Jun 102014
 

This morning I again found myself in the same place I find myself every morning:  engaged in battle with my three-year-old daughter about what she is going to wear.  No matter how difficult it is for me, I try to let her pick out her own clothes. And believe me, it IS difficult for me.”Are you SURE you want to wear a pink velour skirt with a red velour dress and purple pants?Yeah,  that looks amaaaaazing.” Clearly, my three-year-old doesn’t grasp sarcasm yet, but with me as her mother I am sure that it won’t be long.

It is difficult to let her make her own mistakes…um… I mean, choices, but I want her to be able to express who she is – even if who she is is colorblind. I guess that is probably the one of the hardest things about raising children, right? Letting them make their own mistakes, and learn from them. Letting them be who they are, even if it’s not who you want them to be.

But, while I try to let her make her own decisions, at least regarding her clothes, I do draw the line at things that are inappropriate for one reason or another:  Snow boots when it is 100 degrees outside, her fancy party dress that will likely turn into a cleaning rag after one day at school. Todays’ battle du jour was about a maxi-dress that she loves (and yes, I know it’s ridiculous that my three-year-old has a maxi-dress), but I don’t think is appropriate for running around and playing at school. Here’s a sampling of this morning’s conversation regarding said dress:

Lyla: “I want to wear THIS dress”

Me: “No honey, you know that’s not a good dress for school. How about one of these twelve dresses instead?”

L: “Nope. This is the one.”

M: “But honey, that dress is long. I’m worried that you won’t be able to run around and play at school.”

L: “Why can’t I run around and play?”

M: “Because I am scared that you will trip over the dress and fall.”

L (smiling brighter than the sun): “Oh mama, that’s ok. If I fall, I will just pick myself back up!”

 

And that, my friends, is solid proof of my theory that our children have so much more to teach us than we will ever teach them.

And also why my daughter is wearing her maxi-dress at school today.

Aug 102013
 

A few days ago, it was my birthday. And I got the most amazing gift ever. It didn’t cost a cent, it made me feel amazing, and it came from a total stranger who had no idea that it was even my birthday.

Perhaps it is childish, but I really love my birthday.  It’s my favorite day of the year.  It’s not really about the gifts, although I do love gifts. It’s not even really about the cake, although I really love cake. It’s not even about having an excuse to drink all day, although (usually) I really, really love my wine. I guess it is just about having a day that is all about me (and everyone else who is born on August 7th). Friends, old and new, reach out with kind words. Strangers, when they hear it is your birthday (and you know I tell EVERYONE it is my birthday), give you a genuine smile and wishes for a happy year. Most of all, I take the opportunity to indulge myself a bit. I let myself eat burgers and fries for lunch, have as big of a slice of cake as I like (or two), drink a bit more than I should, or even buy myself a little gift, spending more than I normally would.

Although usually I love making the day all about me, this year I was actually excited about spending the day with my daughter, Lyla. Perhaps I am finally growing up a bit. For the first time, at two years old, she finally understands that this is a special day. She helped my husband prepare a nice breakfast for me, even picking flowers to give me from the garden, and burst into my room singing “Happy birthday to you! Tanti Auguri to you!” (the bilingual remix of happy birthday.) We then decided to spend the day at the Santa Monica pier. We had gone there for her second birthday, and had one of the best days together that we had ever had. We rode rides, took silly pictures in a photo booth, ate burgers while looking out at the ocean, rode the famous carousel, and spoiled ourselves with giant, ice cream sundaes. Sounded like the perfect way to spend a birthday to me… perhaps I am NOT growing up too much, after all.

It was a perfect day. I was relaxed and happy, and my daughter was too. No worrying about eating enough vegetables, or too much sugar. No getting frustrated when my daughter had an accident, and peed right on the arcade floor… although we did make a quick exit. No temper tantrums – from either of us. It was a day for the history books. Then it got better.

After eating our cheeseburgers and fries, while cleaning up the rather large mess (because my daughter is 2, even on her best days) a man, who I noticed sitting alone next to us, approached the table. He said, “Excuse me. I just wanted to tell you that you are doing a great job. Your daughter is lucky to have you.” I could barely stutter, “Thank you so much” before he had turned and was on his way. I was in complete shock. First, that someone had noticed me and my daughter at all – and not simply to give us a dirty look because my daughter was standing on the chair screaming “You hear that?! That’s a fart!” at the top of her lungs (true story.) Second, that a total stranger had gone out of his way to pay me a compliment with nothing to gain for himself  – a compliment that I have really, really needed to hear for some time now. I really needed to hear someone tell me that I am doing ok, because most of the time I feel like I am failing miserably.

I don’t think I’m a bad parent necessarily, but usually when I analyze my day, it is much easier to focus on all the things I did wrong, rather than the things I did right. I tend to focus on the times I lost my temper, the times I raised my voice, the times I gave up fighting and let my daughter watch tv because I needed some goddamn peace and quiet. I wonder if my daughter slept enough, if she ate enough of the right things or too much of the wrong ones. I question my choices when it comes to discipline, praise, and pretty much everything in between. And when I analyze all of this, my answer is usually that I can do better. That everyone else is doing it better.

Even on those rare, really good days, when my daughter is well-behaved, I am relaxed, and everything goes smoothly, it is through no feat of mine. It is because my daughter is in a good mood, or she got enough sleep, or just pure, simple, good luck. The credit is never mine.

So when this total stranger came up to me and told me that I was ok, and even better than ok, that I was a GOOD parent – it was something I truly needed to hear. Not because I needed an ego boost. Not because a compliment is always nice. Not even because it was my birthday. I needed to hear it, because then I started wondering if perhaps it might be true. Might I be doing ok? Might I even be doing some of this parenting thing… gasp… well? It made me think of how happy my daughter is. How smart and funny and kind she is. How creative and loving. And I started to think that maybe it’s not an accident. That maybe I do, in fact, have something to do with that. And I still think that. Even over the past few days, when I lost my temper or said something I shouldn’t, I kept thinking that even if I wasn’t perfect, perhaps I am doing ok anyway.

I have no idea who this man is, and I guarantee that he has no idea how much that simple act of kindness meant to me. He has no idea that it keeps me going when things get tough. Or maybe he does know, and that is why he said it. If so, he is even kinder than I ever imagined.

DSC_0059

 

 

Feb 252013
 

A couple of months ago my husband and I had a fight.  Not simply a disagreement. Not an argument. Not even a simple, clean fight.  We had a knockdown, drag-out, say-things-you-will-regret-later kind of fight.  It was an experience that rarely happens, and I am going to do my best to make sure that it never happens again.

The details of what we argued about don’t really matter, but here’s the gist:  he said something that pissed me off and I totally over-reacted (as usual), got defensive (per normal), and got angry (yep, again normal. Sigh.) Again, the details of what he said that triggered all of this don’t really matter, but what I came to realize throughout that very long night is that: truly, it’s not him, it’s me.

I got so upset because something he said touched a very deep vein of insecurity in me. Nearly everyone I know has their insecurities, and I am no exception. I am insecure about many things: the size of my thighs, the shape of my breasts, the nasally sound of my voice. Insecurity is not a new thing to me. But lately I have added a new insecurity to the list. This insecurity has shaken me to my very core, because that is what I am insecure about – My very core.  Not my thighs or my breasts or my belly or my laugh. I am insecure about Me. Mostly because I don’t know who Me is anymore.

Since becoming a mom, I have struggled to define myself outside of that title.  I used to be many things – A writer, a producer, a loving wife, a best friend, a dirty-joke-teller, a great secret-keeper, a full-time foodie and wino, a sometime hip-hop dancer. But when my daughter was born, a new me was born too, and now I often feel as though I have been stripped down to a single thing: Lyla’s mommy.   Believe me, Lyla’s mommy is really great thing to be, but sometimes I feel as though it is just not enough.

Perhaps it is my fault. Since having a baby, I quit my full-time job and now freelance part-time. I have given up most of my hobbies. I see much less of my friends. But these are all choices that I made, and I am not sure that I would make them any differently. My most rewarding job is my daughter. She is also my favorite hobby and my best friend. And that is beautiful. But yet, I still feel lost sometimes.

I used to be full of stories and jokes and opinions.  Now, I often find myself struggling for interesting things to talk about at dinner parties.  My clever anecdotes about potty training, and hilarious stories of Mommy and Me shenanigans can only take me so far.

I used to have an exciting job.  Something I worked very hard at and was very proud of.  Now, when people ask me what I do, I  come up with some sort of vague answer about how I kinda stay home with my daughter and sort of work part-time from home.  It’s as though I feel like neither job is good or exciting enough to warrant anyone’s curiosity.  Instead I steer the conversation towards my husband or a friend or someone whose life is more worthy of examination.

I used to love getting dressed up, carefully planning each outfit the day before. Now, I spend my days in yoga pants and hoodies.  I sometimes go for days without putting on make-up or even washing my hair. This is probably because I can often go For days without seeing another adult besides my husband and the cashier at Trader Joe’s.

Time passes. There are wonderful days and boring days and tough days. My daughter grows bigger and sometimes I feel as though I am growing smaller.  I get further and further away from the person I used to be,  but somehow I don’t get much closer to discovering the person I am now.

Although my fight with my husband was awful, something good came out of it.  It forced me to take a hard look at myself and realize that I need to make some changes.  I need a Mommy Make-over, and not the kind that requires a nip and tuck, or even a new hair-cut. I realized that I need to take care of my newborn self the way that I took care of my newborn daughter.  I need to love and nurture myself, and every once in a while, to put my own needs at the top of the list.

I know that it is February, and now is when people are breaking their New Year’s resolutions, not making them, but I think that any positive change can happen any time you decide to make it happen.  So this year my resolution is this: I am going to spend a lot less time thinking about who I used to be or who I should be, and spend a lot more time discovering who I am.  Who I really am. Right at this moment.  Not the “new and improved, healthier, skinnier, friendlier, better wife, better mother” me.  But just me. Right now. What I REALLY enjoy doing.  What REALLY makes me happy.  Then I am going to spend a lot less time thinking about it, and a lot more time actually doing it. And hopefully once day, when I am old and grey and I have time to think about these things, I will discover that I have always known who I am.  And it has nothing to do with any job I held, or clothes that I wore, or hobby I perfected.  Perhaps it is some complicated equation that has to do with the people I love, added to the experiences I have had, multiplied by the laughs I have shared.   But I haven’t quite figured that out yet.  So for now, I’m going to try to think less and live more.  Talk to me when I’m 80.  By then I should have it all figured out.  Maybe.

 

Travel makes me happy!

Travel makes me happy!

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

Jan 232013
 

Today has been a tough day. Not as tough a day as many people around the world are having – fighting illness, war, abuse, hunger, poverty, and the inability to use the correct there/their/they’re – but more of a day full of annoyances and frustrations. Minor in terms of the scope of problems that I just mentioned, but that knowledge doesn’t make me feel less frustrated.  And I am trying not to feel guilty about that.  Sometimes we just need to feel frustrated.  To give into to it for a minute before we can get over it.  So I am.

My daughter hasn’t been feeling well for the past few days.  She has had a fever and has been waking up through the past few nights, which then causes her to be cranky during the following days because she is tired.  So I have gotten little more than a couple of hours of restless sleep for the past few nights, which has led to me also being cranky during the day.  So when my daughter has total meltdowns because I won’t allow her to put a plastic bag over her head, or she throws the lotion on the floor-causing it to explode all over the carpet, or when she smacks me the face with the force of a miniature prize-fighter, my own exhaustion and crankiness cause me to want to have a total meltdown.  What can I throw?  Who can I smack in the face?

Here’s the thing though.  It will pass.  One night soon (please God, please) she will feel better and get a good night of sleep.  And then so will I.  And life will be good again… until it’s not.  That’s the way parenting goes.  It is tough. It is wonderful. Often both at the same time.

So, I am not writing this post to ask for advice on how to get through this.  And I am certainly not writing this post to give advice on how to get through a similar situation.  I am simply writing this to remind everyone that Tough happens.  It happens to the best of us.  And to the not-even-close-to-the-best-of-us.   It happens in big problems and small annoyances. And sometimes we let our frustrations get the best of us.  Sometimes we even throw things or have meltdowns. And sometimes that’s ok… as long as you are not at work.  Or at a restaurant with tablecloths.  Or the grocery store.  Or on public transportation.  Or really anywhere in public if you can help it.

Image

I am woman, hear me roar!!! (in the privacy of my own home, of course.)

photo credit: Darwin Bell via photopin cc

Dec 312012
 

Hello strangers! I know it’s been a while since we’ve chatted. Some of you have even reached out to see where I’ve been. And while this does make me feel a bit guilty about my lack of blogging action as of late, it also makes me feel good to know that I am missed. At least I know that if I disappeared, I wouldn’t be left alone in my house to rot and have my face eaten by stray cats, until the horrific smell alerted a neighbor. So, for those of you who care, thank you! And for the rest of you, please just make sure to feed your cats and immediately report any strange smells.

The reason I haven’t been posting is not because things have been bad, but instead because they have been really good! I have spent the last two weeks in Colorado, enjoying the snow and making memories with my friends and family. I really wasn’t planning to take a vacation from blogging too, in fact, I had all kinds of things that I wanted to write about. However, I have been enjoying my time here so much that I decided to stop writing about my life for a bit and really focus on living it.

But fear not, oh loyal readers, I have not forsaken thee! 2013 will bring a fresh, reinvigorated blog to help guide you through life with humor and wisdom. (What would you do without me, right?) A good friend has selflessly volunteered to to help me create a brand-new shiny blog for all of you to enjoy, so stay tuned. Have a happy and safe New Years Eve, and I will see you in 2013,

Nov 282012
 

Dancing: Guaranteed to Make Your Day Kick Ass

I spend most of my days teaching my daughter stuff. Important stuff like words, numbers, colors, how to read, how to poopoo in the potty, and how to say “Cheerio mate!” with a British accent. But as much as I teach her, I swear that she teaches me more.  Yesterday’s lesson:  How to Make Your Day Kick Ass!

You know those nights when you come home after a long, tiring day and just want to flop down on the couch, shovel carbs into your face hole and stare blankly at the TV?  Or perhaps you have been home with your kids for an equally long, tiring day and you just want to flop down on the couch, shovel carbs into your face hole and stare blankly at the TV.  But instead of some well-deserved couch time you get to do the Evening Scramble because there is dinner to be made, baths to be given, and finicky husbands – I mean children – to feed. You know those nights? Well, that was where I was last night.

It was a Monday, and a Monday after a vacation, at that. My husband had just gotten home from work, tired and hungry. I was scrambling to clean up the aftermath of the natural disaster that is my daughter’s dinner (can I get some FEMA up in here?) while simultaneously making a fabulous dinner – ok a dinner – for my husband and I. My daughter was running around, begging for attention. So, to distract her for the 2.4 minutes I needed to finish cleaning up, I turned on some music.  It was Foster The People Pandora if you must know (I’ve had it up to HERE with Elmo singing! Maybe the next Elmo could  have a less annoying voice, huh?  And perhaps not be a pedophile. ALLEGEDLY**)  Anyway, I cranked up the tunes and got back to the Evening Scramble.

A few minutes later I turned around to check on my daughter, and saw that she was dancing. Beautifully, maniacally, joyfully, hand-clappingly, booty-shakingly dancing with all her might.  If you have never seen a one-year-old dance, there is truly nothing better in the world. Usually I don’t make a habit of posting many photos or videos of my daughter, because I feel like she deserves some semblance of privacy. Although, for some reason it doesn’t bother me to share her every word, action and fart with the world, but hey, it’s my blog and I will share if I want to. Anyway, I don’t usually share videos, but this video of her dancing is pure happiness, so I feel like it is my duty to share it with the world.  Check it out on my Facebook page (and like my page while you are there!)  If you can watch this video and not smile, then you are dead inside.  Pack your shit and go try out for The Real Housewives.

So last night my daughter was dancing in her amazing way, and as my husband and I stood watching her, she ran over and grabbed our hands and pulled us to the dance floor (aka living room).  Yes, the kitchen was still a mess and the dinner was beginning to burn, but when a kid commands you to shake your ass, your ass gets shaken. So we danced. And then we danced some more. At first, I was trying to teach my daughter some dance moves, but she looked at me like I was crazy and kept doing her thing. So instead I let her teach me.  I copied HER moves, and man was it fun!  And now, in yet another act of kindness, I will teach you.

Step One:  Put on some booty-shaking music. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as gets your booty bouncing.

Step Two:  Turn it up!

Step Three:  Turn it up more!

Step Four:  Turn it down already! Do you want to make your child deaf?! What kind of parent are you anyway?

Step Five:  Close your eyes. Start to move your body. No one is watching you. No one cares if you are on-beat, in-time, or cool at all. Freeing right?

Step Six:  Now that no one is watching you, just relax and let your body take you where it wants to go. Clap your hands, jump up and down, kick your legs, twirl around until you fall down, laugh until you cry.

Step Six:  Repeat until your heart is beating out of your chest or the fire alarm goes off… whichever comes first.

We all danced like that for another 20 minutes or so, until it was time to get back to the business of life. You always have to get back to business eventually, that is the way that life works. But when I got back to making my (slightly charred) dinner, I was doing it with a smile on my face and my ass still twitching to the beat.  I felt more energized and much happier than if I had flopped down on the couch as I had wanted to.  It was a great way to end the day, and I am going to try it as often as possible. And then, when I am done dancing and my heart is doing the samba and my stomach aches from laughter, only then I will flop down on the couch, shovel carbs into my face hole and stare blankly at the TV.

**Don’t sue me Elmo!!

photo credit: Will Montague via photopin cc

Nov 012012
 

Now this is my kind of chart!

Ok, so here’s the post that I was trying to write when my fingers told me that I really wanted to write about something else…

It’s no secret that your life changes drastically when you have a child. Getting pregnant is an investment. You invest 10 months of your time, 100% of your hopes, dreams and fears, plus your body, your personal comfort, and sometimes even your health, knowing (and hoping that everyone who has kids wasn’t lying to you in some F-ed up prank) that everything you put into it will pay off once you are holding that sweet little baby in your arms.  And then, of course, you spend the rest of your life investing in this child and hopefully reaping the benefits before the stock market crash that is called the teenage years hits… but I digress.

Like any long-term investment, along the way there are many gains and losses. I always knew that when I had a baby I would be gaining…well… a baby. (I didn’t graduate Cum Laude for nuthin!)  I also knew that I would lose a few things.  Mostly inconsequential things such as sleep, sanity, working brain cells and hopefully at least 60% of the baby weight.  However, over the past year-and-a-half there have been a few losses and gains that I didn’t count on.

Losses:

My Hair – I had heard a lot of horrifying tales about different physical things that happen to you when you have a baby, but no one ever told me about the hair thing.  Besides my boobs, my hair was pretty much the only thing that actually looked better when I was pregnant. My ass may have looked like cottage cheese in a mesh sack, but my hair looked like a “Don’t hate me because I am beautiful” Pantene model.  That’s why it was even harder to take when, about six months after having my daughter, it started to fall out.  In clumps. And then, to add insult to injury, all these tiny little baby hairs started growing back around my hairline.  Now, when I put my hair in a ponytail, I look like a nerdy girl at my Bat mitzvah… you know the frizzy-haired girl with the food in her colored braces. That one. Sigh.

My Time – No surprise here. I knew that this baby thing would be a time-suck, I just didn’t realize that even when she is at daycare or napping, 100% of my time would be devoted to her.  Between all the laundry, shopping, worrying, cooking, cleaning, obsessively calling the doctor, worrying, researching the best strollers, car seats, educational toys and preschools to waste, I mean spend, my money on, I now have no time to do all those things for myself.

Sleep – Again, no surprise that I would get less sleep after having baby.  However, what I didn’t realize is that when you become a parent, you lose the right to have a good night of sleep ever again.  Even though my daughter now sleeps through the night, I do not.  Why?  Because at the slightest sigh, cough, turn, creak or fart I bolt upright, jamming the monitor to my face to make sure she is still in one piece.  I can only imagine what this will be like when she is teenager out with friends. Or a boy!!! Do they make a video teenage monitor?

My mind – dlfkjath[naf’dpijht[pajf’nadl;fjhdonladj.  ;atlebtpiebgldnvbdlnd;kla!!  That’s how I feel at least 68% of the time.

Vanity –  I guess this is not really a surprise either, but I always (disillusionedly) thought that I would be one of the cool moms with great bedhead hair and casual yet stylish clothes.  You know, like Jessica Alba.  Now I realize that if I was not Jessica Alba before I had a baby, then motherhood certainly won’t turn me into her.  Instead I have greasy bedhead hair and casual yet decidedly unstylish clothes.  Sue me, I’m tired.  Not to mention, ah;bvdo;vnoiwubgvfwnpvopwirjfkm!

My keys, wallet and the ability to match shoes –  At any given time, I have only one of the three.

My Boobs –  I never had big boobs but at least they were perky.  Now they are smaller than ever and somehow still saggy.  Well, at least I got a cool blog title out of it.

My identity – Pre-baby I used to be a lot of things:  Hotshot producer (at least in my mind), smartass, fun-loving friend, spontaneous wife, wino (ok, I am still a wino), foodie, party-goer, book-reader, dream-chaser.  Now, I am pretty much one thing, and one thing only:  Lyla’s mommy.  Seriously.  When I meet other moms at the playground, they ask what my daughter’s name is, but never mine.  When I talk with friends, family, and my hubby most of our conversations revolve around Lyla. Most of the time I don’t mind this.  She is my favorite topic of conversation.  She is my greatest accomplishment.  But sometimes I miss… well, me.

Yes, I have lost a lot of things since having a baby.  I could actually go on and on with this list, but I will spare you more of the Tale of Two (saggy) Titties.  Instead, let’s focus on the gains.  First and foremost, I gained a daughter.  Nothing on the list of Losses can even compare to how much I have gained from her.  However, there are a few more gains that have surprised me.

Gains:

Friends – Personally I have never been a fan of mommy groups.  I just don’t like the idea of forcing myself to be friends with someone just because we have kids who are the same age.  We may have that in common, but you wear a scrunchie and so we shall never be friends.  However, since having my daughter, two wonderful things have happened:  First, I have grown even closer to the friends I already have.  I may not talk to them as much, but something about the bonding that happens when you complain about your kids has drawn us closer than ever.  I have even grown closer to those friends who don’t have kids. When I see how much they love my daughter it makes me love them even more.  The second thing that has is happened is that, despite my mommy prejudices, I have managed to make a few new amazing mommy friends.  We came together because we have kids around the same age, but we have stayed together because we generally like one another’s company.  I have even “met” some amazing mommies (and daddies) through this blog that I now consider friends. Sometimes there is nothing you need more than for another mommy to tell you that you are not totally failing.  I am even beginning to rethink the whole mommy group thing.  Do they have mommy wine clubs?!

A new career – Pre-baby I had a great job as a producer.  I made good money, I worked a lot of hours, and most of the time I really liked the work.  However, I always dreamed about going back to writing.  Writing is my love.  It is the only thing in my life that I do because I have to do it.  I am not myself if I go very long without putting pen to paper (my preferred form) or fingers to the keyboard.  But I was scared.  Freelancing is tough.  I knew it and my boss reaffirmed it when I tried to quit the first time.  (Long story short:  I chickened out and worked there for another year.)  But once I found out I was having a baby, the money seemed a lot less important than the time I would miss with my daughter by working those long hours.  I finally had the courage to quit my job and start freelancing.  I make less money but have never been happier.  Except when my computer breaks and I can’t call IT to fix it.  Then, I curse my freelance status and stress-eat.

A really weird belly button –  I never cared much about my belly button. I never liked it, I never hated it…  until I had a baby and was left with this weird one.  Now, I have an irrational disgust for mine.  It is stretched out and kind of saggy.  And I have stretch marks inside of it. And that misguided belly button ring that I got on spring break when I was 17 has come back to haunt me, ten-fold. You were right, mom!

A new outlook – Since becoming a mom my priorities have definitely changed.  My daughter is the center of my universe, as she should be.  But besides my priorities, my whole outlook has changed.  Little annoying things don’t matter as much, and little amazing things matter so much more.  I may have less of an identity, but I have become more of a person.

The ability to say wise things like, “You just don’t know what it is to be a mom until you are one.” –  I always got annoyed when people would say this before I was a mom.  Now I am a mom.  And now I can say that being a mom is the most amazing thing in the world.  Earth-shatteringly, mind-bendingly, pants-peeingly amazing. So amazing that no amount of losses could ever tip the scale.  So amazing that I just can’t tell you how amazing it is until you are a parent and you find out for yourself.  Yes, I can now say this kind of thing and then smile with self-satisfaction, just like those other annoying moms.  And damn, it feels good!
photo credit: Clint Chilcott via photopin cc

Oct 262012
 

Yesterday I woke up on the wrong side of the crib… I mean bed. It was just one of those days where nothing seems to go right.  Here’s how it started:

Wake up to a beautiful day.  For some reason this annoys me (not sure if it is the waking up or the beautiful day that did it.)  Walk to coffee shop for the perfect combo of sugar and caffeine that will put things right.  After waiting in line for 10 min, discover that the coffee shop doesn’t have lids for my to go coffees – which wouldn’t be a big deal if I didn’t have to walk a half mile with a coffee in each hand. Oh yeah, and if I was even half as graceful as a drunk three-year-old. Begin to feel face flush with annoyance, but wave it off.  Go to another coffee shop that has lids but not the sugary latte I wanted.  Pout a bit.  Discover Facebook has stopped working on my phone.  Pout more.  Erase Facebook and attempt to redownload.  Discover that before I can download Facebook again, I need to update my phone’s software.  Take deep breath.  Learn that before I can update my phone, I need to update my iTunes. Engage yoga/labor breathing.  Find out that before I can update my iTunes I need to deauthorize my other computers and reauthorize my laptop.  Aggressively chug cup of coffee. Burn throat but pretend not to notice. Discover that I can’t reauthorize my laptop because my disc is out of space.
Take deep breath.  Doesn’t work.  Inhale cinnamon toast. Choke on cinnamon. Repeat. Twice.  Attempt to make space on laptop by removing pictures and movies onto a hard drive.  Spend one hour doing this.  Finally realize that in doing this, my pictures are now a mess on the hard drive without any kind of order, labeling or anything that would enable me to find any picture ever.  Pick up laptop.  Smash it on desk like a guitarist on stage at a rock show.  Just kidding.  But think hard about picking up laptop and smashing it on my desk like a guitarist on stage at a rock show.  Instead text husband an angry tantrum text about how I wish technology would die and huff around the house, cleaning up by throwing things (gently) into their places. Man, I really showed those teddy bears!

The rest of the day continued on like this, with everything going a little wrong and with me totally overreacting and throwing a temper tantrum like a toddler.

When it was time to go pick up my actual toddler, I was delighted to discover that she was also in a foul mood.  She didn’t want to come inside, but she didn’t want stay outside either.  She didn’t want to sit in her high chair, but when I set her back down she was pissed too.  She didn’t know what she wanted and nothing could make her happy.  She was impossible. And I know exactly how she felt.  Even though dealing with a cranky baby was the last thing I wanted to do when I was busy being a cranky baby myself, it made me smile how alike we are sometimes.

Here’s the thing though. She is a baby.  I am not. Usually.  She’s one and a half.  I am thirty… well, ya know, old enough to know better.  I am not a slave to my emotions.  I have the power to turn my mood around.  I just chose not too.  I chose to let myself sulk and wallow in my bad mood and spend the day in a long-term temper tantrum.  But then my husband came home with cupcakes and slightly frightened eyes and a patient smile.  He spoke gently and coddled me, just like he does with our daughter when she is being outrageous.  And you know what… it felt pretty good.  I have to be an adult most of the time, but I guess every now and then I just need to be a baby.  So, realizing this, I took my bottle (of wine) like a good little girl and went to bed.

And today I am an adult again.  Damn.

Oct 192012
 

Come on! How effin cool is rain?!

I sat down at my computer today with the full intention of writing something funny.  Something witty and clever and far, far, far away from the emotional and slightly sad tone my blog has taken as of late.  I starting typing a blog about losses and gains – about funny things that you gain and lose after having a baby.  Inconsequential things… like your mind.  However, the more I started thinking about losses, the more I started thinking about loss.  And, as so often happens when I am writing these blogs, my fingers began to take me somewhere that I didn’t know I wanted to go.  My husband says that he learns so much about me by reading my blog, and I have to say that in writing it, I learn so much about myself.  So screw funny.  It’s over-rated anyway.  (But stay tuned next week for the revival of my usual biting wit and thinly veiled sarcasm. Probably.)

I have had loss on my mind lately.  Last weekend my husband found out that one of his good friends’ wives passed away.  It was cancer.  It was quick.  It was devastating.  I personally had only met her once as they live in London, but she was a beautiful and kind woman.  She was also a wonderful mother to her two young children.  Her youngest is the same age as my daughter. When we heard the news over the weekend, my heart ached for my husband’s friend who was left without a wife and especially for those two young girls who were left without a mother.  But I also ached for this young, vibrant mother who will not get the chance to see her children grow up.

As I said before, I didn’t know her very well.  But in the short time we spent together, I was struck by how much she reminded me of me.  She was about my age.  She loved her family.  She loved to have fun.  She loved to laugh.  She loved life.  We were both pregnant when we met, although she already had one daughter.  She was wise and experienced and she graciously answered all of my (many, many) questions about babies and about motherhood.  Since then, I expect that the past year-and-a-half since her daughter was born was a lot like mine:  sleepless nights, blissful moments, more laughter than she ever thought possible.  I am sure that she spent many hours marveling at the perfection of her daughter’s face and imagining the possibilities of her daughter’s future, much the way that I have.

Then she woke up one day, just like any other day, but on this day she had a headache.  She woke up with plans and hopes and dreams, just like any other day, but she didn’t know that this particular day would be her last.  She didn’t know that she would never get to see her children grow up, get married, or have children of their own.  She didn’t know that she would never again get to marvel at the beauty of her daughter’s face or get the chance to discover who her daughters will become.

She reminded me a lot of me, and I think that’s why I felt the loss so greatly, even though I barely knew her.  If it could happen to someone like her, then it could certainly happen to someone like me.  None of us know which day will be our last.  And as sad as this thought makes me, it is also a reminder of how wonderfully precious life is.  A wise somebody once said that we should, “Live every day like it is our last.”  And while I do think this is sound advice, I also think it is a bit too sad for my taste.  It is hard to think of our last days without feeling a bit melancholy, and I don’t want to live every day like that.

Instead, I am going to try to live every day as if it is my first.  Like a child.  Full of the magic and wonder and true appreciation that comes from experiencing everything for the first time.  Without the fear and regret we learn as we get older and “wiser”, and without the ambivalence that often comes with age.   The world is full of amazing things and people and moments that, as adults, we often fail to recognize or even see.

My daughter’s new word is “Wow!”  A bird in the sky gets a heartfelt “Wow!”; fitting the right puzzle pieces together gets a “Wow!”; seeing a dog on the street gets a “Wow!”; even my stepping out of the shower naked got a “Wow!” (It’s been a while since that happened, but I will try not to let it go to my head.) A bite of cheesecake, a big splash in the bath, my funky neon green nails, a great song, a perfect hi-five… all of these are deemed “Wow!” worthy by my daughter.  And they are. Each and every day is full of these simple Wow! moments if we are young and wise enough to recognize them.

And while I hope that I have many, many (many, many, many, many) more Wow! moments left before my last day, I am going to try to live them all like they are my first.
photo credit: Frederic Mancosu via photopin cc

Oct 092012
 

It’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote a solid post, and to those of you who plan your life and all major decisions around my blog posts, I sincerely apologize. To the rest of you aka all of you, I apologize as well. As you may have gathered from my mostly short yet bitter posts over the past few weeks, I have had a bit going on. My daughter got Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, which was an agonizing week of high fevers and Contagion-style quarantine. She was recovered for approximately two days before she spent a night throwing up for reasons unknown, and then miraculously recovered again for about a week. She then got Erythema Multiforme related to the HFMD virus, which caused even higher fevers and horrible hive-like lesions and sores all over her little body, including the inside of her mouth. Fun for the whole family! After a week of that madness, she recovered for a day – just long enough for us to overconfidently decide to celebrate with a weekend getaway. On the first day of the vacation she got a nasty cold complete with, yes, a high fever.

Needless to say, it has been a tough month.  Definitely the toughest month since my daughter was born.  And it feels like maybe the toughest month since I was born.  I have had some hard times in my life, though admittedly not as hard as many.  I have had my fair share of illnesses, surgeries and hospital stays.  Somehow though, it seems more difficult to take when it is happening to my daughter rather than directly to me.

Of course, it hasn’t been all bad.  There have been some great moments when she is feeling better and all seems right in the world.  I have learned a lot of lessons.  I have gained a bit (ok, a teeny, tiny bit) of patience.  I have discovered that I can be stronger than I ever thought I could be.  However, I have been working so hard to be a good mom that I haven’t had much time to be a good… anything else.

I haven’t had much time to be a good friend. Many a phone call, text and email has gone unreturned in the past month.  And when I do manage to find the time to chat with my friends, it’s mostly just to vent.  I end up talking so much about what’s going on in my life, that I rarely ask what’s going on in theirs.  Jerk!

I haven’t been a good worker.  I have turned down a lot of work simply because I just can’t take care of my daughter and take care of work too.  I had a choice to make, and as a freelancer, I was in the position to make it, so I chose my daughter.  I wouldn’t change those decisions, but it doesn’t exactly make me the most reliable person to hire.

I haven’t been a good homemaker.  Not that I usually excel in this arena, but my usually feeble attempts at cooking, cleaning and hosting have gotten beyond pathetic – we’re talking frozen dinners/baby stuff covering every surface of the house/turning my underwear inside out so I don’t have to do laundry – pathetic.

I most definitely haven’t been a good wife.  When I am stressed, sad and angry at life, or even when I am frustrated with my daughter, I have to take it out on someone.  I obviously can’t take it out on my daughter and I don’t have life’s email or phone number, so the back-up choice has been my husband.  Fortunately I picked a partner who doesn’t usually feel the need to take his frustrations out on anyone, but who understands me enough to know that I do.  And so he lets me.  Usually.

And out of everyone, the person I have treated the worst is myself.  I have stopped exercising, managed to take stress-eating to whole new level of disgusting, and some days have decided to forgo even the most basic levels of general hygiene (I guess I should apologize to my husband for that one too.)  And as a general warning to anyone who encounters me on the street, I am prone to break down in tears for no reason, and just as likely to start muttering to myself in a scream-whisper.  Oh yeah, and there’s a strong chance that I will be wearing a dirty bathrobe.  At first I thought I might be pregnant.  Now, I realize that I have slowly been losing my mind.

I am a half step away from ribbon roll earrings and rollers in public. Next stop: Eating my own hair.

But things are looking up.  My daughter is finally recovering from the latest installment of Outbreak 2012, hopefully this time for longer than a day or two.  So, there will be no more excuses.  No more of the selfish friend who only talks about herself.  No more of the wife whose husband is slightly afraid he will wake up in the middle of the night to find her standing over him with a butter knife.  No more main-lining red wine/coffee/entire sleeves of Oreos.  No more half-assed work.  No more depressing blogs (for now). No more messy house…Ok, ok. Who I am kidding? I have a toddler.  The house will always be messy.  Deal with it… or you may wake up to find me standing over you with a butter knife.