Sometimes Two Candles Signify 11 Instead of 2. This Was One of Those Times.

Last night, Becki fired a text message in my direction which basically said, “Coffee!  Tomorrow!”  Because I don’t have to be invited twice to sit down with a girlfriend and consume copious amounts of liquid gold from Starbucks, I told Becki, “Of course.  But let’s make it an afternoon coffee date, because I have to reclaim the wild frontier that was once my house.”

People!  With great shame I’d like to announce to the World Wide Web that my home looked like a family of pack rats had moved in… and then perhaps moved on out, because the place was simply TOO OUT OF CONTROL FOR THEM.  I think that we were basically to the point where an elected city official shows up on the doorstep with a firm knock and announces, “Either turn this place around, or face eviction because we cannot allow children to live in these circumstances.”

These circumstances being WHERE ARE THE KITCHEN COUNTERS?  And I BELIEVE THEY ARE BENEATH ALL THE DEBRIS.  And also?  I don’t know when the Brady Bunch moved in, but they left all of their dirty clothes on my closet floor, and I needed to call Alice and let her know that she has her work cut out for her.

Mondays have always been my day for housework.  When your OCD makes Rainman look relaxed, you like to have a day where you can just tackle it all, from top to bottom, with the Clorox and the feather duster and the central vacuum cleaner, and whew!  When it’s all done, Monday nights are really fantastic.

(And by really fantastic, I mean that the house is usually so clean, I don’t want to mess the kitchen up, so I take the family out for dinner.)

(Don’t judge me.  Y’all know that you’ve been there.  There’s something about a spotless kitchen that makes you NOT want to haul out the 9″x13″ casserole dish and the sloppy tomatoes that need the dicing done to them.)

This morning, I had every single good intention of scouring the house down and then loading up Thing 2 in his car seat and meeting Becki at Starbucks, where an adult can have a good time.  Or where she can at least become caffeinated, so that the fact that she’s had four hours of sleep in the last nineteen days doesn’t seem so overwhelming.  So yes.  That was my plan.

By 10:30 this morning, I finally had managed to get my teeth brushed, and I simply sighed with relief.  By 10:50, I had my first load of laundry on.  Not done, mind you… simply ON.  By 11:15, the dishwasher was loaded and the kitchen counters once again looked like kitchen counters, instead of a wild frontier being invaded by alien baby bottles with Similac sludge in the bottoms of them.

At 11:45, I gave up on ever actually taking the vacuum cleaner out of the closet.

By 12:15, I was wearing mascara.  And also Cheery Plum lip gloss.  AND I had changed my housecleaning standards to I CAN SEE KITCHEN COUNTERS and THE DIRTY CLOTHES ARE ALL HIDDEN BEHIND THE CLOSET DOOR.  Sometimes you need to let your standards down in order to survive.

(It’s why we think fish sticks is a gourmet meal over here at the Jedi Manor.)

Because do  y’all know what?

BABIES TAKE A LOT OF TIME!

I have come to the sudden realization that when you are a mother of an only child, and said only child happens to be eleven years old, you are, in fact, a LAZY PARENT.  If the boy is hungry, you can tell him to grab something out of the pantry.  If the boy has to potty, he doesn’t even need to tell you.  If the boy announces that he’s bored out of his wits, you can kick him outside to go play with the cute neighbor boy.  However, when your child is two weeks old (TWO WEEKS OLD!  TODAY!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, THING 2!!), if he wants a snack, you have to get yourself all involved in warming up water, and mixing in formula, and sitting down to… you know!… feed him the bottle.  And then there’s all the burping, and Thing 2 is not a professional burper yet, so you have to beat his poor back until you’re fairly convinced that you’ll end up dislodging a lung, and this must go on for precisely twenty-five minutes, until your hand and arm ache with all the back-beating, and then you’ll just give up, and Thing 2 will stare at you and let a giant belch fly.  And if Thing 2 has to go potty, well… you have to get yourself all involved in changing the diaper, and if it’s ONE OF THOSE KIND OF POTTIES, then you’ve got to get the clothespin for your nose and the wet wipes, and then you have to clean up his foot after he’s gotten poo all over it.  And if  Thing 2 is bored, then you have to stop and entertain him, because when Thing 2 gets bored, he whimpers.  And whimpering usually leads to a full-on, earth-shaking cry.

And so, y’all?  I was a lazy parent up until two weeks ago.

And now I am not.  I am now a very busy parent.

Which means that my good intentions of scouring the house on Mondays may be limited to me telling Hubs when he walks in the door after work, “Guess what?  I remembered to put the half-and-half back in the fridge today after my seventh cup of coffee.”  THAT, people, may be all that I get done on a housecleaning day any more.  I think that Rainman and I are going to have to lower our standards of what we consider clean these days.

And I’m okay with that.

Especially since Hubs and I have been so sleep-deprived, we both consider ourselves lucky if we make it through the day without throwing  a tantrum.  Yes, our senses are slowed… our reflexes are delayed… and neither one of us should probably be driving… but we’re happy and in love with our children.

And also?  Yesterday morning at 5:00, I changed Thing 2’s diaper.  Now, when you have a small boy, the best diaper-changing strategy is to lift up his little hips and slide the NEW AND CLEAN diaper beneath him.  THEN you undo the wet diaper, yank it off in one fell swoop, and IMMEDIATELY, POST-HASTE and WITHOUT DELAY slam the fresh diaper closed, letting it fall into place and shut off any liquid eruptions.  This diaper-changing strategy worked like a charm with the boy, and it’s the one Hubs and I employ with Thing 2.  So yesterday at 5:00 AM, I put the fresh diaper beneath Thing 2 and I changed him.  And then I couldn’t find the wet diaper.  Usually, I just set them right beside the box of wipes with me there on the changing table, but the soiled diaper wasn’t there.  I looked on the floor, and it hadn’t fallen.  I COULD!  NOT! find the old diaper.  And this concerned me, because I had been diligent about not walking away from the changing table while my six-and-a-half-pounder was laying there unattended.  No!  I had been right there at the table the whole time, and I had a diaper that was MIA.

And that’s when I realized that my exhausted brain had put the new diaper on OVER THE TOP OF the old diaper.

Don’t judge me.

That’s simply a double layer of Pamper’s protection.

And now, knowing all of this, perhaps y’all will excuse me when I tell you that I have a few snapshots tonight that were taken MORE THAN ONE WEEK AGO.

People, if I can’t get my mascara and lip gloss on before 12:15 any more, then you shouldn’t expect pictures to be posted the night OF the event.

So last week, Cousin B turned eleven.

This is Cousin B, who is now well established in the double digits.

The usual crowd of suspects came out to party.

The boy was there, looking handsome as always and showing off his grin for all the orthodontists reading this blog post.

Cousin M hung out with us and grinned for the camera.

And so did Miss A.

For the record, Miss A’s shirt said, “Sorry.  I practiced more than you did.” And that made me laugh, because it was a far cry from the usual glittery princess shirts that we see Miss A wearing.  I think it’s always good for a little darling to sport a smack-talking T-shirt sometimes.

Cousin R was at the party, too.

And so was Cousin W.  Apparently it was amateur photographer’s night, because Dub-ya and I were both playing around with our cameras.  Sadly, W has already achieved more working knowledge about the SLR than I have.

And he’s only 12.

But then I am barely 22, so I guess we’re not that far apart in age.

It must be the Oil of Olay.

On me!  I don’t think Cousin Dub-ya uses the Oil of Olay yet.

There were presents to be opened at the party, because every eleven-year-old boy NEEDS presents.  According to the boy, presents are what keeps the planet spinning.  I think Cousin B might beg to differ there, because B thinks it’s hockey that keeps Earth rotating.  No matter.

Cousin B also got an enormous package, which turned out to be GOLF CLUBS!

And then ALL!  NIGHT!  LONG! the boy moaned, “Mom!  I need new golf clubs, too!  I can hardly believe that B got his very own set of clubs!  Now he and I can golf together all summer!  And, Mom?  I REALLY need new golf clubs this year!”

Cousin M wasn’t at all interested in new golf clubs.  He just wanted to wear the box around the house.  Every family needs an M in their lives to add excitement and laughter.  Hubs and I have offered to adopt him every single year, but, sadly, Brother and Brother’s Wife always decide to just go ahead and keep him.  I’m sure they do it for the tax purposes.

Cousin B opted for birthday brownies this year, instead of a birthday cake.  And since it’s rather difficult to cram eleven entire candles onto one brownie, he put two candles on to represent 11.

(Please don’t think he’s just 2.)

(He’s far older than that!  And he’s potty trained!  And he scored close to 100 hockey goals this season!)

Of course, no family birthday party is complete without a dance lesson by Hubs’ brother.  Uncle Brother showed the boy how to waltz and cha-cha, but the boy kept saying, “I don’t like to dance, Uncle Brother!”

Okay, that’s not what really happened.  In this family, no party is complete unless someone (a grownup… usually Brother) has wrestled someone else (usually a small child) to the ground and pronounced himself victorious.  It’s what happens when all of the adult boys grew up wrestling varsity since they were six years old.  I have it on good authority that Hubs and Brother once wrestled their grandmother to the floor when they were in high school.

I think that they were both disinherited for that maneuver.

But they still speak about it with great pride, because how many men can say that they executed a double-leg take-down on Grandma and put her in a Half Nelson on the family room floor?  Suddenly walking around the house with a giant cardboard box that once housed a set of golf clubs on your head doesn’t seem so strange.

So there you go, people.  Some eleven days AFTER Cousin B turned eleven (How’s that for timing?!  Maybe I planned it that way!), I finally have the pictures up to preserve the memories forever.

And tomorrow I’m pushing to have the mascara and lip gloss on sometime before 10 AM.  After all, the housework can wait, but a girl should look presentable for coffee dates.

And also for rocking babies.

Because in case y’all haven’t heard, babies grow up very, VERY quickly.  And then they’re too big to rock, and you have to referee them wrestling senior citizens in this family.

Have a great Monday evening.

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