Account Balance: -$2.60

We pack a lunch for my kindergarten daughter. There are a couple of reasons for this, the most important being: because we want to. Anyway, into the second week of school, she tells us that she’s been having 3 chocolate milks a day.

Image result for free images chocolate milk

We don’t pack those.

In fact, chocolate milk is rarely an option at our house because if the wind isn’t coming in from the east during a waning crescent moon, it’s not happening. You know what happens to werewolves on a full moon? We feel that. If you give my daughter chocolate milk when she hasn’t had a full night of sleep, no television, and a completely ordinary day, lock. the. doors. I’m serious; it’s about to get ugly.

3 chocolate milks a day.


Apparently, there’s an option for chocolate milk before and after school. Why anyone would want to provide chocolate to brand new kindergartners (or anyone, for that matter) before sending them off to hang with their new teacher is beyond me but I didn’t get a vote in the matter; I wash my hands of it. But 1 + 1 = 2. So how do you get the third milk?

“I get it at lunch.”

Come again?

I freaking love my daughter, ya’ll. Her boldness and her innocence. She just takes a milk. Every. single. day. And it’s totally on us. She’s coming from a daycare where lunch was included. It didn’t even cross my mind to explain hot lunch to her!

So we sit her down and explain the whole process to her. Better late than never, right? And we explain the need to pay for things that aren’t included in day-to-day kindergarten. And accidental stealing. At this point, her eyes get big and she gets that adorable embarrassed, shy smile that kids get when they had no idea they did something bad and aren’t sure if they should be horrified or laugh about it.

I tell her that she can’t take milk anymore unless we pay for it and that we’ll tell her if we put money on her account for hot lunch. She nods and we sort of sweep the whole thing under the rug because honestly, how many days has she done this? I have no idea! The more you ask a kid, the less they know.

Until last night.

Emma and I are going through her bedtime routine and we start looking through the school apps on my phone so she can point out who all of her classmates are in group photos. We talk about her friends and their different personalities and all the things she’s up to lately. And then I open her lunch app for the first time ever. We don’t use it, so there’s no point in looking at it, right? Wrong.

Account balance: -$2.60

Well I’ll be. Here we think she’s done this sneaky thing that we’ve swept neatly under the rug and her purchase history shows 1, 2, 3, 4 chocolate milks within the first 4 days of school with nothing after that.

So I ask more questions and this time she seems to remember a little more clearly.

“Well, I put it in a white bucket. Then I take it.”

I pry a little further and she elaborates.

“I put it in a white bucket. Then I give them a card and I take the milk.”

Ahahaha, I think my kid is stealing from school and all this time she had just put her milk on her house account. Phenomenal. I tell her we have to pay the balance and she asks what will happen it we don’t. I tell her they won’t let her graduate kindergarten if we don’t pay it but I assure her we will.

Then the clever little fox starts putting the pieces together in her head about the purchase and this card that tracks what she takes and this account balance that mom has access to and pays off.

“So…” she says, “Can I start getting chocolate milks again?”

No, love. You can’t.

Killing the School Mom Game

I recently volunteered for a walkathon at my daughter’s school. I wasn’t responsible for anything in particular but was invited to join in on the 2-mile fundraiser for which I paid a competitive entry fee in the form of donation.

During the walk, I strolled alongside my daughter and also several blocks behind my daughter and has anyone seen my daughter? Why am I even here?

We reached the halfway point and I was very glad to see a table with water until I made a quick assessment and gathered that the water was probably for the 5 year-olds. Either way, I was pretty sure I was an athlete after that mile so I did what I think any decent parent volunteer would do and chugged as much of a bottle as I could before handing it off to my child. You’re welcome.

On a side note, have you ever been to an event where you don’t know 98% of the people there? You decide early on that you’re going to fake it until you make it and suddenly you’re the freaking Joanna Gaines of school events! Look at you introducing yourself and making small talk and getting to know new people. Dang, girl. You got this!

Then the 2% who knows you walks up and all you can think is “Be cool. Be cool. They don’t know me like you know me. Let’s pretend I’m 30% cooler and 85% less socially awkward than we both know I am.

But you’re not sure that 2% is picking up on your vibe so now you don’t know which persona to go with or what to do with your hands.

Spoiler alert: You’re going to walk away from your web of lies calling your new acquaintance by the wrong name. See you later, Jane Doe!

Long story short, I finished that 2 mile walkathon and had to take two ibuprofen to sleep that evening. Everything hurts. My legs. My knees. My glutes. My ego. Everything.

What having a 5 year old is like: A short story

This morning we take the tags off my daughter’s new winter jacket for her walk to the bus stop. Shortly thereafter, I look for her in the bathroom to make sure she’s brushing her teeth. She isn’t.

Me: “Emma? Emma!”

My husband: “Well, she’s not outside. She’s probably in her room.”

I walk back to her room but I don’t see her.

Me: “Emma?”

Up pops a coat-wearing Gollum, stuffing her pockets with treasure. She is facing her bookshelf but stops to look over her shoulder at me.

Me: “Are you filling your pockets?”

Gollum: “Yes,” she says with a book light half hanging out of the pocket on her sleeve.

Me: “You’re not bringing that.”

Gollum: “Yes I am.”

Me: “You’re not. You need to empty those pockets or I’ll have to take those things away.”

Gollum: “No!”

Me: “1… 2…”

I take a step forward and her face changes from defiance to fear.

Smeagol: “I’ll do it. I’ll do it.”

I watch as the book light is returned.

A pack of Chap-stick.

A squish toy.

A battery operated tea light.

A bracelet.

A small rubber duck.


Smeagol: “They’re like kangaroo pockets.”

Happy 7 Month, Frederick C III!

I missed your true 7 month mark so what better day to celebrate than on the first official day of Fall? I’m getting ahead of myself but I cannot wait to share my favorite season with you! I have a feeling you will love the crunching leaves the best! And in honor of that, I chose your outfit today! You look like you belong in a baby American Eagle ad. Where’s your football? Why it’s stitched onto your shirt, of course!

This past month you seem to have grown exponentially! At your last checkup, your doctor even warned us that you’d be out of your infant car seat in a matter of weeks. 29 inches long. Your sister was still occupying the next size up so we had to make a flurry of purchases to get everyone sized into their next seats. I’m not complaining. You’ve gotten the hang of this sitting up thing which makes you so much easier to hold!

You. love. food. Honestly, same. Just today your teacher told me that you’re her favorite to feed because you are always excited to eat and you’re so neat and tidy when you do. I agree. I think you realize that months of spitting up was getting old so you’re treating us to the cleanest meals I’ve ever seen out of a babe.

And you’re happy. Easy going. You bop your little legs while you sit in your chair and you look around to take in all that you can see. You belly laugh for your sister (See the bottom left picture? That’s when sissy came into the room) and you snuggle deep into daddy. And momma? Well, you and I have a habit of drawn out bedtimes with books and your heavy weight on my chest. It’s bliss.

Happy 7 Month, Frederick C III. You are a blessing to this family and a joy.

Postpartum Care: A post where you will learn entirely too much about me because I think sharing our experiences matters

Thesis: Postpartum care in the US is an absolute joke.

Supporting arguments: Postpartum in the US = the 6 week checkup.

To be fair, I did have two at-home nurse visits after my cesarean. They weren’t really for me, they were mainly for my son, but I did answer some stock questions for postpartum depressing screening; I passed. The nurse also checked my incision and felt to make sure my uterus was still contracting; it was.

6 weeks and then an entire year before I need to go back for my annual checkup because the 6 week postpartum checkup (where they check to make sure the body is healing from a vaginal or cesarean delivery, from incisions or tears or whatever else takes place in the horror that is childbirth) also counts as my annual for the year.

Lucky me.

5 years ago and some months, my daughter was born. Also by cesarean. She weighed 10.1 pounds and I pushed for 3 hours before they decided cesarean was my best option. Fast forward 6 weeks or so to my 6 week appointment. My stitches were healing nicely and everything was looking great.

Given the go ahead, I joined my local Fit4Mom group immediately. I loved being able to workout with my daughter in those early months (Seriously, check this group out. So good for normalizing motherhood and experiencing grace as a new mom!). I noticed early on that I couldn’t side shuffle without pain but figured it was part of the normal healing process. I modified my workouts and filed that pain in a forgotten category of things to follow up on – behind getting enough sleep and normal maintenance, like a haircut. When I hit the 3 month mark with no further follow up, I went back to work.

My desk at work was moved from the main floor to the second floor during my leave and I noticed that I had to take each step with my right foot or pick up my left pant at the knee to get my left leg up the stair. My hip ached. I finally reached out to my OB and was surprised to receive a referral to a pelvic floor physical therapist (PT).

I didn’t know pelvic floor specialists existed.

Apparently if you try to actively push a 10.1 lb baby (or whatever size baby – because my experience is not at all unique to mothers of large babies) for 3 hours (or whatever amount of time including none – because same), you may experience what is known as pelvic floor trauma. Yes, trauma. My PT’s choice of words. Not mine.

My son, born 5 years later, was scheduled as a cesarean. This filled me with such immense peace and glee that I waltzed into the operating room. No pushing! This post isn’t meant to be his birth story so I won’t go much further into the details except to say that this time my child weighed 11.9 lbs.

I had my 6 week follow-up appointment 6 weeks and 2 days after he was born. My stitches were healing nicely and everything was looking good.

Fast forward several months. I came across a beautiful mother of triplets on Instagram, @triplets_of_copenhagen, who shared her postpartum journey with pictures. She talked about her struggle with diastasis recti and I thought to myself, “Hey, I’m having a really hard time “bouncing back” (whatever the hell that means…VOMIT). I had a really big baby (the combined weight of some twins). I have general unease around my core muscles and feel like I’m falling apart. And thanks to her vulnerability in sharing her story, I can see that we have visual similarities. Maybe I have diastasis recti too.

So I messaged my OB provider and they referred me to… (Can you guess?)

A pelvic floor PT!

And that’s where I learned that I have a 3-finger width spread of my stomach wall (diastasis). I also learned that excruciating back pain I’ve starting seeing my chiropractor about recently is likely caused by a combination of the diastasis and the fact that I carry my little (big) guy on my left at all times.

My point is, 6 weeks isn’t enough time to see how a mother’s body is healing. In both of my pregnancies, I was fine at 6 weeks (or rather I wasn’t but hadn’t yet received the go-ahead to start doing any physical activity that would help identify or exacerbate an issue – that go-ahead is a big part of the 6 week appointment after all).

By 3 months with my first, I couldn’t walk up stairs. By 6 months with my second, I can’t lay down flat on a hard surface without searing back pain and I’m currently working through 8 PT sessions and daily homework to get back on track from injuries that would have worsened with traditional abdominal exercises. Yet both times I passed my 6 week checkup with flying colors.

Thankfully my OB, who I love, knew to refer me a pelvic floor PT. When I scoffed 5 or so years ago at his suggestion, he assured me it’s where I needed to be and he was right. This isn’t a critique of him or the care I received at his guidance. It’s a critique on standard postpartum care in the US. It’s a joke and we deserve better.

Please let me know your thoughts and recovery experience by commenting below!

Happy 5 Month, Frederick C III!

This is getting a little ridiculous, little love. Slow down! You shocked your family and your teachers with a new tooth this past month but to look at the pictures here, no one is surprised that one tooth so quickly became two! You are a constant pool of spit up and drool and we are oh-so-glad to have finally purchased respectable burp cloths. Those muslin burp cloths didn’t stand a chance! YUCK.

In addition to a new tooth, you also began to roll over from back to front, completing your cyclone of movement across the floor. You are so eager to move! In a continual state of kicking, wiggling and shimmying in seats, on changing tables, and in arms.

You took your first pontoon ride this month and although you are a smooth sailor in calm water, you’re not about having all that wind whipping at your face! You also celebrated your first annual 4th of July party at our house and slipped smoothly into sleep just before the first firework went off (early for the kids). You slept the whole time!

But our favorite part of this past month has been seeing your love for your sister blossom. She captivates you and you will arch yourself around from any position to see her or hear her. You love catching her eye for a smile and you are sure to reward her wild antics with your contagious belly laughs! It’s the best!

Happy 5 Month, Frederick C III. You are a blessing to this family and a joy.

Super Mom

Do you ever catch yourself parenting terribly? Like, you’re in a mood and you can hear the seething impatience in your voice? The sound seems to fall on deaf ears but you are hyper aware of how it grates your own while simultaneously deflating your child?

No? Yeah… me either.

Hear me out though. If I did, tonight would be one of those times. The evening came down to a battle of wills and my daughter is one tough nut to crack. She gives zero f’s about timelines and bedtimes and people pleasing. Why worry about that when you can spend an hour in the tub going underwater again and again and again as your mom speaks over you in an increasingly agitated voice? (Side note: I am well aware that this could be a useful skill if it was applied to the 8-week swim class we signed up for but, let me assure you, that hour is spent screaming and crying and jumping out the pool to find the splash pad while the teacher sighs and all of other parents pretend this has never happened to them).

I repeat myself. Often. Some days I can go all in and be present and patient and encouraging while I do it and some days it boils my blood. Tonight when I caught the blood rushing through my ears like a speeding train over the steadily increasing sound of my voice echoing the word “pajamas” for the 1,239,721st time, I flipped. I got up, walked out, and shut the door.

She cried. She begged me to come back and told me she was scared but I was so hot I went and did that completely cliche thing that moms do when they’re mad: I tidied up her mess in a room far enough away that I could’t hear her. Because caring for my child via her belongings while ignoring her makes me slightly less terrible, right? Mom guilt, ya’ll.

Dad came to her rescue and tucked her into bed and I… I sat down at this very desk to complete some studying for a certification I’m working on for work. And as I sat, my gaze wandered up to this beautiful cutout of a cartoon mom with a cape and the words “SUPER MOM” scribbled across the top. It’s colored in bright yellows and oranges and blues. It made it’s way home from school during Mother’s Day and man if I didn’t feel convicted about my attitude today, ya know? I am supposed to be Super Mom and I was definitely not super in these last hours.

Shortly after my moment of self reflection, her tiny steps tiptoed into the room and her big eyes looked up at me to tell me about something that was on her mind. She was expecting a chiding but I wrapped my arms around her and I told her I was sorry and I love her and I didn’t like the way I acted tonight. And wouldn’t you know it, her gaze wandered over to that same cutout and she told me:

“I love that A colored that picture for me. That’s Super Girl and every time I look at that, I think of my friend A from school.”

…well I’ll be damned.

Not Quite a Midlife Crisis

It’s not often that I write on consecutive days but, as it turns out, yesterday proved to be a very significant day in my life:

The start of my 2/5 life crisis.

I’m using 2/5 because that’s approximately where I am in life using Wikipedia to find the average lifespan in the US. Yes, I Googled it. I’m not old enough for a midlife crisis and yet I can’t shake this feeling that I officially closed out a part (i.e. a group of chapters) of my life yesterday.

Why? Two words:

Kindergarten. Kickoff.

Well, okay. It’s more than two words. It’s the fact that I non-ironically wore mom jeans yesterday (they really do help contain things) and only stopped myself from wearing penny loafers with them (Hello, comfort!) because I have a bewitched full length mirror in my house.

Yes, I’m serious.

Yesterday I caught the glimpse of someone’s mom in the reflection when I walked by. Explain that to me, huh? Who is she? What does she want?

Burn. the. sage.

I saw her and immediately swapped out my penny loafers for some leopard print flats. (You know, because nothing screams “youth” like a 30-something mom of two wearing animal print [**insert eye-roll here**]). It’s not that I have anything against the mom jean-penny loafer combo in particular. It’s just that combined with the words “Kindergarten” and “Kickoff” they take on a life of their own.

Up until this point in life, I’ve felt that I’ve been writing my story. I grew up. I graduated. I started my career. Even when we got married and had kids, I was still the sentence subject. But now my daughter is starting kindergarten in the Fall and I’m acutely aware that I’m becoming the object of her sentences. A character in her story.

And so it begins. The 2/5 life crisis. I don’t know why no one warned me about this. I don’t even know how I’m supposed to act. Is this when I start shopping at Forever 21 or does that come later? I’ve been listening to Billie Eilish on repeat. I think that might be appropriate but I don’t really know. I’m floundering here.

Interview with Freddy Jr.

Freddy Jr. (aka “husband” / aka “dad”) has been unanimously voted the family MVP today. The votes were cast after reviewing the past three weeks of family events, culminating with today’s impromptu nap with the kids. This act allowed Freddy’s wife to nap by herself without interruption and ultimately sealed the vote.

Let’s hear what he has to say about his new title!

M: How does it feel to be the family MVP?

F: It feels pretty good. Did I go above and beyond today? I mean, yeah… I did. But mostly I just answered the call of duty.

M: Having a newborn and an almost 5-year-old who needs a lot of attention is a lot to manage alongside a full-time job and your wife’s changing emotional state. What keeps you going?

F: Umm…this is intense. [Pause]

A few months ago I challenged myself to write out my personal mission statement. It has given me so much guidance and personal accountability in my work life and personal life. Ultimately in this season of life, I’m striving to be a balanced man. At the end of the day, I just want to be a good husband, dad, and employee. And I have a lot of people counting on me.

M: How do you feel this newborn phase is going compared to your first time around?

F: So much more chaotic… Freddy is an absolute gem! He is so calm, content, and happy which makes it very easy to take care of him. However, the pure nature of having two children just makes it feel like everything is in the air at all times.

Freddy III is heard tooting in the background. Freddy Jr. pauses and cracks a smile. The girls start laughing.

So crazy…


At this point, the interview is paused. Freddy III needs to be changed. Freddy Jr. leaves to change him.

When he returns, dinner needs to be cleared, one child needs to start her bedtime routine and the other needs to eat again. His daughter Emma ignores all requests to get ready for bed, instead choosing to practice triple axel jumps in the kitchen.

Soon the whole family is gathered in the baby’s room. Freddy Jr. is teaching Emma how to do cartwheels while his wife feeds the baby.

Daddy and daughter leave to brush their teeth. Although she has managed triple axels and cartwheels without injury, something occurs with Emma on the walk across the hall. Crying can be heard.

The interview resumes 58 minutes later.


M: The timing of those interruptions felt staged. That’s what you meant by everything is in the air, isn’t it?

F: Yes, precisely.

M: If you could choose one thing to change about this phase, what would it be?

F: The time of year… More fresh air would be a “breath of fresh air”. [I] can’t wait for spring!

M: How about your favorite part of this phase?

F: I have an appreciation for how quickly everything else in life can just slow down. Having a newborn in the house has a way of shifting priorities. I no longer have time to sneak out for a quick bonfire, walk the dog, or even keep my driveway perfectly clear of snow. Just the basics.

M: That’s your favorite part about this phase?

F: Huh? What was the question?

M: What is your favorite part about this phase?

F: Hm, I must’ve gone off on a tangent. My favorite part is smelling my son’s head! Duh!

M: Thanks for taking the time today. Wanna watch an ep[isode]?

F: Yes.

A Mile A Day: Day 22

She rode her bicycle while Freddy, Winston, and I walked. She pedaled hard. She almost made the turn from road to sidewalk this time. She only needed a little push.

Halfway through the ride, she stopped. “I need to climb this wall,” she said.

She hopped off her little bike and scaled the retainer wall that comes up past my waist. Back and forth, back and forth she walked until she reached the end and hopped down back onto her bicycle.

We crossed the road, Emma and I and I pulled her bike up over a curb. I turned my head to watch Fred and Winston cross and her bicycle slowly backpedaled off the curb. It scared her. She almost fell off but she jumped backwards instead, avoiding a messy fall.

Good job, Em!

Near a fence with a cement retainer wall, she stopped again. “I just need a little rest,” she said.

She hopped off her little bike and rested. After a few minutes she asked, “Can we go to the rock?”

We could. So we did.