Friday, August 31, 2007

Jesus Drive By

The other day Mr. E was sitting on a bench with Eli waiting for me to finish running and a woman and her kids sat down next to them…started making conversation. She asked Eli’s name and Mr. E told her and she said “Oh, straight out of the Bible. Does Eli love Jesus?”


Mr. E just changed the subject, he is an excellent diffuser. I told him next time (and you know there will be a next time) someone asks if Eli loves Jesus we should just say, very sadly, “Oh, no, he’s lactose intolerant” and walk away.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Talking About Love

Let me think of how to put this delicately.

Practically seconds after I started thinking "ok, maybe, let's try this, I might be ready for this baby thing. Maybe. I guess?" I was pregnant. In the time between when it happened and when I found out I decided that if it didn't happen that month then maybe we'd put the whole business on hold for a bit because I started to chicken out. I never got the chance to change my mind and so here we are today.

I realized the other day that if you've been reading this blog lately and you don't have access to Eli's baby book in which I write down how much we freaking adore him and you don't hang out with us in real life (or even if you do), well, it's just, there's been a lot of complaining here lately. Last night I lay awake remembering - thinking of telling my best friend in the Safeway parking lot that I couldn't eat sushi because we were trying but that it probably wouldn't work right away but maybe we wouldn't try anymore for awhile because I wasn't so sure about things and I am so very glad I never got the chance to overthink myself out of becoming a mom.

Some days I am so tired. Some days I am so frustrated. Some days I count every minute.

Some days I see Eli lying next to me and I think "oh my god. He's here. There's a baby here and holy crap he's mine how did this happen so fast?" and I still don't feel like a mom.

But some days we laugh. Some days we have pajama parties on the living room floor and we play with each other's noses and we fall asleep together. Some days we share six month birthday cupcakes. Some days we read books and I get baby chortles for my rendition of the The Little Lamb. He tries to eat my toes. I nibble his.

And I am never regretful.

I don't have this blog to write letters to my son. I have nothing against it, but for me, my writing is this organic part of me - something that I just have to get out so I don't go crazy, it's like my therapy, and that's more of what I do here. So yeah, it's a lot about me. And I am a complainer. And this blog isn't necessarily the place where I will note that Eli is 26 inches long or that we went to the park (although he is and we did).

Maybe that's just an excuse I make because I don't know how to say how I love this child as well as it should be said. Writing about love is a near impossibility. Dancing about architecture and all that, you know.

But. Complaints and all. On the hardest days. I only know that he is it for me. The instant he existed he became part of who I am. He has twined endless invisible leafy tendrils across my heart and now I cannot say where I begin and he ends. He is the air I breathe. He is the blood in my veins. He is my cherry chip cupcake, my favorite song, my reason. He is inextricably mine. I've never regretted anything less.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Using Your Powers For Good

I just got my period for the first time in 15 months (along with the debilitating cramps caused by my endometriosis), tonight is one of the two nights per week that Mr. E works late at his second job, and Eli would only take a half an hour nap this morning.

Pray for me. Seriously. Or better yet...

Concentrate as hard as you can, focus on Northern California, stare at your computer monitor, use your bat force or whatever your powers may be, and think "THREE HOUR AFTERNOON NAP" with every fiber of your being.


Edited to Add: At least we know now why I've been such a raging beotch so crabby lately. Ah, PMS, how I did not miss you.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Not Working

Here's a dirty little secret.

Although it is not something I would admit even to myself, ahead of time, prior to Eli, one of the reasons I wanted to be a stay at home mom is because I didn't really like working. Although I knew as you do all the politically correct $148,000 a year propaganda about how staying at home is working and I also heard all the sturm und drang about how hard it would be, it still seemed less...soul sucking, somehow. Like it might even be fun to stay home with my kids. I thought we could do projects and I'd get some fingerpaints or something and we could make crafts out of potatoes.

It's not so much that being a stay at home mom sounded easy, exactly, and it's not even because any of the jobs I've had have been so hard, but there's only so many mornings you can drag yourself out of bed at some ungodly hour to go adminstratively assist people who act like you suck because you LET them break the copy machine before you think that maybe NOT adminstratively assisting for a while would be nice.

But my god is THIS job hard. Hard hard hard.

I feel like I'm barely hanging on. I really do. I am so so crabby but when Mr. E asks me why I don't know.

One million years ago exactly when I was a freshman in college and seriously the most naive and innocent freshman in college of all time I signed up to take surfing classes. (Hee. Surfing classes. How awesome is the UC system?) One of the first things we learned besides the fact that the Pacific Ocean in October at 6 AM is really fucking cold is how to turn turtle - how to duck under the wave with your surfboard over you so you don't get all thrashed up by every wave. But sometimes you get caught anyway and inevitably it scares the shit out of you, the indescribably cold and unfriendly and enormous violent ocean tossing you in every direction and rolling you without stopping and causing you to lose all your bearings and sometimes you would only get the tiniest of breaths in and just open your eyes before wam there'd be another wave pounding down right on top of you, roiling you all over again.

That's the only way I can think of to describe this. Or maybe it's like I'm in a room where the oxygen is slowly leaking out. And it's leaking out so slowly that sometimes I think I'm perfectly fine, I don't even need that much oxygen, really, to live. And other times I know I'm dying.

I wish this wasn't so abstract. I hate that kind of writing. But unfortunately it's not as if there is just one thing I can point to and say "this is it, this is the problem, this is what is making this all so hard, let's fix THIS."

It's not just that my husband really wants me to stop being crabby and I simply don't know how to. It's not just that he won't take out the recycling, ever, and not just that my soul dies a tiny bit every time I open the broom closet to find thoughtless random scraps of cardboard that I will have to gather up and bag and cart out to the curb myself. It's not just that the second I finally get my house clean I can actually see the dog hair settling back over everything and I can feel the decay begin again, immediate. It's not just that I can't keep up with my running or my writing or my email or my friends or my family or my flickr account or my bills or my budget or my library books or my weight watchers points. It's not just that I can't imagine how anyone could do this with two or three or four. It's not just that I think I'm not doing a very good job. It's not just that I thought things must just gradually get better and so that's what I've been counting on and now my six month old is 100% straight up crawling and it turns out that's not easier than when he couldn't move at all and just stayed in one place and cried all the time.

So what I want to know is this:

When do I get a raise?

When do I get my two weeks vacation?

And doesn't someone owe me six months worth of two fifteen minute breaks?

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Story of the Elizabeths

I hid my scale right before my parents got here.

Part of the reason is because I think I stole it from their bathroom the last time I was at their house. (Hi, I am 12). But mostly I wanted to see how it would feel if I separated myself from the numbers I just keep seeing over and over again.

143.5. 144. 148. 146. 144.5 146.5

I'm not sure what I think yet about this separation from the scale. It's like there are about fourteen Elizabeths in my head and on different days they each seem to make sense.

I would love to not think about food all the time, so sometimes I think I should just eat whatever I want and not worry about it and learn to be happy with me. That's carefree "fat is good for you it keeps you full! Elizabeth". She has a full fat caramel macchiato in her hand, and she wonders if you think "she shouldn't be drinking that" when you hear her order it.

I would love to eat just picked farm fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and not care about the calories in the olive oil drizzled on top or in the cheese or the bread. That's hippie "Whole Foods Elizabeth" and she eats a lot of olive oil, but only the local stuff. She worries that she doesn't try hard enough because she doesn't come anywhere close to eating only local or only organic or only free range or only hormone free and she's not reducing her carbon footprint and she secretly craves sugar free jello with cool whip.

But I would also love to be able to wear something besides the one pair of shorts that fit me and I don't want to buy new jeans this fall. And that's "Strict Dieting Don't You Want to Buy New Reward Jeans Elizabeth" and she eats Light yogurt and carrots and she really wants to weigh herself RIGHT NOW because she's been "good" all afternoon.

Then there's "If I ever have a daughter I can't fuck her up the way I am fucked up I need to get a handle on this soon Elizabeth" and she's eating chocolate (but only the dark Really Good Stuff!!!) while she reads self help books.

Then there's "you can't let people think you have let being a mom make you soft" Elizabeth and she's so scared of looking like a failure or a loser that she doesn't eat anything. She knows I have to lose fifteen pounds and that I sometimes look like I'm still pregnant even though my child is six months old.

Then there's sensible Elizabeth and she eats plain popcorn and diet coke and and she tells me to get off my ass and count my points and quit my complaining. She thinks about food all the time.

Don't forget runner Elizabeth. She thinks I'm amazing for running eight miles but she's scared I can't run nine and so she eats pasta with wild abandon and says "Screw portion sizes, I need the carbs."

Mostly there is scared Elizabeth. She makes sure she always has nuts and beef jerky and yogurt and apples and Clif Bars around and she wonders how to lose weight without fear, without hunger. She is afraid she will never ever like herself, no matter what she does. She is afraid she will never be skinny enough. She is afraid that if she doesn't eat enough she will be revealed for the selfish crazy body obsessed incompetent lunatic that she is when her milk dries up and she can't feed her son because she cared more about the size of her thighs than her own child.

I am all these Elizabeths. I can't help but notice that none of them are very happy.

And I have no idea what to do about that.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wish Me Luck

My mom is visiting...she has no idea about my blog so I won't be posting till the weekend, maybe. Although after cleaning the house for three days straight and then spending four days with my mom I am not lying when I say I can already tell I'm really going to just want to spend all next weekend lying around with a gin IV dripping straight into my veins.

My mom walked in the door and said "hmmm. Very clean in here." and then LAUGHED. What does that even mean?

A. She thinks my house is not actually that clean.
B. She thinks I'm a psychotic freak/bad mother for cleaning my house obsessively instead of teaching Eli french and how to diagram sentences and to play croquet at the age of six months.
C. She thinks I'm a loser who does nothing but clean my house all day and that instead I should get a job and a cleaning lady so I can be "successful" like her!
D. She thinks we have nothing in common and has nothing to say to me so she just comments on the first thing that pops into her head and then laughs nervously?
E. She thinks I am raising her precious grandbaby in a horrible neighborhood and so it shocks her how cute and clean my house is on the inside
F. She thinks having a dog is such a terrible and freaky idea that she can't believe its possible to have one and also have a clean house that's not filled with poop and half chewed god knows what.
G. My house is just that freakishly clean it's all you can notice or think about.

I seriously have problems. I can't believe I can infer all that from ONE "mom sentence." God knows how an entire evening will go.

Again. Wish me luck. And send booze.

Monday, August 20, 2007


My mom and stepfather arrive in less than 24 hours and my house is a hardcore disaster area and I completely exhausted myself running eight miles on Sunday and I have the crabbiest baby ever in the history of all time and so naturally I decided that now was a good time to put my books in rainbow order.

God I love procrastination.

Off to clean the bathroom!

(Yeah right).

Friday, August 17, 2007

The R Word

Ever since I read Tricia's post the other day I can't stop thinking about it.

The word retard has always been the dirtiest word in my life. Hearing it is like being punched in the stomach, every time. It never gets any better. It never goes away.

I still remember going to see Clueless in the theater and hearing someone in that movie say retard and how it wrecked everything in an instant. I was at that movie with my sister and my whole family and I knew in that moment that an otherwise great afternoon had been a tiny bit ruined for all of us.

I remember seeing Scream and There's Something about Mary and wanting to run out of the theater at the horrible ridiculous caricatures of mentally retarded people. I was angry that I had to sit through those movies. I probably shouldn't have. And I'm sure everyone who was there with us felt the awkward because hey...this stuff is only funny if you don't know someone who's mentally retarded and everyone who knows me knows that my sister has Downs Syndrome and so of course I wouldn't find this stuff funny, and I swear I can still remember what the awkward sick twisted smile I had plastered on my face to just get through the moment felt like. Not good.

I broke up with someone I once really loved, could have loved, maybe loved for a moment, maybe, because he flat out wouldn't stop using the word retard after I asked him too. Before and since then I've asked hundreds of people who probably never thought twice about it before to do me a favor and to not say retard in front of me. Most of the time they listen. I don't know how many people have only stopped saying it in front of me. I do know that when I was growing up it was very much slang and I hope it's not anymore but I don't hang out on playgrounds too much anymore.

Eli won't be saying retard, I can tell you that much.

Sometimes I tell myself that the word "retard" is a built in asshole detector. Like I'm lucky if you use it because I know you're a jackass and I don't have to worry about being your friend. Sometimes I think that's too harsh and hell, maybe I'd be throwing it around if I didn't have this gift - this gift of growing up loving someone different and special.

The thing is this. I'm here, on this earth, for a lot of reasons, but one of those reasons is to keep my sister safe, to have her back, to protect her. And while the word retard hurts me and ruins movies for me and, yes, makes me like you less? I can take it. However. My sister is 25 years old and she watches those movies sometimes and when she hears the word retard and she sees mentally disabled people being made fun of, it damages her irrevocably. Because every time it happens it's a lesson to her - that not only is she different, but that the world thinks that's a bad thing. Think about what it must be like to learn that. To grow up thinking you are just amazing and wonderful and loved and special and perfect and smart and funny and amazing, and then to learn that the world does not agree. THINK ABOUT THAT AND HOW IT WOULD HURT YOU.

That's my nightmare. That's what I hear when I hear Cher say "Well, I am such a retard." That's why the grimace.

So do me a favor. Bring something positive to this world. Don't make fun of people who have it harder than you do, through no fault of their own. Quit assuming that different is worse. Quit saying retard, for now and for ever, amen.


Thursday, August 16, 2007


I marched around my house yesterday gathering up all the baby crap stamped "Made In China" so I could throw it all out because all of the "surprise! There's lead in your child's bib" hoo ha is really really pissing me off and I can only imagine what might be next. Surprise! I've had enough. Even though as Mr. E pointed out we don't own anything that has been recalled, so far, I can't help thinking that safety and honesty isn't seeming like it's really at the top of these manufacturers lists of priorities and I'm not sure how we know any of the shit we have is safe when obviously the people who are supposed to be doing their job to keep this shit safe aren't doing those jobs.

It turns out that aside from one hippy dippy overpriced German wood Haba rattle purchased by Eli's yuppie wantonly idealistic Disney hating over protective plastic eschewing mother (that would be me) and one french fleece Dinosaur named Lloyd, all of everything else we own is made in China.

Do I throw it all out and start over with wood toys made in Vermont? A huge amount of this stuff we own now was gifts. Do I get rid of gifts that people gave us? Do I refuse gifts if they were made in China? That seems...rude. Do I donate this crap to someone else because even though it's not good enough for my kid it's good enough for your kid if you shop at Goodwill? That seems...elitist? (I did this with the plastic bottles and still feel weird about that one). Do I just need to get over myself and not care that Eli's walker and his baby spoons and his baby bibs and the teether he shoves in his mouth a thousand times a day were all made in China?

Can't use plastic bottles, bisphenol A. Can't use scented diapers or body wash, estrogenators. Can't buy baby food in plastic containers, bad chemicals, forget which. Can't microwave breastmilk, also bad, also can't remember why. Can't buy gerber oatmeal, choking hazard. Can't buy plastic toys from China, lead.

Where do we draw the line? How do we know our kids are safe? Who can we trust besides ourselves? I have no idea what to do on this one.

I'm torn between rampant over protectiveness and common sense. I don't want to get rid of all Eli's toys but I'm worried maybe I should anyway? Anyone?

This is Lloyd.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Greener Grass

I'm not asking for advice. I'm just thinking out loud.

Mr. E and I first lived together in a tiny apartment in Ann Arbor Michigan.
The first year was rough.
Michigan made me miserable.

The sun never shone. I hated my job. (In retrospect, it was a terrible terrible job.) I was fatter than I've ever been and I hated being fat. I hated living in the Midwest. The pill made me crazy. And when I sent mail my return address made me depressed.

I did not, in the slightest, appreciate my wood floors or that I could walk to Starbucks. I did not realize that not everyone can just saunter down to a farmer's market or a junk shop full of remarkable used furniture or a world famous deli or a food co op whenever they feel like sauntering. I stewed in my misery over the place we lived and I was convinced we needed to be elsewhere. Not just elsewhere. Somewhere better.

Then Mr. E got a job in Lincoln and despite a rocky start because the idea of living in NEBRASKA so horrified me, that was the two years I proved I could, if I had to, live anywhere. Even though it was in Nebraska, I loved my job. And thirty miles of paths meandered past our house and I learned to run on those flat smooth green covered paths. I wasn't fat anymore. I could still walk to coffee or the grocery store and I lived right next to a crazy store filled with my favorite kind of junk.

I still felt horrified whenever I sent anyone mail. I cried whenever we returned home to NEBRASKA from a trip. We visited New York and I had to force myself to tell people where we were living. I yearned for California.

Now we're here and I'm not sure how this can be but I'm still not happy. I adore my child. I adore my husband. I like sending mail. I feel proud that we live in one of the universally acknowledged best places on earth. (At least in my mind).

And yet. I can't walk anywhere except to another subdivision. I don't know anyone. Our house falls down around me and I feel like I could sum up my life in a history of the crappy closets I have known in rental houses that are always in the end not my own. I'm growing tired of the scrappy lawn filled with dog poop that I don't want to sit in. My sketchy neighbor has been idling his motorcycle for hours. I might be a little bit depressed. Taking a shower every day isn't turning out to be as important as I thought it was. I can't remember when I last changed the sheets and I also can't really remember why that matters.

I do love California. I do want to learn to be happy in the moment. I don't always want to be wanting. I do know that this all takes time. That I am very very lucky. That this is how the suburbs are. That I said anywhere in California would be better than Nebraska. That I claim I can only live in old houses and so this is my doing. That people would kill to have my problems. That I take my blessings for granted. That if I want a fancy house I should go back to work. And there are many other cliches I am also aware of. But I can't help it. I sit in the sun I yearned for for so very long and I dream of this:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Apartment Therapy - Nursery

I was pretty excited to see Eli's nursery featured on Apartment Therapy today.
It's even more exciting now that he's actually sleeping in it!
You can check it out here if you want.

Monday, August 13, 2007

One of the Top Ten Signs You're A Huge Loser

1. You just googled "Hills Season Premiere"


Friday night. We lowered the shades and turned on the nightlight and kissed the boy frantically, too many times, and said "I love you" as though we were saying "I'm sorry", and we turned on the noise machine and the baby monitor and tiptoed backwards out of his room.

He cried for thirteen minutes.

It wasn't too bad. I had Mr. E here with me and we'd make faces at each other and we both found other things to do during the crying and then when the boy fell asleep we silently high fived as we held our breath, waiting for more crying.

The boy slept till 6 am on Saturday morning and when we woke up and realized we'd gotten seven hours of sleep without any interruptions, angels sang. A glorious chorus of angels. I felt like a new woman. I could have climbed a mountain or parted seas or something. It was magnificent.

And I felt so proud that a theory of mine (he's waking up all the time because he's sleeping right next to us) was actually correct! My hair brained theories are never correct. Holy crap. To finally be right about something made me feel super.

My mom said, on the phone, "it's good for him to sleep by himself. He's his own person, separate from you."

Is that why it took me so long to put him in the other room? Is that why I kept co sleeping even when it stopped working? So I could keep him snuggled up next to me, part of me, for as long as I could?

This morning Mr. E is not here and Eli is crying in his crib and he is separate from me, his own person, and I am not super. I have no one to make faces at. I am not in this together with anyone. It is me and my screaming unhappy son and I am the one who always fixes the crying and I hate this. I can't even write coherently about it. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.

All I know is that I am the one who keeps him safe. I am the one who takes him, screaming, crying and afraid when someone has sneezed or he gets scared or he's cold, who says "I forgot to tell you, he doesn't like sneezing," who holds him to me and who wipes the tears and who feels the shudders leave his body as he curls into me and gulps and eats for comfort and now I am supposed to leave him to cry, to hear him scream and do nothing.

Twenty minutes are up. Going to get my boy. He needs his mom.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Notes from the Trenches

We're right in the middle of "crying it out."
It's going ok, although I think I might have to start "drinking it out".


I really have no opinion on Rachael Ray one way or the other, but that EVOO thing is getting on my last freaking nerve. Is it really so hard to say Olive Oil? (Not to mention it turns out what we're buying at the store is probably lamp oil anyway.)

It's Not Just Television for Women Anymore

Mr. E, out loud, while reading The New Yorker:

"Oooh, Kim Delaney...

Fuck! She's in Army Wives?

I'm going to have to start watching that now."

Friday, August 10, 2007

Happy Friday

Did you know that today was International Barf on Mom Day?
I didn't either, but Eli did!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Big Sleep

The sleep thing has been rough going from the very beginning. And the annoying thing is that it’s all people can talk about before you have a baby – the sleep deprivation, and I totally expected it to suck, but somehow, I don’t know, I can’t explain it, I didn’t expect it to suck in this way, at all. I can’t explain it, it makes no sense, but I feel like a total cliché and that makes me even more annoyed. Like we’re having the same boring sleep problems that everyone else is having, how typical, how lame. But here we are, nevertheless, sleepless.

So. The night after he was born, Eli cried all night long, and nothing we did made any difference. I breastfed him over and over and over again and he’d fall asleep in my arms and then every time I put him back in his basinet he’d wake right up again and start to cry. The nurses told us we had to feed him every single time he cried because if he lost weight we might have to leave the hospital without him and they also made me sign something saying that I wouldn’t let him sleep in the hospital bed with me and that was just ridiculous, when you think about it, and I should have either ignored it or had the balls to tell them where to put that piece of paper and that idea in general, but we were terrified about our very tiny new baby and we did what we were told. What’s even more annoying is that the one useful piece of information, that babies will cluster feed over and over and over again sometimes randomly and you just have to go with it and it’s normal, was the one piece of information they didn’t tell us, and so when we emerged from that first night of hell, bleary eyed and desperate for sleep, the nurse laughed and casually said “oh, yeah, we should have a sign up about the cluster feeding! Ha ha!” Ha ha indeed. Fuckers.

And then we came home and further not sleeping commenced. Progress came very very slowly, earned in tiny victories as we experimented and tested and read books and googled and walked the floor and called up our moms and slowly figured out the enormous mystery that was our tiny screaming baby. It turned out that we had the particular sort of baby who would cry unless he slept on me, curled up with his tiny head jammed right up into my neck. And so that’s what we did, and I was so tired at first that the thought that I’d never get a normal six hours of uninterrupted sleep again made me just want to cry, only I was too tired to cry. I wanted to throw up every night when it was time for bed, because I knew I would be getting up again in 2.5 hours to feed my child for the umpteenth million time.

But slowly we figured it out. We learned how to swaddle and we dragged our exhausted asses to Target and bought a co sleeper and some blessed soul gave us a white noise machine and then one day Eli could sort of maybe go to sleep in the middle of our bed instead of on me. And a light bulb went off at around month three and we figured out that he was supposed to take naps. Who knew. Not that he would take naps, per se, but at least we finally knew he was supposed to be taking them. I had just assumed he would fall asleep when he was tired, I guess. I really didn’t realize I had to physically take the child and put him down for naps. That’s when I started to think I needed to write a parenting book called “Guess What, They All Lie, Breastfeeding Does Hurt, and By the Way, Good Luck Getting This Child to Fall Asleep Four Times Every Day, it Doesn’t Just Happen on its Own, Sucker.” I see that book becoming a run away best seller, don’t you?

So we learned all these little things and time passed and getting Eli to fall asleep slowly got easier. He still wouldn’t take naps, and he wouldn’t go to sleep at night unless we also went to sleep with him, next to him, but he would actually fall asleep at night. So that was progress, of a sort. Then we had another breakthrough and one day Mr. E put him on the dryer in his little bouncer thingee and he fell asleep right there, and then he would take short naps, but only on the dryer. I’d have to run in and reset the dryer every 70 minutes because if it turned off he’d wake up instantly.

I actually started to feel sad about the 17 year old my son would be someday soon before I knew it and how that 17 year old would have dirty feet and fart and burp a lot and probably would be too tall to sleep curled up on his mom with his head wedged up into her neck and a couple of times I let Eli sleep on me a little longer than he maybe needed to and I just smelled his dirty milky neck and whispered in his soft little ears and felt his little baby breathing and so through out all this, as bad as I might make it sound, you must know that despite all this exhaustion and confusion and everything, please don’t doubt that it was all worth it, every single horrible minute of it, and know that I’d do it all over again in a second for my boy and his soft little milky neck folds. I just really thought it would be nice if he might decide to also take a nap once in a while.

Recently we took a trip to Boston and we really needed him to nap before we headed out to my cousin’s wedding and there he was in the big hotel room bed and not a dryer in sight and he would not sleep, just flat out plain would not sleep, and something just clicked in my head and I pulled those big thick plastic dark hotel room shades shut and instantly! He fell asleep. Instantly.

So then the title of my book became “Guess What, They All Lie, Breastfeeding Does Hurt, and By the Way, Good Luck Getting This Child to Fall Asleep Four Times Every Day, It Doesn’t Just Happen on its Own, Sucker, and By the Way It Needs to Be Dark For Him to Fall Asleep, Duh, and What a Terrible Parent You Are!” I just can’t believe it never occurred to me before that he needed it to be dark. I mean, for christ’s sake, I can’t sleep unless it’s pitch black, why the hell would he be able to? God. I can’t believe I never thought of that or read that or asked someone about that. Best. Parent. Ever., I am.

We bought magic room darkening shades at Walmart and even though they gave me this weird throat tickle and I suspect I have a vinyl allergy and Mr. E cursed the designer of the room darkening shades to hell many many times, they totally made the room really really dark and they worked! They worked! Eli was taking naps for hours and hours and hours. And it was magical. I had time on my hands. I plucked my eyebrows. I read a book. I ironed, people. I actually considered waking him up because I got bored a couple of times. Seriously. It was wondrous. And he would go to sleep at night at 8 pm when we put him down and he would stay asleep for 12 hours, more or less. It was nothing short of The Miracle of the Vinyl Shades.

And now it has gone totally completely and 100% totally to hell. Eli will not nap, will not sleep for love or money or room darkening vinyl shades. Is he teething? I don’t know. I don’t really feel teeth, but then again, I am the person who never realized it needed to be dark in order for my child to sleep. Maybe there’s a tooth there? I can’t tell. Last night he woke up at 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 2, 4, and was awake from 4-6. Because he has to nurse to fall asleep and because I’m the one with boobs, I was also awake at 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 2, and from 4-6. Because Eli was screaming at the top of his lungs and vibrating his entire little body and possibly the whole state of California with his screaming, Mr. E was also awake at 8,9,10,11,12,2 and from 4-6. Fun times were had by all.

At one point last night Eli projectile vomited all over me from a prone position. I didn’t even know that was possible. At some horrible hour of the morning I held him out from me with straight arms and just blustered “YOU MUST FALL ASLEEP” at him and then Mr. E took him away and into the other room to change him and I literally saw, crumbling before my eyes, my image of myself as the nurturing mother who would take my child and sit with him in a soft glowy light in the rocker in the other room and soothe him and shush him and just love him through whatever he needed loving through and I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m just so tired.

We have decided that this weekend will be Sleepgate 2007 and since we have no other ideas we’re going to try to get Eli to sleep in his crib in his own room. He has completely outgrown the pack and play basinet that he sleeps in next to our bed and I think we are waking him up when we come into our room at night and I just don’t think I can co sleep anymore. I have the darkening shades for his room and a noise machine all set up and I was thinking I would put a mattress on the floor in there and nurse him to sleep and then lift him into his crib, so we’ll see if that works. If it doesn’t, I have no idea what we’ll do. Everyone says “Well, no one goes off to college and co sleeps” but they never tell you how they got that 18 year old to sleep in his own damn crib 17 years ago, do they?

The Life of a SAHM

I just had a lengthy (and scintillating) conversation with a six month old about whether or not Mommy should have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch.

(The answer was yes).

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Gym Class

The tiniest of moments can change your life.

So there I was. Many years ago. The smallest of fifth graders. I tell you that not because it's of great importance, but because I like to set the stage. And also it's so truly rare that I think of myself with such great fondness as I do when I think of Fifth Grade Elizabeth and so I like to mention it. I had the cutest little bob with bangs and my skin was still all dewy and non broken out and I was so tiny that my uniform skirt had to be held on with suspenders because fourth graders wore jumpers so the skirts for the fifth graders didn't go as small as I was. I found it very humiliating but I also kind of liked it and secretly thought it made me special.

And so a few months into that year I forgot my gym clothes and I had to sit in the wooden bleachers of our old crazy catholic school gym and I truly believe someone reached down and did something in my universe that day almost 21 years ago and on that day some other girl in our class forgot her gym clothes too and here we are folks, 21 years later, best friends to this day.

And man have we seen each other through a lot. We have been left by our mothers together and let down by our fathers together. We have been selfish together and mean together and together we have pushed each other to rise above. SP has permed my hair, dyed my hair, ironed my hair, and cut my hair (although not all at once). She's been there through bad boyfriends and worse boyfriends and terrible girl friends. We've cried in each other's arms and we've cried long distance. We've gained weight together and lost weight together and we stood at each others sides as we both said I do to other loves in our lives and on the day I gave birth SP was right there holding my hand on one side as Mr. E stood on the other side and together all three of us welcomed our boy into this world and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I am sure our kids will hate each other with a fiery passion but I do have visions of waspy sleep away camps in their future and I hope we'll be standing there together in unintentionally matching outfits from J Crew as the bus to camp pulls away with our babies on it. I'd say I know we'd dry each other's tears but chances are we'll too busy gossiping about Lindsay Lohan to bother with crying.

Is it uncool now to say you have a best friend? I get that vibe from the world, but I'm not worried. The uncoolness factor is made up for by the fact itself. It's amazing and wonderful to have such a friend in your life and coolness just doesn't compare with that.

I think I mentioned that my dad has been emailing me and have I mentioned that one the things that I like least about him is his thinly veiled and bigoted strict moral code? Doesn't like profanity, doesn't like sex, really doesn't like gay people. And now unfortunately that's really going to have to just be his problem because I spent 22 years of my life censoring myself so that he wouldn't get all worked up and I'm done with that now and you know what? I laugh at the word rod, and I giggle whenever someone talks about beavers, and that's just who I am, and I can't not be that for anyone else. I'm not going to send my father a collage of the F word but I won't hide who I am when I am not ashamed of that person. I prefer laughing to yelling, regardless what it's about.

Anyway. Emailing my father. It's all been very nice and friendly so far and we haven't brought up any turds or punchbowls but he did ask me the other day about SP and if we were still friends and if she was married and I squared my jaw and wrote him back and told him that yeah she was married although since it was to a woman it wasn't technically legal but I know she considers it to be the same thing and I haven't heard back from him since then.

And as far as I'm concerned, that's really fine. I had hoped he had changed. I had hoped I wouldn't have to make a choice like this. I wish the world was a better place. But I insist on living in a world where love is always right, no matter what. And furthermore I think if there is anything I have learned in the past thirty years both from my father who abandoned me and from my best friend who did not it is that family is defined by much more and much less than blood relations and if I have to choose between my father and the person who's loved me and been there for me for the past twenty one years, I... Well. It is not a choice for me.


Friday, August 03, 2007