Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Jumping Ship

Back during the holiday party frenzy of December a very dear friend of mine posted a picture somewhere in the social media universe of the Wordpress holiday party. I'd been considering making the move over to that platform for a while, but I had no earthly idea how to do it. And it hit me. I should ask him for help. He was at the party because he is a, well I'm going to be honest, I don't know what he is. Because I don't understand anything about anything when it comes to computers. But he was part of the team that made Quartz this fall, which is a really cool news site. So yes, he was part of a really big website launch this fall. He'd been working insane hours for months. His wife, who is one of my best friends in the universe, hadn't spent time with him in ages. I thought I'd be an all around super human and ask him to spend his precious free time helping me. Seriously, I am an asshole.

It wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that I actually contacted him about it. Not because I was trying to give him extra time to get acclimated to life now that Quartz was live. Remember? Asshole. It was because I'm lazy. Being he is a unfailingly kind person he totally hooked me up. And today the blog is up and running in its new location with its new domain name.

So now I'm going to be that jerk who asks you to do extra work in order to read my blog. And I hate that. The fact that anyone is reading my stuff continues to thrill and delight me. I know you are using your valuable time, I don't want to ask you for more when you are already showing up. But I'm not going to update here anymore. Will you please come join me at  I think that most of you guys who are kind enough to read come through the link I post on FB. So you won't have any trouble finding me. Am I in your RSS feed? Will you please update the address to Thanks. And if you aren't interested in sticking around to hear more about my scintillating bowel movements I totally get it. Thanks for staying as long as you did.

T. You know, standing on the heating register and making out with a corn chip.

Don't be fooled by his sweet little face...he really is so wonderful and cuddly and...Damn it! He fooled me again.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sick Grump

I'm an asshole who doesn't have patience for high maintenance gals who wear makeup, paint their nails, exercise, generally take pride in their appearance. I can't be bothered to make an effort because I really can't be bothered. But. That isn't the whole truth. I also can't be bothered because I'm scared if I try I still won't be....enough. Not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not fashionable enough. It's easier to hide behind superiority--smart girls don't worry about things like looks. Smart girls aren't high maintenance. Which is garbage. It's also cowardly. And if I think about it I adore a lot of women who wear makeup, paint their nails, exercise, and generally take pride in their appearance.

The truth is I am terribly high maintenance in a different way. If things don't go just so I freak out and pout and am horrible to be around. And when I'm sick I am a total princess. My worst days as a Stay At Home Mom aren't when the boys are being turds, but when I'm feel like crap and can't believe I still have to, you know, do my job.

So I've been having an extended pity party for myself all day. My ears are plugged up, my throat is sore, and I'm fucking exhausted because I nursed C 4 times last night-he is sick, too. My sweet little boy is sick and it is messing with his sleep and instead of being concerned about him I'm annoyed that I have to get up in the middle of the night when I don't feel well.

I'm pissed because I'm sick and am not getting rest and on top of it I'm pissed because I'm a shitty person for being worried about my comfort instead of remembering C is sick, too. Then the anxiety starts butting in to remind me that what all this means is I'm completely worthless. And speaking of butting in, who the fuck am I to write a blog post of ADVICE to my sisters-in-law? The hubris! That was a really stupid choice. And suddenly I'm sitting on the sofa, absolutely mortified that I exist.

But when I go to collect the mail I find this amongst the creditcard offers.

My father-in-law sent me a valentine. And damn it, it made me smile. It reminded me that so many people are kind. And that getting all wrapped up in myself is a supremely indulgent way to spend the day. There are a hell of a lot of wonderful people in my life who do lovely things for me all the time. My anxiety, who insists on pointing out my every flaw in excruciating detail, can kindly go fuck herself. 

On top of that I figured out how to remove my street address from the photo. Yes, you think, but that is something a 7 year old can do. That might be true, but for me it is like writing code.

This sort of sums up how I feel.  The un-glamor shot.

My reader.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Totally Unsolicited and Probably Annoying Advice

My amazing sister-in-law gave birth this week. The day and evening we knew she was laboring we thought about her non-stop. As the night crept on we just wanted to hear the birth had happened so she could be out of pain. Z turned to me at one point, "Aren't you happy you NEVER HAVE TO DO THAT AGAIN?" Um, as much as pictures of newborns make my ovaries ache the answer is yes. Although I asked him to remind me how much I didn't want to do it again after I held the baby. I know my resolve will crumble in that moment. Damn hormones.

So to E and K, two women who I love and respect and who I'm grateful are my family here is what I want to say to you as you embark on this insane and amazing and insane and life changing and INSANE event:

First of all, please, as with all advice when it comes to child rearing, take it or leave it. Who the hell am I? I've got a diagnosed mental illness and I regularly ask the internet for advice on how to raise my kids. I'm not rocking it over here. The other thing is this advice isn't just for you. It's for me as well. It's what I would do if I were a better Mom and better human. It's advice for all of us.

And I don't mean to seem all doom and gloom. I'm writing about the hard parts because the easy parts take care of themselves. The easy parts are also the most-of-the-time-parts. The amount of love and joy G will add to your life, man, just thinking about it makes me tear up. The good stuff is why we do this parenthood business, it is truly sublime and I wouldn't give it up if I could sleep in late a million times. Ok, maybe a million. But not a thousand for sure.

So the hard stuff. Well, there are going to be days when you wonder what the fuck you were thinking when you wanted kids. There are going to be hard times when you can't stand her, or yourselves, or each other. And I'm a hypocrite for giving you this advice because I don't to it myself. But. You need to forgive. Forgive yourselves, forgive each other, and forgive G.

Accept that the three of you are going to fuck up regularly. It makes dusting yourself off and trying again a tiny bit easier. I remember seeing the advice left by someone on one of your FB pages to just make sensible choices when it comes to this parenting thing and you'll be ok. Fantastic advice. And you guys will have no problem doing it 95% of the time. Don't beat yourself up for the other 5%. I know you both are super duper over achievers. You are allowed to get frustrated when parenting gets hard. You are allowed to want to give up and totally lose your shit every once in a while. You are allowed to fail. You can't control a lot of what happens now (hello G, week and a half late, huh?), which sucks balls. But the sooner you accept it (by the way, I still haven't after three and a half years) the happier you will all be.

You guys know that parenting these days is done under a microscope. Did you see the adorable video going around the interwebs of the baby waking up and dancing to Gangnam Style? A couple of days later did you see the meme going around pointing out that the kids were strapped into their car seats incorrectly? So ok, they totally were. But heaven fucking forbid someone puts something adorable on the internet without someone else telling them they are doing it wrong. Z has a friend who is struggling to nurse her 5 month old. The pediatrician suggested starting rice cereal to supplement and she shared the info with a friend who isn't a parent yet. The friend sent her an email reminding her that the WTO suggests exclusively nursing until 6 months. Because that is what someone who feels shitty enough about low milk supply needs to hear. I know you two will be able to block out most of that terrible noise. But the constant second guessing takes a toll without you realizing that is what's going on. You start to give yourself a hard time.

Is it shitty that I'm being heavy? E and K, maybe you guys should just enjoy G for a while and read this in a few weeks. Totally enjoy the postnatal bliss that is filling your house. I guess all I'm trying to say is don't be too hard on yourselves. You know what? You guys probably don't need this post at all. You are awesome ladies and I bet you have it covered. It's, um, a pretty good reminder for me, though.

Ok, ok, one last piece of advice. My mom had this brilliant idea when T was new and it has saved me a ton of time. Go buy a couple of lingerie bags for the laundry (I didn't know what they were-small zip up mesh bags) and use them to collect and launder her socks. So you don't spend a million years tracking them down and sifting through the wash to find them. I stopped doing it for a while and a sock slipped down over the barrel and made our belt snap. A cool $150 later and I was back to using the lingerie bag every time. Seriously. Do it. Now I'm done. Love you guys. See you in less than two weeks!

We can't wait to cover you in hugs and kisses G! Photo by Kelsey Leonardsmith.

A new baby in the family is making me nostalgic for my boys as newborns. Sweet T when he was about 10 days old. Photo by Ellie Leonardsmith

And C with his lightning bolt birth mark when he was about the same age. Photo by Ellie Leonardsmith.

Holy shit this is making me want another baby. Which is insane. Clearly I need to go to bed. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Super Dad Takes C to the Doc's

 C had an appointment with the Ear, Nose and Throat doc yesterday. The doctor visits tend to be my thing. Because when Z goes I expect him to have perfect recall when it comes to every word the doc has uttered. I expect him to ask specific questions and write down the answers. I expect him to intuit which follow up questions the answers would make me want to ask. For some reason he feels all that is a little too much pressure...I know, right? It's like he thinks I'm unreasonable! Um, yes. Take a moment to feel grateful you aren't my spouse.

Because this was a specialist doc visit we got a letter in the mail saying when they could see us. The timing didn't work out for a number of reasons so I called to reschedule. She gave me a date that was another month away, and the time still didn't work. I told her he'd be there for the original appointment. I was in class. The babysitter picked T up from school. And Z took C to the doctor's.

Do you guys remember when I was freaking out about missing Halloween with the boys last fall because my class fell on the evening of the 31st? This situation is bringing up the same feelings. A big part of me thinks I should have just skipped the class, that I'm a shit Mom for not taking him myself. Somehow I think as a Stay At Home Mom I need to be there for every single moment of their lives. Or perhaps more accurately, I think if I'm not there for every moment people with think I'm a lazy and awful SAHM because it is my job, after all.

My class meets twice a week this semester from 2-3:15pm. So twice a week a babysitter comes and I have a 20 minute walk alone both to and from campus. Twice a week Z picks T up from school. Twice a week I get to think about something other than being T and C's mom, I get to learn about a topic that I feel passionate about. Twice a week I get to miss the boys. Do you know how good that feels? Particularly after last fall when I felt so suffocated and needed a break desperately.

My patience for my guys has increased dramatically since the start of the semester. I don't yell as much, I can do a better job listening when T is frustrated. We are having more fun together. Yet I feel guilty about taking the time for class, I feel like I'm stealing their time. I need to remember that by taking some time away I'm able to give them quality in return. I also need to remember that no one in my life has accused me of being a shit Mom for taking a class. I'm bringing that to the party all on my own.

Z wasn't scheduled to teach during the visit to the doctor's office. He was able to take C without much of an impact to his work day. It made all the sense in the world for me to attend my class while Z handled the appointment. Z is C's parent. He is responsible for doctor office visits, too. I know all this in my head. Z knows it as well, the plan seemed completely reasonable to him. So why do I still feel so guilty? Why do I feel like I am a selfish person for asking Z to help me so I don't miss class? Why did I have my first full blown anxiety attack in almost two weeks last night after the class and visit?

I know a large part of it goes back to being unwell emotionally. It's the reason I apologize for everything. No matter how little space I try and take up in this world I constantly feel like I'm in someone else's way. No matter how small I make myself it is never small enough. I don't want to teach my sons to be small. I don't want them to feel like they are in the way. I don't want to teach them that I am small, I want them to respect the women in their lives and the space that they occupy. So I will try and remember that the class is making me a better Mom. I'll try and remember that Z was happy to do his part.

Speaking of Z, he did an awesome time at the docs. The upshot is C does need tubes. The practice is slammed so it looks like he won't get them until late March, although we'll get a firm date next week. I do not want my kid to be put under anesthesia. I really don't. But I also don't want him to be on antibiotics every few weeks. It scares the hell out of me. And his pediatrician is awesome, she won't put him on the meds unless he has a raging infection. But the thing is he always seems to have a raging infection. And beyond the worries of creating strains of infections that do not respond to treatment we also don't want him on drugs because they give him terrible diarrhea. While that totally makes him fit in at our house it also makes trying to put a little weight on him a terrible struggle. He was an extremely late walker. He also only says a few words. We are hoping the tubes help his balance and hearing.

We know several families who have gone through the procedure. And Z had them either 5 or 6 times when he was young. My nephew has benefited tremendously from them-no infections. And our neighbor's speech has exploded since his were put in. That is what I'm focusing on. He'll have a rough day, but we are helping him in the long run.

Z snapped this at the Doc's office. Z also picked out C's outfit. He felt like the skeleton shirt from Halloween was doctor office appropriate...

My Mom wanted the boys to have Valentine's Day decorations. The garland of felt hearts is pretty cool. T loves it. 
Z made this lovely little table for the boys. This week he learned it doesn't matter how much you reinforce handmade tables. Toddlers will find a way to break them. 

Post shave this morning. Yes, T shaves his belly with a toy razor every day while Daddy shaves. Is that weird?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My Boo Boo

This morning T met me on the stairs after I'd showered and dressed. "Mom. What is on your lip?" he asked. "I've got a boo boo and that stuff is helping to fix it." I told him.

I do, in fact, have a boo boo.

The kind that you treat with Abreva. No filter, baby.

Z has gotten a few cold sores a year since long before I met him. And don't get me wrong, I've gotten lots of less than desirable things over the years myself-plantar warts, regular warts, anal fissures (go childbirth!), hell I have chronic irritable bowel syndrom. But, damn it, I haven't had cold sores. When he gets one I stay far away until it heals. 

In the last few years I've worried my luck has been drying up. June 14th marks 15 years since we started dating. How long could I really avoid the herpes simplex virus? Yesterday my lip started to tingle. And when I put some Abreva on it the area burned like mad. I also put some on the lower part of my lip to act as a control. There was no reaction whatsoever. It would appear I've got the virus.

My lip isn't that swollen. There doesn't appear to be a blister yet. Basically I can feel it, but there isn't much to see. I don't have anywhere to be today so I've been able to cover it with Abreva and let it do its thing. You know what? I've been dreading catching cold sores for almost a decade and a half. Well, it turns out it isn't the end of the world after all. What a fucking shocker. I could have spent all that time I obsessed about getting a damn cold sore actually doing something interesting. Oops.

These signs were on our seats at the basketball game so we brought them home for the boys. T declared his was a map. He is searching for the treasure.

Is it wrong that I'm already fantasizing about when he will use this?

Little man doesn't want anything to do with this when it is in the car, but put it in the house and it's his favorite toy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Z Awesomeness Day

As we were preparing for the drinks/dinner/award presentation/basketball game yesterday afternoon I started to get a migraine. Because duh. I was dressing up a bit, putting on lip gloss for the very first time this calendar year, and getting ready to socialize with strangers in public. I very carefully didn't think about what was actually going down on Monday night in the days leading up to it because I knew I'd freak out if I did.

I told myself I was not going to fuck this up for Z. I took my migraine meds which meant I might be a bit stupid and stoned at the dinner, but that was a hell of a lot better than being in horrific pain. The babysitter arrived, my folks were ready to go, Z came home and started hustling us out of the house.  It was a whirlwind, I didn't have time to have an anxiety attack. By the time we got to the venue for drinks and dinner I realized I forgot to take Imodium. And somehow I was fine. Yes folks, I did not shit my pants. We got there at 4:30 and got home at about 9:30. It was 5 hours of doing stuff that usually scares the hell out of me. And not only did I do it without embarrassing Z, I actually enjoyed myself. Pretty fucking neat.

So yes, there were drinks and pictures and a dinner.

Z with Gianfranco Zaccai who established the Continuum + Arthur Pulos Award.

Two deans, the former recipient of the award, Continuum employees who are also SU alums and the photographer snapping away!

And then we walked over to the Dome. Our seats were right down front, which was pretty cool. 

The Chancellor of SU strolled by and said hi to the gang as they were waiting to take the Court. She knows who Z is! How fucking cool it that?

Z accepting the award. He didn't drop it! 

Yup, we are watching a basketball game. Yup, the amount of orange really freaked me out. But! The chairs we sat on were blue. Major relief. 

I didn't manage to take a picture of my folks, but it was awesome that they came all the way from Georgia to celebrate with us. They are hella proud of Z as well. Listen, it was totally a weird night. But it was pretty cool as well. Watching your spouse being recognized for totally rocking at his job is pretty spectacular. He deserves to have people fuss over him. I am damn proud. 

And see? It was worn off by the time we got to the game, but the lipgloss did happen. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sorry to Bug You Smart Friends....But.....

Got a behavior question for you guys. T is sort of confounding me. Dude is able to express his feelings so clearly, but being able to express them and actually expressing them instead of acting out are two different things.

A perfect example is Friday afternoon. He is allowed to watch TV when he gets home from school. He is pooped by then, so it's a good time of day for him to veg a bit. He doesn't nap anymore, we call it his siesta. After a while I told him he needed to pee. I said he could wait until the commercial, but if he didn't pee I'd turn the TV off for the rest of the day. Dude hates to take the time to pee. He holds it until a tiny bit dribbles out and then he hightails it to the bathroom. So we've got to tell him to go. He clearly was annoyed that I was making him pee, but he stomped off to do it.

A few moments later he called for me. I assumed he pooped, he does still need help in that department. But nope. He had extravagantly emptied his very full bladder all over the floor. It had splashed onto both walls, the puddle completely surrounded the toilet. I was speechless. When I regained my composure I asked him what happened.

"Well," he said, "I tried to pee in the toilet and I missed." "Wow," I replied, "I don't believe you. If you tried to pee in the toilet and missed there might be a little pee on the floor. But there is zero pee in the toilet and all the pee on the floor. You did this on purpose. And you have to stay in here and help me clean it up and if you miss part of the TV show that is your problem. I've got to tell you Dude, I'm really very angry right now."

He cried as he sat on his little stool and begged to go back to the sofa. He really couldn't clean up the pee without getting it all over himself, so I just let him sit there as I sopped it up. I know you aren't supposed to ask why they did stuff at the age, but I couldn't help myself. He looked right at me and replied, "Mom, I was really frustrated at you for making me pee. So I peed on the floor." I told him I understood where he was coming from. He is allowed to be frustrated at me, I get frustrated at him all the time. But he needs to tell me, or he can bang on the floor or the sofa to get the anger out. He absolutely can't do stuff like pee on the floor.

Listen, I'm grateful he can tell me what is going on in his head. It rocks that he has the ability to express himself. But I sort of thought that if he was able to let us know how he felt he wouldn't act out by, you know, pissing all over the place in anger. He'd go ahead and tell us he was angry. Am I crazy? How to I encourage him to tell me he is frustrated BEFORE he takes punitive action aimed at me? I knew he was annoyed when he headed to the bathroom, but I had no idea of the level of frustration he was feeling, it wasn't a particularly contentious conversation.

Friends who have a background in early childhood development what the hell am I doing wrong here? How do I get to a place where we are less frustrated at each other? Or should I just start emptying my bladder on his bedroom floor to demonstrate that I'm angry at him? Just kidding. Sort of.

Post about T, pictures of C. Doesn't make sense to me either, but I don't have new pictures of T. Dude is still recovering from his sick and was taking it easy today, so there weren't a lot of kodak moments. C, on the other hand, was hamming it up. There is bacon above his head in this shot and he was begging like a puppy.

He figured out how to knock his Dad's hats off their hooks. He put this one one and started pushing the stroller around the house. He was responsible for the jaunty angle.

And then he traded for a cap.