Friday, February 25, 2011

I Really Would Not Have Done Well in 1812

Dear Diary,

How quickly things have fallen apart. It’s only day 4 here in the trenches but it feels like it could be day 14, or 54. The air reeks of Vick’s and sweat and phlegm breath. I barely have the strength to check my boots at night before collapsing, half-dressed and almost already asleep, only to be awoken a handful of hours later by the machine gun patter of toddler feet in the hazy night.

I have been fighting for days on little sleep, subsisting on frozen convenience foods, and last night one of my companions became grievously wounded. Succumbing to the injury, she collapsed across me, pinning me in place.

Exhausted, hungry, I had no recourse but to huddle immobile and keep my spirits up as best as I could, thinking thoughts of home at Christmastime. She regained consciousness long enough for me to grab a few cold bites of a stale sandwich, then together we began the journey of another long and painful night. She tossed and turned in a fever delirium, up and down, sleeping no more than a handful of hours at a time. I fetched cooling cloths and medicine, and tried not to think too longingly of my own pallet.

I had no idea the common cold could be so crippling. I had no idea the words ‘I no feel good’, said enough times and at disgusting enough hours, would cause me to want to turn my weapon against my own, or myself. I have entertained several fantasies about what I would like to do to the enemy who parks their tank immediately in front of our tents at 3 am, blaring their radio and engaging their tank alarm, waking up a sick child which then causes a coughing fit and 45-minute awake period. The fighting this week has been hard, made more so because of the lack of sleep, but we had several critical pushes I was forced to endure, despite the fact my distraction was more a hindrance than a help in several cases. My communiqu├ęs to superior officers have suffered, and I know I have fallen short of my troop.

In three short days I will be shipping out to colder climes, abandoning my stricken comrade to take a post north of the city of Boston. I’ve heard tell the rations are much better, and there are not nearly as many nightly air raids, although by day the fighting will be even more grueling, and I am ill-prepared for the hand-to-hand combat that is sure to ensue. The young soldier will be in good hands with the local medics, and although this does little to assuage the guilt of leaving a fallen man behind, I am hopeful that the worst of it should be over by then.

This damn war can’t last forever.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How to Beat the Winter Blahs

It’s laughable, really.

This morning is a typical seasonal ‘straddle’ type of day, cold and drizzly, where you aren’t sure whether to wear a winter coat or rain slicker, and you huddle with your hands around a warm mug of something steamy.

The day before yesterday Jenny trickled warm sand over me while I watched the sun sparkle over tumbling waves, and I got a little hot so I grabbed an icy drink and Jenny ran back and forth with her shovel under the shrill call of the gulls.

My cousin can only shake her head at my all-powerful mastery of the weather, that meant in between snow and rain we got 80 degrees of sun in the middle of February at the ocean. Jelly, the ungrateful wretch that she is, was disappointed that I couldn’t heat up the ocean a few more degrees. I’ll work on that for next time. The hotel was pretty crappy, now that we’ve been spoiled by Dunes Village; the room was obviously meant to be a 1-bedroom with a living room rather than a 2-bedroom, so both me and MommieV were in close quarters, luckily for only a short stay.

It’s always interesting, meeting someone IRL whom you’ve developed an internet friendship with. It’s not the first time I did something like this, although finally might be the last (I’m really getting too old for this sort of thing). It’s interesting because despite the fact you have never met them in person, you already know things about them; you have something of a ‘shared history’; some bits and pieces of conversation may come easier. It’s interesting because although you have ‘talked’ to them via blog or email or text for months or even years, you still don’t really know them; there are still going to be things you learn about them, and things they learn about you.

I had all kinds of fabulous blog ideas, like doing a ‘Stupid Questions with MommieV’ interview, where I even got so far as to come up with a few stupid questions. But in between all the trying to catch up on freaking sleep (I saw every @#$% sunrise) and chasing a very happy ‘I go Myrtle Beach!’ (‘yes, sweetie, you are, in fact, AT Myrtle Beach’) toddler, I found it kind of hard to actually find time to sit down and, you know, do the actual question-asking part. But I guess the good news is, we didn’t run out of things to talk about. I learned lots of exciting interesting things that I didn’t know about her sordid dramatic past. Neither one of us turned out to be pervy middle-aged balding men, as the hotel towels did not leave much to the imagination. The girls got along swimmingly, although I think Jelly may ease up on asking for a brother for a while now.

So I think the MOST interesting thing about a trip like this is observing how someone else Does It. You know, another mom. And not just another mom, another Single Mom. Because I don’t hang out with too many of those. Being around a (relative) stranger means getting yourself reflected back much more clearly than normal, because you’re paying more attention to how you look through their eyes. And you are also paying more attention to them, because you’re trying to figure them out. There are lots of things that MV and I have in common, yet as moms we are completely different people. It’s just fascinating to me. I’m going to write a separate blog post about it, because I have a perfect example, but it warrants a whole separate discussion. I come off looking like a crazy person, but that should be no surprise to anyone.

So it was an interesting experiment, one that I will never in a bazillion years repeat in a room that size, and I will never again force Jenny to go back to that hotel with the ‘too yucky’ Lazy River. Poor little princess. As you will see from the photos, she was totally miserable. The check-in experience was interesting, though. I went totally blank on MommieV's last name, and when the receptionist raised an eyebrow, I hurriedly explained, "No, you see, we haven't actually met in person, I only know her from the internet..." then I kind of trailed off because I realized I was just making things much, much worse. To make it BETTER, I THEN said, "This isn't some seedy internet hookup, I bet you get all kinds of crazy things", to which she just kind of said, 'uhm hmmm' like she didn't believe me whatsoever. And then she asked if it was ok to give her the room number when she checked in, and I was like, yeah, of course. And felt kinda dirty. So then I told her a story about when The Ta and I were in Vegas, and asked the maintenance guy to tell us stories about the kinds of stuff he'd seen. That did not help my case any. So I finally just shut up and grabbed the 'I go Myrtle Beach!' dancing kid and left.





Friday, February 18, 2011

On Your Mark, Get Set

Jenny, jubilant at 5:30 am when she raced headlong into my bedroom in the dark,

“Mama, we go on beach trip today! I swim in pool!”

Jenny, swinging her legs happily at the breakfast table at 6:55,

“We go Myrtle Beach, I go swim in pool, eat cwab legs.”

Jenny, cheerily from the backseat of the car at 7:40,

“Mama, I like to swim!”

Me, grumpily, under my breath,

“Really, you don’t say. If I’d known that, I would’ve booked a beach trip or something.”

Jenny, shocked and concerned;

“Oh, yes, mama, I LIKE to swim!”

Then, 5 minutes later.

Sobs.

Me –

“Jelly, sweetie, what’s the matter?”

“Oh mama – I don’t want to go Miss Dawn’s. I want to go to Myrtle Beach NOW pwease.”

“Jenny, I know that you are a very, very excited little girl, but sometimes, there are things that you have to wait for. This is something you have to wait just a little bit longer for. I will pick you up after lunch, and before nap. It is a very special day, and it will be a very fun day, but you have to take a deep breath and CALM THE HECK DOWN.”

“Mama, I a wittle bit sad.”

“I know, Jelly. It will be all better soon.”


Don't photograph me when I am having hysterics! I just want to go to the damn beach!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Things Are Getting Hairy

If you are a purveyor of both this blog and My Little Slice of Mommie Heaven, you are probably ready to stab two people right now, and are sick to death of hearing about Myrtle Beach. Sorry. BEACH TRIP IN ONE DAY! If you read only my blog, well, you're probably still pretty tired of hearing about it. But you should probably start reading hers, also, because we are apparently going to tag-team vlog about the trip (vlog, who knew that term existed?).

During my shower the other night (so many discoveries in the shower of a non-body-parts-type, I know, right?! this is what happens when I'm trying to focus on something other than my kid hollering because the soap is too sticky, or the water is too cold/too hot (at the same time), or the toys aren't being nice to each other) I also realized that it had been a very long time since any, uh, business travel. That is not a euphemism. At least, not right now. It will be later on. So no business travel. Which equates to very grody feet, for some reason. I guess because when I travel, nasty scaly heels and troll-like toenails are bad for delicate trouser socks and uncomfortable shoes. Also, something about business travel just screams mani/pedi excuse.

So, after a truly horrible day yesterday, during which people yelled at me and I cried a little bit, and people said horrible things, and my boss told me several times to breathe deeply and drink and calm down and do my job better and other awful things, I did what any sensible work-from-home person would do and today scheduled a faux appointment in my calendar, printed a hard copy of the software release notes I absolutely positively had to review, and toddled myself off to get a pedicure. Ohhh... so nice. So very, very needed. I actually squealed when Fan, who I'm now a #1 err, supporter of, finished his work. The girl in the chair next to me talking on her cell the entire time was clearly not impressed in the slightest, with her monstrous dark-skinned toes twice as long as mine and her simple clear acrylic finish. I am embarrassed to admit that I said out loud, wiggling my little pink toes in delight as the only Caucasian girl in attendance at the salon, "Oh, they look just like little jellybeans!". Well, they do, so please try to refrain from nibbling on them should you happen to encounter me on the street or the beach.

So yes, no business travel of that kind, and no business travel of THAT kind means there is significant yard work that needs taken care of as well. I don't have that kind of time. MommieV messaged me about cleaning out her car, but that I could do in 1/2 hour or so - I don't have enough razor blades in the house to do the other clean up that I need to do. C'mon, people, it's February. I'm single. It's times like this I like to think of what my sister said to me last summer, at the lake up in Canada. I had a 2-year old, and had realized about 15 minutes too late that I'd forgotten to take a little off the sides (15 minutes too late meaning I'd walked down to the lake, removed my wrap, and was standing, exposed, for all the happy Canadians to assume I was a nice lesbian). I'm the sort of person who shaved my arms all through high school because I loathe body hair, although now I'm a little more lax about it. My sister, a mother of two herself, instantly put me at ease. "You know, I figure if they're looking there - they get what they deserve". It's kind of cruel, but kind of true. If someone is going to be pervy enough to stare at my crotch in a lazy river in February, I'm not too worried about them being scarred for life by a biscuit muppet. Except for all those small children at that level, and it's not like there's sideburns or 'fro action going on. Maybe I can get away with some touch-up work. Why isn't there a Groupon or Twongo special for THIS?

I am mostly packed, and by mostly I mean entirely, of course, as you all well know. The weather is so ridiculously gorgeous that I plan to wash the car after I pick up Jelly this evening, and then I think we are all set. I even remembered that I had bought some sand toys at the end-of-summer clearance sale (like, 4 months ago), so threw those in the car. I have procrastinated enough projects to make my life really, really awful next week, so I am going to simply pretend that time does not exist past Monday, which I think is a very reasonable and realistic plan, as well as assume that I will never have to pay another bill so that I can spend whatever I want this weekend.
Thanks, Presidents! Happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Psycho

Not AGAIN!

I had a brilliant product idea strike me the other night in the shower. Get ready to open your purses and throw gobs of money at me, ladies, because you are definitely going to want to invest in this one.

My master bedroom en suite has the perfect bathroom. I am going to miss it massively when I move. There is a double sink, which I thought would be wasted on the single lady but ended up being great, because now I have one sink for brushing my teeth, and one for storing my hair dryer and various hair products that I no longer have any use for, since the other parents at play dates don’t often comment on my hair volume. There is a standalone shower, which when push came to shove ended up being my only real requirement for buying a house, since I lose my mind when a shower curtain touches my leg. And there’s a nice, big, room-enough-for-a-Bean-and-a-mama tub. When she was a baby I’d line it with towels and lay her in it, but now that she’s older she can take her bath, and I can take my shower, and still be able to see her. It’s a good system.

Except.

That now she’s Almost Three.

People warned me about Almost Three. I didn’t listen to those people. I thought that it was the Terrible Twos I needed to be worried about. I thought that the twos were pretty decent, and that I’d made it through largely unscathed, and that Jellybean was a perfect, wonderful, sweet child, and that I was a largely perfect, wonderful mother. But now that she is Almost Three, and can transform into a crazy person at the drop of a hat, and I never know what I’m getting, I know what those people were talking about.

I very, very seldom get a bath anymore. I took a gazillion baths pre-Jellybean, long luxurious baths with bubbles and salts and colors and flavors and music and candles and ice wines and fondue and guys shaving my legs for me and all kinds of stuff going on. Now I am just grateful if I get a 7-minute shower and there’s hot water left after her bath, the dishwasher has run, and I’ve done 746 loads of laundry. My fastidious daughter hates, HATES when there are toe lint floaties in her bath water, and two nights ago when I was mid-shower began shrieking because she was having troubles scooping them out. I guess there was one that was particularly elusive.

It suddenly dawned on me that I was washing my face for the third time, because I kept stopping to shriek back at Jenny to stop shrieking, and then I got distracted and lost track of where I was in my routine. And that’s when I added up the reason I was going through a lot more shampoo and face wash in the past few months; it wasn’t because my personal hygiene had improved, it was because I was tossing stuff around in there randomly like some kind of circus act as a result of all the back-and-forth Beaniness. And THAT’S when I got my brilliant idea. Brilliant, but kind of mean.

So we package face wash, shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash, whatever, and market it to a Certain Age Group, and the commercials are all directed at harried mothers of toddlers. Make it a crossover product (sensitive, safe for kids, body-building for mom, safe for color-treated hair (for that grey coverage)). Can you picture it? Make it cheap, smell nice, not tested on animals, pro-gay, in recycled materials, 5 cents goes to save the dolphins or gets you a Starbucks coupon, I dunno. I think it would make us a bundle. If we could also do toothpaste that would probably be good, too. Because I am pretty sure I’ve brushed my teeth more than absolutely necessary.

Two more days til Beach Trip! (just ask Jellybean, who asked me at 5:30 am)

I think the best part is that MommieV will be able to recognize me by the enormous welt and bruise on my shin. You know, from, uh, falling in my bedroom garbage can. Attractive! We are sure to pick up the dudes.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Roses Are Red, Pity is Unnecessary

someecards.com - My Valentine runs on batteries.

I have a new friend, who is a single Choice mom who went a slightly different route. She is a mom who adopted, a beautiful little smart girl. She is much braver and stronger and financially practical than I am to have been able to do this, and I am in great awe of her. I don’t know her very well, as we met through a friend-of-a-friend kind of thing, and have only been on handful of playdates together, but she’s a good mom and her daughter is very well-behaved, and as long as... well, I couldn't come up with anything, I don’t have a whole lot of other standards. I know she's a bit Catholic, but I can get past that, and she wasn't wearing a Tea Party t-shirt, and she wasn't wearing socks with sandals, so, I think we're ok.

We are, of course, Facebook friends, since she has yet not made fun of me for feeding Jellybean fried bologna cut in the shape of a heart for Valentine’s Day, instead of a healthy nutritious bowl of hot oatmeal with dried cranberries in the shape of hearts or whatever the hell the hippies did this morning (for the record, I do actually make oatmeal a lot, we both like it, although we try to refrain from putting chili powder on it). She posts super-cute pics and videos of her precious daughter almost as often as I do, and I often check them out to see how JR measures up what they are up to.

Today she posted some early pics of E in the orphanage that were breaking my heart. She had told me stories, of the time that elapsed. Not just the time between when she knew E was going to be hers, but the time that passed between when she got there, and when she was allowed to take her home. How cruel, to watch E grow up long-distance via photographs, without a mom. How awful, to be there, to only be allowed to visit her, to have to leave her every night, to have to say good-byes constantly, to have to re-do pages and pages of paperwork because of one missed word (seriously, this happened to her). I look at her story as terribly, horribly sad.

But then I realized, she has this wonderful, sweet little girl. I bet you she doesn’t see her story as sad. I bet she doesn’t look at those pictures and feel unhappy. And I was like, whoa, does she look at ME and think MY story is sad? Because I tend to bum people out when I talk about the whole Quiet thing. So I guess it’s all perspective. For some reason I was thinking about it when I was driving home from drop-off this morning. It’s like those people you see in the airport, who are all dressed up in some crazy outfit, wearing stilettos and skin-tight clothing and they’re all made up and not a hair out of place. They can’t be comfortable. They have to be miserable. They can’t be happy people. There I am, in yoga pants, who knows when I showered last, or at least when I last washed my hair. But I think I’m a pretty happy person.

So I guess I’m saying this. On a day like today, when other people celebrate more traditionally with a partner, say what you will but Bossy Pants made me buy her fresh flowers, and I got up early to make her a special breakfast. Also, I had to bake cookies for her class party. She had a special outfit to wear, and there were special books to read, and NickJr ran never-ending commercials for the Dora ‘Grumpy Old Troll Gets Married’ special that I swear, Jelly was going to HAVE A HEART ATTACK AND DIE if I didn’t ‘Mama, you Tivo dat, ok? Ok, mama? You ask Tivo?!’ while she waved her hands in the air and hopped from one foot to the other, eyes glued to the screen just like NickJr had intended. Brilliant marketing bastards. So that’s what we’ll be watching on TV tonight. I’m sad that I’m not parenting with someone, and I’m sad that I don’t have a partner, but not in a woe-is-me, I’m-going-to-lay-here-and-cry-thinking-about-it-while-watching-this-stupid-movie-eating-chocolates-I-bought-for-myself kind of way. I don’t need a special day for self-pity, I can catch up on that whenever. Today for me is just another day, with a spunky almost-three-year old Valentine. Who told me this morning that I was ‘just a little bit bossy’. Oh, man, the teen years are going to be fun with this one.

Happy Valentine’s to the single ladies out there. And you married unhappy ones, you deserve a break today, too. The rest of you, I don’t want to hear about it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Today’s story is not for the faint of heart, nor the weak of stomach. It is going to mention girl parts, and the ‘p’ word, and since that word is neither ‘popcorn’ nor ‘pirates’, any male readers who may have happened to accidentally stumble upon this blog should run away quickly. Here’s some help – either here, or, depending on your interests, here.

Last week was a rough week. I kicked it off, quite literally, by dislodging the AC power supply from my LaCie external hard drive and breaking off two of the mini pins in the process. Cost to replace it and have another Fed Ex’d to my house, $30+. Cost to my pride, as I had to explain a week delay in a deliverable to my boss – well, difficult to measure. The week ended with me getting trashed, but not in a pleasant way. I thought it would be a brilliant idea to hang a blanket over my window, to try to block out some of the street noise and help with the 5:30 am sleep issue. WITH JENNY WATCHING, I stood up on my chaise, immediately got dizzy, stumbled backwards, fell off the chaise, caught my leg in a garbage can on the floor beside the chaise, teetered awkwardly and painfully for a while, then finally fell between my bed and end table. Jenny mostly just looked embarrassed for me, which was the right expression. Do as I say, kid. Man, those Bed, Bath and Beyond plastic garbage cans are STURDY. Oh, and I then discovered that the OTHER window in my room has been open 2-3 inches all winter, which explains both the noise AND my unusually high electric bill. So I’m winning fewer than usual smart points, if I had any at all after that last story.

Saturday I was feeling a little grumpy and irritable. So was Jenny, surprisingly. I figured we were a little PMSy as my period was on the calendar for Thursday. Jellybean went off to The Ta’s for a pizza party while I had a blast at my Lucky 32 cooking class (mmmm Gumbo). Both of us exhausted, we crawled into my bed for naps, but I was unable to sleep, oddly – crampy? Well, check that out. I pulled out my phone (because isn’t that where everyone tracks AF nowadays?) and instead of being early, I found that Mr. T has realigned me. I’m back on track. Also – in case you hadn’t noticed. No. Migraine.

Did you catch that?

No.

Migraine.

None.

Zip.

Zilch.


SQUEEEEEE!!!!

I had a bitch of a headache for most of yesterday and popped Ibuprofen all day long. But that is a heckuva lot different than shaking and sobbing and barfing and shuddering, and muscle aches and spasms and unable to focus or care for my child and spending an entire following day feeling like I’ve been hit by a car. So again – cautiously optimistic. Especially since this is Monday of Week Four on Mr.T, and I’m heading into the 100mg final lap. Most of the nightmares are gone, and I can live with the extremity tingling and the occasional bouts of nausea. Some minor occasional forgetfulness, nothing severe. I’ve made a follow-up appointment with Dr. Jones for next week, so we’ll see what he says, but I feel pretty good about the whole thing. This is something I can live with. This is manageable. This is livable. So what do you think - do I mess with it just a teensy bit more and make a gyno appointment and go on the Seasonique?

Friday, February 4, 2011

These Boots Are Made For Slidin'

The Oscars are making me nostalgic, in the same weird way that hearing Lady Gaga makes me both happy, and oddly sad. The year before Jenny was born I saw 15 of the Oscar nominated movies. I have seen exactly two of this year’s contenders, and one shouldn’t really count because it’s Toy Story 3, and I saw it because The Ta rented it for Jelly on Pay-Per-View on a beach trip. And also, because I have seen it a approximately one trazillion times since. Yes, I still cry every single time when Big Baby says, ‘Mama’.

If I open my dresser drawers, there are folds of black yoga pants, in varying state of presentability, the uniform of the work-from-home mom. But if I open my closet, hidden beneath linty hooded sweatshirts and fading long-sleeved tees, are row upon row of suede loafers in browns and navys, saucy black sharp-heeled boots with narrow toes, pink patent leather slip-ons, fur-lined clogs, shoes for going out or staying in or dancing or dining, but definitely not for catching a small child as she tumbles down a slide in a slightly damp backyard. The appropriate footwear for that are the dirty Skechers by the back door, worn almost daily for the past year. I’ve already got the next pair lined up, worn once a week or so for the past few months to start breaking them in. Work horse shoes. The others up in my closet, forlorn and slightly dusty, taunt me every time I push past them for something unstylish and more forgiving to mud and boogers.

‘Bad Romance’ comes on the radio station I listen to only slightly less often than that Pink song, ‘Raise Your Glass’, which I liked at first because it includes the lyrics ‘what’s the dealio?’, which I say with embarrassing frequency to the annoyance of all my friends. Then I heard it 847,345 more times and it lost a significant chunk of appeal. Anyhow, I still find myself tapping my hands, feet, eyelashes, whatever is handy, to ‘Bad Romance’, because it is a party starter and has a great hook and Gaga is a genius no matter how crazy she is, and she makes me want to do some booty-shaking. But it also reminds me of the person I use to be, and makes me wonder what Loud thinks of her, and how fun it would be to have that song blasting while putting on ridiculous amounts of sparkly eye makeup with a glass of something rum-heavy, disgustingly sweet and achingly cold, sloshing precariously on the edge of a too-small sink. I want to force various unwieldy body parts into too-tight age-inappropriate spandex and polyester and anything else that doesn’t breathe or flatter, with fasteners I can’t reach but can’t close anyhow so it doesn’t really matter. I want a Friday night to be open with possibilities of Who Will Be There and What Will Happen rather than What’s on Tivo or Should I Make Popcorn.

I could do those things. I have lots of very kind friends who would babysit. They would think it’s hilarious. They would love nothing more than to see me shimmy into Spanx and tart myself up. I even know other single gals who would brave a local dance floor, toss down some overpriced watered-down cocktails, not give a shit that we’re cougars and damn proud of it. But I can tell you how that story ends.

In the old days, it would end with me hilariously drunk. Once in a while, me and my roommate would drag some poor hapless boys back to our crappy apartment, or worse yet, hop in their car and go to their place. Nine times out of ten he’d end up talking about his girlfriend, or worse yet, wife. On some occasions there would be blacking out. Twice there were attempted rape situations. Most of the time there was barfing. There was almost always sadness at some point.

I will stay home with Jelly tonight, and will watch The Soup, and will maybe make some popcorn. At no point will I barf, or have to sit on someone else’s pee on a grody bar toilet seat. I won’t be told how cute I am except maybe by Jellybean, but at least I know it will be sincere. I will be comfortable, and when it gets close to 1am I won’t start to get a panicky feeling because everyone is hooking up and once again I’m alone, because I will be blissfully asleep, and tomorrow morning I won't wake up filled with acid and regrets. My old life was fun a lot of the time, but when I feel boring and old and sad and nostalgic, I need to remind myself that underneath all that sparkle and loud music was a cute pair of shoes on a very lonely person. Now I'm all dirty shoes and happiness.




Thursday, February 3, 2011

Jenny is Awesome. And Tolerant. And Has Good Hair.


Yes. You're all absolutely right, as usual. She is awesome. And perfect. Which, of course, she knows, because she is The Bean. If you can find her, that is, in that pile of stuff that use to be a train table. Poor child. You are all now taking back all those nice things you said about me being a good mother. I do like to harass her. Keeps her on her toes.

Here's the New Stylist. She would NEVER tell me she loved me. She would definitely call me 'girlfriend!' in a very, very Southern drawl. She tells me my baby is the sweetest, most beautiful, most well-behaved little girl in the entire world. And that's just how I like it.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wash That Gal Right Outta My Hair

There were a lot of different ways I could have chosen to start off this post. I could have started off by admitting once again that yes, I was aware that there was an obesity epidemic amongst our youth and that yes, I absolutely positively was guilty of not giving Jenny a 100% balanced healthy meal each and every day. I could also go back to the post where I wrote about Facebook, how there were good things and bad things about being a part of a social networking site. Or I could take us all back to the posts we know and love, about how as moms we get judged from the very moment a bit of belly starts to poke out (ok, this is actually true of just about anybody). Or I could tell a story about my first truly professional haircut, almost 12 years ago now, how I walked into a salon and was handed a glass of wine and breathed in the smell of Bed Head products and thought I might actually die of happiness.

Some parents gracefully accept it with humor – your child, beautiful in your eyes, is not perfect. They may be smart, they may be funny, they may be able to curl their tongue and know their colors and enjoy singing questions to you instead of simply asking them, but they are far from perfect. Some parents turn a blind eye to their child’s imperfections, refusing to see, or even acknowledge, that what makes them less-than-perfect also makes them them. Who would want a perfect kid? That’s a lot of pressure to put on someone. I already worry about how many times a day I tell Jelly I’m proud of her for being so damn awesome. I don’t want her to crack under all that pressure of being so freaking cool. It’s why I also once in a while call her dopey when she does something stupid, just to make sure she can laugh at herself and relax (but OMG my dad got soooooooooo mad at me when he heard me say it).

I know that Jellybean is stubborn. I can quite clearly see that she is easily frustrated, and a people pleaser, and at times, quite moody. When she gets her mind made up about something, that is it. She was a chunky baby, a chubby toddler, and only now as an active preschooler is beginning to lose the baby fat and slim down.

However.

You do not.

Tell me my baby is fat.

In a Facebook message.

Ok, you may be struggling a bit to keep up. Let me give you a little background.

Years and years ago, I went to Great Clips. Sad, I know, right? It’s ok, shh, the story gets happier. Well, a little happier. At least I make better hair choices now. When I finally got a job that didn’t pay me in kitty litter and toupee glue coupons, I was introduced to the wonder of the professional salon. Glittering, fast-talking, slick-magazined. It was glorious. My stylist had her scissors sharpened by someone who had apprenticed in Europe. With a Scissorsmith. No, seriously. That’s why it cost $10 per strand of hair. And the color! Omg, the color. She would individually mix 147 different shimmering shades that would catch the light when I shook my head in slow-motion. But little by little, over the years, the appeal, much like my highlights, began to fade. Now that I had Jellybean I didn’t have the time to spend 6 hours of my day in a chair. I didn’t have extra cars to sell for a simple trim. I didn’t want to hear about Loud and Quiet, customers referred from me that she had kept despite my protests (well, fair enough, tough economy and all), but customers I definitely did not want to discuss.

So I started to sneak around behind her back. It started with a little over-the-counter Feria here and there (look, I love a multi-faceted shine, what can I say?), some bang-trimming at home. But then she saw pics online and I definitely had shorter hair, and she knew something was up. She totally called me out. I was honest with her, mostly. I told her I had tried out someone new and cheaper. There was no way I was going to tell her that I was sick of hearing about her cats, and that the last few cuts were actually pretty disappointing. We had a history. Yes, I was a paying customer, but after such a long time it becomes awkward. She would say ‘I love you’ on the phone. I don’t need that. I say that to 4-5 people, tops, and yes, one of them is ribeye steak but the others are all family members. One may be an alcoholic beverage, but you get the point.

So my ex-stylist-only-she-hadn’t-really-accepted-it-yet was getting more and more pissy each time we corresponded, which was mostly in little comments she left on my Facebook wall. And they were more and more frequently some criticism about my parenting. Let’s keep in mind a few things here; firstly, that Ex-Stylist is not a parent. Secondly, the last time she saw Jelly was at least a year ago. Thirdly, she fancies herself a nutritionist for some reason (don’t ask). Fourthly, I can’t remember what I was going to say. Oh, right, that when I post a pic of Jellybean eating dinner, it’s not usually because she’s eating something boring or the norm or whatever, it’s because it’s hilarious and a good photo op and I think it’ll embarrass her later in life. So. Ahem.

What sparked the latest drama was a comment I made about cooking up some chili and tortillas. Ex-stylist remarked, ‘What kind of veggies are you doing?’, and apparently did not like my reply (standard tomatoes, onions, garlic) because she then commented, ‘Get some veggies in that kid!’. So a few nights ago, when I made Thai Drunken Noodles (chock-a-block full of nice veggies), I took a picture solely for her and posted it. Her comment? ‘I can sort of see them thru all those carbs’. My own fault, really, I know. At least I had the sense not to rise to it. I just calmly blinked twice and unfriended her. Before I did that, I sat very still for a few minutes thinking about whether or not I was still getting anything out of the friendship, whether I thought I would regret my decision/action, whether I thought it would hurt anyone else (another mutual friend of ours), and what the adult thing was to do. Then clicked. I knew instantly I’d made the right decision because I got the following almost instantaneously in a new Friend Request from her;

I'm sorry that you have de-friended me. All of the pics you post are of her eating unhealthly food. I am your friend and am looking out for YOUR child. You can be mad at me....that's fine...I care about you and Jenny. I have no personal gain for this. Stop sticking your head in the sand. She is CLEARLY overweight!

I know the statistics. I know that a fat mom more often than not means a fat kid. But I also know that eating a family meal, prepared together and eaten at a dinner table at the same time every day, with pleasant conversation about the day’s events, gives us a good check mark. She may not like a lot of veggies, but she’ll eat the hell out of any fruit put in front of her. Check. She eats breakfast every single day, usually an egg and/or toast, milk or diluted juice, or a whole-grain breakfast bar. Check. She gets a protein, a grain, a serving of veggies, and milk each day at lunch at the sitters. Check. I’m not big on sweets, so the poor thing never gets dessert or cookies or anything – I just don’t think about it. I snack when she naps, so that’s one less unhealthy habit. I’ll see what my pediatrician says at her three-year check up, but until then I refuse to freak out about it. I really don’t think my head is up my butt or in the sand or anywhere else. Do you freak out about your child being overweight? I know I have a good friend who freaks out 98% of the day about her child being underweight, and I think that is a billion times worse.

What makes me mad is that she thinks I’m a bad mom, and it makes me want to defend myself. I lay in bed that night formulating different responses that I would have written back to her if I were 10 (heck, 5) years younger and less mature, but they all ended with me shrieking BITCH!! STUPID BITCH!!! FUCCCKKKKKK!!!!!! So they weren’t very effective arguments. I know we don’t always eat great, but I do know that a really good portion (see? Food joke there, keepin’ it light after dropping the f-bomb) of the time I at least feed HER really, really well. She’s active, and healthy, and we do lots of running and jumping (much to my chagrin), and I try to model that lifestyle even if I haven’t lived it in the past. Screw her and her stupid cats. Jealous cow says meow.


Also, if you agree with her, please don't tell me. Because I'll cry.