Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What's in a Name


Who you callin' Rose?
I kind of feel bad for my daughter.  Not because there's anything wrong with her, but just because she's the second kid and she's been getting the short end of the stick since before she was born.

Take, for instance, the story of how we chose her name.
 
When you're pregnant with your first kid, you have all the time in the world to lay around with your spouse discussing the merits of every name in the New Jewish Baby Names book.

Chris: How about Xander?

Me: There was a Xander in my kindergarten class who picked his nose and ate it.  What about Zeke?

Chris: All the kids in his class will just call him "Zeke the geek".  Asher?

Me: Nope.  Ex-boyfriend.  Small penis.

Chris: Bodhi?

Me: Ex.  Not-so-small penis.

Chris: Ethan?

Me: Nah --

Chris: Not another ex?

Me: I would never sleep with someone named Ethan.  Which is the problem.

... and so it went, until we finally agreed on Noah.  By the time our fetus had a gestational age of 25 weeks, he had a name.  No exes, no bad associations, and, as it turns out, not a small penis.

With the Little Lady, on the other hand, we didn't have time to read the baby name book.  There were no leisurely discussions about names, no exciting evenings spent imagining the amazing life our unborn child would indubitably lead.  Once and awhile one of us would send a random text message to the other tossing out a name idea:



While picking up Italian take out:



This went on for nine months.  When I went into labor we were no closer to choosing a name than we had been before our daughter matured out of the zygote stage.  When people asked us if we had a name picked out we would say we had some ideas ,but nothing concrete.  We were going to wait and see, positive that the minute she came out we would just look at her and know right away which name would be most fitting.

That was a great plan.  Except for the fact that it didn't work.

You know what newborn babies look like?  Small, withered little old people with squinty eyes.  They don't look like a Zachary or a Claire or a Naomi, and this one didn't have a penis - small or large - to warrant Bodhi or Asher.

We probably would've continued to hem and haw about what to name our second born if it hadn't been for the hospital staff reminding us every 20 minutes that we had to choose a name for her birth certificate before we could go home.  Oh, sure, legally you can take your unnamed child home with you, but then you have to go through all this ridiculous red tape when you finally do have a name picked out.  Ain't nobody got time for that.  Especially second time parents.

Which is how I ended up spending the time that I should've been resting, recuperating and enjoying the paid-for-by-my-insurance childcare instead Googling "Jewish girl names".  Finally, after an entire day wasted debating the merits of Sadie versus Sara, my exhaustion got the best of me.  At that point I really didn't care what we named the kid as long as I could go home the following day, sleep in my own bed, and take advantage of the free childcare being provided by my Mother-in-Law.

As I recall, the final decision was made like this:

Me: JUST PICK A FUCKING NAME ALREADY! (crying) I'm too tired to care!  

Chris: Rose is nice.

Me: Great, fine, whatever.  At least it's easy to spell. Now give me the damn paperwork so I can go to sleep.

I'm not completely sure if she really looks like a Rose.  But it is easy to spell, and I'm still too tired to come up with something more creative.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Do-Gooder


Today is the first day of the Jewish New Year.  I can't remember what year it actually is - either 5775 or 5776 or possibly nothing close to that - but nevertheless today is the beginning of a sparkly fresh annum.

In the vein of New Years Resolutions and all that, I've decided that I'm going to make an effort to do some good deeds in 577...whatever.  Being a self-involved narcissist is great for the sake of humor, but I could really use some karma points in case heaven is an actual place and not just how I refer to the "emerging designers" section at Bloomingdales.

Since misery loves company I'm going to kick off my year of good deeds by giving you, dear readers, the opportunity to join me.

Imagine this: your middle school-aged daughter is crossing the street on her way between classes when, out of nowhere, she and her two friends are struck by a car.  Unsurprisingly, she sustains some pretty massive injuries and ends up with a traumatic brain injury.  The good news is that she has every chance of recovering fully with the help of daily therapy.  Here's the catch: the therapy that will, by all accounts, return your child to normal function costs $1100 per day and it's not covered by insurance.

Sadly, this isn't just some fodder for every parent's nightmare, but something that really happened to a girl living a few miles away. 

So, what do you do when the cost of therapy isn't covered by insurance and you're not a millionaire?  You thank your lucky stars for the incredible group of classmates who raise money to help pay for your recovery by selling t-shirts and smashing pies in their faces.  Just take a moment here and really let it sink in that a bunch of preteens care enough about a fellow student to come up with a way to make it possible for her to recover faster.  Uh, that's kind of putting us narcissistic adults to shame, isn't it?  I mean, the nicest thing I've done for someone else recently was making sure that no one stole her purse at the playground.

Let's band together and make this new year an altruistic one as apposed to a narcisstic one.

Buy a t-shirt.  It costs less than that Nars lipstick you've been eying, and the buzz from doing some good will last a lot longer than your lip color.
(Plus one of my adorable nephews designed the shirt and I want him to see his mad art skillz crusing down every street in LA)

Shana Tova, my friends.  May 577? be a sweet, healthy and bountiful year for us all!

xoxo



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

(Diaper) Bag Lady

Back in the good ol' days, when I was pregnant with the Muffin Man and spent my afternoons cruising the aisles of Buy Buy Baby, I agonized over which diaper bag to choose.  I wanted something that was stylish enough to look like an actual purse, but that had compartments to hold all the important necessities I thought sure I would need while out and about with my son.  I didn't want anything that screamed "diaper bag" with a heinous juvenile print all over it, and I was concerned about the Hubby not wanting to carry something that was too feminine while he was out with the baby alone.  I must have spent several hours, perhaps even days, searching the internet for a bag that fit all of my criteria before finally settling on this one:



Now that is a darn good looking diaper bag.  Sure, it weighed as much as my newborn when it wasn't packed full of stuff, but I didn't care about that!  It had compartments for everything, and an insulated bottle bag, and a changing pad and a separate compartment for dirty clothes.  This was like manna from diaper bag heaven!

You know where that bag is right now?  Taking up space in my already over packed closet. 

I present to you the current incarnation of my diaper bag:


That's right folks, it's a fanny pack, and it fits everything I need for two children, while also being easy to throw into any bag I want to carry, not looking remotely like a diaper bag, and being subtle enough that my Husband won't mind taking it with him when and if he ever goes out alone with our children (so far this hasn't happened, but I'm still holding out hope).  This is what Mary Poppins would use if she lived in 2014 and didn't want to carry that out of fashion carpet bag thing.

Here's what you really need in your diaper bag.  Please note that nowhere on this list is there an item labeled "fancy bag for poop-stained clothes":



1. Diapers.  This kind of goes without saying, but you'd be amazed at the number of times I've found myself without a diaper.  Interestingly enough, I forgot to refill my diapers more often when I was carrying the diaper bag large enough to smuggle a small animal through customs.

2. Wipes.  Lots and lots of wipes.  You won't believe how many wipes you will go through in one day.  Forget those adorable little travel packs they sell at the drugstore.  Ten wipes will get you absolutely nowhere when your kid has an epic blowout.  Put an extra package in your car and in your stroller; you won't regret it.

5. Disposable changing pad. Public restrooms are gross and there's a very good chance you will have to change your kid on the floor of one someday.  These come in very handy be it on the backseat of your car or on the grass at the park.  Sure, they're eventually going to end up in a landfill, and the hippie side of me feels bad about that, but the last thing you need is yet another thing you have to wash when it gets covered in poop (I'm lookin' at you, fancy diaper bag changing pad).

3. Diaper cream.  Burt's Bees is my jam, but there are lots of great choices out there.  If you find yourself without diaper cream, in a pinch you can always use unscented lip balm, but you might want to throw out that particular tube after smearing it on your kid's ass.

4. Hand sanitizer.  This will come in handy so many times in your Mommy life.  Use it for just-changed-a-diaper hands, on shopping carts, on restaurant high chairs and tables, on your toddler after he's put his hands in the public sand box, or all over yourself after you run into one of the gross people you previously slept with.

7. Extra clothes.  Babies have this annoying tendency to poop through their diapers, whereas toddlers enjoy playing in water and slathering themselves with food.  In both instances you will be glad that you have an extra outfit for your child, because there's nothing more embarrassing than bringing your offspring to a restaurant wearing only a diaper. I'm pretty sure the "no shirt, no shoes, no service" rule applies even to the three and under set when it comes to foodservice.

6. Plastic poopy diaper bags.  Try to make peace with the fact that you are, yet again, generating more fodder for your local landfill, and throw a roll of these babies in your diaper bag.  They are excellent for both poop-filled diapers as well as to contain dirty/wet/stinky clothing and shoes.

10. Bandaids.  Necessary for the inevitable bumps and scrapes that toddlers are prone to, these also come in handy as a form of entertainment while sitting in traffic or waiting for food at a restaurant.

8. Snacks.  Children can almost always be appeased with an offering of delicious crunchy things.  Mommies who haven't eaten breakfast or lunch may find themselves eating the aforementioned snack in times of desperation.

9. Bib.  Assuming your child doesn't respond to wearing a bib by screaming bloody murder, ripping it off, and/or biting you, this is a great thing to have on hand.  Worst case scenerio you can always wear it yourself to protect your clothing from food being flung at you by a frustrated toddler.

Bottle (optional).  If you're breastfeeding, then you really only need yourself.  Please don't bother buying one of those stupid breastfeeding covers, because if you're a first time Mom there is no way you'll be proficient enough at breastfeeding to be able to do it without looking, and most babies don't even like to be covered up when they nurse anyway.  Whip out your boob, stick it in your kid's mouth and call it a day.  And if anybody gives you shit about it, tell them to mind their own damn business and to go look at some internet porn or, if it's a woman, to get with the program of the 21st century.
If you're bottle feeding, you should be sure and have a bottle with you in case hunger strikes.  I love the Mixie bottles because you don't have to carry a separate compartment for powdered formula.

This has been another valuable lesson on laisssez-faire parenting from yours truly.  Sure, go ahead and buy that fancy diaper bag.  In fact, buy mine!  It's in excellent condition, and all the accessories are included.  I promise to wash the "public restroom floor" grunge off of the changing pad before I send it your way.


Friday, September 19, 2014

(Blog) Design on My Dime

From fugly...
...to fabulous!
Just like my blog.
Dear Longtime Readers,

It's high time that I issue you an apology.  A select few of you have been loyal followers of the Misadventures from the very beginning, and I am so grateful to you for sticking with me during the period of time when my blog was hideous looking.  I sincerely apologize for subjecting you to a blog template that looked uglier than I did in my high school year book photos.  I appreciate that you hung in there while I experimented with every single template that Blogger offers, often assaulting your eyes with juvenile prints of building blocks or animals or some other nonsense that didn't reflect my sensibilities at all.  I'd like to flatter myself and think that you kept coming back because my writing is just so darn engaging, but I suspect it's because you're either one of my relatives and you felt obligated to do so, or you were simply bored at work.

Whatever the reason, thanks for hanging in there with me until I eventually found Luvly.  I'm not quite sure how I came across this amazing site, but I have a vague recollection of typing "Blogger templates that aren't heinous" into Google and, low and behold, my search turned up Luvly!  Well, this was like manna from blog template Heaven.  

A large selection of chic and beautiful blog templates that could be customized?  Check.  

Easy to implement with my Blogger platform?  Check.  

Affordable?  CHECK!!!  

Just as I was beginning to despair that I might have to sell my second unborn child in order to afford a custom-designed blog template, Luvly came into my life and won me over.  I spent a good chunk of time checking out all of the designs, settled on one that I felt reflected my sensibilities, and then paid the incredibly affordable fee of $35.00 to upload it to my blog.  Included in that fee was direct contact with the designer, customization of the header and welcome photo and some of the best customer service I've encountered in, well, forever.  Just two weeks ago, when I couldn't get in touch with the designer to make some necessary changes, the site's founder stepped in and hooked me up without charging me a penny.  So yeah, definitely the best $35.00 I've ever spent.  

What's that you say?  You're not a person who airs all of her dirty laundry on the interwebs (AKA a blogger)?  Luvly has goodies for you, too.  How about a customized banner for your Facebook page that's sure to make your ex-boyfriend regret dumping you? Or a logo for your burgeoning photography business?  It's all there for the purchasing.  

Thank you, my friends, for sticking with me.  I'm so grateful that, unlike my high school boyfriend, you had faith that this ugly duckling of a blog would turn into a swan.  

xoxo
Anna

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Exhaustion is the Best Birth Control. Ever.


Two weeks ago I had my final baby-related doctor appointment with my OB.  In case you've not yet taken your turn at the childbirth rodeo, around six weeks postpartum you see your Obstetrician to make sure that everything is all healed and back in working order, so to speak. It's been my experience that the main reason for this visit with your baby doctor is not only to make sure that your lady parts are a-okay, but mostly to discuss birth control.  Look, I get that it's important to talk about contraception options, but when one has just pushed a small human out of her vag, is completely sleep deprived, and has nipples that look like some sort of crime scene, it's hard to imagine there will ever again be a need for birth control. At six weeks postpartum the only penis I want within 100 feet of me is the one attached to my toddler son.

And therein lies the problem.

I personally think that it's totally ridiculous to expect a woman who is still bleeding from her lady parts to have a rational conversation about future pregnancies.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that most new Mothers at six weeks postpartum can't imagine that they will ever want to have sex again.  Even if, by some miracle, there is a woman walking this Earth who has a newborn and a rug burned labia and leaky boobs yet still finds herself in the mood for sex, she's probably so sleep deprived that any information relayed to her about contraception is not going to be retained.  There's a reason its called "Mommy Brain"; there's only so much space in the postpartum brain, and most of it is being filled with trying to remember which side the baby nursed on last and what the names are of your other children.  The last thing any new mother in her right mind wants to think about is having sex.  Chances are she's still sort of pissed off at her husband and the really good bottle of wine that lead her to this Doctor's office in the first place.

Look, I've been down this road before and I know that I will, eventually, want to have sex again.  There will come a time when I'm no longer a sleep-deprived zombie, and I will be excited to resume getting down and dirty with the Hubs.  But right now, when I haven't showered or changed out of my pajamas for going on four days, and I still have a rather vivid memory of the pain of childbirth, there is nothing I want to do less than get busy in the bedroom.  My Husband, of course, is the eternal optimist, so he's stocked up on condoms until we get around to scheduling his vasectomy.  Because while we may not be able to agree on how soon we should resume our sex life, our mutual love for good wine remains intact, and neither of us are interested in having a third kid.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Monday on Tuesday


I'm running a day behind, as per the usual.  If you're a loyal follower/stalker of the Misadventures on Facebook or Instagram, then you might have noticed the photos of my Monday morning routine that I shared yesterday.  I had every intention of publishing a companion piece here on the ol' blog, but time got away from me what with my return from Las Vegas and the whole having two kids under two and no childcare thing.  So I'd love it if you would humor me and pretend that today is Monday and that I'm actually getting sh*t done on time.  Because only in my fantasy world does that happen.

But I digress.

Several months ago I found out that I was randomly selected to participate in the amazing "Monday Mornings" series that's been going on over at Mommy Shorts.  The chief Mommy over there, Ilana Wiles, is pretty much my blogging idol, which means that I make sure never to miss one of her posts.  When she put out the word that she was looking for Mommas who wanted to have their morning routines photographed by the amazing and wonderful Raquel Bianca, I threw my hat in the ring.  I figured it was a major long shot.  I mean, what would people find interesting about the life of a stay-at-home Mom living quite possibly the most unglamorous life to be found in the City of Angels?  When I received the email that I'd been chosen to participate, I started to panic.

Here's a condensed version of my thought process:

I look horrible in the morning.  I need to do some research on how dangerous it is to get Botox while nine months pregnant.

My house is a dump.  I wish I had the money to buy new dining room chairs and living room shades.  And when people see my bedroom they'll be shocked that anyone got pregnant in such an unattractive space.

I'll still be carrying around my baby weight and bleeding from my lady parts when she comes to photograph us.  WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

Somehow, I managed to get my anxiety under control (despite the fact that I was unable to pop a Xanax), and I agreed to let Raquel come and photograph our family.


You guys, I am so glad I did.


What a gift, to have these photographs.  The kids are growing so fast - the Lady Bug looks completely different now than she did even those few weeks ago - and to have this photographic time capsule of our lives right now is incredible.


Perhaps the even greater gift has been the response I've received from other Mommas thanking me for my honesty about not being able to do it all.

Thank you for sharing my morning.

Thank you for making me feel less alone.

Thank you for not telling me I need Botox (even if you think I do.)

xoxo

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Nothing Happens in Vegas When You're a Parent

No party animals here. 
Las Vegas has been totally wasted on us, my friends. There was no late night partying, we didn't set foot into a strip club, and we didn't even do any day drinking.  That's just a shame right there.  Here we are, sans children, in the city where you're pretty much expected to act irresponsibly, and we did nothing untoward.  Other than some overzealous gambling of a small chunk of our children's college funds, we have been model citizens, which is just...sad.  It looks like parenthood has completely beaten any desire to put the "sin" in Sin City out of us.


Here's what our wild Saturday night in Las Vegas looked like:
  • Dinner at 6:30pm.  You want to know who else is eating dinner at that hour in Vegas?  People over the age of 60.  We were the youngest diners in the restaurant by about 25 years.  Any respectable person in his or her 30's was still at the pool maintaining a decent buzz.
  • We each had a glass of sake with our meal.  There were no cocktails consumed prior to dining, and neither of us were even tipsy afterwards, thanks to our boring, yet responsible, drinking habits. 
  • We spent the entirety of dinner discussing how much we missed our kids and then looked at pictures of them on our iPhones.  This is just beyond pathetic.  We hadn't even been away from them for 24 hours and we were practically bereft without them.  Considering how much lip service I give to our wanting to escape from spending time in their presence, this is embarrassing to admit.  At one point we repeatedly watched a 30 second video of the Muffin Man putting napkins on a table, something we would find incredibly boring under normal circumstances, but that we found absolutely riveting this weekend. 
  • We didn't order dessert.  There we were, with all the time in the world to enjoy a leisurely meal and with no baby sensitive to dairy or chocolate to worry about, and we didn't even want to order something indulgent!  They had soft serve and donuts and s'mores on the menu and we wanted none of it.  Apparently we've lost our taste for sugar as well as fun.
  • We played two hands of blackjack and then called it a night.  There was no bar hopping, no clubbing, no after hours partying.  Nope.  We were back in our hotel room and were in bed, reading on our Kindles, by 9pm.  


I'd like to tell you that we're going to make up for this utter travesty of a weekend by living it up tonight, but after spending the entire day at a trade show I'll be lucky if I can stay awake until dinner time.  Honestly, I'm a little bit concerned that Las Vegas is not going to invite us back.  

Friday, September 5, 2014

Vegas, No Babies


I'm ditching my kids and running off to Las Vegas for the weekend!!!!!!!!!

That amount of excitement really seems inappropriate, especially since I'm actually going for work, but nevertheless I am pretty darn thrilled to be leaving my offspring in the care of my parents and getting the heck out of town.  I'm counting the hours until I'm relaxing in the airport lounge, enjoying an alcoholic beverage in the middle of the day and reading a trashy magazine without interruption.  My God, that sounds heavenly.

I'm taking the Hubster along with me, primarily because he likes to gamble and because I want him to foot the bill for an expensive dinner or two, but I confess that I'm looking forward to our having two days alone together.  The last time we went away sans children was for our anniversary last year, and that was only for one night, so this will be a real treat and a half.  I don't know how romantic said trip will be, since I'll be bringing my breast pump, wearing a nursing bra, and sporting my postpartum girdle, but I think at this time in our lives we both consider two nights of uninterrupted sleep to be pretty darn hot.

Feel free to follow me on Instagram for photos of us partying it up* in Sin City.

Have a great weekend!

xoxo

*eating dinner at five, and going to sleep by 9pm

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

It Sucks Being the Second Kid

She's psychologically damaged from being a second child, I'm sure.
Our neighbors across the street are expecting their first child next month.  They are the epitome of the perfect Hollywood couple - she's a svelte, gorgeous blonde, he's a handsome and charming guy with a hipster first name - and they have that wide-eyed excitement that you often find in first time expectant parents.  The other day, as we were walking down the block on our way to the farmer's market, we passed their shiny new Prius station wagon, complete with a brand new carseat installed in the back and a "baby on board" decal already hanging in the rear window.  I love their hopeful eyes full of fantasies about parenthood and the baby that's soon to be living with them.  It's so encouraging to see a couple who are still optimistic and who have not yet been beaten down by the realities of life with children.  Oh, I remember those days, back when I was pregnant with the Muffin Man and I made an effort to look stylish and attractive despite my giant baby bump, and when I had a finished nursery a month before he was scheduled to arrive.  Those were the days, folks.

Because this is what it looks like when you have your second kid:

Your husband installs the carseat while you are in labor.  The first time around you made sure to have the carseat installed six weeks before your due date, and you made an appointment with the CHP to have them check to make sure it's installed correctly.  Ain't nobody got time for that! Slam that base on one of the passenger seats, do a cursory check to make sure the indicator on the seat isn't pointing to "certain death" and call it a day.

You print out all the hospital paperwork while you are in labor.  When I was pregnant with the Muffin Man I had a folder of paperwork packed in my hospital bag several weeks before his due date.  The folder was carefully labeled and contained my hospital registration, a copy of my advanced directive, typed out answers to any questions the staff and nurses might have, and my birth and baby care plans on brightly-colored paper.  This time around there was no folder, no brightly colored paper.  I sat at my computer at 5:30 in the morning, contracting every three minutes and praying that my water didn't break all over my Macbook Air, while trying to focus on changing the gender on my baby care plan from "he" to "she".

You do not have a shiny new car.  You drive an old car that hasn't been washed in over a month, and the backseat is full of stale snacks, dirty sippy cups, and headless toys.  Why spend the money on a new car when your offspring will make sure to trash the upholstery in just a matter of months?  Besides, those stale snacks have come in really handy while stuck in traffic on the 405.

The carseat is not new.  In fact, it may even be expired!  It's also been sitting in the garage for over a year and it's full of dirt.  You have every intention of washing it, but all of the sudden you're in labor and you just scream for your husband to wipe it down with a dishcloth and call it a day.  It's good for babies to be exposed to germs and dirt, right?

The nursery is not finished.  There are no pictures on the walls, you don't have a changing pad, and the crib is still not put together.  You should be able to find time to get everything done right before your kid leaves for college.

Further reading on the topic of second children being shafted: An Apology Letter to My second Child