Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mama - That's ME!

Chocolate-Covered Chips Day

Jenny is 8 months old. And grumpy.

It's always nice to mix salty with sweet. An old friend when she was pregnant loved nothing more than Salt & Vinegar Chips tossed down with a Lime Rickey and a handful of chocolate-covered cherries for lunch (us pregnant gals eat really, really well for those growing babies). And who hasn't enjoyed some hot salty Wendy's fries washed down with an icy sweet Frosty, or a good ol' Southern-style teeth-aching sweet tea with, well, just about anything? (other than fudge. I learned yesterday that you should never, ever eat a piece of fudge and then take a sip of sweet tea. It's wrong. It makes baby Jesus cry.)

My point being, it's crappy when you have a whole bunch of bad stuff all at once, or if you have a whole bunch of good stuff at once you sometimes don't appreciate it (don't worry, this post won't dissolve into another oh-mah-gawd-be-so-thankful-for-what-you-have diatribe). This week I have had a very nicely balanced mix of the good and the bad, thankfully with an absence of ugly.

The Good: I'm a WINNER! I won this contest, which is awesome, because the bag is simply gorgeous and I need it and I will give it a good home and love it and pet it and call it George. And winning is cool, although I will be sure to tell my daughter that the real fun is in playing no matter if you win or lose, despite the fact no one really believes that. I promised my new Rubenesque Beauty BFF that I would post some pics of me and the new sidekick on our adventures, so you've got that to look forward to. Yes, I'm so bored lately I'm thinking of hilarious photo ops for a purse.

The Bad: Jenny is sick. Sick, sick, sick. I called for the doctor to come quick, quick, quick. I did finally drag her 25-lb big ol' baby butt to the doctor's this morning after a really, really bad night of coughing and hacking and half-sleeping on the chaise and nose-bulbing at 2:30 am, and she's got both an ear infection AND a sinus infection, because Jelly doesn't do anything halfway. So it's time for baby's first antibiotics, yay! Another milestone for the baby book.

The Good: I am almost done doing my taxes (just have some confusing odd vouchers of some sort from the nanny payroll company I use and don't know how to enter them so that I neither get audited nor cheat myself out of something like an extra $10,000), and the magic 8-ball said 'Outcome is promising'. I should have enough bucks to fence in the backyard, which is an extremely boring way to spend a big honking chunk of money, but better than babies falling into a gully or getting attacked by snakes or the annoying neighbor's 4-wheeler. I would much prefer a mini-break somewhere hot and exotic where I can be massaged by muscled oily men and told that fat women are totally sexy, especially fat women with c-section scars and teething babies. But, alas, fence.

The Bad: Did I mention work is crazy but the alternative is way worse? The Ta is freaking out because Starbucks, an institution that will still be standing when only sentient iPhones and Jonas Brothers are left roaming the planet, is closing like 300 stores and laying off like 7000 people? That people are getting laid off and shooting their families because they don't know what else to do, or dying of cold because they can't pay their bills? I always get mocked because I am so bad at saving that I have extra taxes taken out purposefully to get a bigger refund – well, this year people who put tax money into savings accounts are probably envious. That's totally lame. And it's very sad having to go through all my files from when I lived in The Big House, despite the enormous break I'll get from the mortgage interest.

The Good: Jenny is saying 'mama'! I'm going to call it officially, although not baby-book official just yet, since she only says it when she's very sad. I am actively encouraging it by having The Nanny buzz my office phone when she does it so I can run downstairs and reward her with hugs and kisses. I got it on video which I will post later today, but since she said it because she banged her head on the dining room floor last night I lose some mom points for waiting to hear her say it instead of picking her up right away. Yes, I'm really that terrible.

I hope everyone is staying warm and toasty and gets some syrup with their bacon.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Consignment Weary

Blech, Monday. They are especially sucky since Jelly has stopped sleeping past about 5:45 am. Even on Sundays, which is just really super mean. And then she's ready for a nap at 9:30, right when I am totally for sure wide-awake, or at least propped upright at my desk for a fun day of unfocussed work.

It was a very busy weekend, starting with another fun swimming lesson. Tata took Jenny for a few hours so that I got to see 'Inkheart', and proved that I was a big baby because I took a blanket into the theater with me. Hey, I had a chill after the pool and wet hair and the cold damp weather! I knew the theater would be icy. My friend CPE mocked me outrageously for an hour and then finally sucked it up and apologized profusely and asked to share it. Smartest thing I've ever done. So cozy! The movie was ok, maybe I had high expectations because the book was so great, but I wasn't too thrilled.

Yesterday I totally cheated on my stylist of 11 years and got a haircut at a charity event cut-a-thon. 11 years! I was due. I felt very guilty, and talked about my stylist the whole time, but got a really super-cute haircut although the 14-year old who cut it wasn't as skilled or as fun. The place itself was very hip and urban, and I got to try some new product, but I still haven't decided if I'm really going to go ahead and break up or just fool around for a while with someone new.

Yesterday afternoon I was stupid enough to try to go back to the Kids Exchange consignment sale for their final, ½ price day. So, so very stupid. I dragged The Ta along with me and we ended up standing in line for almost two hours. Ta spent more on hot dogs and lemonade while waiting in line than on purchases, which made her furious. Plus she realized upon checking out that she only had 5 items (we were sharing stroller space), so could've stood in the Express Line and been done in like 12 seconds. I did get a lot more summer stuff for Jelly at really great prices, but next year I've got to plan better. Pack bottled water and sammiches, get there EARLY before the lines get ugly, have a map of specifically what I want to hit, don't waste time window-shopping, rent some sort of burro or pack creature. After this morning's web conference I have to go pick up whatever didn't sell (I don't think I posted an update that I did make it in despite the weather last week, so keep your fingers crossed that I make back some of the millions I spent), and then I don't ever want to see that place again. Until the fall sale, obviously.

Lastly, I had dinner last week with Quiet (Jelly's donor, for those who don't know), and it was nice to see him. It's good because, despite the fact he doesn't have any interest in meeting her or seeing her, he still seems interested in how things are going, so it's not like I have to avoid mentioning her or anything like that. It's always fun to catch up with him, and it's getting easier to let go of all the stuff that happened. It's still weird to think about the future and how I'll explain him to Jenny and how she'll feel about it, but I'll just have to take that as it comes, and try to be as simply honest as I can with her without damaging her for life.

Oh, and yesterday my little EIGHT MONTH OLD learned the 'mamamama' sound. IT WAS FANTASTIC. I am going to melt into a little gooey puddle the first time she purposefully says 'mama', I know already. Me+Her little finger=Wrapped around.

UPDATE: Just got back from picking up the consignment stuff that didn't sell. Very minimal. Huzzah! Sorters did an awesome job, really liked their system. Would definitely consign again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Greetings from the Snowy South

Ridiculous, huh?

I know I should be more concerned that Nanny couldn't get here and I'm getting nothing done and won't be able to drop off all my stuff for the state's largest consignment sale this weekend despite hours and hours of tagging. I know that my heating bill is going to be one spatrillion dollars and I'm going to gain 7 lbs because snow days make me eat (hurry! bulk up! more Eggos!).

But how can I, when I've got a sleeping pot of Jelly on my chest, warm and cozy in fleecy jammies and extra socks? How can I, when we played outside, and I put a big empty bowl on the back stoop that is filling with snow, so that we can make First Snow Maple Syrup Candy, Little-House-style? How can I, when we're toasty and safe and I made myself go get groceries yesterday so there's lots of hot chocolate and cheddar-garlic biscuits and the world is so quiet and white and pretty?

Yeah, I'll still worry, since I'm going to miss another deadline or two here. And it's disappointing that I'll have to wait until the next mediocre sale to re-tag and sell all my stuff (I spent hours just loading the car yesterday!).

But my Jenny got snow!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Dollars

I got the photos back from our professional session with S&G. You should book an appointment with Shannon RIGHT NOW. She is freaking awesome. Did I mention she's awesome yet? I would love to share all 120 photos with you, but here are some highlights;

I have to stop here, otherwise I'll post them all. Are you still with me? Have you fainted with the sheer cuteness of it all, or died with shock at how I look when I've actually showered and put on makeup?

We also got some super-cute pics at her first swimming lesson, where she WENT OUT OF HER MIND with excitement. It was very cute. She love, love, loved the swimming - you should have seen the incredulous look I got when I put her in the tub that night, like, 'After you introduce me to the awesomeness of a pool you try to pass off THIS pedestrian entertainment?' She wouldn't even touch a single toy. She cracks me up.

Jenny is all about the tongue lately.

We also went to a free Kindermusik class, which just depressed me because she loved that, too, but it's like $200 or something ridiculous so I totally can't afford it. She's stuck with my terrible singing and even worse signing and hand actions.

Needless to say, yesterday I was worn out and didn't get anything done that I wanted to (other than 'Playing with Jelly', I checked that off the list a few times). Crazy baby is cutting her FIFTH tooth, so she's going to be irritated for a while I guess, and sleep will be hit-or-miss.
Tomorrow I have to go drop off a crap load of stuff for my first consignment sale, which has been exactly as much work as I expected. Hopefully I'll make enough bucks to get a "new" stroller, at least, and maybe a few toys that Jellybean totally does not need. Hey, if I make a LOT, maybe we'll do Kindermusik after all. We'll see how it goes. Nanny and I are going to go to the Early Bird Seller's sale on Thursday (taking 1/2 day off), which will be fun. And tomorrow night I'm meeting Quiet for dinner, since I haven't seen him in a bazillion years.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bats, Babies, Burritos and Bag Blogs

Jenny acts like she wants to help cook dinner, but she really just wants to lick all my spatulas

Firstly, I finally watched 'The Dark Knight'. I agree with probably everybody, as far as how awesome Heath's performance was (what am I saying? there's no way that was Heath!) and how dark and cool it was, and well-written and directed blah blah blah. However, I think the best thing about it was the message. Batman has always been my favorite, which I'm pretty sure I've blogged about in the past. No Spiderman or Superman ridiculousness for me. And this movie nails exactly why Batman is the best - because he's not a hero, and doesn't have super-powers, and doesn't make the easy choices. I cried like a baby at the ending, despite hotty Christian Bale's somewhat silly raspy growling and the distracting Gyllenhaal gal. It was a bit of a commitment at 2 1/2 hours, but well worth it.

Secondly - SWIM LESSONS SATURDAY! Can't wait. I finally got the Little Swimmers or Little Splasher or Baby Please Don't Get Your Pee All In Our Pool or whatever they're called, as well as a little terry-cloth cover-up. Now I just need to lose 100 lbs in two days and we're set!

Thirdly, Jelly's tooth FINALLY came out. I think Nanny might have punched her, but if it ended everyone's suffering that's fine by me. She slept through the night for the first time in weeks, and is a much happier Jellybean in general. Teething blows, dude. I'm going to have that put on a t-shirt.

Fourthly, I made fajitas last night and have decided I'm not cooking a real meal again until Jenny goes to kindergarten or I win the lottery and get a maid. It took me 45 minutes to prep and cook everything (with Jenny making that whiny 'eh-eh-eh' noise the entire time), 3 minutes to eat (I bolted down 1/2 my food while feeding the Gaping Mouth of Starvation), then 45 minutes to clean everything up after I got Jenny bathed, bottled, and down for the night. Yes, I would like to receive some sort of medal, if only for Participation. It was exhausting. But lunch today - Fajita Burrito! For dinner tonight I plan to open a can of tuna and squirt a packet of mayo in it and eat it out of the can with a fork. Which reminds me that I had planned today's post to be 'Reasons I'm a Terrible Mother This Week', since I spilled Chick-Fil-A all over Jenny's legal paperwork in the car yesterday. Eh, tomorrow is another day and I'm sure I'll do something horrid later today to add to the list.

Lastly, I am entering my first BLOG GIVEAWAY! Ta-da! It's all very exciting. A fellow Choice Single Mom has a gorgeous black bag that some lucky blogger will win. I need to answer a seemingly simple question - What would I put in this purse?

The answer is very easy:

For the past 8 months I have given up my selection of cute, tiny little bags for a serviceable, enormous, ugly, bulky, 94-lb diaper bag. I tried cute diaper bags and smaller diaper bags, but I really needed something with eleventy-seven pockets that could hold an emergency bouncy seat. I have a love/hate relationship with it.

If I had this gorgeous, come-hither purse, it would be for mama only. Obviously it would have to hold my wallet, but it would not have any Pampers coupons or Gerber buy-85-get-one-free coupons or Target receipts from the past 47 years. There would be shiny, tasty lipgloss, not Burt's Bees or Chapstick. There would be gum, not teething toys, and absolutely no forgotten soggy diapers or bottles with a tablespoon of formula still in them. There would be stunning stylish sunglasses, not vaccination records, and maybe a pair of cashmere gloves that don't have spit-up or boogers or gasoline on them. I might have a Blackberry instead of a plastic phone that says 'Pretty baby!' when you press the pink button, and there would be exciting get-aways and evenings-out in the planner instead of swim lesson schedules and lawyer appointments. And did I mention there would actually be CASH in the wallet, instead of consignment store and Craigslist addresses?

Please visit my potential new purse here and show some love. But do not become too attached, because I have high expectations for it to make me feel fabulous again.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mr. Shaky Attacks Jellybean, Finally Put Down

Exhausted by her photo shoot, Jenny naps at IHOP because I'm so classy that way

So many exciting things to post about, I don't know where to begin! I guess I'll go chronologically, and then constantly interrupt myself and get sidetracked, and we'll see where that takes us.

Friday afternoon I met with my awesome lawyer, who is very nice and laid back and I feel very confident in his capable hands. Did I mention he cut me a deal because I'm a single mum? Yay him! I signed our contract and wrote him a nice big check, and Jellybean's donor should get papers of some sort some time this week. We then have to wait the requisite 30 days, during which he knows he is NOT suppose to respond, then we have to go to court for a hearing. I will have to testify and prove that Quiet did 'willfully and knowingly abandon her', which sounds harsh but hey, whatever works. Hopefully the judge will be like, 'Ok, I get it', and it will be done quickly, but there is a small chance the judge could be douche-y and want to appoint a guardian ad litem for Jelly (someone to represent her interests), which would drag things out and mostly just blow. So keep your digits crossed for us in February/March.

Saturday was our professional photo shoot. I went all crazy Friday afternoon looking up suggestions on what to do, and of course the one main thing was to make sure we both got good sleep – HA! It was another 2-4am kinda night, but since then it's been a little better so I'm going to keep my mouth shut so as to avoid the jinxing. So yes, the two hours were exhausting but very fun, and I really liked the photographer. She has twins who are a month older than Jelly and the Nanny's baby, so we're going to invite them for a playdate! We have a great new setup now that the kidlets have outgrown the bouncy seats; Nanny found some awesome foam structures on Craigslist that are exactly what I wanted based on the picture in my head, so they are going out of their minds with excitement over what hot stuff they are.

Jenny and Cade are exhausted from their calisthenics

Uh, so anyhow, the pictures will possibly be finished some time this week, and I cannot WAIT. I know she got at least a few good ones of the two of us, which was my primary concern, and she got a lot of nice ones of my teething non-smiling Jenny (I had some crazy outfits and props, you will faint with the cuteness of it, I promise).

Sunday I made more baby food, which The Bean refused to eat, and generally refused to do anything except make this incessant little 'eh-eh-eh' whining noise every second that she wasn't being held. She had like 14 naps (but again, only when she was held), so I was irritated and tired and then MY PORCH COLLAPSED. Ok, it wasn't that bad, but the corner post that holds up the porch roof fell and my chintzy vinyl railing fell apart… apparently all the rain we've been having made the concrete settle more or something equally stupid. So I'm out there, on Mr. Shaky, trying to hammer this stupid post back into place when I almost fall off the ladder, and the ladder falls over and the post falls again. Both narrowly avoiding my baby, who I had for once thought to safely park in her stroller inside the garage. Needless to say, I burst into tears because I was frustrated, and knew I had to call someone and it was going to cost hundreds of dollars to fix, and my baby was attacked by Mr. Shaky, and I was just plain worn out and felt very much the single mother. Don't worry, the first thing I did this morning was to post a 'Rickety wooden ladder free to a good home' ad on Craigslist. Mr. Shaky can go terrorize someone else, or be broken up for firewood, I don't care, he crossed a line.

Anyhow, I found a contractor who came and looked at it this morning, and will have to come back tomorrow to make me a new post, and it should be $200-300. But the porch roof didn't collapse, so that's good. However, with the construction and the lawyer and the photos it made for a very, very expensive weekend. Ramen noodles and dollar-store tuna, here I come! Maybe I'll just eat the delicious lamb with peas and rice that I made for Jenny. <shudder>

Friday, January 9, 2009

Jellybean Strikes Back

Not surprisingly, Jenny does NOT like liver. See hilarious video in sidebar. Please do not call Social Services.

Once again, I had a great post written at 1:45 am, in my head, and if you think I can remember even part of it you are completely wrong. I need to start keeping some sort of recording device by my bedside, like a very important author supposedly does, so I can mumble all my incoherent thoughts into it while listening to Jelly scream with outrage at being Ferberized. I've been trying to get her to soothe herself back to sleep the past few nights, inconsistently, and YES I KNOW I NEED TO BE CONSISTENT, I'VE GIVEN 8 MILLION OTHER PARENTS THAT ADVICE, BUT I'M THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS NOW!!!! It's, uh, true what they say about how it's easy to say it and really, really hard to stick to it when it's an ungodly hour and the baby is now hoarse and for the sweet love of baby Jesus all you want to do is be unconscious in your warm bed because you have so much freaking work to do tomorrow. So I knew at 12:30 am that, even though it was going to be a few long and tortuous hours, I needed to either do it or give in and let her sleep with me, ensuring I would get NO sleep until she finally woke up and left for college.
The Ferber method is criticized by many as being cruel and damaging and all sorts of other things. I think it's nice that hippies I mean some other people can sleep with thrashing snorting coughing snoring little people in their beds, kicking them in the boobies and pulling their hair and putting uncut little fingernails in their noses. I can't. I'm a light sleeper as it is. So Jelly has to sleep in her own pretty little pink room, in her own lonely little bed. I'm a mean mother that way. I started 'sleep training' a few nights ago, half-heartedly. There were so many excuses - she's teething, she's had a cold since like October, she doesn't see me all day; but let me tell you, when you pick up a crying child and she INSTANTLY goes to sleep, but springs awake when you set her back down - you know you've got a problem. That, and she threw the most remarkable tantrum! I had picked her up after like the 20-minute wait part of the ride and then set her back down to change a wet diaper, and she kicked her little feet. Beat them, on the change table. And shook her arms angrily. And HOLLERED. I almost laughed. Precious little Baby Jenny wanted to be held and wanted it NOW. And really, the toughest part is, can you blame her? So there's mommy guilt of all kinds in there as well.
At some point during the two-hour battle of wills I thought about how glad I was that I didn't have a husband, especially my last serious boyfriend. Because he would have FOR SURE been able to sleep through the ear-piercing siren wails, and I would have punched him in the throat. See, for women, baby's cries (especially their own) are like little tiny knives that go through the ear drum and follow some magical path directly to the heart, where they proceed to slash little tiny tears. Men, on the other hand, tend to have some sort of trampoline device that rebounds the cries so they aren't as affected. Cries for them, if they get through, go directly to the Irritation Center, where the cries poke and pinch and continuously say, 'What are you doing? Why? When will we be there?' and things like that. With enough sleep deprivation, this happens to mothers as well, which can result in them standing at the crib glaring at their most precious loved one instead of laying on the floor praying for either sleep or death, whichever comes fastest.
In the grand scheme of things I know this should only last a few nights, and it's still nothing like what my sister N has to endure. If I really wanted, I could pick her up and rock her every single time, and she would go back to sleep, and would not require a nipple or finger or raw hot dog in her mouth. Just joking about the hot dog, N would never do that. SHE would be eating the raw hot dog.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Still Standing

Today my company laid off 250 employees. I was not one of them.

It makes me sick to my stomach to think of coming back from vacation, happy and rested and dreading the work week, only to find out that you no longer have a source of income, or benefits. It's my worst fear since deciding to have Baby Bear ('Jellybean' doesn't seem appropriate in winter, for some reason, so right now she's either Baby Bear or 'Chucky'*). In this economy, any of my Plan B options have disappeared due to hiring freezes pretty much everywhere I would go. And my savings account has dwindled over the months due to lawyer fees and the purchase of used rags to tie around Baby Bear's bottom.
Such a scary time. If you are employed, or married to someone who is, or living with someone who is, or at least work the street corner with minor success, or have some source of income somewhere that pays for light, and heat, and Spaghetti-O's and Creme Eggs - take a moment and be thankful. You may not have a lot, and that 401K may totally be teh sux right now, but if you're warm and fed and can go see a doctor if you need to - you're still doing ok. And I'm getting this weird feeling of deja vu because I'm writing another cheesy post about being grateful for what you have. Man, am I ever lame. No more post-Christmas blues for me again! Time to hit the imported Laura Secord French Mint chocolate bars for a pick-me-up. Yes, they were $1.99 each, but, uh, I was helping the economy. The Canadian economy.

*Because it cracks me up to say, 'Up, Chuck!' when I pick her up. Yes, I'm really that strange.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hippy Coo Year

I had some totally awesome terrific post planned out in my head, as I often do (the same place where I keep 'snappy comebacks', 'angry and decimating put-downs', and 'things that will never quite make it onto my grocery list that I really, really need quite badly'), and, uh, well, I think since you are listening to me blather on with excuses you know where this is heading. Nowhere good. But it's a new year! Vacations were taken, first snow experienced, flights managed, presents abounded, snuggles were had, and sleep – well, you can't get everything you asked for.

Jenny got TWO MORE TEETH, if you can believe it, so spent much of our precious downtime insisting that teeth growing prevented her from sleeping in a pack 'n play. Chubby baby and a chubby mama in a single bed makes for a crowded resting spot, and then she refused to nap upon returning home in HER OWN pack 'n play, so I did what any good mother would do and threw a blanket over her screaming protesting form on the floor. Luckily, the Nanny is tougher than I am and Jenny quite obediently is back on schedule, so the past few days of misery and crying were for naught.

Since I have too much work to do to have an original thought today, I am going to copy my sister, She Who Gave Me a Bounty of Clothes, and give you a pictorial year in review. Hers was quite nice, although I think she photoshopped the pics of my niece since it's totally ridiculous to imagine her ever being a baby.

Jelly and I enjoyed the hospitality of the grandparents, and spending time with her uncle, He Who Dances for Jellybean's Entertainment, and other aunt, She Who Will Get An Awesome Job Sometime Soon, We Promise. My dad gave her the inaugural first sip of beer, so he was happy. And she got to experience a nice cold Canadian winter, which to everyone's surprise made her a happy, happy bean. She cried when we had to go inside, and would wave her fat little hands around excitedly when we got anywhere near the door. She has a sad, long summer ahead of her if she doesn't like heat.

I got some cool presents, and got to see some of my high school and college buddies, which was nice. But really, the best thing about this Christmas? Not to be cheesy, but spending 15 uninterrupted days, lazy days and busy days and long days and short days and napping days and cooking days and cleaning days, with Jenny. Fifteen days without a worry or thought about work, or bills, or sick nannies, or business travel, or the next meal, or anything. Just time with baby. It was glorious. Time off use to be all about me – going to the spa or getting my nails done, shopping, going to the movies, reading or doing crafty things or baking. I didn't miss any of those things, or at least I missed them a lot less than I expected.

So yesterday I was all stressed about having to be back to work today, and was trying to come up with The Perfect Final Day. You know, the tree is down and the house is clean, so what's next? I made a bowl of popcorn and settled in to watch 'Hancock' on pay-per-view and looked down where Jenny was playing on the floor. I turned off the TV, grabbed a handful of the popcorn, and went to play with her. We wrestled and she squealed, and played with her Christmas presents (well, the same one, over and over), and played peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake, and sang songs. We watched 'Sesame Street' and she laughed at Murray's little lamb. She ate dinner off my plate, we had a nice long bath together with lots of toys, and read 5 books. She fell asleep in my arms, not even able to finish her bottle, and was snoring before I could even tuck her in. I was exhausted and fell into bed – the clock read 8:10. I hadn't watched my movie, and I had laundry ignored on the floor, and I'd totally forgotten about lunch for myself. It was perfect.