Monday, December 20, 2010

Dear Santa:

Dear Santa,

Hi there.  How are things up at the North Pole?  I hope unemployment is down at the Claus Compound and, as such, that this Christmas finds you handing your elves fewer pink slips than last. I imagine it's hard to find work as an elf; those Keebler guys have the cookie market cornered and now, with the popularity of the Elf on a Shelf, there's competition from the doll industry.  Tough times. 

Before I get to what I want for Christmas, I would like to point out that I have been really good this year.  Seriously, I don't know if you've noticed, but today is December 20th and my Christmas cards have been mailed, my wrapping is done, and my tree HASN'T EVEN FALLEN DOWN ONCE.

Well, not yet anyway.

I get my teeth cleaned every six months, get felt up by the OBGYN once a year, and use a moisturizer with SPF 15.  EVERY DAY.

Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to direct your attention to the following:  my driving record (clean), my voting record (active), and my criminal record (non-existent). 
Not bad, right? 

So I think you'll be happy to know that I only want one thing for Christmas this year.

A wife.

Hear me out on this one, S.C.  This isn't some kind of polygamous fantasy, I don't want a Barb or a Margene, and GOD KNOWS I don't need a Nikki.  Besides, I took a quiz in last month's Glamour and it turns out my face is WAY too round to pull off the French-braid-with-the-Bump-Itz-pouf. 

Nor is this some kinky sex thing.  Although, really Santa, let's get honest for a second here, even if it WAS, you're not really in a position to judge.  You spend a good deal of time with small children in your lap while the world turns a blind eye to that whole he-sees-you-when-you're-sleeping-he-knows-when-you're-awake-he-knows-if-you've-been-bad-or-good thing.  If you think about it, you're sort of like the MacDaddy of Creepers.  And we all  know it's just you and Mrs. Claus and all those elves isolated up there in the North Pole, where it stays cold and dark for like DAYS on end.  I'm not accusing you of anything, I'm just saying.  People talk.  Not me.  But people.

Also, The Wife is also not a replacement for The Husband.  I would very much like to keep him.

Really, The Wife is just there so that, in my absence, things will get done the way I do them rather than in some other husband-like way which invariably leaves me with more work than I started with.  For example, if I go out on a Thursday night, Wife would be here to keep everyone in line.  The dishes would be done, bedtime would start and finish on time, the downstairs would be picked up, and no one would have walked around the house eating something seriously crumb-producing, like pretzel rods or crackers, without a bowl or plate or napkin or FOR GOD'S SAKE, SOMETHING! to catch ALL OF THOSE CRUMBS. 

Wife will not put up a philosophical argument about the suitability of ice-cream, candy, or potato chips at 8 a.m.  She will always have tissues, she'll be aware of the clock so as to avoid giving the boys donuts for a snack 45 minutes before dinner is ready, and she will always know the location of each child's hat, gloves, and shoes. 

Now, if she could also clean the bathroom and do laundry , that would be SO awesome, but I realize I'm probably pushing my luck.

Oh, one more thing.  I sort of need her to be on the less-attractive side.  Unfortunate facial hair, adult-onset acne, goiters:  all welcome here.

Because, like I said, I'd like to keep The Husband.

So that's it, Santa.  One wife.  I'm sure you can fit her in the sleigh.

She'll be the one sitting next to you controlling the radio and telling you YOU NEED TO SLOW DOWN!

Thanks a lot, Santa.

Love, Jenn   

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Are you there, Oprah? It's me, Jenn.

I'm not really a big Oprah fan. But a few weeks ago I was home sick in bed and happened to catch her Favorite Things episode.  In case you don't worship at the Altar of Oprah, this is the episode where she gives away all kinds of really expensive stuff:  cashmere sweaters, diamond earrings, trips, fancy chocolates that cost more than my monthly mortgage payment. 

You know, all the essentials for the holiday season.

Oh yeah, and the audience pretty much goes apeshit crazy.

Like, with all forms of crying and screaming and jumping and 'Oh my God'-ing for the camera.

Just in case you haven't yet been beaten over the head with the message that Oprah is a kind and benevolent god, the show's producers cut to these audience freak-outs repeatedly to make sure you REALLY get it:

Hey!  You there, at home in your yoga pants that you don't wear out of the house because of the unfortunate seam up the front that makes it look like you have camel toe, even though you totally DO NOT, are you getting just how generous and awesome Oprah is?  Because I don't think you are.  See that lady in the second row, the one with the applique reindeer on her sweater and JC Penney elastic high-waisted pants who has just fallen to her knees in praise, THAT lady just scored a pair of $375 skinny  jeans from Jay-Z's new clothing line.  She is seriously psyched and her life is 125% BETTER now because Oprah has touched it.  Avert your eyes when Oprah appears before you! 

So there I was, in bed burning not just with a strep-throat-induced fever, but also with a raging contempt for Oprah.

What-the-eff-ever, Oprah! With all your fancy crap that regular people can't go out and buy! A $300 cashmere sweater would be on my favorite things list too if I didn't know that I could get like 25 pairs of pants at Target for that much money!  Oh my God, I need a Fribble!

There was, however, a time when I didn't feel quite so negatively toward Oprah and her favorite things.

Of course, I was pregnant then.

And, as such, under the influence of some SERIOUS hormones.

Also, I was on bed rest.  Which meant that, besides the mail delivery, Oprah had become the high point of my day.

Oh, and did I mention that the audience was filled with teachers?

Wanna guess what I had been doing for work up until the night I went to the hospital for contractions at 26 weeks?

That's right, I was a teacher.

It was like the Perfect Storm of hormonal breakdowns.

There I was, all round and pregnant and happy, with a nice big cup of hot chocolate, ready to sit and enjoy Oprah's Favorite Things episode.

Within the first minute and a half of the show, I was crying.

Oh my God, look at all of those women.  They are just SO HAPPY!  They are literally jumping for joy and hugging total strangers in their happy little bubble of delirium.  This is the most beautiful thing I ever seen in my whole life.  I love Oprah and I love all of those happy women. 

And then Oprah started the giving-away part of the show.  She held up some random item, made sure to let everyone know how much it was worth, and then told the audience, "You're all getting one!"  The women then jumped and cheered and screamed.  And cried.

And each time they cried, I cried.

Oh my God, Oprah is the nicest person ever; look how happy everyone is that they just got a $500 waffle maker.  They all love waffles so much, they are SO happy for waffles, and I am SO happy for them that they can make waffles for their families now.  What did they even DO before they had a waffle maker?  How did they get their waffles?  They didn't, not until Oprah came along and blessed them with their new incredible waffle makers.  I love Oprah and waffles and waffle-maker-factory workers and this is the best show ever, I feel myself changing because of this show; I am so totally changed now and I want to give everyone I know a waffle maker RIGHT NOW and then I want to eat a really ridiculous amount of waffles. 

This is not even an exaggeration.  My friend Erin can attest to all of this, because I e-mailed her repeatedly during the episode to share my joy. 

I cried through the entire hour-long show. 

It was weeks before I could even TALK about the episode without choking up.

That is, until the day early in January when the recycling truck took away our Christmas tree. I stood in my window and cried; it was a good Christmas tree and I had loved it, even if Santa hadn't left any of Oprah's Favorite Things under it.

And so I honored it. 

By eating a really ridiculous amount of waffles. 


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hey Baby, Can I Sweep Your Chimney?

Disney World really is a place where you revert to childhood, even if you are a grown woman visiting with your husband and children. 

Case in point?  I was there last week and found myself unreasonably excited when Cinderella's Fairy Godmother winked at me during the parade.  I was almost teary when the final float came by, adorned with Aurora, Belle, Arielle, Snow White, and the mac daddy of all princesses, Cinderelly herself. 

However, the character I was most excited to see standing up there was not actually a princess, but a nanny. 


Now, I don't want to take on the whole nanny aspect of the Mary Poppins persona.  I've got my hands full with my own family, I don't need to be taking care of everyone else's children and dealing with pompous, obnoxious fathers and flighty suffragette mothers.  Oh no.  In fact, I probably would have punched George Banks in the mouth and then the Constable would have come and dragged me off to jail, the Sister Suffragettes singing along behind me and Bert and his chimney-sweep buddies cheering me along.  Good times, but not really a great example for a nanny to set for her charges. 

However, there are plenty of other reasons for wanting to be Mary Poppins over some of the Disney princesses.

For starters, look at her mode of transportation:  flying umbrella.  Think how convenient that whole floating thing could be.  Traffic in the town's center going to make me late to pick my son up from preschool?  No problem; I've got my trusty umbrella in the back.  Pull the car over, open the umbrella, and off I go, waving to the other motorists and yelling out, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, suckers!"

Flying umbrella beats a coach made out of a pumpkin ANY DAY. 

Seriously, have you smelled the inside of a pumpkin? 

Cinderella must have looked DAMN good in that dress (we're talking Spanx and Miracle bras here...bippity boppity boobs, people) if she still managed to turn Prince Charming's head while smelling like stringy pumpkin goo.  Of course, Prince Charming obviously had a major foot fetish and she had those freakishly tiny feet, so it was probably just a matter of time before those two connected through a Craigslist ad.

But I digress.

Take a look at who Mary Poppins hangs with:  Bert.  Bert is a dude who TRAVELS WITH HIS OWN BAND ON HIS BACK.  He is literally a walking good time.  He's always happy and you can't really understand what he's saying; clearly he's got a flask of something good hidden under that cap of his.  He's not super hard-core on the party scene though; he spends his time on the rooftops of London, so he can't get TOO tipsy.  He parties only enough to know how to keep things fun. 

I mean, the guy leaps in and out of chalk drawings, for Christ's sake. 

Forget all those singing and dancing animals and candelabras; Bert's the kind of sidekick I want . 

Of course, there's also this unspoken kind of understanding that SOMETHING went down between the two of them long before they reunited at 17 Cherry Tree Lane.

You just KNOW he's swept her chimney.

And good for them for moving past it and being able to stay friends.

Then there is the bag:  Mary Poppins pulls a friggin' LAMP out of her purse. 


I thought I was the master of packing my diaper bag when my kids were younger, but MAN what I could do with a bag that can hold a lamp. 

Although I imagine it's a bitch to find your keys in.

But the best reason of all to be Mary Poppins? 

OH MY GOD have you seen the woman clean?  Mary Poppins snaps her fingers and the clothes fold themselves. 

And then?  They put themselves away. 

Tired of stepping on the never-ending string of Legos that always manage to be strewn through every room in the house?  Mary Poppins could snap her fingers and they would all jump together into the form of a rocket and then FLY themselves into the toy box.  When you're Mary Poppins, all you do is snap your fingers and sing a happy song.  Her song of choice was "A Spoonful of Sugar".  I don't know what kind of sugar she's hitting a spoonful of, but I'll take it. 

And I'd call it a spoonful of Awesomesauce.

Monday, October 18, 2010

10 Lies All Parents Fall For

10PULL-UPS   Every parent has been there; you look at the package and think, "I can totally fool my child into thinking this is underwear AND save myself from doing 27 loads of laundry a day."  You even buy the ones that have Lightning McQueen on them and sell them to your child with the notion that "Lighting McQueen doesn't want to get wet and HE WILL DISAPPEAR if you pee on him" with all kinds of mock horror at the very thought, even though you'd like nothing more since you have so much Lightning McQueen paraphernalia that you're pretty sure you personally paid for one of Owen Wilson's stints in rehab. Or at least the blow that got him there.  But your child doesn't care that Lighting McQueen will disappear if he pees in his pull-up because he thinks it's fun to pee in his pull-up; it means he doesn't have to leave the train table.  Leaving the train table means his brother will steal his train and what's waiting for him in the bathroom?  A sticker.  TRAIN TRUMPS STICKER.  And that's why pull-ups fail.

9.  SOCCER   Christ Almighty, enough with the soccer already.  Want to get your ass reported to Child Protective Services?  Tell another parent at the preschool pickup that your kid isn't enrolled in soccer and watch her face contort as she tries to mask her contempt for your obviously inferior parenting.  Resist the urge to poke her in the eye. 

8.  EVERY KID NEEDS A DOG   Ummm, yeah.  Not my kids.  Want to know why?  Because they live with me.  And as my dad so eloquently put it recently, "You're not really an animal person."  Spot on, Dad.  We're fish people.  And so far we've only had to flush one. 

7.  CONTRACTIONS FEEL LIKE REALLY BAD CRAMPS   Okay, I don't know what kind of fucked up, crazy-ass period cramps you people get, but if they are really akin to the feeling of every muscle from just below your boobs all the way down to your knees tightening like a vice grip for a full minute in 90-second intervals as your body ATTEMPTS TO EXPEL A HUMAN, you might want to seek some medical attention and get that shit checked out. 

6.  HAVING A CHILD WILL BRING YOU CLOSER TO YOUR SPOUSE   I don't even remember what my husband looks like.  I think he still lives here.  Maybe.

5.  GOOD MOTHERS DON'T ____________ .   Take your pick: swear, smoke, drink, fuck, work, stay home, circumcise, formula feed, co-sleep, forget to floss, want to run away sometimes.  What's your hangup?

4.  YOU WILL FORGET THE PAIN OF CHILDBIRTH   *coughcough*BULLSHIT*coughcough*   'Nuff said.

3.  BABY TOYS   Want to entertain a baby?  Turn on a light.  That is fascinating stuff to the 10 month-and-under crowd.  Want to really blow their minds?  Turn the light off.  And then turn it on again.  The best thing about this is that babies don't remember much, so tomorrow it will be a whole new amazing experience.  Think that's a good time?  Wait until summer when you turn on the CEILING FAN.  WHOA.

2.  MOTHER KNOWS BEST   This one is only a partial lie.  Because when it comes to things like picking out clothes that match, singing lullabies, or ensuring that, before we leave the house, we are adequately prepared for any possible calamity that could affect our children ever, I'm definitely the one you want running the show.  But there are many times when I have to defer to my husband and his wealth of knowledge of All Things Male Related.  This, so far, has included peeing standing up, purchasing a cup for the Little Leaguer (you're welcome, future grandchildren), and basically all things penis or sports related, since my athletic history consists of picking flowers and doing cartwheels in the outfield during kickball.  And I don't have a penis.  But definitely call me when you need a necklace made out of dandelions. 

1.  YOUR CHILD NEEDS A SIBLING    Oh my god, this is the worst lie of all.  Having only one child is viewed as a serious crime against nature in our society.  Don't you want your son/daughter to have a brother/sister?  A playmate?  A best friend?  HA.  I fell for this one hook, line, and sinker.  It's not by accident that my sons are 19 months apart.  Why?  Because we wanted them to be close.  I had visions of them taking off to play together, leaving me to sip my coffee, maybe read a book, putting it down every now and then to go take a look at whatever incredible block structure they had created.  What I didn't imagine was the constant bickering, the 'I had it first', the 'he got a longer turn/bigger piece/more', the 'it's mine and even though I haven't played with it in seven months, I was just about to', the 'you know that game you always want to play and I always say no simply because I know how much you love it...I'm going to hide all of the pieces under my bed JUST BECAUSE.'  I'm not a mother, I'm a referee.  Lucky for me, I happen to love black and white.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

These are the people in your neighborhood

There is a gorgeous tree across the street, a harsh fiery streak of red amongst a sea of dry, dulling greens and washed out yellowish browns.  A narrow strip of sun slices through the early morning shadows to fall directly on the flaming tones. 

It's breathtaking.

And I'd totally take a picture to show you, except that between my window and the tree-of-such-beauty-that-ohmygod-it-would-change-your-life, dangle The Bucket People's unmentionables.

I see London, I see France, I see my neighbors' underpants.  Right there on the clothesline. 

Apparently the men in the house enjoy boxers AND briefs, while Mama Bucket rocks the grannies. 

All of which is WAY more information about my neighbors than I ever cared to possess. 

I should probably stop referring to them as The Buckets, now that I have two little sets of ears that like to listen to, and then repeat, lots of fun things that I say.  But we've been calling them The Bucket People for nine years now, since we moved in and found them dealing buckets from their side yard, complete with a hand painted sign attached to the fence that read, "Buckets: $.50".  Their yard was littered with white plastic buckets.

Here a bucket, there a bucket, everywhere a bucket-bucket. 

It would seem, however, that the bucket business is not a lucrative one.

Because one day, a big truck came and took all of the buckets away.

Which meant The Bucket People could then fill their yard with even yet still more crap.

Crap such as:  non-working snow blowers (4), old lawn mowers (2), tires (oodles), discarded lawn furniture, tarps (which, by the way, don't actually cover anything; they're just random blue tarps tossed here and there), rusty bikes (4), a Little Tykes basketball hoop, and assorted cuts of lumber.

And of course, I can't forget the prerequisite broken down car in the driveway (which my 5 year old thinks is a race car and therefore the most awesome thing EVER).

It's black.  It looks a lot like this:

Except it's all rusty and dirty and old.

And with the engine less IN the car and more NEXT TO it.

Also, they have a go-kart.  Which doesn't actually go.

So I was super-psyched this summer when The Buckets added a new mode of transportation to their collection of Shit That Is Supposed to Go But Doesn't.  The eldest Bucket Boy (a.k.a Carrot, so named by my oldest son who was unable to properly pronounce his actual name, Derek) bought himself a boat.

Guess where it is?

You got it.

Because, really, why put a boat in the water when you have perfectly good yard space available?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Everybody wants to be closer to free.

He had decided I looked like Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Which I sort of do, in that she has two arms and brown hair and I also have two arms and brown hair. 

But really, the resemblance ends there.

I think his name was Mike.  Or Ed.  He asked for my number and I gave it to him, thinking that I needed to be open to meeting All Kinds Of People.  I figured I had nothing to lose.  He was nice, he liked to read, and he had a job.  Why not?

"Jennifer Laaaaaane.  Jennifer Laaaaaaane HEW-IT" was how he greeted me when I met up with him at the bar.  Think Rob Schneider on SNL "makin' copies."

And THAT would be why not.

It wasn't that I had anything against Jennifer Love Hewitt.  It was her Party of Five character, Sarah, that I couldn't stand.

Because she was TOTALLY unworthy of Bailey Salinger's love.

I, on the other hand, was really very worthy.

Oh, Bailey.  Poor, orphaned Bailey.  I would have listened to ALL of your whining about your incredibly annoying sisters and hot brother.  And that other baby/kid, too.  I would have stayed by your side when you battled your alcoholism.  I would have Been There For You when Charlie had cancer.  I would have ALWAYS had faith in you, Bailey.  *cue a slow jam by The Cranberries*

I would have made you a seriously awesome mix tape, complete with my own (really bad) artwork.  I didn't hand out mix-tapes to any old boy, you know.  Not everyone was deemed worthy.  I put serious time and effort into the making of a mix tape, each song carefully selected for it's message, the balance of each side weighed out to give it just the right sound and feel.  The making of a good mix tape took hours to compile.  It would have been my very SOUL in music form, Bailey. 

I would have even written you a poem.  I was really good at writing really bad poetry.  Once I even wrote my boyfriend a sonnet.

Like with iambic pentameter.

And a RHYMING mothereffing COUPLET, yo. 

It was horrible.  And, in retrospect, hilarious.  And it could have been yours, if it wasn't for the Sarah-loving.

Also, the being pretend thing.  But THAT IS SO NOT THE POINT.   

I get that Sarah was cute and all that.  But honestly, didn't that doe-eyed, wholesome thing get annoying after a while?  And what the hell was wrong with the girls in your life, Bailey, that none of them could speak?  They would sputter and stammer, but between Julia, Claudia, and Sarah, I don't think you could have made a full sentence between them.  I, however, can speak in sentences that include a subject AND a predicate.

I would have been way more fun, Bay.  I would have told you dirty jokes and had Star Wars marathons with you.

Star Wars, dude.   WITH TOP GUN FOR DESSERT.

Whatever, Bailey.  You missed out.  Instead I was left to sit at a bar next to Ed.  Or Mike.

Jennifer Laaaaane.  Jennifer Laaaane HEW-IT.  Drinkin' the beers.  And losing Ed's number.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise."

Once upon a time, a boy was growing inside of me.

This boy did not come to be easily. There were tears, there were questions, there were doubts. There were pills and classes and needles and nurses who held my hand while I shut my eyes tight against the glaring light of a cold, unfeeling room. Life was marked in days: day 3 bloods, day 7 bloods, day 10 bloods and ultrasound, day 12 ultrasound, day 14 bloods and ultrasound, lather, rinse, repeat. There were little pieces of plastic glaring their white blank stares back at me, thrown against the wall and then later dug out of the trash, pulled apart, and held up to the light of the window in a desperate search for some kind of sign.

Please, I offered up from my knees on the bathroom floor.

Please, I whispered while laying on the crinkly white paper of my doctor’s exam table.

Please, I begged silently while planting a soft kiss on the fuzzy head of my friend’s newborn.

Soon I stopped asking for a baby. I started asking, instead, for patience. For grace and acceptance. For forgiveness for whatever sin it was I had committed so heinous as to deny me the one thing I wanted more than anything. I looked to logic and science because emotion and soul were failing me.

And then he was there.

He was a small white flicker of a heartbeat on a grainy screen.

As he grew, I waited for the relief to sweep over me. But it didn’t come. I worried about all that I couldn’t see. Each time I visited the doctor I held my breath anxiously until I heard the reassuring heavy gallop of his heartbeat. I counted kicks. I thought about the umbilical cord and pushed words like knot out of my mind.

Please, I offered up in the middle of the night, rubbing my round belly.

Please, I whispered while standing in his empty, waiting nursery.

Please, I begged silently through three hours of pushing, please, little one. Please.

And then he was there.

As I rest his soft downy cheek against my own tear stained one, I closed my eyes, breathed him in, and offered up the only words I had left.

Thank you.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Monkey on My Back (Make Mine a 3-pack)

I can feel the woman in the line next to me staring.

Shut up, lady, I tell her via telepathy.  Apparently my telepathy doesn't work in CVS though, because she continues scoping out the contents of my basket.

To show that I know she's looking at me AND MY STUFF, I stare not at her, but at HER stuff. 

Batteries, light bulbs, box of hair dye.


And we have a winner.  

She hugs her stuff to her chest and looks away, which begs the question, why, Lube Lady, are you judging me and my items when you've got a big ole tube of Astroglide in your hand?  Not that there's anything wrong with that, you know, rock out with your...self...out.  But really.  I take my things out of the basket and put them on the counter.

Box of 3 pregnancy tests.

Box of tampons.

(This is called hedging your bets, people.)

And finally, a 1-lb bag of M&Ms. 

Because either way,  I'm going to need some chocolate in order to deal.

"Um, can you not put that in the bag?" I ask the cashier after he scans the pregnancy tests.

He slides them across to me.  I slip them into my purse and feel Lube Lady's eyes on me again as I resist the urge to explain to her and the cashier dude and the rest of the people in line at CVS that my husband thinks it's absurd to buy pregnancy tests unless you're, like, really REALLY not sure and not just a little unsure.  He's more of the 'If a baby arrives 9 months later, then you're pregnant; otherwise, it's too soon to tell' school of thought.

And any woman who has ever ovulated EVER can tell you that THAT is just ridiculous.

Because, and I know I'm not alone in this, there is something slightly addictive involved in taking a home pregnancy test.  Now somewhere in the world I'm sure there are women who give themselves a nice two-week window of lateness before saying, "Gee, hmmmmmm.  That's weird.  Maybe I'll go and buy ONE pregnancy test, use it, read the results within the clearly defined time limits, and then, when there is not an obvious second line, discard the test, satisfied in my knowledge that I am not, in fact, pregnant."

I'm not one of those women.

Nope, I'm the one who, at a minute and half past the expected time, is standing in line at CVS stuffing a 3-pack of First Response Early Detection into my purse under the watchful eye of Lube Lady, while trying to mentally calculate the possible damage my hypothetical third child may have incurred over the past 14 days:  beer, wine, coffee, Advil, tuna, x-rays.  Poor kid.   

The crazy train, however, doesn't TRULY pull into the station until I get home, at which point I immediately lock myself in the bathroom, rip open the package, take the test, and then shove it under the sink so as to not be tempted to look at it before the three minute mark.

This is really super helpful.

For about 30 seconds.

So I pull the test out to make sure it's working.  And then...well...guess what?

I think I see something.

Now this is probably when a normal person might put the test down and WAIT FOR THE REMAINING TWO AND A HALF MINUTES.

But I like to take this opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with my test.  I take it to the window to look at it in natural light.  I tip it forward.  I tip it back towards me.  I find a south-facing window for the very best, most accurate light.  I squint and peer and make my eyes all fuzzy and then re-focused. 

Ohmygod I really think that maybe I might see a very light hint of something.

Around this time my head starts to hurt from all of this squinting and natural light, so I will decide that it's probably nothing and throw it in the trash.

Where I will leave it.

For approximately five minutes.

And then I will not only dig that puppy out, but I will actually TAKE IT APART. 

That right there is probably the step that separates me from the casual home-pregnancy-test-taker and puts me in with the SERIOUSLY HARDCORE TESTERS.   

In my defense, if it IS a really, really, really super faint, brand-new, only-a-nanosecond-pregnant shadow of pink tinge, then sometimes you have to strip away all that extra plastic and REALLY GET A GOOD LOOK.  And this is the hook, the addictive aspect; the maybe, the I-just-don't-know, the I think I see something.  I just need to look better, harder, closer... what, after a good 6-12 hours of checking and rechecking, I finally admit is simply a plain white strip with a single pink line.

Which is good. 

I guess.

See, I KNEW I'd need those damn M&Ms.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Absolutely, Completely True Story of A Boy Named Ben Woodcock

I remember exactly two things about my First Communion.

The first is that the minute I walked into the church with the rest of the second graders, I started giggling and grinning like a fool.  I was fairly certain that grinning and giggling weren't appropriate for church, so I tried to hide behind the little cardboard chalice I was carrying, but it did no good.  I'm only lucky that I didn't snort.

The second is that I was terrified that Ben Woodcock was going to show up at my house that afternoon.

On his horse. 

I was too young then to appreciate Ben Woodcock for his name alone, or to understand that the likelihood of an eight year old riding his horse a mile and a half across a highway overpass and down a busy road to my house was slim to none.  All I knew was that I had invited Ben Woodcock to my house, panicked, and then purposely lied about where I lived. 

Ben Woodcock had dark hair and dark eyes.  Even then, with the exception of  preferring Jon to Ponch, I liked boys with dark hair (you can have Bo Duke, I'll take Luke any day).  So there was probably a high likelihood that I had a little crush on Ben Woodcock, with his brown corduroys and his long-sleeve orange velour shirt.  In the second grade this basically translated into him being the boy I most wanted running after me when we played Boys Chase the Girls. 

(The only thing more fun than playing Boys Chase the Girls at recess?  Playing Little House on the Prairie, because I always got to be Mary: The Blind Years, and would stay in character after the bell rang, until I stumbled into the classroom and my teacher would say, "Jennifer, your eyes work, please open them."  Words of wisdom from Ms. Feeney.)

Apparently Ben Woodcock liked me too, because one day at recess he offered to come to my house (Ben Woodcock was clearly a take-charge kind of guy).  Thinking this was never actually going to happen, I said sure.  When he told me he would be there at 2, I began to panic.  I wasn't ready for this level of intimacy with Ben Woodcock. It was too much too soon. I hadn't even shared my fruit roll-up with him at snack time yet, despite his asking daily for it, and now he wanted to come to my house?

My mother didn't even let me chew gum, so I was fairly certain she wasn't going to be down with Ben Woodcock hanging at our house on a Sunday afternoon. 

Then, he spoke the four words that stopped me cold.

"I'll bring my horse."


I immediately envisioned Ben Woodcock (brown-corduroyed, orange-velour-shirt-clad Ben Woodcock) high upon a Black Beauty-ish horse, riding regally up my long driveway, and realized with horror that I was in over my head and that my relationship with Ben Woodcock had taken a very serious turn.

So when Ben Woodcock asked me exactly where I lived, I stammered.  I had suddenly remembered that my First Communion was also that weekend and that we were having all of our family and friends back to our house after for a party. 

How the hell was I going to explain Ben Woodcock And His Horse to all of them?

I began giving Ben Woodcock directions, which, considering the fact that I was eight, probably went something like: 'Turn at the street with the red house, you know that street?  The one with the red house?  Yeah, that's my street.'  He was nodding along as if I was making perfect, complete sense and he knew exactly which street I was talking about. 

I had to throw him a curve ball.  Even though the thought of Ben Woodcock And His Horse wandering up and down my little 12-house cul-de-sac, his dark eyes searching and wondering, where is she? made me feel terrible, it was not so terrible as the thought of Ben Woodcock And His Horse marching confidently up my driveway, ready to fight for a piece of First Communion cake with a big, fat frosting rose on it. 

So I came up with an awesome, clever, fool-proof plan to mislead Ben Woodcock.

My house was number 6.

I told him it was number 4.


Ben Woodcock And His Horse did not show up at my First Communion party.

That Monday at school he told me that he had come to my house.

"On your horse?" I asked.

"Yes.  But you weren't home."

Liar, I thought.  I had spent most of my party staring, panic-stricken, up the street to make sure his horse never rounded that corner.  That, along with cards full of savings bonds and checks, made it the worst party ever.

"I had to go somewhere with my mom," I lied back. 

He nodded.  There was an uncomfortable silence. 

And so ended my relationship with Ben Woodcock. 

Dear God, sorry for giggling, please don't let Ben Woodcock come to my house on a horse today, amen.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Good Book (of Faces)

Apparently Jesus has joined Facebook.

This morning as I logged-in to the site for my daily dose of light stalking, I saw "Jesus Christ" come up on my list of Recommended Pages. 

This is that section to the right of your newsfeed where Facebook posts super-helpful  things like, "People who like Music also like Species" with a picture of a little bird (which, by the way, is a totally legit suggestion that I've received on my page numerous times, leaving me inclined to think that *sigh* my Facebook page really doesn't know me at all) or "7 of your friends like: CSI" (information that I already know because I take my Facebooking pretty seriously). 

So there it was, the suggestion that I 'like' Jesus Christ.

Talk about a high pressure situation.

What if I 'like' Jesus and then he spams my newsfeed with posts like, "I can't believe this amazing new diet supplement, I lost 12 lbs in 3 days, hurry and click HERE to get your free sample!!!!!!!!!!!!"?

I don't really want to find myself in a position of needing to unlike Jesus.

And hiding him isn't really an option because, well, he's freakin' JESUS so he'd KNOW.

(Dear Jesus, if you're reading this, sorry about the 'freakin' Jesus' thing.  I'm working on the cursing.)

(Also, sorry that I just lied right there.  I really enjoy cursing, so I guess I'm a lost cause in that department, but I pinky-swear that I will teach my kids not to...I don't even let them say 'stupid' or 'what the heck'.  That's as good as I'm probably going to get in that department). 

Even worse than the idea of being spammed by Jesus is the idea that he might write on my wall.

Because Jesus has some dirt on me.  And if I piss him off by unliking him or hiding him, who's going to stop him from posting all of my secret stuff?

Jesus Christ Remember the time you lied to your mother about visiting Julie at Stonehill for the weekend?  I do...

Being harassed by the SON OF GOD isn't really something I need in my life right now.  What would I do then, report him?  To whom? 

"Dear Facebook Customer Service:  Jesus is really being a dick and is trying to SMITE me on my wall.  Can you please disable his account?" 

Holy potential incurring of wrath, Batman. 

Coincidentally, "Wrath of God" is also something I do not need in my life right now.

I'm thinking my best course of action may be to just quietly click the little X in the corner of the page suggestion so that Jesus and his Facebook-page-of-guilt-and-spam will disappear. 

Or maybe I'll just send him a message through Facebook's e-mail:

Dear Jesus,

Welcome to Facebook!  Be careful, it's addicting.  Checked out your page, love your profile pic.  You look great!  I saw you that already have 730,845 fans.  Just so you have a handle on your competition, here's how you stack up against some other pages on the site:

watching TV:  1 million +
Twilight:  11 million +
Lady Gaga:  15 million +
The Hangover: 7 million +
drinking:  956,000 +
Starbucks frappucinno:  1 million +

You've definitely got your work cut out for you, but I suppose that's an occupational hazard when you're a deity.  If it makes you feel better, Justin Beiber only has 97,000 people liking him.  Always look on the bright side of life, right?  (Monty Python's Life of Brian:  99,928 fans.) 

Good luck with your page, Jesus. 

And stay away from Farmville.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Boob Fairy giveth, and the Boob Fairy taketh away.

Pregnant women love getting advice from other mothers. 

So I'm fairly certain that my cousin's wife, who is expecting her first child, is going to be super-psyched to read this post.   Because I have managed to keep two small humans alive for the past six years, and because being helpful is my third-favorite hobby (after scrapbooking and drinking), I thought I'd dedicate a post to Jacquie, in which I share some of the really important things about pregnancy and babies that I've picked up along the way.

1. Pregnancy boobs are not yours to keep. This is really depressing, because it's the only good thing about pregnancy (well, besides all the eating and the actual baby). When you're not busy throwing up and napping during the first trimester, it's great to look in the mirror and see that, finally, the Boob Fairy has granted you the boobs you've been praying for since you were 15. Later, as your stomach swells, they provide a nice balance to your figure. Bigger boobs, bigger belly, bigger butt. But then the baby is born (I hope I didn't give anything away there) and your milk comes in.  That's when they get really, scarily big and you will cry because now you're going to have to order those ugly, ultra-supportive bras that have 6 clasps in the back, straps an inch wide, and coverage that goes from just under your collar bone down to your belly button. However, before you vow to boycott Victoria's Secret and their refusal to create a line of 44GGs, just wait a few months. They'll get smaller. And then they'll get smaller and smaller.  I know many women who were a C-cup before pregnancy who are now the proud owners of 36As. Yay, Mother Nature!  Aren't we supposed to be promoting the evolution of the species?  Way to help our cause. 

2. Competitive farting is totally acceptable when you're pregnant. It might be the only time that you can actually beat your husband at this game. But once that baby is born, it goes back to being gross. Plus, you're a mother now, so you have to set a good example.

3. Not that I ever farted. Ever. But I've heard sometimes that happens. To some people who are not me.

4. Congratulations, it's a boy!  You may have noticed that your newborn son can I put this delicately...disproportionately large in a particular area?  Now, before Daddy goes around proudly pointing at his son and declaring to everyone in the delivery room, "That's MY boy!", you should know that there's a swelling factor at play here.  In fact, the swelling is from YOUR hormones, which are still coursing through your newborn's body.  The lesson?  Estrogen gives you big balls.  As if we didn't already know that.

5.  Here's a math problem for you:  if you feed your infant approximately 4 oz. of liquid and he still has 1 oz. of liquid in his stomach from the last feeding, how many ounces will come back up when you go to burp him?  (Hint: you need to use the following equation, in which x represents the number of ounces ingested and y represents the contents of the baby's belly:  (x+y)3 ).  Therefore, the correct answer is 125 oz.  Never underestimate how much a baby can spit up.  Or just how far spit-up can travel.  Your baby might be small, but he can get some serious trajectory.

6.  Six weeks after your baby arrives, you will have to visit the OBGYN for your post-partum check up.  At this appointment, your formerly wonderful doctor who you just love, the very same one who placed your beautiful newborn in your arms, will reveal him or herself to be a sadist by declaring you fit to resume sexual activity.  I don't know who the hell decided that six weeks was green-light time, but I'm thinking whoever it was probably hung out with the guy who came up with the word cunnilingus.  Your six week check-up is scary enough as it is (unless you've had a c-section) without your doctor reminding you that, despite not sleeping for more than 3 hours at a time and this appointment being the first time you've shaved your legs in six weeks, it's generally expected that at some point you will have sex again (no, really; just ask your husband).  A little tip for that first post-baby encounter:  have a bottle glass of wine beforehand.  Remember how half a Bartles and Jaymes wine cooler stolen from your boyfriend's mother's fridge helped take the edge off before the REAL 'first time' way back when?  Well, some things never change.  And after nine months without a drink, half a wine cooler might be all it takes.

7.  You know all of those things you swore you'd never do?  Like lift your baby up and smell his bottom to see if he needs a new diaper?  You're going to do most of them.

8.  At least once in your baby's first year, you will find yourself standing in line at CVS behind an old woman who is writing a check for cat food and 37 rolls of paper towels.  It will probably be the end of the day, because rather than ask your husband to pick up the Infant Tylenol on his way home from work, you will have spotted an excellent opportunity to leave the house ALONE.  You'll be so excited to be able to get out of the car without lugging that heavy baby-bucket-infant-carrier-car seat thingy that you won't even care that they haven't put out the newest issue of People magazine yet, because reading about John Travolta's new puppy will not only be fascinating, but will be the closest thing to literature you have encountered over the last few months.  As you are standing in line you'll catch sight of your shoulder and realize that, at some point during the day, your baby spit up on your shoulder without your knowing it.  (It's a good thing you can't see behind you, because there's a trail of it down your back).  Oh, did I mention that you're still wearing maternity clothes?  You're definitely not wearing make-up but you're positive that you may have brushed your teeth today.  Yesterday, for sure.  This is when someone you know will walk into the store.  This person will be one of the following:  a)the guy from high school who you had a crush on but never actually spoke to because he was way too popular, b)your ex-boyfriend's mother, or c)the woman from your prenatal yoga class who was due six weeks after you and is not only showered, blown-out and made-up, but she is back into her old jeans after only a month!  And her baby is sleeping through the night!  And she's starting a playgroup!  If you want to join!  So the babies can socialize!  And the mommies can share how special it is to be a mommy! 

The moral of the story is this:  let your husband pick up the Tylenol on the way home.  Then hand him the baby, take one of those really long showers where you use up all of the hot water, shave your legs, and grab a glass of wine.

And remember the MOST IMPORTANT lesson for any new mother:

You totally CAN get pregnant while nursing. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

On Cancer

I see clearly now that I am still a child.

I wear the costume of a grown woman; the clothes, the hair, the make up.  I do things like make appointments with the pediatrician and prepare vegetables and write notes excusing my son's absence from school.  My mouth discusses things like mortgages and car seat safety and unemployment rates.  I process the words of people I love, such as "I have to work late" and "I'm afraid I'll never be pregnant again" and then, heartbreakingly, "I have cancer." 

And then I see.

I am going through the motions of an adult, but really there is a little girl lying just underneath the surface.  She is five and has uneven bangs and bruises on her legs and she stomps her patten-leather shoe on the ground, balls her fists, screws up her face and yells, "WHAT!  THE!  FUCK!"

And then, just as quickly as she is five, she is ten.  There are new babies in Seattle, such sweet little twin babies, and my dad has nicknames for all of us.  I am visiting from Boston.  I watch my sister with her blond hair and wonder how it is to live still with your mother and father and these babies all in the same house.  I lie in bed and stare at the ceiling and wonder what it would be like to live here.  And then my eyes burn with quick, hot, shameful tears because I miss my mother and my room and my things.  When it is time to leave for the airport my stomach twists like a nervous woman wringing her hands.  My dad sits on the couch; I climb on his lap and bury my head into his neck to cry.  I breath him in; I take home his sweater.  My thirty-five year old self wants to be back there again; I want to climb through the phone wires and be on my dad's lap and bury my face into his neck to cry.   

I vacillate from one extreme to the other; I want to be the child, maybe if I climb into bed and close my eyes tight I will wake up and everything will be okay again.  I want to be the grown up; I want to hop a plane and sit at a bedside and nod at doctors and get the coffee.

There was a moment, once, when I actually was a grown up.  My father gave a very moving eulogy at my grandfather's funeral.  He was 3,000 miles from home, burying his father without the comfort of his wife beside him.  After his speech, he came back to the pew and sat next to me.  I reached over and took his hand in mine.  I squeezed. 

I am here, with you

He squeezed it back.

Tonight I am 3,000 miles away and my dad is sick.  He's temporarily sick, but sick nonetheless.  I feel far.  And helpless.  I am five and yelling, I am ten and crying, I am grown and squeezing his hand. 

I am squeezing his hand.

I am here, with you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I scream, you scream, we all scream for fellatio.

Let's talk cunnilingus.

Not, like, actual cunnilingus. 

I'm talking about the word.

Cunnilingus is just an ugly word.  It sounds like something you'd catch from not wearing flip-flops in the shower at the gym.

Example:  "I finally went to the doctor because my feet were SO itchy and red.  Turns out I have effing cunnilingus and I have to use this nasty-smelling antifungal cream for like a week."

See?  Ewwww.

Or it could be something you cough up when you have a really disgusting chest cold.

Example:  "No, I really shouldn't come to work today, I think I have a fever and I keep coughing up all this green cunnilingusy stuff.  I'm pretty sick." 

It could even pass for one of those really stinky cheeses that no one ever wants to touch or smell but that you're pretty sure the Barefoot Contessa could turn into something totally, amazingly delicious.

Example:  "Omg, Barefoot Contessa just made this totally, amazingly delicious looking pastry thing that I'm dying to make, but she used cunnilingus and I don't think they sell that at Stop and Shop."

I think I've made my point.

Nice concept, horrible name.

single Guys, on the other hand, get fellatio.

Fellatio sounds like a delicious Italian treat.  It sounds like some sort of really expensive, exquisite frozen desert that I want to eat with a teeny-tiny spoon in a small outdoor cafe in Milan. 

Example:  "You REALLY need to try the chocolate fellatio.  It's worth the calories, trust me."

Are you picking up what I'm putting down?

So I'd like to suggest that we do away with the term cunnilingus (ewww) and replace it with a word that will evoke a more positive image.  Something more feminine.  Maybe even pretty.

I mean, most people I know are fans of it.  

So how about we call it...



Seriously, doesn't that sound SO much nicer?  Doesn't that make you feel all pretty and breezy and flowery and stuff?  It's way sexier than the grungy cunnilingus (obviously a word invented by some dude who hated women).  It's a word equal in imagery to fellatio. 

Plus, it's a lot easier to spell. 

Oh, and Dad, if you're reading this...I have no idea what any of this actually means.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Protons, electrons, and neutrons, oh my!

Dear Self at 16:

Some day you're going to have sons.  They're going to ask you a million questions, 83% of which are science questions, and you are going to wish you had learned a bit more.  It's in your best interest to put down Seventeen magazine, stop doing your math homework in chemistry class, and pay attention.

At least a little.

Oh, and the next time you sit down to write a short story, see what you can do with a sparkly vampire boy and werewolves. 

Trust me on this one.

Your Grown Up Self.

It's not like I don't know anything about science.

I can handle astronomy and meteorology questions; I love that stuff.  I am a wealth of useless knowledge about supernovas (lots of imploding and exploding) and tornadoes and occluded weather fronts. 

I got A's in biology in both high school and college (plus, I've taken First Aid and have seen every episode of E.R., Grey's Anatomy, and Scrubs, so I'm pretty sure I'm almost a medical professional). 

I not only remember some physics, but can identify examples in my everyday life.  For instance, if you hold a baby up over your head and he spits up, you're going to need to buy a new shirt.  Because of gravity.  That's physics right there. 

But really, I should never have passed chemistry.

In fact, let me tell you what I remember about chemistry from high school:

1. I sat next to a kid who chewed tobacco and spit into an empty water bottle through out the class.  I spent the entire class trying not to throw up.

2.  This same kid was also the class clown.  He was undeniably hilarious, usually at the expense of someone else.  Everyday I prayed he wouldn't notice me.  This worked until one day when I wore a seriously awesome outfit, brand new from The Weathervane.  It was a red and black plaid skirt with a matching jacket.  I had my black tank top and black leggings (the ones with lace at the bottom; because nothing suggests sex appeal like a lace-bottomed-legging).  I also had a matching scrunchy and matching earrings.

Seriously, WHAT is cooler than matching your skirt, jacket, scrunchy, and earrings?

Um, NOTHING.  That's what.

(shut up, it was 1992)

I walked in wearing my super-stylish outfit, sat down, and immediately felt him looking at me.


I avoided eye contact.  I took out my notebook, crossed and uncrossed my legs, chewed my pen, and then tried to look very busy doodling on the desk. 

"Hey," he said.  "HEY," he said again when I ignored him the first time.

He looked at me with a straight face and asked, "What, no bagpipes?"

I never wore my awesome plaid ensemble again. 

3.  One day a girl in the class, Gina, laughed so hard she farted.  I went to school with this girl for 7 years and I remember nothing about her other than her last name and that she farted at some point during the 1991-1992 school year.

4.   Our teacher was an older guy.  He wasn't a mean older guy, he was sweet like a Grandpa.  One day he stood up with a piece of paper in each hand and held his arms out to his side.  He started scooting across the floor, raising one arm up while lowering the other, again and again.

I had no idea what the hell he was talking about.

But he sure looked cute doing his little dance.

5.  I got an A on the midterm.

6.  I sort of cheated on the midterm.  I didn't even take the test; a boy who sat diagonal to me took the test, wrote his answers down on a small piece of paper, tucked it into his calculator, and passed the calculator on to me (we were allowed to share calculators; see, I told you our teacher was clueless sweet).  When I brought home my report card, my mother looked at my grades, confused. 

  "I don't understand how you could get C's first and second term and then get an A on the midterm?"

  "I know, I studied really hard." 

I don't even know how I managed C's the first two terms.  Apparently, turning my Scantron sheet on it's side and coloring in dots that formed the letters of the first name of the boy I liked at the time was C-level work.  Sweet.

7.  Our textbook was red.  I think I once saw the term 'covalescent bond' in it. 

(I totally just googled 'covalescent bond' to make sure that was even a real thing.) 

(It is.)

You'd best study up, Self at 16.

And enough with the AquaNet already.

Friday, May 28, 2010

So You Think You Can Dance? Bitch, please.

I'm pretty sure that I'm an awesome dancer.

And I'm pretty sure that I've always been an awesome dancer.

When I took dancing back in elementary school, I knew I was the best one in my class.  Miss Marilyn knew it too; I could tell by the way she would say, "Great job" when I would step ball-change across the floor.  My ball-changes were steppier than anyone else's, my jazz hands jazzier, my chaine turns spinnier (that's right, spinnier; I can spot like nobody's business).  Even though I never moved past the easiest level of classes, I knew it wasn't because I didn't have the raw inner talent.  After all, I choreographed and executed some REALLY incredible routines in my room. 

And in the shallow end of my pool.

Oh yeah, because I'm also really good at synchronized swimming. 

My skills had to be moved to the back-burner however as I moved through middle and high school.  No one goes to school dances to dance, unless you count slow dancing with a boy, which is not really dancing, it's more like a rhythmic shifting of weight from your left foot to your right.  That's shuffling.
And then I got older and discovered clubs.  And cheesy bars with teeny-tiny dance floors (teeny-tiny dance floors are a nightmare for us true dancers). 

And alcohol.

As phenomenal a dancer as I am without alcohol, I am even better with a few drinks in me.

So when a friend suggested that we try a zumba class a few months ago, I was in.  I knew I'd be awesome at it.  Coming from a dance background, I knew I could pick up the steps quickly and would own the class.

Oh. WAIT.  I should tell you something before I get to this next part.

I'm white.

And of Irish ancestry.

Do you see where this going?

Also, I may have attended this zumba class wearing an oversized t-shirt and shorts that I bought back in college with my ex-boyfriend's Friends and Family discount when he worked at Reebok back in 1997.

There may have been an obnoxiously high pony tail involved as well.

Turns out, I suck at zumba.

I got the moves down alright, but when the woman I had been hiding behind left to get a drink and I caught a view of myself in the mirror, trying to do that booty-shaking thing that Beyonce is so fond of, a wave of horror washed over me.

Oh.  My.  God. 

That's what I look like?

It wasn't pretty.  It wasn't cute.  It wasn't even 'has a good personality'. 

I have yet to return to zumba.

Thank God I still have synchronized swimming.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Munchkins FTW

I screw up.

A lot.

And I have no problem with airing my failings because there's nothing I detest more than those women who act like they burp rainbows and poop hearts. 

You know the ones I'm talking about.

And you know that you want to punch them in the face every now and then, usually when you haven't had your coffee yet and your 4-year old was up every three hours because he's convinced there are bugs in his room, so convinced in fact that you spend 10 minutes watching for bugs at 2:30 in the morning until he tells you that they only come out when grown ups aren't watching. 


So on those mornings, you just want to punch these women in the face.

The rest of the time, you just sort of look at them and scratch your head.  Clearly they got some sort of Mommy handbook at the hospital that you didn't. 

Or they have access to some really awesome happy pills.

Either way, that's not me.  I try hard, really hard.  But I have, on occasion, let my sons watch marathons of Phineas and Ferb so I can play a little game I like to call Bash the Exes with my BFF (much more fun than Chutes and Ladders, btw).  I have used M&Ms to bribe my child to use the toilet (which we all know is exactly why M&Ms were invented), used ice-cream to bribe them to be good in the store, and Munchkins to bribe them to do almost anything else (everyone wins where Munchkins are involved; the kids do what I ask, they get their donuts, and I have an excuse to get a coffee).

I may, on occassion, even raise my voice.  And yell.


Lucky for me, my sons didn't receive a handout at the hospital either (no "What to Expect From Your Parents").  So I still get wet, slobbery kisses at night.  When they are afraid or unsure, it's still me that they run to.  When they are sick, it's my lap they want to snuggle on. 

And when there is a bug in their room in middle of the night,  it is me they call to squish it.