Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bus Mishap

Every morning I wake up at five am, rush around to get dressed and hurry to get on a bus that leaves at 5:55 am. It is a surprisingly full bus, considering that no one should ever willingly go to work that early. Commuter buses, as a rule, are not nearly as lively as city buses. We do get our occasional drunk but mostly it is guys in suits, a few construction workers in hard hats and a couple of girls doing a very devoted commute in to a private high school downtown. People mostly nap, nurse a coffee or listen to music. Some read books or the newspaper. And there is one really obnoxious lady who whispers louder than I speak in the front. Usually about how bad her cramps are, or how they were last month or how horrible she is sure they will be next month.

It's quiet is my point, at least the morning one. Except this morning. When a plastic compartment on the ceiling exploded.

Apparently coolant on buses is circulated throughout the carriage and there is a tank above the center aisle. One that popped open and leaked a shit load of liquid all over everyone and the floor.

We were all lucky and no one was really hurt. The engine started smoking and there were fumes but the bus immediately pulled over. The worst injury was a twisted ankle from a woman who slipped on the wet floor. Another woman had gotten splashed and had a small chemical burn on her face. Most people were like me--annoyed and late for work with a small chemical rash on my foot from wearing open toed shoes in a coolant flood.

Of course on the way home I found myself sort of inspecting the ceiling. No need to take a coolant bath twice in one day.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Am struggling with the end of the school year countdown feeling I have.

Since I haven't been in school well . . .FOR A REALLY LONG TIME.

Wouldn't it be awesome if your job could be like school once in a while. I mean I would love to go home at three every day. And actually get a lunch. And summer vacation? Brilliant. But also, that sort of do-over feeling that September brings. That you could build on what you learned but also begin something new and be better than you were the year before.

Adult work has this way of running together. And eight years later you look around and go wait . . .it's been eight years. That is longer than junior high and high school together. Where is my cap and gown?!

At any rate my brain is cycling down to finals week and tick tock tick tock my psyche is about to be bitterly disappointed. The summer is coming but I will not be spending it sleeping in and working on my tan.

There is actually no point to this. I am just bitter about being an adult sometimes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Buy Me A Mini Van Because I Think I Am One of Those Moms

If you are a shameful, stumbling cliche like me and read tons of mommyblogs you have seen the meme about Five Reasons I Love Being a Mom. I haven't been tagged but I wanted to do it anyway. I am trying to really live in the moment with the baby and enjoy it. Since I am a What's Next kind of person this is hard for me.

What is also hard for me is to admit how cheesily I love being a mom. Longtime readers know that I am a cynical person. I had no illusions about motherhood and I am not a romantic. But you might also recall that I longed for a child. She was wished for, hoped for in a way that is vaguely embarrassing. And it was embarrassing because I didn't know why. There was no logic behind it, I just knew I wanted a family.

I didn't expect to love it so much.

Of course it is drudgery. And the lack of personal time and space and the ability to sleep in EVER is torture. And I would never suggest to anyone that they cannot be happy without children as sometimes it is mind numbing and eyeball searing and I really really want to run away to Brazil.

But then there are these five things, and countless more, that make me so happy to be her mother. I can't help it.

1. She loves popcorn (oh I know you are not supposed to give toddlers popcorn, close that OMG email--but she is a good chewer and we heavily supervise). And so sometimes we sit on the couch and eat a bowl together. We try to crunch louder, we dance, we feed some to the dogs. Something so simple as a bowl of popcorn makes her so thrilled. It makes me savor both the snack and her more than I ever would otherwise.

2. J and I have been together almost ten years. And we have bonded in a way that you only can being in a relationship like that. And I knew he would be an amazing father. But watching him with her breaks your heart wide open. Parenting her together has really changed how we relate to each other. And makes me love him even more.

3. Her favorite book has a page that features Eight Buzzy Bugs. And we always tickle her belly on that page. Except now if you even say buzzy bugs (or are on the page before) she starts to tickle her own self. And laugh. And laugh. It kills me dead with the cute and her laugh is the best music I have ever heard. No adult laughs like that. They are too worried everyone is staring at them.

4. This is also a hard thing about being a mother for me. But people are drawn to my daughter. I think because she is cute, objectively cute, but also because she really looks people in the eye. She flirts, she asks for their attention. So she is often the star of the play area or the child old men stop to talk to. Since I am socially stunted and she can't talk well . . .I muddle through. But she thinks the whole world is her friend and right now they are. It's a beautiful way to see people and I am learning it more each day. Plus some small talk ability because her ten words make shitty conversation.

5. I put her to bed almost every night (J does it once a week because I need a break and because WOW I do not want to have it become I can't leave the house around bedtime until she is thirty). If I get it together and give her a bath she smells like baby shampoo. But always she is warm and soft and in footie pajamas. It is the one time you can be certain she wants to snuggle. We read stories and she drinks the only bottle she gets all day. We talk about our days. And I sing her the Shema as I zip her into her sleep sack. Those are the 10-15 minutes that I look forward to every day. And when I miss them, the way I did last night, I feel restless and sad. Even on J's night I have to fight myself from drifting in there.

And now I will go scrape the cheese off of myself with a Ritz cracker.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Glamour Girl

Well, that outage was unexpected. J upgraded my laptop which was supposed to take less than two days and it turned into two weeks. Of course I had access to his computer but really if I can't read the internet from my bed than I don't use it? I didn't know this about myself but it does seem in keeping my character.

So two weeks without internet and I am going to tell you about yesterday. This is mommyblogging GOLD people. The child wakes up at six am but we're good. We eat waffles, we watch Sesame Street, we are playing ball. It's J's sleep in day which is a religious experience in this house--we don't disturb sleep-in day unless the house is burning down. And even then, it is to be done in a quiet manner--better to just roll up the other person in a rug and scoot them out to the front lawn undisturbed if possible.

So the kid and I are playing. There is a big rubber ball involved, she is using her baby doll to club the ball and it is fun. There is laughing. And then a bird flew at her head and we both screamed our faces off.


I don't know exactly how the bird got in the house and I really didn't know how to get the damn thing out. I tried and the baby cried and screamed and lost her mind. After twenty minutes I gave up, the child was hysterical and I had to go wake up J. Mo and I huddled with her blankie in room, talked about books and sang songs and then the bird was gone. We had a drink--hers was milk and mine was a Coke. GOOD MORNING EVERYONE.

Our day progressed. We had a great family day and got home in time to put the kid down for a much needed nap. She hadn't pooped yet and yes, those are chimes of DOOM you are hearing. All I know is that J went to get her because she was freaking out, almost passed out from the smell and the second I heard "OH MY GOD" I fired up the bathtub. There was a half off diaper, a sleep sack that needed a lot hot water and a baby who got an afternoon swim in the tub.

I am very sorry ya'll missed out on the glamour the last couple of weeks. But I am back and maybe now my laptop won't burn up in flames every night.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

On Our Own

The Jewish calendar still doesn't come naturally to me. Since we don't have Jewish family and we still haven't joined a temple, we don't have traditions to lean on. And Reform Judaism really is about finding your own meaning in the rituals and holidays. It's hard to do on your own and we have really begun by each year layering on more observance. I guess we figure that when we find the right amount for us we'll know it.

As a side note, this seems to really piss of some people--none of whom are Jewish. Because to this segment of the population the whole point of Judaism is to keep kosher? I don't really understand their point really, except that they all happened to be Christian (though by no means are all Christians like this) and they would get het up about us not keeping over 200 commandments when I can say without assurance that those assholes weren't even really keeping up with their ten.

All of this means that last night was the first night of Passover and well . . .I had ice cream for dinner. We didn't go to a Seder (and fuck it, next year we are going to a couple of community Seder and I am attaching myself to old Jewish ladies until one teaches me how to make matzo ball soup!). But this year we are keeping a very wavy gravy HI WE ARE CONVERTS version of kosher for Passover. Which means we are eating in the Sephardic tradition (no grains but hell yes I am eating beans and corn), but not actually separating meat and dairy. And well, I am taking the baby to my parents' house on Sunday (for our interfaith SPRING DINNER) and there will be ham. Oh and probably bacon.

I actually do find meaning in given up the grains. It makes you thoughtful about what you are eating. Not just in the GODDAMN everything has wheat in it way (though it does and I really really want a brownie), but it makes you feel connected to a tradition. And to people around the world. Today I ate peanut butter on matzoh and knew that people around the world were doing the same. There is something to that, though I am not sure that it makes me feel closer to God. It does make me feel something for others. Which can only be a good thing.

Maybe next year I will host my own Seder. Or keep separate meat and dairy. Hell, maybe I will give up bacon! Anything is possible. I know we will find the place where we have meaning for our family. And we'll keep those traditions with our daughter. So when she is older, whether she stays Jewish or not, she will carry that with her.

But it's hard to do it on our own.

Friday, April 03, 2009

PJ Panic

When I was in high school my mother gave me a lecture about grocery shopping. She detailed what was a good price for items—prices that I believe were set in 1985 in suburban Iowa and have not budged—and given my cheap nature . . .well those same prices are my barometer today. I continually have rages about how name brand triple ply toilet paper should be 25 cents a roll even though rationally I know that, yes prices are not the same as they were when I was seven years old. It’s possible I have issues. But it’s also true that once a price gets in my head that becomes the One True Price and well really you should try to find something cheaper than that.

This isn’t about toilet paper, not really, though I guess a lot in life really is about toilet paper. It’s about pajamas, baby pajamas, and how sometimes my cheapness compulsion—which is weird enough on it’s own really—morphs into a whirling vortex of obsession.

I am an outlier with baby clothes. Because my kid is still wearing sleepers. Her pajamas have to have feet in them, textured feet so she doesn’t slide around like she is ice skating, and longs sleeves. We prefer they zip up the front but snaps are ok too. It’s April but it snowed yesterday and my house is a hundred years old and drafty. It doesn’t get hot enough to strip the kid down to the shorts pajamas they have everywhere right now until one week in early August. The rest of the year it is footies all the way. I must be the only one in America though, because it is really hard to find footed sleepers. Everyone else must live in warm climates with real summer and have newer homes with triple paned windows. My kid also wears her pj’s all the time—since my MIL rarely gets her dressed during the week. That is why the feet are key—she takes off socks unless she is wearing shoes. Two piece pj’s are going to result in my kid walking around in pj’s and a pair of Mary Janes.

As a side note, I confess that I feel a little strung out about the political statements my kids pj patterns make. They are so gendered! Everything is pink with hearts and kittens and shit. The "boy" patterns are so much more badass. At Old Navy this issue made me disproportionately enraged. The girl pajamas had twee things like ladybugs and the boys had really killer modern robots. Ridiculous. And yet I get harpied so much for dressing her like a boy that I feel self conscious buying things that are marketed for boys. My choices are to scar her for life by oppressing her gender identity or to bow to the patriarchy.

Uh. Not that I am over thinking this.

Anyway, rescue me from PJ hell. Where can I find cute, sleepers that are not $26 dollars each? GOOD LORD THAT IS A LOT OF MONEY PEOPLE. That will buy me two Target t-shirts and a twelve pack of Diet Coke.

Also, where can I find some fucking plain white onsies*? NO ONE HAS THEM. Size 18 months.

*Heh, how happy does it make me that spell check wants me to change onsie to ANUS?