Thursday, September 27, 2012

Who To Not Hire As Your Babysitter.

I've been looking for a babysitter using the the usual babysitter boards that I will not mention until I am paid millions of dollars to mention them.  There is not a standalone quality that makes candidates a shoe-in for an interview, but there is one that crosses them off the list immediately.

If the candidate is 20 years or younger and has a child, I will not hire her because somewhere in the not too distant past her strengths did not include "responsibility" or "wise decision making."

I hear the bleeding hearts out there gasping and telling me everyone deserves a second chance.  Go ahead and judge me and my babysitter profiling, but don't think for a second I believe you would leave your baby with likes of these ladies.

Who To Not Hire As Your Babysitter.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Facebook Bubble Necklace

To Everyone on Facebook Buying the Bubble Necklace,

Stop buying the Facebook bubble necklace.

I know it appears to be a steal at $14.99, but one hallmark of a steal is that your casual acquaintances think you paid a lot. See the problem with the Facebook bubble necklace?

When you wear it, I will not think it is the $170 version from J. Crew. I'm not being a bitch because I just ate an entire bag of M&Ms and want you to feel as bad as me. That's impossible.  It was a family-sized bag.  I feel awful.

I'm trying to help!

You should be proud of your find, but have some discretion when it comes to sharing such a rare gem!

It is a little known fact that while Ponce and the boys were searching for their specious fountain, the women were searching for gold at Forever 21.

Did they find it? You bet!

Did they tell anyone about it other than their three best friends over a pitcher of beer and platter of cheese? HELL NO!

When the queen complimented their faux jewels, they smiled demurely and said, "Oh, this old thing?? It's been in the family for centuries," while smirking on the inside at its $3.99 price tag!  Then they quickly changed the subject to Ponce's quest and said things like, "bless his heart for continuing to search."

If you want a bubble necklace, and who doesn't, there are deals to be found off facebook. I just did a quick search and found this beauty on etsy for $15.

I am going to make this mine and neither the guy I sat next to in sophomore photography nor my mother-in-law will know where it came from or what it cost.  Yes, you will know, but you don't really know me so it doesn't count.

If you've already claimed your facebook offer, there's nothing we can do, but be forewarned that if we are friends and you wear it around me I am going to say, "Oh! That's the $15 facebook necklace, right?"

You bought it on facebook. What did you expect?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Boy and the Dog.

When it comes to babies and dogs no one ever says, "Awwww, your Doberman will be SO GOOD when the baby arrives!" but the world raves about the Golden Retriever - baby combo. The boy and the dog have turned into quite a twosome and I would like to publicly thank our gold-hearted Golden for being the best, ok the only, babysitter I have.

I may have publicly proclaimed to hate the dog and it's not entirely untrue. I still want to punch him in the face at least twice a day, especially when he's using his giant nose to prod in places he shouldn't be prodding or leveraging his 110 pound frame to pull me and the stroller over to a delicious smelling pile of poo. But, good help is hard to find and as long as he is good to the boy, I can find it in my heart of stone to thank him.

He was the last of our household goods to arrive after spending the summer at camp, also known as my parents' house. When the boy and the dog last met, the boy was not as mobile or aggressive about getting to high interest, non-toy items like dustballs, shoes, and power cords.

After a cramped drive from NY, the dog had mixed emotions about finding himself in the number one position on this list. On one massive, ungroomed meathook of a paw, the boy he was bred to love only wants to be near him. On the other, said boy is 19 fierce pounds of pulling, chewing, biting, crawling, clambering, sweet destruction that 110 pounds of Golden Retriever was not bred to handle.

So T, even though I frequently tell you I am going to kill you, I want to hug you when I see the boy crawl your way with purpose and you don't move a whisker.  Maybe this is a survival instinct so I don't actually kill you or maybe you just crave some attention these days but, either way, keep this up and I'll keep feeding you.

Thank you for letting our inquisitive little boy have his sticky way with you while I get a moment to pour more coffee or shove string cheese in my mouth. Those 30 second snippets are a glorious eternity for me and, quite possibly, a painful one for you.

a day in the life of the boy and the dog

Thank you for sharing your dinner, being a patient first french kiss partner, not moving an inch when the boy grabs your upper lip and wonders why your teeth are so darn big, and enduring knobby little knees to the eyeballs and nose when he decides he's through and plows over you.

Even though we now love the boy more, we loved you first and you are paying it forward.  Thanks for loving and protecting, instead of mauling and eating, the boy who took your spot.

Don't go and get all self-important.  It's only shots like this that keep your room and board current:

the boy and the dog.  love.


Mama’s Losin’ It

Sunday, September 16, 2012

An Alternative Pack 'n Play.

If your baby is anything like mine, he abhors the Pack 'n Play, also known as baby jail. He only understands about 10 words and neither baby nor jail are among them so quit your snarky commentary about the problem. Luckily, there is a little-known option I am sharing today. Like anything, there are some risks to the alternative pack 'n play, but they are far outweighed by the benefits, as you will easily see.

What's this you see below? The awesome Jacuzzi bath in the master bath of our new house?

Or...wait for it...

wait for it...


Yes, it's almost as concerning that the baby is the only one of us who has used this master bath monstrosity as it is that he's heading toward my 30 year-old Pound Puppy in this picture, but even as a pack 'n play, it cleanses me. With him safely crawling around and biting Brownie, I have a direct line of vision to him from the shower which means I can shower. EVERYDAY.

I hear your other concern and it's a fair one, as well. The boy has already started grabbing the handles and we are only days away from a surprise success with the faucet. This could be devastating to my system but upon further thought it aligns with my cleanliness strategy. If he gets those faucets on, he won't need a bath at night!

Move over Chicco. I've switched to Jacuzzi.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Flight 16.

Ok, ok, this is a little long, so I've enticed you with a photo from the trip of me and the boy. I try to keep us both offline, but if it means you'll make it to the end, I'll do it.

Here we are, safely back in Dallas, with no future trips planned. It's time to settle in, meet the neighbors, and start life as Texans. I may start life over as a travel writer specializing in "The Aisle Seat in the Back Reserved for Moms," a most exotic destination.

Prior to my ATL to DFW connection yesterday, the boy and I had flown 15 legs together. I erroneously thought I'd learned every lesson the travel gods have forcefully hurled my way, but Flight #16 had something extra special in store.

It reared its ugly head just seconds before we crossed the finish line and sucker punched me while I was exhaling. It hurt.

If you're hanging on my every word as I'm sure you are, you'll recall that I learned a few weeks ago via an overnight diversion that one should never assume a direct flight will get you to your destination on the same day.

That one hurt. A bit of my travel innocence was lost as I learned through experience that airlines treat business travelers and moms traveling alone the same way. Ouch.

On Flight #16, I learned something even more unpleasant. Apparently, the journey is not over when you touchdown in your city. Only walking through your front door puts points on the board.

This travel episode had such a bright beginning and middle that I started daydreaming about names for my travel consulting business. There were stroller assists, kind Grandmas, empty rows, easy connections, and one happy baby. When we touched down at DFW I hugged the boy and thanked him for such an enjoyable journey.

Some blatant foreshadowing: I did this too soon.

My husband left a car for us at the airport and texted me its locale. What he neglected to tell me was it was down three flights of stairs. He was thinking about keeping the car shaded. I was thinking about the stroller, the backpack, and the suitcase on wheels.

Like the boyscout I never was, I attempted the first flight using only my own ingenuity. Remember the riddle about the fox, the chicken, and the grain getting across the river intact? It looked something like that. Luckily, a policeman on a Segway sped over as I attempted this a second time and got us to safety.

In the car, the baby immediately fell asleep and I steered us out of the airport maze for the quick trip home. Roxy, my GPS, assured me we'd make it in about 25 minutes.

Cue ridiculous traffic.

Holy hell, Dallas, are you some kind of major city with a rush hour? Oh $hit.

My husband and I have lived in Boston. We've lived in Chicago, too, but for the past six years we've been in a medium-sized city with lots of neat amenities, cool restaurants, and zero traffic. Welcome back to reality.

The traffic was manageable until the sleeping giant in the backseat awoke hungry for dinner. Listening to him scream like he might die while going seven miles an hour was a huge problem because navigating Dallas is still a little bit like warping from world to world on Mario Brothers. I shoot down the highway, exit and end up magically where I'm supposed to be.

I took fate into my own hands and left the parking lot on 635 East. Once again, I put to use my meager boyscout skills and headed north on surface roads. As it turns out, they are also fairly congested in Dallas during rush hour.

Very close to ripping the steering wheel off the column, I made a sharp right turn into a Chili's parking lot to give the boy a bottle. Except when I opened my backback from which I could pull ANYTHING while in-air, I couldn't find it. "EFFFFFF!" I screamed louder than the baby's cries as I realized I'd left the extra formula back in Terminal T at ATL.

I MacGyvered together a snack from bread, water, and Happy Baby puffs to no avail. I would have tried to do something boyscout-like but whittling a fire or earning a badge would not have solved my problem as I idled curbside at Chili's.

Two and a half hours after we left DFW, we arrived home. In that time, we could have flown back to ATL and part of the way back to NY.

I'd like to thank my tormentors for what I hope is the final time. Travel Gods, thank you for keeping my travel hubris in check. I was beginning to think I was back in my pre-pregnancy travel shape. Clearly, I've got some work to do. Thanks for the reminder that you're never quite the same after having a baby.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Be Mine.

We moved into our house just over two weeks ago and have accomplished quite a few important tasks on the move-in checklist.

Internet, electricity, and water are flowing like wine.

The boxes are unpacked and the furniture unloaded and I have come to terms with the fact that NOTHING from our charming 1930s Cape Cod works in our 1970s Modern. My Ebay/Craig's List store opens this week.

We've met with our architect several times and the plans for the renovation of said 1970s Modern have been aligned upon by the key stakeholders. This little project will probably be a series of posts that start out as "Dream Home" and devolve to "The Dust."

The one unchecked box reads, "Meet Your Neighbors."

On the day we moved in, I daydreamed about a Neighborhood Welcoming Committee that would shower us with casseroles for the first week. Eating a pizza amid boxes on Night 1, I realized this creepy slash utopian scenario was not to be.

"That's ok," I thought, "they are probably giving us time to get settled." Still no one came. So I started going over to them. I tried several times and thought I'd struck gold on one visit only to learn I had introduced myself to the cleaning lady.

We stuck our noses up at planned communities because we wanted to live in an authentic neighborhood and here we are, experiencing authentic neighbors who seem to not really care about the newest residents. The casserole clause in the planned community contract is lacking out on the real streets.

However, I will not be deterred. I want to know my neighbors by name and if I have to don a sweater jacket in 100 degree heat and ask them to be my neighbor via song, I'll do it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Regression Analysis.

The elation my parents display around being grandparents is always mixed with a pinch of smugness. Breaking the news over the phone 18 months ago, my mom started laughing hysterically and said, "You NEVER slept! Maybe this baby will be just like you!" Their joint excitement about potentially watching me go through the same wringer I wrenched them through was palpable over the cell signal.

Partially because I couldn't let smug win but mainly because I love plans, I vowed sleep training would make our impending arrival sleep...errr, like a baby.

And work it did! I bombastically announced that MY baby slept 12 hours through the night before he was 12 weeks old. I even took a picture of him wearing one of my marathon medals after he did it three nights in a row.

My parents, albeit in shock, shrugged their shoulders and set their insomniac sights on a future, unborn grandchild.

It was when we took to the road in June that my sweet dreams soured. He started waking up several times a night demanding mom and/or a bottle. He became incredibly difficult to get to sleep and started waking up around 6:00 instead of 7:30. My glorious 12 hours of sleep were wrecked, but who can blame the little guy? In eight weeks he slept in six different places. Whose sleep habits wouldn't get a little funky, right?

Trouble is, they're still funky and Grandma and Grandpa are in their glory watching me sleepwalk through life as they did 32 years ago.

I know it's my fault, but not because I placate his screams. Oh no, the problem is deeper than that. The problem is, he's mine.

My husband frequently says I'm stubborn. I prefer the word "determined."

I didn't run fast marathons because I'm long and lean. I'm 5' 2" with short legs, but my 40+ mile training weeks and stubborn refusal to take a day off propelled me like my sinewy counterparts.

It wasn't marketing genius that got me an office, but rather an inability to let go until the murky details could be explained intelligibly to a child and the decks were pristine.

If anyone could be equally determined, it's my spawn.

If anyone could beat me it would be an individual as determined as me and as obsessive as my husband.

The boy proved this the other night with a 90 MINUTE screamfest.

We have a genetic Molotov cocktail upstairs in the crib.

The only people who seem happy about this are my parents, who jocularly revisit their new parent hell and regale the similarities between me and my mini monster me every time they ask how he's sleeping.

The little boy is also quite pleased. You've never seen a prouder, happier nine-month old than the one I scoop up from his crib after 30-90 minutes of screaming.

And of course, there's me. Truth be told, despite the sleepy eyes, I'm a proud mom as I'm scooping. He is the most determined little boy I've ever met!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Not Again!

I'm doing it again.  Tomorrow at 9:15, the little boy and I hop on a flight that will eventually bring us to Upstate NY.

The journey will be long and arduous and if not for the interstate move we just completed, I would feel a strong desire to bring all my worldly possessions with me to the airport, don a black hat, and bring enough water for a three month voyage by sea.

"Stop doing this to yourself, Annie!" I hear you yelling through virtual space and time.  I will ladies, I will but this time the little man's baptism calls and soul-saving is an endeavor worthy of facing Delta's ridiculousness and air-travel with a nine month-old head on.  

There is a 30% chance the Pilgrims had a more difficult time aboard The Mayflower, but unlike the Pilgrims, I have been to this rodeo before and am masterfully prepared for any and all obstacles the friendly skies shoot my way.

This time, I will be traveling without toys.  In the past, I crammed 25 pounds of pure toy in my carry-on.  Lamaze the dog never made the little boy stop crying, but Air Mall worked every single time.  Is it germy and a little bit gross when he eats it?  You bet!  Will it give him scurvy?  Nope.

This time, I am bringing about a pound of puffs and yogurt melts.  Is it poor mom performance to give your child food everytime he cries?  Sure is.  Will you care when he is crawling up you in the 1x1 barrack Delta has leased you for the three hour tour?  Not at all.

This time the diaper bag is staying home.  My work backpack is much roomier, has a special compartment for my laptop, and has eight straps from which to hang a sippy cup or just gnaw on when all else fails.  Could either he or I be chewing them when we've run out of food but still have miles to go?  Yep.

This time I am bringing a parachute.  If the captain says the plane is being diverted, we're out.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Illegal Alien.

Dear Dallas,

Hi there from one of your greenest residents.

I love moving to new cities, especially when the city is in a badass state like Texas.  My last stint was in Kentucky, a difficult place to admit living thanks to the banjo-playing mountaineer stereotype the name conjures.  Prior to the bluegrass, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York were my very vanilla addresses, but Texas is going to give my zip some pizzazz.

Here's the deal, Dallas.  I want to be a legitimate Texan.  My name is Annie.  Texans like guns.  Do you see the stars aligning?

However, since I'm only a month-long resident, I need help understanding some of your eccentricities.  My list of questions is below.

1.  Who owns the longhorns in the fields next to major highways?  Authentic cowboys or the Texas Tourism Department?

2.  What's up with all the wetbars?  Why can't drinks be made in the kitchen?

3.  Is that high school football stadium in Allen for the Allen Eagles or the Philadelphia Eagles?

4.  90 degrees isn't really a cold snap, right?

5.  Is it a state law that every US restaurant chain must have at least one store within your borders?

6.  Is it your dream to sprawl so far you become a suburb of Oklahoma City?

Thank you for your time and hospitality.  I look forward to getting to know you and all your quirky charm!