Apr 122012
 

This coming week marks a few VERY special occasions:

1) My daughter turns 1 on the 17th. (Holy Shit)

2)  America’s Best Dance Crew is back on MTV (Randy Jackson.  Mediocre Dancing.  Music I am too old for.  What’s not to love?)

3)  One of my best friends is getting married.  Sure, that’s a momentous occasion (yay marriage.) but the real occasion is that my husband and I are going away together.  Alone. For the First Time.  (simultaneous “Gulp!” and “Yay!”)

While the biggest occasion (besides the return of ABC, obvi) is my daughter’s first birthday, I am still in denial of the fact that my baby is no longer a baby, so I am going to ignore this for at least another week until I am forced to deal with this because 60 people, including both sets of Grandparents, will be at my house to celebrate said occasion.  But for now, denial all the way.  So, what I am going to talk about today is our impending trip sans baby.

I have been away from my daughter for a girls weekend or two, and my husband has also been away a few times.  We  have left her with a baby-sitter more than a few times, and she goes to daycare twice a week.  After all this, we are just now finally starting to be able to leave Lyla without tearful goodbyes, incessant crying, and guilt-ridden angst.  (If only my husband could stop his weeping!  Jeez!) But this weekend marks the first time that my husband and I will BOTH be away from Lyla at the same time for longer than a few hours.  In fact, we will both be away from her for a whole weekend. Cue the guilt, weeping and angst (of my husband of course).

While I am beyond excited at the thought of an adults-only weekend and some quality couple time with my husband (which I truly think is important) I am having a tough time getting over my fears at the thought of leaving my daughter.  My wonderful parents have been tricked agreed to come to LA to stay with Lyla while we are away, so I know she will be in good hands.  Hell, my parents raised me and I still have all my limbs and teeth and most of my dignity and self-respect.  My mom, while not of the typical pie-baking, holiday-sweater-wearing, round-cuddly-bosomed variety of grandmother, couldn’t be sweeter with her, and Lyla adores her loud laugh and funny dances.  My dad has the patience of a Buddhist monk on Valium –  an important trait to have when dealing with a one-year-old, but one that he unfortunately did not pass down to me.  No, when it comes to leaving my baby, it is not my parents that I am worried about… it’s my parents’ daughter.

If you have ever met me, have ever read my blog, or have even made it this far into this particular post… you may have started to suspect that I am a worrier.  I make no claims to the contrary.  In fact, I wear my particular brand of crazy  like a badge of honor (Well, at least THIS particular brand of crazy.  There are a lot of crazy things that I keep secret… like the fact that I keep a small pair of scissors next to my computer so I can trim individual split ends while writing. What?)  So that being said, I am going to go ahead and put my fears about leaving my daughter out there for the world to see.  Deep breath…

– I am afraid that my daughter will miss me and my husband, and cry for us the whole time until we come back, thus driving my parents to thoughts of suicide… or worse… to thoughts of never wanting to babysit her again.

– I am afraid that my daughter will not miss me and my husband and not cry for us at all.

– I am afraid that I will miss her and worry so much that I can’t even enjoy the weekend away.

– I am afraid that I will not miss her and not worry, but instead have so much fun that I don’t want to come home.

– I am slightly worried that she will choke on a piece of food;  eat something poisonous; get sunburned; eat a coin that has fallen on the floor and choke; slam her fingers in the door; open up the baby-proofed toilet and drown; open up the baby-proofed cabinets and drink dishwasher detergent; pull down a glass of hot coffee onto herself; fall down and poke her eye out on the corner of something sharp; fall down on something sharp and disfigure herself; somehow eat a peanut and have a severe allergic reaction; get hit by a drunk driver that has driven his car through our front window, while she plays innocently in front of it.

– I am also a little bit worried that my parents will drink all my good wine. (Just kidding Mom and Dad, you are welcome to all the wine you want. ) (Except for the really good stuff hidden in the cabinet… I mean, hidden somewhere you will never find.)

I have spent the past few days and, frankly, the past year worrying about these things, as well as stressing about packing, cleaning, preparing copious notes for my parents etc.  Then last night, in the middle of my stress, my daughter once again proved why she is the parent and I am the one-year-old.  As I was racing around the house like a bat out of hell with its head cut off (have you ever seen one of those?  They’re crazy) my daughter was watching a dvd of nursery rhymes.  She looked so cute dancing there by herself, with her fat little diapered butt going up and down and her chubby starfish hands waving, that I had to stop what I was doing and pick her up to dance with her.  Then she laid her head on my chest and we swayed together for a bit.  Getting tired but not wanting to break the spell (my crazy little toddler rarely sits still for longer that 2.2 seconds, let alone lets me snuggle her for that long) I laid down on the couch with her still on the my chest.  We watched the dvd together… well she watched the dvd and I watched her.  But the best part was that every few minutes she would look up at me and smile, like she too realized how special this moment was.  Like she understood that I was going away for a few days and she wanted to spend this extra bit of time with me too.  As I sat there stroking her head, I realized that just as I had to take the time to live in this moment with my daughter, I had to do the same this weekend without her.  Life goes by so fast that we have to enjoy every second of it.

So, as I spend the day preparing to leave for the weekend and readying to leave my baby, I am trying not to worry and not to stress.  I am going to enjoy the weekend alone with my husband, and let my parents enjoy the weekend alone with Lyla… and possibly alone with my good wine.

Apr 052012
 

I was going through some of my old writing the other day and I found this short list of “Ironies of Pregnancy” that I constantly added to throughout my pregnancy.  Re-reading it made me laugh… then I remembered that at some point in time we will try to have another baby and I will have to deal with most of this again, and I STOPPED LAUGHING.

But hopefully it makes you laugh, whether it reminds you of your own pregnancy, or you are currently pregnant and going through some of this now.  If you are not pregnant, have never been pregnant, or happen to have a penis – which, lucky for you, makes you exempt from these symptoms… then read on anyway and gloat about the fact that you don’t have to deal with this… for now.

THE IRONIES OF PREGNANCY

1) I can’t drink, yet I constantly feel hung-over.

2) My boobs are suddenly stripper-big, yet they hurt so bad that no one – including my husband – is allowed to come within 7 1/2 feet of them.

3) I am completely exhausted but not allowed to drink coffee.

4) I have a constant headache but cannot take ibuprofen.

5) I am consistently nauseous but also ravenously hungry.  

6) Suddenly I have acne, but I am not allowed to use any kind of acne medication.  The only thing worse than having acne is having acne AND wrinkles.  And a giant belly.  And swollen hands and feet.  And a fat ass.

7) Pregnancy misconception:  That pregnant “glow” is actually a sheen of sweat on my face after vomiting violently.

8) When I got my bellybutton pierced at 18, my mom said I would regret it.  For nearly 15 years, I laughed at that.  Now, every time I look in the mirror, the stretched-out gaping hole of my piercing appears to be laughing at me.  Well… either laughing, yawning or screaming.

9) I was prepared to change diapers. I wasn’t prepared to have to wear them.

10) There are so many things that I need to do to prepare for the baby, yet I just can’t seem to remember what they are right now… wait… what was I saying?  Where are my keys?

11) At nine months preggers, the hardest thing to do is get out of bed, yet I have to pee every hour.  I spend 5 minutes hoisting myself out of bed (crane anyone?); 3.5 minues waddling to the bathroom; 2 minutes lowering myself down onto the toilet seat; 3 seconds actually peeing; 2 minutes cursing my bladder for constantly tricking me into thinking I have to pee, then only squeezing out a few drops; 3 minutes hoisting myself back up from toilet seat; 3.5 min waddling back to bed; 5 more min to lower myself back down into bed (seriously, Crane.  anyone?); 1 min realizing that this entire sequence will repeat itself in 35 minutes.

12) I spent my entire pregnancy eating all the right things so that my baby would grow, grow, grow.  Now, I realize that this baby has to somehow come out of my vagina … um… any recipes to get my baby to shrink, shrink, shrink?

13) A baby the size of a watermelon is about to come out of a hole the size of a grape (well now a lemon – can’t. think. about. that.) yet my biggest fear is that I am going to poop on the table.  (editor’s note:  I did NOT)

14) I haven’t even met my daughter yet – in fact, most of her interactions with me thus far have been in the form of painful kicks and jabs and an irritating push on the bladder or two – but somehow I love her more than I have loved anything.  More than I even thought possible.

Rereading this list reminds me of all of the things I hated about being pregnant… the physical discomforts, the embarrassing side effects, the frustrating lists of dos and don’ts. The truth is that I really didn’t like being pregnant at all.  But I think the most interesting part of the list is that last one. It is strange to love someone so much when you haven’t even met them yet.  That kind of love never happens except when you are waiting to meet your child (and also with Ryan Gosling.  I don’t need to meet him to love him. My husband is just lucky he met me first!)  What I couldn’t have known then was that the love I felt was just the tip of the iceberg – my love would continue to grow exponentially every single day.   That kind of love is worth every inconvenience, heartburn and heartache.  It is worth not drinking for 10 months (If you know me, you know that means a lot.)  It is even worth pooping on the delivery table in front of a room full of strangers (which, I repeat, I did NOT).  That kind of love is worth anything.

Apr 042012
 

“O sleep, O gentle sleep,
Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down
And steep my sense in forgetfulness?”

-William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I

I am pretty sure that this the elegant way of saying, “C’mon Sleep!  What the fuck!?”

Mar 292012
 

You know the saying, “You can’t turn a ho into a housewife”? Well, besides being totally derogatory, it’s also completely untrue.  I know many a former “ho”  (at least by some people’s standards) who have turned into great housewives and amazing mothers.  So that myth is debunked (you’re welcome) but what I discovered to be true while in Las Vegas a couple of weekends ago, is that you can’t turn a housewife into a ho.

The occasion was a bachelorette party.  I prepared for the trip by getting my hair cut and highlighted for the first time in 6 months, ordering a new dress (see  No Longer 21), getting a neon pink mani/pedi and a brazilian bikini wax – which had also been a while and is not something you want to wait too long on. Yeowch! (btw… NEVER again).  I took off to Las Vegas with a suitcase full of my “sluttiest” clothes and all the high-heels and make-up I never wear, a trashy magazine to read, and very high expectations of finding my former “young, fun, party-girl”self.

I did get to wear my make-up and high heels (The first night. The second night my poor feet were aching so bad that I opted for function over fashion and chose my sensible shoes.)  I did get to wear my “slutty” dresses, although my tightest dress was dubbed “classy and elegant” by my girlfriends.  I even got to read my trashy magazine on the plane (which anyone who is used to traveling with a baby knows is a huge luxury).  What I did not get to do was to recapture the “glory days” of my young, fun self.  I guess that once you are mom, you are always a mom… no matter how many shots you take or male strippers you grope.

Here are the top 6 reasons why I am too old and momish for Las Vegas:

6) I call it ” Las Vegas”.  Apparently like P.Diddy,  Las Vegas has now become just Vegas.

5) I alternated between dancing on the banquette, and watching my friends dance on the banquette while freaking out to anyone who would listen about how dangerous it is to dance on the banquette.

4) I spent most of the night talking about my baby, showing pictures of my baby, and singling out other people at the bars who had babies and were pathetic enough to talk about them with me all night.

3) I chased everyone around before bed (at 5 am, my baby’s current wake-up time), force-feeding them Advil to prevent hangovers.  (ps. it did NOT work)

2) I drunk dialed my husband at 4 am. (wisely he had turned his ringer off)

1) And the number one reason why I am too old for Las Vegas:  When I returned home on Sunday night –  exhausted, shaky, nauseous, and with a major headache – My daughter decided that it was the night to sprout a new tooth and was up almost every hour before waking up for good at 5 am.  The truth is that even if I was successful in recapturing the past, eventually I have to return to the present.  And the present with a hangover is no gift at all.

I don’t blame Las Vegas.  It doesn’t pretend to be anything other than it is. (Except for that time when it masqueraded as a place where you take your kids…. I’m looking at you Treasure Island.)  I blame myself for thinking that a tight dress and a few tequila shots would transport me back to a time before I had a husband and kids.  Before I had responsibilities bigger than making sure that my friends’ dresses weren’t tucked into their underwear.  While I do blame myself for my naivety, I am also pleasantly surprised to discover that while the past was amazing, like Las Vegas, it’s somewhere I  no longer want to be.

Mar 272012
 

versatile blogger, blog award, blogging

I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by not just one, but TWO amazing bloggers. Three Descriptors and Mom In Fort Collins. This means so much to me, especially because I respect them and their writing so much!!  Thank you both!  And thanks for everyone who takes the time to read my blog, even though there are no fancy pictures, cartoons, or even a cool logo. (mostly because I don’t know how to do any of those things.)

The rules for accepting this award are as follows:

1. Thank the award-givers and link back to them in your post.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Pass this award along to 15 or 20.(or as many as I can think of…)

4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

Ok.  Seven Random Facts… this should be easy since I am totally random anyway and thoroughly enjoy talking about myself (hence the blog)

1.  If I could have one Superpower it would be to be able to give anyone instant diarrhea.  Imagine what you could do with that power… you would never have to wait in line, you would never lose an argument and you could pretty much stop a war in its tracks.  Wow.

2.  When I go to bed at night I wear earplugs, an eyemask, a retainer, and sometimes pink pimple medicine.  Unfortunately for my husband, he didn’t realize this until after we moved in together. Heh-heh-heh.(evil laugh)

3.  When I was in first grade I won my first writing contest.  My first published piece (in a book of children’s poems) was a song that went like this:  (sung to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”)

Blow, blow, blow your nose.

Blow it good and clear.

Get Mr. Cold Germ out of there, and bring him out here.

Epic, right?

4.  The Llama Race is my favorite holiday of the year!  Every July, my family and a bunch of friends from Colorado dress up in costumes and race llamas on a three-plus mile trek through the mountains and across rivers.  

5. My family members are some of my best friends, and my best friends are a part of my family. Fortunately everyone in my life agrees to go along with this!

6.  Every single time I type the world definitley, I spell it wrong.

 7.  I think that being a mom is single-handedly the most exhausting, frustrating, disgusting, frightening and wonderful thing in the world. I think you have to be a parent to understand how that could possibly be true.

All right, now for the nominations.  This is a bit tougher for me.  I don’t get to read as many blogs as I would like (too busy talking about myself and being random)  But when I do get the time, here are a few of my favs:

Some cool blogs written by moms.  They are all different, and each wonderful in its own way:

http://unfinishedbizness.wordpress.com/

http://planbeach.wordpress.com/

http://momonthegoinholytoledo.com/

http://whatsupyournose.wordpress.com/

I am not divorced, nice, or Jewish but I still find this blog profound and very funny.

http://nicejewishguide.wordpress.com/

You may remember these blogs from my ABC Award.  But they are still awesome, and if you haven’t read them… do so now.

http://thejennyblog.com/

http://www.love-fed.com/

It’s nice to read a blog from a dad’s perspective.  Here are a few great daddy blogs:

http://mrmomman.wordpress.com/

http://thestayathomer.com/

An inspiring blog from a lovely lady:
Check out these blogs and spread the love.  And if you have any other great blogs I should check out, please let me know.
Thanks again!!
Mar 222012
 

I was at Target the other day (yes, Target.  Again.) and Shawna, the cashier, was commenting on how happy Lyla is (yes, my daughter and I are both on a first name basis with all the cashiers at Target.)  As Shawna was saying that I must be doing something right to have such a sweet baby… something I take no actual credit for, except for maybe my genes, but her sweet gene most likely came from her dad anyway… the random woman behind me said, “Yeah, she’s happy now.  Just don’t mess her up like my mom did with me.  I’m actually on my way to therapy right now.”  Ummmm… ok. First of all, I think this is a bit TMI for the Target checkout line at 9 AM. It’s right on par with the woman last week who tried to help me pick out a tampon… which would have been ok except for her confession, “I bleed like a stuck pig, and I was flying through those tampons like Valium.” I just slowly and quietly backed away without making any sudden moves that would startle her.  Way too much info and waaaaay too much crazy for a Tuesday morning.  But then again, I have a blog confessing my innermost thoughts and greatest fears to anyone who’s bored enough to read them, so who am I to judge?

Regardless, Ms. Therapy’s overshare definitely got me thinking… and when I say thinking, I mean over-thinking, and when I say over-thinking, I mean freaking-the-F-out… about my responsibility as a mother.  It’s not that I had never thought about what a huge responsibility motherhood is before.  It’s just that a prime example of bad mothering was standing right in front of me (with a cart full of lightbulbs, orange juice, an obscene amount of cat litter, and a King Size snickers in case you were wondering.)  I wanted desperately to ask Ms. Therapy what her mother’s crime had been?  Where had she gone wrong?  Did she send her to the wrong preschool?  Did she let her “cry it out” too often, or let her watch tv too much?   Did she push her too hard or not enough?  Did she judge her too harshly or not pay her enough attention?  Or were her crimes more nefarious… the kinds of things that even a brash person such as myself can’t bear to type.  I desperately wanted to ask Ms. Therapy what was causing her to buy 82 lbs of cat litter on a Tues morning on her way to therapy, but there are some things that even I can’t ask.

It sounds so easy.  Just don’t mess them up.  In theory, it should be.  But it seems that the road is paved with so many landmines.  Every decision, every word, every reaction is an opportunity to teach… or to ruin.

Right now my daughter is perfect.  She has no prejudices.  She doesn’t know what it means to be hateful, or spiteful, or mean.  She thinks everyone is equal, and therefore bestows her sweet smiles on anyone who will pay attention.  She is unselfconscious about the way she looks.  She doesn’t suck in her little bottle belly or wear high heels to thin out her cankles.  She doesn’t care if she looks stupid when she dances, or falls, or fails, or even when she is pooping in public. (In fact, she looks you right in the eye and smiles proudly like she just cured cancer.)

In this imperfect world, how can an imperfect mother preserve her children’s perfection?  How do I raise my daughter to be smart and tough, while teaching her to be kind and honest? How do I give my daughter experience, while protecting her innocence?  How do I show her how to be a strong woman, while teaching her that she doesn’t have to tear anyone else down to do it?     How can my daughter become an adult, while keeping all of the wonderful qualities that make her a child?  Except maybe the pooping in public. I think that is one childlike quality that we can leave in childhood.

So, what is the answer?  The truth is that I have no idea.  Hopefully you aren’t reading my blog for answers to anything.  If you are… perhaps I could interest you in a sarcastic remark instead? I don’t have the answers.  I don’t know if it is possible to be a perfect parent or to raise a perfect child.  But the closest thing to an answer that I have, and the only thing that helps me sleep some nights, is a saying that I have often heard from a parent who I  know did a pretty wonderful job… my dad. (Hey, I’m not perfect but I don’t have 80 cats either.)  My dad always says that if every decision you make is done out of love, then it’s the right one.  That always helps me feel better. I may be a little judgemental,  a bit over-anxious, and not even close to perfect, but if there is one thing that know I can do right, it’s loving my daughter so much it hurts.  And then worry that maybe I’m loving her too much….

Mar 202012
 

What do you think about the increasing number of stay-at-home dads?  

Open-minded dads.  Powerful, working women.   I think it kicks ass!  I personally know more than a few stay-at-home dads who are amazing, and so are their wives!!  Whatever works for your family.  

Check out my article below and check out Natural Child magazine online:  http://naturalchildworld.com  or at a Barnes & Noble or Whole Foods near you!

 

As the early morning sunlight streams through the windows, Daddy grabs his coffee and buttered toast and kisses his wife goodbye.  Then he scoops up his daughter and together they wave as Mommy heads off to work.  It’s not the usual “Leave It To Beaver” style morning ritual, but for many American families, it’s reality.

Over the last decade, the number of stay at home dads has nearly doubled in the US.  In this tough economic climate, with both men and women out of work, many families must rely on the parent who earns more, or simply the parent who has a job. In growing numbers, it is the women with greater earning potential, so it follows that more and more men are choosing to stay home. And with 58% of college degrees currently going to women, this doesn’t seem like a trend that is going away any time soon.

But it’s not always necessity that is driving more men to stay home.  Along with changing more dirty diapers, men are also changing their attitudes. Tides are shifting, and so are the stereotypes and stigmas that have long been attached to male caregivers.  Once a novelty, this phenomenon is popping up everywhere in popular culture.  Commercials for cleaning products and children’s toys, once geared toward only moms, now more readily feature and push their wares on men.  Many popular TV shows, such as “Modern Family” and “Up All Night”, showcase dads who stay at home to raise their kids.

But daddy daycares are not just opportunities for punch lines on TV and in the movies. Male caregivers may not be the norm just yet, but the number is definitely on the rise. According to the United States Census Bureau, one-third of dads with working wives regularly care for their kids younger than 15 years old. With more men at home, it is becoming increasingly important for them to connect socially, and not all men feel comfortable in the typical Mommy-and-Me settings. As a result, numerous daddy groups are popping up around the US.  These groups can be a haven for dads to get some much-needed Man-time… even if that time is punctuated by the occasional poopie diaper.

While the growing trend may be one small step for man, it is one huge leap for daddies… and mommies everywhere.

Mar 152012
 

My daughter has been at daycare for a few weeks now and things are going pretty well.  I am slowly spending less time sniffing her dirty diapers like a creep (Wait… I didn’t tell you I did that?  Nevermind, forget I said anything.) Anyway, I am spending less time walking around the house and not sniffing her dirty… anythings, and more time doing actual work.  It’s amazing how much work one can get done when one is not chasing/playing/singing/feeding/cursing those damn talking toys/changing/reading/swinging/preventing dangerous and/or disgusting objects from entering baby’s mouth all day.

One day while Lyla was at daycare, I managed to clean and sterilize the entire house (unfortunately a cold has been passed around our family like chlamydia in a frat house… one downside to daycare), make a two week’s supply of baby food, write an article, post a witty and compelling blog (ha), go grocery shopping, work out and shower… only to realize that it was only 12:30.  That being said, somehow I feel that the more time I have “off”, the less time I have overall.  I still feel overwhelmed, stressed and quite haggard.  How is that possible?

I guess that a mother is never really “off duty”.  Sure, I have been quite busy with freelance work and that can be stressful and time-consuming at best, but the honest truth is that because I have those two days off with Lyla at daycare, I now feel compelled to do more than ever. Wasn’t the idea to do less? To de-stress, de-compress and possibly rest?  Ha! For some reason I feel the need justify the necessity of daycare by proving how much more I can get done.  Who I am trying to prove myself to?  My husband?  Certainly not.  He thinks I’m crazy for trying to do everything that I do already. Or maybe he just thinks I’m crazy.  He’s right?  Am I trying to prove myself to my daughter?  Nah… I don’t think she’s old enough to judge me.  And even if she is, she can’t talk yet so she can’t criticize me.  Although I am sure she will make it for it in her teenage years.  I guess I am trying to prove myself to my harshest critic… myself. And man, she’s a critical bitch.

But, regardless of the amount of time I waste by unfairly judging myself and criticizing my parenting choices, even I can’t deny that my daughter is loving daycare.  She loves being around other kids. She loves her teachers, and I love the idea that hopefully she is learning more, or at least learning differently, than she is learning at home.  Sometimes she fusses a little when I have to leave her, but just as often she fusses when I come to pick her up.  She is having so much fun that she doesn’t want to go home.  Oddly, I feel equally upset at either scenario.

Will I ever get to the point of feeling confident in my choices as parent?  Of ceasing to worry about how what I do today will affect my daughter tomorrow? Of feeling satisfied with how much I have achieved or how far I have come?  Or will I at least get to the point of learning to cut myself a break? Somehow I think that the day that I can do all of these things is the day I stop being parent.  But, giving myself a break from my own critical eye is a good place to try to start.

Now I gotta run.  I have some work, some laundry, and some self-flagellation to squeeze in before lunch.