Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Privacy Clause

I knew I should have read the fine print when I signed up for motherhood. I glossed over the "Lack of Privacy" section of the contract because I read it immediately following a gynecological exam where the only nod at modesty was in the form of a 2x2 piece of tissue paper that I think was supposed to cover my left elbow. Thus, worrying about privacy seemed pretty meaningless after I'd just been hanging out with my feet in the stirrups.

But seriously, Michael is 4 now, which means I WOULD JUST LIKE 5 MEASLY MINUTES TO USE THE BATHROOM BY MYSELF! Whew, sorry, was that me yelling?

We've had a dozen conversations in the past week about privacy and modesty, highlighting basics such as the fact that it isn't polite to barge in on someone who is in any degree of undress. For some reason he has taken this as some sort of quest to bring down the bathroom door. Man the battle stations! Mom is using the potty!

"Michael, I need my privacy while I use the toilet. Please stop banging on the door!"

"But mom, I need to be in there!"

"No you don't! Go away and I'll be out in a few minutes!"

"But I need to be with you!"

"Go find something else to do for a few minutes."

He tests the lock.

"I'll just stand right here and wait for you!" he says.

Ten little toes appear beneath the door.

"Are you done yet, Mom?"

"No, go away!"

"Because you need your privacy?"

"Yes, because I need my privacy."

"I don't know what privacy means, Mom."

You and Julian Assange.

"Are you pooping or peeing, Mom?"

Should I confess I'm holed up in the bathroom reading snatches of Harry Potter 7? Hmm, nope.

Now where is that candy bar I stashed under the sink?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Notice of Violation

Mr. Michael Overly
2nd Bedroom on the Left
House on the Corner

Dear Sir,

It has come to our attention that, in the course of your current illness, there have been several egregious violations of the Nose Wiping Act of 2006. Article 1, Section 1 of this law states that all fluids contained in a person's nasal cavity shall be disposed of properly, following sanitation practices as prescribed in Section 2 of this law; these practices include, but are not limited to, use of proper sanitation facilities and products contained in one's household. For a list of appropriate products to use when blowing one's nose, please review Addendum 2.1, a copy of which has been included with this letter for your convenience.

Below you will find a list of your most recent violations:

Your sister's hair
Your mother's bedspread
Your mother's arm
A dishtowel
Your blanket
The couch
The carpet in the living room

While the current law does not expressly prohibit blowing one's nose and eating it, it is generally expected that individuals will avoid practices considered socially unacceptable or disgusting.

As this is your first Official Notice of Violation, action will not be taken against you at this time; however, you are expected to appear before your Household Magistrate for a refresher course in proper nose wiping procedures.

Your cooperation is appreciated.

Sincerely,

Hugh S. Tissue
Department of Sanitation

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's the Most Offensive Time of the Year

Imagine, for a moment, that you are wandering down the streets of India during the annual Hindu celebration of Diwali. In a spirit of good will and neighborliness, someone says to you, "Diwali Greetings!" or "Best wishes to you on Diwali!" What would you say in response?

Would you say, "I don't celebrate Diwali."? Of course you wouldn't, because you are a decent, polite person. You would probably say "Thank you!" You might even add, "You, too!", because that's what decent people do - they respond to pleasantries with pleasantries. Decent people do not take offense at the well-wishes of strangers, regardless of religious differences.

I guess this is why I felt a little annoyed when I read an advice-column question from a Jewish woman looking for help on how to respond to the constant barrage of Christmas cheer. "I'm tired of people wishing me a Merry Christmas," she wrote. "How should Jews respond...?"

A rabbi answered:

"My advice is to be polite, but persistent, in telling people that you do not celebrate Christmas. When Jews and other non-Christians acquiesce to "Merry Christmas" greetings with responses like, "You, too," or just nervous smiles, we only perpetuate the idea that Christmas is for everyone... What do you say when well-wishers wish you a 'merry Christmas'? My answer is, 'Thank you, but I don't celebrate Christmas. Let me wish you the best on your holiday.'"

My question is, why do we feel it necessary to explain our holiday observances to a grocery store cashier or a Salvation Army volunteer who is simply hoping to collect coins for the homeless? If you have a friendship with someone, by all means, tell them you don't celebrate Christmas. But a random person who is doing nothing more than offering a friendly greeting? For heaven's sake, just say, "Thank you!" and continue on your way! It isn't "perpetuating the idea that Christmas is for everyone". It's perpetuating the idea that politeness is for everyone.

And another thing; for the sake of consistency, let's pretend we are back in India during the celebration of Diwali. If, as an American Christian, you saw holiday displays in the Town Square commemorating the Festival of Lights, would you be offended? Of course not! Hinduism is a majority religion in India! Wouldn't you find it odd if all religious expression had been stifled out of the public square?

Likewise, why is it such a big deal to have a Nativity Scene on government property? According to one poll, 93% of Americans celebrate Christmas (even though only about 80% of those interviewed identified themselves as Christians). A Nativity Scene on government property is not an endorsement of Christianity - it's a recognition of the fact that 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas. If 90% of Americans celebrated National Gum Drop Day (It's January 15th!), wouldn't it be logical for gum drop houses to appear on government lawns?

When I was working at an engineering firm a few years back, a handful of my coworkers were practicing Muslims. Every year, with a big grin and well-wishes for everyone, one of these Muslim coworkers would bring in a huge cake to mark the end of Ramadan.

Did I say, "Thank you, but I don't observe Ramadan."? No way! I said, "Thank you so much! Pass the cake!"

And every year, this Muslim coworker was right there enjoying himself at the office Christmas party.

So, to this Jewish woman who was looking for advice, I would say, stop getting miffed when someone wishes you "Merry Christmas" and start appreciating politeness.

After all, it's just a piece of cake.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Random Thoughts

Judging by the amount of hair dye present in the ranks of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, I think the whole singing thing is just a cover for the fact that it's actually a support group for women who are afraid of gray hair.

I just got a flier in the mail that says, "Life's too short to clean your own house." Now I'm all depressed at the time I've wasted scrubbing toilets.

Why are the only restaurants with drive-thrus the ones that sell nothing but piles of grease? How about a drive-thru sandwich place or a drive-thru Jamba Juice?

Someone needs to inform Utah that if I have a valid out-of-state driver's license, that means I know how to drive in UTAH without taking a test again.

Last night I had a dream where I was trying to keep my kids from having meltdowns while I waited over an hour for a doctor appointment. The night before I dreamed I was in charge of some primary event and one of the kids threw up, leaving me to clean it up. Why do I dream about things I hate doing in my real life? Why can't I swim in a barrel of candy or use the clouds as a trampoline instead?

How is it that I can look in the mirror and think I look fine, but then I see a picture of myself and realize my butt must be moonlighting as a billboard somewhere?

I'm really glad Santa put coal in my mom's stocking after a particularly naughty year in her childhood. It's great to be able to point to a real person who actually got coal in her stocking.

I think I will feel a little out of place in Utah until I use a weed whacker to style my hair. Even better, a weed whacker with a little purple dye on the blades.

Who thought up the one-bulb-goes-out-the-whole-string-of-lights-goes-out concept? Honestly, people. There is nothing more irritating then searching a whole string of lights to find one uncooperative little bulb.

It is November 30th and my Christmas cards will be mailed tomorrow. I'm pretty sure that is one of the signs of the times (nestled in between "earthquakes" and "wars and rumors of wars").

How come no one ever stops by thirty seconds after I've cleaned the whole house, but thirty seconds after Michael has gotten out every toy we own and the kitchen floor looks like it was last swept in 1945, everyone feels like popping in for a visit?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Family Circus: A Travelogue

5 days. 2000 miles. 3 children. And David and I only wanted to kill each other one time.

Not bad.

I thought we'd have at least one argument under our belts before we hit Nebraska, but we made it to Wyoming. With a track record like that we're thinking of signing up for the Amazing Race.

Our trip started out well in spite of the fact that we followed a car to Wegmans that was graced by the license plate "PMS 24-7." (Does that say "Marry me" or what?) We thought it best to keep to a safe following distance in case of hormonally induced road rage.

Except for a little paranoid checking for bedbugs in each of our hotel rooms, our travels remained mercifully uneventful until an overzealous automatic flush toilet in Champaign, Illinois scared Michael into a near-terminal case of constipation. For the most part he behaved admirably, limiting his whining to "Is this Nutah yet?" and "I want more chips!" though he did store up enough wiggles and restless energy to power a small country; energy which exploded in willful disobedience during lunches and we-can't-take-anymore-crying breaks.

The thing about driving from east to west is that there is nothing to look forward to. You pass the interesting parts early on, and then it is just boring. I think we were about three hours and 800 desolate-looking farms into Iowa when David dryly commented, "You know, politicians spend a lot of time and money courting this state."

After a few days of nothing to look at but windswept prairie, we started getting a little stir-crazy. This came to a head just over the Wyoming border, when, in a state of tired giddiness, we had a sudden urge to download the Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass version of "My Favorite Things." James Bond meets Oscar Hammerstein, it's strange and satisfying and addicting all at once. We bounced around like maniacs in the front seats until even Michael couldn't resist and joined us in our dorkiness.

It was about this time that David said, "Go google maps to find a mall we could stop at for a lunch break."

I dutifully pecked "maps" into the google search bar of my iphone. "Now what?" I asked.

He glanced at my phone. "I meant 'google' as a noun, not a verb," he said, rolling his eyes. As if my sentence deciphering abilities need hearing aids. I know what he said and there was no this-is-a-noun nuance present.

By the time we arrived at our new home I was nervous, carsick, and tired of correcting Michael every time he said, "Nutah." But I started to have hope that I could actually survive living here when I walked in the kitchen of our house and saw, painted on the wall, a quote by Julia Child:

"If you're afraid of butter, use cream."

Ah, home sweet home.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Man Behind the Mask

Who is the mysterious Spiderman?



We called in one of our best operatives (codename: Angelface) to see if she could charm the masked avenger into revealing his identity.



Ah, the delicious taste of success!


Shoulder Accessories

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Random Thoughts

One of the most meaningless words in the English language has got to be "luxury". Everything from my clearance-bin sheets to my poor-quality carpet was sold under the "luxury" banner. Come on, people, luxury is a penthouse apartment in NYC with enough enough original artwork to make the Met blush, not a crappy, K-Mart-brand hand towel that falls apart after three washings.

Children should come with shut-down buttons that don't allow their systems to reboot until 9 a.m.

Nothing makes me quite as twitchy as a Christmas stocking that has been hung the wrong way. The nail should be placed in the upper right corner so the toe of the stocking points left. The other way is backwards. Backwards, I tell you, backwards!

If I'm ever First Lady, I'm going to have my inaugural ball gown taken in three or four sizes before it's donated to the Smithsonian so that everyone who comes through will comment on how thin and fit I must have been.

Why do babies refuse to eat pears or applesauce and then take great delight in chewing on a petrified grape that has been residing with the dust bunnies under the couch?

Our house is under contract. I refuse to mop the kitchen floor again until after the movers come.

I love the word "ubiquitous". I feel like throwing it into all of my conversations just because I like the sound of it.

A sandwich always tastes better when it has a nice, salty potato chip in the middle.

Today I went to the craft store in search of Halloween-related items and found myself being serenaded by Christmas music. There is something so jarring about sifting through the bin of fake jack-o-lanterns while listening to Frank Sinatra sing "Jingle Bells".

Sometimes I think taking a small goat to the store would be easier than handling my almost-four-year-old.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Grammar Police

I fully admit that I'm prone to the overuse of commas (and parenthetical remarks), but that doesn't stop me from becoming excessively irritated when I run into a few of the more common grammatical errors that plague written communication these days. I very nearly had to quit facebook after receiving my hundredth notification that one of my friends had taken a quiz containing "your" (meaning "you are") as part of the results. "Your a good person/guy magnet/movie star..." Aaaghh. Make it stop!

Maybe it's a side-effect of being surrounded by a CUL8R text generation whose most formal method of communication is email, but regardless (not to be confused with "irregardless"), if I see one more college-educated person mistakenly interchange "there" and "their" (or especially "they're") I won't be responsible for my actions.

And as long as we're discussing things that bother me, nothing brings on a neck-scrunching convulsion faster than an apostrophe unnecessarily parked at the end of an unsuspecting word: grape's, for example, or tomato's. Or a picture of said "tomato's" that says "A picture of the tomato's and I." It's me! Me. Me. Me.

The only problem with my revealing this grammar-related neurosis is that now you know how to torture me. Lock me in a room and make me listen to tapes of someone saying, "Her and me ec-scaped" or "I could care less" and it will be five seconds, tops, before I'm curled up in the fetal position whimpering about the proper usage of "it's" versus "its".

Yeah, I'm asking for it. I fully expect a slew of comments pointing out my sentence fragments and misplaced quotation marks. And the fact that I just started this sentence with "and".

I never said my neurosis was hypocrisy-free.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Curious About George

Today I was having a problem with my cell phone that sent me running to google in search of a solution. Since I was in a question-asking sort of mood, instead of searching key-word style, I phrased a full question for the google gods to answer. As soon as I typed "Why does my...?" a whole list of suggested searches popped up:

Why does my eye twitch?
Why does my cat lick me?
Why does my dog eat grass?
Why does my stomach hurt?
Why does my dog eat poop?
Why does my cat bite me?
Why does my dog stare at me?
Why does my back hurt?
Why does my dog eat dirt?

Apparently there a lot of people out there who are full of questions about their furry friends. My favorite? "Why does my dog stare at me?"

I have a sudden urge to crack open my Far Side collection...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

By the Numbers

Number of children living in my house: 3
Number of children with colds: 2
Number of children who have teeth coming in: 2
Number of teeth trying to come in at once: 7
Number of times I was up with a baby last night: 7
Number of suspected ear infections: 1
Number of days the house has been on the market: 19

In one week:

Number of showings: 7
Number of times I was given 15 minutes of warning that someone was coming to see the house: 2
Number of times I vacuumed the entire house: 6
Number of times I cleaned the bathroom mirrors: 14
Number of times I windexed my kitchen sink: 5
Number of times I wished I could take a nap: 97
Number of times I actually got to take a nap: 3
Number of times I got to take a nap longer than 15 minutes: 1
Number of times I ate candy as part of a "balanced" breakfast: 4
Number of times I regretted it: 0
Number of times I let Michael play Super Mario on the wii: I plead the fifth
Number of times I told Michael to stop crying: 17
Number of times he was crying because he stuck a piece of apple up his nose: 1
Number of times I laughed because he stuck a piece of apple up his nose: 3; ha ha, make that 4
Number of times Michael helped me clean up without complaining: 15
Number of times I felt grateful for him: at least 37

Number of reasons I hate moving: 722,496
Number of reasons I hate trying to sell my house: 369,900
Number of times a day, on average, that Michael says, "Mom, we don't say hate!": 2

Number of times I've been interrupted while writing this blog: 16

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Oral B: Formula 666

The following substances are of the devil:

Glitter
Easter grass
Christmas tree icicles
Styrofoam
Foam peanuts
Suckers (and any other candy that is meant to be licked)
Peanut butter

This list has remained fairly stable for the past ten years, but I have a new item I would like to add:

Toothpaste

Yes, toothpaste. I know toothpaste is technically a good thing. (Imagine how much faster my teeth would fall out of my mouth if I didn't have a little Colgate to polish my pearly whites! With my genes and no toothpaste I think I'd be needing dentures by about next Wednesday). But, I swear Michael could not get any more toothpaste smeared around the bathroom if he filled an aerosol can with the stuff and sprayed it over every smooth surface.

With that and, um, other substances one finds in random places in a little boy's bathroom, I've been cleaning the bathrooms three or four times a day. I'm about to start wearing a bottle of Lysol and a roll of paper towels as wardrobe accessories.

Why the sudden obsessive need for cleanliness, you ask? Well, I figure pink toothpaste smeared into the sink and yellow highlights on the already-ugly vinyl flooring around the toilet are not the most effective ways to say, "Buy me."

Yes, our house is for sale.

I have not even begun to come to terms with it yet. Mostly I'm wandering around in a dazed sort of way mumbling something about losing Wegmans and never having toured the White House. You see, at least once a day I miss something about living in New York City and I only lived there for a year. So I can't even imagine how much I'm going to miss Virginia, where I've lived for almost one-quarter of my life.

Sigh.

But, new adventure awaits in Salt Lake City. Sure, we won't have Smithsonians in our backyard, but then, we might actually have a backyard! And my husband might be able to come home for dinner more than twice a year!

That settles it. Westward, ho!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Stress

I have been a bit stressed out lately, feeling like I am hovering an atoms-width away from nuclear meltdown (a precarious situation, to be sure). I didn't realize how severe my anxiety had become until I found myself rummaging through the cupboards in search of something - anything - sweet. The only thing I could find was a bar of Ghirardelli unsweetened baking chocolate. I took a bite and then another, crinkled up my nose in self-disgust and reminded myself that I don't even like dark chocolate (let alone unsweetened chocolate that is intended to be sugared and sifted into a bowl of cream).

Then I thought, mmmmm.... pie. In part because that is a natural progression when one is obsessed with discovering some sort of confectionery prozac hidden in her cupboards - not that I am depressed (though I did use the word "melancholy" twice in one day) - but mostly because I have been watching "Pushing Daisies" which, in spite of my insistence that it would not affect me, has sent my husband running to the store on two occasions to procure a pie. Not at my urging, mind you. All his idea. I just cheered him on from the sidelines. (Except that one time when I said we really didn't need pie at 11:00 at night and he finally relented, an action I sincerely regretted the next day (Sunday) when 8:00 hit and I was like, "wish I had some pie.")

And then it dawned on me: I'm a stress eater. This is one of those things about myself that I didn't know. Even after spending nearly 30 years with myself, somehow it slipped by me.

This does not help me in my quest to lose weight. Of course, neither does the fact that when I say "lose" I mean it in the sense that I would like to stick the weight somewhere and promptly forget where I put it. ("Honey, have you seen that sack marked 'Bonnie's hips and thighs'? I can't remember what I did with it!")

I know some would say I could reduce stress by working on my self-control, but I know where I put that. It's hidden at the bottom of a bag of potato chips.

Crunch.

Nope, still haven't found it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Winner!

We have a winner, whose name was drawn out of an official LIFE AS AN ADVERB plastic baggie by our distinguished judge:


I would say that he was impartial, but as he spent the day getting in touch with his feminine side, the ladies may have had an advantage.

The lucky winner of an autographed copy of Cold as Ice is Kristen Smith! (I'll send you an email shortly). Congrats, Kristen, and thanks to everyone who submitted a word.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Little Reminder

You have two more days to enter my Cold as Ice drawing! While I am generally sympathetic to procrastinators (I have a degree in procrastination, myself), time is running out. This is a book you don't want to miss (unless you value sleep, because I had to stay up till 2 in the morning finishing the thing. Darn compelling plotline!).

Anyway, if you still want a chance to win an autographed copy, leave a comment on this post or this one and, if you're really feeling generous, tell me one of your favorite words. I love words. If I love your word enough I might put your name in twice.

I guess you could say I'm feeling magnanimous.

This Just In

Angelina Jolie makes lunch for the kids! Yes, that is the headline of an actual article in an actual magazine. Granted, a magazine that devotes most of its pages to celebrity nonsense, but still. Are we really so bored with our own lives that this is newsworthy information?

Apparently so, because according to people.com this article is the "most read" of the day. So I had to read it, of course, to find out what was so article-worthy about it. And the verdict is? There isn't anything. I was so bored while skimming it that I turned to the literary masterpieces contained in some of the junk mail sitting on my desk. Then I made brownies. And took a load of laundry downstairs. And got a snack for Michael before I shooed him back into quiet time. Last, but not least, I turned on the baby monitor (because I forgot to do so earlier) and decided I would allow myself a few minutes to blog before I spend my remaining quiet time unburying myself from the knee-deep dejunking I've been doing in our upstairs closets. Seriously, I have to swim to get into Michael's room now. (This is going to be very problematic if he wakes up in the night and has to use the potty).

But I digress. At first I thought this article was the most annoying batch of drivel I've ever read. Really, it's news that Angelina Jolie made lunch for her kids? Gag me. But then, I realized, maybe it is news. Because her turn to make lunch must not come up very often when she is 25th on the list (right behind personal chef and nanny #17). So, good for her, mixing up mac and cheese for her kids. Or wheat germ and lemon grass. Or whatever it is that movie stars feed their offspring.

Isn't it adorable when Angie tries to pretend she is a normal person who takes care of all the household tasks by herself? It's so cute I could just pinch her little cheeks.

If I weren't so scared of all her tattoos, that is.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Book Giveaway!


The latest release from two-time Whitney Award-winning author, Stephanie Black, has now hit bookstores! My copy of Cold as Ice is, at this very moment, winging its way across the country via Fed Ex. I can't wait!

And, because I believe everyone should get a chance to read a can't-put-it-down suspense novel, I will be giving a personalized, autographed copy to one of my lucky blog readers. Yes, I love you that much. Just leave a comment on this post in which you tell me one of your favorite words and I'll enter you into the drawing.

From the back cover:

After five patient years, Abigail Wyatt’s sisterly care is finally paying off: her younger brother, Derek, is abandoning his self-destructive lifestyle and seeking his parents’ forgiveness, thus ending the painful estrangement that wounded the whole family. But just as the pieces are falling into place for the prodigal’s return, a woman named Karen Brodie is murdered in a local park—and police name Derek as the prime suspect. Rather than standing firm and cementing the positive changes in his life, Derek succumbs to his cynical fears and runs from the law, leaving Abigail with her hands tied. Literally.

Derek’s raw panic convinces everyone that he’s the killer— everyone except Abigail, who doggedly maintains her brother’s innocence. With the help of Kyle, a charismatic new friend she might be falling for, Abigail digs deep into Karen Brodie’s troubled past in hopes of clearing Derek’s name. But as she uncovers a sinister plot of greed, envy, and vengeance, this loyal sister must face the painful truth that things—and people—are not always as they seem.


I'll draw a winner on August 21st. Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Advice for a Supermodel

Dear Gisele,

When giving advice to new mothers (or mothers-to-be) it is best to be aware of a few basic facts:

No one wants to hear about postpartum weight loss from someone who pranced her bikini-clad, stretchmark-resistant, cellulite-free derriere down the runway just a few weeks after giving birth.

If you insist that childbirth wasn't painful you are either a liar or a mutant. Either way, it is best to keep this information to yourself, as the only purpose that is served by sharing this little tidbit is to make normal women everywhere want to hurt you.

We all know that "breast is best", but there are a whole lot of valid reasons that a woman might choose to (or have to) formula feed. The way to encourage more women to breastfeed is not to say that there should be a law forcing new moms to do so. Or to criticize mothers who feed their babies "chemical food".

Sincerely,

Irritated Mom

P.S. If your baby slept through the night at 6 weeks it has nothing to do with your superior parenting skills. You are LUCKY. End of story.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How Not to Travel Across the Country

There are certain things I would rather travel without: small children, baggage fees, plane delays, stomach flu...

I guess I should have reminded myself of that last one before I spent the night preceding our cross-country flight trying to decide which end of my body needed most immediate access to the toilet. Luckily, the bathtub was within conversational distance of the toilet, if you know what I mean. And luckily there was a bathtub, because I slept in it. Literally.

Ugh.

The next morning David requested a late checkout from the hotel after the only responses I could give to his questions were along the lines of those Wesley gave Count Rugen after having been subjected to "The Machine".

After achieving the Olympic feat of keeping down a sip of water for more than two minutes (an encouraging development, as total dehydration is not recommended when one is nursing twins) a few hours of rest, and a priesthood blessing, I was able to get out of bed and into some clothes about twenty minutes before we had to head to the airport.

We made it through check-in without having to pay $90 for a bag that was two pounds overweight (who does Delta think they are kidding?!), and we made it through security even though I had forgotten to empty one of our water bottles ("This is for the baby, right?????," the TSA agent asked while vigorously nodding at me).

Our flight was delayed by an hour, and then another. I laid down on the dirty airport floor and wished I had the ability to apparate. Delta started offering $600 vouchers to take a different flight, but the thought of hauling a truckload of luggage and three small children back out of the airport was too exhausting to contemplate, so we waited. By the time we got on the plane the babies had worn out their good behavior and were both screaming at the top of their lungs.

Once on the plane flight attendants started offering $800 in vouchers. (Oddly, several people in our immediate vicinity volunteered to be bumped). Then the heavens smiled upon us and a flight attendant shifted things around so we could have the entire back row of the plane to ourselves. Unfortunately, the angelic chorus that had started playing in my head was drowned out as we made our way to the back of the plane and were greeted with a huge collective groan from the other passengers. Several of them jumped up and demanded new seats as they didn't want to sit next to "those people". (I felt a burst of empathy for lepers). As I sat down the man in front of us turned around and asked me, accusingly, "Are they sick or something?!" as if babies never have reason to cry after having been stuck in an airport for four hours.

Soon after take-off the babies settled down enough to eat and then immediately fell asleep. Michael joined in the snooze fest and slept the whole flight. And, with the peace of mind that could only come from sitting right next to the lavatories, I was able to rest as well. Ah, Divine intervention. It works wonders.

But seriously, I've paid my dues. No more stomach flu for me for at least ten years.

Okay, I'll settle for five.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bubble Wrap Brigade

Sometimes I think it would have been a lot easier to be a parent 50 years ago - you could send your kid out to play by himself without being paranoid that someone was going to call the police on you for child endangerment, adults in your neighborhood weren't afraid to correct your child's bad behavior and help him learn what was acceptable and what wasn't, and your child didn't have to ride in a booster seat until he was 8-years old.

But then, 50 years ago I wouldn't have had my boxes of disposable diapers and wipies, my groovy double snap 'n go stroller, or my glorious minivan. Yes, now is definitely a better time to be a parent.

But, I do find myself being annoyed now and then at the pervasive idea that we must protect our children from everything, whether it's scraped knees on the playground (playgrounds which became boring ever since the slippery metal slides got banished when the lawyers came out to play) or losing a game of soccer (no keeping score anymore - we must spare the feelings of our little ones!) It's like parents want to send their kids into the world swathed in bubble wrap. We must prevent all accidents!

So I read this article with interest. The gist is that car seats should only be used in the car as injuries are more common when the car seat is set on a counter or other elevated surface.

What struck me was not the article itself (of course babies will be safer if they are strapped in and sitting on the floor instead of the counter - we didn't need a study to tell us that), but one of the comments on the article which said:

"I see parents with car seats sitting on the front of shopping carts every time I am shopping. A warning against this practice is posted on car seats as well as on the front window/door of many stores. I know new parents are tired, but I wish more would use some common sense."

Several other commenters agreed with this person and it made me curious - how many people would not put their child's car seat in a grocery cart (more to the point, how many people are judging me as I walk around the store this way?) I have always done it without worrying too much. Is it ideal? Probably not. But the seat clicks in and is stable enough that it is not going to fall off without some pretty serious assistance (I do check to make sure it is secure before I move the cart).

Honestly, how else am I supposed to get my grocery shopping done, especially with twins? I can't carry both babies, and I'm not about to pull my stroller along with the cart - that is just impractical and annoying. And there is no way I'm going to hire a babysitter so I can run to Wegmans by myself.

So, I'm curious: am I the only one who thinks the car seat on the grocery cart isn't a big deal? I have posted a poll for your input. Take a second to tell me what you think.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Random Thoughts

Yes, it is after midnight, but I'm blogging because I just got back from seeing "Eclipse" and had to write about how good it was!!!!! I heart Edward! Sparkles + Bella 4 Ever!

Okay, not really. (That was just a test to see how well you know me. If you believed it, you should try reading my blog more often.)

However, David and I actually did watch "New Moon" tonight. Well, he watched it. I started it solely because I wanted to blog about it, but gave up after an hour of painful dialogue (and even more painful acting) and fell asleep.

After my nice little snooze I am wide awake, so I guess that means it's time for some late-night random thoughts:

Why is it that there are no children's clothing stores with aisles big enough for a stroller to pass through?

Baby shoes are a giant nuisance. They are cute, but trying to put them on is like stuffing wiggly sausages into barbie shoes.

I have used a magic eraser to get lipstick out of carpet and burnt-on grease off the stove top. I'm convinced these little beauties will save the world.

Why do they make newborn baby clothes with collars? Newborns don't have necks and collars just get up in their faces and drive them crazy.

I think SAG Harbor is pretty much the worst name ever for a clothing line. What woman wants to buy an outfit that makes her think of waist-length boobs?

In the words of my sister: "All Cyndi Lauper songs are better sung by someone else."

If you have a dozen pacifiers sitting on the counter they will all disappear by the time you need one.

They should make bags of Starbursts that contain only strawberry-flavored ones.

Bananas do not belong in fruit salads, period. They just get slimy and mushy and overpower the flavors of other fruits.

David and I went the entire month of June without eating a single bite of ice cream. Elsewhere in the news, hell has frozen over.

There is a direct correlation between how late a parent stays up and how early the kids wake up, so it's off to bed for me.

Goodnight!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fat Insanity

I will fully admit that most of my attempts at dieting have been half-hearted at best. Whether this is due to a love of chocolate or just to a lack of awareness of how bad my thighs look in a swimsuit, I'm not sure. I mean, I've seen myself in the mirror and it's not pretty. But I don't obsess about it. I just figure the pile of doughy stretchmarks that passes for my mid-section these days is what some might refer to as "taking one for the team."

And while I remain convinced that the camera adds forty pounds and not ten (because, really, that can't possibly be my double chin) this generally doesn't affect how I feel about myself. Certainly I might glance enviously at that cute embroidered skirt from Banana Republic and wish I could fit more than one leg into it again. But the skirt is, like, a size nothing, which happened long before my hips had ever heard of pregnancy. (The skirt dates back to my "skinny period" [ca. 1996-2003], which, incidentally, was the same time my metabolism had apparently entered into a pact with the devil that allowed a Snickers bar and a bag of potato chips to masquerade as a balanced meal that added as much fat to my thighs as if I had consumed a single carrot).

But, in spite of my loathing of all things diet, when it comes to losing weight the fact remains that I actually would like to be healthier. And, having had a taste of how difficult it is to navigate my normal responsibilities when carrying around a huge amount of extra weight (I spent the last two months of my pregnancy with the twins having to sit down every time I changed levels in my house), I can't imagine why in the world someone other than a size 0 would set a goal to gain more weight. Especially not someone who already weighs 600 lbs.

But, that is the heart's desire (well, maybe not the heart's desire; more like the stomach's) of a New Jersey woman whose goal is to reach 1000 lbs. in order to become the world's heaviest living woman.

I am not making this up.

Just reading about her makes me almost sure I will never want to eat fast food again. Besides being horrifically unhealthy (though she insists that she isn't unhealthy, sounding much like a toddler who declares himself to be "not tired!" as he screams himself into oblivion because a piece of lint is stuck to his shirt), it seems that if you were struggling with basic tasks like taking a shower and cooking you might reconsider the idea of adding 400 lbs. to your already elephantine girth.

But maybe it's just me. After all, her fiance declares her "full belly and generous hips" to be "very sexy." (Not sure how he can see the hips under the Jabba the Hut exterior, but that is beside the point).

And that does it. This story grossed me out enough that I think I'm ready to take the plunge.

Bring on the diet.

I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home


Friday, June 18, 2010

My Dad

I am supposed to be having quiet time but I asked my mom if I could write something on the computer for my dad. She said I could so I pulled out a pencil and almost wrote my name on the screen, but she caught me just in time and showed me how to use the keyboard to type. Of course I know how to do that already, I just really wanted to see what would happen if I wrote my name on the screen. I guess I'll have to find somewhere else to write my name. I think I saw a good spot on the wall. AND I found a Sharpie to do it with! I can't wait!

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, I wanted to write about my dad. He is so much fun! Every day I count down the hours until it's time for him to come home from work. Then I watch out the window for his car so I can be sure to meet him at the door when he comes in. Sometimes I run away from him as fast as I can, because when I do that he will chase me and try to tickle me and that is the best! I love to play chase with my dad. I wish he could stay home and play with me all day, but Mom says he has to go to work to take care of our family. I wish Mom would go to work instead. Dad is way more fun!

I have two babies at my house and I tell them all about the things that Dad likes. I know he likes the house to be clean so I tell Matthew to stop spitting up on the carpet, and I know Dad doesn't like it when I cry for no reason, so I tell the babies not to cry. The most important thing I tell them is that, if you cuddle with Dad, you can stay up past your bedtime! It is awesome! Sometimes he'll let you watch a movie, and sometimes he'll even let you eat popcorn or have a treat, too! All you have to do is sit with him! It works great!

I have the best dad in the whole world! Matthew and Leah are so lucky they came to our family because now they get to have the best dad, too.

Anyway, I have to get off the computer now because Mom wants to check the email. (She is always doing that). I told her not to read what I wrote, but you know how moms are... I'm sure she'll read it as soon as I turn my back. Dads are much cooler about stuff like that.

I love you, Dad! Happy Father's Day!

Love,

Michael

Friday, June 11, 2010

I'm Too Sexy for My Diaper

There are lots of things that go without saying: don't drive with sunshield in place, this product is hot when heated, never iron clothes while they are being worn, that sort of thing. We all know what certain products are for and how to use them without having to sit through a how-to demonstration, and, despite what many companies may think, there are lots of products that come with instructions we would all prefer to read quietly in our bathrooms and not be exposed to on our television. Especially, but not limited to, romantic enhancement products that come with four-hour-emergency warnings.

Naturally it follows that we do not need our sitcoms interrupted with detailed instructions for any product that handles bodily functions. We all know how tampons and pregnancy tests work; therefore, EPT, we do not need a commercial which tells us that your product is the "most advanced piece of technology [we] will ever pee on" complete with visual demonstration.

Thank you, but TMI.

So, I've been happy that, for the most part, commercials for diapers involved cute, chubby babies crawling around and giggling. We all know what diapers are for; the happy, contented baby is all we need to see. No discussion of bodily functions (or fluids) is necessary.

I guess Huggies missed my memo. For those who haven't seen their latest commercial, Huggies is touting a new "jeans diaper" with the slogan, "The coolest you'll look pooping your pants." Really.

It features a toddler turning heads as he walks down the street in his blue jean bottoms. The voiceover tells us that "my diaper is full... full of chic. when it's a number two I look like number one. I poo in blue."

Okay, I get it. I see why people think it's funny. But must we be so crass about everything? Maybe I'm reading too much into it (or maybe it's just the fact that I'm fresh off of reading Wendy Shalit's excellent book Girls Gone Mild) but the way the wind blew through the lunching models' hair as the catwalk music bounced the baby down the street - they aren't just trying to imply that the baby is cool; they are trying to imply that he is sexy! A toddler, for crying out loud!

That said, I think the reason this commercial bothers me is not so much that it is a diaper advertisement talking bluntly about poop (or trying to make a baby look sexy); what bothers me is what it represents: a lack of refinement that has threaded its way through our society so completely that we no longer know what is appropriate or what is actually funny.

I don't know about you, but it makes me want kick up my feet and watch an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show. Or at least raise my pinkie as I drink my afternoon tea.

If I drank tea, that is.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Blessings in Disguise

I hate throwing up. I hate it more than pretty much everything except using nasal spray and going to the dentist. And making visiting teaching appointments.

I especially hate throwing up a few days after having major abdominal surgery. (Seriously, do not try this at home). So I never would have imagined that my poorly-timed puke attack four months ago would turn out to be a blessing. I generally prefer blessings that arrive in neat little packages - more specifically, blessings that involve chocolate or are accompanied by angelic choruses - and not ones that entail bonding with my toilet, so it was hard for me to see the silver lining for awhile. Especially because my glasses fell into the toilet while I was barfing... Did I mention it would be unwise to try this at home?

But, here I am four months later, still reaping the benefit of my post-delivery illness:

My babies will both take a bottle! (What was I saying about angelic choruses?)

This is definitely not something I would have hassled with if I had not been forced into a hospital bed to have IV fluids dripped into my arm while my days-old newborns were at home with their dad. (It's just too much trouble to coax a happily-nursing baby to drink from a bottle unless there is a real need for it, in my opinion. I don't mind having to make myself available for all the feedings).

But I can't tell you how nice it is that, because they will take a bottle, I could go somewhere if I wanted to. And I don't have to obsess about appointments running late or waking up sleeping babies from naps just so I can feed them before I go. It's such a stress reducer for me (and for David when he's home by himself with the babies).

And, it means we could actually hire a babysitter and go on a date! In theory anyway.

Ah, puke-related blessings. Who knew there were any?

Of course, now I'm worried about what frightening experiences will accompany my future blessings. Not that I wouldn't want them (at least in hindsight). It's just that my heightened awareness of how often blessings appear wearing uncomfortable and downright horrible disguises has made me a little jumpy.

Because, gratitude aside, I really hate throwing up.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Safety in Numbers

Oh, Irony, we've had our differences. But I'm almost willing to forgive you for letting my floss-twice-a-year husband escape from the dentist with no cavities while I (a woman who flosses EVERY DAY) have enough dental work in my future to solely support my dentist's retirement.

Well, maybe not completely forgive you. Nine years of ironic outcomes at the dentist's office... I'm still pretty bitter. But I will grant you a chuckle and a hearty snort for your effort to amuse me: A man who runs a company devoted to protecting consumers from identity theft has had his own identity stolen 13 times.

Now, maybe this doesn't truly classify as being ironic because it is exactly what I would expect to happen (what says "challenge" to identity thieves more than bringing down the CEO of LifeLock?) but I'm sure Mr. Davis was surprised. I mean, anyone who publishes his real social security number in company advertisements can't be the brightest bulb in the office. No matter how good you think your product is, there are just some things that aren't wise to reveal to the general public. I'm not even a criminal and I feel strangely attracted to coming up with a way to steal this man's identity. Just because.

So I can guarantee that somewhere there is basement full of bored nerds interrupting their online gaming to figure out what to do with Mr. Davis's identity. Right after they finish hacking into MySpace and leaving fake messages on celebrity pages, that is.

Of course, I suppose I should now be worried that some weirdo who follows my blog will see a challenge in this post and try to steal my identity. It would be pretty hard to impersonate me, though. I'm one of a kind.

After all, how many people do you know who can gather their flabby tummy into a scrunchie?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Welcome to the Club

Well, it's taken three years of hard work in proving myself, but I'm finally in! I received final approval, appropriately, on Mother's Day.

I wasn't there to witness my initiation, but Michael did a bang-up job of making sure that no one missed the news: I am officially part of the Mean Mom Club.

Yes, while all the other children were reflecting fondly on their loving mothers, Michael took it upon himself to announce to the entire primary: "My mom is not nice! She's mean!"

Granted, it may have had something to do with the fact that he had been stirring up trouble in sacrament meeting and found himself being unceremoniously evicted from the chapel moments before the annual "awwwww"-fest that is the primary singing to their mothers.

But still, nothing warms the cockles of a mother's heart like knowing her child said she is mean. On Mother's Day. I admit, I shed a few tears when I heard about it, probably due in part to the fact that I had been holding in three months of pent-up anxiety over my inadequate performance as a mother. But then I slugged back a couple of Lindt truffles and snuggled with Michael in the rocking chair, and all was seemingly right with the world again.

Later I recalled our conversation from earlier that morning:

"Michael, do you know that I wasn't a mom before I had you? You made me a mom."

His dimples appeared as an earnest smile lit his face: "And you made me a Michael!"

Indeed. One of the best things I've ever made.

Even if he does think I'm mean.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wanted: Motivation

I would love to lose 40 lbs., but not nearly as much as I would love to bake and consume an entire pan of brownies. And therein lies the problem: I want to lose weight, but I don't want to sacrifice anything for it. I'd rather cut off the size tags on my jeans (on account of their tactless behavior in reminding me how much my hips have expanded) and eat what I want.

But, I realize I need to be healthier. This is why David and I recently instituted a no-sugar-on-weekdays rule. We lasted, oh, twelve hours. Because it was family home evening night, you see, and we couldn't possibly forgo the FHE treat. For the sake of the children, of course.

Then last night David asked me if we were still attempting the no-sugar thing. I shrugged in a noncommittal way, trying to hide the fact that I was in the kitchen sneaking one of Michael's laffy taffys.

"May is a new month. Maybe that would be a good time to start," David said as he inched toward the ice cream in the freezer.

"How about 2015?" I suggested. Then I poured myself a glass of chocolate milk.

The problem is that neither one of us is sufficiently motivated, and both of us are easily swayed by the other's moments of weakness. We need one of us to be really into exercise. Or really into celery. One of the two.

Of course I'm being facetious. I really don't want to have some exercise enthusiast bouncing me out of bed at 6 a.m. to run around the block. There is nothing worse than a person who gets a rush from exercise trying to get me enthused about doing daily sit-ups. But I might be saying that out of bitterness that the only rush I get from a workout is an overwhelming desire to rush to my bed afterwards for a nap.

I can't talk to exercise enthusiasts when I'm looking for advice, either, because they just don't understand why their romanticized talk of cardio and crunches tempts me to make murderous use of their two-pound weights.

So I guess I'll just wait until I get to the point where I'd rather fit into my pre-motherhood jeans than have dessert.

Until then, pass the brownies.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Boys and their (organized) toys

You might recall last year's post about Michael's passion for keeping his fish nice and tidy. Well, the other day I was cleaning and he was playing in his room. He found the bin of baby toys that had been stored in his closet and I heard various Elmo giggles and alphabet songs as he sifted through the box. After a half hour or so I decided to check in on him and found this:


Of course David was thrilled with Michael's little project and gushed, "I'm so proud of you, Michael!" when I showed him the picture.

Ah, I guess some things never change.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Two for Two

We interrupt this blog for a special announcement:

The Whitney Award for Best Suspense/Mystery Novel of 2009 goes to...

Stephanie Black for Methods of Madness!


Congratulations, Stephanie, on your second consecutive win! I can't wait to read what's next!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

If only I'd known this three months ago...

What mother wouldn't want to give this face:


or this one:


something to cuddle with at night?

Something snuggly and soft... and made out of the baby's very own placenta. (Because nothing says "comfort object" like human organs preserved in the form of teddy bears).

It's a great idea, if you are looking to name your child Frankenstein.

Seriously, this looks like something a bored Hannibal Lecter would cook up. What is wrong with the designer of this bear, and for heaven's sake, what is wrong with the 720 people who think it is "totally cuddle-worthy"?! I certainly wouldn't want to run into any of them in a dark alley.

This placenta-worship thing is just not normal (lotus birth, anyone?). And neither is anyone who finds a "cuddly" use for any human organ.

But I'm probably just saying that because I was deprived of my own placental teddy bear.

I guess my mom just didn't love me.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mom Mouth

It happened. Well, almost. The words were teetering on the tip of my tongue, begging to be let out:

"Michael, stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about!"

Instead, I hesitated after "stop crying" and changed course to: "or... or... I'll send you to your room." Then I sighed, not the least bit satisfied. Maybe it was the lack of poetry involved, but whatever the reason, it did not calm my urge to punch my fist through a wall.

I find myself saying "Stop crying!" to my three-year-old a lot these days. Along with "Stop whining!", "Get your hand out of your pants!" and "Don't pester the babies!"

Michael generally sticks with, "I'm hungry", "I want my daddy!" and "Hold me, Mom."

Funny how every part of my life is filled with the same phrases nowadays, including these ones from random strangers:

"Oh, are they twins?" I'm not sure why people ask this. I can see how there might be a question if they were older, but two newborns with matching blankets? Of course they are twins! I don't make a habit of walking around with a double stroller just in case one of my friend's babies wants to hitch a ride.

"A boy and a girl! Now you are done!" Um, thanks, I'll file that away. Of course, that statement is better than this one (and I'm not making this up):

"Oh, a boy and girl! It's a good thing you had them second or you would never have had your older son." What the...?

"Oh, twin boys!" Um, yes, one of whom is dressed in pink and ruffles, sitting in a pink carseat and has a pink blanket on "his" lap. (What do people think, that I'm just bulking up the file to give to his future therapist?).

"You have your hands full!" Yes, so could you hold the door open for me instead of diving under my arms to get out in front of me?

"Are you getting any sleep?" Yes, sleep takes priority over everything until we all run out of underwear. Then laundry has to come first.

These phrases dominate my life now. It's like everyone is on song repeat (which I suppose is appropriate, seeing as I feel like a broken record all day long). But more than anything, it makes me so grateful for the phrases I don't have to say anymore: "CTI, this is Bonnie", "I can have that report on your desk this afternoon", and "No, I don't have any children."

I could go for a little less in the whining department though. But I suppose if I were three-years-old and had recently been dethroned by two demanding infants at the same time as my Daddy disappeared into the bowels of tax season, I might be a little whiny too.

I guess that just means it's time for Mom to invest in some earplugs.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Monkey Business

Ah, the sound of silence... well, sort of. More like the sound of the dishwasher running and only one baby crying (crying himself to sleep, hopefully). So I shall now attempt the nearly impossible and write about something that doesn't have anything to do with spit-up. Um, scratch that. I just picked up the cute little screecher and he puked all over my arm.

***************************************************

5 days later:

As I was saying, I shall now attempt to write something coherent. Hopefully it will help lessen the brain atrophy I've been dealing with for the last two months.

***************************************************

Two weeks later (man, it's hard to blog nowadays):

Ahem, where was I? Something about babies and puke, which was not where I intended to be. Anyway...

I have had this advice column in my things-to-write-about queue for months now. Sometimes I read it and then read it again, just to make sure I'm not misunderstanding. Because, seriously, this is the worst advice ever. EVER.

If you are too lazy to click on the above link, I will summarize for you: Thirty-something male has a little pest-control problem: he would like to be rid of a "monkey" on his back (also known as his virginity); Since his pesty problem is not the result of any moral or religious objection to de-monkeying, he is seeking advice on how to deal with his situation.

The advice he receives from columnist, Cheryl Lavin? Get a prostitute.

No, really. That's what she says. Or, she concedes, if he is a bit too squeamish to employ the services of a hooker, perhaps he could hop on one of those websites where people gather to find partners for meaningless, no-strings attached, sex.

Lovely.

Initially I was so bothered by Ms. Lavin's response that I couldn't do anything but shake my head. I just couldn't believe that a guy would write to an advice columnist for helpful hints on how to lose his virginity, let alone that she would respond, "Find yourself a whore."

Just how is this supposed to help him on his road to having a fulfilling relationship (or, according to him, making a "connection")? Does Ms. Lavin imagine that someday he will say to his soulmate, "You know, honey, I just never understood healthy relationships until I went to that hooker in Reno."

But then, I've realized the question/answer isn't the problem here (though they are both fraught with problems). The problem is that normal dating relationships nowadays are one step away from being prostitution themselves. Think about it. The only difference between this and hooking up with a stranger in a bar after one evening of drinks is that there is no exchange of cash for services rendered. If that sort of arrangement is socially acceptable, why not take the leap to paying a "professional" for those services? After all, if sex is thought to be meaningless except for the pleasure it provides, and no exchange of names is required before exchanging bodily fluids, why not? Ms. Lavin's advice seems almost logical.

So I guess I can't blame her for her response. If sex is all about self and has no meaning other than bit of pleasure, who cares where that pleasure comes from?

It's terribly sad that sex (and its proper place in marriage) has been so degraded that it is thought to be nothing more than a monkey on one's back to be given away, at first opportunity, to anyone who will take it. How tragic that, even in regular dating relationships, it has become nothing more than a commodity to be traded and bargained for instead of being reverenced and respected as the powerful force that it is.

When you think of the price that society will pay for this sort of thinking in emotional, physical and spiritual problems, a twenty-dollar hooker is no bargain. Not even for desperate men and pathetic advice columnists who are looking for meaning in all the wrong places.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Remember When I Used to Blog?

A few days ago my goal was to fold the laundry (some of which had been washed and sitting on the family room floor for two days). I actually completed washing everything in our hampers and then brought the laundry upstairs to fold. Four hours and one mini-meltdown later (I never thought there would be a time in my life where I would cry because I just wanted to fold the laundry) the clothes were still spread over the floor and I was letting both babies scream while I built a train track for Michael.

I never did fold the laundry. David did it for me on the one night he got home early ("early" meaning 10 p.m. Sigh. Curses on tax season).

And now I am taking a mental break to blog for the first time in a month, holding Leah on my lap and typing with a split screen so Michael can watch youtube videos. I have a thousand posts in my head, and only time for a few pictures:

Leah

Matthew

Leah (L), Matthew (R)

Leah, Michael and Matthew

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Un-Photoshopped Truth

Did you see in the news that Nadya Suleman (aka Octomom) recently posed on the cover of a magazine sporting nothing but a teeny red bikini? She says she returned to her girlish figure through exercise and diet; no lipo or tummy tuck or surplus skin removal. (To see a picture of her toned bod, click here).

Well, as someone whose stomach looks like punched-down bread dough at the moment, I would just like to say one thing to Ms. Suleman: Liar, liar, pants on fire!

If having twins has taught me anything, it's this: Octomom had skin hanging down to her toes. I don't care how "elastic" you are or how well you "bounce back". It is impossible for your stomach to expand to eight-baby capacity without a lot of irreversible damage to your beach-ready physique. And forget individual stretch marks. Nadya was probably one giant stretch mark by the end.

Her cover shot is one big combo of plastic surgery and photoshop. To say otherwise is dishonest and, frankly, irritating to every woman who has given birth.

And it's just another reason why we'd like Ms. Suleman to go away.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Disease Central

After last week's stomach flu left me hospitalized we were hoping things would settle down in the illness department. Instead, the day I was released from the hospital, Michael was up in the night with a fever of 104. Not wanting to be left out, David finally admitted to himself that he needed to see a doctor after suffering through a week of terrible headaches and sinus pressure, and was diagnosed with a sinus infection. And then, just for kicks, I decided to get an earache and have thrown a little cough in there for good measure.

But the good news is that both babies are angels and, so far, (fingers crossed!) they have avoided getting sick. Hopefully we'll be able to say the same for Grandma, who arrived Sunday night and has since been sneezed on more times than she can count. We're still letting Michael hold the babies since the minute we turn our backs he kisses them on the lips or coughs in their faces anyway. No need for quarantine when the entire house is swimming in germs, I say. We'll just hope the babies are hanging on to the little immunity boost from me and try to sanitize hands as often as possible. (Because the hand sanitizing does a lot of good when you have a three-year-old who likes to wipe his nose everywhere, including baby blankets and burp cloths. Sigh).

Here is proud big brother holding his little sister ("Come here, sweet girl," he said before holding her):


And two sleepy babies:


My, that sleeping picture is simply inspirational. I think I'll go take a nap.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Welcome, Babies!

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of Matthew Hyatt and Leah Kathleen! Matthew weighed in at 7 lbs. 5 oz., and Leah at 6 lbs. 3 oz.

Leah is on top and Matthew is on the bottom:


Matthew on the left, Leah on the right:


Leah's newborn glamour shot:


We are all doing well, even after a little drama that required me to be re-admitted to the hospital (while there is never a good time to get the stomach flu, mere days after having a c-section is definitely one of the worst). It was very traumatic to be separated from my babies, but David did a wonderful job holding everything together at home with the help of our wonderful friends and ward. Thank you to everyone who came to our rescue!

I will post more pictures soon.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Thanks, But No Thanks

There are good ideas, there are bad ideas, and then there are ideas that shall forevermore be known as Holiday-Inn-bad.

You see, the hotel chain is offering a new service at one of its London hotels. If you are one of those people who hates getting into a cold bed, you can request a "human bed warmer" to make it nice and toasty for you. This hotel staff member will don a fuzzy bodysuit and make himself at home in your bed until it reaches a comfortable temperature. Then he'll hop out so you can climb in the bed before the warming effect wears off. It's sort of like turndown service - just swap out the chocolate on your pillow for a serious case of the heebie jeebies.

But apparently the potential for willies is lost on Holiday Inn spokeswoman Jane Bednall, who described the service as being "like having a giant hot water bottle in your bed."

Okay, then I have a better idea: How about offering hotel guests a giant hot water bottle to put in their beds? Or an electric blanket? Or a heating pad? Or warmed stones? Or, heck, offer them a bowl of baked potatoes to put in their pockets.

Because I'm certain I am not the only person who is already grossed out by the idea of sleeping in a bed that has been used by hundreds of strangers. And I'm very certain I'm not the only one who wouldn't want to add a fresh body to that list.

Besides, what are you supposed to do while someone is "warming" your bed for you? Stand there in your nightie and tap your foot impatiently? Excuse yourself to the bathroom? Have an uncomfortable discussion about politics?

This idea isn't just bad, it's creepy. And it's making me all twitchy just thinking about it, so I'm going to go shake off my heebie jeebies by watching a movie.

And no, I don't want you to warm up my couch cushion for me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Missing Question

Man, I can't believe I forgot to include the infamous "Are you done now?" question on my last post! So, since I am a good sport, I will answer:

If ten years pass by and we have not had another child, then yes, we were done.

If, in those ten years we have another kid, then no, we weren't done.

Hope this helps!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Q & A

I have been getting a lot of questions and helpful comments lately, so I thought I would take a minute to address the most common ones:

Why aren't you blogging as much?
Sleep is more important than blogging.

How are you sleeping?
In my bed. Next to my husband.

Are you more uncomfortable than you were with Michael?
For the most part, no, but I tire out about ten times as quickly.

You look exhausted.
Thank you, I try.

I bet you are so ready to be done!
Not really. I enjoy being pregnant and would never wish it away.

You look too small to be having twins.
Thank you. I shall now obsess over my babies being born too small.

Twins! No wonder you are so big!
Thank you again. Would you like to comment on my butt size as well?

Do twins run on your side of the family or your husband's side?
They run in my doctor's office. That being said, this question is irrelevant. My husband could come from a long line of twins and it would not affect my chances of having them myself.

Are they identical or fraternal?
We're having a boy and a girl.

So are they identical?
Um, sure hope not!

How far along are you?
35 weeks.

Are you going to deliver vaginally or by c-section? (most commonly asked by strangers).
I'm sorry, what was your name again? Generally I like to be acquainted with someone before discussing my private parts.

Are you going to breastfeed?
Again with the private parts.

I could never handle twins.
That's nice.

What are you going to name them?
We'll let you know after they are born.

What does your belly look like?
Like this (well, that's what it looked like a week ago, anyway).


If you have a burning question that I missed, post it in the comments and I'll answer it. Either that or make fun of it.

One of the two.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A False Sense of Security

Happy New Year! This year I have only one real resolution - to take a shower and get ready every day. I figure that is going to be a pretty good accomplishment, at least for the first few months after the babies arrive.

But if I wasn't already committed to flying to my family reunion this summer, my resolution would probably be never to fly again. Ever. Not because I'm scared of terrorists or anything - no terrorist is going to be able to do his evil deeds without an entire plane full of people beating the crap out of him - but because I'm scared of airport security. Seriously.

Yesterday I read that passengers in Newark airport were delayed for six hours (SIX!) because someone slipped through security without being checked. Planes were grounded, everything was shut down, and TSA panicked their way through trying to find the man who breached security while passengers started filling out change of address forms (home address: Newark Airport) to send to the post office.

The fact that I'm irritated by this is nothing new - I have always been annoyed by post 9-11 airport security - having to put my 3 oz. liquids in a clear plastic bag while waltzing through with an entire box of liquid medications and needles, no questions asked, just doesn't make any sense. They let people through with baby formula, juices, and Gerber graduate food. And yet, when Michael was two months old, I still had to remove his shoes so they could see if I'd sewn bombs into the linings.

Note to self: if you want to commit a terrorist act, disguise your explosives as baby formula or medications.

In the wake of the underwear bomber, some airports are resorting to strip search by x-ray. Frankly, I think this is pretty much pointless, but if they want to take a glance at my personal, um, space, then they deserve what they get. Do stretch marks show up on those things? I hope so. I'd like to give them a good scare.

Now, I'm not annoyed with airport security in general. I'm annoyed that airport security in its current state is completely pointless. Old grannies and frazzled moms are being hassled while young, middle-eastern men are being allowed to pass through without a second glance. If I were a terrorist and someone tried to stop me from going through security, I'd start yelling about racial profiling and lawsuits and watch the screeners panic.

Airport security is about as effective as bag checks at museums - what good does it do to have someone poke a stick and a flashlight in your bag for two seconds? Or to have you walk through "metal detectors" that can't seem to detect the fact that you just walked through with a metal-framed stroller?

Does this really make anyone feel better? Do people not realize that someone could fill up a private plane with bombs and fly it into a building without going through a single security check? There are so many ways of getting around the "safeguards" that I can't even count them (and who better to figure out ways to do that than terrorists who are bent on destroying us?). But, I'm starting to think the goal of terrorism is no longer to kill us all in one fell swoop, it's to annoy us to death by causing new regulations to be put in place requiring airport officials to frisk our toddlers as they go through security. Or to cause days-long delays on our flights by leaving "unattended" bags full of tissue paper scattered around the airport.

Americans will put up with these delays because it makes them feel safer, and the terrorists will be laughing themselves silly as they figure out a way to cause some really big tragedy. We won't notice anything suspicious because we will have poked our eyes out with sticks after being stuck in an airport for 37 hours, and the bag screeners will be too busy confiscating fingernail clippers to notice anything important, like the "Hi, my name is Plane Blower-Upper" sticker attached to that terrorist-looking guy.

So what's my solution for airport security? Big guys, with Uzis.

That would be so much more effective than confiscating my 4 oz. hand lotion.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Soft Approach

The headline of this article is: "Do we want toilet paper to be soft or good for the environment?"

Hmmm... let me think...

There are a few things out there that I will absolutely not give up, even if my doing so meant that I could single-handedly save the earth from whatever impending environmental disaster is supposed to kill us all. Disposable diapers are number one. Soft toilet paper just might be number two (no pun intended).

But I guess I'm just selfish that way. Because, apparently, the soft, quilted stuff comes from virgin forests, while the rough, flimsy stuff comes from paper that has been around the block a few times. According to an unnamed source, if every American family would buy just one recycled roll of toilet paper one time it would save something like 400,000 trees.

That's all well and good, but honestly, who likes to sandpaper their behind after using the facilities? I feel no need to bond with my ancestors by employing their medieval wiping methods.

And am I the only one who has noticed that the tiny squares of counterfeit toilet paper in public restrooms result in the need to use a stack-and-a-half for one potty session? It's the soft, quilted stuff that does the job more efficiently, and it requires a fraction of the paper.

So the soft approach seems to make more environmental sense, especially if you are Sheryl Crow, who said a few years ago: "I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required."

She later said she was joking, but that's probably because she got caught by the paparazzi buying a Costco-sized bag of Charmin Ultra.

But hey, as long as she only uses one square at a time...