The Goose is Getting Fat

So, this is going to sound strange, since Halloween is on Sunday, but I've been thinking about Christmas lately, and I need your help.

Last year Greg's siblings decided to stop exchanging gifts, except for Leah, which makes me feel 1) bad that they still buy for Leah while they don't have children for me to buy for, and 2) a little sad that I don't get the thrill of finding the perfect gift for them, which is seriously one of the best highs in life for me, and 3) so grateful for the extra time and money that I've gained as a result of my shopping list being cut in half. 

I casually mentioned this idea to my sister last year and she shot it down before I even got the words out.  Therefore, I still exchange gifts with my siblings.  Which is fine with me, because I like the idea of exchanging, and I like the idea of not exchanging, so I have the best of both worlds.

I do want to know, however, what others are doing out there.  Are adults still exchanging with siblings?  How about siblings' spouses?  Do you just keep it to your parents and the kids in the family?  Do you do a grab bag?  Card?  Coal? 

And, once you've answered all of those questions, tell me: what are you getting your sister, brother, sister's boyfriend, brother's wife, and dad?  Because I am at a total loss this year.  TOTAL. LOSS.

Ok, thank you!


My Baby Loves Babies

So, can we just talk about how adorable my child is with little babies?  Recently, it seems like a lot of people we know have had babies, or are about to.  I tell her about them; show her pictures of them.  We practice saying their names.

She talks about them non-stop.  She tells me she's going to give them bottles, passies, and tickle them.

She wants to hold them...with NO HELP please and NO PILLOW on her lap please. 

She gives her dolls their names.  She calls me back into her room after I put her to bed so that we can talk for just a little longer about them. 

Oh, and when we see them:  it's kisses galore!

I've mentioned that my friend Lan had a baby recently and we've brought some of Leah's things to her so that she can borrow them.  I thought that leaving Leah's bouncy seat and bumbo chair would not go over well, but boy, was I wrong.  She loved letting the baby use her things and didn't mind leaving them with him either.

She's been getting so big lately, getting so much more mature, saying so much more.  There are still tough times and days in which I am wondering where I keep my rope (to tie her down for like one minute!  Not to hang myself or anything, ha ha HA HA HA) but I can see us turning a corner on the bad behavior.  I can see the light sorta glimmering through at the end of the tunnel. 



I Was Wrong...34 is Awesome!

I had a wonderful birthday.  Turning 34 was not that bad.  I've been told that NEXT year is the year that I should be afraid of. 

On Saturday afternoon, I got my hair cut and colored which, since I've had a child, is a real treat.

I only did three loads of laundry on that day, which is rare for a Saturday.

I drank many glasses of wine, which, er, is actually very normal for a Saturday. 

My girlfriends took me out to dinner.

I wasn't hungover the next day, which is a birthday miracle.

I had a great day and I no longer feel bad about turning 34. 

However, now I'm dreading next year.



They Say It's...just another day. Please.

Tomorrow I turn 34. 


It sounds so mom-jeans, sensible flats, short-hair cut, right?  I'm a 34 year old mom.  I wear spanx.  I have random grays .  I have to pluck a chin hair that shows up inexplicably every three weeks.

When I was young I never really thought about my 30s.  They were old years--years that I didn't need to worry about--because they were so far off into the future.  And, now, I'm planted firmly in the middle of them, and, strangely enough, I spend a lot of time worrying these days.

I spent the day I turned 30 alone.  By choice.  I took the day off and spent it hanging around in my house.  Probably doing laundry.  I had told Greg that I didn't want any fanfare; I just wanted to quietly coast into the decade.  And then in November of that year, he totally ignored my wishes and threw me a surprise party.  The following June, we were married, and then in July, found out I was pregnant. 

30 was a good year.

I was 4 months pregnant when I turned 31.  My family took me out to dinner a few weeks later when we could all free our schedules on the same day.  We ate at an Italian restaurant on the boardwalk in town that didn't have fried calamari.  (Can you believe?)  Greg's mom was up visiting from Myrtle Beach.  Later on, back at my house, she took a picture of my parents sitting on my couch.  The last one.

My mom died a month later; I was in a car accident in January of '08, and then Leah was born in March.  I rallied through what I now know was a slight case of post pardum depression mixed with mourning that would just not go away.  I tried to be the best mom I could be, but there were some days that I didn't think I would make it.

32 was more of same.  I finally came to grips with the fact that my mom was NEVER going to meet Leah.  Despite the fact that I don't think of myself as all that dumb, I had the hardest time processing that my mom would never meet Leah, even though she was, you know, DEAD.  I don't know why.  I mean, I knew my mom had died before Leah was born, but I just couldn't accept that she would never see what I made.  Never meet this kid. 

I realized in year 32 that life was going to be very different now that we had a child.  We would have to, you know, always care for her and spend a lot of time and money on her and she was going to be here for a while.  And we didn't want it any other way, but it was a reality check of the kid kind.

33 was sort of a reality check of the adult kind.  The economy was uncertain and so were our salaries.  Greg's field was no longer a sure thing while mine was growing.  So we tried something new: he would spend more time at home with Leah with his flexible work schedule while I would continue to work full time, putting in long days, and attempting (sometimes badly) to not resent him for getting to spend more time with our daughter. 

I still thought a lot about my mom and couldn't understand why I wasn't getting over her death.  I started this blog; I joined Facebook; I found support and kind words from more people than I could ever imagine.

And now, 34. 


I feel like I'm this work in progress and I'm never going to finish. 

My goal for 34 is to find some balance and contentment and a little more happiness. 

My goal for right now is to find some potato chips.




I'd love to tell you that she is currently entranced by a Scientist that I have come to the house every Wednesday night to go over the teachings of Einstein, the music of Beethoven, and the musings of Confucius.

But, actually, she's watching The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and it's the episode where Goofy rides his bike upside down, and that's pretty mesmerizing to a two year old.

We're keeping it real here.



The Big Fish Bowl in the Sky

I put Leah to bed 30 minutes ago.  We followed the same routine as we do every night:

1) She puts her finger out and I apply "teeth medicine" (Ambesol) for her to apply to her gums.

2) She puts her finger out and I allow her to dip her finger into the "lip gloss" (Vaseline) to which she applies to her lips.

3) She then looks at me and says, "Ooh, my beddy (belly) hurts.  I need some beddy medicine." And then I open the Vicks and let her take a dab to put on her belly. 

Editor's note: I would let her apply the Vicks without the pretend pain, but I love hearing her pretend, night after night, that her belly starts to hurt at the exact moment that we complete the lip gloss routine.  I play into too.  "Oh, your belly hurts?  Well, then we better get some medicine for that!" 

And then while she situates herself amongst her 40 blankets and NumNum (a stuffed Snoopy) I feed Fishy, her blue beta fish that I have hated taken care of since my wonderful sister gave Leah the fish back in June. 

Except tonight, Fishy was not swimming amongst his plastic cave and vegitation. 

Because Fishy is dead.

Just floating there on the top of the bowl, sideways.  I made a face when I noticed and flung my head back a bit, to which Eagle Eyes over there said, "What happened Mom?  What happened?" 

To which I replied, "Oh, Fishy is so hungry tonight!  He surprised me!" 

And, for once in her life she just accepted that and didn't ask to witness the event. 

So, I left dead Fishy in the bowl and continued with the bedtime routine and texted Greg the minute I got out of there that he had a funeral to hold tomorrow morning.

So, what exactly should we tell her?  This isn't our first pet that has died, but this is the first pet that has died in the house.  This will certainly be the first pet that is flushed down the toilet, and, considering that it's very difficult to do anything in this house behind a locked door, she might very well witness the event.  She is older now than she was when we lost Doozer.  She remembers things now.  She talks in full sentences now.  She tells me when I have boogers in my nose and when I dribble food down my shirt.  Things are different now and I'd rather not scar her this early in life.  There will be many times in the future for that.

Should we say that Fishy is in heaven?  That's what we say about Doozer.  Also, about Grandma Pat.  However, I don't think she really knows what heaven means, as a couple of weeks ago she screamed, "Grandma Pat!  Grandma Pat!" as a woman who lives around the block and has the same hair cut as my mother did, drove by.

I was like, "What?!  That's not Grandma Pat!  That's ____________ (I'm protecting the innocent.)!  Grandma Pat?  Wha?  She's in heaven.  Do you remember that?  That means that she's not driving down our street in her Camry.  Really?  Grandma Pat?  I uh, here, have a lollipop."

So, anyway, back to Fishy.  If there is anyone reading who has been in this situation, how do you suggest we do this?  Comments welcome!


Let Me Clarify

So, I think that I might have portrayed myself as slightly agitated last week.  You post one little list of things that suck and before you know it, your friends are afraid to answer your calls, your sister won't look you in the eye, and your husband is planning an Anger Intervention. 

Yes, I might have been having a rough week, but I didn't mean to come off as an outraged, bitter hag.  And I'm afraid that people are going to caese inviting me to their homes for fear that I'll judge their clutter.  Fear not, friends, I am not judging your clutter.  I didn't write that list about your clutter.   I wrote it about the clutter of strangers.  Honestly, I apologize for judging and for admitting that I judge and if I could take one thing off the list it would be the sentence about how I'm judging your clutter.  I'm not.  Believe me.  For real.  I'm too busy sneaking a glance in your medicine cabinet.  See!  Not seeing your clutter!  Seeing your Advil!

But, I think the one thing that I mentioned on the list that struck a chord with most people was, well, it was obviously the one that spoke of my hatred of John Lithgow.


No, it was the one about having another child.  Listen, asking me and Greg if we want more children is fine.  Questioning us on if we are thinking of having other kids is acceptable.  Telling us how life changed when you went from one to two, or four to five or whatever, is cool.  Giving advice on how you think having more than one child is beneficial is a-ok.

Telling me that I am wrong when I say I have one child right now and that's how I like it is unacceptable.  And I shouldn't have to apologize for that. 



Second Verse, Same As The First

Yes, it's Friday again, and I am exhausted.  As much as I am upset that Leah is a dance drop-out, I'm looking forward to getting the opportunity to sleep in tomorrow.

So help me if the other two people in this house don't realize that I am sleeping in tomorrow. 

Actually, so help them.

An oldie but goody.


A Typical Saturday

For us, a typical Saturday could start with some dance lessons...

However, a typical Saturday from now on will most definitely NOT include dance lessons, as I have finally come to terms with the fact that Leah is not ready to attend dance class without Mommy in the room, which, at the dance school, is not really permitted.  Explain to me how she's all this club can't even handle me with the dance moves and the boogying and the singing, but ONLY  if I'm standing in the room and ONLY while she's standing next to me?  I mean, I am just going to wait in the lobby with the rest of the Moms and I will see you in 45 minutes!  But no.  One teensy move by me towards the door and she is screaming, crying, throwing herself on the floor. Honestly, though, it's not worth it.  Neither one of us is enjoying ourselves.  So, we are say la vieing Perfect Pointe. This of course hurts in a big way, because dance was such a huge part of my childhood, but there is no rule that says that dance lessons can't happen at home in the living room while wearing pajamas.  With coffee.  

The coffee's for me.   You knew that, right? 

Afterwards, we might venture on over to New Hyde Park, to visit our friend Lan at LIJ Hospital who just had a baby boy!  He is so stinkin' cute.  We cannot wait to go back and visit him again.  We love him!

And after that, it might be back to Sparta to attend a birthday party for our friend Andy who turned 7.  Let me ask you something: if the party goes from 4-7 p.m. and you arrive at 8 p.m, is that bad?  No, right?

Thank the lord there were cheese balls!

And then it could be time to get ready for bed.  We promote healthy dental hygiene in our house.

And, if all of those things happened, a typical Saturday night might end in front of the fire under a snuggy.  Hopefully with some vino.

Ok, a lot of vino.



The Healing Corner: Abbe's Story; Part Three

Pat and Me

We didn’t become friends as kids playing ball or dressing up dolls. We didn’t become friends as teens, giggling about boys. We became friends and in-law status in our young adulthood.

Ironically, we were pulling at opposite directions from the same nucleus. She was about to get married and learning to establish herself as a wife and learning to navigate away from her parents, and I was involved with her oldest brother Ray meshing into the family.

I met Ray in July 1974. We fell in love pretty much from the get go as we found ourselves on the same page on just about everything. Within a few weeks we knew we would one day get married and even imagined our children. Pat and Enzo were going to get married on August 25 and he wanted me to not only attend the wedding but come to meet his family for the very first time. Now mind you this was the 1970’s…I was a different religion and cross religions were just starting to become more accepted at that point, but still worth taking a few gulps about how we were going to be viewed by family members.

So here I was looking forward to my journey with Ray and his family and Pat was looking forward to moving into her new household with Enzo.

A few months later I moved to North Jersey. While taking a few weeks to plant myself to find work and an apartment, Pat and Enzo opened their newlywed home to me for a couple of weeks until I was able to get settled. Pat guided me the way to the right doctors, the right hairdressers, all her own personal connections.

The four of us started going out socially. We went to dinner, we went to plays in NYC, we went to concerts as young couples do.

The fight…..oy vey.

Every Sunday night all the brothers, sisters and any friends came to Mom and Pop’s for dinner. There was always a full house and full tummies. Football added to the excitement. After football season every Sunday night we all went bowling, ice skating, or somewhere of fun.

One Sunday night we were all there as usual. Let me preface that as much as I love Ray and he was goodhearted, the man could be one stubborn obstinate soul. Enzo, oh yeahhhh very much the same way. Pat went over to the toaster to heat a sandwich. Ray was waiting his turn to heat is when Pat snuck in. Ray tossed out some words just as a sibling would do, part in jest, part meaningful cause he just didn’t take crap from anyone, including his sister. Enzo resented how she was spoken to. The next thing you know these two stubborn, obstinate pigheaded men started pushing and shoving. Pat and Enzo went home. Typical family scenario, and everyone was buzzing about the fight.

Pat and I spoke the following day and worked it out between us about our stubborn, pigheaded obstinate men. However, the guys didn’t quite see it the same way. They didn’t speak for three years, no matter how we pleaded with them.

In some crazy way, now that I can look back, I do admire those stubborn, pigheaded obstinate men (have I mentioned that yet?) Why?? Because no matter how pigheaded and stubborn and obstinate they were, they still accompanied Pat and I to family affairs, dinners and dances, even though you could cut the tension with a knife. They did this because they believed in family and understood the importance of it no matter how much this silly argument rocked their pride.

Then one day when we least expected it one of them asked the other to pass the salt at the dinner table. Pat’s eyes went to mine, mine went to hers and we didn’t dare say a word of what we noticed in fear that we might ruin this Hallmark moment of two pigheaded obstinate stubborn men that we loved with all our hearts. Eventually after a few more occasions of us being pushed together conversation started to become easier and eventually the residue of the argument was non existent.

Pat and I rejoiced ~~ our families were growing and we were feeling comfortable around each other again.

We continued our friendship even though we had move down the shore. We compared notes of child bearing , the new Osh Kosh’s that came out. She would call me in a panic that she couldn’t find a particular toy for the holidays and I would find it down the shore and bring it up.

We shared a friendship. We shared a family. Gosh how I miss that woman!


A List of Things That Suck

1) Stores that expect you to bring your cart back to the cart area after you've emptied your bags into your trunk.  It's like if you came to my job in the hopes of getting some solar panels on your home and I asked you to do my filing too.  Oh,  you'd like to get an alternate form of energy?  Ok, here, answer my email.

1a) Stores that you have to put a quarter in the cart in order to unlock it and use it.  They think this is some clever way of getting you to return your cart to the cart area once you're done.  No, this is just one more thing for me to worry about the entire ride to the store, because I can't remember if I used my last quarter and I start panicking and looking around the car for a quarter and I break into a sweat.  I have a long food shopping trip to get through and I am starting off with a nice panicked drive to the store.  Jeez!  Shop Rite!!  You suck!!

2) People who purposely pull into a lane that they know is going to eventually merge into the same lane they just came from but is moving (slightly) faster.  Oh, wow, you just went a whole four car lengths ahead.  Oh!  And now you're cutting back in front of me!  You are so clever.  If clever means a jerk.

3) People who continually lie despite the fact that their lies are ridiculously unbelievable.  Please just stop.  You don't own a lot of real estate but keep your job at the plant just for fun.  Or, you.  You didn't hang out with NeNe last month in Atlanta. 

4) John Lithgow.

5) Clutter.  Oh, and I guess I should just come clean.  I not only dislike clutter in my house, but I dislike clutter in yours too.  I know I said that I don't mind it in your house, but that might not be true.  I'M SORRY!

6) Scooping kitty litter.  This, like John Lithgow, needs no explanation.

7) When people tell me to have another kid.  I'm going to break this one down.  Here's the thing:  the fact that I don't have an additional child means either 1) I don't want another child, or 2) I can't have another child.  Either one of those situations appear to be none of your business.  So, why keep telling me what to do?  If my case is number 1, then please realize I have my (private) reasons and it's rude to tell another adult what to do, and if my case is number 2, please realize how insensitive and hurtful your statement may be.

8) Laundry.  Mother-effing laundry. 


Some Hypotheticals...

Some of us wake up at ye ole' butt crack and get dressed in the dark so as not to wake up our husbands.  What we really don't need is for our new shirt to have, not only a tag, but a sticker, an XL sticker, that isn't noticed until 9 hours later in our work bathroom mirror.  Oh, gee, has this enormous extra-large sticker been on my back all day?  Wow.  Thanks, Kohls. 

Some people think that, because they want peanut butter on their cracker immediately-right-this-minute-not-a-minute-later, it's totally acceptable to scream at their mom in her face and expect that cracker, with peanut butter-don't-you-dare-forget-that-lady, post haste.  Those people would be wrong.  Very, very wrong.  Those people also find themselves in bed a half hour early.

Some husbands think that, after spending their day off tending to their daughter, retreating to the couch the second their wife gets home from work and not moving from that position for the rest of the night, thereby leaving their wife to clean up dinner, the house, and the kid alone, after she left the house 11 hours previously to go and work all day at her job, is going to be received well.  The husbands that do that don't get lucky...not that it matters, since they've been sleeping on the couch since 6:30 p.m. anyway. 

Some women cannot get into their heads that they are only one person and find themselves overbooking their weekends to the point that bathroom breaks are going to be a tight squeeze.  I have to sit down and write out a game plan for tomorrow in order to fit in everything that I need to do.  I never learn.   Luckily I don't have to put out tonight.

Have a good one, folks.  Cheers!


Brought To You By Coffee

Sometimes having kids feels like doing time for a crime you didn't commit.  I mean, yes, technically, with regards to Leah, I did "commit the crime."  I mean, we wanted her, and she's here due to us.  But, there are times when taking care of her seems really exhaustive and heavy and just plain tough.

I was talking to a co worker who is child-free, by choice.  He spent the weekend babysitting his 5 year-old neice, and today, Wednesday, he's still recuperating from the weekend.  He just doesn't understand how people can do this day in and day out, like deal with kids, all the time.  And, he's right.  I don't know how I do it.

We spend a lot of time in the car.  And Leah must talk, question, comment, and narrate the entire time she's in the car.  There's a lot of "Look, Mommy"s too.  It's non-stop.  When I pick her up from my sister's house on Wednesdays and am in the thick of a 45-minute commute in rush hour traffic after working for 9 straight hours, the last thing I want to do is "Look at my knee, Mommy!  Look at my sock!  Oh, man!  There's a bus!"  And if she doesn't get a reaction she will keep going, louder and louder, until she does.  So, we have a conversation for the duration of the entire ride.  Every ride.  Every day. 

Now, I don't want you all to think that I'm complaining about parenthood, because I'm not.  Much.  I knew it would be tough and challenging.  Not as tough and challenging as it actually is, but still, I had an idea.  What I'm saying is that despite the challenges, we still do it.  We still have kids.  We still run ourselves ragged taking care of them and tending to their needs.  We still think about them and worry about them.  We kiss, hug, cuddle, and snuggle them.   We love them to pieces.  More than we ever thought possible.  It's worth it.  It must be, right?

Despite being woken up at 5 a.m. this morning to the words, "I want pancakes now!" I never regret the day Greg and I decided to become parents.  I can't even remember life without Cha Cha.  And I don't want to...because I was probably well rested and energetic and richer.  And, really, who wants to think about that?



Guess What We Did This Weekend...

Clue 1: We do it every weekend.

Clue 2: 

Clue 3: She seems to enjoy it, although I really, really don't.


Diaper Days

I'm sure after Thursday's post, some of you were horrified:  "What?!  Diapers?! She still needs to buy diapers?!"

Yes.  Yeeeeeesssssss.  It is with great sadness and despair that I tell you all, we are still wearing diapers.   Actively.  Not sometimes.  Not occassionally.  Always.

That doesn't mean that she's not also using the potty.  She is.  Sometimes 2-3 times a day.  But, not enough to warrant getting rid of the diapes.  Underwear doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of staying dry, and I caught her trying to clean up an accident she had in her underpants without me knowing, which means she was embarassed/shamed/upset/pick one/whatever, which is not the feeling we want to harbor in the house about accidents.  So, I stopped asking her if she wants to wear underpants...because I don't want to spend my nights laundering them.

I know the training will come eventually, and we'll look back on our potty-training trials and tribulations and laugh (probably not laugh, more like cry) but it doesn't mean that these days, I can't fall to my knees, throw my hands up to the sky and sob dramatically,

"Why me?!  Oh god, whhhyyyyy????  For the love of all that is good and holy, have I not suffered enough?  Does the world just hate me?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!  Little old me???!!!!!"

A little too dramatic?  I'm sorry; it's been a long week.