Thursday, June 26, 2014

Best Babysitter Ever!!!

When I woke up this morning, I picked up my phone to look at the time, and then this happened:

Now, let me start off by saying that Mikey has never, ever asked me to babysit his kids before, because he knows me better. The fact that he thought my being at work was a good time to test the success of trying out this fun new idea was questionable to me, but he didn't take my hint and a few minutes after I arrived, they showed up. 

I don't know what Mike is talking about when he says it's tough to wrangle two little kids at once - psh, it's a breeze! First, I stuck them in the corner of the play area:

They loved it!

Then I decided to let Liam do some drawing. He was delighted and when I said "are you drawing a picture for your daddy?" he said "Mommy. Mommy!" When I told Mike about it later, he said "I'm pretty sure he likes her better than me." Clearly this is true.

Screw you, dad!
While I was getting Liam set up, Finn escaped from the play area - those little legs are super fast, I'll give Mike that one. He then found and fell in love with the one toy responsible for the majority of body issues women developed as young girls: Barbie. Sorry, future girlfriends of Finn, this one's on me.

And a horse! With a tail!

In the time it took me to capture this precious memory on iphonefilm, I lost Liam. This is a pretty bad thing to do when you're watching a friend's kids, but I figured since Mike didn't give me enough notice to buy some leashes, I wasn't actually at fault. Still, I got a little worried. I looked everywhere I could think of but couldn't find him anywhere!

Where is he?!

I finally found him. He'd been inside the clothing rack the whole time! Ha!! Kids. 

He helped me pick all that up, FYI

Then the boys discovered every kid's favorite place to play at Sprout. No, it isn't the play area, and it isn't wherever Macy is trying desperately to sleep and avoid children. It isn't with all of the toys - or any of the toys for that matter.

It's behind the counter, where all of my precious worky things are.


I decided it was time for some fresh air, so we all went outside to water the plants. It turns out Finn loves plants and being outside, where he can jump off of, and on to, and off of, and on to, and off of, and on to the curb. After sniffing some flowers and doing lots of jumping, I suggested we go back inside. Liam walked in peacefully like the perfectly obedient little charge that he was, but Finn wasn't so into the idea.


I finally lured him in with promises of Barbie's undying love, at which point he and his brother proceeded to trash the place:

Ima fuck up this sign!

Ima throw all the toys on the floor!

Ima shake this shit out of this machine!

We had a GREAT time together! Best of all, Mikey paid me with cheese enchiladas from Taco Grande! Not that I could eat it right away since he decided to tell me a story about how after he'd dropped off the boys he'd had to rush home to use the bathroom because he'd been really backed up lately and had eaten a bag of prunes with 2 cups of coffee for breakfast and boy had that ever worked! Needless to say that made me lose my appetite because poop stories are inappropriate and gross.

Finn, creating a poop story of his own...

All in all, last-minute babysitting in my store while also working and trying to take care of customers worked out fairly well. This time. But just so we're clear - NO, I am NOT available to babysit your kids. Have a nice day!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer is Here!

Every weekend morning, around 8am, the boys burst from their room simultaneously and sprint thumpily down the hall to my room to crawl in bed and kick me in the nuts. It's precious. After an hour of that, there's usually some kind of breakfast involving syrup followed by demands for 'The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh' which Finn calls "poop" for short (I'm glad someone finally said it), but now that it's hot out my response to this is "NO! IT'S SUMMER!"

Summer means we go to the pool.

Blue Steel

Pools are generally kind of stupid when you're an adult. You jump in, and then what? There's that moment about two minutes after you've put your head under when you realized you've completely run out of things to do. 

This is not an issue when you go to the pool with young boys. With them, pool time is pure, unbridled excitement. I honestly think they could spend every day, all day, partially submerged in chlorinated water, and their lives would be complete.

Unlike adults, there seems to be no shortage of exciting pool activities for little kids. Unfortunately, most of these activities are potentially deadly, so being the parent in charge of two young boys at the pool is exciting in it's own way. Negotiating between fun times and the necessity of breathing oxygen requires focus. Focussing is tricky when your pool serves beer, and is teeming with MILFs.

As luck would have it the deadly pool activity that tops Finn and Liam's list is holding my head underwater. They could do it for hours on end and the more I struggle, the better.

Even though it prevents me from enjoying my beer and the scenery, it's team-building. Liam will usually do the brunt of the work until he's weak from hysterics, then Finn steps in and employs his patent knees-to-the-chest technique which makes holding your breath extra challenging. While the combination of alcohol and asphyxia may be damaging my brain, I think it's better than them sitting in front of the tv all summer long rotting theirs.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Oops I Crapped My Pants

I almost made it - I came so close to making it. A week in Mexico and no stomach issues! This, despite eating from a resort buffet, a little local restaurant at which I ate fresh ceviche on top of a secret-sauce-covered tostada, a street cart which served me something fairly unidentifiable, and even a few brave encounters with Drinking The Water.

My stomach survived it all, like a champ! Until it didn't.

Later that day - notice the shorts
We were feeding the fish. I'd put on my swimsuit in anticipation of eventually swimming, but first the kids were doing every non-swimming activity they could possibly dream of, since by that point in our week we'd learned that once you get into the water, you don't get out until sundown. So, they were feeding the fish while Paulie and I stood behind them, watching the joy on their faces every time a koi took their bait. It was a lovely, meandering, relaxing way to spend our final day of vacation.

Then, I farted.

This isn't a big deal because at this particular moment, it happened to be beneficially breezy. More importantly, I knew it was going to be a quiet one and therefore no one would ever know.

Quiet or not, however, this one felt...different. I pushed the thought aside while I woo-hooed the kids, trying very calmly to determine if I'd just shit my pants.

The kids were ready to move on, and the activity of walking the six feet over to the next pond made me very hot. That must be sweat dripping down my leg, I thought. At the third pond, I subtly reached my hand into the back of my pants, touched my wet butt area, pulled my fingers out and sniffed them. It was super subtle, I swear. Not like when you suspect your toddler has pooped and you grab them by the back of the pants, peer into their diaper and, not seeing anything, reach your hand inside just to make sure.

You have to admit, though - either scenario is a dangerous gamble.

Thank god I was wearing pants that day - I'd gotten my standard horrifically ugly sun rash on day 2 of vacation (like the one shown, from last summer, only about 12,000 times worse), so I'd decided that morning that my legs needed a break. Every day prior to that moment I'd been wearing shorts, a decision which would not have boded well on this occasion because, yeah, I'd sharted.

I casually announced I had to use the bathroom - when it comes to hiding the fact that I've just pooped myself, I am a master at discretion, as you can see. I 'cleaned myself up' as well as one can in the narrow stall of a five-star resort ladies room when dealing with the unfortunate result of the prior day's decision to binge on sauteed mystery greens and chorizo. While doing a Kmart clean on myself, the following conversation with myself went through my head:

Me - I'll just go into the pool to rinse the rest of this off

Me - Gross! That might make people sick. The ocean is better.

Me - What the fuck?! I'll just go back to the room and change! What is wrong with me?!

Me - But my whole outfit is based on this swimsuit!

Me - Ohmygod it's not about the outfit it's about the fact that there's green diarrhea in your pants!

Me - But I only have one pair of chonies left and this swimsuit was supposed to get me through the day!


Me - Okay Okaaaaaaay, jeeez!

Don't worry - I did the right thing.

I told Paulie I had to re-sunblock the kids and that we'd be back in a flash. Once at the really-far-away room, I told the kids I was hot and thought I'd just take a quick shower, la de da, no big deal! They were busy arguing over candy as I then hand washed my swim bottoms and pants, and busy watching cartoons in Spanish while I layed everything out on the balcony to dry. For once their arguing and glazey-eyed TV watching was a blessing, because they didn't notice what I was doing or ask any questions.

Phew! Now no one will ever know!

I put on a different suit, lathered myself and the kids with more sunblock, and off we went for one last magical day in the tropics.

I heart Mexico.

p.s. The links found in the above story are the only reasons I was able to keep a sense of humor about this entire situation, and I've been calling them both to mind and laughing at myself ever since that fateful afternoon. You should click them.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Father's Day 2014

As if life hasn't been sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows enough, last Sunday was ME day! I figured I'd treat myself to a movie date with Liam so I took him to see How to Train Your Dragon 2.

Sidenote: Finn was not invited because last time we took him to a movie he got so wound up in the first hour I had to take him outside, at which point he launched into a Tour de Healdsburg full out sprint. 

I assumed that a movie date to Dwagon Two would, of course, THRILL Liam to no end, but despite my efforts to hype him up, he maintained this attitude the whole time.

Bored from previews to credits

The next day Liam had his first day of summer school and was totally excited to go (jerk), so I figured Finn and I could have that day to do Father's Day bonding 2.0. I knew Finn wouldn't fail me, especially since I was taking him all the way downtown on his push bike to get ice cream. Pulling out the big guns for guaranteed father/son good times!

About halfway there he decided he no longer wanted to ride his push bike, or walk, or be moved anywhere by any means whatsoever.

Not a bad prank, actually
So began our standoff. After ten minutes of him sitting on the ground, trying to show me how happy he would be living indefinitely on the sidewalk by stuffing acorns into his diaper, I picked him up kicking and screaming and dragged him and his bike the six blocks back home.

Today I'm making myself a construction paper tie.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sunrises are Overrated

I've been doing this for a year.

The weekday mornings when the boys are with me, I pull their warm shaky little bodies out of bed, smelling like fresh baked cookies and pee, and cram them into the cold back seat of my car at 5am. The way they clasp hold of me while I carry them out to the car always reminds me of those clip-on koalas from the 80's, I'm not sure why. There's a tenderness to it of course, but just below the surface there's a hint of fury. Maybe it's just the slight digging in with their fingernails, or the way their dangling feet always seem to coincidently find daddy's tender bits, but I can almost hear them thinking "Again?! You've got to be fucking kidding me with this shit."

A year ago the co-parenting counselor told Erin and I that the kids should never go more than three days without spending time with either one of us, at least not until they're old enough to think we're lame. I was glad to hear it. Even though I never wanted to go too long without the boys, I wondered if it was selfish of me to have them spend the night when it meant I had to get them out of bed at such a god-awful hour. Well, according a to woman who charged $150 an hour for her advice because she had "M.A., MFT" after her name, it was more important that the boys be with me than get to sleep in. She assured me they'd get used to it.

And they did get used to it. They used to cry and look at me like I was deranged, but they quickly grew compliant, for the most part. Liam still moans a bit, but once I get him buckled in and get the blanket over his head, he's out. Finn, being of a different temperament, will either hiss, spit, scream, and thrash the whole time, or be sleepily cheerful.

Still I feel terrible, every time. I feel like they have to endure this predawn ice-cold drive to mom's house every other morning because daddy let them down. Daddy doesn't have a normal job with normal hours and good pay. There's no other way under the circumstances, so we make due and are grateful that it has worked out as well as it has, considering.

Well those days are OVER! Daddy got a new job!!

I've traded in 5am for 7am, I've traded in a 40 mile commute for a 4 mile commute, and as far as pay goes...well I can't even wrap my head around that part yet. Suffice it to say, I thought I was going to be relying on Erin for child support for the next 16 years, but those days are over too! Everyone wins!!

I know, you want to know "Where? What will you be doing? What fine organization finally recognized what a treasure and talent you truly are??"

To that I say "Shucks, you don't have to say all that (blush)."

I don't want to get into the details just yet about where I'll be and what I'll be doing, but in a nutshell this is the dream job. This is the gig I've been working toward for the past ten years. Because of this job everyone involved in the boys' lives are going to be waking up happier.

To be continued...