Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Trails, Decade!

It turns out, it's pretty easy to get one's family to read your blog. Just blog about them!

The fallout from my last post was far-reaching.. extended family far. So, not that far. But I'm glad for the discussion; it was healthy. And it's nice to know my family will be faithful readers now. You know. Just in case.

It's New Year's Eve, and that means one thing. Many things! Another year. Another decade, gone. Vapor. I could talk about how hard that is to believe, how time starts to sprout wings and fly when kids stamp out time for you. I could talk about my resolutions, all the things I resolve to do for 2010. Lose the baby weight. Remember my coupons. Repay the kindness the friends and neighbors have showered upon us for our newborn treasure. I could talk about whether we'll say "Twenty-Ten" or "Two-thousand and ten."

But that would be boring. Let's talk about... something much more pleasant. Hopes and dreams.

In my life, in my mind's eye, I'm constantly capturing mental snapshots of little moments, big moments, the light in my toddler's twinkling eye, the colors of the sky just before the sun goes down, my husband's grin when he's made me laugh so hard I can't speak, the love I see looking back at me from my parents' eyes, our wedding guests' faces, beaming at us. To reference the last post, the way my brother stopped my self-pity in its tracks when he stood stoic on my sidewalk, telling me to stay happy in the face of whatever life throws. Pausing in the chaos that is my family, allowing me once again to be thankful from whence I came, and the family that loves me.

Mental snapshots are fine. Are important, to draw upon whenever needed. But every now and again, you want the real thing.

Now, I will have that chance. For Christmas this year, the angels (and my husband) heard my pleas and answered them.. in the form of a digital SLR (single lens reflex) camera. The kind that can capture what the eye really sees. When you see a great photograph, it was probably taken with an SLR. I've been using [real] film until now, and the 90s called. They wanted their pains in the asses back.

So, with that. Here is my boring resolution. I resolve to release those hopes and dreams from their metaphoric cages, and start shooting. Really shooting. I resolve to begin a Photo365 project, form a partnership with the network of photographerbloggers out there who inspire and critique, celebrate one anothers' work. Hopefully I'll follow a different inspiration every day, but certainly, my adorable cherubs will adorn the digital walls.

Come visit. Tell me what you think. Including you, O Facebook Friends! I'll post the url in my next post here. Maybe that will make me feel free. And official.



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Family Ties

The thing about family is you can't choose them.

You might be tempted to choose differently, at the moment when they drive you the most insane, at the height of the insanity, when the emotions are high, nobody is listening to anyone else and above all else, nobody cares what anyone else is saying (just that they themselves are heard.)

I was listening to an interesting interview on the Diane Rehm show on NPR, when she asked the inviting question, (paraphrased) "why is it that we can pour our hearts out to our friends, but when it comes to family members, it's so much harder?"

My family is a little crazier than other families. Take the morning after Thanksgiving, for example. Let me rephrase. The morning after hosting five adults and a couple of small children in a one-bathroom house for 24 hours. Let me rephrase. The morning after five adults and two small children and two 70-lb dogs crammed into a tiny kitchen around a tiny round table, feasting on turkey, memories, and each others' company. Let me rephrase. I had a glass of wine for the first time since February of this year.

I come from a very unique family. Everyone loves to talk, hear themselves talk, and espouse on various scientific and sociological theories. Don't get me wrong - it's generally very stimulating conversation. Often heated. Seldom quiet.

When it comes to the "day's plan", it tends to be a free-for-all at holiday gatherings. Okay, at all gatherings. Thanksgiving Day is no exception, nor, to bring us up to speed, is the day after. My father disappeared and re-appeared. My brother made off to the nearest Starbucks for a cup. I was at my wit's end, trying to nurse a newborn baby, entertain and calm an increasingly desperate-for-attention 2.5 year old toddler BOY, whilst keeping voices down so as to not wake the baby. And we're still in the post-postpartum stage, remember? Meaning... my emotions are still a bit fresh.

I wanted to get out of the house. I needed some human interaction (besides that of a 3-week old.) I hadn't exactly chosen this path, of playing hostess after playing patient after playing I'm-more-pregnant-than-anyone-should-ever-be bit role in my family's chaotic drama. Why didn't anyone understand that?

They did. They got me out of the house. To Starbuck's, and, mercifully, to a Tall (Skinny) Light-Whip Mocha. Apparently I wasn't smiling a whole lot through the course of the morning. I did have a lot going on, and sleep is sort of a thing of the past.

But all good things must end and brothers must be driven to the airport. It was the far airport, and he was leaving on Black Friday. Biggest shopping day of the year. My parents couldn't agree on which was the best way to take him, even though neither of them knew and needed for me to tell them. My father decided he had to take my brother to the airport, to ensure he was there three hours early. My mother decided she had to go, to ensure my father drove the right way. I bid them all farewell.

My brother grabbed me for one more bear hug and pointed at me and said, looking forcefully into my eyes, "You. Stay Happy."

I made my way back up our steps, back up to our temporarily smaller version of chaos of just managing two kids. I had tears in my eyes. He did get it. They did get it. My family did understand, and more importantly, they loved me.

The thing about family is you can't choose them. But I come back to the same truth, over and over again.

I'd choose them every time.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

These Are the Moments


Waiting, subdued, in and out of reality
Surreal, frail, in anothers' hands
Presuming finality

A moment
One moment
Quiet - too quiet
Another moment
The earth pauses.

God works again. And again.
You cry. Cold room, warm hands.
Then -
Voices you recognize.
Quiet. One more
Looking into our eyes

For the first time.

A baby boy! Born 11/5/09, 8 lbs, 9 oz and 20 in long.
Healthy. Full head of hair.
More soon.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hawk-Like Zen

Contrary to what you, oh loyal readers (and Facebook friends who happened to catch this on your news reel) are thinking, I do blog every day. Lately it's been just in my head, but nevertheless! I am "mind" writing. It's something!

I was filling up my car with gas a few days ago, toddler in the back seat chatting away at how blue the sky was, and I had the thought that the exercise I was currently engaged in would be a raging success if I just managed to put regular gas, and not diesel, into the car.

I am one week and two days away from having another baby. November 5th, my husband and I will be getting up miserably early to check into the hospital, bitterly without our adorable but banned-from-the-hospital-because-of-H1N1-fears toddler, and hours later our 2nd child will be brought into the world by the very modern c-section. He/she is ready now. That has been made clear.

So, I sleep (not really.) And I wake (not very well.) In and out of consciousness. Most of my waking toddler-free moments are being spent on a very large fundraiser for a very large non-profit volunteer organization, which, at times, I curse is not paying me for my solid part-time-job hours. Other times I'm thankful I have the privilege of working with such amazing and quality women.

Amid the sleepless nights, the massive volunteer hours, the preschool back and forth, and general running of one's own massive frame and a 2+ year old's life, we decided to throw construction and finance into the mix. We did some renovation on our house to add a nursery, and decided a last-minute refinance was within our capacity.

In between, we've gotten nursery walls painted. Toddler beds purchased. Baby clothes and gear set up. Fundraising. Cooking. Hosting. Cleaning. Okay, that last one is a lie, which I have to admit since my husband reads my blog.

We've been eating meals with a side of crazy.

But a week ago, my toddler, now a wise old 2-1/4 years old, and I were sitting on the front porch, just having some fun with bubbles. Dipping, blowing, making bubbles and giggles appear out of nowhere. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a hawk soaring over our heads, and brought my toddler's attention to it.

He looked up, and I caught the wonder in his sparkling blue eyes. He watched the hawk soaring, circling, looking for something. The sky was crystal clear blue, the bubble wand motionless in mid-air. I followed his gaze and watched the delicate balance of wind, the twitching of a wing feather. It was a complete moment. A moment without rush, or cause, or ability to be undermined by chaos going on around us. Swoops, gentle arcs, a slight dip of a wing. Were they figure eights? Just above the tops of the gorgeous trees, ever-changing with Fall.

Watching him, watching the hawk. I saw him connect in that moment, learning, experiencing something new that I had shown him, and was momentarily overwhelmed with the emotion that is parenting.

It was Zen. A perfect moment, shared fully, quietly, completely. I looked over at a nearby bush, and the bubbles had settled on the top, watching.. waiting. Quietly.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Write. Therefore, I Am.

I crumple up the little brown bag containing the rest of the cranberry muffin. How dare I eat even that much of it? The door behind me swings open again, tiny bells jingling. Footsteps across the raised hardwoods remind me of something distant, probably a childhood memory of some retail store of my youth. People traverse the well-worn path from the door to the register, back and forth, either scurrying off in a respectable hurry or resting with a friend.. or an associate.

Something has been in the back of my mind lately, something bugging me. I can never quite pinpoint its exact location in my brain long enough to grab hold of it. It slips away again and I move on.

The skinny decaf Peppermint Mocha is doing its trick for me. The smiling baristas greet everyone with renewed enthusiasm upon each new encounter; perhaps giddy from working for a locally owned coffee shop and still in possession of their soul.

The quick-paced conversation going on directly in my left ear behind me has veered off of its professional course and is focused on the gathering of acorns. This is so refreshing. I pause to think about the squirrels gathering acorns in our yard (at the present moment only. They are given a dog-free chance to gather but a few hours a day. The dogs, definitely ticked off and mildly defiant, are no doubt counting down the seconds until they reunite with the squirrel population, once again safely overhead in the majestic trees.)

Something I must do. What was it? The 20 or so hours a week I'm putting into this volunteer fundraiser already has 15 reminders popping up, can't be that. I remembered to set up a scandalous baby #2 registry yesterday (scandalous because how dare we purge the house of larger gear after baby #1? Should we not be prepared this time?) When, in fact, the easy answer to that is.. NO.

My three hours of freedom are nearly up. I look up and around, holding on to each moment of clarity. I focus my attention on the energy slowly building back up within me, propelling me forward to lift my toddler from the ground into the air. Enabling me to lavish my entire energy stores on his happiness. Forging me through the pregnancy-induced sleep deprivation, the lonely 4am hour of the night, chasing me into submission of putting on -- and believing -- the smiling happy face to my smiling happy son.

The baristas have caught a break. A lull in the constant flow of footsteps across the hardwoods. I pause for a moment to quell the myriad of importances in the forefront of my mind. What was that thing I needed to do?

Ah yes. Write about it.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

La Vie Boheme

I've written this post so many times, over and over in my head. I like to think that's how writers "think". But most writers follow that with actual writing. I've continued to blog in my head, the obvious issue with that being that all of you are not, sadly and joyously, in my head. Imagine that living nightmare , if you would.

And, for my Facebook readers, please know you are reading my BLOG, it just so happens that I embraced our A.D.D.-generation and it automatically imports to FB for you. No clicks necessary! But (warning bells), I'm thinking of changing that.

Today I can wait no longer. Why have I not put ink to paper in so long? Or fingertip to delicate tapping sound?

I need to write that post on our vacation in Ithaca. How it wasn't all that I'd planned. How life happened, and the extra appendage known as Toddler was still that. How I still felt that need to break free of... my own life. When my Mom took us to see Rent, and, upon watching the stunning closing number, feeling the sudden rise of emotion, uncontrollable, unfettered emotion, upon realization that life really is measured in love? That above all else, no matter the frustrations and agony that is the human existence, love is what is measured? What else do we take with us?

My frustration of late, which I share so readily here, has been the one-ness of my life. The constant-ness of being solely in charge of a two-year old life (okay, not solely*. But I don't always have The Village around me when I need it!)

There have been few times in my life when I wanted to be alone. As a kid, I was never alone. I didn't live alone in college. I hated living alone for a two-month period after college, and bent over backwards to get out of that house, and town, to have a roommate again. I wouldn't go get a bite to eat by myself. I would never consider going to see a movie alone. Never, ever. Death!

I have been, and until recently believed myself to always BE, a true Extrovert by Myers-Briggs standards. Preference: People.

Having a constant, two-foot high companion (at times, appendage) definitely has made me yearn for the times when I am completely. And utterly. Alone. Being bossed around by a two-foot-high stack of concentrated energy actually takes a lot out of a person. Let alone a person carrying another person around in utero.

Don't get me wrong. I always respected those confident-looking coffee shop dwellers engrossed in their books. I just wanted to be engrossed in conversation with them.

On Wednesday this week, otherwise known as NewFreedom Day, my toddler went to preschool for 3 hours in the morning. Ironically, as duty would have it I had to appear at the doctor's office, where I jubilantly read the paper in the waiting room. The paper! But in running my requisite solo errands thereafter, I found myself on a bit of a high. An alone high. Happy to just be. Alone. Inconceivable!

The Moms are supposed to hide as the two's come down the hallway from the playground, so we don't distract them from their line-forming concentration. We hid. I peeked. I spotted my toddler, following the direction of the teachers, in a line of two-foot high people. Looking up at times, bewildered. Furrowing his brow, making his miniature way in the world. Obviously pooped from the stimulation that is toddler-hood.

It happened. Tears came to my eyes. I missed him. I missed him so much, in my alone-ness. My reconvening with my independent Self. I couldn't wait to catch up with him. After three hours.

* Because my husband reads my blog.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Why Sleep Deprivation (Like Drugs) Is Bad

So, yesterday, the absolutely unthinkable happened to me. Whenever 911 is involved, I tend to think it's "unthinkable".

I'm not one of those people that loses her keys. Ever. And I'm certainly not one of those people that locks her keys in her car. Ever.

It had been a rough morning. My little guy was being a bossy, demanding two-year old, as two-year olds will. I decided the cure for what ailed us what getting out of the house, maybe a zip of caffeine. I decided to meet a Mom for story time at the local library, but I was exhausted and tired from lack of sleeping at night. My toddler and I ran into Starbucks to get my something with zip (Vivanno), and a kid milk. Once outside, I proceeded to toss his kid milk onto the sidewalk, and was instantly furious with myself; there was 1/2 inch left in the cup. There was a quintessential hangs-out-a-lot-at-coffee shops dude with his laptop, surveying the damage. I stuck the two drinks on the car hood, strapped Toddler into his car seat and was going to offer the last 1/2 inch of milk to him.

Because, you know, couldn't waste a penny more than had already been splattered over the sidewalk.

I fumbled the two drinks, local paper, and my purse.. then proceeded to throw what remained of the milk onto the passenger side seat and door panel.. milk was everywhere on the passenger side, all over the glass, all over the seat, and most importantly, the door panel. I tossed my purse and keys, Vivanno, and paper onto the passenger seat, grabbed some napkins and started wiping down the car. I was so furious with myself, so I wiped it down hard, setting in motion the next chain of events.

I had no idea what was coming.

I finished the wiping, and someone was trying to pull into the parking spot beside me, so I slammed the door shut. I tried my toddler's door, to check on him. Locked. Tried the passenger door. Locked. Raced around to the driver's side, locked. MY TWO YEAR OLD WAS LOCKED INSIDE WITH MY CELL PHONE AND KEYS. It is probably 89 degrees outside.

I started repeating the mantra "OHMIGOD, OHMIGOD, OHMIGOD" loudly, and out of nowhere, like an angel, a Mom appeared with her cell phone, muttering something about how it was falling apart, telling me to call someone. It was pink. The back was falling off. The words she was saying barely registered.

I called my husband. We figured out it would be a minimum 30 mins for him to make it with the spare key, so I called 911. As I dialed, crazy, irrelevant thoughts raced through my brain. The only other time I'd called 911 was to report a smoking vehicle on the highway. Would they think this was, in fact, an emergency? Or some crazed overprotective Mom who was two shots short of a latte? Was this phone going to hold together? Why was her phone pink?

The fire department and police showed up in about TWO minutes. I watched the big red shiny fire truck pull up and told myself this wasn't happening. Then I told my toddler, through the window, helplessly strapped into the carseat, that there was a big red shiny firetruck behind him. He raised his eyebrows, tried to crane his neck.

Every minute that ticked by was an eternity. The firemen worked like clockwork, gathering a group on each side of the car, each with a slim jim, successfully getting the wire into the car, but unable to pull the locks open. I parked myself outside my toddler's door, shielding him from the sun, began to sing him "Twinkle Twinkle", and then I saw it. The open mouthed, noiseless wail of a hot, scared little boy. He looked at me in panic. "What are these men doing? Why are you out there? What are they doing to our car?"

I put my hand up on the glass, and really started to lose it. He was hot. He was really hot; little bullets of sweat were forming, breaking on his forehead, trickling into his open mouth. He kicked his shoes off, furious at his entrapment.

Something happened to me then. I cleared my voice, wiped my tears of helplessness, and said in a very loud, clear voice to the fireman with the slim jim exactly what the lock button looked like, where it was located, and how you must push it. A calm came over me that I still cannot explain. Enough was enough, we needed him out. Now.

They took 20 minutes to get the doors open, right as my husband showed up. The look I got from the husband was not one I wish to relive, that of pain. Tormented relief.

The very scary thing, and why I decided to share this, is how quickly my toddler got hot.. really hot. I was shielding him from the sun, and we have tinted windows in the back, and he was still sweating. PSA: Now you know why you have a duty if you ever see a kid locked inside a car on a hot day.

After the whole ordeal was over, a Mom that had witnessed it came over and gave me a hug and kiss and said she was there, crying with me. I hugged all of the firemen. It was quite a scene. Everyone was fine, including my toddler, whom we took inside Starbucks to get cooled off, where they gave him a free sample of sticky bun. Swinging his shoe-less feet, on my lap, sipping water.
He was good. It was ME that still needed to recover.

I didn't get him another kid's milk.


Friday, August 7, 2009

The Truth About Bees

Have you ever watched a honeybee die? It's the saddest, most logical, sensical thing in the world.
Yesterday, I sat in an Adirondack chair, overlooking a gorgeous glacier-made lake, and watched a beautiful bumblebee die. Or, I can only imagine it was dying, it was acting strangely enough for anyone to misinterpret it as dying.. or crying, or possibly praying.

My family spends the summers on Cayuga Lake, in the Finger Lakes of upstate NY. This area has been described many ways by many people, but it is definitely gorgeous (to reference the bumper sticker.) So, sitting here with a good book during the Toddler's nap is actually a difficult venture.. do you watch the lake? Or stare at your book, thinking of watching the lake?

In this case, I watched the bumblebee, fully aware of the sheer luxury that is sitting in a chair and watching something for any amount of time. Trust me, I'm savoring it. I've had several Zen-moments on our trip up here, and this was one of them.

The most curious thing he (or she) did, as he was dying, was pause. S/He would stumble around, the very tip of the bee tail would slowly lift up, then down. Pause. Then quickly up and down. The wings would spread out, gather, spread out, as if searching for something; and just when he saw it, and was about to take flight after it, fatigue would set in and the search would begin anew.

For half an hour, I watched this dance. The invariable Dance with Death. Life as he knew it was ending, and it seemed a welcome change from the busy duties of beedom. But it made me immeasurably sad, to witness this slow demise, the creeping around, the slower flicks of the tail. At one point, I looked down, and I could see both giant bumblebee eyes, staring straight into mine. I know this seems a bit alliterative, because of the obvious: bees have no conscience thought, or wisdom, or ability to look us in the eye. Do they?

He crawled, wiggled, spread wings, danced, flicked tail, turned in circles, raised his antennae dutifully in attention, and I played his witness. The whole process seemed tragic, yes, very sad, but also redemptive. Logical. He had accomplished what he'd set out (let's assume), he had played his role in the great Universe with grace (let's presume) and - once the World was without this particular bee, life would resume.

Such a sadness, I felt, in watching him die slowly. To have the knowledge that this made sense, of course he was dying, that was bitter sweetness in its truth. I think we both came to the realization gradually, over time (since thirty minutes is quite a lot in bee-time.)

I found myself staring at the lake again. Thinking about the length of time we're here, about the life cycle of a bee. How much ground had he covered in his short time? My mind, wandering, immediately drew several connections. I'll share those another time. The lake was still a deep blue, the sky mirroring the color.

I looked back and he was gone.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

RTT: Ruptured Toes and Tumbling

Yes, I broke my left pinkie toe on Sunday. How random is that?! I actually did it just so I'd have something to post about for Random Tuesday thoughts. Um, no.

Let's recap a little. I'm pregnant. 25 weeks or so (I think? Who keeps track of these things,) which means my belly is OUT THERE. I have a two-year old toddler boy. Who likes to run away in the opposite direction, especially towards oncoming traffic.

We are leaving on our summer vacation on Friday.

So yes, this really could not be better timing, with the broken toe and all. I'll share a funny story about taking myself to the doctor for it on Monday, which all of you busy Moms (and everyone) can relate to.. since when we become adults, there just is not enough time to take ourselves to the doctor. And then we'll move on.
Primary Care Physician: "So, how did you do this?"
Me: "Welllll, I'm teaching this tumbling class to preschoolers on Sundays... and... "
PCP: "I see. Does this hurt? Yes? Okay, it's broken."
Me: [Under my breath swear word. Toddler is present. Taking the air vent out of the floor. Putting it back.]
PCP: "Since we don't cast for toes, no point in doing an x-ray. What you do, is just take an ice cream cone..."
Me: "Ice Cream Cone?" (She's Iranian. I know what she means, but want her to work for this co-pay today.)
PCP: "Yes, you take the thing, the stick, and put it behind.. then wrap the toes with the medical tape.. "
Me: "Do you have any of the medical tape here, we could wrap it now?"
PCP: [Laughing] "Oh, no. We aren't orthopedic surgeons." Silly patient.
Me: "Aha. So I get some medical tape and wrap the two toes? Anything for the pain?"
PCP: "Ah yes. You may take the aspirin."
Me: "Um, isn't it .. the Tylenol, I take, now that I'm close to the third trimester?"
PCP: "Right. Tylenol. NOT ibuprofen. In case you delivered today, you wouldn't stop bleeding."

Hm. I'm pretty sure there is a very rare but serious condition involving a hole in the fetal heart that will prematurely close if a pregnant Mom takes Ibuprofen, but I say nothing. Who am I?

In other random news, Jillian chose Ed. ED? Jillian, really? Ed, the cheese-face that wears tight green shorts from a 70s basketball team? Aarrrgh.

In other random news, did you all know that 'pinky' toe is actually spelled 'pinkie'? Fascinating.

Go see Keely for more actual randomness. My toe hurts too much to generate more randomness.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Writer's Workshop: Giddy as a School Girl

3.) What are YOU giddy about? Mama Kat's third prompt was written for me today. I'm as giddy as a school girl.

Yesterday, I got a phone call that made me very happy.. excited.. ecstatic.. and, well, giddy. I have been chosen to be a Discussion Leader at the new Mom's social networking site, Moms Like Me. It's a pilot program, with localized Mom's sites up in cities all over the country, with topics geared to us, the Mom, and is just the perfect extension of my life. Check me (us) out!

My role will be to start discussions, reply to ongoing discussions, help users out with the site, welcome new users and help with site management monitoring. In short, it will be like breathing for me.

What do I do all day long? Check email. Talk to other Moms. Check blog comments. Talk to my toddler. Talk to my Mom friends' toddlers. Check the market. Complain about pregnancy discomforts. Chide the dogs for nabbing the pita bread off the counter while we were at the park. Eat. Talk about eating. Potty train. Play.

Ok, ok. I do other stuff too. But the point of all this is, I'm extremely excited to forge this new partnership, and yes.. I'm giddy like a school girl.

Full Disclosure: I am being compensated for my role at MLM.

That's right!!! Comp-en-sated! Let's just call it my first book deal!!

No, on second thought, let's climb back down the reality pole. But hey, it's a start!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

RTT: It's Tuesday! (Is It Only Tuesday?)

It just feels like more week has passed than that. I guess that means we have lives.

They say that when you have kids, life is never ever (ever) the same. I would surmise most new parents fight off this inevitable truth, but in our case, I would absolutely confirm it. Yesterday, I realized it's just not worth fighting. And we can all agree on how stupendously wonderful and worth it parenting is, but yes. We hand over the keys to our lives and our child promptly begins teething on them. Then hiding them. Then tossing them into drain covers. Then using them to drive the car.

Take yesterday, for example. I had three very in-depth, very detailed, very lengthy conversations about potty training with three people from very different aspects of my life: one near stranger, one new friend, and my husband. The conversations were essentially around the same theme: "Potty training is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get." Our lives really are not our own.

Have you ever seen that bumper sticker, "Commit Random Acts of Kindness?" What a Disaster if the K was rubbed off, and a passerby interpreted this as "Commit Random Acts of Blindness", walking out into oncoming traffic.

My husband and I got into a debate last night at dinner over what year the Challenger disaster happened. I was referencing the event as "the event" that my generation remembers from their childhood, like the Kennedy assassination for our parents. Where we were sitting. Whom was around us at the time. What we thought about it. Just thinking for a moment.. do you remember what year the terrible Challenger tragedy happened? I'll give you the answer at the end of the post.

Every morning for the past week, I've been waking up with a different random song in my head, some for no obvious reason. Yesterday was "Don't Speak", and I blame credit Keely with her No Doubt references.. check her out today at Un-Mom.

So, the answer. What was your guess? Was it January 28, 1986? Then you're right.
I guessed 1984, having pictured the classroom I was sitting in at the time.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

State of Blogging

When I started blogging, like everyone else, I stalked my email to read each and every comment the moment it came in. I counted comments like a dieter counts calories.. they meant everything to me. Every time I gained a Follower (oops, now inextricably called "Members".. more on this opinion later,) I sat atop of the Blogging World.

Boy, was I drinking the Blogging Kool-Aid.

Well, a few things have happened since then. Life has gotten busy and my blog has taken a hit as a result. Translation: I lost a follower. Er, a member. My membership declined this week. And I didn't expect it to, but you know what? It bothers me.

I've also held off posting certain needy emotional posts while at my most pregnancy-infused hormonal. Enough holding back.

When I wrote and posted Pacing the Cage last week, the supportive comments (and emails from those of you that have the chore joy of knowing me in real life), and of course the comments from all my Facebook friends who lazily read my blog on FB instead of coming to taste the "real thing", were exactly what I needed.

They were the chords of Hope, Joy, Love and "I'm Here" sung to me from all parts of my life. The elixir of friendship, of compassion, of empathy. Of therapy.

In a word? My blog, and by extension all of you, became my saving grace.

So I'm here to say that I'm back. I'm going to crawl out of this deep well of blogging slump that I've found myself in. One rock (post) at a time. Can you tell that we just checked out "The Frog in the Well" from the Library today?

Oh, and Thanks.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

RTT: Bad Drivers and Other

The cool thing about blogging is you keep doing it. No matter your mood (swings), habit-forming complaints or hormonal shifts. You get to piece together your own roller coaster before everyone's very eyes!

Tuesdays are one of my favorite days thanks to Keely at the Un-Mom. This is the way my brain functions anyway, so why not drag you all along for the ride?

I got rear-ended. Craziest thing. Pulling out of the supermarket parking lot, focusing on the traffic to the left, then to the right, then BAM! (Really loud BAM.) It took me a second to register what had just happened, then to shift into park, then check my toddler. Oh! And then check myself because I'm pregnant. The culprit came careening around to the driver's window, asking if I was okay and begging me to let him go, he had no insurance, there was no damage, please ma'am, just let me go.. I'm really sorry but I really need to go.

Hm. Well, think about that the next time you forget where your brake peddle is. I checked the bumper. I checked his face for the desperation index. It was pretty high. I let him go. Drove home. (We're fine though, no damage. Yet. I'll let y'all know if my bumper falls off tomorrow.)

We put another offer on a different house! A better house. More on that later.

I taught a couple toddler classes this morning at our local Rec Center and was bushed. My toddler wanted to play with the vending machine buttons. Perfect! I put a dollar in and he chose a Gatorade for me. It was a Gatorade AM. It is called "SHINE ON". I'd like to adopt that as my new motto, as my emotional turmoil of late keeps me guessing daily.

Shine on, you crazy diamond.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pacing the Cage

I recently heard a song that spoke to my heart. It broke my heart, and whispered it back into repair. Every now and then, you feel as if an artist is speaking directly to your soul when their voice comes to you over the airwaves. This was one of those times.

I was on my way from somewhere, or maybe to somewhere, and it stopped me in my tracks. Not literally, since I was in the car, but the toddler knew right away something had just dawned on me. He probably sensed I didn't quite know yet myself what exactly I had stumbled upon, but the look in my eye, catching his, told him something. And, me too.

It's an artist called Bruce Cockburn, and the song was "Pacing the Cage." This is me, a lifetime leading up to this point, in three words. Pacing the cage.

I've been pretty emotional lately, which is why I've been holding off blogging about life while under the influence of pregnancy hormones. But this morning, after hitting what we'll call "really hard bottom", a trip to the gym to 1) take advantage of dirt-cheap childcare, 2) run the body ragged and 3) cleanse the mind, I had a bit of a turnaround. I believe it's an opportunity to write while I'm under this influence, because I'm at such an interesting crossroads in my life. How could I not?

So, I'll write about my days. My sleepless nights. My emotional misery and my ecstatic highs. Thing is, I do feel like I'm caged in this current "stage".. "occupation".. "job". What is this? Staying home to raise a child? Of course it's a job. It's something to occupy one's time, so, an occupation. It's brutal for an extrovert. It's heaven on the good days. It's a form of inhumane torture for an addict of human companionship on the bad.

But why can't I just .. enjoy it? Because I'm human. And I had an exciting, blurry, stress-ridden quick ride up my career ladder, a pleasant plateau, a sudden wish to dabble into the artistic side of my brain, and.. had a child. Here I am. And here you are, reading me.

My emotions are there for the taking, you can turn and smile and bring them out of me. You could take my parking spot, glare at me across the aisle, miss the potty and pee on the floor, walk out of the room before I'm ready, make an offhand comment about how perfect your life is, or become my family and break my heart into a million pieces with nary a backward glance.

It's with this emotional context that I fill my head, my heart, my days. It's why I wrestle with the "what am I doing?" question.

I want to start another blog, a local resource for stay-at-home-moms in Northern Virginia. I want to go back to working on a trading floor. I want to write a book. I want to be paid for my photography. I want to learn another language. I want to quiet these emotions. I want to destroy all emoticons. I want to be a better wife and mom. I want to put it all out there, and I want to hide it all away.

So, here I am.. pacing the cage.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

RTT: True Random Tantrums

I've never called one of those "How Am I Driving?" numbers on the back of random trucks, buses, 18-wheelers, soccer moms and cell phone drivers. But today, I came close. This auto-parts store truck had a bright yellow one on his bumper. He wasn't going fast enough to keep up with my next destination, and I couldn't get around him. I caught an air of smugness in his rear view mirror and nearly picked up my phone.

I once rode horses in my younger "free time is free" days. I knew you were never to feed a horse while he/she was still hot, lest bad things happen. I've always assumed this was true with large breed dogs as well, because of bloat. So, I make my two Labs wait until they've cooled off a bit after they come in from the heat, before having dinner. Tonight, we were running late and I sat them down to begin the dinner routine (after the toddler was done. What kind of mom do you think I am?) They were sitting in their spots, my female yellow Lab perfectly still, while my male Lab, Echo, was panting his black-furred butt off.
I swear I saw her nudge Echo:
"Dude! Shut up! She's never going to feed us if you don't shut your damn snout!"

Watching reality television usually winds up making me feel better about myself/my life. Is that bad to admit?

I have begun writing some seriously deep, soul-seeking posts lately...then never posted them. I think I'm getting ready to ramp them up soon. So... strap in! I at least will commit to write more than 1X/week!

Go visit Keely at her place, it's much more random than here. Though, this was pretty random.


Monday, June 29, 2009

RTT? Potty Mouth

I have something random for ya. We are deeply in the throes of potty training at our house. Rock the House.

I had such a dearth of good, interesting, funny stories on my blog last week, that I plan to more than make up for it this week. If you've never had a child, or your potty training was seamless and easy, you may want to skip this post. I just can't relate.

On Saturday morning, I heard my newly-turned two year old alternating between crying, and talking to himself. Gentle crying, then yammer yammer to (conceivably) his various animals and blankets that accompany him in his crib nightly. It was early, I still had sleep in my eyes, but I was intrigued. He doesn't normally alternate crying with jabbering.

I opened the door, and subtly contained my shock, disgust and dismay as I found my toddler, buck naked in his crib, holding on to one of his poops.

That's right. Holding on to it, as if he just wasn't ready to let that one go.. yet.

I quelled my guttural reactions (puking, acting nauseated), and whisked him to the toilet next door, explaining where it is we go poop. I then scrubbed his hands for about an hour several minutes, while my bleary-eyed husband stumbled in, still half-asleep, asking what was going on. I actually didn't have to say anything. The naked hand washing gave it away!

We started officially potty training last week, at the encouragement of our pediatrician, who told me that 1) because our toddler is interested, 2) because it's warm and summery, finally, and 3) I'm not due until November, now is the time.

We've had a few other acrimonious accidents. He peed on the ottoman. He peed on his brand new MegaBloks tractor. He pooped on his toddler chair. Okay, so they aren't that funny. But he is getting it. He understands the need to go, just can't always make it to the proper spot to do it.

Hey, that's happened to the best of drunk college students. Just.. can't.. quite.. make it to the toliet.

So, if you are easily grossed out, pass out at the sight of words referencing defecation, you might pass on my blog this week. Otherwise, all help and advice, book recommendations, and sedative prescriptions are welcomed! Let 'em rip!

C'mon.. give us your best potty training story ever. Dare ya!

And go see Keely for better random number generation. She's better at it.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

RTT: Remembering, Tragedy, and Toddlers

I'm late, but at least I'm here. I miss Keely and her Random gang over at Un-Mom, so I'm joining in today. Go see her here.

Please send your prayers out to those who were killed, injured, or lost a loved one in yesterday's Metro rail crash in Washington, DC. The Washington Post's headlines indicate the crash was "not supposed to happen" and is the "worst in Metro's 33-year history". There are many tales of heroics and good Samaritans helping their fellow man, but sadly, there are also devastating tales of those who were not able to go home yesterday. Loved ones who waited, unable to find out information. Waiting for those who boarded the train as he/she always did, day after day.

It is often in times of tragic random circumstance that one identifies with the victim's families, thinking, "what if my husband was riding that particular Metro that day?" You feel a little more lucky, perhaps, that you can live on to continue another day.

It's difficult to imagine what those family members are actually going through, but my heart, my thoughts, my mind and prayers are with them.

It's difficult also, to try to randomly include a light-hearted story in light of yesterday's very sad news. However, I will share just one:

My toddler and I were playing in his room yesterday morning. He left suddenly, I heard him toddle out to the kitchen, and I turned to put some things away. When he returned, he was beaming and said what sounded like:
"Go kitchen! Fill wawa up to tup? Wawa into tup? Kitchen!"

He pulled me, by the hand, into the kitchen and there, in the middle of the kitchen floor, was a sippy cup, no top, filled to the brim with cold water.

He'd opened the fridge and filled it with the Pur water filter.

Lil' water-maniac, that one.


Friday, June 19, 2009

The Paradox of Parenting

As my Mother-in-Law said, "this was the longest and the shortest week ever."

I agree. From our four-day break last weekend, I gleaned peace.. I gleaned some calm.. I gleaned some precious time with best friends that I rarely get to see in the hurried waters of life.

And a funny thing happened, on the way back to the Forum. Traveling back from the wedding festivities, we were heading down a gorgeous, scenic North Carolina byway on our way back to Chapel Hill to pick up the kiddo from the loving exhausted grandparents.

As we emerged into the final stretch of the open road, surrounded, summoned, by Piedmont rolling hills, green fields, and cows with a Southern drawl, I felt the strangest emotional tug I'd ever felt.

I wanted that road to stretch out further and further in front of us, each bend rounding a little longer and keeping us away from our goal. I wanted each hill to climb a little bit higher, allowing us a generous view at the peak, dropping us gently down towards our sleeping child. I wanted to never get there.

Yet I wanted to get there so badly. I wanted to open the door to his room, peek inside the Pack 'n Play at my adorable, cherubic napping son, and be there in front of his adoring eyes when he awoke. I wanted him to jump up to his toddler feet, open his arms wide, and say, "Mama came back."

And in the tug, the emotional roller coaster that is pregnancy got the best of me. I had had a myriad emotions over the course of the wedding weekend.. oft to be expected when good friends get married. Expected when you're surrounded by good friends that are already married, with whom you've spent years.. decades getting to know individually as humans. Then, as one unit in marriage.

All of this. The generosity of time, allowing us this many memories and mental snapshots to live by. The reminder of good friends.. old friends.. friends that have known you through incredibly rich years of life. The shred of peace I obtained while being simply by myself (if not just for a few hours.) My husband and I, as one unit, no hangers-on, alone with just the open road ahead of us to share.

I wanted to hold onto these untenable things, yet I wanted to whisk them away with one wave to reunite with my one-and-only, turning-two toddler. To look into his blue eyes, watch his grin grow, then listen to him as he told me all the ways he loved, learned, played, missed, and grew. Without us there.

I think this is the paradox of parenting.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Big (Little) Toddler!

(Pretend today is Monday, June 15th. That's just how this week is goin'.)

Happy Birthday, big C!

(Yes, I took these photos. And more about the trip to come, promise!)


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Leaving... On a (Ground) Plane

Right, just a car.

I'm only writing once this week, as we are departing for an illustrious and exciting weekend of kid-free wedding fun! So you have to sit through a long post, like my long car ride. Tomorrow, we leave. We're dropping the adorable but often demonic cherub off at Grandma's house and then skipping on to Charlotte, NC, where we spent the early years of our marriage.

Ah, the early years.. no sippy cups falling out of the cabinet when you open it. No diapers stuffed into my Coach bag. No peeling a melted-down toddler off the CVS floor.

Back when going "out" meant to the bars, not dashing out for dinner while the babysitter watched TV for two hours as our son slept. Going shopping meant for ME, with the girls, where I could try on the black leather pants from Banana Republic for an hour without gentle (then increasingly demanding) moans from the stroller. Going to the grocery story meant walking across the street, buying a few items that usually included wine or beer, mixes, or possibly all three, and then going and imbibing them.

It never included my toddler reaching over and grabbing a Kix box on the cereal aisle and opening it himself while my head was turned.

And last but not least.. when we were really feeling like hermits, or just plain lazy, we might catch a last-minute summer blockbuster. You know, on a whim.

Needless to say (or did I say it?), I'm greatly looking forward to this trip. I need a break from my toddler and he needs the intensity of Grandma Can't-Get-Enough-Of-Him Love for three days. Ironically, I'll miss the heck out of him. You can have too much of a good thing. And I have a good thing nearly 24 hours a day, almost 7 days a week.

So, while wallowing in my own (ridiculousness), I'll leave you with an interesting read. I'm sure a lot of you heard on the news that there's a homeless man in D.C. that is blogging.. and tweeting, facebooking, about the homeless condition.

I may talk a lot about feeling sorry in my current (bloated, tired, sick, isolated and whale-like) condition, but this stopped me in my tracks. He really has something to blog about.

Check him out here.

See you next week!


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Writer's Workshop: Finally, I Said It

1.) If you could cut back on something in your life that takes up your time what would it be? And what would you prefer to spend that time doing?

I would stop feeling sorry for myself. There, I said it. That is what I need to spend LESS of my time doing.

I've been a blogging slacker lately, and my only semblance of an excuse has been this insanity with housing searching, contract signing, and subsequent voiding. That's over now. Now we're refocusing our energies. On what, you may want to know.. and so do we. That will be the subject of many blog posts to come.

Or, are we? I've realized lately that I spend way too much time feeling sorry for "having" to stay at home all the time. Are you kidding me?

My Mom was just here for a quick two-day visit again. My parents spend the summers in the Finger Lakes of upstate NY, and live in North Carolina most of the year. So, a few times during the summer, we are treated to "You are smack dab in the very center of both of those places and it's a really, really great break to stop and go the bathroom. Oh and see our adorable grandson who loves us to pieces"-stopovers. You know what? I'll take those stopovers.

Anyway, she doted. She played. She gave him kisses and hugs and pick-ups and so much love&energy that I've just run out of lately. It was fabulous for my son; it was more fabulous for me. But then, she had to leave.

And in her wake, I've realized that we don't know what turns life will take. We don't know what's ahead, or, unfortunately, if it's good or bad. But we can choose whether we smile or frown and to make ourselves happy.

In short, we can choose to enjoy our charmed lives, even if they don't seem so at times.


Monday, June 1, 2009

RTT: Random Turn of evenTs

Have you ever been heading down a road, on a trip, and, maybe you've never been there before or you've spaced out for ten minutes and missed your exit and.. eventually you realize you've come a realllly long way out of your way? Like, it pains you to think about turning around and heading back to the one spot you know, simply because it's so freakin' far behind you?!

Yeah. Well, we did our inspection for this other (bigger, much bigger) house that we were previously under contract with and.. not happenin'. We voided the contract, getting out via the inspection contingency. (Thank goodness for contingencies.)

You know, because it's so easy to make these large, life-changing events while one is pregnant. We've already gone over my confused state of being as late.

But, this is Random Tuesday so we can't dwell on things. I just finished addressing the invites for my son's 2nd birthday party. The big 2.0. Unreal.

I've never been a fan of reality TV. Until "The Bachelorette". And "The Apprentice." And "The Office". (Just kidding.) No, really. I have a serious Bachelorette addiction. Who can blame me? I love seeing a bunch of manly men acting like girly-girls. Good times.

Not that the GM news surprised anyone today, but I just wonder.. is anyone out there seriously considering buying a GM car right now? I'm wondering how that psychological impact will impact the employees, the shareholders, the Board, the suppliers, and the very big multiplier effect of the American auto industry. A Saab is still a Saab, right? A Cadillac.. a Caddy? Right?

I really love corn on the cob. What I love even more is watching my toddler hold an ear in each of his hands, eye the ear carefully from end to end, pick the perfect spot to start, and then CHOMP with as much gusto as little two-year old jaws will allow. Ah, childhood.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lost and Found on U Street

I've talked a little bit about my volunteer work on here. I've spoken a fair amount about my latest habits of pregnancy (getting sick) and having a new house to close on soon and another to list (getting committed.) Well, I've failed to talk about the most important theme going on of all: pregnancy confusion.

I had an end-of-year party last night in downtown D.C. for my outgoing committee in my major service organization that I often reference. It was a fun way to close out a great year, I've made good friends on this Committee that I won't get to see as often next year, so I made the effort to get my butt down to the U Street corridor and make myself seen. Via the scene.

And what a scene! Going out in D.C. is much fun; it's a shame bars aren't more kid-friendly.

So, I caught up and I munched on the leftover mushroom ragout/toast points while everyone else ignored them. I drank cranberry and club soda so nobody would guess I was non-alcoholic, but then they just pointed at my belly and called me out on it anyway.

But then it was time to leave. I had to go, as difficult as it was to check back into motherhood, out of the D.C. singles', doubles' and really cool rooftop bar scene. So, I went.

I walked down U Street for a pleasant 10 minutes. Wandering through the cool early-summer air, I was struck by how good it felt to walk. And after my initial stroll pace, I decided I was ready to be feet-up again and upgraded to a full-fledged charge. When it seemed like I had walked for an hour and many blocks, I looked up and the bars and clubs were thinning out.. I was nearly to 10th street. Where the hell was my car? I did have a car, right?

I hadn't parked this far.. had I?!

I must have. I did the only thing I could think of to do without seeming totally lost to the lines of folks waiting to get into Hot Club A and Hot Club B: I called my husband.

"So.... you can't find the car. And you're calling.. me?"
This is actually what he said.
We re-traced my steps. I literally. He listened empathetically, from the couch and PTI. I turned around and walked back from whence I'd come. I think I walked exactly halfway back to my starting point, every block frustrating me more. What in the world was wrong with my brain?

Oh, right. I'm thinking for two here.

I did find it. I did get in. And it started. And I drove home, giving myself a little tour of the Nation's Capital by night as I drove.

Tell me this doesn't get worse.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

RTT: Rushed, and Terribly Tardy

I meant to post my RTT post last night, but my Bachelorette addiction got in the way of that. So I'm late but I'm here. Let's party.

I think God is mad at me, or if not at me, then someone who lives in the Washington, DC Metro area, because it is raining YET AGAIN. It doesn't seem meteorologically possible that we could get more rain in 2009. But here we are. Flash flooding an' all.

A few updates. The nasty horrible nauseous feeling that everyone has had from a few too many the night before? Yeah, that's me all the time right now, only I'm not allowed to just crack a beer in the morning to chase the Spring Break-esque hangover away. This pregnancy couldn't be more different, which is ironic.. because upon finding out, I was immediately pure bravado about it, "eh, this is old hat. I've done this before. NO big deal." News flash: they aren't all the same.

A few updates, in random order:
- still congested, can't hear out of either ear, and still refusing to take anything for it.
- we got the house. Not "new" by any stretch. New to us. Our offer was accepted last week, and we're set up for closing and everything.
- that means we'll be putting our own house on the market after the first one closes. That means you can commit me now.
- simple math will tell you that, yes, we have a lot of stuff to do around here. And the new (old) house that we don't own yet, but soon will. It's enough to make me throw up. Wait, I've already done that today.

I've been really beating myself up lately about my lack of blogging forte. I miss the community; the camaraderie, and mostly I miss laughing at the foibles that are oft discussed, celebrated, and taken back .

But I wanted you all to know, I am here. I am surviving, some days just barely. I am reading, when I can. And I am making attempts to reconcile this game called "life" with this game called "blogging."


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

RTT: Ruminations Titillating and Tumultuous

I've decided to go pamper myself today. It was our last day of "mom's morning out" preschool today for the summer, so I took FULL advantage of the 2.5 hours of free time. Mostly turned the radio up full blast, rolled down every window, and sang at the top of my lungs, among a top notch pedicure other things.

Just DON'T tell my husband about the pampering. His Midwestern values don't jive well there.

("CDB, he reads your blog, stupid.")

That's right, well.. let's change the subject. And don't call me stupid. 'Baby', fine, not 'stupid'.

How is swine flu back in the news?! Have we all learned more about the spread of infectious diseases than we all wanted to know? Don't the WHO participants want to get out and be tourists while in Geneva? It's really a beautiful city, gorgeous waterfront, great restaurants..

My black lab is posted outside the kitchen cabinet where we keep the trash. Motionless. Just staring at the closed doors. He thinks he hears a mouse (he did once, about a year and a half ago. We.. ahem. Caught it.)

Oh, all my Facebook friends that live in maintenance-free condos and townhouses just got grossed out by that last admission. JUST WAIT.

I think this recovery will take some time, in terms of general economic activity, because I think it will be a while before it's "cool" to spend money again. Sure, ladies will still shop, but we're also clipping coupons now with abandon, and those habits will stick around for a while. My theory is housing will turn around much faster, as those of us living in teeny tiny dwellings JUST can't take it anymore and begin to churn the market with housing sales and purchases. (Note: our region is already turning around, but it was predicted to be one of the first. BOO YAH.)

Grab the button, do some random churning of your own, and tell Keely she looks AMAZING without those last three pounds. (Just kidding. Don't say that.)


Monday, May 18, 2009

The Baby Grows Up

Let's continue with the "baby of the family" theme.. and then quickly leave it. Youngest kids always have the worst A.D.D.

What was that noise?

Oh yes. As the 3rd of three kids, I was always surrounded by people.. and activity.. and people. So as I grew up, I grew into a strong preference to have people around. To need them around. In my adult years, those of you familiar with Myers-Briggs personality test will know what it means that I was "off the chart" E--for Extrovert. Strong preference for people.

I've found that being a Stay-at-Home-Mom, unlike a lot of other occupations, can often be very isolating. This is something I didn't expect, and the one thing I'm having the most trouble with.

That, and the fact that I can't hear myself think over the Vivaldi. And can't control my A.D.D.

This morning, we had our big "preschool is ending"/graduation/last week of the session/wasn't it great/won't we miss our sporadic 3-hours of freedom two days per week- picnic party at a park.

People and Picnic Party at a Park.
PEOPLE=makes me very happy to be around friends. Those with whom I can chat with endlessly. About endless topics.
PICNIC=food. Makes me very happy. Very, very happy. See pregnant post.
PARTY=see "People"
PARK=makes toddler very, very happy. He has sand in the sandbox. Equipment to climb. Slides to slide down. Running around to do. Arms to wave in the air.

So, there we are, in our Utopian park village, among people. We were doing well, eating, chatting, climbing, and being happy. It was chilly 55 degrees, but the sun was out. Then the coughing started. He was getting over a cough from this weekend, and I'd thought he'd kicked it. He had what I can only summarize as a very uncomfortable (for him and for me) coughing fit, and for a 2.5 minute period, the poor guy could barely catch his breath.

I knew we had to leave. I gathered our stuff, and, clutching my Tupperware, said some quick goodbyes, and we walked out toward the car. The coughing stopped. He complained about leaving. Sometimes Irony walks up and socks you in the jaw. And then runs away, really fast.

As I walked, tears began to well up in my eyes, knowing we were going home to an empty.. isolating.. lacking of people.. house. (That seems really silly now, in hindsight. But it happened.)

Even when I worked in an interior cube in a big Bank, surrounded by introverts as an Analyst, I would still pop out to visit other Bank friends, or pop downstairs for a coffee or smoothie.. or chat with my therapist-dry cleaner. I could satisfy the need to see people if I needed.

Now, it's not always an option. Nothing has really prepared me for that.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Why I'm Such a Baby

I'm the third of three children. I'm the extreme third. That's not like three cubed, but the inverse, squared. Got it ?

My sister is ten years older than I am. My brother is seven years my senior. So I am, what was and is, frequently referred to as, the baby. (With emphasis)

As such, I've always been close to my parents. I remember having a mostly happy childhood, with very big people around. My older sister and brother, I found out recently (last night), would try to push me along in my development as a baby, hold me up to help me walk early, to beat the other impending-toddler that lived down the street. I remember my brother holding me up on the bike, telling me I didn't really need training wheels.. I could do it!

But, eventually, they got older, and went off to college. I was still at home for a longgggg time after that, putting me squarely in middle and high school as a practically only child.

I didn't have to share a bathroom with any other kid, in those formative years (a fact that haunts my husband, as I kick him out of the bathroom at night). It was nobody else but me on the upstairs floor of our house. I had no other kids to contend with, for my adoring parents' attention. Truly the baby.

When I left to study abroad in London the summer of '96, my parents sat with me at the bagel shop in the airport, shared a bagel, and listened to my concerns about the flight. The curriculum. My plan to stay there and find a job, a flat. I was scared, and they could tell. When they hugged me goodbye, I sobbed, and I didn't think I would stop. I cursed myself for being a little girl, as the flight attendant pressed her lips together, bowed her head and smiled, knowingly.

My parents just came through town last night and today, for a quick visit on their way from North Carolina to Pennsylvania, where they will be attending my Dad's 50th college reunion in Bethlehem. We're about halfway. I got over my resentment about the cause of the visit not being JUST to stop and SEE ME, but because we're halfway, and really enjoyed their quick trip.

My son loves my father, and it floors my mother, who works so hard f0r each giggle and grin. I loved watching them interact, I love that my Dad asks my son a question and makes him figure out the answer.. not giving it away until it's right. I watch him instilling the same curiosity he did in us, and I know that will last a lifetime.

I even got a kick out of cooking them all a gourmet breakfast this morning, while I had Grandma watching the toddler.

When they pulled away today (the first time), I started to get a little weepy. Misty. I was holding my son, who was saying, "buh bye, Gammaw, buh bye, Gammpa," and I looked at him, wondering if he could sense the transformation back to "little girl" that I feel when my parents leave and I'm not ready for them to yet.

We got a call 15 minutes later. They couldn't find my Dad's wallet.
"Where was Dad's sweatshirt.. is his wallet inside?"
"Yep, got it here."
"Oh, geez, we need to turn around. Okay, be there in 15 minutes."


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Come Out, Come Out

I know, it's high time.

Some of my friends in real life know. Some of my bloggy-friends know. Some of my relatives know because I told them, some know because I didn't tell them.

But when I dropped my nearly-2 year old son off at his Mom's morning out preschool program this morning, it was all I could do to stoop over and put sunscreen on his little baby face. I nearly passed out. Then, as the often jovial, always cordial Moms chatted away, I had to make a break for it. I raced to the car through the brilliant luster of sun-filled morning, felt the cool morning breeze on my face as I admired the no-rain status of the day. Made it to the car. Whew, now everything would be okay, right?

Wrong. Unwrapped the Chewy Granola Bar. Took a bite. Turn up that NPR report, get your mind on other things. The world was spinning a bit, I rolled down the windows. Then it happened. I thought I had the urge to sneeze but... alas.

Let's review.

I'm parked in the preschool parking lot. Happy, lark-like Moms and Dads are all around me, dropping off Joe and Suzy and (let's be more trendy) Madison and Allister.

I race around to the front of the car, bend down next to the front bumper and... YIKES. You guessed it. Got rid of every single item in my stomach including the acid, and my body wasn't quite done. I heaved until I was begging for mercy; it's not like I was in the comfort of my own bathroom here.

A parking lot puking. And you all know what I was thinking, as I clutched onto that front bumper for support.

"Gonna have to blog about this."

There ya have it. Pregnant with a capital P. Heaving with a capital H. And eating like there's no tomorrow.

I'm sorry for my absence as late, but I think this explains a bit more fully where I've "been".


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Writer's Workshop: Overachieving and Believing

I feel, in my job as a blogger, that I must entertain every once in a while. So this week, I'll put on my circus-poodle hat and answer MOST of MamaKat's prompts. Which are:
2.) Do you want a baby?
3.) Who got in big trouble this week?
4.) Write a poem for your mother.

2) I do want another baby. I should, right? (: Considering my eating habits as late? Though our little tri-family equilibrium is nicely in balance, I must say. It would make sense, after all, and that makes for a nice explanation as I polish off my third helping of esoteric pasta/ground beef mixture, washed down with my second helping of pomegranate tea (yes, that's right. Today, I purchased, on two separate occasions, tea with pomegranate juice.) But why I was craving it? Let's add it to the list.

3) I got in big trouble this week. Because of my short (and ill) temper. Let's Blame It On the Rain (that keeps fallin', fallin'.) Everything my toddler and husband did was just over the edge for me, and I communicated that effectively. Especially when Toddler bolted out of the kid's room in the Library this morning during toddler story time. The ingrate.

4) Ode To Me Mum

It's not fair, how we glare, what would we think
In twenty years' hence
Looking back at ourselves, our emotions and elves
Knowing we wouldn't trade for a sixpence?

The glint in the eye, from the kiddo with ire
As he zooms from the room with gloom
N'er the defeated, I give chase, uncleated
And continue my glare with more Vroom.

Fast forward through time, I see how, I see why
The unrelenting love of a mother
It's not possible to understand, nor be warned, nor canned,
What I do can't be done by another.

So on this Mother's Day, my dear Mom, my hero
Understand that it took me three zeros
And as many decades to get it once and for blind:
There is no greater love,
There is no greater love,
There is no greater love than our kind.

(Yes. I'm sending this to her now.)


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday Thoughts of Randomness

I'm late! I'm late! For a very important post! Let the games begin!

You all know by now to strap in and hold on, because my brain on RTT is like an acid trip roller coaster; but not a new, cool roller coaster. One of those crotchety old wooden ones that you think you'll get stuck on forever. But trust me, we won't be going upside down.

I've been eating myself out of house and home this week. And last week. And 10 weeks prior to that. I can't eat enough. I just polished off an egg/cheese/bacon on a bagel that someone else prepared for me. It was delicious and my first thought upon last bite was, "I should could eat another one of those." (Addendum: someone next to me just had pancakes and sausage put in front of him, and I'm about to reach over and take a taste. Dare me?)

For those that know me in real life, it's fun knowing why I keep referencing these random things, isn't it?

I really hate white potatoes. But sweet potatoes are totally my thing. And my son's. He can eat the heck outta some sweet pots. Our white potatoes consistently go bad.

I taught my son a new concept, and I was super proud of him for getting it. At first, he took the empty bottle of Aveeno soap and stuck it, open top side down, straight into the water. It did not fill up. I then showed him how to hold it under the water but at an angle, so it filled up with water. It took him one try, and he filled it up. Then he dumped it on me.

It's funny to me that media has started calling it the N1-H1 flu virus, seemingly due to the fact that every one of us can't stand the word "swine".

One of my favorite past times is to people judge watch. I love to make up little narratives about their story. Why she is yelling at the person on the phone. Or why he is yelling loud enough for everyone in the restaurant to hear him chewing out the line cook. Or why the manager always has a smile on his face, no matter how tough things seem to be. Or what the young blonde chick's texts are all about, or why she has her text-message sound setting on her phone set to DEAFENING. These three mystery guys with the pancakes, reading the newspapers. Are they just carpooling, and don't really know each other that well? Are they in a fight? A bitter family estate battle? (Oh. I looked. They're just watching CNN.)

I really need to go on a trip somewhere, soon. I don't care where (and the upcoming wedding my husband is in does not count.) (Be honest, here, CDB.) Okay, the wedding does count I guess. But I want another one.

Speaking of trips, head on over to the Un-Mom, and enjoy her brand of random!


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Parenting Traps

Every weekend, I teach a kid yoga class at a nearby community center. It's fun, it's high-energy, and a packed morning of 3-5 year olds doing yoga with Mom (or Dad!) Every week, I learn of new parenting styles I wasn't previously aware of. And it's FASCINATING.

The Helicopter Mom
Hovering over her charge, the Helicopter Mom pulls, pushes, prods, pokes, holds up and scolds her youngster into each and every pose. When doing introductions, the kid barely has time to get out a syllable before the question is repeated: WHAT IS YOUR NAME, ______?

The AH-64 Apache Mom
AH-64 Apache is the Army's primary attack helicopter. It is a quick-reacting, airborne weapon system that can fight close and deep to destroy, disrupt, or delay enemy forces. 'Nuff said.

"Hold the Whistle" Mom
These Moms have overactive preschoolers who don't want to sit. Or lay down. Or do the pose. Or listen. But they really want to work on this "autonomy" thing, so they sit back.. for a time.. and let the kids do what they will. Before stepping in to call foul.

The "Really Want to Hold the Whistle but JUST CAN'T" Mom
These Moms are beside themselves, trying to sit back for a time.. but they JUST CAN'T. They might let 'em try to get into said pose themselves, but more often than not, they're going to reach over and yank the back up, or the legs down. These tend to be the "constant chatter" moms, who are telling their kids what is is they should be doing differently.

The Sweet Lovin' Mom
These Moms are all love, all the time. Granted, they tend to have the sweetheart kids who do exactly what they are supposed to be doing, most (if not all) of the time. I would like to order one of these children for my next child. Please.

The "Let 'Em Ride" Mom
I once had a Mom who would leave her child in the room for quite a few minutes while she went to the bathroom (and, I assume, make a few phone calls and perhaps, run a few errands.) The child seemed used to this casual abandonment, so I assumed this was their mother-daughter M.O.

The Creator of Doubt Mom
Sometimes, we go around with cards or animals and the children can choose which pose they want to learn together. The child selects a card and..
"Do you really want to choose that yoga card to do? Wait! Don't you want this one? Do you really want to choose that animal pose? But you like froggies!"

We all do it. Some of the time. Well, maybe that's just me. What kind of style are you?
(P.S. My son loves to show off his yoga poses. I might share one of these days.)


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Writer's Workshop: No, I Would Not Give You False Hope

Every week, I check out MamaKat's writing prompts, and yet another week appears with a prompt perfectly suited to my needs today. Actually, a 2-for-1:
4.) Have you thought about shutting down your blog? Why haven't you and what would cause you to make that decision final?
5.) Today I will...

Today I will shut down my blog. No, wait, that was just a comment I left recently. I will not be shutting down, sorry to disappoint. However, I have been reading quite a bit lately about those out there that are shuttering blogs, or are debating so.

Today I was barreling along, in between one mundane appointment to another mundane errand, toting along my 22-mo old toddler who was very bitter about being strapped into his stroller->carseat->stroller, ad infinitum.

My toddler does not prefer to be tied down. Strapped in. Told where to sit, and for how long. He resents being told where he needs to be, for how long, with whom he can play, that he must not climb over the baby gate, change his wet socks, when he must eat, and that he can't go outside when it's 50 degrees and raining. HE would prefer to make all of those decisions himself, thank you.

I totally understand his plight.

Back to barreling down said road, pacifying said bitterness; "Mother and Child" by Paul Simon came on.

No I would not give you false hope On this strange and mournful day But the mother and child reu-nion Is only a motion away, oh, little darling of mine.

How could I possibly be bitter myself, about this new "occupation" that I've been tasked with? How could I possibly resent the place I've found myself in at times? How could I be jealous of working professionals? It's unfair and un-motherly and unnatural, to resent one's own stay-at-home-station. Right?

I've been rather emotional lately, or at least today. My eyes welled up with tears. I fast-forwarded 13 years. I don't know why I chose thirteen, but just go with me. I pictured a bitter, resentful teenager, who constantly wanted to be away from me. Hanging with his friends. A young man who picked up on his Mommy's own bitterness and chose not to hug and spend time on lunch dates with Mom, but instead head towards the skating park/soccer field/ice rink/you get it.

I know I can't control everything. Least of all these emotions. But it made me realize that I can control my focus. And if I continue to focus on what I don't have (job out of the house) and what I do not get to do (lunch with friends) and instead decide to cuddle, hug, have dates with, and generally fall in love with spending time with my firstborn, adorable little cherub of a son (see? I can do it), then my attitude will change.

So you see, I want to blog about this. I need to blog about this. I need this outlet, and I need the will to get it out there. Thanks for listening.

(Wait, CDB. This wasn't funny today. I want my money back.)
Trying to talk a toddler into eating something he has just spit out is like asking for your sandwich on regular bread at the bagel shop. It doesn't make sense, it won't work, and it will just make everyone uncomfortable.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

RTT: Random Tuesday Trips

I had a dream last night about a poisonous bird that got into our house and was going around, trying to "peck" Mom was there, simultaneously consoling and warning everyone, which is so true-to-life. What does this mean? Is there some "poison" in my life, running after my sub-conscious? Is someone in my life trying to "peck" me to death? Do I have a deep-seated fear of beautiful birds?

Or, it could just be that "fancy" parrot picture in our Spanish "Mis Opuestos" board book? Hm.

I'm ashamed how late my RTT is this week. I blame it on the high pollen count. My punishment is keeping it short. (Should I repent too? Sheesh, you can tell I grew up Catholic.)

I truly love blogging. But I read a comment recently about the possibility of us all needing to do it during the cold, dreary winter months. Now that Spring and 90 degrees are here, are we all finding a few more projects that have been sitting around? Opening doors to new found sunshine, revealing old forgotten dust? (P.S. That was an analogy.)

Warm weather makes me crave fresh fruit and veggies. I'm still fascinated by vegetable packaging, but don't have any psychosis-inducing questions on it this week. However, I'm convinced the bottom of our fruit bowl is a wormhole that leads to a parallel dimension, so we've never reached the bottom of it.

This post is trippy!

Head on over to Keely's place, grab the button, and let her know how fabulous she looks today! and tell her I said so. (:

Yes, this counts as "short" in my blok. Everything is relative. We've talked about this.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

When Brains Shut Down: Next on Fox

Something about blogging just makes it an honest sport. There's nobody across from your laptop, checking your facts. Nobody is standing over you, arguing that the story you just typed out did not go exactly as you'd described it. It's a free-form creation of art, each little piece you choose to drum up, craft, create, and push-button publish.

It's sitting in a roomful of strangers (or, happily, former strangers,) confessing, guessing, undressing (?) and blessing. Very liberating, indeed.

Which is why I find it easier to confess my greatest faults on here. At the two 2nd-year old birthday parties we attended this weekend, upon meeting new parents-o-toddler friends, I didn't break out with, "I really don't ever finish anything that I start." Or, watching the happy kiddo chomp his first bite of yummy birthday cake, I didn't make the announcement, "the less productive I am in my life, the harder it is for me to get anything productive done."

Lately, I just don't feel like a productive member of society. Sure, raising the next generation of responsible and self-respecting adults is an important task, but really.. does it matter if it's me all the time?

Don't get me wrong, I really and truly love being home with my son, and I'm (honestly) grateful and not ever bitter about thrown wet food, crayon markings and Diaper Champs that I can.

But I constantly ask myself if parts of my brain are shutting down their operation, either for 10 weeks this summer, or for forever.

So, I've gotten myself on a very busy volunteer committee for a service organization I'm a part of. I'm in charge of the raffle at the MOMs club picnic. I'm still teaching yoga. I trade stocks during our most volatile moves in the market.

And now, I've set my sights on finding the next great deal in real estate. We live in a real estate market that is predicted to rebound more quickly than other areas of the country. With rates low, and some opportunities out there, I've designated myself the temporary real estate Queen of the house. (With a roll of the eyes):

We'll see how it goes.

"It leaves ya baby, if you don't care for it.."
One, U2




Copyright © 2008-2009 C.D. Bucher. The content on these pages, including text and images are the sole property of the author and may not be used or reproduced in any manner without consent. All Rights Reserved.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP