Thursday, July 28, 2016

Your Anniversary: Before & After Kids


Next Saturday is our tenth wedding anniversary.  Considering we live in LA, where people trade spouses like baseball cards, that's a pretty impressive number.  This kind of longevity calls for some serious celebration, so naturally, we have not planned a thing.

I've put together a handy little chart so we can compare and contrast the stark difference in celebrating your wedding anniversary before, and after, kids. 

Before Children:
After Children:
In the weeks leading up to your anniversary you talk about what you should do to properly celebrate your marriage.
You have no idea what day or month it is, and so neither of you realize that your anniversary is coming up within the next week.  The day before your anniversary, one of you opens iCal in order to record a dentist appointment for your offspring, only to realize that your wedding anniversary is tomorrow.
You look at your wedding album together, and talk about how amazing your special day was and you relive all the moments that made you laugh or cry.
You don't know where your wedding album is, because you haven't seen it since you had to turn your home office into a nursery for your surprise second child.  It's entirely possible that you inadvertently donated your wedding album to the Goodwill and that some stranger purchased it for 50 cents.  If you could find your wedding album, and did try to look at it together, that would last about 20 seconds before one of your offspring spilled an applesauce crusher on the photo of your first kiss as Husband and Wife.
You plan a romantic night out, probably involving cocktails and expensive wine and a fancy nine course tasting menu at the hottest restaurant in town.  You make a reservation several weeks in advance, and request the most romantic table in the restaurant.
Since you realized only 24 hours ago that your anniversary is, in fact, tomorrow, you madly scramble to book a babysitter for your offspring.  After six tries, you find someone who is available, but only until 9pm.  You have no idea what the hottest restaurant in town is these days because you haven't been out without a child for going on three years, so you just try to find any restaurant that looks halfway decent, serves alcohol, and has space for you and your spouse during the time you will be paroled.  Screw the most romantic table, you'll take any table.
You take pains getting ready.  You buy a new dress, have your nails done, get your hair blown out, and book your bikini wax appointment a week in advance to ensure there won't be any chafing.
If you're lucky, your kids will nap at the same time and you'll get a chance to shower.  Hopefully, they'll sleep long enough for you to shave your legs, but that's a long shot.  You haven't had a pedicure in several months, and your hands look like they belong to the witch from Hansel and Gretel.  Unless you remembered to request a dress in your latest Stitch Fix box, you'll be sporting something (anything) that looks halfway decent on your postpartum figure and that is marginally clean.  Forget about that bikini wax.  If your spouse can still get it up after watching you push a baby out of your lady parts then he can certainly navigate the rainforest you've got happening down there.
You have a four hour meal, with wine pairings, and get just tipsy enough that you go home and have mind-blowing sex with your spouse.  You might even decide it would be "fun" to have kids and go really wild.  You have sex more than once, and stay up late talking about how amazing your life is, how happy you are together, and how wonderful it would be to welcome a child into your family.

You scarf down some mediocre food so that you can get home in time for the babysitter to get to her bartending job.  You have two glasses of wine and get so hammered that you actually think you might pass out on the Uber ride home.  You stumble into the house, try to figure out how much you owe the babysitter (a lot, it's always a lot), and then try to sneak into your bedroom without waking up the kids.  You have some quick sex, during which you hope neither of you falls asleep from sheer exhaustion, and then you play rock paper scissors to see who has the "pleasure" of getting up with the kids in the morning.  You fall asleep midway through telling your spouse you love him, and without taking off your makeup or brushing your teeth.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Your Birth Story, in Cocktail Form

Given birth?  Have a cocktail!
If you give a Mom a cocktail, she'll probably tell you her birth story.

No matter what kind of gathering one attends - book club, dinner party, Soulcycle class - if a group of Mothers are involved, the conversation will inevitably lead to graphic stories about labor and delivery.  Once you have given birth to a human, it is practically impossible to not discuss all the gory details of just how, exactly, your children made their exits from your body. 

Personally, I love hearing other women's birth stories.  Mainly because it's nice to know that I'm not the only woman who has pooped on the delivery room table. 
 
The Natural Birther
Organic, small-batch vodka with pure cranberry juice and a splash of artisanal unfiltered honey 
You had a natural birth using self-hypnosis.  You enjoy telling people that it was a truly transformative experience.  You think that everyone should have the birth they want and you claim to be totally supportive of other birth choices, but you carry around DVD copies of The Business of Being Born and hand them out to unsuspecting pregnant women.  You may have given birth at home in your backyard under a lemon tree while flower petals rained down on you in your blow-up birthing tub.  The soundtrack to your birth featured a Buddhist monk that your partner recorded  in Tibet.  You are thinking of possibly becoming a doula, but not until you wean your child at around age five.

The Epidural Encourager
Double Knob Creek, with one (very small) ice cube
You were all about the drugs.  In fact, you asked your OB to give you an epidural when your child was still technically a zygote.  You think it is some bullshit to want to feel the pain of childbirth and that only some crazy person who eats bark and doesn't shave would opt for a natural birth.  You drove straight to the hospital the minute you felt even a twinge of pain and you refused to leave until they gave you some mother f*cking drugs and sent you home with a baby.  You didn't want to feel anything until at least a month after giving birth and you tell every woman you know to get the drugs.  Also, you brought some drugs tonight if anyone is interested in really getting this party book club started. 

The C-section Pusher
A crisp Pinot Grigio with a smooth finish
You've had three cesareans and you can't fathom why anyone would want to push a child out of her vagina.  You don't pee yourself when you laugh/cough/sneeze and you remind your friends who had vaginal births of this fact.  You don't understand why someone would wait for their child to decide when she arrives when you can schedule a c-section so that it doesn't interfere with your busy social life.  You get slightly hysterical after two rounds and start screaming "cesarean birth is real birth!" despite the fact that no one claimed otherwise. 

The Double Dipper
A rum and coke followed by a glass of sulfate free red wine
You've done it both ways and you don't understand what the big deal is.  Natural, epidural, c-section, the point is to just get the kid out so that you can go back to living your best life.  You're chill and you're up for anything and think that everyone should just do what's best for them.  You'd be fine squatting down and giving birth in a field, but you also really enjoyed the drugs they gave you at the hospital.  You step in to referee the crazy natural birth lady who is currently trying to strangle the epidural lady with some sort of hemp rope, because you came to this book club to actually talk about the book. 

Cheers to however your birth story ends.  I can't wait to hear all about it the next time we run into each other at the dry cleaners. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Toddler Fashion, Delivered

We tried Kidbox
Kidbox: the fashion subscription service for your kiddos.
I think it's pretty well established that I have almost everything delivered to my house.  Dinner? One Potato Box.  Clothes?  Stitch Fix or Bungalow.  Everything else? Amazon.  The one thing that I haven't outsourced to the interwebs and my UPS man has been my children's wardrobes.  Part of the reason for this is that I am insanely cheap when it comes to well, everything, but I also really enjoy shopping for clothes for my littles.  This mainly has to do with the fact that I live within walking distance to the best children's resale shop in town which means that it's easy to keep my children dressed in designer duds without a whole lot of effort or expense.

There's only one problem with the 100% resale approach, and it's that you often end up with a lot of random pieces, none of which match or even blend.  A few weeks ago, after my Mother complained for the four millionth time about how my children are constantly dressed in clashing clothing, I decided that it was time to find an alternate source for duds for my offspring.  Naturally, I turned to my old friend, the interwebs.  Thanks to Facebook's targeted marketing wherein I'm only shown ads for companies who deliver to my home, I learned about Kidbox.

Kidbox is basically just like all the other clothing subscription services I loved, but this one is just for kids!  Here's how it works: you set up an account online, fill out a size profile for your kiddos, and then they put together a curated box of clothes for your kid to try on.  Your kid has seven days to try on the clothes and then you keep what your tiny fashion plate likes and send back whatever doesn't work.  What I love the most about Kidbox is that if you keep all of the pieces in the box, the total cost is $100 or less.  That sounds like a lot, but you'd be surprised how much kids clothing costs these days.  In case you're thinking that the stuff is junk because it's reasonably priced, I assure you that it's not; it's nice quality brands that are normally out of my price range (hence the reason I almost always purchase things second hand).

kidbox kids clothing service
The box came addressed to the Muffin Man, which is always fun for kids.
kidbox review
There are cute little toys and activities included in each box.  This one had a prize ball thingy - where you keep unwrapping different ribbons until you get to the stuff inside - that contained a teeny tiny pack of playing cards, one of those parachute jumper toys, and a stick-on mustache.  The kids loved this part.
kidbox review
The pricing and info about the clothing comes inside a nice plastic pouch that also includes crayons, a coloring/activity book, and several sheets of stickers.

Here's what came in the box:
kidbox review
U.S. Polo Assn. Stripe Polo, $16
This is totally not my style or Noah's style, and it totally reminded my Hubs of his traumatic childhood years spent in Connecticut, so this was a definite "no" for us.  RETURNED
kidbox review
7 For All Mankind raglan tee, $18
This was just okay, and the fabric was really thick, which is not ideal considering that the heat wave in Los Angeles probably won't be over until sometime in December.  RETURNED
kidbox review
Weatherproof vintage henley tee, $9 and Penguin oxford shorts, $24
The t-shirt was really soft and I thought it was cute, but Noah was not a fan.  The shorts were adorable, but ginormous; they literally fell off of Noah.  I was actually kind of annoyed that they sent size 4T bottoms when I specifically told them that Noah is tall and slender and usually wears a 2T pants.  I could have asked for a smaller size, but I thought the shorts were kind of expensive, so these were both RETURNED.
kidbox review
7 For All Mankind V-neck mineral wash tee, $14
Red is Noah's favorite color, and this t-shirt is soft and fits really well, so this was a definite yes.  He's literally worn this shirt everyday since it arrived in his box, so even though it's more than I usually spend on a shirt, I think I'll get my money worth.  Plus I'll be able to re-sell it to my local consignment store when he grows out of it, so it's a double win.  KEPT.

The other item in our box was a pair of these beige twill shorts that were so hideous I didn't even have Noah try them on.  I was almost offended that Kidbox thought I would dress my kid in something that looked more appropriate for an 87 year old man, but there's no accounting for taste.

Overall, I like what Kidbox is doing.  It's convenient, and the way it's executed is really cute.  I'm going to see if what we get in our next box better suits Noah's style now that they've received my feedback on these pieces, and I'm going to order up a box for Rose to see what they send for their more feminine customers.

It's pretty amazing what you can have delivered these days.  Now I just have to try out one of those wine delivery services and I'll really never have a reason to leave my house.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Lazy Mom's Guide to Traveling with Kids

by Allyson Haas
traveling with toddlers
World traveler, right here.
If you've read this blog before you know two things:


2. Having no family within a 2000 mile radius makes that nightmare a reality at least four times a year if you want said toddler to recognize their kin.  

What I've finally figured out, now that I'm almost four years into this whole parenting thing, is that you can use the latter fact to make the former less of an arduous task. 

Ladies (and possibly one gent) I present to you The Lazy Mom's Guide to Traveling:

Step 1. Tell your family that you plan to brave being stuck in a flying tin can for more than five hours in order to see them. 

Step 2. Let them do the rest.

I realize at first blush this may seem like a rather bitchy and presumptuous way to make a trip take form, but here is why it's not: if your family is more than 2000 miles away, they escape from any last minute calls to babysit, run to the store, pick someone up from school, help with the laundry, feed children, or do anything else that might require a reorganization of their day/week/life.  Essentially, they get to enjoy the cuteness of your little (via Facetime) and they get to hang up when the whining starts, leaving you to deal with the fall out.  So, since you don't call in the small favors on the daily, this allows you to call in a big one a couple of times a year, guilt free. 

To make this as easy as possible on yourself (and on the hosting family member), I send a list:

  • What needs to be installed (a car seat)
  • Where that can be done (the local fire station or CHP usually help out here)
  • What your little one might actually eat (basically any food that's white)
Then simply pack your bags, toss in your trusty CARES restraint system and pretend like you're once again footloose and child free.  Granted, you'll still have to entertain your child, which means you won't have uninterrupted reading or movie viewing time, but beggars can't be choosers.  It actually makes traveling (somewhat) enjoyable again and you feel as if you've taken a break from your usual routine. 

I did this for our last minute spring break jaunt to see the in-laws, wherein I braved the not-so-friendly skies alone with my kiddo.  Without a stroller to push, a giant bag to lug, or toys to carry, the trip was a dream. C and I watched airplanes take off, we talked about the geography of the United States, and we laughed. I genuinely enjoyed my son's company, which almost made me think we didn't need the vacation in the first place.  Of course, only a fool would turn down free grandparent childcare and the chance to take a yoga class with actual adults.  

Happy travels!

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