“Of Mice and Mom”

Greetings! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I decided around the holidays to take a break from blogging for a couple of reasons. First, the holidaze…as in holiday craziness, is a time I both love and exhaust from. I’m sure many of you can relate. Second, It’s likely our last holiday season living in this fabulous city, and I wanted to be in the moment as much as possible. As my husband knows, this is a touchy subject for me since I’m obsessed with this city, but the fat lady hasn’t sang…so no tears yet. December marked my one year anniversary for this little blog, and I want to thank y’all who have supported me! Lately, my head has been spinning with ideas to post about, so I’m excited to be back.

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My first post of 2015 is not “glaMoMorous” at all, but that is what my blog is about. Sharing the glam and craziness. Finding the humor in motherhood, event at its raunchiest moments. I mentioned above how obsessed with San Francisco I am, but I am NOT obsessed with the serious rodent problem in this city. With that being said, this is my tale “Of Mice and Mom”. Two years ago, we moved into this spacious three bedroom, two car garage rental. We were thrilled to have something larger than 900 square feet. The unit has lovely Victorian details, is within walking distance to great restaurants, parks, shops, and even boasts a guest suite downstairs. We could finally host friends and family comfortably. So, let me give a little background to my tale. One year into living here, we started to notice mice droppings. My thinking was, “Okay, no big deal, these things happen, right”. I grew up with farms in my family, where all sorts of creatures entered the house. We schedule a local pest control service, and followed all the suggested advice, but the problem didn’t go away. Every night, around 8pm a little furry friend would scamper up the stairs towards the kitchen. I could witness this happening from the family room. It became a part of my evening routine. Feed the children, bathe the children, read to the children, put the children to sleep, relax on the couch with hubby, see furry friend, go to bed completely grossed out. Sweet!

Here is where the tale takes a turn for the worst. When you think of these little scavengers, you picture them scampering along the baseboards in search of food. They are frightened of humans. They want nothing to do with us, or so I thought. Jack was a baby so I was waking regularly during the night. You know, that very light mommy sleep stage where your ears and mind are tuned in to hear anything ( I actually don’t think this skill ever leaves, once you become a mother, so I guess sleeping is never the same..another great gift from motherhood). Anyhow, I laid in my bed, warm under the cover but not sound asleep. I felt a slight movement on top of my covers near my feet, and it quickly turned to a scamper that trickled up towards my chest. At this point, I realized one brave mouse was scampering up my body! I smacked the furry thing off my chest across the bed and YES I felt every inch of it. Are you kidding me? Did that just happen? This was the end of any decent sleep for me for awhile. Who needed sleep when you could just lay in bed and replay this experience in your head, and hope it didn’t repeat. Even worse, I was ultra paranoid about my children being bothered or crawled on during their sleep. The source of our problem was the construction around our house which up roots nests, so the issue was going to come and go.

One night my husband watched one squeeze through the bottom of our front door. You can barely slide a piece of paper under our door! I’m so glad he/she felt comfortable enough to come “home” using the front door instead of some other obscure entry point. Might as well make a grand entrance! “Hey guys, it’s me, your other family member, the mouse. I’m home!” Mike kept this information from me for a while, since he already thought I needed therapy regarding this issue. I was”googling” anything and everything on mice. Did you know that they can survive for days with no water? Did you know they travel in groups…great!! Did you know their little bodies can shrink up to fit through a hole the size of a pencil eraser. I didn’t believe it, until I witnessed a mouse do just that! I discovered they don’t like peppermint, so our bedroom was dotted with cotton balls soaked in peppermint. By the way, don’t ever rub your eyes after handling peppermint, I learned the hard way. Our room and the kids room smelt like an herbal store, but I convinced Mike it was soothing for everyone. Plus peppermint opened up your respiratory system so that’s good, right? I know they are just mice, and harmless, and I really love the movie Ratatoullie, but you know that scene where the old lady discovers the little chef rat is in her house, and then she shoots a gun at the ceiling towards Remy, and the entire ceiling collapses with a 100 rats falling on her..yep this is where my thoughts would go, but with mice instead of rats. Needless to say Ratatoullie had to be eliminated from the movie selection for a bit, because it prompted dreams about that happening in our house. Did I mention I temporarily went crazy, wouldn’t you if one crawled on you?

The issue improved, after sealing up a hole in our light box, which we discovered was a main entry point for them getting into our walls. For several months, I stopped seeing any mice, and the droppings were gone. RELIEF! I stopped worrying about the kids, and started sleeping normal again. Fast forward to this week. I was reading to the kids, Dr. Seuss’s “Go Dog, Go”, and what did the New Year decide to bring me..my furry friend(s) are back and headed straight for the kitchen. I was alone that night, and remembered Mike saying he “got” a mice with a broom. I’ll spare you details, and don’t judge, we aren’t mean, just desperate. So, here I am in my red plaid rain boots, grey bathrobe, and steady eye, with a broom sitting on my dining table. I had the back door open and it was freezing, but who cares, I was determined! My plan was to sweep it out, as I don’t think I could do much more. I really am an animal/creature lover..just desperate to NOT be these creatures home! After about 20 minutes, I had to just start laughing. LOOK AT ME, only a mom would do this! It’s our maternal instinct to protect at all costs. I wished so badly that I could be like my husband and not lose sleep over this small issue. Many nights, I’d look at him with sleep envy as he snored without a care, while I lay worrying about my sweet babies being bothered. I couldn’t help it though. The day you become a mom, something inside you changes forever. Truth be told, there are much worse things in life to deal with. I’m a bit concerned about MYSELF when my children become teenagers and are out at night. Does the worrying get better? Tell me I’ll have it together by then…ha! I know I can’t protect them from everything, but like any mom, I’ll never stop trying. I didn’t ever catch my furry friend, and I’m fully prepared that one will visit soon. That being said, as sad as I am to leave this city..I can’t wait to leave my furry house squatters and end my tale, “Of Mice and Mom”. Happy New Years all!

Mother’s Day Quotes

5_9_2014_Mother'sDayMother’s Day is upon us, so I reached out to my circle of mom’s and girlfriends for some funny quotes (some via Pinterest), tidbits, and life lessons about motherhood. Here is an abbreviated list that includes the sentimental first and then the hilarious. Thank you to my sarcastic and “don’t take life too serious” friends for the last couple quotes!

  • “What you put into life is what you get out of life”
  • “Be original, and don’t follow the pack”
  • “If you can’t change it, don’t worry about it”
  • “Look for the good in everything”
  • “Enjoy the simple things in life”
  • “Keep your girlfriends close, men come and go”
  • “I don’t “need” a glass of wine everyday, but my kids “need” me to have it!”
  • “There is no point in cleaning your house, until your kids leave for college”
  • “I wish someone told me to enjoy my perky assets because after children they will deflate, shrink, and sink!”
  • “Behind every great kid, is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up – YOU’RE NOT!”
  • “I used to have functioning brain cells, but I turned them in for children”
  • “Please pass me the parenting handbook, I need to smack my kid with it!”
  • “I must need an interpreter because when I say “Hurry, put your shoes on and get in the car” my kids hear “it’s a good time to poop”
  • “Once you become a mother, say adios to bathroom breaks alone”
  • “Crap! I just said something my mother would have said”
  • “I love cleaning up messes I didn’t make…so I became a mom”
  • “Gonna play a new game with the kids tonight, it’s called “Duct, Duct, Tape…”
  • “Mommy has a headache. You kids go play in traffic”

Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing ladies. And to my mom, who graces the picture for this post, I love you! You’re amazing, and will you come visit soon so that I can sleep in? As you always told me “No one will ever take care of you, like your mother.” This might be my favorite quote, and as I’ve learned… is so true.

Let it Go

Let_It_Go_DressesKeeping with the ever popular song from the hit flick Frozen, I’m currently learning to “Let it Go”. I wish I was as cool as Elsa learning to release my superpowers into the universe, but I’m just a mom learning to “pick my battles” with my almost 4 year old. As a parent, it’s only normal to face struggles with any toddler learning to assert themselves. Let me just quickly say…this is a longer post than normal for me, so don’t worry they won’t usually be this lengthy! Anyhow, to prepare, I read numerous blogs and books on how to set boundaries and discipline so that my child can thrive and I can be the best parent possible. I also make sure the wine is stocked. I wish learning to deal with a strong-willed toddler was as easy as following instructions from a book, but the truth of the matter is, it’s individual to each child, and parents have to figure out the best solutions for their child. I’m not a family therapist, but I believe in sharing experiences and helping others learn from my battles, mistakes, and successes. Personally, I have learned more about parenting from listening to my network of parents and their experiences than any book I’ve read. So, let me set the stage for what I’m learning to “Let Go”. My sweet little girl has never really been into girly things. She loves legos, balls, sports, the colors green and blue, and she could care less about dolls or ANYTHING pink (with the exception of the Pinkalicious books). She prefers to make capes and superhero masks, and plays in a pretend rocket ship or firehouse. Playing dress up involves Ironman, Batman, and Spiderman, and not Cinderella, Belle, or Ariel. Her favorite movies are Cars, Toy Story, and Frozen. I don’t believe in any sort of gender specific toys, activities, colors, etc, but I love that she breaks some of “societies” gender rules. Audrey comes from a long list of tomboys; myself, my mother, my mother-in-law, and my sister, so this really is no surprise. I love everything about her interests, but I wanted to share these things so you could understand my story.

A few months back Audrey decided to start picking out her clothes before school. This is completely normal for her age, but I definitely liked it when little miss could care less what clothes I picked out each day. It was like playing dress up. Mommies, you know what I’m talking about! Anyhow, Mike and I were already learning to pick our battles with our spirited toddler, but I was not ready to relinquish control of the closet. Every morning, I anticipated a struggle getting dressed, and we would go through so many options to find something suitable to her liking. After a while, I started putting my foot down, because I am the parent, right! We talked about how she could pick a few days a week, and I would pick the other days. This worked for a few weeks, but slowly the battle became worse. Audrey started weaning out dresses, skirts, anything that wasn’t green or superhero related. One dreadful morning, we had a huge meltdown because I picked out a white shirt, yellow skirt patterned with birds, and leggings…Audrey lost it. She started yelling and screaming in my face, “I don’t like dresses!”. This behavior was unacceptable, so I put her on a time out. At this point, I swore my child was part bull. She sat arms crossed, stern-faced in her timeout for what felt like eternity, then it progressed to kicking and screaming, then to a full-blown hyperventilating sob fest. This kid was showing epic tantrum skills, and meanwhile I was breaking down inside. I had dealt with tantrums successfully, but in all honesty was feeling pretty inadequate this particular day! I yelled a lot that morning, which does nothing but make you feel shitty. I believed I needed to follow though with making sure she understood the rules, which meant she had to put on what I choose for her that day. I believed I needed to stay consistent, because I would only be teaching her she gets her way, if I gave in to her tantrum. Audrey was sobbing, red-faced, but finally gave in and put her clothes on. I had won, right?!

We were 30 minutes late to school that morning. On the drive, everyone was silent, even my 16 month old son who is normally mimicking fire trucks the entire car ride. Out of the blue, Audrey said in the most honest and vulnerable voice possible “I love you Mom”. She knew I was upset and frustrated, and she wanted to please me. I walked her up to the classroom and she ran to play, not turning back to say goodbye or give me a hug and a kiss like she normally does. Ughhhh the daggers that pierced my heart when she ran off. It was awful, I walked away, and started sobbing myself. What the hell!! You are probably thinking it’s just clothes, let her pick it out. But, I was trying to stick to my guns. I then realized this was bigger than teaching my child to follow instructions. Her wardrobe symbolized the one girly thing left from her infant years, and I was holding on tight. I finally admitted this was about ME, and my issue to “Let Go”. As proud of my little tomboy that I was, part of having a little girl was being able to put her in precious dresses. While I was pregnant, I remember dreaming of sweet pigtails and bow adorned hair. I needed to wake up! My little girl was growing up, and making decisions is part of learning independence. Who cares if she chooses to wear her boots with soccer shorts and a superhero cape. How can I stifle her creativity, self-expression, and independence because of my own selfishness. From that moment on, I committed to letting her pick out what she wanted (with the exception of special events). Once I let go, I realized that I was truly missing out on enjoying such a fun toddler experience. I often crack up at these crazy combos she comes up with, and now I look forward to the morning dress time. It’s true that when I see a little girl dressed up as Cinderella in a tiara, or a darling dress hanging in some retail store, I have that ahhhh-so-sweet moment, but it quickly passes. Audrey still let’s me do her hair in pigtails. More recently she loves makeup and jewelry, so we indulge in that together, when we aren’t building a rocket ship or fighting crime, which is equally as fun. But, if that should change soon, it’s 100% fine. Each family has their own toddler battles, and it’s our job to teach right from wrong when it comes to behavior, but if you find yourself in a similar situation as the one I shared, take a moment to look within yourself. Sometimes these battles aren’t about our children. We have to learn to “Let Go” of our own expectations for our children and help them become strong confident individuals, like my little astronaut below.

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While I felt my situation was a little different, I do know getting dressed for toddlers in general can be a nightmare for many parents. My tips for a toddler who struggles to get dressed in the morning.

  1. Take them shopping so they can pick out the items. This gives them ownership, and they are proud of their choices, and more likely to dress themselves.
  2. Embrace the creativity, it really is awesome and will change soon enough.
  3. If they wear the same thing everyday, then you are saving $$$ on clothes. FANTASTIC!
  4. On holiday’s or special occasions remind them a day or two before the event that the agreement is to dress “nice”.
  5. If the agreement doesn’t work, then result to bribing. No judgements here 😉

Deep in the Trenches with the Flu

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Super Mom! Yep, I sooooo needed this giant coffee mug fully loaded with caffeine last week. I was deep in the trenches for about ten days. My entire household was plagued with the flu, which meant that I was either covered in barf, snot, or diarrhea. I know many of you have been in this situation recently, so I wanted to share a few of my shining moments.

  • I clocked about 10 hours of sleep in four nights, and became that over paranoid mom constantly checking the monitor, which sounds normal, except that I was actually sleeping in the same room as my sick child. Clearly, it makes perfect sense to get up, check on your child sleeping next to you, get back in bed, stare at your monitor instead of sleep, and then repeat over and over. Phew, glad I was so efficient.
  • In a desperate moment after my 16 month old stuck his grimy hands in my mouth, I grabbed the hand sanitizer and used it on my tongue and mouth in hopes this would prevent me from getting sick. I said I was desperate. After that, I remembered the invention..mouthwash. Ding ding, she has a brain!
  • My communication with my husband was reduced to an evil glare (given by yours truly), as we passed each other in the hallway like distant strangers, because he had the, “I have to work early” card. As he slept so peacefully night after night, I was downstairs thinking about how much I wanted to package the barf and maybe one diarrhea diaper with his lunch. Or maybe just throw one of the diarrhea diapers at him as he slept. Or somehow have my son diarrhea on him. I’ll admit, this got a bit out of control. Sorry babe, I just wanted to share the fun I was having.

Two ear infections later, our house had finally recovered. Obviously, I can’t say anything good came of this illness, but when I think back, I can remember my squirmy 16 month old actually sleeping on my chest again (something I miss desperately). Or, being able to watch an all time family favorite, The Wizard of Oz, with my red nosed 3.5 year old who needed my extra hugs. I guess in motherhood, you always have a special moment to keep, even when the nasty flu has you deep in the trenches. I think tonight I’ll fill my Super Mom mug with a nice bordeaux instead. Cheers!

Discovering Glitter and Glue

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A dear friend of mine sits on the board with the bay area non-profit Children’s Health Guild, which is a group of women who volunteer their time to raise funds for Children’s Hospital and Research Center for Oakland and the George Mark Children’s House. Every year they host a Holiday Boutique and Luncheon, and this year I joined for the charitable festivities. Obviously, the most important outcome is the charitable donations raised, and I could go on and on about the fabulous shopping, or the some 400 lovely ladies in attendance, but the real highlight for me, was the amazingly talented guest speaker Kelly Corrigan, author of Lift, The Middle Place, and her most recent book, Glitter and Glue. From the moment she candidly began to share bits of her book and life, I knew that she was incredibly gifted as an author, speaker, and a woman. Having to overcome tremendous adversity, including cancer, she has this uncanny ability to make you laugh at even the hardest of times. Kelly read excerpts about raising her children from her most recent memoir, which had me, either hysterically laughing, in tears, or both at the same time. She would then reflect on her childhood, and with every jab or poke towards her Mom or Dad, you couldn’t help but say, “Yes, I can relate, these too are my parents with all their crazy idiosyncrasies that they have so lovingly passed on to me!” Every woman (and a few men) felt instantly connected by hearing and relating to these stories. It was special. So.. let me explain the title because I promise, if possible, you will love your mother just a little bit more.

One night during Kelly’s high school years, her mother so nonchalantly said, “Honey, your father is the glitter, and I am the glue”.  At the time, this meant nothing to Kelly, but obviously now, years later, is the premise for her book. For me, the title alone couldn’t be anymore relatable. After I left the event that day, I of course, called my mom immediately and shared about my experience and how I wished we could have shared it together. What my mom didn’t know was that at that moment, I just wanted to hug her for as long as possible. I wanted to somehow express that as a mother of two, I get it! I know about your countless selfless acts performed over the years. As amazing as Dad was, and still is, I know that YOU were the glue! You are my superhero.

I left that day a little more grateful, and actually quite obsessed with wanting to make Kelly Corrigan my best friend. Even though she is most definitely the cooler “Kelly” I take pride in sharing our 80’s first name with such a rad chick. Anyhow, I look forward to reading Glitter and Glue and all it’s raw tales on parenthood and family.

If you haven’t already thought of this, her books would make a fun and thoughtful Christmas present for any woman! If you do read one of her books or already have, I’d love to know your feedback. Happy reading and hug your mom a little tighter next time!