To Kegel, or not to Kegel?

I was totally going to start this post with some kind of reflection or explanation for my lack of blogging these past two months — something funny and clever about my failure to keep a non-resolution resolution just a few days after the new year.

YawnThen I was like, *yawn.* People reading this are mostly parents too, who know all about work and bills and kids and illnesses and clutter and injuries and errands and conferences and all the blahbidy blahs that come with life. I don’t have to write about that today.

Nope, today I’m going to blog about the one thing that concerns Moms everywhere — incontinence.

I mean, we’re still in the cough and cold season. Which makes for a lot of knee crossing.

I gave birth to four good-sized babies in five years. And, with all due respect to Dr. Kegel, that’s a whole lot of stretching out. Given that I’m not made of elastic, well, let’s just say it’s not all snapped back yet.

This is all on my mind today because, in the middle of de-cluttering my computer files, I came across this bit of writing from the end of January, when I was still in the throes of an awful, lingering, hacking-up-my-lungs cold:

Note to Dr. Kegel:

Your “exercises” are a BIG FREAKIN SCAM.

You go ahead and push out multiple kids from your girl parts and see how well those parts rebound even after YEARS of doing all those squeezes (and yes, I mean doing those exercises watermelonwith all the peace and serenity and focus and commitment of the good and powerful mom who did that birthing and the pushing with complete joy and purpose and without any medication at all, which is to say all the joyous and blessed pain that comes with squeezing a watermelon out of your vagina).

Dr. Kegel, after all that pushing and tearing and widening and re-sizing, YOU sneeze without crossing your legs and see what happens. YOU get bronchitis and then you’ll know what constant coughing and mucous-expelling and re-applying sanitary napkins have in common.

YOU get yourself a female pelvic floor, and then we’ll talk.


Mothers everywhere

So, what say you, ladies? To Kegel, or not to Kegel?

Non-swear swearing, or, how I farkle and shazam myself into laughter

Not so long ago, I decided to stop swearing. Not that I was the type to curse like a sailor on shore leave — in fact, a friend once told me that I sounded like a librarian when I was upset (which, cover mouthknowing a few librarians, is actually a great compliment). So I wasn’t whirling up a shit storm of swears in my daily life,Β but, when no one was around, I was not above the occasional F-bomb. Still, it got the point where I was worried that I’d let something slip in front of the kids, something harder than the occasional “crap” or even a “damn it” that was already leaking out.

So I decided to stop.

Or, at least, alter my language. Instead of the usual expletives, however mild, I started saying “Shazam!” and “Shenanigans!” The thing is, when you really need to curse, what you really need to do is say something loud and fast and BIG to release the intensity of what you’re feeling at the moment, whether it’s because you stubbed your toe or closed the car door on your finger or remembered that you were supposed to be at a parent-teacher conference 15 minutes ago. I mean, there are certain occasions when you just need to shout at the sky, “WELL, FUCK!”

shazamSince that’s not always appropriate, substituting a SHAZAM works just as well. You get the benefit of the big release that comes with yelling, and it’s bound to make you giggle a little. I mean, at the very least, the goofiness of the word causes some priceless reactions by the people around you. SHAZAM makes you laugh. SHAZAM diffuses the pain or the frustration because SHAZAM is just silly, and how can you be truly pissed off or wounded when you’re being silly? SHAZAM turns you into a comic book hero who can tackle anything, including the disaster of dropping an armload of freshly washed glasses onto the wood floor while trying to unload the dishwasher.


The other day, Cooper found a new game in his Christmas stocking at Muggy and Pop’s, a dice game called “Farkle.” We played yesterday and all agreed that FARKLE would be an excellent thing to say if you’re upset.

  • (dropping the freshly trimmed beef into the garbage can) WELL, FARKLE!
  • (getting an email about an overdue bill) HOLY FARKLE!
  • (when kids don’t listen) WOULD YOU FARKLE-ING DO WHAT I ASK YOU TO DO?

Do you have a favorite non-curse curse word? I’m on the lookout for some new things to mutter or shout when things go amiss.

And if you don’t, give SHAZAM or FARKLE a try. I guarantee results.

  • (when someone totally steals the cab you just hailed) FARKLE YOU!
  • (after your boss has just laid you off) That is total SHAZAM!

Seriously. Try it! Why the Farkle not?

Why I Should Clean More, Reason #72

Found this bad boy in a box, in a wicker trunk that was covered in piles of other crap. SCORE! Also, I found two shoeboxes of cassette tapes. No joke. And, yes, it still works!

I wonder what other treasures I might find if I do some more cleaning? Scrunchies? Parachute pants? Acid-washed denim jacket?


Maybe this cleaning thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Some things might be left…lost forever.


Lessons from One-Armed Baby

A lot of Moms I know have nice houses. Fancy houses. The kind where you walk into a foyer and it smells like pot-pourri and there’s this glass-fronted cabinet with all the wedding crystal and silver-framed photos of honeymoons and children, and even though you know for a fact that they have all these kids (because you’re there to pick up or drop off one or more of your own), there’s no evidence of them anywhere as far as you can see.

My house is not like that.

When you walk through my front door, you’ll probably be knocked back by the sports-smell of the half-dozen pairs of cleats stored within an arm’s reach due to lack of closet space, and, because we have no mud room, as many of my peers do, and, because of the aforementioned lack of closet space, you’ll probably trip over a backpack or two. After you regain your footing and rub your bruised elbows from the fall you took when tripping, you’ll catch a glimpse of our living room, with books strewn over every possible surface and drawings and projects too (because we have no library or craft room, either). You’ll see a small house where six people live, four of them children who, despite all our best efforts, haven’t yet mastered the idea of putting stuff away. Frankly, neither have some of the adults.

If you walk into the kitchen, about the size of a shoebox, complete with about 10 inches of usable counter space for food preparation and a dishwasher that can’t open more than 3/4 of the way because it butts into a floorboard radiator, you might see this:

This is One-Armed Baby. OAB was, I think, originally Mitzi’s doll, received as a gift probably 7 years ago. OAB’s the kind of doll that eats and poops. You know the kind? You feed it some reconstituted powder pack of fake baby food, fit her tush over a plastic potty, push down on her shoulders until all the crap comes out. Child claps! Amazing! Then Mom is left to — I kid you not — clean out the inside by repeatedly swishing it with soapy water and then letting it dry to ensure no bacteria will grow. You’re supposed to do that every time you feed the doll.

We fed her once.

Ever since that singular poopy day, OAB joined the troupe of 67 other baby dolls that inhabit our house, spending her time being dressed up and pushed around in rickety toy strollers and dragged endlessly over the hardwood floors (hence, her current One Arm status). But never has she been fed. I saw to that.

Until the other day when Ellie and Joanna figured out what she was capable of. They loaded her up with water and made her use the potty. Again and again. And again. When they grew bored, they left her on their bedroom floor, where I found her some days later. I picked her up and saw the puddle that remained where her vajajay had been sitting. I shook her. Filled up with water. To her boobies.

So I put her by the kitchen sink, hoping she’d drain. Every once in a while I squash her shoulders or pull her head up and shake her upside down, trying to get the water out.

It’s been two weeks.

If you’ve ever had a bath toy, you know what must be growing inside her right now. I fear that OAB is destined for the dump, but, having seen all three Toy Story movies, not to mention Child’s Play, I am reluctant to toss her aside.

But throw her away I will, I’m sure, and I’ve warned the girls.

Till then, OAB keeps me company while I was dishes, her one arm raised in a silent plea — Look at me! Play with me! FEED ME! I hate her and she scares me a little, but I’ve sort of become used to her presence.

It’s hard to let go, even when it’s the smallest piece of your world, even when you know you should, even when you know it’s right.

Even when it’s just a plastic one-armed baby, even when you know it’s time, it’s hard to let go.