Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Teething, Tyrannical, Toddler

When I decided to take a hiatus from school, I had many a grand dream about how I was going to kick my writing career into high gear, start busting my ass (literally) at the gym, and still have lots of time left over for play dates.

Well, all I can say, is reality served me up a nice big can of whoop ass.

I don't know what it is exactly that has prevented me from updating the blog on a more regular basis or why I'm not feverishly writing my book proposal. I have to admit that I'm lazy. That's a fact, one which anyone who knows me will attest to, and that without question, is impeding my progress. But, it's more than that.

It turns out, toddlers are a LOT of work. WHO KNEW? Oh, you did? Well, whatever, smarty pants. I'm not talking to you.

When I began my last quarter of school and work at the tutoring center, I had a 9 month old. She was crawling, but there was only so much she could get into, and she was eating mostly purees. Babies are always a handful, but she was manageable. During those months that Chris and I were equally sharing the baby wrangling duties, a shift was occurring, imperceptible to us at the time.

And so it came to pass that when I resumed primary responsibility for the care and well-being of Charlotte at the end of the quarter, I was greeted not with my sort-of mobile, Gerber-slurping, happy little baby, but a full-on toddler, complete with personality, tantrums, and breakneck mobility.

Don't get me wrong, I am really having more fun than ever before. Her ever-expanding vocabulary is hilarious and awe-inspiring (and maybe some other hyphenated words, too!). And now that she can genuinely show affection with her spontaneous and very pronounced kisses, and now that she can call for me, I am a junkie for her love. What I won't do for just one more stroke of my arm with her tiny hand!

But, holy hell, if it isn't demanding! Every night upon leaving her room at bedtime, I am assaulted by a sinkful of dishes, pots and pans, and a high chair adorned with congealed cheese, globs of yogurt, avocado smear, and the tiniest of broccoli particles. Ah, the simplicity of spooning pureed carrots into her gullet! Then it was as simple as recycling a jar and dabbing her mouth with a washcloth. Now, my kitchen looks as if I've just prepared a Thanksgiving feast. Every. Single. Night.

Then I come into the living room, where the brightly-colored plastic lives. Some of it can be crammed into her toy box, but then there are the cars, the musical table, the bouncing horse, the bouncy ball, all permanent fixtures in the decor. I tidy and arrange as best I can, before preparing my own dinner. Then I pour a glass of wine and spend a little time catching up on the internet. This is a nice, peaceful time. A perfect time to do some of that writing, but I am usually so wiped from all the cooking, feeding, cleaning, playing, driving, etc. that I don't always get around to it.

And then there are days like today. Days where the kid won't nap even though she's tired and falling all over herself. So, I throw a bunch of blankets and pillows on the floor, and we watch Sesame Street together. Days where she appears to be cutting a tooth (or forty) and cries inconsolably, periodically throughout the day. Days where she wants to be held only by Mommy (I'm as shocked as you) so she spends hours in the borrowed Ergo. Days where she wants you to read her Llama Llama Red Pajama for the tenth time, but then closes the book and whines right around the time Baby Llama is asking for a drink of water. Days where I am equal parts heartbroken for her and frustrated at her constant unhappiness.

Somehow I managed to compose this rant on a day like this. But, now it would probably behoove me to go to bed. Charlotte's slumber has already proven itself to be unstable, at best, so I should probably collect as many hours of sleep as I can.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

ControverSunday: Food!

This week's topic is food. What does your family eat? What do you feed your kids? Organic? Gluten-free? Whatever's in the cupboard? Or, perhaps, whatever your kids will actually eat?

So, by now you probably know my style. I'm very much about people doing their own thing, doing what works best for their families, and doing it without being harshly judged. Breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, babywearing or stroller-pushing, stay at home, work at home, work outside the home, and the list goes on. I try to maintain that as long as you are parenting with love and with a regard for your child's well-being, you can't go (very) wrong. And, I also tend to cut people (myself included) slack for the little things we have to do to get through the day. Things like turning the television on for your less-than-two-year-old when you need twenty more minutes of sleep in the morning, for instance.

But, food is one topic I think we can all be a little too lax about. The fact is this: if you are feeding your kids primarily processed, high sodium, high sugar, high fat diets, you're not doing your job right. Your job is to care for your children, and that includes their health. The childhood obesity rate in this country is obscene. And I am affronted on a daily basis by the image of a parent passing a soda to their severely overweight child or babies drinking lemonade from bottles. And the worst part is that I don't even know how many more of the kids I see are in poor health. Some kids have enviable metabolisms, meaning their toxic diets won't necessarily be evident by the rolls of fat on their thighs.

Look, I get it. We're all terribly busy. Or we're broke. Or our kids are picky eaters. I know crap food is fast and cheap. I know how hard it is to plead with a two-year-old to eat her peas. No, really, I do. I have spent many an an afternoon with my nieces, doing the whole "TWO more bites and then you can have dessert" routine. And I remember thinking that there was no way I could handle going through that at every meal. But, you know what? I would. And, I will. Because my kid's health matters.

There's been a lot of talk of food circulating lately. Between the horror-inducing images of factory farms and corrupt food conglomerates seen in the documentary Food Inc. and the grossly mismanaged school food system under attack in Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, it's hard to turn a deaf ear to the facts. Mainly, that we need to be eating better and educating ourselves about our food.

At this particular moment in time, Charlotte is a phenomenal eater. Every time I watch her shovel broccoli, tofu, brown rice, avocado, carrots, squash...you name it, into her pretty, little mouth, I positively swoon with gratitude. But, it hasn't always been so easy, and it's gonna get a lot worse in the future. And, hey, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying my kid doesn't eat junk food. But, it's a treat. It's a special occasion when she does, and some people might even judge me for allowing ANY high fructose corn syrup or McDonald's mystery meat to pass her lips.

But, I'm a realist. I don't live in a place with food co-ops or farm-friendly butcher shops. I live in corporate-crazy suburbia. So, not everything we eat is 100% organic or fair trade or farm fresh. But, we try. We try to be good to the environment, society, and our bodies, without being too hard on our wallets.

Bottom line is, any produce is better than none. Preparing real food is more time consuming than opening a can or a box, but it needs to be done. Your picky eater might survive on nothing but bananas for a while, but that doesn't mean you need to give them Pop Tarts to add variety.

I love food, the good and the bad. I don't expect my daughter to never experience the sheer joy one can only get from the first bite of that cupcake or at cracking open a Happy Meal. I know there will be slip-ups and compromises in my quest to feed my family wholesome food. But, our destination will hopefully involve good health and long lives, so I don't mind a rough journey.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fess Up Friday: Wherein I Gross You Out and Possibly Make You Sad for Me

Okay, I am digging deep down to find my last scrap of energy so I can fess up to y'all tonight because I haven't blogged in a week, and that is just SAD.

So, last night I was at Target buying diapers, and I was using the restroom. I have a bladder the size of a walnut, so this isn't surprising. What IS surprising is that after nearly two years (insert cutsey phrase of choice to indicate that I started my period, but if you use the words "visitor" or "Aunt Flo" I will stab you in the face).

ANYWAY, I opened the shiny, metal trash receptacle to insert my feminine hygiene product of choice, and I saw a very familiar sight. I saw a discarded pregnancy test. Back in my heyday of trying to conceive, I was known to test in public bathrooms because I had just purchased a test, and I was SO SURE it would be positive this time, I just had to find out right away because how awesome would it be walk out of the restroom, meet Chris's annoyed countenance at yet another lengthy restroom trip with a "Surprise! We're pregnant! And don't you feel like a jackass for being so impatient?"

Long story short, I had to know if this test was positive or negative. I had so many scenarios floating through my head: a scared teenage girl hoping and praying that broken condom wasn't about to cost her her youth. A woman who had been coveting conception for months, maybe years, and was hoping to surprise HER husband upon leaving the restroom. Maybe a mother of four or five, who felt the all-too-familiar tenderness of breasts while cruising the diaper aisle, and, on a hunch, decided to take a test before returning to her brood.

I needed a conclusion for all these stories. Unfortunately, the test was face down. Somehow this made sense to me. Even though no one would know to whom the test belonged, I can understand why hiding that plus or minus from prying eyes would seem like the thing to do. But, mystery lady's privacy be damned, I was picking up that test to see the result!

Okay, be grossed out. But, I washed my hands after, and if you don't think you are touching someone else's pee every time you use a public restroom, you are kidding yourself, my friend.

Guess what? It was positive! That is either really awesome or really devastating news, but for some reason, I was relieved.

So, yeah. That's my confession. I'm nosy, and I have nothing better to do than dream up pregnancy scare scenarios in the bathroom of a Target.

Oh, and that I totally touched someone's pee. Because, let's face it, no matter how hard you try not to, you ALWAYS get some pee on the handle.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fess Up Friday and Favoritism

Well, it's Friday. That means it's time for a confession and time for you to head over to Mommy in Chief to check out hers and everyone else's.

My confession will neither shock nor surprise you. In fact, I reckon it barely constitutes fessing up at all. I could tell you about how I took a break from Charlotte's regimented diet of fruits, veggies, organic this, whole grain that, to feed her some nuggets from McDonald's (the horror!) and tried some strawberry flavoring to get her to drink her whole milk. But, whatev. The flavor didn't work, and she's gonna eat junk food once in a while. So, that's not a big deal, either.

My confession is that even though every fiber of my intellectual being tells me not to, I really let it get to me when Charlotte goes into full-on Daddy's girl mode, which is almost always.

Seriously, how many of us have let our feelings get hurt by these tiny people? I mean, it isn't as if they are trying to hurt our feelings. They just want what (or whom) they want. But, when you aren't the one they want, it can really sting. Especially if you hauled that kid around in your uterus for nine months, then pushed her out of it. I mean, really. How is it fair that after all that, you don't even get to be the favorite parent?

Intellectually, I know that this favoritism will come in waves. But, it's been low tide for me for quite a while. A few weeks after Charlotte was born, she got really colicky. No amount of nursing, burping, rocking, or anything, really, could stop the screaming. Chris and I were totally lost, but I did notice that she cried less when he was holding her, that HE was able to calm her down more often than I could. I told myself that it was because I stress more than Chris, and that she could sense my stress. I told myself it was because when she was with me, she wanted to nurse even if she was full, so she would cry either way.

And just when I thought I had a handle on my jealousy, I handed her to Chris after a good, solid try at calming her the hell down. The second we made the transfer, they crying stopped. Well, hers did. Mine was only just beginning. "Why doesn't she LIKE me?" I wailed, running from the room. Chris got to work on convincing me that our daughter didn't hate me, that she was just a tiny baby who was reacting to things such as smells, stress levels, the way she was being held, etc. In her defense, he really is a kick ass daddy.

Chris has always been wonderful about trying to console me in moments such as those. Even now that Charlotte is a toddler and clearly prefers her daddy, Chris makes a valiant effort to console me when I try to hold her and she whines while reaching for him. Sometimes he pretends not to notice. Sometimes he lies to me: "She was reaching for the balloon, not me). And in both scenarios, I call bullshit, because I don't need anyone's pity, damnit!

Except that I do. But only from the person who is far too young to comprehend her capacity for breaking my heart and thus too young to throw a sympathy cuddle my way once in a while.

It is true that I've had my moments. Once...ONCE, during the colic, I took a screaming Charlotte out of Chris's arms without optimism and was shocked when she instantly quieted down. Not as shocked as Chris who said, "Wow. That actually DOES suck a little." You think?

It is also true that Charlotte generally wants me in moments of distress. If she's hurt, overtired, or stressed, she is more apt to want to be held my me rather than anyone else, including her daddy. I suppose I'll take it. Truth be told, I'd be offended that she only hands her stuffed animals to him because she prefers his silly voices to mine, if I wasn't so damned relieved not to have to DO the silly voices. That's something I'll gladly defer to him.

I keep saying that I want my next baby to be a boy so I can have a mama's boy to call my own. I know it's gender stereotyping, and I don't know whether or not there's any truth to it. I know I'm extremely close to my mother. I also know that in the coming years mine and Chris's relationships with Charlotte will get more and more complex and the things that seem huge now will pale in comparison with the way we will relate with her down the road.

She may always get a special gleam in her eye and bounce in her step when she sees her daddy, much like she does now. But, maybe she'll always want me to be the one to put on her band-aids. Maybe she'll want me to show her how to put on makeup 9good luck with that, kid). Maybe she'll come talk to me when she likes a boy.

Who knows? Until then, I'll keep on loving her and keep on warming the bench until she calls on me to be there for her.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Girl Who Came to Stay

A funny thing happened on Easter Sunday...

No, this isn't the set up to a joke. Well, it could be. And the punchline would be how I had to unbutton my pants on the way home from the family gathering because I deluded myself into thinking I could wear my pre-baby skinny jeans. But that was really more sad than funny.

In any case, what happened was that Chris and I more or less decided we'd be open to having another baby. That sounded so business-like, didn't it? Charlotte and me on Easter. How could you not want another one of her?

We are willing to negotiate with any theoretical children. Please have your lawyer draw up a proposal. We will review all offers carefully and will make our decision based on various factors, including, but not limited to: severity of morning sickness fetus plans on inflicting, propensity for kicking mother in ribs or vital organs, punctuality, etc.

Seriously, though, we decided while driving home from a family function on Sunday, that we are ready. THAT actually is a joke, because we are nowhere near ready. I need health insurance, we need to get out of our house, we need more money, and so on. Add to that the fact that my body hasn't, shall we say, "resumed regularly scheduled programming", so it's highly unlikely we're even physically ready. And for some reason, all of a sudden I'm not as eager to wean Charlotte as I thought I would be.

So, basically, don't expect any baby from me anytime too soon, but the biggest obstacle has been overcome. Namely, my husband. He's been traumatized ever since we had the baby. Anytime I would even talk about having another one, he'd cower in a corner, crying and twitching. And I'd be like "Man up! We're doing this." and he'd be all "But it's too haaaaarrrrdd. She never sleeps, and the pregnancy was too stressful, and YOU. CAN'T. MAKE. ME." And no one wants to have sex with a quivering, sobbing mess, and THAT was how he delayed this whole process.

Clever, he is.

I've been thinking a lot about what this will mean for Charlotte, whenever it happens. Provided we don't have the kind of trouble we did last time, we will probably have kids that are about two to three years apart. My sister and I are two years apart, and maybe I'm just looking at our childhood with rose-colored glasses, but I had a BLAST growing up with her. Nose torture, aside. Which reminds me of how she used to call me "Strawberry Nose" due to my ruddy complexion and blackheads. Ah, sisters!

It was so wonderful to always have a companion on road trips, because back in OUR day, we didn't have DVD players in the car, nor did we have iPods,and neither one of us can read in the car without a bucket. You know, to throw up in. Oh, you got that? Okay, then.

We shared toys, we shared friends, we were always together! What could we possibly have complained about?

Oh, right. Sharing toys, sharing friends, ALWAYS being together. Togetherness at its finest!

We did fight. We fought a lot. Constantly. I remember being so mad at her that I chased her down the hallway until she ran into my parents' room (the only room with a lock) and locked me out. I pounded and pounded on the door, demanding that she let me in so I could kill her.

She didn't, of course.

I remember how even when she started a physical altercation, she would invariably get hurt and cry, which pretty much guaranteed that I would be the one to suffer the consequences. I remember fighting over toys. One Christmas she got a Cabbage Patch baby doll, and I got a watch. I begged her to trade, I cajoled, I threatened, I harped, until she finally agreed to share the doll with me. You can imagine how well that worked out.

And then there is the infamous blanket. The Strawberry Shortcake blanket. MY Strawberry shortcake blanket. Except it isn't mine. It's Allison's. BECAUSE SHE STOLE IT FROM ME! Actually, it's even worse. My parents gave it to her. Apparently, she needed a blanket to take to preschool for nap time and there weren't any other blankets in the world, so they had to give her mine. And, just to gloat, she became super attached to the blanket. It was her "blankie", and she was always snuggling up to it and smirking at me while rubbing it against her cheek.

Okay, so maybe I made up that last part. The point is, we were so close in age, that we wanted the same toys, wanted to hang out with the same people, and to do the same things. This was a blessing and a curse. The bright side was that we always had each other. On vacations, in the car, out to dinner. We each had a built-in best friend with us wherever we went. We liked to do the same things, and we shared a lot of friends. But, obviously, we competed with one another, fought over play things, and just generally bugged the crap out of one another. "You're going to steal my blanket, aren't you?"

I could blame the age gap, but I really think no matter how far apart kids are in age, they will bug the crap out of one another in some way or another. My dad's brothers are about seven and ten(?) years his senior, respectively. And they tortured him mercilessly. I think, especially, my Uncle Bob, the middle brother. My dad recalls Uncle Bob pinning him down on the ground and hocking up a loogie that he would let dangle over my dad's face before finally sucking it back up. And then he'd do it all over again. And then there was the time my uncle threw some sand right into my dad's face at the beach. My dad cried and was given a Coke to cheer him up. Uncle Bob looked at my grandmother, quite seriously, and asked, "Hey! Why didn't I get a Coke?"


I hope that we are able to have a sibling for Charlotte within the next year or so. But, if not, we'll keep plugging away. The important thing is that she have a sibling to fight with and generally make miserable. Whether they fight over the same boy or because Charlotte doesn't want to babysit, is immaterial.

Because, the truth is, my sister and I have fought many a battle, but where we are now is so cool. I always say that my husband is my best friend, but she was my FIRST best friend, and that will always make her special. We can laugh now about how she stole my blanket and how I tried to kill her. And even though at the time, it wasn't funny at all, I can laugh about how every morning I would pick all her crap up from the floor of the room we shared and toss it onto her top bunk, only to have her throw it all on the floor as she clambered into bed every night. Can you believe that little nerd turned out to be a million times cooler than her big sister?

I think these memories will always bind us together in a special way. We've been through a lot together: our parents' divorce, the loss of our grandparents, the death of pets. She was my Maid of Honor (and I'd better be hers) and one of the first people to hold Charlotte in the wee hours after her birth. I watched with pride as she graduated from college with a map taped to her hat, like the other geography majors. San Francisco State Alum, baby!

I'm so happy to have a sister to talk to on the phone almost every day, to share a beer with when she's in town, to laugh and reminisce with, and to call my friend.

And all I hope for is that Charlotte will have a sibling she will love just as much.

Friday, April 9, 2010

ControverSunday or "Binky That Fool Up"

The title refers to what Chris or I say when Charlotte is sleepy, cranky, agitated, angry, restless, or just otherwise indicating that she needs a plug in her face.

As recently as in the months leading up to Charlotte's birth, I would have told you that I do, in fact, see the pacifier as a controversial topic. I was taught in my breastfeeding class that it can cause "nipple confusion" and adversely affect my chances of succeeding at nursing. A fun fact that convinced me any baby with a pacifier in its face must not be breastfeeding, because clearly those things were mutually exclusive. I would see walking, talking kids sporting their binkies and smugly tell myself that my children will never use one of those, and if they do, they CERTAINLY won't be using them at such an the rip ol' age of two!

Flash forward a year or so, and I'm completely baffled at why anyone cares about this stupid piece of latex. I mean, maybe some babies have a hard time going back and forth between boob and binky, but I seriously doubt a pacifier has ever single-handedly sabotaged a nursing relationship. And I guess if they are overused or used too long, they can delay speech and cause dental problems. But, you know what? Pretty much anything that is overused or used too long can cause problems.

I wrote before about how scared I was to give Charlotte a pacifier the night after she was born, assured as I was that it was breastfeeding kryptonite. I guess the lactation consultants and lactivists mean well to warn us against this potential peril, but looking back, I'm a little pissed off about the time I spent listening to Charlotte scream because I just couldn't bear to put her to my raw, bloody nipple, and GOD FORBID I give her a pacifier. I totally empathize with the nurse who was rejected each time she offered me one. I'm sure she was like, "Just give her the effing binky, dumbass." Because that's what I would want to say to myself. You know, if I could travel through time. One of the last times we gave her a binky in the early days.

We did let her have it those first few weeks, but I was so wary of having her get too attached, that I weaned her off it very early on, then spent the next six months trying to get her to take one because I was tired of having to disrobe every time she needed something to calm her down. Then, one magical night, she was screaming in the car while I sat in the back seat trying to calm her down. In an act of sheer desperation, I stuck an old, lint-covered binky in her mouth, one that had been sitting in the diaper bag for months, and it worked! She fell asleep! And later that night, when she woke up at 3 A.M., I put it back in her mouth, and HOLY HELL, she went back to sleep! And we haven't looked back. Giving her a pacifier makes her sit still for ten seconds!

I still don't want to have to hand her a binky when she steps off the school bus or even in a couple years. But, as long as we continue to limit it to the car, bed time, and generally stressful situations, and she isn't just constantly sucking on one every waking moment, I'm not too concerned. She'll outgrow it eventually, or I'll make her.

What's the big deal?

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Fess Up Friday

It's that time again! Time to confess my sins for the week. And boy, do I ever sin. But, here are just a few minor blunders. I don't want to scare you off with the real stuff. Besides, dead hookers don't exactly scream mommyblog.

A couple days ago I kept Charlotte out way past her nap time because I'm a horrible, selfish human being. She (understandably) got cranky on the ride home. So, I gave her a cereal bar to eat. I also neglected to take off her shoes and hoodie before strapping her in the car seat even though I KNEW she'd fall asleep on the way home. Which is why I ended up putting a fully dressed and shoed baby with cereal bar smeared all over her face into her crib. She didn't exactly look comfy, but she slept for two hours. She was probably depressed about having such a lousy mother.

I fed Charlotte mac n' cheese for dinner last night. A LOT of it. The box says organic, but the neon orange all over her face begged to differ. She's gonna eat crap food once in a while, whatever. The part that gets me is that I stupidly thought it would be a good way to get some dairy into her system, forgetting that the entire box only takes about two tablespoons of milk.

I talked really loudly on a hiking trail and scared all the poppies.

I splattered grease all over my favorite jeans, coffee grounds all over my pajamas, and got a mystery stain on my new shirt.

I got more writing done than usual (though nowhere near enough), and I'm currently ignoring my child while she spills dog food all over the floor. She may even be eating it. No, I'm kidding, that isn't happening. Or, it is. I don't really know.

I'm sure there's more, but I have a body to bury...I MEAN, baby to feed. Yeah, time to feed the baby...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Flower Child

Today my mom and I took Charlotte to the California Poppy Reserve, which is just about twenty minutes away from my house. Chris stayed home and did our taxes. Sucks to be you, buddy! And by that I mean, "I love you, and thank you for doing our taxes, and for having a job, and please don't make me live on the street. Also, please buy me Starbucks."

Anyway! Here are a few shots from the day:

Her legs are getting too long for that carrier. And her rear-facing car seat. And the world.

Yes, I bought the baby sunglasses. But they are FREAKING adorable, so shut it.

I know what you're thinking. A baby that adorable? I could make a FORTUNE on the black market. But, I love her. So, again, shut it.

Thee would be more pictures, but between my mom not really knowing how to work her camera (I love you, Mom!), the fact that I forgot my camera, and the fact that Charlotte has the attention span and capacity for sitting still of, well, a baby...you get the idea.

This was one of those days that made me appreciate living in Southern California. Spring days are good for that. Come summer, I'll be sitting in a pool of my sweat on a 100 degree day, and I'll be cursing the desert. But, until then, I'm enjoying it.

Updated: Here are a few more shots that I got from our friend, Lynn's camera.

Oh! And, I forgot to tell you guys about the lady who shushed me (SHUSHED me!) for talking too loudly while we were walking up the trail at the reserve. Look, I'm loud. I know this. I come from a loud family. But, I am also (mostly) polite, and I always watch my decibel level in places like restaurants, museums, libraries, obviously. I never talk on my phone in waiting rooms. I have a handle on my loudness! So, I was shocked when this lady shushed me, and then said under her breath "Nobody wants to hear you." We were outside!

I wanted to be angry, but I was mostly just embarrassed.

NOW, I'm angry.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

There HAS to be a Better Way!

You know how babies kinda suck?

I mean, at first, when they prevent you from getting any sleep lasting longer than an hour (if you're lucky), vomit all over you when you've brought a change of clothes for the baby, but not for you, and perform ninja moves that somehow get poop on your shirt or in your hair? Or later, when they arch their backs and howl in the store because you won't let them gnaw on a box of rice?

You, know, the usual.

Well, Chris and I have found something they're good for! Besides being all cute, cuddly, the lights of our lives, yadda, yadda, yadda...

You can use your baby as a tool in your passive aggressive marital disputes!

We discovered this trick early on in our parenting career, and I apologize for not sharing it with you sooner. Never again will you feel the need to argue in hushed tones about who changed more diapers or sigh, roll your eyes, and say "You just don't get it." Also a thing of the past? Losing your temper, yelling, thus waking the baby, and then blaming your significant other with a "See what you did?"

Not sure how it works? I'll show you!

Say you're annoyed because your partner slept through all three of the little darling's "night wakings", leaving you in sole command of binky-putting-back-in patrol, feeding, rocking, back-rubbing, etc. Your first instinct might be to yell at him about what a selfish douche bag he is. Or maybe you prefer the silent treatment and you'll just ignore her until she asks what's wrong.

There's a better way!

Here's what you do: You make sure your partner is in ear shot, but pretend not to notice him. Scoop up the baby, look into her innocent, little face, and say "I'm so sorry Daddy doesn't love you enough to take care of you during the night. I guess sleep is just more important to him. Maybe someday I'll find you a new daddy."

See? SO much healthier. But, wait! There's more! Here are just a few more examples of how it works...

"Who's that? It's Mommy. I bet you didn't even recognize her since she keeps leaving you to go to work, huh?"

"You look like a hobo, Baby! Who dressed you like this? Was it Daddy? I bet it was! I bet it was!"

"Awww, poor baby hurt her head? Too bad Mommy wasn't watching you better, huh, sweetie? Is it because she had too many glasses of wine! Yes, it is! Yes, it is!"

Now, I know it seems inappropriate to drag the baby into your grievances. But, the baby doesn't know what's going on! You may also be thinking that some of these examples are mean-spirited or "too far". But, no one can get mad at you when you're not even talking to them! You're talking to the baby! It's cute! Not at all vicious or hateful.

It's a win-win. And you don't even have to limit use of the technique to tackle only parenting dilemmas. As I mentioned, the baby doesn't know what you're talking about. As long as you say everything in a soothing, upbeat tone, you can hash it all out. Jealousy, sexual frustration, money troubles, you name it! As long as you say it with that certain lilt in your voice, you are untouchable!

I certainly do hope this has been helpful and that you will soon be on your way to passive aggressively manipulating your child to get your way with your spouse or partner. Just think of all the empty trashcans, clean diapers, and hours of sleep in your future. And all without a single fight!

For a nominal fee, I will also teach you how to use your baby to get out of those unsavory commitments and responsibilities, like work or driving your obnoxious great-aunt to the dentist: "I would LOVE to, but the baby gets really fussy in the car" or the tried and true "I hate to miss the meeting, but the baby kept me up ALL night." The possibilities are endless!

You're welcome.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fess Up Friday (the Whiny Edition)

Brooke, over at Mommy in Chief is doing a thing called "Fess Up Friday", and I thought I'd chime in this week.

I don't have any earth-shattering confessions (other than the fact that I love strippers), but here's what's going on with me:

The past week or so I have been in a major funk. I've been more tired than usual and quick to feel overwhelmed by the simplest of tasks. But, mostly, I've been sad. The kind of sad where you can't really pinpoint a cause, and therefore don't know how to make yourself feel better.

I've been whining about it to anyone who will listen, and people have been venturing guesses left and right. Maybe it's a letdown from all the excitement of the party and the out-of-town visitors. That's possible. I'm kind of like a kid in that respect. I get a little sad after Christmas or my birthday. This is kind of the same situation. No more presents? No more big, family dinners? No more ATTENTION? Whhhyyyyy meeeeee????

Maybe it's hormones. This is the one that had me reaching for the pregnancy tests in case of Scenario A or the tampons for Scenario B (AKA my first period in almost two years). I apologize for the TMI for those of you with delicate sensibilities. Or penises.

I guess my confession is that I am totally being a huge baby about this whole thing. I keep saying I'm gonna suck it up and start getting shit done around here, but instead I wallow, eat crap food, wallow some more, and watch T.V.

It's a vicious cycle, really, because doing some of the things I keep shoving aside will ultimately make me feel better. If I cleaned, I wouldn't be so miserable about being in this house I so desperately want to get out of. If I grocery shopped and cooked, I wouldn't continue to feed my self-loathing with greasy Chinese food and McDonald's french fries. If I blogged or started looking into writing some proposals, I wouldn't be ripening my sense of inadequacy every time I thought about the fact that I should be in school right now and thinking "Holy Shit! I'm a grad school dropout!"

So, this is my attempt to snap myself out of it. I've blogged (even if it was just to bitch), I'm going to go start some laundry, and maybe even tackle the mountain of clothes in my bedroom.

Or maybe I'll just go order a pizza and watch reruns.