Please Return Your Tantrum to the Full Upright Position for Landing

Pañal is “diaper” in Spanish. Tantrum is “hell on Earth” in English. I can handle each on its own, but ne’er the two shall meet. Unless they run into Little J and ask him to meet them for coffee. Little J is usually the happiest little two and a half feet in the toddler kingdom. But a walk to the changing table starts a catastrophic metamorphosis. I am suddenly the proud mother of a steel plank that has lost all flexibility in the cooling process. In related news, I am now studying the ancient art of hog tying. And the hog is winning. I thought the tantrum de pañal was the apex of tantrums. But I had the privilege of experiencing an in-flight meltdown.

Plane Above Clouds

I’ll pause for sympathy. It was our first public tantrum and we went for the gold. It was an all out aviation event. Two minutes (football minutes including Super Bowl commercials) of pure lose-it-ness. If I didn’t try to Eternal Sunshine this brief moment in time, I’d tell you there was a lot of screaming. And stiffening. At one point I think he actually turned into liquid so he could exit his seat undetected. And then as quickly as it started, it was over, like a scene from Twister. As the credits rolled, we surveyed the devastation of Sky Mall magazines and empty beverage cups. A flickering iPad lay on the dangling tray littered with graham crackers and Cheerios. I looked down and the little ball of fury was limp in slumber on my lap. The first nap all day, just as the wheels touched down. I’ve been inducted, folks. I’m officially a parent. I’ll wear my badge proudly, on the no-fly list.

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Home Sweet Zillow

Ironman and I move somewhere new every week. In our head of course. And don’t worry, we take the Littles, blissfully unaware of the displacement. While most people are feverishly poking their iPads to make birds angry, our fingers are tapping the big blue Z, mentally relocating to a house twice as big as ours. As we peck through the houses for sale, we dream of more space and a floor that doesn’t creak just as you tip toe out of Little J’s room at night. We preview photos of newly constructed homes, the antithesis of our 1950’s bungalow, littered with fancy upgrades and perfectly painted accent walls. Our dueling tablets glow in the bedroom at night as we compare our latest finds, when we know we should be going to sleep because Little A will inevitably wake soon. We whisper how nice it would be to have a level floor that wouldn’t return Little J’s toy ball like a personal bowling alley. We tap all around the city and wonder if the school rating is good or just good enough. We zillow constantly. At the doctor’s office, at the grocery store, at the bank. We constantly shop around to see if the perfect house is out there or if we can make someone move. We are Zillowers and our bible is the New Zestimate. One day we take action on our hypothetical move and unexpectedly, the house lives up to our wish list. It is big and new and shiny. And the floor doesn’t creak when you tip toe out of what would be little J’s room. On the 30 minute drive home, the rain taps the window to break the silence. Finally I confess. I don’t want to move to the new and big and shiny zillowed house. I like being able to walk to the grocery store and ride a bike to get ice cream. I like the history of all of the families before us that have grown up in our house. And Ironman sighs in relief. He doesn’t want to move yet either. That night as I creep out of Little J’s room, the floor creaks. And I smile. Because I know we’re home.

A Valentine’s Day Ode to Ironman

Love is hard to come by these days. Let me restate that. Love is everywhere, just ask The Bachelor. But sometimes it takes a trained eye to notice real love.

Love Keys

Take Ironman and I. There’s nothing more romantic than a trip to Costco. We make it a weekly date. Strolling through the aisles physically keeping each other from buying the 240 piece tool set or the crystal chandelier holding hands. Sometimes we even order an appetizer or a desert from the food sampler cart and con the vendor into believing we have quintuplets in a second shopping cart one aisle over so we can get more. And Ironman almost always gets me flowers, or at least he points out how we could get twice as many roses as the local flower shop for the same price as we walk by. We gaze at each other over the cart, smartly stocked with 40 cans of tuna, even though we don’t have a cat. We laugh in unison as we notice Little J’s contraband he lifted from the clothing section when we weren’t looking and decide to purchase him the new outfit because he’s already bitten the tag off. Little A’s eyes dance across the warehouse and she giggles as Ironman runs the cart down the last few aisles. As we reach self checkout, we take great pride in our thrifty decisions and speculate whether we’ll share a candlelight dinner over one of the 20 chicken breasts or whip something up from the four pounds of ground beef. As the sun dips below the Costco sign, we knowingly share a smile because Ironman could have made this trip in half the time and probably would have scored the tool set. But he didn’t. Because our weekly trip to Costco is quality family time. And that my friends, is real love. Happy Valentines Day, Ironman.

Love It, List It or Hate It

I’ll admit it. I may need a stint in HGTV rehab. I have a small HGTV addiction. I can stop at anytime though, I swear. Ironman doesn’t think so. He once tried to bribe the cable guy to block the channel permanently from entering the house. True story. He commiserated with him, since his wife also shared a love of the Home and Garden sauce, and they went and got a beer. Not a true story. I’ll continue. So, my relationship with the home improvement crack is at times a love/hate one. A hit of House Hunters will go a long way. But then there is Love It or List It. Look, I enjoy a good episode of a couple who bought a two bedroom one bath house ten years ago, then had a baby…then got pregnant again. With triplets. And all of the sudden, last week, the house is too small. Poor Hillary has $5 to build an addition, complete with a bathroom that will accommodate four girls (that will one day be teenagers). And God love her, she makes it happen. And they decide to [long awkward pause] love it. Doooohhh. Sorry David. But who could blame them? David showed them an amazing house that was 4,000 square feet of new construction with hardwood in every room, a chefs kitchen and a jacuzzi tub for $4. But wah wah wah. It’s one street over. Not in their neighborhood, David. Weren’t you listening? That’s the sound of ratings going up. LOVE IT. But then there is the episode with the family who has a perfectly normal sized home. But their is stuff EVERYWHERE. And someone needs to send them a few channels over to a little show called Hoarders. The mother complains of tripping over coats and boots in the entryway as they don’t have a “proper” mud room. Seriously? Here’s a tip lady, teach your kids to pick their stuff up and put it away. But no, the whole family is drowning in their organizational shortcomings and the only answer is to move. That’s right, when my house is too messy, I just call the real estate agent. So, Hillary digs in (no doubt with a Hazmat suit and a shovel). And of course, the house was built 4,000 years ago (give or take a year), so she runs into issues and needs to sell their next child on eBay to pay for the increased budget. And the people actually seem surprised. What? The electrical wasn’t the same in 1950? How could this be? Clearly their common sense is vacationing with their organizational skills. And can we talk about the wife? Why is the wife never happy? Cut to the poor schmuck who married her, who is silently screaming with his eyes “save me!”. Someone please take the remote away from me. And force me to watch something else.

Unless that something else is the Property Virgins. Oh those adorable property virgins. It’s the same couple on every episode just in different entitled clothes. This young couple turns down 500 houses because of the paint color, a scratch on the baseboard or the kitchen that doesn’t have granite and stainless steel appliances (gasp). And I cry for them. Really I do. Because these things are permanent, people. They cannot under any circumstances, be changed. It’s a tragedy wrapped in despair. Enter Sandra, who politely informs them that they sell paint at Home Depot, but unfortunately they’re sold out of location. So after a small dose of reality, the couple reconsiders and Sandra can now buy a new set of blazers.

HGTV must hang on to the virgin’s number because down the road they contact the Property Brothers for their next move. And with ownership under their belt, they are cocky as ever. They simply must live 12 steps to public transit in a mansion in walking distance of all the hip restaurants and boutiques. And it would be, like, totally awesome if it were turnkey ready, Jonathan. So the bros show them what they want for double just a hair over budget. After learning they’d have to rob a bank to afford the house, they leave licking their wounds. Drew courts them with a few houses that may or may not be condemned. If they can just look past the smell of cat pee and the shag brown carpet, the smooth talking siblings show the couple a rendering of their possible Barbie dream home. “I mean, it looks great guys, but can you really do this?” Um, have they been living under a rock? Have they ever seen Property Brothers? This handsome duo can reno a house held up by two toothpicks with a tube of hair gel and a stick of gum. Drew scampers off to get the house for rock-bottom prices and after a fretful cup of coffee, the couple owns…a dump. With potential folks, don’t worry. But here’s the catch. THEY have to pitch in and do work. Actual work. Well no wonder it’s within budget. If I’m the one pulling up the brown shag rug and I’m starring in your tv show, what are you bringing to the table Drew and Jon? Oh yes, the good looks and brotherly love. I don’t know about you, but I’d demand a paycheck. And better working conditions. But then again maybe that’s why I’m the one on my couch with the remote looking for my next fix. Well payed, HGTV. Well played.

Today I Am

Speed Limit 40

Today I am 40. I have to say, I came a little late to the game. I didn’t get married until 36. I didn’t have my first child until 38. And my daughter slipped in at the top of the hill. You see, I come from a long line of procrastinators. I do my best work the night before it’s due. Ironman is the same way, which means I can count on raising two all-nighter nail biters. With four decades behind me, I feel like it’s a long time when I look at my babies. But then next to my amazing parents, I still feel like a baby myself. I have so much to do yet, so much to learn. On my 40 Eve, my friend asked me “how do you feel about turning 40 tomorrow?” To be honest, I only realized I was saying goodbye to my thirties last week. A little panic set in but quickly faded. Because the truth is I don’t feel old. Well maybe when Ironman says “I don’t know how you do it at your age”. Keep in mind he is three months younger than me. Or maybe when my teenage niece uses words I’ve never heard before. Then maybe a little. But other than that I generally feel like I am frozen in time in my twenties. And I feel thankful. Of course thankful to have made it to 40. But also thankful for all the good (and bad) experiences I’ve had to date. I actually feel credible. Knowledgeable even. Most importantly, I still feel hopeful, despite learning more about the world and its sometimes harsh lessons. I look forward to tomorrow. I guess I better load up on the caffeine because I do my best work late in the game.

I am a Jetson

I had one of those days today. You know, the kind where you’re rolling along about your day and suddenly something hits you and it makes you stop and think. Today I realized  I am a Jetson. I don’t mean I full on travel in a personal spaceship (though Ironman might disagree) but I realized that my life, my kids’ lives are sprinkled with things even the Jetsons couldn’t have dreamed up. The realization began while arriving at my table at a restaurant. I felt like I did it in slow motion. As I approached our table, my head was still scanning the restaurant tabletops. What in the world were personal touchscreen doodads (official name, I swear) doing on every table? The menu, digitally flashing like a tiny billboard, drew us in like kryptonite. Little J’s fingertips reached for it like a chocolate chip cookie as he grunted to make it come closer. He wasn’t the only one. Upon further investigation (by Ironman, of course) we learned that we could order dessert or drinks from it and while we waited, Little J could play educational apps to keep him quiet entertained. Part of me was in awe of the device and the other part of me shrugged and actually thought “what took them so long to come out with this?”. Wow. I could win the Meh award of the year with that attitude. But it got me thinking. Earlier that afternoon I ate lunch with Ironman as Little J prepared to nap. I use “prepared” because Little J decided it wasn’t in his best interest to enlist in the shut eye. As I crunched on my chips carrot sticks, I watched Little J on the baby monitor. He circled the matress then reached for his pants. I grabbed the monitor and depressed the microphone button. “Stop!” I shouted. “Do NOT pull down your pants!” Magic Mike looked up at the camera perched high atop the tv and the look on his face made Ironman and I break out in laughter. He couldn’t fathom how mom could see what he was doing. Even more so, how I could speak to him through the television. Once I stopped laughing about my halftime lunch show, I realized the Super Bowl was glowing on the multiple tvs in the restaurant. How could this be? It was only 6:30! Ironman immediately jumped on his Batphone and set the DVR remotely to record the game. Whew. Crisis averted. We wouldn’t have to look clueless and shrug our shoulders when someone asked us tomorrow if we saw the cute commercial with the dog and the horse. And that’s when the realization completed its download. I am a Jetson. But then I had to ask myself, when Little J is my age, what will he be?