Thursday, March 31, 2011

Little Boy Joy

Over the next four months, I'll be trying to prepare myself emotionally to send all three of my beautiful boys to big kid school. Camden, Hudson, and Lawson challenge me more than anyone else ever has, but I wouldn't trade one tantrum (or CT scan) for the joy they've brought me. The only Jones luckier than me or Jason is Scout because she has three brothers who love her fiercely and who will make her childhood one of the most entertaining imaginable.

Little Boy Joy

The day we discovered
A little boy we would hold
My heart filled with excitement
I saw a bright future unfold

You came into the world
So healthy and strong
All the love in my heart
To you now belonged

You grew and you grew
Learning new things each day
So much to discover
And soooo much to say

Now my house is a landfill
Of toy cars and trucks
We’ve had a few X-rays
You’ve cost us some bucks

You wrestle your dad
You throw tantrums for mom
I take many deep breaths
And try to stay calm

You break from destruction
When it’s time to refuel
Then it’s right back to mayhem
And breaking the rules   

Dirt is a preference
For paint and for play
My laundry’s a mountain
I do four loads a day

No one could prepare me
For what was in store
There’s food on the windows
There’s pee on the floor

Bath time is like torture
Brushing teeth takes a bribe
Those drawers on your head
Should be on your backside

As the mom of a boy
There are things I now know
Like gas is just funny
No matter how old you grow

A burp of great magnitude
Deserves a high five
Followed by an “excuse me”
For good manners we strive
In all of the madness
There’s incredible joy
No one loves Mama
Like my sweet little boy

I get the best snuggles
And all your best art
You draw me so pretty
With my name in a heart

I know I am lucky
You make me so proud
I’ll try and hide heartbreak
When you say “No girls allowed!”

You brighten my life
More and more every day
Little boy joy is awesome
What more can I say?


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Guidelines for Mom Etiquette, Part 2

Below please find the second installment of my unprofessional guidelines for mommy etiquette. Be sure to take a look at today's earlier blog for guidelines 1-5.

6. Bring the girls out to play in appropriate settings. Extreme cleavage is for date night or open bar wedding receptions, not the neighborhood barbeque or your kid's soccer practice. It's bad enough I have to deal with my four-year-old groping my boobs at basketball practice--now you want me to field questions about why yours are spilling out of your top? Respect the girl code when it comes to husbands, too, and don't provide an open invitation for my man to ogle more of your body than you should really be exposing. Yes, it makes us a little insecure, but more than that, it makes us sad that you're so insecure.

7. While we're on the subject of boobs, give yourself a permission slip to buy a nice, mildly expensive bra to combat the laws of physics. Even if you have to roll them up and tuck them in to your $70 bra, at least you can enjoy the illusion of your pre-baby boobs. Every mom looks better in her T-shirt when her breasts aren't grazing her navel. 

8. Stop trying to win the battle of whose job is harder. Unless he's a stay-at-home dad, he doesn't get it. He really does work his tail off, too. It's just that he gets to do so while listening to what he wants to on the radio, peeing and pooping in private, and showering every morning. I envy these things--not his stress level. Do, however, request him to refrain from asking you to locate his clean underwear in the morning. It just makes you feel like a maid and mom to an adult child.

9. Tell another mom in a polite way when she: a) has a massive cliffhanger in her nose. b) has lipstick on her teeth. c) still has the spinach from her lunctime salad in her teeth two hours later (okay, fine the cheeseburger from her lunchtime Happy Meal). d) accidentally tucks her skirt or shirt into her panties on her quick trip to the bathroom. e) is calling a kid or another mom by the wrong name. Honesty tempered with tact is always the best policy in a potentially embarrassing situation for a mom.

10. Save your Mama Drama for your closest friends. Discussing your finances, the court order you recently received, or your strange and persistent rash with the other random moms at kindergarten orientation might make people feel a little uncomfortable. I'm pretty much an open book, but even I know to only divulge certain facts to my Mom Council.

Etiquette Guidelines for Moms

When you become a mom, there are certain transitions you may be slow to make or accept. Below please find my first installment of completely unprofessional guidelines for mom etiquette.

1. Stop buying your shorts at Abercrombie and American Eagle. Moms should not be wearing booty shorts. I'm not saying go walk-shorts or go home. I'm just saying you should be able to crouch or bend over to tend to your child without fear your cheek might slip out.

2. Be prepared to cross your legs quickly if you should have to cough or sneeze. Your bladder competency just ain't what it used to be, sistah, and it's not likely to ever bounce back. Wanna do kickboxing? Better wear a Poise pad. Wanna jump up and down and cheer like a crazy woman for your kid at the Little League game? Better stick to waving your arms wildly. If you resist this unfortunate side effect of motherhood, better carry an extra pair of drawers with you for life's little surprises.

3. Perfect the art of the "ninja poop." Gone are the days of making like a man and sitting on the throne reading a magazine until your feet fall asleep. Unless you want to court disaster by leaving your children unattended for too long or risk having Junior walk in on you mid-wipe, you might want to figure out how to take care of business in two minutes or less.

4. Get a phone that has texting capabilities. No one wants to talk to a mom who is stopping mid-sentence every ten seconds to break up a fight or wipe a kid's backside. A mom on the phone is a magnet for attention-seeking little ones. Texting and Facebook are beautiful things because they allow moms to stay connected without subjecting themselves or those on the other line to the chaos of corralling kids. Just don't text and drive. It's dangerous and you'll get a big fat ticket.

5. Love your mommy muffin. I'm sorry, ladies. There is likely to always be a little patch of skin (no matter how thin you are) at the base of your belly that just didn't quite get the memo to go back to normal once baby made his debut. Tucking that pooch is a fine art--learn how to perfect it so that you can work with it instead of against it.

Go rock being a mom today, my friends! Just make sure your shorts are long enough not to be considered a creepy mommy version of bloomers.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Dumb Fight Award

We have a little award we give in our house on a regular basis. It's called the Dumb Fight Award. It can be bestowed upon any and all members of our household for a number of infractions ranging from petty bickering (is too) to knock down dragout screaming matches over whether the talking Woody doll says "One-Eyed Bart" or "One-Eyed Dart." Tonight, I humbly accept the Dumb Fight Award on behalf of myself and my husband, who couldn't be present right now because he is stubbornly avoiding me in an effort to prove a point.

What, pray tell, was our game winning strategy to earn this magnificent honor? It was apparently so incredibly dumb I can't even remember its inception. That kind of stupidity takes real, very raw talent. I do seem to recall debating which one of us works harder and a very serious analysis of our unfulfilled needs for something along the lines of accolades and praise from the other for the jobs we do. Well, I concede. We both work very hard at very different types of jobs. We should each bestow our very deserving partners with a medal AND a cookie. Case dismissed--but not before we earned ourselves the coveted prize of Dumb Fight Award. Our kids will be so proud.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Attack of the Laundry Monster

I can tell I'm getting really comfortable in my own skin when my parents' arrival in town hasn't sent me into a cleaning frenzy. That's right. I'm embracing my inner slob. It's not like my dad didn't threaten my life growing up in order to get me to clean my room. For several months I had the wool pulled over his eyes by stuffing all the items on my floor into trash bags and hiding them in my closet. Unfortunately when he and my mother (pre-divorce) discovered all the bags, they dumped them back onto my floor and made me clean up all the mess. 

These days the messes I deal with are on a whole new level. There is little boy pee in parts of the bathroom I didn't know existed, I can barely wash enough loads of laundry a day to keep everyone in clean underwear, and I get a Lego embedded in my foot at least twice a week. Very painful, by the way. Tonight I actually found a piece of pizza in my purse.

Right now my big dilemma lies in the decision to wash towels and washcloths (which we are completely out of) or our green shirts for the big St. Patty's Day Parade. Clearly we can't be the only lads and lassies wearing blue or black shirts in Downtown tomorrow, so the scales are tipped. I will either stay up late enough to wash towels, too, or I will drip dry in the morning. The outcome remains to be seen.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Deep Thoughts by Molly Jones

Do you ever feel like you've lost your mojo? Not the Austin Powers kind of mojo but the zest that sort of sets your personality apart. I've felt like that for the past few weeks. I've had writer's block, and when I've written anything, it has just seemed bland and boring. There are two possibilities. Possibility one is that my kids have behaved too well for the last month, thus offering me very little inspiring material with which to poke fun at myself. Ha! Or possibility two is that I've let this blog (and my fledgling writing career in general) become a crucial component of my self-esteem. As a result I've sometimes hesitated before writing what I truly think or feel for fear of offending someone.

When I wrote the blog about vaccinations, I worried I would offend the moms who opted not to vaccinate their kids at all or elicit eye rolls from those who believe in sticking to the vaccination schedule without exception. Whenever I include references like Austin Powers that have just a hint of inappropriate innuendo (which my very immature sense of humor finds hilarious), I worry I'll offend my more conservative friends who mean so much to me. Showing who we truly are is sometimes difficult, and being proud of who we are is even harder. Sometimes what I want to do is vehemently and impulsively express myself, but age (and a reserved husband) has taught me to filter much of what I say and temper it with diplomacy and tact.

Don't get me wrong. Diplomacy and tact should never be underrated. I would say I'm a much better version of myself than the girl in her twenties who sometimes let a brash, overly passionate personality and bold determination to succeed get in her own way. In learning tact I've gained a bit of dignity I didn't really possess back in the day. I once called a woman who interviewed me twice for a PR position I wanted so badly and tearfully implored her to tell me why she chose another candidate over me. Very awkward and embarrassing, even now when I look back on it.

It's completely egocentric for me to assume any of you is interseted in what I have to say and even more so for me to assume you have noticed the shift in my writing. So for those who follow my blog and support my writing, I thank you. I'm letting all of you into my weird little world and opening myself up to the possibility I won't please everyone with what I have to say. This is not an easy task for a former sufferer of crippling insecurity. Yeah, former. That's the word I'm tentatively going with. In order to take back my mojo, I'm going to try and stop worrying so much about pleasing everyone and embrace my true, quirky, dorky, slightly (sometimes not so slightly) inappropriate view of the world and write without overthinking.

The truth is I hope to show it's possible to be a loving mom who tries really hard but is far from a perfect parent, a Christian who relies on my faith to guide me through all situations, a grown woman with the sense of humor of a twelve-year-old boy, a wife madly and passionately in love with her delicious husband, a fiercely loyal friend who loves without judging, and a Baptist who enjoys a good cocktail every now and then all at the same time. We're all conundrums struggling to love and embrace who we are without guilt, and I'm no different. In seeking to accept myself for the complicated mess I am rather than constantly striving (and falling short) to be who I think people want me to be, I hope my writing can be something that flows freely from me again. I want to write because I love it instead of writing because I want people to love me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tales of a Card-Carrying Nutbag Mom, Volume 30

No one likes having to make tough decisions. Some choices for me are easy and straightforward. If I have a choice of cookies, I'll always go with chocolate chip. Hands down I feel like PBS Kids has the best TV programs for my little dudes and dudette. I choose friends by instinct and almost always make great decisions. Today, however, I made a choice that for some reason I have turned over in my mind a hundred different ways. I've counseled with members of my trusted cirlce of Savannah moms and driven my husband (and friends) certifiably insane by soliciting advice repeatedly. After all these weeks of analyzing and worrying, I finally chose to prioritize my mom instinct above and beyond any other contributing factor.

Today I chose to put in a request to change pediatricians. I know. All my friends who read today's vague Facebook status update lamenting I was worried about making a kid-related decision are probably throwing their hands up in exasperation thinking "That's it?!!" Yep, that's it. Switching doctors is something people do all the time, so why have I tortured myself? The answer is a mixture of factors. Part principle, part indignation, and part reluctance to sever a professional relationship I've spent months cultivating among a doctor, myself, and my kids. 

You see, our doc is awesome. He's the one all the moms want to see. He dotes on baby Scout, he cuts up with my little dudes, he apologizes profusely if I'm kept waiting more than fifteen minutes, and he stays after hours to see my kids if need be. Best of all he does it all with an easygoing manner that lets you know he truly loves what he does. Three weeks ago I just happened to disagree with him on how to handle Scout's next round of vaccinations.

After her previous set of shots, she had a nasty local reaction that left her unwilling to use her legs for two days. No crawling, no pulling up, and no cruising. Two of the boys had similar reactions at her age, and I'm not sure why. Maybe my kids are just weird like that. I'm certainly quirky enough to have been the culprit in passing down such a strange glitch in DNA. To treat the boys' reactions, my former pediatrician split the subsequent shots into two visits, which I requested my new doc do for Scout. He respectfully and adamantly disagreed with me, and thus I've been at a crossroads of neuroticism all this time. 

I've looked at the situation from every possible angle. Do I leave a doctor I trust and my kids adore over this one difference in opinion, or do I suck it up and let her have the shots all in one dose--even though my mommy instincts are telling me it's not what's best for my daughter? On the one hand I can respect his professional opinion and see that he's trying to do what he feels is best for his patient, but on the other I'm frustrated he doesn't put more faith in my experience with my children and work to reach a compromise we both feel comfortable with. I finally determined I couldn't let my professional respect for him trump what I feel like is the right decision for Scout.

I am by nature neurotic overly analytical, which is somewhat of a blessing because it allows me to make an extremely carefully considered decision when I need to. Even with difficult decisions like this one, I rarely look back once I finally make a choice because I know it wasn't made in haste. In the end every decision I make for my kids has to come down to what I believe is best for my them. It's my job to love them, to care for them, to guide them, and to protect them. A mom's instinct is an indisputable force of nature, and learning to fully trust your own takes time. Letting go of my worries and trusting my gut has never steered me in the wrong direction as a mom. Let your internal "mommy compass" guide you above and beyond all else, even when the decision is over something as seemingly simple as choosing a pediatrician. Because it's our jobs as parents to make a big deal over small things and be a complete nutbag for our kids when it really matters.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Breaking News! Rock Star Super Dad Earns Brownie Points

Our life has just enough drama right now to keep things interesting without making it overwhelming. Today was a great day riddled with just a bit of insanity. Jason was an awesome motivator in getting our reluctant family out the door to church this morning, and of course I was so thankful we were there once we actually made it. Our faith is a huge part of what helped us make the move here, and our new church home gives me just the right jumpstart when I feel like my life is starting to veer into oncoming traffic.

After church Jason whipped up a delicious batch of grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches complete with a side of Doritos. Even without considering that any meal I don't have to cook is a darn good meal, he actually makes a mean sandwich. With full bellies we ventured out into the neighborhood for a bike ride.

My patience is always strained when we are ever so bold as to attempt The Family Bike Ride. Lawson's little legs can't keep up with his big brothers, Camden always has at least two bike wrecks, Hudson feels the need to stop every fifteen feet to "rest," and Scout has developed a habit of lifting my shirt and pulling at the waist band of my pants. And you know, I'm just not really ready to show all of my neighbors my lower back and the top of my underwear. A stop at the duck pond ensured soggy shoes from getting too close to the edge and a wet, stinky Labrador shaking the water out of her fur just as she manuevered into the middle of where we were all gathered. On a sidenote, Libby the Farting Dog is so fat that it's quite entertaining to see her swimming out in the pond like a big, black manatee.

Today's adventures were capped off by a trip to the carwash, which the kids always love. We were due back at church at 6:00, after which I planned to prepare a scrumptious chicken and pasta dish for dinner. Instead, Jason locked his keys in the truck, and we ate Little Caesar's pizza in the parking lot while we waited for the locksmith.

I know I'm lucky because some people would find the unplanned, inconvenient snags in our day frustrating, and instead, I usually I find mishaps like these hilarious and entertaining. Not always, but usually. I'm so thankful for each and every crazy moment, and the two hours we spent at the carwash were actually the best quality time I had with the kids the whole day. Of course, this may be because they were restrained in their carseats and unable to engage in any monkey business beyond the length of space their arms and legs could stretch, but I'll take what I can get.

My husband was the epitome of patience tonight. I understand this particular phenomenon is likely because he was the one who locked the keys in the truck and not me (believe me, I'm as surprised as you are), but he was still a rock star. All in all I can honestly say I hope tomorrow is half as cool as today was.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Five Year Olds Are Meanies

It's been one of those days when I have to ponder the question, "does my kid have a behavior disorder?" And you know those can never be good days. The words I HATE YOU have lost their potency, which I'm sure causes my son a great deal of ire. That's his zinger and he's used it so much I'm immune to it. I see his tiny little wheels turning, and I know he's sifting through his mental catalogues of devastating insults for mom. I thought a nap just might turn the tides, but alas our sweet babysitter caught the tail end of his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. That's cold, little dude.

What I wouldn't give to be inside his complicated little head for a day. I'm learning not to be surprised when he walks out the front door with his determination face on ready to run away. The respect for my parents and the job they had dealing with me as a child grows tremendously on a daily basis. What I wish I had was a padded room used specifically for throwing tantrums and a circular track for running out negative energy. What I have is a Little Tykes grocery cart that gets thrown against his door when he's angry and a dwindling confidence that I'm steering him through his impulse control stage of development with my GPS set to the right destination. I just keep telling myself I survived it with Camden and psyching myself up to go through it for the third year in a row by the time Lawson hits this age. I'll be an old pro by then.