Monday, May 30, 2011

Now with a side of eye candy

We just arrived at our fancy pants hotel in Maui after a relaxing, chill, DIY few days in the more rustic north shore Kauai. The difference between these two experiences is pretty stark. In Kauai, I felt positively chic simply for having put on mascara or a bra (I swear that island must ban the sale of bras because there was nary one in sight). You must chill there because if you didn’t you would go completely nuts. We did a whole lot of nothing—in the form of sitting on the lanai (this word will forever remind me of the Golden Girls), teaching Mr. Monk to “swim” in the pool, eating tuna at every meal (mecury, shmercury), hiking down treacherous paths to secluded beaches carrying chairs, diapers, clothing, bottles, and various other sundries that remained untouched, unappreciated and yet still had to be carried back up. All in all, a damn fine way to enjoy life for a few days—and my skin is all dewy from the near 100% humidity.


When I walked down to the pool area here in Maui, I immediately felt pale, round and afraid to be more than arm’s distance from my cover up. The first thing I noticed was the bronzed backside of a glamazon in a teeny bikini. I couldn’t help but stare at her ass and wonder how one achieves such a feat. Suddenly, she turned around and I saw that she must have been at least 7 months pregnant!!!! This woman is carrying around an almost fully formed little person and yet still looks nicer from behind than I’ll ever look. Oh well, at least there are free cookies in my room! And spin class at 8 am. Which will make me happier? If I go for both do they cancel each other out? I’ll be pondering these and other pressing questions while pretending to read at the pool.

On totally unrelated note—
Reason number 568 how you know you married the right man: he reads through the NY Times Wedding Section to see if your ex-boyfriend, who is getting married today, is listed in there because he “didn’t want you to find it first and have it ruin your day.” The ex’s wedding wasn’t listed but how nice of Mr. Schneed to look, eh?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ten things that would bother me at home, but somehow don't on a tropical vacation:

* Being woken up by Mr. Monk at 5:30 am the first morning.

* Being woken up by Mr. Schneed at 5:30 am the next morning.

* Hearing unidentifiable animal sounds outside window while trying to fall asleep.

* Eating my weight in ice cream and shave ice.

* Watching lizards crawl up and down the walls of our bedroom.

* Navigating around a centipede on the shower door handle while trying to get out.

* Cleaning mashed papaya bits out of Mr. Monk's hair.

* Cleaning mashed papaya bits out of my hair.

* Getting caught in at least two rainstorms a day.

* Possessing untameable hair that seems to grow horizontally by the hour.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Double dog dares

Now that I am permanently toting around a mini me, I find myself becoming more and more risk averse. Not that I was living on the edge so much before, but now I can hardly bring myself to look over it. Earlier today, I watched two people (of course, I assumed men--bad gendered thinking) swimming incredibly far out in the ocean. I was so nervous, I made us stay on the beach long enough to see them come safely onto the shore. I just don't see that happening for me anymore (ignoring the fact that on my best day, I probably couldn't get halfway to where they were-that whole holding your breath thing is so tedious). At this point, I'm starting to realize that scuba diving, sky diving...basically all manner of diving is off the table along with any other thrill-seeking activities.

A few years ago, I watched a documentary about people who climb Mt. Everest. While I was impressed with their determination and amazing stamina, the whole time I kept thinking "Are these people effing nuts??" Some of the climbers lost fingers and/or toes to frostbite and even watched others die during the trek. Why is climbing a mountain worth risking your life? And, I'll never understand why there are so many people skiing/boarding without helmets, but riding right next to their kids who are wearing them. Talk about setting a good example. Surely there are better ways to achieve the windswept look.

Perhaps this is just a new mom phase that I'll grow out of once I create more separation between me and him (roughly, what, 25 years these days?) I also think it might have something to do with getting older and knowing so many folks who are struggling to maintain their health and well-being. I suppose every action poses inherent risks and it's all about finding the balance between potential pleasure and potential pain. On some level, I feel like it's just selfish to tempt fate when it's been pretty good to me so far.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mahalo Mr. Schneed

I took my own advice and went to accomplish all manner of lady grooming today. Of course, the babysitter didn't show up this afternoon so that put a slight damper on my pre-vacation relaxation status. Thankfully, my husband came through for me and realized the desperation of the situation. You know you're tired when you almost fall asleep while lying half-naked on a waxing table. I do love me some nail salon action. Those ladies always tell me that I look great and ask after the baby. Now, I know the nail salon isn't exactly a bastion of female empowerment, but it is nice that they try to make you feel good. Combine this with my overtipping and you have a real chicken vs. egg conundrum.

While I was reading about Maria Shriver's betrayed heart in People magazine (reading gossip mags is clearly my favorite part of getting my nails done), I started to feel such an overwhelming sense of love and loyalty toward my husband (and an immediate hatred of all things Arnold, even "Twins"). Nothing like learning about someone having a secret child with the housekeeper to make you realize how good you have it. Today is our second wedding anniversary. I keep saying that it feels like so much longer than that, but in a GOOD way. We've been together almost five years now, which also doesn't seem like that long. He's so integral and necessary to my world that I can't imagine life was any good without him. It certainly wasn't anywhere near as fun. Or as filled with a seemingly infinite number of televised sporting events.

We're getting ready to get lei'd tomorrow. Naturally, Mr. Monk woke up with a terrible cold today. I fear that boy has inherited his father's impeccable timing. If this is anything like the other colds he's had, he'll be better by tomorrow afternoon and his father and I will be sick for the next week. Maybe we should boost our immune systems with breast milk too. Better yet, we'll just soak up some extra vitamin D in Hawaii this week. Aloha.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Calling All Hot Mamas

So, how exactly does intimacy work when you're married with an infant? Surely, nothing screams romance like the smell of spit up on the sheets. And any partner would be totally turned on by bags under the eyes and the fact that the same outfit has been worn three days straight, right? When you're the primary source of entertainment, nourishment and general safekeeping for a tiny human, it's easy to let yourself go. Your sexual self becomes like a grade school crush-someone you used to care about, but now can hardly remember. To get in the mood and perhaps rejoin the land of the living, I've created a little how-to guide for new mamas looking to glam up:

1. Leg hair be gone- this is probably the most basic of all grooming steps and can go along way towards making you feel sexy, or at least less hairy. If your legs haven't seen the light of day since sundress season and the hair can be braided at this point, it's time to dust off the razor. Even if you cover them right back up, at least they'll feel smooth and sleek when you run your hands up them or, even better, when someone else does.

2. Wash hair and ditch the ponytail- do not underestimate the amount of food, spit up, drool, snot, etc. that gets into your hair and just stays there. After the lather, rinse, repeat, perhaps you can do the unthinkable and not put it up? If the idea of leaving your hair down for the day is horrifying, it's time to either go get it done or spend a little time with a hairbrush. Styling your hair is one of the easiest ways to change your look, certainly more plausible than dropping the rest of that baby weight by nightfall.

3. Wax on, wax off (not just your eyebrows, ladies!)- much like your legs, grooming your ladyness just helps get you in the mood to show it off. This is the Field of Dreams theory people...

4. Fear not the sex- it's perfectly normal if even the thought of it is less than thrilling. It would probably be strange if you popped out a baby and were ready to go. Although it can seem like you'll never get back to a happy, healthy and satisfying sex life (for a while I thought my husband and I would just be best friends without benefits), it is possible. After all, people have more than one kid somehow. The most important thing to remember is take it slow. Talk with your partner and make sure that you are creating an inviting and sensual atmosphere for your intimate activities, no small feat with a bitty baby. Maybe leave the kids with a sitter for the night? Or take advantage of afternoon naptime? Be sure to forgive yourself if it takes a few weeks or months to get back to feeling like you actually want to have sex, let alone enjoy it. And, as my doctor told me, don't forget the lube!

5. Smile- this is possibly the most important of all. STOP COMPLAINING! No one wants to hear how many times the baby woke up last night and/or vomited all over you. While these factoids may be endlessly entertaining to you, I promise you that no one else cares as much, least of all your significant other who hears it every day. Of course, he wants to know about his spawn, but maybe the color and consistency of the poop talk can be left out for one day. Focus on the positive aspects of parenthood and how it has changed your relationship. Remember why you wanted to create a new life with this person. Also, try not to be so hard on yourself and your body. Your breasts, butt, stomach, thighs and arms may not look the same, but you carried a person for 9+ months. That logic should work for a good ten years. After that, there's always wine.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Too Much

I just woke up from a nap. A 9-11 nap. PM, mind you. On my couch. Saturday night. Could I be any more lame? In my defense, I did host a cocktail party this afternoon (and I only mentioned baby poop once-success!). But, I didn't even drink--talk about a lightweight. I think passing out immediately after dinner was my body's way of telling my mind to STFU already. It's been a busy week, with a number of outings big and small. I tend to overcommit and then feel incredibly guilty when, inevitably, I can't follow through on a plan. It likely stems from wanting to prove that I'm still cool and fun even though I have a baby. Clearly I'm not. Time to drop the charade--no one wants to hang out with someone who would rather be sleeping.

Also, I've been breaking things lately. At first it was a glass here, a blender there, but now I've moved on to seemingly unbreakable things like a stainless steel water bottle (it's just dented enough on the bottom to render it a disaster waiting to happen) and a bra in the Bloomingdale's dressing room (shhhh). The kicker was when I dropped a full bottle of breast milk and watched it dribble over my kitchen floor. Whoever came up with the expression "don't cry over spilled milk" was probably not talking to the baby. I'm fairly certain my sobs were louder than his. Again, I think this might be a sign that I'm more than a little tired or that I should just stop touching things altogether.

Luckily, the baby daddy and I are headed for a little vacay this week. With Mr. Monk, of course. What's a vacation without a teething, constipated, constantly-moving baby boy? I wouldn't know anymore. Perhaps I'll get to find out one of these years. We're excited to take Mr. Monk back to the ocean-hopefully, he'll be more interactive this time. When he was two months old we put his feet in the Caribbean Sea, though he likely was asleep at the time. He napped a lot back then. Oh, those were the days. A week of sunshine, shave ice and turn down service should restore my feeble mind and butter fingers back to their natural teetering state.

Here's hoping the house sitter doesn't realize why the kitchen floor is still so sticky...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Damn you, Isaac Newton

I saw "Bridesmaids" this week. And I laughed hard. But, mostly, I couldn't wait to get out of the theater to look up Kristen Wiig's age because she was rocking some serious wrinkles and do I look that old?! Her character was definitely supposed to be a bit haggard and she was more than a tad on the skinny side, but I just kept thinking that I hope she's older than I am. She is. Phew. Skin aside, she was pretty damn awesome in the movie and more power to her for writing a funny movie for the femmes. But, ever since the matinee, I can't stop thinking about my face and how it's falling. Is it time to freeze time with Botox?

Some of my friends back in New York regularly indulge and have been for years. Out here, I imagine people would frown on Botox, unless it was organic. Most of the women I know in SF seem to embrace their wrinkles and hardly even wear makeup to cover them up. Today, however, I ventured into Neiman Marcus and saw a whole other world of ladies. On a Thursday afternoon at about 3 pm, the high society gals come out to play! I saw many a tightened neck, tucked eye and implanted cheek. I wandered over to the La Mer counter to check out the ridiculously priced creams. I pretended to be interested in spending $135 on 1 oz of cream and scored myself a sample. Based on my calculations, the .11 oz sample is worth about $15. Nice!

I am still at the stage where I think I just need to find that magic cream--the Today show was all about the Oil of Olay Regenerist Cream this morning. Botox, Restalyn or any other fillers kind of creep me out. Are they just gateway drugs and, once you go down that road, you're soon wanting a face/butt/breast lift? The idea of having my face cut off and lifted, even 30 years down the line, sounds rather extreme. Maybe I should just buy a bigger sun hat.

Oh, and the La Mer cream seems almost identical to that thick Nivea spackle that you can buy for $5 at any drugstore. Perhaps someone should tell the lunching ladies at Neiman.

No (more) boob for you

In playgroup yesterday the other mommies and I let each other in on a deep, dark secret. We. Are. So. Over. Breastfeeding. At first we danced around it and then, sensing a unified front, we collectively admitted what a chore it’s become. Now that our kids are all about seven or eight months, it seems as though we might be on the downward slope. Here in San Francisco, not giving your baby nature’s most perfect food is even worse than buying a purebred dog, or owning more than one car, if you can imagine such horrors. Please note that my husband and I are guilty of both. It’s amazing our tax dollars are even accepted.

I had initially planned to BF for a year based on all the findings that kids who suck down the liquid gold for at least that are more likely to publish a novel by age 30, bring about world peace, and generally be better-looking and have more friends. Feeding the wee one is essentially my job during this non-working period of my life. If I don’t perform my primary task of motherhood, would I still be good mom? Why would I then be any better than a bottle-feeding nanny? Of course, I realize that I am more than my boobs, but surely they are the main reason that my babe loves me more than anything else on planet Earth right now (even more than paper and he loves him some paper to rip and eat).

Many people tout the convenience of breastfeeding. After all, you’re already toting those puppies around all day. But, it can be a bit annoying to navigate BF’ing in public, unless you’re one of those folks who truly don’t mind whipping it out anytime, anywhere. I can safely admit that, while I fully support a mama’s right to feed her youngin, I am just not coordinated enough to nurse while wandering the aisles at Whole Foods. Enter breast pump, stage right. Anyone who has ever come in contact with this contraption will agree that something’s just not right about fitting your girl parts into a machine that literally pulls the milk right out of them. If you’re giving your kid more than one bottle a day, you have to make up for those feedings by milking yourself. The worst is having to pump right before heading to sleep so that I don’t wake up completely engorged. While I say a prayer every night thanking my baby for sleeping straight through the night so I don’t have to wake up and feed him, having to fill the bottles is not my idea of a relaxing pre-sleep activity. In fact, I’m surprised I haven’t yet had nightmares about being sucked to death.

One of my main concerns with continuing to BF is that I’m starting to feel a little selfish about my girls. I want them back. And so does my husband. It’s hard to feel ownership over your body parts when they are being controlled by an 18 pound writhing, screaming little being. I’ve become very hostile toward my husband even looking at my breasts these days. I’m fairly certain he hasn’t touched them in the past year. Memories of enjoying the bosoms prior to being pregnant have been so repressed that I am beginning to wonder if they existed at all. People do have use for these things, right? Not to mention, I was already doing quite well filling out a bikini before, I didn’t need any help from the full ducts I’m now carrying around. I may be one of the few people looking forward to the promised decrease in size once nursing is done. Of course, with my luck I’ll get pregnant immediately after weaning and the fun will begin anew. It’s like I’ve donated my body to science.

Fret not, I will persevere and soldier on to fight the good fight (though I draw the line at biting). I know I will miss this special bonding time with my son and the ridiculous smiles he gives me like he can’t believe he gets to drink this stuff every day. Also, it is free. I never could pass up a bargain. I just hope he thanks me someday in his acceptance speech.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Nothing Good Happens Past 3 am

I have not been sleeping well. Never mind the fact that I have a 6-month-old baby. He sleeps like a champ. I wish there were contests for baby sleepers because my little one would win. Only night sleep though. Day sleep is a whole nother story, and not a fun one. But, getting back to my sleeping issues, this past weekend while up in Tahoe, I confronted two of my biggest nighttime fears: being eaten by a bear and being crawled on by a spider. Guess which one actually happened?

No, I was not eaten by a bear, but I could have been because on Friday night I awoke at 4 am to find the apartment door wide open. I was so confused and freaked out that I immediately thought a bear clawed its way into the place. Putting aside the fact that if a wild bear got into my home, I’d probably not have been woken up by just needing to pee, I shook D awake and told him he had to go into the hallway to check for a bear. As we both stood baffled in our PJ best, we heard the howling wind and realized that the dang door blew open by itself. Well, not entirely by itself as it was helped by D when he forgot to lock the door. Now maybe he’ll start to understand why I have to ask him at least three times about his locking certainty. You would think that time last month when our neighbor called to tell him that he left the garage door open would have been enough…anyway, our itty bitty baby managed to sleep through this whole fiasco. Even Tonydog didn’t beg to go out like he usually does at the crack of dawn when we go up there. Perhaps the crazy, door-blowing-down wind scared him too.

The next night’s slumber was far more sinister. Somewhere in the fives I was minding my own business and enjoying the security of a thrice-locked front door when I started to feel a slight tickle. At first it was on my neck and I assumed it was one of the eleven thousand hairs that fall out every day from my head (seriously, how is there any left given how much is all over my bathroom floor?). I instinctively flicked the swath of hair off my neck and turned over. Then, I felt another itch on my chest. Again, I tried to rub off that annoying hair thinking that I should have put the unwieldy mess in a ponytail before going to sleep. Finally, there was a distinct feeling of movement on my arm. While half-asleep, I reached down and plucked something off and threw it across the room. My eyes flew open and I screamed. WTF?! I turned on the light as D groggily wondered if the door was open again. I told him that I thought I felt a spider and let out a huge shudder. Of course D goes, “oh yeah, I think I felt that.” I railed at him for not waking me up and instead letting this evil thing crawl its eight legs all over me while I slept innocently beside him. First rule of marriage: always wake your spouse up when there is a third party in the bed. I turned on the light and saw the little beast trying to escape. What, who me? I’ve been on the floor this whole time. I snuffed that creep right out. Normally, I don’t like to kill things but this guy (I just know it was a male trying to cop a feel) had it coming. The rest of the night was shot for me as I felt like I had been dropped in a spider-filled snake pit (only thing worse than spiders are snakes. And sharks). I am still trying to erase that experience permanently from my brain. Where is the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind when you need it?

But, still, the baby sleeps. Some dreams do come true.

And so do some nightmares.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The New Normal

So yesterday at playgroup Mr. Monk cried nearly the whole time. I kept trying to put him down to play with his friends, but his face would immediately scrunch up and the tears would flow. At first I played it off “oh, he’s DEFINITELY teething this week” or “perhaps he has his period?” After an hour or so of fairly continuous whining, I stopped trying and just let him hang out in my arms (super fun outing for me, I tell ya). He was clearly in a crabby mood and didn’t want to be hanging around a bunch of friends. I can’t say I blame him. When I’m in a funk, the last thing I want is a bunch of people staring at me wondering why I’m in a funk.

As I drove home, he passed out (finally!) and I starting wondering if maybe I am missing some of his cues lately. He normally is a little butterfly, smiling and flirting away. This week, however, he’s been downright surly. Is he getting sick of me? Has the fun gone out of our relationship? There’s such conflicting info out there about what to do when your baby is upset. Do I pick him up and cuddle him all the time or will that make him needy? Do I let him cry and comfort himself or will that make him feel abandoned? What’s a mom to do, especially when the usual drinking wine and whining with other mamas doesn’t go as planned (see above)? Maybe we’ll just go to the park and swing. Usually helps me cheer up.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Oh boy!

This morning my dentist told me that she spent two hours in the ER last night with her four-year-old daughter, trying to get out a metal clasp that the little one had shoved up her nose. As if going to the dentist weren’t already scary enough! The entire time she was filling my cavity, all I could think about was how my 6-month-old baby already seems like a little dardevil. He’s always trying to launch himself out of his car seat, stroller, vibrating chair, my arms, etc. Every single thing he touches right now has to be taste tested and shoved halfway down his throat. I have also detected a definite glimmer of delight whenever I twirl or flip him upside down. After emerging from my own childhood basically unscathed, am I doomed to spend my son’s carrying his crutches and signing his casts? Is it too much to make him live in a bubble for the next 18 years? What if I make sure there’s wifi?

When I was a kid, I remember my mom getting mad at me when I’d hurt myself. She was sympathetic and caring too, but her first reaction was always a bit angry. As I got older, I called her out on this and asked her why she would yell as soon as I started crying. She said that it probably was due to her being mad at herself for not protecting me and then projecting the anger to me. After I pointed it out how ridiculous this was given that I was already hurting and didn’t need to be yelled at thankyouverymuch, she tried to curb her reactions. Unfortunately, I have realized in the past few months that I may have inherited this not so wonderful trait. My voice definitely goes up several octaves whenever anything goes wrong. I try to remain calm, but I notice myself becoming more than a touch shrill. I am determined not to scream at my kid when he’s in pain. I figure it’s the least I can do once my kisses lose their magical power to make it better.

We’ve been lucky so far and haven’t had any real scares or issues. Seeing friends go through the nightmares of dealing with a sick or hurt kid makes me treasure my baby that much more. As much as I hope to protect him and keep him safe from his own damn curiosity, I realize that fear and pain are two very important teachers in life. Though I will hate it, I have to let him be stupid and irresponsible so that he learns from his own mistakes. I just hope that those mistakes don’t involve any big booboos.