Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mama sees naked people!

Stripper pulls granny on stage, granny jumps on stripper
I had a rare day out and what better way to spend my day: watching hot, young things take it off! Yes, I am not ashamed to say it, I went to a male strip show! But let me say I'm not really into strippers, I like my men hetero and with a little fur!

A fellow mama asked me to join her and her girlfriends to the show: 10 euro tickets and the show started at 2:30pm! PERFECT for Mama to have a few drinks before the nakedness, enjoy the nakedness and be back home in time to feed the snot noses and put them in bed!

Wow, only 10 euros to go see a bunch of men take it off...but not all off of course. At least that's how its done in America (from what I can remember). The strippers NEVER take it all off. They tease you down to their thong and try to get as many dollars in stuffed inside.

WRONG! You don't even stuff money in their undies! Talk about cheap thrill!!

Thank goodness I had on my Depends undergarment pee-pee pads or my pants would have been soaked (from pee)! I don't think I have ever laughed so hard in my life. They do things much differently in Amsterdam!

First of all, we get into this very sheik restaurant/bar and there was no stage. We had no idea where the hotties would appear, but it wasn't long before we realized that the small step up incline was gonna be the stage.

Ok, its no secret Dutch women are generally tall so the only thing my midget self could see was the head of the first stripper in a zombie mask presumably dancing to Michale Jackson's Thriller. Whoohooo, a dancing Zombie head, I was so excited (NOT)! And that's when my friend grabbed me by the arm and lead me to the dark, secret corner, just next to the door where the hard bodies ran up on stage.

Of course I had seen my share of male strip shows and every time it was the same: Mr V. Gina the Gyny or Officer Pull over and Bend over comes out, dances around and slowly teases the audience with taking piece by piece his uniform off.

Well that is North America, they do things a lot different over in the Dam! Holy baby oil! The next thing I knew, I saw a police hat fly off and what looked like male body fluids shooting through the air over the crowd.

WHAT???  I squeezed myself in a hole to get a better look. Mr Police Officer was completely naked! His unbelievable large male appendage was flapping around the stage like a Dutch windmill during a hurricane.

First of all, I couldn't believe what I was seeing! A naked man gyrating on stage and his firehouse ready to put out the nearest fire. Yes, you heard me right! He was pumped and ready. Not fully ready, but definitely he was really excited about his job.

After I picked up my jaw from the floor and wiped away the drool (sorry Baby Daddy) I decided I was gonna have to see the next guy (fully) to see what he had to offer. I didn't even know what character he was suppose to be because as soon as he came on stage, he ripped every thing off and he wrapped a Dutch flag around himself pulling off his panties and hurling them into the audience!

He then poured baby oil all over his boy bits and a half bottle of white lotion and that was when I got the shock of a lifetime. He unwrapped his flag and started beating his "drum" while this lotion/baby oil concoction went flying all over the faces of the girls on the front row!

This was too much for Mama! Thank goodness this was the finale act! So I pulled up my Depends diaper and waddled off into the sunset...back to reality...where the men are lumpy, bumpy and furry. Ahhhh, but I will never forget my adventure and the day I saw it all!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sinterklaas Conspiracy theory

Sinterklaas at my daughter's pre-school
I have a new conspiracy theory: The person who invented the Sinterklaas tradition had to be a well rested MAN because if you ask me, the entire Sinterklaas thing is a conspiracy against sleep deprived mamas. Don't get me wrong, I think it's so much fun...if you are able to remember where all the shoes are, when to fill the shoes and to actually buy something to put in the shoes.

The thing is that kids can leave their shoes to be filled all over the place. Home, supermarket, school, drugstore, wherever they offer! Its crazy, I have a hard enough time keeping up with my kids shoes at home much less where the hell they have placed other shoes. Matter of fact, I forgot  to fill the kids shoes one night at home. I worked late so they had already put them out by the time I was home and Baby Daddy just casually mentioned that they needed to be filled. I was so tired from a long day at work that I fell asleep before I could remember to fill the shoes with candy. The next morning the kids went running to check their shoes and of course they were empty. But they discussed amonst themselves that the Piets didnt put anything in their shoes because they forgot to sing. Ahhhh off the hook! But I was lucky and it couldn't happen again!

And with two kids in school, you have double the confusion. Example:
Monday: Leave a shoe in Luca's class and remember to put shoes out at home and Fill them when kids sleeping
Tuesday: Pick up Luca's shoe, deliver a shoe to Charly's class
Wednesday: Leave the shoes in the supermarket and remember to put shoes out at home and FILL, Thursday: Charly can pick up her shoe from school
Friday: Pick up shoes from the supermarket and remember to buy candy to fill shoes on Saturday

For you Santa celebrators, sound familiar? It's very similar, except Santa fills the stockings once a year, not 20 times in 3 weeks!

Thank goodness Sinterklaas has come and gone and I don't have nightmares about empty shoes! Now on Dasher, Prancer, Comit, Cupid, Donner and Blixen and Rudolph...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Relax Mama, relax...

Phone booths still exist? and in the middle of forest?
For my birthday, Baby Daddy treated me to 80 minutes of relaxation with a facial and neck/shoulder massage. Ahhhh, an hour and half lying in a dark, quiet room with no children around. No screaming. No fighting. Nothing to do but get lost in peacefulness!

I climbed up on the massage table and surrendered all my stress to do nothing but relax. So I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and surrendered my thoughts to the process of relaxing :
  • If I had known I was gonna take my shirt off I would've worn a clean bra
  • Wow my boobs have gotten saggy, the Miracle bra ain't what it used to be
  • Wonder if she will notice my fat rolls, God Dutch women are skinny
  • Can't wait to relax, no kids...ahhhh
  • I cant believe I forgot to eat, I was too eager to taste my freedom.
  • Jez, I feel a storm brewing in my belly. Diarrhea? Gas? Yep, gas..
  • Gas...I forgot to fill the car up before we left, gonna pay twice as much for gas.
  • Ok, I am ready for my massage, please massage me! Touch me! Touch me!
  • Ahhh there she goes...deeper girlfriend, mama is stressed
  • Worked sucked this week but at least it was a break.
  • God what a rough nite with the kids. I am so tired.
  • I shouldn't have had that one beer. One beer!
  • My God i'm hungover.
  • Why dont my kids sleep?
  • I really have to let one fly, hope it doesn't make a sound.
  • There it went, silent but hopefully not violent.
  • Please don't let it smell, please don't let it smell...
  • I'm so tired of cleaning poop out of the bathtub.
  • Why do my kids poop so much?
  • Wowww that feels so good, ahhhhhhhh harder, harder!
  • Time for a new bra, gotta order a new bra. No, new boobs, gotta get me some new boobs.
  • Can someone shut that baby up in the hallway im relaxing in here!
  • Someone please feed the baby.
  • I am so hungry I could eat these cucumber slices off my eyelids.
  • Hope the kids are having fun.
  • Hope baby daddy is having fun.
  • Awww the kids are so sweet, I love them so much.
  • This would make a great blog post. Gotta remember, gotta remember...
  • I forgot to send an email
  • I forgot to hang out the last load of laundry.
  • What is this stuff she just put on my face, tingles
  • Didn't know she was gonna pluck the eyebrows. Holy shizzle sticks!!!
  • Keep going girl, I know I have more than 4 hairs in that uni-brow.
  • Ouch, that hurt, hello, i'm awake now.
  • It was raining when I woke up today.
  • I'm sick of the rain, please don't rain on my birthday.
  • Did I bring the kids rain boots?
  • I need to buy Luca new rain boots.
  • Hope I don't develop anymore skin cancer on my face.
  • Forgot to buy the sunscreen dermo recpmmended
  • Charly has an appointment with doctor this week.
  • This is my last day being 38
  • Where did my 30's go?
  • I'm gonna have a blowout party next year.
  • No I won't, too much work!
  • Yes I will, I deserve it!
  • Ahhhh this feels so good.
  • 40!!! i'm gonna be 40
  • Over the hill, over the hill!
  • Kids will need a nap.
  • Gotta let some more wind out...who cares if it smells, I feel good!
  • I should relax more often, this is amazing!
Facial girl: "Mevrouw, you can sit up now. Did you enjoy?"
Me: "You have no idea..."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mama was just misunderstood

This is where it all went down, my grocery
I told a homeless man to die last week. Bless his heart, he was standing in front of the supermarket trying to sell his homeless society newspaper to make enough money to sleep in the homeless shelter and I told him to die.

As I walked out of the supermarket he said "Hi" and I happily responded with a big friendly grin on my face in a my slow southern accent "Die" (which probably sounded more like Dyyyye) So not only did he get insulted but nice and slow in case he didn't understand.

Of course I didn't mean to tell the guy to drop dead, what I meant to say was either "Dag" (the Dutch equivalent to hello or goodbye to someone you don't know) or "Hi" which was what I normally said in English. Instead he got one of my brain dead Mama Denglish combos "Die".

I walked past him feeling good about myself hoping that my sweet smile and salutation would maybe somehow just make this guy's day a bit brighter. It wasn't until a few seconds later that I realized what I had said. Jezzzzz! What an idiot I was, how could I get so confused! But then again I had just put pure coconut oil on my hair thinking it was conditioner, so obviously the elevator was not going all the way up.

I stopped walking away and thought to myself, maybe I should go back and explain to him what I was trying to say. But then again maybe he wasn't really paying attention. Besides, what would I say to him, "Hello mister, I am a mother who speaks two languages and I haven't slept in two days, my son has been awake all night last night and my daughter the night before and my hair is dripping with coconut oil and I had two really busy days at work and actually I haven't really slept in five years and I never know what language to speak in anymore because I am so confused because I can speak two languages.

Why would this guy care about my problems? At least I had a roof over my head and money to buy food. God, I felt terrible but I decided it was best to keep walking. I hoped that he didn't hear me or the blinding warmth of my smile made him temporarily deaf to my faux pas. I hoped that if he did indeed hear me that he wouldn't remember me the next time he saw me. I hoped and hoped feeling rotten all the way home...and then it faded into the back of my subconsciousness...

Until I went to the supermarket today and he was standing at the door. My heart raced when I saw him standing there, but surely he saw hundreds of people a day so how could he ever remember what each person said. So I sucked it up and began my walk of shame into the supermarket. I was brave and looked at him in the eyes and said "Hi".

He glared back and turned his head! He remembered! And he snubbed me! He snubbed me the way I often saw others snubbing him! Jez, I felt terrible! I wondered, was this how terrible he felt every time people turned their heads when he said hello.

As I walked around filling up my shopping basket, feeling horrible, I thought to myself, I was just misunderstood. I could fix it! I had to fix it! Besides, I can't afford to shop at the other supermarket and he was at the door everday. I had to face the problem and solve it!

So on my way out of the door I took a deep breath and walked straight up to the man. I touched his arm gently and looked deep into his eyes and gave him a slow wink and the word "Hi" rolled off my tongue like a bowling ball getting ready to go into the gutter.

With a surprised look he said hi and then a smile spread across his face and his eyes began to sparkle. SCORE! Forgiven! Finally, Mama was no longer lesson learned...gonna stick to my trusty mother tongue, FLIRT!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Proof for those of you who think I make up these crazy stories
I hope my kids put me up in a really chic nursing home one day after what I have gone through to carve them Jack-o-lanterns.

First of all there are no pumpkin patches to load up the family and visit to pick out the perfect pumpkin. Matter of fact, I think the pumpkins are imported from the Lilliputians! Im sorry to say, but the pumpkins in this country are the size of a pumpkin seed in SC. I know Europeans make fun of America because everything is big, but when it comes to pumpkins, Bigger is better! And I should know, especially after trying to carve out 4 pygmy pumpkins for my kids.

I looked everywhere for a pumpkin that was bigger than an over grown apple. No luck and besides being so small ten of them fit into a mopping bucket, and half of them were rotting. In hindsight, should have gotten the rotten ones!

So I got home and invited 2 other kids over for the carving session. The kids had a blast drawing all kinds of things on their pumpkins, like dinosaur mouths and spooky eyes.

They were so excited and started arguing who was gonna have their pumpkin carved I got out the carving tools (aka steak knife and spoon) and told the kids to stand back, Mama was ready to create masterpieces!

I tried to cut the first top. The knife wouldn't even pierce the skin. I tried again and again and I tried stabbing all over the pumpkins frantically. These pumpkins were like plastic fruit. I wasn't getting in!

The kids began to panic and my son asked me if he was gonna have his dino-lantern and of course then the tears poured. His little heart was breaking.

That was it! I was gonna carve these pumpkins even if I had to bust out the chain saw. Which I didn't, but I did try the hand saw. Nope, not even a shred of pumpkin came off. I even turned those little piece of poop pumpkins on their side and saw them in half. Then at least I could get in maybe carve at least some teeth and glue it back together. And my kids would think its normal to carve pumpkins with a saw.

No matter how hard I tried, the saw didn't work either. By this point, my son was sobbing and the other kids lost interest and walked away, thank goodness.

I was now on a mission: I was gonna carve these pumpkins even if it took me all night. And that's when my genius mommy friend came up with a brillant idea: boil the pumpkins to make them soft!

So I boiled up some water and threw in the pumpkins. I had never cooked a live pumpkin, I had always gotten mine from a can, so I had no clue how long to leave them in...obviously, because after my house began to smell like pumpkin soup, I pulled them out. Well let's just say they were no longer medium rare.

I somehow got them to the carving table and held my breath and stuck in the knife. Like Butter! A little too much like butter because with every slice the pumpkin began to implode. My hands were blistering as the steam was still rolling off the pumpkins. Of course I could have waited but 1) I was on a mission and 2) I was too scared if they cooled they would harden again. So I kept carving, 2nd degree burns and all.

I could only carve 3 out of the 4 or I would have been emergency room bound! By this point, the kids had forgotten that initially they had drawn faces on them and were amazed at what I had created. Yes, I won! All the stabbing, sawing, boiling and charred hands was worth it! My kids were learning the great American tradition Halloween and mommy carved them their first pumpkins that look like they are jacked up on drugs, Crack-o-lanterns!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Poop Plague

The two suspects watching the horses in our 'hood
I must have done some really naughty things during my childhood or the Big Guy upstairs has really got it in for me because I am getting the worst payback ever...the Tannerstein house is infested with a plague of S#IT!

It's the only explanation that I can think of because I was simply vacuuming the house when my son starts yelling that there was a piece of poop on the floor. I immediately turned off the vacuum and followed him to the crime scene.

I didn't have my glasses on for a close inspection but I thought to myself "there is no way someone has pooped in the middle of my floor!" I had just vacuumed that area 10 minutes earlier.

So what did I do? I turned on the vacuum and sucked up the brown odd-shaped object. Problem solved, it was probably a rotted wet leaf someone dragged in from outside. And that’s when I saw it...the tell-tell smudge that I had dragged with the vacuum across the room. I flipped the vacuum nozzle up and sure enough, the entire brush and inside tunnel was covered in what looked like melted chocolate and I almost vomited from the smell.

It was poop! But where did it come from? My daughter was away with her father so I grabbed my son by his britches and peeked down his pants...Nope, not even the usual skid mark. Where did this mystery poop come from? I began to search the house...there were no other pieces or piles to be found anywhere. I looked up at the celling, nope it was stark white, didn''t come from there. So where in the H-E-Double Hockey sticks did this piece of crap come from?

I interrogated my son and of course he said his sister did it before she left. Impossible she is still in diapers. I started to get paranoid, I had just gone to the bathroom before vacuuming (ok I’m sleep deprived anything can happen). I re-traced my trip to the toilet...nope not me either. Whose poop was this and most importantly why was it in the middle of my floor?

I had to put the investigation on hold; my house began to smell like a toilet. First thing was first, I had to clean out the feces filled vacuum. One packet of wipes later and the nozzle was back to normal, and only a lingering trace could be smelled when I stuck my nose up the tube. I turned on the vacuum and sucked up a few wipes hoping they would "wipe"on their way up. Not sure if they "wiped" but they definitely took the smell away. Good enough for me!

But later that evening another piece appeared. This time my son had stepped in it somewhere in the living room. He came running to Baby Daddy and I with the piece in his hand and his foot covered. As I dug out the poop from his toenails, we re-opened the investigation. Still no leads and now both Baby Daddy and I were puzzled from the poop mystery.

And just when I thought the poop plague had ended, the next morning I found a random piece in the bathroom, lying just in the crack of the door. Like the others, it was an odd shaped piece with a fresh texture. Ok, this was getting out of hand. My kids denied it profusely and I began to really think I was cursed.

Since the infestation, I am on constant poop patrol, monitoring every nook and cranny of my house. I know I’m slowly losing it but this is too much. The mystery remains unsolved, but there hasn't been any unexplained poop sightings in two days now. Maybe the Big Guy or Poo Gods have taken mercy on me. Who knows, but I do know that now I will never complain again about poopy pants, diapers or skid marks. At least they are contained! And I know the source!

Hopefully, the Poop Plague is over but the mystery remains unsolved and with the only witness being an unreliable pooper himself, I guess I will never know...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mama Wins!

My babies exploring a rabbit hole in Buurser
Ok, well I didn't win Expatica's "i am not a tourist" blog competition this past weekend, but I did win something even better: a moment in my life I will never forget, 2 minutes of my babies watching their Mama and being proud!

As one of the three finalists in the competition I had to stand on stage and read one of my posts in hopes to get the most cheers to win the competition. I was a nervous wreck before getting up on stage, but not because I was scared to stand up there, but because I was scared about reading the particular post that I had chosen. I selected the one about my breast getting stuck in the Mamography machine in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I also chose this post because it was a post that really represents what my blog is all about: not only being a Mama but also being a woman. So, I had to be brave and talk about my "girls" in front of a room of strangers and I wasn't sure how it would go over...

So I am up on stage, voice quivering as I am reading. I could feel the pressure of the audience's glare. The first time I looked up from reading, I saw the face of an old man sitting on the back row. His jaw was hanging and I could only imagine what he was thinking. I felt like melting off the stage. Maybe I had chosen the wrong post. Maybe I should have chosen one a bit less personal, but then again my entire blog is personal.

I somehow switched on auto-pilot and continued reading the post. I then looked down at my babies sitting just on the front row. They were sitting there so still, so quiet, and for once they were listening to their Mama!

I first caught the eye of my daughter, she was mesmerized, staring up at me like she does when she is watching Dora. Today, I was her Dora! I began to get a little excited and I could feel my self-confidence start to bubble inside and I continued reading. But this time, with no shaking and no insecurity.

Then I paused again and looked down at my son. And that was when I almost lost it! He was looking at me with his sweetest eyes. He was so in love with me. He was so proud of me. I was the center of his world (and I'm not 6 and blonde). I could almost feel how proud he was to call me his Mama...My kids were proud of me and most importantly, my kids were watching me follow my dreams.

Suddenly, I realized what this moment meant for me in my life. I took a deep breath and tried to take it all in, the smells, the sound, the people and the faces of my two little ones and the love that I felt! For me, it didn't matter who won the competition. In my heart, I had already won. I was showing my kids it was OK to be who you are and not to care about what other people think. I had chosen the right post after all and I would never doubt myself ever again. I was taking my kids on my journey, chasing my dreams and hoping that one day they would remember my example and follow theirs. What more could a mother want for her children?

By the end of the reading, my heart was bursting and I was high on the sweet smell of my children's love. I immediately walked off the stage and into the arms of my babies. They clung to me like never before and I just closed my eyes and enjoyed the moment...

I was in another world until my son grabbed my face and said "Mommy, I love you" and kissed me on my cheek. My daughter then pushed him out of the way and jumped on my lap, "Mommy, I pooped."  Ahh, I wasn't her Dora after all, she was just making poopies!

Nevertheless, I will take what I can get these days...even if it is poop in one hand and pride in the other (literally)!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Support Mama!

I just want to say thanks to everyone who voted for my blog in Expatica´s ``i am not a tourist`` blog competition. I still can´t believe that I am one of the 3 finalist along with Taal Tale and MissNeriss who will read out a blog post for cheers during the expat fair this Sunday, 7 October 11:30 am at Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam!

So please, if you have time come by and shout really loud for me when I read my favorite blog post so I don´t pee in my pants from embarrassment!!! And not to mention enjoy the fair!!

Get your free tickets here

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fifty Shades of Men have no clue

Now this is romantic! Baby Daddy made me a mouse
Just like a million other S&M loving mothers, I too read Fifty Shades of Grey. As a writer, I thought it was terrible, but I won't go into that except to say it gives me hope. But as a girl who loves me some whips-and-chains mixed-in with a highly intense romance, I say "Yummy, Yummy to Mama's Tummy" (or wherever else Christian Grey wants to punish me!)

Never-the-less, I didn't have time to read the full series (my kids needed me to read Tiger Mama ASAP), instead I just followed my sister's progress through the other two books. And, yes, Anastasia ends up like the rest of us wide-eyed innocent virgins-turned sex beasts, at home with the babies waiting for Baby Daddy to come home, tie us up and whip our naughty cellulite-ridden butts!Yee-haw!

Anyway before my brain cell forgets why I'm really writing this post... today on the radio and apparently everyday this week, a group of male Dutch DJ's are reading 50 Shades and having group discussions on what they had read the night before. When I tuned in today, they were discussing the piano scene, you know where there are some ORAL discussions (and Bach probably rolled in his grave).

Well, I almost peed in my pants laughing at these three men discussing this scene. First of all, they were like little boys giggling at words like "clitoris". Come on guys, I know you don't know where it is but don't laugh and just ask, we will gladly tell you! And then suddenly, they became serious when discussing the ORAL part of the scene. They were shocked at how well Anastasia was able to carry out her debut performance and able to swallow such a task. Ha, me too!

Anyway, this lead to the discussion that ALL Woman think Christian Grey is the ideal man! What? Christian Grey? WHATEVER! He may be hot, a sugar daddy, young and mysterious but HELLO, PSYCHO! Yes, we women love it when a man stalks us, tries to control our lives, tell us what to eat, tell us what to wear and worst of all, obligates us by a contract to have sex. Unless I am working in the Red Light District, no one is telling me when, where and how to have sex (if I ever have it). Not to mention, if a man would take me to his Room of Pain he would quickly see my ass and elbows because I would be running out of there so fast! Sorry, but childbirth was enough pain for me for a lifetime!

Yes, where was my Christian Grey when I was looking for a Baby Daddy? Guys, hate to have to tell you but, as usual you have women all wrong! Women like Men from Mars not from Planet of the Apes! We like the fantasy of Christian Grey and this is because he is NOT ideal. He is what our mama's told us to stay away from! And Guys, we are just like you, we like to have fantasies about things we can't or shouldn't have!

And if this was not enough, they went on to discuss a recent study saying women who are consistently entertained by romantic films and books have unrealistic views on relationships. No, no, no, no...whomever came out with this so-called study has it all wrong! Give us some credit! First of all, we work our asses off taking care of everyone else so we must find ways to take care of ourselves, like relaxing by escaping reality...And what a better way than reading a romance novel or watching When Harry Met Sally for the 1000th time...because in our reality, romance is hard to come by between wiping poopy butts and kids screaming during mama/daddy time! And we KNEW this would happen the minute we shot these little people out from between our loins...not only would our life change but also our relationships and most importantly our's called Being realistic...

Come on, we don't expect men to behave like these so-called ideal romantic characters. And if they did, how could we ever appreciate the small meaningful things in life...If Baby Daddy came home with flowers for me everyday and read me a love poem just before bed, it would only mean more work for me taking care of one more thing in my house and trying to keep my eyes open not to be rude when I just want to sleep. I would never learn to appreciate the small things in life like when he orders me the extended cable package or downloads all seasons of Star Trek Voyager.

And guys its ok...we know you have no clue about us...that's what we love the most, that you keep trying to figure us out! Keep trying and maybe one day you can tie us up! haha

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Peer pressure in pre-school?

My kids version of Jurasic park
I consulted with psychologists. I followed advice from parenting books, friends, teachers, other mothers, my mother, grandmothers...Nothing seemed to help for much longer than two bowel movements! No reward system, consequence or bribe was big enough to keep my 4 year old son from pooping in his pants...every day. For over a year.

Then just as I gave up the battle, my son comes home from school and says to me "Mama, I'm not gonna poop in my pants anymore."

Halleluja! Miracles do happen! So I say, "That is great news sweetie! So why have YOU decided not to poop in your pants anymore?"

"Mama, I don't want to be Luca Poopy Pants anymore. The girls say I am vies (dirty). Mama, I don't want to be vies."

I couldn't believe my ears! First I wanted to cry, how dare these little bullies say such things to my baby but then came the anger. So for the past YEAR I worried myself day and night trying to figure out how to solve this most annoying problem and a group of 4 year old still-in-training-panties little girls say a few words and its solved. Noooooo, couldn't be...peer pressure in pre-school? I don't remember worrying what anyone said to me in pre-school. The only thing we cared about was who got to be the Mama when we played house. My god he is only 4, what is gonna happen in high school when he has a face full of zits and a body full of teenage hormones? God help me. Well, after I got over my frustration I thought ohhh it will only last a few days...

Nope that was two weeks ago, and no massive blowouts in the dino drawers! Just a skid mark or two...which I am fine with that after a year of shoveling s*it! But I am not fine with the fact that Mama has officially lost her little man!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mama's dam break

And Strom Troopers police my street! Im lucky he wasnt around
Call the police, Mama peed on the street today! Yes, I peed  in broad daylight just after crossing the street in front of my house. Not behind a bush or tree, but in the middle of the sidewalk, leaving a tiny puddle just in front of my neighbor's door (thats what she gets for not saying Hello).

It came out of no where, the dreaded SNEEZE. And until you have squeezed two watermelon-sized kids out, you have no idea how dangerous a sneeze can  be for a woman. Knowing this handicap, I always prepare: once I get the twitch in the nose just before a sneeze, I quickly bend over, and, if I have an audience, I pretend to pick something up from the ground and then I sneeze. Saves me everytime!

But this time was different, with no warning at all, "ACHHHOOO" and the dam broke! And it didn't help that for once it was warm enough in Amsterdam to wear a short summer dress. I guess I was so distracted by screaming kids that I really didn't realize what had happened until I felt the puddle in my brand new sandals. My kids shut up with the fighting long enough to observe my shame and chant "Mama pee peed in her pants."

"No," I said.."Mama didn't pee, its just sweat, Mama's legs are fat and they get really hot."

"Wow, Mama you are fat then!"

"Yes, sweetie, lets get ice cream upstairs." And that was it from the peanut gallery.

Thank goodness, because I could see a neighbor walking up the street. I knew I had about 30 seconds to find my keys and escape inside. He would see the puddle and hopefully think one of the snot noses did it (they are often having accidents as I turn the key, Murphy's Law of Potty training).

I made it inside and none the wiser. Sandals in the trash and I am forever traumatized. Looks like it's yoga pants and Depends from now on...God I love being a mother!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Mama race

Well Bruce is doing OK in his child rearing race, wonder how MLR is?
I remember all the moments when I was preggers, rubbing my belly and dreaming about being a mother to my precious babies. I remember imagining moments with them like strolling through the park, cuddling and snuggling...ahhh, a life full of nothing but little giggles and pure bliss.

But no one ever discusses that besides these magical moments, raising a child would be like driving a car without wind shield wipers or brakes, through a hurricane on a highway...and everyone is passing you by, you are trying so hard to just get to the next place to stop safely...but you can't stop. I never in a million years ever thought about all the challenges I would face once my sweet babies developed communication skills and became real people.

Fast-forward and here I am...struggling in a world where my almost 5 year old poops in his pants all day and my 3 year old thinks she is a boy and refuses to wear clothes unless they are "boyish" and pink. I spend my days on "skid-mark underwear" patrol and trying to convince my daughter to get dressed. Just another phase of challenges and of course "they too shall pass".

By now, I have learned this is a mother's saving grace. Life goes on and eventually solutions are found. It's just getting to these solutions that wear on my patience and sometimes I feel like I am running the Mama race to find them but my legs (unshaven of course) are duct-taped together and I have to pee terribly. AND you are watching all the other perfect (hair brushed, shaved legs and painted nails) mothers in the race pass you by with smiles on their faces, while you are getting no where. Your kid doesn't listen no matter what tactic you try and you feel like the biggest failure in the world.

Of course special moments with my babies are battery re-chargers and overall I enjoy every moment, I know time will fly-by and I soon will be attending their high school graduation. My only goal is to get to that point without screwing them up too badly and hopefully, they will end up happy people...but right now, my greatest achievement would be for them to finally learn how to sh#t in a toilet!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mama survived the South

I have just returned from my yearly pilgrimage back to my roots in sunny South Carolina, where the "Hey y'alls" run plenty and the grits flow thick. It's my mama battery re-charge time to catch up with family, friends and Vitamin D.

I know I am biased but I think it's a magical, unique place where, in some places time has stood still (or maybe its my brain). Just like any other place on Earth, it has its negative points, but for me it will always be home.

So I will share with you a snapshot of things Southern that amused me, touched me or was just plain crazy to see!

To the left, you can see that people in the South have to be told to pull their pants up before they can enter petrol stations. Oh and to wear a shirt and shoes too. Because, yes, people do run around half naked with their butt cracks hanging out. No lie, I witnessed it my entire life. Actually, these signs are posted on the door of most shops, gas stations and restaurants. I admit, I am guilty of going barefoot when I am home! But I wouldn't make people lose their grits with letting my pants hang low...

 Now here we have some roadside shopping. For me, this was one indication of just how bad the economy has declined in the South in just a years time. People bring there old stuff, new stuff really anything from clothes to produce from gardens and sell on the side of the road. Its like a flea market you just pull over and shop. And you can find some really good deals! This is at a popular intersection just outside of my hometown. Some small local farmers even have little makeshift produce stands on the side of the road to sell seasonal fruits and veggies.

As if you can't tell, this is a giant Peach on the side of a major highway. I'm pretty sure its a water tower but it's quite shocking when you are in a driving trance and the next thing you know, you see this giant peach that from the first glance looks like a giant butt crack (or I'm insane from changing a million diapers in 4 years).

The next photo really struck me, I suppose because I have been living in Amsterdam for 10 years now I forgot how simple life can be, especially in the South, where you can still live on a dirt road. And then I remembered in my old neighborhood we had dirt roads everywhere. Matter of fact, I learned to ride my bike on a dirt road.

And then I was a bit older we road dirt bikes and 3 wheeler motorcycles on these roads. They were our playgrounds! And when we got tired of riding motorcycles, we would stop and have "dirt ball" fights with the clumps of dried dirt and clay. When it rained even the paved streets would flow orange from the dirt roads, thats when we knew it wasn't just a passing storm.

Well the South of course is known as the Bible belt and South Carolina is the belt buckle! You can't go more than a few miles without seeing a billboard, church sign, or flags in people's yards advertising Jesus and warnings that God is coming soon. After 5 weeks, I even began to fear the Apocalypse when our plane ride back became bumpy.

This is just as ad for a church, but most signs are personal advice slogans straight from the Big Guy himself. Below you can see one of these catchy advice signs in front of a church.Some of these preachers should really consider going into copywriting!

Last but not least, here is my True Blood tribute! Even though I searched and searched, there were no Vam-Puurs! A girl can dream!!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

No brain, no pain

Its so hot the kids lollipops melt outside
Mama is home in good ole South Carolina, USA and for five long sunny weeks! I have been waiting for this vacation for a year but what I was most looking forward to was finally getting my nasty, repulsive toenails fixed.

Yes, of course I could get a proper pedicure in Amsterdam but a) I never seemed to have the time b) it has been such crap weather I had no need to show my scummy feet and c) it costs much more in Amsterdam than in SC. So I decided just to hold off until vacation, but I knew the first thing I had to do was go straight to the nail salon and get some work done before I made anyone puke.

After arriving, I decided to lie in the sun for a bit and then go to the salon. Ahhh, sunshine...a pleasure I had not experienced in so long. I just basked, baked and fried. Yes, I forgot all about my white girl skin and sat in the sunshine without applying any sunscreen. Stupid!

So after about a half hour, I felt my knees sizzling and sat up to see the most horrific legs and feet were the color of a pack of raw hamburger meat. I somehow managed to hoist myself out of the sun, unable to really bend my knees. I looked down at my poor feet, my toes looked like red sausages with a piece of yellow corn stuck at the end. I didn't think my toenails could look any worse. I had no choice I had to go to the salon and get some help.

I finally made it to the salon and before I knew it, I was putting sitting in the massage chair and putting my feet into the warm foot bath. HOLY SHIZZLE STICKS, it felt like I was sinking my feet into a burning oven. It took my breath away. The sunburn was causing my feet not only to swell but pulsate from the pain. I knew I had to suck it up and keep going...there was no turning back. The sacrifices we make for beauty or in my case, not to vomit at the sight of my feet. Desperate times, desperate measures.

The agony of feeling like I was burning alive passed and I was able to lean back into my massage chair. And I thought it couldn't get any worse. I could feel the massager run up and down my back...nice...and then it stopped in the middle of my back...and skake, shake. I guess for a normal person this would be ok, but for someone with double D's this is a nightmare. I won't descibe the image any further, but I quickly folded my arms over my chest trying to alleviate the situation.

By this time, this sweet tiny Asian girl sat next to me and began to pull my feet out of the pits of hell. Not sure what she said to her colleague and I'm not sure I want to know but it was probably along the lines of "Girlfriend, you owe me!"

I guess its because I never get pedicures that I totally forgot about the Scrubbing of the Feet and Legs. Normally I enjoy this feeling but when she took out the scrubber and began to scrub the tops of my feet I got the shock of a lifetime. I really almost wet my pants from the pain. She was scrubbing the burn off my feet. Yes, I should have told her to stop but it all happened so fast and I was speechless. And yes, I should have told her before she scrubbed up my shins but I was seriously having an out-of-body expereince. I can do this I thought...I have given birth, I can do anything. I am strong. And then I closed my eyes and started thinking about The Little Engine that Could book I read my kids before bed...I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...I DID IT!

She finished the Scrub and I was so numb from the pain I didn't even feel her give me a massage with lotion on my feet and legs. I just sat there, eyes closed and throbbing holding my breasts tightly while she performed miracles on my nasty nails.

When it was all over, I looked down and for the first time in almost a year I didn't cringe when I saw my toes. There is a God! I could now wear sandals and not have to curl in my toes. Unable to bend my knees, I waddled out of the salon...toenails first!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mama's First school trip

The Snot Noses singing at the The Amsterdam Music Hall
I am so proud of myself: I survived my first school trip as a chaperon! It may not sound like an accomplishment to most people but honestly, for me, I felt like I climbed Mount Everest!

First of all, I was scared out of my mind that either I would lose my own kid or lose someone else's kid. And well, I don't have a great track record when it comes to losing kids! Secondly, I am looking after kids that do not speak my language. I have to speak their language and God knows how insecure I am about speaking Dutch to such little critics. It's sad, but when I speak it to the Dutch kids, they always correct me. So, I had to be in top form and able to be quick so the little snot noses wouldn't escape.

And well, most importantly, I was worried about the judging eyes of "The Juffrouw"! Yes, Miss Juffy who all but said my kid was the worst behaved in the class. I just knew her beady eyes would be analyzing my every move and scrutinizing my parenting skills. I felt like I was getting ready to take a standardized parenting test and there was no handbook to study!

Of course I didn't get a wink of sleep. I spent the entire night imagining discipline-scenario-after-discipline-scenerio in my head. What if my son ran away, should I drag him back by the hair? What if another kid ran away, how should I react? So many crazy hypotheticals went around and around in my head until by morning I was exhausted!

So its my debut as Outsider Mama goes Chaperon and I am exhausted, wet and nervous and ready not for my Judgment Day! We arrive at the school all soaking wet from the typhoon we had to bike through and Juffy is waiting with "The List." She immediately runs over to me and reads off the three names I am responsible for: Naughty (random kid), Naughtier (my son's best buddy) and Naughtiest (my son)! It wasnt until she called out the assignments did I realize the other parents were assigned to 4 or 5 kids. What a humiliation! Juffy had no trust in me...she thought I could only handle three. The shame!

I sucked in my tears and decided I would show her! I rounded up my boys and told them they had to stick with me or I would call their mama's and they would have to go home. Naughtier spit right in my face! I had to think quick, This was not gonna be easy. So I pulled my boys to the back of the line. I made them hold hands and once the other mothers were out of earshot I dared them to even blink the wrong way!

They walked to the bus with no problem and everything went well at concert...I was on top of the world, I did it! We just had to walk from the bus to the school.

And I was just 20 yards from the school, we were about to cross the bike path when disaster struck. We followed the crowd across the path but I didnt think to look to see if bikes were coming. And sure enough, up flies a grumpy grampy yelling. Juffy immediatly turns around and sees it all. The old man is telling me off saying that I need to watch the kids correctly, blah blah. I was devastated, I was red and Juffy had seen it all! I could see her disapproving squint and the slight shake of her hed like a mother does when a kid does wrong.

I guess two of the other parents could see the shock on my face and took pity. They began arguing with the old man. They had my back! And in front of Juffy!

But, never-the-mind, I had failed. I knew I had failed when Juffy stayed close by for the rest of the walk back and even personally gave my boys an escort across the last bike path crossing into the schoolyard. But the funny thing was...I didn't care at this point. I had survived the most stressful two hours of my kids were lost and they sang in their concert. And the three Naughties told me goodbye with smiles! And that's a mother's highest seal of approval!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Mama lost her baby!

For almost 2 hours, I thought this would be the last pic of my baby
It has taken me four days but I can now finally write about the worst two hours of my life. I lost my precious baby boy for almost two hours during a family outing to the beach this past weekend. He escaped my attention for literally two minutes and BAM he was off the radar.

We had just walked up from the beach to one of the "strand tents" as they call them here in Holland. It's basically a temporay retsuarnt/cafe on the beach. We had met some friends and we were kissing them hello (good excuse not to kiss anymore) and my four-year old vanished. It was that fast.

I have to admit I am a hawk when it comes to my kids and have been criticized by some that I need to even let go, give my babies more freedom. So when my baby boy disappeared, one can imagine how hard I began beating myself up.

I immediately looked around the outdoor cafe, in every nook and cranny that I could find. No snot nose anywhere! My heart began to beat so fast and the panic started. I ran over to our table and told Baby Daddy and he said "Don't panic, we will find him." Ok baby daddy said not to panic, I won't panic, this is his country he knows. So I thought fast and went to the manager of the restaurant and told him my son was missing.

The manager pulled me behind the bar and into his office and immediately called Emergency Services and reported my son as missing. Because I am psycho paranoid Mama, I was able to give a very detailed description of his clothes and even that he was barefoot with his jogging pants rolled just under the knee.
So within 10 minutes of the last time we saw him Dutch Baywatch (with temp crew member Baby Daddy) was out combing the beach for my lost baby boy.

Meanwhile, I was at the restaurant with our friend and her 4 month-old baby. I sat there for a few minutes and the panic started to creep into my thoughts again....I had to do something. The restaurant had dispatched a few of its staff to search the beach so I decided to go out on the beach myself. I couldn't just sit around and wait.

I frantically asked everyone in the restaurant if they had seen my precious and then journeyed out on the beach. And that was when it hit son had been missing for one hour at this point. Kids who get lost on the beach or run off are found by now. I knew the stories. I knew the stats. And I knew my baby was out there somewhere all alone or even worse...someone had taken him. Then I thought to myself, no one would take him it's Holland, its safe. But then again no one is really safe anymore.

I chocked back the tears as I thought about the last time I held him and smelled his fluffy blonde hair. I thought about his little mischievious giggle and his obsession with sharks. I couldn't be brave any longer, there was a chance that I might not ever see my baby again, ever.

I began to think about the parents who have missing children that they never find and I couldn't imagine going through the rest of my life with that feeling, that uncertainty. I began to blame myself...if only I hadn't turned my head to say hello to my friends...if only I had't agreed to meet them here...if only we hadn't come to the beach...if only I had been a better mother. I couldn't breathe. Someone had my baby and I would never see him again...

I wandered up and down the beach asking everyone I came in contact with and with each passing person my hope was diminishing. I tried to stay positive but as I made my way back to the restaurant I felt like I was going to die. I just wanted to skip ahead in time...or I wanted to go back and do things differently so my little boy was safe in my arms.

My stomach began to feel sick and I was about to collapse into a weeping ball on the beach when I got a call from Baby Daddy:  Hallelujah, Luca found HIS way back to the restaurant! My baby was safe and waiting for his Mama!

But instead of being overjoyed...I was angry! He FOUND his way back! WTF...he told my friends that he never left the restaurant (which later I found out was a lie). He was unaffected by his disappearance act...he was trauma, no lesson learned (because he did it again the next day in the park!)

I am sure my "newbie parent" friends thought I was a B-I-T-C-H because I didn't immediately cuddle my baby boy...instead I started in on him. Matter of fact, it took me about an hour before I could hold him. And I was still shaking two days after the incident and today I am still traumatized to tears when I think about what could have been. The first thing I did when I got home was eat a pint of chocolate ice cream. Screw all the emotional eating therapy...Mama was traumatized.

The positive thing is that by talking to other parents about it, I found comfort and I also found out that it takes maybe even weeks to recover. AND after almost two hours of beating myself up for being a bad mother realizing that I'm not a bad mother, it happens to even the best parents. But I will go back to my neurotic, psycho surveillance of every move my babies make until they are from under my roof! I would rather be a psycho then ever having that feeling again of a mother who has a missing child. Matter-of-fact, I think i will just "chip" my kids like the do for cats in this country...maybe a GPS chip...And maybe one day I will set them free, but in the meantime it's psycho for me!

Lessons learned:
  • Missing kids on the beach walk with wind and sun behind them
  • Holland has an amazing child rescue system
  • It's hard to stay positive in a real-life situation
  • Drill your kids on your address
  • Teach your kids a plan if they are missing
  • Unconditional love: You can love and totally want to ring your kids neck at the same time
  • Not to judge parents who keep their kids on a leash
  • Really read the missing kids adverts
  • Count my blessings everyday
  • Kiss my babies everyday and cherish every moment

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mama, I'm in love!

Mama's little stalker waiting for his love to come out and play
 "Mama, I love her so very much," my son confesses yesterday while sitting outside in our community garden.

"Mama, where do you think she is? I want to play with her. We used to go to daycare together. She is my best friend."

"Mama, do you think she is sleeping now? Do you think she ate her dinner already? What do you think she ate for dinner? She can't drink cow's milk you know."

"Mama, which friend do you think she is playing with right now? Can you call her?"

And did I mention my son is 4 years-old? No, not 14 because I thought I had until he was at least 14 to deal with this subject. Nope, he is head-over-heels in love with the girl-next-door and he has just started pre-school.

And its not cute puppy love, its full blown stalking, obsessing, emotional madness you would expect from a hormone controlled teenager. I'm not exaggerating: he would only go to sleep last night after I threatened that he couldn't see her today unless he slept. Not to mention, earlier in the day, he had stationed himself on the sidewalk across the street from her house waiting for her to come out and once she did, he followed her around the neighborhood (on his little orange bike with training wheels).

Of course, she ignored him the entire time, until all of her other friends left and then she came over to see my little man. This was after he cried for at least 30 minutes, broken-hearted from being rejected twice by her when he asked her to come play. She said she would rather play with the older girls in the 'hood. He was totally devastated and there was nothing I could say or do to comfort him. I held him tightly and tried to explain to him the realities of love in only a way a 4 year-old could and robots.

I said that boys were like cars and girls were like robots, and robots liked to play with other robots, like the Transformers. I know grasping at straws, but I had to say something, my baby's heart was shattered into a million pieces and I was helpless. 

Then he says, "Well Mama, cars and robots play together on the Transformers." GULP. Yes, he was right. He often watched the '80's cartoon with Baby Daddy, so he was the expert. And he started wailing again. I had made it worse. Thanks to me he could feel even more rejected!

I froze. I was speechless. I just sat there and held him, rocking back and forth. It was all I could do for my baby. I thought to myself, what kind of mother was I? I was shocked at my reaction or lack of...

He finally stopped crying and was distracted until after dinner. He then ran outside and sat on his stalker's post, waiting for just one more chance to speak to his love. Minutes later she appeared...seriously it was like a scene from a romance novel. She pulled up on her little pink bike, smiled and asked if she could have a piece of the boterham (sandwich) he was eating. 

His face lit up and he handed her the entire sandwich. She sat next to him and he immediately began stroking her long blonde hair. He kept smelling her hair like it was some sort of drug. And he then suddenly turned into a little man. His voice was deeper and he had stars in his eyes. I couldn't believe what I was witnessing. I could have been watching a scene in a pick-up club! 

And just as I expected, she finished the sandwich, got back on her bike and rode off into the sunset, down the street to her own house.

I held my breath and waited for the tears to fall again. But this time, he was too intoxicated by her visit, he couldn't stop smiling.

"Mama, I really love her."

"I know baby and Mama loves you."

"But I love her. What was her name again?"

Errrrggg...and I thought my son would be different!

Monday, June 11, 2012

More than Red Lights: Mama's Community garden

Every week I will add to a series of posts called "More than Red Lights" to share my personal experiences on why I believe Amsterdam is an amazing place to raise a family and why it is so much more than it's international red light reputation! This week's post is just the latest reason why I love this city and why I am so lucky to live here raising my babies!

We had to make one of the most difficult decisions three years ago after I found out I was preggers with #2...whether or not to move out of the city and into the 'burbs, so that the snot noses would have a garden and room enough to play.

Baby Daddy and the city guy working on the garden
We couldn't afford a bigger apartment with a garden on the ground floor in Amsterdam. So it was either a big move to the 'burbs or find something affordable in Amsterdam. We took a leap of faith that our kids would be happy no matter where we chose, and we decided to stay in "the city." We bought an apartment on the first floor with the only outside access being three small balconies. Not practical for the little ones, so the first few years was full of walks down the street to Vondelpark.

But that all changed last week! Baby Daddy hooked us up with our very own (ok we share with two other neighbors) garden in front of our house. We noticed that one block down the street the residents had turned their strip of bushes into a garden with a picnic table and vegetable garden. We thought well if they could do it then we should be able to do the same. After extensive research Baby Daddy found a contact with the "gemeente" or city government and he emailed the guy asking what we could do to have the same "garden".

Immediately the city representative answered us back and set up a meeting to discuss. All it took was for Baby Daddy to send an email around to the surrounding neighbors to have their input, and then the project was underway.

The wasted strip of bushes full of weeds and dog poop slowly turned into our community garden. This city rep pulled out all stops for us to have everything we no expense to us, we just had to help out. And the city even removed the bushes and tree, put down woodchips, supplied us an old picnic table and wood to refurbish it with and park benches. Ok, maybe it's not for free, but for once I don't mind paying so many taxes. It was amazing how much this rep helped us out. He even came by on a Saturday to help Baby Daddy put up the fence (which he also supplied) and re-work the picnic table.

And it was a success from the very first day! We met neighbors we hadn't met in the three years living here. We all sat together, drank wine and the kids had a blast playing in the "garden" and sidewalk. Matter-of-fact one of our neighbors has lived here 33 years and she said this was the best thing ever to happen to this street.

For me, finally after almost 10 years of living in "the city" I feel like I live in a community. I now know my neighbors and we have a place to meet together to BBQ, have a drink or enjoy the sunshine without sitting on the sidewalk. Most importantly, my kids have a little piece of green in the city to play safely in front of their own home! And it is all thanks to the City of Amsterdam and of course all the hard work Baby Daddy put into making it happen!

I know I have said it a 1,000 times but Amsterdam is an amazing place to raise a family and so much more than just a city full of red lights!