Monday, October 29, 2012

The Zoo and Other Privileges

O Judah, you lucky lucky boy. We recently bought you a year's membership to the Oakland Zoo.

Judah loves spotting little black bears.  He exclaims "So cute!"

When I was a kid, my parents never took me to the zoo. I think I literally went once. ONCE. In my entire life, until this past year.

We looked at those bears for a really loooooooooooooong time.

Gosh, I sound like one of those parents that recount how, when they were kids, they had to walk a mile to school, in the snow, WITH NO SHOES!

For the first time ever, Judah actually REQUESTED that we take his photo here, in front of the otters.

But seriously, you have it so much better than me in so many ways. Don't even get me started on how many books and toys we buy you constantly. You know, when I was kid, I NEVER got toys except once a year, for Christmas--I got ONE toy. And you know what I got on my birthday?  Not toys--pajamas.

Judah is terrified of the monkeys.  Somehow I find that hilariously delicious.

Man, I hope we're not creating a privileged, entitled monster.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

He, Me and You

One of the funnest and trippy-est (yes, Ms. English, I know those are not words) things about having a kid is seeing parts of you and the spouse in him.

Everyone is always so quick to point out that Judah looks EXACTLY like his dad--long face, skinny and tall, gravity-defying hair, etc. Seriously, we get stopped by total strangers in the grocery store all the time saying (mostly to the spouse)--Yep, definitely yours! Can't deny that one! He looks just like his dad!

We live in an urban ghetto area and even had HOMELESS people stop us on the street and comment that Judah looks "Just like his dad!" Ok, I get it. The resemblance is obvious.

But you know what? I think Judah looks a lot like me when he smiles.

Me, not sure when but definitely before I turned 2.

Judah, right before he turned 1.
But even more than physical resemblance, I think Judah takes after me in a lot of crucial ways.

First, he loves music, loves dancing, singing and drawing. These are things the spouse has never cared for a day in his life. Seriously, I've known my spouse for 15 years and NEVER, not ONCE have I seen him bust a move. Ever. For any reason. Judah, meanwhile, has been shaking his booty to the beat since, well, since he could stand on 2 feet.

Second, Judah is a total extrovert, loves socializing and has more empathy in his little pinky than my spouse has in his entire body. He's a people person. I first realized this when Judah was barely 1 and started to wince in sympathy anytime my spouse or I clumsily hurt ourselves. Seeing others in pain makes Judah feel awful.

Once the spouse was trying to pop a really deep zit and wincing in pain.  And Judah kept saying "No, no, no, Daddy, no more!"  He just couldn't handle it.  Sweet boy.

As I was making these mental notes, I realized...hmmmm...I'm only noting the "good" traits that Judah supposedly resembles of me. I wonder what bad traits of mine he picked up?

And because I'm a selfish, delusional, conceited person, I couldn't think of any. Ha!

But of course I could think of lots of bad traits he picked up from my spouse!

But to show some measure of self-criticism and objectivity, I'll say this.  Judah can sometimes be quite selfish and possessive.  He loves to grab his toys and say "Mine! Es mio!"  Even when no one is challenging him and it's just me and him.

Dude, I BOUGHT you that toy.  Technically it's MINE.

And sadly, I'm pretty sure Judah got that trait from me.  I've always known the spouse to be a generous person, but I can be kinda grabby.  A little catty.  A little possessive.  A little jealous.

But isn't every girl?

Ugh, it was so much funner (yes, I know that's also not a real word!) pointing out the 'good' traits.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cut Me Out. Now.

Ugh.  This is the second time this month I want someone to cut me out of my pants.

Even though I'm wearing maternity pants with an elastic waist, it's so freaking uncomfortable when I sit down!  Not so bad when I leave for work in the morning--vertical.  But after sitting a while at my desk I feel like I'm seeing spots due to my circulation being cut off around my waist.

I'm such a huge whale.

The last time this happened I literally took a pair of scissors and cut my pants waist-band.  Off.  All the way.

Worked great when I sat at my desk.  In my office. By  myself.

Not so great stepping out into the hallway.  Where people can see you.  And your weird cut-off pants.

I'm making a vow.

From this point on, I'm only wearing soft yoga pants or leggings.  I'm so over 'real' clothing.

Now, excuse me while I try to find a pair of scissors to cut me out.

Monday, October 22, 2012

When Toddlers Dress Themselves

I only have one problem with the outfit Judah picked for himself:

(And no, it's not because he looks like a total insane weirdo.)

It's that, as a product of TWO Cal grads, his outfit is offensively sympathetic to Stanford. Apparently he loves that stupid red hat (that his nanny bought him), even though a lovely friend recently got him an awesome Cal cap (thanks Priscilla!).

I mean, it's like another fresh wound coming on the heels of Cal losing the Big Game this weekend.  Betrayed by my own baby.  Ouch, Brutus, ouch.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Signing Our Lives Away

Why, what's this giant packet of documents on my couch you ask?

Oh nothing, just the signing documents to OUR NEW HOUSE!!!!

That's right, we are 80% through the whole home purchase process and by the end of this week, should be getting the keys, eek!

To be honest, I was never the home-owning aspiring type.  In fact, I was never the have-a-kid (or 2) type either.  Okay, as long as I'm coming clean, neither was I the marrying type!

Growing up I never fantasized about weddings and suburbs. I always thought I'd live some kind of Indiana Jones/Boho/Broadway musical/country cowgirl kind of life.  Or live in Africa.

So maybe I was a little all over the place--but one place I NEVER thought about ending up was the suburbs. Married. With 2.5 kids.

So what the heck happened?

Ah, another time, another post...

For now, I have a suburban home to remodel, furnish, and move into!  Pinterest, Home Depot, Ikea, Crate and Barrel, and Benjamin Moore--here I come!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Judah By Proxy

Judah has an alter ego.  His name is Brian.

I kid you not.

It all started about 6 months ago.  I was trying to help Judah wind-down for his bedtime, giving him a bottle of milk in a darkened room (while cradling him in my arms because he HAS to be in that position) but the dude was squirmy as heck, playing with his bottle, dripping milk everywhere. 

Wracking my brain in frustration for a way to distract him and keep him calm, I hit upon the brilliant idea of...yes people, shocking patent-pending innovation...telling him a story!

I know that doesn't sound earth-shattering, but up until then I've only told him stories in books (which is really the only way to keep him from squirming for any meaningful length of time).  But I decided, hey, he understands a lot of words, maybe I can tell him a story without pictures!  Cognitive paradigm-shift for this little dude...maybe it blew his mind a little.

So I started making stuff up about a boy named Brian.  And because I was limited by the world that Judah knows, I pretty much made Brian do everything that Judah loves to do.

Brian went to the park (just like we had done that day).  Brian climbed up the ladder and went down the slide.  Brian played with his ball and threw it to mommy.  Brian had mashed potatos and mac n' cheese for dinner (and not-so-coincidentally so did Judah).

Judah was quiet and mesmerized.  It worked!  I gave myself a genius-mom award.

And then forevermore Judah asked for Brian stories everyday.  Multiple times a day.  I took back my genius award cause it's kind of annoying to constantly have to make up some story about Brian.  But on the other hand it's become quite a helfpul teaching tool.

Exploring the world, one Brian story at a time.

I now make Brian go through things that I want to prep Judah for.  Lately, half the Brian stories are about how Brian is using the potty and doesn't need diapers anymore.  He's a big boy!  To which Judah always pipes in, "I big boy! Grande! I no baby.  Baby diaper."  Yes, the goal is to potty-train Judah before baby #2 comes.  Eek.

The other half of the Brian stories is about him getting a new baby and how to handle a baby.  And moving to a new house.

For a while, Brian stories were about Brian doing bad things and getting time-outs.  And sometimes, right in the middle of a melt-down, a story about Brian melting down about the exact same thing will help Judah calm down and accept not getting what he wants.  Sometimes.

I wonder when Judah will finally catch on that Brian is Judah.  I kind of think he already knows.  It's just a little wierd when we actually meet people named Brian.  Judah gets a puzzled look on his face.

Ah, mysteries of the toddler mind.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Living with Rain Man

Remember this awesome movie from the 80's?

I won't give it away, but it's basically about Tom Cruise trying to handle his autistic brother (Dustin Hoffman) on a cross-country road trip.

The spouse and I randomly caught it on the tube this weekend and as soon as Hoffman's character started acting up, we both looked at each other and said "That's Judah!"

And furthermore, when we saw Cruise's exasperated and exhausted expressions, we said "That's me!"

Let me explain.

Hoffman's character has a lot of irrational demands. 

He HAS to watch The People's Court every day.  He HAS to buy boxer shorts from KMART ONLY.  He refuses to travel by plane.  He refuses to leave the house if it's raining.  He HAS to eat only specific foods and then only with toothpicks.  Etc, etc, etc.

Judah is pretty much the same.

He HAS to wear his WHITE flip-flops (not the brown ones that actually stay on) when we go out (which I forbid because they are literally 2 sizes too big and keep falling off his feet--which always precipitates a meltdown). 

He HAS to have a LITTLE bottle of milk (not the 8 oz bottles, the small 5 oz bottles ONLY) when he wakes up, a story in his rocking chair, and a stroll around the housing complex after his nap with mommy (only mommy, NOT daddy) holding him in her arms (NOT in a stroller!) (otherwise he has a total meltdown). 

He will ONLY wear certain pants or shirts (or have a total meltdown). 

He HAS to sit in the driver's seat for at least 10 minutes every time we get home and HAS to get an Altoid and pop in a CD (or he has a total meltdown). 

He HAS to drink out of a cup with no lid, which causes a total mess (or has a total meltdown).  Etc, etc, etc.

An all too familiar scene from this weekend.
But it seems that Judah has kicked up his, how should I put this...annoying, irrational, non-compliant behavior yet another notch or two over this past week.  There were several times this last weekend that I honestly was one-thousandth of a hairs' breadth away from straight up screaming in a crazy woman.

The only thing holding me back was remembering how much mom guilt I felt the last time I straight up lost it and screamed at him.  (That scene in Rain Man where Tom Cruise stops the car, gets out and screams and rants at Dustin Hoffman?  YES!  That's me in my head!)

But there was a new twist--this time he kept saying "I do myself!!"  Oh sweet toddler independence. 

While mommy would love for you to pour your own juice, use the knife and cook your own food, there's no way I'll be letting you do these things by yourself for a very long time.

And, cue the meltdown.

I don't know how stay-at-home moms do it.  I really don't.

After about 2 hours with the dude, I'm done.  I'm just straight up burnt toast done.

So what do over-educated, real-world naive and helpless, amateur parents do?  We buy books!  Which is why we raided the parenting section at Amazon and bought the top 6 books on handling toddlerdom.

Save us Amazon!  You are our only hope.
Probably should buy some books on deep-breathing and how to have the patience of the Dalai Lama too while we're at it.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Yeah, I Said It.

Last week, I literally emailed this to my partner:

"I have serious concerns about this timeline.  I don't want to sound melodramatic, but I think it just might kill me. Would it be possible to find another associate to help with this?"

I hesitated before hitting the send button.

It sounded so whiny, so complaining, so...wimpy.  Honestly it was a manageable workload.  It would've just required me to bill 12-15 hours a day which is totally doable if I were full-time.  But I'm a part-time worker dang it!  I shouldn't have to kill myself like that and miss out on yet another week with my kid (this has been the 6th or so bad week in a string of bad weeks).

So, with my stomach churning, I hit the send button.

She replied right away and told me she'll try to figure out how to relieve some of my stress, but honestly, everyone else is really jammed up right now too.  And ended with this message: "Just keep calm and carry on, as they say."

On one hand I'm really glad we have the kind of relationship that allows me to question her staffing decisions.  On the other hand, my blood pressure was through the roof for the most part of this week and I'm exhausted from early calls and late night drafting.

She did come through later on and found another associate to take over halfway on Wednesday.  I wanted to give her a big hug for that...but we're not THAT close.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

I'll Have What She's Having

Can I just say one more thing before I dig back into my Giant Pile of Work Docs?  (The more I work, the more I procrastinate on the interwebz!)

This girl does NOT age.

Check her out--Ms. J. Alba is 31 and looks 18 in this recent pic!

I'm no Alba fan--the girl can not act to save her life. But I'll give her respect for one thing--genes that defy time.

Forever-young snaps girl!

Inspections (and bonus random thought)

Great news, the inspections went swimmingly!  (And thank you Brits for giving us such an awesome way to say 'well').  The only real issue was an old heater that should be under a thousand bucks to fix.  Phew!

Next hurdle--the appraisal.  There's a very real possibility that the appraisal will come up 20k short, which would pose a huge problem for us.  Fingers crossed again!

Lastly, a random thought to tickle your brain--riddle me this--why do men cheat with unattractive-looking women?

I was reading a recent Newsweek article about the Arnold Schwarzzeneger (yeah I'm not going to try to spell that correctly) scandal--remember that one?  He cheated on Maria with their dour-looking, frumpy housekeeper and fathered a kid with said frumpy housekeeper?  Yeah, that one.

Newsweek published a photo of the housekeeper and honestly, I don't get it.  She looks...well, like your average latina Walmart shopper.  Arnold is a celebrity of mega-proportions.  He can have any (insecure and immature) hottie he wants and I'm sure he's had plenty.  But why also have an affair with the frumpy housekeeper?

The author of the article said "...because the same reason why [some other dude] climbed Mt. Everest.  Because she was there."  That's it.

What?!  I don't get that at all.

But then again, I don't want to climb Mt. Everest either.

Can someone explain?

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


Today is inspection day on the house.  I have total butterflies since I know it might not turn out well--this was a foreclosed flipper home after all, let's be real.

And yes, more details to come on the house soon--pictures!  Lotsa lotsa pictures! 

But, like everything else in my life, will have to be on hold until after this awful work week is done.

Monday, October 01, 2012

House Hunters Part IV: Waiting to Exhale

Just a quick note to say...

We're in contract for the house!

We actually put in an offer before even seeing it because we had such a strong feeling about it.  And we really wanted to avoid a bidding war.  It worked!  They accepted under the strict condition (among other things) that we close in 25 days--eek!

We finally saw the home yesterday and it did NOT disappoint.  Hope everything goes well up to closing day.  The biggest hurdle--the appraisal.  Home prices have been skyrocketing in this area in the last 3 months but appraisals might not have picked up on that yet.  Darn lag!

Anyway, I can't even think about all the millions of things to do to close since I'm completely snowed under at work.  All the house stuff (and childcare) this week will fall on the poor spouse.  Sorry honey!