Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In Which I am Thankful

I am thankful for cute hand-me-down clothes . . .

I am thankful that Gilmore is the most non-dominant dog ever . . .

I am thankful that occasionally I posses enough culinary skills to make a balanced meal for Zoey. And yes, that is a hot dog but it's a TURKEY hot dog so it's healthy . . .

I am thankful that I am not considered 'the pretty pony' in the family . . .

I am thankful for teeny tiny kisses . . .

I am thankful for duct tape . . .

I am thankful for books and BFFs

I am thankful for grandparents . . .

I am thankful that Zoey did not fall off the table when Demetri put her on there and then took a picture . . .

I am thankful that Zoey shares (some of the time) . . .

I am thankful that Charlotte had the patience to teach me how to sew curtains . . .

I am thankful that my daughter can entertain herself for a good 20 minutes with a pair of my undies (clean, of course) . . .

I am thankful for my ever-patient-and-ever-kind-and-super-hot husband . . .

I am thankful that I am not the one responsible for fixing appliances in this house . . .

I am thankful for rock and roll and grrrl power, baby!!!

I am thankful for the airplane song on Sesame Street ("Well, I'm a little airplane nrrrow nrowww I'm a little airplane nrrrow nrrrow")

I am thankful for curls . . .

I am thankful for moments of patience . . .

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Major Missage

Last night was not a good night. I actually uttered* the words, "If you don't put clothes on right now I will duct tape pajamas on your body so thoroughly that you won't get them off until next week sohelpmegod!" And that wasn't even the low point. Maybe the low point was when I was whining at Demetri saying, "What is wrong with me? Am I the most impatient person in the world?" In an attempt to lighten the mood, Demetri joked, "No, Zoey is . . . ha ha." I responded, "What? Are you saying I'm a bad person? Huh? Are you? FINE! You're right! I AM A BAD PERSON. Happy?" Demetri, clearly not happy with my wildly loose interpretation of his joke, then suggested I go take a relaxing bubble bath. I smacked my palm hard on the kitchen table, "No. No, I will NOT take a bath. You know what this means?" I pointed to my wedding ring. "Huh? Do ya? It means FOREVER, bucko! So you are stuck with me!" I smacked both palms on the table. "How do you like them apples?!"

I've said it before. I'll say it again: I have the most kind and patient husband. Ever. E-V-E-R.

Anyway. Preceding the-night-that-was-not-a-good-night was the-day-that-was-a-long-day. It was nothing terrible in itself. It was just a lot of things that added up: I've had a bad cold for a week. No adult contact. Rain. Lots of sitting with Zoey while she sat on her potty and did NOTHING. Boredom. A 45 minute nap which hardly even qualifies as a nap. A cranky toddler who can't express her needs other than through whining. Chasing Zoey around trying to get her to keep clothes, any clothes, on. Boredom. Not feeling well enough to go for a walk. No good snacks in the house. Thinking it was Wednesday and then realizing it wasn't, thus being crushed that 'Glee' wasn't on. Zoey pushing my buttons -- every chance she got. Zoey testing limits -- every chance she got. Boredom. Frustration. No chocolate in the house. Which was a whammy because the lack of chocolaty goodness was all my fault. Demetri is required my marital law to hide chocolate in the house. Then, when I have a chocolate emergency, I call him and he tells me where to find it. Except I had discovered his stash and eaten it all without telling him. Therefor: NO CHOCOLATE. And it was all MY DOING.

This morning things feel a bit better. Demetri's mom is flying in late this morning. She is excellent company, a wicked good Scrabble player, and a big help. The Grandparents come back into town on Saturday. There are TWO celebrations next week: Zoey's adoption day and Thanksgiving. My cold will go away eventually. There is hope for a loooong nap today. Demetri left me a small pack of M&M's this morning.

When I have days like yesterday I am reminded that parenting is like social work; Neither can be done in isolation. Or at least not done well. I need family and my mom friends and . . . chocolate. I need to talk to my BFF (Hi Tyff!) on the phone. I need to tell her my grossest stories, my parenting fails. And I need to hear hers. Not that we enjoys each others' pain, although we do make each other laugh. I think we need to know that we're not alone. We're in this wild, crazy, awesome, scary, hard, frustrating thing together. This isn't where I thought this post would end. But it is where it is. I miss my best friend. And although we've lived in different states most of our 27 year friendship, yesterday that distance was too much. Way too much.

* 'Utter' may be the wrong word here. Maybe more like sternly-yet-gently. Or maybe even sternly-and-hysterically.

Tyff and I when we were 7 . . . and yes, we thought we looked GOOD in the goggles . . .

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oh, the Pa(l)in!

Sarah Palin was on Oprah yesterday. And I watched it. Most of it. I'll admit that I went skittering away from the couch to check Facebook as soon as Palin and Oprah engaged in what may be the most awkward hug in history. Oprah kind of caught Palin's right arm as if defending from a right hook. But then both women pretended it was a touchy-feely, hand-holding, fingers intertwining intentional thing. I can't stand awkward TV. Which is why I never watch the auditions for Idol. After we were all over the embarrassing hug (some of us taking longer than others), I went back to the couch.

Here are my "favorite" moments from the interview:
1. Palin rolls her eyes and accuses Katie Couric of being "perky". Um . . . Pot? Where are you? I need you to come call the kettle black.
2. Oprah asks Palin if she felt snubbed by not being invited on her show during the election. Palin says, "No offense to you, but it (the show) wasn't the center of my universe." It was all about the tone, people. The way Palin said it was kinda biting . . .
3. Plain repeatedly refers to abortion as "the easy choice". Um . . . really?
4. The way that Palin made it sound like ALL women have the strength, resources, and desire to raise children. Um . . . all women have access to resources? really? I'm thinkin' there's probably quite a few in the great state of Alaska that don't. And in this state. And in all states.
5. The replay of the Couric interview in which Palin is seemingly unable to answer a question about what newspapers and magazines she reads. I mean, just throw something out there, "The New York Times" or "The Washington Post", for the love of god!
6. The commercial for the new dark chocolate Reese's peanut butter cups.
7. Palin unable to clearly say why she resigned from Governor. "For the good of the people blah blah blah lame duck governor blah blah."
8. Oprah encouraging Palin as we went into each commercial break. While we couldn't actually hear what Oprah was saying she would shake Palin's hand encouragingly, nod her head, and probably say something like, "You're doing OK Sarah. A few more questions and you get a gold star!" Or maybe Oprah was a teeny bit less condescending. We will never know . . . (sigh)

And then I went out and bought Palin's new book. Um . . . no. No. No. No. But the the interview wasn't so bad (as in painful). In some ways. Palin seemed a lot more articulate than she did, oh, a little over a year ago. Which worries me. I didn't go into this interview hoping to see Palin tank like many people did. But afterwards, I wished she had. People love her and her politics (for reasons I can not even fathom). It's almost like people warship her. Which I find very, very frightening.

There's this guy in my neighborhood who has a huge, very southern (i.e. - big wheels and stacks) pick-up truck. On the sides and back of the truck he has painted 'PALIN 2012'. This truck makes me ill and angry and disappointed in ways I never thought possible. I mean, has the dude not heard of BUMPER STICKERS?! While others might have visions of keying or egging the truck, I have other ambitions. I dream of sneaking over there in the dead of night, ski mask on, a trash bag full of trouble over my shoulder. Then, silently and carefully, I put article after discrediting article (all from reputable sources of course) under the wiper blades, in the door cracks, strewn across the flat bed. And the kicker is, ALL the articles are different. So even if Mr. Palin 2012 doesn't read them he should at least be slightly (albeit briefly) overwhelmed by the sheer number of articles. Oh, sweet revenge!!

Yes, I want a woman president. But not her. Not ever. But maybe that's a topic for another post . . .

Monday, November 16, 2009


Zoey's preferred state is, to use the technical term, nudie-butt-ness. Yes, she prefers to dash around al fresco. She likes to go starkers. She often wears a well placed accessory, like a bow in her hair or a pair of Demetri's shoes, to accentuate the nakedness. But who doesn't like accessories? And she was happy to keep her diaper on (hallelujah!). I don't think she really understood that the diaper, too, was an 'accessory'* and could be removed at will.

Until 3 days ago. 3 days ago I made a tactical error and brought home a training potty. In my defense, Zoey was showing many of the 'potty training readiness cues'. An interest in other people's/animals bodily functions?** Check! Informing a parent when she peeed or pooped? Check! Ability to take her clothes off? Eh . . . sometimes. Shirts with a small head hole present a problem due to the additional circumference of Zoey's hair. So I brought home a pink and green froggy potty. Zoey's life now consists of 3 things: 1. 'Sitting'*** on the frog potty totally naked 2. Running from us in a vain attempt to remain totally naked 3. Protesting not being naked via whining, tantruming, scratching, biting, kicking, screaming, pouting, etc. etc. In turn, my life now consist of 4 things: 1. Chanting "Pee-pee-poo-poo-potty-potty"**** to cheer on Zoey in her bathroom endeavors. 2. Chasing Zoey around with clothes 3. Getting the crap beat out of me while I dress her 4. Feeling surprisingly unfulfilled by the previous three activities.

So, Zoey has peed on her potty exactly once. She has pooped on it never. But today is day 4. Anything could happen. Anything. In fact, she is sitting on her potty right now. She is drinking orange juice, looking at a book about baby animals, and making potty sounds with her mouth: "SSssssssssss. Ut. Ut. Pssssssssss."***** Anything could happen. Maybe she'll want to put on clothes today. Maybe she won't claw out my eyes, maybe she'll avoid the jugular. Maybe the diaper will come back into fashion, like bell bottoms or clogs. But my fear is that the trendiness of the diaper has gone the way of the banana clip. Gone baby gone. But diapers held on with duct tape? They never go out of style.

* Or, to use another term, The-thin-layer-of-cloth-protecting-the-world-from-extreme-stench-and-defilement
** Gilmore may never be the same. He has taken to running away so he can pee without being closely watched and cheered on.
*** Really, she kind of sits-stands-sits-stands in rapid succession so she can check if anything has come out yet.
**** Thanks to Melissa for the potty song. Although I do think of her as a co-blamee as she was with me when I bought the potty.
***** She TOTALLY got this from her DAD, not from me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

No Butts About It

I am so tired of the constant arguing. The never ending debate. Which is worse: a No-Butt or a Big-Butt? Clearly, it is far worse to have a No-Butt than some junk in the trunk. FAR. WORSE. My bootylicious friends are all 'Oh, it's sooo terrible to look sexy in jeans! Oh, it's so terrible to have curves! Oh boo hoo!' So what if there's a gap in the back of your jeans when you sit down? So what if your hips are smaller than your hiney? Um . . . there's this new invention . . . it's called a belt.

Us No-Butters have far worse problems. First off, the no-butt doesn't look sexy. Ever. Not even in jeans. For example, my butt is basically concave. Instead of a luscious curve in back, there's all this extra fabric flapping around (See picture below). Literally. And let me tell you, no one has ever done a song about flat bottomed girls. Whereas "you other brothers (and sisters) can't deny"* that the big patootied have lots and lots of songs written in their honor.

Not only are our 'butts'* not memorialized in song, wedgies are a major problem. See, some of us don't have the cheek to keep the undies in place. It's a constant battle. The buttless have to learn how to inconspicuously redistribute their undergarments and keep them in place. ON A FLAT SURFACE. Which is OK until you have to move, breathe, or (oh dear god!) bend over. Totally hot.

And while we're on the topic of underwear . . . imagine having your underwear be too tight in the hips but having inches of extra fabric in the rear. Again, not a pretty site. Form fitting pants are troublesome. And it's not the panty lines that are a problematic. It's the ginormous mess of panty wrinkles. And we're not talking barely-there wrinkles -- we're talking hey-I-need-a-place-to-store-the-entire-contents-of-my-purse folds. Class-eeee!

And then there's the matter of sitting. When you don't have a butt, you are sitting on bones. Hard, pointy BONES. It's kind of like sitting on two wedges of concrete. Those who have a flourishing rear get to sit on their own personal memory foam pillow. Hmmm . . . which is more comfortable: concrete or a pillow?

Also, the No-Butt presents serious fashion challenges. There are about to be more intense visual aides*** so the squeamish may want to cut their losses and stop reading. People with true gluteus MAXimi can flaunt their fabulousness. I, on the other hand, cannot flaunt what I do not have. Thus, I have to cover it up. In the picture below I am wearing running tights. But I have to cover-up the no-butt with a shirt I know I will not want to put on. Note how my rear still looks flat even with the padding of a shirt doubled over AND a bulky collar.

Below we have, again, the wrinkles. And proof that the no-butters must always wear long shirts to project the illusion of a curve -- no matter how slight. Please note, the pants in the below picture are designed to be form fitting. FORM. FITTING.

Horrific, no? Sadly, a No-Butt was my destiny. Both my parents are No-Butters (Hi Mom! Hi Dad!). I had no chance, genetically speaking. And even though it didn't come from me, I feel a strange sense of pride when I check Zoey's diaper and see the two little half moons of her butt curving out and away from her body. My baby's got back.

* In case you're wondering why the hell there are quotes around that, I'm referring to a song by Sir Mix A-Lot
** I am using this term in the loosest possible sense as the No-Butters' bums can only be identified by approximate location, not by sight.
*** Pictures by Niki and Demetri. Even though Niki didn't want credit for such fine photography.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Let That Be a Lesson*

The Dads are gathered at the playground. The football talk gets old. The Dads get bored. And, in a moment that will live forever in infamy, a bet is placed. Violence ensues.

It's toddler against toddler. Friend against friend. Pigtails versus Afro.

A command is given. Each fighter is instructed to "hug" her "friend". There can be only one survivor. One champion.

One of the contenders, let's call her The Obedient Child, has superior listening skills and the ability to follow directions. The other competitor, let's call her The Disobedient Child, fails to heed the command due to a fondness for personal space (and a blatant disregard for authority) . . .

The Disobedient Child goes down. Hard. (see title).

Then, in an end no one saw coming, the competitors go ride a dinosaur.

* All pictures courtesy of Niki

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Our Adoption Story III: The Wait

So, there we were -- blissfully free of the adoption paperwork. Our home study was finished on a Thursday and my parents were coming into town on Friday to take us out to fancy schmancy restaurant over the weekend to celebrate. We felt relaxed and excited. We knew we had months, if not years, to read the parenting books, paint the nursery, and figure out what kind of baby gear we actually needed. So far, I hadn't allowed myself to look at any baby stuff. It was just too painful. Sure, I had bought gifts off baby registries before. But I never thought about stuff for us and our baby. After our home study was done, I felt like maybe it was OK to kind of start looking. But I was afraid to go alone. My infinitely kind and patient parents agreed to go with me*. Armed with Baby Bargains, my Dad allowed me to lurk behind him while he asked questions. My mom ooh-ed and ahh-ed over crib sets, strollers, and pack-n-plays; she showed me it was OK to look. I felt overwhelmed by all the . . . stuff? crap? choices?And I was not impressed by my inability to remove a car seat from the stroller base. But I had time . . .

After about an hour at the baby store we headed out for lunch. We continued to talk about baby stuff. I felt like finally I had permission to say things like, "If we get a girl I'm going to get the sheets with the pink hippos on them" or "Maybe we should paint the room green -- it would work for a boy or a girl." I was feeling very pre pre-motherly. Like maybe one day I would actually be a mom. On the way home from lunch my parents wanted to stop at the store to pick up some diet sodas. As we pulled into Kroger my phone rang.

It was the adoption social worker, Brenda. And she had a "situation" she wanted to present to me. There was a Latino birth mother in Rhode Island. The bio dad was African-American and hadn't been heard from since he was told about the baby 6 months ago. The birth mother had been getting prenatal care. She had no history of drug or alcohol use. Brenda talked and talked, telling me everything she could about the mom, the dad, the baby. I scribbled notes on the back of an envelop I found in the glove box. I had heard that when an adoptive parent is presented with 'their' baby they know it. And as hokey as it sounds, about half way through Brenda's presentation, I felt a sudden jolt. For a second I couldn't hear anything, see anything, or feel anything other than: This. Is. Our. Baby. I was so very certain that it brought tears to my eyes.
Brenda finished talking. I took a deep breath and asked two questions: When is the baby due? What is the sex of the baby? Brenda said, "It's a girl. A little girl. And she is due in two weeks, on Mother's Day!" I almost dropped the phone. Two weeks?!?! Not a lot of time . . .

I went to find my parents in Kroger. I imagine I looked excited and scared and frantic all at once. "We may have a baby." My mom smiled. My dad nodded. And I started to remember everything. All the details, what we did, what we said, what we ate -- all so we could tell it to our little girl.

* Demetri had to work

Demetri and me with my BFF's baby a few months before Zoey. Do we look awkward or what?!?! Could I clutch the baby any tighter . . .?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Number 7 on the Suck It list

Last Monday night and into Tuesday I had the worst fibromyalgia 'flare-up'* I have ever had. My fibro-philosophy thus far has been to refuse pain meds in favor of working with my body to figure out what makes me well and what makes me hurt. And my body and I have done some good work together. But on Tuesday afternoon I was in the doctor's office crying and begging for pain meds. It's wasn't pretty. If I'd had the energy I would have felt bad for my doctor. All last week I was unable to care for Zoey. My wonderful, amazing, beautiful mother was here from 6:45 am until Demetri got home. Every. Single. Day. Zoey started calling my mom and Demetri 'mami'. Yup, it was a bullet through the heart. When I did manage to come downstairs, Zoey looked at me passingly and largely without interest, Oh, it's that crazy lady from upstairs again. Just what every mother hopes for: to be forgotten by her own child.

One doesn't just get over a flare-up. It can't be powered through. You don't just bounce back. It's more like clawing your way out of a deep, dark hole towards a pin prick of light. You have all this rope to help you. But you're not very good at knots. And you're not wearing a harness. One mistake and your back at the bottom, muddy and bruised. Plus, your upper body isn't exactly buff. You have to build up your strength, rest, build up, rest. Breathe. It takes a long time to climb up and out. Right now, I'm hopping to be strong and totally well again by January. That may be pushing it.

I had to make some tough decisions. I quit soccer (bailing on a bunch of middle school girls and the head coach -- yup, it felt awesome**). I cleared my schedule -- including canceling lunch with a friend for the THIRD time in a row. I put repeat posts on Cool Moms Care. I haven't run in over a week. My life has to become very small for a while. In my not-so-great moments this makes me angry. I feel like I should be able to be a mom, and a wife, and a soccer coach, and a writer, and a runner, and a good friend. All at once. In my better-ish moments I know that there are times when I can't be all those things. And I know that's ok. But right now it's still feeling pretty bad. So, fibromyalgia? You can suck it!

Oh, and if I'm posting less than twice a week you now know why. Nothing personal. Just me having to dial things back.

*The term 'flare-up' so doesn't do the experience justice. It's like calling a 15 car pile-up a 'fender bender'.
** If by awesome we mean lowly, wimpy, and guilt-ridden.