Not pictured: dog.
I’m back from writing vacation. Thanks for your patience.
As a mom, there are a lot of things I would never have done as a non-mom. Wiping asses, picking boogers and watching Dora are among them. Okay–you got me–I don’t watch Dora. That voice makes me want to kill myself.
Anyway, it occurred to me that there are plenty of places I would never spend my time before, that I now consider part of the mom experience. They aren’t actually “seedy” but they are definitely not places I will keep hanging out once the kiddos are grown, unless something goes severely awry with my life plans…or my husband’s vasectomy.
1) Parking lots. I hang out in my car in parking lots all the time. The cart lady at Target totally knows me. Sounds fun right? It totally is, at least when compared to the fun of waking up your sleeping baby and then dealing with their cranky no-nap shit fest. I listen to the radio, rest my eyes, catch up on email (thank God for Smartphones) and generally people watch.
2) McDonald’s “Funland” playground. For an Oregon mom on a rainy day this can be a lifesaver. Yeah there are germs and bratty kids but there is also a free indoor playground and fries. Don’t judge me–we don’t go all the time.
3)Ikea. They have free daycare for an hour if your kid is potty-trained. Do I shop? Not usually. I’ll go sit in the cafe and have a snack, or find a nice living room set up and test out the couch, all in blissful silence. I have even had friends go there for a cheap date night.
4) The mall. During the day time, this is no place for teenagers. It’s all olds and mommies. There’s food there, and long walkways for your children to tire themselves on, and if you are lucky there’s even a play area. Again, inside, away from crap January weather.
Where are your seedy mom hangouts?
It’s the little things… August 9, 2012
A strange thing happens when your baby becomes a toddler and then a kid. Suddenly they become a bit thoughtful and simultaneously see beauty in mundane and random objects. So, it’s both pleasurable and bizarre when Sofia decides to give me something–sometimes directly or other times as a surprise. Usually she leaves things on my nightstand or by my kitchen sink, most of which are somewhat craptastic in nature, but given my affinity for the giver, all of these little tokens feel like treasures. Here is the latest bounty; rhinestone stickers (stolen from my office), a sticker that no longer sticks, and a penny.
The Mother of all Fears August 1, 2012
We have rounded the corner on month four of keeping two children alive. So far so good. Ellie is finally taking a bottle (I never thought someone would love my boobs more than my husband…) and Sofia is enjoying her summer shenanigans (which includes getting into minor trouble for saying potty words under the table at school–don’t know where she picks this stuff up from…ahem.)
There is something I noticed this time around, that started when I had Sofia and continues today, now centered more around Ellie. I am speaking of an uncanny ability to envision the most horrific dangers that could possibly ever happen to my children. Let me share some examples;
A normal person might be afraid to drop a baby–a valid concern. A Mother’s fear is more like being terrified of tripping whilst wearing the baby bjorn and landing on said baby resulting in a head squashed like watermelon on the pavement.
Pretty fucked up huh?
There are some more obvious fears like SIDS, which for me manifests itself in a slightly weird noise heard over the monitor that was probably nothing but what if it’s choking and I don’t get out of bed to check then she dies and it’s all my fault.
Accidentally feeling a buzz from dinner wine (as a breastfeeding mommy)=BAS (Baby Alcohol Syndrome) which is probably not real, but I feel potentially guilty for anyway.
I suppose this is what they call “motherly instinct” or also paranoia.
Something about Plurals… April 23, 2012
It has recently occurred to me that my husband and I have two kids. As in plural. As in there are as many children in our family as their are of us. Huh. There are few times in a life when one experiences the power of becoming plural: marriage/partnership, puppy, first pregnancy, first baby, subsequent babies. It’s an interesting moment when you realize “you” is becoming “we,” and “we” is becoming different.
Even though the whole pregnancy thing is planned and a long time coming (sometimes it can feel like forever), we all have those moments when the weight of our life sinks in–both in beautiful ways that make us feel grateful and amazed and on other days, in ways where we think it’s very possible we have doomed ourselves to a never-ending cycle of feeding, cleaning bodies, and cleaning houses/clothes. Both are true.
Some differences I am noticing with this iteration of “we” now that we have a 4 and a new-year-old:
For the forseeable future, and thanks to OR car seat laws, probably the next 7 years, we will always have to take separate cars to locations. Getting a table at a restaraunt for our family plus anyone is now looking more like a banquet affair–no “squeezing in” six people. And, unlike our first, where my husband and I were the trailblazers in baby-having, we are surrounded by more supportive friends and their families who are helping us bask in the joy of our newbie and the new family dynamic, which really does make things sweeter.
Another benefit, which I’d heard of, is just being more relaxed. I don’t immediately jump off the couch or out of bed at every little whimper. In fact, here are two totally terrifying body things that, thanks to second baby, I am not remotely worried about. 1)Face paralysis. Normally not being able to control one half of your face all-of-a sudden might be cause for alarm–usually this brings “stroke” to mind. I now know this is a just a whimsical little condition called Bells Palsy, which is totally harmless and temporary, although does a number on one’s vanity. It is also completely random and not necessarily pregnancy related. Sigh. 2)A marble sized hard lump under the breast of your newborn. First thought: cancer. Reality: hormones from breastmilk can cause these (in girls and boys). Again, temporary and harmless. It is weird how many body things having a baby can make you normalize. Although, I would like my face back soon, please and thank you.
Alas, this post is random, reflecting the day-to-dayness of our lives with the Ellie addition. Some days I literally have no thoughts to share because I am too tired or too wrapped up in the cycle of people maintenance. Other days I feel like we are hitting the stride of the new normal. Either way, we are cozy and content and grateful.
Pregnancy Resignation: Parting is such sweet sorrow… March 17, 2012
We are days from d-day… I can’t go in public anymore without concerned looks from the general population, all thinking “Damn girl, should you be out with that thing?” I keep tripping over my dog, because my belly hides me from seeing him at my feet. We are all just waiting for the last day of work, counting down the remaining to-dos and the list is almost non-existent. Even Sofia is impatiently asking, “When is Ellie going to get here?”
I am physically over being pregnant but equally nervous about delivery this go around as I was last time. It’s an impending bodily invasion, mixed with complete excitement at seeing her new little face, and at seeing Sofia become a big sister.
The weirdest thing about these last few days is I know I will never have them again–at least if things go according to plan. We aren’t having more than two, so this is basically all she wrote for my fertile shenanigans.
It’s like giving two weeks notice at a job you really love. The last two weeks drag on and there is so much bullshit you encounter and are relieved to be rid of. You know it’s a necessary close to a chapter in your life. But, then there are the sentimental moments too–the finality of knowing you will never have the experience there again. I won’t ever be woken up in the middle of the night because someone’s hiccuping in my belly. I will never have the best of excuses not to do dishes or to demand weird foods at my whim. It will no longer be acceptable to wear elastic pants (at least for a few more decades…)
Even more bizarre, I will soon enter an existence where the next milestones of my womanhood no longer include being the bride-to-be or mother-to-be, but something else-to-be.
Pregnant From Behind February 21, 2012
I can’t get over the fascination people have with how pregnant women look. People will say things to a pregnant chick’s face that they would never dream of saying to any other woman. I am noticing this even more with my second pregnancy than with my first. With my first, everything about my body was novel and mysterious. When would I get the “bump?” How much bigger could my boobs actually get? Would I experience the cankle? So, I didn’t particularly notice other people’s comments on my appearance.
I gained a good 50 pounds with my first born and by the end, at least 30 of those pounds were in my face. But, I was content and healthy and successfully delivered a healthy baby girl, so there was no wrong in the world as I knew it, even when I didn’t really lose much of that baby weight after-the-fact.
This pregnancy I am tiny by comparison. I weigh less now at 8 months than I did before my pregnancy. My midwife keeps asking me questions to make sure I don’t have an eating disorder and/or I am not starving. But, I am eating at least 6 times a day, have totally upped my protein intake and still can’t seem to pack it on. With being put on disability early and dealing with “gestational diabetes” (it’s a real thing it’s just that since my “diagnosis” I haven’t had one damn abnormal blood sugar reading) this pregnancy has actually been fairly unhealthy comapred to the last one; and I am getting the most compliments on how I look. Apparently I don’t even look pregnant from behind, whatever the fuck that means.
I am not sure what to do with this. On the one hand, I am hoping I can maintain this magical metabolism post-pregnancy so I can get back to a healthier size, and it is nice being constantly told how lovely I look, even though I have absolutely nothing to do with this outcome. I also don’t mind that I can still wear some of my non-maternity shirts.
On the other hand, I figure, shouldn’t I look pregnant from behind? It seems a shame not to look pregnant when I am in fact so pregnant I have to roll my legs out of bed first so I can build the momentum to move my torso. I am also pretty sure that my husband will have to paint my toenails for me from now on.
The one time a person should look pregnant, from any direction, is when they are, in fact, pregnant. And, the last thing a pregnant woman should be made to feel insecure about is her appearance. Don’t worry–she has plenty of competing guilt about other topics like her diet, her birth plan, the choices around immunizations and circumcision. If you must, if you are absolutely compelled to comment, tell her she looks magnificent–if only for the reason that she is bringing new life and hope into our world.
Baby Tigers January 16, 2012
I never cease to be impressed by how smart a four-year-old can actually be. My kid is a god-damned genius. I say this not in reference to any academic capabilities–she’s totally fine in that area and has a good vocabulary etc., etc. It’s her ability to manipulate any situation to her advantage and negotiate the hell out of anything. For a four-year-old this means getting out of trouble, and negotiating less bites of dinner required before dessert.
Most kids have an imaginary friend that they have tea parties with or keep as company if they are lonely. My kid has a pack of baby tigers who are responsible for all things naughty that she does. Her imaginary friends are her scape goats, uh tigers.
Why Sofia cannot stay in bed all night without waking up mommy and daddy lately: Baby Tigers are playing and keeping her up.
Why Sofia’s socks come off immediately in the car: Baby Tigers take them away.
Why Sofia’s room looks like the aftermath of the Zombie Apocalypse: Baby Tigers won’t put things away.
In general, if I get after Sofia for something: Baby Tigers aren’t listening.
As far as I can discern, baby tigers live in various light fixtures in the house. I am told there are 18 of them.
Sometimes I think I am smart and I will scold the baby tigers directly, or threaten to put them in time out, but Sofia is smarter and will tell me every time how ineffective this is.
I am both impressed, and as usual, bested. Sigh.
Get Your Freak On November 20, 2011
I knew today was going to be stressful when last night I woke up because one of my nipples was itchy. Yes, the mysteries of pregnancy keep on giving. Definitely the sign of something off.
Every pregnancy has its freak out moments, and by this I mean not things that should freak a person out like health issues or the vast weight of being responsible for another human life. I am talking about fearing, on apocalyptic levels, completely ridiculous shit. With Sofia, I was convinced, despite an entire closet and dresser full of clothing, that she would inevitably be forced to be naked. I don’t know if I thought she was going to spit up, or I’d never be able to do laundry (I wish!)–the cause is of no relevance. I impulsively kept buying clothing. She never went forcibly naked, in case you were concerned.
So today I had to sooth myself and talk myself down from a ledge of panic over, not unfortunate nakedness, but money. Now, this is not a totally irrational fear, especially given the temperature of the economic environment, but my privileged white ass was stressed because I thought I probably bought too much for Sofia for Christmas and her birthday, and somewhere I convinced myself that we’d be bankrupt next month. I started looking around my house at items that haven’t been used or only used once and caught myself thinking of how I bought that stupid bath salt set and now we’re all going to starve.
I should also point out that I started off the morning in tears while watching a CBS news story of all the people in America who are worried about where their next meal will come from, and I cried because I am so grateful with everything I am blessed to have, especially considering my (at times) very poor upbringing. I am no where near poor, or even broke. Real poor people have no time or energy to contemplate if they are poor or not.
And what are my coping mechanisms for stress? Beer or vodka, which is out. Shopping, which is why I am stressed in the first place. Sex, but my back is killing me and sounds like too much work. So I took a bath, had a cup of tea, and reminded myself to be normal. It mostly worked.
I secretly like when my kid is sick. October 26, 2011
Well, I guess it’s not so secret now.
I should define a couple of things; sick= a cold, there is no pleasure in illnesses that are more serious, or involve bodily fluids other than boogers and phlegm. Second, I don’t find pleasure in my child’s actual suffering.
That being said, when my kid is sick is the best of times!
I get to spend time being a mommy to my oh-so-independent muffin. She wants to snuggle, she is needy, and I don’t have to make her follow the usual protocols of good parenting; like eating lunch before popsicles, brushing her teeth or getting dressed, or limiting T.V.
She loves me extra because she gets to do all the things I would normally not let her do, because I don’t want her to grow up and be a lazy/dumb/spineless/unkempt/unhealthy drain on society. I love her extra because she will snuggle me all day and fall asleep in my arms like a newborn, plus she listens to me because I am not actually asking her to do anything.
Added bonus–it is totally acceptable for me to take a sick day for this. There is no stigma for me to take a day off when a sick kid is involved, so no guilt!
And I have to say, at just (almost) four years old, Sofia is mastering the art of being sick and pampered. She repeatedly reminds us that her throat is sore and she has a fever (complete with her own hand on her forehead). She will perk up if we let her eat an English Muffin with Nutella, but is “too exhausted” to brush her teeth at bedtime. She is not hungry when it’s time for dinner, but can, in the same breath “have room for a popsicle.” It’s entertaining, and let’s face it, we’re both working the system of sick-time awesomeness.
You don’t even want to know… October 20, 2011
Disclaimer: You may hate me a little after this post. Also I am pregnant and very grumpy.
I know this is intended to come from a good place, but one of my pregnancy pet peeves is when people ask, “how are you feeling?” It’s not just that they ask the question. It’s that they ask it like your dog just died. It’s like asking someone in the hospital how they are feeling. Perhaps more annoying than the question, is that I can, nine times out of ten, not actually answer genuinely. I can’t tell my boss or my colleagues how I’m really feeling. It’d sound like this, “I can’t see my vagina anymore. I haven’t shit for a week. I’m tired and don’t want to work anymore. I also feel like a giant stomach even though I am barely starting to show, which makes me terrified of how I will feel when I am actually big. I thought that meeting was total bullshit. Also I hate stupid fucking questions I can’t answer.” That’s the real answer most days, but instead I have to resort to the polite, “A little tired, but otherwise good” response that shows an acceptable amount of suffering but generally a good attitude. I am trying to avoid talking to people as much as possible, since I don’t have a lot of faith in my ability to filter at the moment. Thankfully I can work from home a lot.
I will also be really pissed if my boobs are getting bigger, and I think they are. Seriously, I thought a G-cup was big enough to carry over milk to baby #2, but my cleavage is looking pretty deep, confirming my conviction that I really do need to be Dolly Parton for Halloween one of these years, but son-of-a-bitch! I just dropped major coin on some nice bras at Nordstrom, and now I will not only have to buy tarmac-sized nursing bras, but I’ll probably have to get all new bras again. Guess Sofia doesn’t need to go to college–“Sorry honey, you need to get scholarships because Mommy’s tits took over a small island and she had to buy bigger bras from the Army Special Forces to contain them, which ran up a 2 million dollar bill.”
I will end by saying I don’t actually hate people, and where possible, try and appreciate my giant bazooms. Just everything in moderation people…I am off to Taco Bell, because the baby is making me do it.
Pregnancy Goals October 11, 2011
Two unexpected things happen to my brain when I am pregnant;
1)I genuinely become ditzy and forgetful–I like the term “Pregmentia.” This is very challenging for those of us who pride ourselves on our quickness and wit, but highly amusing for our colleagues and partners who are usually the victims of said wit. I have literally asked my husband for the date 20 times in 5 minutes before. (At least I put out.)
2) The other thing that happens, and maybe this is just me, but my filter of politeness and tolerance for idiocy dramatically decreases (and for those of you who know me in real life, you are aware that this is not my strength on a good regular day). I have literally spent years learning how to not immediately express the thoughts that come into my head, and sometimes to keep them to myself altogether. This is a very difficult symptom to deal with if you are not self-employed, if you are married, or if you have to talk to other human beings. This is also one of the reasons I am working from home more.
The worst part is, I am not one of those that likes to excuse all naughty behaviors because I am pregnant. I should probably change my position on that, but generally I don’t want to be treated differently because I am pregnant, unless I like the difference in treatment (i.e. not having to cook as much, carry things, or do dishes at home). Still I don’t want to send the message that pregnant chicks are stupid, unreliable or overly emotional, even if I did cry at the trailer for that Dolphin Tale movie. Sadly, the reality is I haven’t pooped for a week, I haven’t felt cute in ages, and the last thing I have the energy for is waiting behind you in the checkout line while you organize your coupons and write a check for your groceries with your left hand because your right one is arthritic due to the rain. This is also because I am starving every 30 minutes.
My goals for this pregnancy are the usual: don’t fuck up noticeably at work and don’t bust a cap in someone’s ass. I will have to focus.
Working Mom Conversations September 20, 2011
There are a lot of things you become comfortable freely discussing once you enter into parenthood. Talking about poop with your friends (size, shape, color, consistency, smell, frequency) is about as shocking among parents as discussing a cardboard box. Today I found myself in one of those conversations that only parents would care about, or even notice–I have no idea how in the hell this even came up, and in retrospect, I am totally shocked that we were engrossed in it for so long. Alas, this is part of what makes a community among the parent set:
[Context: Betty and I (Wilma) are both pregnant and discussing how useless we are when we get home from work at the moment.]
Betty: We’ve been eating a lot of macaroni and cheese lately. I feel bad that there’s no vegetables in that, but Bam Bam doesn’t really eat vegetables anyway.
Wilma: I know. Pebbles likes to dip her pizza in that terrible garlic sauce, so I always make myself feel better about it by shoving some carrots on her plate. You know, to add balance. Whenever I feel guilty about our meal, out come the carrots.
Betty: Thank God for daycare. They always say he eats his vegetables there so at least he’s getting them from somewhere. I don’t know why he won’t eat them at home.
Wilma: Peer pressure. It’s the same reason Pebbles doesn’t nap at home, but always does at school. If you had ten kids at dinner eating veggies with you, I’m sure he’d do it. You could always give him that juice that has sneaky veggies in it.
Betty: Oh we do drink that. And we eat a lot of fruit.
Wilma: Well between daycare, sneaky juice and fruit, we’ve got it covered I think.
A few things to note about this conversation: 1) yes it’s totally benign, but 2) lots of women have made fortunes on their cookbooks that teach you how to sneak veggies into kid food undetected so it’s a moneymaker topic and 3) I find it highly fascinating that I could generally give a shit about what my husband eats (including the pizza in garlic sauce) but if my kid doesn’t eat a carrot with dinner I am ready to accept a worst mom ever award. Sometimes when I step out of my life and observe it I wonder WTF?
Dear Medical Professionals… September 9, 2011
I am unsure why this is, but the most brutal prenatal appointment is your first one (of the pregnancy). For me, in the first trimester, I am nauseous, starving but the thought of eating is unappealing, thirsty but I can’t stand water, tired like I have the flu, and generally feeling like if I am not wrapped in a blanket on my couch, I am in imminent danger. So fun!
What could make this magical time even more fun? A pap smear! Just what every woman wants when she is bloated and has a swollen uterus. And to add to the excitement, tests for every STD imaginable–so you can find out if your husband is cheating on you or your slutty past caught up with you at just the right time! Plus, while your boobs feel like a very sensitive zit about to explode, you get a breast exam poking all up in there! All of this is just the fun you get to have with your doctor.
Even more fun awaits you at the lab where you get to sacrifice your precious bodily fluids; one million vials of blood and a pee cup. Yeehaw!
I feel like a total trooper this time around because I got through it without even crying. I suppose it is good training for the reality in motherhood that your body is no longer your own–ever since Sofia I have been poked, prodded, elbowed, head butt, stirrupped, kneed, bonked, tugged, etc., etc. Still, I stopped for my requisite ice cream to blunt the mama trauma.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention August 8, 2011
I know. I haven’t blogged in a bit. Sue me. 🙂
I have been busy, and when I haven’t been busy I’ve been tired. And when I haven’t been tired and busy, my laptop battery had 3 minutes left on it. C’est la vie. Plus, I’ve been busy coming up with white lies to tell my daughter so she’ll do my bidding.
I bring you–the snake tent! Never heard of a snake tent? That’s sad for you. You should know about a snake tent because it keeps out all your bad dreams, most especially ones with snakes in them. More importantly, if your kid buys the snake tent concept, it will give you nights of actually sleeping for multiple consecutive hours, which I naively thought would be a given since I have an almost-four-year-old, but apparently that was a lie too (along with pregnancy being nine months, breastfeeding gets rid of your baby weight, etc, etc.).
When I was a kid I had a stuffed E.T. doll that kept away bad dreams. It was a totally effective prop.
When my husband was a kid, his mother put coffee grounds in his milk so he’d drink it.
When most of us were kids, we got whiskey on our gums to ease teething pains.
So all I’m saying is, even with all the new-fangled products out there, it’s still easy to find yourself having to get creative to keep your kiddo calm. It’s better than a one-armed man (for you Arrested Development fans). Necessity is the mother of invention, and mothers know invention is totally okay if it makes your kid feel better and gets you what you need to prevent you from selling your kid on Craigslist. See–everyone wins!