Monthly Archives: November 2012

Make Your Day Kick Ass: Dance Like a Toddler

Dancing: Guaranteed to Make Your Day Kick Ass

I spend most of my days teaching my daughter stuff. Important stuff like words, numbers, colors, how to read, how to poopoo in the potty, and how to say “Cheerio mate!” with a British accent. But as much as I teach her, I swear that she teaches me more.  Yesterday’s lesson:  How to Make Your Day Kick Ass!

You know those nights when you come home after a long, tiring day and just want to flop down on the couch, shovel carbs into your face hole and stare blankly at the TV?  Or perhaps you have been home with your kids for an equally long, tiring day and you just want to flop down on the couch, shovel carbs into your face hole and stare blankly at the TV.  But instead of some well-deserved couch time you get to do the Evening Scramble because there is dinner to be made, baths to be given, and finicky husbands – I mean children – to feed. You know those nights? Well, that was where I was last night.

It was a Monday, and a Monday after a vacation, at that. My husband had just gotten home from work, tired and hungry. I was scrambling to clean up the aftermath of the natural disaster that is my daughter’s dinner (can I get some FEMA up in here?) while simultaneously making a fabulous dinner – ok a dinner – for my husband and I. My daughter was running around, begging for attention. So, to distract her for the 2.4 minutes I needed to finish cleaning up, I turned on some music.  It was Foster The People Pandora if you must know (I’ve had it up to HERE with Elmo singing! Maybe the next Elmo could  have a less annoying voice, huh?  And perhaps not be a pedophile. ALLEGEDLY**)  Anyway, I cranked up the tunes and got back to the Evening Scramble.

A few minutes later I turned around to check on my daughter, and saw that she was dancing. Beautifully, maniacally, joyfully, hand-clappingly, booty-shakingly dancing with all her might.  If you have never seen a one-year-old dance, there is truly nothing better in the world. Usually I don’t make a habit of posting many photos or videos of my daughter, because I feel like she deserves some semblance of privacy. Although, for some reason it doesn’t bother me to share her every word, action and fart with the world, but hey, it’s my blog and I will share if I want to. Anyway, I don’t usually share videos, but this video of her dancing is pure happiness, so I feel like it is my duty to share it with the world.  Check it out on my Facebook page (and like my page while you are there!)  If you can watch this video and not smile, then you are dead inside.  Pack your shit and go try out for The Real Housewives.

So last night my daughter was dancing in her amazing way, and as my husband and I stood watching her, she ran over and grabbed our hands and pulled us to the dance floor (aka living room).  Yes, the kitchen was still a mess and the dinner was beginning to burn, but when a kid commands you to shake your ass, your ass gets shaken. So we danced. And then we danced some more. At first, I was trying to teach my daughter some dance moves, but she looked at me like I was crazy and kept doing her thing. So instead I let her teach me.  I copied HER moves, and man was it fun!  And now, in yet another act of kindness, I will teach you.

Step One:  Put on some booty-shaking music. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as gets your booty bouncing.

Step Two:  Turn it up!

Step Three:  Turn it up more!

Step Four:  Turn it down already! Do you want to make your child deaf?! What kind of parent are you anyway?

Step Five:  Close your eyes. Start to move your body. No one is watching you. No one cares if you are on-beat, in-time, or cool at all. Freeing right?

Step Six:  Now that no one is watching you, just relax and let your body take you where it wants to go. Clap your hands, jump up and down, kick your legs, twirl around until you fall down, laugh until you cry.

Step Six:  Repeat until your heart is beating out of your chest or the fire alarm goes off… whichever comes first.

We all danced like that for another 20 minutes or so, until it was time to get back to the business of life. You always have to get back to business eventually, that is the way that life works. But when I got back to making my (slightly charred) dinner, I was doing it with a smile on my face and my ass still twitching to the beat.  I felt more energized and much happier than if I had flopped down on the couch as I had wanted to.  It was a great way to end the day, and I am going to try it as often as possible. And then, when I am done dancing and my heart is doing the samba and my stomach aches from laughter, only then I will flop down on the couch, shovel carbs into my face hole and stare blankly at the TV.

**Don’t sue me Elmo!!

photo credit: Will Montague via photopin cc

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Quote of the Day: On Being Grateful

Soul Garden

“Let us be grateful to people to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

~Marcel Proust

…Because Thanks Giving should not be just once a year.

photo credit: Alex-Murphy via photopin cc

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The Requisite Thanksgiving Post – But This One is GOOD!

I am thankful for those who drink as much as I.

I love me some Thanksgiving. What’s not to love?  Family and friends all gathered together. Delicious food and the ability to eat as much of it as you want without feeling guilty because everyone knows that calories don’t count on holidays. Same thing goes for drinking. Everyone knows that alcoholism doesn’t count on holidays. Plus, how the hell can you cook without wine? Or survive an entire day with aforementioned family without wine (Except for mine, of course. Happy Turkey Day Mom!  Thanks for giving me life!)

Unlike some other holidays lurking around this time of year, Thanksgiving is pretty stress-free (unless, of course, you are dumb generous enough to host.) There’s no gifts to be painstakingly purchased. No gifts to be returned, only to panic when the giver of said gift comes to visit and wonders where are those lovely ceramic figurines with the creepy, giant eyes that follow you everywhere, even your nightmares. There is no planning of a night out awesome enough to close out a great year and make all your Facebook friends jealous. Nope, none of those annoying holiday stresses. Thanksgiving is all about eating and drinking with friends and family and giving thanks for it all. Oh yeah, and I think it is also about Pilgrims, Native Americans and a giant Pumpkin who terrorizes children.  But don’t quote me on that.

However, as much as I love Thanksgiving and think it is important to give thanks, there is one thing about Thanksgiving that I dread:  the moment when all the food sits before you on the table, and instead of allowing you to dig in, the well-intentioned hostess asks everyone to go around the table and say what they are thankful for. Seriously?!  That is the right moment for that?  How about starting the giving of Thanks during the five hours when everyone is eating dip and dry carrots and waiting for the damn turkey to be done?  And why is it so hard to come up with something that I am thankful for at that moment? Perhaps it is because I am dizzy with hunger due to the fact that I starved myself all day to make up for the sick amount of calories I plan to consume. Or perhaps it is because I am drunk as I started drinking at 6 am without eating anything besides the cold, wet stuffing I snuck and ate with my fingers out of sheer desperation. Or perhaps it is simply the pressure of putting a whole year of thankfulness into a few words.  Whatever the reason, when called upon, I usually break out in a cold sweat and blurt out something like: “Iamgratefulformyfamilyandfriendsbecauseilovethemsomuchohyeahandmyhealthandmyfamilyandmyfriendsdidialreadysaythat.”

So, this year I am going to do things differently.  Firstly, I am going to make more of an effort to give thanks all year round.  Secondly, in order to bypass the paralyzing moment of Thanksgiving pressure, I am going to take the time to lay out some things that I am thankful for right here and now.

THIS YEAR I AM THANKFUL FOR:

Everyone who has read this far in the post.  For those of you who stopped reading after the first paragraph or who totally ignored this post: I hope you choke on a turkey bone or gain ten pounds, whichever is worse.  Just kidding.  But to those who read my blog:  THANK YOU!!

My amazing, smart, hilarious, charming daughter.  Sometimes I can’t believe how lucky I am.

My awesome family. I know you think your family is awesome, but my family kicks your family’s ass in my book.  Sorry.

My wonderful friends who support me, challenge me and love me no matter what.

A husband who makes me feel smart and funny, and who still likes to grab my ass.

Having an ass that someone still thinks is worth grabbing.

Girls trips.

Nap times.

Date nights.

Family days.

Push-up bras and Spanx:  Some people call it cheating. I call it branding.

Good red wine.

Cupcakes:  The perfect cake to frosting ratio.

My daughter’s amazing, obnoxious, loud, boisterous laugh.

Mixologists.

Wedge heels: Almost comfortable.

Movie theaters that let you pour your own butter on your popcorn.  Yes!

Skinny lattes.

Stretchy jeans:  I refuse to call them jeggings.

Vacations.

The health of me, my family and my friends.

Baby Tylenol:  Helped my daughter through a lot of crazy fevers this year.

Girls days with just my daughter and I, when I have no work, no chores and nothing to do but be with her.

Pumpkin spice…anything.

And the one thing that I am most thankful for…

Laughter:  Curer of everything that I am NOT thankful for.

So there you have it, My 2012 List of Thankfulness!  Hostesses take note:  this hereby exempts me from the torture of participating in this tradition this year, and possibly for all subsequent years.  So back off and let me eat overcooked turkey, already!  But just because I will not be participating myself, doesn’t mean that I won’t be watching this unfold. As much as I hate doing it myself, I love watching other people sweat at that inevitable moment when the person who goes before them takes the exact thing that they were going to say.  I love that moment!  In fact, you might even say that I am thankful for it.

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The F Word

Babies are the new black.  Seriously, babies are so hot right now.  Everywhere you look (as long as, like me, the only place you get your information is from trashy magazines) celebrities are showing off their cute little baby bumps, parading their children around in tiny clothes that cost ten times what my adult-sized clothes cost, and flaunting their ridiculous baby names (I’m looking at you Uma Thurman!)  But the most annoying thing that celebrity mommies are flaunting these days:  their skinny, toned, stretch-mark free post-baby bodies…just weeks after delivering.  What’s even more annoying is that when questioned about this crime against nature, most of them say that the “weight just came off” or all they did was “breastfeed.”  Seriously?!  If breastfeeding got me abs like Miranda Kerr or an ass like Gisele, I would breastfeed my daughter through college.

Did breastfeeding do this? I think not.

Alas, for us mere mortals, this is not the reality.  No, my baby weight didn’t exactly fall off as easily as a celebutante’s undies.  And while breastfeeding allegedly burns 500 extra calories per day, when I was breastfeeding I was ravenously hungry and still eating for two:  One for me, and one for an entire football team.  I must admit that looking at celebrities like Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson, Heidi Klum and Kristen Cavallari (I use the word celebrity loosely) who looked beyond amazing right after having their babies made me feel bad about myself.  I would huff and puff my way through 45 torturous minutes on the elliptical, followed by round after round of lunges and sit-ups, and then look at myself in the mirror hoping to see some instant, radical change.  Hoping that I would like what I saw again.  Then I would dejectedly look down at my saddle bags and pinch my still flabby tummy and wonder what I was doing wrong.  Why was it taking it me so long to get my body back?  Why don’t I look like those celebrities?

Then one day it came to me:  What I was doing wrong was simply not being a celebrity. I wasn’t devoting my life to my figure. I wasn’t working out 4 hours a day, 7 days a week with a $500/hr celebrity trainer. I didn’t have a personal chef or nutritionist or even a meal delivery service. I never looked like a supermodel in the first place.  And all of this is ok because looking good isn’t my job. I don’t have a movie to get in shape for or a modeling gig to slim down for.  I don’t have paparazzi chasing me and magazines pointing out my every flaw. The world isn’t watching my every move, hoping that I will fail. Hoping that I, too, will have cellulite and stretch marks. And thank god for that.  If they were, than I would sure as hell be shelling out for the personal trainer and delivery meals.

I was looking at it all the wrong way. Instead of feeling jealous of how quickly these celebrities were able to whip their bodies back in shape, I should be feeling sorry for them for having to whip their bodies back into shape so quickly.  Now, I know that it is hard to pity a rich, beautiful, famous movie star, but don’t forget that they are moms too. Imagine how stressful it would be if you had 6 weeks to lose the baby weight before your next movie.  Imagine if, on top of having a new baby, you also had to spend hours and hours working out each day because that is your job. Imagine if paparazzi stalked your every move, trying to get an unflattering photo.  Imagine if, a few months after having a baby, people called you the real F word. The worst thing a celebrity, or most women for that matter, can be called: Fat. And not just behind your back, or even to your face, but proclaimed on TV shows and splashed across magazine covers.  I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy… or even that bitchy, high-and-mighty mom at the baby music class. Well, maybe her.

Us non-celebrities have the luxury of taking the weight off slowly, or maybe not at all.  We have the luxury of exercising when we can, and resting when we can’t.  Of wearing yoga pants and baggy T-shirts day in and day out.  Of eating an entire box of cereal when you can’t sleep after waking up to feed your baby at 3 am (hypothetically.)  We have these luxuries because we live in the real world.  And in the real world, no one would dream of telling you that 6 months is too long to take off the baby weight.  In the real world, no one calls a new mom the F word. And if they do, then F them.

So ladies, give yourself a break if you don’t lose the baby weight, immediately or ever. In the real world these things take time. Stop comparing yourself to models and movie stars or anyone else for that matter.  Every woman has different goals, needs and obstacles. Aim to live healthfully and to feel good about yourself. And please stop using the F word! Don’t use the word “fat” when talking about someone else, and most definitely don’t use it when talking about yourself.  But feel free to use the word Fuck all you want. It’s fucking fun.

Annoying or inspiring?

Here’s an idea: When you see a movie star’s kick-ass post-baby body, let it inspire you instead of shame you. Think of it this way – apparently it really is possible to look completely amazing after having a baby! If I had a trainer/nutritionist/dietician/stopped eating/sold my soul to the devil perhaps I could look that amazing too. But in the meantime, stop letting their amazing bodies make you feel bad about your own. Have I gotten there yet?  Not totally. But I am working hard to stop comparing myself to anyone else, especially movie stars and supermodels.  However, I refuse to stop making fun of their odd baby name choices.  Hey, I’m no saint, and Alicia Silverstone is asking for it by naming an innocent child Bear Blu.

And for the record, I worked my ass off (literally) and I did lose the baby weight. I don’t look like Gisele or Jessica Alba, or even Jessica Simpson for that matter, but I do look like a pretty damn good version of myself. Now, most days I feel happy with the way I look, and on the days that I don’t, there’s always Spanx. Just ask any celebrity.

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Quote of the Day: On The Art of Procrastination

“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” 

~ Mark Twain

Who am I to argue with the great Mark Twain?  Screw work, I’m going shopping!

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A Siren’s Tale

The other day my daughter, Lyla, and I were at Starbucks fueling my caffeine and sugar addictions, when suddenly Lyla starts pointing out the window and saying, “Mama! Mama!” She was so excited, but for the life of me I could not figure out what she was pointing at. She’s only 18 months old, so often our communication is akin to platform flip-flops: confusing at best.

First I tried the “What do you see out there?” tactic. Airplane? – No.  Doggie? – No. Homeless person pushing a shopping cart that you think has a baby inside? – No, No, No!  So I switched tactics.  Perhaps she is wondering where her dad is.  Sometimes she gets our names confused. And in her defense, I had just finished working out and was sweaty and more than a little manly looking. So I said, “No honey, Mama is right here.  Papi is at work, but we will see him later tonight.”  She looked at me like I was an idiot (is it possible to be embarrassed in front of your one-year-old?) and began pointing even more emphatically out the window. “Mama! Mama!”

Lyla was starting to get frustrated, and I was starting to get desperate.  So I picked her up and walked to the window saying, “Show me what you are talking about, honey.” But when we got to the window, instead of pointing outside, she began pointing to the Starbucks logo on the window.  “Mama!” she said with a smile.  For a moment I looked between the logo and my daughter in pure puzzlement.  Yes, I do drink enough coffee for her to equate me with the beverage, however, usually it is not from Starbucks.  “Mama!”  she said again, pointing at the logo then stroking my hair.  I had never really looked at the logo before, so I studied it for a minute.  Suddenly it hit me, she thinks the logo is a picture of me.  So I said, “Oh!  This looks like me?  This looks like mama?”  And she smiled like the sun and said, “Yeah!” so happy that I had finally stopped being a total idiot and understood what she was trying to tell me.

It’s actually not a bad compliment.  The Starbucks logo is based on a 16th century Norse woodcut of a mermaid or Siren to go with Seattle’s nautical roots.  (I looked this up, I don’t actually know this much useless Starbucks information.  Just other kinds of useless information.)  Starbucks chick is kind of a babe. This is solid proof that to your children, you are the most beautiful woman in the world.  So I was happy. However, I think my daughter will be sorely disappointed that I am not actually Mrs. Starbucks when she is filling out those loan applications for college.  Maybe I will just tell her that I drank away our fortune.

 

Have you ever noticed what a babe the Starbucks chick is?

Does Starbucks owe me image royalties? Or at least free coffee?

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An Open Letter To Everyone With a Vote

Whether you are voting red or blue tomorrow, stand up for equality!  A post from a Gay Superdad who puts it all in perspective.  Check it out.

An Open Letter To Everyone With a Vote.

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Gains and Losses

Now this is my kind of chart!

Ok, so here’s the post that I was trying to write when my fingers told me that I really wanted to write about something else…

It’s no secret that your life changes drastically when you have a child. Getting pregnant is an investment. You invest 10 months of your time, 100% of your hopes, dreams and fears, plus your body, your personal comfort, and sometimes even your health, knowing (and hoping that everyone who has kids wasn’t lying to you in some F-ed up prank) that everything you put into it will pay off once you are holding that sweet little baby in your arms.  And then, of course, you spend the rest of your life investing in this child and hopefully reaping the benefits before the stock market crash that is called the teenage years hits… but I digress.

Like any long-term investment, along the way there are many gains and losses. I always knew that when I had a baby I would be gaining…well… a baby. (I didn’t graduate Cum Laude for nuthin!)  I also knew that I would lose a few things.  Mostly inconsequential things such as sleep, sanity, working brain cells and hopefully at least 60% of the baby weight.  However, over the past year-and-a-half there have been a few losses and gains that I didn’t count on.

Losses:

My Hair – I had heard a lot of horrifying tales about different physical things that happen to you when you have a baby, but no one ever told me about the hair thing.  Besides my boobs, my hair was pretty much the only thing that actually looked better when I was pregnant. My ass may have looked like cottage cheese in a mesh sack, but my hair looked like a “Don’t hate me because I am beautiful” Pantene model.  That’s why it was even harder to take when, about six months after having my daughter, it started to fall out.  In clumps. And then, to add insult to injury, all these tiny little baby hairs started growing back around my hairline.  Now, when I put my hair in a ponytail, I look like a nerdy girl at my Bat mitzvah… you know the frizzy-haired girl with the food in her colored braces. That one. Sigh.

My Time – No surprise here. I knew that this baby thing would be a time-suck, I just didn’t realize that even when she is at daycare or napping, 100% of my time would be devoted to her.  Between all the laundry, shopping, worrying, cooking, cleaning, obsessively calling the doctor, worrying, researching the best strollers, car seats, educational toys and preschools to waste, I mean spend, my money on, I now have no time to do all those things for myself.

Sleep – Again, no surprise that I would get less sleep after having baby.  However, what I didn’t realize is that when you become a parent, you lose the right to have a good night of sleep ever again.  Even though my daughter now sleeps through the night, I do not.  Why?  Because at the slightest sigh, cough, turn, creak or fart I bolt upright, jamming the monitor to my face to make sure she is still in one piece.  I can only imagine what this will be like when she is teenager out with friends. Or a boy!!! Do they make a video teenage monitor?

My mind – dlfkjath[naf’dpijht[pajf’nadl;fjhdonladj.  ;atlebtpiebgldnvbdlnd;kla!!  That’s how I feel at least 68% of the time.

Vanity –  I guess this is not really a surprise either, but I always (disillusionedly) thought that I would be one of the cool moms with great bedhead hair and casual yet stylish clothes.  You know, like Jessica Alba.  Now I realize that if I was not Jessica Alba before I had a baby, then motherhood certainly won’t turn me into her.  Instead I have greasy bedhead hair and casual yet decidedly unstylish clothes.  Sue me, I’m tired.  Not to mention, ah;bvdo;vnoiwubgvfwnpvopwirjfkm!

My keys, wallet and the ability to match shoes –  At any given time, I have only one of the three.

My Boobs –  I never had big boobs but at least they were perky.  Now they are smaller than ever and somehow still saggy.  Well, at least I got a cool blog title out of it.

My identity – Pre-baby I used to be a lot of things:  Hotshot producer (at least in my mind), smartass, fun-loving friend, spontaneous wife, wino (ok, I am still a wino), foodie, party-goer, book-reader, dream-chaser.  Now, I am pretty much one thing, and one thing only:  Lyla’s mommy.  Seriously.  When I meet other moms at the playground, they ask what my daughter’s name is, but never mine.  When I talk with friends, family, and my hubby most of our conversations revolve around Lyla. Most of the time I don’t mind this.  She is my favorite topic of conversation.  She is my greatest accomplishment.  But sometimes I miss… well, me.

Yes, I have lost a lot of things since having a baby.  I could actually go on and on with this list, but I will spare you more of the Tale of Two (saggy) Titties.  Instead, let’s focus on the gains.  First and foremost, I gained a daughter.  Nothing on the list of Losses can even compare to how much I have gained from her.  However, there are a few more gains that have surprised me.

Gains:

Friends – Personally I have never been a fan of mommy groups.  I just don’t like the idea of forcing myself to be friends with someone just because we have kids who are the same age.  We may have that in common, but you wear a scrunchie and so we shall never be friends.  However, since having my daughter, two wonderful things have happened:  First, I have grown even closer to the friends I already have.  I may not talk to them as much, but something about the bonding that happens when you complain about your kids has drawn us closer than ever.  I have even grown closer to those friends who don’t have kids. When I see how much they love my daughter it makes me love them even more.  The second thing that has is happened is that, despite my mommy prejudices, I have managed to make a few new amazing mommy friends.  We came together because we have kids around the same age, but we have stayed together because we generally like one another’s company.  I have even “met” some amazing mommies (and daddies) through this blog that I now consider friends. Sometimes there is nothing you need more than for another mommy to tell you that you are not totally failing.  I am even beginning to rethink the whole mommy group thing.  Do they have mommy wine clubs?!

A new career – Pre-baby I had a great job as a producer.  I made good money, I worked a lot of hours, and most of the time I really liked the work.  However, I always dreamed about going back to writing.  Writing is my love.  It is the only thing in my life that I do because I have to do it.  I am not myself if I go very long without putting pen to paper (my preferred form) or fingers to the keyboard.  But I was scared.  Freelancing is tough.  I knew it and my boss reaffirmed it when I tried to quit the first time.  (Long story short:  I chickened out and worked there for another year.)  But once I found out I was having a baby, the money seemed a lot less important than the time I would miss with my daughter by working those long hours.  I finally had the courage to quit my job and start freelancing.  I make less money but have never been happier.  Except when my computer breaks and I can’t call IT to fix it.  Then, I curse my freelance status and stress-eat.

A really weird belly button –  I never cared much about my belly button. I never liked it, I never hated it…  until I had a baby and was left with this weird one.  Now, I have an irrational disgust for mine.  It is stretched out and kind of saggy.  And I have stretch marks inside of it. And that misguided belly button ring that I got on spring break when I was 17 has come back to haunt me, ten-fold. You were right, mom!

A new outlook – Since becoming a mom my priorities have definitely changed.  My daughter is the center of my universe, as she should be.  But besides my priorities, my whole outlook has changed.  Little annoying things don’t matter as much, and little amazing things matter so much more.  I may have less of an identity, but I have become more of a person.

The ability to say wise things like, “You just don’t know what it is to be a mom until you are one.” –  I always got annoyed when people would say this before I was a mom.  Now I am a mom.  And now I can say that being a mom is the most amazing thing in the world.  Earth-shatteringly, mind-bendingly, pants-peeingly amazing. So amazing that no amount of losses could ever tip the scale.  So amazing that I just can’t tell you how amazing it is until you are a parent and you find out for yourself.  Yes, I can now say this kind of thing and then smile with self-satisfaction, just like those other annoying moms.  And damn, it feels good!
photo credit: Clint Chilcott via photopin cc

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