Friday, May 18, 2012

To My Favorite

Happy birthday to my favorite person. 

You're the best person I've ever met. I can't believe I'm so lucky that you liked me back. 
I still can't believe anyone is this fun. Or this smart. Or this handsome. Or this thoughtful.
You don't know it, but the world is a better place with you in it.
You certainly make my world brighter. And I'm a better person for having known you.

Here's to the next 50. I'm so excited we get to spend them together.


Your Wife

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fistful of Dookie

Toddler Hipster Says: Shit Happens.

My husband is the one who usually gives our two-year-old daughter a bath. He's clever enough to use the time to practice his guitar. He stands next to the tub with one foot resting on the toilet while he serenades her. I've mentioned that he may be ruining her for any other man.

When I give her a bath, I'm in a big damn hurry. I mean, sure, play play play with the bathtub toys and the bubbles, but as soon as the hair is washed and rinsed — her bath time minutes are numbered. I let her watch the water slowly drain out of the tub until it forms a little cyclone by the drain hole. She puts her finger in it just like I did when I was a kid. I think watching the water drain may be the best part of the bath, myself.

Anyway, bath time is significantly shorter with Mama. Bath time with dad is a leisurely endeavor. Our bathing beauty gets to luxuriate in her bubbles, every one of her bath time friends gets to do multiple laps and many a water ballet. Dad practices through chords and strums his weekly song for his instructor over and over again while my son and I listen from downstairs.

But this time the soothing melody was interrupted by an "Uh oh!"

"Was that an 'Uh oh' you need me?" I called upstairs.

"Yeah. I'm gonna need some help with this," he said rather calmly.

I ran upstairs and immediately noticed we had some brown floaters among the bubbles. And the precious baby girl had a fistful of it.

"Yucky," she said.

I can't say I blame her. Warm water. Soothing music. Anyone would get relaxed. And getting relaxed before you're potty trained is a bit messier than after you're potty trained. I do wonder if her father will play quite so many songs next time? With his germ phobia, I'm surprised he didn't shit his pants.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Fistful of Little Ice Cream Sandwiches

In honor of Mother's Day and my birthday, I'm pulling a blog post from ye olde Myspace days. I believe my son was around three years old at the time and I was a big fat meanie. Happy Mother's Day to all my friends out there who are mean mamas too (on occasion). 

A Fistful of Little Ice Cream Sandwiches

I trotted through the doors of my apartment and out to the parking lot, where my son's father's truck was waiting. I'd just finished working out and was wondering if I'd have Happy Three-Year-Old or I-Hate-Mama-Three-Year-Old waiting for me in the car seat.

I did a little jig outside the car window to try to ensure a positive reception.

I could see his little mouth forming the "O" of a wail through the tinted glass and knew I was screwed. I opened the door.

"Waaah! I. Don't. Want. Ma. Ma!" Big tears rolled down his cheeks as he stretched his arm out towards his father and away from me.

"The Little Mermaid and little ice cream sandwiches!" I blurted.

"Noooo, I want Da..." He paused. "Little ice cream sandwiches?"


"And The Little Mermaid?"

"All this and more, if only you come with the mama," I gestured towards the apartment door as though ushering him into the Magical Kingdom.

"And you cuddle me on the couch?"

"Hells yeah!" I pumped my fist.

(Okay, I might not have said "Hells yeah!") Of course as I picked him up and carried him out of his father's truck (his father never puts his shoes on him), he again wound himself up and wailed as he reached his arms out towards his father.

"Littlemermaidicecreamsandwiches," I whispered in his ear over and over again like a mantra.

Thirty minutes of The Little Mermaid ("Under the Sea!") and one little ice cream sandwich later, with a smattering of hair-strokings and a toddler back rub with mini-baby-karate chops, it was time for bed.

"Five minutes," he waved me off with a pudgy hand.

"No, now."

"I didn't eat my 'nother little ice cream sandwiches!"

Okay, the kid had a solid point. Clearly there was an unfinished little ice cream sandwich on his plate and that's just plain wrong.

"Okay, you can eat the ice cream sandwich but then bed."

"No, I hafta finish watching my movie THEN I can go to bed," he said.

"No, I'm letting you eat the ice cream sandwich out of the kindness of my heart, for which you should say, 'Thank you, Mama,' and then you will go to bed a lucky little boy to have had that little ice cream sandwich." I narrowed my eyes at him.

Suddenly I could hear the theme song to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

"I wanna watch The Little Mermaid!" he took the little ice cream sandwich out of his mouth and slid his hands towards his holster.

"No," I said out of the side of my mouth and rested both of my hands on my hips, my thumbs stroking the handles of my guns.

"Yes!" he cried.

Then the room exploded with gun fire.

If you're not familiar with that sound, ladies and gentlemen, that is the sound of Mama being DONE. I can outdraw a three-year-old any day of the week, my friends.

"How about you go to bed now, with no little ice cream sandwich?" I snapped up the remaining ice cream sandwich and marched it to the freezer.

"But Mama!"

"March," I said. "I'm done with this."

"Ma!" he cried. Now the tears were rolling and he looked paralyzed, shocked and completely ambushed by my gorilla-mama tactics.

He wailed as he took off his pants. He wailed as we turned on the hall light. He wailed as I helped him off with his shirt. And then finally:

"I'm sorry, Mama!" His face was overwrought. He truly looked like a little man who was horrified by his own actions and stricken with grief at the price he would have to pay.

"I'm sorry too. I bet that little ice cream sandwich would have tasted soooooooooo good!" I said and rubbed my belly.

Okay, I'm totally kidding about that last line. I would never say that. What I said was this:

"I know you're sorry, baby. Maybe next time you'll say 'Yes, Mama,' instead of trying to negotiate your own bedtime." I pulled his shirt off and grabbed a pajama top.

"I n-n-n-need a hug!" he said and draped his leaden arms around my shoulders, sobbing. I hugged him and rubbed his back.

"I love you," I said.

"I love you too, Mama." Pause. "Can I have a little ice cream sandwich now?"


"I said 'I'm sorry!'"

"Yeah, but you should have listened to Mama in the first place."

"I'll be nice now, I promise."

"You are nice, I know that. Maybe next time you'll do what I ask and not try to tell me what to do. You know Mama doesn't like it when she has to ask you to do something two or three times."

"I know," he said and sighed.

"So what are you going to do next time Mama asks you to do something?"

"Say 'Yes, Mama.'"

"Smart boy."

"Yeah. I am," he nodded, looking happier again, despite the red-eyes and the wet cheeks. He knew he would live to see another day.

See how easy it is? Listen to Mama and get ice cream sandwiches before bed. No wonder his dad's his favorite. His mama's such a bitch.

*Blows smoke from pistols, returns them to holsters*

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Everything I Learned About Love, I Learned In Moonstruck. And Rehab.

In a pivotal moment in one of my all-time favorite movies, Moonstruck, Ronny Cammareri tells the woman he loves:

Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is, and I didn't know this either, but love don't make things nice -- it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren't here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die. The storybooks are bullshit. Now I want you to come upstairs with me and get in my bed!

Love doesn't make things nice. Love does ruin everything. It complicates everything. The fairy tales only tell us about falling in love, not about staying in love. The staying part is the work. If you're brave, if you take risks, if you're willing to make a complete ass of yourself — make yourself plain and naked with all your faults and weaknesses laid bare for this other person to see — then maybe just maybe you'll last a bit.

But who wants to do any of that?

Why on earth would you make yourself vulnerable to someone with sharp talons and a flesh-tearing beak? We're all capable of tearing each other to bits. Don't give me that, "He would never or she would never" baloney because all really is fair in love and war. One thing for sure is that when your ego is threatened, you're gonna dance. You're gonna float like a butterfly and sting like a mother-effin' bee.

You won't care if it's a girl. You'll punch her in the face.

You won't care if it's Prince Charming. You'll go for his nut sack.

Well, figuratively, at least.

My therapist once told me that conflict brings people closer together. I thought he was completely high off his Freudian pipe. Okay, he didn't have a pipe, but he looked as though he should. I've spent my life running from conflict. I dodge and weave. I duck and cover. I slip out the back, yo.

I remember when my mom went to rehab when I was 12, the counselors assembled us all in a room and asked each one of the kids to role play with one of the alcoholic parents. (This would forever ruin any sort of role play for me.) We each took a turn acting out what we would say to our alcoholic parent if we could say anything.

"What would you say, Mandy? What would you say if you could say anything?"

Standing in the center of a roomful of adult addicts and their children sitting on plastic chairs, I crossed my arms over my chest and shook my head.

"Tell us what you would do, Mandy."

"I would go climb a tree," I said when it was clear they wouldn't bug off. So they had me walk off in the corner and sit in my metaphorical tree. It felt like punishment.

I guess my therapist's point was that if you spend your life sitting in an imaginary tree avoiding conflict, you're never going to get close to anyone. Life is messy here on the ground. You trip. People screw with you. You're clumsy with your words and your actions. You hurt the people you love.

You make a complete donkey of yourself.

You say things you didn't mean.

You interpret their actions through the filter of the past. You don't see anyone for who they really are, but more for what they can do for you or how they make you feel. But that's not love.

Love is messy.

It tears you up.

You've got to get in there and confront it. You've got to cry and let your nose get all snotty. You've got to tell each other when you're hurt and you've got to keep telling each other until you both get it. You keep talking until somebody figures out that you both just want to be loved.

So say something nice. Say you love me still and I'll do the same for you. Wipe my nose and I'll wipe yours even though it's gross. Hug me, even though I'm this ruinous twelve-year-old girl inside who can only fold her arms and walk away. Hang in there because it's 25 years later and I'm finally learning to turn back around, re-enter the circle and speak my mind.

This is another old post from the unpublished vault. I wrote it when I was still dating my now husband. I'm still learning how to speak my mind. We're both still learning that we both just want to be loved. Yep, we're pretty lucky to have found each other.