Monthly Archives: September 2012

Eat Your Clucking Broccoli

When I became a mom three years ago, I quickly realized that this job requires proficiency at a large and varied number of skills.  Changing diapers without getting drenched, holding my breath for five minutes while I empty the diaper garbage, patting my head while rubbing my belly in a circular motion, you get the drift.  But it wasn’t until recently that I realized the most valuable skill I could ever have as a mom is the ability to act like a sleeping zoo animal.

No joke, I am required by my children to use this skill multiple times a day, every day without fail.  The two primary locations in which it is demanded are the kitchen and the bathroom.  In the kitchen, here is what goes down:  I put a well-balanced and delicious meal in front of Addy and Zack containing a fruit, a vegetable, a protein and pasta.  They transform into vacuum cleaners, point the hose directly at the pasta, press on, the pasta disappears off of their plates (no chewing, no hands, no swallowing), and then they transform back into humans.  For the next half hour, they initiate 847 different topics of conversation ranging from where Daddy is to how I cured Zack’s hiccups last night (a.k.a. seven weeks ago) by saying “Boo!”  They get up and sit down no less than 25 times, Addy falls off of her chair at least once, and they completely ignore me anytime I say “please eat your [fruit/vegetable/protein].”

One day I was so beaten down from my failed efforts to get them to eat anything nutritious that I put my head down on the table and closed my eyes.  Zack and Addy promptly started screaming at me “Wake up Mommy!!!! Wake uuuuuuuuuuuuuup!!” and then the idea hit me.  I told them that the only way to wake me up would be to eat a piece of chicken and then I fell back to sleep on the table.  Shockingly, they did it and I woke up with a little jump that made them giggle.  Then they begged me to do it again and again and I proceeded to con those suckers into eating their whole dinner.

Over time, my wake ups required more and more pizzazz.  I am now at the point where I pretend to be a sleeping animal instead of a sleeping mom.  When Addy and Ben take a bite of their food, I wake up, jump out of my seat and make any one of about 27 different animal noises.  My favorite is the giraffe because it requires the least amount of effort – munch, munch.  My least favorite is the elephant, which I make by pressing my lips together and blowing really hard to create a horrible noise that makes me feel like I am going to pass out right into their plates.

I’ll spare you the details of how this skill applies in the bathroom.  Just know that my kids can be even more chatty and unfocused on the pooper than they are at dinner and, trust me, the sleeping chimpanzee works better than a tab of ex-lax with a prune juice chaser.

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Stop the Insnannity

Back in the spring, I decided to resign from my job and stay at home with my kids.  Why would I do that after ten years in the work world and two years of expensive business school you ask? Why would I trade in a decently paying job to spend more time funneling cash directly from our bank account into diapers.com’s?  Why would I give up my right to say to Max “Clean your own damn coffee maker.  What do you think?  I don’t work and sit at home all day eating chocolate covered pretzels (way better than bon bons in my opinon)???”  Well, aside from really wanting to be with my kids more, I did it to stop the insnannity.

Ever since I returned to work when Addy and Zack were six months old, our nanny situation had been a source of massive unhappiness.  Nanny #1 was our former night nurse* whom we really liked at first and really disliked by the time she was gone.  The fact that her previous experience was a job where she worked strictly in the dark, had minimal interaction with adults and usually left before the babies were three or four months old should have been the first red flag of many.   But what did I know?  I had never hired a nanny before.

She was great at first but as Addy and Zack approached one year and Zack started physical therapy for some developmental issues, things started to go downhill.  She clearly did not want to participate in Zack’s therapy and she approached playing with and reading to the kids with the same enthusiasm as one would approach cleaning a bathroom.   As luck would have it, it turned out that she was as unhappy as we were.  Just as I had arranged to do a trial week with a new nanny (Nanny #2), Nanny #1 asked for two weeks off to “go home to visit her mother” and then called a week later and said she had to stay there indefinitely.  In NYC nanny language, that translates to “I got another job, peace losers!”

My instincts during Nanny #2’s trial week told me not to hire her because she was a little too pushy for my taste, but since Nanny #1 had called at the end of it and quit, I told my instincts to shove it.  Nanny #2 was pretty great with the kids, cooked dinner for us, did lots of exercises with Zack…but let’s just say she wasn’t quite as awesome when interacting with grown-ups.  She would basically tell me I was a horrible mom if I asked her to shift the kids’ nap by one hour and constantly talked about how I would never find anyone as amazing as her, and I actually believed her for awhile.  I stomached her harshness for a year-and-a-half because she was good with the kids, but then it became clear that she was just as charming to the other nannies in the neighborhood as she was to me.  When I realized Addy and Zack’s playdates were dwindling and then our best friends’ nanny called to tell me she refused to hang out with Nanny #2 anymore because she was so nasty to her, we decided to cut the cord.

By the time we hired Nanny #3, Max and I were in full blown talks about me quitting but I wasn’t 100% sure yet.  Nanny #3 was a refreshing change from Nanny #2.  She was happy, positive, energetic and just plain nice.  The feeling of utter depression when I walked out the door in the morning was beginning to fade….until I noticed $400 missing from our safe.  Needless to say, our safe and key are not showcased in the middle of the coffee table in our living room, so swiping this money required a healthy amount of digging.  Because multiple people were in our apartment in the time period that this went down, I decided to buy a hidden camera to see if it would pick up any action.  Sure enough, the first day I set it up, the camera caught her in the act 10 minutes after I had left the apartment.  When we confronted her, she immediately copped to it and, although we felt sort of bad for her (you have to be in a tough situation to risk your whole job over $400), we let her go.

Bad luck?  Maybe a little.  Terrible hiring skills on my part?  Definitely.  Fate?  Perhaps all of this was the universe screaming “Stay home you idiot! Don’t you get the picture already!?!?”  Whatever it was, here I am spending more time with my cuties than I ever imagined I would and truly enjoying it.  Goodbye insNANNity, hello pandeMOMium!

*A night nurse is a baby nurse who comes at night to take care of the babies so the parents can sleep – something wimpy NYC mothers like me claim is an absolute necessity with twins

Things I’d Kill Max for Doing…That I Just Did

Since my kids are three, I have a treasure trove of mishaps and fun times to talk about in this blog that I’ve collected over the last 36 months.  But screw all of that.  Let’s start with what happened yesterday afternoon at the park.

Among my numerous neuroses related to the kids, a close second to them getting sick/injured is my fear that they are not active and adventurous enough.  When they refuse to get up from my lap at a gymnastics birthday party, it takes an intensely imagined straight jacket and gag to keep me from shoving them onto the trampoline after berating them with a Bobby Knight-style “pep talk.”  When they ride their scooters two blocks to the playground without complaining, the voice in my head sounds like Aly Raisman’s parents at the 2012 London Olympic Floor Exercise Finals with a touch of Mega Millions winner.

So when Addy and Zack expressed an interest in jumping off a 1.5-foot bench onto the sidewalk, I briefly saw two plaques awarded to brother/sister athletes of the year, [insert NYC Suburb] High School, Class of 2028, then figured, “what’s the worst that could happen?” because I’d surely hold their hands while they jumped.  I said OK and told them they would get one jump each because we needed to go home to cook dinner.

Zack went first and took a soaring leap about three inches up and four inches out while grasping both of my hands like we were seared together with superglue.  Then Addy approached launch position and it all went to hell.  “Get away Mommy, I want to go by myself!” she commanded and before I could respond she jumped and landed, two feet on the floor.  Sure enough, after a two second beat, Zack began scrining (scream-whining), “I wanna do it by myself!  Addy got to do it by herself! I wanna do it by myself! Addy got to do it by herself! I wanna do it by myself!” 

Although Zack is less sure-footed than Addy, I threw caution to the wind and did what I needed to do to turn the volume down – I said OK.  After what seemed like an hour-and-a-half waiting for him to decide where on the bench he wanted to climb up, he shimmied to the edge and considered jumping.  His face and body language couldn’t have been any clearer – he was not sure he really wanted to do this by himself.  He bent his knees and threw his arms back but stopped short of jumping and told me that I needed to say “one, two, three, jump!”  I heeded his request and he jumped, but my instincts screamed “catch him!” and I did.   Fury filled his wide, innocent eyes and he screamed at me “I wanna do it by myself!  Don’t catch me!” then ran back to the bench for a third try.  He again tentatively made his way to the edge of the bench and struggled through a few false starts and a few unanswered “one, two, three, jumps.”  Then he did it.  Right there in the middle of the crowded NYC park, he presented me with the Moron-Mother of the Year award.  He curled himself into a watermelon, slowly tipped his body off the bench and landed square on the sidewalk, head-first.  The sound that his skull made as it met the ground was a cross between what it sounds like when you drop an egg and a 10-pound free weight on cement. 

I basically stood there watching, dumbfounded until the blood-curdling screaming of both Zack and Addy woke me from my daze of horror.  When I picked him up, I thought for sure blood would be spurting out of this forehead and shooting me in the face like that scene with the bicyclist from Monty Python.  Then I thought his eye would be dilated and he’d puke all over me (this is what my pediatrician told me to look out for the last 73 times I emailed her asking what to do when one of the kids bumped their heads).  Before I could even assess the situation, I decided the best course of action would be to call 911, give Addy to the homeless guy eating tuna fish on the bench across the way, throw the tricycle we had with us in the garbage can to my left and hire an attorney on behalf of Max to write up divorce papers that I would be served in the ER waiting room.  But then I looked up at Zack and he was totally fine.  No blood, no egg head, normal pupils, no projectile vomit.  Just some tears and an imprint of the sidewalk on his nugget. 

Addy and Zack were still crying as we walked home and I couldn’t calm them down until I did what any loving parent would do in this situation.  I started making fun of him, and it slayed! “Hey Zack, next time you jump off a bench, try landing on your feet instead of your head!” The crying transitioned to craughing, I was onto something.  Then I went all out and started calling him Humpty Dumpty and it was over, they were toast.

We called Max when we got home to tell him what happened and his reaction was akin to me telling him that I was making boiled chicken and beans for dinner or I had gotten 50 cents off a box of tampons as CVS today.  Clearly, had this happened on his watch, my reaction would have been similarly unruffled.  Psyche.  I would have yelled at him for 20 minutes, given him the cold shoulder the rest of the night, then I would have reminded him of the “mishap” seven times a day until Zack was 25 years old.  But I’m the mom so I’m allowed to react like that, right?  I mean, I’m the one who carried those two babies for 34.5 weeks, suffered through two months of bed rest , then had my abdomen cut open and my guts laid on a table to get them out.  I think I earned the right to overreact a little, no?

Thankfully, Max still loves me (I think) even though he knows I would have castrated him if he let Zack smash his head on a sidewalk.  Here is a list of other things that I’d kill Max for doing that I have actually done:

1.       Leaving the two-year-old kids in bath seats in the tub for “two seconds” while I threw their diapers in the Dekkor.  (They were in bath seats!)

2.       Giving them candy after they shit in their underwear. (Addy and Zack, not Max)

3.       Letting Addy and Zack chase pigeons down 72nd Street while I talk on the phone to my mom.  (What? I don’t need my mouth and ears to see them!)

4.       Telling Addy and Zack that there will be no TV on school mornings under any circumstances, then promptly turning on Dora when they run into our room at 6:30 AM.  (Me sleepy)

5.       Letting the kids stand up in the stroller, unbuckled, while I pushed them uphill with bags hanging on the handlebar, only to have the stroller give from the weight and fall backwards, rendering the kids completely upside down (still in the stroller) and hysterical.  (Oh, stop! They were fine!)