Sunday, July 29, 2012

Only Doesn’t Mean Lonely

My super-awesome-amazing-beautiful daughter who will turn into an asshole
when she's 12, not because of a younger sibling.

L.E. will be an only child.
I’m not apologetic about that.
I want her to have my undivided attention.
I want to be able to provide her with the best life I can afford to give her.
I don’t want another baby.

I get a lot of flack for this. I know a lot of couples with kids L.E.’s age or even younger who are already pregnant with their next child.

I think they are insane. 

Parents of 2-under-2 look even more exhausted than I did when I was still going through L.E.’s “Sleep is for Suckers” campaign.

Maybe it’s because I still feel the effects of PPD (more like PTSD) that I suffered from those first several months. Maybe it’s because the baby weight is still lingering. Maybe it’s the rational thought-processes brought on by my steady diet of anti-depressants.

Or maybe it’s because I just want one child.

I hear all the arguments: Only children are spoiled. I think there’s a pretty good chance a sibling would be spoiled, too. She’ll have the burden to shoulder when you need taken care of. Isn’t one person to take care of us better than no one to take care of us? A sibling will teach her to share and play nice.  So does daycare. Who will she play with on Saturday mornings? You mean who else will stare at her while she zones out on cartoons? What if something happens to her? (Actual reason given to me by my own mother about why she had me.) Isn’t the sick-with-worry worse if you have two children? She’s such a great kid, wouldn’t you love to have another great kid? You know what happens to great kids when they become the big brother or big sister? They turn into assholes. I’ve seen it first-hand.

I know I sound pretty defensive and judgmental about this. I get really annoyed by the series of “Whens” you get asked repeatedly when you reach a certain point in life. You know how it is: you start dating someone and it’s “When is he going to pop the question?” You get engaged: “When’s the wedding?” You get married: “When are you going to have a baby?” You have a baby: “When are you going to have another one?”

It’s always bothered me that these are “when” questions and not “if” questions. Last I checked, we’re fortunate enough to live in a country where we’re free to make our own decisions, regardless of whether or not they’re considered the norm.

Having one child isn’t the norm and I seriously wonder what’s wrong with people. Either they’re all delusional or I’m in the minority because I didn’t fall in love with my infant right away.  (Pretty sure the answer is B…)

“They” say you forget the bad times. I call bullshit. I can still remember every single sleepless night, every failed attempt at breastfeeding, every daily “happy hour” where she cried non-stop from 5-7 pm, every poo-splatter on a white canvas Pavlik harness, every freakout when the brace came on, every ultrasound, every time I was made to feel inept by doctors, nurses, lactation consultants who led me to believe I wasn’t trying hard enough…it was too much for me to take. The thought of doing it all again makes me panic worse than the thought of packing up my house and moving to a new place where I know virtually no one.

Two-and-a-half-years in, I’m obviously not embarrassed or ashamed to admit that those first few months of motherhood sucked so horribly. But yes, the payoff is the most amazing little girl I could ever dream of having! She’s so smart and funny and beautiful and my most favorite person in the world to be around. I love taking her to the park and watching her run and climb. We do whatever she wants to do, as long as it’s outdoors. I don’t fear that all our focus on her will lead her to be some kind of spoiled brat. As long she’s taught to think and to love and to share, she’ll continue to be amazing.

It wouldn’t be fair to her to split that attention.

I'm not alone in my notion, I was happy to discover. Even TIME wrote about it, before they lost their credibility with their "Are You Mom Enough?" cover.

I have an older sister. She’s my best friend. NOW. She was my worst enemy for the bulk of my youth. Standing in the shadow of someone who’s seemingly perfect is the best way I describe my teen-angst years.

Plus I always had hand-me-downs.

When we traveled on a plane, my parents would argue over who would sit next to me because as a 5-year-old on her first plane ride, I was incapable of sitting still.

Airplanes have three seats to a row. That’s a lot of subtext right there.

I was always forced to sit in the way back of Dad’s ’85 Custom Cruiser station wagon, facing backwards, so that my sister and her friend could have the backseat.

She got to bring a friend on vacation!

To this day, I still don’t get car-sick.

Dr. T. also has an older sister. She’s lived in another country the bulk of his adult life. Now she’ll be living across the state of Texas from us. He best describes their relationship as, “She used to beat the crap out of me all the time.”

Lest you think this is a single-minded, mom-only decision I asked Dr. T. what his thoughts are about another kid. His response: “Another one? Seriously? One is hard enough. *insert L.E. screaming for her toothpaste* I think we’re good, honey.” Then he muttered something under his breath about me being crazy and how life was easier with no kids.

Keep in mind, I asked him while he was trying to convince L.E. that she doesn’t need anymore toothpaste on her toothbrush while he was trying to wipe her face off.

This is one of our many battle-rituals we face with her every morning.

Plus, as regular readers of this blog know, I’m very insecure and I barely feel capable of getting L.E. and I out of the house every day with few tears and very little yogurt in our hair. And that’s WITH Dr. T.’s help. There’s no way I could handle all of that on top of getting a baby together, too.

People say it gets easier. People also lie. A lot.

I just turned 36. Don’t give me that crap about how I’m not too old. I’m old enough to where my ovaries could drop eggs like crazy and what’s worse than having another child?


So there you have it.
I don’t mean to sound evil and judgmental. Like everything else with parenting, you have to do what’s best for you.

I want to know: What are your family plans? 1 kid? 2 kids? 8 kids?

And like with all things, I'm entitled to change my mind if I accidentally forget my birth control.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I Love You, Reno

I moved to Reno in 1997, full of uncertainty. I’d visited my then-boyfriend, now-husband who had already moved here and done the hard part of finding somewhere to live. I wasn’t sure if I liked Reno. Actually, that first winter I downright hated it. I didn’t have any friends and I was working at Applebee’s. I desperately wanted a job in design and joined a temp agency in the hopes of getting my foot in the door in advertising.
Fast forward 15 years. We're about to move to Austin, TX. It's such a huge opportunity for us that we just can't pass it up. But as excited as I am, it's also sad to leave Reno behind. We have an amazing foundation of friends, most of whom have kids L.E.’s age. It’s rare for me to go somewhere and not run into someone I know. I’m kind of a big fish in a small pond. But I’ve always craved more than what a city Reno’s size has to offer. I like having options and although Reno has changed immensely since I moved here, I’m ready for something more.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to miss this place like crazy.
That being said, here are some of the things that I’ve loved about living in Reno.

  • The climate. Yes, it’s dry. Yes, I have to use lotion 4 times a day. But my hair isn’t frizzy {much} and the sun shines all the time.
  • Being known. I’ve been in a few plays and have had people recognize me for that. Also, being active in the ad community has given me a huge network of colleagues.
  • Tahoe. Ok, I rarely go there but it’s beautiful and it’s nice to know it’s there.
  • Mountains. You can’t beat the view of the Sierras from my front porch.
  • Summertime. There’s so much to do with Artown and outdoor events. Spending a Saturday afternoon watching the yahoos tube the Truckee is one of my favorite things to do here.
  • L.E.’s friends. She has such a great little group of kids who all just adore her. And their parents are pretty awesome, too.
  • My job. I just started it a year ago and I’m sad to leave. I feel like I have all sorts of potential that I’m going to miss out on.
  • The Swiss-cheese sculpture in front of the Courthouse. Everybody in this town hates it but L.E. thinks it’s a big dinosaur so I love driving by it any chance I get.
  • The Reno Aces ballpark. This was the best idea the city of Reno ever had. Some of the greatest times I’ve had here have been at Aces games.
  • Casinos. Yes, they’re smoky and annoying. But I made a successful living off of them for as long as I’ve lived here so I can’t complain about them too much.
  • Remembering all of the places that have come and gone and sounding like I’m a native. Del Mar Station, Famous Murphy’s, 210 North, Aero Club, The Mapes, Dreamers Coffee House, Pierino’s, The Coffee Grinder, Cafe Soliel 
  • All of the newish places that have opened. Campo, Craft, Sup, Old Granite, Midtown Eats, Pie Face, the new La Vecchia, Niko's Greek Kitchen, Midtown Wine Bar
  • The Nevada Museum of Art. The Discovery Museum. The National Auto Museum. Knowing there is culture right in our own backyard.
  • My house.
  • Wingfield Park. Idlewild Park. Rancho San Rafael. Galena Park.
  • Mike and Josh’s trees at Idlewild Park. They were planted in their memories and I always stop to look at them when I’m on my mid-day run on the river trail.
  • Our first living Christmas tree from 2002, which we planted in the front yard. It’s over 15 feet tall now.
  • Knowing my way around. If there’s traffic, I can get around it.
  • September special events. The Rib Cook-Off, Balloon Races, Air Races…there’s a different event every weekend.
  • My friends. There are so many people here whom I’m going to miss terribly. I can’t even begin to name them all but I hope they know who they are and how much I care about them.
  • Young me. I was 21 when I moved here. To say I came into real adulthood while living in Reno is an understatement. A part of me will always be in Northern Nevada. The young part…

OK, Reno-ites. I want to know what I need to do and see before I leave here. I have three weeks. Go!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Meet Scooter Compooter

I’m not one for shameless self-promotion.
OK, admit it…I almost had you there!

Of course I love promoting myself; 15 years in advertising/marketing/PR will do that to you.

I got a laptop! It’s a shiny Apple MacBook Air which I named Scooter Compooter. I affectionately call it my lappy. I’ve never owned my own laptop before. Now I can sit on my couch or a coffee shop and write as much as I want. I can download whatever I want {porn} and not have to worry about Dr. T. judging me because I watched another Pittsburgh Dad episode or visited Pottery Barn Kids for two hours. Again. My browsing history is my own. It’s awesome.

The best part is I’m a step closer to feeling like a real writer. I can pop this bad-boy open and write whenever the mood strikes me. Maybe my novel will finally take shape. Maybe I’ll get paid to be a food blogger. For the first time in my life, because of this little silver piece of technology, I feel like my possibilities are endless.

I got a new blogging gig in my new city, which I’m super-excited to start. I already have so many ideas for it. Can’t wait! I'll share more info once I'm sure it's real.

So I’ll be posting a lot more now because I don’t have to go across the room to my desktop. Yep. Still lazy.

Please enjoy my more frequent posts and tell your friends! The more readers I have, the less likely I am to throw my lappy, Scooter Compooter, across the room…

Sunday, July 15, 2012

OK, Yes. The Twos are Terrible.

My normal, happy, smiley L.E.
Note: I reference a lot of mental disorders in this blog post. I want you to know that I take mental illness very seriously and I'm not poking fun at anyone who suffers from any sort of mental disease. I'm merely pointing out that a two-year-old very much takes on the symptoms of certain disorders, especially demonic possession  Think about it, you could find any symptom out of the DSM-IV and apply it to a toddler. That would make a pretty great psychology thesis!

I thought we'd avoided the Terrible Twos. I thought maybe my daughter would be different. She's a pretty fun kid to be around. Always smiling and laughing. She's already a great jokester. But then suddenly, Bi-Polar Toddler makes her appearance. Whatever she wants, she wants NOWNOWNOWNOWNOWNOWNOW!!!!!! Hot milk, another story, a nap, Mommy to get out of bed, to get into the bathtub, to get out of the bathtub, to go outside, to go inside...if there's any hesitation on my part, the hysterics begin. And. They. Don't. Stop.
I thought I was smarter than this. I thought I could out-wit her. I'm a pretty intelligent person, capable of convincing an audience that they absolutely need to buy what I'm selling. But not even Marketing 101 can get L.E. to forget about wanting ice cream and wanting to watch a movie instead. It's like she's my own little bundle of obsessive-compulsive-disorder, especially when she talks like Rain Main. "I want to watch Cars. I want to watch Cars. I want to watch Cars. I want to watch Cars...."I can't change her mind no matter how hard I try. I offer some fresh air, a toy to play with, a trip to the park, her favorite book, but there is no bending her will once she decides she wants a certain thing. (When the favorite book IS the thing she's "Rain Man-ing" about, you're stuck reading Harry the Dirty Dog eight times in a row.)
If you deny her, the wheels come off the train.
I know I'm pretty lucky as far as the breadth of her tantrums, but that doesn't make them any easier. I hate watching the full body plank, the sharp howl and the tears, the TEARS! REAL TEARS! It's heartbreaking.
I should probably read up on this a little more but truth be told, I have less time than usual to do anything. We're packing up our house for the big move and any spare alone-time I get I spend blogging, which is why my posts have been so sporadic. So I try to be logical and remove her or myself from the situation. Usually that helps, she'll calm down once she realizes her audience is gone. But the worst is when she follows me while still crying. That's when my own vulnerability takes over and I put my arms around her and tell her everything is ok. I try to get her to remember something fun we did like when we went to the beach or the zoo. Surprisingly, this works. It changes her train of thought and usually gets her right back to her sweet self.
But sometimes, it's as though she is possessed by a demon who would terrify the Devil himself.
There is no way that kind of screaming and howling can come from a 28-lb little human who has never experienced anything remotely as terrifying as what she's conveying. And it's over the silliest things. Like when I tried to put her pink sparkly shoes on instead of her blue sparkly shoes. I'm positive I saw red flames in her eyes, as her head spun around on its own. I swear if she had a weapon handy, you would have found her later standing over my body wearing a triumphant grin. And her blue sparkly shoes, of course.
It's good those types of tantrums are rare. On that particular day, I handed her off to Dr. T for daycare drop off and I sobbed the whole way to work.
Tantrums happen. They're a part of our lives now. We're lucky that they don't happen in public. Knock on wood, we can still enjoy a lovely dinner out and L.E. will be the most pleasant person in the world until she gets antsy and wants to explore. We even survived a weekend at the beach with some friends of ours who were really impressed by how good she is. So maybe we are luckier than some parents.

But when Demon-L.E. makes her return, I'm going to need an old priest and a young priest.

Hiding just below the surface.
(Anyone have a Bible handy?)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Are You Guilty of Oversharing?

If you're a parent, there's a really good chance you've overshared more than once since your baby was born. Whether it's texting a friend a pic of a poop-explosion diaper or Tweeting about solid foods, you're guilty.
See just how guilty you are over at my company blog.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Playing Catch-Up

I have tons to write about but I'm still decompressing after this past week's craziness. Here is what you may have missed, and I promise I will elaborate further:
1. I thought I had kidney stones and/or gall stones and was in excruciating pain for the better part of a week. It turned out to be a kidney infection. I have been on a steady diet of Vicodin.
2. I turned 36.
3. We went to the beach and I can't even describe how much fun we had.
4. I spent my vacation pretending Weight Watchers doesn't exist. Surprisingly, my pants still fit.
5. I reached out to Austin Moms Blog about writing for them and they seemed receptive. Fingers crossed that they let me contribute. The blog is run by two crazy-beautiful women with super-adorable kids and I hope we at least become friends.
6. My biggest fear about moving to a new city is making friends.

That's it for now. It's time for another round of pain pills and lounging in front of the air conditioner.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy Short Week!

It's 4th of July week and also my birthday!
I have many posts swirling around inside my big brain but until I get a second to write, you'll have to settle for this article from our friends at Yahoo Shine:
Although if you're feeling dangerous, I dare you to say something like this to any of the working-moms I know. Granted, we may not blow up in your face but we will totally blog about you and out you on Facebook :)
Happy Independence Week and remember what Troy McClure said about fireworks:
Hi, I'm Troy McClure. You may remember me from such educational films as "Two Minus Three Equals Negative Fun" and "Firecrackers: The Silent Killer".