The Playdate Diaries

Trying to stay sane in my 2-kid world…

“Mother” – The 8th Wonder of the World October 3, 2007

First of all, SHHHHHHHHHHHH… I’m hiding from the kids and husband right now – don’t you dare tell them where I am!

…so tell me, do you have kids? Do you enjoy the self-mutilation as much as I do? Sometimes I wonder what happened to me. Was I somehow demoted for bad behaviour? Why does my new title of “mom” all of a sudden come with no pay, over-extended work hours, manual labor, and an almost endless supply of cleaning products? I feel like a mix between a janitor and ‘that crazy bag lady’. Ok, leaning more towards the crazy bag lady, but whatever…

I wonder… am I a bad mother for letting my nearly 3-months old “cry it out” while I sneak into the bathroom for a 2-minute personal potty break and cold-water splash all over my face? Why do both my sons always notice I’m either about to change or feed the other son and take that as cue to start crying bloody-murder? And you know the cry I’m referring to. The one they’d probably do if you accidentally left them on top of your car and were about to enter a 100-mile per hour freeway. 

So anyway, I always feel like if I’m pleasing one of my kids, the other one is either crying or potentially at risk of killing himself because he’s alone and unattended. Does anyone else feel this way? Is it officially time to call social services on me?

For the past two days I’ve been in stay-at-home-mom HELL. Who knew an almost 3-foot tall toddler and a baby the size of a large sack of potatoes could leave me feeling like if I’ve just been beat up – and then run over by a bus. By the time 5pm comes around, I’m ready to curl up into a fetal position, stick my thumb in my mouth, and start rocking back and forth like a lunatic. Incoherent mumbling and spaced-out stare included.

Sometimes I wonder if I should just ‘order in’ a babysitter for the day… and then reality hits and I can imagine one of my two sons tied up to a chair with duct tape or something when I get home. I wouldn’t blame the sitter… I’d praise her for being so smart. How come I didn’t think of that? And is there any more duct tape left or do I have to run out to walmart real quick? But seriously. I don’t know if I can trust just any ol’ babysitter. From personal experience, I know for a fact you have to be in at least a runner’s physical condition in order to take care of a kid. It’s true… forget the babysitter training and personal references, you put down that you’re a runner by profession and I’ll hire ya’. I mean, who else will be better able to chase down my kids in a moment’s notice right?

So yea, I kid you not, staying at home and taking care of these two lil’ men every single day is serious business. I feel like I’ve been selected for the next casting of ‘survivor’, only I’m the only one who’s actually playing. Vote me off, vote me off, OMG, will someone vote me off please?

And another thing… does this “job” come with a clause that says I am, in fact, allowed to turn on the tv and/or vcr without having to officially watch my son’s favorite movie, ‘Disney Cars’, for the billionth time that day? I mean, I’m past the point of annoyance. I’ve actually started to enjoy watching this movie over and over again with my toddler. I’ve begun to ponder the mysteries of life by watching this movie. I mean, seriously, does McQueen notice he would have won the Piston Cup had he gone into the pit for tires during the movie intro? Why doesn’t Mack notice when he loses McQueen? How do ‘Cars’ make babies? Did any other parent notice the bad language from ‘Peterbilt’ – and the little “cute” poem from McQueen’s sponsors? (Winter is a grand ol’ time. Of this there are no ‘if’s’ or ‘buts’ – but remember – all that salt & grime can rust your bolts & freeze your —) What about the “my brother’s always lit” innuendo? Why is it that during half the movie, you can see reflections off windshields, but throughout the other half, you can’t? Why do ‘Cars’ have tongues? How do they hold items if they only have tires as hands? What is the actual ending… and how come I always miss it no matter how many times I play the movie? And for God’s sake, WHY does that darn minivan have a mattress on top if ‘Cars’ don’t sleep on mattresses? Is that some sort of movie-error I’ve uncovered?

So yea, mothers are the 8th Wonder of the World… I mean, who else can do all this stuff and not lose their mind to mush? Sometimes I’m so incoherent that other people look at me like I’m either ditzy or officially nuts. The simple truth is that there are a billion thoughts running through my mind at any given moment of the day and you just think I have ADD since my attention span is that of a peanut.

Did I turn off the stove? Did I feed the dogs? Where are my red earrings? Where’s that darn pacifier? Do I have an appointment tommorrow or is it next week? Did I pay the light bill? What size is baby #2 again? Does my husband work tommorrow? Am I forgetting something? Buy milk – write that down or you’ll forget… *blank stare* What did this person in front of me just ask me? Do I know this person? Oh, it’s Sally from the playdate group. Hi Sally… or did I already say hi? What was the question again? Where did I leave my child?

*sigh* …a mother’s job is never done… there’s my toddler pounding at the door. I guess it’s time to come out from hiding… *whispers* …if I’m not back in two days or less, call the cops…

 

The “In-Between” Days September 30, 2007

Want to know what I do in between all those playdate days? Not much really. I run after my 2 year old toddler half the time (you try carrying a 15.5lb 2-month old with one arm while feeding him a bottle with the other, all the while chasing an “angelic” 2 year old – at a jogger’s pace). The other half the time, the baby’s asleep and I’m crashed on the couch watching my 2 year toddler running amuck throughout the house. My theory is that if the object he’s playing with won’t make a mess I have to clean up (eventually) – or kill him – then we’re both happy. So what if he runs rampant with DVDs? So what if he spills those two sips of water somewhere? I have to pick my battles carefully.

I have made it a habit to teach him his “letter of the day” during lunch-time when he’s actually sitting down at the table and paying attention to me. Then we go over different terms such as ‘pool’, ‘table’, ‘fan’, ‘cup’, ‘bowl’… all the stuff that’s nearby which he can see from his seat. Then he starts a conversation which only he can understand – jokes and bousts of laughter included. I play along and ask him how his day has gone so far… what he did yesterday… what stuff he’s going to tell daddy when he gets home… about the movie we just finished watching… all the usual stuff. *sigh* What a peaceful bonding moment between mother and child…

Then the worst happens. This can only be described as ‘that part in the movie where everything starts to go terribly wrong’. The rest of the movie goes downhill from there, until the plot is so thick with suspense, action, and drama, that you’re about to throw yourself out of your seat with anticipation of ‘the next move’. Will Billy draw his gun first? …or will Mark make the move quicker and kill Billy? Who will be standing when the gunsmoke clears? I’ll tell you who – and it’s definitely NOT me.

Of course, the plot thickens when my toddler decides he’s had enough lunch and throws it on the floor on purpose. Flying bowl and cup quickly ensue. I grab the paper towel I had previously fetched in anticipation of this moment and place it on the floor over the mess. “No! We don’t throw things on the floor. We say ‘I don’t want anymore’ and leave the table. If you’re going to throw things, you’re also going to clean them up”. Of course, he only hears the “No!” part and starts bawling, throwing a huge, over-dramatized tantrum like if someone were trying to torture all the secrets out of him. My little actor starts yelling for his grandparents, his father, the dog, the neighbor – whoever will come to his rescue and allow him to escape mommies wrath – and the ‘clean-up’ duty.

From there everything goes downhill – by the time 5pm comes around I’m ready to scream and start calling my husband every 5 minutes to see how much longer he’s going to be…

I’m like the morning-coffee drinker who must get their dosage of caffeine before turning into a coherent, functioning human-being… except my fix is a nice, long shower. It’s scary to think that I have to wait all day to get my ‘fix’. After this  point, I’m usually re-energized and can finish the current day, as well as start the next one like a properly functioning, well-oiled machine.

Onto round two! Victor: 5,346 and Mommy: 0 (When exactly does my turn to win the battle start?)

 

Playdate #5: The Birthday Party September 29, 2007

Why is it that as soon as you’re having fun, your kids start to go NUTS and do stuff they’ve never done before in their entire little lives? I’m talkin’ tantrums, hissy fits, crying, shouting, screaming, kicking, biting – whatever their favorite is at the moment and gets your (and everyone else’s) un-divided attention.

We were invited to a birthday party from one of the playdate mommies. Promises of hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, drinks, cake, live music, toys / friends to play with, and plenty of adult interaction were made. Plus a “surprise”. I’m thinking, what a sweet deal! We can’t possibly miss this!

So we get there at the listed start time of 10:30am (me on my quest to not be late ever again) only to find out they had pushed it back an hour. My tremendous luck begins. Dim the lights, grab the popcorn, and cue the curtains please, the shows about to begin…

So anyway, I’m hanging out, mingling with the teens who are there decorating and what-not, and Victor will just not stop trying to climb on me or hide behind my leg. He’s like, instantly scared of everything and everybody. Now mind you, these were actually nice people! Nothing at all like those scary few you find every now and then. You know, those down-right creepy folk who look like they’ve either just escaped from a mental hospital or need to be put into one. And why do they always have that damn crazy laugh down?! So, back to my point… what amazes me the most is that my son will warm up to the creepy person faster than he will with the nice person. My son shares pleasantries with the loonies? WTF?! Meanwhile, since these are actually nice, decent people, I’m basically screwed. *Victor, enter stage-right! Cue the tantrum please!*

So I manage to stay there until about 11:30am (the newly scheduled start time), when everyone actually starts to arrive. I’m having “fun”, trying to mingle and talking to the other playgroup mommies (who arrived at the right time – go figure!), and Victor keeps whining and complaining. By 11:40am, he’s ultra-fussy and trying to get me to pick him up. Seriously, if I had wanted to wear him for the party, I would have at least thrown on a matching shirt to his or something… 

Well, I decide to cut our party-venture short after the crying and shouting starts, and I say goodbye to everyone. I swear the kid started to laugh it all up as soon as I closed their front door behind us. I look at his face and see the biggest smile in the world – giggles included.

Fast forward about 10 minutes. Where am I? At the Mickey D’s drive-thru. I’m suddenly hearing cascades of laughter, cheering, and kisses being thrown from the back seat. Was this part of his evil plot to leave the party? Did he see the Mickey D’s on our way there? And why is there always a Mickey D’s around every street corner – no matter where you are in the world? When I think about the fact that I had woken up at 6am this morning and skipped on breakfast because we were going to be FED at this party – delicious food good enough to skip breakfast for – I want to throw a fit myself! Who can I climb onto? (…don’t answer that…)

Now… MY theory is that my son was persuaded by my husband to act up only during the time we were at the party. Not a minute before or a minute after. Hm. Is that why my husband offered to stay home with the baby? Did he know it was all going down like that and want to save face from any possible embarassment of his own? What an evil, evil man…

But not to worry! We’re even now. I went to walmart and spent an average $70 above the “budget” he was so kind to give me for today. Ha! ME with a budget limit? I beg to differ… *smirk – wink*

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Playdate #4: The OVERSIZED Park September 28, 2007

Ok seriously. Do the people who plan these parks even have kids? This park had more escape routes for our kids than the actual number of kids we had there! …ok, so I’m exaggerating, but come on! Sometimes I wonder if I’m being filmed on some hidden camera show (and I used to LOVE reality tv… tsk tsk) where the sick, twisted host is plotting and laughing how to make the mom’s life more miserable.

“Ha! Mom #5’s kid has just found the hole we cut in the fence. Let’s see how long it takes her to figure out her child has gone AWOL. Meanwhile, let’s zoom back into Mom #3’s little girl Theresa to see if she’s still playing in the fire-ant pile by the sandbox…”

I’ve come to the realization that playdates are a sick, sadistic joke on unsuspecting parents. Where else do you go to ‘meet other moms and make new friends’ when all you end up doing is chasing after your – and sadly – someone else’s kid? I’ve never believed in those ‘kid leashes’ but they’re becoming more and more appealing… I wonder if I can get them to match my wardrobe?

OMG, and speaking of wardrobe… WHEN does the t-shirt wearing and flip-flops start? I try so hard to dress cute (as cute as a 65lbs overweight mom can dress) and end up with the same ‘outfit’ protocol each time I step out the door. Here’s my mental checklist:

1. Let hair dry on the way to playdate so it will be dry and bouncy by the time we get there.

REALITY CHECK: upon arriving at the pladate, end up fumbling through the diaper bag, my purse, and possibly the glove compartment and under the passenger seat for a hair tie. …where the hell does it go?

2. Wear a top that covers my breasts so I can bend down to pick up Victor and play with him without falling out of my top.

REALITY CHECK: …how the hell do my boobs end up hanging out of a turtle neck? hm.

3. Take water, preferably already ice-cold, snacks, and extra change of clothes for the kids “just in case”.

REALITY CHECK: Oh shit – I forgot the water… um, is this clothes dirty from the last playdate? What’s it still doin’ in here? WHERE is the snack cup? Did it fall under the car seat when we swerved off the road as I was getting the toy VIctor threw… again?

4. Bathe both kids and get them dressed all cute in color-matching clothes, shoes, and accessories.

REALITY CHECK: Is this shirt clean? Great, his pants are all wrinkled! Victor, WHERE are your shoes?! *go to throw out a  diaper and find them in the trash can after searching the whole house and officially ‘giving up’.* Well, I guess I can bathe them after the playdate… they’re going to sweat anyway…

5. Feed both kids so they won’t be as hungry at the playdate and we dont’ have to end up buying something extra.

REALITY CHECK: Whoever invented the ‘drive-thru’ is a God-send! It must of been a woman who was running late with the kids…

6. And speaking of late… head out early so we won’t be late getting to the playdate.

REALITY CHECK: …oh hey guys! Sorry I’m 45 minutes late!

oh the sweet torture of it all… but you know something? I still wouldn’t trade all of this craziness with my chunkie monkeys for anything else out there…

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Requested: “Mom’s Weekend Out…” September 26, 2007

Today the playgroup had an MNO. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a Mom’s Night Out. Yes, I know, most of you won’t know what even those words mean. At least not until your child is old enough not to burn the house down or get into any other trouble when left alone. What age is that… when they move out of your house?

I didn’t go of course. It was too expensive for me tonight. I could spend a whole day at Disney (by myself mind you) for the price of one plate at that place… anyway, don’t mind me, I’m just jealous because I wish I could dish out the money that easily. Not that I’d feel guilty spending it… but I wouldn’t have that money for the other important stuff. You know… gas, bills, diapers, and the second pair of brand new $30 boots I bought off eBay.

Anyway, talk about being tired, overworked, and never paid. My daily “job” shift is usually, oh, I’d say 7am to 12midnite, with the usual (& expected) 2-4 times of night duty thrown into the blender and pureed into a crazy concoction called my life.

I have never felt so abused in my life. I have bruises in places I didn’t even know I could bruise. (Thanks to the toddler standing on my back as I type… LITERALLY).

To top off my day, my “lovely” mother-in-law is a certified NUT CASE and my husband is apparently the only child out of three who can ever go be with her. I mean, she only had three children, raised them, paid for all their clothes, food, education, kept them out of harm’s way (for the most part)… is now currently funding my brother-in-law’s drug addiction and my sister-in-law’s ‘open-legs’ policy, but why should they take time out of their busy schedules to be with her right? I’m just a selfish, raving lunatic I guess… why would I get mad at my husband for visiting the only mother he has who won’t even give him money for a gallon of milk? Shame on me.

I’m in PAIN and PISSED. But not to worry because Super Mommy will have revenge!

Can anyone repeat after me and say “Moms Weekend Out”?

 

Playdate #3: The Puppet Show

Filed under: today's playdate — L.Gonzalez @ 10:47 am
Tags: , , , ,

This happened yesterday. It was officially our 2nd playdate but who’s counting right? (Did I mention I wrote in the wrong date on my calendar and showed up the day before that too? You can imagine my surprise when the girl at the counter had NO clue why I was there…)

I took the husband with me. And thank God I did! The venue was awesome. The price was really good too. We even got a discounted group rate. WOO HOO! The only gripe I had was that my toddler wanted to leave because he had seen ‘car’ toys on his way into the theater. How annoying. I don’t like to take them both with me to the mall by myself. Obviously because I’d end up like I have in the past – chasing down a toddler with a 15.5lbs baby flailing in my arms and my shirt riding up to show the world my beautiful fat. No thank you.

We got to see the Wizard of Oz. The kids were too cute, dancing around to the music and clapping along. Some got scared of the ugly, evil witch and I “awwwww’d” to that fact. The best part of these playdates of course is the fast-food. Ha ha ha… no seriously, it is. I get to excuse myself from any diet for the sake of my kids being able to eat after some serious playing. One of the perks of playdates I guess.

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Playdate #2: The Park

Filed under: today's playdate — L.Gonzalez @ 10:28 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

This playdate is from last week. Now that was a lot of fun! This was officially my first outing out with the kids by myself, and I have to admit I had been psyching myself out for nothing.

I packed the diaper bag the night before so there wouuld be a minimal chance of me getting there late. I even google-mapped and printed the directions the night before too.

Now my toddler usually sleeps until 9a, so you can imagine my surprise when he comes strolling into my bedroom at 7am. I figured it was a “sign” and got up to make him breakfast. You can’t beat oatmeal as a good morning meal!

Got them both showered and dressed, loaded them both into the car, and we were off.

Wow. Did I bring the kids with me? *look at the back seat* Yep… they’re there. I was shocked, thrilled, excited – AMAZED – that they were both calm, quiet, and collected. I blame my husband for their crying all the other times we’ve gone out. I mean, he must not have given the baby enough milk before loading him into the car or something! And believe me, I’ve tried this newfound technique various times now and it actually works. What a phenomenon… you feed your child enough to satisfy him and he’ll stay quiet throughout the whole car ride – to AND from even!

So anyway, I was the first at the playdate – a park this time. I was afraid Victor wouldn’t want to play if he saw a bunch of kids hanging out in there, but by being the first one’s there – he had the park to himself and instantly wanted to play.

I must say, I’m so proud of my little man for the independence he showed. He did hog someone else’s ball, but then he opened up and started to share. Can’t blame him, it’s his first time at a park with other kids like that. And he’s only 2 years old…

I even got a treat when I got home and he had dozed off in the back seat. He NEVER naps throughout the day. It must of been about 1:15pm or so. THANK YOU playdate! …and thanks for the help my friend gave me by loading Victor into the car.

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