Thursday, May 31, 2012

My vagina is not a clown car.

All hell broke loose on the Internet this week.   Don't worry-  if you're not a mom, you don't know about it.  Or care.  You know that lady that sits on her stoop, and never says hello to anyone but knows everyone's business?  I'll be her today and fill you in.

So there's this site called Scary Mommy, right?  It's founded by a woman named Jill Smokler.  She's risen to mommy fame by being a real woman with flaws- and writing about it.  She swears, she bitches, she has a sense of humor.  Obviously, I love her.  In addition to her aforementioned qualities, she offers bloggers an amazing opportunity.  A chance to do a guest post on her wildly popular site, scarymommy.com.  She's like, Hey, I'm famous.  You're not.  Use my platform.  It's pretty great.

This week, the guest post was from Abby at abbyhasissues.com.  It was entitled, Lessons From a Non-Mom.  It was a tongue in cheek rant about how not to lose friends on Facebook.  Basically, just a bunch of jokes about parental over sharing.  I thought it was funny.  I took the time to link over to Abby's site and realize that she is a woman that I really, really like.  I wish we were friends before her post- because I could have warned her that she was going to unleash the furies of hell by posting that.   Moms were pissed.  Readers and bloggers defending Abby were pissed.  Everyone was pissed.  Over a funny little blurb written on the Internet.  Which brings me to two points.

1.  Some people need to chill out and find their sense of humor, and

2.  All people need to realize where the root of all of this angst is coming from.

One is self-explanatory.  We would all do well to take ourselves a little less seriously and learn how to take a joke.  Myself included.

Two is a little more complicated.  Bear with me, while I deconstruct society.

Pre woman's movement, women basically had to have children.  There was a formula you followed for your life.  You went to school, met a nice man, got married, and had kids.  I'm simplifying, as there are rebels in every generation- but the majority of women in America followed suit.  There just wasn't much of a choice in the matter.

Women's movement happens.  Hooray!  We burn our bras.  We leave the house.  We enter the workforce.   Cool.  Now women have a choice in the matter.  They don't have to be moms.  Naturally, many women decide not to.  But society as a whole still thinks its their intrinsic job, and even more stifling than that- their actual biological nature.  Yes, as much as we've advanced with issues of equality, many people still believe that a woman is going against the natural order if she doesn't make use of her uterus.

Vicious cycle begins.  Women without children have to constantly defend their choices.  I don't want kids.  No I will not be changing my mind.  I'd rather have a life, thanks.  This constant need to be on the defense makes them naturally more offended by all things Mommy.  It's annoying as hell to see some women's choices validated and celebrated, while others are not.  And this goes both ways.  Women who have decided to procreate take it as a personal affront when women talk about not wanting kids.  What, does she think she's better than me because she doesn't have kids?  She's just selfish.  And bitter.  And resentful!  Instead of celebrating each others choices, and realizing that we have come a long way baby, we tear each other apart.  Not good.  But not our fault, either.

Women are constantly having to validate their choices, because even though we are free to not procreate- nobody actually believes its what any woman actually wants.  We don't believe this, because society has programmed us all- yes all- to believe that a woman's intrinsic value lies in her body.  And we all better keep it pretty, and thin, and use that fucking uterus- because that's what is expected of us.  You never, ever, ever hear a man defending his choice to get a vasectomy.  And you certainly don't hear him having to justify not having children.

Societal roles are changing, and women can lead child-free lives now.  That is a big deal.   It's making the world better for all women.  But, all the change is not going to matter unless we deprogram ourselves.  Your job as a mom isn't any less important if its not a job that all women want.  It starts with us, ladies.  Let's stop being defensive about each other's choices and keep the ball of change that our grandmothers and mothers worked so hard for, rolling.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mom- you're a big, fat liar.

My mom has always bragged incessantly about my sister and I.  The stories of our early childhood development are my favorites.

There's the one where I taught myself how to tie my shoes when I was a year and a half old.  She just sat down, against the wall in the kitchen and tried and tried.  For six hours!  Until she got it!  Then there was the Christmas Eve that my sister climbed out of her crib, descended the staircase, came into the living room, looked at the tree and said, How pretty!  She was one.

Oh also, I told my doctor that my ear hurt- when I was 8 months old.

My mom and the child prodigies.  I am the one in the awesome coat.


These stories used to be so endearing and cute.  Until I had kids.  Now they just serve as anecdotal reminders that I'll never be as good at this as my Mom was.

I mean, really.  As if the milestone police that I have to see at the park everyday weren't enough.  Now I'm measuring Lucien's development by my own.  I'm comparing him to my childhood self.  That can't be healthy.  Why isn't he tying his shoes?  We went to the doctor last week and he just stared at her.  He didn't say a goddamn thing about the rash he's been scratching for the last week.  What the hell?  

Growing up, you actually believe all of these stories.  It's entertaining and delightful to think of yourself as a super-genius infant.  Of course, there have been times when I've wondered what went wrong along my path to adulthood.  Why didn't I think of the cell phone first?  Or invent Spanx?  Apparently infant genius is not a litmus for success in life.

It's normal to brag about your children.  I'm not begrudging my mother that.  It's just that all of those stories mislead me a little.  Clearly, I expected Lucien to do all of those things, too.  And since apparently I never disobeyed my my mother-  I thought that I, too, would breed a perfectly behaved child.  I thought I would be able to administer "the look" that people like to brag about so much.  You know- the one that makes your child stop whatever he's doing, apologize profusely, and go make you an omelet?

Well, the look doesn't work.  And since Mom is staying with us for three weeks- she gets to see first hand, that I have not mastered it.  Then she gets to passive-aggressively question every disciplining  decision that I make.

Mom: You say "no?" 
Me:  Well, yes.  He just hit me in the face.  I say "no" when he does that.
Mom:  Oh.  I have more patience than that.

Oh, this is another good one;

Mom:  He cries because you pick him up.  
Me:  What?
Mom:  He gets frustrated when you pick him up, so he hits you.  I can't pick him up, so he can't hit me.
Me:  Um, okay.

But back to Lucien's development.  Either my mom is a big, fat liar- or Lucien is the dumbest thing to ever come out of our gene pool.  Obviously, I prefer to go with the former idea.  It's easier for me to realize that I wasn't a child prodigy, than to believe my child isn't keeping up.  And I'm sure this will all come full-circle.   Years from now, I will be telling Lucien stories of how he walked when he was 8 months old (he was actually 14 months), talked in full sentences when he was one (we're still waiting for that one), and made me omelets when I was angry.

Ah, the circle of life.  I'll be a liar, too.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

I'm an artist. And I'm sensitive about my shit.

I'm an artist.  And I'm sensitive about my shit.
                                                      - Erykah Badu

Truer words were never spoken.

I am an artist.  And a Pisces.  These two things basically make me an open wound at all times.  Luckily, I have some things in my arsenal, that protect me from constantly weeping;  my big mouth, my quick wit, and my ability to laugh at myself.  It's stream of consciousness Sunday, and the topic is: what feels overwhelming to you right now and how are you coping?

Seeing this ridiculous cuteness everyday helps me cope, for sure.


I have unleashed my views upon the world, via my blog.  Surprise!  Not everyone loves what I have to say.  It's been a little overwhelming dealing with the negative feedback from the people in cyberspace who hate my guts.  Listen, I admit that I have a strong personality, and that not everyone likes people with opinions.  I'm just finding it a little overwhelming figuring out how to deal with these people.

Sometimes, people have no sense of humor.   I just think, wow- I can't believe you didn't know I was joking about that?  Last week I wrote a blog about attachment parenting that I thought was obviously written in jest.  Emphasis on the word obviously.  Someone left me a comment that said, I feel sorry for your children to have a mother like you.  What?  Then there were the two Facebook fans I lost, six minutes after writing about Fifty Shades of Grey.  Holy shit.

And then there was the woman or man (not sure which because they posted anonymously) who felt the need to visit my blog twice, months apart, to call me graceless.  This pissed me off.  I Googled how to deal with negative feedback on your blog.  Yes, I really did- I am that big of a dork.  Google told me that I should always take the high road, be empathetic, and respond in an appreciative way.

Fuck that.

I actually do appreciate this woman or man or whoever, because they got me thinking about why I write my blog.  They remarked in their opus of a comment that I put my opinions out there to be judged.  Sorry, whoever you are- but no I don't.  I actually hate being judged.  And don't tell another adult what their intentions are.  Ever.

I started this blog because after having my child, I began to feel really isolated.  Truly.  I don't have a lot of friends with children.  Your life becomes very small and lonely when you are basically the only one of your friends that has procreated.  I wanted to connect with other women that feel the same way that I do.  That get my jokes.  Women that would basically be my friends in real life.

So, back to stream of consciousness Sunday.  What feels overwhelming to me?  Anonymous insults in cyberspace.  How I cope?  By realizing how many amazing people I have connected with already, because one day I decided to take a few minutes to design this page- and put some thoughts on it.

Thanks people- for getting my jokes.

And thanks All Things Fadra for the writing prompts on Sunday.  If you want to join in, go to allthingsfadra.com every Sunday and link up.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Not today.




These were taken a few days ago, before the end-of-days rainstorms we've been having in Brooklyn.  This park has astroturf, which Lucien apparently loves.  He hits the ground running whenever he's on it.  On this particular day, he took off in a full sprint toward the senior citizen yoga class.  Luckily, I'm still faster than him...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fifty Shades of- who the hell cares?

The Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon has swept the nation.  It's on the NYT bestseller list.  It's in the purses or on the Nooks of millions of women across the globe.



Yes, every writer on the planet has given their two cents about what the success of this novel means to them.  I'm late.  Sorry.  I wasn't even going to write anything about it, but my good friend Jay Fingers wrote a piece this week mentioning that the trilogy had sold 10 millions copies.  And I just had to pause and reflect on that for a minute.

10 million copies.  Holy shit.  That is crazy.

First of all, I have to admit that I have not read it.  And I'm pretty sure I won't be.  Well, I'm definitely sure I won't be.  I just looked it up on Amazon and it's 528 pages long.  There is no way in hell I would ever be able to finish that.

So, being the industrious woman that I am,  I did the next best thing.  I read all of the pages that Amazon would let me see, for free.  But they wouldn't let me see any of the smutty stuff, so I looked up some smutty free passages and I found them on Jezebel.

Now, you may be saying, You can't judge a 528 page book by reading 20 pages of it.  But, yes you can.  When Jonathan Franzen published his newest novel, and everyone once again began to talk about what a fantastic writer he was, I realized that I had never read a word that he had written.  I went to Google, looked up Jonathan Franzen quotes, and devoured every single one.  It was clear to me, in one sentence, that I wanted to read his work.  I ordered The Corrections immediately.  I'm still on page 50- but hey- I have every intention of reading it.

Needless to say, this did not happen when I read a few pages of Fifty Shades of Grey.  Maybe it's because Anastasia Steele is the most mother f-ing ridiculous name that anyone has given a protagonist, ever.  Maybe it's because she used the word gamine on page two.  Maybe it's because I think her writing style is crap.  The bottom line is- who cares?  I won't read it.

Instead, I read all of that backlash about it, because I find that more interesting.  Of course, the feminist backlash is the stuff that interests me the most.  Next is the "real writer" backlash.

There have been lots of observations about the novel as anti-feminist.  Of course, it's anti-feminist for women to fantasize about being dominated, right?  Katie Roiphe,  probably the first woman ever to argue that women have a hand in date rape (gross) claims that  the book offers an escape from the dreariness and hard work of equality.  Oh god, really?  The idea that any woman would pick up a piece of Twilight fan fiction to escape the hard work of equality is just stupid.  Almost as stupid as the phrase the hard work of equality.  And implying that millions of women across the land are doing themselves a disservice by reading some harmless erotica is pretty insulting.  It's not anti-feminist to fantasize about being sexually dominated.  Give me a break.  And in BDSM relationships, the one that is being dominated controls all of the action, because they are the one that decides when it stops.  Ever heard of a safe-word.  Duh.

How about this; fiction is fiction.  People read it for an escape.  I never was one to be into romance novels, but they have a huge audience.  Huge.  It's a billion dollar industry.  Sales of romance novels dominate the consumer market.  More romance novels are sold yearly than mystery, science fiction and classic literary fiction combined.  So is it really surprising that this caught fire?  It's a mainstream, widely publicized romance novel.  All of the buzz that surrounds this book is free advertising for a genre that, as it turns out- doesn't really need it.

And naturally,  other writers are pissed.  Of course they are!  The publishing industry is ridiculously hard to break into.  And this woman, who writes things like, My inner goddess is prostrate, is now a wildly famous, successful author.  That sucks.  But that's life.

That fact brings me to this point.  Creative people- yes I am talking to you- there is an endless amount of inspiration out there.  If one person makes it, discovers the next big thing, and becomes a gazillionaire on the back of some poorly written erotica- who cares?  If anything, it should inspire you- just a little.  Whatever you think of this woman and her work, she created something out of nothing, and sold 10 million copies of it.  That's impressive.

That's enough for today.  My inner goddess is prostrate, and I think I just heard my husband walk in the door.

Just kidding.  I have to do laundry.



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mixtape. Wednesday.



Okay, so this guy is performing in his Mother's living room.  All I can say is, wow.  What a voice.  I can't believe I've never heard of him.  You know when you find some new music, and you feel like Columbus- and then you realize that almost a million people have already heard it?  This post would have been so much cooler if almost a million people hadn't already heard it.
Oh well.  He's great, so it makes sense.


Allen Stone

Monday, May 21, 2012

The baby shower. An exercise in futility.

The baby shower.  Pregnant women everywhere spend months pouring over websites, trying to figure out what the "must-haves" are.  It's totally f-ing ridiculous.

Traditionally, you only get a baby shower for the first baby.  This is the one that counts, because you presumably don't own any baby necessities yet.  You also have never had a baby, so you have absolutely no idea what "necessities" even means.  None.

So, you go to the sites and register for the items you are guessing you need.  I registered at a site called Giggle.com.  The most awesome thing about this site, was that it shared an almost identical URL to a site that sells sex toys.  Great.  That kind of stuff only happens to me.  My friends know that I have a sick sense of humor, but thankfully none of them had the balls to wrap up a vibrator and present it to me in a box flanked in baby booty wrapping paper, in front of my mother.  But I digress.  Back to why baby showers- and registries-  are ridiculous.

What in the hell is this thing?


You don't know what you need.  You just don't.  And because of this, you end up registering for a bunch of things that you'll never use.  For example, I wish one of my friends with children was able to warn me that Lucien would hate his $800 crib, and end up sleeping in a $60 pack and play.  That would have been awesome.  I would have saved $800, and not had a gigantic piece of furniture that I have no use for crammed into our tiny apartment.  If I had to do it over again I would have started with a co-sleeper and moved to the pack and play.  Oh well.  Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.

Also, I wish someone would have told me that almost everyone ignores your registry anyway, and just buys you whatever the hell they want.  Which is usually some cute little newborn outfit that your child will never wear.  Lucien was born on November first, at the beginning of what would turn out to be a brutal winter in New York.  I didn't take him anywhere for like, three months.  He wore long sleeve onesie pajamas- only.  All of those adorable little newborn outfits that everyone couldn't resist buying went completely to waste.  I ended up giving about $400 worth of brand new clothes to the dishwasher at my job who was expecting his first baby a couple months ago.

This brings me to baby registry tip #1.  Do not register for clothes.   People will buy them anyway, and you will end up with a bunch of stuff you never use.  The only clothing that actually comes in handy those first few months are long sleeve or short sleeve onesies, depending on the season.  Unless you are one of the New Jersey housewives, and you plan on dressing your baby up in ridiculous outfits and parading her around town.  In which case, you're on your own.

Now, what about the gadgets?  Rocker, swing, mobile, bouncer- what's a new mom to choose?  Well, being as I registered at the most bourgeois registry on the planet, all of these gadgets where of minimalist design and uber expensive.  Luckily, I would never ask my friends to buy me that expensive shit- so I just didn't register for any of it.  My genius sister sent me a Fischer Price baby seat- that I probably never would have chosen on my own.  It had jungle animals all over it, vibrated, played music and bounced when baby moved.  Lucien loved this thing more than life itself.  And it actually provided a place for me to put Lucien, when I wasn't holding him.

Baby registry tip #2.  Register for a baby bouncer seat.  Did you know, that you need somewhere to put this baby, when you aren't holding him?  I didn't really even think about it.  You will want some kind of seat.  I'm calling it a seat, but it's actually something you just lay your child on and strap him to that keeps him somewhat upright.  This was an absolute necessity for us- and one that I didn't even register for.  Thanks sis, for being brilliant.

On to the Diaper Genie.  I didn't register for it.  Do I really need an extra garbage can in my house, that isn't even cute?  What is the point of that thing?  Can't I just wrap the diaper in plastic and put it in our own garbage?  What's the big deal?  I hate to break it to you,  but the shit that comes out of your baby is the foulest, most disgusting-smelling substance that you can ever imagine.  Actually, you can't imagine it.  Childless people have no idea what human feces smells like after it sits around in a garbage for a few days (I hope).  It is the foulest, rankest smell on the planet.  The Diaper Genie contains that demonic horror.  It is a simple design, it's not cute- but accept no imitations.  It works.  Just buy it.  You'll thank me later.

Baby registry tip #3.  Buy the aforementioned Diaper Genie.  Do it now.

Toys?  Meh.  Your newborn can't even focus, let alone play with anything.  I opted for playing music for him.  The bouncer seat has little dangly things that he can try to touch, and rattles are pretty cool, too.    Other than that, wait until he gets bigger.  Save yourself some space.

Swaddling blankets.  Lucien hated to be swaddled, and once he was big enough, he just kicked out of them.  Buy a few.  But don't buy 10, like we did.

Bottles.  How many do I need?  I really don't know what the right answer is to this.  But I can tell you that we have four.  And it's worked fine.  I bought the 9oz Avent ones, with the interchangeable nipples.  If you do this, you are able to keep the same bottles and just purchase faster flowing nipples as the baby gets older.

Baby registry tip #4  Don't register for diapers.  If you've never had a child, you will have no idea which ones you prefer.  Every single mom I know uses a different diaper, and swears by hers.  I use Luvs Ultra Leakguards- but you might hate those.  You won't know until you try them.  We started with Pampers, and poop used to just shoot up his back.  Seriously.

Baby registry tip #5 Gift cards rock.  Target gift cards, Amazon gift cards.  The great thing is- it's cash.  And you can spend it on the things you will figure out that you need.

Okay, so that covers some of the basics.  Really, this whole registry thing should change.  What we should do is pick a Mom in our life- who we think is sensible and awesome- and have her manage the registry for us.  Kind of like what I just did, but tailored a little more to your specific tastes.  She would be like a pregnancy Maid of Honor.  Brilliant!  How do I not have a 401k?


Oh and P.S...  the diaper cake?  No.  Just, no.

P.P.S... here are some links to the things you want.

Gerber Newborn 3 Pack Long-Sleeve Onesie Set, White (0-3 Months)

Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny Bouncer Seat

Playtex Diaper Genie Elite Diaper Disposal Pail Philips 

Gerber Brand 4 Pack Organic Onesies, White, 3-6 Months

AVENT 5 Pack BPA Free Classic Polypropylene Bottles, 9 Ounce

aden + anais 4 Pack Muslin Swaddle Wrap, Jungle Jam

Today.





Sidewalk chalk is the new black.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Attachment Parenting. Or as the rest of us refer to it... parenting.

Really, how could I avoid writing a blog about Attachment Parenting?  It's all the rage.  It's everywhere.  Mayim Bialik is breastfeeding her 3 year old on the subway, and telling the rest of us not to teach our kids to say please and thank you.  And of course, there is the now infamous Time magazine cover, with what appears to be some supermodel supermom breastfeeding her grade-schooler.

Mom enough?  Not really sure what that means.


A conversation with my sister made me realize it was time to look into it a little.  Our conversation went something like this:

Me:  This Time magazine thing is pretty stupid.  I mean, we only think it's weird because we have a cultural aversion to seeing a toddler breastfeed.  The  global, average age to wean a child, is like, 3 years old.
Sister:  What they do in sub-Saharan Africa can't really be our litmus, can it?
Me:  Who said anything about sub-Saharan Africa?  That's a global average.
Sister:  What do they do in Sweden?  I'll get behind whatever they do in Sweden.
Me:   What?

This lead to a search of what the average weaning age is in Sweden, which we still don't have the answer to.  Not even sure what that whole Sweden thing is about- but that's neither here nor there.  The search somehow brought us to attachmentparenting.org, where they list the eight principles of Attachment Parenting.  Right on!  I love quizzes.  It's the best part of Cosmo.  I grabbed a pen and a piece of paper, and got ready to score myself.

Attachment Parenting International's Eight Steps of Attachment Parenting

1.  Prepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting.
Become emotionally and physically prepared for pregnancy and birth. Research available options for healthcare providers and birthing environments, and become informed about routine newborn care. 
Note to self;  all of the women on I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, are not Attachment Parenting.  I took prenatal vitamins and had a baby shower.  Woot!  Woot!  One point for me!

2.  Feed with love and respect.
Breastfeeding is the optimal way to satisfy an infant's nutritional and emotional needs. "Bottle Nursing" adapts breastfeeding behaviors to bottle-feeding to help initiate a secure attachment. Follow the feeding cues for both infants and children, encouraging them to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. 
Shoot.  I generally like to feed my child while chanting, Eat it, Asshole!  Minus one point.  Plus a half a point for breastfeeding for eight months.

3.  Respond with sensitivity. 
Build the foundation of trust and empathy beginning in infancy.  Babies cannot be expected to self-soothe, they need calm, loving, empathetic parents to help them learn to regulate their emotions. Respond sensitively to a child who is hurting or expressing strong emotion, and share in their joy. 
So when another toddler in the park hits him with a ball, I shouldn't shout, take one for the team, Sissy!  Minus one point.

4.  Use nurturing touch.
Touch meets a baby's needs for physical contact, affection, security, stimulation, and movement. Skin-to-skin contact is especially effective, such as during breastfeeding, bathing, or massage.  Hugs, snuggling, back rubs, massage, and physical play help meet this need in older children.
I'm supposed to be giving my child massages?  No one told me that.  Why does he get a massage?  He doesn't carry me around all day, and do all the housework one-handed.  Not fair.  Minus one point.


5.  Ensure safe sleep, physically and emotionally.
Babies and children have needs at night just as they do during the day; from hunger, loneliness, and fear, to feeling too hot or too cold. They rely on parents to soothe them and help them regulate their intense emotions. Sleep training techniques can have detrimental physiological and psychological effects. Safe co-sleeping has benefits to both babies and parents.
I put him in long sleeve pajamas, set him in his crib with his co-sleeping partner (a.k.a. teddy bear), and dance around the apartment yelling, Freedom!  And then I have sex with my husband in our baby-free bed.  Minus one point.


6.  Provide consistent and loving care.
Babies and young children have an intense need for the physical presence of a consistent, loving, responsive caregiver: ideally a parent. If it becomes necessary, choose an alternate caregiver who has formed a bond with the child and who cares for him in a way that strengthens the attachment relationship. 
Hahahahaha!  We're broke, and can't afford outside caregivers!  Massive pointage here!  In yo face!

7.   Practice positive discipline.
Positive discipline helps a child develop a conscience guided by his own internal discipline and compassion for others. Discipline that is empathetic, loving, and respectful strengthens the connection between parent and child. Rather than reacting to behavior, discover the needs leading to the behavior. Communicate and craft solutions together while keeping everyone's dignity intact.
 Ahh.  Finally I understand where the no please and thank you thing comes from.  Rather than reacting to behavior, discover the needs leading to the behavior.  OK,  so when Lucien wants to play with a power cord,  and I tell him no, and then he hits me in the head with a truck out of frustration- I should just realize that he has some innate need to play with electricity?  Maybe he's the real-live version of Powder.  Then we can craft a solution together to deal with his behavior.  I'm pretty sure his solution will be pulling on the power cord repeatedly, and hitting me in the head with a truck if I get in the way.  I'm going to craft some solution that will keep us both happy here, because obviously keeping his dignity in tact is more important than keeping him alive.   Except, I usually opt for keeping him alive- so minus one point.

8.  Strive for balance in personal and family life.
It is easier to be emotionally responsive when you feel in balance. Create a support network, set realistic goals, put people before things, and don't be afraid to say "no". Recognize individual needs within the family and meet them to the greatest extent possible without compromising your physical and emotional health. Be creative, have fun with parenting, and take time to care for yourself.
Plus one point for knowing how to say No.  Plus one point for support network (coffee maker and bottle of wine).   Minus six points for all the rest of that shit.

Oooh.  Epic fail.  Only, not really- because for the love of God, all parents do this stuff.  Or we all try to do this stuff anyway.  It seems to me, that Attachment Parenting is the new Gluten-free.  Lots of people practice it, but only a few feel the need to preach about it at every possible opportunity.

In conclusion, we're all doing our best.  And the global average for breastfeeding is three, so can everyone get over that stupid  Time cover, already?  Oh, also- if anyone thinks of some gimmick that I could execute, that would drive hundreds of thousands of hits to my little blog- will you let me know?  I'm so down for that.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mario Batali takes food stamp challenge. Give me a f-ing break.

I was browsing the Huffpost this morning, when this headline caught my eye-  Mario Batali Food Stamp Challenge:  Chef Spending $31 On Food For One Week.  The celebrity chef and his family are eating for a week on the equivalent of a food stamp budget to protest potential cuts to the food stamp program that are pending in Congress.






"I'm (expletive deleted) starving," said Batali, who's on the board of the food relief agency Food Bank for New York City, which issued the challenge to celeb pals like Batali and anybody else who wants to know what it's like.  
Hmm.  It's not my intention to be a celebrity-chef-bashing jerk, but what the hell?  Are they serious?  I appreciate anyone working to help the hungry- but this challenge is complete bullshit.  Making your wealthy, well-fed family subsist on your gourmet rice and beans and lentil stew for a week accomplishes what, exactly?  

Batali said his first reaction when asked to join was a big "gulp," then he realized while shopping for Friday's start of the challenge that with a little forethought it wouldn't be all that brutal. 
Well, maybe it would be a little more "brutal" if  the challenge was grounded in reality- at all.  If you really want to see what it's like to subsist on food stamps, as a way of life, you should try this.  Try working a nine hour day, after getting up early enough to get your children to school.  Try rushing home so you don't have to pay the after school daycare that you can barely afford an extra twenty dollars for picking up your child 10 minutes late.  Try hauling your children, their books and your own tired ass to your overpriced local market to comb the isles for something healthy to feed your child.  Try knowing that there is no way in hell that they can wait for you to cook some cheap lentils for an hour when you get home.  Try picking up some dollar bags of chips to satiate them until you get home, and having the yuppie next to you shake their head at the "junk food" you're buying with the food stamps they feel they're paying for.  Trying living through the subtle humiliation of using an EBT card to pay for your groceries, day in and day out.  
Subsisting on food stamps, especially when food is made from scratch, is doable, he said, "as a way to live, but certainly not as a way to thrive. You can always have pasta with tomato, but that's not thriving."
I guess these stunts are just an avenue to get people talking.  I mean, it's working- I'm talking about it.  And I don't want to demean any charitable work that people do- because, let's face it- they don't have to do it at all.  But the fact of the matter is that living on food stamps is a reality for a lot of Americans.  And it is fucking hard- and the government does its best to also make the whole experience as demeaning as possible.  Submitting wage reports every few months, dealing with government employees, waiting in long lines.  All while ignoring your pride, so that you can feed your family.  You don't know what that feels like, Mario.  You just don't.  So don't talk about how "doable" something is- when you're not really doing it.  It's really insulting to the families in this economy for whom subsisting on government assistance has become an unavoidable reality.

Today.





Sometimes the park is serious business.  Now he wants to push the empty swing, instead of swinging in it.  And all of those little places and steps where he used to look up for me to give him my hand-  he's defiantly handling on his own.  The little heartbreaker.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

MIxtape. Tuesday.



Ann Peebles, "I can't stand the rain."  God I love this song.  And it's perfect for this rainy day in Brooklyn, that's making me homesick for San Francisco.


I Can't Stand the Rain

Monday, May 14, 2012

Yelp is for a#@holes.

Oh,Yelp,  what have you done?   You've turned every common man into a self-professed-foodie-critic.  With a chip on his shoulder.

Oh, isn't it horrific?  My waitress left my water glass empty for 10 minutes, or my steak was undercooked.  Naturally, I have to tell the whole goddamn world about it.  And while I'm at it- I'll pretend that I know how to compose a dish better than a chef- because the weekly episode of Chopped I watch, qualifies me to do that.  I'll write lengthy reviews that benefit no one and then read them over and over again while chuckling wildly.  Ha!  Two stars!  Take that!  You should have given me that corner booth I wanted.  Now who's 'spoken for?' Mwahahahaaa!  I'll use phrases I never use in real life, like "on point" or "hits it out of the park."

You've created a monster.  Actually, hundreds of thousands of monsters- disguised as pleasant customers. It's like you've unleashed an army of Adam Platt drones.  Nobody wants that.  Nobody.

Every time someone pulls out a camera and starts photographing their food, restaurant owners have to hold their breath.  Oh my god, are they yelping?  I think they're yelping.  Is everything okay?  Do they look happy? Well, you better pray they're happy.  It will be super fun when the staff of an entire restaurant has to sit through an extra staff meeting to address some anonymous Yelper's ridiculous complaint.  Super fun.  


No.



The average Yelper falls into one of three categories:  Angry diner, friend-of-owner diner, and loves-to- hear-their-own-voice diner.  The first is unhappy.  They wanted their night to go down a different way, and be cheaper.  They don't get out much, and they wanted to be treated like royalty.  Fail.  The second is pretty self explanatory.  How many five star rave reviews are written by friends of the restaurant, or regulars who feel like they are in some kind of 'inner circle?'  Lots.  The third, seem benign enough- but they are the ones responsible for all of the 2000 word reviews that you can never get through.  They describe the place in unnecessarily precise detail.  Like this guy.  This is an actual Yelp review, of a restaurant that will remain nameless.

(Any Restaurant USA)  has a pleasant but somewhat sterile ambiance.  It has the look of an early 20th century watering hole with ceiling fans, semi-flush ball lighting, and colours all in black and white (including old black and white photos on a wall in the back). 

Despite the early 1900s look, they were playing nice and slow pop music from the 1960s and early 70s.

When you step in, there are a bunch of tables to your left that are too close together, in my onion, and, on the right, three tables with adequate space in between.  There are three booths in the back area.  And they have a long bar.


Holy shit.  I just fell asleep sitting up.   Guess what?  This is totally unnecessary information.  I could probably reference the pictures they have on their website, instead of reading your step by step snoozefest description.  And you just wrote, "in my onion."  Dummy.  Okay, maybe that was mean.  I guess this guy is benign enough- but do you see where I'm going here?  You can't rely on any of these people.  It just seems so ridiculous and unfair.  Why should customers be the only people benefiting from this completely subjective,  made up,  rating system- that totally depends on each individuals mood and taste?


As someone who has been in the service industry for, forever, I am pitching a new idea.  A yelp type site where servers can rate customers.  Sort of like the opposite of Yelp.  Pley?  No, that is a horrible name.  I haven't ironed out all of the kinks yet- but this is going to be HUGE.

So many people consult Yelp when making their dining decisions.  It is totally understandable why restaurant owners would be really concerned with what people say.  Can you imagine how great it would be to have a similar database to reference, for those times when you really need to know how to treat a difficult customer?

The basic idea of it is this:  waiters upload pictures of customers along with stories/ reviews about why they are horrific or great.  You can search by neighborhood- browse the main offenders- and always be ready to treat customers as they deserve to be treated.

The following is an example of Pley's functionality:

It's 10:50 pm, and your restaurant closes at eleven.  A couple walks in.  Smartly dressed, but definitely looking a little odd and tired.

Waiter 1:  Oh my god, I saw their picture on Pley (working title).  They are fucking awful.  She is going to order her fish to be served to her almost raw.  Seriously.  And not sushi-grade fish, either.  Like a whole fish- on the bone.  She wants to eat that shit almost raw!  Then, they are going to modify their order until it doesn't resemble anything that we serve now, or would ever serve in this restaurant- ever.  It's going to take us ten fucking minutes to explain it to the chef.  Then, they are going to start eating.  Slowly.  They will be obviously annoyed when we bring out their second course before they are done with their salads, but holy shit- it will be 11:40 and we would like to go home eventually.  Then, she is going to complain that her fish isn't raw enough (gross) but eat it anyway because the cooks have already turned all the burners off and can't make another one.  Then she is going to fall asleep half way through her meal.  Sitting up.  I am not shitting you.  And her husband is going to act like he doesn't notice.  We won't be home until 2 am.


Waiter 2:  No way.  
Waiter 1:  Way.
Smartly dressed weirdo couple:  We need a table for two.
Waiter 2:  Sorry.  We're closed.


Crisis averted!  Yay, Pley!
Now, this completely subjective,  bullshit rating system can go both ways.  Seems fair.  I'm going to start ironing out the details.

Isn't it genius?  Well, I thought of it first.
You're welcome.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Breastfeeding sucks. Pun intended.


Every single pregnant woman in America has heard the speech, seen the posters, and gotten the advice from her doctor.  Breastfeeding is best!  Exclusively for 6 months, if you can!  Builds baby's immunity!

If it's so damn fantastic, why did I get sent home from the hospital with a goody bag full of formula?  I hear there is a new movement to stop this routine- a movement that I wholeheartedly support.  It would have been much more helpful to have a list of lactation consultants in my area, and maybe a way to get free home visits if needed, no?

We're not informed enough about breastfeeding in this country.  There is the poster in the doctor's office, the prenatal question about whether you plan on doing it- and then you are pretty much on your own.  The huge business of pushing formula on new mothers, doesn't help much, either.  If breastfeeding really is so much better for baby, women need a little more help.  And they definitely need to know some things.

Like, for example- did you know that a baby is born waterlogged, and really doesn't require much in terms of fluids for the first 24 hours?  I bet you didn't, because everyone panics when a newborn infant isn't feeding like a pro within hours of being born.  It used to be common practice for newborns to receive nothing by mouth for the first 24 hours, because physicians knew that they didn't really need it.   I know several women that gave up really quickly because they thought they just weren't producing milk, and they didn't want to starve their babies.  Obviously.  No one wants to starve their brand new baby.  That is where the formula the hospital sent you home with comes in so handy.  But once you use the formula, you start to rely on it a little bit.  It is way easier than breastfeeding, it comes out of a bottle quickly, and your baby seems much more satisfied.

Vicious cycle begins.  More bottle, less breast milk.  Less sucking, less producing of breast milk.  Mom gives up, feeling like she is just one of those women who couldn't do it.

Now, I am in no way saying that everyone can breastfeed.  Everyone can't.  There are some women that have real issues with latch, milk production, and so on.  And there are some women who just don't want to do it- and that is fine, too.  I'm just writing this post to let you know, that if you are one of the women that wants to do it- it's not always easy in the beginning.  In fact- it's really fucking hard.  But that doesn't mean it won't work out for you.

When Lucien was born, he latched immediately- and immediately began sucking like a little madman.  He was on the breast, pretty much constantly for the first 24 hours of his life.  My milk didn't come in until about hour 27.  That's right- he was sucking constantly and getting nothing for over a day.  But that furious sucking is what made my milk come in.  Now, I knew this because I had amazing prenatal support from a hypnobirthing doula, who informed me that this would happen.  That I, in fact, would not be starving my baby if I didn't notice milk right away.  What comes out of a women's breast, before her milk comes in is called colostrum.  It is filled with nutrients, but doesn't look like milk at all.  Thankfully, I knew this.  The hospital that I was in also had an amazing lactation consultant that visited my room about 4 times a day to make sure I wasn't freaking out.  It turns out that I was the only woman recovering from a C section in that hospital that was breastfeeding.  So she had some extra time to devote to my cause.

Lucien.  He's about 5 minutes old in this picture.  He's already eyeing the boob.


I go home from the hospital, thinking I've got the whole breastfeeding thing down.  My boobs are huge, and my nipples are already killing me.  Lucien is feeding every hour and a half, for forty five minutes at a time.  Holy crap.  I start pumping, to give myself a little break.  I pump for a half hour and get about two ounces of milk.  This goes on for a few weeks.  I am getting desperate to try and figure out how I can continue breastfeeding Lucien, without actually having to have him on my boob for twenty hours a day.  I almost give up, because I feel like I am just not producing enough to sustain him.

I consult the all-knowing Google for some help here.  I find an article about Fenugreek, and how it helps with milk production.  I get dressed and walk to the Vitamin Store.  I buy it, and begin taking the recommended dose of two pills, three times a day.  The next morning, I pump, and six ounces comes out of one breast in 20 minutes.  Not kidding.  It worked that fast.

I am not a doctor, or a lactation consultant.  I am just telling you all of this so you can ask your doctor/midwife about it- and get the information you need to be prepared after baby is born.  Breastfeeding is no walk in the park- so don't expect it to be.   I know some women make it look super easy, but if it's their first time- trust me- they don't know what the hell they're doing either.  They probably just look good in a baby wrap.  People that can pull off the baby wrap look like parenting pros from the get go.  If you really want to breastfeed, and your child doesn't have a problem latching on, don't give up.  You can do it.  It's not as easy as it looks, it requires some work, but keep trying.

And if you can't do it- don't beat yourself up over it.
And if you don't want to do it- so be it.  
You get to choose what's best for your baby.  That's what being a mom is all about.


The following are some things that helped me with breastfeeding:

Lansinoh HPA Lanolin for Breastfeeding Mothers, 40 Grams
The Lansinoh lanolin is absolutely necessary, and you should even start using it before baby is born.  It helps chapped nipples, and you don't have to wipe it off before you feed.
Lansinoh 20435 Breast milk Storage Bags, 25-Count Boxes (Pack of 3)
There are plenty of breast milk storage bags, those are just the ones that I used.  And when I switched to formula and had some left over, I used them to heat up formula quickly, by putting the formula in them and submerging them in hot water.
Lansinoh 20265 Disposable Nursing Pads, 60-Count Boxes (Pack of 4)
Your boobs will leak constantly, so make sure you have the breast pads before you leave the hospital.
Ameda Purely Yours Ultra Breast Pump
I registered for this, not thinking I would get it- and I ended up getting it.  It is expensive.  It also ended up totally being worth it, because I used it every day.  If you can get one used for cheaper, do that!  You can sterilize all the parts that touch your body and handle milk just by boiling them.

Disclaimer!  Anytime you see a link to Amazon for a product on this blog, if you purchase it, I get a commission.  But, this is not a sponsored post.  I wrote it because I want to help expecting mothers.  Also,  I will never, ever recommend a product that I haven't used and think is fabulous.  I just won't.  I am broke, but I'm not a jerk.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

You are beautiful.








I stumbled across this site years ago, when I was still working for FLY magazine.  Back then, it was just a great idea and some free stickers.  Now, it is a global movement, with large scale installations reaching hundreds of thousands of people.

What is it?  You send them a self-addressed envelope, and they send you some stickers, like the one above.  For free.  And then you put them on stuff, or give them to people, or do some guerrilla, feel-good marketing.  Genius.

Who doesn't want to be told they are beautiful?  And in today's world- God knows we all need it.

To get some stickers and find out more about the project, go here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spread love, it's the Brooklyn way.








As much as having a child has made me yearn for suburban living, I have to admit my neighborhood is pretty great.

I came out of the subway station in the last photo 10 years ago- and said, Yup.  This is it.  This is my hood.  I had no idea that the bar across the street would be the place where I would end up working and meeting all my new friends(family).  Or that I would meet the man I would love, who would be responsible for half of the DNA of my beautiful child- a block away from that subway station- 5 years later.  I guess there is something to be said about gut instincts.

You always know when you're home.

Monday, May 7, 2012

No Mother's Day? Worst idea, ever.

I started seeing hashtags for No Mother's Day, this week.   My initial reaction was- great idea.  These celebrities are probably lobbying the flower companies to donate some of the massive proceeds they will make this week to various charities that help with maternal health around the world.  Or maybe they will get Hallmark on their side.  Or maybe their idea is that we ask our loved ones to celebrate us by donating to these causes instead of buying us flowers or cards, or whatever.

Nope.

That's not the idea at all.  Well, it sort of is- there are places to donate and such-  but it's not the main call to action.

Christy Turlington decided that in order to honor all the mothers that die because of poor maternal health and care, we living Moms should disappear for the day.  Literally.  Seriously.  Literally disappear.

No Facebook updates, no Twitter, no answering the phone, no accepting gifts or celebrating with our families.  The purpose of all of this is to show the world how traumatic it would be to not have us around. It will make a real statement about how important mothers are.  Well, it will either do that- or totally traumatize our young children, who I'm pretty sure will be a little confused about why Mommy is throwing away their handmade macaroni necklace.

Am I the only person that thinks this is the worst idea ever?

Just so you don't think that I am the biggest jerk on the planet, I am going to show you the video now, so you can see how strange it is for yourself.



So, let me get this straight.  Lots of women die because of poor maternal health- so I have to give up the ONE DAY a year that I actually get thanked for all of the thankless, unrelenting, 24 hour a day work that I do?  I work full time.  We don't have any childcare, or family in state to help us.  I haven't slept through the night since about month 5 of my pregnancy.  I haven't had a quite, uninterrupted shit since Lucien was born, and my husband and I haven't been on a date since November.

Guess what?  I want to be thanked, called, and acknowledged on Mother's Day.  I do.  I really do.  Even after watching all of you women spend one minute of that two minute video staring at me, trying to guilt me into submission- I still do.  And since I certainly can't disappear from any of my Mom obligations that day- you're basically just asking me to give up the good stuff.  Are all of you celebrities so far removed from what it's like to not have a single moment or extra dime to be pampered, that you can't imagine how much most of us Mom's really need that day?

I have a better idea.  Why don't we "disappear" on Fathers Day, imploring men to do everything on their own?  I mean, it seems fair, since most of the legislation that is making the US such a dire place for women and children is being passed by men.

I totally support Every Mother Counts- I do.  I think it is a great organization.  But don't guilt women into not celebrating the one day out of the year that is totally theirs.   That is just wrong.

And stop staring at me like that.  It's creepy.

You can donate, take action, and make a difference here.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Newsflash- Mothers are Feminists, too.

Okay, so naturally I have to chime in on the whole "Motherhood vs. Feminism" debate.

I'd like to start by saying, there is no debate.

Feminism is the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.  When we talk about a "pre-feminist" society, we are referring to a time when women did not have a choice, or a right to accomplish many of the things that men do.

Choosing to stay at home with your kids, is not turning your back on feminism.  When people refer to women who choose to stay at home with their children, as mothers returning to some sort of June Cleaver mindset- it infuriates me.

Living in a social climate that does not allow women the opportunities to leave the home and enter the workforce is a very different situation than living in a social climate that allows women to choose to stay home with their kids.  Fortunately, here in America, we live in the latter.  Now, in no way am I saying that women have the same opportunities, or are paid the same, or are generally totally valued in our workforce.  But that is a different argument.  The point that seems to come up now, is this:

If you choose to return to work, you are a feminist.
If you choose to stay at home with your children, you are not.
Also, if you choose to return to work you are a bad mother.
If you choose to stay home with your kids, you are not.

The above statements are the biggest crock of shit that we as women, have collectively been sold- ever.  Seriously.  And they have done more damage to our psyches than all of the Spanx, feminine hygiene sprays, and anti-wrinkle creams ever made.

This whole rant is being inspired by the NYT opinion pages, Room for Debate.  Last week, the topic was Motherhood vs. Feminism, with a handful of Mothers giving their two cents on the issue.  Some of them were reasonable and some of them were down right infuriating.  Well, only one was down right infuriating- an article written called Good Riddance Feminism.

Normally, I would take all of these articles with a grain of salt.  But there has never been a more important time for women to have each other's backs. And there certainly has never been a more important time for women to be shouting from the mountaintops, YES, I AM A FEMINIST!  All of this divide and conquer anti-feminist and anti-motherhood rhetoric has got to stop.  Now.  

In this particular article,  the author's basic point is that feminism has "marred some of what it means to be a woman." Um, really?  No, it hasn't.  And I just love this quote:

When we bring children into this world we also agree to sacrifice parts of ourselves.  If anything the surge of June Cleaver 2.0s is a great reminder to career-driven mothers who may have forgotten family comes first. 

Stop it.  Stop it right now.  Would you ever make this statement about a man, providing for his family?  My guess is no, because for some reason- it's perfectly okay for men to leave the house every day to make a living to support their families.   No one ever feels the need to remind them that family comes first. Everyone seems to understand and collectively agree that bills need to be paid.  Just not by women.  Because when they work, and support their families, the money that they bring in is just a frivolous side effect of their stupid little hobby that takes them away from their kids.

Yes, that argument is totally annoying, but equally annoying is the argument that women are returning to some sort of 1950's mentality if they choose to stay home with their kids.  No they are not.  For one reason, and one reason only- CHOICE, GODDAMN IT.  CHOICE.  Women are choosing to stay home. Women are choosing to go to work.

We are making these choices because we can.  June Cleaver was home with the kids because she didn't have the choice to leave.  Yes, I am aware that June Cleaver is a fictional character- I'm just using her as an example.  There were no divorce and alimony laws that would have provided her the opportunity to maintain a separate household from Ward.  Their were no fair labor practices that would have assured her a position in the workforce.  We need to 1) stop waxing poetic about a time when women were tethered to their homes, and 2)  stop accusing women who are choosing to be home of being in this same predicament.

It's a different time, ladies.  Yes, we can have it all.  That was the whole point of the feminist revolution.  Lets all finally agree that we can be moms and feminists, and stop arguing about who's doing it best.

For the sisterhood.







Stream of Consciousness Sunday... People

I  have a complicated relationship with the masses.  There is a quote by Ernest Hemingway that I memorized in college,  that explains it a little:

The only thing that could spoil a day was people, and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits.  People were always the limiters of happiness, except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.


Great quote, and sometimes true.  But then I  remember that it was written by a reclusive alcoholic.  Hmm.

People can be difficult, and if you have been dealing with them in the capacity that I have for the past 20 years- by serving them- they can be very difficult.  It is easy sometimes to shift into auto pilot, and not even really see the people I am interacting with.  Then I have to remind myself to pay attention.  People are amazing, and if you go through life not seeing them, you miss a lot.

So here's my story for Stream of Consciousness Sunday.

It was 2001.  I was working in a four star restaurant, attached to a hotel in San Jose, California.  It was Saturday lunch.  Not a lot of people saunter into a four star restaurant for Saturday lunch in San Jose, California, but we had to keep it open as part of our agreement with the hotel- for their guests.

Nobody ever came in on these Saturdays.  I would basically spend the day, catching up on my reading.  One day, I was doing just that- parked at the host stand- leaning comfortably, enjoying my book.  The doors of the restaurant were etched glass, and I saw a man approaching.  As he opened the door and we made eye contact, his face lit up.  So did mine.  He was an older gentleman, probably late fifties with dark skin, a strong brow, and deep black eyes.  He rushes through the door, and we embrace with the love and excitement of long lost lovers, or friends that haven't seen each other in years.

The moment passes.  We pull back and look at each other- and realize that we have never met before.  Really.  I have no idea who this person is.

Awkward moment ensues.

Him: Um, do we know each other?
Me:  I mean, I think so?  I feel like we do.  Obviously I just don't go around hugging total strangers.  This is weird.
Him:  Yes, it is.

He is studying my face for some clue to explain his actions.  There is none.  We give up.  He sits and has lunch.  Several times we catch each other desperately studying the other's face.  There is a feeling of desperate nostalgia, that I can't even explain here.  As he walks out the door, he says

Miss, I can't remember who you are.  But it was a past life.  And it was hot.


People may be the limiters of happiness.  But they are also amazing.  And if you walk around with your eyes closed, you might miss a chance to hug a lover from a past life.





Stream of consciousness Sunday is cool.  If you want to participate go to All Things Fadra and link up.


#SOCsunday

Friday, May 4, 2012

Obviously.



Yes, I made this card this morning in a moment of honest reflection.  Totally.  I'm not proud.  Well, I kind of am.  I'm really good at both of these things.

Mixtape. Friday.



Friday morning dance party courtesy of Florence + the Machine.   This video is a little annoying, but I love her tights.  I wish I had legs long enough to pull these off.  I would look like a midget bumblebee.


Lungs

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Motherhood is terrifying.

The first night in the hospital after Lucien was born was interesting.  We'd had a pretty horrific night- what with his heart stopping, the emergency C section, and my poor, Greek mother screaming in the halls.

Even after all of that trauma, they wouldn't allow my husband to stay the night with me because I was sharing a room with another woman.  Turns out she didn't come until the next day.  Still, they made me spend the night with my new child- alone.  Evil, hospital jerks.

That first night- alone together- was surreal.  I didn't want them to take him into the nursery.  I was convinced they were going to slip him some formula.  Really.  I was.   So I acted like I had no problem breast feeding him on my own.  Since I had just basically been gutted, it was a little harder than I thought it would be.  Once I got him in my hands- I couldn't get him back into his bassinet.  I had never had my ab muscles sliced through before, and didn't realize that this basically renders them unusable.  Go figure.

So I spent that whole first night, awake- holding him.

A habit started that night- that would follow me on my parenting journey day in and day out.  The vitals check.

Adorable, yes.  Scary, yes.


I have checked to make sure that Lucien is breathing during every nap, nighttime sleep, or random time that he closes his eyes.  Every single time he's closed his eyes.  Since birth.

This can't be normal.  Seriously, it can't.  I come home from work and hover over his crib.  I'm not staring at him lovingly.  I'm checking for the rise and fall of his chest.  Yup.  He's breathing.  Parenting success!

When I wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, there's always  another crib check.  Yup.  Still breathing!  I understand why I did it in the beginning.  Every doctor in the land terrifies parents with SIDS horror stories.  Don't co-sleep!  No crib bumpers!  No pillows!  No blankets!  Is that a mother fucking teddy bear?  What are you, crazy?  To hear them tell it, it's a miracle that any child makes it through the night, alive.

The question is- why I'm still doing it now?  Or more importantly- will I be doing this for the rest of his life?  I'm beginning to wonder if my mother checks if I'm breathing when I visit her.  Got to make a mental note to ask her that.

Turns out that it's the experience of this sheer horror- day in and day out- that makes a parent, a parent.  What else would explain the fascination with every little, insignificant thing our children do?  I'm convinced we're just totally shocked that we've somehow managed to keep them alive long enough to do anything at all.

My friends often make fun of me for being a paranoid parent.  This exchange usually goes something like this:

Me:  Oh God, don't push him so close to the curb.  Brooklyn drivers are fucking crazy.
Me:  Did you just give him a whole grape?  Are you trying to kill him?
Me:  Don't even think about carrying him out onto that balcony.

Any random friend:  Jeez, Maria.  Relax.  You're being paranoid.

Me:  Really?  Am I?  Am I being paranoid?  Well, why don't you carry something for nine months and get it sliced from your womb.  THEN WE'LL TALK ABOUT WHO'S PARANOID!  Jerk.


Any random friend:  Um, okay.


Yes, motherhood is horrifying.  It's also amazing that I have any friends left.  


Thanks, friends.