the happenings of a not-so-happening-no-idea-what-i'm-doing-mom/former-fake-hipster
I wanna take a minute or two, and give much respect due
To the man that’s made a difference in my world
~Salt N’ Pepa
So a guy I don’t talk about here that much is the one and only CSpeetz, husband extraordinaire. He is awesome. We met 7.5 years ago, which is nuts, because on the one hand it seems like yesterday and on the other its like he’s always been around. We could have met as soon as I graduated college in 2003, as we lived two blocks from each other and I used to wave to his cat Millie when she sat on his apartment’s balcony, but fate had us wait it out a bit. When we finally did it was like “oh, there you are! I’ve been waiting for you! Let’s go bowling!” And that was that.
In the six years/three residences/two kids since we’ve been married we’ve had some interesting times, mostly fun, and we’re still learning how to navigate each others quirks. For example, Chris knows I hate emptying the dishwasher. I don’t know why — it’s just my number one nemesis household chore. He does it most of the time, which is amazing. There is something truly joyous when I see that I don’t have to empty the dishwasher. I all but throw a party. He’s also great at making Football Sunday food. I never knew how much of my life was missing until I tried his taco cheese dip. Mmm… cheesy (just like this post!). He’s really, really funny. His jokes are so out of the blue they can catch me off guard and I let out my ROSEANNE BARR laugh. He’s the world’s most kickass Dad, and the girls are beyond lucky to have him. Me too.
I could go on more about how great CSpeetz is, but I’m pretty sure I’ve embarrassed him enough. I just wanted to take a second from the snark to let all five people on the interwebs who read this know I’m a pretty lucky girl.
There’s something I don’t understand about evolution. Well, many things, like how this is possible, but let’s focus on matters closer to home. JSpeetz is 14 months and is getting three out of four of her molars simultaneously. For those of you who don’t have kids, I’m sure this admission is just “ehh… and?” For those of you with kids, you understand that we’re dealing with an all hands on deck situation. Let me break it down for you:
1) Teething is when babies get teeth so they can eat food. This happens starting around four months and lasts until they’re two-ish (and yes, I can hear you say “duh”). This is a good thing, in theory — they can start feeding themselves, they’re that much more independent, you get to start picking 10,000 Cheerios off your floor each day. It’s a gas.
2) Here’s the thing I never thought about until I had kids who are getting the aforementioned teeth: teeth are bones popping ever so slowly through soft tissue, repeatedly, for over a year. Let me repeat that — teeth are BONES POPPING EVER SO SLOWLY THROUGH SOFT TISSUE. Holy Crap. Imagine if bones just started slowly growing out of your wrist and there was nothing you could do about it. That’s a horror show.
3) Kids can’t speak yet during this lovely process, so they can’t tell you “HEY I’VE GOT A KILLER HEADACHE BECAUSE OF THE BONES ESCAPING MY SKULL CAN YOU PLEASE GET ME AN ADVIL OR PERHAPS A HAMMER?” This problem is a good thing at the end of the day because God knows the profanity coming out of their mouths, but its still awful because you can’t be sure if they’re in pain because of their teeth or something else, like an ear infection or because they see dead people.
4) Medicating a teething kid is near impossible. For reasons that I’m sure are valid and important, pediatricians/pharmacists/shamans/etc. don’t give you many options in helping your kid deal with their teething pain. You can give them a little kids Advil (which at least gives you dosage for kids under 24 lbs), try to give them Infant Tylenol (which doesn’t, which is ironic because I don’t know a single infant over 25 lbs), you can try Orajel but then your pediatrician will yell at you (at least mine did), or you can try the homeopathic stuff, which helps 0% 100% of the time. Not that I want to give my kid a shot of tequila and say, “this will cure what ails ya,” but we’re not exactly left with a lot of alternatives. My friends who grew up overseas constantly lament how conservative the US MDs are in pain medication for kids, and I have to agree they’re on to something. Because again, guys. Bones. Soft tissue. Really? A frozen ring ain’t gonna cut it.
5) Teething is gross. Doctors are at odds if this is true, but I’ve never had a kid who’s nose isn’t a snot bucket the entire time they’re teething. I’m not a scientist (obviously) but I’m going to go with this is a truism. In addition to needing to buy stock in Boogie Wipes, if your child is teething get ready for everything you own to be covered in baby drool slime. Another fun plus that nobody talks about is that when your kid’s tooth finally pops through, there will be blood. Forget setting up a Halloween display on your front yard, just stick your baby’s crib outside so the local kids can see all the bloody teeth marks all over the railings. That mixed with coming face to face with a toddler who hasn’t slept in a week — you’ll have them running away from a house screaming in no time.
Short story long: teething sucks. It is a truly mean thing that nature makes babies go through, and by proxy the adults
that are charged in keeping them alive who love them. While the idea of a baby coming forth from my person with a full set of death isn’t ideal either, I almost wonder if it would be a better alternative.
Ok, maybe not.
With that, I think we all could use a drink.
GSpeetz is 3-years-old, rocking pre-school, rockin’ the suburbs. The move has been great for her — while she still very much misses her city homies, she’s been able to make new friends here, too. We’ve landed in a great community that I think will be a great place for her and JSpeetz to grow up.
Despite adjusting well to new surroundings, however, has not stopped G from evolving into a diabolical genius.
Case in point:
Last week my brother Brian was in town, with his girlfriend, Lydia. G basically fell in love with both of them and kept following them around with adoption papers. I had no idea she knew what a “notary” was, but she kept saying her attorney needed the papers notarized if she was going to be able to go back with them to DC when they left. While they never made it to finalizing her adoption, G did learn a very important skill. One that she figured out entirely on her own, at the age of three. Ladies and gentlemen: she faked being sick to get sent home early from preschool.
The morning the offense occurred G mentioned that she didn’t want to go to school, but rather she would like to stay and play with Brian and Lydia. Explaining that it wasn’t possible (and that school is only two and half hours long), a healthy G went to school. Brian, Lydia and JSpeetz continued our morning, took JSpeetz to baby music class and was ready to go pick up G from school when Brian looked at his phone.
"Uhh… got a text from CSpeetz. G is sick and needs to be picked up."
Cut to me panicking, because J’s music class is the only 45 minutes all week I don’t have my stupid cell phone on. I call school — since they couldn’t reach me, C has already come home and gotten her.
I’m now flooring it home, as I’m convinced G has Ebola or something, and it must have come on really fast, as I just saw her less than 120 minutes prior and she was great, and that I’m a terrible mother for not being able to pick her up.
We burst through the front doors of our house to find G sitting there and smiling: “hi guys! Want to play with me?” She is the god damned picture of health. Confused, I ask CSpeetz what’s going on.
"Her teacher said that G said her stomach hurt and she would play for a minute, then cry, then play, then cry again. They had to send her home."
Now we’ve all pulled an “Elliot from ET” a time or two, but I was really hoping to avoid all this until at least the first grade. While it’s great to have a kid who problem solves, would it kill her to use her powers for good instead of evil? What’s next? I come into her room to find her making a rope ladder out of her curtains because she wants to play outside? Selling her sister on Ebay? Nothing’s out of bounds.
As for G’s punishment, she didn’t get to play with her friends that day since she was sick enough to come home from school, and we’ve had a lot of “girl who cries wolf” conversation. I’m really hoping this is a blip, and not a trend. Something tells me I’m wrong though.
For the three of you who read this blog, I am happy to announce that I’M BACK, YOU GUYS. For the three of you waiting on bated breath to find out where I’ve been, I’m happy to dispel some rumors.
Rumor #1: My favorite rumor (which Funs actually said and brightened my day): did you get a book deal and can’t tell us about it until 10/1?
A: Of course not. But IMAGINE IF I IDID!! IT WOULD BE FANTASTIC. I’M SURE I’D MAKE AS MUCH MONEY AS J.K. ROWLING. BECAUSE ALL WRITERS MAKE THAT MUCH. RIGHT GUYS? RIGHT?
Rumor #2: GSpeetz hstarted a ritualistic cult worshiping the high priestess DORA THE EXPLORER and I had been taken hostage. October 1st was my negotiated release date.
A: While not terribly far off the mark, it’s not why I went MIA.
Rumor #3: I got knocked up again.
A: No. If that were to occur, it would involve a lawsuit.
And now the big reveal: we moved to the suburbs.
I know. Kind of a let down, huh?
For those of you who know me in real life, this is a big deal as I was one of those flag waving “I will go to the suburbs over my dead body. My kids will be city kids, and they will be cool, and they will ride trains everywhere, and they will be baby hipsters and will have friends who’s parents are artists and when they go to college they will say they’re a city kid the end” people.
But, much like everything in my life, I am a whole lot of hot air and at the end of it all it was a move that was really best for my family. We’ve been out here for a little over two months, and yesterday we closed on our city condo (I went off the grid mainly because I’m afraid of jinxing things, and I was paranoid that if I was all “HEY WERE SELLING OUR PLACE INTERWEBS” we never would be able to. Logical? Or course not, but where’s the fun in that?). The city chapter of our life is truly over (for now, anyway) and now we march to the beat of a new drum. The Volvo Station wagon drum. Which I now own as well.
SOMEWHERE MY 20-YEAR-OLD-SELF IS DYING.
Don’t worry, the snark will be back in about 19 seconds. We can’t let the fact that I’m officially a suburban housewife come to light without me finding some major ass things to rail against. Because, mother of God, I am a legitimate suburban housewife.
Fun Upcoming Adventures For Your Reading Pleasure:
- what to do when your 3-year-old learns how to lie to come home from pre-school
- should I be concerned that my toddler’s teething makes her look like Hannibal Lector?
- is parenthood just a gateway to socially acceptable functioning alcoholism?
AND MANY MORE! Welcome back, kids.
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.