Friday, April 29, 2011

Mama Stole My Cherrios

I loved this morning's wedding. But you want to know my favorite part?
I liked the kid who was crying on the balcony. I'm taking bets that she just got in a knock-down drag out with her mother, who refused to let her take her Cheerios on the balcony or maybe she's just pissed she had to wear that thing on her head. But no matter, this kid makes me feel better. This kids is a beacon of hope. If the Royal Family can't get their children to cooperate for pictures then I'm not going to hold out much hope for myself, a mere commoner. So next time Daddy aims the camera dear children - just go on - pout and cry. If its good enough for the Royal Family - its good enough for me.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Reprinted without Permission

Ok. I'm reprinting this without permission on the off-chance that the 7 or so people who read my blog won't report me for copyright infringement. This was just too funny not to share and I'm sure that the small but loyal readers of this blog will appreciate it. Its a little long but I promise you - I'm not wasting your time. Enjoy! 

But what do they do with their legs?

By Julia Sweeny for The Guardian

One evening, on a school night, when my daughter Mulan was nine, we were eating dinner together at our favourite Thai restaurant. It was autumn, over two years ago, and writing about it now I see that Mulan and I interacted much like two roommates. We ate out a lot. We had a handful of favourite places. When you're a single mother who primarily takes her daughter to dinner at restaurants (my meagre defence: I was spending four days a week driving her to gymnastics after school – 45 minutes each way – so, who had time to cook?), it's easy to think of yourselves as a couple. You eat, you talk, and sometimes you just stare at each other in a stupor of familiarity.

At the restaurant, we know the owner and chef, who this night recommended the frogs' legs in hot peppers. We politely declined. Mulan told me her class had begun studying frogs. In fact, she revealed she had a report to do, and began to explain the basic parameters: "So, Mum. First, the frogs lay eggs, in a pond, and then the eggs turn into tadpoles and the tadpoles turn into more frogs."
I squinted my eyes. Biology – and science in general – was not my academic strong suit. Only recently had I discovered my own deep, neglected interest in science, and had been scrambling to catch up with the 21st century. Whenever Mulan told me of anything she was learning about science, I'm sure I wore an expression of astonished bewilderment and surprise. My 12 years of Catholic schooling did not dwell long on biology (God didn't want us thinking about that) and avoided the subject of reproduction almost entirely.
Eventually I mumbled a response: "Uh… yeah. I think so. I think, though, that it's probably just the females that lay the eggs, and then the males fertilise them – although I don't know for sure – and there are probably all kinds of species of frogs with different ways of doing things. But yeah, in general, I'm willing to bet, the females are the ones with the eggs. Or something like that."
"Huh?" Mulan said, listening carefully. "But, what does 'fertilise' mean?"
I said, "Oh, the males have this substance inside them, and it's like a co-ingredient, called sperm. They sprinkle, or squirt it on the eggs. That's how they get fertilised. It takes both the female's eggs and the male's sperm, and together they make the new tadpoles." I was really proud of myself for the word "co-ingredient". That was good.
"Soooooo, only the females have the eggs." Mulan said, her eyes wandering to the ceiling, taking this all in.
"Yes," I said.
"Humans, too?" she asked.
Let me freeze this scene for a moment and say that I considered myself an enlightened, open-minded, sex-is–no-big-deal parent, yet I hadn't truly prepared myself for this conversation. I had read a few parenting books and they all seemed to advise the same thing, which was, when your child starts to ask you about sex, or really anything that is complicated and multifaceted, just answer the exact question they ask. Nothing more. Don't elaborate. Don't over-share.
In that sense, I suppose I was prepared for this crucial rite-of-passage. I wasn't going to stop and take her hand, get all watery-eyed and explain about the beautiful way we create more children in the world. That wasn't what she was asking. She just wanted to know if human women had the eggs. The answer was clear and unambiguous.
"Yes," I said. I deliberately forced a pause. I tried to think of some other subject to move on to. I took a big bite of the mango salad we'd just been served.
Mulan asked, "Where do women keep their eggs?"
"Well," I said, "we women have evolved to have our own pond, right inside our own bodies. We lay our eggs in this pond, which is so convenient when you think about it compared with frogs, because we don't have to worry about any competing eggs. It's a pond of our own."
A pond of one's own. I imagined Virginia Woolf contentedly sitting in a pond of her own. And then drowning.
"Where is it?" Mulan asked, her eyes bigger than ever.
"It's in our lower abdomen, inside us, below our belly button, above our vagina." I had managed to be specific and totally vague all at once. Perfect.
"But… how do the eggs get fertilised?"
"By the man," I said, thinking why did I use the phrase "the man"? Aside from its conformist big-business connotations, I had possibly implied that there was only one man, some special Man who was used only for this purpose. Creepy and weird. And, of course, incorrect.
Thankfully, at this moment the rest of the food was delivered. I scooped up some green beans with chilli and hoped the subject would change. I realised my eyes were darting around, which reminded me of my own mother. I hated how awkward and embarrassed and offputting my mother became about the subject of sex. Now my own body was displaying the same indications of unease. I took a deep breath and smiled in a deliberately relaxed way at Mulan.
"But how does the sperm get in to fertilise the eggs?" she asked.
I said, "Oh, yes. That. Well, the sperm comes out of the man's penis and it goes into the woman's vagina. This happens when the two do what's called, 'have sex'. And that's where the egg – there's usually only one in the woman's pond at a time – gets fertilised." Only after the fact did I realise that I had said the words penis and vagina and sex in a strained,sotto voce tone. This was also something my own mother would have done. Self-hate swelled in my breast.
Mulan had put down her fork. Her face was twisted in disgust. "That's where humans make a baby, where you go to the bathroom? Mum!!" Her voice was rising.
"Yes," I said, looking around conspiratorially. "I know," I sighed. "It isweird. That part can take some getting used to."
"Gross." Mulan mumbled.
"Yeah, I know. As they say, it's like having a waste treatment plant right next to an amusement park. Terrible town planning."
"What?" Mulan said.
"The thing is," I went on, "that's how we evolved. That's where it all happens. And even though going to the bathroom and having sex are both in the general same area, they are actually totally separate." I wanted to add, "Except for some people, where psychologically it gets all mushed together, which is creepy in my opinion but certainly not morally wrong, and is actually understandable given the proximity." But that seemed to be getting ahead of the conversation, so I tried to change the direction slightly.
"Like your nose and your mouth," I ventured. "They're both close to each other on your face, but you wouldn't stick a bean sprout up your nose." Mulan gave me a pathetic lower-teeth-revealing smile and grunted a charity chuckle. Then she got back to the topic at hand.
"But Mum," Mulan asked with tractor-beam focus, "how can this ever happen? I mean, men and women, they can never be naked together."
"Well," I explained, "when people are older – much, much older than a kid – when they are older and they both decide they want to, in very certain circumstances, like if they're in love with each other, well, then, they can be naked together."
"But how do they know when?" Mulan asked. "Does the man say, 'Is now the time to take off my pants?'"
We held each other's gaze for a moment.
"Yes," I said. "That's exactly what they say."
To my great relief Mulan seemed content with that knowledge and began to eat with gusto. We moved on to other topics of conversation.
As we drove home Mulan seemed unusually quiet. I glanced at her from time to time in my rear-view mirror. She was sitting in the back seat, staring out of the window. The pavements were filled with people.
Suddenly Mulan laughed.
"What?" I asked.
"Oh Mum, you're going to laugh so hard."
"Because, Mum, you can't believe what I thought you said back at the restaurant. It's so funny. I thought you said that the man puts his penis in a woman's vagina – inside of it – and that's how people make a baby. Isn't that hysterical?"
A pause.
"That is what I said," I said.
"Oh," Mulan said. Her face had turned from gaiety to seriousness. There was a long quiet time. She stared out of the window, taking all this in.
Mulan asked, "What if two people just walked up to each other on the street and started doing it?" Our eyes met in the mirror. Her eyebrows were furrowed and she broke our gaze and looked at some people standing on the street.
At this point, I decided the best way to approach these questions was to pretend I was some dispassionate anthropologist discussing the mating habits of an animal other than our own. "The human species is very private when it comes to sex. Humans are unusual in this way. They have sex in private."
Mulan asked, "What if you went to a party and there were a bunch of men and women and they all just started doing it? Would that ever happen?"
"No," I lied. "That would never happen. Because humans are so private."
My back stiffened. I realised it stiffened like my grandmother's, my mother's mother. I was reaching back, farther back than my own mother's discomfort and into the graves of the next generation of discomfort. The dead live.
"Mum," Mulan said gravely, "have you ever done this?"
"Yes," I said, flatly.
"But Mum, you can't have children."
"That's true," I said.
"Well, you never have to do that again," Mulan sighed. She sounded relieved.
After a moment I said, "Well, if you really love someone and you're an adult, then you want to do it, even if you can't have a baby."
Silence. Mulan stared out of the window deep in thought. "But Mum, how can people do that? I mean, how do their legs go? You know, not everyone can do the splits."
Ah, the perspective of the proud gymnast. Mulan became somewhat fixated on the role of legs in sex. She could not picture how it was physically possible, even if someone could do the splits. Finally, I said, "Mulan, people figure the legs out. They just do."
"Oh," Mulan said, taking this in. She quieted down and we got home. When we got out of the car, our cat Val was sitting in the front garden soaking up the last bits of sunlight. Val rolled on to her back.
"What about cats? How do they do it?"
"It's basically the same idea," I said.
"But how do their legs go?" Mulan wondered.
"They, well, I think the male stands behind the female and… and… they just do, Mulan," I said, exasperated, and disappointed that "They just do" was the best I could do.
Once inside the house, our dog Arden, delirious with glee at our return, jumped up and licked my hand. "What about dogs?" Mulan asked, having never considered the possibility before.
"Same thing," I said. "It's basically the same thing for all mammals."
"But what about their legs?" she asked again.
"Look," I said, now desperately tired of this subject, "I've lost my ability to describe it. Maybe we can look on Wikipedia or something and it will show us."
So, we went to my office and got online. I Googled "cats mating". And, of course, on YouTube there were thousands of videos. We watched a couple of them. Mulan was riveted. She moved her face closer and closer to the monitor.
"Now what about dogs?" she asked. We watched a few dog videos. She put her hand on my arm.
Here, dear reader, we come to another moment out of time. Such as when you're in an accident and time slows to a crawl. I could hear my own breathing as if I were suddenly wearing a space suit from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Mulan's hand seemed to be reaching out to my arm in slow motion: frame-by-frame. I believe I remember it this way because it wasn't until then, until this small intimate gesture, this gesture of familiarity and of safety, that I realised where I'd led us.
"Mum, do you think there would be any videos of humans mating on the internet?"
I am a monster. An incompetent monster of a mother.
I smiled and said, firmly, "No. There would never be anything like that. Because humans are so private." And then, "Hey, how about some ice-cream?"
Which, of course, was teaching her that when questions about sex got awkward, food was truly the answer.
Later that night, Mulan asked, "What about Roger and Don – how do they do it?"
"I… I don't know," I said.
All right, I was thrown. I thought I would have more time between frogs and same-sex intercourse than just an hour or two. I was out of my depth.
Mulan went to the bathroom and took a little longer than usual to come out. Later she said, casually, "I think I know how Roger and Don do it."
"Oh yeah?" I said.
"Yeah, Mum, there's another hole down there, where you also go to the bathroom. Maybe… you know, maybe they use that."
That's my girl, my Mulan, age nine, inventing anal sex. Smart, inquisitive, problem-solving, Spock-like in objectivity and with a total lack of squeamishness. Bless her heart.
"Maybe," I answered, and shrugged my shoulders to indicate: see how casual and easygoing I am?
"But Mum," she said, "what about two girls? What about Eileen and Karen, how do they do it?"
"I... I…" I answered meekly, beaten.
"Why don't you call Karen and ask her?" Mulan asked me.
"Nah," I said, pretending to read the newspaper.
Mulan put her face a few inches from mine. She looked disgusted with me. "Mum, aren't you even curious?"

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wiping Snot

Jack had a cold, and he had awaken unwillingly from a deep sleep. He was lying on my chest trying to fall back asleep. I tilted my head and saw that his poor nose and face was being consumed by snot. It was thick and really dripping - could he be swallowing it? I needed to wipe it off but then I risked waking him - he was nearly asleep. And, really, what would I wipe it off with? I suppose the blanket would do. If I didn't wipe it, I figured I'd probably need a chisel to get the dried mess off his face in the morning. I couldn't let it dry like that - could I? I could and I would. I wasn't waking him up. Just as I had made my decision, Jack sleepily lifted his head from my chest, turned it slowly and inadvertently wiped his nose - leaving all that snot right on my mouth. Fan-flippin-tastic. Avoid me. I'm contagious.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Hangover

Yesterday, I asked the girls to help unload the dishwasher.
Cameron sighed, and Hadley threw a tantrum that was fit for reality TV. Have you seen Oxygen's The Bad Girls Club? Yeah, it was something like that.

After a warning, several failed attempts to ration with her, and THEN a baby awakened by her fit - I had had it. I pulled out the trash bag.

Easter Loot - put directly inside. 

Oh yeah little girl, the Easter Bunny giveth and the Easter Bunny can taketh away.

Post Script: Although Hadley remains on probation, her loot has since been released back to her for good behavior.

Monday, April 25, 2011

In Pursuit of a Picture....

"Ok Everybody look here! Come on - Just ONE good shot. Come on girls. Look at Daddy. Cameron - smile! No, honey, your real smile. Hadley!!! I mean it - SIT UP! I don't care if you're uncomfortable. Its just one picture - you are the oldest now SIT UP and smile. OH!!! Look the baby is smiling! Justin - snap the picture!! Look here guys!!!! SMILE! Really??? Why are you crying? Oh just forget it."

Easter 2011.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Too Many Margaritas

Today Hadley told me that I needed to put videos on my blog. I told her that was a good idea and asked her what kind of videos she had in mind.

"Why don't you put up a video that shows how you became a mom?" she suggested.

Ummmm....this isn't that kind of blog.

However, if you must know, dear Hadley, I think the story of how I became a mom starts with mommy having a few too many margaritas.....and thus began the world's loooooongest hangover.

Will make babies - Just add tequila.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


When I heard that tornado producing storms were headed our way, I did what any good mother would do. I tucked all three children in their beds upstairs by the windows. Of course I took precautions. After they were sound asleep I signed up for Thundercall. Thundercall is an automated phone call from our local weather man, Jeff Lyons, who will alert subscribers in the event of severe weather. We were all set. I was so ready for disaster.

After doing the dishes and then working out, I was just about the relax when the tornado sirens rang out and my phone started ringing. Who the hell was calling me, I thought. Oh yeah! The Thundercall! Kudos Jeff Lyons - quite impressive.

"You've got to be kidding me," I said to Justin. "If I'm going to wake up these kids and haul them to the basement. We better not have a roof when we come back up."

And so it was that I intentionally woke the the children.  Yeah, Yeah, Yeah Jeff Lyons, this better be good.

While Justin gathered flashlights to take to the basement, I woke the kids from a dead sleep - sirens blaring - and threw them on the basement couch in front of Jeff Lyons and his spinning red radar of death. Terrified screaming ensued.

The Rumbach Family's prepares for disaster. 
I then really began to question our disaster readiness and quizzed my husband on our supplies.

ME: Do we have a battery-powered radio?

ME: Do we have flashlights?
HUSBAND: Just one.

ME: Do we have a first-aid kit?

ME: Do we have, like any canned goods?

ME: Do we have bottled water?
HUSBAND: Oh no.....but we do have beer.

So there you have it. In the event of an emergency, please find my family drunk under a pile of rubble.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Scary Baby Buys

I'm a gadget mom. I can't help it. 

I think new gear takes the monotony out of child care. My husband would say that I'm not taking the momotony out of anything - I'm just taking money out of the bank. But no matter, there is nothing more fun than if I, oh uh ummm...I mean the baby has a new toy/cup/food/outfit/diaper/shoe/pacifier/bottle/stroller/highchair/bouncy seat/bib/bath wash/book/hat/jumper/teething ring.

I go completely gaga over the latest and greatest baby gadgets. Babies R Us (or The Baby Stupid Store as I like to call it) is paradise to me. Plant me in an aisle with some of the latest and greatest sippy cups and just leave me there to die happy! I love it. 

However, there are some products that even I can't be suckered into. Check it out.

Really? If you're SO scared that your precious little baby is going to hit his head while learning to crawl, you might want to start looking into a good therapist for both you and your child. Baby hitting his head is going to be the least of his problems if his parents think this gadget is a good idea.

Ok, yes, teaching your child to wipe his/her ass isn't always good clean fun. But, I'm thinking it might be better to let him get a little messy and do it the right way than instructing him to wipe with a mitten! Do you want your kid to think that mittens are intended for ass wiping? NO! Use toilet paper people! 

These hands are meant to be placed on baby to help him baby feel "secure" while sleeping. If your baby is crying, dear parents, it might be because he's scared out of his mind by these disembodied hands! 

You know those pictures you pay a fortune for so you can always remember what your little baby looked like? Well how about clipping on some fake bangs? Because, well, a bald baby is just SOOOO unsightly.

Just in case you don't have time to take your kid to the bathroom, there is always The Pee Pee Bottle. Just throw them the bottle and let them go in the car, park, grocery store - where ever! The Pee Pee Bottle is SO portable and as an added bonus, it can be personalized.

Well, you've got to have this. Now you can sling your little one on the back of the bathroom stall so he can stare at you while you do your business. However, by the time you've wrangled him in the thing, you've pissed your pants.

Yeah, babies smell like poop and vomit but COME ON! Babies smell so sweet and lovely all on their own as long as you bathe them once in awhile. But for all you parents where a bath might be out of the question...There is a perfume available. And here I thought perfume was just a necessity for unshowered mommies!

8.  The Snozzie
So you can wear boogers around your wrist all day....

You know, I'm still pretty pissed off that my mom didn't save my placenta for me. 

Is your child asking where babies come from? For only $150 why not scare the ever-loving hell out of them with this?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Drinking Problem.

I love wine. There's nothing better than a glass (or two or three) of cabernet on a Saturday night to end the week. Lately though, the wine just hasn't been doing it for me. I'll have a few sips and just want to go to bed. Perhaps its because I'm getting older or it might be that the baby gets me up at 5:30 every day but no matter, I've decided I need a new drink.

I hate beer, which is ironic considering that my husband is the founder and president of The Dubois County Suds Club (yes, this truly exists), so I've decided my new drink must be a spirit of sorts. I'm going with rum and coke. I can remember having it a few times in college and I think it went pretty well - maybe????  So yes, I'm going with that. Rum and Coke it is.

I informed my husband of my new drink plan, and he seemed a little hesitant.

"You're going to drink liquor?" He asked. "Like out in public?"

I told him that was the plan. I would be ordering my new drink at dinner that night.

He response was as follows: "We might need to try this plan of yours at home first before you take that show on the road."

Really?!?!?! You wanna see a show? You should see the show I put on daily trying to get the kids fed and ready for school. If I want to go have a drink or two tonight for dinner - I suggest you just sit back, watch and be amazed that I don't drink all day. Cheers!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What Stinks?

   There is a lot of talk about poop at my house. My goodness, I've hit the bottom of the blogger barrel here haven't I? No matter, poop seems to be a prevailing topic of conversation in our household.

Hadley, age 2, taking a seat with her stuffed animals on her potty.

Here are the daily poop quips. From my home to yours - with love. 

"Smell the baby. Did he poop?" 
"The baby pooped."
"Do you smell poop?"
"Who pooped?"
"Mommy my stomach hurts," says child. "Do you have to poop?" says Mommy.
"Carry out the poopy diapers"
"There's poop in the litter box."
"Who didn't flush? There is poop in the toilet."
"Cameron, you're such a poop-head!" 
"God, turn on the fan in there - it smells like poop."
"Mommmmyyyyyy, I poooooooped."

I can remember with great affection how Justin and I used to be polite enough not to fart in front of one another. Our comfort level with bodily functions has increased dramatically since those good old gas free days. These days its considered polite to take an extra turn wiping a child's butt. Where did the romance go? Well, what can I say - Sh*t happens. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Birth Control Mobile

   Mini vans are not cool. No matter how you slice, cut or swagger it, there is nothing hip about a minivan. That being said, I drive one. I was force-fed the Kool-Aid.

   When I was pregnant with Jack, our third, my husband was adament about trading in the Highlander for a Sienna. He wisely waited until I was 9 months pregnant in the middle of August to really push the subject. At that point, all of my energy and focus was not on preparing for the new baby - but on finding different ways to eat salami. So when he brought up the subject of a minivan for the upteenth time, I finally said,
   "Mmm Hmmmm, yeah - get whatever," between bites of a salami, mayo and pickle roll-up.
   Thats how I wound up with a mini - I was in a salami-nitrate haze.

   I was driven to the hospital to have Jack in our Highlander. I was driven home in the "pre-owned but new to us" swagger wagon. I barely noticed. I was in baby bliss and possibly still high from all the medications - I had begged for every drug on the menu. I could have been wheeled home in a Radio Flyer and wouldn't have noticed. However, once the baby powder settled, I looked out the window and screamed to my husband, "JUSTIN!!!! Some middle-aged person with three kids has parked her van in our driveway!!!"

   Of course, I was kidding. I obviously knew we had the van. However, it was weeks before I REALLY knew we had the van. What was he thinking? Did he really want to be have sex with someone who drove a mini-van? He had obviously realized that with a third baby that sex was pretty much out of the question for the forseeable future and just threw caution to the wind when he ordered up that birth-control mobile. Nothing is less sexy than a mini-van.

On a side note - it's worth mentioning that our particular mini-van was pre-owned by a funeral director. Isn't that fantastic? Nothing says nice family vehicle like the image of cremated remains.

I've been driving the mini for about 6 months now and while I don't LOVE it, I can't complain. They are incredibly convenient. I do, however, have one minor problem. I can NEVER find our van in the parking lot after school. I roam around lost in a sea of swagger wagons - pulling on random doors trying to get in. I'm always hitting the unlock button on the keys to try to find our ride, but every other mother lost in the sea of minis is doing the same thing. I'm thinking I need to trick my van out with some sort of miniture stuffed animal on the antenna (perhaps a Garfield) to aleviate this problem.

By now, we've all seen this video - but does it ever really get old? I think not.

And one more - just for fun...