Saturday, October 29, 2011


There is something about Jeff being away on a golf trip this weekend that really makes me want to shop on-line. For presents. For myself. The delicious taste of justification-- it makes my eyes water. You should see my virtual shopping carts.

Minus 2 for my anti-consumerism project goals.

So Much To Celebrate

First, our little Simon O'Brien is 9 months old today! It's not easy to snap a picture when a 23 lb baby is sitting on your chest taking a wee snooze. This week Simon is in the habit of falling asleep on me when he's nursing, which I absolutely love. He usually faces away from me, so I can't see his cuteness all wrapped up in sleep. Every now and then he faces me, but I usually take that opportunity to pick out his buggers so I can't say I blame him for turning his nose away from me. I can be a little relentless when it comes to hardened snot.

So, we celebrate Simon turning 3/4 of a year old. I can't believe it. I remember last November: We were about to head out to Arizona for a holiday trip and I was pretty pregnant and Simon was double dutching in my stomach all the time. Now, he's here and damn, he's about to start walking. He can stand on his own for about 2 seconds right now. Sadie and I were trying to teach him how to walk this afternoon and he thought it was so funny. Every time I let go he would laugh and laugh, which would throw him off balance. Someday I hope he can tell me what's so freaking funny, because he's clearly in on the joke.

We are also celebrating the 200th post for Swaddled With Joy! Sounds like one little mama has been cured of her commitment phobia and her lack of consistency.

Oh, wait, that's not true at all.

I have stuck with this little venue for collecting memories, insanities, and snippets from our lives. Is now a good time to say that while I was out this morning, Sadie went pee-pee in the potty twice and also managed to go #2 in the potty as well? Why not. She did. I couldn't decide if I was happy or sad that this took place when I was away from my post. I guess it doesn't matter. I still got to change many poopy diapers today alone and will probably get another chance as soon as tomorrow.

I would write more witty and wonderful scenes from our madcapped days, but I am exhausted. I am actually more exhausted than usual, as my beloved is in Las Vegas for a tournament with his dad and brother. I enjoy getting the texts from Jeff complete with a picture of the perfect weather at the tee box, especially when I am pumping, feeding Simon and keeping Sadie from impaling herself in the fireplace (all at the same time). Not exactly as picturesque as the bucolic 4 par at hole 8, but we manage to keep ourselves in gratitude for our humble vistas back here at home. I had great plans for doing projects around the house while Jeff was gone. Turns out that the only project I could really manage on my own was keeping the children fed and relatively unsoiled. The closets and the laundry and the countertops full of crumbs will have to wait until Jeff comes home (and he finds time to do them).

It's a good, good life, but damn, it sure makes me tired.

Here's to hundreds of more posts about love and growth and mess and crumbs and poop and milestones and heartbeats down the road.

Oh, and I can't wait until the post about my weekend away . . . even if it's in 2013, there WILL be a post about mama's weekend in some far flung locale wherein I will detail the exquisite, uninterrupted sleep, the shopping, the delicious food, the breast-pump-free nature of the excursion and the utter joy of both going away and coming home.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hell-oween Candy

I don't give a sh*t right now about Wall Street or the protests or Libya or menopause or the size of my stomach. You know what I do care about? How Halloween candy is about to ruin my life.

I really care about that right now.

To make a long story short, Halloween candy and I have never gotten along. When I was a kid, there was never enough, my brother always had more, my sister's always lasted longer, and I felt like I got hosed by ending up with all the nasty candy corn. So, I guess it's not entirely a surprise to me that I experiencing some drama around Halloween candy (hereinafter "HC") now that I have children.

I don't want to be the wacky, black-and-white thinking mom that refuses to let my kids participate in any activity where they might come in contact with sugar. I don't want to suck all the joy out of life just because I, myself, had a little struggle with candy and weight all my freaking life. I also don't want to watch Sadie (or Simon once he gets past pureed sweet potatoes and avocados) to maim their bodies or minds or afternoons because they ate too much candy. On an empty stomach.

And that's sort of what happened when Sadie was first introduced to HC this week. She didn't eat a big breakfast on Wednesday, because she was busy being sure that Simon didn't touch a single thing in the house she might ever want to play with. Then, she was walking around in my leopard skin flats (not real leopard skin-- and don't judge; there was a moment in 2009 when those shoes were really fashion forward). When she got ready to go to her regular Wednesday appointment for story time with her friend Rhys, Sadie was game for dusting off her chicken costume and festively joining the other costumed kids.

The only way to describe what happened next is to picture nuclear meltdown at my house 2 hours later when Sadie came home with 2 kit-kat bars down the hatch and she was hungry for more. Lots more. She couldn't talk about anything besides HC. She wanted that kit-kat with a fervor she reserves for the iPad and Elmo. It was lunch time so I pulled out all my culinary tricks: chicken nuggets? Mac 'n cheese? Pumpkin risotto? Truffle oil on a corn cake?


It was all about the HC. HC this and HC that. I made Sadie lunch anyway and set it on the table, explaining that there would be no more HC until she ate her lunch. She sat down for .8 seconds and then declared she was done and ready for her HC. It was the single-mindedness of it. The tenacity. She was like a little Bernie Madoff.

I was scared.

I told her if she ate some of her lunch we would go upstairs with her bottle before her nap (not really a bottle, but a sippy cup full of warm milk, because that's how Princess of the Universe likes it) we would eat her candy together and read a book. My theory was that she needed to have her candy with company (me) and that she would be so filled up by my loving and stimulating maternal presence that she would forget all about the candy.

Right. And, then we ate biscuits on the moon.

I felt really dejected. We don't use sugar as a reward around here. She's getting potty trained through stickers and happy dances done by her parents. She's never had an M&M. She thinks yogurt is ice cream and is happy to have a fig for dessert. What the hell happened with that Kit-Kat? If it was a dark chocolate snickers I could understand, but a Kit-Kat? That's practically just a graham cracker.

Needless to say, when I ended up having to capitulate (because I am afraid of conflict even with my children) and eat the Kit-Kat with her (I didn't really eat any), it went so far downhill from there, I can't even tell you. It was time to hug her and put her down for a nap and she turned 1000 shades of Exorcist child on me. Screaming. Oh, the screaming. She was kicking her crib and then hurting her foot which made her cry more. I would pick her up and rock her and get her calmish and then it would start again when I would mention our primary purpose for the whole excursion upstairs was for her to get her nap. She has really never screamed like that. I would say she was downright apoplectic.

It was only October 26. We haven't even started the bona fide Halloween festivities. How can I keep her from getting sidetracked by the HC? (What if she fails out of highschool because she's a sugar addict? Me-- always in the moment.) I have asked around and haven't really heard anyone else with a good plan for dealing with kids around the HC. One person said 1 piece of candy per day. I like that idea, I just don't want to fight the battle of MORE MORE MORE everyday with her. I don't want to create taboos around food, but I think her reaction to the Kit-Kats was an indication that she needs my intervention. The hell I am going through that again.

She did end up sleeping for 3.5 hours after her cardio temper tantrum. We didn't deal with any HC today so I am one day closer to November, that sweet, sweet candy-free month. I am open for ideas. It's a little too late to convince her that broccoli is a kind of HC. But, I just may try that tomorrow.

Monday, October 24, 2011


The other night after a very long arduous day keeping my children alive and molding their little characters to be citizens of the world (like the Jolie-Pitt children without all that pesky international travel), Jeff and I sunk into bed ready to shut down the day and escape into the arms of a sweet, sweet slumber. (Did you think I was going to say we sank into each others' arms? Silly. Does that sound relaxing to you? After a day of being mauled by my two children, I am not really in the market for more physical contact. I know, I know, Jeff is so freaking lucky.)

Even more lucky for Jeff, just before he started his initial snoring (think little piggie snores that are cute until he hits the REM stage and it's more like wild hog bellows), I told Jeff that I was having a growing feeling that a primary, significant relationship in my life was hitting the rocks. I was scared to even say those words outloud, which is why I started the airing out process with Jeff, because, while he loves me, he doesn't really listen to me.

I told him that I needed to process the end of the relationship and mourn the fantasy I had been holding onto, in hopes that maybe, just maybe, the relationship could start over on a stronger basis: one of honesty, vulnerability and reality.

If he had been listening, Jeff probably would have thought that I had acquired a boyfriend in all my spare time. But, no, it was nothing like that. I was talking about a relationship I had been involved with since I was 13. There had been ups and down and of course there were the college years and the years when I was aloof and distant, but through it all there was a pulse, a heartbeat, however faint, that kept the relationship viable.

I was talking about my relationship with Oprah Winfrey.

Here's how it went down:

When she first came on the air, I would come home from my all-girls Catholic highschool and watch her show at 4 p.m. while eating an ample snack and wearing my little plaid skirt. I usually fell asleep on the couch after her show (that's what an "ample" snack consisting of fat and carbs will do to a girl), and my parents would leave me on the couch until dinner time. In college, I didn't really watch Oprah. In graduate school, I would not have been caught dead watching network TV, let alone Oprah. Good lord, I couldn't begin to harmonize Derrida, semoitics and French post-structuralism with fucking Oprah Winfrey. But, I never spoke ill of her, even when she became known for collecting angels or singing her own theme song. (We all make mistakes.) In law school, I wasn't much of a daytime TV watcher, what with all the outlines and res ipsa loquitor to memorize.

But, we had those weeks I was on maternity leave, before I was properly medicated, when I could do nothing but sit on the couch nursing my baby/ies looking for tips on living my best life, since I didn't think living with my breasts in another person's mouth would necessarily fit that description. When the snowstorm of 2011 hit and I was housebound with a (second) surgical scar, a newborn baby, and a somewhat highstrung and angry 18-month-old, Oprah's inspired 25th season was a balm for all my jagged scars-- physical and emotional. Listening to Paul Simon sing her theme song about 25 years left me and Simon covered in salty tears everyday.

I was riveted by her Behind the Scenes show. I think if I taught a management course I would show some clips of her leadership style to my students. I was surprised at how funny and intentional Ms. Winfrey is. I also thought it was hilarious how she had no idea what REI was and seemed so proud of never having to drive a car. Her dressing room was a marvel: stacks of perfectly folded cashmere sweaters. Shelves of fancy shoes I can't spell or walk in without having my calf muscles spasm. Her loves for her dog, the way she fixes her lunch in the morning and how impressively hard she works. Say whatever you want about Oprah and her message or her meaning, she undeniably works her freaking ass off. I am not entirely sure what she does, but it was clear that she put in long hours preparing for shows and her staff, working equally long (or longer) hours, would clearly do anything for her.

All of this is impressive as an American success story, even if she wasn't a woman or of color or a woman of color from the poorest state in the country. Even if she wasn't abandoned by her mother and raped and cast aside by more than one trusted person in her life. I will admire her until the day I die. Period.

I cried when the show was over. I cried when she said the show had been "the love of her life," and she walked off the stage in that perfect petal pink dress. I cried when the staffers got all choked up on Behind the Scenes, bemoaning that they would never be together again. I know it's not hard to make me cry, but the tears are still meaningful even though they fall frequently.

But, the other day I was perusing OWN, Oprah's network, and there she was. And, wait, there were many of her staff members. I guess they are called producers. There was Sherri Salata and Jill, and Dana and they were producing a show for Oprah called Lifeclass.


I thought Oprah was leaving. I thought the producers were all crying because it was over.

It's not over. I can TiVo here 5 times per week if I want. There is even a behind the scenes show for Lifeclass. What? I feel like it was all a tease. I feel duped. I know it's a different show, but it's still Oprah 5 days per week with virtually the same cast.

So, skeptically I watched these Behind the Scenes and started watching Rosie on Own. Last Friday Rosie showed footage of a surprise party that Oprah threw for Rosie and her staff. At first blush, that seems like a kind and generous and supportive thing to do, right? Oprah pulled out a tequila bottle as big as a satellite dish and "make" Rosie do shots. Of tequila. In front of her staff. On camera. Rosie introduced the clip saying that Oprah loves the tequila shot and that Rosie herself hasn't done a shot in about 30 years.

Let's see. If your boss and the owner of the Network on which you have a brand new show that is billed as your resurrection and "second" chance to host a show calls you over to do a tequila shot, what do you say? One guess: Where's my lime, Oprah?

As a non-drinker who was in a heavily alcohol-friendly profession (is there one that's not, besides Mormon bookseller?), this was painful to watch. I know that drinking is social and makes people happy and loosens people up. I take it from her comments that Rosie imbibes at least occasionally. But, that's different than being cajoled by Oprah to take a shot at a party she has thrown in your honor. In her old studio that you just took over for your fledging talk/variety show. Rosie was a good sport about the whole thing and later said the shot felt like drinking liquid Ben Gay. What's the big deal, right? I am sure if Rosie had an objection to drinking Oprah would respect that and present her with a keg of Tang or a bucket of Fresca for the celebration.

What I saw in that interaction was my own recollection of how hard it is to say no to bosses, especially in situations that are not directly related to work. In the social arena, it's hard to tell your boss that you freaking hate baseball, but will be happy to take clients to Cubs games, even if it's raining and you are 5 months pregnant. It was hard to be the only person at the big table not drinking and have a partner ask me over and over again why I wasn't drinking. What answer was he looking for? I have no idea. I tried to get creative over the years so everyone could just laugh and move on. Someone told me to say that my parole officer won't let me drink. Is there anything cool about saying "I just don't drink. I would rather put those calories towards chocolate or samples from Costco." What about, "you know what, boss? You make me incredibly anxious and I hate socializing at work so I am not going to add alcohol to the mix because it will probably make me projectile vomit all over these stupid crab legs you ordered." Sometimes I would mix a little bit of truth: "My dad's a recovering alcoholic and I have an addictive personality." Then, I would give my listeners a knowing stare. Usually the drunkest person at the table would then say, "so, that's it? THAT's why you don't drink? The hereditary thing?"

Anyway, I was annoyed that the most powerful woman in media had to resort to shots. It seemed like it was a performance for the staff and for Rosie and for the viewers to see this fun-loving, party-girl-for-the-people side of Oprah. How could a person who does shots and invites others to so shoot be anything but fun and young and full of joy and vitality?

I didn't like it. I felt for Rosie who was in a tough spot but had to play along all the name of "fun." Her staff is incredibly young and driven so I imagine the atmosphere is very "work hard; play hard." I may be the only person in the world who cares about this or is still thinking about it. One day I will be a boss again of someone besides Sadie and Simon and I will think long and hard before I ask anything of anyone in a public, social setting because the whole point of power is that people will do what you say, even if it feels like drinking liquid Ben Gay.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Everyone has parenting advice, right? Sleeping, eating and discipline advice. Also there is advice about schooling and activities and moral development. On the one hand, this is all fertile ground for conversation when meeting new people who also have children. On the other hand, I wish someone would tell me something truly relevant.

Such as?

How about warning me that my children's worst smelling diapers and foulest GI issues will commence as soon as Jeff goes out of town? I could have used a head's up on that one.

How about telling me that every single snack I will ever fix for my 2 year old will end up on the floor, no matter how much money I spend on "snack traps" from (Snack trap my ass. Sadie reached in the second I handed her the alleged traps and took the top off threw it on the floor (along with the rest of her snacks)).

Could someone have mentioned that kids don't like to wear their coats? Remember, I am not from around here. No one cared if I didn't wear my coat when I was a kid because I grew up in Texas, where crazy shit goes down all the time, but the temperature has the decency to remain well above freezing all "winter" long. Do I need to beg you for tips on how to deal with a distraught toddler whose hands are frostbitten, yet she refuses to wear her coat?

What about a little reminder that once a child knows how to say "mama," she or he might stand next to you and scream it at the top of her vocal range 1,000 times a minute, just because she knows it annoys you? What the hell are you supposed to do with that? What does the venerable Dr. Sears say about that? Hell, if co-sleeping will put an end to that, I say, "Jump in my bed, kiddos."

And, that was sort of uncool of the veterans around me not to mention that I would be unable to have a conversation with another adult while my 2 year old is in the room, unless the conversation revolves around the child? I have grown weary of watching Sadie fling herself off a high stool or bang her head on the table, the minute I engage in conversation with anyone who is not Sadie. I am bitter, but I would accept some tips on how to talk to Sabrina about Simon's nap schedule or discuss dinner plans with Jeff without Sadie having to concuss herself in the process? It sure is hard to convince myself we are such amazing, enlightened, loving parents when we have to buy Sadie a helmet to discuss the news of the day.

She looks so innocent.

She looks so demure.

DO NOT BUY IT. This little girl has an emotional intelligence so far beyond me that I probably deserve to be played like her little bejeweled princess fiddle. She probably has emotional intelligence beyond you too. You may think you have the upper hand, but before you know it, you will be living in Sadieland where you have to read the same Dora books over and over and over and you have to give her a bite of whatever you are eating (even if you are making meatballs with raw ground turkey) and you have to give her your heart, because she will accept nothing less.

Could I be more proud?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pops' Lap

Dear old Simon got some QT with his Pops this weekend when my parents came to visit us. It was great to have extra hands to help us out. We are all still coming down from the high of having YaYa and Pops around to laugh, play and eat cake with us.

While here, my Dad celebrated his 68th birthday. It's so hard to believe he's 68. I remember when he turned 40. He has the same sense of humor and the same self-effacing manner. And, as always, he's Texas to the core. Not many men strolling through Millenium Park with a cowboy hat on, but my dad did. He's the real deal.
I did have a moment when I thought I should take stock and recognize that my dad isn't the spry 40 year old he was 28 years ago. When he insisted that he take a turn riding in the back of our mini-van I was on hand to help him exit the van once we reached our destination. Maybe it was the hat, but he seemed a little less agile than he used to be. Granted, he had to navigate two car seats, thousands of Cheerios and cracker crumbs and try to exit gracefully on the street side ... all while keeping his hat on. This isn't easy for anyone, but I did find my self gulping down a little fear and sadness about the passage of time.

And that's all I will say about for now. Because if I keep going I am going to start crying and feeling sad and scared and then feeling old and thinking about all the things in the world that are sad to me right now, including the death of Steve Jobs (actually, terminal cancer is what is really sad to me), Tay Sachs disease, menopause, lost time, mastitis and impending winter darkness. I can't cry right now because downstairs waiting for me and Jeff is a pot of dal I made today that is rumored to taste delicious and I don't want to ruin it with my salty, morose tears. After dinner I will cry into my apple crisp after watching Dancing with the Stars results show and then I will take my antidepressant and plan a future visit to Texas so we can all spend as much time together as possible while everyone is alive and well.

(I swear I have tried to brush Simon's hair to the side. Not happening. I can't tame my children's hair. Sue me.)


Mommy: Sadie, look at your beautiful teeth. Can you show YaYa your teeth?

Sadie: [Turning to my mother, YaYa, shows her big smile]. See?

YaYa: Well, your teeth are gorgeous.

Mommy: Can you show YaYa your molars?

Sadie: [Unhinging her jaw and showing YaYa her molars.]

YaYa: Where did you get such beautiful molars?

Sadie: Target.

* * *

Perhaps this little exchange shows that my project to become less consumerist has slipped to the second page of my priority list. I suppose it's time to just embrace our love of the big red bullseye and all the plastic-y, on-sale goodness that is Target.

We've been playing lots of peek-a-boo with Simon (because we are THOSE hands on, doting type of parents) and Sadie is picking up on it. She, however, calls it "look-a-boo." She has a fun time playing look-a-boo with us while she's brushing her teeth. Well, we thought she was brushing her teeth, but really she was eating the toothpaste. Maybe Mommy and Daddy should take a closer lookie-poo.

Sadie has also discovered DVD's. Not sure how this happened other than we leave our shit laying around all over the house, so she picks it up and we use our poor housekeeping as a way to teach her new words. For example, when Sadie found my underwear unfolded on the floor we taught her the word "thong." She found a DVD laying on the table, so now she knows the word "DVD," except for her she calls it a "DV-TV." It's funny. I am proud of how resourceful we can be: It's not that our house is a filthy, unkempt mess; rather, it's that we have a rich and creative way to teach Sadie important vocabulary. Can't wait for her to use thong in a sentence.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Alive and Kicking

These two little children are still alive, which should be grounds for a miracle, considering their mother is laboring to parent them under the weight of a breast infection. Yes, I have mastitis, which is a huge pain in the ass, frankly. It means taking antibiotics, lugging around a very sore and grumpy right breast, extra pumping, and feeling vaguely flu-ish.


Jeff is out of town this week so it was definitely time to suck it up and get extra help and take it easy. To that end, here's what I did today:

6:20 a.m.: Up with Simon, playing and nursing.

7:30 a.m.: Take the party to Sadie's room because she's is awake and asking for some attention in a voice that is the volume of, say, 10 out of 10.

7:30-8:15 a.m.: Play and get breakfast/milk for Sadie and Mommy. Prepare Simon's breakfast.

8:15 a.m.: Pump.

8:45 a.m.-9:30 a.m.: Take Sadie to the park to play.

9:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Write children's books with my partner and hang out with Simom.

12:15 p.m.-1:30 p.m.: Make lasagna sauce, and lunch for me and the two kids. Confirm with doctor that a prescription was called in for my MASTITIS.

1:30 p.m.: Go to pharmacy and stand in stupid long line to get medicine. Finally, when the pharmacist can assist me, I learn I am at the WRONG pharmacy.

1:39 p.m.: Cry, keen and wail and shake my fist at god. Feel weak and sick. Drive to correct pharmacy to get the goods.

1:45 p.m.: Pharmacy says it's not ready come back in 20 minutes. (In the pharmacy world, that means about 2 hours.)

1:47 p.m.: Gnash teeth, send out angry texts to anyone who has ever texted me saying how much I hate the pharmacy and stupid breast infection.

2:45 p.m.: Return to pharmacy. There is no one in line, but still it takes 20 minutes to get me my f&cking antibiotics. Good thing I had a book to read. Read 10 pages.

3:15 p.m.: Make brownies with extra eggs for cakelike batter. Playgroup at my house; I like to serve brownies.

3:30 p.m.: The first of 5 mommies comes to my house for playgroup.

6:10 p.m.: The last of the mommies leaves my house. Sadie sits on a bench in our courtyard and refuses to come in, even though Simon is crying and ready to eat. I bribe Sadie with the iPad if she will just, for the love of Zeus, get in the house.

6:13-6:55 p.m.: Feed Simon and Sadie and try to boil noodles for lasagna. Refridgerate leftover playgroup brownies.

7:00 p.m.: Install Sadie in the bedroom with iPad and nurse Simon and get him to sleep. Wonderful lovebug moments.

7:15 p.m.: Find Sadie installed into iPad, feel guilty for getting her addicted. Sit on bed next to her and pump while watching Elmo videos.

7:30 p.m.: Ask Sadie to turn off the iPad so we can go downstairs and assemble the lasagna. I dodge her fists as she retaliates for having her crack removed from her hands.

7:32 p.m.: Sadie and I assemble a delicious lasagna while I also eat a sandwich for dinner.

7:55 p.m.: I fix myself some tea and Sadie some milk and we sit on the couch eating a yogurt bar and reading a book.

8:02 p.m.: I tell Sadie it's time for bed and she refuses to go upstairs with me. I eventually carry her upstairs where she seems to think it's funny to try and kick me. Repeatedly. In the face.

8:15 p.m.: I sit with a pajamaed Sadie in her chair, rocking her and singing her songs my Grandma Tate used to sing me. I apologize for my short temper and tell her that I love her very much and support her passion for all things Elmo. I also tell her that it's my job to help her have some balance and to enjoy people and relationships as much as she does Elmo. I mention that Elmo is not real.

8:22 p.m.: I stand up to put her in her crib and she begs for one more hug. We do this about 4 times. During each hug she puts her feet in the pocket of my shorts and tries to stand up. I am not finding this funny, but she is. Oh, lord, she thinks this is a riot.

8:25 p.m.: I put her down and she tries to climb out of her crib.

8:30 p.m.: We share our last good night hug and kiss and I remind her of all the fun things we will do tomorrow.

8:45 p.m.: Collapse in a puddle of drool.

Good thing I took it easy today.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Dude, who took my immune system? All evidence suggests that it is non-existent right now. I was sick right around Labor Day with the stomach flu. It sucked, but thankfully passed quickly. Then, the whole family seemed to be sick for two weeks at the end of September. That sucked as well. Yesterday, I taught my class and held my office hours and then started to feel sick. I got a snack, thinking I needed to boost my calories. It didn't help one bit. By the time I got home from my class, I was shivering and ached as if I had just run the marathon. I made Jeff take my temperature and it was over 100.

Not enjoying parenting two children with a fever. I am convinced I have mastitis or lockjaw. I conveniently didn't call the doctor today during business hours so I have to do that tomorrow to rule out one or the other.

No one tells you that you will get sick all the time as a parent. Maybe it's better that no one told me this. I wouldn't have listened or cared and what can I do about it anyway? Echinacea drip? Vitamin C shakes?

One time someone referred to her children as petrie dishes. I recall that I was mildly offended by that. As usual when I get a parenting holier-than-thou attitude, it comes back to bite me. Hard. Yes, my children run around the neighborhood with their friends and go to their park district classes. Do they pick up germs? Does Sadie still put everything, and I mean EVERYthing, in her mouth? Should I be surprised that I am sick for the 8th time this year? No. I shouldn't.

So that's my excuse when Simon wants to know why I used to put him in a pink cowboy hat and take a bunch of pictures. "Simon, sweetie, I spent most of your first years of life in a feverish stupor and I have no idea why I did anything I did, much less how I operated the camera. Here's some extra therapy money. Mommy loves you. Kiss, kiss."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mama's Big Boy

Simon's crawling is coming along at somewhat alarming speeds. Jeff told me he tried to leapfrog off our bed today, so Jeff had to grab him by the ankle, just as he was sailing off the bed. He's so strong and so fast that I think it's only a matter of time before he starts walking. My little 22.5 lbs bundle of joy is not so much a baby any more. This makes me happy and sad all at the same time.

Welcome to parenthood.

Friday, October 7, 2011


People are starting to tell me that Sadie looks like me. I haven't been able to see it.

Until today.

Sadie insisted on bringing "her" Ann Taylor Loft bag to the park with us today. What's in it? Two old iPod's that don't work (RIP Steve Jobs), 2 golf balls, a sippie cup with water in it, a snack (goldfish), and a pretend cookie from her kitchen set.

Who doesn't go to the park with all of those things in tow? More importantly, who wouldn't put them in a Loft bag and then go down the slide holding it all aloft. (Ha! No pun intended.) This is so my daughter, I can't even tell you. If you saw the random shit in my purse you would cancel the DNA test. When I was at my sister's wedding, 15 minutes before the ceremony started, Caroline said she was starving and needed a snack. Her capable wedding coordinator pulled out some Ritz crackers (where's the spray cheese, Mary Margaret Wedding Planner?), which Caroline ate while bending over at a 90 degree angle to keep her Carolina Herrera dress from getting any errant salt on it. Well, if you know anything about a Ritz cracker, then you know what happened next. Yes, Caroline declared, with all earnestness, she was dying of thirst. So, someone fetched a bottle of water.

But, wait!

What about her lipstick. We can't have her slurping up the H TWO OH before she professes her love for her bridegroom in St. Rita's Church. We needed a straw. Does anyone have a straw?

Guess who comes to the rescue as big sister with the big purse? Me. That's who. Not only did I have a straw in my purse, (It was my pink leather purse from Florence, Italy, that I recently gave to Good Will.), that straw was left over from the last time I used that purse, which was about 2 weeks prior at my roommate's bachelorette party in Chicago. So, yes, the straw was shaped like a penis. It was pink, like our bridesmaids' dresses, but yes, there was a circumcised penis on the tip, but you know what, beggars can't be choosers and when you decide to eat a starchy, salty cracker before you say your vows, you might have to suck a little dick on the way.

Sorry. It's true.

Or it was that fine day in June 2004. I will say my mother turned a very ghostly shade of white when I pulled the straw out. For some reason she didn't think that the anteroom of a Catholic Church was the place for a penis straw. I am pretty sure I made a joke about pedophilic priests right then and there, which most likely accounts for the somewhat chilly relations between me and my mother for the rest of that night.

It was totally worth it. If I can't win a new donkey on let's make a deal, then I want to pull out a penis straw in the church of my youth to help out my sister who was daft enough to eat a Ritz cracker right before the freaking Wedding March.

So, yea, Sadie's my kid.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A moment in Time

We're starting to see the bond developing between Sadie and Simon. Sadie spends less time these days pushing Simon over and more time looking into his eyes to say, "hi, Simon!" It's amazing to watch. Simon still laughs hysterically when Sadie jumps up and down. I think maybe he's watching her hair bob on her head when she jumps. He's got a very good sense of humor, that Simon.

I was thinking about this moment in time and how to somehow memorialize it so one day we could place it in our memories. So, here's some of the ambient features of our daily lives:

  • Music: We listen to a lot of music. I think happy households should be filled with music. I am kind of adamant about this. We sing a lot and I force my house to listen to really offensive, cheesy morning radio. I can't explain why I like it, but I do. I feel less lonely listening to buffoons asking calling to text in and say what their worst sexual experience was. Not proud, just reporting. We currently love Adele's "Someone Like You," and Hot Shell Ray's "Tonight" and I downloaded UB40's "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." We wanted to be multicultural.
  • Park: We go to the park a lot. We are a little out of the routine because of the illness and the rain, but we made a strong showing today, parking it up for over an hour after nap times.
  • Cooking: Mommy has becoming a bit obsessed with cooking. Today I made breakfast (raisin applesauce bread), and lunch (heated up leftovers...that counts) and dinner (curry chicken and couscous) for Jeff. Unprecedented. I love it. Today was my first time to ever use fresh ginger and cornstarch in a recipe.
  • TV: Jeff and I occasionally enjoy a bit of the Boob Tube. We are doing Netflix and currently watching "The Blind Side," with Sandra Bullock. Maybe it's because I am exhausted or because I am sick, but I have felt like bawling during every single scene. I sort of want to adopt a nice, neglected youngster because the movie was so inspiring. Maybe I should mention that to Jeff. We also watch Dancing with the Stars (go, Chaz Bono). Other than that, we are too tired to do anything except watch a little bit of Iron Chef America-- I do love the intensity of Alton Brown. So long as the ingredient has a sweet application, I am all in.
  • Costco: We love our family trips to Costco. We do this about once per week. I put Simon in the Baby Ergo and Sadie rides in the cart. We peruse the clothes section, we eat all the samples, and cruise through produce and canned goods. We have a great routine there. Sadie loves the hotdogs and the "lemon water" we get her. I blow hot and cold on the frozen yogurt there. Sometimes 16 oz of frozen yogurt is too much, even for me.
  • Skyping: Jeff adores Skyping. I would go out on a limb and say he's obsessed with it. I, on the other hand, have a hate/hate relationship with Skype. For some reason, I hate it. I find it intrusive and annoying and it gives me a headache. That's NOT to say I don't love seeing the people I love, I just still hate Skype. Maybe it's too new fangaled for me. Too George Jetson. One of the biggest fights Jeff and I ever had was a result of our divergent views/feelings on Skype. I won't write about it here, but it will probably just make me mad all over again. Of course, it is awesome that the kids get to see family that lives far away. There is no question that is awesome for everyone. I think I hate Skype because all at once technology brings people closer than ever, but it's still not close enough. CAVEAT: It was awesome when our friends went to Europe and we got to Skype them and see the view from their darling hotel's window.
  • I still hate Skype.

Mother and Son

Oh, the preciousness that is a beautiful afternoon with my happy, beautiful baby boy, whose smiles could light up the world.
Look whose feeling better! Actually, we all are. What a difference a day makes. (And a good night's sleep.)
We spent a little family time up on our balcony last night, enjoying autumnal breezes and the rare synchronicity of everyone being in a good mood. Together. We are still on the mend, but maybe, just maybe, the hardest part is over.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Just a regular fall day around here

Let's review. Simon is sick. Jeff is sick. Sadie goes in and out of being/seeming/acting sick. As of this morning, mommy's sick too.


October 1 and we are all sick before a snowflake hits the metroplex. I am giving the universe a big, old WTF? Is this payback because I don't recycle? Are you pissed about the occasional littering I do? I know those things aren't cool, but I hate driving around with an apple core in my hand. Sometimes I throw it out. Does that mean you send a plague to my house?

It was my favorite kind of day. Gorgeous, crisp fall day, where I felt like I needed both my fleece and my sunglasses. A winning combination. This time, I also had extra Kleenex for Simon, my buggery baby and for Sadie whose body composition is apparently 1/3 snot. Jeff's on his own now that I don't feel good either. In spite of our ailing health and mommy's flagging spirits, we went to Home Depot twice today (once for a workshop with Sadie and once to get a part for an ill-fated dish washer installation by my usually-very-handy husband). We also got a nice sushi dinner out for a bona fide date and now I am in bed grading papers (and blogging) while Jeff is at a party.

Jeff keeps telling me to rest but it's hard when Simon gets up at 5. I am distressed about his wake up time. 6 I could handle, but 5? That's intense for mommy. In fact, I hate it. I feel lonely and it's dark outside and I am so damn tired. Target's not open and I don't know what to do with myself. I keep projecting that I will have to get up at that time for the rest of my life. (Where DOES Sadie get her dramatic streak?) While I am grateful to have healthy, vibrant, curious children, I am struggling with the physical pain of sleep deprivation. Oh, to have one extra hour of sleep.

I am starting to get weird about sleep again. Watch out.

Maybe when my throat isn't as sore and Simon's teeth aren't hurting him so badly and Sadie isn't quite so two-years-old-ish this will all feel different to me. Right now, I just feel sad to be so tired and to know I will probably be up and on duty in about 6 hours.

Thank god for nap times.