Monday, September 27, 2010

Snoozer Takes Manhattan!

New York!

Shit, NYC is DIFFICULT with a baby.

But we had a lovely time, thank you.

The Snooze humors his mama for a brief face pic at Taco Taco on the East Side.

Damn! This city is loud. But I will do my best to be heard over the din, y'all.

We took Hendrik to the park where we got engaged.

M. Gell-Mann. Please forgive the typo, M.

The exact scene of the crime. (I was ridiculously excited, btw.)

Koos's store on Madison Avenue. (Shout out!)

My boys.



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

BAB Blah Blah BlazZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Hendrik, Overlord of the Manor. Will destroy you nomnomnom.

Remember when I told you the Body after Baby Project would continue?

Dudes, I lied.

Not intentionally or anything, but lo, I am so, so tired.

So very tired.

It's 7:13 AM. Can I paint you a picture of my night?

Babe went to bed early-ish, at 7:30 PM.

That dude was up at 10:30, 12:30, 3:30, 5, and finally 6:30, when I brought him into bed with me and put on Sesame Street. Sesame Street! There was a time when my children were going to watch no television. I don't even know who I am anymore.

Um, so? The BAB project? It is totally still happening over here, but I can't update you with any regularity. Most people hated it anyway, and the blogger who began the deal? She quit like 8 weeks ago. None of us can hack it because we're all so sleep-deprived.

What else? I am running. Trying to run. I am achy though. My limbs hurt. My shoulders ache. I continue, even though my runs often morph into run/walks.

I fell down my front steps the other day. My pride and my pedicure were severely damaged, but no insomniac four-month old babes were injured.

Hendrik? He's watching Baby Van Gogh in his Rainforest Jumperoo. He loves this shit. He squeals with delight at Vincent Van Goat and all of his colors. I pray he is actually learning, because Sweet Jesus, this child is high-maintenance. A mama has to put you down once in a while, little one.

Finally, J - did I spill beer on your laptop? Or was that you? It smells a little like a frat house. I love you, by the way.

We're going to New York this weekend. H's first foray into Manhattan! I hope I can stay awake for it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Four Months: Partners in Crime

Yesterday, I took you to your first Gymboree class. Oddly enough, I'd actually been to Gymboree before. It was 2006, and I was in Syracuse on business. An associate and I had just finished up lunch at Bangkok Thai when he informed me his wife and new baby were next door taking a class. We entered to say hello and we observed women dancing around with their babies, singing goofy songs and shaking them on a giant parachute.

I thought: what the fuck?

In 2010, I think very differently.

Yesterday, I couldn't find the Gymboree. The class is actually in a church basement, and we got very, very lost. I finally located the Armenian Catholic building, and we dashed inside, about 15 minutes late for a 45-minute class.

"Ah well, man," I said to you as you sat mumbling in the back seat. "Thirty minutes of Gymboree is better than nothing, right?"

And so we walked into a class already in progress, and I yanked you out of your car seat and ran in to join. I gave the instructor a sheepish smile, and quietly apologized for our tardiness. She asked our names, and then: 'Do you have a blanket for him?"

I ran back across the room where I had thrown the diaper bag, and praise Jesus I pulled out a receiving blanket.

We ran back to join the crowd again, when I noticed suddenly that I was the only mama with bare feet.

"Oh - are we supposed to have socks on?" I whispered to a kind-looking mom next to me. She nodded. "They're in the back."

And so we ran back to where the car seat and the diaper bag where strewn, and grabbed the goddamn socks. The kind-looking mom offered to hold you while I clumsily put them on and then attempted to smooth out your blanket on the mat.

I didn't know any of the songs or procedures at Gymboree. I self-consciously eyed up the other mothers, looking for cues. At one point our instructor pulled out a giant mirror and placed it in the middle of the floor for tummy time, and you promptly spit up all over it. "Not cool, buddy," I whispered, giggling. I had no burp cloth to clean you up with, so I removed your bib to do the job. You didn't really stop spitting up, though, and eventually your blanket was covered in spew.

Oh man, kid: I am sorry to have embarrassed you on your first day of school. I swear I will be better-prepared when you start kindergarten.

But despite all my fumbling? You giggled and laughed the entire class. You gaped at the other babies, and you grinned wildly as I pretended to know the words to the songs, and waved Gymbo, the scary-ass puppet clown in your tiny face.

And I laughed right along with you, and didn't mind that I was making a fool of myself, or that 26 year-old me would have been mortified on my behalf. You and me, H. Partners in crime. You jump, I jump, ya dig?

Happy Four Month Birthday, sweet, sweet boy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Citizens of the Internet, as you are well-aware, my love for Oprah knows no bounds.

And yesterday, as I watched the first episode of the farewell season, I decided that starting today (or, yesterday, but you get it), I will live like OPRAH.

Consider it my new mission in life.

O danced onstage with John Travolta (who looked a little like a wax figure, but we will forgive him that since he is effortlessly charming and adorable), and early on in the hour a woman in the audience discussed how a moment on the show changed her life. John T. had given a heartfelt toast on O's 50th birthday, in which he said something akin to: the world is better because you are in it, and this woman decided in that moment that she wanted people to say the same of her. So she went to Africa and volunteered and built impoverished African babies a home.

And watching this moment, about that moment, I thought:

Me too.

I want the world to be better because I am in it. I like to think that my work as a mother is moving me towards that goal (Ambassador Hendrik, anyone?), but there needs to be more.

I'm still cogitating, but during Oprah's farewell season, I will become a better HomeValley.

And now, here is my baby:

Believe you me: he's awesome.

He's also 14 pounds, 15 ounces, and 26 inches long. Dang!

Friday, September 03, 2010

99 Problems

J took off from work today, so last night he relegated me to the guest bedroom. His plan was to take care of the babe all night, and allow me to get the first full night sleep I've had... well, since Hendrik was born.

I was touched by his offer, and immediately agreed, only to have second thoughts at bedtime.

"It's fine," I told him. "I'll sleep in the room with you, and you can just take care of him when he cries."

"Absolutely not," sayeth J. "Get lost."

And then: I cried.

I don't know why I cried. I wasn't sure I could renege my motherly duties, I s'pose. I wasn't going far (just a floor above my boys). But despite my continued histrionics, J finally closed our bedroom door in my face and I crept begrudgingly to my quarters for the night, where I read and played on my brand new iPhone, and finally - at 11 - fell asleep.

I woke at five to pump. By seven my baby was wailing for his mama. Such is life.

But if you are tired of my belly-aching, saddle up for some of Hank's. This boy's got it tough some days as well.

Happy Friday,y'all.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Front Porch and A Time Machine

Most days, H and I spend a lot of time on our front porch. Always the outdoorsman, Hendrik is comforted by the heat and the sounds of the neighborhood. He delights in the trash trucks and the dogs barking; even our plum-colored address placard makes him giggle. I love the time we spend out there.

I tell Hendrik lots of stories, usually about different adventures J and I have had. I'll describe Hagia Sophia in Turkey; or how terrified I was driving through the Jordanian desert after nightfall. I've got to talk to the kid about something, right? Plus, talking about past trips is oddly comforting. I tell myself that soon, we'll all travel again.

Yesterday morning, I regaled my little man with tales from Mama's old job. I told him that I used to wake before Dad - usually around 4:30 - and in no time I'd be off to the airport, streamlined luggage and computer bag and purse in hands. I told him what it was like to be a frequent flyer, and about the different cities I'd visit. The hotels I frequented; and the room service! Oh, the room service was exquisite, my dear boy. And mama would be deliciously self-indulgent, reading books and sipping wine and watching dreadful reality TV.

Suddenly, I was terribly sad.

I realized I'll never have that kind of freedom again. I've swapped one life for another, and now I am a different version of myself. A patient, more selfless version, yes. But also? A woman who is largely stationary.

I'm not used to staying still. I'm adjusting.

I'm officially unemployed next week. As I'm wrapping things up at work, I had to review my old credit card statements to make sure my expenses were in order.

Old AMEX statements, guys? They are actually a time machine.

I relived my life beginning at age 25, which, incidentally, included LOADS of Starbucks, Avis rental cars, Marriott hotels, US Airways flights from LaGuardia (you beautiful, dilapidated airport, you), and Hoyt Cab cars all around NYC.

There were other recurring charges too: Bangkok Thai Restaurant in Syracuse, NY, where the congenial owner comes out each afternoon to greet patrons: "Hello! Rock and Roll!"; Acapulco's in Beverly, Massachusetts, my favorite Mexican spot; Bully's in Manhattan, across the street from my old office at 44th and 3rd; several fabulous restaurants in Providence; beachside bars in Newport, Rhode Island. A few errant charges from Go Wasabi, my sushi joint in Astoria. And a million Amtrak tickets, destinations beginning and ending throughout much of the Northeast.

It feels like a million years and a different woman ago.

It's difficult for me to say good-bye to my job for many reasons; not least of which is bidding a fond farewell to the habitual wanderer I once was. And if I was going back, y'all? I'd likely be kicking and screaming, bemoaning leaving my baby when he needs me so much, when he's still up four times in the night, when each and every nap is still a battle.

I'm focusing on the positive, not least of which is sitting on our front porch, telling stories to my little boy.