Extreme Laundry

Today, in the middle of May, we had visions of standing outside on a beautiful spring day, temperatures in the 60s, under that famous Tahoe sun, watching the cyclists in the 2011 Amgen Tour of California whiz by us. Everyone in Tahoe has been excited for this event, the largest event of its kind to come to the area since the 1960 Winter Olympics.

But wouldn’t you know it, Mother Nature had other plans. The Winter of 2011, as it turns out, is the winter that just keeps on giving. And giving. We woke up this morning to about 6 inches of snow outside and full winter conditions. It’s still snowing six hours later.

I don’t even feel like skiing anymore. I am ready for hiking and biking and flip-flops and tank tops. Sigh.

Instead, what I decided to do with the extra hours afforded by the delay of the race, is to deal with the aftermath of the avalanche that slammed into our house two months ago. You know how when someone tries to steal your car by breaking the window and the car alarm goes off so they run away, but now you still have a headache on your hands because you have to spend time and money fixing your car? That’s kind of how I feel about the avalanche damage. It’s been one big suck of time and money.

Today, it’s sucking time. And water. We had six years worth of Child #1 and Child #2′s old clothes in garbage bags in the garage, waiting to pass down the girl’s clothes to Child #3 and give away or sell the boy’s clothes. All were completely buried under 6 feet of snow in the avalanche. I have been procrastinating for 2 months, but finally, out of pure concern that Child #3 would only have moldy clothes in her future, I started bringing in the bags of clothes and dumping them out on our living room floor. That’s a lot of clothes.

I also discovered that a varmit or two was having a field day in some of the bags, pooping and munching to their hearts’ content. It was like a bunch of mice threw a frat party in a bag of pink clothes, and the aftermath isn’t pretty. Little teeny poops everywhere. Jackets with holes in it. Pure joy for me.

The loads of laundry that are in my future are daunting. I debated bringing everything to a laundry mat, but that could just be a bigger headache, what with having to find $100 worth of quarters. Not to mention hanging out in a laundry mat for a day with creepy people. Why are there always creepy people at a laundry mat? One time when I was living in Washington, DC, I watched a homeless guy take a piss in the corner of a laundry mat while I was washing my clothes. I didn’t come out of there feeling very clean.

I’m thinking I might bring a bag of wet clothes with us when we watch the peloton race by. I’ll hang all the clothes on a wire, and the pure speed of the cyclists whizzing by will dry them. Or maybe that’s just as much wishful thinking as the hope that winter will one day stop giving.

Moldy tennis shoe, anyone?

Don’t Flush, Baby is Sleeping

Yes, I know, it’s been ages since I last wrote a blog post. I am sure you all have been bereft at my absence.

I could make many excuses – like the fact that Siigo blew out his knee skiing and had to get knee surgery, leaving me to care for not 3 but 4 children, or the fact that our house got hit by a Class IV avalanche, demolishing our garage, cars, and shed…but really, those are just run-of-the-mill excuses that I’m sure happen to the average mom across the world. Right?

But finally, at long last, a window of opportunity has opened for me today to update all my loyal (i.e. my mother) readers. The kids are at school, the baby asleep, articles finished, cat puke on the rug being ignored. I am sure you are on the edge of your seat thinking, “Oh, Mountain Momma, with what excellent stories are you going to regale us with today?”

The topic of the day is thus: my baby sleeps in the laundry room. Or in the closet. Or bathroom Whichever you want to call it since my closet is also the laundry room which is off the bathroom. Either way, I don’t think it makes us sound like the best parents.

But really, Child Number Three is only 9 months old. What does she care? We have played musical rooms with her. She of course started out in our bed as a newborn, then we transferred her to a cradle at the foot of our bed, but when it came time to start letting her cry it out, I needed to be able to drown out her cries with a closed door. We put her in her REAL crib in Kaya’s room, but her middle-of-the-night cries kept Kaya up. Plus, I really didn’t enjoy walking up a flight of stairs at 3 a.m.

Next, we put her in Kaiden’s room and had him sleep in the playroom. But that still required me to walk up the stairs. So the only room left with a door – my closet/laundry room/bathroom. There are some bonuses: it’s nice and warm and quiet. And close to my bed, so I don’t have to walk far to get her.

But there are some drawbacks. I can’t do laundry when she is sleeping, which as all moms know is prime laundry time. I have to be extra quiet brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed at night. And, above all costs, I CANNOT flush the toilet.

I know most babies have cute little rooms all decorated for them – with colorful wallpaper and matching furniture and a mobile over the crib. None of that for Child Number Three. She gets a pack-and-play in the laundry room.

But that also means Mommy sleeps better. And we all know that’s worth a baby sleeping in the bathroom.

I’ll have a cup of distraction with my cereal, please

Lately, I’ve taken to observing Siig as he tries to leave the house in the morning. It’s quite entertaining. Here is a typical morning for my easily-distracted husband:

7 am: Wakes up. Gets in shower.

7:10 am: Still in shower.

7:15 am: Still in shower. “I can’t get out of the shower.”

7:30 am: Comes upstairs. Puts on tea kettle. Turns on the TV to watch the weather.

7:40 am: Yells at children to get dressed and ready for school. Opens his computer to check his email. Checks Facebook.

7:45 am: Completely absorbed by Facebook. Does not hear me asking him if he’s going to put pants on.

7:55 am: Looks up from his computer. “Oh crap. Time to go. Kids, 5 minutes.” Makes a phone call. Finds pants.

7:59 am: Still talking on the phone.

8 am: Can’t find wallet. Or mug of tea he just made.

8:05 am: Goes outside to start his truck. Comes back in. Sits down and writes an email. Does not hear me telling him now is not the best time to start working.

8:10 am: Looks at clock. Hustles kids into truck. Comes back inside. Puts tea kettle back on. Spills honey. Grabs kids’ backpacks and puts them in his truck.

8:11 am: Comes back inside. Makes another mug of tea. Searches for his cowboy hat. Gives up, wears baseball hat instead. Looks at time. “Oh shit, gotta go. Kids are going to be late.”

8:15 am: Walks out the door. Forgets not one but two mugs of tea.

8:20 am: Calls me from bottom of the road. “Where am I taking Kaya today?”

8:25 am: Calls me again. “I forgot my tea.”

Take Your Moon Dough and Shove It

I remember the moment perfectly, as one does in hindsight. Our bags were packed, all the Christmas presents stuffed in suitcases. We were leaving momentarily for the airport, and then I saw it, sitting innocently on an outside table. Moon Dough. Oh, how I woe thee, Moon Dough.

What possessed me to go and grab the bag of Moon Dough that someone had given to one of the kids as a present, I’ll never know. I had seen the mess it made. The kids would never have remembered if it had been “forgotten” in Mexico. But something deep inside me – deep, deep, in my inner motherhood – made me go and get it at the last second and stick it in a suitcase. How I wish I could turn back time.

I fucking hate Moon Dough.

I was so sure, at first, that this relationship would be different than the one I had with Play Doh, which I despise one notch above Moon Dough. Play Doh plays itself off as the perfect toy, but it’s all a LIE. A dam lie, I tell you. Sure, Play Doh may entertain children for hours with kinetic play and the use of their imagination, but what about after? You know, when the kids have grown bored and moved on, leaving the Play Doh in crumbles everywhere, nothing put back in its containers, little bits stuck to the carpet everywhere? What does Hasbro have to say about that?

So, upon discovering Moon Dough, which promises to never dry out, I was enthusiastic. At last, my Play Doh problems would be solved. Oh, rejoice! I could finally break up with Play Doh and put that relationship behind me. And none to soon, for I was starting to resent Mr. PD and his crumbly mess.

But soon, my heart was broken. The pattern was repeating itself. Moon Dough WAS EVERYWHERE in my house. To it’s credit, it didn’t dry out, but like ants, it spread. I would clean up one patch on the floor only to find more. Where was it all coming from????? Every time I looked, there was Moon Dough on the floor, on tables, in doll houses, bedrooms, play kitchens. My god, how much did I bring back with me??? Did I bring back Moon Dough or some sort of plague? Did I need to call the Center for Disease Control?

For a while, I would bag it all up the best I could. Something in me just couldn’t throw it away. And then, today, I snapped. I HAD HAD IT. After vacuuming the entire play room, I was still finding pieces of that dam clay. That was it. RELATIONSHIP OFFICIALLY OVER. I grabbed the bag of Moon Dough and shoved it to the bottom of the trash. (My kids have a unique ability to somehow find whatever I throw away of theirs.)

I won’t be able to rest until the garbage men come tomorrow and take it away. I am living in fear that one of my kids will discover it at the bottom of the trash can. But for now, I am content to look around and see that my house is Moon Dough free. Except for that one little piece over there. Dam it.

Note to baby: Be a man and get some sleep

This is what cave women looked like while listening for their babies.

I want to know who coined the phrase “sleeping like a baby.” I’d like to invite that person to spend the night at my house one night. Then they’d see how a baby really sleeps – in two to three-hour increments, waking up screaming, and waking up each time you try to put them back in their crib.

Mind you, I understand the root of that saying. Once a baby is sound asleep, you could take a jack hammer to the room and they wouldn’t move a muscle. I say this from experience because when Kaiden was little we were remodeling and he literally did sleep through jack hammering.

But I’d like to propose a new phrase. Forget sleeping like a baby. You know who I want to sleep like? A man.

Siig can sleep through anything. He barely stirs when Nakita wakes up howling at 3 am, only to cry again at 4 and 5 a.m. It’s all like a distant dream. He’ll stir slightly, if at all, and be snoring again within seconds. And he rarely hears Kaya over the monitor when she wakes up crying “MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY I WANT YOU” after having a bad dream or wetting her bed.

After a night of easily getting up 7 times, I’ll ask Siig the next morning – did you hear how many times Nakita woke up? Did you hear Kaya? And he’ll usually say: “What? Oh, I missed all that.” And I sit there looking at him in disbelief, wondering how it’s possible to tune all that out.

To his credit, I know one reason he doesn’t hear the baby – he knows he can’t do anything. Nakita only wants me, or more specifically my boob, when she wakes up in the middle of the night. And he has told me to wake him up when Kaya has one of her night terrors. But usually I’m awake so I feel bad getting him up.

Men are just programmed differently than women. I saw this documentary once on the Discovery Channel that pretty much explained the differences between men and women’s brains. Women’s brains are designed for multi-tasking – back in primitive times, they had to be able to gather food and wash their bear skins and clean up their kids’ cave drawings all while listening for their baby’s cries. Men, on the other hand, had to be able to tune everything out and focus while hunting, they had to be able to sit crouched behind a rock picking their teeth and scratching their balls while they waited for that Mammoth to come sauntering by.

See, not much has changed.

I see this primitive brain in action all the time. If Siig is watching TV or writing an email, the kids could be at his elbow yelling “DADDY DADDY DADDY I’M ON FIRE!” and he wouldn’t hear them. It’s really quite incredible. I am in awe.

I know I’m not the only one who has observed this. My friend Caryn told me about her experience in the hospital during the birth of her son. While she was in labor in them middle of the night, she said she was moaning and screaming while her husband Jason snoozed away in the chair next to her.

Ahhhh, to sleep like a man. That is my goal in life.

What’s really so funny about Siig’s sleeping is that he can sleep through the baby’s cries, but usually the second I crawl into bed he’ll wake up with a start, sit straight up with his eye’s half-open, and say in a drunken-sounding, accusatory voice: “WHAT??? WHAT’S WRONG? WHAT’S GOING ON?”

Sometimes I can’t help but laugh at this, and I used to try and ignore him but he wouldn’t let up, so now I give him some ridiculous answer just to shut him up and get him back to sleep so I can read my book in peace. I say things like: “Oh, nothing, just back from running around naked outside in the snow” or “Go back to sleep dear, it’s just a rattlesnake in our bed” or “Don’t worry honey, it’s just the kids playing with my hair dryer in the bath tub.”

He never has a recollection of these incidents the next day. I guess you could attribute this to the primitive man-brain as well, to the need to be on alert to protect the tribe. But that theory just goes to shit because then men would wake up when the baby was crying.

Whatever the case, I hope that Nakita can quit this sleeping-like-a-baby load of crap, man up already, and sleep like her daddy. Then maybe, just maybe, I might get some….wait, gotta run. Baby’s waking up.

Postscript: While Siig was reading this post, Kaya was screaming for him downstairs and he didn’t hear a dam thing. Lucky dog.

 

How to Get Your Constipated Baby to Take a Crap


While in Mexico over Christmas vacation, I had the good fortune of discovering not jut one, but TWO ways to get your constipated baby to poop. Lucky me.

We left for Mexico on a Sunday, and by Thursday we realized that we hadn’t even cracked open the huge box of wipes that we brought with us. Maybe it was the large quantities of quesadillas and guacamole I was consuming, but it was clear that Nakita was plugged up more than a toilet after Kaiden’s visited it for one of his massive man-poops. She seemed fussier than usual. And her farts really smelled.

So on Friday, New Year’s Eve, myself, Siig and my sister Julie walk into town for a double mission: prune juice and pinatas. (I wonder if we are the first people on the planet to go in search of those two items on the same day?) After a long walk into town and a stop at a couple of small markets, we find success in a supermercado. Prune juice and candy for the pinata, purchased. Next, we make our way down Pinata Alley, where the locals have set up small pinata factories in their houses and storefronts. We buy a large pink and purple one for the girls, and a red and gold one for the boys.

We take a taxi back to the house where we are staying with 20 members of my family. (What’s that you say? That doesn’t sound like much of a vacation???) The kids are getting out of the pool to get ready for the Mariachi Band that is coming soon. Kaya goes running into the house before I call her back to dry off and wrap up in a towel so she won’t slip. Then, in what must be one of the biggest cases of irony in the known world, she scampers up the stairs wrapped up tight in a large towel, trips over it, and then can’t brace herself because her arms are trapped inside, and falls straight onto the stone stairs on her chin. I don’t feel horrible or anything.

She screams as only a wounded child can do, I see large drops of blood dripping from her chin, and take one look at the cut, feel sick to my stomach, and know that a trip to the Mexican ER has become our plans for New Years Eve. Oh joy! Of course, where I go so must the baby, so the four of us (me, Siig, Kaya, and Nakita) hop into the car and head for the hospital. Kaya is unusually calm in the car ride. Is she in shock? How can I bottle this and get her to act like this at home?

Overall, I am pleasantly surprised by the hospital. We are seen right away, which would never happen at home. The doctor looks at Kaya’s chin and says, yup, she needs 3 stitches. The worst part is the anesthetic injection. I hold Kaya’s hand not because she needs the support but because I feel like I am going to start crying. And wouldn’t you know it, while I am holding her hand and trying to put on a brave face, Nakita pukes all over herself, and me, and the hospital floor. So much for sterility. I have no hands to clean up because one is with Kaya and the other is holding the baby, so I sit there with puke everywhere, trying to breathe slowly and go to my happy place. Which would be Mexico. But not in the ER watching my daughter get stitched up while another vomits her lunch on me.

Finally, Kaya is all stitched up, we pay the bill ($150 for everything! I highly recommend falling in Mexico rather than in the U.S.), and we get back in the car. We stop at the pharmacy to buy some medication, and that’s when Nakita decides to become unconstipated – I hear a sound like a volcano erupting, shit goes flying everywhere, and a putrid smell fills the car. The baby looks relieved, but I am horrified – I am now covered in puke AND crap. And so is the baby. Of course, as Murphy’s Law would have it, I ran out of the house without bringing the diaper bag. C’est la vie.

When we get back to the house, all 20 family members want to hear the story about the hospital, and I have to fight through the crowd to get to my room to get out of my clothes and take a shower, and strip Nakita down. To add insult to injury, while Siig and I and the baby are getting cleaned up and ready for the night’s festivities, the rest of the family decides to have their Pinata Party without us. So we never even got to see the kids hit the pinatas that we worked so hard to track down and buy. Just kick me while I’m down, why don’t ya!

So the moral of the story is this – if your baby is constipated, all you need to do is BUY prune juice. You don’t even need to give it to her. And take a visit to an ER. Just don’t bring your diaper bag.

Who Needs A Bath When You Got Procrastination?

If my blog were a child, I would probably be in jail right now for neglect.

But when you have a baby, and especially when you already have two children, something has to go. And what went was blogging. I continued to work and write after Nakita was born, but my blogging time was taken up by changing diapers, holding said baby, breastfeeding, breastfeeding, AND breastfeeding. Did I mention nursing?

But today, lo and behold, I find myself with something that I haven’t seen much of over the last five months – a little bit of free time. So here I am – blogging away like the old days.

In addition to blogging, something else had to give after Nakita was born. Bath time. For my children. I am perfectly coiffed and showered every day (OK, that is an absolute lie – at least ever other day, and I just threw in “coiffed” because it makes me sound smart), but bathing my children three times a week no longer fit into the schedule. I never consciously made a decision that bath time had to go, it just kind of evolved. One day would pass, and then another, and then another, and I just couldn’t get to bath time. I would still make dinner (yes, my kids are fed. Except for maybe Kaiden, but that’s another story), and I would threaten the older ones with a bath after dinner, but then all of a sudden it would be 8 pm and I would be breastfeeding and it just wasn’t going to happen.

As Siig says, they’ll live. They might smell and have disheveled hair, but what do they care?

It’s the typical third child story, where basically number three comes along and totally gets the shaft. When Kaiden was the only child, I gave him a bath every other day. Then Kaya came along and it dropped down to every third day. Now Nakita is here and I am lucky if I bath them once a week. Hygiene just had to take a back seat at the Siig household.

Here’s the funny thing about bath time – I cajole and threaten and beg and plead and wait 7 days and then, finally, get one of them in the bath, and then, when they are all clean and the water is getting cold, I can’t get them to get out! Can someone tell me why it takes so long to get a kid in the bath and then just as long to get him out?

But I would never fess up to the fact that I barely bathe my children anymore. If someone asks, I’m just going to say that I’m trying to save water.