Friday, December 28, 2012

Top Ten Mommy Moments of 2012

You know what I love best about the post-Christmas season? All the "Best of" lists that come out.

Best Movies of 2012. Best Books of 2012. Best or Worst Dressed of 2012. Time's People of the Year!

So in honor of that awesome tradition--here is my

Top Ten Best Mommy Photos/Moments of the Year 

(Do you hear the epic music in the background? No? Read the title again then, this time with feeling and a slight echo effect):

#10--This picture was taken in January of 2012 when Judah was a mere 16 months old.  It was the first time he went up the stairs and down the slide ALL BY HIMSELF!  Well, the first time I witnessed it anyway.  It really highlighted to me how grown-up my helpless baby had become.

#9--I love this pic because it shows Judah's incredibly nurturing side.  He often cradled his stuffed animals (and later on, his baby doll once we bought him one), swaddled them in a blanket, and fed them pretend milk bottles.  Later on he showed his nurturing side by constantly showering my preggo belly with slobbery kisses and hugs and squealing "I love you dai-dai (translation--baby brother)!  I miss you!" and bringing an endless array of toys and books to show dai-dai.

#8--There's nothing special going on with this pic.  I just love it.  My baby and me.  Actually, now that I think about it, this pic was taken a few weeks after I completely weaned Judah and represents our successful transition from only mommy-milk to only cow's milk.  I was afraid that weaning would diminish our bond (esp since Judah LOVED his nursing time), but this pic shows that we're as close as ever.

#7--Likewise, there's nothing special going on here either.  I just love that it captures my favorite thing in the world--kissing my baby.  In 2012 Judah finally learned to say "I love you mommy!" and really understood what he was saying.  I have to milk these moments as much as possible before he turns into a surly pre-teen and tells me he's completely embarrassed by my presence.

#6--This pic was taken a week after his 2nd birthday.  I just love the expression on his face and his little posture (his favorite pose--arms behind his head).  Relaxed, confident, a little mischievous.  This pic really shows, what I believe to be, his true essence.

#5--Another uneventful mom and son pic.  I just love how relaxed and happy we look.  Being a mom is the epitome of the paradoxical experience.  I love every moment of being with Judah and I want to run away and tear my hair out almost every moment I'm with him too.

#4--This pic was taken by the spouse while I was slaving away at the office.  I like the look of delight on his face.  It represents Judah's love of all things with wheels--trains, motorcycles, cars, police cars, firetrucks, tow trucks, and ESPECIALLY garbage trucks.  He's really blossomed into a stereotypical boy-in-love-with-vehicles this year.

#3--This pic represents Judah's blossoming individualism.  It was also taken by the spouse while I was slaving away at the office.  Judah chose this outfit 100% all by himself.  He has an inordinate love of stripes, especially red stripes and has thrown many a meltdown tantrum when we don't let him wear this exact combo.  I can no longer be held responsible for how my son looks in public--he has a (deranged) mind of his own and clothing aesthetics is just not a battle worth fighting.

#2--This year we bought our first house where we plan on living in until the kids move out to college, God willing.  And to me, nothing says house in the burbs like opening presents under a tree on Christmas morning.

Actually, we almost didn't get a tree this year--I was too overwhelmed by everything else to even contemplate the whole tree thing--and Target, Home Depot and Michael's were completely sold out.  Randomly I went to my local Rite Aid and lo and behold--they had an awesome fake tree marked 60% off.  And that is the story of how Rite Aid saved Christmas.

And the #1 Best Mommy Moment of the Year........drumroll please.......
The moment I found out I was preggo with Baby #2!

We had tried for an uncomfortably and somewhat nervously long while and finally, unbelievably, seemingly randomly, it happened!  I hesitated putting this pic up since it's so...biological.  But it really does capture the best moment of 2012 for me as a mom.

I took this test at around 6:00 am in the morning, well before the spouse would wake up and took this pic since I needed evidence to show him before it faded away!  I was soooo excited for him to wake up and see this in an email attachment and wet his pants in joy, that I ruined the whole moment.  I just couldn't wait for his normal wake up time.  I actually prodded him awake way too early and shouted at him to CHECK YOUR EMAIL!  Which he grumpily did, stared at the pic befuddled, and grunted something incomprehensible after I explained everything.

What a buzz kill.

But in RETROSPECT--this was an awesome moment.  Indeed, the MOST awesome moment of 2012.  With #2 we feel like our family is complete.  Done.  Finito.  Just right.

It's always hard to predict the future, but I'm pretty sure the Most Awesome Moment of 2013 will be when we get to meet this new dude.

Any day now...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

From Us to You

In lieu of real Christmas cards (do I really need to explain why we didn't have real cards this year?) we send you this awesome virtual card:

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Judah demonstrates the joy of receiving...a new mini-kitchen set!
May this new year bring you all your heart's desires.

Judah demonstrates the pain of learning to share his new mini-kitchen set.

And may your mom never be required to force you to share.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Les Miserables

Sometimes I just have to marvel at this whole parenting thing.

Every sociological survey shows the same thing--parents are miserable creatures.  On every possible scale of happiness, parents of young kids score significantly lower than people without kids.

And man, is that an obvious 'duh' conclusion to me.  As a parent, I realize now that sleeping more than 3 hours at a time is a privilege.  Not a right.  A privilege.

And so is eating when you're STARVING.  And private bathroom time.  I can't tell you how many times I'm trying to have a private moment in the bathroom and for some inexplicable reason my toddler is there.  Even if I tell the spouse that I'M IN THE BATHROOM SO DON'T TAKE HIM NEAR ME--after about 20 seconds of alone time I'll hear "Let's see what mommy's doing.  Let's go find mommy."  WTH?!

And you know your life is sad when going to the office feels like going on vacation.  How sad when you happily exchange the stress of constantly wrangling with your kid with the stress of high-pressure deadlines and cranky bosses.  At least my cranky boss doesn't follow me into the bathroom stall and whine unceasingly when I'm on the phone or surfing the internet for 5 minutes.

The other day, in utter exhaustion, I told my spouse "I think we made a huge mistake having a kid.  Huge mistake."  It was yet another long day of wrangling and administering multiple time-outs and all I wanted was to have a peaceful dinner, with the spouse, in front of the tv, watching whatever documentary Tivo deemed worthy of our preferences.  That's not asking much right?

Do you know when the last time we got to do that was?

That's right, before the kid was born.

Now we never watch Frontline.  We never even eat at the same time.  Come to think of it, we never go on dates.  We never go on hikes.  We never watch movies in the theater.  We never go to restaurants.  We never go shopping.  So in short...we never have fun.

All this to say, why do people do this to themselves?

Maybe with your first kid, you didn't know any better.  You were young, ignorant and childless.  But why do people then have a second kid?  And some have even more after that?!

Because.  As a parent, you discover an amazing paradox.  There are moments.  Brief shining moments when you realize there's something so inexpressibly divine about loving another human being simply for no other reason than his existence.

There's something so incredibly freeing about being completely tied down.

To give your whole self without reserve and without conditions.  To make your happiness forever and directly proportional to the happiness of another.

To love with your whole heart.

As that great last line sung by Jean Valjean reminds us (sigh, yet another awesome movie I will probably never see in the theater thanks to parenthood)--to love another person is to see the face of God.

Who knew wiping another person's poop day in and day out is indeed holy ground?

Saturday, December 15, 2012


It's often said the opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.

To make someone feel truly awful, just ignore him.

If you hate them, revile them, insult them, rage against them, at least they know they are worthy of your attention, however negative.

But if you simply ignore them, they realize they are worthless--their existence has no significance whatsoever.

There is a theory that massive public shootings, starting from Columbine, are motivated by the desire to be known.  Notoriety, revilement, negative attention (even posthumous) is better than no attention whatsoever.  Better to be significantly hated, than to have no significance.  Period.

I don't really follow the details of mass shootings very closely, but my vague recollection is that all of the gunmen have been loners, outsiders, marginalized outliers in their respective communities.  This current gunman most certainly was.

We ignore the marginalized at our peril.  And we publicize them posthumously at our peril as well.

May the press and public not reward this kind of behavior.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sh*t Just Got Real

When I think about the fact that there's only 4 weeks until my due date, I kind of want to cry--just curl up in a fetal position (how appropriate) under my covers and cry.

If this baby comes even just a little bit early, we are really screwed.

Here's a list of all the things I have NOT done yet:
--find an OB in my new city.  EEEK!
--register at the labor and delivery department in the hospital in my new city.
--find someone to watch Judah while I'm giving birth.
--find someone to help with the newborn after the birth.
--dig out Judah's old baby stuff--all still in boxes!
--obtain and install an infant car seat.
--unpack 80% of our crap from the move.

It just seems like daily maintenance chores takes up 95% of the day--and the list of to-dos just gets longer, no matter how much I manage to cross off.  Yes, some progress has been made, but for every one thing I do, 3 new things manage to pop up!  It's like a whack-a-mole game from hell.

These days I'm so stressed out of my mind I think I have a permanent scowl on my face and the poor spouse has had to put up with my incredibly short fuse and grumpy disposition for weeks.

Of course it doesn't help that I like to distract myself from my stress and misery by surfing FB and other sites periodically throughout the day.  Argh.

It's times like these I really need to just keep looking forward instead of regretting the time I've wasted and the fears and what-ifs that may or may not happen.  As Daenerys Targaryen, the Stormborn, the Unburnt, Mother of Dragons, Trueborn Queen of the Andals, Rhoynar and the First Men (so sue me, I'm a Game of Thrones nerd) always says:

If I look back, I am lost.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Another one for the virtual scrapbook

Last week I was about to leave your room after putting you to bed when we had this short exchange:

Me:  Okay, good night Judah.  Mommy's leaving now.
Judah: No!  No mommy, don't leave!
Me:  Sorry Judah, Mommy has to go sleep in her own bed.
Judah: Okay, but don't close the door though.

What?!  You know the proper usage of the conjunction 'though'?!

Thursday, December 06, 2012


Every night (pretty much since Judah slept through the night around 9 months) I've been gripped with fear as I torture myself with thoughts that Judah might be kidnapped from his bed while I'm sound asleep.

To make matters worse, I like to wear earplugs to bed because I married Mr. Snoresalot.  I can't hear a thing with those things on!

Many's a time I actually got up out of my comfy bed at 2 am and laid next to Judah's bedroom door, like a human guard-dog--so gripped by fear was I that an intruder might come and take my precious baby.  I'm not proud of it...but it's the sad, sad truth.

So yesterday, I finally decided to arm myself with some knowledge--well, actually I was too tired and lazy so I asked the spouse to arm me with some knowledge by googling 'kidnappers'.

Apparently, in 1999 (yeah, these kidnap sites need to update their stuff) only 115 kids in America were kidnapped by strangers (80% or so are kidnapped by a family member or acquaintance).  Of the stranger kidnappings, the vast majority happen either on the street, or the kid is lured into the kidnapper's car.  There is almost no incidence of a kid being kidnapped from a home invasion.

And, sadly for parents of girls, the vast majority of stranger kidnappings are of girls.

So, turns out stranger kidnapping of boys from their home at night is pretty rare--one might even say, nonexistent.

Thank goodness!  Knowledge really is power.  For the first time in a long time, I slept like a baby last night.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Mommy Has a Sad

Today sucked.

We spent 2 terrifying hours in the ER  to have a doctor check out a major contusion Judah got from a horrible fall.  He basically ran, nose-first, into the sharp edge of a bookcase that the spouse was constructing on the floor.  His entire body weight and all his momentum fell squarely and solely on his poor little nose.

We're going to tell people we enrolled him in the Toddler edition of UFC.  You should see the other 2 year old!

As the blood started pooling and the swelling began, we freaked out and hurriedly rushed to the nearest hospital, cursing every stoplight along the way.  We tried putting ice on it right away but quickly gave up when Judah screamed bloody murder each time.  So much for that.

The entire wait time, the spouse kept saying how Judah's nose was probably broken and there might be some painful 'resetting' needing to be done.  Thanks for scaring the crap out of me honey.  We braced ourselves for the worst.

In the end, the doctor sent us home with some neosporin and an icepack (which remains unused).  Nothing serious, apparently, just a really badly bruised nose.

As the hours ticked by, I kept replaying the event in my head.  Could we have prevented it?  Was there anything we could've done?  And honestly, my quick conclusion was and still is--no.  There's just no way we could've anticipated or prevented this--short of putting him in a strait-jacket and/or human cage.

There's just a hundred and one ways a crazy active toddler can hurt himself and there's just no sane way to really protect him all that much.  But that certainly didn't stop me from being a crazy vigilante after we came home.

Judah acted like nothing happened and even started skipping around the same fatal bookshelf.  How does this guy not have a healthy fear of that evil object now?!  He gallavanted about the house like he was invincible and I hovered around him closely, shouting constantly--don't run!  be careful!  don't touch that!

Sigh.  I know this is all futile.  He's a crazy active boy and one day (maybe more than once) he's going to break some major bone(s).  So what's a mom to do?

I know the right answer is to let go and accept the inevitable.  But seriously, I'm thinking...look into full-body armor for kids?  Padded helmets maybe?