Category Archives: Her Royal Mommy-Ness

The SUPA-glam life of a writer {waitressing, carpools & FOR THE LOVE, CAN WE QUIT WITH THE CUTE, MATCH-Y SOCKS ALREADY?}

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I have SEVEN–yeah, S-E-V-E-N–carpool pickup and drop-off times today. Five kids, three different schools not to mention trips to and from the dance studio. You know, JUST YOUR AVERAGE DAY.

Did I mention I also waitress two nights a week? Oh, yes, I pour a mean bottle of Greek wine. Would you like hummus with that?

I actually love being a server.

I like the noise and the hustle-bustle of a busy night, chatting with the regulars, laughing with my coworkers. Also, being a server is pretty much like getting paid for what I already do at home: feeding hungry mouths, chatting non-stop and making peoples happy. Doesn’t get much better than that.

I mean, sometimes there are Difficult Customers but I’ve found most problems can be solved with a genuine smile, a gentle voice and good, old-fashioned effort. 

The funny thing is, I get my best writing ideas when I’m not Focusing.On.Writing. Several key insights in my book came to me literally in THE MIDDLE of a shift at the restaurant. I scurried into the kitchen and jotted the ideas down in my servers notepad. Then I tucked it away in my purse and went back to my customers.

I used to wish I had All Kinds of Time dedicated to writing. I used to compare myself to Big Time novelists who had writing cottages and writing cabins and took long “Writer’s Retreats” to write.

I don’t have that luxury or privilege. I write from the trenches. I write in the margins and liminal spaces of my life. I carry notebooks everywhere I go, make audio messages for myself on my iPhone, scribble ideas in my little day-planner (YES I LIKE PAPER PLANNERS WHAT OF IT?). I’m constantly trailing bits and pieces of paper, sticky notes, scribbled-on envelopes.

My writing process is messy and in-between-all-the-betweens.

And somehow, that’s OK. I’ve come to realize that I’m ALWAYS writing–even when I’m NOT. I work at writing by not working at it. Does that make sense?

In fact, when I TRY to sit down and WRITE FOR REALS, I get stuck. I get bored. Distracted. I can only sit still for two hours before going out of my mind. I have to move. Walk. Do Other Things.

Like laundry.

I’m not kidding.

More writers should love laundry. I’m serious. I turn on NPR “Fresh Air” or “All Things Considered” or “The TED Hour” and I fold laundry. I can’t tell how you HOW MANY ideas have come to me while folding laundry.

Yesterday, I did like 80 million loads of laundry. Or something like that. I lost track after 50 million, if you MUST KNOW. Apparently, the five children require clean underwear and socks everyday WHO KNEW?

Speaking of socks, I feel a MASSIVE TANGENT COMING ON: Does anyone else HATE matching socks? OK, good. For reals. WHAT THE HECK PEOPLE WHO MAKE SOCKS. Can’t we just have White-One-Size-Fits-All Socks??

But no. We must have Cute Socks. We must have “Day of the Week” socks that require MATCHING days. Because you can’t wear a THURSDAY sock on the left foot and a Sunday sock on the right foot because ALL THE WORLD WILL END if we don’t wear two Thursday socks. On a Thursday.

Real conversation:

Me: “Jorie, at least these are TWO THURSDAY socks. They are matching! Yay!”

Jorie: “But it’s not Thursday.”

Me: “Well, it’s gonna be Thursday tomorrow so just pretend. Can we pretend? Can we? CAN WE PRETEND OMG???”

Jorie: “No.”

Jasiel (chiming in): “Jorie. Put on the socks. See? I wear mismatchy socks because I’m ALL FOR Fashion.”

Me: “Fashion! Yes! This is TOTALLY about fashion.”

Jorie: “No. I caaaaan’t!”

Cue weeping and wailing.

This is when I pull out the “when I was a little girl” card.

Me: “This is not the end of the world, Jorie, wearing mismatched socks. Is NOT. The End. I should know. I LITERALLY lived at the end of the world. Is it 1988? No. It is not. Is the Anti-Christ coming to arrest your parents? NO! SO PUT ON THE MISMATCHED SOCKS.”

Jorie: “Ok, but can I climb into the Sock Bin and just see if there’s matching socks? One more time?”

 

You know you have a lot of kids when you have a SOCK BIN. Not a sock drawer. A BIN. A veritable Mount McSockery that the children can actually CLIMB.

Me: “Yes, go climb Mount McSockery. But I’m only giving you three minutes and if you can’t find matching socks then you are wearing the Thursday socks. Today. On Wednesday.”

And that, my friends, is my life.

Now, please go buy my book because IF YOU WANT ME TO WRITE A SECOND BOOK, Imma need to hire some help again. I need YOU. And I need you to tell all your friends. Because I don’t have $200,000 like Mark Driscoll to BUY MY WAY onto the NYT bestseller list, mwah-ha-ha. But I have socks. I have THURSDAY SOCKS!!!!! YIPEEEEE.

The Girl at the End of the World

 

When was the last time you felt loved?

Today. 12:35pm. I’m lying sick in bed with a head cold and my twins are loving me by bringing helpful things like a broken doll’s head, a sticky penny and a picture that says (roughly translated from the text below): “Mom, you forgot to finish the story, Mom.”

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She’s right. Last week, I was telling them a story about twins who were lost in the woods–and I said I would finish it the next day. But I never did. I’m thankful for sick days and letting my children love me. And for reminders to finish the story.

Tell me: when was the last time YOU felt loved?

$120 million dollar uterus

photoI am done having babies and this reality is making me crabby. Every time I see a baby–which is EVERY SINGLE DAY, OMG, WHERE DID ALL THE BABIES COME FROM??—my uterus aches. A baby cried in Mass this morning and I thought my breasts were gonna leak milk. It was sorta like when you leave your iPhone at home but you feel those “phantom-vibrations” in your pocket anyway? I was having a “phantom-let down” right there in Mass and suddenly I was that weird old lady cranking her body around to smile at the young mom and whisper really loud: “OH, HONEY, JUST ENJOY EVERY SINGLE MINUTE, OK?? THEY GROW UP SO FAST.”

This is called Empty Uterus Syndrome. It is also called Approaching Mid-Life. It is also called I AM TURNING 37 SOON WHICH IS THE SAME AS SAYING I’M 40.

Clearly, I need a new project.

To ease my aching uterus, I began watching how-to videos on YouTube for things I will never do. Like build a cornice board. Upholster a headboard. Sew a swag. #YOLOSWAG, as the young people would say.

I’m not wasting my old age, friends. I’m learning new words. Example: jabot. Pronounced: JAA-BOW. You’re welcome. What is a JAA-BOW? Pretty much it’s a fancy word for ruffles. Or, as it pertains to curtains, precisely FOLDED pleat-thingies.

I also now understand the difference between a waterfall valance, a balloon valance and a scallop valance. BECAUSE IMPORTANT. If my YouTube history is any indication, apparently I am studying to be a seamstress. My long-abandoned sewing machine is laughing at me right now.

Another radical distraction of mine is to attempt Appreciating Football. I don’t like this sport. I find it barbaric and inhumane and cultish. BUT. My husband expresses his emotions primarily through football analogies and since I don’t even understand the most basic lingo, I’m trying to LEARN SOMETHING about stupid football.

Here’s what I’ve learned: “sacking a quarterback” means smashing a guy to the ground. I got very interested in this “sacking” thing and started researching it. I discovered Brett Favre received a record 525 sacks in his career. Last week he talked about how this has negatively affected his memory. For example, he did not even remember his daughter played soccer. Whoops. I’m trying to learn to APPRECIATE football and instead I’m just confirming my old prejudices; ie. football is barbaric, inhumane and speaking of money: DID YOU KNOW THIS ONE GUY –a Joe Flacco–signed a $120 million contract for 6 years with the Ravens???? Yeah. $120 million.

My uterus just exploded with jealousy because–because WHAT IF I got paid a million bucks every time I “made a touchdown” by delivering a healthy baby? I know, I know. But a uterus can dream, can’t she?

One more update: remember how I wanted chickens? Well, good thing I didn’t get chickens. Because that would have been a lot of WORK and I’ve discovered I prefer sitting here on my ever-expanding booty, watching YouTube videos about sewing drapery swags. You only live once, people. #YOLOSWAG.

 

When there are no more babies….

Messy, happy babies

Messy, happy babies

Even from the youngest age, I wanted to be a mother. Or a pediatric nurse. I loved babies. I loved nurturing. I made elaborate, cozy nests for my stuffed animals, played with my baby dolls for hours.

I dreamed of having at least six children–my favorite number was 8: Mommy + Daddy + 6 babies.

I intuitively knew how to tuck in deep to a baby’s heart and imprint that little soul with love. I still do. Which is why, I guess, I burst into tears the other day.

I found a baby sock under some furniture and it was a jarring reminder that I don’t have babies anymore.

There are no more Littles for me to rock to sleep, to breastfeed, to nurture…..They are all growing up–my youngest are five, now. My oldest, fourteen. That stage of my life is over. I can feel the childbearing years ending, the season of my life changing.

I don’t mind growing older, necessarily. I don’t mind surrendering to the natural course of life. After all, it was exhausting raising all those littles. I got PPD and whacked-out menstrual cycles. My immune system went down and I caught every cold and virus that came within 20 feet of my house.

I’m much healthier now. I have my body back. I’m strong and fit. But still, I’ll never be “done” with children. I am a born nurturer. And inspirer. Sometimes it seems like the world doesn’t really want or need a nurturer. I mean, can you make a living being a nurturer? I have all these nurturing skills and these writing skills and somehow, I’m not sure how to bring them together…..

So, I just volunteer wherever there’s room for me. I help in the twins’ kindergarten classroom. I teach a Sunday School class. I lector at Mass (because reading the Word aloud nurturers the soul of the listener). I hold writing workshops for kids at my dining room table.

Maybe I’m just feeling lost because I’m done having babies and I finished writing a book and I need a new project? HEY! Maybe I could be a “lifecoach” and nurture YOU?!

I don’t know.

Do I just rest (I hate resting!)? Do I just wait it out (I hate waiting!)? Do I go back to school and become a nurse (but I’m horrible at math–at least, I think I am!)? I guess I could pray about this. There’s a thought!

Housecleaning my soul

photoIt’s been a few days since I journaled and my internal alarm system is blaring. Something is building up inside me and I need to slow down, check in, listen to what my still, small voice is trying to tell me.

I make myself a strong cup of coffee and settle down with pen and paper. Journaling is my meditation. It helps me go inward. When I journal, I don’t think. I just start writing wherever I’m at and write my way to insight. Sometimes it takes a full page, sometimes several. Usually, I have some pre-cleaning to do. My soul gets cluttered with emotional post-it notes, an assortment of mismatched feelings, a thin layer of memory dust.

I have to write through all of that, sort of like cleaning house. I have to pull up the old carpet, remove all the tacks and staples, sweep everything clean. It’s not until the floors are swept and the wood polished that the gleaming insight reveals itself. 

Today it wasn’t until page three that the idea I was looking for surfaced and spilled itself onto my page.

I sat there for a moment in the still morning quiet and sipped my coffee. I let the insight sink in. I waited for the yes and amen of my spirit.

As I’ve read your stories and thoughts over the past couple regarding our relationship with food and feeling fat, I’ve struggled to understand what is driving my self-loathing. I mean, I know where my self-hatred comes from. But I don’t know how to change it, how to heal it.

I’ve tried cutting myself off. Deprivation only makes the desire stronger. I’ve tried fasting and cleansing and confessing. For me, this leads to self-rejection and deeper feelings of shame. And then I end up falling off the wagon with a huge crash, gobbling up junk food in the parking lot of Taco Bell.

So often I function from a place of scarcity, greedily snarfing up any leftover crumbs because I’m convinced the full meal isn’t coming my way. My default mode is to operate from fear–to believe that time is running short, the end is near and there’s not enough to go around.

Today, I think I may have found something different.

Healing and recovery isn’t about cutting myself off.
Lasting change happens in small steps.

If I feed myself well, I won’t be tempted to eat junk.

When I am fed and satisfied with good things, the Cool Ranch Doritos just aren’t appealing. It’s when I wait until I’m hungry! Starved! Stressed! that I reach for the quick-fix.

And this isn’t just about food. It’s about my spiritual and emotional health as well. So often I’ll just dive in headfirst, make 110% commitments, go whole-hog, gung-ho and then wonder why I’m feeling stressed, starved for love and reaching for the quick-emotional-fix.

This is a whole new way of living for me. It’s gonna take some practice. I simply don’t know how to slow down, listen in, exercise moderation. But I’ll start by making a list of Good Things To Feed My Soul. Here’s my list so far:

  1. Journaling
  2. Gratitude list
  3. Writing encouraging notes
  4. Teaching faith formation classes to kids
  5. Teaching writing classes
  6. Eucharistic adoration
  7. Lectoring at Mass
  8. Reading aloud to my children
  9. Reading a good book
  10. Baking cookies
  11. Helping my children pursue their dreams (Jewel will be performing a ballet solo this year!)
  12. Tending my roses
  13. Walking my dogs
  14. Making soup
  15. Decorating for the holidays and seasons
  16. Memorizing poetry
  17. Listening to classical music
  18. Contributing to neighborhood get togethers
  19. Participating in book clubs
  20. Volunteer work
  21. Visiting the sick

How about you? What Good Things fill up YOUR soul? 

When I look in the mirror, I see a fat girl

But this is what the camera sees:

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The thing is, I can look at this picture and understand that what I see (fat girl) doesn’t match up with reality (not fat girl).

But so what? KNOWING THAT in my mind does NOTHING to change how I feel about my body.

Yesterday, one of my friends Voxed me and was like: “Whhhhyyyy are you doing this Paleo???”

And so I thought about that.

And here’s why: I feel ugly and fat unless I can fit into this size 2 dress:

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Looking at these two pictures together, though, maybe I’m the only one who can see the difference? In other words, the girl in the first pic is not as OUTRAGEOUSLY FAT as I imagine
her to be?

I’ve never had an eating disorder, PER SE, but one thing has always remained: I always feel fat. I always feel not good enough.

And there is the core issue: I’m Not Good Enough. 

So, if I’m going to be extremely honest, here: I’m “dieting” not because I want to be healthy. I’m dieting because I want to be skinny again. Skinnier than size 2. I want people to say: “Wow, you’re so skinny!” Oh, god. Let me just be 100% honest: I want to disappear. I want to be waif-y. Because somehow, when I look in the mirror, being skinny makes me Feel Like A Good Person.

There it is.
Excuse me for a moment while I bawl my eyes out.
*LOUD SOBBING NOISES*

OK, I’m back.

I’ve done enough therapy and recovery work to know where this comes from. MY CHILDHOOD. Of course it does. Godly women were tiny, weak and very quiet. And I was never, ever tiny enough. 

In my church, a diet trend would sweep among us like a flu epidemic. Dieting was the new holiness. If you were “on fire for God,” then you were earnest about fasting and doing juice cleanses and–especially if you were a woman, you tried to fast yourself down to a size zero; which is pretty much the same as saying you whittled yourself down to invisibility. 

Here’s the thing I never learned: moderation.

I mean, you never just ate this way 80% of the time. You went cold turkey.
All in.
You gave 110%.
You cut yourself off.
IF YOUR RIGHT HAND OFFENDS YOU, CUT IT OFF!!!

Pretty much you attacked everything in life this way.
There was no such thing as pacing or moderation.
“Burning out for Jesus” was a virtue!

Alright, so. Here I am. Day 3. Gluten-free/Paleo. I *do* need to lose a few pounds just so I can fit back into my regular jeans. BUT. I don’t need to be ALL FUNDAMENTALIST about it, do I? No, I don’t. I can be gentle with myself. I can ease back a bit. I can have some frozen yogurt at night.

Most of all, I will LOVE MYSELF just as I am right now. I will not WAIT until some point in the future to love myself. I can accept and cherish my body with all it’s stretch marks and kinks and “imperfections” right NOW.

Because here’s the dirty secret: even when I was a size 2 and the “skinniest” I’d been since highschool? I STILL FELT FAT. Also? I wasn’t any happier than I am today.

All Together Now: I am beautiful. I am lovely. I am perfect just the WEIGHT I am.

Mama needed a new project so she was gonna get some chickens but….

I finished my book and collapsed on the couch with a jar of cookie butter and this thing called Pinterest. Yes, I have only JUST NOW discovered Pinterest and THANK GOD for that because my time management skills don’t need any further distractions. But now that I HAVE discovered Pinterest? WATCH OUT WORLD. Or, rather: Watch out, husband. Because I haz plans. Witness: CHICKEN COOPS!

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Matt is not amused. “I’m not building that,” he says.

Me: “But we eat so many eggs! Who doesn’t want to eat fresh eggs from their own chickens?”

Matt: “Me, that’s who.”

Me: “Well, I’m also thinking of planting a vegetable garden.”

Matt (wearily): “You mean, you’re thinking of having ME plant a vegetable garden.”

Me: “Wellllll…..”

Matt: “Could you find a project you’re not gonna lose interest in after five minutes?”

Me: “OK!”

So, I went back to Pinterest. And started getting ALL INSPIRED by bedrooms.

NOTE: Since moving into this house 5.5 years ago, we have never lived in the Master Bedroom. We took the smallest room downstairs so the kids could be all upstairs together. The boys had the master bedroom upstairs. And then Matt’s little sister lived with us for almost 2 years and she took the master. She just moved out this past weekend.

So, as I’m scrolling through Pinterest I have this BLINDING revelation: I finished a book! I’ve had five kids! I’m very, very proud of myself and I’m going to treat myself like the accomplished adult that I am and REMODEL THE MASTER BEDROOM!!!

Finally, at long last, for the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE I will decorate my own room the WAY I WANT. We always rented homes as a kid and we moved so much and I often shared rooms with other people and then I had lots of kids one after another and there wasn’t time for things like decorating my bedroom so…..OMG! OMG! I am a real grown-up now!

WITNESS: MASTER BEDROOM REMODEL IDEAS!!

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Apparently I think I’m Marie Antoinette.

Or Queen Elizabeth Esther, ha ha.

EE Bedroom Ideas

EE Bedroom Ideas

When I showed these ideas to Matt, he was just relieved I’d given up on the whole chicken coop idea and didn’t seem to notice the RUFFLES. Plus, FRILLS. Plus, More Ruffles.

“See, honey? LOOK!” I said. “We already have this French-County-ish white bed. All we have to do is… paint all the walls, wallpaper an accent wall, get new window treatments, maybe buy a bedside table. No big, right honnneyyy?”

And Matt saw that it was good.
Did I mention he’s super handy?
I can literally say: “Here! MAKE THIS!”
And he can.

Being that I’m The Inspirer and not The To-Doer, Matt created a to-do list for me. Because otherwise, I would go flapping around a DIY store, getting all distracted with light fixtures! Carpet samples and I’m not even buying carpet! Yes, I am an ENFP and I rarely stay on-task in stores.

So, Matt kindly gave me a simple job. Find wallpaper. Here are some ideas I liked from Pinterest:

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I went to Lowe’s and spent an hour flipping through ginormous wallpaper books–most of the wallpaper was discontinued or discounted because APPARENTLY PEOPLE DON’T LIKE TRADITIONAL WALLPAPER ANYMORE. All the more for me, mwah-ha-ha. I found this. On sale–WOOT!

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 And then I had one more idea.
Because one remodeling idea begets another as these THINGS ARE WONT TO DO.

SCENE: THE NEXT MORNING.

Me: “Matt? Could we maybe pull up the carpet and see if there is wood floor underneath?”

Matt: “That’s more work.”

Me: “Too much more work?”

Matt: Silence.

Me: “Hello?”

Matt: “I’m thinking.”

Me: “Oh, right. I forgot you don’t verbally process things like I do. I was about to take your silence all personally.”

Matt: Silence.

Me: “Alright, you keep on thinking while I run the older kids to school, k?”

Matt: One nod of the head.

I drive the kids to school. When I get home? OLD CARPET IS ROLLED UP OUTSIDE MY HOUSE.

I run inside, pound up the stairs yelling: MATT! MATT! OMG! MATT! MATT!!!!!!! (Yes, I get excited and I get loud).

One of the twins meets in the hall. “Close your eyes!” she says. “It’s a surprise!”

I close my eyes and she leads me down the hall. YOU GUYS. Under the carpet? 54 year old, original oak flooring. IN BEAUTIFUL CONDITION.

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I could not believe it! Matt pulled up that carpet in twenty minutes!
He stood in the corner grinning at me while the twins danced around.

“See, Mommy? It’s a Ballet Studio!”

I have been smiling for three hours straight.
Let them eat cake!
On the bedroom floor!

I am not kind to my tired body… {a tiny EE podcast!}

I’ve been looking for ways to make my online sharing more authentic, real and human. I love the spoken word. I love reading stories and poems and essays aloud. My dream is to create an EE Podcast…maybe with guests? A sort of online talk-show? But I want to hear from you–would you be interested in an EE Podcast? Or would you prefer I just stick with blogging???

Anyway, I was tinkering around with a microphone app today and discovered I could record a tiny EE podcast, upload the link and share it with you! Here is a brief reflection (just one minute) about a simple insight I had. I hope it encourages you.  Let me know what you think of my new idea, k?! Click the link below to listen! :)

EE Podcast #1: Going to bed when tired

Respite

A brief respite from fear
Of total neutrality. With luck,
Trekking stubborn through this season
Of fatigue, I shall
Patch together a content

Of sorts. Miracles occur,
If you care to call those spasmodic
Tricks of radiance miracles.
The wait’s begun again,
The long wait for the angel,
For that rare, random descent.

Black Rook in Rainy Weather, Sylvia Plath

I am taking a respite.
I’ve been trekking stubborn through a long season of fatigue.
I’ve been working on my book for 15 months now and I’m exhausted.
The book is good. So very, very good.
But it’s time for me to take a full-stop rest before I finish.
No Internet, no email, no texting, no blogging, no writing.
I’ll be back at the end of June, hopefully.
Take good care of yourselves, ok?
XO, EE.

COMMENTS OFF

Doe-a-deer has a puh-china

My five year-old twins learned a new word from a friend. Puh-china. They had many thoughts on this word: what it is, where it is and also, that one time? When they fell? On their bike? They hurt-ed their puh-china. They were deeply amused when I offered the proper pronunciation.

“Vuh? Like van?” they crowed, cracking up in hysterics. “Nooooo, Mommmy! LIKE YOU EVEN KNOW!”

“I didn’t learn that word until 4th grade,” my 8th grader drolly remarked.

My how times have changed. Oh, for the days of yore when the most scandalous word my little kids said was the “s” word; you know, stupid. It’s funny with a big family because younger siblings seem to grow up so much faster than the older ones. I don’t know what it is, exactly, but when the twins busted onto the scene they stole the show. And our dignity.

Time was, we sent out annual Christmas cards and enrolled our kids in All The Proper Activities. We did Mommy n’ Me and weekly library trips and flirted dangerously with that thing called cotillion—which, I later realized was just a fancy way of saying “table manners.”

But the twins’ arrival in our lives heralded a new season. Or, rather, became a harbinger of doom for our highly Orange-County-ified parenting egos. It was a necessary death, I can see that now.

Still, it was a slow, death-by-a-million-little-embarrassing moments—like when your twins start shouting PUH-CHINA! in Trader Joe’s at four-fifteen in the afternoon while all the Responsible Parents are picking up their gluten-free kale and raw quinoa for a properly whole-paycheck dinner, followed by a side of cotillion no doubt.

NOT THAT I’M COMPARING MYSELF.

Actually, comparison was the first thing to die. Mainly, out of sheer exhaustion. Something had to give and, frankly, I just couldn’t worry about what other parents thought of me anymore. Not even when I got passive-aggressive mass emails from Room Parents wanting to know if Those Parents Who Haven’t Volunteered Yet could be troubled to bring in a container of disinfectant wipes and, p.s. teacher’s gift money is past due! #SaveOurSchools #ForOurKidsSake

When I was feeling particularly undignified, I bolstered myself with poetry, particularly the words of Elizabeth Bishop whose poem, One Art, is about love lost but never mind that. I appropriated it to my own means: dignity lost. Because “the art of losing isn’t hard to master;/ so many things seem filled with the intent/ to be lost that their loss is no disaster.”

It’s no disaster I began repeating to myself in grocery aisles, in church pews, in the company of parents with 2.5 children.

And you know what? It’s really not. It’s really not a disaster when one of your twins—the melodramatic one—throws herself upon the floor of Peet’s Coffee and wails about wanting a MABLE-NUT-CONE!

Because she’s absolutely right: maple-nut scones are delicious and as you scoop her up and waltz out of the coffee shop you can whisper in her ear that yes, life is terribly unfair but it’s also bursting full of wonderful things like free sunshine, raindrops on roses. And whiskers on kittens! BRIGHT COPPER KETTLES AND WARM WOOLEN MITTENS!

This is the second lesson in mastering disaster: you really must break into song because children are easily distracted by the sound of music. Indeed, the way I see it, the butcher’s case at Albertsons is aliiiiiiive with the sound of doe a deer, a female deer.

Granted, your middle-schoolers might skedaddle to the produce section while you yodel through the meat department but your little ones will gape at you with shining eyes. Your heart will suddenly explode with the unabashed epiphany that nobody—not nobody, Mama!—can be The Best Parent to your child except you.

Yes, you with all your quirky, undiginified ways because in the end, all they really want is you and I’m not sure why it took me five children to figure this out but the Universe works in mysterious ways, so they tell me. And yes, sweetheart, doe-a-dear, a female deer has a puh-china. I think. I don’t know if that’s the official name, use my iPhone to look it up on Wikipedia.

Oh, that’s another dignity loss/disaster. Screen time. When my Big Kids were little, I was all about the limited screen time. The restrictions. The rules. The reading of books before the watching of PBS and educational movies, so help me Rhonda. I was so progressive back then, dammit.

I miss my old, progressive self like I miss my size zero jeans. Which is to say, not at all.

[SIDEBAR: Because what IS a size zero, exactly? Is that like Coke Zero for denim—all pretending to be Diet Coke but with sucky taste and 1,000 calories of self-importance? Last time I checked, being zero wasn’t all that great. Being zero meant being nothing and I’m not nothing, I’m something. In fact, I’m the most important something to my kids, stretchy yoga pants and all. But I digress.]

What I really want you to know is that I had a long, responsible discussion with my twins about puh-chinas. We discussed all the necessary things and I made gallant promises to re-up my classroom volunteerism, master the art of losing my dignity and also, introduce them to quinoa. Who knows? I may even enroll them in cotillion–because CLEARLY we needs some manners up in here.

But when the twins asked me why boys have “lines” coming out of their bodies, I said we can wait until they’re in 4th grade to discuss that. After all, there’s only so much disaster I can master.