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.

Nov 192013
 

Fact:  When you are home with two kids, on the relatively small chance that the planets align and you can get both of them to sleep at once, there is time enough to pick exactly two things to do with this rare sliver of “alone time”. This list consists of the following leisure activities:

1) Eat lunch

2) Shower

3) Shave while showering

4) Nap (ha)

5) Exercise (double ha)

6) Fold laundry

7) Check email OR blog OR work

Today I arrogantly attempted to circumvent these rules by showering (without shaving which I am sure that both my husband and ObGyn will appreciate) and then typing this blog WHILE eating. Genius right? Except now I have salad dressing all over my laptop. And by salad dressing, I mean pizza sauce.

I would expand more on this topic but now my baby is crying, which means that my daughter will soon be crying. Did I mention I also have pizza sauce – I mean salad dressing – all over my shirt? Damn. I should have picked laundry.

Nov 042013
 

About three and a half weeks ago, my family, my life, and truly my whole self was completed.  On October 10th at 4:26 PM, I gave birth to my son, Myles.  The labor and delivery, of course, did not go according to my “plans”. I was induced early and fairly suddenly, rushing to the hospital the previous night in more than a little of a panic.  Upon checking in, I was treated to the most beautiful sound a mother can hear… the sound of a strong and healthy heartbeat.  My son was fine, but I had to be induced 11 days early due to low fluid.  Needless to say, sitting in a hospital room all night, hooked up to every monitor they could think to torture me with, and watching Breaking Bad on my iPad was not the beautiful and natural labor I had imagined. (Sidenote: Breaking Bad: Holy shitballs, right?!) But, the next day I was blessed with the most beautiful baby boy I have ever seen. He was small, but perfectly healthy, and all mine.

Since then, life has been a whirlwind, as you can imagine. Waking up every two hours (which really means a single hour of sleep in between the feeding, diapering, burping and rocking) throughout the night, and dealing with a slightly jealous and totally “two” two-year-old during the day. And so, I haven’t been blogging, as you may have noticed. Or maybe I flatter myself too much and you actually have not noticed, nor do you really care…which is probably closer to the truth, but I will choose to ignore that simple truth the same way that I choose to ignore the fact that Toms shoes are actually butt ugly, and keep wearing them anyway.

It is not that I haven’t had time to blog, because I could find the time. I always did before, although admittedly, it is a bit harder now. It is not that I don’t have anything to say. I actually have so much to say… too much. Every day I write a few blog posts in my head. The truth is that I haven’t been writing because I am terrified of what I might say. Everything is too real right now. Too raw. Too close to the surface. Every emotion. Every fear. Every joy. Every beauty. Is all… right. there. I feel like a wound that has just barely closed over and might suddenly break open at any minute. I am deliriously happy, deliriously tired, and deliriously frustrated. All of it. And I am scared that in this state I might write something that I don’t mean, or that I mean right at that moment, but don’t mean the next day, or the next 5 minutes.

But I guess that is why I started this blog, right? To be real and honest and true. And maybe even to say things that I regret later. Because that is motherhood.  And as hard as it is to say some of these real and honest and true things, I need to say them for me, and for anyone else who feels them too and, like me, is scared to say them. So stay tuned, because I have a lot to say, and I promise to say it. At least, most of it.

For now, I will say this about my new status as “Mother of Two”-  I remember a few years ago, asking my friend who had just had her second daughter, if it felt different to be a mom of two. And she said, “It feels like my family is complete.” At the time, it was hard for me to understand this. I only had my daughter then, and even though I knew we wanted one more, I felt complete with just her. But I have to say, when I gave birth to my son, and I gazed down at him for the first time, something in me shifted.  Everything clicked into place. I looked into his eyes and thought, “Oh. There you are. I’ve been waiting for you my whole life and I didn’t even know it.”

And that, my friends, is the real and honest truth.

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Oct 052013
 
Babies... they sure are cute, but they don't listen very well!

Babies… they sure are cute, but they don’t listen very well!

“Women make plans and God laughs.” That is the phrase that I jokingly uttered to my doctor last week as we were discussing my birth “plan.”  It became yet another shining example of why I should learn to keep my big fat mouth shut. Because, now, someone is laughing. And it sure as hell isn’t me.

I know that when it comes to pregnancy, as well as most things in life, the only thing you can absolutely plan on is that nothing will ever go as planned. I really, really DO know this. But, despite this knowledge, and against my better judgement, I had a plan for how this birth was going to happen. My parents were going to fly in from Colorado on the 19th, and I was definitely going to go into labor on the 20th. (My actual due date.) They would be here to take care of my toddler while I rushed to hospital – and it’s a good thing that they would be here, because this labor was going to go fast! That’s the way it’s supposed to happen with baby #2, right? That’s what various moms, doctors and articles all claimed. A fast and (relatively) easy and (somewhat) painless birth. This promise of an easy labor was the one thing that I clung to throughout this pregnancy. It was the one thing that got me through when everything else was so much harder the second time around. I should have gotten a money back guarantee on that one.

Ok, so where was I? Ah yes, my “plan”. So after this miraculous and joyous labor, my perfect, healthy, handsome and not-at-all-coneheaded boy would emerge into the world. My husband would hold him up above his head and all the nurses would hum “Circle of Life.” I would stay at the hospital for a couple of days, and my parents would bring my daughter to come meet her new baby brother. We would do everything just as friends, blogs and books recommend to ease the introduction between the new siblings, and my daughter would be delighted to meet her new best friend. She would hug me hard and kiss him very gently, and declare that she loves her new brother more than anything! And we would capture it all in photos and videos, and in these captured moments I would look as fresh and beautiful as Duchess Kate. And we would all live happily ever after. Are you laughing yet? Because, like I said, someone is. And it still aint me.

On Monday I went to get an ultrasound because the baby was measuring a bit small. Ironic isn’t it? I spent the first half of pregnancy complaining that I was too big and now I am concerned that I am too small. The baby is fine, thank God. Actually, he is more than fine. He seems to be having the time of his (short) life in there.

As the doctor was looking at the ultrasound, she says, “So the first interesting thing I see is that the baby is breech (head up instead of down).”  And my reaction?  “Wait, what? I’m sorry. I thought you said he was breech! Heh-heh. That is hilarious because on Thursday his head and all other body parts were exactly where they were supposed to be and I am 37 weeks along and dangerously close to giving birth and babies don’t just up and move like that, do they?”  Apparently they do. I guess kids don’t follow our plans, even when they are 0 years old.

After listening to the ultrasound doctor crush my dreams of an “easy” and “beautiful” labor with her doom and gloom predictions of a necessary C-section, and after an embarrassing explosion of tears in the elevator, complete with requisite strangers totally staring and yet somehow awkwardly avoiding eye-contact, I sat in my car in shock for a full 10 minutes. And cried. Then, realizing that this was costing me $1000 per minute in doctor’s office parking fees, I started my car, stopped crying, and did the only thing that someone like me could do in this situation… began planning.

After talking to my OB, I got a bit more hopeful. She was optimistic (although I am pretty sure that she cursed when she heard that the baby was now breech.) She had a plan. And once I had a list of things to do, I began to feel better.  I went to prenatal chiropractor, who opened my hips to make my pelvis more “inviting”. I stacked up pillows and lay inverted while I watched “Breaking Bad”. I burned incense at my pinky toes for 10 minutes to encourage movement. I talked to my baby and asked him to please turn around. Then I yelled at my baby and demanded he turn around. Then I felt guilty and apologized to my baby for yelling and gently told him that he could do what he thought was right, but I would really appreciate it if he could please, please turn around. But most importantly, I started to get right with the idea that I may have to have a C-section, or I may not. But no matter what, nothing was going to go as planned and maybe, possibly, potentially, that was ok.

And then somehow… it all worked.

He is now head down where he is supposed to be and I am tentatively excited. I don’t know what will happen now. He is small and still moving more than he should be, so there is potential that he could flip again. The doctor thinks she may have to induce next week. Or that I will possibly go into labor naturally any time now (2 weeks early). Or that he might continue to surprise us all, and hang out just a little bit longer. The only thing I know is that I can’t plan on anything anymore. And maybe, possibly, potentially it will all be ok anyway.

Alright, now I’ve gotta run. I have birth announcements and first birthdays and preschool and college and weddings to start planning for.

photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography via photopin cc

Sep 052013
 

Toddler

You can’t remember what color your floor is under all the Cheerios, goldfish crackers, smushed peas and other various discarded food products.

You have heard the word “NO!” more frequently than any other word in the English language.

You have said the word “NO!” more frequently than any other word in the English language.

You cannot remember the last time you laughed so hard.

You have more conversations about “the potty” than you ever thought possible.

You are ready for bed long before your toddler is.

Your definition of “dirty” has changed dramatically.

You know who Dora, Peppa Pig, Thomas the Train and Yo Gabba Gabba are.

You have miniature toilets and other potty paraphernalia scattered around your house in places you would have deemed disgusting and inappropriate pre-toddler.

You find yourself doing a million of the things that you would have judged someone else for doing pre-toddler.

You find yourself sounding more and more like your mother.

You can’t remember the last time you used the bathroom alone.

If you are a man, you have taken more groan-inducing hits to your junk than an episode of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”

You have been forced to abort your shopping mission and flee to your car due to a total meltdown… by toddler and/or yourself.

You know all the words to “Wheels on the Bus”… not to mention hand-motions.

You spend 50% of the time wondering how you got so lucky, and the other 50% wondering why you are being punished.

You are crazy enough to think about doing it all again…

photo credit: Ben McLeod via photopin cc

Aug 302013
 

“A Harvard Medical School study has determined that rectal thermometers are still the best way to tell a baby’s temperature. Plus, it really teaches the baby who’s boss.” 

~Tina Fey

Oh man, I love me some Tina Fey! She might be my number one girl crush. Happy Friday, everyone!

"I'll teach you to cry at 3 am for seemingly no good reason!"

“I’ll teach you to cry at 3 am for seemingly no good reason!”

photo credit: candrews via photopin cc

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.

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Jul 092013
 

I’ve been off bed rest for a couple of weeks now, and the one thing that has struck me is that:

1) Bed rest sucks. It’s not restful, it’s stressful.

2) It really makes you appreciate the little things that you usually take for granted, or even complain about.

Ok, so that was two things. Forgive me, apparently my brain is still “resting.”

One of the hardest things about bed rest was not being able to do the little, every day things that I usually do, like taking my daughter to school, going grocery shopping, making dinner, and simply cleaning up the house. Yes, I missed doing those little, annoying “chores” that I usually complain about. I guess, really, I missed being busy and feeling efficient about getting those things done. Once you took away my ability to do almost everything but lie in bed and watch TV, I discovered how many “little” things I accomplish every day. Most importantly, I discovered the simple pride I feel in making sure our household runs smoothly. Coming from someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy, nor is very good at, cooking, cleaning and other domestic duties, I never would have guessed the pride I feel in accomplishing these simple tasks. Hell, I have sign in my kitchen that proclaims, “The Queen Does Not Cook” if that tells you much about my domesticity.

Of course, the thing I missed most was spending quality time with my daughter. Most of the days that I was on bed rest, I shipped her off to daycare.  And, home alone by myself, the house felt eerily calm and quiet. I truly missed her noise, her commotion, her unstoppable energy. I missed carrying her around on my hip, chasing her in the grass, and playing with her on the playground.  I missed her mess. I even missed her temper tantrums. (I think I must have been hallucinating out of boredom). Yes, I missed all the things that usually wear on me after a few hours in her presence. I missed the things that usually cause me to daydream about spending a day in bed, watching TV. Instead, I laid in bed, daydreaming about her mischievous smile.

And then, after a short time in the scheme of things, I was off bed rest. I had to take it easy, of course, but I no longer was confined to a horizontal position.

The first day off bed rest, I looked at all of these daily “chores” in a whole new light.  Even though I had to take things slowly (and still do) I was thrilled to just get out of bed, make coffee and throw a load of laundry in the washing machine. I was happy to walk around the house and tidy up, take a nice long shower without rushing to get back to bed, and to finally go grocery shopping.

In the mornings, my husband and I usually take turns on waking up with my daughter and feeding her breakfast, while the other gets to sleep in a bit a later.  Normally, I look forward to my mornings “off” and that extra bit of sleep in the AM.  But the first day off of bed rest, I sprang up (gently) at the first sound she made, and the smile on her face when I came into her room to pick her up was pure magic. We read a couple of books and then chatted over frozen waffles. It was heaven. There’s no way that an extra hour of sleep could compete with that. When I picked her up out of bed and carried her into the kitchen, for the first time in a few weeks, she smiled and hugged me tightly and said, “Mommy can carry me?  Mommy not sick?!” Tears ran down my face as I squeezed her, maybe a little too hard, and said, “No honey. Mommy is not sick.”

But, much like the appreciation one has for one’s health after being sick for a few days, slowly my appreciation for the simple tasks of life has already started to slip away. I already find myself wishing for five more minutes of sleep, fretting over what to cook for dinner, and groaning about the dirty laundry that needs to be washed and the floors that need to be swept. My daily tasks are starting to become chores again.

My hope is that I can hold on to a little piece of the love for everyday life that I felt when I first came off of bed rest.  I hope I can always feel a rush of pleasure at waking up with my daughter in the morning, walking her home from school while chatting about her day, or lifting her up to put her the on monkey bars. I hope that I can remember to feel pride in keeping my household running seamlessly – ok, well maybe not “seamlessly”, but at least keeping it sputtering along. I hope that I can continue to remind myself that the little things really are the big things in life. And most of all, I hope that I can remember this every day, not simply when it has been taken away from me.

 

No cleaning allowed. Every woman's dream, right??

No cleaning allowed. Every woman’s dream, right??

 

No entry for big-haired cleaning ladies

Jun 282013
 

Hello Stranger. It’s been a while since we talked. My last post I got all personal with you, possibly even worrying you, and then I never called. I never wrote. I never even texted. For that, I am sorry. But believe me when I say that it’s not you, it’s me.

You see, my fears and frustrations were all I could think about for a while. I needed a release. I needed to talk about these fears and frustrations, and you were just the right person to listen. You were sympathetic, kind, concerned and non-judgy. But in the time following, those fears and frustrations became all I could think about.  And they occupied so much space in my brain and in my life that, after a while, I just didn’t want to give them any more space. To be honest, I was just so damn tired of talking about them. But because they occupied so much space in my brain, I didn’t have anything else to talk about. So, I stopped talking.

But now, things are good. I am off bed rest and slowly returning to normal life.  Thank you to everyone who reached out to me to show their support and concern and to share their own stories. I appreciate it more than you know. Even if I got tired of talking about it.

Stay tuned next week for more of my talking…