Naked Batman, Jello Shots, and Best Friends

 

Imagine looking out your window and seeing a naked toddler sprinting across your lawn in nothing but a Batman mask.  Well, that was my life.  EVERY DAY.  Austin is my youngest child, and he was by far my most spirited toddler.  For some reason he wasn’t a fan of clothes, but he WAS a fan of being outside.  And he was sneakier than a ninja!  Many mornings I would fix him a sippy cup, put on Little Einsteins, and try to squeeze in a quick shower.  And on a good number of those mornings my phone would ring….”Austin is running down the street naked again. Do you want me to bring him back?”  “Yes!  Yes, I want you to bring him back!  Why are you even asking me that?!”  I began wondering if I should just boycott showers until he was school aged.  I mean seriously, what would he do next?!  Oh, and did I mention I lived two doors down from a social worker, and sometimes he would streak through her yard, and pee on her flowers?  Yeah….good times.

I began to think of how I could get the child to keep his clothes on.  I knew it would have to be creative if it had any chance of working.  So I hit the local Target, and bought every left over Halloween costume they had.  Perhaps he will want to dress in super hero costumes?  Oh he did!  He wore his Spider Man costume EVERYWHERE.  I took Spidey to the grocery store, out to dinner, to a neighborhood block party (They were just happy he wasn’t naked.), and even to the pediatrician.  We lived with Spider Man for about a month, with me washing the little costume each night while he slept.  Then one morning he woke up, and was done being Spider Man.  He was a dog.  Like for real….He was ALL IN.  He didn’t speak.  He barked.  He crawled around on all fours, shook his butt like he was wagging his tail, and nudged you with his nose.  A DOG PEOPLE!!!!!  I was raising a dog!  He wore this little  furry headband that had floppy ears and a dog nose.  Thankfully this phase only lasted a week.  Any longer, and I would have had to check into the Betty Ford clinic!  Then came naked Batman….

I had gotten smart, and gone to the local hardware store to pick up alarms for our exterior doors.  That’s right, every time you opened the door it sounded like Armageddon was upon us.  But at least it kept him inside.  So Austin had now taken an interest in his Batman costume, but it was pretty hot outside.  Austin knew just how to remedy that.  Just wear the mask!  AND NOTHING ELSE…Since the doors were now wired for sound, I felt safe taking showers again.  I came down one morning to find him climbing the pantry shelves in nothing but a mask.  “Austin, what are you doing, and why are you naked?”  “I’m not naked Mommy.  I have on my Batman mask!”  I just stood there wondering how many bottles of wine it would take to raise this child as I watched him scale the shelves like a spider monkey.

Raising Austin wasn’t just about surviving his streaker phase.  Oh no, he wanted to test my friends too.  “How much do you REALLY love my mommy?!”  We were blessed to live in a neighborhood littered with toddlers and stay at home moms.  We all forged such a special bond.  There were play dates, zoo outings, and many girls nights.  But my child had an uncanny talent for pushing people right to the edge….I lived next door to my best friend, Rebecca.  I’m sitting in my sunroom, and I hear her voice, “Austin!!!!!!”  I cringe just a little, then I pick up the phone.  Yeah, I know what I have to do.  “Becks?  What did he do now?!”  “Katie, he’s throwing poop over the fence into the pool!  And we’re IN THE POOL!” This is bad.  This is really bad.  “Oh no!  He was just in the sandbox two seconds ago.  I’ll go get him.  But Rebecca, you still love me, right?”  Rebecca sighed the largest sigh I think she’s ever sighed.  “Yes, Princess, I still love you.  Now get your kid to quit throwing poop!”  I swear, I was living in the circus.

Now if you still don’t feel like I deserve the mother of the year award, let me tell you one final story.  We lived in this sweet little neighborhood for 3 exhausting, yet blissful years, and over those years we ladies continued to get together as often as we could.  And each of us was assigned something to bring to our backyard get togethers.  This time I was assigned jello shots…I’m not a very good cook, and they all figured this was something I couldn’t mess up.  They were right….sort of…  I made about 2 dozen jello shots, put them on the top shelf of my refrigerator, and went upstairs to get ready.  It was late afternoon.  My other 2 kids were home from school, and all 3 were playing together.  What could possibly go wrong?  Why do I ever ask that?!  I don’t even know how long I was up there when I hear this giggle.  It’s loud, high pitched, and doesn’t seem to be stopping.  I get to the bottom of the stairs and see Austin running in circles through my dining room and kitchen.  My heart lurches into my stomach.  This is exactly how I act when I’m drunk.  Surely not.  No no no no no!!!!!  I race to my fridge and fling the door open.  “Look Mommy!  You made tiny jellos just my size!”  I peek down into the jello cups as my brain is saying, “This is the mother fail to top all mother fails.”  Sure enough, he has scooped out the center of 3 jello shots.  Don’t panic.  It wasn’t poison.  Give the boy some water, a cracker, ANYTHING.  I put on my best calming face, and turn to face my drunk toddler just as he pukes at my feet.  That’s right boys and girls, all that jello just swimming around my feet.  “Well at least you got it out of your system.”  I cried and carried around guilt over that one for a long time.  Why hadn’t I anticipated that?!  But then I got older, and I learned not to beat myself up.

Austin is 12 now, an honors student, and a pretty sweet kid.  I survived streaking, poop throwing, Batman, and one crazy drunken afternoon.  Rebecca and I are still best friends.  In fact, her daughter and Austin text and snapchat now.  It’s really adorable.  Momming isn’t easy.  It’s messy, exhausting, and sometimes we fail.  But if we survive, it is all worth it.  Now when I look at my kids all grown up I miss the squeaky little laughs, the handprints on the walls, and taking Spider Man to the grocery store.  Let them be little.  I promise you both will survive.

Onions and Other High School Smells

Well, I was all set to write a sweet little coming of age story about my oldest son Jackson, when a smell so rank and foul came over my classroom, that it warranted being documented for life.  You see, I work in a high school as the In School Suspension Coordinator.  And while this surprises many, I really love my job.  I meet some really great kids who just need a little redirection.  But today?  Well my students need a little more than redirection.  They need a bar of soap, a clean, unfunkified shirt, and prescription strength deodorant.  Heck, they can rub some breath mints under  their arms for good measure! 

Now I understand that teenaged boys sweat.  Heck, some of them even pour.  When Jackson first became hormonal his funk was so bad we nicknamed him “Onion”, and then went to the nearest drugstore and bought him the strongest deodorant money can buy.  I didn’t care if it had a caution label that said, “Caution.  Might melt your skin off.”  “Wear it boy!  Put it on now!  And here’s an extra for your backpack.  Put it on after lunch.  Your friends will thank you.”  He looked at me like I needed to tuck my crazy back in, but he took the bag, and did as instructed.  And we kindly stopped calling him Onion.  In fact, he told me now ladies tell him he smells good.  Long way from our Onion days!

Ok, now back to the current state of my room.  Let me start by saying that a counselor walked into my room, gasped, and threw her hand over her nose like she had just walked into a dung filled barn.  “Ummm….your eyes are watering.  Are you ok?”  She coughs, jumps back a bit and hollers over her shoulder, “I’ll just text you!”  “Yeah, you suck!  I am trapped in this room enveloped in the warm embrace of 15 year old body odor.  But have a good day.  I love you too!”  I hear her heels click clacking at a pretty steady pace.  I think she is actually running from my room!!!!

But you know…why just have a little body odor burning your nose hairs?  That really doesn’t make your day special enough.  Oh no!  Let’s throw in rotten milk, cafeteria pizza, and VOMIT!  That’s right folks.  I got to escape my little smelly hole and walk these sweet boys to the cafeteria.  In case any of you have forgotten the smell of a school cafeteria,  it’s awful.  It kinda makes you want to throw up in your mouth a little.  But no matter, at least I’m not locked up with BO.  So my little angels grab their lunches.  We have greasy fries smothered in ketchup.  (Ok.  I’m on a diet, and they actually smell pretty good.  But don’t worry.  I didn’t eat any!  So nobody text me and tell me I suck at staying faithful to eating clean.  Uh hummmm….Paige!)  And then there is the smell of the rubbery pizza that has pepperonis on it that look like they have been in the back since I was in high school.  No matter…it’s just the smell of school pizza and fries.  It at least masks the foul boy funk…sort of.  Oh but wait!  What’s that kid doing?  What is that animal like noise coming from his body.  Oh Lord, he’s about to puke.  NOOOOOOOOOO!  “Don’t you do it!  Get up!  Get up!  I can’t see, smell or hear puke.  I will fall out right here, and throw up too.  Get out!  Go!  Go! Grab that trashcan and run!”  But he’s a teenaged boy.  Why admit weakness, and get up?  Instead, let’s sniff the rotten milk some more,  dry heave a little, and THEN run towards the door, straight past my desk.  Now that sounds like so much more fun!  And when you get in  the hall, can you be a lamb and stand literally inches from my door so I can hear the vomit slap into the garbage bag?  Maybe we’ll get lucky and some will splash onto my window.  It will be just the decorative touch I was looking for!  And if you don’t mind, can you make sure some lands on the floor of my entry way so that I can smell it ALL DAY LONG?  I just really think that would be special.  What?  You’re already one step ahead of me?  Well aren’t you just precious.  Oh wait….the Lord is sending an angel down the hall.  Wait!  There are two of them.  One is clad is scrubs, and gets paid to hold people’s hair back.  Yes yes yes!  It’s the school nurse.  Bless her soul.  And who is that?  Now this angle is much larger, he seems to fill a door way, and what’s that with him?  Its a trashcan!  This sweet sweet custodian has come to take away the vomit AND the rotten milk.  I think I may have a new bestie! 

Ok, life can get back to normal.  Crap….my room still smells like BO.  “Be cool.  You’ll get used to it.”  And you know what?  I might have if the kid didn’t stand up and start turning around in circles like a dog chasing it’s own tail.  “What are you doing?!”  “I’m looking for my headphones.  I just had them.  Do you see them hanging out of my pocket?  Come help me find them.”  Uh uh…That’s aint happenin buddy boy, and I don’t care if you ever find those headphones!  Just stop dancing.  PLEASE.  Because your funk is whippin through this room like a tornado across a Midwestern dust bowl, and I can’t take it! 

Well the bell was merciful, and rang just as my skin began to take on a green color, and I thought my body might be melting from the stench.  He ran past me one final time, leaving me with his signature scent as a parting gift.  So for the love of Jiminy Cricket….from one mama to another.  If you have a child that cooks onions under his or her armpits????  Buy him some deodorant!  Time to go spray some aerosol room spray.  I figure if I’m choking, at least then I can’t smell it!

Good Morning Charlie

So the story goes like this…My name is Katie, and for 18 years my children called me Mom.  Pretty normal, right?  Then one day my then 15 year old son comes to my bedroom doorway and says, “Hey Charlie, we’re out of milk.  Can you pick some up?”  “Who???  Who in the world is Charlie?!”  Jackson just grinned from ear to ear.  “It’s you.  You’re Charlie.”  I was annoyed.  I’ve always been Mom, and I wasn’t keen on changing my name because some 15 year old was going through a phase!  And I told him as much!  That was dumb on my part.  Never tell your son that his idea of a joke annoys you.  For weeks after I was affectionately called Charlie, followed up by a little giggle and a devious grin.  

Whatever, it’s only one kid.  It’s not like all three kids are calling me Charlie.  It’s fine.  Yeah right!  My phone rings.  It’s my baby calling me from college.  “Hi Paigie!”  “Hey Charlie!  What’s up?!”  Oh.  My.  Gosh!  “You too?!”  She laughed.  “Mom, it’s hilarious!  Seriously, laugh a little.”  Sigh…I keep telling myself the novelty will wear off.  They can’t possibly think they are going to call me this forever!  Can they?!

Fast forward a month or so…Yes, I’m still Charlie! *rolling my eyes*  My husband and I take a road trip to go house hunting.  I get a text from my sweet Paigie.  (Remember, she is 18 and away at college.  My life stops when she reaches out.  I miss her desperately.)  I hear her text tone, and I dash across the hotel room.  Yeah, I’m a little dramatic.  You’ll get used to it.  But her text isn’t the normal “Hi.  Just letting you know I’m alive”, or the ever so popular, “I miss you.  Adulting is hard.”  Nope.  This one is different.  “Hi Mom!  Can you send me a picture of your ID?  I want to show my friend how much our IDs look alike.”  Now ya’ll, Paige is my mini me.  People stop us in the street to tell us we look alike.  But why in the world does she need my ID photo in order to prove we look alike?  Hmmmm…I really don’t have time to ask questions.  I need to move on to the important stuff like, “Are you eating anything besides Panda Express?  And are you still coming home to see me in two weeks?”  So I reluctantly text her a pic of my ID with my thumb covering all the pertinent information.  Her response?  “Ugh, your thumb is covering all your information!”  What?  What does my info have to do with how much our faces look alike.  Something is fishy, and I intend to find out what it is!!!  

While I’m trying to climb inside my daughter’s sneaky little brain, my phone rings.  This time it’s Jackson.  “Mom, I need you to promise you won’t get mad.  At Paige…Ok, and me too.”  “WHAT DID YOU DO?!”  “Promise Mom, or we can’t have this conversation.”  I’m 600 miles away from my two youngest children, and another 200 miles from my eldest.  HOW have they managed to work in cohoots, across state lines, and create enough fuss to warrant an ID check, texts, and a phone call?  And wait a minute…Jackson just called me Mom.  Don’t panic.  It doesn’t have to be bad just because he didn’t use that annoying nickname, Charlie.  It’s all ok.  Breathe!!!!  I very calmly whisper into the phone, “What did you guys do?”  “We might have changed your Facebook name to Charlie, and now we can’t unchange it.  We didn’t know Facebook had rules about  that stuff!  I swear!  Now please send us a proper photo of your ID.  None of Paige’s friends care that you look alike, but your friends are going to be calling you Charlie forever if you don’t help us fix this.”  SERIOUSLY????????????  Well folks, you CAN change your Facebook name, but not instantly.  Oh no, that takes time.  Enough time to lay your weary head on your pillow, and wake up the next morning to more FB notifications than you have ever had in your life!  “Morning Chuck!  How’s it going?”  “Your kids are awesome Charlie.  Totally hilarious.”  “You always looked like a Charlie to me.  I’m glad you’re embracing who you really are.”  Oh yeah….I was laughing alright.  Ha friggin ha!

It was weird though.  Paige clung to that nickname like a fat kid clings to a brownie batter bowl.  She loves it, and it began to grow on me.  My friends now call me Charlie from time to time.  And sadly Jackson has abandoned the name.  “What’s the fun of calling you Charlie if you like it?”  My kids never stop making me laugh.  (Ok, I’m usually annoyed and a little shouty first.)  So cheers to Charlie, shenanigans, and the craziness of raising silly kids!

Hello world!

For years I’ve wanted to blog.  You know, really talk to the world, especially since when I’m talking at home, my kids and husband seem only to hear every third word!  This blog will be fun, light hearted, and honest.  I will open up about sending a kid to college, caddy baseball moms, 6 AM wrestling tournaments, and all of life’s crazy in between moments.  And yes, there will be times when I just simply will tell you Bless Your Heart, and we’ll keep right on truckin!  I can’t wait to put my sarcasm, dismay, and general life observations on the page.  Come join me.  Let’s laugh together, occasionally cry together, and talk about this crazy life we are all trying to figure out.

-Katie