Monday, July 9, 2012

The Great Outdoors

This week I've let my son eat as many hot dogs as he wanted.  Given that we've been to three barbeques in five days, that is not an insignificant number. Yes, they are filled with salt, nitrates and all sorts of other yummy good/badness, but it's still food!  Food and my boy aren't usually good friends after 4 pm.  He's buds with breakfast and definitely snacks, but late afternoon food just seems to piss him off.   And don't even mention dinner!  He HATES dinner now!  Who knows why they broke up, but I think it makes me saddest of all.  I'm sucking up like crazy to all food, trying to will it to make my son fall in love again.  So hooray for hot dogs.  I'll take it.

We spent the weekend up in heaven, aka Lake Tahoe.  My lungs feel cleaner but my car is waaaaay dirtier.  I learned how to ride a bike with no hands.  Taught myself and all.  Not a bad party trick, though the whole time my husband was screaming at me that I was going to fall.  He has no faith in my grace.  Rightfully so.

The wee one enjoyed the hiking, the biking and the boating. But, by far, his favorite part was sneaking into a nearby hotel swimming pool.  Shhh.  My husband, who was so scared of me riding a bike without holding on for ten seconds at a time, taught our toddles how to use a noodle to prop himself up and kick across the pool.  All in the time in took me to go to the bar and back.  Color me impressed. 







Today I learned officially what it means to be the mama of a little boy.  As we were driving home we started smelling a terrible smell.  A smell that weaved around the car and captured even the innocents in its fog.  Not wanting to smell the shite any longer, we pulled over to change the offending diaper.  I asked the boy for the tenth time if he pooped and still denial city.  Just as I was about to pick him up from the carseat, he burst out laughing and said "faaaht, faaaht.  Toto faaaht."  Toto would be Tony, our dog sitting in the back who apparently had one too many duck treats.  Clearly,  I need to prepare myself now for the booger humor. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

California I'm Coming Home


Last weekend I realized once again that connections are out there waiting to be made in the least likely of places.   It turns out that the father of a friend went to high school in a town neighboring mine in the middle of nowhere, NY.  We were both fairly stunned to discover this some 3,200 miles away in Berkeley, CA.  No less than three of my friends turned to me in unison to say, "I thought you were from New York City."  Well, no.  I used to live in NYC before moving here (and before moving to Los Angeles before that).  The straight truth is that I'm a hick.  Tire swing and broke down car in the front yard and all.

It took a long time for me to embrace my country mouse roots.  Only after living in Manhattan for a few years did I come to truly appreciate the beauty of the "country."  Having the opportunity to slow down and get down in the dirt became a wonderful respite when I started feeling the city's mania in my bones.  I always knew it was time for me to go upstate when I found myself wanting to push people down the subway stairs just so that I could get to work faster. A few days in the mountains was like hitting the reset button.


Now, although technically within the bounds of San Francisco, I find myself living a relatively small town life.  This truly is the littlest big city.   Ours is a particularly residential, family-friendly part of the City that suffocated me for at least the first year of my residency.  After living in the East Village, I couldn't understand where all the people went at sundown.  I was far more terrified to walk around my block with my dog at 9 pm than I was stumbling home drunk on Second Avenue at 3 am.  While I've come to enjoy and respect the quiet, I do still stare wistfully out the window in our living room, looking for "action," as my husband teases.  There is no action, other than the occasional fender bender or screaming child (often mine).  Thankfully, downtown and it's various sights, sounds and naked homeless people are just a short ride away.

As much as I fake complain about it to my husband (if anyone wants a lesson in fake complaining, I'm quite the master), I love that I see no less than three or four friends on any one of my many daily outings with my tiny boss.  We know our neighbors, our dry cleaners, our favorite farmer's marketers.  It's so cute, it's a little nauseating. Nearly five years later and I'm finally starting to see why people love San Francisco.  It's nice living.  Now, where do I find it on the East Coast?



Saturday, June 30, 2012

Nine extra floors

When I was in high school, I gave my mother a VHS copy of "When Harry Met Sally," along with a box of Mallomars.  Two of her favorite things in the world.  Two of mine as well.  My mom, sister and I watched that movie or bits of that movie whenever we needed a good laugh or a good cry.   Easily hundreds of times.  I will often think of a line from that film and laugh out loud at the memory, of the movie and the companionship with my mom and sister.  How sad it is that when you're older and really appreciate your family members, you hardly spend much time with them.  Tomorrow night when my husband goes out and I'm "babysitting," I already know how I'll pass the time.  Spending a few hours in a world curated by Nora Ephron is indeed a privilege.  Her words will be missed.

A few other privileges I happened to enjoy this week:

Watching the 12-year-old girls and their mamas singing along to Maroon 5 when I happened to catch five minutes of the "Today" show this morning.  Not the biggest fan of the band, but how sweet to see such unabashed bonding.

My son stopping to smell each flower and hug each doggie that we pass on our walks.  I usually rush him along to get where we're going.  Finally, yesterday, I stopped to wonder why I didn't let him revel in it a bit longer.  His calendar will be filled soon enough.  Perhaps I should start paying more attention to all the lessons he's teaching me rather than stressing about the opposite.

Dinner with old friends last night and seeing one experience true bliss as she cuddled with her three-week-old daughter.  Living across the country from where I grew up and spent most of my adult life, I consider myself beyond lucky to have three close friends from college within a twenty minute radius of my house.  Maybe forty with traffic.  Chatting with them always feels like coming home.

Night out on the town with great friends tonight. Let out of the cage two nights in a row!  We're going to rage at this (punk) rock opera.  Let's hope my husband doesn't fall asleep-he doesn't have the best theater track record.

Fytk.  At dinner the other night my friends yelled at me for watching so many epis of FNL in a row.  Literally, they were screaming that I need to savor each episode as it will be over all too soon.  All three of them had wistful looks in their eyes and one said that she was jealous I was watching it for the first time.  Hah.  Perhaps I need to start limiting my time with Tim Riggins.

Thinking about my brother's wedding in the fall and dancing the night away with family and his old friends.  The little mister and I are already working on our moves.





Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Gratitude with a side of bacon


I woke up at 6:05 this morning.  I was cranky and completely bleary-eyed.  And, I am pretty sure I woke up my son and my husband as I walked out the front door.  None of that mattered the minute I walked through the church doors.  Spending two hours helping serve breakfast to those who need it most was really what I needed most.  The world shifts a little when you step away from your life, run around refilling milk/water/coffee pitchers, stuff your back pockets with sugar packets to hand out every third minute and smile as wide as you can all before 9 am.  Plus, all the free coffee you can drink.  Not a bad way to start the day.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Travel by numbers

Days spent in Mexico: 5

Pounds of avocados eaten: hundreds (fine, dozens)

Red lights/stop signs missed: at least 7

Amount of money paid to cop in sleazy shakedown: $50

Mosquito bite tally: hundreds (fine, dozens)

Trips to the doctor to get ear wax out of my ear caused by q-tip use:1

Number of q-tips used after doctor made me promise never to use them again: 3

Times I felt jealous of the three couples we met who left their kid(s) at home:  263

Hours of FNL watched in a row solo upon return: 5

Requests my husband has made to get burritos in the last 48 hours: 3












Friday, June 15, 2012

At Least There's Guacamole


I used to be a good packer.  I actually liked packing, especially the requisite pre-packing shopping excursions.  I was so careful I hardly ever needed to visit a store at my destination, save for the occasional bathroom-related emergency.  In Greece, I was so insanely constipated that I didn't poop for 6 days.  6 days!  Can you imagine?  Of course, when I did finally go, it was in a toilet that wasn't flushing properly and I ran out of the restaurant screaming at my friends that "we had to leave. NOW!"  Whatever.  It was worth it-Greece is gorgeous.

Now, I have become a terrible packer.  Not so much for myself, but for the little.   I can't seem to handle the extra pressure.  We pretty much have to go shopping every time we get somewhere because I've forgotten to bring a sippy cup, diapers, wipes, pajamas, snacks-you name it, I've forgotten it.  Right now we are on a quick getaway to Mexico and I'm lamenting my idiocy at forgetting truly the most. important. thing. ever.  The lullaby toy.  We've used this to get our son snoozing ever since my brilliant friend Paige gave it to us as a baby welcoming gift at 8 days old.  I forgot it once before, in Atlanta, but then we were able to run to the local Target to grab another one.  Now we have the pretty one specifically for travel.  Fat lot of good Violet does when she's sitting in the closet at home.

The first night and day were rough.  My voice does not lend itself to lullabies.  Campy, loud Old McDonald, Wheels on the Bus, that's my wheelhouse.  But soothing I am not.  I was trying to sing the mister to sleep and I swear he started covering his ears.  We've since worked it out by basically pushing the crib into the closet.  What?  The door is cracked a bit.  This kid is part vampire-he needs darkness when he sleeps. Any ray of sunlight in the room and he's up and ready to party.  I know those stupid blackout shades I put in the nursery would come back to haunt me. 

Thankfully, he's the only bebe at this resort, so everyone else thinks it's hilarious and cute when he shouts or runs around the pool without his diaper while I'm trying to change him.  His new favorite word is "pee pee" and I can't tell if it's the act, the result or the weapon he's talking about or all three at once.  Time to be more careful with my word choices.  No doubt my son will be the one cursing at his preschool.

Hatsa luego!

Monday, June 11, 2012

FNL

I know I'm like 9,000 years late to the party, but the mister and I have just started watching Friday Night Lights from the get go.  I've seen a bunch of epis here and there (mostly on planes-I love me some marathon TV en flight) and I wanted to start from the beginning.  Seeing as it's summer, there's nothing on other than HBO/SHO on Sunday nights (TRUE BLOOD!!!) and I just realized I can watch it fo' free through Xfinity Streampix, now's the perfect time to start a 76-hour project.



I missed most fad television shows (Mad Men, Lost, Arrested Development, Freaks and Geeks, The Wire, etc.)  I know!  Clearly, I live under a rock. I did read 50 Shades of Grey about six months ago, before all the cool kids were doing it. 

Is it bad that I'm now already fearing my son's sporting days? 

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

(My) Mama Knows Best

Naps are for losers, yo!

My mom is here visiting.  This is awesome for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which is that she can offer parenting advice every other minute.  Now, normally I'd say this would be mildly to somewhat annoying, but right now we are in the thick of a naptime regression and I am losing my mind.  Does my son not realize that his naptime is for my ever important internet perusing?  I've already given up trying to use my phone for anything besides capturing his antics.  Please honey child, spare me the one vestige of sanity I have all day!  Fun times around these parts lately.

It started about a week ago when his nap shrank down from about 100-140 minutes to about 60-70 minutes.  Ouch.  That was miserable, though I had no idea what was to come.  Now, I'd be happy with an hour, considering it's been 30, 40 minutes in between shrieks and howls.  I have no idea what's causing this issue.  He's still sleeping 12 hours at night and doesn't experience major bodily harm upon waking like he must during the day to produce these horrendous screams.  Are his daydreams that scary?

So at least my mom is here to comfort him, especially when I'm quaking in fear that we're all losing the nap.  That cannot happen.  It will not stand. 

But, the main tidbit that my mom offered this week is to stop asking my son so many damn questions.  It's true!  I never noticed but I give him all the authority in our relationship.  Do you want to eat?  Is the food good?  Would you like some more?  Is it time to go to sleep?  Are you ready to brush your teeth? And on and on and on.  And on. 

She pointed out that I give him more agency than I give myself.  It's such a simple concept, but I only realized the power play once my mom mentioned it.  Also, I'm not exactly helping his language skillz by encouraging him to answer y/n to everything.  By trying to engage him in conversation, I'm probably doing exactly the opposite.  Strangely, I've noticed that he always answers "no" in a whisper and "yes" in a shout.  That's a good thing?  According to the gospel of my mama, instead of always asking him what he wants/needs/thinks, I should be telling him what's happening.  Might as well pretend like I have some idea.



Monday, June 4, 2012

Falling apples

This morning I walked into Target just as a mom and her 8/9 year old son were walking out, fighting.  As we reached for the same door, I overheard the mother say, "well, that's why you're not getting a toy, because you're a GODDAMN ASSHOLE."  Looking back on it now, I almost wish I had said something to her.  Of course, she probably would have decked me. 

The saddest part was that the son didn't look at all hurt or surprised.  I'm sure he hears far worse at home.  When I told my mother, who was a social worker for twenty years, she said I probably should have reported her to the police for verbal abuse.  How terrible for this poor boy to be publicly shamed by the very person who should be providing unconditional love.  I can't imagine that will bode well in his future.  My new parenting goal is to never call my son an asshole.  At least not to his face.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Reason Number 5987 Why I Love Him

My husband spent the better part of an hour on the phone with his mother this evening, helping her navigate the complex world of iphone email politics.  She was switching over her email server and zzz...I could hardly stand to listen to him talking to her on the other end, let alone imagine how he could be so patient with all her questions. This was also the third night in a row that he's been holding such seminars for his mama.  It was shocking how thorough and calm he was even when it was obvious that she wasn't fully understanding his explanations.

I felt excited for the day when he finally gets to teach our son how to ride a bike.  That kid's been up on computers, ipads, iphones since day 1. He'll be teaching us soon enough.  I also realized that if he ever is looking for new work, I'm pretty sure my man could be an Apple genius.  And he looks good in blue!

We all get by with a little help from our friends

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Mouse In The House!


Yes, a mouse in my house this morning.  A wee, wee one that my husband texted me a picture of from our bedroom while I was making our son breakfast in the kitchen.  At first he called me and the tone of his voice was so creepy that I thought he was having a stroke.  I...see...a...mouse.  Unfun.  At least the mouse has good timing-we had 30+ people (nearly half of which were under five) here for a BBQ yesterday.  Maybe buying all that cheese at Cowgirl Creamery wasn't such a great idea. Oh, but cheeeeese.  No doubt the mouse came in for that nibble of Gruyere that I found this morning wedged in our couch.  Or the smear of brownie under the chair?

My husband and I were so paranoid about what the little monkey would do if he saw the mouse.  Easy money was on chasing it everywhere with his hand karate chopping the air like he does with birds.  And would Tony try to eat it? Thankfully, we never had to find out.

When I came home this afternoon, Mr. Schneed showed me the evil looking traps he bought that promised to "kill mice dead."  Phew.  Who would want them killed alive?  I didn't want to kill it though, I just didn't want it crawling on my bed.  We decided not to put the traps out unless we saw the mouse again.  The cleaning women came today too-hence my aforementioned less than stellar cleaning job-so maybe they'd miraculously get rid of it.  Just as I was asking my husband if he told the ladies about our new friend, we heard a shriek.

The two women were standing near the stroller, pointing and giggling nervously.  Apparently, the mouse was gunning for all the cracker bits gathered at the bottom of the stroller basket.  Hmm, I guess I'm supposed to clean that out regularly?  Geniuses that we are, we wheeled the stroller outside and my husband gingerly plucked each thing from the basket, jumping about a foot each time.  I've never loved him more.  Finally, the mouse, which I swear could not have been more than two inches big, jumped out from inside a blanket and ran.  Ran right into our neighbor's garage!  We hightailed it the hell back inside.  What mouse?  I didn't see a mouse...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Boom

Years ago I had this epiphany in the women's bathroom of the law firm where I was working.  I do my best thinking in bathrooms, don't you?  I always used to talk to myself in the bathroom as a kid. Probably because it was the only place I could be alone in a tiny house with six people.  Getting back to the major moment, it was February 2006 and I was miserable.  I hated my job, my living situation, my completely dysfunctional relationship with my boyfriend and, essentially, my life.

For the previous four months, I had spent most of my day either fighting with my boyfriend or sobbing about fighting with my boyfriend.  He had moved away for graduate school and we were trying to make a long-distance, cross-continental romance work.  For various reasons, not the least of which was that he wanted to revel in his freedom while knowing that I would be there waiting for him when he needed me, it was definitely not working.  Unfortunately, every time I tried to break up with him he would promise to change.  We had an awful co-dependency that was killing me. Once I finally cut the cord, I felt like a balloon, floating freely up and up.   I immediately knew that was one of the best          decisions I would ever make.

Yet I still had the other issues in my life-the job, the apartment- that I knew were within my control. So, the epiphany that struck me as I stared at the beige stall trying not to pee too loudly was that I only have one life.  I was the only one who could make it not suck.  Sheer genius, I know.  But, somewhere along in the previous couple of years, I had lost sight of this obvious point.  I really had spent far too much time waiting for the "what ifs" or "whens" rather than just enjoy my life as it was or change it as needed.  If I always believed that things were going to be better at another point, there was no need to really focus on the present.  It was like someone smacked me in the head with a giant "THE FUTURE IS NOW" stamp.   

Fast forward six months and I was living in a new place, with a brand new job, in a new field.  The day after I started my new job I (re)met my future husband (technically we'd met once before but whatever).  It's amazing how much you can change once you decide that things need to change.

I'm starting to feel that same energy shift now.  While I'm not sobbing all day and talking to myself in bathrooms (sadly, this is no longer a solo activity), I don't feel as happy as I imagined I would while not working and playing with my kid all day.  It's hard.  Harder than I thought it would be.  I miss being me and don't like always being mommy (mom-me).  A change is coming.   Not a radical one, mind you.  Perhaps a 25-40% change in the status quo.  Once I figure out what that means, I'm going to get right on it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mamas and money

pic via Jezebel

I came across this article yesterday and found it fascinating and frightening.  While there are some slight differences in the European mentality with respect to materialism/spending/savings, it really resonated with me.  Given that I haven't been working for the past year and a half, I do find myself spending less and less on shopping excursions that are solely for my benefit.  I wish the same were true about my Whole Foods adventures.  Back when I had my own salary, I wouldn't think twice about popping into a store on my lunch hour just to pick up something pretty.  Now, whenever I do that, I hem and haw and often feel guilty about it.  It's not that I think my husband will judge me or even begrudge my spending, I just don't always want him to know what I consider (or used to consider) to be "necessary."  Granted, I probably derive more than a healthy modicum of satisfaction from looking at all the clothes/bags/shoes in my closet, but I least I know that I worked hard for my money and chose to spend it how I wanted. 

Deep down, I know that the work I am doing now, teaching my son to touch gennnnntly, keeping my floors relatively uncrunchy, washing my husbands thousand pairs of socks, is important and valuable.  Yet, I miss the paycheck.  Lately I have been more seriously thinking about finding some consistent form of employment, be it part-time or consulting.  In addition to the mental stimulation, I am simply excited to earn more than my babysitter!  I started working when I was ten years old as a mother's helper and always had an income, through college and law school.  For a while I joked with the mister that I would take a certain amount of money out of our joint account every month and put it into my personal one, as compensation for services rendered.

Beyond the lack of income, there are deeper issues at play.  I'm no longer in charge of the finances and neither are many of the women I know.  When I was younger and running my household of one, I knew the details of every bank account, credit card, 401K in my name, down to the last dollar.  Now I am relatively clueless about what's happening in our portfolio day to day.  Though I still think of myself as a (mostly) smart, capable woman, I suppose I just find it easier to be ignorant and leave it to my husband.  Just as the author notes, some of my closest friends, lawyers and businesswomen alike are content to let their husbands run all the household money.  Isn't this how women end up broke and homeless when their husband finds a hotter, less nagging second wife?  Or when their husbands have been investing money into failing businesses?  Of course, that's not happening with my husband, right?

It seems like such a cliche and still it's sad but true for so many women who are completely dependent on their spouses, especially those of us who aren't earning a salary.  I'm resolving to start being more aware of what's happening with our money, not just for my sake but for my son's as well.  And, also, to maybe stop nagging.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ebb and flow

Dear Weekend,

Thank you for you tireless efforts to prove to me, once again, that motherhood is basically a journey of the highest highs and the lowest lows.

Friday night, I stayed home while my husband went out and got some bro time.  True to cheesy form, I somehow convinced myself to rent "The Vow."  Shut up.

Saturday, we woke up to a pile of vomit in the crib and it was all downhill from there.  Most of the day was spent hugging my sick son while tears streamed down his face.  The silent agony was far worse than his screaming, grunting and crying could ever be.  His fever was fairly high, due to a Dr. Mom-diagnosed combination of required monthly toddler sickness, teething and maybe a reaction to the live-virus in last week's MMR shot.  FYI, maybe don't go to the good Google when researching MMR reactions unless you're really prepared to open that door.  While I don't see any definite correlation between vaccinations and autism, it is rather frightening to read these posts as your kid is refusing to eat, move or even look at you because he's so miserable.

The whole day he just seemed confused and sad, like he was trying to work out why this was happening to him.  Thankfully, he fell asleep easily for the night and miraculously slept straight through me taking his temperature multiple times like a mad mama. 

Sunday, we had a new little man on our hands!  Ah sleep, is there anything you can't do?  Although our daredevil was back, we took it a little easy and abandoned our special hiking plans (sorry, Tony).  Mr. Schneed made breakfast though conveniently forgot about dish duty.  I did, however, get about 45 minutes of silence to read the NYT, which was pure Mother's Day bliss.  I also met some of my besties for ice cream during the wee one's nap. 18 months in and I'm finally beginning to realize that ice cream or wine make blessed nap time even more blessed.

We went for a family bike ride to a local park to round out the day.  Shorty managed to find every tweeked out, stoned or drunk couple to say hello to as he was roaming around.  In Dolores Park, you can really pick your poison.  Oh, and I let him run around without shoes as he conveniently lost one on the bike ride to the park.  Definitely not my proudest moment as I looked down and saw bottle caps (and worse) every six inches.  Hooray for socks! 

Eating a healthy meal of french fries and only french fries.

I'm feeling quite lucky to end this weekend laughing with my boys and all ten of their toes.

With (mostly) Love,
Elana 

P.S.-We found the missing sneaker on the street as we were biking home.  Miracles do happen.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Memo to the rice lobbyists

I dropped my phone in the toilet yesterday.  So that happened.  Word to the wise--don't put your cell phone in your back pocket before going to the bathroom. I know it may seem like a convenient thing to do when it's ringing and you're afraid the vibrations are going to wake your toddler who only just fell asleep for a nap after bizarrely tossing and turning in his crib for nearly an hour.  But, trust me, don't do it. I'm still confused about the trajectory of the phone and how it managed to fall into the toilet.  Didn't I pull my pants down before I peed?  Oh, yeah, I fished my phone out of a toilet bowl full of pee and seriously considered rinsing it off.  I guess no one will ever ask to borrow my phone again.

I kind of bugged after realizing that my phone had been floating in my pee for a good minute or two.  It took my (still) hungover brain a bit longer than normal to figure out what fell. I immediately put the phone in a bowl of rice as I've read that acts as a desiccant (new word of the day!) and sucks the moisture out of the phone.  After reading some tech geek blog posts, I learned that I should hunt down any silica gel packs I have and throw those into the mix.  The phone was already off and I thankfully didn't even think to try powering it.  Apparently, one should not try to turn the phone on after a urine bath, lest one short the damn thing out entirely.  The worst part was waiting 24 hours to see if it would turn on.  Although I felt like I was missing a limb at first, I kind of enjoyed being forcefully checked out for a few hours.

Miraculously, it is working today!  How's that for luck?  I should go buy some lottery tickets now.  Rice: good for feeding families the world over and for resurrecting pee-logged phones.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

NOLA Reprise


High above the mountain tops we flew off to New Orleans for JazzFest.  Could it have been a more fun week/end?  I think not!  New Orleans is, to me, the end all be all for good times.  We got married in NOLA and do love that musical city.  Honestly, I doubt I could come up with a better way to spend five days than surrounded by good friends, good music and fried foods!  We ate, drank and laughed our way through the long days and even longer nights.   It’s amazing what two people not tethered to a toddler can accomplish (or not, as the case may be).

While we are excited to one day show our monkey all around the French Quarter and beyond, wrangling a little boy through a music festival with temps hovering around 90 degrees was just not on our agenda*.  He stayed home with one extremely capable (and now extremely exhausted) grandmother.  Given that she lives across the country, it was pretty much a win-win-win.   We clearly won the most.  Actually, while in New Orleans I did win $65 at the casino.  Cha-ching!  I was feeling pretty good about it until our friend told us he cleared $3,000 playing Blackjack.  Then again, he started playing with $1500 and I started with $40…so.


I think New Orleans is one of those cities that you can’t help but love.  The service is slow, the heat is oppressive, but the music is pervasive and so is the kind spirit.  Even the luscious trees feel like they are hugging you. There is such a uniqueness to the architecture and the hidden alleyways.  You can pop into a bar almost any day of the week and hear a great local band ripping up the stage.  And the food!  Everything I own fits like skinny jeans now.  

On our agenda:  eating beignets, dancing wildly, sleeping past 7:30, staying up past 2, day drinking, naps, ignoring emails and voicemails, foot massages, catching up with old friends.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Definitely maybe


My obgyn up and had a baby on me.  That's how I know my kid is old.  She must have gotten pregnant right after or around when I delivered and then had a child in the intervening 18 months.  Incredible!  She said it so casually as she popped her head up from in between my knees.  You know you're a mom when you're amazingly grateful for those few minutes alone, even if they come at a gynecologist's office.  At least you get to lie down.  I felt the tiniest bit betrayed.  How come she knew all the ins and outs (heh) of my pregnancy and yet I knew nothing of hers.  She's always been warm, but today I noticed a completely different side of her.  We had a hilarious conversation about the gyno visit portrayed on "Girls."  I find a sense of humor to be especially important when someone's whole arm has explored my insides.  She was so curious about my son and what he's doing now.  It made me almost forget that the first words out of her mouth when I walked in were, "so....when's the next one coming?"  Et tu, Brute?

It's been a weird few weeks in my world, but things are shaking back into place now.  If only I could find the perfect modern floor lamp.  Apparently, you are supposed to think about furnishing rooms WHILE your house is under construction, not AFTER.  Oops.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Who do you want to be today?


When I was a kid I had a recurring daydream about a machine that would let you change your appearance.  You could just plug in the different look you wanted, blond bob, smaller nose, whatever your chubby, little 10-year-old heart desired.  Maybe I was a tad too into "The Jetsons." It wasn't so much that I hated what I looked like (not always) but more was curious to see how it felt to be someone else.  Someone named Pamela.  If only for a day.  A week ago, when I walked into the MOMA to see the Cindy Sherman retrospective, I knew she wondered the same thing.

The exhibit is huge and fascinating, as Sherman transforms herself into aging socialites, abused prostitutes, Hollywood ingenues, and many, many, many other characters.   Viewing her photographs is like taking a swan dive into your own issues with identity and beauty.  All of the pictures are untitled, leaving the viewer to project her perceptions of class and gender while wading through the throngs of French people who manage to look chic and casual at the same time (how?  is there a class?).   My favorite photo was one in which a woman coming home from a hard day's work, in a rush to get dinner started, knocks over the grocery bag and is hunched over the ruins, wondering why nothing can go right.  Or at least that's what I saw at this point in my life.  Five years from now I'll probably have an entirely different interpretation.  See what you want to see, be who you want to be.  Go check out this exhibit!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It's not you, it's me


One of the scariest things I've ever done was plug some of my favorite beauty items into the skin deep site. It was downright terrifying to see how many chemicals I put into my body on a daily basis. Granted, some things (mascara!) are pretty much impossible to find chemical-free, but I have been trying to come up with some eco-friendly substitutions for my beauty regimen. There are lots of great moisturizers, makeup companies and cleansing products that are at least attempting to use more natural than synthetic ingredients. But, I have to draw the line somewhere. And that somewhere is my armpits.

For the past couple of weeks, I've been using an aluminum-free, crunchy, green (it's literally green) deodorant. Not an antiperspirant, mind you, because the aluminum is what prevents you from sweating like a pig. Aluminum is said to possibly cause cancer, Alzheimer's, and other assorted party fouls. Although there hasn't been any real scientific proof of a causal link, I'd rather hedge my bets, especially now that I've got a youngin' depending on me to bring the sand toys to the playground. I've never been a huge sweater, so I doubted that it would be that different for me sans antiperspirant. I decided to ditch my dirty Secret and go organic, y'all.

I didn't really notice anything the first day or so. But, about three days in, I was at a restaurant and I could have sworn that the guy standing next to me had just walked off a basketball court. There was a vile stench all around. A few days later I smelled it again and wondered when the hell people in San Francisco stopped showering. Dirty hippies! Finally, this morning I was changing the big/little guy's diaper when I caught an awful whif. It wasn't poop, it was ME! I had a full on identity crisis. I smell? Like a homeless person in Miami? When did this happen? Have I been smelling for weeks? Am I a hippie now? I am mentally cataloging all the people I've hugged recently and may have utterly repulsed. Damn hormones. Foiled again!

So. I'm starting to think maybe smelling like an onion factory is worse than all the potential, unproven harms of good old, working deodorant. Then again, since I can be a little obsessive (just a tad) once I set my mind to something, I'm going to work my way through this list to try to find a deodorant that doesn't leave me friendless. Any ideas are appreciated, especially by my clothing.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

It happened. We lived.

So, the kid fell down the stairs last night. Two days before the gate is going to be put back! He's nothing if not timely. I believe he inherited that quality from his dad who often says the most inappropriate thing about three seconds before he realizes he's talking aloud. I've been worrying that he's going to fall down the stairs for the past two months that the gate's been gone for the construction. Yet again, I am so very glad that my mom can't remember the name of my blog.

It all went down in total slo mo. I was standing at the top of the stairs getting ready to accompany him on his five thousandth climb of the day down the mighty flight. Is a stairmaster a good second birthday present? Nothing pleases my son more than the up/down. Just as I was about to grab his hand, he suddenly lost his balance and topped over. And over. And over. He was basically doing the most awkward cartwheels ever, heels over head. Of course, I shrieked hysterically probably scaring him far more than the fall did. Thankfully, he didn't go flying down the whole way and caught himself at the landing. He cried LOUDLY for about two minutes straight. That was an eternity while we examined him and tried to decide if we should take him to the emergency room (I will never forget Natasha Richardson for teaching us all about hematomas). He was laughing and playing with the dog food about thirty seconds later so we opted to take a wait and see approach rather than drag him through the horror of an ER visit. And so far today he seems absolutely fine, if a little overly interested in cheese.

Fall down the stairs? Check.

Lost kid + injured kid = Parent of the year over here.

Nothing a little Houston's spinach dip can't cure...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

On love and loss


Today I went to Target with my son. There are two things wrong with that sentence but such is life. We wandered up and down the aisles discovering all the many, many things we suddenly, desperately needed in our lives, including Say Yes to Carrots face wipes and Annie's chocolate grams. Target is powerful, man. At one point the little monkey got incredibly restless and his pleas of "up, up, up, uuuuuup!" could no longer be ignored. I can only take so many fierce side glances from elderly ladies and their carts filled with raisins.

Of course, I made the rookie mistake of letting him loose in the toy aisle. I looked down at my phone to check my husband's scintillating answer to my query whether we needed more toilet paper. Indeed. In that ten second span, my little roadrunner took off. I called his name after I couldn't find him in the nearest aisles. This is his favorite game lately, watching me look for him and smirking until I come running after him, trilling "I'm gonna get you (sucka)." Unfortunately, I think we've got a ways to go with this as my mother repeatedly tells me how I would purposely get lost in department stores, museums and even Disney World! Oh, my poor mom. It's a wonder she didn't leave me for the wolves.

I tried to keep the fear out of my voice as I shouted his name and asked him to please come find mommy. Yes, it was only a few seconds, but there were tons of people around and about a million different hiding places for him. Something just scared me to the core and I had a horrifying feeling that I would never see his blondie head again. I ran threw the baby section and found him playing with women's sports bras. Once a boob man...My heart was racing and I begged him never to do that again. So much for keeping my cool so he doesn't keep doing it for attention.

I just kept thinking back to all the articles I've read in recent days about the horrifying Trayvon Martin case. One fact in particular shook me so deeply-his father called the police department to file a missing persons report and only then learned of his son's death. The story is tragic on so many levels but, as a parent, I can't get beyond the notion of waiting for your son to return home, fearing the worst and then having something so much further than the worst be confirmed.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

He said, she said


Right about now I am wishing I belonged to a gym. There aren't many on my side of town and I generally enjoy going running or taking yoga classes to balance out my carb habit. It's pouring outside today, however, so the mister and I decided to do an insanity class together. We do them every now and again, but not usually together. And certainly not when there is a man in the house laying down wood in the next room over! With no door separating us!

I begged off at first due to the painful awkwardness. Doing the class solo is enough-add on the husband and the random man and it should basically be on youtube. We're sort of trapped in our living room while the child naps because of our never ending construction project (it is ending this week, hooray!). Realizing I was in it either way, I figured I might as well get reap some benefit. Cut to 45 minutes later and I don't think I can ever look our woodlayer in the eye again. I think he even stopped to stare at us at one point, though I was laughing too hard at my husband jumping up and down like a maniac to care. Insane indeed.

People, this has been a scary week of health issues for those in my world. Especially the teeny, tiny ones. I'm hugging my kiddo extra tight these days and appreciating all aspects of his airplane-imitating, avocado-eating, dog-hugging, thrice-pooping ways. He's talking up a storm lately, though who knows what the hell he's saying? I clearly am missing the mom deciphering gene. Yesterday at playgroup one of the little girls kept pointing at some food and saying "owl, owl." I couldn't figure it out for the life of me. I kept hoo hooing and tried to come up with owl facts. How much can you say about an owl? Finally, another mom came by, heard it once and said "she wants an apple." Oh, you mean the apple that is sitting about three inches out of her grasp? Like that makes sense. Maybe I should record some of my little's more confusing utterings and send it to my mom and my mom friends to crack the code. For all I know he's reciting poetry by now.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I bet people can actually die of embarrassment


There is a "My So-Called Life" marathon on Sundance right now. Sometimes you ask and the world answers perfectly. This was such a brilliant show. Even now, nearly 20 years later (holy hell, I am an old lady), the writing still seems so fresh and insanely accurate. I remember watching this in high school and hearing my own thoughts and fears coming through Angela Chase. Oh, the horror of a chin zit! I'm almost not even embarrassed to admit that I spent my son's entire naptime reading the various plot lines and quotes from the 19 episodes. Almost. I was supposed to do a yoga class.

People used to call me Angela back then too as I wore my hair in an especially flattering bob. Every girl with impossibly thick hair should try a style that is more horizontal than vertical, don't you think? A few years ago, my husband and I spent a few days eating breakfast and soaking up the Hawaiian sun next to a glam Claire Danes and her husband, Hugh Dancy. It was a small island and we saw them constantly. She was friendly and nice, but I never quite worked myself up to telling her what an impact this show had on me as a teen. Good on her for finding a new place back on television with "Homeland."

I wonder if it's too early to teach the little bit about teen angst? Will he be more of a Brian Krakow than a Jordan Catalano? I hate to admit that I'm actually torn between which I'd prefer. Although I do love a sweet nerd, who wouldn't want their son to be the hot, cool guy that everyone wants? Then again, he was illiterate, treated people like shit and generally spent his days in a stoned haze. When I was in college a very beautiful, very blond woman in my year dated Jared Leto for a few nights. The whole dorm was abuzz with jealousy about "Jared Leto girl." Hopefully, she found a new claim to fame.

My so-called life is forcing me to turn off the television...and think about subscribing to netflix.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Moms Gone Wild, Part Deux


Who would have thought that the hardest partying I'd do in years would be with my moms group? I guess you really do need to let loose when you spend most of your time with a 25-pound maniac who goes from crying to laughing and back again in less than 3 seconds. The night involved many cocktails, even more wine and some much-needed dancing. Some fashion advice from hookers, cab hailing tips from homeless men, and tequila shots rounded out the evening. Thankfully, I found my mind just as the shots were being poured and conveniently went to the bathroom. Tequila and I had a falling out a few years ago and I'm still not ready to forgive.

I laughed pretty much the entire evening, louder and longer than I have in months. You know it was a good night when you're still giggling to yourself the next day. My husband does NOT appreciate the random giggling. We were remarking last night how damn lucky we are to have found one another while on this extraordinary journey of motherhood. Switch out "remarking" for "shouting" and I think I now understand why we got a few side eyes on our way out of the restaurant. Although I've only known these women for a little over a year, they are so dear to me and my bebe. They repeatedly tell me that we're both not crazy and for that I love them. And even though the night ended in puke (not mine, hooray), I think we'd all agree that the pain was worth the pleasure.

However. I could have done without being wickedly hungover while driving to Tahoe today in the middle of a rain/snowstorm. It took about 2 hours longer than normal and I saw no less than three accidents on the way up. Fun times. I'll be cleaning banana and dog food out of every crevice in my car for years after making the mistake of putting the grocery bag too close to one very bored toddler. Good thing I brought the fire truck-the child is straight obsessed these days. Fiyah. Not necessarily a good thing considering his dad was a total pyro as a kid. It looks like leaving the house is off the table for tomorrow unless we want to go snow swimming. Hot chocolate shots all around!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sadness!


This here is a real travesty. Tomorrow morning I was supposed to go with a friend and her beauty baby to check out the new DVF line at GapKids. I was ready to throw down to get my kid some uber trendy graphic tees. I've been to the Barneys Warehouse Sale. I know what's up. Only I clearly don't because I just realized right this minute that the DVF line is girls only. Sorry little dudes. And moms of little dudes. Boo! Don't we deserve some fun designer fashions on the cheap too?

Perhaps my son could pull off a wrap dress. There was a little girl wearing a full-on mermaid costume at the playground yesterday. What's a little feminine styling going to hurt? The boy's got great legs! Should I still go or will the pain be more than I can bear?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wow

I just read this story and am far more baffled by all the comments on Babycenter (of all places) that seem to be anti-child, or at least anti-child flying. As a firm believer in the power of travel and exploration to shape a child's mind, the idea of not flying with my son is completely anathema to me. Obviously, I can understand the pilot's need to maintain safety on the plane and perhaps that really was the issue here, though it did sound as though the parents managed to get their daughter strapped in prior to being kicked off.

Given that we are flying across the country again in a few weeks, I better start stockpiling my bag of tricks now. One suggestion from a commenter that I liked was carrying a couple of small gift cards (maybe $5 or $10 at Starbucks) or earplugs for your nearest neighbors in case the crying (or your child's go-to annoyance) gets out of hand. All I can say is hooray for the iphone and ipad so I don't lose my voice from the constant reading. Apparently books are just better when they are read 5 or 30 times in a row.

Who me? Shriek on a plane? Never!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Typical toddler behavior is technically psychotic

At least according to the family psychotherapist who just gave a talk at my pediatricians office. Confirmation! Finally. The discussion focused around discipline and how to teach your toddler to develop the emotional intelligence to self-regulate his/her behavior. As with any lecture that I've attended in the previous 25 years, I had to take notes to force myself to pay attention. Here are some of the highlights for any of you dealing with your own little psycho:

1. Talk to him/her. Especially about FEELINGS.
2. Establish authority. Not through screaming.
3. Encourage good behavior more than you discourage bad behavior.
4. When your kid is in the throws of a tantrum, this isn't a learning time. Go back and revisit.
5. Do what you say you're going to do or what you say means nothing.

Speaking of good behavior, today I stole from Trader Joe's. Well, technically my son stole, but I opened was the one who opened the package for him, let him eat as we walked around, realized that I didn't have my wallet at the checkout counter, told the cashier that I was sorry but I would check for money in my car, spent a good 20 minutes looking for change in all the dark and pinchy undersides of the seats, didn't have the heart to walk in with $1.15 and 27 pennies, and just went home, defeated. Do you think they'll put our picture up in the window?

So last night I decided to get all sorts of exotic and made a chicken fried rice stir fry for dinner. Fried rice! At my house! Good thing I have a wok for just such an occasion. Or for making eggs. Everything is more fun in a wok. Anyway, here's the recipe I used for anyone craving an msg fix. I actually used way, waaaaaaay less soy sauce than the recipe calls for-1/3 of a cup seemed a bit crazytown to me. I'm already concerned about our salt intake ever since I started noticing how much sodium is in the foods I buy for the toddles. It's insane how these "kid-friendly" snacks have more salt than the adult versions. I also added zucchini, red pepper, shallots, honey, ginger and some fresh-squeezed orange juice/flesh for some depth of flavor. Next time I intend to undercook the rice a bit as it would have tasted even better with a little crunch.


Happy frying!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Another log into the fire

One of the perks of living in a very moderate climate is that my appreciation of winter is far more developed than it would be if I had to de-ice my car every morning for four months. So much so that I actually enjoyed shoveling the sidewalk this morning. The arm workout entirely justified the frozen pizza I later ate. We are housebound in Tahoe. Or, I should say the canine one, the toddling one and I are housebound while the manly one gets his skiing on. Cozying up to the fire, reading, and drinking endless cups of hot chocolate is not a bad way to spend a few days escaping our dusty home. I rather enjoy being forced to stay still and be idle because I'm usually pretty bad at it. Unfortunately, my son seems to have inherited this trait and was practically bouncing off the walls by the time I bundled him up to eat some snowflakes.


People, I may have changed my life for the much better today. I made the most nutritious and delicious snack ever-kale chips! We eat a lot of kale. More specifically, we drink a lot in our juices. Yes, we're still doing that. I can't believe it either. I definitely would have expected the juicer to be buried in the cabinet above the fridge by now. Miraculously, the juice makes an appearance in most of Mr. Monk's breakfasts. How confused he's going to be when he gets a bit older and realizes that "juice" doesn't just refer to vegetable juice. At least we throw an apple or two in there.

While we did bring no less than three different types of crackers for a three day trip, we somehow managed to control ourselves and not bring the juicer. And yet I packed all our veggies anyway. So...kale chips! I make brussel sprout chips all the time and I made these the same way. Basically, rip the leaves off the thick stems, tear into smaller pieces, sprinkle them with olive oil and salt, and bake them at 350 for 10-15 minutes until crispy. For the brussels, just chop off the bottom part of the teeny cabbage and peel off the layers of leaves. I like most things nearly burnt and, thankfully, so do my men. Mr. Monk ate the most chips. Ignoring the salt factor, I'd say not bad. Not bad at all. Buying the same thing at Whole Foods costs nearly ten dollars, so go green.


Also, how funny/strange is this website? It kind of makes me want to try on a pair of the mister's pants just to make sure they'd fit. It's amazing how some of the couples look almost interchangeable. And some look insane.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The haps





Drinking wine and watching the Oscars, which will be over by 9 pm...awesome.

Picking up my iphone from the floor and realizing that my son must have dropped it one too many times as the screen is now smashed to bits...less than awesome.

Making an appointment with a teenager to fix my phone on the cheap in his living room while his mom supervises (What? He gets great Yelp reviews)...awesome.

Finding out last night that my oldest friend in the world is engaged...awesome.

Finding out last week that an old friend broke up with her long-term boyfriend because he couldn't commit to marriage...less than awesome.

Spending a relaxing week in LA with family, friends and the sun...awesome.

Coming home to a construction zone that used to be my house...less than awesome.

Realizing that the washer/dryer is now fully functioning...awesome.

Having to fold 8 loads of laundry...less than awesome.

Watching my sweet boy hug any dog, stuffed animal, and woman wearing a fur vest that he sees...awesome.

Buying not one, not two, but three different items of clothing (for myself and the shorty) in the wrong size from stores in LA that don't exist here. Not sure why I went shopping without my brain...less than awesome.

Celebrating impending babies, birthdays and brunch this weekend and feeling more and more grateful for the life I've lead, am leading and have yet to lead...awesome.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I actually ordered a non-fat, half-caf today


A man who is not my husband gave me flowers this week. Granted, he was my manicurist at a nail salon and they were wilting red roses post Valentine's Day...details. I'd like to think it was because I wasn't wearing my wedding ring and not to increase his tip, which was pretty generous because I felt so awkward. My husband, to his credit, did give me beautiful flowers on the day of Valentine. I couldn't care less about the "holiday," but they were a pretty surprise. He quite enjoyed his chocolate. And so did I.

Our little construction project has gotten a bit out of hand and we can't really be in our house right now. Road trip! We packed up the car, the kid and headed down to la la land today. We get to see family (in-laws in town) and old friends. Built-in babysitters and people to see-score! Plus, the weather here features real deal California sunshine. Not like San Francisco with it's sneaky, now you feel me, now you don't sun.

This afternoon I saw Patricia Arquette. Without even trying to stargaze. My husband is one of those ridiculous gawking types (so is my sister) who can't read lips or serious eye communiques. He always says (screams) "Who? Where?" as though there is no shame in calling attention to the fact that we are treating people like they are zoo animals. I am much more respectful and silent about it all. I emote internally. Living in LA for three years will train you to not freak out because you realize that celebrities drive carelessly, stand in the aisles for an inordinate amount of time at Whole Foods and usually look a lot shorter and less impressive in person. Stars, they're just like us. I still like seeing them and all the other insanely glamorous people that populate this town. Everyone is so beautiful. And so skinny! I would hate to be a teenage girl growing up here.

This week has been far too scary and stressful for people I love. Here's hoping this weekend provides some much needed relaxation and straight up fun for all.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I believe the children are our future



Poor Whitney. What a tragedy to die at 48 at the hands of her own addictions. Her music changed my childhood. My sister and I used to have Whitney Houston dance parties. The cassettes would be blasting through my pink boom box. I can almost smell the crimped hair now. After I heard the news, I (horribly) serenaded my husband with a few of my Whitney faves. There are so many to choose from, but the greatest for me will always be "The Greatest Love of All."

We're still pretty much under germ house arrest over here so we stayed in and rented "Beginners." It was, quite possibly, the perfect film for me tonight. Equal parts funny, touching and sad-my personal favorite recipe. So much of the movie seemed grounded in reality, so it wasn't surprising to learn that it's based on the screenwriter/director's own experience with his father coming out of the closet in his 70's, shortly after his mother's death. Seeing his father begin to embrace his life for the first time, just as he's nearing the end of it, has a contagious effect on the protagonist. Much of the action, or lack thereof, is revealed in flashbacks. The dialogue and incredible cinematography primarily reveals the charms and flaws of the main characters and draws you into their world. Each was a beginner in his/her own way and trying to make sense of life's great complexities, those that we can control and those we cannot. If you're into character studies and solemn yet winsome tales, check it out.

Feeling very bittersweet as I sip my tea and nibble my dark chocolate (with almonds and sea salt, thank you very much).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Different strokes

Colds really suck. Consider yourself enlightened. I have been fortunate enough to not experience this whole mouth breathing phenomenon for the past year. Between breastfeeding and not living in winter, both my babe and I seemed to have titanium immune systems. Until now. I cannot stop coughing. My throat is raw and scratchy, which makes me want to cough more. Kind of a chicken vs. egg situation I've got going on.

My poor husband has to listen to me hacking away. I feel worse for him than I do for me. Hearing someone cough is probably my biggest pet peeve. When I commuted by train, I would always jump up and run into the nearest car if someone next to me was coughing. Not because of the germs (though I don't much care for them), but because of the sound. It irks the hell out of me. I am always afraid the person is going to launch into a fit and start choking.

But, hearing my son cry is by far the worst sound ever. Thankfully, his coughing has so far been minimal and my world has not exploded. Strangely, this plague seems to be affecting us differently:

My version: Want to sleep in all day and watch soap operas.
His version: Want to get up at least thirty minutes earlier than normal, nap thirty minutes less and go to sleep thirty minutes later.

My version: Employing every tissue and roll of toilet paper in the house to blow my nose.
His version: Employing all the tissues and toilet paper in the house as toilet bowl party guests.

My version: Generally disinterested in all things that are not really hot or really cold foods for the past two days.
His version: Generally disinterested in all things food for past two days.

My version: Whining constantly to anyone who will listen about how much I hate being sick.
His version: Whining much less constantly than normal.

My version: Would almost be willing for someone to suck out my snot using a nose frida.
His version: Would not, under any circumstances, be willing for someone to suck out his snot using a nose frida.

We do, however, both really enjoy examining our snot. He's mine afterall.

I think we're almost out of the woods, people. Catch you on the flip side.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Now, where can I buy some authority?

Why French Parents Are Superior
While Americans fret over modern parenthood, the French are raising happy, well-behaved children without all the anxiety. Pamela Druckerman on the Gallic secrets for avoiding tantrums, teaching patience and saying 'non' with authority.

Pamela Druckerman's new book "Bringing Up Bebe," catalogs her observations about why French children seem so much better behaved than their American counterparts...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

She's the moon

So, right after I posted about Mr. Monk's enthusiastic vocal stylings, I just might have found a way to keep the shrieks at bay...Bon Iver. I played some of his music for my mister this morning and it was like he entered a hipster trance. Good thing he already looks good in skinny jeans.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Don't hate the player, hate the game


When I used to see kids misbehaving, I assumed that at least some portion of the blame fell on the caregiver. Obviously, the mom/dad/nanny wasn't setting limits and guiding the child into a life of productivity, kindness and healthy attitudes about body image and reality television. And maybe this is still true about older children. What the hell do I know about older kids? I have a toddler. A toddler who likes to throw fits in public places and has consequently thrown all my annoying pre-child judgments right the hell out the window with my sanity. I've needed to remind myself many times over the past couple of weeks how much I love my little monkey. He's a hilarious, quirky kid who really enjoys hugging tummies, frozen blueberries and making people laugh. I love his wide leg cowboy swagger. I love his hysterical laughter when I even pretend I'm going to tickle him. I love his excitement about the world, and particularly the sandboxes, around him. I HATE his shrieking.

We are in a Level 1, red-hot, teaming screaming zone these days. He seems to do it most when he has the maximum audience capacity and is surrounded by calm, quiet toddlers who make him look even more maniacal in comparison. The more folks around to gawk at him and mommy, the better. Library storytime offers the biggest return per scream. He makes the most of that forum and goes full-throttle. I believe he's inherited my lung capacity. Yeah, yeah, he's got a lot of personality and he usually screams because he's excited. He's active. He's energetic and spirited. Even though he's not doing it on purpose (or is he?), he's becoming kind of a PITA. But, he's still my PITA. And, I have to take him to these storytimes or else he'll never learn to read or write and will definitely kill squirrels in our backyard.

Not ready to live the life of an agoraphobe, I've been trying pretty much everything I can over the past month to "discourage this behavior." From what I've gleaned while talking (whining) to mommy friends, reading the very much on point and spookily clairvoyant babycenter emails, and grilling his pediatrician, these are the ONLY truths about the situation and my role in it:

1. Stop Caring--what does it matter what other people think about my mini? Apparently, I take this shit way too seriously. After the third person in the playground muses that my son must be a lot of work, you'd think I'd learn to just shrug it off. Chances are I'll never see that person again (and why would I want to since he/she clearly hates happy, sometimes loud toddlers) so I'm determined to stop letting it drive me crazy and feeling like the world's worst mama.

2. Ignore--obviously this is easier said then done, but I am trying as hard as I can to ask Mr. Monk to stop screaming/throwing things/thrusting his pelvis, explain why he should not scream/throw/thrust and then ignore him until the undesirable behavior stops. I really should have gone into acting because I say these things in the sweetest, happiest, most kind I love you voice ever even though I am seething inside.

3. Easy come, easy go--you know those old rainbow striped Emergency Broadcast System TV spots that beeped for a minute and then reminded you that it was just a test? Well, this too is only a test. It might be a hard, annoying one, but it'll be over soon. Most likely, the screaming is a result of him not having the language to properly express himself. So when he does begin to learn more words (everything is "baby" or "this/that" these days), I can look forward to him never shutting up. Right? Right? Please tell me this is just a test of the Emergency Broadcast System and my (mostly) sweet child is not a terrorist.

Blurry, but I love the hair wings