Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Baby Whisperer

Last night Demetri and I pretended we were real people. As in we made last minute plans and went to the movies. Awwwww yeeah! We even got a sitter. And not just any sitter. We got the Baby Whisperer (Hi FC!). The girl has skillz. Mad skillz. Babies and toddlers are putty in her gentle hands. And the Baby Whisperer has really good hair. Seriously. Every time I see her I am envious of her gorgeous long brown hair.

Part of the reason we adore the Baby Whisperer is her ability to hold a sincere and interested face. Like when we tell her where the chicken nuggets are for the third time. Or when we quiz her about the location of the pediatrician's phone number. The number for the doctor is on the fridge. The fridge. Got it? Now point to the fridge . . . Ok. We're not that bad. But we're close.

But here's the thing. When we leave, we feel totally comfortable. Well . . . after we call her from the car to tell her something we forgot. And then have a 5 minute discussion about if it's OK to call her yet again to tell her to leave Zoey's long sleeve shirt on under her pajamas or if that will put the Baby Whisperer over the edge and she will vow to never sit for us again. So we don't make the second call. Instead we make plans to cover Zoey with an extra flannel blanket when we get home. The pink striped blanket is almost the exact same weight as a shirt . . . But anyway. That (crazy) stuff is about us. Not the Baby Whisperer.

And get this? When we get home, the Baby Whisperer is watching HGTV. I mean, how cute is that? She's not watching porn. She's not watching Fox News. She is watching a home and garden show, people. And, most important of all, when we get home Zoey is safe and warm in her crib. A slight smile on her face, dreaming of her night with the Baby Whisperer. Dreaming of her night as a real person without her parents -- a night when last minute plans were made and she got spend time with her hero.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The In-Between (Dad, this contains the F-word. So just skip over that part and pretend it never happened. 'Kay?)

So here's what happened: I went to see a Fibromyalgia specialist a week before Christmas. He confirmed the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and added Chronic Fatigue and severe iron deficiency. He put me on some new meds to help with pain, fatigue, etc. And one of the meds was bad. Very, very bad. One might even use the word 'evil'. I not only lost the ability to detect and use sarcasm (gasp!) but I was unable to control my emotions. At all. Ever.

Yes, Mommy was a tad bit unstable. As in, Mommy could not be alone with Zoey. As in, when a song wouldn't play on the computer fast enough Mommy began to scream, S-C-R-E-A-M, "FUCK! FUCK! WHY WON'T ANYTHING FUCKING WORK! I FUCKING HATE EVERYTHING!" And then Mommy sobbed. And Zoey cried. . . . and was afraid of me for the next 3 days.


It took me a good 6 days to decide to go off the Evil Medicine. I thought maybe I was falling apart from getting a confirmed diagnosis of a chronic illness. I know, I know. You don't get it. But it makes sense to me. When I went to see the doctor my fear was that he would tell me, "Well, golly, No. No, you don't have Fibromyalgia. You're just a big wimp. Now go out and live a normal life!" And when he didn't tell me that I realized it was a fear . . . and a hope. A hope that maybe I was OK, normal, fine. And I'm not not those things. But I'm not fully those things either. I'm the in-between. I thought maybe I was falling apart from being banished to the in-between. I thought I was angry at being sent there forever. I thought maybe I was bitter at everyone telling me I should be happy for the diagnosis, that it's a gift. I am bitter and angry and falling apart. But only a little. The Evil Medication magnified it. Made it awful and huge.

Now I am me again.

And The in-between is not a terrible place to be. Most of the time. It can be a little grey and a little lonely. But I'm making myself a room there. With yellow curtains and a braided rug. A tea pot with fading roses painted on the side. Books. A rocking chair. A green and heather knitted blanket. I am learning to be comfortable there. No . . . here. I am learning to be comfortable here.

So here's what happened: I went to see a doctor. Bad things happened. Angry things. I got better. I am getting better. People that love me are learning how to visit the in-between. And I am learning how to let them.

So much love and thanks to Demetri, Mom and Dad, Annie, Nancy, Kate, Carla, Kelly, Alicia, and Niki.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The Rules of Sneakiness:

1. Look busy. Very, very busy.
2. Pretend like you are going to do the right thing and then, at the last second, don't.
3. Look both ways out of narrowed eyes after you have done a sneaky deed.
4. Use the doe-eyed baby look.
5. When caught in the act, pretend like you weren't.
6. Ignore any and all surveillance devices.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Letter to a Very Pregnant Lady**

Dear Niki,

I know you're pregnant and all. Like very pregnant -- dilated 4 cm and 60% effaced. But it's time to get your pregnant booty off the couch and stop thinking about yourself. We, your friends and family, need more frequent updates. Hourly would be nice. I mean, just look what you have done to us. We have been reduced to spying on you via Alicia who lives across the street. And due to the angle of your curtains and blinds, her sight distance is severely limited. The only thing she could report this morning was that Corey's car was parked facing the street. And that he took the baby bag to work. This information does us no good. None. And speaking of Corey . . . his Facebook updates are equally useless. He rambled on about 41,000 frozen turkeys on I-40 from an over-turned truck. Do we care? No, no we do not. Would it kill him to write, "Niki is still pregnant." Or "No baby action last night. Niki doing well." Huh? Huh? Would it? Or maybe, to prep for the little bundle of joy, you could set your alarm to go off every hour throughout the night and you could text us all updates. We really would prefer texts so we wouldn't have to get out of bed to get the latest info. I'm sure you understand . . .

Or maybe you could set up the webcam. You know, you could aim it at the couch and we could all just watch you lay there. It would be like "Survivorman" but with less bug eating. You could be all "Hunger is setting in . . ." and then your mother-in-law could bring you a sandwich. And we, WE COULD SEE IT ALL. We could watch you nap and drool on your pillow. We could watch Charlotte try and stick things up your nose or down your shirt. And best of all, we could give up the thinly veiled facade of the rotating Is-Niki-In-Labor call schedule to ask you a 'question'* (What's seven times eight?) or to get your 'advice'* (Do you think it's OK to let Zoey play with razors?). Come on, do us a solid and set up the webcam. Remember all the nice presents we gave you at your shower? Hm? The stroller and the clothes and the toys and the cake . . .

Lastly, please remember that you can't actually shoot the kid out until after midnight tonight. That way he and I will have the same birthday and I will win the When-Will-Niki-Give-Birth pool. So no pushing until after midnight. Got it? 'Kay.

Lots of love,

* question and/or advice meaning your current state of birthing.
** Hi Niki! Please remember that I actually really do love you but that I'm sitting here eating Truffles and chocolate chips for breakfast in a futile attempt to stave off my anxiety about your birth. I know, I know, I'm not the one that that to shove something the size of a watermelon out something the size of a nostril but . . . I had to do something. Plus, I think your nice and really really pretty and very very smart.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Battle of the Wills, Plus Santa

Yesterday I was doing the mombligation* of taking Zoey to the mall to get her picture taken with Santa. I did her hair, stuffed her legs into tights, and coaxed her into her Christmas dress. Then I suggested she put put on a sweater. And, in turn, Zoey let me know that I was perhaps asking a tad bit too much of her. As in she threw herself on the floor, rolled back and forth, clawed at her own face, and shrieked, "Nonononononon!" Loosely interpreted this means, No, I don't think I will put on a sweater but thanks for asking. Even though I was clearly right and had a factual and well reasoned argument, i.e. - it was 37 degrees outside, her dress is sleeveless, she would be cold if she didn't put on a sweater, the Battle of the Sweater escalated. There was biting and drooling and kicking. Oh, and did I mention THE SCREAMING?

20 minutes later I had used my amazing mom powers (wrestling moves, bribery, weight advantage) and Zoey was wearing a coat. But now Zoey and I were standing 3 feet apart in the garage -- we both had our hands on our hips and we were both glaring at each other with narrowed eyes. Oh, and one of us was STILL SCREAMING. The other of us was pointing firmly and saying repeatedly, "GET. IN. THE. CAR." And once in a while, through gritted teeth, I would throw in a "We. Are. Going. To. See. Santa. It's Going. To. Be. FUN." for variety's sake. Shockingly, Zoey did not climb into the car. No. no. Instead, I attempted to put her in the car seat while she clung on to the door frame and continued with THE SCREAMING. Plus, she alternated arching her back with going completely limp** which kills me. After an especially well placed kick to my boob, I eased Zoey down on to the floor of the car, shut the door, and walked to the end of the driveway to 'take a moment'. As I got to the end of the driveway the screaming stopped. A head full of curls popped up in the back window. She saw me pacing and breathing. And I can only think that she assumed I was leaving her, like, forEVER because the screaming started again. But at a whole new level and pitch. One that brought our neighbor running out of his garage to ask "Where is she? Is she Ok?" He even used hand gestures. Large hand gestures.

I picked up The Screamer, who was now clinging to me instead of attempting to injure me. We cuddled for 10 minutes. I assured her I would never leave her. And then, I PUT HER IN THE CAR SEAT. That's right, her butt was strapped in to the car seat. It would have felt a lot more victorious if Zoey hadn't still be sniveling.

So we met The Grandparents at the mall. And Zoey wouldn't even look at them. She just wanted to be held by me. My parents had never seen Zoey like this before and my Dad (Hi Dad! I love you!), who is easily alarmed about Zoey's general welfare, was, uh, very alarmed. He kept saying super helpful comments like, "Golly, you must of really abused her." Or, "Gee, you must of really hurt her feelings." Sometimes he would change it up and ask a question: "Huh. What do you think you did to her?" It was super fun. Then, when I told him to shut it, he said, "I'm not being critical, I'm just saying what happened. I don't think you did anything wrong." Um . . . yeah. But he also treated us to lunch so it worked out OK.

Then, we tried to see Santa. Zoey clung to me like a life preserver in a raging storm. She would not even look at Santa. When Santa gently touched her hand it was like she had been burned. Even when Santa sang Elmo's theme song she wasn't fooled. So we grabbed a free coloring book and left. And I have to admit, I was a little proud. If my daughter doesn't want to sit on an oddly dressed, heavily bearded, stranger's lap, well . . . good for her. But if she doesn't want to bend to my will and put on a sweater or get in the car seat, well now, that's a different story.

*Term invented by the genius SWMama
** Note to the 5 people I know who are preggers right now: This is THE WORST thing EVER.

A holiday picture taken at home

Monday, December 7, 2009

Not So Silent Nights

We are back in a "phase" where Zoey is not sleeping through the night. And, in case you were wondering, a phase is defined as "a stage in a process of development." The use of the word 'development' implies progress, maturity, positivity. Which is not what we are experiencing. In fact, we seem to be experiencing a regression, a decline, a pain-in-the-ass-mess.

As a result of this 'phase', Demetri and I have returned to our most basic defenses. We are grasping at any and all straws of potential hope. We are focusing on our very survival. Thus, the return of The Lucky Pajamas. The belief in The Lucky Pajamas began back in Zoey's first few months of life when she was waking up every 2 hours. Every. Night. And I felt like a singed, shadow version of my former self. Until, one night, she slept for 4 hours in a row and . . . The Lucky Pajamas were born. We continued to put her in the same pajamas night after night hoping for a few more hours of sleep. And (sometimes) it worked! But the lucky pajamas have rules, people. Very complicated rules:

1. Any pair of pajamas has the potential to be lucky.
2. Only one pair of pajamas can be lucky at any given time.
3. Once the pajamas are washed, the luck is gone.
4. When in a poor sleep 'phase', the rules of pajama hygiene can be bent to extend the luck of a pair of pajamas. For example, what's a little spit up? a little dried on breakfast cereal? The merest bit of pee?
5. If a new pair of pajamas is worn and the results are decidedly un-lucky (i.e.- the baby is up all night) those pajamas must be shoved to the back of the closest for at least 10 days. And cursed.
6. Mocking The Lucky Pajamas or any person who may believe in The Lucky Pajamas will come back to bite you in the you-know-what.
7. If one is being punished for being a bad parent, The Lucky Pajamas can not help you. Basically, you are screwed.

Last night Zoey wore her pink bear pajamas. They were not lucky. No, no they were not. So tonight she will wear the blue zoo animal pajamas. And Demetri and I will do the ritualistic Lucky Pajama Dance. Then, after Zoey is in bed, we will huddle around the monitor, watching, waiting, and whispering please, please, please.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Art of Turkeys

A dream has come to fruition. A long awaited, anxiously anticipated, often, uh . . ., dreamt about dream. Zoey created a piece of art. And it is hanging on our refrigerator. With extreme pride. Seriously.

I am lucky enough to be in a play group with extraordinary women. One of these women is the Craft Goddess (Hi Lauren!). She tries to shun this title because she is modest. But the woman has a virtual craft store at her house and the skills to use the supplies so it's a little hard to dispute. Plus, once I bestow a title on someone they are stuck with it. Yes, I have that kind of power. So anyway, last week play group was at the Craft Goddess' house. She had sent an email out telling us we would be attempting a Thanksgiving themed craft. This was a first for playgroup. And to be honest, I thought maybe the standards were being set a tad high. I mean, sometimes I don't even really clean for playgroup let alone plan an activity.

But we showed up. And we crafted. And it was perhaps the finest moment of Zoey's young life. She made a total of 3 turkey master pieces (2 for the grandparents and one for the Mami). And, man oh man, was the kid proud of herself. She carried those turkeys around like she had won the Nobel Prize. She handed them to The Grandparents with obvious appreciation of her own artistic skills. Zoey was thrilled when I hung her art on the fridge. But then, of course, The Grandparents had to one up me and frame their turkeys. But I maintain that they don't spend as much time admiring their turkeys as I do admiring mine. I stand in front of refrigerator mesmerized by Zoey's use of color, by the placement of the print on the paper, by the googly turkey eye. I place my hand over her hand print and smile, glad that she is still small and glad that her hand still fits in mine. Glad that it always will.

The Craft Goddess is on the right. Thanks Lauren! And Cathy, we missed you guys!!!