Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Your Husband is not a Doula

a woman who is trained to provide support to women and their families during pregnancy, childbirth, and the period of time following the birth.  

Apparently, last week was World Doula Week.  I didn't even know there was such a thing, or even hear about it until late Sunday night, which I find troubling.  I mean, here I am, a child of Berkeley in the late 1970's, a propenent of eating bark and drinking aloe vera juice, a veteran of two unmedicated natural childbirths (Doula assisted, of course) and I didn't know it was World Doula Week?

What. The. F*ck?

If a hippie like me isn't aware that this exists, then we've got a problem.  Look, I run with a pretty crunchy crowd and not once, not one time, did anyone mention this World Doula Week thing.  If my Sisters in Quinoa don't know about it, how can we expect normal women not living in hippie places like LA or SF or Berkeley to understand the benefits of having a Doula?  After all, not everyone has seen the Business of Being Born, and Ina May Gaskin's Spiritual Midwifery isn't exactly mainstream reading material.

So, you want to know why you should hire a Doula?  Because that labor shit is no joke.  And for millions of years, since the beginning of time, women have supported other women in childbirth, so whether or not you want to go the natural or epidural route, there is a Doula who will support you.

Why You Need a Doula:

1. Your husband is not a trained birth coach.  I know your husband thinks that just because he's an armchair coach for the New York Knicks that he is also qualified to coach a baby out of your vag.  First of all, the Knicks have had a pretty shitty decade, and second of all, he doesn't even have a vag.  In fact, if he's one of my ex-boyfriends, I'm not even sure he could spot a vagina in a line-up, so no, he's not qualified to be your birth coach.

2. Doulas are all about you and your needs.  This will most likely be the last time in approximately 18 years or so that anyone will be completely focused on your needs.  Once you push a baby out of your lady parts, life revolves around that little creature and no one will be worried about whether you ate or showered or slept.  Enjoy having someone who is only there to make your birthing journey easier and more pleasant.  If you want water or popsicles or whatever, your Doula will make that happen.  Your husband, on the other hand, will probably go off to find you pospsicles and then end up returning with only a fresh cup of coffee for himself

3. You're nervous about giving birth.  Every woman is nervous about giving birth, and anyone who says she isn't is either lying or heavily medicated.  Especially the first time, it's very nerve racking.  An experienced Doula has seen it all before and knows how to keep you from going insane.  She says the right things, she comes with aromatic oils and soundtracks and massage techniques to keep you from totally losing your shit.  Your baby daddy, on the other hand, might be even more nervous than you are and does not come equipped with any coping mechanisms other than liquid courage in a hip flask.

4. Doulas advocate for Mommy and Baby.  Assuming that you've chosen a Doula who is experienced and who you trust, she will be by your side to help you decide what is best for you and for baby when unexpected things happen.  It's tough to make good decisions when you're in the throes of labor and are vacillating between extreme nausea and homicidal rages towards your partner.  Got a hotshot Doctor who is pushing you to have a c-section because he's late for Happy Hour?  A great Doula can help you and your partner decide what to do.  For my second birth I agreed to let my Doctor break my water after discussing it with my Doula (as much as you're really "discussing" anything when you're in labor.  It was more "tell me what to do - ow oh my god this hurts help me!!!")  It's important to note here that if you're giving birth in a hospital, do not choose a Doula who hates Doctors and only believes in home birth in a tub under the orange tree in your yard.  Your Doula and your Doctor must be able to work in tandem, otherwise your birth will devolve into chaos.  It's not exactly relaxing if your Doula threatens to harm your OB with a smudge stick and he has to call hospital security on her.  Yes, it happens.

5. A Doula is worth every penny.  I have never regretted the money we spent on Doula services.  On paper, it seems incredibly expensive ($1100-$1500 on average), and I can tell you that it was a big stretch for us both times, but you know what costs more than a Doula?  Years of therapy bills working through a traumatic birth experience.  Plus when you break down what you're getting from your Doula, it's a pretty amazing deal.  In the case of Khefri Riley, who I used for both of my births, I received two in-depth meetings before I gave birth, unlimited phone calls and emails, reading material, nutritional information, hours of focused attention during the length of my labor (and we woke her up in the wee hours of the morning both times), beautiful photographs, breastfeeding support, and a postpartum visit.  Heck, for all that stuff it feels as though she's not charging enough!  As an added bonus you forge a truly special relationship with the woman who supports you in childbirth.

Need more convincing?  A friend of mine had a Doula who actually caught her Husband when he fainted during her birth.  Here's hoping that doesn't happen to you, but just in case your partner has delicate sensibilities, you might want to choose a Doula with a lot of upper body strength.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

You Need to Get Blown

This is as close as I'll ever get to a Gisele moment.
The year after you have a baby kind of sucks.  Oh sure, you're thrilled that you have a new child, but adjusting to having an infant and not yet feeling like your old self is just...shitty.  Add into the equation the huge hormonal shifts that your body goes through, as well as the physical transformation from "pregnant" to "I still look pregnant" to "where have my boobies gone?", and it can be a real downer.  I'm currently enjoying the fabulous postpartum hair loss stage, wherein all of the hair that you didn't lose during the time you were pregnant begins to fall out in clumps.  Not just a few strands here or there, mind you, but actual handfuls of hair that clog every drain in your house and leave weird hair creatures lurking under your bed liable to scare your Swiffer.  There is nothing sexier than getting your groove on with your spouse and having him end up with a giant fistful of hair.  Real boner killer there, folks.

As if the whole hair loss thing wasn't bad enough, the final gasp of pregnancy hormones leaving your body can make you feel kind of depressed.  I tend to get pretty weepy around the nine month mark, especially since that seems to be when my kids choose to self wean, so at the end of the day I can often be found in my bed sobbing uncontrollably, tossing back placenta pills and watching Pride and Prejudice (the BBC version, natch) on repeat.  Geez, it depresses me just writing about it.

When my hair started falling out again I had half a mind to chop it all off and go back to rocking my Mia Farrow look, but the realization that I am no longer a nubile 22 year old but rather a tired, out of shape 30-something year old dissuaded me from that idea.  However, one night when the Hubs and I were supposed to go out on a hot date and a few clumps of hair combined with my lack of hair styling skillz left me weeping in the bathtub, I knew that I needed to find a way to feel attractive again in spite of my thinning hair and non-existent boobs

I love getting my hair blown out, but the reality of life with two kids is that I can't justify hiring a sitter because I'm inept with a round brush.  I was beginning to despair of ever looking halfway decent again when I was cruising Facebook (i.e. wallowing in self pity) and saw an ad for something called Blow Me.  No, it wasn't my ex-boyfriend looking to traumatize someone new, but rather a service that comes to your house and blows out your hair!  This sounded promising, but I assumed it would cost more than I spent on my last furniture purchase from Craigslist.  Low and behold, it's actually cheaper than going to Drybar!  If you schedule in advance, it's $40 (including tip) for someone to come to your house and transform you from Minivan Mom to MILF.  No cash money is exchanged, it's all charged automatically to your credit card, so your hair stylist extraordinaire shows up at your house, works his or her magic and you just click a button on your phone to reflect that you got your hair did.  It's amazing.  You do have to wash your hair yourself, so I guess if you prefer to have a professional shampoo this isn't the service for you, but I'm totally willing to give myself a scalp massage if it means that I don't have to leave my house.  I've used Blow Me five times over the last year or so, and I've always had a great experience.  The stylists are professional, charming, and put up with me having to take quick breaks for breastfeeding or snack handouting.  I try to schedule my appointments during the kids' nap times so that I can relax and not have to worry about the Muffin Man throwing a fit about not being allowed to play with the hairdresser's blowdryer or the Little Lady eating a tube of leave in conditioner.  It's like Uber for hair, except without the side of kidnapping and sexual assault!

While I would love to be able to use Blow Me every week, my bank account currently hovers closer to "unemployed" than "rich and famous", so I only indulge my blow out cravings for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.  I always feel so much better about myself when I have clean, freshly styled hair, which I definitely think is important; especially when one's hairline is beginning to closely resemble that of a completely bald new baby's.

Just in case you were wondering, this is in no way, shape, or form a sponsored post.  I simply want to share my love for Blow Me with you beautiful people.  That being said, I do get a credit if you use my referral code: uFyWghhogU the first time you get glamorous, but you, too, can share the love and reap the rewards once you become a Blow Me convert!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Aunt Flo is Back...with a Vengeance

The first post baby visit from Aunt Flo always takes me by surprise.  You'd think that since this isn't my first time at the childbirth rodeo I would remember what it's like, but I guess the whole selective memory thing applies to unpleasant postpartum events as well as the pain of childbirth.  There are lots of things nobody bothers to tell you about having babies, and that first post baby surf of the crimson wave is definitely one of them.  In an effort to keep you well informed about all of the not-so-sexy aspects of motherhood, I've put together a list of five things to know about your first postpartum period.  

1.  You will not see it coming.  I'd like to gently suggest that you refrain from wearing white pants until you've survived your first post baby cycle, because I guarantee that you will be completely unprepared for Aunt Flo to visit.  There's no telling when she'll show up - it could be anywhere from three months after giving birth to right after you wean your little one.  My period didn't come back until my kids were nursing once a day, but every body is different.  My advice is to make sure you're prepared or risk having to use one of your kid's diapers when you're caught unawares at the local park that doesn't have a bathroom.  Not that it's ever happened to me or anything, but I've heard tell.

2. Does this come in Extra Super Max Absorbancy?  You know that scene in The Shining where the elevator doors open and rivers of blood come gushing out?  That's kind of what your first postpartum period will be like.  Just blood everywhere.  Your bathroom will look like a crime scene from CSI in which the victim's artery was severed.  I honestly do not know how blood gets on the ceiling, but it does and it's probably best if you don't point it out to your significant other.  Oh, I know you thought you bled a lot after you gave birth, but it's like Aunt Flo is making up for not visiting you in over a year and she has no intention of leaving until you have ruined at least six pairs of perfectly nice underwear and several sets of bedsheets.  Of course, by the time your period comes back you've blown through all of the disposable underwear and adult diapers they gave you at the hospital, but they should really provide you with an extra batch for later use.  Sure, they may be bulky and hideous and not fit under any normal clothing, but it's not like you fit into your pre-pregnancy pants yet anyway.   

3.  Holy cramps, Batman.  Remember those menstrual cramps you used to get in middle school, the ones that were so bad that your mom actually let you stay home?  Well they're back.  I know you thought that having bad cramps went the way of your puberty acne and New Kids on the Block mix tapes, but they say that everything comes back into style, and your period cramps don't want to miss out.  I personally think that pushing a small human out of your lady parts should exempt you from ever having to feel pain in your uterus again, but nature disagrees.  Your cramps will be so horrible that you might actually make sounds similar to the ones you made when you were in labor.  Unfortunately, unlike in middle school, you can't call in sick to motherhood.

4.  Does this come in size "I've given birth"?  Things get a little stretched out when you have a baby.  Yeah, it kind of goes back to the way it was before you had kids, but the truth is that it's never quite the same as it was before, especially if you had to get some stitches.  As a result, the feminine hygiene products you purchased before you pushed a small human out of your lady parts might not be as effective as they were prior, and you might have some slight leakage.  I guess this is probably a sign that I should be doing more kegels, but who has the time?  Sure I'd like to stop peeing myself when I laugh, but I don't get a chance to shower every day, so ain't no way I'm devoting any "me" time to vaginal exercises.  I just wear my old pregnancy underwear and throw a pad on there for good measure, because I may be bleeding like I'm still in middle school, but I don't want my pants to broadcast that. 

5.  I DON'T HAVE PMS MOTHERF*CKER!!!!  Yes, yes you do have PMS and it is horrible and you are a raving bitch and no one wants to be around you.  The problem is that you don't realize you have PMS because you are exhausted and you have children and taking care of small humans makes one grumpy.  You will snap at your kids.  You will yell at your husband.  You will probably get into a fight with a stranger at Whole Foods because she's taking too long in the bulk grains section.  You will feel depressed and bloated and headachey and your child constantly needing you will make you want to throw yourself in front of the next moving car.  You will beat yourself up for being a horrible mother and a horrible wife and a horrible friend and then Aunt Flo will blow into town and you'll finally understand why you've been such a bitch.  If anyone gives you a hard time about being just a teensy bit bitchy, remind him in no uncertain terms that you pushed a human being out of your vagina (or had one surgically removed from your uterus).  It's guaranteed to get you off the hook for most bad behavior.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Misadventures in Cooking: Soup's On

sweet potato soup

Years ago, back in the days when I still had a social life and was able to keep my eyes open past 10pm, I attended a fancy wine tasting party.  First of all, let me just mention that I had no business going to a wine tasting since to me all wine pretty much tastes delicious, but it was in conjunction with a potential freelance job and to my benefit to attend.  This was in the way back days, before Uber existed to provide designated drivers with a side of sexual assault, so I was forced to reign in my vino consumption both due to having to drive home and the fact that I was trying to get a job.  After all, it's not exactly "professional" to vomit into your potential boss's Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree.  Despite having to remain sober for this shindig, I ended up having a lovely time.  Most of the guests were parents and, to my surprise, they did not want to go home.  Seriously, it was like these people were planning to stay the night or something because as the clock ticked closer to midnight they just got drunker and more comfortable and made no motion to leave.  In fact, I was the first person to leave, and everyone kept saying "why are you leaving so early!  You're a party pooper."

At the time, when children were still some future "what if I decide to give up my life/regular showers?" question, I really couldn't for the life of me figure out why these people didn't just go home and go to bed.  Now that I am a parent and spend most of my weekends trapped in a house with two small children and no childcare, I totally get it.  If you invite me to a party where there are no kids and you are serving alcohol, I suggest you get the guest room ready because I plan to move in.

In addition to a bunch of drunk parents and a selection of esoteric wine varietals that all tasted like well, wine, they had a buffet of food with each dish selected to compliment a particular bottle of wine.  I personally think that wine compliments everything (try a viognier with a teething biscuit - you can thank me later) and since I couldn't drink heavily I just stood at the buffet shoveling embarassing amounts of finger food into my gaping maw.  While some of the eats were clearly prepared by our old friend Trader Joe, there was one particular dish that blew my culinary mind.  Red pepper soup. I know it sounds like no big deal, but it was so good that I'm pretty sure I was responsible for eating almost the entire tureen of the stuff.

Before leaving, I managed to convince the hostess to share the recipe, and she agreed.  I didn't end up getting the job, but at least I have a recipe for soup that my kids will eat, so at least my night of sobriety and social anxiety wasn't all for naught.  

sweet potato red pepper soup

Red Pepper & Sweet Potato Soup
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 red peppers, seeded and cubed
4 cups diced sweet potatoes
1 onion roughly diced
2 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 1/4 c. dry white
1 1/4 quarts vegetable stock
Sriracha sauce to taste, depending on how hot you like it
salt and pepper

In a medium sized dutch oven, combine olive oil, red peppers, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic and spices.  Cook over medium heat until fragrant and the onions are translucent.  Add wine, vegetable stock, Sriracha sauce, and salt and pepper.  Bring to a oil, then simmer for 30 - 35 minutes, until vegetables are soft.  

Working in batches, put in a blender and process until smooth.  Adjust seasoning if necessary and serve immediately.  

I garnish my soup with a drizzle of plain goat yogurt, a few chives, and some gluten-free croutons.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Choose Wisely

An article from The Guardian has been making its way around the interwebs lately that I finally had a chance to read this weekend.  While the focus of the piece is about breastfeeding and the Author's experience of getting her friend to feed her baby, what struck me the most about the article was when she describes the horrible experience she had with her Midwife.  I don't care about how or even who fed the woman's baby - I support feeding babies in whatever form that may take - but health practitioners who don't adequately support a patient's birthing choices really chap my hide.

If you are pregnant, I can't possibly stress enough how much it matters that you select a Doctor or Midwife who supports the way in which you desire to give birth.  You wouldn't buy a pair of shoes without trying them on first, so why would you trust the birth of your child(ren) to just any old schmoe?  The Gyno you've seen for years to help you avoid having babies might not be right for your transition from "footloose and childfree" to "saddled with offspring".  Ask for recommendations, do some research and choose someone with whom you connect. 

Five Guidelines for Choosing the Right OB or Midwife:

1.  Does your Doctor deliver her patients' babies?  In the old days, OB's were always on call for their patients.  I'm sure your Mom has told you the story of your birth, and a big part of it is how Dr. Rubenstein rushed to be by her side in the middle of the night because you were in such a big hurry to make your entrance downstage vagina.  Well kids, that's not the way things are done so much anymore.  Many OBs are not on call at all hours of the day and night and if you go into labor when they'd rather be sleeping (as is always the case - babies love to arrive in the middle of the f*cking night) you run the risk of getting whatever hot shot Doctor is on call who won't be interested in the fact that your birth plan asks for soft lighting, low voices, and avoidance of an epidural.  Trust me, you do not want some random stranger sticking his or her hand in your lady parts and demanding you have a c-section before even giving you ample time to labor. 

2.  How does your OB feel about natural birth?  If you want to have a natural, un-medicated, Hypnobabies birth, it is absolutely imperative that your doctor supports your choice.  It is going to be incredibly difficult for you to have a successful natural birth with a doctor who either doesn't support that or has very little experience with it.  I had incredibly positive birth experiences both times because my Doctors were advocates for natural birth.  I recently heard a story about a woman whose OB said he didn't like women to have vaginal births because afterwards their husband's wouldn't like sex as much.  Okay, really!?  First of all, after you've given birth your husband is just happy he's getting sex at all, so he's not too concerned if things are a little roomier than they were before YOU PUSHED A HUMAN OUT OF YOUR COOCH.  Second, if that's your Doctor's attitude then you need to find someone new, stat.  I don't care if you're already 36 weeks pregnant there is always, always a Doctor who will be your advocate.  On the flip side of that, if you have no interest in a natural birth and you want to take more drugs than I did in high school to get you through labor, you probably won't be happy with a Midwife named Rainbow who prefers to attend home water births.  

3.  Does the hospital your Doctor works out of support natural birth?  Just as with OBs, certain hospitals are great for natural birth, and some are not.  I personally had two incredible births at Cedars Sinai.  The labor and delivery nurses were wonderful - warm, professional, knowledgeable about Hypnobabies - and the nurses are a huge part of what kind of birth experience you end up having.  The nurse who attended the Muffin Man's birth also attended one of my nephew's births, which was pretty cool.  In my experience once the nurses became aware that I wanted a natural birth they did everything in their power to make that happen.  They never once offered me painkillers, and I had the use of a shower, a birth ball, a birthing rail, the ability to walk, etc.  Most of the hospitals in LA are equipped to support a natural birth, but again, this is also going to depend on which doctor you choose.

4. Does this Doctor or Midwife make me feel cared for?  Listen to your intuition because I think it gets stronger once you get pregnant and become a Mother.  If your caregiver doesn't seem to care what kind of birth you want, or seems annoyed by your questions or phone calls, then she is probably not going to be more patient, more focused on how you're doing when you're in labor.  If you're not feeling all warm and fuzzy towards your Doctor when your unborn child is still a zygote, you are going to feel such extreme hatred toward her when you're in your 16th hour of labor and she's spending more time checking Facebook than checking your cervix.

5. Should I change Doctors?  Thankfully, I've never been in this situation, but if you get halfway (or more) through your pregnancy and you decide that the Doctor you've chosen is not for you, make a change and find someone new.  I know a woman who decided at 30 weeks that she wanted a home birth and she found a midwife to take her on as a patient.  You are your own advocate. You must speak up for yourself and your child.  This is only the beginning of having to speak up - you will have to advocate for your kid for years on end, so start practicing now.  There is no shame in demanding what you want, and seeking out someone who can provide what you desire in a birth experience. 

The bottom line is that it's your vag and your child's birth, and somebody has to do right by it.  Decide what you want, what's right for you, do your research and choose a provider* accordingly.  And remember, there is nothing to be ashamed of if you change your mind and go for the drug cocktail; that labor sh*t hurts. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Give Me a (Beauty) Break

They aren't real, but they are definitely spectacular.
I think we can all agree that Los Angeles is pretty much the place when it comes to maintaining your appearance.  Sure, I have my issues with Hollywood's youth obsession and the resultant "what happened to her face" queries, but the reality is that many of the women who live in LA strive to look their best.  As a result, one can find any number of weird beauty treatments being offered in  the City of Angels.

Looking to clear up some acne in your T-zone?  Try a urine facial!

Noticed a new patch of Psoriasis on your calf?  Why not give Whole Body Cryotherapy a shot?

And let's not forget good ol' Goopy's vaginal steam.

Thanks to my limited budget and the fact that I'm a bit of a dirty hippie, I'm not usually one of the people jumping on the band wagon for pee on my face or hot steam on my lady parts.  However, I have secretly been wanting to try out eyelash extensions.

Now I realize that I am super late to this party, but I didn't even know that eyelash extensions existed until a few months ago.  I always assumed that the reason my eyelashes didn't look nearly as good as other women around town had more to do with my sub par genes than the fact that they were purchasing eyelash hair.  Thank goodness my glamorous Sister-in-Law enlightened me and opened my eyes (pun intended) to this fabulous beauty trend.  I was all excited to line up for my own personal set of come-hither lashes...until I found out how much it would cost.  We're talking $200 for some teeny-tiny hairs and a little adhesive.  Once again, another example of having champagne taste on a beer budget.

Just as I began to despair of ever having movie-star worthy lashes, I got an email from a local company called UnBOOKed Appointments that wanted me to try their service.  It's a brilliant idea: service providers in your area offer discounts during their slower or, "unbooked" appointment times.  This means that if you wake up Tuesday morning and decide that you need a massage, you can pop on over to UnBOOKed and see if one of the massage therapists they contract with has an opening that works with your schedule.  From hair color to hypnosis, they offer almost everything, with more providers being added every week.

I poked around the site, noticed that they were offering a full set of lashes for $75 (!!!) and proceeded to do a little dance around my laptop.  Finally, I was going to get the lashes of my dreams without shelling out a fortune!  I chose a day and a time that worked for me and then began counting the hours until my transformation from dowdy mommy to MILF was complete.

The day before my scheduled appointment I received an email that there had been a problem, and the salon where I'd booked my lash extensions hadn't updated their online calendar, so my desired time was no longer available.  The wonderful UnBOOKed Customer Service Rep found an alternative salon with availability on the day and time I needed and took care of setting everything up for me so that I didn't have to worry about anything except showing up at the right address.  Everything was done via email, thank goodness, because a Mommy trying to use a telephone without interruption is nigh on impossible.  Oh, and here's the most generous part of it all: the new salon charged more for a full set than the original one, but UnBOOKed covered the difference so that the only thing I had to shell out for was the gratuity.

You guys, my eyelashes look incredible.  Seriously, I am not going to be able to return to the life of a natural eyelash individual.  Even the Hubster can't get over how much better I look with the lashes.  Oh sure, he thinks I'm beautiful no matter what and blah blah blah, but the lashes really just make my face pop.  I appear less tired, and it looks like I made an actual effort and put on makeup even when I haven't showered in four days!  Any beauty treatment that doesn't require me to expend effort is one I can fully embrace.  I guess it's a good thing that UnBOOKed found me, because it's the only way I can afford to keep up this new, glamorous me.
Now here's the really exciting news: I'm giving away two $50 gift codes for UnBOOKed to two lucky readers.  The service is currently only available in Los Angeles and surrounding areas (sorry, East Coasters) but that means two of my awesome readers will get a chance to get more beautiful for free.

To enter, post a photo of yourself on Instagram with the hashtag #givemeabeautybreak, then follow and tag both @theannalane and @unbookedappts.  Or you can post your photo on the Misadventures in Motherhood facebook page.  Be sure and tell me why you need some "me" time or what service you would get were you to win one of the prizes.

I promise not to make fun of you if you decide to indulge in a pee pee facial.

Monday, March 9, 2015

How to get a Toddler Dressed in 21 Easy Steps

1. Tell toddler that it's time to get dressed.  He will say no and run away from you.

2. Search for toddler and find him in the pantry smearing jam all over himself.  Tell him again that it's time to get dressed, especially now that he's covered in jam.  He will say no, louder this time, and try to run away from you again.

3. Pick up toddler and carry him upstairs while he screams and smears jam all over your hair.

4.  Attempt to place toddler on the changing table in his room.  You dodge several kicks to your abdomen before he throws himself off of the table.

5. Tell toddler that he can play for five minutes and then it really is time to get dressed.

6. After five minutes, inform toddler that it's now time to change his diaper.  Pick up toddler and place him on his changing table while, once again, dodging his flailing limbs.

7. Hand wiggling toddler your iPhone in the hopes it will distract him long enough for you to change his diaper and get him clothed.

8.  While toddler is mesmerized by something he managed to find on your phone, quickly whip off his diaper and put on a new one.  It is very possible his wet diaper actually weighs more than your toddler did when he was born.

9.  Choose a cute outfit that you want your child to wear.  Stealthily slip the pants on while he is playing with your phone.

10.  Begin to remove your toddler's Superman pajama top (that is covered in jam) in order to replace it with a stylish, clean t-shirt.  Toddler, realizing what you are trying to do, screams "NO" at the top of his lungs and holds down his pajama top with superhuman strength so that you are unable to remove it.

11.  Explain to toddler that he can't wear a pajama shirt out in public, especially one that's covered in jam.  He is not convinced.

12.  Suggest to toddler that he can pick out the shirt he would like to wear but it cannot be his pajama top.

13.  Help toddler climb off of changing table and open the dresser drawer that holds his t-shirts.  Toddler pulls out every single shirt from the drawer and runs back and forth to his sister's room where he throws them into her crib.

14.  While your toddler is otherwise occupied mimicking the behaviour of a University of Michigan fraternity member, you check your watch and mentally calculate how many hours it is until wine o'clock.

15.  Tell toddler that he really does have to choose a shirt.  Preferably now.  He says no.

16.  You tell him that you will get him an organic, sugar-free fruit stick if he chooses a shirt.  This seems to persuade him.  He selects a shirt that does not in any way go with the pants you managed to put on him 25 minutes ago.

17.  You finally get his shirt changed while he chants "foooot stick" over and over.  His outfit clashes so badly strangers will probably think you are color blind.  You have not had enough coffee to care.

18.  After you change your child's shirt, you try to put socks on his feet but every time you pull the socks over his toes he says "ow" and pulls off the socks.  There is no logical reason for this since he has no injuries to his feet and his toenails are, for once, neatly trimmed.

19.  You give up on socks and feel thankful that you live in Los Angeles and the fact that you are too tired to fight your kid on socks will not lead to your being reported to CPS.

20.  You take your fully-dressed toddler downstairs to the kitchen and give him the promised fruit stick.  While your toddler is in the living room eating his fruit stick, you reheat your coffee for the sixth time that morning.  When you walk back into the living room, you see that your child has somehow managed to get fruit stick all over himself in the span of two minutes.

21. You decide that letting your child wear a dirty shirt is really no big deal since you no longer have the energy to leave the house. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Fix My Wardrobe February Edition

While things may not be working out in my child's educational life, my pursuit of a better wardrobe continues apace.  Thanks to Stitch Fix I have not had to go clothing shopping for almost six months!  This is pretty amazing for two reasons: one, I hate trying to find clothes that fit me, and two, I look cute and hip even though I haven't been inside a mall or a clothing store in almost a year.

I received some feedback from a reader that she wanted to know more about Stitch Fix and how it works, specifically what it looks like when it arrives at your doorstep.  Since I aim to please here at the Misadventures, I prepped for a very professional photo shoot of my fix from start to finish.

I had two willing photo assistants to ensure that the photos give you a very realistic sense of what it's like to receive a box of clothing (or really anything) when one has two children at home.

The box is small and compact and full of wonderfulness.  And because I am a responsible Mother, I let my toddler use a pair of scissors to open it for me.  Hey, at least I didn't give him a box cutter!

It's like a nice little present just for Mommy!

Let's open it for her!
On a positive note, at least we know that the clothes are durable!  Now let's just hope my children didn't manage to get any regurgitated food on them which will prevent me from getting my money back.

Each fix always includes a note from your stylist, a price list, and outfit suggestions, all enclosed in a nice little envelope.  

Here's what I got in this month's box:  
Papermoon Hartselle Dolman, $44.00
Meh.  I just didn't think this was all that flattering and, if anything, it made my boobs look nonexistent.  I definitely don't need to look more flat chested!  RETURNED.

Market & Spruce V-Neck Dolman Sleeve Shirt, $48.00
I love the color of this shirt but it was baggy and weird and looks almost like a maternity top.  It also wasn't very comfortable and since I'm looking for clothes that feel like pajamas this was a "no".  RETURNED.

Dahlya Chiffon Back Sweater, $64.00
This is so not my style.  It was a little too close to lace, and mama don't do lace.  Plus it seemed impractical for day-to-day life with kids, but not dressy enough to wear out for a date with the Hubs.  RETURNED. 

Olive & Oak Quilted Vest, $68.00 
 I was not impressed with the vest when I saw it in the box, but I was pleasantly surprised at how cute it was when I put it on.  I was really torn about this one, because I liked the way it looked and it seemed like a practical layering piece for LA, but ultimately I just didn't think I would wear it enough to justify the price.  RETURNED. 

Level 99 Tony Skinny Jean, $74.00
The jeans, on the other hand, are so incredibly comfortable and really flattering and I've already worn them four times since I got them. KEPT!

I realize at some point I'm going to have to stop buying jeans, but I feel like the existential question of our time is "can a woman have too many pairs of well-fitting jeans?"  I now have enough jeans to keep me from having to do laundry for at least two weeks, so that's a win in my book!

Here's the part in which I've failed you, dear readers.  I completely forgot to take a picture of the bag with my returns in it.  The only excuse I can offer is Mommy brain.  

Here's what happens after you've decided which pieces to keep and which ones to send back: you go online to your Stitch Fix account and check out, leaving feedback about why you did or didn't like certain pieces.  Then you pack all of the stuff you don't want into the enclosed postage-paid envelope, and hand it off to your postal carrier or drop it at your local mail shoppe.  No mall visit required!  No searching for a misplaced receipt so you can get your money back!

Ladies, pajamas are not an acceptable apparel choice for anything other than sleeping, and you don't have to wear leggings anymore.  Trust me, your spouse will be so thrilled that you no longer look like homeless person that he might try to get in your (new) pants. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Five Things Not to Say to a Preschool Reject

Well, it's official: we are preschool rejects.  The last school we were waiting to hear from has joined the ranks in turning down the Lane Family from their roster.  In addition to the stress of having to start this whole preschool nonsense over again at whatever school I can rustle up that still has space in the fall, I'm having traumatic flashbacks to my days as a high school loser.  I've already had three emergency sessions with my therapist, and that's just today.

I'm still figuring out what our plan is for next year, but until then, I've put together a very helpful little list of Five Things Never to Say to a Preschool Reject:

1. He's awfully young to go to school.  Oh, I didn't realize that you had received a PhD in early childhood development since we talked yesterday!  I'll be sure and tell the Secretary of Education that someone who has a BFA in photography (with a minor in French), thinks two and a half is too young to go to school, because I'm sure he will really take your opinion into consideration and tell you to go f*ck yourself.  

2. It will be amazing to have him home with you for another year.  I totally agree!  Especially since you're planning to come over every day and keep him occupied while all of his friends are at school.  What's that?  You're not offering to babysit every day?  Oh.  Well then you're right, it will be amazing to have a three year old little boy and his toddler sister at home with me every day...amazingly horrible.  Nothing sounds less fun than spending seven days a week with my two kids fighting over toys and not allowing me the time to take a shower.  I'll be sure and send you the bill for my resulting inpatient psychiatric stay so you can see just how "amazing" it was. 

3. Can't you just sign him up for the neighborhood nursery school?  No, because much like the mythical unicorn, this "neighborhood school" does not exist.  I know that back in the 1970's, when you were last in the preschool game, this was how things were done, but the times have changed.  In addition to there no longer being neighborhood nursery schools for all of the kids living on Pleasantville Lane, teachers are not allowed to chain smoke around the students and schools don't serve Tang for snack.  Now go take your TaB on a long walk off of a short pier. 

4.  Los Angeles is horrible.  You really need to move.  That's a fantastic idea!  It makes total sense for us to pack up all of our worldly belongings and move somewhere new where we have no jobs because who needs income?  Not us!  We can live on love and peanut butter and see where the day takes us!  I'm sure our kids will find it thrilling to live out of our old Toyota SUV while we figure it all out!

5.  It won't kill you to drive to preschool in Ventura/San Francisco/Alaska every day!  You need to be more flexible.  Thanks for the tip, person who has full time childcare and a driver and whose kid goes to school two blocks away.  I'm sure that my kids will really enjoy waking up at 5:30am so that we can sit in traffic for three hours to get to school!  I know that the Little Lady will be thrilled to nap in her carseat instead of her crib everyday and that there's no way it will negatively impact her night sleep whatsoever.  And my freelance writing work will be ever-so-easy to complete while driving back and forth across the length of the great state of California.  What a manageable solution, thank you! 

Unless you have an actual, realistic, solution - like you'll be footing the bill for a full time nanny  - don't say anything; especially if your kid got into your first choice school.  Heck, I'm thrilled for you.  And I plan on asking you to write us a recommendation to that school just as soon as they start accepting applications for the 2016-2017 school year. 

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