Thank You For Being a Friend

Remember how I complained about January? Well! February is equally sucktastic, if not worse. I always forget this, even when people tell me. “Oh, January isn’t bad, it’s FEBRUARY.” And I nod and smile and I’m like, mmhm, sure, but no, they are right. February blows. Look, on a relative scale of suck, it’s not terrible. We’re healthy and happy and warm and nothing truly awful is happening, it’s just you get up every day and OH LOOK, SNOW, and the sun doesn’t come out and errrrrrrrghhhh. Sunrise, sunset, school, routine, BLOODY DINNERTIME, because suddenly everyone expects to eat every day or something, and then we go to bed, read a bad book (MORE ON THAT IN A MINUTE) and get up to do it all over again.

I’ve already signed up for the pool next summer, that’s how desperate I am to imagine sunshine and brighter days and, let us all hope, a child who doesn’t collapse face first down the pool stairs like she did LAST summer — AT A POOL PARTY — leaving me to leap after her fully dressed, then take my dress OFF, as it was soaking wet. Yes, I was wearing my bathing suit. This wouldn’t be a big deal except that I was literally six weeks postpartum to the DAY, and I don’t know about you or really anyone, but unless you’re Gisele Bundchen, being in a SWIMSUIT six weeks after evacuating a watermelon from your midsection is not all that appealing. But since then, we have discovered the Puddle Jumper, and life has new meaning and hope.

Wah wah wah, you’d think I wasn’t terribly overprivileged or something, GOD. SHUT UP.

The funny thing is that I LIKE winter. I LIKE the seasons. Florida depressed me with its never-ending sunshine and bright days and sometimes I stepped outside and was completely blinded like a flipping newborn calf, because it was so sunny! All the time! Except when it was pouring, but usually, really, always with the sunny, and then you take it for granted and the sunshine, it just disappears into the background.

Four paragraphs on weather! NEW LOW!

Hey, did I tell you guys that Allie never really did take a bottle? Yeah. She didn’t. And I thought it would be as angsty and fraught and haaaard as it was with Sam, and believe me, I have moments, but for the most part it isn’t a big deal. She’s pretty reliable with when/how she needs to eat and sleep, so I just build my social life around that. I like how I just said social life as though I have a rich one, but hey, a girl can dream. But really! Not terrible. Ask me again in five months, when I just want to escape to the spa for an entire afternoon, but frankly, I think finances will be more of a roadblock to that endeavor than my boobs.

It does make me realize, however, that I think that I really am truly happy with stopping at two kids. I love every phase — I LOVE having a baby in the house, and in a lot of ways, this is my dream job, this stage of caring for two little kids. It is sort of embarrassing to say that, but I do enjoy being with them so, so much.

But. I think of starting it all over again, and continuing this period of adjustment AGAIN and having another summer of shoving an infant in the shade and missing NINE WHOLE MONTHS of my children’s lives because I’m too sick to do anything, and I just . . . no. I think I want more out of life with the two I have, and their little childhoods are going SO FAST, and I want to be here for every second of it. Not that I wouldn’t be with a third, I just think I’m ready to accept — happily — that it’s time to move on. I want to focus on them, not focus my energy on adding someone who, if I’m honest, doesn’t quite seem like they belong. Allie and Sam. They are supposed to be here, and I knew they were missing. I honestly don’t feel like someone is missing. This is who we are, and I feel really peaceful about it, no matter how many times I poke at it these days. Any thoughts to the contrary were — are — hormonally driven. Thanks, biology, for the mindfuck! Perhaps there is some truth to the idea that men cheat to spread their seed, because I really did feel an urge to have ALLLLL the babies, even though that’s not what I want.

(Let’s hope Kate Upton doesn’t show up at our door asking for a nooner with Adam anytime soon, hmmm?)

I’m surprised how many feelings that gives me in the mortality department, however. Do you guys remember that Golden Girls episode (I know you do), when Blanche thought she was pregnant, but it turned out to be menopause and she just FLIPPED HER SHIT? Like, I get that. I don’t even know WHY I get that, because it’s not like my fertility is so robust, or that I am of the mind that parenthood can only be achieved biologically, but it’s oddly bizarre to say, well, that time of my life is over and it’s never coming back! Next babies to hit our family will be grandchildren.

This is why I have a flipping GOBLET of Trader Joe’s white zin on my night table right now, because even though I have a no-shit infant in the next room, and I am HAPPY with my decision to leave my family exactly as it is, I am suddenly feeling like I have one foot in the grave, and should just throw in the towel now. (I’m only 37!) (Haaa, only, fuck.) ¬†Also, side note: Blanche took a pregnancy test and ended up with some weird test tube that changed color to PUCE. Puce. It wasn’t even that long ago, but God, they were one step removed from killing a rabbit, right? No ClearBlue Easy up in the 1980s, I guess. They had test tubes! Which . . . now that I think about it, were we supposed to ignore that Blanche was showing everyone a tiny vial of her urine? Oh gross. (I feel this way about people who display/show actual pee sticks live and in person, which happens more often than you’d think. No, I don’t want to hold it. You peed on it. I’m okay.)

Two things about the Golden Girls: Once, I called my mom a slut in the YMCA pool. I legit thought it was a term of endearment, because they called Blanche that all the time! Haa! My mom did not think so! That was a good time, and I believe it earned me a shocked crack across the face. And second, Blanche used to talk about housing whipped cream in her bedroom, and I VERY DISTINCTLY REMEMBER asking my mom what that meant. Her reply? “I don’t know.” I know now that OH SHE KNEW ALRIGHT. But I guess there really is no appropriate answer for a nine-year-old in that context, and suddenly I feel very dirty and awkward for watching the Golden Girls at nine, but I assure you, the sexytime jokes went right over my head.

Ugh, my poor mom.

Anyway, February! It breeds discontent and deep mortal thoughts of puce. I mean, the Golden Girls ARE ALL DEAD EXCEPT FOR ROSE, who is ninety-two, FFS. The retirement home is calling my name. Also, Blanche thought she was pregnant at fucking what, 55? Dear shit.

And finally, in amusing news, I made a few changes on my site (not a redesign, although Jesus God, I did this in 2005. HAAA, MODERN), and when I checked to see if they worked, I noticed that my ads weren’t loading. I give about thismuch thought to ads except when I get a (very tiny) check in the mail once in a while, and not really with any regularity. So! I did what any industrious blogger would do, and emailed my ad network to see if it was me or them.

You guys, they stopped serving ads in November. HAHAHA. I JUST NOW NOTICED, and ONLY BECAUSE I DID AN UPGRADE AND WAS LOOKING FOR PROBLEMS. Monetization: a high priority for the jonniker empire! Next up: MUGS.

Have a great Thursday! Valentine’s Day! We’re making baby pies. Or buying them. Or just maybe thinking about pie. We’ll see.

*I don’t even need to, right?

48 comments February 13th, 2013

Growing Up

Being a parent means that when one of your kids is sick, they will find a way to get their snot DIRECTLY INTO YOUR MOUTH. How does this work? Why? You wouldn’t think such a thing would be possible, and yet, cold after cold, here we are. A nose wipe, a too-moist kiss, SOMETHING. SOMETHING. Somehow, they will find a way to smear whatever it is they have INTO YOUR MOUTH, guaranteeing that you follow suit. The only way to avoid this seems to be to not touch your children at all, and THAT is a bleak prospect, so no.

Sigh.

I’ve been thinking about parenting a lot lately, which is something I’ve only recently been insecure about, and I expect that’s pretty common as your kids get older. Babyhood and even toddlerhood is relatively simple — keep them alive, do your best to prevent outright assholery, while also recognizing that trying to control them is akin to corralling a tiger kitten and just hope you make it through the day without getting bitten or pooped on. It’s so obvious in retrospect how little kids under two can really comprehend and/or control and even from age two to three, things are pretty damned dicey in terms of how much their behavior is a reflection of what you tell them to do. Sure, they model what you DO, but consequences and discipline are iffy concepts for them to grasp.

Three to four, however, shit gets real, and I think what terrifies me is that things just get more and MORE real from here on out. We’re at a stage in her life where she will have memories of some of this stuff moving forward — fuzzy memories, but memories nonetheless. She will remember what I do, how I treated her, things we did and how I handled certain things and it’s just paralyzing sometimes, really it is, because this is one job I can’t screw up and say hey! That was a nice learning experience, and now onto the REAL stuff!

Kids aren’t pancakes. I don’t get to throw the first one away and then make sure the second one comes out right, you know? Augh, you know.

Sam is a challenging kid, and she just doesn’t DO a lot of the things that other kids do, because of who she is — sensory processing disorder and a spirited personality make her a little more sensitive and a little harder to manage than other children. I really don’t see a lot of kids like her out there, unless you count the interwebs (that’s a great post, btw, and one I could have written about Sam). So my parenting challenges aren’t exactly the same as everyone else’s, because, as Jen eloquently writes, I’ve already fought more battles by noon than a lot of people fight with their kids in a day. Hell, we were in Fuddrucker’s recently, and things were going just fine until I looked down and found Sam sobbing into my lap. What the hell happened?

“SOMEONE SAID HI TO ME!” she sobbed and sobbed. And it sounds ridiculous, and on some level it is, but for Sam, it’s a hard thing to handle because it wasn’t something she expected. Again, I realize the absurdity of such a statement, and how it seems like a simple disciplinary and/or redirect situation, but you’re going to have to have some faith in me here when I tell you that it isn’t. And it’s a thing that’s really hard to write about, or even talk about, or even BE, because I never, not for one second, want to give the impression that I am resentful of Sam, that I blame her, that I don’t think she’s an awesome kid. She’s just a little bit different to parent, that’s all, and in a slightly more taxing way. But she is, oh my God, an incredible person that I am so proud to know, much less parent, and that’s the absolute truth.

But oh, I am so insecure about it, even though I know better. I KNOW I work hard with her and I KNOW that she is who she is and it’s not something I did or did not do to make her this way, but when I talk to other parents or read posts about kids who are younger than Sam who can do certain things or behave a certain way that she just cannot, I feel like such a blasted FAILURE sometimes. And people cannot help but give advice about what THEY did that worked, and how I should try the same! Occasionally, people in my family will remind me that I really need to work with her on these things, as if it’s not something I think about every minute. And I KNOW they don’t mean it in a bad or judgmental way, but my hackles get raised, because it is so, so frustrating, if I’m being honest, to have so little control over another person, which seems like an obvious statement, but HEY that is what people expect you to do! CONTROL ANOTHER PERSON.

That’s hard, especially when that person has challenges that make their behavior slightly illogical, and I mean beyond typical child illogical behavior, OF WHICH THERE IS PLENTY, I KNOW.

Last weekend, we went to Yo Gabba Gabba Live! (featuring my boyfriend, DJ Lance Rock), and she did so well, you guys. She did SO WELL. She had a couple of meltdowns, wore her headphones for a fair amount, and I did have to use M&Ms as a bribe a few times and sure, she kept her coat on FOR THE LONGEST TIME, but she did it. She made it through that whole show and she enjoyed it and she still talks about it, and I didn’t have to take her outside, NOT ONCE. And have you ever SEEN Yo Gabba Gabba Live!? It’s SENSORY OVERLOAD. There are lights and booming bass and Jesus, half the characters look like life-size sex toys and out of NOWHERE a giant carrot will start dancing with a strobe light. I mean, that shit is SERIOUS.

And she did it! She DID it. And I cry just thinking about it, because it shouldn’t be a big deal for a kid to go to a live performance of her all-time favorite show, but for Sam it sure is.

God, you guys, I was just so stinking proud of her. I still am when she talks about it and plays a silly song and asks, “Did they sing THIS at the Yo Gabba Gabba concert? I DID NOT THINK SO, MOMMY. But they DID play THIS!” And on cue, she’ll bust out with “Party in My Tummy” from iTunes, like a miniature DJ specializing in children’s music.

The truth too is that there are good things that come out of her being so sensitive — she is remarkably empathetic to other people. She understands consequences when there are feelings involved — I’m consistently amazed at her ability to understand somewhat complex human interactions and how people might FEEL in certain situations, and how things she does might be hurtful. Oh, sure, sometimes she rebels just because she’s almost four, but for the most part, she gets it, which is something I do NOT see in a lot of kids her age, at least to the level Sam is at. Fear of kid being a sociopath? CHECKED OFF, SUCKAHS.

One of my irrational, totally bizarre fears is that Allie won’t be as kind to Sam as Sam is to Allie and then, oh my god, I don’t even know how I’ll deal. At almost eight months old, Allie is already more at ease with the world than Sam is at almost four YEARS old, and I pray that Allie has the love, patience and understanding required of being with her sister. Sam lights up Allie’s world, for sure, but Sam is so in love with her sister that I can’t even put it into words. She doesn’t want to go ANYWHERE without Allie, and I’m amazed I get her to go to school without her. She’s chomping at the bit for Allie to wake up in the morning and from naps, and sometimes I can’t even convince her to wait until Allie wakes up on her own — I’ll hear a door creak open and BOOM! Sam’s whispering over the baby’s sleeping form, “Hi little girl! I MISSED YOUUUU!” And she really did.

I love her so much you guys, I can’t even begin to quantify it. And I just . . . I don’t want to mess it up.

 

*Peter Gabriel

54 comments February 5th, 2013

Cold

EFFING JANUARY, AM I RIGHT? I don’t know about you guys, but for the first few weeks after the holidays, I am relieved they’re over and I’m relaxed! Ho de ho, the winter is upon us, but there are no more holidays and we can just relax into our comfy routine!

And then, God, it’s just dark and dreary and cold and everyone is sick, so you don’t see friends as much as you usually do, and did I mention it’s DARK and it’s never SUNNY and you get the stomach virus, and then your friends get the stomach virus and then everyone has the FLU and it’s just depressing. I have been in a low-grade foul mood going on a week now, with absolutely no reasoning behind it, and then I remember: January. That’s really all I need to know.

January, man. It is a dark time. And February is more of the same. But March! Hey, uh, that’s coming soonish, and things start to warm up a bit and bonus! It stays light past 5 p.m. then.

Something to look forward to! Mud season!

Barrel of glee, I am.

Let us move on to some quick takes, because at this point, I am just putting things down on paper to get them out, just to, I don’t know, KEEP SWIMMING in this bleak, bleak era of deep winter. (Irony: I LIKE winter. But the lack of snow and/or sunshine is SAPPING MY WILL TO LIIIIIVE.)

– I’ve been cloth diapering and this is not new if you follow me on Twitter, because I went through a phase where I talked about it all the time, and I became one of Them, and here’s the thing: Cloth diapering is fun. No, I don’t know why. Yes, it’s creepy. Yes, the acronyms are awful and stupid and make it seem like some kind of SCIENCE, when really, it isn’t, it’s quite simple. I feel silly, in fact, that I didn’t do it with Sam, but then again, YOU try figuring out how to squeeze extra laundry into a time when your child screams 24/7 and eating anything less convenient than a Pop Tart is just too much to ask. Occasionally, I think back on the state of our house during Sam’s infancy, and honestly, it was as close to true squalor as I have ever lived. I don’t think I cleaned ANYTHING for a solid six months, and while Adam is a neat picker-upper, he’s not really going to dig in there with a toilet brush or anything.

Jesus, talk about a dark time.

I digress! So I’m cloth diapering, and it started like this: Allie blew out every diaper under the sun except for Seventh Generation, which for some reason is the ONLY disposable diaper I could readily find with elastic on the back. This is stupid, right? Stupid. Anyway, those diapers are not only expensive, but horribly crinkly and uncomfortable, and on a whim, I bought some gDiapers with the cloth inserts. I liked them, actually, and suddenly, I was no longer cutting onesies off of my kid on a regular basis (seriously, with the cutting). But oh ho HO, I could not get them clean with Charlie’s Soap and my inserts smelled like poop and I just GAVE UP and ordered a bunch of prefold diapers from Green Mountain Diapers and threw them into Flip covers, voila.

THEN, Kelly told me that basically, it turned out the reason my diapers still stunk is that THEY WERE NOT CLEAN because Charlie’s was not cleaning them, and HEAVENS, we bought some powdered Tide and God shone on us, and I could use microfiber again, so I got some bumGenius 4.0 pocket diapers and a couple of Elementals and now, that is what we use. Flips + prefolds, BG pocket diapers and for nighttime, bumGenius Elementals, which are awesome. I only have five Elementals, honestly, and that’s plenty.

So! Pocket diapers, prefolds + covers and an organic all-in-one, all from bumGenius, save for the prefolds. That’s it. I have two dozen prefolds, eight Flip covers, and maybe 12 pocket dipes? Anyway, I do laundry every three days, I spent less than $400 on the whole shebang thanks to seconds and used diapers and done. It’s way easier than I thought it would be, even with Alex eating solids. And cheap! Less than $400!

We won’t talk about the water bill from the month I tried to make my gDiapers stink less using Charlie’s. Yes, that was . . . expensive. But atypical! ATYPICAL!

Now you know. You should do it! It’s easy! And did I mention cheap?

– Speaking of cheap, oh holy hannah, y’all, after my budget post I told myself I could only go to Target if I ABSOLUTELY needed something, and I haven’t been since and . . . my bank account is noticeably, ah, larger. I even went so far as to price out staples like deodorant online and thus, have a six-pack of Dove winging its way to my house as we speak so that I do not even need to get out for THAT. And THEN I realized that while I am saving boatloads of money by exercising supreme restraint in avoiding my beloved red-signed paramour, I am also one one-click away from becoming an agoraphobic hermit who may raise the next Unibomber if we don’t get out. It never dawned on me how much I relied on SHOPPING to get us out of the house, particularly when we’re seeing friends less due to illness.

I see, ah, lots of trips to the public library in our future. Also, begging my friends to come over even if people are puking, because JUST GIVE THEM A BUCKET, WE CANNOT GO TO TARGET, WHO CARES ABOUT NOROVIRUS WE NEED SOCIAL INTERACTION.

Well, maybe not norovirus. But strep, flu? I’ll risk it. Just get me out, man, GET ME OUT. Otherwise I’m about to drive over to the red mecca and throw myself into the dollar bins.

(We have friends coming over tomorrow. Please don’t worry about us. Saved for another day.) (If they cancel, I will weep.)

– Target avoidance aside, I suddenly realized another reason why we haven’t been getting out as much, and that is the two-nap trap. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a twice-daily napping infant, and it is, ah, limiting, is it not? You get up, two hours later, BOOM! A nap. Three hours after that, BOOM! Another nap, but the thing is, you don’t want to do much in those three hours because WHO WANTS TO RISK THE NAP? No one. So you BOLT as soon as the kid wakes up from nap one, because a car nap could make the rest of the day AWFUL, or you wait until after the second nap, at which point, who feels like going anywhere, really. NOT I SAID THE FLY.

– I’m on a crapper of a reading streak, lemme tell you. Megan McCaffety’s “Bumped”? Unreadable. Abandoned. I’m currently reading Kate Morton’s The House at Riverton, and given that her Forgotten Garden is an all-time favorite, I had high hopes. It is . . . just okay. Even my smut choices have been lacking (Naked/All In/Blackstone Affair is . . . just okay for me.) The last book that really sucked me in was Gone Girl. What say you? Do YOU have any good books? Trashy and smutty choices are welcomed.

I blame you, January. I BLAME YOU.

Happy Thursday.

 

*Lucy Schwartz/Aqualung

54 comments January 30th, 2013

Paper Gangsta

Hey, here’s a funny story in the TMI category, but look, never stopped me before: Shortly after I posted about the ANXIETY SPIRAL I . . . I got my period. I am not suggesting these things are related, OH HO, I would never do such a thing, but I’m saying I . . . I feel better. Draw your own conclusions.

Anyway, here are some quick things I’ve been thinking about — I’ve promised to write here more, for myself, even if no one reads it. Besides, my mother would yell at me if I stopped. “I passed the URL on to the ladies at church and you hadn’t even UPDATED,” she admonished me one day.

The ladies at church. A conservative church. Well! What a surprise this is and must have been for them. Hello, church ladies, I am terribly sorry for my period talk and potty mouth.

– This is the first year I’ve really had Things I wanted to accomplish. Concrete things that are measurable and actionable and move the needle somewhere. I — we — have some pretty aggressive financial goals, so I have been redoing our budget and making changes and GOD, look, every time I fall off the wagon a little, I forget what a money nerd I am. I kind of get off on slashing things and doing without and making little changes to save money here and there. (MY KINGDOM FOR A GIANT SLASH IN FLORIDA.) I can exercise such RESTRAINT with money when I put my mind to it, and it makes me feel virtuous and smug and each purchase I don’t make cheers me to no end, as does the monthly transfer into whatever account I’m paying down or growing.

It’s gaining satisfaction from deprivation, which is twisted but rewarding, right? So why why WHY am I not as disciplined with diet? WHY? It’s the same principles! The same theoretical rewards made real! WHY? WHY? WHY?

– In the realm of finances, I was chatting with Liz today and talking about my biggest hang-up with money is that I am STUPID with spending and sort of thoughtless. Like, I will spend $500 in a single month at Target if I’m not careful, but if I have to make a SINGLE purchase more than, say, $50, I balk. Oh, that’s too much MONEY, I’ll tell myself. When really, it’s not any more than I’ve spent on random shit like an extra pair of unnecessary leggings, four crappy T-shirts, a face mask and six extra boxes of Band-Aids that were on sale. Stuff I didn’t even NEED.

But if I STOPPED doing that and actually started paying attention, I could use that money to buy something I DO need, like new couches, because I’m sure you thought yours were disgusting, but you’re wrong. Ours are the grossest. We bought them back in 2000, when we moved into our first apartment together. That’s right, we have THIRTEEN YEAR OLD couches that have been through a cat, a dog, two children and seriously, I think I had a nicer sofa set in college. The cushions on the back don’t even stand up anymore. But it seemed so ILLOGICAL to buy new ones when we were having, you know, small children who will, and have, barf, pee, poop and otherwise sully them. Except we realized that we don’t spend any time in an ENTIRE ROOM OF THE HOUSE, because we hate sitting on them so much.

But no. Much better to have stockpiles of awful beauty products lying about. Buy the damned couches.

- Why am I still talking about this? I don’t know! Maybe because I’ve spent three days talking to financial advisers and re-doing budgets and buying Hello Wallet and GETTING SHIT DONE. I feel like some kind of FINANCIAL WIZARD, but really, ah, no.

I’m sure this is all very riveting. Sorry. Look, I never promised you a rose garden.

I hope you have a great weekend.

 

*Lady GaGa

 

37 comments January 24th, 2013

Spiraling

I had a rough couple of weeks there where I was positively WEEPY about Allie being the Last Baby, after all of the Done declarations and sadness and I can’t even go into it anymore, because oddly, it passed. I think it was hormonal, seriously, because I remember going through a Dark Time right around the same age when Sam was an infant. Six to seven months, man. It’s like the silent postpartum killer that I really don’t remember hearing about. Is this a thing you’ve heard about? I mentioned it to a few people and there were many nods of agreement that oh yes, six months is a time when everything goes to shit, hormone-wise, particularly women who are breastfeeding.

For me, I think it coincided with a dip in night nursing — Allie started sleeping longer stretches at night (sometimes all the way through, please don’t tell anyone I said that), which meant that I was no longer a milk machine all night long, with the oxytocin and other happy hormones coursing through my veins and . . . yeah. Sam was similar, although there was no sleeping through the night to be had. More like, ah, sleeping through more than two hours. Which was awesome, don’t get me wrong, and shockingly provided similar results.

The thing is, there will always be a Last Baby, whether it’s this baby or another baby, and all the babies turn into children before you know it. It’s not like a third baby makes babyhood last longer — it still goes just as quickly, and it still doesn’t last. Babies become toddlers who become kids, and honestly, I can’t say I have any issue with the advancing of time so far, at least in terms of the results on my children. Yes, it’s sad to not have a baby anymore, but Sam is so awesome and fun and funny that I don’t even think I would go back if given the opportunity. I am hopeful, at least, that the same will be true for Allie, and that Sam will continue along a trail of awesomeness that makes me happier and happier each day. I keep remembering that we don’t even know who Allie IS yet. She’s just starting to tell us, and that’s pretty exciting.

(Ask me again when they’re 13.)

I have also come to the conclusion that kids are kind of like raw cookie dough. It’s impossible to stop, and it’s impossible to know that you’ve had too many until you’re nauseated and sweaty and wondering how things suddenly got this way. Not that it happens that way for everyone! I’m not saying everyone overdoes kids! I’m saying I think that’s what it would be like for me. I wouldn’t KNOW it was too much until I was weeping from . . . chaos, I guess. And I don’t REALLY feel like anyone is missing. I feel like everyone who is supposed to be here is here. When it was just us and Sam, I knew someone was missing. I KNEW it. I looked in the future and I saw the three of us and a blank space where, if I’m totally honest, another little girl was supposed to be.

And now she’s here. It IS right, even if I get a sad, biology-driven urge to have All The Babies, I can’t, and deep down, in my logical brain, I don’t actually want to.

ANYWAY, so then, instead of focusing on having another baby, or the Last Baby or any of that crap, I have REDIRECTED my anxiety on The Future, which involves budgets! And FUTURE JOB PROSPECTS! And just . . . EVERYTHING. I keep tweeting about line item after line item that I’m slashing. I am going WHOLE SLASH on everything, and honestly, I think it’s a good thing, even if my efforts are from a slightly insane place. I think. Although how I would know is beyond me.

I have spent a lot of time fretting about my house in Florida, too, which is also a good thing, as I declared this the year that we would finally come to some sort of closure on how to handle it without wanting to kill ourselves softly. I’ve also a lot of things that have always existed, but have somehow reached Paramount Importance and now that we’re not having any more children, it is time to FACE EVERYTHING and get our lives in order, and while some of this is healthy, I believe I am taking it all to a new level.

Basically, I am still working through this postpartum hormonal dip from hell, is what I’m saying. But have I ever mentioned that I am a HUGE fan of cognitive behavioral therapy? Well, I am. And what I like about it is that it focuses on stopping the wild spiral and focusing on what you can control, usually in the very immediate future and what would make you feel more in control RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Or you know, in the next few weeks. Baby steps, really.

It also helps that I have been through this anxiety spiral before, and I know what it is, and that it isn’t normal me, and that while yes, some stressors are real, they are likely FIXABLE and the world isn’t going to hell in a handbasket, and hey, Jonna, what can you do TODAY that will help you achieve peace on these issues? Besides staying medicated, which I am. And also realizing that this will pass.

I highly recommend CBT if you’re an anxiety-prone person. Truly. Coping mechanisms are important.

I’m making it sound like my life is a miserable death spiral. It isn’t. It’s just that this is THERE, lurking in the shadows, coming out to play at the least opportune moment, like, you know, when you want to go to sleep.

On the positive front, the one thing that did come out of this is that I want to take on a few freelance clients again. I miss it. I miss that small part of me doing something thinky and non-child-related to keep perspective on you know, being a human outside of a mom. It was a nice seven months, but it’s time. And I think I can say that comes from a relatively sane place, because I’ve been thinking about it for a while.

Well! It’s, ah, time to try to go to sleep. Thanks for listening. Writing it out always helps.

*Erasure

39 comments January 22nd, 2013

Slip Slidin’ Away

I know, it’s been seven months. Seven months! I have a no-shit infant who sleeps and all that, but you know, she was also born, and I don’t want to forget how. So here, seven months later, Allie’s birth story. It’s long. It’s more for me than you. Sorry about that.

God, you guys, I was so uncomfortable. I was big, I was sad and weeping all the time (thanks, antenatal depression!), I was still flipping puking every day, and I had a dairy intolerance so sensitive that if I so much as ate one bite of boxed oatmeal with a little milk powder, I would spend the remainder of the day and into the evening in the bathroom wondering, why? WHY? WHY ME? I had perfected the art of puking while also . . . doing other things, because things were just flying out of everywhere. I threw away multiple garbage cans because I just kept sullying them and it was . . . it was a dark time. I actually keep forgetting that, you know? It wasn’t that long ago, but here I am, looking back on that time with a GOLDEN GLOW.

Haaaa, unless I shat out gold dust, nothing about that time was golden.

“Your body is changing,” my midwife said knowledgeably, as I dutifully reported my bathroom habits. “Those prostaglandins! It’s coming soon!”

I almost punched her, because shut up, I still had three weeks to go.

Sam was a day early, so I was fully expecting Allie to be even earlier and then came my due date — June 4 — and then came the next day and the next, and by Wednesday the 6th, I promised Sam that we’d go to a picnic the next day to celebrate her last day of school, because why not? This baby was coming never. Might as well plan fun things.

The waiting is the worst, am I right? I’d never gone into labor with Sam — my water broke, and contractions never followed, at least not without Pitocin — so I didn’t even know what was going to happen. Frankly, I assumed that the same would happen with Allie, so I just sort of waited and hung about for the inevitable POP! from my unmentionable bits. Labors, as I understand them, are generally protracted affairs. To be clear: I had never experienced a contraction outside of Pitocin, which is ah, painful. You know. Or you don’t. But you might!

And that’s the only explanation I can come up with for the following events. Is my pain threshold that high? Probably. But more likely, I was just used to really painful contractions that did nothing, so I didn’t realize how far along I was until . . . well, you’ll see.

In addition to the myriad gastrointestinal issues, I also had relatively mild symphysis pubis dysfunction, which was basically a lot of pain in the, ah, pubic bone. Honestly, it was fine. Everything else was so crappy that it barely registered. So naturally, when I woke up at 5 a.m. on June 7 with pubic pain, I was just … well, it was pubic pain, you know? Except that I’d been having a dream wherein I was explaining to my high school friend Michele all about childbirth! And while I was explaining this to her, I kept pausing because my crotch was KILLING me, and she finally said, well, maybe you’re in labor and boom, I woke up.

This is a step up from the dream I was having involving Cheech Marin and a kayak when my water broke with Sam.

But you know, contractions. Hooray! They were pretty regular and kind of painful? Maybe? I didn’t know! I didn’t know! I mean, I’d endured eight or nine hours of Pit contractions, which were CRAZY painful, and I’d progressed exactly nowhere, so I just . . . didn’t think it was that big of a deal. A call to the midwife said that I should call back when I was either bleeding or unable to talk through contractions. Sure, I’d lost my mucus plug, but was that . . . bleeding? I didn’t know!

Things got longer, stronger and closer together, sure. But hey, no blood! I could talk just fine! They were 10 minutes apart, sometimes 13, sometimes three! Who the hell knew? I ate a sandwich, figuring a long day of labor would mean that I wouldn’t eat for quite some time. It was 8 a.m., and my sister was on the way just in case she had to pick Sam up from school. Preschool was at 9, and I fully expected to drop Sam off and maaaybe take a leisurely drive to the hospital if I was ready. Adam came home, slightly panicked, but I assured him it was fine! Let’s take Sam to school! No big!

So we did! And my contractions were five minutes apart and the ladies at school were like, heeey, uh, maybe you should go to the hospital? And I talked through the contractions, la la la, and I still wasn’t bleeding, so hey! Long day of labor ahead! But fine, everyone, if you insist, we’ll go to the hospital, but after I pick up a prescription at CVS and grab my paperwork! La la la!

(SERIOUSLY)

So we drove! To the hospital! La la la! And I responded to an email from TwoBusy at 10:03 a.m. all LA LA LA! We’re fine! Thank you for your offer of help! La la la! En route to the hospital! Stuck behind a truck, no big deal!

And after that, things started to get a little painful? Maybe? But I was stil fine! La la la! And then we pulled into the parking lot at 10:39. This is important, y’all. 10:39 we PARKED THE CAR. I know this because I’d recorded it on my stupid contraction app.

A quick walk to the maternity ward and we had to wait to be checked in after a bunch of rather leisurely-looking pregnant ladies had filled up the one (1) desk to check people in oh my hell. And then I had to pee! La la la! And I hit the restroom and wait, suddenly I didn’t have to pee anymore, I had to poop! SO BAD! Suddenly! Oh, I knew that sandwich was a bad idea! I didn’t want to poop NOW. I was going to have a baby soon! Who wants that area pre-sullied?

It was in that restroom, friends, that things got Very Bad. Because it turns out I did NOT have to poop, I had to push out a baby. And I started wailing, as I was stuck on the toilet, but I didn’t want to have the baby on the toilet, but I’d locked the door, and GOD, it was awful! Suddenly! So much pain! And the urge to push! RIGHT THEN. RIGHT THEN. I HAD TO PUSH RIGHT THEN. On the toilet on the maternity floor in the REGISTRATION BATHROOM. And I started to! As I was making my way off the toilet and to the door, I kept pushing and panicking and holding my crotch (yes, because holding one’s CROTCH keeps the babies in). I opened the door to find Adam looking slightly frantic and I was basically yelling I could NOT wait to be registered and I was going to have the baby! Right then! In the bathroom!

To which his response was basically no shit, I have ears.

You guys, it was 10:44. I’d been there FIVE MINUTES.

The rest is kind of a blur. I was given a rolling bed in a little triage room in the HALLWAY, checked for dilation (HAHAHAHAHA) and it was at this point that I asked for my epidural! “I’m ready for the epidural now!” I announced. The entire room just looked at me, splayed out in my black maxi maternity dress, FitFlops securely on my feet, a full ten centimeters dilated, baby’s head crowning like a mo’ fo’ and the pity was so thick you could spread it on a cracker.

“It’s too late, honey,” my midwife crooned. “By the time they get here, the baby will be out. Do you feel that?” She took my hand and guided it down. “That’s her HEAD. She’s HERE.”

“No! No! I want an epidural! It was my birth plan!” I SAID THAT.

“It’s too late! I’m so sorry.”

[Edited to add that I just remembered that I followed THAT with, "Fentanyl?" HAHAHA. I KEPT ASKING FOR DRUGS. ANY DRUG WOULD DO]

Y’all, I was fucking PISSED. I was also pushing. So, ah, you know, this triage table wasn’t cutting it anymore and you guys, they just WHEELED ME INTO A BIRTHING SUITE and four people picked me up — FULLY DRESSED — and moved me to a different bed while I pushed through each contraction, of which there was a total of maaaaybe three, four? I think it was during the second big one that I flat-out refused to proceed without an epidural. “I’m not doing it!” I pouted. “Well, it’s too late, you ARE doing it,” replied my midwife. It is then that she tells me I grabbed her by the collar, pulled her toward me and spat in her face, “I AM SO PISSED.”

And I guess I was. But it was quickly forgotten, because suddenly, there was little Alexandra, grayish and eerily silent. I got a brief look at her and then, boom, she was gone. Oddly, it wasn’t until after she came out that I ripped off my clothes and I don’t even KNOW WHY, I just did, it was all too much. I was like some weird feral beast.

I also most definitely did that awful guttural scream through each push, all cavewoman-like. Ugh. Retroactive embarrassment. Nice birth, cave lady.

Allie was born at 10:51 a.m. Twelve minutes after we arrived INTO THE PARKING LOT OF THE HOSPITAL. The walk to the maternity ward took up at least three of those minutes, and oh my hell, you guys, I had a baby TWELVE MINUTES after I arrived. TWELVE.

Things got kind of awful after that. As I lay on the table naked and bloody (holy shit, BLOODY), Allie was whisked away to the warming table to be examined and everyone was basically panicked, but trying not to ACT panicked, because she never cried. Oh sure, she appeared to be breathing, but crying? Nope. Apparently her cord was wrapped around her neck multiple times, so they were afraid she had some hypoxia.

Also, there was Surprise Meconium, which is apparently not a good thing, especially when the quiet baby is not crying, and quiet baby has had cord issues AND meconium, AND a super-fast birth AND AND AND. So there I was, bloody and miserable and also NAKED and nurses were pushing on my stomach to deliver the placenta (WHICH I NEVER WANT TO SEE AGAIN THANK YOU) and getting out clots and then stitching me up without an epidural (the worst part) and I WENT THROUGH ALL THAT (FIVE MINUTES OF) SHIT AND I DON’T EVEN GET TO HOLD MY BABY COME ON GIMME BABY.

I think I felt worst for Adam, who was torn between his naked and bloodied wife and his newborn daughter, and both were, frankly, pretty dissatisfied at the moment. But he stayed with Allie and I’m glad he did, because she was alone over there, while nurses poked and prodded and waited for the neonatologists to come down, and there was NICU talk and blaaah, I know, really, that it’s no big deal in the scheme of things, but it sucked in that moment, being naked and bloody and not holding your baby and hearing they might take her away even further was just . . . not what I wanted to hear, and maybe that makes me bratty, but I wanted my baby NOW. Finally, after declaring all of her vital signs beyond excellent, she was declared fine, just disinterested in crying.

And I got to hold my baby.

I can now report that she is still totally disinterested in crying. Turns out that’s just who she is, at least so far.

Man, I love this kid. She’s easy and magical and beautiful and cheerful all the time, I mean ALWAYS with the cheerful, you guys. Always.

Perhaps it’s that she was born in a maxi dress? PERHAPS.

 

photo-3

 

70 comments January 16th, 2013

Ho Hey

Well, I was going to come back with Allie’s birth story, but that’s just a little too far away from what’s happening NOW, so you know, HEY! (Ho!) Might as well launch in with what’s been happening since, I don’t know, DECEMBER.

The holidays, am I right? That was a bit of a crazy time, and we’ve still got Christmas-related visits coming and time is flying flying flying, but at the same time, this las week was basically a standstill. An utter standstill.

Without going into details, I will say that I got the stomach virus, WHICH MY BLOOD TYPE PROMISED ME I WOULD BE IMMUNE TO, and it was awful. Awful. Oh, it was awful. You know, for the most part, I have found parenting to be easier and more enjoyable than I anticipated, I did not see parenting while deathly ill to be so . . . challenging. I’m not just talking about the sniffles or a cold here, I’m talking about getting up at 3 a.m. after vomiting for hours and finding that SURPRISE! Since YOU are dehydrated, you are not producing milk! Which your baby needs to eat! TO LIVE!

AAAAAHRUGHET. Honestly, I probably should have considered the ER for fluids, but at a certain point, the thought of having Adam and the children drive me to the ER (no way could I drive myself), then Adam driving back and/or waiting with two kids in the germ-infested hospital was just . . . oh christ, it was too much, it really was. So when people tell new parents these new! awful! horrors that will befall them once they have children, I would like to say that they are completely wrong, because you WILl sleep again and you WILL read books again and life will be lovely, but what will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN is that delightful, luxurious misery spent pining quietly away in your sick bed. No. Your sick bed will have a three-year-old crawling all over you, terrified for your safety, and an infant who needs to eat and a husband who is trying desperately to corral them both, but cannot, because honestly, there comes a time when physical restraint of a SMALL PERSON who just wants to see her mom is plain stupid.

So there you go. Wash your hands, friends.

And then Adam went to Mexico on a mancation (I KNOW) and we were alone, and do you guys know what happens when I’m isolated with little to no adult contact for a week? Holy crap, it was hideous. Hideous. I became emotionally invested in every online controversy, ever. I developed really, no-shit HARDCORE opinions about Tangled’s Mother Gothel. I thought about Ursula the Sea Witch an awful lot and the worst part is that I yelled. A lot. At poor Sam. I mean, she was a total asshole at times, but SHE was cooped up too, and had been sick (OH YES, SHE TOO GOT THE BARFLES OF MAGIC) and missed her daddy and I just . . . ugh. This week will be better. As long as I don’t spend an entire night hovered miserably over the toilet, this week will be better. And Adam is home and he comes home and regales me with adult things and doesn’t ask me to snuggle at the moment I’m LEAST snuggable and the best part is that he doesn’t wake me up in the morning, although he can’t really save me from the people who do.

See you guys soon. Pulling an Alexa and deciding to just write something, throw it up there and just get back in the damned habit.

*Oh look, it’s the Lumineers again. THIS IS SAM’S FAVORITE SONG, EVER.

29 comments January 14th, 2013

Carry On

Do you guys feel like you’re just flailing in the dark? I am having a hard time, and I’ll be honest, I’m not usually a person who has a hard time with these things—not because I’m a cold-hearted snake, but because I have a way of keeping a protective shell of denial around me at all times to shield me from the actual reality of what could happen and frankly, of what has happened. A lifelong anxiety sufferer, I’ve always gone back to my cognitive behavioral therapy lessons — think about statistical probability, think about what you CAN control, think about the moment right in front of you, not the moments that may or may not (and probably won’t) come.

I do this because if I don’t, I flail in the dark and spend a lot of time thinking about how terrifying the world is. When I was first put on medication (a short-lived stint on Paxil, the devil’s med), it was years and years ago, shortly after Adam and I got engaged, and I became paralyzed with fear that something would happen to him — he would cross the street and a bus would come; mustard gas would fall from the sky; he’d choke on a South Korean chicken ball. (Bonus points if you can tell me the movie where that happened to someone.) I used to think about not having children, in part because I literally could not fathom how I would live just sending them out into the world unprotected, because all those things could happen to THEM, too, right?

I don’t know how to work through this. Adam said earlier that he doesn’t know how to digest it, and I think that’s a good word — digest. You think through things, take what you need to take, and purge the rest. I can’t figure out how to do that, so it just sits there like a rock. I keep wanting to throw up — literally — because then, what, I’ll feel better? This isn’t food poisoning. It’s not a virus that will run its course. I can’t get rid of it, and nothing I do will make it go away.

I didn’t know anyone involved. This isn’t my tragedy, and by writing this, I’m not trying to make it so or make it about me, it’s just honestly, I do not know how to process this, and I’m hoping that by writing it down, maybe I will, a little, and maybe you will and maybe some way we can get through this without losing our minds, because right now I’m not confident that’s even a possibility.

I have delayed reactions to things. I float in denial for a few days, and then bam! I can’t get it out of my head. I’m there now, right as everyone else is at least attempting to return to normal. While everyone else is returning to normal, I am just sinking into the pit.

What gets me about tragedies like this is the awful way it makes me — and I’m imagining, other people — think. Everyone’s hugging their babies a little tighter, grateful for them; but what it really feels like is thanking God that someone else’s babies were taken instead of yours. “Thank God they didn’t go to MY kid’s classroom,” we all think in moments of weakness.

And that’s when it starts feeling really sick. Like the reaping is upon us and if we have to choose — if this is the price of living in our world — let it be someone else who has to do without. The completely understandable, sickening selfishness we’re all reduced to is what keeps me up at night. I blame no one for thinking this way, as I do, too, and I hate it. I hate it. I hate feeling grateful for what I have at the cost of someone else, but I don’t know how else to think. I don’t know what else to think about. I don’t want to see your instagram picture of how grateful you are to hug your babies, because someone else isn’t, and that feels shitty, but at the same time? I need to see it. I need to hug my kids, I need to reassure myself that it can’t happen, even though it’s a total lie.

I don’t know how to thank God without a desperate anger about what happened to someone else. God works in mysterious ways, they say, but right now, I’m feeling kind of like screaming, hey fuck that shit, this is crap, and we don’t have to put up with it. Where is management? Who can I talk to about this experience? I want a do-over, a refund, a guarantee. I want a guarantee! Where is my fucking guarantee? I didn’t sign up for this.

Columbine, September 11 and this — three events that cost me so little in terms of collateral damage, but so much in innocence lost. This. This is the hardest in some ways — after 9/11, there was a certain xenophobic false sense of safety; an us vs. them situation, the ability to move forward drawn from the realization that the calls, at least, were not coming from inside the house. Columbine, a little tougher — disillusioned and disenfranchised high school students lashing out the only place they knew how. But this? I got nothing here. I got a kid — a random kid — shooting up LITTLE kids, and this time. This time, I’m a parent, and it’s not to say I care more about humanity than I did before, it’s that I can visualize, with greater clarity, exactly what those kids were like.

Before my children were born, my knowledge of a six-year-old was hardly intimate — a fleeting stage of my nephews that happened in an instant and was quickly forgotten. I could pretend a six-year-old had little knowledge of what was happening. I can’t anymore. I know exactly, in intimate detail, what kids that age are like.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to look. Shit, I don’t even know who to pray to or what for, because I’m so angry that this was allowed to happen. I don’t know where to put this anger and I don’t even know if what I’m saying is right or sensitive or appropriate or any of those things, I just don’t know what else to do. I don’t know how to get up and live in a world where this shit just HAPPENS and we’re supposed to carry on with our lives without throwing up from pure terror. We’re just supposed to DEAL with it, and no one asked us if that was okay.

Help me figure out what to do. I’m angry, I’m sad, I’m lost, and I’ll bet you are too.

*Uh, Fun. Also, I did not edit this. At all.

72 comments December 17th, 2012

Big Time

So hey, since moving Allie to her own room she, ah, sleeps. Quite a bit. Gets up once, maybe twice, to eat IF THAT, and once again, I’m like, well, shit. Turns out she just wanted her own damned space, but also, ah, she wanted to sleep on her belly. This makes me VERY FRETFUL and I keep thinking it’s terribly foolish, even though EVERYONE DOES IT JUST FINE and she’s even getting there on her own, and I couldn’t stop her if I tried, but please, remember, I am a person who kept the house at 55 to stave off SIDS with Samantha.

So the thing is, with everyone in bed by 8 at the latest, I suddenly have my evenings free, and by “evenings” I mean two hours before I SHOULD be in bed. And you guys, this feels really, really luxurious. I suddenly feel like I should be taking up a hobby. Knitting has crossed my mind. Quilting! I could quilt! By 2017, I could have half a square completed, right?

Then I realized that perhaps it’s time to get back to basics — writing here, as I mentioned is a priority, as is, ah, personal hygiene. So before I whip out the Featherweight (AND I WILL), perhaps I should work on showering every day and keeping those legs silky smooth, HMMMMM?

I sort of lost my mind earlier about sponsored posts, and I’m STILL kind of losing it. Blogs– no, PEOPLE! — I used to read and love have become shill factories — caricatures of themselves talking about THE cutest purse insert (fo’ real) and heeeey, they just happened to pay me and here! I have some to give away! And this is fine — great, even! — if it’s a one off thing, but by the FIFTEENTH sponsored post in, say, seventeen days, I kind of think they’re full of shit, and I become five years old and want to BOYCOTT every last one of the products on their list.

(Truth: I did a campaign with Huggies a few years ago, and it paid very well, and I GET IT. I also already used Huggies — swear! — and like their stuff quite a bit, even though they are no longer paying me to say so. But if they approached me now? Nope. I don’t use it anymore, because Allie has super-special buttocks that will only work in cloth or Seventh Generation, and look, I don’t want to knock Seventh Gen, but I HATE THEM. They feel like paper! So please don’t contact me, Seventh Gen. I hate your products. I USE THEM OUT OF NECESSITY.)

(If you are reading this, please go Schooner Tuna on us and lower your damned prices. That’s why I switched to cloth, you know.)

(I will never do another sponsored campaign again, is my guess. Even though I used the product, IT FELT SLIMY.)

I digress! So! All that being said, I had a funny conversation with longtime reader-turned-friend, Suki (this is where I wonder if Suki is aware that we’re friends. I think of you all — people who’ve commented here for years and years — as friends. Do you know this? Carla Hinkle! Heidi! Christine! So many others! We’re FRIENDS.) (Suki gets special status because she introduced me to my real-life friend Kate, who is her sister-in-law even though Suki and I have never met. Kate and I HAVE met, obviously.)

ANYWAY, Suki mentioned the number of products she bought that bloggers mentioned and then uncomfortably added that she totally now gets why companies try to harness that shit. And it’s TRUE. But isn’t it also true that the second you sell out once (or maybe more than once, O God?), your faith in their ACTUAL recommendations is completely gone? I don’t know. It’s an interesting to me, only because I don’t believe a damned thing a sponsored post says, pretty much ever, but at the same time, I get why people do them, because y’all, trust, it pays pretty damned well if you’ve got any kind of traffic.

THIS IS ALL A VERY LONG WAY OF GETTING TO THIS PLACE. Which is, here, a few totally not-sponsored product-related thoughts:

1) So look, I’m not going to dwell on this, but I tried to cloth diaper Allie last night and HAHAHAHA NO. NO. NO. I am stuck buying one pack of Seventh Gen diapers for nighttime, because, oh dear shit, I used a fitted (GMD Cloth-Eez Workhorse) with a bunch of inserts (cotton, hemp and a fleece stay-dry) and a wool cover (Kissas Wool Lovers). And not only did she sleep like hell, but I went in there at 1:30 and the room. THE ROOM. It smelled like a literal, no-shit SHEEP PEN. It smelled like WET, HOT, MOIST ANIMAL. It was all I could do not to barf, and I had to go in there TWICE MORE. TWICE MORE TO THE SHEEP DEN. And y’all. Unlike most of America, I’ve worked on actual farms and sheared sheep with my own two hands, so I KNOW WHAT WET SHEEP SMELL LIKE.

2) Living Proof Prime. I have screeched about the wonders of this product all over Twitter, and it’s true, I love it. I LOVE IT. It holds my hair style through a second day and it stops it from getting too . . . oily, giving me a second day without washing and ANYTHING that saves me from having to take a ten-minute shower and cutting into my sleep time is THE BOMB. Because I am just that lazy. So it’s awesome, and you should get some and no one paid me to say that, promise.

Incidentally, I found this product when my friend Dara showed up at my house and I ASKED HER IF SHE HAD JUST COME FROM THE SALON. It’s a cliche! Salon hair at home! But seriously, it’s awesome stuff.

3) However! And this is a giant however, for those of you who have purchased this miracle product: It builds up on your hair pretty freakin’ fast. Within a few weeks of use, your hair feels kind of coated and waxy and it just sort of stops working. So! You have to give your hair a break, not use it for a few days, and in the interim, use a good clarifying shampoo. And thanks to Liz, I bought LUSH Big, and I love it, although the price tag made me want to gouge my eyes out and the sample of conditioner (a bar!) confounded me. And that shit STRIPS your hair of any and all gunk. I mean, it’s SEA SALT, and it really does work. My hair was DEEPLY CLEANSED to the point of feeling like hay after just one wash, but it got all the crap out.

I have hair down. Now someone needs to help me figure out how to apply eyeshadow.

Note: none of those links are affiliates, so buy with impunity.

Happy weekend!

*Peter Gabriel.

56 comments December 13th, 2012

Somebody’s Watching Me

After years of feeling decidedly ambivalent about the holidays — wait, not ambivalent, STRESSED — I have come to love them. There’s something about a childhood spent shuffling back and forth to TWO Christmas dinners and TWO Christmas Eves and being stuffed like a Christmas goose with food because you don’t want anyone to be offended that you already ate that can be a bit on the yucky side. Growing up with divorce is hard, because no matter how hard my parents tried to make it NOT stressful, being a people-pleaser (I WAS BACK THEN, OKAY?) made it impossible. It wasn’t until I moved to Boston and started going to my sister’s instead — a tradition that has continued for at least ten years — that it became fun again. Kids! No traveling! ONE Christmas dinner, that I can actually contribute to!

This year is the MOST fun so far, because Sam actually gets it, and spends a lot of time screaming, “I LOVE CHRISTMAS I CANNOT WAIT!” along with naming EVERY item she sees to her list for Santa, including a package of scrub sponges at Target, at which point I had to say that no, really, not everything you throw out into the ether appears under the tree, and especially nothing made from Scotch Brite, mmkay?

We did the dreaded Elf on the Shelf, and though I am weary of all the Facebook pictures of the pithy things the elves are doing (pooping, really?), it is positively hilarious to see Sam wake up in the morning and look for the elf. I tell you, for a kid who is about as high strung as it gets, the relative ease with which she accepts a LIVE ELF* in her house, watching her, is fantastically awesome and out of character. Two thumbs up for the damned elf, and I never saw that one coming. I was a pretty emphatic elf-hater, in fact, but since she has deemed Delf (I know) a female, I am actually considering BUYING A SKIRT. FOR THE FUCKING ELF.

Unfortunately, Sam’s behavior has been quintessentially three-and-a-half, and that, combined with a staggering lack of sleep since the time change (FIVE AY EM sometimes), has made living with her a constant string of double-vodka evenings and, if I could, bloody mary mornings. Ergo, a second elf (we’d already had two due to overgifting last year) made an appearance to monitor her behavior and ALSO, I made a video from Santa on that genius little Portable North Pole, because that’s who I am now. I am the Santa Briber, but it’s either this, or Betty Ford.

Ironically, the Santa video FREAKED HER SHIT RIGHT OUT, because he knew her name and everything, but somehow a LIVE ELF* in her living room — I’m sorry, ELVES PLURAL! — does nothing to her delicate sensibilities. Even after Adam placed an elf on her dresser overnight. She woke up to a TINY ELF hovering over her face and she didn’t even flinch. But a pre-recorded Santa saying her NAME? JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL. Or sleigh. Whichever.

*I am aware that they are not Live Elves from a freshwater tank or anything, but Sam does not. I mean, kid legit believes there are LIVE ELVES (steamer fresh!) in our house, WATCHING HER and she’s fine.

Oh my God, this was a painful exercise in elfdom, and I am so sorry.

Moving on! *clap clap* And this is EQUALLY PAINFUL, but I have switched to cloth diapers after a series of bizarre issues with Allie and her specific tushie (Huggies are a no-go and I LOVED Huggies), and though I will not go into here (UNLESS YOU WANT ME TO HA HA?), I will say that a) it is not a big deal, and b) um, I get why people want to talk about them all the time. You guys, there are FORUMS UPON FORUMS of women who talk about this stuff all the livelong day. FORUMS. BLOGS. Now, color me crazy, but infancy is a finite state of being, right? One hopes that your child will, eventually, NOT be using prefolds with a Snappi under a Flip cover (SEE WHAT I DID THERE), so it seems rather, um, dangerous, to tie up a significant amount of your identity and time into being a “cloth-diapering mama,” because I anticipate that eventually you will be a cloth diapering mama who has no one to diaper but the geriatric bichon.

THAT BEING SAID, it’s stupidly addictive, like some kind of GAME, and even though parts of it have been utter hell (eat shit, microfiber. OH WAIT HA), I will admit to enjoying it immensely, although it is not the DIAPERING that I enjoy, but the folding of the laundry that I find so completely satisfying. Part of me just wants to run off and start a diaper service just for the fluffy folding. This fantasy quickly comes to an abrupt halt, however, when I envision dealing with the feces of a child who is not a member of my immediate family, so no.

A regular fluff and fold, however, is totally my jam. I will wash strangers’ underwear for money, apparently, provided they are also mixed in with non-underwear laundry, and that they let me use Tide. This is sounding terribly fetish-like, and it isn’t, it’s just that I find laundry very soothing. Send me your laundry. I’ll fold it lovingly and nicely, but not in a pervy way.

Well. This turned into something I didn’t intend. Happy Monday to you! Or wait, it’s Tuesday. ALMOST. HEY HO!

*Rockwell

52 comments December 10th, 2012

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