Posts filed under 'Beeber McSteebs'

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

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

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

Forget About What I Said

So I am having all of these unexpected FEELINGS about Allie being my last baby. It’s not that I necessarily want three children, I don’t think, it’s that Allie is my last BABY and after that, there are no more BABY babies. No more babies in the house. No more cribs and birth experiences and pregnancies (well, thank Jesus for that last one) and I just . . . hmph. It’s sad. But at the same time, I’m pretty sure it’s the right thing to do.

The thing is, I am not as zen about it as I thought I was. I keep wanting to say that I am — and I AM, in some ways — but then when I really think about closing the door and doing a permanent birth control solution (Jesus, Essure, oh my God, don’t get me started on THAT Twitter trainwreck), I balk. I don’t even want to get an IUD right now, for God’s sake. What is wrong with me? I was so DEPRESSED and MISERABLE during pregnancy and during Allie’s early newborn phase, I thought I would just DIE from the heartbreak that was Sam’s lack of attention, and a third baby would just . . . no. Trying for a third baby and going through all that again, plus pregnancy, is literally the last thing in the world I want to do.

I want to raise my girls. I want to focus, finally, on RAISING our family, rather than the weird limbo of growing it. I forget, as I did when I was having trouble getting pregnant with Allie, that not getting something new doesn’t mean that I lose what I already have. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it was a recurring thought as I went through those losses — as though each loss meant that I would somehow lose my hold on Sam, too.

I’ll be 37 in a few weeks. I’m done. But still, sometimes, I am sad about it. I love being a mom — truly, it’s what I was meant to do, and I live a remarkably happy, resentment-free existence with my kids — and sometimes I struggle with the idea that If *I* am not supposed to have a passel of kids, who IS?

Sigh. I keep remembering that there will ALWAYS be a last baby; this isn’t a state that could continue in perpetuity, nor is it one I really WANT to continue (and Adam might as well have “WE ARE DONE!” tattooed on his forehead). But it’s sad, I guess, to shut that door on a part of your life. Sadder than I thought it would be.

Allie continues to be the Best Baby Ever, however, and spends most of her days looking like this:

Sorry, I won the cute baby game. Try again later.

Sam is herself, and she is fantastically funny and bright and God, three is absurd, but so fun, and I know I say that every time, but JESUS, you guys, she is just . . . three. “I am NOT three. I am THREE CANDLES YEARS OLD,” she would yell if she heard me say that. “I am NOT FUNNY. I am Sam.”

So you know, I’m lucky, is what I’m saying, and I should be counting my blessings instead of mourning the loss of fake ones. Because the other thing is that I know that once that train is started — once the first positive pregnancy test comes in, followed by the first miscarriage — you can’t stop it. Giving up is not an option, and it becomes an obsession that almost feels like a desire to win a game, but with obscenely higher stakes.

**Side note: the first time I heard the word obscene was when one of my mom’s friends went as a flasher for Halloween and made a fake penis out of panythose. I remember my mom exclaiming with horror, “CAROL! That is OBSCENE!” and having no idea what she was referring to, or what the word obscene meant. Either way, I would not disagree with my mom on that front, though it was also obscenely hilarious in retrospect.

(See what I did there? Such a versatile word!)

Anyway! *clap clap* this is all very depressing, but it’s still on my mind, and I’m still working through it, particularly because time is FLYING. It’s flying. It’s Christmastime already, for God’s sake, and Sam is halfway through the school year. I mean, what the eff? Next year is pre-K and then kindergarten, and it’s all just whizzing by in a blur, and one of these days, I’m going to open my eyes in my Florida trailer park and call my daughters collect, you know?

Oh just kidding about that. I will be living in my Florida HOUSE. The one I still own, and have taken to referring to as my retirement plan.

Also, would you believe that all this stupid introspection was tipped off by Allie SLEEPING IN HER OWN BEDROOM? I mean, honestly. I’m acting like I’ve just shipped her off to Northwestern, FFS. No. She’s eleven feet down the hall, and I still go in there to nurse her at night. Yes, please. Someone get that kid a dorm room.

(OMG)

Anyway, random side thing before I go, and this seems very Swistle-like, I don’t know why: I was paying my Target RedCard bill by phone (GET A REDCARD!) and I was trying to pay off the whole balance, but it wouldn’t let me and I was SO PISSED, because it just kept bouncing me to different parts of the IVR, and then it finally bounced me to an agent, and I was all, “I JUST WANNA PAY OFF THE WHOLE BALANCE!” I mean, I was fired up. Take my goddamned MONEY, Target, this shouldn’t be HARD. And she helpfully explained that it would only let me pay $300 instead of $450 (bullshit numbers because I can’t remember) and I was practically SCREECHING at her that I wanted to pay off the $450, and TAKE MY MONEYS, NOW. But no. I could only pay $300.

I hung up, very dissatisfied that I only paid $300 until I remembered that my statement was $450 but I only OWED $300 because I RETURNED at least $150 worth of items (including a rug!) and this is all well and good and a long story, who cares, but the pont is, I had this BURNING DESIRE to call the woman back and EXPLAIN how I’d figured it out! I figured it out! I had a RETURN! Isn’t that great?

LIKE SHE CARED. But for some reason, I felt like she and I had worked through something TOGETHER and I found the resolution and SHE! She would want closure on this.

Really. As if.

Happy Friday!

*The Killers

51 comments December 6th, 2012

No Self Control

Well, the election happened, I became totally disillusioned with humanity and lo! here we are, crawling back out of the pit that was October and all THAT misery, am I right? Do we all . . . still like each other?

(I have weird politics, so basically, I like everyone, but everyone hates me. But! They covet my vote, knowing it could SWING EITHER WAY!)

(I really hated Mitt Romney, but that was personal, not politics.) (Classy, right?)

(Social issues, I’m a FAR LEFT SWING, so, you know.)

Right.

(Or left.)

Also, my daughters got sick and OMIGAWD, two sick babies kind of blows, and would you believe the sadder of the two was Sam? Ergh. She was SO sad and heartbreaking and she tried so hard and . . . ugh, poor kid. I guess it does boil down to age and personality, because Allie, per usual, was smiling and giggling in between hacking her lungs out while Sam, when not sick, is . . . three. Oh, three. You guys, three and a half is going to kill me dead, kill me dead, KILL ME DEAD.

I’m having a hard time dealing with her lately, and while she is/can be dreadful (all age-appropriate, not like, a truly dreadful child, Future Sam. Even dreadfully three, you are the best kid ever), I am more appalled by my own reactions and behavior. My personality skews to, ah, hot-tempered, and it’s something I generally like about myself. I mean, not that I ENJOY that I can lash out and act crazy and lack impulse control — OH HO HO, no, although that is absolutely true. I am not what you call a slow-burn. I get angry very easily, and my reactions, to people who don’t know me, can seem disproportionate to the issue at hand. I snap, I wave arms, I get all indignant. And then, just as quickly as it came on, it’s over and I have, I shit you not, completely forgotten about it. COMPLETELY. That last part — the forgetting about it quickly — that is what I like.

I remember a few years ago, when I was editing a newspaper, some source had done something really shitty. Not like, career- or even story-ending shitty, just a shitty thing to pull at the last minute that made things harder. HOO BOY, I was ranting and raving and arm-waving to MY editor about it, and then went back to work. I think it was . . . fifteen minutes later? If that? She asked if I was okay, and I literally, LITERALLY, had no idea what she was referring to. I’d moved on and forgotten about it completely. Completely.

(You see how Twitter can be a problem for someone like me. You see?)

I mean, I’m not CRAZY or anything — I’m not going to bite your head off because you didn’t use the right hanger or use margarine instead of butter, and I’m not completely unreasonable, or in some kind of wild fugue state when I’m angry, I’m just . . . snappy. Once someone points out that I am being snappy or quick-tempered, I can usually be talked off the ledge, and God, this is such a long way to explain something that is common enough to not need explanation, I am sorry. Next up: how I do this unique thing called ‘breathing.’

The good news: I hold a grudge approximately never. A combination of quick-hot, quick-cool and ADD is quite delightful if you want to make someone angry and still have them love you in the morning. I can easily be your punching bag. Insult me! Then apologize! I won’t even REMEMBER.

(This is more true than you realize. In fact, it’s pretty damn accurate. Short fuse! Short memory.)

Anyway, a short-tempered personality + an exasperating, limit-testing, overtired and completely insane three-and-a-half year old = bad news bears, man. Bad news. Combine this age with the move to a twin bed PLUS the end of EDT, and she’s hardly sleeping, which means I’m hardly sleeping and this. This is how I ended up lying face down in her bed this morning while she played with her tiny princesses on my back.

I get so frustrated with her that I find myself treating her like an adult and asking her WHY she’s being so ridiculous, as though she is going to answer me rationally. Or snapping multiple times in an HOUR, much less a day — and that one kills me, because up until this point, I have not been short tempered with any of my children. At all. I don’t yell, I don’t get too upset, I am very patient and I roll with things easily, and I don’t say that smugly, because if I WERE smug, my comeuppance is now. Three turned me into someone who is . . . the antithesis of those things. Someone who actually YELLS, “WHY ARE YOU YELLING?”

I think it’s best to lead by example.

I’ve become, at times, a little too desensitized to her whining that sometimes she’ll actually have a legitimate, age-appropriate gripe, and my instinct is to be all, “STOP WHINING. SUCK IT UP!” Oh, wait, you dropped an anvil on your foot? MY BAD. Here, give Mama a hug.

It’s a hard age and a hard time, and I’m making it sound like it’s all WOE around here, and it isn’t — most of our days are awesome, and this age is so, so delightful in a million ways. She’s funny. She has a sense of humor now, and tries to make me laugh every day. Thanks to school and her friends, she’s also having experiences and learning things that have absolutely nothing to do with me, and it’s mind-blowing. Her sensory stuff is improving SO quickly and she’s just . . . well, she’s an awesome kid.

She’s just, you know, three and a half.

But she’s still the best big sister in the world, man. She really is.

 

*Peter Gabriel.

54 comments November 12th, 2012

Tenuousness

I don’t even know where to start with this. Sandy? Sucked. She sucked and she still sucks and awww, maaaan, she sucked, what else is there to say? We were relatively unscathed compared to some, but still: it sucked. I hate thinking about what’s still happening out there, and I hope you are all safe and warm.

For some reason, I was unreasonably panicked about the storm, but only about the loss of power. Perhaps I was recalling Snowtober of last year, wherein we lost power for multiple (freezing) days, and I made the grave error of choosing chicken tikka masala for lunch during the tenth week of pregnancy. This choice proved to be more unwise than anyone could have anticipated, for the lack of power led to Sam’s lack of sleep (no sound machine!), which led to an inability to take my evening Unisom, which ultimately led to me barfing up chicken tikka masala out the passenger side of my CRV across from Honeydew Donuts in Framingham. This, of course, resulted in me having to clean up said vomit while my child screamed and my husband sympathy gagged AND I had barfed all over myself, including my hair and heyyyy, no hot water and it was 30 degrees outside, so I couldn’t EVEN.

And everyone at the time wondered why we eventually ended up paying out the ass for a hotel in Cambridge. Yes, YOU try smelling your vomit-covered self for a few days straight and see what you’re willing to part with, cash-wise, to free yourself from the stench. While pregnant.

Well! Obviously I am still grumpy about THAT. And listen, no one likes to overuse the term PTSD, but I do believe I carried a touch of it around when Sandy, who I keep wanting to call Diane, came rolling into town. I fretted at every flicker! I booked a hotel in a neighboring town in advance to stave off the remotest possibility of puke hair! I prayed, I voodooed, I did everything possible to avoid losing power, short of a live sacrifice. (But don’t think I didn’t give my kitchen window spider pal Charlotte the side-eye.)

I . . . didn’t really consider downed trees. Of which there were three, one of which — a 50-foot pine — came crashing down on the roof over my living room WHILE I WAS SITTING UNDERNEATH IT. It blew out the lights! Bits of lights showered down upon me! WHILE I WAS HOLDING MY BABY.

I panicked! I ran! I screamed, “Girls, RUN!” Girls. As if Allie has legs that do anything but pump aimlessly into the ether.

I am not the girl you want in a crisis. I have many fine attributes, but bearing reasonable instincts in heartstopping moments is not one of them. Sam freaked, as you would expect, and firmly planted herself in front of the couch. I grabbed her hand, willing her to move, screaming at her to JUST MOVE. I wandered back and forth, hopelessly confused. I waited for the last remaining pine to fall — another fifty-footer, already leaning quite ominously — and wandered some more while Adam barked orders. And then we all loaded into the car with our pre-packed bags and got on the roads like those idiots you see on newscasts that you wonder what in the HELL they’re doing in the streets of a hurricane. I called the hotel we’d booked and had JUST canceled to see if we could get our reservation back. (We’d canceled as the last hour of the storm was upon us, and HEY! We made it! OH HO!)

They were without power. Of course.

I know this sounds very dramatic for not a lot of action, but you know, it was scary as shit. I’m not saying we were in the Astrodome re-using diapers and picking chicken bones off the floor to survive, but I tell you, hurricanes are scary places to be.

This whole story ends rather anti-climactically, as I called around, found a Residence Inn and we stayed the night without incident. Tree people were able to come bright and early — including a crane, to my utter delight — and the roof is relatively undamaged. We’re now back at home, and Sammy is sick as a flipping DOG. Her face is slimy, she’s coughing like it’s her job, and she’s on day three of a fever with some pretty heavy malaise. She’s normally not one to sit still OR watch extended episodes of television (too busy!), and yet by 3 p.m. every day, she’s planted herself on the couch with a blanket, three mousies and a teddy bear and passed out cold for several hours. This is a kid who hasn’t taken a nap since June, and a voluntary one since . . . oh, that would be never.

My little bear. It kills me.

This never happens.

I should add that during all of this, the kids were positively amazing. Allie was her usual self — that of happy-go-lucky kid, full of gummy grins and laughs, just thrilled to be taken along for the ride. My friend Dara has referred to Alex as a purse, because she really does just go anywhere on a dime, barely registering that there are new circumstances to adjust to. Oh, we’re in a new place? Are there boobs? Fabulous! Let’s roll! She is startling and delightful in her simplicity, and I appreciate her in a way I don’t think I’d have been able to, had Sam not been who she was at that age.

Sam, on the other hand, is/was never like Alex, as we all know. This trip, however, she was different, and it tugged at my heart in a way I will never be able to fully articulate. It was always easy for me to assume that the more demanding/difficult child would be harder to love, but that has not been my experience. There is something about Sam — something about how hard she works just to get through life’s situations, whether it be an area of loud noises, getting a new baby sister or having to sleep in a new place — that tugs on my heart harder than anything in the world. She didn’t want to leave at first; she was nervous about having to “live at the hotel forever” despite assurances to the contrary. She wanted her own bed, her own stuff, her (glass-windowed, oh-hell-no) playroom.

When we got to the hotel, our suite had a gas fireplace.

“Hey, can we make s’mores?” she chirped excitedly. “Mommy. Daddy. We can get marshmallows, and put them in the fire until they get soft, and get some graham crackers and make a sandwich. That is called a S’MORE! And later! When we go camping? We can get our blankets and sit around the campfire and maybe we’ll even make up our own STORYBOOK and sing a SONG! And my bed will be like a SLEEPING BAG.”

It’s so simple and silly, but I can’t tell you what it was like, seeing her perk up at something so simple and just let crappy circumstances wash over her like a wave. It was just stupidly amazing to me that this kid — this kid who screamed her way through the first year of her life, and struggles so much with new things — was just rolling with it because she got excited about a fireplace. Sick as a dog, displaced and terrified and hey, can we make s’mores? No? Well, someday then. Goodnight!

Something about that moment, this experience, these last few days has made me think so much about how mind-blowing parenting really is. What a privilege it is to see these tiny little chubs of nothing — two! Two GIRLS! — become actual people with their own thoughts and feelings and opinions. I can’t get enough of them. I inhale their heads and bury my nose in their necks and I hug Sam so hard that she — she who is generally made of unlimited wells of affection — says in a strained voice, “Too. Much. Hugs.” Allie, however, cannot protest yet, so she gets kissed and kissed and kissed again, so many times that she no longer smells like herself and instead, smells vaguely of my shampoo and body lotion and her eyebrows bear bits of shimmer from my lip gloss, long worn away from the endless shower of kisses bestowed on two tiny heads.

I’m so stinking lucky, man.

So yes. Perhaps I am a little stressed and emotional and, ah, tweaked — I imagine it’s not uncommon for a lot of people after this week. But I tell you, I’m happy I have those kids. They’re pretty damn great.

I hope you and yours are doing well.

*Andrew Bird

49 comments October 31st, 2012

Promises, Promises

Awwww, shit it’s a blank page and a lot of spam. A LOT. But. Ahem. It’s time.

As goes the old adage, no one wants to hear a person ramble on about blogging, or why they haven’t been blogging, but everyone does it anyway, so. You know.

I’ve been busy. I’ve got two kids (TWO!) and basically the life I’ve always wanted, even when I want to stab someone (MYSELF) in the face and adjusting to that has been easy in a lot of ways, but hard in many others. The slice of personal time that vanished when Alex appeared was a LOSS, man. As much as I wanted and needed her, figuring out how to deal with two kids, making sure they both get what they need from me is . . . well, it’s hard. It’s HARD. Not in an overwhelming in-the-weeds way, but in a way that makes it easy for me to swim in the bottom of a pool of guilt, I guess. I never second-guessed myself much as a parent with Sam, but now I find I’m doing it on a daily basis. Allie needs me! But Sam feels rejected. Sam wants to snuggle! But SHIT! That leaves Allie hollering on the floor for a minute.

It sounds silly and trite and stupid, but I don’t want to screw this up, you know? But at the same time, I’ve been thinking so much about how overwhelmed I DO feel at the end of the day — not with the tasks at hand, or the kids specifically, but with the fact that I didn’t take five minutes to just sit and think about anything that wasn’t immediate, and by “immediate” I also mean Mitt Romney’s stupid assface, but let’s be real, that’s hardly relaxing.

This? This is relaxing. I never considered how much I needed this little space to think through things or just talk about things that are not immediate or DO something for myself, even if it’s a half hour in front of a glowing screen pondering the fall television line-up (Verdict: Homeland continues to be awesome and BOY HOWDY I am excited for Nashville and also, Tami Taylor’s hair). (I know she’s not really Tami Taylor, but … okay, I don’t really know that, actually. Lie to me.)

I could ALSO go on a REALLY NICE TEAR about how blogging has turned into something I sort of hate, and how everyone is trying to sell you something — and jesus, I mean EVERYONE — and how I promise you, I will never try to sell you anything at all, and that includes my brand, which you all know I care deeply about. Nor will I ever turn into a lifestyle blog, unless you want to talk about my fly lifestyle that involves washing DANKY, DARK AND HIDEOUS brown couch slipcovers for the frillionth time because someone pooped, peed, puked, or otherwise sullied their worn surfaces.

So that’s that. I’d like to write Alex’s birth story one of these days, because COME ON, I gave birth to her wearing a maxi-dress, but if I wait until I’m ready for that, I’ll never come back.

I will commit to this, in writing, if only for myself: three times a week here. You and me, kid. You and me.

Have a great Thursday. We’re decorating pumpkins, and it’s already a fight because Sam has declared war on all glitter glue.

*Naked Eyes, whaaaaat?

60 comments October 17th, 2012

Power of Two

Heeeeey, so it turns out when you’re pregnant and exhausted ALL THE TIME, you don’t want to write more than 140 characters at a time, EH?

So I went and had a baby about two weeks ago. And she’s awesome. See?

Alexandra Grace Rubin, y’all. Born June 7, 2012. 7 pounds, 2 ounces. Photo by MeganJane Photography, and if you’re in the Boston area, you’re a fool if you don’t use her, because that photo right there is just her TAKING A PHOTO FOR THE HELL OF IT, all casual-like. Not PLANNED or anything. Alex was just passed out on the couch.

Anyway, my baby is lovely. I have two daughters, and as it turns out, that’s all I ever wanted. It’s hard and I’m tired and she’s a newborn and she eats! all! the! time! and we’ve got a few nursing issues to work out that may or may not involve getting her little frenulum snipped, but YOU GUYS, she’s so cute. And she looks like ME, which is a totally new experience, seeing as Sam is Adam’s clone. She’s perfect, and I thought I couldn’t love another kid as much as I love Sam, but BADOW! there she is, and both of them are suddenly my favorite people in the entire universe. Different, but equal. It doesn’t hurt that Alex is just about the most delicious baby on the planet, really.

Sam. I could write VOLUMES on Sam and how amazing she is, and how HARD she’s trying to adjust to the new normal. I am just so, so proud of her, and one of those crazy side effects of having my heart stretch to accommodate another baby, my heart ALSO stretched a thousand times over to love Sam more than I ever have before. I’m pretty floored by the whole thing, honestly, and by how very much I love my girls.

I’m terrified too, though, of what’s to come, even though I’m trying to take it all day by day. Sam turned into a challenge around week 3 or 4, and thus began one of the hardest times of my life. As much as I’m loving today, I’d be lying if I said a tiny part of me isn’t holding my breath just a little bit to see what happens. PTSD, it seems, will do that to you.

But for now? MAN. Sure, I’m positively dizzy from exhaustion, my eyeballs hurt from lack of sleep, and Sam’s in a time out every other minute because she’s having such a hard time adjusting and her behavior is, at times, atrocious. Earlier today, she tossed a plastic cup full of bouncy balls in frustration right at Alex’s head, and I am struggling because I know she’s struggling and trying SO HARD, but at the same time, Jesus, kid, can you not THROW THINGS at your sister’s head? MUST you throw puzzle pieces? But she’s doing SO WELL most of the time, and she misses her sister when she’s sleeping and disappears into Alex’s room to “warm her up” by putting her hands on her belly and kissing her head while she sleeps and GOD GOD GOD I love her so stinking much it hurts.

So yes, it’s hard and it’s nuts but the truth is, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so lucky.

Just like that, in a flash, the entire year of hell became worth it and then some. I had no idea. I’d hoped, sure, but this is more than I even dared to hope for.

Lucky me.

346 comments June 20th, 2012

Babys

If you were looking for maternity yoga pants anywhere in the greater Boston area, be warned, I HAVE BOUGHT THEM ALL. For some reason it has ONLY JUST DAWNED ON ME, almost 26 weeks into this pregnancy, that the time of yoga pants outside of the home has come. I’ve never done this. Despite looking slovenly on hundreds of thousands of occasions, I have always had this feeling that leaving the house in yoga pants was verboten, akin to wearing sweatpants. I assumed I didn’t have the figure for them anyway!

SO MANY ASSUMPTIONS, DISPROVED. Also? I don’t care. We’ve established that pregnancy is a generally disgusting state of being for me, and since we reached a new low this week — that of angular cheilitis — and I’m smearing Lotrimin on my lips three times a day, let’s be real here. Should I be concerned about yoga pants? Should a person who regularly pees in a bladder protection garment, barfs all over town and smears JOCK ITCH cream on her FACE really be concerned about yoga pants in public? REALLY?

Besides, I’d forgotten that one of the small gifts of pregnancy — the only gift, really — is that once your belly eclipses your boobs, every single OTHER part of you looks delightfully tiny. For the first time in my life, I have an ass the size of an elf! A very large, elephantine elf, but compared to my belly, IT IS AN ELF’S BEHIND.

(Leave me to my illusions, friends.)

These are the things that make me wonder about people who claim to love pregnancy. If you love pregnancy, you have to tell me: Do these things just not HAPPEN to you? Do you not barf for nine months, pee through your pants and get YEAST INFECTIONS ON YOUR FACE? Or are you just made of tougher stuff than me?

Separately, and despite all of this horror, I often forget that I’m pregnant. I guess I’m just used to living this way, but sometimes I glance in the mirror and wonder WHEN my midsection got so FAT and my God, was I not paying any ATTENTION TO WHAT I EAT? Then I remember that oh, right, there’s a person in there (I HAVE TWO VAGINAS) and also, I barely eat, so obviously, I am pregnant.

Anyway, I have a question for you. What do you do for your kids’ birthdays? Sam’s birthday is March 7 6 (OMG, I got my OWN CHILD’S birthday wrong the first time), and we’ve only ever had a family party for Sam, and cupcakes for her little playgroup, but most of her friends have had capital-P Parties, with other kids and sometimes at outside locations. I don’t know, you guys, this is so hard for me because I just don’t see myself doing it, but then of course I FEEL GUILTY. And I don’t judge anyone who DOES fun/big parties for their littles at ALL — we love going to them — but I am generally a lazy mom, and also, she’s GOING TO BE THREE. Is she going to remember this? Or care? PROBABLY NOT.

(Small irony in this statement is that one of my first memories is of my third birthday party, held at — wait for it — Weiner King. Yes, Weiner King.)

So, ugh. I just don’t want to do it because it’s just not my personality to do so, but then I feel bad NOT doing it, like I’m missing my opportunity for her to have a good time, and everyone ELSE is doing it, but them I’m like SHE IS THREE, GET A GRIP, MY GOD.

At any rate, it’s time for my nightly salad of hummus, lettuce and cabbage with a drizzle of vinegar and some feta. Adam LOVES when I eat it in bed, as you can imagine.

Happy weekend!

*Bon Iver. I’m meh on the guy, but I try. Also, get it? Kind of like babies? BUT NOT AT ALL, REALLY.

215 comments February 16th, 2012

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