Oct 262012
 

Yesterday I woke up on the wrong side of the crib… I mean bed. It was just one of those days where nothing seems to go right.  Here’s how it started:

Wake up to a beautiful day.  For some reason this annoys me (not sure if it is the waking up or the beautiful day that did it.)  Walk to coffee shop for the perfect combo of sugar and caffeine that will put things right.  After waiting in line for 10 min, discover that the coffee shop doesn’t have lids for my to go coffees – which wouldn’t be a big deal if I didn’t have to walk a half mile with a coffee in each hand. Oh yeah, and if I was even half as graceful as a drunk three-year-old. Begin to feel face flush with annoyance, but wave it off.  Go to another coffee shop that has lids but not the sugary latte I wanted.  Pout a bit.  Discover Facebook has stopped working on my phone.  Pout more.  Erase Facebook and attempt to redownload.  Discover that before I can download Facebook again, I need to update my phone’s software.  Take deep breath.  Learn that before I can update my phone, I need to update my iTunes. Engage yoga/labor breathing.  Find out that before I can update my iTunes I need to deauthorize my other computers and reauthorize my laptop.  Aggressively chug cup of coffee. Burn throat but pretend not to notice. Discover that I can’t reauthorize my laptop because my disc is out of space.
Take deep breath.  Doesn’t work.  Inhale cinnamon toast. Choke on cinnamon. Repeat. Twice.  Attempt to make space on laptop by removing pictures and movies onto a hard drive.  Spend one hour doing this.  Finally realize that in doing this, my pictures are now a mess on the hard drive without any kind of order, labeling or anything that would enable me to find any picture ever.  Pick up laptop.  Smash it on desk like a guitarist on stage at a rock show.  Just kidding.  But think hard about picking up laptop and smashing it on my desk like a guitarist on stage at a rock show.  Instead text husband an angry tantrum text about how I wish technology would die and huff around the house, cleaning up by throwing things (gently) into their places. Man, I really showed those teddy bears!

The rest of the day continued on like this, with everything going a little wrong and with me totally overreacting and throwing a temper tantrum like a toddler.

When it was time to go pick up my actual toddler, I was delighted to discover that she was also in a foul mood.  She didn’t want to come inside, but she didn’t want stay outside either.  She didn’t want to sit in her high chair, but when I set her back down she was pissed too.  She didn’t know what she wanted and nothing could make her happy.  She was impossible. And I know exactly how she felt.  Even though dealing with a cranky baby was the last thing I wanted to do when I was busy being a cranky baby myself, it made me smile how alike we are sometimes.

Here’s the thing though. She is a baby.  I am not. Usually.  She’s one and a half.  I am thirty… well, ya know, old enough to know better.  I am not a slave to my emotions.  I have the power to turn my mood around.  I just chose not too.  I chose to let myself sulk and wallow in my bad mood and spend the day in a long-term temper tantrum.  But then my husband came home with cupcakes and slightly frightened eyes and a patient smile.  He spoke gently and coddled me, just like he does with our daughter when she is being outrageous.  And you know what… it felt pretty good.  I have to be an adult most of the time, but I guess every now and then I just need to be a baby.  So, realizing this, I took my bottle (of wine) like a good little girl and went to bed.

And today I am an adult again.  Damn.

Jul 102012
 

After 16 days, 3 countries, 27 hours of flight time with a 14-month-old, 5 hours of total flight time without baby, 12+ hours in a car with baby, 6 bus rides, 2 train rides, innumerable taxis, 2 sleeping pills, 2 all-nighters, countless bottles of wine, 12 gelatos, 4 lbs (a small price to pay), many frustrated screams, many, many nervous laughter outbursts (I tend to laugh at inappropriate times when I am stressed), 1 amazing wedding, 1 week with my husbands lovely family, 0 relaxation and too much laughter to count… I have returned.  And along with a small spare tire around my belly and a couple of crappy souvenirs (sorry family!) I have brought many stories to tell.  But, as I am still exhausted from everything listed above, I will start you out with the following list.

10 THINGS I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION

1.  Discovered that a baby screaming on a plane while all the other passengers are trying to sleep is NOT the end of the world.  As much as I was dying inside at the thought of being “that mom”,  I got over it.  And I am sure that the other passengers did too. Eventually. And even if they didn’t, I will most likely never see any of them again anyway.

2.  Learned the art of the afternoon nap.  Italians are very good at this.  It took me a couple of days and a couple of bottles of wine at lunch to learn, but I finally got the hang of it… just in time to come back to the real-non-napping world.

3.  Walked around in my bikini WITHOUT SUCKING MY STOMACH IN.  Hey, if 82-year-old Italian women with breasts that look like beach balls in a trash bag can rock a bikini with confidence, I sure as hell can too.

4.  Stayed up all night to confirm that, yes, currently there are nearly 24 hours of daylight in Norway.  Twice.

Bonus:  No getting up with baby, who was safely with her Grandparents in a different country.  Hallelujah!

5.  Made sand castles on the beach, paddled around with the entire family on a paddle boat with a slide, rented one of those 6 person bicycle-cars where you strap your kids to the front, and partook in other various cliche familial activities I swore I would never do – and had more fun than I have had in a long time.

6.   Gained 4 lbs.  This is only notable because I expected it to be much more considering my daily meal schedule in Italy:

Breakfast:  Americano coffee with latte frio.  Brioche and toast with Nutella.

Lunch:  Salad and grilled vegetables, followed by a first course of pasta or risotto, followed by a second course of meat or fish, followed by a dessert of fruit or gelato.  All washed down with a few glasses of white wine and sparkling water.

Aperitivo:  1-2 drinks made with Aperol, such as a Negroni  (gin, Aperol, and sweet vermouth) or Aperol Spritz (champagne and Aperol)  plus nuts, focaccia, chips or whatever the bar brings to the table.

Dinner:  Another 4 delicious courses, similar to lunch, ending with fruit and dessert.

Walk around town, ending with 2 scoops of gelato. Yum.

See… only gaining 4 lbs is pretty much a miracle.  Maybe I sweat off the rest of the weight on the night the hotel air conditioning broke.  Don’t ask.

7.  Spent hours and hours walking around the small Italian town of Cesenatico in the middle of the night when my jet-lagged and over-excited daughter didn’t want to go to sleep.  AND kicked my flip-flop an impressive distance when a cockroach crawled on my foot during one of these walks.

8.  Sang Itsy-Bitsy Spider in every single accent my husband and I could think of (British, Southern, Gangsta, Spanish, Indian,  Rastafarian, Alien, the list goes on and on…) in a desperate attempt to entertain my daughter after 5 hours in the car.

9.  Saw more peni (is this the plural of penis?) barely concealed in thin spandex speedos in one day than I ever hoped to in an entire lifetime.  I’m still recovering.

10.  Learned to let it go (kind of), take a breath and just laugh when my daughter didn’t behave as I would like.  She was in a new place with new food, new people, new schedule… new everything.  Is it any wonder that she doesn’t want to sit in her high chair for a 2-hour 4-course dinner, stay seated and silent after 9 hours on a plane, or sleep when WE wanted her to even though her body was telling her otherwise?  When I would get really frustrated, I forced myself to take a step back and just laugh.  Usually.  If that didn’t work, there was wine and gelato.

Until next time… Ciao!

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.

Mar 242012
 

“Sometimes when I reflect back on all the wine I drink, I feel shame!  Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the vineyards and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn’t drink this wine, they might be out of work, and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, “It is better that I drink this wine and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver”

― Jack Handey

Mar 082012
 

Now I know this is getting a little personal, but I have to share this fantasy I have been having a lot lately.  Man, is it steamy (sorry dad!)

Ok, so here it is… I check into a fancy hotel under a fake name.  I go up to the hotel room, which is complete with a big, beautiful, and very sexy bed.  I take off all my clothes and sink into a lavender scented bubble bath.  Suddenly, there is a knock at the door!  I pull on the hotel’s fluffy, white bathrobe and answer the door to find a very cute bellhop… do hotels still have those or does my fantasy take place in 1936?  Anyway, the very cute bellhop comes inside my hotel room and says, “Hello Ms. Aniston.  I have your order.”  Then he brings in a rolling cart with a big slice of chocolate cake and a wonderful bottle of red wine.  I say in a husky voice, “Thanks.  I’ve got your tip right here….”  Then I give him $2 (hey, it was only cake and wine) and he leaves, and I spend the entire night by myself in the big, sexy bed in my fluffy, white bathrobe, watching crappy chick flicks and eating the entire slice of cake and drinking the entire bottle of wine, and no one is crying or snoring or farting or waking me up or asking me why I am wasting my time with any movie starring Cameron Diaz or do I know how many calories are in a slice of chocolate cake or did I just drink an entire bottle of wine by myself or why am I drunk dialing my mom or why do I say my name is Jennifer Aniston when I check into hotels (hoping for an upgrade.)

Hot right??!!!