My Magical Friday

The past few days have been magically wonderful, exhausting, and death defying.

Friday morning, I boarded a school bus with 36 four year olds and went to pick strawberries in the middle of nowhere.

Okay, so it wasn’t the middle of nowhere. Just nowhere I’d ever been before.

And if you’ve never taken a trip with 36 four year olds, I recommend it. You will appreciate your child’s teacher a thousand times over.

And you will also know what herding kittens is like.

We divided into little groups and set out with our strawberry picking preschoolers, and we dug around in that dirt until our hands and knees…and shoes and pants and elbows and noses and behinds…looked like Scarlett O’Hara’s while she sat atop that hill and dug up potatoes.

Little side note: I seriously almost wrote “digged” instead of “dug”. I mean, really.

Caia, who is the biggest strawberry fanatic I know, slyly picked one out of her bag, bit into it. And I looked away, pretending not to see her…because really, she shouldn’t be eating just-picked-unwashed strawberries, right? But it was too cute to tell her to quit, so I let her munch away. But when I peeked back over at her, she had thrown the strawberry under the picnic table.

So I asked, “Why did you throw your strawberry away?”

“It had a worm in it.”

Some lessons just teach themselves, I guess.

A few hours later, I’m in car rider line, with the two younger kiddos dressed up in swimsuits, beach towels and a bag of Goldfish (I mean, what more do you need?) ready to pick up McKenna to head to the pool.

My phone dings. NEW EMAIL!

Since no one ever emails me…okay, except for like Kellogg’s or Old Navy or some other random company wanting my money, i immediately check it. It’s from McKenna’s teacher….and the subject line says “Looping!”

And I almost wet my pants.

Basically, looping means that your child’s class and teacher “loop up” to the next grade together…essentially starting off the school year right where they left off. Everyone knows everyone, the kids are comfortable, the teacher knows the kids and their strengths and weaknesses and little personalities…all around, I think it’s pretty freaking amazing.

The school my kids go to is nothing short of absolutely phenomenal. Seriously. It is everything that I ever hoped for when I had to start thinking about school for my own kids. As a former teacher, I was so afraid of being “that mom”.

You know “that mom”. We ALL know “that mom”.

But at this school, with that staff, I’m just a mom. And I love it.

I call Stephen as I read the email that confirms the subject line.

I’m crying, I’m shaking, I’m speechless.

Okay. Not that speechless.

“She’s looping!! She’s looping!!”

Stephen has no idea what this means. I might as well have called him and said, “Blue monkeys need orange juice!”

When I’m able to explain, he goes silent.

He’s crying too.

These are tears of joy, people.

I know we sound a bit over emotional, but with McKenna being diagnosed with SPD recently, it has opened up a whole new can of worms in her education. The therapy is going great, and her teacher KNOWS her. She helps when we need help, and she has been the best thing that could’ve happened to McKenna this year.

Stephen’s words were, “It’s as though God is walking her step by step through this process of working through her sensory processing issues.”

So basically, I’ve been so elated that I really just want to walk up to everybody and just be all, “My kid gets to keep her teacher next year and it’s a really big deal because this school rocks my face off and we just found out she has this thing called sensory processing disorder and she can be a total wreck sometimes but not at school because her teacher works so well with her and I just thought you should know that. Soooo…”

So McKenna gets in the van and I’m like, “I heard the best news just now.”

And she’s like, “I did too!”

And I’m all, “You go first!”

And she’s all, “My teacher is moving to second grade and my whole class gets to go with her!”

We party a little in the van, and then I nearly cause a collision because I see Jack’s flip flop at the edge of the school parking lot. (That’s an entirely different story altogether.) So I have to stop and get it. You know, it’s a $4.00 Target flip flop, and its definitely worth a rise in the cost of my car insurance if I get rear-ended picking it up.

In my defense, I’m not thinking clearly.

I’ve inhaled too many strawberries AND received priceless news….and overall, my sense of judgment goes out the window when I’m in this state, because THE WORLD IS MY OYSTER AND NOTHING’S GONNA BREAK ME!

Break my tail light and rear bumper, maybe. But not me!

So, we go to the pool and party like it’s 1999. Our friends are there and they each have a buddy to play with, and I have a mommy to talk to, and there’s a bag of Goldfish to fight over.

When pool time is over, we head for home. And, on the curb at the front of our street, is ANOTHER one of my kid’s shoes! This time it’s McKenna’s. And I have absolutely no clue how or why my kids are losing their shoes on the side of the road all over Charleston.

Anyway, one of my heroes, Stacy, is coming over to watch the kiddos while Stephen and I have a….wait for it…date!

Now, I gotta admit I’m skeptical, because he wanted to go bike riding and eat burgers.

I was thinking quiet restaurant and wearing heels.

I hide my disappointment well, though.

Oh whatever. No, I don’t.

But, it’s a date. With no children. No cleaning up after dinner. Or accidentally falling asleep in a kid’s bed.

We ended up on Sullivan’s Island, where the locals (that’s not fair…ONE local) doesn’t take kindly to newbie bike riders crossing Main Street…one of them on her purple bike with a basket, her humongous purse hanging on her arm, and a high pitched squeal coming from her throat while her husband is behind her yelling, “Put your purse in the basket, Annette!”

I think I heard people laughing at me.

Whatever. I KNOW they were laughing at me.

And possibly pointing.

We eat our burgers and fries, and even after the previous incident, he still insists on taking a bike ride.

I indulge him, but I tell him that by NO MEANS am I riding down “Main Street” again, and that I’m pretty sure he’s trying to kill me.

He leads me down the back roads of quiet Sullivan’s Island. Slowly, my grip on the handlebars loosens.

The evening island breeze blowing though my hair, the scent of….some South Carolinian tree or flower or air freshener scenting the air, and passing by houses, I mean large multi-million dollar estates, that I’m staring at in such wonder that I almost careen into the golf carts parked outside next to their mailboxes.

We end up at Fort Moultrie where we park our bikes, walk up to the shoreline, and stand holding hands looking out over the lights of the city, while waves crash against the rocks, and dolphins swim by and wave at us.

Just kidding about the dolphins.

So I misjudged bike riding for a date.

It was fun, relaxing, and we had good chats while we were gawking at the sights of a (rich person) island town.

We make our way back to the car and I ask him how far his little odometer thingie says we’ve gone. I’m thinking we’re rock stars, and we’ve totally blown this out of the water, right?

I think it was, like, three miles.

“So how many calories you think we burned?” I asked.

“Um, like, 40.”

Just like my man to be “tongue in cheek”.

“So, like, enough to justify going to get a doughnut, right?”

And so we….got frozen yogurt instead.

It sounded healthier.

Until I topped it with marshmallow sauce. And caramel cups.

My Day (part 2)

When last we left our heroine frazzled mother of three, she was comforting a 4 year old distraught over being denied the privilege of nuking a hot dog, and a 3 year old running around devoid of underwear. And lunch being served at 10:40 a.m. in order to get the preschooler to school on time. And now, we continue our journey through the rest of  our haphazard day.

So, Caia needs to be at school at 11:45, and at 11:24, I’m shoving (I mean, gently ushering) the two smaller ones into the van. And that’s when I realize that it’s my week to send in something for snacks/crafts.

Have I had all weekend to go out and get it? Yep.

Have I even checked the folder to see what I was supposed to send in? Well, yes. Actually I did.

And how many times have I been to the store or passed a store or thought about going into a store to grab those Oreos?

Okay, scratch that part about thinking about grabbing the Oreos.

But the other stuff, about passing a store, oh yeah. Totally.

It’s as though I read those notes on Fridays and then my mind vaporizes into nothingness by the the time I’ve left the school parking lot. And it doesn’t return to even a semi-coherent state until about….oh, I’d say Wednesday.

So, at 11:24, my gentle ushering turns into “Aaah!!! Hurry!!! We have to go to CVS for Oreos!”

Little tip: if you need the children to move rapidly, don’t use the word Oreos. They immediately stop what they’re doing and become dumbfounded. Mouths hanging open, drooling, and gasping, “Oreos?! Did you say Oreos?! Why are we getting Oreos?! I like Oreos! Can we go get Oreos?! I want Oreos! Did you say OREOS?!”

“For the love of all that is chocolate cookie sandwich filled with white creme filling-y, YES! I said Oreos.”

There’s a CVS right around the corner from us, and even though there’s also a Publix right across from the school, I would rather pay double the price for the convenience of running in and out of a smaller store while wrangling two Oreo-stupor-induced preschoolers.

Now, I’m in a hurry and I pull into the turning lane that heads to the CVS parking lot.

It’s MY turning lane.

And I’m running late.

Suddenly an SUV coming from the other direction barrels into my lane, followed by a small, silver…some sort of car (I’m not big into cars…I just know it was small and silver)…and I honked at the oncoming vehicle. Yes, I laid on my horn and looked down at the individual thinking “I can CRUSH you with my big ole van if I wanted to, but I’m so nice so I’ll just honk at you.”

I honk and look down at Silver Car Fellow, and realize, a SMIDGE too late…

THAT IT’S MY NEIGHBOR.

I’d like to take a moment to stop here and just say, I walked over the next day and apologized to my neighbor. And we had a good chuckle over my “road rage”. In my defense, I was late for dropping Caia off for preschool and dealing with two Oreo-brained preschoolers. And hey, he WAS in my lane. Coming at me HEAD ON. But, we’ll just let bygones be bygones. 

We make it safely to CVS, the 3 year old walking in with no shoes. (He’s got this blister thing going on on the back of his heel and refuses to wear shoes…except today he let me put a sock on that foot to put his shoe on. But the sock could only go on THAT foot. And you just get to a point with kids where you kind of don’t even care if they just have one sock on. As long as the underwear is INSIDE the pants…and even that can be negotiable.)

We book it to the Oreo aisle and I’m thinking we’ll be in and out in three minutes flat.

Only…we were’t.

Did you know that CVS now sells, like, these little mini bottles of Chardonnay and Merlot right at the counter? In case you get up to the register and you’re all, “Totally forgot to get my wine” and all. Anyway I’m pretty sure the gentleman in front of me had downed a few by the time he got to the counter to pay for his purchase. Maybe I was just being over-sensitive to how much time this was taking, and it really wasn’t what seemed like a 10 minute process to put EVERY SINGLE CARD AND RECEIPT back in his wallet while I shifted from foot to foot with a single bag of Oreos and two preschoolers who had eyed (and lifted) a Hershey’s bar.

By this time, I’m all, “Whatever! Bring the chocolate here. But ONE. Just ONE. You can share.”

If we’re getting a second one, it’s totally gonna be all for ME.

Miraculously, we make it to school just in time for me to jerk open the driver’s door, tell Caia “UNBUCKLE AS FAST AS YOU HUMANLY CAN!” (which,of course, ultimately just confuses the heck out of her), and hop out with one foot in and one foot out of my vehicle that I have NOT put into the PARK position.

Let’s just say it’s a good thing that I have quick reflexes.

Or at least I did for that one moment that I needed to yank the car out of DRIVE.

Jack and I make it back home by noon…which was our scheduled playtime with Whitney and Will and Luke, our wonderful neighbors and one of my dearest friends.

The boys play, we chat…it’s a beautiful thing. A nice pause to the earlier madness.

I confess to her that I honked at our neighbor. Whitney laughs and I think, Okay…maybe we can all laugh about this tomorrow. I’d take him some cookies as a peace offering, but the man is diabetic so he might think I was trying to further damage our relationship.

At 2:00, I’ve got to run back home, grab a change of clothes for McKenna, get the girls from school, pick Stephen up at Chick Fil A, and run downtown to McKenna’s therapy session.

Whitney, man…I love that girl, offers to keep Jack for me while we go to therapy, AND offers me a casserole when I get back! She’s pretty much Super Woman in my book.

I run to the school, where my other sweet friend Shawna, offers to take Caia while we go to therapy, and I ALMOST took her up on it, but we were supposed to be learning this whole “brushing” technique (it’s way confusing…I’ll explain later), and I had no idea how long it would take. And I didn’t want to leave her strapped with an extra kid for who knows how long.

And it’s a good thing too, because there was some scheduling snafu, and our therapist wasn’t there, and so they told us to go home and reschedule, and then they told us to wait until 4:00 (which in “doctor time” is really 4:15), and then a DIFFERENT therapist worked with us. But since she had extra time, decided to do a full therapy session with McKenna instead of just teaching us how to brush her. (Yes. BRUSH HER. I’m telling you, it sounds so strange, and I don’t get it, but it works.)

It was 5:30 by the time we made it back to pick up Jack, but we had forgotten to get Stephen’s car at the Chick Fil A parking lot (this is so typical US…but at least we remembered to get Jack). We decided since it was so late already, we might as well just take the kids out for dinner. (Mondays are good “kids eat free” days around here anyway. BONUS!)

The kids want to sit outside at the restaurant, which is good, because they provide us with a full (and LOUD) dinner concert, and something similar to a reader’s theatre.

Now, to be honest, I can’t even remember who got baths or who didn’t or what time we even made it into bed at this point, but I think there was still homework involved in there somewhere.

Honestly after 5 p.m. each day, it all becomes a blur. I consider it sort of a self-preservation task so that I don’t remember the trauma from one night to the next.

Cause it’s not always fun.

Okay…it’s rarely “fun”. Or even “tolerable”.

I’m kidding. Kind of.

Each kid requires a snuggle, or a story, or a back scratch, or a youtube video of Carter Beauford drumming.

And, more often than not, I fall asleep in someone’s bed at some point.

Because I’m just so dern tired.

And I always think, Maybe tomorrow I can squeeze in a nap somewhere.

It’s sort of my own little running joke I have with myself. “Maybe I’ll get a nap tomorrow. Oh…ha. ha. HAA.”

I warned you about my obsession with naps. Or rather, the “idea” of them.

I promise to keep it to a minimum from now on.

And thus concludes the epic novel (okay, maybe not epic…tragic comedy, maybe?) of My Day.

The End.

Sort of…

 

My Day (Part 1)

The alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. 

I stretched out of bed and headed straight for the shower. I got dressed, hair done, and makeup on before the kids were awake.

I made my way to the kitchen where I whipped up pancakes and eggs and had the first grader’s lunch packed by the time she made it downstairs.

The rest of the morning went like clockwork, almost to the minute of the schedule that I had created and printed out and hung on the fridge, so everyone would know when they should be where.

THE ABOVE STORY IS A COMPLETE WORK OF FICTION. OR YOU COULD SIMPLY CALL IT “A LOAD OF NONSENSE”.

The honest to goodness truth is, that’s how I envision my mornings going. And since the beginning of the school year, I have set my alarm for 5:30 a.m., thinking the same thing every night. “Tomorrow, I’m totally gonna get up when that thing goes off and get my tail in gear.”

And every morning, when that alarm rudely interrupts my slumber with, what I feel like, is its thunderously overwhelming and incredibly obnoxious noise, I pick it up. And slide the button to OFF.

And every morning, I think the same thing. “Five minutes just to stretch myself to consciousness…then I’ll be up and at ’em.”

And every morning, it’s 6:15 a.m. when I drag my groggy eyed self and the 7 year old (who has actually awoken to the sound of her alarm) with me to the kitchen. And she’s complaining the whole way.

Inside, I’m doing my own grumbling. Okay…so sometimes I verbalize my own grumblings as well.

Let me give you a more accurate picture of how things go around here. What you are about to read are actual events from my day. They will also explain to you why, if you come to my house, you will leave asking yourself, “Um, does she like clean AT ALL?”

At 6:00, my alarm goes off. I reach over and turn it off. (I’ve stopped setting the alarm for 5:30 a.m. It just became a joke.) I’m waiting for Stephen’s back-up alarm, that’s set for 6:15, to kind of pretend like I have the gumption to make it out of bed for the day.

It was another late night for me. I find myself staying up way too late some nights because they are the only quiet hours of the day where I can think without having to tell someone to stop talking.

Also, I deal with a bit of insomnia occasionally. My mind gets on the hamster wheel and I keep thinking of all the junk that needs to be done and how I’m ever going to do it all and did I remember to pay for that field trip yet and when are the library books due and did I put that load of clothes I washed actually INTO the dryer and I’ve got to remember to buy kids toothpaste because Jack refuses to use the “spicy” stuff because he’s got some sore on his tongue and is that even getting ANY better and what about the blister on his heel, maybe I should sneak into his room right now and put a bandaid and some neosporin on it while he’s sleeping since he won’t let me do it while he’s awake and…. Well, I’m sure you get the picture.

I must not have heard Stephen’s back-up alarm, because the next thing I know, he’s nudging me going, “Um, its 6:40.”

NOOOO!!! She has to be in her seat at school at 7:40, and teaching an elephant ballet is easier than getting her moving and going in the morning. And if we get any more tardies this year…

I hurriedly make her change into her uniform (LOVE that her school does uniforms…no fighting over what to wear. And that’s awesome because I’ve got enough to deal with around here without trying to talk her out of wearing that one skirt she insists on that has stripes and a hole in it with the polka dotted shirt with the spaghetti sauce stain down the front.)

I make her go ahead and brush her teeth and tell her I’ll pack a “Breakfast to Go”…like, I’m trying to make it sound all fun and cute. And she’s all, “You want me to eat AFTER I brush my teeth? And in the CAR?”

By this time, the other two are awake and jumping on someone’s bed and singing REALLY REALLY LOUDLY. I’m sure the neighbors can hear and hate us. I knock on the wall downstairs underneath them to get their attention.

“Stop yelling!” I yell.

McKenna stomps up the stairs to, I THOUGHT, brush her teeth. She’s back in 2 minutes.

“Did you brush your teeth?”

“Ugh!” She tromps back upstairs.

I know better than to even ask what she was actually doing up there the first time.

While she’s actually BRUSHING her teeth this time, I hurriedly pack a less than well-rounded lunch. I don’t waste my bread on sandwiches for her anymore. She never eats them. So it’s usually some type of fruit, crackers or pretzels, a granola bar, and something else that’s completely unnecessary and unhealthy. Today it was a doughnut. A Krispy Kreme doughnut.

If I ever decide to go back to working, I’m thinking of becoming a personal nutritionist.

I finally get her out the door, praying against the odds, that she’ll make it there in time, while the younger two dance around me asking to be fed.

I swear I feel like that’s all I do. Feed kids breakfast. Feed kids snack. Feed kids lunch. Feed kids snack. Feed kids dinner. Feed kids snack.

There is a yogurt smoothie spill all over the dining room carpet. Yes, I said carpet. I have no idea WHY ON EARTH this house has carpet in the dining room, but I loathe it.

LOATHE. IT.

There is mild nibbling on the food I have offered them, frozen waffles, yogurt, mandarin oranges and blueberries. Then they spot the Krispy Kreme box.

“Can we have a doughnut?!?!”

I’m too tired. It can’t have any more sugar in it than the waffle and syrup I just tried to offer them.

I don’t think I had finished all the syllables in “Go ahead”, before they had each snatched one and were gone. Out of the kitchen with doughnuts.

The brief thought occurred to me that I should stop them from taking food out of the kitchen. But I am so tired and the thought of scarfing down my bowl of cereal alone sounds so pleasing to me that I rationalize to myself that those too are going to eat every last crumb of those doughnuts anyway, and I’ll just have to vacuum up a few flakes of glazed frosting that have fallen off of each orb of deliciousness.

Glazed frosting.

Orb of deliciousness.

I find energy I didn’t know I had to make my way to the box that cradled those precious things, opened the lid, and my heart sank. None left.

Since I’m already standing again anyway, I take the opportunity to start clearing the table. I hear a huge crash from the stairs.

Two little mischief makers have dumped out the toy box sitting on the stairs. And while I was thinking that it was time to go through it and throw some stuff away anyway, I hadn’t actually planned on doing it TODAY.

Caia pulls out some random squirty toy. A parrot that streams water out of it’s mouth. Does this not seems like a gross idea, toy makers? A spitting parrot water toy?

She screams, “I FOUND IT!!” as though she’s just found the lost city of Atlantis. Immediately, she asks for a bath.

I’m thinking this sounds like a great way for her to spend her time. I start the water, and as it’s filling, remember that the clothes I put in the washer last night never made it to the dryer. I run to go do that, come back to the bathroom to turn off the tub, and find Jack has stripped himself naked and climbed in with her.

Okay, fine. They’ll stay occupied a few minutes. How much damage can they do in the time it takes me to actually get dressed?

Bwahahaha. Ha. Ha.

I decide against a full shower since I had taken a bath last night, so I pull my hair into what I call “The Charleston Summer Look” (a twisted, half falling out ponytail).

At some point, Jack had asked for a squirty toy, so I find a water gun somewhere.

WHAT WAS I THINKING? Clearly, I’m still groggy from having stayed up too late.

I go to my bedroom to iron my pants and insane preschool laughter erupts.

You know those coffee artists that can make swirly little designs in your latte? Pictures of flowers and circle-y little patterns? Well, a three year old with a machine-gun powered water gun can do that too.

TO. YOUR. CEILING.

I finally get dressed and get my makeup on when I take a shot to the rear with the water-loaded uzi.

This prompts me that it is now, in fact, time to have some children remove themselves from the tub.

This brings on what turns into a 45 minute screaming fit from the 3 year old (tired much, son? or hopped up on sugar from the doughnut your psycho mother gave you for breakfast?)

I drain the tub and leave him screaming in it while I go to put a load of clothes in the washer. I realize the 4 year old is still naked (this child has ZERO modesty. NONE. We totally have to work on this…). I wrangle her into her uniform, and finally make it to put the clothes in the washer.

I return to Screaming Boy in the Tub, who’s cold by now and that’s motivation to finally exit the tub. I wrap him in a towel and carry him to the couch.

“I wanna snuggle,” he says through sniffles.

How do you resist that?

Well, you just don’t.

But first you clean up another dumped toy box that the four year old has gone through.

We settle in to watch TV. It’s only 9:45, and I’m completely exhausted…and remember, I said I had stayed up far too late…so I drift in and out of consciousness between the two preschoolers on the couch for the next 45 minutes. That’s when I “come to” and realize that I’m 10 minutes off track to get Caia’s lunch made before I have to take her to preschool. (Yes, she has to eat lunch at 10:30 in order to get fed before we have to leave.)

What follows is a crying fit, albeit brief, over why I didn’t let the 4 year old microwave the hot dogs, and me chasing Jack around trying to get him to put his underwear back on.

TO BE CONTINUED…

I‘ll have to leave the story hanging there until tomorrow.

You see, it’s already 11:30 p.m., and I really have to be a little more awake tomorrow than I was today or I could accidentally hurt someone. Like when I hopped out of my car at preschool drop-off to rush Caia to her teacher and realized as I STEP OUT OF THE VEHICLE that it’s most certainly not in park and…well, I won’t say I’m exactly “careening” toward the back of the school bus (already empty of kids, so it’s not AS BAD as it sounds. Sort of.), but I was definitely rolling in my van with one foot in and the other out, half running, half hopping to keep up with it while I scramble to put it in park.

Oh yes, people. This is my life.

And this is also why I fantasize about naps.

I talk about naps a lot.

Don’t expect that to change…

 

 

 

 

Things No One Mentioned About Being a Mom…and How I (Kind of) Dealt With It All

There were so many things about being a mommy that, before I was a mommy, made so much sense to me. There were, like, 90 gazillion things that I was excited about, and I had this perfect image in my head of how I was going to look and act and carry myself when that sweet little bundle of joy came into this world.

If you’re a mom, you’re laughing.

If you’re not, I’m sorry. I may be about to burst your bubble. So, like, maybe you shouldn’t read this. I don’t want to be the cause for women no longer wishing to procreate.

Now, first off, let me say…I love my kids. Oh, I really, really do. I’ll go all ninja on you if you try to hurt them or make fun of them or slight them in any way.

I pray for them. I want the best for each of them. And I ask God to show me how to encourage their individual little personalities, how to find time to spend one on one with each of them, and how to love on them in the way that is best suited for their unique tiny selves.

But, I gotta be honest. Motherhood was more painful than I thought it would be.

And I’m not just talking about the physical birth part of it. Although that’s pretty much like dying, right there.

By the way, I have given birth three times. The first time, I did not have an epidural. And thusly, since no trophy was awarded (and I had nightmares for months after that that I was giving birth all natural again), I opted for the epidural the next go round. In fact, I BEGGED for the epidural, and in my delirium, may have asked if they could just send the anesthesiologist down to the parking lot to meet me.

I totally thought that I would be back in my pre-preggo jeans at 6 weeks postpartum.

Now I’m not knocking any of you who were…in fact, I say, good for you.

Goobers.

Oh, I’m kidding.

Please just don’t tell me you were sporting your size 2 while your baby was still in a size 1 diaper, and we’ll still be friends.

Again, I’m kidding.

You’ll learn to recognize my (poor) sense of humor as I blog on. :)

Anyway, I can still clearly describe the picture I had in my head of how I was gonna rock it out as Super Mom, and people were going to be wowed and awed by my amazingness. And they would all say, “You’re such a natural! Motherhood looks so great on you!”

What motherhood looked like was a bleary-eyed, makeup-less, maternity-jean wearing for way longer than I’d like to tell you about, ponytailed (And not the cute ponytail either. This was more like if I’d thrown up my hair while riding on a roller coaster. Upside down.), wearing my husband’s baggiest t-shirts, and wondering when the last time I’d brushed my teeth was.

I was a wreck, people. A sloppy wreck.

I have one patient husband, that’s all I’m going to say.

I remember thinking, “I’m not going to turn on the TV because I don’t want the baby to grow up surrounded by external noise and stimulation. I’ll read her books.”

Fast forward to today, where to find 15 minutes of quiet, I’m all…”So…who wants to watch Phineas and Ferb?!”

Oh…and here’s the clincher. That child, even with me thinking I was taking all the wonderful precautions to keep her brain stimulated and not filled with distraction, to provide her with every opportunity I could for movement and play…never once putting her in a playpen (or “baby prison” as I arrogantly referred to them)…even for all of THAT…

…the child STILL ended up with a sensory disorder.

See, people? There are some things you just can’t define. Some things you just can’t create or not NOT create.

Some things, God just says, “And this is what I have given you. Let me guide you in this and show you how much you need ME.”

There were so many things that I just was not prepared for. And I wonder, if perhaps, a little seed of that…I don’t know, anger?, at what I couldn’t see coming, was what brought on some of the depression that I was headed for.

No one told me that, sometimes, babies can projectile vomit nearly halfway across the room. Or that you should leave them naked until RIGHT BEFORE you walk out the door for church, because they’re just gonna ruin that outfit. And yours.

I never knew that I would be given a baby who hated sleep. I freaking LOVE sleep. I thrive on SLEEP.

What’s the one gift you could give me right now that I would eternally be grateful for?

A long, uninterrupted NAP.

But like, I got this kid who really didn’t know what those were.

And let’s not debate sleep training and schedules and co-sleeping and Ferberizing and all that junk.

Some babies just DO what some babies DO.

No one told me that.

So I read 14,001 books that didn’t help me at all. Wasted my time when I could’ve been reading some Nicholas Sparks or something.

When the second baby came along, no one told me about reflux.

Caia had the painful, PAINFUL (like, painful for everyone AROUND her) kind of reflux. Not just, “Ooh. Your baby spit up.” (which, by the way, why do people say this? Like I’m not gonna notice? Or like she might decompose right there if I don’t clean it up in two seconds?)

Caia’s rounds with reflux and McKenna being age 2, was a combination close to some form of torture, I’m sure. I would spend hours upon hours trying to get Caia to stop crying while Kenni watched The Wiggles. And Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. And HigglyTown Heroes.

I can remember praying, “Dear Lord, please replace the years the Disney Channel has eaten…”

I spiraled fast into a deep depression during that phase. That I left hidden and untreated. I told no one. Except my husband…who clearly knew something was wrong.

No one talked to me about postpartum depression. No one asked me if I was okay. Not even the doctor at my 6 week checkup. Instead, he wanted to know if there was a possibility I could be pregnant again. It’s a good thing I didn’t have my shoes on, because I totally would’ve thrown one at his head.

I remember Stephen going out of town for an overnight trip as part of a worship team retreat when Caia was about 5 weeks old. I was exhausted, I was barely eating (I only had time to feed the two little people I was trying to keep alive…it seemed that’s all I had time for), and my nerves were shot by the time the day was over and I should’ve been crawling into a nice snuggly bed.

Caia was still screaming. After hours of intermittent crying, she had finally just lurched into full-on screams. Screams of pain that I (at the time) didn’t know how to stop.

I was angry. Angry that Stephen was on this trip (he really didn’t have a choice about whether to go, but at the time, that didn’t matter), angry that I was such a horrible mother that I couldn’t figure out how to get my own child to calm down, and just in general, really ticked off that no one was there to help me.

It was me. All alone. With a sassy two year old, a screaming newborn, and a raging sea of postpartum hormones.

The perfect storm.

I walked into our bathroom, which was divided into two parts. The toilet was in the back part behind it’s own little door. I walked in there, screamed my head off, pounded the walls, and picked up the bathroom scale and just flung it as hard as I could.

Please. I’m not normally that violent. No need for an intervention or anything.

Oh and I got my paybacks for breaking our $75 scale, by the way.

Two months later,I went to the doctor for what I thought was a recurring ear infection.

Um, yeah, so they, like, found a piece of plastic lodged in my ear canal.

A piece of plastic…from. the. scale.

It was as though God said, “Uh huh. See? Now let’s behave.”

As I think back through the last seven years that I’ve spent as a parent, I always feel that doubt, that fear that creeps in that says, “Well, you’ve messed them up. You’ve damaged them.”

There are those moments that I suppose every mother goes through that leave you feeling like you’ve done the worst job in the world with parenting these little beings, and you wonder why God allowed you to be a mother to begin with. The thought runs through your mind that, leaving them with the chimpanzees and Jane Goodall might have been a better option than giving them YOU as their mother.

No one warns you about these things when you’re basking in your pregnancy glow (or retching 15 times a day over the side of the toilet like I did). No one wants to ruin a perfectly good baby shower while you’re unwrapping scads of baby paraphernalia (half of which you find out within the first week you’ll never need anyway), that you are going to doubt yourself. That you are going to wonder if you’ve done anything right, apart from feeding them.

And even THAT you’ll battle with. “Did I feed them enough whole grains, fruits, veggies, omega 3s, dairy, soy, too much dairy, too much soy, protein, preservative-additive-dye free foods?”

Until the day comes when you’re shoving a bag of Cheetos and a Sprite at your seven year old while you shoo them into van late for some sort of something you really didn’t have time for in your schedule anyway, and telling them “Here’s lunch!”

Of course, you’re vowing to yourself that you’ll make up for it by serving them a nutritiously well-rounded meal for dinner.

But then you get home late, and it’s all “What kind of cereal do you want?”

No one warned me that almost daily I’d think, “Well, I blew that one.”

I don’t think I had anyone tell me that there would be days where if you simply make it out of the house with ALL of the children and don’t forget one who’s lurking too long in the bathroom, that you could consider that a good…no, a GREAT…day.

I wasn’t prepared for Sensory Processing Disorder. I didn’t even know what that MEANT. I wasn’t prepared to have to rethink almost everything I thought about how to discipline my child or structure her day or help her learn self-soothing techniques, like brushing (whaaaaaat?), when she needs to be calmed down.

The thought never crossed my mind that the minute I cleaned up one mess from one kid, another kid would be lurking just around the corner making another mess. (Today it was shredded construction paper in one room from one kid, and a commode full of toilet paper with a toilet brush all swirled up in a web of toilet paper from another.)

I didn’t realize that people at Target would come to recognize me. Oh yeah, I’m totally famous there.

As the mom with “the boy who threw that tantrum that one time…or two…or pee peed in aisle”.

I never thought I’d have to bribe a child to put on their underwear and not walk around naked.

No one told me about the refined baby art of “poop-painting”, or running into Walmart in the middle of an outing because the newborn just blew out their diaper, literally, and ruined YET ANOTHER outfit.

No one told me baby poop was so hard to get out of onesies.

I am thankful that God says His mercies are new every morning, because several nights a week, I go to bed thinking…”Well, that didn’t go so great today. One of these days, I’m gonna get it together. And manage to shower and brush my teeth every day too.”

But there ARE the little shining moments that God gives us. And sometimes, if we’re not careful, we miss them.

Tonight, as I snuggled my sweet and sensitive and tender-hearted middle child, I kissed her nose. She said to me, “You love me so much. Like, all the way up to God!”

“You’re right! I do!” I responded. “And He loves you too! And He made you just perfect!”

“He made you perfect too, Mommy.”

My heart melted. Maybe, I’ve got this. Maybe I’m doing okay. Maybe, no one (else) will need therapy in this house.

And then, just as softly as she told me how perfect I was, she breathed out…

“Well….except for when you’re mean. Cause, then you’re not perfect.”

Well, thank you, child.

Thank you for keeping me humble.

 

 

 

Untitled…No, Seriously. I Couldn’t Think of a Title.

The following is an email I sent to my sweet, beloved Stephen when he asked me to send him some ideas of things that I like as he continues to revamp the look of my blog.

 

As you can tell, I got a little carried away in my descriptions, and I realized (when I couldn’t stop writing) that I’ve missed blogging so so much.

 

We decided that, with a little editing, this would be a decent “first post back”. It goes into a little bit of a description of me and with some juicy tidbits about just exactly where I’ve been…without revealing too much, of course. I’ve got to keep all three of you readers coming back for more, right? I can’t divulge everything that I’ve got in one post. Surely, you get that.

 

The bold print is my original email to Stephen. The italicized stuff, I added just for you guys.

 

Chocolate. I really, really like…no, I LOVE chocolate. Sometimes, I have a hidden stash that the children don’t know about that I hide in the corner and eat when they stress me out. In fact, just today I grabbed a handful, and was headed to my bedroom to eat it in silence, but I was popping it in my mouth before I actually closed the door. And so the three year old is on my heels, “What’s that? I want some!” I swear he could be trained as a drug dog or something because that kid can sniff “the good stuff” from three miles away. That sounded weird. We don’t have drugs up in here or anything, just some chocolate…which I guess, in the technical sense, could be considered a drug… Anyway, I blurted out, “It’s medicine!” (see? medicine? drugs?), and shut the door behind me. 

 

Books…cheap books. Like, I have a very difficult time paying publishers list price for ANYTHING. I have a basketful of books by my bed right now that I’m plowing through. I’ve picked them all up for $1 or less at thrift stores and library sales. I think I’m becoming addicted. Is there a support group for this? Can we start one if there’s not?

 

And having said that….

 

I’ve discovered I LOVE thrift shopping…browsing and digging for the treasure. I recently lost 25 pounds and so, while that’s all great and all, it also means that I have to replace my entire wardrobe. Which is also all great and all, but…I need to keep it within a pretty  sensible budget. So, after perusing through Target a bajillion times and deciding that I didn’t want to look like a walking sales ad for the red bullseye (I mean, I love the big T and all, but I don’t think I want to be recognized as the Target girl…), I decided to try my hand at a few consignment stores. I was mildly impressed but still thinking I could find a better deal…so, I hit up Goodwill. Um, HELLO. I just purchased a black Gap skirt for $3.79….and a brand-new shirt with tags still on it for….$3.79! So, I’m sold. 

 

But I like new and pretty junk too, of course. Cause, well, I’m a girl.

 

I like vintage. But not to the point that I want to be all Zooey Deschanel.

 

I like country music and 80s music and…oh, forget the music part. I’m way too eclectic in my taste for that. Kind of all Zooey Deschanel. But not.

 

I like coffee but only if it’s got some really sugary creamer in it. And I don’t care what kind of coffee it is. I’m not a CS. Coffee Snob. SO I guess I’m not really, like, all “trendy” with the whole coffee vibe, where you’ll find me huddled in the corner of the local coffee shop sipping on the latest brew from Eastern Mongolia or wherever (I have three kids. I don’t have time to use the bathroom alone, let alone casually grab a cup of coffee and wile away my time thinking about whales and knitting.)

 

But I am a pillow snob. Don’t mess with my pillow. If I come stay at your house, don’t be offended if I bring my pillow. It’s not you. It’s me. And that’s not some line that I’m throwing…

 

I love makeup and cheap accessories and stationery and being stationary. Naps are beautiful, beautiful things…I don’t see enough of them. But research says we should all nap everyday. If only…

 

I like pens and papers and cards. My husband makes fun of me because I still use a written calendar. There’s just something about writing it down physically. Something about a handwritten note. Now, go mail your mom a card.

 

I love my husband and my kids with all my heart. Although, sitting alone in a book shop or a library or a coffee shop (thinking about whales and knitting and how I can pull off Zooey Deschanel’s bangs) or sifting through the hand me downs of rich ladies at an upscale Goodwill would be okay for a day every week. Every week. A day. Are we agreed on that? :)

 

But seriously…I love that our family is artistic and creative and performers and….we’re unique. I don’t know why God knit us together like that, but I can’t help but think that it’s for something so freaking cool that only He can take the credit for it.

 

We’re loud. We laugh. We have fun. We read books to our kids and teach them about Carter Beauford and Adele and Mo Willems…some of the true greats. If you don’t know who any of those people are, I forgive you. Now, go look them up.

 

We have dinner showtimes (when our nerves can handle it), and I love that I always have a variety of interesting things in my purse. From raisins to crackers to Hot Wheels to Strawberry Shortcake dolls to vacuum cleaner attachments. 

 

I like to write. I love to write. But I never made more than a B on any high school or college paper that I ever turned in for an English class. I think it’s because I write like I think, which doesn’t contain enough commas or contains too many commas and run-on sentences, and an over use of ellipses and hyphens and dashes and semi-colons. 

 

I have a daughter with SPD. It’s part of our life and we’re learning to deal with it.

So there’s that. That SPD thing. SPD stands for Sensory Processing Disorder. We just got this diagnosis about a month and a half ago. We’re just starting therapy. Today was our second trip…loving that therapist! You can be sure that I’ll have plenty to say on this subject as I process what it means for us as a family and for my precious little seven year old. But I’ll say this: I was asked once, “So, is that like a REAL thing?” I don’t know what they meant by that, and I can only assume that it was not intended to be taken as hurtful or mean, but I’ll say this: YES. YES, IT IS A REAL CONDITION. AND YES. SOMETIMES IT’S HARD TO DEAL WITH. FREAKING HARD. BUT WE DEAL WITH IT, EVEN THOUGH WE DON’T ALWAYS DO THINGS RIGHT, WE QUESTION OURSELVES A LOT, AND WE LEARN MORE AND MORE EVERYDAY. 

 

AND WE LOVE HER…NO. MATTER. WHAT.

 

I have three genius kids. Maybe I’m a little biased. Expect grand, sweeping, and exaggerated statements in 3,2,1…McKenna could write you a novel that could compete with anything J.K. Rowling has out there. Caia is our little comedienne performer…she has a million voices and expressions, better than Carol Burnett. And we’re thinking of having Jack audition for Matt Redman’s drummer, like next week.

 

I deal with depression and anxiety. There ya go. Another mini bombshell. And yes, that explains part of my recent disappearance from blogging. But the journey God has brought me through in the past year to face and deal with this “disease” has made me stronger and better for my family. Yes, I’ll have plenty to say on the subject in the future. Because I’m tired of hiding that struggle. And people need to know, especially those that silently suffer as well, that they are not alone and that they don’t have to be embarrassed about it. And that it is not necessarily something that you can just “pray your way out of” or “just have more faith”. Just like SPD, depression is also a very real thing. I’ll come back to this in the future, but one of the songs that I listened to over and over during the darkest part of my walk was The Desert Song by Hillsong. If you haven’t heard it, drop everything and go listen…

This is my prayer in the desert, When all that’s within me feels dry

This is my prayer in my hunger and need, My God is the God who provides…

This is my prayer in the fire, In weakness or trial or pain,

There is a faith proved of more worth than gold, So refine me Lord, through the flame…

 

There’s no real way to segue out of that, so….

 

I love Hoarders (it both motivates me to clean my house and resonates with me deeply because I think I know a few of them) and Newhart and Raising Hope and social media. Sometimes too much.

 

SNL will always be one of my top five shows. Unless they lose Kristen Wiig. And then I’m iffy. 

 

I like bright colors. I like earth tones. I like vintage, farmhouse, 50s housewife. I like contemporary, trendy, neat and simple, state of the art (bathrooms).

 

Basically, I’m a mess.  Or you could just call me eclectic. Doesn’t that sound all cute and quirky and Zooey Deschanel?

 

Actually, the truth is, I know exactly who I am. (Although, eclectic is probably a pretty good adjective.) God has crafted and created me to follow this crazy path and journey that He’s put me on. And although I fall short of where I know I should be a lot of the time, I know that He is constantly working in, on, and through me (that’s a lot of prepositions), but He’s got it covered, I figure.

 

Cheese, cheesecake, libraries, free stuff, I Love Lucy, bubble baths, showers where no one is knocking on the door (I think I’ve had 4 of them since 2005), popping air bubbles in silly putty as a stress releaser, Spotify, Andy Griffith, reading, and I used to love baking (but it takes too long and it’s way too messy and I’ve got enough junk to clean up around here.) I figure I’ll return to baking again someday, but until then, if I have an hour to spare (eh? what’s that?) I’d rather be napping or reading….or napping…

 

I’ve been married 10 years this June to the most amazing, tender-hearted, loyal, God-seeking man I know. He is a worship leader, runs his own web design biz, and his newest role will be, ahem, General Manager of the coming-soon-to-Charleston Sweet Frog premium frozen yogurt shop. (I don’t get paid for promoting that, by the way. Wait…do I?) He’s got more talent in his big toe than I have in my whole…head, but what I love the most about him is his love for Christ and his love for our family. He’s thoughtful and sentimental…and did not propose to me in a McDonald’s parking lot. 

 

And finally…

 

My accomplishments in life include: having successfully (for the most part) potty trained three children, learning how to get rust stains out of toilets with Pepsi, and I have survived two grocery shopping trips with all three kids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day, Annette!

Annette, I love you to pieces.

And it’s time for you to get back to doing what you love doing.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Now get to it!

Mr. Incredible And His Cheese

That right there is Mr. Incredible.

Picture quality=bleh. Subject=18 different degrees of awesome.

That outfit is a Jack Original. And yes, his hat is backwards. And it also, most definitely, a beautiful shade of pink.

He’s super cool and can pull it off like that.

He can sing, play guitar, and can turn ANYTHING into a drum.

He can also share.

Stephen and I were upstairs yesterday when we hear the refrigerator open, a distinct sound of rummaging, and the door shut.

In our house, kids and the refrigerator spell some sort of mess. Pretty much every time.

We hear two year old feet tromping up the stairs. He rounds the corner with three pieces of string cheese in his hands.

Before I can get the phrase, “You don’t need three pieces of cheese and you shouldn’t be digging in the refrigerator anyway” out, he marches up to Stephen and presents him with a stick of cheese.

“Dis is for Daddy.”

He turns to me.

“An dis is for Mommy.”

And then he holds up the last one.

“An DIS is for mine.”

I can hear the collective “awww’s” now.

Not only is Mr. Incredible sweet and sharing, he’s pretty much a math genius, right?

Here’s my take on Little Dude’s thought process: “Alright….Mommy, Daddy, me. That’s three. And if I bring each of them one, I won’t get in trouble for digging around in the fridge.”

Yes. Math whiz.

Language skills? “Dis is for mine”?

Well THAT we’re still working on.

And don’t even get me started on the potty training fail…

Pause

Disclaimer: yes, I know there are typos in this post, but I wrote it on Stephen’s iPad. And I have no idea how to go back in and fix them. Yes, for the wife of a techno-savvy guru, I know nothing. I am okay with this.

This week, I just have the boy.

The girls are in Georgia with their loving Gigi and PawPaw, and I am attempting to recuperate from the endless summer adventures that those lovely little ladies have taken me on.

Can I let you in on a little secret?

I cannot even believe that I’m admitting this publicly….but…

I’m a little surprised at how much I’ve missed them.

Let me just say, those two could give the Dukes of Hazzard a run for their money when it comes to energy.

And the since we don’t have the daily routine of school, us women-folk have been all up in each other’s business. To put it bluntly, I have been looking forward to catching my breath while they are visiting Georgia.

I’ve been thinking of it kind of as my re-set button. I just needed a bit to step back from the constant motion of being a mommy to three little people, so that I could recharge.

And also, to reassess how I can be a better mommy.

I feel like I’ve really fallen short with them lately, and I suppose every mom feels that way at some point or another.

The absence of (some of) the constant activity has been a good resting place for me.

I hope they’re behaving and sleeping well and displaying good manners. So, in general, I’m just hoping they don’t embarrass me or something.

But I do miss my little boogers

I mean, I’m not exactly ready for them to be home just YET, though. :) It’s better that they stay gone a little bit longer, right?

I mean, I’m just now really starting to, um, better understand, um, how to really, um, reach them where they are, right? I need a few more days to really get a better grasp on…something.

Besides, I just bought a tub of spinach dip and bag of tortilla chips. And some chocolate.

I’ve at least got to get all that out of here before they return…

The Tragedy and the Glory of the Balloons

I don’t know what it is about my children and grocery store balloons (remember this post?),  but I’m starting to wish that the food & drug meccas would just stick to the free cookies.

Take note grocery chains, MOMS LIKE THE FREE COOKIES. Offer me a free dose of caffeine while I’m shopping and I can guarantee you my return business.

I had several errands to run yesterday, and since we are now full-on into summer vacation, I had all three little people with me.

Why I saved the grocery store part of the trip for last, I’ll never know. Not my wisest mom moment. But, as usual, just as I was feeling my smuggest “Wow. I totally did this. Fifteen billion errands with three little kids. Rock on and call me Super Mom!”, that’s when they all came undone.

Things had gone (shockingly) well up until this point, actually.

We had hit Target, Walgreens for the Redbox, library drop-off, and then…Publix.

We surfed through aisles, grabbing only the essentials because lunchtime was swiftly approaching and three little people were showing signs of  impending meltdowns.

We made it through the check-out process unscathed.

And then…the oldest noticed the free balloons. She asked for one.

So, I asked the young man bagging our groceries if he could get some for them. He obliged … although, I thought he would have actually finished bagging the groceries before filling them up. But it’s all good because in my high school/college days I worked in a grocery store, so I know how to fill a grocery sack.

Anyway, three balloons later, we’re out the door, and I’m loading the groceries in the van.

And since I’m a total rule-follower, I traipse across the parking lot with that big green “rocket-ship” buggy  (or cart, depending on where you’re from…) to return it.

As I make the hand-off to the employee already at the cart-return, it happens.

You know what I’m going to say, don’t you?

The balloon. The TODDLER’S balloon, the most fragile of all when it comes to balloon-loss, floats upward.

I hear cries of, “My balloon!!! MY BAAAALLLLLOOOOOOONNN!”

I try to make it fun. I start waving like a maniac into the sky yelling, “Oh! Bye Bye, balloon! We’ll see you next time!”

McKenna, the cynic for today, mutters, “We’re never going to see that balloon ever again.”

Alright, smarty. Get in the car.

Then, she redeems herself.

As the whining from the two year old grows louder and louder, and begins to turn into a full-blown wail, I hear her say, “Here, Jack. You can have mine.”

And that blessed little six and a half year old wonder GIVES UP HER BALLOON.

My heart is bursting with pride, the toddler is happy, and McKenna is smiling.

Ah, yes. Life is good.

And then, I hear a knock on the window of the van.

A Publix employee saw Jack’s balloon lift off into the heavens, and BROUGHT US ANOTHER BALLOON!!!

Can we just discuss the awesomeness for a minute?!

And so we all leave Publix happy with our balloons and our groceries and all is right with the world.

I call Stephen to brag on all my little people and their amazing behavior that day.

Little word of advice to all the moms out there: DO NOT EVER, no matter what, EVER CALL SOMEONE TO BRAG ON THE AWESOMENESS OF YOUR KID’S BEHAVIOR. It will come back to bite you. I assure you.

As I’m recounting the events of Balloon Fest ’11, it happens.

McKenna’s balloon, the new one that the Publix employee had just given her, POPS.

And with that pop, EVERYONE comes unglued.

McKenna immediately starts screaming, from the shock of it all, I guess.

And Jack immediately starts screaming, from the shock of the sound of the exploding balloon, I guess.

And Caia has a delayed screaming reaction. I guess she felt left out, what with everyone else losing their marbles and all.

And I start laughing.

Because sometimes, you either laugh or you cry. I chose laughing.

This time, at least.

Eventually, the screaming subsides, I hear sniffles, and then McKenna says, “Mom. Look.”

She’s holding Caia’s balloon, Caia’s smiling, and Jack’s all but comatose in the backseat.

Caia had given McKenna HER balloon.

WHAT?! Who taught these kids such amazing manners?! :)

So…balloons.

It’s the stuff that dreams (and nightmares) are made of.

In this house anyway.

Jack and Caffeine

Caffeine.

It’s how I survive most days without sleepwalking.

Yesterday, I had to stop for gas (moment of silence, please. That was painful.) before I went to get McKenna from school.

After being subjected to what I can only consider flat out robbery at the pump, I went in to grab one of those gas station fountain drinks. Just a 79cent boost of caffeine so that I didn’t fall asleep in car rider line.

Why I went for the 32 ounce, I don’t know. Except for maybe the fact that it was the same price as the 20 ounce, and being the “cost per ounce/gallon/unit/whatever” that I am, I reasoned…well, why not?

Until, I came home, left it unattended for a mere twenty seconds, and turned to see Jack gulping down some Coke Zero.

I have no idea how much he had. But I got a pretty good guess when my child who usually goes to bed around 7:30 was still singing, dancing, playing, and in general, having a REALLY good caffeine-induced time until about 10:30p.m.

Poor child has always been sensitive to caffeine. More than the girls, I think. Even in utero he was a little bit more…”high strung” when it comes to caffeine intake.

I had to endure bi-weekly non-stress tests with him during my pregnancy. And one morning, I stopped for a Starbucks a few hours before.

Who does that, I ask you? Who, knowing they are going to be hooked up to fetal monitors for 30 minutes decides that they’re going to grab a mocha?

I’ll tell you who. Someone who’s so freaking tired of having non-stress tests done, and someone who reasons, “They’re looking to watch his heart rate DROP, not accelerate. A few sips of a latte isn’t going to be a big deal.”

I don’t remember exactly what his typical heart rate was, but I think maybe 160-170ish. But that day we were peaking at 200.

And boy, was he a live wire.

You’re given a little button to push everytime the baby moves while you’re hooked up to this machine that measures they’re heart rate. I don’t think I stopped pushing that little button.

The tech came in, looked at my little print out that monitors the HR and the baby’s activity and gave me one of those “head-tilted-to-the-side-squinty-eyed” looks.

Then she asked me. I KNEW she was going to ask me.

“WHAT did you EAT?”

Ummmm, I think I told her I didn’t EAT anything. But (mumbling and looking away) I MIGHT have had a few sips of a latte.

Her lips pursed. She sighed a big sigh and looked at me.

“Don’t do that again.”

Yes mam.

(Dear ladies who’ve never had a baby before, just know that at SOME point during your pregnancy, you’re going to be reprimanded by a health-care professional for something. Just prepare yourself for that. The end.)

Turns out, Jack is fine. Jack was always fine.

Except for extreme sensitivity to caffeine.

Once, during our breastfeeding season, I drank two Cokes, and ate about 6 of those little brownie bites (aka pieces of heaven).

I could not figure out, for the LIFE of me, cause I’m slow on the uptake sometimes, why that child wouldn’t go to sleep. He wasn’t crying or fussing. Just rolling and squirming and wiggling like a mad man.

And I swear that my little almost-three-month-old baby said the word “Hiiiiii….” to me.

Ask my friend Terri. She was there. She heard it too.

Yep. Jack is like his mom. Sensitive as all get out (“all get out”…isn’t that a great term?) to caffeine.

So, it should not have surprised me that last night, the caffeine-loaded Jack would be jumping on his bed, playing trains and yelling “CHOO! CHOO! ALL ABOARD!”, playing drums and singing, and just having a grand ole time in his room for, literally, HOURS.

Caffeine. It’s a powerful thing.