By Brandy Black
Thank you Mugs and Mary for sharing your beautiful family with The Next Family.
By: Allison Norris
My best friends totally split right after I had Baylor. It wasn’t intentional… just part of growing up, I guess.
They moved to LA (for a boy), Portland (for a boy), NYC (for a boy) and one stayed in Chicago (for a boy). I gave birth to a boy and miss my best friends more than anything.
This past weekend, my five best friends from college flew in, drove up, and slept over at my place. Baylor was with his dad for the weekend and I had the weekend to be “one of the girls” again. The play doh was stashed in the coat closet and Baylor’s room was used for suitcases and blow up beds. It was heaven.
We drank mimosas and then switched to wine – took a power nap and a shower – and headed out for the night. Tequila shots and Coors Light… sort of like I was back in college.
And then the next day I woke up and felt like I was dying for real. Snot from a new runny nose covered my pillowcase; my throat was on fire; and my night guard tasted like I had poop inside of my mouth. I kicked Liz lying next to me at 6am just to tell her “I was dying” and she told me to shut up.
Waking up hungover hasn’t happened in months… maybe even years? Moms don’t do that! I called my own mother to tell her about the night and she congratulated me on letting loose and having a fun time. What, am I uptight?
I started thinking about the weekend and how good it felt to be young again. Nobody gasping when I talk about graduating high school in 2002; nobody pretending to have it all together and then admitting that they left their wipes in the car and also forgot a change of clothes for their newly poop-covered child. I was making orgasm noises while putting on hand lotion at brunch… and then everybody else wanted lotion and joined in making the same noises. These were my people!
Bay’s dad and his friends are quite a bit older than I am and I always felt like I had something to prove when I was around him or his friends. The moms I hang out with are so fun, but also older. I’m sure that it’s me who expects to have already had a successful career, own a home, and be totally debt-free, but it just isn’t so.
For a weekend I remembered what it felt like to be totally accepted, loved… and in my 20s. Thank you ladies for an unforgettable couple of days!
By: Allison Norris
I apologize for the vulgar language in this post…but that’s precisely what this post is about. If cussing makes you uncomfortable, or you are under 17, maybe skip this one.
Along with the two yapping chihuahuas and loud-mouthed beagle, I live next door to Ballard High School. My driveway practically touches the football field and some days I can tell when the coach is really pissed…because I can hear him.
Being in the presence of high school students makes anyone nervous, except for high school students, of course. Tight pants that sag, back packs cinched to the tightest length, Justin Bieber haircuts, and foul mouths are very in style this fall.
School has only been in session for a week or so and already we’ve had an eye…and ear full. Baylor and I were coming back from a glorious walk to the public library and got to our corner. It was filled with high school youth…smoking, cell phoning, gossiping, and causing trouble – I’m sure of it. A girl with curves that I have not and will not ever have was walking a few feet in front of us. Her tight black Ed Hardy sweatpants had wings up the back of her thighs and were in full flight across her ass. She saw two skinny guys 300 feet away and screamed, “OH MY FUCKING GAWD, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU GUYS FUCKING DOING?!” Was she mad? Excited? I wasn’t sure.
She shuffle-ran with her arms up, wrists cocked to the side, and flapped her way up to the guys to give them the biggest hugs that I have ever seen. Like they wanted a hug…
“What the fuck have you guys been up to?” She was dying to know.
“Fuckin’ nothin’. Just chillin’ and shit. Just fuckin’ hatin’ bein’ back at school and all the bitch ass teachers tellin’ me what to do.”
“I know! What the fuck?!” She was totally on his side… Duh.
Just then the other skinny kid had a very profound idea.
“Dudes, we should fuckin’ get slurpees at 7-11 and have our fuckin’ mouths turn blue n’ shit!”
Are these the leaders of our future?
Baylor and I tried to ditch the posse and made our way back home. I vowed not to hit the streets during the times that students were out of school and milling about like wild animals out of their cages.
But then, today right around lunch time, Baylor and I were chasing garbage trucks down the street and it happened again. Four Justin Biebers hopped out of a minivan carrying McDonalds paper bags and had those cinched up backpacks. They were behind a bush and didn’t see us coming.
“Hurry the fuck up!” Justin Bieber #1 demanded.
“Dude, shut up! I’m getting all my shit.” JB #2 responded.
“What shit?” JB #3 asked.
“My shit and shit…” Oh, that shit.
They barreled around the bush to head towards Ballard High School on the sidewalk along my street.
“Oops, I mean ‘shoot’” One of the JBs corrected himself when he saw Baylor. Good boy.
“Nice, dude, swearing around kids and shit… OOPS, I just said SHIT!”
They laughed and continued in their back-to-school-clean sneakers to the high school. Baylor and I kept looking for the garbage man in his truck so that he could wave at him. It’s super cool to chase garbage trucks when you are a 1-year-old. And then, in 15 years, it’ll be even cooler to sound like a total idiot and say “fuckin” and “shit” just because you are trying to be a grown up when grown ups aren’t around.
Better fuckin’ watch out for me kids… I’m going to wash those mouths out with some serious soap. No shit.
By: Katherine Ellis
My sister missed my niece’s potty training window; at least, that’s what she suspected. They were too busy; they waited past the pinnacle of Lulu’s potty excitement. She was on the downhill slide, totally over the potty, when my sister decided it was time. By then three year-old Lulu didn’t care, she seemed perfectly happy to have her mother change her diaper forever.
My sister was in the midst of this drama and chattering into my ear over the phone when my daughter, Josie, came home from preschool screeching about underwear and the potty. She was two-and-a-half and demanding boo (blue) underwear. My sister encouraged me to act. Move! Move! Do it now while you can!
The next morning we made a BIG show of going to buy new underwear with all kinds of gaudy, sparkly, animated characters with crowns and wings and oversized ears. And our girl went for it. She was all in. We read her the potty book and I, Josephine’s mother, put her on the potty every 30 minutes (this sentence is hilarious if you’ve read the Potty Book 5,000+ times). It worked. Oh how proud we were!
Josie got a sticker every time she used the toilet and it was going so well. Then… Meh. We lost interest, and by ‘we’ I mean she. She lost interest. It was fun for a while. Then our friends gave us some leftover pull-ups with princesses on them. Oh for pete’s sake. She was over underwear. She carried her new diapers around the house, clutched to her chest. She got out of bed at night to diaper her monkey; she slept with them close to her face. Are you kidding me? Get those potty-killer pants out of my house! We took a little break. We used the princess diapers until they were gone and went back to the generic diapers of our past.
Not much later, she decided to go back to underwear and this went well for a time. One day I brought home some new bar stools with seats made of woven sea grass to test out in our kitchen and soon they were saturated with pee – well, I guess we’re keeping them now. She could use the potty. She just wasn’t interested and didn’t really mind walking around with wet pants. Soon, like so many other things in our two-and-a-half year-old’s life, it became an issue of control. The parents want me to use the potty; therefore, I must not use the potty. Must not.
There was some hand-wringing, some parental resignation. Then: new bribery. She would get a matchbox car for every day she went without an accident. She was crazy about those little cars and, at $.69/car this was a habit I could support. I’d even get one of those big carrying cases if she got enough of them. This worked for a time then… Cookies! Yes, cookies would save us. I know, surely I’m scarring my child forever by using food as a bribe but…desperate times.
Josie’s approaching her third birthday, growing out of the original underpants, and the last few weeks we’ve instituted a new reward. If she has a whole week without an accident we can rent a new movie. Oh the joy! Most of the time Josie does earn the reward, and last I heard my niece had finally hopped onto the potty bandwagon and would not, in fact, be wearing diapers forever.
I’ve heard rumors of other parents who have smoother, more practical, nurturing ways to potty-train –solutions that are child-centric and enhance the connection of parent and child. However, I, Josephine’s mother, have been humbled by parenting in many ways. These days I’m willing to do just about whatever it takes to get through it all, even if that means we have to watch a whole bunch of movies filled with princesses.
For more stories of our adventures visit www.hystericalmommynetwork.com.
By: Allison Norris
The more mom blogs I come across, the recurring entry from all of them seems to be about the park. Different kinds of moms… different kinds of kids… snacks… bullies… the whole thing.
Baylor and I just came back from the park down the street from my house. We grabbed a coffee and a cookie and strolled the 4 blocks to the colorful playground complete with a merry-go-round and sandbox. Red and blue hats decorated the grounds from a daycare field trip and dozens of moms filled in the gaps with their little ones burning energy around them.
I am wearing my dark blue leggings and a grey tank top, fashionable zip up on top, hair in a pony, and my silver aviators to match my faux diamond earrings. It’s a “park outfit” and I put it on specifically to go to the park.
As I looked around, moms gave me the up and down glance without a smile. Baylor and I marched over to the sandbox and he started playing with a truck. The exterior ledge acts as a bench and pairs of moms sat discussing their parenting styles and how brilliant their children are…wait, isn’t that your kid eating sand? A man sat talking with a mom about how his social life has disappeared because after you have a baby, there simply isn’t time to hang out with anyone and you have to sit home alone every night. She agreed (in her alllll beige outfit… even her shoes. totally the lady who gets 100% naked in the locker room at the pool and does everything she needs to do, naked) and then explained to the guy why her son has such a huge belly and how she doesn’t think he looks like either her or her husband. He told her that her son was gorgeous, just like her, and I wondered how many people knew about their affair.
I realize that this is extremely superficial, and maybe even mean, but I can’t help it. Saggy pants, rubber shoes, puffy tops and frizzy hair – on all of them. Is this the ugly park? Is Seattle this casual? Nobody gives a shit about what they look like – at all? They might as well have been wearing their PJs.
Baylor was set on the slide – climbing up and down as many times as possible. A little boy about the same size attacked the adjoining slide and his mom followed behind.
“How old is he?” I asked.
“18 months.” She snapped back, wearing an oversized pea-green peasant top with oversized jeans that had holes in the knees that she had obviously cut with scissors to look fashionable.
“He’s cute… funny how they have to climb up the slide and scare us to death!’ I joked.
Guess we won’t be hanging out during the weekends or meeting for happy hour up the street any time soon. Got it. We left the cranky mom and moved over to the bouncy seesaw occupied by two moms and their girls. Baylor walked near the toy and stopped to stare at what the big kids were doing.
“I’m older than her because I’m 4 and she’s only 3,” explained the little girl in her tutu.
“Wow! You are very big,” I said back, hoping to win over someone at Mean and Ugly Park.
Like we had a sign on our shirts that said “RUN”, the moms vacated the area and the little girls followed.
Feeling rejected and like nobody wanted to play with us, I bribed Baylor with a cookie to get in the stroller so that we could go home.
Their outfits were ugly, their attitudes were ugly, and their park manners were hideous. I never want to go back to Mean and Ugly Park again (insert image of Baylor and me simultaneously throwing a tantrum with our backs arched and feet kicking)!
I know we have kids, but it’s called a hairbrush, ladies… and maybe a personal shopper at Nordstrom.
By: Brandy Black
We got in a fight before our wedding. On the ferry ride over. I can’t remember why. Could it have been the make up? Things were tense. We had been planning a wedding for a year from another state and it was all happening on this overcast day after waiting 2 years for sun.
We parted at the wedding site to go to our separate rooms to get ready and we weren’t speaking –on our wedding day! I was fine at first, chatting with my girls, putting on the amazing gown that I had been dying to step into for months, but I kept wondering how my bride-to-be was doing. Her sister came over to pick up the infamous make up and I asked. I didn’t get the answer I had been hoping for. Susan apparently wasn’t talking much and I knew what that meant and now here I was forbidden to see her before I walked down the aisle to say I DO. I began desperately trying to manipulate seeing her and was told by everyone I asked that everything was fine and I shouldn’t see her before the wedding. The schedule was set for her to get pictures with her family first, then me. I made my way down early hoping to see her but she was done. I took my pictures with the family all the while pre-occupied. I pressed further and explained that I needed to see Susan to give her a present. It worked, somehow someone sent her my way and I pulled her into the dark hall where we later had our first dance as a married pair.
“How are you? Are you OK?”
She was quiet at first and than we grabbed hands and looked at one another and all of it disappeared. At that moment the wedding was no longer about guests or flowers or make up or rules, it was about us, my best friend, my wife to be, standing before me, more beautiful than ever before. I cried. She bowed her head and looked up with her big brown eyes as if to say “There you are.” We kissed. I later found out when reviewing pictures that the photographer was there, snapping the whole scene. We didn’t even notice her. I could have escaped to the getaway boat right then and there; it was all that I needed…that moment.
A voice came from the distance: “Susan, it’s time! You have to go to the other side; the string quartet is playing. Come on.”
We ignored it. Susan grabbed my hand and led me to a small window where we watched all of our stunning guests – from LA, Chicago, Seattle, New York, Colorado, Boston –they were all there for us.
By: Allison Norris
One of my best friends is getting married in September and decided to have her bachelorette party in Cabo San Lucas. I wasn’t sure if I could swing it financially, so I held out until salty margaritas on the beach were haunting me in my sleep and Baylor’s shriek would snap me into a sea breeze. I bought the flight with a credit card and would figure out the rest when the time came to board my flight… sans baby.
The girls (11 of them) were ecstatic and I felt like my tank had been filled even with just the idea of going on a 6-day vacation with girls and no child. I was imagining what sleeping in would be like day after day… staying up until the wee hours of the morning drenched with sweat because we’d danced so hard. My favorite waiter would bring me a strong alcoholic beverage followed by a refreshing limonada all day long so that my afternoon nap would be solid.
I packed my bags for my Thursday morning flight – we were all getting to the airport at 5:30am to board and not get off of the plane until we reached paradise. Tons of bikinis and a few dresses later, I was packed. The only thing that would be terrible to forget would be my passport… better grab it!
Where is it? It’s not in the bag that I’ve had it in with all of my other important documents for the last 10 years… hmm. Better check that box over there.
What about this file folder?
Where in the HELL could it be?
Under the bed?
The last time I used it was two years ago when I went on my first and last vacation with the NFL player to Mexico. I’ve lived in 5 different houses since then… I am sure it’s just in a purse or something, right?
I tore my house apart. It looked like someone had ransacked and robbed me. Finally, at 10pm on the eve of my vacation, I threw in the towel.
My bff Gena called me and suggested that I change my flight to Friday, get my ass to the Federal building downtown on Thursday, and get a passport expedited. It would cost me $200 for the new passport, but a vacay with my 11 besties was priceless. It was worth a shot!
The alaska air lady told me that it would only be $325 to change my flight to the next day… I wasn’t going.
I went to bed, broken hearted, praying that I would receive a message from God or someone in my dreams detailing where my passport was hiding.
Bay made his first noises at 6:30 and I noticed my phone blinking. Gena had called several times and then left me a detailed text explaining that she had worked it with the alaska rep at the desk and that she had my flight changed FOR FREE to Friday morning, returning a day later as well. She told me to get down to that federal building and get myself a passport!!!
I made my appointment, went to walgreen’s for passport photos, talked my dad through scanning my birth certificate, remembered a check, and was out the door with time to spare. I found parking and made my way inside the huge building. I was greeted by an officer checking IDs and controlling the metal detector.
I handed it over with a smile.
“8-2?” He asked?
“Yep!” I replied, expecting a Happy Birthday, Miss.
“This is expired. The department of licensing is two blocks up. Good luck.”
I laughed. Of course it was expired.
I made my way the two blocks to the DOL and was greeted by a room packed with people. Four measly stations were accepting people and I was directed to take a number.
151. I was number 151… ok, not bad… what number are they on?
I have now missed my appointment for my passport, am supposed to be on the beach in 24 hours, my bags are packed and I am fucked.
I returned to my car and drove home. No Mexico for this mamacita.
By: Allison Norris
Oh hey Al, it’s Mom. Just wanted to call and say “hi”. Where are you? Whatcha doin’? I made the best dinner last night. Your brother loved it. Have you talked to your brother lately? You should call him. Will you call him? And you know, I haven’t talked to your sister lately. What’s she been up to? If you talk to her, will you have her call me back? How’s the guy she’s dating? He’s pretty cute. Anyway, call me if you get a sec. Love you, bye!
The voicemail. I know what it’s going to say… and I don’t actually need it because I can see on the screen of my cell phone that she called. She will most likely call again, leaving another voicemail.
Hi honey, it’s me again. Just wondering what you guys are up to this weekend. I’m thinking about coming to stay with you. Where would I sleep? What is Baylor up to? Put this message up to his ear so that he can hear Gramma’s voice… Hiiiii Baaaaaaaylor! It’s Grammmmaaaaa! I’m gonna come seeee youuuuuu! Ok honey, call me later. Love ya!
Since she’s already had an entire conversation and let me know what shoes she’s wearing, do I need to call her back? Bay has heard her voice and for all he knows they had a great conversation… so I don’t see the need.
Then there are the voicemailers who leave the brief unnecessaries.
Hey, it’s me, call me.
So, essentially, there is no message. And again – I can plainly see the missed call from you. Do you not have a cell phone? Do I need to explain how one works? Didn’t I just talk to you an hour ago and I told you I’d call you back?
The collection agency voicemails are never fun. The automated ones that tell you to call a 1-800 number but it’s on repeat and you didn’t catch the first 6 numbers, so, oops! Guess we won’t be calling that one back.
I tried leaving a message on my phone instructing people to text me if they needed an urgent response as I never check my voicemails because, well, they drive me nuts… and people were offended. I should have asked them to email, text, or facebook me because I stay current on all of those methods of communication and don’t have to actually talk to anyone. Whenever I actually check my messages, I hear “hey Al, it’s Liz…” and then I hit delete. I’ll just call her back and she can tell me then.
I got one today that said, “Hey Allison… I just saw your missed call but didn’t listen to your message, so call me back.” This is a little more my style as I’ve been known to leave something similar. However, this person is someone that I may call once per year and if I leave a voicemail, it’s probably not to say “hi.” Most likely there is a reason that I called and left a message. If I hadn’t left one, it could have been a pocket dial and maybe he would have never called me back at all.
It’s all very complicated.
The absolute worst voicemails are the ones that you accidentally missed but wish you would have answered.
Hey Allison, it’s Danielle in Paraguay. I haven’t had access to a phone in over a month and I won’t be around one for another 6 months… but thought about you and wanted to check in to say hi and maybe hear Bay’s voice for the first time. Guess I missed you. Call you when I can!
How could I have not known that the unavailable number would be from someone who was literally unavailable. Damn.
I appreciate a creative voicemail, or the occasional prank… I also would rather hear the plan on the message rather than a beat up text that takes three tries to send and leaves me without the middle. So I guess they aren’t all bad. I just don’t have the time to sit and hit “7″ 14 times in a row to free up space so that it can get filled again with my mother telling me to “give her a buzzzzzz.”
I’m the one who needs a buzz. Right now. Where’s that bottle of wine I had around here…
By: Allison Norris
Tugged at, sucked on, and tethered to an 11-month old, I finally understand why mothers are crazy. A new squeal that seems to be connected to part of my brain so that when I hear it, I shut down. He neeeeeeds to be held. He simply can’t LIVE if I don’t pick him up – and then once he’s up, he’ll just die if I don’t put him down. The drama has started.
I am a firm believer in phases. Takes the blame off of me if I’ve done something wrong to make him act a certain terrible way, and also provides a much-needed light at the end of the tunnel. The teething excuse is good too, “oh, yeah, he doesn’t normally scream this much, he’s teeeething” completed with an eye roll and a “pity me” look can make someone believe that your child is normally a saint.
I can see it now – Baylor out on the playground in 1st grade chasing other kids and maybe underestimating the super strength he inherited from his Aunt Liz. He’ll get too close, knock another kid down, they’ll cry, and all of the sudden Baylor is a bully. What will I say?
“It’s just a phase.”
Using the f-bomb in public…
“It’s just a phase.”
Peeing around the outside of the toilet…
“It’s just a phase.”
We just finished moving. I hate moving… but we did it. I am sitting in my new living room surrounded by boxes that are labeled with words like “random living room” giving me absolutely no idea what is inside, but at least knowing which room to put the damn box in. My mom is here to play with Baylor so that I can nestle all of my unorganized belongings into their appropriate places. I started packing at my old place 3 days before the big moving day as the temperature in the northwest reached 90 degrees. I sent Baylor to his dad’s house and shut all of my blinds so that I could pack in my little cave. It’s like everything I am terrible at bottled up like champagne and then it explodes and your kitchen floor is sticky because you were running to the sink with the overflowing bottle and then to the glasses and you missed the dribbles that your feet will stick to the next morning. I’m supposed to be putting my closet together right now… sticky feet.
My new neighbors are a construction crew building a new house so close to mine that I can reach out my window and touch it. On the other side, we have an elderly woman living with her middle-aged son – not sure what the creep factor is yet – but they seem fine. Grown-up son and his mom live in a duplex connected to a very old couple that have lawn ornaments littering their yard. Baylor loves the deer, lions, and the bear the very most and we walk in front of their place when Bay is especially needy and pulling down my shirt to suck on my boobs for milk leaving me feeling like a cow or a drive-thru express widow. Behind my yard is an alley and behind the alley is a junk-yard dog-man. He looks like a pitbull and has tattoos all over his body, including a large one in such detailed cursive across his lower back that I can’t quite make out what it says. I’m afraid he will bite me if I stare too long… might have to get a pair of binoculars for that one.
Ok, I’ve stalled enough. Time to get back to my laundry mountain. I may need a cliff bar and a powerade just to make it to the first lookout point.
By: Allison Norris
Being 25 and a mother, the age bracket for potential suitors gets raised a little as men in their 20′s don’t seem to have a clue. Maybe someone in their 30s? 40s? Guys in their 50s MUST have it figured out… right?
My sweet mother met her current-but-soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend on yahoo personals. Living in a small town, there simply is no dating pool. You are destined to be alone, or go the online dating route. After a short romance, he moved from the small town where he had been staying, and into my mother’s house. They putter in the yard, plant flowers, play with the animals, and drink wine on the back porch at dusk. It’s everything my mom has always wanted – normal.
She tests and pushes and pretends like she’s jealous. He takes it and she assumes that this means he loves her unconditionally. He never pushes back… he doesn’t push anything, at all. I actually find him to be so boring, that he annoys me.
And then it happened… she started talking to us about their sex life. There wasn’t one, it seemed. He’s started avoiding the topic and avoiding her. She’d get up to use the bathroom in the early morning, and when she’d crawl back into bed, he’d be fully clothed and snuggling with the cat, of course. Morning after morning, night after night, she’d nearly humiliate herself trying to get a soft touch or a gentle kiss. She found herself jealous of the cat because he’d stroke and caress it like he would a partner. She wanted to be a cat?
They talked about this issue and he admitted that it was the reason for the end of his last 3 relationships… he said that he was just “lazy”. She confided in him that she wanted more, needed more, and wasn’t going to settle for anything less than the dream she had still held onto since she was a girl. She wants to grow old with a soul mate and feel like she is the most important woman in the universe – that she is, in fact, his whole world. She wants the smack on the ass while cooking dinner. She’s only 50 and still needs a good romp!
This got me thinking about the couples that stay together because they are afraid of being alone, or accept the situation however miserable it may make them. Or is it that one person can love another totally unconditionally, no matter the flaws. Is there no such thing as a deal breaker?
My dear sweet friend called me yesterday in near hysterics.
“Allison. You are not going to believe this. Dan pees sitting down on the toilet.”
“What?! What do you mean? He unbuttons his pants, pulls them all the way down, and then sits? Does he wipe too? How did you find this out?” I was puzzled.
“I walked in on him and thought he was taking a dump, but he was only in there for 20 seconds and so I just asked him… and he told me it was cleaner and more comfortable. I don’t think I can date someone who pees sitting down! Even male dogs pee standing up!”
Their sex is great, he loves her, he’s semi-good looking, supportive, and seems pretty normal. I reminded her of all of these things and asked her if she could accept the situation and still want to rip his clothes off, or if she thought of him any differently. The guy is 6’5″, so maybe his pee gets all over the floor because it has so far to travel? Maybe he just likes to take a little break and relax on the pot. She told me that she needed to sleep on it and do a little more investigating.
Deal breakers. You don’t see them coming, but when they hit, it’s all over. The socks next to the hamper, but not in the hamper… leaving the toilet seat up (for those who pee standing up)… dirty dishes left behind… it’s all annoying, but we deal with it because nobody’s perfect and we value the relationship.
Patience, I am learning, is part of being a “grown up.” However, at a certain point the list has grown too long, and not getting laid – ever – means it’s time to move on.
I’m proud of you, Mom. You deserve your fairytale.
[photo credit: Flickr member: Candida.Performa]