Archive for September, 2010

No Sunlight

Sam’s lesson for today was that sometimes you’re the grass, sometimes you’re the lawnmower, and I think it’s safe to say that she’s identifying with tiny green shoots getting relentlessly shredded, over and over again, by a series of rather sharp blades.

When I went to get her from her crib this morning, I staggered and clonked her head on the doorjamb, kicking off a series of injured wails. She slept late (8 a.m., and it’s becoming the norm lately, and no, I don’t know what to do with this other than weep from abject joy), which meant we were already running behind for our 9 a.m. class, so I shoved a granola bar in her pie hole and dragged her in morning rush-hour traffic for a class that was indoors instead of out and … kind of sucky.

Truth be told, she spent the majority of it on the sidelines eating her Pirate’s Booty, probably because she lacked a proper breakfast, but more likely because the instructors were so far off their game she was in the mood to do anything but participate. Although frankly if you were an instructor of a bunch of 18-24 month-olds, would you put a bunch of toys — say, hula hoops — in front of them and then LECTURE THEM ON WHAT TO DO WITH THEM BEFORE LETTING THEM PLAY? And then giving them a stern talking-to when they picked up the hula hoops? If you would, then you don’t know toddlers, is all I’m saying. They lack, um, impulse control, to put it mildly. For chrissake, they can barely resist sharp KNIVES, you think they’re going to wait for HULA HOOPS?

Anyway, the rest of the day was uneventful except that she clonked her head on the coffee table so hard she has a corner-shaped indent, only to fall off the couch face-first a mere hour later, jamming her legs underneath the coffee table and requiring rescue. And an hour after THAT, she bashed her head YET AGAIN when Sunny climbed on top of her to snake her cheese stick, and if I were her, I’d have buried my face in a feedbag of Ho Hos and a bottle of wine, but alas, she doesn’t have that option and the best I could do was offer her a slice of watermelon to soothe her bruised ego.

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This sucks. Anyone got a G&T? I like Tanqueray.

Tomorrow’s a better day, kid.

*Death Cab for Cutie

PS, the Book Lushes next book is The Book Thief!

12 comments September 28th, 2010

Super Trouper

We went to Ikea on Saturday, which seems counterintuitive to a family on a new budget, but apparently you are allowed to spend within your allotted budget line items, so there we were, driving to Stoughton for some Swedish inspiration and fabulous family-friendly parking. Did you know about this family parking at Ikea? It’s right up front! And you don’t have to be elderly, infirm or — gasp! — pregnant.

Look, I don’t mean to belittle the pregnant among us, but stork parking at Babies R Us is absolute bullshit designed to do nothing but make the pregnant ladies feel special, and I’m sorry, but I felt plenty special without toodling in and getting a front-row parking spot while some poor lady with a swollen vagina and a freaky-looking newborn tries desperately to maneuver her car seat out of its base. I can’t imagine anyone who’s ever had a child arguing that it’s more difficult to hoist a baby into a store while they are inside your body than outside in the world, where they either require 1,456,780 additional items clumsily shoved into a diaper bag, plus a car seat or baby carrier and/or are of the age where they’re resisting the stroller and threatening to launch themselves directly into traffic. I’m thinking at the very least it should be renamed “THIRD TRIMESTER PARKING ONLY,” or better yet, “ANYTIME PARKING FOR PREGNANT LADIES WITH OTHER CHILDREN.”

This reminds me of a comments section I read once — an adoption blog, I am assuming — wherein several commenters who were adopting announced that they, too, took advantage of the stork parking, and while I fully believe that adoptive parenting is equal to biological parenting, I cannot say that one who is not physically experiencing the anticipation of becoming a mother is quite at a level where they require up-front parking, for the love of all that is holy. It just goes to show you that stork parking is a terrible, no-good marginalizing idea that leaves plenty of people confused and strangely entitled, and of course, our Babies R Us has ELEVENTY MILLION of these godforsaken spots, and I am ALWAYS stuck parking in the back, near the carriage drops, which are always full of carriages that are (IRONY ALERT) broken and hazardous to children, but that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, back to Ikea, where we did what everyone does when they go to Ikea for the first time in a long time, which is tour the entire showroom, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over inexpensive furniture that they do not currently need and fantasizing about buying the entire room that costs only $899! For the whole room! And then, after hours of pointless shopping, finally hitting up the ONE section where they do need things, only to find they are too tired to deal and/or really only wanted the shit in the marketplace anyway. Well, that’s our Ikea story, at least, except for that time we got in a rip-roaring argument over coffee tables that lasted over an hour and kicked off a SIX-YEAR coffee table standoff, which didn’t actually end until we settled on a glass-topped children’s deathtrap at Haverty’s in 2007.

It goes without saying that we still have this coffee table.

(Btw, Holly talks about her recent experiences with Ikea here, and the best part is that all the commenters start sharing their Ikea-based spousal disagreements, and see? Ikea brings people together.)

So we toured the whole thing, ate some Swedish meatballs, walked out with an easel that didn’t come from a dumpster (which will show up today — well, Monday — on Style Lush), intended to get a table and chairs for Sam, but couldn’t find the actual items in the stupid self-service flatpack area, got frustrated, almost lost Sam in a pile of stuffed bunnies and vowed never to go to Ikea again.

The rest of the weekend was relatively uneventful, with the exception of a non-terrifying Sunny puking episode, wherein she ate a bone too fast, swallowed it, and proceeded to empty the contents of her stomach all over our area rug, couch and other surfaces. I, having just gotten over a sinus infection/cold/whatever, starting gagging and subsequently coughing, which resulted in me peeing directly through my pants in a way that I hadn’t done since I was pregnant. Like, I had to CHANGE THEM. God, why does no one TELL you these things?

I remember mentioning this to my OB at my six-week check-up, that things felt strangely … loose, down there, and she actually acted as though it was all temporary, and would return to normal, when what she should have said was, “Yes, why didn’t you know this? You will pee yourself until the end of time. Things are irrevocably broken down there. I’m sorry. Enjoy your baby!”

And finally, I realize that many people think Sam looks like me, but I’m sorry to say, she really doesn’t. Behold, a photo of my husband just past the toddler years — he’s the one in the middle — and if that isn’t my daughter, then my bladder has been restored to full, pre-pregnancy function.

(Click to embiggen.)

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At least no one can say it’s the milkman’s baby.

Happy Monday to you!

*ABBA Viva la Sweden! And the Lyekeviksn collection! Or whatever.

20 comments September 26th, 2010

Money

We’re on a new! improved! totally Draconian! budget to save for some life-goal type stuff, brought to you by the letter S for Screwed and F for Florida and let’s just throw in H for House!, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, but the truth is, I love budgeting, and I say that with as much enthusiasm as I can muster. In my head, it kind of sounds like Plex from Yo Gabba Gabba. “I’m thinking of a budget! It’s flexible and painful!”

I! Love! TO BUDGET!

And of COURSE I love to budget. Budgeting is fun! Budgeting makes it seem like you have all! this! extra! money! Assuming, of course, that you stick to it, tracking every blasted cent and this — this is where things usually go horribly awry, and it’s kind of like being on a diet, where suddenly you want to run right out and eat an entire chocolate cake, then spend the entirety of your bank account on hookers and blow. HOOKERS AND BLOW! And maybe a pizza or some new jeans. Or a pedicure. Man, I would love a pedicure, but under the new regime, I’d have to save and account for said pedicure and decide if I want the pedicure or something else with my allotted monthly fun money and OH BLERGH, the growing bank account is satisfying, but I’m not sure it’s as satisfying as sitting in a spa chair, you know what I’m saying?

Screw responsibility, man. Sometimes adulthood blows.

At any rate, this whole hot mess is how I found myself doing things like buying a $5 toy kitchen at a yard sale, followed by (and this is really terrifying, just TERRIFYING), coming to a screeching halt in front of a house on a busy street because they had a giant kid’s easel out front marked “FREE!”

You guys, I loaded this giant, awful plastic easel into the back of my car on a busy street and it’s awful! It’s awful and large and unwieldy, and I’m not even sure what I was thinking! I just LOADED THIS BIG-ASS THING IN THE CAR AND DROVE AWAY. And it’s awful! And now *I* am going to have to be the assface who leaves it outside MY house saying, FREE TO GOOD HOME. PLEASE TAKE THIS PLASTIC MONSTROSITY AWAY FROM ME.

And let us talk about the total savings theoretically achieved by my drive-by easeling: $14. Yes, friends, the easel I’ve been meaning to get Sam is $14. Is $14 going to make or break our budget? HA HA. NO. Especially when I’ve budgeted for Sam and Sam-related items and activities, and FOR GOD’S SAKE.

This is why I tend to be an insane stop-and-start person. I go whole effing HOG on something, and the next thing you know I’m irrationally weeping into my generic K-cups about how life is UNFAAAAAIR and I’m DUMPSTER DIVING and before you can say “THROW THE EASEL!” I’m going to be like Frank and Charlie, pushing carts through the streets of Boston and hollering about how, THIS RADIO IS STILL GOOD, DAMMIT. Put a plastic bag on it and jam out in the shower! That EASEL IS STILL GOOD! PAINT! PAINT PAINT!

And then, in a fit of frustration, I’ll decide that I will … I WILL SHOW MYSELF WHO’S BOSS. And then I will have a commissioned, artist-approved easel embossed with the work of Van Gogh himself, to the tune of thousands of dollars, all for an 18-month-old who just wants to COLOR, dammit, with the COLOR OF BANANAS. THE ONE SHE WAS THINKING OF! I! LOVE! TO COLOR!

(My mind often goes Plex on me. Why? Because sometimes I find myself watching Yo Gabba Gabba ALONE. WITHOUT A CHILD. This, by the way, brings me to a tangent when a few months ago, Adam came home with a Backyardigans DVD for Sam for an upcoming car trip. Me: “The Backyardigans? We never watch the Backyardigans!” Adam: “Shut up! Of course we do! Every night!” Me: “This is because we leave Nick Jr. on after Sam goes to bed. SAM does not watch the Backyardigans. WE DO.”)

In other news, the Book Lushes are back in action, and our book this month is going to be a young adult selection. I know! YOUNG ADULT! Finally! Please join us here, and vote in the poll, which should be up by Thursday morning is now live, bishes! And then read with us! Join us! 500 people can’t be wrong! (Except that I hated our last book but that is not their fault! Apparently I have Red Tent issues!)

Also, I post at Highchair Critics on Thursdays. Just a heads-up.

Hey, I hope you have a great Thursday!

*I’m going with Jesca Hoop on this one.

21 comments September 22nd, 2010

A Mistake

First of all, you’ll have to forgive me if I never post here again, because some jerk on Twitter or something mentioned Angry Birds, and then of course I, being an idiot, had to download Angry Birds for my stupid iPhone, and the next thing you know, I BLACKED OUT and woke up with birds grunting in my ear, my iPhone pressed to my face in a sticky, sleep-induced snuggle. Hours I’ve wasted on this stupid thing. Hours. HOURS. Hours of nothing but — wait for it — pulling birds back into a slingshot and shooting them at animated snorting pigs, who are occasionally wearing helmets.

It is so STUPID. I don’t even think I LIKE IT. So what am I doing? Nothing, that’s what. I am angry about Angry Birds.

***

My sister, twelve years my senior, is the queen of unsolicited advice. I think even she would admit that (and if she’s reading, which she only rarely does, maybe she’ll chime in). I mean, she has advice on EVERYTHING, from the kind of pants I should buy to where I should live, to what the best thing is to do for my daughter in terms of religion. Yes, EVERYTHING. She’s not being an asshole about it — it’s the furthest thing from malicious, actually. She’s just trying to impart her learned wisdom — stuff that worked for her — on me so that I don’t have to make a lot of the same mistakes. Plus, she gives career advice for a living, so it just sort of comes out. It used to drive me nuts, and by nuts, I mean ABSOLUTELY MISERABLY CRAZY OT THE POINT OF HYSTERICAL HYSTERIA OH MY GOD ANN STOP STOP STOP I WILL FIGURE THIS OUT.

Then I became a parent, and … well, shit if I don’t understand what my sister goes through and then some. I don’t want Sam to make any mistakes. I don’t want her to get hurt. I don’t want her to feel that awful, sickening mental crunch when she’s made a horrible mistake, and she can’t fix it, and no one is talking to her because she said the wrong thing and … oh MAN. Here. Here, child. Learn from my mistakes, and let’s do this whole thing perfectly from start to finish, and don’t ever, ever get hurt.

For God’s sake, I can barely let her learn how to use the Cozy Coupe without the bottom in it without showing her how to do it, over and over again until she figures it out (no luck so far), so I remain entirely unclear as to how I’m supposed to let this kid screw up royally on other, bigger things.

Mentioning Florida the other day got me thinking about it — by all accounts, moving there was a huge fuck-up, financially, mentally and otherwise, except for the fact that we learned so much there. Then there was that awful time I became terrifyingly depressed in college and handled it badly and didn’t talk to anyone until I woke up one day and realized I had next to no friends because I was such a doucheface to all of them, and God, it was awful and probably the worst time of my life, except badow! I figured a lot of shit out then, and became a better friend and person.

I opened my mouth and said things I shouldn’t have and hurt people’s feelings, and subsequently learned how not to be a big mouth biznatch if it hurts someone else. I quit jobs, took jobs, made colossal, career-jeopardizing mistakes at work, was mean to boyfriends, friends and family.

I didn’t talk to some of my family members for years, and yes, I mean YEARS, and it was a horrible, crushing mistake, except that our relationship is now better than it ever was before.

I hurt people; I let people hurt me. I did stupid things and got scared and learned never to do those stupid things again because of how close I came to not making it through that stupid thing I did, and sometimes that meant literally not LIVING through that terrible error. I have been a jerk, a bigger jerk than I would have thought myself capable of — sometimes unwittingly, sometimes entirely on purpose — and those are usually the times I learn the most about myself, and how my actions impact other people.

And my marriage! My marriage usually gets better after one of us screws up, even though it sucks at the time, and the thing is, mistakes are good, obviously, provided they aren’t IRREVERSIBLE. I am a better everything because I’ve screwed up so badly at times.

But how do you KNOW? I mean any one of my screw ups could have tipped the scales into the Irrevocable Disaster Zone, and it’s just horrible, the idea of letting my kid take risks. The biggest risk I let her take was going down the hill by herself at the park today, and she flew down so fast her feet couldn’t catch up with her body and KABOOM! Faceplant. Bloody lip. SAD TROMBONE.

I’m not sure I’m cut out for this, you know? I laugh at people who say they aren’t ready to have kids, because the truth is, I say that I wasn’t ready until they laid her on my chest after she was born, and while that is sort of true, I wasn’t really ready until, well, ever.

I am still not ready. I am still clueless, dude, scraping at the very idea of letting her do anything other than sit next to me snuggling with a sippy cup. Letting her leave the house without me? Good God, my parents took her to Trader Joe’s yesterday and I almost had a heart attack, even knowing she’s theoretically safer with them than me (my dad’s a better driver than I am, by a long shot). Standing by and watching while she makes a mistake, even knowing she might recover a better person?

Impossible. I don’t see it happening. Ever. Except that it obviously has to.

Oh, friends. I am so not ready for any of this.

*Fiona Apple

28 comments September 20th, 2010

Silver Blue

You know, almost five years after we first moved there — three and a half since we left — and our life in Florida seems like a dream, and a bad one at that. I cannot believe we lived there for as long as we did. I mean, to reiterate: We lived in the worst part of Florida imaginable, at least for my taste. Confederate flags! Nooses hung up on docks, and neighbors who thought that was okay! Once, we had a man and his girlfriend show up on an ATV with guns around their shoulders! And they had swastika tattoos! HA HA HA OH MY GOD.

Good thing we still own a house there. Anyone want to buy a house? The area’s wonderful! Close to the beaches! Warm! A FAMILY DREAM HOME!

Oh ho ho HO! But you know, I wouldn’t change it, even in retrospect, even as I watch my bank account drain slowly from the weight of this large, house-shaped albatross. We changed as a family then, and I think it was that move that changed me entirely — I became a more relaxed, happier person in Florida, and I’ve been that person ever since. And hey, that revelation only cost me thousands of dollars! And I’m still paying for it! What price, happiness, really?

No, but seriously. We stepped off the hamster wheel in Florida, and we’ve stayed off, for the most part, or at least slowed considerably. I’ll always remember and be grateful for that, even if it came with a heavy dose of bizarre racism and endless days of watching old people be wheeled away on gurneys because they got in their fifth fender-bender of the season after failing to see over the steering wheel.

It’s nice to be home, and I’m not sure I would have appreciated it as much had we not taken such a long, um, journey. (CUE BACHELOR MUSIC!) I think everyone should live somewhere completely different than where they think they should live. It gives you an amazing perspective on how the other half lives. I understand the appeal of Sarah Palin, if only because I lived among many people who now count her among their personal heroes.

(Note: I’m not calling Palin’s supporters racists, although I’m sure there is some of that, just like there is everywhere. But my area of Florida was a definitively conservative county, unlike Massachusetts. And Vermont. And anywhere else I’d ever lived.)

Speaking of fender-benders, or rather, not really at all, we ended up at the pediatrician’s office today because for a few mornings, Sam was waking up with, uh, blue lips. Nice, right? Just want you want to see! Toddler of the Walking Dead! Zombie Toddler! Blue-lipped Half-dead Monster Toddler!

Okay, fine, it wasn’t that bad. It was more like a tinge of blue. A DROP of blue. A LITTLE PURPLE, if you will. But it was enough that I noticed, and once she warmed up, I noticed her lips were pinker than when she woke up and I thought, well! She’s cold! Kid refuses to sleep with a blanket because — duh — she doesn’t know how to USE ONE. Not that properly draping oneself is such a complex act of coordination, but I guess for a toddler who can’t figure out how to put a hood on without it resulting in frustrating tears, it is a bit more challenging than it seems.

I called the pediatrician to make her well-baby visit, and mentioned it in passing, thinking they’d write it off, but to my surprise, they were all, ZOMG BRING HER IN TOMORROW! And so we did, and after many oxygen saturation tests, it turns out she was … cold. Ergo, we’re in fleece feetie pajamas in September. SEPTEMBER. This means by winter she’ll be wearing fleece, burlap AND PolarTec. Look for the giant stuffed baby at your Christmas dinner! Served with yams!

All this excitement and I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of True Blood OR Mockingjay and WHOA NELLY, maybe take a drink for those two, because Alan Ball, you are on notice. You too, Alexander Skarsgard.

Happy Thursday, y’all.

*Roxette. Yes, THAT Roxette. Don’t knock it until you’ve heard it.

31 comments September 15th, 2010

Sunday Bloody Sunday

As we speak right now, there is a FIGHT brewing on one of my Facebook friends’ pages about the superiority of cats vs. dogs. I’m watching it all and thinking that THIS! This is what’s wrong with the Internet. People are upset! People are saying mean things! And I don’t even know where to go with this, frankly, except to say, uh, wow, we’re talking about pets, not children or even mosques, for frak’s sake.

Speaking of dogs, oh HO HO HO, Sunny’s back at it with her shenanigans, and by shenanigans, I mean the pooping of the blood and other sundry asshole-related things, this time because she got super worked up after I took out the garbage. I TOOK OUT THE GARBAGE. My dog is of such a sensitive petite little flower nature that I can’t TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE without her coming completely and totally unglued and POOPING BLOOD ALL OVER MY FLOORS.

So I called the vet again (OH AGAIN) to see if we could get her back on a third round of the medication that, in my totally professional opinion, because I am a Google-certified VETERINARIAN, she should be on full-time at a very low dose, and do you know how aggressive I have to get for them to listen to me? It’s like they think it’s just PERFECTLY FINE for my dog to poop blood all over my house! Don’t worry, it’s not life threatening, they explain politely. She’s fine! If it keeps up, just bring her in for some IV fluids!

This is dropped all casual-like, as though, a) blood all over my floor is no big deal; and b) dropping $250 for IV fluids every month or so is ALSO no big deal, and it was at this point that I was like, LISTEN, I CANNOT GO ON LIKE THIS. THERE IS BLOODY MUCUSY SHIT ALL OVER MY FLOOR.

(Side note: I have bleached and Nature’s Miracled, and it’s all clean, friends who visit, I swear.)

It is at this point that the vet got irritated with me and asked rather snottily if I was considering putting Sunny to sleep, and that to do so for something so minor would be unreasonable.

Ding dong, whaaa? I mean, call me crazy, but I can’t help but feel like I’m allowed to get a little irate when I’ve spent an entire afternoon cleaning up what bore an uncanny resemblance to Talbot’s geleed urned remains. It doesn’t mean I want animals to DIE, it means GIVE ME THE PILLS. THE PILLS. THE PILLLLLLZZZZZZ.

I got the pills, but my God. MY GOD.

This following a few days of horrendous guilt as you may have seen, because I spent all of last weekend complaining that my kid was acting like a tiny piece of whining toddler totalitarian hell, when it turns out she was SICK. SICK! With hand, foot and mouth disease! Which, if you didn’t know, is the grossest disease ever! It involves OPEN MOUTH SORES! BLERRRRRRGHHHH.

Also, I think it goes without saying that not only did I treat her tantrums as … well, tantrums, but I gave her ORANGES for breakfast that day, THEN took her to playgroup, THEN got home and realized she was approximately the temperature of a wood stove, THEN noticed her mouth resembled my lips after my first herpes infection and … once again, Mother of the Year, FTW!

I’m sorry Sam. I’m sorry Sunny. This week will be better, I swear.

*U2, natch

209 comments September 13th, 2010

Love is a Catastrophe

Update: Kid has hand, foot and mouth disease. Which may contribute to her assholery. OH DUH.

Thank you for all of your comments on my last post. Because MAN, I felt like I was drowning for a little while there, and dammit, if today we didn’t have THIRTEEN tantrums. THIRTEEN! FULL-BORE! TANTRUMS! With kicking! And throwing herself on the ground to complete said kicking! BAHAHA HAHAHA. HAHAHAHAHAHA

OMFG.

I mean, intellectually, as a parent you know this is coming, right? But when it happens, it’s still just so STUNNING. Also, I will admit that one of the things I’m struggling with is some leftover PTSD from when she was an infant and cried all day, every day. Uncontrolled crying? MUST STOP IT, STAT. This means I spent the first several weeks after the tantrums began GIVING IN to the tantrums, trying to figure out what was wrong. OH HO HO HO, genius move, right there. This, friends, I believe is the reason that we have EXTRA tantrums. Manufactured stress, for the win! Parenting skills worth repeating! RIGHT HERE.

Sorry to go on like this. It’s just so ALL CONSUMING, as you know. And worse, I’m starting to think that I’m just not creative enough for this parenting shit. I run out of activity ideas after the first hour of the day, and then I’m left scrambling, with a tantrummy kid, thinking that surely, there has to be some sort Parent Emergency Pill, like a cyanide-type one used in combat (can you tell I’m reading Mockingjay?), only it doesn’t kill you, but maybe sends some kind of ALERT ALERT WOOP WOOP to the local Parenting Squad and someone — anyone — will swoop in and deposit a nanny or at least someone who knows their way around Play Doh for a few minutes.

Seriously, let’s add “Difficult to Play With” under the challenges of 18 months. Too little to sit still for any sort of prolonged activity (drawing, Play Doh); too big to just feel up a bunch of toys and watch them crinkle, you know?

You know. And you are over hearing about it. ME TOO. WHERE IS MY PILL?

Good thing she’s cute, is all I’m saying, am I right?

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Totally worth it, I am embarrassed to admit.

In other scintillating news (wow, our lives are THRILLING these days), Sunny’s Stomach Ailment of Mystery reared its ugly head on Saturday night/Sunday morning, as I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to Adam using a miniature flashlight (so considerate, that man of mine, God bless him) to clean up more of her puke, and HOO BOY, I feel terrible for her, but we are also a bit on the Over It side. And obviously, though it was planned that I would sleep late on Sunday and Adam would take Sam out and about, that was jettisoned, because it’s an unspoken rule that whoever cleans up the puke gets to sleep late, end of story. Especially if the puke happens at 4:30 a.m.

Adam slept later than he had in years, and I don’t know that there is anyone who deserved it more. Seriously, he cleaned up PUKE, in the DARK at FOUR IN THE MORNING. And was a ninja-like, so as not to wake me! Awww.

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Whatever. No one said my life was easy, bitches.

32 comments September 6th, 2010


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