Category Archives: bathroom

Getting To Know You

Dylan sometimes (okay, often) says to me, “Mommy, you need to have more patience in the bathroom.” He’s right. The bathroom is the scene of some of my worst parenting moments (that is, besides the car). Simply put, the bathroom is my tipping point. They either take too long, talk too loud, touch everything, or all of the above, and, frankly, it’s excruciating.

Recently, in the middle of a friendly debate with him over my “alleged” swimming skills, I said, “I do too know how to dive!” His response was swift and startlingly clever. “Mommy, you don’t even like to get your hair wet.” He was right again. For the record, I do know how to dive, although I can’t remember the last time I did.

He’s almost eight, and he knows me.

One night not too long ago in the bathroom, Riley said to me, “Mommy, did you have coffee today?”

“Yes,” I said confused because it was nighttime and I drink coffee in the morning. “Why?”

“Because you’re grumpy, and you always tell us you get grumpy when you can’t have coffee.”

I was grumpy that night in the bathroom, but in my defense: (1) it was way past bedtime, (2) tooth brushing wasn’t going very well, (3) we were in the bathroom, and (4) I had just discovered that the puppy pooped on the floor in my bedroom.

Still, he was right.  He’s only five, but he knows me, too.

Although the coffee remark stopped me in my tracks, it wasn’t because it made me feel guilty (okay, maybe a little bit). Rather, it was because it brought on a terrifying vision of a teenaged version of Riley rolling his eyes at me and saying, “Mom, are you on your period or something?” It’s true that I almost always cry 48-72 hours before I get it, so it’s quite possible that he and his brother will eventually know the ins and outs of my menstrual cycle as well as they know that I’m irritable when I haven’t had coffee and/or it’s after 7pm and/or I’m in a bathroom with either one of them.

They already know me quite a bit. They know I like owls and yellow roses and “So You Think You Can Dance.” They know I like to run and write stories about being a mommy. They know I pour a glass of wine when it’s five o’clock or time for math homework (whichever comes first). They know I don’t like loud voices or music in the car and it hurts my ears when the car windows are open. They know I don’t like to get my hair wet in the pool, idle in public bathrooms, or buy toy-junk at the grocery store. They know I can’t stand puzzles or Lego kits with missing pieces. They know I absolutely hate to be late. They probably know I’m particular (i.e. obsessive compulsive) about loading the dishwasher, I can’t stand it if someone pulls on my shirt or sweater, and no matter how hard I try, I have zero interest in video games. They most likely know when I’m aggravated at their Daddy, when I’ve had one glass of wine too many, and when I feel fat. Perhaps they know when I’m sad. They most certainly know when I’m proud or happy, but also when I’m disappointed, anxious, or scared.

They’re getting to know all of me. Not just the mommy me but the human me. They’re soaking in my quirks and imperfections as we grow this extraordinary and complicated relationship together, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it, but I guess it’s only fair, because, oh boy, I know them, too.


Filed under aha moment, babies, bathroom, boys, motherhood, parenting

The Snapshot

On Sunday evening, Mike and I took the boys to Chili’s to eat dinner and watch USA play Portugal in the World Cup. Upon being seated, we discovered that Chili’s has tablets on each table that can be used to order drinks, pay the bill, and play games. For a mere 99 cents, the kids could play unlimited games while we ate, and I thought it was awesome because it meant we had a fighting chance of lasting more than 30 minutes before the kids expired and/or Riley announced that he had to poop…badly. I was so excited that I posted this snapshot on my social media accounts.


Later, I received this comment:

“Such a shame when I think that dinner is a good time to talk to your kids and have great conversations.”


Believe it not, I’m relatively new at receiving and responding (or not responding) to negative comments on the blog and/or social media. (Just to clarify, negative comments and rejection are two different things.   I’ve received plenty of the latter.) I’ve been writing as The Runaway Mama for nearly four years, and this was just one of two off-putting comments I’ve ever received about my writing or my social media presence. The other – a doozy – came a few weeks ago about my Mother’s Day post from a person who wrote: “what a self-absorbed bitch.”


Dylan is really funny in that he can watch an explosive, large-scale, and violent scene in super hero movie like “Man of Steel” and be totally and completely fine, but he is forever scarred from watching “The Lion King,” “E.T.,” “Finding Nemo,” and the scene in “Toy Story 3” where Lotso tells the story of how he and Big Baby were lost and replaced by their owner. One is too big and shocking to absorb, and the others tug at where he’s most vulnerable…his heart.

Similarly, the “self-absorbed bitch” comment was so crazy hateful that it meant far less to me than the passive aggressive words of disapproval about my parenting (ouch). The thing about our Sunday night dinner at Chili’s, though, is that so much else happened outside of the snapshot of the boys playing on the tablet.

Mike and I stole some quiet time to talk, reminisce, and laugh without interruption. We felt connected and happy, and that doesn’t happen often enough these days!

We talked about healthy eating with the kids. Mike insisted that the boys try the guacamole because avocados are tasty and full of protein and “good” fat. They refused (of course), which prompted a friendly debate over whether or not an avocado is a fruit or a nut (it’s a fruit, by the way).

We celebrated futball! When USA scored their first goal, Mike and I laughed (again!) because we both missed seeing it live due to intense guacamole negotiations.

We had a sensory victory! Dylan ate a french fry (a french fry!), which made me explode with pride. If you’re more than a first-time or one-time reader, you know that Dylan has a limited diet due to sensory processing disorder, so trying any new food, wherever it falls on the healthy eating spectrum and even if it’s a fatty, greasy french fry, is a very good thing!

We explored concepts in math and money. For every three bites of macaroni & cheese Riley ate, I gave him one dollar. For every one dollar he paid me, I gave him a handful of tortilla chips that were leftover from the guacamole, which he eventually did taste and immediately declared, “I don’t like it.” In then end, he ate a pretty good dinner and went home with two dollars in his pocket.

We had a bathroom adventure (of course). Riley inevitably announced that he had to go to the bathroom. He promised he just had to pee, so we let him and Dylan go together. Mike checked on them a few minutes later and discovered Riley in a stall with the door locked saying he couldn’t get out. Dylan was going to crawl under the door to free him and said to Mike, “Don’t tell Mommy,” because he knew I’d be upset that he touched the floor (my valiant son!). In the end, Mike talked Riley into unlocking the door on his own, and they all returned to the table with a bath in their future and great story to tell.

We experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat (or the draw). Dylan was standing next to me when USA made their second goal. It was amazing! We hugged and cheered and yelled “GOOOOOOAAAALLLL!” along with every other crazy, screaming person in the restaurant, and I’ll never forget that special moment. Soon after, we watched stunned as Portugal scored in the last seconds of the game. Boo.

Chili’s is my new favorite restaurant to take the kids, and the snapshot I shared on social media was just that – a snapshot that was a part of a much larger story about a family sharing a meal together at a local bar and grill.

One of the most important lessons that being a parent has taught me is to resist the urge to misinterpret or judge others (and myself!) because the journey is long, surprises await every turn, and I’m doing the very best I can from one moment to the next all the while hoping they add up to something authentic and honest in the end. I like to think most parents would agree with me on this. Regardless, I still look forward to your comments (gulp).


Filed under bathroom, eating out, food issues, math, movie, parenting, sensory processing disorder, writing