Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas...Oprah?

Merry Christmas Oprah! Yep, I made a great big O carrot cake for my very first traditional American Christmas dinner in Holland. Like many Amsterdamers, my 1930's totally orginal kitchen is not big enough for an oven until we win the lottery and can renovate. So I make do with a combi-magnetron that cooks everything but the middle. I paid $10 for my Betty Crocker carrot cake and $8 for Betty crocker frosting so I wasn't about to throw it away. I cut away the middle and the only thing I could make was an O. Now, my Dutch family will just think we Americans love Oprah that much more!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mama goes to the gym!

It's a miracle...I not only stepped inside, but actually worked out, in a gym (all thanks to a good friend/colleague).

But the fear of working out for the first time after a LONG hiatus was overshadowed by yet another embarrassing moment in my life. Let me set the scene...nice gym...big machines...even bigger Trainer...young, chiseled, mama-can -just imagine the six-pack -under-that-shirt Trainer...

So,  in the dressing room, I'm changing into my workout gear when I look down at my feet. My feet. I was not able to see them for years and now unfortunately,  I could see them clearly. They were no longer feet. Somehow my feet and toenails had turned into something you would see in the Thriller video. Big, hairy toes with claws at least an inch too long and an inch too thick, coated with patches of blood red polish, chipping to reveal putrid yellow-green-brown nails. And God only knows what was under the nails.

I totally forgot to cut, clean or even think about my toenails. I barely have time to brush my hair most days, so toenails...not even on the list. No worries though, like many body parts after having a baby, it was my little secret, no one would see them tucked away safely in my running shoes.

Problem solved and I was ready to workout! But first, dessert...I had to sit down with the hot young trainer and tell him all about my workout habits (rather, lack of). So we sat down and chatted and  I attempted to flirt, but of course, that ended abruptly when it was time to jump on the scale.

I took off my shoes and bravely stepped up to the scale...and then he asked me to do the unthinkable. He asked me to take off my socks. My heart skipped three beats. No, I said. I told him I was not taking off my socks. My face was burning red and I just wanted to run out of there. I had to think fast so I said I was too cold  to take off my socks (lame).

In that forceful Trainer tone, he scared me into removing my socks. I had no choice. I removed each sock slowly, hoping he wasn't looking. Then it was like a scene from a horror toes were sticking out like little rotten pieces of macaroni. I tried to pull my pants down lower on my waist hoping they would lap over my nails.

No such luck, the nastiest toe still peeked through. And then the situation worsened. He got down on his knees just inches away from my crusty daggers to read the weight.

I tried not to move, then maybe he wouldn't notice them. But how could he miss them, both of my big claws surrounded the digital number on the scale. By that point, I was drenched in sweat and I hadn't even lifted a weight. I was exposed. It was too late. I had to save myself, so in a soft apologetic voice I said, "Glad I have time to get a pedicure tomorrow."

No reaction. No reply. He was probably trying not to let the vomit escape his mouth. Oh well, I thought to myself, just another embarrassing moment to add to the list. I am a mother, not a Barbie doll and I will never be perfect...and I am just fine with that!

But a New Year's Resolution for 2012...cut my toenails next year!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Papa has a penis, his pee is strong!

Yes, another penis story. It seems to be a hot topic in our house lately. Matter of fact, not only the house, but they talk about "The penis" in the supermarket, in the car, on the street and every toilet trip with mama.

But the conversations go way beyond, wow, papa has a penis and mama has a long butt crack. I know I should teach them vagina, but I can't bring myself to that point yet. Besides, they are not interested at all in the long butt crack aka vagina. Anyway, the conversations are mainly about how strong papa can pee with his "big strong penis." The conversation goes like this: "Papa is SO strong because he has a PENIS and he pees SO strong, so much stronger than mama pees, mama's pee is not strong because she has a long butt crack."

Ok, I take this personally. So what are they really saying, papa is stronger in general because he has a penis? They can't be, they are only 4 and 2 years old. It has to be a misconception babies are born with. It has to be. I am the strong woman of the house, I am the pillar of the family. Or at least I thought I was. If they keep talking about how strong papa's penis is because his pee is so strong and loud, then I will begin to doubt all of my efforts to be the mama I want for my kids.

I even caught myself trying to pee really hard the other day for the little toilet critics. It was only when Luca said "Mama, are you in pain" that I realized what I was doing and stopped the madness.

This too will pass, just like every other stage in their lives. I just have to be patient and bite my tongue. Soon my day will come, when my daughter will be trying on my bras hoping for boobs like mama! And she wants to be strong like mama!

This is how Granny rolls in Amsterdam

Mama is a very young 29 (and holding) but it always makes me chuckle when I see a granny rolling down the street in one of these. I know grannies get around pretty much the same way in America except check out the tarp rain cover. The difference between the Dutch grannies is they roll outdoors on these scooters. There are no Wal-Marts or super malls to shop in over here, granny has to brave the elements if she needs to shop, and anything else. To the Dutch Grannies, it's the same as riding a bike, they even ride on the bike paths. And it rains a lot here, so naturally the scooter needs a red-neck raincoat!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What happened to real women modeling bras?

 Man lands campaign modelling push up bras for Dutch retail chain!

Not sure if much of the rest of the world has seen this ad yet, but in Amsterdam it's big news. Well not shocking news, just regular Man Models Push Up for a Dutch store (equivalent to Family Dollar in America) kinda news.

First of all, could you imagine, a man in bra ads for Family Dollar? No way. But that's not what bothers me about this ad. No, and it doesn't bother me that a man is so beautiful he can model as a woman. No, what bothers me is that they are moving further away from portraying real women in advertisements. Real women like me, without a penis, of course, and with breasts down to the floor from hours of breastfeeding, in need of some serious pushing up.

That's when I would buy a bra from them. If they could show me a real woman in this bra holding up her tons-of-once-fun without her face twisted in pain and not wrapped around her neck, then I am first in line at the register.

Of course smaller chested women need these bras just like us big girls, but if I were less endowed I would be offended too. If I had a small chest I would be offended they portrayed a smaller chested gal with a male, who has no breasts and had to use chicken breasts to re-create!

Oh well, I buy my push ups in America anyway, ha, where they use real women in ads! Skinny and unrealistic, but they dont have a penis!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Tree Adventure

This is how mama gets the Christmas tree home in Amsterdam. Slowly, we made it after about 1/4 mile, but not before knocking over a bike and running into the side of the building.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Scandal: Santa has a brother!

Scandal will rock the North Pole when Santa finds out about his long lost European brother, Sinter Klaas. Yep, last night in the Tannerstein home, the truth finally came out, after god only knows how many years. Little (almost) 4 year-old Luca discovered the truth when he saw the resemblance between the two in a Santa advent calendar. He immediately made the connection: Santa had the same long white beard and red clothes as the Sint. They had to be brothers!

What a shame, I'm sure Santa has no idea that he has a brother and that this brother (who is considered a "saint") is delivering presents to Dutch boys and girls on 5 December. Not to mention he ALSO keeps a list of good boys and girls. This giving thing must be genetic...

But these two brothers couldn't be more different: Santa lives in the frigid North Pole and Sinter Klaas lives in sunny Spain most of the year, except for the 3 weeks he is visiting Holland. Santa has "little people" as his helpers and the Sint has hundreds of helpers dressed in clown costumes all named Pete. Santa is a world traveler and pilots the worlds only sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. The Sint hitches a ride on a steam boat to Holland and brings his white horse, Americo with him to get around while visiting. But I think the Sint is a more generous giver. His "Petes" fill the children's shoes with presents every night they set them out by the fireplace in the 3 weeks he visits. Santa only fills kid's stockings the one night he travels the world.

All this, of course, doesn't matter to Luca. The only thing that matters is that Santa is American and thats where his GranGran lives. So Luca has now claimed the North Pole as part of America.

So this works for now...Santa and Sint are brothers and both are keeping a list of who is naughty and nice...I love this multicultural thing...two months of threats that the Sint or Santa are watching!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weed Whacked Mama

Ok, so I was brave enough to go back to the naked spa for a second trip. Actually, I wasn't scared at all this time. I was perfectly relaxed and looking forward to an evening de-stressing in the sauna and bubble baths.

I was all prepared and ready to let go...until I was in the dressing room taking off my clothes. I just happened to get a glance of myself in the mirror. I was horrified. It wasn't my scarred up C-section belly or the lumps and bumps that made me gasp...No it was something much worse, and there was nothing I could do about it. And it was something I had complete control over! I had only managed to shave half of my girly bits.

Yes, I was lopsided and it was just at that moment that I remembered what had happened. When I was in the shower the kids were fighting, and in the middle of my task, I had to get out and settle the dispute. I guess I just ended up getting dressed and forgot. Typical.

So here I was at this fancy naked spa with my mother-in-law no less, no razor in sight and I had no where to hide, I was a freak of nature. I thought to myself, it could be worse, but as I began to scan the crowd I realized I would stand out like a mangy dog. I sat in the first sauna facing the door that looked into the showers, in desperate hopes that I would see other misfits like myself. No such luck, everyone had perfectly manicured lawns and I looked like weed whacker gone wrong.

Thankfully I was able to wrap in my towel most of the time, but there were moments when there was no hiding. Like when I climbed down into the hot tub. It was like walking down the cat walk, everyone starring up at you...naked. I could see on the women's faces they noticed. Women check out other women, especially naked!

Oh well, no one is perfect, I thought to myself. And I had to let go of the embarrassment or I would ruin a very rare evening without the kids to wind down. So I climbed into the bubble baths and saunas proudly. I was a mother and I deserved this evening, butchered and all. And who knows maybe I started a trend. As soon as I arrived at my home, I went straight to the bathroom...and put a disposable razor in my purse!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mama gets her face lifted...

Last weekend for my birthday, my sister-in-law and I decided we would treat ourselves to a facial at the Beauty Center in a vacation park we were staying at in the south of Holland. The night before we had found a brochure for the many different treatments the spa offered. It was in Dutch so I only really understood the words massage and collagen, but no matter, I was sure it was all about relaxation.

At first, I was a little relectant to get a treatment because I was trying to save money, but of course I talked myself into it. I never get to do these things and this would be the first time I would have a facial in Europe. I had one in America just before I moved here and I remembered how much I loved it. So that was that, my sister-in-law booked us a facial treatment.

So I walk into the room and I met the lady who is going to give me the 60 minutes of relaxation. I could hardly wait. One whole hour someone was gonna massage my face and make me all relaxed. The only problem was I could't undertand a word she was saying.

She introduced herself and I suddenly relaized that she was speaking a funky dialect or maybe even Flemish. I couldnt even tell you what the girl's name was, but it didnt matter to me. Then she wouldn't talk to me and I could have peace.

It all started off perfectly, got a cleanse and she rubbed some smelly stuff in to my face. Then she asked me the strangest question: If I would like my eyebrows plucked? Or at least this what I thought she was saying, so i said OK. Matter of fact, everything she said to me I just said OK. I had no idea what I was agreeing to.
She plucked away and plucked away. I thought to myself ok, this was not what I was expecting but hey maybe this is how they do things in Europe. A little pain in the beginning to really appreciate the relaxation. So once she stopped plucking, she put a steamer on my face and once again said something, God knows what.

There I sat in a chair my eyebrows throbbing and my face sweating like a pig. definately not what i expected but I think I had 30 more minutes at that point. I would take whatevr I could get.

So she comes back into the room lies me flat in the chair and blindfolds me with round makeup remover pads. She said something again and I said Ok. The next thing I knew a needle was being injected underneath my eye. Holy shit I thought, I must have just agreed to Botox. I felt her take the needle out and then wipe with a cloth. And I felt a lot of pressure. I was freaking. I had just got an injection, it had to be. And ebfore I knew it she was sticking a needle in the cornor of my eye. Same procedure. I was speechless.

Then she started mashing zits on my face. All the time I was thinking ok, I am gonna have one Botoxed eye and red zit pits all over my face, this was unbelievabel, what a stress. So she lifted the chair up and got the mirror out to show me her work. At first I was afraid to look but I knew I had to face my own stuidity of not speaking up and stopping the madness.

I was so relieved when I looked into the mirror to see that in fact I didnt have one swollen up eye. There was no Botox. Apparently she used a needle to pop under the skin zits. It wasnt a facial, it was a zit popping treatment! Thank goodness I was relieved, but I still didnt get my 60 minutes of relaxation. Oh least I am zit free!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Part-time mama

When I went back to work after having my second child, a friend of mine asked me a painful question: How did I like being a part-time mama? I felt knives through the heart every time I rolled the new title around in my head. I was working. I was leaving my kids, part-time with a daycare. She was right...I was a part-time mama.

I kept this title for myself for quite some time...until I realized it was bogus (I know I am showing my age with this term). But it was. In fact, I was not a part-time mama at all. I worked part-time and my kids went to daycare for 3 days a week, but I still worried, thought, worried, cried, arranged things and worried ALL of the time.

Matter of fact, because I work part-time I have to do double the housework because the Baby Daddy thinks since I work part-time I should do even more since he works full-time. Plus, I have more time for doctor appointments, shopping and any other things in between. So it didn't take me long to see that I would be better off working full-time.

And at work I am beginning to notice I tend to over compensate for just being there half of the week. I often stay later and push myself to do more and more because I feel guilty for being there only part-time. And in between poopie diapers and snotty noses, I worry, think and worry and worry about work. I know neurotic and probably doesn't make sense, but once again it's a mother's guilt. Work used to be my only child.

Most importantly, I realize no matter how far away I am from the rug rats, they are in my heart full-time. The good. The bad. And the poopie. There is no such thing as a part-time mama. Just like I learned there is no such thing as a part-time job. After becoming a mother, it's all or nothing, in everything a mother does!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mama will protect you...from the Muppet

I just read the most disturbing thing, Sesame Street is going to introduce a hungry Muppet. A muppet whose family has food challenges. Food challenges...on Sesame Street. When I was a kid I loved watching the show because it was so far away from reality with its furry creatures and funny screwball ways to learn my ABC's. I loved the innocence and maybe I am a bit naive, but I want the same for my kids.

I agree with the concept and fully support the idea that kids should be made aware of these things, but is Sesame Street really the place. Sesame Street creates a safe warm and fuzzy place for kids and introducing this topic to a 3 year old will cause the warm fuzzies to maybe become anxiety. Why can't we just let kids be kids and not put so much pressure on them to be good citizens and the perfect human being.

 Why cant they just learn to count how many cookies Cookie Monster eats and that the letter P is for Potato and not poverty?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Red neck Mama in the Hood

 Saw this bike parked in front of an apartment on my street. Guess there are red neck mamas all over the world, even in culture rich Amsterdam.You know you are desperate when you duct tape a plastic container on the front of your bike. Red neck mama can buy a $30 wind screen but not a $5 basket to go on the front of her bike. Wonder what the child's seat under the plastic trash bag is made out of...maybe its an old high chair, sawed off and duct taped on...gonna take a peek next time...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mama's Night Out...

Mama: I walked into the cafe, heads were turning, I could feel eyes watching me as I took off my jacket to reveal a newly trimmed down sexy, curvy figure, only a mother can have. Out of my peripheral I could see I got the attention of a young stud sitting with his buddies just trying to act like he wasn't paying attention to me. I turned my head ever so slightly so the candlelight would highlight my best feature and lure him in even more. Maybe he would even come over to talk to me, and I would chat for a while and then casually mention I needed to get back to my darling family. He would openly display his disappointment while complimenting me on how wonderful I look for having two kids, and of course saying the Baby's daddy was a very lucky man. I would blush slightly (men apparently love blushed cheeks, Playboy uses this trick) and sexily put on my jacket, leave the cafe with the wind tousling my hair ever so seductively and hop on my Moeder bike and peddle off into the moonlight...Poor guy.

Young stud: Oh my God, the crowd is getting older and older in this place. Look what just walked in the door, Grandma. And oh my god, look at the way she is taking off her jacket. Oh my God, I just puked in my mouth. She has more chins than the Chinese phone book and look at those gigantic breasts...around her knees. Oh my god, and she keeps looking over here at me. Please god don't let her cougar up and come talk to me. Puke in my mouth again. She just turned towards me and oh my god...granny boobs...Oh thank god she is leaving, how annoying she keeps glancing at me..yuck. Oh and no surprise she has two baby seats on her bike...well guess she's got two grand kids.

Pregnant woman in corner: Look at this poor lady that just walked in. Look at those bags under her eyes, I bet she has kids. And look at that shirt. Poor lady, someone should tell her. Her friend should tell her. I would tell my friend. I would never let myself go that badly, even after 20 babies. Oops, just felt a kick. Aww, baby agrees. What a perfect baby, poor lady...

Lesbian at opposite table: Wow fresh meat walking in...false alarm. Maybe 10 years and 20 pounds ago...

Drunk old fart at the door: Yummy, its looking good for me tonite!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mama Got Drunk

For the first time in a year, I went to the "baby" store, you know one of those stores that is the mecca for all expecting mothers. It wasn't like I HAD to go there, but I wanted to buy some new socks for the kids. I know, I could probably get socks anywhere in the world besides a baby store. I could have even gone to the supermarket and bought socks, but I felt this gravitational pull towards the "baby" store.

So I am walking around, looking at the the big bellies and baby buggies, lost in my own oblivion. It was like I couldn't think straight, like I was walking in a foggy forest full of expecting mommies and newborns. Awww, I could smell the sweet smell of baby bath and lotion, I became more intoxicated with each whiff. I began to pat my own recently slimmed-down-but-still-fat belly. I could remember the first time I felt Luca kick and Charly do one of her somersaults. I was drunk. I was drunk with baby fever. I had to get out before I was buying booties and the birth control pills were flushed down the toilet...

I somehow got out of there with my little angels in tow and mission accomplished...socks for all. But I couldn't shake the baby bliss buzz that I had...what if I just had one more, it wouldn't be so bad...right. My baby is almost potty trained and Luca starts pre-school in a few months...just one more, its only one more...

And just as I was about to call the babys' daddy to test he waters...I see a plume of projectile vomit come from the back seat into the passengers seat...and another...and another...regurgitated bananas everywhere. Charly was covered, the car seats looked like a snail fight and I had to pee so badly that I couldn't hold it any longer...Sobriety...Nope, ten birth control pills when we get home.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Smurfette...Smurf-next-door or Smurfin around?

With the recent release of the Smurf movie, I began to think back to the good times, when life was simple...Saturday mornings were for cartoon watching and endless bowl of Fruit Loops. And one of my all-time favorite cartoon shows was the Smurfs and my favorite Smurf was Smurfette.

I wanted to be Smurfette with her long blond hair, mini dress and high heels (all things I did not posses at age five, matter of fact, I still don’t possess). Smurfette was so cool, everyone liked her, she lived in a village full of men and was the apple of Papa Smurf's eye. What more could a girl ask for?

But fast forward 30 years and I see Smurfette in a very different way. Maybe this is because I no longer have the naivety of a child or the fact I have a daughter myself...The fact is that now I question a lot of things going on in the Smurf village. For one, why is Smurfette the only female Smurf? I know Gargamel created her but why didn't Papa Smurf make other female smurfs. Of course much later there was Sassette but she was a girl compared to Smurfette. Maybe there is answer out there on the net now but back then the web didn’t exist and if you missed the episode, tough toenails.

And not only was she the only womanly Smurf but also the way she exploited this by the way she dressed: Short mini dress and high hooker heels and that voice...sultry, scratchy like she just smoked a pack of Camels after a long hard night working the streets. She was always whining to one of the guy Smurfs trying to get them to do things for her. Is this the behavior of a Smurf-next-door or was she really a manipulative Smurf trying to use her status, dress sexy and speak seductively to get what she wanted? My 37 year old gut says...yep, she was smurfin around.

Most importantly, what was her relationship with Papa Smurf? Was he just this old pervert Smurf who played a father figure in her life just to smurf her? And was she actually smurfin' Papa Smurf or leading him on like she did Brainy and Handy? I don’t think we will ever know the answer. And maybe I am just jealous. Maybe I wish I lived in a village with 99 male Smurfs and had long blond hair and could Smurf anyone I wanted. No matter now…I just have to smurf up…my kids love her.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mudslide Mama

In the BC (Before Children) days, the word mudslide meant lying beside the pool in my cute little bikini, with my tight tummy and my perky little "girls" sipping on my favorite drink, a nice chocolaty mudslide. But today at the water park the word took on a whole new meaning when my son decided to make his own on the kiddie pool slide.

It all started in the wave pool when I happened to notice little "floaters" pass by my raft. I recognized them right away and immediately scooped up my baby girl off to the restroom. To my surprise, her swim diaper was clear but I couldn't shake the thought of how familiar those little water pebbles seemed. So I blamed it on her anyway and in the meantime the entire wave pool was shut down for de-contamination.  

So no harm done and most importantly no one suspected a thing, besides there were several babies in the pool, all could be suspects...and we headed off to the kiddie pool.

Just as I am lounging back in the water, my potty trained prince decided to take his first ride on the kiddie slide. Clapping and cheering him on, I was too excited to notice the tiny brown stream that began to run down the slide as he sat down. And thats when it happened, he plunked down on the slide and out came the most horrifying sight for a sweet baby boy was pooping at the top of the the slide.

Mothers began to frantically rip their babies out of the pool running for high ground. There was no other choice, Luca had to slide into the pool and I had to pull him out before it turned catastrophic. But I wasn't fast enough and the water was no longer safe for swimming. Off went the whistle...everyone out of the pool..

Mothers glared at me and even made comments. I was the most unpopular mom in the entire water park...I was the mom who let her baby poop in the pool.

I somehow managed the Walk of Shame to the restroom and performed a clean-up miracle but I wasn't able to wash off the shame and blame from all the other water park mommies. I was now Mudslide Mama...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mama got naked...

Miracles do happen, mama got naked and no one fainted, ran-away, passed-out or best of all even looked. I was naked for a total of eight hours and survived.

It all started about a month ago when my "baby daddy" gave his mother a day at the spa for her 60th birthday gift, also including in the gift package that she could take along a friend. Maybe out of politeness or maybe just plain torture (she is my mother-in-law so you never know), I was asked to go along for the relaxing day at the spa. And not just any spa, but the Naked Spa! The spa where bathing suits are forbidden, not allowed, prohibited...flesh only. And that was what freaked me out the most... because at the time this mama had a lot of flesh!

So the day finally came and I was in the "un-dressing" room getting ready to take one of the bravest steps in my life when I realized I had a saving C-section scar. If I felt intimidated by these European skinny beanpoles, I would just lift up my belly "roll" and flash my battle scar. Then hopefully they would think to themselves, "Oh she just had a baby...well then she looks great to have just had a baby."

But the moment of truth came when I had to ditch the robe at our first stop, the wet sauna. I hung the robe up faster than the speed of light and sprinted to the sauna like a hunted deer. Once safely inside the steamy refuge, I was able to let out a deep sigh of relief. I made it...I am naked in a spa...

With each new bath, sauna and whirlpool it became easier and easier to bear it all and by the time we went to the outdoor baths, I was ripping off my towel like a super model on a photo shoot.

Looking back, eight hours in my birthday suit made me realize I had nothing to be ashamed of. I had a beautiful body, with lumps, humps and scars...I was a real woman who has lived life with no regrets. I was a mother at the spa enjoying a well deserved day of rest and relaxation...I was just a mother naked at the spa and I liked it!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mama vs. Mama

It was a very rare occasion the other day, when the kids forgot they had a mother to torture, that I was able to watch an episode of Dr Phil. The show was about child abuse and they had this poor mother of a very troubled and behavior problem ridden child on. First she told her story, then Dr Phil showed a clip of her carry out the various punishments she tried to correct him from his problem behavior. She washed his mouth out with soap, made him eat hot sauce and stand against a wall. All the time I was watching this I was thinking poor mother, she wants to help this child so badly, she wants him to just behave...

Then came the audience reaction. The audience was full of mothers and they were out to crucify this lady. They judged her like it was the Salem and she was the mother of all witches. They called her an abuser and they were all appalled at her tactics.

To be honest, I had to turn it off at that point. The mother just sat there on stage, all alone, probably pretty much like she does everyday. All alone, just trying to help her child, to teach him the best way she knew how. It was so disheartening for me to see all these mothers turn against a fellow mother. As a mother, you know what all other mothers go through: the love, the joy, the ups, the downs but most of all the hardships.

And more often than not we mothers are all alone during these hardships...all alone on the battlefields of raising a child. So why aren't we mothers banding together to form an alliance, an army, a union, to ensure that we support each other in good times and especially the bad for the greater good of raising our children to make this world a better place?

The first lesson I learned as a mother was not to judge other mothers. No one is perfect and we shouldn't try to give this false example to our children. We are human. We are women. We are mothers...

Besides, many of us got a taste of the soap or a taste of the hot sauce and lived to tell...I sure did!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Munchkins and Menopause...

It is hard to believe that just over 4 years ago the doctors told me I would never have kids. I will never forgot that day sitting in my fertility doctor's office and listening to him explain my diagnosis - Premature Ovarian Failure. It was like I was watching a movie of someone else's life. All I heard was mumble, mumble..."You will never have children of your own."

Well I showed him! Four years later I have two little healthy munchkins that have become my entire world, literally. I eat, sleep and breath poopy diapers, pee-pee on the floor, crying, screaming...I could go one forever, and also with the positive things. Like when they laugh. If I hear a laugh, then all negative smells and thoughts vaporize. Don't get me wrong, I love my munchkins.

But someone forgot to turn the menopause off! I didn't notice the symptoms too much at first. I blamed them on sleep deprivation, breast feeding and  anything that had to do with having two kids in diapers. But when God performed a miracle of making my babies sleep through the night, the reality of menopause hit me in the face (well at least that is what I look like).

Sleepless nights, night sweats, mood swings, I know why women can reproduce at such a young age...because they should. Because it's hell to be in menopause and keep up with small babies. And two miracle babies at that, I am so grateful for even been given the chance to be a mother. I just wish I was having a hotflash out of anger from my kids coloring all over our walls instead of a real hotflash. I know how a granny must feel when she is babysitting her grands. Its just not normal at 37...Supposedly the pill is helping me with the symptoms. But some days I take 2 or even 3 pills just so I can maybe sleep that night or the night after, beggars cant be choosers. I sometimes wonder if I am not addicted to the pill. Some people crave a beer at he end of a hard day. Me, after a day with the kids, I crave a birth control pill. I can see the headlines now...Menopause Mommy Overdoes on Birth control!

But just like everything else, I will get through this. Menopause won't last forever and the positive side is I will be through the hell and my girlfriends still have the joy to look forward to...Life goes on.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wrinkle free...

I just have to say it and get it over with, and face the fact I am losing it. I was so tired today that after taking a shower I smeared my super-duper face wrinkle reducer creme all over my body. Yes, instead of picking up the bottle of body lotion, I just kept on smearing, all over, from my face to my toes. Q10 was in places that I am sure it was never tested. I just kept on rubbing until my entire body was saturated.

But, this was not the bad part. The bad part was that I did not realize it until I was sitting in the sun later in the afternoon and my entire body began to sizzle. No, not sunburn, sizzle. I felt like a fried steak in the frying pan. Of course the creme has sunscreen but maybe its not suppose to work work on certain body parts. My feet looked like cherry tomatoes and my newly shaved legs (which doesn't happen often) were covered with red stripes.

At first, I thought maybe my body was in shock from even being exposed to sunlight since we don't get much of it here. Yet, somewhere in the back of my cob-webbed mind the little hamster that runs the wheel in my brain began to playback my morning ritual. Yes, I did it, I used wrinkle reducer on every nook and cranny.

Thankfully, once I got out of the sun, the redness disappeared and my skin appeared to survive the trauma. But maybe it's an idea to put a warning label on products from now on: Caution sleep deprived mothers, use at own risk!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Big one like Papa...

It all started last week when Luca said he had pain in his pee-pee. Not knowing I was about to get the shock of a lifetime, I asked him to show me. Well what happened next was not what I expected, lets just say it was inflated.  My baby boy, my baby, baby boy...I just didn't expect this kinda thing at least for another 12 years. I just said "if you forget about it, then it will go away" and he moved onto a new subject. Wheww, thank god.

Then my worst penis conversation nightmare came true today. While getting he was getting dressed Luca said "Mama, I want a big one like papa." So I said "Luca, dont worry, papa's isn't that big"...just kidding, of course I didnt, but WHAT was I suppose to say. Im not suppose to be having these conversations, thats daddy's job. I dont want to know these things. I began to freak out a bit and blood rushed to my cheeks. I dont want to have penis talk with my three year old. Am I suppose to say size doesnt matter honey...or just wait one day you will have a very big one. I don't know, I don't have one. How am I suppose to know.

So I said the first thing that came out. I said "Luca if you eat your vegetables you will grow big like papa." Luca began to twist his face in disgust and then I guess he thought about it a minute when he agreed, "ok mama." Luca detests veggies, he would rather go hungry and weak than to eat them. Men!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do...

If I thought of my day as a montage (you know the montage you see in the middle of an old 80's flick), I would only see myself in various shots with my mouth wide open screaming "Noooo, No don't do that, Stop." And in the background I would hear the song Bad Boys (from the infamous show Cops) playing over and over. The montage would end with me putting one kid in bed and the other in time out. Then the closing shot would be me collapsing on the couch with my face stuffed with chocolate easter eggs and I would be so tired that rivers of chocolate would be oozing from my mouth.

Ok, this could all be true except I never get the chance to collapse because as soon as I do, someone starts crying or jumps on top of me. But yes, I do feel like a bad cop, all day everyday. I am constantly on toy patrol or walking the beat in the playground.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The other woman...

I knew this day would come. I knew that one day I would no longer be the number one woman, the queen of the world, the person who no one compared to in my sons eyes, THE MOTHER! I knew one day I would be replaced...and that day came today when Luca came home talking about another woman.

Yes, Luca came home bragging about his day with "Aimee" from daycare. And how she is so sweet and how they had fun and how he likes her friends.  Aimee was all he could talk about after I picked him up. Of course my heart was breaking but I then began to think about the future. Time is flying by so fast and it is just a matter of time and he will grow up and have a family of his own.

And that is exciting because one day I will have little grandbabbies to spoil. But realizing that I have to share him with the world and there will be a time very soon when he wont want to hang out with mom and girls will be calling, is really sad. Most of all knowing when to let go and let him trust his own judgment. That scares me the most. But all moms do it (well not all but most) and it turns out ok. I will do it too and I will just hope he wont forget his mom.

But in the meantime, I will just have to listen to him talk sweetly about Aimee and enjoy the time I have now when he will actually still give me hugs and kisses.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I never clean my backyard...

I remember growing up leaving my house in the morning only to return in the evening for dinner. We would play in the woods and make forts or go swimming in the nearby river. My mom never really knew where we were, nor did she worry. She always knew that we would be home for dinner. And if we weren't, then we would never hear the end of it...
That was then, this is now. First of all the world has changed and its just not possible to let your kids run free and secondly I now live in a city and have no woods or even a backyard. In our first house we had a small garden but once our family expanded we had t make the decision on whether or not to stay in the city, which meant having a backyard or not. We chose to stay in the city and have the city as our backyard (or this was my partner's argument to stay in the city).

Well, he was actually right. After just a month in our new first floor backyardless apartment, I set out to find the perfect backyard in the neighborhood. We are quite lucky because we live close by to Vondelpark which I call the Central Park of Amsterdam. In Vondelpark you can find several playgrounds for kids. Two very large ones, The Melkhuis and The Vondeltuin are very popular. Actually too popular and I often "lose" my kids for those few panic ridden seconds. Both have sandboxes but the Melkhuis has more swings, slides and other climbing things. Not to mention both have nice terraces for mama and papa to sit on and enjoy a drink.

Yet, now that my baby is mobile and all over the place these two major playgrounds are not a good option on a nice sunny day. So I have had to explore the Hood again and I have found the most amazing discovery. In the small playgrounds nestled deep into each section of my Hood lies the most amazing playgrounds. These are not playgrounds, these are backyards including yard chairs, yard toys, sand toys, bikes, trikes, swings, slides and secret hiding places in the bushes. These playgrounds are what every backyard should have and the kids go wild. It seems that people have just brought their old toys to these playgrounds and left them and there is an honor system to keep them there. It has changed my life! Now I just load the kids up on the bike and go. We dont have to pack up the sand toys or bikes or scooters. Everything is there! And the best part is that I dont hae to clean it up when we are done...I love my new backyard!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

In need of a good plumber...

Help, I have a leaky waste water pipes! And no its not the ones that you can just weld together. No, these are more of a delicate nature, these are my pipes and since I had children they leak, clog and sometimes even burst, always at the most inconvienent moments. Just last week, I had a sewage pipe burst on my way to work. At the very end of my 40 minute commute, I could feel the pipes clammering away and in just minutes later there was an explosion in the main valve. I was able to hold back just in time to run into our lobby restroom and release the pressure. It was a close call, but unfortunately not the only one. I have dozens of stories like this since I had my first child 3 years ago.

My guess is that the pipes got all twisted around after the two pregnancies and didnt recover. And of course NO ONE tells you that this could happen to your perfectly good waste system whne you have babies. NO ONE tells you about the leaks when you laugh, the leaks when you sneeze and the leaks that just make you wanna cry. From now on, I will tell anyone who is even thinking about having a baby about this possible side effect. And to get a good plummer beforehand!

Brain deader than ever...

Growing up, I used to hear my mom say quite often "It's because I am brain dead." Everytime she would forget something or she had to have something explained to her for the upteenth time. I can remember getting so frustrated with her when she would forgot something I had just told her 10 minutes earlier. I could never understand, how could a perfectly healthy and intelligent woman not remember things...

Well 25 years and two of my own kids later, I understand what she meant. I, too, suffer from being brain dead. I swear just four years ago I was an intelligent human being. I dont know what happened since then (other than years of sleep deprivation) but I have turned into this mushy brained person who forgets everything.

When it first started, I tackled the problem by just writing everything down, in an agenda. But that does not even work. I write it down alright. I dont forget to write it. I just forget to read the agenda. I have even tried to incorporate checking the agenda into my daily routine. Sure it worked for like a week, but soon my attentions were spread elsewhere and every morning I forget to take a look.

So, for me, there seems to be no solution. Maybe its the curse of every mother. But I doubt it. I see lots of mothers on Top of things with their agendas always open. No matter what, I am frustrated by the "disease". Better yet, my boyfriend is absolutely fed up with it. The only time we fight now-a-days is when I forget something. Its so bad that sometimes I remember things but I am so nervous that he is going to fuss about my "disease" that I forget seconds later.

There should be some kind of support group, like Brain Dead Anonymous, or Brainless Moms or why doesnt someone find a cure. Until then, I guess I have to put up with being brain deader than ever.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Broken hearts and guilt...

There is nothing worse than watching your son's heart break when leaving for work. As if i did't feel guilty enough, this morning, my son plastered his teary, snotty face to the bay window in hopes that I would get a last glimpse of his tortured soul, turn my car around, run inside and save him from the perils of daycare.

As I drove away, all I could think about was what if he figured out a way to open the window and jump from our first floor balcony desperately chasing after his mother. Yes, its a paranoid thought but then again I havent slept in 3 years, I am entiltled to be paranoid. So I thought about maybe calling "papa" (who was in the shower when I left) to reassure myself that my son was indeed in one piece.

Yet, as I reached the end of my street, I came to my senses. Luca was okay and he would survive the day at daycare. He would play with his little friends and forget all about missing his mommie. I would pick him up in the evening and he would tell me all about the excitement of his day. And even though this was almost always case, I still felt a twinge of motherly guilt for leaving my baby behind and going to work.

But I have to go to work. I have to have some sanity and feel like a part of the adult world. I am so sorry for my son but I have to think in the long run its better for him. If mommie is happy then hopefully it will make him happy. And for me there is nothing more valuable in teh world than to see my babies happy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Trapped like mice

Bright and early this morning we were trapped in an elevator on the way up to the daycare. Trapped, all alone with two rugrats trying to press all the buttons and I had no phone on me. It was like being in a metal box with two little mice trying to pry the doors open. As I was peeling Charly's fingers off the "Open Door" button, I noticed a bright red "Ventilation" knob. That's when panic set in. Ventilation, how long do they expect us to be trapped in here? And why do we need ventilation, does the air suddenly get sucked out of the small enclosed metal prison. Yes, thats what I felt like, I was in prison. And I am in prison with two very impatient little people.

Luckily, we were only in there for maybe 10 minutes, but the experience made me really start thinking about my responsibilities of a parent. I guess I have always taken it for granted that when faced with a crisis situation my maternal-protect-my-kiddies-mode would kick in. But during the "Elevator Incident" I was overtaken by panic. I wasn't thinking about how to protect my precious babies or to stay calm for their benefit. No I flipped my lid. I panicked with a capital P. I was not the cool, collected parent I should have been. I was a scared little girl trapped in an elevator with two two potential time-bombs.

Questions, questions, questions...running through my head like a hamster on a wheel. Over and over I keep thinking about how I would protect my babies and what happens when something more serious happens? Am I going to lose it again? You never hear about mothers who panic or lose it. Mothers always protect and stay calm. Motherly instincts take over. So what happened to me and how can I fix it? Does this mean I am a bad mother?

Big question, where WERE my motherly instincts. Maybe they were still sleeping, or maybe I dont have very strong ones. Or maybe they have disappeared all together. I can't figure it out and since you never hear about other mothers losing their motherly instincts or panicking in situations, I guess I will might not ever figure it out...