Thursday, October 30, 2008

I think they're starting to warm up to each other


Um, Hi?

I said, HI. Hel-lo?

Um, whaddya doing there? Licking your feet? I like to put my feet in my mouth too. I can't do it right now since I seem to be stuck on my tummy, but see? We have that in common. We both love feet and we both like to lay on our tummies. Want to be friends?


Still licking those toes, huh? They must be really tasty. Can I have a taste?


Oh-kay. I can see you're not big into that whole sharing thing. I can respect that. To each his own, right?

Oh, I get it now. You're the strong, silent type. Actions instead of words, and all that. That's cool. I don't talk much either.


I like your collar. It's pretty. Red. I like red.

Wanna wrestle?? I think I could take you. I'm pretty strong.

Watch it, kid. I could knock you over with my tongue. Come and talk to me when you have bananas stuck to your cheeks. Until then, shut up and leave me alone.

Dude. That smelled like feet. Can I interest you in a breath mint?


Monday, October 27, 2008

Saving money the old fashioned way - Sure it's hot as hell but I don't need to go to the spa now

So Bossy - or as I like to call her, Bossy - is having this thing called a Poverty Party and I knew immediately I had to get involved because a poverty party has got to be better than the Pity Party I usually throw for myself.

Here's the gist: Things suck right now, economically speaking. People are now, more than ever, trying to save some scratch in new and inventive ways. I'm all for that, because who knew two kids could be so expensive? Not only that, but Mr. C and I decided this summer would be the perfect time to buy a new house. And if I hadn't thrown my crystal ball across the room when it told me I had a week's worth of laundry in my future I might have realized that now was not a good time to get into even more house debt. Maybe.

Okay, probably not because this house? She was made for us. I truly believe that. She spoke to me and told me so.

No, my meds don't need to be adjusted. Why do you ask?

Anyway, with money tight my husband and I are thinking of ways to stretch our dollar. You know, paper money being so flexible and all. We've already proven our commitment to saving some cash in some ways and here's another way:

This is the wood stove in our Great Room. I call it our Great Room because, um, it's great (duh), but also because when the stove is lit and there's a roaring fire in it you can take a Great big sauna in that room and sweat out all that Great box 'o wine.

Throw one of those steamer pots on top and it will also clean out your pores. See how I just did that? I just saved myself hundreds of dollars in facials.

It doesn't matter that oil prices are starting to fall a bit, we've decided to try to heat our house a good portion of the fall and winter with this stove. Of course, the first weeks don't count because of the money we had to sink into that ugly ass child safety gate around the stove. But that was an important purchase because -

Hot Stove + Sensitive Baby Hands = Nasty Flesh Prints + Smell of Burnt Flesh + Emergency Room Co-Pays.

My math is not so good but I'm pretty sure the sum total is money out of my pocket for things like skin grafts, therapist bills and aromatherapy candles.

And the television is just to the right of the stove, so the way I figure we'll also save money on electricity because we won't be able to sit in this room to watch TV because it gets hot as Hades in our Great Room. Great.

This is just one of the ways we're making our money go farther. Tune in next time to see how I use plain old black beans to not only feed my family for days but also as an inexpensive preschooler toy!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


My mother was fond of saying, "When you were a teenager, though I always loved you, I didn't like you at all."

I believe her. She did not like me very much at all. Between the ages of 12 and 17 I was at war with my mother. We screamed and yelled and doors were slammed - mainly by me but she slammed her fair share - out of frustration because neither of us were getting our own way. She wanted me under her thumb because she loved me and wanted to keep me safe and the only way she knew how to do that was to control pretty much my every move. I wanted independence so badly I could taste it and pushed her buttons every chance I could. We were the same person living in two different bodies and that, my friends, was a recipe for disaster.

I didn't like her and she sure as hell didn't like me.

Raising two girls is my mother's parting shot from the grave. A little joke to chuckle over in the afterlife. She always told me during those years at odds with each other that she hoped I would have two girls just like me so I would know one day what she was going through.

I thought I'd have at least twelve years before I had to worry about that. Eleven at the earliest.

I got three.

Chicky is three going on sixteen. She is defiant, opinionated and very independent. Except when she doesn't want to do something and then she demands I do it.

"No Mommy, I don't pick up my toys. You do it." With arms folded and a look of triumph on her face. Yeah, who's in charge here? I ask myself that question fifty times a day.

Next week she'll probably climb out of her window in the dead of night to run away and get a tattoo of Elmo on the small of her back.

If this is how she is now I should probably get to work on my padded room before the teen years start.

We are at war. Which means, she is shaping up to be exactly like me. And right now my mother is laughing so hard she's probably wet herself. If you can do that in heaven.

I love my daughters. No one who has read this blog for any length of time can ever accuse me of the opposite. I love them fiercely. I would wrestle a bear to save them. I would throw myself in front of a speeding bus. I would beat up the playground bully if I had to, if that meant keeping Chicky safe and happy.

But sometimes I just don't like her.

And some days it even goes beyond that.

I wouldn't say that I hate Chicky because that's too ugly a word. But I believe there is an emotion that is stronger than dislike but not as base as hate that only parents experience. It's a mixture of dislike, frustration, resentment, exhaustion, with a smidge of wounded pride and a sprinkle of heartache. It makes our blood boil and has us seeing red whenever it bubbles to the surface.

Extreme dislike? I'm no wordsmith. Maybe someone else has a better term for it.

I think it's normal to have these feelings from time to time. We raise our children to be decent human beings. We teach them to say "Please" and "Thank you" and have good table manners. We raise them to be moral and just. To be kind to animals and to help those in need. Respect authority but think for yourself. Always kiss me goodnight, say your prayers (if that's your thing), and wash behind your ears.

But then, then, in those dark hours between 4pm and bedtime when they're literally bouncing off of the walls and you're tired of yelling, "I said get out of your sister's face and if you make her cry you will never watch television again do you hear me young lady??" for the billionth time (and by "you" I mean... Oh, never mind.) you look into their faces, still round with a touch of baby fat, and you want nothing more but for them to Go. The. Hell. Away.

Because this is how you treat me? After everything I've done for you?? Do you have any idea what my once perky breasts look like because of you, you little ingrate???

You don't really want them to go away. At least, not forever. No. You love your child. But for that moment you really, REALLY, don't want them around because they're not being very likable.

I hope one day when Chicky reads these entries she understands why we screamed so much at each other. I hope she gets some insight into her mother's crazed rantings by reading these words. I hope she knows that I always loved her but sometimes I didn't like her. At all. But yes, I always, and will forever continue to, love her.

And I hope she has two girls just like her so that she knows just what I went through.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Better this than the real thing

When I came home from Blogher Boston last Sunday Mr. C and Chicky were playing outside. It was a nice day out so why not, right? It's not like they had been stuck inside on a glorious fall weekend at some conference. No, I'm not bitter.

Chicky had requested that her dad draw her some pictures in sidewalk chalk on the driveway. Then she demanded he draw her family. I had barely gotten out of the car before she was excitedly showing me the picture her daddy had drawn of him, her mommy, Chicky, and her baby sister.

This is what she showed me:

My husband will never be mistaken for a great artist but I thought it was a good likeness given the medium.

Okay it kinda sucks, but I didn't marry the guy for his mad chalk skillz.

However, once I got past the crude, caveman-like feeling of the drawing and looked a bit closer I noticed something a little troubling. Or sort of funny. It all depends on how you look at it.

Can you see it? Look closer.

The picture of me is fine, even if my nose is humongous, but that thing in my arms? That's supposed to be C.C. Her face looks a little bit, um, mutilated, don't you think? Those scribbles were not there originally. They were added later by a certain three year old art critic.

Whenever people ask me how Chicky is adapting to the arrival of her little sister I always tell them as well as any kid would. She loves her, she hates her. She wants to squeeze her until her little baby head pops right off.

Apparently, she also wants to scribble out her face.

I think Chicky is adapting just fine.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I don't usually do this type of thing, but this quiz sized me up just a little too well. Kinda spooky.

Guess I need to work on my Swedish accent.

(Thanks, Miguelina!)


Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are an Ingrid!


You are an Ingrid -- "I am unique"

Ingrids have sensitive feelings and are warm and perceptive.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Give me plenty of compliments. They mean a lot to me.

  • * Be a supportive friend or partner. Help me to learn to love and value myself.

  • * Respect me for my special gifts of intuition and vision.

  • * Though I don't always want to be cheered up when I'm feeling melancholy, I sometimes like to have someone lighten me up a little.

  • * Don't tell me I'm too sensitive or that I'm overreacting!

What I Like About Being an Ingrid

  • * my ability to find meaning in life and to experience feeling at a deep level

  • * my ability to establish warm connections with people

  • * admiring what is noble, truthful, and beautiful in life

  • * my creativity, intuition, and sense of humor

  • * being unique and being seen as unique by others

  • * having aesthetic sensibilities

  • * being able to easily pick up the feelings of people around me

What's Hard About Being an Ingrid

  • * experiencing dark moods of emptiness and despair

  • * feelings of self-hatred and shame; believing I don't deserve to be loved

  • * feeling guilty when I disappoint people

  • * feeling hurt or attacked when someone misundertands me

  • * expecting too much from myself and life

  • * fearing being abandoned

  • * obsessing over resentments

  • * longing for what I don't have

Ingrids as Children Often

  • * have active imaginations: play creatively alone or organize playmates in original games

  • * are very sensitive

  • * feel that they don't fit in

  • * believe they are missing something that other people have

  • * attach themselves to idealized teachers, heroes, artists, etc.

  • * become antiauthoritarian or rebellious when criticized or not understood

  • * feel lonely or abandoned (perhaps as a result of a death or their parents' divorce)

Ingrids as Parents

  • * help their children become who they really are

  • * support their children's creativity and originality

  • * are good at helping their children get in touch with their feelings

  • * are sometimes overly critical or overly protective

  • * are usually very good with children if not too self-absorbed

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at HelloQuizzy

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Eat your heart out, Mia Hamm

I get a kick out of telling people that Chicky plays soccer. Soccer? For three year olds? Surely we must be those parents who are pushing their babies into activities well before they should. We're probably stunting her growth but how else will she be ready for the 2024 summer Olympic women's soccer team?

Well it's not so much playing soccer as it is spinning in circles in the sunshine and picking grass. Also, kicking playground balls into the woods. It's a good time. I leave every "game" in tears. Happy, joyful, laughing-my-ass-off kinds of tears.

Most of the other kids in this "league" (Don't you love the "finger quotes"? Aren't they "awesome"?) are four and five years old so being one of the youngest she gets cut a lot of slack. When the others are trying to follow the coach's instructions she's kicking a ball from one end of the grassy area to the other. I've never enjoyed watching my kid blatantly ignoring authority more.

My budding fashionista. They're supposed to be stretching but she's making found objects into pieces of wearable art. She's a multi-tasker! If pro soccer doesn't work out there's always Project Runway.

You like my hat? What, this old thing? Orange is the new black.

It can also be used as a mask to hide from the paparazzi. Mary Kate already order five of these.

That's my girl, staying close to the coach. I sincerely hope she was just trying to get the hair out of her face and wasn't practicing using her femine wiles.

That's it, Chicky. Don't rely on pretty, impress him with your mad goalie skills instead. Look at that form! I dare some kid to try to get something by her.

Some might look at this picture and see a girl learning how to trap a ball. I see the "Crane Pose".

We'll wait until Chicky-san's in the third grade before we teach her to sweep the leg. At least. When it comes to sport we're ruthless in this family. Strike first, strike hard, no mercy.

(Okay, not really. We're total pacifists. Or is it pansies? I forget.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The road to sleep is paved with good intentions

Oh, you noticed that I haven't been writing that much too? Well, this is what happens when I sit down to write.

A sleeping baby - it's a powerful sedative.

(Yes, we're both really sleeping in this picture.)

(Yes, my husband thought we looked so sweet, he had to take a picture.)

(Yes, I was a little creeped out when I woke up and there was a camera on a tripod pointing at me.)

(Yes, this was the first occasion where I awoke to find a camera on a tripod pointing at me. I can't speak for other times when I was incapacitated.)

(Yes, I was revisiting a sweet moment between me and my child and I went to someplace seedy.)

(No, I can't help myself.)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Rock on

I get so few moments, it seems, to spend quiet time with C.C. Her big sister is always there demanding my time; making up songs and singing them at ear splitting volumes to my audience of one, jumping off of furniture to catch my eye, pulling on the cat's tail because even negative attention is better than no attention at all.

For three years it was just Chicky and me during the day and sometimes at night too. Quiet hours spent rocking my little blue eyed baby to sleep were some of my happiest moments in the haze of those desperate days. I spent many an evening somewhere between sleep and awake as we rocked, me reclined in the chair with her sweaty body laid out across mine. Both of us so desperate for oblivion to come.

I don't remember exactly how old she was the last time she fell asleep on me in the rocking chair in her room, but I remember it was a hard fought battle that I eventually won. At that point she was sleeping quite well in her crib all by herself, but I needed that time with my girl because I knew soon enough I wouldn't be able to hold her as closely as I did at that moment. I remember feeling the bittersweet ache, knowing she wouldn't need me in the months that followed as much as she did that day.

So we rocked.

I tried to forget the amount of work I had to do, the laundry that needed to be folded or the dishes that needed washing, and in her dark room with the lull of the sound machine in our ears and the gentle motion of the rocking chair we were still.

Until yesterday, more than four months since she was born, I have not had the chance to experience the same peace with my second daughter. We're always rushing, always doing... something. There's always noise and activity. And quiet time with my baby has been almost nonexistent except for the dark hours of night when I'm too exhausted to enjoy it. But last night we moved C.C. to her own room, out of our bed and achingly far away from my arms.

And before bedtime, we rocked.

And last night when she woke starving and needy, we rocked.

And again this morning before her first nap of the day while her sister was at school and didn't need me to watch her twirl in circles or read her a story, we rocked again.

I forgot about the floors that needed vacuuming and the boxes that needed unpacking and in her dark room with the lull of the sound machine in our ears and the gentle motion of the rocking chair we were still.

And we rocked.

Until I pulled myself away from her sweaty body and put her in her crib to enjoy her hard won sleep. I pulled myself away to address the other tasks that needed to be done. But in my head I was still with her in her room, feeling the rise and fall of her chest as sleep came.

And in my heart we rocked on.

Friday, October 03, 2008

September ROFLs!

*** Update!

I forgot a nominee! I suck, but in my defense I haven't slept since 2007. See the added nominee below in red. ***

I'd love to write a knee-slapper here - you know, since this is the first ROFL Awards in about a bajillion years and I have a sexy new co-host. But C.C. is still not sleeping... blah, blah, blahdee, blah. So on and so forth. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And the cow jumped over the moon.

Wait. What?

Oh yeah. The ROFL Awards. Right.

I'm so glad to have these awards back because the world needs more funny. And the Vice Presidential debate is just not cutting it.

My nomination for the relaunch of the ROFLs is for a post written by one of the best women blog writers out there. And I'm not just saying that because she's paying me.

She usually writes some pretty serious stuff but this post - which is actually a re-post actually but I don't care because... well, because I just don't care - made me pee my pants. Which, come to think of it, really isn't that hard after having two kids. But it is damn funny. Especially since it's all about talking babies and believe me, after staying up all night every night for a month with an infant a parent starts to believe that their baby is really talking to them. Usually in four letter words.

So my nomination this month is for Blog Antagonist's Out of the Mouths of Babes.

Sept '08 ROFL

Congratulations BA!

On to this months nominees:

Motherbumper awarded For a Different Kind of Girl

Charming & Delightful awarded Flutter (for this guest post at One Plus Two)

Backpacking Dad awarded every post he's ever written. Seriously.


Don't forget to get your nomination in for November's ROFLs. Send them either to me at Chicky Chicky Baby [at] Hotmail [dot] com or Oh, the Joys, my partner in crime and funnyness (shut up, it could be a word) at OhTheJoys [at] Gmail [dot] com.