Thursday, July 9, 2015

Girls gone wild

Cue the angels singing: I have a girls weekend coming up.

I have been waiting for what feels like ages, though it may have only been a few weeks. It's hard to tell when you're this excited for something to just get here already. It's nearly here and I could not be more psyched and ready. I am ready because, well, how can I put this? Because immaboutta lose my damn mind up in here.

I haven't left my kids in the nine months since my son was born. So, technically I have been with him for 18 months straight; nine of them completely sober. As I write this, at 10:39pm, my 4-year-old is sitting next to me reminding me that she really meant it, she does not want to go to sleep.
No, no, you don't seem tired at all. By all means, carry on.
I want to get away. I need to get away. We all need to get away once in a while. These are the things I am most looking forward to.

Waking Up
Sleep is kind of a big deal to me. I sleep well, and I recognize that I am incredibly lucky to get enough sleep on a regular basis... trust me, you don't want to be anywhere near me if I haven't. But it's not just plain old sleep that I am looking forward to. I am looking forward to one of the most deliciously decadent things I think any parent can imagine. I am looking forward to waking up when I wake up. That's right, when I wake up, as in, when my body decides to wake up. Not when someone else beckons me from my slumber. 
Maybe it'll be 6am, maybe 8, and maybe a luxuriously irresponsible 10am. I don't know, and that is an amazing thing. To wake up because my body feels refreshed and ready to go, or more likely just a bit hungry, is going to be such a delight. Instead of the slow building chanting of "mummmMMMMMYYYYYYYYY!!!" from the 4-year-old, or the baby's grunting post-morning poo alert, or the husband sneaking out for a morning bike ride like the clumsiest, loudest ninja ever, I will wake up when I damn well feel like it. Or when I hear my friends get up and my FOMO kicks in. Either way it will be for a great reason that I am most excited about.

Going to bed
I am looking forward to going to bed when I want to. Not when I pass out exhausted on the couch (although maybe that's what I'll do). And not just because I know I have to get to bed cause if I don't I'll be exhausted when one of those super annoying wake-up calls comes in (see above). Maybe I'll pass out in a drunken stupor (fingers crossed). Maybe I will revisit a long lost evening skin regimen I once heard about, back when a nightly skin regimen didn't seem like the worst way to spend 20 minutes instead of just crawling into my bed. Either way, I will stay up as late as I want and go to sleep when I want, and that is a treat.

After my glorious night of sleep, I will make myself some food. In fact, I may make myself some food several times over the weekend. Making my own food is a real upgrade from eating the leftover food I prepared for someone else. I will thoughtfully consider what I would like to consume and then take the time and effort to prepare it accordingly. I will then sit down and eat said food in relative quiet. Relative quiet is a bit of a joke, if you knew how loud my friends are. But they don't whine and they don't screech at their food, so it's a remarkable improvement on my usual dining companions. In addition, I don't have to share. I will because I am a splitsy queen, but I don't have to. 
Breakfast of champions... and by champions I mean me, this morning
Drink, drank, drunk. Yup, might have a cocktail or two... and why not? As I mentioned before, I will be sleeping until I don't wanna sleep no more.

Talking on the phone to my friends is a thing of the past. I had children instead and the two cannot peacefully coexist under the same roof. These days I can email or text in short clips, but to sit down and really talk to my friends, uninterrupted, about whatever we want, G-rated or X-rated, without a small child being at their most annoying in the background is pretty exciting stuff.

Very similar to talking, laughing takes on a life of its own after kids. If you're doing it around them, very often you have to censor what you're laughing about. If you're doing it away from them, you run the risk of waking them up or worse, piquing their interest so they want to know what you're laughing about. Never as fun as unadulterated (really un-child-erated) laughter.

Having the bathroom to myself when I need to use it is worth looking forward to. I don't even have to bring my phone in with me since I won't have to combine the two for lack of time/attention/privacy. I can pee, then I can leave the bathroom and play on my phone for five additional minutes without someone wandering over to see what I'm doing and/or begging me for my phone. I have more to say about showering as a parent, but that is for another time. To summarize, there will be shampooing AND shaving... Both in the same shower!

It's getting to the point where I think I may have offended my husband with my eager anticipation. He has had multiple business trips and a boys Vegas weekend in the past few months so I don't actually feel too bad if I have. Oh well. So sad, too bad. I'm outta here suckas!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Art for art's sake

I've been kvelling lately... check out this post that ran on

The nine stages of toddler “art”

As little as I know about art, I know this: Art is subjective. I'm not talking about the popsicle sticks dangling from canvas in my local gallery, I am talking about the popsicle sticks dangling off the paper that my kid came home with last week. If the kid believes it's “art,” who am I to say otherwise? 

If you are now, or have ever been the parent of a toddler, you know exactly why "art" is in quotes. While these mini-masterpieces take many shapes and forms, few of them are what one might call gallery-ready. And yet we keep them for a variety of reasons: genuine enthusiasm, moderate appeal, guilt, sentimentality, confusion, misguided ambition, did I say guilt?

As I look around at the various piles accumulating in my house, I recognize the nine phases we go through with our toddler “art.”

1. The Prodigy
It all started when our little genius figured out how to hold a crayon properly in their hand… Amazing! With tongue splayed out the side of their mouth, contact was thoughtfully made with the paper… Incredible! Just like that, the first “masterpiece” was created. We cherished that first gem. It got pride of placement on the fridge and ample discussion of its many artistic merits. 
Should we start saving for art school now?

2. On A Roll
Having hit a stride, they master the effect of not just one, but every color in the box being scribbled across the page. Page after page. After page. Lots of scribbles. Lots of pages. Lots of praise--perhaps too much. 
The piles begin.

3. Medium Master
Moving on from crayons, they discover colored pencils, colored pens, markers (washable, if you’re lucky; Sharpies if you did something bad in a previous life), stamps, stickers, feathers, sticks, string, glue, and if you did something really bad in a previous life, glitter. Because each one is new and different, you feel inclined to love and cherish each one. 
The piles grow.

4. The Eye of the Beholder
You see a page that looks like someone was trying to get a dried out pen to work; they see a full story: characters, plot line, back story. 
You say it’s too bad that someone spilled some water on it. They correct you; that is how it is meant to look. Uhhh, sure. Whatever you say kid. We start to eye the piles suspiciously.

5. Magic Eye
Oh wow, that person actually looks like a person. Well, if people had their arms and legs coming right out of their heads. All of a sudden the scribbles have morphed into actual pictures that we can decipher and understand. And there are letters (trying to) spell something… Resume pile accumulation!

6. Grand Ambitions
As each piece is proudly presented, we think about all the things we could do. 
Start the checklist: 
We will date and record the intricate description on the back of each work of art, lest we forget that the black squiggle is the cat, the purple squiggle is the baby, and the green line is the lake that ate the monkeys.
We will collect them in folders/binders, sorted by color/medium/theme.
We will take a picture of each one, creating a catalog of files on our computer.
We will hang a wire with clips on the wall to display the most recent/impressive works.
We will upload them to a collage website and make a picture which uses all of them. Such a creative idea, no wonder the kid is so talented.
We will pick our 10 favorites and create a collage on their wall in various "artsy" vintage frames. Eventually… when there are 10 we think are worthy of a frame.
We will place our favorites in a portfolio, to help preserve them for a rainy day or a very special graduation/wedding gift.
We’re coming for you piles.

7. Reality Bites
Eventually we will glance awkwardly at the “art” that is waiting to be photographed/scanned/filed/organized/framed/packed away.
Slowly we will come to the realization that our ambitions may never see the light of day. 
And if we continue to let these piles of artwork grow, we also may never see the light of day.

8. Give it away, give it away now
Grandparents make great recipients (seriously, they eat that shit up). Also friends, neighbors, the crossing guard, doorman, the UPS delivery guy-anyone who might actually take some of this stuff off your hands.

9. Acceptance
Something’s gotta give. If we’re willing to accept that we might not ever get around to that list of ambitious projects, we must somehow eliminate the piles. Cue the list of lies we tell our kids when their “art” goes missing.  As long as we have a few left for them to find in an attic one day many years from now, we’ll be fine. 
Grant us the serenity to accept the “art” we cannot trash, the courage to trash the “art” we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. 

Four from a series I like to call, WTF?