How do you measure a day?

For the longest time, I’ve been a Grinch about virtually every holiday. Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s… you name it, I can give you a good reason to hate it.

Christmas? Over-commercialized. Flimsy reason for overspending and going into debt around the same time every year. Based loosely off some religious gobbledygook wrapped around a Russian mythology that bears virtually no resemblance to the fat man in the sled who apparently runs the show these days. Pure invention, for the sake of blackmailing kids into being good for a few months out of the year. Can it.

Halloween? If you feel the need to disguise yourself once a year, to let your “wild side” or whatever out of your system, you probably aren’t living your life right. If you’re an adult and you’re dressing up for a halloween party, you missed the memo that it’s time to grow up. If you’re a kid and your parent is driving you around to trick or treat, you’re doing it wrong… in my day we WALKED house to house. If you’re a teenager… get off my freakin’ lawn. Also, a poor excuse for making me buy a bunch of candy that I’m going to have to eat later.

Thanksgiving? Yeah, does the rest of the world need a signifier that we Americans take things to excess? So we have a holiday for the express purpose of eating ourselves into comas. Pass the gravy and the weird uncles, and I’ll be in the corner nibbling on cornbread until the in-laws are strangling each other over political issues.

Valentine’s? The canned argument is that if you need a specific day to show your special somebody that you love them, you’re doing it wrong. But I won’t even go there. I’ll fall back on the fact that this one is another one that’s pure invention, and who can stand all that red and pink? And, for that matter, the overnight megainflation of flower stock. Racketeering sanctioned by the people.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. I don’t go in for holidays or birthdays or any of that. My wife hates it, but I can’t help it. Any holiday is just a futile attempt to add significance to an otherwise insignificant day, a way to add punctuation to another year.

Uplifting, right?

But our son is three this year. And our daughter is coming up on one.

And… dammit, everything is different. I find my Grinchly armor cracking at the seams, I feel the warmth of caring and celebration clawing its way into my cold, cold heart. Like… okay, this year was the first year he really cared about Christmas at all. In years past it was just a pile of toys that he got excited about for a few hours and then forgot about. But this year, he freaked out about Santa, and he jumped up and down on the morning of and he was talking about Santa Claus all day, and … god, it warmed my heart.

A chink in the armor.

And today, Easter.

Say what you want about religious connotations, but Easter is another holiday that’s had America’s grasping capitalist claws rending at it. The bunny, the chocolates, the eggs… honestly it sounds like one big acid trip if you ask me. Ridiculous. Ripe and ready for my scorn. And scorn it I have, and did this year, too… right up until about 11 AM this morning.

Why 11 this morning? Well, at 11 this morning I found myself in the midst of this seething throng of humanity…wpid-20150404_114802.jpg

… and if you know my thoughts about holidays in general, it should come as no shock at all that I really don’t much care at all for being around crowds like this. People are at their worst in crowds. That herd mentality sets in, and all of a sudden you don’t have individuals making clear decisions on their own merits, you have a mob in the ragey throes of pack logic.

But today was Easter, and my mother had the great idea to take the sprouts to this big Easter Egg hunt, and, well, there we were. And there were moments — several of them — when I wanted to bail, to take my kids and get as far from this manufactured mass of pastels and candy as possible. But we went through with it.

And you know what?

The kids had a great time, and that’s all that fargoing mattered. Who cares if their grumpy dad was uncomfortable with the crowds, if he was inwardly sneering at all the colors and smiling faces? Who cares that the parking was a nightmare, or that my son wimped out on the bouncy slide we waited five minutes to get him on, or that the sno-cone we bought him cost two freaking dollars? (TWO DOLLARS. FOR ICE AND SUGAR WATER. It still hurts me.) He came back talking about doing more Easter hunts, and his face was illuminated with the joyous glow that I can only dream of having in my own cranky old disillusioned soul. I will never in my life feel the joy that permeated his being and exploded from his every pore at the simple happiness of the balloon handed to him at the tent operated by the local Plumbing group, except for the joy I can feel vicariously through him. I even grinned at the simple but pure greed of sprout #2, who was too young to know what was going on, but not too young to go back for one taste after another of the delicious purple ice I offered to her.

This is my wife’s fault. She’s known all along that there was more to these occasions than I ever allowed myself to believe, and she staunchly held her ground against my protestations that we shouldn’t bother celebrating any of them all these years. As is so often the case, she gets to have the last laugh now.


It was a day I should’ve hated, but it was the best Easter I’ve ever had. And there must be something seriously wrong with me, because I’m thinking it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to do it again next year.

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday.

How to Introduce your Childhood to your Kids through Netflix

My son watches some awful cartoons. I mean, really… terrible cartoons. I’m talking about your Animal Mechanicals (where every character is an idiotic robot… think about it… if you’re a robot, how can you be an idiot? At the very least, you’d be programmed with the intelligence of every creator who worked on your creation, unless your creators are evil overlords in their own right, in which case, hold on, I have to write down an idea for another short story), Color Crew (where the only spoken words are the names of colors, and in every episode one color gets all gung-ho about coloring the entire page in his color and all of a sudden you have BLUE SUNS and ORANGE COWS, and then the dictatorial eraser with his Stalin mustache swoops in and he’s all like “how dare you interrupt my schedule, now I have to clean up all this sharknado”… this is literally every episode), and then there’s this one on Youtube where they’ve animated all these nursery rhymes (cool) and rewritten them (not so cool) so that suddenly in the middle of London Bridge is Falling Down there’s a superhero pig who knocks the enormous green monstrosity (you know, the one knocking down the bridge) into the Thames. Suffice it to say that we’ve seen all these adventures in animation enough to memorize the high points. And yeah, I know, “why do you let your kids watch so much TV,” and yeah, I know, “puzzles and wood blocks and brainpower,” and to that I say, yeah, okay, you’re probably right. But Netflix puts all this awful entertainment a finger’s click away, and it’s kind of awesome and kind of awful for that.

See, in light of all the mind-anesthetizing programming we usually have to endure, I’ve been on the lookout for something that actually has value in the world to expose the boy to. Something that will expand his horizons, make him a better person. Something like Star Wars. Now, we have the movies, and I thought of that, but I can no more interest the boy in the original trilogy than order my cat to start tap-dancing. (Sure, he could do it, but there’s no interest there.) I even tried him on episode I, the one I don’t speak of, in the hopes that with its cartoonier nature and the canonical abortion of Jar-Jar Binks, it might appeal to his three-year-old sensibilities. No dice.

Fine, I thought. The boy isn’t ready for one of the prized gems of my formative film collection. We’ll try again in a few years. Tried a few other programs. There’s a Transformers series for little kids now, and he goes for that now and then if I turn it on while he’s out of the room. (He comes back from a bathroom break and he’s all, “oh, this? I guess that’s okay.”) But he won’t choose it. Which baffles me. He loves robots and he loves cars; how can he not love robots that turn into cars. He’d rather watch computer-animated documentaries about dinosaurs. And yeah, okay, that’s kind of cool, too. But I want him to have something of mine, to care about something that I cared about.

But then my wife — for reasons unknown (though probably for my benefit) — bought the boy a new toothbrush. One that’s red and translucent and, when you push the button on its side, lights up and makes lightsaber noises as you brush away. (Oh my god, I want one for myself.) And if there’s one thing my kid loves, it’s brushing his teeth. Seriously. We can ask him a hundred times if he wants to go to bed, clean his room, pick up his toys, and he will very eloquently respond “no thank you” or “not now, but later”. But, ask him if he wants to brush his teeth before bed, and he can barely shout out an “OKAY!” before he’s bolted up the stairs.

On day one, he thought the lightsaber toothbrush was weird. I explained to him what a lightsaber was and why it was awesome.

On day two, he reminded me to turn on the lightsaber noises before he brushed. All systems were go.

Then, Netflix offered up something awesome. Apparently, on Cartoon Network or something a few years back, they made a whole animated series. A whole, six-season, animated series. My wife pointed this out to me, and I turned it on, fast-forwarded to a scene with Yoda and his lightsaber flipping around, and showed it to the boy. Done deal. Now I can ask him if he wants to watch Yoda with his lightsaber, and I get the “YEAH!” that’s usually reserved for asking him whether he wants to take a bath. Granted, if Yoda isn’t in the scene it’s all “where’s Yogurt?” so there’s still a little bit of work to be done. Nevertheless, it’s time to start planning his exposure to the films. I figure he can handle the whole original trilogy by age five, and I can have him responding to his mom’s bedtime “I love you” with Han’s super-smug “I know” by age six.

But all this teaches me something. Something I already knew, but like all lessons with kids, a bit of redundancy is never a bad idea.

When introducing something to the child, it’s important that you don’t make a big deal of it. You can’t say, “Okay, son, how would you like to watch a movie that I loved as a kid? It’s full of spaceships and explosions and really neat swords made out of lasers, and I think you’ll love it.” Doesn’t work. He wants to watch the freakin’ Space Buddies again (a movie about the kids of the famous slam-dunkin’ dog, Air Bud. Except, you know, IN SPACE.) For a new idea to take root with the kid, it has to fall into one of two categories:

  1. It’s something he finds himself, be it on the aisle of the toy store, the front yard, underneath the back seat of the car.
  2. It’s just there when he walks into a familiar space, as if it’s already part of a routine he didn’t understand. We do this with dinner all the time. Ask him if he wants to try some spaghetti with meatballs, and we get “NO. Want macaRONI.” But if it’s just in his seat and we say, “Time for dinner!” and put him in front of it, most of the time, he’ll clean his plate.

Kinda like that movie, Inception, but with squash casserole instead of a multi-million dollar company. Or whatever that movie was about.

Toddler Life, Chapter 24: Sleep Debt

I always used to laugh at my dad. He could fall asleep anywhere, at any time. Thirty minutes in his bed in the middle of the day, a quick snooze in his armchair during a commercial break, passing out during the last act of an action movie. And I thought it was just an age thing.

But it isn’t. It’s a parent thing.

And maybe it’s a male parent thing, because my wife hasn’t inherited this ability yet, but I certainly have.

For much of my life, I had a hard time falling asleep. Thirty minutes in bed before I could drop off was pretty normal. An hour wasn’t uncommon. I’d stay up all hours trying to get tired enough to fall asleep without lying there in the dark counting sheep or whatever… not that that ever worked.

Then I worked in logistics, which is a fancy way of saying I threw boxes around in a store outside of business hours. My shift started at 4 AM. I had to go to sleep at 7 PM. I was also in school at the time, taking classes to teach me how to teach, so I was exhausted all the time. Living your life out of step with the world around you — going to bed while others are just getting off work, waking up when some people have just laid down — it makes you feel a little bit like an alien. I look like these other humans, but I’m not like them. Their lives are normal, but I’m always tired, always thinking of sleep, always wondering if I can catch a quick nap. I learned to fall asleep in just a few minutes, and to make the most of a twenty minute nap like a two-hour siesta.

But then I finished school, got a “real” job, and life returned to normal again.

Until I had kids.

Now, I get up at a ridiculously early time, not so that I can get to work on time, but so that I can get in a quick workout before the kids wake up. Then I distract the oldest while I get myself together for work so that my wife can sneak a few more minutes of sleep. I go to work, come home (sometimes pretty late) and get to bed a lot earlier than most of my colleagues because I know what’s coming in the night.

Because with two kids, you never know what to expect. Or rather, you know exactly what to expect, you just don’t know when to expect it. Our youngest hasn’t started reliably sleeping through the night yet. Our oldest is in a phase where he gets “scared” of little noises or things he thinks he sees in his room. I say “scared” because he’s smart enough to know that if he pretends to be scared he can get my wife and I to come fawn over him without being mad at him, so I know he’s playing us at least part of the time.

So I never know when I’m going to get to sleep through the night. My wife pretty much knows she won’t be sleeping through the night, because the youngest is still breastfeeding, and won’t allow me to put her back to sleep most nights. We wake up to crying, wordlessly one of us will go and see to the screamer, and the kids zip off to dreamland immediately, while we the adults have to pick up the pieces of our shattered dreams. So I’ve developed, out of necessity, the ability, once again, to fall asleep in the blink of an eye.

This infuriates my wife, because she has always taken a while to fall asleep. When she wakes up with the baby, it costs her about an hour. Twenty minutes to deal with the baby, and thirty or better to fall asleep again. It only takes me the time it takes to feed the baby plus about two minutes. And that’s not just when I’m lying in my own bed. I can nap on the couch. I can nap at my parents’ house. I can nap in the backseat of the van while we’re driving across the state on a family vacation, like I’m a five-year-old.

But I can’t help it. My wife will rightly point out that I get more sleep than she does, but I am always living on a sleep deficit. I am burrowing deeper and deeper into debt every day against a collector I will probably never fully pay off. So I pay back tiny installments here and there. And I make the most of my lying-in-bed time.

Truth is, I think she’s jealous that she can’t fall asleep like I do. Then again, I’ve got a couple of years on her. Maybe she’ll grow into it.

Last night, my son woke up screaming about bugs in his room. I went in, calmed him down, and lay down in his car bed next to him. I couldn’t tell you what time that was, but it was definitely before midnight. Next thing I knew, it was after 2 AM and I was waking up next to a three-year-old with his arms flung out above his head like Superman frozen in mid-takeoff and his mouth yawning open, spilling drool on his pillow. I had a wicked crick in my back from sleeping half-on, half-off the frame of a bed built for a miniature person… yet I’d logged a solid two hours of sleep there. I extricated myself from the bed with the practiced stealth that only the parent of newborns knows, stole back into bed next to my wife, and was asleep again within moments of my head touching the pillow.

It’s almost bedtime now, and the nine-month-old is already stirring. Looks like another long night.

Happy, Happy, Happy

My wife pointed out to me that I’ve been using the blarg to do an awful lot of complaining lately. I argued that complaining has sort of been the bread and butter for the blarg since day one. She saw that, a little bit, but she made another observation which sort of rattled me.

“It’s just a lot of negativity for you.”

Which is true.

I’ve mentioned before that the blarg here is sort of like a pressure release valve on an overtaxed water heater, and I do probably more than my fair share of complaining about life’s injustices (rarely) and inconveniences (okay, all the freaking time) here. But it’s rare for me to exude that negative energy outside of this space. Generally I’m a pretty nice guy. I mean, I’m a jerk, but I’ll say my jerky things in a nice way and keep my cool about it.

Still, having had it brought to my attention, it’s hard to overlook the tone of negativity around here, especially in light of all my Grinchly posts about New Year’s and such. I guess I get frustrated when I see seething masses of people engaging in counterproductive (at best) idiotic (at worst) behavior. Maybe it’s because I’m fighting hard against some bad habits of my own. Whatever the reason, it’s there, and it needs some balance. Here, then, is a thing that brings me phenomenal joy.

My daughter is awesome.

This is a pretty cool development, because up until recently (and I’m going to make my wife mad with this, but it’s the truth) I hadn’t really bonded that much with her. This is partly, I believe, because the child was breastfed and I can’t really do anything for her in that department, but also due in no small part to the fact that she has her brother to compete with. Not that her brother is better than her, and not that they’re competing in any meaningful way. But he can run and jump and sing and have conversations and pee in the potty and chase the dog and ask for hugs and kisses and dance and he’s just freaking AWESOME. My daughter is a little miracle too, but … she’s an infant. Her best trick up til recently is to roll over, and, hey, not to diminish or anything, but I could teach my idiot dog to do that if I could be arsed.

To clarify, the sad fact is that all the little things that we (I should say I) thought to be so miraculous about our son when he was born are present again in our daughter. They’re just overshadowed for me by the new heights my son is already soaring to. Sort of like if aliens looked at our entire human history in reverse. They’d see all the crazy sharknado we have in the modern era only then to be presented with things like the stagecoach and the aqueducts and the advent of fire. “Sure, that stuff is nice, but did you see this Google Glass thing they have? It’s amazing!”*

*Nobody would ever say this, ever.

It’s not her fault she came second, but big brother totally stole her thunder on all the infant stuff. However, the last month or so has brought a couple of changes for the little dear.

One, we got to spend a lot of time together without mommy around over the break, so she had to learn to love me a little bit at least. Once she figured out that I actually could provide food to her (albeit not in the manner she prefers), she learned to tolerate and even enjoy me. Then, once she learned that she actually liked being tossed around and dipped and danced, she really started to like me. She still prefers my wife, let’s not play games; but she’s decided that I will do in a pinch, which is a step up from where our relationship once lived.

Two, all of a sudden she’s unstoppable. This change took place in the space of about a week, wherein she went from barely able to roll over to tirelessly screaming around the living room on all fours, babbling and leaving a slime-trail of drool in her tiny, adorable wake. What this means is that she can terrorize the animals, chase her brother, and play with toys in a whole new way.

Three — and this is the thing that really sets her apart — is that she has developed her own entire language of communication by means of blowing the raspberry. That little pink sliver of tongue creeps between her gummy lips and PBBBBLBLBLLBLT and her eyes go all wide and then she looks at you as if for approval before her mouth draws back in this adorable toothless grin and her face lights up and angels descend from the heavens and club you senseless with their enormous phallic trumpets because they, too, are overcome by how awesome she is. Somehow she can create entire worlds with this salivary expulsion: she can say everything from “omg daddy that was so funny make that face again” to “wtf is this toy get it away from me” to “hey that was delicious I’d like another bite of that vaguely flavored goop” to “HOLY CARP I’M SO EXCITED” to “HOLY CARP I’M SO SCARED” to “HOLY CARP I’M JUST A BABY AND I DON’T AT ALL KNOW HOW TO FEEL ABOUT THIS DINOSAUR MY BROTHER IS WAVING IN MY FACE”. Sort of like Eskimos have over fifty words for ice (though I recently heard that that old adage was total bunk), she has the inverse ability: over a hundred concepts expressed in a single non-word.

In short, she’s finally turning into a larval human, and that’s pretty freaking awesome, and it’s worth getting excited about even amidst all my cynicism toward all this New Year’s Resolution crap that got me so in a twist over the last week or so.

So there is happiness in my life. Now that balance has been restored to the force, I can perhaps return to more interesting programming. Perhaps my new (albeit late) preoccupation with Serial? My wife’s and my obsession with our new Jawbone thingamajigs?

The possibilities are endless. It’s my New Year’s Resolution to explore them all.

*Clubs self with a teething ring*

Super Dad

So it’s two days before Christmas, and I’m out doing some things.

Okay, I know in my last post I wrote about how I’ve basically been a hermit during Christmastime due to the frankly reprehensible traffic situation around my house. But thanks to the sprouts, I still wake up like I’m going to work (meaning 6:00 AM is a good, flopping-around-on-the-bed, waking-up-sideways sleep-in session), so I’m able to leave the house at about 7 AM to go hit the stores.

I have several stops to make: Target (last minute gifts), Academy Sports (last minute gifts), the mall (watch repair), and Kroger (last minute groceries). My wife is working, so the sprouts are up and off with me. We pile in the van and off we go.

Now that sprout #2 is seven months old (Jesus, where does the time go) this routine is becoming about as automatic as showering. Out the door carrying sprout #2 while sprout #1 runs (arms flailing like a scarecrow) to the van. He pulls on the handle while I push the button to open it so it slides open automatically and he turns back to me, beaming, “I DID IT, DADDY!” and I laugh inwardly like a maniac. He climbs into his car seat while I buckle sprout #2 in her car seat, then I run around and buckle him in, then one more time around the car to buckle myself in, and off we go.

When my wife and I take the kids out together, we can tag-team, so there’s no need for fancy tricks or apparati. When you’re flying solo, however, wrangling two rugrats requires some creativity. Usually I opt for the Bjorn, a cleverly-designed sling thingy that lets you carry the baby strapped to your front like some floating kangaroo in black. This leaves my hands free to grab onto sprout #1, though the hours of wearing the Bjorn will probably leave my lower back resembling an accordion by the time I’m 40.

…Anyway, this is how I make my way through the stores of the morning: baby in the Bjorn, sprout #1 either toddling along holding my hand or, if the stop is a long one, riding in the cart or the stroller. From store to store we walk like this, in between stops going back to the van to saddle up and saddle down by means of that whole routine I described above.

It’s important to the point of this post (coming soon, I promise) that my wife runs the exact same play from the exact same playbook when she’s flying solo with the kids, which she does way more often than I do by virtue of staying home with the kids most days I’m at work. It’s also important that neither of us thinks much of the intricacy or repetitiveness of this routine because it is, ultimately, so routine.

SO. I’ve made my stops and I’m in the Kroger (last stop) with baby strapped to my chest and sprout #1 kicking his legs merrily in the shopping cart (somehow I always forget his uncanny ability to aim for my junk with his tiny toddler toes), and this mother/daughter pair asks me quite out of nowhere how I made out at the Academy Sports.

This throws me for a second because it’s a little bit stalkerish, and as I’m faltering, the mom says, “no, we just recognized you because of your kids. You’re like a Super Dad! They look like they’re having so much fun!” And I smile and self-deprecate as is my wont and go on my way, with the mother and daughter awwing at my kids.

This says nothing of all the people that smile and point and wave at my kids when I’m in more crowded places (like the mall). I get impressed nods and comments like, “you go, Dad!” (Yeah, somebody actually said that to me.) In short, basically nothing but positive feedback from total strangers I encountered.

Here’s the point of these encounters: I went home and told my wife about them and she got this annoyed look on her face. Like the look she has when I forget to take the trash out, or when I correct her on her grammar when she’s speaking. (I know the consequences of these things, but I can’t help myself sometimes.) Apparently, when she’s out in public wrangling the sprouts around, she gets virtually no feedback at all, aside from perhaps a sympathetic look from other women or a “looks like you have your hands full!” She gets no “Super Mom” comments, no “you go, Mom”s, no winks, no nods, no thumbs-ups.

And this is gender bias, right?

I’m wading into murky waters for Pavorisms. I’m not an activist, I rarely get political, and let’s face it, I’m about as much an agent for social change as I am an agent of MIB. Which is to say, I like to pretend to fight aliens now and then, and you probably wouldn’t remember an encounter with me, but only because I’m incredibly lame and not because I wield a neuralyzer. (As far as you know.)

But, that aside, I’m a feminist. At least, I’m an armchair feminist. I think that speech that Emma Watson gave at the UN a few months back was cracking good. And I realize that women have a harder go of it in our country (and, yeah, in most places in the world) just by dint of being women, and that’s pretty fargoed. I see the videos of women walking the streets of big cities and getting catcalled and it makes me feel a bit ashamed of my fellow men. I cringe at the anti-feminist movements and the “not all men” nonsense. Look, I’m not here to get into what makes you a feminist or not: for me, if you recognize that women have a harder road ahead of them in this world than men do, and you think that’s messed up, you’re a feminist.

So, back to my point. This is gender bias, right? My wife and I, both wrangling two kids, both probably looking a little haggard (because WE ARE), but I get grins and kudos and backslaps of encouragement while my wife just gets sympathetic looks or, much more often, simply ignored.

Think about it this way: I hardly ever see butterflies, so when I see one, it’s kind of a big deal, right? “Ooh, butterfly, pretty colors, big wings, far out.” What I see a crap-ton of, on the other hand, are squirrels. Like, so many, it would be weird if I even mentioned seeing one, because the odd day would be one in which I didn’t see a squirrel. But say you’re from some other country that’s lousy with butterflies but has never heard of squirrels, and here I am taking for granted these furry little miracles of nature and losing my sharknado over these boring insects with the colors and the wings.

Because that’s what we expect, isn’t it? We expect to see moms out with the kids. We’re programmed to see that, and to see it as normal, whether a dad is there with her or not. So it becomes normal, even though it’s anything but. Taking the two kids out in public by your lonesome is hard work. We’re not programmed to see it as much with guys, so a guy out with two kids dragging him around — even if the mom is there with him — garners more attention, garners more appreciation, garners more praise.

And that’s messed up. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate getting appreciated for my efforts with the kids, not least of which because 99% of the time, parenting is the freaking definition of a thankless endeavor. But for all I do with the kids — especially when it comes to carrying them around in public — I’m not a patch on my wife. She does it more often than I do, she does it more efficiently than I do, and she does it with about half as much frustration as I do (GOD those kneebiters can wear me thin in a hurry when I’m flying solo). And she doesn’t get nearly as much positive feedback for it as I do, IF ANY.

My point is this. If you’re the kind of person who would see a guy like me, with a baby strapped to his chest and a toddler riding in the grocery cart kicking him in the nuts, and consider that guy a “Super Dad” or say something encouraging to him or even just smile and shake your head sympathetically at him, by all means, do that stuff, because we appreciate the attention. But if you’re that kind of person, there’s no reason not to do the same thing for a woman with her kids in the same circumstances… in fact, and maybe this is just my own personal bias shining through, but I’m sticking to it; she probably needs it more. It’s not her fault you don’t notice her like you notice me.

Give the moms some love.