CJDaily's Blog

May 28, 2009

Dear Annabelle…

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 12:26 pm

Dear Belly-baby,

Do you realize how many fun nicknames I have for you?  When I was picking your name, I knew I wanted to call you Belle, and honor your Grammy by adding the “Anne” in front, but I had no clue how many other names I would call you!  Belly-boo, Belly-button, Banana-Belle, the list goes on.  Yesterday you were living up to the moniker Jesse bestowed on you–Hurricaine Annabelle!  Or, the Tornado Toddler.  You just can’t sit still, can you?

Unless the Tinkerbell movie is on.  Good Lord.  I’ll be honest, Mommy bought that for herself.  You were just my excuse to purchase a Disney film after the age of 15.  But boy howdy, you do love that freakin pixie!  As soon as we get home in the afternoons you start patting your legs, which is the sign you made up for watching TV.  You drag me upstairs every day and hand me the dvd case, as if I wouldn’t know, by the frantic patting and grunting and gesturing at the television, that you’d like to watch this movie, please, right now, right now, RIGHT NOW! 

And then I put it on for you and you are TRANSFIXED.  You really are Mommy’s girl.  All the beautiful music and sparkles and wings… you just love it.  I loved it the first time.  Even the second time it was cute.  We have now watched it over 20 times and Mommy knows all the words, all the characters, and at exactly which point my eye starts twitching and I have to leave the room or put in earplugs. 

Your other favorite thing to do is brush your teeth.  I’m not kidding.  You see that toothbrush and go wild.  You insist on doing it yourself, of course, but I usually get a 15 second scrub in before you insist on taking over.  You’ll walk around the house all day with that toothbrush hanging from your mouth.  You made up a sign for brushing your teeth too, which, incidentally, is the same basic sign anyone would do while miming brushing their teeth.  It’s too adorable for words.  You’ve adopted three toothbrushes already, because one night we couldn’t find where you’d stashed yours and you went mental.  You were NOT so adorable then, by the way.  Not that I don’t love you, but don’t take it personally when I walk away to do some deep breathing while you scream and thrash on the floor, frantically scrubbing your teeth with your finger.  Your sainted Grammy was kind (and wise) enough to go out and buy a multi-pack of toothbrushes, so in case one gets lost, we’ll have more on hand.  A good idea, since I had to sacrifice MINE that night to make you happy.  Don’t ever say I don’t love you.  Don’t you know how I feel about drool?

Every day you are saying new things.  When I ask you to say something for me, you almost never comply, unless it is your Aunt Gigi’s name.  You could say Gigi all day.  You love her WAY more than you love me, by the way, but that’s ok, cause she is pretty awesome.  But the other things you say totally at random and without warning.  Let me see if I can remember all the words you have right now:

NO, Yeah, Yes, Mama, Gigi, uh-oh, Bye-bye, night-night, this, ow, bow, Belle, Dada, dog, cat, woof, hot, all done, more, up, wa (water), tree, and GAH!  I don’t know what GAH is but you are very vehement about it and will yell it for no reason at all at random times. 

You also love music.  You will rock out to anything, and whenever I’m driving with the radio on you are usually rocking back and forth in your carseat, grinning from ear to ear.  If you’re standing you do this little “butt-dance” that looks like you’re doing squats, but also shaking your head at the same time.  You watched a Selena Gomez music video the other day (in the special features provided by Tinkerbell) and you stood on my lap, rocking back and forth for the whole song.  My thighs went numb by the time you were done, but you were so enraptured I just couldn’t interrupt your moment. 

By the way, you don’t like sharing.  Your teachers were nice enough to let me know that you tried to BITE SOMEONE’S HEAD because they took your toy.  Kiddo, this is not ok.  You can get kicked out of daycare for biting.  I’ll teach you a good cross-check instead.  Or, master the sneaky pinch.  But don’t use those crocodile teeth of yours for anything other than your food, cause nobody likes that girl who thinks she’s a piranha! 

You’re so funny sometimes.  Tonight you didn’t want to eat your dinner at first, so you turned your spoon upside down, used your left hand, and just dipped it into your rice and chicken, licking off whatever stuck.  You were watching me the whole time, waiting for me to correct you so you could throw a tantrum over it, but I was on to your tricks, missy!  I just sat with you and smiled patiently, and after a few minutes you realized you were hungry and started shoveling your food in like normal.  Little piggy.  I love you so much, even when you’re pushing my buttons. 

If I could just convince you to sleep for a solid 12 hours, my life would be so much easier.  See, Mommy doesn’t function well if Mommy hasn’t slept well, and frankly, you waking up and screaming for me at 1am kinda throws off my groove.  If you could just chill out with the whole, IT’S 5am, WHERE IS MY MILK!? thing, we’d all be better off.  You don’t need milk at 5am, you need a kick in the pants.  Only you would wake up hungry at random hours.  Well, ok, I do it too.  But at least I don’t holler your name until you go make me a sandwich.

Not yet anyway.  Just wait until you’re in high school and all you wanna do is sleep and be sullen.  I’ll be setting my alarm clock for 5am.  “Belle, Mommy needs a drink!  Chop-chop!”

Just kidding sweetie.  I think…

All my love,

Mama

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May 26, 2009

Birthdays, Bridesmaids, and Burns.

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 11:11 am

So let’s just say that Jesse is the best guy ever, and I love him tons.  TONS.  Ew.  I gross even myself out sometimes by just how mushy I could get over him if I let myself.  It’s a brand new level of mush not known to man, as I think I have invented it myself.  He makes me MUSH.  I LUUUUUUURVE him. 

There.  That’s done.

My birthday festivities included the most eating and drinking of delectable things I have ever done in my life.  We went to Philly, and spent Thursday and Friday consuming every bottle of champagne we could find, as well as large amounts of cheese (at Tria); sushi (Morimoto); chocolate decadence (Le Bec Fin); more cheese, (back at Tria, where I may or may not be allowed to go again); and my very favorite brunch food ever, croque madames, (Parc.)  Oh, and more cheese, as well as various fruits (Rouge).   I expected to either turn into a mouse, or a large cheese log, but instead I just looked like I had eaten a large cheese log instead.  Thank God my bathing suit is a very flattering one-piece, as I may never show my stomach again. 

We spent the rest of our time monopolizing a cozy bench in Rittenhouse Park, people-watching and soaking in the glorious weather.  And when I say glorious, I really do mean it was the most perfect freaking day ever.  Bright sunshine, cool shade, a glorious breeze… Jesse said he paid extra for the weather.  He’s adorable.  (MUSH!)

And as we were soaking up the weather and watching all the people with their babies, and their dogs and their pregnant bellies walk by (is EVERYONE pregnant right now?), he pulls out a little blue box (oh yes, that very SPECIAL BLUE) and gives me the most gorgeous necklace, with two little “x”‘s and a diamond “o” in the middle, because “that’s how you sign all your letters and it made me think of you.”   (MUSH!  MUSH MUSHY MUSH MUSH!) 

Then we spent the rest of the day being blissful and shopping and eating more cheese.  I must say right now that any man who does not try to decaptitate himself with a hanger while shopping is worthy of a large medal, or perhaps a large cheese log.  Jesse is that guy who will not only give me an honest opinion of an outfit, but will go find me another size when I (tearfully) tell him the 4 does not fit and could he please stop feeding me cheese? 

All in all, I have never had more fun on a birthday, despite the fact that Thursday night I was having such a love affair with the champagne that I started singing in faux French, and accidentally dumped a basket of baguettes out an open window and onto someone’s head.  Jesse swore he still loved me after that, so it was all good.  Turning 27 hardly hurt at all.

Saturday morning I went off to Wildwood for my best friend Kate’s bachelorette party.  She’d requested a relaxing, bridesmaids-only weekend down the shore, and we bridesmaids were happy to oblige.  It was another glorious day, and upon arrival I joined them all on the beach, (yes, in my one piece), to sit and chat and drink and eat chips and be content.  There was a brisk breeze blowing off the ocean that kept us all cool–and oblivious to the state of our skin, which was slowly roasting like a chicken on a spit.  By the time we all went back to the shorehouse for showers, we looked like salamanders.  It was, in hindsight, not the best idea to make use of the “dark tanning oil” with not a shred of SPF in it.  Today is the first day since Saturday i’ve been able to wear a bra!

But it was all lovely, and I think Kate was pleased.  We had a nice split of grown-up cocktails and a dressy dinner out, mixed with sparkly tank-tops and beer at the bar afterwards.  This is my first time being a bridesmaid, and I’m starting to get really excited about being part of Kate and Mark’s big day.  I mean, I was honored to be asked to be part of something so special in the first place, but I am just now realizing how incredible it’s going to be to stand next to my friend as she pledges her love to the amazing man she has found.  Lord, I get teary just thinking about it. 

Anyway, after this weekend I am tanner, fatter, and happier than I have been in a long time.  This whole weekend was full of love, not to make you gag or anything.  But there was love with me and Jesse, love with me and Kate, and the other awesome women who love her, and love with me and Belle when I finally got to squeeze her again after being away from her for 3 days.  It’s really too long to not kiss her smooth little cheeks and snuffle in the smell of her hair.  

I love my daughter.  I love my friends.  And I really love Jesse.  (MUSH!!!)

May 21, 2009

I hate waiting.

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 7:25 am

So I’m waiting around, fully packed, bags by the door, for Jeese to pick me up for our mystery trip. 27 doesn’t feel that old yet, but then I haven’t been out to dinner yet, so we’ll see if I get carded. If I don’t, there may be tears. There may be inebriated wailing, “I look olllllllllllld!” and also gnashing of teeth. And tearing of clothes.

Unless I wear my super-hot Ingwa Melero dress. I paid too much for that scrap of leather and cotton to tear it. If I pick the red BCBG dress, I could tear that. Silk or not, it still looks funny on me. It looks better on the hanger, I think, but then I might wear it just because I haven’t yet. Does anyone else pack multiple outfits for just one night away?  I have 3 pairs of high heels in my suitcase right now. Don’t tell Jesse, he may faint. He expressly warned me to wear flats because he would not put up with my bitching about my feet hurting if we walked anywhere.

I may have done this one night out in Philly, but in my defense, I had been drinking, I had to pee, it was kind of raining, and he got us lost. I might have yelled at him, but honestly, the blisters on my feet were bleeding. You’d have been miffed too. You might also have kicked off your shoes the instant you got off the hotel elevator and stalked barefoot to your room without them. I’m just saying. The fact that he stills loves me is proof of his sainthood.

That and the fact that he’s taking off work to take me on this mystery trip! I may DIE of excitement! I don’t get much excitement these days. Can you tell?

I’ll have a fully illustrated story of our trip upon our return. If I don’t die of excitement while we’re gone.

May 19, 2009

I’m too young to be this old…

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 4:59 am

So my 27th birthday is in 2 days, and it is really the last birthday I’m looking forward to.  And I’m not actually looking forward to it, as much as just being willing to celebrate it.  27 doesn’t sound really old, but it is OLDER THAN I WANT TO BE.  27 is really close to 28, and if you’re 28 you might as well be 30.  And I know when I’m turning 30 I’ll look back in scorn at my disdain for 27, but honestly, I thought I’d be a grown-up by now and it’s a little disheartening to realize I’m not.  I still think every person older than me is smarter and more competant just by virtue of their age, somewhat like a middle school child does, instead of realising that most of your teachers are only 21, which makes them babies just barely older than you.  But no, they are taller and have facial hair and wear lipstick so you treat them with with the proper fear and awe they are due. 

The one thing making me willing to look forward to this anniversary of my birth is the fact that Jesse is taking me somewhere.  A mysterious somewhere, involving a babysitter and taking Friday off from work.  Now, nothing excites me more than someone else doing some planning and carrying-out of fun stuff, and just taking me along for the ride.  I LOVE when people take charge, especially if it is for my entertainment!  I’m not much of a planner–I’m indecisive and not particularily organized, and often forget to bring my daughters shoes along when we go away for the weekend, so I relish somebody else taking control.  And really, when was the last time a boyfriend did something sweet and wonderful for me on my birthday?  Um, high school, perhaps? 

Yes, His Wonderfulness has instructed me to come straight to his house after work on Thursday, baby in tow.  He has arranged for his mother to watch her until we get back on Friday night.  Initially he wanted to take me away until Monday (Oh the heaven that would have been) but I have bachelorette obligations that require my presence in Wildwood from Saturday to Sunday.  He has further offered to keep Belle until Sunday night, so that I don’t have to make an additional trip back home to drop her off with my parents before going to the shore.  Now how great is he?  A willing slave to my hyperactive child, and never a whisper of complaint against diapers, 5am bottles, or mysterious tantrums.  Is it any wonder I love him? 

Really, this little trip is the one thing keeping me from dissolving into tears at the prospect of being 27.  I don’t WANT to be 27.  For starters, I don’t even look 26, nevermind 27.  I get carded at every opportunity, so I’m assuming I may look less than 21 years old.  There is nothing more tiresome than someone saying, for the zillionth time, “Oh you’re how old?  But you look so young!”  Yeah, thanks lady.  I might appreciate that when I’m 40.  But right now it just feels like you’re telling me I look too young to get into an R rated movie, and honestly that’s not a compliment.  It means that I look too young to be taken seriously.  I live in constant fear that people will thinks I’m Annabelle’s babysitter or perhaps older sister.  When I was pregant, I considered silk-screening my college diploma onto a maternity teeshirt so people wouldn’t assume I was a pregnant high-school dropout. 

I realize looking younger than I am is a strange thing to complain about.  It’s not that I want to look older than my age, like Brooke Hogan, who is 21 but looks like a weathered old handbag.  I just want people to stop being so annoyingly stunned when I tell them my age.  It’s not THAT shocking that I am 27… I realize I look like a freshfaced high school senior, but I would never gasp and say to someone, “Wow, you’re only how old?  You look so much older!” 

By the way, I have plans to stay 27 forever.  Next year, my birthday is a non-event.  Nobody better mention it, cause I’m gonna pull a Tuck Everlasting and stay 27 forever.  And for those of you who dare to mention the big 2-8, I will be sure to, loudly and in public, accuse you of being 5 years older than you really are.  Or, just mention to the bartender that your id is a fake and laugh when you are hauled off, protesting your innocence…

So enjoy saying happy birthday to me this year, cause it’s the last chance you’ll get!

May 15, 2009

The not-so-great outdoors.

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 12:18 am

My daughter is growing up so fast.  Yes, she is only 18 months, but all of a sudden she’s not getting night-time bottles anymore,  she only wants to eat whatever I’m eating, and most importantly, she’s down to one nap.  ONE!   It used to be she’d nap in the morning at daycare, then come home and be ready for a 2 hour nap before dinner.  It was great–I’d come home from work, give her a snack, play with her for half an hour, then pop her into her crib and go do important things like checking my Facebook while she slept.

But sometime last month she started waking up from that afternoon nap as if evil fairies had replaced my happy child with a screaming banshee while she slept.  I’d hear her stirring in the other room and go in to find her rolling around on her mattress, sniffling.  One look at me and she’d start yelling incomprehensible baby gibberish that I’m sure, if I knew what she was saying, would get her mouth washed out with soap.  The main word I could distinguish was “NO!” 

When I’d lift her out  of the crib, the screaming would escalate,and she’d arch her back like a being posessed, forcing me to put her on the ground in a screaming heap.  I would tempt her with her favorite stuffed animals, stick her binky into her wide open mouth, and ask her (loudly, to be heard over the wailing) “Belle do you want FOOD?  Do you want to EAT?” all while frantically signing the “eat” sign to her, as she knows baby-sign-language.  Nothing got her attention. 

If I picked her up, she’d simultaneously strangle me while trying to climb my body to an unknown destination somewhere higher than my head.  If I managed to carry her downstairs and put her in her high chair, she would thrash and scream like I was strapping her into the electric chair.  If I put her on the floor of the living room and just waited it out, she’d eventually subside into sniffles, or get distracted by her sippy cup.  And as quickly and strangely as the fit began, it would end, and I’d get her to eat some dinner, all the while smiling happily at me and babbling innocently, as if she wasn’t just impersonating Linda Blair for the past twenty minutes.  Once, she paused in the middle of a particularily long tantrum to YAWN, look blandly about, then continue her tirade where she left off.

So this past week I said NO MORE AFTERNOON NAP!  Obviously she wakes up in a bad mood, and sometimes it takes her so long to calm down that her dinner is delayed, and so bedtime is pushed back, and that means less time for Mommy to sit around and calm her jangled nerves with a bottle glass of chablis.  So from now on, whatever nap she takes at school is the nap she gets.  When we get home, I vowed to myself, we’ll just play until dinnertime.

Perhaps now is a good time to mention that I teach preschool.  I am around tiny little annoying people all day long.  I used to love it.  Now that I have my own child, I’m starting to think maybe I don’t want to be bothered raising anybody else’s.  So, conversely, when I get home from work, I’m kind of missing that two hours to myself.  Now I have to entertain.  Or just be dragged around by the pinky finger, as my daughter wouldn’t be caught dead snuggling with me, but is very adamant that I follow her around to witness all her conquests.  It’s like she’s the worlds smallest rock-star and I’m her groupie–she has no respect for me, but she’s glad I’m there all the same.  You know, just to be her bitch. 

So when we get home, rather than a blissful interlude, I find myself caving to her demands that we go outside.  Though she doesn’t talk much yet, she’s quite effective at conveying her desires.  Only an idiot could miss the message she gives when she’s leaning with all her weight on the front door, alternately banging on it and kicking it, yelling “Ah! Ah! Ah!”  Could mean “Out.”  Could mean “Let’s go!”  Could mean “Open the door, slave, or I’ll do that thing where I wake up screaming at 4am for no discernable reason at all!”

Now, I’m not really an outdoors girl.  Just in case you missed my last blog on my aversion to winter sports, let me repeat myself.  The change in the weather doesn’t change my outlook.  Summer and spring means bugs, sunburn, dirt, and a plethora of undesirable things I’d rather not come into contact with.  If it’s just me I can bear it, if I must.  But now with a toddler (who has no regard for things like property lines or oncoming traffic) going outside is somewhat like watching Saw IV–full of horror and to be avoided at all costs. 

But today I caved, because honestly, what else are we going to do?  She avoids all her toys and prefers instead to climb the furniture, move all the picture frames around, and try to pull the tablecloth off the dining room table.  And I can only watch The Little Einsteins so many times before I develop a nervous tic.  (More on them later, those little babsitters deserve a post of their own.)  I decided we could go visit to the little kids park at the bottom of the neighborhood, as it was just a short walk away.  So I grabbed my sunglasses and off we went. 

Wait, that’s a lie.  A gross understatement.  I grabbed my sunglasses, yes, but I also grabbed her sippy cup, two kinds of snacks just in case, the lunchbox to keep it all in, my cell-phone in case we needed to contact the police for any reason (and I live in the safest suburb you could imagine), her sweater (in case she got cold in the 70 degree heat), and a water bottle for myself.  Call me neurotic, but I firmly believe that had I left the house without any of those things, I would have needed them.  Anything could happen–a freak cold-snap, starvation, muggers, whatever.  Just like I know that, were I to leave the house without mascara, I’d be sure to run into someone I hadn’t seen in years.  It’s just the law of physics.  Or something like that.

Now I buckled Belle into her stroller, stowed everything away in the basket below the seat, and made it only to the end of the driveway before I found a tick in her hair.  Let me repeat:  a TICK in her HAIR.  I almost turned right back around.  It took a full minute of breathing into a paper bag to give me the strength to go on.  My mother has instilled in me a most ungodly fear of ticks–when I was a child she carried on about them so vehemently I was sure if you found one on yourself you were sure to contract lymes disease within the hour, not to mention the possibility of nausea, vomiting, incontinence, infertility, and testicular cancer.  Even if you don’t have testicles.  Ticks are THAT scary. 

We made it to the park without any other disasters, other than her dropping her sippy cup several times, just to see me dash for it.  No one was there so we had the place to ourselves.  She made a beeline for the little baby swings that look like buckets with leg holes, and was happy in that one until she decided she wanted to be in the one next to it.  We played on the slide, a repetitive but pleasing activity.  She rocked on the big chipmunk whose only function is rocking back and forth on a large coil.  She chased the ice cream man’s truck when he drove by.  (She doesn’t like ice cream, but she sure loves his musical truck!)  And then she was bored.

When she grabbed the stroller and started pushing it towards the entrance to the park, I got the hint.  I figured we could walk back together, it would burn up some time and hopefully wear her out a little, as her energy never seems to flag.  But somehow it didn’t work out like that.  We were only halfway across the street when she decided she didn’t want to push anymore and stopped dead. 

“Belle, we can’t stop here, let’s go,” I said, taking her arm.  But she yanked her arm away and sat down in defiance.  Yes, in the middle of the street.  So I reached down and scooped her up with one arm, pushing her behemoth stroller with the other arm.  We got to the safety of the sidewalk and I put her down while she, as to be expected, burst into an angry tirade about being treated so rudely. 

“Come on, you can push the stroller,” I gestured, but she continued huffing and puffing, so I rolled it away from her a little bit.  “Ok, bye then,” I said cheerily, and went a few feet down the sidewalk, hoping to get her to follow.  She jumped to her feet and toddled over.  Haha, victory, I gloated to myself, too soon.  She started pulling everything out of the stroller basket and tried to climb inside.  Twice I pulled her off the basket, and twice she screamed, “No!  No! No!” and tried to get back in.  Finally I peeled her off and scooted back down the sidewalk, leaving her sitting angrily on the ground, still yelling “No!” 

“Belle, that’s not how we ride in the stroller!”

“No!”

“Come here and you can push the stroller home.”

“No, no, no, no!”

“Annabelle Mae, come to Mommy!”

“NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!”

Now may I remind you we are doing this in my neighborhood, while people are leisurely driving by.  My neighbors are washing their cars, walking their dogs, pushing strollers with perfectly complacent babies inside. I can only imagine the sight we made–me standing there with my arms crossed, next to an empty stroller, and a flushed and chubby toddler sitting on the sidewalk fifteen feet away, defiantly staring me down.  As if to emphasize the solidity of her position, she reached out and ripped up a handful of grass from the well manicured lawn next to her.  Looking down at it, she pondered it for a moment, then stuffed it into her mouth.

“Augh!  Belle!  Spit that out right now!”  I forced down my gag reflex at the thought of the possible germs, fertilizer, pesticide and dog urine she’d just ingested and sprinted over to her.  Wiping out her mouth as best I could, she looked supremely confidant that she’d driven her point home, whatever it was.  I decided I’d had enough of the great outdoors.  I strapped her into the stroller against her will, having had my fill of democracy as well. 

We’ve been outside long enough anyway, I reassured myself, sweating and exhausted.  It must be almost dinner time by now.  I pulled out my cellphone to reassure myself that I’d suffered long enough, and checked the time.  It was 4:07.  I got home from work at 3.  Which meant, having left the house around ten after 3, we’d been out less than an hour.  I slowly shook my head and grimly plowed on home, pushing my wailing child, still covered in flecks of grass. 

Next time, I swore to myself, we’ll just watch an educational video about the rainforests or something. 

Anything the neighbors can’t witness. 

May 12, 2009

“Workout” kind of rhymes with “hurt-ouch,” and that’s all I have to say about that…

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 11:45 pm

About exercise:  I can’t seem to make myself do it.  I bought a 30-day workout DVD and did about 12 days of it.  Non-consecutive days, mind you.  I got it because it’s only a 20-minute workout, and quite frankly, I don’t like working out at all, so I figured the shorter amount of time the better, right?

It didn’t quite work out that way.  The instructor is a well-known TV fitness guru, known for her Nazi-like tendencies and boot-camp style attitude.  On the first day of the workout I was puking air before the first 15 minutes were over.  I couldn’t work out on the second day because I felt like I’d gone ten rounds with the heavyweight champ.  I waited until the pain faded to start a “daily” workout routine.  Like I said, I lasted about 2 weeks. 

I like to eat.  I’ve always been a skinny girl, and before having a baby I was that skinny girl who could chow down pizza at 2am, and go lay out in a bikini looking fabulous the next morning.  Now I have jiggly thighs and an impressive muffin top that belongs in an expensive bakery.  For the original devastation of my body, I blame my almost 9-pounds-at-birth child.  For my inability to lose that last ten pounds, I blame my boyfriend.  Jesse is the general manager for a high priced, French-Asian fusion restaurant that has the best food I’ve ever tasted.  As a result of working in the food industry his whole life, he refuses to eat anything but delicious, expensive, fat-roll-inducing foods.  And I am helpless to resist.

Just this weekend we went out to eat and my asparagus came with a heavenly hollandaise sauce.  I’m pretty sure I was dipping my crispy healthy veggies into the equivalent of savory lard, but I just couldn’t stop.  It tasted so good.  Ditto the steak with béarnaise sauce.  Oh and factor in the 3 glasses of wine I polished off and by the next morning I looked like I was 3 months pregnant all over again. 

What has happened to my body?  My stomach used to be my best feature!  I used to flash my abs at people like I was competing in the Miss Bodybuilding USA contest. Now I’d only reveal them to scare off a potential mugger.  And I didn’t do crunches either!  It was strictly a case of good genes, a high metabolism, and the luck of being one of those skinny girls everyone else hated.  I thought I appreciated it at the time.  Now I’d commit murder in cold blood to get my old body back, yet I don’t want to work for it!  Shoot somebody for your old six-pack?  Sure!  Work out twenty minutes a day while a butch chick in a sports bra yells at me?  No thanks.  Cut the sweets from my diet, add more veggies and limit my portions? I’ll pass. 

It doesn’t help that all my hobbies are sedentary ones.  If I could burn calories just by reading books, I’d look like Kate Moss after a high colonic.  I’ve always liked things that took little physical effort—reading, writing, shopping online.  The most athletic thing I do on a daily basis is walk to the fridge. 

Now my boyfriend, on the other hand, is built like me.  Or rather, like I was.  Although he is 30 he has an enviable six pack and whittled little waist—which, coincidentally, is smaller than mine.  He put on a pair of my jeans once for a joke and they bagged on him.  And no, they were not my “fat jeans.”  He zippered them and everything, then pulled the waistband away from his protruding hip-bones and said, “Wow, these really fit you?”  I wanted to vomit. 

Yes, Jesse is a former semi-pro snowboarder who is addicted to going snowboarding all morning, then working at the restaurant until the late hours of the night.  And then sometimes he will go out later.  During the summer he does the same routine with surfing.  He has boundless energy and thinks we are home “early” if the bars are still open.  Whereas I am falling asleep into my champagne around 10:30pm.  On Sundays, (his only day off) it is wasted if he does not “do” something.  I am happy to sit and watch movies or read a book all day, which he regards with utter scorn. 

“How can you just sit there?” he scoffs.

I regard him with disbelief.  “I work every day, take care of Annabelle every second she’s awake, and when she goes to bed, I occasionally take an hour or two to clean or get the things done I can’t do while she’s tearing the house apart.  I think the question should be, ‘How can you just sit there when you could be taking a long lovely nap?’” 

To satisfy his passion for the (ugh) outdoors, I agreed to go snowboarding a few months ago.  I wanted to be a good girlfriend and convey to him that I am interested in the things he is passionate about, and that I am not the total weenie he thinks I am.  So, one early Saturday morning found me on the blindingly bright slopes, at the top of the bunny hill with both my feet strapped to a single board and enough layers of clothing to keep me warm just in case someone suddenly shanghaied me along on an Alaskan cruise.

“Now you put weight on your toes to go left,” he advised me, (looking, I’ll admit it, really sexy in his snowboarding gear, whereas I simply looked 30 pounds heavier than usual.)  “And lean back on your heels to go right.”  Um, sure.  I actually did pretty well the first three times down to mountain, maybe only because I was moving at the pace of frozen molasses. 

The fourth time down the hill I had my first big fall.  I’m not sure how it happened but suddenly I was horizontal in the snow with a belated feeling of whiplash and a white-hot pain in my tailbone. 

“Ungfh,” I think I said, as I lay there, stunned. 

“Oh you’re fine,” Jesse slid over to me.  “That didn’t hurt.”

“It didn’t?” I asked, dazed.  “I actually think it might have.”

“Oh, don’t be a baby,” he admonished.  “Here, get up.”  He helped me up and we continued down the inappropriately named “bunny hill.”  First of all, I saw no bunnies, only children in peril of being mown down by the board I was at the mercy of.  Secondly, I have never seen a bunny tumble ass-over-teakettle and land in an ignominious heap, clutching their tailbone and whimpering, “Oh God, my coccyx.”

“You’re fine,” he insisted.  “Really, I’ve never seen anyone grab their butt so fast after falling.  That couldn’t have hurt.” 

I narrowed my eyes at him from my prone position in the snow.  “Listen to me you sadistic freak,” I hissed.  “I’m the one on the ground and you’d better take my word that it hurt.  Further more, you are carrying me the rest of the way down this hill and plying me with alcohol until the internal bleeding stops.”

A week later it turned out I did have a bruised tailbone and a possibly torn meniscus, (a piece of cartilage in my knee.)  I have decided that physical activity is not my friend and should anyone suggest further snowboarding or high powered workouts, I shall simply smile, shove another piece of chocolate into my mouth, and say, “I’d love to, but I have a broken ass.”

May 11, 2009

Happy Mother’s Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 1:47 am

Mother’s Day.  A day created to remind us to honor and celebrate our mothers.  Also, a day in which gift-giving is mandatory, and the cards we fill out are required to be heartfelt, emotional, and if possible, full of groveling and obsequious thanks for not killing us in our adolescent years.  Or, as I sometimes threaten my daughter, selling her on Ebay if she throws one more toddler tantrum.  Some days, I’d even toss in free shipping. 

I love my daughter; do not mistake me for a moment.  She is the most precious thing in my life.  She is also the source of my increased drinking and sudden interest in prescription pills.  Sometimes, when your 18-month old is screaming in her high-chair, kicking her legs like she’s the world’s smallest, angriest Rockette, and flinging all the food on her tray into the chandelier, all you can really do is sit back, take a deep breath, and pour yourself that second glass of cabernet.  Or third.  Whatever, I’m not judging. 

Everyone tells you becoming a mother is the most amazing experience in the world.  It really is.  What most expectant mothers fail to realize, however, is that the word “amazing” does not necessarily mean “super-fun.”  Here’s a little example for you, as best as I can put it.  When Moses parted the Red Sea, I’m sure all the Israelites were like, “Dude, that was amazing,” (or however you would say something like that in Hebrew.)  But I’m sure it was also mind-numbingly terrifying, and impossible to wrap your mind around.  I mean, giant walls of water rising into the sky, and the sea floor laid bare in front of you?  I’d probably have been that chick in the back going, “Wait, maybe slavery wasn’t such a raw deal after all…”  But the Israelites just walked on through, ‘cause that was their only option.  Frankly, I’d have been peeing in my robes checking out the sharks swimming vertically to my left as I traipsed on over to the Promised Land.  But as scary as it was, as impossible to understand what was happening, they just did it, and trusted that nobody was about to die and everything would work out in the end. 

That’s what being a mother is like.  Somebody hands you this fragile little baby and says, “Ok, go take it home.  Good luck!”  And you’re like, “Wait, don’t I have to pass a test first?  Just because I happened to give birth to a baby, I get to keep it, no questions asked?  Doesn’t anyone know I have NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL I’M DOING?”  And then you take that baby home and everything is a simple matter of getting through one hour to the next.  The next morning, if everyone is still alive, it’s a small miracle, and one that will not get old for about a year or so.  I used to sneak into my daughters room when she was asleep in her crib just to make sure she was breathing.  (And then to sniff her head like I was a crack-head, and baby-head-smell was my drug of choice.)  By the time her first birthday rolled around, I was so astounded that she’d made it through without any disasters that I finally started thinking that, just maybe, I was doing okay at this mothering thing.

My friends always ask me what it’s like having a baby.  And there’s really no way to explain it.  Does it hurt?  Hell yeah it does, but I’m starting to forget exactly how.  It’s more like being the most uncomfortable you will ever be in your entire life.  Undoubtedly, our bodies are equipped with special memory-erasing powers that kick in over time, blurring out the facts and leaving you with a vague memory of a lot of puking, a lot of pushing, and the kind of bloody scene you’ve only ever witnessed on Grey’s Anatomy.  (My advice: Never look down.)  I mean, there’s no way to make it sound like something fun, but people have more than one kid all the time, so there must be something that keeps us going back for more.  Maybe it’s the little tiny clothes.  I was in Carters the other day and saw little onesies so precious I was almost convinced I’d want another one someday.  Maybe it’s when you see other people’s little babies, sleeping and sweet, before they get all alert and demanding.  Maybe it’s because you want your kid to have a playmate so that you don’t have to be the one playing endless games of hide and seek. 

Whatever the reason is, motherhood is amazing.  Amazing in a way that means all the rules are suddenly erased from your life and you are handed a whole new set of priorities.  Your schedule changes, and keeps changing every time you think you’ve finally got it down pat!  Your expectations change.  Your idea of success changes.  It probably used to be doing well at your job, or playing a fantastic game of golf.  Now, it’s remembering to shower.  Your house will change.  Your body (oh yes) will change.  The very way you look at life will be different. 

I can sum it up like this.  If somebody told you to jump out of a plane, with no parachute, and that you’d fall for a long time before hitting the ground in a tremendous crash that would leave you permanently physically and mentally altered, would you do it?  If they told you, yes there would be pain, but it would go away, and instead you’d land in a brand new world where nothing was what you expected it to be, and has highs and lows that will take your breath away with their intensity, would you do it?  If they said that there would be less time for what you want to do, less sleep than you’d like, more stress than you’ve ever imagined, but more love than you could ever possibly hope for… would you do it?

If someone had told me all that, probably not.  But knowing what I know now?  Would I do it all over again, just for one day in that strange land with my daughter?

Absolutely.

May 8, 2009

Shop-Rite, Shop-Wrong

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 1:30 am

Does anyone else remember when someone used to bag your groceries for you?  There was always someone standing at the end of the checkout line, happily slinging your groceries into plastic bags, unconcerned about the non-biodegradable plastic they were abusing, and always with a pleasant word for you?  If you do remember this, it was probably from a time when you were an innocent passerby and your mother was the one with the credit card.  (You were the one nagging her to buy Dunkaroos, and avidly wondering if that woman on the cover of the magazine really did give birth to a two-headed alien baby destined to be Pope.) 

Now buying groceries is not fun.  I mean, not only am I the one paying, which is a total buzzkill, but I have to get all my groceries into the bags at the end of the till.  There is that awful moment where I think, “Do I chose paper, and have everyone think I’m a thoughtful person concerned about the environment, or do I choose plastic and save myself the hassle of going to lift the bag and having the paper tear away in my hand because I’ve put too much in it?”  After seconds of agonized mental debate, I decide that I don’t care if the lady behind me thinks I’m a tree-killer, and grab the plastic bags.  Now I have to put everything in as quickly as possible, because the speed of the teenage kid swiping my stuff through the beepy-thing is not to be believed.  For every one thing I arrange in the bag, he has swiped three more items.  Soon it is just that awkward moment where I am loading bags as fast as I can, trying to conserve space but not make them too heavy, and hefting them into my cart while he and everyone waiting in line watches me dispassionately, obviously judging me by my groceries. 

I mean, I’ll come right out and say it:  I don’t cook.  I don’t know how, (my mother doesn’t know how, so she never taught me anything more complex than tunafish) and frankly I’m not embarassed enough about it to claim to want to learn.  No, I’ve never longed to make a gourmet meal for friends and family.  The most I aspire to is bringing the really tasty taco dip to a party.  Not the baked kind, just cold layers of stuff from cans, artfully arranged–I DO slice the scallions.  Give me credit for that, if you will.  So obviously, my grocery cart is not full of raw produce and chicken breasts.  Chicken breasts are gross.  They are slimy, blood streaked, and quite frankly I don’t want to cook someone’s boobs.  If you handed me a chicken breast, I wouldn’t know what to do with it.  (Plus I’ be super, SUPER freaked about the texture–I don’t do slime.)  So my shopping cart is full of things I can put in the microwave and eat less than ten minutes later.  My shopping cart screams, “straight out of college!” even though I graduated five years ago and have substituted sushi for ramen noodles.  Aside from the diapers and babyfood, my groceries look like they’re headed for some single girl’s too-small apartment pantry.

So now you’re asking yourself, “What, she doesn’t make her own babyfood?”  No, you dirty hippes, I don’t.  I buy disposable diapers that will take eons to biodegrage, I blatantly waste disposable wipes, (better a layer of them covering the poop in the diaper than the psychic anguish of getting poop on my hand), and I buy pre-made baby meals.  I’d like to take a moment to thank the good people of Gerber for making their prepared toddler cuisine.  There is a shiny place in heaven for you folks.  My daughter can’t get enough of your cheesy mac-n-chicken, with the additional compartment of peas, and I can’t get enough of 30-second meals.  They are like little Lean Cuisines for babies.  They also sell cups of assorted entrees, including raviolis that must have some sort of baby crack in them, as my kid thinks they’re better than a Happy Meal.  Not that she’s had a Happy Meal.  Ok, only the chicken nuggets.  Stop judging me.

But of course, I do make sure that Annabelle has more than just instant meals.  Hot dogs are key.  Today, she had a burrito.  Yesterday she polished all the meatloaf off my plate, and packed away her weight in mashed potatoes.  And just in case that sounds like a domestic home-cooked meal to you, it was my leftovers from eating out at Redstone the night before.  Delicious.  I am blessed to have a healthy eater, and I don’t just mean myself.  Belle will eat anything I put on her tray, and help herself to my food as well if it looks better than hers.  (Quite frankly, those Gerber meals often look nicer than whatever I’m having.)  She is especially a fiend for fruit, which I craved during my pregnancy, so I should have seen that coming, I suppose. 

So when I’m in the grocery store, rather than be ashamed of all the boxes with pictures of meals on them, I congratulate myself on how varied the food is.  Cause, quite frankly, you may be at home pureeing yams in your swanky little food processor, but my little tyke is chowing down on edamame like there’s no tomorrow.  Maybe I had to defrost it first, but that’s beside the point.  And if the snarky, yuppie lady behind me in line is looking witheringly at my pudding packs (those are for me, not the baby), I bet her kids never did what Belle did tonight, (and it was, I admit, my proudest “mom moment” yet).  She asked for MORE BROCCOLI.

I mean, obviously, I’m doing something right.

May 7, 2009

Hello world!

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 2:08 am

Since I am frequently writing amusing things to myself about my life, and since my life is frequently amusing, I thought I’d start blogging about it so others can join in on the fun.  It will be mostly about Annabelle, as she is the source of the fun, as well as the panic, the stress, the bewilderment, and the sheer terror that is being the mother of a toddler.  I’d like to write a nice long post tonight about my day but it consisted mostly of going to work and then coming home, upon which Belle ran full tilt into a wall, then fell off a chair, had an (unrelated) screaming fit for half an hour, and capped off the evening by pulling the pin out of the fire extinguisher.  I’m just glad we don’t keep grenades around the house.  Anymore.  What I’m saying is, I’m too tired to write anything else except that tomorrow I’ll write more…

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