Monthly Archives: August 2010



In an interview this past April to promote her starring role in the film, Eat Pray Love, megastar Julia Roberts told the New York Times reporter, “I am fulfilled by my own life on an hourly basis.” Really?? Wow. What a statement. It really struck me. Surely, I do not consciously feel fulfilled by my own life on an hourly basis. Why don’t I? It’s not because I don’t make $20 million a movie, because they keep doing these research studies that show that above a certain income level (and it’s not that high), more money doesn’t translate into more happiness. And it’s not because I don’t own three homes (but that could help) or that I don’t know Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle personally (could definitely be a factor).

It’s because I just don’t take the time to appreciate enough. Sure, there are A LOT of simple moments that I do appreciate, but I think it’s really something to be able to say that you’re completely satisfied with your life every hour of every day. I mean, everybody gets frustrated and irritated and annoyed when things just aren’t what we expected or someone doesn’t do something we want. It’s human. But I think it’s all about perspective. I mean, I could argue that rather than being SO COMPLETELY FRUTRATED that my toddler is finger painting with poop, I could … (hold on, let me think) … be really happy that she’s healthy and her digestive system is working! As my mom says, “Poop is better than no poop!” I’m just saying I could.

(and P.S., please don’t even start with me about how Julia Roberts isn’t beautiful, you people who say such things. You are completely off your rocker. That woman RADIATES beauty).

When I was first thinking about starting this blog I decided to see what other mom bloggers were writing about. I was googling, I don’t even remember what, and happened to come across CK over at Bad Mommy Moments. My very first mom blog. I’ve continued reading her every post over the last year, even delving into her archives because she is one funny sh*t. And it’s not just that she’s entertaining — she’s creative, smart, relatable, witty, sarcastic, and has two girls. And don’t let her blog’s name fool you — she is a good mommy. But she’s honest and she shares those moments of frustration (an assassinated Slurpee), horror (her two-year-old pooping in the community pool), surprise (mice in the sink), and just downright awesomeness (second child temper tantrums). You know, those moments where we feel like bad, bad mommys. But she’ll also fill you in on the joy (this is one of my faves about her daughters’ hair). I love CK’s blog.

A couple of months ago, CK and the ladies over at another blog, Momalom, decided to start a project they call !!!. !!! = intentional happiness (aka things that made me happy this week). Because sometimes, it’s not easy to be fulfilled by our own lives on an hourly basis. Sometimes you have to look for it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to turn into one of those completely annoying happy people who make you want to puke over their perfect life. Please. I’m definitely going to be on here b*tching and moaning about this thing or the next — but for this week, here’s my !!!:

Chubby, tubby baby legs. The only time in your life that extra fat on your thighs is more than okay, it’s celebrated!

Three heads. Awww, the babies and their daddy. They adore him.

A BLT sandwich made with fresh lettuce and tomatoes grown from my in-law’s garden.

All of Monkey’s babies, tucked in for bed.

Reveling in the fresh scent of a clean baby.

Sisters in coordinating outfits.

A photo shoot gone awry.

Sometimes all you need to turn a bad day good is !!!

What Did You Say?


What’s that saying? Kids say “damnit” for the first time to your mother-in-law when you didn’t even realize it was something they were saying. No? Oh wait, guess that’s just my kid. Kids say the darndest things? Or, out of the mouths of babes? I think that’s it.

I’ve been jotting down things Monkey says since she started forming sentences. Because, well, I think it’s hysterical. And actually, she told me a story the other day and then said “That’s hysterical.” Which naturally, I thought was, you guessed it — hysterical. I’m easily amused.

When Monkey was approaching two she would see a lot of things and say, “I need to have it.”

For example, Husband was holding her while digging through the fridge. Pointing, she said, “What’s this?” Husband said, “A beer.” Monkey said, “I need a beer.” Oh. My. God. She’ll still whip out that phrase once in a while because she knows it elicits big laughs.

Prior to two years old, Monkey’s sentences were halting. There was a lot of:

  • “I need a wipe.”
  • “I need a taco.”
  • “Open the door.”
  • “I need lotion.”

Then she started to add in a few more words to her sentences, like:

  • “Set the baby down.”
  • “Naughty bird. Get off the window!”

And just like that, one day there were MORE WORDS.

“This one’s too hard. I don’t like it.” (regarding how crunchy a French fry was)

Husband and I just looked at each other, like “Wha …?? Did she just say that!??

And then there was the hilarious, “I love my brother.” Husband: “You don’t have a brother.” Monkey: “I DON’T???”

Now that she’s almost two and a half, Monkey is really stringing the words together. Last week when I was changing my clothes she said, “Mama, put your shirt on so you’re not so naked.” Sure thing, Monkey. I’ll get right on that.

Here are my favorite Monkey quotes around a few themes.

Favorite defiant statements:

  • “Whatever, Mama.”
  • Me: “Do you need to go to your room to calm down?” Monkey: “No way!”
  • “Fine.”
  • Me: “I don’t think so.” Monkey: “I fink so.” (shaking head emphatically)
  • Me: “We need to brush your teeth.” Monkey: “Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

Favorite delay of bedtime-related statements:

  • “Mama! I need heeeelp. I need a hug again. I’m awake! I’m awaaaake. I’M AWAKE.”
  • “Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Mom-my. Mom-my. MOMMY! Mom! Mother! Mother!
  • “I need help. I need a hug again. I need a kiss again. POTTY, POTTY, POTTY, POTTY!”
  • “Daddy said go night night. Night night!” (to herself)
  • Monkey: “I’m tired.” Husband: “So does that mean you’re going to go to bed without a problem tonight?” Monkey: “No. I’m a problem.”

Favorite potty-related statements:

  • “I went potty, Mama. I get an M&M again. I do. Yep. Yeppers.”
  • “Leave. Go away. Close the door. Go feed the baby.” (when she wants her privacy to go number two)
  • “Mama, don’t forget to hold me on.” (when we use a public toilet without her potty seat insert)

Favorite driving-related statements:

  • “Mama, don’t do that again.” (because I swerved to miss an animal)
  • “Mama, I don’t like that (when I beeped my horn at someone)
  • “Where are your legs? I want to see them.”
  • “I want to sit with you.” (while I’m driving)
  • “Daddy, be careful.” (when he passed someone)
  • “I want to go faster.”

Favorite random statements:

  • “I love boys.”
  • “Jen! Jeeeenn. I call Mama Jen all the time. Funny, funny.” (sighs and shakes head knowingly)
  • “I can’t shake my bon bon right now. It’s too hard in the car seat.”
  • “Mama, I’m going to put on your shoes and walk around and be silly. I’m funny.”
  • I want to go to Qdoba to eat.

Favorite curse word instances: (thankfully, these are few and far between)

  • “DAMNIT! DAMNIT! (followed by frustrated shrieking — she was supposed to be sleeping, but instead was trying to re-dress her doll, unsuccessfully)
  • “F&ckin’ leg.” (her baby’s leg was stuck)

My oldest daughter and her evolving use of language brings me joy.

This post is part of SOYJOY‘s What brings you joy contest. Learn more here.

A Year in Review


Last week marked a milestone for me — I’ve been blogging for a year about being a mom! I started this blog because kids are funny, parenting is challenging, and it’s a nice feeling knowing that you’re not the only person who has been projectile-vomited on because your baby gagged on a piece of mashed nectarine, or who felt like it took longer to bond with their second child than it did with the first.

I like to write, and unlike the writing I do for work, which is all about things like the automation wonders of chicken counters (Did you know that newborn chicks actually double in size in just about three hours, making it harder for you to count them?? You can take THAT little nugget of information to your next adults-only function. You’re welcome), blogging about my misadventures in parenting is much more fun.

Don’t get me wrong, my work writing pays my bills, but my blog writing makes me feel like I’m supported by a community of people all who have done this, or something very similar to this. That sense of community, from people commenting saying they know exactly how I’m feeling, or offering advice because they went through a similar situation, all makes me feel not so … crazy … or inept … or both.

It’s a little shocking that a year has come and gone so fast. My life from a macro perspective hasn’t changed much. Husband and I are doing the same jobs, we live in the same house. But oh yeah, we DID double our offspring!

At six months old, my sweet Bean is really starting to reveal her multi-layered and complex personality, giving us little peeks into what she’s thinking.

The more obvious changes have been with Monkey as she sheds the vestiges of “Toddler” and moves ever closer to the “Preschool” category. We’ve left the silverware- and cup-throwing stage and officially entered the “Why” stage — I have a feeling this is going to provide me with A LOT of blog material.

While my kids are changing, one thing about parenting that hasn’t changed is the mommy guilt. Or maybe it’s really mommy doubt.

Why do moms have so much self doubt?

My latest mommy doubt centers around Bean’s Rhesus monkey screaming and these articles that Elizabeth Pantley keeps posting about babies “crying it out” at bedtime. Apparently new research shows that periods of unattended crying releases the stress hormone cortisol and that this is toxic to a baby’s developing brain, with possible permanent negative effects.

Now, I know that letting Bean sit on the floor screaming for two minutes while I help Monkey pull up her underwear is not exactly the same as letting my baby cry herself to sleep, but I still can’t help but wonder. Are these periods of her screaming her head off for a couple of minutes at a time throughout the day irretrievably harming her??? Is she afraid that I won’t respond to her needs?

I know, I’m probably overreacting. So sue me. To quote Father of the Bride a la Steve Martin, “I come from a long line of major overreacters.”

I get that Elizabeth Pantley has a vested interest in convincing everyone that “no cry” is the way to go so she can sell her books. AND, I still feel bad when I’m not attending to my screaming infant to care for my other child and it makes me wonder if I’m harming her.

(And readers, if you do use a cry-it-out method, please know that just because it’s not something I’m comfortable with, doesn’t mean I’m making a judgment against you. Everyone has to do what’s best for their family).

I’ve also been wondering lately if I’m “living in the moment,” enough. Can it ever be enough? There are so many tiny, itty bitty moments with the kids throughout the day, the afternoon, even the span of an hour, that I think — I have to remember that. The way they laughed. The way she said her name in a funny southern accent. The way Bean looked when she had that first bite of fresh zucchini. Will I remember these things? Or will I just remember in a general sense that they were happy, silly, goofy and laughed a lot? Does taking pleasure in these moments mean that I’m being present in their day and living it to the fullest? That I’m appreciating them enough? Does it make up for the frustration I feel on some days?

These are universal mommy guilt questions. Maybe not these exact same scenarios, but there’s kind of a formula. Fill-in the blank scenario yields mom asking:

Am I a bad mom?

Am I doing “enough?”

Do my kids know I love them?

Will my kids remember having a happy childhood?

Now before anyone thinks I might need to be committed to a pysch ward, let me say that I *think* what I’m experiencing is a normal amount of mommy guilt. It fluctuates on a day-to-day or hour-to-hour basis. Ninety-five percent of the time I feel like a good mom and am secure and confident in my abilities. Sometimes I even think I’m the greatest mom on Earth … and then inevitably there are days when I feel like I’m not doing a very good job.

We’ll never get rid of the mom guilt completely. My own mother assures me of that. She just keeps saying, “Wait until the teenage years.” Whatever that means. I don’t particularly remember making her feel guilty.  But apparently, I DID.

So let’s take a collective deep breath and try something to help relieve the mommy guilt. Or, if you are COMPLETELY relaxed and nonplussed when it comes to the whole parenting thing then this will just boost your ego more!

Here’s my idea: I think we should start writing down five parenting things we did well or are proud of in a week. It’s so easy to get stuck in the things we didn’t do: the tasks we didn’t get accomplished, the fact that we served peanut butter and jelly for dinner because we didn’t have time for anything else, or that there were two baskets of clean kids’ clothes sitting in the family room for 10 days (10 DAYS!) that I never folded and then my mother-in-law came over and she did it. True story.

For example, for me it would look like:

  • I made homemade baby food for the first time! Yay me! I don’t know if I’ll keep doing it, but it was nice to do foods that you can’t find in the store, like zucchini and strawberries. Oh, and those aforementioned nectarines.
  • Monkey and I made cookies together. She loves to bake with me.
  • I’ve started telling Monkey on almost a daily basis that I’m really happy to be her mama. She lights up when I say it.
  • I showed Monkey a map and started pointing out different cities and states where our loved ones live.
  • We got Bean’s six-month pictures taken and pulled out all the stops to get the teething girl to smile.

What does your list look like this week?

Thanks for reading my humble blog. You have no idea how much I appreciate the comments, the shared laughs, the advice, and above all, the community of support.

Top 5 Ways You Know Your Baby Has Been Inhabited by a Rhesus Monkey


So have you heard that rhesus monkeys are body snatching infants? Yeah. For realz. I know because it happened to Bean. It was the weirdest thing. About three weeks ago she just started making these awful, horrible screeching and screaming noises. The exact same screeching and screaming sounds that rhesus monkeys make. Not familiar with this nerve-grating, nails on chalkboard screeching I’m referring to? Oh, well check out the second track on this Web site.

At first Husband and I weren’t quite sure what to make of it. I mean this is Bean — our normally laid back, easy going child — not to be confused with our other Monkey. We chalked it up to “teething” or “just being tired.” Until it started happening 10 minutes after she woke up from a good night’s sleep or a nice nap. And continued all throughout the day. ALL. DAY. LONG. Not even the administration of drugs could keep the screeching at bay. And she’s as healthy as a horse, what with just having had her six-month well check and weighing in at a whopping 21 pounds 13.4 ounces.

It seems pretty much every time we aren’t holding her, Bean begins her screeching. Setting her on the floor with toys — cue screeching. Putting her in her high chair — prompt screeching. Laying her back to change her — commence screeching. Even the sensation of being lowered to the ground — you guessed it — screeching.

And then it dawned on us. Ooooh, yes. The rhesus monkey baby body snatchers. After exhausting all other possibilities for Bean’s newfound penchant for ear drum piercing, the only obvious conclusion was that her body has been inhabited by a rhesus monkey. DUH!

We found the following checklist that you may find helpful in determining if your own baby has been snatched. Check all those that apply.

  1. Rhesus monkeys are characterized as a vociferous monkey. They are active and noisy.
  2. Rhesus monkeys have close-cropped hair which accentuates their very expressive faces.
  3. The monkey has specialized pouch-like cheeks.
  4. These intelligent animals can adapt to many habitats, and some even become accustomed to living in human communities.
  5. These monkeys spend a lot of time on the ground.

If you have only one check, you’re baby’s probably fine. If you have three or more check marks, the possibility is strong that your baby has been monkey snatched. We had five checks.

Damn imposters.

P.S. Today is my first blogiversary! One year ago today I started this crazy ride of a mom blog with my first-ever post. I’ll catch up with you next week about what life looks like on the other side.

Shrieky monkeys!