Saturday, October 31, 2009

Banish the Baby Belly: Week Seven

You know, by the time I'd been doing this for six weeks, I thought for sure I'd have something momentous to report. Like, maybe a total loss of ten pounds or something?

Yeah. Apparently, in order to make that happen, you have to, I don't know, actually try? Hard? Instead of engaging in the half-assedness I have been guilty of lately?

You've probably guessed this already, but I have nothing to report. No loss, no gain. So it could be worse. Could be better, though. I've lost a whopping four pounds in six weeks. Whoooooo. That's not exactly fantastic.

I might be just be a tiny bit disappointed in myself, can you tell? At this rate, I will, in fact, end up seeing all my relatives at Christmas looking like I'm baking a baby. Which was cute last year. Not so much anymore (because I'm not preggers, you see. And, if I have anything to say about it, I will still not be preggers at Christmas).

In other news, a ladybug just fell into my coffee. That is so not cool.

Anywho, there's nothing I can do but keep on keepin' on.  So, exercise. I should do some of that this week. Definitely, for sure, I should do some of that. And brownies. I should stop eating those this week. That would probably be a good idea. Also, candy. I should actually give away all the Reese's Peanut Butter cups tonight instead of hoarding them, as I usually do.

FYI: that last thing I said? Probably not going to happen. I luuuuuurve peanut butter cups. Love them. Those trick or treaters couldn't possibly appreciate them the way I do. What? Yes, I know keeping the PBCs falls under the category of half-assed dieting. Sigh. Okay, fine, have it your way, maybe I'll just keep a couple...

Happy Halloween, everyone! How did you do this week?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Doctor?

I hardly slept last night. Why? Well, one, because Tori's teething (still). But even if she had slept like an angel, I would have tossed and turned. That's what a looming visit to the pediatrician does to me.

I'm not sure why, but in my mind, the petite, mild-mannered fiftyish woman who actually cares for my daughter becomes a giant-sized, fire-breathing, ultra-judgmental Doctor from Hell in the days leading up to her appointment.

Too many comments of, "boy, your baby's a chunk," had me worried she'd tell me my baby was obese and that she'd have to advise my health insurance to cancel her policy.

The freshly scabbed over scratch on Tori's nose? Would become a sure sign of child abuse in my doctor's mind, and not merely a hint that I'm still afraid to trim her nails.

The mild diaper rash would also seem to be a symbol of neglect—and not just the result of vegetable-fueled bowel movements.

Heck, I even had myself half convinced that somehow, she would know I'd fallen with Tori in my arms, and would accuse me of trying to kill my baby.

Okay, maybe that last one's a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point. My brain took a trip to Crazy Town last night, and didn't want to leave at closing time.

Needless to say, I was a wreck when morning finally arrived. Which meant that things didn't go too smoothly around here. There was no spoon throwing, but only because Tori wouldn't eat. At all. And no sooner did I get her dressed in her cute, man am I a good mommy doctor appropriate outfit  she, ahem, ejected the carrots from the night before...aaaaall the way up her back.

Emergency bath, anyone?

By the time all was said and done, I had about, oh, three minutes to get myself ready? Yeah. Not the best way to make a good impression when already you're nervous. (SIDE NOTE: I am so glad I don't have short hair. Short hair requires actual fixing in the morning—beyond a pony tail holder. How do you guys do it?).

We were late before we walked out the door (standard operating procedure around here). That, of course, made me worried that for the first time, the doctor would be running early, and we'd be turned away with some disdainful comment.

Which was ridiculous. We waited a good thirty minutes...sitting across from a Stepford Wife. The woman, although seeming to be a SAHM, was perfectly turned out (at 9 a.m.). Her shirt was ironed, her shoes were stilettos (okay, not really, but they were heels. And way more fashionable than my holey gym shoes)...she even had lipstick on. Her children, of course, also behaved angelically.

I spent the agonizingly slow minutes staring at her, wondering how one gets to that hyper-organized place, and did I have a chance in hell of ever getting there (the answer, I'll just tell you right now, is no).

So, by the time our names were finally called, I was wallowing in a puddle of inferiority in downtown Crazy Town.

And that's where my story loses steam.

Because, you see, once we got called back, everything went perfectly. The slavering demon in my mind transformed back into the cheerful doctor we know and love. She called Tori perfect. Cheered because she'd grown four inches (she's tall for her age now, folks). And while Tori's weight is still in the 90th percentile, the doc didn't even bat an eye.

Oh, and the whole feeding thing? Not a big deal. Apparently, as long as we keep trying, all is well. She echoed what many of you told me—that  Tori eventually will get hungry. And then she'll eat. Makes sense, right? Of course it does.

So I escaped without "Bad Mom" getting stamped on my head. Even better? I managed to escape from Crazy Town. I'd like to say it'll never happen again, but that would be a lie. I'm sure that when her next appointment approaches, the slavering demon will knock on my door.

That would be one of the many downsides of having a vivid imagination.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Feeding The Grumposaur: The Never Ending Battle.

Tori is normally a very good baby. Make that a fantastic baby. She's almost never without a smile. She sleeps like a champ (most of the time). And she's already quite capable of entertaining herself. In short, she's a much better baby than I deserve.

In fact, if she didn't need to eat, she'd be the best baby ever.

But she does, and I do feed her (plenty, I assure you. Go away, CPS). But it's been a battle from day one. For starters, as many of you have heard me lament, she did not want to eat from the boob. At all. I'm quite certain she would have starved, had I insisted.

Then, when we finally did switch over to bottles, she would turn into a raging demon every time we paused to burp her. To stop her screams, we'd often just plug the bottle back into her mouth (sans burp). And you know what that led to?

Spit up. Massive amounts of  projectile spit-up. Floods of it, in fact. Which, in turn, tended to lead to a still hungry Tori. So, the cycle would repeat. Ad nauseum.

Eventually, that situation resolved. We enjoyed the peace. Until...the time came to start solid food. Which, granted, was just a few short weeks ago. But guess what? She is not a fan. Nope, definitely not a fan.

I started her out on orange vegetables, as those all-knowing authors tell you you should. The first day, she spit it back out at me. That was to be expected. On days two, three and four, she did a little better. I was encouraged. Sweet potatoes, in fact, seemed to be a success.

So we moved on to squash. Then carrots. Then peaches.

Guess what? I got the same spitting routine—every time. Occasionally, she would oblige me by opening wide and accepting more than five bites, but most of the time, we topped out at four. Four bites.

Still, I didn't get upset. It was all new, after all. The point, I assumed, was to get her used to eating, not to get actual nutrition in her.

So, I continued introducing new foods, one every few days. Turns out, she likes green beans. One day, she actually ate two whole tablespoons of those. Apples...are acceptable. Not preferred, but acceptable.  Good to know, right?

But here's the thing. She's only been getting one meal a day. One very small meal. And honestly? Some nights, I'm so dang tired, I just don't want to fight with her. So we don't bother (I'm cringing even as I write that).

Now, however, she's almost seven months old. So I've been trying to step things up and feed her at least twice a day. But she? Is not having it. This morning, she was so mad, she actually grabbed the spoon from me and threw it. I kid you not (that temper? is a sure sign she's my daughter).

I've tried feeding her before her bottles, after her bottles...it doesn't matter. She, I think, would prefer to continue her all-liquid diet until she's eighteen.

And tomorrow, I have to take her to the doctor. I can only imagine the lecture I'm going to get. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Let's Talk About Advertising.

As most of you know, I get paid to write...advertising. Which, some would say, is not the same thing as being a "real" writer. You know what I say to those MoFos? Try it. Just try it. For a month, a week, heck, even a day. Spend a few hours in the trenches and you'll understand. We work harder than any other kind of writer out there. And we earn every penny we make.

Here's an educational video for you to watch:




Now, some of us, indeed, most of us, would kill to have a running shoe company as a client. Because, from the outside? That looks like fun, y'all. Getting a budget that big to play with would be like winning the lottery.

It takes big bucks to put together something like this:




But no matter how big (or small) of a fish you are in the advertising pond, it ain't all that glamorous. Us creatives? Really aren't all that rock n' roll as a general rule. Some are, and many more pretend to be. But most of us are not cool. Not cool at all. Nope, we're all just crossing our fingers, hoping no one sees through the mask—and that those paychecks keep coming.

Because artsy liberal art degrees? Don't really prepare you to do much of anything.

So we go to work. We put our creative juices to work for corporate America (and honestly? Most of the time it's kind of fun). And we dream of the day we write that best selling novel that gets turned into an Oscar winning screenplay and a Tony award winning Broadway play.

After all, if we can't sell ourselves on our own dreams, how can we hope to sell you anything at all?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Seven Things They Forget to Tell New Moms

Listen. I get it. I get that the mommies of the world have to hold back some of their secrets. If they went around telling all the non-procreating ladies how hard caring for a baby actually is, well, there'd be a lot less babies in the world.

But once we get ourselves knocked up, I think entrance into the sisterhood should be automatic. At the very least, a more experienced mama should take the newbies aside in those early weeks and give them a good talking to.

Although, really, would we listen? Probably not. Every new mom likes to think she knows it all...until, that is, she's deep in the trenches (and by then, she's too embarrassed to admit she doesn't know what she's doing). So, in hopes of educating at least a few of you, here's my list of the things they forget to tell moms-to-be.

Babies poop. A lot. Every time they eat? They poop. And those poops are surprisingly large. Large enough to propel themselves out of the baby's diaper and on to their backs, their clothes, their hair (there might be a good reason most babies are bald). One bloggy friend of mine got the ingenious idea to just cut her baby's onesie off when it was really bad. I thought it was the best idea I'd ever heard.

Spit happens. For a loooooong time. Okay. I knew newborns spit up. I'd heard the stories. Seen the evidence on my friends' shirts. But I didn't know how long that particular phenomenon lasted. Mine is almost seven months old. And guess what? She still spits up. But now there's more of it. My clothing may never be the same.

Even once they start sleeping through the night, they don't. I was lucky. Miss Tori was capable of sleeping through the night when she was just ten weeks old. But as soon as I got used to getting my Zs, she stopped. Growth spurts, unscheduled poopy diapers, teething...all mess with your sleep schedule. Some friends just informed me that I might not sleep again until she's five. Five. That's a whole lot of years, people. I'm not sure I'll make it.

Teething never seems to end. Tori's been working on her first tooth for oh, about, three months now? She'll be miserable. A fussy, drooling, sleepless mess for days at a time. Just long enough, in fact, for me to start thinking that this will be IT. The day when that tooth finally pops through. But then, all the action stops...until I've settled into complacency. Then the cycle starts all over again.

Solid food? Is not something babies are real excited about. I looked forward to the day I could start her on real food for months. I read all the books. Researched baby food manufacturers (no, I don't make my own. This is not Super Mom's blog). But when the big day arrived? She made a face and spit it back out at me. This is a pattern that has repeated itself for the last month. Humorous? Yes. Easy? No.

Dressing babies? Is not fun either. Sure, they look cute in their adorable little outfits. But getting them on? Should be an Olympic event. When they're first born, clothing babies is a nerve-wracking event. They're so...breakable. Then, just when you get the hang of it, they get a mind of their own. And my baby? Hates clothes. Hates them. Especially sleeves. By the time I get her in her pajamas, I'm ready for a bottle of my own (you don't really need me to tell you what kind, do you).

Everything your baby sees will go into her mouth. No, you don't understand. I mean everything.  Toys, clothing, dog food, dead bugs...everything. If, like me, you're not the world's best housekeeper, you will spend more time than you ever thought possible diving for whatever unsuitable object is heading toward your baby's drooling orifice.

Vacuum your floors, people. Vacuum your floors.

There are more, of course. More things you need to know. But, hey, I'm a mommy now. I can't go giving away all our secrets. That would ruin the fun (and get me kicked out of the sisterhood). All I can say is...good luck. You're in for a helluva ride. Through a blizzard. At night. In a rear-wheel drive car. On twisty mountain roads.

But don't worry. It's totally worth it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Rare Occurrence

I don't like getting my picture taken. At all. Especially when I still have twenty plus pounds of pregnancy weight to lose. But, last weekend, my in-laws came to visit. And my husband's family? Is camera happy.

This is not a bad thing. Because of their tendency to take a camera wherever they go, we have tons and tons of family  pictures - a fact I'm sure we'll be glad of someday. It's just that in my family? We don't take pictures. Everyone groans when someone says, "say cheeeeeeeese!"

As a result, I tend to hide from the camera whenever possible. But, now there's Tori. So while the in-laws were here, I begged them to get some pictures of us as a family. After all, when she's all grown up, she won't care how fat I was when she was six months old. She'll just want proof that I was there. And happy to have her around.

So here they are, in livng color. The Southern Indiana branch of the Page family (including me).



Not the best picture of us, but hey, we're smiling.

 

Brian finds lost animals no matter where we are - and this was taken at a winery
(I, of course, am inside, sampling wine).

 

And look! There's even a picture of me! A rare sighting indeed...

And that's it for our Sunday evening photo fun. Now you may return to your regularly scheduled activities...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Man I Married.

The man I married is, even as we speak, sitting on the floor with our baby, teaching her how to bang a spoon on a metal bowl.

The man I married isn't afraid to change a poopy diaper, feed the baby a bottle or walk the floor with her at 2 a.m.

The man I married brings me flowers for no reason. Cooks me chicken noodle soup when I'm sick. And scratches my head when I'm tired and stressed out.

The man I married knows when I need to sleep in. Knows when I need to tune out. And doesn't begrudge me my book buying habit.

The man I married cooks like a gourmet chef, draws like a professional illustrator and sings...well actually, he doesn't sing all that well, but when he does, it's heartfelt.

The man I married serenaded me in front of our high school senior class, proposed to me in a mall, and announced our engagement to my parents while they were eating dinner (my dad choked).

The man I married thinks I'm beautiful even when I don't (and that's most of the time).

The man I married believes in my wildest dreams, lifts me up when my spirits sink and never gives up on me—even when he should.

The man I married is my soul mate, my partner and my best friend.

Long story short? I'm awfully glad to have spent the last eleven years of my life with the man I married.

Happy Anniversary, Pookie Bear.

For a slightly more eloquent ode to my husband, go read my Valentine's Day post. Today, the baby's teething, we're both low on sleep, and I'm not exactly at my best.

Banishing the Baby Belly: Week 6

I'm happy to report that I finally seem to be making some progress. I'm down two pounds this week. A legitimate two pounds. Hurray for me!

Now there's only...23 pounds left? Until, that is, I reach my pre-baby weight? Then we're looking at at least another ten? Oh, brother. That doesn't sound so good.

Okay, let's not look at the big picture. I think I'll just go back to thinking about those two wonderful lost pounds.

And, I didn't even work out. That whole bending-down-to-plug-in-the-vacuum back injury had me down and out most of the week. It's finally starting to feel better, though, so I'm hoping to get to the gym tomorrow.

So we'll make this week's challenge the same as last week's. That is, to make it to the gym at least three times. I might have to put off weights for a little bit though. Who knew back pain could be so persistent?

That's me. How did you guys do?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Girl I Was. The Woman I Am.

The mirror, they say, never lies.
But for a long time, when I looked at its reflection,
I felt as if someone had died.

Someone so joyful, so happy, so free.
Who looked at the sky and thought,
man, it's good to be me.

She never walked when she could skip,
never skipped when she could run.
Never bowed to conventions,
or let others ruin her fun.

She gloried in twirly, swirly skirts, ruffles and lace.
She had her head in the clouds,
and wore her emotions on her face.
She kept her nose in a book,
and her dreams? They were on public display.

But one day, a boy's cruel laughter found its way in.
In past the joy,
in past the freedom,
all the way in.

He shredded her fantasies,
jeered at her dreams,
and for the first time,
she realized she couldn't win.

That girl, she came down to earth that day.
She learned the world could hurt her,
Would hurt her,
Would shatter her soul.

She bundled herself up,
locked her dreams up tight.
She curled in on herself,
And never let anyone in without a fight.

But time, they say, heals even the worst wounds.
And that girl became a woman,
a lover, and eventually,
even a mother.

She found her voice,
and unfurled her wings.
She sharpened her talons
And learned how to scream.

She screamed and she screamed,
Freeing her rage, her fear and her pain.
She yelled until she was hoarse,
and let the wind carry it all away.

Then she looked down at her tiny daughter,
at her furrowed brow and grasping hands.
She soaked it all up,
absorbing the love, the wonder, and the joy.

The happiness she found lifted her up and up and up
until she was soaring through the sky,
laughter fizzing in her veins.

She made a promise that day,
a vow to make things right.
To recapture the girl she was,
and teach her daughter how to take flight.

Because the world, it can hurt you,
will hurt you, but that's not the end.
And joy? It's everywhere,
sometimes it's just hiding around the bend.

So now, when I look in that mirror, do you know what I see?
A  woman.
A  lover.
And a damn fine mother.
Man, it's good to me.

This post was written as part of Mama Kat's Writing Workshop. The prompt I chose? Write a poem about who you are, or who you are not. But I honestly don't know where this came from. It surprised even me. I won't pretend it's the best poem ever written, but it seems to have bubbled up staight from my soul...so, I guess I'll go ahead and post it.

Now head on over there and see what everyone else did with this week's prompts!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Top Ten Reasons I Deserve to be Called a Scary Mommy.

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When issuing the news that I was going to have a baby, I got lots of hugs, heard lots of squeals and fielded lots of excited questions. But I also saw the sideways looks. The ones that said, “She? Is going to be a Mommy? That’s a little scary.”

I had a bit of a reputation for being a drama queen. And a klutz. And, I might as well admit, a little self absorbed. The people around me wondered if I’d be able to rise to the challenge of being a mother.

Well, it’s only been a little over six months, but I’m told that so far, I seem to be doing a decent job. But that doesn’t mean I’m any less scary. I’m sure I could come up with hundreds of reasons that I deserve the title, but I doubt any of you have the stomach to hear them all.

So, instead, here are the top ten reasons I deserve to join the ranks of Scary Mommies.

Being the exhausted mother of a small child has only enhanced my klutziness. I’m constantly tripping over my feet, bumping into immovable objects, and, of course, falling. I made it a whole six months without crashing with Tori in my arms…but that was it. Fortunately, she wasn’t hurt, for which I count my lucky stars, but it’d be better for all of us if she learns to walk early.

I have been known to (gasp) nap with her in my arms. Every new mom is told countless horror stories of parents who sleep with their children, only to accidentally suffocate, or worse, crush them while they doze. But for a long while there, the only way I could get any Zs at all was if I cuddled her close to me. And now? Now, I just crave the closeness. There’s nothing like the feel of a sleeping baby to send you off to dreamland.

It’s awfully hard to stay awake during those late night feedings. I admit it. I’ve occasionally (okay, maybe slightly more often than that) drifted off to sleep while feeding her. Then I start awake, the bottle dripping down the side of her face and on to her sleeper. Luckily, she usually falls asleep too…

Speaking of feeding, I didn’t breastfeed her. I tried. Oh, how I tried. But Tori? Was having none of it. When I gave her my boob, she would scream and scream and scream until I felt like screaming too. Finally (although far too soon according to the Breastfeeding Nazis), I gave up. It was either switch to bottles or go insane, and I chose sanity. I’m told that automatically makes me a bad, if not scary, mommy.

I routinely subject her to ridiculously long photo sessions. Growing up, no one seemed to know where any of my baby pictures were. In fact, my brother assured me the lack of photographic evidence was proof that I was adopted. So Tori? Constantly has a camera in her face.



But seriously, with a mug like hers, how could I resist?

I have an unhealthy obsession with dressing her in cute clothing. Have you seen the adorable baby clothes out there?  And they’re cheap, too (at least the brands I buy). The poor kid sometimes gets her outfit changed three or four times a day, just because I like to giggle over how ridiculously cute she is. It’s no wonder she’s developed a tendency to fuss whenever I put her on her changing table.

My own appearance has taken a turn for the worse. Leaving the house in mismatched socks and without makeup isn’t exactly a new thing. But now that the majority of my morning is devoted to caring for her, I often later find that I’ve neglected to do something essential—like put on deodorant, or properly button my shirt. My hair hasn’t been cut since I went back to work, and my eyebrows? Well, let’s not talk about my burgeoning mono-brow. I only hope I can get it together before she’s old enough to notice.

I’ve become one of “those” mothers. You know the ones. The ones that are convinced that their babies are, in fact, the smartest, most advanced infants to ever walk, er, crawl, er, roll on the face of the earth? Yeah, that’s me. I swell with pride at every check-up when the doctor tells me she’s doing things that are months beyond where she should be. I think she’s the next Einstein. Only she’ll have better hair.

I just can’t get enough of her. When I’m away too long, I get an actual, physical craving for the feel of her little body. I need to see her smile to keep my sanity. In my cube, I have a bulletin board dedicated to pictures of her…a coworker recently told me I might be a wee bit obsessed. She’s like crack, that baby is.

I’m actually considering inflicting my mothering abilities on another baby. Not any time soon, of course. But she’s brought so much joy into my life, I can’t help but think that giving her a brother or sister? Might actually be the best idea I ever had.

And that’s why I’m a Scary Mommy. Anybody still with me? Because I could go on…Just kidding. I won’t. That would be really  scary. Now head on over to the real Scary Mommy's blog, and tell her that I should win her Scary Mommy contest.

After all, if I win that Flip camera? I can post all kinds of adorable videos of my gorgeous kiddo. Or not. If you'd rather I didn't.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts: The Completely Random Edition

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It's Tuesday, thank goodness. I've been totally blanking on topics for today, but because of this lovely event hosted by the Un Mom, I can just blather. Hurray!

I'm pretty much exhausted because we've had houseguests for the past two weekends. The last batch arrived Friday, just about the time I was getting home from work, and didn't leave until yesterday morning. So I had to go from working madwoman to smiling hostess (and back again) in the blink of an eye, with no time to breathe in between.

Not a lot of fun.

And since Tori's the main attraction these days (with Brian and I coming in a distant 40th), I don't get to see a lot of my daughter when family is in town.  I try hard to be gracious, and not snap when someone steals her from my arms for the hundredth time, but weekends are the only time I get to see her for more than two hours at a stretch. It's difficult to share, to say the least. And since I'm not particularly good at hiding my emotions, I'm pretty sure I come off as a raving bitch more often than not.

Don't mess with Mama Bear. She bites.

Oh, and did I mention I managed to hurt my back in the middle of the houseguest-induced madness? Yeah. You'll never guess how I did it. No, not by falling. By bending down to plug in the vacuum cleaner. Seriously. One second I was reaching for the outlet, the next I was grabbing my back, howling in pain (and cussing up a blue streak). In front of my in-laws. It was fantastic.

What do you think? Does that mean I'm getting old? I'm fairly certain it does. Soon it'll be time for support pantyhose and polyester pantsuits.

Does anybody else hate the word pantyhose? I think it sounds gross. Like something you'd use to wash out your undergarments when they're too filthy for the washing machine. Ewwww.

On the plus side, I actually got some pretty awesome birthday presents this year. Nothing on my handy dandy list (and I was so hoping for the private island in Fiji), but good, nonetheless. I also have a wad of birthday cash to spend. I'm debating between blowing it on a personal trainer, some gym clothes, a sweet pair of boots, or whatever shiny things glitter the brightest when I next visit the mall. 

Any thoughts?

Okay, I think I better stop talking while I'm ahead. If you're new here, do me a favor and keep scrolling down. I'm better than this, I promise.

And don't forget to visit The Un Mom for more randomness!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Working Moms vs. Stay At Home Moms: Can't We All Just Get Along?

In the last week alone, I've seen...well, I don't even know how many articles pitting working moms against stay at home moms. The latest, just posted on Twitter by Mom Logic, was blistering in its criticism against moms who don't work.

Others have come out heavily in favor of the stay at home, or "full time" mom, insinuating those that work (and send their children to day care), are doing their children a disservice.

I don't get it, Internet. Why, after all this time, do we still have to have this fight? According to the issue of Time magazine that just hit the stands, The State of the American Womanalmost 40 percent of the women who work (and nearly half of us do) are the primary breadwinners.

That leads me to believe that for many moms, working is not an option. It's a necessity. I know it is for my family.

But, by the same token, 51 percent of us believe it's better for everyone if the mother stays home. And somehow, I doubt that every single woman in that 51 percent is, in fact, a stay at home mom.

So why do we have to criticize each other's choices?

I mean, sure, to those of us who go to work every day, the life of a stay at home mom can seem kind of cushy at times. It's easy to view their lives through those famous rose colored glasses, thinking that if only we had that luxury, we'd have it made.

But honestly? Stay at home moms work hard. Very hard. And kids? Usually don't think to say thank you for managing their schedules, fixing them lunch, and doing their laundry. They're not the best conversationalists, either.

Think about it. When was the last time, after spending a day caring for your kids,  you felt rested, relaxed and totally on top of everything? I'm willing to bet that most of you find yourself exhausted at the end of the day (I know I do).

At least those of us who have careers get rewarded for our efforts—and a paycheck.

That's not to say working moms have it made. Far from it. I can't speak for other women, but I assure you not a day goes by that I'm not wracked with guilt. I worry about the things I'm missing out on. Wonder if she'll think I'm gone too much. Even fear she won't love me as much as she otherwise would.

And when I come home from work? The job of managing a household still remains. I just have less time to do it in. I have a wonderful husband who pulls his weight around the house, making the job easier, but not every woman is so lucky.

So what am I trying to say? Nothing revolutionary. Nothing that hasn't been said a hundred times before. But saying it one more time can't hurt.


Stop throwing hurtful words at each other. Stop judging each other. We're all, each and every one of us, doing the best we can. Being a mom is a tough job, no matter how you look at it.

Can't we all just get along?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Banishing the Baby Belly: Week 5

First, the good news. Yesterday, my scale told me that I had indeed lost the 1.2 pounds that I gained last week  - coming out even again.

But this morning? It told me I had magically gained 1.8 pounds...overnight. And just to clarify, I didn't eat anything extraordinarily heavy last night. Didn't even have a late night snack. There is absolutely no reason for this ridiculous jump.

Excuse my french, but what. the. fuck???

Apparently, my scale hates Saturday. Which means I'm not going anywhere near it on Saturdays anymore. Instead, I'll weigh in on Friday—I'm sure as hell not plugging today's number into my weight tracker.

So. We'll pretend that the scale did indeed tell me I lost that 1.2 pounds. As it should have, since I tracked my points this week, drank my water, exercised—I even dragged my saggy ass to the gym. Finally.

So, yay for me. I lost this week (play along with me, people). Next week's challenge? To make it to the gym on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, and work out here at home at least once. Oh...and to not participate in this weekend's Quest for More Food (the in-laws are here).

Wish me luck.

Now it's your turn. 'Fess up, people.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Things I'd Like to Teach My Daughter.

When I was little, I loved to wear skirts. Specifically, twirly skirts. The kind that poof out and dance around you when you spin.

Then, in fourth grade, I scored a part in the chorus of Hansel and Gretel—the play my school was putting on that year. As part of my costume, I got to wear this fantastically twirly skirt. It was green, and it swirled like no other skirt I’d ever had before.

On the day of dress rehearsal, I put it on and began to dance around and around the classroom, delighting in the sheer wonder of it. Until, that is, my friend told me to cut it out. I’ll always remember her words; “Stop that, Amber. You look dumb. Besides, I can see your underpants.”

The music in my mind screeched to a halt, as did my twirling. My joy was replaced with shame and self-consciousness. I don’t think I ever danced in public again—at least, not with that kind of abandon.

Now, I’m always aware of the eyes on me, and I move stiffly, knowing that I’m no dancer. Somewhere along the way, I also became ashamed of my singing voice—I couldn’t tell you why. I almost never sing where anybody can hear me, and if I do, I sing off key on purpose, just so no one will think I’m trying to do it well.

I don’t want that for my daughter. I want to teach her to take joy in her body. To move when the spirit is in her. To never, ever stop dancing. I want her to sing, too. With happiness, with abandon, with confidence.

I want her to believe in faeries, and goblins, and even monsters, if she wants to. I want her to indulge in daydreams, and to thrill in the power of her own imagination.

I want her to believe in her own beauty—no matter what the outside world says. I want her to be able to shrug off careless comments and cutting words, knowing that they’re just the product of small minds.

Above all, I want her to be true to herself. To be strong enough to rise above peer pressure and societal conventions when necessary, and follow her gut. I want her to be able to make her own decisions, and to have the courage to follow her dreams.

I want a lot for my daughter. And to help her achieve those things? I’m trying to set a good example.

We dance whenever we get a chance. I sing to her, loudly, happily (and sometimes tunelessly), just to see her smile. I tell her stories, and spend quiet moments with her nestled against me, chasing the movies in my mind.

I’m trying to be nicer to myself (sometimes more successfully than others), focusing on the positives, and refusing to be blinded by the negatives.

Before making a decision, I’m taking the time to check in with my inner voice, taking my own advice more often than not. I’m standing up for myself more, and being a doormat less.

I’m getting in touch with the me I could have been, maybe should have been. And you know what? I like her. A lot.

So watch out, world. I’m letting loose—and next spring, I’m going to buy a twirly skirt...and I'm going to teach my little girl how to spin and spin and spin...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wordful Wednesday: The Halloween Photo Shoot

I love Halloween. Love it with a capital L. Not so much the gory, scare-the-crap-outta-you part of the holiday, but the dressing up and getting candy part? That's pure awesomeness in my book.

In past years, of course, I didn't have a child to costume. But you know what I did have? A dog. That's right, my dog was forced to dress up. I don't think he really minded...



But now we have Tori. Sure, she's a little small to go trick or treating, but that doesn't mean I can't dress her up. Lucky girl that she is, she has two costumes. One we picked up at a second hand store for $5.




I call her my grumposaurus when she's fussy, so I thought a dragon costume would be appropriate.




Have you ever seen a cuter dragon?




I didn't think so.

But then we started worrying that we'd get flack for not dressing her in something appropriately girly, so I made her a fairy costume. That's right. Anti-crafty me made a costume. Luckily, it didn't require any sewing.




She likes being a fairy, I think. Here's a full length shot...




I think it turned out fairly well, all things considered. In fact, I'm patting myself on the back right now.




Couldn't you just eat her up? Oh, and don't worry. Kermit got in on the action too.




He'll always be our fur baby, after all. Hopefully, by Halloween, I'll have come up with a new costume for him. One that matches the baby's, perhaps?

I can hear him snorting in disgust right now.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Inevitable Fall.

Gravity has never been my friend.

I have tripped over dogs, toys and people. Fallen down stairs, over curbs and through doorways. I've broken my elbow, sprained my ankle and on one particularly memorable occasion, both broken and dislocated my knee.

I've spent more than my fair share of time in the ER. I've been escorted there by family, driven by coworkers, and, in the Case of the Broken Dislocated Knee, arrived by ambulance. I've had so many X-rays that I'm beginning to fear I might eventually suffer from radiation poisoning.

There are almost always bruises on some part of my anatomy. I bump into counters. Run smack into walls. Try to walk through large, heavy things, like cement blocks. There is nothing and nowhere that is adequately protected from my supreme gracelessness.

If klutziness were a superpower, I would be the undisputed Queen of Klutzes.

So it's never been a question of if  I would fall with my daughter in my arms, but when. The answer? October 10, 2009. That's right. She made it a whole six months and one week without having her life endangered by her well-meaning mother.

You know what's even better? I fell up the stairs. That's right, up. That takes talent, people.

It was 8:30 a.m., and it'd already been a bad morning. I had already slipped on a stray piece of tulle (someday I'll learn to pick up after myself). I'd stepped squarely in a pile of cold cat vomit. Tori had spit floods of regurgitated formula right down my shirt. And to top it all off, she peed on the carpet while I was wiping her poop off the yoga mat we use to change her.

Like I said, it was a bad morning.

We were on our way up to the bathroom to clean up her latest bout of explosiveness when it happened. One minute, I was climbing up the stairs, telling Tori that I really hoped this would be her only bath of the day. The next, my toe was hooked inside the leg of my pajama pants (I told you I'm Super Talented), and I was flying toward the floor, baby held squarely in front of me.

For one terrified instant, I thought I was about to land on her, squishing the life from her fragile body. Fortunately, the powers that be lent me the ability to twist myself into a pretzel so that I landed half on my side, with Tori safely clutched to my chest.

I patted her down, making sure she was okay (she was fine. surprised, but fine).  Then I leaned up against the wall and did my usual post-fall inventory. Nothing was broken, but my back hurt. As did my poor, much abused knee.

That's when I burst into tears.

Not just because I was in pain, or because I'd have to spend my birthday hopped up on pain killers, but because I knew that this might have been the first time I put my child's life in danger, but it was by no means the last.

Tori better hurry up and learn to walk. Because my arms? Are not a safe place to be.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Year Well Spent.

Fall always finds me in an introspective sort of mood. When the leaves change and the night air chills, I tend to take stock, evaluating the past year and thinking about what changes need to be made.

But this year? Was a very good year.

It's almost impossible to believe that last fall  I was just beginning to shop for maternity clothes, my growing belly the only sign of the momentous changes about to take place. Tori hadn't even begun to kick yet—she didn't seem real.

Obama wasn't president yet. Every night, my husband and I sat and watched MSNBC, railing at the stupidity of the republicans (sorry, lovely republican readers, but we did), and vowing all sorts of rash actions if Sarah Palin found her way to the White House.

This blog had hardly begun. It was something I wrote in every once in a while, when I remembered to do it. I had no idea how important it was about to become to my sense of self.

My career was on an even keel. I had no idea three rounds of layoffs were coming our way (and yes, I am thanking my lucky stars that I survived them). I only knew I worked with a good bunch of people, folks I was glad to call my friends.

And my marriage? Was in a great place. We were both excited about Tori's impending arrival (also shit-our-pants scared). As we celebrated our ten year anniversary, it was with a great sense of joy, accomplishment and anticipation of things to come.

Now, of course, Tori is very real, and the (sometimes  explosively poopy) center of our lives.

The democrats have taken control (for now), and big changes seem to be afoot.

This blog is my playground, my therapy couch and my place to meet friends.

After three months off, my job picked up where it left off, and now I feel like I was never even gone (and yes, I'm still thanking my lucky stars every time I get a paycheck).


My marriage? Stronger than ever. We're a family now, not just a married couple, and I've found lots of new reasons to love him  (everybody say awwww).

It's been a very good year. Challenging, but good.

So good that as I was blowing out my birthday candles last night, there was only one thing I could think to wish for. And that? Was for another year just like this one.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Banishing the Baby Belly: Week 4

Sigh.

I really don't want to write this post today. I don't. But dag nam it, I made a commitment to y'all, so I guess I have to.

I got on the scale this morning. It says I'm up 1.2 pounds. I think that number is a bit misleading, as I ate spectacularly heavily yesterday and meals like that tend to hang around for a day or two, but still. I'm up. That's the number I'll have to plug into my WW Weight Tracker.

That sucks.

I know. I have only myself to blame. I didn't need to sample both the birthday pie and birthday cake that were presented to me yesterday.  And I probably could have exercised when I got home. Tying on the gym shoes certainly would have been a better option than drinking that beer...

But c'est la vie.

All I can do is pick myself up, dust myself off and do a better job of tracking next week. Right? Right.

How did you ladies do? Inspire me with your progress, please.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dear So and So...

Dear So and So...

Dear Angelina Jolie,

Could you please stop acting so saintlike and go back to being a freak? I liked you much better that way.

Thanks,
A Jealous Disgruntled Bystander


Dear Retail Establishments,

Christmas is not meant to be a six-month selling season. I do not want to see fake pine trees while shopping for tulips. Do you think you could dial it down a notch and keep it locked up till after Halloween? Otherwise, I'm afraid my daughter will think we go trick or treating on Christmas Eve.

Sincerely,
Hating on Christmas


Dear Environmentalists,

I realize global warming is a real problem, and that we all need to do our part to save Mother Earth, but reusable toilet cloths? Are going too far. I'm really not on board with cloth menstrual napkins, either. My period already puts me in a bad mood. I don't need to spend that horrid week rinsing out bloody pads to make it worse.

Sincerely,
A Charmin Lover


Dear Immune System,

You are going to have to step it up. Getting sick twice in the span of a month is simply not acceptable. My coworkers are starting to joke that I have the plague. Keep it up and they're going to quarantine us. And as much as I like you? I really need more social interaction.

Thanks,
Your Body


Dear Oprah,

I'm just waiting for the day you slip and reveal that you actually kill puppies in your spare time. Nobody is that perfect. By the way? The minute you add a novel to your book club? I put it on my Do Not Read list. It's just my way of fighting back against the Woman.

Sincerely,
Waiting Anxiously

Visit Kat at 3 Bedroom Bungalow to see more Dear So and So letters...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.

It's time for Mama Kat's Writing Workshop again. This week, the prompt I chose was, "when I look in the mirror..." I don't know why it ended up being a sketch again, but it did. So here we go:


REFLECTION: Why are you glaring at me like that?

ME: Because I don’t like you very much.

REFLECTION: Again? We’re having this conversation again?

ME: What do you mean, again?

REFLECTION: For the last 33 years, it’s been nothing but, “why can’t you be thinner, why is your belly so poochy, why are you so short, why, why, why…” It’s enough to give a girl a complex.

ME: I haven’t always hated you.

REFLECTION: Name one time you liked what you saw.

ME: What about back in my 20’s, when I was a size 6?

REFLECTION: You wanted to be a size 4.

ME: That's not true. Remember that string bikini? You looked darn good in that bikini.

REFLECTION: Yeah, but your face was broken out. That was all you could see.

ME: When I was pregnant, I liked you then.

REFLECTION: Wrong. You spent the whole time worrying about how fat you were getting.

ME: Well… I was right. I did gain too much weight. Look at you now.

REFLECTION: You know what? I’ve had enough. I’m going on strike.

ME: You can’t go on strike. You’re my reflection!

REFLECTION: Watch me. I’m walking out of this mirror, and I’m not coming back until you say something nice about me.

ME: That’s impossible.

Reflection starts to leave.


ME: Hey, wait! Come back.

REFLECTION: (Over her shoulder) I meant what I said. I’m going to go back to bed, and I’m staying there until you learn to appreciate me.

ME: But people will think I’m a vampire. 

REFLECTION: That’s your problem, not mine.

ME: (Pounding on empty mirror). That’s not fair! You little bitch, get back here!

REFLECTION: Mmmm, it's mighty comfy in here.

ME: Please?

REFLECTION: Sure am glad I got these bamboo sheets. They're nice and soft.

ME: Come on. I really do love you…

Reflection pops her head back in.

REFLECTION: What? What was that you just said?

ME: I love you.

REFLECTION: Why?

ME: Because you’re strong, and you’re beautiful, and you’re capable of amazing things. It’s just….

REFLECTION: (Sighing) It’s just what?

ME: Nothing. It’s nothing. You’re an amazing woman, just as you are. And in a few months, after I lose this baby weight, you’ll be even more amazing.

REFLECTION: So you’ll cut the crap?

ME: Yes. No more name calling.

REFLECTION: You promise? Because that’s verbal abuse, you know. I could call the police.

ME: No you can’t. You’re my reflection. You don’t have real hands.

REFLECTION: Do you want me to leave again?

ME: No, no. Hey, I know how I can make it up to you. Let’s go shopping. I’ll buy you something pretty.

REFLECTION: Okay, we’ll go shopping. But no dressing room tantrums, or I’ll make you buy foundation undergarments.

ME: (shudders) A girdle? No, thank you. I’ll be good, I promise.

REFLECTION: Deal. Ann Taylor, here we come… better bring the credit card.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Very First Blog Award.

I feel special, Internet. Why, you ask? Because Allyson over at Pink Flip Flops and Wine just sent me my very first blog award. I just love that I'm making bloggy friends who think highly enough of me to give me lovely awards like this one:




The idea behind it? To draw attention to new favorites, and to pass the love on! The rules behind this award are:

1) To accept the award, post it on your blog, along with the name of the person who gave it to you.

2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs you recently discovered and think are great! be sure to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

That's something I'm more than happy to do. So here they are, my list of deserving bloggees (in no particular order).

Well, actually, there's only ten here, not because there aren't more blogs out there I love to read, but because I'm all hopped up on cold medicine, and assembling this list has taken me more than an hour.

I promise to give out the other five when my brain returns to me...

This Heavenly Life
That Crazy Baby Mama
Sweeter Homes
My Life...Badly Written
Mommy Melee
Manic Mother
Just Lisa...No Filler
joy to the blog
It Ain't Easy Being Cheesy
Momma Blogs A Lot















Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Birthday Wishes.

My Birthday is coming up soon. I mention this not because I want you all to buy me gifts, or because I crave attention (although if you want to send some birthday wishes my way on the 11th, I wouldn't object). I bring it  up because the arrival of that auspicious day always brings with it the dreaded question, "so what do you want?"

Internet, I can always think of about 175433167897655621 things I want. Until someone asks me that question. Then my mind goes completely, utterly blank. I end up saying something like, "oh, I don't really need anything," or, "nothing! Just your company is enough."

These are lies.

I loooooove presents. Love them. I love seeing them in a big pile, waiting for me to open them. Love trying to guess what they are. Love, love, love that moment between tearing open the box and getting the first glimpse of what's inside (By the way, expensive wrapping jobs? Are wasted on me).

It doesn't matter if it's a diamond necklace (not that I've ever gotten one) or a bar of chocolate — I just love getting stuff.

So here's a completely random list of the things I'd love to find inside those shiny boxes.

This purse from Hypernoodle, a fantastic designer I found on Etsy.




Or maybe this one from Pesky Cat Designs, another Etsy find.

 

Of course, purses these cool deserve to be filled with fancy gadgets.  So I need one of these (that's an iPod Touch, for those of you who have been living under a rock).



 Or maybe one of those fancy electronic book reading devices (a whole bookstore at my fingertips? Dangerous).



Maybe you'd rather adorn my pretty neck with this necklace from The Vintage Pearl.





And purchase this ensemble from My Black Dress to go with it.




And since glamorous clothes like these deserve to be donned in equally swank surroundings, I'd like this bathroom, please:



Preferably inside the new home that was just purchased for me on this private island in Fiji:



Or,  if that's too much, perhaps you could just send me on vacation to this beautiful villa on St. Thomas.



No? How about that bar of chocolate, then? Some flowers? Heck, an e-card would be nice. Or, you know, you don't have to get me anything at all. Just your company is enough...

Unless you're my husband. After the recent Mother's Day debacle (he knows what I'm talking about), I'm never pretending to not want anything ever again. It's better for the health of our marriage if I just admit to my rampant materialism. Right, honey?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Real Moms Don't Get Sick.

Back in the days B.T., a cold like the one I have now would have sent me straight to bed with a box of tissues and a pile of trashy magazines. I would have spent most of the weekend napping, going downstairs only to plop in front of the TV and whine loudly about how nasty I felt.

My husband would have made me grilled cheese sandwiches and scrambled eggs, and gone to the store to pick up plenty of chicken noodle soup and, of course, ice cream to soothe my poor, tortured throat. I would have watched hours and hours of HGTV, augmented by as much What Not To Wear as Brian could stand.

It would have been heavenly (as heavenly as being sick with a nasty cold can be).

Not anymore. Now, I'm Mom, and as such, can't leave my responsibilities in a heap at the front door. Especially since this sickness I have was brought to us by the eighteen pound sack of pestilence that is our ridiculously cute daughter. Meaning Brian was battling his own army of snot monsters.

So instead of lounging in bed all day, I found myself trying to find ways to entertain my increasingly mobile six-month-old that allowed me to spend as much time as possible laying with my head on the floor.

Instead of watching HGTV, I played patty cake, and fly the baby, and itsy bitsy spider and the like, until my already sore throat gave out altogether. In fact, I only turned the TV on once while she was awake—and then felt so guilty about letting her watch it that I couldn't even enjoy the brief respite.

Oh, and did I mention that my coughing scares her? Yeah. Granted, it's a fairly deep, nasty hack, but I never thought it was frightening. But apparently, it is, so every time I fed her I desperately sucked a cough drop, so as to avoid the startled screams that giving in to the tickle in my throat evokes.

It was (and continues to be) not fun, Internet.

There's only one answer. I can never get sick again. Anybody know where I can find some super immunity boosting chemicals? Or a bubble to live in?

No? Darn.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Six Months Already?

Yesterday, my baby girl turned six months old. I know that's nothing, in the big scheme of things. But to me? It feels like time's moving much too fast.

It seems like just yesterday that I was lying in the hospital bed, legs numb, tears flowing down my face because I was too sick to hold her. I can still taste the fear that coated my throat on that terrifying day we brought her home. I can still remember how little she seemed - and how very large she loomed in my world.


 Much from those early days has already faded into the mists of memory (humanity's self preservation mechanism at work). I know I was more exhausted than I'd ever felt, more exhilarated, more scared...more everything. But I can't bring those feelings back to life.

I remember how thrilled I was the first time she lifted her head. How I cried the first time she smiled. And again the first time she laughed. How excited I was the first time she rolled over - and how Brian looked at me in disbelief when she wouldn't do it again.

Now she's sitting up all on her own. She's eating real food. She's this close to crawling. She bubbles when all is right with her world, and babbles more and more every day. She's not my baby bird anymore. She's becoming her own little person. But no matter how big she gets, she'll always be my Sunshine.




With that smile, how could she be anything less?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Banishing the Baby Belly: Week 3

This week...was not a stellar week. Not only did I eat out several times, I also neglected to exercise. At all. Why? No good reason. Lots of excuses, but no good reasons.

I was in a bad mood.

Had lots of work to do.

Was just plain tired.

And now I'm sick.

Like I said, no good excuses. As a result, I lost a disappointing .2 pounds. Which is better than a gain, but not much better. This week, though, will be a better week. It has to be. At least this cold of mine is taking my appetite away...no temptation to overeat this weekend (we'll call that the silver lining).


So. My challenge for this week. I think, given my current energy level, I'll keep it simple. I challenge myself to exercise at least three times, even if that only means walking along with Leslie Sansone. I'm also going to continue to scour the Internet for a treadmill—somewhere, someone has to have a decent one to sell, right? Because full-price, fresh-from-the-store treadmills are not in the budget.


Maybe my second challenge should be to play the lottery at least once.  Someone has to win, right?


Anyway, that's all for me. How did you guys do?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

But the Grass. It's a Different Shade of Green.

It's time for Mama Kat's Writing Workshop again. This week, I'm imagining a conversation between these two people:
Photobucket


B: How can you not see what I'm talking about? It's right here. In front of your face!

A: So there's a weed. So what?

B: So what? So our lawn is being taken over, that's what!

A: I don't see what the problem is. It's green. It's not crunchy when you step on it. It's doing the same job grass does.

B: Do you know how hard I've worked to get some decent grass in this yard?

A: And you've done a very good job. But Mother Nature, she has plans of her own.

B: We're going to be the laughingstock of the neighborhood!

A: (Bends down and plucks weed). There. No more weed. Feel better?

B: Argh! No! You didn't get it by the root! Now it's just going to come back and, and spread!

A: (Sighs) Fine. You can go to Lowe's and buy the $50 bag of weed killer. But if I ever see you out here with scissors trimming uneven spots, I'm going to stage an intervention.

B: But sometimes it just looks so sloppy...

A: Scissors. Equal. Intervention. End of story.

B: Fine... But don't come crying to me when the Homeowner's Association comes after us for bringing down the tenor of the neighborhood.

A: Don't worry. I won't.

Author's Note (covering ass): No, this conversation didn't actually happen. But my husband does have an unhealthy obsession with the lawn, so it could...