Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I totally wish I'd written this.

A 3-year-old tells all from his mother's restroom stall.

By Shannon Popkin

My little guy, Cade, is quite a talker. He loves to communicate and does it quite well. He talks to people constantly, whether we are in the library, the grocery store or at a drive-thru window. People often comment on how clearly he speaks for a just-turned- 3-year-old. And you never have to ask him to turn up the volume. It's always fully cranked. There have been several embarrassing times that I've wished the meaning of his words would have been masked by a not-so-audible voice, but never have I wished this more than last week at Costco.

Halfway, through our shopping trip, nature called, so I took Cade with me into the restroom. If you'd been one of the ladies in the restroom that evening, this is what you would have heard coming from the second to the last stall:

''Mommy, are you gonna go potty? Oh! Why are you putting toiwet paper on the potty, Mommy? Oh! You gonna sit down on da toiwet paper now? Mommy, what are you doing? Mommy, are you gonna go stinkies on the potty?''

At this point I started mentally counting how many women had been in the bathroom when I walked in. Several stalls were full ... 4? 5? Maybe we could wait until they all left before I had to make my debut out of this stall and reveal my identity.

Cade continued: ''Mommy, you ARE going stinkies aren't you? Oh, dats a good girl, Mommy! Are you gonna get some candy for going stinkies on the potty? Let me see doze stinkies, Mommy! Oh...Mommy! I'm trying to see In dere. Oh! I see dem. Dat is a very good girl, Mommy. You are gonna get some candy!''

I heard a few faint chuckles coming from the stalls on either side of me. Where is a screaming new born when you need her? Good grief. This was really getting embarrassing. I was definitely waiting a long time before exiting. Trying to divert him, I said, ''Why don't you look in Mommy's purse and see if you can find some candy. We'll both have some!''

''No, I'm trying to see doze more stinkies...Oh! Mommy!''

He started to gag at this point.

''Uh - oh, Mommy. I fink I'm gonna frow up. Mommy, doze stinkies are making me frow up!! Dat is so gross!!''

As the gags became louder, so did the chuckles outside my stall.. I quickly flushed the toilet in hopes of changing the subject. I began to reason with myself: OK. There are four other toilets. If I count four flushes, I can be reasonably assured that those who overheard this embarrassing monologue will be long gone.

"Mommy! Would you get off the potty, now? I want you to be done going stinkies! Get up! Get up!''

He grunted as he tried to pull me off. Now I could hear full-blown laughter. I bent down to count the feet outside my door. ''Oh, are you wooking under dere, Mommy? You wooking under da door? What were you wooking at? Mommy? You wooking at the wady's feet?''

More laughter. I stood inside the locked door and tried to assess the situation.

''Mommy, it's time to wash our hands, now. We have to go out now, Mommy.'' He started pounding on the door. ''Mommy, don't you want to wash your hands? I want to go out!!''

I saw that my wait 'em out' plan was unraveling. I sheepishly opened the door, and found standing outside my stall, twenty to thirty ladies crowded around the stall, all smiling and starting to applaud.

My first thought was complete embarrassment, then I thought, where's the fine print on the 'motherhood contract' where I signed away every bit of my dignity and privacy? But as my little boy gave me a big, cheeky grin while he rubbed bubbly soap between his chubby little hands, I thought, I'd sign it all away again, just to be known as Mommy to this little fellow.

(Shannon Popkin is a freelance writer and mother of three She lives with her family in Grand Rapids , Michigan , where she no longer uses public restrooms)

Pregnancy, thy name is Dumbo.

When did my stomach start looking like an elephant's knee?


I'll be back, I promise. The toddler hasn't slept for longer than 2 hours at night for daaaaays now and I'm starting to fritz. He has also figured out how to turn on the radio (thwarting my clever plan to hide the power button by covering it with duct tape) and flush the toilet. It hasn't been a quiet week.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Must... Keep... Mouth... Shut....

Please, somebody, read this and yell with me.

(I think the author did a fantastic job. I wouldn't have been half as fair.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

This is what happens when you get me started.

Maybe it wasn't all bad...

I've been thinking a lot about breastfeeding lately. I got a couple of interesting emails from friends discussing their own breastfeeding issues (one is felt vilified by her small town neighbors because she chose boob over bottle, one wishes she'd introduced the bottle earlier because her preschooler won't wean) and I keep coming back to the thought that no matter what road you choose, whether boob or bottle, somebody's going to make you feel like you're effing up. In my community ("self-important urban bohemian"), formula feeding is akin to abuse, and I'm only slightly exaggerating. I remember a neighbor snapping at me when I told her that I was trying to breastfeed ("What do you mean 'trying'? Are you committed or not?") and the squinty looks I'd get from the Ergo-slung mommies when I'd pull out a bottle. (It's the same ones they give me when they see me with a stroller. God forbid you refuse to tote your 30 lb. kid.) I was spending hours shackled to an electronic milker, sobbing because no matter how long I sat there or how much I stared at my baby (looking at your baby is supposed to help produce milk) or how desperately I willed it, all I'd end up with were a few measly drops. I was in the throes of post-partum depression, unable to sleep, living on one piece of toast a day because I was too exhausted to consume anything else, losing ludicrous amounts of weight (I was under 100 lbs. six weeks after giving birth) and convinced that I was starving my kid. (Considering it took him months to regain his birth weight, I think it's safe to say that I was.) But I wanted to do what was best for my baby and I fully, absolutely, to the core of my being believed that breastmilk was it. It was the perfect food! It raised IQ! IT WAS FREE! No amount of reasoning could sway me.

There was also the small fact that everybody else was able to do it. If I couldn't make milk - the most natural thing in the world! Monkeys do it! - what kind of mother would I be?

While I was in the hospital, I overheard a conversation between a nurse and my roommate, a wonderful woman who'd almost died giving birth to her baby girl. She'd called to ask for some formula to feed her newborn. As the nurse handed it over I heard her mutter, "You should be breastfeeding."

"I know."

"Then why aren't you? She needs to bond with you. She needs the nutrition."

"I just can't do it."

"Why not?"

"Because I have terminal cancer."

I understand the nurse's position. She was just trying to do what she thought was best. But the fact that it didn't enter her mind that there was any reason whatsoever for someone to choose bottle feeding confirmed everything I already thought: mothers who give formula are uncaring, irresponsible, unnuturing rubes.

I hired lactation consultants. One told me to repeat, "I'm doing what's best for my baby. I love my baby and I can do this," while I pumped. What little milk I was able to save was stored in baggies and hidden in the freezer like heroin. I'm not sure what I was supposed to be saving it for because I was warned repeatedly not to introduce the bottle or my milk would REALLY dry up. Eventually I had my son on my tit almost every minute of the day. He would alternately suck and scream while Matt begged me to give him formula but I was convinced that if I tried harder or put him on longer or, or, or...

I finally caved after 5 months.

Once I weaned things got better. I'm lucky enough to able to stay home and bond with the boy. (Childcare would have cost more than I was earning.) My son and I are totally attached, he's happy and smart and funny and awesome and yet it has taken almost a full year to shake the guilt. I hated watching my newborn gulp down vegetable oil (one of formula's main ingredients). We did a lot of research and made the best choices we could, shelling out $10 a day for organic, pre-made formula. (No mean feat on a writer's salary. I tried to go with powdered formula which was significantly cheaper but the tins are lined with BPA. Liquid formula comes in BPA-free plastic which won't poison anyone, and it was recyclable.) Breast may be best but formula allowed me to be sane, so formula it was.

It's amazing to me to think that in most of the country, the opposite is true. That there are still people who freak out over a boob, no matter how well concealed. I don't know... it seems like there should be more help. Everybody has to feed their baby. Why does it have to be so hard?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thar she blows

Dude. DUDE.

I hear movement from the crib so I only have a mo (for the record, shortening words is very '07. You hear me, Whatevs?) but I wanted to do a quick rant about whining. I am going to eat my own hair if this kid doesn't stop with the "Ehn! Ehn!" (I can see you poised over the keyboard, ready to warn me about the Fatal Fours.) What do you do to bring the blood pressure down? Count to ten? Booze it up? Mama needs answers, quick!

I give good guest blog.

Attractive hipster farmers! Thumbs! How could it all go so wrong?

I'm yammering about urban homesteading at Downhomegirl this week. My kingdom for a compost pile.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Atlantic Monthly's "Case Against Breastfeeding" Makes the Case for Mothers' Self-Care

600px-Breastfeeding-icon-med.svg Guest post by Meredith Lichtenberg, a post-partum doula.

Hanna Rosin wrote an article called “The Case Against Breastfeeding” for this month’s Atlantic Monthly. She and I agree on something: women are ill-served by a society that tells them their own needs are irrelevant.

Motherhood is a dance with two partners. Sometimes a baby’s needs predominate. A culture that suggests that a baby’s needs always predominate doesn’t serve women, mothers, or babies. My career is based on helping new mothers learn to take their own needs seriously. This means learning how to evaluate when their needs trump their baby’s needs. But first it means believing that their own needs are legitimate.

After this point, though, Rosin and I part ways.

The reason we part ways, ironically, is that she’s missing her own point. Rosin is enraged that Society told her she should breastfeed because it was healthy for babies. Society told her that her own wishes or needs didn’t factor in.

But instead of saying, “Hey, Society, don’t tell me what I need to do! I’m the mom here, and I’ll decide for myself what’s best for me and my baby!” she succumbed to the “pressure”. Three babies later, she’s really mad. And she thinks that that makes a case against breastfeeding.

Admittedly, my work gives me a bias here, but I think what she needed was a good, facilitated mothers’ group. A discussion among diverse moms in a moderated, respectful forum might have helped her gain the confidence to figure out what, actually, she wanted to do, not just what she thought everyone else thought she should do.

“The Case Against Breastfeeding,” by the way, is an article about choosing to breastfeed or not. It’s not about milk supply issues, breast issues or overcoming obstacles.

What triggered the article was that Rosin did some research about the health benefits of breast-milk for babies. Although she concedes that breast-milk is “best” health-wise, for babies, she’s annoyed to discover that it’s “probably not so much better” than formula.

Rosin isn’t impressed with health benefits to babies from breast-milk. The lawyer in me says, let’s accept her reading of the data her conclusions, and see if it proves her point. She says:

– the medical benefits of breast-milk for babies doesn’t justify “making a mother feel that she is doing psychological harm to her child if she is unable or unwilling to breastfeed.” (I agree, by the way, that trying to make someone feel bad is a lousy way to get things done)

– only four percent of breastfed babies have a reduction in diarrhea.

– lots of studies show only a correlation or only a small improvement in health from breastfeeding.

– the IQ differential for breastfed babies over formula fed babies is only five points. (By the way, if your aim in breastfeeding is solely to get Junior into Harvard by pumping him with a performance enhancing drug, you have other problems).

Even if we agree that this shows breast-milk isn’t so impressive, it’s not much of a case against breastfeeding. People breastfeed, or don’t, for many reasons. People react to the very notion of breastfeeding differently. For some people, using something available naturally has basic, intrinsic appeal. For others, bodily fluids are iffy, imprecise, best replaced with something man-made and measurable.

For some, the thought of baby at the breast is satisfying in a deep metaphoric way. It reflects the incipient connection between mother and baby, the way a mother gives of herself that the baby may grow. For others, the thought of a child hanging off your boob draining away what visually made you woman in the first place is unpleasant or even nasty.

For some people, the fact that breastfeeding is free is inherently appealing, whereas for others, the very notion of paying for something makes it valuable.

(By the way, though, breastfeeding is free. Rosin says that breastfeeding is incompatible with working, so it’s only ‘free’ if a mother’s time is not valuable. But breastfeeding was free, no cost, gratis for her when she pumped and worked, as it is for the many moms I have helped with the transition back to work, as it was for me when I went back to work full-time at a large New York law firm. My time was indeed valuable; I was making enough money to support my family. Buying formula would have cost some of the money I was earning; pumping was cheaper and breastfeeding at home was free. I didn’t say it was easy or simple. I didn’t say that pumping, or figuring out how to balance work and breastfeeding was fun; most people I know who do it, do it despite the inconvenience, not because it’s so enjoyable. But is free. Rosin’s suggestion that it’s impossible to work and breastfeed, and therefore breastfeeding isn’t free is just, well, weird!).

Rosin doesn’t address the health issues for mom at all, though many studies have found that breastfeeding has concrete benefits for mothers including reduced chances of breast cancer and postpartum depression, and quicker physical recovery from birth.

She also doesn’t consider the ways that breastfeeding can affect the relationship between mom and baby. She quotes a researcher saying that the IQ differential in breastfed babies might be because “breast-feeding mothers interact more with their babies.” She uses this quote as evidence that breast-milk itself really isn’t all that great, not as evidence for breastfeeding.

Did I just provoke you with that idea? Are you getting your back up, thinking I am saying formula feeding mothers don’t connect w/ their babies? I am not. I am saying that Rosin’s argument wrongly assumes that the only good thing about breastfeeding is breast-milk, and that if breast-milk isn’t so much better than formula, breastfeeding is useless. But the quality of the milk is only one part of breastfeeding.

Let’s look at the alternative for a minute. Rosin, somehow, ignores the marketing juggernaut of the formula industry. What informed adult doesn’t take a critical eye to someone with a profit motive – in any area? In this country, new and potential mothers are flooded with advertising about formula. It’s illegal for formula companies to say that their product is as good as breast-milk. So they take another approach. They suggest that while “breast is best,” perhaps your particular body isn’t quite up to the task at hand. Or, lately, they suggest that “best” is too perfectionist a standard – liberal, freethinking women don’t need to be goody-goodies; it’s so June Cleaver. Women who believe in “choice” should be liberated from Society’s Pressures.

They don’t suggest these things because they care about the plight of women. They do it because they think it will convince more women to buy their product.

If Rosin has stock in Enfamil, she’s right on to suggest that the nutritive quality of breast-milk is the only thing that matters. If not, she’s been duped into thinking she has a feminist argument against breastfeeding, when really she’s bought into a recent trend where some of the best language and ideals of liberal, educated women have been co-opted and turned on their ear.

When you are traveling with a small child on an airplane, you are told that in an emergency you should put on your own oxygen mask before you put on your child’s. We need to be told this because the instinct is not always automatic. But it is essential that we learn to look at the mom, that we not forget her, whether she is nursing that baby or not nursing that baby. We need to see her as a person, not only a vehicle to support the baby’s health or IQ.

But Rosen herself ignores the importance of each individual mom discovering her own best path! She says that even if breastfeeding has health benefits for the baby, there are “modesty, independence, career, sanity” on the negative side. Now who’s trying to tell all moms how to feel?

Let’s take modesty. She describes nursing her third child in a doctor’s office as being “half-naked.” It simply defies credulity to think that a mother on her third baby literally took off half her clothes to nurse in a doctor’s waiting room. So, she’s exaggerating. But still, her idea is that nursing in public is, must be, horrifyingly immodest for any woman. This is an antiquated notion – that no part of the female body can even be discreetly acknowledged in the public sphere without titillating the surrounding masses.

Rosin is entitled to her modesty. But she is not entitled to claim that her Victorian ideas extend to every other woman. (By the way, for moms who are concerned about whether breastfeeding can be done modestly in public – and it is a legitimate question – the logistical and emotional issues can be sensibly, and respectfully, and compassionately addressed. More than anything, reading this article, I find it a shame that the author seems only to have encountered the most strident and least helpful people, and has generalized that that is all there is out there.)

The same applies to independence, career and sanity. Who does not value independence, career and sanity? Breastfeeding need not come at the cost of sacrificing these. It is valid and important for women to take their own independence, career and sanity seriously. More women should do so. But it has nothing to do with breastfeeding.

Rosin’s clincher is the end of the article where she talks about husbands. I lead discussion groups for new mothers every week, and I know how quickly a discussion about what your husband does or doesn’t do can devolve into an unproductive gripe session about what Neanderthals they all are and how they don’t turn out to be equal partners after all. This is the part of Rosin’s article where we’re all supposed to groan and agree. You know what, though? No marriage is perfect, and when you have kids and there’s less of everything to go around, there’s going to be some stress. Toss in that you’re learning new roles, new identities, that there’s crying and sleep interruption, and you can have a lousy time for a while.

That’s reality. But I will not, and you must not, buy into the idea that the person with milky boobs is the only one who can take care of the baby. And if she does end up taking care of the baby most of the time, to say it’s her breasts’ fault is preposterous.

Mom can breastfeed. If there is another parent, he or she can do everything else. If you have a baby, go home and try that out for a few weeks. Yes – I said everything else. Mom lies in bed eating ice cream between nursing sessions and Dad does all the childcare.

Are you rolling your eyes at this? If you are, your eye rolling has nothing, zero, zilch, nada – NOTHING! – to do with breastfeeding. It is so unusual to see a Dad taking that kind of role with his baby that when I float the idea when I’m teaching, the class bursts out laughing. This is not because breastfeeding infects the family in some insidious way, making us fall into 1950s stereotypes, but because those stereotypes continue to pervade our culture, even though most women in the 1950s didn’t breastfeed at all.

How about a more moderate notion – mom and dad (or mom and other mom who isn’t nursing) find some intricately personal, complex and creative balance, sharing care of their baby, and the boob tasks are done by the one who’s lactating.

This is not something that exists only in La La Land; it’s the result of willing partners who work creatively and flexibly together to find something that leaves them feeling like they’re in it together.

Rosin suggests that breastfeeding causes moms to succumb, slowly, into the stereotype of ‘doing it all’ with dad as the occasional special guest star. Is she an ad exec for some organization for Caveman-Dads? Talk about a marketing scheme – let’s take a bunch of husbands who don’t have a clue and say it’s not their fault – their choices, their interests, their priorities have nothing to do with it. The reason they’re so unavailable and non-participatory is, is is … well, it’s the mom’s breasts that are at fault!

No, ma’am. Your breasts are not responsible for the fact that your husband doesn’t change any diapers.

In the end, Rosin confesses, she is still nursing (and also giving formula), but not “slavishly.” Good for her. Not because she’s still nursing or because she’s giving formula but because, after 3 kids, she has found she can do something without feeling like a slave. You see, this is the goal.

Rosin says that breastfeeding, “contains all of my awe about motherhood, and also my ambivalence.” That is as it should be. Mothers feel both awe and ambivalence. Mothers feel the tug of their babies toward them and the pull of the world of adults as well. We need to see ourselves not only in the supporting roles, but as real, full women, with needs and desires and ambivalence and drive.

Rosin ends by telling us how, now, having thrown off the mantle of the pressuring society, she can experience breastfeeding as “intimate and elemental.” But that intimate, elemental side of breastfeeding was always there, was always a way she could choose to see it. It was she who was preoccupied with the other, “facts and numbers” side of the matter. This isn’t a case against breastfeeding at all. It’s a case against looking at breastfeeding only one way."

As many of you know, I hated breastfeeding. Every friggin' minute of it. Between lack of milk, my feelings of absolute inadequacy, and the godawful pain, I never had that Hallmark glow mothers rave about. (I still think that my baby wasn't colicky for 4 months - he was simply starving.) That said, this piece was written by a woman I know and I think it's pretty awesome. Curious about what you guys think...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I started this yesterday - a fact that will quickly become apparent.

I wearing green!

Happy St. Patty's Day, drunkards! My little Irishman celebrated by hop-stepping right over his designated nap time, collapsing in a heap of curses and grumbles 3 hours later. (Trust me, he wasn't the only one cursing and grumbling.) But instead of taking this opportunity to catch up with chores, I'm ignoring Dish Mountain to play catch up. Sit back and crack open an imaginary cold one, won't you?

The boy is halfway through his 14th month. I think this might just be my all-time favorite age. We spend most of our days hugging (a sentence that's sure to haunt him come middle school). He's at that magical age where he's still too giggly-nervous about independence to push me away (my knees are the greatest place ever) but he doesn't need me 24/7. And I love that he spends most of his time delighted. Getting blocks to fit together is still cause for joy and "no" hasn't entered his vocabulary - yet. There are definitely some Baby Jerk moments but for the most part I'm just trying to soak up the love. I know full-well when he hits 3 those hugs will go bye-bye...

Sorry things have been a little drafty around here. I've been trying to make money by writing for the glossies which ain't as easy as my ego thought it would be. So far I've had one Yes that morphed into a No, followed by a whole lot of crickets. You'd think I'd be used to this by now, being an actor and all. My life is spent working really hard for nothing. But with acting, it's easy to assume you didn't get it because you didn't look good or sleep with the right person. With this, it's all you.

Harrumph. Let's get back to the baby, shall we?

I know it's super annoying when people talk about how awesome their baby is but seriously, this boy is so awesome. I get such a kick out of watching his brain work. The fact that he knows which shoes go on which feet (the boy is OBSESSED with his orange Crocs. Unfortunately he was cursed with a case of sweatfoot which becomes quite pronounced when encased in rubber shoes) and the names of all the Muppets. (He can't say them but he points.) Yes, I've totally caved when it comes to TV. I was so high and mighty with my anti-Elmo diatribes and "No TV 'Til 3" but dude, sometimes I need a break. It's not much of one - we don't have a high chair or a playpen so he still requires watching - but at least he stays still long enough for me to breathe.

I get this face a lot when I turn off the TV.

I've started Netflixing Sesame Street "Old School" (I'm ashamed to say how long it took me to get that joke) which is awesome. It's the first few episodes - the ones that are now deemed inappropriate for today's child. I'm on the 2nd episode and so far they've gone through two Gordons, an orange (!!!) Oscar, a pin-headed (and seemingly brain damanged) Big Bird, and a deep voiced, New Yawky Earnie. Craziness. I'm holding off on the shows I deem annoying (Dora, I'm talking to you) but I don't promise that the old Electric Company won't make an appearance.

The boy almost took his first steps yesterday. Of course they weren't to his father or me, but to a trio of yapping Corgis in the lobby. He's walking beautifully when I hold his hands and if he's holding on to something he practically scrambles, but he's still balking about making the Big Leap. It's coming though, I can feel it. And when it does I will never pee in peace again.

He also said Mama for the first time! Up until now we've had a lot of muh-muh-muhs - close but no cigar. But the other day Matt got him to say a real, live "mama" and oh man, he was soooo proud. We've only heard it a handful - he's stubborn about performing on cue - but I tear up every time.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I would never have nicknamed my husband "Manly".

I'm on a Little House kick again.

Having just finished "Little House on the Prairie" and opened "The Long Winter" (when you've read them as many times as I have, chronology be damned) I feel it's important to say that I would have lasted about 7 seconds on the frontier. Jesus, the sunburns alone would have done me in! But imagine it - gutting chickens and hauling wood and sleeping on straw and sewing sheets and getting malaria while caring for 3 children under 8... WHILE WEARING A CORSET?

Nope. Never would've lasted.

What amazes me is the fact that there was no garbage. Nothing was processed or motorized. Granted, Pa had to build a log cabin by himself (chopping the trees down! Hauling the logs! STACKING THEM, for crying out loud! All by himself!) but how amazing would it be to go back in time and see the world like that? (Assuming you could trot back to the Delorian before the Indians spotted you.) Needless to say, I am fascinated by Ma. So calm and gentle and only occasionally grumpy. (Granted, Baby Carrie spent her days being "minded" by a 6 and 8-year-old...) You know who I would've been in those books?

Oh who am I kidding. We ALL know who I would have been.

I'd like to state for the record that I think Nellie Oleson gets a bad rap. Sure she's bitchy and flirty and afraid of horses. Who isn't? (Okay, so maybe YOU aren't, but I ain't too proud to say that if it came down to a choice between living in town in a snug little house with nice dresses and store boughten windows and babies that had access to Doc regularly, versus a claim shanty out in the middle of nothing with only the Bible and some prairie chickens for company - that I then had to slaughter while wearing crinolines - I'm going with A.) I think she just knows which side her bread is buttered.

I suspect this is not the moral Laura was trying to instill with her stories...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Not that I'm complaining.

Well, friends, so far my (mumbles into sleeve)th year has been a bit crap, as the Brits would say. There's nothing like spending your birthday splayed out on the sofa because you've thrown your back out AGAIN and have been diagnosed with a bulging disk (which is just as painful as it sounds) and you can't even have a glass of wine because of the maaaasive doses of Ibuprofen (enough to cause ringing in your ears, a rare but not alarming occurrence, according to the literature) and the applesauce carrot cake you planned to bake got scrapped in favor of a marginal but overpriced chocolate number and the story that you'd just sold to a major magazine got cut, even though you'd worked your oh-so-achin'-butt off trying to make it work.

Oh, and the television broke.

But I did get a super-giant hug from my boy, along with a spiffy little naked dance. (Somebody didn't mind the marginal cake. Considering it was his first real bite of sugar, I'm not surprised.) And the magazine is looking at another one of my pitches. And I had Matt and Amanda around to help so it wasn't all sucky. But lemme tell ya, getting old's a bitch.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

When I told my mom I was writing for Time Out New York, she thought I meant the New York Times. That explains the excitement.

I'm hanging an OUT OF THE OFFICE sign on the ol' blog door this week. Mama has landed herself her first real magazine assignment - and a desire to speak in third person, it seems - and I'm scrambling over the deadline. 'Twil return, I promise. In the meantime, don't forget to celebrate my birthday on Monday. (All the cool kids will be doing it.)

Friday, March 6, 2009

When did I give birth to Little Lord Fauntleroy?

I do it my OWNSELF.

The time, seriously, where does it go? Whoosh, it's Friday. Whoosh, it's Wednesday. The weeks whiz by and the boy is 14 months old, practically a full-blown kid, and yet it seems like forever between Rock Of Love episodes...

Things are definitely yelly around these parts. At 14 months the boy has realized that he can do things his ownself, thankyouverymuch, and this whole "having a mother" thing is a serious killjoy. Take, for instance, snack time. Because I skew pretentious, I'm all about giving my child healthy, overcomplicated meals. One of his favorite snacks is organic plain yogurt with agave nectar, flax oil, and wheat germ. (My Midwestern mother is rolling her eyes right now.) He loves it. I love that he loves it. What I don't love is his newfound need to control the spoon while eating it. I know that if I don't let him poke himself in the eye and splatter yogurt like Jackson Pollock he'll never learn to feed himself but honestly, watching the kid dribble food all over himself (and the floor and the chair) so he can see what happens makes smoke pour out of my ears. It's great for brain development but terrible for my blood pressure. I've tried to compromise by offering two spoons - one he can "stir"with and one I can use to feed him which seems to help a bit. Sometimes. He also refuses to wear a bib which is just great for our laundry bill... (I tried to use one that snapped instead of velcroed; dude practically throttled himself trying to pull it off.) And have I mentioned the lack of patience? He gets absolutely FURIOUS if he feels like he doesn't wield control, screaming bloody frakking murder if I dare to clean his face. (How well does that go over with mama? Soooo well.) Unfortunately patience has to be taught so the kid is doomed. I'm known as Princess Me-Me for a reason, peeps. I try to stay all Soothing Reassurance ("Lunch is coming. Here I am, baby.") but it quickly escalates into Grumpy Acknowledgement ("It's coming! Hold your horses!") and lands somewhere around Bitchy McGrump ("DUDE! ENOUGH!"). I was really hoping I'd have a few more months before hitting the Twos...

Little Dude still isn't walking. I'm not terribly concerned - he's standing unassisted and creeping (toddling while holding on to things) like a freaking power walker. I took Missy's advice and got him a walker which immediately became his favorite toy - to play with on hands and knees. He tried to walk with it once but because there's no brake it zoomed forward, scaring the bejeezus out of him. (Yes, I've tried to hold it to keep it from rolling forward but he just wants to examine whatever part I'm touching, which means much great identifying - "screw", "seat", "red thing" - but not much walking.) Because he's a little late I've gotten a lot of unsoliticed advice from strangers, ranging from the offbeat ("Put your scarf under his armpits and hold him up") to the inane ("Stop letting him crawl so much"). I understand the desire to contribute - god knows how many new mothers I've annoyed with my spiel about "Happiest Baby On The Block" (that man SAVED us when Will was colicky) but it's hard not to bristle.

We're finally off the bottle. (Well he is. Me, not so much.) It's totally bittersweet, having to wean twice. It's much harder to get enough milk down him now that we're on the sippy. And man, does this kid EAT. I'm not sure what's normal for toddlers but he packs it away. Reassure me that this is typical:

Breakfast: 1 egg yolk, 1/2 english muffin with agave*, 2-3 soy sausage links, milk or green juice*
Snack: 1/2 apple, sesame butter*, milk
Lunch: 2 organic turkey hotdogs, broccoli, kamut puffs*, milk
Snack: yogurt (ARGH!), water
Dinner: palm-sized portion of fish (or 4-6 breaded fishies), green beans, sweet potato, milk

These are adult-sized meals. Maybe not grown man meals, but certainly healthy tween. Our grocery bills are huge and he hasn't even hit puberty! Speaking of, how much do you spend on groceries? I'm dying to see where we fall on the average. (Warning: crying may ensue.)

Oop - nap's over.

*Cue Grandma eyeball roll

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My no-sugar diet lasted exactly 15 hours.

Did I mention that I'm famous? Has that particular horse been beaten to death? I was basically a glorified call in listener, but hearing Leonard Lopate say my name was pretty rad. I was mostly happy that I didn't turn the dial to 11. I'm not known for having a small personality, which is evident to anyone who's seen my Cash Cab episode...

Matt took over baby duty so I could go out and play with my grownup friends on Saturday night. It's so nice to sit in a cheap, overcrowded restaurant and eat thai food and yap like a real New Yorker. I've known my friend Dan for... flying jeebus, 21 years? Longer? It feels impressive. Because our (mumbles year into sleeve) high school reunion is coming up, we started talking aging. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that for people who are edging up on 40, we look pretty good. I'm not delusional - the word "nubile" will never again come into play - but I don't think we seem very-nearly-middle-aged.

Dan didn't seem to agree.

Do you feel your age? Think you look it? Any major plans to thwart Mother Nature? Having given birth to an octuplet-sized baby, I battle my muffin top daily. That said, yesterday morning I was sitting at the computer when Baby Boy toddled up, laid his head on my belly pooch, then gave it a big kiss.

That, friends, is love.