Feb 112015
 

Hi Strangers! It’s been a long time, I know. I’m sorry about that. As much as I love this blog and all the support from everyone who reads it, I have a new baby with whom I’ve been spending a lot of time. Yes, I finally did it: I’m writing a novel. I hope someday you will all get to read it. I really hope that some of you will enjoy reading it even half as much as I have been enjoying writing it. I have a lot of dreams for this little book, but these dreams seem like a far off place that maybe I will get to travel to someday. So for now, I just write and dream.

But I did have to dust off the old blog because there is question that has been plaguing me, and I thought that it might be a question you have had too. So, as I like to do when I have a question that needs answering or a wonder that needs wondering, I decided to write about it with the hopes that maybe we can all figure it out together. So here goes…

What kind of mom am I?

It’s something I have definitely thought about it in the past, especially when I was a brand-spanking-new mom. Now as a wizened – although not wise – mother of two, I thought that I had pretty much come to terms with who I am. But lately, this old question has once again reared its ugly, insecure head.

See, I know what kind of mom I am not.

Despite my deepest wishes, I am not Crafty Mama. Crafty Mama subscribes to parenting magazines and frequents Pinterest to discover how to make awesomely adorable little crafts out of egg cartons and old magazine and used condoms… or whatever. I, personally, am quite pleased with myself when I buy those $3 holiday craft kids from Target and let my kids go to work sticking them together, only to have them fall apart five minutes later. I desperately wish I was Crafty Mama. But Crafty Mama, I am not.

I am not Chefy Mama either. Chefy Mama straps matching aprons on herself and her children and bakes delicious cookies from scratch, teaching her children how to clarify butter (that’s a thing, right?) with flour on their noses and smiles on all of their faces. Chefy Mama makes her own baby food, and macaroni and cheese from scratch, and then bakes gluten-free, applesauce-sweetened muffins for dessert. I am a mama who make macaroni from a box and cakes from a mix and gets semi-annoyed at all the mess. I wish I was Chefy Mama, but I am not.

I really wish I was Cultured Mama. Cultured Mama takes her children to modern art museums and classical concerts, and only lets them watch TV in French and discusses world news with her three-year-old over a perfect prepared quiche. I am a mama who takes my kids to museums when I find a Groupon, and who occasionally turns on classical music when I remember, because I read somewhere that it’s supposed to be good for them. I am not definitely not Cultured Mama. I wish I was.

I’m also not Cool As a Cucumber Mama, who let’s her kids explore the world without hovering. Cool As A Cucumber Mama lets her kids eat food off the floor and run around with runny noses and climb to the top of the monkey bars. Cool As A Cucumber Mama knows that germs and dirty faces won’t kill her children, and most importantly, she doesn’t care what people think. I am a mama who has eased up this second time around, but who is still terrified of what her kids will do when she is not watching, and even more scared of what people will think of her parenting skills if she is not watching. I wish I was Cool As A Cucumber Mama because life would be so much effing easier. But alas, I am not.

So, like I said, I know what kind of parent I am not.  I have even come to accept this about myself. But on the long, dark days when my kids are annoying me and I have no patience and I am almost too tired to microwave a TV dinner, the thought that keeps buzzing around my head is: If I am none of these kinds of moms… then exactly what kind of mom am I? And if I am NO kind of mom, then maybe that means that I’m not a good mom.

I guess I am the kind of mom who just muddles through and is happy that everyone makes it out alive. I am the kind of mom who loves her kids fiercely but is terrified that love is just not enough. I’m a mom who is convinced that her kids deserve more: they deserve freshly baked cookies and interesting crafts and a mom who isn’t afraid of anything at all.

But then there are good days. Days when I sit around the table with my kids laughing and eating freshly baked cornbread. Cornbread that came from a box, but that I made with my daughter at my side and my son on hip. Cornbread that we stirred together with my big hand over their little ones, and when I let my daughter crack the egg and she got shells in the batter, instead of getting even a little mad, I just fished them out and smiled at her and said that I like my cornbread crunchy anyway. On those good days I am able to convince myself that maybe I’m not Chefy Mama, but perhaps I’m not doing so badly after all. On those days I think that maybe I am not Cultured Mama or Crafty Mama or anything close to Perfect Mama, but that’s ok because I am Their Mama. And Their Mama can be someone who teaches them that they don’t have to be perfect to be good. That they may never fit into the mold of what they or anyone else thinks that they should be, but that they are still exactly who they should be. Maybe Their Mama can show them that great love and good intentions are enough.

Maybe, just maybe, great love and good intentions really are enough. Maybe.

Chefy Mama's lunch
photo credit: Sesame Street Ernie and rubber ducky snack lunch in Lunchbots box via photopin (license)

Oct 152014
 

Dear Momma who wrote the subtly titled, “Dear Stay-At-Home-Moms, Please Shut Up.“,

So many things crossed my mind when I read this.

So. Many. Things.

First the good:

1) At least you said “Please”.

And now… the rest:

While I agree with the sentiment that EVERYONE should be grateful for their blessings, what I take offense to is the notion that Stay-At-Home-Moms (SAHMs) should “shut their friggin’ pie holes.”  I am a mom who, by choice, quit my full-time job to stay home with my children, but who, also by choice, sometimes sends my kids to daycare so I can do freelance work… not because I have to, but because I WANT to.  I guess you would call me a SAHM, but I don’t know why we need titles. I am a mom.  I love being home with my amazing children. However, I have also been known to complain about said amazing children.  And I’m sorry, Momma, if that gives you a bad rap, but I have never been one to shut my friggin’ pie-hole, and I sure as hell am not going to start now. So here’s my piehole’s worth…

Being a parent is a blessing, but it is also a job. Some would even say it’s a dream job. The pay aint much and the hours are long, but it has a an unimaginable bonus structure. But here’s the deal: Every single person I know – even those with dream jobs – complain from time to time. Long hours, ridiculous clients, tough bosses, annoying coworkers, or even just run-of-the-mill mental or physical exhaustion. No one I know is totally immune to the siren’s call of a good old-fashioned bitch sesh. Do you know why this is? Because hard work is… well… hard. And sometimes bitching just feels good. It’s a God-given right for every person to be able to bitch now and then. Well, I don’t know if God actually gave us that right, but I am pretty sure it is written in the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence or the owner/operator manual or something. Anyway, if complaining isn’t a right, it should be. So, just because a SAHM or SAHD doesn’t get paid in actual dollars or have an actual boss – other than a tyrant toddler – does he or she also forfeit the right to bitch about his or her job? I think not.

Just because a parent complains about their exhausting days or unruly children, doesn’t mean they love their job or their children any less.  It means that they are human. It means that their job is tough sometimes.  It could mean that they need a hand or possibly just an ear. Telling other moms to shut up about their frustrations is just another example of the Mean Mom syndrome that plagues our playgrounds, mommy groups and internet boards. And, with baby blues and postpartum depression running rampant, it’s more than just mean – it’s irresponsible and dangerous.

Momma, I love my children more than I could ever put into words.  I am grateful for every milestone I can witness, every boo-boo I can kiss and dirty butt I can wipe. Ok, I could actually live without the butt-wiping, but still.  I know that there are many parents who wish they could be home with their children, who cannot.  I also know that there are many parents who stay home with their children, who long to go back to work, but cannot. But most of all, I know that whether you work outside the home or inside the home with your children, we parents are all working double time.  There is no break from parenthood. There is no rest. There is no perfect balance. There is only doing the best we can.  And while we go into parenthood knowing this, it doesn’t make it any easier. This journey called parenthood is the most amazing journey life has to offer, but sometimes the road is bumpy. Sometimes it even seems impossible. That’s why we need to help and support one another, not tear each other down, and certainly not shut each other up.

So Momma, the next time a friend knocks at your door with her “greasy hair and caffeine withdrawals”, instead of telling her to “just be content or quit your whining” maybe you could try listening. Maybe you could offer some help, or just some sympathy. Or maybe you could offer up some pie for her friggin’ pie-hole. Pie always makes me feel better.

Just a suggestion.

With respect,

Courtney

shut up

 

photo credit: LaVladina via photopin cc

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.

May 132014
 

There was this art project that I used to love to do as a kid: we would take an egg and make a tiny little hole in each end with a pin. Then we would blow through one end, and all the raw egg inside would come shooting out. Once you got all those pesky insides out, you would have a perfect eggshell to decorate. It would be fragile, of course. But unlike a regular egg that would eventually fester and rot, the eggshell could last forever if treated carefully. The idea is so simple: remove the parts that can go bad, and the shell will endure. It is preservation at its finest.  But, I never really appreciated the idea of preservation. When I was a kid, I just liked blowing out all the disgusting raw egg into my friends’ faces… and by “when I was a kid” I mean yesterday.

When my baby boy was three months old, I mentioned to my pediatrician that he had a slightly odd birthmark on his back.  It was something my husband and I had noticed about him from the day he was born.  It was tiny and hidden right above his butt crack, a place no one would but a parent would ever examine closely enough to notice. I didn’t mention it to my doctor until my son was three months old because it seemed innocent enough: a cute little birthmark. The human body is an amazing thing though, and sometimes these innocent little markings are warnings of something much more nefarious.

My doctor told me it was probably nothing, but we should get it checked out to make sure. She told me that I shouldn’t lose any sleep over it.  But of course, I lost sleep over it. A lot of sleep. Luckily I had a toddler and a three-month-old baby, so I wasn’t sleeping much anyway.

After an ultra-sound, an MRI and a few meetings with a neurosurgeon, we discovered that my son had something called a tethered spinal cord, and would need surgery to correct it. A tethered cord is a birth defect, where the spinal cord is literally tethered down by something (in this case a fatty growth called a lypoma) so that it cannot hang freely as it normally would, and instead stretches and pulls, damaging the big bundle of nerves that make up the spinal cord. That big bundle of nerves is tied to many different things: legs, feet, bladder, bowels, and brain to name a few. If not corrected, it can cause any assortment of developmental and physical difficulties. In addition, that innocent-looking birthmark was actually a tract that ran directly from the spinal cord to the outside of his back. So that cute little marking actually put him at risk for meningitis and other infections. Scary right? You don’t know the half of it. At least, I hope you never do.

Before Jan 13th, I didn’t know the half of it either. But on that day, the day of my baby’s three-month doctor appointment, and the months that followed, I learned what scary really meant. And it wasn’t just sleep I lost over those months, it was everything. Sadness, guilt, anger, and THE FEAR plagued me every minute of every day. My perfect baby was not perfect. My sweet little boy would have to undergo surgery and so much more. And there were so many unanswered questions, so much we wouldn’t know until it was possibly too late. How could I sleep? How could I think of everything else?!

There was a brief moment of each day that I forgot THE FEAR: each morning when I woke up and scooped my delicious bundle out of his bassinet and looked into his smiling face, I got at least two minutes of unadulterated joy. Two whole minutes of staring at his perfect face. Of breathing in his sweet smell. Two luscious minutes of reveling in the perfection of him before – BAM!!! – my memory, and with it THE FEAR, would return with such force that it took my breath away. Every. Single. Day.

So, I couldn’t sleep at night. I would spend hours crying during the day. I couldn’t play with my wonderful daughter, or even enjoy the sweet miracle that was my baby son. All I had was my sadness, my guilt, my anger and THE FEAR. I was drowning in them all. So I did what I had to do to endure. I made myself stop crying. I made myself stop thinking and stop feeling. I removed everything inside me that was festering and rotting, and I became a shell – fragile yet enduring. It was self-preservation at its finest.

The problem with hollowing yourself out like that, is that you cannot choose what stays and what goes. You cannot remove the sadness without removing the joy. You cannot remove THE FEAR while leaving the hope. So I became an empty. I went about my daily life, of course. I did what needed to be done.  I took my daughter to school and to dance class. I took my son to his doctor’s appointments. I made dinner, I fed my children. I sometimes fed myself. I even went out with friends. I laughed at their jokes. I drank too much wine. From the outside, everything looked normal. But on the inside, I was empty.

Slowly but surely, though, little cracks began to show. Maybe not big enough for everyone to see, especially because I was master at painting myself up to look the same as I was before. I began to hide out to protect myself. I shut out most of my friends, because I didn’t want to take a chance of having to talk about what I was feeling. I picked fights with my husband about anything other than what I was really upset about. I stopped writing. I quit doing anything that would force me to be honest about myself, because I felt like if I was honest, then my cracks would spread and I would break into a million pieces. I thought that if I really started crying that I would never stop. And mommies can’t do that.

But I endured. My son had his surgery almost two months ago, and he is doing great. Kids are amazing in their resilience. His scar, that takes up almost half of his back, is quickly fading. But somehow, my scars are still angry and raw. I thought that once the surgery was done and life went back to normal, the FEAR would go away and that I would go back to normal too. But I guess once you empty yourself out like that, it’s hard to fill yourself back up. I guess once THE FEAR finds you, it’s really hard to ever chase it away.

I am trying. I am trying to be brave enough to let go of THE FEAR. I am trying to be brave enough to allow myself to be filled with emotions, both good and bad. The strange thing is that I cry now more than I ever did. But I smile more too. I am repairing my cracks, little by little. I think the first step is to let my cracks show, and to realize that admitting that you are broken doesn’t mean that you can’t be put back together.

egg

 

photo credit: katerha via photopin cc

Jan 232014
 

Let’s face it, there is some sort of weird, high-schoolish hierarchy at play between many moms.  I get so tired of the judgement and competition between mommies, and I have witnessed more than a few “Mean Mom” moments myself. But, I gotta tell ya, when push comes to shove comes to nervous breakdown… Moms rock!

I’m going through a tough time right now. Really tough. I won’t bore, or possibly interest you, with the details, but let’s just say this has been the hardest month of my life.  On top of that, I have a crazy/awesome almost-three-year-old who doesn’t nap most days, and a sweet three-month-old who doesn’t sleep most nights. I’m tired. Really f-ing tired.

The other day I took my daughter to one of those coffee shop-slash-play areas. You know the kind where the kids can play while you drink overpriced coffee and where the other Lululemon-wearing, organic-feeding, their-stroller-costs-more-than-your-car type moms barely look at you… unless your kid is pulling their kid’s hair. Yeah. That place. Anyway, I took the kids there in hopes of wearing them both out enough so that they would take naps and I could finally get some work done. Ha.

Five minutes in, while nursing my son and before a single drop of $6 organic latte could cross my lips, all terrible-two hell broke loose. My daughter had an uber-meltdown.  Conveniently, these meltdowns always happen while I am right in the middle of nursing, so I have chase my daughter around with my boobs out and my Hooter Hider flying behind me like a cape. I look like a coked-up superhero.

Like said super-hero, I managed to drag my daughter away from the crime scene, kicking and screaming “Owie!!” at the top of her lungs (because my evil genius has discovered that when she acts like I am hurting her, people look.) In the middle of attempting to carry my screaming daughter – who has now moved into Meltdown Stage II, where she turns all of her bones into jelly, so I can’t possibly get a grip on her – and hastily explaining to a room full of strangers that I am not ACTUALLY hurting my child, my baby starts to wail. I can’t pick him up because I can’t calm my daughter down enough to risk letting go of her. So now I have two screaming kids, only two hands, zero hours of sleep, and no mental capacity to deal with any of it. So I start to cry. Bawl, actually. I was a snot-nosed, red-faced mess. Just like my toddler. It was probably the single most humiliating moment of my life.

And while this was going on, do you want to know what those other “perfect” moms, did?!

One helped me pack up and carry my bags, while I hauled my screaming toddler to the car. Another rocked and shushed my son until he stopped crying. Yet another buckled him into his car seat and carried him out to my car for me. None of them laughed at me, or judged me, or made me feel worse than I already did. All of them hugged me and told me they knew how I felt. How they had been there before. Yes, even perfect moms have dealt with toddler meltdowns and crying babies.  Apparently, even perfect moms can sometimes feel like terrible moms. Who knew?

And so, Moms, this is why you rock.

Because no matter who you are, or how much your stroller costs, you have been there before. And when push comes to shove, you are there for each other. And there for me too.

Now… if only my ego would allow me to go back to that coffee shop and thank them. I’m just not quite there yet.

Moms Rock

Moms Rock

 

photo credit: JohnCrider via photopin cc

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.

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

May 092013
 

Ok, I have a confession to make.  A few actually.

In case you didn’t read my last post, I am pregnant with baby number 2.  I am excited about it, of course.  It is what we wanted, and I feel blessed that we were able to get pregnant so easily.  I know it is not always easy.  It is a cruel trick of nature that when your body is most ready to have a baby – at, oh, the tender age of 13 – nothing else in your life is ready for this baby, including you. Although you  probably would share a mutual love of Demi Lovato and pizza-flavored Cheetos with your five-year-old, that alone doesn’t qualify you to raise a child.  However, by the time everything else in your life is finally ready, and your finances, mental state, and career are more secure, your ovaries are often shriveled up like Raisinettes, and your body scoffs at your attempts to conceive. Maybe my body is not quite there yet, but I am not getting any younger either, so I feel very happy to have gotten pregnant. But as happy as I am, the truth – and my confession – is that I am not as excited as I think I should be. To be honest (Ok, cover your tiny ears, Fetus) I don’t really think about the baby all that much.

Sure, I think about it all the time in practical terms. I think about all the things that must be done before the new baby comes. I think about the construction we must do, the endless amounts of crap that we must buy, and all the old gear that we need to haul out of hibernation. I make lists and then check them off.  I go to my doctor appointments and look at the ultrasounds and am relieved to discover that everything is ok. I take my vitamins, eat my fruits and veggies, exercise when I can, and avoid alcohol and caffeine and sushi and  lunch meat and soft cheeses and the long list of everything that I love that I cannot have.  I do my job as this baby’s diligent mother.  Or do I?

I do worry about the well-being of the baby, of course. That is a powerful instinct that I cannot deny. I think about all the things that can go wrong. I both fear and look forward to the tests that will reassure me that the baby is ok (I hope.) But when I think about the future with this baby, instead of daydreaming of his or her face, I find myself thinking more about how it is going to affect the baby that I already have. What does all of this mean for her? Is this really the right thing? Is this new addition really going to add to her life, or is going to take something away from her?  Like me.

Gone are the wonder and magic of the first pregnancy. I no longer read the weekly updates and marvel at the fact that the baby growing inside me is now urinating or that he or she is the size of a Meyer lemon or a navel orange (although this does make me hungry.) We haven’t even thought about names or what the new nursery will look like.  The journal I bought to start writing to the new baby, as I did with my first child, lies untouched.  Every time I sit down to write, I realize that I haven’t nothing yet to say. I really wish I did.

I know it is still early in the pregnancy.  I don’t know the sex yet, nor have I felt much movement other than the slight flutters that may or may not be gas. I am sure that I will connect with this baby at some point, but right now I am finding it hard to connect with this unknown creature when I already have a flesh and bone child that connects back. I distinctly remember feeling a lot more excited at this stage in my first pregnancy.  Writing in her journal, reading every book on the market, marveling at my body’s changes and taking pictures each week of my growing belly.  Now, it feels a bit “Been-there, Done-that.” And I hate it. I hate to think of my child as a been there, done-that. It is not fair. And I know it.

Ok, tiny fetus, you can uncover your ears now.  I do love you and I am excited to meet you.  I guess, like so many relationships, ours just needs a little bit of time to develop.  Good thing we have till October. And then the rest of my life.