A Letter To A Dog, by my 4th Grader

Today I cried, twice.

But, these weren’t my usual  tears of utter exhaustion, frustration or disappointment in my parenting.

I had hit that afternoon wall at the corner of I’m-Over-It and Is-It-Bedtime-Yet? Baby was in the highchair watching Dora, 4 year-old was playing video games and 9 year-old was drawing,  so I  was checked out.  As I scrolled through my Facebook news feed I came across a post from an animal rescue group I follow.  There was a picture of a completely emaciated Mastiff and his sad eyes touched my heart.  Among many needs, what jumped out at me was that he would need heart worm treatment.  A little background – before I had kids I was very involved in animal rescue and took in two gorgeous,  6-year-old Weimeraners. Their owner had bred them, made money off the puppies and apparently didn’t find it important to put a single cent toward heart worm prevention.  I poured every ounce of myself into their recovery.  It was emotionally draining and expensive.  This was before the days of social media so the only fundraising I thought to do back then was yard sales with proceeds going toward their vet bills. Long story short, they lived to be 11 years old, they were my special gentle giants and stories of dogs suffering from heart worms are very personal to me.

I clicked on the donate link and must have sighed or something because my 9 year-old daughter asked what was wrong.  I showed her the picture of this mastiff, Winston.  I read his story out loud and saw the sadness hit her eyes.  “I want to donate my allowance to him,” she said. She handed me all of the stars from her chore chart and told me to give the money to Winston.  This, from the kid who earlier in the day was asking when I’d take her to Target to spend her money before it burned a hole in her pocket. On payday she always NEEDS to get more play makeup or the 37th ‘different’ mechanical pencil. But today, she had another plan for her money.

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Ok, so this isn’t when I cried.

Later in the day there was an update on Winston, he was in a foster home now and even wagging his tail. We were so happy to hear the news.  She started to write him a letter.  Yes, she wrote a letter to a dog – this is what it said:

Dear Winston,
When my mom told me your story I felt heart-touched. I thought you needed that money more than I do.  You worked so much harder than I did.  You worked by surviving.  I have fostered a dog.  We adopted him.  Right now we’re fostering another dog and trying to adopt her.  Also, I hope someone adopts you soon.  I hate to hear that a dog like you, so sweet, nice and kind is in such a bad place like that and to be starved! To hear that, made me want to help you.  Here are some things about me. I’m 9, my name is Bella and I LOVE DOGS. I have a question for you, how old are you?
Love,
Bella

Insert tears here.

I question my parenting on a daily hourly basis. A majority of what I write is focused on the chaotic and disgusting aspects of our family life.  This afternoon though, I finally got some of the pay off I’ve been needing.  I was validated.  I was rewarded.  I was proud.

I can’t take full credit though.  Her father and I are divorced and she spends plenty of time with each of us. I like to believe that it’s our combined influences and ability to co-parent that are helping her grow into this compassionate and thoughtful person.  She spends a lot of time with my mom (AKA her favorite person in the world).  She has a great relationship with my husband, her stepfather.  And she has full faith in God.

Later that evening I heard her reading her letter to her step dad. I cried again.

 

Winston, photo from A Way for a Stray Facebook Page

Winston, photo from A Way for a Stray Facebook Page

 

To read some of Winston’s Story from the rescue group A Way For A Stray, go here. To learn about the group helping heart worm positive dogs, including Winston, or to donate visit Rooster to the Rescue.

 

 

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[The Re-make of] Getting Your Kids Involved In Your Yoga Practice

Once in a blue moon, the universe aligns just right and amazing writing material is just dropped in my lap.  As I’m in a fetal position on the floor gasping for air and wishing for death after Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred, I start browsing Facebook on my phone.  Hmmm, what’s this my dear friend has tagged me in? Oh hell!!! Pictures of  a gorgeous  Mom and her 4 year old Yogi daughter wearing matching outfits and striking incredible yoga poses together. Let me go ahead and put this disclaimer out there: I am not hatin’ on this mama. She is a 36-year-old mother of 2,  who works full time and has a rockin body.  I would not dis a sista for looking amazing or having success.  Now, on with the show!

Awwww, how sweet is this!

Are these outfits custom made? I’m not sure I could convince my 4-year-old boy to put these pants on even if I offered a trip to Chuckee Cheese in an M&M filled helicopter flown by Iron Man himself.

Buuuuuuuuuut, you’ll be surprised what he will do for a couple of Thin Mints at 10:30  in the morning.

pickerimage(1)Is this what Mommy & Me time is supposed to be like? I’ve been doing it all wrong for years!

pickerimage(3)I mean seriously, can you even tell which one is the original post and which is the replica? They’re nearly identical!

pickerimage(2)Now remember, she is doing this with a little girl. I have a little boy, so insert fart noises here.

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He really let me down on this one. Come on kid, this is where you were supposed to do all the work!

And that’s where we had to stop. I’m fairly certain I slipped a disc while giving my son a concussion. Don’t try this at home. Screw that! DO try this at home, just make sure you send me the pictures.  I’ll just be over here dousing myself with Icy Hot before my chiro appointment.

*Here’s the link to this mom’s website and original post:  http://www.twofitmoms.com/2014/03/13/getting-your-kids-involved-in-your-yoga-practice/

 

Saturday Morning Ain’t What It Used To Be

Pre-kids

Ahhh, Saturday morning. Guess I’ll roll out of bed at 10 am.  Hmmm I’m hungry.  Bacon….. pancakes …. bacon!!! Honey, wake up. Let’s go to Denny’s in sweat pants and a hoody.

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Saturday morning! We should get an early start. Here’s your warm oatmeal and some fresh fruit for breakfast. Wash it down with this delicious organic milk.  What fun adventure can we take our little one on today? Something to nourish your mind. The zoo? The park? A Gymboree class? I love our Saturdays together as a family!

2 kids

Ok, I’m up! I’m up damn it! Here, watch Sponge Bob while I get your breakfast. Fruity Pebbles for you … microwaved pancakes for you. We should probably get you guys out of the house before you unleash the Hurricane of action figures and toilet paper. Let’s go run some errands and then I’ll take you guys to Chick-Fil-A to run in the play area and possibly pick up Rotavirus.

3 kids

Ugh, stop jabbing your elbow into my boob. No, you can’t have a friend over today – have you seen what this house looks like? Is that poop I smell? Everyone out! Out of my bed! Coffee. Must have coffee. Ok already, I heard you! Cereal, cereal, cereal. We all heard you.  Here, take the whole damn box.  Whatever, eat the Twizzlers then.  Did I ever change that poop diaper? Is it Monday yet?

Remember that time I tried to be a rock star mom?

Every time I think I’m gonna step up my game and not totally suck,  I’m reminded why that’s not the path I’m destined to travel. Nope.  My path is paved with processed chicken nuggets, tardy slips and kids peeing into a water bottle in the drive-thru.  Every now and then though, I make a full on attempt to do something normal families do. You know, the normal families whose photos are in picture frames when you buy them.

A morning bike ride to the park sounds like something awesome moms do.  Let’s try that.

Almost to the stop sign at the end of our street and we hit obstacle numero uno.  A leaf! Oh good Lord,  it starts.  Apparently my son’s bike is not equipped to handle such extreme road debris. I kick his back tire and get him moving again. Every damn time there’s a crack in the  sidewalk the kid becomes paralyzed. Oh and let’s not mention those spiky, brown ball things that fall off the trees because those are bombs and they blow up his tires.  Then he needs a drink to “regain his energy”.  Are you kidding me?  At 10pm on a weeknight he has enough effin’ energy to power Times Square, but now pedaling a bike for 3 minutes requires a pit-stop?  By the time the park is in sight I’ve got a squirming baby on my hip while I’m pushing the stroller and kicking my kid’s bike every few feet. I can hear the screaming brats at the park – we’re so close! Then … he stops. He gets off his bike and tells me he can’t do it anymore.  Oh. Hell. No.  What do you say when your kid uses the word “can’t”?  It goes a little something like this…..   “You get your happy ass back on that bike and push those damn pedals to that park before this baby starts losing her shit!! ”   Yea, go ahead and get my awesomest, bestest ever in the world, rock star mom trophy ready now please.

bike ride

Can we just jump in your car and leave them?

Going to bed last night I was stressin’.  ” What the hell am I going to blog about next? I’m not a good fiction writer and these people are starting to have expectations!” Oh silly me, don’t you know your life?

These whack jobs I call my family don’t disappoint (not in the ‘here is some crazy shit to laugh about category anyway).  At 7am they started throwing awesome material at me left and right!

So let me rewind several hours. It’s midnight. I’m drooling in my sleep dreaming about Bradley Cooper my husband. I’ve got an elbow stabbing me in the neck and about 2 inches of blankets covering me because, you guessed it, there’s a kid in my bed. I hear that dreaded scream/cry/cough combo over the baby monitor. Fabulous!  Bradley My husband and I were just boarding the private jet and headed for the Bahamas. I stumble out of my bedroom, see my husband (hey, I thought he was on that jet) tapping away on the keyboard with a Diet Coke can and a mound of files and folders stacked knee-high beside him. I head into the girls’ room, reach into the crib and lift up my snot-nosed, cranky 10 month old as she twists and turns and of course, claws my face up with those razor blade baby nails. Side note: trim baby’s nails today. Ok, so some rocking, some nose suction, some praying to God to please not turn this into an all night affair and I put my sleeping beauty back into her crib. Night night. So I leave the room, go to the desk to see how hubby is holding up.  He’s out of Diet Coke. This ain’t good. I do my good wifely duties. Hugs, little shoulder squeeze, apologize that his job totally blows sometimes and has unrealistic expectations, kiss-kiss and back to bed I go – where my 4 foot tall child has somehow taken up 15 feet of space in my bed.

Alright, so I know I mentioned 7am, and at this point I’m only up to about 12:30am but this is how much freakin’ happens in that short amount of time in this mad house! I’ll speed it up.

1am – more crying, more snuggling. 2am – I think hubby has come to bed, I cant be certain since I have a foot in my eye socket. 3:15am – is she seriously hungry in the middle of the night? I thought we passed this stage. Do I hold my ground and dare not establish a new bad habit or do I assume it’s a growth spurt, pop a bottle in her mouth and hopefully get 4  hours of sleep before the morning chaos? I’ll let you guess what I chose.

**Now**  it’s 7am. Beep-beep-beep. Stupid alarm. Snooze. Beep-beep-beep. Stupid alarm. Snooze. Beep-beep- Waaaaaahhhhhhh! Why doesn’t that baby have a snooze button? And we’re off ……….

Make a bottle. Stick baby in highchair with Cheerios. Wake up 9 year old – always fun. Let the dog out. Let the dog in. Let the dog out. Let the dog back in. Head to the kitchen for coffee and realize it’s now 7:35am. We gotta leave in like 10 minutes. Well actually like 17 minutes but I have adopted my own concept of time as a mechanism to try to get somewhere on time. It’s a weird rounding system and I’m the only one who knows the code. I yell out “10 minutes!”. Now this is when the real fun starts.

“Mom I want cereal!” screams the 4-year-old. “Cereal in the car!” I say. “Cereal on the couch!” he says. I trip over the big ass dog, what the F is he chewing on now? One of the baby’s Little People, fab. Get to the pantry and think to myself “What am I here for??? … Oh yea, cereal.” Hubby hollers across the house “Is it cold outside??” (yea I know it’s January but here in Florida its 80 degrees one day and 34 the next and apparently my husband has 17849 apps on his phone and the weather isn’t one of them). I say “Yes, it’s cold.” He yells out, “Is it cold? Or DAMN it’s cold??”. Seriously dude? Layers!!!

Walking back to wherever the hell I was going, I”ve forgotten by now. Nine-year-old yells (yes lots of yelling here) “Mom I need breakfast!” I yell “Go find food!”. Pick up baby who is also yelling in her high chair because apparently she’s been in there since the morning started and I forgot – don’t judge me, there are more kids than adults in this house so it’s easy to lose track. Change diaper, find random Cheerio stuck to her butt. Wait. I never got dressed! Ok, just roll with it. It’s totally a drop-your-kid-off-at-school-in-pjs-and-a-hoodie kind of morning. I fling baby on the left hip, diaper bag on the right. Now nobody has shoes on. Seriously?? Why do pairs of shoes always get separated in this house? Hunt down shoes. Watch 9-year-old take an eternity to put shoes on, is she high? Slap those God awful light-up Iron Man sneakers onto the 4-year-old’s bare feet and again… we’re off!

Poor hubby, he is trying to offer bits of help here and there but has almost no clue where to even begin to jump into this circus. He helps me load everyone up, close the mini-van up and we stand in the driveway looking at each other and bust out laughing. “Can we just jump in your car and get the F outta here?” He seriously considers it. Kisses, hugs, have a good ridiculously busy day of travel and doing important law stuff for much less of a salary than you deserve Honey!

Finally, I sit behind the wheel of my mini van, hit the garage door closer button and start to back out of my driveway. My hand instinctively reaches down to my cup holder as I feel my body begin to relax and anticipate that first sip of hot, delicious … SHIT!! I never made  my coffee!

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Butt Wiping and Kitchen Tongs in the Toilet

So when exactly does one (and by ‘one’ I mean specifically my 4 year old) start wiping his own ass?

I know, I know, all of those moms who perfectly and consistently put your kid on the naughty spot (naughty spot? creepy much?) and send their kids to school with  adorable little Bento Box lunches showcasing food that has olives for eyes and smiley faces cut out of cheese in their gingham monogrammed lunch boxes,  you know the mom’s who have it all figured out? Yeah, those moms. They will tell me that my little guy will start wiping his own ass only  when I start expecting him to.
Well, number 1 I am not cutting cheese into smiley faces. In fact I threw an Uncrustable in a lunch box this morning and left the same Cheez-its in there from the day before. Number 2, I expect him to become an extremely successful and well paid athlete one day and buy his mom a yacht. Let’s see how that works out.

Back to my point, let me clarify what I really mean when I say “wipe his own ass”.
1. Get all the poop IN the toilet, not slide your little tush on the seat skid-marking it up.
2. Dispense an acceptable amount of toilet paper. No, that  1 single square will not do the trick and  will lead to Defcon level 3 of hand washing and nail scrubbing. Alternately, a 12 pound wad of TP will cost me another $100 plumbing visit for them to use that long skinny metal thingy-ma-bobber to stop the toilet from bubbling over onto the floor. By the way, do they ever sanitize that tool? Does it just keep going from house to house pushing it’s way through urine and feces soaked wads of Charmin? And dude is holding it with his bare hands. Wait, did he shake my hand?? Bleghhh!

3. Completely clean your entire booty hole. Now some days, the kid can let out a mound of crap that seems humanly impossible for his scrawny little body to have housed and turn around with a squeaky clean result. It’s like nothing ever happened. My husband is amazed by this phenomenon and almost brags about his son’s amazing ‘clean pooping’ trick.  Other times he squirts out a little fudge drop and I swear we are wiping for 10 minutes before I decide it’s time to bust out the shower head.
4. Flush the toilet (do not drop Iron man in– again. I just bleached the kitchen tongs).
5. Pull up your Batman undies – ensuring your junk is 100% INSIDE them.
6. Manage to have pants pants after dropping said deuce.
7. Wash your hands (with water AND soap).
8. Shut OFF the water.
9. Dry your hands.
10. Turn off the bathroom light.
So I ask again, when should I expect him to start wiping his own ass? Since hubby can rarely manage 7 out of the 10 steps, and Little Guy is quite possibly his true clone, I fear I’m doomed to a lifetime of  hearing “Mommy?!? Come wipe my butt!!” and “Honey??! I need more toilet paper!!” as I am getting dinner ready…with the tongs.

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Because I have so much free time…

“Mama, can you get me a drink?” says my 4-year-old while squeezing my cheeks and pulling my face toward him and away from my lapotop. Yes, that’s how I start my first blog entry. Please hold while I clean up the cereal he just spilled on the floor before the dog eats it all (it’s chocolate Krave and while some days my dog pisses me off, I prefer he not die of chocolate poisoning on my watch).

And, I’m back. Hopefully a few back to back episodes of Team Umizoomi, a full bowl of cereal and a cup of chocolate milk buy me enough time to form a few complete thoughts here. Of course, the dog is now chewing on one of my 10-month-old’s pacifiers. Oh well, it’s one of those back up pacis. You know, the ones that are that teeny-tiny infant size and possibly already a little rough on one edge from the last time you fished it out of the dog’s mouth just in time. Go ahead jerk, finish the damn thing off.

So as you can see, I have tons of free “me time” to sit down and start a blog. But hey, I’m the queen of biting off more than I can chew and then half-assing it. As Fly Lady says, “Done is better than perfect.” Yeah, I’m working on that whole Fly Lady thing. That’s another post though.

Send the Bus. Why is my blog named Send the Bus? Well, One Tired Mama was taken – shocker. I started thinking about what has inspired me to do this. And by ‘this’, I mean spit out all of my thoughts as if they are original or worth reading and share them with the cyber world to judge and correct, fun! Back to my point, my inspiration. Nine years ago I joined an online forum for my birth club – February 2005 Pregnancy Weekly. I was a first time mom looking for support, mainly about breastfeeding, postpartum depression and total sleep hell with a newborn! What I ended up with were a BUNCH of life long friends and one true bestie for life (love you Mia!).

Over the years, as we each faced terrible days of self doubt, exhaustion and frustration while we tried to figure out how to do this whole mom thing, we started a phrase that has stuck all these years: “Send the bus!” When there was a post titled Send the Bus we all knew we needed to open it ASAP and get to work talking one of our fellow mamas off a ledge. Now for me, most of my Send the Bus posts were typed up in a sleep deprived stupor begging someone to help me get my baby to sleep for more than an hour at a time. Others were about feeling like a cow being milked in the middle of the night while I pumped and my hubby snored oh so contently. Some posts were about running late to an appointment, getting spit up on and having it leak down between your boobs so you have to change your shirt. Then as you get your little bundle of joy’s carrier snapped into the car that familiar scent lingers up to your nose … yep, poop. As you reach down and pull your now, little bundle of crap out of their carrier what discovery do you make? that blowout leaked all into the carrier seat. Fabulous. That’s it! You have to post to the mom group about this! And you have to title this post SEND THE BUS!

Over these last nine years, all of us have had our Send the Bus moments. For some of us, it’s still about blowout diapers, crying-it-out and teething. For others it’s about your teenager’s latest car accident, your 9-year-old’s incredibly insane homework or your husband’s complete inability to close a damn cabinet door or get his boxers into the hamper.

So this is my blog about all of those Send the Bus moments all of us mother’s have!