The Georgie Show

When you first have a kid, it is the hardest thing in the world. A kid is so much work, you can’t imagine ever having another one. There’s so much crying, boredom and poop. So very much poop. And then you have a second kid, and yeah, it’s hard. There’s double the crying and poop, but much less boredom, but not in a good way. There’s always at least one person whom you’re in charge of keeping alive who appears to be trying to kill themselves. (Babies, what is your obsession with electrical outlets? Is it because they look like little faces?) As they get older, it starts to get easier again, because they can (sort of) entertain each other. But you still laugh at how you ever thought having just one kid was hard.

Tuesday evening, we left Hazy at Grammy’s, and George and I came back solo. So that means it’s been two days of just George and me. Guys, one kid at a time is so easy! Granted, my kid is 4, so he’s not as actively trying to kill himself as when he was a baby, but still. No one is bickering, copying, bickering about copying, or telling on someone for copying.

Anyway, I can tell that part of George really misses Hazy, but the other part is pretty psyched about having Mama and Dada all to himself. When we got home on Tuesday evening, we played catch and George helped me grill.

IMG_4948
Yep, it’s STILL your turn, GG! (Check out the new caterpillar Crocs.)

At dinner, he sat on the bench between Matty and me and between bites, he would hug us both. At bedtime, he got to pick all the books himself and have some quality “bro time” with his dad.

IMG_4949
Bro’s Book Night picks: Curious George Rides a Bike, That Is Not A Good Idea by Mo Willems, and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

Yesterday, he had Oma & Opa all to himself. That means all of Oma’s attention at the pond and the pool. At the pool, Oma and I taught George how to play Marco Polo, which used to torture my brother, Marco, as a child. (“Marco!” “What?!”) It was Oma, George, two small kids and I in the kiddie pool. Later, George and I both quit and I asked my mom if we should get going. “Two more minutes!” my mom said, as she continued to play Marco Polo with the little kids in the kiddie pool. My mom’s pretty awesome, you guys.

DSC_0555
And also all of Oma and Opa’s tennis balls to himself.

It wasn’t all about George though. My parents made me my favorite meal, by special request: Mandarin Pancakes. You might know it as Moo Shu Chicken. My mom made the pancakes from scratch the night before because they’re time consuming (I love you, Mom) and my dad showed me how to make the filling (I love you too, Dad). Food is how my parents show their love, and they must love me a ridiculous amount.

IMG_4976
Don’t worry, Cassidy, Jamie & Marco, I ate three more after I was full, in your honor.

This morning, we tried to finish cleaning the toy pit, but mostly George just blared “Rock ‘n Roll All Night” on the boom box and played the drums while I cleaned. Then, I surprised him with a trip to Launch, a trampoline place, and it was epic. We bounced on every single trampoline, jumped (ran, if you’re George) into pits of foam blocks, and did some slam dunks into basketball nets. The guy working the foam pits section asked if I was jumping or just spectating. Please, bro, spectate this!

IMG_4992
I didn’t want to make George stop jumping to take my photo, so please accept this artist’s rendition of me Air Jordanning into the foam block pit.
DSC_0564
George totally would’ve done a gainer, if it weren’t for this sign.
DSC_0559
Also, George learned to levitate. (Note: that red person in the background is not real.)

While it’s been fun to have the Georgie Show the past couple of days, we can’t wait to have our Hazelbert back tonight.

 

KonMari-ing the Toy Pit

Have you heard of the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? It teaches you the KonMari method, which is basically a controlled purge of all your possessions, keeping only the things that “bring you joy.” The KonMari method is difficult for hoarders like Hazy and me, but it also feels really good when executed properly. The degree of difficulty increases exponentially when you are KonMari-ing the toy pit, because of its depths of toy hoarding spaces, and then becomes impossible when you try to include the kids, because they think literally every toy they have (or once had or once saw on TV) brings them joy.

DSC_0592
Hazy, finding joy in each individual math domino.
DSC_0593
George, finding joy in being pantless, as per usual.

But under my ruthless guidance/doing it myself, we managed to fill one giant contractor bag of toys and one shopping bag of books to donate, plus and one trash bag of trash. I told the kids they could each get a new toy if they got rid of all the old ones they don’t play with and donated them to “kids who don’t have any” (which is the term Matty and I always use for Boomerangs/Goodwill/Savers).

I forgot to place some limits on said toy, and that is how we ended up with this mouthpiece of Satan in our home.

IMG_4951
It has three volume modes (low, medium, and high, or grating, screeching, and migraine-inducing)! It’s Barbie! That’s a working microphone!

George got a Lego Star Wars sticker book, which was actually pretty cool. Also, I made his dreams come true by finding this:

IMG_4952
A pilot’s shirt! He wants to wear it every day, even when it’s 95 degrees out.

I also got Matty a mug that says “Communist Party” and has Stalin, Marx, et al doing funnels and wearing lampshades on their heads. Needless to say, it was a very successful shopping trip.

One of Hazy’s chores is setting the dinner table, and last night, she added sunglasses to everyone’s place settings. When questioned, she pointed out the obvious, “because we’re having a cool dinner.”

DSC_0595
These are our cool faces, but I don’t have to tell you that.

p.s. We also got those Mad Libs. Yeah!

Straight Flowin’ On a Boat

Yesterday, we took advantage of Fun Free Fridays to take a free ferry ride to Spectacle Island. I had planned on getting the kids up by 7, leaving the house by 8, and getting to the ferry deck by 9 so we’d have a chance in hell of getting free tickets, which were on a first come, first serve basis. I also planned on having a natural childbirth, but ended up riding the epidural train all the way to happy town, so I guess what I’m saying is, things don’t always go according to plan.

We left the house at 8:45, got to the dock by 9:35 with a lot of whining (George) and patiently, totally calm coaxing (me, lying) and by some miracle, got tickets on the 9:45 ferry. Take that, plans!

IMG_4877
Plus, that was even with taking the time to take this photo! (The statue is so not into this.)
DSC_0550
Hey ma, if you could see me now, arms spread wide on the starboard bow (stern). By the time we got to the island, he had befriended everyone on the back of the boat.
IMG_4884
Get your towels ready, it’s about to go down.
IMG_4881
We all jumped about four feet high when the boat’s horn blew. It was REALLY loud, or as George put, “this boat is a horny one!”
DSC_0556
This is George’s picture smile after about two seconds.

I chose Spectacle Island over Georges because it has a swimming beach. Georges Island has a lot of good hiking, but if you’ve tried walking over 50 yards with my kids, you’d know hiking is not a big draw. The beach wasn’t spectacular (see what I did there?), but it had nice cool water and we found a bunch of sea glass and purply shells for our collections.

IMG_4889
Ignore the two-headed kid and smushed-face George.

I packed the kids sandwiches and purposely didn’t pack myself one, because I vaguely remembered that they had lobster rolls at the Spectacle Island cafe. But by the time the 9:45 ferry left (10:30), we only got to the island by 11, and had to be back on the 12:15 ferry. So once again, I was lobster roll-less. I know, the humanity. I don’t know how I do it either, guys.

After George’s nap, we had some pool time.

IMG_4899
Not at our fancy seaside pool, but at our inflatable fence-side pool

I sat down with my Water Watcher medallion on and a plastic cup full of rosé, until the kids insisted I come in the pool. Then, they invented a new game where they try to hit me with their water squirters while I run around the lawn like a carnival freak. Fortunately for me, they have terrible aim.

 

 

10 Kids, 3 Moms (not as bad as you think)

Last, last Friday at bootcamp, my friends Marie (British Marie) and Dee mentioned something about taking the kids on an outing that day. I was only half-listening, as one does while doing mountain climbers or tricep dips or whatever, so I missed the part where Dee would also have her friend’s three sons with her, bringing our total kid count to 10.

DSC_0545
This was before Marie’s three kids joined us. You can recognize my kids, because they’re semi-professional photo actors. Props to you, Nina, You can photo act with us anytime.
DSC_0575
This might be Fart Machine’s next album cover.
IMG_4441
While George perused a romance novel from the Little Library, Hazy picked out Self magazine.
IMG_4446
Let it not be said that the O’Rourke kids don’t appreciate art. Or, “aht”, as we call it in Boston.
DSC_0598
Photo direction: act amazed at the size of these fruits. #nailedit

In between the alleyway photo shoot and the giant fruit tree photo shoot, we did playground time with all 10 kids, with only two injuries and one non-injury related crying jag! Not too shabby. (Actually, pretty shabby.) The worst was that the same woman witnessed both playground accidents and basically thought (knew?) we were the stars of Bad Moms II. She was all, “he was pretty high up when he fell.” I wanted to be like, “there are ten of them and only three of us!” but I think she was with a daycare, so that wasn’t gonna fly.

After walking off the injuries, we rode the beautiful greenway carousel.

DSC_0586
I love Eliot. He gave me a 10-out-of-10 on the enthusiasm scale wave every single revolution.
DSC_0583
Dee, 9 out of 10. I like it.
DSC_0595
We just read James and the Giant Peach, so Hazy was psyched to ride on Old Green Grasshopper.
IMG_4450
On the way back, we did some art in Faneuil Hall. Hazy painted the Empire State Building and then wrote BOSTON above it. I think I could be a home-school teacher, don’t you?

Then we walked through the Boston Public Market and chatted with the cider donut man and got a half dozen (what? they’re minis!) to eat on the T, because we’re gross.

 

 

 

 

Draft of My Parenting Book

Yesterday, we went to the Common to go on the Swan Boats and splash in the Frog Pond with repeat OSAH guest star, Ariel.

I’m starting to get into the groove with this temporary stay-at-home-mom thing, so I thought I’d share some tips from my award-winning* parenting handbook. These will be available in a published book as soon as we get more than one comment on a blog post and/or I go a single day without losing my s-word during a moment of epic parenting failure.

  1. Bring reinforcements.
IMG_4851
Ariel not only does our adventure planning for us (she came up with the Swan Boats/Frog Pond idea), she also brings along two really cute assistants, Dax (human) and Only (dog).

 

2. Make your kids do their part.

DSC_0545
These backpacks hold their lunches and a change of clothes. It’s not important that George left his water bottle open and soaked his change of clothes; at least he carried them himself. p.s. How cute is Only?
DSC_0547
Why waste time applying sunscreen when they are perfectly capable of doing it themselves? And by doing it, I mean making themselves into Papa Smurf but totally neglecting the top halves of their faces.

3. Encourage any and all energy-using activities.

IMG_4844
Get those birds! This time I know you’ll catch one.
DSC_0565
See if you can swim in this ankle-deep water!

4. Plan (or have your reinforcements, see #1) several activities so the kids don’t get bored.

DSC_0559
We’re on a (swan) boat!

 

DSC_0571
Hazy’s riding a dragon-horse!
DSC_0572
I’m a younger sibling, so I know what it’s like to always be the one who doesn’t get to ride the one fancy dragon horse, George. Way to wear it well, buddy.

5. Give them a little taste of parenting, so they recognize how hard it is.

DSC_0593
“Hazy, you have to hold his head up, even if/when he throws up on you!” p.s. How cute is Dax?

6. Point out how amazing everything is, even things that might seem mundane to most.

IMG_4834
First, we got on TV. Then, we got the conductor to beep the horn when he pulled away, JUST FOR US. George acted like he’d just met Santa Claus, and not Mall Santa Claus. 

7. Get a team photo for posterity. Hazy and George have named us Team Threebies, because there are three of us on our adventures.

IMG_4848
Nailed it.

 

Coming up in a future installment: how to handle an overtired tantrumming child when you yourself are an overtired overheated adult on the verge of a tantrum. I’m sorry, did I end that with a period? I meant to end it with a question mark.

*One time Hazy made me a Best Mom In the World drawing in school.

We Are the Underhills

That’s right, we’ve got a posh pool club membership now. Our pool even has a fancy name, Mirabella. (I’m sorry, Marie, I know I wasn’t supposed to tell everyone about our private pool.)

IMG_4818
Just tell the pool people you’re with the O’Rourkes.

Yesterday, we ventured to the North End. I hustled the kids out of the house with my trademarked parenting strategies of timers, threats and inconsistent rewards systems (it’s complicated and it mostly doesn’t work), rushed them to the train, and dragged them about a half mile to the pool (stopping for only one photo op, showing great restraint), only to find out the pool didn’t open until 11. It was 10:15.

IMG_4790
The one photo op. Photo direction: “Why is this finger pointing at me?”

Fortunately, our pool club also has a sprinkler park (for those keeping count, our 5th this summer) and a playground right outside. So we recommended American Ninja Warrior training on the monkey bars and running wheel, admired our favorite Boston bridge (what up, Zakim!), and tried (and failed) to swing into the river.

By 10:58, we were overheated and ready for the pool.

IMG_4819
How sweet is our pool? That’s the (river) water, right there beyond the (pool) water. Also, there’s a sweet snack bar there with pizza and all the good/bad ice cream treats like that SpongeBob pop made out of 100% synthetic ingredients. 
IMG_4824
We brought our lunches though, and I won bonus mom points for using the star cookie cutter with their sandwiches.

Unfortunately, this day took a really bad turn at the end. On the way to the pool, we walked by Neptune Oysters on the way to the pool, which is supposed to have the best lobster roll in Boston. It just so happens that I don’t really like sandwiches (of the non-lobster variety), even if they have stars cut out of them, and we had to head back to the T around 1:00 to make it home for George’s nap. I figured it was time for a splurge. All morning, I dreamt of that Best-of-Boston lobster roll. I didn’t even eat as much Pirate’s Booty as I normally would have in anticipation of my feast. On our walk back, there was quite a line outside Neptune’s. No worries, I’d be getting mine to go. I squeezed past the crowd, calling them suckers in my head. “Could I get a lobster roll to go, please?” I asked the lady who was about to break my heart. “We can’t…” she said in that super-annoying head-tilt type of voice. I got ginger chicken and rice from inside Boston Public Market because I had already written off my turkey & cheese sandwich in my head; it was okay. Sorry if this story bummed you out.

Gotta go, we’re off to the library (again). Someone has discovered that you can reserve books online and that they have the graphic novels (pronounced NO-vals) that she likes.

 

I Invented a New Kind of Triathlon

Why isn’t it “triathalon,” btw?

First leg: boot camp

Wednesdays we wear pink, but Tuesdays and Fridays at 0630, we go to boot camp. Dee, British Marie, Melissa, Barb, and about eight other kickass JP ladies and I get our butts kicked by our coach/trainer Diane.

In between the first leg and the second leg, we played some hide & seek, and then I took the luxury of taking a power nap while the kids built a fort.

IMG_4758
A- for fort building, only because it was a little louder than I would’ve liked.

You might think then it was time for the second leg of the triath(a)lon, but it wasn’t. It was time to see a play at the library!

DSC_0545
Just to set the tone for this thing: it opened up with “It’s All About The Books” set to “All About That Bass.” Let that sink in.
DSC_0553
The best part (besides the remake of “Uptown Funk” to “Unread Books”, seriously) was George’s walk-on part.

While Georgie napped, Hazy worked on some things for a library bingo game, including making her own comic strip. I know I’m biased, but I thought this was really awesome.

DSC_0561
The short version: “Why did you put hot sauce on my rice?” “I thought it was ketchup!” (shout out to Opa for the comic inspiration)

After naps, we prepared for…

Leg two: long distance wagon-pulling

Sure, some people run or bike, but that’s child’s play compared to pulling the MacWagon with two kids, my backpack, and three water bottles. I’d estimate the combined weight was 100 lbs, and we walked 1.5 miles each way.

IMG_4768
Why are we wearing these hats? You’ll see in leg three.

Leg three: rowing

Did you know that for just $15/hour, you can rent a row boat on Jamaica Pond? Did you know that kids can’t row, no matter how many times you attempt to explain/demonstrate it?

DSC_0573
Totally faking it.

The weird part about this triathlon is that after you finish the third leg, you have to revisit the second leg. Does that make it a quadthlon? Near the end of the tria/quadthlon, we stopped for a quick photo shoot, naturally. I don’t know if I’m proud or horrified that my kids instantly do this when I say, “look cool.” Who am I kidding? Of course I’m proud.

DSC_0579
Another possible Fart Machine album cover.

We are finally all caught up, with exception of the Friday before last (just waiting for some clearances from the talent). We have some exciting adventures planned, but nothing on the docket yet for tomorrow. Ideas? Looking forward to some upcoming shenanigans with the Purdys, Ariel & Dax (repeat!), the Creegan-Steinhausers, and Staci! Sign up now to be on our special guest list.