Sep 182012
 

I just wanted to let you all know that Lyla is recovered and seems to be back to normal…well,  as normal as a one-year-old can be.  Mostly I wanted to thank you all for your concern, well-wishes, thoughts and messages, as well as the sharing of your own personal stories, experiences and worries.  It meant a lot and reading them helped me get through a LONG week.

But Lyla is recovered and back to confusing and terrifying me in new ways and I am done stressing about this illness… and on to stressing about everything else.

Thank You!

Sep 132012
 

On the crazy up-and-down, round-and-round carousal that is parenthood, of course a fun and laughter-filled weekend with friends and family would be followed by illness.  I found out yesterday that my daughter has Hand, Foot and Mouth disease.  Huh?  Although many people, me included, would I argue that I have a perpetual case of Foot-in-Mouth Disease, I had never heard of HFMD until yesterday.  It sounds pretty damn gross, but it actually sounds much worse than it is. It is a viral illness with the primary symptoms being blister-like sores all over the body but concentrated around the hands, feet and mouth… ok that is pretty gross… and a high fever.  And when I say high, I am talking Snoop Dogg hotboxing with Willie Nelson high – my daughter hit 104.5 last night.  The good news is that the fever does come down with medicine, as well as scream-and-cry inducing cool baths; the bad news is that it doesn’t seem like good news at 3 am when her fever has shot back through the roof.

There is nothing worse than when your child is sick.  It is not just how horrible you feel for them, but how totally helpless it makes you feel.   You can have a medicine cabinet stocked full of anything your child might need, you can have your doctor on speed-dial, you can read books, websites, medical-journals, mommy blogs, and doctor advice sites.  You can prepare for the worst, but nothing can prepare you for IT – for that feeling that nothing is really in your hands.  Not even your child’s life.  And nothing can prepare you for how insignificant that makes you feel.

I wonder if it ever goes away –  the worry, the heartache, the pain of watching your children suffer without being able to do anything. I think not.  I guess I hope not… I wonder what it would mean if it did.

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

Jun 212012
 

A sick husband, a hivey (and thus unsleeping baby), a last-minute job, a non-functioning internet connection, a wild goose chase to fix said non-functioning internet connection, not to mention shopping, laundering, researching, packing, stressing and grooming for a two-week trip with my husband and daughter.  After the week I have had… I need a vacation.  The good news: I have an amazing vacation planned to Italy and Norway.  The bad news: first I have to get there.  On a 15 hour flight, not counting layovers.  With a highly energetic 14-month-old.  Whoever said that it’s “all about the journey” is full of poop. When it comes to traveling with kids, it’s absolutely all about the destination.

Actually I know who said, “It’s all about the journey.”  My husband, last night.  I laughed so hard that I almost shot wine out of my nose.  Of course, he hasn’t spent the last week packing, planning, shopping, researching and stressing about our trip the way that I have. He just throws his stuff in a bag the night before we leave.  It’s not his fault.  I am the one who stresses about such things.  And I would never dream of letting him help shop or pack for our daughter.  This is a degree of control that I cannot relinquish.  It might be stressful, but there is something slightly calming about knowing without any shadow of a doubt that you have 3 changes of clothes, 20 diapers, 30 lbs. of snacks, and 50 lbs. of toys for a single flight.

The prep is done.  Now all that stands in my way is the journey itself.  But I know that if things get hairy, I can just think about the destination… pasta in my belly, wine in my bloodstream, and a smile on my lips as I watch my daughter play with her cousins.  And if that doesn’t work there’s always Xanax.

 

ps.  I will be enjoying my “vacation” for two weeks, and that means a vacation from blogging… you guys are exhausting.  But I am sure to return with loads of stories to regale you with soon.  Ciao!

Jun 152012
 

It was exactly 9:07 last Tuesday night when my husband uttered the phrase, “Now that Lyla sleeps so well, I kind of miss those middle-of-the-night wake-up calls.  Sometimes I wish she would wake up, so I could ‘rescue’ her.”  Two nights later, our little angel granted his wish by waking up at 9:30 and refusing to go back to bed until 2 am.  Because my husband had so longed for those sweet sleepless nights, I obliged him.  I let him spend the night singing, feeding, rocking, walking, cursing, praying and shushing, while I spent it sleeping – ahem – like a baby.  You’re welcome honey.  Sometimes my selflessness amazes even me.

However, I wasn’t laughing when it was my turn on Sunday night.  She woke up  at 10 and I couldn’t get her back down until 1.  I then spent the next hour or two tossing and turning, and snapping my head up to look at the monitor any time she made the slightest peep.  I finally drifted off to sleep (it was actually more like plunging into exhausted oblivion) around 2:30 AM, where I dreamt my standard anxiety dream of waiting tables and realizing that I forgot to place a bunch of tables’ orders, over and over again until 5.  It was then that I heard the siren call of my daughter.  I tried to resist the call and let her fall back asleep on her own, but alas I could not.  Instead I scooped her up and rescued her from whatever invisible assailant was tormenting her.

I sat down with her in the rocking chair to rub her back and caress her head.  After a few minutes, she curled up on my chest, tucking her arms under her, and began to snore lightly.  And despite the stiffness in my neck from trying not to move and the pool of sweat forming under my shirt from her hot little body, I didn’t miss sleep a bit.  I now had a few hours to sit and study her perfect little features, inhale her sweet baby smell (it still hasn’t gone away,  thank god) and think.

I make it a point to try not to judge parents.  I know just how hard it is to be a parent and to make all the decisions that the title requires.  I know that most parents are simply doing the best they can for their children and for themselves, and that every parent makes educated decisions based on what they think is right.  My husband and I made the decision not to bring our daughter into our bed with us.  That decision was based on some stories that friends have told us, some books that we have read, and mostly for the purely selfish reason that if my daughter was in my bed I would be too terrified to ever sleep.  If she is even in the room with me, I am constantly jolted awake by nightmares that I have fallen asleep with her in my arms and have rolled over and crushed her.  So, putting her in my bed is not really an option for me… not if I ever want to sleep again.

People feel quite strongly about the topic of sleeping with your children.  There are some, especially the Attachment Parenting proponents, who feel that co-sleeping creates security for the child.  Mostly though, I feel that co-sleeping is often villainized.  Many doctors warn that it increases the chances of SIDS, which is hard to argue with. That is probably the root of my intense fears.  However, my daughter is past the age where SIDS is a major concern, and still I never put her in my bed. It was the parenting decision that we made, and for us I think it is the right one.  But sitting in the chair with my daughter sleeping so close to me, I totally understood why some parents choose to have their kids sleep with them… or let themselves fall into that pattern.  I was struck by how close I felt to her – almost as though I was pregnant again, only now I could study her every feature in a way that she would never allow me to do while she is awake.  I was reminded of how short our time is with our children.  How quickly all of these moments will pass and then will soon be over.  If every moment is so precious, then sleeping with your child somehow feels like a way to steal a few extra moments.

Now, this is not a story about how I suddenly changed my mind and invited my daughter and all my future children into my bed with me.  I still stand behind the decision that my husband and I made.  I like my sleep.  I like my privacy. And I like my daughter to have her independence from us. All that I am saying is that I get it.  I understand the beauty of those stolen moments with your child while she is sleeping.  And while my daughter is going to stay in her own room, I just might join her every now and then.

 

May 112012
 

“The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children.”

– Elaine Heffner

So true. Notice she said ” the art of living” not the “art of wearing expensive clothes or riding in a fancy stroller”. I’m just saying…

May 082012
 

The main reason that I started this blog was to say all the things that you are not supposed to say about parenthood. Like, “Hey, being a mom isn’t all smiles and rainbows.  It can be shitty sometimes (literally) but that doesn’t mean it isn’t amazing.” Or “Sometimes I fantasize about just one night ALL. BY. MYSELF.” Or “I love my daughter but sometimes she makes me so crazy I want to scream.”  I believe that the things that no one ever says about parenthood are the things that people most need to hear.  Not to scare people or dissuade them from having kids, but to let people know that if they feel this way they are not crazy or horrible people… or even worse, horrible parents.

Motherhood can be very isolating.  A new mother spends most of her time inside the confines of her house caring for her new baby, and that is just the beginning. As a new mom, you often feel isolated from your friends who don’t have kids because their lives are now so different from your own. For example, they actually get to sleep for longer than 45 minutes in a row, shower regularly, and put a cohesive thought together.  During those first few months it’s hard to find something in common with someone who doesn’t smell like baby spit-up.  It’s understandable.  But sometimes you even feel isolated from your friends who do have kids. They seem to do it so effortlessly that you are sure that they will think ill of you if you reveal your own fears and frustrations.  You also can feel isolated from your partner because he doesn’t understand what you are going through. How could he?  He’s not gestating what feels like the spawn of Pele.  His body hasn’t undergone an extreme, and mostly unpleasant, transformation (except for the sympathy weight he may or may not have gained due to a pregnant wife who may or may not have forced him to eat at places like Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles.  Sorry honey.)  He doesn’t wake up every two hours to let a small human suckle his nipple until it bleeds – and if he does, think about finding a new partner.  To a mother, especially a new one, it can seem like no one in the world could possibly understand the way you are feeling… and it can make you feel very alone.

The worst part is that often the people who should be supporting you, the ones who DO understand what you are going through – the moms – are the ones who can make you feel the worst.  We hear a lot about the bullying of kids. We see movies about mean girls. But what about Mean Moms?

You know the type (especially if you live in LA).  They prance around the parks, the coffee shops, and the Mommy and Me classes with their perfect hair, perfect make-up, clothes that are somehow free of spit-up and shoes that actually match (not just the outfit, but each other… a near impossible feat on 2 hours of sleep.)  They talk about their kids as though they are perfect and about motherhood as though it is easiest thing in the world. They look at you with judgement in their eyes if you so much as hint that you are tired, frustrated, scared or otherwise human.

Mean Moms don’t necessarily SAY anything mean.  Often it’s more about what they don’t say.  Like the fact that her baby woke up 12 times last night, and damn, is she tired.  (Instead, she enjoys every extra minute she gets to spend with her daughter, even if it’s at 3 AM. ) Or the fact that she is worried that her 15-month-old hasn’t said his first word yet.  (Talking is so 2011.  She is working on signing. All the celebrities are doing it.)  Or that she is having trouble losing that last 10 lbs of baby weight. (It’s actually 10 lbs. of pure muscle from her personal training sessions!)  Or that she wishes her perfect husband took more interest in their new baby. (He’s working really hard to pay for that expensive stroller.)

I could go on and on, but instead I am just going to say this – Ladies, stop it with the Mean Mom act.  Leave it for the teeny-boppers, who don’t yet know any better.  Stop trying to pretend that you have everything figured out, that life is perfect, and that you are perfect.  Reach out to other women, or men, who seem like they need help.  And if you need help, ask for it.  Many people don’t realize that you could possibly feel alone while spending 24 hours a day with a new baby, but the truth is that you can feel more alone than you ever have before.  Tell a friend and let her help you, even if all you need is an ear. (But if this friend offers to help with dirty diapers or laundry… marry this friend and don’t look back.) But the most important thing to remember is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  You are not the only one feeling hopeless or clueless or nameless.  You are not the only one who sometimes can’t remember why they thought this whole parenting thing was a good idea.  I promise that you are not the only one.  And I promise it will get better.  And if you spot a Mean Mom, let me know, and I promise to kick her ass.  At least, in my mind.  I am a total badass in my mind.

May 052012
 

If you didn’t before, check out my first featured article in Natural Child Magazine, and get your sexy back… or at least brush your teeth once in a while!

“I’m sexy and I know it!”

Ok, so maybe this is the song currently stuck in my head (curse you LMFAO and your catchy lyrics,) NOT the phrase that I am most likely to think while looking into the mirror.  As a working mom of a ten-month-old baby, whose wardrobe usually consists of a variety of faded black yoga pants and whose highlights have grown so far out that they are now back in (ombre is so hot right now,) I desperately need to find my sexy.  The only problem:  I don’t know where I lost it.

I used to be hot once, if I do say so myself.  Back in those days, I used to spend hours primping with my girlfriends. Then we would strut around the bar, preening like peacocks, daring any man to talk to us. Now-a-days I usually slink around with zero make-up and my hair in a dirty bun, praying that no one notices me, or worse… recognizes me. While I am married with a baby, and definitely not trying to snag a man, I miss that confident, sexy creature I used to be – or at least think I was. My problem is not that no one finds me sexy… my problem is that I don’t find myself sexy.

So what is the answer?  How do you get your sexy back when you have no idea where to start looking? What I am not going to do is give you a list of “full-proof” tips guaranteed to make you feel sexier or make your sex life better.  Every person is different and everyone’s likes, tastes and limits are different too (and discovering what yours are is a joy that I would never take from you!)  But what I will do is give you one piece of advice… start making love to yourself.  No, I’m not talking about this in the literal way, although that might be a big step for many women,  what I am talking about is making time to do the things you love and that make you feel good about yourself.

Make regular appointments at the hairdresser, waxer or both. Hit the gym. Take the extra five minutes to put on some mascara and lip-gloss.  Take a bath, take a class (brains are sexy too!) or take 15 minutes to meditate.  Go buy some sexy new lingerie that fits the body you have right now, not the body you hope to have after six months of starving yourself. Whatever it is that makes you feel like the smart, sexy, beautiful woman that you are. I promise that she’s in there somewhere!

And most importantly, stop hiding out and slinking around. Hold your head up high and strut around the grocery store,  office and your bedroom.  You ARE sexy, and if you know it, chances are the world does too.