Pack quickly. I have a knack for packing so slowly, that it becomes a 3 day extravaganza. Set a timer for 30 minutes and GO. No breaks until the timer goes off. That means no checking Facebook, no Tweeting, no sips of Prosecco, no scribbling down your thoughts on meteorites in the universe.
Do not tell your children, “Pull out some clothes to bring!” because they will pull out leg warmers, a ski parka from 3 years ago, rain boots, a faux rabbit fur scarf, a hula skirt, a Santa hat, a white glove, Mardi Gras beads and pink neon hair spray.
Instead, direct them to pull out 5 shirts, 4 pairs of shorts, one sweater, 4 sets of pajamas, 5 pairs of underwear and a bathing suit. They will forget many of this because they will spend most of their time searching for their favorite Superman pajamas that they haven’t worn in 5 months but now CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
Edit their piles of clothes, removing the sombrero and the Barbie dream house. Throw it all into a suitcase and zip it up before they can shove other stuff in. They will try to convince you that each kid needs their own suitcase. Do not bother explaining that you aren’t showing up at the airport with 5 separate suitcases. Just say, “Great idea. Maybe next trip! High five! I have something to show you downstairs!”
Now you have to pack for yourself which is difficult because you forgot to do your own laundry. That sort of leaves you with your second tier clothes. Remove a couple items that are your favorites from the laundry basket – you can clean these while on vacation (you won’t).
Pull out the other clothes from the closet. You will forget something major. Like a bra. Or contacts. Or a bathing suit. The sooner you accept this, the better things will go. But try to remember shoes.
Oh wait, your kids’ shoes! Run around collecting some of them (if they match all the better!) and shove them in the childrens’ suitcase.
Pack toiletries for everyone. This will include a nearly empty bottle of shampoo, 47 hairbands and sunscreen.
Time to pack up a bag for the plane. You need food. You need lollipops, you need books (real ones with pages that turn instead of swipe), DVD players, headphones, crayons and paper.
What you don’t need: whatever book you are reading because if you have any kid under 2, you won’t be reading. You will be pacing up and down the aisles, waiting for the child to poop so you can cram yourself into an airplane bathroom and change him/her. If you’re lucky maybe your child will poop twice! Hey, at least it’s an activity.
Congratulations! You have finished packing. Now all you have to do is travel.
mama bird notes:
Join me again for ABC’s “Bet on Your Baby” where parents try to win college money by guessing their toddler’s next move. And these kids are ridiculously cute and funny. Follow me as I live-tweet ABC’s @betonyourbaby tomorrow (Saturday) @ 8pm EST while also supporting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Also this week, I’ve been at Lifetime Moms writing about a woman who dared breastfeed at her college graduation. The nerve! And also, a Wake Me Up When I’m Skinny shirt for pregnant women. Is it funny or offensive?
P.S. I don’t know why my blog looks weird (if it still does). I’m working on fixing it. And by “working on it”, I mean madly emailing my tech person who is probably already on vacation.
My husband gets home from work after midnight. And when he does, I like to welcome him by saying things like this…
“There is a lizard under the couch. I can’t get it out. Please catch it. I’m going to bed.”
“I can try,” he says with as much enthusiasm as if he was being audited.
“What do you mean try? You need to catch it.”
“I’ll give it my best but they are really fast.”
“Why the defeatist attitude? You need to go in with some optimism. Some positive energy! The lizard can sense your negative vibe. Do you think an Olympian says, ‘I’ll TRY to land the triple Salchow?!’ No, they say, ‘I’ll do it!!’ That’s what being a champion is all about.”
I start to wonder if I should be an inspirational speaker and/or a life coach because I’m really good at this.
“So can you catch the lizard please?” I ask.
“I’ll try,” responded Rick with as much enthusiasm as if he was being audited for the second time.
Well, turns out he did catch that lizard and obviously he credited my inspiring pep talk. I mean, not out loud. But in his head, I’m positively sure.
So then last night Rick came home from work and I said…
“There is a camp shirt stuck on the chandelier. I can’t get it. Please get it down. Summer needs to wear it in the morning. I’m going to bed.”
He said something about needing a ladder but I just heard, “All over it honey! Get some beauty sleep because I have this covered.”
In the morning, I expected to see that camp shirt folded and ready to go but it was exactly where my daughter had inadvertently thrown it – on the chandelier.
Damn. Delegating did not work. I went into phase two of problem solving. Ignore the situation.
And hallelujah, it worked! Dylan and Summer configured some sort of apparatus with a mop, a pirate sword and duct tape and managed to get it down.
That is seriously what they used.
I was only sad my dad wasn’t there at the time because he is a man who loves to problem solve a situation. The longer it takes the better!
I’ve never seen him happier than when he got a ladder stuck high up in his tree on Cape Cod.
Yeah, I can’t really remember the details of how that exactly happened.
But hey, a ladder! That’s something I could probably use around here.
In 5th or 6th grade, you easily decide the names of your future children: Ashley, Jake and Ryan. With the names confirmed, you just need to figure how to get Louie to marry you someday even though he has a crush on Tara.
Still 5th or 6th grade: Louie is so not into you. He is so into Tara. Her hair is feathered and awesome so you can understand why. You might have to find a different husband.
Still 5th or 6th grade: You get into a fight with your best friend Stephanie because she wants to name her future daughter Ashley too. But I thought of it first, you insist! She doesn’t care. You decide you can’t be friends and will no longer share an apartment someday in Manhattan and now must live on separate coasts so that you can both have the name Ashley.
Many years later, you get married (not to Louie) and start planning a family.
Unbelievably, your husband actually has opinions when it comes to baby names. He tries to convince you that Jacket is a suitable boys name.
You try to convince him that you can’t handle the pressure of trying to create a kid cool enough to have the name Jacket.
You love the name Georgia but he doesn’t like it because of the traffic in Atlanta.
You named your dog Martini. Maybe a baby Cosmopolitan?
Every name he likes, you don’t.
Every name you like, he doesn’t.
Although neither of you like Cosmopolitan for a boy or girl.
You realize that you could easily name your children if your husband wasn’t involved but you would have no children if your husband wasn’t involved. You consider needle pointing this epiphany on a throw cushion.
Somehow we came up with names. Good ones. I mean, we had one kid’s name we had to change but you try to come up with five names and not have one slight misstep.
Speaking of names, I did a sponsored post a couple months ago about LegacyBuilder. And I wrote, “At first I was a little scared by the name. LegacyBuilder? Is that like an historian super hero?” In the post, I even nicknamed it LB Spice because who doesn’t love a nickname.
(Turns out, it’s not a super hero at all but a great website where you can easily organize your photos, videos and the story of your life in a very user friendly timeline.)
Well, they must have recognized that I am a self proclaimed baby name expert because LegacyBuilder has changed its name! It’s now called One Day.
Even though I think they should have gone with LB Spice, I really like the new name One Day! First of all, the site helps you capture the story of “one day” in your life. Like the day your kids played dodgeball with Little Bites blueberry muffin packages in your living room and you caught it all on video.
Or how “one day” your 4-year-old son can look back at photos you’ve stored on the website and think, why did I constantly wear a Home Depot apron?
(And his name isn’t even Joey.)
Finally, the new name also gives me fond memories of the lovely Valerie Bertinelli and building superintendent Schneider as we all try to live one day at a time.
If you want to try out One Day, sign up with code MAMABIRD3 to get a free lifetime premium account, up to 25GB.
This is a sponsored post for One day. All ideas are my own.
You will spend way too much money despite saying, “No, we are not getting the action packed, triple extra flavor blasted assorted cheese puffs with infused cheddar crystals” many times.
You will say no to things that will somehow end up in your cart anyway but you won’t notice until you get home.
Your kids will start giving each other piggy back rides and run up and down the aisles singing Frozen songs. You will have no ability to stop them.
You will at some point yell to one of your children, “Get off the floor!!”
They will pick out 14 avocados instead of 2.
They will pick out 6 bruised peaches.
Because you can’t focus at all, you will forget the one thing you actually needed.
You will feed your one-year-old deli ham samples and Pirate’s Booty and call it dinner. You will feel no shame or guilt because that seems pretty well balanced.
Someone will have to poop.
Later on, someone else will have to pee.
More than one person will ask, “Are they all yours?” You will say no. You are just the nanny. They will remark how you resemble a couple of the children. You will say, “That’s why they hired me!”
At some point, you will realize there are 7 boxes of cereal in your cart. You don’t have 7 kids. How are there 7 boxes?!
At check-out, your son will drop a package of baked beans that will spill all over the floor. You will not have the will or the ability to get another one because it’s 8 aisles away. You will consider buying what’s left in the baked beans container. But the check-out woman will take pity and send someone to get you a new one. You will repay her kindness by cleaning up the beans.
You will seriously applaud yourself for remembering the reusable bags.
And a high five for not losing any of the children in the store. At least not for an extended amount of time. After all, you want to give them space to explore their culinary and frozen food passions.
A woman will compliment you on your spirited, gorgeous children and share that hers are coming home from college soon.
You will cherish every wild moment because you know someday all of yours will be away too.
Every time I look at this picture I get agitated…
Because it’s not just a horse. It actually represents a long year for my 9 year old daughter in art class. Yes, art class.
My passionate, creative daughter hated art this year because her art teacher never quite understood that art should inspire and excite.
Instead, this teacher was intent on making the kids sit with their hands folded in front them, draw lines as perfect as possible and never think or draw outside the box.
They never experimented with clay or glued bits of different materials to see what gorgeous, unusual creation might develop. Class was structured and tedious. This teacher even painted on children’s own paintings to make them more acceptable, more perfect. At the school’s art show, all the art looked almost identical.
I’m saddened for all the children she did not inspire this year. I’m sure if there is a future famous artist in one of her classes, their passion will persevere. But what about the kid who is struggling, who may have discovered a creative outlet if only she had freed that child’s spirit.
My husband and I even met with her and the vice principal. It was civil. It was polite. And she never got what we were trying to say. But the students have won lots of drawing awards, she pointed out. I’m not sure that’s the purpose of elementary school art, I pointed out.
I told my daughter that this was a lesson is learning to deal with difficult people. That she would meet and have to work with lots of people in her hopefully very long life that weren’t her favorite and it was necessary to learn the skills to get along with them.
Thankfully, my daughter did love her classroom teacher. She was lovely, kind and warm. The kids did projects on the planets and even got to create their own aliens out of recycled materials. There were no rules. Or perfect aliens. Just creative freedom.
This was Dylan’s alien from Neptune…
Dylan’s alien looks like… umm….
Two microphones. Yeah, something like that.
The horse has been put away (per my daughter’s request). But the alien is proudly displayed in our living room. It’s sparkly, bright and an original. Just like my girl.
mama bird notes:
I’m once again working with Luvs and the new season of ABC’s “Bet On Your Baby.” On this entertaining show, families see just how well they know their toddlers (ages 2 to 3 1/2) by predicting their child’s next move in the hopes of earning prize money toward their college fund. A college fund? Damn, I need to get on this show.
I will be live tweeting during “Bet On Your Baby” this Saturday night @ 8pm EST. Please watch along with me and join the conversation! You can find me @mamabirddiaries or look for the hashtag #LuvsBOYB