Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pretty in YES Pink

There was a lot of chuckling when I found out I was having a daughter. If you are a woman, but not girly, not traditionally feminine, it seems that other women especially are eager to have you pay in some way for that. How dare you be different? A lot of people broke out the pitchforks, eager to poke me in the thighs so that I would dress my daughter in pink.

My mother gets an exemption for this. That poor woman walked over all of creation trying to find dresses for me without frills. Or ruffles. Or lace. Or adornment of any kind. That were not pink. In Iowa. During the 80's. Yes, I wore a lot of sailor dresses. And yes, she really does love me.

But everyone else seemed to think that I would have to start liking dolls and lace and decorate my kid's room in pink. And I didn't and people fretted and harpied me and wow, do people need to butt out. I have been bitched at for dressing my child like a boy and painting her room aqua and for not putting bows in her hair. Our definition of girlhood seems sort of stupid to me--there is nothing wrong with any of those things but it seems sad to me that those are the only things that should matter.

Secretly I didn't think this would matter. My girl would wear track pants and Ramones t-shirts and Converse sneakers. And she DOES. But there are also dresses that twirl a bit and the way she demands hair cream after her bath and her obsession with her mary jane shoes.

For the record my daughter has a doll, and a doll stroller. She has bears and books and blocks and toy kitchen. I bought many of things for her or bossed some one else into buying them.

And for the record she wears pink! Hot pink, usually, because she is pale like me and pastels aren't her colors.

And she wears dresses. Though this is her choice. Because my girl loves dresses. If given the choice she will always choose a dress. I usually put them over pants because this is the northwest and it is usually rainy or chilly and also girlfriend has enough bruises without going pantsless all over the universe. But her love of dresses is enough that I have bought half a dozen in the past couple of weeks--I don't want to do too much laundry.

I do this not because I have to but because she loves them. Because they make her laugh and beam and smile. And I will keep cruising the sale racks, finding fun and funky dresses I know my girl will love. I do this because I want to.

I don't have to do anything.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

At Least Let Me Nap

I found it vaguely insulting that J was so insistent that I would need help with the baby this weekend. I am fully capable of taking care of my child for Fuck's Sake. But, as anyone with a young toddler can tell you, killing daylight with a child with fully mobility and shitty judgement is daunting. Four days of being trapped in this house would probably be a bit much.

Yesterday I hauled her ass to my mother's. This is not as much for help as you might think. Now I am grateful for my mother, and her assistance (and am painfully aware of how many of my friends are not so lucky to have supportive families), but dragging my kid, the dogs, all of their assorted crap and my shit to her house for an overnight is not a relaxing thing. Her house isn't childproofed at all. So constant vigilance is needed. Fortunately, Mo is pretty great about bringing you all of the dangerous objects in the house immediately just to get the heart attacks out of the way.

Few things. Disposable diapers really smell awful. How do people deal? Also, they leak and explode. Every time I've used disposables she has had shit spurting up her back. It makes no sense that people make fun of my cloth diapering her when disposables (and we've used different brands) are so awful. And SMELL. Good lord.

The kid didn't nap. We are having work done in the backyard and we left early yesterday because they were so loud I knew she wouldn't sleep. Not that it helped. She got up at FIVE THIRTY this morning. GODDAMN. If this is a preview of our trip later this morning I will be returning home in a body bag. She was exhausted after one night. I am beat to a pulp. The poor dogs ran around like crazies.

Oh and my mother is on Facebook now. GOOD LORD.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Four Day Weekend Baby

The soundtrack of my life is the squeaky keen of a toddler. All day long she chatters and screeches and wails. It is like living with a scarily large and bald parakeet. Since there is no way on earth to make the kid shut up we are trying to channel that noise into learning animal noises.

Y'all I didn't just go to college I graduated from kindergarten so I have the basics covered. I can moo and baaa and say woof. We have added in monkey and kitty and now fancy things like owls. But I admit there are some animals that have me stumped. WHAT DO TURTLES SAY? Or giraffes? Do they stare in stony-faced silence because that is all I was able to come up with.

In other ways I am failing my child she has started having very occasional, but volcanic tantrums. In infant mode you just are trying to soothe your child. But I feel like we have grooved over to toddler mode and the tantrums are not something to be soothed away.

So I put her in her room (WITH TOYS OR THE INJUSTICE) and well, I apologize West Coast for that shaking at 4:43 pm this afternoon. That was my child cracking open the center of the earth with the power of her rage.

In other news she hates me. Just in time for J to go away for the weekend. I suspect when he gets home we will either have improvement in the tantrums or well I will move to Hawaii and J can deal with her ass. He is going to a music festival this weekend and we are doing the vaccination appointment tomorrow followed by the toddler tour to my mother's house. She will probably have no need for tantrums because Grandma will give her anything she wants. Even dictators can't bitch if they are catered to. At least not much.

I am pretty sure I can convince my mother to make me breakfast Sunday and go with me to Ikea so I am all set.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I fell down the stairs today, at work. I was mincing down the stairs in my ridiculous shoes--with high wedge heels that make me look like I had foot binding done (they are, I am sorry to say, by J. Lo)--I always mince on the stairs because well otherwise I will fall. BAM, the stairs went flat like I was in a fun house.

I went down the whole flight, pretending that none of it was happening to me. I didn't scream or make any noise. And when I looked up everyone the next floor up was standing at the edge of the stairs staring at me. Nobody said anything.

It's weird when something like that happens to me, oh and they happen a LOT, my urge is to keep quite. To ignore the situation. If no one sees it it isn't real. So I got up and smiled at that crowd of people and practically sprinted back to my cube. I don't know how I got to be the kind of person who doesn't want anyone to watch her fall--or check to make sure she is alright. I wish I was a screamer, the kind of woman who beats off an attacker with a heavy pocketbook while tweeting her police whistle. Instead I would probably apologetically hand him my handbag and then look around embarrassed.

On the bus on the way home another rider admired the shoes. So there is that.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I remember sitting at a table with a lot of women I know, drinking cocktails, when I mentioned that I was meeting my mother for lunch that day. All around the table there were understanding shakes of heads and groans. All of them were commiserating on the unluckiness of having to meet Mom for lunch.

The problem was that I didn't really understand how they felt. Back then I met my mother for lunch or shopping or just went to her house to hang out pretty much weekly. We would drink wine, eat french fries, shop and not buy anything on any given Sunday. My mother has never once criticized me. She has liked some of my haircuts enough to copy them. She has never called me fat or bitched about my clothes. She has never once been unkind to me.

My biggest regret about my mother is that every woman I know doesn't have one just like her.

When I was six months pregnant she and I were eating cheeseburgers when she hung her head a bit and admitted she worried that things would change. I knew just what she meant. She was thrilled that I was having a baby--had privately prayed for that (no pressure) for years--but we had a good run going. It seemed impossible that we could enjoy each other so much with a baby. I had to tell her that I was worried too. Worried that I wouldn't make her proud, that she would try to parent my daughter, that I wouldn't measure up.

I have to say that from here we were right to worry and things have definitely changed. We don't meet for leisurely lunches or wander around aimlessly now. But I can say that my mother has still never said an unkind word to me. That she provides the reassurance that she thinks I am a great mom that I think no one can hear enough. She is crazy about my daughter and Mo is mad for her.

My mom told me once that our friendship was the prize for surviving the year I turned thirteen. We were not always so close, though we never fought the way she fought with my sister (I saved that for my dad). She has held my hand through some very difficult times and laughed with me during more good times. When I was two weeks postpartum she came and fed me roast chicken when I hadn't eaten in days. She comes to my house every week and never once wrinkles her nose at my messy house. She gives great advice and even listens to mine in return.

I think our friendship is my prize for not killing her when I was thirteen. And I hope that Mo is watching it--absorbing it through her pores. I hope that one day when she is older, and I take care to treat her with kindness and never ever criticize her hair, she will go out to lunch with me and bug me about my skincare and be my friend. I hope that one day she will have a baby and understand what I now know about my mother: she can't stand to criticize me because my sister and I split her wide open. She can't love anything as much as she does us. And nothing that could ever happen would change that.

That is a truth that I knew always but didn't KNOW until now. I am so grateful that Ramona taught me that. And so very lucky that my mother feels that way about me.

I hope that all of you are so fortunate.

Monday, May 04, 2009


In the past few weeks family life has definitely transitioned from oh the baby is a toddler now to OH THE BABY IS A TODDLER. What I fear would happen with the baby home with my MIL all day is happening. Girl is stir crazy in the evenings and on weekends. It's still a good arrangement for us all but we do have to plan to wear the be-diapered ass of some one.

Saturday we took her to the aquarium. We were treated with joyous cries of SHISH and much gleeful running around. Fortunately, on a rainy day the aquarium was full of similarly happy but psychotic children. It was a little like a frat party with sippy cups. And less booze. Every child there screamed NEMO at each tank. My child kept calling the seals GOGS.
Then yesterday she turned into a whirling dervish of rage and irrational tears. My parents got to witness an epic meltdown as she wailed for her daddy (because I am nothing! this is the gratitude that nine months of nausea, heartburn and having your intestines pulled out gets you). We dragged her to the park where she screamed and stomped because I wouldn't let her run down a ramp into the parking lot. Here is where I flip the bird at every fucking person who glared at me at that park because we were outside! Not at a goddamn library! Was I supposed to take her indoors at that point?
A tiny bipolar being lives in my house--she is the size of leprachaun and has the vocal projection of an opera singer. She makes dramatic faces if there are no strawberries for breakfast. She claps her hands every single time the Daddy finds Knuffle Bunny in her favorite book. She will walk over to her kitchen and hit the switch on the blender when I say "Make Mama a margarita." When I was having a bad day she came over, crawled in my lap and tried to cram her binky in my mouth (I tried it and I confess it was comforting). We get in daily arguments about the fucking dishwasher and how babies DON'T TOUCH. Every day is the best day of her life until you thwart whatever evil plot she has involving the toilet. And LORD HELP YOU if you try to clean shit off of her ass even if that is clearly what is making her crabby.
But she is a blast at the aquarium.