It’s Official…I am Raising Boys…Stinky…Smelly…BOYS!

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Don’t be fooled by their adorable smiles. They are stinky boys.

As I was carrying a basket full of dirty clothes out of the boys’ room this morning, I smelled something putrid.  I thought to myself: “Did something crawl in here and die?  Did one of them poop and not tell me?  Is there a rotting potato in the bottom of the basket?”

It turns out, that Andrew’s feet smell like vinegar.

It’s happening.  Our little baby boys are now disgusting, smelly, stinky boys.

I knew it would happen one day…but I thought it would be when they were in middle school.  Andrew is only 4!  He bathes regularly.  I make him put on clean underwear and socks each day.  What is happening to the sweet smelling little feet I once put near my face?

I remember being on a school bus as a cheerleader on our way to a basketball game and thinking, dang these guys stink!  In high school, i knew soccer players who would wear the same unwashed underwear for games all season because it was good luck.

I filled a bucket with cold water and grabbed all of the boys’ socks and threw them in.  I filled the bucket with water and dumped a scoop of Oxygen cleaner in.  If you want the name, let me know.  It’s magical.

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Water? OR Pee?

In case you walk into a bathroom used by boys and come upon a puddle, a splash, or drop of liquid, ALWAYS ASSUME IT IS PEE.

I walked into the boys’ bathroom and found what Andrew described as water from his water bottle.  He imageswasn’t fooling me, the boy has no control over that thing he was given.  I immediately assumed it was pee and began cleaning up accordingly.  I didn’t see a water bottle anywhere near his room.

There is nothing more disgusting than a bathroom used by little boys.  The Lambda Chi house at The University of New Mexico would have given the boys’ bathroom a run for its money, but these boys have no control over their bodily excretions. I clean their bathroom from top to bottom EVERY OTHER DAY!  It is amazing how much urine can collect on the walls, floor, cabinets and toilet in that short time.

The mirrors constantly look like someone has smeared mayonnaise all over them.

The sink has clumps of toothpaste hardened to the sides.

I am doing my best to keep up with all of it but I do not have enough time in the day to keep watch ba-supplies1over that bathroom.  Maybe I should set up an attendant station in there and charge them a fee like certain bars did I went to in college.  There was always this smartly dressed over made up woman sitting on a stool in the bathrooms with a collection of toiletries available for a nominal fee.  It was always a very uncomfortable situation for me to encounter, and I never used anything that I recall but I always handed that gal a buck because…who wants to sit in a bathroom at a bar working on tips from drunk chicks?

In the process of raising these boys, I truly hope that I can teach them to appreciate a somewhat clean bathroom.  I don’t think they’ll truly understand the merits of a clean bathroom until they have to impress a future partner.  Most of the guys I came across in my single days did not.  I don’t expect it to be perfect just not disgusting.

Do you have any tips, thoughts or stories about teaching your boys the finer details of bathroom cleanliness?  Post in the comments section below!

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It Wasn’t THAT bad.

I promised a follow up on my mammogram experience, so, here it is.

I had no trepidation leading up to the day.  It was like any other day.  The place that I went made all of the difference.  The staff greeted me pleasantly and the waiting room was filled with women of all ages and ethnicities.  I filled out my history on an iPad, which was nice.  And then I waited for a few minutes until a gal with my file came directly to me and led me into a changing room and then I waited my turn for the dreaded procedure.

Athena, yes, Athena was my tech.  I felt it was apropos because Athena, as you may know, Athena in unknownGreek Mythology is a warrior.  As the Goddess of wisdom, Athena she personified clarity and reason.  We talked a little about the mechanics of the actual procedure and she told me to forget everything I had heard about mammograms.  She reminded me that people who said it was painful were probably in pain already for whatever reason.  Athena was thorough, professional, and kind.

Because of the way I am shaped, she took three images of each side.  And, it wasn’t that bad.  Would I want to have the procedure done daily?  NO.  But yearly?  Absolutely.  I would rather not develop a life threatening disease.

If any of you out there has a fear of this procedure or experience.  Don’t.  Talk to your providers about it and know that it really isn’t horrible.  It will give you peace of mind that you’re doing something for YOUR health.  You deserve it.

A couple of days after my visit, I received a letter in the mail stating that because of my “dense” breast tissue, it difficult to clearly see what was actually there.  In case you didn’t know, 50% of women of my age have what is considered “dense” breast tissue.  What did they do further?  Three more images of my left breast were taken, by requiring me to turn a crank pressing down until I was sufficiently uncomfortable.  Then, the images were analyzed on site by a radiologist who then wanted to do an ultrasound on the dense area.  The result was that with the additional flattening of the tissue, there was nothing seen that looked suspicious.  My options were the following: a biopsy to be 100% certain or watch it for 6 months.  I opted for the latter.  Surgical procedures are never decisions to make lightly.  I’ll go back in 6 months and repeat the process.

 

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2nd Breakfast

This is an observation.  It will not include a recipe. I know.  Surprise!

A recent phenomenon has been observed in my house as of late.  2nd Breakfast.  Have you heard of it?  Experienced it?

At approximately 7:57 am each morning as I am walking out the door, the boys say (and sometimes whine): “Mom, I’m hungry!”

Me: In my head: F@#K!  You just ate breakfast!  We’re walking out the door!  Do you have a tapeworm?

Me: To My Children: Well, we’re walking out the door and you just finished breakfast.

Children: But I am hungry. Can I have a snack?

Me: You’ll have to eat it in the car.  What would you like?

Luckily, they don’t ask for anything complicated, but it is the principle of it all.  We are literally walking out the door, they have just eaten breakfast and they are asking for food!!!

I have also experienced the whiny voices in chorus declare that they are hungry at about 7pm.  “Mom, can I have a snack?”  We just finished dinner and apparently they need even more food?  Are you kidding me?  The best one yet is Andrew will often and the end of dinner ask if he can have a snack before he has even left the table.

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Waiting, Purging and Moving

The holidays have come and gone and the new year is well underway.  As usual, there is a lot going on in theIMG_0024 Frieder household.  After taking the LSAT….TWICE…Yes, TWICE, I finished my application and secured a local friend and attorney to write an additional letter of recommendation and place a call to the admissions office.  So, now I’m waiting….waiting…to see if I’m in or not.  If I didn’t have other things to do in the meantime I think I would drink too much but that isn’t possible because I gave up sugar and alcohol for the month of January (not sure why yet).

Ryan did a mountain bike race over the weekend so I took the opportunity to start packing the house because WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!  We close on the 22nd and I want to be ready to MOVE!!!  In order to start packing, I needed to do some long delayed purging.  It is the usual clothing, toys, random missing pieces to who knows what?, and it IMG_0026feels great!  There are things that I have held onto for no other reason but, I just like x,y,or z.  Though I have gone through boxes of things and repacked them, I may have to have another go at them because I have an unnatural attachment to things like all of the Dave Matthews Band calendars since 1998.  Do I need those? No.  Do I need every Rolling Stone magazine that has an article (since 1995) about DMB? No. Do they do anything for me except take up space? No.  Will Dave and the guys be upset if I don’t keep them?  No. So, why do I keep them?  They sit in a trunk in a closet.  But why can’t I let them go? By the way, if someone can give me a good reason to let them go, I will.  Please leave a comment below.

Hopefully, this house will be our forever home for the next 10 years.  Chase has lived in 6 houses since he was IMG_0025born…6 years ago.  I’d like to be able to stay put in this town and really drop some roots.  I’ve been game for the journey for many years but I’d like to start developing some local relationships and friendships that will be long-term.  Andrew is only 3 and this will be his 4th house.  Oy vey.  Though home is where your loved ones are, I’d like that to be in the same house for awhile.

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Knowing Your Value

A couple of years ago, I read a book called “Knowing Your Value” by Mika IMG_2626Brzezinski.  Mika, I can call her that because I feel like we’re friends, writes about her personal experience of negotiating her worth in the world of journalism on the popular morning political roundtable “Morning Joe.”  She not only talks about the roadblocks that women still face in the workplace but also of how women get in their own way.  She interviews some amazing women about how they have succeeded and failed in promoting themselves in the workplace and, knowing their value.  As I write my personal statement for law school, I find that I need to read this book again.  The tone in which I write is one of justifying the choices I have made and not tooting my own horn.  Deep down, I know my value, but in many ways, we, as women, are conditioned to downplay our accomplishments and blindly subscribe to certain gender roles.

When Ryan (my husband) read my personal statement he said: “I feel like you’re apologizing for the path you have taken, like you’re trying to justify being a stay-at-home-mom.  Honey, you’re a badass and the admissions committee needs to see that you’re a badass!”

Isn’t he the best?

Why do we do this to ourselves?  I started to think about this question and in light of an article in the Washington Post I read recently called “Nurses, Fathers, Teachers, Mothers.  Why do we devalue someone the minute they care for others?”,  solidified the fact that we undervalue ourselves as caregivers.  We mothers are raising these little beings to be independent, upstanding individuals who are one day going to go out into the world on their own and we feel like this isn’t important.  We are the only advocates for these helpless beings in the initial years, yet I feel like I need to write about every single plate spinning in the air so that the law school admission committee will see that I didn’t just sit on the couch for the last 6 years.  We as a society don’t value the benevolent act of caring for someone else, especially when we cut hours at work or even worse, put a career on hold.

I have worked my tail off for the last 6 years growing children, taking care of them and a house, all while trying to stay relevant and get back into “shape.”  There is honor in what many people do in my position.  I’m not done raising my children but I’m done apologizing and making excuses for deciding to stay home with them.

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I’m Not Afraid to Age

I’ll say it:

I’m not afraid to age.

BUT…

I don’t want to get old.

[Read more…]

Lighten Up, Won’t You?

Brotherly love

Brotherly love

Recently, Andrew has been going to bed later and later.  There have been nights in the last week that Chase falls asleep before Andrew does.  This has thrown me for a loop.  I have been extremely irritated at this change in sleeping habits.  Ryan has told me multiple times to relax and not let it bother me so much.  Easier said than done.

This morning, I was driving home from drop off and heard a piece on NPR’s Tucson Spotlight where Dave Barry was interviewed about a column he wrote about how much fun his parents’ generation had and how serious his generation has been about child rearing.  He says that his parents of the “Mad Men” generation had lots of fun while also being parents.  On the other hand, his own “Baby Boomer” generation took parenting so seriously  that it totally consumed them and a lot of the time, and they didn’t have any fun once they became parents.  He said that even though his generation was the sex, drugs and rock and roll generation, once they had children, they stopped all of that and made sure that their children were always happy, never had any obstacles, and never struggled.  During all of this, they as parents were so hyper focused on parenting the right way that they forgot to have fun.

I have to say, I feel that way sometimes.  Parenting is all consuming and not much fun

What you don't see is our children fighting in the background

What you don’t see is our children fighting in the background

sometimes.  I chose to have children so I need to just come to an understanding with myself that I can also have fun in the process.  I need to just lighten up and not let myself become consumed with the drudgery that comes with being a parent.  So, here’s my prescription for lightening up and enjoying the roller coaster ride.

1. If Chase falls asleep before Andrew, it is not a catastrophic event that will make my life miserable.  On the bright side, this too will pass AND, they both sleep through the night most of the time.  It could be a lot worse.

2. The house is never going to look like a spread in Architectural Digest, so accept the fact that it will look like Barney barfed LEGOS, dress up clothes, and coloring books.

3. They will eat when they are hungry and because I don’t keep twinkies, hot fries or slim jims in the house things are going to be ok.  Chase and Andrew do eat a lot of fruit…but it is fruit, not candy, so that’s a start.

4. I will have fun on my own and with Ryan.  We will do our own things and go on date nights and not feel guilty about it.

They talk, they play, they occasionally hug each other.  Chase and Andrew will make it through, hopefully unscathed.  I need to lighten up.

Relax!

Siggy-Q

 

The World is Made for Families of Four

DISCLAIMER: I feel everyone should have the number of kids they feel they can handle and afford.

With that said, I don’t want anymore kids and I wish people would stop looking at my two boys and asking: “Don’t you want to try for a girl?”

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Children aren’t boats, or shoes, or paintings.  They take care, maintenance, money, time, and emotional support.  I can barely handle the two that I have.  Why on earth would I want to add to that?  Why would I want to start over…AGAIN?

“Oh, once you get past two, its not that big of a deal.”  This is a human being we’re talking about right?  So, if I were to add to the mayhem, I would be again telling Chase that we can’t go to place A because “the baby” has to take a nap at 9 am.  And I would have to tell Andrew that he needs to be quiet because “the baby” is napping.

Besides, the world is made for families of four.  My brother wisely said that when I was pregnant with Chase.  He’s right.  If we had another one, here’s the list of things we’d have to add to our lives:

Larger house, with another bedroom

I'm not sure what Andrew is trying to do here.

I’m not sure what Andrew is trying to do here.

Larger car, with room for another child

Another carseat

Another college fund

The list goes on and on.

The fifth wheel would be left out on:

roller coasters

doubles tennis

high speed quad chair lifts

readily available 4 top tables at restaurants

The fifth wheel would have to sleep on a roll-away if there were no other rooms available at hotel.  That’s no life!

I also feel like we’ve been so lucky so far with healthy happy kiddos that I wouldn’t want to take a chance with something going wrong.  My advanced maternal age puts me into the high risk category.  I think our family is doing fine.  I’m ready to move out of the baby stages and ride roller coasters, take surfing lessons, go to movies at the theatre and not worry so much about schedules, nap times and diapers.

I come from a large blended family.  I love the chaos and mayhem that ensue when we all get together.  But, I also love our little family unit.  I like the fact that Ryan and I can each take a child and divide and conquer to get things done.  I have thoroughly enjoyed each stage so far and I look forward to seeing how these lads develop.

Siggy-Q

Another New Beginning

The guilt has already set in and “it” hasn’t even happened.  Today, Andrew

This block of time will help me feel a little more in control:organized.

This block of time will help me feel a little more in control:organized.

will start full days (8:15 am – 3:00 pm) at his school.  So, instead of driving to and from school 3 times, I’ll cut it down to two times.  It will offer me essentially seven uninterrupted hours each day.  From an organizational standpoint, it will be golden.  I will be able to workout and go to the store in addition to have some computer time without having to hop in the car to go get Drew and then do the nap routine and then get started with the ever-long, ever-expanding list of things I need and/or want to do.  Inevitably, the things I want to do get pushed farther and farther down the list to make room for the daily must-do list.

BUT, I already feel guilty about it.  Chase didn’t start full days until he was almost three!  I feel like I am pushing Andrew out the door and that he is going to feel like he is abandoned.  Nevermind the fact that when I do pick him up, he doesn’t want to leave.  He usually looks up from what he’s doing , says: “Hi Mommy!” and goes back to his activity.  And, I have him full time Friday through Monday.  Plus, we have music class on Monday mornings and swim class on Mondays and Wednesdays.  We get quite a bit of one on one time.  It’s not like I’m sending him to boarding school.  Although, sometimes that doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

I know that with this new schedule, I will feel more accomplished and put together because I will be taking advantage of the most productive time of the day for me: 10am-1pm.  It has always been the most creative, focused and productive block of time during my day.  I have a list of things that I’m going to do:

– find a clock fixer

– use Photoshop to watermark pictures for my brother’s website

– write thank you notes from Andrew’s birthday

– start on a list of things to do prior to entering law school:

1. Master bluebooking

2. Familiarize myself with legal writing

3.  Familiarize myself with legal research

4.  Read cases

5.  Brief cases

6.  Outline Cases

7.  Oh, and Study for the LSAT

-organize and file all of our photos

The list goes on and on and on.  There is this weight of unfinished business on my shoulders.  I feel like this is my chance to really get my shite together.  Over the last couple of months I feel like the cliche of taking one step forward and two steps back.  As soon as I feel like I can sit down and get some stuff done, I get sick or the boys get sick and I lose sleep and when Drew is down for a nap, I need to take a nap just to get through the rest of the day.

The list of things I have to do is overwhelming.

The list of things I have to do is overwhelming.

I know he’ll do well, I just can’t help but feel guilty.  Many of my other friends still have their older kiddos doing half days of school.  Their little ones haven’t been out of their care.  I know I can’t compare my reality with theirs but its hard not to judge myself and what I feel is my inability to handle all of the things that come along with parenthood.

We are blessed with the ability to have help, and send the boys to a wonderful school.  In that regard I am very comfortable with the fact that by doing this, I will be a better mom.  I will be more present when I am with Chase and Andrew.  Isn’t that what we all want?

Siggy-Q

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