May 2009

Posted by Fitz

My new In Style magazine came the other day, and Rebecca Romijn graced the cover looking as phenomenally gorgeous as ever.  In the spread, she talks about life with her new twin girls, Dolly and Charlie, and says all of the things that new mothers say when they are talking about their babies (“I now know the meaning of life”, “I fell instantly in love”, etc, etc).  The article also has a substantial photo spread of her with her girls, who are chubby little examples of perfection.  I think I’m in love with them, too.

What I love about this article is that Rebecca (if I can be so familiar as to call her that) seems like a pretty real person.  She doesn’t complain about how hard it is to get back in to shape like Jessica Alba did, nor does she apologize for her unusual name choices (Dolly after Dolly Parton, her idol; Charlie after her husband’s brother, who was on The Bachelor).  What cracked me up about the article is how easily she said (and I’m paraphrasing), “I’m a jeans size up from where I used to be, and that’s okay.” 

Now, I know she’s not complaining.  That’s a good thing.  However, when you are a model, what is your pre-pregnancy jeans size?  A 4, if you’re considered “curvy”?  So maybe she’s a 6 now?  Yeah, I’d be fine with that, too.  Especially if I was as utterly, breathtakingly gorgeous as she is.   In my old Jessica Alba post, a commenter said that I sounded jealous: hell yes!  I would love to look like Rebecca Romijn and have her post pregnancy body any day of the week: she seems healthy, strong, and realistic.  I love that she tried to send the message that it’s okay to not be your exact size three months after having twins (and I hope to GOD that no one thinks they should be!), but let’s be realistic here.  She is a model, an actress, and has every resource available to her to keep her looking fantastic.  So keep the positive body image messages coming, Rebecca, and let’s me say one more thing: thank you for not asking us to feel sorry for you!


Posted by Duff

No, I didn’t name my son Atticus. I wanted to, but I got vetoed. For the longest time, it was going to be his middle name. Something for him to aspire to. But, in the end, these two Agnostics kicked it about as Old Testament as you can, choosing from a pool of Biblical names. Go figure.

My dreams were right. A little boy who looks so much like his father, it’s eerie. And already has the same issues with dairy (at least the two of them can split a cheeseless pizza in a couple of years).

This experience is mercifully different from the first time. Atticus has somewhat predictable sleep patterns. Is willing to lie on his back with little protest. Will sit in his bouncer while we eat dinner. My husband and I scratch our heads. How could this happen? Is this what everyone talked about? Will it last? While we wait for the other shoe to drop (and I still expect it to), the following random thoughts:

When you get a c-section, why can’t they give you a complimentary bikini and leg wax? What a waste of perfectly good anaesthesia.

I much prefer healing from these stitches than the other kind. Not to say that I wasn’t scared when the doctor, midwife, and several specialists recommended the emergency Cesarean lest we cause Atticus permanent hand and arm damage. But 2 weeks later, I’m a happier camper than I was after my first delivery.  It’s not every day you get to face one of your biggest fears (emergency surgery performed while fully conscious) and say “That was the easy part.” Go figure.

It still is kind of sad and disconcerting not to be able to hold your baby for a few hours or care for him for a few days (though it was beyond description to watch my husband act as sole parent during this time – something he didn’t get to do last time. )

I am already both sad never to be pregnant again and relieved, dreaming of the diaper-free years still a few years ahead of me. Which makes middle of the night wakeful periods a commodity and every picture a relic in the taking.  But holy crap, wine is good.

I’m in the pre-smile trenches. So far he has a strong set of pipes, but reserves his baby bird screams for feeding time, and diaper changes (given my blood sugar issues and recent experienced birth-related indignities, I can hardly blame him) prefers to sleep on me and already needs a haircut.

As for the rest, the jury is still out. Looking forward to getting to know you, counselor.

Enjoy the long weekend!  My Mom Genes will resume its regularly scheduled posting on Wednesday.

Posted by AVM

Of all the things I want my children to learn in this life, there are only a handful of gems I think they can get from me.  This is what I hope their take-aways are with me as their mom:

  1. Make great friends.  Be a good friend, and you’ll have good friends.  You don’t have to be the most popular kid on the playground to make lasting, lifelong friendships.  And work at them.  Like every relationship in your life, you must work at it, put in the time, make the sacrifices.  As a result, the roots will grow strong and you’ll enjoy the sweet fruit, the comforting shade, and the sturdy branches of friendship that will hold you up.  The friendships I have in my life have been a constant source of love and support, and I wouldn’t be the mom, the wife, or the woman I am without them.  I hope you are lucky enough to find friendships like I have found. 
  2.  When you find the person you were meant to be with, dig in your heels and commit.  Marriage has more ups than downs, but you can’t run when the going gets tough.  The morning after our wedding day, your father and I were at brunch with the rest of the wedding guests who had stayed at the hotel.  We were basking in the glow of being newlyweds, looking forward to our honeymoon flight – life was good over orange juice.  One of our guests came up to us and said, “I know you’re happy NOW.  But in about five years, you’re going to look over at this person and think, ‘I hate you!’  And it will be over the stupidest thing.  But you have to remember, this is your family now.  You and he are FAMILY.  And that will make you realize, this is a marathon, not a sprint.  And you’ll remember, the little things don’t matter so much.  It’s your foundation that keeps you going.”   Well, as I write this, we have been married four-and-a-half years.  We’re over achievers – it didn’t take five years to realize that she was right.  I think about this advice often, and I hope you’ll remember it too.  
  3.  Study hard.  Your education is something no one can take away from you.  School is so much more than the subjects you learn.  It’s exposure to life outside of your comfort zone, and it gives you an edge.  And you’re going to want that.  
  4. Be good to yourself first.  Everyone else has to come second.  You’re smart and beautiful, inside and out, whatever your size, whatever your hair looks like, whatever your beliefs are – you are special.  Believe that, and I promise I will always believe that about you.  It was something I am still learning the hard way, and I’m trying to save you the long road getting there.  
  5. Keep your promises.  Life isn’t fair, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be.  Character is what you do when no one is looking.  I’ll do my best to model that.  
  6. Your parents are going to make mistakes.  Ours did, and we will too.  Go easy when you tell it to Oprah.  We’re doing the best we know how to do. 

Posted by Fitz

My picky girl really doesn’t go near chicken, whether it’s grilled, roasted, boiled, baked, or fried.  I have bent over backwards to try to add more protein into her diet, and I haven’t had much luck.  So, in a fit of “whatever it takes”, I put away any judgment I had about chicken tenders as a wholesome meal and went for broke.  After several missteps, Beanie is now accustomed to and on mostly good terms with chicken in the tender form.

I have to admit that I usually make my own tenders for her by cutting organic chicken into small pieces, breading it with egg whites and whole wheat breadcrumbs, and baking it at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.  I know that sounds obnoxious, but I don’t want The Bean to get used to the processed (yet undeniably delicious) nuggets that are sold in the freezer section.  This homemade method usually works pretty well, but lately I’ve been….okay, lazy.  I haven’t had the energy to make my Fitznuggets, and I’ve scoured the freezer section to find the best alternative.

Imagine my glee to find Bell and Evans Chicken Tenders, right in the freezer section of my local Stop and Shop!  For those of you not familiar with the brand, Bell and Evans offers its customers fresh chicken that is raised on an all-natural diet without antibiotics.  They have won numerous awards, and have been named “good chicken” by the one and only Ina Garten (this rates with me).  Not only are these tenders a little bit healthier than some of the others in your supermarket, but they are absolutely, positively delicious.  Yes, they cost a little more than your average Perdue tray…and they are WORTH it.  The taste, the quality of the chicken, the white meat….you really can’t ask for a more delightful convenience product.

I’m happy to say The Bean agrees with my devotion to this particular product, and enjoys her tenders alone, mixed with pasta (noo noos), in quesadillas (diyas), and on sandwiches (num nums).  I’m also happy to say that her dad and I like them, too, and are very happy on the occasions when we “can’t find anything else” in our pathetic little fridge.  Toss ’em with Frank’s Red Hot and put them in a wrap with lettuce, tomato, and blue cheese, and you’ll swear you’re at Archie Moore’s.

So, for all of you who need a good stash of tenders in the freezer for your kiddos and yourselves, make sure to pick up a box of Bell and Evans the next time you’re at the store.  If you end up not liking them, you can send the leftovers to me!

Please welcome our favorite guest blogger, AVM, who will be filling in for Duff during her maternity leave.  Thanks, AVM!

I remember my first pregnancy well.  As my husband and I basked in the glow of the anticipation of parenthood, we would relax each night, rub my belly, feel the little kicks, discuss potential names for our little one, and envision the three of us walking hand-in-hand at the zoo, the beach, the carnival.  I routinely took my little one’s ultrasound photos and placed them into the baby book I carefully chose.  I wrote down when I felt the first kick, my first baby dream, all the love we felt already.  It was a blissful time (amidst the aches and pains and swelling I suffered through), the kind of warmth that can only be felt by parents-to-be who have never been up all night with a fussy baby, who have never had sweet potato puree thrown at them, and who have never heard their daughter scream, “NO!!” one hundred and twenty-six thousand times in a row at the top of her lungs. 


Fast forward three years. Pregnant again, and I’m really not feeling the glow.  Those aches, pains, and swelling seem magnified tenfold.  My husband and I don’t sit around wistfully imagining what life will be like when this little one arrives.  If we’re sitting around at all, it’s because we’ve collapsed, exhausted.  I have no baby book for this baby.  No documentation of first kicks.  The ultrasound pictures are shoved into my day-planner at work.  What can I tell you?  We’re tired.  Our daughter has taken the romance out of the situation.  We adore her – she’s a great kid – sweet and smart, a natural leader.  Still, we’re petrified to add another person to the mix, and it’s showing.  I fear this new kid is getting the shaft already, and I don’t know how to turn things around.  It doesn’t help that the fanfare by people surrounding the impending birth of a second child wanes exponentially (and I imagine it decreases accordingly with third and fourth children).  No one’s expecting a parade, but everyone just seems less jazzed about the whole thing this time around.  Perhaps they’re taking cues from me?  Perhaps. 


And yet, I have my moments.  A few stolen minutes in the car by myself when I feel the thump, thump, thump below my hand resting on my belly.  I say, “I haven’t forgotten you little one.  I can’t wait to see your sweet face.” That’s our time.  The guilt washes over me.  Is this normal?  Am I just too busy chasing a two and a half year old around that there’s just no time to enjoy this pregnancy?  Do all moms feel this way?  I don’t have the answers, but I believe – I have to believe – that when I see this new baby’s face I will refocus.  All the moms I know who have two or more children promise me that there’s enough love to go around.  I’m holding you to it, ladies.  Ok, time to get in the game.  Off to buy a baby book.

Posted by Fitz

If there was ever a doubt that The Bean would end up being a girly girl, it has surely been eradicated.  

I first noticed her interest in clothes a few months ago, when she got particularly excited about a new dress that I put on her.  She flounced about her room, lifting the hem up to admire the “fow wows” (flowers) that were scattered all over the dress.  She whispered the word “pity” (pretty) three times, then turned and gave me her thousand-watt smile.  It was absolutely adorable, and frankly, the type of moment I had been waiting for without even knowing it.  This little event showed me that The Bean really is my girl…and that satisfied some part of me that I didn’t know had been unsatisfied to date.

Fast forward to the past few weeks, and the satisfaction is slowly morphing into a state of alarm.   The Bean won’t walk around the house without a pair of shoes on her feet.  Now, this would be absolutely normal and encouraged…if said shoes were the sturdy, overenthusiastically designed Stride Rites that we shell out the big bucks for, but oh no.  The Bean is only content if she’s walking around the house in Mommy’s shoes – the higher the heel and the more expensive the shoe, the more content she is.  I never thought I’d be the mom who said, “Beanie!  Put down that leopard print peep toe RIGHT NOW!”

It’s a riot seeing a teeny tiny girl shuffling around the house in my size 8 1/2 black patent ballet flats, my Ugg slippers, or my new sneakers.  It’s absolutely terrifying to see her slide her little foot into a pair of work pumps that I know will break her ankle if she falls just the right way.  So, all of Mommy’s shoes have been relocated to the highest shelf in my closet, only to be retrieved by my husband who doesn’t understand the need for so many pairs of shoes in the first place.  The Bean is not happy with this new arrangement – cries of “NO!  WHY?” have been a constant in our house – but she has been temporarily placated by a new pair of sandals – in her size, thank goodness.

All of this fashionista behavior is a little unnerving coming from an almost-nineteen month old, but what did I really expect?  When you spend far too much of your adolescence (and babysitting money) campaigning for Bass weejuns, Benetton rugbies and Guess jeans with zippers on the ankles, you’ve gotta be prepared for your little girl to have the same passion for fashion.

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