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Poop is the word. The oft used -in spite of Mom’s discouragements – word. Aren’t there other, more interesting, topics of conversation? Sure, Mom. We’ll try.

Driving home from summer camp, Medium and a friend decided to record a spontaneous “commercial.”

I think she’s been secretly spying me watching Mad Men …

[vimeo 46521096]

Last weekend, Medium called a family meeting. We haven’t had one in months and I had no idea what triggered her to think of it.

She explained her problem and clearly communicated her expectations for our behavior. We raised our eyebrows (I may have smirked a little) and nodded understandingly. Every one of us promised to do better in the future.

We dispersed to our posts in front of various screens and quite frankly, I forgot the whole thing.

That is, until this morning, when I staggered into the bathroom for a shower and found this written reminder of my girl’s instructions:

Protected by Ziploc

She is her mother’s daughter. The “…or else” was implied.

This is the first week in 31 months where I’ve had to make myself look presentable before 7 a.m. Three days in a row. And counting. So now you know it’s true: I’ve made the leap back into paid employment.

KidsVT, that esteemed magazine whose editors kindly publish words I’ve written, printed an essay where I did some reflecting. On my life. And the lessons I’ve learned recently. Follow this link to read it: From Working Mom to Stay-at-Home Mom… and Back Again.

To prepare myself for the shock of reentering the workforce, I spent the last 30 days of my “mommy sabbatical” focused not so much on my family but on myself. I hosted and went to mommy coffees, sweated liters of water during Body Combat, lunched out, went skiing, practiced taekwondo, attempted yoga, caught a few shows, ran a 5K, went on a Downton Abbey sleepover, and otherwise thoroughly enjoyed the company of an amazingly wide circle of women (and a few men) who I am so incredibly fortunate to call “friends.” It was an amazing month. Thank you all!

Oh, don’t worry. I hardly neglected my family. I also made elaborate dinners (a departure from my usual scrounging around in the fridge for edibles), scrubbed the house, hoed out the kids’ rooms and spent quality time with the OINKdaddy. On three Wednesdays in a row, I let Small, Medium and Large play hooky (One child at a time – I’m not totally insane!). We spent our days together doing whatever they wanted to do (snowboarding, arts and crafts and skeet ball – guess who wanted what). We had a ball and I hope they will forever remember our “Mommy Days.”

Because they weren’t just these last three Wednesdays.

Take a deep breath. Blow it out. Good. Now take another.

That’s what I’ve been doing since returning from trick or treating: reminding myself to live in the moment and breathe. It’s remarkably hard to make myself do this – I tend to get caught up in the details when I ought to be focusing on the big picture.

Last night, instead of enjoying what is likely to be my last trick or treating adventure with Large (he’ll be choosing friends over family all too soon), I was obsessed with Small.

“Did you say, ‘Thank you’?”

“Slow down. Wait for the rest of our group!”

“Freeze means don’t move a muscle. It does not mean walk slower!”

“Stay on the sidewalk!”

“You don’t always have to be first.”

“Wait for your cousins!”

“Have we lost your sister?”

“I didn’t hear a ‘Thank you.'”

I was already teetering on the brink of sanity by the time Large tattled on Small: “Mom, Henry got a granola bar at that house and he said, ‘What the heck is this?’ instead of, you know, ‘Thanks.'”

When the kindling is dry, it doesn’t take much.

I pulled Small aside and scolded him. He was sullen, as most people are in the face of direct criticism and a strongly worded reprimand. I kept him back from two houses and under the pressure of my scowl, he promised to do better.

He’s excited, I told myself as he ran off. Don’t ruin his Halloween.

He bounced back, remembering to thank a whopping 60% of the candy distributors at the rest of the houses we hit and refraining from running over his younger cousins. But I didn’t. My grump cloaked me as thoroughly as Medium’s vampire cape. I couldn’t wait to get home.

My heart hurts at my own idiocy. Why do I let the little things bother me so much? Why can’t I enjoy the moment more?

I’ve got a year to redeem myself. You’ll remind me, won’t you?

CVS mask plus contact paper and packing tape

Our little goth girl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small goes for realism.

 

 

So, I’ve been thinking about writing quite a bit lately but haven’t managed to put the proverbial pen to paper (or, in my case, fingers to keyboard). I’ve got half a dozen incomplete posts flitting around inside my head, begging to be set out, cut, polished and published and at some point, I promise: I will get them to you. In the meantime, today’s post is off the top of my head, inspired by the hilarious Iris of The Bearded Iris who linked to a post from Kate Takes 5.

I’ve always been interested in the ways people find OINKtales (my obsession thoughts on how to turn visitors into return visitors is a topic for another post). WordPress has a handy tool that tells me on a weekly basis what search engine phrases people have used to visit my site. What I didn’t know, until today, was that WordPress keeps an “all time” list of search engine phrases. Eureka!

OINKtales’ Top 5 Search Engine Terms:

1. “oink tales” (Really peeps? Bookmark this shit site. Do it now.)

2. “body combat” (My apologies to serious Les Mills Body Combatants as I am a group fitness poser. Note to self: Only post on group fitness has become top search engine getter. Get new post on same topic finished fast.)

3. “monster trucks” (Boys like toys.)

4. “kitchen peninsula” (Very glad the before and after pictures of my kitchen renovation have had so much screen time.)

5. “suburbia” (Sigh. But I’d like to think that I’m not living in your average suburbs. I mean, it’s not like Vermont even has a city large enough to warrant suburbs. I live in a town. With lots of trees. And poor landscaping. Oops. That last bit is just at my house.)

“Wow, Mary, that was really fascinating.” Wasn’t it? Shut up and keep reading.

OINKtales’ Top 5 Weird/Funny/Scary Search Engine Terms:

5. “blonde teen brown eye brows plays with bottle brother sister” (Say what? What search engine brought them here?)

4. “BYOB restaurants Keene NH” (I’ve never been to Keene, NH nor have I written about it. I’m sure it’s a lovely place, though. If you know of a BYOB restaurant, please tell me. I’ll share. For anyone visiting the Burlington, VT area, BYOB to Tiny Thai in the Essex Outlet Mall. No corking fees so feel free to upgrade from the screwtop varieties.)

3. “bang my neighbor” (For the record, I am not banging my neighbor. Not any of them. Not even the hot one. I think we’ve already established that I live in the suburbs and that kind of thing just doesn’t happen here. But wait! Maybe they meant “bang” as in b.b. guns or airsoft rifles! Yeah. Well. I’m not doing that either.)

2. “tanya cashier at costco in inglewood” (Dude. If you’re looking for a date by googling the first names of cashiers in your area, you’ve got bigger problems than you think you do. Get thee to a counselor. STAT.)

1. “anne hathaway tampons” (I kinda love this. It’s so sick that it’s funny. I have indeed written posts about Anne Hathaway and tampons but they were separate posts about the Oscars and the O.B. shortage. Exactly why would anyone want to read about Anne Hathaway’s tampons? Shudder. It boggles the mind.)

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