You know, thus far, 18 months is a challenging age, to put it mildly. And yes, I know I know, all the “Just Wait!” people are going to come out and be all, wait until she’s two! Wait until she’s three! Wait until she’s a teenager! This is nothing!
It’s not that she’s not wonderful — God, the highs are so high, full of moments that simultaneously lift and shatter my heart. She’s developing a sense of humor, and is starting to do things deliberately, for no other reason than to make us laugh. She dances like a little fiend. She raises her arms to the sky and yells a toddlerese version of “TO THE FLY BOAT!” when the Wonder Pets are on. Almost every morning, she’ll walk right up to Adam and have a deep, completely garbled conversation with him about … well, we don’t know about what, because she’s shouting absolute nonsense, and the funniest part is that she’s deadly serious. She cannot be cajoled into breaking into so much as a smile when she’s on what we have begun to lovingly refer to as her Tiny Hitler Rants.
(Adam: “I’m starting to seriously wonder if this is what Hitler was like as a baby. It doesn’t make me feel good when I think about it.”)
The best/worst part is that her arm gestures are entirely mine, and her inflections rise and fall in the same intonation that I use when I’m angrily tearing into something. Reflections of ourselves are sometimes a little scary, especially wrapped in a tiny body that we’ve been referring to as “Fuhrer.”
She’s a snuggler, and when she’s tired, she likes nothing better than lying next to me on the couch, a sippy cup of milk in hand, zoning out to the dulcet sounds of Moose A. Moose. She wakes up with a smile and says, “Hi Mama!” before launching into a discussion about the zebra on the wall.
She’s the cutest little person I’ve ever known, and sometimes I am so stupidly overcome by how lucky I am to have her, because oh, what richness and joy she’s brought to my life, truly.
But. Dear God, this blows. I’m sorry, friends, this sucks horribly, and I don’t know how else to say it. The tantrums! The fits! The foot stomping! The insistence upon doing EVERYTHING herself, but with the complete lack of ability to actually follow through on that desire! Her language comprehension is sometimes startling — I’m amazed at what she understands, and the complex commands I’ve thrown at her, assuming there’s no way she’ll be able to follow through, and yet there she is, picking up the garbage, putting it in the can, giving her daddy a high five and THEN putting Mr. Mouse in the baby carriage.
If only her expressive language was remotely close to that, because let me tell you, the futile pointing is getting VERY OLD. She points! She yells! When we don’t deliver precisely the object she was pointing at, either because we misunderstood or worse, because she can’t have it (I’m looking at you, wine glass), she begins to scream and stamp her feet to such a degree that I’m surprised the walls haven’t melted from sheer sonic force.
She wants to drink out of a big girl cup — no sippies for her, thanks — but when, a) I won’t give her one because it’s glass, or b) she gets one, and promptly spills the contents down her front, you would be wise to run. Run as far away as you can get, because your face is about to be shattered into little bits from the yelling.
She wants to dress herself, but YOU try putting on a hooded sweatshirt when you have the upper body strength and coordination of a person who’s just downed seventeen tequila shots in less than an hour. Failure is invariably followed by screams of frustration and more foot stomping, along with — oh my God — occasionally CLAWING AT HER OWN FACE.
And then there is the sleeping. She’s so tired, and yet … she wants to be awake, because she’s got SHIT TO DO, PEOPLE. Baby carriages to push, and blocks to stack, and sippy cups to reject, and snacks to demand and … oh, we are all so tired.
We went to the Cape this weekend — a lame attempt at our first family vacation — and while it had its moments of wonder and delight, when I tell you this next part, you are going to wonder how such a statement is even possible.
We were promised a room that would be TWO rooms — an actual suite, if you will, and let me tell you, I asked no fewer than nine times if the rooms were separated by a wall and a door, A WALL AND A DOOR, and was repeatedly assured that yes, there was a WALL AND A DOOR.
There was no wall. There was no door. So we made a wall with a bedsheet, thinking that this! This would stop her from seeing us and want to be awake in the night! HA HA! FOOLED YOU, SAM!
She woke up at 2 a.m. FOR THE DAY. TWO DAYS IN A ROW. FOR THE DAY. You think I’m kidding! OH HO HO! I am not! I am not kidding! We drove to Provincetown at 4 a.m., hoping to score some breakfast, only to be horrified and irritated when NO BREAKFAST PLACES WERE OPEN AT SIX AM. We drove around in circles, desperately trying to get her to sleep, only to find that we were too tired ourselves, so we PULLED OVER AT RANDOM REST STOPS AND SLEPT IN THE CAR.
It was a nightmare. It was. A nightmare.
There’s a part in Alexa’s wonderful book where she talks about the things people say to you when you are going through a rough time with your children. And though I never experienced anything remotely on par with what Alexa did, in terms of day to day instability and uncertainty of the life of my child, I did experience a similar sentiment from well-meaning friends and acquaintances when Sam was going through her 10-hour-a-day screamfests. I was constantly regaled with, “I could never do that,” and “Oh, I would simply not do that! I couldn’t!” or “I could never sit there holding her for all that time! I just couldn’t!”
Alexa accurately points out that much of it is tinged with some unpleasantness — the underlying smugness that THEIR child isn’t the one going through this, that THEY somehow drew the longer straw, by fate or design, or that THEY would have figured out a magical solution much sooner than I did. In my more generous moments, I like to think that the real message is that they are afraid that they could never. Afraid that they would shrivel up and die and not survive such adversity.
The thing is: we all can. We all would. We all do. A few years ago, I’d have been saying to someone like me that I could NEVER get up for the day at 2 a.m. — I just simply couldn’t. I could NEVER endure a kid who didn’t sleep and screamed all the time. I could NEVER deal with a kid who, after not sleeping for three consecutive days, I’m afraid may be coming down with roseola like the rest of her little friends (OH DEAR GOD PLEASE NO). I could NEVER deal with a tantruming kid who’s throwing a fit for no other reason than the Play Doh is the wrong color and JESUS, LADY, I WAS POINTING TO THE OTHER PINK ONE. THE OTHER PINK ONE. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?
But I can. And I did. And I will, whatever happens. So will you.
It’s crazy, right? We just DO. And the paradoxical thing is that it is both better and worse than you ever imagined it could be.
*Probably many people, but right now, I’m thinking of Jimmy Buffett
First of all, do you love how Joanna appeared in the comments? Poor Joanna. I can now add “Bully readers into becoming friends!” into my list of dubious accomplishments. Although if I were SUPER crafty, I’d have put it on my life list, then figured out how to brand that shit.
(Secretly, I am very excited. I LIKED Joanna, right away. And here is her website. See? Likable.)
In other news, we started a new gym class with Megan and Lila, and while I really liked it, I … well, there’s no other way to say this. The instructor we had was a bit of a beefcake. No, I’m sorry, a LARGE BEEFCAKE. Hot and built and kind of … well, not remotely my type, but objectively speaking, a superhot gym-rat kind of guy. A SINGLE superhot gym-rat kind of guy. A single, IN HIS LATE TWENTIES, superhot gym-rat kind of guy, who called all the little girls in the class “princesses.”
Friends, are you thinking what I’m thinking? He’s there to meet MILFs. There’s no other explanation. Honestly, I felt like I was in some weird Desperate Housewives-meets-Edward Scissorhands-meets-Jackie Collins-type scenario where all these lonely housewives go clamoring for the hot young gym guy. A guy who teaches at THE LITTLE GYM, where the oldest client is guaranteed to be no older than, say, FIVE.
Truth be told, he was an excellent teacher — so good with the kids, honestly, and not even a little inappropriate with any of the moms — but I was somewhat relieved when I learned he was that was his last class, as he’s leaving THE LITTLE GYM OH MY GOD, to go back to school to pursue, wait for it, a degree, THEN A WIFE AND FAMILY. (A dozen MILFs just fainted right now.) (Seriously, the guy seemed to have GAME, and again, he is AT THE LITTLE GYM, LAND OF THE MILFS) The whole thing was just so … distracting, but not for the reasons you would think. I wasn’t gazing at his bulging biceps or anything (Seriously, he isn’t my type at all.) (But yes, my type of course is a hot guy, and yes, I married one, but not THAT type of hot, you know what I mean?), but I just kept wondering if anyone in the class was going to slip him their phone number.
So I … I don’t know what it says about me and our totally sexist society, as well as my own bizarre attitudes of sex, gender and child-rearing, but the entire time I was just like, SERIOUSLY, DUDE? What are you DOING here? You, with your ripped arms and Everett accent and, I’m guessing, Goodwill Hunting-style Fila jumpsuits during your off-duty hours. Toddlers are awesome, but are you … after this are you HEADING TO THE MILF’S PLACE FOR A HOUSECALL, OH MY GOD?
I’m an asshole. But that’s all I could think about the whole time.
Speaking of sex and gender, and this is a holy non-sequitur if I ever did launch one, but after finding a box of old photos, I was once again reminded of my college course on human sexuality — you know, the one EVERYONE took pass/fail for no other reason to get credit for sitting around listening to people talk about sex in a large lecture hall. It was mostly rather tame and surprisingly snooze-worthy, but I vividly remember the section on “alternative sexualities,” whatever that means, and they brought in some guest speakers to talk about the life of a bisexual.
Holy. Hell. Holy FAIL, Batman. All of the bisexuals were men, all of whom were married, all of whom regularly cheated on their wives without their knowledge or consent, with other men. All of whom were cheaters. THAT’S the paradigm of bisexuality they held up for us. How unfortunate. How … how subversive, really, now that I think about it. Sneaky fuckers, to make bisexuals look like total douchebags who can’t be bothered with little things like morals, which is absolutely, unequivocally not the case.
(Jerry Falwell is screaming from the grave.)
Look, it makes no difference who you have sex with or if you like sex with BOTH sexes, depending on the person, but Jesus, Syracuse University, that was the best you could do to demonstrate bisexuality? A bunch of cheating, philandering men? That’s … well, that’s awful, is what it is, and I was so pissed about it that I, in a rare display of pure in-person rage, walked right up to one of them after class and called him an asshole to his face, saying exactly that. Telling him that wanting to have sex with men AND women is fine, but it is not fine if you stand up there and ask us to accept you for who you are, when what you are is a CHEATING SACK OF SHIT.
He was displeased, but oddly gracious.
I’m still mad about that, but I’m mad at the professor for using them as an example to help people understand people who are different from them. That’s not a good example, or a kind one, or a fair one to put on impressionable minds, some of whom may walk away thinking all bisexuals are philandering assholes. Many years later, I MAY BE MOVED TO WRITE A LETTER.
Anyway, also in the box of college photos were pictures of the boyfriend whom I later learned got married to a woman in the TACKIEST DRESS KNOWN TO MAN. (Seriously, I wish I could show you the picture. You would die.) Also, the boyfriend who is now some crazy liturgical pastor at a southern superchurch (JOEL OSTEEEEEEN!). Aaaand, of course, the boyfriend who owns a Jewish girls’ summer camp in Maine. The one who hates me. The one who REALLLY hates me (it did not end well, and apparently he still harbors a grudge), but who now lives in my mothereffing TOWN, who I may, when he returns from summer camp, give a HEART ATTACK over the vine tomatoes at the grocery store.
HOO BOY, nothing like the old college photos to remind you that you made the right choice in life, that’s for sure. Oh, Adam. Thank God for you and your non-tacky, non-camp-owning, non-Fila-jumpsuiting, non-religious-preaching ways.
We have a winner in our merry wipes giveaway! Kristen! Wipes for Kristen! (Kristen was #12, and I did it via random number, and I CANNOT FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET A SCREENSHOT, so don’t yell at me.)
Send me your address, and I will pass along to my friends at Huggies so you can get your glorious wipes! Don’t use them all in one place.
This ends my Poo-Free Summer, and honestly, thanks for putting up with this. I know that I never do this kind of thing, but I … well, honestly, Huggies has been great to work for, and I actually use their products, so I felt okay about it. Nay, I FELT GOOD.
(Although wait! There’s more! I am writing for Highchair Critics, which is Huggies-sponsored.) (Yes, they keep asking me back. Don’t miss Emo Baby, and the photo of me taken by the super-talented Leah.)
And now, while I realize it’s the end of summer, and this will be sort of fruitless unless you live in Florida, I want to share with you the one thing I learned after the WORST WIPE-UP IN THE HISTORY OF WIPE-UPS. Sam pooped in her swim diaper after a morning at the splash park. No big deal, right?
Have you ever taken off a swim diaper? They don’t have TABS. They’re PULL-UPS. OH HO HO HO. So I … pulled it down. And smeared poop all over her legs and, oh God, her FEET and OH GOD OH GOD.
And then I wiped! MANY WIPES! MANY MANY WIPES! AN ENTIRE TUB OF WIPES. PLUS A BATH.
And then I posted about it on Facebook. And that’s when I got the best secret ever that is probably not a secret to you, but whatever:
Swim diapers — well, Huggies anyway, I can’t speak for others — RIP OPEN AT THE SIDES FOR REMOVAL. YOU JUST RIP OPEN THE SIDES. NO POOP SMEARING. RIP THEM OFF.
You’re welcome. Remember this next summer. MY GOD.
Disclaimer: I have been compensated to provide content for Huggies’ Highchair Critics blog and as a brand ambassador for their wipes. That said, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.
I’ve taken a bit of a television hiatus, in terms of finding new shows, anyway, because it’s summer, we’ve been busy, and whatever, there’s Big Brother, mock me if you will. But every night before we went to bed, Adam would watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and shake the damn bed with laughter while I glared at him in an obnoxious highbrow manner over the top of my book.
He finally broke me down, and PEOPLE. I CANNOT STOP. It’s easily the funniest, most wildly inappropriate show I’ve seen in years. I’m howling! I’m crying! I’m feeling terribly dirty because I’m laughing uproariously at the absurd pleasure the characters are taking in finding — and trying on — a Nazi uniform, and that sounds worse than it is, kind of, but you must trust me: HILARITY ENSUED. I … oh, it’s terrible and hilarious and so offensive, while at the same time smartly acknowledging its offensiveness, and, well, I feel like everyone should go get it and watch it. Unless you’re very sensitive, in which case, I don’t know what to tell you, because it’s possible you’re reading the wrong blog, maybe? I’m not sure.
Anyway. I have failed to mention that Sunny once again continues to be the bane of our existence, while also managing to be the primary sleep-stealer, making up for all those months that a squalling baby kept her from her deep puggy slumber. While I was at BlogHer, she was overcome with such a disastrous stomach ailment that Adam was up every two hours (like a NEWBORN) to take her outside to either barf or poop, and to be honest, the majority of the baby wipes in this house were being used to WIPE THE DOG’S BUM.
THE DOG’S BUM.
THE DOG’S BUM.
This is how, upon my return, I ended up waiting in a 24-hour pharmacy for a prescription to be filled for my dog. A dog whose prescription was borked (barked?) on four separate occasions because the pharmacist not only could not find my dog as an existing patient in the insurance database (BECAUSE SHE IS A DOG), but was consistently trying to fill a prescription for a human named — wait for it:
After waiting and calling and waiting and calling, and talking and waiting and mass confusion, the pharmacist, who to my knowledge has a DEGREE and everything, stopped and said, “Wait: are you Funny Rubin? I’ve been trying to call you!”
She finished her last pill today. This is her third round of this flora-encouraging antibiotic (a paradox if I ever heard one) and if I wake up in the middle of the night tonight to wipe her bum, I will seriously consider selling her to the highest bidder. Or perhaps the first person willing to buy me a jumbo pack of Starburst. Whichever.
In other housekeeping-y news, a few of us are in the process of putting together a Boston blogger (and the readers who love them) meet-up. As a result, would you kindly let me know, either in the comments, or via email (the contact form above does go to my email, swearsies), so that we can keep you in the loop, as the kids say?
Also, HA HA, embarrassing fun fact: A reader recognized me in Barnes & Noble a few weeks ago, and she was adorable and funny and a mom! A mom of two! Who lives kind of near me! And I loved her, even though I was shocked and sort of stammer-y, for it happens so rarely to begin with, but it happens even MORE rarely that someone recognizes MY DAUGHTER before they realize who I am. And yes, I had to ask her name TWICE because I was so flustered and … well, so I said we should get together sometime! And she should email me her contact information!
No email. Sad panda. Which goes to show you that apparently there are times — quite a few of them, I reckon — that I translate very poorly in person. So attend the meet-up at your own risk.
(CALL ME, JOANNA. NOT TO SOUND DESPERATE OR ANYTHING.)
*Biz Markie. Who is coming with DJ Lance and the Yo Gabba Gabba clan to Boston, and I’m totally considering buying tickets and … oh dear. They are not cheap. This is not rational, right? I mean, she might freak out! She might not make it! AND YET. DJ LANCE IN THE FLIZESH. *fans self*
I didn’t get a pedicure once this summer, and let me tell you, that was a TRAVESTY OF FOOTCARE. These puppies are perhaps the most terrifying they’ve ever been, and I’ve done precisely nothing about it, and now — NOW! — I’m thinking maybe it’s time to pay attention and do something about it, because I can’t take it anymore. Day late, dollars — millions of dollars, to be specific — short.
My urge to get a pedicure is strangely symbolic of the idea that I’m not all that excited about summer ending. Before I had Sam, I was a winter person. You know, back when winter involved lots of sloth-like behavior, warm stews and doing nothing more taxing than snuggling by the fire and lifting the remote control. Winter meant reading! Adorable snuggly clothes! Sleeping late while the flakes fall softly outside our window pane!
HA HA HA, I have a child now, and while I’m all, YAY, FALL! Yay! Pumpkins and park visits and warm apple cider and apple picking and all that APPLE-Y FALL STUFF. But fall! Fall is very brief.
AND THEN THERE IS DOOM. DOOM FOLLOWS THE LAST APPLE. Winter colds and snotty noses and Jesus knows WHAT flu strain they’ll terrify us with this year that I’ll spend copious amounts of time pursuing a vaccine for, but will be unable to obtain. Or — OR! — I know, I’ll actually GET the vaccine after breaking down in tears to the receptionist about how I have a BAYBEE and DON’T LET MY BAYBEE DIE, and then my kid will get the flu anyway, and it will be five days of misery, and then we will all move on, Amen.
Incidentally, Flubaby came up in conversation the other day, and Adam has ZERO RECOLLECTION of Sam’s flu from last year. The Thanksgiving Flu From Hell. NONE. He claims, probably accurately, that he merely blocked it out, because last year was also The Year That No One Slept, but how do you block out this face?
Besides, what the hell are we going to DOOOOOO? I mean, there are playdates, but our gym has closed (THE GYM HAS CLOSED) and my girlfriends and I are going to be stuck dragging our kids to Wednesday Lap Sit at the library while Lois, the Mean and Angry Librarian, butchers kids’ classics and acts like the fact that kids showed up at all is an affront to her delicate sensibilities.
DON’T LEAVE ME, SUMMER.
Speaking of no one sleeping, we’re in the midst of a STAGGERING sleep regression, and by staggering, I mean not very staggering at all to my former non-sleeping self, who would tell me to cry me an effing river and get over my damn self already. But to my well-rested self? This blows. She’s falling asleep late, getting up early (AN HOUR AND A HALF EARLY), taking the briefest nap known to mankind, and no amount of letting her holler will get her back down (FORTY FIVE MINUTES OF HOOTING AND HOLLERING), and yet, she’s clearly exhausted. By the end of the day, she has SUITCASES under her eyes. SUITCASES. Little lady could pack up an entire HOUSE and take it with her in those undereye bags.
AND YET. IT PERSISTS. And to date, there are no discernible skills to speak of resulting from this regression, despite the myriad promises by the ever-vague They. Well, unless you count an increase in the frequency of nonsensical conversations featuring arm waving and and hand gestures used by yours truly, and THAT is freaky, let me tell you.
But still. No results of this agony. No quoting of Derrida or loquacious lectures on astrophysics. Just a lot of “ASSSAGLAABEEBADOBEEBADADOO?” and an adorable little shoulder shrug, followed by wild hand-waving. Sometimes she nods violently, as if to underscore a very important point.
This … ends, right? I mean, she will sleep again? Sleep … late-ish? And NAP? WILL SHE EVER NAP AGAIN OH HOLY MERDE?
Good thing she’s cute, is all I’m saying. Also, packed with attitude … and pigtails.
It’s giveaway time! Huggies wipes! Wipes! Wipes. WIPES! WIIIIIIIIPES! (Wipes. The whole word sounds … absurd when you say it that many times, am I right?) Enter here to win five tubs of Huggies wipes! Woo! And learn from me so you don’t use them all in one week!
See here’s an honest diapering issue I have. Well, a wiping issue. You know, before I had Sam, I had only diapered boys. On my side at least, Sam is the first little girl. I diapered many a nephew, including a really fabulous time when I was standing in for my sister’s childcare one summer and through some strange miracle, a family friend was coming to talk to me about a job, and five seconds before she arrived, one of said nephews projectile pooped all over the living room. Twas awesome. Now he’s 12, and wants me to diaper Sam outside his precious residence because he’s so grossed out by her … output, and I’m like, OH YOUNG MAN DO NOT TALK ABOUT POOP. I SCRAPED YOUR PRECIOUS POOP OFF OF BOOK BINDINGS.
And for all this talk of wiping little boys and their … well, their accessories down there, the thing with girls is that it’s like doing some kind of CAVE SPELUNKING, and it’s so hard to make sure you got everything out of everywhere, and there is kicking and wiping and kicking and wiping, and let me tell you how afraid I am of pediatric UTIs: SO AFRAID I CANNOT SEE STRAIGHT. And yet, I’m probably going to give her one by wiping her into oblivion. Huggies wipes are pretty effective; there is no reason for me to be using thirty on a single incident. None whatsoever.
At least with boys, all the crevices are visible, and you’d have to REALLY TRY to bring on a UTI, is what I’m saying. So, ah, I have to ask: is this a realistic fear? I mean, I do the whole wipe from front-to-back thing! I never go over the same place twice with a sullied wipe! (Obviously, if I’m using THIRTY.) I have the lingering, awful feeling that I’m Doing It Wrong, and that there must be a way to be more effective at this — not to mention cost effective, because again, this is not the fault of the wipes, this is me being INSANE.
Sometimes I really want to go back to birthing class. Seriously.
And finally, before I get into the giveaway, a video of Sam, carrying The Dreaded Load:
To enter, please leave me a comment — feel free to share your, um, wiping concerns so we can crowdsource solutions OR tell me I’m crazy OR tell me your kid got a UTI and I can totally justify to Adam why I buy nine containers of wipes a week. If you want to comment, but for some reason do NOT want to be entered, just say NO WIPES, PLEASE!, and I won’t pick you. The contest ends Wednesday at 6 p.m. EST. I’m choosing via random number selection and will post the winners on Thursday, which will be the final wipes post, which, you know what that means? END OF SUMMER.
Thanks to Huggies for providing me with a supply of wipes and compensating me for my time as a Poo Free Parent Squad ambassador. As always, all opinions stated are mine.
When my dad sent me emails updating me on Sam’s days while we were away, he … well, he wrote them in her voice. It was kind of hilarious, not only because he did it, but because he wanted us to write back to her …. err, him. It was a little awkward, but when I went with it, it wasn’t so bad.
Here we are again, this time for a program I’m doing for Huggies and their Highchair Critics site (adorable). This, from Sam, is a Day in the Life. From yesterday, a day which — well, I’ll let her tell you, but it wasn’t a good day. She might not look like me, but she shares many of my expressions, right?
HOLA! (That means “hello” in Spanish! Am International baby!)
(I should warn you right now that I’m not in the mood for any poop from anyone or anything, including my mother, unless that poop is in my super-comfy Huggies diaper, in which case, I’m a big fan, because I kind of like how cool and tingly the wipes are on my bum.)
Look, I’m not going to lie, it’s been difficult around these parts lately. My mind is racing constantly, I’m starting to get a handle on some things (I LEARNED TO MOVE THE GATE AROUND THE TV! HOLLA! BUTTONS BE MINE, BISHES!), and in the middle of a perfectly lovely afternoon, my mother — who, I have to admit, sometimes I don’t like all that much, because she’s just trying to keep me DOWN — is telling me to take a stupid nap.
I know what you’re thinking: that’s absurd, right? Absurd! Who can think about resting when there’s so much to DO! I woke up this morning raring to go — the sun wasn’t even up, but I was ready to go. My dad always says, eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired, work when there’s work to be done. Clocks are the shackles of The Man.
Mom was pretty peeved, but whatever. Lady be crazy. There’s a lot to do, sister, and I ain’t got time to be lounging around in a bed with bars. You have a problem with the time I get up, go to bed when I do! It’s easy! I’m well rested!
So I showed her where to put her nap by pretending to close my eyes for a few minutes to appease her, but then, sorry, I was just DONE. A girl can only take so much. I have STUFF TO DO, and I don’t see why this is so hard to understand.
Besides, I threw Mr. Mouse and Teddy out of there, so I was all by myself, staring at the animals on the wall wondering why they don’t ever SAY anything. I’m thinking it’s because they haven’t been asked the right way, so I keep yelling at them. Mom says it’s impotent fury, but for God’s sake, no matter how many times I tell her that I don’t speak English, she doesn’t get it.
Anyway, the day was destined to be doomed after a totally lackluster breakfast of Cheerios and blueberries that my pitiful excuse for a mother threw down on my tray like I was supposed to be grateful she opened a BOX. Sorry, lady. No dice.
And she wonders why I don’t eat that much. Go ahead and see how many dry Cheerios you can eat without a drink. I’ll wait. Oh, what’s that? Your mouth is sealed shut with Cheerio paste? VINDICATION. Oh, why was there no drink? Because my mom NEVER remembers a drink. I usually have to cough conspicuously to get her to remember. Obnoxious, but it works wonders. Give it a whirl sometime! Tip from me to you: Pretending to choke really gets those parents in gear.
I’ve got DSS on speed-dial, gentle readers. One day, I’ll use it.
So then, after breakfast, I’m all kickin’ it with my jars of Play Doh, carrying them around in my fly tote bag, when suddenly the doorbell rang and my buddies Molly and Gracie showed up! Why doesn’t anyone WARN me before this stuff just HAPPENS?
Of course they brought their mothers, too, and I’m kind of looking forward to the day we don’t have to drag those ball and chains around. We’ll be eating Play Doh, using scissors and splashing in toilets to our hearts content!
NOBODY GONNA BRING US DOWN. PLAY DOH FOREVAH.
(And scissors. CANNOT WAIT. IMMA CUT ME SOME COUCH CUSHIONS.)
Anyway, I like my friends, but I’m not a fan of their little mitts all over my stuff. Like, Gracie was pushing my stroller around and sitting in my car, and though I didn’t say anything, I gave her a good hard look, just to make sure she didn’t break it.
You break it, you bought it, Gracie. Don’t make me.
But seriously, who comes in someone else’s house and just uses their stuff like it’s theirs? Do … do people DO this in the real world? I’m not convinced.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, as Mom looked a little irritated that I was even up and about, but whatever, there was Yo Gabba Gabba, and she let me watch the whole thing in one sitting. Man, that DJ Lance is a hoot.
PS, I stayed up an hour later than usual, too. BOOYAH, BROTHA! The key is to look happy, but be really loud about it. PRO TIP FROM TEH BABY.
I’m OUT! Catch you on the flip!
(I am DELIGHTFULLY diabolical, AMIRITE?)
Disclosure: I have partnered with the Huggies brand to help promote Huggies Little Movers Diapers. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program, which includes writing about my family’s own experiences from my daughter’s point of view and/or their experiences with diapers. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.
So, many years ago, I had to fire someone. In retrospect, this is ridiculous, because I swear to you, I was MAYBE 25, had zero experience doing such things, and was counseled to do so in a way that was as close to asking for a lawsuit as one can get without filing the paperwork and suing yourself. Granted, this person should not have retained her job — she was terrible, unreliable, sometimes willfully defiant and yet (YET!) consistently asked for a promotion. It was a lethal combination, as you can imagine, and after first counseling her to look for another job through the power of gentle suggestion (she didn’t get it, or refused — not sure which), I had to fire her.
It was hideous. Hideous! She bawled! She was shocked! I was frozen, basically reading off of a piece of paper like an idiot so that we WOULDN’T get sued, when all I wanted to do was hug her. And again, why the eff HR wasn’t doing this was beyond me, but there I was, a totally incompetent 25-year-old manager who had no business managing, firing someone under the guise of a one-person layoff.
It was one of the worst things I’d ever had to do.
A few hours after she’d left, her mom called me to yell at me. Her mother called me! HER MOTHER. And she called me a dumb low-life and all kinds of things that were probably true at the time (seriously, I was only a manager because I brought in a piece of business that was a lot of money, end of story). Now, her mom and I had tangled previously, when Marla (yes, let’s call her that), called in sick, but didn’t leave information where some VERY IMPORTANT MISSION-CRITICAL documents that had been due the previous day were kept, so I had to call her at home and … well, she wasn’t home, she was in NYC visiting her boyfriend and THAT was awkward and awful, and yes, her mother yelled at me for invading her privacy, when … well, it was Marla who blew off the deadline AND was busy porking on a futon in the Upper West Side, so who’s really at fault here?
Fast forward to Saturday, and I’m in line at Gourmet India at the mall food court, because that’s what you DO when you have a kid who hates sitting still at a restaurant and you have no food in the house and you just want to EAT without it being a HUGE PRODUCTION, and dear Jesus, people, SHE WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.
GAH GAH GAH. I kept silent and just sort of quietly panicked at the memory, and my only consolation is that she looked fabulous and didn’t bear any visible scars from the horrid, no-good awful faux layoff I inflicted upon her in my youth.
And whatever, don’t mock me for my food court Indian selection, because while I know it’s kind of gross, seeing as not only are you in a FOOD COURT, but everything meat-like is draped in some kind of heavy sauce that could be masking the remains of Max and Ruby’s doubtlessly deceased parents up in there, let me tell you something: I lived without decent Indian for FIVE YEARS. The last Indian place near us in Vermont featured a very old Indian matriarch, all wizened-like, who sat behind the hostess desk and SHAVED THE SKIN OFF HER FEET WITH A RAZOR THE ENTIRE MEAL.
I can handle Gourmet India, is what I’m saying. And besides, I would very likely eat the asshole of any animal anywhere (I grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch country! I ate scrapple!), provided it was done with the right sauce and plenty of cilantro. I’ve always wanted to be Indian, if only so I could learn to cook their food. Not to denigrate my own cultural heritage — I’m Hungarian and Italian, which, while no gastronomic slouches, have cuisines I like to sum up as follows:
Hungarians: Throw some paprika and sour cream on it. Extra points if there’s cabbage. You think I’m kidding, but if you’ve ever had eastern European haluski, you know that I’m not.
Italians: Do we have tomatoes and basil? Excellent. Here’s dinner.
And of course, there’s the Pennsylvania Dutch: Can we pickle it? What if we throw some hard-boiled eggs in there? Excellent! What if we fry up a pig’s stomach to go along with it? EVEN EFFING BETTER.
(Side note: pickled beets and eggs is one of my favorite things, ever, and my dad made some DELICIOUS ones last week)
(Side side note: Shoo fly pie is just SILLINESS in a pie crust and yet people go BONKERS for it. Basically it’s molasses and crumbs. BARF.)
But Indians! Such spices! Beans! Cilantro! Coriander seed! (Same thing, different form) THINGS THAT HAVE FLAVOR. AND LACK ENTRAILS, MAYBE.
Well, this went to a place I wasn’t planning. Sorry about that. A few housekeeping tidbits, yes?
– I’m reviving the Book Lushes after a summer hiatus. Stay tuned!
– Speaking of books, I’ve started reading Alexa’s, (yes, this Alexa) and cannot stop. I can’t stop. I’m not one to blow smoke in this area, so when I tell you that this is exceptional — that SHE is exceptional, both as a person and as a writer — you must believe me. And you must go out and get it for yourself, and then report back to me how big of a genius you think she is, because you will. She is. It’s SO GOOD, you guys. It’s like, LAUGH OUT LOUD good, and funny and poignant and heartbreaking … IT IS SO GOOD. IT IS SO GOOD. SO GOOD. SHE IS SO GOOD.
She is also a friend, and I am really proud to say that, and proud of her. But that does not mean she hasn’t earned my respect as a hugely talented writer with the first chapter alone. Holyshit.
– While an odd segue, I wrote a few things other places on the internet, both kind of pulled from my ass and thrown on the table like a lump of something unpleasant, yet strangely … compelling? Or maybe just unpleasant and confusing. One at Polite Fictions, the other is a recap of this past week’s True Blood for my bosses at Smart Pop. (And a reminder that you can buy my essay for less than a buck AND the entire book is still available!) To those recappers who do this on a regular basis, I salute you. It was great fun, but it was also so much freakin’ work, and hours and hours of rewinding and pausing and note-taking and DING DONG, I HAD A CRAMP, that I have no idea how you do it on a regular basis.
BlogHer glow aside, I really left out the most important part of it all — that of leaving Sam for the first time.
You guys? I was fine. I was … fine. I was FINE. I mean, mostly fine. And by that I mean I wasn’t spending every second pining for her. It was a relief, and it was also horrible. I felt a mixture of giddiness and guilt for feeling this way. I missed her terribly, of course, but I’d be flat-out lying if I said there weren’t moments when I was nearly drunk with the freedom of being able to go places without a small person. I could ride! On an escalator! Without a stroller! I stayed out — alone — past MIDNIGHT some nights! I mean, not ALONE-alone, but without the concern of being home for a baby who would be getting up as the dawn cracked across the horizon.
It was kind of amazing.
Sam was with my parents for two reasons — one, Adam recently started a new job, and time off is kind of not the best thing to do right away, plus he doesn’t really have any yet; and two, I grew up an hour and a half outside New York City, and I was wonderfully, happily comforted by the idea of having Sam close enough that I could be there to sniff her head within minutes, not multiple hours, should something go wrong. And obviously, my parents rule.
I was away from home for eight days — four of which were before BlogHer — to give my parents time to get Sam acquainted with them as her primary caregivers in my absence. Away! From home! And while Adam deserves props for taking a week off from his family (yes, he was well rested, but he was also lonely, as apparently he really likes us), you guys: my parents. My parents are saints.
In the days leading up to the conference, they were … well, amazing isn’t quite the word. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so loved. They treated me — and my daughter — like princesses, and I hate that phrase, but there’s no other way to say it. It was really, really special. I slept past seven almost every day, because my dad was nearly downright OFFENDED if he wasn’t the one to get Sam out of her crib. I learned this the hard way, by getting her out of bed one morning and bringing her to see my dad in his study. His face was one of abject horror.
“But … but … I brought the monitor out here! I am DISAPPOINTED! Jonna, she couldn’t have made a peep! I had my ear to that thing! I wanted to get her up!”
And he did. He also made her (and me!) the most delicious meals imaginable, and more than once, he and my mom promised to get her up after her nap while I did things like go to stores! ALONE! And my mom! She slipped in so seamlessly that one night, after much hand-wringing by me, she put her to bed (BED!), right in front of my face. My daughter seemed to barely notice, frankly, that’s how skilled of a nana my mom is.
It was … well, it was something, and it turns out that was something I really needed. Truth be told, in the last seventeen months, we haven’t had a babysitter. I hadn’t been away from my kid for more than three, four hours TOPS since she was born. Strangely, these are the side effects of a screamy infant. You’re so used to being trapped, positive that no one else can handle your child’s misery quite like you, and before you know it, you’re almost two years into this gig, your kid is no longer difficult, and yet you still haven’t had the luxury of a night to yourself.
When I finally (and reluctantly, I must add) left, my dad sent nightly emails packed with the events of the day, and good man alive, did my kid have fun. Swimming! Farmer’s markets! Playtime with my nephews! Donuts! Cookies! Ice cream!
I don’t even know what to say. I don’t know how to ever thank them, and I’ve been staring at a blank thank-you note for a week, positive that words won’t even capture how lucky I felt, how happy I was to have them, how much I needed that time, and how much I appreciate everything they’ve done for me.
Thanks, Mom & Dad.
This weekend, we went to Davis Farmland again, and man, if you’re a Bostonian or a Metrowester and beyond, you must go. It’s like Disney, but smaller and more, uhh, farmy. In other words, nothing like Disney at all. But it never feels crowded — even on a busy weekend — and they have animals roaming free (pygmy goats! Jacob sheep! Baby goats and calves!) and you can just let your kid wander without fear of them getting into anything they shouldn’t, for it’s ALL kid-friendly. And hot damn, their staff is awesome.
Plus, they have a splash park, which my new-thing-phobic kid surprisingly loves. And you know, for a kid who is terrified of new things, I’m surprised and grateful that she loves animals so much, though I will concede she could use a little MORE fear in this area. Kid is afraid of nothing, provided it has four legs and a tail. Nothing.
*John Waite, before he lost his mind, invested in Aquanet and joined Bad English
So! It’s EST week at Huggies, and oddly, it doesn’t stand for Eastern Standard Time, but stands for EST, as in the thickEST (Huggies wipes), prettiEST (my daughter), largEST (my backside), etc. (OR SHOULD I SAY EST?)
The idea here being, you know, that I should share a situation that is some kind of super superlative version of whatever happened, and honestly … it’s almost impossible. It’s all so … EST. Ever since I had Sam, it’s like the world lit up in technicolor and everything is amplified to a degree I never saw coming. EVERYTHING is the … EST. She’s the loudest, her personality is the biggest, she’s the messiest, I’m the stressiest (is totally a word) and … well, you get it. It’s more than a little crazy, but it’s also the best thing I’ve ever done, and I think that’s obvious.
(I’m sounding a little like Moose A. Moose here … AMIRITE? Isn’t this part of a song? About things being the … smelliest? Or belliest? Or something?)
Anyway, by far, things are the messiest. It’s hard for me to live in a situation that I have little to no control over — I don’t get to say how or when things get/stay clean. I don’t get to decide when to clean them up and when to make the mess. I don’t get to say no, you can’t make a mess right now, because sometimes things need to be messy.
This might sound silly, but I’ve always sworn that I would never stop my daughter from doing something that made a mess. I still remember how desperately I wanted one of those Play Doh sets that squished the material through tiny holes to create fancy shapes and, uh, hair (Play Doh barbershop? Right? No?). But no, I wasn’t allowed to have one, because they were too messy.
It’s my opinion that the best things in life are messy. The messiest.
But for the messiest thing ever? Well. I’m going to leave you with this delightful oldie-but-goodie, which was, honestly, the messiest. AND YET. It was also the best! The best kind of messiest!
I WAS NOT HOME.
Do you have an EST? Tell me, friends.
(Disclaimer! This post is part of the work I do for Huggies, and yes, they pay me, but they pay me to BLOG about WHAT I WANT, with such light parameters, I am so totally getting the long straw in this stuff. I like them a lot.)