the happenings of a not-so-happening-no-idea-what-i'm-doing-mom/former-fake-hipster
While I had been hoping to wait until the end of the month to write my first blog post in, well, forever (there’s a reason… it’s nothing too exciting but just not at the liberty to disclose right now - and no I’m not knocked up). But I just got some extremely sad news: my comedic superhero, Joan Rivers, has passed away.
It’s already been an extremely sad month for comedy. Losing Robin Williams was devastating, especially for those of us of the Mrs. Doubtfire generation, but for me Joan being gone is like losing the comedic Mother Superior. Every one of the stars in the galaxy I admire and envy the most don’t exist without Joan’s trailblazing. Roseanne Barr’s infamous introduction to the world on Jonny Carson - as a “domestic goddess" — wouldn’t have been possibly (nor nearly as funny) without Joan having taken on the same topic on Ed Sullivan a generation prior. Oak Park’s very own
Kathleen Kathy Griffin has all but stolen Joan’s Hollywood worship them/hate them schtick, but never without deferring all due respect to the Queen. Joining The Second City two years after its inception, she is the bedrock that Fey, Poehler, Hunt, Sedaris, Lynch, and Margolis stand upon. Chelsea Handler couldn’t take no prisoners and never apologize, Megan Mullally’s Karen could never have been so deliciously vain, Miss Piggy would never have gotten the amount of rouge she needed to marry Kermie. To put it bluntly — she broke down doors for female comedians when there were still irons on the gates and drawbridges up. Every funny woman everywhere owes her everything.
So tonight I’m going to put on my most fabulous outfit, I’m going to actually put on makeup, and if I look ridiculous I’m going to make fun of myself all with my head held high. I’ll be as funny as I can, but I’ll never be as funny, or as quick, as her.
So my last post was about my cats. This is another post about my cats. It’s also my last post about my cats. You’ll see why in a second.
First of all, if you know me, I am mainly all talk. The more I complain about something, especially if it’s a someone, the more I probably adore it/him/her. So, if you read my last post, and also know enough to read between the lines, it’s to know that while my cats can be zany little nutsos, I love them very much, they’re my little pals and I’m so lucky to have had them in my life. Well, in the last week we’ve learned that due to a family medical thingy they can no longer stay with us. (Don’t worry — the human Speetzs are all fine, it’s something that we’ve been working with for a couple of years, its just the time has come where keeping them is no longer an option). It snuck up on us really fast this time (so fast that when I wrote my last post, I had no idea this would even be happening).
Despite everyone working their butts off to make it work, the writing is on the wall and tomorrow they’re going to their new home where we know they’re going to be very happy, cared for, and loved. They’ll be together, which honestly is the most important thing, and I’m extremely thankful to have known them. It’s silly, because they’re cats, but I love their little souls and they have made my life better. I’m looking at this now as a chance for other people to be enriched by their sweet spirits, crazy meowing schedules, and know they will demand (and receive) all the love they deserve. So today Donny, Bunny and Team Speetz will get their cuddle on, I will sing “You Are Special” (yes, I sing a DANIEL TIGER song to them when we’re alone, shh don’t tell anyone). It’ll be sad tomorrow, but like everything time moves us all along. Donny and Bunny are off on their next great adventure, and to their next family who will love them almost as much as we do. Who am I kidding, they’ll love the hell out of them. They’d be fools not to.
One of the greatest joys in my life is when one of my kids attacks my cat.
We have two cats, Donny and Bunny. We got them as kittens about five years ago. They’re litter-mates, used to be super cute (well still sort of are), and are mostly good buddies. I had never had cats until that point in my life, but was promised that they were mostly self-sufficient animals who would be cuddly but also independent, which pretty much sounded like the most perfect animal ever. Don’t call me, I’ll call you? Where do I sign?
We have the two most emotionally needy cats on the planet. Well, the really needy one is Donny, but that’s mainly because we named him ironically. Important Life Hack: don’t name anything ironically, ever, under any circumstances. It will come back to bite you in the ass. See, CSpeetz is a BIG LEBOWSKI super fan (check him out in THE ACHIEVERS), and so we thought it would be fun to name the cats after minor characters in the movie. For the uninitiated, Donny is the Steve Buscemi character who doesn’t have a ton of dialogue, but is constantly told by everybody to "shut the fuck up." It’s ridiculous, it’s funny, and Donny and Bunny sound like good cat-ish names. Right? RIGHT?!
Yeah, Donny never shuts the fuck up.
I have never met a being, neither man nor beast, who vocalizes as much as this damn cat. The second he wakes up in the morning he demands food. And, to my horror, cats actually know how to whine. It’s like he’s saying “I’m hunnnnnnggggrryyyyyyyy nowwwwww” in cat. It’s abominable. He is so obnoxious that if one of our kids is hungry, and Donny is meowing for food, Donny’s needs are met first 100% of the time. There is no question or hesitation. The kicker is Donny also must have some kitten version of OCD, because he can literally have a full bowl of food but if it’s “feeding time” (or within a four hour window there of) he will let you hear about it until more food is put in his bowl. He’s a four legged, tuxedo printed terrorist.
It’s not just feeding time that gets Donny all riled up for attention. That’s just what occupies his brain when it’s not “who’s going to love me? Who’s going to love me right. now? You busy? I know you’re carrying groceries, but let’s have a scratch. Bathroom door is closed? You busy in there? Can I come in? CAN I COME IN SO YOU CAN LOVE ON ME? I NEED ENTRY! I’M NOT GOING TO BE IGNORED.”
etc. Not at all awkward.
Pre-kids, Donny even used to yell at me (which sounds ridiculous but really there’s not other way to put it) if I wasn’t in bed reading by a certain time, but would also yell at Chris if he dared join us. At least since G&J have shown up he has some quasi-assemblence that he’s lowered on the totem poll, maybe. And this is not to say that I still don’t love the hell out of the little guy, it’s just sometimes at 2 am I don’t want to be woken up by my cat who’s giving me bedroom eyes.
BACK TO THE MATTER AT HAND
JSpeetz is chasing Donny around the room at top baby speed, which is a very fast crawl, complete with head down to charge and baby butt swinging wildly from side to side. Donny, not used to getting all the love and attention he so desires, is totally freaked out and keeps running away, stopping, being caught, running away, and so forth. JSpeetz is laughing her head off. Everybody is getting the love they need, and I’m even getting a chance to write my blog. Everybody wins. But still, Donny, shut the fuck up.
So there’s a very real thing. It’s called The Mommy Gut. No, I’m not talking to the final 5 lbs that takes a million years to go away after you have a kid (but it will go away, God Damn It. Just let me eat this carrot first). No, there’s another thing, I guess you could call intuition, but I call it The Mommy Gut. It’s this weird superpower that you get as a parent that tells you that [something] is not good for your offspring. Remove offspring from situation. And guess what guys: listen to it.
I had my first round of Mommy Gut when I was primed to give birth to GSpeetz and I didn’t listen (short story long: complications were ensuing, I thought we should go one way, the midwife group I was with said we should go another, more complications ensued, needless shenanigans were had, but everyone’s ok so that’s what matters). While not the most fun experience, it was good to learn early on that you should trust yourself and stand firm in your beliefs, especially when it comes to your kids.
Cut to GSpeetz going to pre-school. It’s incredibly important to note: GSpeetz is not a perfect child. No one is. She’s awesomely excited about everything, can move from one thing to the next quickly — she’s a speed demon. It’s a wonderful trait, but it can be a lot, too (just like anything). We put her in a pre-school a couple of months ago that I thought would be a good fit because it’s a type of pre-school my brothers went to as kids, and I always thought it sounded like fun and it would be great learning opportunity. It unfortunately didn’t turn out that way. Despite everyone’s best efforts, including the teaching staff’s, GSpeetz started acting out, was in constant attention seeking mode, etc. It was awesome for everyone (read: it was awesome for no one).
After some soul searching, CSpeetz and I pulled her from the school, and I’m happy to report she’s back to her happy, normal self. This is not to say that her former school wasn’t a great place for other kids, or wouldn’t have been a good fit for even JSpeetz — it just wasn’t the right fit for G. We’ll try another school in the fall, but for now I’m glad I listened to not only to The Mommy Gut, but also to her. It’s easy to forget sometimes that she’s her own person, with her own opinions, voice, and will. I never remember signing the waiver that she’s her own person. It’s nuts. It’s awesome. I’m in trouble when she’s 12.
House = hovel.
Laundry = laughable.
JSpeetz = teething. But only in the middle of the night apparently. Right now, in daylight, she’s a delight. Last night: Gollum.
GSpeetz = Turning 3 this weekend. 3. Get ready for a lot of foraged FROZEN crap.
Outside = potential of 67 degrees.
Me Getting Through The Day:
With a possibility of:
What I need to do:
What’s going to happen:
LINDSAY isn’t going to catch up on itself. Thanks, Mother O.
So part of the fun of being a Mom with wee tykes is that you pretty much spend your day looking like a hobo. This is because a) odds are you don’t get dressed, let alone put on a bra, until you’ve given the equivalent of 2.37 meals to at least two people. These meals also rarely consist of entirely solid foods (what’s up, GoGoSqueez?!). When you finally do find eight seconds to haul it to the bathroom, you’re smart to put on the often (and rightly) made fun of Mommy uniform: the yoga pants. BUT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY YOU WEAR THE YOGA PANTS?! Because today is the day you will most likely get shit on your pants, because most days are the days you will get shit on your pants. And when you have shit on your pants, you want them off your body as quickly as possible.
Welcome to the jungle, my friends.
So right now the Speetz house is going through a double whammy of child biohazard material. To be fair, the main culprit has been/continues to be JSpeetz, who is rounding nine-months. Despite her adorable nature, kind soul and sunny disposition, this girl can not keep a load from reaching her armpits to save her life. It’s like she takes any negative energy she has and literally shits it away. I wonder if the Dalai Lama subscribes to the same philosophy? Anyway, while the washing machine continually runs in this house, it’s mainly teeny tiny loads to clean up the not so teeny tiny loads. It’s magical.
The game changer, however, has been GSpeetz is pretty much potty trained. THIS IS AN AMAZING DEVELOPMENT! As any parent will tell you, getting a kid potty trained is so the worst, and I still can’t believe that any human being, let alone entire civilizations, teach there mini-tyrants to control their bowels. Getting GSpeet potty trained might be my greatest achievement, and I have my Masters Degree. Despite her great progress, there are still accidents. While this is not a big deal at all, it just means that the mini-load-loads have taken over our entire washing cycle, and I’m pretty sure CSpeetz and I have been wearing the same clothes for three weeks. I’m sorry, honey. You look really cute in that Soul Asylum t-shirt from 1993 that you had to pull out from the very back of our closet to be in clean clothes. I love you.
So while on any other day you might see me in my Target best, for the foreseeable future you will be seeing me in slightly questionably worn Target worst. It will most likely involve yoga pants. But whatever. This is just a stage. I’m also buying JSpeetz a rubber suit for containment purposes, just to be safe.
1) teething + baby = cranky baby
2) teething x cranky baby = less sleep for maternal figure
3) teething x cranky baby + baby getting used to getting up every night and demanding cuddles = a lot of less sleep for maternal figure
4) baby + learning to pull up on furniture = baby often in precarious safety positions
5) baby x baby often in precarious safety position = pissed off baby [only when trapped]
6) baby x insatiable need to pull up ÷ maternal figure trying to protect baby from precarious safety position = pissed off baby
7) time spent writing current information down x time spent rescuing baby from precarious safety position = 20 minutes
8) baby’s advancement toward walking x sadness to maternal figure’s soul = 10^infinity-and-beyond
9) baby’s fascination with power outlets x sister’s continual highlighting of power outlets = beer
10) time CSpeetz comes home x sanity = two hours
So GSpeetz is rounding the corner to 3, and holy buckets is it an interesting ride. I have a very real glimpse into her life as a teenager, and we’re just screwed. To boarding school for everyone. Her. Me. The cats. We all have to go. First off, she is way emotional. To those who know me personally (which I’m guessing is everyone because why else would you read this?) it’s pretty much justice served, but my God is it being served. From the moment she awakes to the moment she goes down, it’s a ridiculous roller coaster of emotions: Hi Mama! Let’s go to the park! NO I DON’T WANT TO GO TO THE PARK I WANT TO STAY HERE. Can I have pancakes for breakfast? I WANT TO MAKE THEM AND MIX THE SPECIAL INGREDIENTS. I want to sit on the potty. I DON’T WANT TO GO POTTY. I AM FRUSTRATED. BE CALM BABY JSPEETZ, BE CALM. MAMA!!!!!!
and so on. and so forth.
Meanwhile JSpeetz just motors around on the floor looking for light sockets to put her fingers in, pretty much ignoring her sister except for when G tries to flatten her like a pancake because she “loves” her. Part of me thinks this is just an act so when she finally does vanquish JSpeetz and resumes her role as sole heir (ha!), G can use the insanity defense. I think she’d get away with it.
The one thing that keeps me from gunning it to the Mexican border is witnessing that all of G’s little friends have pretty much morphed into unrecognizable caricatures of themselves. The clingy kids have gotten hella clingy, the loud kids are louder than ever, it’s pretty much a revolt en masse. I almost think we should lock them all in a room together and let them work it out, LORD OF THE FLIES style, but I’m afraid if G went rogue she’d never come back. Not that she’s far off — I should just give her a spear and be done with it.
Maybe she’ll wake up from the nap and be totally chill. I’ve been wrong before. Just in case I’m going to go make a suit of armor out of pots and pans.
So in one of my 18 careers before childbearing, I taught for the Chicago Public Schools. One of the teachery things I did was parent teacher conferences, parent observations, what have you. For the most part, I really enjoyed these interactions. It was great to see where my little peeps came from, and (for better or for worse) gave me a view into my kids back story which would often help me teach better. Since I’m a teacher myself I always thought that when I was on the other side of the table it would be a piece of cake, as I had the luxury of knowing both the teacher and the parents perspective.
It is so odd you guys.
Not in a bad way, mind you. More in a “umm, oh yeah, I am the leading authority on GSpeetz. I forgot about that” kind of a way. So full disclosure: Gspeetz is at pre-school, not Harvard. These are not big league negotiations. I just went once last week to observe how her class works, and went to a parent/teacher night last night (that I really enjoyed). It’s just so funny after being the one always asking the questions about kids to be the one answering them. It’s one of those moments where I expect G’s real Mom and Dad to show up and take the reigns, and then I’m dumbfounded the be like “OH YEAH THAT’S ME.” Does that happen to anyone else? It’s bizarre.
It’s also bizarre to know G’s now off in a world that I’m not a part of. Again, not in a bad way (RIGHT NOW IT IS QUIET IN THIS HOUSE. I HEART IT SO). More in a “this is moving faster than I thought” kind of a way. As all of G’s homies are now 3, with her bringing up the end rather quickly, my little tribes are all starting to go in separate ways. Different pre-schools, different part of the city, different suburbs. It’s all natural, and it all feels good, but it’s still strange. And then it will be projects, and hockey games, and dance recitals, and sleepovers. Maybe at that point I’ll be back asking other people about their kids again. But I’ll always learning on how to be an accidental expert of my own.