Friday, November 30, 2012

Night Off

Yesterday in therapy Z and I were yet again discussing my increased anxiety this fall. He asked what I thought helped when I was working at Whole Foods because my anxiety disappeared. First I told him that my anxiety most certainly didn't disappear. I was better than I've been in my adult life, but every single time I had to travel to regional for training or meetings (and it was pretty frequent) I desperately tried to get out of it. I also took a terrifying amount of Imodium during that period and a lot of Klonopin as well. He immediately got it. The anxiety wasn't as crippling, but it was still there trying to take over. Still, I was in pretty good shape. The structure of the job is what helped. That and I seemed to be ok at it. At least I got promoted and it made me feel good. I also worked for some people I really respected and that made me want to produce for them.

It's why going back to school feels like such a good idea. If I have structure I'm a hard worker. I'm a people pleaser who desperately wants to be perceived as intelligent. If I'm in your class I'm going to do the readings, I'm going to participate in discussion, I'm going to torture myself over the papers. The class this fall was a terrific start. But when I start to reengage the anxiety always increases. That coupled with the nonstop nature of this parenting business, the lack of backup we have here so far from family, Z's more than full time work life, and I'm really near the edge.

Z told me I need to take more breaks, he said I should get a hotel room this week. Just me. Alone and able to sleep an uninterrupted 8 or even 10 hours. On top of that there are two movies I really want to see and he told me to just go and do it. He'd be with the boys. I just sat there paralyzed, unable to accept. He asked why I brush him off when he offeres to give me a break.

I do. He offeres all the time, sincere offers. And I always have an excuse for why it won't work. Let me tell you what, I'm not a martyr. I'm a selfish jackass. So what the hell is going on? It sort of hit me when he asked last night. I was terrified to spend the night alone in a hotel. Because what if I fuck it up? It's my one chance to decompress, what if I can't fall asleep? Or have an anxiety attack? Or have a stomach bug? What if there is a hotel fire and I get zero rest?

And more importantly what if I get home the next morning and I'm just as overwhelmed and angry and anxious? What if I've used up my time away and it does no good? Z and our shrink were awesome. They told me I'd absolutely be just as overwhelmed. But we needed to start somewhere. It felt like a huge weight was lifted off of me. I might go to a hotel this week, I might not. Either way I have permission to still be a basket case after I get some rest. There is no expectation that a night a hotel is going to cure me. And for the record, I'm not looking for that permission from Z or my shrink (OK, a little from my shrink-I am a people pleaser), I need it from myself.

T's school is having a reopening party today to celebrate a renovation this summer. I made an effort when I got dressed this morning. Boots with a 2" heel. The gold on the shirt sparkles. I might put on lip gloss. See, Z? I'm trying to be fancy!

Z and T shave together in the mornings. Z puts some shaving cream on T's chest and T carefully shaves it off.

What am I going to do with this kid?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

So You're Having a Colposcopy!

Let's get the results, such as they are, out of the way first. The Colposcopy was completely normal, so my doc did 3 biopsies in order to have a better sense of what is going on. I'll get the results in two weeks. There are two possible scenarios here: 1. I have HPV. I've never had a bad Pap before. I pointed out to him that I haven't had a new sexual partner in almost 15 years. And I trust that my partner has been faithful. My doc is a pip. He told me he agreed-couldn't imagine anyone cheating on someone as adorable as me. He also said the virus can hang out and not be detected in Pap smears for that long. Which is why they are moving towards a model where they do yearly HVP tests and skip the Paps. 2. I don't have HPV and there was a mix up with the labs. The doc felt it could go either way, particularly after the Colposcopy showed nothing unusual.

More information in two weeks. Being the visual was clean I'm not that worried. Even if I do have HPV it is probably very manageable at this point.

Ok, things are going to get super graphic. Please just skip the rest if you don't want unsexy talk of vaginas, biopsies, blood, and fancy mustard. Yes, the mustard part will make sense in a bit. Now here is where I offer advice to other ladies who need to go through this procedure:

1. Bring a friend or family member who will help you stay calm. Hey asshole! That does not mean a 15 month old kid! And C-you were a total trooper. I owe you.

2. Do you have a prescription for a benzo? If the answer is yes, you are pretty much guaranteed to be the kind of person who is going to flip out during or directly after this procedure. Save yourself some major grief and doen't wait until you are a sobbing mess in your car and miles away from the pills in your bathroom cabinet before realizing you should probably take one.

3. Do you have something important to do after the procedure? Unless you want to miss, say, your second to last class of the semester-the one that had the most interesteing reading so you are pretty sure the seminar was amazing (although the rest of the class was probably thrilled they got a chance to talk for a change). The one where they make CHEESE during the practical. Cheese, people! Missed the chance to make cheese! Yes, I know making ricotta is easy, but I only know the theory, I haven't actually tried it! Sorry, got carried away there. So yes, unless you want to miss your important thing go ahead and reschedule. If you have an anxiety disorder you will be a mess for the rest of the day.

4. The advice my sister-in-law gave me to take ibuprofen before the procedure was sound. Do this.  The Colposcopy takes a long time. The biopsies take a long time. There is a lot of poking and prodding. It hurts. Even if you like and trust your doc (and I do), even if you don't have an anxiety disorder, it is incredibly stressful and by the end you really just want all foreign objects out of your vagina. Which is good because you can't put anything in your vagina for two weeks. Sadly, this is non-negotiable. If I knew this in advance I would have gently prepped Z, rather than blurting it out on the phone as I wept hysterically in the car. I'm thinking that call was not the highlight of his day.

5. If you are getting biopsied you are going to bleed. The doc might even remark you are bleeding a lot. Which will send you in a tailspin if you have a frightening history of ladypart bleeding. I think I would have been able to rally if it weren't for the bleeding part. But here I am almost 24 hours later, still running to the bathroom every 12 seconds to make sure I'm not passing huge clots. My heart has taken up residence in my throat. I'm in what feels like a never ending anxiety attack.

6. But it isn't regular bleeding. Which you'd think would make for a pleasant change, instead it is even more disgusting! We ladies are used to blood coming from our vaginas. It's been happening to me for about 25 years. After the biopsies I spied the nurse holding a glass jar of what looked like fancy mustard. Vinegar is used for the Colposcopy (it makes the bad cells turn white) so I enquired if we were making salad dressing. I kid, I kid. I just asked what the hell was going on. So the mustard stuff is packed onto your cervix because it stops the bleeding. I'm not sure on the magic/science here (feel free to correct in the comments) but I think it makes blood clots form on the biopsy sites. Blood clots are not my friend, so this made me very nervous. Doc assured me I was not getting out of there until the bleeding stopped. And he told me that was part of the whole nothing-in-the-vagina-for-two-weeks deal. Dislodging those blood clots would be really bad news. Also! The mustard stuff will continue to come out of you for about a week! Also! Parts of it will morph into what looks like coffee grounds! Yes! Mustard and coffee grounds coming out of your vagina for a week!

7. For the rest of the day you will hobble around, very very sore in your special area, the mustard stuff hardening right outside the entrance to ladytown and sort of create a pulling, burning, painful sensation. But you can't do anything about it! Removing it might dislodge the inside stuff, and that is trouble! Also, gobs of mustard will fall out of you, each time convincing you a hemorrhage is beginning (Ok, that's just me. But I've had a hemorrhage so it's legit I'd feel that way).

Alright, ladies. Yesterday was the opposite of fun. But I hope some gal who is going in for the procedure does stumble upon this someday. Knowing exactly what is going to go down might make things easier for that person. I'm not writing this to scare you, Person-who-needs-a-Colposcopy-in-the-future. Rather, I'm trying to help educate you. You need to do this. It is important. Just know it is going to hurt a bit. Cancel plans for the rest of the day. Take some pain relief. Bring the maxi pad of your choice so you aren't stuck with the bricks they give you at the doc's office. Be prepared.

And I'm going to get serious for a minute. It sucked. It sucked balls. But I am so happy I had this procedure done. I feel so lucky to have health insurance. To have excellent medical care and a rockin' doc who will find out what is going on and help me to fix it. Did I have one unpleasant day? Yes. Who fucking cares in the long run? I'll also have help and answers and I will not wake up 15 years from now with an endstage cervical cancer that is going to kill me. How extraordinary is that? Don't you wish every woman was afforded the same opportunity?

And a huge thanks to my friends who have been through this and showered me with awesome, helpful advice. I'm lucky to have all of you in my life.

The good part of missing class is I got to see this. Each Wednesday night this semester Z and the boys have been getting together with our friend and her two boys. She is married to the Professor of my class. I'll tell you what, it is awesome to see your kid playing super involved games with a friend. They really do a good job and seem to have a lot of fun together. 

Of course, Z wanted in on the action. 

Cheesecake shot this morning.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Probably A Whole Lot of Nothing

On Monday I got a voicemail from a nurse at my Ob/Gyn's office. My yearly exam was less than two weeks ago so I had a feeling it was not great news about my Pap smear. I called right back was not great news about my pap smear.

Evidently it's the best kind of bad there is. The overwhelming odds are that this is nothing. My wonderful sister-in-law is finishing up Medical school this year. After contacting Z so I could freak out a little I sent her an email asking what she thought. Her reply was perfect. She clearly explained what to expect during the next step while assuring me this wasn't a big deal and that even if it turned out the be worst case it still wasn't a big deal.

Of course it's pretty much all I've been thinking about ever since. I needed to take a chill pill last night because I'm so nervous about going back to the Doc's today. You see, my Doc is being incredibly accommodating. It looked like I couldn't get in until next Monday, which really wasn't long to wait. But they know I'm crazy anxiety gal. The Doc was not going to see patients on Wednesday, he just had a meeting at the hospital in the morning. But he is going to see me anyway. The office can be frustrating to deal with. Having a doctor who delivers his own patients means regular appointments are often rescheduled or include a long wait. But this guy, my doctor, he is a good man and a wonderful doctor. I feel like he really cares about his patients and goes out of his way to ease worry.

So why am I writing about this really personal thing before I've even found out what is going on? Um, have we met? On Monday before the phone call came I wrote about wishing the there wasn't a stigma when it comes to talking about the hard parts of marriage. That same wish extends to medical stuff. Isn't it more stressful to keep in to yourself? Or rather, it is more stressful for me to keep it to myself.

I don't think everyone should be forced to talk about the super personal minutia of their lives. If you got a bed Pap test back and talking about it was going to make you more anxious, well, then I think you shouldn't talk about it. How you handle your problems is up to you and should make you comfortable. I just think keeping quite shouldn't be the only option. For me it eases my anxiety just a bit to let you guys know that there is an issue and that is it probably nothing. And even though my brain knows it is probably nothing my heart is really scared. It helps me to write it. I'm scared.

I know about half a dozen ladies who have been through this process. Some have just had to get the colposcopy, some have had to have biopsies, some have had the "Loop" procedure. I'll have a colposcopy this morning and if things look fishy he'll take some biopsies. I'm pretty worried about that part. One friend who had that done said it hurts pretty damn bad. Even if it does end up being cancer (and the chances for that are ridiculously low) it is a very treatable desease when caught early. I know deep down I'm going to be ok.

When friends have told me they are going through this process I've tried to be reassuring by letting them know there are a number of women in my life who have been there. My intent was not to devalue their worry, rather to made them feel less alone. The interesting thing is when I got the phone call I thought of my friends who have been in this position and it didn't help me one damn bit. I immediately thought of what I'd said to my frightened friends in the past to comfort and I got a sinking feeling that I probably made them feel worse. At least there is one positive thing that is come from this situation-the next time a friend talks to me about her situation I will mostly listen and empathize. The fear is legitimate. Trying to make it into something that isn't a big deal is easy for the person who isn't going through it. It is allowed to be a big deal. I'm allowed to be scared. If I want to write a blog post about it I'm allowed to do that as well.

Trying to smile, but just pretty damn scared. I'm wearing a new shirt I got on super sale yesterday.  If I get good news today it'll become my lucky shirt. If I get bad news I'll probably throw it away. Because I'm reasonable like that. 

Ah, there's a smile. Being goofy with this guy always helps. And he's wearing the bow tie I got him for our anniversary today. Think that will bring me some awesome luck. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Monster Under the Bed

There was a flat crocheted Holly Hobbie figure hanging from a light pull in the middle of my bedroom in New Jersey. I was 2-4 when we lived there, I'm not sure how old I was when it became a focus, but eventually it scared the living daylights out of me. I was sure it was going to come to life in the middle of the night and kill me. I devised a safety plan. If the blanket was tucked all around my body and over my head the evil Holly Hobbie couldn't get me.

I've had problems with nighttime for as long as I can remember. In 3th grade we lived outside Boston. I remember starting to feel sick to my stomach as soon as it began to get dark every single night. By the time bedtime actually rolled around I'd be seized with terror. In the morning I'd be fine, but each day was a long slide towards dread and fear. In 4th grade we were in Fairfax, VA. My fear had morphed into a faceless intruder coming into my room to kill me. I decided I'd be able to crawl under my bed and into a hole in the mattress to safety. Inside the mattress I imagined I would discover a tunnel that led to an underground world of tunnels and burrows where a population of people hiding from the world came together. I spent a lot of time in my head with those people. I could lose myself in their world and finally relax.

The terror eased when I became a teenager who wanted to sleep all the time. As an adult living in apartments in cities helped. I never felt alone even when Z was away, people surrounded me on all sides. I could faintly hear them living their own lives and it comforted me. Our home in Syracuse is the first single family dwelling I've lived in since I left for college in 1995. We moved in the week before T was born. It seems like he didn't sleep that entire first fall. Very quickly nighttime became sinister to me again. When it would get dark my anxiety would skyrocket. I was so tired and while I wasn't scared of things that go bump in the night I was filled with dread that once again I wouldn't be allowed to sleep. And if I'm honest the other kind of fear has also returned when Z goes out of town. I admit it. I'm scared when I'm alone in charge of the kids. A while ago I told my Mom about all of this. She asked why I didn't tell her I was so frightened when I was a kid. It confused me. I thought that I did. And who knows what really happened? Now that I'm a Mom I can guess. She needed me to get in bed so she could have a fucking tiny little break and I fought her. I probably frustrated the hell out of her.

And now I empathize with her. Because T sure does frustrate the hell out of us. Some nights he makes bedtime into a torturous process, other nights he is completely cooperative and asleep for a solid 10 hours moments after his head hits the pillow. Lately he has started to talk about monsters. We aren't sure where the fascination came from-we aren't showing him movies with monsters, we don't talk about them. When we were traveling last week he was having a hard time settling and Z lost patience. So we traded off and I climbed into the bed with T. He asked for a song about the Monster Owl. I had zero idea what he was talking about. But I made one up about a good monster owl named Harry who protected kids from bad monsters and who everyone wanted in their bedrooms. T dug it, he's been talking about it since. Unfortunately I can't remember how it went.

Z and I just want to get him to sleep so we can decompress a bit before starting this whole parenting thing again the next day. But I've been wondering if he's been scared. Last night he woke up crying in the middle of the night for the second day in a row. He was up even earlier last night-at 1am. When he cries in the middle of the night I go in, Z is on C duty. Last night he confirmed my fears, he told me he was scared. I explained that he was safe and he told me there was a monster under his bed. I guess that cliché exists for a reason. We certainly haven't put that idea in his head. From the time he first got up until 7 (a major sleep in for us) he was in and out of our bed, we were in and out of his bed, we had the light on in his room so he could play. He was completely unsettled and clearly very scared and not interested in sleep.

My heart aches for him. But at the same time today is going to suck ass because I'm so tired. I need my sleep, I'm a really selfish gal. These are the facts, I wish I was a better mother/wife/person. I just want my kid to fucking sleep so we can fucking sleep. My love and hopes and dreams for him are able to pierce that selfishness enough to fill me with worry. I don't want him to grow up with a fear of nighttime just like mine. I do not know how to help him.

Z and I brainstormed a bit this morning. We asked T what was scaring him specifically and he told us the monster was an ugly doll that has been in his room for almost his entire life. He kept calling it Bobby, which was weird, but we figured out what was going on. The doll has historically been one of his favorites and it is called Beep Bop. But it has sort of fallen out of favor, it isn't in the bed with him anymore and we haven't referred to it by name for ages. I guess Bobby is what he remembered. We told him that Bobby was a good monster and he protected people and we'd really like to have him in our bedroom if T doesn't want him around so he can make us feel safe. T loved that idea. We are also going to do an under the bed search tonight to show him there are no monsters there and perhaps a stuffed animal can stand sentinel to protect T. We wondered if there was another stuffed animal he wanted in his room that would protect him. He asked for the fish snow man. Which is actually a stuffed ghost some kind vendor gave him at the flea market ages ago. I quite enjoy the irony of a ghost protecting him.

Have any of you dealt with this? What did you do, Smart Friends? How do we teach our kid not to be scared of the dark, of night, of monsters? How to we help him get through the night while also getting sleep ourselves so we have something left over for C and laundry and making dinner and work and each other? T needs sleep, he is exhausted. Dude was a major dickhead this morning. Kept throwing wooden blocks at his brother.

It kills me that fear is already part of his emotional vocabulary. Did I do this to him? Does he see how I struggle to get through the day? Is he learning anxiety from me? Did he inherit it from my genes? Was I irresponsible and foolish for sharing my DNA with my children? Those questions tourment me. I don't think I can handle the answers.

My grumplestiltskin. Jesus, though my haze of sleepiness I hurt for him. I just don't want him to be scared. I want him to know he is safe here, that his Dad and I will protect him.

And the well rested kid. I'm still confused by the fact that my anxiety-ridden body produced such a content human.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Dude, I love gossip. When Z gets home from work the first question I ask him is, "Any juicy gossip today?" If he is in a gossip dry spell I start to threaten him, "Don't come home if you don't have gossip." or "I'm not making you dinner if you don't have gossip." What? I'm a stay at home Mom. I need something to help get me through the day. You know, besides being completely contented by spending every waking moment with my wonderful children....

So yes, gossip. I'm pretty shameless in my adoration of hearing other folk's business. The other day someone told me that a couple we both know almost got a divorce a couple of years ago. I found myself supremely bored. My reply was that I'm pretty sure that every couple I know who have been married more than a decade have almost split up at some point. We sure as hell nearly did-took us less than five years.

Perhaps there are long term marrieds out there who have been happy for their whole relationship. If any of you mythical folks are reading, please identify yourselves! You are amazing! You should totally consider a career in mediation.

The best part of marriage is not being alone. The worst part of marriage is not being alone. Yes, you get a partner in life-for the hard parts and for the fun parts. But you also have to think about someone else's needs when it come to fucking everything. Life becomes a negotiation. Add kids to the mix and your personal needs are pushed even further into the background. As someone who is not naturally selfless this has been one of the biggest struggles of my adult life. I desperately wanted to not be alone as an adult when I was a kid. I got my wish. But nothing is ever straightforward. I didn't completely understand what I was asking for. I knew marriage would be hard, but I had no idea what a struggle it would be. I had no idea that sharing my life would be a sacrifice as well as the most fulfilling thing I'd ever do.

So why don't we talk about this stuff? Why is there a stigma to almost splitting up? Hell, why is there a stigma to actually splitting up? Making it in a marriage does not indicate you are superior to those who don't. Because who knows if you will get to "till death do us part" until you actually die? Life is hard, marriage is hard, relationships are hard. Wouldn't it make it a smidge easier if we could talk about that openly?

 I mean, come on, wouldn't you fight to stay married to someone who can pull off a hat like this?

Or who could talk himself out if tight spots? Z totally got T to stand down. 

Or who (with our friend C) made awesome improvements to T's X Wing fighter?

Hey! C has started to take a few steps! My kiddos have both been on the late side of the walking game. T was 15 1/2 months when he one day decided to walk and never looked back. C will be 15 months at the end of the month. We still need to really encourage him to take steps, but he'll get there. And major thanks to the sweet girls who worked with him until he did it! Family does rock.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What I Want for My Family

When I was in high school I pitied people who aspired to do regular things-those who wanted to be accountants or teachers or biologists. I wanted to do something great. I wanted to be known. I wanted to leave a mark. Through my haze of delusions of grandeur I never really nailed down what that greatness looked like. As I made my way through my 20s I slid further and further into mental illness. Greatness seemed like a joke--getting out of the house became more than I could handle.

When I was in high school my biggest fear was being alone as an adult. I often felt deeply lonely then even when surrounded by family or friends. I yearned for someone to share my life with, someone who would make me feel less alone.

I haven't done anything great with my life, but I also haven't been alone. It hasn't always been easy, but Z and I have had each other to lean on. And my priorities have shifted. I don't dream of greatness. I don't desire fame. I'd like to not worry about the bills, but I don't crave massive wealth.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday we stayed with my cousin M, his wife D, and their three kids who are transitioning into adulthood. My Aunt is 10 years older than my Dad. She married when she was 19 and had her eldest shortly after. So my cousin is only 11 or 12 years younger then my dad and almost 20 years older than me. While we are technically the same generation I've always felt like a kid to him.

Now I have children of my own and we have much more to talk about. It was an absolute pleasure to spend time with M, with the whole family this holiday. Z told my cousin's wife that she was such a gracious host that he had trouble believing she wasn't southern.

We got to watch a slice of the life M and D have built for their family. There is the fun stuff--M gardens and D is a talented cook. They hosted a dinner on Friday night and the fried eggplant and sauce all came out of their garden, along with an amazing vegetable casserole. Z and I aspire to do the same things someday. But the real beauty of their family is much less flashy. Their three children are easy to be around, are also incredibly hospitable, and are invested in their rich family life. They are happy to hang with the extended family, they all seem to genuinely dig each other.

I'm not trying to sell you a bill of goods about their perfect family. None of us has a perfect family. We all have our shit to work through, I'm sure they do too. But they also have real joy and togetherness. They tease and tourment each other. They have an enormous amount of fun. They are not alone. M and D have raised three kids that would make anyone proud. They are surrounded by laughter and love and good food and lots of beer.

My priorities have shifted. I look at their family and see exactly what I want in my life. I am hopeful we are on our way to achieving it. And my definition of greatness is shifting. Being part of a terrific extended family. Continuing to be close to my parents and sister. Also having that closeness with Z's family. Trying to raise two boys to be kind, good, responsible people. Surrounding ourselves with family and friends that we love and who love us back. It is a quiet greatness. But it is richer and more satisfying than anything I imagined as a teen.

Dad and his brother and sister.

Some of my generation of cousins.  

We unloaded the car when we got home yesterday. As I was piling stuff in the kitchen I heard a crash and looked over to find this. 

Dude has no shame, he just dug in.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Screw Ups

The cookies and pie were made right on schedule Tuesday. Actually, the apple cake was made on schedule as well. But when I took it out of the bunt pan it fell in two pieces and the top of it was burned. Shockingly I didn't handle it with a lot of grace.

Baking is my thing. I did it for a living for several years. I'm not a pastry chef by any stretch of the imagination. I've never worked in a restaurant. But I did make yummy stuff at a tiny wholesale bakery. It gave me an understanding of working with dough and confidence as a home baker. This cake that fell apart is my go-to dessert. My mom got the recipe from a roommate back in the early 70s. It was clipped from a newspaper or magazine where it was part of a Rosh Hashanah  meal menu and had the inspired and creative name of Jewish Apple Cake. It's my Dad's favorite and was my first birthday cake. I love making it with apples we've picked ourselves in the fall. The bakery I worked at was owned by an Israeli woman, we basically made the same cake for the holidays in individual loaf pans. We did plum cakes as well. The bottom line is this cake and I have history. It's easy, it's no hassle, it always comes out right.

I mean except for Tuesday it always comes out right. And it did come out fine the second time. Of course, I failed to take a picture of that one.

Listen, I have self confidence issues. They are a huge part of my anxiety disorder. I wish when the cake fell apart I didn't fall apart as well. I wish that I didn't spend a big part of Tuesday beating myself up about it and feeling pathetic. I don't want my boys to see me losing it when I mess up. I don't want them to think that it is normal to be so hard on yourself. Some days I feel like I will never beat this anxiety thing, not even enough to function. How do you fight a whispered voice in your head on a never ending loop that tells you that you are a piece of shit because you messed up an easy recipe? After a few hours of hearing the message it is really hard not to believe it.

What I want to be able to tell my boys is that everyone fucks up. That beating yourself up about it is a waste of time. That having 2 out of 3 desserts (or whatever) turn out is probably good enough. That the world isn't going to end if you don't remake the cake (or whatever). That life is too damn short to torture yourself. And if I tell them enough times perhaps I'll start to believe it. In the meantime I'll make the cake a second time. I'm glad I did. Like I said, it is my Dad's favorite. And his birthday was yesterday. So he had leftover Jewish Apple Cake as birthday cake.

I told T he could pick out a present for Grandpa. He insisted on getting a cherry picker. I told him Grandpa was turning 64 and asked if he really thought Grandpa wanted a truck. T assured me he totally did. 

I did a crap job with pictures. Here's the only one of the pumpkin pie. Use your imagination. 

And some gingerbread cookies. 

My fellas just before we headed from one cousin's house to another's for Thanksgiving dinner. Sadly, T is speaking volumes with his actions in this one...

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Last 30 Miles

We are having a blast with family in Jersey. I hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as ours. I also hope that you did not spend 2-4am up with a 15 month old two nights ago. That was not cool. He did much better last night, which was good because Z and I were going to get rid of him if he didn't. We are still pretty sleep deprived, got up at 5:30am today. But that is what travel with a three and one year old is. It'll be easier in a couple of years.

A super fast story for you--our drive down was great until the last 30 miles. We hit Philly at 4:45pm on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Because we are smart like that. We hit that traffic about an hour after getting gas, and um, Starbucks. So I had to pee. We also were supposed to be at my cousins for dinner at 6pm. That was all that was asked of us-make it for dinner at 6. So we had 30 miles to go and over an hour to do it in. Philly. 4:45pm. The day before Thanksgiving. An hour later and we'd gone less than 12 miles. I had to pee worse than I ever had in my entire life. I was also in the middle of a pretty epic panic attack. The kind where you are rocking back and forth and unable to form coherent sentences. Finally the traffic started to clear up. The boys were crying, I was freaking, and Z was just trying to hold onto his sanity. And he made a wrong turn.

Ok. We are off the highway. I'm looking for the bright side-this means we will find somewhere that has a bathroom. The car hasn't even come to a stop before I blast out of it and run into the gas station. A kid, late teens, is behind the counter. I ask him where the bathroom is. He tells me there isn't one for customers. I ask very nicely. He tells me no. I begin to beg. He tells me he really can't. But there is a diner up the road. I start to weep. Heavily. He stoically stands there, completely unmoved by the hysterical crazy woman standing in front of him. For about 30 second (which I am sure felt like an eternity to him) I couldn't move. I just stood there and cried. Finally I turned and ran back to the car, still weeping. Z has the boys out of the car by that point (T hadn't peed in about 5 hours-bladder of steel, that one). Z is yelling at me to just pee behind the building. I tell him no way, the guy said something about a diner. Z tells me to get in the car, he runs into the station and gets directions to the diner and off we go. T was in the backseat asking why I was crying, which only made me howl louder. I told him sometimes Mommy got really sad and that it was ok. Again I flew out of the still rolling car and into the diner, struggling to stop the flow of tears. The woman behind the counter could not have been kinder to my deranged self. She pointed to the ladies and off I went. Sweet Mary, it was an orgasmic pee.

And magically there was no traffic for the last 18 miles. We got there by about 6:15 and the pizza was delicious. I had a couple of slices from a white veggie pie that had dollops of ricotta on it. So good it gave me shivers. And we were with my cousins, their kids, my parents, and my uncle. Wonderful people, every last one of them. It feels really good to like your family. It feels really good to want to be around them and to want your kids to get to know them as well. I should probably go spend some more time with them all....

C made a new friend.  

Bronson is such a handsome gentleman. 

Yup, that's a dog toy. Oh well.

And my boys were absolute champs on the drive down. I'm proud of both of them. It is hella hard to travel for the little guys. Z and I get frustrated, but we need to remember to give them, especially my big guy T, a shitload of credit. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

True Love

Z and I are a little freaked out by how much we have to do before we get out of here tomorrow. I've got gingerbread cookies in the oven and will be making an apple cake and a pumpkin pie today. Z and T are off to the store to pick up a prescription for C and my birth control pills because clearly we can't handle another child. Early this morning Z was trying to get the wall hangings up in the renoed bathroom and I was wrangling kids. Suddenly I needed to, um, use the facilities. I scooped up C and T followed us upstairs. At the door to the bathroom T started to dick around. We aren't door closers in our house, we are let it all hang out people. But I couldn't have C climbing down the stairs to play with the tools Z had spread outside our half bath.

"Listen," I said. "This door needs to be closed so I can watch your brother, so in or out buddy. Make up your mind now." He followed me in and shut the door. I wasn't thrilled with my audience, but the situation was getting urgent. I sat down and the boys stood at the tub and threw all the bath toys into it. T was using all his might and the sound of the hard plastic hitting the enameled tub ricocheted around the room. I hollered at him to stop, he was assessing his chances of getting away with continuing, C was howling like a little wolf just to hear his voice echo, I realized that just gone 8am was way too early to feel this defeated, and suddenly Z burst into the room.

"Boys!" he bellowed. "Your mother needs some privacy to poop! Come on, let's get out of here!" People, I have never loved him as much as I did in that moment. I hope that each and every one of you find someone who will remove small children from your bathroom so you may poop in peace. Yes, I like you guys that much.

Sweet C loves Mommy's new pedicure. Thanks J, for picking out the awesome color-can't tell here but it is a deep blue that shimmers. 
And yes, that is one hell of a scratch on the side of his face. You'll have to ask his brother how he got it. With that, his split lip (tragic fall off of a chair he was climbing), and a fresh abrasion on his arm from the waiting room his doc was making Child Protective Service jokes yesterday. Kind of the last person you want going there, but so far no one has shown up at our door demanding to see that our kids are ok....

Best apron ever. It is so faded, I used it for years in kitchens in NYC. No boring white apron for me! And thanks to the lovely B for giving it to me about a decade ago. 

My sous chef this fine morning.

The other sous chef helping to peel the apples.

Monday, November 19, 2012

This Week

Hey friends who don't blog already!  Do you know what I think you should do? Start one and try to write every day for a month. If you do it and send me your link I promise to put you in my RSS feed and read loyally.

This week might be spotty on the posting front for me. I'd really like to make it for the rest of the month without missing a day. I'd like to prove to myself that I can force myself to write even when life gets in the way or I don't have much to say. We are on Fall Break at our house. School closes for Thanksgiving week here, Z is off, T's preschool is on campus so he is off as well, and of course my class is also cancelled. It turns out that it is harder to find time to write when there are two adults in the house during the day. And we are driving down to Jersey on Wednesday to spend the holiday with my dad's family. Excusing myself to write during our trip strikes me as rather indulgent. And hell, I really like the people we are seeing. I mean, everyone loves their family, that part is easiest. I'm talking like here. I like them enough that I want to hang with them. I think it's cool that I'm related to them. How fantastic is that?

So yes, not sure how the blogging thing is going to go, not that I believe you dear friends are waiting with baited breath for my next post. I just want to be upfront with what is going down. Even if I don't post I'm still satisfied with my experience this month. Writing daily has been good for me, it helps sort out what has been happening in life, I am more thoughtful about the anxiety, I actually feel better, like I've accomplished something. I guess that is why I want you guys to do it, too. I want you to feel like you are doing something good for yourself. Because I like you guys. So there.

Z was a little bit chilly last night.

Bathroom done! By done I mean sometime in January Z will fabricate baseboard and crown molding and install it. And I'll get to Target to buy a curtain soon. And we'll hang up the mirror and TP holder and towel hook and wall stuff eventually. 

A little side-by-side action. Man, are we happy with the way it came out. The awful painted-over faux wood grain paneling has been vanquished from another room! We are winning, ugly paneling! We vow to remove every square foot of you from our house! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Little Heavy For a Sunday Evening...

The other night I was nursing C before bedtime and as I held him close in the dark, rocking in the chair my mother used when I was an infant, I grabbed his wee hand and happened to glance down at it. I saw my hand in miniature, right down to the crooked pinky. And I started to quietly weep.

Motherhood has changed me faster and more profoundly than anything else. During the fall after T was born the mortality of everyone close to me suddenly became real for the first time in my life. Which is ridiculous. Everyone dies, this is not some big shocker. Before I held my sons in my arms I didn't really believe in my own death. Or Z's. Or my parents'. I still can't bring myself to contemplate my boys' mortality even though I know they can't live forever either.

My hopes for my sons-health, happiness, prosperity, love-are mundane, but they feel precarious. What if I die and they are raised without a mother? What if they don't get to grow up knowing the wonderful people that are their grandparents? So many terrible things can happen in this world, and I know some of those things will happen to them. I know I won't be able to protect them.

One evening before I became a Mom a couple we know told us that they realized if there was a house fire and they could only save one person they'd save their daughter over each other. It seemed terrible to me. I couldn't understand how the love of any family member would outrank another. I decided it was monstrous to make that choice.

As I was rocking C the other night and weeping and considering his hand which was my hand I remembered that evening and I realized how wrong I was. It wasn't monstrous at all. If a fire happened I would choose the boys over us without hesitation. Which isn't actually choosing them over us at all. Because they are us. By choosing them I would be choosing all of us.

I'm grateful motherhood has changed me. Don't get me wrong, there is still so much more that could be improved when it comes to who I am. I hope I can continue to realize it when I am mistaken and I hope I can admit it to myself and others. And strangely I'm glad that the specter of death is real to me now. It makes me appreciate the time I have with my family. It reminds me to get my ass in gear and live life.

This parenthood trip is a mindfuck.

 T at about 10 days old. Already changing the hell out of me. 

C at about 10 days old. Doing the same damn thing to his Mom.
Photo by Ellie Leonardsmith

More than three years later the boys are still working their changing me magic.  

The bathroom reno will hopefully be wrapped up tomorrow. We went with a cheery blue for the walls. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Too Busy Actually Doing Stuff

I feel guilty for not writing a proper post, but life got in the way today. T and I hit the farmers market, the whole family went to Lowe's to get stuff for our bathroom reno that is more than halfway done, my friend invited me to get a pedicure, she and her husband came over for dinner. Yes, I'd like to write every day that is left in this month. It's an awesome exercise to try and do something not just when the spirit moves you, but on a schedule. The challenge of finding something to write about has been good for me as well.

But participating in life is important as well. 

So how about a few pictures?
Milestone trip to Lowe's! The boys rode in the cart together for the first time! 

The tile got put in. The walls got another coat of mud. 

My friend and I ended up at Old Navy where she found this amazing outfit for C for Thanksgiving. I think he's looking very dapper. 

Much later in the evening he'd shed his shirt and put his dad's crazy hat gets wild at our place on a Saturday night. 

It scares the shit out of me to look at him and see the teenager he will become....

It was a good day. It was a full day. Let's do it all again tomorrow. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Leaky Toilet

Have I told you how we became homeowners? Early in 2001 we moved from Williamsburg to Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn and became regulars at a new restaurant in Fort Green called Locanda Vini e Olii. The original owners had a son who we hung out with quite a bit. A couple of years later, in 2003, he called Z in the middle of a workday and told him to trust him. He said Z had to leave work immediately, find me and get me to leave work, and head out to the apartment building down in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens where our friend had just bought a studio apartment. Another unit was under foreclosure, the bank only wanted what was left on the loan which was $35,000. Z and I took him seriously, we grabbed the Q train down to the southeast corner of Prospect Park where we met our friend and the Super. We asked what we needed to do to prevent the apartment from being put on the market. A few frantic phone calls later and we were under contract to buy the place. Yes, we became homeowners of a 700 square foot one bedroom apartment in Brooklyn for less than the cost of a new SUV. People, miracles to happen in the NYC housing market. It was the luckiest break of our lives.

We sold it in 2009 after the bottom fell out of the market and we still made enough to buy our house in Syracuse. There is no way in hell we'd be homeowners now if it weren't for that place. That cursed, shitty, roach infested apartment. The couple that lost it before us were going through a divorce-one moved out and the one that stayed just stopped paying the mortgage. Z and I almost split up while living there. The couple we rented to didn't renew the lease-they broke up and one of them ended up in rehab. I loved being a homeowner in Brooklyn, but I loved Z more and I'm glad that apartment is out of our lives.

So that is my feel good story of the day. It's nice to remember when I'm terrified about money like I am right now.

Over a month ago the toilet in our half bath started leaking. Z thought he'd be able to fix it, but the problem ended up having to do with the toilet being installed a bit too high above the floor. Listen, homeownership rocks. We love our sweet house, we feel so fortunate to live here. But every time something breaks my stomach drops and I'm seized with fear. I've said it before, but we really can't afford to be living off of one salary. Our savings are kaput. At this point my going back to work doesn't make much sense. I'd probably not make enough to cover daycare for the boys. So we are going to try to stumble through the next few years until the boys are in elementary school and I sort of figure out what I want to do when I grow up.

All that doesn't solve the leaking toilet problem.

The floor needed to be redone in order to seat the toilet properly. We had tile left over from when our second floor bathroom was renovated a few years ago-we knew that had to happen when we moved in and set aside money for it back when we still had some. And the same guy who did the second floor bath gave us a good deal, he was going to squeeze us in when he got a chance. He called two days ago and offered to start Friday. He had some extra time because of Thanksgiving and drastically reduced his original quote on sheetrocking the walls as well, which also needed to be done. So we are going to carry a balance on our credit card for a few months. For the first time since 2006. We'll get it paid off, but I'm panicking a bit.

And family? Looks like it is going to be a homemade Christmas presents year for us. Sorry in advance. We still love you, we are just super broke.

The gross little half bath before demo started. 

Goodbye horrible paneling! Hello shiny new Sheetrock! What color should we paint it?

Yesterday there was a digger outside T's school. The kind men who were operating it offered to let him climb aboard. One of his teachers happened to be walking by with a camera. I'm completely in love with this picture. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tattooed Lady

Last night I was washing my hands in the bathroom at school when I caught sight of the tattoo on my arm in the mirror and for half a second I was shocked-I'd forgotten about it. I don't seem like a tattoo kind of gal, I'm awkward and shy and really not an exhibitionist (Physically. This blog is proof I'm an emotional exhibitionist. Sorry again, Z.) When it's cold out I don't remember the tattoos. Throughout the winter I'll be caught by surprise when I spy them in the shower or when I'm changing.

In the spring I feel a little embarrassed by them. I get used to feeling tattoo-free and it is undeniable that people look at you differently when your tattoos are showing. By the time fall rolls around I feel comfortable in my skin and I don't think about them at all.

The one thing I don't do is regret them. I got my first one when I was 28. It wasn't an impulse decision. I didn't get smashed one night and decide I needed a butterfly or "peace" in kanji. I don't have a tramp stamp. Every woman I know who has one got it when she was in her late teens or early 20s. The people I'm drawn to are not the kind who would decide to get a tattoo just north of their ass crack whilst approaching their 30th birthday. Actually, I did briefly consider getting one-it would have been the words "tramp stamp". Z thought it was hysterical, he begged me to do it. But ultimately it broke one of my rules-a tattoo shall not be a joke.

Yes, 50 years from now they are going to be faded and wrinkly. I realized that when I started getting them. So why did I make the choice? I love that they are an expression of who we are in a moment in time. They are memories made permanent. Hell, if I did have a tramp stamp I wouldn't regret it. It would be a reminder of who I was as a young woman.

Z wanted to get tattoos to celebrate our 10th anniversary of being together. I was very cagey about the whole thing-it felt like a relationship curse. I mentioned that to the guy who does all my work and he said, "Listen. Even if you guys get divorced someday you still spent 10 years with him. That is a big deal. Won't you want to remember that?" He was right. And he articulated exactly what I loved about tattoos.

A couple of years after I got my first, an outline of Brooklyn with Prospect Park and three dots signifying where we had lived, my friend took a picture of it and posted it to flickr. What? It was 2006. Curbed NY, a real estate website, reposted it. At first I thought it was super exciting, but then I read the comments (which are no longer there-thanks for the kindness internet!). Besides being called fat the one that stuck with me was something like "At least I can shave off my ironic mustache in a few years. She's going to be stuck with that forever." You know what? I am going to be stuck with it forever. When I got it did I think I'd live in Brooklyn for the rest of my life? Yes. But I still love the tattoo even though I live in Syracuse. It means where we got married. It means the first place we were homeowners. It means surviving the ugliest days of our marriage and learning to like each other again. It will mean those things until the day I die. I'm glad it is on my arm.

My tattoos celebrate my love for my husband, my sons, my parents, my country, and the twins that I miscarried. I'm glad I carry that love on my body for anyone to see. My choices weren't made lightly and I don't believe they will lead to regret. My only concern is how the boys will react to them when they are older. I don't want them embarrassed by their tattooed Mom and Dad. But they are going to embarrassed by us no matter what we do. Maybe it's good that I've given them a straightforward target to take their adolescent angst out upon.

And about them being wrinkly in 50 years? My whole body is going to be faded and wrinkly. I don't give a shit that the tattoos will be as well.

It would make a hell of a lot of sense to post some pictures of my tattoos. But it is fucking freezing in my house. I'm keeping my sweater on. How about a picture of my kids playing with the world's best toy?

Yeah, this isn't going to end badly....

One last reason I love tattoos--on our 5th wedding anniversary, back when things were pretty much rock bottom with Z and me, he got a tattoo of me as a mermaid on his chest. I questioned him about it-months earlier he'd told me he didn't want to be married anymore. Did he really want to get a picture of me (the art was taken from an old photo) permanently inked on him? He told me yes. It was a bizarre leap of faith. That might have been the beginning of me believing he and I were going to work things out. Also, my husband has a picture of me as a mermaid tattooed on his chest. Come on. That is totally bad ass. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mean Wife

Several weeks ago Z and I were chatting with another couple. A third couple came up, people who are barely acquaintances of Z and mine, but who our friends know rather well. Our friend confided in us that she isn't crazy about hanging out with them because one is consistently mean to the other. Z and I agreed that was totally not cool and we quickly moved on to another topic. But for some reason the conversation stuck with me, it got under my skin.

Later that night I told Z I figured out why I was so unsettled by what our friend said. There I was thinking how shitty it is that one spouse is publicly unkind to the other when it hit me. I used to be that asshole spouse. For years I was mean to Z around other people. When I think about our relationship back then I know people didn't like to be around us because of how I behaved. I know that Z hated being in public with me because he was always bracing himself for my cruelty, never sure when it was going to rear its ugly head. And I'm so ashamed of it.

Last night Z and I went to hear Marion Nestle speak on campus. It was a good talk, very interesting to both of us. On the way to the event Z pointed out that we had the sitter, maybe we could grab quick drink instead of going straight home. We gave our friend a ride back to our neighborhood and the three of us ended up stopping at a dive bar about two blocks from our house. In that unfamiliar space all the awkwardness of the height of my mental illness came bubbling to the surface. I wasn't straight up mean to Z, but I was very short with him. When we got home he pointed out how I was acting and I immediately got it. I was grateful I wasn't an asshole to him, but he does deserve more than that. I need to figure out how to vent my unease without involving him at all.

Why did I used to attack the person I love, my partner, the man who's constant refrain for our relationship has been, "I'm on your side"?

How long do you have?

I'm kidding. Mostly. It did take years and years of therapy to figure it out, but it comes down to my insecurity, my social anxiety, my jealousy with Z's ease and grace in social situations. I felt so stupid and ugly and useless in public, so frustrated that I'd lash out against person I was closest to.   I felt ugly on the inside and out, and with my actions I was proving my feelings about myself true.

It's a bit late, but to the friends who witnessed my shitty behavior I apologize. Most of all I am thankful Z stuck with me and trusted me to stop doing it. It gives me hope that the couple we know a little bit might be able to change their behavior. I regret my actions in the past, but the good news is I changed. And if I can do it anyone can.

Closing night of the late, great Sparky's in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. The height of my unwellness. Can you see the terror in Z's eyes?

I held the high score on this machine for most of the last few years of Sparky's existence. Ms. Pac-Man = way to be at a bar with an anxiety disorder without actually having to talk to people. 

Around that time Z got me this hoodie with my Ms P high score on it for Christmas. Ms. Pac-Man is the only video game I've ever played well. Last night at the bar Z pointed out a Ms. Pac-Man machine in the corner. I hadn't played in years, but I did ok. Broke 100,000 anyway. Better than I expected. Listen Brooklyn, I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I think I might be getting serious about Syracuse. There is a bar two block from my house with $3 bottles of Woodchuck cider and a Ms. Pac-Man machine. What else could I ask for in life?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sad, Worn Out, Frustrated, Bad Mommy

There was a moment on Sunday that sort of summed up the last two days--C was in the tub and I took a quick pee (yes, I had eyes on C the whole time). You know when your period ends? And almost 24 hours goes by? And surprise! Your period didn't really end, it just took a bit of a vacation? Yeah, not to get too graphic, but the mess was EVERYWHERE. T choose the moment I was making this discovery to bust into the bathroom and demand to poop.

Or how about this one--It was a beautiful day, so while C napped T and I played out back in his sandbox. T came inside to pee. He came back out carrying his pants, which were wet. "What happened?" I asked. "I don't know" he told me. I went to the bathroom and the rest of his clothing was in a pile on the floor soaking up the puddle of pee surrounding it. I asked him why he peed on the floor rather than in the toilet. He told me it is what he does when he is mean. I told him he lost the privilege to play in the sandbox for the rest of the day.

Or when he threw a stone coaster at this brother's head.

Or when he was in time out in his room and pooped in his training potty and got shit smeared all over his ass, legs, hands, and the toilet seat. I wept as I gagged while cleaning off the seat as T played merrily in the tub and C threw all the toys I'd collected back into the water. The toys I'd removed so they didn't get poop flecks on them.

Or when I told him not to touch his brother's cheerios until he finished his yogurt and he calmly looked me in the eye, grabbed some cheerios and ate them.

Or when he hit his brother's head with his red plastic drill over and over.

Or when I told him to get off the chair and away from the butcher block and he grabbed the loaf of bread and sunk his teeth into it.

People, he is sapping my will to live. I had him home yesterday because he is sick (actually all four of us are sick) and it was a disaster. We are so frustrated with each other right now. Yesterday I grabbed C and took him into the bathroom with me (I cannot leave them unsupervised together) and locked the door. So I could take a crap. T followed us an banged on the door and wept like his heart was breaking, "Mama! Mama! Mama! I NEED to see you poop!" I called back that I needed privacy. And I started crying, too. Not because I hurt for him, nope, I cried because I want to defecate in peace. I think that is reasonable. I have a cold, I am exhausted, I need a fucking break from my children. And I want to poop alone. After I openend the door I held him as he sobbed and told him I give him privacy when he poops and he should extend me the same courtesy. "NO!" he shouted, "I get privacy when I poop! You do not get privacy when you poop!"

What the fuck, people. What. The. Fuck. Last night I called Z moments before he was getting ready to head home. He dreads those calls, the only time I make them is when things really aren't going well. I started out calmly explaining the poop spectacular in T's bedroom. And I don't even know how it happened, but suddenly I was hysterically crying and choking out an overdramatic monologue about how I swore I wouldn't raise a brat and I'm the worst mom in the world because I am raising a brat and I don't know what do to and I suck, I just suck at parenting. I am a failure as a mother. And by the way, T is a shitty little asshole. And I know that is my fault, but still he is.

I think Z was trying not to laugh. Which is really good. If he laughed I would have gotten in my car and driven to Canada. He told me he really couldn't understand everything I was saying because of the crying, but he said I wasn't a failure as a mother. And he said that T wasn't a shitty little asshole. And he promised he'd be home soon, which was exactly what I needed to hear.

Oh boy, I have written about the battle of wills between parent and child before. I write something and think "There! I have conquered that demon!" That is bullshit. The demon might go to sleep for a while, but then it comes roaring back. It helps no one for me to engage him in a battle of wills. It helps no one for me to lose my temper all day long. It helps no one when I seethe with rage at him because I can't let go of my anger. It helps no one when I bemoan the fact that I am not the parent I was sure I'd be before he was born.

The only thing I can do is take a step back and regroup. I can start over. I'm the adult, I need to change my approach to him. So last night I bought A book about parenting a defiant child and I need to brush back up on 1-2-3 Magic and I need to remember T isn't my adversary, he isn't my nemesis. He's my kid. And most of the time I think he's pretty damn great.

The other big thing is we need to figure out a break for me. I get that SAHMs have been doing their thing  stoically for years. But I am not stoic. I'm a selfish baby. A selfish baby who has not had a full day away from her kids since they were born. I've never had a night away from them, the only nights I wasn't with T were while I was in the hospital having C. I need to get away for a full 24 hours. Really, I need more than that. But I'm going to start with more attainable goals. The problem with this SAHM gig is you are on call 24 hours a day forever. Yes, every parent is on call that way. But the ones that work have other obligations as well. Z gets to travel for work a hell of a lot. He gets nights in hotel rooms, just this Sunday he was in Philly for the day. His work event was only 4 hours, and it was a grueling day, dont' get me wrong. But he also got to eat breakfast at Reading Terminal Market and visit the Liberty Bell. He had fun. He did stuff that interested him and didn't have to think about the damn kids at all. He is a committed partner when it comes to raising our kids, but he has a rich life away from us as well. I'm glad he does. I just want one myself.

Ok, I know I sound like a spoiled whiney brat here. I don't really give a shit. I'm not a perfect mom. I'm not a perfect person. I need to get some good solid rest so I can give my boys what they need. I need to regroup. Because raising a couple of decent humans is the most important work I will do in my life. I shall not fuck it up, thank you very much.

And it does take a village, people. Special thanks to J and C, our closest friends here in Syracuse who came over on Sunday night while Z was away and helped me out when I really thought I was going to lose my shit. They rock. After spending a few minutes here J asked, "How is it you haven't killed T today?"  I told her some of the adorable things he'd done that day. His cuteness does save him sometimes.
This is my favorite picture with J and C in it. An awesome night of friends and family. I love that our dinning room has seen so many of these nights.

My kid. Who I love so very much. Chowing down on some gnocchi.  

My baby. Who I also love so very much. All done after ignoring the gnocchi I made. His loss, it was delicious. Seriously, go buy The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.