Friday, March 31, 2006

What Not to Wear... but you wear it anyway.

I am a faithful viewer of TLC's "What Not to Wear". There's something very Cinderella-like about the transformation each fashion victim goes through that keeps me watching. Like catepillar to butterfly, these people enter the dreaded 360 degree mirror room with Clinton Kelly and Stacy London, subject themselves to the host's sometimes crass comments about their clothes, then take their $5000 and shop for a whole new wardrobe and emerge at the end a whole new person. A casual viewer might see this as an indulgent shopping spree. I don't see it that way. I see it as a healthier alternative to plastic surgery or expensive visits to your psychiatrist. Who needs therapy when you can buy $200 slingbacks and a coordinating purse?

While watching the beginning of each new episode I beg the Hubby to nominate me for this show . I'm a perfect candidate: A New Mom with a stockpile of t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers and the fashion sense of a three year old. But once we get to the part when Stacy and Clinton start throwing away each hapless participant's hard-earned (though, poorly thought out) clothing choices I start to break out in a cold sweat. If WNTW's minions were to come to my home they would find my huge collection of Life Is Good t-shirts (which I only wear to work - Really!), my piles of jeans (most of which don't fit me anymore), and my stack of baseball caps that I wear on a far-too-regular basis. Sure I have a few gems in my closet, but I also have a handful of cashmere sweaters, a few pairs of really cute heels, and other well-chosen items that I don't get the opportunity to wear too often.

Why? Because I'm a Mom. And I wear clothes for style and for comfort.


Now, before I'm misunderstood, I'm not hiding behind my baby. I know I deserve to wear beautiful things and I do when the occasion warrants. Its just damn hard to run after a fast-moving crawler who is about to scale a bookcase while you're wearing kitten heels. Bangle bracelets would become toys to soothe the angry beast when a naptime is missed. Cashmere would immediately have strained peas flung across the chest. And dressing in fashionable layers becomes ridiculous when you have to nurse in a hurry. Not to mention the fact that when you have barely a half an hour to yourself to shower and get ready you don't want to spend it matching your belt to your shoes.

Just show me what's clean and what fits and there's a good chance I'll wear it. Even if it is so 2004.

Some of the outfits that Stacy and Clinton come up with for their fashionably challenged charges are just too impractical for the average mother with a young child. Sure it looks great, but how many of those women actually wear the crocodile pumps with the flow-y skirt, camisole and shrug to the supermarket? I'm thinking, um, not too many. But we want to believe, don't we? We want to think there are women out there that wear these outfits on a regular basis. We want to think that it is, in fact, that easy. And that belief is what puts pressure on women like me.

When Chicky Baby was around 5 months old I started attending a New Mothers Group and, starting then, at least once a week I put on the clothes in my closet that I was dying to wear but had no other reason to. For a few weeks I showed up in clean, somewhat pressed clothing, comfortable but stylish flats, and I actually took time to blow-dry my hair. At the time I had no idea who I was trying to impress. It didn't take me too long, however, to figure out that I wasn't trying to impress anyone with how hip and cool I was... I was trying to fool everyone into thinking that I had it all together. I wanted those other women to think that I could not only take care of an infant, but that I did it with ease. They didn't need to know that I was piling on the under-eye cream and the concealer to hide the dark circles and that, on most days, I never got out of my pajamas. I didn't want anyone to know how hard I was finding this new role as Mama. As time went on it became painfully apparent that we were all doing the same thing. The more we talked each week about our struggles with our babies, the less we dressed up for each other. There were those few women who held on to their designer duds, but most were happy enough to say to the world "Yeah, I might be wearing a hoodie with baby spit-up on it, but my diaper back is tres chic and my kid is in clean clothes and that's enough for me."

I'm not going to give up on looking good. I genuinely want to look beautiful for the Hubby and someday, when she's older, for Chicky Baby. Very little would make me happier about myself than my daughter describing me as a "cool Mom". But if I'm not hip all the time, we'll all have to get over it. I don't plan on ever becoming the mom in the applique sweatshirt, but I'm not going to be the mom who wears cute, summery dresses to the soccer field.

If you are one of those women who can go to Target and throw together an outfit that makes you look like you just stepped out of the pages of Vogue - I applaud you. I really, really do. I'm very jealous. For some women it is that easy. But for the other ones (and you know who you are) I'm not buying it for a second. I know you have some skeletons, or sweatpants, in you closet.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Spring has definitely sprung here in the northeast. Although, in New England it doesn't so much spring as it does vault or bound... Or slap you in the face and say "Hey, Jackass, I'm here now. You can put your snow shovels away." Spring is much too gentle a word for the phenomenon that is this most fickle of seasons. One day you can be dressed head to toe in your best LL Bean outerwear made for subzero temperatures and the next you're pulling out your shorts from the bottom of the dresser drawer. This week, though not warm enough for me to feel the need to subject others to the whiteness of my legs, has been beautiful and I've been taking full advantage of it. Like most other people in my situation (stay at home Moms and the unemployed) I've been outside every day trying to work off the flab that has attached itself to my thighs and butt. If I don't do something about it soon the Borden's company is going to come calling. "Mrs. Chicky? Hi this is Bob from Borden's. Listen, we're running a little low on cottage cheese and we heard you had some to spare. Great! I'll send someone right over."

But I digress.

As a born and raised Massachusetts gal I am cautiously optimistic that Spring is, indeed, here to stay. I want to be hopeful about it, I really do. But as any dyed-in-the-wool New Englander will tell you - Wait 5 minutes, the weather will change. And then they'll remind you of the April Fool's Day snowstorm of '97. And people wonder why we're such a sullen bunch. If you lived with such crap weather all your life you'd be a bit of a pessimist too. That and the fact it took the Red Sox 86 years to win another World Series.

Since it is so gorgeous outside I'm going to try to be a little bit more optimistic about things. I even tried to document this change in attitude with pictures....

This is a crocus from my garden. I have no idea how it got there because I've never seen them in my yard before. And its growing dangerously close to the piles of dog poop that my neighbor's dog has thoughtfully left all over my side yard. See! Spring is full of happy accidents!

This is a branch from one of my lilac bushes. There are buds on it! It will bloom soon! And its really pretty when its all in flower. It has these wonderful white blossoms and a really delicate lilac scent which keeps my mother-in-law away for at least a month because she's horribly allergic!

Look closely... These are tiny lemon balm seedlings. They smell fantastic and I've heard you can make teas out of them. I guess this makes up for the fact that they're horribly invasive and have taken over one side of my yard, even though I pull the little suckers every year and have done everything short of burning them at their scented roots.

What is this? Is it... Yes! Its a weed! They're starting already. Soon I will be outside for hours, nay, Months(!) pulling these hardy little fellows out of the ground before they smother the beautiful plants that I've lovingly tended to. That is, until the heat of July takes over and I decide its much less work to just let nature take her course. There's always next year!

So, there you have it. A New Englander's optimistic view of Spring. Now if you don't mind I'm going to go outside and enjoy the sun because I think the weatherman just predicted snow flurries for next week.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Moment of Clarity

There are moments in our young children's lives when one look from them speaks volumes of clarity, enlightenment, and knowledge. These are the times when you know deep down in your soul that this little person is much more than a baby who has spent a mere few hundred days in this world, that they, in fact, have been here before - again and again. Its a look that says that they know the meaning of life, whether God is a man or a woman, what the Dali Lama's middle name is, and how the last season of the Sopranos is going to end.

Its times like these when I meet my daughter's strong gaze that I think to myself...

"Damn. She knows I'm full of shit."

The Great Birthday Debate

Before I begin I want to say, in all seriousness, thank you to those of you who, very nicely and in your own way, told me to get my head out of my ass and stop whining about someone taking my baby name. I'm still miffed about the whole situation, but after re-reading that post it struck me that I could be spending my valuable time on writing about more important things. Like war, famine, pestilence, the fact that we still have two more years with W....

Or Baby's First Birthday Party!

Oh my Christ.

Call it what you want: Hullabaloo, Social, Bash, or full-blown Kegger (hey, that would be fun)... Am I really expected to throw a sizeable celebration for Chicky Baby's birthday? More to the point, do I really expect that from myself? I'm waffling on this idea and I'm not quite sure how to proceed. On the one hand, a first birthday is reason to celebrate. This is a truly momentous occasion. If you stop and remember, as most of you can, how far this little person has come in their development, throwing a party doesn't seem like so much a burden as a way to observe the progression from tiny, needy lump to little hellion-on-the-move. Raise your sippy cups and say a toast, for soon we enter Toddler-hood.

(And there won't be much toasting done then, at least not until she finally is off to the land of Nod for the evening.)

To be brutally honest, though, the party would be more for me for keeping this child alive and well for 365 days. However, if you take my need to be patted on the back out of the equation and really get down to brass tacks... Really, how much does a one year old care about a birthday party? Its not like she's going to remember it. Her only association will be from looking at old photographs years later, or maybe a list of what sort of loot she got from which relative. The Hubby and I could keep the shindig really small, close family and a couple of friends only, have a cake and some presents and be done with it.

Oh, 'tis so much trickier than that, though.

There are the people who are required to be there - Chicky Baby's Grandparents, Aunts (well, just one Aunt, the other one doesn't live close enough to attend), Great Grandparents, and a smattering of close friends with small children whose parties we attended (Okay, they're not really required to be there, but I've been waiting for my chance at payback for a while. If that makes me an awful person, then so be it.) All together, by my count, not including the Hubby and me the list is already at about 20 people.

Then we get to the tricky part. Let me give you some background... First of all, "close family" is a very broad term for me. My Mother, coming from a good Catholic family, was one of 11 children. Every holiday, birthday, graduation, or Saturday afternoon was spent with no less than 30 people. I'd like to say we're a genuinely close-knit family who is happy to come together for any reason, but we're really more like the mob. There may be back-stabbing, lying, cheating, and bad blood, but you're still "family". No matter what, you have to be present for certain occasions.

Some of you know by now that I lost my Mom a couple of years ago. Since then, her two sisters and my God-Mother have tried to take small, but active roles in my, and my sister's, lives. Surrogate Mothers, I guess. I'd like to include them in Chicky Baby's birthday and I know they would be happy to come. But, as I found out when planning my wedding a few years ago, if you invite some and not all, be ready for the bitching. Oh, and bitching I will hear through channels, because they wouldn't dare complain to my face. My uncles and their wives have still not really forgiven me for not inviting them to my wedding (we were keeping it small. Besides, they were at my first one!) and, though they really wouldn't want to attend a baby's birthday party - and would complain and moan that they would have to drive an hour to get to it and waste a perfectly good Sunday [see picture at right] - they don't want to NOT be invited. I can't win.

I know what I have to do... For my sanity and my daughter's and husband's sanity, I'm going to keep this party small and the relatives be damned. They're going to bitch no matter what I do. I suppose the point of this was to clear my head of all the negativity, to get it out there (aren't you all lucky) and make peace with it. If you have any words of wisdom, perhaps something I haven't thought of, I would certainly accept them eagerly.

If birthdays are this hard now, I'm screwed when I have to decide what to do when Chicky Baby has a list of 20 kids she wants to invite to her 5th birthday!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Shanghai Noon

Recently, a friend of mine gave birth to adorable twin boys. I couldn't be happier for her and her partner (actually, her wife. That's legal here in MA!) because they had such a hard time conceiving. This time around was easier than when she was trying to get pregnant with her first son, but it was by no means a simple process. I know that I will never truly understand the hardships she and her wife had to bear while going through the trials needed for her to get the children she so legitimately deserved (the Hubby and I did it the old fashioned way and even that was hardly needed. I think he looked at me the wrong, or right, way and I got pregnant. It was that easy for us.). She deserves all the wonderful things in the world to happen to her and her growing family.

But did she really need to take my baby name?!

There are certain things you don't take from a good friend.
For instance: her boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, or partner, her job, her hairstyle, her killer red sauce recipe without giving her credit, her killer red heels that you borrowed but never returned... Just to name a few. Add to that list: Your friend's possible future baby's name that was already picked out and shared with you in confidence never thinking for a minute you would actually have the gall to give your baby that name.

I'm a wee bit ticked off.

Before Chicky Baby was born I had picked out a girl name (which I wrote about here) but the Hubby and I had a harder time coming up with a boy name. We shot names back and forth at each other more times than a ball in a Chinese ping pong tournament. It took months but we finally settled on a name... Oh no, don't think I'm going to share it with you guys. Once bitten, twice shy. If this friend of mine is going to go all "Ocean's 11" on me, well that just proves that you never can tell some things about some people.

Maybe I should have expect this as she's done strange stuff like this before. When her first son was born she named him after a good friend of ours. I've always felt strange when referring to her child. I constantly need to clarify whom I'm talking about - Little "J" or Big "J". Kind of like when you're at a family reunion and you call out to your uncle Mike and Mike Jr., his son, answers and you say "Oh, no, not you Mike. The other Mike." But in this case Little J is not even Big J's kid! That I know of...

Now, when she and I talk about her sons, one will always stand out as the "Kid who has my possible future Kid's name". Not that I'm planning on having another baby. But its still got my panties all in a bunch.

Wouldn't this piss you off?

Me, Me, 100 Things about ME!

I can't believe I'm actually doing this, its not like you asked for it, but here's...

100 Things about Me, Me, ME!!

1. My initials are TLC -c'mon, say it with me... Awww. (that's tender loving care, btw, not "The Learning Channel".)
2. I married a guy with the last initial "C.", before that (with my maiden name) I was TLA - you know, True Love Always? Okay, it had more significance in high school.
3. I don't know if I believe in Soul Mates, but I think I might be married to mine.
4. I've been married once before.
5. It lasted 3 years, but it was over before it began. He was not my soul mate.
6. I could never imagine having kids with him.
7. When I started dating my husband I knew almost immediately that I wanted to have a baby with him.
8. We now have a beautiful daughter.
9. I plan on only having one kid.
10. But I try NEVER to say never. Oops.
11. I'm a Stay At Home Mom.
12. I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I do.
13. It give me an excuse to watch morning talk shows.
14. Until last year I had been working since I was 13 years old.
15. I've had some, um, interesting jobs.
16. I've been a donut filler at Dunkin Donuts
17. I still love donuts.
18. I've been a waitress - okay, that's not so interesting.
19. I've been a bartender. I was a big hit at parties.
20. I've been a Radio DJ. Again, big hit at parties.
21. I've been a media producer/voice-over artist for a Fortune 500 company.
22. I wasn't such a big hit at parties then, but I did meet my husband at that company.
23. I've managed a Doggie Daycare where "playing with dogs" was in my job description.
24. Now I'm a Dog Trainer.
25. I've found its better to say "I'm a Dog Trainer" to people who ask what I do for a living. If I tell people I'm a Stay at Home Mom their eyes start to glaze over.
26. I have wonderful friends who don't try to get me to train their dogs for free. Although, I often end up offer for the love of it.
27. I have two Labrador Retrievers.
28. We paid a butt-load of money to a reputable breeder for one of them, and we rescued the other one.
29. Though I am an advocate for adopting animals, in this case we got what we paid for.
30. I enjoy grooming my dogs more than I enjoy grooming myself.
31. I hate my hair and I hate drying/styling it.
32. I wear a LOT of baseball hats.
33. I think I am, single-handedly keeping the "Life is Good" company in business.
34. Sometimes I need to be reminded that, indeed, Life is Good (plus they have a cute yellow dog on a lot of their stuff).
35. I am not the type of "dog person" who wears her favorite breed of dog on screen printed sweatshirts. I hate those things.
36. But I do own a pair of Labrador socks that my Mother-in-law gave me.
37. I rarely leave my house without wearing makeup.
38. I feel no need to scare young children.
39. I have now, and have always, lived in Massachusetts.
40. I HATE the cold.
41. I love the warm weather. Really, really love it.
42. I grew up in the "Furniture Capital of New England".
43. You would think because of that I would have nicer furniture in my house.
44. My husband and I looooove wine.
45. Did I make that clear? We really love wine.
46. We got engaged in Tuscany, honeymooned in Napa and Sonoma, and tried to conceive our daughter when we went back to Tuscany.
47. We weren't successful. I think we drank too much wine when we were there.
48. We had a lovely time - I think.
49. I can't believe I'm only on #49.
50. I don't have much of an attention span.
51. If you name an 80's song, chances are I can sing a few lines.
52. I could also probably tell you who originally sang it and the approximate year it was a hit.
53. I have little need for this talent in my life these days.
54. Except when I'm trying to keep my daughter entertained. She loves it when Mama sings songs from the 80's.
55. And it really impresses my Hubby. Which is good because he's hard to impress.
56. He is crazy, spooky smart.
57. He's the first guy I ever dated who was smarter than me.
58. That's not saying much. You should meet some of the winners I've dated.
59. But, seriously, he is really, really smart.
60. I was born a blonde, I am currently a blonde.
61. I have no idea what my real hair color is now, but chances are its not blonde.
62. As of today I am still nursing my daughter.
63. I'm so proud of me.
64. I'll really miss it when I finally wean her.
65. And I'll really, REALLY miss my baby boobs.
66. My Hubby will miss them too.
67. I love the Red Sox.
68. I'm not obsessed with them in a multiple-bumper-sticker-on-my-car/jersey-wearing/never-miss-a-game-for-any-reason kind of way.
69. But we did watch a game in the hospital when I was in labor with my daughter.
70. The doctor was nice enough to let me finish watching it before I had to start pushing.
71. I couldn't care less about the Celtics even though I played basketball for years when I was younger.
72. I am a "recovering" Catholic.
73. I guess these days I'm closer to being an Agnostic then an Atheist.
74. I consider myself to be very spiritual.
75. My sister is my best friend.
76. You would think, because of this, that I would want more than one child.
77. I am a pop culture junkie.
78. I'm embarrassed at how much TV I watch.
79. I'm naturally slim.
80. I constantly feel like I'm getting fat.
81. I'm terrified that I won't be able to teach my daughter how to feel positive about her body.
82. I don't want her to grow up feeling bad about herself.
83. I can't be serious for too long.
84. I often make inappropriate comments in serious situations to lighten the mood.
85. My first two years of higher education were spent in Community College.
86. I was not a very good student.
87. I think I might have a learning disability.
88. I graduated from a State College.
89. I always feel inferior to my husband and his friends because of this.
90. My daughter will go to a good college whether she likes it or not.
91. Did I mention I have two cats?
92. Sorry cat lovers, but I don't love them as much as my dogs.
93. I'm waaay too addicted to Dunkin' Donuts for my own good.
94. I can't live without DD, Burt's Bees lip balm, chocolate, music, wine, my Hubby's risotto, and blue jeans.
95. I can't cook.
96. I married a man whose cooking skills kick ass!
97. I love to bake.
98. I don't do it often, though, because I don't want all that sweet stuff in my house.
99. I love bubble baths. Now that I'm almost finished with this f*cking list I think I'll go take one.
100. I have trouble finishing things. I can't believe I finished this damn list.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Mirror, mirror on the wall... who the hell is that?

Who is that woman staring back at me from the mirror? She looks familiar, but I can't quite place her. She sort of looks like me, but...

No... It can't be.

It IS!

Its... My Mother!

[rubbing my eyes]


Okay, that's better. There I am. Blonde hair, hazel eyes. Good smile. Should have worn that retainer a little longer when I was a kid because my teeth are a tiny bit crooked now. But, hey, it gives me character. That's not my Mom after all.

*blink, blink*

Wait a minute... this woman in front of me has dark circles under her hazel eyes. And there are fine lines at the corners. Her skin is starting to loose some of that youthful glow - and no amount of Jergens Natural Glow facial moisturizer is going to help that cause. There is gray around her hair line. Now I know that can't be me... I just went to the salon on Saturday.

[moving closer to the mirror]

When did this happen? When did I become this woman who looks a lot like the other, older womenfolk in my family? When I looked in the mirror I used to see a 22 year old girl staring back. Now when I look in the mirror I see an adult, a mature woman, a *shudder* grown-up. In a word - my Mom. Never before in my life could I have ever been accused of looking like her. At least not by people who were sober or not under the influence of psychotropic drugs. From the neck up we were completely different - she was dark, I am fair. If not for the fact that she bore me from her womb, most people would never have known that we were even related. So, how - and when - did I become her?

I wonder if it happened so gradually that I just didn't recognize the transformation, or did it happen quickly due to the fact that I am now, myself, a mother. All women know that we will eventually become like our mothers, I guess I just never expected to start looking so much like her. I mean, its not a bad thing to look like a woman who, until her late 40's was often accused of not looking old enough to have adult children... But its still tripping me out. And I don't really know why. I think its an identity thing. I've never, really, looked like anybody in my family. There is not one person in my large collection of relatives that you could point to and say "That one. Your second Aunt on your Mom's side. That's the one you most resemble." I guess I look a bit more like my Dad then anyone else, but only because we both seem to physically carry the Scottish/English genes of our ancestors. There's actually a joke in my family that I was actually the mailman's kid.

Okay, its not a very funny joke, but you need to know my family's humor.

Chicky Baby, though she is beginning to resemble me, is still very much her father's daughter. But she too, one day, will gaze into the mirror and see me staring back at her. I wonder how she will feel about that. I was a lot older, at 32, when I had her then my Mom was when she had me at 20. At what age will she see me staring back at her from the depths of the looking glass?

And, more to the point, will she like it?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Happy Spring!

Happy first day of Spring! Here in the Northeast, Spring isn't so much a change of season as it is an optimistic change in attitude. Case in point, today in Massachusetts the temperature will not get above the high 30's, yet I feel hopeful that we'll be experiencing warmth again soon. The warm weather has got to come eventually. Right? Right?! I've got that itch that needs to be scratched... I want, no I need, to get outside and work in my garden. So yesterday the Hubby and I packed Chicky Baby in the car and headed off for the King-of-All-Home-Improvement-Stores. While Hubby was off looking at security lights for the backyard, Chicky Baby and I went off in search of patio furniture and gardening stuff.

[Quick aside: I've got to stop watching "It Takes a Thief" on the Discovery Channel. We're not going to have anything of any value left to steal after we spend all our money on motion lights and steel bars for the windows.]

Instead of boring you with our adventures in home improvement, I'll instead let you know that I walked out of that store with nothing for my garden (its a bit early for that just yet) but, instead, with no less than $40 worth of ceramic pots for the malnourished plants that I keep on my kitchen windowsill. The plants that nearly perish from dehydration every few weeks because I'm far too busy to move them 4 inches down from their spot on the sill to the faucet just below to give them the water they need. (And I've been entrusted to care for a child and four animals. Ha!) But spring makes me idealistic. Not only will I transfer those plants into new, brightly colored pots, but I will also help them grow to fantastic heights never before seen. At least, never before seen in my home. I will fertilize them, talk to them in soothing tones, and play music for them. The Carpenters, I think. Maybe Captain and Tenille. Yeah, I think the Christmas Cactus would like a little "Muskrat Love". But first, I will water them.

This is what Spring does to me. It makes me want to help things grow and thrive. In another month I'll start hitting the local plant nurseries for new specimens for my garden. I will purchase them, bring them home, put them in the ground, water and fertilize them, and hope for the best. I have no idea what I'm doing but, and here comes that word again, I am optimistic. Spring is the season of beginnings, of new growth - buds on the trees, crocus and hyacinths pushing through the semi-frozen ground, bunnies and chicks at Easter, babies being born. People are throwing off their heavy, winter coats and begin to wear bright colors. Boots are replaced with cute spring shoes in the stores!! There is finally a good excuse to get a pedicure!!

Today, while I'm busy getting my hands dirty with potting soil I will happily be thinking about Spring - even though its colder than a witch's, um, toes outside. Maybe I'll turn up the heat just a bit, put on some capris and my flip-flops and pretend. Spring is here!

Friday, March 17, 2006

11 months... Already?

Chicky Baby,

My dear, darling child... why must you grow so quickly? You're 11 months today and, since you're getting older at an alarming rate, I've decided that we need (okay, Mama needs) to toast the occasion with a couple of Guinness. It is St. Patty's day, after all. That's two for me, none for you. You can have beer when you're 21, or when one of our weird relatives sneaks it to you when I'm not looking. Or when you're 17 and you sneak off to party in the woods with your friends, just like your Mom did. Just don't tell me about it until you're 28. Which will be any day now. At least that's what it feels like.

I see you changing now where I didn't see it before. Sometimes when we see someone everyday its hard to see the subtle differences in their faces. But you're starting to take on some "kid" physical characteristics and you're looking less "babyish". You're longer, and your hair is starting to grow. Don't get me wrong - you're still a baby. You haven't figured out how to change your own diaper yet, but because you're a baby I'm letting you get away with that. You really need to step it up in the coffee making department, though. If I'm expected to feed you breakfast, lunch and dinner the least you can do is get me my morning cup of joe after you've woken me at an un-Godly hour.

In the last month you've become so much more aware of your surroundings. You love staring out the window at the cars and people going by. This usually happens when I'm trying to shove carrots down your throat. Its very frustrating for Mama. I can teach my dogs to pay attention to me when I ask, but I can't get my daughter's attention. Maybe I should start using liver treats with you too.

Speaking of that, this month I've trained you to perform a bunch of tricks... Ahem... I mean I've taught you important games that will help your cognitive development. Last month you learned pat-a-cake and "So Big", this month you've gotten really good at your stacking rings, blocks, and basketball hoop thingie. But my favorite is how you give "Big Loves". If I ask for Big Loves you'll rest your head on my shoulder, give me a gigantic hug and go "Aaahhhhwww". I can't even describe how much this makes my heart want to burst. You love to love everything...

You love your toys...

...You love Daddy...

...You're not quite sure how you feel about being loved in return...

But until you're 18 and/or out of my house you are not allowed to love George W. Bush...

You can, however, chew on his head

You even initiate games. You're favorite goes something like this. You look at me, very pointedly, with a big smile and say "Da Da!". Then you wait for me to say "Very Good! Now say Ma Ma". To which you happily say "Da Da!"

Me: "Maaa MA?"

You: "Daaa DA!"

Me: "MA MA?"

You: "DA DA!!"

Throw me a bone, kid. Say Mama for something other than when you're hungry, tired, or unhappy. I'm begging.



Thursday, March 16, 2006

I feel pretty, oh so pretty.

So, you may have noticed that my space is going through some renovation. Who said the nesting instinct only happens in the months leading up to giving birth? I'm nesting like crazy. But instead of redoing every room in my house or - heaven forbid - start my spring cleaning, I'm having my Blog updated. Its going through some "tweaking" but this is the general idea. It reminds me of Pink Champagne bubbles.

Mmmm, Pink Champagne.

Maybe its the fact that spring is coming, but everyone around the 'ol blogosphere (at least the ones I'm reading) is sprucing things up a bit. Who needs a facelift when we can have a bloglift. Cheaper than botox, infinitely less painful than a boob job, and not as humiliating as a Brazilian bikini wax - Bloglifts are the new collagen. Just that extra special something to make you feel a little better about yourself.

Who needs a day at the spa? You don't have time for it anyway!

So when your best buddy asks you why you have that extra bounce in your step or asks if you've lost weight, you can say...

"Nah, I had my Blog done."

(pssst... Blog Diva...pass it on. She rocks!)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ain't it a crying shame... I'm so Tired!

God dammit, I'm exhausted...

Truer words have never been spoken. (If you didn't catch the reference, its Madeline Kahn singing "I'm Tired" in Blazing Saddles - my favorite scene in one of my favorite movies). I'm too tired today to be witty and engaging. The Hubby has had a head cold for what seems like the entire winter, and for the past few nights he's been keeping me awake with his snoring. And I'm not a light sleeper. I could sleep through fire alarms, thunder storms, and Tom Cruise yelling and jumping up and down on my bed - not that that happens very often - but there are two things I can't sleep through.

The sound of my daughter's cries.

And the Hubby's snoring.

I'm so tired I actually fell asleep in Chicky Baby's room while I was trying to put her down for a nap. So, instead of reading my ranting and raving you should go check out this beautifully written post on My Topography's blog. While you're there check out other things she's written (and her photography. Oh, and her art). You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

In the basement of the local Congregational Church...

Hi, I'm Mrs. Chicky and I'm addicted to blogging.

Hi Mrs. Chicky.

The cat is out of the bag... Yes, I am addicted to writing my blog and to reading other people's blogs. This was a problem I had under control until recently when I started checking out other people's blog rolls. Ultimately, I would find one or two new blogs that set my heart a-twitter and promptly bookmarked them, adding to the already huge list of blogs that I read on a semi-daily basis.

*taking a sip of coffee to compose myself*

This was always my little secret that I kept from my friends and family. Sure, the Hubby knows, but he loves me enough to turn a blind eye. Besides, its not hurting anyone. I still devote oodles of time to Chicky Baby's care and well-being. Sometimes up to 3 minutes at a time. I mean, hey, a girl's got to do something while waiting for her blogging buddies to update their sites. Might as well play with the baby, maybe change a diaper. Possibly do a shot.

But this past weekend, while spending time at Casa de Chicky to babysit her niece, my sister found out about my blog site.

*another long sip of coffee. hand noticeably shaking.*

I have intentionally kept this privileged information under wraps, not telling my friends or family about my blog for one very good reason. Where the hell else am I going to go to bitch and moan about all of them? Do you think I'm a big enough person to do that to their face? Noooo. I am a small, small person. But now my sister knows and I wonder if this will influence how and what I write.

Will I censor myself?

Oh, the horror.

And, really, its nobody else's business that I write about them on a public blog. Who the hell are they to think that their private lives are actually, uh, private? And its not like I post their pictures, or their social security numbers, here (but don't piss me off, I have a hair trigger temper). Everybody has their "thing" that they do on the internet. Chat rooms, fantasy baseball leagues, porn sites dedicated to marsupial love (ah, the love between a man and a wombat).

I know from reading your blogs that most of you have shared your site with people you know, and not just the friends you've made in the blogosphere. Did it start that way or did they ply you with gin and Nyquil to get your url? Do you find yourself watering down your content to keep yourself in the good graces, and the wills, of your family?

So, please, help me welcome to my readership.... Aunt Chicky.

She's lucky she regularly brings wine when she comes to visit or I might have been really freaked out by this.

Monday, March 13, 2006 our Italian Restaurant.

Alert the Media. News at Eleven. The Hubby and I had a date this weekend!

We haven't had a chance to go on a date since last November when we snuck away for a few hours to see a movie. Our date on Saturday wasn't any more exciting, since we just went out for dinner. (I mean, we were home by 9pm - look up "exciting" in the dictionary and you'll see a picture of the Hubby and me, yawning at the table after having a glass of wine.) But it was sooo nice to sit at a table, with a tablecloth and silverware and everything, and enjoy a dinner and conversation without being interrupted every other minute to provide more Cheerios or pick a toy up off of the floor.

Some highlights from our crazy night out on the town:

To kick off this momentous occasion I spent 20 minutes trying on every pair of pants in my closet - workout pants or jeans that have remnants of Chicky Baby's breakfast on them just weren't appropriate - and none of my pants fit. Not one pair. Its been so long since I was required to wear anything but my mommy uniform (see above description of the jeans) that I had no idea how different my body was now compared to BB - Before Baby. Some of the pants had been in there so long there was dust on them. This was not a good way to start a romantic evening out. "Oh yes! Now that it has been made painfully apparent how big my ass and thighs have gotten lets go to that cute, little Italian trattoria we've been dying to try and load up on carbs and Italian pastries!"

I finally settled on the "safe" outfit... Dark, skinny jeans - and I use the word "skinny" very loosely here - black turtleneck cashmere sweater (the one that sits on the shelf, hardly ever worn, because cashmere is a bitch to clean after oatmeal and applesauce has been thrown at you), and high heeled boots. Tres chic. And I only had to spend 5 minutes brushing the dog hair off of the sweater. Not bad.

When we got to the restaurant we found two seats at the bar where we could wait for a table to free up. And thank God we did because those damn boots were killing me. We ordered a couple of glasses of Chianti and decided to split one of the rissoto dishes while we waited (mmmm, Chianti and carbs, my old friends and nemesis). Lovely wine, lovely risotto. I felt all warm and sleepy and it wasn't even 7:30pm.

Why do restaurants have to turn the lights so low that you have to squint to see the food in front of you? I think I ordered the veal piccata, but I'm not sure.

The dinner was wonderful, and I had the best date in the whole joint. Do you know why he was the "best"? Because when we left the restaurant, full to the point of popping, he understood my need to unbutton my pants on the car ride home. I'm a lucky gal.

Like I said before, we were home by 9pm. My sister, who was babysitting for Chicky Baby, gave us loads of shit for being home so early. Oh, just you wait until you have a baby of your own, kiddo. We helped her polish off another bottle of wine while we all zoned out to "Lady and the Tramp".

Are you still with me, Dear Reader? Because I fell asleep while rereading this entry. How did I get so boring?

What's your best (or worst) date story after you had your first - or second, or third - baby?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Incredible Flesh-Eating Blogroll

It's my blogroll and you're all invited.

This is a work in progress - as am I - if you want your blog to be listed here leave me a comment or drop me an email and I'll be happy to add you. Chicky Chicky Baby at Hotmail dot Com

If your blog is not on here and you've requested that it be included it might be because I don't have a correct link to your site. Or because I'm lazy.


A Mommy Story
Another Mommy Moment
A Smeddling Kiss

Blog Antagonist
Breed 'em and Weep
Bub and Pie

Cape Buffalo
Cheeky Lotus
Cheeky Lotus Part Deux
Cheaper Than Therapy
Cheeky's Hideaway
Chicken and Cheese
Creative-Type Dad
Cry it Out

Dancing Through
Diary of a Reluctant Housewife
Domestic Chicky

Eucalyptus Pillow
Eva Las Vegas

Fairly Odd Mother
Flailing My Arms

Girl Con Queso

Her Bad Mother
Here In Idaho

I Obsess
Irreverent Antisocial Intellectual


Kevin Charnas
Kvetch Blog

Life in Mamaland
Life Of Pie
Life in the Shwa

Major Bedhead
Mama C-ta
Mama Drama
Mama Tulip
Mayberry Mom
Metro Mama
Midwestern Mommy
Mom 101
Mom Ma'am Me
Mommy Off the Record
Morphing Into Mama
Motherhood Uncensored
Mrs. Davis
Mrs. Fortune and Her Cookie
Mrs. Mogul
Mr. Big Dubya

Oh, The Joys
One Plus Two

Petite Gourmand
Pundit Mom

Redneck Mommy
Riley's Ramblings
Rock the Cradle
Ruthless in the Suburbs

Sarah and the Goon Squad
Self-Proclaimed SuperMom
Something Baby Blue
Suburban Bliss
Suburban Turmoil
Sue and her Red Stapler
Sunshine Scribe
Sweatpants Mom
Sweet Juniper

Table 4 Five
Taste the World
The Chaotic Home
The Dana Files
The Estrogen Files
The Kids Are Alright
The Mother of All Blogs
The Silent K
The Supercoolest Book Club Ever
The Ravin' Picture Mavin
This Girls Gone Child
This Sister's Journey

What Was I Thinking?
Wonder Mom

Friday, March 10, 2006

Phriday Phun Phive

I got this from Mrs. Fortune, who got it from Izzy. Who made it up on her own - God bless her little heart.

1. What is your favorite word?

That I say often - Cool. I say that waaaay too much and I'm probably making myself look like a bigger dork than I actually am by saying it so much. But that's cool with me.
That I enjoy saying but don't have much reason to - Succulent. Say it with me... Succulent. You know you like it.

2. What irks you every time you hear someone say it? You can have more than one.

I hate it when people say "Libary" instead of "Library". I also hate the C word. It makes my shoulders want to attach themselves to my ears every time I hear it.

3. Name the first concert you ever went to.

I'm almost ashamed to say this... I saw Chicago at the Worcester Centrum when I was in Junior High. With my DAD! The tickets were for my best friend and I, but he insisted he needed to chaperone (because they get crazy at Chicago concerts. Woohoo - mosh pit during "You're the Inspiration"!). To make matters worse, we had four tickets and the fourth went to a family friend - the Pastor of our Church. Nothing better than rocking out to "25 or 6 to 4" with a Catholic Priest. I'm such a dork.

4. Name a song you'll never get sick of hearing.

So. Many. To. Name. Ears. Starting. To. Bleed.
This is what happens when you have to answer one of your FAVORITE questions of all time. This could honestly take me a month to answer well enough to my satisfaction. To start "Mona Lisa" by Guster, "Veronica" by Elvis Costello. "Summertime" by Janis Joplin (and Big Brother and the Holding Company). "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" by Billy Joel. And, oh my God, I can't believe that someone mentioned "W-O-L-D" by Harry Chapin! Mrs. Fortune, can I copy you on that one?
I'll be re-doing this list in my head all day.

5. What song, album or band influenced you most as a teenager OR what song/album is the soundtrack of your youth? You can pick more than one if you have to.

Kill me. Kill me now. You seriously don't know how much I could agonize over this. If you're not a huge music geek, like me, this could be a bit over done. But there are some real gems in there.

In the early years (age 0 - 5) there was the Beatles, Frank Zappa ("Don't You Eat that Yellow Snow" scared the pee out of me), Cream and Led Zeppelin. Yeah, I was rockin' my crib HARD.

As my musical tastes matured (5 - 10 years old) I really got into Janis Joplin and Big Brother's "Cheap Thrills". Then there were the albums from my favorite movies - Annie, Grease, The Muppet Movie. And then Disco made a huge appearance in the form of Saturday Night Fever and, my personal fave, Sesame Street Fever. The song "Doing the Pigeon" was very big for me.

In the pre-teen and teenage years I discovered Pink Floyd's "The Wall" in my Dad's album collection and listened to it over, and over, and over again. After listening to "Comfortably Numb" for the 1,001 time I think Mom and Dad were ready to have me committed. Their thoughts of psychiatric help were cemented in their minds when I gave up on good music all together and started listening to.... ahem, Hair Bands. I loved them all, but I think Def Leppard was the biggest one for me. I even had my own version of Joe Elliott's ripped jeans. I thank Grunge music for coming along and saving me from years of psycho-therapy and shock treatments at the hands of my poor parents.

There's my list of 5. If you're reading this (and thanks for seeing it through 'til the end) you are officially tagged. Go. Go forth and make your own list.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Say Cheese!

Other possible titles for this entry:

"Who cut the Cheese?"

"Cheesy Goodness"

"Its Cheese-a-riffic!"

...or, my personal favorite...

"Songs on my iPod that are so cheesy that I will blame my Husband for downloading them when it was actually me, after 2 glasses of wine and too much time watching the beginning rounds of American Idol."

Hee, hee.

I have a confession to make. I love cheesy songs. More specifically, cheesy love songs from the late 70's to the early 90's. And I have the feeling that I'm not completely alone on this island of Christopher Cross and Air Supply. I know there are many more out there just like me - Like you! Yeah you. The one with "I Wanna Sex You Up" blasting from your ear buds.

Yesterday I had television on the 80's music station (love that digital cable) while I was cleaning the house. When from the television I heard the first few notes of a song so quintessentially gouda that it stopped me in my tracks and brought tears to my eyes. That song was "Same Old Lang Syne" by Dan Fogelberg. Man, I LOVE that song. And its so wrong to love that song. Dan Fogelberg is not an artist you're going to admit to loving in mixed company and especially not after your friends are talking about the latest song by the The Killers or Death Cab for Cutie. Can you just imagine the reaction? He's the kind of singer you'll admit loving to someone whose darkest secrets you already have knowledge of. Like your best friend from High School who was crazy in love with her 20 year old boyfriend - you know, the one who drove the camaro - who quoted Survivor in your Senior Yearbook.

"I was living for a dream,
Loving for a moment
Taking on the world,
That was just my style
Now I look into your eyes
I can see forever,
The search is over
You were with me all the while"

(c'mon, you know somebody who quoted something like this in their yearbook.)

Okay, I've shared some of my favorites, now you share some of yours. This could be fun. All you need to do is comment on your favorite song or songs that you still crank up in your car. But with the windows rolled all the way up. I'm going to lay down some ground rules, however, as to eliminate the haters.

- This is not a forum to judge others. After all, one person's cheese is another person's Brie... or something like that.

- The songs do not have to be love songs, they can also be those ridiculous songs that you loved in the clubs (think "Rump Shaker") or those crazy heavy metal songs from the late 80's. Careful, though. I was a metal girl all the way. Big hair, ripped jeans and everything. Ugh.

- Cheesy songs are subjective but they need to be real songs that you are embarrassed to admit that you like. They can't be cheesy for cheesy's sake. For example, all songs by Weird Al do not qualify, or any other parody song for that matter. "The Homecoming Queen's got a Gun?" Uh uh. That doesn't cut it either.

- Likewise, songs that are embarrassing now but were really popular back in the day. These are the ones that had cred at that moment but haven't stood the test of time. Like some early Madonna or Whitney Houston. Although, "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" might slip through.

- All songs have to be somewhat recognizable. Please no deep cuts from albums that nobody else has heard of. I have Billboard on standby.

So let's go, people. Bring out those fondue pots and stir 'em up because I've got my bread cubes ready to dip in.

Okay, that was officially my last cheese metaphor.

Monday, March 06, 2006

New f*ing template

Yeah, its still me. In pink. A lot of pink. A LOT of pink.

I hate templates on principle. I used to use Photoshop on a daily basis and I was pretty good at it, but my HTML skills are extremely limited so I'm stuck using templates. But there are only so many templates out there and all the decent ones are being used by other people whose blogs I read.

What's a girl to do? I'm going to let my inner Molly Ringwald out and get all pretty.

In pink.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Okay, I'm going to do it. I'm going to write about one of the most taboo subjects - Religion. I know, I know, this is tricky stuff. But this post is less to do with religion and more with the oppression of women and mother. Since those two groups comprise the majority of my blog's readership, I felt I needed to share this with you, Dear Reader. I had a physical reaction to this article, a feeling akin to being kicked in the stomach.

Why should you care? Why should you, the busy person that you are, spend the time to click on the above link and read this article? Let me share with you a quote to pique your interest...

"Men are the ‘‘natural” heads of their families and should persuade their wives to give up birth control, quit their jobs and home-school their children, a keynote speaker at the annual Boston Catholic Men’s Conference said yesterday."

How'd that grab you?

Now, before I get hate mail, let me say that I don't have any problem with anyone choosing to quit their jobs and staying home with the kids (hellooo, I'm doing it myself), homeschooling, or Catholics, for that matter. I am a recovering Catholic myself - and I have more than enough good reasons for leaving the church than you can shake a ruler at - but my family is 80% Catholic, so I have to be accepting of their views.

Although, they're not so accepting of mine, so I guess that makes me the bigger person.

But this man, Sean Forrest, scares me. This is a man who says that husbands need to ‘‘devise a plan to get them (their wives) to stay home with the kids." Devise a plan? Like women need to be tricked into it, because we couldn't possibly make an informed decision on our own.

This is as far as I'm going to go on this issue. I'm not in the habit of forcing my opinion on others, which is why I left the Catholic Church in the first place. You can draw your own conclusions, but I thought this article was worth mentioning. If you'd like another point of view on the subject you can go here and read the letter to the editor of the Boston Herald from Rev. Robert J. Carr.

Feel free to share your thoughts. Go ahead, I won't judge.

Because, according to this man, I'm not smart enough to form those types of thoughts on my own without the aid of my husband.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Link-y Goodness

I have many things I want to write about tonight... but I won't because its Oscar Sunday! I might have to stay up past my 9pm bedtime to watch all the beauty. Oh, and Jack Nicholson. I love that guy.

So, I'm posting some fun links to fill the time while you wait for my next post.

'Cause I know you're all just waiting with baited breath for my next post. Right? RIGHT?



Give yourself a little time for this one ladies. Its interesting, but time consuming.

Hey, tarot readings just for us. On the web. I totally believe everything that was said during my reading. Especially when I hit the "refresh" button 7 times to get the reading I wanted.

I saved the best for last. Dress your fat dollie like a 2 dollar whore. Or a Goth Chick. Or Morticia Adams. Good times, good times.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Crazy Mama!

The ladies at Crazy Hip Blogging Mamas (if you don't know who they are go there, but not now. Go later, after you've read this.) have started a weekly collaboration thingamawhoozit and this week's topic is "What does being a Crazy Hip Blog Mama mean to you?".

What does it mean to me? Hmmmm. Gotta scratch my head over that one for a moment.

In all honesty, the moniker in total doesn't really mean anything to me. I am not a CrazyHipBlogMama. I blog, sure, and I am crazy on most days (okay, okay - every day!), and according to my OB/Gyn that little bundle of need who crawls about my home ripping my good books off the shelf to throw them at the dogs belongs to me, so I guess I'm a Mama. But I'm certainly not hip. Haven't been since the year 2001. I turned in my Hip membership card because it was just so damn exhausting to keep up with all the other hipsters, so I dropped out of the race, got engaged, started looking for a house in the 'burbs and just chilled for a while. And I've never been sorry about it. Now that the pressure is off I can enjoy my life from a different point of view. And life is good. Very good.

However, if you take the time to break down the term, word by word, I totally embody each and every one. So, as those cuckoo kids say in the clubs these days, let's "break it down."

Helloooo. I'm a woman. I've been crazy since the day I got my period. You show me a woman who isn't crazy and I'll show you a pre-op transexual. There's nothing wrong with being crazy, it makes you more of a mystery to the opposite sex. Even if they won't fess up to it, men love crazy.

Ever since I got pregnant with my daughter they're much bigger. I guess that makes me "hip-y" instead of "hip".

My salvation from the hum-drum, monotonous life that is mine now that I've decided to stay home to raise my daughter. I am a bit of a blog stalker since I read a lot of Mommy Blogs (a title I hate, by the way) and I thank each and every one of you whose blog I've stalked. I've learned a lot from all of you. Your thank you cards are in the mail.

This one deserves more time than what I'm going to give it here. Perhaps another time. For now, though, I'll say that I love being a Mama more than I ever thought possible. Take away all the sleepless nights and poopy diapers (please, for the love of God, take them away!) and what's left is this soft, pink, perfect little person who - until she's a teenager anyway - loves and needs me more than anyone on the face of this earth. I am her whole world and, after I got over the crushing pressure of that fact, I found that she made me the most complete person I have ever hoped to be. I made her, carried her, delivered her, and sustained her life from my breast for the better part of her life. How cool is that? Everything I had been searching for is now right in front of me, pulling on my pant leg, demanding more of my attention. And I'm happy to give it. Sure, there are some days when I want to pull the covers over my head when I hear her cries through the monitor next to my side of the bed. Yes, I have considered stapling her to the wall by her onesie until my husband gets home from work on some really desperate days. But I haven't, because one look from her slays me and my heart turns to mush. This is the power of being a "Mama".

Now that its written I'm happy with the results. Thanks for stopping by and ignoring the mess. The next time you come over I'll try to pick the place up a bit.

Damn! I am a Mama!

...Like the winter needs the spring, you know I need you

My dear husband pointed out to me that I may have come across a little harsh in my last entry about Chicky's playgroup. That was not my intention. I like - No, I NEED that playgroup. By the time Monday rolls around I am counting the hours until Thursday. Its sad, really. I need this time at a toddler playgroup more than my Child. But as a stay at home Mom I don't have a whole lot to look forward to, especially on these long, cold New England winter days.

The reason why I'm tough on this particular group is because this is not the first group that we've attended. When Chicky was about 5 months old I found out about a "New Mommies Group" at the center. There I met 8 other women and their babies who I felt an instant connection with. We were all in that new, glorious and slightly desperate time in our babies lives when we needed to talk with other women who were experiencing the same things. At this YMCA-run center we were given an hour and a half every Friday morning to talk, question, bitch, cry and, ultimately, educate ourselves on our baby's development. We shared stories and bounced ideas off of each other. It was my salvation.

But all good things have to come to an end. The center runs their programs in semesters and the fall/winter semester was ending and it was time to sign up for the winter/spring semester. Two other women and I signed our children up for the Toddler Group, since our kids were a little too far along developmentally to qualify us for the New Mother's Group. The others, since their babies were younger and not yet crawling, stayed together in the first group. We still get together from time to time. I can't wait for the next semester when their kids will be ready to join our group and we can all be back together.

I guess I'm unduly hard on this new group of women because I have not yet found that connection with them. Their children are only slightly older, maybe 6 to 12 months older, tops, but at this age it may as well be a 20 year difference. Chicky is 10 months old and really not ready for a Toddler Playgroup - though she does fantastically and its helping her develop her motor and verbal skills even quicker than she had already been progressing. So, even though I can question the other mothers and get advice on things like sippy cups and walking, we're not quite there yet. Do you know what I mean? Like tends to gravitate towards like. There is one other woman who has a daughter who's 3 weeks older than Chicky and the two of us are getting close. She was not there yesterday and I was lost without her. Sad. So, so, sad.

Before this pity party gets out of control, I want to mention again that I love it when Thursday comes and I have an excuse to get out of the house. A really good excuse. I'm sorry I came across negatively. And if my last entry (and this one, too) taught me anything, it was that I have to make some big steps towards getting to know these women. They are my lifeline, whether they know it or not, and I need them.

Like the flowers need the rain
You know I need them
Guess I'll start it once again
You know I need them
I need them
I need them

*Bonus points for you, Dear Reader, if you know who recorded that song!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Its better than watching "The View"

Can you hear that?


Strip away all the Toddler chatter...

(*total silence*)

...the noise of banging toys...

(*deafening silence*)

...and the smattering of small talk concerning the small children in the room.

(*Oh my God, the SILENCE*)

And that's what you'll hear at the Toddler Group that the Child and I attend. Awkward, silent moments that are really to be expected when you get a bunch of women together in one room who have nothing in common except that they have children under the age of 2. After spending every Thursday for the last few months with these women I am starting to get to know them better. But small talk has never come easy to me with anyone, even people who's last name's I know really well. Actually, its torture. Its right up there with having my fingernails ripped out and having to listen to William Shatner sing.

Let me walk you through a typical day at Playgroup. Come on, it'll be fun...

9:05am - Needing to get out of the house before the Child has a complete breakdown because she's missing her morning nap, we arrive 10 minutes early at the center where our Playgroup is held. (The center is run by the local YMCA and its free to anyone who signs up for the group before all the precious slots are filled. Free, People!! I love me the word "Free".) Luckily we're not the first ones arrive - that would be embarrassing, wouldn't want to seem too eager - as there are two other women arriving with their children in tow ready to set them loose to do some damage to someone else's space.

9:10am - As we're taking off our coats and putting them away I notice the kids who are showing up are firmly in two camps: Those who take off running and those who sit or stand quietly and observe the madness unfolding around them. Julia is in the second group. She looks a little shell-shocked... "Where did all these kids come from? And why are they sticking their fingers in my mouth and in my ear? How dare they!"

9:20am - Everyone who will be coming to Playgroup has arrived by now. The winter keeps the numbers down since most of the mothers are good about keeping their sick kids at home. Don't want to be the Mommy with the snotty-nosed kid who infects everybody else! Nobody wants to be the Playgroup pariah.

9:25am - The moms with the toddlers who will soon be on Ritalin are busy running around after them and the rest of us are sitting in a half-assed circle, watching our babies trying to smack each other in the head with plastic toys, while trying desperately to find something to talk about. Good times, good times.

9:30am - *crickets chirping*

9:35am - Someone finally comes up with a topic - What size clothing is your baby wearing? Since this is the most dull topic on earth, next to the weather, it dies pretty quickly.

9:40am - The kids have decided that their moms are the most boring people on earth (and they're right!) so they scatter like plastic bags in a grocery store parking lot on a windy day. Off in search of more stimulating conversation perhaps, they settle on fighting over the nearest walker. Even though there are 4 others just like it in the room.

9:45am - Since Julia is the youngest and one of the few who are still crawling the moms decide to take their little ones off to find other things to play with and let her practice her walking skills. She tears off behind that walker like nobody's business. She won't use her walker at home, but she'll use this one. It must be because almost all of the other kids in the room are walking. Is she too young for peer pressure? Should I worry that the shady-looking little boy in the overalls will be sneaking pot into next weeks group?

9:50am - Okay, my back is killing me after doing the Mommy Crouch for 5 minutes. You know what I'm talking about... the posture necessary for being close enough to grab your little one before they do a face plant into the brightly colored, plastic toy.

9:55am - Snack Time! The other kids are sitting nicely eating Teddy Grahams and Goldfish crackers at the little table. The Child is not really ready for snack time so I try to get her to play with some toys. Boy, do I feel like the odd mommy out. Julia sees what's going on at the table and makes a bee-line for a little boy's snack, causing a near riot. Time to break out the Cheerios. I sit her down in the last available chair at the table, put some of the O's in front of her and pray that she'll be happy enough with them. She is, thank God. This is alright, kind of like being at the cool kids table in the cafeteria.

10:05am - Snacktime is over and now its Storytime. None of the kids really care for storytime since not many of them are ready to settle down yet. Julia sits in my lap and watches the group leader read the book and she gets excited when there's a dog in the story. I love my perfect, perfect child. Tomorrow I'll be signing her up for Veterinary School.

10:10am - Since there's still a few minutes left, and because the group leader is a sadistic bee-atch, she breaks out a parachute and all us moms proceed to dump our little ones in to the middle of it. Weeee! Round and Round we go! Three children immediately have meltdowns while the rest look stunned to be pulled around in a circle in the middle of what looks like a circus tent. I swear I see satisfied looks on the faces of some of the women. You can almost hear them thinking "Don't like this, do ya? Well, this is for all the times you woke me up at 2am. Payback's a bitch, kid."

10:11am - Julia sits in the center of the parachute and looks at me in wonder. She's loving this parachute thing. No, we are not going out to buy one.

10:15am - Time to pack it up and go home. Most of the moms are standing around talking (oh sure, now we find things to talk about!) and make promises to get together for coffee before the next playgroup. There's a good chance we won't follow up with these plans but its nice to pretend. And, chance's are, I'll misplace a phone number or two.

And, damn if I can't find a listing for "Madison's Mom" in the phone book!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

F*ing templates

This is what I get when I screw around with my blog template. My sidebar is now stuck down at the bottom of my blog page and its PISSING ME OFF! I know just enough about HTML to be dangerous - to myself - and now I don't know how to fix it. God DAMN it.
I'll be re-doing this site very soon (actually I'll have someone else re-do it for me) so if looking at my site is bugging you even a fraction of the amount that its bugging me, it will get better. Not soon enough, though, if you ask me.
Until then, my apologies. This is why I hate it when people drop by my house unannounced (but I still love it when you visit my blog!) - I hate my place looking so unfinished and messy.

I've been dying to do this for 10 months

The Child's hair isn't really long enough to necessitate rubber bands or hair clips, but I just couldn't resist...

A Mom has to have her fun, too.