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.


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


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.