Mel-A-Phone

“Mom!”                                  “Mommy?!”

                       “Mom?”

“Mommy?”             “Mooooooooom!” 

Don’t judge me, but last Friday night I looked at Brian and confessed, “I’m ignoring them.” I can’t help it, it’s the end of the week for me, too and I just need a break from the countless, seemingly endless string of questions and requests. I truly feel like we are raising good, smart, solidly kind children but I worry about their need for me to intervene in their lives. Brian and I recently heard John Rosemond speak at our school and he assured us that children today or not in any way genetically different from children 50 years ago. If this is true, my 8-year-old daughter is the same, typical third grader that I was in 1982. Thinking back, I was insanely resourceful, especially when it came to bird-dogging my mother.

Here’s the scenario:

“Bon soir, La Cuisine, may I help you?”

“Yes, hello sir. I need to find one of your customers. There’s an issue at home and I need to speak with her.”

“Oui, Madame. Who can I find for you?”

“Her name is Elaine Forstall. She’s tall and thin with straight shoulder-length blonde hair. Tonight she has on a gold and turquoise peacock print dress, it has a jewel neck and drop waist, three-quarter length ruched sleeves. She’s with her husband, Rick. He has salt-and-pepper hair. He has on a white button down shirt, no tie, and a grey suede sport coat. I think they are dinning with two other couples.”

“Oui Madame. I think I see her. I will get her for you.”

**wait**wait**wait**

“Hello?”

“Mom?”

“Melanie, what’s wrong?”

“When are you coming home?”

I had mad skills. With a phone and white pages in hand, I could make just about anything happen. I had the communication skills at 8 to be a CIA operative and yet sometimes my kids get stumped opening a single serving pack of Sweet Tarts. How is this possible? No one taught me how to do this. My mother never sat me down to discuss the finer points of stalking people. I was driven enough and I just did it.

My parents fondly named my skill the ‘Mel-A-Phone’ knowing that they could never go too far without me finding them. They really were never safe. While I don’t condone the idea of constant invasion of parental privacy, I give my 8-year-old self kudos for having the drive to get shit done.

So what’s my plan? I’ve decided that I am no longer helping. Nope. No more…everyone can tie their own shoes, so please by all means tie them. Everyone can get dressed on their own, I’m not needed. Look for it. No one in my house has a weight lift restriction which means everyone can pick up their own shit and put it where it belongs. I am not needed for this task. If you can’t open an item on your own, the likelihood is that you don’t really need it. I bet you big bucks that if you were dying of hunger you would figure out a way to get that wrapper open. Look again, look harder, and look one more time. You do not need me.

But you do need me.

Come to me for hugs. Come to me for snuggles. Come to me and ask questions about life and tell me about your day. Come to me when you are scared, happy, lonely, or sad. (Not bored, don’t come to me when you are bored. I cannot help bored.) Come to me with excitement or worry. Lay your fears at my feet and I will always wipe your tears. Come to me to laugh. Ask me to play with you. I will love you ultimately forever. Come to me for encouragement. Come to me for a reminder of the beautiful soul you are and how much you are truly loved.

xoxo

Raising Diamonds.

Almost daily I stop and ask myself the same question, “Is it just me?” and I promptly reassure myself and answer, “Of course not, dear. But it doesn’t matter even if so.” Recently, though I can’t help but question why I don’t feel the same way as seemingly so many others. Picture after picture is captioned, “I miss my babies!” or “Time please stop!” or “I wish I could go back!” I see these pictures, and while I love a quick dose of nostalgia, my first response is usually, “Like, how far back are we talking?”

Sure, I have wonderful memories of when my children were babies but I have no interest in going back there. You want to go back to the endless nights of staring at your newborn daughter for hours on end watching the rise and fall of her chest just to know with certainty that she’s still breathing? No thank you, I actually like to spend my nights sleeping. Back to the time when my son would cry in spits and spurts for no apparent reason and nothing I could do seemed to soothe him? Oh yes, please, sign me up for more of that.

I remember in particular one very long day when my son was about four months old and I just could not get him to settle down. We had enjoyed roughly four hours of an eat, sleep, cry cycle and I had just about had it. I decided to take him to the pediatric after hours clinic and with my three-year-old in tow, I had a plan. My mom had recently come for a visit and she left a crisp hundred-dollar bill on my nightstand. (That’s who she is and what she does.) I was frazzled from the day and was not interested in waiting endlessly to see a doctor. I arrived at the clinic with the cash in hand ready and willing to hand it to whoever was in line ahead of me. I was willing to give money to a stranger just so I could quickly get this baby to stop crying. So do I want to be go back to this place and time? Hardly.

I love that my kids are growing up; is that so wrong? I love the people they are becoming. I love to see them navigate through life and ask me thoughtful questions. I love that they are developing opinions and tastes that may or may not align with mine.

I love the fact that my son can tell me that the medicine burns, or that he feels like he might throw up. I love the fact that when she does throw up, my daughter can aim perfectly into the toilet. I love that they can easily explain to the doctor what ails them. Karaoke is a lot more fun now, too.

I am genuinely excited for my daughter’s third grade year. I honestly wasn’t sad when my son started pre k. His excitement was so infectious, how could I possibly be sad? I see how excited they are about the journey before them and I can’t see any other option but going along for the ride. I don’t find it sad to see my kids grow, blossom, and step into their life’s milestones.

That’s just it. Their life. It’s their life, not mine. I guess I can’t hold too tightly to something that’s not mine to begin with. I read a quote recently:

“To raise a child who is comfortable enough to leave you, means you’ve done your job. They are not ours to keep, but to teach how to soar on their own.”

This was a perfectly fine quote and in many ways it spoke to me. But so does Elizabeth Taylor and I’ve never met a diamond I didn’t like:

“I’ve never thought of my jewelry as trophies. I’m here to take care of them and love them, for we are only temporary custodians of beauty.”

Don’t get me wrong, the thought of my kids leaving and going to college in Idaho makes me very sad; but I still wouldn’t discourage their wanderlust. And full disclosure, each night when I kiss them goodnight, I jiggle them gently to hear them breathe. Old habits die hard.

As much as the thought truly sends shivers up my spine, I am their temporary custodian; my job is to prepare them to soar. They are two of the brightest jewels of my life. Brilliant and dazzling, precious and rare. Expensive. Temporarily mine to protect and nurture until they are ready to shine on their own.

#raisingdiamonds

xoxo

 

#LTYM LIVE!

FINALLY!!

The videos from the Listen To Your Mother Baton Rouge show have finally arrived! I couldn’t be prouder of the show and having been a part of it. It was a true honor to share the stage with the other women and I hope to work with the show in some capacity in the future. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience.

I wanted to be sure the link to my closing piece had a permanent home here, on my blog, especially since this is really where it all began. Here, in all its glory is,  I No Want It.

 

XOXO

 

My Answer Will Always Be Yes.

I’m sure, not unlike many new mothers, I was totally unprepared for motherhood. I guess no one can really prepare you for what’s about to happen but I was particularly not at all prepared for the physical and mental exhaustion. There were many days that I was so sleep deprived I could have fallen asleep standing up. Sleep was so very important to me; I’d give up food before sleep. I was also very honest about my position on bed sharing. My position was simply that there would be no bed sharing. I adore my children but I adore them even more when we all can retreat to our own spaces, specially our own beds, at the end of the day.

I was particularly comfortable one night about two years ago, stretched out in my tempur-pedic dream bed with the down comforter covering just about everything except the very top of my head. I was mid-dream when I felt a poke. Startled, I looked up to find my son at my bed side. He leaned in and whispered, “Mommy, can I sleep with you?”

My kids have been historically great sleepers. Truthfully though, early on I had to intervene a bit to get them to become such great sleepers. I read a lot of books, took the parts that worked for us and helped them learn to sleep well. So, I know what the experts have to say about kids getting up in the middle of the night. They are all fairly consistent and give similar guidelines. If your child ever wakes in the middle of the night you should proceed with the following steps:

  1. Under no circumstances do you ever let a child in your bed during the night. If you allow it even once, you might as well hand over the keys to your child and get used to the fact you will now be held under the rule of a toddler. Cheerios and finger paint will dominate your life. (As if it doesn’t already.)
  2. Make no acknowledgement of your child. Do not communicate in any way and especially don’t let them know that you care. Showing concern will only show weakness and they will try to capitalize on that.
  3. Take the child by the hand and walk him or her back to their respective bed. Cover the child and walk quickly back to your own bed.
  4. When the crying child comes running back to you, again, do not communicate in any way with said child, simply carry or drag him or her back to their bed. You might have to throw them in. Now run back to your own bed and cover as quickly as possible in hopes that they will leave you alone and the nightmare has ended.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until dawn. Be aware that you will not be able to drive or operate heavy machinery for at least 4-6 weeks.

As soon as I heard his question, all of this ran through my mind. Is this when I need to walk him back to his bed? Am I opening myself up for trouble if I let him in? We’ve all been sleeping so well! Ordinarily, unless my bed is on fire, I see absolutely no reason to get out of it, especially in the middle of the night. I looked at the clock and it was 1:18am. “Yes,” and I pulled him into my bed where he settled in between my husband and me. After that, we all slept through the night.

It’s been about 600+ nights now and each and every night he comes to my bedside and asks, “Mommy can I sleep with you?” I think it’s so incredibly sweet that he continues to ask. I wonder sometimes if he’s just really polite or understands already that you should take nothing for granted and things can change at any moment. For now, my answer will always be yes. It’s actually sweeter than I could have ever imagined. He snuggles and I snuggle back. I often feel his small hand grab mine during the early morning hours when no one is really awake. Weekend mornings are a dream. Don’t even get me started on holidays. There is something very special about the time we can share like this. I am all too aware that it will end soon. There will eventually be one night where no one will be at my bedside asking if they can sleep with me. My answer will always be yes.

So, I say to my sweet prince, ask me, ask me every night if you need to. Come to my bedside when you are lonely, scared, or simply just miss your mommy. Come to me and ask your question, knowing that no matter what, my answer will always, undoubtedly, be yes.

The Mouse Effect.

I can’t say exactly what time is was but I’m certain it was close to ten o’clock. I was tired. We had walked for close to an hour in a futile attempt to find a place that didn’t turn out to be what we hoped. All of that walking for nothing. It was hot. My kids were growing tired and I simply wanted to get back to my room to shower and sleep. Our bus was late. It seemed like everyone else in the entire park was getting picked up except for us. Where is our bus? Finally it arrived. I drop into a seat next to my mother. I’m holding my tired, sweaty son. It felt like we drove in circles for the first ten minutes. We make another stop and take on what felt like 50 new people. Now I’m sitting, still holding my tired and sweaty child but having to stare and the backside of a stranger. I’m sure this is a very nice and kind gentleman but I don’t relish the idea that I have to stare at his back pockets for the next 25 minutes. My lower back is on fire. All of the walking and carrying, bending and carrying I have done today is wreaking  havoc on my back. To improve matters, not only am I sweating, I am also slipping. I don’t know about you but apparently no one in Florida understands the concept of softening their water for visitors. Hard water coupled with hotel soap makes for one dry girl. The lotion I applied that morning is now causing my sweaty legs to become slippery. The hem of my sun dress is unfortunately folded far up under my thigh with no chance of ever retrieving it which means my sweaty and slippery thighs continue to slide across the seat. The act of keeping my thighs appropriately closed while also holding my tired and sweaty son who has now taken off his shoes and socks is becoming too much to bear. My inner thighs begin to cramp. It’s entirely too much and I cannot stand another single minute. I plop my son onto my mother’s lap and stand up, making my way to the center of the bus. Shaking my arms in the air I scream, “Get me off of this bus! You have driven for 15 minutes in one giant circle! We aren’t going anywhere! I am hot, tired, and hurting all over. Not to mention I have to stare at this man’s rear end and all you can do is drive us in a complete circle! I’m not having a magical day! I’m not having a magical day! I am not having a magical daaaaaaayyyy!!!

***

What happens next is a bit unclear…because of course it’s not true. As much as I wanted to stand up and scream I didn’t. I certainly didn’t want to end up being thrown into Disney jail or worse yet be forced to walk back to my resort. Aside from the tantrum, the situation is completely true. During this long ride home I looked at my mother and asked, “Kind of makes you want to stand up and scream, doesn’t it?” She laughed and agreed knowing it was totally true. We all wanted to stand up and scream. Thinking to myself on that long ride back to our resort it made me wonder, how is it possible that no one ever totally looses it at Disney?

Unless you go to Disney alone by yourself, it is work. If you bring along two kids ages six and (almost) three it’s serious work. Actually it’s more like manual labor. It’s barely even June and it’s hot. You walk, on average, six to eight miles in a day. Several times I was walking carrying my son. Other times, I was pushing both kids in an umbrella stroller made for one. Yes, that’s right, about 80 pounds of children piled into a stroller that should probably max out at about 35 pounds. I was asking a Chicco to do a Bob’s job in the hot sun walking past landscaping that had an odd smell of manure. So it was more like hauling small children through Haiti. Just the shear physicality of the trip, it seems, would make one go mad. At one point I remember wondering how it was possible that my underarm was sore. What about this odd bruise I have on my upper left calf muscle? I have no idea how and why I have these pains. Listen, I’m no athlete but I’m in pretty good shape and yet my body took a beating. Everyone takes a beating and yet no one looses their shit. I’m amazed. I watched this one family make their way into the Magic Kingdom: mom was holding one toddler, dad was pushing a double stroller which one child in it all while he had another child strapped to his chest. Kudos to them. If they are not collapsing at the end of the day I can only assume they are androids expertly disguised as humans.

We are put under, what would normally be oppressive conditions. We are hot, sweaty, dehydrated, and often hungry. We are pushing, carrying, or walking with our children for countless miles (often in the wrong direction) and yet no one seems stressed, panicked, or overly troubled. Let this happen in the mall and see how well things go. I would give it ten minutes before  there was a riot. It’s truly an enigma.

Have you ever been rammed in the Achilles by a hard plastic stroller wheel? It hurts. It’s a pain level similar to stepping on a Lego with bare feet. Somehow, though people get rammed by strollers all of the time and it seems as though they couldn’t care less. Here you are in a huge group of total strangers, often many from different countries speaking a variety of languages. Go ahead and accidentally ram into some guy from Bangladesh and he’s going to say something like, “Not a problem.” or “It’s ok, I’ve been there!” or “I understand, we have kids, too.” It makes zero sense. Give me ten minutes at any given Wal-Mart and I can find a handful of people ready to go fist-a-cufs because someone’s buggy is taking up too much room in the aisle. Does the mouse really have this kind of effect on us? Do we all just turn into the people we should be in our daily lives but aren’t?

My daughter is six and I have been talking with her about what I like to call ‘social movement etiquette.’ This involves things like, always walk to your right, allow passengers on an elevator to get off before barging in, and never, ever stand still at the top or bottom of a moving escalator. Apparently none of this applies in Disney but thankfully no one cares. At one point we were walking back for our mid day break on the right side of the sidewalk located on the right side of the park. It was unreal the mobs of people coming at us. But it’s totally fine – a mob of people will simply and instantly dissect itself to move around you and will instantly regroup once you are passed. Conversations will end mid-sentence and be picked right back up once you are out of the way. No one is upset by this either. It’s like everyone suddenly adopts a new way of scattered conversing as soon as they hop on board the Magical Express.

On that long bus ride home that night I remember thinking that Disney would be a great place to study. It seems like it would be a social scientist’s dream come true. If I ever had to write another dissertation I think I would find a way to study the human behavior at Disney. Why do we become so amenable? Why are we so willing to intentionally put ourselves under such physical and mental stress? As I think back to the trip we just had I think I know why.

It’s because our son is really just that excited to fly high in the air on Dumbo. It’s because our daughter thinks Goofy’s Barnstormer is ‘totally awesome!’ I’m still laughing that my family group of 9 had trouble figuring out how to evenly distribute ourselves into three groups to ride It’s a Small World! We laughed so hard. It’s because my son looked up at me while waiting to drive the race cars and said, “Mom, you my best friend.” It’s because where else can you sit under an umbrella and enjoy ice cream and strawberry pops and reminisce about meeting Minnie and Daisy IN PERSON! It’s watching your niece and nephew genuinely want to push their cousins in the stroller. It’s watching your son’s excitement and joy as he watches the steam train pull into the station. It’s seeing my mother’s joy that she was able to bring us all together for this trip. In short, it’s worth it. At the end of the day, it may be just a waffle but it’s a Mickey Mouse shaped waffle.

So yes, ram me with your stroller. It’s ok. I’ve been there. Walk aimlessly in the wrong direction for miles on end? We have totally done that! Even though I’m tired, I will happily carry my tired son simply because I can. Of course we will get back in line to ride again, because she’s totally worth it. We brought home so much from the trip – Olaf and Elsa t-shirts, stuffed Dumbo, dinosaurs, and freshly cracked geodes. (Little do they know but a Disney steam train and a Doc McStuffins doctors kit is on the way to our house.) I’m thinking, though that it may be a good idea to bring a little something else home with us – the patience, understanding, and willingness to always go the extra mile that somehow magically happens when you hop on board. Good thing I kept my magic band.

Happy Mothering!

Melanie

It Moved…

This holiday season has been nothing short of eventful. I have made several realizations about the holidays in general that I will probably save for another post since what recently happened to our household deserves a post all to itself. While what I have to report to you may make you feel a bit uncomfortable, I think the lessons that I have learned may come in handy to you, although I truly do hope you are spared…

So let’s see, the Monday before Christmas Audrey came home from school and said that her throat was hurting. She has been battling allergies for a few days so before I rushed her to the after hours clinic I continued with Zyrtec and added Tylenol. By late that evening she was running a fever and complaining that her throat was stinging. I knew we would be at the doctor that morning. Brian was out-of-town so of course I let her sleep with me. We were up just about every two hours with chills, coughing, and just plain discomfort. I held her close and tried my best to comfort her through the night. We made it to the doctor that morning and were diagnosed with strep throat and an upper respiratory infection that required breathing treatments.

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You can take one look at her and see just how badly she feels. This contraption had to be administered to her four times a day. She was such a trooper which was a good thing considering what was ahead of us…

Later that afternoon I received a text from William’s teacher indicating that he was unusually fussy when he woke up from his nap. Of course. There is no way I will have only one sick child when Brian is out-of-town. I scooped him up to find his right ear had essentially exploded indicating an ear infection. I would normally just start his ear drops but with Audrey’s respiratory issue I wanted him looked at. There we were, back at the same office the same day. William checked out fine but was put on antibiotics just to be sure. I’m home that afternoon to find my kitchen littered with prescription bags, a brand new nebulizer with about sixteen different parts – masks, tubing, straw-like contraptions that I have no idea their use, Zyrtec, Motrin, and enough pink antibiotic liquid to feed a small family. I can totally do this, just take one task at a time. And don’t forget to breathe…oh, and be very nice and loving to your children. Somehow I managed to get everyone medicated, treated, fed, bathed, and in bed by a reasonable hour. Brian came home and we all crashed for an early night.

The next morning Audrey woke up with a red rash along the back of her neck. She said it itched. I was slightly concerned because she is allergic to Keflex which is a distant cousin to the basic Amoxicillin which she is taking but she’s never had a reaction to it before. For the next two days we watched her rash and I told several people about it. “She’s got this red rash along the back of her neck…along her hairline…behind her ears.” Several family members, two nurses, one doctor, multiple friends and strangely no one made any connection about this red rash along her hairline expect that it could be related to the medication. I interrupted a lunch date with a friend to take a call from the nurse explaining to her about this odd rash that only exists on this one area of her body. How many times did I hear myself say it and still, despite what I consider my relatively keen sense of awareness, made no other consideration expect that my child is inexplicably red and itchy along her hairline?? Finally, Friday morning as my precious, sweet angel of a child sat at the breakfast table scratching her head, Brian made the winning connection. “Melanie, have we checked her for lice?” I was clearly in complete denial at the moment because I answered him without hesitation, “She does not have lice. I just washed her hair (in my tub of course) last night.” To appease him I half heartedly looked at her hair and saw what I wanted to believe was dandruff. “See, those white spots – that’s from the leave-in conditioner. She doesn’t have lice.” Brian pulled her up onto his lap in the sunlight and began to investigate. “It’s moving.” I thought I was going to faint. “What do you mean ‘it’s moving?'” He looked up from her beautiful curly hair. “She has lice, Mel. They are moving.”

Apparently all lice-hell broke loose at that very moment. We had to calmly break the news to her and grasp the idea that we are now under siege. I tried to stay calm but it’s really hard to do when you see these bugs crawling around in your child’s hair. (And falling onto her jammies) You are overwhelmed by disgust and sympathy for your precious innocent child. Keeping my ‘oh my Gods’ to a minimum we broke the news to her and explained what was happening. She did not take it very well at first. What else is there to do while you are waiting for the doctor to call you back? Give her a Christmas present! Of course! To make up for what was going to be a challenging journey, we let her open her aquarium.

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After she settled down I literally whirled into action. As a precautionary measure everyone was getting treated. Brian and I did not have it although I swore I did. Confession – I live with an itchy scalp. I have for years. So you can imagine every itch and scratch I had I just knew it was lice. At one point we were in our backyard and Brian was checking my hair (at my fiftieth request) while I was checking Audrey’s hair. “We look like a bunch of monkeys.” I had to agree with him. Of course I used the medication to treat us but I also knew of a home remedy that I was certainly using. Basically you suffocate the lice and the eggs. I coated our hair with a cream cleanser and covered up with a shower cap. One thing you need to know is that lice can live submerged under water for up to six hours! If you don’t leave the cap on for at least that long it will not work. As a family, we stayed in our shower caps for eight hours. We took a walk in them, played outside in them, and Brian even went to pick up dinner in his! God I’m so lucky to have him! Solidarity was our best support for Audrey! Need I say more?

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While we spent the day pretending to be getting perms, I began the work of de-lousing my home. Another thing you need to know about lice: they cannot jump or fly. The only way lice can move is from hair to hair. Knowing this is helpful to keep you from totally loosing your shit. I know the fear we all have. You cannot help but imagine yourself in bed trying to sleep and you are convinced that the lice are planning their attack on you. You are certain they are using each of their six tiny legs crawling up your bedskirt, traversing over down, linen, and cotton just to plant themselves and three hundred of their tiny eggs into your helpless, unsuspecting scalp. In reality, that’s just not the case. It simply doesn’t work that way.

As a mother, I find comfort in being able to control things, like schedules and laundry. I didn’t think I could control lice, though. Feeling helpless is how things can quickly turn bad. I kept reminding myself that the lice needs my kid’s scalp to live and as long as I limit access then I think we can make some headway. I stripped all of the beds. I remember quickly how much time Audrey had spent in my bed during the week. I shuttered at the thought but remembered what the salesman told us about the tempurpedic material – it is resistant to bed bugs! I rationalized that lice and bed bugs certainly have to be akin, mostly to make myself feel better. If you encounter lice in your home you will be faced with a dilemma. The pharmacist will want you to purchase a spray for all of your soft surfaces like carpet and pillows. Believe me, I bought the stuff and hesitantly sprayed the rug in the hallway. I was horrified at the smell alone! I stood there in Audrey’s doorway and contemplated spraying her carpet with this toxic substance. It’s a pesticide for crapsake! One more thing you need to know about lice: they can only survive on the scalp. If they are not on the scalp, they will only last about 20 hours, then they die. So that’s an easy decision – either spray my child’s carpet with a toxic pesticide that I have no clue what will do to the air quality in my house OR I leave the lice to die in the carpet. My choice? Let the fuckers starve to death. Besides, I knew I was going to vacuum the entire house anyway. Whatever louse is left behind will surely die. I am bigger and smarter than these pests and I will not let them win.

The ultimate key in winning the battle with lice is the dreaded nit-picking. Once you treat the hair, everything dies immediately. In a perfect world that would be the end of the cycle but unfortunately it’s not. Lice in general are clearly concerned with maintaining their species because they will lay about 300 eggs in your child’s hair. If you don’t get the eggs, they will soon hatch and you will be back at it from the beginning. I tried to warn Audrey before our first nit-picking session but clearly neither one of use knew exactly the enormity of the task ahead of us. I realized that my child has about three million hairs on her head and I have to inspect every single one of them. The first night of nit-picking lasted about three hours. She cried herself asleep on Brian’s lap. I was a total horror but my motivation was to eradicate this pest. My child’s tears were not going to deter me! I used a headlamp which I highly recommend and scissors. Even with the metal comb, pulling each one of those things out can be torturous for a child so I just said the hell with it – I’m cutting those suckers out! I was able to isolate each strand with a nit and snip it off at the base. Once into a rhythm things clipped along. Literally. I fully admit to being a bit frazzled during the next few days. I showered, but wore the same clothes. No time to fix my own hair, really. I may have looked like a mad woman but I was really just a woman on a mission. Don’t mess with this mother.

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We soon got the hang of it and after four nights we were basically done. One thing to keep in mind when nit-picking: Start with a different section of hair each session. You will ultimately tire and your vision will dull. You don’t want to slack in the same spot each time. Does that make sense? I am delighted to report that we were under control in less than a week. We went back to the doctor six days later and she basically declared her lice free! My advice to my friends is to stay clam, get a plan, and don’t listen to other people’s horror stories. Everyone wants to tell you about their cousin who had it in their house for six weeks. That does not have to be your reality!

Speaking of reality, when kids are little they often do what they know. Audrey’s experiences the week before Christmas certainly shaped the way she interacted with the white pony that Santa brought her:

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Oh what fun…

Happy Mothering!

Melanie

This Is My Life…

One afternoon recently Brian was with me while I watched a recorded episode of a housewife reality show. He asked me if the show made me feel bad since we don’t live such a wealthy life. The truth is, I’m not envious of these women at all. Sure, having a housekeeper would be a total score but I’ve lived this long without one, I think I will make it just fine. In some ways, watching this televised train wreck  makes me feel slightly good about myself. I am positively certain that if I did have that kind of wealth I would not dress that way, act that way, or wear my hair that way. I do believe I would leave my lips the way God made them. Anyway, this one episode featured one of the women getting engaged. It was completely built up and you knew for all ratings sake that the guy was going to pop the question but I was still excited for her. Not sure why since this would make her third marriage and she already has four children, but I was committed to the excitement of this life-changing event! (Or maybe I just fell for good editing.)

Later that evening we were on the way to dinner, kids in the back when I looked at Brian and asked, “So this is it, huh?” I admire him for his uncanny ability to read my mind because he knew exactly what I was talking about. “I mean, those exciting things are kind of, over.” He knew exactly what I meant. We are married, committed for the long haul so there won’t be any surprise engagements in our future anytime soon. The days of waking up at 4am to take a pregnancy test, shaking with excitement, well, they are over, too. We won’t have another day when we hear our child’s heartbeat for the first time or the joy and excitement of hearing “That’s a boy alright!” from an ultrasound tech whom we barely know. We have shifted from sex on the beach to sex in the bedroom closet. Literally. Dinner for two usually includes me at the table with my Sweet Pickle while Brian walks the Little Prince (who happens to have really big opinions) anywhere in the restaurant outside of a ten-foot radius of our table. This is our life.

The truth is, this is the time where we simply keep the train moving forward. Milestones still occur, sure but for the vast majority of time life is rather calm, or as others would put it, routine. Some mornings when my mother calls to check in I feel bad that she spent the dime considering there is literally nothing to report. It’s during these days of lackluster life, I feel the whisper of thanks and enjoy the time we are spending as a family as I know this time is short-lived.

In the midst of the mundane, however there are glimmers of excitement and wonder. These small pearls of life pop up in the form of my baby boy’s belly laugh or my daughter’s declaration of her love for me. First steps, first words, first day of preschool… We find happiness and peace in these quiet moments of life and do our best to pay attention. In the hustle and bustle of life it’s so easy to miss the wonderful glimmers of delight and joy found only in the most mundane of lives. Our life.

Happy Mothering,

Melanie