Dec 192013
 

I’m writing this post from my phone. Typing on the little tiny screen with one hand. My left hand.  My right hand is immovable and my right arm is falling asleep. My right boob is out. It is dripping milk and the milk is running down my side. And I can’t wipe it. And still I type. Why? Because I want to remember this. And I want you to, too. (except for maybe the part about my right boob.)

I just finished nursing my little boy and now he is asleep, splayed out on my chest like a rag doll.  My first thought was, “He’s sleeping!! Put him down and go work/launder/clean/pack/shower/eat/caffeinate while you can!”  I have a freelance job and a lot of work to do before we leave tomorrow for vacation. Oh yeah, and we leave tomorrow for vacation, which means I have three people to wash clothes, pack and stress out for. I am busy. Really busy.

But outside it is raining and cold.  And I am warm.  And I have one of the great loves of my life asleep on my chest. And it is peaceful. And good. And so I reminded myself to take this moment to soak it in. Yes, I am busy. I am always busy. But he is not busy. He has nothing he would rather do than lay on my chest and snuggle. And it won’t last long. Soon he WILL be busy. Most of the time, he will be too busy for me. And the sad part is that is precisely when I will stop being so busy. And I will spend my newly acquired freetime dreaming of the days that he snuggled on my chest like a warm piece of heaven. So for now, I will soak it in. I will be busy later.

Jun 042013
 

Ok. Forgive me, oh worshippers of biting humor and sarcasm, because things are about to get all touchy-feely for a moment.  What can I say…I’m pregnant.  Kitty litter commercials make me get all weepy these days.

I’ve had a couple tough weeks, pregnancy-wise. Nothing serious. Some minor problems and small concerns, but when your future progeny is the subject of such problems and concerns, it feels like it is serious. Besides that, I have had a roller coaster of near-dibilitating emotions. I am sure that I will write more on this later, but I basically spent a day or two feeling really sad for absolutely no reason… other than the fact that my hormones are raging more than a pimply faced teenager at a 7th grade dance.

Anyway, like every normal human on this planet, I have had some bad days.  And you know what got me through?? Love.

My husband’s love and care and understanding, even when I am crying on the bathroom floor for no apparent reason, other than the fact that he asked me what he could do to make me feel better and I burst into tears because there was nothing to be done except hope that the next day I would feel normal.

My friends’ love. Chatting on the phone with a friend and making plans for her upcoming visit. Just looking forward to spending time with her and her family has gotten me through some sad and scared moments.

Skyping with two friends the other night and just laughing my ass off, as I as lay in bed, so tired and sad that I had gone to bed at 8:30. Laughing with them made me feel so much better than the oblivion of sleep.

Every conversation I have with a few other friends who are also pregnant, remind me that I am not alone in some of the things I am going through.

My parents’ love. When I was feeling really scared yesterday about what I would do in a certain situation, just hearing my mom’s voice made me feel better.  And the fact that she offered to jump on a plane to come help me, made all my fears start to disappear.

My family’s love.  Talking to my brother on the phone about serious things one minute and hilarious things the next, made me so grateful I have him and reassured me that having baby #2 is the best gift that I could ever give my daughter.

Seeing my aunt and uncle and cousin this weekend and feeling how much they love my daughter made me so happy that I have them nearby. Their offers of help, without me even having to even ask, made me realize how lucky I am to have family close to me, even though my parents are far.

And most of all, what gets me through every tough time, is my daughter’s love. Although she sometimes drives me crazy with her toddler ways, she always snaps me out of a funk with a joke or a hug. She reminds me how beautiful life is and how lucky I am. She reminds me that everything will work out just fine.

And for all the other millions of acts of love that my friends and family and even strangers give to me daily, that are far too numerous to write here, I am truly grateful.

To quote some brilliant philosopher, “All you need is love. Love is all you need.” It is true.

Thanks for reading.  We will return to your regularly scheduled sarcasm shortly.

hands
photo credit: rogiro via photopin cc

Mar 252013
 

Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up feeling tired, cranky and a bit ill, and then you are running your never-ending list of errands and you are distracted by your whining toddler in the backseat, who you can’t really see because she is turned away from you because it is safer for her to ride rear-facing until she is two and she is not two for a few more weeks.  Where was I?  Ah yes… so you are cranky and tired and your toddler is whining in the backseat, and you can’t quite see her but you are trying to calm her down anyway, and suddenly, just before the parking lot where you are supposed to turn in to do the grocery shopping that never ends, there is a car parked on the side of the road, but he is sticking out quite a bit, and you are driving your kinda-new giant mom-mobile that you are still not quite used to, and then before you realize what has happened, you have side-swiped that car that was parked on the side of the road but was slightly sticking out. Oh yeah, and that car that you side-swiped was a cop car.  And then your daughter wisely chimes in from the backseat, “Uh-oh!”

Have you ever had one of those days?  I have.

 

"Uh-oh!"

“Uh-oh!”

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

Jan 032013
 

It’s been a while since I have posted a random thought.  I am not sure if that is because I have become less random or because I have less thoughts. Either way, here’s one that has been plaguing me lately:

What the hell do I do with all these lovely Holiday cards???!!!

First of all, as someone who sent my very first holiday cards this year (only to family, but STILL) I now know first-hand how much work goes into them. Someone took time out of their busy lives to create, order and/or buy the cards, find my address, buy stamps, lick the envelopes (gross!) and get them in the mail in time for me to receive them and (theoretically) hang then for the world to see. They are filled with delightful photos of people I love, painstakingly chosen from thousands of sub-par photos taken throughout the year. Some have personal messages, handwritten with care, but all have been sent with love and wishes for a great holiday season and happy new year.

But, now that the holiday season is done and the happy new year has begun… what the hell do I do with them? Throwing them away makes me feel like an asshole. The thought of tossing your friends’ children’s faces into the recycling bin next to junk mail and way too many wine bottles is sickening. However, keeping all of these cards to add more clutter to my already post-holiday clutter is even more sickening.

What to do, what to do.  I guess, like most things that I don’t want to deal with, like oil changes and my anger issues, I will just leave them for the hubby to contend with.  Don’t ask, don’t tell, right?

I can't bear to throw away cards... unless you send me a picture of your cat dressed up as Santa. Then it goes into the trash upon arrival.

I can’t bear to throw away cards… unless you send me a cutesy picture of your cat dressed up as Santa. Then it goes into the trash upon arrival.

 

photo credit: Viola & Cats =^..^= HAPPY HOLIDAY ! via photopin cc

Nov 062012
 

The other day my daughter, Lyla, and I were at Starbucks fueling my caffeine and sugar addictions, when suddenly Lyla starts pointing out the window and saying, “Mama! Mama!” She was so excited, but for the life of me I could not figure out what she was pointing at. She’s only 18 months old, so often our communication is akin to platform flip-flops: confusing at best.

First I tried the “What do you see out there?” tactic. Airplane? – No.  Doggie? – No. Homeless person pushing a shopping cart that you think has a baby inside? – No, No, No!  So I switched tactics.  Perhaps she is wondering where her dad is.  Sometimes she gets our names confused. And in her defense, I had just finished working out and was sweaty and more than a little manly looking. So I said, “No honey, Mama is right here.  Papi is at work, but we will see him later tonight.”  She looked at me like I was an idiot (is it possible to be embarrassed in front of your one-year-old?) and began pointing even more emphatically out the window. “Mama! Mama!”

Lyla was starting to get frustrated, and I was starting to get desperate.  So I picked her up and walked to the window saying, “Show me what you are talking about, honey.” But when we got to the window, instead of pointing outside, she began pointing to the Starbucks logo on the window.  “Mama!” she said with a smile.  For a moment I looked between the logo and my daughter in pure puzzlement.  Yes, I do drink enough coffee for her to equate me with the beverage, however, usually it is not from Starbucks.  “Mama!”  she said again, pointing at the logo then stroking my hair.  I had never really looked at the logo before, so I studied it for a minute.  Suddenly it hit me, she thinks the logo is a picture of me.  So I said, “Oh!  This looks like me?  This looks like mama?”  And she smiled like the sun and said, “Yeah!” so happy that I had finally stopped being a total idiot and understood what she was trying to tell me.

It’s actually not a bad compliment.  The Starbucks logo is based on a 16th century Norse woodcut of a mermaid or Siren to go with Seattle’s nautical roots.  (I looked this up, I don’t actually know this much useless Starbucks information.  Just other kinds of useless information.)  Starbucks chick is kind of a babe. This is solid proof that to your children, you are the most beautiful woman in the world.  So I was happy. However, I think my daughter will be sorely disappointed that I am not actually Mrs. Starbucks when she is filling out those loan applications for college.  Maybe I will just tell her that I drank away our fortune.

 

Have you ever noticed what a babe the Starbucks chick is?

Does Starbucks owe me image royalties? Or at least free coffee?

Oct 302012
 

You know those days when you have absolutely nothing to do? The house is clean, the shopping is done, your chores are finished.  There is no work to be done, no emails to answer, no calls to return. There are no playdates or doctor appointments.  There is absolutely nowhere you need to be.  When you are almost bored in the best way possible. When your biggest decision is whether to sit down on your couch and catch up on that book you’ve been meaning to read or to lie in your bed and take a blissful nap.

You know those days?  Yeah, me neither…

 

“I think today I shall sit in the sun and read my book all afternoon.” Said no parent ever.

photo credit: Cia de Foto via photopin cc

Sep 162012
 

Full Disclosure: After being quarantined inside the house for 4 days due to my daughter having highly contagious HFMD and ridiculous temperatures, I started to go slightly crazy.  Please bear with me during this low period, and I apologize in advance.

My daughter is not quite a year-and-a-half so she is not really into TV, besides the fact that I don’t like the idea of her watching TV too much.  However, I am a true believer that sometimes parents do what they have to do to survive the day, and to survive 4 days cooped up in the house with a rambunctious 16-month-old, I turned to TV.  One of my friends said that she sometimes lets her daughter watch “Dora the Explorer” because it is educational, so in a moment of pure desperation, I decided to give it a try.  Lyla seemed to like it… for about 5 minutes.  But anything that can get her to sit down for 5 minutes is a success in my book.  But long after Lyla had already moved on to 3 other activities, I continued to watch the intriguing Dora.  Here’s my conclusion:  Educational?  Yes, I guess.  I like that there is a multilingual heroine on American TV.  Especially since I hope that my daughter will be multilingual (my husband speaks Italian to her.)

Ok, so Dora is pretty cool in my book, but this entire opening now leads me to the random thought that has plagued me since I started watching and I just can’t get over…

Just how old is Dora and why do her parents let her roam around the countryside, “exploring” with just a boots-wearing monkey to chaperone?  She hitchhikes… and although she does wear her seat-belt, in California I think kids need a booster seat until they are nine.  She attends dubious fiestas at the Big Red Chicken’s house (never trust anybody whose name begins with BIG). And she gets around town with the help of a singing map.  At least get the kid a GPS or a Smart Phone.  Sheesh!

Ok… so now you have a little insight into the places my brain goes when I haven’t had proper adult interaction in nearly a week.  It’s a dark place, and I apologize.

Dora and her pal, Boots, teaching kids to hitchhike, one episode at a time!

Sep 102012
 

Since becoming a parent 16 months ago, I have done many things that I thought I would NEVER do.  I have nonchalantly wiped my daughter’s poop from my forehead, licked a kleenex and then used it to wipe her face, picked up a cracker that she threw on the floor and then gave it back to her to eat (hey, it was the last one!), let her run around with a watermelon-stained shirt for hours because I was too tired to change it and knew it would only get dirty again, and let myself run around in a vomit-stained shirt for hours because I was too tired to change it and knew it would only get dirty again… just to name a few NEVERs.

Although I have learned to never say never, the truth is that before becoming a parent, I have never been so tired.  I have never been so ungroomed, disorganized, forgetful, weepy, or tired… did I mention tired?  I have never gone so long without seeing or at least talking to many of my friends.  I have never gone so long without seeing an adult-sized human.  I have never gone so long without getting my hair highlighted, shaving my legs, putting on make-up or even showering.  I have never gone so long while sleeping so little.  That is the truth.

But I have never, ever laughed so much, loved so hard, or felt so happy.  And somehow (in a way that I think you have to be a parent to understand) this love and laughter far outweighs a little vomit and sleep deprivation.

The truth about parenting is that it is a math equation that doesn’t add up, but somehow works anyway.

Laughter… a serious side-effect of parenting.

photo credit: Loyal O.A.K. via photo pin cc

Sep 012012
 

So last night I had an “Oh Shit!” moment.  Literally.  As in, my daughter knocked a bowl of pasta into my lap and I said, “Oh Shit!” and my friends’ 2 1/2-year-old stood up and screamed, “OH SHIT!”  To the entire restaurant.  And it was his first curse word. Nice work, huh?  My friends were cool about it, but oh shit, right?  I mean… oh no!

More on Words with Toddlers to come…

Aug 242012
 

My daughter has a small, silky pink blankie. It’s the first thing she grabs when she wakes up in the morning, and the last thing she holds on to when she goes to bed at night.  She can’t sleep without it. Sometimes it seems as though she can’t breathe without it.  Most kids have some sort of security blanket, stuffed animal or doll.  It is something that makes them feel comfortable and secure. Something that reminds them of home or of their parents or of some unexplainable thing that gives them comfort.  There is nothing wrong with children needing these things.  The problem is that many never grow out of it.  Although most adults don’t carry around a threadbare blankie or filthy teddy bear, they grow up to be even more attached to another type of security blanket…  an Iphone or Blackberry.

Most people I know check their phones first thing in the AM and last thing at night.  They keep it on the table throughout dinner, in their hand during a walk and attached to their ear most other times of the day.  A smart phone gives you the security of knowing that you are linked to the rest of the world.  When you are alone, you have your phone to keep you company.  When you are bored, you have entertainment.  When you are away from the office, you can stay informed.  With an Iphone you are always connected, and there is security in that.  However, by staying connected through your phone, you might be missing the opportunity to create real connections.

Ok, so here’s my soapbox.  You don’t still suck your thumb, do you?  You don’t use a pacifier, sleep with your teddy bear or poo poo in diapers (except for a couple of friends of mine who thought this was a funny idea and who shall remain nameless… for now.) Regardless, you are not a kid anymore so grow up and get rid of  the security blanket already!  Put the phone down.  Just for a few minutes.  See what happens when you take in the world around you instead of burying your nose in your Blackberry the instant you have a free moment.  It’s ok to sit at a coffee shop by yourself and just relax and drink your coffee.  It’s ok to go to on a walk and simply enjoy the sights and sounds of nature (or of smoggy traffic if you live here in LA.)  You might have an interesting conversation with a stranger or even make a new friend.  You might discover how much you enjoy a particular hiking trail, or how much you really love blueberry muffins.  And you can definitely enjoy the park with your children a lot more if you are engaged with them rather than half-ass playing while checking out who “likes” Wal-Mart on Facebook.  And Ps. the world won’t end if you are not on email/Facebook/Twitter for the 20 minutes it takes to have a conversation over dinner.

I am not going to pretend that I don’t use my Iphone as a security blanket myself.  I do it.  I admit it.  If I am sitting alone at a coffee shop, or waiting for a friend at a restaurant, or even (gasp!) dining alone, I spend the entire time absorbed in my Iphone.  Hell, I often pretend to be absorbed in my phone, so people don’t think I am a friendless loser because I am there alone. I once faked an entire conversation with my bestie about what dress she should wear to the gala (yes, I really said the word “gala”) because my phone was totally dead.  But regardless of all evidence to the contrary, I am a grown-up and it is time for me, too, to say, “Screw the security blanket” and sit alone in the coffee shop without the aid of a dead Iphone to keep me pretend company.  I’ll let you know how that goes, and how long I last before grabbing a newspaper to bury my nose in instead.  Baby steps, people.

It’s fine to talk on the phone, to check your email every now and then or to read up on the latest news (or blog, reading my blog is ALWAYS acceptable.) But you don’t need it to fill your time or your life.  I am sure that your life is full enough already.  So focus more on actual connections, and less on the wireless ones. It’s time to rid our lives of these security blankets; these things that we just can’t live without.  Except, of course, for wine… I really CAN’T live without that.