Dear crank and spank

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One day I might not be here when you read this blog.  One day you might stumble upon this as you are researching your thesis on sarcastic mothers and the damage they do to young children.   One day you might ask why do these people know me?  Know my brother?  And keep calling me the terrible.  One day you might wonder which one of you is crank and which one is spank.  (I’m not telling you).  Anyway, how ever you stumble upon this blog, there are some things I need you to know.  I’m writing this close to your third birthday.  In three long short years, you have grown leaps and bounds. 

You are and will always be my greatest accomplishment.   I will always be proud of you.  I will always be in your corner.  I promise to listen when you talk.  To offer advice, to teach you, to love you more everyday.

I promise when you need me, I will be there.  I will run, swim, crawl to you.  I will always answer your phone calls.  Day or night, no matter where I am, no matter what I’m doing, I will answer.

I promise to be your biggest fan.  I will be there cheering you on.  Whether it is baseball or ballet, I’ll be beaming with pride. 

I promise to tell you when you’ve fucked up.  I promise to help you make it right.

I promise not to be your best friend, rather, your mother.  A mother who has loved you since before you were born.  A mother who has rules and structure.   Not so much that you feel smothered, but just enough to make you a functional adult.

I promise to let you be you.  Whatever that may be.  All I ask is that you have tolerance to people not like you.

I have been talking to you since before you were born.  I have loved you since the moment you were conceived. (Don’t think about that for too long).  I have been proud to be your mother since the day you were born.  I love you with every single fiber of my being. 

Happy third birthday crank and spank.  The best three years of my life.

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The marathon

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Training for this particular marathon is particularly grueling.   It takes tenacity,  stamina,  and agility.   It takes a mental strength that only the roughest, toughest soldier is capable of.  You must be disciplined and determined.   You must keep your eye on the prize.

I’ll admit I started training months ago.  I wasn’t truly committed to it.  I had no idea what was in store for me.  The dedication to training, alone, may break some people.  It could crack even the hardest of criminals.  So now we are in what I affectionately call, Potty Training Boot Camp.

Boot camp started Monday.
Monday morning 0800 hours to be exact.

Me:  we are going to wear big boy underwear and use the potty all day!

Alex:  ok, mommy.  Takes his diaper off. 
Refuses to put underwear on.

Ben:  noooooo,  (words I don’t understand) tears, and finally naked.  Still lots of talk about how much he loves his diapers

Me:  let’s pick out underwear.

1100 hours.  (Yes 3 hours later)

Me:  yay!  We now have big boy underwear on!  Anytime you feel like you need to go, just tell me and we will sit on the potty.

Alex and ben:  okay.  Stand there look at me and pee.

Me:  hey that’s ok.  We will just clean this up and put new ones on.

Ben:  I want my diaper on.

Alex:  I want a tow truck.

Me:  no and no, we will try this again.

1400 hours.

Nap time.  Diapers on.

1600 hours.

Daddy comes home.  They never make it back into underwear.

Day two

Same as day one.  House begins to smell like a frat house.

Day three.

HOUSE STILL SMELLS despite the three tubs of lysol wipes and mopping the floors several times.

Day four.
0800 hours

Alex:  I’m going to pick out my underwear.

Me:  yes please do.  And Ben you too.

Ben:  mom wait one minute, I’m busy.

Me:  busy?  Doing what? 

Ben:  pooping and playing mommy.

Me:  ok.  Buddy listen you need to use the potty.

Ben:  no mom, I’m okay.  I’m just pooping in my diaper.  (They are still wearing diapers to bed…I think that’s a smart move on our part) 

Alex:  mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy!  Look!  Look!  Look!  I pooped.  I pooped on the potty.

Me:  that’s great alex!!  Please get it away from my face.  You did awesome.   Now please get it away from me.  (They are using the little training potty with the pot that pulls out)  he didn’t pick poop out of the toilet and hand it to me.  Although, I do not put it past either one of them.

Day five

Me to Jason:  I think Alex has this potty thing down.  Ben…not so much.  But he’s trying.

Jason:  I’m going to start drinking if this lasts much longer.

Me:  start?  Huh.  I’ve been drinking for about 3 years.

Jason:  yeah I know.  Why do you think I always offer to drive.

Me:  dickface.  You said it’s because you get car sick.

Jason:  I do…when you drive.

Me:  dick.

Day six

We go to walmart for more underwear and a birthday present.   All of us.  And all of us are wearing underwear.  And none of us peed ourselves.

Victory is mine!

We go to the birthday party.  I bring two changes of clothing, just in case.   We leave the party with no extra clothing and a plastic bag of dirty underwear. 

Defeated again.  The training continues….

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Stranger Danger…sorta

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Strangers like to give cranky and spanky things.  Those things vary from stranger to stranger.   Usually they are very much appreciated by both me and them.  This happens so often the boys think it’s normal.  They are like the Kardashians of the toddler world. You know, have no actual skill other than being pretty. Ben knows if he smiles at an old lady in the supermarket, she will gush over him and ultimately give him something.  (One time a little old lady gave them each 50 cents to get candy)   I didnt want to break it to her that is no such thing as penny candy anymore.  The ladies at the bank have given them, piggy banks, dvds about counting money, flash cards, and of course lolipops.  In the mall, store clerks have given them free shoes, toys and rides on the carousel.   But most notably was the gentleman driving past our house yesterday.  He stopped and gave them two huge tonka trucks….he is their hero.

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Now of course the distrustful new jerseyian in me always looks for the catch.  But these all seem to be well meaning people that are just happy to be seeing double. 

   This is going to raise some  serious issues.  Most notably, stranger danger.  Stranger danger is real and needs to be addressed early and often.  Both Jason and I have talked to them at nauseum about the topic.  They are getting better, but can you blame a 3 year old for talking to a stranger who is offering them a ball, or truck?  I get it.  I really do.  I find them pretty cute too. 

    The second issue is, they sorta have been conditioned to believe people will give them things just for being cute.  This is not how Jason and I intended to raise them.  That saying, you don’t get something for nothing doesn’t seem to apply to them.  I don’t want them walking through life thinking all they need is a smile.  Hard work, determination,  intelligence,  a kind heart, and of course you can throw in a nice smile;  those are the things that get you somewhere in life. 

   The third issue, facing the facts of puberty,  they are not always going to be the cute, sweet little boys that they are now.  Pimples, body odor, and facial hair will happen.  (The b.o. has already started. they play hard).  One day, people won’t make such a fuss.  One day, they will just be teenagers.   I cry a little everytime I think about it.  They will be gross, and annoying.  They won’t get the attention that they do today.  Will they understand it’s because they are in fact gross and annoying teenage boys?  Or will it crush their self esteem? 

   Maybe I’m thinking too much into all of this.  Maybe just maybe, we have done a good enough job as parents, that the kindness of strangers will be just that.  Kindness.  Maybe if we are really lucky, they will repay that kindness to the world around them.

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The worst date EVER.

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Believe it or not the terrible are usually pretty good when we are out in public.  (When it’s just me and them). When the four of us leave the house it seems that cranky and spanky turn into feral cats.  I blame their father for this.  That’s another post for another time.  Anyway, I’m not sure if it’s because they feel bad that it’s two against one or I’ve actually done a decent job of parenting.  But they listen, follow directions, and generally don’t complain too much.  I really enjoy our adventures…usually.

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Last night I took them to a consignment sale.  (A sale where parents sell their kid’s shit outgrown stuff to parents that need their shit stuff). Side note:  I love these sales because the terrible tend to destroy clothing, toys, and other necessities, so why bother buying new.  Ok anyway, I told them they could each pick out a toy while I shopped for deals on summer clothes.  (Which I got.  Two dollars a shirt and three dollar swim trucks!). They were well behaved.

Because it was dinner time and I was enjoying their company I decided to take them to a restaurant as a treat.  I have taken them out to eat many times and they are pretty good.  I can’t expect miracles, after all they are two and a half. 

We sat down, I ordered their food, (hot dogs and applesauce), and started looking at the menu for myself.  They took this opportunity to crawl under the table.  Once firmly planted back in the seats, I started looking at the menu again.  They crawled under the table, of the people across from us.  Thank god for old women.  They didn’t care, and just wanted to know if they were twins.  So now I’m annoyed.  They poor waitress had been over to take my order three times.  I just pointed to something and said I’ll just take that. 

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Their hotdogs came out and they were happy because it also came with French fries.  Yay!  For fried food.  And applesauce.  Oh the applesauce.  Fucking applesauce.  At some point the sauce got flung at me and landed in my hair.  So at this point I’m literally praying that my food comes quickly.  I need to end this before it gets any worse.  Other than the two old ladies, which were still asking questions, everyone around us, (probably not parents themselves), were throwing dirty looks and whispering under their breath.  I can still hear you!  I’m sweating.  I’m yelling at them in my best, we’re in public so I’m not totally lose it but there is hell to pay when we get home, voice. And then they do the unthinkable.  They knock over a tray of food.  They realize what they’ve done and instantly hide under the two old ladies.  As if they are going to be able to protect them.  Ha!  No way.  I leave a huge tip for our waitress, like 90%, and apologize to everyone as I drag them out to the car. 

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When I say, it was the worst date I’ve ever been on, I mean it.  And I’ve been on some pretty shitty dates back in the day.  When they woke up this morning they asked in the sweetest voices, “mommy, you still mad?”. Ugh, fact is, I’m not.  I do realize I will never be able to go back to that restaurant again, and I’m pretty sure that our faces are plastered at the front counter, but I’m not mad anymore. 

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The black hole

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This is my purse.  I bought it at Target on clearance for ten dollars.  It seemed perfect at the time, cheap, big but not too big, and I could wear it across my body.  Wearing a purse across my body is extremely helpful while chasing the terrible through hallways, stores, and grassy fields.  It is big enough to stuff two diapers, a small pack of wipes, and matchbox cars into but not so big that I’ll lose important things like my sanity.  Or so I thought.

After rummaging through my amazing practical cheap purse for 10 minutes looking for my keys, I just dumped it out. 
This is what I found.

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What the hell is wrong with me?  Why do I have toilet paper in my purse?  Or coupons that expired last year?  Why am I carrying around plastic cutlery?  At no point in time have I ever needed a plastic spoon.

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Why am I holding onto candy wrappers?  (I’m usually hiding while eating said candy so this makes sense now). Why am I carrying makeup?  When do I plan to do touch up while I’m out?  I really don’t need another ponytail holder, as my hair is always already in a ponytail.  (My niece Taylor pointed that to me one day). Clearly she understands that I gave up.

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Seriously?  I piss myself off sometimes.  There are two crayons.  Well really one and a half.  I believe Ben ate the other half.

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Notice the two bottles of prescription medications.  They are a pain reliever and xanax.  Wonder why?  Face masks that I bought, which I’ll never use….awesome.

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This was my purse before children.  Cute, small and free of toilet paper.

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And this is after.  Huge, cheap and filled with crap my children find outside.

Adult-like and shit

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I have moments of deep thought.  Granted not often, and it usually is short lived.  Today while sitting in traffic on my way home from work, one of these rare moments hit me.  I’m not sure what provoked it; maybe the song on the radio, maybe the sun, that we haven’t seen here in south Jersey for at least three months, maybe it was just the quiet in my head.  For the first time in a while, I wasn’t thinking about diapers, vomit, house cleaning, or schedules.  I wasn’t worried about time, (rather the lack of), milestones, birthdays, spring cleaning, or money.  It was the first time in many months that I just was.  I was there, driving along, sitting in traffic, with not a thought in my head.  Then I started thinking about my friends, and family.  About how different our lives are now then what we ever dreamed they would be.

Some of us are married, some not.  Some divorced, some just starting their married life journey.  Some of us have babies, some of us have teenagers.  That is beyond scary.  We have real jobs, with real desks and real computers.  (Except me.  I don’t.).  Some of us are deployed in lands that I could never imagine visiting.  With real dangers, and real guns.  Some of us are struggling with our demons, some getting help and some wasting away.  Some of us are in therapy because we are all royally fucked on one level or another.  We have houses, and cars, and plants we haven’t killed yet.  We talk about things like mortgages and Roth IRAs.  We worry about our parents and their aging.  We worry if we will ever have it together.  A good weekend starts on Friday night (not Thursday, day) and ends Sunday evening (not sometime Tuesday). We are perfectly happy to curl up with a glass of wine (not a bottle of Miller Lite) and watch a movie or read a book. 

Is this growing up?  Is this what being adult is?  Because I seem to remember, being eighteen and knowing everything about, well, everything.  I was an adult.  I was grown, damn it.  No one was going to tell me what to do or how to live.  I had that shit.  I was young, smart, and fun.  Looking back, maybe I wasn’t so grown.  Maybe I wasn’t really an adult.  Maybe I needed a lot more life before I could say that. 

I dyed my hair for fun.  Now I dye my hair to cover the ridiculous amount of gray hairs. (I blame this exclusively on the terrible). My boobs are getting dangerously close to my belly button and I think I used to have an ass.  It seems to have flattened out horizontal.  But luckily I still have acne.  Yay for my face!  Please note the sarcasm there.  I wax my lip and chin…What the hell?!?  And I make weird noises after I’ve sat too long. 

This wasn’t a part of the deal.  This wasn’t supposed to be part of the deal.  No one told me about this.  No one told me I would turn into my mother and my mother would turn into my grandmother.  Truthfully, I wouldn’t have believed them anyway. 

So the question I still have is, am I really an adult?  It certainly doesn’t feel like I’ve got this shit.  I still wait for the day that it hits me that I’m a certified adult with my big girl panties on.  In fact, I knew more back then, than I do know.  A whole lot more was black and white, whereas now, all I see is gray.

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