Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Polyester is Evil.

I just got back from a brief shopping attempt at Kohls. See, I have to go back to work next week, and I still have no clothes that fit (again, I curse ice cream to hell and back).

Anyway, I combed every rack in the freaking store, and you know what I found? A bunch of polyester. Heavy polyester dresses. Shiny polyester shirts. Polyester pants. Polyester skirts. Polyester capris. Even polyester shorts!

Mind you, it's summer. In Southern Indiana. Meaning the temperature hovers around 90, and the humidity? It's usually somewhere in the disgustingly gross to the good-lord-don't-even-step-outside range. And they want us to wear non-breathable, swamp ass inducing polyester from head to toe?

I don't think so.

This is one of those times when I really, really, really, really miss living in a real city. With real stores, featuring real selection - in something other than polyester. As it is, I think I'll be making a road trip sometime this weekend.

After all, I may be fat, but I still have my pride. I'm going to look good if it kills me (or burns a hole in my credit card).

Yep, She's a Page, Alright.

To say that my husband's family loves to eat is a gross understatement. I've never seen a family that likes to eat as much as they do. In fact, we jokingly call our get togethers The Search for More Food.

As soon as breakfast is over, lunch plans are made. And the discussion at lunch? Often revolves around dinner. Then, no matter how ridiculously huge our supper was, the call goes out for dessert.

Portions are big.

Seconds are almost mandatory.

Diets? It's best not to mention a diet.

Now, this isn't a bad thing. It's kinda fun. I like eating that way for a while, knowing that when the party breaks up, I can safely go without meals for a few days.

But there are limits. Just this past weekend, my in-laws were in town and we  had dinner at this restaurant that was featuring a buffet. An all-you-can-eat buffet.

So, of course we all ordered that.

Folks, it was awful. Easily one of the worst meals I have ever eaten in my life. I picked at my plate, filling up on green beans (which were the only tasty item on the buffet).

But the rest of the family? Went back for seconds and even thirds, moaning about how horrible the food was the entire time. But still, it was there, and it was all-you-can-eat, so they were determined to get their money's worth.

I was flabbergasted. And amused. And wondering how they could find the room (it was sitting like a rock in my stomach).

But you know what? I think it's genetic. My daughter loooooves to eat. In fact, she likes her bottle so much, she screams when you burp her. Because, you know, you've got to take the bottle away first.

This is her, throwing a temper tantrum to end all temper tantrums mid-burp. But as soon as I put her back down and re-insert the bottle, the tears disappear without a trace, and the screams are replaced by coos.

So there's no doubt that she's her father's daughter. I only hope that I can convince her that when the food's bad, it's perfectly alright to leave some on your plate (that way, there's more room for ice cream).

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Baby Books the Digital Way.

Before Tori was born, I did what every new momma-to-be does. I scoured the stores looking for the very best baby book. The one that reflected our personalities to a T. But in the end, I just settled for one that wasn't pink.

I had good intentions. Great intentions. I intended to fill everything in faithfully, in the order that it happened, on the day that it happened. Yeah. Not so much. It's not blank - but it's nowhere near up-to-date. And the handwriting? Well, let's just say Brian and I aren't likely to win a penmanship award anytime soon. I'll be surprised if Tori can even read it when she grows up.

Enter the online baby book. There are plenty of sites that offer them, but I've found two that I like - kidmondo and BabyChapters.

These gems eliminate many of the problems of the traditional baby book. For example, you never have to ransack the house looking for a darn pen (or three, since the first two are guaranteed not to write). Or search for scissors and glue (who has glue anymore?) to paste all the little memories in. Or print out pictures (everyone's got a digital camera at this point, right?).

Nope. Your computer is the only tool you need. Want to know what the headlines were on the day your child was born? Google it. Need to include her first picture? Just upload it. In fact, if you're one of those weirdos that filmed the delivery, you can even pop in the video of her, ahem, popping out!

Best of all, you can do it whenever you have five free seconds. And while I know the same could be said of a traditional baby book, I'm a Digital Mama. Which means that if I'm not holding the baby, feeding the baby or cleaning the baby, I'm probably on my 'puter. So I'm way more more likely to pop over to the BabyChapters site for a few minutes than I am to deal with the hassles of filling in the real book currently gathering dust on my end table.

Or at least, that's my hypothesis. I'll let you know if it turns out to be true.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Something Actually About Advertising!

Baby this. Baby that. Blah, blah, blah blah. It's time for something completely different, wouldn't you agree?

And since it's Saturday, and I'm tired, this is going to be a super short cop-out post. So here it is. The subject of today's post. The most awesome banner ad ever. I command you to click that link. Then click on the ad on the right hand side. And keep on clicking. Go ahead, I'll wait.

If you're not laughing hysterically by the time you're done...well, then I'm disappointed in you as a human being. It made me laugh so hard, I cried.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I love advertising. Why I go to work every day. And why I pour my heart into everything I do.

Because someday? I'm going to do something that awesome. I don't know when, I don't know how, but someday, I will.

The End.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Family Full of Spoiled Brats.

When I was pregnant, countless people took it upon themselves to tell me that once the baby came, there would be no more room in my heart for my animals. Practically every day, someone would snark, "Your poor dog better get ready. He's about to get booted to the curb."

Some even had the cajones to tell me I should get rid of them all together (these jerks were lucky they didn't get my foot stuffed down their throat).

Well, I'm happy to report that all those folks were wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Wrong. Get it? Wrong.

Our animals didn't get booted out of the family. Tori just got added to the pack.

All the furred critters are just as spoiled as ever. Sure, things changed a bit once Tori entered the picture. Kermit no longer rules the roost. Tori does. Meals, walks, cuddling sessions - they all have to revolve around her schedule.

But Kermit still gets his chicken breast cooked for him every day (yes, really). Kiwi still gets plenty of lap time - he just has to share it with the baby. And Oliver? Well, as the former baby of the family, he had the most difficult adjustment period, but even he's coming around.


What all those well-intentioned people didn't understand is that I'm an Animal Person. And when you're an Animal Person, your pets are just as much a part of the family as your children.

So "booting them to the curb" isn't an option. Nope, you just have to make more room on the couch, under the covers, and in your heart.  And for an Animal Person? That's never a problem.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Baby Forever?

How many times have you heard a parent say, "if only my baby would stay this small." Or, "they just grow up too fast." Or, "I wish he'd stay a baby longer."

Well, for one family, that wish came true. ABC News recently profiled the Greenberg family - a family with a sixteen year old daughter who still looks and acts (and is, for all intensive purposes) an infant.

That's right. At sixteen, she's still the size of a toddler. Still wears diapers.  Still can't talk. She's hardly aging at all.

I can't speak for other moms, but as far as I'm concerned, as much as I love Victoria's babyness, I sure wouldn't want her to stay that way forever. I mean really. Sixteen years of changing diapers with no end in sight? No thank you.

They'll never get to have a real conversation with her. Or get to help her with her homework. Or cheer her on at a softball game. Nope, they're being cheated out of all the pleasure (and the pain) of watching a child grow up.

They'll be in their 80s, buying Pampers at the store, spooning out baby food and using her stroller as a walker.  I'm sure they love her, and wouldn't trade her for anything, but I think that's just sad.

I guess it's just another illustration of that trite old saying - be careful what you wish for. You might get it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Magic of a Baby's Smile...

Tori's smile has truly magical properties. It doesn't matter how crabby I am, or how much I'm hating my life at the moment - one glimpse of that silly little gummy smile that takes up half her face and my spirits lift.

I remember the first time I saw her smile (I should. It wasn't that long ago). She was a little less than a month old. I'm pretty sure it was morning, but I'd been up so long I couldn't really tell you for sure. Anyway, I was heading for the couch, bottle in hand, and crying (yet again) over my inability to breastfeed her when she flashed a full-fledged grin, face crinkling and gums showing.

It definitely wasn't gas.

I couldn't help but smile back, knowing that whatever I thought I was doing wrong, she was feeling pretty okay about her life.

These days, she's smiling all the time (except when I pull out a camera to attempt to capture it). But it hasn't gotten old yet. Nope, every time I see it, I can't help but grin in return.

Even at 4 in the morning when I'd rather be in bed.

Or at 3 in the afternoon in the aftermath of one of her nuclear meltdowns.

It even works when it's accompanied by projectile spit-up or an explosive diaper.

It's not just me, either. Yesterday, my husband came home in a foul, foul mood. I was sure I was going to have to spend the entire evening walking on egg shells, trying not to aggravate him further.

But as soon as he walked up to Tori to say hello, she flashed her most adorable grin. Within seconds, he melted into a puddle of goo at her feet. Next thing I knew, he was sitting on the couch reading her a book, his bad day already ancient history.

Those smiles are magic, I tell you. If I could put them in a bottle and sell them, I'd make billions of dollars. Anyone want to work with me on that?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Time for Some Baby Pics.

I almost made the last word of that headline "porn." Good thing my internal editor is awake right now...I don't want to think about the kind of people that would attract.

Anyway, it just occurred to me that I haven't posted any pictures since Tori was a week old. Which means that if you're not my friend on Facebook, you haven't gotten to admire the sweet perfection of her little face (keep all vomiting silent, please).

So here we go...watch as the baby magically grows.

Two weeks old...

Three weeks old...

Yawning adorably...

A whole month old...

Six weeks old...

Happy Two Month Birthday...

Nine weeks...

Eleven whole weeks...

And already so advanced (you can't tell, but she was about to roll over here)...

And that brings you up to date. I'd write more, but I've got a fussy baby on my shoulder, and typing one-handed ain't a whole lot of fun. Tune in again next time...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Maybe if I Had Those Ruby Slippers...

Twelve weeks ago today I waved good bye to my colleagues, overjoyed at the prospect of having three whole months off work. Never had I had so much time to call my own. It seemed like a lifetime.

I had grand plans for my months off. Sure, I'd be caring for a newborn, but babies sleep a lot, right? I'd have plenty of time to devote to other things. Things like getting into shape (we'll pretend round was the shape I was shooting for).  Learning how to cook a few gourmet recipes  (I think zapping Healthy Choice meals counts, don't you?).  And making this blog into the newest Internet sensation (it's good to have dreams).

So, yeah, I was a bit naive.

The weeks have flown by, to say the least. And if I can't honestly say I've enjoyed every minute, I can say that  I wouldn't have traded this time for anything (even a million dollars).

In fact, there are days when I wish with fiber of my being that I didn't have to go back at all. When I think that I could really do the whole stay at home mom thing (and maybe write a novel or two).

Today is not one of those days.

Nope, right now I am 100 percent ready to get the heck back to the office.

At work, there are long stretches of time where the only sound is the clacking of fingers on keyboards (and I could really go for some silence). Sure, my coworkers occasionally throw temper tantrums (as do I), but they're usually quickly resolved without any effort on my part.

Plus, I can almost always figure out a way to solve whatever problems are presented.  Because you know what? Everyone there speaks English. And two-way communication? Is a beautiful thing (I have yet to master baby).

And most glorious of all are the hours and hours I get to spend inside my own head, playing with words, searching for the perfect turn of phrase. I haven't had much time to pay attention to what's going on in my brain lately.

I'm sure I'll be a little bit heartbroken when it's time to make the break and return to the office (I've already cried about it a couple hundred times). But right now? I can't wait.

And if that makes me a bad mommy? Well, I guess I'll wear the label with pride.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A New Understanding.

Yesterday, Victoria got her first shots. Three of them - two in her legs, and one in her little arm. That might not sound like a big deal, but let me tell you, it was 100 Percent Awful.

The second the first needle pushed in, she started howling. As the seconds ticked by, her screams escalated until they reached ear splitting levels. By the time all was said and done, she was literally throwing herself around the table, trying to get away.

And me? I wasn't screaming, but I wanted to. In fact, it was all I could do not to punch the nurse in the face. Sure, she was just doing her job, but she was hurting my baby. And there was nothing I could do about it.

Nothing but be there for her when it was all over, hugging her and kissing her until the hurt faded away. Her very first hurt.

As I hid my own tears in her soft hair, a thought struck me. My own mom must have once felt this pain. She must have had to wrestle with the knowledge that the world was going to hurt me, over and over again, and she was helpless to stop it.

Right now, I find that difficult to think about. I don't want to imagine how tough it will be to stay strong when Tori comes home scraped up and bleeding from a fall. Or sobbing because some kid stomped on her feelings. Or crushed because a silly boy broke her heart.

But it will happen. And all I'll be able to do is stand by, silently hurting, and waiting for the moment I can gather her up to soothe the pain away - just like my mom did (and still does) for me.

As that realization flooded my consciousness, I wanted to rush to the phone to call my mom. To apologize (for the many, many times I've been positively rotten to her),  thank her (for loving me anyway), and tell her how much I love her.

I didn't know. I didn't understand how the love of a child overwhelms you, wrapping around the core of your being. How important it becomes to keep that little person safe from all harm, at all costs. How very much you want to hold her tight, forever and ever and ever.

But, by my mom's (and dad's) example, I know that as hard as it might be, I'll have to let her out in the world. Let her chance getting stomped on, hurt and betrayed. To do things that seem inordinately risky - even if that means giving permission to go to a very recently communist country two months after a military coup (I know, crazy, right? But true.).

Because that's how she'll learn and grow to be the person she deserves to be. That's the gift my parents gave me - and I had no idea how much it must have cost them to do it.

So, Mom, Dad? Thank you. Thank you for letting me...be me. And for being there to pick me up whenever being me turned out to be a very bad thing indeed. I love you both.