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Posts Tagged ‘moms’

I just had to carry LJ home the 3 blocks from the playground, flailing and screaming, under my arm in a football hold. She’s almost 3, so carrying her under my arm like a sack of potatoes not only LOOKS ridiculous, but it’s really, really hard. She’s fucking heavy, and since I haven’t been to a gym in a thousand years, I’m pretty weak. In my other hand I was carrying her mini-kick scooter and her owl backpack. She shrieked the ENTIRE walk home, and that’s what made me keep her in the football carry: I felt like she didn’t deserve a normal, loving hold. I wanted to get home. She refused to ride her scooter or walk. I was mad. Screw it.

I snapped.

Why did I snap?

Is it because she cried one thousand times about miniscule things at the playground and made me feel embarrassed? Because I felt like every single other mom was watching, judging and gossiping about my shitty parenting skills? Maybe.

Is it because she refused the goldfish I brought for her snack? Because for some reason I was too lazy today to pack her a better, tastier, healthier snack: and she FREAKED OUT? Maybe.

Is it because despite my writing a post about wusses: my helicopter parenting has created a gigantic wuss that is terrified of wiggly bridges, slides and now swings? A little girl who can’t keep up when all the other kids are playing chase and sprinting up and down the slides because she’s afraid? A little girl who can’t climb as well as the other kids because when she was a toddler I spent too much time hovering like a lunatic, worrying that she’d fall and crack her head open? A sweet little girl who wants SO BADLY to play with everyone she meets, but ends up getting left behind and it’s totally MY FAULT? Maybe.

Is it because it’s been raining for the past 3 days, and we’ve been trapped in our teeny little apartment doing 500 craft projects and building 35 horse farms? Do I sometimes feel a little guilty about raising her in this little urban apartment? Where our only personal outdoor space is the cracked front walkway and stoop? Where we spend most of our time in ONE ROOM? Maybe.

Is it because I look at the blogs of other moms, like Amanda Blake Soule, who is effortlessly and beautifully raising 4 kids (with another on the way), along with chickens, pigs, cats and dogs… and it makes me feel like a loser? All this while maintaining her blog, publishing books, baking pies, knitting countless sweaters, pickling things, and being all around crazy awesome? Maybe. She made an entire quilt with her daughter in one day (ONE DAY!!) because they were BORED. When we’re bored, I pop in Toy Story 3. I’m not pickling shit. The apartment is impossible to keep clean: I swear there was just a dog hair in a cup I took out of the highest cabinet. Stay at home mom FAIL.

I only have one kid. One. I’m not working right now. I have a precious daughter that I would lay down in traffic for, and a supportive husband. We’re all perfectly healthy (despite my intimate knowledge of the local ER). Who the hell am I to complain about ANYTHING? Both my sister and sister-in law are single moms with full-time jobs, while I’m just an asshole crying about my messy apartment and the fact that my kid didn’t want to eat fish-shaped snacks today. It’s pretty pathetic, I know.

I’m exhausted… but I don’t feel like I have a right to be.

Call the waaahmbulance, mama needs some wine and a girl’s night out.

Or a Xanax.

Or a housekeeper.

Or all of the above.

This stay at home mom shit is hard, yo.

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Breakfast with my gorgeous fam.

New pink toes. They might be a liiiitle bit stripper-y, but it was time for a change.

Could this day be any more perfect? Could Prospect Park be any more kick-ass?

When you’re a city kid, this is a serious wilderness adventure.

This little one has wished me a Happy Mother’s Day 5324 times. Seriously.

I love you, nap time. Please don’t ever leave me.

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There just something about spring that makes me want to make things. I want to sew. I want to knit. I want to make a thousand loaves of bread. I want to pickle things, plant herbs and sew little dresses for LJ. I am the next Martha Stewart, hear me embroider. I mean, look at my kick-ass crafty library!

Dreamy, isn’t it? Yeah, I’ve used 4 of them. The rest have been dog-eared for over a year. I think about making things, but then get so overwhelmed by all the awesomeness that I end up making nothing. I’m like a scatterbrained, A.D.D., impatient Ma Ingalls. I’m not pickling shit… but I’ve got the jars! My husband is not wearing sweaters knit by these hands… but I’ve got a nice collection of bamboo needles!

Truth be told: LJ did have a few cute pillowcase dresses last year, and I did sew her some felt food for her kitchen and a few plushies. I also cut up a bunch of her newborn onsies and made her a tiny quilt a year ago:

Since she deemed her big kid comforter from Ikea to be “too squishy”, this is actually what she snuggles with every night in her toddler bed. I woke up this morning, well-rested and invigorated by the warm weather and last night’s thunderstorms, and decided it was time for a new quilt. Tearing into my gargantuan craft box proved to be quite the buzz kill, though, because I was confronted with all my A.D.D-ness. Like this:

That would be a stack of fabric being pieced together for the king-sized quilt I started last year at around the same time. Pfffft. Clearly I lost focus. I know! I’ll keep it out. Maybe if I just let it sit on the dining room table for a few weeks, making my husband completely insane, I’ll be inspired to finish it! I won’t forget about it. I might be served divorce papers, but at least I’ll have a huge quilt. Then there’s this:

This is the scarf that I’ve been working on FOR A YEAR. After taking a local knitting class last March, I became convinced that by winter LJ would be wearing ONLY sweaters I had knit by hand. There would be no need to shop. I’d even knit everyone socks. This is the ONLY thing I’ve made. It’s not that I don’t enjoy knitting, I do! The whole knit knit purl purl repetition is super soothing, and sates my O.C.D. crazies… but knitting a scarf?  It’s SO f*cking BOOORRIIING. I should have started with a hat, or a baby mitten: something more instantly gratifying. This unfinished project will join the stack of quilt fabric on the dining room table. Again, if it’s in my face, I’ll finish it. (Shh! I will!)

Really though, maybe it’s not me. Maybe, just maybe I COULD be a pickling, crocheting, toy designing seamstress** if I didn’t have these two snooges in my face all the time:

Yep. It’s totally THEIR fault.

**(By the way, I can’t even THINK of the word seamstress without thinking of Rose’s beady-eyed mother in Titanic saying, “Do you want to see me working as a seamstress?… To see all your fine things sold at auction?”)

***(Hey, I did say I was a little scatterbrained…)

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The other day LJ and I were leaving her preschool when we hopped into the elevator with Ronnie, a boy from her class, and his nanny. My inane chitchat about the gloomy weather was suddenly loudly interrupted by my daughter who, while staring at her classmate, asked,

Mommy? What color is Ronnie? Maybe brown like chocolate?

Sure, she’s not even 3 yet. Yes, I fully expect her to make innocent observations as she discovers the world around her. Still… I wanted to f*cking DIE. Spontaneously imploding would have been preferable to my red-faced stammering, “Whaaaaat?” as I pretended I didn’t clearly hear what she said (Mistake #1). Saved by the elevator doors sliding open, we said our quick goodbyes and I bolted out of the building and down 7th Avenue. As we walked the sixteen blocks to our apartment, I cursed myself just a little. In my overzealous need to be urban, liberal, multiculturally-sophisticated supermom, I had f*cked up.

The book, “NurtureShock” (which craps on everything ever published about parenting, and is subsequently AWESOME), has an entire chapter on the importance of talking to your kids about race. I gobbled it up, and promptly marched to the bookstore to get some sort of picture book on race that would prompt our deep discussions. Surely, I was the parent of the year! The cover of the book I chose, Karen Katz’s “The Colors of Us”, instantly caught my eye with its brightly-colored painting of a group of young girls. I didn’t actually READ the story until snuggled up with LJ at bedtime that very night. (Mistake #2. Note to self: from now on, pre-read all books before purchasing.) The book follows Lena and her mother, an artist, as they take a stroll through their neighborhood. Here’s some of what they see:

…Mom and I see Mr. Pellegrino flipping a pizza high in the air. He is the color of pizza crust, a golden brown.

…Mr. Kashmir sells many different spices. He’s the color of ginger and chili powder.

Isabella is chocolate brown, like the cupcakes we had for her birthday.

Wait, wait… the Italian guy is the color of PIZZA CRUST?!? Mr. KASHMIR, with his turban, runs a spice store? There’s nothing else to say about Isabella other than the fact that she looks like cupcakes? Seriously? WTF? Is she kidding me with the stereotyping and food references? Parenting fail! Parenting fail! I shelved the book the next morning and with it, I pretty much shelved any formal discussion of race and multiculturalism until I find a better resource (Any suggestions?). For now, I’m using NYC as her guide, and hoping that all the different faces she sees and languages she hears during each neighborhood outing will instill in her a curiosity and appreciation that can’t be found in a stupid book.

Thanks for nothing, Karen Katz.

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***Disclaimer: The following is probably not suitable for the delicate, squeamish eyes of men. Just saying. It involves vaginas, blood, poop and biting. ***

In the final weeks of pregnancy, I became irrationally concerned with poop. I wasn’t the least bit worried about pain since the epidural would alleviate that… but the poop? What if I pooped during delivery? WHY HADN’T ANYONE WARNED ME ABOUT THIS UNTIL THE END?  I mean, I didn’t think childbirth was some antiseptic, spotless event: but poop? In front of everyone? While just LAYING THERE? That had to be the grossest shit I’d ever heard. (Ha! Shit!) My anxiety was now kicked into anti-poop overdrive, and it was really all I cared about. I wasn’t nervous about having a newborn, or practicing any silly breathing techniques (Who doesn’t know how to breathe?) or pain management. That was what drugs were for.

As my due date came and went, and my amniotic fluid seemed a tiny bit low, and the baby seemed a tiny bit large: my induction date was set for June 4, 2008.  We checked into the hospital in the late afternoon, filled out mountains of paperwork, and by 5pm I was hooked up to all sorts of monitors making all sorts of nerve-wracking sounds. That fetal heart-rate monitor has to be the most stress-inducing creation known to man. If the baby or I moved even one centimeter the monitor would lose its place,  leaving me to shriek, “SHE HAS NO HEARTBEAT!! DO SOMETHING!!”.  I finally convinced them to turn the volume down, and they happily obliged (sensing my crazy, I’m sure.).

At 7pm the labor and delivery resident doctor came in (my doctor was home, for some unknown reason), and after a quick exam she began the first phase of induction: the insertion of the Cervadil. According to Drugs.com, Cervadil

… plays an important role in the complex set of biochemical and structural alterations involved in cervical ripening. Cervical ripening involves a marked relaxation of the cervical smooth muscle fibers of the uterine cervix which must be transformed from a rigid structure to a softened, yielding and dilated configuration to allow passage of the fetus through the birth canal.

“Cervical ripening”. Barf.

The nurses assured me that the Cervadil was very, very weak. In fact, since I was only dilated 1 centimeter, in 12 hours I would probably have to have even MORE Cervadil, followed by Pitocin hours later to really get things going. Since I was in it for the long haul, they also convinced (ie: forced) me to take another drug called Stadol at about 9pm in order to “help me get some sleep”. I later learned that Stadol was not a sleep aid, but a narcotic whose side effects include dizziness, nausea, vomiting and even HALLUCINATIONS. Within 5 minutes I was nodding off, and for the next hour my husband watched me peacefully sleep, my toes curling quietly with each contraction. Something happened to my body during that ONE HOUR of drug-induced rest. It’s almost as if all my anxiety, all the things that had been plaguing my crowded mind for the past 9 months were suddenly released from my body, and with that, my body relaxed. All of it. Completely. I was now wasted, and in full-blown labor.

When I somehow managed to push the help button on the bed, the nurse came in and found me wriggling in pain with my eyes rolled back in my head, curled into the fetal position on the pillow at the very top of the bed. I was kind of sideways, and clutching the railing on the edge of the bed.  As she stood above me the narcotic/hallucinogenic made her face kind of swirl into the flourescent lights on the ceiling. It was a creepy view, and one that’s been burned into my mind.  Our exchange went roughly like this:

TRACY!!! YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN!!! BREATHE!!

I need drugs. I have to poop.

YOU CAN’T HAVE AN EPIDURAL! IT’S TOO EARLY! YOU’RE ONLY 1 CENTIMETER! CALM DOWN!

I need drugs. Help me. Help. I need drugs. I have to poop.

DO YOU WANT TO GO TO THE BATHROOM? PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER! BREATHE!

Help me. I need drugs. I’m pooping.

(To my husband as she left the room) YOU HAVE TO GET HER TO CALM DOWN! THIS IS ONLY EARLY LABOR!

Ten minutes later I buzzed her again, begging for drugs, only to be derided and basically told I was being a complete pussy. Even in my drug-ridden state, I KNEW I was not in early labor. Thankfully, my husband eventually sensed it also and flagged down another nurse, who reluctantly called in the resident to check me. (My doctor was still at home, assuming the induction would take days.) That exchange went something like this:

Help. I need drugs. I’m pooping.

Ok, Tracy. It’s too early for that, let me just give a little feel and we’ll.. I CAN FEEL THE HEAD! SHE’S FULLY DILATED! I THINK SHE’S BEEN PUSHING! TRACY, STOP PUSHING! SOMEONE CALL HER DOCTOR!

Give me my drugs. Help.

NO, I’M SORRY HON, IT’S TOO LATE FOR AN EPIDURAL! OK, IF YOU FEEL LIKE YOU NEED TO PUSH, GO AHEAD. YOU’RE ALMOST THERE!

No. No. I need drugs. I have to poop. Please help me. No.

The rest of the ordeal is a blur. The bitch nurse who had been scolding me was suddenly my biggest cheerleader, trying to holding my leg up while I was trying to kick her in the face. While my husband had the fantastic job of holding my other leg, I thanked him by grabbing his chest (through his shirt) and yanking out a fistful of chest hair during a contraction. When he tried to wipe my hair out of my face, I remember trying to bite him, but catching myself just before my teeth broke the flesh. While actively pushing my eyes caught a glimpse of the HORRIFIED faces of a group of medical students that had been called in to watch. My doctor, who finally decided to grace us with his presence, came tearing in at the very end: right in time for him to turn LJ around (who was screaming WHILE SHE WAS COMING OUT) and shout, “Look at your daughter, Tracy! Look! Look! Here she is!” I SCREAMED. LJ SCREAMED. (Pete later compared us to some sort of mythical two-headed cobra). My daughter was officially born at 12:25am on June 5, weighing 7 pounds and 12 ounces. When it was all over and she was in my arms, I looked at the doctor, confused, still hallucinating and completely high and said,

I need drugs.

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Confession: I was a shitty mom even when LJ was in utero.  I HATED being pregnant. HATED it. For a hypochondriac with a smidge of obsessive-compulsive disorder: growing a tiny human being in my belly turned me into a crazy person (because being an OCD-ridden hypochondriac suffering from panic attacks wasn’t crazy enough. I needed more crazy.). Ask my husband. Ask my doctor.  Ask my old employers, my friends and parents. They’ll all tell you how unbearable I was. My doctor can tell you how I called him at home in a hysterical panic on both Christmas Eve AND Superbowl Sunday because the baby didn’t move for like, one second. My old principal can tell you how she would find me in the school nurse’s office during every prep period, because I was CONVINCED my blood pressure was through the roof. My family can tell you all about how much I complained and cried. Usually at the same time. All the time. ALL. THE. TIME.

I wanted to be pregnant, I really did. Yay! Babies with their tiny toes and wispy hair! First smiles melting our hearts! So cute so cute so cute! I was ordered to enjoy every minute of being pregnant, because after all, I would “glow” and feel great! It would be “magical”!

Let me tell you: there was no glowing involved, unless you count the melasma on my fair-skinned upper lip that made it look like I had a freckled Tom Selleck mustache. My hair didn’t morph into long and lustrous Rapunzel-like locks: it lost some of its curl, turned brown and gained 2 pounds of frizz. The hormone-induced post-nasal drip made me cough so much that I pulled a muscle in my chest that took months to heal. While I didn’t mind gaining weight at all (and I gained 40 lbs!), my frail, veal-like body DID mind. Apparently years of buying new yoga gear without actually DOING yoga was a mistake. I developed excruciating sciatica and pelvic separation at just 20 weeks: just when I was starting to show.  As I was expanding to grow this tiny human, my body was screaming, “WTF?!” I was pathetic.

My poor, poor husband. He was FREAKING OUT. He’s quick to admit that he was terrified of what was happening at the time, and it didn’t help that I was often found googling “pregnant pain in side” in a puddle of tears. He probably didn’t love when I’d frantically call him at work because I ate goat cheese in my salad and was now convinced our baby would be born with no feet and an IQ of 12. Hypochondria + google + ocd + panic attacks + pregnancy = RUN FOR THE HILLS BECAUSE THIS BITCH IS CRAZY. I was obsessed with every little ache; every little bump; every little flutter. If I could have rented an ultrasound machine, I would have stayed on the couch for the entire 9 months just watching. Waiting for something to go wrong (with the blood pressure cuff attached to my arm, of course).

I was so busy being batshit nuts I didn’t get to enjoy one second of it, and that’s why I felt guilty. Oh, the overwhelming, soul-crushing guilt. While friends were struggling with their fertility I had been lucky enough to get pregnant the moment we took the goalie off the ice. I was blessed, yet I felt awful and complained all the time: clearly I was an asshole and a despicable, ungrateful person. The guilt made me feel like a terrible mom before I even became one. Late at night I would lay in bed alone, hugging the gigantic full-body pregnancy pillow while my husband (still freaking out) played Call of Duty on the PS3, and I would talk to the baby in my belly: reassuring her that I loved her and was excited to meet her despite that fact that I sounded like such a miserable wretch.

In the days following my due date, when it was 9000 degrees outside, and I felt completely alienated from every pregnant woman in the history of the world: I turned to mint chocolate chip ice cream, and waited. Again, every woman kept assuring me that since it was my first kid, delivery would take forever, but I’d have an epidural and everything would be fine. Again, they were WRONG. So, so, SO painfully wrong…

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Mean mommy

In honor of the last day of women’s history month, a month where we recognized the strength, tenacity and fearlessness of females throughout history: I’m writing about rainbow cookies. Yep. That’s right, and no, I haven’t hit the bottle today (yet). Here’s the story:

LJ takes a music class a few blocks away from our apt every Friday at 4pm. 4:00 is an asinine time to register your toddler for any class, simply because it’s the tail-end of nap time: the sweetest, most precious time of every day. Waking up a sleeping kid; shoving a snack in their face; tossing them in the stroller all groggy-eyed and sprinting 3 blocks to cheerfully belt out “She Sells Seashells” is quite a feat. Usually, in order to get her up without a freak-out, I bribe her with something ridiculously tasty. M&Ms, chocolate covered pretzels, Oreos: whatever will do the trick and make everyone’s lives easier. It’s not an everyday thing, I swear, she usually eats really healthy organic food… but sometimes in a pinch we all need to bribe them. Cut the crap and be honest.

So on one particular day recently I grabbed a GIGANTIC rainbow cookie from Russo’s for her to nosh on in the stroller.  We looooove rainbow cookies in our home despite their horrifyingly bright, cancer-causing food coloring-laden craziness.  By the time we reached music, just as the previous class filled with younger babies was letting out, LJ was COVERED in rainbow cookie. Eyeing my kid’s chocolate smeared face while she struggled to put her baby in a ginormous Kelty backpack carrier, some mom I didn’t know looked at me and asked,

“What is she eating?”

“A rainbow cookie,” I replied.

“Oh. That’s an interesting snack,” she proclaimed with a raised eyebrow while she continued to struggle with the Kelty.

INTERESTING. I was thinking she’d say “Yum!”, or “NomNOM!”… but no.  She judged the sh*t. out. of. me. She SHAMED me, and all because of my kid’s SNACK. I sat there while LJ devoured the last neon crumb and watched this mom leave (heading back to the Appalachian Trail I suppose with that absurd backpack), and I thought about how NASTY we mothers can be to one another.  (Yes, I realize I just ripped on her also, but at least I only did it in my mind.)

Were moms always so bitchy and judgmental throughout history? Were women always so MEAN to each other? Did they get banned from playgroups for feeding their kid formula? Not using cloth diapers? Sleep training their babies? Or is this a new competitive phenomenon? You would think that becoming a parent would be the tie that finally binds us all together after the cliques of our younger years. After all, this parenting sh*t can be tough. We could use the support from one another, even if it’s just a sympathetic wink while your kid is face-down in a tantrum at the foot of the slide. At times, though, this seems WORSE than high school. People are more mean, and it sucks.

Sure, I have mom friends that I treasure and adore, but as a whole? I’m not about to celebrate women until we learn to play nice.

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