Thursday, May 17, 2018

What I've Learned In Eight Years of Being a Mother

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
Afternoon Readers,

Well, it's official.

I'm never buying the Frosted Flakes/Lucky Charms special edition cereal again. I know, I know. I talk about cereal a lot. But the ratio of marshmallows to flakes was all off, and it's something that maybe shouldn't have happened.

In a happier category, something positive that did happen last week was the twins' birthday. Their eighth birthday. For those of you who've been here since the beginning, that means two things:

You're old.

I'm really old.

It seems like just yesterday we loaded them into the back of our suv and drove 5mph home. You know what they say, as long as you don't know what you're doing, might as well have two babies at a time, right?


But we've all lived to tell the tale, and I'm proud to say I know a few more things, these days, than I did in 2010. We went to the petting zoo on their big day, and as I watched a herd of baby goats stampede, I couldn't help thinking it was a lot of baby goats. But after that, I started counting off a few pieces of knowledge I have now that I absolutely didn't have when I pulled on my first pair of mesh underwear* and wandered home.

*Five stars. Absolutely recommend

What I've Learned In Eight Years of Being a Mother 

1. You're literally always winging it.

No one has parenting figured out. If you ever meet someone who says they do, run. There's a good chance they operate a cult named Parenting Round' the Kid's Bop Comet and want to outfit you with some new, white Nikes and a glass of cyanide flavored KoolAid.

You don't have to take my word for it, but enjoy the underground bunker!

2. They'll do amazing things that have nothing to do with you.

No matter how hard you try to screw things up, your kids will begin to display talents you didn't realize they had. Sometimes this is art. Occasionally it's a great throwing arm. Sometimes, they're super smart and end up doing your taxes that year.

3. You're a huge liar.

"I only give them this much sugar during the week." You hold up your thumb an index finger to show Barb at the bake sale. But you don't! You're a nasty little fibber who took Huey, Dewey, and Louie to Dunkin' Donuts three times last week. 

4. Screen time

I wrote something on that, and here it is. Feel free to spread the good word.

5. If it's broke, just let it go.

This was a tough one for me and still is. Kids break everything. Full stop. You can either accept it and live a relatively anxiety-free life, or lose your mind over every body-shaped hole in your drywall and spend your day spitting and growling at anyone who rings your doorbell. Life is not Pottery Barn. Unless that Pottery Barn's on fire.

6. And while we're at it...

Kids don't just break things, they also leave ridiculously random objects all over the house. If parenthood was a dive bar, the sign on the door would read, "Welcome to parenting! Where there's toilet paper in the freezer and rocks in the toilet."

You must make peace with this, as well. Also, keep one of those grabber things in the bathroom. You'll need it at least three times a day.

7. Most of your alone time is after dark.

Wait. Strike that. All of your alone time will be after dark, between the hours of 9pm and 1am. Anything deviating from this needs to be submitted in writing.

8. All those annoying old people are right.

As an annoying old person myself now, I'm starting to get strange urges. When I see a young mother desperately toting her first new baby through Target, the itch to yell out, "It's ok. They grow up really fast," bubbles up at the back of my throat. At the last minute, I shove a Twizzler in my mouth, instead.

But they do grow really fast. This blog, a perfect documentation of me slowly losing my sanity, is proof of that. Whether I like it or not, my twin tornadoes are taller and taller. Smarter. Better looking than me. They teach me how to use my iPhone, and I remind them to put on clean clothes every day.

"Mom," they say, in unison. "Don't embarrass us in public."

"No," I answer. "I only have a little bit of time left."

Until Next Time, Readers!

And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Building the Perfect Nanny

You have a mermaid crown? You're hired.

Morning Readers,

How do you spend your free time?

If you're like me, you eat Pop Tarts and read about strangers. It's the best, isn't it? Some people are extremely constructive with their time, but not Paige Kellerman. Nay. What's that, Internet? Someone I don't know bought something I can't afford and used it to propel themselves to the Maldives?

Do tell! *lights distinguished looking pipe and leans back in chair*

So, while sifting through virtual tidbits this week, I stumbled across an article about Kate Middleton's nanny. Of course, I'd always assumed the royal family has a nanny, but I couldn't help but satiate my curiosity about the woman who marshals the heirs to the throne. In short...

She's amazing.

Dresses impeccably.

Is currently teaching all the royal children spanish.  

"Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo." I rolled the name around on my tongue as if, I too, could sound like a distinguished care giver from Spain, who'd trained in Switzerland, at an establishment that turns out the most respectable nannies in the world.

No, I was still the parent who raises her offspring on chicken nuggets and mis-remembered advice.

But what if I had a nanny? I mean, not for me, but for the children?

As I nibbled on off-brand cookies, I mulled over what qualities a nanny would need to have to work in Kellerman house. I narrowed it down to ten absolutely necessary traits.

1. She must have four names.

Three names weren't good enough for Kate Middleton, and they wouldn't work for me either. Something like Francesca Madeline Coco DeLacourt would do.   

2. She must laugh at all my jokes.

If they don't laugh hysterically at everything you say, there's no point in having hired help. This would be a terrible litmus test for whether one of my jokes would work on the internet, but a requirement nonetheless.

3. She must have a magic bag.

I think it goes without saying that any nanny who doesn't start her first day on the job by pulling a floor lamp, a house plant, and a full-grown parrot in a cage out of her carpet bag, is going to be a disappointment.

4. She must enjoy dumb shows and peanut butter

At noon, we'd break and watch something ridiculous on Netflix, while toasting to the marvelous open-faced pb and js we'd made. I'd laugh and say, "Oh Francesca, look at these fabulous pb and js we've made once again.

5. When I'm in the bathroom, she must be good at running interference.

If she can't block children like a hockey goalie, she need not apply.

6. When she realizes she's more of my companion than a caregiver, she absolutely must not panic.

7. When we're traveling in the van, she must be ok with climbing back over the seats to hand out snacks.

A necessary, but often irritating duty of motherhood, is how many times the off-spring sitting behind you demand something to eat. This is usually right after they've eaten, but the prospect of driving down the road, while small children wail, "I'm huuuuuungry," is, oftentimes, unbearable and ruins any 90's R&B you're trying to listen to. "Francesca," I'd say, "Throw some Minion fruit snacks behind you, post haste. Craig David's on the radio."

8. Dishes are essential

I'll do most of them, but that big pot on the stove I forgot falls smack dab in the center of her contract.

9. She must be ok with odd jobs.

The general care and feeding of the children I'm completely capable of handling. It's the random tasks I can't abide. Any nanny working for me must be open to finding lost scissors, socks, and hair ties. She must also be fine with Lego extraction and organization, putting flea medicine on the dog, and picking up Capri Sun wrappers off the ground.

10. She must be willing to work for free.

Or at least some sort of barter system. On payday, I'd say, "Francesca? Do you remember Downton Abbey?"

"Yes," she'd reply.

"And you remember the scene where the servants receive their pound notes, after killing themselves for the Crawleys all week?"

"Yes, mam."

"Working here isn't like that. But here are all the coupons from the most recent Value Mailer. If you purchase one burrito platter from Burrito Hut, you get one free. I'll see you on Monday."

Hmm, maybe I'll put out an ad.

Until Next Time, Readers!

And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Thursday, May 3, 2018

When It Rains, It Pours Bleach on Everything

How I looked, after yesterday was over. 

Afternoon Readers,

If you've hung out here with me for a while, it's not a huge secret that I don't enjoy cooking. In order of dislike, it looks something like this:

1. ) Getting mauled by bears

2.) Getting mauled by bigger bears

3.) Cooking

The reason why escapes me. No, wait. I remember. Because cooking, while kids hang off the back of your pants, crying hysterically, doesn't mimic a gentle, Julia Child experience, so much as being beaten with a bat.

(A mild correction: There is one thing I dislike more than making a meal, and that's seeing that same meal, again, at 2am. Or really any time after I've rolled myself into bed for the night.)

Especially chaotic days have an interesting habit of sneaking up slowly and pouncing. No warning. Just the softest tap on your shoulder can quietly signify that winter's coming. And that's precisely what happened around 1am, yesterday.

"I threw up."

Groggily, I blinked through the dark. "What?" I called out.

"Twice. I threw up and I'm sick."

Staring at what I'd originally presumed to be a ghost child floating in the ether, one of the twins came into focus and motioned for me to get up and address unfinished business. All parents know the siren song to clean up puke. You desperately want to roll back into the covers, but some sort of annoying, primal instinct kicks into high-gear, and, suddenly, there's a towel in one hand quietly whispered expletives in the other.

Now, this wasn't my first rodeo. But, even after eight years of parenting, the magnitude of the damage was impressive.

"What? How? Why? Did its trajectory hit the neighbor's Mustang?"

The details weren't important. I was in my underwear and half-blind, so all there was to do was shovel comforters in the bathtub, to wait for a morning wash, spray some sort of cleaner, wrap the invalid in fresh blankets, and stumble back to bed.


1:30am: Repeat entire process

2am-3am: Stare at the ceiling and contemplate booking a flight out of the country, rehash past mistakes, try to solve world peace.

6:30: Feeling six degrees separated from refreshed, I wake the children.


While simultaneously calling the school's absentee line for Twin A, it became apparent that Mrs. Jones had thrown up during the night, but, being her mother's child, had decided to roll over and go back to sleep.

I've been reading literature on positivity lately, and, time after time, it's suggested that stress is greatly reduced by "leaning into" one's struggles, instead of fighting them. So, just as I was leaning into a stack of sour blankets, reminiscent of the pepperoni (never again), we'd had the night prior, there was a primal yell from behind me.

"Maaaaa! I poop. I poop right now."

Whirling around and almost suffocating under rancid bed coverings, I managed to catch the freshly-cleaned Mrs. Jones generously distributing her stomach troubles all over my prized, 100% cotton, hand brushed by Himalayan goat herds (or so I imagine) fitted sheet.

It was now green.

Meanwhile, I shouted commands to anyone else who'd had the misfortune of being birthed by me.

"You. Get socks on."

"Someone make lunches!"

"I'm supposed to make lunches?"

Continuing to lean into my troubles, I Lysoled my coffee and packed pillow cases into lunch boxes. After which, our rag tag band fell over itself into the van and barely dropped the healthy twin off for the remainder of second grade, on time.

The rest of the day was a cloud of Febreze and tears.

Miraculously, all Kellermans were feeling fit as fiddles by end of day. So much so, I managed to marshal the troops to the school's open house, where I picked up a year's worth of art projects, two plants, and reasonably confidant feeling that no one was failing out. Things were looking up.

After all children were tucked into fresh beds, I leaned into five chocolate chip cookies and headed to bed. The fitted sheet enveloped me, and I drifted off, until a gentle tap hit my shoulder.

11:30pm: "Mom?"

Until Next Time, Readers!

And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on: