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

Sep 162012

Full Disclosure: After being quarantined inside the house for 4 days due to my daughter having highly contagious HFMD and ridiculous temperatures, I started to go slightly crazy.  Please bear with me during this low period, and I apologize in advance.

My daughter is not quite a year-and-a-half so she is not really into TV, besides the fact that I don’t like the idea of her watching TV too much.  However, I am a true believer that sometimes parents do what they have to do to survive the day, and to survive 4 days cooped up in the house with a rambunctious 16-month-old, I turned to TV.  One of my friends said that she sometimes lets her daughter watch “Dora the Explorer” because it is educational, so in a moment of pure desperation, I decided to give it a try.  Lyla seemed to like it… for about 5 minutes.  But anything that can get her to sit down for 5 minutes is a success in my book.  But long after Lyla had already moved on to 3 other activities, I continued to watch the intriguing Dora.  Here’s my conclusion:  Educational?  Yes, I guess.  I like that there is a multilingual heroine on American TV.  Especially since I hope that my daughter will be multilingual (my husband speaks Italian to her.)

Ok, so Dora is pretty cool in my book, but this entire opening now leads me to the random thought that has plagued me since I started watching and I just can’t get over…

Just how old is Dora and why do her parents let her roam around the countryside, “exploring” with just a boots-wearing monkey to chaperone?  She hitchhikes… and although she does wear her seat-belt, in California I think kids need a booster seat until they are nine.  She attends dubious fiestas at the Big Red Chicken’s house (never trust anybody whose name begins with BIG). And she gets around town with the help of a singing map.  At least get the kid a GPS or a Smart Phone.  Sheesh!

Ok… so now you have a little insight into the places my brain goes when I haven’t had proper adult interaction in nearly a week.  It’s a dark place, and I apologize.

Dora and her pal, Boots, teaching kids to hitchhike, one episode at a time!

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

Sep 012012

So last night I had an “Oh Shit!” moment.  Literally.  As in, my daughter knocked a bowl of pasta into my lap and I said, “Oh Shit!” and my friends’ 2 1/2-year-old stood up and screamed, “OH SHIT!”  To the entire restaurant.  And it was his first curse word. Nice work, huh?  My friends were cool about it, but oh shit, right?  I mean… oh no!

More on Words with Toddlers to come…

Aug 242012

My daughter has a small, silky pink blankie. It’s the first thing she grabs when she wakes up in the morning, and the last thing she holds on to when she goes to bed at night.  She can’t sleep without it. Sometimes it seems as though she can’t breathe without it.  Most kids have some sort of security blanket, stuffed animal or doll.  It is something that makes them feel comfortable and secure. Something that reminds them of home or of their parents or of some unexplainable thing that gives them comfort.  There is nothing wrong with children needing these things.  The problem is that many never grow out of it.  Although most adults don’t carry around a threadbare blankie or filthy teddy bear, they grow up to be even more attached to another type of security blanket…  an Iphone or Blackberry.

Most people I know check their phones first thing in the AM and last thing at night.  They keep it on the table throughout dinner, in their hand during a walk and attached to their ear most other times of the day.  A smart phone gives you the security of knowing that you are linked to the rest of the world.  When you are alone, you have your phone to keep you company.  When you are bored, you have entertainment.  When you are away from the office, you can stay informed.  With an Iphone you are always connected, and there is security in that.  However, by staying connected through your phone, you might be missing the opportunity to create real connections.

Ok, so here’s my soapbox.  You don’t still suck your thumb, do you?  You don’t use a pacifier, sleep with your teddy bear or poo poo in diapers (except for a couple of friends of mine who thought this was a funny idea and who shall remain nameless… for now.) Regardless, you are not a kid anymore so grow up and get rid of  the security blanket already!  Put the phone down.  Just for a few minutes.  See what happens when you take in the world around you instead of burying your nose in your Blackberry the instant you have a free moment.  It’s ok to sit at a coffee shop by yourself and just relax and drink your coffee.  It’s ok to go to on a walk and simply enjoy the sights and sounds of nature (or of smoggy traffic if you live here in LA.)  You might have an interesting conversation with a stranger or even make a new friend.  You might discover how much you enjoy a particular hiking trail, or how much you really love blueberry muffins.  And you can definitely enjoy the park with your children a lot more if you are engaged with them rather than half-ass playing while checking out who “likes” Wal-Mart on Facebook.  And Ps. the world won’t end if you are not on email/Facebook/Twitter for the 20 minutes it takes to have a conversation over dinner.

I am not going to pretend that I don’t use my Iphone as a security blanket myself.  I do it.  I admit it.  If I am sitting alone at a coffee shop, or waiting for a friend at a restaurant, or even (gasp!) dining alone, I spend the entire time absorbed in my Iphone.  Hell, I often pretend to be absorbed in my phone, so people don’t think I am a friendless loser because I am there alone. I once faked an entire conversation with my bestie about what dress she should wear to the gala (yes, I really said the word “gala”) because my phone was totally dead.  But regardless of all evidence to the contrary, I am a grown-up and it is time for me, too, to say, “Screw the security blanket” and sit alone in the coffee shop without the aid of a dead Iphone to keep me pretend company.  I’ll let you know how that goes, and how long I last before grabbing a newspaper to bury my nose in instead.  Baby steps, people.

It’s fine to talk on the phone, to check your email every now and then or to read up on the latest news (or blog, reading my blog is ALWAYS acceptable.) But you don’t need it to fill your time or your life.  I am sure that your life is full enough already.  So focus more on actual connections, and less on the wireless ones. It’s time to rid our lives of these security blankets; these things that we just can’t live without.  Except, of course, for wine… I really CAN’T live without that.

Aug 012012

Every time I am at the airport I am amazed that thieves don’t come to baggage claim and steal suitcases.  There is no security… anyone can just walk in there and just grab a suitcase.  Mr. Thief could just stroll in off the street, grab the  medium-sized black suitcase that everyone and their sister’s cousin has, hightail it out of there and pray that no one notices until all the suitcases are gone.  Mrs. Missing Suitcase will then blame the airline, who will not be able to find the suitcase and then, eventually after a lot of hassle and nagging, will issue a refund for the missing suitcase.  By the time all this is said and done, Mr. Thief will be back at his studio apartment trying on all Mrs. Missing Suitcases bras and wondering what he is going to do with size XXL vacation wear.  Hey, so maybe this suitcase grab was a bust, but Mr. Thief can return to baggage claim and try, try again.  Winners never quit, Mr. Thief.

You’d be in luck if you happened to grab my suitcase.  I don’t know about you guys, but I always take my best clothes on vacation with me.  And if you are reading this and happen to be a thief, my suitcase is NOT the large red one with a red ribbon tied to the handle so I can recognize it.  Seriously… it’s not that one.

Jul 232012

When you are a parent, joy comes at the most unexpected (and often needed moments.)  Like when you’ve had a rough day, and your child runs to greet you when you get home.  Or when you are at your wit’s end with her, and she suddenly just gives you a big hug.  Even an expected smile can fill your heart with more joy than you thought possible.

Or like yesterday:  While waiting forever for someone to help us at Babies R Us (don’t even get me started,) out of nowhere my daughter starts booty dancing and then moshing to some random 80’s song playing in the store.  She was dancing so hard that she fell down numerous times, and then picked herself up and started again.  She didn’t even notice my husband and I laughing our asses off nearby.  Her pure joy in dancing was transferred to us both.  Those 3 minutes made my whole weekend and made up for any other annoyances and exasperation that I felt.

I know that it is cliché (like that’s ever stopped me before) but truly, life with kids is about finding joy in the little things.  It is the little moments that make a big life.

Jun 132012

I went to go see the Tallest Man on Earth yesterday. He’s not a circus side-show, but an incredible singer/songwriter.  Check him out!

He was saying how even after years of touring, yet still gets very nervous before a show… pacing around, drinking wine to calm his nerves (sounds familiar).  What struck me is that this incredibly talented, seasoned musician STILL gets so nervous before each and every show.  It got me thinking about the things that I do that make me nervous no matter how many times I do them… like sending an article or  script submission.  Or the nervously excited butterflies I get every time I click the Publish button on this blog.

I really think that if you are not doing something that scares you, or makes you excited, or gives you butterflies every now and then… then you aren’t really living.  So do it… whatever it is!  Unless it is murdering someone.  I can’t get behind that, no matter how many butterflies it gives you.