Wednesday, April 29, 2009

E is for "Enough already!"

He saved that nose crinkle just for you.

So should I lead with the big news or the big news? I'm gettin' my ass published! (For the record, no actual ass will be included.) After lobbing a bushel of middling ideas at National Woman's Magazine (am I allowed to say? Don't know if I'm allowed to say) the Nicest Editor Ever chose one for their Aug/Sept issue. On the plus side, they pay top rate - $2 a word. On the slightly less plus side, they ignored my suggestion of 300 words and chopped it down to 50. (You do the math.) I'm hoping that once they see that I can actually meet a deadline they'll take the training wheels off and let me ride a bigger bike (can't feed a toddler on 50 words) but it's a nice clip and the start of a friendly relationship. Now I just have to come up with something that requires actual writing.

In other news, the Terrible Twos have turned my sweet 16-monther into a stark raving (whining, crying...) mess. God forbid it takes 20 seconds (20 SECONDS!) to warm up a hotdog or I fail to respond in a timely fashion when asked what (random object in truck book) is.

"Um," (in kitchen, straining to see picture) "taxi?"
"I don't know, kid. Cement mixer?"
(momentary lapse in response as I attempt to wash dishes/feed cats/make breakfast)
!" (THUD as book is tossed across room)

Yep. That's a good time.

I know that 4 years sucks way more than 2 because the kid can backtalk and button push like nobody's business, but there's something about the everpresent toddler whine that drives me apeshit. I've been tempted to ask a neighbor to take the boy for 10 minutes so I could unclench, but I'm afraid I'll get a weird look. There are definite periods of awesomeness and as far as kids go he's definitely on the happier end, but if anyone wants to borrow a baby for an hour (or three), BY ALL MEANS.

Friday, April 24, 2009

25 lbs of big, tall baby

I do it!

A gorgeous day! Finally! We've had a slew of chilly, rainy weeks so sun and seventy degrees is just what the mama ordered. Hopefully I'll get a chance to get out in it - I've got an appointment with an intake coordinator to start the process for Early Intervention with the boy. Nothing majorly major going on - he's just a little late in the walking department. We had his 15 month Well Baby this week and his doctor thought it might be a good idea to get him evaluated, just to make sure everything's working properly. Within the last few days he has started walking independently but it's still very much step-step-step... topple. If there's something really exciting to head for he can make it about halfway across a room, but he isn't exactly a machine. I found some parenting sites that were reassuring - lots of people writing in that their children weren't walking at 16 months - but, you know, this is New York. Having the only kid on the playground who isn't scampering leads to much unsolicited advice from the Tory Birch crowd. (I know those shoes are so last season but I still covet a pair.) Believe me, I've heard it all: force him to walk everywhere, get him better shoes, take him to baby yoga, tie a scarf under his armpits and hoist him up... The "all babies develop differently" mantra is starting to sound a touch tinny after so many repetitions.

So anyway, his doctor thought it couldn't hurt to have him evaluated. Maybe every state has these types of programs but they're new to me. Apparently someone comes to your house and evaluates everything - mental, physical - to determine where the kid is developmentally. Then, if need be, they'll hook him up with physical therapy. And it's all FREE. I felt a little hesitant at first but once they said free, you know I was in. I'm excited to see what they have to say.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We'll return to our regularly scheduled toddler shortly

Ugh. It's been one of those weeks, folks.

Any advice on dealing with envy? Although I am a redhead, green is not my favorite color...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Okay geeklings, 'fess up.

I spend an inordinate amount of time feeling socially awkward. While I'm not a total nose picker, I've never learned how to work the room. God knows I've tried - my twenties are a blur of eyelash batting and ass kissing - but my strength has never been in keepin' it smoove. Put me with a group and the dial immediately goes to Wocka-Wocka! I used to write it off as leftover insecurity from the Geek Years (when "Welcome To The Dollhouse" came out, one of my friends crowed, "Hey, Ali! They made a movie about you!") but I'm starting to wonder if maybe I'm iffy. I went to a party the other night thrown by a girl I know. She's one of those funny, casual gals I try to emulate - not too cool, not too quirky, just right. I hardly knew anyone there (yellow alert) but they were clearly quality women and went out of their way to put me at ease.

I'm pretty sure they thought I was a douche.

I can't put my finger on what went weird, I just felt a half a beat behind the joke. I once had a "frenemy" (seriously, somebody come up with another word) who lived to send me emails detailing the finer points of my personality flaws. (I'm too competive, I only talk about acting, I'm shallow, self-absorbed... This is news?) It doesn't take a Psych major to point out that everything she criticized about me were her shortcomings too, but because they were couched in "I'm only doing this because I love you" it was hard not to take them to heart. (BTW, couching passive-aggressiveness in "only because I love you" bullshit? I call bullshit.)

Now that I have a kid, adult socialization is practically fried gold. To spend it feeling like I'm back in 4th grade sucks. I have reunions coming up! (Feel... dial... turning...) Shouldn't I have mastered this skill? And if I can't master it, how the horsefeathers am I going to teach it to my son?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

THINGS ALISHA LOVES, early morning edition

All-new! Equally narcissistic!

- I'm going to weed out the weak by starting out totally sappy, but taking a walk in the early morning hours is pretty close to greatness. The boy and I wander down our tree-lined street and call out to neighbors and pigeons and sniff the brown sugar scented air (it pays to live near a pie shop). The city's still sleepy and shushed, the movie-quality sunlight... In these moments I can't imagine a better place to be.

- A brainiac kid I used to babysit turned me on to Making Fiends like 4 years ago. The big cartoon companies sniffed around for awhile (maybe they even bought it, who knows) but it's still dark and low-tech and funnnny. Start with the Season 1 webisodes.

- I'm totally putting this gorgeous graphic up in the boy's room. You can't stop me.

- Chickalicious! An all-dessert restaurant! Lemongrass Panna Cotta with Pineapple Sorbet and Cilantro Agar Agar Gelee? I don't know what half those words mean but you bet your sweet belly I'm gonna find out!

- I think it's safe to say that I should not be unleashed anywhere near the Regional Assembly of Text.

- The gals behind the clothing line Parable Ink are not only nice, they're so nice. Plus they made this tunic dress that I've worn the shit out of, even while pregnant. Throw it over jeans with a long-sleeve tee or wear as a (dangerously short) dress during the summer - it's always good to go. Plus it hides a myriad of sins (or trips to Chickalicious).

- Blockhead's powerful $3 margaritas. It's 78 degrees today and they're only 8 blocks away. You do the math.

- Christina Hendricks' amazing figure on Mad Men.

- Industrial strength Irish Breakfast tea with sugar and soy milk. Hot. Guaranteed to perk the grouchiest morning.

- I've decided that it's time to find a new signature scent. I still love my Demeter fragrances (Tomato and Dirt) but think it's time for something new. I checked out CB I Hate Perfume (yes, that's the name of the store) in Brooklyn a few years ago and was impressed. Unfortunately I wasn't flush enough to shell out the big bucks for a custom scent. That said, I think I might start saving my pennies for "Memory Of A Kindness" or perhaps "Mr. Hulot's Holiday" or "Winter 1972". Twee? You bet. Divine? Indeed.

- I have the beta version of this Bodum coffee maker that I bought on deep discount before it was discontinued. It's awesome, but I crave the sexy hourglass shape of the new one.

- Useless pop culture trivia. Who knew Philip Glass was Ira Glass' cousin?

- Determining the appeal of Twitter. Just as I was about to toss aside my Twitter account, it sunk it's claws. How? Neil Gaiman. I'm still not sure why Twitter resonates with normal people but between fantasizing that Neil is my new BFF, head-nodding to John Mayer's* refreshingly unawful posts ("Okay, this handful of M&Ms I'm going to eat one at a tim-- shit. Okay, this handful I'm going to eat one at a -- SHIT! Okay, this handful..."), or reading Questlove's thoughts while taping Jimmy Fallon's talk show ("dog i know this shit sounds weak, but this mofo Elmo got me star struck like a motherfucker"), I'm having a ball. Er, that might be taking things a little far but did I mention that Yoko Ono is Following me?

*Let me state for the record that I have no interest in John Mayer as a musician. For the record.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cadbury eggs are the devil's candy

Um, not to jinx anything but little dude's been asleep for almost 3 1/2 hours now. Should I wake? Is it crazy to even consider waking? Did he get into the Benadryl and rum?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Anyone care to join me in a small primal scream? The Terrible Twos have hit big and mama is NOT HAVING IT. I'm not proud of the grouchness. Since my main job in life is to make sure the kid becomes an empathetic, patient, fully-formed tot, beating the snot* out of a defenseless pillow because SOMEONE insists on going limp the minute I try to get him to (insert any friggin' activity here) might not be the best model for appropriate behavior. But holy tantrum, Batman, sometimes I get infuriated! While I'll never regret staying at home, not having a break from the seemingly endless whining and crying and pushing and flinging and Ehn! Ehn!-ing takes a toll. I try to get him out and active as much as possible but Spring is refusing to sprung here in the East, resulting in cold, wet, child-unfriendly days. The boy is about an inch and a half away from walking on his own (he goes gangbusters if he has a hand to hold and can practically run with the walker) but in 700 square feet there's only so far he can go without knocking something over or stepping on a cat. His way-back molars are coming in which hurt like the dickens, so I feel for him, definitely. Just not as much as I feel for me. If anyone in the Metropolitan area feels like hanging out with an increasingly irritable momster ("Momster"! Like monster! Funny? No?) feel free to drop by. Scratch that - don't drop by. The only thing that would make my head explode more than a child flinging an entire bowl of yogurt is a child flinging a bowl of yogurt at an unexpected guest. Call first.

In other news, Grandma came to visit which was just as marvelous as it sounds. Matt and I got to see a movie! We took full advantage of the free babysitting to haul our happy heiners over to the AMC for Coraline in 3-D. The verdict? Awesome with a side of glee. (I'd skip it for the under-10 set. Gaiman gets dark.)

I've been writing a lot. My big heap of pitches to Unnamed Woman's Mag got several (very complimentary) rejections, one solid maybe, 3 un-solid maybes, and a definite yes as soon as they find a companion piece. Not bad. The World's Nicest Editor is pitching the maybes to her peeps today - I'll let you know how it turns out. I'm also trying to move forward on the book but it feels a lot like learning to walk - wobbly and slow. But I'm happy with my voice and I think what I'm writing is interesting. If I could just figure out how to craft a story faster (and, er, sell it) that'd be swell. Mama wants to buy an apartment while the homebuyer tax credit holds.

Speaking of buying:

A) we want to, and
B) we can't afford a cardboard box overlooking the West Side Highway

Not to go all Miley on you but OMG, peeps. The Times Real Estate section touted the return of the $200,000 studio apartment which might be deemed awesome in Backwards Land but come on! (A 250-sq-ft studio for "only" $199,000? Oy.) Since Matt would like to continue having a job it looks like we'll be staying here for a bit, but throwing away (sobs into sleeve at price of rent) every month is starting to feel stupid. Unfortunately our meager budget won't get us a 2-bedroom in the shittiest part of the worst borough... (We could just move to Richmond and get this little jewel instead.) I Heart New York!

The child is stirring. Time to make the donuts. (Or in this case, the scrambled eggs with broccoli, parmesan, and leftover soy sausage. Which he will then refuse to eat.)

(*Lest someone decide to call Child Protective Services on my venting ass, please note that I'm prone to exaggeration.)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Today it's all about zucchini bread

Oh yeah, I'll be making these soon...

(This might be my new favorite site.)

Friday, April 10, 2009

HInt: It's not Rock of Love. (It's totally Rock of Love.)

I'll be out of commission while mom's in town. I'll be back soon (Tuesday-ish) with a new feature: Guilty Pleasure of the Month! Feel free to contribute yours!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My hand is starting to cramp

Man, it is exhausting falling off the face of the planet...

Before I get to the apologies, can I just say that I haven't made one stinkin' dime off these blog ads? It's not Blogher's fault - I suspect that we're paid by the amount of "unique" (meaning new) visitors to my site and mama's far too busy keeping the toddler alive to drum up business. Any fellow bloggers getting flush from selling space?

Back to apologies. Did I mention the sorry? I've been working my tail off pitching woo to a big-time ladies magazine, hoping to get some stuff bought. The editor is a dream (especially compared to the chilly reception I've garnered from certain other glossies. I'm talking to you, Unnamed Parenting Mag). I wrote almost 10 pitches in 4 days; not bad considering I can only work during naptime. I've discovered that I'm really good at writing short. Feature-length articles that are full of interviews and journalism and intellect are not my thing. Give me a piece on Tracy Feith's new line at Target (cuuuute!) and I'm all in. Unfortunately most places pay per word which doesn't bode well for my financial future but at least I'm never at a loss for party conversation.

Things here are good. The boy seems to have had a respite from the hell that was molars. After almost two weeks of terrible sleep (one night he was awake for almost 5 HOURS) he's back to full nights and reasonable naps. I suspect all this gorgeous sleep also has something to do with his newfound mobility - walking is coming on quick, peeps. We took Missy's advice and got him a walker a few weeks ago. He wasn't so keen at first but now he won't leave home (or his room) without it. He carts that thing around all over the place, bumping into furniture and tipping over like a grandpa on a bender. He wants to walk EVERYWHERE now. (With a little help from mama or the furniture or the cats of course.) He has also started climbing, which bodes ill. When you live in 700 square feet, finding outlets for toddler energy is tricky at best. (Oh god, I just got a flash of him at age 4...) My kingdom for a yard.

My mom's coming into town today which is about 17 kinds of awesome. My dad came up last week and it was just so nice seeing the baby with family. (Don't mention free babysitting... don't mention free babysitting...) My mom was about to chew her own arm off if she didn't get to see the boy soon and I can't wait to see her face when she lays eyes on our GIANT CHILD. Seriously, the kid is part Hulk. I can't decide if I'm proud of scared. (You should see the looks on people's faces when I tell them he's only 15 months...) We go in for his Well Baby appointment next week and I'm dying to know how much he weighs. According to my biceps it's about a zillion pounds.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about our 5 Year Plan which is always a bundle of laughs. I get the feeling that for most people, planning their future is an enjoyable conversation. I find it a little awful. Mostly because I have no idea what I want to be doing in 5 years. Scratch that - I know exactly what I want to be doing but after half a lifetime of chasing unrealistic expectations it's time to settle down and nut up. I know I should go back to school to teach but I just get all miserable inside thinking about it. I wish I wanted to. It sounds so great and noble and smart and yet all it brings to mind is a whole lot of frustration. I've worked with kids all my life and I really love them. I would like to keep loving them, which will not happen if I have to wrangle them all day. Years of babysitting and camp counseling and now motherhood have proven that I am not a font of patience and tend to get prickly if tested. Not exactly a recipe for Teacher of the Year. I've also thought about trying my hand at proofreading or copy editing (I'm not entirely sure of the difference between the two) but with the Death of Publishing being pronounced every seventh second, I'm wondering how much work there'll be for a newbie.

In other words, ugh.

How are your 5 year plans coming? Feel free to advise me on mine, those online career quizzes are useless. (Apparently I would make a fantastic Actor or Writer! Isn't that great?)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Greatest status update ever

For those not in the know, Facebook and Twitter offer people the chance to post "status updates", which are basically tiny snippets about each person's day. Most of mine are fairly banal, ("Went to museum", "Ditching responsibility. Taking nap") but sometimes someone takes hold of the reins and lets loose. That person would be Matt's good friend, Rob Trimarco.

Today's report:

"I am on the LIRR holding a dozen cupcakes on my lap. So help me I might fuck these cupcakes. Ball status: crumby."

That, friends, is good updatin'.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Let there be blood.

Does anyone recall 15 months being a really tricky time for toddlers? Because this kid is a mess. We've gone from a damn fine sleeper to a kid who wakes up every 2-3 hours sobbing. I know his teeth hurt - he's getting them all in at once (he will have a complete set of teeth in a few days) but the usual Tylenol/Motrin cocktails don't seem to be helping much. All he wants to do is chew on his blankie and refuse to eat and cry and cry and cry and never, ever sleep.

I wouldn't mind the wakings so much if he'd go back down, but the pre-dawn rousing (3 am, most days) is particularly brutal. I rock, I pat, I hum, while he just blinks and sighs and gnaws on his blankie. He's clearly exhausted but it's like his little brain won't shut off. We've gone through this before, but after a week of not getting more than 2 hours of solid sleep I'm starting to get mean. As I was cleaning the bathroom this morning I noticed that the boy had become suspiciously silent. I found him underneath the desk, fondling the wiring. The thought of Mr. Teeth using his newly acquired choppers to test out our babyproofing skills made me a little uneasy so I crawled underneath the desk and tried to scootch him toward his toys.

This went about as well as you'd imagine.

Forgetting that my son is a toddler and not a cat, I misjudged his reflexes. Instead of scooting toward safety I heard a sharp CRACK - and then silence.

You know that moment when a child tries to wail but nothing comes out? Like the pain is too intense for sound?

Yeah, scary, that.

Did I mention the blood?

Baby boy had taken a header, cutting his lip on his big front teeth. I tried to see if he'd knocked any out but there was so much screaming and blood and wetness that I could barely see anything. Let me tell you, mouth wounds don't kid around. SO MUCH BLOOD. It reminded me of a story a woman told me about the time her daughter slammed her finger in a door. The mother said that she was so scared, all she could do was laugh hysterically. There's something about seeing your kid experience true pain for the first time that ratches up the awful. AND I'D CAUSED IT! Talk about guilt. Eventually he calmed down and drank some water (blood all over the cup) and gnawed on an apple (it was the only thing I could think of that was cold that he'd keep on his mouth) and then collapsed in an exhausted heap.


I know that some of you have dealt with surgeries and broken bones - a cut lip ain't nothin'. But if this is just the beginning, mama needs a drink.