I Had Enough

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Lost. I heard the baby wailing in the background. Her wails were piercing roars, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I lost it for the first time.

“I can’t do this anymore!” I screamed, pushing hard on the break. The baby, who is intuitive like me, got nervous and cried louder. My toddler joined, and then I did something I am not proud of—I screamed again. I have never cried in front of my kids—but today I started panicking. My body felt tingly, and I lost it. Heart racing with anxiety as tears drip-dropped down my cheeks. I wanted to run out of that moment. Turn around and go home. I can extinguish any emotion if I have to. Usually.

Not today.

I had enough.

Today I was completely lost in the web of motherhood. Tangled in knots, trying to find my way out, but only making my way back to where I started– stuck in that same darn knot.

The day started to take a turn for the tangled when I was leaving for camp with my two littles. I Bjorn the baby each morning; I mean that Bjorn is my lifeline with two littles and only two hands. And when I didn’t see it, I was left with the realization— my husband took the Bjorn to work accidently—and he was definitely not getting any sexy time later.

Now, you may be thinking; you can just put the baby in the stroller. Well, my stroller isn’t allowed in the classroom because it’s a fire hazard. So, I went to class with the baby in one arm, the toddler in the other arm. And…to no one’s surprise—it was sh!t show.

This about sums it up: I left the splash pad, baby in one arm, toddler in the other arm—insisting on being picked up too, of course. We were almost back to the classroom–thank goodness because my hands were breaking…. And then the fire alarm went off. The frightened toddler screamed as we continued walking past the classroom and out of the building for a fire drill. The toddler was too afraid to let me put her down—so I had to continue holding both in the blaring heat of the sun until they let us back inside. Yep. That’s the kind of day I was having.

I had enough.

We left class a little early after my toddler had a full on break down because she’s a toddler and when you are having a difficult day as a mother, they can sniff it out, and make it worse for you. In all actuality, she was jealous I was holding her sister so much, and she finally lost it.

I had enough.

We got home, all was fine, both kids napped, and then that afternoon we had a birthday party. I should have sensed my mommy karma was off and counted my loses, staying at home, but I decided to go for it.  I mean the toddler napped so maybe this mama’s juju was on the up and up.

Think again.

I put the address in the navigation and…got, so freaking lost.

It was a five-minute drive that turned into a 45-minute drive. This brings me to the beginning, with the baby crying to the point where I hit the break (and my breaking point), screeching to a full stop and screamed at the top of my lungs.  With that, the baby started screaming, and the toddler joined in and wanted out of her car seat. Kids feed off your emotions. They got scared because mommy was upset and I was even madder at my reaction. That for once, I couldn’t keep my cool in front of them. I felt like such a failure.

I had enough.

I took the baby out of the car seat comforting her and apologizing.

A passing driver stopped her car, “Are you guys okay?” she asked the frantic mother, aka me, rocking her baby in the middle of the street. I’d think no!

“Yes, we are just lost and the baby’s upset,” I said, admitting defeat.

“I’ll help,” she said pulling out her phone and trying to direct me. This person’s kindness was so sweet and needed at that moment, but I am not the best at taking direction, plus I was so frazzled—so I could hardly listen. But it was enough to get me back to thinking rationally.

I had enough.

I got back in the car. I breathed. These are not horrible, horrible, horrible things happening just little grievances. I need to hold it together. I can do this.  I breathed in again and regrouped. I needed to get to this house where the party was because it was closer than home and my crying kids needed out.

I calmly called my husband, and he guided me the rest of the way. Of course, I was around the corner, and there were two streets with the same name within a couple of blocks of each other. Because… Of course.

We made it, and I cheered, my toddler, mimicking my enthusiasm with cheers of her own. It was an outside party. As soon as I saw that, I knew that there would be a mosquito banquet with me as the main dish.

Total sh!t show? Yes. But at least I was out, experiencing life. Trying things. I used to be afraid of my own shadow, and that held me back from doing anything. Old Dani would have stayed in after the morning from hell she had. New Dani, was going to conquer the day head on—her kids kept her courage strong. The day could get better. And maybe it didn’t this time, but the chance that it could, kept my tribe and me going. A tribe leader needs to be brave. More times than not, I am happy to have left our comfort zone—leading my tribe into adventure. An hour later and about twenty mosquito bites deep— we got home.

I had enough.

Then my eldest did something so sweet. She came up to me and gave me a big hug, saying “mommy, I love you.” I felt that same tingly feeling as before, but it calmed me. I felt at peace as she wrapped her arms around me.  Even deep in, stuck in the tangled web, on these horrible days—I love leading our tribe, being the brave chief mom. Because I had enough of this day, but never of my role as a mother to you.

 

 

 

 

 

One More Book

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It starts with one story read each night when you aren’t old enough to read. You listen to the words daddy reads to you, taking it all in, holding onto each word of his deep voice—wanting him to read one more, just one more—because you know that means more time with him. You look at the pictures and you help turn the pages. You cuddle up in the warmth of each other’s bodies.

You don’t see daddy all day, so if he’s home to tuck you in—I know I will see that jack-o’-lantern-light-up-the-room smile form between your cherub cheeks.

“Pumpkin face, it’s time for bed.” I say, picking up some toys off the floor.

“No way!” You demur.

“Look it’s Daddy, and he is going to read you stories.” Then Daddy appears into the room in his work clothes, fresh from rush hour traffic and a stressful day–ready to put on his daddy cape and save the day. He is your superhero.

“Dad-eee!” You screech with glee. Then like you just gave him a secret hand shake or a double thumbs up only you two can see, you walk past me grabbing daddy’s hand to go to your room.  He tells you to pick two books and you do. Then you lay on your big girl bed in daddy’s arms.

Him reading, you listening.

You start getting antsy when you see the last book coming to an end.

“Book, peas,” you say wanting one more, sensing your time together is about to end.

“Okay, just one more,” he answers your raspy plea. You pick one more– and you both dig in.

You like to hear the stories but what you really love is your time with him. You, laying peacefully on his chest. Him, reading to you and making silly voices for different characters. The two of you—laughing, smiling, eyes twinkling at each other.

One day you will get older, and you won’t want to read with daddy. He will be there for other things like life advice, homework help, and to grab you and your friend’s bagels after a sleep over party.

You talking, him listening and vice versa.

When you are sad, he will let you lay peacefully on his chest—and try to make things all better– taking you back to the times when he read to his little girl during story time. When you are happy, he will celebrate you, because your victories will be his. He will always have that twinkle in his eye for you, his little girl. When it comes to you, he will want one more book, one more moment. Always.

Mama Friend I Forgive You

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I overhear a lot of things at my daughter’s classes. And I must say, there is too much complaining amongst mommy-kind about each other. I hear it in whispers, laughs, sometimes anger.  I thought I needed to set the record straight on my opinion about this epidemic. So here it is and this is my take on how I know a mommy friend is a keeper.

You forgot my birthday mommy friend. Don’t worry, I am not counting my presents and making an exclusive invite list to my big birthday bash at a chic high-end restaurant and YOU BETTER BE THERE OR ELSE. I am most likely ordering in dinner with my family and having my two-year old blow out my birthday candles. I too, believe it or not, am not perfect, and get confused about what day of the week, month, it is here in Mamaland—which is a lot like Disneyland in the high probability rate of tantrums that happen, minus the fun rides. Yes, it’s THAT much fun. This means, I more than get why it may slip your mind. In fact, I more than forgive you and probably didn’t even think twice about it.

You made a borderline offensive comment mommy friend.  You made a joke at my expense about my parenting style. How “I am crazy for breastfeeding so long and co-sleeping” but you didn’t mean to. You thought I’d laugh along. People make mistakes. Yes, my feelings were hurt in that moment, but I’ll get over it. I always do.

You didn’t call me back mama friend. You said you were going to, but I never heard back. Now it has been five days and no call back. I am so NOT mad. Come on, I have done the same thing to you. Life gets busy. Trust me, at the end of a long day of changing countless dirty diapers, dancing non-stop to The Wiggles, at least two toddler tantrums, a lot of tears shed, the last thing I want to do is call anyone back, including you (sorry, not sorry). I am in no way holding it against you.

You ignored my text mommy friend. I saw that you read it. IPhone’s can be truth tellers like that. Big deal. It happens.

You had to cancel plans over four times in a row fellow mama—a different excuse each time. I get it, things happen in life. I’ll most definitely do it to you. Even though I won’t mean to.

What is my point with all of this?

Look I know how it is to feel overwhelmed, down, depressed, so sad you feel like you are drowning but you are eyes-wide-open while the water is caving in on you—it’s absolutely terrifying. I know what it is like to be so in the grasps of depressions hands, that it is literally suffocating you and you can hardly breathe. You want to scream but you are underwater so you can’t–thoughts are blurry, self-esteem absent. You can’t see the positive in anything. Your soul is literally drowning. I know how it is to go through really bad times. I think most people once they hit a certain age do.

This is why I take other things into account and overlook these little insignificant things. Because when you go through hard times you realize what truly matters in a friend:

1). You have always been kind to me and my family— genuinely wishing us the best.

2). We always laugh hard together or have good talks.

3) . You are always kind to my kids, treating them like your own.

4). If I needed you, I know you would be there or at least attempt to get there.

In my mind, even if you are just thinking positively about me and my family you are a good friend. Motherhood is hard. There is a whole lot going on at all times—spaghetti on the walls metaphorically and literally. The kids take up 95% of the day. So why would I get rid of you based on being forgetful, a one-off joke, a simple lapse of memory? I wouldn’t.

Everyone’s life is messy-a sprinkling of good and bad times, hopefully the good outweighing the bad most of the time. Everyone is going through something. It may be different degrees of that something but it is still messy, raw, and I am sure hard as heck And on top of that, we are raising children and have their problems at the forefront. That’s a lot to take on!

The world doesn’t owe you anything. Unfortunately, no one does. That’s why when you find another good person or good people, hold on really tight and don’t drop them for insignificant reasons. Motherhood can be lonely. We need each other.

Repeat after me: I ________ forgive my fellow mama friend for the small thing that got me upset and will not drop them or complain to others in my tribe. Understanding breeds understanding, kindness breeds more kindness—and I want us mamas to be each other’s supports instead of knocking each other down for stupid lapses or oversights (Plus, hello momnesia—it’s real!). We are all aboard this mama train for a ride of a lifetime so we might as well chugga chugga choo choo along and stick together.

 

 

Today I Was Over It

Today I was over it.

My toddler woke up in a mood. While I was pumping she waddled over to my six-month-old in her Rocker and pretended to hit her on the head smiling her mischievous Dennis the Menace smile.

“No, I won’t let you hit the baby.” I said trying to remain calm like Janet Lansbury advises, but getting ready to unhook my polka-dot-Minnie-mouse inspired pumping bra and take action knowing my toddler all too well. She smiled at me again, and hit the baby’s head harder–the baby’s face starting to scrunch up to cry. Okay, Janet, this is where I couldn’t give no reaction anymore.

“That’s it!” I took off the bra, liquid gold spilling everywhere, and swooped her up placing her in her purgatory— time out.

Today I was over it.

I was over the fight to put her diaper on after her bath. Her little kicks into my stomach every time I got close to her and her screams because diaper changes are the worst thing you can do to someone, don’t you know?

 Today I was over it.

When we switched rooms, my toddler ran down the hall instead of to the playroom where we usually convene. Her little body moving from side to side– while I ran after her, baby cuddled into my chest. I caught up to her by the stairs and grabbed her little hand as she tried to pull it away because once you turn two you are totally independent. Turning to bolt again, I forced her up—the toddler in one arm, the baby in the other. We walked down the hall like this.

Today I was over it.

The outfit changes. The baby had a poop explosion while I was feeding her this morning. Mustardy poop covered my shirt and the baby’s clothes. Then I went to art class with my toddler, blue paint covering outfit number two by the time she was midway through finger painting.

Today I was over it.

Always having to have my shit together. Getting the bottles prepped, everyone changed, bathed, cleaned—out the door on time. Not having any time for myself.

Today I was over it.

When bedtime approached I was so relieved. After putting them both down I got into bed myself to unwind when five minutes later I heard through the monitor a cry from the toddler’s room. I ran down the hall, feet pounding like a dinosaur.

“What baby?” I asked as I entered the room.

She gave me a soft hug saying “tissue tissue” as salty snot dripped from her button nose. I wiped. “Book, book. Please.” Please! Just like I had been teaching her…

“Okay just one.” I grabbed the one on top of the pile.

I read her The Very Hungry Caterpillar as she turned the pages.

“Thank you mommy,” she said in her sweet husky voice.

“Your welcome baby.” I kissed her forehead, placing the blanket over her lower half, the shushers’ soothing sound playing in the background. I closed the door.

I heard soft cries come in echoes “neh, neh” from the baby’s room across the hall. NOOOOO. I ran back down the hall, as I tried to decipher the meaning behind the cry—maybe she lost her pacifier? Then I saw her scrunched up face. All she needed was to see me, her mommy, and her frown turned into a magnetic smile as I couldn’t help but smile back at her sweet little face. As I stroked her little head, she leaned to the side, falling right back to sleep.

That’s when I knew

Today I was over it but I am never over both of you.

You are my heart.

F You Mickey Mouse

IMG_0083There I was waiting to eat breakfast with my family at the Royal Table in the postcardesque Cinderella’s castle. My toddler warmly smiled at a woman dressed elegantly in a light blue ball gown. Her blonde hair was pulled up in a high tight bun and her pink shadowed eyelids had long black lashes dueling as fans making her blue eyes pop. I swear I felt a magically refreshing breeze cool down my face-how Disney! Cinderella just finished ballroom dancing with a forty-five year old man to my husband’s complete horror—how not Disney and poor Cinderelly!

“What a creep,” he whispered to me, as I shushed him.

“Ella” my toddler screeched reaching out to give her favorite Disney princess a hug as the forty-five year old walked away happy as a clam that he got to be prince charming for five minutes.

We were in Disney for my daughter’s second birthday and this was the reaction I was so hoping for. Though my inner feminist wasn’t digging her recent obsession with Disney princesses’ this was what this trip was all about. This moment, like in the Disney commercials where your child is so in awe of her surroundings. Then getting that perfect photo and everything—the expensive price tag, the travel, the exhaustion— becomes worth it.

“What a sweet little mouse you are,” Cinderella mused as she swooped my “little mouse” up into her arms with her white gloves as flashes from a professional camera captured the picture perfect moment. My sweet five-month-old was cooing on in the background like Cinderella’s doting humming birds. HA-wouldn’t this be great…

Instead, this was the scene.

My daughter, terrified of Cinderella, refused to take a picture while my five-month-old was hysterical for her bottle—plugged her—then we looked on at my toddler freaking out as Cinderella tried to make nice with said now rabid mouse toddler. My toddler had a cold/cough coupled with her two-year-old molars coming in, turning her into a complete demon in need of an exorcism five minutes ago since our arrival. My boobs were starting to throb from how full they were. So after the initial chaos when we sat down to order food, it was time for mommy to be milked! I handed off my five-month old to Mimi. I then took my pump to a bathroom stall, pumping on the not so royal or clean floor of the castle bathroom. I worried about my tribe at the table while listening to the soft rhythm of the pump. When I left them the toddler still wasn’t feeling so hot. Ten minutes later and an entire new bottle filled (I have an oversupply problem), I packed up my pump and headed into the castle dining area to meet my family.

I saw my five-month-old with big doe eyes smiling at me, like the sweet happy baby she is.

Then my mom interrupted my delight, “Dan, I think Diana had an explosion.” I grabbed her into my arms and saw mustardy colored poop lining my mother’s zip up sweatshirt and Diana’s pants. Shit.

I carried her back to the bathroom and put her down on the changing table searching my bag for the change of clothes I packed her this morning.

“I swear I put it in here.” I muttered to myself digging through the diaper bag contents: NeatCheeks, wipes, WubbaNub. Not there. My husband decided to re-organize my diaper bag the leading cause of divorce I hear and accidently left it out.

With that realization, I took her pants, wiping them off trying to save them, as I had some choice words for my husband circulating in my head. Then as that was going on, my mom came into the bathroom with my hysterical toddler. I quickly finished changing/dressing the baby and switched with my mom as I took my toddler and gave her motrin. I then escorted my toddler around the room trying to find distractions, “look Viv another princess” to calm her down until the motrin kicked. Let’s just say I didn’t touch the oatmeal I ordered and all I wanted to do was get the hell out of this Mickey filled hell. Oh and this was the first day of our trip.

I mean nothing is ever this perfect Disney, I see right through you. I don’t trust a place that has no insects except butterflies. So here are the top three reasons why after this vacation I want to look Mickey Mouse dead in the face and say “F you, you stupid rodent.”

1). Pumping was more annoying AF than usual.

Okay Disney, I do appreciate that you have Baby Care Centers but it would be helpful if you had more of them. I wasn’t going to go all the way across the park just to pump. Hello, waste of time. So I found myself pumping on many bathroom floors. I carried my pump with a battery and my nursing bra and set up shop wherever I could. I pumped in many bathrooms, sitting in many bathroom stalls, missing meals because after I got back to the table someone needed me for a diaper change, bottle feed, to be rocked to sleep, a break down. “So Mickey F you for making me miss your delicious and way too expensive meals because I was pumping.”

2). My toddler is now a Demon.

Disney, my toddler came back from vacation a complete dick. I even caught myself explaining these asshole symptoms to the nurse when I got her a recheck for her cold/cough when we got back.

“It seems that her behavior has changed too. So either she has an ear infection or she came back from vacation a complete dick.” Shit did I say that? Yes I did, and guess what? No ear infection…

She was so used to go, go, go and getting her way, because there were way too many people (Mimi, Papa, Auntie, Dad…) making excuses for her bratty behavior and mommy was too busy on baby duty to discipline—wearing her in the Bjorn the whole freaking trip because she hates the car seat. Oh, on that note Disney you owe me a chiropractor. Now that we are back and my bratty toddler doesn’t get her way she throws a fit of epic proportions—kicking, screaming and crying. “So Disney F you for changing my daughter for the worse. I know this will be short lived because I am nipping it in the butt as we speak, but for making me even have to temporarily deal with this evil Demogorgon. F you!”

3). Driving me to the drink.

So Mickey, ever since my second daughter was born I have found myself sober because wine in small doses and large doses but I don’t want to talk about that makes me nauseous plus I am pumping, waking up to feed at night and find it easier when I am not completely shit faced/ hate wasting precious breast milk A.K.A. dumping. Well after a long day filled with breakdowns, no naps or routine, snot, too much walking, and way too many tears my new ‘tude was bring on the vino. When the girls were finally sleeping, my husband would go up to the concierge floor and get himself a beer and me a nice big glass of wine–and I drank up, oh Mickey, I drank up. “So Mickey, F you for not only driving me to the drink, but making it harder for me to wake up in the middle of the night and the early morning to start the day because of it. I blame you completely!”

So Disney, next time you play your enticing commercials in front of my daughters, know that I, Dani Sherman-Lazar, am on to your rouse. I am exposing you so the next mom will know to stay clear and just say “no” to your promise of visiting the happiest place on earth. Okay, I will most likely be back next year, so the real F you is on me. But until then, and until your kids sucker you in too, all you moms out there hold on tight to your credit cards and sanity and join me in a big F you to the leader of the Disney World cult, Mickey eff-in Mouse!

 

 

First Born I See You Completely Always

IMG_2940             I see my daughter entertaining herself, playing with a plastic car—up and down a toy ramp. Then she purposely knocks the ramp on the floor taking out two puzzle sets with it…BOOM. The baby startles herself out of her milk coma, eyes so wide she resembles a pop eyes out squeeze toy mid squeeze.

“Viv, please don’t throw your toys on the floor!” I sigh with frustration, looking at the mess she made on the floor.

She then hands me her sticker book and I am struggling with one hand to pull the sticker off while feeding the baby with the other–my four month olds body cradled into my chest. My toddler gets frustrated and says, “st-i-i-i-cker, st-i-i-i-cker,” not understanding I am trying my very best to get said “st-i-i-i-cker”. I finally get it off. Before I can pat myself on the back—that is, if I had hands to– she wants another. Crap.

I see my daughter trying to get my attention while I am pumping. She holds onto my back hugging it tightly and chanting, “boobies, boobies, boobies.”

I see her during music class wanting to get thrown around while we dance like we used to— she likes to rough house– but I can only pick her up and rock her back and fourth on my hip because I have the baby on my chest.

This is why when we are alone I soak up every second.

I leave my phone in the car and give her my 100 percent attention. She has rarely gotten it since the day her little sister was born. We went from a duo to a trio. She became a reluctant third musketeer—she didn’t ask for this new squad we became.

So I am the mom playing in the balls with her, her little playmate. We go down the slides together, side-by-side, holding hands into the multicolored ball pit. “Red, yellow, green-e, blue,” my daughter goes through her repertoire like it’s Joseph’s Technicolor dream coat—full of so many colors, and it is—it’s her dream coat because she has mommy’s full attention in that colorful ball pit.

I am the mom that crawls into the tunnel when my daughter bossily points to it saying “do it, do it,” because there are so many things I can’t do with her when I am taking care of her sister at the same time. I reluctantly army crawl in as my daughter laughs on–my body flat like a pancake while my arms and legs struggle to propel myself forward. When I get through I am out of breath and then I hear my daughter’s loud cackle while giving me a hug—“momm-eee hug-eee”—It was worth it.

I am the mom that chases my daughter around when she says “catch you” which sounds a lot like cashew, but that’s besides the point. I know she wants me to chase her around saying “I am going to catch you.” I do and when I catch her, I flip her upside down and tickle her little tummy, as she lets out the cutest belly laugh.

As much as I love our family of four and plan to have more, there is something sad about not having as much one-on-one time with my first-born.

So oldest daughter please know I see you and I love you. You will always be my first and for that I am grateful. You taught me how special motherhood can be, because you are so special. You taught me how much I could love another human being. You made me want to have more like you because I love you that much. And just because you think I am not paying 100 percent attention, know that I am. I see you completely–always.