Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Back to Reality

If you've noticed the sudden increase in the number and frequency of postings here, that's because I took the last week off of work. It's amazing what a little extra sleep can do for one's mood and creativity.

Being a stay-at-home Mom, even for a week is damn hard. I don't necessarily envy anyone who gets to do this full-time. That doesn't mean I wouldn't want to actually do it myself. I think I'd need some outlets, though. The blog for creativity and a place to vent, a group of friends to go out with occasionally and play trivia or see a movie, have snacks and talk, whatever and maybe a class or something to give me deadlines and challenges that I'd have to meet on a regular basis.

For all the heavy sighing, temple rubbing, teeth clenching and "deargodgivemestrength" muttering I did this week, I'm going to miss being able to do all of that well-rested. Sleep and rest make a tough job like parenting a little bit easier. I think wine and chocolate probably help, too.

It's funny: I'll still be here all day with the girls, pretty much like I was over the past week. The difference will be that I won't be here in the mornings with Grinch or on the weekends. It's a big difference somehow. I miss my husband. I miss my best friend.

I get some more time off during Christmas week and I'm really looking forward to it. The knowledge that good times and a little extra sleep are coming my way will help make tomorrow's 1:30am wakeup call a little bit easier.

And you? Thanks for continuing to read this blog. It's not much. It's just my little corner of the internet to prattle on a bit. But I'm glad you stop by. Leave a comment and say "hi", won't you?

Monday, December 8, 2008

This is a Message from Mom Corleone!

No more half eaten snacks! No more fussing and cussing about naps and baths and playing with your sister! No more going boneless when I try to hold your hand to cross the street! Do as Mommy says!

....or you sleep with the goldfishessssssssssss........

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Parents Do the Darndest Things

"Mommymommymommymommy! I found my snowshoe hare mask!"
"Great, darlin'! Want to put it on?"
"No, I want YOU to put it on. That would be so funny."
"Ok!" (tie tie tie)

"HAhahahahaha! Mommy, that is so silly! Let's hop like bunnies!"

"Ok! " (hop, hop, hop all around the house)


"Come on, Do-si-do. You can hop with meeeeeeeWOOH! You need a fresh diaper. Come on, let's change that." (change, change, change the diaper)
"Mommy, I'm hungry."

"Ok, let's get a snack." (snack, snack, snack)


"Poor hungry baby." (nurse, nurse, nurse)

"Mommy! Play with ME!"

"Ok, ok!" (play, play, play, dance, dance, dance)

::DING, DONG!:::

"Oh, hi UPS man! Package for me? Great!"

"You must be really busy these days, huh? You look pretty happy about it. What's so funny?"

"Why yes, we have been playing rabbit. How'd you kno-...ohmygod. Excuse me."

So now, along with my dignity, UPS has a release to leave all packages on my doorstep without a signature.
You're welcome.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Don't Do Math Without A Net

I have a liberal arts degree. I have the actual diploma, beautifully framed and hiding in a closet somewhere. Come visit, bring me a piece of your favorite cake and I'll show it to you.

Liberal arts majors, if you didn't know, are notoriously bad at math. It's why shirts like this exist.

I am no exception to this stereotype. Lacking a mathmatical mind and patient teachers, I made it all the way through college counting on my fingers. God, that's embarrassing to admit.

Grinch, who is quite mathmatically inclined, got so frustrated with my finger counting one day, he swatted my hands down and said, "Stop it! You CAN do this in YOUR HEAD. Do it." So I did. I'm pretty slow and I can't do math in front of a crowd, but I no longer look like I'm doing sign language while I try to figure out the tip for a $34 dinner bill.

So this is a leap for me, but it's important. You need to know this. This is important to the future of all potential iphone owners everywhere. Quite possibly, the future of Apple Computers itself relies on this.

I'm working on the following formula:

X x Y = Z

X equals the number of times you drop your cell phone
And Y equals the number of times your partner SEES you drop your cell phone
Z equals the odds that your partner will buy you an iphone for Christmas and it is ALWAYS a negative number.

It is terribly simple and there are other variables I need to include, like the actual price of an iphone, the amount of time you will spend Twittering on your iphone instead of paying attention to your partner. So I've gotten you off to a good start, internet. Let's get to work on this. (I'm lookin atchoo Eli and Wolfgang.)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Smell of Failure Can Be Purchased at Bath & Body Works

You know what I've discovered? Mary Poppins doesn't exist. Really. I spent all this time searching for the perfect nanny/sitter for our little wonder girls and she doesn't exist. I'd go ahead and hire Julie Andrews because I think she's practically perfect in every way, but I think she charges a little more than $15 an hour. And she's booked. 'Til, like, 2020.

So we hired a sitter who said she was cool with our weird hours, agreed to no TV or video games, has lots of experience and doesn't smoke. Bug is OK with her and the sitter can tolerate Dos' loudest, most prolonged protestations. So far, so good.


Two minor things:

First, she wears a TON of perfume or something equally stinky. For the record, I HATE scented lotions or perfumed body washes. Plus, heavy scents make me really Sneezy. The first couple of times Sitter came, I opened the windows to air the house out. It's too cold to do that now. Plus, she's holding Dos a lot and I can smell Sitter's perfume on the poor baby hours after she's gone. I have to change Dos' clothes and give her a bath when Sitter leaves. Blech. I can smell it now, just thinking about it.

It's more than just the strong aroma. It's the scent of failure to me. I smell that perfume and it says, "You CAN'T do it after all. Someone else has to take care of your baby. You left your baby with a stranger. A smelly stranger. YOU. FAILED." I know, right? I'm just being honest here.

Next, she's a real sitter. I mean, she just sits there. A lot. Bug needs to move. All kids do. Without some physical activity, they get crabby and whiny and become total pains in the ass. Dos is happy to crawl around a lot. Climbing on a parent, the sofa and pushing chairs around is a lot of physical exercise for her. But Bug needs to run! And JUMP! And RUN some more! She gets that a lot when Grinch and I are watching her, but Sitter just sits.


Do I tell her she smells and sits around too much? I'd find a nicer way to say it of course. Maybe. Or should we just appreciate that she's not soused and locking the baby in the closet?

Have I mentioned that I hate confrontation? Mergh.

What would you do?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I'm the last child my parents had. The "baby" as people like to say. I'm the seventh child.

My next-oldest sister enjoyed "baby of the family" status for five glorious years until I showed up. She likes to tell people that "We were The Brady Bunch until Heather came along and screwed everything up." Obviously, she's still not over losing her title. We hated each other growing up and now we're best friends. I still want to belt her when she makes the Brady Bunch comment, though.

So I came along and six became seven. Lucky number seven? Meh. Probably not. I think seven kids pretty much torched the last of my mom's sanity. In family pictures, she looks like she held it together right up until kid number five, then you see the screws coming loose. By the time I arrived, she was OVER. IT. Every picture of her after my birth, she's practically climbing out of the frame. I just have two kids and I can't say that I blame her.

Instead of The Brady Bunch, we became the Seven Dwarves. At least, that's what everyone hooted when they heard "seven kids." "Harharharhar! Seven kids! You're the seven dwarves! HARHARHAR!" Yeah. That never gets old. And it wasn't enough just to point out the Snow White connection. Idiots who point that kind of crap out always have to ask, "SO! Which dwarf are you?!"

May I use this opportunity to educate you? Thanks.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is a very old story. It goes back to the middle 1800's at least. In some versions, the dwarves are knights. Mostly, they're just short dudes who let Snow White crash with them in exchange for cooking and cleaning. The dwarves weren't named until that Disney came along. Suddenly, every dwarf needed a name. Every dwarf needed a label. Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy and Sneezy. Well, fine.

So when people asked us which dwarf we were, my brothers were all too happy to start throwing labels around. Guess who got to be Dopey each and every time? Harumph.

Monday, November 17, 2008

!Buenos Tag!

In high school and college, I took a lot of Spanish classes. By the time I was done, I could carry on a half-decent conversation in Spanish without much effort. After graduation, though, I barely spoke Spanish at all so over the years I've forgotten most of my grammar. Now I worry too much about tense and pronouns and posessives to say much more than "Dos margaritas fresada sin sal, por favor." and then I do so rather self-consciously.

I got suckered into a couple of French classes here and there. It just wasn't my thing. The language itself sounds beautiful, but I felt pretentious just learning it. The best result of those classes was the laugh I got when a college French teacher implored a very tight jawed fellow to "open your mouth. Open. Your. Mouth!" He muttered to her though his clenched jaw, "That's as far as it goes."

I've tried half-heartedly to learn German to impress the in-laws. But, hello? Could it be any more difficult? Die, du, deine....I'm already starting to feel light-headed.

For many months after the bug was born, I faked my way through her German books, stuttering "Schneewitchen und der sieben Zwerge" and I thought I was doing a pretty good job. But a few months ago, as I blathered on about "...Julia's dreirad, und teddy ist immer dabei", Bug put her fingers to my lips and said, "You don't read German, Mommy. DADDY reads German." Kaput.

Still, old habits and old languages die hard. I give the bug instructions and finish with, "Entiende?" I pat mis bolsillos, muttering, "¿Dónde están mis llaves?" and ask the bug for "Eine moment, bitte." I take things from little hands and scold, "Das ist nicht für dich."

Sometimes the languages collide and I end up using Spanish and German in on sentence. "Necisito una Löffel." "Este juguete ist kaput, schatz." I don't know if I'm the best language model for young ears, but I'm trying.

I do know this: if my girls ever need to send back their meals at a German restaurant in Spain, they can fall back on their mother's example and implore the waiter to "Vaya rápidamente, mach schnell!"

Monday, November 10, 2008

Name that Critter

For the bug's 3rd birthday, my sister and neice gave her a very nice world map made out of felt.

To go along with the map, there are about 25 little felt critters with velcro on their backs. The idea is to put the animals on their home continents. Most of the critters are easily identifiable, like these:

Top to bottom, left to right, we figure these guys are a panda, giraffe, zerba, lion, eagle, butterfly, kangaroo, hedgehog, flamingo, rabbit, hawk and camel. Easy peasy, right? There are some that are not so easily identifiable, like these guys:

After months of deliberation, we've decided that they are a roadrunner, moose (with really dinky antlers, poor fellow. OH! Maybe it's a reindeer?), crow (bor-RING!), and turkey. Believe it or not, that turkey took a LONG time to identify. Three college educated adults and a very smart teenager turned that sucker a million different ways before it finally made sense.

If you're counting, there are still nine critters outstanding. What the hell are these?

Now, we're not complete knuckleheads. We figure the grey dude with the tusks is a warthog. His neighbor is squirrel of some sort (artic, perhaps?), and the black thing with the horns and the white U-shape on his face is a bull. Maybe? But what is the brown thing with feet and a tail? A Darwinian pile of poo? On what continent does that live, exactly? Is his grey cousin on the bottom row just a cold weather version of him?

So, I'm turning to you, all-knowing internet, to help us identify these creatures and point us to their happy homes. Beacuse the bug has named the black-and-white critter at the top Boo-ba-dee and I don't know if that's its genus or phylum. Get to work. Name those critters.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

You Got to have "Friends"

I don't have a lot of friends. I don't mean that in the "woe is me" way it sounds. I just mean that the number of people that I consider friends who I see or contact on a regular basis is very small. My friends are important to me. I love them and care about them like they're family.

The on-line world is a weird place for friendships. I frequently e-mail and Twitter people whom I've never met but who I "know" through reading their blogs. I look at their pictures on Flickr. I've seen their homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, friends and families.

My on-line friends are good for a laugh, a virtual hug, a "hey look at this" or "me too." I find myself quoting them or sharing details of our "conversations" with people in real life. That sounds weird, like these people on-line are figments of my imagination. Given my state of mind lately that's a possibility, but I'm pretty sure that they exist as actual life forms.

So what do I call these people? "Friend" to me implies a physical closeness, day-to-day interaction, a person who you've spent time with, who you can read and who can read you. I'd like very much to call some of these people "friend." I think I'd like to spend time with them, to have beers, to go book shopping with them or have a picnic with them. You can tell a lot about a person based on what they bring to a picnic. That's a subject for another time.

Sometimes I think, "One day I'll go to Canada/Arkansas/Amsterdam/Vienna to visit Jen/Belinda/Ingrid/Wolfgang and we're going to laaaaaugh and laugh and laugh and have a good time...." and then I wonder if that's a good idea.

Maybe in real life, these people wouldn't like me. Maybe I wouldn't like them. Maybe the on-line world is the best place for these "friendships" because the conversations are short, sweet and don't require eye-to-eye contact.

Better to keep the illusion of friendship, right? And darn it, it still feels funny calling these people friends. Have they earned that title? Have I? Wasn't it easier when we were five-years-old and could just wander up to someone on the playground and ask, "Will you be my friend?"

Monday, October 20, 2008

What's The Big Idea?

I'm fresh out of episodes of MadMen and Prime Suspect so I might as well post. It's funny: I get irritated with "professional" bloggers who go a couple of days without posting. "This is your JOB. Gah." I mutter at my screen, refreshing, refreshing, refreshing for a new post that isn't there. And here I am, going WEEKS without posting. I'll try to do better.

Fall is finally falling here. The air is getting a little crisper, the leaves are collecting on the driveway and we have pumpkins on our doorstep waiting to be carved or painted. There's even a real deal pie pumpkin on my kitchen counter top waiting to have done to it whatever you do to make a real deal pumpkin pie. Me and my big ideas.

I have a lot of big ideas. Not much comes of them, but they are big. I have an idea for curtains I want to sew for the girls' room. But I don't own a sewing machine. And I can't sew. So.....heh. You see the problem there.

I have an idea for a new landscape design for our yard. I drew it out on graph paper with colored pencils and measurements and everything. That was five years ago. The plan is sitting in a folder somewhere, relegated to the "one day when we have money and time" pile.

I had a big idea for a blog. I was going to write fascinating, funny, heart-string tugging, insightful, thoughtful posts about parenting and children, work and marriage. Turns out: with an infant, a toddler and a full-time job on the graveyard shift, I don't have a whole lotta time to post. Imagine that!

I'm also at a loss for what to write. I don't want to exploit my family for post-fodder. But some of the things we experience on a daily basis are funny or wonderful or challenging and maybe whatever happens make someone else laugh or boost their spirits or just let them know they're not alone. That's ok, right?

What do you want to know? Remember, I'm not talking about my sex life. There are a bajillion bloggers who talk about theirs. I'm sure they don't mind if you wander over for a look-see. I don't talk about politics because, frankly? Who the hell cares what I think and haven't we heard enough already? Religion? See previous.

I have big ideas. What are some of yours

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Dear Thursday,

Why you gotta be like that? Acting all crazy and flat out nasty sometimes. What'd I do to you?

We used to have a good thing going, you and me. You were practically my favorite day of the week. After Friday, I mean. Settle down, settle down. You gotta know that Friday is everyone's favorite. It's just the way the calendar is set up. Friday starts the weekend. Friday is party night. Friday is date night. Friday is pay day. TGIF and all that.

But you, Thursday? You're the pat on the back, the sign that relief is close, the appetizer to the weekend's main course. Thursday means the weekend is so close. Hang in there, baby! It's Thursday! Hey, it's Thursday, wanna get a jump start on the weekend? Thursday, YOU are the beacon of light in a long week.

Except for me. Technically you're my Tuesday. Now, now...I know Tuesday is the weakling on the calendar. Nobody thinks twice about Tuesday. "Whatcha doin' Tuesday?" "Nothin'." And it's not my fault, really. I had nothing to do with screwing up the week like that. Believe me, I want things back to the way they used to be but it's not up to me. For now, to me anyway, you're Tuesday. I'm sorry, sugar, that's just the way it has to be. At least you're not Wednesday. Wednesday has become my Monday and NOBODY likes Monday. Think how Wednesday feels. See. You got it pretty good.

So why gotta act like that, Thursday? By the time I'm done with you I want to eat my weight in chocolate, break shit, lay on the floor and cry. Seriously. Can't we just have a normal day together? One that doesn't involve illness or sleepless babies or cantankerous toddlers? I know, I know...I'm not blaming it all on you. Some of this is my fault, but day-um. EVERY THURSDAY ends in tears for somebody at my house and it's usually me.

Shhhhh. It's ok, baby. I didn't mean to make you cry. Com'ere. It's gonna be ok. I still love you. Everybody else still loves you, too. You're beautiful, friendly, never-hurts-anyone Thursday. Ain't nothin' gonna change that. Let's make up, ok? Wanna go get a burrito? The place up the street has a Thursday speeccciaaaaalllllll......

Monday, September 29, 2008

Guest Post: Grinch

Grinch e-mailed this to me a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was sweet and he said it was ok to blog it, so here's his first official guest post:

"This morning, on the way to school, bug asked to hear some music. Without much hope of finding anything decent, I scanned the radio stations. Much to my surprise and delight, we came upon the first bars of "Hey Jude." As I always do during that song, I got goosebumps, and cranked up the stereo as I told bug that this was one of daddy's favorite songs by the Beatles.

"A few minutes later, during the song's rousing coda, I looked back and saw bug tapping her hand on her knee in time to the music. I still can't get the smile off my face."

These two have become quite the pair lately. Dos and Bug share a room. Dos isn't sleeping through the night yet, there's still a lot of crying going on. Bug has been sleeping on the sofa bed with Grinch so at least one person in this house can get some rest. When I leave for work in the morning, I use the light from my cellphone LCD display to check on them. Bug is usually sprawled out, taking up nearly every square inch of sleepable space and Grinch is scrunched up in a corner. They're both breathing deeply and sleeping peacefully. Charlie even curls up with them. I'm happy they're getting sleep, but jealous that I can't join them. It's all I can do to keep myself from curling up beside Bug and going right back to sleep.

Kids go through this "favorite parent" stage off and on throughout childhood, apparently. I had my days in the sun a couple of weeks ago. Now, I'm regarded more as the Evil Queen than dear, delightful, sunshiney Mommy. It hurts, but I can get over it. I'm glad to see Grinch getting the love and attention he deserves....and a lot of snuggling and hugging from his little girl before she thinks it's gross.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gotta Laugh to Keep from Cryin'

Before we had kids, Grinch and I would take long walks, hikes in the woods or trips to the beach and enjoy the peace and quiet. More than once, the tranquility was broken by the sound of screeching kid or wailing infant. Grinch and I would shoot glances at the "offending" family and mutter that people should keep their screaming kids at home or teach them how to behave in public. Harumph. We knew so much about kids before we actually had some of our own.

A couple of weeks ago we took the kiddos to a nature preserve near our house. When we got to the path, the Bug took off running, so happy to be in the forest YAY! Five minutes into the walk: stumble, bumble, crash, blood, tears and an early trip home.

Saturday, we tried again. 65 acres of undisturbed forest, paved paths, twittering birds, peace and quiet. Ahhhhh....hahahah! Not so fast! We got to the forest entrance and the bug was already whining. "I'm hungry, Daddy. I'm hunnnnngry." We tried distracting her, encouraging her, promising a fantastic picnic lunch when the walk was done. No. "I'm hunnnnnnnnngry NOW." Fine. Back to the picnic tables where it seemed like a majillion snarky, cursing pre-teens were milling around, grumbling and flipping each other off. She happily ate her sandwich. Grinch and I ate ours in steely silence while Dos dribbled Cheerios all over the ground.

Ok. Lunch is done. NOW we can go walk in the forest, right? Walking, no running. No running, no falling, right? Right. At the start of the trail, the paths go in two directions. We wanted to go to the right, the bug wanted to go to the left. She wanted to go to the left so badly, that she started crying. (Why we didn't just go to the left, I do not know. Quite obviously, parenthood has eaten our brains. I think we were "standing our ground." Knuckleheads.) She cried THE ENTIRE WALK. The serenity of the forest was broken with a low-key moan of "I don't want to. I don't waaaaaaaant toooooooooo." You would have thought the 1/4 mile stroll through the woods was the Bataan Freaking Death March for Toddlers. I even tried bribing her with an offer to run. "Wanna run? You can run if you hold my hand! Come on, let's run!"
"Nooooooo! You can't RUN in the forest! You'll FAAAAAALL!"

Grinch and I just kept walking, making small talk about family gossip, and glancing behind us to make sure the bug was still there. We thought we had a chance at calming the storm near the end of the walk when we came across a huge spiderweb and its owner. "Look! What a pretty spiderweb! And such a big spider! Oooooh, it has pretty stripey legs, doesn't it?" She smiled and nodded, her eyes wide though red-rimmed from crying. She quieted for a minute....which was Dos' cue to start crying. I hiked up my shirt, walking and nursing and grinning at how ridiculous the whole thing was.

Dos finally quieted so Bug and her wails of complaint had center stage again. The end of the path was in sight and she was still crying, "I don't want tooooooooo." She finally stopped crying when we were completely out of the woods (ha!) and Grinch was able to distract her from her trauma with a look at some petrified wood. I wandered around, shaking off the tension and wondering if we'd scarred the bug for life. She'd never want to go for a walk in the woods ever again. I was sure of it.

The car ride home was blessedly short and quiet. In the driveway, Grinch and I were unbuckling the girls from their car seats, still shaking our heads at how badly everything had gone. That's when the bug smiled and said, "That was FUN!"

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Playlist for the Week of Sept. 14, 2008

As a college DJ, I hated taking requests. "Hi! Can you please play The Smiths "Plea..." "Yeah! Ok, got it. I'll see if I can get it on. BYE!" Translation: "Beat it, kid. You're bothering me. Go steal your mom's eyeliner and scribble a new shitty poem about love."

Now I'm taking music requests pretty much everyday. The playlist has greatly improved, though.

The Bug has never been one of those kids who insists on listening to one song over and over in the car. Mostly because we never gave her the option. It was always just, "Here's what we're listening to now. Enjoy." and she did. Then she discovered the Beatles Abbey Road and all bets were off. Now, when we get in the car, she says, "I want to hear 'Here Comes the Sun" then 'Octopus's Garden' please? Ok." Sometimes she switches the order, but that's pretty much it. Sometimes she requests "You Never Give Me Your Money" just for fun.

At home, she asks to hear The Proclaimers "Sean". She calls it the "hi-ya" song and we always hold her and bounce while we sing it together. I draw the limit at once every now and then. That song gets kind of annoying after one or 10 plays.

"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" and "Jump, Jive and Wail" also figure high on the Bug's list of favorite songs. Cool with me. Those get me off the couch to dance and that'll blow out a bad mood any day.

I used to sing to the Bug a lot when she was a baby. A lot of big band, some hymns, Monkees, show tunes....basically whatever slow songs I could remember the words to. When I couldn't remember the words I lah-dee-dah-deed until the tune was done.

For some reason, I don't feel like singing to Dos at night like I did with the Bug. I think I'm so worried that it'll keep her awake or re-energize her and we'll never get to sleep that I'd rather just keep my mouth shut. Still, I think she needs some musical introduction and it would be a good way to establish her bedtime routine. Right now the only routine is: nurse, cry, sleep. That kinda sucks.

So here, for your enjoyment and inspiration, is Dos' bedtime music mix: (Playlist created by Mommy.)

Sleepers Awake from Cantata 140, J.S. Bach
Afro-Cuban Lullaby, Trad. arr. Marshall
Gymnopedie No.1, E. Satie
May Safely Graze from Cantata 208, J.S. Bach
No.1 from Well-Tempered Clavier, J.S. Bach
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring from Cantata 147, J.S. Bach
Praise Ye the Lord, K.339
Fairest Lord Jesus 2:02
Traditional (What a Gift to Be Simple)
Chopin: Prelude in A

Almost all the selections are from the Christopher Parkening "The Great Recordings" CD. He's a favorite artist in this house. He should be a favorite artist in EVERY house in my humble opinion. Torija is from John Huston's "Three Centuries of Music" CD. Chopin's Prelude in A is from Andres Segovia's "The Segovia Collection."

Burn, enjoy and pleasant dreams.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hearts Were Made to be Broken

People say that having kids makes you young again. That's pretty much true. You giggle madly with them at the most ridiculous stuff. You lay down on the sidewalk to get a good view of ants soldiering back and forth with their bits of food. You sing "This Old Man" and ABCs with gusto. You eat hot dogs and mac 'n cheese for dinner. You have tea parties and bake Lego bread in shoebox ovens and count it up as rollicking good fun. When your kid is having fun you have fun, too.

The flip side is when your 3-year-old gets her heart broken, yours breaks twice as hard: once for her and once for the 3-year-old you who has had her heart broken multiple times in the very same way over the past 36 years.

Bug loves her friends. I don't know if all kids latch on to their playmates like she does. My theory is that she's so shy with everyone that once she feels comfortable with someone, especially a kid, she just can't hide her glee at being around them. She wraps them with hugs, guffaws long and loud at their jokes and glows like a sunbeam when they enter a room.

As shy and reserved as Bug is, her friend Ria is outgoing. She chats up people in the park, pets strange dogs on the playground and blows kisses to everyone in the restaurant. Bug LOVES her and together they have the energy of a dozen toddler-sized hurricanes. They play wonderfully together. They share and take turns and make each other laugh. All the stuff that good 3-year-old pals are supposed to do.

Last weekend, we met up with Ria and her family for a festival. The two girls hit it off as usual and had a grand time, marching in a parade together and sharing milkshakes from Starbucks. By the end of lunch, everyone was tired and ready for naps. Ria was pouty and ignoring everyone, including Bug who wanted to share a few more laughs. We chalked it up to the heat and general toddler temperament.

After naps, we went to Ria's house for a party. Bug was so excited to be at Ria's house! For a party! With cake! And Ria! She barreled in and started peppering Ria with questions and news and proposals about games to play. Ria flatly ignored her and went to work on a craft project. Bug figured that's just what they were doing now and got to work, too. She kept up with it long after Ria abandoned her project to join other kids in the playroom. Bug couldn't bring herself to go in there, choosing to stick close to Grinch, Dos and me. While the party crew hooted it up in front of the TV in the other room, we ate alone in a quiet corner of the living room.

Bug pushed aside her fears and walked into the crowd to have cake with her friend. Ria walked away after a few minutes, leaving her cake and Bug behind. Everything Bug did to engage her friend was ignored or refused. By the time we left, Ria was in the middle of a crowd of kids, tearing into a pile of her brother's birthday presents. Bug was in Ria's bedroom with Grinch, quietly giving a gentle checkup to a pink hobby horse. I don't even know if it really registered with Bug that her friend had ditched her. Grinch and I saw the whole thing though, and it hurt as much as if we had been ditched. It hurt worse, I think.

I know Ria wasn't being mean. She was just tired and overwhelmed with all that was going on. The protective mother in me wanted to pull her aside and say, "Be nice to her! She's your friend! She's just a little girl!" But Ria is a little girl, too and the next time we see her, she and Bug likely will be back to their old tricks, giggling and hugging the way they always do.

I want so much to give my girls a full life, to let them see the world and experience all it has to offer. I want to protect them too, to keep them safe from harm and heartache. I know they'll fall and scrape knees, maybe even break a bone one day. That's what comes with adventure. Their hearts will get bruised and broken, too. I just wish it didn't hurt worse than a broken arm.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I think the first movie that made me cry was "E.T.". I was, what, 12-years-old so I was a pretty easy mark. After that it was "Out of Africa." I can't plead immaturity there. I think I was 18 when I saw Karen Blixen get her heart stomped all over Kenya. I was never quite the same after that. Any Hollywood tear-jerking formula got right to me. "Four Weddings and a Funeral", "Steel Magnolias", "It's a Wonderful Life", whatever. Give me a giant box of tissues with my popcorn, please.

It drove the Grinch crazy to hear me sniffling beside him. The man has no heart. He could watch poor M'lynn rant and rave next to Shelby's grave a thousand times and never even feel a tickle in his tear duct. I'd be sobbing into a pillow....then rewinding to watch it all over again. I don't know why movies got to me so easily. I think too much about how the characters feel. It becomes how I feel and then, choke, sob, murblurblubrbbbbb...

A funny thing happened on the way to the cineplex a couple of years ago. I saw an interview with CNN's Walter Rodgers. A reporter asked him how he could cover wars and famines and express genuine concern for the people involved, but not shed a tear. He said, "You have to remember that you have a job to do, you have to remember to tell the story."

I stopped thinking about the characters and started thinking about the scriptwriters and the director and the jobs they do. I started looking for all their tear-jerking cues and resisting them. "It's just a story. They're trying to make me cry and I won't do it. It's just a story." And it worked! No more tears. I tearlessly watched Jack's frosty blue face slip underwater in "Titanic" and never looked back.

Then I became a mother and all bets were off, especially where movie kids are involved. I see children in danger, or mommas fretting over their sick/imperiled child and my stomach knots up, my head swims and I start choking back tears all over again. I want to jump through the screen and protect everyone. Sometimes during the quiet, lonely weekend overnights at work, I'll have a movie up, sound down, on the TV monitor at my desk. Today it was "Deep Impact." Every scene had some kid running from danger or seeing their mommy or daddy for the last time and I nearly lost it. When Leelee Sobieski's mom hands her the newborn and tells her to run for it? Dude. I had to leave the room or I would have started sobbing at work OVER A STUPID MOVIE. Not. Cool.

So here's the thing, Hollywood: I'm still not crying over shipwrecked loves or prostitutes with hearts of gold. Every drunk in Las Vegas can die alone in their motel rooms and I won't even blink. But you put a kid in danger or have a momma worrying about their bebes and we have a problem.

I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO DO TO ME scriptwriters. You WANT me to cry. Are you challenging me? Fine. Bring it on. Go ahead and tie Dakota Fanning to the nose of a rocket-powered, monkey-piloted spaceship that will save Earth from certain doom. I. WILL. NOT. CRY. Much.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Time Out from Time Out

When we started the Tag Team, things sucked. Flat. Out. SUCKED. It took us a while to find our groove and when we did, we were a well-oiled machine. There were blips and bumps here and there but, to everyone's surprise, it worked. The best times were Fridays, knowing that we'd made it through another week and that we had the weekend to finally be together to have some family fun. Also, Grinch and I could enjoy some time together. Friday night, we'd order Chinese food and watch TV or just sit and talk. Saturday night we'd watch a movie or snuggle on the couch. Whatever. It was our time together.

Now that I'm working weekends, our time together? Zip. Nada. Zilch. Nichts. Niente. Aaaaaaand we're back to the suckage.

No time together also means that there's very little time for one person to get two hands free to do much of anything. Laundry gets done, but rarely is folded or put away. Meals are some sort of take out, leftovers or something that I can throw together as quick as possible without Dos screaming her head off or diving into the cat's water bowl. If you drop in on us, please don't ask to use the bathroom because it's frightening. The suckage, it is mighty.

We hired a lawn service to mow and blow because there's no time for us to do it. We *could* hire a maid service, but we'd have to clean up before they could come and, hello? did I mention we have no time to clean? Besides, how many outside services do we hire before we're using all of our 2nd income to pay for someone to do the stuff we can't do because we're earning that 2nd income?

Bitch, moan, whine, complain. I didn't want this to be that sort of blog.

We're looking for a sitter to come in a couple of days a week to even the schedule out a little bit. The really good sitters are already taken or want a full-time gig, which we can't offer. A family member may be in a position soon to help us out so we're optimistic about that.

My latest tip for families considering the Tag Team option: Make sure you have *some* time together, preferably weekends. You have to reconnect as a family and especially as a couple. Hire outside help where you can. The Tag Team is hard, make no mistake about it. Everything that's worth doing is hard, right? Right? Bueller?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Stupid Schedule Illustrated

You know how people get a spring in their step on Friday? They smile and bound into the office bearing doughnuts, bellowing, "TGIF!" Yeah. I hate those people.

The normal person's Friday is my Wednesday, the second shittiest day of the week, Monday being the first. So when most people are ready to kick back and enjoy some downtime, I'm staring at two more days of 1:30a wake up calls and 3 hours of sleep. Forgive me if I seem really irritable on Wednesdays, won't you?

Friday 3:00am: Co-workers smile and say "Yay for Friday! What are you doing this weekend?" I respond, "Fuck you. I work weekends." Ok, I don't say Fuck you. Not every time. But I do remind them that I work weekends. "Aw, man. That sucks!" YEAH. Don't I know it, dickhead. At home: sit down to nurse the baby and fall asleep. Awaken because toddler is asking for lunch. Repeat.

Saturday 1:30am : Alarm goes off and I cry a little. Resign myself to the inevitable. At work, contemplate a breakfast of doughnuts and Coke to soothe the pain. Go with cheerios and water so I don't develop Type 2 diabetes. Go home and eat every piece of chocolate in sight.

Sunday 1:30am: Alarm goes off again. And again. And again. Dos cries. No snooze button on her. Nurse, dress, text message co-workers that I'll be there, I swear. 10:00am Quitting time: Woo-hoo! The weekend for me! Yahoooey! I don't have to got to work tomorrow! Or the next day! Suck it Monday through Friday people! Boo-ya!

Monday 7:00 am: Damn hell. Dos woke me up every hour and a half at least. I have to entertain two kids all day BY MYSELF and no TV. Grumble growl. Snap at Bug at least once. Apologize. Read books, paint, make muffins, draw, play games, build Lego towers, keep checking the clock, is it naptime yet? 9:15! Dammit. Keep Dos from turning the cat's water bowl into a Bellagio fountain. Repeat. Drag kids to the library/park/pool/aquarium/whatever. Naptime! Yay! Post-naptime: Make big plans for dinner. 20 mins to dinner: realize dinner is not going to be made by me because I don't have two free hands to actually cook anything. Order over-priced Chinese food.

Tuesday 7:00am: Awesome. I was up every hour and a half again, but I still got more sleep than nights I have to go to work. Look over to the bassinet. Dos is grinning at me. I feel so much better today. Entertain the kids with games, cooking, outings and feel great doing it. I love being at home with them. It's lunchtime and I feel like SuperMom. Post-naptime: Woooo...who woke up cranky? Daaaang, man. Ok, I can handle this. Post-dinner time: I don't want to go back to work. This feels like the end of vacation. I want to stay at home with my sweet, sweet girls.

Wednesday 1:30am: Alarm goes off. Damn. This again? Ok. At work: Eat breakfast at my desk uninterrupted and unencumbered. Take pleasure in going to the bathroom by myself with the door closed, knowing that I won't be interrupted by crying. Yes. This is good. Working and being away from home for a while. It's practically time off. At home: lunch, naptime, lonely afternoon because I'm solo, exhausted parent and the kids are bored with being at home.

Thursday 1:30am: I can do this. Sort of. Do I have to? Ok. Meh. After work: Hey kids. Mmmhmmm. Mommy's tired, that's all. Can we take a nap now? No? Ok. Whatcha wanna do? Hammer nails in the antique desk? Can you do that while I sit here on the couch and nap? Ok. Here's a hammer...zzzzzzz....

Monday, August 18, 2008

Every Vote Counts

Quickie: Go over here and vote for my new hairstyle. I'm not thrilled by the choices. (It's pretty obvious which one I'll pick.) But I've been waiting nearly a year for this so let's make it count. That picture was taken a few days before Dos was born which should explain the super shiny hair and double chin. My hair is much longer now, a couple of centimeters away from my coccyx at least. I'll definitely donate the hair to Locks of Love when I get it cut, so go vote and you'll be doing something good. Yay, feelgoodism!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My Life as a Movie Poster

Ingrid tagged me for a meme! It's my first! This was a good one, too, because she asked people to cast a movie about their lives. I used to love going to the movies (pre-rude audiences, crappy movies, crappy schedule and children). I was once a movie critic, too! Oh, what you people don't know about me. We'll catch up soon enough.

Anyway, go read my guest post/meme response here and get the story behind this:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sure Could Use Some Fixin'

A little over a year ago, Grinch and I were just getting around to enjoying life again after being in BabyJail for two years. We were able to go on a family vacation to the beach, eat food, have cocktails and beer and we had a fun little kid tagging along for the ride. Then we decided, this is too much fun, we need to have another kid! Let's make ourselves miserable all over again! For, whaddayasay hon, two years? YAY!

Miserable may be too strong a word. I mean, Dos is cute and healthy. And cute. And she cries if you set her down for .0003 milliseconds. And after six months, she's still waking up every two hours or less to nurse. And she cries in the car. Not just cries, screams bloody freaking murder. And Grinch won't sleep with me because of all the crying. Where were we? Right. Miserable.

Seriously. I can't remember being this unhappy with a situation in a long time. And the suckiest part is? I think I brought it all on myself and I don't know how to fix it.

When we brought Dos home, I didn't want to upset the happy situation we had going. I wanted everyone to get as much sleep as possible (including me) and continue on with our regularly scheduled programming. So to keep Dos from crying too much, I took her to bed with me and pretty much nursed all night. Naptime, same deal. So guess who can't sleep without nursing now? Guess who can't stand the idea of letting her "cry it out"? Guess who also has no patience, stamina or mental capacity for letting her "cry it out" or rocking her screaming babyness to sleep. It feels like there's no end in sight. I'm going to have to go to college with her and wait in her dorm room every night to nurse her to sleep. I'm going to be nursing her on her honeymoon. I'm going to be nursing HER babies.

Really, the worst part is: when I go to work in the middle of the night, Grinch is left to deal with the situation. There's no telling if the baby will wake up, if she'll take a bottle and go back to sleep or if she's up to party-hearty, bring on the teething rings and busy boxes, dude! Grinch and I are ready to kill ourselves or each other, whichever is easiest. Poor Bug is doing so great despite all this. She's so sweet and so much fun lately. But she's stuck all day with cranky Mommy who doesn't want to go anywhere because Dos might fall asleep or start screaming and that would suck for everyone.

I feel so lucky that Dos is here, healthy and apparently normal on all counts. How did I screw this up so badly, though? What can I do to make it up to her? How can I fix this and make it up to my family?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Doin' Our Time

I've seen people take newborn infants to the beach, to the movies, to amusement parks and restaurants. We're talking practically fresh outta the oven babyloaf, still all wrinkly and smonchy being carted to Wally World. Why? I don't know. Don't tell me mama wouldn't rather be anywhere else but there. I guess some people are ok with taking the little pooper everywhere from Day 1.

I'm not one of those people.

When the bug was born, we didn't go anywhere for three weeks and then it was to the dreaded New Moms Group Where No One Liked Me. I got bolder, taking her Target and Whole Foods, but scurrying out as fast as possible if I even thought I heard someone sneeze. When the bug was about 5 1/2 weeks old, I took her to Sam's Club. I was so proud of myself! I drove home thinking, "I took my baby out when she was just 5 1/2 weeks old. 5 1/2 weeks! She hasn't even had her shots yet.....Ohmygaaaaaaahhhhhh....." and I nearly drove off the road. I was quite sure I'd contaminated her with some of the worst germs on earth or at least the ones that reside in Sam's Club.. I spent the next hour holding the bug and a phone, ready to dial 911 if she so much as sneezed.

If germs weren't the enemy, a screaming baby was. I didn't want to be one of those parents who totes a wailing infant everywhere, drawing death stares from everyone. I tried everything to limit our outings to only absolutely necessary excursions, and then carefully timed them around naps and feedings.

Grinch and I referred to those first few months of captivity as BabyJail. "We're having a party. Can you come?" Can't. BabyJail. "What are you doing for the holidays?" BabyJail. "Weekend?" Babyjail.

As the bug started eating solid foods and her naps became more regular, we got a peek at life on the outside. Furlough. Then she was 100% weaned and as nap-regular as your ancient Uncle George and we were out all the time! YAY! Festivals! Parades! Shopping! Trips! Yahooooo! We still never went out without her because she refused to look another human in the eye, much less be held by them, but ohmygod it was so nice. Sooooooo nice.

Now we're back in BabyJail. Boring, ugly, toys on the floor, nothing decent to eat in the fridge, gonna tear my hair out if I have to play another game of Cariboo BabyJail. Warden Dos is pretty cute and she allows us conjugal visits, so we can't complain. The bug shouldn't be held captive, so we let her out for brief visits to the grocery store, Target, library and bouncy tent place. Humanitarian visits come from Aunts and friends bearing contraband like candy, markers and stickers.

We expect a parole board hearing within a couple of months when Dos gets really handy with the solid foods. We may be in for a reprieve around the holidays so we won't have to toast the new year with a bag of pruno. I'm bucking for time off for good behavior by doing lots of laundry and sucking up to the warden. I just hope I don't get shanked out in the yard.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

You lead, I'll follow

She's laying beside me on the bed. Not quite asleep, but not quite awake. We're nursing our way through naptime because it's the only way I can get more than 45 minutes of shut-eye. She's in that dreamy, happy, in-between stage. Eyes closed, nursing and waving her free arm in the air. I put my finger near her hand and she grabs it like it's a life preserver, pulling my hand close to her and clutching it to her chest.

Her cheeks are rosy and full, quickly rising and falling as she nurses, her tiny chin pumping away. I watch her eyelids flutter. Her eyelashes are growing longer and darker every day. Her forehead is smooth, skin flawless. I can lean in just slightly and give it a gentle kiss, stealing a sniff of her honey-scented hair.

She releases her grip just slightly on my finger, gently pushing my hand away an inch or two. She quickly pulls it back. Pushes my hand away. Pulls it back. Her movement finds a rhythm. Pushes me away. Pulls me back. Pushes me away. Pulls me back. I watch her and let my hand go back and forth with hers. I wonder, is this the way it's going to be our whole lives together: pushing me away and pulling me back? "Leave me alone!" "Can you fix my hair for me?" "I'm not a child!" "Can I have money to go the movies?" "Don't kiss me in front of my friends." "Do you love me?"

Yes, baby girl. I love you. I'll always love you with every cell in my body and more. I don't always understand you, especially when you're ready to party at 3am and I just want to crawl under the sheets and cry. I'll always love you, though.

You find your rhythm. Show me who you are and who you need me to be for you. I can adjust. I can follow. I'd follow you anywhere.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Six Things I Don't Understand

(Bottom right: Jennifer Lopez. I understand HER. I just don't understand the apparent universal appeal of her butt.)

Created using http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/ mosaic tool

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Life 3.9

I think about a lot of stuff all day. Important stuff like: why am I eating another cookie if I'm not even hungry? Who's the idiot that thought we should get a white rug? or Why does Jennifer Aniston always look so sad? See. I'm a deep thinker.

There's another question I ask myself with increasing frequency. For some reason it almost always hits when I'm refilling the Bug's glass. There's usually been some sort of protracted negotiation over what to drink, how much and whether or not finishing the drink will result in some sort of reward. "No juice. Milk or water. Which do you want? Lemonade counts as juice. Milk or water, those are the choices. No, you can't have a new glass. Do you want something to drink or not? That sort of thing.

It's in this humdrum-mom-in-charge-taking-care-business routine that the Big Question hits: "When did this become my life?"

Technically, it happened almost exactly three years ago when the Bug was born. I became a mother and I accepted a heap of new responsibilities, including but certainly not limited to refilling bottles and sippy cups and water glasses.

This is the same life that mothers all over the world take on every day. After a while, the diaper changing, the cup refilling, the dressing and undressing, the laundry? It's routine. It's just what you do because you're a mom.

The bigger question is: When did this become MY life? Because this what never what I had in mind when I pictured myself at 39.

I wasn't raised to be a mother. I didn't take Home Ec, I wasn't a Girl Scout and I never, ever remember my mom saying to me, "When you have children of your own one day......" My parents didn't do much to make parenting look like fun. In fact, my own mom seemed downright miserable most of the time so why in the hell would I willingly throw myself into THAT snake pit? My parents encouraged me to find a good man, travel, go to college, succeed in my career, but never to have children.

It's not that I don't like being a mother. Actually, I DO like it and I love my girls with all my heart. I just wish I were better at being a mother. I wish I had more "training" if there is such a thing. I wish it felt natural to me. I wish I had learned some good tricks or tips from my own parents, but locking the kids in the basement while I drink a 20-ounce Jack and Coke just isn't my parenting style. Yet.

Sometimes, Grinch and I ask each other, "Would you do it all over again?" The answer is usually "yes" which I guess is a pretty good sign. We're trying. We may not have been trained for this job, but we're learning as we go along. I'm learning a lot about being a parent. I'm learning a lot about myself.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Meanwhile, back in the real world

This week nearly kicked my ass. I have a nagging, death rattle of a cough that only fires up when I need to sleep. How convenient for the lady who has such a limited number of opportunities to sleep, right? On top of that, I had to hastily plan Dos' baptism with the added stress of in-laws being involved. People? Planning a baptism should NOT be a stressful thing. Seriously. I've seen some big time baptisms with crowds of 50 people or so and, ok, THAT can be stressful. But getting 10 people in a room on a Saturday afternoon should not cause nightmares.

Much to our surprise, things went well. The baby is no longer doomed to spend eternity roaming the halls of purgatory and Saturday night she actually slept through the night for the first time ever so maybe there's something to this after all. More than just getting our parents off our backs, I mean.

And, oh, the colonoscopy? All clear and not a big deal at all. Actually, I'm such a big fan of the drugs they gave me during the process I might just go back for another. Seriously. That was a damn fine sleep. You know the way you remember a great meal, or a good wine or sex so good you can't walk right for a couple of hours? That's the way I remember the nap I took during and after the colonoscopy. The best sleep I've had in nearly three years. To hell with Rum and Coke. Versed and Demerol is my new favorite cocktail. Straight up.

When the doctor told me I'd have to have a colonoscopy, I was pretty bummed. I automatically started thinking of excuses not to have it. Then I started thinking about who I knew who had had one and what advice they could give me. Then I remembered Belinda's story. Good. Great. What did she say again? Butthole. That's all I could remember. Belinda, in all her fancy word glory, used the word butthole. Giggle. I was still in the doctor's office, mind you, and I couldn't stop smirking. Butthole. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to giggle. In front of someone who looks at a lot of these things all day long and probably sees absolutely NOTHING funny about it. Which made me want to laugh even harder. I looked down at her desk in an effort to keep my composure and what did she have on her desk? A plastic model. Of a butthole. I finally left the office and got into an empty elevator where I proceded to laugh like an idiot over the word butthole.

My name is Heather and I have the mentality of a 10-year-old boy. It's Belinda's fault.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Making Family Ties

Seems like everywhere I go with Bug and Dos, someone asks Bug, "Is that your baby?"

Bug is a very literal kid. When someone asks her this stupid question, I can see the look in her eyes. "Nooooo. It's obviously NOT my baby. It's my mom's. Duh." But she's too shy to say anything so she just gives them the silent treatment.

The questions keep coming. "Are you a good sister? Do you love your baby? Are you sweet to the baby? Do you help your mommy with the baby?" Bug never answers any of these questions so I do the talking for her. The answer is, yes, she is a wonderful big sister and a wonderful helper.

Bug met her little sister for the first time on the day we checked out of the hospital. The moment they laid eyes on each other, Bug went silent and stayed that way for about four hours. She stared at Dos, watched me with her, held her in her lap, touched her hands and stroked her head. When she finally decided it was safe to speak again, she said, "I love my little baby sister." Did your heart just go ::squish:: or was that just me?

As Dos comes out of the CrySuckSleep Blob phase and more into the Real Live Little Person phase, she takes more and more notice of her big sister. When Bug cries, Dos looks concerned and muh-muh-muhs a pout. When Bug laughs, Dos is wide-eyed and chuckles cautiously. "Is this funny? 'Cause she thinks it's funny. I think it's funny, right? Huh. huhuhuhuhuhhhh...." Dos is just happy to be in Bug's orbit right now. It's lovely and I wish it could stay that way forver. But being a baby sister myself, I know that it won't.

One day, they'll be fighting over toys, the next it'll be clothes. Please, God, let them never fight over a boy because that just isn't worth it and how do you moderate an argument like that? I can't use the "share" command with that one.

Sometimes I feel sorry for the Bug because having Dos in the picture has rocked her world like nothing else. She went from being star of "The Bug Show" with no co-stars and two adoring fans to being a bit player in "The Family Von Nutters." I feel sorry for Dos, too because she'll never get the crazy amount of attention that the Bug got the first two years of her life.

Grinch was always sure he wanted two kids. His two older brothers had each other as playmates and seemed happy as clams to him. He got left out a lot and figures if he'd had a sibling, he would have had a lifelong playmate, too. I took a lot more convincing. I had six older siblings and they regarded me familial bacteria until I was well into my 20s. I didn't think having siblings guaranteed anything other than two decades of misery.

So here we are with two kids and the optimist in me says, "Look! They love each other! Yay!" the pessimist that still feels the sting of a million brotherly wedgies says, "Give it time. They'll be killing each other before you know it."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I've Seen You Somewhere

Can we lighten up the mood around here a little? I mean really. It's been about five months worth of "blah blah blah I'm so sad, life sucks, weh." Get over myself, please.

Schmutzie has taken up a challenge to write about a different person every day for a year. It's usually just a couple of lines and the person can be someone who made a huge impact in her life or just crossed her path for a moment. I don't think I have enough of those kinds of stories (or time) to fill up a whole year, so here's my abbreviated version.

Thomas W. You kept my ego in check when it was in danger of growing out of control. We had some hilarious adventures together. I actually remember some of them, despite the drugs. I remember climbing up flight after flight of stairs with you, stepping out onto the library roof and feeling like I'd fall right over the edge if I moved a muscle. Somehow, you got me to lean over the ledge to feel the hot, city wind rush past our faces. Another day we snuck into the basement to gawk at the aged power station, groaning and shooting sparks at our feet. I miss the doodles you drew for me and our long, rambling conversations about EVERYTHING.

Donna L. One of the meanest, most ruthless people I have ever known. You were my childhood playmate by default. We lived next door to each other and were close in age. I was desperate for companionship and you were desperate for someone to dominate. You gave me some of the worst beatings I have ever endured and yet defended me from other bullies. You promised to be my best friend, then told me not to speak to you at school because your "cool" friends didn't like me. I'm pretty sure I have some trust issues because of you.

Buddy Everytime I saw you, you opened your little plastic change purse for me and told me to "grab some silver" and go buy some candy. I thought you were being nice. Now I wonder if you were just trying to get rid of me. Still, whenever a see a big display of candy, I think of you.

Marylynn You were heavyset and had a penchant for floral blouses and too much perfume. You were one of my sister's friends. I loved it when you came around because you were nice to me, unlike her. You took me to my first concert and let me hang out with you at the pool. Was it because you liked having someone look up to you?

This was kinda fun. Maybe I'll do this every so often. What do you think?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Checking In

Oh, hi! Remember me? Yes, the wayward blogger. Big on promises to share stories from my life, not so big on delivery. I'm new at this and I do have two full time jobs in real life. We're cool, right? Good.

One reason I've been blogquiet lately is that things have been very busy at home and work. I've also been feeling pretty gross and NO one wants to hear about that. Trust me. You do? Really? Can we just leave it at "scheduled colonoscopy"? Thanks.

It's also occurred to me that one reason for starting this blog was that I wanted to share details of our adventures/experiences as tag team parents and I haven't really done that. I hesitate to write about it now because I don't have a lot of good things to say. I don't want to scare anyone away from tag team parenting, but I guess I should be honest about it so that if you're thinking about doing it then you can go in with good information. Bottom line: tag team parenting sucks. Hard.

After the bug was born, we jumped into the ring feet first, fists pumping, determined to show all the nay sayers that it COULD be done and that we weren't crazy to take it on. We did that. The first few months were awful but after a while we hit our stride and everything worked nearly seamlessly. There were misunderstandings and miscommunications, I was tired all the time and seemed to catch every cold that went around but generally we did ok.

Then the schedule changed and everything went to hell.

If you're thinking about tag team parenting, let me urge you this: make sure you and your spouse have at least one day off together. It makes a huge difference. When I started working weekends (Not by choice. No fucking way.) it put an end to any adult time for the Grinch and I. No conversations, no movies, no cuddling. Is it any surprise that I got pregnant BEFORE the schedule change?

Working weekends also put an end to any "me" time. No workouts, no pedicures, no gardening, nada. I'm either at work, parenting or asleep. It's exhausting. Never mind the stupid hours.

When I went back to work after maternity leave for Bug, I cried on the way to work every day for a week because I was leaving this beautiful little baby who I loved so much and how could I leave herohmygoodness. This time around, I started crying two weeks before my return to work and pretty much haven't stopped crying since. Not only because of the beautiful baby factor, but "good lord I hate working overnights and never seeing my husband and it's been so nice seeing him and being a real family and I wish I could stay at home waaaaaahhhhhh. sniff."

I find myself aching to see Grinch, to get the chance to fall asleep in his lap again or nuzzle his neck. I want to spend quiet time reading to the Bug or putting her to bed instead of rushing off to bed myself. I want to feel rested more than one day a week. I want to feel like I have my act together instead of feeling like I'm a frazzled, barely washed, bumbling idiot. Harupmh. Want, want, want.

There are good reasons we do the tag team parenting thing. But I wonder if there are better reasons NOT to.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Making Happy

Do you know Bossy? Bossy has a most excellent blog. Bossy is hilarious, has fabulous hair and a really cute teenaged son (who is way too young for me or my friends, but still. Cute. And smart!).

Bossy recently asked her readers to sum up in 10 words what's been going on in their lives. Here is my comment:

"Ate chocolate. Nursed baby. Chased toddler. Cried. Didn't sleep. Worked."

And that, my friends, pretty much sums up my life for the past two and a half years. Except the crying part. I haven't cried EVERY day. MOST but not EVERY. I probably laugh more than I cry, thanks to friends like Laura and the Moms and the general silliness that comes from the Bug but this has been a rough week.

I listen to friends and acquaintances complain about the slow delivery of their new laptops or super-sized TVs. They fume about how TIVO messed up and didn't record LOST. They sigh plaintively about how hard life is what with dropping the kids off at daycare and having to go get manicures and shop. I listen to this, purse my lips and nod blankly. What I really want to do is climb on top of them, dig my knees into their chests, jab at their noses and scream, "YOU DON'T KNOW HARD!"

I think of my four hours of sleep a night. My frazzled nerves. My anxieties about work. The stack of books that looks like I'll never read. The laundry that needs to be done. The groceries that haven't been bought. The relationships that are suffering because I'm always tired and cranky and have no time to spare for lunches or parties or simple conversations. The fear that keeps me from quitting my job and committing to my family the way I really want.

I think of all this and remind myself: I have a job. My eyes work and I can read. I have a home and money to buy groceries. My husband and friends are wonderfully patient people. I made a choice about work and home and I can change it. Frankly, I really don't know hard either.

Hard is losing your home or your marriage. Losing your child. Hard is struggling with illness. Hard is not having anyone to turn to. We all think we have it hard until we meet someone who has it harder.

"Count your blessings" is what my parents used to tell me. It's not easy. It's not easy when all you want to do is sleep and cry and punch pillows. It's not easy when you believe that you can acutally feel the weight of your decisions bearing down on your shoulders. It's not easy when it seems like everyone around you gets exactly what they need and want and never suffer. But we all suffer. Everyone does to varying degrees and we all show it differently.

I don't want to feel better because someone feels worse than me. I want to feel better because I choose to. I can feel better and even if I don't right now, I will. I will feel better because I will make things better.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Whatcha Say, Sonny?

I was feeling pretty good about getting through my whole first week back at work. I did it without caffeine. I did it on four hours of sleep a night. I did it without crying...much. Everyone is still alive at home. We've eaten a lot of leftovers and some frozen pizzas, but we're still alive the kids are happy as far as we can tell.

So I was checking up on some insurance coverage details and came across some of the details of my recent claims, like Dos' birth. That's when I saw the words "Elderly Multigravida" next to my name. Dear Google, what is this interesting term and WHY is it being applied to me? "Elderly multigravida. Second or more pregnancy in a woman who will be 35 years of age or older at expected date of delivery." Well, yeah. That WOULD be me, wouldn't it?

Elderly. I'm elderly. I'm 39 years old and ELDERLY.

I feel a sudden need to wear pink polyester pants with an elastic waist, a flowery shirt, squishy shoes and go to Shoney's for the early bird special.

Didja hear me, sonny? I'm elllllllllllderlllllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyy.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

So far, So not so good

So what kind of blogger am I to tell you I'm about to embark upon a major life change, then disappear for a couple of weeks, no updates, no nothing? A sucky one. I know. Dude, I'm new at this ok? Slack, please. Looooooootsa slack.

Going back to the tag team schedule has been hard on everyone. Hard on Grinch because Dos isn't sleeping through the night and he has to figure out how to get her back to sleep without the benefit of lactating boobs.

Hard on the Bug because she'd love to go see her friends, but there's no time in the schedule to get her to play dates and because I have about 10 micrograms of patience left by the time I get home and those get sucked dry the first time she says no to the simplest request.

Hard on Dos because she's not a big fan of the bottle but, until Grinch lactates, the bottle is as good as its gonna get.

Hard on me because I get no sleep, the whole time I'm at work I worry about what's going on at home and when I come home all I want to do is sleep but there are diapers to change, lunches to fix, groceries to buy, dinners to fix, kitchens to clean and laundry to do. (Did you notice there is no time in there to blog? See. I'm doin' stuff.)

Also, the no sleep thing? It makes me kinda crabby. Which is to say that it actually makes me very crabby but this is my blog and I'm not gonna just lay it out there that I'm an insufferable bitch. Which I kinda just did.

Grinch has tried to put it in the nicest terms what sleep deprivation does to me. "I don't like the effect it has on you." he says. (Translation: "You're an insufferable bitch. More so than usual.") He also says it's not worth it to him, the toll it takes on me, on him, on the family.

Sitting here with a splitting headache, dark circles under my eyes, unwashed hair and unpumped boobs, I'm starting to agree. I just have a hard time admitting it to myself. I have a hard time letting go. I'm having a hard time giving up.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho...

...it's off to work I go tomorrow morning, bright and early. I've been crying and muttering under my breath for a week now. Ok, two, but who's counting?

I love what I do, I love my co-workers and I'm proud of the company that employs me. I just wish things were different for us. I wish I didn't HAVE to go back to work. I wish we could have everything we need AND want on one income. Hell, I wish we could do it without working at all. But like they say on the farm: "Shit in one hand, wish in the other. See which one fills up first." Yeah. See which one they accept as tuition payment at your kid's private school, too.

So, if you see a 39-year-old woman, drivin' and cryin' downtown VERY early tomorrow morning, be nice. That's me.

***Edited to add: this is how much I'm dreading going back to work. I actually go back to work Wednesday. Yet another full day to moan, gripe and weep. Yay!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Well, hell.

This happens to me a lot: I panic at the thought of something, or get mad, irritated, upset, irate, etc...then change my way of thinking, get excited or happy about it and then find out it's not going to happen after all.

I spent a lot of sleepless nights, staring at the ceiling or the baby, thinking, "Good, god. Could I really be a stay at home mom? Me? What about my career?" I talked to friends and family. I googled. I prayed. I worried, worried, worried and LORD did I cry. Then one day, the sun shone and I thought, "Yeah. I could do this. I'd actually LIKE to do this. This is what I want to do. I'll DO IT!" And I walked around with the glow of someone who has made a life-changing decision.

For about a week.

Then, Grinch ran the numbers. He ran them about a dozen different ways and they all come up the same: we can't afford it. We can't afford for me to stay at home, raise two of the most delightful little girls on the planet AND put them into the schools of our choice. We're going to be a tag team again. A sleepless, never-see-each-other, do-most-of-our-communicating-via-email tag team.

Cue the tears. Again. And throw in a pint or two of bitterness and frustration.

I don't get it, really. We're not stupid. We have good jobs. We earn good money. So how do so many people around us do it? How do they do it on one income, send the kids to private schools, drive super nice cars to elegant homes where they watch gigantic flat screen TVs and play Wii? HOW? We have none of those things by choice (TV free family. Hi, there.) and by force (I'd like the elegant home, thank you.)

I'm trying not to be angry. Anger doesn't help anything. I'm sad and scared. We've always said that if the tag team schedule doesn't work, if it threatens our marriage, then we do something else. Hire a sitter, go part time, whatever. It just...sucks. But I guess we're back to where we started: hating the idea before I ever even get a chance to try it on. Time to get excited and put my head back in the right place. Work is waiting for me. My family needs me, too.

Growing up sucks.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Freedom of Being 2

I worry a lot about what people think of me. It's the reason it takes me so long to get dressed in the morning. It's why I fret over decisions so much. Sometimes, I throw up my hands and say, "Who really cares if I'm wearing white socks and a fleece jacket. Really?! " But most of the time I try too hard not to be the object of any one's negative attention. Which, when you think about it, is pretty fucking ridiculous.

Apparently, we don't have these problems as children. I certainly don't remember worrying so much as a kid. And I was the loudmouth in the red polka dot hat, riding my bike up and down the street on the 4th of July, throwing confetti, screaming, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!" Does it help my case to say that it was the Bicentennial? No? I didn't think so.

It makes me so happy to see the Bug getting on with her life without worrying about what people think of her. She picks out heart-print pants, purple shirts and turquoise socks to wear to school. She laughs like a maniac when she sees her friends. She sings out loud, not stopping to think that someone might hear or she might be off key. And when she runs, she runs with abandon. I pick her up from school and she runs down the hall, giggling and talking loudly the whole way. "I had a great day at school! I am RUNNING! I'm going to drink from the fountain! YAYYYYYY!" Her enthusiasm for life brightens my sleep-deprived eyes, it makes me forget all the things we have to worry about lately.

If you could see her run, you'd smile too. If the Ministry of Silly Walks needs a special Ambassador of Silly Runs, Bug is the person to call. It looks a little something like this:

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cake Fixes Things

Text message from Grinch: "On my way home. Stopping by bank, grocery store. Need anything? You ok?"

Text message from me: "Laura's here. She brought cake."

Text from Grinch: "We love Laura."

Later that night, Grinch is in the kitchen.

Grinch: "There are two cake boxes here and only one piece of cake left."

Me: "How about that."

Grinch: "Yeah. And this piece is almost gone."

Me: "Yeah." (wiping cake crumbs off my shirt)

Grinch: "Hmmmm."

Me: "Mmmmmm."

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

I'm really, really bad at making decisions. REALLY bad. For the most part, my decisions usually turn out to be good ones, but its taken me forever and a day to reach my conclusion and act on it. Also, the really bad decisions haunt you. Mine sound like my mother, "Well, remember what happened the last time you...."

I'm really struggling with the decision to become a stay-at-home mom or go back to work. Actually, the decision has pretty much been made, it's acting on it that's freaking me out. I've made some moves, placed some calls, but nothing is formal. No, I'm not telling you. Not yet, anyway. Dude, I didn't tell anyone I was pregnant 'till I was six-months along. You think I'm gonna bust out a major life change on the internet just like that. Come oooooonnnnn. You gotta know me better than that.

I will say that my decision making process always involves a lot of talking to and with friends, polling them about similar decisions they've made, asking for advice and guidance. I have to say: this time around, I've received some of the best advice, and been lent the most sympathetic, compassionate ears ever known. If you're one of those people who's listened to me whine, vent and cry over this, Thank You. If I haven't done it already, I hope to be as good a friend to you one day.

In other news, Dos is snugglier than ever. She's sleeping in her bassinet more and more, which means Grinch may actually be able to sleep in our bed again one day. Bug is finally over the creeping crud, or toddler Ebola or whatever it was she had. Grinch is over it, too, though you wouldn't know it from his coughing, moaning, and vitamin C popping. (Love you, honey! Smooches!)

Also, I told two close friends that I have a blog, but they didn't ask for the URL and I didn't offer so I still have exactly two readers and why does that surprise me? Duh. This explains why I am not in sales. I'll bet I couldn't sell Girl Scout Cookies.
Wealthy Aunt or Uncle: "I wonder where I can buy some Thin Mints."
Me: "I'm a Girl Scout."
Wealthy Aunt or Uncle: "Oh, really?"
Me: "Yes."
Wealthy Aunt or Uncle: "Mmm, hmm."

Finally, I went to the doctor and she says I'm okie dokie. I even broke down crying in front of her over this decision stress. She patted my leg, passed me some tissues and was very sympathetic, but the Post Partum Depression issue never came up. Did I ask about it? Hell, no. Why? Because after working in a pharmacy for a dozen years, I grew wary of people who came in with scrips for ailments they didn't seem to really have. Happy pills was all they wanted. Plus, of all the people I know who take anti-depressants (and strangely, I know a LOT), none of them seem particularly happy to me. So Prozac, Lexapro, Paxil and all the others can claim to make people feel better, but their walking, talking advertisements convince me otherwise. I'm sure it works for some people, but I haven't seen it yet.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


We're still talking about our tag team status and nothing has been decided. Remember what I said about us being master procrastinators in this house? Yeah, it's for real.

More and more I'm thinking that I could and should become a stay at home mom. I don't have the passion for my work that I once did. The hours can be a killer. Maternity leave has given me a chance to get reacquainted with the best husband in the world. I'm learning to love the time I spend at home with the Bug and Dos is finally starting to emerge from the squirmy-sleep-all-the-time-not-much-fun infant stage.

BUT....I've been earning my own money since I was 14. I've been working on my career since I was 17. I've been in my current job for 10 years. I've been in the industry for 20. I have a fantastic retirement plan and good benefits. I really, really, really like my team at work. That kind of stuff makes it hard to just pick up and walk away. Makes it hard for me, anyway.

The only person to comment on my last question opined that I might be suffering from post-partum depression. Don't think it hasn't occurred to me, too. I see my doctor on Monday. I'll try to work up the courage to say something then. I'm a chicken though, and I don't want to whine. I also don't want to look for a pill to solve all my problems. Ok, this subject is a whole 'nother post.

Dos is stirring in the swing. Bug is sniffling from a bad cold but reading quietly to herself in her bed. Grinch has gone to his parent's house to convalesce (they're out of town, so he can moan and groan in peace) He's caught a nasty case of the bug's creeping crud. This is a tough day, but I'm ok. Everyone has survived through nap time and that's all I can ask. We'll get through the afternoon, evening and do it all over again tomorrow. One day at a time.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Million Dollar Question....or something like that

My understanding of my company's maternity leave rules was a little off. Off by two weeks, apparently. I got the news this morning in a terse and somewhat confusing e-mail. It made me panic. "What? When? How am I supposed to...? I don't want to...." And lots of other unfinished statements like that. A lot of four letter words, too. In several languages. Yeah, I'm a little keyed up these days.

I have to call HR to sort it all out, but it looks like they win and I lose two weeks. I've been sitting here for hours (ok, shuffling around in my pajamas, nursing Dos, playing with the Bug and serving up lunch. still. figuratively "sitting.") trying to figure out: do I really want to go back?

After the tears cleared from my eyes, I spun around in my chair to see the Bug reading a book to her stuffed animals. All sweetness, rainbows and love, love, love. "Isn't this worth it?" I asked myself, falling in love with my daughter all over again. "Isn't this better than working overnights and being tired all the time and all the frustration that goes along with work?"

About 45 minutes later, I was ready to put my head in the oven over Dos' non-stop grunting combined with the Bug's repeated insistance that her baby sister does NOT have thumbs and was NOT trying to suck them, wwaaaaaahhhh! "Yes," I thought. "I definitely DO want to go back to work. Tomorrow."

I've been a little crazy since Dos was born. Ok, a LOT crazy. Some dark and scary thoughts have been creeping in here and there. But one thought that is not so dark, and is sometimes comforting is: "I could do this for a couple of years. I could be a stay-at-home-mom and be completely comfortable with it. I'd make dinner and cookies and sew and take my girls places and it would be a lot of work but....I could do it."

Then someone refuses to eat an apple or spits up on my new jeans and I want cry all over again because being a grown up is hard and being a Mommy is even harder and why didn't I marry for money instead of love? Boo hoo hooo.

Could you do it? No matter what you do. If you work, could you stay at home for a couple of years to take care of your kids if your budget allowed? If you stay at home, could you go to work on a crappy schedule at a job you're not sure you love anymore to help your family afford private school and some much needed extras?

I don't get many comments, but I sure could use some now.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Trying....Really, Really Trying

I now know why my mom was always so crabby and tired looking. She had SEVEN kids to look after. I have two and daily I have to stop myself from driving to the airport, going to the Delta counter and saying, "I don't care where it goes. I don't care how much it costs. The next flight out? Put me on it."

I don't know why it's so hard. The girls are healthy and relatively happy. I say relatively because I don't really know how happy the bug is after a day of being snapped at by me. Sometimes she deserves it. Usually she doesn't. I try so hard not to snap, but it happens anyway. "NO! Do NOT do that! Er! Argh! Bah!"

Trying to keep the bug entertained one cold, rainy morning last week, I got out the paints and paintbrushes. She was in heaven and occupied for 20 whole minutes! Awesome! She moved on to fingerpainting! Fantastic! Until....she found out how cool it sounds when paint covered hands are squished together. Cool to a two-year-old. To Mommy's sleep deprived, over stressed, likely depressed, anxious ears it sounded REALLY FUCKING ANNOYING.

I tried to ride it out. "She's exploring her world. She's exploring her world." I told myself over and over again. Gritted my teeth. Clamped my eyes shut. Hummed "Shoot that Poison Arrow" over and over again. I couldn't take it. "BUG! STOPIT! Argh!" She was surprised, but nodded with a knowing look. ("Yes....mommy is dangerously close to an act of violence. I shall reluctantly, but wisely, end this task post-haste.")

I feel like a horrible person because I can't seem to get the hang of this. A baby needs my attention. So does a toddler. I help one and the other cries or accidentally destroys something. It seems so easy for other moms. And I feel like I'm doing it all so wrong that I shouldn't be doing it at all.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

What's Ahead for the Tag Team

When the Grinch and I set out to be tag team parents, we did it knowing that we might fail. We might be stretched too thin, miserable, sleepless, hating life, each other and not taking proper care of the Bug. We did it knowing that we might have to go with Plan B. Problem was, there was no Plan B.

We jumped into the tag team parent game without a backup plan. No backup daycare or nanny to call on. No idea of whether we could live on one income. We figured we'd come up with a Plan B if and when we needed it. Luckily, the tag team worked out pretty well.

Until now.

My work schedule has changed by an hour. Just one measly hour, but it's enough to throw our finely tuned schedule into chaos. If I work an hour later, it's an hour later that Grinch will get into work, an hour later that HE has to stay. 1.) the later hours DON'T work for his business and 2.) Grinch's office is in a high crime neighborhood. The later he stays, the more likely it is that something bad could happen to him.

So, the Tag Team parents need to take on another team member. We're looking into hiring a nanny or sitter for three mornings a week. It sounds easy enough, but we're having no luck. We don't even feel that good about it. "Are you comfortable with leaving a three-month-old with a sitter?" asks Grinch. "No, are you?" I say. "No." Then why are we doing it?

Because we want to add on to our house and can't afford to do it on one income. Because we want to buy a second car. Because we want to be able to afford to send both kids to private school, even though we live in a very good public school district. Because we want to be able to take our kids on vacations once or twice a year.

In other words, we're looking to continue this stupid schedule and incur the added expense of a sitter because we're a couple of idiots.

My maternity leave ends in April. That's our deadline. We have to find a sitter by then or...I'm not even sure what happens then. One of us quits our jobs? (We've both said, with varying degrees of conviction, that we're willing to be stay-at-home parents while the other continues working.)

April seems like a long time away. But it's not and we have some serious work to do.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Please Welcome to the Cast....

Dos is snuggling happily on my lap right now. Blissed out on warm mama's milk and the comfort of a purloined hospital blanket. She arrived last Tuesday night, apparently in a rush to greet the world.

After I wrote my last post about taking care of the bug, I started having contractions. Nothing big, just some gut pains that I wrote off as gas. 'Cause the pregnant womens, we do have the gas. Oh, yes.

I let the Grinch know, woke up the bug from her nap and went about the afternoon thinking the pains would probably go away. When I squatted to get the Bug's milk out of the fridge, something told me it would probably be best if I didn't get into that position again unless I wanted to actually have a baby. Like, now.

I called work. "Looks like I'm not coming back from vacation! Suckers! Boo-yah!" Or something like that. Actually, it was more like, "I think I'm in labor. And no one's here and...and...(sniffle)....ok, well, bye."

Grinch called to suggest that my sister take me to the hospital while he stayed with the still-recovering-Bug. I resisted the urge to reach through the phone to strangle him. Sis got all excited about that possibility, and suggested I take a shower to slow down the contractions. I took a shower. The contractions got more intense. Definitely NOT gas pains. Cue the moaning and nausea.

Grinch, Sis and Neice-o-rama arrived. Grinch decided to drive me to the hospital after all. We left the house at 8:40. In the car, in between groaning and deep breathing, I was fretting over leaving the Bug, text messaging and telling the Grinch how much I was looking forward to that epidural. Yes, SIR. I was getting an epidural, no matter what. Mmm-hmm. Epidural City, here I come.

9:00pm. At the hospital: There are forms to sign and questions to answer, IVs to start before an epidural can be done. I don't care about forms and IVs. Please, I'd like an epidural now.

9:10 Doc checks me and says she'll be right back. Can I have that epidural, please?

9:15 I WANT an EPIDURAL NOW. Grinch, they're not listening to me. "They'll take care of you. You'll be fine. You'd doing great." I don't feel great. Contractions are kicking my butt big time.

9:17 To every person who walks in the room, I ask, "Are YOU the anesthesiologist?" No one is. I'm begging now. PLEASE. The epidural. I open my eyes to see a nurse with her hands between my legs and looking concerned. "What are you doing?" I ask. "I'm, uh....I'm holding the baby in." WHAT? I look at Grinch. He's nodding, looking surprised, but strong and confident. He's holding my hand, encouraging me, reassuring me. He's saving me from panicking. I'm so glad he's there and not my sister who would have been great, but not like this. I start to tingle all over. That's my body's signal that I'm in overload. I'm going to do this, I tell myself. I'm going to do this with Grinch and these nurses and no epidural and....

9:25 Groooooaaaaaaaannnnnnnn. Contraction from hell. I feel a thump between my legs. "Do you feel like you need to push?"
"I don't knoooooooooowwwwww. That hurt. That really, really hurt." I whine to Grinch.
"I know." He says. "I know. You're doing great."
"I'm gonna die." I say, using the Southern "dah", which means nearly as bad as death, but not actual demise.
"You are not. You ski black runs in Jackson Hole. You run 10Ks. How many have you run?"
"I don't knooooooowwww." "That's right! You've run so many, you lost count!"
He's encouraging more, but his voice fades a little in my ears. I barely hear him. I feel his hand in mine. Another contraction is coming. I don't care what happens, or who's here to catch, I'm going for it.

9:34 Push. Thump, thump. I open my eyes in time to see the doctor juggling a wet, squirmy baby, screaming at the top of her lungs. I hear the cheers, "It's a girl! With reddish, light brown hair! Oh, and she's cute!" Grinch is wide-eyed and smiling, "You did it!" My ears finally pick up the sound of her cry. She's crying. That's good. That's good. Ok. Whew.

There is meconium in the amniotic fluid, so it takes a little while to get her checked out and cleaned up. All the while, I keep asking Grinch, "Is she ok? Is she ok?" "Yes." He assures me, still holding my hand. Still wide-eyed. "You didn't need me!" the doctor says. "Great! Then we won't get a bill from you!" I reply. Always trying to get a bargain. The nurse says, "We can finally get you admitted now! Do you have a birth plan?" Everyone laughs. "Yes. My plan is to have an epidural."

They finally bring her to me and she IS cute. Round head. Big blue eyes. Perfect skin. A sneeze like an animated lady bug. Cute, I'm telling you.

Now we're home and all of that seems like so long ago. I can't wait to tell Dos the story when she's old enough.

Bug loves her little sister. Gives her copious hugs and is fascinated by the belly button situation. Thinks it's hilarious when she toots, which is often so there is a lot of giggling around here.

Now a new adventure begins. We're a family of four. Grinch says, "Now our family feels complete." It does. My heart feels complete, too.