Raw Talent

They say (I've always wondered who 'they' is) that kids can unconsciously reveal their talents and potential at a very young age. I'm fairly sure we've discovered the future of our super determined toddler. At the age of three, I am certain that we can place our bets on Hollywood. And I don't mean as an actress. I'm talking behind the scenes, where the magic happens.

As you can see, there was not going to be any Mommy painting this face; no way. Little Miss "I CAN DO IT" was set on trying to reinvent a photo from the facepaint book onto her own sweet, precious facial canvas. The look she was going for--from the book--was dracula. A green and black dracula. But green just doesn't cut it in her little princess world; a creative and unique mind was behind the pink dracula.

After very careful execution, which I believe clocked in just under two minutes, she was incredibly proud of herself. So proud that I couldn't grab her before she b-lined it to the bathroom mirror and left black and pink handprints all over the beach rental house cupboards and countertops. Of course, nothing is really all that fun in the end if we didn't leave a complete mess for Mommy to clean up.

As I mentioned before, it's quite obvious to me. I see Makeup Artist all over this. I'm talking big time--blockbusters--and by the look of things, probably horror films.

But this little person has many talents, each dwelling in her little soul in equal amounts. So no matter which direction the pitter patter of these tiny feet shall lead her, it is sure to be the path less travelled; and my money is on her.

Mom's 'Crazy' Face

I was reading a book the other day, and I flip through so many books here and there that I can't even remember and give credit to the one where I saw this, but the author was referring to those days when she would be so over the edge that she would have what her kids called "Mom's crazy face". I chuckled when reading about this at first, but then I froze. Do I have a 'crazy face'? And if I do, what does it look like?

'Mom Crazy Face' happens when you are gripping for patience for seconds, minutes, maybe even hours, until finally you lose all control of your facial muscles and vocal chords and everyone around you is pretty sure your body has been taken over by serious child-hating demonic forces. It is the point of no return, when you think at any second your head will explode open and snakes with wicked venom will seap from your temples. Your kids will run and hide as you are wailing with all your might and voice something about "this being the last straw!" The house whirls around in a tornado as you finally remove yourself to the pantry where you remember what your therapist said and slowly count to five. Then you smile and return to whatever you were doing, wondering where everyone has gone.

This is why we do not know what our own 'crazy face' looks like.At that moment, the last thing we do is think, "I should hold this face, and go see what I look like in the mirror." Instead, we transport ourselves into some evil form, and luckily something inside of us transports us back.

I had to get to a mirror and try to mimic what my own crazy face might look like. As I scrunched my face around and narrowed my eyebrows, I could never transform into something that looked all that scary. But I know I have it in me, I've seen the fear in the eyes of my children.

This is the unfortunate part of life that we as moms must endure. So much of our emotion is spontaneous. We can't act out this mom thing. It just happens. No matter how ugly it gets. There is no way we will ever get to see our own crazy face. But we sure do feel it. And based on how that moment feels, I'm not sure I could ever 'face' what I must look like to my kids.

So, this became a good lesson for me. So last time I felt crazy face coming on, I thought of medusa, and crazy-eyed snakes, and the exorcist, and I reminded myself that my face should NOT be the one my kids see in their nightmares. And it really did help, it lead me to laughter at what I must have looked like all those times before. So, instead of the usual 'escape route from mom', my kids actually stopped their fighting and stared at me blankly. Were they just evoking crazy face all along?

I think this will be a much prettier way to go about it. I'm sure crazy face is not gone forever, but if my fine lines don't benefit from less crazy face, I know my blood pressure will. The grass is always greener where there's smile.

The two and a half margarita playdate.

When I had my first child, nearly eight years ago, I received so many lovely, precious baby gifts. I was sure to have the nursery in place complete with every unecessary baby item ever brilliantly marketed to new moms (and grandmoms). The diaper pale, wipe warmer, burp pads, pink baby washcloths, baby mitts, baby bath, baby this, baby that, baby baby baby baby baby baby.

Well, one person knew better than to give me one more damn pink blanket (I know that sounds really unappreciative and ungrateful, but just know I really did love all the pink blankets). My best friend, now of 20 years, gave me a book. It is called The Three Martini Playdate. This book has many great, and mostly sarcastic and comical, ways to handle your child's behavior as he gets older. But for the new mom who is now firmly planted on a sofa with a baby's mouth attched to her breast 20 out of the 24 hours each day, just the title of the this book was a blessing.

So, no, I did not arrange playdates for my six-week old with other six-week olds as an excuse to drink three martinis. But nearly eight years and four kids later, I am still grateful for this book. Just as the business man likes to 'go for a beer' with his peers after work, we moms like to 'go for a drink' at one of our peer's homes, only we have to keep working. Now, before you go calling Child Protective Services, please know that we only have two and a half drinks at our 'happy hour' playdates. Three--at a playdate--just sounds almost self-medicating, even though there is no doubt we could use the remedy.

Let's face it though, how is a mother of four who has had minimal adult conversations in the last eight years supposed to stay sane? The way I see it, there are usually two options offered in the advice I'm given when I've had a stressful day managing the antics and voices of kids; take a bath, or take a drink. They both have advantages, and if I could say that I got to be alone in the bath, that might be the better option. But since three (and sometimes four) other little bodies usually cram themselves into the already small ceramic bowl, now full of luke warm water, alone time in the bath generally lasts about as long as a bull rider hangs on for dear life. In fact, I think in those eight quiet seconds before I am discovered in the bathtub, that is exactly what I am doing, hanging on for dear life.

In fact, there is a comical book for new moms called Sippy Cups are NOT for Chardonnay. Despite my sadness for the author's battle with alcoholism, I'm still not sure I agree with the title. There has been many a camping trip where the tall, plastic Minnie Mouse cup housed the perfect margarita.

So, last night, we had one more successful 'Two and a half margarita playdate.' The drinks were delicious, the kids were wild and crazy and, the best part, mostly invisible, as they played and laughed and danced around. We all got to complete our sentences and say really smart words--like grapholagnia and diphallic terata. Okay, so we didn't use these exact words, and if you knew what they meant, you'd believe me, but we did get to laugh at something that only a mother would think was funny. And we got to discuss OUR dreams. Think Sundance Film Festival, no kids. Even though the Festival in the winter, I think the grass might be pretty green there, with a bunch of girlfriends, no kids, and a margarita in hand.

So we love our kids, but it's just too easy for us to lose ourselves. So go find a fun mom, and bottoms up. Cheers!

DISCLAIMER: OF COURSE, we encourage everyone to always drink responsibly, unless you are at home all by yourself, are not supervising children, do not have to use any type of equipment or utensils to cook for your husband, and you've had the kind of day where half your hair turned gray and you almost gave your kids away for good. In that case, have at it.