Toddlers: Such a Blessing

I’m a mom of two toddler boys and my life consists of going to work everyday and breaking up WWE fights the remainder of the time.  Whenever I do get a chance to go out, please excuse my awkwardness. I never know what to say when people ask what my hobbies are.  I am a mom… I enjoy trips to the bathroom alone and silence… and sadly, not much else.

I consider myself an intelligent person. I have a college degree and a professional job that requires a great amount of multitasking, juggling client details and ensuring that each event I plan goes off without a hitch, all while handling events equating to multi millions of dollars each year.  Yet,  there are relatively simple things that cannot seem to accomplish at home.

We own a nice flat screen television. For the life of me, I cannot teach my toddler that the TV is not a touch screen. No matter how many times I explain, they are children of the 21st century and treat everything as if it is an iPad.  The amount of fingerprints I clean off our television set is innumerable.

I’ve decided that there are certain types of toddlers…  yours may fall into one or all of these categories.  If they don’t, please contact me directly, so that I can learn your secrets.

TYPES OF TODDLERS YOU MAY BE LIVING WITH

♦THE NEGOTIATOR & MASTER MASTER MANIPULATOR♦

One of the more savvy of the toddler clan, and typically the first born; they never miss a chance to counter the deal you have presented to them. You announce that there is “One more TV show, and then it’s bedtime.” Immediately, without skipping a beat, they reply:

“Five. Five shows before bed.”…. “I said one. One more show.” … “Four. We need four more shows before bed.”… “That’s not happening. I said one.” …. “Four shows!!!! WE NEED FOUR SHOWS!!!”   …. “Fine, two shows and that’s it.”  TODDLER: 1 PARENT: 0

♦THE FINICKY EATER & THE BOTTOMLESS PIT♦

This includes a variable number of toddler eaters.  At one point or another, they all go through this stage.  The Finicky One:  One day, they’re in love with grilled cheese, the next day, it’s thrown from their plate in disgust. How dare you serve them something they enjoyed just 24 hours previously!

The Bottomless Pit: Snacks are required ALL OF THE TIME. Literally, every twenty minutes, snacks are demanded.  It doesn’t matter if you just served them a three course breakfast, gourmet lunch, or seven course dinner.  Dinner will be half way done and they will already be requesting a “snack”.  God help you when they are old enough to figure out how to open up the fridge. Our freezer is on the bottom of our refrigerator, and I have found my two year old eating frozen fish sticks in the middle of the kitchen floor at 5:30am in the morning. The other day, I found him polishing off an ENTIRE bag of butterscotch baking chips he found in the freezer at 7am.  When I threw the bag away, he asked when breakfast was going to be served.

♦THE CHAMELEON♦

The Chameleon is the type of toddler who changes personality based on whose company they are in.  Of course, at home, their true, wild selves are revealed.  Screaming, jumping on the couches and beds, plain old craziness. They’re always the worst with their parents.   Bring your child into the bank and have a stranger say hello to them, and they will immediately turn into the shyest child youll meet.  Anytime I have dropped off one of my children at any of their grandparent’s house, I get nothing but stellar reports: “What a well behaved child! He was so funny! He played so well alone!”  I almost want to ask them if they’re sure actually have MY child in their care and haven’t brought home the wrong kid from the playgroud.

THE POTTY TRAINER

This one is a tough one. When first had infants, I was truly disgusted to see what came out of that tiny body.  I was not prepared for the toddler years.  By the time they are toddlers, they are essentially eating the same solid food as you are.  Those diapers are a true joy to change, and I swear that the amount of poop that comes out of these little guys are more than I have ever seen in my career using the toilet. They say girls potty train earlier than boys, I am not sure, but I knew it took a full year of trying to convince my three year old to stop the diapers.  The two year old is on his way, but not 100% there yet.  Either way, there is a process that needs to be followed.   You’ll find yourself asking sixteen times a day “Do you have to use the potty?” You’ll also find yourself saying things that you’ll never have thought would exit your mouth in your life. I have sat my two year old on the toilet and coached him to repeat after me: “Poopy, I am in charge of you, I am the boss- not you. Go in the potty, poopy.” It’s hilarious to hear your two year old repeat these words and you’ll spend countless hours sitting in your bathroom, attempting to use ESP to WILL THOSE POOPIES to come out.  For boys, peeing is a different story. Getting them to pee on the toilet is the easy part…. Aiming,  not so much.

A full container of bleach wipes sits in our bathroom specifically for the use of wiping up toddler pee every single day.  When they are standing, it’s not so bad… If they have to sit, you can occasionally look forward to a five foot spray across your entire bathroom.  I was not prepared for this.

♦THE “I CAN DO IT MYSELF PHASE”♦

One of the most frustrating stages of all of them is when your child decides that he can “do it himself” This applies to everything. We will be running late for something, place my two year old in his car seat and all hell will break loose. “I CAN DO IT MYSELF!!”  I must patiently wait for him to climb all the way back down out of his seat, navigate OUT of the car, back onto the driveway and then start the entire process again. This can take upwards of three minutes-which may seem insignificant to you, but if you’ve ever experienced it, it feels like THREE HOURS.  Same goes with my previous mention of him helping himself to anything he can find in the freezer, and denying any help you may offer.   Would you like help putting that shirt on? “NO. I CAN DO IT MYSELF”… backwards and after a four minute struggle that you don’t have in the morning when you are trying to get out the door.  The “I CAN DO IT MYSELF” may possibly be the one that tests your patience the most.


 

 

Parents: Tell Everyone Else to STFU

I’ve got some Mommy Issues.  Issues with other parents, and issues with some strangers out there.  There are important things going on in the world right now politically, globally, nationally and right in your backyard that need actual attention. The amount of bitching I’ve seen about the following issues makes me question what kind of people I’m coexisting with in this world.

There’s quite a few things that people are complaining about in real life and online that need to stop. 

BREAST FEEDING IN PUBLIC 

img_2097For all of you against public breast feeding, I’m going to throw you a bone and assume that we can agree that these children at least need to eat. They are human, after all. So we can agree that they do have to eat… you just don’t want to see it. Your suggestion of making it private is not only insulting, but pretty ridiculous. Many of these mothers and their children are being socially pressured into feeding their child in places like public bathrooms.img_2100Have you spent any time in a public bathroom lately? And if so, how long did you want to just “hang out in there” for the 25-40 minutes it may take a mother to feed her baby? Next time you pick up your own lunch, I suggest you take your meal to the nearest public restroom  and soak up the lovely stench and atmosphere it offers you while you eat…. then tell me how you feel about it.

Is there something about women’s breast that offends you? I hate to burst your bubble; but whatever creation story you believe in whether it be religious or evolutionary; I can tell you that the breast was made for one thing and one thing only: to feed our young. It is the media and our own selves who have sensationalized mammary glands into sexual pieces of anatomy.  Any issue you may have with public breastfeeding is your issue, not anyone else’s.

Also, News flash, there is a 99.99% chance that the woman you’re seeing feed in public looks like the lady on the right here… I have yet to see Miss. Porn star to the left whipping out her boobs in public to feed her child.  The typical mother is tired, disheveled, overwhelmed and has a hungry, crying baby looking for nourishment.  img_2104That being said, if you do ever see the lady on the left out in public breast feeding… contact me ASAP. I am honestly curious as to how this would even work.

MOMMY SHAMING
Now that I’ve stated my pro stance on breast feeding, I do have to admit I have one small issue.

It’s the simple quote “Breast Is Best”.  This three word sentence offends me more than I can explain. I see fellow moms and mom friends use the hashtag #breastisbest while proudly displaying their breastfeeding on social media.  There are a multitude of studies showing that breast milk is the absolute best option for your child.  Some studies have quoted that it protects against diseases and allergies, lowers the risk of SIDS and obesity, infants are less stressed, and I’ve even read that it heightens children’s IQ.

I am not disagreeing with any of these claims, but guess what? Some of us mothers aren’t able to supply our babies with breast milk. For one reason or another, due to medical reasons or preference, breast feeding doesn’t work for some of us.  For those of us who cannot breastfeed, we have had to turn to exclusively pumping or taking out a separate mortgage to pay for formula. Are you aware how much formula costs?  Believe me, when my baby is crying in the middle of the night, it would be much easier for me to snuggle up to him and soothe him with my own nipple.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have that option… I had to endure listening to a wailing child in one arm, while I prepared and warmed up a formula made bottle.  I’ve pumped, and I get it: if you’ve ever cried over “spilled milk”, so have I.  If the baby spits up or you spill a bottle, hours of hard work pumping goes down the drain. When your child spits up formula, or you spill it, it is similar… it’s like seeing dollar bills fly out the window.

While Breast MAY be Best, it is offensive to some to see other mothers say this, as if we “bottle mommies” are subpar. Please do us the favor of stop using this sentence. It’s hurtful and makes us feel inadequate as mothers. Mother to Mother, please adopt this new slogan:fed-is-best

On the topic of Mommy Shaming, we honestly need to come together as parents and respect each other’s decisions when it comes to raising our own children. You want to raise your child without screen time or TV? Go for it. You want to serve your child a strict vegan organic diet? Be my guest. Please just don’t raise an eyebrow when my child is watching Paw Patrol, while eating a heated up frozen waffle for breakfast, as I get ready for work. Let’s all agree that we are trying our best to do survive and raise respectful, productive members of society, however we get there.

Speaking of feeding my kids waffles while I get ready for work:  Working Mothers vs. Stay at Home Mothers. I am a working mother. It is tough as shit. I feel like I can never get enough done and there is never enough time in the day.  In regards to Stay at Home Mothers, HOW DO YOU DO IT?!  I was raised by a stay at home mom, who had four children in a tiny apartment and I have great memories from this time in my life.  In retrospect, she was probably going insane, however, if she was, she never let on to any of us. I always imagined I would do the same, stay at home, living a blissful life with my children while my husband worked.  I’d have a clean house and dinner on the table each evening when he returned from work and we would all sit happily eating, discussing our day. I have two children and barely survived this past holiday week while they were off from school.  My house looks like a bomb blew up and I am pretty sure my kids ate frozen fish sticks, hot dogs and frozen pizza for many of their meals.

I give Stay at Home Mothers all the credit in the world.  You guys are saints. While it is hard juggling work and home life for me, I am not sure I could hack it. For one, my family needs a duel income to survive. It is not possible for one of us to stay home with the children. Secondly, contrary to what I thought life would be with children prior to having them, I am not sure I could maintain my sanity being with them 24 hours a day.  I’d lose it for sure.

I was recently verbally attacked (and yes, I am using the word “attacked”) by a member of my own family for being a working mother. I’m not naming names, but if you’ve followed previous blogs, you may have a guess at who this person is.  Regardless, I ran into this person unexpectedly one evening and it was unavoidable to say hello and sit down to talk.  We were in a bar, so I expected a bullshit  “what’s new” yada yada conversation.

Many things were discussed over the hour I was forced to speak with him, including how disappointed he was in me and what a great disservice I was doing my family by working. According to him, my children are supposedly suffering being stuck with strangers all day, and I am not living up to his standards as to what a mother and wife should be, by his interpretation of how life goes.  I should be catering to my husband more and not putting so much stress on him; having him to drop off the kids in the morning and expecting him to participate in an active 50/50 parenting partnership. A chilled cocktail should be waiting for my husband upon his return from work, and a homemade dinner should be awaiting on the table.  He made it clear that in my house, my husband should be the King, my children should be my Princes and I, essentially their Housemaid and Cook; all the while keeping a smile on my face.

The way I was living my life was simply not to his approval. Sorry bud, this isn’t the 1950’s.  (I should mention that he is currently divorced, sitting at a bar alone during this conversation, which only proves how far his life expectations and attitude has gotten him).   This, from a man who taught “auto mechanics for women” during college, you’d think he would appear to be somewhat more liberated.  Apparently not.  I’m pretty sure he was describing the life that he wanted while married, because there was sure as hell no cocktail waiting for him when he returned from work each day.  I believe the best way to describe that scenario was that he came home, ate a prepared dinner, and went to “nap” in bed while my mother continued to do the rest: aka cleaning up, bedtimes, making lunches, etc.   But I digress.

1950

I explained that in this economy; for our family in particular, it was not possible for us to live off of one income and continue to live the lifestyle that we want to live.  Furthermore, our children were not with strangers all day, but cared for by responsible adults that they have cultivated a deep bond and relationship with, and whom my husband and I trust. During their time in daycare and preschool, they have learned more social skills and gained more educational content than I could ever provide for them at home.  My three year old was writing his own name within a week of starting preschool, and three months later, I can dictate a Thank You note to him, assist with the spelling, and he can basically write an entire letter to an adult with minimal assistance.

I made sure to mention to my bar guest that he deserved no explanation for how my husband and I chose to live our lives and raise our children, and if anything, I was actively attempting to do anything in my power NOT to raise my children like he did.  I kept the conversation light on my end, but essentially wanted to punch him in the gut, instead of giving him a good bye hug at the end of the night.  The only good part that came out of that conversation was that he paid my bar tab. If you ask me, he owed me at least that after what he said.  It was that evening that I decided that I wouldn’t be having any more conversations with him- he isn’t worth my time and hasn’t a shit clue as to what my life is like.

For what it’s worth, I hope you don’t have assholes in your life like this one. Keep on movin’ on mama, do what’s best for you and your family and have NO REGRETS.  Do not let other people’s opinions and choices make you feel guilty or any less of the parent you are.  Only you know what works for you and your children. If you want to openly breast feed in the middle of the fanciest restaurant in your town, do it.  If you want to pack a bottle of formula, do it.  If you want to co-sleep with your children, do it.  Trust your gut and don’t listen to anyone out there telling you that you aren’t doing the best possible job you can.  At the end of the day, if you and your kids are alive, you’ve succeed.

It’s an exhausting, often thankless job, but remember PARENTS:

YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB.

Tell everyone else to STFU.

xo,

Coastal Mama

 

Advice From A 90 Year Old Woman

As you may know, my second job (after being a parent) is an event planner. I met a lovely woman, Dorothy today. She is planning her 90th birthday. What an accomplishment! We discussed her menu and details; most of her guests would be family or friends from the assisted living home she lives in.

As we went through her details, Dorothy mentioned to her daughter that she specifically wanted it written on the invitation “No Gifts”. I chuckled and said “You only turn 90 once, I have a feeling some of your guests may disobey your request.” Her response was shocking to me and quite profound.

“What I’d like more than cards or presents is for people to visit me more or call me. A gift is trivial. At this point, I want to maintain connections with those who I love.”

It made me instantly remember a phone call I received, almost a year to this date. It was a cold winter evening when my husband’s 85yr old Great Aunt called me. I didn’t recognize her phone number so I didn’t answer. She left a message and I called her back immediately, thinking something was wrong. I mean, why else would someone you don’t speak to often call you at 8pm at night? The thing was, she just wanted to talk- she wanted to see how things were and to say hello. She mentioned that she asked a few family members for my phone # and they all said “oh, you can just find her on Facebook.” She replied “I don’t know how the hell to use Facebook and I wanted to TALK to you, so I called you!”

It was sweet. We caught up, and it made me realize it was the first time I used my phone to actually SPEAK with someone and “catch up” with them in longer than I can remember.
What was wrong with this picture? I should have been the one to call HER.

It made me think of my own grandparents.

My Fraternal Great Grandmother made her way through Ellis Island from Ireland and raised five children , all first generation Americans with 100% Irish blood running through their veins. I recently found out through my uncle that her father was a sailor on a merchant ship out of Belfast Ireland. When the ship docked in NYC he jumped ship and was an illegal alien for 7 years before he gained his citizenship. He never returned to Ireland and always carried his citizenship papers on him until he died for fear of being deported back to Ireland. My uncle once asked his grandmother why she never returned to Ireland she replied in her wonderful Irish brogue ” Who’d want to go? There’s nothing there”

So much for the Irish Ministry of Tourism.

My Grammy had a thick New York/ Long Island accent and NO FILTER. At 5′ 10″, she could not only hold her own, she was a fire cracker. My grandfather died in the early 60s, a WWII vet. He left behind a wife and three young children under the age of 13. With no formal college education she became a teacher to support her family.
They never had much but they made it work. She never remarried and was an independent, strong willed woman. She once told my mother after asking why she never re-married that she “was a widow- not stupid!” She was old school- she lived alone for 50+ years and stayed in her house until her death in 2008, hosting card games and befriending the local Catholic priests.

As the neighborhood changed around her, she watched her Irish/Italian bubble evolve and had no qualms mentioning out dated terminology for the new, mostly ethnic people moving in around her (and out of respect I won’t quote her).

She answered the phone not with a simple “hello” but a loud, thick accented “Hi there!” Her favorite line when we would complain about something was “tough toenails- deal with it.”

Her house was always packed with Entenemmans coffee cake, cool whip and fresh NY bagels. She drank mini half cans of Budweiser. She requested no eulogy to be read at her funeral, as she felt that was too self indulgent. She was a strong woman, a pain in the ass at times and I loved her dearly.

My maternal grandparents were what I can only describe as living examples of the American Dream. It was the American Dream! They were happily married for over 50 years and produced four children, 3 boys and 1 girl (my mother).

My grandfather owned a lucrative dentistry practice and my grandmother was happily the quintessential 1950’s housewife, despite the fact that she graduated from a prestigious women’s college herself.  They lived down the street from Martha Stewart (if that gives you any indication of the ideal life they were living) and they truly gave all they had to their children. I have never met two sweeter or kind hearted people in my life.

My grandmother was the type to coordinate and host breakfasts for my uncle’s sports teams prior to games (which could be for upwards of 25 hungry teenage boys!) I recently heard a story where she arranged it so that for one breakfast she had special mugs to be made with each boy’s name and sports number on it, as a keepsake. She loved her children and later on, her grandchildren more than words can say.

My gramma saw the good in people, and sometimes her naïveté worked against her. The funniest story I’ve heard about her was that my teenage uncle was able to convince her to take his 13 year old brother to Woodstock and when the 11 year old complained, she said, “you can go next year!” I’d love to know what happened during that trip!

My grandfather worked hard and played hard. An avid golfer, he was out golfing in the middle of February just a month before he passed. He lived in plaid golfing pants and was quite the chef as well. He “retired” after living in New Jersey to Cape Cod, only to start up a new Dentistry practice once he got bored. If you couldn’t find him at home watching golf, he was out on the course playing it.

My memories of all of my grandparents are fond ones. Sadly, they all have passed. I think often how much my mother’s parents would have loved her new husband: a business man and avid golfer himself… they would have been over the moon to see her with someone who treats her so well.

So, what’s the moral of the story? I’m not sure I have one- if you’ve gotten this far reading, you deserve an A+. If you have elderly loved ones who are still around, consider yourself lucky. Pick up the phone and call them just to say hi. I’m positive you won’t regret it, and you’ll make their day too.

2017: Secrets and Resolutions 

We are here! 2017!  2016 wasn’t SO BAD, but it was difficult- for a lot of us. I have to say that  I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I’m looking forward to a fresh start in 2017.

2016: It all started with a child, a gorilla and a zoo and just went downhill from there. This election year has torn apart the country and sadly, even torn apart friendships. 

My two year old had a second set of ear tubes in earlier last week- he also had his adenoids out. After a rough reaction to the anesthesia, he seemed out of the woods and was back to normal. Fast forward to two days later  where I realized it had been a full 24hours since he had eaten or drank much more than a sip of anything and off to the Emergency Room we went. My husband took my oldest to a college basketball game to keep him busy while I waited in the ER. I emerged six hours later with a prescription that needed to be immediately filled and directions to offer him syringes of water every hour, on the hour overnight, including a new dose of this new medication. I didn’t sleep that evening, and my husband and I haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep since then.Just chalk it up to #parentlife. 

Our three year old has asthma and every so often has bad attacks that leads to doctor visits and it’s bad enough that we own our own our own hospital grade nebulizer. Of course this had to happen in the middle of the two year old’s recovery and the holidays. 

I’ve always promised to be honest on my blogs, so here’s a secret I’ve never told you: Coastal Mama is certainly NOT PERFECT.  I smoke. Cigarettes. Never in front of my children and I doubt they even know at this age but it haunts me everyday. How can I have a child who is asthmatic and still smoke? I quit with both pregnancies as soon as I peed on those sticks and I never cheated  once which gives me some solace because both kids were born with breathing issues, completely unrelated to this but I would have never been able to forgive myself if I did. All that said, it doesn’t matter because I picked it back up afterwards. I know: it’s stupid. It’s killing me. It’s not good for my kids. But I’m selfish and I am not perfect.  I’m embarrassed. No one in my family smokes, my husband doesn’t and my parents didn’t while I grew up. WHY DID I START? Why do I like it so much??

Maybe 2017 will be my year to come to my senses and stop. Maybe it won’t: It’s been 20 years of this now, and I’m ashamed. I’m a closet smoker. 

Now that you know my secret, are there any secrets you’re willing to admit to yourself that you want to give up for the New Year? We all have our demons; lose weight, be less judgmental, smoking too much weed, cut down on alcohol intake, have more patience,  love more. SHOW love more. If there something you’ve been waiting on to do, do it. You want to propose to your girlfriend? Do it before it’s too late. You want to leave a dangerous relationship? Do it. You deserve to be treated the best, and if you’re receiving anything less, let it go.

There were a lot of highlights in 2016: I had friends give birth and announce pregnancies. Job promotions and the simplest of all; living a life that you’re happy with and proud to be living.

I’m no expert, but if you’re living a life that makes you happy, do all you can to hang on to that. Nothing is guaranteed in this world: health, money, happiness. You, and you alone are in charge of your destiny. 

Happy 2017, my friends- make this the best year yet!

Xo,

Coastal Mama

Throwing Modesty Out the Window: Things No One Tells You Before and After You Give Birth

Congratulations! You’re pregnant? 

SAY GOODBYE TO ANY SHRED OF MODESTY YOU HAD.

I was two weeks overdue with my first child and took a week off prior to my due date (in case he was early) and ended up sitting around for three weeks as a hormonal mess. 

I kept wondering if this baby was ever going to come out of me. Finally, the day before I was about to be induced, I went into labor. I waited nine hours before actually going to the hospital. 

One of the fun parts of labor they don’t tell you about is that your stomach muscles are contracting so much, you’ll probably end up shitting yourself at some point. Everyone is so worried about doing it while pushing the baby out, no one thinks to worry about what happens before the baby comes out. As soon as I arrived, the nurse gave me a hospital gown to change into and I headed to the bathroom. The toilet seat was obviously made for a NBA basketball player and was way too high. I hoisted myself up onto the seat and was sitting there, buck naked, 8,000 months pregnant, feet dangling 5 inches from the floor, literally going to the bathroom when the nurse casually came in to have a little “chat” with me. It was as if this was completely normal. I was a gigantic  naked, fat whale, having a complete coversation with a stranger while I was actually pooping at the same time. There were literally audible sounds coming from the bathroom that neither came from her or my mouth. She didn’t seem the least bit phased, and as I sat there in all my beluga whale glory, I answered her questions . I walked out of that bathroom in my cotton hospital gown and knew in that instant that any privacy I was used to was soon to change, very quickly. 

For the last nine months, as my belly grew,  I had been having external and internal exams by my OBGYN.  It’s like your yearly OB exam on crack- a super pleasant experience where as a bonus you get to weigh in every.single.time– reminding you that size 4 dress in your closet will forever haunt you as what could be considered “your former self, before children.”  You might as well use that tiny piece of fabric as a burp cloth, because your fat ass isn’t going to fit into it again for a loooooong time; if ever.

During the holiday season while I was out shopping, I was asked by no fewer than five strangers if I was “due any day now” or “carrying twins.” I was 3 months away from my due date at that point and my only answer was that I was carrying an enormous beast in my belly- but thanks for asking anyway.

I had come to the point where I just wanted to wear a tee shirt that said: 

“Yes, I am pregnant. No, I’m not having twins. It is a boy. We do not have a name picked out and if you even try to go near my belly with your grubby hand I will back hand you… have a great day!”

I started growing out of my maternity clothes and refused to buy new ones because I was just so sick of wearing them in the first place. I’d sit in weekly board meetings with my staff, 2 inches of my bare belly hanging out of my shirt, in spandex and wearing slippers because my feet were so swollen. I had given up. 

In this world, there are “hot” pregnant ladies and then there are…. the rest of us. My wedding photographer begged me to take maternity pictures to commemorate this time. I should have done it at 3 months along- because that was pretty much the only time I looked like a “hot pregnant lady”

By the time my first child decided to make an entrance into this word, I had been in labor for 31 hours and my 10lb pork roll child was born via emergency c-section because his fat head couldn’t fit for a regular vaginal delivery. My delivery was documented in a previous post so I won’t go over that again, but this was the first time I really valued how incredible modern medicine is. I counted my blessings because if this had been 100+ years ago, I probably wouldn’t have lived through that delivery, and neither would my child. Without that c-section, he was not coming out.

There were quite a few post-partum moments that my modesty just flew out the window again. The first time my nurse took out my catheter so I could pee normally, she insisted it was her job to  “monitor me”. At this point I couldn’t give two shits about what was happening, so I sat on the toilet, I watched her squat down in front of me and spray warm water onto my nether regions. I swear, if I could have kissed this lady, I would have. Nurses deserve a lot more credit for what they do. After carrying a gigantic human inside of me, EVERYTHING was swollen. As this nurse helped me out, I almost cried because it felt so good. There needs to be a tip jar in your hospital room. 

Four glorious months later of living with a colicky, screaming baby, I found myself miraculously pregnant again. We had talked about having more children, but certainly not this soon. I always joke that I got pregnant with my second baby alone. My husband had gone out for the night with friends and I decided to drink and entire bottle of wine alone to celebrate my child  finally sleeping through the night. My husband came home as I was throwing the bottle in the recycling bin, and the rest is history. 

I ended up having two c-sections,13 months apart. My second c-section was planned. For months, I hadn’t been able to see my feet, never mind anything else below my gigantic belly.  I had an infant to take care of, while waddling around pregnant with my second child and maintaining my lady parts was last on my list of priorities. As I was being prepped for surgery, the nurse asked if a student doctor could shave the area of the surgery site. I was in a good mood and replied “Sure, as long as she brought a weed whacker with her. ” My husband almost fell off the chair in embarrassment. I was a million months pregnant at this point and was happy at least someone was taking care of what I had been neglecting down there for so long.

I started some new medication earlier this summer and one of the side effects is weight gain. It had been 2.5 years since having my last baby and I remember wailing to my doctor “but I just lost all my baby weight!!!!” 

He assured me this medication caused the least amount of weight gain… and to some extent he was right- my ass stayed the same, my face stayed the same and my legs and arms look fine. Those lovely  extra few pounds have taken up shop in my gut and I look essentially early first trimester pregnant. I’ve been asked 4 times over the past 2 months if I’m expecting baby #3, resulting in a meltdown in my office one day that startled every one of my co-workers, including the Vice President of my company, who just stood there, wide eyed.  Like a crazy lady, I randomly screamed  “Attention! I have an important message for you all!  In case you’re wondering- I AM NOT PREGANT- THERE IS NO BABY IN HERE, just FAT, most likely caused by wine and hard ciders that I use to nurse myself to sleep each night, so spread the news, THERE IS NO FREAKING BABY IN THERE, suckers!” 

Once you’ve had kids, apparently these are the things you have to yell in your office to get the point across. I’m pretty sure no one talked to me for the rest of the day in fear I may bite their heads off.

Bottom line. Prepare for the unexpected. Prepare to be embarrassed, but know that no one else is. They’re professionals and see this stuff all the time. Having a baby changes things; I’m just glad I was married before going through all of this, because I knew my husband was bound to me, even after seeing what he saw, he legally couldn’t run away.

Prepare yourself to feel your heart burst with something that is unexplainable; a love that you never knew existed until you see those little eyes looking up at you and you realize you made this tiny human.

Once you get over the initial endorphin high, If you want to talk REAL FUN, we can discuss post-partum adult diapers and the dreaded first post partum poop sometime. I’ve got some great stories.

Until next time,

Coastal Mama 😘

Evolution

I believe that we are all always a work in progress. Who I am today is not who I thought I would’ve ended up being 25 years ago … and I’m sure in 25 years, I’ll be saying the same thing. We’re always evolving. At seven years old, I thought I’d be Punky Brewster.Punky lived in a city, wore the coolest clothes and had a happy disposition, despite her parents abandoning her and moving into an apartment with an old man. I considered asking my parents to change my name to Punky many times but decided I didn’t have the wardrobe to pull off the pull Punky effect and let it go.

Around this same time I had a mild (ok massive) obsession with Macgyver.

Good ole’ Mac was on every Monday night and you can bet I did NOT miss an episode. Possibly my first adolescent crush (without me even realizing at the time), but more importantly, Macgyver knew how to do EVERYTHING. He had genius level intellect and as a secret agent, and could literally save himself and “Macgyver” himself out of an impossible situation with a single paperclip. His name alone is not only considered a verb but a noun now.

v. 1. To use ingenuity to fix or remedy a problem using only the tools available at hand. 2. To jury-rig 

n. Someone who can regularly cobble together solutions to problems using only the tools available at hand.

Simply, he was the coolest guy around… and for you die-hard fans, you’d know his real name is Angus.

In junior high, I probably most identified with Jessie Spano from Saved by the Bell.

I’d love to say I was Kelly Kapowski, but I had just moved from NYC to a small coastal town in little Rhode Island and was the new kid in town. I was certainly not the most popular, but I had a lot of friends. I considered myself to be middle of the road and friendly with most everyone. Jessie was super studious and somewhat dorky. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow her fashion sense, as I spent most of 7th & 8th grade wearing orange lipstick and 90’s grunge flannel shirts, worshiping  Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains & Nirvana, but my work ethic at school and her goody two shoes attitude most closely resembled Jessie, despite my musical interests.

In high school, I idolized the movie Reality Bites and thought about how my life would turn out after I graduated high school and college. Life seemed so complicated but free. The best scene out of this movie is the end, with the best U2 song in existence in my opinion (All I want is You).  I would have used this song as my wedding song. But it was simply way too long. Ethan Hawk had the greasiest hair, was a grunge looser and yet I couldn’t help falling in love with him.

College was filled with a weekly roommate screening of Sex and the City

I identified with every character in some way or form. Carrie Bradshaw, being the main character, was the obvious choice to connect with. She was fashionable, living a somewhat fabulous life in NYC but she wasn’t perfect. She cheated on good guys (when she broke up with Aiden, my heart literally broke). Looking back, she was incredibly selfish for her age while simultaneously being a hopeless romantic, and she spoke to every woman of my generation. Life isn’t perfect, but despite all the drama going on in that series, the main point was that friends should come first and don’t diss them for some douche bag guy. I’ve made that mistake a few times more than I’d like to admit and have regretted it tremendously.

My latest idol has been this chick.

Claire Underwood from House of Cards is one Badass Bitch. She knows what she wants and she gets it. She isn’t the most likable character at times but she has an agenda and you have to respect that. She takes no bullshit. She gets shit done.  She’s also scary though. In real life, I respect the “real” Robin Wright over her character (You can read more if you click on her  link)- she is beautiful, intelligent and she’s one of the few examples lately of the short list of women who have broken the glass ceiling. She recently re-negotiated her contract to be paid the same as her costar, Kevin Spacy.  (Plus, her haircut is amazing; something I’d never be able to pull off.)

To quote:

“It was a perfect paradigm. There are very few films or TV shows where the male, the patriarch, and the matriarch are equal. And they are in ‘House of Cards,’” said Wright, who had been talking about the problem of equal pay for women more generally.

“I was looking at statistics and Claire Underwood’s character was more popular than [Frank’s] for a period of time. So I capitalized on that moment. I was like, ‘You better pay me or I’m going to go public,’” Wright said with her trademark blinding-white grin. “And they did.”

Good for her.

I met my husband after college. He is 11yrs older than me; and in a former life while I was watching all these TV shows, he was riding his motorcycle all around the country. He’s seen more than I have. He earned a business degree and has 10 times the amount of financial knowledge than I do. He is an intelligent man.  Talk to him for five minutes and he’ll prove my point. He is a former State Trooper and comes from a wonderful family. He was a single bachelor with no one to be responsible for but himself.  Once I showed up on the scene, I changed that. Our kids have changed us the most-today,  we see little of our old lifestyle that we used to live. We’re mostly ok with that- one day they’ll be gone and we will miss this time in their lives.

I doubt my husband has ever watched Saved by the Bell, Sex and the City or Punky Brewster– yet we make it work. We come from different backgrounds and have different perspectives on life in general. There are times that we’re not on the same page about things. We’ve both brought past baggage into this relationship; but hasn’t everyone?

Since having children, while I’d love to say I’m Claire Underwood or Carrie Bradshaw, I’ve developed into a crazy mix of MOM.

Bev from Meet the Goldbergs, idolizes her children- to the point of over suffocating them. I’m not that mom, but at the same time. I’d do anything for them. They are my life and while they drive me insane sometimes, my love for them has never wavered.

I’m glad I never turned into Punky Brewster or any of those other idols I held dear in my younger years. I’m still a little sad I never married Macgyver, but if you’ve seen a recent picture of him lately, You’d probably be ok with losing good ole’ Mac as well. I’m married to my the love of my life, and coincidentally- he is somewhat of his own Macgyver. Physically, he can fix almost anything out of nothing and mentally, he challenges me to be a better person everyday.

For now, I’ll be smothering those babies I have, because at the end of the day; family is all that we have left, and is all that is important.

I’m Begging You… Don’t Buy This Stuff For My Kids This Holiday Season

Ah December. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”... Re-read that last sentence and pretend I’m singing it to you in Andy William’s voice. (Click that link if you want to get into the holiday spirit… actually it would be awesome if you listened to it in the background while reading this post).  I can’t figure out if this song is sweet or some sick joke. I absolutely LOVE to use this song whenever something is going wrong or unplanned during this season. You know; when you’re in public, trying to get things done and your two year old decides to have a complete meltdown in the middle of the store floor.  My typical response is to just look at the nearest gawker and sing-song say “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” in my most sarcastic tone possible with a fake smile plastered on my face. This usually stops them from staring as they slowly back away in fear that I may snap at any moment.

Crap, even as I write this, I’m realizing I can be a real sarcastic bitch sometimes… even strangers aren’t safe from my wrath.

While all you friends, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family members are out there shopping this holiday season, I want to help you out a bit.  Whether you realize it or not, there are certain gifts that while you may not give two thoughts to, can completely ruin a parent’s life. Between lack of sleep, work, general stress, cabin  fever riddled children, we’re already two steps away from volunteering ourselves to be admitted to the local psychiatric ward. There are a few things that you can help us out with this holiday season. While we appreciate everything you generously give our children, there are certain gifts, that if are received, may result in parents purchasing  a voodoo doll with many, many pins and your face plastered to it.

NUMBER ONE: A Musical Instrument.

Before purchasing this instrument, ask yourself a few questions. Do I know how to play this instrument? Is this something I can teach this child how to play? Am I willing to keep this instrument at my own house for them to “practice” on?  If your answer is not yes to all of these questions, then the answer is undoubtedly NO. DO NOT PURCHASE THIS ITEM.

 

 

The number one offender is a kazoo.  Let’s be real- is there a real purpose to this “instrument”? Can it even be considered an instrument?  I’m telling you, there is no parent on earth who wants to listen to their child play the kazoo one billion times over the course of the day.  The same goes with a harmonica and a recorder; both may just be that last straw to lead mommy to pour herself a shot of straight vodka, prior to 5pm.  Stay far away from these items.

A legit instrument (in my opinion…sorry recorder lovers), possibly may be a drum set or guitar. We have been on the receiving end of both gifts, but only because my husband is into both instruments and willing to teach my kids how to use them.  While it is adorable and sweet to watch my crew get together and “jam”, lets be straight. They’re two and three…. what I am listening to is NOISE. Not music.

drums-2

I dream of a day when they can all come together and actually play one song together, but for right now, they’re just banging away. Now, let’s set the record straight. I am not against children learning musical instruments at all, I encourage it. I just don’t want to be around while they practice. I have zero musical talent and the only thing I have to contribute to my family’s little band is my vocal talents… which could be equivalent to a  cat slowly dying a long and painful death. Do me a favor guys, and practice when I am not home.

NUMBER TWO: A Toy That Does Not Shut Off

I can’t even blame you for this one, because this one is a secret devil toy that does not advertise it’s capability for being obnoxious. There are certain companies that make toys to engage infants with sounds, etc. Once the child looses interest, it waits a certain amount of time and starts up again on its own, in an attempt to engage the child to come back to it and continue playing obnoxious sounds. 

Here is an example of such a toy. I have woken up in the middle of the night to this thing going off by itself, startling me.  When you are already sleep deprived, a toy that “turns itself on” by itself enrages you to the point that you want to act out this scene from Office Space and literally smash it to pieces at 3am in the morning with a baseball bat.
office-space

A word to the wise on these sneaky sucker gifts- make sure there is an OFF BUTTON before purchasing.

NUMBER THREE: Trucks That Make Obnoxious Noises

truck

There is minimal explanation for this toy.  Please just read the description that accompanies it. If it advertises lights and sounds- stay away.  I don’t need my kid pressing the “machine gun” button 8,000 times in a row just for shits and giggles at 6:30am. Just don’t do it.

NUMBER FOUR: Anything that Amplifies Their Voice

My kids would literally LOVE THIS. Just know that if you purchase this- it’s getting sent to your house.  Similar to #1, there’s already enough chaos going on in my house. I don’t need an excuse for my three year old to yell “You’re a Poopy Butt!” in amplified sound. I hear it enough as it is.

NUMBER FIVE: Ridiculous but “Cute” Gifts

 

A piggy bank that makes a fart sound every time you put change in it is just not cool. Furthermore, I may be reading too much into this, but anything phallic, even if it’s meant to be sweet, stay away from. I don’t want to see my child playing with what looks like a dildo, regardless of what it is.

And last but not least…

NUMBER SIX: “Fun” but Potentially  Dangerous Gifts

My sweet mother sent me this text the other day. I could tell she found something and was excited about it. She meant absolutely no harm and thought this was a cool gift.text

In am positive that in her head, she envisioned this fun activity:ice-skatingMy mind immediately went here: ambulance137I was cool with the idea, as long as she was willing to write a blank check to cover the ER Bill.

Bottom line? We are in the age of technology- if you are unsure of what to get someone for the holidays,  ask the parents for an Am azon wish list. You can’t go wrong there. Money is always good, contributions to college funds, and most importantly, it’s important to remember that the sheer fact that YOU are there spending the holidays with them mean more than anything else. They may not remember that coloring book you got them when they were 5 years old, but they’ll remember you being there to help them open it.

And don’t forget… It’s the most wonderful freakin’ time of the year.