The Bubble Guppies party is over. Next.

Sorry for going dark there for awhile after peeing myself at Babies R Us. My entire existence was consumed with planning a Bubble Guppies-themed 1st birthday party for the Baby Bug. And just like that, it’s done. Thank God.

Our house is hardly the Kardashian/Jenner estate, but it’s not teeny by my standards. I mean, it’s perfect for the three of us and our 115-lb. German Shepherd. But I discovered it’s not so perfect for the three of us, our 115-lb. German Shepherd, and 40 of Baby Bug’s closest friends. My house was literally 712 degrees and packed like Les Deux in 2007 (though the crowd wasn’t exactly Hollywood – maybe more Chuck E. Cheese’s.  How times have changed).  Birthday parties will be held at venues other than our lair going forward.  I can’t deal with cleaning.

When I was little, birthday parties meant ugly, shiny paper plates and napkins emblazoned with the princess/cartoon character/toy of the moment (I think I had a My Little Pony party once), and then probably non-matching plastic silverware left over from birthday parties of years past, and a cake homemade by my aunt with a completely different theme. Like Easter Eggs (my birthday is in April). Seemed pretty fab to me at the time.

Now thanks to effing Pinterest and Facebook, we are exposed to professional-looking photos of these gorgeous, tasteful birthday parties that stay-at-home moms with endless free time kept wives overachieving creative moms put together to show off make us feel inferior make their child’s day extra special. So I roll up my sleeves and hop on the bandwagon.  Because I’ll be damned if Buggy’s party is ugly.

Exhibit A: Blinged out high chair.

high chair and cake

Imagine the most annoying thing you’ve ever done in your life and multiply it by 782. That’s how annoying it was to keep that stupid tulle skirt in place.

Letting the Baby Bug enjoy her first bite of chocolate cake ever in her life while sitting in a plain old high chair would just be cruel. So, I bought some tulle, cut it into strips and used 20 pounds of double stick tape (which I haven’t used probably since going to Les Deux in 2007 – to keep my skimpy club attire on avoid wardrobe malfunctions) to attach it to the plastic. Then, I bought way too much pink fabric, draped it over the seat part and tied it back (because who knows how to has time to sew). Voila.  Birthday Princess Throne. Total time spent on this: 20 minutes. Well, 20 minutes initially, and then an additional 17 hours of re-applying tape and refastening the annoying tulle strips that kept falling out.  This high chair inspired a lot of cursing.

Exhibit B: Month-by-month photo banner.

Double stick tape: It’s not just for wardrobe malfunction prevention.

I took a picture of the Baby Bug sitting on the same chair every month on her “birthday” so we could watch her grow, so I figured we could display them at her bash.  Cute, right? I bought some pain-in-the-ass craft scissors that cut in like little swirly lines and made photo mats out of sparkly paper, then taped on the pictures. Level of difficulty: So not difficult. Level of aggravation: Minimal. The most annoying part about doing this was using those tiny clothes pins. They break.

Exhibit C: Bubble Guppies-themed snacks.

Take that, Pinterest moms!

Take that, Pinterest moms!

 

Pretzels + Rolos + Goldfish = Easy.

Pretzels + Rolos + Goldfish = Easy.

If you’re ever bored on a Friday night, you should totally punch and peel stickers to stick to the bottom of candy. Said no one, ever.

Don't mind the empty white platter.  Regular brownies ended up on there.

Don’t mind the empty white platter. Regular brownies ended up on there.

So, those first blue things:

I took little popsicle sticks and stabbed them into marshmallows. Then I melted these in the microwave and dipped said stabbed marshmallows. Dusted on graham cracker crumb “sand”, stuck on a Goldfish cracker, two little white candies for bubbles, and let them cool and harden.

How you know you did it right: when someone says, “These are so cute. Where did you get them?”

The little pretzel candies take 15 minutes to make and are so easy. The hardest part was finding a bag of Rolos at the store. No joke. They’re hard to find! Oh, and unwrapping each individual wrapper sucked, too. But other than that – no nonsense. You just line up the pretzels on a cookie sheet, stick Rolos on top, and put in the oven at 250 degrees for like two minutes – just long enough to soften the Rolos. Then, you take them out and smoosh them down with a Goldfish cracker. The end. If your party is not Bubble Guppies themed then you’re a loser, you can use a pecan instead of the Goldfish cracker. Or I imagine, other festive treats.

The Hershey Kisses were kind of an asshole. I Googled “Bubble Guppies stickers” because I was looking for stickers to use on the kids’ goodie bags, and in my search came across an Etsy shop that sold “Bubble Guppies candy circles” – something I didn’t know I needed. $7 later, I had a digital file that I had to have printed at Staples and needed a 3/4″ hole punch to punch out each. individual. tiny. candy circle. Then, the peeling. Dreadful.  But festive.  And now I have carpal tunnel.

Her cake, which you see in the high chair pic at the top, was a joint project between my husband and me.   I made the cake and cupcakes the night before the party, but left the frosting until the morning, because freshly frosted always looks better.  Anyway, midway through making the frosting, my freaking hand mixer starts legit smoking and dies.  WTF.  I so don’t have time for this.  That’s where my husband swoops in.  I tell him I need to run to the supermarket to get pre-made frosting (ugh), and he tells me to hold on so he can go get something.  So annoying.  But like a hero, he comes back with his power drill, attaches the little mixing piece, and uses it to finish mixing my frosting.  Always the strategic problem solver.

So, the party prep took some patience, but I am proud to report that the decor wasn’t hideous and no one got hurt as a result of my driving with 40 helium balloons in my car obstructing my vision out every window. My biggest rookie mistake was not thinking to have juice boxes and milk for the kids. But our beverage selection did include O’Doul’s so it’s not like there weren’t options.

And I now understand now why parents specify on children’s birthday invitations that the party goes from 2pm – 4pm. By 3:58, I was ready to shut it down. I told my Dad I will not be doing this every year and he goes, “Yeah, you will.”  He’s totally right.

 

{photos courtesy of Krista Photography, the most amazeballs photographer ever}

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Open letter to Babies R Us

Dear Babies R Us:

As a working mother of an active almost one-year-old, I don’t have much free time. The free time I do have I like to spend reading US Weekly. Or eating ice cream while staring at the baby monitor. Or playing Words With Friends. Or watching reality TV. Tonight, however, I’m using my precious free time to write this letter.

My daughter and I venture to your store the other day in search of the obligatory “My First Valentine’s Day” outfit. You know, the one I’ll spend $30 on for her to wear once. You have nothing. Literally two outfits, one of which was short sleeved (we had a blizzard last week), and only in sizes 3 months and 24 months. Yes, I realize I waited until February 13, but shouldn’t you guys keep extra stock for crappy, procrastinating moms like myself? I mean, you’re the baby specialists, right? Shouldn’t you know that not all moms sit at home doing crafts they find on Pinterest and that maybe some are forgetful hot messes busy and anticipate that we might not be able to get to these things until the last minute? Nope. My daughter spent her first Valentine’s Day looking less than festive; so thanks for that.

Since the Valentine’s outfit is a bust, I head over to the sippy cup section to pick up these particular Nuk sippy cups (you don’t have those either) with my daughter happily sitting in the shopping cart. I realize I have to pee. Really bad. So we head to the restrooms and this is where the true nightmare begins.

“No merchandise beyond this point,” reads a sign. Fair enough. I mean, I don’t really want to be buying merchandise that may have fallen on a dirty public bathroom floor. Totes get it; we’ll leave the shopping cart outside the door and pray no one jacks our cart cover. But tell me – what is a mother supposed to do with her almost one-year-old while she pees in the stall of a public restroom? Hold her? While she squirms and tries to touch the filthy stall walls or worse, the toilet seat or flusher? I’m 100% sure I’m not the first mother of an almost one-year-old to have to play out this scenario, so we give it a try.

I leave my shopping cart outside the bathroom per the sign, scoop up my daughter and go into the handicapped stall. I have to pee so bad I might die.

I use a piece of toilet paper as a glove to close and lock the stall door, rest my daughter on my hip and hastily untie the drawstring to my yoga pants. Perhaps a little too hastily, because instead of untying, I accidentally create a knot. I’m fussing and fumbling with the drawstring, making it worse and worse until I have the tightest, most annoying knot in history. I have to pee so bad at this point that I can’t stand up straight. Untying the knot while holding my wiggling baby is impossible.

Exasperated and in pain, back to the cart we go. I put my daughter back in, thank God that she’s in a good mood, and hide behind a display to work on this effing knot with two free hands. This knot is Boy Scout status and a freaking magician couldn’t untie it. I contemplate peeing my pants, but instead hurry to the customer service area to see if I can borrow some scissors to cut the drawstring. Desperate times call for desperate measures. There are no BRU employees to be found. I think holding my pee is giving me a UTI.

Now hopeless, we go back to the restroom and I make the executive decision to break BRU’s rule and wheel the entire shopping cart into the bathroom. What else am I supposed to do? Leave my daughter alone in a shopping cart outside the bathroom door? Let her crawl around on the bathroom floor with puddles of pee? My daughter is cracking up at this point, btw.

Once we’re safely locked in the handicapped stall again, I force my pants over my hips with that bitch of a knot still tied and begin to relieve myself. I had to go so bad that I couldn’t even take the time to make a toilet paper nest for the disgusting seat. I just squat and pee. But something feels really weird. Oh, I know what it is.

I’m peeing through my underwear. Yup!

I was in such a state of agony and had to pee so. freaking. bad. and couldn’t use two hands to untie my stupid drawstring correctly because I had to hold my almost one-year-old, so now I am peeing through my underwear. Feeling pretty fab.

So, BRU, why am I writing to tell you all this? Maybe because you’re supposed to be the freaking baby superstore and you haven’t thought of some solution for mothers of almost one-year-olds who need to use the restroom. I can’t be the only mom who has had to hold her baby in a public restroom stall and pee (although I might be the only one to pee through her underwear, then have to throw them away and go commando). I mean, I’m no inventor, but shouldn’t you guys have some kind of chair or something that we can put our babies in so we can use both hands while going to the bathroom? And how about some antibacterial wipes like they have at the grocery store to wipe everything down before putting your baby in it? Because you know that seat thing would get gross. I’m pretty sure BRU has the money to invest in something like this since every pregnant woman in history registers with you people.

I’m not blaming you that I peed through my underwear. OK, I kind of am. If I had two hands to begin with, I wouldn’t have effed up that stupid knot in my pants and I could have taken care of business with some shred of dignity.

My trip to your store sucked. Oh, and also – your cashier didn’t take off the anti-theft device from a dress I bought for my daughter, so I have to go all the way back to your store (note to self: pee first) and have it taken off. And no alarm sounded when I walked out the exit door either – you might want to look into that, too.

Sincerely,

30ish

Leaving the Baby Bug Really Sucks.

So, Husband is on Day 2 of that day shift week I was telling you about, and my Dad is staying with the Baby Bug.  It’s not going very well.

Buggy NE-VER cries.  Like ever.  When I get home from work yesterday, she is sitting on the couch wailing and my Dad is next to her watching Moonshiners.  Not comforting her; nothing.  Basically ignoring her while she screams.  I wish I had a picture of the look of relief on her face when she sees me.

Dad shows up today at 8am, and the Bug takes one look at him and decides this day is a bust.  Automatic tears.  She is clinging to me for dear life and literally gasping for breath when I put her down on the ground so I can brush my teeth.  Love my Dad, but he is about as nurturing as a prison guard.  His first order of business is turning on the TV.  Yes!  Doomsday Preppers.  I suggest turning on Bubble Guppies for Bugs so she will be entertained and possibly fall asleep for a nap.  Not to mention distracted, so I can leave for work, which I’m already 20 minutes late for.  My Dad declares that she’s spoiled.  I don’t know many 11-month-olds, but I don’t imagine many of them enjoy Doomsday Preppers marathons.  I guess that makes them spoiled?

My heart is breaking as I leave my poor little Buggy miserable on the couch with her Grandpa, whose efforts at reassuring me that she’d be fine are, “Welp.  She can’t cry forever.”  Awesome.

This week can’t end quickly enough.

How You Know You Married Someone Awesome.

I really need to think of an alias for my husband for blogging purposes – I hate “Hubs” and “Hubby” because they remind me of L. Ron Hubbard, and Scientology creeps me out. Anyway, he is in law enforcement and his work schedule is inhumane. He works a lot of overnights and here and there, they’ll throw in a random day shift, so he is constantly functioning on zero sleep. When he gets home in the morning, I leave for work and he is on his own with the Baby Bug until I get home at about 5:30. I honestly don’t know how he does it. I mean, he obviously has his moments, but all things considered, he is a rock star.

Today, his boss offers him a training opportunity that could lead to a really good promotion, but it involves working days rather than the insane overnight crap. Which you would think would be amazeballs, but it’s actually pretty stressful for us. I work full-time during the day, none of our parents are retired yet, we don’t have a trusted babysitter, and daycare scares us. Because the training opp is only for a week or two and I know he really wants to do it, I tell him to take it and that we’ll figure it out.

After a stressful day of scrambling for sitters, it’s basically figured out. But here’s why I know I married someone awesome. He is sad and already misses Bugs and he hasn’t even started this thing yet. And it’s only for a week or two. He says he doesn’t want her to think he doesn’t want to be with her during the day since they’ve hung out all day every weekday since she was 3 months old. I don’t know. I probably sound lame and I realize there are tons of dads who love their baby daughters. But something about the way he is with her. He loves her so much. And it makes me feel so lucky.

 

Knocked Up, the Sequel?

We definitely want a sibling for the Baby Bug. I’m an only child and I know how bad it sucks, and I don’t want that for her. Husband is in total agreement, and we kind of want to do it sooner rather than later since I’m not getting any younger and I really don’t want to be fat and pregnant and tired and old. So while we haven’t been trying exactly, we haven’t been preventing either.

I take a pregnancy test on a whim Friday night and it’s one of those digital ones. Rite Aid brand.  It says PREGNANT.  And I die.

I mean, we want another baby for sure. But do waves of joy wash over me? Maybe waves of panic.

Visions of months upon months of sleepless nights.  Entertaining an almost two year old while nursing a newborn.  Gaining forty pounds again.  Pumping.

I takethe evidence downstairs to show my husband.  His reaction is exactly mine, but unlike me, he doesn’t internalize it. I’m thinking, this next 8-9 months should be a pleasure.  He grumbles about not being able to fit two carseats in his car.

I don’t quite trust the test that it really could have been accurate, so I take the other test in the box. PREGNANT. Again. OMG. I open the Pinterest app on my iPhone and start pinning nursery ideas.

The tests are Rite Aid brand.  I mean, they are probably wrong, right?  So Saturday, I return to Rite Aid, but leave instead with ClearBlue Easy tests. Digital ones again.  Double the price of the Rite Aid ones, so doubly accurate, I would think.  I pee on both of those and get…. NOT PREGNANT.  I can’t really deal with these tests at this point and tell my husband I need to go to the doctor Monday and find out what the hell is going on.

Two PREGNANTs and two NOT PREGNANTs.  I’m googling “how common are false positives” and “generic vs. name brand pregnancy tests” and of course finding nothing conclusive. Because I can’t wait until Monday, I go to Rite Aid once a third time to try a First Response non-digital, one-line or two-lines test.  I literally am out at the store the second I wake up and don’t even pee first, so that I have the most potent, non-diluted pee possible for the stick. Run home, take it, and one line.  Not pregnant.

So, I go to bed tonight probably not pregnant but not quite sure. After getting the one-line this morning, Husband and I chat it up over Cheerios and OJ. He shares that while he of course wants another baby, he is enjoying the Buggy Baby so much that he doesn’t want us to have to divide our love and attention just yet. I mean, if I really am pregs, I think my due date would be sometime around September.  Maybe October.  Bug Bugs would be a year and 8 months-ish.  Still so little.  And if we have Buggy 2.0, he/she would need pretty much all my attention for a few months and poor little Baby Bugs would be watching a lot of Bubble Guppies.

Tomorrow I’ll go to the doctor and see wtf.  And if I’m not pregnant, I’m writing to Rite Aid and telling them to step up their pregnancy test game.  And if I am pregnant: Pinterest.  And mentally preparing for another year of not sleeping.

Sappy parenting post.

When I first had Baby Buggy, I was determined to nurse for six months. “Breast is best,” yada yada yada. I also knew it would help me drop the freaking FORTY pounds I gained and it’s free. Formula is not cheap. And it’s kind of gross. Anyway, I figured if and when we hit the six month mark, I would reassess.

She’s now almost eleven months and still nursing twice a day. While I am ready for her to move on so that 1: I can have my boobs back (I’ve been praying diligently that they return to their former perky state), 2: my fertility will return and we can try for Baby Buggy 2.0, and 3: I don’t end up becoming one of these, it makes me a little sad that it’s going to come to an end soon. Nursing has been an incredible experience for me and it totally created this indescribable bond between me and the Bug.

Tonight, we did our usual night routine. She had salmon and squash mac & cheese for dinner, followed by playtime, bath time, PJ’s, and about 839 bedtime stories. After that, she always nurses to sleep before I put her in her crib, at which point I can savor an hour of bad television and Ben & Jerry’s. Tonight she literally nursed for about 15 seconds before rejecting me in favor of sucking her thumb. Surprisingly, it made me a little emotional. I mean, I only wanted to make it to six months.

I know we still have a little while to go before she is completely over the boob, but I really want her to be weaned by the time she turns one at the end of next month. Which means our nursing sessions are numbered. I sound like a weenie, but I’m just realizing how fast they really do grow.  The helpless baby/fat and tired/sleep-deprived phase is just a season, and a short one at that. We’ve been so focused on celebrating all of her “firsts” – smiling, crawling, standing, babbling – that we didn’t really consider how bittersweet the “lasts” would be.

In other related news, the fact that she only nursed for 15 seconds instead of her usual 20 minutes means I’m engorged and leaking.  I won’t cry the last time that happens.