September 2008


I spend about 98% of my time thinking like a mom – trying to do the best thing for The Bean and trying to make decisions for myself and my husband in light of doing the best thing for The Bean.  I didn’t realize until recently that this thinking has affected my ability to enjoy pop culture until I was mindlessly watching a new show on MTV called Sex… with Mom and Dad.

It’s a terrible reality show that I can guarantee is at least part-scripted.  It has to be.  The premise is that a “real” family meets with Dr. Drew to talk about their attitudes about sex, which seemed to me to devolve into a screaming match about whether the teenager should be screwing engaging in sexual intercourse with multiple partners.  It was an awful show, I can’t even begin to describe it, but like the proverbial train wreck, I couldn’t tear my eyes from the screen.

During the second round of commercials for Clearasil and free ring tones, it hit me.  I wasn’t bothered by the show because of the idiots that were on it, or because of the screaming, or because of the horrendous acting…I was bothered because I would hate it if my Bean turned out like that girl.  She was promiscuous, disrespectful to everyone, and rebellious in the way that is guaranteed to get her an overnight in jail (if we’re talking about the best case scenario).

I don’t want to sit here and judge this girl’s mother, although there were some issues present in this particular family that I can be fairly certain will not impact The Bean.  I think, to some extent, that we as parents do the best we can and sometimes kids can still turn out this way.  It’s a crap shoot, and the thought of it terrifies me to the core.

We talk a lot about parenting skills, values, and our collective desire to do the right thing by our kids, but at the end of the day, they are their own people.  I know it’s important for them to be able to make their own mistakes, but will all of our hearts break as they do it?  How do you handle it when it does?  How do you help them turn the corner when they have taken the wrong exit off of the highway of their lives?

I’m hoping that as a family, we can keep The Bean on a productive path while still letting her have the freedom to be her own person and learn from her mistakes.  I just hope that her dad and I can survive it – without being on MTV.

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Posted by Fitz

Ah, the relief of a night out on the town with your husband after a long, exhausting week.

Oh, the horrors of the next morning…when, sensing that you had a little fun last night, your baby wakes up an hour and a half earlier than normal.

My husband and I had a fabulous evening last night to celebrate our annivesary.  We tried out the hip new Fairfield restaurant 55 Degrees (pretty good!), and enjoyed not only a glass of champagne, but a great bottle of red, too.   I knew it wasn’t a good idea to indulge in the wine and rich food, but it was our anniversary.  I thought that maybe, just maybe, that the forecasted rain would keep The Bean in bed a little earlier.  That she’d know how much we needed that date, and needed to feel like our old selves again, and give us a break.  So I bet against the house, had my wine, and guess what….the rain woke her up at 5:30 and she didn’t really care so much about the necessity of that date.

Oh well.

So, ladies, here I am…still in PJs, nursing a second cup of coffee and hoping that the Advil kicks in soon…wondering what we’ll do with the long day that stretches ahead of us.  It’s a good reminder that, no matter how long you can escape the duties of parenthood, your kid is always there to remind you that she’s number one in this house.  And despite the slight hangover and urge to go back to bed, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Posted by Duff

It feels like far too frequently we’re reminded of the fragility of life.

Lately, I have felt like complaining (and done so) without substantial reasons, and I must be stopped: I am healthy. I am lucky. I am blessed (by whichever deity you believe in, or chance, if you believe in none).

Earlier this week, I went for my routine midwife visit. The midwife who delivered The Dervish has relocated, and I saw someone new, who looked at my chart quite thoroughly before coming in to do the annual honors.

“How is your daughter doing, health-wise, developmentally?” asked Pam The Breast Examiner.

“She is beyond fine. Gives me a run for my money,” I said. And was reminded to be relieved. I don’t think I will ever stop being relieved for long.

“Wonderful. Fluke pregnancy thing. ” assured Pam, and her 20+ years’ experience.

Last night I was really annoyed that I couldn’t dive into a pizza headfirst because The Dervish needed a particular fork, and it wasn’t the one I was offering. And when I gave in for the greater good of the meal, she ate one bite of the dinner she had escorted from the front door, singing its praises, clapping in favor of the corrugated cardboard box that meant Yum.

I said to my husband, “Why have we not eaten one meal in peace in the last two years, two months and two days?”

Because we have The Dervish. Who is really into ladybugs. And eats mandarin oranges with a fork. And has hair that can determine barometric pressure. And is obsessed with the properties of water. And is just learning to snuggle without a headbutt. And a propos nothing, happily points out Daddy’s White Shirt.

And so, I’ll shut my complaining mouth. Now.

If this has gotten too maudlin, I invite you all to click the link at the beginning and be reminded that Sting, is in fact, hot. That is a constant. And it’s good to have things we can count on.

Posted by Fitz

I can’t in good conscience tell you about a product today, despite the fact that you’re used to seeing our tried-and-true recommendations on Wednesdays.  Given the state of our economy after the financial travesty that occurred last week on Wall Street, I only have one recommendation: save your money.

I’m fairly certain that your baby will be just as happy playing with the toys he or she already has in the playroom.  You’ll absolutely survive without another baby-related gadget or diaper bag.  While safety items like car seats should never be skimped on, everything else can – and should – be right now.  Suze Orman says it will take years to recover from what has already happened, and that the fallout is far from over.  It’s scary, so let’s do what we can to keep ourselves and our children financially safe.  They’ll appreciate that more than anything else.

OK, I’m getting off my soapbox now.  I think it’s time to check my (rapidly diminishing) 401(k) balance.

Posted by Duff

Last night, my household went to visit our neighbors. I’ll call them the Joneses.

We love the Joneses. The Joneses’ son and The Dervish are two-year old buddies, and as parents, we trade a lot of intel, pat each other on the back for having gotten as far as we have, and well, mutually confess our self-doubt to recieve support.

The Joneses just had their second child. And gave us a glimpse into two children, and a reminder of newborn.  And I left their house a little left of center.

As The Dervish gleefully flung water out of the bathtub and on to my jeans, my husband said wistfully, “Aren’t new babies great?”

Yes, new babies are great. They are lovely and precious miracles, no doubt. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about the new baby’s mother, and some of the things she said to me, through hormones, through postpartum healing, and a day of brand-new-wasn’t-there-yesterday fussiness. And I just wanted to hug her, and tell her it was going to be alright. That she would adjust. That her body would heal. That her hormones would regulate, after not too long a time.

But I appreciated her honesty, because no one had ever articulated “I feel a little like my organs might fall out of my body if I stand up,” to me before I’d experienced it. And I’d never heard a new mom snap at a new dad like I wasn’t supposed to, but did. Like you’d expect when one can’t be heard over crying that somehow can’t be stopped, and has to keep repeating herself.

This morning, when I woke up and looked out the window at their house, I wondered how the rest of the night went. I was happy that Mr. Jones will be home with Mrs. Jones for almost a month. So she probably won’t be ripping meat off a rotisserie chicken with one hand while carrying a baby in her other arm. At 4pm. For lunch.

Circumstances allow for her second experience to be much easier than most mothers’ firsts. I am relieved to think it.

When I get home, I’m going to see if Little Jones can come to play with The Dervish, so the Joneses can fan out and get a little space while they feel out their new surroundings.

And you can bet money that I’m going to listen to everything wise and honest and ugly that Mrs. Jones has to tell me about this transition. She’s in the trenches, willing to tell the truth. 

Sing it, Jonesy. I’m all ears.

Posted by Fitz

Lately, some things about motherhood have struck me funny.  Many of them are about the naivete of the pregnant woman, some are about The Bean’s rapidly developing personality, and there is – of course – the inevitable potty humor.  I hope that you find them as funny as I did!

  • My friend, who is expecting her first baby momentarily, showed me a large laundry basket and said that it is the “designated toy space” for her new baby.  She said she doesn’t want toys everywhere…as if she’ll end up having any control whatsoever.
  • In the name of good research, I have counted that The Bean has soiled her diaper immediately upon the start of the car for the past 29 times we have gone somewhere.  We always show up at a store, an event, etc. needing to change a dirty diaper.  Is this karma coming back to bite me?
  • Another pregnant friend told me she’s confident that her breasts will remain exactly the same after giving birth because she doesn’t plan to breastfeed.
  • When bringing The Bean to “practice visits” at her new daycare (it’s her first day today, so wish us luck), she acted like I was a stranger while another little boy would make himself comfortable in my lap for up to ninety minutes.
  • One pregnant woman that I met recently told me that morning sickness is “all in people’s heads” and that she didn’t see what was so hard about bringing a newborn into a marriage.  She had her baby last week…I can’t wait to run into her again to see if her theory about marriage was right.
  • The Bean revels in looking at family pictures, to the point where we can’t walk through our living room without her pointing and making a “mmm!” sound to signal she wants to go over there.  The funny part is that I don’t always get the names right when we look at the pictures – I recently called my husband “Grandma” and my brother “Uncle Dude”.

What funny things have you heard lately?

Posted by Duff

The other day, my husband took The Dervish to a local orchard. She’s not really interested in the (not really a) petting zoo (because you can’t touch the animals), but she’ll take a walk through the hay maze before beating a hasty retreat to the Employees Only shed where heavy machinery is kept.

Before they left the house, my husband put a box of raisins in his pocket. Their job was to occupy The Dervish for the post-orchard trip to the grocery store.

Note: The main goal of any waking moment with The Dervish  is to keep her occupied and distracted from things she could harm or that would harm her. Hence, the orchard, and the raisins.

The Dervish decided she wanted the raisins at the orchard, which presented a problem — it meant no available distraction at the store.

“Raisins, Daddy,” she chirped. “Raisins. Go.”

To which her father replied, “We can have raisins after we visit the billy goats. When we go to the store. Now stay next to me. You know when you run in the parking lot, we have to leave.”

Uh-oh.

The Dervish sprinted to the parking lot, then turned to face her intellectual superior, victorious. “Okay. Raisins.”

And so they had to leave. And The Dervish earned her raisins, fair and square.

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