Friday, January 20, 2012

How Motherhood Turns You Into a Sentimental Sap

As we write this, we are going back and forth to check on a sleeping child, to savor the last few breaths of the wonder that was six years old because we're just not ready for the seven year old we will see tomorrow.  
Happy birthday, mini.  May you one day know the joy of having your insides shaken up every day.

Recently, someone asked us to to describe the experience of parenting and we didn't quite know where to begin.  There's the honest, yet cheesy answer about loving another little human being more than you ever thought you could.  Then there's the more honest answer, which usually has the words "exasperated" and "smack" somewhere in the same sentence, along with [insert favorite expletive].

Hmm. None of that tells you what it feels like to be a parent at all, does it? 

Perhaps this is closer: imagine, on a daily basis, at random unpredictable times, someone took out all your insides, shook them up, threw them on the street, stomped all over them, and then put them back in your body in the wrong order.  We're talking heart in your stomach.  Emotions where your brain used to be.  Memory, coordination, overall executive functioning, all constantly needing readjustment.  Your ability to sleep through the night thrown out the window, even in lands far far away.

You second-guess everything you say or do.  All confidence and previously acquired knowledge hovers somewhere around your nether regions as if you're some kind of alien life form re-learning how to be a human all over again.  You're constantly being challenged to be a better person, identify your values, rethink your ideals, keep your promises, do good unto others, do what you say.  You feel like someone is always watching you.  Mostly, because someone is always watching you.
Exhibit B: Female finger, post parenthood
Exhibit A: Female finger, pre parenthood

You do not recognize yourself.  You fight off all inner alarms screaming "alert! alert! domestic hell ahead of you!" and go to places like the Container Store and Buy Buy baby anyway, even if they are so overwhelming that all you want to do is run the other way.  You ignore all introverted tendencies and forcefully, even publicly take on any teacher, lawmaker, or adult that gets in the way of what you think is best for your child without giving it a second thought.  You wonder how you let a little 2, 3, 4 year old boss you around and how you ended up wrapped around their cute little finger.
Exhibit C: Child's finger wrapped around adult's.  That's what they want you to believe, peeps. 

You hear yourself say things you'd never have thought would come out of your mouth.  Words like "what do you mean, you don't need me to wipe your poop anymore?" and "I'm going on that sleepover with you!" come out of your mouth so fast you don't have time to clap your hand over your mouth before you think to yourself "whatthefuck. who said that?"  You get so used to reciting "get your hand out of your mouth" at the end of every sentence that you start saying it unconsciously to grownups.  (Worse, still, this doesn't bother you.)  You can't stand it when your child is always hanging off your arm, yet when you are walking around without them it feels like one of your arms is missing.  You are so sleep deprived you want to cry, but at the same time the thought of sending this little person off to sleep away camp or (gasp!) college gives you panic attacks.  Speaking of crying, you do a lot of this.  You cry anytime you hear about a kid anywhere getting hurt, you cry anytime your kid says something endearing, you cry anytime you watch oneofthosesappyfuckingendofschoolyearvideos, you cry when your child wishes you a happy Mother's Day in earnest, and you cry at all those commercials with babies in them because watching all those babies reminds you that yours is not a baby anymore and then that thought makes you cry, which just makes you wonder who is in your body and what someone did with the real you.  You know, the one who was not the soft, sentimental sap you see before you.

That, peeps...that...we think, is a much more accurate description of what it feels like to be a parent.

*Note, if you're interested in an even better description of parenting, click here.  Could not have said it better ourselves.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On Our Soapbox

We're asking for trouble, we know.

But if someone could take a minute to explain our constitution to us, that'd be swell.  Because, we thought we learned about this little thing in our constitution called the first amendment, which calls for separation of church and state.  Since we were in the third grade and since we were young and gullible we believed it. 

Here's where we get stuck.  Let's say you believe in this whole separation of church and state thing, which we'd like to.  OK, OK, so the first amendment doesn't actually mention separation of church and state.  But since no one is challenging the interpretation let's just go with that common implication for now.  What does it mean? No religion in schools.  No religion in politics.  So say you're some qualified person white male still running for the republican candidate for president.  Episcopalian, mormon, it really doesn't matter so long as you believe in Jesus and remember to thank him in your speeches.  Still, supposedly your religion is not supposed to influence your politics, right?

Now also explain to us how is it that you are opposed to something like same sex marriage?  What is it about it that bothers you?  Do you not believe in equal rights for all citizens?  Wait, you say you do? Then the answer can only be one of two things: a) your best friend is a cartoon character named Cartman or b) your church says so therefore it must be true.

Bam. Wethinks religion just dictated your political agenda. 

If this guy's running your campaign, you have bigger issues
Let's give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are above all that stuff, and that you can support a bi-partisan agenda regardless of your own personal or religious beliefs because you believe in democracy.  Then, you're going to have a little problem called "getting your party to actually vote for you".  Because no serious Republican candidate can ignore their party's cornerstone: christian evangelicals.  Take our friend Santorum, for instance.  Days after an evangelical endorsement his campaign contributions are up 50%. 50% peeps!!  He's so flush he can finally afford to go to-to-toe with this guy in South Carolina.  CNN quotes: "Newt Gingrich's campaign is working to limit the fallout of that decision."  Interesting.  Reading between the lines, this means Gingrich is likely to be doing more speaking out on behalf of "conservative values" and less for civil rights to win his evangelicals back.

Oh, and did we mention that "conservative values" is politically correct code for religiously-driven agenda?  But then again what do we know?  We're just another, dime-a-dozen, Ivy-league educated liberal Jew who can make up words like "wethinks" because we feel like it and ignore all proper grammatical rules for kicks.

It's a good thing our current president, a democrat, has the sense to check all religion at the door as it has no place in politics in a country where christians and jews and muslims and atheists live side by side.  It's a good thing he's not thanking his god in his speeches or doing any funny business like that.  It's a good think religious holidays like Christmas aren't national or school holidays.  Oh, wait...

Can we please just call a spade a spade?  Can we at least admit that religion plays into our politics whether we like it or not?  Then and only then, can we begin examining where we have fallen short of our democratic ideals.  As Betty Ford said, admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.  Or...wait, maybe was that was something someone said to Betty Ford.  You think we know the answer to that? As if.  Go ask a white male, will you?  And when you're done with that, let's have an honest debate about what role religion does (and should) play in our supposedly agnostic political system.   

Off our soapbox now.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Review: Cookies for people with food allergies that actually taste like cookies

We had the recent pleasure of devouring elegantly tasting some new products from Home Free Treats.  A little about Home Free:  the company was started by a mom who has a child with food allergies and like many of us, was frustrated by the lack of options out there.
These were our favorite. Shocking, we know.

Mini was most excited at this project, as she rarely gets store-bought cookies, if ever.  One of the downsides of having a mother who can bake, we suppose.  But these are lazy-day alternatives we can actually feel good about: they have more whole grains and less "bad" ingredients than most store bought treats, and, as mini pointed out "they have fruit, they are made with apple juice!"  (side note, if any of you have followed our adventures in trying to get mini to eat fruit, you will understand the pathetic significance of this statement).  They are also kosher, which is cool for some of you.

We were able to try the mini vanilla, chocolate chip, and chocolate chocolate chip cookies, all of them deliciously crunchy.  We laid out 3 cookies for each person, and a glass of regular milk for dipping the chocolate cookies in, and chocolate milk for dipping the vanilla cookies in.  (Please use rice milk or nothing if you have a dairy allergy instead!)

The verdict: YUM! Seriously, all three, gobbled up quickly.  We especially appreciated that the vanilla cookies came in a box filled with little individual portion bags, like many of you who buy goldfish snack bags may be familiar with.  It's super convenient, especially if you are buying for more than one kid.

Our only request: please make individual bags for the chocolate chocolate ones too!

Since other companies are starting to get hip to the ideas that there is a market for allergy-friendly cookies, we have also put together this complete list of treats you can buy that are both allergy friendly and kosher.  We will keep this list up as a link in our "blogroll" and will be sure to update it when we can.

*Full disclosure: the cookies were provided to us from the Home Free Company, but all comments, thoughts and opinions are solely courtesy of Poker Chick.  Thanks, Home Free peeps, for letting us try your food!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

ALL children deserve to be safe at school.

This is preventable, people. 

Reality Cometh Crashing Down...

Guarantee at least one working parent out there can relate. 

Out by 650am watch bus pull away run like hell one block in heels carrying computer damn I am a fast runner park closed for police activity bus needs to take alternate route there goes my extra time still stop for oatmeal and fruit for energy new years UNresolution starting off right where is my ID? client 1 wants new slides by end of day client 2 wants to have call at 11am to dicuss pov we do not have yet oy vey why the hell did you schedule an internal at 930am first day back oh crap I asked you to sorry team must have coffee make that a machiatto yes to that whip pile it on please..more..more..there you go ahh that's better...everyone running into my office with questions why does everyone always think I have the answers must be a leader here come the coffee jitters sending in refi application 2 big jobs over budget school nurse calls lice FUCKNO why is this happening find team members do the 5 minute power delegate race out spend commute rearranging all calls for after 4pm nanny must stay late so I can work calling all mothers whose children came into contact with mine to warn them narrowed down sources ok where is nanny was supposed to be at school by noon hopping in cab from east side to west and back east again already getting slammed with a few hundies on this did I really need to add 20 to that and what why is birthday party place telling me they didn't get my check I sent it two weeks ago WTF team calling me at home anyway seriously can no one else answer your question work phone in one hand, lice lady handing me comb in the other trying to balance and listen to both at once realize this is not humanly possible throwing out hairbrush and all little girl hairthingies hat scarf must not think about the replacement cost for this must called loan approved do a little dance have a little moment but holy shit did bank just loan me that much money all by myself pause at mortifying sense of responsibility shaken out of shock by buzzer on dryer next bed to be remade starts now why did I think six pillows on my bed was a good idea and how is it that her dad missed both this week and the last week in Dec when we had to do all the tipping and gifts and finally asleep 9pm why am I so hungry OMG haven't stopped for so much as water since the coffee woman cannot survive on an 8am oatmeal alone forage in fridge take call from friend nice to be distracted by other people's problems for a bit chat with a couple friends online catch up on work 98 emails since noon seriously? finish at midnight collapse and begin the daily task of figuring out how to slow my mind that always seems to race at 35 million miles a minute... serenity now serenity now serenity now....

And how was YOUR first day back at work?

Monday, January 2, 2012

5 New Year's Resolutions I will NOT be making

Inspired by my friend Theresa, the following is a list of resolutions I can't help but feel I should be committing to, yet deep down I know that pigs will fly before that happens.  Therefore, this year, instead of making resolutions like everyone else, I have decided to UNmake resolutions.  Anyone can start off a year with a self-improvement list, but starting off a new year by admitting to your limitations and getting them out of the way, well now that is the better way to go, don't you think?

Join me, will you? It's especially freeing to spend some time admitting to the various things we suck at now, thus saving us copious time and energy for focusing on doing more of the things we are brilliant at, such as mocking people and stealing friends' french fries.

2012 New Year UNresolutions:

1. Don't try to eat healthier - having tried the trendy 3-day juice cleanse in fall 2011 with disastrous efforts I think I will continue the path I have already taken of simply trying to eat more apples/grapefruits/oranges etc. and less sweets.  But only slightly less.  Because I do love those cupcakes so, and let's be honest - I'm not going to go without even if I say I will so why make myself feel guilty about it?

2. Forget about exercising more - everyone starts out the year by saying they'll exercise more.  Do you really want to start of your year being just like everyone else?  I didn't think so.  Now, I'm not saying exercise is bad.  Some of our friends even like it (ahem, Miranda, I'm talking to you here....).  And perhaps this will be the year I will find more time for this.  But to make it a goal? I'm a working mother, for crissake!  I leave home at 7:15am and any day I have the chance to put on undereye concealer on both eyes before I am out the door - it's a good one!  Adding trying to exercise to my day of juggling school drop off, umpteen work meetings, constant emergencies all day long, and finding a minute to pee - well, it just ain't gonna happen.  When I have the time, I will do it.  In the meantime I shall be perfecting my finger waving; at the very least my hand muscles will be strong!

3. Organization is for sissies - soooo many people declare that this will be the year they will finally get organized! My arch nemesis The Container Store capitalizes on this human commonality and January is one of their busiest seasons.  They work with their friends, the conspirators whose sole purpose is to make those of us lacking any domestic knowledge feel like lousy parents Real Simple Magazine to prey on people while they are vulnerable and sell them all sorts of things like mail organizers and belt organizers and useful things like toilet paper organizers, all in the name of good intentions.  They thank you for your $25, you feel good for a hot second, and then the tzotchke takes up space in your teeny apartment as you look at it day after day resolving to organize this mess of organizers you have in your home.  Not that, um, we would know anything about that sort of thing, of course. 

4. You'll never finish that to do list you never had time to make in the first place - this one is self-explanatory peeps.  Some of you will not relate, and for those of you who can - well, you know who you are.

5. Redefine "volunteer" - if I were a betting woman, I'd go ahead and say that the following phrases uttered in one's head on occasion may sound familiar to some of you:                                                                                      
"This Thanksgiving, we're taking the whole family to a soup kitchen to give thanks for what we really have"

"That's it! These kids are so spoiled! I am going to make them donate all the presents to charity. Or at least one."

"I am going to give money to a homeless shelter and alleviate my guilt at not giving to every person I walk by..."

You may be well intentioned-peeps, but making promises to yourself you know you won't keep will just make you feel guilty and actually less inclined to reach out and help someone.  So this year, I am going to re-define volunteering and try and do more of the "volunteer" activities I already try to do on a regular basis such as helping out at school, helping an elderly relative with their mail, talking to a friend who is sad, or baking pumpkin bread for a friend or neighbor just because you know they like it.

So there you have it.  5 resolutions I will NOT be making this year.  Happy un-new year to you.