Monday, April 30, 2007

Becoming a Mom Part Deux

Motherhood was a big transition for me the first time around. My husband & I lived a casual life, enjoying the freedoms of student living. I worked nights and midnights, sleeping the day away, enjoying the computer throughout the night on my nights off. It was a fun, laid back life.

Along came Becca. We decided that there was no time like the present to start having children. I do not think we really knew what that actually meant to our laid back lifestyle. Yet Becca seemed to fit right in. I adjusted to living in the light of day and J totally slipped into the role of Dad, participating in the daily tasks of raising our little pumpkin. Becca is a routine kid. She thrives when she knows exactly what to expect, so we have followed her lead and life is good.

Now here we are two and a half years later with a new bundle of joy. Ethan our second child arrived a tad early but with perfect timing. Becoming a Mother the second time around has been a different experience for me.

I am savouring every little moment with this little. Short of divine intervention, we have decided that two children complete our family. This is my last opportunity to hold, nurse, burp, wear and love a newborn of my own.

Becca has a very calming effect on me. I am a better person now that I am her mom. I did not think it was possible, yet little Ethan has done the same, just more. I am more calm, laid back and happier since he came along! Still my husband remarks how he thought I would be more anxious about things than I appear to be. Becoming a mom again has been good for me.

We are about to continue our crazy travelling adventure soon. Everything is up in the air and all vague until we receive "official" news. This would have sent me into a tizzy pre-children. I would have fretted and drove my husband nuts with questions and what if's. However, at the moment I am relishing every little detail about being a mom to Becca and Ethan ... And trying to get some sleep, balance chores, crafts, playdates, diapers and so much more.


Chelle is a Canadian girl, living it up in California with her cute husband and two adorable children. Keeping her blog Crazy Thoughts by Chelle, as a creative outlet and a connection with home. Keeping it real with her beloved Apple computer, designing blog templates and going on endless adventures with a smart, shy toddler and an ever hungry newborn. You can find Mrs. C your amazing blog host over at Crazy Thoughts by Chelle today.

You can see other Blog Exchange posts here.

Weather was fine. Wish it was here.

I'm back from vacation. Reluctantly. Unhappily. Slightly sunburned and jet lagged.


It sucks to end a vacation. I missed Chicky like crazy but it was hard to come home, back to reality, and leave all that freedom behind. Which is funny because I hate to travel. I hate airplanes and airports and living out of a suitcase. It takes me forever to relax and leave my worries behind me, but I love it when people bring me margaritas. Love it. And I love that my only worry was where I was going to pass out.

(You think I'm kidding.)

(I'll see you at Blogher.)

(I'll be the one that's swaying.)

Phoenix, and the resort we stayed at, were beautiful. Very posh, lovely weather, and did I mention the margaritas? I'm fairly certain I did but the tequila and the 90 degree temperature went straight to my head. It's a good thing it was so hot because I got to sweat everything out of my system.

Hey, I wasn't alone. There were lots of people doing the same damn thing. Stop judging.

With the exception of our first night (The night of the ho-down. Ho boy. There are no-ho words.), and our last evening (Gala awards dinner in the desert. How they pulled that off with that many people - hundreds of us and an open bar. Are you sensing a theme yet? - I'll never know) and one one-hour business session that Mr. C had to attend we were pretty much left up to our own devices. Which meant lots of pool time for me.

With the pretty people.


I haven't seen that much tits and ass since, um, ever. I live in Massachusetts, after all, where our motto is "We're too smart to be superficial!"

(Which is why MA won't be competing with Brazil for "the most beautiful women in the world" title. Or Delaware, for that matter.)

And let me tell you they, the Tits (they deserve to be capitalized) were all expensive and all spectacular. I'd like the name of those women's doctors because there was some incredible work lying around that pool.

It was all very amusing (says the woman who hid behind her tankini and her book). As the hot days went on, and the more drinks were consumed, the parade of skin around the pool got more plentiful. And the men were more appreciative. I swear if they could have without threat of lawsuit the men "cooling" - ahem, swim trunks don't, um, control much, do they? - themselves in the pool would have held up score cards as women passed.

8.0! 6.5! Wow 9.5!!

(gotta leave room for improvement)

It was a bit like being back in college... If the college I went to was attended by men with six figure salaries and huge egos. But they didn't bother me (because, duh, I don't have big boobs) and I didn't bother them (except the Yankees fans who caught sight of me in my Red Sox hat, sore losers) so all in all Mr. C and I had a great time.

Oh! One of the best parts of our trip (besides the weather and the drinks and the free massage and the gourmet food and the...) was during the last night's awards dinner. Every year they have some recognizable music acts. Last year? Hootie and the Blowfish.

(Thank God we didn't go last year)

But this year? The Dan Band. Fuck!

And I say that with the utmost respect and admiration. If you saw them in Old School you know of which I speak.

If you ever get the chance to see them live, jump on that opportunity like a horny man on a box of porn. You will not be disappointed. Unless you're like half of the chuckleheads we attended the dinner with, middle aged wives and their millionaire husbands who forgot to purchase a sense of humor with their new Mercedes, who were so offended by The Dan Band's version of Genie in a Bottle (gotta rub me the right way) that they left early. Eh. More room at the front of the audience for me.

I saw Dan the next morning at the hotel's Starbucks and I wanted to hump his leg - because that's how I show my appreciation for things I really like. But I figured his wife probably wouldn't have liked it. And poor Mr. C. Nobody wants to be that guy. The husband whose wife gets all nasty on the entertainment. My husband's career would have been ended right there and then how would I afford all that plastic surgery I now realize I so desperately need?

Not that we'll ever be invited back. My husband was one of the few token technical guys invited to this sales shindig. I think there was, maybe, four of them - the token techies - out of 600 sales employees. But we'll always have Phoenix. And the free margaritas.

Um, I think.

Damn tequila.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Getting my organizing on

I am hopelessly disorganized. I'm the type of person to have Post-It notes on every flat surface to remind me to do everything from buy the groceries to scratch my own nose... Except I'm not organized enough to buy the darn Post-Its. So I had high hopes when... [Read More.]

Monday, April 23, 2007

Spring fever rears its lovely head

I feel like a fair weather blogger, in reverse. When the weather is crappy and I'll I want to do is hunker down on my couch with a cup of coffee and my laptop I find safe haven in the blogosphere. But on days like today, 80 degrees and blue skies, the last thing I want to do is slave over a computer writing pithy or verbose posts about... Well, I have no idea what about. That's the point. My head is elsewhere.

The weather affects my mood like crazy and today I am happy. Sublimely happy. I'm watching chickadees building nests in my rain gutters and I'm not worried one bit about how we're going to clean those out so the spouts don't get clogged. The brats kids next door are all still at school so the neighborhood is quiet and the sounds of small motorized vehicles don't break my concentration from the book I'm reading. Chicky and I can play outside with her new toys (procured from a very successful birthday party) and when I'm done playing she continues, she making tiny mud castles and covering herself with fine beach sand and me reading the before mentioned book. We ate lunch outside! Hurrah! Munching carrot sticks and nibbling on strawberries, I can close my eyes and pretend it's late June instead of late April. Tomorrow it's back to reality, but today it's heaven.

So you can see, while I should be doing a million and one things to get ready for my trip on Thursday I'm wasting my time daydreaming in the sun. No time for blogging here. So I hope you'll forgive my being a bad blog citizen. I'll be here, there and everywhere for the next week, but I won't be winning any blogger of the year awards.

(Speaking of awards, the lovely lady that is Oh, the Joys kindly nominated me for a couple of Blogger's Choice awards. Click on over there and vote for me if you are so inclined. Or don't. How can one care about such things when the warm sun is out?)

As for that pink buttercream frosted butterfly cake that I said in a recent post that I was going to be making this weekend, I had no idea how long that could take. Wow. I'm sure making frosting and decorating a cake is a lot of fun when you're not under the wire to get it completed in time. So, here's my first effort in cake making, such as it is.

This is how things come out when I work without a net.

Now that I know what I'm doing (snicker, guffaw, snort) if I'm ever called to task to make another "Wuttahfly" cake I'm sure it'll be prettier. But I make a mean buttercream frosting, if I do say so myself.

Chicky thought so, too. Which was praise enough for me.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

There's always room for Jell-O

So it wasn't tuberculosis. It wasn't the bubonic plague. It wasn't even dengues fever (Mr. C's contribution to my list of possible maladies, and a good one). Of course, how could it have been? There's been a monsoon raging outside my house for the past week and the mosquitoes would have drowned by now.

But the birds. They're resourceful. It could have been avian flu.

Not according to my doctor, however. She examined me for exactly 2.47 seconds and said that she'd write me a script for something (never actually said what exactly) and when I inquired as to what I was being treated for she, my doctor, the one who should know, said the prescription would treat strep (though she didn't see any) or a sinus infection (fairly certain I had one, but not 100%). Or maybe rickets, botulism and/or kennel cough. Let's cover all our bases, m'kay?

I love our medical system. Love it.

I am finally feeling better. I was starting to think my poor health was tied to our spastic weather, and now that the rains have parted and Noah's floated off into the sunset with his little boat and pet fetish I'm even more convinced. The sun will shine this weekend and I'll eventually stop hacking and coughing up neon bile long enough to make a butterfly birthday cake for my special girl. Which will taste nothing like Benadryl. Saints be praised, because Benadryl is not as tasty as pink butter cream frosting.

I thank you all for your well wishes, your birthday messages (Chicky was touched. She wants to have you all over for woffee and cookies) and your getting through a post that had me describing my Technicolor bodily fluids. Which, as green as they were, were not as tasty as lime Jell-O. And that's saying something. Because nobody likes lime jello.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bring out your dead

I have an aversion to doctors of any sort, so I must be feeling really horrible if I'm considering schleping myself to my primary care doctor. This sickness, it's kicking my heiny, so I think it's time to consult with a professional.

Mr. C was nice enough to come home early on Monday to care for me and Chicky and he had already scheduled to have yesterday off, but today he went back to work. We're feeling his absence today. I'm not physically ready to deal with a demanding toddler. Chicky has watched far too much television over the past few days and eaten way too many Cheerios (Straight out of the box. I'm Mother of the Year!) but we're doing what we can to get through this.

Good lord, I sound all doom and gloom, don't I? Well believe me, I'm worse in person. So far I've diagnosed myself with meningitis, tuberculosis, and the bubonic plague. I'm still leaning toward tuberculosis but I'm not counting out the plague just yet.

Being sick sucks. 'Nuff said.

Oh, but I have found something to love through all this. My newest review is up at my other site. Go. Enjoy.

And for crying out loud, keep that mask over your nose and mouth when you're around here. Jeez. I don't want everyone getting sick.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


My beautiful girl, today you are two.

Never could I have known how far someone could evolve and grow in just 365 days before you came along. Your legs have lengthened, your belly shrunk, the baby fat seems to have melted away and that infant that I knew has been replaced with this almost-child. In the past year you've learned to walk and talk, to brush your teeth and use a spoon and fork all by yourself. You show empathy for your peers and affection to friends and relatives. In this large world you've begun to carve out a place for yourself. A place that is all yours, separate from me.

I have just a few important years before you let go of my hand in earnest, but until then I'm going to hold onto it tightly. The casual observer may not notice how a two year old exerts her independence, but I see it. Today you want to get out of your stroller so you can roam unassisted, tomorrow you'll be going off to school and the day after that you'll be preparing for college. It happens that quickly. But today you still, for the most part, hold my hand. You need my help in almost all facets of your life. And I am here to help you. For as long as you need me I'll be here for you.

A terrible tragedy happened yesterday and that might be why I'm so quick to look ahead at your life instead of concentrating on your accomplishments to date. But the loss of those children, so full of promise, might be just the jolt I need to remind me to savor each and every day I have with you. One day you will leave for college and I will no longer be able to linger over your shoulder, making sure you cross the street assisted, that you're eating right, that you get your daily allotment of hugs and kisses.

You haven't made things easy for me, but every time I'm ready to throw in the towel I have to remember those students in Virginia and how they were once wonderfully frustrating toddlers. When they were young their parents picked them up when they fell and skinned their knees and kissed their boo boos. Their parents tucked them in at night and watched the rise and fall of their chest as they slept. Their parents wished and hoped and sacrificed for them so that they could get an education. That education that would take them one more step away from their childhood.

I do not want to dwell on tragedy, but instead celebrate this messy complicated life that I have been given to watch over. Yours. My daughter's. I'm sorry to say that most days I don't know what I'm doing, but I still take my job very seriously. And that job is to love you and care for you for as long as I'm given the opportunity to do so, on special days and mundane. Through tantrums and sleepless nights. Messy faces and eskimo kisses. I'll take all of it for as long as I can get it.

Today you are two. I will try to remember to take things one day at a time if you will allow me to catch up when time gets away from me. And let me hold your hand on occasion.

Happy Birthday to my ocean child with the windy smile. I love you.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Ain't that a kick in the head

There is less than two weeks before our trip and in that time I have to spend more money on things I need for this free vacation, finish preparations for Chicky's birthday party, get myself and my dogs to various appointments, clean my house and write detailed directions for my sister who will be staying here with Chicky and the dogs while we go off to Phoenix. I need every single day between now and next Thursday to get this all done.

So, it only seems right that I'm lying flat on my back, sick as a dog with some mystery ailment.

Is this some sort of karma, pay-back thing for wanting to smack my kid the other day?

I don't care, I just want it to sto-o-o-op.

I have a fever, the chills, a horrible cough and I believe a small, but ferocious, animal crawled down my throat in the middle of Saturday night and is now try to claw it's way out of there. I have this nasty goop coming out of my ears, my throat is the size of a mylar balloon, my head feels like I was slugged with a bag of rocks and I haven't slept in two nights.

Am I whining? You bet your bippy I'm whining.

This sickness could not have come at a worse time. On Saturday, when I felt it coming on, I was at a conference. I missed the Sunday session and now I'm out $115. I was supposed to start two new classes this evening, but now my assistant will have to take over tonight. I barely do anything all winter and now - now! - my body decides to shut down.

So, I won't be a very good blog citizen for the next few days, or until I clear myself of some of this phlegm. You'll see me around, but keeping my head aloft long enough to type a comment is too much for me to take right now. As a matter of fact it has taken me four tries to finish this post. I had to rest in between paragraphs.

Now let's hope that Chicky doesn't get sick. I'd hate for her to be ill on her birthday. That just doesn't seem fair. You can't eat birthday cake when your throat hurts.

But you can eat ice cream.

Hey, maybe I can work this sick thing to my favor after all.

Friday, April 13, 2007

We don't always hurt the ones we love, but sometimes we consider it

No jokes today, my friends. No funny stories or silly questions. Today is not a happy day.

This morning I was forced into that place where only parents of toddlers have been. Forced into a very deep pit of anger and frustration by my daughter, an otherwise easy child, in the presence of strangers. Almost two hours later I'm still shaking.

Because today I wanted to hurt my child.

Earlier today Chicky and I attended our morning playgroup. I noticed toward the end she was acting a bit unlike herself - more tired than usual, unhappy and slightly cranky - but I had to run to Staples to make copies for an upcoming class. Normally she's pretty good in stores, as good as a toddler can be anyway. But today? My normally sweet child was taken over by a raving, destructive lunatic.

As I was trying to make copies she was pulling pamphlets out of cardboard displays (why do they put those at toddler-level?), trying to pull stacks of papers off shelves, opening and slamming all the drawers of the three copiers, and when that wasn't enough she tried running through the store and out of my eye sight. Screaming. Loudly. And every time I tried to stop her she would scream louder and flail and hit. One time as I picked her up to try to calm her down she slapped me on the side of the head so hard I saw stars and heard ringing in that ear.

And then she laughed. Maniacally.

There is nothing worse than your child laughing at you after slugging you.

I'd had it at that point. I scooped her up like a football in one arm and proceeded to finish my copying with the other. Not so easy when you're carrying a 25 pound squirming, screaming child. Then she kicked off her shoes with such force it almost hit some poor unsuspecting man. So then I was scooping up shoes, trying to keep an eye on my bag, making copies, juggling papers and carrying my tantruming toddler, all while trying to keep my cool. I don't think I did a very good job.

The blood was starting to rise to my face. I was hot and angry. The copy center was busy - of course, because that's my luck - and people were shooting me nasty looks because my kid was acting out. And she hit me again. Hard.

That was the moment I wanted to hurt her. I wanted to spank her. Pinch her. Grab her little arm and squeeze. God help me I wanted to shake her until she had a reason to scream.

Instead I paid for my copies and took her out to the car, where she proceeded to scream the entire way home. And there I put her to bed, which is what we both needed. No I love you's, no kisses and hugs. I just put her in her crib and shut the door.

I thank whatever higher power that was responsible for her falling fast asleep.

Because now I sit, shaking from my anger and fear. Fear, because I know there will be other times when she'll push me, and anger because I can't believe that she would act that way, which is stupid because she's a toddler and doesn't know any better which makes me turn my anger towards myself.

I don't know how I appeared on the surface today, but from the looks on those people's faces I don't think I held it together very well. My kid pushed me to that edge, that horribly dark place where I never want to go again. I'm disgusted with her but I'm more disgusted with myself. I'm the Mommy. I should know better. But when she's irrational, horribly irrational, I become irrational.

I really hope her nap is a long one today. For both our sakes.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A glimpse into the mind of a dieting woman

7am - Woman wakes to the sound of her child singing to herself. Can't quite make out the song because last night's sex dream is still fogging her mind. She fights to hold on to it because it was that good.

Mmmm, Tyler Florence.

Wait. Does the TV chef turn her on or is she excited by the thought of a man with access to that much food?

Eh. Either way...

7:15 - Mmm... Tyler. That feels good. I like the way you're slowly working your way up my thigh. Oooh, the rubbing, the caressing...

Okay, was that my thigh or a leg of lamb?

Eh. Either way... Come to Mama.

7:30am - The singing coming from her daughter's room is getting louder, waking the woman from her sexy dream. The woman finally realizes what her daughter has been singing to herself. Baa Baa Black Sheep. She decides the moment is ruined and gets out of bed.

7:31am - The woman rubs her eyes and considers stretching. You know, to get the old blood pumping. She reaches down to touch her toes and comes face to face - okay, not really, she hasn't stretched in a while - with her unpedicured feet. And look at all the dirty clothes in need of washing. She gives up on stretching and heads upstairs to get her kid. Walking up fifteen steps is exercise, right?

7:45 - Her child now situated in her high chair, the woman heads to the pantry to get her some Cheerios. The Cheerios are right next to a package of mint Oreos.

She thinks, I want a cookie.

She grabs the cereal box and quickly shuts the pantry door.

7:46 - I want a cookie.

7:47 - I'll eat the rest of Chicky's banana.

7:49 - I want a cookie.

7:50 - I'll make some coffee. That's an appetite suppressant.

7:52 - I want a cookie.

7:55 - Mama! Woffee! Mama!

Thanks, hon, you're a peach.

Mmmm, peach flambes with french vanilla ice cream.

7:56 - The coffee is poured. The woman considers adding milk to it, or even taking it black, then decides to add just a little half and half to her coffee. Really, just a little. It won't even be like half and half. More like one sixteenth/one sixteenth.

8am - She tries not to think about how good a donut would taste with her coffee.

8:05 - I want a donut.

8:10 - The woman checks her bloglines, which has at least 10 cooking blogs.

8:15 - I want cheesecake.

9am - Drinks more coffee. She might be up to one fourth/one fourth by now but decides not to be too considered because she's about to work out.

10am - Heads upstairs with kid in tow to work out on the eliptical machine, or as she refers to it, that goddamned dust collector.

10:10 - I hate the eliptical machine.

10:12 - I fucking hate the eliptical machine.

10:14 - I fucking hate the fucking eliptical machine. Fuck.

10:15 - I want a cookie.

10:30 - That's enough of that. Now it's time to do some crunches.

10:40 - Still lying on the floor.

10:42 - Number of crunches done - 0. Number of times she wanted to beat Elmo to death with a stick and eat his little, red monster flesh - 5.

10:45 - Woman wonders to herself how many crunches one would have to do to get a hernia.

10:46 - She decides fifteen.

11am - Still lying on floor.

11:10 - Floor - 1, Woman - 0. Number of crunches done - I lost count after 22, but I think somewhere in the vicinity of... 23.

11:20 - Lunch!

11:30 - Wow. These carrot sticks are pretty tasty. They'd be even more tasty if they were dipped in CHOCOLATE COOKIES.

11:45 - Naptime for Chicky. I could vacuum. That would burn some calories. Nah. I wonder what's on television?

11:46 - Must stay away from the Food Network.

11:47 - Ooh! Tyler Florence. Oh happy day.

11:50 - This is sexy. I'm getting all hot. Look at the way he's handling that pot roast.

12 noon - The Food Network - Porn for Bored Housewives. The Food Network should totally hire me for their ad campaigns.

12:15 - I want a cookie. Dipped in Tyler Florence. With a side of pot roast.

The rest of the day goes the same until that evening, while sitting on her couch watching Dancing with the Stars (Wow, look at those abs. Wow, her dress looks like frosting.) and drinking white wine (Because as you know white wine has far fewer calories. It's, like, having negative calories. Yeah.), the woman finally gives in and has a cookie.

Okay, two cookies.

Fine, three cookies.

Alright, six cookies. Are you happy? Remember, negative calories.

The woman, covered in cookie crumbs from her Oreo orgy heads off to bed and hopes that this night's dreams will involve Tyler Florence and a chocolate cake. Or maybe just the cake.

Either way, it's a win/win situation.

'Cause Mama's hungry for you baby.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Fabulous secret powers were revealed to me the day I held aloft my magic sword and said "By the power of the Internet"

If you will indulge me for a moment. I need your help, Internets.


Mr. C and I are going on a short trip in a few weeks. It's one of those performance reward trips that large corporations hand out once in a blue moon to select employees. Apparently, if you work non-stop and kiss the right ass you get recognized along with a bunch of other shmucks who sold their soul to the company machine and you get a free trip to some place warm. Who knew?

(I'm just kidding, dear. You're not a shmuck.)

Anyway, in the past these get-aways, retreats if you will, were held on Caribbean islands, the Bahamas, and Hawaii. This year? Phoenix.

Fucking Phoenix, Arizona.

I'm a-twitter with excitement.

Aside from the nervousness of leaving my child behind for the first time since her conception I have a very important dilemma that needs the wisdom of the internet to solve. My sanity depends on what advice you have for me.

I don't know what to wear.

It's not funny. Stop laughing. I'm serious.

It's being held at a luxury resort in the desert where temperatures during the day rise well into the 90s, but during the night dip down into the 50s and 60s. Our first evening there we're to take part in an "authentic Western Ho-down"...

(insert your favorite joke about hos here)

...and on the last evening we're being trucked out into the desert for "dinner and dancing under the stars". Sounds lovely, right?

Wrong. Dead wrong. So wrong.

In our information packet it says about this dinner: "Women are encouraged to wear comfortable, flat shoes" and... That's it. That's all it says in reference to the dress code. I'm drawing a complete blank here and that scares me. Because there we will be, one of the token techie guys and his stay at home house wife with a bunch of bazillionaire, testosterone-laden sales guys and their botoxed trophy wives.

Okay, I may have gone a bit far with that last part. They're not bazillionaires.

I really don't want to get this wrong. There's nothing that will make me run for the safety of my bed faster than showing up somewhere improperly attired. So, what would you wear if you were in my place? Remember, 90 degrees during the day and 50 to 60 degrees at night. Outside. In the desert. I have no idea if it's dressy but I think it's fair to assume that jeans would be frowned upon. I need the whole outfit - pants, top, shoes.

Oh, and if you could recommend a good place to find bathing suits that will fit my freakishly long torso but will also contain my saddle bags, that would be great too.

Now that that has been said I can get back to more frivolous things, like keeping Eternia safe from the evil clutches of Skeletor. And cleaning my bathroom in my baggy sweatpants.

I thank you in advance.

(And to my readers in the Phoenix area, I'm sure it's lovely out there. But it's not the ocean and I was really looking forward to turquoise water, fruity island drinks, and cabana boys in skimpy bathing suits. Exchanging cabana boys for cactus was a bit of a blow.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

If you don't have anything nice to say...

When I was in my early 20's I was the host of a morning drive-time show at a (very) small market radio station. I did not have the life experience nor the professional experience to pull of my job with any flair but every weekday morning, for good or bad, there I was behind the microphone trying to come up with relevant topics to talk about with my news guy on air. The thought of recordings from that show resurfacing will occasionally cause me to wake up in a cold sweat. We were that bad.

On a Tuesday after Patriots Day - or Marathon Monday, as we refer to it in Massachusetts, since Patriots Day is the day the Boston Marathon is held - my news guy and I were doing a poor recap of the race. We segued, clumsily, into some banter about what was far more important to us - the Monkees Marathon shown on VH-1 on the same day. I forget what we joked about, but it was all clean I can assure you. Unfortunately, a few of our listeners did not catch our segue from Boston Marathon to cheesy 60's television show marathon and thought we were drawing comparisons between the Kenyan runners and primates. We weren't, but things can go bad very quickly when three of your ten listeners are up in arms about something they thought they heard. Our general manager insisted we clear the air the next day - against my protests about not wanting to give the topic more publicity and turn it into an even bigger issue - so that our few non-family (and therefore, not obligated to listen) listeners would not desert us.

Although we were innocent, I never forgot that lesson in how words can be harmful. Sitting in a small room with just another person and a couple of mics it's easy to forget that your conversation is not as intimate as it seems.

With that said I was disgusted when I heard what Don Imus and crew said on air the other day about the Rutgers womens basketball team.

Imus and his gang of sidekicks are known for their insults, which is one of the reasons why I don't listen to him very often. I don't find verbal abuse to be very funny. I do like a good joke at someone else's expense (coughGeorge W.cough) but there are some places that you just don't go. Like calling elite black women athletes "nappy-headed hos".

He's apologized but I don't think that will be of any comfort to the parents of those girls. As for the rest of us, we get to watch as Imus and his spin doctors do the talk show circuit, saying his "I'm sorry's", and then read about the slap on the wrist he received: a two week suspension.

Wow. That must really hurt him where he lives. Enjoy that vacation, Don.

Al Sharpton and the National Organization for Woman want his head on a platter, or at the very least his job. He won't be fired because he's a cash cow but, honestly, I don't really want him to be fired. As a professional with many years of experience he should know better, but a slip of the tongue should not be enough to ruin a man's career. However, I do think that a stiffer penalty would make him think twice before he let his tongue wag again.

But, then again, probably not.

I don't think he should be fired but I do think something should be done about it all. This issue goes far beyond a few unfortunate racial jokes. It's the meanness that has become so common that we hardly get offended anymore. I'm tired of shock jocks and radio "celebrities" that run off at the mouth for ratings. They're bullies. The bully who has always been a bully or the 100 pound weakling that got sand kicked in his face who now has a chance for revenge. My microphone is bigger than your microphone. Blah blah blah. Drop the act, boys, nobody cares about the size of your dick.

(Ann Coulter, I'm including you in that too. Put it away, dear, nobody's impressed.)

I'm probably coming off as an insufferable prig (I'm not. Really. Wanna hear a dirty joke?) so let me say that I'm against censorship and the homogenization of our culture. The beauty of this country is that people can say what is on their minds, even if it's ugly. But being mean for mean's sake - or worse, for ratings - is just wrong. I'm tired of all of it. And, yes, it bothers me more because I'm a mom now and I have a little person to watch out for. But it's getting to the point where you can't just turn the dial to get away from it because at every turn there's another ass with a megaphone. Or a microphone. Or a pen and a computer.

So, Don Imus, congratulations. You put your foot in your mouth and now people are talking about you. Hell, I'm talking about you. But to you and all the others like you, whether you're Republic, Democrat, Male or Female, if you've got something mean to say, save it. Try another tactic. How about wit? Or better yet, how about truth?

Or how about just keeping your big yap shut?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Yeah, it's about poop. You wanna make something of it?

Chicky, as most kids her age, is fascinated by bodily functions of all sorts. Burping, farting, and pooping are all things that should be, in her mind, announced for all to share. Not just announced, but celebrated. Heralded. Shouted from the rooftops.

"I burp," says my child in a quiet post office full of stressed customers. "I burp," she says again, more emphatically, as she points to her mouth. "I burp, I burp, I BURP."

(Did you catch that, Ma? I burped. Jeez.)

My cheeks reddened but the formerly woeful patrons managed to crack a smile at that one. Mission accomplished.

Since her language skills are still coming along she has not yet grabbed on to the word "fart", so all gas that comes out of one's derrière is "poop".

"Daddy poop!" "Doggie poop!" - yes, every time it is exclaimed - "Chicky poop!"

"Mama poop!"

No, honey. That was, um...

Aw, hell. Yeah. That was Mama. Mama farted. And it felt good. It felt so good I might do it again. C'mon, let's fart together. Mother-daughter farting - now that's a good bonding experience.

I come from a long line of repressed people so for me this declaration of gas passing is an almost liberating experience. It's not like I'll start burping and farting at dinner parties, and I don't think I'll ever ask anyone to "Pull my finger", but if letting out a house-shaking belch makes my kid laugh then I'm pro-gas.

Except after Mr. C eats a burrito. I'm not pro-gas then. No, then I'm anti-gas. Very much anti-gas.

Now that Chicky is giving names to her emissions we thought it was time to move on to that-which-scares-me-above-all-toddler-development-milestones: Potty Training. The way I see it if she can call to me from another room to say "I pooping!" to alert me of the gift I will soon be finding in her diaper the least we can do is introduce her to the potty. And the least she can do is oblige.

The idea of potty training my daughter keeps me up at night. I have no idea where to begin. What if she hates the potty? What if she's one of those kids who gets refused at our pre-school of choice because she's not using the toilet yet. Will I ever be able to bring her out in public while she's potty training? Oh my God, what if she has to go to the toilet while we're in the grocery store and I don't get her there in time and she's scarred for life because her mother was too slow and forced her to wet herself in the middle of Stop & Shop? Or worse, what if we're stuck at the post office and she poops her pants? I don't think my neighbors will be smiling then.

Come to find out one of my fears was unfounded. Chicky loves the potty. She loved it from the moment I brought it home. It was not even out of the box and she was nearly apoplectic from the excitement. She was thrilled to be stripped from the waist down so she could sit on it and pretend to poop.

Pretend being the operative word in that sentence.

She grunts. Her face gets red. She says, "I pooping. I pooping!" And then? Nothing. She hops off the pot, looks inside, shrugs and then slams the lid.

"All done!"

I swear if she could she would skip away, happily, naked butt bouncing in the breeze. Now she just slams the lid and then stands in front of the full length mirror as she points to her behind. "Butt, Mama!" Then she slaps her ass. Oy.

She's spent enough time in the bathroom with her father while he's dropping the kids off at the pool, the poor girl, so she should be getting the idea of what the toilet is used for. But so far she has only latched on to one part of toilet time:

At least she has good taste in bathroom reading material.

I suppose I don't have to worry too much right now as she's not quite two years old yet. But any sage advice from you wise parents would be appreciated. Do you have any tips on how to at least get her to pee in the potty? Should I bribe her? Wait her out?

For now I think I'll just update her reading material. Jessica Biel is so yesterday's news.

Friday, April 06, 2007

March ROFL Awards

It's time once again for the ROFL Awards.

Where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday Metro Mama and I (with assistance from IzzyMom) took the ROFLs under our wings. Before you know it the ROFLs will be off to school, making new friends, sprouting hair in strange places and spending long hours in the bathroom with the door locked.

Sigh. Memories.

My nomination for this month is one of those spray-your-drink-all-over-the-place type of posts.


Mad Hatter's "Real Moms" post was funny in the way that only real life can be: Messy and a bit disgusting for those not yet indoctrinated, but if you've been there you'll laugh your ass off. I loved it. And you will too. I hate to give more away so make sure you head over to Mad's place to check out all the milky goodness.

March ROFL Award

Congrats Mad Hatter!

This month's list of nominees:

Bub and Pie awarded World of One Thousand Different things

The Kids are Alright awarded Mama Tulip

Fenicle awarded Mostly True Stories

Sunshine Scribe awarded Mom 101

Child is Born awarded Suburban Turmoil

I Obsess awarded Sweatpants Mom

Motherhood Uncensored awarded The New Girl

Oh, The Joys awarded Dancing Through

Cheaper than Therapy awarded Oh, The Joys

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Humiliation, thy name is "Mall"

I've just returned from a trip to The Mall.

I hate The Mall.

I hate the mall with a fiery passion that rivals the heat of 10 million suns. Or is it the heat of 10 million sunless tanning beds?

I'm tired. I'm cranky. I just found a new zit on my chin. My hair is a static-y mess from pulling my sweater off and on in arid dressing rooms. And I'm hungry. I'm hungry because I decided to skip the food court to get Chicky back home in time for a late nap. But will I eat? Hell no. I just saw myself half naked in the fluorescent glare of a full length Banana Republic mirror.

(I guess I'll be jumping on the ol' elliptical trainer this evening. Someone please put me out of my misery.)

I hate the mall. The mall is a 21 year old girl with perfect highlights, high heels and perky boobs. She doesn't have Cheerios stuffed into her jacket pocket or graham cracker crumbs stuck to her sweater. She can try on a pair of pants without worrying if the material will stretch oddly over her saddle bags or if it will create an even larger muffin top. She doesn't cringe when she sees what the harsh lights do to the cellulite on her legs or the bags under her eyes. She doesn't stand in front of the mirror - while her toddler runs around behind her wielding a clothes hanger like a weapon - pulling the skin of her face back towards her hairline, trying to create the illusion of her younger self...

Not that I would do that either. I'm just saying...


I hate the mall. And because of one innocent trip to find myself some weather appropriate clothing (which is a joke in and of itself since it SNOWED last night) I'm now feeling really, really sorry for myself.

And I would like to go bury my sorrows in a pint of Ben and Jerry's, but I can't. Because I just saw my half naked body in a Banana Republic mirror.

I think I'll take a nap instead. You know, so I won't feel myself starving.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Hub today, Goon tomorrow

Today I taught Chicky "Little Rabbit FooFoo", complete with hand motions and exaggerated expressions. Desperate to take her attention away from Raffi's extensive song list I had to dig deep in to my bag of tricks for that one. It's been years since I even thought about that children's song with the strange moral "Hare today, Goon Tomorrow" but I remembered enough of the words to have Chicky giggling madly.

After I put her down for a nap, her still singing the song to herself and bopping her invisible field mice, I continued to hum the song, too. It struck me, as I got to the part where the good fairy threatens to turn Little Rabbit FooFoo into a goon, that the word "goon" had been lost from my vocabulary for a long time. "Goon" was one of those childish insults we used to throw around a lot while growing up. But now it seems to have gone the way of gauchos and bikes with banana seats.

Not necessarily a bad thing.

Is goon a regional thing? I've never heard anyone else outside of Massachusetts use it before. But it got me thinking about all the other words, and bastardized versions of words, that I grew up using.

I've always found regional language to be an interesting topic, ever since I was a kid and my southern relatives told me that they didn't call Coca Cola soda. They called it pop, or just Coke. And then they went on to say that I talked funny, which ignited a heated discussion about who talked funnier, us or them. Since they were visiting and there were more of us, we won. But they were on to something. The New England accent, in all its different forms, at its worst can be really ugly. Throw in some strange words and it seems down right foreign.

Mr. C and I recently came across a whole list of Massachusetts slang and we were amazed how many parts of our vocabulary were native to our region. Words and phrases we never thought twice about. For instance, when I was younger (you know, before I got wicked smaht) it never occurred to me that you don't actually "take a left, or bang a left, at the stoplight", you "turn left at the stoplight". I feel sorry for any person visiting our town from outside of New England who I may have given directions to because I probably told them to bang a u-ie at the rotary.

It never entered my mind that others didn't put their trash in the barrel or drink from a bubbler. We had dinner when others would be eating lunch and supper when others ate dinner. Our living room was referred to as the parlor and our basement was called a cellar. We drank frappes in the summer and put jimmies on our ice cream. Unless we were eating a Hoodsie, then you just ate it plain from the cup. And my Nana makes a mean whoopie pie.

If someone said something outlandish we'd reply with a "No suh", to which the other person would reply back with a "Yes suh!" Then, of course, you could add a wicked pissah to the end of that conversation if warranted, said in the negative or the positive.

"Hey, Bobby just got bagged by the police." "No suh." "Yes suh. I was just at the packie and I saw the cop throw him in the cruisah (cruiser)." "What a pissah."

I'm a member of Red Sox Nation and I also root for the B's, the Celts and the Pats. And there's also a good chance that any of those teams could get smucked by their opponent (which is a lopsided game).

When I went off to college friends would tease me about my "Boston accent". They had it all wrong since my accent was very different from the true Boston dialect, but I did start to make a concerted effort to change the way I spoke. Pretty soon I shook all audible connection to the place where I grew up. It served me well when I got my first job in radio and then voice-over work, but I never lost the references, the slang, that connected me to those from my home state. It brings me some comfort that even though you could drop me anywhere in middle America and not tell by my accent where I'm from, if you listened closely for a while I might drop a "so don't I" or a reference to the Pike or the Garden and you'd know I, too, was a Masshole.

It feels good to belong to something bigger than you. Now tell me, what connects you to your home? Is it language, accent, food, or something else entirely? And please, someone else must have used the word "goon" before. I can't be the only one, can I? Because that would be a wicked pissah.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The meta and the frog

One of the things that I've always found so fascinating about blogging is the feeling of intimacy that comes with sharing your words with thousands of strangers. Stories and feelings you might never share with people who are standing in front of you, bloggers willingly share with the nameless, faceless mass of readers that come to their blog through happenstance or regular following. I'm not quite sure what it is that makes us bloggers - especially parenting bloggers - feel secure in sharing these raw feelings but I do hope that many of you that I read continue doing so.

Your words have become an important part of my support team. If I question myself over this or that I very often turn to blogs to see what others have encountered in their lives with children. And sometimes, when I'm fence sitting on a particular subject, it's nice to read a real person's first hand account of what they went through and how they came out the other side.

One subject that I'm fascinated with is the two-child family. In the past I've have made no secret of my desire to stop at one child, but I will admit that lately I've been waffling. Could I do it? Could I make a two-child family work? Would I lose my mind in the process?

I have come to no hard and fast conclusions, but I have to say that after reading this post by Julie of MotherGooseMouse the answer to those questions are all yes. And because she was so candid with her words I'd also have to say that even though it would be really difficult at times, it's okay to admit that sometimes having two kids is no picnic.

No, I haven't yet decided to have another baby but Julie's post about her feelings on having two children is the most persuasive argument yet that I've seen and I thank her for sharing her experience. That's why I nominated her for a Perfect Post Award.

The Original Perfect Post Awards – March ‘07

Julie, if I do have another baby you'll be the first person I call while in labor. I'll be the one shouting expletives into your ear. Probably something about how you got me into that situation.

Thanks to MommaK and Suburban Turmoil for hosting these awards. Go to their sites to see the full list of nominees.


Now for something completely different. What's the most disturbing thing you've seen? Well, forget that. This is now the most disturbing thing you've ever seen.

It's almost blasphemous. If you can get past the part where Kermit shoots heroine, believe me, it gets worse.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

On the Eve of Spring Festival

Some days I get caught up in the differences between China and the United States. The US is home and I am use to it. So, even after 6 months here are days where I feel like I am not use to the dirtiness, the smells, the manners (or lack thereof), the food. Those are the hard days. The days when I start to wonder, Why China? Why now? Why did I push so hard to get here?

But, on days like this one – the Eve of Spring Festival, I am so happy to be here. All of the dirtiness and confusion and frustrations melt away. To be in China for Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year as most Americans call it, was an amazing experience. It is as important if not more important than Christmas is to most Americans. For a lot of families, it is the only time they are all together for the entire year. For some mothers and fathers, it is the only time they will see their children for the entire year. The only time. Every other minute of the year is spent working just to get by. My frustrations and hardships pale in comparison. And it makes me remember when I am here.


This photo and post is courtesy of Jennifer Noveck. She is currently on a Fulbright grant doing research in China about how development is affecting women's work and lives.

If you are looking for Mrs. Chicky you can find her at myblog today.

For more information on the monthly Blog Exchange go here.