August 28, 2012

Our last attempt at Ask A Toddler

I'm sorry to say, there will be no more "Ask a Toddler" posts.  Well, maybe someday when RH is a toddler.  First of all because my toddlers are about to be pre-schoolers.  But secondly, because we just can't sit down for an interview anymore.

It goes something like this:

And then, like this:


This is why I can't do funny things for you.  But I try.

We'll see if we can make this happen again in a fifteen months or so.  But keep your eyes open for our new, upcoming series, "What Did You Do In Preschool Today?"

I anticipate it being informative.  :)

August 27, 2012

Future Blackmail Material

Once in a while, your kid does or says something, and other people laugh.

And once in a while, they are laughing at you.

It's nothing personal, really, it's just that... well...

You have been made ridiculous.  And it is your child who, in the course of making themselves ridiculous, made you ridiculous as well.

But once in a while, thanks to the miracles of modern technology, revenge can be yours.

Once in a while, you manage to get that moment where all the other parents are laughing at you on video.

Once in a while, you find yourself in possession of THE THING that will humiliate your child for the rest of her natural life.  That thing that you can pull out at her wedding, or her bat mitzvah, or for the first boy she brings home to meet the folks.  Once in a while you get leverage over your future sort-of-grown child.

And then you can laugh at yourself along with those other parents.  You laugh, because while you might be ridiculous now, marching through the crowd of parents giggling at your misfortune, some day...

Oh someday...

How sweet the revenge will be.


Thank you, Lincoln Park Zoo, for giving me this moment.

I will cherish it always, just before flinching as I remember cleaning off the poo from my ecstatic (and sopping wet) toddler's butt.

August 26, 2012

Sunday Blogaround - 8.26.12

Hello again, my lovely readers!

Time for yet another Blogaround!  Again, I ask that if you see (or write) any posts throughout the week that you think should be featured, let me know!

Honest Conversations"How are the Boys?" - Honest Conversations
I've been there.  You want to be honest, but social conventions being what they are... and then, of course, there's part of you that just doesn't want to admit that you're kind of lost with your own kids.  Parenting is hard, and there's not always the sort of help out there that actually helps.

"Playing Doctor" - The Kopp Girls
Sometimes, kids do hilarious things.  I think we can all enjoy that.  :)

"DISAPPOINTED!" - Short Fat Dictator
Short Fat Dictator describes well the agony of trying to be strong and brave and happy for your children.  I go through this every two to five hours- right before I nurse RH I have a mini panic attack... and pretending that you don't want to run screaming from your own home is hard.

"Fighting the Stereotype that Math is Only for Boys" - Double X Science
I always loved math as a kid.  In fact, I still love math.  I went into the arts because, frankly, of all the things I loved I thought it was coolest.  And I don't remember ever feeling like I was supposed to be worse at math than boys.  But girls do.  And for some reason, we just accept that.  What is wrong with us?

"Abort!" - Robot Eats Ice Cream
I think we all needed this brief moment of humor in our lives this week.  Thanks, to yet another awesome robot-themed blog.

"Wow. That USED to be Sexy." - Motherhood Is Beautiful and Other Lies
An amazingly accurate list.

"Letter" - Good Times Dad
Yes, I shed a tear.  I love this.  I love doting daddies.  I love daddies of little girls.  Yeah, I love my daddy.  And I love my daughters' daddy.  He would totally relate to this- although perhaps the little bit about Everclear would be more descriptive of him replaced with "Foo Fighters."

"Interview with a Three Year Old- x3!" - The Alexander's Hat Trick
I love this idea.  I'll be doing it with the girls in a little over a month.  Plus, until very recently SI would have had the same reaction to the song question.  :)

August 23, 2012

Neminems for Everybody

My adorable terrorists
When I was pregnant with my twins, a lot of people made jokes about the horrors of parenthood.

One of those jokes, one that you hear all the time when you're pregnant, is that you'll never get to go to the bathroom alone again.

Of course that wasn't true.  Of course you get to go to the bathroom alone.  At first, it's even easy to go to the bathroom alone.


Things change.  As your children change, the realities of life with them change as well.  So when you say to a pregnant lady, "You'll never use the toilet alone again!" what you're really saying is, "There is now going to be a window of time in your life, lasting from weeks to years, where you going to the bathroom is the most fascinating thing in your kids' lives and they will not let you keep anything that good to themselves."

In other words, this is a blog post about poo.

There's a lot of interest in poo over here.  My kids are interested in ANYBODY's poo, a potty training side effect I'm sure, and lately M and I have been INCREDIBLY interested in RH's poo.


Because there hasn't been any.

You got that right.  We are now on day five of Poop Watch 2012.

No, she's not constipated.  She's just not pooping.

Yes, I've talked to the pediatrician.

But this is a fairly normal growth spurt.  How do I know?  Because when DD was about three months old, she didn't poop for ten days.

Yeah, ten days.

On the one hand, there's a lot to be said for the poop-free model of infant.  Babies are nice and all of that, but they do poop and scream and puke.  Well, most babies.  Not mine.  Mine is poop-free.

On the other hand, you find yourself just... waiting.

DD freaked me out something fierce when she stopped pooping.  The last day that she pooped was the day that we got in our car accident.  And when you have an infant in the car while your car is totaled on the freeway, any change of behavior seems... ominous.

Not pooping?  Was it some sort of horrible bowel trauma?  Did we have a gremlin that caused our car to spin out on the ice, and then hid itself inside of my infant daughter's colon to cause more mischief?

I doubted it.  But it was possible.

Every day for ten days I called our pediatrician, to inform her that my very cheerful three month old would not poop.

And then... it happened.

We were driving back from Minnesota in Grandpa's car (ours having been totaled on our way TO Minnesota), the last day of the weekend after Christmas.  Traffic was epic.  There was gridlock down the expressway all the way from the Wisconsin border to our front door.

And somewhere around Schomburg, the screaming started in the back seat.

Now, anyone who's had an infant in the dead of winter knows that babies are like petruschka dolls.  There are layers and layers of garments.

First, there's the diaper.
Then there's the onesie or shirt.
Then there's the overalls or crawler.
Then there's the coverall for the crazy cold.
And then there's the car seat.

Ladies and gentlemen, by the time we got home, the poo had seeped all the way through all of those layers to the car seat.  *Barely*.

And, ladies and gentlemen, we were stuck in traffic, unable to either pull over or exit the vehicle for so long that the poor thing was practically cemented in to all of that stuff.

Poor Grandpa.  His Jetta probably still smells like infant excrement.

The passenger side got the worst of it.  I got a concussion.
Aside from that, nobody was harmed.
It was horrible.  I still think back on it as the worst poo I've ever seen.

Well, except for maybe that one time that Poppa put the girls to bed in their pjs without any diaper on, and they were thinly coated in their own feces from their necks to their toes when I got them out bed in the morning... but at least that was fresh.

So, M and I are currently quite fixated on RH's poo.

DD and SI cannot fail to notice this.  The moment RH whines, a big sister chimes in.  "Did her poo?"

"No, I don't think so."

"She did!  She get a neminem!"

And then we all march off to find out that, no, she does not in fact get an m&m.

...but I get m&ms.

As the majority of American parents are probably aware, bribery is essential to potty training children.  Now, SI was basically potty trained in eighteen hours.  But DD has been much MUCH more work.

We've reached the point where, most of the time, she poos in the potty.

And then she watches me put it in the toilet, and we flush it away and wash our hands.

And then she gets an m&m.

Actually, at this point the m&m isn't really important.  It's more the fact that she can jump around and scream for joy and sing and announce to the world that she could have a "neminem."  Because she pooed in the potty.

And everybody poops.

And we have a lot of m&ms in the candy dish.

And that means that now NOBODY is allowed to go to the bathroom without my children present.

Having a potty training kid watch you sit on the toilet is... a unique experience.  She is not content to merely be in the room, no.  She isn't content to merely engage you in conversation about all of the details of your endeavor.  She is not content to merely give you a high five when you're done, and then run screaming through the house telling anybody there that you just did it!  You just pooed in the potty!

No, she wants to see.  They both want to see.

"Mommy!  I want to see you poo in the potty!"
"You can see me from there sweetheart, please just... stay over there."
"Is you pooing mommy?"
"You is!  You is pooing in the potty!  Yay!"
"Yes honey, please... just... stay over there."
"I want to see!  I want to see your poo!"
"When I'm done honey, then you can look in the potty, but... please... not now..."
"Mommy mommy!  Is you doing it?  Is you pooing in the potty?"
"Yay mommy!  High five mommy!  You doing it!"
"Mommy is doing it!  Mommy is pooping in the toy-yet!"
"Mommy gets a neminem!  Mommy gets a neminem!"

And at that point, you give up and weep openly into your hands while your child tries to pry your rear off of the toilet seat and cram her nose practically into your butt crack.

Or, of course, you can close the door and spend a few minutes with two small people screaming and crying and yelling and banging on the door and yelling, "I WANT MOMMY!  WHAT IS YOU DOODING?  IS YOU POOPING?"

But don't you dare answer them, because if you do, you're just going to make it worse.


And if you don't answer them, they run screaming all over your house, terrified that you have disappeared while wailing, "Where is you, Mommy?  I want mommy!  Where is you?  WHERE IS YOU??????"

People don't tell you that when you're pregnant.

And yes, I get a fucking m&m.

So our house is filled with poo-sanity.  From SI's mispronunciation of her favorite bear, "Winnie a Poop," to  DD's bouncing m&m dance, to my attempts at stealth pooping, to RH total lack of poo.

And poor M.  He's just not as graceful when it comes to having the girls watch.  And if *I* have to deal with this shit (pun intended) during the day, he sure has to deal with it after work.

That said, I don't know what's going on in there when they're watching him, but I do know that yesterday DD was trying to cook her penis in the kitchen.

It can't last forever.  By the time these kids hit middle school, even the existence of this blog post will humiliate them beyond remedy.  I hope.

Very happy for somebody who hasn't earned
an m&m in four days.
And in high school. I will pull this out as a warning to keep them from getting pregnant.

But for at least the next couple of years, I will treasure my door-closed-toilet-time.  Because you never really appreciate what you have until it's gone.

...unless it's a poop-free baby.  That is easy to appreciate while it's happening.

The poop-free baby is pretty much a winner every time.

August 22, 2012

One in Three

My three girls
Today, I was going to write a hilarious post about poop.  Seriously, you were going to be laughing for days.

But I can't do it, because instead I broke one of my own rules.  I read the comments to an opinion piece online.

I've written over and over again about the horrible things people say when they believe they're anonymous, things that they wouldn't ever say if they were looking you in the eye.

Well, sometimes they would say those things.

Over the weekend, Rep. Todd Akin made some ridiculous claims about "legitimate" rape.


Take a moment, please, and recall if you will the media shitstorm that has been going on since then.  The right wing's "experts" claiming that he was right and pregnancies don't happen that way, angry citizens coming out of the woodwork...

Imagine that you've been the victim of rape.

That your superior officer told you that if you didn't have sex with him, you'd be leading the convoy and be most likely to be blown up by an IED.

That you boyfriend threatened over and over to kill himself if you didn't shut up and lay down on your back for fifteen minutes, and after watching him hurt himself you believed him.

That you woke up, unable to move, and realized that the anonymous person on top of you must have put something in your drink.

That your husband came home drunk in the middle of the night, pulled down your pajamas, and you knew that if you said anything you would get hurt even worse.


Now, imagine for a second that I didn't make up any of that.  That all of those scenarios are real.  That all four of them happened to people I know personally, that I love.  That one of them happened to me.

And now, imagine that one of those victims became pregnant.

You see, that can happen.  Any time a sperm meets an egg making its way down a fallopian tube, that can happen.  The egg doesn't know that rape is happening.  The uterine lining doesn't know that rape is happening.  The sperm doesn't even know that a rape is happening.

The only person who definitely knows the horrible thing that is going on, that's the victim.  Sometimes, the rapist doesn't even realize that what he's doing is rape.

And this leaves a lot of area for confusion among men.

Not all men, mind you.  Some men, though, get to thinking...

Why does she get to decide whether or not it's rape?  I don't feel like I've engaged in any behavior that could have been called rape, but maybe... maybe I could be a victim if women are just allowed to say that when I had sex with them, I raped them?

And that's when you get definitions like "legitimate" rape.

Rape is rape.  In fact, any sex that doesn't involve all the involved parties consenting- not consenting under duress and not unable to consent.  That means, not so drunk that they are incapable of consent.  Not so young that they are incapable of consent.  Not unconscious.  Not too scared to say no.

But if you can compartmentalize, you can screen out the "real" rapes from the "hysterical" (to borrow a phrase from Rep. Akin's expert doctor) ones.

And then you can protect the men, perhaps yourself, that don't commit "legitimate" rapes.


Do you now what occurred to me today?  I have three daughters now.

One in three women is the victim of sexual violence.


I would do anything to protect my children.  I would not hesitate to kill somebody who was attempting to cause them that kind of harm.  I mean that.  And I would go to jail.

But most rapists don't go to jail.  Because things like defining rapes as "legitimate" or otherwise helps keep rapists- most of whom are not lurking in doorways, on the streets.  It keeps them in board rooms, in hospitals, in college dormitories, in classrooms, in police forces, in the military, in Congress.

If every rapist went to jail, our prisons would be overflowing with them.

So sometimes, a woman gets pregnant from being raped.  And sometimes, she manages to press charges against her attacker, and he actually does go to jail.  And sometimes, that bastard that raped and impregnates her has the incredible good fortune to have found out that she's pregnant and keeping the baby.  Because, you see, even if he raped her, he has parental rights under the law here.  And he can assert them.

Do you know why most rapists who can do this?  Because if their victims don't want to spend the rest of their lives legally tied to them, they can recant their claims, and essentially let their attackers out of jail, in exchange for their releasing claims on the children who resulted from that rape.


I am a parent.  I can't imagine using my children as leverage to get away with my crimes.

And I am the survival of sexual assault.  And I cannot imagine the pain of having to deal with my attacker because he had the good luck to knock me up.

And I am the mother of daughters.  And again, I would sooner kill whoever did this to my child than allow it to continue.

And then I read the comments on an article about this scenario, and I am too upset to write something funny.

I'm upset because real life people are anonymously commenting, telling the author what they believe.  that if she kept the baby of rape, she must have wanted a baby anyway and he was doing her a favor.  That denying rapists paternity claims may "rob an innocent father of a relationship with his child."  That  women want "special" rights.  That children without fathers have all sorts of problems and intentionally depriving them of their rapist father is punishing them, and you can't have it both ways.

But that's only part of why I'm upset.

I'm upset because many of those men know that they're committing rapes.  And maybe they feel bad about it now, but that doesn't mean they should have had to go to jail.  Really, there's a whole thread on Reddit of rapists supporting each other.

I'm also upset because whenever I post something like this on facebook, or twitter, somebody I actually know comes to the defense of these men.  People I *know* saying to me, on my own facebook page, that women lie about rape afterwords because they regret their actions, and to deny that is offensive.

And yes, those people who I know who come to the defense of those other men... they're men.

They're good looking, charismatic men.

They're men who, in their youth, were frontmen for bands, who rode skateboards and were good at sports and could have any girl they wanted.  And did.

They're men who, frankly, probably went to parties and did have sex with anybody they wanted.  And have probably been accused of rape when they know they didn't do anything wrong.

I was raped by one of those guys.  Facebook still recommends that I become his friend, no matter how many times I tell them not to.

I'm not saying that all of them have raped somebody.  I'm saying that this is the problem.  Men who are so much more concerned with some poor guy being misrepresented as a rapist than the millions of women too terrified to go to the police and say that the really cute guy they'd been flirting with all night raped them.

Because you know what the cops say to that sort of thing?

They say that you were flirting with him all night, so obviously you just changed your mind in the morning about whether or not it was a good idea.

That you were dressed in a short skirt, or showing a lot of cleavage, and you were asking for it.

That you shouldn't have had so much to drink.


Rape is rape.  That is it.  Yet it is the only crime where the burden of proof is on the victim.  The victim has to convince everyone that what happened to her was real, when it is so much easier to just shut up and convince yourself that you are crazy, or you are wrong, or you deserved it.


I have three beautiful daughters.  And I cannot be at every party.  I can't be at every after school club.  I can't be at every concert, at every date, I can't be their RA when they go to college.

I can teach them the difference between 'no' and 'yes,' and I can teach them about the realities of rape- that they need to go straight to a hospital to report a rape, without showering first, if they are to have any hope of getting justice.  I can teach them about the world we live in, how much harder it's going to be for them as women to be treated like human beings.

But I can't change our culture, or our society.  Not alone.  I can't go to every home of every boy that might interact with my daughters for the next forty years and teach their parents to teach them not to rape.


Rape is a real problem.  And it's not simple.  And the reason it is as complicated as it has become is because of horrible claims like those made by Todd Akin.  More and more shame on the victims, more and more people jumping to the rapists' defense.

One in three women is raped.  One in three.

I have three daughters.

This is not the world I want for them.

August 21, 2012

An Aside on Unintentional Shaming

Zen baby
I'd like to talk, if I may, about something very important.

Not shaming other parents.

You see, parenting is hard.  Very, very hard.  And we have a tendency to take it very personally.

After all, whatever you're doing- you've probably been pretty sure that you're doing it wrong at some point.  And that's normal.  We all go into parenting completely blind- we all go in with this sense of heightened importance, we all go in with this crazy idea that we are somehow going to be perfect parents.

We'll do everything that our parents did right.  We won't do anything that our parents did wrong.  We will feed our kids properly, we will train our kids properly, we will love our kids properly.

And that- that right there- is where the shit starts to hit the fan.

You see, from the moment we first see our babies, from the very first second, everything you do, you do to show them that you love them.

If course that ends.  You start doing things because they need to be done, because you need a few moments to yourself, or because you just forgot and acted like a jerk because you are still a human being.

But you get started based on love.

You feed the baby, with breast or bottle, because somewhere inside of you... you know you love it and you want it to thrive.

You hold the baby, because although you've never met before, you love it and want to show it that you care.

Or you don't hold the baby, because you're afraid that it will sense that you don't know what the hell you're doing, and you don't want it to know that you went into parenting totally blind.

Every parent starts making choices for their child the moment they come into the world.

And we take those choices personally.  Because, based on their failures or successes, they seem to equal the total of our love.

"If I make all the best choices, my child will know that I really, really love her."

"If I make wrong choices, it must mean that I don't love my child enough to make the right ones."

These are the nagging voices in the backs of our own minds.  These aren't the reality- we're not being judged.

Until, suddenly, we are.

Somewhere, some mom says to herself that she is making the right choice, and it is her duty to tell other mothers who are doing it wrong that they are doing it wrong.  Not because she actually knows, but because if they're doing it right, then SHE must be doing it wrong, and she can't live with that kind of doubt.

And if everyone does it right, it's quantifiable.  It's simplified.  There's a right way and a wrong way, and she's doing it the right way.

But what is right for one mother is simply not right for all mothers.  What is right for one baby simply isn't right for all babies.

I saw this picture posted on facebook today.  It's allegedly the nutritional content of breast milk.

Now, I nurse RH.  Almost exclusively.  She gets an occasional bottle of formula, and I feel the need to justify that.  Not because there is anyone policing breastfeeding mothers to tell them whether or not they're doing it right, not because the occasional bottle of formula is in any way hurting my child, but because other mothers might click their tongues at me for leaving my baby at home at two months old with her grandparents and the instruction to give her a bottle if I'm not back in time to feed her.

And I get back, and yeah, I feel guilty if she had a bottle.

I feel guilty if she cried, and I didn't comfort her.

I feel guilty, and nobody did that to me but myself.

But I project.  If I feel guilty, then I must be being judged.  By other mothers.

And, if I am not careful, I judge those other mothers to protect myself.  Those attachment parents who would never leave their babies with a sitter to go to a movie, or the store.  If I am not careful, I tell myself that this is they who are the bad parents, because they don't take any time for themselves to stay sane.

*I* need time to myself to stay sane, who knows about anybody else?

*I* breastfeed my baby, but not entirely exclusively, because sometimes she's hungry and I'm not there, and I just don't have time to pump all the time.

So maybe I don't go around and shame other moms for making different choices, and instead I publicly pat myself on the back for my own choices.  "Good job, me!" I say outloud, where everyone can hear.  "You made the right choice."

And that... that is the unintentional shaming.

That picture of the breast milk nutritional contents...

When I publicly declare that I did the right thing, and I did a good job, I am also saying that you, a real person, made the wrong choice if you did something different.

Yes, it's less malicious.  But no less hurtful.

My mother only nursed her children for a number of weeks.  Her letdowns were so painful that she was unable to function through them.  She was a wonderful mother, and I do not think I was in any way harmed by being a formula baby.

I have a friend, a La Leche Leaguer, who's daughter was "failure to thrive" until she started supplementing breast milk.  Her breast milk genuinely wasn't providing everything her baby needed.

I have many friends with babies and children.  Some nursed their children, some didn't, some still do.

All of their kids are, frankly, great.

But things like that picture... those things can genuinely hurt.

We, human beings, live in a constant state of doubt.  I think it's one of the things that separates us from other animals.

We doubt, and we wonder.

And that is why we have religion.  And science.  And literature.  And art.  Because we must express our doubt somehow, and we must answer those questions.

And most of the great questions left to us have no right or wrong answer.

And for those great questions, questions like, "Am I a good person?  Am I a good parent?" a muddled, shades-of-grey answer just doesn't cut it.  We want to hear a resounding, "yes."

We want to stop doubting, and know that we love our children enough.  That we are doing the things that they need.

There are women who cannot breastfeed their children.  That doesn't make them bad parents.  There are women who choose not to breastfeed.  That doesn't make them bad parents.

What matters is that we care.  We want to protect our children.  We want them to thrive, both in love and in health.

The bad parents are the ones who don't feed their children at all, because they do not care if their child lives or dies.  That is bad parenting.

And sometimes?  That isn't the parent's fault either.  Sometimes, a parent needs almost as much help as a baby.

And shaming those parents by strutting around and saying, "look at me, I'm doing everything right." that isn't helping anybody but yourself.

Am I proud of breastfeeding my baby?  Yes.  Very.  Not because I think formula is bad, or that bottle feeding is wrong.  I am proud because it was really effing hard to get good at it, and I did it anyway.  I feel more like a breastfeeding survivor than a lactivist.  Showing off my chubby baby is like rolling up my sleeve and showing the scars on my arm and saying, "You see that?  That really hurt, and that was a hard time in my life, but things are better now.  Things get easier."  Except that instead of talking about depression, I'm talking about parenthood.

So to all the parents who have ever felt judged by my pats on my own back, I am sorry.  I am not here to judge you for your choices, for the realities of your lives.

And to all the parents out there, insecure about their roles and their decisions and looking for some validation...

You're not going to find it from other moms.  You're not going to find it through judging other moms.  You're not even going to find it by announcing that you don't need it because you know you're awesome.

Me and M and our children
You'll find it by looking at your kids.

Look at them.

Listen to them.

Watch them.

Are they happy?  Do they know you love them?  Do they trust you to do what you can to ensure their safety and their health?

Then you are an awesome parent.

The validation of your success is that you have succeeded.  And nobody can give that to you but yourself.

Good job, moms and dads.  You have loved your children, and you couldn't stop if you tried.

You are successful parents.

Let that be the final word on the matter.

BWS tips button

August 19, 2012

Sunday Blogaround 8.19.12

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY M!

As all of you folks read this, I'm celebrating my husband's thirtieth birthday.  A day that, on his 25th birthday, seemed impossibly far away.  So, five years of surviving brain cancer and he's finally hit the big 3-0.

So in addition to the Blogaround, I'll also share a few of my favorite M posts.


A(n) (un)Common Family"Throwing Sand Into the Sky: Adoption Talk and Loss" - A(n) (Un)common Family
This mom is amazing.  Practically everything she writes either breaks my heart or lifts it up.  And sometimes, both.  A great read.

"Let's Talk About Sex, Baby" - Finally Mom
Need a good laugh?  Enjoy Prince?  Ever been humiliated by adolescent naiveté?  You'll enjoy this, then.  :)

Photobucket"feel free to skip this one" - googiemama
I've had a lot of this going on.  Sleeplessness, the futility of attempting to keep up with two toddlers, the heat, the humidity, the car, the lack of adult interaction... call them excuses or call them the cause, the facts are that I have been bordering on depressed for weeks.  And knowing that you're not really alone out here in the parenting darkness always helps.

"What Makes A Good Parent: Hint, It's Not Breastmilk Or Buying Organic" - Momma Data
It's amazing how hard it can be for scientists to quantify common sense.  But once in a while, they totally succeed.  And, of course, remind us how futile it really is to try to control absolutely anything about our children.  But it's nice that it supports all my basic rules of parenting. :)

"Five Dollar Friday- Inaugural Edition" - Ask Your Dad
I think this is a fantastic idea.  Honestly, even this is really hard for us to afford... but I love learning about new organizations doing good, and sometimes I do manage to convince myself I don't actually need a pint of Ben and Jerry's to be functional this week, and I can redirect those funds to somebody who needs them more than I do.  I'm looking forward to many future five dollar fridays.  :)

..and a Birthday Homage to my beloved M.  :)
My Husband, The Comedian

Remember Remember the Fifth of July

Master of the House

Pouring My Heart Out

August 18, 2012

Two Months

My girls
Today, my little RH is two months old.

Two months ago, my family grew.  I became a mother of three, and a mother again.

Two months ago, my little girls became big sisters.

Meeting the new baby
Two months ago, my heart opened wide and I learned how much more I could love the children I already had, and how much love I still had left to give to a new little soul.

Two months ago, I fell head over heels with a tiny person who looked remarkably like my grandmother, who stared into my eyes as though they were the abyss into which all unanswered questions fall.

This is not the most exhausted I would be
Two months ago, I had no idea how utterly exhausted I would be.  I had forgotten everything about the kind of fatigue that comes from nursing a newborn, from simply being around a newborn.

Two months ago my family became a new family.  A family of five.

My family
I love my family.  I love my RH.  I love that she can spend all morning just watching her sisters bounce around, that she lets them play doll with her with an air of perplexed indifference.  I love that she smiles when she's falling asleep.  I love that as she grows she just seems to get snugglier.  I love that she looks like both DD and like SI, reminding me of all sorts of little miracles of their infancy that I seem to have forgotten.

One of these things is not like the others...
I love how much her sisters love her.  I love that on a daily basis, when I go to put her in her crib, or change her, or put her in her car seat, one of her sisters has already gone to do the same for their dolls.  I love that, whenever she's out of sight for a moment, they want to know where she is.  I even love that when DD and SI run from the room, out of nowhere I hear RH start to whine- missing the constant entertainment of her big sisters.

They insist on putting imaginary diapers in the real diaper bin.
And apparently, a diaper changer is best with company.
I love this baby.

I love my family.

I love my life.

August 15, 2012

Struts and Strollers- An Urban Melodrama in Two Parts

Looks peaceful, doesn't it?
Having a car in a big city like Chicago can be a problem.

For example, every six weeks or so, somebody side swipes our car- either on the street or in a parking lot.  Never once has the culprit left us a note.  Thanks to this phenomena, our minivan has damaged sideview mirrors (allowing all sorts of space for very unwelcome "guests") and scratches all along the passenger side doors.

Then there's the damage done by all of that stop and go traffic.

And the problem of a four to eight month long winter that comes with heavily salted streets and the corrosion that can cause.

And then there's just that whole POS car thing.

To be fair, our minivan is NOT a POS (despite the incredibly sexy scratches, rusted spots, and damaged sideview mirrors).  But it is crawling up on ten years old, and it is... well... a constant money pit.

They're a pain, but at least they're cute.
Last week, our brakes started to go.  Which is never a good thing.

Lucky for us, we found a very good mechanic.  In the neighborhood no less!  But...


When one does not possess the funds for a sitter every time one must leave the house, one must take all of their children with them if they DO leave the house.

And when one is leaving the house in order to abandon their car somewhere else, one must plan on getting home without their car.

And when using any form of motor vehicle requires the management of three car seats, one must face facts and accept that any distance you stray from home must be traversed on foot.

Which means that, once again, I found myself in the position of driving my car to the shop, and then walking home through campus with a horde of unruly children.

Yeah, just take a minute to check out the title of that post.

I thought long and hard about the best way to do this.  Once again, I made an appointment for the car FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.  After all, the children are all 100% awake at about 7:15am.  So, if I crammed breakfast down the kids gullets fast while nursing the baby, I could theoretically usher my whole brood out of the house and into the car in time for us to drive the 1.1 miles and make it on time, and when you do things first thing in the morning there are fewer things that can happen to stall you, right?  Then, rather than going straight home, we stop and the playground, I nurse the baby, and the big kids think they're actually getting a super special fun outing instead of running a tedious errand.

That's right, they're reading to their baby sister.
Sunday night, I even told them the plan.  I promised them a trip to the playground.  They were elated.  All my ducks were in their proverbial row.

But, alas, my plans never go over properly.  We pulled into the car shop nearly an entire hour late.


Because there is a natural phenomenon that is guaranteed to make my children (and myself) significantly less than functional first thing in the morning.  A natural phenomenon we were experiencing as the dawn broke.

It was pouring rain.

That's right, folks, I suddenly found myself faced with an epic conundrum... do I skip taking the car to the shop and avoid immediate drama, instead opening the door for the catastrophic possibility that we actually find ourselves unable to stop our speeding motor vehicle?

...or do I plan to force my children to march for over a mile in the pouring rain with an infant?

I learned to make a gif just for this.
Like a good mommy blogger, I grabbed my camera.

As we piled out of the car at our mechanic, the girls jumped up and down, "Playground!  Playground!" When one of the nice men under a car told my children they had pretty curly hair, they responded, "We going to the playground to slide down the slide!"

The owner of the shop gave me a look that could not be mistaken for anything but pity.

Why oh why did I put them in white pants?
The rain had let up a bit, so I was feeling naively optimistic.  I grabbed two kiddie umbrellas, left my own in the car and instead grabbed myself a towel (who can hold an umbrella while they push a stroller?), and we headed off to the playground.

We arrived just a few moments behind another mom and her toddler.  As my children ran, screaming with delight, towards the slide, I noticed the other mom throw her kid back in the stroller and take off running.

What, are my kids THAT unruly? I thought.  And then I stepped out from under the dense foliage of the lovely, picturesque trees that line the streets in my neighborhood.

The rain was picking up.  Hard.  Fast.

By the time the girls had made it down the slide- once- we needed to go. I promised them each one more trip down, and threw the towel over my head and shoulders.

We began the soggy walk home.

A note about my neighborhood- it's where rich people live.  For the most part.  We live sort of on the fringe, and only manage to afford that because we bought after the market tanked.  But most of the resident mommies and daddies can afford not to be seen walking for a mile down the street hiding under a ratty old towel with a trail of children covered in mud and hand-me-down clothes.  And the residents of the neighborhood that can't afford to be less than absurd?  They're college students.  They have no sympathy at all.  I wanted to get through this ordeal as quickly as possible.  I knew what a spectacle I was.

"I am a fwog and my name is Mawy Poppins!"
Go back to this post again... this is a walk that a violently ill adult pushing 100 lbs can accomplish in about twenty minutes.  In the snow.

So I ask you, how long do you think this exact route takes two nearly-three year olds with umbrellas in the pouring rain and a frazzled mommy attempting to camouflage a stroller and bright red and orange towel into the hedges of stately greystone mansions?

Nearly two hours, that's how long.

The first few blocks were peaceful enough.  But then the girls decided that their umbrellas impued them with the powers of Mary Poppins, and singing about being Mary Poppins diverts energy from the legs and feet, so that slowed them significantly.  Mary Poppins might be practically perfect in every way, but my children are more like earthworms than super-nannies when you confront them with mud puddles.

Back into the tempest
As we passed the church with the perpetual "Vigil for Peace," my children began to attack each other with their umbrellas.  I hid under my towel so that the pacifists in attendance (and the Quakes across the street) wouldn't have a face to attach to the paragon of poor parenting that confronted them.

By the time we got to the halfway point, I needed a break.  I took the girls into the Rockafeller Chapel, and handed out juice boxes.  It reenergized the big girls a little, but RH was seriously pissed that we were no longer be in motion.  I'm pretty sure you're not actually allowed to feed small children and infants in gorgeous private cathedrals, but nobody bothered to kick me out.  They just gave me very, very odd looks as my children tracked mud between the pews and I blathered a bit about meeting Neil Gaiman there.

After our juice break, the girls ran wild in the midway during a  sort of a break in the rain.  This was, without a doubt, the best part of my personal trail of tears.

And then, the home stretch.

No lie- me and Neil are BFFs.
Baby screaming, children exhausted, everyone sopping wet, and too late to set down the big ones for a nap, we crawled along the final block that led to our house.

Despite all my desire to do so, I didn't make myself a stiff drink.

And that was just in time to get the call from the shop.

They would fix our breaks- no problem- and we could pick the car up first thing in the morning.

That's right, the next morning we would do it again.

The midway in the rain
In preparation, after the girls went to sleep I ate a whole army's worth of nachos.

When the time came, I was prepared.  I had checked the forecast, filled the diaper bag with fresh juice boxes, and after retrieving the keys from the mechanic we would go to a "new" playground, and spend the bulk of the day there.

And so, at 8:30am, we began the trek to the shop.

I knew things were about to go wrong the moment we left the building.  I had left my water bottle on the floor just inside the front door of our unit- three floors up.  And I'd forgotten to eat my own breakfast.  With a heavy sigh, I ushered my children onto the sidewalk and we hit the heel-toe express.

Boy do they love this slide.
A walk that had taken nearly two hours in the rain seemed to lengthen exponentially.  The lack of fascinating rainfall and Mary Poppins-esque umbrellas seemed to utterly sap my children of energy.

Despite the timing of our departure, when we arrived at the shop it was after noon.  And we had been crawling through 80 degrees and blazing sun.  And of course, post-rain humidity.

The baby was sweaty and angry.

The girls were obstinately snail-like and whiny.  For the last quarter mile, they had been taking turns crying or holding my hand, outraged that I was incapable of holding both of their hands at the same time that I was pushing the stroller.  This made crossing arterial roads particularly nerve wracking.

Who was just too tired to walk?  Surely not those kids...
Of course, the moment they saw the new playground they were revived.  I watched them run and jump and slide and crawl, mystified and miffed.

And I sat on the ground and nursed the baby as I contemplated the news from the mechanic...

Actually, our brakes were okay.

The real problem is the struts- which he's been warning me were going for nearly a year now- and are going to cost us upwards of $700..

And that means...

We go back to the mechanic again next week.


This face- that's the one I probably made.
In other news, we are now officially out of vodka at my house.

Oh- and in case you ever wondered what the most mood-altering phrase you can hear from your toddler while attempting to enjoy your mid-afternoon martini is, it's, "Mommy, I peed on the couch."

In my mid-afternoon my-martini-is-getting-warm emotional breakdown, I decided to add a new little feature to this blog.  If you look up at the top right of this page, you'll note a little "donate" button.

The fund?  "Keep This Blog Boring."

That's right, you can donate to making my life easier- to hiring a sitter for the morning so I can take care of business, or if enough of my lovely readers contribute, actually fix the damn car.

Or just replenishing the supply of vodka.

Thank you.

August 12, 2012

Sunday Blogaround 8.12.12

I'm sorry for the missing blogarounds.  To be honest, I haven't had much of a chance to read these days.  Between infant growth spurts, potty training, and desperately trying to re-learn to care for my own home... I've been busy.

But I'm trying.  Aren't we all?

Without further ado, I bring you another Blogaround:

"Lucky Me" - Happy Hippie Homemaker
Rachel hit the nail on the head.  There is no situation in which it is easy to watch your child be in pain, or to nurse them through an illness.  And knowing how minor your own troubles are in comparison to some... does not help.  But it does make you grateful for what you have.  Whatever you have.

"Dumbing Down and Demanding Less... Really?" - Departing the Text
Some seriously disturbing statistics, and suggestions for real solutions. I can vouch- academic standards are falling.  But at some point, we (as both parents and participants in this society) need to stand up and take a little responsibility- and actually fix these problems.

Anselm"Things I'd Like My Daughters To Know Chapter 6" - Of Anselm
Super.  Freaking.  Cute.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to take pictures of two year old girls with slightly-under-two month old babies?  HARD.  I can vouch for that.

"Me, Myself, and I" - The Kopp Girls
Once again, Kyle rocks.  I love the way he puts this.  It's true, I'm just not in any way self conscious in front of my girls... now.  I know someday I might be, but for the time being, it's like Kyle says.  And I won't spoil it for you.  :)

"The Darkness I Should Not Feel Let Alone Talk About" - I Want A Dumpster Baby
It's always hard to write about depression, and I solute Kitkatkootie for coming forward and talking about it.  I went through sometime very similar when M and I did IVF, and I wish there was a wider support network available to me then.

"A New Hope" - 649.113
This.  Each time all week I've just wanted to bash my head into a wall.  This.  The girls are so close, and RH has proved to be another good napper.  This.  For the love of god, this.

"Healthy Choices Taught at Home or School?" - Things I Can't Say
Along with a general state of poor education, we also have a problem with childhood obesity in this country.  But are we addressing it the right way?  And who really is responsible?

"Dear Hypothetically Gay Son" - Ask Your Dad
As you probably know, I love daddy bloggers.  I only just discovered this one, and read basically his entire archives.  He's great.  At any rate, this week a letter made the rounds on Reddit- a father disowning his gay son.  Ask Your Dad has a son due to be born in another couple of months, and so he wrote his own letter.  It's wonderful.

Photobucket"Bear With Me, There Is a Sewing Tutorial Here Somewhere" - googiemama
First of all, yes, it's in there, and it just happens to include how to make a shirred bodice- something I've been lazily wondering for YEARS.  But it's everything hiding the tutorial that i hilarious.

"#322 & #323: My Friend Group Has a Case of the Creepy Dude.  How Do We Clear That Up?" -
This post really sums up well a frustratingly common situation.  I can't tell you how many social circles I have called my own who suffered from one of these.  Oh, yes I can- all of them.  From middle school until a couple of years ago, when I stopped socializing outside of my group of truly close friends. (Parenthood will kind of do that to you.)  Captain Awkward isn't exaggerating, either.  Those guys?  They are genuine problems, and people genuinely get hurt.  So if you have one of them in your social group, say something.  Do something.  This is not just a quirk- this is a real problem.

August 8, 2012

The Second Rule of Parenting Is...

I feel like this a lot
Did you know that there's an entry in the indexes of What to Expect The First Year on "Coping with motherhood?"

I am halfway through week two of the rest of my life.

That is to say, I'm figuring out how to make my life work all over again now that I've essentially jumped back into the SAHM gig after a year of nearly full time studenthood/only one parent at a time/pregnancy/lots and lots of awesome people helping me.

It's been an educational week and a half.

I've learned that my big girls are capable of so much more than I knew.  For example, today during RH's post-breakfast nap, I took a shower while the big girls drank strawberry milk and watched Sleeping Beauty.  It was a short shower that didn't include shaving my legs, but it was my first in six days.

For real.

Why haven't I showered in six days?

Two kids and a baby is fucking HARD.

I keep messing with their schedules to try to improve my quality of life.

RH started sleeping for six hour long stretches at night.  So I started trying to keep her up until midnight- so that she slept until M's alarm went off for work in the morning.

As I'm sure you can guess, that was an unmitigated disaster.  Sleeping from 10p to 4a and then again for another agonizingly short hour is better than not sleeping at all, as I can definitely attest.  So I decided to stop messing with the baby and start screwing around with the big girls instead.

Big girls
Do you remember all of our naptime drama?  Well, I eliminated naptime.  I ended it.  I was keeping it up to make my life easier, and it had stopped working.  Without naptime, bedtime comes two and a half hours sooner.  And if my kids are DEAD ASLEEP at 8pm?  I can actually sort of eat, bathe the baby, and get HER to sleep by 10pm.

Which is sort of great, except that it still doesn't give me enough rest to function.  If the baby is asleep at 10, then I'm not asleep until 11:30, and from 11:30 until 6 just doesn't give me enough energy to keep my eyes open.

Oh, how I long for the days when I could drink endless cups of coffee without being hospitalized.

I'll spare you all the permutations of our schedule that I experimented with.  Suffice to say, the girls are waking up just as M leaves for work at 7:15, RH is sleeping for eight hour stretches that start at 10, and I am still exhausted.

So what does a mommy who can't keep up do?

She reinstates naptime.

Today, I am experimenting with naptime again, for the first time in two weeks.  Because I still NEED my kids to take a nap.

For the first time, and possibly for the last, all three of my children are sleeping in the middle of the day.  Not so that I can sleep, but so that I can pay attention to something else.  To the laundry, to the dishes, to food, to blogging...

SI helping push RH's stroller
I'm starting with blogging today.  If it works, tomorrow I'll update my resume.  And maybe start dinner.

The thing is, when my big girls go to bed at six, we don't get to do a lot of things.  I don't have the time to give them a bath, I don't have the time to sit down and have dinner as a family, and if RH isn't going to nurse herself to sleep until 9pm, why should I put the kids down so early?  Because they're effing exhausted, that's why.

So today, I'm trying to make our schedule a little better again.  Today, I've made my big girls lie down for an hour at least- and SI passed out in less than ninety seconds.

After naptime, we'll go to the yard to play as usual.  But this time, when we come upstairs, we won't just run through baths/snacks/bedtime/feeding the baby until I'm literally weak and delirious from hunger and thirst, and ready to pass out with RH still awake at 8pm.  No, tonight, we'll head upstairs, make dinner, eat it as a family, and then my girls will get baths while I feed RH.  And then I'll read them their bedtime story and sing them lullabyes while I nurse RH .  And then, RH will have her bath, nurse to sleep, and M and I will go to sleep.

If all goes well, my big girls will be in bed at eight instead of six thirty, asleep by ten instead of by eight, and at ten o'clock- when RH passes out and M and I can go to bed- I won't feel like the parenting train has once again plastered me all over the tracks.

I love my kids, but I will never be that parent that lives to spend all my time with them.  I need time away.  I need time to be selfish and self involved and to just enjoy the quiet.  I need a few moments to myself, every day, where I don't have to actually be involved.

I don't think it makes me a bad parent.  I think it goes back to my second rule of parenting: "Whatever makes you a happier, saner person IS good parenting."

(Oh, how naive I was when I wrote that old post...)

I am happier when I have a few minutes a day to miss my kids.  To feel bad about snapping, or to clean up after breakfast.

I love them, but I am so grateful they're asleep right now
I am saner when I can turn my brain off in the relative quiet and not answer a million questions about why we don't want to wake up the baby.

I'm not a bad mom.  I just need to have an hour or so during the day to put my house in order and a few minutes in the shower so that I don't feel like a bad mom.

I have not been happy and sane.  I have been exhausted, filthy, undernourished, and depressed.

Here's to the return of naptime.

Please, please let this make my life work again.

August 2, 2012

Adventures in Adulthood, or, How to Nearly Kill Your Entire Family

RH is learning to smile- so you know it's okay.
I remember that once upon a time, I asked my parents when they started feeling that they were "grown ups."

My father said he'd let me know when it happened.

My mother said that she wasn't sure, but that having kids probably had something to do with it.  She said that at a high school reunion, you could tell the "grown ups" from the prolonged adolescents, and those "grown ups" were almost all people who had gone out and had kids.

I believe that I started having these conversations with my parents around the same time I started driver's ed.

So, after having kids, I started expecting to feel "like a grown up."  And occasionally, I do.  But not often.  More frequently,. I find myself calling my mom just to hear her voice, or calling my Aunt Genocide so that I can listen to somebody who seems to actually WANT to be a grown up.

But having a baby a second time around... that REALLY makes me feel like a grown up.  Because now I'm not just the almost-hip 20-something with the remarkably cute and well behaved toddlers that I just happened to have produced (no biggie), now I'm the lady with congealed milk spit-up in my hair, snapping at the two cute but much more independent children planning my day around when I'll have fifteen minutes to do the dishes and how quickly I have to nurse the baby if I'm going to manage to snag a shower while M eats breakfast.

...and THAT feels like being a grown up.

So today was sort of a test run.

To survive three kids, we basically
live in the back yard.
You see, RH is six weeks old now, and I've been incredibly lucky.  Until last weekend (save three scattered days), I've had constant help with my children.  While I've recovered from my very unpleasant birthing experience, I've had a real grown up taking care of the grown up things.  You know, making sure the laundry situation is under control, that everyone has food, that the garbage goes out every so often.

Not anymore.

And really, I'm up to it.  I am.  I'm pretty much over being totally intimidated, and I'm ready to suck it up and take care of my family.

Yesterday, I even succeeded in making dinner.

So today was going to be a first- my first time taking all my children somewhere else all by myself.

Was I nervous?  No, I was too busy to be nervous.

I gathered the items required for the outing while RH dozed, got the girls into pull ups and their sandals, put the baby in a disposable diaper and her car seat, and marched the family out the door.

We would have made it to our 11am product testing on time, too, if  I didn't utterly fail at being a grown up.

As long-time readers may recall, I have a crippling terror of spiders.  Really, I might as well have just re-posted that instead of bothering with the humiliation I'm sure I'll experience when certain of my readers begin mocking me for today's mishap.

M and I have this awesome shortcut to get from here to the near Loop area.  We take the ramp from Lake Shore to the Ike, and then as soon as we're on the Ike take the ramp onto the Kennedy, and as soon as we're on the Kennedy we exit into the South Loop/Pilsen.  Garmin and Google don't believe it exists.  It's glorious.  So as I was heading to the West Loop, I took that shortcut.

I glided onto the Ike.  Perfect.  I slipped in between a few sedans on my way to the Kennedy.  Lovely.  I began to exit into the South Loop.  That involved checking my blind spot, by looking over my left shoulder.

It looked something like this. (and the thing I saw
Googling "spider attack" will haunt me 'till I die.)
And there, seven inches from my nose, was a gigantic fucking spider.  How big?  So big I could probably tell you how many brown stripes it had on each of its eight, horrific legs.  (See, I just stopped writing for three minutes to scratch and slap at imaginary tickles all over.  I cannot handle spiders.)

So what do you do, when you're on a ramp off of a ramp on a bridge in the middle of city traffic with cars merging from both sides with a car full VERY small people?

If you're a real grown up, I have no idea.  Because apparently I'm not a real grown up.

If you're me, you nearly kill everyone by swerving so drastically that you just miss a van and a cement barrier.  Thank god I was too terrified to scream, or my children would still be asking me about it.

I made it to the light, leaned ALL the way over to my right, barely looking out the windshield and practically sobbing.  And at the light, I finally ascertain that the spider is, in fact, on the far side on the glass window.

Now, at this point, even a cripplingly arachnophobic grown up would take a deep breath and just fucking drive.  But as I mentioned above, it seems that I am not a real grown up.  Seriously- I just tried Googling an image of the thing- it required a break from the computer because now M's desk is freaking me out due to its proximity to pictures of the spider that nearly made me kill myself.

I was incapable of just driving.  No, I had to make the thing go away.

Which meant driving like a maniac, hoping that the ridiculous speed and turbulence would make the spider decide that it would be much happier NOT building a web between my car and my sideview mirror.  So I began accelerating and braking like a crazy person, swerving randomly, as I made my way up the main street past a large university- again, with my kids in the car.

My ploy worked, the spider didn't want to build its web anymore.  So it went back into what was apparently its home- the space inside of my sideview mirror.

Having it almost out of sight helped me calm down enough to drive semi-safely, and we made our way to our product testing- only five minutes late.

Ice cream will make them forget my
humiliating exits from the car...
But now, how to get out of the car?

It took a tremendous force of will to open the door and run screaming from my car, in the Kolcraft parking lot.  It took even more effort to return and close the door behind me.

Going around to the other side of the car to extract my children was practically nothing after that.

Getting back into the car was worse.  I started with the kids.  I even reached through the car from the passenger side to start the engine, so that my children could have air conditioning while I built up the nerves it would require to get in and drive.

Somehow, I made it in.  And by that time the spider had either completely hidden itself inside of my sideview, or left.  God, I hope it left.  But RH was hungry and screaming, and I had promised my big girls we'd visit the playground we'd passed on the way.

...only all of that terror had given me a raging appetite.  I was positively starving.  For a moment, I resolved to get drive through on the way home.

And then it occurred to me- I would have to open the window to get drive through.  RH might make it home without popping a blood vessel screaming, but DD and SI wouldn't after being promised such a fun outing.

And I needed to eat NOW.

So, on my very first trip out with all three of my children and no backup, I took them to a restaurant.

I intentionally parked like a jackass, taking up two spots, so I'd have the room to throw the car door open and again run screaming into the parking lot.

In the course of hunting for that double spot, I realized that I was attempting this feat in  huge, crowded restaurant during lunch rush.

Somehow, we survived.  Despite there being no more high chairs, despite SI's distraction from her pizza, despite the fact that I somehow managed to eat my awkward salad one handed while RH nursed, and despite the fact that I literally had to pee the entire time.

Everyone has eaten.  We're going to be okay.
I had to leave all three kids unattended at the table for about forty seconds to get the ice cream.  I was not fucking leaving without eating some ice cream.

We made it home, all full, all safe.

The first thing I'm going to make M do when he gets home is shove a hose into the sideview mirror and flush that horrible thing out.  I don't care if he has to cut the thing off with a hack saw to make sure that spider is gone, I am never EVER doing that again.

So, I suppose that if reacting to a spider while driving by nearly manslaughtering your entire family and then making yourself feel better with consolation ice cream is being a grown up...


Maybe after the next kid.


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