Wednesday, July 29, 2009

six months

My babies turn six months old today.

Now that I have two babies, people often ask me, "Isn't it hard to remember life without them?"

And for a second I feel bad, and uncomfortable, and unsure how to answer. For me, it's not hard. I remember very clearly my life before babies.

I remember desperately wanting to be a mother. To know what it would feel like to be pregnant, to breastfeed. To create a human being with the person that I love. I remember feeling like I would suffocate under the astounding and oppressive unknown. I remember bitterly hating the cruel unfairness that is infertility.

I remember trying to explain to people that I was not unhappy in my life. But that with my happiness, with my love for my husband and my love for life, I carried the weight of a sadness I didn't know how to handle.

There is not a day that goes by where I forget any of that.

Words seem petty and foolish when I try to use them to describe my love for our babies. Words like "amazing" and "incredible" only frustrate me for their weakness.

Little details blow me away. Like the golden wisps on top of Rhys' head. Or the way Quin coos when he catches me smiling at him. The fact that my babies have these perfect tiny little hands, hands that curl around my finger in the middle of the night, clenching and unclenching as they nurse off to sleep.

This too feels unbelievably unfair. The tables have turned and I have an amazing and terrifying abundance.

I remember life before. I choose this. Again and again, I choose this.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bing Crosby, I challenge you to a sing-off. Although I think you might be dead.

I think I'd make a pretty kick-ass rock star.

I decided this in the fifth grade, and not one to let small matters like talent get in my way, I whipped together a cute little act for my school's talent show.

I decided I would sing "Would You Like to Swing on a Star" because at eleven I was a dead-ringer for Bing Crosby. Actually, I picked that song because my little brother was obsessed with Little Lulu and Bout with a Trout was a particular favorite in our house.

I picked out a satiny dress, had my mother curl my hair, and enlisted a family friend to accompany me on piano.

The performance was an astounding flop. For one, I can't sing. And then there was the small issue of getting so nervous I GASP! re-sang the same verse twice in row, realized half way through, and burst into tears. That pretty much ended my stage career. At least it ended my "in reality" stage career. Because in my head, I've just released my sixth album and it's a smashing success. I just stay away from the Bing Crosby stuff now.

But lately I've been able to provide some resolution for my inner eleven year old. Turns out that "in reality" I've actually cultivated a few real fans. And not just people who are clapping because they feel bad for me because I'm crying and look like I'm going to pee my pants.

My fans? Are six months old. Do I worry that perhaps my fans are simply victims of poor taste? This could be the case, since they also share an insane love for Bonnie Hunt and Sally Field, squirming with delight at the sheer sound of either melodious voice or grandmotherly face on the TV.

No bother. Apparently, my rendition of "Itsy Bitsy Spider" is like the heavens opening and showering glittering diamonds of love on the earth. Really, who am I to judge?

Since I am a kick-ass rock star, I host private concerts on demand and am even willing to repeat the same song twenty eight times in a row. I also am way nicer to my fans than most famous people. Sometimes, I even wipe their adorable little bums.

I bet Bing Crosby would have felt too sophisticated for that.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oh, Freecycle, how do I quit you?

I hoard Freecycle emails.

I have belonged to two local Freecycle groups for well over a year. And yet I've never given anything and never taken anything.

Once I tried to get a Canadian rocker for the nursery, and once I tried to get some rocks. The rocks were not for the nursery.

I get about six Freecycle emails per day. They drive me crazy. Mostly because I'm compelled to read each one, lest I should pass up the opportunity for something really good. Like rocks, which I definitely actually have right outside my very own door.

Every time I realize that I should remove myself from the Freecycle mailing list, I'm hit with an overwhelming wave of panic over what I might be passing up the next time my neighbor decides to offload some of their crap to somebody else.

But I don't need their crap. I don't want it, either.

I have too much of my own. Not like one of those crazy families from Oprah whose garage is secretly filled to the brim with granola bars and beach balls. Just a typical American collection of STUFF. And sometimes, I have the overwhelming urge to just go through my house and start throwing things away.

Because lately, as I fight the urge to bring out my inner Kate Gosselin and demand that my home remain absolutely meticulous at all costs, I am finding that STUFF is wreaking havoc on my dreams of clean.

I refuse to let my husband take off to France with a much younger girlfriend and start wearing Ed Hardy garb. Which basically means my only other option is to get rid of STUFF so that I can simplify and reach a higher standard of clean without having to get all crazy bitch-ish.

Here's where I start:

Freecycle emails are going into a special folder. I will not read them. But Freecycle gets all the STUFF that eBay doesn't want.

STUFF, be warned. Get useful, or get out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dear Ellen DeGeneres,

I am a fan. And I know you appreciate your fans.

So. Right now, I am watching as you sit RIGHT NEXT to Mary Murphy as you guest judge on SYTYCD.

Please. Please! I implore and I beg: Punch her in the larynx. America loves you and thinks you are funny. They will think a good solid larynx punch is funny too.

Have courage, Ellen. Millions of desperate Americans are counting on you.

Punch her in the larynx!

Yours Truly,

A loyal fan.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Purchasing groceries.

So you know when you're at a pretty disgusting grocery store, but you're shopping there anyway because our economy has tanked and now you have no money but hey! we still have to eat, right? and you suddenly need to pee Right! Now! because you're nursing two babies and usually you're so dehydrated that your lips are peeling and then when you try to rehydrate you overcompensate until you feel like you're six months pregnant again what for all the water in your tummy so you decide that rather than just letting out a gush in the middle of the aisle you'd best make your way to the restroom which absolutely happens to be in the back through the swinging doors to the stockroom and is hugely disgusting, like we're talking pubic hairs on the toilet and weird smudges on the floor and walls but oh. thank. god. relief is in sight and so you make your way to the toilet while wearing your baby on your front and finally get to pee but then your baby starts squirming because MOMMY I LIKE MOVEMENT! and now you're peeing and trying to dart the pee around so you don't pee on your baby's legs because good mommies don't pee on their babies and then geeshush, the next thing you know you've peed all over your own damn legs and shorts and foot and GOD it's on my flip flop! and then you have to put yourself all back together and try to make your way through the grocery store, looking at people like, what? it's water, bitches, but you know and they know that that's no water.

Yeah, that happened to me.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Small request to the universe.

I think that perhaps we'd all be better off if Mary Murphy from So You Think You Can Dance started messing around with downers. Not just alcohol. Big time stuff.

A nasty case of laryngitis might do. But really, downers would be way more fun for everyone. No?

Demise of the sexy sweatpants.

Fish oil is amazing.

Rather than treat my PPD with antidepressants, I talked to my doctor and we agreed to try high doses of fish oil first. It's working.

Considering the sleep deprivation I'm dealing with, I really feel fantastic. In fact, I've been feeling so good that I've started to think about drinking the whole damn bottle of the stuff.

Because if some is good, more must be better.

I bought liquid fish oil. I'm not sure why. It was probably cheaper. I do not recommend liquid fish oil.

I bought peach flavor. It tastes like peach. And fish. And it's oily.

But even so, the effects were so good, I kept thinking about how I'd probably feel like Oprah if I drank the whole bottle.

And then one Saturday my sweet husband got up early with the babies and I was able to sleep until the luxurious hour of 8am. Feeling rested, I staggered out into the kitchen and was taken by the peachy smell my house had taken on. A little sleep, and you wake up to a world that's just peachy fresh.

And fishy.

Apparently, he'd opened the refrigerator and the fish oil, eager to help, had jumped out at him, crashed to the floor, and suffered from a lacerated cap.

Peachy fishiness had permeated our home. His sexy sweatpants (which I swear are actually sexy) were drenched. One of the babies had a new sheen to his little head. My kitchen floor had a polish I'd never seen. It was everywhere.

The floor and baby were quite washable.

Less washable? The sexy sweatpants.

I politely instructed that the sweatpants go directly into the laundry.


Considering my laundry pile and the rate at which I address it, it is nothing less than wholly inappropriate to ever suggest the addition of anything that is wet, smelly, or generally disgusting to said pile.

By the time the sexy sweatpants were washed, they had permeated the laundry pile for no less than a sturdy week.

The entire load came out smelling. And friends? Peachy fish is a dream when compared to the rancid rot that came out of my dryer.

Fish oil is delicate stuff. Unstable, I'm told. Rots easily.

I threw the entire load back into the washer. Did not pass go. Stepped over the massive laundry pile, and washed the shit out of that laundry.

I Dawned it, twice. As in the same treatment they give the poor sea animals after Exxon spills copious amounts of oil into the oceans. I followed my Dawn treatment with the works: every laundry product that I have, in massive quantities. Twice. I ran three rinse cycles.

Hopeful, I held my breath and threw it all into the dryer with four super scented dryer sheets.

The result? A dryer that smells like rotten fish. A trashcan full of clothes.

Farewell, sexy sweatpants.

I've switched to capsules. And lemon flavored, this time.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rolling, rolling, rolling

Up until very recently, I was under the grave misconception that babies are not "mobile" until they start to crawl. I felt luxuriously far away from the worries of baby-proofing and chasing my little loves around the house and NO! away from the stairs.

Here's the thing. Rolling. And bum up in the air like-it's-nobody's-business scooting.

Rhys rolled from belly to back for the first time at 13 weeks. Which, adjusted age-wise, is actually 6 weeks and makes him like the Michael Jordan of babies. Is Michael Jordan an outdated reference?

Anyway, Quin took the more leisurely lumpish baby pace and rolled over belly to back for the first time at 18 weeks.

I've been feeling quite proud of my babies' physical prowess in the rolling department.

I had no idea.

Rolling, apparently, is the tip of the mobility ice burg.

Suddenly both babies also roll belly to back. And they squirm. And wriggle. And arch. These little movements add up to a surprising amount of forward, backward, and sideways motion.

I've signed them up for a triathlon in August.

Running out of the room for a second to throw in a load of laundry has taken on new meaning. Cause sometimes I come back and they've scooted right off the safety of their little play blanket and are waiting for me under the couch.

This game is less fun at night when any scootage results in the smashing of heads into the bars of the bumper-less crib.

Everyone warns moms about rolling. And crawling. And walking. And I sort of wonder, isn't that the point of all of this? Forward motion.

Roll on, babies.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I know. I know!

I've read Fast Food Nation. I've read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I've read The Omnivore's Dilemma.

Actually, I've read the first three quarters of Fast Food Nation two or three times, which basically counts as reading the whole book at least once. For some reason I can't take the plunge and make it through the end. And Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I read about half way, until I felt like poking myself in the eyeball with a dull pencil and using an asparagus spear to knock Barbara Kingsolver off her high horse. Omnivore's Dilemma, I gave up after about 90 pages, after asking myself for the thirtieth time why Barbara Kingsolver was re-writing a more boring version of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle under the pseudonym of Michael Pollan. So.

Be that what it may, I'm fairly educated about food. We eat mostly organic. We buy local when we can, and we know that whole grains are good and white bread is evil (although we love a good baguette and damn it, a little evil is okay sometimes). I spent much of my college career living with nutrition majors. I was actually enrolled in culinary school at one point, although dropped out before starting because of an opportunity I couldn't resist at work. So.

I should know better.

And I do. But that doesn't stop me.

I have a fast food habit.

Perhaps it's because I have two babies and often the only way I'm guaranteed a meal is if someone literally throws it at me through my car window. Perhaps it's because they wrap the food in irrisistable and crinkly wax paper. Perhaps it's because Dairy Queen gives me my meal in an inviting little box all my own. Perhaps.

I'm not proud of my habit. But YUM! Fake meat flavor! Salt! Grease!

Why do I divulge these secrets? Usually it's because I have no filter, and the overwhelming urge to make frequent confessionals. This time, there's more of a purpose. I'm hoping that this particular post may catch the eye of some sort of fast food researcher who frequents small but excessively important blogs like my own for consumer feedback and will promptly take my complaints and suggestions back to the source and guarantee my continued addiction. So.

I'm going to start with Dunkin' Donuts, because you have seriously pissed me off. To start with? Your donuts are not delicious. Krispy Kreme is where it's at. You cannot touch them. However, Krispy Kreme does not find my part of the country appealing, apparently, and I cannot travel to Florida every time I want a donut. So please. PLEASE. Make me a good donut.

And then there's the issue of consistency. I would like to clarify for you that the reason I purchase food from you is that I assume you can make it better or faster than I can do myself. You're right on in the faster department. But better? That's a crap shoot. When I order a small, french vanilla iced coffee with extra cream and extra sugar, that's what I want. Every time. (Although total nix on that cream right now -dairy- but for future reference, this is important). So why is it that half the time, I get a cup of cream with an inch of grainy sugar at the bottom and a splash of coffee, and other times, I get a cup of ice with a shot of coffee and a hint of sugar, and other times I get an almost black cup of lukewarm but sweet coffee? I feel like I need to crawl through the drivethrough window and make the damn thing myself. I want consistency!

And lastly. This is a large bone to pick. Why, oh why, has my most local Dunkin' Donuts recently hired what I can only surmise to be one of the Singing Quiznos Rodents? With the scary teeth? Who has on two separate occasions responded to my attempts to order at the little microphone box with the rude prompt to "just drive up" and then berated me for having a car that makes a noise like "nails on a chalk board"???? Okay, Dunkin' Donuts. I get it. I don't drive a nice car. But I want my effing crappy donut and inconsistent coffee, okay? So shut up, quit whining about that noise (and NO, Quiznos creature, I don't know why my car makes that noise and I don't like it any better than you do) and give me my damn food.

And then there's Wendy's. Just who do you think you are, Dave Thomas? Don't think I haven't noticed that you've raised your prices. And that you no longer serve "Biggie" items. And that your value menu is crap. And no more Dr. Pepper? You're not that good. Especially without the Dr. Pepper. I'm shifting my loyalties.

To Dairy Queen. Ironic, because I am not allowed to eat dairy. But as soon as I can, Dairy Queen, I'm going to go visit and go buck wild on the real meat of your menu. Until then, however, I am totally tickled silly that you give me my food in a box. And that your burgers are so much more burger-y than everyone else's. And your fries, oh. Wow and yummyliciuos-ness.

So yeah. I have a fast food habit.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cradle Crap

For weeks, I've been watching the slow and adorable progression of freckles on the babies' heads. Like any proud mother, I began to gushingly point out these adorable little freckles to just about anyone who so much as glanced in the direction of my babies.

Spending a recent afternoon with my mother, I couldn't wait to show her the babies' newly speckled heads. She looked at the freckles. She looked at me.

"April. That's cradle crap."

Cradle crap? Excuse me, older, wiser, more experienced woman who raised me. I believe the term is cradle cap. And crap or cap, those freckles are neither.

I told her as much. She responded with an offer to demonstrate the removal of one of the specks in question.

"NO WAY!" I snapped. "Get your picking fingers away from my baby's head! You're going to tear off his adorable freckles! You're going to make him bleed!"

She shrugged. We moved on.

Later, in the privacy of my own home, with one of the babies peacefully perched on my lap for a snuggly little snooze, I decided to do a little investigating of my own. Because really, the nerve of calling those adorable little freckles by any other name.

I gave a tentative little scratch with my fingernail.

The freckle easily peeled away.

No blood.

Cradle crap. Stickey, flakey, non adorable cradle cap crap.

Sheepish. Me.

to capture it.

It was a year ago yesterday that we learned we were finally going to have a baby. So much was wrapped into the emotion of that day. The end of a journey. The start of a journey.

Life really is beautiful.

(Thank you, Jill, for the beautiful belly pictures)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

To everyone who saw me today and is now coveting my look.

You want to know my secret. My je ne sais quoi.

I don't blame you.

It's an essence. An aura. A little something to leave people wondering.

Well friends, I leave you in restless wonder no more.

First off, the scent. So woodsy, with notes of warm spice and a slight bite at the end. What was that alluring smell I brought with me into the workplace today? No, not an expensive European perfume. Actually, it was mostly urine. See, I was peed on while breastfeeding a baby on my way out the door. No time to change, but meh. No problem. That's why God invented the blow dryer. Heaven knows that dandy little tool hasn't been put to use on my hair in ages. It dried the pee in a jiffy.

Not one to let a little pee hold me back, I still had one baby to feed before I could in good parental conscience leave. It was this second baby who decided to join in the fun by returning large quantities of half-digested milk on the pee-free parts of my dress. No time to change, and now no time to blow dry. I grabbed a kind-of clean diaper, wiped off the chunks, and spritzed on a few squirts of patchouli.

To my tolerant co-workers and fellow lunchtime errand-runners: I apologize if you found my intoxicating scent distracting. I sure did.

I'm also sorry that I couldn't leave well enough alone. That I had to step up my game to the next level of amazing-ness by dropping chocolate all over the front of my dress while scarfing down a candy bar on my way back to work. And that the chocolate had to melt in multiple intriguing places and leave everyone wondering just what I had been up to during my lunch break. This sort of trick is just another element of my mystique.

I like to think that I'm a graceful mess. That as I ran through the rain (my umbrella safe and dry inside my car) into the office shoveling lukewarm french fries into my mouth and carrying a rotisserie chicken under one arm (really), people who saw me started humming the chorus to "sexy back."

In celebration, I jammed out to that very song on my way home. Listening, of course, through my husband's ear warmer headphones on the iPod, since my car speakers are broken and really it's not too warm for ear warmers this July anyway.

You just can't touch this.