If My Life Were a Children’s Book.

Friday

If you want to get a haircut, you ask your Mother-In-Law to come watch the kids.

If your Mother-in-Law comes to watch the kids, your youngest is sure to ham it up and play especially sick.

If your youngest hams it up and plays especially sick, she will tell you he didn’t get off the couch all morning.

If she tells you he didn’t get off the couch all morning, you will take his temperature and decide he needs to go to the doctor – before the weekend.

If you decide he needs to go to the doctor, you will take him in – despite the impending “Wintry Mix” and possible ice storms.

If you take him in, he will miraculously become healed in the Sick Waiting Room.

If he miraculously becomes healed in the Sick Waiting Room, he will have to touch, rub, and become one with all the surfaces.

If he becomes one with all the surfaces, you will become very anxious.

If you become very anxious, he will become further energized by your anxiety.

If he becomes further energized by your anxiety, he will begin jumping and screaming maniacally.

Jumping at doctor's office while

If he begins jumping and screaming maniacally, he will attract the attention of the other children in the Sick Waiting Room.

If he attracts the attention of the other children in the Sick Waiting Room, they will begin to play together.

If they begin to play together, your anxiety will triple.

If your anxiety triples, they will amp up their game to running around a column while rubbing their hands, cheeks, and possibly tongues around it like they were seeing how many germs it takes to reach the center of a column.

If they amp up their game to seeing how many germs it takes to reach the center of a column, you will begin listening to their Grandmother’s phone call to try and ascertain what they’re in for.

If you try and ascertain what they’re in for, you will learn that their sister is currently being observed to see if she needs to go back to the hospital for her raging and incurable stomach virus.

If you learn that their sister is currently being observed to see if she needs to go back to the hospital for her raging and incurable stomach virus, your anxiety will give you a facial tic so extreme that the kids in the Well Waiting Room will think you’re winking at them.

If you get facial tic so extreme that the kids in the Well Waiting Room think you’re winking at them, you will try to mitigate the future germ damage to your household by restraining your toddler.

If you try to mitigate the future germ damage to your household by restraining your toddler, his wiggling and fighting will make the seconds tick by so slowly that you are convinced the best course of action for your ongoing sanity is to get up and leave.

If you become convinced the best course of action for your ongoing sanity is to get up and leave, right before you do, you will get called back (after one hour and fifteen minutes of Sick Waiting Room Seventh Layer of Hell.)

If you finally get called back, you will, in a fit of anxiety-induced-word-vomit, tell your doctor of all of your trials in the waiting room.

If you tell your doctor of all of your trials in the waiting room, you will follow up by asking her if she happens to have any dissolvable anxiety pills on her.

If you follow up by asking her if she happens to have any dissolvable anxiety pills on her, your toddler will once again be energized by your admittance of the A word, and will yell, “All Aboard!!”, because, you see, he is the Train Conductor.

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If your toddler plays Train Conductor with the stirrups, you will stop to tweet the moment, during which your toddler will seize the opportunity to find a well-hidden stray cup of water left by another child.

If your toddler finds a well-hidden stray cup of water, you will nearly break your nose (again) trying to tackle him before it reaches his lips.

At this point, you will begin praying for quick and painless deaths for each of your family members, as it is clear that all of your days are severely numbered.

Later Friday

After a nap (because after that visit there was no way you were doing anything else before naptime), you go to the pharmacy to fill your son’s prescription.

If you go to the pharmacy to fill your son’s prescription, the pharmacist will sympathize with you and tell you that she, too, has been sick for a week – with a really difficult strain of strep throat – and will cough, right before she mixes your son’s antibiotic.

If she coughs into your son’s antibiotic, you will again begin praying for quick and painless deaths for all of you – and maybe a slightly painful one for her.

Saturday

Your husband has to go to the doctor and gets two shots and a prescription.

Sunday

You and your daughter fall to illness.

Tuesday, Too Late to Go To The Doctor

Your illness worsens, now including a fever.

Wednesday

Your illness most definitely needs a doctor, but the entire city is shut down for the snowstorm that you’ve wanted all year long, so you tough it out and eagerly look forward to the distraction of a beautiful, thick white snow.

If you look forward to a snow, it will not come. And you will wait for eight hours, blowing your nose on every soft disposable surface in your house, not daring to leave due to impending doom, while it rains.

If you wait for eight hours while it rains, you will watch the wall-to-wall snow news all day long in hopes of an encouraging word about when you will get snow, but all you will see are thousands of happy snowstormees who live ever-so-slightly north of you.

If you see happy snowstormees, you will become not happy. But you will still wait, while it rains.

It gets dark, and it rains.

It gets darker, and your power goes out.

Then it starts snowing.

The children will hurry out in their snow gear, eager to make snowmen and snow angels and snow cream. Meanwhile, you hold the flashlight and jog in place on the porch so as to not let your feverish chills overtake you.

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You get maybe a quarter inch of snow. That will melt by morning.

Meanwhile, you continue to be inundated by everyone else’s amazing snowstorm dreams, while your own dreams are delirious because…fever.

Thursday

If you didn’t get the snowstorm you so hoped for, you will look at the bright side – that you can finally go to the doctor.

If you finally go to the doctor, the exhaustion from the week will overcome you and you will accidentally cry.

If you accidentally cry, your doctor will offer you antidepressants.

If your doctor offers you antidepressants, you will consider asking him for dissolvable anxiety pills for the next Pediatrician’s visit, and then wonder if he could instead prescribe you a trip to Fiji

While you’re wondering if your doctor can prescribe you a trip to Fiji, one of your kids gets all cozy and places their lips near a surface, almost assuredly picking up a new germ.

If your kid picks up a new germ, the cycle starts all over again.

And by the time it’s done, it’s most likely time for you to get another haircut.

Diary of a Tired Mom: If the Shoe Fits.

Diary of a Tired Mom Week Two

Thursday night, there was a strange man with a high-beam flashlight walking around my front yard.

I never got up to check, nor did I scream for my husband, because I totally assumed that he must be one of Fred the Cat’s dozen or more common-law owners, and he was out looking for Fred to put him inside before the cold snap.

So if I get chopped to pieces by an ax murderer because I was trusting an overly friendly cat, would Alanis Morissette write that into a song about Irony?

(Because it’s not really ironic. And that’s exactly what she likes to write about.)


I inadvertently forgot about a high-ranking item on last week’s list of Things That Make a Parent Crazy, so of course they would throw themselves upon me two days later.

Light-Up Shoes.

Chris and I have a long history of having strong opinions about – differing strong opinions about – children’s shoes.

I prefer funky but understated, fun but not too crazy, and NEVER lights.

He prefers (and will buy if I let him) all manner of bling and cheesiness, lit with flood lights, search beams, strobe lights, lighthouse beams, and disco balls.

Yet, it was I who bought Ali these shoes last week.

Skechers Light-Up Shoes

Yes, they’re so bright that they illuminate an entire room with an eerie aura, and I have to cover my eyes every step she takes.

It was the lady at Nordstrom Rack’s fault.

I was returning some blue jeans and sent Ali to the shoe department (her favorite shoes had a hole in the toe and no matter how much she tried to convince me that it made them even more comfortable, I insisted they be thrown away), and she came back with these, lights dancing in her eyes (and blinding me).

My reaction was one of uncontained bemusement, naturally.

The clerk returning my jeans looked at me as only a grandmother could and said,

“Now. She will remember those shoes for THE REST OF HER LIFE. They will mean so much to her! And I’m not telling you the batteries will die because they will not. But come on, now. Make her day!”

Ali blinked her eyes innocently, but I was sure I saw her quickly pass $20 to the clerk.

They were on clearance….

And she did love them…

And that blasted clerk had to give me a Mommy Guilt Trip…

So I bought them. And she’s been frantically jumping up and down ever since.

Skechers Light Up Shoes

And guess who wants light-up shoes now?

Well yes, her brother obviously, but also her father.

“I’d totally wear light-up shoes!”

Fathers. They’re to blame for the existence of Light-Up Shoes. I’m sure of it.


I haven’t felt bloated lately. It struck me as odd how long it had been…

Until I did laundry.

(Because apparently, I was quite a bit behind.)

And then I had an EARTH-SHATTERING REALIZATION.

What if all the times us ladies think we’re bloated, it’s really just that our blue jeans recently came out of the dryer?

What if the monthly rotation of feeling “bloated” and “skinny” perfectly lines up with our respective laundry schedules, rather than other types of schedules we had previously suspected?

What if it’s not actually us at all???

EARTH-SHATTERING, I tell you.


The following is a transcription of a Pillow Talk conversation between Chris and I. I don’t know why we were talking about Tube Tops. Who knows how any Pillow Talk starts. But it went something like this, starting with Chris…

“Tube Top is a really stupid term.”

“Why? It makes sense. It’s a tube, and it’s a top.”

“I know. But it just sounds stupid.”

“There are way worse names in women’s fashion than the Tube Top.”

“Oh really? Like what?”

“Like the Maxi dress, for one. It sounds like it has an accessory up underneath…”

“Yeah, that’s true…”

“And then there’s The Bootie.”

“THE Bootie? It’s said with a THE?”

“Yup. That’s how it’s always referred to in fashion articles. THE bootie.”

“Wait. We’re not talking about baby booties?”

“No! Women’s short boots are called booties.”

“WHAAAT?? No.”

“Yes.”

“They should just be called short boots.”

“They’re not. They’re called booties.”

“So you’re saying that I could walk into a shoe department and say, ‘Excuse me, I’d like to look at a large selection of Lady’s Booties!’, and I wouldn’t get kicked out?”

“I’m most definitely saying that. The clerk probably wouldn’t blink twice, and she’d answer you with, ‘Certainly, sir. Would you like to see our black booties, our brown booties, or perhaps these beige booties with the spikes?’”

“And then I’d say, ‘No, these are all too pointy-toed. Do you happen to have any big, round booties?’”

“I’m sure she’d find you some round booties.”

“I am SO going to do this next time we go to the mall.”

”I told you Tube Tops weren’t stupid.”

The Unpaved Road to Kid’s Market.

This has been my permanent position this week.

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Because I’ve begun the process of consigning. For the first time in my life. With eight years of children’s clothes to wash, sort, match, pin, tag, and tape.

Take special notice of the container of apple juice on the coffee table, where children have begun to resort to helping themselves (and not returning things to the fridge) along the mixture of animal crackers and Play-Doh, a sure sign that I have given up all appearances of parenting.

In Birmingham, the mainstream way to get rid of kid’s clothes is through the giant semi-annual consignment sale, Kid’s Market.

But oh, the process. The pain. The detail.

As I’ve learned the many correct steps of proper consigning, I’ve come across some memories, and some difficult questions and realizations.

I began the journey by going through my returned girl’s clothes from my sister-in-law. I was amazed at the memories tied up in those garments, like the time I had to convince my former boss that Ali wasn’t a production killer, but a morale booster when we came into the office. And if you really want to be convincing, well, you need a t-shirt.

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And the shocking resurgence of vivid images when, upon seeing this outfit for the first time in six years, I recalled the car-destroying blowout (and poo-clapping) that Ali had in it.

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(Maybe I shouldn’t sell that…)

(At least the skirt was brown.)

A few hours after that memory crashed into my consciousness, I came back downstairs after putting the kids to bed only to ACTUALLY SMELL THE POO.

It was like the Ghost of Watery Craps Past had come to visit me.

I was shocked and horrified. Could the power of memory be that strong? Or did that outfit never quite lose its special scent?

Then I walked into the kitchen and, with relief, saw that the smell was actually caused by the fact that Chris had gotten halfway through cleaning out the fridge and had bailed to put the kids to bed.

Then the questions began.

Like, was this mysterious item my garter, my sister-in-law’s garter, or an especially disturbing newborn headpiece?

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And whose glove was this? How long had it been exiled to the bags of children’s clothes, mourning the loss of its soulmate?

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Then the real agony began: the tagging.

Items must be…

1. Safety-pinned onto wire hangers,
2. Masking-taped with my ID number, and
3. Labeled with a barcode price tag, also safety-pinned on.

I quickly learned that I am not safety-pin proficient – at least when stabbing large-yet-dull safety pins through mounds of clothing – and began wondering if my fingers would ever be water-tight again.

(WHY is it a rule that the bigger the safety pin, the duller its point? The bigger the safety pin, the more I need it to function properly, PIN COMPANIES.)

I also regretted the fact that I wasn’t diabetic, as I had plenty of finger pricks to go around. I could have known my glucose levels down to the millisecond.

And how do I keep from bleeding on everything? It seems like a blood-streak through the middle of a price tag might deter purchases, but my fingers looked and felt as if they’d gone through the meat-grinder.

Several garments in, my heart had a panic attack when I realized that I might be doing it ALL wrong. What if I were hanging all of these clothes, so painfully stretched to fit a newborn shirt onto a full-sized adult hanger and then double safety-pinned to boot, in the wrong direction??!

This thought was horrifying. My fingers were already tracked worse than Lindsay Lohan’s arms. I could not bear the thought of having to redo it all.

So I called My Friend The Expert – this was worthy of more than a text, even – and asked her to please explain to me which way the hangers should be facing.

“They should look like a question mark. And yes, you have to get that right or you’ll have to turn everything around.”

“Like a question mark. When they’re facing me?”

“Yes.”

“Wait a minute…”

(I had to draw a question mark. Then look at it twice to make sure I’d drawn it correctly. These are the pains of being left-handed.)

“Okay. It’s a miracle. I’m doing it right!!”

Halfway through the first day of pinning, hangering, stabbing, and barcoding, I decided that I should hire my babysitter to do this for me. But then realized that would defeat the point of my frugal endeavor, and I had no Workman’s Comp to offer her and she would quite likely contract tetanus which I was sure I already had in eight out of ten fingers.

After day two, I had 82 hangers full of clothes, most containing two or more items bundled together.

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And yet my to-do piles were hardly diminishing.

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Of course, because the only thing that makes life fun is turning it into a spreadsheet, I’d tracked the prices of my hangers and tallied the value of my work thus far. I tried to convince myself it was worth my future in Finger Rehab.

As I laid in bed, my fingers throbbing as they shriveled up and died like a Wicked Witch’s feet under a house, I had the thought that perhaps I should save these clothes instead – so that Ali could see all the precious outfits I dressed her in as a baby.

I slapped myself and pointed out the 100,000 photos I took of her before she turned one, and fell asleep to the comfort that I had snapped them while I could – because my fingers will never be able to push buttons again.