Mommy's Juice!: December 2011   

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Work Christmas Party and a Test on the Side of the Road

Thursday night was the hubby’s Christmas party for work.  My husband works for a property management company owned by a very nice woman who LOVES Christmas, and hosts an over the top party at her home each year for the employees.  When we arrived at her house I commented to Travis that it looked just like Clark W. Griswold’s house in Christmas Vacation.  I am certain her neighbors are blinded each night when the lights come on.   Inside isn’t much different, with decorations in every direction you look.  She actually looked a little decorated herself with a short, blue, sequined dress and what I am guessing must be one of the best lifting, padded bras on the market!

Every year she puts together bags of Christmas goodies (including bonus checks!) for each employee.  Before giving the bags out, she does a long speech about the company and how much she appreciates everyone, followed by a 3-5 minute thank you to each employee as she hands them their bags.  We are talking like 25 employees here!  Oh, and quite a few don’t speak English so even more time is wasted on the translation.  By the time we got to Travis’ bag I was already texting the baby sitter to let her know we would be late.

Late we were!  After bags are handed out they start the number game for gifts.  You know, where you can take a gift someone got before you or pick a new one.  So not only did we have to wait for each and every person to open their gifts individually, we had to sit through bargain shopping as they wandered around the room deciding if they wanted to grab someone else’s. 

It was after 11pm when we left.  Driving down the road I turn and notice Travis grabbed a "roadie" which he is drinking beside me.  As I am explaining to him why that is stupid I notice a cop pass me in the opposite lane, leading me to look at my odometer, which I realize states I’m going 11 mph over the 25 mph limit. 

You guessed it, he immediately turned around and the lights started flashing.  As I’m yelling at my husband to hide his beer I know I couldn’t feel more like a teenager unless I had hair an inch off my head and was driving a dented Ford Escort.   

The officer’s first remark was to let me know I was speeding.  Of course I was, I’m paying a baby sitter $15/hour to watch my television set while the kids are sleeping, you’d be speeding too!  Noticing the multitude of tacky gifts we've just received in the car, the officer asks where we are coming from.   Just the word "party" has him sniffing like a bloodhound while I grab my registration.  “It does smell like alcohol, have you all been drinking?”  Well duh, how else was I going to get through 2 hours of gift giving?  “He has,” I reply while pointing at my husband, “it was his party so I figured he should be the one to have the fun.”   In hindsight, if I’d known how long we would be there I would have been taking shots before I left the house.

I was asked to step out of the car and then if I had been drinking too.  Uh-oh!  I know after only two beers I’m not drunk, but would a breathalyzer know that?  I admitted to having a beer an hour earlier (not exactly a lie) and was asked if I’d be willing to take the roadside test.  YIKES!  I have on heels, I can’t be trusted to walk a straight line.  And God knows I can’t say the alphabet backwards.  Luckily the test consisted of my following a light with my eyes as he moved it from side to side.  And yes, I passed with flying colors!

Back in the car he told me he would only be giving me a warning for the speeding ticket and then thanked me for being the designated driver.  I felt like I had just passed my final exams in college.  Might as well celebrate with a cocktail!  Once I get home safely of course.  Be safe out there this holiday!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Mix Tape of Life

I picked up the latest Jodi Picoult novel, Sing You Home, at the library last week.  I usually like her novels.  They aren’t exactly books that you often think back on, but they are usually a good read for the moment.   Sing You Home focuses on the life of a music therapist, but it isn’t the story line that I blog about today, but a segment of the book that I read last night which really got me thinking. 

The music therapist was reflecting on how the music we choose to listen to is a clear reflection of who really are.  By looking at the “mix tape” of a person’s life we can learn more about that person.   “The music we listen to may not define who we are.  But it’s a damn good start.”

Well of course I instantly put the book down and spent the next hour (of which I should have been sleeping) making my own personal mix tape based on favorite songs and songs that strike specific memories.

1.       Oh Holy Night: Johnny Mathis
2.       Dixieland Delight: Alabama
3.       Free Falling: Tom Petty
4.       Children’s Story: Slick Rick
5.       Oh, What a Night: Four Seasons
6.       Three Little Birds: Bob Marley
7.       Strong Enough: Sheryl Crow
8.       Wide Open Spaces: Dixie Chicks
9.       Fins: Jimmy Buffett
10.   She Talks to Angels: Black Crowes
11.   You Never Even Call Me By My Name: David Allen Coe
12.   Black: Pearl Jam
13.   By My Side: Ben Harper
14.   Angels Among Us: Alabama

Assuming the person reading this doesn’t know me, what would you think of me upon looking at this list?  She must be confused?  Suffering from multiple personality disorder?  Bipolar maybe?    This girl has terrible taste?

Once I had the playlist created, I went back in to see why I chose the songs that I did, and determine if an outsider looking in would learn more about who I was by listening to my chosen mix.   Take a look and see if I fit your idea.  You might be surprised, I was.

1.       After a few holiday cocktails, my Dad would play the Johnny Mathis Christmas album over and over and over again every Christmas Eve.  It reminds me of happy nights by the fire, opening the one present we were allowed to open on Christmas Eve and preparing for a sleepless night in anticipation of what Santa might bring.
2.       Riding in Camaro’s, drinking beer and singing at the top of our lungs.  Memories of small town living.
3.       Every time I hear this particular song I think of a big fight my mom and I had in her car.  I was a teenager, soon to be leaving home for college.  When the chorus came on I sang it as loud as I could while she was driving.  Free Falling to me met freedom from my parents and at the time I wanted that more than anything.
4.       Have I had a few drinks?  I must have, because I’m about to start rapping, and I think I’m really good at it.
5.       Dancing at the night club with my girlfriends.  Not a care in the world.
6.       When I was a freshman in college one of our professors asked us to bring in a song that defined us.  At the time this was the song I chose. 
7.       One of those “get me through a break-up” songs for me. 
8.       Time to leave North Carolina and head to Colorado. 
9.       All Jimmy Buffett songs remind me of happy times.  Warm times.  Friends.  The ocean.  Boat drinks.  I can’t think of one negative emotion that can be tied to a Jimmy Buffett song and I love it!  Yes, I am a dork.
10.   I’ve always loved this song and the lyrics.  I’m not sure if it reminds me of myself or if it makes me feel better about myself. 
11.   I think I’ve been drinking again.  Yes, I most certainly have.  And for some reason I have taken the microphone at the local bar karaoke night and am making a complete fool of myself.
12.   I lump this in the same category as #9. 
13.   The first dance song at my wedding.  Exactly how I felt about Travis and still do.
14.   I heard this song recently and it reminded me of what we went through with Trey’s gastroschisis surgery.  The nurses in the NICU, the surgeon, my friends and family.  I’m so very blessed and so very thankful!  

OMG – do I really have two Alabama songs on my playlist of life!  YIKES!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Updates of a Crazy Household

Mr. Chatterbox

Some blogs just deserve an update!  

On this blog I pondered what the first word out of Trey’s mouth would be.  My biggest fear was that poop would inevitably be the one, since we have spent the last few months struggling with potty training our oldest son.  But luckily, that wasn’t the case!

The first word came across his sweet little lips last week and it was (drum roll please!) MA-MA!  That’s right, ma-ma!!!  My husband may try to tell you that a few days before the very clear MA-MA that was said as Trey pointed at me, that he happened to hear a Da-Da.  This is false information.  The child was clearly just da, da, da, da’ing.  These were incoherent sounds that weren’t directed in my husband’s direction whatsoever and therefore do not go down in the non-existent baby book as his first words. 

Now that we have that settled, let’s move on….

Here I have discussed my son’s new love of rock n’ roll that his dad has exposed him too.  Well, I hate to report, this has only gotten worse.  Much worse!  After watching a VH1 Behind the Artists episode featuring Megadeath, my husband decided to hop on Amazon and buy a few albums.  Rock n’ roll is one thing, Megadeath is entirely another.  It’s TERRIBLE, LOUD, OBNOXIOUS and not exactly appropriate listening material for a three-year old.

I was unaware of my husband’s purchase until one morning last week when he was getting the kids together to take them to daycare.  Jackson asks, “Daddy, can we listen to rock n’ roll in the truck,” followed by, “the BAD GUY rock n’ roll!”  When asked what he meant by “bad guy rock n’ roll” I was informed of what was going on.  He now requests the “BAD GUY rock n’ roll” every morning.  What a way to kick off a day of daycare!  God forbid he starts singing Megadeath lyrics to his teachers!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Don't Be Dissing Daycare!

I recently had a meeting with another working mom who has a son around Trey’s age.  As I walked into her office I was greeted with a baby swing, pack n’ play, and toys scattered around the room.  Apparently she had been juggling the baby coming to work with her and staying home with dad for the last eleven months.  This particular day was a daddy day, so we were able to meet without distraction.  I commented on how lucky she was to be able to bring the baby to work with her, although I was actually thinking “what a freaking nightmare!”  She went on about how it had been easy at first but now that the baby was getting older it was hard for her to get anything done when he was with her.  On top of that she sensed that her boss was growing old of distractions the baby brought to the office.  She realized it was time for daycare but felt “so terrible about putting him in daycare at such a young age.”

I actually hear that comment a lot and I must admit, I don’t relate in the slightest.  I’m sure many of you will think less of me when I say this, but, I could not wait for my newborns to start daycare!  I literally was counting down the days with baby #1 who started at three months.  And although I was a little more upset when I took #2 to his first day of daycare at just 10 weeks, I got over it pretty quickly.  You know, like the second I sat down in my car to drive to work and was greeted with the sound of silence.

Maternity leave was difficult for me.  I had grown used to hectic days of multiple meetings and hundreds of emails.  Hectic days of poopy diapers, colic screams and constant feedings replaced those days, along with a feeling of being tied to my house.  Of course I made the occasional trips to the grocery store and walks around the neighborhood.  But with hourly feedings, sporadic naps, and a baby who cried more than he slept, I didn’t make it out much with Jackson.  It wasn’t very different with Trey.  Although he was a “better” baby, he was also a winter baby, so excursions outside in the early weeks were few and far between.

I admire stay at home moms.  I fully comprehend that this is a harder job than the majority of professional out-of-home careers.  For my family this was never an option (thank goodness), we need the two incomes.  However, I also fully appreciate daycare.  Not just as the entity that allows me an outlet from constant “mommyness,” but as the place that has become my boys home away from home, the place where they are making new friends and learning more than I could teach them at home.

These are the things I say to other women who “feel terrible” about having to put their kids in daycare.   How can you feel terrible about encouraging socialization in your children at a young age?  How can you feel terrible taking them to a place that will teach them critical skills for starting school?  A place they begin to look forward to going to because of all the new experiences they encounter every week.   And most importantly, a place that allows you the peace of mind to continue your career, support your family and provide your children with every opportunity possible.

Yes, I admire stay at home moms, and also admire working moms.  Working moms make the sacrifice of sharing their children with others in order to help make ends meet.  Although we know we lose many special moments with our children each day, that knowledge only makes the special moments that we do receive even that much more special.