Thursday, December 31, 2009

The End of an Era...Goodbye 2000's

or at least the first ten years of them.

Ten years ago this evening, I was lying on the couch in my tiny little attic apartment in Nashua, New Hampshire, rocking a raging fever and watching the New Year ring in on my television, all over the world. It was, of course, the turn of the millenium, so the media was all over it, covering midnight striking in remote little islands of the Pacific as well as Sydney, Tokyo, Paris, London and then on to the Unites States. I was awake from Kiribati to Honolulu (that's almost 24 hours, folks) and whenever I wasn't woozy from the fever, or waiting for "breaking news" to bust into my 24-hour New Years Day coverage with a report that Y2K was in fact real and that I was shit out of luck because I'd not been stockpiling canned beans for the past three years, I was pondering what the next ten years held for me.

And so here I am. Ten years later. And three time zones and 3000 away from where I was that night. I didn't even realize it at the time, but in only seven months from that moment, I would hop in my car with two cats, an air conditioner, a TV and a great friend and drive away from home for good, on my way to Washington, DC. I moved in with another great friend and her fiance (and some other tool of a room mate who lurked in the basement of the house and moved out shortly after I moved in. I couldn't tell you his name now or pick him out of a line up if my life depended on it). I started teaching at a school I would grow to both adore and loathe. Meaning, I wanted so badly to succeed there and be respected by my peers that I gave myself a big giant ulcer.

The best thing about working at that school (aside from the fact that I was too busy trying to stay afloat that I forgot to eat and lost almost 30lbs in 3 months?!) was that I met Husband through a friend I made at work.

Dating another guy at the time (and I use the term "dating" very loosely--remember when you were in 8th grade and some guy's friend came up and asked you if you liked "Bob". And when you said, "sure," he said, "yeah, but do you like him, like him, or just like him?" It was kind of like that. Only with sex.), I took up a friend's invitation to go hang out a bar with her, her fiance and a bunch of their friends. It was clear to me that things weren't going anywhere with the current guy (and let me be clear that he is a great guy and still a friend and has made a fantastic husband for another girl). So I went to the bar. And there was Husband, amongst the group of friends I'd been invited to meet. The rest, as they say when they can't think of anything wittier, is history.

I won't delve into the details of Husband's and my relationship because really interwebs, it's not a whole lot of your business. But suffice it to say, meeting Husband at the tail-end of 2000 was the turning point of my life and something I never would have imagined as I lay on that couch, eleven months earlier, slurping down a bowl of Mom's chicken soup and wishing I had a crystal ball.

Just a little past the midway point of the decade, Husband and I got hitched.

And what should have been 10.5 months later, turned into 9 months later, this guy arrived:

and our lives have changed 100%. And now that little baby is this little boy:

The passage of time, when you are dealing with a child who grows and changes every. single. day is an entirely different thing than it is to a woman lying on her couch wondering when her life will start.

Because that is how I felt back then, watching people all over the world on my television, ringing in the year 2000. (Yes, I absolutely know how incredibly un-empowered that sounds, but the 90's? Kind of blew for me). I could never have guessed that in only a few short months, events would transpire that would set me on this very course, and for that I am so grateful. For all the complaining I do about potty training or infertility, I am so very grateful.

I can only imagine what the 10's have in store for me. Looking back at how quickly the 00's went, I hope I remember to savor every moment of it (except for the ones, maybe in these next few months, when the child decides to poop his pants. I don't have to savor those moments, right?)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winter Break? A Whole Big Pile of Suck.

Don't get me wrong--I don't mean the holiday, or the house guests or the time spent with friends. That, interwebs, has been awesome. What's NOT been awesome? Every minute in between with the antsy, crabby, potty-training, play-date-starved, "the world revolves around me me me me ME!!!!!" child. zOMG! Make him stop!!!

The day before our family arrived, Ethan sat up in bed and said, "Mommy, I need a play date." And I came through--with a 10-day play date, thanks to Tia Emi, Tio Pete and Prima Sofia. Yay, mom!!! (True, it had little to do with me, but I am totally taking credit, people! You want a play date?! You got it, kid! Here you go! Ten days of play! Have at it!)

I *thought* that after the whirlwind of a houseful of guests, the child might be keen to spend some one-on-one time with the woman who gave him life and all that. But no. The day after Sofia hopped a plane for home, Ethan said to me, once again, "Mommy, I need a play date," as though the previous ten days were a mere figment of my imagination and he'd been languishing in lonely child angst all the while.

So, using the power of Facebook, I managed to wrangle up a few days worth of fabulous play dates and museum visits. Those hours while we were in the presence of witnesses? Tremendously fun. The second we are alone? Demon-child emerges, head all but spinning, demanding "feeeeeeed the beeeeeeeassssst----mmoooooorrrre plllllllllayddddddddddates!!!!!"

Monday? Playdate. Tuesday? Playdate. Today? Supposed to have a playdate, but I woke up with a scratchy throat and some congestion and didn't want to infect the world with my crud, so I cancelled. That, my friend, was a mistake. Aside from the fact that by noon-ish I was feeling relatively okay, Ethan was out of his freaking gourd by the end of the day. At this point, much as I love my friends, I might have been willing to expose them to ebola to keep Ethan from all the whining and let's-see-how-bad-I-can-be-before-she-runs-screaming-from-the-room-and-threatening-to-sell-me-to-a-roving-band-of-gypsies routine he had going on today.

And you know what he says as we drive away from one play date and I ask him if he had fun? "Yea, that was fun. Now let's go to someone else's house. I need another play date." GAH!

Not even lunch at Husband's Super Cool Tech company was enough to make him happy. I thought surely at one point he was going to end up rolling on the floor of the cafeteria, flailing and screaming. They don't see a lot of that at Super Cool Tech company and it would have been mort.i.fying. Thankfully he held off the full tantrum until we were out the door and on our way home. When he said, "Where are we going now, Mommy?" and I replied, "Home, honey," all hell broke loose. Untold dollars worth of new toys at home and the child wants to be at ANYone else's house. Sigh.

At one point, he locked me out. Of the house. I went outside to get something from the car and as I turned the corner from the drive way, I heard "click". Door. closed. I dropped the faux-leather ottoman with storage compartment (Target, on sale, SQUEEE!!!) and ran to the house thinking "don't be locked. don't be locked. don't be locked." Lo and behold. Locked. Thank goodness my church-going neighbors are still on Christmas vacation on the other side of the country because otherwise, they would definitely have heard me cursing enough to melt the paint of the side of my house. Because I'm a great role model like that.

My purse? Already in the house. My phone? Already in the house. My neighbors, who might let me into the house to call Husband or the fire department? As I previously mentioned, on the other side of the country. So I was left to pull up the aforementioned ottoman, have a seat and try to talk my 3.5 year old through the front door unlocking process. Through the front door.

Thankfully, rather than throwing a juicebox Bacchanal, raiding the pantry for leftover peppermint Jo-Jos, and turning on Phineas and Ferb, Ethan went into full-on "I want my mommy!!!" freak out mode when he realized that I truly couldn't get in the house. So before I could talk him through the door-unlocking process, I had to talk him off of his "OMG, I"m in the house alone!!!!! Help me!!!!" ledge. Don't get me wrong; I didn't enjoy hearing him cry and call for me while being unable to get to him. But I was relieved that he realized he needed me and I wasn't going to be climbing through a bedroom window to find my kid passed out in a pool of apple juice in front of MTV.

When I finally got in the house (miraculously, he is a quick learner and once he stopped wailing, unlocking the door only took about a minute), I gave him a big hug and said, "Ethan, you locked me out of the house!"

To which he responded? "Mommy, you locked me IN the house."

Touche, little man. Touche.

And then there is the potty-training. Is there any way Mother Nature could have rigged these little beings so that they came out equipped to use a toilet? Because, honestly. Potty-training Ethan is sucking my will to live.

Okay, that is a *slight* exaggeration, but holy hell! He pooped on the potty for the first time at 18 months. That's TWO years ago. It was a fluke, fine. We've tried several times in the past two years to make it happen on a permanent basis, but I have hesitated to make it a big deal, realizing that everything Ethan has ever done developmentally, he's done on his own terms, in his own time. I'm fine with that. He's pretty good at knowing what he needs and when. I"m constantly amazed by how I will mash my head into a wall trying to think of ways to get him to eat, sleep, etc, and then one day POOF! He does it all on his own. So I've not been too worried about the WHEN WILL HE GO ON THE POTTY???!!! question.

The problem with this while potty-training? He changes his mind on an almost daily basis. One day, he is ALL about the Buzz Lightyear underwear and has no accidents. The next day, the mere thought of underwear is enough to send him into a hyperventilating train wreck.

I think we were *almost* there before the holidays. Two or three days of only one accident and lots of successes. Then the flurry of activity that is the holiday season ensued and we went through all of our underwear and all our pants in one day. That's a LOT of accidents and no successes. And he was crying. A lot. And feeling horrible and embarrassed by all the accidents. So I conceded and put him back in diapers while family was in town. And he got used to it.

Now we're back in underwear and zOMG, it's like a battle of wills. He does okay for the most part. Except if I'm not giving him what he wants, when he wants. Yesterday, while I took five minutes to myself to talk on the phone to my mom, Ethan stood in front of me, smiled and peed his pants. Give me strength, interwebs. Give. Me. Strength. Or? If we're out in public and he decides every 30 seconds that he NEEEEEEEEDs to go potty, so we rush to the restroom and I hold him up and hover him over the nasty toilet, and wait. And he never pees. And my back is wrenched to the point of needing a chiropractor on call, 24/7.

The other day, at the museum, he did manage to pee in the restroom. Which was AWESOME. But? He peed on the floor. Because I was holding him up over the toilet and he couldn't get his aim right, what looked like a perfect shot was actually, as they say in Major League, "just a bit outside.". To be honest, I"m just relieved he didn't pee all over me. But his "The pee is on the floor!!! The pee is on the floor!!!" wailing while I unrolled entire rolls of toilet paper to mop it up may have raised my blood pressure to unsafe levels. And by "may have" I mean "definitely did."

So the false alarms, the "do what I want or I'll pee right here, right now" shenanigans and the, to no fault of his own, misses because he's just learning how to use the toilet and I've never peed with a penis, are giving me a bit of a tic.

Dear G-d, I love this child more than anything in the world, but I canNOT wait for school to start on January 4th.

I will say this though. While we were driving somewhere today (I can't even remember where because my brain cells are scrambled), he said, "Mommy, someone said that you didn't have me when you were getting married." We look at pictures of the wedding all the time in our hallway, so I wasn't surprised to hear him talk about it, but I was taken aback a little bit by his placement of himself in there and wondered who he'd been talking to about it. So I said, "Yes, honey. That's right. Daddy and I got married and you came along pretty soon after." He was quiet for a minute and then said, "Yeah, I know. I was waiting for you."

Love. him.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Practicing Their "Outside Voices"

Notice my futile attempt to quiet them by saying "hey guys, this is a museum!" Yeah, they stop for a second to contemplate my appeal for quiet and make a unanimous decision that I am simply not to be listened to. Eh, it's okay. At least we were outside.

An impressive performance.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Week in E...Unbridled Glee

Last Thursday, Ethan woke up and said to me, "Momma, I need a play date." This kid has a crazy social life and a day without a play date makes him a little twitchy. As glad as I am that he is comfortable playing with kids his age and that he makes friends so easily, I get a little pang of "where's my baby who neeeeeeeds me????!!!" when he's off and running with his friends. (As an aside, did I mention that a couple of days ago he also informed me, while watching a blimp fly overhead, "Momma, someday when I grow up, I won't need you anymore and then I'll fly a blimp. I'll miss you, though."? Heart. breaking. inamillionpieces.)

Pushing the "ohmygod, I'm no longer enough for my child, whatever will I doooooo??!!!" anxiety down, I informed him that starting in a few hours, he would have a 10-day long play date. His cousin Sofia was arriving that morning from the other side of the country.

It's been one big long freaking party of a play date since. Some highlights...

a little ring around the rosie...

what pure joy looks like...

Silly Face E, Pt I

Silly Face E, Pt II

cheeky monkey

Moments away from starting their own band, "The Multicolored Stripes" Get it? Get it? Eh.

Ever annoyed by his paparazzi-like mother, Ethan measures out some flour for the sugar cookies.

And then proceeds to cover himself, head to toe, in flour and stray dough pieces.

Sofia begins to become annoyed by Tia Sarah's paparazzi-like presence during cookie cutting.

He was super-fun to bathe after this, let me tell you.

And then there's the cookie decorating; Cowboy Ethan on duty...

blue sparklies. What every Xmas tree cookie needs.

Sofia tries out her tasty creation.

mmmmm, delish!

Too. Much. Cookie!

The only cookies that were left after Sofia and Ethan were done with them and on their way to a sugar coma...

Under the influence of too many sugar cookies, Ethan dons the paper bag and dances around the kitchen.

Then they worked off the sugar with a little jumping on the bed...

After their work out and a costume change, the kids update their Facebook statuses: "Ate lots of cookies. Jumped on bed. Life is good."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

When Is A Yoga Class NOT a Yoga Class?

The most obvious answer to that question is "When the man who shows up to teach the class is wearing a pair of knee length jorts (that would be jean shorts for those who are not well-versed in fashion faux-pas vernacular). Jorts on a man are offensive in ALL forms, but the near-knee length is especially likely to bring the fashion police a-blarin' to the scene of the crime, ready to write up a ticket for "DWARN" or "dressing while a red neck."

But jorts on a yoga instructor? That's a pretty clear sign that the class you're about to participate in is going to have a hard time living up to your expectations or to the most minimal of standards when it comes to a yoga class.

Now let me clarify. My expectations are perhaps too high. We are talking about the YMCA after all, and not a candle-lit, OM tapestry-lined, river-music playing yoga studio. Nothing against the Y, but it is hard to turn a community exercise room into a yoga studio. I get that. And I am spoiled in that the first yoga classes I ever took were in an aerobics room that the instructor managed to transform, every class, into a yoga studio--complete with candled, soothing music and instruction in gentle tones. I've written about that class a couple of times and this is one of those times when I wish I had "categories" in my blog so I would have a snowballs chance in hell of finding those entries and linking them. But alas, I'm lucky I ever figured out how to start a blog in the first place, such is my lack of computer savvy. So, trust me. I've written about the first yoga class and it's profound impact on me before.

I've searched for ten years for a gym that could deliver the same type of yoga experience. Because let's face it---gym membership is expensive enough. Then I need to go spend $18 a lesson for yoga at a studio, too? That makes getting my Zen on AND having a place to run on a treadmill so expensive that all my Zen is frittered away worrying about the amount of money I'm blowing on running and yoga. Yes, I hear you saying "So, dumbass, run on the pavement, then come home, light a candle and do a yoga DVD." You may be on to something. But I have trouble pacing myself on pavement and burn out quickly, and I'm far more likely to end up with a cat crawling on me while doing yoga in my living room than I am in a studio that is designated a cat-free zone.

Either way, let's get back to the Y, shall we?

I stood outside the community exercise room, smiling at a bunch of strangers who all had yoga mats flung over their shoulders, so I figured I was in the right place. I was the youngest person there by a good 20 years from my estimation. The man who I would later find was the instructor was leaning against the wall, chatting with some of the students, sporting the aforementioned jorts, a muscle-tank top (you know those super loose David Lee Roth-esque tank tops from the 80's?) and....a terry cloth head band.

People, I can't make this shit up. I thought to myself, "Wow, I hope the instructor lets him know that that outfit really isn't great for yoga. He's going to be really uncomfortable." Yeah, I know. Irony, thy name is creepy, inappropriately dressed yoga instructor.

I heard him telling one of the other people waiting that he had thrown his back out a few days earlier while, wait for it....scrambling an egg. I thought, "gee, poor guy. Doesnt' know how to dress for a yoga class AND he's in such rotten shape that scrambling an egg tweaked his back. It's a good thing he's come to the yoga class!"

So let's just imagine my surprise when the aerobics class let out, the yoga class filed into the class room and started rolling out their mats, and Jorty McBadBack hobbles to the front of the class and throws down his exercise mat (please note that I didn't say his yoga mat). Um. Hello? Really? You're the teacher?

For a second I considered rolling up my mat, shoving it back into it's bag and skulking out, pretending I was in the wrong place. "Oooops! You mean this isn't spinning?!!" But given my attire (what other sport do you do bare foot?!) and that I already had what was clearly a yoga mat spread out in front of me, I didn't think I could do that subtly. And I thought, "you know what, Sarah? Stop being a snob. Fine. He's wearing jorts. And a terry cloth head band. And he just said his back is thrown out. He might still be a great yoga instructor. Suck it up." So I stayed.

My little pep talk to myself? Can suck it. AW.FUL class. Jorty McBB did indeed beg off of doing any traditional yoga poses with the exception of downward dog. Which we did over and over and over during the course of the 1.5 hour class. There was no music at all, unless you count the grunting of the fat old man three people over as "music". I do not.

Jorty McBB wanted us to do a lot of "lengthening" work. With partners. So I had to spend a lot of time touching a woman I'd never met before. Holding a foam brick to her ass so she could push against it with her butt while she pushed against the wall with her arms. So you know, that was fun. And then I got to get a foam brick on my ass, too. PARTY!

I also had to strap a belt around her hips and help her lengthen farther into downward dog. This entailed pretty much putting my face on her butt to find the correct placement for the belt. Seriously. "Mortified" doesn't begin to cover it. I looked around a couple of times to see if the mirrors might made of one-way glass and this was actually a psych experiment to see how far people would blindly go, listening the instructions of someone in a position of power. Maybe some grad student was behind the glass taking copious notes: "People willing to grope each other repeatedly when man in jorts tells them to. Very interesting."

But no. It was just us. And the foam blocks and belts. And Jorty. ::shudder::

When the class was almost over (and my humiliation utterly complete), we settled into savasana, corpse pose, for our end of class relaxation. Thankfully there is no partner role in this position, so I relished my time to lie on my back, relaxing my muscles from my toes upwards, focusing on my breathing and letting my mind be quiet.

Until fat old man three people over started to snore.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year....

or, the one in which we go to Husband's super cool tech company's holiday party, I get a night off in the city AND we get our Chrismukkah tree....

On Friday, Husband and I got dressed up and zOMG, spent the evening among other bonafide grown ups! Miraculous!!! This year, Husband's super cool tech company threw a party in the city (in the city!!! squeee!!!) with a Cirque du Soleil theme. After my Halloween experience of fake lashes and glitter, I was unreasonably stoked to have at the excessive cosmetics again. There is very little cause for glitter in the daily life of a stay-at-home-mom, unless you're talking about crafting (and let's not talk about crafting, because if it were a course at Motherhood University, I'd be repeating it a couple of times just to get credit).

Sadly, the fake lashes did not fly this time. Well, more precisely, they did fly---off my face, several times while I tried to apply them. I went all out and bought super fancy Sephora ones, where for Halloween I ran into CVS for 45 seconds, grabbed the first pair of fake lashes I saw and pasted them to my eyelids. This time I tried to get the shmancy kind with the super delicate adhesive and I ended up throwing them both away because I? Am just not delicate.

So instead I slathered a ton of Sephora's glitter eyeliner, did my best "sure, I know how to apply make up...erm, sort of" job of "smokey" eyes and off we went.

Ethan was none too pleased with the glitter--mostly because I wouldn't let him play with it, I think. Also? I'm not entirely sure he recognized me without a food-stained shirt and with my hair actually combed. That might account for the "who the eff is this lady making me take pictures with her on my mom's iMac photo booth? Where the hell's my mom?! And what's for dinner?!" look on his face.

The party was fabulous.

There were girly cocktails.

Four floors of par-tay. Sadly, I let my "I don't get out much" show when I spent an inordinate amount of time fawning over the black and white settees on the casino floor. "Ooooh, these are pretty!"

Stilt-walkers. You know, because of the Cirque.

This hand was super cool. Fortunately I didn't drink enough to try to climb into it, but I'm sure that at some point, as the night went on, after the old people (um, us) left, someone did.

Two girls and a giant ring.

Two girls and a ring up in the air.

So that was all really fun. We made it about two and a half hours before we turned into pumpkins. Yeah, 10:30. Because we're cool like that. Did the doormen make fun of us as we left while the 20-somethings were still coming in? Yes, sir. Yes, they did. They flat out made fun. And Husband and I took it. Because yeah, we left at 10:30, and that's lame. We get it. Har dee har har.

On Saturday, I got a Mama's Day Out. I may have mentioned that Husband was 6000 miles away in London on business for just shy of a million years; okay, ten days, which, in my defense feels like a million years when Husband is so far away and the three and a half year old is wwwwhhhhiiiiining allllllllll day evvvvveryday--oh, I'm sorry, was I whining? It's catchy.

Ethan spent ten days asking where Daddy was and responding to all of my "I love you so much"'s with "I love you too, but I really really miss Daddy." Sigh.

So when Husband returned from across the pond, I ventured out for a night into the city. I took the train, which is less romantic and idyllic than it sounds, when my reality was a little old lady sitting next to me yelling into her phone in Korean for twenty minutes. I did a little shopping, had an absurdly delicious dinner, shopped at Macy's Urban Decay counter after a couple of cocktails and then returned to my hotel room on the 24th floor of the Westin St Francis. I love having a husband whose travels garner him free stays at gorgeous hotels and who gives those free nights at hotels TO ME! He's good people.

The view from my room. Shiny!

The tree in the lobby. Shiny!!

There was some sort of Santa convention going on; I counted no fewer than 100 people dressed up in some way to emulate the jolly gift-giver. I can only imagine the children shopping in the city with their parents were mightily confused. One Santa walked down Market street with a megaphone, pointing at people randomly declaring "Naughty"...."Naughty"...."Nice" and so forth. By the end of the night, these were some of the drunk Santas roaming the lobby of the hotel.

Again with the shiny!

The revolving gingerbread house in the lobby--this lobby had just a *bit* too much going on, but it was pretty.

This morning I returned home to annoy my family by letting my inner Clark Griswold out in all it's cheesy holiday-loving glory. On the agenda? The annual Chrismukkah tree!!!! My thought? We would drive up a death-defying road on the side of a Santa Cruz mountain, select one of the dozens of Christmas tree farms to be found after any number of guardrail-less hairpin turns on the road.

We did indeed find one such farm, but Husband had not quite bargained for being handed a saw and told to have at it. Sooooo, we backed our car out of the farm and ventured down off the side of the mountain, in search of less mountain-mannish type of Chrismukkah tree procurement. Like, you know, the Christmas lighted parking lot on the side of Main Street. Amazingly we did find the perfect tree just a mile from our house, in one of those lots o' trees. In a way, I'm kind of glad we didn't go hack a tree down. NOT that there's anything wrong with that, but if there are all those trees already chopped down, we might as well scoop one of those up and make it pretty in it's last good days, right?

Obligatory rainbow picture. We saw at least three of them today because the weather is all kinds of effed up.

For a little Jewish kid, Ethan digs him some Christmas trees.

he also enjoys penguins and pretending to be a penguin.

oh, behave!

See the Star of David? That's what makes it ALL okay. Right?

Merry Happy Chrismukkah to all! And to all a good eight crazy nights.