November 26, 2017

Despite our wiring...

I was at Scarlett's friend's birthday party today and, without Daisy there to keep me running and worrying, I was free to think about random nonsense for a little while. I stood, arms folded, just watching calmly. Scarlett was off bouncing with her friends and I was chatting with other parents who had a bit of freedom themselves. We started discussing how certain things in our lives have changed since having children. Mainly the stress level, the worry factor and the seemingly endless guilt. But also how we try so hard to teach our kids how to be wonderful people... despite their wiring. I know I'm still trying to be a wonderful person despite MY wiring. I'm as stubborn as they come, I hold grudges, I worry about ridiculous things and I over-think overthinking. It's just who I am, love it or leave it.

I will dissect a situation that is months away, study its pieces, agonize over the unchangeable, glue the pieces back into a ball of stress, occasionally chip tiny bits from it whilst trying to fall asleep one night only to inevitably arrive at said situation and have the most pleasantly carefree time ever. All unnecessary pre-worry. And when someone tells me, "Don't worry about it, you can't change it, it is what it is, leave it at that" it actually makes me defiantly-worry. Like I'm going to get some sort of satisfaction by showing you that I can worry and it'll be for a good reason. Complete loon.

As for the guilt thing, I don't know how it happened but shortly after Scarlett was born I just gained a new feeling. Aside from the C-section numbness in my gut I had this lovely pool of guilt that took up space in my brain... or is it in my heart? Tough to tell. I am forever questioning myself. Even with something as magical as Christmastime! I move that damned elf every night to see the awe and wonder in the eyes of my girls each morning and then feel that PIT of guilt because I'm being sneaky and "tricking" them. I felt guilty writing that sentence. It never ends! Guilt for not putting Scarlett in her dance class holiday showcase. Guilt for not letting her go to every birthday party she is invited to. Guilt for not taking her to ride her bike much. Guilt for sending cereal for most of her school lunches. Guilt for buying her the greek yogurt with added sugar. Guilt for not having many new things for Daisy and relying mostly on her big sister's hand-me-downs. Guilt for not having a big birthday party at our home for Daisy because it is in January unlike Scarlett's usual backyard bash in September. Guilt for putting Daisy down for a nap early sometimes because I just need a break. Guilt for not forcing the girls to eat more vegetables and serving lots of eggs and pancake dinners. BLAH!! I'm not having it. If only some  feelings had off switches.

I know I'm not really doing anything wrong. I know it's my wiring. I know I'm giving my one thousand percent every single day for these kids. I try as hard as I possibly can to mold the girls into caring, respectful, well-rounded, well-read people. I worry, I stress, I make pancakes. But I also spend time reading with them every single night. I draw and color with them at our table. I play silly games and make up crafts and answer as many questions as my brain will allow. I teach them about kindness and being grateful and about traditions. I discuss anti-bullying and inclusion on a regular basis. I tell them nobody is perfect and we can't help but to feel what we feel. I do my best. I hope for them to do their best. Despite our wiring our hearts are good. And we continue to walk our path...

November 20, 2017

The madhouse..

I'm currently listening to the sound of my washing machine swishing soapy water around the filthy straps that came out of the high chair just moments ago. I'm simultaneously pondering when the hell I will be able to put away that high chair for good. I mean Daisy is going to be THREE in January. If you try her in a booster seat with no belt she just flat out will not sit still. She gets up and down thirty-nine times while eating a grilled cheese sandwich. I gave it three days last month. Tried it out. She's the kid that just does not listen. I don't mean like, Ohhhh she's so stubborn she just likes to do things her way. I mean like SHE DOES NOT LISTEN. This kid is the definition of defiant. She has been raking her fingers over the television screen for a solid year now. She has been throwing her dish and cup across the table (or the room) when she's finished with every meal and wants the world to know it. She takes sips of milk or water and spits them out into her bowl and makes "potions." The word NO means absolutely nothing to her. She jumps off the couch. She goes near the stove. She touches everything you tell her not to touch because it's super hot and then announces, "that's hot." She constantly pulls away when you hold her hand and you end up hauling her thirty-five pound ass all over town. This child is adorable and sweet and thoughtful and truly caring but she is a MENACE.

I can't help but wonder how the ol' living room Christmas tree scenario is going to play out. "Daisy, don't touch the ornaments!" Crash. Smash. Glass. Tears. Blood.

The funny thing is that we thought LAST YEAR was something to worry about! She wasn't even two yet and while we still did plenty of guiding her away from things and giving her the low down on what's acceptable and what's non negotiable she's completely upped the anti this past year. Every so often Gregg and I will look at each other and say, "I cannot believe she is STILL doing this!"

You can imagine how fun it is when you throw Scarlett into the equation. "NO DAISY!!!!" is on repeat. Scarlett is a bit short in the patience department to begin with so we have a blast most days. I can honestly admit that during the hours of 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm we completely lose our minds, pray loudly for bedtime and come dangerously close to just walking out of this madhouse leaving them to fend for themselves. On a regular basis. It leaves me wondering what life is like in friends' houses. Do they go through the wild animal hours every night? Is everyone with children on the brink of insanity ninety percent of the time? Does your six year old scream at the top of her lungs that your youngest just threw up all over the place and is about to step in it so you go rushing up the stairs because your husband is in the bathroom and you find two tiny dots of puke that only came out because your little one got worked up after the six year old accidentally kicked her in the head? No? Just me? Eyeroll.

It's not very easy, is it? These wacky kids with their crazy ages and stages. It doesn't actually get any easier I hear, it just changes and we change. I've changed an alarming amount since having these two maniacs - definitely for the better - but I'm left wondering just how much more change do I have on the horizon? If this is 40... what will 50 bring?

August 21, 2017

Please tell me your children are wild ...

Okay, just tell me what I need to hear.
Tell me that your kids are absolute loons.
Tell me that nobody listens to you the first six times you tell them to do something.
Tell me that you still get called up every night an hour after bedtime for ridiculous things like, "I heard a noise that sounded like a car" or "I dropped my bookmark."
That they scream both gleefully and frighteningly for the majority of your day.
That you're never quite sure if someone has broken a bone or snatched a toy based on each scream.
Please tell me that your child wears a very hot and uncomfortable gown to bed even after the ninety-seventh time you've explained that it's the very reason why she's sweaty every night.
Tell me that she refuses to believe you but begs to have her hair put up, her fan turned higher and her cool mist humidifier blowing directly at her head.
Tell me that no matter what cup you give your two and a half year old they choose to drop it on the floor, stuff food into its straw and figure out how to shake water from it at every single meal time.
Tell me they also take mouthfuls of said water and spit it into their dish repeatedly.
That your almost six year old child has started stomping when she doesn't get her way. Stomping. Like that classic image of a spoiled brat we've all come to know and loathe.
That she's also started a new form of whining that is ten thousand percent unacceptable.
That you were certain your second child would potty train early and now you realize that she's been using the toilet seventy percent of the time for eight months with no further signs of readiness and that it's most likely your fault because you simply haven't put enough effort into it.
Tell me that watching your child play with others is sometimes excruciating.
That you constantly sit back and think, Didn't I teach her better than that?
That you always thought you could control all of those things when you became a parent one day. That you now realize you can't.
That you have vodka.

Seas can be a bit stormy sometimes. We go through intermittent swells of horror that dissipate into lulls of wonderfulness. The next time the little ones are pissing each other off I have to reach back in my memory for the image of what their faces looked like when they rode their favorite ride together at the fair last week. Because that minute was one of the best minutes I've ever experienced as a parent. Total joy. And joy is something we strive to find daily when really it should be the biggest part of our day every day.

So for all of the crazy, unpleasant moments that seem to multiply and sometimes never end - I wish you more joy-filled moments. Ones that you can brand into your memory to pull out when you are just a millisecond away from losing your shit. Again.

August 6, 2017

Summer ... how times have changed

August, huh? The summer days are just flying on by, aren't they? I can't say I'm sad about it. I'm not a big fan. My days of peaceful beach outings are gone. My solo trips to the Beavertail cliffs with a towel, iPod and water bottle are a distant memory. Now a day at the shore requires a full staff just to carry the gear and another to tackle the kids. I might sit down just long enough to get shit on by a seagull. MIGHT.

But I am enjoying certain elements of the summer. I keep reminding Scarlett of the importance of lazy mornings. Come September it's full time school for thirteen years. Oh, to think of the crusts I'll be cutting off. I've made my school supplies lists and plan to finish that sooner than later. I don't want to be throwing punches over an eight pack of crayons while someone rips the Ticonderogas out of my cart. I'm not one to shop in a crowd. Or to do much else in a crowd for that matter... I need my space. We went to Mystic Aquarium last week and I shuddered as I was touched by every elbow, diaper bag and plush squid. A Pearl Jam concert is pretty much the only acceptable crowd I'll be found in. I'll take a few drunkards scream-singing Rearviewmirror over a family of ten rushing the sting ray tank any day.

My kids are driving me frigging crazy though. I'm finally at that point where I "get it". The glee that moms feel when the initial back-to-school ads are shown in like July. The parents cheering as the first day of school arrives, shoving their kid down the front steps, chucking their lunch bag through the bus window. I never understood it before and always kinda felt like it was harsh but now having gone through a collection of days where I literally yell for what feels like sixty seven hours straight I get it. When I look back on the former me I can't remember yelling more than a handful of times in my life. Aside from fights with my parents as a rude, inconsiderate teen - I don't think I ever yelled. I mean, what the hell would I yell about? If the post office was out of Charlie Brown stamps and I got stuck with the holiday birds? If my neighbor was blasting his shit music in the driveway for hours? If I was stuck in traffic on a bridge for two hours on a Friday evening? Nope. Not yelling over any of that jazz. Now? I steady yell. In fact, I think my regular speaking voice is actually a half yell now. My eyebrows are now stuck in permanent stern-face position. I begin yelling before 7:30 am. It doesn't end until 9 pm some days. It's exhausting being continuously pissed off. There are glorious moments in between where the girls are getting along nicely and actually playing together without bloodshed or when Daisy finally takes a good nap. When Scarlett is helpful and doesn't fight me on every single thing I tell her to do. Those moments are fleeting though. And my boiling point is quickly reached over and over again. It always works best if I separate the girls. They can be excellent when unhindered. Scarlett is too used to getting things her own way and Daisy is just trying to be two. The mix can be devastating. I force them together as much as possible to try to crack the code but sometimes it's best if I just put them in solitary.

I look back on my summer vacations as a child and realize those were truly some of the best times of my life. Playing outside with friends from sunup to sundown. Eight hour days at the beach. Pool swimming followed by lazy cartoon-filled afternoons. Ahhhh... to be a kid again.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go rip a crocodile game out of my kid's hands.

July 24, 2017

My lunacy and my wellness...

It is no secret to those who know me that I have never really been very comfortable in my own skin. I've gone through many, many stages in my life - much like everyone else - but that one thing has always been a constant. Be it among a group of close friends or a group of total strangers it seems I'm forever agonizing over something in my mind while holding a conversation...

Is this shirt clinging to my rolls? Can you see the bra bulge from this angle? Should I sit instead of stand? Can they see my eyebrows sweating or is that just for me to enjoy? My skin looks dry, I should've used a different lotion. Do I take my sunglasses off to seem more approachable? Why do I stand with my arms crossed?! Such a bully pose! Skinny jeans with these thighs - who do I think I am? Can I wear boots in May, is that weird? Why do I buy so many sleeveless tops? I shouldn't even be wearing them with these arms. I have carried the same bag for a solid year, people must think ... 

Stop right there. People must think... People must think WHAT??

I am a lunatic in my mind. Sometimes the lunacy comes out of my mouth but believe it or not I keep it to myself about 92% of the time. When I actually stop to think about what I'm obsessing/worrying about I quickly realize that NOBODY is thinking about any of this shit. Nobody is looking at my skin's moisture level. Not a single soul has noticed that I've carried the same bag for more than twelve months. No one cares a lick if I wear sunglasses or not. Granted, there may be people that have noticed my thick thighs, my un-toned arms and my springtime footwear choice BUT I am quite certain that after their glance they moved on with their life.


I have been this way since I was about nine. That is SUCH a long time to feel like crap about yourself. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I feel ugly and heinous all the time. I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT. I have moments where I feel comfortable/satisfactory. It is important to feel good in what I'm wearing - if I can do that then my day is pretty easy. If I stray and try to wear something that isn't "me" that's where I get into trouble. I think some of that junk stems from my watching episodes of What Not To Wear. I realize that most of what I choose to wear is a no-no. But ya know what? I'm a jeans and t-shirt kinda girl. Put me in a blouse and I want to light shit on fire. I can't conform. I don't want a sensible pant suit. I look like a dumpy snowman in sweaters, I prefer a sweatshirt. I own exactly one pair of "pants" and I've never worn them. I'm pretty sure I can get through the rest of my life wearing what I want rather than what style experts recommend for my "type."

I lost forty pound about two years ago and I still wear oversized clothing. I think that's just so deeply rooted in me but I am working on moving forward. Moving out of my comfort zone is done at a baby snail's pace for certain. I want so badly for my outer appearance to reflect how fit and healthy I finally feel/AM. I'll admit that still looking "out of shape" makes me feel unhappy. I've worked hard but I know I have to work harder. I've recently started a new workout schedule and so far it's a winner. Seeing and feeling results right away makes it so much easier to keep putting in that work. I've continued my clean eating lifestyle for nearly two years now. {Confession: I am addicted to gluten free pretzels but hey, we all have our vices. Wink.}

I'm a work in progress but I can tell you that I've never felt as good as I do now. I'm forty. I WISH I felt this way at fifteen. Or twenty-five. Or thirty-two. It's all about your mindset. When you are truly ready to make that change you go hard. If any of you are feeling stuck in a rut, out of shape, out of breath, out of energy, out of options - please message me and I will let you know how you can take steps to change that. My girl, Joanna aka GetRealGal, can and will help you. I promise you it is easier than you think to make these changes. You start small and you win big. Working on your wellness is always worth it.


July 13, 2017

Have I become a responsible adult?

The lines,
Settling all too comfily into their new habitat - my face.
Oh my God are my eyes actually getting SMALLER?
That's not even possible, is it?!
But in every picture...

I'll try this cream.
Hmm, should I have had a skin care routine in my thirties?
Does everyone?
Does anyone?

Apparently Aveeno isn't cutting it anymore.
I'm drying out like a reed diffuser that you forgot you bought like four years ago
and found it stuck up on a high shelf one day while reaching for the heating pad.
There is no WAY Jenifer Aniston swears by this stuff.
Not falling for it, Jen.

I see the grays. Actually, let's not bullshit ourselves, they're whites.
Not many of them, but they're calling friends lately,
they're having more parties.
Good for them. I never have parties anymore.
Who feels like it?! I clean the bathroom enough.
Too much pressure.
I used to put out a spread at parties.
Today, you come by, you're lucky to find a few pieces of cheddar.
And gluten free pretzels.
Rock star status.

Night life.
Ahhhh, I remember the all-nighters.
Home by 4 am was rare.
No matter the day of the week.
Never stayed home.
Now, when I have night time plans I actually look at my bed differently that morning.
I'll be late tonight, bed... but I'll return. And we'll make up for lost time tomorrow... and the next eight nights.
I spent some great times with my best girls these past two weeks and we were talking about how times have changed.
We used to go out drinking for hours on end, not a glass of water in sight - for DAYS. I drank lemonade and coffee as my non-alcoholic beverages at one point. Now we panic if we don't chase our gray goose with a bottle of Poland Spring. Gotta keep hydrated!

I used to loathe Everybody Loves Raymond. 
I think it made me feel like I was still young and hip.
(Let the record show that I was never hip)
Now I can't get enough of that frigging show. 

I used to wear heels all the time.
I'd be that idiot in the backyard with heels on - trying to get through the grass or gravel without landing on my nose.
Everrrrrrrrryone else in sneakers or flip flops having a blast.
Not me!
Can't let on that I'm 5'1" - This'll fool them! 
Nowadays I actually own "sensible shoes"
And a rain coat.
For a gal who lived in "just a hoodie" for all-weather, all four seasons in New England
a rain coat is pretty huge.
I have a real, live winter coat as well.
This news is a bit lackluster for you all but listen - I didn't even OWN a coat or jacket of any kind
for at least a thirteen or fourteen year stretch. No lie.

Am I really considered a responsible adult now?
Skin care, outerwear, pretzels. 
I mean, I am doing a pretty great job raising two little girls.
I RSVP to everything on time - or at least I think I do or intend to.
I sometimes read the AAA paper that comes in the mail,
that has to count for something.

Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy fun.
I've just become a bit less fun myself.
Becoming a mother has done that -
I'm fun on a kid level now.
Crayons and dress-up fun.
Not so much wandering the streets of Providence at 4 am with no ride home fun. 

In my opinion, I've traded up.

Now about that skin care ...

June 24, 2017

In the quicksand ...

Well, well, well. Here I sit. Back in a very familiar position, though the view has changed some.

The last time I wrote was exactly one month before Daisy was born. After her entrance I made an easy decision to press pause on my blogging. I don't know exactly why. Focus, probably. I felt like I needed every ounce of energy to balance spending quality time with Scarlett while being completely consumed by a newborn. I'm still trying to figure out my balancing act.

When Daisy came into our world we were elated, just the same as we were with Scarlett. Unsure of how the dynamic would change and how we would all adjust, we welcomed her home excitedly. From the day we learned we were having another girl I can't even tell you how happy my heart felt. TWO GIRLS. SISTERS! Sundresses and sandals. Pastel-colored bedrooms! Best friends forever. My mind was always busy with visions of twirling little silly-hearts cartwheeling their way through life together.

It's been very sweet but maybe slightly less poetic.

Most days I look like a dumb octopus cartoon. One "arm" washing dishes, one swiffering the endless dog hair tumbleweeds, one cutting off the crusts, one folding leggings, one paying bills - while another uses a calculator because I still detest numbers and math of any kind, one changing a diaper because I haven't quite figured out how to fully potty train my kid yet and that last one is either filling out paperwork, mailing out a greeting card, writing a shopping list or calling a company regarding something heinous. My mind is absolutely flooded with notes. I leap out of bed at all hours with a startling reminder that has to be written down at that very moment. My counter space which houses my calendar, notepads, mail and various to-do's is overflowing. Did I RSVP? Are we going to that party? Did I mail her birthday card? Bake sale. Fundraiser. When does the car need to be inspected? What time is Daisy's appointment? Summer dance card. Swimming lessons? Coupon expires tomorrow. Where the hell is my state tax refund?! School uniforms. It is never-ending. And I have two children. Some of you have three, four or five. To which I say, "HOW?!" I remain one of the most organized and efficient people that I know and I am sinking like a gummy vitamin in a glass of milk. Oh, Scarlett might be the only one that does that.

I'm not sure if it's a "turning forty" thing. Maybe it is. Maybe brain power is sucked away by each child that you carry and come forty the power that IS left is cut in half. I had an idea for a Mother's Day gift for my grandmother the other day and got all excited and was going to get it ready until I realized that Mother's Day was over a month ago. Not next week. And I've already forgotten the idea. I never have any clue what day of the week it is. Gregg's rotating schedule keeps it interesting. Most days go like this, "Oh hey, Sheri, how did you manage to get to Target without the kids this morning?" My reply, "Oh, Gregg usually has Tuesday mornings off." After an awkward look and pause, "Today is Friday." ............. Eyeroll.

It is what it is, though, right? I mean, who the hell can really balance it all? Who has everything in line, always? Maybe Scarlett's dance teacher. Yeah, she's impressive. She's superhuman. But aside from her I don't think I know anyone who doesn't feel like they are swimming in chaos. I always find myself saying, And I don't even WORK right now!  Like, I can't give myself a break because I don't technically clock in at a job each day. I look at working parents and admire the hell out of them. I can't get everything done and I'm home 75% of the time. How can it be done in less than half of that? On the other hand, I realize that I am with these children and this dog for eighty-nine hours a day. I get about twenty minutes to myself to chug my hot coffee at 6 am and then after the kids go to bed the night is finally mine ... I am asleep by 10:30 most nights. I'm actually cutting into that highly coveted time right this very second so let me go fill my burning eyes with drops, play Words With Friends, slug this last glass of water and maybe watch some Jaws.

Cheers to all who are in the quicksand with me! xoxo