We are experiencing a bit of an early summer, which is all kinds of wonderful. The weather is fabulous but I’m not completely thrilled about the “open door policy” that comes with the sun and heat. It’s not the kind of friendly and voluntary “open door policy” that I’m sure you’re  thinking of. It’s the kind where our door is always open because no one can remember to CLOSE THE DOOR.

It’s that special time of year were insects and rodents take up residence in our home because my kids never CLOSE THE DOOR. It’s not that hard; You remembered to open it before you tried to walk through it, now please, CLOSE THE DOOR. You are skilled and coordinated enough to open the door, so I know you are physically capable enough to CLOSE THE DOOR. 

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, but I have to be real careful about not yelling it, since as I previously mentioned, the door is wide open. The neighbors have to think I’m a crazy lady at this point, so I’m not sure why I try to keep up the charade of “normal-completely-sane-person-who-doesn’t-yell ‘CLOSE THE DOOR!’ every -3-minutes.” I’m living a lie, because that’s not the woman I am. I’ve been forced to wear these crazy pants and they actually fit quite well.

It’s not just the constant indecision between playing inside or playing outside that causes the tiresome slide of the patio door. It’s the running commentary I receive on every thing that my children experience while playing outside.

*slide* “Mom! The bumble bee is back!”

*slide* “Mom! We found a dead June bug!”

*slide* “Mom! We filled your garden with sand!”

*slide* “Mom! Nolan ate an ant!”

I’m experiencing most of these happenings in real time as I constantly poke my head out of the door to ensure that no one has expired or done irreparable damaged to the exterior of our home. So logistically, I don’t need to hear about the June bug for the fourth time. I can appreciate the sense of wonder that comes from being a child, but is it asking too much for efficiency in wonderment? Could they save up three exciting insect sightings and then open the door (probably still inviting at least one of said insects into our lovely home) instead of reporting each one independently? It would cut the door openings by a third. I don’t want to be the efficiency-over-fun Mom, but I’m already the neighborhood crazy person, so I’m feeling pretty good about starting the lessons in efficiency early. 

Lesson one: CLOSE THE DOOR.

That time I joined a gang.

My friend loaned me a Fitbit in an attempt to recruit me into her Fitbit gang. I use the term “gang,” because I’ve noticed that people with FitBits band together, talk about their FitBits and then peer pressure other people into getting FitBits. This ruthless gang just happened to be a bunch of suburban moms challenging each other to get 10,000 steps a day…or else. It’s all very West Side story. Although, instead of knifings and street fights, the loser buys coffee at the next play date.

They all sing the FitBit’s praises and honestly seem healthier for it, so I decided to give it a shot. What did I have to lose, except a few pounds? A week in, after my brutal gang initiation (kidding), I gotta tell you, I’ve got a beef with the Fitbit.

Aside from the fact that it sat on my wrist judging me all day, pressuring me to do more cardio, I found it to be unprepared for my Mom lifestyle. For starters, steps are only counted when you aren’t carrying or pushing anything, which for most Moms, is never. I’m always carrying something, whether it’s a misplaced toy, a human, clothes, dirty clothes, a dirty human, or old food I found under the couch.   Don’t act like you know me, FitBit. You think you’re better than me?!

When someone or something isn’t being carried, it means I’m pushing a shopping cart or stroller. I was outraged to find that the Fitbit did not record most of my steps at the grocery store. Much like all my weekly grocery trips, I clung to the cart for dear life, praying that no one would go all orangutan on me before I acquired the items on my grocery list. Ends up, the Fitbit requires that I’m gently swinging my arm in a rhythmic fashion to properly record the steps, which doesn’t sound like any outing I’ve ever had with my kids. Don’t judge me, FitBit, and then neglect to count those hard-earned steps! Didn’t you notice my heart rate was through the roof? Maybe my wrist was too sweaty from loading and unloading three squirmy toddlers, but go ahead and draw some conclusions; I’m sweaty with a borderline panic attack level heart rate, throw a couple extra steps my way.

The one silver lining to all those precious lost steps was that the pleasure of my kids’ company at the grocery store induced an elevated heart rate, which resulted in my time at the store being recorded as “active fat-burning minutes.” Thank you, Fitbit, for giving me hope that my stressful daily mom-tasks may somehow contribute to a slimming waistline.

In addition to ignoring most of my multi-tasking steps, the Fitbit also doesn’t distinguish between the varying degrees of difficulty that certain tasks require. For example, it may have only taken me 25 steps to haul the screaming toddler down the hall into timeout, but the Fitbit didn’t know that while I was doing that, another child was clinging to my leg. Yes, we went for a walk around the block to the tune of 1,500 steps, but the Fitbit didn’t know that I also had to drag all the bikes home after my kids decided, halfway through the walk, that they weren’t going to ride them anymore. I should get additional steps for that kind of monkey business. Don’t act like you know me, Fitbit!

In addition to tracking steps, the Fitbit claims to track sleep, calories burned, heart rate and distance. Unfortunately these are also ignorant to my actual level of mom-tivity. I was insulted when it claimed I got more sleep that I actually did. My Fitbit didn’t see me laying motionless in bed, NOT sleeping as I listened to the snores of my husband. Just because I wasn’t up walking around with a natural and leisurely arm sway doesn’t mean I didn’t startle and wake to any slight stirring. How about I tell you how little I slept, Fitbit, and then you rub my back and tell me I’m pretty. Now that’s something I could get on board with.

 I’m not sleeping, FitBit. Those snores are not my own.

So make yourself useful, Fitbit. Track my caffeine intake and warn me before I go from “caffeinated enough to make grilled cheese sandwiches for the third day in a row” to “my eyes are bouncing in my skull and I keep calling you all the wrong names.” Start tracking my alcohol intake so those play dates that involve day drinking don’t get out of control. When my blood alcohol gets too high in the evening hours, send me a “you know your kids are going to wake up at 5:45am tomorrow morning” alert and cut me off. 

Feel free to add these features to your next model upgrade, the “Fitbit Mom.” All I’m asking is that you track my curiously frantic and spastic movements and assume it’s because I’m tip-toeing away from a sleeping child or crawling under furniture to obtain lost toys. It’s definitely worth some sort of extra credit. 

Call me “Mommy Spider”

One of the greatest parts about having a toddler is having a front row seat to their imagination. Since I have twin three year olds, we have imagination up the wazoo. Since three year olds are seemingly incapable of compartmentalizing, that imagination saturates all aspects of their lives.

Quite recently, the twins decided they were spiders. That was not a wording error on my part. I did not mean to say “the twins decided to pretend they were spiders.” I meant that they decided they were spiders. It’s an important distinction. In fact, they keep reminding me of that. Whenever I refer to them by the wonderful and thoughtful names I provided them upon their birth, they abruptly correct me, “No! I’m baby spider!” Do they know they aren’t really spiders? It’s questionable.

They crawl around on all fours, trying to mimic some spastic spider moves. This is probably my favorite part of the whole spider routine, since they stick their little rumps up in their air and walk around on their hands and feet. It’s a fairly disorienting position and they look more like drunken raccoons. It’s a good, deep stretch that I haven’t been able to accomplish since college.

They go to sleep in their “webs.” I am not allowed to refer to their beds as anything other than “webs” without evoking great offense from the baby spiders. It’s worth mentioning that a major part of this role playing exercise is that they now refer to me as “mommy spider.” Yes, I am the official arachnid matriarch. I’ve held better job titles, but at least they know who’s the boss. Here’s where the whole issue with not compartmentalizing comes into play; They don’t just call me “mommy spider” when they are actively pretending to be spiders. They call me “mommy spider” all. The. Time. At bedtime, mealtimes, family times, out in public…I can only imagine what strangers might think. Perhaps they assume I’m some hardcore biker Mom, “Spider,” or that I moonlight as a super hero, “The Mommy Spider.” It’s almost as bad as when my daughter loudly informed me that “her bottom itches” in a checkout line at Target. Almost.

Despite going on two months of living with spiders that I’m expected to keep alive, (definitively not the normal relationship I have with most spiders I find in my home) it’s one of the better imagination games they have come up with. It’s infinitely better than when they decided to paint their bodies with yogurt. And it’s definitely better than when they kept telling me there were ghosts in the hallway. I don’t care who you are, that will make you trepidatious even if it is being suggested by a three year old with no formal education or life experience.  What if there really is a ghost?!

I can’t lie, the spiders make me laugh quite a bit. They’ve even recruited their baby brother, and watching him attempt the drunken raccoon spider crawl is one of the highlights of my life. It has also made mealtime a bit easier, since the baby spiders are much more prone to eating something if they’re told its “spider food.” MmmmHmmmm. We’ll call that a Mom win…or, I should probably say, Mommy Spider win.