Oh Crap, the Dogs

For those of you that claim to love your pets as much as you did before you had kids, you don't have to lie anymore, they can't hear you. Call me an irresponsible pet owner if you must, but the order of operations at home goes first the tiny humans and then the irritating beasts. Our dogs were our babies before our babies arrived. We posed with them for 2 Christmas card photos before they got bumped to the stamp picture on the envelop-- as trying to make 4 humans and 2 dogs look presentable for a picture is the very definition of herding cats. I cannot tell you how many times we have come up with a plan of action simply to have it end with “oh crap, the dogs…” Your laundry list as a mom is already too long, I don't enjoy doing my dog's laundry too when they decide to eat my kid's crayons and then I have to scrub Mango Tango orange or Electric Lime green poop out of the rug.

Since having children, our beagle is inexcusably fat. She will tolerate any amount of eye gouging or tail pulling if it comes with a bowl of goldfish crackers. She somehow always finds a way to jump on the table after mealtime and yet getting up on the bed is simply too much of an effort and requires a grunt loud enough to wake the house. Last week my kids were finding yet another way to terrorize our pets by trapping them in the bathroom and some 5 hours later we only noticed we were one pet short because my 20 month old looked up from her book to ask, "Where did Lola go?"

The other day my sister in-law texted me that her 90 pound yellow lab got into the garbage again while tracking mud through the living room all while she was attempted to feed her two children under 2 and it read, "Today during nap time I wrote the re-homing Craigslist ad in my head". I responded with "I can send you the draft I already have saved and we could offer a 3 for 1 special."

Even as I'm typing this post, our Cocker Spaniel has been circling under the tunnel my legs are creating between our two couches. I couldn't figure out why and then I realized it's because it must feel like I'm "petting" her. Don't worry Madeleine attempted to ride her for 20 minutes earlier and so she got a lot of additional "pets" today. In between moments of my kids attempting to flop their ears the wrong direction and eat their dog food—having pets and young children is a lot an ice cream sundae with fudge brownies and caramel sauce-- there can be such thing as too much of a good thing.  

Before you send the SPCA over to our home you should know, we actually love our dogs and our girls really love our dogs and if we could figure out a way to safely use our dogs as babysitters like they do with "Nana" the dog in Peter Pan then they would truly be considered "man's best friend".

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Peace Love & Motherhood, B

For every caring, generous, love thy neighbor person in Davis, there is an equally irritating, know-it-all person that will make sure to tell you to put sunscreen on your kids or that your dogs should always be wearing their rabies tags when they are on a leash. This morning my youngest woke up with some sort of bug up her booty because by 7:15 am we were already on tantrum number four. For those of you unfamiliar with a tantrum (you must not have children) in my house it looks like dramatically throwing their bodies on the floor, simultaneously screaming and crying whilst flinging snot everywhere. Her final tantrum occurred because I wouldn’t let her put both of my wedding rings down the drain. Luckily my eldest was keeping it together so I calmly told Madeleine that I needed to take a step away and she could calm down in her crib.

Let me back up and tell you that our air conditioning has gone out completely and we will need to drop $5k on a new unit once the 30 people ahead of us on the waiting list get their units in. So naturally, all our windows were open to let in the cool Delta breeze thankfully we get in the mornings. I decided to take out the trash since a mother’s version of fresh air can only come with the lingering smell of baby poop and last night’s dinner. Standing just outside my front door was a woman I’d never seen before walking her yippy, romper-wearing chihuahuas and here verbatim was our conversation:

Me: “Hello.”

Her: “What’s going on up there?”

Me: “Oh my daughter is having a tantrum, so I am giving her a minute.”

Her: (Shaking her head and her finger at me) “It doesn’t sound ok.”

Me: “No she is fine. I have it under control.”

Her: “It sure doesn’t sound like you do.”

Me: I stood there stunned wearing my “Peace, Love & Motherhood” t-shirt, still gripping the trash bag. “Um. Ok well I will get her in a minute, don’t worry.”

Her: “I’m sure everybody says that.”

Me: Speechless.

It pains me to tell you that last week I lost my beloved friend and mentor who would have been the exact person I’d turn to in situations such as these--where I am being criticized by a complete stranger before I’ve even had my cup of coffee. I immediately walked inside garbage bag still in-hand and began to cry. I cried because I missed my friend, because like all mothers we already feel like we have an impossible task before us and we need cheerleaders, not critics and lastly I cried because my daughter was still screaming upstairs, which suddenly made me feel shameful. My oldest came over to me and asked, “Mommy are you sad?” I told her I was and that someone was rude to mommy and hurt my feelings. She hugged and kissed me and then since we were not filming a made for TV movie about feelings proceeded to root through the trash.

In that moment, I knew exactly what my mentor would tell me to do: ask for help and do something for others. So I picked up my phone and messaged a friend and reached out to my Fit4Mom village asking for support. Here are some of the gems I got in return:

“The general public can be so lovely sometimes. I sat down to get a pedicure yesterday and an older man next to me very rudely told me to be quiet, keep my voice down and talk softly because he was mediating. The only words I had spoken were to the pedicurist to show her where I had rolled my ankle and to please not touch it.”

“You are not alone. Tantrums are so tough. I hate that lady for you.”

“I’m seeing RED right now. If I wasn't on my way to work, I'd be hunting down that awful witch. You did the right thing, you are an incredible mama, and an inspiration to me EVERYDAY. I LOVE YOU.

“Cannot wait to read your revenge blog.”

Besides offering choice expletives there was offers to come over, bring me coffee and hugs, they all, the women that know me and have been alongside me in the trenches, complimented me on being a loving, strong mother. They say it takes a village to raise a child, I highly suggest you don’t mess with mine.

After my morning run with my girls and a playdate with my nieces, I spent nap time making lasagna for our village leader who just had her third baby and decided I better make some extra for my neighbors, just in case someone, like me, was having a rough day.

On any given day, you better believe mothers are doing the very best we can.

On any given day, you better believe mothers are doing the very best we can.

The Lost Art of Childhood

Nothing speaks to me more than the sound of sprinklers on a hot summer day. I get a flash of my childhood with my mouth directly attached to the hose guzzling up the delicious taste of watery pennies. Cut to 2017 and my children are drinking organic milk and water that has been triple filtered by Brita. Since our move to Davis, I’ve relished in the notion that by living here we are giving our children exactly what my husband and I had in spades: a childhood. There are bicycle paths for miles, parks with monkey bars and twisty slides and neighbors with kids who sell lemonade on the corner. In this new age of terror and fear, I fear we are taking from our little ones what is the most important part of being a kid and that is simply-- just being a kid!

While it is tempting to worry and be overly cautious- here are opportunities I promise to give my girls.

I want them to:

Play with the neighborhood kids on a cul-de-sac… (pause for gasp) in the street!

Ride bikes (with helmets) far enough away from us that we can still hear them laughing.

Explore in the backyard by making forts, foraging for worms and getting dirty!

Be naked in the summers while dancing through sprinklers and drinking water directly from the hose.

Watch Disney movies with their little faces one inch from the screen.

Wrestle with their sibling and let them work out disputes when they can.

Every now and again be a hot, sticky, mess!

Climb on a jungle gym, while tangling up limbs and reaching new heights.

Try out for sports and learn what is means to be a good sport.

Swim in the bath tub with cousins, sisters, friends until their hands turn pruney and the water runs out.

 

I look forward to the ways I can help my girls grow up, but most importantly I want them to enjoy this precious time, because before they know it, it will be their turn to watch their own kids just be kids.

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