Multi-tasking Redefined

What I did while talking on the phone to my mother:

1. Instructed two kids on the art of making Jell-O

2. Yelled at two kids for yelling at each other

3. Wiped Kaiden’s ass after taking a major poo

4. Cleaned up Jell-O mess

5. Did dishes

6. Opened mail

7. Helped Kaya change into her pajamas

8. Actually carried on a conversation with my mom

9. Hung up phone and forgot entire conversation

10. Ate cherry and lime Jell-O for dinner

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Sexercise is the New Jazzercise

Sorry for my long absence. I am sure your days were consumed with longing for an updated post from Mountain Momma. But as usual, I have an excuse – I’ve been engrossed in the book “Essential Exercises for the Childbearing Year.” My midwife recommended it to me after I told her I wanted to try and prevent the postpartum “pouch” that took me over a year to get rid of with my last pregnancy, despite my best efforts. I really don’t want to be asked if I’m pregnant when I’m holding a 7-month old in my arms – which happened last time. You can bet I kicked that woman’s ass, or at the very least, put a curse on her behind that it would continue to grow until it was the size of a small car.

Let me tell you, this book, which was originally written in 1976, is chalk full of fun little bits of information. Besides the wonderful photos of permed pregnant women sporting 70s-era workout clothes, making most of them look like Richard Simmons in a leotard, I have learned some exciting new words. By far, my favorite is “vart.” All these years, I had thought a fart out your front end was called a quife, a lovely word that is as embarrassing to say as it is to do. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of experiencing a quife, here is a definition from Urban Dictionary: “A vaginal fart. Typically caused by the compression of air in the vagina during intercourse.” I mean, why hasn’t the word ‘vart’ entered the common lexicon? In my book, it is absolutely brilliant! It leaves no doubt as to what it means – vagina + fart = vart. Elementary, my dear varters. Or quifers, if that makes you feel better.

The other new word I have learned is “sexercise.” Kind of sounds like a naughty form of jazzercise. But man, does this word not just roll off your tongue, making you want to say it over and over again? “Excuse me, it’s time for my morning sexercise.” Again, I wonder why I haven’t heard this word uttered in the media or on TV more often – I think it is absolutely awesome. The point of sexercise is not quite as exciting as it sounds, though – it’s to strengthen your pelvic floor, or Kegel muscles, before and after birth. But really it gives you a wonderful excuse to have sex all the time, since you are really working out in bed and no longer have to go the gym. Here’s my favorite line from the book that describes how to do it: “Grip the penis as firmly as you can with your vagina and hold for a few seconds before relaxing. Repeat a few times until your partner feels that the strength of the contractions is diminishing.”

Wow! Reading that, I thought I had picked up a Danielle Steel novel with a picture of Fabio on the cover. Excuse me while I take off a layer of clothing, I am starting to get a little hot. OK, I’m back. It’s amazing how un-sexy the author makes sexercise sound, but when I read the above sentence to my husband, he said he would be willing to help me sexercise in any way that he could. I think his precise words were, “I’m here for you, baby. Now take your clothes off.”

There’s also some lovely drawings of the female’s three orifices (you win a prize if you can say that word without laughing): the urethra, vagina and anus. There’s three words that will stop any conversation at a cocktail party. They also come in handy for playing Trivia Pursuit. Anus. Man, why couldn’t they come up with a better word than that? Personally, butt hole works just fine for me. And I don’t see what my butt hole has to do with child birth. I think it would rather not be involved at all, more of a passive spectator to its neighbor in the front, even though I know sometimes it’s forced into participating. Enough said on that subject, don’t you think? Moving on.

If your sexercise partner is not available, the author suggests doing Kegel exercises on your own. She is so kind as to provide a list of times when you can do them: “at red lights, on the phone, during boring conversations.” That last one is my absolute fave. At last, a cure for boring conversations!

See, I just kegeled and you didn’t even know it.

There is an evil elf living in my living room who hates me. I swear.

There is a remote control elf in our house. I am totally convinced of it. How else do you explain the fact that our clicker is constantly disappearing? One minute the remote will be resting nicely on the coffee table, and the next, it’s gone.

I swear, there is a little ogre in our living room who likes to fuck with me. I think he lives in the kitty litter box.

OK, so Siig has a tendency to subconsciously carry the clicker with him whenever he leaves the living room and goes into the kitchen or bathroom or his truck. But that doesn’t explain every time the remote goes missing. Sometimes, it just vanishes, not to be found for hours, even days. Then we are forced to get off the couch and our lazy asses and – gasp! – actually get up and change the channel on the TV. This really puts a dent in my channel surfing. TV just isn’t as fun if I can’t constantly click back and forth between Real Housewives of New Jersey CNN, Keeping Up With the Kardashians MSNBC and Doctor 90210 Headline News while sitting on my behind.

I’ve looked for the remote control elf – behind the couches, under the coffee table, even in the fireplace. I can’t find him. But I can hear him snickering. Sometimes, it drives me insane: “I just had the frickin’ thing in my hand!” I shout in disbelief when I go to change the channel and the remote is gone. I destroy the living room in my desperate search for my key to laziness – pulling all the pillows off the couch, turning the table upside down, even cleaning up the dried cat puke that’s been sitting there for days that I’ve trying to ignore. And then, when I can’t find it, I scream and pull all my hair out.

Just when I think the clicker has vanished into the nether regions of my home for good, it resurfaces. I will find it under the pillow that I already looked under five times, but on the sixth time, it’s there. How did that happen? It’s the dam clicker elf. He hates me and gets some kind of sick pleasure from watching me go crazy looking for the remote. I wish the remote had a ringer and I could call it just like I do when I lose my cell phone.

I should invent that. As soon as I find the little elf living in my house. And clean up the cat puke.

Toilet Tales, or My Life as a Series of Bathroom Stops

I think I am definitely changing the name of this blog to “The Bathroom Chronicles.” Think of all the wonderful tag lines I could have: “life down the drain,” or “pissed off” or, simply, “crap.”

Yesterday I was in a minimum of four public bathrooms. And this was with only one child in tow – Kaya. Oh, Miss Lovely Kaya, Queen of Having to Go to The Bathroom as Soon as We Leave Someplace and Are Buckled in Our Car. That’s an official royal title, right? Akin to Princess of Wales, Duchess of Windsor?

Anyways, it all started after her ballet class. I had already visited the bathroom of the rec center, where her ballet class is held, three times before we left – once for me, once for Kaya, and another time with a little girl whose parents had decided they had better things to do than watch their precious princess twirl around class in a pink tutu. When Lily told the teacher she had to pee, the teacher instinctively looked straight at me: “Can you take her? Her dad isn’t here.” She must have sensed my aptitude and skill at taking little kids to the restroom. We all gotta be good at something.

Then, after class, Siig joined us and we were all snug in our seat belts about to drive out of the rec center when Kaya announces her famous words: “I have to pee.”

“I’m not taking her. I’m toileted out. Your turn,” I told Siig, who surprisingly obliged.

Our trip to Reno, where we have to go for all significant errands, was proceeding nicely sans potty stops until we made the giant mistake of stopping for smoothies. Will we ever learn??? After smoothies, I had to get blood drawn for pregnancy purposes – 9 viles, mind you! – and of course, after asking Kaya numerous times if she had to go, it wasn’t until we were in the car that, you guessed it, she informs us while clutching her crotch with a severe grimace on her face: “I have to pee. Really bad.”

Siig’s theory is: Make them hold it so they’ll learn. So we head out of town on our way back to Tahoe. It takes about 15 minutes to reach Siig’s gas station of choice. Meanwhile, you’d think Kaya was trying to keep a baby from crowning – she’s crying and moaning and grabbing between her legs. Finally, we arrive and I whisk her out of the car and into the gas station restroom.

Back in the car, we think we are all good now. Our drive is about 40 minutes from here. But, alas, after 20 minutes, Kaya, once again, is at emergency status: “I have to pee! Really bad!”

For the love of god, how is that possible? Did you down a Big Gulp when I wasn’t looking?

We are, of course, on a road with no services. I think of pulling over and letting her pee outside, but it’s snowing and she is still in her ballet clothes and we would have to take her leotard off and she’d be standing outside in the cold, naked and squatting. I’m sure I’d get arrested by Child Protective Services for neglect and child endangerment. We forge ahead.

Fifteen minutes later we are at Kaiden’s school and Siig runs her into the bathroom. She made it, both times.

Suddenly, I find myself missing diapers. But there is a new product out there I could use. My friend just told me about the Piddle Pad, a liner for car seats made for potty training toddlers.

Think they come in adult sizes, too?

There is a God, and he flies Delta and carries Depends

I could write about all the wonderful parts of our trip – like how good the kids were, how great it was to see my family in Israel, the joy of discovering a charming cafe in Galway – but who wants to read about that? Really, it’s so much more entertaining to hear about the stuff that went wrong, wouldn’t you say?

Well, things started to fall apart on our way home. Our flight from Israel to New York was scheduled to leave at 12:40 am on Friday. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds, though, since we had never fully adjusted to the time change and the kids had been going to bed around midnight anyways. So we left Jerusalem around 9:30 pm for the drive to the airport. All was proceeding according to plan when, as we climbed one of the last hills out of the city, my father’s car began to lose power. Siig and I exchanged nervous looks. Maybe the car couldn’t handle the hill, we said to ourselves without very much confidence. I uttered a silent prayer: “Please don’t let us be stranded on the side of the road in this land of crazy drivers with the kids in the car. Please, please, please.”

As I would soon find out, proximity to the Holy Land has nothing to do with your prayers being answered.

My dad’s car proceeded to go, albite much slower, but at least we were chugging along. Then, all of a sudden, the Volvo just up and died. Right there on Highway 1, probably the busiest freeway in Israel. My dad slowly coasted to the shoulder, and there we sat. In the dark. In the pouring rain. Do you know how often I have seen it rain in the 30-some years I have been going to Israel? Zero. It’s the desert, for christ’s sake. But this night we had the good fortune of a torrential downpour. Our luck.

And, of course, my father had forgotten his cell phone. Siig tried to see if his phone would work, but no luck. Finally, my dad had no choice but to get out of the car, stand on the side of the road in the rain, and try to flag down a car. This in itself is a life-or-death act since Israeli drivers are honestly some of the most frightening I have ever seen, my father included. To illustrate my point, once we got cut off by a car full of nuns. Even the devout drive like maniacs there. Beware of Benedictine monks behind the wheel.

Through out all of this, I have to say, I remained surprisingly calm. We still had plenty of time to get to the airport. We were in no rush to get back to the states. As long as my children didn’t go walking along the side of the freeway, we would be OK. But I really didn’t want to sleep there. Finally, after about 15 minutes, a taxi pulled up in front of us. Hallelujah! God did hear my prayers after all, he must have just been busy helping some nuns get ahead in traffic to deal with us right away. Siig and I frantically grabbed our suitcases, stuffed them in the cab, grabbed the kids, and had to say good-bye to my dad there on the side of Highway 1. But I knew he would be OK since the driver let him use his cell phone to call his brother and a tow truck. Off we went.

We were actually only 15 minutes away from the airport. For this the Al the driver, who had lived in Las Vegas for 15 years, asked for $45. I guess that was his “emergency rescue” fee. Outrageous, but we paid it. We got through security and check-in fairly smoothly. But right before we boarded the plane, Siig had the bright idea of buying Kaiden a small carton of chocolate milk. Note for next year: do not buy beverages for children before a red-eye flight. Kaiden downed the drink, and even though we asked him a thousand times if he had to go the bathroom, it wasn’t until we were taxing for take-off that he announces, once again,”I have to pee. Really bad.”

Tough beans, we told him. Now you have to hold it and suffer. But as soon as we were at cruising altitude and the seat belt sign beeped off, Kaiden was out like a light, snoring away. Oh well, we said. Hopefully he will hold it in his sleep. Wrong. A few hours later Siig checked him and he was soaking wet. Fortunately, I had brought their PJs and one change of clothes. Siig changed him into his PJs while he slept and then mopped up the seat with one of those flimsy airplane pillow cases. A few hours later, Siig tapped me on the shoulder as I tried to sleep. “He did it again.” Shit. Off went the PJs, on went the extra clothes, out came the pillow case sponge. Siig laid out the wet clothes in the over head bin like our own personal laundry rack. The irony of all this is that we were in the very last row right next to the bathrooms. I don’t think Kaiden ever made it to the bathroom the whole 13 hours. He obviously preferred the comfort of his own seat.

I swear, I think I’m going to change the name of this blog to “The Bathroom Chronicles.”

Did I mention that Kaya wet her pants on the drive to the airport?

Anyways, we land in New York at 6 am, the kids well rested since they slept for 12 hours but Siig and I exhausted since we didn’t sleep a wink, being right next to the toilets and galley with the flight attendants gabbing away. We land in a snow storm. JFK airport is under full panic mode. Flights are being cancelled left and right, including ours to LA. We are placed on a 5 pm flight to Salt Lake City, which leaves us wondering what the hell we are going to do for 9 hours in the JFK airport. But we didn’t worry for long, as that flight got cancelled too. Somehow, miraculously, we got put on standby for an 11 am flight to SLC, one of the last flights to make it out of NY. We got on. I guess God had followed us to NYC and answered my prayers there, too. (New York City does have more Jews than Israel, after all.)

In Salt Lake, we were confirmed on a 9:30 pm flight to Reno. That was way too late. As tired as we were, we would never make it with our sanity intact. We tried going standby for a 3 pm flight. No luck. Our last hope was the 5 pm to Reno. While we waited, I realized I had lost my favorite earring on the last plane, we lost Kaiden for a few minutes on the way back from the bathroom who was found hysterical by a police officer and almost gave me a heart attack, and we ended up leaving Kaiden’s coat in the SLC airport somewhere. Not bad after being awake for 30 hours.

Miraculously, even though we were told there were only 3 open seats on the plane, we all got on. Some man who I am forever indebted to did not show up. I love you, whoever you are. We landed in Reno in a torrential downpour, just as we had left Israel. The drive over the pass to Tahoe was one of the scariest I have ever experienced in my 9 years living here – hydroplaning on bad roads, blinding sleet, the works. “This is what we get after all we had been through on our journey home?”

The children had passed out long ago, on the flight from Salt Lake, and never woke up until morning. In addition to our safe arrival home, God provided us one last miracle – nobody pissed in their pants on the drive home. Including me.

Amen.