all images © Meghan Boyer Photography

Friday, September 28, 2012

Control...It's Way Overrated

Do you ever have that moment?  The one where your kid is so well behaved you pat yourself on the back?  Wow, everyone is looking at me.  Watching me.  Thinking I'm the best mom ever!  I rock!  How the hell did this happen?  I've miraculously instilled values and morals.  I should write a book!   Parents everywhere will adore me.  We've made it through the entire grocery store without incident.   No displaced sunglasses, unwrapped candy bars, or dismantled movie displays.   I'm almost there.  Almost to the van.  I could be home in five minutes.  Run, race, sprint.  Don't forget the kids.   Before people figure out the truth.  Then you get to the van and realize...your kid just stole a Push Pop.  My secret is out.  I control nothing.   

So you haul your load of naughties back into the store...while the milk rots.  Eh, it's full of hormones anyway.   Even if only one was naughty, you know the others did something that you just aren't aware of yet.  Or at the very least, they encouraged the little thief.  You require the thieving child to return the candy and apologize.  While all the other shoppers take back their thoughts of you being the best, rocking mom EVER!   I'm sweaty and smelly, cursing the damn sun.  I shouldn't even be allowed around food.  It's unhygienic.  Sun, don't you know it fall?  Yes, FALL.  Damn you sun and humidity.  You suck weather.  I'm better than you.  At least I do what's expected of me.  Sometimes.  Okay, maybe a quarter of the time.  But sun,  you still suck today.  You have control over nothing.  You make me feel better about myself.  Summer, fall, summer, fall.  Make up your damn mind.  You listen like a rock.  Don't feel too bad about it though, I'm used to it sun.  No one listens to me.   You wanna know why kids love rocks?  Because they don't have ears.  They have an excuse.   They don't have to listen.  It's expected.

Running on the trail this morning, wanting to punch the sun in the face for teasing my body into autumn mode just days earlier, the boys were fighting.  Dempsey kicks Grady.  Then calls him bad.  Grady whines, he's calling me bad!  I explain to Grady that he has no control over what other people say, only how he reacts.  Why don't you get this?   Yes,  I know you're three.  I realize this.  Now stop talking to me.  I'm three too.  Plus a lot of years added on.  And I'm not listening.  I love rocks too.

I chased the triple threat at the playground yesterday,  and finally caught up to Lil.   "Where's Grady?"  I asked her.  "I can't control him.  I'm only five."  She responded.  Fair enough.  I'm nearly thirty-five and I can't control him, or the other two for that matter.  Wait, pretend I didn't say that.   I'm fairly certain I'm not supposed to admit that.  But to be honest, I can barely control myself.  Let alone three children.  Eh, control is way overrated.   It took us way too long to figure out why this baby thing kept reoccurring.  But now I know.  And I'm in control of it.  I have it all figured out.  Until the next time. 

So that's how they got here. It's the guy in the middles fault. He is pretty cute right? I just couldn't control myself.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Triple Threat and the Babysitter

Miss Rachael has been our babysitter for five years.  She started with one and ended with three.  I'm sure she has no idea how she got here.  And how this whole mess started.  And why she ever signed up with this family to begin with.  She couldn't have known there would be three.  In three and a half years.  I'm also certain she would never guess an evening of babysitting would end like this:

Text message

Rachael:  Fyi my phones about to die and we are stuck in the bedroom

Me:  Locked in the bathroom?

Rachael:  Grady decided to play with the knobs and then was yelling because finn was going to eat their crackers so I shut the door.  We are locked in the bedroom at least grady is with us

As Sean and I laughed our asses off while driving home tonight, sorry Miss Rachael, we could not figure out how they got locked in the bathroom.  We decided that damn auto correct misinterpreted bathroom for bedroom.  Really, I just misread the text.  We only have one locking bathroom, in the master bedroom, and it locks from the inside.   We have only one locking bedroom, the kids room, and it locks from the outside.  So we can lock the kids in.  Not the babysitter.   The kids had other ideas.  But they misinterpreted too.  And locked themselves in with her.

Oh the triple threat.  They are naughty.  They call each other names.  You're a cheater!  Mooom...Lillian called me a cheeto!  They furniture jump.  And sweat like lambs.  According to Lillian.  One calls his penis a boo boo, mistaking it for diaper rash.  Another sits in the back of the bus, with the naughty kids.  They race across rows of picnic tables until other parents ask me, is he going to fall off of there?  Probably.  Will you take him to the emergency room if he does?  Because I might get arrested.  Or I could take him.  Could I just borrow your ID?   And pretend I'm you?

They tackle each other.  Sometimes with kisses.  Sometimes not.  They smile.  And nod.  Act like they listen.  Pretend I have something important to say.  Like I know what I'm doing.  Then pinch the sibling next to them behind my back. 

I can't even count to three but I'm pretty sure you're out.

They read to each other.  Then hit the listener over the head with the book borrowed from a public library.  I blame the government. 

My tax payer dollars paid for this book and I'm about to whack you over the head with it.  And don't act like I don't have a job, I've been reading to you for four minutes.  That's what I call a J-O-B.

When we arrived home tonight, Finn was barking at us from the front window.  I knew exactly what she was saying, they locked me out of the room without any crackersAnd why the hell am I no longer in any of the family photos?

The family photo outtakes

We don't bother to feed Dempsey, he came equipped with finger food.  Grady has his eyes locked on some poor, unsuspecting person's car keys.

Someone keeps sticking something up mom's butt.  Dempsey continues to starve.  Grady makes his poop face. 

Lillian's left eye is getting tired of being happy.  This is Dempsey's come hither look.  Please take me home with you, Mrs. Photographer.  Grady ignores the family.  Mom pinches Grady.  Look at the damn camera and pretend like you like us.

Dempsey's pissed.  He's had no takers.  Dad separates himself.  He farted.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Money Making Schemes

I think all moms work hard.  Moms with partners, and single moms.  Moms who work outside the home, and those that work within it.  Moms that do both.  There are perks and perhaps I made a mistake moments, to all aspects of  mommy hood.  I stay home.  I have some random other money making schemes that I partake in (all semi legal of course), but I do them from the secrecy of my own home.  In front of the triple threat.  And my husband.  Some days days I secretly send out resumes.  Proficient at ass wiping. And ass kissing.

No matter your mommy status, getting kids out of the house sucks.  You say the same things over and over again, until the sentences don't even make sense anymore.  Brush your butt and wipe your teeth!  No, you can't wear dirty backpacks!  Eat your toothpaste!  Stop listening to me, your brother's the boss!  I've fallen and I can't get up!  Please just let me lie here.  Who said you're too young to walk yourself to school?  Buses are way overrated.  So are sidewalks.  Tell the teacher your father told you to do it.

The bus stop.  I am birth control for every parent that is unlucky enough to witness the debauchery of the triple threat at the bus stop.  The bus stops at the top of our neighborhood, it's a bit of a walk to get there.  It never arrives at the scheduled time.  It's like waiting for the Verizon guy to show up between noon and five.  Every day.  Fifteen minutes feels like an eternity. One of the very first days, Grady had a must release urine now emergency.  I found the nearest tree.  How's that for some early morning entertainment?  All my neighbors get to witness the fact that I don't cut my kids' grapes in half and I feed them popcorn for breakfast.  In the afternoons, the boys fall asleep ten minutes before we have to leave to meet back up with that monstrous, yellow beast.  I thought Lillian would recognize my total unselfishness and undying love for her.  So much so that I forgo her brothers' nap time.   Instead, she questions my wine intake.  "Mom, I saw three wines outside last night.  Were you thirsty?"  It's not my fault the neighbors are chucking their empty wine bottles over the fence.  I think they're mad about the pee emergency.  That damn tree was on it's death bed already.

They may not be wearing underwear...but the important stuff is there.

I know why kids need to go to school, they require successful teaching moments.   My teaching moments aren't turning out quite how the manual said they would.  Oh, you didn't get the manual?  Don't worry, it sucks.  I'm burning mine.   A few months ago we started Lillian with a chore chart.  She gets stickers for each chore she completes and a quarter for each sticker at the end of the week.  She's been saving for a CuddleUppet.  It's a blanket, with a puppet head attached.  There are various ugly animals to choose from.  The CuddleUppet arrived.  That day, I asked Lil to do a specific chore.  Her response?  "I don't want to do chores anymore now that I have my CuddleUppet." 

I told Grady he couldn't have chocolate before bed because it wasn't healthy for his body.  He called me a dork and stomped off to his room. 

At Mass last week, Grady was a hot mess.  We told him no trip to Wawa for freezies.  I said we could try again next Sunday.  His solution?  "Let's just not go to church again." 

I teach Grady not to stick his fingers in his butt to scratch a mosquito bite, instead he rubs his bitten hiney on the circle time carpet at school.  I tell him not to stick his finger in his crack while he's pooping.  Instead he grabs his penis.  Because according to him, there's no poop on that.  And he says he likes his little penis. We'll see how that all turns out in twenty years. 

At least she's cute. 

I'm sure I bribe my children too much. But without bribery, what sort of marketable skill do I really have to offer?  Apparently, a couple of old ladies on the trail have been checking out my butt.  One told me she thought I had a cute fanny.  Sean thought this was weird.  I thought it was the best compliment ever.  It's a marketable skill.  One that probably leads to a semi illegal money making scheme. 

Unsuccessful teaching moment #5,185.  Don't jump on the furniture, mom will be arrested if we show up in the emergency room again. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Back to School Night Wardrobe Malfunction

Back to school night.  As Sean and I sat in our seats I couldn't believe we were actually there.  It felt surreal.  We are officially parents of a school aged child.  And all that comes with it.  We were bombarded with volunteer forms, PTO officers, school policies, and staff names.  Parents shrieked when certain individuals were introduced.  I thought New Kids on the Block  Mumford and Sons might come on stage at any moment.    I elbowed Sean when I saw the principal.  Lillian told me that he was on vacation.  

The outfits intrigued me.  Moms appeared as though they had either just come from the bar, or were stopping by sometime soon.  I kept my eyes peeled.  I was convinced a wardrobe malfunction was about to happen at any moment.  Sean was sitting at the end of the row and I was next to him.  The seat on the other side of me had a purse on it.  It was a very important purse.  It deserved a special seat.  When a mom friend spotted us, I asked the owner of the special purse if anyone was sitting there.  Purse lady uttered not a word.  Just moved the purse.  Then turned to her special friend and sneered, "Well there goes the seat I saved for Tina."   Tina must have gotten caught up at the bar.  Because she never showed up. 

There were at least six of them.  Three in one row and three behind, with a scattering of saved seats thrown in. A parent clique.  Some moms, some dads.  I couldn't really tell who was with who.  Maybe they were just all together.  Wink wink.  Maybe it was that kind of clique.  They were sharing Altoids.   I shouldn't be so judgemental.   Maybe Tina's pants split, or a boob fell out.  She wasn't really at the bar.  Just went back home to change her clothes.

Lillian's first two weeks of school have been spent in the lunch line.  Prior to the start of school, I set her up with a lunch account.  I barely put any money into it.  Enough for what I thought would be the few times she would buy milk to go with the lunch I packed, or to buy the school lunch.   Instead, she purchases random produce daily.   Lil's second day of school she stepped off the bus with a still full lunch bag.  I asked her what she ate.  An apple.  I didn't pack an apple.  She bought one.  Monday and Tuesday I packed carrots in an adorable, little plastic container.  Lil came home with unopened, prepackaged bags of carrots.  Wednesday, she presented me with two broccoli florets.   Purchased.  Who buys random, raw broccoli florets you might wonder?  Produce hoarders.  Friday, she told me she had forgotten that she brought her lunch.  So she bought one.  Many days I discover unopened milk jugs.  I get the five year old lecture,  "You may want to dump that out.  It's probably yucky.  It's been sitting in my lunch bag all day." 

After the initial back to school night briefing, we were dismissed to our child's classroom.  Following the classroom rotation, parents had the option of viewing a video on harassment.  Necessary to volunteer at the school or chaperone a field trip.  We chose to watch.  Watch the bartender pour us a beer.  At the bar.  Tina was there too.  I told her I thought it was awful that her friends didn't bother to save her a seat.  Then my boob fell out.

Dempsey's wardrobe malfunction
Grady's wardrobe confusion
Lil's secret stash of clothes that may just possibly malfunction

Friday, September 7, 2012

Soccer Mom

When Sean was driving our family off the field after Lil's soccer practice this week, I was thinking.  I was thinking so much, I may have said yes to leaving for Disney World the next day.  To pops for breakfast.  I was thinking  I might be a soccer mom.  Two of my three kids play soccer.  I'm a mom.  Does that mean I'm a soccer mom?  I don't want to be a soccer mom.  Or do I?  Who am I?   Who do I want to be?

I feel like I've changed so much in the five years since Lillian was born.  I was for sure a different mom then, than I am now.  A different woman then, than I am now.  A different wife.  No better.  No worse.  Just different.  More experienced.  I have the grey hairs to show for it.  I do believe Sean has been rubbing his head against mine while I sleep.  Those things jump.  From his head to mine.  That's my theory anyway.  I'm sticking to it.

I've learned to let a lot of things go.  I don't care as much what others think of me.  I do care what those closest to me think.  I want my children to be happy.  I want them to help others.  Care about others.  Share themselves with others.  Be thankful for what they've been blessed with in life.   And know that the things they don't have, aren't as important as the things they do.  The things they don't have, are not as great as they seem.  I want them to know they are loved.  And to love back.  To face every day and every person with a smile.  To laugh.  To cry.  To be angry.  To forgive.  And know  all these feelings are okay.  I want them to say yes to many things.  While also embracing the word no.  Even to me.  Sometimes. 

I want them to work hard.  For everything.  To see Sean and I as an example of that.  I don't want them to have everything.  Nothing means much if you do.  I want them to have things to look forward to.  And  memories to look back on.  I want them to be involved.  Be able to give their all, to all they choose to participate in.  But still have a chance to be a kid.  I want them to choose wisely.

Sean and I agreed that each child would participate in one activity at a time.  It's easy to say that.  Harder to stick with it.  I don't want to spend my time running from one activity to the next.  I don't want all of our conversations to happen with me behind the steering wheel.  I don't want to make a meal, served at five different times, corresponding with each family member's schedule.

I want to spend time with family and friends.  To teach what is important.  And what is not.  To share.  Laughter, boredom, elation, and despair.   Kisses, hugs, cheese puffs, and birthday cake.

Who am I?  A mom.  Wife.  Daughter. Sister.  Friend.  Granddaughter.  Sister-in-law.  Daughter -in-law.  Niece.  Aunt.  Cousin.  Godmother.  Most importantly, I'm just happy.  To be all of these things.  To be me.  And that is who I want to be.  I will not be defined by anyone but myself.   I am not a soccer mom.  I am a mom whose kids enjoy soccer.  For now. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Busy.  Staggered entrances.  Preschool.  Kindergarten.  Cars.  A visit from Uncle Conor.  Meetings.  Orientations.  A boat ride. A trip to the aquarium.  Doctor's appointments.  Soccer practices.  Grady getting naked and peeing on the playground during Lil's soccer practice.  Finding a tick on Grady's balls.  I thought it was poop.  Then it stared at me.  I don't want to talk about it.  Busy.

After last week's incident with the car, Sean and I sat Grady down for a lecture.  He could have been 15, except he was 3.  We explained to him that he may not sneak out of the house...with dad's keys...and start the car.  It is very dangerous.  He may not drive until he is 16.  Grady stared at us.  "Can I talk now?"  He asked.  "Where's my paci?" He is 3 after all.  I told him it was on the kitchen counter.  He scampered down the hall, glanced back and shouted, "and I won't get the keys!"  Liar, liar, pants on fire.

The smirk.  Ha.  I can't drive your car.  This guy let me drive the boat.

I got a lecture from Grady today.  He wanted to go to the toy store.  I told him, "We'll see."  He lectured me.  "Don't see, let's just go, I don't want to talk about it."

All this time, I thought it would be hard to send Lil off to school.  I thought I'd wish she was still home with me.  Then came the staggered entrance.  Your kid goes to school one day, then has off for the next two, while the other kindergartners have their turn.  After day one, I was ready.  Ready for her to go the next two days.  But she couldn't.  I thought about sending her anyway.  Playing dumb.  But then I knew I'd be known as that parent.  The one that doesn't follow directions.  The letter had perfectly explained how the staggered entrance would work.  It also provided the date and time for the parent/child meeting, with the teacher, scheduled before school was to start.

I always follow directions.  I write everything down on a calendar, and save important papers.  So I was surprised, when at our meeting, I was handed a package of microwave popcorn with a note attached,  Thanks for popping in.  It was adorable.  "This is from 'Sneak a Peek at your Seat'", Mrs. M told me.  What?  I missed something already?  School hasn't even started yet.  What is going on here?  I've been trying so hard.  I really want to do well in Kindergarten.  I swear I'm trying.  I even went to three different stores to find a primary lined composition notebook.  And I bought four while we were there.  Even though you only asked for one.  Does this mean I have to miss recess?  Because I really love the monkey bars.  See, I even wore my sneakers today.  And I tied them all by myself.  Okay, I admit, we did skip Grady's preschool orientation.  On purpose.  Because I already passed preschool the first time around.

This past Tuesday was Lillian's first day of Kindergarten, with the entire class. It was also Grady's staggered entrance day for 3 year old preschool. Seriously. This is really confusing. Starting next week, Grady will go two days a week, for a couple of hours each day.  But I have to wait for next week.  Because this week is lets see if we can make mom even crazier than she already is week.   I don't want to talk about it. 

Grady's first day.

Days after his lecture, Grady shouted to Sean through the closed bathroom door.  He was tired of waiting for Sean to emerge.  Lillian says that daddies take forever in the bathroom.  Personally, I've decided they are checking their balls for ticks.   "Dad...Can I go for a ride in your car?" Grady asked.   I hear Sean shout "NO."  Grady turned to me, "Mom...he said yes."   Liar, liar, pants on fire.  I'm flushing the keys with the ticks.  And I don't want to talk about it.  The balls, ticks, or the keys.  I'm busy.

Uncle Conor came to visit.  He gave me some tips on Kindergarten.

Who needs another beer?  Oh. Me. Me. Pick me.