Here Comes Santa Clause

Sunday, December 26, 2010
We talked about visiting Santa. I explained that Santa was a nice guy and that E didn't have to sit in his lap if he didn't want to. He could just stand next to him. He could just stand near him. All he needed to do was politely inform Santa that yes, he had indeed been a good* boy this year and he would like a bread machine for the kid kitchen and some other gifts. That's it and that's all. Easy, right?

B has suffered a crippling fear of the beard since she was born. No surprise that she's hysterically screaming as if Santa was holding a jar of Vaseline in one hand and a thermometer in the other.

But the thing about pictures is that you can not hear just how loud they are both screaming. People stopped shopping to spectate. We drew an audience. It's like the whole mall came to a halt to pay witness.

My only regret is not having handed my phone to the chubby security guard standing perched upon her Segway and asking her to tape the whole debacle. And yes, at one point in my life I did say (perhaps out loud) that I would never be one of those moms that put her screaming kid(s) on Santa's lap. And guess what? I ate my words. But not because it was such a pain to get my kids all dressed up (no harder than any other clothes) or because I was all hell-bent on a picture with Santa (I don't give a shit about Santa.) I did it because my kids never do anything they don't want to do and every once in a while I think it's good for them to suffer just a tiny little bit so that they fully understand just how good they have it.


Had I known I was going to be in the picture, I would have worn my ugly Xmas sweater and red jeggings.

As we walked away, E was a tearful, boneless puddle. He looked up at me once we were on the other side of the velvet rope and sulked, "I don't even want presents from that man. T and Bangs are going to get me presents. Grandma and Grandpa are going to get me presents. You and Dad..." He ticked off a dozen gift-givers to prove that the presents from that man were inconsequential.

The irony is that on Christmas morning, on at least three occasions, E randomly looked up and like a preacher delivering a particularly moving sermon, he sent a shout out to the omnipotent, "THANK YOU, SANTA!" Hallelujah.

* I take real issue with the whole being "good" bullshit. Number one, is "Santa" really not going to bring anything if you're not good? Number two, I don't want my child to behave because of the looming threat of "Santa." And what do you threaten once Santa's come and gone? Number three, I don't believe in conditional love and I don't think Santa should either. Number four, E freaked the hell out for a few days before we realized why - he would get so upset when he did something "bad" because he thought that Christmas was forever ruined. It was too much pressure for his little shoulders to carry. D brilliantly explained that you just had to be more good than bad and that seemed to appease E and his sense of justice and morality.

Holiday Greetings

Thursday, December 23, 2010
We celebrate Christmas, without a mention of religion or Jesus or church, but with lots of mention of gratitude and compassion and generosity. We have friends from all walks, so I say Happy Holidays to you all!

The Christmas buzz is getting louder and louder around here. E helped me wrap presents while BP took a nap. We finished up our shopping this morning and stuffed D's stocking full of the "the things he loves" like bike tubes and whatnot. E watched the reindeer episode of the The Wonder Pets and will probably watch the 'Twas the Night Before Xmas episode of Dino Dan a little later. We read David Shannon's "The Christmas Extravaganza" before quiet time. We bought Prosecco for mimosas tomorrow, as we are invited to T and Bang's house for Christmas Eve brunch. We are getting pretty excited on Christmas Eve Eve.

Since most of you who are receiving an actual Holiday card from me have probably already received it, here's the picture that we ended up using. We've gotten some complaints - you can't see their faces! E looks so grown up! It looks like E has a lollipop head! - but you can't please everyone all of the time, so in the spirit of the holidays I say Suck It to those of you unhappy with our card. And that third complaint is actually mine. His head looks disproportionately large, doesn't it?

My Christmas present to those of you who celebrate Christmas will be the picture we took on Santa's lap. To those of you who don't celebrate Christmas, the picture will make you glad you don't. I hope you're ready for it. I don't usually build suspense for something in fear of letting you down, but holy crap, it is so worth it.

But for now, you get this. The love on their faces melts my heart every time.

Merry Christmas to you, and you...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010
...but not you.

Can anyone enlighten me as to why it's ok to send a big Fuck You to our Jewish, atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and other non-Christian neighbors?

While I respect the Mile High Baptist Church for not being bigots and hypocrites, I am still in awe of this marquee. Is this really what Christmas is all about? Exclusion? Intolerance? Bigotry? And here I was, thinking the true meaning of the holiday was getting your hopes up, buying a bunch of cheap plastic crap from China, eating and drinking too much and then finding yourself slightly suffocated by the anti-climactic and somewhat stagnant air that lingers in the moments between the tearing through of presents and the cleaning up of wrapping paper.

Honesty is not your policy

Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Since my first poll was such a huge success - deemed Best. Poll. Ever. by @Jac, April, 2010 - I decided to hold another solicitation for input. And while I didn't even try to pretend that my first poll was "hypothetical," I will make a half-ass attempt at trying to create the illusion that this poll is. Smoke. Mirrors. Convinced? Oh, good. I knew you would be.


Here it goes.

What would you do if someone close to you (spouse, sibling, parent, or child) was actively cheating the IRS by pretending that they were not who they are, by say...changing the spelling of their name or forging their birth certificate or something?

Please go nuts in the comments section if you are so inclined.

Oh, and if you think this post is about you, chances are you are not paranoid because what is the likelihood that this exact post could be about someone else?

Asterisk Alley (finally)

Monday, December 13, 2010
I don't even know where to start. Should I talk about how my maternal love and devotion cured* E of SPD? Or that his dairy allergy** is finally gone? Did I already tell everyone that BP has (finally) started to walk***? Or that she is (finally) sleeping through the night****? Or about how I applied for a job I kind of wanted and then didn't get it, but then got a job that pays twice as much, fits perfectly into my schedule and is super awesome*****? I can't believe how long it's been since I posted and I'm overwhelmed with the prospect of catching up. Maybe I should just never post again. Sigh.

* Actually, my maternal love and devotion did not cure him. At least, it wasn't the cure. It might have helped. Hell, it might have almost cured him. But I still felt like a total jackhole when I rambled on to our amazing naturopath about how yes, I have seen a huge difference in E's behavior and it's hard to know what exactly did it - all the books I read or all the techniques I've thus implemented or how we restructured our daily existence and now include certain activities or how we remodeled our house or put in an indoor swing or the cross-brain exercises we do or the trampoline or the am I still rambling? - and Dr. Alba (god bless her) patiently listened and when I (finally) stopped to take a breath, she nodded and presupposed that based on the time lapsed between when E (finally) went off of dairy and when the signs of SPD started to wane, that perhaps it was all my well-intentioned meddling or maybe, just maybe, it was that his poor little brain was no longer being starved, it had finally reached the ideal equilibrium, the perfect balance of chemicals and minerals and vitamins and now his neurons were firing as they should. And while I worship Dr. Alba and live and die by what she says, I had to respectfully disagree...I really think it was orange Fiskar scissors I bought him at Jo-Ann Fabrics.

*** My mom was visiting and she cooked the entire time she was here (uh, hell yeah.) And the last night, she made bistec empanizado and E was halfway through a huge steak when my brother asked if anyone checked the bread crumbs for milk. "Look at who you're talking to," replied D. "Super Mom." The snark was still lingering in the air as I grabbed the canister and gasped a gasp so vacuous that it actually created it's own black hole, right smack in the middle of my kitchen.

It had been eight months since we'd been on Code Dairy, constantly checking labels, politely refusing to partake in the sharing of snacks unless 100% certain that offered food was 100% dairy-free (but always offering to share whatever we had), avoiding eating with others because it was just so draining to explain and re-explain that no, we couldn't have just one little whatever because it just wasn't worth 21 days of diarrhea, leaving restaurants because there wasn't a single thing that didn't have dairy in it, wanting to cry when conversations with servers made it clear that they could not be trusted to be the purveyor of dairy-free food "Oh, wait. How about the bisque? It only has cream. Oh...yeah. Or the club sandwich? It has butter, but butter is ok, right? Oh, it's not. Hmm, well this has mayo in it, so that's not good..." (True story.) We'd spent eight months with a pantry and fridge that was 100% dairy-free because of the fear of cross-contamination. And with the exception of the McD's fries incident^, we'd been 100% dairy-free for almost a year.

I'm holding the canister of bread crumbs and the look of shock slowly turns to panic. I look over at D and ask him what to do, desperate for an answer. E had already inhaled half a steak...what could we do? We let him finish eating and braced ourselves for the deluge of diarrhea that we knew would ensue.

Well, guess what. Nothing happened. So we waited some more. And then some more. And (finally) we waited a little more before realizing that holy shit, nothing happened. I called the fancy-pants pediatric allergist and asked her Why The Face and she said that he'd probably outgrown the allergy and we should go ahead and test it in 5mL increments.

Turns out that E did outgrow the allergy and that we are once again cow milk consumers. Reluctant consumers, because no one in this house actually likes milk, but consumers nonetheless. We like milk in it's more delicious forms (namely, ice cream) but I encourage the kids to drink their kefir and eat their yogurt so that they get the double whammy of probiotics and calcium.

*** Technically, BP took her first steps months ago, but she has finally committed to the act of walking, although she still likes to use walls, ledges, hands, walkers, whatever. And she does this really cute little hand-waving thing, as if she were winding herself up, when she does walk.

**** Royal jinx of epic proportions, but there it is. I made BP a deal, at our pediatrician's suggestion, that if she would start sleeping through the night, I would nurse her through the winter. I explained that it behooved her to night wean because a good night's sleep a nice mommy makes, and that it was either all or nothing. It was a tough go, but it took about a week (or twenty - I don't really remember) to extend the time between each night feed and viola! She night weaned. And for a while she was waking up at 4:00ish for a very early morning snack and then going back to sleep but for a few days now she's been sleeping through till 6:00ish. As much as I enjoyed BP's babyhood, I will never, ever miss the sleeplessness and brain-muddled grumpiness that marked those 13.5 months.

***** I applied for a job with the SPD Foundation and it was a really part-time job and the pay was a (bad) joke, but it didn't matter. I wanted to do something that I would enjoy, for something I believe in, without compromising my commitment to my children. I didn't get the job. I got an email that sounded like I got the job, but then (I'm guessing) the woman who did get the job applied and they gave the job to her. Which was great, because she was much more qualified for the position than I was as she had been in the field for years and had actually worked for the Foundation before. A couple of weeks later, a friend of mine forwarded a job posting and it was clear why I hadn't gotten the first job (other than not being the most qualified.) It was because this was the more better job for me. More about the job some other time.

^ Sub-asterick - We never, ever eat fast food. But we'd been at a park where all the kids had McD's and E asked for some fries. Feeling bad because I'd constantly been denying him foods, I relented and thought that a few fries would be a harmless treat. Ha! McD dips their fries in milk (and god knows what else.)

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 25, 2010
There are so many things I am grateful for (I mean really, where would I start?!?) but for now, I'll tell you that I am grateful that this did not end up being our Christmas card.


Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.

A Rose By Any Other Name

Thursday, October 21, 2010
E has a handful of nicknames for BP:
gagga gooch

chunk'o munk'o
(all derivations of chunky monkey)

lil princess
(the way he says this one invokes Jerry Lewis..lil PRINcess!)

And while these names are so cute because the way they came about is so organic, I am worried about them sticking. I do NOT want tweener BP to be called chunk'o or monk'o or chunk'o monk'o. I'm horrified on her future behalf. The only one that would maybe be ok is gags, but even that is not quite as adorable when heard in my head as if I were an outsider to this family.

Speaking of names, BP's vocabulary is coming along quite nicely. She owns about a dozen words:
dog (pronounced dohg)
wow (pronounced WAAAAAAoh)
mama (can be a combination of anywhere from two to twenty "mas" i.e. mamamamamama)
dada (same as above - sometimes dada sometimes dadadadada)
ball (this one is short and staccato)
Scout (this used to be either "scuh" or "tuh" but not both...until tonight. Tonight she said "Scaaaaaahhoht")
baby (usually reserved for tearful pleading for milk or blankey and said in a most pathetic way...baaaay-beeeeee)
hi (HI!)
bottle* (only slightly different than ball. She puts the 't' in there, but just barely.)
this/what's this (pronounced wusthis - at least I think that's what she's been saying)

words she has said but does not yet use regularly:
goodnight (pronounced guh-nigh)
thanks (oddly, this one she says clear as bell. Thanks!)
E's name (she sort of yells this one. I wonder why...)
yes (also said clearly, but not often because it's much easier to just nod)

words she can sign:

Oh, and gawd forbid she see a cat. She lets loose a shrill, ear-splitting scream and starts to go nuts. Arms waving, legs kicking, shriek! shriek! SHRIEK!

* I will have you know that this child doesn't actually drink from a bottle, but she does thoroughly enjoy a good game of put things in the bottle.

Room service!

Friday, October 15, 2010
Last month we headed out for an adventure. We went to Snowmass, which like all super rich Colorado ski towns, is absolutely gorgeous. The trees were at peak fall color and the hotel we stayed at was slopeside, so it was teeming with things to explore. I don't know what their landscaping budget is, but I can venture to guess that with the money they spend on annuals, you could feed a small country.

D had a conference to attend and the kids and I crashed his party tagged along. It was, I would say, about 80% successful. It was mud season, so the town was not hopping, but it doesn't take a whole lot to please a three year old and if the three year old is happy, chances are everyone else is, too.

The hotel was nice and having two adjoining rooms was clutch. The best part? The mini fridges, but not for the reason you might think.

Go ahead. I'll wait. Yes, that is quite a collection. E is very, very into collections.

We got to ride the shuttle, which next to the mini fridges, was the highlight of the trip as far as E was concerned. And while he rarely leaves my side these days, he went and sat all the way in the back of the bus. All by himself. Every single time.

There was a foos ball table down by the board shop and since everyone was gone, there weren't any pothead hippie skibums (not that we don't LOVE pothead hippie skibums) to fight with over the exclusive use of the table.

We rode the shuttle to a park and to the Snowmass Rec Center. Usually, admission is $10 for kids and $15 for adults, but the lady at the front desk took pity on us (it was cold and rainy that morning) and let us run around the gym for free.

There was also a playground tucked into the back of the hotel where we played and played and played. E taught BP how to go through the tunnel and once she mastered the in and out, she yelled and pulled at him till he got out. Luckily, she allowed him use of the peep hole long enough for me to take a picture.

We also explored the waterfall and the flowers and climbed on the rocks despite the sign clearly telling us not to. E turned BP into a "little princess" and lest I feel left out, he also gave me a flower that he "picked himself."

Then E decided to give himself a beard with my mascara.

We came home in time to attend Belle's wedding, during which BP got a hold of a bag of Jordan almonds and had her first taste a uncut sugar.

All in all, it was a great trip!

p.s. If the pictures are all screwy, I'm really sorry. I've been fighting with it and I don't know how to fix it. If they're ok, then I'm awesome and very technologically savvy.

Happy Birthday, baby B!

Monday, October 11, 2010
When CFB* turned one, we took his picture immediately upon waking. It was hysterical. We've done it every year since.

Today was BP's turn. She is celebrating one year on this Earth today.

And although you can't see all of BP's beautiful face in this picture, it does capture her essence. Annoyed that the flash is violently exploding in her face, annoyed that she was woken up before she was ready (as soon as E comes out of his room, the whole house is AWAKE!) and annoyed that she is still sick, but smiling nonetheless. BP is always smiling. You know, when she's not screaming or crying or biting. But usually, usually she's smiling. She is sunshine and rainbows and ice cream with a touch of temper. Which is just about perfect, isn't it?

*The nickname "CFB" is applying less and less. We've been doing a lot of work to ensure that CFB's sensory needs are being met and I've noticed a huge difference in him. So I think that until CFB does something to warrant a new moniker, I'm going to go back to calling him E. BP however, continues to be a Baby Pterodactyl, so she gets to keep the nickname. Along with all the other things E calls her, which is a post for another day.

Karma's a bitch...Or maybe she's just really tired.

Friday, October 1, 2010
Let's cut Karma some slack, alright folks?

I was racing to get somewhere early one Saturday morning and in order to get out of the house as quickly as possible before the Window of Opportunity slammed shut, I raced out without eating breakfast, taking my vitamins (I swear B complex is poor man's lithium), or without a sip of coffee. I know. Suicide.

As I was racing to my destination, I made a deal with myself. "If there are less than two cars in the $tarbuck$ drive-through, I'll stop. No, no, make that two cars or less." I hate, hate, HATE to be late, but I was going to be dealing with adults for the next few hours and I didn't want to go in uncaffeinated and hungry - not sure which is scarier, but I can tell you that the two combined would have a synergistic effect that would inevitably result in something really, really ugly. I shudder to think.

Of course, as I slow down to scope out the drive-through scene, there are two cars in line. Not one to go against fate, I maneuver Newie in line behind the other two junkies. As I'm sitting there...and sitting there...and sitting there...I realize I have got to use the bathroom and the line isn't moving and motherfuffer I hate to be late and so I swerve over, throw the car in park and run in. I put my order in (tall Chai and a pumpkin muffin, extra pumpkiny) and go tinkle. As I exit the bathroom I spot my cup o' deliciousness and yoink it off the counter. My momentum surprises me and like a predictably painful scene in a romantic comedy, the top pops off my cup and the contents arc up and over and onto the table closest to the counter, spraying spicy black tea all over someone's book.

I panic. What I am about to tell you does not reflect the real me in any way. This is the sucky, temporary me - the sleep-deprived going on three and a half years me - who I hope shrivels up and dies soon so that I can bury her once and for all. Instead of standing there and waiting for the owner of the book to return so that I can apologize profusely and pay him/her for the damage - like I would want and expect someone to do for me if the tables were turned - I try feebly to wipe up the mess. I'm so tired. I am beyond defeated. The book isn't stained...that bad. I was already late and I shouldn't have stopped at stupid $tarbuck$ in the first place and now look at what I'd done. I walked out of there in a flustered and guilty. I could have turned back and made things right at any point. But I didn't. I arrived at my destination ten minutes late and no one even noticed.


D goes out of town for work the following day. It's been a few months since I've played the role of single mom and part of me is dreading it, and part of me is looking forward to a little alone time in the evenings after the kids have gone to sleep. It's not that D is super demanding or anything, we usually just talk about our day and watch tv or something, but I never get any time to myself by myself. And as an introvert, I really need time to myself. So I was ambivalent, at best.

The first night I get the kids to bed super early. We survive joint bathtime (barely) and are in CFB's room reading stories a full half hour before their normal bedtime. We read extra books, BP spends most of the time crawling herself into a frenzy, practicing sitting in CFB's chair.* I promise CFB that I will come back to talk about his day after I put BP to bed. She knocks out in minutes flat and when I come back to talk with CFB, he's asleep, with his arms outstretched Jesus-on-the-cross-style. I did not expect that, but whowee! I'm free. Free at last.

I clean the crap out of the kitchen and then curl up in bed with a book. I'm in bed early (before ten), most of the thoughts running through my head neatly scribed onto a piece of paper so that perhaps I can get a little sleep. And like a painfully predictable scene in a romantic comedy...

CFB, who has essentially been sleeping through the night since February, wakes up at midnight. He wants to talk about the closets in our house. "The downstairs closet has lots of toys in it. And some other stuff, like art supplies...and maracas...and a giant excavator...and then the down downstairs closet has coats...and gloves...and scarves...and your yoga mat...and the basement closet has a...what is it called?...a water heater...and then the closet upstairs has Neosporin for if you cut yourself..." I shit you not. This is why CFB got me out of bed at mid-night. "Sweetheart, that's wonderful but I have to go to sleep." I don't think he even heard me. "And my closet has hangers...and some clothes...and plastic boxes full of toys..."

I collapse back into bed, knowing that I have less than four hours before BP is destined to wake up.

"What the..." My phone is ringing. I grab my glasses and without unfolding the legs, I hold them up to my face. It is 2:27. A.M. Usually, my phone sleeps in the kitchen but with D out of town, it's on my nightstand, just in case. Before I can collect my wits and figure out why the face, it's gone to voicemail.

"Hey. It's Jeremy. I hit all the houses on the list. I got them all except the one on 285. Late-uh." I don't know what scares me more, the gruff voice, the contents of the message or the fact that it's all happening at 2:27 in the morning.

BP wakes up at four-I-don't-even-know-when to nurse and then again at six-something. We're all up for the day at 7:10.

Long day - spectacularly crappy long day - and then it's nighttime again. I am stupid enough to think that last night was a strange anomaly and that tonight will be better. Bullshit. CFB wakes up talking of waterfalls and then coming to enough to beg for a sippy cup refill. Again at midnight. I run, fill up his cup, and crawl back into bed hoping that I get a full four hours before BP demands her milk. Guess what? Jeremy calls again. This time, no message. Why? The? FACE?!?

Now, for those of you who don't know me in real life, you probably wouldn't think that I'd call up this Jeremy person. But I did. Much like I grabbed CFB's wiffle ball bat at four o'clock in the morning last month and stormed outside in my bathrobe to see who the fuck was out there making Scout bark the Big Scary Bark (did I forget to tell you guys this story?!?) Best we can figure it was a coyote, or as CFB likes to say, kie-OH-tee. Anyway, the same way I went outside in the dark of the night to beat the crap out of whoever, or whatever, had the balls to wake me up, I called up the murder/rapist/sociopath that was calling my phone to ask him to either stop calling me or just come kill me already.

"Hi, Jeremy?"
"Um, yeah..."
"Hi. Um, you've called my phone the past two nights and I was hoping to figure out why. I was hoping that you could actually stop calling me in the middle of the night."
"Oh, man. Dude, I'm sorry. I just started a new paper route..."

Yeah. So that's what I get for spilling coffee on someone's book and then bolting. Karma is a bitch. With a cruel sense of humor.

* This was a gift and I gotta say...we love it. BP climbs it, sits in it, poses in it and generally loves to be in it. It actually belongs to CFB but his feelings toward it are luke-warm, so hopefully if BP continues to love it, we'll be able to parlay it her way.

Kids say the funniest things...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010
"Mom, why aren't we moving?"
"Oh, sweetheart...we're sitting in traffic."
"Can you back up?"
"I wish. But there's a huge truck behind me."
"And if you backed up into him it would break his truck?"
"And then he couldn't drive it anymore?"
"And then he'd probably say oh, shit."


Judge Not...

Thursday, September 2, 2010
...lest ye be judged. I get that.

But my question is: When are you allowed to judge? When are you allowed to look at someone else and think, "Holy shit. That is not good."

I've said it before and I'll say it again...public parenting is a snapshot in time. It is just a moment, and most likely not a "typical" moment in your life (or the other family's life) and should not be used as a stick by which to measure. For instance, if you sat across from us at dinner last time we were out, you'd think that a) we always eat sushi b) we always drink sprite c) CFB always uses utensils d) BP always screams. Only one of those statements is true*. Or if you saw us at the park the other day, you'd think that CFB eats Otter Pops all the time, when in fact, he was enjoying his second Otter Pop ever. Or if you were at the zoo last Friday, you'd think that I was always that obnoxious lady with the too-wide double stroller taking up too much space in front of the baby seal, when in fact, that was the first (and last!) time I will take the double jogger out for anything other than a jog. You get the point. Public moments are rarely indicative of a person's day-to-day reality.

That being said, the kids and I met D at the park last Monday for a picnic lunch. D got to get out of the office, and the kids were ecstatic to play with dad (on a Monday!) at a new park (bonus!) We were done with our lunch - hummus, veggies, and turkey wraps - and we headed down to the playground. We'd been playing a while when a mom showed up with her daughter. Based on her language and height, I'd have to guess the little girl was about 2 1/2. The remarkable thing about her, though, was that she weighed about 70 lbs. And while my first instinct would be to think that she must have some sort of genetic problem, that changed when I saw her mother pull a half empty 2 liter bottle of generic soda (the caffeinated kind) out from under the stroller and proceeded to fill two take-out cups full of soda. She called the little girl over from playing to come drink some soda. Stop playing and come drink some soda. The little girl waddled around the playground like a sumo wrestler, shifting her weight back and forth from foot to foot. She had an excruciatingly difficult time getting up on the jungle gym, and while part of that could be her age, I guarantee that the fact that she is obese also played a part. I felt terrible, but I couldn't help watching her, repulsed yet fascinated at the same time.

This clearly was not a snapshot in time. You do not raise an obese toddler by making a few bad decisions. No, this was a lifestyle. This was the result of choice after really bad choice.

So my question is: When do you get to judge?

Do you get to judge when a mother tells you in conversation that her child is definitely allergic to dairy but that since she hails from Milk Country that she's not going to do anything about it, even though she suspects that most of the child's problems are a direct result of his allergy?

Do you get to judge when a mother storms into the store you're shopping in, dragging her little girl by the arm screaming, "You better stop being such a horrible little girl or I will drag you into the bathroom and spank you till you're good."

Do you get to judge when a father takes a two inch wide leather belt to his daughter's legs and leaves stripe after angry stripe of black and blue?

Do you get to judge the parent that lets their preschooler stay up late watching programs that have enough sex and violence to make event he most jaded adult think, "wow. That was gratuitous."

Do you get to judge the mother who shows up drunk to parent-teacher conferences? Do you get to double-judge when both of her kids have fetal alcohol syndrome and all the crappage that comes with it?

And if you do get to judge, what comes next? Do you just promise yourself you'll never do the same thing as that other parent? Would you have any way? Or do you earn the right to shun that mother and her child, when in fact, the shunning might only exacerbate the underlying cause of the problem? Do you fight the instinct to judge? And if so, what's the end result of that? Who benefits? Do you? Because you're such an enlightened, non-judgmental human being?

Yes, this is me, finally playing devil's advocate. You knew it was coming. Now, formulate an opinion and weigh in. Seriously.

* For those of you keeping track at home, statement d is true. BP always screams. Always. Usually it's just super excited loud babbling, but sometimes it's clearly a "Hey you, jackhole. Can't you see my tray is empty? LOAD IT UP WITH FOOD! And do it with a smile!"

BP and CFB

Thursday, August 19, 2010
Whew. I'm back. Well, I'm not back. I was stolen and replaced with an exact replica. But this me is back.

So what happened while I was gone? Did they ever stop that fucking leak? No, not that leak, this leak.

Anyway, who cares about the environment. I know you are dying to hear about what's been going on with me. Well, let me tell ya. It's been a crazy month or so.

First of all, I've re-nicknamed the kids. B is now BP, as in Baby Pterodactyl and E has been crowned CFB, as in Cocaine For Breakfast.


I went on a (play)date with a new mom, who brought her best-friend. I had run into new mom a bunch of times and kept agreeing that yes! we should indeed get the boys together and yes! isn't it amazing how both of our kids are two weeks apart (apparently, we like to have sex at the same time of year...twice) and so when we ran into her the last time and she whipped out her phone and plugged in my number, I knew that she was calling my bluff. Now, before I go any further, I would like to insert a disclaimer. I like this mom. She seems like a supremely nice woman with two adorable boys and she's a SAHM who has her shit together, doesn't act all high and mighty, she lives 1.5 miles away from us, brings healthy snacks and brings enough to share! and seems to have a lot in common with us. Not to mention that while I suspect she might be a tad older than me, she has a rockin' body and will force inspire me to get my ass in gear, despite the sleep deprivation and the lack of the will to live energy. BTW - I'm off of M&M's for good! It's been like a month!

Back to my she invites us to the pool and I reluctantly agree. Why reluctantly, you ask. Because I hate being "on", especially when I feel so off. I'm an anomaly. I don't care what people think of me because I am secure in my knowledge that I am doing the best that I can and being the best person that I can and if you don't like it, Suck It, Fancy. Don't be my friend. But at the same time, I don't want people thinking I'm some sort of heathen. Because I'm not. And while I don't believe in baiting-and-switching - I would never pretend to be something I'm not or hide something I am - because with me, what you see is what you get, I do want to at least give you a chance to fall in love with how great I am before you cringe at what a moron I can be.

The (play)date went great. She called me and wants to get the boys together again. They did play very well together, playing tag and climbing a fence, and new kid is also a wrestler and not a cry baby (or a girl), which was great for CFB since he loves to wrestle. Oh, and new mom's friend, who I also really liked, kept apologizing for her two year old's behavior and while I reassured her and pointed out that it was not so long ago that I was the mom of a two-year-old and I remember (freshly) what that was like, I did get some sort of secret, perverse satisfaction of (for one day) having the "good" kid. So yeah.


Speaking of girls that CFB is friends with, Miss S continues to be the love of CFB's life. We were at Splash! (we go to Splash! a lot) and they were both belly down in the water and CFB just leaned over and planted a kiss on Miss S's shoulder as if it were the most natural thing in the world to do. He did it again weeks later while sitting next to her at lunch. Just leaned over and smooched her. And he always grabs her hands when they're walking. I know it's a little early to be planning their wedding, but I am.


I found a gray hair a couple of weeks ago and as if that wasn't depressing enough, when confirming it's existence the next night, I found like four or five more. My mom and aunt both have what is called a lunar de canas, or directly translated, a freckle of gray hairs in the same spot that I found mine. I'm going to look like Frankenstein's more ways than one.


Tebow, Tebow, Tebow. Tebowtebowtebow tebowtebow tebowtebow. And that's just the weather report. I am so puking sick of Tebow already and football season has officially started.

Oh, and by the way, for a pious Bible-thumping second-coming-of-christ...your girlfriend looks like a whore.


CFB often talks about himself in the third person. It cracks me the fuck up. "The Big Boy? Mom, you talking to The Big Boy and asking me to move that box?" Yes, Big Boy, I'm talking to you. Stop puffing out your chest and scratching your ass and get a move on.


Speaking of scratching your ass, the other day we're in line at the post office and CFB scratches his ass. The two grandmothers in front of us (one of which shares my rather unique name!) start to giggle and I ignore them and ask him if he was to go use the bathroom, not really knowing what I would have done had he said yes since there is no bathroom in the post office. "Nope. I got an itch. And sometimes, you just gotta scratch your butt."


We went to Children's Hospital a couple of weeks ago and CFB was diagnosed as having SPD. When I'm ready to, I'll write up a whole bloggy post on it. I'm not ready to, though. Not yet. I wasn't sure if I was even going to mention it, but what am I going to do? Not talk about it? I will tell you that I'm grateful to my friend for putting it on our radar, and that it's not an extreme case (this article's pretty good but jeez, editors. Could you have picked a picture that didn't make the kid look so cool?) Anyhoo, we're working on it with activities and whatnot that the OT gave us, he's not going to preschool this fall, and by this fall, I mean Monday, and we moved our nice furniture upstairs and our old furniture downstairs and we're slowly building a sensorific playroom. Oh, and as I was reading through the 19 page questionnaire that we had to fill out before our evaluation, it dawned on me that I gave my kid SPD. Because I hate noise and turtlenecks and I'd rather pee in a bathroom that reeks of dirty farts than have to listen to the soft whir of the fan and I start to hear a low hum in my head when I'm overstimulated or when I'm flustered and trying to get the Thanksgiving Day turkey that I spent the past 24 hours slaving over out of the goddamn oven and someone insists on asking me stupid questions, like "where's the vodka?" I gave my son SPfuckingD. CFB, you're welcome. The good news is, one day, you can grow up and be normal like me. Ha!


Had a date with three of my bestest friends ever and I made a total jackhole of myself. When Belle, who is getting married in 30some-odd-days, admitted that the sleep part of being a mom terrifies her and Bangs reminded her that some kids do sleep, I jumped down their throats. I went Bat Shit Crazy on them. I think I went so far as to accuse Bangs of wanting me to poison BP with (gasp!) a bottle of formula. I didn't even realize I was flipping out until Bangs, all wide-eyed, stopped me and reassured me that she and Belle were behind me. "Wha?" "We support what you're doing. We think you're doing a great job and think that breast-feeding is the right thing to do." I must have blinked ten times before realizing what a giant ass I was being. Sorry girls. I blame the sleep. That I don't get. Because I refuse to give Her Royal Highness Baby Pterodactyl a bottle of formula.


Speaking of BP, holy shit is she the cutest baby that ever roamed the Earth. If you look at her and start laughing for absolutely no reason, she will start laughing back at you. And then you'll laugh at her laughing, and then she'll start laughing even harder. And then, for a split second, no amount of sleep in the world would ever make you want that moment to end.


So one of the entertaining aspects of making new friends is that they don't know me yet. And so it's kind of funny to watch how new people react to me and mine.
"Oh my goodness, she's got a little tomato. Is it ok for her to eat that?!?"
"Oh yeah, she loves them."
"I mean, won't she choke on it or something?"
And as if to answer the question herself, like a little woodland creature, BP popped the yellow pear tomato in her mouth, pushed it out with her tongue, split it in half with her little chipmunk teeth, and used her petite little paws to keep it in her mouth while she nibbled it to smithereens.
"Wow. She's really good at that, isn't she?"
"At eating? Yeah, she's got that under control."


It's also really interesting to watch how people react to CFB. At the pool, there's a line of moms awaiting their respective child's descent down three feet of rubbery soft water slide into five inches of water. They take turns catching their children, brushing off the droplets of water and smiling eagerly into their upturned faces. "Was that fun sweetie? Have you had enough or would you like to go a third time?" Meanwhile, CFB is on his one-seventieth tear down the slide and I stand in between the stairs and the bottom of the slide because he hasn't needed help with either since he was 13 months old and if I tried to go back and forth between the top and the bottom as fast and as often as he did, I'd be the one face down in the water. Not to mention that I am concentrating on sucking in my gut because I'm in a bikini and holding 18+ of baby dinosaur and there is no flattering way to hold this much baby when you are wearing a bikini. And at first new mom kept offering to catch CFB for me and after the second or third time that CFB lapped her kid, she caught on. The funny thing is, I could tell that until she met my kid, she used to think her kid was a rough-and-tumble high energy sort. It's all about perspective, isn't it?


If it wasn't for the gooching, CFP might be the best older* brother ever. He feeds BP, he hugs her, he worries about her when she's crying, he shares his toys and wants her to swing next to him and if there's not a swing next to him, he scooches back in the bucket so that she can swing with him. And if two other boys happen to be whispering** about her while standing in line at Splash!, CFB will watch them for a total of eight seconds before leaning forward and yelling, "She's my baby sister!" Oh yeah, don't you dare fuck with his sister. She's his.
Open up and say AHHHH!!!


Along the same lines, BP might be the best Little Sister Ever. How so? Because her first word? CFB's real name. Sure, she has said mamamama, but not at me. But she shrieks CFP's given name, with full intention. She also says "Scuh scuh scuh. Tuh tuh tuh," when calling our dog, Scout. She also calls squirells Scuh schuh schu tuh tuh tuhs. And lions, and the neighbor's dog and basically anything on four legs. Good thing she's so cute, because she's still kind of a moron.


As much as I appreciate the sentiment, if one more person sends one of my children a toy that makes noise unprovoked, I am going to fill said toy with baby poop and send it back to them. I mean, I love when people love my kids. Hell, it's the only reason I like our racist, chain-smoking and too-much-tanning neighbor. And it's why I almost instantly forgave my mom when she tore me a new one for saying something unflattering about her grandson (I told her he acted like someone who, well...had cocaine for breakfast.) But seriously, there are nights when I am upstairs, brushing my teeth or finally nodding off and I hear the "whern whern" of a tug boat and then the "arf arf arf" of a puppy dog. I mean, there is no one even on that floor. The kids are in bed and the adults are upstairs and the toys are talking to themselves.


And last, but not least...BP, CFB and I were at the Museum of Nature and Science the other day and I had to release some gas. Unfortunately, due to his unpredictable and rocket-fast nature, I misjudged CFB's trajectory and he got caught in the crossfire. "Maaawmm. (Oh god. Please don't let this kid announce to an entire museum full of people that I just farted.) You smell like you." Not what I expected, and quite frankly, my feelings were a little bit hurt. Because apparently, as confirmed by D's questioning of CFB at the dinner table tonight, mom does indeed smell like farts. And guess what she looks like? Also farts. Farts in a tub, to be more precise.

* Notice I qualified this statement by using the adjective "older." Because the title of Best Younger Brother Ever belongs to someone else.
** They were actually being very sweet. The four year old poked the six year old and told him, "Look at her. She's smiling at us." But CFB couldn't hear them and only knew that they were eyeing us what is rightfully his Chunko Monko.

Pitty Party

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I do not wear my exhaustion like a badge of glory. I wear it like a sack of potatoes. A heavy, heavy sack of potatoes.

E was a wretched sleeper, but he had a perfectly good excuse. B, on the other hand, gives the appearance of being a perfectly healthy "chunk'o munck'o," as E so roughly affectionately refers to her. Yet she doesn't sleep. My only consolation? That old ladies at the grocery store shake their heads and warn with crooked finger that "it's the smart ones that don't sleep."

We have been fighting for the past three nights. I want her to sleep till 2am without feeding. She wants to wake up and make sure I'm still there. This child was born with the worst case of separation anxiety you have ever seen, and it shows no sign of letting up. I literally, LITERALLY, can not leave the table and cross the ten feet to the refrigerator, even though I remain in clear view of her. Even though I only open the door on the opposite side of her so as not to block her from my view. Ehhh! EHhh! EHHHH!!!! The panic rises inside her and she starts to rock back and forth, banging on the tray of her booster seat, making it clear that ten feet is just. too. far. I make eye contact and send consoling phrases floating across the wooden floor in her direction. Not good enough. I smile at her and reassure her that if I had go-go-gadget arms, I could still touch her from where I am standing. EHH! EHHHHH!!! EHHHHHHHHH!!! I close the refrigerator door and collapse empty-handed back into the chocolate leather dining room chair. Her cries cease immediately and a hint of smugness creeps across her pouty little lips.

I want to sleep. You have no idea how much I want to sleep. It has been over eight months since I have had 1-2-3-4 hours of consecutive, uninterrupted, blissful sleep. And before that, we'd only been sleeping full nights for a few months, with intermittent night-wakings with E. So not counting a short three or so months of pretty regular sleep, it's been upwards of three years since I've slept soundly.

In the eight months of B's life, we've come close. There was one night where she slept almost six hours in a row. But my body was programmed to wake up after no more than three hours. Maybe if I'd had some warning. Maybe if someone had sent my boobs a memo. Or an email. Or maybe a goddamn text. But no. There was no forewarning. So like two ticking time bombs, they woke me up. What the...? I stared at her in disbelief. I fell back asleep and woke up just shy of three hours later, having squandered the only opportunity in upwards of eight months to get, what approximates in the land of motherhood, a full night's sleep. I look back at that night and try to recollect the circumstances leading up to it. Did she eat yogurt? Or baby cereal? Was her bath very warm? Was there a full moon? Did she wear fleecy pjs or the the light cotton ones? When I carried her up the stairs, did I skip steps? Did I turn the door knob clock-wise or counter-clockwise? What the fuck did we do that night that made her sleep for so long? Because I would do anything to have that opportunity again.

And as much as I want to sleep for myself, for my own sanity, I really, really want to sleep for everyone else. I want to sleep so that I can have interesting discussions and not actually have to move my head back and forth to be able to follow along, like some sort of conversational Stevie Wonder. I want to sleep so that I can be a nicer wife to my dear husband. I want to sleep so that I can be more patient with my children and have more compassionate coping mechanisms, instead of shoving E into the side of the tub when he accidentally leaned on B too hard in the bath and tipped her face first into three inches of water. He was at a weird angle and couldn't get the purchase to right himself. I panicked. She was starting to swallow water and was too slippery to grab out from under him so I just shoved him off of her and into the side of the tub. And it freaked him the fuck out. Rightfully so. They both screamed and cried for a solid, and head-splittingly loud, couple of minutes. I caressed her face and reassured her while I tried to apologize to E over the cacophony, amplified by the acoustics of the tub. All the while holding back tears of my own.

I am just too fucking tired. Things don't make sense. I'm naturally slow to process, being the introvert that I am, but these days...these days I feel like I'm not even processing. I feel like Lucy and Ethel in front of the chocolate conveyor belt, except that I gave up the Costco-sized bag of M&M's a few weeks ago so now my life is a less-delicious scurry to keep up. I forget things. I run stop signs (in my defense it was a sneaky one.) I have thrown more U-turns in the past few months than I have my entire life. For heaven's sake, last week I got turned around and didn't know what direction I was going in even though I was driving towards the mountains, which in this town are always to the west. I am in a sad and sleep-less state.

I'm not usually one to complain. I'm a problem-fixer. I pride myself in my ability to stop, identify the problem and then brainstorm possible solutions. And believe me, I've considered the solutions. In fact, I spent a week trying to "sleep train"* B. But this girl refuses to cooperate. She can clearly put herself to sleep because I've seen her do it. I've watched her fall asleep, completely and totally unassisted. But usually, I have to hold her down so that she doesn't flip over because she can not sleep on her stomach. We've tried. It does not work. And unfortunately, I do not have the endless hours to spend experimenting with her like I did with E. Back then, it was housework and the dog that fell by the wayside. But these days, these days there is a three year old that can entertain himself for only so long before he can no longer fight the urge to make sure that I am still alive. "Hey, buddy. No, I didn't die. I'm just trying to get your sister to sleep without me."

Where does that leave us? I realized with E that I do not have the heartlessness fortitude to let a baby cry it out. I can't do it. But I have let her cry while I brush my teeth and take out my contacts a couple of times and you know what? I'm pretty sure that CIO wouldn't work with her anyway. In those minutes that I stood in front of the mirror, trying desperately to identify the person staring back at me - she looks vaguely familiar - B's crying only intensified. It showed no signs of doing anything other than only getting more heart-wrenching. It's the betrayal, the recrimination, in her tears that cuts me to the quick.

I joke that in a past life we must have been twins separated at birth. Perhaps we were. Or perhaps I abandoned her. Perhaps in our own mother-daughter version of The Titanic, I left her behind. Or perhaps she left me to drown so that she could have the beautiful necklace all to herself and swore never to do it again, no matter how many lifetimes we spent together.

We are eight months in and if there's one thing I learned the first time around, it's that even though whatever stage you're in right now might seem endless, the one guarantee is that things will change.

What would the me in five years tell the me right now? To find a way to enjoy it. To get past the bone-tired and to enjoy this all-too-fleeting time. And maybe, for just one night, to give her some whiskey so that everyone can get some fucking sleep around here. The me in five years is probably crazy, so I wouldn't be surprised.

* I'd like to point out that it's been more than a month since this post. Just pointing it out.

Goochie goochie goo

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I'm keeping a secret. And it is a whopper of a secret. The catch is, it's not my secret. It's someone else's secret and since my world's overlap, what with Facebook and this blog and email and the telephone etc., I'm afraid to say anything that could or could not get traced back to me. And since I am too tired to keep things straight in my head, I've sort of just stopped talking. Mum is the word. Which sucks, because I constantly have blog posts running through my head and some of them are time-sensitive.

I will, however, tell you that the other night D and I ended up watching Last Comic Standing as we were impatiently waiting for B to go to sleep already. We didn't want to start True Blood as to avoid suffering the let-down of having to pause it mid-dramatic scene, especially since sometimes B just needs a replacement of the binky and sometimes she needs the whole boob-shushing-rocking-pleading combo. You just never know with her anymore. She is 8 months old and full of fury - she wants to crawl (so close!) she wants to have more than just two front teeth and she wants to talk. Not to mention she wants to catch her brother and goochie* him one big gooch for all the times he's goochied her.

Anyway, so I got to watch the first half of LCS and it got me thinking. If I was going to go on a stand-up comedian competition (which I reassure you, I am not) what would my schtick be? Right now I've temporarily settled on something along the lines of Rita Rudner. I'd come out in a really pretty dress - perhaps even a cocktail dress - and I'd start off sort of clean and hokey, maybe mention my kids, and then drop a bomb on my audience with a raunchy joke. Perhaps I'd share a joke L2 told me once (remember him? the paramedic who did nothing for my hurt legs other to tell me to suck it up and stop whining?)

"How do you get a dog to stop humping your leg?"
The audience members lean into one another, blindly guessing at the punch line.
"Pick him up and give him a blow job."

Wouldn't that joke be funnier coming from a kinda pretty woman with a bouffant hairdo and sequins on her dress?

*E "goochies" B whenever her cheeks are within reach. He squeezes her cheeks and sings, "I want to pinch your nosey...and tickle your toesy. You're wiggly. And jiggly. You're lovely, cuddly B."

Yin and Bang

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Oh, good. I think that'll work. I'm hoping that repeatedly looking at this sequence and cuteness that it oozes will keep me from throwing the gawddamn baby out the window.

I'm pretty sure it's teething, but since she has no tells, it's hard to know. And it's amazing what having a reason will do for my patience. If I can attribute aggravating behavior to something, then my tolerance is ten-fold. But when there's no apparent reason, I get frustrated. And it makes me want to throw my freshly cleaned window wide open and chuck the baby out into the yard. Maybe if I throw her hard enough, she'll land in the neighbor's yard and they can take care of her for a while.


We went almost three years without a trip to the ER. E was assembling puzzles with D when he jumped up, bolted to get another puzzle and when he took his second step (he literally goes from sitting to 100mph in a matter of two steps), he tripped over D's leg and smashed his head into the corner of the wall. Luckily we have bull-nose corners or he would have had a face full of stitches. He left a 1x2 inch dent in it and has the marks from the texture of the wall spidered across the goose-egg bulging on his forehead. He ended up at Children's Hospital with a minor concussion. Both of his major injuries have occurred in our living room during low-energy play while an arm's reach from a parent. He flies down the street on his scooter, wrestles with his dad, gets thrown around by his T and climbs as high as any playground equipment will allow. He's been going full speed since he was ten months old. Yet he busts his head in the "safety" of our living room while doing puzzles. The irony.

I should be in bed...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010
...but instead I'm blogging. Why? Because I made the mistake of looking at my Google Analytics and apparently, someone in Finland* wants to know about the minutiae of my life. And if there's one thing I hate, it is letting people down.

E is just coming out of a disregulation phase. We're starting to catch on to his cycling, and it seems more like a 3 month cycle, instead of the 6 month cycle that Ames and Ilg talk about. We're going to map it this time, but we're pretty sure that about oh, every three months, he spends three weeks or so being a complete and total jerk grump, running into walls, slurring his speech...basically being a total shitshow mess.

So what was he working on? He was working on becoming a completely and totally different kid. He is so much more...more. He's just...more. He's more mature. His thinking is more abstract. He makes more connections, he's more imaginative, he's a whole lot funnier, he's more observant, and he's 110% cuter. He's...more. And while those few weeks were really, really rough, they were totally worth it.

Oh, you want proof? Pictures and funny quotes?!? Okay, okay.

E was snuggled up in my lap for the inaugural reading of the newest addition to our extensive library, There's a Bird on Your Head, and we get to the last page, where Pigeon has a cameo. There's a sharp intake of breath before E excitedly shouts, "I didn't know Pigeon lived in this book!"

On our way home from dinner the other night, I commented that I had to pee really badly. "I'll help you, mom. Dad's going to drive us home in Newie (E's name for the new car) and then he'll open the garage door and then I'll get out of the car and open the door and I'll go upstairs and go into the bathroom and I'll put the seat down for your big butt." Did I mention he's funnier?

Mostly, he just loves things. "A new kitchen?!? I luh-ve it! Do you love it, mom?"

And I could not be more grateful for the timing of his togetherness. Lela (short for Abuela) is in town. My mom hadn't seen B since she was born, so she's been eating her up. And I wasn't there, but apparently when E went with his dad to go pick Lela up, he talked for the entire 40 minute drive home, as if catching her up on his entire life. Seriously. He started with "I was born in a hospital..." to his trip to Children's to going to Metal Park to everything in between. And he hasn't stopped since she got here. It's been amazing watching the two of them. The only glitches have been when she's carrying B and he gets jealous, but we've been talking about jealousy so now he has a word for the feelings, which is a start.

Tomorrow I am interviewing a preschool. I know. It breaks my freaking heart. E turns three in a few months and while I never thought this day would come, I think that E might be ready for a more formal learning environment. Not to mention that he often laments that he has no friends. He does have a handful of friends, but he sees each of them for a couple of hours a week at best, and usually it's at the park or something and you know how three year olds are. So I'm going to visit a Montessori school right up the road from us. I'm nervous about a few things - are they really a Montessori, or are they one of those "we can charge more because the Montessori name is unregulated and when people hear Montessori they automatically think oh wow Montessori"? The other thing that makes me nervous is that they are a five day program. It's only (only!) three hours a day, but sheesh. It just seems like so much.

Anyway, like I said. I should be in bed. B is teething and developing quite the personality, not to mention still waking up because she must. flip. over. I threw a whole week's worth of sleep training out the window because being awake from 1:00 am till about 2:30, falling into a fitful sleep only to be woken up again at 3:something and then again at 4:something sucks rocks. So I stopped and thought about what I was doing and why. I reassessed my intentions and priorities and came to the conclusion that 1) B is not ready to sleep on her own, 2) that I am a complete and total bitch on no sleep, 3) that the reason I was booting her in the first place is because sleeping on my side causes my knee caps to slide off the front of my legs, 4) but as much as my knees hurt, running a stop sign because I am so motherf'ing tired that I didn't see it is alarming and scary and not ok, what number am I on? 5) I need to sleep and B sleeps sooo much better curled up against me and one day she'll be too big to sleep with me anymore so if the only way anyone gets any sleep around here is with her chubby little baby body curled against mine then fine. We'll try sleep training again in a bit, once we get all caught up on our sleep. As for the knee caps, I'm sleeping with a pillow between my legs and trying to flip onto my stomach or back whenever either one of us rustles. It's better, but not great.

Oh, and before I forget, here are a few pictures...

I mean, seriously, two weeks ago, E refused to let me take pictures of him. He'd get all weepy and upset and now, now he actually smiled at the camera. He didn't stop to smile at the camera and a couple of times he got all self-conscious, but at least he didn't throw mulch at me.
I love these two. It started to sprinkle on us and E threw up his hands. "Rain! I love the rain!"
I hope that one day B has her own chubby baby and forgives me for posting this one...but how could I resist?
I don't know I like this one so much. It's not the best pic of E...maybe it's because he was talking so animatedly about his magic pebble or because there's nothing in the background to detract from him. But I like this picture.

Alright, now can I go to bed?!?

*I also have readers in Russia, a few different parts of Italy, Australia, Austria, Czech Republic, New Zealand, and Canada. Crazy, huh? I would love to know if they are reading in English and if not, how does my sense of humor translate? Am I funny in Finish?

Stuff and Nonsense*

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I cut all my hair off. All of it. I got D's (reluctant) permission first, had dozens of internal arguments weighing the pros and cons of short hair versus long and then finally decided to chop it all off when I remembered that all the hormone-induced hair loss was about to grow back in the form of a baby fro. And if there's one thing that I don't want to rock, it is a baby fro. The snot wiped across my shoulder and the disheveled look of a sleep-deprived mother are flattering enough, thankyouverymuch.

Luckily, D hasn't realized he gets better looking with age. It's unjust. Kind of like how ours is the only species where the females get all dolled up to impress the males. Think about it.

My iPhone got stolen on Mother's Day from the zoo. I left it on the toilet-paper dispenser in the bathroom stall. In my defense, I'd been up since 1:00 am. We realized that the perp was going to keep it after we called it for the zillionth time and it started going to voice mail on the 2nd ring. Son of a bitch.

So I went to the Apple store and expected to pay another $200 for a new phone. HA! And in front of my children, the genius barista asked me to bend over so that he could you-know-what me for $600. When I almost burst into tears (I'd been up since 1:00 AGAIN) the barista offered to replace my phone with half the phone for twice the price. Exqueezeme? I walked out without a phone, feeling as naked as the day I was born.

There was no way I was paying $600 for a new phone, but now that I'd owned an iPhone there was no way I was ever going back. It was like driving a Porsche (well, what I imagine it must be like to drive a Porsche) and then being asked to drive a rickshaw. How do you even drive a rickshaw? Doesn't someone else need to pull it for you? So if you're alone, do you just put your stuff in it and then drag it behind you? See?!? I wouldn't even know how. I was in quite a predicament. And the longer I went without my phone, the worse the shakes got. Baby had the bends.

Long story short, I spent almost three days without a lifeline phone trying to find a loophole. I searched eBay, talked to three different reps at AT&T and finally figured out that instead of paying $600 for a replacement iPhone, all I had to do was add a line to my account (which was suspended for safety) and get a new phone for $200. Yeah, bitches. The funny thing is that the last rep I talked to actually refined my plan. I called and asked "hypothetical" questions like, "What if I got a new iPhone and dug one of my old phones out of E's toy box and put that phone on my line so that I could keep my number and then just forwarded my calls to the new number?" Once she figured out what I was trying to do, she helped me do it, god bless her. And while I have to pay an extra $10/month for the extra line, now that I'm on the family plan I am actually paying less a month because I'm on a better plan. So suck it, Steve Jobs.

I think everyone should rent Modern Family over the summer and watch it from the beginning so that you're all caught up next season.

We are maybe possibly kind of talking about considering putting E in preschool next fall. There's a well-reputed Montessori school up the road from us and I have an interview with them on Tuesday. The thing is, I'm going to cry like a baby the first time I have to leave him anywhere with someone other than family.

Speaking of babies, B is seven months yesterday. She is officially in full commando crawling mode. She still tips over but she can get anywhere with alarming intensity. She doesn't sit up reliably, but mostly because she won't sit still long enough. She's got shit to do...and usually, top of her list is pissing E off. She started yelling at him yesterday, which I guess is good because now they're even. She had wormed her way across the room to get to him and at the last minute he yoinked his toys, spun around and got away from her. Her eyes got wide and I thought for a second she was going to burst into tears, but to her credit, she started screeching instead.

With the crawling, though, comes all sorts of trouble, the worst being sleep. Her naps are broken up into twenty-ish minute long bouts of fitful tossing and turning until finally she just. can't. help. but to flip over and wake up. She ends up smooshed against the slats of her crib, crazy-eyed with surprise at the lack of control she has over her own body. Luckily, the two nights that we were up at 1:00 am paid off. The first night (happy mother's day!) was an impromptu sleep training session. She woke up at 1:00 on the dot (as she is wont to) and since she was in the crib, I didn't just roll over and sleepily pop a boob in her mouth. Which led to the discovery that she wasn't waking up at one o'clock to eat. She was waking up out of habit, looking for a little entertainment. I didn't feed her and I didn't say a word. I just rocked her in the darkness of her room. For one hour and thirty-seven minutes. Then she voiced her hunger and I fed her. She promptly fell asleep and I wondered how many years I lost off of my already too short life. It took me a while to finally fell asleep, which was good since I had to get up again at 4:00 to give up and bring her to bed. The second night I stuck to my guns and she slept the entire night in her crib. I gotta hand it to B, her internal clock is spot on. She wakes up not at 12:59 or 1:02, but exactly at 1:00. Until the third night. She didn't wake up till 2:37. And then last night at 2:39. At this rate, she'll be waking up at 6:00am by 2011. Happy New Year.

E's lab results came back. His vitamin D is back to normal range and his liver function looks good but his CBC values aren't perfect. The one that the immunologist would like our (new) pediatrician to keep an eye on is his platelet count. Oh, and the stupid nurse called on Friday as they were closing up and left a voicemail that said something along the lines of, "Platelets are elevated, erythrocytes are down, lymphocytes are up, your kid has leukemia, happy mother's day." She didn't actually say that E has leukemia (or happy mother's day, as a matter of fact) but she might as well have. I googled his blood results and as Dr. Google usually does, he diagnosed E with an a tragic and incurable disease. D had to call them on Monday because I didn't have a phone and he straightened it all out. He also explained that the nurse should never, ever do that again.

In funny E news, I asked him what time it was today and he said "Thirty-nine dollars." Whaaa?

The other day he wanted potato chips for breakfast and when I pointed out that if he was too full for waffles, he was too full for chips. "I'm only full to the bottom. I'm not full to the top. There's room for chips at the top." He had chips for breakfast. I'm a sucker for ironclad logic.

He also spent all of Mother's Day saying "Happy Mother's Day, Mom. Are you happy?" And I was. Even though I was exhausted and disappointed that someone would choose not to return my phone, I was really, really happy. D went all out and made it a Mother's Day weekend. He made banana pancakes on Saturday and french toast on Sunday and I got to take a two hour nap and he got me a gift certificate for a massage at one of my favorite places and then my brother, Bangs, and my sister also got me a spa session and the promise to watch the kids while I got pampered, plus a bottle of wine, plus a new painting plus really sweet cards. D took over enough of the day-to-day minutia that it gave me enough time and space to take a deep breath and remember why I love my job.

*Cute book but not worth full-price unless you are a teacher and looking for exemplary use of onomatopoeia.

The ocean called and they're running out of shrimp

Thursday, April 29, 2010
"Oh yeah, really? Well, the Jerk Store called, and they're running out of you."

I'm like George, who doesn't have a comeback till it's too late. Here are a few examples of situations where I should have said something, but I didn't.

"What do you mean you don't know how to make a bottle? You have two kids."
"Both my kids are breast-fed."
"So you've never made a bottle?"
At this point I mumble something like "well i'm sure i could figure it out - scoop and water, right?"
What I should have said is: "No, I have never made a bottle because these are my two bottles (pointing crudely at my boobs) and I don't know why you think that not knowing how to mix powdered milk with water makes me a bad mother. My bottles are always warm, always full, easy to clean and full of yummy goodness...and they prevent against (Are you ready?) ear infections, stomach viruses, diarrhea, respiratory infections, asthma, obesity, Type 1 AND Type 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, and SIDS. So bitch, go mix me a margarita and shut the fuck up about your stupid bottles. Oh, and by the way, I was just kidding about the margarita because I'm BREAST-FEEDING*."

"Wait. Where does she sleep then?" We're at a park and there's a mom with two kids who are both a few months older than my kids.
"She still in bed with me. I swore after him that I would never get up out of bed to go sit in the baby's room to nurse. So she's in bed with us till she night weans."
"But she sleeps in her crib for naps?" her brow is furrowed and I'm starting to get the sense that she is judging me.
"But she won't sleep in her crib at night?" I was right. She's judging me.
"She does till about 10 and then she comes into bed with us."
"Hmph. Both my kids are good sleepers."
"You're lucky." There was more, but I'll spare you the details.
What I should have said is: You're judging me? Bitch, your kid is over there freezing his ass off because you forgot to bring him a long-sleeve shirt or a sweater. And not that you forgot it in the car, you forgot it at home. Even though we live in Colorado. And it's spring time. And it snowed two days ago. So while your kid is standing there, cold to the bone with his thumb up his ass, my toasty-warm kid is running circles around him."

We're at story-time in the library and a mom shows up late. She sits part-way into the circle and gives her kid, who is in her stroller, also part-way into the circle, a set of keys. Then her friend shows up, so now they're about half-way into the circle, oblivious to the toddlers sitting behind them. And then, this is the part that pisses me off...they start talking. During story-time. At the library. And I can't really hear what they're saying because the baby in the stroller is banging those goddamn keys so loudly. But I said nothing.
What I should have said is: "Excuse me, hon? Could you please skooch back out of the circle, stop talking to your friend, and trade that Mr. Roper-sized ring of keys out of your baby's hand for something quieter? Thanks."

Same story-time except this mom is across the circle on her phone while her kid, Daniel, who is about three years older and a foot taller than the other kids, is sitting in the front row. He has his arms out-stretched and his hoodie flipped up over his head, blocking about as much of the view as one single solitary kid possibly can. But the worst part is that he apparently had already been to story-time that week and the library asks that you only come to one story-time a week because it's no fun for anyone when your kid ruins the story for the other kids by loudly blurting out the ending. to. every. single. book. The librarian, god bless her, asked Daniel to pipe down and when he said, "We already read that book!" She looked right at the mother and said nothing. She then looked back at her book and said, "Yes, it's the same story as Tuesday. You're right. Same stories all week long."
What she should have said is: "Bitch, put your fucking phone down and pay attention to your kid. He is up here flapping his sweater wings and ruining every single story for all the other kids. You might not be able to hear him over those two moms over there talking during story-time while that baby jingles those goddamn keys but seriously. You adults need to learn how to behave in public so that you don't raise a bunch of neanderthals. Now, who wants a fucking cookie?"

*Just to be clear - I do not think I am a better mother than anyone else because I breast-feed. I think that breast-feeding is a societal issue and that American women do not get nearly enough education or support when it comes to learning how to breast-feed. Breast-feeding is hard. Just ask my friend who has had mastitis...oh, I lost count at four times. She might be up to five. But damn it if she hasn't stuck it out because she is committed to breast-feeding her kids. And both my kids are tongue-tied, which has made feeding them a bit more challenging (not that I'm comparing it to mastitis...oh no I am NOT!) And again, I don't think I'm a better mom - a more committed mom, yes. A more educated mom, sometimes yes. A mom willing to make some serious short-term sacrifices with the long-term goal in mind? Yes. I mean, have you seen the bags under my eyes?!? But a better mom? No, there are plenty of wonderful mothers who give their children formula for one reason or another. But what gets my panties all in a bunch is when a mother who chose formula over breast-milk, which is unequivocally better for the health of the child and the mother, wants to judge me and question my choice as if there's anything to question.

Birthday dress

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
It seems almost stupid to be proud of this, but I made my first dress. I've made E a few pants, but those don't count because they consist of two seams and a piece of elastic. However, since making the dress I've been inspired to up my game in the boy's pants department (that should never be taken out of context) and came up with a really cute pair or pants that I made out of a pair of blanket-soft linen DKNY pants I've had since college. But that's a post for another day.

My mom is a gifted seamstress. She used to make costumes for know, the one in NYC. She's a sewing savant. She can look at a dress and replicate it without ever even touching the original dress. I know, because when I was trying on wedding dresses, I fell in love with a dress that had cost more than any car I'd ever driven. So I called my mom and wept, not ever thinking she'd be able to make the dress for me since she lives thousands of miles away. She came out to visit once and when I showed up to Miami for our second wedding, the dress vision of perfection.


She covered each and every one of those buttons by hand.

So it seems so very childish for me to be excited about sewing a dress, but I am. I followed a pattern and made a dress. I even top-stitched. And when I was all done and held it up I cringed at how amateurish it really was (it is tough to make a dress with help from a toddler and a baby in your lap!) but when I closed my eyes and pictured it on the little girl it was intended for, I couldn't not give it to her for her third birthday.


The little girl is one of E's first friends. She has a halo of blond curls and bright blue eyes (perfect, right?) Her mom and I met at a parent-tot gym class and if I were a guy, I would want to be married to her. She's beautiful, she's a bad-ass, and when she says "in sickness or in health," she really means it. I hope they love the dress as much as I loved making it and that they are able to look past the imperfections and see the love in every stitch.

Call of the Wild

Sunday, April 25, 2010
I want to eat my baby. My friend, Bangs, has come close to taking a bite out of B, but I figured it's because she's biased, being her kindof aunt and all and because she hangs out with me and is as close to hispanic as you can get (my brother often calls her his little tortilla.) So I thought that wanting to eat babies was a spanish (and spanish wannabe) thing until Bangs's sister came out to visit and said, "E is so cute, I want to eat him up." Bangs's sister is super white American. Then D was talking to his mom and she said, "B is so cute I just want to eat her." D started laughing and theorized that it must be a woman thing. Not a hispanic woman thing necessarily, but definitely a woman thing...because no guy we know has ever yearned to eat either of my babies.


I mean, look at those arms. And those cheeks. And you can't tell from this picture, but her chins all rest on her chest and the crease where they all come together, well...that's my favorite place to bury my face and gobble.

A light bulb just went off over my head. What if animals in the wild don't eat their young because of competition for resources, but because they find their babies so cute that they start to nibble and then accidentally get carried away? This would revolutionize the theory of evolution as we know it. Oh, my phone's ringing. Must be the Noble Prize committee calling me now.

What is this? Leave your boundaries at home day?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010
We were at the post office yesterday and I couldn't believe our luck. We walked up to the counter. We never walk up to the counter. We usually stand in line for anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes, but not today! Today, we walked right up. I sat B up on the counter and handed over my parcel. The postal employee behind the counter proceeded to take B's shoe off and rub. her. foot. I shit you not. Who does that?!?

Then we went to Costco (I know, we lead a glamorous life.) I had to return something so by the time we finally get up to the counter, E has been tugging on my hand and making me crazy for a good five minutes. I smile at him and calmly inform him that if he wants to hold my hand, he's going to have to stop tugging on it. He tugs again. So I not-as-calmly inform him that we are no longer going to hold hands. And then a voice behind us says, "Here, I'll hold hands with you."

I turn around and the woman standing in line behind us has her arm outstretched and E slowly reaches for it. She is about 5'10" tall and a solid 200 pounds.
"Um, hey bud, you need to come stand by me." She twirls E around.
The woman behind the counter is demanding my attention but I can't do it. I can't not know where E is. And I certainly can't let this woman keep holding his hand.
"Sweetheart. I need you to come stand by me." The space between us is making me more and more uncomfortable. Costco, like the DMV, rigidly controls the distance between the next person in line and the actual counter. And so he's not within arm's reach of me. He's all the way over there.
"Sweetheart. I need you to come stand by me." I'm exuding calm. At least I'm forcing myself to. She seems like a perfectly nice woman.
"What's your name?" she asks him.
When he responds, she asks him how to spell it.
I almost laugh out loud at what a ridiculous request that is. He's two-and-a-half. He can't spell his name. But I digress. At this point I look at the lady behind the counter and smile a tight smile. I take the three steps toward my son and grab his free hand. "Sweetheart. YOU NEED TO COME STAND BY ME."
"He's very trusting," she says. "Don't do that with a man. Don't trust a man like that," she tells E.

I throw my receipt, my membership card and my refund in my purse and grab E. We get out of line and cross into the other side of the store. I usually allow him to ride on the front of the shopping cart but I put him up in the seat instead. "Why can't I ride on the front?" he asks. "Because I love you, sweetheart. Because I love you."

In relaying the story to D later that afternoon, I realized just how shook up I had gotten. Again, she seemed like a perfectly nice woman but she was crossing a my line. Her behavior was making me uncomfortable. It seemed like one of those pivotal moments...where everyone watching me crying on the six o'clock news would tsk tsk and think that I should have known better. That I should have seen it coming. What kind of mother lets some stranger hold her son's hand twenty feet from the front door of a busy store?

Am I over-reacting? I honestly don't know. Something about her, maybe her insistence on interacting with E even though I was asking him to come stand by me, or maybe the fact that she was the second person that day that seemed not to have any respect for personal boundaries, was making me prickle. Maybe I was just punchy from being a sleep camel. I don't know. But if it ever happens again, I'm ready. I will lean over, grab my child's hand with complete disregard for the person behind the counter as well as the people standing in line, and look the stranger in the face. "Thank you for being so kind to my son, but I'd rather he stand next to me." And that will be that.

Best Nursing Pads EVER.

Monday, April 19, 2010
Bras. Tampons. Shoes.

That should take care of any of the guys who got past the title of today's post.

I have been struggling with nursing pads since B was born. I thought I could just reuse the ones that I'd purchased while nursing E, but they were a tiny bit funky and I don't know about you, but I don't want funk near my lady parts. So I bought a box of Lansinoh disposable nursing pads and figured that I'd just order some new washable pads.

Well. I googled and googled and googled. In all my googling, I could not find the ones I had and loved. I was tempted by these but the threat of thrush and the reviews that warned of how they are magnets for dog hair...I don't know about you, but I don't want thrush or dog hair near my lady parts either. I still had my cotton pads, but who do these work for? They're lumpy and they leak like crazy. Wearing cotton nursing pads is only slightly better than not wearing pads at all. So those were out. No, I really, really wanted to find the leak-proof pads I had before.

But then by the time I had a chance to look again, B was getting close to being 16ish weeks and from what I remembered from the first time around, it was around four months when my boobs and my baby had worked out some sort of agreement - if you stop spraying me in the eye then I'll stop tugging on you like a baby bear eating a fresh-caught salmon. So then I was reluctant to keep looking because I expected the problem to resolve itself.

Well, guess what! Seems like the 2nd time around, the valves don't seal off quite as well and you continue to need nursing pads well into what are we at? Six months. Box after box of disposable nursing pads (oh, the landfills! oh, the dollars down the drain! oh, the crinkly sound they make that I swear everyone in the room can hear!) and I finally faced the fact that I needed to find those magical nursing pads that had been eluding me thus far. I resumed my determined search of non-cotton, non-crinkly, super-absorbent, leak-proof reusable nursing pads. And then I smacked my forehead with the heel of my hand and said Doh! I'd shopped these websites in the past six months and couldn't believe I'd missed them...

Here's what I found:
Knickernappies Stay Dry Nursing Pads - I love these. I got them in white but am considering getting them in an array of spring colors, just for shits and giggles. They're super absorbent, they're leak-proof, soft and unlike cotton, they don't stick to your nips. $9.99 for 3 pairs.

Snap-Ez - I also really like these. They come in an array of colors and are also soft and comfy. And if you're sleep-deprived and stupid, they call you and make sure that you don't plan on driving all the way from Lakewood, CO to Blaine, WA to pick up 2 pairs of nursing pads (like you said you would when you checked out) and they ship them to you anyway and trust that you'll pay for shipping later. That's customer service! $4/pair.

Meg A Roo's Design - Love these. I should have gone with the 5" regardless of what she specifies on her website about bra size, but I also wanted to see if there was a difference between 4" and 5". There is. The 5" sit further back in my bra (34B) and don't create the double bull's-eye effect through my shirt. The reason I really like these is because you can specify whatever color you'd like. I wanted black and brown ones and Meagan made them for me, lickity split. I highly recommend paying the extra dollar for velour. $3/pair
As a side-note: If you cloth diaper like we do, go ahead and order yourself and stack of her extended tab prefolds. They are quickly becoming my favorite diaper. I'll tell you more about them when I finally get around to writing up the one about cloth diapering.

Homestead Emporium - The ones I bought aren't listed right now, but I got the bamboo velour super soaker pads and these are the Cadillac of nursing pads. They are a bit pricier, but totally worth it. They're tear-drop shaped (hide better in your bra) and they have two darts in them so that they form more of a cup, which really does make a difference. They hail from Canada, so they took a little longer to get here, but they were worth the wait. $9/pair

So which ones would I buy if I were you? To tell you the truth, it would depend on the circumstances...if I was pregnant for the first time and planned hoped to have more, then I would definitely go with the HEs. And I'd get a good four or five pairs. Hell, if I was pregnant for the 2nd time and knew I wasn't having more, I'd go with the HEs. They're sooooo nice. But if I was in a hurry to get them, I'd go with the Knickernappies or the Snap-Ez because the Meg A Roo's are made to order and the HE's take a while to cross the border from our friends up north. If I was looking for black and brown ones, then I'd go with the Megaroos. If I wanted less expensive white or light colors, I'd go with the Knickernappies, not because they're any better than the Snap-Ez, but because they're equal quality and they're cheaper. But if I wanted to pick out specific colors and thought it was worth the extra buck a pair, I'd go with the Snap-Ez over the Knickernappies. It just depends on what's important to you.

Regardless, you could go with any of the above and be happy. And no matter which ones you pick, you are doing a lot of very important things - you are supporting small business/WAHMs (work-at-home-moms, for you unenlightened), you are keeping disposable pads out of the landfills, you are keeping tons of money in your pockets, and most importantly of all, you're breast-feeding.