Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I need a new wedding band too. (Oops.)

So we're coming up on the end of another year, huh? (Wasn't it 2004, like, a minute ago?) The squirrel in my brain has already started chattering about things like "career direction" and "waist-to-hip ratio" but I'm not going to let it get to me. It's a new year and by golly I'm going to seize it by the horns or the balls or the throat and get me some proactivity, goldarnit! I've started looking into classes at NYU, considered the idea of getting some of my cards produced professionally to shop to local boutiques, embarked on a staunch No Television rule (unless Top Chef is on), and will be heading back to Weight Watchers come January 10th. (Baby belly be gone!) Other resolutions:

- US Weekly will no longer be considered a "book".
- I'm going to buy a real coat. One that doesn't make me look like an olive.
- Instead of blogging every night, I'll alternate blog and novel writing nights. That book ain't gonna write itself, as much as I ask it to...
- That dear old friend? The one who lives 6 blocks away and yet has never met my son? Fix that.
- Decide on a signature drink. Go fancy places and order it.
- One word: kegels.
- Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, visit the top of the Empire State Building, sit in the audience at Letterman, eat pastrami at Katz's, visit the Intrepid, rent a canoe at Central Park, ice skate at Rockefeller Center, and eat sushi at Nobu (and find someone to pay for it).
- Finish the g-d BIRTH STORY!

How about you, Resolutionistas? Big plans for the new year?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tips both advisory and monetarily are appreciated.

The older I get, the more I feel like the mother in A Christmas Story. ("My mother had not cooked a hot meal - for herself - in ten years.") It's 9 pm and I just got done eating because someone has decided that his second nap is no longer to be taken in the early afternoon and is instead retiring to the crib bleary and blubbering around 3:30 pm which means bedtime is now pushed to 8 pm which feels awfully late for a just-turned-1-year-old, ESPECIALLY when that 1-year-old continues to wake at 6 am. I must admit I envy those schedule parents, even if I can't bring myself to follow in their perfectly modulated footsteps. If the boy wakes up from his nap 30 minutes early, I can't just let him scream. (I also refuse to wake him if a nap goes long. If the kid wants to sleep for 3 hours, hey, by all means!) That said, I sure would like more than an hour between dinner and bedtime.

I would also like someone to explain how to pull off a family meal. I'm sure you've heard about this mythical creature - the nutritious, consistently-scheduled mealtime where everyone sits down together to eat the same food. Maybe you've even managed it! Frankly, between heating frozen cubes of pre-prepared rice and beans/chicken soup/____(insert blandly healthy, mother sanctioned grub), scrubbing smooshed pancake off the food tray, digging fossilized chicken pieces out from under the high chair seat, sweeping flung food off the floor, washing the boy's dishes (crusty and forgotten), and making sure the kid doesn't crawl into the Christmas tree and kill his fool self, preparing a meal for mother and child seems akin to a trip to Paree. It sounds so simple - just make food for you and cut it up but somehow that never seems to happen. Not to mention the fact that feeding the boy requires two hands, constant vigilance, and a broom. If you've managed to wrangle this, I'm all ears.

Oh, and bottle weaning? NO WAY. We've managed to get rid of the afternoon bottle but those morning/evening buggers? Please. At 6 am I can barely manage to shove a bottle his yap. Preparing an actual breakfast? Never, never, nuh-uh, no. I keep reminding myself that he is sleeping later (anything beyond 4:30 am is an improvement) and that eventually it'll be easier to seguay from the crib to the breakfast table but right now it feels a little daunting. Still, it has to work out. Either that or he'll be the first college freshman sponsored by Born Free.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I've been a bad, bad blogger

Wow. Wowee-wow-wow, has this ball been dropped. (Oof! So heavy!) Say! Instead of reiterating the reasons why I haven't been tending to your needs (I'm sounding suspiciously like my ex) why don't we pretend that I've been off doing something awesome like healing children with the power of laughter or deprogramming Suri Cruise! Trust me, that's way better than what I've been up to these last few weeks. Matt's flu morphed into a little something the doctors call "bronchitis" which is a fancy term for "Wife, you're on your own". I escaped that particular bit of viral nastiness only to end up with a stomach bug that left me hovering near the loo. So far Little Dude has managed to avoid the awfulness (fingers crossed, crossed, crossed) but I'm keeping a close eye. Did I mention he's the one who didn't get fully inoculated? Oh, the irony!

So my sweet baby boy is now a full-fledged toddler. I always thought that term was reserved for those who were actually toddling, versus my young'un who has only now started tippy-toeing while holding on to the couch, but apparently "toddler" is the proper term for those older than 1 year. (Which begs the question, When are they considered children? My vote is 3, or whenever they start getting particularly pesky.) His birthday was a bit of a rag-tag event, lacking much in the way of presents (from his parents, at least. Grandma and grandpa took up the slack) and guests (I sense a lifelong issue, his birthday being so close to Christ-mukkah) and mostly notable for my disasterous attempt at making a healthy birthday cake (that ubiquitous carrot cakey job every mother seems to have cribbed off the internet). Luckily he didn't have anything to compare it to. Plus we offered a distraction in the form of his first balloon. Boy oh boy, was that a hit! (Once he got over the disappointment of not being allowed to pinch it.)

Cover it with enough frosting (organic cream cheese + plain, whole milk yogurt + a touch of powdered sugar = surprisingly tasty stuff) and anything is edible.

Requisite face-in-cake shot. Always a winner.

Then - CHRISTMAS! We got a bit of a late start (well, with the gifting part. The actual start was the usual bright and early) and it was fun and adorable and this and that, but I cannot WAIT until the boy is old enough to come tearing into the room. As cute as it is to have a baby around for Christmas it's a touch anti-climactic to hand over a present, only to get blinked at. But really, it was great. We ordered Chinese and watched "A Christmas Story" and felt terribly cozy and cosmopolitan until I got the stomach flu and bleagh.

But I have a toddler, a little apricot of a toddler! (And a birth story to finish. I'll get right on that.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

But I GOT the flu shot!

I'll return shortly for my regularly scheduled bitch-cast but unfortunately Mama's nursing a right fine case of Something. (Food poisoning? The clap? Whatever it is, it makes my skin feel all tingly and feverish.) I swear to all that is holy if this turns out to be the flu I'm gonna have a bone to pick.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tomorrow my child will be a toddler.

One year ago I was in labor. Right about now, to be precise...

Friday, December 19, 2008

40 minute nap?

Apparently we're supposed to get 7" of snow today which sounds about right, seeing as how I have family flying in. There's also Trader Joe's to navigate and a callback to attend (in the past week I have been called back for the roles of "harried mother", "woman at bar", and "harried mother-turned-CGI monster". You read that last one right). And Little Dude just woke up. Why, I ask you? Why?

So how are you all dealing with the holiday stress? I'm not saying I lost my everlovin' marbles last night after Round 5 of Why Won't Baby Sleep? or that I might have assisted the boy in laying himself back down and hurt somebody's not-so-little feelings (not my finest hour) but I'd give my left ear for closer proximity to grandma's house...

Speaking of free babysitting, I may be slightly lax about the posting this week. I've got Grandpa here now, then Grandma in a few. I figure you've all got meetings with Santa or Hanukkah Joe so you won't miss me much, but if you find yourself in need of a kvetch, holler.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I even skipped the wine last night, that's how crappy I felt.

Here's to feeling cautiously optimistic that I'm not coming down with "The Matts" after all. Woke up feeling rather refreshed (well, as refreshed as I ever feel at 6 am) and the boy seems his usual energetic self. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the silverback huddled under the covers. I suspect he's down for the count which means it's up to Yours Truly to juggle baby wrangling/house cleaning/Christmas shopping/guest entertaining/callback auditioning for the next few. (Baby, meet Sesame Street...)

In other easy-to-type-up news (I'm telling you, that birth story is taking days) the boy finally drank out of a sippy. I love how breezy the books are about the transition from bottle to cup - "Start giving him milk in the cup at meals!" - like Little Dude won't notice the brightly colored, fantastically chewable/throwable item at the table. He isn't drinking much (1 oz. over the course of lunch and snack) and is definitely resistant to the cold cow nasty (he makes blechy noises and tries to wipe the milk off his tongue) but the kid's a sucker for applause which he gets in spades whenever he brings the cup to his mouth. Now I have to figure out how to keep him from Jackson Pollock-ing his food all over the floor. "NO" just gets a laugh - ooh, the burn! - and removing the food ends up being counterproductive, seeing as how he's going through a picky phase and getting any food other than Cheerios down his gullet is a feat in itself. (Insert collective nod of recognition)

But he's cute! (Have I mentioned?) And less stingy with the kisses, which makes up for plenty of grouseables. At the age of almost-1 he's fully mobile, if not exactly walking (or even close to walking, truth be told). I see these little-little tykes chugging around on two feet and wonder if I should be encouraging it more, which is what I wonder about almost everything. I saw a mommy at a callback doing the whole early reading thing with her baby. Not only was she reading book after book, she was then quizzing her toddler about the stories. The fact that the child was pre-verbal didn't seem to make much of a diff. I'm all for communicating with your child - get those neural pathways flowing! - but considering the fact that I'm entertaining my boy with my feet in a vain attempt to keep typing doesn't exactly earn me a gold star this morning. Speaking of irresponsible parenting, I probably ought to go feed the kid before he chews through his toy box...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I've got a birth story to finish!

Oh bite me bite me bite me. We have the monsterfarming FLU.

How can this be? I got the ding-dang shot! I have family to see, procrastinated shopping to do! While it hasn't hit me or the babe yet, Matt - ever the canary in the mineshaft - has the shakes and a fever of 102. It's only a matter of time before the boy and I hit the heaves.

I am so not in the mood for this...

Monday, December 15, 2008

I think I'm actually hung over this morning.

I'm working on the big-ass birth story. Who knew I was so long-winded? (Hands down, please.)

In the meantime, I think you should write your birth stories. I know of at least two of you with stories that trump mine hands down. (Looking at you, Missy and Pursued.) And for those without kids, feel free to make one up. (Hello, Gunderman.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This is what I think about before I go to bed.

Oh yes, THIS is reassuring...

According to Those In The Know, a biological or nuclear attack is "more likely than not" by 2013. I'm not sure which is more upsetting - the fact that they're pretty sure there's going to be an attack or the use of the word "by". "By" implies "before" which means that they expect it before 2013 which, if my math skills hold, is in 5 years. Sure they keep it broad with the whole "somewhere in the world" b.s. but let's face it, NYC ain't exactly off the list. We might as well be a giant bullseye, we're so easy to hit. Combine the fact that I live on an ISLAND, no car with which to exit said island, and a small child whom I do not wish to see vaporized and you've got a recipe for the panics. We want to move - but where? (And more importantly, what would I do once I got there?) Anybody have emergency bags packed? Those Go Bags the gov'ment keeps telling us to have? I probably ought to get on that... (right after I put together the baby gate for the kitchen. Nuclear, schmuklear. It's like stopping a train with a toothpick trying to keep this kid from eating the cat food.)

Did anyone find this easy?

I know we've already talked about this but I could use a little more hand holding. I'm finding it very hard to bring myself to wean. Maybe it's because the boy is coming up on his VERY FIRST BIRTHDAY and I'm desperate to infanticize him but I'm really having trouble making the switch from bottle to cup. It just seems so sudden. Not to mention the fact that the babe is nowhere near being able to handle a cup effectively, which yes is my fault and yes he's never going to learn if I keep helping him, but let's be real - it's damn dark at 5:30 am. Handing him a full glass of cold milk... There's no way that scenario ends well. Right now we have a cozy little starter, a nice bit of simplicity that eases us both into the day. (Well, it eases me into the day. The boy is full speed ahead from minute one.) We curl up on the loveseat in the dark, toasty bedroom while he drinks his bottle (no lights - I'm practically vampiric that early in the day) then we have mama/baby cuddle time and play "Dat!" for awhile ("Dat!", "Window.", "Dat!", "Bookshelf." It's about all the mental energy I can expend that hour of the day) before I release him to play independently, which is becoming more and more interactive now that he's learning to climb stuff.

I know that I'm supposed to start with a less ingrained feeding - say, the ever-tedious lunch - but I need a better sippy. The one we just bought (a $13 BPA-free jobbie) is some sort of no-spill sippy/bottle hybrid and about as easy as getting milk from the friggin' cow. The amount of effort it takes to get a few drops is ridiculous. Little Dude will be in college before he finishes 8 oz. Maybe I'm just being stubborn and soft-hearted. It's the last vestige of baby. I already had to wean once and it broke my heart. I see so much boy in him already, it's hard to give up the baby stuff because once it's gone, it's gone forever.

I'm tearing up. Time to drink more wine. Any tips for making this easier?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thank god he's cute.

Okay, baby sickness? Sucks my balls. Combine it with low-level mama sickness and you've got a recipe for Grumpo Fantastico. Forget blogging; breathing was the name of the game. Thank god that b.s. is over.

Although the boy is still a few weeks away from Birthday! we had our 1 year Well Baby check today which involved some nice, big needle sticks. Blood draw for the boy (looks like he inherited his father's crazy clotty blood. The nurse had to use a suction device to get the it into the the tube) and a routine thyroid check for me (no suction needed. I bleed like a fiend. Which reminds me of the birth story I never told you about...) and flu shots for us both. I listened to your advice and did the deed. I won't lie, mama was tense (heart surgery at 5 has made me freaky about getting poked) but luckily the office has an "injection expert" which might just be the most double-entreable job title ever. Dude was like lightening with that thing! The boy didn't even wince! (If only he'd been there for my epidural... Did I mention that mine was done by a student?) Anyways, baby's good. 23.6 lbs, 30-something inches. Nice and hearty. We're splitting immunizations so we have to go back in a month for the MMR, chicken pox (which I still say we don't need since he was already exposed but I was voted down by hubby and doc) and his second flu shot. Should be fun.

On another note, the whole "learning to stand" thing blows. For the past 4 days, our nights have looked something like this:

6:00 pm - Father at work. Mother edges baby towards sleep.
6:30 pm - Rocking and humming and patting and singing. Knowing from past experience that "drowsy but awake" is not applicable during growth spurts/teething/new skills, waits until child is out cold before moving towards crib.
6:35 pm - As baby's head hits mattress, baby is jerked up on all fours by unseen forces (possibly demonic) and compelled to reach for railing in order to practice newly aquired standing ability.
7 pm - Still rocking and humming, having tried to put baby down twice with no success. (See: 6:35 pm)
7:30 pm - Baby finally asleep.

9:00 pm - Intense crying heard over baby monitor. Calls of "mammmmmmadaaaaaaada" elicit appropriate levels of parental heartbreak/motivation.
9:10 pm - Baby asleep. Self-congratulatory high-fives would be exchanged but mother only one home.

11 pm - Crying heard over baby monitor. Father, recently home from work, takes over next shift.
11:45 pm - Baby asleep, after 2-3 failed attempts at crib transfer. (Mother feigns sleep, unable to tune out sound of hysterical baby uncertain why body keeps forcing him up, up, up.)

2:00 am - Crying heard over monitor. Mother's turn.

4:00 am - Mother stumbles to bed carrying child. Possible cursing from mother, half-asleep mumbling from father, squeals from overtired, overstimulated, now-very-awake infant.
4:30 am - Baby asleep on father's chest. Transfer to crib.

5:30 am - Singing heard over baby monitor. Time to make the donuts.

I have total sympathy for the kid. I can't imagine what it must be like to be jolted awake every two to three hours.

Oh wait.

I know it will pass, we've been through this before. In the meantime, where's the wine at?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Growth spurts might be the end of me.

Since 'tis the season, I thought I'd pass this along. It's a website that tests toys for toxins. You can either type in the name of the toy or scroll through their listings - they seem to have tested almost everything and it's incredibly easy to use. Handy for double-checking Santa's wares!


On a separate note, can I point out the fact that I'm an idiot? As I mentioned, the boy was awake for HOURS last night, gritting his teeth and crying and bucking his little body in a perfect storm of teething/growth spurt/urge to stand, and while I was up until 2 am rocking and singing and humming and patting, trying everything I could to relax him, I never once thought to give the child some Motrin. Diiiiiidn't even enter my mind. Ah, successful mothering...

(When it looked like we were having a redux at naptime I gave him his due and he was out like a light. Or at least he was until I typed that last sentence. Deep. Breath. In.)

Is it too early to start drinking?

So sorry about the lack. The double whammy of a killer sinus infection (Can't hear out my ears! Can't breathe out my nose!) and Little Dude's latest growth spurt/tooth/new ability to stand (he slept for a grand total of 5 hours last night. I might start crying just typing that) has left my brain a little mushed. It feels like the old days...

I'll return soon.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


"Teddy bear."

Fearing that my last post came across a little more "woe is me" than "are you with me!", I wanted to do a quick shout out to the wonderment that is 11 months. I'll keep it short because listening to someone crow about the cuteness of their kid is about as much fun as listening to someone crow about the cuteness of their kid.

But boy is he cute! Today we played Chase Me which might just be the best game ever. I get on all fours and growl, "I'm gonna get you!" and the boy immediately starts giggling and crawls about two feet before stopping to let me catch him. Then we wrestle. Sometimes he charges me and rubs his face into my belly and sometimes he gets distracted and starts chasing the cat but it's an official fact that nothing tops a giggling baby. Nothing.

He's also discovered the words "this" and "that", to the detriment of the rest of his vocabulary. He still says "good" but "mama" and "dada" are gone with the wind. Who needs words when you can just point to what you want? ("DIS!") Which leads to his next favorite game, which is Point To Stuff And Have Mama Name It. To whit:

"Dis! Dis!" (pointing to pant leg)
"Dat! Dat!" (pointing to other pant leg)

(pause for confusion-induced brow furrowing)

"Dis! Dis!" (pointing to pant leg)
"Dat! Dat!" (pointing to other pant leg)
"Still pants. Both are pants."

At that point he usually gets fed up with me and moves on to his shirt or belly button - which he can identify, by the way! He started yesterday. He can now identify nose, toes, belly button and head, and sometimes ears (but usually not without a little prompting). He also knows but cannot say: music (he starts dancing if I say the word), radio (points to it), TV, cat, window, outside (points to the door), books, bottle, blankie, and teddy bear. All the important things in life.

Okay, enough gush. Dinner waits for no blogger.

Or maybe I'll just have some pie.

I want to be effortlessly cool. I want to be the type of woman who can throw on that t-shirt and jeans combo that's supposed to be universally flattering but really only works on a select few. The type who can pile her hair under a floppy crochet beret and wear heavy bangs and vintage sundresses. I want to rock chunky, menswear glasses. I want to wear ballerina flats and my husband's button downs and suspenders without being asked if it's laundry day.

I want to look ethereal without makeup.

I'm a particularly unattractive shade of blue today over the gal I Am Not. This is the trouble with trolling Facebook - you're bound to stumble upon the person you wish you were. You may not know this person - you probably found them completely randomly, they just happened to have an interesting profile pic - and now you're stuck on the schlumpy side of the street. It's not that you're unhappy with your life - the "life" part is great - you just wished you looked a little more awesome while living it.

I keep reminding myself that there's a reason that Envy is one of the seven deadly sins but jesus, I can't think of a single one I don't engage in on a daily basis.

I'm not sure what this has to do with motherhood, other than suspecting that I'm not alone in my schlumpitude. Maybe it's the potbelly that refuses to tighten or looking at pictures of Jessica Alba in a bikini 3 months post-partum or sitting in a casting office surrounded by pre-baby versions of me but I feel the urge for some sort of major overhaul. I fully realize that beauty comes from within and it's all about your attitude and Here's-the-name-of-a-wonderful-therapist but all I want to do is fantasize about winning the lottery or discovering my latent inner French woman. Can I ask Santa for that?