Thursday, June 14, 2012

And now, for the brilliance of Tina Fey

Okay, I don't have daughters, but I think the majority of this applies nonetheless. This is courtesy of Her Awesomeness Ms. Tina Fey:

"The Mother's Prayer for its Daughter"

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it's the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach's eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered,

May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half

And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her

When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the nearby subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called "Hell Drop," "Tower of Torture," or "The Death Spiral Rock N' Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith," and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance.

Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes

And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I'm asking You because if I knew, I'd be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.

Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long,

For Childhood is short -- a Tiger Flower blooming

Magenta for one day --

And Adulthood is long and Dry-Humping in Cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever,

That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers

And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister,

Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends,

For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord,

That I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 a.m., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

"My mother did this for me once," she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby's neck.

"My mother did this for me." And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental note to call me. And she will forget.

But I'll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.


Monday, June 11, 2012

The One In Which I Bleed All Over My Kid

Last night as we were getting Carter ready for bed in our room (G goes to sleep first, so Carter's nighttime routine now takes place in our room so as not to wake the little one), Max was reading Curious George while Carter and I lay on the bed snuggling together. Suddenly something in the story was REALLY EXCITING because The Roo sprang upright, pointed to the book with a joyous exclamation of some kind (it's a bit blurry), and just as quickly flopped back down - RIGHT ON MY FACE.

Oh, the pain of an almost-three-year-old falling directly onto your nose. I saw stars, checked that my two front teeth were, in fact, still attached, and excused myself just as my nose began bleeding. It's been probably twenty years since I had my last nosebleed, but I stopped it up fairly quickly, dulled my pain with carmelized brussel sprouts (GAH! Adore!) and a wee bit o' white wine, and forgot the incident.

Griffin awoke around 4:45, and I brought him into our bed for his early morning nursing session, as I always do. As usual, I drifted back to sleep while he had his snack, cuddling cozily up to his warm little baby self.

...until ten minutes later, when I awoke and sleepily wondered why Griffin's forehead was damp.

Yes, you see where I'm going with this. Yes, my nosebleed had come back with a vengeance, ALL OVER my sweet baby's head. Yes, sopping up your blood from your sleeping baby's face is a delightful way to begin the week.

Little G looked like he was part of a super-tough baby street gang and had just been in a rumble with the babies from the wrong side o' the tracks. Or maybe HE'S the baby from the wrong side o' the tracks?


Don't freak out - those are beets, not my blood. I couldn't resist.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


- My parents have been in Jordan and London for the past ten days, visiting my sister-in-law's family and my cousin, respectively. They haven't traveled internationally for almost forty years, so hearing about my small-town folks trekking about the Middle East will be a HOOT, let me tell you. That said, I miss my mom - I never realized how often I call her, mainly to whine about how tired I am, and I keep having to remind myself that she's not an option. Until tomorrow, when she comes back. MAMA!

- We had our orientation meeting for Carter's new school today and I am once again blown away by its awesomeness. He's getting very excited about it and has been telling everyone that he's going to a NEW SCHOOL and he's going to make NEW FRIENDS! Hopefully this excitement will dull the inevitable anxiety during the transition. I told his current school that he was leaving a couple of weeks ago, and it went better than I anticipated. The director didn't give me crap about it or make any snide comments, but that's probably because I got all teary when I was telling her and made it a point to reiterate how much we like her facility and how great they've been and how it's nothing negative about her school, etc. Then I had to tell his current teacher - more teariness from yours truly. Then she started sniffling too and all was forgiven.

- We have no major trips planned this summer, and I am very pleased with this. When Carter was a baby we hauled our asses to Cape Cod and Boston for a week, and as lovely as it was, traveling with tiny babypeople is a stressful experience. I'm perfectly content to bop on up to see Grandma and Grandpa for a long weekend in July and call that our summer vaca. It helps that I'm from wine country. There will be wine - oh yes, there will be wine. And candy. And really, really good coffee.

- Little G has quite the sniffle today and I've been sucking snot out of his face like it's going out of style. I find myself once again praising the heavens for the brilliant Nosefrida - and I'm also quite grateful for our happy little humidifier friend.

- Speaking of the Schmiffins, we did a little sleep training back in late April, and for a few lovely weeks everybody at Chez Draitser was sleeping through the night. Despite all my hand-wringing about it, it was easy as pie - the first night he fussed for about 35 minutes (Carter and Daddy slept on the living room floor) and then conked out til 6am, the second night for five minutes, and that was it. Then he started teething and the whole thing was shot to hell. He's currently waking up once a night around 2am, and I do an 11pm dreamfeed before going to bed. Once these accursed teeth break through (DEAR GOD, TEETH! WHERE YOU AT?) and the cold evaporates, we'll re-train. I had forgotten that's how it works - something always arises - sickness, teething, whatever - JANKS your great-sleeper up, and you need to redo everything. Sheeeeeesh.

- I am really loving on Farmer's Markets lately. Our old Hollywood one was not particularly kid-friendly, but I discovered an amazing one in Studio City, just over the hill from us, with an incredible petting zoo (bunnies and duckies and piggies, oh my!), train (not that Carter will ride on one), pony rides (ditto) - the whole shebang, and Carter's daycare friends go every Sunday so we've been meeting up for playdates in which they basically run around like hooligans while we (okay, me) scout all the celebrities with their kids wandering by (what's UP, Jason Priestley and family!?!). Throw in some organic produce and everybody's happy.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Last night as I was changing Carter's diaper, he was holding his Lightning McQueen racecar from Cars in one hand and his Scruff train from Thomas the Tank Engine in the other and he proceeded to make his friends have the following conversation:

"Oh, hello, have you seen The Lion King?"
"Yeah, the meerkat and the warthog are friends and then they fight like this:"
(racecar and train attack each other in clanking jumble of wood on metal)
"Okay, now it's time to talk about Monsters, Inc."
"Yes, the scary monster is in the boy's room and then he trips over the soccer ball and falls down on his bottom and it's SO FUNNY!"
(proceeds to laugh hysterically while train/racecar clank once again)

Sidenote: while he went through a huge Lion King phase a few weeks ago and wanted to watch it repeatedly every weekend (yes, TV is still only a weekend treat), he hasn't seen it recently and has only seen Monsters, Inc a few times, weeks and weeks ago - apparently that soccer ball scene made a big impression. Occasionally we'll be driving to school and he'll pipe up from the backseat - "Mommy? The scary monster was in the boy's room..." yadda yadda.


The other day I realized that the days are just FLYING past and that my boys are growing bigger with each one that passes, and I'm not writing ANYTHING down lately. Yesterday I was reading a magazine while pumping (for the 40,873rd time) and there was an interview with some 70s female rocker - Stevie Nicks, maybe? - and she said that she writes in her journal every night, "because if you don't write it down, you'll still remember it, but it will be just a ghost of a memory." And by damn, I don't want ghost memories of my babies' childhoods, I want the total, whole-hog, detail-packed EVERYTHING of a memory.

Oh, these boys of mine. Every (crazy, exhausting) day is something new. Lately Carter likes to tell us "the plan" and tick things off on his fingers. As in:

"Okay, here's the plan: 1: We go home. 2: We take off our shoes. 3: We wash our hands. 4: We take a nap. 6. We wake up from the nap. 5: We watch SUPER WHY!!!"

...all said while ticking the items off on his little fingers, held up in the air. I have no idea where he got the "here's the plan," but I don't think Max says it, so perhaps it's just another of the many things that I say regularly that I am not fully cognizant of, so that when he repeats it later I am taken aback and have one of those "kids say the darndest..." moments until I realize that I probably said that very thing to him yesterday.

The Super Why fixation is a new development over the past few weeks. Of all the kids' shows I know, I couldn't have picked a more educational one for him to obsess over - plus racing to his "Why-Flyer Chair" is one of the only ways to get him into his carseat each night when I pick him up, so bless you, Super Why. Sometimes we'll be out for a walk or at the park and he'll take off running and shout "SUPER WHY!!!!" at the top of his little lungs. Pure joy. It's also his inroad to making new friends, as I've noticed him walking up to strange children at the park and saying "I'm going to go home and watch SUPER WHY!" Usually these are much older children and they just look at him like he's a little insane, but watching my shy boy become more sociable is pretty much the most adorable thing I've ever seen.

Griffin is 8.5 months, crawling and exploring everything and everywhere. He's simply the happiest baby, so much so that when he does cry, it is so strange and rare that we all just stop and look at each other like "who is this strange child and what has it done with our baby?" Then two seconds later he's smiling again and bouncing, dancing, up and down in your arms. He's pure joy and love and big squishy baby thighs all wrapped up into one sweet roly-poly little package (weighing in at 19.6 lbs at his 8-month check-up, solidly 50th percentile across the board, yet he seems so huge compared to Carter's tiny 10-percentile self).

It'll sound crazy, but I do believe that Griffin has now said two words - the first, Carter's name, was uttered over a month ago, and he IS talking about his brother - "Dar-duh! Dar-duh!" No Mama, no Dada - this boy only has eyes for his big brother. And for the ducks in his bathtub and on the walls of his bedroom - "Duh! Duh!"

Brothers. Watching their relationship develop is both magical and nervewracking. It's all sweet and fine until somebody gets their head sat on. "We don't hit/squish/step on/crawl over/tease/steal toys from the baby" is a daily conversation with The Roo, who has become FIERCELY protective of his train set and lets out a "NOOOOO, Baby Griffin!!!" wail whenever Little G starts heading toward the tracks. He could be ten feet away, but if his smiling, drooling little self is pointed in the general direction of the trainset, panic ensues and the frantic "NOOOOO-ing" begins. Sharing does happen, and is getting better, bit by bit. There are lots of "CanIPlayWithThatToyBabyGriffin?" asked AFTER the stealing of the toy has already occurred, but at least Carter's asking. Not that Griffin ever minds. His brother can do no wrong in his eyes. On weekends, when Carter is perched on the couch watching his precious Super Why (or Thomas, or Dinosaur Train), Griffin crawls over and pulls himself onto his knees just to stare at Carter and wonder how on earth he can himself up there and join the party. Then we start with the "Carter, please don't kick the baby in the face" talk, because I don't need an errant heel to the noggin interrupting my (desperately needed) morning coffee.

And now, as I run off to a meeting, I leave you with 87,231 pictures of my kids.

Matching jammies - because I can.

G helping with the laundry (this entails flinging it out of the basket and all over the kitchen).

6:14am. Let the madness begin.

Just like Daddy

Demolishing a cupcake - THAT is my boy!

Mommy's birthday breakfast

Visiting Grandma & Grandpa - Easter

He was still just a little pumpkin here - February, 4 months old

At their 6-month/2.5-year appointments, with Grandma

This is what happens when you let your two-year-old eat yogurt on the couch.

"I'ma gonna GETCHA!"

Baba's Birthday

Everything! Is! So! Exciting!

My little love - May 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

So I went to a COMEDY SHOW last night. Yeah, you read that right. I left the house! To be in public, and socialize with grown-ups!

This is a very big deal. I didn't realize until recently that I was going a little stir-crazy, until a couple of weeks ago I went to an impromptu work dinner with our sales team. It was only a few blocks from my house, so I was able to go, eat, drink, chat, and still be back in time to put the boys to bed. And it felt AMAZING. There I was - in a super-swanky Beverly Hills restaurant, eating on the company's dime, tossing back martinis (okay, one martini) and pounding insanely expensive sushi like it was my last meal. I wore heels and lipstick and brushed my hair and IT WAS GLORIOUS.

Afterwards I realized that it was a wee bit pathetic that I was so excited just to be out in public at night, and that perhaps I should start listening to my husband when he encourages me to get the hell out of the house (he says it much nicer than that). Because I really haven't gone out - not at night, at least, save for the very infrequent date night -for, oh, SINCE CARTER WAS BORN. Maybe I've met up with friends a couple of times in the past two years and eight + months? I can't even remember.

And as sad as that sounds, it never really bothered me, because every single ounce of my energy was totally preoccupied with momming. I went to work, I took care of my boys, I ate, I cleaned, I watched some TV/read magazines, I slept. Rinse and repeat, since September 2009. Sure, I'd see girlfriends for coffee or brunch on the weekends and meet someone for the occasional lunch during the work week. But nighttime? Gasp! People still do that? Huh? Go to dinner, see shows, have conversations amidst the happy noisy burbling of a crowded bar/restaurant?? How is it possible that this world has gone on without me?

I didn't realize that I wanted to get out of the house so badly until it almost didn't happen last night. The comedy show started at eight, and Griffin was resisting bedtime like never before. Finally I looked at the clock - 7:57pm. Even though it was only a few blocks away, I clearly wouldn't be there on time. Apparently something in my brain snapped, because I went into the living room where Max and Carter were sitting together at the computer and yelled at my husband for the first time in our almost-six-year relationship - how I'd missed the show, and I was sure that the doorman wouldn't let me in late, and OHMYGOD I had no idea it was so late WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME, THIS WAS THE ONE NIGHT I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING, THE ONE NIGHT IN OVER TWO YEARS! Max rightfully issued a stern "YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN" and I did, a little, and grabbed my keys and kissed my son goodnight and basically fled the apartment as quickly as possible, hanging my head in shame that Carter witnessed Mommy's mini-meltdown.

And of course I made it to the show. I met up with a girlfriend, a fellow mom. We were on "the list." We were fancy. A friend of ours was performing, and it was all kinds of hilarious. Afterward we waded through the crowd of people in the dark bar area, and I said to her "Look around - they don't know that we have kids! We look just like everyone else."

People were drinking, smoking, flirting and canoodling, and I got to watch it all with new eyes, like some bizarre cultural anthropology study of 30-something Los Angelenos. Huh. This is what people are doing while I am singing Moon River and nursing my baby, while I am reading Make Way For Ducklings and telling my little boy his favorite Mommy story, about the huge magical slide. There I was, in what is now a completely foreign universe, dabbling my toes into the waters of nightlife again. It was strange and intimidating and yet I felt the mild stirrings of something exciting and new - dare I say, balance? A happy, healthy medium of momming and socializing?

I didn't linger. I chatted a bit and then raced home to my boys, apologized to my husband for being an asshole, curled up on the couch down the hall from my sleeping babies, and felt proud. I did it! I WENT OUT. IN PUBLIC. WITH PEOPLE.

As a mother, I am confident, capable - but as a social animal, I need some serious practice. Because it seems that all mom and no friends makes Mommy go CRAAAAAAAAZY. So here goes nothing. The Great Get Your Ass Out of the House and Be Sociable Challenge. Bring it on.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I recently spent two solid days in a state of near-complete inertness while an evil stomach bug ravaged my body, rendering me capable of only two activities - mumbling incoherently or thrusting my head into a large red plastic bucket to empty the contents of my gut. Oy - that was descriptive. Sorry.

Anyway, at the very least, said virus and accompanying downtime allowed me some rare moments to gather some words for this here long-neglected bloggity.

So after shelling out for a new desperately needed haircut AND highlights on Saturday, I was feeling pretty snazzy 'til the puking began. On Sunday my husband and sister–in-law took the boys to a long-anticipated playdate with their little cousin in Orange County while I laid at home trying to keep down thimbles of Gatorade. Aside from being at work, it was the longest I'd ever been away from my boys. The fact that I was only semi-conscious made it far more bearable.

Illness not withstanding, life is trucking merrily along these days. The working mom world does not seem nearly as daunting as it did a few months ago, but I've come to realize that that's always the case. Griffin is almost seven months old, packing on the pounds (17-something at last count, but he has a check-up next week) and enjoying his solids (favorites are carrots, squash and anything involving rice cereal). He's just SO mellow, it blows me away. Never cries. Seriously. Sure, maybe he'll wail for a moment at night when he wakes up hungry and clambering for boob - which he does, multiple times per night. The plan for last weekend was to begin sleep training, but then the whole barfing thing started. This weekend is my birthday and I would really love to celebrate by getting a full night's sleep, without a baby in my bed. Yep - he loves our bed. We moved his mini crib into Carter's room last week in hopes that some distance would help, since he wouldn't be three feet away smelling my awesome mommy smell all night. It seems to have helped a little, but he's still up every few hours, yelling for boob.

Carter was mercifully easy to sleep train - we did that dreamfeeds method (Sleep-Easy Solution? No-Cry Sleep Solution? Never did read the book - just got a five-minute synopsis from a friend and that was enough) and he was sleeping through the night by six months-ish. Little G (Griffin Schmiffin, Finnster Binnster) is a different story - he doesn't seem to follow a pattern like Carter, who awoke religiously at 11 and 2 to nurse, making it easy to anticipate and gradually phase out the night feeds. Griffin is all over the place at night. I'm beginning to wonder if he is uncomfortable in his little mini crib and if I should upgrade to a big boy crib, or get a new mattress. OR perhaps just let him cry it out one night and fall asleep on his own in his crib, which he's done OH, maybe three times ever. It seems that it's going to come to moving a sleeping Carter into the living room to camp on the floor with Daddy while I sleep-train Griffin myself. Ugh - and I wonder why I've been putting this off. Truthfully, there is something wonderfully snuggly about sleeping with your kids, isn't there? Then I wake up in the morning in some wonky position with my arm flung haphazardly across a pillow so as not to squish the baby, my shoulders in knots, and I think OH YEAH, this is why you have your own bed. Huh.

On a competely different note, our little family is currently faced with an extremely difficult and daunting decision. See, I work for a big old movie studio in Los Angeles, and we have one of those insanely awesome corporate daycares, run by Bright Horizons. I call it the Harvard of Preschools, because it's absolutely top of the line kickass incredible in every way. It also has a three year waiting list...which we have been on, for three years and a couple of months.

Last week I got an email that Carter had been accepted to a spot in the Preschool program, beginning in July. Well, hot damn! I should be totally psyched, right? Erm, no. Instead, I find myself RIDDLED with anxiety. I abhor change. Loathe it. And so does my little boy (though perhaps that's less due to genetics and more due to being two). I just keep thinking about how upset he'll be to leave his little school, his little friends, the teachers and toys that he knows. He's been at his current preschool (next door to Griffin's infant/toddler center and part of the same facility) since his second birthday over SEVEN months ago, and he just recently stopped whining and clinging to me every morning at drop-off. After SEVEN months. And that was just moving from one building that he'd known his whole life to another - right - next - door. He even knew the preschool teachers already, and had older friends who had already transitioned over.

SIGH. So there's one thing - the heartache of having my little boy adjust to a new reality every day.

Then there's the price - almost twice what we currently pay. Ouch. But that's not a deal-breaker. I know from reading Erica's preschool post and the subsequent comments that the cost ($1,178) is actually - shockingly - not bad. And we are willing to pay it to give him this experience.

Then there's the logistical nightmare of two kids at two different centers. Even with two kids at the same school I am rarely rolling into the office before 9:30 these days, and I leave at 5:45 to pick them up, then race home to fix dinner and do the whole nightly routine. Fortunately, the WB Children's Center (for that is its fancy name) is just a few blocks away from our current location, but it is still a solid extra 15 minutes both AM and PM (if not more), which means we'll now get home at 6:45 or 7 instead of 6:30. Lordy. Griffin (who is also on the waiting list) will get sibling priority once Carter is enrolled, but still probably won't get in til Summer 2013 (unless a parent from the Toddler A group is laid off sometime sooner, and HOW AWFUL is it that I am secretly hoping that occurs?!).

Lastly, there's my massive guilt in telling my current location that we're moving Carter. Although the owner can be a cantankerous and overbearing little person, with whom I've certainly had my differences (um, no, I am not rushing to the pediatrician EVERY SINGLE TIME my child has a fever to get you a damn NOTE before he can come back, crazypants), I do believe that she cares about my boys, and even respects my wacky crunchy views on stuff. Plus, I still try to go visit Griffin every day at lunchtime, since it's only a few minutes down the road. That said, dealing with her inevitable guilt trips about pulling Carter is not something I am looking forward to. And before you say she won't, I once heard her saying to a mother who had just LOST HER JOB and had to pull her kids out "It's such a shame - he was doing so well. He will miss it here so much..." Nice, lady. I think my best bet here is to tell a wee little white lie and say that the company subsidizes the cost of their Children's Center (which they do - a little. A very, very little). Other good ammunition - my company's daycare is open til 7, instead of 6pm like almost every other place in town. You know, so you can STAY AT YOUR DESK and WORK YOURSELF TO DEATH for just a lil' longer every evening before you are mercifully released to your children. Yeehah!

So there you have it. Those are all my anxieties, all the things giving me pause. Oh wait - not all. There's Parker. GAH! For some reason this one's like a knife through the heart for me. Parker is Carter's best friend. They adore each other, have known each other their whole lives and have been chasing each other around since they could crawl. I joke with Parker's dad that we're future in-laws (yes, that's MISS Parker). Every day when we drive home and I ask what he did that day, it's almost always the same - "I played with Parker with the orange ball." Or the legos. Or whatever. Parker is two weeks older than Carter, so they transitioned from the toddler center to the preschool at the same time, which made the change somewhat bearable for him. But at his new school, she won't be there. No Parker. KILLS ME.

Yes, yes - we'll have to arrange playdates. It will happen. It must. And I fully intend to enroll Carter in Parker's Sunday Gymboree class, just so they can hang out, to ease the transition.

Okay - so those are my worries. And yet, despite it all, today I emailed the lady telling her we would accept Carter's spot for this July. You see, I took my husband there for a tour last week. He'd never seen the place, as he wasn't with me on my initial tour THREE YEARS AGO, when Carter was a lima bean in my belly. And despite all of my worries, all of my anxiety, there was no denying that there's something magical about the place. The real turning point came when the tour lady asked me what Carter did all day in his current program, and I had NO IDEA. I couldn't give her an answer. Because I don't know, and that SUCKS. My brilliant little boy is counting to 100, knows all his letters and the sounds they make, and can identify some words on sight, so I know he's learning - but beyond that, I don't really know what he does all day. Aside from a dinky one-sheet of "March (or April, or May) Lessons" that they send home in his bag once a month (of which more than half is the same stuff from the month prior) and the collection of artwork/projects he brings home, I couldn't tell you what they are working on. There are no parent-teacher meetings. There is no communication. Sometimes Carter will be fussy on the way home, and it will take me specifically asking the next day to find out that he'd refused to nap all day. Or that he didn't want to eat his fruit. Or yadda yadda insert-whatever-here. They can't even tell me these basic things about my child, let alone have conferences and write journals about his development (which my company's school does). And even though I'm comfortable there, and he's happy there, and I really, REALLY don't want to rock the boat, I know that that's not okay.

So here we go. Clearly this has been weighing on me, and I'm still shaky with my decision. But we're jumping. Wish us luck.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I Don't Know How She Does It

The other night, as I was picking up my boys from school, I ran into the mother of one of Carter's classmates. It was about 5:57pm, and I was tottering into the preschool in my pencil skirt and button-down, having just picked up Griffin at the infant center next door. I had Griffin in his carseat under one arm and was rounding up all of Carter's belongings with the other while trying to convince him that it was Driving Home Time instead of Lego Time, when this mom looked over at me and said "TWO little ones...I don't know how you do it."

Oh, other mom. Bless your heart, because you have no idea how happy that little off-hand comment made me. I smiled in response and said something like "Thanks - it's pretty crazy" but what I was really thinking was I don't know either, lady.

Now, I know there are plenty of women out there who do what I do every day and make it look easy. I know that there are also plenty of working moms out there who have more than two kids, who run out of the office at 5:45pm every night and race the clock to pick-'em-up, drive home, make dinner, get everyone in the bath and to bed on time, clean up all the detritus of the day and then wake up tomorrow to do it all over again. Women do this every day, in every city everywhere, and many of them do it with a lot less help than me.

But for just a moment, when this other mom looked at me admiringly and tossed out that small compliment, I felt like a little bit of a rock star. And in the tumult of my first week as a working mom of two, it was just what I needed to hear. And I thought I'm not sure either, other mom - but by damn, I'm doing it. I'm doing it!

And I am.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wobbling on the brink of madness

Griffin seems to have decided to make it much easier for me to return to work next week by becoming VERY difficult recently. Doesn't want to nap in his swing, won't fall asleep in my arms, screams when laid down in his crib, waking up at night umpteen million times, etc. Last night he woke up at 8:45, 10:45, 1:30, 3:30, and 4:30. YEEHAH!

He seems to have embarked on a lovely little adventure in reverse cycling - lucky me! I know this can be common when moms go back to work, and it appears he's quite the overachiever because he seems to be getting an early start. Most frustratingly, I can't rock him back to sleep when he awakes - no, he just gets increasingly fussy until he's picked up, at which point he usually flings himself in the general direction of my boobs. Sometimes he goes back to sleep after nursing, and sometimes I need to hold him and bounce him until he sleeps.

I suppose this is karma biting me in the ass for yammering on about what a GREAT sleeper I had a month or so ago, when he'd conk out from 8pm til 3am, wake to nurse, and sleep til 6. Oh, those beautiful days of long ago...I don't remember Carter doing this, though frankly, memory doesn't serve me well these days in my current state of stupefying exhaustion. At some point around 4.5 months I started doing dreamfeeds with Carter, and around 6 months I slowly cut down on the times of the feeds until I eliminated them altogether, which was an effective and painless sleep training. I would love to do the same with Little G, but he'd have to sleep longer than, oh, TWO HOURS IN A ROW in order to do it.

So there you go. I'm cranky, frustrated and (occasionally) MAD at my baby, and that's the worst feeling. He can't help it. He's four months old (15lbs, 11oz at our last appointment on Saturday). And yet, when he's exhausted but refusing to sleep or nurse and just wants to scream at me, my delirious mind starts racing with thoughts like You have been sent here to drive me mad! The gods must hate me!

I know this will get better. I've read enough baby development crap to know that we've been contending with the three-month growth spurt and the four-month sleep regression and all that good stuff. Plus, I recently stopped swaddling him AND last night moved him into a mini crib in our room instead of the tiny bassinet. Lots o' changes for one small person.

Today I asked my mother how she did it, how she coped with THREE of us under 5 (and according to my aunt's stories, we were kind of little assholes), and my dad who scarcely diapered a day in his life. That must have been a special kind of hell indeed. She said she had no idea. BUT she lived to tell the tale. So that's something.

Monday, January 23, 2012


You know what I love? I love that I am blessed with honest mom friends, the kind that love their children but don't sugarcoat just how freaking HARD it is to parent, instead of being all "oh, what? Every single second of this sh*t is MAGICAL! Rainbows and sunshine and bunnies!! I want six more! WHEEE!!!"

I love that I just texted my darling Katherine, saying that Griffin just had the most epic crying session of his young life and ISWEARTOGOD I almost left him in a basket on someone's doorstep. And she just responds with "Don't you wish there was an off switch?"

And yes, yes I do. And I'm no less of a mother for admitting that. Because this crap is HARD, ladies. So more power to you - every single one of you.

Oh SWEET MOTHER OF GOD, the crying is about to begin anew. Is 2:14pm too early for a stiff drink??

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My return to work looms ominously close on the horizon, and for the past few weeks I have been a bit melancholy. It really started when I discovered that of all the six couples in my birth class, I am the ONLY mommy still working (well, truthfully, we lost touch with one of them, but I am pretty sure she's SAHMing now). Earlier this month, the last two workin' moms from birth class quit their jobs (I'm looking at you, Erica!) to do the stay-at-home-mom thing, and for some reason this really hit me hard.

I remember exactly how difficult it was to go back to work and leave Carter. I remember standing over his little sleeping body, weeping, desperately wishing I could quit my job and stay home. I remember feeling so tremendously guilty for depriving him of a full-time mom. And then, when I did go back to work, feeling more guilty for (somewhat) enjoying it.

Leaving your baby in the care of someone else, no matter how loving, how capable, is gut-wrenching. You are handing over your heart to an $8 per hour daycare employee and trusting that - that what? That they will love them like you do? That they will coo at them, talk to them, give them kisses, play games with them, read books to them, make them know how special they are? That they will love them more than the other ten kids in the room? Or just that they will somehow, in some way, try to minimize the trauma your little one faces?

I read today that at 4-5 months, babies experience little separation anxiety because they're too busy being amazed at all the great stuff there is to look at around them. I really want to believe that's true. All I know is that when Carter started daycare at four months, he screamed for two days straight, refused bottles, wouldn't sleep, and generally freaked the F out. SIGH. But Griffin is a very different baby with a very different temperament. Where Carter was high-strung, the Finnster is mellow, which I hope will serve him well on February 1st when I slap some makeup on (for the first time in a loooooong while), throw on something presentable, and totter off to the office.

It's such a strange thing to return to work after having your child. Everyone treats you basically the same, but you're not the same. The you before children is an entirely different person than the you with children. I have little fantasies of leaping on top of a cubicle, yelling "I'm not just PAIGE - I'm someone's MOTHER, you a-holes! Which is more important than ANY FUCKING SPREADSHEET and all your DAMN BUDGETS PUT TOGETHER." Because by damn, I will tell you this - there will be no more 3:30 meetings that are pushed til 4, that are then pushed til 5:30, that I am then guilted for being unable to attend because I need to leave at 5:45 to pick up my children. Well, there WILL be those meetings - quite frequently no doubt - but I WILL NOT let them break me down about it. And if I get yet another "I know you're a mother now, so you have new priorities, BUT you have to understand that many of us here work until 8 or 9 at night, and maybe we're just more ambitious than you are..." (YES, I DID GET THAT SPEECH. NO LIE.) talk, I will damn well stand up for myself and let them know that I am quite capable of doing my job, and doing it exceptionally well, between the hours of 9am and 5:45pm, thank you very much, and I don't need to sit in my office until 9pm to prove my worth like the others who are so DAMN SCARED of you. And if that gets me fired, so be it.

Ahem. That felt good. Thanks.
I was really down for a week or so, but the clouds are parting lately. I'm feeling brighter, and I'm not going to waste one moment of the remaining days with my baby feeling cranky.

In other news, Griffin has FINALLY taken the bottle. And after spending approximately $40 trying various bottle/nipple combos (including all the "best for breastfed babies" fancypants ones), what did he like? The same $5 for 3 classic glass Evenflo bottles that his brother used, the same bottle that Betty Draper probably gave her kids in the early 60's (okay, I guess Betty never got off her bitter, depressed ass to give those kids bottles, but the housekeeper sure did), with a Dr. Brown's nipple - same as Carter. Go figure.

Also, I have been a cooking FIEND since last I wrote:
Turkey Meatloaf
BBQ Chicken
Turkey Tacos
Chicken Mole Tacos
Curry Tofu (recipe TBD)
Chicken Stir-Fry
Veggie Lasagna
Pesto Pasta
Sesame Noodles
Turkey Chili

Plus other stuff that I am too lazy to write down. Perhaps most shocking is that I am really ENJOYING making dinner. Who knew making something that didn't involve chocolate could still be so satisfying?

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I am one of those people who makes 87 zillion New Year's Resolutions, and promptly forgets 95% of them by January 15th. So this year I've streamlined a bit, and made precisely one: I WILL LEARN TO COOK. Come hell or highwater, I shall feed this family of mine, and feed it well!

As I've mentioned before, my mom knows her way around a kitchen and I was raised on pure deliciousness, so the time has come to step it up and get cookin' myself. Mind you, if you were to find yourself at Chez Me in the morning hours, I could whip you up some ass-kicking pancakes or muffins. If you wandered into my home after dinner, I could bust out the big guns with the world's best brownies and the like. But actual meals, involving proteins? Save for some quick veggie stir-fries, I'm pretty much hopeless.

NO MORE, friends. In a few weeks' time I will be a working mother of two, so it's time to get down and dirty with the meal planning, cooking-stuff-ahead-and-freezing, and becoming good friends with my Crock Pot.

So far I've done of lot of web surfing in search of easy, tasty recipes to try (keyword EASY), and this month I will be doing run-throughs and letting y'all know how they turn out (you're welcome, friends). Here's the list so far (with links!):

Turkey Meatloaf (I've already made this one - it's my mom's favorite - and it is fab, although I think I overcooked it slightly)
BBQ Chicken (already made - although I cheated and used bottled sauce - but it was delish)
Turkey Tacos (no recipe yet...must find)
Chicken Mole
Curry Tofu (recipe TBD)
Chicken Stir-Fry (ditto)
Veggie Lasagna
Pesto Pasta (I'll add some chicken or tofu to this, and probably ditch the cream)
Sesame Noodles (ditto, with some broccoli too)
Turkey Chili (if you can't tell, I really like mole)

Note: I am in the midst of a love affair with all things Pioneer Woman, clearly. Second note: as a former vegetarian, I just can't bring myself to cook red meat. And I know nothing about ham, except that it tastes really good in split pea soup (oooh, gotta make that too).

Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I am a better mother with caffeine, and other such confessionals

It's true. I've been trying to shake this cold for the past ten days or so, and as such have been largely avoiding my daily cup o' joe. This has resulted in my wandering about in a hazy, dream-like state for much of the day (though now that I think about it, it could also be the eye infection and subsequent lack of my contact lens for the past several days contributing to the haziness). I play with and love on my boys, but I haven't felt like I'm momming at the top of my game. Fortunately, both of my maladies have improved today, so the Finnster and I Ergo-ed over to my neighborhood Starbucks for a tall coffee with gingerbread syrup (get it while you can! It's a seasonal item, y'all!).

Mind you, I've always been a strict one cup per day coffee person. And although I worked in a coffee shop throughout college, I never touched the stuff until my mid-twenties, when I was performing in a play in a little podunk town in the middle of nowhere for a couple of months, and caffeine seemed like the appropriate thing to do (although in retrospect, I also got arrested while performing in said play - another story for another time - so perhaps my judgement was somewhat off that month, no?).

During my teaching days, I would prefill my little pal Mr. Coffee so that one flick of a switch in my bleary-eyed early morning stumbling would produce the life-affirming liquid tar that jaunted me into consciousness and enabled me to get in the car and fearlessly roar off to who-knows-where and commune with the youth of America.

I've never been a caffeine addict. I've never even had a soft drink, or at least not since an ill-fated grape soda experience as a child left me puking at the community pool, at which point I determined that bubbly beverages and I must henceforth part ways. Much more than one cup of coffee per day coupled with my natural Tigger-like nature equals a frightening amount of perkiness that really is best left to the imagination.

That said, it's not until illness causes me to forgo my daily cup that I realize just how much I adore it. I sit here with my gingerbread-infused caffeine burbling happily in my guts, and I feel like anything is possible. Griffin and I had a jolly play-session this morning, and he is now down for his long nap. I will clean the kitchen! I will scrub the floors! I will disinfect surfaces! I will make Carter granola bars! I will achieve total world domination!

To you caffeine-free moms - I salute you, you crazy, crazy broads. But when my three-month-old has decided to go from waking once per night to three times, please pass my mug and flip the switch on Mr. Krups (I have since upgraded from my old Mr. Coffee, but we feel that our Krups machine still deserves a distinguished title).

More on the night wakings - for the past several days I have attempted to move Little G from sleeping swaddled in a bassinet by my bed to sleeping unswaddled in a pack n play. Something is NOT working, and I'm not sure if it's the lack of swaddle, the new sleeping space, or the fact that it's been four billion degrees in Los Angeles recently, and even nights are fairly toasty in his lil' sleepsack. He's outgrown the bassinet, so it's not really an option to wedge him in there anymore. He is a big hand sucker, so I thought he'd like to gnaw on those little guys for some self-soothing in the wee hours, but it seems that he's more into flailing about aimlessly. Yet he seems to be resisting the swaddle recently. Hrmph. Oh, transitional periods, what FUN you are!

In other news, it seems I've screwed up yet another baby by letting Griffin nap only in his swing or car seat. WHOOPS! My goal for January is to teach him to love his pack n' play for naptime. We don't have a crib for him yet, and won't until he and C are sharing a room - this won't be for several months until I feel confident that Carter will not chuck a dump truck on his baby brother's head at the first opportunity. So far Griffin will happily hang out in the p n' p for a few minutes before realizing that he's tired, at which point the squawking ensues.

So OOPS, I guess I did it again. It all starts so innocently - la dee dah, let the baby sleep in his swing, isn't that cute? There's PLENTY of time to wean him off of it before I go back to work! And then it's January, and I go back in (less than) four weeks, and OH SHIT, I've ruined another baby.

But hey, two years in, my once-a-crappy-napper Carter is doing fine, thankyouverymuch. Oh yeah, except for the pesky fact that about six months ago he decided that he would only nap in the car while being driven around the highways and byways of the greater Los Angeles area. We have tons of friends who do this for their kids, and I was always like "SUCKERS! That's crrrraaaazy! I'll never do that!" Well, KARMA IS A BITCH, people.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel - the swing does not actually have to be swinging for him to sleep; he just seems to like its soft, cuddly seat. I can't say I blame him - I could totally go for an adult-sized My Little Lamb (take heed, Fisher Price). And at his daycare, most of the tiny babies sleep in swings anyway. So my crap parenting in this arena is somewhat forgivable, no? Yes, I'm going to go with that.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Working Mother's Lament

Back to work in four weeks. SIGH.

I go back and forth on this. On one hand, I am looking forward to regular adult interaction, and to seeing my friends in the office. I am even somewhat looking forward to the challenges of working motherhood (HUH? What? Why?!? I am sure I will be regretting that statement all too soon). On the other hand, I will be LEAVING MY BABY.

Said baby, incidentally, LOATHES the bottle. Hates it with every ounce of his little body. Despite my repeated attempts to convince him that it is the SAME stuff that comes out of Mommy, he isn't having it. And oh yes, I've tried, for over two months. Different bottles, different nipples, different times of day. Jiggling him, talking to him, walking with him, all while offering the bottle. Other people have tried - Max, my mom, Max's mom, Max's sister, my aunt, etc. etc., all to no avail. No one can convince that little sucker to drink more than an ounce from the damn thing, and that's on a good day. I did everything you're supposed to do - introduced it right at three weeks, with a wide-nipple, had Max feed him, the whole works. He had no problems with it and would happily chug-a-lug until early November, when Carter got croup and Griffin got his first cold. And there it went - no bottle, no way, no how. Carter never met a bottle he didn't like, and when he went to daycare, he still rejected his bottles for days in protest. This AIN'T GONNA BE PRETTY, FOLKS.

I also feel guilty, because I've told HR that I will return on February 1st, but technically I could stay out until later in the month - the 25th, I think. A wise friend of mine said "it's okay if you're ready to go back." But am I really feeling almost ready, or am I just feeling guilty for taking such a long leave, even though I am fully entitled to EVERY LAST DAMN DAY, especially considering how I worked like a dog all year?

One of my good friends at work keeps telling me that no one thinks that I am coming back. Apparently two kids translates to certain stay-at-home-mommyhood in their minds, to which I say um, COST OF LIVING, people! We're in LA, as in Los Angeles, not Louisiana. Sigh. We could live on one salary, but we wouldn't be able to save for a house, fund the boys' 529 accounts, have awesome, cheap health insurance - all that good stuff. Plus, my pragmatic side knows that I am happier working - I always remind myself that when the boys are in grade school I'll be glad I held onto my career so I don't flounder about with empty nest syndrome when Griffin (or potential Baby #3) trots off to Kindergarten. I do wish I could go part-time, but that's not an option at my company, even though I work for a MASSIVE corporate conglomerate and you'd really think it would be. So off to work I go.

Also influencing my decision about when to return to the office is the fact that I have a new boss. On one hand, this is good, as theoretically I won't be doing the work of two people like, oh, ALL of 2011. But I haven't even met her yet. By the time February rolls around, she'll have been there three months. If I delay further, will it reflect poorly on me and influence the opinion of someone I haven't even met yet? They all think I'm going to quit anyway - was all of my ass-kicking from last year lost on them? Do they really think that my career is so disposable to me? Should it be? yeah, I have some stuff on my mind these days. For the past month, the four of us have been trading various colds amongst ourselves, including a humdinger that Max has now passed on to me that leaves me coughing all night. Oh, and I have eye infections in both eyes. I am pretty sure I sleepwalk straight into dumpsters.

It's hard to believe that one year ago today I still didn't even know I was pregnant. Oh 2011, you were one hell of a ride. I worked harder than I ever have in my life, both at work and at home, delivered a perfect little person, and made us a family of four. Holy bejesus.

What will 2012 have in store?