into bed.

11:30pm- Mooch vomits.


1:40am- Mooch vomits.

3:35am- Mooch vomits.

4:30am- Cub comes in.  He’s awake now.

5:00am- Husband gets up to shower.  Mooch and Zook are up now too.  Ugh.  Mama hides.

6:00am- Mama is up.

8:30am- Mama arrives at work and gets to close the door to pee and eat snacks without running defense for the last bite.  Amazing.

5:35pm- Mama arrives home from work.  Husband has dinner on the table.  Appreciating him again.

5:45pm- Mama remembers Mooch has Open House at preschool.  At 6:00pm.

6:05pm- Open House.

6:45pm- Home.  Mama scarfs down the rest of dinner.

7:00pm- Husband tucks kids in bed.

7:35pm- Quiet.

8:02pm- Zook has to pee.  Ugh.

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M&Ms really pair better with red…  Cheers, Mamas!

Breaking Up With the Breast

It’s happening.  This is really happening.  And just when I said self-weaning was bullshit.  Don’t worry, this isn’t turning into a breastfeeding blog, because that’s coming abruptly to an end.  For the second consecutive night, my little guy sheepishly crawled in with a brother and snuggled in.  Without me. Without me.  Without his Mama.

This moment has been on my mind all day.  It was my first thought this morning, consumed my commute to work, filled the spaces in my mind during meetings, brought on an ache in my throat after lunch.  I was distracted as I watched my oldest play lacrosse tonight, at dinner and in the yard.  As I watched that sweet boy run and throw his head back in laughter, rolling in the grass, flashing me that toothy, goofy smile, I knew bedtime was coming.  We brushed teeth, I held my breath.  Climbed the stairs, put jammies on.  Stomach tightening, Are you going to sleep with your brother again tonight?  Yes.

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And all of a sudden, this became a story about a Mama losing her baby.  If reading that doesn’t signal the pierce of a tear, the sting of your nose, or your breath to catch, I can tell you that as a Mama, short of tragedy, there may be no greater loss.  So here is the raw truth: We want our children to grow, learn, become.  But the instances when they start to leave us are both the most heart-breaking and heart-filling moments we may ever experience.  A child turning from what was once the only comfort he knew, while causing undeniable pain, is a Mama’s greatest accomplishment.  We raise our children to leave us.  But the moment it actually happens is nothing we could have fathomed before that point.

This is also the story of a baby growing into a child.  He’s not leaving his Mama, he just needs her a little less.  We need to learn to bond in a different way.  I am beyond thankful that he is choosing this path on his own will.  I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I’d wondered if it was time or thought about how we would do this.  He’s taken the guesswork out of the process.  I’m trying not to let this break my heart.  Trying so hard to accept his choice.  I never, in my whole life, thought I’d grow so attached to nursing.  It’s not the act of nursing, it’s the connection we share at the end of the day.  Correction: It’s the connected we shared at the end of the day.

My heart feels heavy and light tonight, if that’s possible.  So much of Mamahood is filled with experiences which are both the best and worst thing all at once.  I’m living in the moment; documenting these moments, pouring my guts out because I need to not feel alone in this.  I know I’m not.  I know there are a many of Mamas nodding their heads right now.  Thank you Mamas.  I know there maybe some who are not Mamas reading too- and hopefully now you get it.  Now you get a peek into this world of being a Mama.  The struggle, the success, the pain, the bliss.  The Love.

Peace Mamas.


Goodnight Without the Boob

Well that’s exactly what it was.  For the first time.  Ever.  In case you missed my earlier post, I am an extended nurser.  I tend to stay away from saying extended breastfeeder because that seems to freak people out a little more.  Makes it more graphic, I don’t know.  My son will be 30 months old this week  (for those of you who are still dividing by twelve, that’s two and a half years old).  And we still boob (how’s that for graphic?).  Lately, I have been considering, pondering the idea that maybe this should all be over.  It has been a long time.  There is little to no nutrition going on, I’d like my own boobs back (even though they are a train wreck) and he is two and a half…

Today was a wonderful day.  My baby had his first playdate with an adorable little fella and was totally exhausted tonight after trading his nap for a chauffeured tour of his buddy’s driveway in a hot pink Barbie Jeep (it was really quite something).  At bedtime tonight, we got jammies on, brushed teeth and went up to choose books.  Just as the argument began over which book to read, my little guy says Sleep. Here.  And pointed to his brother’s bed.  I asked him again what he said, confused- maybe hoping I’d heard him wrong.  Sleep. Here.  And he pointed again.  Okay, I said, knowing this would never last.  He popped in bed next to his brother and laid down.  You want to sleep in here tonight?  Grin.  Nod.  Okay.  Love you…  And I walked out. Now he’s sleeping up there as cute as can be next to his brother.  Wow.

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I’m honestly experiencing a swirl of emotions right now.  I’m so relieved that it could possibly be this easy.  That there really could be no tears.  I’m proud that my littlest babe can find his way to dreamland peacefully- and quite frankly adorably- next to his older brother without Mama.  Without Mama.  And that’s where the warm fuzzies end.  Did he not need me?  Did he not need to press his sweet face against my breast, look into my eyes, and rub his soft fleshy fingers into my warm skin?  Does he no longer require my arms around him, calming and secure, strong and reassuring?  I’m feeling a little lost.  A little hallow.  

I read about women who refer to nursing as a journey and I never quite understood that so clearly as I do tonight- for tonight I am quite honestly fearful that our journey has come to its end.  I remember back to the nights, alone with him, the feeling of elation at the sounds of his swallows in the dark. His warm belly against mine, still swollen from where he was housed just days before.  That feeling, those nights, will never be matched.  It’s been a mutual love affair until this evening and now I have been dumped.  Kicked to the curb like yesterday’s news.  He broke up with me for his brother.  Ouch.

He’s our last child.  There will be no more babies.  No more births, no more first teeth, no more first rolls, steps or even diapers for that matter.  All that is done.  I am aware that there will be many more firsts (day of school lost tooth, bikes, soccer games…) but I’m talking about The Firsts.  Why is it so hard to leave that part behind?  I can almost watch it happening.

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As I write tonight, I am living in the moment- maybe more than I ever have in my life. As I watch our relationship morph, I am aware that it’s not about me.   Our journey has been guided fully by his will and I’m not about to interfere with his method but it doesn’t ease the ache in my chest, the longing in my soul for my children to stay babies forever.  Sappy and stupid, I know- but Real.  Tonight it is so Real.  So what will tomorrow bring…  I’m curious to discover how our bedtime routine will change.  And if this is the end.  Cue throat lump…  Is this over?

Peace Mamas.


Bedtime Sucks a Little Less.

So what is the worst time of day for my family?

Hands down: Bedtime.  Bedtime can be brutal.  Let’s break it down: they are tired but don’t want to go to bed, you are oh-so-close to that coveted quiet time.  Meet the perfect storm.  Sometimes I look at the clock and think In twenty minutes this will all be over… Rally woman, you can make it!  That might make things worse- and I am realizing this as I write it but I am not sure it’s possible to not perform that mental countdown so I am just going to move on.

Our bedtime routine consists of 1. Brush Teeth, 2. Jammies, 3. A Book and 4. Lights Out.  Now there are multiple phases in between- but I’ll get to that.  (You mama’s who do the whole bath/shower deal… Well, let’s just say, I’d rather have dirty kids than deal with that every night.  The screams of “water in my eyes” are enough to push me over the edge!  Seriously, I am not using acid to wash their hair.  Man up- it’s water.  I digress.)

My cheerful voice says Time to brush your teeth!  (Can you picture the stupid smile I have slapped on my face?)  First comes Phase One:  Blatant Push-back (no, not now, a few more minutes, etc.).  When that doesn’t seem to be working, we move on to Phase Two of push back which addresses the issue of who brushed “first” last night and who is going to go “first” tonight.  Now tell me something, is it really a surprise that we are brushing our teeth before we go to bed?!  We do this every night.  Does it really matter who goes first?  Phase Three: (should we make it that far) The Toothpaste’s Rating on the Spicy Index.

I am usually yelling before we get to Phase Two.  Why?  Because I am frustrated.  Because, I am tired.  Because I can’t understand why they won’t just get up off their sweet little asses and get in the bathroom and brush their damn teeth.  Because I am tired.  But it’s not about me… Or is it?  Shit.  It’s totally about me.

Last night, I didn’t yell.  I didn’t even give that meanish snarl that we all know is just like yelling but pretend it doesn’t really count.  But it counts.  I didn’t do an arm grab or rip a toy out of someone’s hand.  I just knelt down and looked right into said child’s eye.  I know playing is important to you so I am going to give you two more minutes and then I need you to brush your teeth because it’s important to me that you get to bed.  “Fine.”  And that was it.  I provided one more reminder and then we moved straight past Phase Three (the toothpaste Spicy Index rating) to Phase Four: Jammies are Too Scratchy.  Progress is progress, people!

The rest of bedtime routine was better because we laughed.  I purposefully tried to make it fun and funny.  We played.  It was fun.  It was longer than usual by about 20 minutes but there was no yelling.  No yelling.  And no one hyperventilated, had a melt down or threw anything.  And I was still downstairs in plenty of time to dig out my well-hidden snacks and find out whether Kourtney is going to let Kim talk her into a spray tan for her six month postpartum bikini photo shoot.  (Which by the way, are you fucking kidding me?!)

Bedtime.  No yelling.

How did you do today?