Wednesday, October 15, 2014

That TIme I Vacuumed Under the Mattress at 11pm

Jon and Winston fell asleep on the couch. Winston got some not-great news today at the cardiologist, so I took advantage and went upstairs for a couple minutes of being alone. I lounged and read a little bit, but when I went to fluff my pillow, something moved. I wiggled the pillow again and It scuttled behind the bed.

It was a roach.

I hate roaches.

You guys, I might have a messy house in this three-kids-and-one-is-a-newborn stage, but I am NOT roach-dirty. And It was on my pillow. MY PILLOW! This is what happens when it's almost cold enough for closed windows, but not quite, and Nate learns to slide the screens up and down. Naturally, they never get slid back down all the way.

I hate roaches.

I tried to consider forgetting I had seen It, but that's ridiculous. Some things cannot be unseen. I found It hiding in between the bed frame and the mattress, so, considering my bookshelf, I picked a book that was just thin enough. It was a Bible study on the book of Daniel. You guys, I was going to KILL this spawn of satan with THE BIBLE. I needed a win today and this was it. I aimed and JAMMED God's holy word down the crevice.

Only, the book got stuck and It got away.

So I stomped downstairs, grabbed the vacuum,  hollered to Jon that there was a roach in our bed ("What? A roach? IN our bed?"... snore...), and clomped back up to take the entire bed apart. I contemplated how my husband had failed me as I pulled off the mattress and the box spring. I moved Winston's bassinet into the other room. "You have TWO JOBS, Butterfield. Paint the high spots on the walls and save me from roaches. That's ALL... nothing more do I ask of you..." I vacuumed crevices and hollows. At one point, I heard something go into the vacuum that I hadn't seen. Clearly it was the roach. I continued vacuuming to be sure. I sucked out under the nightstands and the rug, in the corners and behind the headboard. I told God that a partial win didn't count, because I didn't SEE the roach go into the vacuum, so I wasn't safe or satisfied. Maybe I could switch beds with one of the kids for the night.

I turned the vacuum off, wound the cord, replaced all the bed parts, and went to grab Winston's bassinet to put the room back together.

From the middle of the dark room, the roach winked at me. He was large and quite blatantly evil. I stared back. One more chance at that win. I grabbed a photo album and slammed it's full weight down on top of the roach, positive that I'd gotten It. It was so cathartic, that slamming. I even (not kidding) jumped up and down on the album to make sure he was good and dead. Then, I stood back, contemplating the book. What if it wasn't dead. What if (HORROR) I moved the book and something scuttled?

I moved the book.

It scuttled and I screamed, but stifled it. There is no crying in a holy war.

I was about to grab Jon's mandolin to crush it, but, thankfully for Jon, the spawn of satan scuttled away. I located it and tried to jab it with the vacuum, which was now plugged in and engaged like a heat-seeking missile. I missed. It ran. I cornered it again and, this time...

This time I sucked up that disgusting excuse for biodiversity and I watched It's hopes and dreams shrivel and die. I expected a rush of relief, but I was sure it wasn't actually dead... and now it was in my vacuum...

Now what? I left the vacuum running, so that it couldn't crawl out, but that wasn't much of a long term solution. I can't really go buying a new vacuum every time I suck up a bug, either. Therefore, I did the only rational thing. I threw the vacuum onto the front porch and informed my now-awake husband that he needed to change the bag -outside- before coming to bed.

And do you know what? He lived up to his purpose.

I love him.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lest I Forget

My mom keeps warning me that if I don't write things down, I'll forget. She's right, of course, so amusing to people who aren't Nathan's parents or not, here it is.

We don't normally allow Nathan to stay up late enough to watch the beginning of Dancing With the Stars, but I'm not really going to defend myself on that or anything else below. If you have the time to judge, then I won't begrudge you something to do. In fact, my life would probably keep you very busy, so read on.

But late it was and he was awake and Dancing With the Stars came on. Before I shuffled him off to bed, we watched one routine, where the scantily-clad pro led whatever star she was escorting around the dance floor. Nathan stared in wide-eyed wonder and pronounced, "Mommy! I want to dream about HER tonight!"
He's three. Lord help me, I don't even know what to say to that.


The kids don't listen to a lot of kid music. I just can't take most of it. I mean, we'll sing "Twinkle Twinkle" once every month or so. They Might Be Giants has a great album called "Here Comes Science" that we like, and sometimes I remember to TRY to be age appropriate, but in general, he just listens to whatever we listen to. His current favorite songs, in order, are below:

1. She is Beautiful
2. TNT (by AC/DC)
3. Jake and the Neverland Pirates theme song (SCORE! A real kid's song!)
4. Rumour Has It
5. Anything by Louis Armstrong (Another score, because Louis is always appropriate)

Anyway. He was requesting "She is Beautiful" the other day, so we listened to it. The music video is kinda weird for a three year old, so we only ever listen, instead of watch it. Plus Andrew W. K. sticks the mic in the waistband of his jeans to make a smoothie in the middle of the video and, let's face it, Nate doesn't need any encouragement to hide things in his pants. It's already an issue in our house. Regardless, it's a good song. It's sort of how I imagine Nate will sing a love song when he's older. Super intense and full of yelling. He may never get a girlfriend, but he'll have fun trying. As the song ended, Nate informed me that when he grows up, he wants to be "Andrew double-K" (Andrew W.K.).

Ooops. We're forming role models. Time to listen to Bach. The early eighteenth century was pretty appropriate.


Coffee is an acquired taste, true. But the time it takes to acquire a taste is variable. Nathan's average is once. One sip. When he was little, he chewed on the rim of beer bottles and, therefore, Jon let him have a tiny sip (judge away, ye judgers), with the idea that, since beer is bitter, he'd stop wanting to chew on the rim if it tasted bad. Instead, he licked his lips and lunged for more. Fail. Same with coffee, which, despite his desire, he has been banned from drinking.

He ran into the room the other day from the kitchen, with a full mouth. I asked him what he was drinking and he smiled (awkwardly, because his mouth was full) with an evil twinkle in his eye. Daddy's iced coffee is what he'd been drinking. When asked why (NOTE: the only real "why" question to ask is why on earth parents of preschoolers think asking them "why" is going to come to a logical end), he answered that it was because he wanted hair on his chest and belly, like daddy... and mommy. Say WHAT?!

I set him straight. OH. I set him straight.


Some children have trouble paying attention for an entire two minutes. That's why things like this happen:

Driving home from Bible study, I asked Nathan what he learned in his class.

"God died."
"Oh... you mean Jesus died on the cross? Yeah, He did. Then what happened?"
"Oh, then we had a CRAFT!"
"Uh, yeah, but then what happened in the story? After Jesus died?"

He didn't know. He didn't pay attention that far in. There were goldfish crackers to eat. So I enlightened him and emphasized to Nietzsche Jr. that God isn't dead, he rose again and is alive and that's why we can pray to Him, etc.

The next week, when he got into the car, I asked what he'd learned and it started much the same, "Jesus died."
"Then what happened?"
"His friends couldn't find Him and some mans pushed the big rock away."
Oh! This is pretty accurate! I got excited, "Yes! His friends couldn't find Him and the angels pushed the rock away from the tomb. Why couldn't they find Him?"
"Because His stomach was missing. Somebody took His stomach and nobody could find it."

Try as I might, Nathan still never caught the end of the story, so I re-enlightened him. 

Boy, is he going to be surprised at Easter.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Nathan is Three and Nothing Has Changed

He was driving me crazy yesterday, so when he wanted to go outside in the back yard and play, I gratefully allowed it and closed the door after him to continue making dinner. I checked on him. He was sliding pieces of wood down his slide. Approved activity. I smiled at him and told him that I loved him. He needed to hear it. There had been a lot of reprimanding that afternoon. He smiled back at me and, in a love-induced bout of honesty, said, "I ate dog food."

"You went into the garage and ate the dog's food?"

"Uh huh!"

*sigh* "Don't do that. That's really gross and it will make your tummy hurt. Don't eat dog food and don't even go into the garage. You know you're not allowed to do that."

"Oh. Otay!"

I went back to making dinner. He eventually came rushing inside, "Mommy!! I want to show you what's in my bucket!"

"Okay, Sweetie. I'll come see, but let me finish putting this together and get it into the oven."

"Otay, but I want to show you what's in my bucket."

This went on for the next five minutes, while I finished dinner. Finally, after more nagging than the end of the day has patience for, I asked him, "Why don't you just TELL me what's in your bucket and I'll come and look when I'm done?"


"Charcoal? You put Charcoal in your bucket?"


 I wrote, "get a hysterectomy" on my to-do list and lectured him about charcoal. Which he already knows he's not allowed to touch. He's so no ready for self-supervision yet.

Frozen dinners forever.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


This morning Nathan walked into our room for the second or third time (he'd been sent back to wait in his room until 7am - it's the best rule we ever implemented - thanks, Holly!).

"Mommy, I want AIDS."

"Nathan say, "eggs""




"Say "gggg"... Goat ... gggg... Goat"

"gggg... doat!"

This goes on for ten minutes until Jon and I give up and get out of bed. I start to strip the sheets. It's wash day. Nathan asks me, "Mommy, what are you doing?"

"I'm taking off the sheets to wash them."

"Oh," he says, and then replies with perfect pronunciation, "That's interesting."

 I give up.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I Have No Shame

I used to have a sense of propriety. Then I had kids. The end.

We were flying back home from the East Coast. This means that we had to fly on an aeroplane with two childrens.

Confession: I sort of like flying with the kids and Jon at the same time and I always find extra reserves of patience and calm, because, in addition to having help, I feel like a rock star every time he looks at me with wide, traumatized eyes and says, "How did you do this by yourself for two deployments?!" I nod, knowingly, and then I acquiesce to share snippets of my vast parenting wisdom. (I am vastly wise about parenting.)

We were in between flights and I think it goes without saying that Jon and I were absolutely exhausted to our very marrow and the children were wired and giddy. Because that is a basic law of physics. Travel causes all energy to exit parental reserves, whereupon it is transferred to their children. The equation looks like this:
 Ep = Ek x 0
 where Ep= Energy of the parent and Ek= Energy of the kids

Also, this rule applies to every single situation, ever. Not just to travel.

Back to the airport. In between flights in Denver. Jon and I were tired. Nathan had to go to the bathroom, as did I, so I took him with me. He peed, mostly into the toilet, and then it was my turn. While I used the facilities (I told you, I have no shame, so prepare yourselves), Nathan-the-indomitable decided that, since he was finished, it was time to leave. He proceeded to unlock the stall door. I stopped him from my seated position and tried to explain in an inside voice that he needed to wait for a more appropriate time. For instance, when my pants were up.

"Oh. Otay. Mommy, did you poop?" He asked me at the top of his lungs, in order to reach the ears of all 137 persons in the restroom.

I stared back at him, unsurprised, yet mildly alarmed.

"Oh! Otay. Can I see it?" continued my offspring, still yelling.

I said no, so he peered around me and, using his very best diction and highest volume, he hollered, "WOW, Mommy! That's a YOT of POOP!"

Thanks, son. And no, it wasn't a yot of poop. But it doesn't matter what actually occurred, because when we exited the stall, all anyone believed was what they had heard a not-quite-three-year-old announce to them.

And that is why I have no shame. My son stole it, along with my energy, and has been leaving pieces of it lying around the various places we have been. Like the Denver airport.

You're welcome.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

When the Dog Gets to the Diapers

I went to a friend's house tonight and I stayed too late. It was a good hour past the kid's bedtime when I left.

(Bad Mom: -2 points)

I got home and realized that I'd forgotten to close the door to Evelyn's room. I realized this when I saw diapers (used, of course), torn to shreds and spilled out all over my carpet and the floor in the nursery. Henry was hiding in the back yard.

(Forgetting to close door: -1 point)

I managed make Nate pee, put his pajamas on, brush his teeth and throw him into bed in the first 5 minutes. Then I fed Evelyn. Then I put her to bed. She stayed asleep.

(Teeth brushing: +1 point)
(Kids in bed in 15 minutes flat: +2 points)

At this place in the story, I have broken even on the good/bad parent scale, point-wise.

You know how when you break open a used diaper, there are all those silicony beads inside? No? That doesn't happen to you? Your dog doesn't break open diapers and grind poop into your floors when you're gone because he started getting back at you every time you leave the house when your husband started deploying and because you forgot to close the door to the nursery and you think diaper genies are stupid, so you use a regular trash can? Oh. Well, when you break open a used diaper, there are all these beads and they're silicony. And they're impossible to pick up. And this happens to me on a regular basis, because I think diaper genies are stupid and so I use a regular trash can and I don't get sleep and there's not enough coffee, so I forget to close the door. 

But I noticed something tonight when I was picking up the torn-open diapers with my bare hands (because that's just what starts to happen when you keep having kids (mental note: stop having kids)). I noticed that where the silicony beads touched my carpet, there were light spots. The diapers kind of sucked dirt out of my carpet and so there are slightly cleaner spots where the beads had been sitting. I've cleaned my carpets with a stand-up carpet cleaner like three times in a row and they haven't gotten this clean.

(Initiating partial-carpet cleaning cycle by leaving nursery door open: +3 points)

I'm three points up. Helloooo, Cabernet!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Being a parent of the Pinterest generation is tough. The 3% of overachieving moms ruin it for the rest of us. They really do. One of thousands of areas in which I come up short is taking pictures. I mean. I have my iphone. And it's loaded with random pictures of my kids that I snap just as they stop doing the cute thing they were just doing. So I try. But I always have grandiose ideas of holiday memories that will be forever immortalized in a frame on the wall or a scrapbook on the coffee table. Christmas outfits holding sweetly smiling children, who are peanut butter and booger -free, whose arms rest lightly around their darling siblings. Everyone is looking at the camera at the same time. Easter pictures with eggs and bunnies and pastel. Valentine's Day cards in the mail, displaying red and pink-clad offspring asking their Auntie to be their Valentine.

Quick! Take a picture! I'm going to need to remember this someday!

It just doesn't happen like that. Evelyn barfed on her little leprechaun-cute green on St. Patty's Day and I forgot to put the glittery green headband on her androgynously bald head, since green isn't exactly gender-specific. So I didn't take pictures. Even though I freakin' love St. Patty's Day and geek out on all my friends and stuff corned beef and cabbage down their throats and sing Irish drinking songs to my kids. They cheers with milk. Cow and breast. We've got all kinds.

The point is, my pinterest-dreams rarely solidify into the perfect pictures. And it is one of many things I hold over my head to force me to be a better mother.

By the way, it doesn't work. Holding things over my own head, I mean.

So I suggest this: let's give ourselves a break. Let's quit living in the "not-good-enough" mentality that makes us forget the good stuff. Let's take pictures when we can (it IS important) and then let's enjoy being with our kids instead of forcing them to pose for one more for facebook.  I'll check my phone while my kid shovels sand at the playground and you can show up to our playdate in yoga pants. I'll break out the pre-cooked, sliced chicken every now and then and you can buy art for your baby's nursery instead of making it out of marshmallows and salvaged wood. I'll frame iPhone photos and we'll cheers over the convenience of disposable diapers. And we won't judge each other.

Deal? Deal.

Quick! Take a picture of me not freaking out! I'm going to need to remember this someday!