Thursday, September 28, 2006

Lunch for a SAHM

This week was our third straight week at Story Time. The day started of wonderfully as Sam slept in until 9:10 am, which means I didn't get my sorry ass out of bed until 9:09 am. We also decided to go to the 10:30 a.m. class this week since the 11 o'clock class is filled with all of the other slacker moms who can't make it anywhere on time with a baby in tow. Oh fear not, I sincerely belong in that group, but I was going to make a superhuman effort to get my kid dressed and fed, the dog let out and fed, my teeth brushed and hair thrown up in a pony tail while donning a wrinkled outfit and remembering to pack the diaper bag and close the garage door - all in less than an hour. Can you say ambitious? Can you say stupid? Can you say cluster fuck?

Amazingly, I made it to the library without a minute to lose. I sped through school zones and rolled through stop signs to make it happen, but hey what do you want from me? My kid needs his 20 minutes of mom-wrestling and bubbles! I found my seat on the floor, sweaty and disheveled but ready to switch to sing-along-mom mode. Two minutes in and we were singing the "Jump jump went the little green frog" song and I was lifting Sam in quick succession to simulate a jump, all the while trying not to grunt or pull a muscle. My kid has bones made of lead. About that time, I had noticed an odor emanating from Sam's direction and spotted on his shorts the telltale sign of a diaper blow out. So, off I went to the car to change his diaper and his outfit. We made it back just in time for the end of Story Time with the grand bubble finale. I was ready for lunch. And I was still sweating.

I met my two other friends at a local restaurant for lunch. The three of us were seated in a corner, each holding our children in one arm while trying to rearrange high chairs and floppy seat covers. At this point I was seriously ready for a vodka tonic, but instead broke out the Cheerios to feed to my ravenous son. Lunch was as it always is with 2 toddlers and 3 moms and a pushy waitress; a true cluster fuck. Sam was either reaching for rolled silverware, throwing Cheerios on the floor or swatting at the mouth-bound spoon filled with sweet potatoes. Frustrating to say the least. I often laugh at our efforts to be social. It is comical to me that I try to get out of the house to have some adult interaction and meanwhile I'm desperately trying to feed my distracted baby and imploring him to use his "inside voice."

Halfway through lunch, we had a surprise visit from Rob. It is always a pleasure to see my husband during the day, especially when we run into each other unexpectedly. He popped by the table to say hi before he and his coworker casually walked to their table to enjoy a peaceful, baby-free lunch. Meanwhile, I'm left with a screaming kid who WANTS HIS DADDY GET OUT OF MY FACE MOMMY YOU ARE SECOND BEST TO THE DAAAAADDDDDYYYYY!!!!! Thanks, honey. Please stop by anytime.

Lunch went downhill from there. All three of the kids were tired and antsy. My girlfriends and I had to wait in line to pay the bill at the register, hoping the cashier would hurry the fuck up, my kid is about to scream bloody murder if I don't get him out of that highchair please. Minutes later, I was reaching over the table and heaving Sam up when I knocked a glass of ice water over which spilled all over the table and floor. The restaurant was full, there was no one around to even tell that I was the culprit, so I said screw it and left. Yeah, left my friend standing at the table as she was mopping up MY mess. Nice, Shan. I guiltily headed back to help her when Sam really started to howl so I told her to leave it and did just that.

I made it to the car, popped a pacifier in Sam's mouth and headed home. Oh yeah, and I was still sweating.

It's amazing what us stay-at-home-moms will do for a little socialization. I don't think I'll be leaving the house again for a while.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Hair. Cut.

I did it. I finally broke down and cut Sam's hair. He has had quite a headfull for the last several months, which started to vaguely resemble a mullett or worse yet, Nick Nolte's mug shot.

This was an emotional moment for me. Who me? Emotional? Pfft. Seriously.

See, in my mind, there is something different about cutting a baby boy's hair than cutting the hair of a little girl. A girl can get a hair-do or bangs or a trim and she is still a baby girl. But once you cut the curls of your baby boy, he no longer looks like a baby. He looks like a BOY. All grown up and stuff. Plus, this was the hair he was born with and in it's original, untouched form. Who cares if his hair was in his eyes. Big deal if I could have easily given him a pony tail, or better yet a rat tail. So yeah, this was big.

Sam grabbed his hair with a look of desperation and willed me not to make him look like Jim Carey from Dumb and Dumber. With butterflies in my stomach and not a clue what I was doing, I wet Sam's hair and took a few before pictures for the ol' scrapbook.

During the whole event, he sat relatively still and I cut relatively straight. It was all pretty anti-climatic when it was all said and done, but Rob and I swear he looks older. The good news is, he is still my baby boy. Come to think of it, he always will be.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Because you really wanted to know this

Sam has had the runs for the past 3 days. He doesn't have a fever and seems fine except for the raging diaper rash that has resulted from the acidic feces smooshed up against his delicate skin. He cries and screams his pitiful objection whenever we change him. In fact, changing him has become a 2-person job at this point too; one to do the dirty work and one to hold his shaking hands and to try to calm him. He hasn't been eating much (well, much for Sam) for the past few days either. I thought he might be teething, so last night, I lifted his top lip to check for signs of his top teeth and WOW! His gums are so incredibly swollen and he is not just getting two teeth, but FOUR! The poor baby. Teething is like a slap in the face and a kick in the ass. Hopefully the teeth will break through soon and give our little man some relief. In the mean time, we'll let him crawl around naked as much as possible to air out that little bum and to make his Mama sigh and tear up at his amazingness.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The older we get, the harder we fall

Autumn is my favorite season. Each year around this time I begin to feel this energy stir deep inside me. I feel renewed. I dream of brisk evening walks and houses filled with warm yellow light. I love the satisfying feel of acorn tops cracking under my shoe as I walk along the sidewalk. The fall brings the start of the holiday season and good hair days. I love all fall colors: red, orange, yellow and brown. The smell of apple cinnamon candles fill my home. I hum happily to myself as I put my fall decorations up. I especially love Halloween and if I could, I'd transform my house into a mecca of mummies and vampires for the trick-or-treaters that come for goodies. I always say, "If I could bottle this "fall feeling" then I'd be a millionaire."


This fall is different. I'm experiencing one of those involuntary emotional responses to events brought on by motherhood. My baby is turning a year old this fall. This October, my first (and only) son will no longer be baby, but will embark on his journey to toddlerhood. Where did the time go? Seriously. Life has been on fast forward since October 5th of last year. I can't handle it! Oh god, someone give me some red wine!

I feel this sense of sadness and desperation as I look around and wonder how time could possibly go by this quickly. In my mind, Sam is still 5 months old. He is still sitting propped against his Boppy pillow and requires help to burp. I still haven't gotten used to the fact that Sam has and will continue to exceed the mental capacity and skills of my dog. No offense to Emma; she is one smart cookie, but she doesn't talk. Sam says "Bye bye" and he has said, "more" a few times. The baby part has gone by so fast. Does life continue at this speed from now on?

On the other hand, I feel thrilled because I made it through my first year of motherhood and I managed not to permanently damage my child or my self. I think I did a pretty good job actually, and I look forward to the celebration of the anniversary of my delivery of Sam. We're already talking about number two, but then thoughts quickly turn to the stress Rob and I went through during my labor and delivery. *Sigh* It seems so long ago and like it was just last week.

I would love for a Guardian Angel to tell me what to do. I am terrified of trying to get pregnant. What if we have fertility problems again? What if I need more surgery? I am terrified of being pregnant again. What if I get preeclampsia again? I'm certainly not looking forward to another C-section and the recovery that follows. I am terrified of gaining so much weight. I gained too much with my first pregnancy and I'm still 15 pounds away from my goal. All these things run through my mind and the biggest worry of all is the timing. When do we start? How far apart should our kids be? And on and on it goes.

I think that Sam's 1 year birthday is certainly bringing all these thoughts to the forefront for me. I love our son so much. He is absolutely perfect and when I look at him, I think that I would go through it all over again a thousand times. Sam is so amazing that I ask myself, "How can Rob and I not make another ones of these?"

The infant stage is so fleeting and so wonderful. I look forward with excited anticipation at Sam's growth and discovery. I have done the best I can to cement the memories I have of Sam's infancy in my brain. I've documented it with journals, blogs and video. I'll still miss the tender moments of holding him while he slept all swaddled up and warm.

Mama loves you, Baby. Just don't grow up too fast.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Idle Tuesday

It has been rainy today. On and off, but enough to keep me and Sam from leaving the house. We've just hung out today, a comfortable companionship, just Sam and Mom.

In the afternoon, Courtney and Eve came over for a visit which gave Courtney and I a chance to visit and the babies could play. As I type this, I realize that I won't be able to type "babies" for much longer when describing Evelina and Sam. They will soon be "toddlers" which thrills me and makes me want to puke all at the same time. Eve has her second top tooth breaking through and I get the same feelings for her that I do regarding the "T" word.

I recorded some of Sam and Eve's play-time antics today. I love to video-log Sam's life because even now, I love to watch from the beginning and see how much he has grown and changed.

And has he ever.

Today, Sam took his first step. He stood unassisted for quite some time and Courtney and I watched as he shakily lifted his right foot and placed a few inches in front of him before falling forward on his knees. I shrieked in delight and horror as I realized that MY SON WILL SOON BE WALKING. I looked at her and said, "That counted right? Oh yeah, that SO counted."

I'm in excited and nervous delight over Sam's new milestone. I am overflowing with joy that I was able to witness his first step, and a bit sad the Rob couldn't be here for it as well. But mostly I'm thinking in my head, "Ohmygod my son is going to walk soon and then he'll be running and dating and borrowing the car ohmygod the speed and madness of it all, make it stop!"

So yeah. Cool day.

Monday, September 11, 2006

In remembrance

Today marks five years since the attack on America. I refuse to call it an anniversary. It isn't a celebration. I can't believe it has been five years. I can't believe it happened at all. I watched the news this morning as a moment of silence was observed for the victims and their families. I cried quietly to myself, as my darling son slept soundly in the other room.

I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news that a plane had crashed into a building in New York. I thought that it was a small commuter plane that probably broke a few windows and "bounced off" and crashed to the ground. I had no idea what really happened was even possible. I remember the feeling of dread and sadness I had for the days following. Such a waste. Such hatred. And for what?

Today as I think of the events that took place five years ago, I'm filled with a much deeper sadness. I think now that I'm married and a mother that my heart feels the pain more for those who lost their loved ones on that tragic day. I immediately ache for the pregnant women who lost their husbands, the men who lost their wives and the millions of others who lost someone they love. I can't imagine the loss they feel as just thinking about losing Rob or Samuel brings tears to my eyes. I have to quickly shake the thought from my head as it is too horrible to bear.

I love my family and friends. I love my country. I love the happiness that I am able to feel every day, and the sunshine and peace I enjoy in my little world. I shut myself off from the news and the horror that is taking place across the world. I, like every Miss America contestant, wish for World Peace. I wish the hatred could be wiped away and the killing would stop. I wish that everyone in the world could be afforded the peace and security I feel in my little spec on this planet.

I wonder if by shutting out the awful acts that are taking place overseas, I'm doing the victims an injustice. I turn the channel when the news reports of more bombings or terrorist threats. I choose not to face "reality" because the reality is this world is much scarier and more dangerous that I can let my mind accept. Being a mother means being vulnerable. Vulnerable to the loss of the one thing you would give your life for without a second thought. I don't want to think that I've brought a child into this place of murder and hate-crime and terror. I can't bear the thought. I want sunshine and roses. We all do.

Today, however, I will acknowledge the loss of our great country. I will cry for the families who mourn the death of someone they love. I will pray that this fighting stops and our soldiers come home. I will hope for sunshine and roses.

Story Time

Today Sam and I joined our friends, Courtney and Eve, at the public library for Story Time. We approached the room as Over-Exuberant Whiney Leader ushered us in. She was holding a stuffed monkey which immediately caught Sam's interest. "We have stuffed monkeys. This is good," I thought as we found our seats on the floor. We all sat in a big circle and I quickly took inventory of the other babies and Mommies. I didn't find any green snotty-nosed babies, so I relaxed a little. I wasn't sure of the Story Time protocol so, as Sam wished, I let him loose to crawl around and explore a bit. Over-Exuberant Whiney Leader sat with Stuffed Monkey at the front of the room and started baby introductions, followed by ages. When my turn came to introduce Sam, I pointed at him from across the room as he tried to accost Stuffed Monkey from Over-Exuberant Whiney Leader. Eve had followed suit and Courtney and I were the only moms in the room not holding our sweet ones quietly in our laps. Over-Exuberant Whiney Leader told Sam and Eve, "Story Time is more fun if you're sitting in Mom's lap so she can bounce you." She must have thought that Courtney and I are bad at following rules and decided to inform the babies. They nodded a reply and quickly crawled back over to us and sat down after giving us a firm look and a "tsk tsk."
After the introductions, Over-Exuberant broke into the "Hello" song which to which everyone happily followed along. Courtney and I mumbled a few words a second or two late and tried to look like we weren't the slacker moms who waited a full 11 months to bring our kids to Story Time, ohmygod we suck and should be ashamed of ourselves what were we thinking?!

The rest of the 20-minute session was fun, even if Over-Exuberant whined the stories with a high-pitched drawl that was sure to drive me to a migraine. Sam finally settled down in my lap, mouth open, occasionally pointing his chubby finger at items of interest. Stuffed Monkey was brought back out to lead the Moms in a follow-along bounce and lift song. I heaved my 27-pound behemoth son into the air with the grace of a Rhino, and thankfully that song didn't last long. The finale was when Over-Exuberant tossed stuffed animals out to the antsy crowd and blew tiny bubbles all around the room. At this point, all the Moms let their babies go so Courtney and I figured it must be ok. Sam chased a few bubbles before spotting a little girl across the room holding a stuffed dog. He scrambled over to her and wrestled it out of her arms, much to her dismay. I wasn't sure how to react to this situation, as both me and the other mom were well aware both kids are too young to understand the concept of sharing. Regardless, I could feel her instinctive defenses for her child rise up as I wrenched the dog away from Sam and gave it back to the little girl. It's amazing how we want to protect our children from the most benign acts even if we know our own would more than likely act the same way to another child.

Story Time was in all, a success. Sam enjoyed the time, as did I. Hopefully Courtney and Eve will join us again next week to listen to Over-Exuberant Whiney Leader read us stories and blow soap all over us. We can't wait!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

No nap. Big crap.

Sam has been sleeping later in the morning this week, which is a welcome change. He woke up at 9:30 am this morning so after our breakfast, he and I took off to the party store to buy some invitations and party decorations for his one year birthday party.

Upon returning home at 12:30 (deciding on decorations and invitations was a much bigger task than I had originally anticipated) Sam took a bottle, listened while I read him a book and went down for his afternoon nap. Or so I thought.

Before laying Sam down, I had changed his diaper and removed his clothes so he could nap despite the heat of his bedroom. Nothing sweeter than a baby sleeping in nothing but his nappy, right?

I happily sat at the computer eating my lunch with the baby monitor perched on the desk beside me. I listened contently as Sam played in his crib for 30 minutes. I was a bit perplexed as to why he still hadn't fallen asleep, but thought, "Hey, as long as he is playing happily, who am I to complain?"

I had no sooner finished that thought when Sam started to fuss. I thought I'd let him go for a minute to see if he could self-soothe. On he went. There was no self-soothing. I was on the verge of irritation when I entered his room. I had expected to see him standing in his crib, wet faced and upset at the sight of his pacifier on the floor. I saw nothing of the sort.

What I saw instead was a crime scene of defecation. Sam had removed his diaper. Sam had also pooped. And peed. He had apparently rolled in said poop and tried to climb out of the crib as there was poop caked on the rails. There was poop on the Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium. There was poop smeared in the sheet where the assault must have taken place. The two other victims, "Nana Bear" and "Jesus Loves Me Lamb" were somehow salvaged. They lay among the excrement staring with blank eyes. Sam, however, was covered. There was no doubt he did it. He was guilty as charged.

I quickly removed the screaming perpetrator from the scene and placed him in the holding cell, a.k.a the bath. Baby waste was caked to his legs, feet, hands and backside. He screamed as I tried to remove the evidence as quickly as I could. It was coming off in clumps and swirling down the drain to its final resting place. I removed the pooper from the tub after all intestinal remains were removed and immediately called for backup.

My backup arrived in short order. I had donned latex gloves and went to work. All the kaka from scene the had to be removed before the Chief arrived. He doesn't take any shit. If I failed my mission, my career would be in the toilet. I decided not to fart around any longer.

Thirty minutes and a bottle of antibacterial spray later, the dung had been wiped out. I redressed the mattress and removed the other witnesses. They will stay in protective custody until an internal investigation is complete. Thankfully, no one was hurt during this incident. The crime scene photos have been withheld from this report, and will remain classified in Sam's baby book for future reference and bribery.

In the aftermath, Sam remained awake for a few hours. After some hard play and a late lunch, I noticed he was a little flushed. I laid him down for another nap and he's sleeping like a log.