Wednesday, October 26

He Sings! He Dances! He Makes a Killer Martini!

Well, not quite yet on the martini, but I'm working on it! In the meantime, Doodles sings!

The Guilt of Mothering

Everyone tells you that having two kids is going to be difficult, that two kids is five times (or seven or twelve or fill in the number you've heard) as hard as one. But everyone frames in terms of chasing two around, monitoring two, keeping two from killing each other. What people don't tell you is that the running around is tough, but the thing that really kills you with two is the guilt. Oh, the guilt is bad!!

When I had just Doodles, the boy never cried. Oh, don't get me wrong, he had his fussy periods and his upset periods, but the minute his little face started to screw up, I was there! I'm a firm believer in the "you can't spoil a kid under one" theory, and I held my little Doodlebug whenever he was the teeniest bit upset. There were days Adam would come home from school and I'd be tired and hungry and grumpy and have to pee because I hadn't moved all day because Doodles was happiest sleeping across me.

And with Sweetie Pie? Sweetie Pie has lungs. Now, she isn't any fussier or more difficult than Doodles--if anything, I'd say she's an easier baby, which is a remarkable statement, given how easy Doodles was/is. But the thing is, I'm physically unable to run to her the second she gets upset. Because there's Doodles to take care of. On Tuesday mornings, for instance, we need to get Doodles to Music Together class. Which means I put Sweetie Pie into the car seat while I put on Doodles's socks and shoes and get his snack ready. Only Sweetie Pie doesn't like the car seat. And she cries. But instead of picking up the car seat and swinging it, I have to let her cry.

And it cuts both ways. Because sometimes, Doodles is having a bad day and he needs me, only I have a Sweetie Pie attached to me b*reast. And I can't run to him with the speed I need.

And then there are those hellacious moments when both kids are crying at the same time and I have a Bambi moment (frozen in the headlights) because I don't know which child to attend to first.

The guilt will get to you. By the end of the day, you can't help but feel like you've failed both your children, even though you've done the best you can and even though they're both just fine and you know that in the long run they'll really appreciate having a sibling.

Two is hard. I imagine three is near impossible. But I'll tell you, two isn't so hard that it's keeping me from thinking about a third. (Frequently heard around our house: Me: "Well, with the next baby--" Adam: "NO!") After all, Sweetie Pie is already two months old. Two months old! Where did the past two months go? Definitely time to start thinking about a third. (Yes, Adam, I heard you: "No, no, no, no, NO!")

Wednesday, October 19

It's No Dinner with Andre

What now passes for intellectual conversation in our house. Dinner conversation on a random Thursday night:

Adam: Man, my neck hurts!
Doodles: Fork! Fork!
Me: Doodles, can you ask nicely?
Doodles: Please.
Me: So, how was work today?
Adam: Same as ever. I don't know what I did to my neck, but it's killing me.
Doodles: Doodles wants Goldfish.
Sweetie Pie [from bouncy seat next to table]: Snort!
Me: [After returning from the kitchen with the bag] Here you go, Monkey.
Doodles: No, no! Other Goldfish! Different Goldfish!
[Go through several bags of Goldfish. None are the correct Goldfish]
Me [near the end of patience and wanting to get to my rapidly cooling dinner]: Listen Doodles, this is all we got. Do you want the Goldfish?
[Doodles eats the original Goldfish he was given]
Me: Adam, don't forget, I need you home early tomorrow night.
Sweetie Pie: Bark! Snort! Bark bark!
Doodles: Peter go airplane last week. [A Goldfish falls to the floor!] Oops!! Oops! Goldfish fall down!
Me: That's okay, honey, it happens.
Adam: That's right. Peter was here and last week we took him to the airport.
Doodles: A, B, C, D, E, F, G!
Adam: Why do I need to be home early?
Doodles: H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P! Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z! Now I know my ABCs, next time won't you sing with me. Mommy, carry you?
Me: You want Mommy to carry you? After dinner.
[Sweetie Pie begins to stir and screw up her face for a scream, so I violently begin to bounce chair. Sweetie Pie curls back into sleep.]
Doodles: Mommy read to you? Mommy read Pigeon to you?
Me: After dinner.
Doodles: Doodles watch truck.
Adam: When did you watch a truck?
Doodles: Doodles watch truck. [A minor unintelligble soliloquy] Play with Erin?
Me: Monkey, Erin is at home having her dinner. Are you finished eating? [To Adam] We've got that thing tomorrow night.
Adam: Oh, yeah, that's right.
Doodles: My neck hurts!
Me: I'm sorry, Honey.
Doodles: It happens.


I just uttered the scariest thing I've ever said, and it's still a week away from Halloween. To Adam: "You know, Murray is my favorite Wiggles."

Brain, I miss you! Please come back soon!


Was it really less than a year ago that I ran 26.2 miles? I got the thumbs up from my O.B. to resume life as usual, or at least life as usual as it can be with this new alien parasite attached to my breast for 90% of her waking hours (the other 10 % of course spent screaming, pooping, and spitting up, frequently all at the same time) and asleep on my lap or chest for 100% of her sleeping hours (I type this with a child draped over my arm, fast asleep in her now-loose sling, so I'm propping her with the same arm I'm type with). After giving birth to Doodles, I waited a good four months (okay, six months! Leave me alone!) to get back to any form of exercising. This time, though, I wanted to get back into gear a little faster, so I've gone back to running.

I'm sorry, did I say running? That's not exactly the correct word. Slogging could be appropriate. Trudging, perhaps. Plodding works, too. Because what I've been doing in no way resembles running. Oy, has it been pathetic. But in all fairness, running is a completely different ball game now. And I halfway mean that literally because while there's no ball, it is a game.

Pre-Sweetie Pie, a run meant I kissed Doodles and Adam on their cheeks, strapped on my Garmin and my MP3 player, and I headed out the door. Now it means I coerce my son into thinking he wants nothing more than to go for a stroller ride while Mommy runs, load this 28-pound child into a jogging stroller, and head out for the hilly streets of my town while keeping up a constant patter. Because I've found when you say, "Hey, Doodles, want to go for a run with Mommy?" the answer is inevitably "No!" But if you ask, "Hey Doodles, want to go for a run with Mommy and look for pumpkins," I get a "Yeah!" What I'll do post-holidays is a worry, but one I won't think about until January, not that I think he's going to want to go out in winter time with me. Between not running for seven months, the hills, and my constant monologue, I was dead after less than two miles.

I could leave Doodles at home. Sure. Let poor Adam in his few hours home deal with a whirling dervish running circles around every piece of furniture in the house while also taming the screaming breast monger. Doesn't seem fair to the poor man that he must deal 40 hours a week with the corporate animals only to come home and have every waking moment dealing with our monkeys. So twice this past week, Doodles and I set out, with me chattering the entire way. "Did you see that pumpkin? Oh, look, there's a pumpkin in the window! How many pumpkins do you see?" while my child gives me a steady stream of "More pumpkins! What's that? Another witch? Scarecrow! More scarecrows?" I'd see other runners and just wish that I had a sign across my back that read, "Give me a break! I have a seven-week-old baby!"

My winning time? A whopping 16 1/2 minute mile. Whoo hoo! Call Paula Radcliffe, I'm ready to take her on! The best part about this? I have to choose: morning jog or shower. Yes, that's right folks. That funk you smell is me. Actually, given my slow pace, the mild weather, and the frequent rain, it's really not that bad. Just take a step back. I'll shower tonight, promise!

On Saturday, my in-laws came over to play with Doodles, so I took my opportunity to hand Sweetie Pie off to Adam and take off. It was pouring out, but I barely noticed. I strapped on my ipod, cranked the volume, and started to feel like my old self again. My time was still miserable--12 1/2 minute miles for a three-mile run--but it was enough to make me long for more solo runs. Solo running lets me lose myself. I work out problems I'm having in my writing, I reminisce when songs bring me back to different times, I fantasize about my next marathon (NYC 2006! Tavern on the Green or bust!).

My goal for the foreseeable future is two runs during the week with Doodles and one solo run on the weekends. When Sweetie Pie hits six months (or one year, depending on who you ask), she'll be old enough to go in the jogging stroller so perhaps I'll up my runs in the spring. I'll of course have to up them next summer if I get a lottery spot in the marathon.

So all you Boston folks, when you see a poor woman barely shuffling, hunched behind a chattering kid in a jogging stroller, take pity on her. Toss her a Gatorade. Let her have the right of way. She's doing the best she can.

Wednesday, October 12

It's That Time of Year Again...

And we're going for number 5 (although only win number 4). Let's see if I can do it and still keep my sanity and my children fed.

If Only the Stuff Could Be Harnassed...

When I was a mere wee one, all of three years old living in Westchester County in New York, I developed a massive fear of cows. Now those familiar with the area know that cows are exactly roaming the streets of the suburbs New York City. But I was terrified. I'd say to my parents every night, "Scared cow! Scared cow!" What ultimately cured me of my fright is when my parents brought home my newborn baby sister, the Tweedle Twirp, who shared a room with me. Apparently, as soon as she was placed in that crib, I declared I was no longer scared cow. "Tweeds will protect me," I said.

Fast foward thirty-four years. Poor Sweetie has had a problem with gas. Lots of painful, miserable gas. The kind of gas that has us walking the floors for hours, bouncing, whispering, cajoling her to feel better. So I gave up eating. Pretty much everything. And her gas did indeed improve. However Doodles also had major gas and he simply grew out of it, so I started to think it was coincidence that Sweetie Pie's gas showed significant improvement when I stopped eating. So I slowly began reintroducing foods back into my diet and all was fine. Until I got to dairy. I had a frozen Trader Joe's pizza and the next morning, at 4 a.m., all hell broke out in Sweetie's wee digestive system. It was horrible. And of course the best way to comfort a miserable child is to breastfeed her, only it's the breastfeeding that's causing the misery and thus we got into a vicious cycle in the morning. I've since re-elminated dairy from my diet and things are better again. But I'm amazed that it appears that somehow I've managed to make my child "scared cow" before she could even know what a cow is. I'm so sorry, Sweetie Pie!

Wednesday, October 5

Nana Nano

The Nana left today. It wasn’t pretty: Doodles had an absolute meltdown as we left the airport, big tears streaming down his face, as he wailed in a pitiful cry, “Naaaaaanaaaa! Naaaaaanaaaa!”

Which is different from the cry that Sweetie Pie was making yesterday, when she was lying in her vibrating chair, her little face balled up into an angry red welt of fury, as the Nana stood over her taking pictures. I heard the screams from the next room (as Nana had Sweetie duty at the moment) and I called out, “I’m coming, Sweetie Pie!” to which Nana said, “Take your time!” and I could hear the click, click of her camera. (For those who don’t know, the Nana creates Art. And Art requires hundreds of photos of people doing normal things... like crying). I went into Nana’s room, and she said, “Just give me one more minute. This is what I wanted when I took all those photos earlier, but she wouldn’t cry then.” My heart is, meanwhile, starting to crack at the sound of my wee one so miserable, and I say, “Make it fast! I can’t take this!” After about thirty seconds, which felt much, much longer, the Nana said, “Okay, done!” As I swooped down to make my Sweetie feel better, I said, “You’re lucky she started screaming on your last night here.” The Nana said, “Oh, it wasn’t luck. I turned off the vibration.” Um, she did what? When I expressed my extreme displeasure about this, she said, “Hey, it wasn’t my idea! It was Adam’s!” Adam admitted, “All I said was if you wanted Sweetie to cry, just turn the vibration off on the chair.” I’m not sure which one should be indicted first.

This one transgression aside, the Nana will be missed. And not just the shed-painting, bathroom-painting, lawn-mowing, raking, laundry-doing, Doodles-playing, Sweetie-calming parts either. It was actually nice having her around. And now the fun begins. Me. And me. And me. And a six-week old and a two year old. And me. Between the hours of 8 and 6, it’s just me. And a newborn and a toddler. And Me. Did I mention, it’s just me now? God help me. Or is it God help the kids? Well, God help someone!

A Sweetie by Any Other Name...

Two years ago I was traumatized by the bris of my son. This past Sunday, we had a Simchat Bat for Sweetie, a ceremony in which we gave her her Hebrew name. What a difference! It was the same welcoming into the Jewish community. It was the same opportunity to have our family and friends around our child. It was the same excuse to have a good meal. But no angst! No snip snip! How fun! Actually, we took the whole thing quite seriously and Adam and I worked hard to create a very personal ceremony for Sweetie, and we were both quite pleased with the way it turned out. In some ways, it made me wish for a chance to do Doddles brit over again (well, not that snip snip part), as I had no idea what I was doing. The mohel took over and did everything that needed to be done, but I was so dazed and tired and confused that it didn’t occur to me to personalize the ceremony in any way. This time around, for starters, we didn’t have to do it when Sweetie was just eight days old. Second of all, everything is so much easier this time around, so I was able to put some effort into it. I found some readings that were meaningful for us and reflected mine and Adam’s beliefs. And it was really nice to have it right before Rosh Hashanah. Felt like a fresh start for all of us. L’shanah tova!

All Clear

I have my six-week postpartum doc visit today. I’ve lost thirty pounds so far, which is pretty good considering I gained thirty-five in the pregnancy (although my prepregnancy weight wasn’t my ideal starting point, however it was the same prepregnancy weight I had before Doodles). My incision looks good. And my uterus is back down to it’s normal size. Which means I can finally lift Doodles again! Because I haven’t lifted Doodles at all in the past six weeks. No, of course not! I’ve definitely not picked him up because he is over the twenty-five pound limit that I was allowed to lift. So I definitely didn’t pick him up for four weeks. Because I follow doctor’s orders to the T. So for two weeks, I didn’t pick up Doodles. Not even once. But I’m allowed to now. Oh boy. (Side note: anyone else notice that it’s especially hard to carry a toddler when you have a newborn in a Baby Bjorn? It’s not impossible, of course, as I’ve learned, but definitely difficult.)