Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dear Bath & Bodyworks.

Dear Bath & Bodyworks,

Some products have immediate stopping power for women. Riding boots, pumpkin anything, and monogrammed chevron stationary are three such examples. You though, Bath & Bodyworks, you have something any marketing team worth its annual merchandising budget would sell trade secrets for. You have a product with a latent appeal as strong as a pumpkin latte's obvious allure.

As a fellow marketer, I am jealous. Even though my high school memories are tinged with the scent of Sun-Ripened Raspberry and I use your products, they don't ignite a primal urge in me like pumpkin goods. I was, ergo, gloriously alarmed to find myself participating in your Three Wick Candle Apocolypse just yesterday.

It started out with an innocent email proclaiming, with the strongest sense of urgency, the "one day only" $8 price for your candles. "Huh," I thought to myself, "that seems like a great deal and I need teacher gifts. Sign me up!" I am now certain that your CRM program mined data like a damn digger and knew that 85% of readers would have this exact thought.

The next day, I innocently headed to my closest Bath & Bodyworks, double stroller and two small children in tow; to purchase six candles. The smell of too many scents in one small space mixed with fear hit me in the face. The White Barn collection jumbled up with the shea butters smashed into the random mens' scents were expected, but from where was the fear emanating? My eyes darted left to right, breathing it all in. This was not a typical day at Bath & Bodyworks.

Apron-clad employees hustled around us, toting more three-wick candles than should be physically possible, to keep the shelves stocked. Women jockeyed for position in front of 'Pumpkin Cupcake' and 'Balsam Fir' while the few husbands present put their muscles to use and held their wives' effluvious booty. The line stretched to the front display and scattered all about were giant coffee cup holders for holding three-wick candles! There was even a woman with a suitcase to hold hers.

I considered leaving, but there is one week of school before Christmas, and I had a job to do. I dove in, double-stroller first, to the madness. I crashed into displays, filled my bag, and asked my three-year-old to smell along with me. I texted friends, "Hey, I'm at B&BWorks and candles are $8 - who wants some?" I sniffed and smelled and filled until I felt like my piece of candle pie was suitable.

The madness and the candle holder.
By the time I got in line, my bag was so heavy, it sat where the baby should have and the baby gleefully dove for candle displays from my arms.

Almost at the front of the line, my three-year old told me he had to pee-pee. I bartered with the people around me in line to hold my spot, left my candles strapped safely in their stroller, and made my son pee [on both of us] on a bush in the parking lot lest he take too long and our candles get re-shelved.

Here's the thing, Bath & Bodyworks, I'm not even sure I like candles! But, in the frenzy I lost all ability to reason, let alone recall likes and dislikes. My fervor for your three-wick candles was that of a woman who knows the world's wax supply is running dry.

Excellent work, Bath & Bodyworks. I'd say your three-wick candles are the next pumpkin phenomenon, but I've never bought 15 pumpkin items at once. Congratulations. Your candles just beat pumpkin.

Sincerely,
Annie

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Elf On The Shelf. A Rant.

Twas the month before Christmas and all through the land,
The Moms were askitter, elf's time was at hand.

The kids were expecting elf holiday sins,
And the boards were filled with applicable pins.
"Elfie Ideas," Christmas Fun!" they were named.
A pinning bonanza, no one could be blamed.

The plans had been hatched 'ere September was out,
But now there was lingering a shadow of doubt.
"Hmmm," thought one mom, "this elf is such trouble.
Admitting this, though, pops a holiday bubble.

My cupboards are stocked with the best box 'o wine
And I have one mere hour, JUST ONE, I call mine.
And precious time spent on this naughty elfin act,
Means into a holiday corner I'm backed.

Point 1: His feats have gotten complex,
And I'm only good at marketing decks,
Which means committing  to full elf devotion,
Will likely result in a "real job" demotion.

Thinking more brightly, how might this game work?
How do I solve for this Christmastime jerk?
'Cuz the flour and spices he strews on the table,
Seem that more work for Mom is part of this fable.

Might the kids help clean up if it's part of the game?
Or is that a fast way to famed holiday shame?
And to my three-year-old, how do I say,
'Spying is naughty, but this elf here's okay!'

But back to the math, I think it's way off.
It's an elf's equation, who wouldn't scoff?
One hour a night for 24 days,
Plus two cleaning up the mess that I made,
Equals a smug little smirk on a miniature face;
Elf's way of saying I can't win this race.

Win? Well I won't play this twisted yuletide game.
Despite pins and posts, elf, I think you're quite lame.

The movement starts here Elfie; I'm not alone!
The power is with every mom with a phone.
For every one sharing a right sprightly mess,
There are three cleaning up and poised to confess.

Elfie, go away, we don't need you and your 'fun,'
Rudolph and Frosty have already won.
Immobile they sit on the shelf, wall, or tree,
Smiling kindly back, asking nothing of me.

I don't think you're crucial to holiday joy.
In fact, I believe you're a tiny, big ploy
To stress Moms out more and make us compete
For the best Facebook post and inane elfin feat.

To that I say, 'No!' cuz I ain't got the time,
(And it really comes back to that fresh box-o-wine),
You've tricked us dear elf, I'll say it here first,
Although in some circles my name will be cursed.

Your name remains true, you jolly old elf.
With us at the helm you'll still be on your shelf,
But that shelf will be dark, undusted, and bare,
Forgotten in the garage, not well will you fare.

Your tradition was fleeting, turns out, just a fad.
You may have survived if you weren't so bad.
The morale of this and similar rants,
Is steal Mommy's time and you don't have a chance."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dear Six Month Ages & Stages Questionnaire.

Dear Six Month Ages & Stages Questionnaire,

I don't think I had the pleasure of filling you out when my first son was this small. If so, I credit my old pediatrician in my old city for seeing you more lucidly than my current. I may have, and for blacking the experience out credit goes to me for purging my brain of all necessary input knowledge as soon as I turned you in to the nurse.

I know that I either never saw you or experienced a post-standardized test blackout.

By the way, this is common - can anyone recite the standard equation for a hyperbola? No? You haven't been able to since you put your pencil down after your Regents Geometry final.

If this were not the case, I would have taken issue with the majority of your Fine Motor section.

In it, you ask two questions about Cheerios:

1. Does your baby reach for a crumb or Cheerio and touch it with his finger or hand?
2. Does your baby try to pick up a crumb or Cheerio by using his thumb and all of this fingers in a raking motion, even if he isn't able to pick it up?

I can't even get into this raking motion we are supposed to evaluate. They're babies! They have hands as useful as clubs. My baby bats, swats, and occasionally squeezes but I don't expect him to rake anything until he's at least six.

What I do want to get into is your slip-up that reveals your identity. Oh sure, you were written by pediatricians just trying to evaluate every child on the same scale. Oh sure, parents should try every activity on the questionnaire before trudging into the office to make sure your evaluation is accurate. Oh sure, you're not just trying to sell more Cheerios, CHEERIOS BRAND MANAGERS!

I know it's you. Stop trying to fool us into thinking the ASQ is a development tool when it's a retail tactic for your 2014 plan!

Pediatricians, or anyone who has spent any time around mostly toothless, suicide seeking six-month olds would never suggest a parent put a Cheerio within arm's reach to measure thumb agility.

Cuz out here in the field, we know what happens. Said Cheerio goes into babies mouth and Mom goes from ASQ evaluator to baby life-saver removing the tiny oat from her tiny tot's mouth.

So, Brand Manager, I appreciate your creativity but you're too young to know these things about babies. Stop with the ASQ. We'll buy your damn Cheerios when our sweet little babies are storming down the aisle at Target as terrorist two-year-olds and your perfectly-placed Chocolate Cheerios catch their eye. The vehement tantrum that ensues when we threaten to keep moving without your chocolaty oats will keep you in business for the ages.

Just tack this one onto the Three Year ASQ and your sales objective will be achieved:
1. When you walk by Cheerios at the store, how many boxes must you purchase to keep your child from screaming/screeching/howling?


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Potty Training Failure.


I like training. I liked training for races. I liked "training" for the SATs. I still like "training" for big presentations. If I could remember my own potty-training, I'm sure I would say that I liked it. Given my son's proclivity to act quite a bit like me, I thought potty training would be a breeze!

Over a year ago, I bought a little green potty. About six months ago I bought a McQueen potty topper thing, convinced that the joy of having his little bottom so close to Lightning would be the incentive needed to train up. Learning this was not the case, I added M&Ms and a potty chart to the mix, which incited excitement but zero action.

And so, with a month-old sleep-stealer stealing my sanity I listened to my two-year-old when he told me that "when [he] is just a little bit bigger [he] will use the potty."

Anyone who can tell you they will be ready when they are "just a little bit bigger" is ready. I've been Jedi-mind tricked and am now six months late to the potty-training game.

This week, one of the teachers told my husband that he's more than ready and we need to do it. Guns blazing, I told my two (almost three) year-old that as of Friday there would be no more diapers. That went over about as well a hamburger in India.

There were screaming fits, an attempt to put the potty outside, and a declaration that he would not go to music class which is his most favorite thing in the world.

The diaper went back on.

Yesterday, I invented Pretend Potty during which he runs around naked, pretends to use the potty and then gets pretend candy and a pretend sticker for his empty chart. I believed that if he did this enough and I sang and danced like a jackass about the potty, he would forget we are pretending and, voila, be potty trained.

This approach also backfired as he did not want to stop playing Pretend Potty. We told him it was bedtime. He sat down on the floor and took his diaper off with the adeptness of a damn NICU nurse. This was not a skill I knew he had, but I'm fairly confident it's on the same difficulty wrung as BEING ABLE TO USE THE POTTY.

After undertaking a project with the number one objective of eliminating diapers, my  husband and I found ourselves forcefully cajoling him to, "put the diaper back on!" while he ironically screamed, "Nooooo!! I don't want to!!"

It's a battle of the wills and despite being outnumbered, he is winning.

He assures me it is all right because he has observed that "girls wear undies and a lot of boys wear diapers" (true) and that when he is "just a little bit bigger" he will use the potty.

I am not sure if he is targeting college and beyond and at this point, I don't know if I care. I suppose this is how adult diapers came to be.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

When Husbands Are Sick.

My husband has a little cold right now.

I have had the same little cold for three days and just want to give my immune system some public recognition for keeping me far from the coma said husband appears to be approaching.

Last night, he told me his throat was a little sore and immediately started CHUGGING orange juice. Honestly, it was like the Florida Citrus Association was doing a product integration in my kitchen. I looked behind me for cameras or at least a stranger with an iPhone but only saw my 2 year old screaming for his fair share of the OJ.

This evening, at least two hours before bedimte, he told me he was incredibly exhausted and couldn't wait to hit the sack. His statement combined with my day of saying no to cookies and cheesepuffs as meal substitutes, hit in a way that doesn't warrant a timeout but isn't nice, and unsuccessfully convincing someone to put on their damn pants enervated me to incapacitation. I shoveled my microwaved rice into my mouth and pretended not to hear.

This evening, 15 minutes before bedtime, while I was literally sucking the tiny bit of energy left in my body into a Medela bottle, my husband popped a Dayquil and muttered to himself, "Just make it through [bedtime]."  I didn't need to look for the Dayquil Brand Team behind him. They were not proud of this product placement.

And now, my husband is sleeping on the couch. Before he dozed off he said, "You have this cold, but it doesn't seem to affect you."

So, thank you immune system. I don't know how you manage to keep me up and running so well while others with the EXACT SAME affliction are taken out at the knees.

What's that? It's not my immune system? It's a chromosomal thing? X instead of Y? Well, thank you for the X. Without it the world would have ended well before vaccines and wouldn't be here tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

There Are No Gods of Sleeping Babies.

Dear Gods Of Sleeping Babies,

I'm really mad at you right now. Were I less exhausted, I would find more eloquent words to express my rage, but thanks to you, I am simply mad. Really, really mad.

The first 12 weeks were hell and I, along with every other woman crazy enough to have a child, accept this odd hazing ritual that impairs our judgment at the time we have another's life in our hands. Our husbands and partners are another story, but we dutifully muddle through those 12 weeks and oftentimes laugh at the sick sense of humor you exercise at 3am.

After that, though, we expect life to gracefully slip back into a pattern. A pattern that is certainly more chaotic than it was 13 weeks prior, but much less sleep deprived than the rolling average of the most recent 12.

This go-round, my baby slept though the night right at the magic 12 week mark. I sang your praises. I sacrificed caffeine and nursing pads at your altar. I saw my friends with two-week-old babies and thanked God (you) that we were beyond that. I thanked you profusely for gettin' after it without the arduous training I'd implemented with my first son but with the same results.

And then, you wily Gods, at 14 weeks, you sneezed, or laughed, or guffawed and threw me back into a pit of chaos.

My 17 pound, 4 1/2 month old baby does not sleep through the night. With three wake-up calls each night, I'd suffice it to say he's not even trying.

I am so tired, I'm not tired. Or, I think I'm not tired until I try to form a sentence at work and all the words come out, but in the wrong order. Or until someone asks how the baby is and I feel my eyes widen and my mouth take the shape of The Joker's and hear an uncannily high voice say, "Oh he's good. But he doesn't sleep." I scare people.

My husband and I have discovered that we are not incredibly kind to each other at 4am when he is crying for the third time. Someone gets kicked and gruffly told to get up.

So dearest of Gods, in the name of all that is holy and sacred turn around from what's distracting you (Is it World Cup?) and make this child SLEEP.

Sincerely Yours,
Bleary-Eyed, Artificially Awake Thanks To Coffee, Never Had Bags Under Her Eyes Like This Before, Annie


Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Right Career For Me.

I should be a wet nurse.

My garage freezer is about to burst. Most of the time, I am about to burst as well.

Mooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Lean Back.

I had in interesting thing happen yesterday at work.

We have a new CMO, which is the story of my life. If anyone out there is thinking about going into Marketing, DON'T. You'll have a new boss every two years and when it's your turn to take the reins, your shelf life will be 24-months or less.

Anyway, this new CMO and I were talking about the structure of our marketing department. "Well, he said, "I can't have her report to you because you're not here everyday, but I need someone in that spot so we will probably bring in a VP."

And there at my feet, was the opportunity cost of not focusing on my career.

I grimaced. I cringed. I felt my body jump out of my skin. I almost screamed, "Ok, ok, ok! You called my bluff! I'll go full-time!"

But I didn't.

Instead, I said, "I know. I get it. I can't be part-time and be in that box." For several minutes thereafter I punched myself quietly in the face for not leaning in.

While he continued on about organizational structure, I nodded politely and experienced a small identity crisis. I emerged on the other side, confident that I do not want to lean in at work right now. I want to lean back, I want to take a break, I want to phone it in and let it ride so I can lean in to my CEO, CFO, COO, and R&D roles at home.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Eight Ways The World Would Be Different If Men Lactated.

My [almost] four-month old has taken to waking up every hour-and-a-half beginning at midnight. I think he's either teething or possessed by sleep-stealing monsters that I must have infuriated in a former life when I was a cat.

My husband can do little because throughout-the-night snacks are the only things that seem to appease the screaming baby and I'm just too exhausted to train him out of this right now.

I started wondering, during one of the dreamlike feeding sessions, what the world would be like if men were the parents equipped to feed babies. Sure, I'd sleep a lot more, but the world would be markedly different.

Here are the eight ways the world would be different if men lactated.

1. Store shelves would overflow with Small and Medium-sized bottles as Large would sell out first even though Medium is adequate for everyone.

2. In the garage, husbands would boast about the size of their deep freeze instead of their car.

3. Medela would list horsepower on the side of the box.

4. Sporting venues would have pumping posts at every seat so the men wouldn't have to rush home ready to burst. They wouldn't be private as that would require missing the game.

5. Instead of sheepishly leaving meetings to head to the Lactation Lounge, the lactating individual would grab his engorged breasts and scream, "Off to pump, BITCHES!" Mid-exit, he'd make it rain with the 48 page deck his boss was in the middle of presenting.

6. A lost bet with drunken college friends would mean someone is trying some milk. At a bar. On the bartop.

7. Children would be breast fed until the age of 17 as men would be determined to make it longer than their fellow dads. This would be the end of packaged-goods as fruit snacks, granola bars, and pretzels would no longer be childhood staples.

8. An inventor would have invented a way for babies toe eat without Dad ever needing to get up because, let's face it, if men had to wake up five times a night to feed a child, humans would become extinct. Picture, if you will, a milk-filled bottle attached to the side of the crib ala a hamster cage. Who's up at 3am? No one. Oh wait. Mom's up, heating a bottle from the freezer and cursing her husband because the darn self-feeding contraption is out of batteries.

Maybe the world wouldn't be so different after all.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The L.L Bean Towel

My cousin is graduating from high school next week and is getting an LL Bean Locker Room towel from me. Here's the note that will be in the box to explain a seemingly random gift.

The Tale of the Towel

J-

Congratulations! As you make your journey out into the world, I am arming you with a towel.

"A towel?" I hear you thinking, "that's a little strange, but I suppose functional," before moving onto the next card. 

But Wait. 

It's not just any towel.

The green-striped "locker room" towel with L.L. Bean's logo blazoned is one you've seen around your own house a few times. It's over at my house, too.

You see, the tale of this towel started 31 years ago when your mom graduated from high school. My parents thought an L.L. Bean towel would be the perfect dorm room accompaniment for uber-preppy Hamilton.

It may have stopped there, but 17 years ago, when I graduated from high school, your mom started a tradition.

I opened up her graduation present and saw the towel with the note, just like you do right now. 

(Ok, so you only see a note because the darn towel is currently backordered, making this whole thing less storied, but it will be here well before you make your way to SMU, L.L. Bean assures me.)

Back in 1997, your mom had owned her towel 14 years. It was with her all through college, through her post-college moves, when she met your dad, got married, and had you. Her note said that she was drying you off with it one night after bathtime and thought, "Wow. This towel and I have been through a lot."

Since Holy Cross is equally as preppy as Hamilton, she decided to send me off with the same gift my parents bestowed upon her.

It is 2014 and I have had my towel for 17 years. I'm willing to bet your mom's is in better shape than mine despite being twice as old. Mine is a little bit pink from an unfortunate washing machine incident with the reds, has a tiny hole in it from that one time my roommate and I tried to put together furniture and used it to soften the hammer blows in our tiny Boston apartment, and has some light gray stains on it whose origin I cannot even guess.

However, I still have it. 

It survived four years at Holy Cross and I am happy towels can't talk. It was there when I moved to Boston and met Nick and still hanging around when we decided to move to Chicago together. When we packed up for Louisville, it made its way into the U-Haul. When we were married it made a cozy home for itself among the registry linens and towels, happy for a rest while the new things were used. When we unpacked in Dallas and Nick asked if I still wanted it, I shot lasers at him from my eyes and screamed, "Do NOT get rid of that!" and now, it is frequently employed when T wants to play "cape." 

And now, it's your turn. 

J, I think your towel will fit in nicely with the prep-sters over at SMU, but it's just the start of your journey. As your life unfolds before you, the towel will hang from your bed, on a doorknob, or be quietly tucked away in a closet.

Everytime you reach for it, it will serve as a reminder of where you've been, who you've met, and how far you've come since the day you opened this box.

Someday, maybe when your two-year-old is using it as a cape, you will be nostalgic for that time it hung in your dorm room but so happy to find yourself in the present. 

And that's the magic of the towel. It will force you to look back and be thankful for what was, while being happy and fulfilled with where you are. May you always be able to do that.  

Best of luck. You are going to do great things.

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Nose For Dallas.

Not long ago, I had an experience that left me thinking, "Well, that only happens in Dallas." Before you get stereotypical, it did not involve a cowboy, cowboy hats, cowboy boots, or the Dallas Cowboys.

No, this involved my nose.

Before moving here friends warned me I didn't wear enough make-up or have enough of a predisposition for plastic surgery for Dallas. I laughed, wondering if they were serious and wondering where I would make my home if a make-up and/or plastic surgery requirement would ban me from entering the city limits.

I needn't have worried.

A few weeks ago, at a cavity-filling appointment, the dental hygienist said, "I LOVE your nose!"

Confusion took over my face. Why was she referring to my nose the way some people refer to shoes?

"Hmmmmm," I thought to myself, 'I've been working out' or 'it's just because I'm breastfeeding' don't seem like appropriate responses for this one. Do I say 'thanks' or do I need to get into genetics??"

She completed her thought before I started stammering.

"It looks so natural!!"

And then I realized, she didn't think it was real. Now very unsure how to respond, I gave her a closed-mouth smile and waited for the exam to begin.

If only my friends who warned me about Dallas could see me now. I suppose they were right. My realness is apparently so real it borders on faux and for that I've been accepted! Oh, Dallas. Do I laugh or cry? I just don't know.

Happy Friday and may all your noses be real.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

It's Spider-Man's World. We're Just Lucky To Live In It.

Growing up, I focused on Barbie’s Dreamhouse and left the action figures to my brothers. I emerged from childhood with truckload of Barbies and Cabbage Patch Kids and miraculously, little knowledge of super heroes.
Now, with boys of my own, it’s time to pay attention as my “ignore in lieu of the Dreamhouse” strategy won’t be in their best interests. This isn’t about pink and blue toys. This is about me as the most un-fun and un-cool Mom on the block when I’m calling Mr. Freeze, Fro-zo; Poison Ivey, Itchy; and The Riddler, Punctuation Dude if I don’t work on my boy toy knowledge.
Now that I’ve looked beyond the yellow balconies, the only thing I see is Spider-Man and this observation has sparked a few questions.
Why do I have Spider-Man stamps in my wallet and why am I excited about it? Why did I notice the Spidey Happy Meal while ordering my 3:00 pick-me-up milkshake last week and shiver with glee? Why is there a pair of Size 3 Spidey pajamas already tucked away in my sock drawer for my son’s next birthday? Why do I wish they came in adult sizes?
Why is my two-year-old the [incredibly] proud owner of Spidey sheets, light-up sneaks in two sizes, pajamas, cars, a mask, a toothbrush, a yo-yo, and a giant blanket? Why can he shoot faux webs from his hands with sound effects as tantalizing and crisp as a Bose speaker? Why can he locate Spidey from a mile away in any retail establishment be it a toy-store, big box store, or grocery store? (Ok, I know the answer to that, Marvel Comics. I’m just sayin’ the webslinger’s likeness is EVERYWHERE. The check-out at Hobby Lobby? You’ve sold out.)
I asked someone recently when it was that Spider-Man came back. This person told me very kindly as you might when explaining to your two-year-old that the wind won’t blow his hair off, “Wellllll, I don’t think he ever really went away.”
And then I remembered.
I remembered 12 years ago seeing the new Spider-Man movie with my then-boyfriend, now-husband. For weeks after, he shot webs like a little boy and tried to teach me to do the same. My form and sound effects needed work. I laughed. Ok, I laughed a lot during those web slinging sessions, but they seemed childish to me, a person who was about the take the GMATs to attend graduate school and embark on real life, where Spider-Man did certainly not exist. Especially for someone who was never having children. HA!
Well, haven't the tables been turned on me, Spidey.
With two boys and one Spidey-obsessed husband I’ve accepted that this world belongs to Spidey and I am just living in it. It’s not Batman’s or Thor’s or Wolverine’s or The Hulk’s. We are as tightly wrapped in webs as a newborn is in a Velcro swaddle.
How do I know this?
I know this because if you roll by my house on a random Wednesday night there’s a good chance you’ll find me in a Spidey mask, shooting webs and chasing a little boy clad in Spidey PJs who is in hysterics at “Spidey-Mommy.”
And Spidey-Mommy doesn’t miss, because she can hardly remember, the Dreamhouse. Well played, Spidey. Well played.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Yep. That's My Milk With TSA.

In all my travels, I have never had TSA inspect my milk. That is, until today.
Luckily, they gave it back, but the Mr. TSA Agent and I shared, what I thought to be a very awkward experience.
He first opened my cooler and had to sort through the conical pump pieces which still had some milk on them. They weren’t dripping wet, but they had clearly been used recently and not washed.
“Sorry,” I said sheepishly although in hindsight I wish I hadn’t apologized and had instead grabbed my boobs and grunted or said, “Yeah! That’s my milk!” Thank God men don’t make milk. We’d never hear the end of it.
“Oh, I’ve seen worse,” Mr. TSA responded. I should have pressed him a bit on this statement because I’d like to know what TSA finds worse than a milk-laden pump part but I just wanted the inspection to end.
Next, he pulled out two of my full six-ounce bags (Moooooo!!!) and went looking for his supervisor. It takes a lot for me to feel uncomfortable, but I felt uncomfortable as every person waiting for his or her shoes had my milk flashed in front of them while Mr. TSA Agent sought a supervisor. I instinctively hugged my chest and later concluded this was to make my boobs look smaller so no one would peg me as the lactating traveler.
Hands pushing down chest, I started sweating when I caught a glimpse of Target’s Up & Up double arrow logo on the swaying bags.
WHY had I chosen this week to test out generic? Why didn’t I just stick with Medela instead of going all savvy consumer? Why? Why? WHY?! Would they stay closed? If they opened, would I become the “Oh...I’ve seen worse” example for TSA?
The found supervisor, who must have been trapped IN the conveyor belt given the amount of time it took to find the man slowly re-calibrated the testing machine so Mr. TSA Agent could test my milk for explosives. None found, he set it back in my cooler amongst more wet pumping parts and a cloth diaper, also damp with milk. Instead of thanking him, I APOLOGIZED AGAIN and said, “that was weird.” Apparently, my self confidence was stuck back in the security line.
He looked at me, pure and simple confusion stamped across his face, and said, “No it wasn’t.”
So, the next time TSA manhandles your breastmilk in its generic Target bags, don’t feel weird about it. They don’t.
Shameless plug! Flying? With a baby or toddler? By yourself? Don’t forget my handy-dandy guide as you embark on your summer horror vacation plans:
Sorry. That was weird, too.

Monday, May 19, 2014

To the Emergency Room! Twice.

There are times when you proclaim to the world you will write more and then sit for weeks waiting for content to fall from the sky and other times when you do so and the content tree suddenly blooms to life. I am experiencing the latter.

My two-and-a-half year old made his maiden voyage to the Emergency Room (ER) last week. I was inside and heard his blood-curdling scream. Ten seconds later my husband and he stormed in the house, both covered with his blood. Pretty soon, we were all covered in blood and five minutes later a new babysitter, on her way to meet the family, arrived.

"We're not normally bloody," I said lest she think there were bodies in the basement, and then asked her if she could stay with the baby while we took the boy to the ER. They glued him back together and we were on our way, our little boy happy that the incident got his parents' full attention for the first time in three months and my husband and I wondering if we could find that glue on Amazon.

Fast forward to this weekend. From the baby's room, I heard my two-year-old's blood-curdling scream from the bathroom and walked in to find him and my husband covered in blood. He'd slipped in the tub and had a deep gash on his chin.

"Ooh," I pantomimed to my husband, "that needs a stitch." Now, I've never seen a cut that definitely needs a stitch, but I did start my college career as a Pre-Med student. Combine that with my Mom Instinct and I'm practically a doctor.

My husband scooped him up, got him dressed, and headed out. He was upset that the little boy had been hurt again but the little guy was excited for some good old one-on-one emergency room time with Daddy.

With two ER visits behind us in just as many weeks, I have many unanswered questions like:

1. No, really. Where is that glue on Amazon?

2.What do I tell Child Protective Services when they show up at my door because they think we like to push our kids down the stairs for fun?
[Sidenote: If you've arrived here because you just googled, "Pushing kids down the stairs for fun" so you can go all Spider-Man vigilante on the sick bastards who do this, re-read the context. You're in the wrong spot!] 

3. Where do I get my ER Loyalty card?

The first two will solve themselves. Child Protective Services will see the bruises up and down my leg that match the parts and pieces of all the baby-holding apparatuses strewn about and immediately understand this is a genetic thing. Super glue will work in a pinch if Amazon hasn't gotten into the medical products game yet but what about the third question? Is there really no ER Loyalty card (she asked with the same gravitas of Carrie Bradshaw typing mind-blowing relationship questions across the TV screen)?

Emergency Rooms, why have you not figured this out? Moms love loyalty programs and you see, all moms have kids. A large percentage of these kids spend childhood in your waiting rooms. The ER that gives their mom an app to clock points is the only ER she's going to.

Start with "Make Five Visits in Three Months and Your Sixth Is On Us" as a test and go from there.

Don't believe this will work?

I get points at Gap and Old Navy to buy more kids clothes. Oh, ok, I'll be honest. I use those more-often-than-not over at Piper Lime to reward myself with new shoes for kicking-ass at motherhood.

I get free hummus or tabbouleh almost every time I eat at Zoe's.

I get discounts on Amazon commodity purchases  (read: diapers & wipes) because I purchase with such frequency.

My lifetime value as a mom of two young boy is ENORMOUS to you. Make me consider you the way I consider the place offering me a free Greek Salad and I will be your loyal customer until the end of time.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Writer's Block.

I think it's safe to say I've been suffering from writer's block for a year. I'm at my best when I have things to mock and right now, aside from my daily appearance, I don't have much to make fun of. Life is good and writing about how good life is sounds boring with a capital B.

I've toyed with the idea of shutting this down and receding quietly into a suburban life of lattes and SUVs, but I just can't do it. I know the three of you who regularly read this are breathing a HUGE sigh of relief. I hear it blowing across the dry Texas plains now.

I can't do it for two reasons.

The first is that when I am so inspired by life's ridiculousness, whether it be crock-pot meals or ombre hair, I want to capture it.

The second is that there is a writer inside of me trying to get out and I can't give up on her quite yet. It was back in first grade that I knew she was in there. During free time, I would sit down with my handy #2 pencil and write [very] short stories. Was I cool? No way, but my stories about little brothers who drove their big sister MAD made me so happy I just didn't care.

And so now, I need to get back in the saddle with little stories of little boys who drive their mommy MAD.

Long before I had children, I had a little book on my writing desk called, "The Writer's Block." It was a prop that showed the outside world how I defined myself and helped prospective home-buyers fancy themselves in a writer's haven when considering our home as theirs. I never opened it.

I found it today, battered and bruised after a few short years of co-existing with a toddler. I opened it and finally thought it might be time to use it.

So, for the next 30 days I am going to write three times a week about random, random things to get back in the writing zone. Bear with me, my dear 3 readers. I don't know what's about to happen, but I'm hoping to find the writer buried underneath babies and toddlers and marketing and household operations. She's in there and she can't wait.

PS - I loathe posts that apologize for not writing and think this borders very close to the edge of such an apology letter. I wrote it to keep myself accountable. We will not speak of it again.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

If You Give A Two-Year-Old A Snack.

If you give a two-year-old a snack, he will tell you the snack you've procured is not to the liking of his refined little palate, run to the cupboard, and pull out your secret stash of M&Ms.

You will open the fridge and try a kung-fu mind trick to lure him away from your chocolate and over to the perishables.

His bright little eyes will rest on the giant, unsliced watermelon inside.

"Dat!" he will scream with the confidence of a global leader.

"Ok!" you will say while rummaging around for an appropriate watermelon slicing knife, knowing this feat of impending manual labor is small price to pay to secure the well-being of your M&Ms.

Once the watermelon is cut into six-thousand bite-size pieces, the two-year-old will taste one and say, "I don't want this. Make me peanut butter and fluff."

You will think about waging a war over watermelon until you realize that six-thousand pieces of the fruit within arm's reach of a two-year-old on the brink of a tantrum will quickly become six-thousand tiny weapons of mass destruction. He will know this and meet your eyes for a dangerous, yet brief, game of chicken.

"Say please," you will say as you put the watermelon into a Tupperware container smugly smiling because YOU really won the battle: you're now armed with a veritable fruit arsenal for the next snack stand-off.

Once the watermelon is put away and the fluffernutter is half made, your two-year-old will profess his love of watermelon. You will ignore this.

While enjoying his marshmallow delicacy disguised as a healthy sandwich, your two-year-old will ask for milk. No, make that chocolate milk.

For a few minutes you will try to convince him that plain milk is tastier than chocolate milk. Alas, his cries of, "No it's not!" will escalate in direct proportion to your exhaustion and, dammit, Hershey will find his way to the milk.

The chocolate milk will remind him of that one time many weeks ago when he drank chocolate milk outside. He will ask to go outside. Fresh air will sound nice to you so you'll go.

Outside, he'll notice the sandbox and ditch the chocolate milk.

Once 85% of the sand is outside the sandbox, he will notice his hands are dirty.

"Can you please turn on the hose so I can wash my hands, Mommy?" he will ask in his sweetest voice.

Proud of his impeccable hygiene, you will comply and in the blink of an eye your two-year-old will stage a solo coup, usurp the nozzle, and soak you both.

As you towel him off and decide the hose episode definitely counts as your shower, you will notice that you are a tad hungry yourself and abscond to the kitchen for a granola bar.

Despite your ninja moves, your two-year-old will sense you are eating and he is not and catch you red-handed.

"What's dat?" he will ask, the cool excitement of a CIA agent holding an incriminating folder of evidence lacing his high-pitched voice.

You will contemplate eating the evidence before turning to face him but his show of power back at the hose has made you feel brazen and you know he will smell oats and chocolate on your breath should you lie so you turn and simply say, "It's a granola bar."

"Ohhhhhhh," he will say back slowly as he assesses the deliciousness of the food you are not sharing. Once he's decided it's high on his delicious scale he will ask abruptly, "can I have a bite?"

"No," you'll say.

"Why?" he'll ask.

"It's mine," you'll say and add, lest he think Mommy is not a good sharer, "and I need the energy in these calories to take care of you."

The tantrum held at bay by little more than hope and marshmallow fluff will be held no more.

As he flails and wails begging for your granola bar you will rack your brain for one, JUST ONE, diversionary tactic. It will arrive on the wings of a dove.

"The ducks!!!" you'll scream triumphantly recalling the success of last week's duck-feeding session, "let's go feed them!"

He will stop mid-cry to assess your seriousness. Should you add "tomorrow" or "later" to your previous statement he is prepared to start right back where he left off.

You will not say either because you mean it and to show just how serious you are you will add, "I'll get some bread."

You will run to your room for a dry shirt and upon your return, find your two-year-old eating the bread.

"That's for the ducks, you silly goose!" you will say with 10 times more levity than you feel.

"But I want it," he'll shoot back and only after a five-minute conversation during which you try to explain the following equation:

Bread For Ducks + Two-Year-Old Eating This Bread = No Bread For Ducks & No Trip To Duck Pond

does he put the bread down.

"I have an idea!" you'll shout hoping to re-inflate his excitement, "run and put the bread in mommy's [impossibly large with contents capable of keeping us alive for two weeks should we get lost in the woods] diaper bag and then we'll go!"

Now, this trip to the other room will take far too long and while you will undoubtedly enjoy those 45 seconds of staring silently at the wall, you will begin to wonder what's happening and embark on a search and recover mission.

You will find him in the living room surrounded by many of your bag's contents and rifling through those remaining within.

"What are you doing?" you'll ask.

And he will say, "I'm looking for a snack. I want a snack."

And we all know what happens if you give a two-year-old a snack.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dear Two Month Ages & Stages Questionnaire.

Dear Two Month Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ),

A few days ago I had the pleasure of encountering you for the first time with my second child and I have uncovered a potential scoring issue that he will face on every future ASQ regardless of age.

You, and your perfect little circles, are going to judge him erroneously. This is not unique to him, but rather, an unfair burden that every second child has to shoulder.

I took you from the nurse and headed to the waiting room, ready for your ridiculous questions, but you surprised me. You see, your questions weren't ridiculous. They were REALLY hard! Maybe I was handed the questionnaire intended for children with parents who are rocket scientists, which I'm flattered over, mind you, but I don't think said rocket scientists could fill in these blanks:

Is your baby's hand usually tightly closed when he's awake?
Yikes! When my baby is awake, I'm not looking at his hand. I'm looking at my 2-year-old making sure he is not throwing toy cars at the baby's wide-open eyes. I'm looking at the piles of laundry all around me wondering who will do them. I'm looking at the empty pantry and then quickly averting my gaze to take-out menus. His hand? No, not in the mix, but I chose "Yes" lest you think I am not paying attention.

Does your baby hold his hand open when he is awake?
Uh-oh. Are you messing with me ASQ? Is it supposed to be closed or open!? After the last question I don't know which one is right! Oh God. Now I'm sweating. I closed my eyes and chose "Yes" figuring one of the two open-hand questions would be right.

When you put a toy in your baby's hand, does he grasp it in his hand briefly.
Welllll, I've never tried. You see, my two-year-old intercepts all toys headed toward the baby and hides them in his toy box like a damn squirrel prepping for winter. Since they're brothers, and my eldest had no problem with this skill, I assume the baby can do it, too. I chose "Sometimes."

Does your baby chuckle softly?
Hmmmmm. I think he does, but he caught a cough from his brother after his future best friend bent down in front of his face and coughed directly on him. I'm sure if he wasn't wheezing and hacking like a three-pack-a-day smoker, he would. The answer is "Yes."

Now, the rest of the questions, I cannot hope to recall. I think you asked if he is eating steak with a fork and knife and if he's borrowed the car yet for a quick trip to Target. Since you ask, I assume he should be and answered "Yes" but honestly cannot recall if either of these have taken place.

So, ASQ, we have a serious issue on our hands. Millions of second children are being judged on responses from parents who have used the "fill in 'C' on the Scan-tron when you don't know the answer" strategy from their high school years. Your results are in no way accurate.

Don't despair. I have a solution.

Let's simplify. After the first child, parents are lucky to find time to brush their hair. Staring down at the second child, in awe of his or her amazing accomplishments, slips down on the list of priorities and calling this out on a 27 point questionnaire makes everyone feel a bit sheepish.

So, let's dumb it down to one very important, and very easy, question:

Is your child alive?

That's about all we can tell you, anyway. Don't make us pretend we know more.

Thanks so much for listening. Should you like my suggestion enough to implement it and want to cite me in the credits, you know where to fine me.

Sincerely,
annie

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tale From The Breastfeeding Crypt.

I have itchy nipples.

When I decided to breastfeed, which was less of a decision and more of a "hey, he's doing it and this burns calories like I'm an Olympic athlete and it's more efficient than pumping and not as weird as I imagined, so let's go with it," I didn't know itchy nipples were even a thing to worry about.

For those of you who may be in the dark as I was, consider this a public service announcement.

Why do my nipples itch? Well, my littlest guy contracted thrush, something that AIDS patients and newborns get. In laymen's terms, thrush is a yeast infection in your mouth. 

Think that's as gross as it gets? Nope. I have yeast on my nipples. I have so much yeast on my nipples I expect to see a loaf of bread baking on my chest any day. And, who knew, yeast on your nipples is just about the most painful thing one can experience. I would take childbirth over yeasty nips anyday. For several days, I thought he was sucking knives, not milk, through my nipples. Sharp, rusty knives with very serrated edges.

Let me tell you a little more about yeasty nips.

When the pediatrician said he had thrush and then asked if feeding him had been painful I thought there would be a quick fix to the intense pain I'd been experiencing which I'd chalked it up to poor breastfeeding skills. I would have quit, but after reading that if you make it four months breastfeeding, it will be the ONLY TIME IN YOUR LIFE you burn fat from your upper thighs I cringed through the pain and charged on. I was happy to learn the yeast was to blame.

The little boy and I were put on medication and I pumped for a few days which is not a good time at two o'clock in the morning. Or six o'clock. Or nine o'clock.

I thought I was in the clear and returned to feeding him, but within 48 hours I knew the yeast had taken up residence again.

My doctor called in a special cream to a special compounding pharmacy. This is a place where the pharmacists actually MAKE the medicine. Like with a mortar and pestle.

Upon arrival to the pharmacy the hippy pharmacist told me prescriptions take 48 hours to fill. I almost said, "Well, no wonder this is a dying business," I thought about saying, "I will have sex with you right now if you give me the damn cream," but I'm only 5 weeks post-partem so YIKES, and ended up saying, "I need this now." 

The best he could do was the next day so I texted my friend who is an OB and asked if I could schmear Monistat on my nips. Done and done. I bathed my boobs in vag cream and hoped for the best.

Now, with my compounding cream in hand, I apply it about 12 times a day and then wash my hands vigorously less the yeast make there way onto other body parts.

I tried to the anti-yeast diet, but you can basically eat broccoli and since I'm burning 500+ calories/day through painful breastfeeding, I think I deserve some sugar and carbs so I stopped the anti-yeast diet. Ok, I never started it. I just read about it. I did, however, start taking a garlic pill because garlic is supposed to kill yeast which is all the evidence I need to confirm yeast are vampires masquerading as single-celled organisms. 

After almost a week of special cream, my situation has been downgraded from incredibly painful to moderately itchy. Have you ever tried to scratch your nipple? It's weird and hard to do and you end up hurting yourself but the itch doesn't go away.

If my special cream doesn't work, we take things a step further with something called Gentian Violet. I don't know what it is, exactly, but it involves pouring violet liquid on the "affected area." No need to dye Easter eggs this year; I am the Easter egg. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

And Then There Were Two.

The story of the birth of my first baby made sense in a world inhabited by a uterus with something to prove. The story of the birth of my second makes sense in a world inhabited by a uterus who wants no one else inhabiting her.

Maybe I didn't appreciate her enough the first time. Maybe I attributed her skill set more to nature than nurture. Or maybe, she was in the Olympic spirit with her eyes set on nothing but gold. I can only speculate what drove her and offer a meager attempt to honor what she pulled off last week by telling this tale.

After a night of comfortably uncomfortable contractions and four weeks of false hope that labor was right around the corner, I spent my due date waiting. Nothing of note happened other than the UPS cashier markedly improving his speed-of-service when he guessed I was five months pregnant and I responded, "No. I'm due today."

The day after my due date, I loafed around. My little boy and I made up drive-thru errands to run and my husband stayed close. "It's not happening," I told him, "today doesn't feel like the day."

To my ute, those words were the secret password. Her eyes filled with dervish glee and she said, "Today doesn't feel like the day?? I believe I choose the day, not your feelings."

Luckily, my husband didn't believe my disbelief about the day and arrived home early from work. My little boy and I were baking brownies and staring at a sea of spilled Cheerios. The latter doesn't sound like a mommy-and-me activity, but it is because without the dog, he and I engage in at least six daily 'who is going to pick that food up off the floor' staredowns.

As a family of three, we watched Sesame Street and then whipped up a nutrient packed box of Kraft (Yes, Kraft; not Annie's) mac 'n cheese for dinner so my husband and I could say it was for our little boy but eat most of it ourselves.

My uterus watched and judged, of that I'm certain.

In the middle of this uneventful Wednesday night I used the loo and noticed I was either being eaten from the inside by slugs or had lost part of the mucus plug.

"How long until labor after the mp goes?" I asked Google and was disappointed the results page didn't say, "in the next five minutes."

"You want it in the next five minutes," my ute said with a tad too much insouciance for my taste, "I can do better than that."

"OWWWWW!" I screamed and hunched over.

"This is it!" my husband yelled through a mouthful of mac 'n cheese.

"Wait," I said, when the pain had passed not believing I was in labor although if I wasn't, I was surely dying of a tropical, and still undiscovered, gastro-intestinal disease, "these will be at least 15 minutes apart. We've got time."

"Don't think so," I heard my ute say in a matter-of-fact tone that mocked my own like I was being played back. I knew I was in big, BIG trouble.

TWO MINUTES later another one struck with double the intensity.

"Oh my God," I said, "call my cousin NOW to come get [son's name here]."

The old girl had skipped the warm-up round. She and I were in hard labor in the blink of an eye.

The next 30 minutes were straight from a scene out of a cliched movie which my little boy watched with a bemused expression as he ate his mac 'n cheese. I  tried not to yell while my husband tried to stay calm. We both failed miserably. My ute, however, was hugely successful in blasting me with a soul-crushing, earth-shattering, whimpering-inducing contraction every three minutes.

When my cousin arrived, we shoved our son out the door with his overnight bag and Tupperware case of brownies. Had the pain been a bit less searing, I may have teared up when I hugged him, thinking about all our twosome adventures and boring afternoons of the past 27 months, but all I could think about was an epidural.

The next hour and a half I recall in bits and pieces. That labor blackout trick that keeps the world populated has started taking hold and so I only recall a dark shroud of pain punctuated by a dozen memories.

I remember contractions in the car. I remember closing my eyes, gripping the seat and whimpering like a barnyard animal.

I remember my husband asking to place a final $100 bet on the baby's gender and me responding in a scary calm voice that would make one believe I had an ice-pick in pocket, "Please don't talk."

I remember riding up the elevator, saying, "Never, EVER again. Never."

I remember listening to a despairingly long list of "to-dos" that needed checking off before anyone would stick a giant needle filled with magical elixir and unicorn hair in my back.

I remember recalling the hospital tour guide's suggestion from a few months back to bring lavender or jasmine to ease the contractions and lucidly understanding that she was on acid when she shared this "helpful" tidbit.

I remember recalling the odd inflatable pool that was also mentioned on the aforementioned tour and quickly devising a plan to request it and drown myself if the epidural was not taken care of in the next 10 minutes.

I think I cried.

And then, the epidural woman came in; an elfin blonde with an Eastern European accent toting a shiny metal box filled with Cold War era torture devices. I told her I loved her. I meant it.

Post-epidural, just over two hours into labor, I was 8 centimeters dilated.

My uterus laughed out loud at the shocked look on my face and reminded me I'd be at 10 if she hadn't stopped at Starbucks for a Caramel Flan Latte. There had been one five minute space between contractions and it seems it occurred only because she was waiting on a barista.

I experienced 30 minutes of epidural bliss, which my husband and I used to align on a final name for a boy, and then felt pressure. I called the nurse, who called the doctor. It was go time.

As it had 27 months ago in a different hospital, in a different state, the room transformed into the Death Star and my ute was once again gasped at the probing lights that whipped down from the ceiling and stirrups that whipped up from the bed. I however, told her to get on with it. I appreciate her esteem for dignity, but she's got a job to do.

I pushed once.

The doctor said, "I can't hear the baby's heartbeat very well so I need you to push hard right now. We're not waiting for a contraction."

I did as told.

The doctor said, "Ok. I'm still having trouble hearing it, probably because the baby is under your pelvic bones. I'm going to cut you."

My ute gasped more loudly than when the stirrups appeared.

I on the other hand, wasn't sure what to think. Those are not the words one wants to hear when stirruped. In fact, I believe "I'm going to cut you" is a trendy phrase that is not usually followed by an actual cut in my circles. However, talk of heartbeats made me nervous and all I could muster was, "Uhh. Ok?"

The doctor asked the nurse for a vacuum and then asked me to push.

My ute, knowing it was too late to escape the knife but not the vacuum, used that third push to sweep my second baby out into the world.

"It's a boy!" my husband shouted, which I'd known all along without ever confirming.

I looked down for a second time at a bawling boy on my chest. "Brothers," I thought getting a little teary-eyed and immediately started forgetting the hell of the last 3.5 hours.

"Whoa!" I said after looking at the little guy a little closer, "he's BIG," and the doctor said, "yeah, he is big." The scale confirmed that I'd given birth to an 8-pound, 11-ounce baby.

In the distance I heard my uterus inhale loudly, preparing for a rant. I stopped her. "You're right. I had very little to do with this. It was ALL you." (Ok, so I had a little to do with it, but I need to hedge my bets. The chances are slim that I'll ever do this again, but nonetheless, I need her in my good graces.)

Last time, she chose a 12 hour, easygoing labor. Perhaps sensing I was a bit indifferent about her abilities, this time she brought a pain-riddled 3.5 hour labor. It bordered on a coup d'etat, so I will never doubt her again, and likely, never do this again.

Ute, this was another job well done. You grew (and grew and grew) another perfect baby boy and ejected him when you knew it was time. Now cash in your 401k and head for the islands. I will be here managing dirt and superheroes and blocks and huge appetites and little boy hugs. Thank you for the perfect workload.
                                                     

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Some Guilt While I Wait.

Since I am 39+ weeks pregnant with no daily happenings worth writing about, except for the fact that I am $$^%^$#@ 39+ weeks pregnant, I thought I'd distract myself by getting out some guilt.

The dog is dead.

Ok, no. I'm not writing about "The Telltale Heart" kind of guilt, folks. While I did threaten to kill him many times, I didn't know how to cleanly dispose of a 110 pound hairy carcass so I couldn't do it.

He died of a heart fluke. My husband talked to the vet about fixing the problem, but he told him the prognosis was grim and it would certainly be back if he were to recover. We made the decision in a 12-second phone call.

This was in November and the past three months are best described as joy-filled and hair-free.

I don't miss him.

I don't miss vacuuming once a day.

I don't miss refereeing the snack fights that happened 5 times a day when my son walked by him with handfuls of Bunny Grahams and Cheerios.

I don't miss the destruction that took place when it thundered.

I don't miss the stares I got when he wanted to go for a walk and the loud "Harumph" directed my way when he realized it was not happening.

I don't miss the sticks, leaves, and mud.

I don't miss the pawprints everywhere.

I don't miss lifting heavy bags of dog food into the cart.

I don't miss feeling like Cinderella, pre-glass slipper, when I picked up dog poop.

I don't miss people saying, "What a good dog you have there!" and then laughing when I asked if they wanted him.

I don't miss noseprints on every window.

I don't miss living with a beast who would be in my weight class were we boxers.

I don't miss any of it and I feel guilty but elated. He's probably better off too, because, let's face it, post-partem I would have figured out how to get rid of a 110 pound hairy carcass.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dear Cervix.

Dear Cervix,

Hey there! It's been awhile since we've had a fireside chat, but it's time to open up and put it all out there again.

I know your job is relatively thankless. That damn uterus sees all the action and the praise, but without your support, she'd be nothing. Just so you know, everyone knows that, but I know when you hear, "My cervix is doing nothing," you shake your fist and yell back, "except sealing your offspring safely inside!" And the frequent comment of Debbie-Downers everywhere, "Dilating has little to do with actually having a baby," makes you huff and mumble, "I dare you to try and get it out undilated, sweetie."

I'd want to punch everyone in the face, too!

So listen, last time around, I may have called you some not nice names when you started dilating. That was about me, not you! I didn't know what was around the corner and I wanted you to stay put for the next 10 years if possible.

This time, you're starting early and I love it! Doc told me you are already dilating and effacing at just over 36 weeks.  Let's keep going. You are the girl at prom showing too much skin precisly because she's promiscuous, NOT the prom queen in a pink taffeta dress that's stapled shut. Got it? No false hope.

No, no, this has nothing to do with my sheer discomfort and desire to no longer be pregnant, this is about your prestige. It only takes a few centimeters to show the "honorable" ute that while she may do some heavy organizational lifting, when you say it's go time, she has no choice but to listen.

Think it through, keep doing your thing, and we'll talk soon.

Sincerely,
Annie

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I Hate Pregnancy.

I hate pregnancy.

Whoa, whoa, whoa SETTLE DOWN.

When you finally own your beach house, do you rejoice in the flood insurance? Or when you get to that job with the big bonus do you exclaim, "I am so excited to pay even more in taxes!!"

No, you don't. You take the good with the bad and while the good is being pregnant the very, very bad is pregnancy. And while most 8+ months pregnant women get to this point and have the same list of trite complaints, please indulge mine.

Last time around, not realizing I would never again have time to eat more than string cheese, I stressed about weight gain and made it to the gym 4-5 times a week. This time, I hate all shoes with laces so much that I rarely work out more than twice a week. Those little blue bastards in my new running shoes look at me from the corner of my closet and raspily cry out like the big-eyed blobs growing from Ursula's lair, "Ohhhhhhh, can you not bend and force your foot in us? How will you tie us? How will you even get back up once you're down at our level?"

While we're on shoes, I also hate all my heels. They have forsaken me. Last time around I rocked them until Week 39. This time around, we're not on speaking terms. They make my ankles look like loaves of salami and I cannot have a relationship that makes any part of my body look like cured meat.

I hate renegade puzzle pieces, magnetic animals, and pumpkin and goat when they go missing because these items are invariably UNDER something. Last time around I had no reason to get down on all fours and crawl under couches at any point in life, let alone at 8 months pregnant. This time, I have a two-year-old whose cries of, "Get it Mommy! Get it! It's right dair!" are only slight more painful and persistent than the aches an 8-months pregnant woman feels rolling around the floor grasping for a goat in the dark.

I am very disappointed in how quickly my body gave up the good fight. This baby feels as low as my son did right before his head popped out of my crotch and my doctor told me I pulled some kind of ab muscle picking up that same son a few weeks ago. Ummm, abs...where are you? For the same bunch who used to run and run and run with me and go to early-ass morning bootcamp, you phoned it in pretty fast.

And lastly, I hate my hate. Pregnancy, you've made me one of "those" women and for that we will never be close. I don't want to groan everytime I move, get stuck on the floor, or look forward to a pre-natal massage for days. I don't want to sit on a couch and stare at a blank TV because I'm contemplating the tuck and roll maneuver required to get up. I don't want to stop caring how I look because the act of getting dressed tears muscles.

I've had it with pregnancy. Being pregnant, is fine. I'm happy to be and happy there will be a sibling in our lives very, VERY soon. However, if after reading a cheeseball facebook post shared by all my friends who (accidentally) have three children about how awesome/unique/loveable the third child is I say out loud, "I think we should have another!" I've asked my husband to punch me in the face or waterboard me until my senses return or I am beyond a child-bearing age.