Tag Archives: Children

Tapes and a date are going to make news networks a LOT of money, let’s not help them.

The 911 tapes of last year’s tragedy in Sandy Hook are out. Especially up here in Connecticut, it’s causing quite a stir. Folks are saying that it is going to open up the wounds of the families affected.

I have no idea whether it will or it won’t because I simply refuse to read, listen to, or watch anything related to the Sandy Hook incident unless it is the idea of a victim’s family member (like the Vicki Soto 5K I ran last month.) The same way I wouldn’t buy a book or a video game that exploited the victims, I will not give any media outlet the courtesy of my click/view/whatever. Because that’s essentially giving them money in today’s world.

People keep talking about how the tapes and reports shouldn’t have been released. But we live in the United States of America and that’s not how life works here, even for the tiniest of victims and their grieving families. I wouldn’t want to live in a place where we couldn’t find out if the first responders to the incident did what they were supposed to. Of course, I don’t want to be the one to do the checking up on them, either.

Every time I think about those tiny victims and their guardians who became victims too, I get beyond choked up. And my gut wants to read more and find out more.

I don’t know if it’s because I believe that reading the experiences will some how allow me to take some pain away from those families. Or that I’ll learn something that will help prevent this from happening to me. Or maybe it’s just so awful that I feel like I have to endure learning about it.

Maybe I’m looking to see how those parents are doing, can they actually survive this? As a parent of a small child, you walk around with your heart now outside of you. It’s now inside a careless, fragile little body. If you are a parent of multiple small children, your heart is then divided up amongst several equally irreverent but adorable keepers. Do parents exist after they learn their own heart has shattered along with its tiny host? Is that what I’m looking to learn about- the unimaginable?

I used to do the same thing for every sick child on Facebook or in the news. I would reread and then pray and when the unthinkable happened, I’d go back and read it again and cry. And then I’d find more places to read more about it and I read those a couple of times, too.

It’s kind of like pushing on a bruise to see if it still hurts. It always does.

Actually, I have no idea why I would WANT to read any more than one item about any of these situations. Once is enough to say the prayer, to send the good vibes to parents in need. To learn the facts of a gruesome tragedy well enough to voice an opinion that will shape public policy.

But the rest, the unthinkable- is just that. I don’t think any of it is something you can or should try to prepare for.

Usually, after a good bit of reading the items I’m referring to, I want nothing more than to hold my children and tell them that I feel so lucky to have them.

The other day, though, I realized that with that luck comes great responsibility. Along with thanking God for my beautiful, healthy, children, I have an obligation to teach them to be great citizens of this world. And sometimes that means doing a little more than holding them and telling them I love them. Which means I need to stop thinking about the unthinkable and start thinking about the future.

So, I have to get off the phone/computer/TV sites/channels that are shoving these stories down our throats to get more views/clicks/listeners/viewers. (It’s like the “Facebook Emotional Porn” Rachel Hayter writes about in her post, “I’m sick of Facebook emotional porn.” Same concept- it’s so awful you just feel guilty ignoring it.)

I have to get involved in my community. I have to get to know my neighbors and the children my children know so that things like “isolation” are less likely. I have to research ways for my kids to play outside safely and find new places to take walks and eat healthy and help people and all of that good stuff that comes from thinking about the best possible future for my kids, not the worst.

More importantly, I have to give my children the confidence and discipline to go out and do the same for themselves.

I don’t think any parent out there who has endured the worst would disagree that having your children alive and well means you have an important task ahead of you. One you’re darn privileged to have.

The media knows about this gut obligation to “know” the worst about the worst, though. The pushing of the bruise. And they’re going to want our clicks and views in the coming weeks. They’re going to use a date that is nothing more than a date, and they’re going to call it an “anniversary” and use it as an excuse to publish a whole lot of emotional porn that some of us may feel guilty avoiding.

I say we let the guilt go and not give the media the honor of the advertising dollars that might result from the hoopla. If the families do make any specific requests, don’t worry, that same media will be glad to voice them. And we should listen, then, because they may need us.

But they might not request anything but peace.

If our emotional wounds need closure, or just a distraction, let’s talk to each other and take care of each other and do what we need to do to heal, without the sensationalized spectacle. That way, the people have Newtown will have the space to do the same.

Because I don’t think any date can measure the time that has passed for a family that has endured the unthinkable.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Today Is My One Year Anniversary As A VEEP CFO

housewife [derogation]

Housewife (shaking salt? where’s the margarita?)

It’s official.  As of today, a full year has passed since I hugged everybody in my office, shook my bosses’ hands and left the world of being paid for work.  I’m not sure if they miss me, but good God some days I miss them.

In some ways it feels like yesterday. But it feels like a different life. I was a different person.  I had clothes that fit, could afford makeup, and had a W2 to value (even if undervalue) myself by.
I was also delusional.  I was just entering the third trimester of pregnancy, so perhaps that explains why I believed these things about my future life as a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM, by the way how lame is that acronym?  Why not VEEP (voluntarily-eschewing-employment-parent?)  I’m using VEEP from now on):
1.)  My house will be cleaner.
Yes, because a house that is empty 3/4 of my waking hours will be much neater when I and two small children now occupy it constantly.  Of course, I’m home to clean it, right?  I wish I could find the original quote to properly attribute it, but I read somewhere cleaning a house with kids in it is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.  That’s true.
2.)  I’ll at least have finally have some time to do a few creative things I’ve always wanted to do.  Kids take naps and watch TV sometimes, right?
Ha!  Want to know what writing/crafting/freelance/etc. is like for a stay-at-home-parent of more than one child?  Try this experiment:  Set a timer for 5 minutes.  Start on the project of your choice.  When the timer goes off, go feed something, clean poop off something, or hold something that is screaming loudly for no reason or a combination of these for the next hour or two.  Repeat 3-4 times until you just bang your head against something for the five minutes on the timer instead.  That’s what it’s like.  By the time another adult arrives home, trust me, all you can handle is a stiff drink or to lie prostrate, whimpering, on the couch for a few hours.
3.)  I’ll be able to slack a little some days.  I just won’t brag about it or anything.  I’m sure that’s what other VEEPs do.
Do you know what kids do to parents who try to read, watch TV or anything else unrelated to their immediate needs or desires?  They torture them. They destroy their most prized possessions.  They eat them alive.  (They do the exact same thing to sick parents.)  If you want to stay alive, you have to stay one step ahead of the little shits (see #4 for details about why this is an appropriate moniker for them).  Lunch better be ready before the thought occurs to them to be hungry. You better have another project ready to go before they notice how boring the first one is (approximate timeframe for that is under 5 minutes, FYI).  No demon born of hell can devise torture that compares to what a bored toddler whose blood sugar is starting to dip will do to you.  Do not test this, just believe me.  It’s for your own safety.
4.)  There won’t be that much poop.  
(Okay, I didn’t have this exact thought, but I never thought about how much of my day will be about poop).  My sense of humor has always been similar to that of a little boy in that I found poop very amusing.  Maybe my life now is punishment for that.  I have an 8-month-old boy and a 3-year-old girl.  And a cat.  And a dog.  If someone were to accurately title my current position, it would probably be CFO- Chief Fecal Officer.  My entire day’s timing revolves around when other creatures evacuate their bowels.  Except the cat; he’ll let me scoop his littler box whenever I want.  He’s just proud that someone knows even his stool should be preserved forever in a plastic bag and wonders where I keep the pile of gifts he makes me that I scoop out and take away to enjoy.
The boy is on no regular elimination schedule.  His ass will explode with  putrid-smelling shades of green and brown any time.  If I were to keep a chart of the times, I would guess that we would find a direct correlation between his bowel movements and my dining.  When he blows, though, it needs to be addressed immediately.  Otherwise things get more than a little messy.  What’s funny is as I write this (on my iPhone word pad while standing in the middle of my living room watching my son cruise around my living room) the boy is obviously grunting one out.  In his usual style, he’s following it up by sitting down and bouncing up and down a few times to make sure it does indeed spill out up onto that chubby little back of his that I bathed roughly 15 min ago.  I will BRB after I avoid this affecting my carpet.  (Note: See #2. It’s been a full 24 hours later before I could type another word.  And that’s only because the girl is with Grandma and Grandpa and hubby’s downstairs with the boy. Anyway, got lucky yesterday and poop only penetrated one layer of clothing.  Yay for absorbent fleece sweatshirts!)    (Another quick parenthetical interruption; the boy’s nursery is across from the office where I’m typing and I can hear his daddy saying “Oh, God, it smells so bad…”; Daddy is now stopping in to tell me that we should get the boy back on a strictly formula diet, the solid food is making his feces too odiferous.  Mental note:  This will be my last post involving poop as it seems to spur the boy on.)
Our dog is only 10 months old, has special needs, and is still “learning”, so I have to take her out at 7:30 am and then again every half-hour from 10 am on until she poops again.  If I don’t, she finds the dining room most convenient for depositing her ass’s contents.  She’s noticed I don’t like the dining room defecation, though, and tries to eat it all up before I notice. “Yes, this is actually  your life now,” I tell myself.
The human girl typically goes in the morning.  If we were to chart her poops, there would likely be a correlation between her events and her brother’s dining.  Yes, she is potty-trained and even though she can’t wipe herself, smearing some poop off a tiny ass and flushing isn’t that bad.  But, when you’re three, “things” happen.  Poop in a diaper is supposed to happen, thus there are a variety of ways even spill-overs can be easily handled.   Tiny onesies can be rinsed or thrown away.  The soiled diaper and any cleaning supplies can be deposited in a magical genie. Come to think of it, though, dragging a thin plastic sack of baby’s eliminations that is secured only by my own not-so-nautical knots to the garbage outside provides some less-than-magical moments and is yet another responsibility of myself as CFO. (Run on what?! Too many parentheses what?!  Seriously, back to the girl..) “Things” that happen to a three-year-old don’t happen in conveniently absorbent, disposable packages.  These “things” can ruin several layers of clothing, furniture and a young girl’s sense of pottying self-esteem.
Now, though, we’re mostly past the accidents, so furniture has been spared lately. But, last Thursday, she missed the hole.  In the toilet, that is.  She went in while I was outside taking the dog out and got her little Lightening McQueen padded seat on there, hopped up, and missed the hole when the poop came out.  When I came in after bagging the dog’s deposits, everything seemed normal.  Princess was screaming “I made a poopie, you have to wipe it!!!” at the top of her lungs.  When I entered the bathroom, I knew something was amiss.  “Mom, I got a little poop on my pajamas.  But I did NOT have an accident,” she told me proudly.  At least I think that’s what she said; I was gagging.  There were chunks of solid brown poop hung up on the handle of the padded mini-seat.  (She’s a log-maker, regular and healthy for sure.  Probably unrelated to her diet.) Her pajamas and her were entirely covered in similar chunks and smears.  I will stop describing there.  But no, this was no accident.  It was another incident the CFO handled readily and without complaint.
5.)  No matter what the sacrifices, at least my children will receive the attention they deserve instead of spending the entire day with strangers.  
For the first two years of my daughter’s life, I worked full-time.  Luckily, much of her daycare was provided by her grandparents.  About a year before I quit my job, though, my mom was all, “Jenn, I’ve finally found a job after looking for one for several years in this terrible economy, isn’t that great?”  And I was all, “Really, where?  No seriously, I need the phone number.  They need to hear about your embezzling habit and deviant behaviors.”
But, she wouldn’t give me the number and went on to join the ranks of the employed.  Like others their age, my husband’s parents winter in Florida. So, my precious angel went on to spend her days with strangers at a daycare.  You know what those strangers did?  They created an entire day that revolved around her learning, socializing, arts & crafts, exercising and sleeping properly.  Never once did they do the things that a parent would do, like dishes.  Or laundry.  Or grocery shopping.  Or cursing while paying bills online.  I bet they never once said, “I’ve got to go handle your brother’s diaper blowout.  Sit in that chair and watch TV until I get back.”  Or, “Please, honey, mommy’s ears are tired.  Can you just stop talking for five minutes?  I’ll give you a cookie.”
So, if you are one of those women who is jealous of me, you should be; I hang out with kids and spend my husband’s money all day.  Still, while you’re out to lunch complaining to your friends how you’d like to be a VEEP like me, just look at your friends while you’re talking.  Be grateful that you don’t have to start writing a blog to replace the conversations you have with them because otherwise you don’t get to “talk” to grownups.
And look at your clothes.  Do they fit?  Are they covered in poop?
And when you get home from your job and hug your child/children and they see that “You are my world.  I really missed you,” look on your face, know that my children probably received a “You are my world.  I would trade my right arm to leave here for just 10 minutes,” look about 15 times throughout the day.
But I am proud of my current position.  I love those little shits (much better than the big ones they do).  I’m Jennifer Greenberg, a VEEP CFO, and tomorrow I will enthusiastically report for doody. (So punny, right?  Tired of parentheses yet?)
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The writing is on the wall. I rock.

“You were great today mommy.  I know I acted up some, but you made me feel so loved and I know I will appreciate the boundaries you are teaching me someday.

“I think we really both enjoyed that project you found on Pinterest, which I not only enjoyed but managed to create perfectly with no mess. Then, you didn’t even lose your sh@# when, while you were handling the baby’s blown out diaper, I used the cheap, non-washable crayons to draw triangles around the project I’d glued to the wall.  The time-out followed by the talk at my level was executed flawlessly, and since you left emotion out of it, I didn’t take it personally and just learned not to do that again.  I think you learned that it’s important to put the glue away right after we’re done with the project, right?

“Plus, yummy!  The food you made me was great – that’s why I ate all of it even though it was super healthy.

“Also, I know you said you gave up your clothing and makeup budgets when you stopped going to work, and you’ve mentioned that was especially hard right after having your second baby.  But, I gotta tell you, you really looked fabulous today, especially in the third shirt you had on – you know – the one you grabbed from the laundry pile, sniffed quickly and threw on after Buster pooped on you.  It was even better than the second clean one you put on after  I had my little accident.

“Looks like Daddy just pulled up.  Since you did such a good job today, instead of running up and throwing my arms around him like he’s rescuing me from some horrible nightmare, I’m going to go torture him.  Maybe tell him HE looks scary this time and then throw a fit when he tries to watch something other than Backyardigans, won’t that be funny?  Since my baby brother’s asleep, I’ll do it quietly.  After I’m done, I’ll help Daddy get the awesome dinner you made out on the table.  You just go for a run and then take a hot bath.  You deserve it.

“After dinner, I think I’m going to turn in early. Just one story tonight and I’ll go right to sleep.”

Said no child, ever.  But if you’re a mom or dad out there, and you’ve had one of those days where everything went wrong or everything went right, or somehow both, just know that I think you’re awesome.  And you’re doing everything right.

An Attagirl for Mommy

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

The Truth, Including 4 Cool Things, About Babies

You know that person who adores babies and runs right up to the new mom and asks to hold the baby and then does so just perfectly, lulling said baby into a perfectly sated state of sleep?  I am the opposite of that person.  Don’t get me wrong, I like babies, but mostly to look at.  I just think that of humans that are not my offspring, those capable of walking and talking are more fun to be around.

There are many reasons for this aversion, but there are a couple of things about babies that are particularly vexing.  First, babies are prone to spontaneous eruptions of bodily fluid.  Poop, pee, vomit, drool; you never know when or  what is coming.  The tiniest baby can cover sixteen times its own square footage with a layer of one of these toxic substances without even a second’s notice. Thus, after a couple high school and college babysitting sessions, I started referring to babies as “sticky things.”  When I found out my cousin was having his third child, all I could say was “Wow, another sticky thing, congrats!  Hope it learns tricks and gets as fun as your other kids quick!”

Even as a mom, I have really never been able to identify that “yummy baby smell” unless people mean baby shampoo and Dreft, which are products you have to use to cover up the other smells that babies emit.  I remember how moments after my son was born my husband posted a pic of him online and someone remarked that they wanted to smell him.  I laughed out loud.  Almost immediately after his grand entrance, my son had pooped green meconium (newborn poop) numerous times all over me.  The beautiful moments right after a child is born do not smell good at all.

Also, it takes a considerable amount of time before a new human learns the tricks that makes him or her interesting.  Babies really don’t do anything.  Even the grandparents of my children, when given the choice of spending time with one of my children, will choose the larger of the two.  She is potty trained, which I’m sure is another benefit, but it’s not like she wipes her own butt or anything yet.  It’s about nine months into the life of an infant, when they’re a little mobile, smiling, playing with toys and obeying some commands before you want to hang out with them for an extended period.

Finally, and probably most importantly, infants are terrifying.  For instance, that whole “soft spot on the top of the head” thing.  So scary.  No skull there, just skin to brain.  I think Robin on “How I Met Your Mother” said it best when she said “If you’re going to give something a self-destruct button, at least hide it a little.”

My husband loves to hold babies and when we first started dating, he would frequently hand them to me.  Imagining he was sizing me up for motherhood (I think he actually just assumed I was normal and wanted to hold babies), I would smile and try not to look awkward.  In my head, I was screaming at him, “Are you crazy?  Do you know how long this thing was inside that woman over there?  It’s obviously perfect and very important to her.  One wayward flick of my clumsy wrist and she is going to lose her mind.  She’s probably watching me and knows I’m not doing this right.”   It wasn’t until after I had my own babies that I realized that babies are tougher than you would think and that new moms typically disappear quickly to enjoy a couple rare moments of two-handedness once someone who looks fairly normal takes responsibility of their infant .

(By the way, do you want to hold my baby?  Here’s the requirements: you must have at least one good hand that is clean and know someone I know and not look like a serial killer.  Take him.  Enjoy.  I’ll be over there drinking wine until I have to take him back because he’s spewed something out of one end or another.)

After openly admitting my avoidance of infant-holding to other people, I learned that I’m not alone.  I won’t call anyone out, but you know who you are.  You might even adore children overall and be fantastic with them, but you just don’t like holding something covered in smelly fluids that doesn’t do anything and seems so fragile.  Perhaps you even want to have your own kids someday.  Fear not, there are cool things about babies.  I speak from experience – I’m on my second one.  And my first one made it through infancy  wonderfully and she  knows so many tricks now that she is a blast.  So here are some fun things about being the parent of an infant:

1.)  You get a special parking spot.  The spot “For people with infants and young children” spot is usually right next to where you get or return a cart and very close to the store.  Awesome.

2.)  Your Klout score goes sky-high.  A website that uses algorithms to measure your influence in social media, Klout gives you a score based on the popularity and reach of your posts online.  About a month after I had my son, I checked out Klout.  My Klout score was pretty high.  Higher than local celebrities like weathermen and some of my most respected social media expert friends, so obviously I thought Klout was very accurate.  Now that my son is an ancient 5 months old, my score is a lot lower, and it’s obvious that Klout is bologna.  Still, I see these social media consultants trying to boost their score and “+K”-ing each other (that’s a Klout “like”.)  Here’s the secret to getting a great Klout score: Have a baby.  No other content on social media is going to rival the popularity of the post of someone who just went into labor except for pictures of the resulting newborn.  It worked for me.

3.) You will now be able to talk to yourself in a store.  It will be acceptable because you can act like you’re talking to the baby.  You can also “tell the baby” things you want your spouse or other adults around to hear.  “Daddy left his socks on the floor again, didn’t he, Buster?  You can hardly breath over the smell, huh?  Poor Buster!!!”

4.)  Your baby will have a special smile for you.  It sounds simple, but you know that scene in Goonies where they finally see all the treasure?  It’s a thousand times better than that.  It really does make all the vile liquids they produce tolerable.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: