The Itch

Written by GWEN

So, when my Mister and I first got together we both agreed we wanted three kids. It’s a nice amount to have at the Thanksgiving table when you’re older, but small enough to still not need a ‘People Mover’ to get to the grocery store. Who am I kidding, I do all my shopping online. But you get the idea.

Then we had our first child, Izzy. Suddenly two kids seemed a bit more realistic. Next came Otis, number two. And I wanted to die. I may be exaggerating slightly, but the thought of having three kids was more or less a faint memory.

Number 1.

Number 2.

And even over the last several months, as things have gotten easier, two still seems pretty good. I’ve gotten a glimpse of my life in a few years, where I can maybe start to sleep in again on weekends, travel more freely, go out for family dinners without an iPad and tote bag filled with diggers, musical instruments and what I like to call ‘motivators’ (i.e. popcorn). It’s just within my reach. So why would I want another baby, setting me back another two or three years? Not to mention, I’m getting older. Pregnancy gets riskier and just getting pregnant gets harder.

And yet. The feeling is back. The itch. I love the idea of having lots of kids and their friends around when I’m older and then grandchildren galore when I’m older still. Plus, do I even dare bring it up? A girl would be nice. I mean, obviously I know I’m destined to have only boys, and that’s fine. I love my boys more than anything. But I can still dream. The other day I saw a mom and her three daughters all getting manicures together, and, yeah, I teared up a smidge.

Anyhoo, even if we do have another baby, it won’t be for at least another year or two. But it’s nice to know that there’s a possibility. Just a maybe out there in the universe that our family could still grow bigger and have another little mush pot to love…and bug the crap out of us for years and years to come.

My boys.

Independence Day

Written by ERICA

I will never forget when Owen was born, he wiggled out of me all covered in goop and with a weirdly shaped cone head that no one warned me might happen, and he just slept and pooped for about 3 weeks straight. There might have been a little bit of eating and burping in there too, I can’t really be sure since I was sleep-deprived and slowly losing my mind after 10 days trapped inside my New York City apartment thanks to a particularly snowy winter.

Anyway, point is he didn’t do much for a while and the little that he did do, he needed us to do for him. AJ looked at me during week 2 into Owen’s life and goes “so, um, when does he start to get fun?” or something to that effect. And that’s when I realized, AJ was expecting me to give birth to a 2-year-old. He was half-hoping a soccer-loving toddler would come bursting out of my vagina, ready for action and pumped to play with his daddy. Not so much. And might I add, THANK GOD.

But here we are, 3+ years later, and Owen is exactly what you would expect a super-energized toddler to be. He’s fun and funny and always ready to play and always excited to explore and run around and just generally act like a total nut.

And lately it’s even more than that…he’s currently on this kick where he wants to do everything BY. HIM. SELF.

"No mommy don’t help me!"

"I want to cut my own chicken I need the knife!"

"Don’t open it, I can open it myself. Stop helping me!"

"I don’t need you to do it! Watch me! ALONE. You stay over there."

"I can do this BY MYSELLLLFFFF.”

You get the drift. Everything is an act of independence. A chance to show off that he’s a big boy and can do everything without any assistance. Like, for example, when he says he has to go to the bathroom and he wants to go by himself (aka don’t follow me, don’t help me, don’t unbutton my shorts and don’t watch me). He wants to stand on his own 2 feet with no step stool and no boost from mommy and no one in the bathroom with him. He wants to be independent. I get it. But then when I sneak around the corner to make sure he’s actually peeing in the bowl and not in my sink, I see him looking anywhere BUT at the toilet and there is urine flying everywhere. But in fairness, he is going to the bathroom and he is doing it by himself, so I can’t exactly get mad. Ugh what’s up Clorox, nice to see you again.

Anyway, I should be happy that Owen is suddenly so interested in being a big boy and operating without my help. He’s growing up. He can do so many more things than ever before. He can actually have intelligent conversations with us. He can tell us about his day at school and seriously inform us about some key information rather than just shout out random things he saw like "train!" or "snack!" 

And especially with miss Maggie needing more and more of our attention, it’s amazing that Owen can a) help out and b) tend to himself. Maggie is 6 months old and crawling—yes, I know, my life as I know it is over—and I have to keep one eye on her at all times. Today I found her trapped under a chair. I used to plop her on the floor when Owen had to pee or needed a snack. Now, not so much. I plop her down and 2 seconds later she’s in the corner with one of Owen’s dirty shoes in her mouth. Or worse, she’s about to grab our dog’s face and we all know how that’s going to end. Anyway, it’s awesome to say "hey Owen, can you go grab Maggie’s toy for her?" or "hey Owen, go pee pee and then come meet me back at the couch in 5." And he actually does it. Brilliant.

But it’s also frustrating because half of the things he wants to do alone, he can’t really do alone. Like cut meat or wipe his butt. And believe you me, I WISH he could clean his own ass. The day he does I am throwing a party and you’re all invited. But currently that’s still a mom’s job, and if I’m being totally honest, I’m kinda happy there are a few tasks that he does still need me for. He’s growing up too fast, and I feel like I might wake up one day and Owen will be 15 and will shrug off my kisses and only want to hang out with his friends or (shudder) his girlfriend.

Yes, there are still (lots of) moments when he begs for hugs and only wants mommy to hold him and he cries for me until he’s wrapped up in my arms and all is right with the world once again. But those moments are fleeting and are intertwined with a whole lot of power struggles and negotiations. Mostly it’s me trying desperately to teach Owen how to do things alone without him actually realizing that I am helping him in any way. Turns out it’s way more complicated than it should be to trick a 3-year-old…but then again, 99% of parenting is more complicated than it should be. And we can add that to the long list of parental truths that no one EVER TELLS YOU until it’s too late. Also on the list: the fact that your first post-baby poop is more painful than childbirth, your boobs will never look the same and you will never truly sleep soundly until your kids grow up and have a family of their own. 

Gym Bunnies

Written by GWEN

Is it just me or is going to a class at the gym these days like going back in time to high school when you missed the first week because of a nagging sinus infection and by the time you showed up, cliques were formed, friendships were forever and you never got the oh-so-important memo on appropriate foot attire? (Hypothetically speaking of course.)

image

I mean, can we talk about Zumba? It is an international phenomenon complete with Facebook pages devoted to it and companies making millions off it. After I had Izzy, I started going on Wednesday mornings to my gym’s Zumba class. For sure, it was a good work out and I didn’t look too awkward doing the moves. But I did feel completely out of the loop. I mean were these people having cocktails and gossip sessions in between classes? They seemed so close.They knew intimate details about each other’s lives. Like, they had made real friends. At the gym.

When I go to a class at the gym, I seem to remain fairly anonymous. Not necessarily by choice, but either I’ve already missed the ‘friend making boat’, nobody wants to talk to me, or I just don’t go often enough. In any event, even if people are unaware of my presence, I thoroughly enjoy observing all the characters I see on a weekly basis. For example, there’s the ‘funny’ girl, who likes to shout things out in the middle of Body Pump. Like when the instructor gives a general "You’re doing great!", Funny Girl always calls back, "Thank you!!" As if the comment was directed at her. Hilarious. She also grumbles the entire class with looks of total disbelief. Like she cannot believe she’s being made to do yet another sit up.

Then there’s Frenchie. I’m not entirely sure she’s French, but she’s definitely foreign and she has an air about her that seems very French. (Apologies in advance to all my French friends—you’re obviously the exception). Frenchie comes to Body Pump and my Saturday morning Street Dance Class. Her lips are permanently pursed. Her eyes permanently fixed on herself in the mirror. Sometimes she just does her own thing or changes up the moves slightly. As if to say, "I don’t actually need to do this exercise right now. I’m so in shape, I can just do what I like. You’re lucky I’m taking your class at all." One time I tried to make conversation with her.

ME: (I make some sort of initial snorting, scoffing noise to announce I was about to speak) My legs were SOO sore after last week’s class!

FRENCHIE: Really?

And that was it. Clearly she was thinking "Really? You were sore you weakling freak that does whatever the instructor tells you to do?"

Have I mentioned my African Dance class yet? It’s called Fierce. Most of the time it winds up being a private lesson because it’s actually not that fierce, so nobody ever comes. I feel horrible for the teacher. One time a girl walked out after fifteen minutes saying, "Sorry. I thought it was going to be a bit more… fierce." The teacher defensively said, "It gets more intense. It’s because you’re not bending your knees enough. You have to stay to really see what it’s like, but that’s up to you. Ask her (pointing at me). She’s done it tons of times."

The girl looked at me and asked, "Does it get more intense?"

I had no idea what to say. The teacher was staring right at me. I couldn’t lie and make this girl take a class that wasn’t, well, fierce.

"Um. I mean. Well it’s not super intense I guess."

And then she left.

Last week the teacher told me she didn’t think the gym would be continuing with Fierce, but urged me to come to her pilates class.

image

My new FIERCE workout leggings.

Anyway, I’ve come to terms with the fact that my new best friend is not waiting for me at Body Core 360. To be honest, I just want to go work out, try not to look like an ass while I’m doing it, gather some good stories out of the crazies that seem to live there, and get the hell out. You know, back to my life.

Fierce.

Keeping My Kids Grounded (in a Totally Absurd World)

Written by ERICA 

As my kids grow up I find myself dealing with all sorts of random tasks and obstacles that have never been a problem in the past. Like, for example, that time Owen screamed obscenities at the bumper-to-bumper traffic after hearing me tell some a-hole on a scooter to “MOVE THE F*$K ALONG.” And then there was that time that I tried to explain to Owen that its not OK to grab himself in public. In private, sure, but in line at Dunkin’ Donuts, not so much.

Point being that as our kids grow up we constantly have to adjust our focus to address whatever new habits they have picked up. Every time we tackle one challenge a new one pops up. The very moment we think we’re on top of our game, something happens to change the rules and we’re screwed. Again.

So here’s my latest challenge…How do I keep my kids grounded?

Let me back up. We live in Miami. South Beach, to be exact. And before you get any ideas of what life is like in South Beach, let me be clear. You’re right. It’s just about as absurd as you can imagine. That’s not to say that WE are absurd or that WE live a life of intense excess and over-the-top-flash. I literally live in workout clothes and am constantly covered in someone else’s bodily fluids. (And not the same bodily fluids that most people in Miami are probably covered in. Sorry, I had to.)

We live a pretty normal life, actually. AJ and I both work. Owen goes to preschool. I take Maggie to mommy & me. I grocery shop and get gas and sometimes I remember to shave my legs. We lead a very boring life. And so do most of our friends. But our 60-something-year-old neighbor has a rotation of tall blonde hookers that he entertains around town. And the guy who used to live upstairs seriously forgot that he left his Aston Martin in the building’s parking garage and it’s apparently still sitting there, unclaimed. And then there was that time I left for work at 5am (I know, I know, I teach a 6am cycling class, bananas) and I saw three drunk dudes stumbling home. They just stared at me and started slurring something to the effect of "WHY ARE YOU GOING TO WORK RIGHT NOW?!?!" To which I replied "WHY ARE YOU DRUNK RIGHT NOW?! It’s 5am! And it’s TUESDAY."

Anyway, this is the world we live in. As normal as we may be and as normal as our friends may be, these are the people I see around town on a regular basis. The other morning as Owen and I waited for my VW soccer-mom-mobile to be pulled out of the garage we saw a Porsche, a Lamborghini and a Bentley all roll up in our driveway. Owen goes, "WOW MOM. Those are nice. Look at that one! It’s orange! And so fancy!" He was totally right, but when in god’s name did my 3-year-old learn what makes a car fancy?!

Owen, indulging in some of the finer things in life.

I know I can’t shield him from the nonsense around us, but how do I make sure that Owen recognizes just how ridiculous this South Beach life can be? How do I keep him grounded in a city where women come to Miami Heat games in 6-inch heels, flaunting diamonds bigger than my face and with fake boobs so massive they cannot be safe or comfortable?

I want to raise children who are appreciative of what they have, but also not preoccupied with material things. I want to raise kids who give back, who work hard, who listen, who care, and who respect other people regardless of what kind of car they have (or don’t have). Currently Owen is only 3 1/2 and Maggie is 6 months old. Owen is impressed that I can open fruit snacks with my mouth, and Maggie doesn’t even know where her nose is. Right now they are blissfully ignorant to their surroundings and are so easily pleased with the simple things in life. But I am suddenly very aware of the environment we live in and the strange characters and lifestyles that I will one day have to explain to them. And for the life of me, I have no clue how I’m going to politely tell Owen that it’s not OK to have a sleepover with a different leggy blonde in hooker heels every day of the damn week. Maybe that will be a conversation for daddy…

Like Awesome. Like Wow! Like Totally KNOCK ME OUT!

Written by GWEN

Remember when you were a kid and every time your parents used a word like ‘neat-o’ you threw up just a little bit in your mouth? What were these lame antiquated words? Where had they come from? Of course, then when they tried to relate to you and called your new spiral notebook with the cast from My-So-Called Life on it ‘rad,’ you were equally disgusted. It just sounded…unnatural.

Well, in typical karmic fashion, this has come back to bite me in the ass.  When Izzy brings a painting home from school, it’s COOL! Or AWESOME! I hear myself saying these words, and I want to put a muzzle over my mouth. And yet I can’t stop. I mean, do people still say ‘cool’? What would I use as an alternative? Literally, what are the kids saying these days? And can I pull it off? Meanwhile, every single piece of artwork shown to the Mister gets an, 'OH! WOW!' Every. time. WOW! 

The twofold part of this problem? Izzy is not an asshole teenager. He is 3 and he hears mommy using a word and then he uses it. Like every time he knows he’s supposed to be frustrated or pissed off he says, 'JESUS!' (We’re working on it.) The other day, when I brought a new baseball cap home for him, Izzy picked it up and said, 'I love it! It's so cool isn't it mommy? Thank you!' 

Super cool new cap.

I MEAN! Couldn’t be any cuter, right? But then the panic set in. Am I teaching my child the wrong slang? Is he going to get beaten up a few years from now, like that kid from About a Boy, because he doesnt’ know any better? Kinda like how I thought tie dye shirts were a wardrobe staple until I got to college and discovered Esprit.

Similarly, I can feel my grasp of latest technologies slipping quietly away. Izzy knows how to use the iPad better than I do. Social media? Meh. Facebook, I’m fine. I’m working on being more active on Instagram. Twitter? Let’s put it this way, a fellow mom friend suggested to another friend that she should do some ‘twittering’ the other day. I’m not that bad. But I’m not far off. My brother told me a few years ago that he always opens accounts on all new social media platforms, for the very purpose of not falling out of touch. And now I get it. I do not want to be the 60 year old who can’t communicate with her grandchildren because I didn’t update to Skype version 109.3! On the other hand, I have slightly turned into the annoying 35-year-old that has to ‘check in’ every time I go out for a meal.

Playing with daddy’s iPhone like a pro.

We’ve all seen the 'LOOK UP' video. It’s a bit extreme, but I do get it. I guess it’s just finding that right balance. There must be a way to be CURRENT without sounding and looking like an idiot and without sacrificing being in the moment with our kids. I just need to know how to tweet, when to tweet and to start using words like SWEET! J’amazing? Totes tangfastic?

All suggestions welcome.
 
Peace out.


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