Monthly Archives: May 2012

Fear Factor

I know you will be sad to hear it, but this week you will not be receiving your highly anticipated dose of wise witticism in blog form… at least not from me.  Today I am having a minor eye surgery – almost like Cataract surgery (because I am 92 years old) where they implant a lens into my eye –  and I need to rest my eyes for a few days.  In fact, I am really not supposed to be on the computer right now, but lucky for you I have one last insight to impart.

Even though it is a minor surgery, I am terrified.  Way more terrified than I probably should be, and way more terrified than I would have been a few years ago.  Why?  Because if something happens to me… it happens to my daughter too.  And that worries me more than anything. If something went wrong with the surgery (however small the chances) she could grow up without a mom, or with a blind mom, or worst of all… with a hideously ugly mom with a terrible wandering eye.  But we can’t live our lives guided by fear.  And we definitely can’t stop living our lives because we are afraid.  Especially when it comes to our children, because I have a feeling that never goes away.

With that… here’s your quote of the day.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Dale Carnegie

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Random Thought: On Baby Talk

My daughter is just starting to talk, so like every annoying mom, I say each new word slowly and then repeat it a few times while waving the object in question in her face.  Then she looks directly at me and usually says some random baby talk mumbo-jumbo, which I am pretty sure means, “Mom, I am a baby…not an idiot.  Stop waving stupid shit in my face and I promise to say the word when I am ready. Oh and by the way, I hate the Farmer in the Dell just as much as you do.”

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Quote of the Day: On Prejudice

“I hope that someday we will be able to put away our fears and prejudices and just laugh at people.”

– Jack Handy

Because people ARE funny.  Especially the ones who don’t know they are funny…

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Prepare Yourself (Pt. 2)

Last week I gave you my list of things to BUY  to prepare for your baby:  Mommy Must Haves. This week’s topic is even more important… things you should DO to prepare for your baby. These are the things that no one ever tells you to do.  These are the things that I wish someone had told me to do. These are the things that I am now telling you to do. These are the things that… well, just read ’em.

– Buy an alarm clock. Set it on the loudest, most obnoxious, earth-shattering, sleep-destroying alarm you can find. Now set it to wake you up every hour. When it shocks you out of sleep, wake up and rub your nipples with a rough washcloth for ten minutes on each side. Reset alarm to wake you up in an hour, then go back to sleep. Spend a couple of days/nights doing that. Now throw the alarm clock away and get some sleep while you still can, you idiot!

– Buy a 12 lb. bag of frozen peas (can substitute a 12 lb. water balloon, 12 lb. dead fish or any limp, heavy, hard to carry object). Carry it around with you for an entire day while cooking, cleaning, putting on make-up, napping, checking Facebook and talking on the phone. The next day, do it all while singing and/or humming the entire time.

– Get out your blender. Add the contents of your refrigerator. Start blender on highest setting without the lid, making sure that the mess inside reaches the countertops, cabinets, windows, floors and ceiling. Now dump whatever remains in the blender on the floor. Debate cleaning but instead leave for your husband to clean up.  Wait two weeks.  Still not clean?  Huh?

– Set your oven timer (you know the really loud, annoying one that always scares the shit out of you) for 26 minutes. Then start watching a movie, totally forgetting that the oven timer is on until it goes off and scares the shit out of you. Stop the movie, hop up and pick up your 12 lb. bag of peas. Now do laps around the house for 30 minutes. Gently put the peas down and restart the movie.  Lower the volume so as not to wake the peas. Reset alarm for 26 minutes. Repeat process until you eventually give up hope of ever watching a full movie again.

– Now repeat the above while cooking, showering, talking on the phone and having sex.

– Put on your favorite shirt. Add 1/2 cup whole milk to each shoulder. Go to work. Pray/pretend that no one notices the stains or the smell.

– Take your junk drawer (Oh, stop it. You know you have one.) and bring it into your living room. Now turn it upside down and empty its contents onto the floor. Retrieve one jumbo size box of Cheerios from the kitchen and empty the contents onto the floor as well. Now take off your shoes and pick up our 12 lb bag of peas. Turn out the lights and walk around in the dark for two hours while humming every children’s song you swore you’d never sing. If you step on something and cry out in pain or stumble even slightly (either could wake your almost sleeping peas) start over from the beginning. Do not pass Go.  Do not collect $200.

– Think back to your college days during finals week, when you pulled three all-nighters in a row (1 actually studying, 2 partying.) Remember how tired you were? Now, multiply that by 10,000 because now you actually have shit to do, and let’s face it, you’re not young anymore.

– Think about how much you love your parents. Now multiply that by how much you love your siblings and extended family members… subtract Drunk Uncle Steve. Now, add the laughter you have shared with your best friends over the years plus the sum of the pride you have felt at your own achievements, times 100. Subtract your heartbreaks. Now, multiply by the love you feel for your husband, wife, boyfriend, and/or partner. And add the cuteness of a basket of baby kitties… squared. Got it? That is 1/1000000 of what you will feel during the first year of your baby’s life.

Good luck.

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Random Thought: On Children’s Songs

I have a never-ending rotation of children’s songs playing… because even when they are not actually playing they are playing in my head.  Over and over… and over and over and over again.  Have you ever listened to these songs?  Not just mindlessly sung along until you want to blow your brains out, but really listened?  Who the fuck writes these songs?  And what the hell do they mean?

The Farmer in the Dell sounds like a Sunday Afternoon Movie on TLC.  “The Farmer takes the wife.  The wife takes the Child.  The nurse takes the dog.”  Taking them where?  To the Dell?  The Dell sounds like the bottom of a deserted well to me. Kidnapping might be a good subject for a story used to scare your kids into holding your hand in a public place.  Children’s song?  Not so much.

Ring Around the Rosie?  I am pretty sure that I learned somewhere this song is about the Plague.  Regardless, “Ashes, Ashes, we all fall down,”  is never a good way to end anything.

– When It’s Raining, It’s Pouring, it’s bad enough that kid’s recess is ruined by the rain and they have to stay inside and play “Heads Up, 7-Up” (I totally cheated in that game by looking at shoes, btw)  But then we have to scare the kids by telling them about snoring old men who bump their heads and couldn’t get up in the morning.  Even a 5-year-old can decode that riddle and know that the dude is dead.  I wonder how long he laid in bed before someone found him.  Probably a long time if it was raining so hard.

– Dr. Monkey Mom, if your little monkey bumped his head and the doctor’s best advice is “No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed,”   then get a new doctor.  Or at least a second opinion.  Concussions are no joke.  And for god’s sake, don’t let the rest of the little monkeys keep jumping on the bed and falling off and bumping their heads one by one.  NOT.  GOOD. PARENTING.

What other upbeat, on-message children’s songs am I missing?

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Quote of the Day: “Dear Lord”

“Dear Lord. The gods have been good to me. For the first time in my life, everything is absolutely perfect just the way it is. So here’s the deal: You freeze everything the way it is, and I won’t ask for anything more. If that is OK, please give me absolutely no sign. OK, deal.”

– Homer Simpson

God and I struck the same deal last night…

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Mommy Must Haves: PT 1

A few friends of mine are pregnant, and me being full of parental knowledge, advice and slightly full of shit, they have asked me to put together a list of my favorite and/or must have baby items. I remember the first time I went to Babies R’ Us to register.  I recall my excitement as I walked through those automatic doors, rubbing my belly and gazing around the store in wonder.  Then I remember venturing into an aisle full of so many different kind of bottles that it made my head spin, and beginning to hyperventilate.  Then, I don’t remember curling up into a fetal position (ironic huh?) and rocking back and forth while singing “Itsy-bitsy-spider” in Pig Latin.  I don’t remember this because, like all painful memories, my brain has chosen to block it out.  But my husband remembers it, as does he remember carrying me out to the car in a shopping cart, and only returning to Babies R’ Us later when we were more prepared and I was in near sugar coma after eating at Yogurtland next door.

Because of these fond memories and also partially due to my PTSD, I decided to share my list of Mommy Must Haves with everyone who is currently expecting, but maybe doesn’t have a friend with as much mom-umental knowledge as me. (Ha. See what I did there?  MOMumental. Instead of monumental.  Because I am a mom…nevermind) Anyway, without further adieu… or bad puns…

HERE’S MY LIST OF MOMMY MUST HAVES:

FOR MOM DURING PREGNANCY

Maternity clothes –  Get a few maternity clothes that make you feel good about yourself.  You feel ugly enough already without shlubbing around in pajama pants and your husband’s t-shirts. Try Gap, Target and ASOS Maternity (my absolute fav!) for relatively inexpensive and cute clothes.

Happiest Baby on the Block DVD –  It seems hilarious when you first watch it (like “I just peed a little” hilarious)  but it REALLY WORKS.  When your new baby is screaming her sweet little head off, you will try anything to calm her…even scream-whispering in her ear.  We did, and she stopped crying almost instantly.

The Business of Being Born DVD  – A little preachy but I think it’s helpful to know about what can happen in hospitals whether you are using midwife, doc, drugs, natural, c-section… whatever.  Plus you get to see Ricki Lake naked.  Yay!

FOR BABY

Swaddle blankets and/or Halo zip blankets –  You cannot put regular blankets in the bed with a baby as they can suffocate, and these with velcro are easier than trying to master a baby burrito while baby is sleeping.

Video monitor – If you can spend the money, get a monitor with video, not just sound. It’s nice to be able to look at the baby when she makes noise to see if you really need to go in to check on her.  Worth the extra $$.  Summer Infant makes good ones.

Convertible car seat –  Look for a brand that has a rear facing weight limit of at least 35 pounds so you can use it longer.  The longer you can keep baby rear facing (in the car, you sickos) the safer it is for them.

Multiple sheet sets and mattress pads – Pee (and yes, the lovely yellow liquid new baby poo) can soak through PJs and this will help reduce laundry time.

Pacifiers – Get different kinds since they can be picky, and get a lot of them since they are easy to lose.

Diapers – Register for all sizes.  Babies R’ Us will let you exchange for a bigger size.  People tend to buy Newborn and babies fit in these for like a week.

First aid kit – Duh.

Onesies – Don’t bother with fancy clothes. Most of the time you are at home and they will wear what is comfortable for them and easy for you (think about removing clothes to change a diaper every two hours. Then stop thinking about it because it will freak you out) But they will mostly wear these for the first 3 months so don’t register for tons in large sizes.

Zip-up PJs – Again, the focus is on ease and there is nothing harder than buttoning 10, 000 tiny buttons on 1 hr of sleep. Go for sleepers with zips and thank me later (Preferably with wine.  No chocolate.  No wine…ok both.)

White noise machine – At first we used the Sleep Sheep, which we loved, but now we just have an iPod that plays ocean waves.  We still use the sound box in the Sleep Sheep for travel though.  Just remove it from the sheep so there is less to pack. 

Baby scissors – These work better for clipping nails than actual nail clippers.

Baby Bjorn or another baby carrier – Some people like Moby wraps but I never figured it out…too much material. It made me feel like an idiot.  I used the Bjorn constantly.

Activity gym/ Tummy mat – New babies are like high teenagers and can stare at things for hours, these give them something to do.  Plus they need to practice tummy time.

LOTS of bibs – Absorbent cloth bibs for spit up/teething and waterproof bibs for when they start eating solid food. You will go through many in one day and they get wet, stained and dirty easily.

Burp Cloths – Don’t bother with fancy or expensive burp cloths. Cloth diapers, like Gerber Pre-fold diapers, are so much more absorbent and cheaper (like 10 for $17).

Newborn to toddler bathtub

A nice baby thermometer – Spend $$ on an easy-to-use one, like the kind you rub on their head. We spent $10 each on 2 cheap ones that we couldn’t get Lyla to hold still long enough to use, before buying a $35 one that you rub on her head for 4 seconds that works awesome!!

Changing pad for diaper bag (fold up) –  I have one that holds diapers and wipes and folds out into a changing pad.  It’s great to only take one thing when you have to go the bathroom to change a diaper.

Swing – ??  We used it like crazy for the first 6 months but after that it was worthless.  Your call, but it was a lifesaver a couple of times when Lyla wouldn’t sleep.

Mirror for car – Babies have to face backwards and it is such a relief to be able to see her in the mirror.

aden +  anais blankets – These blankets are not the cheapest, but they really are the best.      They are stretchy enough to swaddle your baby, but not so stretchy that they swaddle too tight.  They are light enough to use in summer, and breathable enough to hang over the stroller to block the sun.  Plus, they are cute as hell.  People will give you hundreds of blanket (that’s what people buy when they don’t know what else to buy you) Return them all and buy 3-4 of these instead.  You’re welcome.

Ok, so that’s my list of recommended baby items.  But as I was creating this list, I couldn’t help thinking that besides what to BUY to prepare for a new baby, I wished that someone had told me what to DO to prepare for a baby.  I’m working on that list.  Look for PART TWO in next week’s blog.  But for now, here’s something to get you started…

Buy an alarm clock.  Set it on the loudest, most obnoxious, earth-shattering, sleep-destroying alarm you can find.  Now set it to wake you up every hour.  When it shocks you out of sleep, wake up and rub your nipples with a rough wash-cloth for ten minutes on each side.  Reset alarm to wake you up in an hour, then go back to sleep.    Spend a couple of days/nights doing that.  Now throw the alarm clock away and get some sleep while you still can, you idiot!  TO BE CONTINUED…

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Random Thought: On Vacation

I used to love vacation. I still do, but vacation with a baby is not the same as it  used to be.  It’s even more work than just staying home.  On the way home from my “vacation” last week, I started daydreaming about the way that vacations used to be… No work.  No responsibilities. You spend your entire day eating, playing and napping.

That’s when I realized that babies are ALWAYS on the vacation I used to have before I had a baby.

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Quote of the Day: On the Art of Mothering

“The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children.”

– Elaine Heffner

So true. Notice she said ” the art of living” not the “art of wearing expensive clothes or riding in a fancy stroller”. I’m just saying…

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Mean Moms

The main reason that I started this blog was to say all the things that you are not supposed to say about parenthood. Like, “Hey, being a mom isn’t all smiles and rainbows.  It can be shitty sometimes (literally) but that doesn’t mean it isn’t amazing.” Or “Sometimes I fantasize about just one night ALL. BY. MYSELF.” Or “I love my daughter but sometimes she makes me so crazy I want to scream.”  I believe that the things that no one ever says about parenthood are the things that people most need to hear.  Not to scare people or dissuade them from having kids, but to let people know that if they feel this way they are not crazy or horrible people… or even worse, horrible parents.

Motherhood can be very isolating.  A new mother spends most of her time inside the confines of her house caring for her new baby, and that is just the beginning. As a new mom, you often feel isolated from your friends who don’t have kids because their lives are now so different from your own. For example, they actually get to sleep for longer than 45 minutes in a row, shower regularly, and put a cohesive thought together.  During those first few months it’s hard to find something in common with someone who doesn’t smell like baby spit-up.  It’s understandable.  But sometimes you even feel isolated from your friends who do have kids. They seem to do it so effortlessly that you are sure that they will think ill of you if you reveal your own fears and frustrations.  You also can feel isolated from your partner because he doesn’t understand what you are going through. How could he?  He’s not gestating what feels like the spawn of Pele.  His body hasn’t undergone an extreme, and mostly unpleasant, transformation (except for the sympathy weight he may or may not have gained due to a pregnant wife who may or may not have forced him to eat at places like Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles.  Sorry honey.)  He doesn’t wake up every two hours to let a small human suckle his nipple until it bleeds – and if he does, think about finding a new partner.  To a mother, especially a new one, it can seem like no one in the world could possibly understand the way you are feeling… and it can make you feel very alone.

The worst part is that often the people who should be supporting you, the ones who DO understand what you are going through – the moms – are the ones who can make you feel the worst.  We hear a lot about the bullying of kids. We see movies about mean girls. But what about Mean Moms?

You know the type (especially if you live in LA).  They prance around the parks, the coffee shops, and the Mommy and Me classes with their perfect hair, perfect make-up, clothes that are somehow free of spit-up and shoes that actually match (not just the outfit, but each other… a near impossible feat on 2 hours of sleep.)  They talk about their kids as though they are perfect and about motherhood as though it is easiest thing in the world. They look at you with judgement in their eyes if you so much as hint that you are tired, frustrated, scared or otherwise human.

Mean Moms don’t necessarily SAY anything mean.  Often it’s more about what they don’t say.  Like the fact that her baby woke up 12 times last night, and damn, is she tired.  (Instead, she enjoys every extra minute she gets to spend with her daughter, even if it’s at 3 AM. ) Or the fact that she is worried that her 15-month-old hasn’t said his first word yet.  (Talking is so 2011.  She is working on signing. All the celebrities are doing it.)  Or that she is having trouble losing that last 10 lbs of baby weight. (It’s actually 10 lbs. of pure muscle from her personal training sessions!)  Or that she wishes her perfect husband took more interest in their new baby. (He’s working really hard to pay for that expensive stroller.)

I could go on and on, but instead I am just going to say this – Ladies, stop it with the Mean Mom act.  Leave it for the teeny-boppers, who don’t yet know any better.  Stop trying to pretend that you have everything figured out, that life is perfect, and that you are perfect.  Reach out to other women, or men, who seem like they need help.  And if you need help, ask for it.  Many people don’t realize that you could possibly feel alone while spending 24 hours a day with a new baby, but the truth is that you can feel more alone than you ever have before.  Tell a friend and let her help you, even if all you need is an ear. (But if this friend offers to help with dirty diapers or laundry… marry this friend and don’t look back.) But the most important thing to remember is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  You are not the only one feeling hopeless or clueless or nameless.  You are not the only one who sometimes can’t remember why they thought this whole parenting thing was a good idea.  I promise that you are not the only one.  And I promise it will get better.  And if you spot a Mean Mom, let me know, and I promise to kick her ass.  At least, in my mind.  I am a total badass in my mind.

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