Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Message for Husbands...

While I am blessed with an exceptional husband who does not neglect me on Mother's Day, I have heard of so many women who receive no special treatment on this well-deserved day of recognition because their husbands have the attitude "well you're not my mother." I think when it comes to Mother's Day being the mother to his child(ren) is almost equal as being his actual mom. Plus, women are not looking for expensive gifts (well, most non-gold digging women). We just want to be honored and appreciated at least one day of the year.

It wouldn't cost a husband a dime to write a letter to his wife that explains how much he appreciates being his daughter's mother. Or what if he does all the night-time duties one evening (from dinner to bedtime)? Husbands could simply give wives a "day off" so that they could wander around their favorite bookstore, library, park or store without a child dangling from their legs begging for mommy to "Pick me UP!" or screaming "But I want that!" Husbands could pack a special Mother's Day picnic lunch and take the family to the park or just in the background for a nice lunch. Husbands could let wives pick a romantic movie to rent (if that's your preference) without grumbling about it. Or one night let wives watch whatever tv shows they want without him flipping through the channels OR saying how dumb it is to watch another home improvement show

And, of course, who can deny the beauty of the classic breakfast in bed? Give me the NY Times, a bagel and a cup of coffee while I lounge in my oh-so-comfy bed and I am happy. Give me an hour or so by myself to read that paper and I am even happier.

Men think we are so complicated...please.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone!

Saturday, May 3, 2008


*Blogger's Note - I wrote this essay two years ago, and I have shopped it around for publication (with no luck). So I thought I would post it here to honor my daughter's third birthday.


Daylight slipped away for a second time. Time, measured by savage pulls in my uterus and ascending and descending line graphs, was working against us. At 4 o’clock in the afternoon I finally agreed to the epidural in hopes it would help, but now it was 8 p.m. My obstetrician checks me again; no progress. “What do you want to do?” While my doctor carefully explains my options, my husband clenches my hand. He is scared. I am devastated.

Over twenty-four hours ago we took the planned Sunday evening journey to the hospital for my induction. Due to a history of blood clots I had been injecting blood thinners into my abdomen since my 13th week of pregnancy. Now at my 39th week I had been experiencing sporadic labor pains for seven days, but the induction was necessary so the possibly troublesome bleeding could be controlled. As the nurse set up the fetal monitor that first evening she remarked “you may not even need Pitocin.” Pointing to the screen she confirmed what I suspected; the labor pains were real and measurable. “It looks like the Cervadil may be enough to get you going.”

My mind wandered to my highly anticipated final moments of labor. A soccer coach-like nurse stands next to my bedside holding one leg as I bear down per her instructions. I hear her matronly voice, “that’s it…good girl…more, more, more, more.” Dr. Joseph Wallis, stationed at the base of my bed, patiently tells me to “relax a bit…now you can do this.” I, of course, am propped on my elbows grunting, groaning, moaning this child loose from my seemingly spastic womb. My husband, his smooth cheek pressed up against my drenched face, tightly grasps my hand. Peter bites his lip as he does whenever he is concerned, but the hopeful glow radiates from his eyes. Just a few seconds more until she is on my chest. Pain. Pressure. “Push!” He looks at me and I at him – “she’s here.”

By Monday night, though, I am not dilated at all. Hours of labor had not produced even enough space for Dr. Wallis to break my water. I hear him say “it’s up to you. We can stop the Pitocin and try again tomorrow."

Peter holds on to my hand. “What do you think babe?” My fearful tears turn into heaving sobs. I desperately want those final moments, the ones that I had been dreaming about since we saw two lines on a stick. I could almost feel my new baby on my chest. I could see my husband’s adoring eyes sprinkling her with his tears. I want that for us, for him. I sputter, “I don’t know.” Dr. Wallis, perhaps assuming my fears were physical, reiterates my options. “We could stop now, let your body rest, and try again tomorrow. But I suspect that will not produce different results. Or we could do a C-section tonight.” My whimpers continue.

“I understand my choices,” I explain. “But I wanted…it’s just not what I…for us, I mean…I wanted that moment when…” Unable to say anymore, I pantomime my delivery dream, an odd game of charades to show what my vision of childbirth should be. It does not involve surgeon masks, bright lights, or a curtain blocking our view of the birth of our first child. “How can I let that go?” Grief consumes me again and the sobs return. “I will make sure she comes right over to you,” Dr. Wallis assures us. “Let me give you guys some time to make the decision.”

Peter sits on the side of the bed. “What is it hon? Talk to me.” After a deep cleansing breath I can speak again. I share my detailed dream of our daughter’s delivery. “I really wanted that for us. I really wanted to share experience with you.” He surveys my exhausted face. “It doesn’t matter how she is delivered. It only matters that she and you are healthy. We will have plenty of amazing family experiences together.” I sigh. “I know.”

“OK, you are going to feel some pressure,” Dr. Wallis explains as what feel like a truck thrusts into my rib cage. Peter, donning the traditional doctor garb, presses his slightly prickly cheek into mine. “You’re doing great babe. I am so proud of you.”

I look at him and he at me; simultaneously we turn our heads to the right. Our crimson-skinned baby girl seemingly floats centimeters from my face. The nurse places our daughter's cheek next to mine. “Oh my God,” I whisper. “She’s here.” I turn to my husband whose eyes sparkle as he drinks his daughter’s precious face for the first time.

This was our moment. It was perfect.  

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Do? Do?

When I became a parent, my heart exploded and my whole world opened.  I learned about simple things.  How to make a perfect bottle.  How to swaddle a newborn baby.  How to give a squirmy child a bath.  I learned about the big things too.  How to love someone unconditionally.  How to emotionally connect with someone who cannot even speak.  How to let go of my wants for her needs.  But I also learned about something else.  Something that everyone does, but few people talk about.  Something that can make someone's day or keep someone cranky (and crampy).

That's right, people, I'm talking about poop.

Who knew another person's bowel movements could create such angst or give me such satisfaction?  Since the day she left my body, we talk about Princess's poop...a lot.  Just to clarify, though, Princess has had some "digestion" issues since birth, so there was plenty of material to work with.  

By the time my baby turned 3, though, I had hoped we would have shifted our topic focus.  Alas, we have not.  Now we just focus our conversation about where she did the doody - in a pull-up or on the potty?  Every day I have to ask her teacher the same question, "Did she have a bowel movement today?"  Every night as Princess rocks side-to-side while straining to hold the poopy inside her body, I have to explain that everybody goes poop.  She requires I recall the long list of everyone we know who goes poop.  

"Yes, Daddy goes poop.  Mommy goes poop.  Your teacher goes poop.  Amanda goes poop.  Mandie goes poop.  The postman goes poop.  Our dog goes poop.  Even grandma does."  And it goes on and on.  Anyone my daughter has ever met must be included in the list.  

Do you know how unsettling it is to think about everyone you know pooping?  Sit with that for a moment, if you will.

Not pleasant, I know.

But Princess's poops continue to be my husband and mine most-frequently discussed topics (along with people who piss us off and world peace).  And it looks as though it will be that way for many months in the future.  


Friday, March 28, 2008

Bunny Love

Our princess showing the bunny some love!  There is no witty story to accompany the photo.  It was just too cute NOT to publish (in my completely biased opinion)!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Purge (the good kind)

A week off...a glorious collection of days when I do not have to sojourn down state to my job, one that I am still not sure if I like.  Well, I like that I get a week off every now and then, so let's keep it positive today, okay?

Yes, so one week off...what to do?  what to do?  Write my novel?  Finish the 3 articles I started (and by started I mean I've thought about writing them)?  Prepare an outline for my idea for a play - the opening scene I keep seeing over and over again in my head?  These are all things I keep saying I will get to - when I have time.  And yet here I am day four into actually having the time, and nada...  Oh procrastination, you cruel, cruel seductress.

BUT I did not loaf around on the couch all week, surfing tv channels and web sites (well, a bit, but I am on vacation).  No, I decided to clutter.  The junk around my house that just makes me nuts and blocks my ability to feel peaceful in my own home had to go.  So I tackled the dreaded "crap room."  You know, the room in the house where everything you don't know what to do with gets dumped.  Yep, I tore that baby up and threw out 4 huge bags of paper, knick knacks, unused photo albums, questionable gifts (does my mother-in-law even like me?) and pretty much anything else with a 1/4" of dust on it.  

And damn - it felt good.  

I now have a guest room where guests can actually put things in the closet.  I moved a small, formerly clutter-filled book shelf into our bedroom, where it magically transformed a lonely corner into a beloved book nook (complete with reading chair and lamp).   All that on day 1.  

Days 2 & 3 lead me to other rooms of the house.  I disassembled a basement corner where the remains of my product sales business had gathered to commiserate about yet another great idea I did not have the time or energy to keep up.  I cleared out the bottom of my closet, finally discarding all those shoe boxes that I kept because I was going to store my shoes in them (and yet I had 15 empty ones...perplexing, I know). 

And finally, I pillaged the junk-filled secretary desk, the one that when I splurged and ordered it from Pottery Barn I swore I would keep it neat.  Well, it is no longer a $1600 crap cabinet.  It is now a functional workspace - one that beckons me, no pleads with me, to put my shiny black laptop on its clean desk and write that article, book and script.  Yet, here I sit at the dining room table...

I think I'll go catch a movie before I pick up Princess from school.        

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Good question...

Just a short post tonight as I am really too angry to think logically or compose eloquently.  But I have to get this one off my chest.

If you don't know the answer to an important question, please ask someone.  Conduct some meaningful research.  Seek out those who did the job before you for advice.   Do not make up information, yes me to death or say you'll look into it and then not.  That does not make you look like you know what you are doing.  In the end, it makes you look like a fool, and it can have some serious consequences for innocent people.  

I always told my students that good students don't always know the right answers; good students know how to ask good questions.

The same applies to colleagues and supervisors...Grrr.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Moving On Up....

To the big girl bed.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the crib came down.  My husband unscrewed every nut and bolt, slowly dismantling it piece by piece.  And I will admit - as I watched I got a little teary-eyed.  

I remember her first night in that crib.  She was 10 weeks old and quickly outgrowing the bassinet I had tucked right next to my side of the bed since the first night we brought her home. I used to fall asleep with my hand on her soft belly so I could feel her breathe.  Her legs, though, stretched to the end of the baby cocoon (the one I once called home when I was a newborn).  So we decided to move her into the cherry crib we had carefully selected a few months before she was born.  On that first night, I sobbed after we placed her in her crib and closed the nursery door.

This weekend she pounced into her Disney princess adorned toddler bed, just the way big girls do.  She delighted in her pink comforter and her Cinderella pillowcase.  She spent all day Sunday finding excuses to go upstairs so she could nestle into her new resting spot.  It was really adorable.

When her first bedtime came, she joyfully crawled into her bed.  "Mommy," she whispered.  "Sleep next to me."  After finally believing me when I said we both could not comfortably fit into her tiny bed, Princess agreed I could rest on the floor next to her.  So I settled into a body pillow on her floor while my baby girl cuddled in for her first night in her big bed.  

As we laid there in the dark, tiny fingers crept to the side of the mattress.  "Mommy, hold my hand."  When my fingers rested on her soft palm, it was as if she was that snuggly swaddled newborn tucked safely in her tiny bassinet again...only better.  There were no tears this time as I closed that nursery door...only warm smiles for my daughter's latest joy.