Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Badge Me!

I deserve a medal! A badge! A gold star! But why?, you ask. (Or maybe you're saying, What?! Again?!) Well, I'll tell you. But try not to be too jealous of my supreme parenting skills. Are you ready? I, all by myself, got Zoey into her high chair. (pause for appreciative applause).

Over the weekend Zoey decided to practice her protesting skills and boycott the high chair. At meal times she arched her back, flailed her limbs, or, alternately, went totally limp rendering it impossible to strap her in the chair. Like so:

Oh. And did I mention the sound? She screams: EEEEEEEeeeeeeOOOOOOOHhhhhhhAAAAHHHHUUUUUUHhhhhhhhhEEEEEEeeeeeEEEEE!. If she was on idol she would be described as "a little pitchy."

Anyway. Over the weekend, Demetri and I struggled to get her into her high chair for 10 minutes. We, the 2 adults that each outweigh her by at least 100 pounds and each hold a master's degree, tried everything: tickling, reasoning, bribing, singing. And we tried force. Zoey ate several meals off the floor. Like a dog. We are so proud. But today? Today I AM VICTORIOUS! Zoey sat in her the high chair. Oh yes. Yes, she did. While I was taking a victory lap around the kitchen island, she sat in that chair and pushed all her food off onto the floor. But still: BUTT WAS IN THE CHAIR people!

And I must say, I'm rather struck by the idea that I could earn a badge for this accomplishment. Niki and I have tossed the idea around before. I am ready to make it happen. I would get one for getting Zoey in the high chair (of course) and it goes without saying that I deserve one for combing through her hair:

There could be one for a successful poonami change:

Another for surviving a biting:

And surviving breast feeding (good vibes to you EM):

Heck, there could even be badges that we're forced to wear for our failures. Like, oh, say almost letting your child (or grandchild) get swept out to sea:

But then of course I would have to add the following to my collection:

We could all wear sashes like the Girl Scouts! We could openly commiserate over our failings and celebrate our victories! While eating cookies (you know, just to go with the Girl Scout thing)! We would know that no one is perfect and that we are not alone. We would see that we're all just doing the best we can. But really, we should need only one badge for that:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

All About Sacrifice

Over the weekend Demetri power washed our aggregate drive way and last night he sealed it. With incredibly foul, fumy sealant. It was so bad that the smoke alarms went off for a bit. Here's a conversation we had this morning:
me: Why did you sleep on the couch last night?

him: The smell was so bad in our room . . . I opened all the windows downstairs and turned on the fan to get some fresh air. I was afraid the fumes would do something bad to my head if I stayed upstairs.

me: Um . . . You shut the door to our room with me, YOUR WIFE, inside and no cracked window. . .???!?

him: Well it didn't seem to bother you . . .

me: Yeah but you thought it was going TO KILL YOU and you left me UP THERE to die!

him: Well . . . not exactly . . .

Celebrating our 3rd anniversary.
You know, back in happier times BEFORE my husband tried to kill me off.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A New Princess!

Dear Disney,

Congrats on the new princess movie: The Princess and the Frog! I hear the new princess is African American. Wow! You're sure taking a risk with that! Great move on having her spend most of her time as a frog! That way we don't have to, you know, look at her. You've been doing princess movies for 72 years and I'm totally with you that the world still isn't quite ready for a black princess. At least one that stays in her own skin for the duration of the movie. It's best to gradually adjust; no one likes change. And the prince? Excellent idea to make him sort of a light tan. You are so right that we don't like our movies too . . . dark. And whoever heard of a black prince or, oh, say, a president anyway?

I really enjoyed how you made the other 'ethnic' princesses (Jazmin, Mulan, and Pocahontas) look almost white. I found it very comforting and true to life. I mean, all the great female leaders are white: Sarah Palin, Hannah Montana, The Real Housewives of New York City. Don't get me wrong, the 'ethnic' princesses are good, but Cinderella is still my favorite -- blond hair, blue eyed perfection!

I appreciate the tough spot you're in. There's been so much focus lately on 'diversity' and 'inclusiveness' and 'multiculturalism'. You had to give those people something. I mean, it's not like you could hire an expert on race or ethnicity to help you be more . . .what do they say? . . . 'sensitive'. What's a multi-billion dollar company to do?

I just want you to know that my bi-racial daughter and I will be there on opening day to support you! But don't worry, she's a smart girl. She'll get the message: one day she too can grow up and be a frog. Beacuse growing up to be a biracial princess? Well, that's just crazy.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Other Moms

I suspect that other moms out there generally get through the day unscathed. They probably even look good while doing it. Or at least have showered. And I suspect that these other moms are doing useful, creative, scholarly things during the day like getting their PhD and keeping up a kick-ass blog (Hi Carla!), working full time, organizing a house, and getting a high score in Bejeweled (Hi Laura!), doing crafts with their kids (Hi Kelly F.!), or sewing matching dresses for their daughter and a friend (Hi Niki!). Me? Not so much. I more of a curl-up-into-a-ball-and-weep kind of mom. I often don't even get through the day unscathed. Like yesterday . . .

Besides accidentally leaving Zoey in the car and forgetting to buy milk at the store I really thought I was doing Ok. Demetri came home. Zoey gave him her huge welcome home smile. We went to pick up the farm share basket -- full of corn and blueberries and yellow squash. We began to fix dinner, all of us together in the kitchen. Zoey was playing with tupperware on the floor, I was peeling garlic, Demetri was shucking corn.

I was Ok. Until I wasn't. Demetri took too long to answer a question. Zoey accidentaly scratched my leg. The cat was underfoot. Then -- then everything was bad and wrong. I had no patience left, for even the smallest thing. I couldn't be in the kitchen anymore. Demetri wasn't slicing onions in the right way. He wasn't talking enough, or answering fast enough. I was a bad mom. A bad pet owner. A below average writer. A terrible wife. And the worst part was I couldn't even hold my badness inside. I became mean.

We ate dinner in mostly silence. Except for things directed at Zoey: Do you want more chicken? Do you like the corn? Don't tease the dog. Zoey's responses of Ahhhhh! Blahda! Ooooh! made us almost smile. She kept looking at me with worry.

After dinner I lay on the couch, a sniveling mess. I listened to my husband load the dishwasher. The clink of dishes, of silverware made me think of when I was little. Already storied and tucked in bed but still awake trying to listen for the comfort sounds of my parents moving about the house. Demetri took Zoey and the dog for a walk. I stayed on the couch watching dusk settle, watching the tree outside our window deepen from green to grey. My family came back. The dog panting, jingling his collar. Zoey making her soft sounds -- the crinkle of the diaper as she walks, her tiny shoed-feet on the hard-wood floor. Demetri quiet, his warm summer scent seeping back into the house.

I stayed on the couch for the bedtime routine - diaper, pajamas, milk, stories, songs. 'Tis a gift to be simple, 'Tis a gift to be free, 'Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be. I thought of other moms out there who can do what I sometimes can't -- make it through the day. I thought of social work school where I had the same feelings. How are people doing this? Seeing the worst of things, the most hopeless? How are they still whole? I thought of the professor who, saving me, said, Your empathy weighs heavily on you. He some how made that OK. Made me OK. But last night I was left wondering if motherhood is ever something one gets good at, feels competent at. There are good days, yes. But there are also days that break me. Some for good reason. And some, like yesterday, just because they can.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

6 Things

1. Zoey's new 'thing' is sticking her fingers down her throat until she gags and/or pukes. This is an especially fulfilling aromatic experience after she has eaten Goldfish, provolone cheese, and Mango juice.

2. Yesterday, upon arriving home from Target, I unloaded all the bags, unpacked all the stuff and then sat down at the computer thinking, 'Ahh! It's so nice and quiet!' This thought was quickly interrupted by, 'Oh shit! Zoey is still in the car!'*

3. The new Disney TV movie Princess Protection Program was . . . disappointing. I had such high hopes . . .

4. Tomorrow, our cable gets turned off. This is our attempt to be "more creative and productive" with our evening time. (Note to Niki: please save the Top Chef: Masters recordings for me).

5. I have decided, starting today, to eat significantly less chocolate. Please direct all prayers, condolences, and well wishes to Demetri. He will need them.

6. The Twilight Series ROCKS! (HiiiiiIIIIIiiii Damon!)

* Just FYI, Zoey had fallen asleep in the car which was parked in the garage with the windows down. She was out there for maybe 4 minutes. But still. One never likes to completely forget the existence of one's children.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Yesterday morning as we were driving to the park, I turned to Demetri and asked, "Do you think I have a brain tumor?" This is not such an unusual question coming from me. I am someone who is not allowed on WebMD without supervision. I cannot watch House without becoming thoroughly convinced that I have . . . whatever it is. Even if, for example, it is something that only occurs in men. Or can only be contracted if one had visited a small, foreign country in the winter of 1973. Only the disease part registers with me. It doesn't matter that I have never been to the foreign country. Or that the outbreak occurred before I was born. I'll start taking on the symptoms before the first commercial break. My throat will start to feel scratchy. I'll begin to lose control of my extremities -- I can't wiggle my big toe. Ohmygod! I'll swear that I have a rash spreading up my leg. I'll make Demetri look at it. With a flashlight. And magnifying glass:
See? See how it's all red?

Well, you've been scratching it.

No, I only scratched it after it was already red.

I'm sure it's fine.

Fine? FINE? I'm probably dying.

You're not dying.

(pause) You may not think so now but you are going to miss me when I'm gone.
I am a hypochondriac. So, while some people might be concerned if a loved one asked Do you think I have a brain tumor?, Demetri knows to forgo the concern and answer with reassuring, lighting-like speed, "No. No you do not have a brain tumor." I often counter with, "But how do you know?" This always leads to a lengthy and fulfilling (for one of us) conversation about my 'symptoms'. Yesterday I got to talk about how I can't think of the name of some things -- I can picture it and describe it but I can't name it. Like the other day I was trying to say 'sippy cup' and all that would come out was You know, that thing the baby drinks from.

And my memory seems to be shot. I used to have a great memory, able to recall hundreds of annoying details about almost anything: How can you not remember what I wore on our first date? You had on khaki pants and that blue button down shirt and it was frayed on one cuff. You had on a brown belt and black shoes (who does that by the way?) and your shoes were the orthopedic kind that old people wear. But not anymore. Suddenly I can't remember what was told to me 5 minutes ago let alone the conversation I'm in right now. I do a lot of nodding and umhmmmm-ing. I don't know if says more about me or the people around me that no one has seemed to notice.

After I explained all my symptoms in detail, Demetri took one hand off the steering wheel and patted my knee, "Honey, that's what happens when you get older. Your mind -- it just goes." I removed his hand from my knee and said, "You are ten years older than me. I am not old. I have a brain tumor. You, you are old." I folded my arms across my chest and looked out my window. "You have no memory", I continued. "You can't remember anything. Like you probably come home at night, walk into the house and think, 'Hey who's that hot lady cooking dinner?". Demetri snickered. "Welcome to my world." He snickered again and added, "If I walked in and and someone was cooking dinner I'd know for sure I was in the wrong house." This is actually a fair point. But instead of conceding I said, "I could be making 7 course meals every night and you wouldn't remember."

Demetri telling me I'm getting old may have made me the merest bit touchy. It definately looks true: hello gray hair (actually, I prefer the descriptor 'silver')! and, Hello wrinkles! But there's more. I have Fibromyalgia. And lately, it is making me feel old.

I try and feel grateful for my body -- it's strong and young in many ways. My body has been good to me -- it's played in hundreds of soccer games, it's run a half marathon, it's hiked and swam and biked. It's turned into the body of a mom -- a body that sings and wipes and soothes and cleans and feeds and hugs and does a million other things for someone else. But often my body is tired. Sore. Bent and broken in ways that it shouldn't be. I feel singed and brittle -- afraid of blowing away. Afraid and angry.

I should not have to eat small bites of oatmeal in the morning because a regular size spoonful is too heavy. I should not have to listen to Zoey cry because I can't pick her up. I should not have to take my dad to the grocery store so he can lift the items off the shelf for me -- graham crackers, apple juice, marinara sauce. And in truth, I don't have to do any of that very often. Mostly, I am lucky. I run. I throw Zoey up in the air. I lift a whole, ripe watermelon onto the picnic table. I have people who love me. People who do the motions of life for me when I can't. People who forgive my anger and meanness -- whether it's directed toward them or toward myself. Mostly I am well. Very, very well. Except for the brain tumor.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pigtails Undo Me

Last week the skilled and talented Niki put Zoey's hair in pigtails. It started with a bath:

Then combing and styling (and Goldfish):

Then the finished product:

Cute, no? Actually, it freaked me out at first. The pigtails somehow make Zoey look so old. Soon she'll be all Where do babies come from? and Can you drop me off a block from the mall? I'll have to take her shopping for a training bra. And later, for tampons. I'll watch her be mostly kind to others, but sometimes teenage-girl mean. We'll fight over make-up and curfew and grades. Sometimes she'll be okay with me -- maybe leaning against my shoulder during a TV show or telling me who she has a crush on after I pick her up from soccer practice. But mostly, I'm afraid she won't. At least for a while. She'll want to have her own opinions and make her own choices. She'll want to be older than she is and she'll want to do so many things she won't quite be ready for. She'll wonder what life would have been like with her first mom. Better, maybe. She may whisper it to her pillow at night. Tell her friends all about it. Yell it at me hoping it hurts -- hoping it creates oceans of distance, You're not my real mom. But for now, she is so casual with her closeness -- so casual with her touches. She backs up into my lap, sometimes perching on my knee and sometimes leaning her entire body against my chest. She cups my chin in her tiny palm, traces my nose with a single finger, pets my hair with a flat hand. My body as part of hers. Always. Moms are allowed to live in absolutes.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Portraits of the Artist

I am a mad genius! I am ready to CREATE!

My muse -- COME TO ME!

And it begins!

This shall be my finest work ever!

(pause for a snack and thoughtful critique)

No! This is drivel! TRASH!

I am suffering for my art. (sniff sniff)

My art, it has broken me.

Ah! A new medium! The world is MINE!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Number 6 on the Suck It List

A few days ago Niki and I packed up Zoey and Charlotte and headed to Blue Coast Burrito for lunch. It's a favorite lunch spot of ours because a) the food rocks and b) they still let us in (and presumably don't spit in our food) even though the girls make a mess of the floor each and every time. We've never had a bad experience there. Yup, until a few days ago. And it wasn't the food, it was the other customers.

It started when we were crossing the parking lot. There we are: two hot mama's (one with a cute preggo baby belly) each carrying a kid that weighs at least 21 pounds. And each carrying a diaper bag. Some guy driving a brown sports car (and I'm sorry but who the hell picks brown for a sports car? Mini van, yes. Sports car, no.) swerves around us, not slowing down at all. He was a little too close and a lot too arrogant for our comfort. Niki, always the model mom, says, "Don't mind us with the BABIES!". I, the model of nothing, say, "HEY A**HOLE! DON'T MIND THE F****** PEDESTRIANS WITH F****** BABIES!" Nice. I've really got to start working on that.

So after almost getting run over by a brown sports car, we go inside. The staff is great (as usual) waving to the girls, saying how cute they are, etc. Niki orders, gets her food, and heads over to a table. I'm waiting for guacamole. When I turn around, I see Niki carrying Charlotte and dragging two high chairs. Again: a pregnant woman carrying a todler and dragging two high chairs. I also see 4 tables of men within arms reach of her. 4 tables of men, 8 men in all, doing nothing.* Now don't get me wrong -- Niki is buff, she can handle herself. But come on. A little help please? But no. Niki gets to the table on her own and without accidentally-on-purpose knocking some lazy guy in the head. Not that I know anyone who would do that or anything. I'm just saying that an angrier, less model-like mom might consider such a thing.

Then I get to the table. The guys at the table behind us are deep in conversation about their profit margin or the latest memo or something. You can practically hear them roll their eyes when yet another baby arrives in close proximity. To get to my seat I have to squeeze between the chair back of one of the guys and our table. Which I do and only mildly graze him with my ass as he is ignoring the fact that a woman and child are trying to use the table behind him. Then I try and squeeze Zoey and her high chair into the table. The high chair fits under the table top so really we only need room for Zoey's . . . girth, I guess. She's 14 months, she not that girthy. The man doess not scoot his chair in an inch. True, this man perhaps has some girth issues of his own, but there were at least 6 inches between him and the table. Eventually Zoey is crammed in there up against the table. And I only hit the back of the man's chair once. Or twice.

What is with people? Would it kill them to be slightly aware of what is going on around them? Is it too much to ask for people to give up 10 seconds of their super important lives to help a pregnant woman haul a high chair to a table that's 5 feet away? Or scoot their chair in 2 inches? Or perhaps not run over a model mom and her poopy-mouthed side kick in a parking lot? I think not. And those people? They can SUCK IT.

*Yes, I would still be complaining if the tables were full of women. It just happened to be men on that day

Sunday, July 12, 2009

In Which I am Sorry

It was pointed out to me that the title of the last post ("You can act real rude and totally removed and I can act like an imbecile") could be taken as an insult to the readers of this blog. As in, the readers are "real rude and totally removed" because they did not leave comments. THIS IS NOT WHAT I MEANT AT ALL. The title of the post happens to be my favorite lyric from Safety Dance (which I briefly mention later in the post). Yes, the post was a rather pathetic plea for comments because I love comments and they make my day. I did not intend to insult or offend anyone, let alone someone who reads my blog. Hm, I guess the last part of the post title turned out to be true . . .

Friday, July 10, 2009

"You Can Act Real Rude and Totally Removed and I Can Act Like an Imbecile"

So, I am about to reveal a carefully kept blogging secret: Sometimes I don't use people's real names. Tricky, eh? But recently a major player on this blog asked me to stop using her fake name and use her real name. I guess this blog isn't as embarrassing as the last post suggested -- NO COMMENTS, people?! Except for the one I forced Demetri to write? Do you not know that I am at home all day? With a one year old? And no self esteem? Comments are better than chocolate. Anyone who knows me is now leaning back in their chair, aghast, going, Dooode. Did she really just say there is something in existence better than chocolate?

Anyway. Back to the big reveal. You know my running partner, Kara? Well, her real name is Kate! That's right: Kara is Kate. See how I kept the first letter of the fake name the same as the first letter of her real name? Yup. That's a just a little blogger secret from me to you.

And speaking of Kate and running . . . we recently signed up to do a second half marathon. When registering online there's a bunch of questions you have to answer: name, address, projected running time, and (wait for it) is this your first half marathon? We checked No (as in, No this is not our first half thankyouverymuch! We are total running goddesses! We are unstoppable! We are real runners!). It was probably the finest moment of our lives.

Training starts on Monday. And the problem is, I've hit some kind of mental running wall. Hard. I've been continuing to run since our first half but it's been something close to torture. 3 miles used to be our lowest mileage run. And now it practically kills me. I'm sucking wind. I'm cramping up. My knees are sore. My back is giving me flack. The sun beats down on me, drips all over me, and whispers in my ear, Stop. Stop. Stop. You can't do it. Just Stah-ah-ah-ah-p. And sometimes I do. But mostly I don't (mostly due to Kate's encouragement). Kate is now out of town for two weeks. So, it's gonna be just me and the road, baby! And my ipod shuffle (S-A-F-E-T-Y dance). Me, the road, my ipod shuffle, and, oh yeah, sheer determination.

Wish me luck. (Like in the comments section. Hint. Hint.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Lovely Little Tour

What? What's that you say? You want to have a baby? Well, how marvelous for you! How absolutely spiffy! Yes, I'm sure the baby will adjust to your schedule. No, no, I'm sure your life will stay pretty much the same. But your house won't. Let me give you a tour of your future!Come right this way . . .

All your cabinets, drawers, closets, etc. will need to be child proofed. These locks are super fun and super easy to install! You and your partner will have hours (and hours) of quality time together during this fantastic project!

Gates will become a significant part of your life. Not only are the gates esthetically pleasing, but they are expensive too!

Some of the gates also require installation! Yay! Another fun project! And, don't worry, the directions are useless! Some other, lesser, parents may make a mistake or two and install the gate backwards! Or upside down. But not you!

Areas that cannot be gated or locked must be otherwise creatively contained. Note how the chair faces inward to both block opening of the draws and to prevent climbing. What genius!

It is likely that one of your favorite rooms, like, say, the library (in which you painstakingly arranged all the books alphabetically and by genre) will have to be blocked off by furniture and a guard dog -- thus becoming totally useless. Did I say useless? I meant organizationally enhanced.

All your plants will have to be moved outside. Here's a great activity: longingly stare out the window at your plants while you wonder what time it is, what day it is, and how the world could possibly continue to go on given your current level of exhaustion. Fun times!

Laundry will be your new best friend. You will always have some to do. Always. It will sit there, mocking you, guilting you, like only a true best friend would! And one day you will run out of clean undies despite your best efforts and you will melt into a pile of tears and snot, consumed by the thought of your complete and utter uselessness. It's great to be reminded of our insignificance, no?

There will be fun, new accessories in your bathroom to help you complete the task of weekly daily hygiene.

The door to the downstairs bathroom will have to remain shut to prevent an accidental drowning. Being closed off will cause the room to take on an extra-special aroma that is especially pleasing to guests who have not yet built up a tolerance. Your social standing will sky rocket!

Dog toys and baby toys will become confused. By all parties. Eventually they will be swapped interchangeably and when guests or grandparents cringe, you will site an article from The New York Times that says dirt (loosely translated as dog drool) is good for a baby's immune system.

Your dog (aka your first baby) will have to become camel-like and store water somewhere on/in his dog-person. The water bowl will be kept on the counter to prevent constant spillage. Although this may decrease precious counter space, it is amusing to pretend the dog water is actually a soothing fountain. Ahhhh! Can't you hear the gentle trickle?

Everything becomes a potential toy. Yes, tragically, the cat butt is in this picture for a reason.

As per above, there will be random shit treasures all over the house. What do a giraffe, a Tupperware lid, and a wiffle ball have in common? I'll just let you find out on your own. Moving on . . .

You will also have drawers of random 'treasures'. Here, if you look closely, you can see bows, bubbles, nose drops, anti-fungal cream, shoes, q-tips, a lotion sample, swim diapers, a heating pad, a block, and a thermometer.

A huge amount of space will be given up for baby accessories. And yes, Goldfish are an accessory.

Note the counter and cabinet space that has been sacrificed lovingly given.

Your kitchen table will look like this: an amazing feat of organization with each and every thing in a specific place for a specific reason (i.e.- The baby pooped on me as we walked in the door so yes, I did have to put that bag there, OKAY!???).

Although your home will be destroyed and ravaged by the beast baby you are about to welcome into your home, you will still feel compelled to display pictures of said beast on every available surface. And when you run out of room in your home, you will turn to blogging.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Biter Strikes Again

Zoey is a biter. Until recently, she kept her victims within the family unit (me, Demetri, Gilmore, Boomer). But things are going down hill. Rapidly. She used to bite when overwhelmed or as an exploration, only testing her teeth on toys or the occasional flesh. Now she bites when things are not going her way. Which is most of the time. Like when she isn't allowed to stand on the kitchen table or is told no, she can't play with the chain saw in the garage. Or when it's nap time. Or when she wants the red sippy cup instead of the blue one. And she bites hard. Blood has been shed.

A few weeks ago Niki sent me this article, When Babies Attack. I've been reading it to make myself feel better . . . At least Zoey hasn't bitten off my nipple or removed chunks of skin from my cheek. And then yesterday happened. We were sitting in the play room. Zoey was playing with a puzzle and looking at some books. I was sitting in the chair typing on the laptop. She stood up, tickled my feet, and then put my toe in her mouth, holding it firmly but gently between her teeth. I said the obvious: "NO. No biting." She looked at me, and I swear she smiled a bit. Then she bit. Hard.

My first reaction, after seeing that my toe was still attached, was anger. And not just a little bit of anger either. I had visions of grabbing Zoey, shaking her a bit, and screaming NO BITING! I didn't do it. I left her in the playroom and walked away. Thank god. Then I sat at the table, head in my hands, and cried while Zoey screamed and raged from 15 feet away. I know that as I parent I'm not supposed to admit that I feel things like anger, let alone have visions of shaking my child. But I did. And I have to believe I'm not the only one.

Obviously, the line between thinking about grabbing/shaking my child and actually doing it is an important one. And one I have never crossed. But being close to that line feels . . . terrible. It is the worst of me as a person and as a mother. It's one of those dirty little secrets that most people think should never be spoken about. But honestly, I'm tired of keeping the secret. I know I'm supposed to say that being a mom is wonderful and that every moment with Zoey is blissful. I'm supposed to say that there's nothing I would rather do. In the big picture, that's true -- I wouldn't trade my Reign as Mom for anything. But day to day? Um, hell yes I would rather read my book than read the picture dictionary for the 8th time. I would rather eat bon bons on the couch than change another poopy diaper. I would rather keep all my current appendages and skin that covers them than be bit several times a day. Is anyone seriously going to judge me for that? Probably.

But this post isn't for those people. This blog isn't for those people. This is for the women who tell it like it is. Motherhood is hard. We get angry. We think bad thoughts. We show amazing restraint. We say, I've been there. We tell each other we're doing OK. And we laugh. Sometimes a little too loud or a little too long. Maybe until we cry. We laugh because this journey is so fucking hard and it's good to have company*.

*Much thanks and love to Niki, Kara, and Demetri for all their support yesterday.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Stranger Danger!

Over the weekend we went to a book store. This particular store has a great kids section with an awesome play area. While Demetri was browsing, Zoey and I played puppets, ripped down a castle, created disturbingly horrific train wrecks, and rearranged all the stuff in the play kitchen. An older lady come over and started making small talk with us -- about how cute Zoey is, about the weather, about her recent mission trip to Africa. I didn't want to be rude, but I was sort of busy trying to demolish the castle with a frog puppet: "And then the giant frog swooped down from the sky and ate up the princess because she took gentle yoga instead of kick boxing . . .".

But the lady was undeterred.

I continued to play with Zoey and she continued to talk about the orphanage she worked in in Africa. I responded minimally with hmm's and yeah's and oh's. Zoey then moved closer to the lady to play at the train table. As I don't like to play puppets alone, I followed her. We were busy setting up Thomas the Train to fly off a cliff after jumping over other, lesser, trains when the lady reached out and touched my hair. To be clear, she didn't just brush it off my face or barely touch one of the ends. She put her entire hand on my head and pushed her fingers down into my hair. I tried to pull back, but she had a death grip on my head with her evil, claw-like hand. So I kicked her in the stomach (because, unlike the aforementioned princess, I did take kick boxing).

Ok. Fine. That last part isn't true. I didn't kick her in the stomach. And the description of "evil and claw-like" may be an exaggeration. And it wasn't my hair she touched, it was Zoey's. BUT STILL. Why do people think it's OK just to reach out and touch Zoey's hair? People would never do that to an adult. Never. And people don't ask. They just grab her hair like she's not real. She can't talk yet so it's not as if she can yell STRANGER DANGER! to protect herself. Part of me feels like I shouldn't let Zoey get within arms reach of people but another part of me realizes that might make her a wee bit anti-social. And she already has plenty of things to talk to her future therapist about. I should probably say something, right? But the thing is, it happens so fast. It's over before I can even say Stop or Don't. So then the question is: do I bother telling people I will never see again that they need to respect Zoey's personal space? Maybe. But primarily so Zoey knows I will stick up for her.

Demetri suggests that we grab people's hair right back. But, you know, ew. Some people have hair that I just don't want to experience. What would you do?
Nooooo! Don't touch my hair! Nooooo! Stranger danger! Stranger danger!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

An Apology (of sorts)

Dear Charlotte,

I'm sorry I bit you yesterday. I blame my mom.

It was my mom's idea to watch Bring It On: All Or Nothing during the play date. The music was kinda good but all those cheerleaders just made me feel bad about myself. I mean, my belly is way too big to make the cheer leading squad. And my thighs? Don't even get me started. Also, we both currently seem to lack an appropriate level of coordination for cheer leading. I know that you can do a cheer kick in the air, but when I tried, I fell on the giraffe train and was utterly humiliated. It would be nice if my mom actually picked up a parenting book. Maybe then she would present me with respectable roll models and attainable goals. Being dressed in a tutu, beads, and a flower headband did not help my already fragile self-esteem. I'm just never going to be Brittney -- why can't she understand that?

I also found it stressful that our moms were eating chocolate chips out of a bowl by the handful and only gave us each 4. If they can eat their feelings, why can't we? When we asked for more, I did not find it amusing that my mom answered with, "This is not a cheerocracy. No more chocolate for you!". And remember when we accidentally collided and fell on our butts? I was similarly not amused by both our moms doing spirit fingers to cheer us up. Let's hope we don't get their sense of humor. Our dads are much more amusing.

All of this is to say that I was angry about a lot of things before I bit you. When you wanted me to share the stuffed cow with you I just couldn't take it and I snapped. I really should have bit my mom. I'm sorry I left teeth marks on your arm. I hope you will still be my friend. And I hope you too will blame my mom for my bad behavior.

Your BFF,