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.

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.

DSC_0059

 

 

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…

Jun 072013
 

I have always loved Anthony Hopkins. I mean, who else can make eating someone’s face off seem classy? I have always thought that he was an incredible actor, but I never knew that he was such a wise man. He seems to have a no-nonsense, take-me-as-I-am-or-f-you approach to life that I really admire. Here are a few of my favorite Sir Anthony quotes:

– “I love life because what more is there?”

-“We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything. Think. Think. Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It’s a death trap.”

– “Life’s too short to deal with other people’s insecurities.”

– “Why love if losing hurts so much? I have no answers anymore; only the life I have lived. The pain now is part of the happiness then.”

And my absolute favorite:

– “My philosophy is: It’s none of my business what people say of me and think of me.”

Carry on, wise Sir. I hope that I one day I can have such a healthy attitude about life.  Then maybe I can be a knight too!

May 072013
 

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.”

– Diane Ackerman.

It’s all about the width, people.  I have found this to be true in many aspects.  Just saying…

Road of Life

 

photo credit: Himalayan Trails via photopin cc

Mar 252013
 

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

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

 

"Uh-oh!"

“Uh-oh!”

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

Mar 192013
 

Thank You

 

For the last two weeks my daughter has been sick.  A high fever, double ear infection, mucus in her lungs and fever blisters in her mouth. And, of course, I am sick too. If it is actually possible not to get whichever illness your child has, I haven’t found a way.  I guess I could stop kissing and snuggling her when she needs it most.  I guess I could refuse to hold her in my arms while she whimpers in pain and coughs in my face.  But to me, that’s not possible.  Maybe I could get a gas mask. But that is a slippery slope, and suddenly you are wearing a doctor’s mask and gloves in the airport, opening doors with your elbow while you chug Airborne from a camelpak.

Needless to say, it has been a rough couple of weeks.  A solid night’s sleep has eluded me for longer than I care to think about.  Many a night has been spent on the floor next to my daughter’s bed, or in the chair in her room, or with her snoring and kicking me all night in my bed.  But the other night, as a lay next to my twitching daughter, rubbing her tiny back in circles, I was reminded of the many nights when I was little and sick and my mom laid with me in my bed, rubbing my back. I remembered how, in those moments, it was the only thing that seemed to make me feel better.  I remembered the way that even when I was in college, when I got sick I wished my mom was there to rub my back and make me feel better.  Somehow a smelly frat guy drunkenly rubbing my back didn’t have quite the same effect.

I started thinking about all the sacrifices that parents make for their children, and all the sacrifices my parents made for me.  Rubbing backs until your hand feels like it will fall off, wiping noses with your shirt (gross but true), risking illness to make your child feel better for even an instant, wiping butts for what must feel like an eternity, driving mini-vans even though you swore you never would… the list goes on and on.  And I have to say that for all the sacrifices that parents make, parenthood is a thankless job.  No one gives you a medal, or even notices the things you do. Certainly not your children.

However, it may be a thankless job, but it certainly is one that pays you back tenfold.  You may not get a “thank you” but you do get a smiling, happy child. You may not get a trophy, but you get to see your babies grow up to be the amazing people you knew they could be.  You may not get any kind of acknowledgement –  in fact, you may even get tears and screams and tantrums in exchange for the all the sacrifices you make – but you also get the love that fills your heart so full that there is not enough room for the screams and tears to stay very long.

And while no thanks is expected, a little thank you here and there might be nice… especially when it is 3 am and you are sleeping on your daughter’s cold, hard, floor. Again.  So parents, here you go:

To all the parents out there:  THANK YOU.

Thank you for doing all that you do to keep your children happy, healthy and safe.  I see you at the grocery store, struggling with your screaming child and keeping your cool anyway. I see you at the park, playing with your children instead of tapping away at your phone. I see you reading books instead of letting them zone out in front of the TV at night.  I see you fighting to get vegetables in their bellies instead of Cheetos, even though it would be so much easier to just give them what they want.  I see you at work, looking like a zombie because you were up all night with a sick child. I see you all. I appreciate you.  Thank You.

And now the most important Thank You I could say, one that I should have said long ago, but never knew how…

To My Mom and Dad,

Thank you for comforting me when I was sick and for rescuing me from imaginary monsters at 3 am. For listening to all my stories, laughing at all my jokes (mostly about poop and pee), and cheering me on at all my sports games.  Thank you for giving up your social life so that you could shuttle me around to every sport, activity and party my little heart desired.  Thank you for snooping through my stuff and getting into my business, even when I screamed and said I hated you.  Thank you for protecting me from myself. Thank you for telling me every day that you loved me.  And for letting me follow my heart and move to California, even though it must have been so hard to let me go.  Thank you for hoping that I didn’t have to come back, while kind of hoping that I did.  Thank you for a million more things that are far too numerous to type.  And most of all, thank you for never telling me about all these amazing things you did for me, but instead letting me figure it out on my own.  I love you.

And to everyone who has read this far… thank YOU.

Now, where’s my medal??
photo credit: Avard Woolaver via photopin cc

Jan 032013
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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