Posts Tagged ‘toddlers’

In praise of the five-minute mommy nap

December 4, 2011

Tis the season of trying to cram too much living into too little time and space. Some years, we here at the Mommy Prayers candy-cane crunching headquarters cook and shop and decorate and entertain like mad fools. Other years, we declare ourselves to be having a soulful/non-consumerist/relaxed holiday, and wind up exactly as frantic and exhausted (soulfulness, we’ve discovered, takes energy. Who knew?)

All this, of course, is a cue for the youngest among us to immediately begin fighting every bedtime and, inexplicably, waking up before dawn on some of the darkest mornings of the year. Over at the lovely Standing in the Shadows blog, Sarah Buttenwieser’s preschooler arose at 4:45 one recent morn, leaving her in a state she oh-so-accurately described as being groggily wide awake — too tired to think straight, too wired to go back to sleep. A dangerous fugue, especially this time of year, as you could easily emerge from the fog to find you’ve inadvertently purchased some toxic toy or another.

The solution, of course, is one of the most blessed gifts every bestowed upon humanity — the afternoon nap. No, not for your kids, for you, exhausted parent. True, between cookie-baking and tree-decorating and Charlie Brown-watching and catalog-ordering, your chances of getting that nap are low. But it’s a magical season. A mom can dream, can’t she? Or, perhaps, pray:

Prayer for My Five-Minute Nap

Dear God, I cannot go on. It is four in the afternoon, my morning caffeine high is long gone, and I have hours and hours to go before I manage to get to bed. I am quite certain I could crash to the floor this instant and sleep like a rock for a week. I cannot read one more syllable of Owl Babies to my little  monkey chattering here beside me. I cannot even lift my hand to turn the page. Five minutes, God, and I’ll be a new woman. Please and amen. 

In defense of the corn-maze mom

October 16, 2011

Here at Mommy Prayers headquarters and cider-donut repository, every day feels like a maze of one sort or another, so I feel compelled to come to the defense of the hapless family currently being ridiculed nationwide for calling 911 to be rescued from a corn maze. (Punchline: They were only 25 feet from the entrance, ba-da-dum.)

They’re catching especial hatred for having a three-week-old infant with them, with comments along the lines of “who brings a newborn to a corn maze at dusk?” and “those people should not be allowed to procreate,” etc. etc.

It’s not till you read that they also have a preschooler that the story makes more sense — and boy, did it bring back some baaaaad memories.


Dio Mio — Mommy Prayers in Italian?

June 4, 2011

Here at the Mommy Prayers world headquarters and pizza capricciosa takeout bar, we are wiping away tears of joy with one hand and pouring a small glass of prosecco with the other: Le Preghiere delle Mamme has arrived.

That’s right, gente, Mommy Prayers has been translated to Italian. I could not be happier. No, wait, I could be happier. I could be happier if I were reading Le Preghiere delle Mamme on a balcony of Le Sirenuse in Positano. Then I could not be happier.

But even stuck in the under-dusted Mommy Prayers home office from hell, I’m still pretty happy. Mr. Mommy Prayers and I, back when he was only my intended and I was years away from being anyone’s mommy, spent six glorious months in Italy, the memory of which will sustain us both till the day we die.

We were broke, parceling out our small savings 10,000 lire at a time, living in a series of studio sublets (Florence, Rome, Positano, Trevi, Venice) — and absolutely, positively drunk in love with Italy and the Italiani.

Even in our non-childed state, it was a wonder to see how enraptured Italians are with children — theirs, strangers’, any child, any nationality, any time day or night. I will never forget finishing up a lovely and modest dinner one night at 10:30 or so, only to have a family of 15, including toddlers and a babe-in-arms, pile in and take over the joint. (The joke here, if you have not had the fortune of traveling in Italy, is that only foreigners eat before, say, 11 at night. Early bird is 9:30, 10 p.m., maybe.)

Immediately a waiter swept up the baby, to nobody’s consternation, and showed him off  to every other table in the place one by one, before disappearing with him behind the swinging double-doors of the kitchen. That mother ate an entire, dizzyingly delicious meal with not one care for her baby and not one peep out of the little ragazzo.

It’s standard operating procedure in Italy — babies are from heaven, welcomed everywhere at any hour, as much a part of life as al dente pasta, beautiful tailoring, and the Pope.

So the thought of those mothers, those parents, reading Mommy Prayers Italian-style? What can I say? Dio mio.

It’s not the snow, it’s the %$#* snowsuit

February 10, 2011

My kids have not gone to school in more than a week. They were dismissed early last Wednesday in a snowstorm, and the schools haven’t been open since. The administration keeps telling us they’re shoveling the schools’ roofs…with a single teaspoon, apparently. You may begin feeling sorry for me now.

But not that sorry — because I remember what it’s like when every day is a “snow day” — when you’re stuck in the house with a baby or a toddler or a preschooler, or two or three or four, and there isn’t any school to go to and it just will not stop snowing.

My best girlfriend and I used to laugh at the moms of older kids who’d complain about the endlessness of February school vacation — we’d be like, “Suck it up, whiners, do you forget that this is our lives — figuring out fun and cheap things to fill up day after day after day of frigid temps and ice-covered sidewalks?” (more…)

Nearly naked Barbie and other stealth toys

December 22, 2010

The shopping is winding down here at the Mommy Prayers strip mall as we coast into the really fun part of the holiday, the part where we eat and drink and wrap presents in joyful secrecy only to watch them get unceremoniously — nay, even violently — unwrapped a few hours later. Oh what fun.

Then there are the presents you didn’t wrap — the ones your parents, or your in-laws, or your brother, or your spouse’s best friend from grade school, have generously bought and brought for your babies. Think of them as little landmines that can blow up your entire year of careful parenting in one big sparkling shower of inappropriateness.

I’m talking about Grammy giving Nearly Naked Barbie (so pink and pretty!) to your preschool daughter, Uncle toting an ultra-violent (and ultra-plastic) Nerf machine gun for a four-year-old, or your stylin’ and child-free best friend wrapping up black skinny jeans for your little girl who still has a toddler tummy, long may it pudge out over the top of her modest and comfy sweatpants.

‘Tis the season when those closest to you seem to feel all bets are off — your annoying parenting rules are there to be broken with gifts your kids will luvvvvvv and you will haaaaate for all of 2011.

For you, and for them, we offer up some choice excerpts from Prayer for Barbie:

Dear God, well, here she is in all her ponytailed plastic glory, Barbie herself. She of the freakish 36-18-33 body measurements and the Malibu tan and the 10,000 pink accessories sold separately, including tiny stiletto heels that get sucked up by the vacuum in no time flat.

The doll I swore would never darken our doorstep is inside, unpackaged, and currently having her Hot Tub Party House play set assembled, all thanks to my in-laws. So much for that moratorium.

God, I know this is only the beginning of a long struggle with toxic popular culture. Please give me the patience to endure these fads without over-reacting, and please give me the wisdom to know when I should react.

Also the foresight not to vacuum up those expensive accessories. Amen.


What’s worse than a loaded swim diaper?

June 30, 2010

The Mommy Prayers summer crew packed its bags last week for a too-short trip to Martha’s Vineyard, one of the most magical places on God’s green earth. It was our first time away since our, er, quirky trip to North Dakota, which was fascinating and elucidating but a bit too much work to be called a vacation. 

Once we made it off the ferry, Mr. Mommy Prayers and I snuck off to the beach (it’s kind of famous, actually) to reminisce about all the crazy and beautiful times we’d had on M.V. pre-kids, while the very much present-tense children stayed behind at the Inn to watch World Cup Soccer. 

As we talked and read dug our toes in the sand, we were well aware of the envious looks – or perhaps the better word is murderous –being cast our way by parents with tiny offspring in full-blown meltdown mode.

To which I can only retort: Been there, O parents, done that! 

There’s only one thing more hideous that trying to get a toddler to leave the beach willingly, and that’s trying to get a toddler in a loaded swim diaper to leave the beach willingly. 

Oh wait, there is one thing worse — when the swim diaper’s gone missing entirely (from Prayer at the Beach):

Dear God, our baby is naked, utterly caked with sand, and screaming bloody murder because we’ve told her it’s time to go…

She’s swallowed at least a half-gallon of sea water, stomped on every sand castle within a hundred yards of our blanket, stripped off her swim diaper, and peed in front of a large family from some Scandinavian country (think tiny Speedos and white-white skin)… 

Please, Lord, if you could somehow help us get to our car with our sanity intact, I promise the next time we’re craving a little sun, we’ll stay home next to the blow-up kiddie pool.


Birth order + happy heinies

March 29, 2010

It was crazy busy at Mommy Prayers headquarters this week – to honor those frantic feelings, a short discourse on Prayer for the Diaper Left on Too Long

Dear Lord, please forgive me, for I have been a bad mother. Or at the very least a mother who has literally not had three minutes in her day to tend to the bottom of her youngest child. 

Does this phenomenon happen to firstborns? Rarely, if ever, would be my guess. My own firstborn had the double blessing of being not just our first baby, but the first baby on my entire family’s side, which means he received more attention that any infant since Mary gave birth in the barn. His perfect little bottom was eco-clad in cloth diapers — and cloth diapers, though kind(er) on the earth, need to be changed every, oh, hour or so. 

No matter, we did it – we spent day and night doing absolutely nothing but taking care of firstborn’s every need, so keeping his backside perfectly clean and dry was just one more of our endless tasks. Flash forward four years and three months and oh, how the world had changed.  (more…)

I’m all lost in the supermarket

March 19, 2010

Not to get all sentimental here, but, of the 150+ entries in Mommy Prayers, Prayer before the Grocery Store is my very favorite – the first one I wrote. 

Oh, God, please let this be a good and productive shop.

That’s because this prayer is 100% my reality. I’m a bit of an agoraphobic – Do.Not.Like to shop (read my Christmas whine if you really want a dose of anti-shopping ranting). 

Please let me keep my wits about me, even though I appear to have left my list at home. 

Problem is, Christmas comes but once a year, but the kiddos gotta eat and eat and eat, over and over again. Not to mention the dog, the mice, my husband and my own salt-snacky self.

Please give me the clarity of mind to remember that, like the animals on the ark, good things come in pairs…

So if you pull up to your local giant-mega-store and see next to you a woman with short hair and not enough makeup muttering to herself in the driver’s seat of a beat-up Volvo wagon, you’ll know you’ve caught me in the act of seeking divine guidance before the groceries.