Adventures in Bathtime

I don’t know about you, maybe yours is the kind of house where bathtime is a calming experience, the end of the day when little whirlwinds finally sit still for 10 minutes and you can sit still, too. Maybe yours is the kind of house where you put a few drops of lavender oil in the bath and the little angels settle right down in preparation for bedtime.

Mine isn’t.

First off, I can’t bathe my kids at the same time anymore, because as soon as I turn my attention to one, the other is either dumping water onto the floor or taking a bite out of the soap. 

Seriously. She ate the soap. Twice.

So what I have to do is strip and wash one before the other one realizes what’s going on, then power-dry and hope to goodness that the first one actually gets dressed like they’ve been told while I speed-wash the second one. 

Even back when I would bathe them at the same time, though, it went something like this:  
Bath is over and the water has all been sucked down the drain, much to the chagrin of my littles, and I take the Princess out of the tub, dry her off, and put a diaper on her. Then I send her into her room to find her pjs. 
Big brother is a little more adamant about staying in and shivering in the now-empty tub, so it takes a little longer to wrangle him out. Finally I’m victorious, and I proceed to dry him with what you would think was sandpaper from the howls. Pause here, and chase a squealing, buck-naked baby down the hallway. 
Finally, I get her wrestled back into her diaper, and come back to Brother, who by this time is busily caking $10-per-ounce, organic diaper cream all over his little boy parts.
I kneel down to wipe his hands, and other things, when he announces, “I went potty.” 
“Right there.” and he points… right where I’m kneeling. Now the warm wetness is soaking through my favorite jeans. So much for going all day without having to change my clothes. 
I sigh, wipe him off, and put a pull-up on him. Just then, the nudist appears again, and off I run to diaper her for the third time in 10 minutes. For good measure, I find her pajamas (stuffed in between the couch cushions) and proceed to dress the little darling. Have you ever tried to dress an octopus that is still a little bit soapy? Let me tell you, Two-year-old dressing should be an Olympic sport. 

About this time, Daddy comes home. 

Remember, one child is still basically naked, one is wailing that I put the wrong pajamas on her (“I WANT THE CINDERELLY ONES!”) and there is water all over the bathroom and teeth marks in the soap. 

The man takes one look that encompasses the chaos, disheveled wife with cold urine seeping down the front of her pants, offspring in various states of undress, since Princess has decided to change her pj’s without consulting me, and house that looks like it saw a civil war, and without missing a beat he says, 

“Do you have any wine left?”

“Yes, why?”

“Oh, good. I was prepared to go back to town and get some, but I guess I don’t have to. Let’s get these kids in bed.”  


Recharge Challenge

Remember how I talked about having nice nails a while back? Or rather, not having nice nails? Well, after talking to Hubby about it, I decided to find a style and salon that worked for me, and keep fake nails.
Let me be clear, I view well-kept-up false nails as an extravagance, and we do not live extravagantly. That said, though, I’m learning that if I completely ignore my own needs I end up frustrated, irritable, and absolutely no fun to be around. On the flip side, just a simple thing like nice nails that don’t break or chip has made such a big difference in the way I feel about myself, I’m more relaxed, which makes me a better mom and wife.
It’s so easy to get burnt out in what we do, especially if we do the same thing over and over again, both individually and as a couple. Finding something to treat ourselves to can be the best way to break up the monotony of the daily grind. For me, I take an hour and a half every few weeks and get pretty nails. That break from the kids, and boost to my appearance is exactly what I need to recharge and reenter the fray with renewed endurance.

So here’s the challenge I have for you:

Find something that you can do for yourself that will help you be more refreshed and ready to fulfill the job God has you in right this minute. And I know some of you are saying, “Well you won’t catch me wasting money on vanity like false nails!” Awesome! If you don’t think there’s merit in it, find something that does have merit. Take a class, get a hobby, commit to reading one book a month, whatever it is that recharges you, do it! Take into account your budget, your childcare needs, and your spouse and their feelings. Perhaps you can ask your spouse for ideas, maybe there’s something you could do together, like joining a gym. I’m an introvert and I spend 90% of my time doing things for and/or with my family (not a complaint, just a statement of fact) so I needed something that I can do by myself. Maybe you need something you can do with your family. Whatever it is, find it and commit to it! Trust me, you won’t be sorry. image

Being Beautiful

It happened again this morning. 

And when it did I spent several minutes contemplating the unfairness of motherhood and drudgery of housewifery, and the choices I made that brought me to this point of degeneration. 

Ok, that was before my coffee. A little caffine goes a long way toward boosting my mood.

What happened was this: I noticed my fingernails. 
I could show you a before and after picture of my nails, one from the day I got married and one from this morning, but it would only depress you. Once when we were going to a friend’s wedding I waited until 10 minutes before we were supposed to leave before I painted them, but in those ten minutes the baby had a blowout diaper and by the time we left my nails were ruined. It seems that no matter how often I wash my hands, there is always something under my nails, or if I paint them it’s always chipping. I tried the new Shellac manicure, the one touted to last 2 weeks, and within 2 days I had a chip. 
Noticing the nails led to noticing the bags under my eyes, wondering how long it had been since I went through my whole beauty routine, wondering how long it had been since I put cream on my face and plucked my eyebrows, wondering if my husband would notice, wondering if I had time to shower before the kids started telling me at the top of their lungs that they were awake…. Nope. Too late. 
It hasn’t always been this way, though. I used to be borderline obsessive about my appearance. In college I once declared a week-long makeup fast. I was going to give up makeup, simply for an experiment in self-dicipline. It lasted 2 days. I never, ever, left my dorm without a shower.  I wouldn’t even THINK of going anywhere in sweatpants or without fixing my hair. When we got married we spent 4 months in Japan, arguably the fashion capitol of the world. I picked up some fashion-forward habits from Husband’s cousins and aunts. When we got back to the states I got a job in a call center and was repeatedly told I was the best-dressed in the office. I loved it!

Then I got pregnant. 

I still did my nails and hair, but stretchy pants became not only acceptable, but eventually necessary. I actually ASKED my supervisor at work if I could wear them, and she looked at me like I was nuts. 
“Of course!” she exclaimed, “You’re pregnant!” So I wore them.
That was almost 4 years ago. 

I’m not sure when the shift came from “I must wear a full barrage of makeup or I am not human” to “makeup is for when I’m leaving the house or having people over” or even more recently, “makeup is for church and special occasions”. It helps that my husband has always encouraged me to go natural, he has always told me he prefers my face without makeup. But to me, I still look ‘unfinished’ without at least some eyeliner and mascara.
Of course, putting on mascara always reminds me that I need to go get my hair cut, because my bangs are now indistinguishable from my eyelashes. So I push them out of the way, and… YIKES! Maybe I should get my eyebrows waxed while I’m at the salon. 
Who is this woman looking back at me in the bathroom mirror? She has CROW’S FEET and STRETCH MARKS and… those aren’t just bags anymore, we have graduated to a full-fledged DUFFLE.  Not to mention zits. Who in the world is still getting zits at my age? 
I think I’m in a slump. Yeah, that’s it. When the kids start school I’ll have time to brush my hair and teeth again. Maybe go get my nails done. Maybe even *gasp* get a facial. 
But you know what? I was getting ready to make breakfast the other day, and I was already dressed so I was tying on my apron. It’s one of those frilly numbers that is more looks than function, but I love it and it keeps my clothes mostly clean. A sleepy little boy wandered into my kitchen and looked at me with bleary eyes, and a huge smile spread across his face and he said, “Oh, Mommy! You look BEEEEAUTYFULL!”
And in that moment, every single wrinkle, every single gray hair, every stretch mark, night without sleep, and day without makeup, every single thing I’ve given up or altered to be their mommy was totally and completely worth it. 

What I Did Today- Continued

I have an old blog that I occasionally reread to remind myself why we won’t be having any more kids. It’s called “What I Did Today”, and it is the hour-by-hour account of life with an infant. I got pretty good feedback on it, too, so I thought that since it’s been three years, one more kid, four different teenage/twenty-something housemates, and a puppy later, I might do another. Toddler-style.

What I Did Today

Clean up puppy poop, wash dogbed. Lie awake wondering just how much I would be judged for giving away Puppy. 
Fall back asleep
Retrieve blanky from behind toddler bed, quiet toddler.
Fall back asleep. 
Turn off alarm
Roll out of bed, put dog out
Open bedroom doors (aka, release the Krakens)
“No, you may not have Quesadillas for breakfast. Or Taquitos. Or burritos. Or grilled cheese.”
Change toddler’s diaper, put underwear on preschooler.
Start making Paula Dean’s Stuffed French Toast
Break up fight #1. Bring dog back inside.
Go back to Paula Dean
Break up fight #2. Get dog out of garbage can.
Glare at Paula Dean and consider Cheerios.
Line all three, dog and children, up along the cabinet so I can see them all and they can’t reach each other or anything else. “Stay!”
Blood sugar check
Put soggy french toast and cold syrup on plates, cut into dime-size pieces, serve. Inhale own breakfast.
Give 2 injections to screaming preschooler, put ointment in the eye of screaming toddler.
Make coffee. Realize that preschooler has just knocked on the bedroom door and woke up Daddy. 
Decide that since Daddy is awake anyway, it’s time for a shower. 
Realize that Housemate has just gotten into the shower.
Pour a cup of coffee.
Disentangle toddler from still-buttoned dress that is stuck around her forehead. Notice that Preschooler has on a tank top with more stain than shirt. Contemplate whether this is a battle to fight. 
Fight the battle. Win by the skin of teeth.
Read 4 library books aloud. One of them has to be sung. Who writes this drivel, anyway? Refrain from commenting on the likely outcome if a goose were to try to befriend a bear in real life. 
Take first drink of now-tepid coffee. Make Husband’s breakfast. 
Break up fight #3. Wonder where Puppy is. 
Put Daddy on Duty, race to the shower. 
Tepid shower. 
Discover that Daddy has turned on cartoons, thereby relieving me of the guilt of doing it myself. Wash dishes leftover from dinner last night.
Break up fight #4. Confiscate toy sword. Whose bright idea was THAT?
“Your sister does not have to obey you. She has to obey ME.”
“I can’t hear what you’re saying, but it sounds like your tattling voice.”
“If you want to go outside, you must wear clothes.”
“You must wear your OWN clothes.”
“If you want to go outside you must be wearing your OWN shirt AND pants AND TWO of your OWN shoes.” 
“No, we are playing in the grass, not the dirt.”
“You may not dig in the dirt. You may play in the grass.”
“Please don’t feed the Puppy dandelions.”
“Get out of the dirt, NOW. I KNOW Mommy is in the dirt, Mommy is weeding the garden. No, you are NOT weeding the garden.” 
Announce that it’s time to go in for lunch.
Catch toddler and puppy and carry them inside, kicking and screaming.
Scrub grubby little fingers. Wash own hands. Despair of ever having nice nails again.
Scrub dirt off toddler’s face. Change diaper, wonder how in the world so much dirt got into it. 
Contemplate lunch. 
Decide that boiled soybeans are as good as it’s going to get today. 
Accidentally pour sugar in boiling water. Dump water and sugar down drain.
Reboil water, add SALT and soybeans. 
Blood sugar check
Serve soybeans with jerky and cheese sticks. 
“No, no! Don’t eat the outside, just the inside!”
Announce that it is naptime. 
Catch both children, put pullup on preschooler.
Deposit each child in their respective bed. 
Replace toddler in bed.
Decide between finishing dishes and writing.