7.28.2009

ONE mile into TX and a fucking ant bit me

Yeah. Fucking fuck shit ass bullcrap.

And it's so mofo'ing hot I broke out in a sweat just from running
Hollis around for 10 minutes.

On another note: we're 4 1/2 hours from home!! Yay!!

Here's me fighting crazy woman tears: Yay! Home! Boohoo! Texas!

Six more hours to go!

11:16 am

This was one of the first signs that said "DALLAS"

Here comes the sun.

We're finally on I35 south headed to Dallas, then home to Austin.

I'm starting to sweat already. I can feel the pressing heat, pushing
me down, stinging my skin, snatching my breath away. Ugh.

"A little dramatic?" you say? Yes, yes, and YES. I want to be where
I can actually play outside and enjoy the summer instead of somewhere
I have to survive it.

7.27.2009

Finding total freedom to say what you want

Have you ever noticed that you over indulge on the details when responding in someone else's comments? Do you find that you just told someone how your husband has impotency issues or that you really hate your brother's wife because she's a lazy shit, but you'd NEVER type those words on your own site?

You may have started your blog in relative anonymity, but as you became more excited about the entire process of communicating with everyone at once, you naively passed out your url to everyone you know, including family, co-workers, people you met last night at that dinner party. And there you were: STUCK.

ScarbieDoll at Martinis for Milk is in such a predicament with her new job. In her own words she says,
I'm stuck peeps. I've been hiding in the real world as a result. You see a took a great job that has made me a professional and a semi-public figure -- but my online voice is completely stifled.
GoogieBaba at Mommy on the Floor wrote a post that was linked up by a popular local blogger and her traffic increased 9 fold. Now she's worried her carefully crafted and guarded anonymity might be at risk,
But when I looked through my stats, some of the visitors were from some pretty official sounding places. After learning what happened to ND, I am a little nervous. I think I do a decent job concealing my identity. However, Virgin did find me. I hadn’t even told her I had a blog. So maybe, not so much.
I really envy bloggers who have complete freedom of expression, either real or perceived. I really appreciate their appallingly raw and real thoughts and feelings. I am just not in a place to reciprocate. I keep my writing to things I'd share with a close friend if my mother were listening in and dictating to my mother-in-law.

It's my own fault, if you can call it that. I made this bed of This is Worthwhile and now I'll lay in it and stretch out as best I can.

I have kept hidden my identifying details, other than my first name and those of my friends and family, and where I live, but that's because there are a large number of readers who already know this and I find using pseudonyms exhausting. Should I call Hollis Big Fat Baby? #1? SBH? Twinkle Toes? and what about Anthony? He could be Numero Uno or Big Daddy, I suppose, but again: exhausting to think about and be vigilant about. I think it's cute other people do it, it's just not for me.

However, I have found a release: comments on other people's blogs.

In the dregs of comments I can open up more about myself and my more controversial thoughts like I can't here. I admit there is a possibility that someone I know in real life might scamper around to all my favorite haunts and thus see a little tid bit I've left, but it's a chance I'm willing to take; it's just so minuscule due to the amount of internet foraging I do in a week. I'll give anyone a $1 if they find something I've written they find either a) shocking or b) offensive in the past week anywhere on the internet.

And I don't comment anonymously EVER. I would rather set up a dummy account than leave an invisible space holder.

I've been thinking a lot lately about re-entering the job market (not that it'll be any time soon, but it will be some time). Will this blog shoot me in the foot? Am I even traceable? It's so weird that this is even an issue! I Google my name and you see a lot of my Twitter posts (I thought my name was hidden??) and other message board type things. It's weird to be that exposed.

How do you handle this? Do you worry about it coming back to haunt you? Do you just say fuck it and forge ahead? What about feedback from your family and friends?? I'm really curious as to how others have handled this.

7.24.2009

8:29 pm


Anthony throwing some blue steel at his reunion

From the trenches of Shawnee Mission West Class of '89 informal
saloon mixer.

From my couch to yours!


So, there's this big thing happening in the blogging world right now called BlogHer.

What's BlogHer, you ask? It's a convention for women bloggers where they can network, learn new things, put a face to an internet friendship and otherwise spread their bloggy wings and soar.

I'm new to blogging so I was like, "Huh? Wha-?" and then there was a flurry of tweets and blog posts about nerves and oh-my-god-I'm-gonna-leave-my-kids-overnight-for-the-first-time-ever, and WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR?? blog posts and suddenly it's here. NOW.

It's in Chicago... and I'm in Kansas City, by way of Austin. I'll actually be at my husband's 20th high school reunion for most of this, but I'll pop in as much as I can.

For those of us who would like to be in Chicago, but can't, some fine ladies got the great idea to do a BlogHer@Home!

So, for everyone who's on the "tour" welcome and have a peak around. I've written about everything from my son mouthing disgusting things to my beloved canine friend leaving us for Doggy Heaven; from my constant struggle to work out my feelings about being a SAHM to thinking my husband should walk like a penguin. I'm all over the place! I have no idea if what I'm writing is worthwhile to anyone else, but it's definitely worthwhile to me.

Enjoy and thanks for visiting! I can't wait to meet some new friends!




3:55 pm


On my in-laws' couch in Overland Park, KS, giving smooches to a squirming lil' fella.

Dealing with my hate of advertising

This is so wrong on so many levels.

I am staunchly against "themed" toys. Anthony thinks I overreact to things like "pretty princesses" and our kiddie camping chair with Disney's Cars plastered all over it (I HATE it). But after years of studying advertising and its affects on a kid's perception of him- or herself and their world I think it's safe to say it skews things towards a marketer's world view. Not a realistic, humanistic view.

I think that McDonalds and the like, should not be allowed to include toys in their meals, or even cartoons. I think that Disney should stick to making movies and maybe a themed lunch box or two, maybe a pair of sheets, but not a whole suite of themed merchandise. We're just over saturated.

I remember having a set of Miss Piggy sheets and they were special. Is it special anymore to have a thousand things with a franchise plastered all over it??

Currently in our house it's not an issue, but I'm gearing up for it. I have to be prepared even though right now Hollis plays with a turkey baster and is happy. There will come a time when he might say, "Mommy, I want that Spiderman backpack" and I'll have to consider his little kid desires against my natural inclination to avoid brand-loyalty, consumerism, and sexism. Why won't he want the Wonder Woman bag?? Or the Cinderella bag?? (Although, maybe I'm not giving him credit and he may want one of those in which case I'll be thrilled he's following his own heart, but I'll still have to contend with the mass-branding of a money-making franchise...)

I was just at a good friend's house who has 2 1/2 year old twin girls and her living room was filled with "little girl" toys: mini high chairs and baby play pens for their dolls, all plastered with Disney princesses and in bright pink. I thought, "Will my living room one day be filled with a mini-garage set up in dark greens and blues?"

My friend is an opinionated, fiery feminist and plans fully on leading by example that women are equal to men, can do everything a man can do intellectually, and can do whatever their hearts desires, yet, her room was filled with stereotypically "girl" toys. Why was that?

"All this is from my mom," she explained with a laugh.

Aha! Exactly! And if I think to any stereotypically "boy" toys that Hollis might have it's usually from a friend or family member. Thankfully, no guns, yet. I think I'll just donate those outright (sorry, Granddad, if you had big plans on "shooting" things with your grandson).

I have another friend, again, another wickedly smart woman and feminist, whose 3 year old is obsessed with princesses. I laugh because of course she'd want to wear her tiaras and princess costumes all day every day. OF COURSE she would! And my friend lets her and it's wonderful and amazing and I know that this little girl will remember her childhood full of magic and fun even while she enters womanhood with a her mother's voice in her ear about how woman are powerful beings and can do anything they want in the whole wide world.

Will I have the presence of mind to be as kind with Hollis??

I've written countless papers on this stuff over the years, most notably I did research on the affects of advertising (images and otherwise) on girls relating to their body image and any eating disorders vs. the affects of their mother's views of their own bodies and a girl's body image and issues with eating. I wanted to know which had more weight in a girl's life: her mother or advertising.

In my research I found a stronger correlation between how a mother felt about her body and her daughter's body image than advertising's effects on a girls' ideas alone. Basically, a daughter will follow her mother's lead.

However, and this was very important, advertising could still be darkly superior in a girl's life if her relationship with her mother was not a good one.

Will commercials and movies dominate my child's choices if I am not a positively strong enough force in his life? Will he think he has to make everything into a gun? Will he think that men have to be masculine and never cry? Big and brawny? Tight-lipped?

I remember a study I read where given a stick, the boys would shoot with it or jab it; the girls would cradle it or coo to it. And all this with no former knowledge of stereotypes according to their parents who kept dolls and guns out of the home and only gave them gender neutral toys and books and they themselves considered their roles to be non-stereotypical (as in, they shared all chores and care giving). All this to say, Hollis has hard wiring in him that is totally foreign to me.

Right now Hollis loves his play kitchen and pots and pans, but he shows no interest in his doll, Lukas. He'll pick up sticks in the back yard and he pokes everything and swats at the cat. He doesn't cradle it or talk to it. He's started making motor noises for things and has them "drive" all over everything. I haven't seen any little girl do that at this age. And he's only ever watched a little Sesame St. on YouTube so where is he getting this?

I know he's a boy, but it's weird to see him shift from a gender neutral kind of little being into a more "boyish" figure.

What has been your biggest struggle in this department? Do you give in? Or do you draw the line at the brand-marketing and stereotyped toys??

I just hope I can keep up an intelligent dialogue with him on this stuff and not sweat the small stuff, like having a living room full of pink, princess toys.

7.21.2009

Blame boredome

God only knows how we stumble across each other in this infinitely vast universe, but we do. And so I came across Sticky Fingers, a la Tara, in the UK. She converted some meme she received into a short blast of interesting factoids and it was picked up by a bevvy of other bloggers and passed around the blogosphere. And now I am too tempted to pass it up.

Here goes:

1. Who is the hottest movie star?
To answer this is to admit that I actually have a catalog of stars in my brain, which is ultimately, a little humiliating. However, after some rapid deduction I have to go the boring route and cite Angelina Jolie... I mean, COME ON.

2. Apart from your house and your car, what's the most expensive item you've ever bought?
This will be boring, I'm mostly a $50 bucks here and $35 bucks there kind of girl. In recent memory, it was a Bodybugg. We'll see if this little critter lives up to its $250 price tag.

3. What's your most treasured memory?
Running on the greenbelt with my dog. The earthy smells, the cicadas, the dappled sunlight on the trail, the sound of pounding paws and panting beside me and just me and my muscles for as long as I wanted.

4. What was the best gift you ever received as a child?
My baby sister. Bar none.

5. What's the biggest mistake you've made?
I once IM'd a friend that I'd had sex with our big boss' younger brother the night before only to find out I'd IM'd my manager instead.

6. 4 words to describe yourself.
Exuberant, shy, loving, ribald.

7. What was your highlight or lowlight of 2008?
My wonderful doggy friend, Levi, went to Doggy Heaven after a long, and obviously only semi-successful fight against cancer. We got an extra year with him, but then had to let him go.

8. Favorite film?
Without hesitation I can tell you Splash. Best. movie. ever.

9. Tell me one thing I don't know about you.
Well, this is quite easy seeing as you don't know me from Eve, Tara, but I'll pretend we're old pals and assume you know the more boring things about me. Having said that, I secretly wish I was Canadian.

10. If you were a comic book/strip or cartoon character, who would you be?
Cheetara. Do I even have to explain why??

And so, as memes often require, I tag the following ladies. No pressure to do it, obviously, but I'd love to see your answers:
Baby in Broad
Loulou's Views
Mommy Maria
Capital Mom
A Lil' Welsh Rarebit
Scary Mommy
Cave Mother
Muddy Boots
Diary of an Unlikely Housewife

7.20.2009

Why do models have to be rail thin?


I just stumbled across an online Victoria's Secret pictorial and I'm curious: why do the powers that be think that showing their wares on tall, rail-thin women, who arch their backs and stick our their butts to get the illusion of curves, will actually get the average woman to the store? Is it because they think WE think we'll look like that if we buy it? I mean, will I look like this girl if I buy this thong? Will it look like that on my butt?? Will my butt become a perky present and my eyes get big like saucers?



Ugh. I just get so upset at the constant barrage of images of thin, thin, thin, toned, toned, toned, smooth, smooth, smooth ALL the flippin' time. When I let my guard down I am exhausted and sad. I try so hard every day to not buy into that bullshit, but it is relentless. If Dove didn't make me break out when I used it, I'd buy stock in the company just to say thanks for their curvy women ads.



I feel as though I'm in a life long Battle of the Bulge, pun intended. Why can't just one, ONE high end designer introduce a woman that would be considered beautiful before mainstream media existed? A woman who was soft looking, had rounded shoulders, an ample bosom and bottom. No clavicles, no sharp-edged shoulders, no pelvic bones. Think, "More cushion for the pushin'," and go from there.

I'd even say, Ok, go ahead and maker her 5' 11" if you have to, but keep her soft looking and don't call her "plus sized, fat, or overweight" and don't call the clothing she's wearing anything other than your designs. No, "A|X|+", Bagdley Mischka Speciale, or Mike Kors or something to let everyone know that she's wearing a "big girl" size.

That way one chubby little girl who loved fashion might see a realistic image associated with power, art, style, world-travel, and desirability. And she'd see her pudgy arms and round face and think, "Hey, the world thinks I'm beautiful just like my momma says!" and I could think, "Wow, we're making progress after all these years of starvation!"

Is it really necessary to show clothes on women who probably have them all pinned in the back? And I'm not hating on skinny ladies, because I know you are real people with hearts and sometimes get a bad rap from the rest of us with size complexes, but I'm just saying that the reason they're called "Super Models" is because there are only, like 12 of them in the whole world, so why are we seeing them everywhere? Technically, they're more rare than a shark attack and as fleeting as Big Foot. We shouldn't be seeing this as normal.

It makes me so sad that we all buy into this over and over. I know of no woman who loves her body, not even the tall, skinny ones. What has happened to us??

Separation anxiety: The mama's, of course, not the kid's

We've been having a rough time over here the past few weeks. The mood around the house is often tense and slightly antagonistic. Anthony and I haven't exactly been fighting, but we're not exactly warm and fuzzy to each other. I'm doing my best to be kind and understanding. It's working, but barely.

So, last Friday, we'd been butting heads all afternoon- reservedly, of course, because we never really lose our shit completely on each other - and Hollis had spent the last hour or so bawling his eyes out because we'd brought him inside and made him stop playing with the garden hose. Anthony and I had silently called a truce and were focused on feeding Hollis and finishing up our own dinners when we heard a knock at the door.

Of course, I thought, it's probably Mom or something and since I told her I'd rather have her pop over unexpectedly than have her use her cell to call me en route and cause a wreck. I was right, but it was also Terry. Their faces were beaming when I opened the door.

"Hi!" they chorused, "We're taking Hollis for the night! You get the Volvo, we'll take the Mitsubishi with the car seat."

And in they rushed. Over the next five minutes I ran around packing his overnight bag, explaining his current mood, making sure mom had the children's Tylenol in case his teeth hurt that night and here, take this snack and this snack, and this sippy cup for his water, and "do you have stuff for his breakfast tomorrow??" My mom assured me they had everything under control and to just relax and enjoy a night off.

Hollis was in heaven in Grandma's arms and squirmed away from me when I leaned in for a kiss. I'm not even sure Anthony was allowed to touch him (Anthony's been low man on the totem pole the past couple of weeks, poor fella). They slipped out the garage door in the kitchen and I was standing next to the bar suddenly bereft.

The car hadn't even started yet and my face screwed up and I began crying.

Anthony saw me and said, "Aw, sweetie. It's such a nice thing they did!"

I shook my head understanding that he thought I was crying because the gesture of them taking him for a night was so sweet, "No, I miss my baby!" I murmured and covered my face and cried harder. He came over to me immediately and wrapped his arms around me.

"Aw, babe... I thought you were verklempt at them coming to take him!"

I shook my head against his chest.

Then I heard the engine start up and the car pull out of our garage and knew Hollis was on his way. More tears.

When Anthony released me from his embrace we both went through the motions of cleaning the kitchen. He stopped after he'd brought the dishes over and I continued working in the kitchen. We then proceeded to argue about the dishes, then argue for an hour more about our navels.

Throughout our arguing and intense follow-up discussion I kept thinking, "I'm sure this isn't what Mom and Terry expected us to be doing," but much like a bubble bath together might help us connect on a romantic level, Anthony and I needed to iron some shit out in the real world, too. We came to an amicable end and I got up to get ready for bed.

While in my room I heard the soft hum of the baby monitor and started to cry all over again as I turned it off. I kept thinking about Maddie and her parents and how cavernous my heart would feel if I should ever lose Hollis permanently instead of just to two loving grandparents who decided they were finally up to the challenge of an overnight stay. I sucked it up, thought how wonderful a thing it was to feel this kind of love and sat down to the computer to call my sister.

I told her what Mom and Terry had done and immediately got choked up all over again. Totally seized by emotion and tears like a freight train - no warning, nothing. Just THERE. In my heart, on my face, everywhere. My sister, albeit lovingly and with some amount of humor on her part, chided me that I was being ridiculous and "It's only one night. Don't ruin your night off," or something to that extent. I reminded her that I had also been weepy for the first few hours of my trip to see her in January without Hollis and that I was fine, I just couldn't help it, I MISSED MY BABY.

I can't explain this thing that ambushed me and wrapped itself about my, otherwise, logical, independent, and rational self. It was like it only left me a crack to see through and a hole to breathe. I couldn't even look into his room for HOURS after he'd gone.

I'm sure it didn't help that I was already on edge with Anthony, despite the fact that we'd hugged it out and bumped fists. I felt raw and nervous. What if Mom didn't hear him choke in the middle of the night? What if Terry snored all night and Hollis didn't sleep a wink? What if they didn't have anything to feed him for breakfast? What if he didn't sleep enough? - we had a big play date planned the next day during his regular nap time. What if? What if? What if??

Eventually, I relaxed and even went in Hollis' room to tidy up with nary a tear. - Ok, well, maybe a thickened throat. - I went to bed with earplugs in, guiltless about this little luxury, and slept like a rock.

I remember thinking how ridiculous mothers were who cried and wept over missing their kids. Oh, boy. What a shit I was. When you are with someone, ANYONE, every day of your life you miss them. Remember the tears at the end of summer camp?? Or before you went away to college? Hell, I cry when Anthony is gone and he's grown man whose reliance on me is minor at best. So, OF COURSE I'm going to react strongly to my baby being whisked away from me for an overnight excursion. I think about Hollis and his needs, wants, and feelings every waking moment. No joke. I have to to ensure his survival.

The first few times I left the house without Hollis were tough. I kept expecting to hear a baby gurgle and coo and my mind raced over check lists for baby (do I have enough wipes? diapers? change of - oh yeah... he's not with me...). Going out with friends felt odd. I'd blink my eyes as if I'd just left a dark theater. I couldn't quite adjust to the baby-less feeling. Something was missing.

You might think I'm this crazy, over-protective mom who has no life, who can't decipher where she ends and her kids start and you'd be so freakin' wrong. But, if you do, then so be it. The truth is that I very much know where I end and my kids start, but the process of disengaging myself from the hyper-vigilance required when a child is an infant to a more secure stand-and-watch position is not something that happens overnight. It happens in conjunction with his growth. I think I'm spot on. Er - I hope I'm spot on, at least. I hope my feelings are in line with reality.

The next morning when I went to get Hollis he saw me and yelled, "Neeew!" and ran the opposite direction to Grandma - not exactly the welcome I was hoping for. But, he didn't want to leave, so ok. He cried a bit, but then was fine once he was strapped in his seat. He was in my jurisdiction again and I felt more at ease.

I also felt immense pride. My baby is securely attached. He can leave me and Anthony with confidence and balance. He can re-enter his life with me without penalizing me for "abandoning" him. He feels safe in his world. He trusts trustworthy adults.

I will gladly cry forlornly in my living room a hundred times over, take shit from my sister for over-reacting, and fight with Anthony over stupid crap with utter abandon because there's finally no little person around a thousand times over if it means I get to keep witnessing my little caterpillar growing his beautiful toddler butterfly wings and fluttering away.

It's a thing of wonder and beauty to watch him confidently return to my arms, my sweet, baby Hollis, he who has made all the puzzle pieces finally fit together just by being. And I'm not ashamed to admit it.

7.17.2009

When your man has fits, walk like a penguin

This was an IM chat I just had with Anthony:


ME:
LOL Comment of the day: When my husband gets tired of fighting, he likes to break me by looking at me with big eyes and saying, “How does a penguin walk?” Which initially pisses me off, but who can stay mad at a grown man running after you, flapping his arms and yelling, “Hooow does a penguin waaaalk?” Which is why our fights usually end with BOTH of us running around the living room, flapping our arms, and the neighbors gathering around our window. ~ MonsteRawr (via The Bloggess)


ANTHONY:
wow

we should try that

ME:
yeah, seriously hahaha

but we never really fight

although next time you're in a fit i might ask you how a penguin walks hahhaha

you may hit me, but it'd be worth it

hahaha

ANTHONY:
well, bust that one out when I have (and here he stopped because he saw my rapid fire response about his "fit")

yeah

exactly

ME:
LOL

who knows her man??

ANTHONY:
you do, Jessica

you do

And I love him to bits, too. Fits and all.

7.15.2009

PSA: Friends don't let friends drive and text


This is a post I've wanted to write for a while. Let me just get it out there, in all my inflammatory, scare-tactic glory:

TEXTING WHILE DRIVING IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED.

Yeah, it is.

And it's not exactly a surprise that it's dangerous in the first place. The whole introduction to a telephone in the car hasn't been the best idea we've ever had. Wasn't applying makeup and swatting at the kids enough?

Mechanics of Attention:

You all know that sensation of chatting with a friend in the car and looking back up to the road and not really remembering the past few miles. That's because language – talking and listening, including on a cell phone – interferes with visual tasks, such as driving. Add having to also visualize the person, as on a cell phone, and we've now split our mental resources even more and that leaves even less for paying attention to our surroundings. It's a lethal combination, killing, some say, up to 2600 people a year, and that's a number from 2002. Do you really need to complete that call? Is it worth it?

Chatting And Driving

Talking on a cell phone makes a 20 year old's reactions about on par with that of a 70 year old's.

Yeah, for real. And it gets even better.

A University of Utah study found that:
  • Motorists who talked on either handheld or hands-free cell phones drove slightly slower, were 9 percent slower to hit the brakes, displayed 24 percent more variation in following distance as their attention switched between driving and conversing, were 19 percent slower to resume normal speed after braking and were more likely to crash. Three study participants rear-ended the pace car. All were talking on cell phones. None were drunk.
  • Drivers drunk at the 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level drove a bit more slowly than both undistracted drivers and drivers using cell phones, yet more aggressively. They followed the pace car more closely, were twice as likely to brake only four seconds before a collision would have occurred, and hit their brakes with 23 percent more force. “Neither accident rates, nor reaction times to vehicles braking in front of the participant, nor recovery of lost speed following braking differed significantly” from undistracted drivers, the researchers write.

“Impairments associated with using a cell phone while driving can be as profound as those associated with driving while drunk,” they conclude.

So, you might as well have a glass of wine (or two, or however many it takes to get you to .08) and hop in the car with your kids. It's about the same. And of course, as a responsible, super safe parent, you'd never swig a glass of wine and jump behind the wheel.

And here's the thing, I don't think I'm telling you anything you haven't already read, experienced first hand, or thought about yourself regarding your cell phone. What you may not know is that texting while driving exceeds even these deplorable stats.

Might As Well Drive Blindfolded:

Currently, the number of deaths caused by texting while driving are anecdotal, but increasing nonetheless. We all read about the train conductor who ran his train afoul while texting. His intense need to text ultimately killed 25 people. Like so many others (like her or him or these guys) who are simply not paying attention to anything but their little hand held device and they end up ruining their lives and taking someone else's.

Study after study find that texting lengthens response times significantly more than just talking on the phone or even being inebriated or high. In my opinion, I might as well drive blindfolded; I'd have about the same luck.

Texting and drinking aren't even in the same category of vices other than they seem to invoke a loss of self control: alcohol, by nature, and texting/phoning, by design. We blame the drunk driver, yet understand that a normally smart, responsible person is devoid of those traits while drinking. What's the texter's excuse? He had to let his wife know he was going to be late or she'd divorce him? I mean, really. We need to reevaluate how we communicate with the people in our lives if instant communication has become the standard.

What's To Be Done?

So far,
Seven states have banned text messaging for all drivers: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington. The District of Columbia also bans all drivers from text-messaging.

In addition, novice drivers are banned from texting in nine states: Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

School bus drivers are banned from text messaging in Arkansas, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

For more state-by-state information on cell-phone laws, see Cell Phone Laws.
Hands-Free Is Safer, Right??

Wrong. You may have use of both of your hands now, which is a slight improvement, but you're still using most of your mental energy for the call, not the driving. In the war for your attention, the conversation naturally wins out. It's just how we're wired.

A researcher recently surveyed
... current scientific research on cellphone use, showing that talking on the phone, regardless of phone type, has negative impacts on performance, especially when the driver is confronted by complex or unpredictable situations. Performance while using a hands-free phone was rarely found to be better than that using a hand-held phone.
And,
Some studies found drivers compensate for the harmful effects of cellphone use when using a hand-held phone—by driving slower or pulling over to finish a call—but neglect to do so when using a hands-free phone.
Oy. I know a lot of states require a hands-free device, but that's still not enough.

What To Do?

Again, I think it's common sense and here's my extensive, very complicated list on what should be done about it:
  • Turn your phone OFF, don't even have it on so you might be tempted to answer a call or a text.
  • Keep it in place that's not convenient, and oh yeah, turn it OFF.
  • Tell anyone and everyone who might be texting, Tweeting, FBing, emailing, calling, or otherwise trying to reach you that you have a rule: I TURN MY PHONE OFF WHEN DRIVING, THEREFORE I WILL GET BACK TO YOU WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO.
  • If you are going to use your phone for good (i.e., report the domestic abuse you just witnessed, or the writhing deer or gopher in the ditch) pull over first. Then turn your phone back OFF.
  • Threaten your teens, who are more likely to text while driving since texting is a second language with most, with certain death (no pun intended) if they decide to text while driving or otherwise use their phone while driving. Then tell them to TURN IT OFF.
  • Really challenge yourself to unplug for the time in your car. Turn YOURSELF off. It's a treat.
I'm not perfect and I don't claim to follow my own rules all the time, but I WANT TO. I was one of the last people I know to hold out on the cell phone thing, so communicating in the car was usually kept to a person to person activity or me singing along to the radio up until fairly recently.

I admit that it is a sexy thing to keep in touch and up to date constantly on all things social (which is another post entirely). But please, PLEASE, stop. It could ruin your life, your baby's, someone else's baby's. You could be responsible for someone's death because you had to tell a friend you just bought an awesome pair of shoes on sale. Just think about it.

And to my friends, I am no longer going to chat with you if you're driving. It's because I love you.

Note: While trying to find an image for this post I Googled "texting while driving" and clicked on Images. I inadvertently saw one of the most gruesome things I've ever seen of a person's (sex was unidentifiable) mangled bottom half being held by two rescue workers. I mention this only because I want this to become real to people. Not just some chick ranting on and on and including a dozen links. I had to cover the image with my hand while I tried to click away, but it was too late. I'll never forget that image.)

7.14.2009

Official-ness

I've finished the paperwork and scanning and emailing for BlogHer and look!

<-----------

I have a real BlogHer ad banner! Weee!

AND, I managed to figure out how to make my Minima layout a 3-column!

I'm so proud of mah-self.

7.13.2009

My kid is hoss

His first "peanut butter" and jelly sandwich ever.

He didn't even touch his milk.

Yep, he's a bad ass.

Dark places and hot spots

Friday, I went with my mom, Terry, and Elaine (my mom's friend from CA) to Inner Space Caverns. It's a perfect touristy destination and particularly a good idea when it's as hot as the fucking face of the sun like it has been here the past few days.

My SUV was loaded with two coolers of water bottles and snacks for the 60 mile round trip excursion and I had a change of clothes for Hollis in case he finally decided to poop. (As a side note, we'd been having a Mexican Stand Off of sorts and the poor little fella hadn't pooped in almost 48 hours. - You can see where I'm going with this, but it's not quite what you may think.)

I'd also thought ahead and brought my ErgoBaby so I could haul Hollis around on my back during the cave tour. I was soooo proud of myself for thinking of this brilliant Mommy move, but you know what they say about the best laid plans...

Anyhow, we, and 20 other people, pack into a little trolley that takes us down to the mouth of the cave. Hollis is all up on Grandma and Grandpa and shrieks whenever I touch him. He wants nothing to do with ol' Mama. I'm thinking the ErgoBaby thing might not be a go, but I figure to push past it and exert my Mommy dominance. We load him up and I exit the trolley and walk about 25 feet then feel a hot sensation on my lower back. Hollis' diaper had leaked and he was blissfully emptying his bladder on me... and we were only minutes into the tour.

Oh well, I think, I'll just suck it up and keep going. At least he's happy now.

Well... NO. Not even close. He kept whimpering for Maa-Maa (Grandma) and leaning over to her out of his carrier trappings. He was beginning to disrupt the entire tour, and I had forgotten his paci, so we had no choice but to hand him over to mom, soaked britches and all, just so he'd be quiet.

Mom carried him the ENTIRE HOUR LONG TOUR, her shirt soaked entirely of pee. Hollis wouldn't go to Papa, he wouldn't go to me, and he refused to walk until we were on our way out, and even then he'd demand a lift up from, you guessed it, only Grandma.

Mom decided that there are definitely some drawbacks to being his favorite of the moment.

I'd have to definitely second that.

7.10.2009

Things I wish someone had told me, Part 2: The must-haves & don't-buys

This is Part 2 of a Things I Wish Someone Had Told me. Part 1 is here.

When I got pregnant I had absolutely NO CLUE what a parent needed to take care of their infant. I actually had to do research on it! Even now I can't help but shake my head and roll my eyes at that. Parenthood is truly an alternate universe that we are thrust into the moment our little one arrives. I remember going to Babies R Us with Anthony to finish our registry. I had done the bulk of work online to save us the torture of having to zap a thousand little doodads by hand. It still melted down into a full blown anxiety attack for Anthony and a tight-lipped, white-knuckled, don't scream in public fiasco for me.

I wish like hell someone had known enough to tell me what to do and where to go. I would have avoided Babies R Us if I could have, but I had no idea what else was out there.

So, here's a list of the things you really need to get for Baby.
Less than 20 Things Baby Must-Have:
  1. Lap pads - You can make any flat surface into your changing table with these versatile lap pads.
  2. Baby sling or carrier - Baby wearing is great for both the baby and the mama. Baby feels safer and closer and all his signals are easily picked up by Mom and Mom gets to remain close to her little one while also carrying more weight, which helps in shedding the pregnancy weight. Seriously.
  3. Diaper bag - You know this one is my fav.
  4. Shitload of diapers - Either sign up for a cloth diaper service or get baby-friendly diapers like 7th Generation.
  5. Wipes or cotton pads - Wipes aren't necessary, you could use cotton pads, but you gotta have one or the other
  6. Baby cream & Diaper rash creams - The baby cream needs to be uber gentle (I used Weleda Baby Cream) and I highly recommend the Avalon Organics Diaper Cream. Update: It's been brought to my attention that I failed to qualify this. Basically, you only need these if your baby gets a rash or dries out terribly, but it's not a given. I just think it's good to have them on hand, in case.
  7. Baby laundry detergent and dryer sheets - We used 7th Generation Baby Detergent for HE washers and "free" dryer sheets.
  8. Baby tub and wash - Although, you only need to give Baby a sponge bath until the umbilical stump falls off, so, ostensibly, you could push this one out a couple of weeks if you wanted to. Update: Or even make it a NICE TO HAVE if you trust the cleanliness of your sink. You could also line your tub with towels and do a mini-bath that way if your back can handle it. Re: the wash we used Weleda Baby Wash (it doesn't suds up) when Hollis was teeny and graduated to Avalon Organics once he was older.
  9. Thermometer- Update: For clarification, Baby's temp can be taken under the arm in most cases, so a traditional under-the-tongue kind works great.
  10. Car seat - Keep in mind that when your wee one is wee, you may want your car seat to be mobile so you can bring it in to restaurants, etc. Infant/Toddler convertible car seats don't have this feature. If you plan on always holding/wearing Baby whenever you're out and about, it may not be such a big deal and therefore the cheaper convertible car seat may be your best bet.
  11. Sleep sack or Swaddle blankets - Two sleep sacks (to have in rotation if one is in the wash) and 3-4 swaddle blankets. These are either or. You don't use them both together. Parents who use one, usually don't use the other.
  12. A diaper changing bag for the car with a spare outfit- You need all your diaper and butt cleaning gear in the car, too. Trust me, there will be days you forget the diaper bag at home and it's a life saver to have a back up in the car.
  13. Blankets
  14. Bassinet or Co-Sleeper - If you're worried about bed-sharing, then buy a little bed for your little one for your room. Of course, you'll also have to buy the appropriate bedding, too.
  15. Diaper pail - You need something to contain the stink. I wish I had a Diaper Champ, but any one will do the job.
  16. Comfy chair to sit in - I know this may seem to not belong in my list, but truly, it is. If you can spare any money for this, you definitely should!
  17. Bouncer - (How could I have forgotten this!) As a SAHM alone a bouncer allowed me to take a shower or cook a meal. If you only have one set of arms, a bouncer gives you just a tad more freedom to do everyday tasks. It's supposed to be just a short-term rest stop, though. I never used it for more than I needed to to accomplish a certain task. Babies need to be held!
  18. Dr. Sears' The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two - This book is invaluable due to Dr. Sears' years of experience as a pediatrician. He lays to rest any worries over the choking noises a newborn makes and gives you step-by-step instructions for CPR. This book has been the Baby Encyclopedia in our house and it's been a life saver and a mind saver. It's also a terrific reference for how attachment parenting works.
  19. Clothes - Depending on the season the baby is born in, this list can be modified:
  • 5-10 onesies, depending on how often you want to do laundry
  • 5-7 baby sleepers or nightgowns
  • 1 cold weather sleeper if necessary
  • 5-7 pairs of baby socks
  • 1-2 newborn hats, depending on climate



In my opinion
, Baby Don't-Buys:

  1. Matching bedding with blanket, pillows, bumper, etc. - Baby only needs a place to sleep. Blankets are considered dangerous for at least 9 months due to suffocation (at 9 mos, most babies can roll over and remove the blanket from her face). And the whole "suite" of decor is just a marketers way of getting you to shell out more money.
  2. Changing table - some will totally disagree with me on this, but it's not a must have, it's a NICE TO HAVE
  3. Diaper holder - Pointless waste of money. You can get a basket or use an old canvas bag and set it anywhere near where you change your baby.
  4. Wipe warmer - Baby won't be harmed if you use a cold wipe on his tushy. More money down the drain.
  5. Crib - Baby will be safe and happy in your bed. If you're concerned about bed-sharing, there are things you can buy that your baby sleeps in on your bed, but a bigger sleeping apparatus isn't necessary until Baby is much older.
  6. Bottles and accoutrements - Don't be scared into believing that your breasts "might not work." Having a bottle and formula around may undermine your breastfeeding efforts.
  7. Baby proofing stuff - You'll need this stuff once they start crawling, but definitely not a moment sooner.
  8. Bibs - Baby drools a lot. Big deal. Don't be so anal!
  9. Highchair - Wait on this one, too. Baby won't be eating solids any sooner than 4 months, so save your money.
  10. Stroller - For those long days shopping and your back can't possibly take another second of carrying the baby around. This happened for me around 20 lbs and 5 months. It's not a must have for an infant. Save your cash until you're begging for a stroller.
  11. Special baby towels - Your smaller house towels work just fine.
  12. Baby first aid - Nothing; medicines are not safe for babies. The only time they would be on any is if they are SERIOUSLY ill and being treated by a doctor. Saline drops for stuffy noses is fine, but if you breastfeed, your milk works great for that! Also, you can use your milk to heal ear infections and cure conjunctivitis. *I'm not a doctor. This is what I learned from my midwife and pediatrician.
  13. Breastfeeding pillow - Any old pillow in your house will do the job just as well as that $40 Boppy.
  14. Breastpump - Unless you know for sure that you will be pumping, save the $200 and pass. New moms are always told to buy a pump "just in case," but it's hogwash. It's an expensive investment and not one that is a necessity unless your situation requires it (i.e., going back to work while still nursing).
  15. Any specialized gadget - Just ask yourself, "Is this required for my baby's happiness and health? If money is no object, then by all means, indulge, but you really don't need 95% of the things out there.
  16. Mobile - It's another NICE TO HAVE, but not a must have.

Once you get your feet wet you'll have a better idea of what you want. Some of my favorite stores for all little widgets, safety items, and toys are:

Here's a more extensive list. Also, Cool Mom Picks is a great resource for handmade, safe, "mom approved" items.

Well, that's about it! I'll update and bump this post up as I think of new things to add. To you veteran moms, keeping in the "frugal, must-have only" vein, are there any things I forgot?

Good luck, Bri, Clara, Craig, and Larry!! I hope this helps even a teeny tiny bit!! Love you!

7.09.2009

ChaLEAN Extreme Review: Push Phase - aka Ahhnold's in da house


If you find my review helpful in anyway, please leave me a comment or ask me more questions if you have them. Also, please go here and follow the directions if you'd like for me to reply to your comments. Thanks!

Here's my Burn Phase Review.
Here's my
Lean Phase Review (includes final results).
Here's my Turbo Jam Review.


Phase 2 of the three phase ChaLEAN Extreme program is the Push Phase. This is the phase where you "go heavy or go home!" as Chalene likes to say and she's not joking.

:: OVERVIEW OF PUSH PHASE::

There are 9 exercises in each circuit, just like in the Burn Phase, but instead of trying to reach failure between 10-12 reps, you're aiming for failure in 6-8.

A week in the Push Phase looks like this:
  • Day 1 - Push Circuit 1
  • Day 2 - Rest (this is critical because of the intensive weight training of Circuits 1 & 2 - you can add a cardio here, but don't do back-to-back Circuits)
  • Day 3 - Push Circuit 2
  • Day 4 - Burn Intervals & Ab Burner
  • Day 5 - Push Circuit 3 (with the exception of Week 1 which is Burn Circuit 3)
  • Day 6 - Burn it Off! & Recharge
  • Day 7 - Rest
Burn Intervals is a combination strength- and cardio- training that alternates bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity. Ab Burner & Extreme Abs are 10 minute workouts that uses weights to work your middle. Burn it Off! is high intensity with light weights and approximately 30 minutes long and Recharge is a yoga-esque stretching routing that lasts 20 minutes.

::TIME::

You might think that you'd finish faster because you're doing the same amount of exercises, but with less reps, but it's actually the same because you do more Extreme Sets (a set of 3 extremely slow, concentrated reps) than in Burn, so the work out times are approximately the same (35-40 minutes long) for Circuits 1, 2, and 3.

The Burn Intervals & Ab Burner/Extreme Abs workouts total about an hour, as do the Burn it Off! & Recharge combo.

::TO START::

Because I had become stronger during Burn, I had to go purchase more weights (5lbs, 10lbs, & 20lbs), and I'm glad I did. Currently, I'm in Week 2 and I've already used my 20lb weights and might need to buy a set of 25lbs to finish the month.

::CONCLUSION::

Push Phase is no joke, but I actually like it better. I like the shorter sets and I really feel accomplished after lifting so heavy. Chalene is relentless in reminding you to support your back via ab contractions and protecting your knees with proper knee/ankle position.

The music is great, sometimes a little dramatic, but whatever. If I let myself get into the groove, I kinda dig how hard core it all is.

I haven't gained any more weight since Burn, so that's good, but others are seeing more results. My husband even made a great comment about how my butt's getting rounder and how that's a good thing! But, I also haven't lost anything. I've read that the Push Phase is when a lot of women gain their weight, so at least I'm not alone in this. And even though I gained mine in Burn I'm trusting that I just need to keep at it.

I'm surprised at how challenging Burn It Off (BIO), Burn Intervals (BI) and Recharge continue to be on my non-circuit days. Because I'm working harder during the circuits, I'm much more fatigued and so have to push myself even harder, thus getting a terrific workout.

........................................................

7/9/09 Update:
Currently, I'm about to finish Week 2 and I'm still at +10lbs. I've been reading that some people need to add more cardio on their circuit days in order to see weight loss. I think I'm one of those people. I have Jillian Michael's Making the Cut (which I've never done since I didn't have the equipment or gym membership), but she's got some interesting advice in there. Particularly about afterburn, which means you burn calories not only during exercise, but after. So, if you split up your workout into two, then you get two separate afterburns. Combining this idea of adding more cardio to my week AND afterburn, starting next week I'm going to do a separate cardio workout on my circuit days at another part of my day to maximize my calorie burn.

I've also started calorie-counting again. Oh joy. I'm within my goal, but that's never really been enough, so I'm also on the wagon. Oy. I LOVE wine, so this is going to be hard. I'll just have to pretend I'm pregnant again.

I'll update at the end of Push Phase.

8/1/09 Update:
By the end of the Push Phase I hadn't lost any weight. Nor had I stopped drinking wine. I did lose 5 lbs the first week I used the BodyBugg, however, so I can attest that eating better does gain you results while on this program.


7.08.2009

Grieving is like barfing: It hurts, but hopefully you'll feel better

Three years ago today I was crying.

My chest cavity had been pried apart by the ugly hands of abuse, history, death, and pain and my insides pulverized. I could barely breathe for the sheer magnitude of the storm of my feelings: grief, relief, anger, pain, and, yes, even happiness that he was finally gone.

So far today, I have been successful at holding back my tears and keeping intruding thoughts of his death at bay. But I have only to think of him and his tyranny on my and my sister's emotional landscapes while he was alive and of his excruciating, pitiful death at the end to feel the backs of my eyelids prick and my throat grow thick with unvented emotion and tears.

I am unsure how to approach this anniversary; where to log it in my brain. It is a great relief that he is no longer on this planet. First, I don't wish suffering of any kind on anyone and my father had layers of it from all points in his life: physical, mental, and emotional. Secondly, my life is better with him gone. I no longer worry he'll show up on my door step unannounced and unwelcome or that I'll get another filthy email or feel obligated to mother him or have to sit through yet another diatribe about - who else? - him. And lastly, I simply don't have to feel the pain of our relationship as a living, throbbing beast always hiding in my darkest corners. In the last three years of his absence I have shown the light on those corners and I have begun to let myself off the hook: No, I wasn't a bad daughter; No, it wasn't my fault he wasn't a good father; No, I didn't deserve to be ridiculed and mocked; No, I really am a good human being; No, I AM WORTHY.

I consider myself a generally nice person, so to feel this much relief over my own father's death is unsettling to me. And, honestly, I am happy he is no longer here. It means that his death has negated that I ever give any emotional real estate to our relationship again. It's fucking over. OVER.

So why don't I feel better about it??

::

When I got the call from his friend that he was, essentially, dying and would I be interested in talking to him it took me about an hour to decide that I would do this thing for him. Because it certainly wasn't for me.

Talking to him, a weak, sick and dying man, was not for my benefit. It was my parting gift to him so he could rest with a lighter heart. We spoke of nothing but his cancer and how it was viciously attacking his insides. So much, I thought, like he had attacked ours over the years. Wasn't this Karma at its height? That a bad, bad man like my father would die tortured in a hospital bed alone and penniless? Well, I can tell you that even witnessing a lesser man die a big death doesn't make it feel any less violent to your heart and soul. It can crush you nonetheless. For this reason, I would never watch a killer die. It's still a life lost. Someone's baby choosing the wrong path...

I couldn't just leave him on this earth with only phone calls between us so I went to him when he was in hospice. My family and I steeled ourselves for the worst. I was expecting him to be emaciated and frail. He looked quite the opposite. He was huge and looming, like my memories of him as a little girl. The only change in his appearance was his hair: it was shock white and fine as a baby's, cut close and sticking straight up.

He smiled, happy and afraid. He had given up on us, he said, and had been afraid all these years to reach out to us. Such was my father's outlook on life. - Never mind that I spent years of my life fighting for a better relationship with him.

We spent several days in Phoenix with him, visiting him twice a day. Outside of hospice we spent the rest of the time collectively drunk and sobbing, laughing at fart ring tones, and yelling to perfect strangers, "I'm SHY!!!!" I cried every hour, tears streaming down my face like a waterfall. It felt like my face was trying to flush my eyes down the drain of my neck.

Only once did my father address his behavior towards and treatment of me during our time there. He seemed somewhat apologetic. I wanted to believe he was sorry, but still felt in my gut he was mostly scared for his own soul than repairing mine. I felt brushed aside, much as I did during my childhood, as he gave a more fervent, heartfelt and fearful apology and embrace to my sister. She whose heart shown gloriously in its strength, beauty, and capacity to forgive in the face of his ugliness and depravity. I felt ashamed that I was jealous of the attentions he was giving her, even in this moment, but let it settle on my shoulders with resignation. I will always be a little girl dying for the attention of her father, no matter what's happening.

And what I did as a little girl to get my father's acceptance and attention was take care of him. Therefore, it was fitting that I be the one to sign cremation papers for him. I was his little mother AND his next of kin.

It felt wrong doing all this for a man who never liked me, who abused my sister, and who hurt everyone who ever cared for him. I was losing a piece of myself as I signed the paperwork to authorize the burning of his remains, yet I was doing it for him because he was my father and I loved him.

Yes, even after everything, of course I loved him. And that's another feeling that has no home in me. Where in the hell do I put that?? I loved a crippled, abominable man. It's not the kind of love you put next to the love of a friend or your baby. It's a love you're embarrassed about, because how could I possibly??

But it's true, and I still do. And I wish more than anything that he were still here as a different man. Someone who I could look up to and rely on and call in a pinch for a laugh or advice. Now July 8th is a day to remind me that all hope of having a Father in my father is really and truly gone. My relief at his passing, while great, is still no match for my heart's yearning for a Dad. A real, bona fide Dad. Someone who was trustworthy and kind and, above all else, a safe place.

Maybe I've romanticized what it's like to have a father, but you can't blame me. I don't know what it's like. I'm sure it's as complicated and frustrating as having a mother (and I definitely have a Mom), but as someone who never in her life felt as though she had one I think it'd be pretty fucking awesome and I'd welcome it.

After everything, I feel as though I was a wonderful daughter to him. Especially in the end. Even after leaving hospice and the hours of sitting in his room watching the rise and fall of his chest behind I continued to be there for my father. He would call me, delusional from the pain meds, afraid and confused. He talked to me about coming to my graduation that winter and of being a grandfather to my unborn kids. I told him he was welcome to it all, knowing in my heart that he wouldn't survive that long, and if, by some miracle he did, I still wasn't sure I could open my world up to his pervasive emotional sickness. I've never lied to a dying person before. I don't regret it, but the words still haunt me. I hope he knows why I did it.

Finally, my aunt, my father's sister-in-law, called me to tell me he had died. It is a moment frozen in time. I was standing in my kitchen, in the walkway area. I buried my face in my hands and Rooster held me. I wish like hell I felt one iota better about him today than I did then, but I don't, and I haven't. Maybe I never will.

7.07.2009

Blogging is like a surrogate family

It's always fascinating to me how much blogging has come to mean to me. I'm shy about it with my IRL friends (that's In Real Life, by the way) and I'm apologetic about it with Anthony, who is always curious about my constant blog-thinking-ways.

But it's become my surrogate family in a way, much like office mates have, or classmates. Other bloggers are my go to friends to share inane things with and offer up my two cents about cloth or disposable diapers or if those shoes go with that dress.

When I worked in an office I can't tell you how many little things I said every day to anyone willing to listen. And I don't mean that it was just me, either. People were always stopping by to chat or calling to say, "What's up, girl?" It's what people do: we socialize. It was the same with school. Once I made friends there was a link set up between us for sharing any thought or feeling we cared to and it was wonderful.

At home, with a small animal, otherwise known as a toddler, I don't have those links anymore. Obviously, it's up to me to get out there and make them, but it's a lot harder to do than it sounds. There are naps to negotiate, mealtimes, poop times, energy levels to take into account. I think I do a lot of shit with Hollis and still manage to make his life interesting and fun while also running the business of our lives, but I'm still a little stumped as to how to get out there and make friends, too. I mean... I have so much going on as it is! Fucking A, people!

Enter blogging. I've written about this before, but I wanted to say it again: I love to blog, no, WRITE. I'm slowly beginning to think of it as writing even and it makes me feel good and I'd like to own it and feel good about it. Not sheepish, shy, or apologetic.

I'm meeting more and more awesome women out there (yeah, mostly chicks since I'm haunting blogs by other mothers and articles written by/for women) and picking up links. It's been a slow process. I've been blogging since April of '08 and I'm only now getting my sea legs. What can I say? I'm a slow mover.

So, keep the comments and emails coming. Keep on connecting with me via FB, Twitter, whatever. I love it and it's so much more to me than just a time killer. It's truly a virtual link to friends and family. You are all my sounding board, my passing friend I get to say, "Hey, I just had the best ham sandwich EVER!" to, and you keep my days interesting and full of laughter and deep thoughts. - What a great combo: laughter and deep thoughts! I feel like a jolly ol' philosopher most days! -

Kiss, kiss - Jess

7.06.2009

Hollis charges on, Mommy falls back

Vrooom!

That was Hollis and his development.

SPLAT!

That was me on my exhausted, worried face.

He's pretty much dropped the two-nap thing (as I mentioned before) and he is barreling on at lightening speed. His tantrums are coming at me like I'm tied in a chair at the wrong end of a batting cage. I can't keep up even if I tried and I'm racking my brain as to how to handle them better. Thus far I love and cuddle him and help him out in whatever way he needs. He's mostly frustrated beyond belief and I can relate. God knows how many times I'd like to throw a fucking fit every day.

It's part of the attachment parenting philosophy: to treat your kids with respect and to have reasonable expectations for their development. How many adults do I know who can't handle their shit and I don't hit them or punish them for acting out - so I wouldn't treat Hollis that way, either. I might not hang with that adult anymore, but I don't have that option with Hollis, so I just let him know I'm here for him and then we move on.

It still doesn't keep me from thinking I'm fucking it all up.

I mean, I feel good about how I'm treating him, but I'm thinking maybe I could prevent these spells somehow (??). Or is that a new mom mistake? Thinking I'm somehow responsible for this?

It's overwhelming, all this responsible-for-another-human-being bullshit...

On another note, last night marked the first time he went around the house deliberately touching things and asking for their names.

And although his language is progressing in as much that his vocabulary is growing, his pronunciation is still just consonants followed by a vowel - with the exception of "vroom!" and "boom boom!" (the sound motorcycles make and what we call me tossing him on the bed repeatedly, respectively). It's a big step!! Yeah! More consonants!! (As an aside, my cousin's son has a rare speech impediment called apraxia where he can only speak in mostly vowels - scary - so Hollis' speech development is always of great interest to me).

The child is also obsessed with vacuum cleaners and motorcycles. Basically anything that makes a lot of noise. He's even started helping me make his smoothies by pushing the blender buttons. It wasn't that long ago that his little face would screw up and he'd scream in terror at the blender... and now look at him. He's its master. I'm hoping to continue to nurture this love of vacuums and somehow get him to regard motorcycles with great respect. I'd love nothing more than a kid who loves to clean who wears safety gear every time he jumps on a death machine. I mean, really!

So that's the 4-1-1 around here.

I was asked this weekend by a dear friend what was new with me and I stupidly answered, "You're looking at it" as Hollis zipped around the backyard. I shorted myself in that answer. I have A LOT going on every day. I'm nurturing a small human being, a relationship with a big human being, running the business of several lives (as I like to say), concentrating on my health (both mental and physical), and writing a lot and loving it. I don't know why I couldn't come up with something better to say.

I'll have to work on that in the future. There's no reason not to lay it all out there. If someone isn't interested in Hollis' latest word, well, then, that's their choice. I shouldn't be afraid that they aren't even before I give them a chance, right? And I'm not going to buy into the whole "She's a mom and all she ever talks about are her kids" bullshit, because my kids are my work. It's as interesting to me as anyone else's life work is. Man... just when I think I'm making strides in this whole SAHM thing I take a step back. Oh well, it's all part of the process. I have to remember that.

PS: I love coffee.

I HEART Cookie Monster



Rutabega?

7.02.2009

Naps: Two were never enough. One is TORTURE.

I'm going to keep this brief.

Some of you may have noticed I've been writing a lot less lately. It's not because I don't have shit to say, it's because I have no time to say it. - Currently, I have stuffed my toddler with fish sticks, veggie soup, and a cookie and locked him (yes LOCKED him) in his "zone" just so I could zip down these thoughts. -

Why don't I have time anymore? you ask. Well, because we've reached that dreaded napping plateau, the weariest of points of no return: Hollis will only take one nap a day.

Now, to be fair, he's not one-napping it every day - he throws me a bone about once or twice a week. But on those one-nappers I don't know how he does it. I'm freaking exhausted by 4 o'clock. I had no idea I relied so heavenly on nap breaks until now.

Yesterday, after butting heads with him all day long (less the blissful, albeit late and short, morning nap time) and feeling like a complete mothering failure because I couldn't figure out how to get him to NOT throw a tantrum I had to tell him, "Hollis, Mommy has a booboo in her head and she needs to lay down to feel better. You're going to hang out in your crib while I do this, ok?"

Thank God he was content with this arrangement and played quietly for about 45 minutes while I stared at the ceiling fan contemplating my tired ass navel.

Today we went to my friend's pool, our first real pool-excursion ever. It didn't tire him out in the least. Mommy required another quick afternoon nap, but he powered through with his Baby Animals book and bouncing on his crib mattress.

I'm jealous, proud and want to cry all at the same time. God help me...