Assholes. We’ve all got one… and we all have a few extras in our lives that make it that much more exhausting. I think I just hit my asshole limit.
I’ve been meaning to write. Trying to find the time, energy, and content to say exactly what I’ve been thinking for the last couple of weeks. I just haven’t had the perfect word to describe what feeling has been burrowing deep inside of me, pushing the limits of my patience and compassion for other human beings. I finally went to my acupuncture guy and told him I needed herbs to calm the anxiety building in my chest – making sleeping and eating an afterthought and avoiding obligations because they’ve never felt more like an obligation.
Then, after my herbs starting kicking in (or at least I thought they were… it’s all mental, right?) I met a wonderful friend of mine for dinner and drinks at an oyster bar. She’s also a mom, of two kids, and has been through her fair share of ups and downs in life and motherhood. She always gives me great advice and a reality check that trying to fit into any mold is an absolute waste of time and I am “the shit” all on my own. I love her.
As she said it, “assholes”, I realized that it was the perfect word.
Baylor… bless his perfect heart…is an asshole. He is! Ok, maybe not an asshole, but definitely self-centered. It’s his job, and he will grow out of it. He only thinks about himself, he says “no” just because he feels like it, he spills on my couch, he bosses me around, and he ruined my boobs. I love him more than anything on the entire planet, but he’s 2, and he’s kind of an asshole.
I’ve been guilty of calling a friend and busting into my own verbal agenda without even a “how are you?” I know it’s wrong. I usually apologize by the end and explain that I just really had to talk about something and that I also want to hear about what’s going on with them. Maybe it’s “mommy social skills” or maybe I just forget what it’s like to speak with adults, but now I feel like I’m always worrying about what I’m saying because I’m trying so hard to have a normal conversation. Making sure it’s fair and that everyone is taking their turn. Just like on the playground.
My once thick skin is feeling paper thin and a single comment may be interpreted the wrong way and I lie in bed at night thinking about it… over and over again. I remember when I worked for a real estate developer in an office downtown. He’d come in and say, “Allison, this is shit, do it again!” I would glare at him a little and then re-do the project as he’d asked. I didn’t stress, dwell on, or repeat the comment. It was just part of the job.
We’ve all been there… only thinking about our careers, our personal lives, our boyfriends. What car should I buy? What should I buy at the Nordstrom sale? How much do I weigh and how often should I be at the gym? I remember these days! It’s not that I don’t know I’m lucky. I know, I do. I love my life (there, stop thinking I’m being a debbie downer. I’m just venting). But thinking about someone else all day, every day, and then having the people in your life only want to talk and think about themselves has started to make me feel slightly more insane than normal. Am I crazy?
Let me explain. It’s not so easy being with toddlers all day. Much to my own surprise, stay-at-home moms are NOT eating bon bons and watching soap operas all day. It turns out, nobody tells you that you did a kick ass job on the mac-and-cheese that is being poked at and will eventually end up on the floor. People are still out there having active social lives and LOVE lives and call to tell me about it – and then say “oh, I better let you go” after the third time I have to tell them to hold on a sec so that I can help Bay with something else. Who has time for this?
I feel like an asshole who can’t meet for lunch because I have to be home for a 12:30 nap. Sorry that I was 15 minutes late – my child refused to wear shoes and then shit himself to a point of poop squirting up his shirt. I apologize that I can’t see your face through the stomach of my 30-pound descendant who is standing on my lap in the middle (literally) of our conversation. SORRY! I’m an asshole!
I wipe assholes all day. I drink herbs that taste like asshole to calm my nerves from dealing with assholes. And it’s raining… like, really raining. My tan is fading, in July, and it sucks. Maybe that’s why everything seems extra shitty today. I’m heading to the drug store to see if they have a cream for this super-asshole situation.
My 85-year-old neighbor just walked by my window and saw me at my computer. He just yelled, “HEY! DON’T GET SHINGLES, THEY’RE TERRRRIBLE!”
Maybe I should pick up an ointment for shingles too. Who knows.
“Soooo, is Bay’s dad married to someone else now?” Zara, the 8-year-old I nanny two afternoons a week, asked me like it had been on her mind for months.
“No… he’s not. Why, should he be?”
“Well, how long were you married to him?”
“I wasn’t married to him…” I shouldn’t have opened this can of worms.
“Wait, how do you have Baylor then if you weren’t married to him?” Her 6-year-old sister chimed in sitting next to her in the back seat of my car on the way to a farmer’s market.
“Oh, well, um, we ALMOST got married, so…” Maybe it sounds better to innocent ears if the intention was there.
“But you should have been married and THEN had Baylor. How did you have him if you weren’t married?” She said it slowly and clearly like I didn’t understand the first time.
“Well, ok, sometimes people have babies even when they aren’t married… But it’s such a bad idea, girls, you should definitely be married before you have a baby.”
“Duh. It’s not an idea. You can’t have babies unless you’re married… I mean, it’s impossible. That’s why I want to know how Baylor is on this Earth if you weren’t married to his dad. I just don’t get it.” Zara was on me. She clearly thought that walking down the aisle would also impregnate her some day.
“Well, um, sooo, you are right. I don’t know what happened.” I just stopped it right there.
“But Allison,” sweet little Nina had something else to add, “will you ever get married to anyone?” Really girls. Is this necessary?
“I hope so, Nina. What do you think? Do you think I will get married?”
“How old are you…?” Zara asked.
“26 for another month.”
“Hmmm… probably not then. Well, I don’t know, actually. How old do you have to be to get married?” I will be sad the day that she realizes anyone can get married and you don’t actually have to pass a test, or meet requirements.
“People get married usually between 20 and 35… but sometimes even older than that, if you can believe it.” I said it like 35 was the same age as their grandparents.
“Ok, so you are 6 years in. You have 9 left. I think you’ll probably get married…” Damn that girl is good at math.
We pulled into the parking lot of the farmer’s market and I pulled out my lip gloss.
“Why do you wear lip gloss? I think ladies wear it because they like to look nice for their husbands.” Nina, the 6-year-old contributed.
“Nina,” Zara whispered to her sister, “she doesn’t have a husband.”
“Ohhhh, well maybe for her boyfriend?”
“I don’t think she has one of those either. Do you Allison? Do you have a boyfriend?”
“See… she just wants to look pretty for herself. That’s all.”
“Ladies, you never know, my husband could be right inside that market. Have to look good!”
“Your husband is IN THERE?! I WANT TO MEET HIM!”
“Me too, girls, me too.”
It just happened… like, maybe an hour ago. The biggest tantrum of my son’s life and the most “counting to ten” of mine.
Baylor and I visited our sweet friend Essie’s family’s lake house on Priest Lake in Idaho. Essie’s son, Jonas, was born a couple of days before Baylor and the two of them met when they were but 3 weeks old in my mom’s group. Essie and I were the only ladies to have a natural birth in the group and I remember wanting to get to know her. She held Jonas in a wrap across her chest and appeared to have been a mother for years – it just came naturally to her. We figured out that we were neighbors and I would strap Baylor to my chest and make the 8-block trek to her home. She’d always feed us… and her place was usually spotless. “No, no, no,” she’d say “my place is actually really dirty… don’t look too close!” She is the kind of pal that makes everything sound fun… be it gardening, changing a poopy diaper, or drinking cocktails at 3pm on her patio. So calm, so positive, and such a nice woman to be friends with.
Then they moved to Spokane.
We haven’t seen them in months, and I had some airline credit, so we hopped a jet and flew east of the mountains for a fun weekend with our friends. Riding 4-wheelers through the wooded trails, pushing strollers up vacant streets to a hidden park in the woods, jumping on the neighbor’s trampoline, and plopping 5 million rocks off of the dock – the boys were absolutely exhausted, and so were the mamas.
We flew home ready for the week – sad to say goodbye to the gorgeous lake and to our silly friends. Bay’s dad hadn’t seen him for almost 5 days because we were gone, so the day after our return Bay headed over to his place for two nights. It’s summer… and it’s busy. I think my sleepy boy had had enough with ping ponging all over the place.
I picked him up this morning… When I took him down to the football field close to our house to run around, he cried when I set him on the warm turf.
He cried when Hudson, the boy I nanny, touched the ball.
He cried when I gave the ball back to him.
He cried when I suggested he take off his shoes.
He really cried when I said it was fine if he left them on.
Sensing a trend, I told the boys it was time to go back, get a snack, and take a small rest. We started making progress toward the gate to leave when Baylor saw the pink snack cup I had left on the step before entering the field. Without thinking, I picked up the cup and added it to my pile of things to bring back. Pissy-Pants told me to “put the cup down.”
“I’m bringing the cup home, Bay, now come on…”
“NO, MAMA. Put the cup DOWWWWN!” This was it. The tip of the iceburg. He had lost it. It was all over from here. The little pink snack cup being picked up was just way too much for my emotional basket case.
Baylor latched on to the chain link fence and refused to budge. Juggling a soccer ball, a 16-month-old, my sweatshirt, a snack bowl, and a purple ball, I simply didn’t have the hands to remove him from the fence and carry him up the steep hill back to our house. I ditched the balls in the bushes and charged my stubborn son.
“WE ARE GOING BACK HOME, NOW.” I said firmly, hoping that he would sense the seriousness in my voice.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” He screamed his favorite word in a way that made people on the street stop and look down to make sure nobody was in fact dying.
Hudson started crying because Baylor was acting like a scary psychopath.
Kicking, hitting, wailing, and bawling, I picked up my almost-2-year-old and carted him up the hill under my only free arm. The tennis camp happening directly to our left stopped and stared – oh yes, all 50 people, turned and watched as Baylor screamed his guts out.
We finally, after much manhandling, made it back into our house where Baylor proceeded to scream and scream and scream and scream a little more.
I gave him some milk, and he felt a little better. Well, better enough to stop screaming, but not enough to kill the whimpers.
On my way back from LA a few weeks ago I sat next to a single mom of a 4-year-old on the plane. We quickly compared stories and then started comparing notes. We talked about “the day after” when our kiddos come back from Dad’s house. It’s not that anything bad had happened to them while they were away from us… but when they come home, the first day is the worst. They disrespect, can’t follow directions, melt down, and test everything like it’s new again. It’s like he is punishing me for abandoning him or something. My new friend on the plane said that she would cave and give her daughter whatever she wanted on that first day because she felt guilty. It was that clear that her daughter was upset with her that she simply couldn’t make her feel any worse. Visit after visit her daughter would push farther and farther until she said her daughter had become a little monster – almost looking forward to the day she could come back home and get whatever she wanted from her mother. She had to enforce the rules even harder and eventually her daughter realized that she would always come back to her mom’s and that there wasn’t any abandoning happening at all. It’s tough love at its finest, and it truly is tough.
He’s sleeping now. Thank God. After he regrouped a little more, he came outside and watered all of the plants with me. Enthusiastic questions, reactions, and lots of giggles… he was back to my boy and not that crazy monster kid who stopped a tennis camp.
We watered and watered and set up the pool… and then he fell from his bike and hit his nose so hard that blood gushed everywhere and we were back to the screaming.
Part Two of July 1st better be a different story or I’m going to bonk my own face into the pavement.
“These mama’s boobs…” He points to my chest and then sticks his little finger into the middle of my boobs.
“Bay has nipples. No boobs.” He informs me. “Touch mama’s boobs?” When did mama’s boobs go from food source to toy?
“You cannot touch mama’s boobs, sorry. But that’s right, Bay. You have nipples. Where are your nipples? He points to them over his shirt and marches off like we’ve just had some groundbreaking conversation. He is, in fact, the first person to realize that he is a boy, and that boys don’t have boobs.
I remember lying on the table at my doctor’s office. Gooey gel on my belly as she glided the magical device across to expose a tiny penis growing inside of me. I had thought, great… what in the hell am I supposed to do with a boy? I mean, I don’t know how to deal with a penis.
Ok, I obviously knew how to deal with a penis enough to get pregnant, but you know what I mean.
“Mama, LOOK. Balls are under my penis.” I was changing his diaper and like usual, his hand found its way down to his boy parts. He had just come back from his dad’s house… meaning all sorts of new vocabulary about his penis.
“Did daddy teach you about your balls? They are inside of your scrotum.” In the next year, he’ll be able to tell me all of the new things that daddy teaches him.
“Balls under-der.” He said it with such pride. “Mama have balls?”
“No, Baylor. Mama doesn’t have balls. What does mama have?” I wish he hadn’t learned “balls”. It just sounds gross. Testicles are much more appropriate. Scientific, in fact.
And then our game begins.
“Lizzy have penis? Noooooo… a-gina. Jenna have penis? Nooooo… a-gina. Daddy have penis? YES! Daddy have penis! Daddy a boy!”
The other day I turned the corner to find Baylor with his hands deep in the front of his diaper. He looked up and said, “Mama, touching my penis!”
Not sure of how to handle this self-exploration, I tried to communicate with my almost 2-year-old as best I could. “Baylor, it’s ok to touch your penis, but you have to do it in the bathroom or the bedroom. And nobody else can touch it unless it’s to clean you and change your diaper.”
I’m in way over my head. No pun intended.
We called them privates and pee-pees when we were little. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard my mom say “vagina”… hell, she still won’t even tell us that she poops. I did the Vagina Monologues in college and remember thinking that there was no way I was going to teach my kids any of those bullshit names for their bodies. Penis and vagina. Those are their names. And here I am cringing every time he points to me when I’m getting dressed in my room and says, “mama’s a-gina!” Mental note: may be time to start locking him out of my room while I get dressed. “Mama’s flower” would sound just so much more delicate. Ok, and sort of weird, especially when he starts thinking that snap dragons and roses are the same thing that I have in my pants.
I want to make sure Baylor knows he can talk to me about everything – and that it’s ok to have a penis and he won’t get in trouble for touching it – but not to do it every chance he gets in front of anyone and everyone. It’s funny how curious and inquisitive he has become about his body. It’s neat to see the natural inquiries develop and his awareness of his body and sexuality. It’s like he’s becoming a “real boy” and not just this tiny baby anymore. I didn’t just grow a penis inside of me… I grew an entire human!
I know there are plenty of “why” questions headed my way. This is the first time I’ve had to think about how to answer his questions and what to explain. Still not sure what to say when he asks why his dad and I aren’t married. Where do babies come from? Ask Aunt Liz…
Parenting: there should be a rule book. Maybe an instruction manual. I just hope I don’t mess him up too bad.
I noticed that he wasn’t well when the corner of his tank became the only place he would hang out. Staying close to the bottom was challenging and his tiny mouth was aimed toward the lid.
I didn’t actually notice he was dead until Baylor asked me, “Where’s Midnight?” When in the hell did Baylor remember that our Beta was named Midnight? I didn’t exactly walk around the house calling his name. I gave him this name because he was dark blue… and I made up that it was fitting because of how mysterious he was because it sounded sexier. And who doesn’t want a sexy fish? I walked over to the mantle where I had recently moved him after his funny behavior started, and there, lined in a jelly coffin, floated my sweet Midnight.
It all started when I placed Midnight on the top of my entertainment center in my living room. He wasn’t eating so my mother, apparently being a fish tank expert, told me to move his mini-tank to a window with sunlight.
This was in the winter. Now it’s “summer”.
Midnight may have been in that same south-facing window on an 80 degree day and I think a fish boil happened while I wasn’t home. The roses resting in vases in that very same window didn’t make it. He was never the same after that Seattle scorcher.
I changed his water daily, tried to dance in front of his tank to get him excited, I even prayed to God that my gill-bearing guy would make a speedy recovery. It didn’t work. Each day became a struggle and he left his flaky meals floating on the top of his aquatic world. I knew it was only a matter of time… but I didn’t think it would happen so fast. If only there were fish hospitals.
I finally flushed our very first pet down the toilet tonight. I really hope Baylor doesn’t ask where he is again.
Midnight, you will be missed, you sexy little fish.
My little brother graduated from high school yesterday. My grandparents flew in from San Diego, Baylor and I drove over from Seattle the night before, and friends and family from all over came to his graduation party after the ceremony.
Tyler, or “Chuck” as he is known by absolutely everyone, placed hand written notes in each and every one of the staff’s mailboxes on a bright, sunny Monday morning. He knew it was the day that they would be meeting to select the staff’s choice speaker for the ceremony. As the principal explained before he welcomed Tyler to the podium, the staff had no choice but to select him to address the packed gymnasium.
I was 9 years old when my brother was born. We had just moved to the Northwest from North Carolina and my mom decided to leave my dad when Tyler was only a year old. She had opened her consignment shop and felt confident enough to become a single mom… well, as confident as she could be with 3 kids ages ten, eight and one. Being the oldest, I remember trying to help as much as I could. To be totally honest, I don’t remember much from this time. It was a little crazy and a little scary, but we figured it out and turned out alright.
He has been the president of his class since the 8th grade and the president of his school for the last two years. He has always been athletic and has provided my sister and me with the opportunity to dress up and attend sporting events. We’d flirt with his coaches and gasp every time they would look over to check us out – loving every minute of it. We relived our high school experience sitting in the bleachers among the gossiping students, wearing their tank tops and uggs during a snowy football game. Tyler was the star of every game and we’d always get a little teary eyed each time our little guy’s name was announced over the intercom. He’d find us in the crowd afterward and we’d hug our stinky, sweaty brother who was suddenly standing 6’4″ and weighing almost 200 pounds.
He’s attending University of Puget Sound in Tacoma this fall. He’ll be on the football team and we’ll have another 4 years of flirting with the coaches… and the college students while our little bro dominates the field. I wonder if his new roommate is hot… hmmm.
He’s confident, well spoken, gorgeous, and hilarious. I can’t wait to see where life takes him. Congratulations Tyler! I couldn’t be more proud.
Check out his speech
“Who the hell do you think Howard is?”
“Excuse me?” I yelled back at a skinny man sitting next to me. The music was so loud, I could only make out every other word.
“HOWARD” he said again, pointing to the reserved sign on our neighboring tables.
“Ohhhh, who is Howard. I get it. Not sure, but he must be really important to have every table in the bar reserved at 8:30… that only leaves us 30 minutes before we get kicked out!”
“Nice to meet you, Allison. What are you ladies doing tonight?” He pointed to my friend Katie and me sitting next to each other on the same side of the table with drinks, deep in conversation.
“I just flew in from Seattle and our best friend Jen is flying in to LAX tonight, but her flight got delayed 2 hours, so we thought we check out this Hermosa Beach bar to kill time.”
“Oh wow, fresh off the plane! Hermosa Beach is soooo lame… even though I’m a regular here. You guys should have gone to Manhattan Beach or something cooler. I mean, I work in Hollywood, so I guess I understand why you guys came here – closer to LAX.”
Taking the bait, I asked, “What do you do in Hollywood?”
“I’m an assistant producer for movies and television. Joshua Stickland. IMDB me, you’ll see what I do.”
Really. Yeah, moron, I’m going to IMDB you… because that’s so impressive.
“What shows do you work on?” I wanted to hear how impressed he wanted me to be.
“Desperate Housewives – ever heard of it?! CSI: New York… you know, just a few little shows.”
His squinty eyes got even smaller and he cocked his head to his shoulder as he took a sip of his drink. Clearly a dork in high school, and still only 5’2″ and maybe 100 lbs, he was spitting his best game.
“In fact, the director doesn’t do shit… it’s all my creative and he just says ‘ok’ and gets to take all of the credit. But trust me, I make A LOT of money, so it’s cool.”
We listened to him talk about all of the celebrities he gets to mingle with, how often he surfs and how he just broke up with his girlfriend (emphasis on the HE just broke it off… not the other way around –just to be very clear) and is so happy to be playing the field. I mean, he’s 31 and an assistant director on the biggest shows on TV – why wouldn’t he be thrilled?
I threw up in my mouth over and over until my jaw was on the floor, invisible puke spilling everywhere, in response to how long he could talk about himself to someone he had just met without asking a single question.
Finally, he asked, “so what do you do?”
“I’m a stay-at-home mom.”
“No you aren’t…”
“Um, yes, I am.”
“Shut the fuck up… YOU are a mom?!?!?!?” And now his jaw was on the floor. “I mean, that’s totally cool. Wow. All of my friends have kids… ya… so I totally understand. Awesome.”
Katie and I made something up about having to get gas before the airport, and we had to pee, so we said our goodbyes to Josh the assistant director and left.
Welcome to LA.
I spent the weekend with two of my very best friends in Newport Beach. The sun was out, the bikes were cruised, and the boys were hot. It was a completely different world down there.
Big boobs, SURFERS, huge diamond rings, and lots of blond; I sort of loved it. Katie showed us around her new town and I wondered what it would be like to be single, living in Southern California, dating, babyless, and wearing cute clothes because all I had to worry about was what I looked like. I get these flashes from time to time of where I would be if Baylor weren’t here. And then I get fantasy bubbles of what I would be doing if I had stayed in Chicago… would I still be there? Would I be working at the non-profit that hired me the very same day that I took the pregnancy test? It’s weird leaving Seattle and Baylor.
It’s a waste of time wondering where you could be. It’s very fun visiting your best girlfriends to see where they are.
Our paths are so very different for now, and it’s fun to fantasize a little about the grass on the other side, but I missed my little man so much I couldn’t wait to come home and scoop him up. Who knows, maybe when Baylor is 18, I can convince him to go to school in Santa Barbara, or even Newport… I’ll move into his dorm with him and we can be roommates. I’ll get lots of botox and a boob job and pretend that I’m 27. Hey, a girl can dream…
I had a talk with my sister’s boyfriend about the meaning of life today. Ok, kind of. It was more about job hunting and networking – but it felt deep. We discussed what we are passionate about in life and where we want to be in the next 20 years. This parlayed into me signing up for the GRE this September as soon as we hung up, and not wasting any more time just thinking about my future. It also got me thinking about how fast the future comes and when I was 10 years old talking with Liz about what we would be doing when we were “old and 27!” like there would be cars that fly and an alien infiltration since it was so far in the future.
I was at one of my best friend’s weddings this weekend in the Hood Canal with the rest of my lunatic best friends who flew in from all over the country. There was plenty of drinking, not a ton of sleep, and enough drama for the rest of the year.
During the speeches, the bride and groom’s parents gave sincere toasts and told stories about their children as youngsters and then as adults. They congratulated the couple and explained to the guests that they couldn’t be happier for where their children had ended up – and who they had ended up with.
I started thinking about Baylor and what stories I would tell at his wedding. I wondered what kind of man he would be and if I would have done my job correctly as his mother. Life is sort of a choose-your-own-adventure book and I pray that the direction I’ve chosen will continue to lead to happiness and a healthy young man. I could hear the pride and excitement in the voices of their parents; a moment they had thought of and dreamed of for the last 28 years. It was happening and there in front of them, their babies had grown into independent adults, ready to have babies of their own. It was a mix of sadness, relief, pride and gratitude. I cried and cried… and no, not because I’d already had 5 cocktails.
I look at how quickly the last two years have gone by and it all sort of feels like a countdown – but to what? A countdown to when Baylor gets his driver’s license? Graduates high school? College? Finds a wife (ok, or husband… just sayin’)? These milestones in his life are happening each day and someday it will be me up there talking about how bossy and sassy he was as a baby… but also how sweet and loving he still is.
Each day’s goals are met: breakfast, nap, bath, bed. Repeat. Think about why his nap was only 50 minutes long… brainstorm solutions. It’s full of schedules and guessing games about this independent human being with a mind of his own and a will so strong that I find myself waving my white flag more often than not. I think about when he won’t need a nap and will sleep in a big boy bed – always looking and thinking ahead.
He let me hold him in my arms before bed the other night. He didn’t fight me, and nestled his face into my breast. I cradled him and sang songs into his face as he stared up at me. I reminded myself to enjoy every second of my long baby draped across my chest, nearly breaking my back because of his new weight. I thought about how I used to hold him with one arm, and now with both arms supporting his torso, his legs wrap around me and his still sweet breath surrounds my face.
I want to be Baylor’s mom when I grow up. If that’s all I ever do, I’ll be happy.
I hope he finds a nice person to marry. I am already thinking about my speech. If she’s not nice, well then we’ll just have to kick her ass to the curb… or I’ll get really drunk at the wedding and try to steal her wedding dress… and wear it. It’ll be fine.
The sun is out and we have been outside as much as possible. After nine months of crappy weather, it seems I have forgotten fun outdoor locations and arrive at the same, usual parks as soon as the sun begins to shine.
We live 5 blocks from a decent park and it has become more fun as Baylor is able to handle the toys. He can climb the arched ladders and make it down a steep slide without my assistance. He’s also learning about turns and to only go down the slide.
I don’t know what it is about parks, but I want to leave as soon as we get there. It could be that the play structures are 10 feet above the ground and have gaping holes where small children could (and probably do) fall from, breaking their legs… or arms… or both. Or maybe it’s the cliff steps that separate the swings from the big toy. Either way, I feel like I’m having a heart attack every 5 minutes and am out of breath from chasing Baylor away from the 10-foot drop offs. Or maybe it’s just the people who show up to play…
There’s always one mom in her late 40s maybe early 50s. Her kids have names like Unicorn and Labyrinth and she plays with them so enthusiastically – maybe even doing a cartwheel if she so feels like it. She talks with other moms around her (who didn’t ask) about why her and her husband, or partner, or whatever, chose the names they did for their children. “We liked Unicorn because it really provides the message that anything is possible…” The kids are usually wearing stripes with polka dots and have terrible haircuts – or have never had a haircut at all. Then, she starts talking through her children, “JUST SAY, ‘NO THANK YOU, PLEASE STOP PUSHING ME’ AND WALK AWAY.” Always loud enough for the little asshole’s mom or dad to hear and round their child up to leave her precious child alone.
Then there are the shitheads who are way too old for a baby park, but their parents bring them anyway because they are shitheads and the last thing their parents want to do is hang out with them inside of their homes more than they already have to. I was with Bay on one of those bouncy animal things that rocks back and forth when a 9-year-old little jerk started flying around on the merry-go-round. I watched him glance at his mom who was sitting on a bench a few feet away, chatting with her friend. Like an oar going the opposite direction of a fast boat, his little arm dropped to the ground and started spraying his mother with dirt.
“MOLOKAI NEIN! MOLOKAI NEIN!” She screamed in German.
He kept going, covering her in sticks, rocks and dirt.
He got up and headed to the sandbox where another boy the same age was shoving dump trucks off of the side wall and nearly taking toddlers out. My friend Sarah and her 1-year-old were already in the sand box, so we joined them for support…and because I wanted to see what this little sociopath was going to do next.
“GET AWAY from me, BABY!” And the shithead waved his arm at sweet little Ella like she was going to infect him with some disease. Not understanding this big meanie, Ella pursued her mission and started reaching for the truck that Shithead was playing with. “NO BABY!!!!!!” This time his mom heard and turned around (can’t believe she takes her eyes off of her little monster) and again with the “nein” business. He glared at her, and then us, and we left the sand box because we were sure he would push her to the ground next.
One day, while waiting for the girls that I nanny to get out of school, I let Bay play on the school playground for a bit until the bell rang.
“Look at my sucker… it looks like a cigarette.” An innocent looking boy demanded.
“What’s a cigarette?” He had the group’s attention.
“OH, it’s this thing that grown ups put in their mouths, and then they light it on FIRE, and then SMOKE comes out of their MOUTHS!!!”
“WHHOOOOAAAA!” They all said in unison. I laughed and shook my head…
The older Bay gets, the more worried I am and want to protect my little baby. Although, it’s a tough world out there… after what I’ve seen, I suppose the playground is the place to get him prepared. Cigarettes, Assholes, Unicorns, Shitheads, and crazy ladies. Yep – boot camp for the real world.
[Photo Credit: Berend B]
They say you can learn something from even the worst experiences. I believe this to be true, and also find it necessary to share what I have learned with anyone willing to listen.
I don’t mean to make this blog my dating graveyard, but it is called the Daily Drama… so I suppose it’s fitting. I’ll write a post about playing at the park with my child next time…
I finally met a nice guy and it wasn’t online! A firefighter, in fact. This detail, that I can actually meet someone in real life, had me more excited than the actual prospect. He got my number and did everything right – text messaged me the next day and then called after two days. We went on our first real date this week and it all went downhill from there.
He was supposed to pick me up at 7:00, giving me 2 hours’ of “get ready time” after Bay left with his dad. My house was a disaster, filled with train tracks, pirate’s booty, and ripped magazines that were used as trash for the garbage truck. I was going to use the second hour to do my hair, make up, and try to find something in my closet that I didn’t hate too much.
At 6:07 he called to say he had arrived in Seattle (he lives 45 mins north) a little earlier than he had thought and could I be ready before 7:00? I wanted to say “hell no” but didn’t want to appear high maintenance, so I said “oh sure… no biggie. See you soon!”
Rule 1: Don’t surprise a girl, no wait, a MOM, by picking her up earlier than you originally told her. Kill time! Do doughnuts in a parking lot… something.
He was only 15 minutes early and looked cuter than I remembered which was a pleasant surprise. We hopped in his truck and set out for dinner. Conversation was easy and light… he was interesting and kind. We had things in common and I wanted to talk to him more.
The restaurant was bustling and we found a table in the bar. Sitting across from each other, we ordered margaritas and some guacamole to get things going. The conversation continued to flow and I could feel my margarita warming my face. Don’t say anything stupid, Allison. Be cool. I reminded myself to keep things light… tequila acts as my truth serum and has always made things more fun – and more interesting.
The waitress came back around and he ordered another margarita for himself, “and two shots of patron, please.”
Ah shit. More tequila. What did I eat today? Left over macaroni and cheese scraps, some gold fish, a string cheese and half of Bay’s gnawed on orange slice. I was on the road to Drunk Town, population 1.
Rule 2: Don’t order your date a shot of Tequila within the first 20 minutes of the date.
Rule 3: Don’t take a shot of Tequila within the first 20 minutes of your date.
It gets a tad fuzzy here, and I think I told him my entire life story, sparing no details and perhaps mentioning breast feeding and my natural child birth a few times. We split fajitas and I can’t be sure of many details.
Feeling confident, tipsy, and like I didn’t want the date to end just yet, I asked him if he wanted to grab a drink at a restaurant next door where one of my best friends, Kylie, works. He agreed and before I knew it, we were sitting across the bar from a girl I had known equally as long as Kylie – but haven’t really spoken to in a few years and never would have called her on the phone to “say hi.”
To be polite I asked her how she was doing. Scurrying around behind the bar she responded (follow along closely here) and mentioned that she is dating a man who is (still) married to one of Baby Daddy’s best friend’s girlfriends. That’s right, my baby daddy’s best friend is living with a married woman, and my Acquaintance from high school is dating the husband. Very complicated.
We sat for the next 45 minutes and listened to Acquaintance talk about how much she hates her boyfriend’s wife… I, knowing her, agreed that she was a nut job and felt my tequila wearing off quickly… talk about a buzz kill. Nothing like talking about your ex’s friends and all of their drama on a first date. It was like an advertisement: Hey! This chick is talking about how horrible it is to be involved with a man who has children with another woman! Complicated! Sign up here! Baby Mamas and Baby Daddys. Enough baggage to last a lifetime!
Rule 4: RUN as fast as possible when a girl from high school starts chewing your ear off about your ex’s friend’s complicated love triangle. RUN.
We left as soon as we finished our beers and I felt that sinking feeling in my chest like I had just blown an exam that I had been studying for all night. We chatted the whole way home and held hands a little… he walked me to my door and gave me a hug. We talked about how I didn’t have any plans the coming weekend and he said we would “figure something out” later.
I heard from him via text the next few days and he continuted to invite me to things last minute. “Come bring a book and some friends and go boating with us!”
Remember, that part about breast feeding and child birth? I’m a mom. I don’t grab a book and some besties and hop on a boat at 2pm. I wish I did.
I started feeling like I was unavailable and kind of a loser. Why would he want to date someone who could only see him on Wednesdays and every other weekend? There are plenty of girls who are child free and who can hop on a boat on a Thursday at 2pm ( I mean, I wouldn’t date them… but maybe he would). I had clearly told him I had Baylor until Saturday morning and would love to see him then.
Friday night, still thinking we are on for Saturday morning, I applied a little self tanner and made sure my favorite jeans were washed. I woke up early Saturday and got Baylor out the door and then took a long shower, shaving every inch of my legs. I got out and saw the missed call from him on my phone.
“Hey, I have to study for an exam that I have ALL day… so maybe we can do something next week. I’m sorry!”
Rule 5: Don’t ditch a single mom the morning of your date… chances are, she had a million other things to do besides shaving her legs.
I started feeling like our date had so much potential. Like it was fun (minus the truth serum, and the Jerry Springer rundown at the bar). I consulted with a few ladies and they all said the same thing: just send him a message on facebook and explain that things were a little crazy that night and that you are sorry and would like to see him again.
Here’s the response I got back from him:
Good morning Allison; Normally this is where I would throw out a funny quip and try to make you laugh but this is no laughing matter. I feel I should just be honest with you and tell you exactly how I feel. I am so sorry if I gave you the wrong impression but I’m just not interested. Allow me to elaborate; I’m not interested in being some man that plays games with you, your heart, or tells you one thing and does another! Also, I loved every minute of our Wednesday night, you were so much fun to chat with and are so full of life! Saturday night I had no idea how late the Fireman’s banquet would last. I knew I had to have that stack of paperwork finished before 630 Sunday morning or would risk being fired. Good thing because it lasted till well after two AM… I wish you had been there with me as my date! I would have loved having you there with me. It would have been fun to introduce to my new friends and to see you looking gorgeous in an evening gown! I just wasn’t sure what to expect… I hope to see you soon and talk to you tonight on the cell!
WHAT on earth does that message mean, exactly? He’s not interested in…me? Looking like a douche? He wanted to see my in a gown and have me meet his friends? I don’t follow.
I wrote him back a quick thanks a few days later and haven’t heard anything since – and I think it’s for the best.
I started thinking about my Mormon and how different our worlds really are. I mean, he technically doesn’t (or shouldn’t) approve of most things about me or the way I live my life. However, never once did I feel that I should apologize, make excuses, or feel bad about myself or my situation. He made me feel confident and fun – like a sexy mama who lives life on the wild side because I say “fuck”. He reminded me that nice guys are ok; in fact, they are just what the doctor ordered.
So, I called my Mormon… couldn’t let those freshly shaved legs go to waste.
Maybe my boobs weren’t big enough for the fireman, or maybe the baby drama was just too much for him – I know it’s not for everyone.
Rule 6: Find someone who accepts the whole package and never makes you feel like an unavailable loser.