Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Yesterday I had out-patient surgery. I learned a few things:
1.) Surgery registration nurses not appreciate any "don't pull my plug" jokes.
2.) Any requests for "extra fun drugs" will be ignored. And judged.
3.) When our pediatrician is running late, they put up a 'cone of shame' sign to alert his patients.
4.) Having an IV put in hurts as much as delivering a 10.5 lb baby.
5.) 13 hours is a very long time to go without water or diet coke.
6.) No one looks cool in those dorky little shower/surgery caps.
7.) My father makes Shirley McLaine's character in "Terms of Endearment" look polite, respectful and calm towards the nursing staff.
8.) I'm a really big wimp when it comes to anything medical or surgical.
9.) Whatever drugs they gave me are totally awesome.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
My father was very strict with us growing up - no back talk, no arguing, curfews, rules, chores, being grounded, etc. As a grandpa, he is a total pushover. The kids don't just walk all over him. They run all over him. He came to town to help out for a couple days. I had out patient surgery so he played chauffeur, nurse and errand boy. His real job was to do whatever the grandkids asked/ordered. Upon his arrival, chaos breaks out. The kids fight over his attention. Christian wants books read to him. Sara wants to go on nature walks. This morning he drove Sara to school. This wasn't just a drive-by and drop her off at the curb. No, he had to carry her backpack and lunch bag. He had to escort her to her classroom and meet her teacher. Then he took Christian to a park and watched him race all over. Next on his long chore list was taking me to my surgery. He got to sit around, answer a long list of questions and promise not to pull my plug. My dad is a worrier. This was simple, easy, non-life threatening out-patient surgery and he probably had the head of the Mayo clinic on speed dial. I'm sure he peppered my surgeon with more questions than he answered during his medical board exams. Next was filling prescriptions and driving me home. Upon our arrival, both kids descended on him like a soldier returning from the 100 Years war. They went on nature walks, explored the lake, tried to fish. (Jesus would have a hard time doing his fish and loaves tricks with my kids' fishing skills). After dinner, the mandatory trip to the bookstore took place. This involves my kids making sad faces and handing him every book in the store. Armed with their loot, the obligatory bedtime battles ensued. One Grumpy,2 tired grandkids. Sophie's choice time. He just stands in the hallway looking confused until we point him in the right direction. First was talk-time with Sara. This was interrupted because Christian couldn't go to bed without Grumppy reading at least 2 books. Sara, discovering that her Grumpy time got cut short, negotiated for more time. Being a pushover and not having to deal with the aftermath of a 3rd grader staying up way past bedtime, he quickly agreed. No one but those 2 know what occurs or is discussed during their talk-time. They both claim attorney-client privilege. She has already declared that he will eat breakfast and drive her to school tomorrow before being allowed to head home. Grumpy came to everyone's rescue. Paul got to stay home with Christian so I didn't have to worry about him all day. The kids got their Grumpy time. And we managed to score a really nice dinner out before my surgery. It was a win-win-win for all.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
My husband has many, many wonderful traits. He is smart, kind, funny and handy around the house. He cooks, cleans and irons. He is the calm voice of reason to my feisty irrational mamma bear. He writes the diplomatic letters while I sit back, rant and rave. He nods and smiles when I go all OCD, Type A about things. He humors me when I am being neurotic and insecure.
Before you start thinking that he is George Clooney, Pierce Brosnan and Jon Stewart all rolled into one, he does have two major flaws. He has never seen or read "The Godfather. He doesn't get any references to it. I make a joke about putting a horse head in someone's bed and he stares at me blankly. I refer to my brother as "Fredo" and he thinks I have Alzheimer's. I say "Sonny had a better day at the causeway" and he just shakes his head. I'm willing to chalk this glaring lapse in his education to a failing on his parents' part. However, it has become patently obvious that he has led a sheltered and deprived life. He does not appreciate my 'interest' in all things Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice, etc. Further, he calls it an obsession and rolls his eyes when I read select passages to him. When I discovered I could audit a university class entitled "All Things Austen", I thought he would have a stroke on the kitchen floor he had just scrubbed.
I'm a reasonable woman. I can overlook many, many things. He is a pack rat. He ignores clutter. He leaves cupboard doors open. I can live with these flaws in his character. But, not appreciating Jane Austen? Not knowing every line of dialogue from the Godfather? Not sure these can be overlooked.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Christian is nowhere even close to being potty trained. I can't say I blame him. He sits around, does his thing, then someone else cleans it up. This little dude has it made. When he does deign to use his Elmo potty, he is rewarded with M&Ms. Apparently, 2 measly chocolate treats are not enough motivation to stop peeing amd pooping in a diaper at the most inconvenient times. He will humor us twice a day- before nap and bedtime. He is a total potty tease. He will tell me he will pee in the potty, see me get giddy then immediately change his mind. And he has proudly announced he will NEVER poop in the potty. Let's face it. This is a losing battle. He is holding all the cards. I know how to pick my battles. I thought I had it made last week when he was all impressed with some kid's dinosaur underwear. We rushed out and bought Elmo, Toy Story and Diego underwear. The kid is stocked until college. Today we tried his big boy underwear for about 5 minutes. We dashed to the pool. I bravely let him go commando in the pool. No disasters. Life is good. Then he said he had to pee. This child has never ever uttered those words. So, I scoop him out of the water, knock over various small children and elderly people in our rush to the bathroom. He looks at the potty and freaks. He is convinced he will fall in and I will flush him down the toilet. I reassure him he will survive this. I explain that I never flushed Sara down the toilet and she is alive and well. Still dubious and suspicious, he climbs on and clings to me for dear life. He managed to pee into the toilet, on me, and the floor. But, let me tell you, you have never seen a prouder mom or child.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
That is a misleading statement. Learning to ride a bike is hard work. It's scary and frustrating. Sara, my 7 year old, has been trying to learn to ride a 2-wheeler all summer. It's a lot to learn - balance, pedaling, and steering while trying to avoid parked cars and other bikers. To help improve her balance, we took the pedals off her bike. For the last 2 months, she was convinced we had taken out a huge life insurance policy on her and were trying to off her using her bike. She would coast a little, start to fall and head inside to the safety of terra firma. We would assure her that (a) we were not trying to kill or maim her, (b) millions of kids ride bikes every day and survive and (c) this is not some strange form of child abuse. Still unsure of our motives, she tried again yesterday. It worked!!!! She looks like a newborn colt with unsteady legs but she can ride a 2-wheeler. This is a huge accomplishment. She is (justifiably) very proud of herself. So are we. She worked hard all summer. She got frustrated but she kept trying. To me, seeing her stick with something even though it was scary and frustrating was the big accomplishment.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for accepting me and my many, many quirks, faults and eccentricities. Thank you for ignoring my many, many social faux pas. Thank you for inviting me out for girls' night. Thank you for understanding how hard it is to move to a new place and make friends. Thank you for reaching out to me. Thank you for making the move to a new place a little easier. Thank you for putting up with me!
If I ran the world, it would be a much quieter and more orderly place. Here are some changes I would implement:
People who stand and block the aisles in a store would be kicked out immediately.
People who ask nosy and inappropriate questions will be forced to answers some first.
People who text and drive and/or pick their nose while driving will lose their license.
People who do not close cupboard doors will be punished severely.
People who talk during the movies will be forced to buy snacks and drinks for everyone in the audience AND leave immediately.
People who crunch ice, snap their gum or chew/talk with their mouths open will be slapped until they stop.
People who are chronically late will be tethered to home with an ankle monitor until they learn to be prompt.
Women who parade around in bikinis and the pool and make me feel horrible will be pushed into the deep end upon my arrival at the pool.
Wait staff who refuse to make eye contact will be forced to babysit for my kids.
Wait staff who put lemon in my water after I say NO, will have said offending water thrown in their face.
Telemarketers will be forced to listen to my kids fight if they call my house.
Doctors would keep me waiting in my skimpy gown for extended periods of time will provide a free pedicure while I wait.
People who try to cut in line will be taken out back and shot.
People who think the sales clerk at check out is their BFF and needs to hear their life stories will be only allowed to shop online so I don't have to wait behind them.
People who judge anyone else's parenting will have to babysit those children so they can gain a little perspective before they judge again.
People who race down neighborhood streets in their cars will never drive again.
Not sure why no one has elected me Queen of the Universe yet. I think I have a pretty good plan here.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Today, the kids and I went out for breakfast. Well, okay, it was their 2nd breakfast but who is counting? When we got there, I ushered them into the bathroom with me. Christian, age 3, rolled his eyes and says (loudly) "Mommy, you make pee-pee a lot.". Not one to be upstaged, Sara says "Christian, you still poop in your diaper." Now his manhood has been insulted. Even louder, he screams "No, Sara, I no make icky poo poo in my diaper!". Did I mention this is a tiny hole-in-the-wall place? Everyone in the place is listening to this dialogue. Red-faced, I usher my vocal kids to our table and order them the biggest meals on the menu to keep their mouths full and busy and quiet. After Sara has inhaled her entire pancake, peaches and whip cream concoction and Christian has eaten everything but 1 tiny bite of toast, I decide it's time to go home. Christian is now convinced this is his Last Supper and starts screaming at the top of his highly developed lungs. In the car, we have the never-ending debate about whose turn it is for their music. Because we all know that a 3 year old and 7 year old girl cannot possibly agree on anything, much less music. Seriously, there is a better chance of peace in the Middle East before there will be peace in my home or car.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Today, the kids and I met Paul for lunch at the restaurant next to his office. On the way over there, I outlined my expectations for their behavior- no yelling, no screaming, no running, use your table manners. We have this conversation every time we head to a restaurant. Every time, my kids promise on the lives of their stuffed animals that they will behave like proper Stepford children. I fall for it every time. I am Charlie Brown and my kids are Lucy holding the football. In the past, my kids have thrown food, drinks, crayons and temper tantrums in restaurants. We have been on the receiving end of disapproving looks from other patrons and frightened looks from the wait staff. We have left enormous tips and dashed out like someone yelled 'Fire' in a crowded theater.
Today, the gods (and my kids) took pity on us. They walked in calmly, took their seats and colored nicely. They ordered their food with pleases and thank you's. They ate nicely and quietly. No food was thrown. Silverware was used. Quiet, inside voices were used. It was a wonderful and proud parenting moment. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed an elderly gentleman watching us. As he was leaving, he came over and told us how well-behaved our children were. It made my day. My kids were beaming. They were thrilled to get a compliment. I was so proud of my kids even before we received the outside validation. It was so nice of the man to take a moment out of his day to compliment my kids and their behavior. Thank you to my kids for behaving and making me proud. Thank you to the kind stranger who took a moment to praise my kids. You all made my day.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
I recently attended a MBA student dinner with Paul. As usual, there were many, many speakers. I started to notice a common theme. The skills mentioned could easily apply to any mom or MBA student.
Be ready for anything - As a mom, you must always be on alert. You never know what curve ball (medical or mental) your kids, employees or work situation are going to throw at you.
Be flexible - It's good to have rules when dealing with little tyrants (home or work) but you also must be willing to be flexible to maintain some level of sanity and functionality.
Active listening - Trust me. It is very easy to tune out your kids/employees when they are babbling/whining/complaining at you non-stop. But, this can trip you up. I have tuned my children out at my own peril. Without realizing it, I've agreed to some amazing things by just nodding and smiling without listening. If you stop and listen to what they are actually saying, you may be able to turn it into a productive conversation for both parties.
Willingness to engage others- Try to engage your child/employee in chores, jobs and/or projects. Kids/employees who feel involved, useful and valued are less likely to whine/slack off or complain.
Humor needed - Being around little kids or employees makes having a sense of humor vital. If you can't laugh at them, what's the point of having them around?
Let go of inhibitions - As a parent, you need to let go of a lot - personal time, personal space, self respect and dignity. You have to attend to someone's every need all day. And some of those needs are pretty gross. As an MBA, you need to let go of your ego as well as your inhibitions. You need to be open to the opinions and ideas of others around you - no matter how silly they seem. Don't get hung up on titles or positions. Everyone has something of value to contribute. Inhibitions can hold you back from fully experiencing some amazing parenting and professional experiences. If you aren't open, you might miss some amazing opportunities. My daughter has come up with some very fun and creative ideas and games on a rainy day that turned out to be very fun for the whole family.
Speak same language - This can be hard with toddlers, preschoolers, teenagers and employees. If you can understand each other, everyone is less frustrated and more productive. Listen more than you speak. Sometimes I get so caught up in our daily activities and chores that I forget to stop and just listen to what my kids have to say. Listen to your employees. You hired them for their experience. Use it.
Work together - Families and coworkers need to work together toward a common goal. It makes everyone happier. Working together is a great way to stay connected. Being part of a group accomplishing something is a wonderful feeling. Kids love being needed. They take pride in pitching in and helping. Teamwork can make things easier for everyone. Things get done better and faster.
Consider every one's agenda - And everyone has an agenda - small children, teenagers and employees all have something they want. Do not automatically say no. Stop, listen and consider it from all angles -unless it involves extra dessert or staying up late on a school night.
Find a connection - You can connect to anyone if you try hard enough. Kids love playing with their parents. Step away from the dirty dishes, play a board game or do a puzzle. Employees are happier if they feel listened to and valued.
Find a way to say yes - Kids and employees get tired and frustrated always hearing the word 'no'. We are all guilty of over-using it. It's simple, fast and convenient. Sometimes, it might pay off in the long run to find a way to say yes.
Don't be afraid - Like animals, kids and employees can smell fear and use it against you. Be strong and firm when needed. Otherwise they will walk all over you. Remember, you are in charge. You have the power and the final say. Use it wisely.
And never, never turn your back on either of them.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Never judge a book by it's cover. Nothing is ever what it seems. Cliches, but true. I ran into a mom today that I always thought was the perfect mom - always basking in the joys of motherhood, never upset, frustrated or impatient with her kids. She intimidated me. She made me feel like a failure as a mom because it isn't always sunshine and roses at my house. Correction - I made myself feel that way by comparing myself to her. So today, as I held her baby who has a gold medal in spit up, I realized that she is far from the 'perfect' mom. She is tired, overwhelmed and frazzled - just like me. Except she has 4 kids and I'm outnumbered with 2. So, I went home, washed the spit up off my shirt and realized that no one has it all together. Some people are just better at hiding their frustrations. Or maybe they just don't complain as frequently and vocally as I do. Food for thought.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had a sneaky feeling I would be one of the millions of women who suffers from post-partum depression. I was also afraid I wouldn't be aware of It. So, I asked my husband, Paul, to be on the lookout for the symptoms. Turns out, I was right. It was a bumpy road. First, I tried very, very hard to breastfeed. Cave women did it. Pilgrims did it. Surely, I, a well-educated, healthy woman, can master this natural, motherly experience. Wrong. She and I tried and tried. We tried until we were both beyond upset and frustrated. I felt like a huge failure as a mother and a woman. It's supposed to be this simple, magical bonding experience. For me, it was a painful, frustrating experience. So, I decided to pump. Ok, not ideal but I could live with it. Turns out it was the best of both worlds. My daughter got breast milk and I could hand her off to anyone to feed her- aunts, husband, friends, my father. Everyone loved being able to help out. But I wasn't myself. I cried for no reason. I was terrified to be home alone all day with my new baby. I was terrified to take her anywhere by myself. I hid in the bathtub when Paul was home and able to take care of her.
Then, things got even worse. I woke up in the middle of the night with fever, sweats, chills and pain. I got mastitis 3 times. Yes, it took 3 bouts to convince me to stop pumping and switch to formula for both our sakes. In the midst of all this, I went to the doctor for a checkup. While describing my symptoms, I realized I was crying for no reason. That was my first clue that maybe there was a little bit of post-partum depression mixed in with my mastitis. Turns out the mastitis added even more hormones to my already out-of-wack system, making me a complete and total madwoman. A lovely combination for a sleep-deprived new mother. So, I got cut off from pumping cold turkey. I was put on antibiotics and anti-depressants (a lovely combination I highly recommend). Within a few days, things were getting better. Yes, my daughter still woke up every 3 hours to eat but I feel better- mentally and physically. I realized that putting her on formula was the right call for both of us.
All over the news, I hear about hospitals advocating and promoting breastfeeding. Do women really need to be convinced to breast feed? Most women go into it knowing whether they want to try to breast feed. They don't need external pressure. It isn't always the right, best or easiest choice for new mothers. I was very lucky when I had my first child that our hospital didn't push breastfeeding. They encouraged. They offered support but I didn't feel outside pressure to do it. When I had my son 4 years later, things had changed. Everyone wearing a white coat or scrubs felt like they had to keep asking me to try breastfeeding. And go through that mental and physical hell again? No thanks. I had to think about myself, our 4 year old girl and our newborn son. I couldn't go through mastitis and post-partum depression again. I firmly explained my last attempts and stayed firm in the belief that my son and my family would be better off with formula and a slightly less frazzled mom.
I truly admire, respect (and envy) women who breastfeed. I have no opinions about how long or where you breast feed. It doesn't bother, upset or offend me when I see nursing moms in public. They are feeding their children. Nothing wrong with that. Trust me, it's more disgusting and way messier to see my 3 year old eat ice cream in public. My daughter thinks it is very "cool" that mommies can feed and snuggle their babies at the same time.
Every mother struggles with making the right choice for herself and her child. There is so much external pressure. We need to trust our instincts and our judgement. And learn to tune out all the nonsense coming from others. I've been a mom for 7 years and I still get unsolicited 'advice'. I don't take it.
Friday, August 5, 2011
Sara has been begging me for a girls' sleepover. After a couple days of good behavior, I decided it would be a great chance for some mother-daughter bonding time. We went out for ice-cream, watched a movie in bed, read together and had a nice talk. Then she announced that it was time to tell ghost stories. I agreed, amused to see what my highly imaginative yet easily scared daughter would come up with. Then came the backpedaling. She thought again and decided that fairy stories might be more fun. She went first. Her fairy tale went on and on with no plot but many details and much descriptive imagery. I love seeing this side of her - sweet, smart, funny and a little bit little girl mixed with a glimpse of the girl growing up. She constantly amazes me with her insight, creativity and imagination.
I love spending time with her that is easy, fun and relaxed for both of us - no rules, no discipline, no chores. We just spent time together - talking, laughing and enjoying each other.
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
The glass is half full. The glass is half empty. The glass is chipped and dirty. The grass is greener on the other side. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
There are two ways to look at everything. It can be so easy to fall into the habit of dwelling on the negative. We might not even realize we are doing it. I know I'm guilty of it. Paul is working late again. Instead, I should be happy my husband has a fulfilling job that allows me to stay home with the kids. The kids are fighting over toys again. I'm lucky I have 2 healthy kids who are fortunate enough to have a household full of toys. The laundry is piling up. We are fortunate enough to have closets full of nice clothes and a washer/dryer. Christian won't stop repeating himself. Thank goodness his speech therapy was successful. The bills keep coming in. We are not in debt up to our eyeballs. Sara has too much homework. Sara is doing well in school and learning.
I'm no Pollyanna but I'm realizing that I tend to look at the the world in a half-empty and dirty glass way. Last year at MOPS, we had a pastor speak to us about complaining and how contagious it is. It spreads like yawning or lice. He challenged us to go 24 hours without complaining. I never thought I could do it. But, I surprised myself. I did it and it wasn't as hard as I feared. I have friends and family who have a lot on their plates right now. They are facing real challenges. I made a conscious decision to stop (or try to stop) my complaining, nagging and whiny. Instead, I'm going to focus on all the good in my life. I'm going to hope and pray that things improve for those around me. Well, I'm gonna try.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Paul worked late tonight. This can make the night seem very long. The time between dinner and bedtime can feel like an eternity. I had an idea. Rally the troops. I invited some other moms pulling single parent duty over to dinner. I figured we could join forces. Let the kids run around together while we have grown up, adult conversations. So, next time Paul is working late, maybe I can score an invite for us to someone's house. I guess my 3 year old didn't get the memo that this was supposed to be a fun, communal evening of food and companionship. His agenda consisted of grabbing every toy and running away screaming. Then he was horrified that I was feeding other children. No amount of his own food or reassurances of leftovers calmed his fears of eminent starvation. Playing outside didn't go any better. He has a hypocritical approach to sandbox play. HE can fling sand anywhere he desires. If anyone sprinkles so much as a grain of sand on his precious self, they deserve to be drawn and quartered. No wonder my friends and their children beat a hasty retreat. Sara had the right idea. She hid upstairs and read. She came down for food, chatted with everyone then ran back upstairs. Maybe next time, we will hide Christian upstairs......
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
I need to step back, sit down and remember all the blessing I have in my life instead of focusing on the challenges I face. Because, in reality, my challenges are minuscule in the grand scheme of things. I have wonderful husband. We have 2 healthy, happy (mostly) children. My husband has a job that he loves. We have a nice home. We have a good group of friends. We have very supportive family. So, why do I focus on the negatives? The kids are fighting, whiny, etc. My husband is working late again. The lawn needs to be mowed. The laundry is piling up. The dishwasher needs to be run and emptied. I'm coming down with a cold.
Sometimes is too easy to forget all the good in my life. Maybe I need to stop taking the easy road. Maybe I need to stop being such a whiner and realize I have a pretty great life. There are people out there that have problems and face challenges I cannot fathom. I need to be more patient - with myself, my kids, my husband, my friends. I need to treat those around me with kindness, respect and courtesy. I need to be at peace with myself.
When I was growing up, my mom cooked every meal, did the laundry, and attended school functions. She kept our house running. She kept our family together and happy. I don't remember her complaining about the petty, little things that happened. Her faith in God and family kept her focused and happy. She had unlimited faith and love. She inspires me daily to live up to her example.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Kids love to play favorites. They have favorite toys, books, blankets, and pajamas. They even have a favorite parent. In our house, that parent has always been Paul. Sara is the ultimate daddy's girl. If we take separate cars, she wants to go in his. At a restaurant, she always wants to sit next to Paul. I was prepared for this emotional attachment. Growing up with 5 older brothers, I was the ultimate daddy's girl. Some might say I still am. (They would be right). When I had my son, everyone assured me that he would be 'mine'. He would be a momma's boy. Yes!!! Someone who runs to me when he has a boo-boo. A little boy who wants mommy to put him to bed, read stories and snuggle. I would get my moment in the parental spotlight. Right? Wrong. For the first 3 years of his life, he was a daddy's boy to the extreme. If Paul was home, he wanted Paul to put him to bed, read stories, give his bath, etc. I didn't mind this blatant favoritism when it involved poopy diapers. But, at Disney last year (the happiest place on Earth), it came to a head. He wanted Paul to do everything, including push the stroller. When he glanced back and saw me, he threw major fits. I gave birth to this 10.5 lb. bundle of male energy. He spit up on me daily for 5 months. Where was the gratitude? Where was the blind devotion?
Finally, as he turns 3 and gets older and wiser, he is changing his allegiance. He is seeking me out more. Seems like I might finally be getting my moment in the spotlight as his 'favorite'. It's been a long wait. While I don't encourage playing favorites, I have to admit, I do love my new celebrity status.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Yesterday, I woke up to my daughter shaking me awake in a panic because she thought she was late for camp. Next, her 3 year old brother woke up demanding his breakfast. Make breakfast for both kids. Continue to remind Sara to clear her dishes, go to the bathroom, apply sunscreen, brush teeth and hair and get dressed. Get Christian dressed and explain multiple times that he isn't going to his camp today. Calm him down because he is upset that he isn't going to camp. Shoo both kids out the door, buckle them into car. Drive to camp while breaking up multiple arguments about whose turn it is for music selection. Remind Sara she needs to bring her camp bag into camp. Sign her in. Chase Christian down because he tried to escape and join the registered campers on the playground. Lure him out to the car with the promise of animal crackers. Swing by pediatrician's office to pick up a prescription. Wait patiently in line because now Christian wants a sticker and lollipop from the nurse. Meet Paul at the bookstore for a snack and "daddy time". Attempt and fail to convince Christian that the Notre Dame bookstore doesn't have a play area. Take Christian home and feed him lunch. Clean up lunch and messy, sticky boy. Coax him to use his Elmo potty. Reward with M&Ms. Change diaper, put him in his jammies and sleep sack. Read 2 books. Sing 2 songs. Put him to sleep. Empty and reload dishwasher. Do 2 loads of laundry. Fold and put away laundry. Eat lunch. Take Christian swimming after nap. Apply sunscreen. Stuff chunky toddler into swim diaper and swim suit. Spend 2 hours trying to convince him that he will not drown with me holding him while he is wearing a flotation device that would have saved the Titanic. Feed him a snack at pool. Realize that we are running late to pick Sara up. Dry Christian off, put him back into clothes. Rush to car, buckle him into carseat. Dash over to pick Sara up from camp. Fly home to shower all 3 of us. Referee 2 children in 1 shower. Dry 3 people off, dress 3 people. Apply makeup, dry and style hair. Put on grownup, fancy clothes, shoes and jewelry. Feed kids dinner. Give babysitter operating manual and handling instructions for above-referenced children. Give multiple hugs and kisses. Get less than convincing promises of exemplary behavior. Attend work function with husband. Pick up prescription. Pay off sitter. Clean up dinner dishes. Clean up bathroom floor and 3 wet towels from earlier shower. Pack kids' camp bags. Kiss husband goodnight. Collapse. Know that it all starts again in 6 short hours.