Friday, December 22, 2006

How 2007 Will Be Different

I figure that I have nine days left in 2006. And overall, it's been a damn good year.

After all, I got to spend endless hours watching my son spit up, learn to sit up, learn to roll over, learn to crawl, learn to talk and learn to walk.

I got myself back in the working game, and except for two minor breakdowns, adapted to my new life pretty damn well.

I got a stomach bug and lost five pounds.

I survived putting my third pet to sleep and made the wise decision to bring the most loving dog in the world home. For the sake of this post's happy thoughts, I'll leave out the fact that said dog loves to sneak into the bathroom when I'm half awake on the toilet with my eyes closed and sticks his cold nose in my crotch area, forever scaring the pee from leaving my bladder.

But despite all these accomplishments, I'm raising the bar for 2007. Here are the things that I vow to resolve to try to do. This is lawyer speak to ensure I can't be held accountable if I fail on all of these.

Resolution #1: I will pay off all of our credit cards and not charge them up again.

Resolution #2: I will get Little Man off of his bedtime bottle habit, the last bottle that we just can't seem to get rid of, so that his teeth don't fall out of his mouth by the time he's two, or so it sounds like from the way pediatricians and baby magazines make it sound. I will no longer use the excuse that Julia Roberts' twins are still pictured with Advent bottles out in public and they are two years old.

Resolution #3: I will lose 10 pounds and fit in that school girl costume I bought two years ago when I was fat and pregnant and vowed to one day look hot enough to fit in the thing.

Resolution #4: I will save up enough of my allowance (once the credit cards are paid off) to buy myself a ridiculously expensive camera like a Nikon D70. I will take loads of 10 megapixel pictures of Little Man that take everyone's breath away, not just mine.

Resolution #5: I will buy myself more cute shoes. I will demand Shoe Pavilion gift cards for mother's day, birthday and Christmas. I will be envied by my coworkers because I have really, really cute shoes.

Resolution #6: I will stay off cigarettes. I will not smoke until I am ready to get pregnant again, no matter how tempted I might be. Then once baby #2 comes out, I can reconsider going back to my daily cigarette, but not until then.

Resolution #7: I will continue to blog regularly, which was my 2006 resolution and which I accomplished. I will blog even when I have nothing to say, because well, when have I ever shut up, really?



Thursday, December 21, 2006

Gender Confusion

Yesterday, I was the busy little PR bee. I was so busy working and working and working, and doing all the things that PR people are supposed to do. And I did good, may I add. I did so good, that really, I've earned three months salary in one day if you ask me. Well, maybe not three months, but at least I earned my salary for yesterday.

But somewhere in the middle, I got a call from a reporter and was asked to comment about something that I'd sent him. And I did. And I did properly, thank you very much.

An hour later, his story appeared online. And in the middle it said "a spokesman for the company said..."

That would be me. I'm the spokesman.

Now, this is where I get a little confused. I sound like a screeching chihuahua when I talk. Definitely not males. And my name is clearly of the female persuasion.

And yet, neither one was convincing enough for this reporter. He looked at these two factors and thought "nope, no way, that wasn't a chick."

And now, I'm a spokesman. I need to go, I'm pretty sure I've got to fix my package or something.



Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dashing Through the Rain...

I always hate this week. This is the week where Christmas is so close yet so far away. This is the week where Sweetie Pie finally has my gifts under the tree, and all I want to do is open them. This is the week where Christmas comes after an impossibly long wait and then it's all over and there's nothing to look forward to, except for vacuuming up the 10,000 tree needles that are now permanently embedded into our carpet.

And since we're going to Canada for a week, and no one will water the tree while we're gone, we'll come home to a dead Christmas tree, a way-too-obvious analogy for the season. And then I'll have to remove each one of the ornaments from those dead branches and pack them up so they can sit in the attic, unloved for a year.

But right now, I just want it to be Christmas day! And watch Little Man's face light up as he rips the paper from his presents and sees his Hummer and his basketball hoop and all of the other toys that I bought him forever ago and don't even remember...

The funny thing is, he'll get to play with his new toys for about two hours, and then he'll be whisked off to his aunt's house, where he'll open more toys, get to play with those for half an hour and then be forced to take a nap. Then when he finally wakes up, he'll get to spend a few more hours playing before bedtime and then the next day, it's off to Canada for a week, so by the time we come back, he probably won't even remember half of his new stuff...

Today it is pouring here. This makes the whole town have that depressing January feel. I don't want to be one of those people who looks at happy events by thinking of how sad they'll be when it's over. But apparently, as I sit here in my blue cubicle today, I am one of those people.



Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It's Like Living With a Sitcom Character

I love how funny my toddler is. If anyone had told me that the best reason to have a baby is that once they're over a year old, they'll do funny stupid stuff that cracks you up so hard, you stop breathing on a regular basis, I would have done this a long time ago.

Like the fact that Little Man loves to cover his head with tea towels. He'll do this, and look like Matthew McConaughey when he's about to cross the desert for some movie. But ever so often, Little Man will also cover up his face with the towel. And yet, oblivious to the fact that he is now blind, he will walk away, face covered, asking for furniture to stand in his way and smack him. And since I'm a horrible mother who doesn't keep an eye one her son every second of every day, he does regularly walk into things. And because I'm a horrible, horrible mother, I proceed to laugh at him, because really, it is funny. The good thing is that this causes Little Man to laugh at himself too instead of crying. I believe that I'm saving us both a lot of time with my inappropriate laughing. Plus, it prepares him for high school.

Little Man has also learned to shake his head "no" from some of his friends from school, because both his father and I believe in keeping our head immobile, like if it was caught in some invisible sliding door when we talk negative.

But Little Man, having learned it from other toddlers who don't have that great neck control, has therefore learned this bobblehead version of the universal head shaking signal. This is really funny, because unless you know him and knows what he means, you might think that maybe he's nodding his approval or following a drunk fly's landing.



Monday, December 18, 2006

My Humps

Let me start out by saying that there's a fine line between confidence and arrogance. I know there's a fine line there, even though, from where I sit, I can barely see the towns of confidence and arrogance, let alone that fine line between them.

But I can say this. I am over Fergie. Not the Weight Watchers, Princess of York, formerly lover of having her toes sucked Fergie. I'm talking about the Black Eyed Peas and now solo artist singer.

When her song "London Bridge" came out, I loved it. Little Man and I would bop to it in the car all the time, and 14-year olds who'd see me would right away destroy their iPods, figuring that they had to destroy the uncoolness as quickly as possible.

But even though I still loved the song, it was bittersweet, because I still wasn't over the "My Humps" incident. Really? A whole song about the different things that stick out on your body? The boys are spending all their money on you? Because of your humps?

I realize I'm going to sound very old and uncool here, but is this really what we want our daughters hearing as a message? That they should have boobs and butts and make boys spend money on them?

And now, NOW! Fergie puts out a new song. And this is where I have to pause to wipe the vomit from the corners of my mouth. The damn song is called "Fergielicious." Seriously? Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

You turn your nickname into an adjective by merging it with delicious? Who the hell thinks that of themselves? Does Fergie sit on her Louis Vuitton comforter thinking up this crap? Does she wake up in the morning and go "I rock! I'm awesome! I'm cool... OH! MY! GOD! I should totally write a song about that!"

Fergie, I'm warning you now. You write one more song about how great you are, and I will drive my cheerio and goldfish covered Jeep Liberty to LA and beat you to a freaking pulp with my car seat. I'm serious.



Friday, December 15, 2006

Why I'll Never Ask My Husband to Stop Hunting

Sweetie Pie is gone this weekend. Some people might think "how horrible! She's got a baby, she's working full time and he goes and leaves her." But see, those people are also the ones who think that Britney Spears going out partying every night and showing her coochie is bad. Well, ok, that's bad.

But this isn't. Because I love it.

It's not that I don't love Sweetie Pie. Because he is the only person on this entire planet I could live with day in, day out for the rest of my life. Sure, he irritates me when I have PMS and have thought of stabbing him multiple times with a ball point pen because he won't feed me endless rivers of chocolate. But that's only a few days once a month.

When Sweetie Pie leaves, it means that it's just Little Man and I. And when he was littler, that was a bad thing. Back then, when it was only Little Man and I, it meant that I had to handle every night feeding and do all the quick diaper changes in dark rooms with exhausted eyes that won't stay open. It meant breaking down at five in the morning thinking I can't do this alone and wondering how single moms do it every single day.

But now that he's a toddler, I look forward to these weekends of just him and I. Our time, Little Man and Mommy time. I feel like it's a time where all rules are out. Where we can go to McDonald's and stay in our pj's and stay up too late and make funny faces at each other and chase each other around the house with hundreds of non-picked up items laying dangerously in our paths.

Now that I work, I especially appreciate these weekends as a single mom, because it feels like the "old days," when I stayed with him and it was just the two of us, and things were good. But, you see, I took that time for granted. And there were days I'd yell at myself to live in the moment, to breathe all of my baby's energy in and suck the moment in and laminate the memories in my heart, but somehow it's our human nature to whirlwind our way through these things.

But the world has granted me these two day weekends about once a month, and now, I appreciate a lazy morning on the couch, giggling at Blue's Clues and eating organic macaroni and cheese making "mmmmm" sounds with every bite, because really, is there a better food on Earth?

And then there are the evenings. Once the Little Man is in bed, I get to lay on the couch with all of the pets and watch whatever I want. Chick flicks. Sappy movies. News shows about mysterious murders. Whatever. I. Want. No The Unit. No World Series of Poker. There's no channel changing the second a commercial comes on.

And just when the world couldn't grant me any more happiness, I go to bed. And although the bed should be empty, it's not. Because Satan's Dog, knowing that I'm in need of some sweet, sweet snuggling, lays his body against mine in the perfect spooning position so that my arms are around his warm body and my head is nestled against his soft ears, and all night I get to feel the kind of unrequited love that can only come from an animal.

On Sundays, Sweetie Pie comes back, and I'm happy to see him, of course, because he's always missed.

But to claim that I hate that he left in the first place would be a lie, because he loves hunting and I love what I get in return of letting him go.



Wednesday, December 13, 2006

When TV Knocks the Breath Out of You

I don't get to watch a lot of the shows that are on at 7 p.m., because I spend most of that hour giving the Little Man a bath, putting him into his pj's while singing to him, reading him two books in French and two in English and then giving him his night bottle (yes, he's 15 months old and still gets one bottle every day. I'm not sure who it's more of a crutch for, him or me, but I'm just quite not ready to give that one up, because the few times I've tried to give it away, he didn't sleep through the night.)

On Tuesday nights, Sweetie Pie watches a show about football called Friday Night Lights. I usually get to watch the first 15 minutes or so and then maybe the last 15 or 20 minutes of it. Since we know that I'm not a fan of the pigskin sport, obviously I don't care if I miss this show about kids in Texas who play football and apparently nobody gives a rat's ass about their grades, because they play football, you see, and in America, that's way more important than studying, like chemistry or something, because who needs a cure for AIDS when you can teach people to throw the perfect spiral?

I will admit that the human drama aspect of the show is interesting. And that if I didn't have a baby who demands to be taken care of, I'd probably get sucked into the show a lot more.

Last night's episode did grip me. One of the popular cheerleaders had been going out with the gorgeous quarterback. Stereotypical? Sure. But then in like the first episode, the quarterback broke his back and became a quadriplegic. The girlfriend, still in love with her boyfriend, told him she'd stick by him, despite his pleas that she leave him.

And for the most part, she stuck by him. Visiting him everyday. Talking to him into the night. Holding his hand.

But at the end of the day, this is a teenage girl. Probably around 16 or 17. One who's been used to being popular and loved and having to commit that much to a non-rewarding relationship would be hard to anyone. And so one desperate night, she cried into the arms of her boyfriend's best friend. And they slept together.

Since I don't watch the show a lot, I'm not sure how word got back to the school's population. I know the wheelchair-bound boyfriend found out, so maybe he blabbed. That's not the point.

The point is that when the population found out, right away this no-longer-popular cheerleader was eviscerated. A Web site was created talking about how slutty she is. Boys made horrible comments to her at her locker. Terrible notes were left on her locker. The entire cafeteria silently gawked at her while she tried to eat alone.

And my heart crumbled. Because I've been that girl. Not one who slept with two boys, but the unpopular girl who the whole world turns on for no reason. The horrifying scarring that episodes like this can cause on a psyche can only be understood by other survivors. But as I watched the end of that episode, I wept. I wept for all girls who will truly find themselves in that position. I wept for my future daughter(s), hoping that I could someone keep the savage soul beatings at bay. I silently promised myself that I would make sure, come hell or high water that my Little Man would be one of the good kids, the ones who stick up for the uncool, the slutty, the weird.

And most of all, I wept for the 13-year old me. The one who had a weird haircut and uncool clothes, but could have actually been a great part of that school's population, if only she hadn't been ostricized.



Tuesday, December 12, 2006

This Would Never Happen With Hockey...

Growing up in Canada, there were many things that I experienced, one of them being the tradition of nothing being on TV on Saturday night, except for Hockey Night in Canada. Hockey in Canada is a religion. We may not go to church a lot, but we bow to those who can hit a mean slapshot.

And you know what? We're a lot more peaceloving for it, go figure that. Apparently, the only fighting we like is on ice. Keeps the wounds from getting infected that way.

Anyway, the one great thing about hockey is that for us who aren't 100 percent fanatical (just 70 to 80 percent), it manages to stay out of our way. Hockey is a way of life, but in true Canadian fashion, it doesn't impede on anyone.

Unlike freaking American football. I don't get it. Why is it that the freaking football games don't ever finish on time? And why is it that the TV stations feel the need to accomodate the NFL for not understanding the concept of time management?

I have spent the past 12 weeks or so falling in love all over again with my favorite reality show: The Amazing Race.

But we were out Sunday night enjoying the expensive meal that I would later regurgitate in my best impression of Nicole Richie. And so I tivo'd it. And last night, when I turned it on, I realized that the first half hour of what Tivo thought was The Amazing Race, was actually 60 Minutes.

Which really, is not the same thing if anyone was wondering.

And so I'm all into the action, when the episode ends halfway into the race. And now, I've watched 12 weeks of shows, and don't know how it ends.

I do know who won, because Sweetie Pie accidentally heard it on the radio, but it's not the same thing. Now some of you might say this is Karma getting me back for screwing up the last two minutes of Rock Star: Supernova this summer for Sweetie Pie, but I make a voodoo symbol back at that thank you very much.

I blame it on a bunch of 300-lb sweaty men who don't understand the concept of not ruining regular TV.

This would never happen in Canada. I'm just saying.



Monday, December 11, 2006

Sixty-Eight Bucks Down the Drain

So I thought I was better. I woke up on Saturday, and still had issues, since I went to a happy hour the night before and made the mistake of drinking two beers and having spicy chicken strips. Some people might try and tell you that I'm actually really smart, that I skipped two grades in school and learned to read at three. But don't believe them. That was the old me. The new me has intestinal issues and partakes in spicy fare so that her colon explodes from the shock of the stupidity.

But Saturday night, I was all better. We went out and ate, and I was actually smart about my choice of food, but only from some prodding from Sweetie Pie. I indulged in some lettuce wraps. Nothing bad in that, and there were shredded carrots, which I'm sure my body was in desperate need of some type of veggies at this point.

Anyway, the lettuce wraps were a hit with my innards and yesterday, I felt like I was back to normal. But see, it was all an illusion, because for breakfast I only ate two pieces of buttered toast and then for lunch I had a bowl of chunky noodle soup, but Little Man ate most of my noodles, so really, I had some broth with a couple of pieces of carrots, celery and chicken in it.

And then last night, my in-laws took us out for the second annual family holiday season dinner at some fancy-schmancy place, and we went to one of the big famously expensive steakhouses along the Dallas Tollway.

And since I was famished, I partook in everything. I inhaled my steak dripping in butter and coated in some amazing blue cheese crust. I ate potatoes au gratin. And apple tart. And chocolate sin cake. And lots of bread with butter.

And I had wine. Wonderful, wonderful red wine. Which usually I'm not a fan of, but this might as well have been a glass of melted chocolate, it tasted so good to me.

I left there, my pants leaving a permanent indentation on my swollen belly. I was happy.

Then the middle of the night came. And all I can tell you is that I've never thrown up this much. No, I take that back. I haven't thrown up this much since that incident in university where the 25 cent shots all involved peppermint schnapps and I slept with this total nerd name Vince only because I was madly in love with his best friend who had a girlfriend, but then I made out with the best friend and broke up their relationship and the best friend could never get over the fact that he'd messed up with the love of his life and treated me like shit and then never called me again.

But my slutty past isn't the point of this post. The point is that I threw up the following items:

- A $38 steak
- $7 worth of sides
- $7 worth of desserts
- and probably about $15 worth of wine

And like a bulimic, I greatly enjoyed the meal and then donated it to the porcelain gods. At this rate, I'm going to be a skinny mini by New Year's. Lucky for you, I'm not slutty anymore and won't be out to steal your spouses.

The best part is that the reason I woke up at all is because Little Man had woken up and was crying hysterically. So I puked my brains out, washed my face, brushed my teeth and then rocked my baby back to sleep. I have never felt like more of a mom than last night.



Friday, December 08, 2006

No Longer Desecrating Office And Home Bathrooms

In case some of you were unimpressed by my crappy Tuesday, I can actually add an update to it that until now, I couldn't write about because it was too painful, and really, it's hard to write from a bathroom stall.

Just when the universe had decided to be kind to me again by sending me a guardian angel named Albertson's pharmacist dude, I made a frozen pizza for dinner, unable to cope with cooking real food.

I always buy the same kind of pizza. Every. Single. Time.

This is because in the past, I've experimented with the cheap frozen pizzas. And most of them tasted like cardboard or crap with cheese on top. Except for one that actually tasted vaguely of pizza. That brand is Red Barron's.

We always get the basic pepperoni pizza. I couldn't even tell you what the style is actually called.

But this weekend, I thought "oh look, for only a dollar more, I can get something called pizzeria style Red Barron's pizza." And so I figured, what the hell, I'm working now, let me live on the wild side and blow a dollar like it grows on trees just because I can. This is the mentality that led Donald Trump to cover his entire apartment in 24 karat gold. I'm only one step removed from him really.

Anyway, so Tuesday I crank up the old Pizzazz (the greatest invention ever by the way, I know it doesn't look that way from the commercials, but really, if you use an oven to cook your frozen pizza, well, I don't know if I can even associate with you.) and tear the packaging off the pizzeria style frozen pizza. Some say that I'm the next Martha Stewart because of these talents of mine. It's along the lines of my using my creativity in my sleep-deprived state when Little Man was two weeks old and trying to use surgical tape to stick his pacifier in his mouth so that he'd stop waking up every five minutes. This failed miserably, since medical tape only sticks mildly to skin and nothing else. So not only did the pacifier fall out of Little Man's mouth, but the remaining tape on his face made my newborn look like a mini Hannibal Lechter which freaked the shit out of me.

But back to the pizza. So we eat dinner. I'm starving because of my horrible day and the fact that lunch consisted of two store-brand oreo cookies (I guess the extra dollar spent on the pizza guilted me into buying the fake cookies), so I inhaled half a pizza.

When we go to bed, I begin to feel nauseous. I begin to think that if I don't get up right now, I might throw up all over our organic cotton sheets.

The moment passes.

The next morning I wake up and within ten minutes I throw up an insane amount of pizza. Twice.

The second time I'm throwing up, I can feel a serious diarrhea attack coming on and ponder for a second which end I'd rather clean up in case I can't finish one before the other.

I know, too graphic.

I go to work anyway, because one, I'm not willing to relive another day like Tuesday. And two, I literally had five meetings scheduled for Wednesday and if there was one day I couldn't miss all week, it was that day.

So I go to work. And during each meeting, I pray that I can keep my intestines in check long enough to cause the end of my career with the company.

And in between meetings, I sprint to the bathroom, and I the shy pooper no longer worry about humilitaing myself, because I sound like I have a very full bladder, that's how upset my intestines are.

I begin popping pepto-bismol cherry-flavored tablets when I get home like Satan's Dog when he manages to open the pantry where his treats are.

I spend most of the night being woken up by my digestive system which at this point sounds like I've swallowed a whole tiger cub.

And now, two days later, I can safely say that I have avoided going to the bathroom all morning. My system has successfully conquered the e-coli.

And the cleaning lady at the office is probably weeping with joy that her toilets will once again maintain their pearly white smiles.

On a completely different note, Little Man said the funniest thing ever. As all toddlers, he tends to categorize things that are similar in little ways. For example, when he learned the word "dog," all animals that had four legs, furry men and fuzzy plants would be called "dog."

Now, he's on a "Daddy" kick. And all men that remotely ressemble his father because of hair color, a coat they might be wearing, whatever are pointed out to me as "Daddy." This is handy, because should Sweetie Pie get tired of my idiocy and leave me, Little Man is already trying very hard to find me someone new.

This morning, we were driving to his school and my job when at a red light, I see Little Man in the rearview mirror point out the window and exclaim "Daddy!" I look to the right and in the car next to me is an extremely large black man.

That's when I tried to teach a new word, "mister," to Little Man in between my giggle fits.



Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's What They Call a Nervous Breakdown

Tuesday was a really, really bad day. It wasn't supposed to be, since it was, after all, a day off for me. Little Man had a pediatrician appointment in the morning and since I have vacation time to use up before the end of the year, I just took the whole day off.

I figured it'd be great, me and the little man together again.

But I've learned sometimes you just can't relive the past.

We headed for the long trek to the pediatrician office and made it there two minutes late. Since I didn't have my new insurance card yet, I told the receptionist they just needed to call my insurance carrier for proof of insurance. She said that they need all the info from me. Before I have a chance to argue with her, I get called in by the nurse and go back with the munchkin.

We proceed to spend an hour and a half being looked over. Why? I don't know... This nurse was very thorough and new to the practice so we were just there forever. Come to find out that the reason Little Man's eyes were welded shut with gunk when he woke up that morning was because he's got a double ear infection that has spread to his sinuses. Joy!

So I leave with two prescriptions. I've called the insurance company, written all the information down for the doctor's office, gave it to them and drove away. Little Man's pissed at this point, because dang it, it's nap time!

I drop off the prescriptions, give the pharmacy the little piece of paper with all of my information written down on the paper after calling the insurance company again, since I gave my only copy of the paper with the info to the doctor's office, and tell them that I'll be by after Little Man's nap to pick up the drugs.

Almost four hours later, I get an automated message from the pharmacy saying that my prescription has been delayed. EXCUSE ME??? I have a sick baby, your only job is to fill a bottle with some liquid and you can't do that in four hours?

Because Little Man is being an absolute nightmare, I throw him (gently of course, I'm not Britney Spears. I was also wearing underwear at the time) in the car and we head to Super Target.

On the way back from Super Target, I decide to go pick up the prescription, since at this point, it's been more than five hours since I dropped it off. The drugs are ready, but then the girl tells me that their system went down and she can't run my stuff through the insurance system, so I'm just going to have to $220 for the medicine. EXCUSE ME???

Not my fucking problem, I tell her. I then proceed to do something I rarely do, since I spent years in customer service and know what it feels like to make no money and be yelled at by somebody you don't give a shit about. I tell her how I have a sick baby and that they take close to six hours to get the medicine ready for him. That they have lost my business. That I want my prescription back NOW and they will never get another dime of my money.

She apologizes and gives me the prescription back. I ask her where the paper where I wrote down all my information is. She says she doesn't know. Seeing the look on my face that says I may tear her jugular out with my pinky at any second, she tells me she will look for it. She disappears for two minutes, comes back and tells me that she thinks it's been "discarded."

"DISCARDED?????" I yell. "That has my fucking private information on it, including my social security number. I want it back NOW!"

She disappears again and then comes back to say that really, they don't have it anymore, but that if it was discarded, it was done properly and that I don't need to worry about a bunch of people who are highly underpaid and hate their job stealing my identity.

At this point, I'm ready to rip the building off and toss it halfway to Austin I'm so pissed.

I leave, go across the street to our grocery store which also has a pharmacy and explain the situation to them.

I beg them to fill this quickly. They are sweet to me. Take pity on me and my cranky child. They tell me that they only usually take 15 minutes to fill prescription, but in my case, they'll do it in 30 seconds flat. And they do. At least they do with one of them.

Because they other, they don't carry. "No one every prescribes this," they explain.

And then, being the most wonderful people on Earth, who I'll never be able to thank enough except to bring them all of my prescriptions and make it clear in my will that no direct blood relative of mine shall ever go anywhere else, they offer to call another pharmacy for me and get them to fill the prescription promptly.

They call one place, no luck. So they offer to call a second. And a third. And a fourth. And a fifth. Because apparently, Little Man was prescribed the Hope Diamond by his pediatrician, or maybe some rare grade of plutonium.

The kind sweet folks at Albertson's (they deserve to be mentioned by name, since they are truly the greatest people on Earth) proceed to call a sixth pharmacy, this one way across town and locate these rare eye drops for me. "Please have it filled before she gets there," I hear the pharmacist say. "She has a baby."

I kiss the woman's feet and drive clear across the desert and the tundra to retrieve these eye drops. And when I get there, I wait. And wait. And wait. Finally an old man, smelling of pipe tobacco and Old Spice comes to me and sadly tells me that he's so sorry, but their eye drops are expired. "No one ever prescribes this," he says.

But he reassures me that he has called the chain pharmacy across the street and that they definitely have the drops. And theirs are not expired.

At this point, the Little Man is screaming his discontent at being strapped so long in his car seat. But I proceed. And drop f-bombs a long the way, some of them directed at my benevolent dictator. Since maybe if he'd keep his freaking ears clean, I wouldn't have to spend half my day off on the hunt for the Holy Grail of medicines.

When I get to the other pharmacy, they tell me they need 15 minutes to stick a label on the eye drop box with my son's name on it. And so I wait.

I drive home and it is now dinner time. I've left the house two hours ago. I am cranky, unhappy, neither emotion nearing the Little Man's levels of crankiness and unhappiness.

I get home and unload the baby, his medicine and all of my Super Target purchases. I walk into the house and decide to give him his first dose of ear infection antibiotics, hoping that will lift his spirits instantly. And then it happens.

The bag falls down. Hits the tile. And the heartbreaking sound of glass shatters my ear drum. And that's when I lose it. I start crying. I start saying the f-word more times than a Sopranos episode. I start slamming doors and throwing a hissy fit as I shove the bag that's now leaking antibiotic into a plastic bag and leave the house. I get myself together, walk into the Albertson's again, walk up to the counter, and one of the kids who'd helped me before says "How may I help you."

And that's when I start sobbing. I tell him that I just drove two hours to try to get the other prescription filled. And I'm so tired. And the bottle broke. And it says no refills on the prescription. And the doctor's office is closed now. And the baby's ears hurt.

He puts out his hand, takes the bag and tells me it'll just be a minute. He comes back with an unbroken bottle, filled with glass-free antibiotics. Gives it to me and when I had him my credit card he says "don't worry about it."

And they say the Christmas spirit is dead.

Wednesday, I went back to work, despite having food poisoning that our frozen pizza, eaten on Tuesday night, gave me, to punish me for being Hitler in a previous life (it's the only explanation I can think of). But there was no way I wasn't coming in. I needed a vacation from my day off.



Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Fifteen Months: My Letter to Little Man

Last time I wrote you this letter, you and I were still staying at home together, spending our days like lazy fat cats, spending too much time in places where I could spend money I didn't have, and hanging out until it was your bed time.

And this past month, I went and ruined our lives. You started daycare and I started a job. And I have to admit, Little Man, I really, really love my job. It's not that I didn't love being with you, I did. But unfortunately, we just can't be a one-income family right now. And the day we chose to have you, we realized that it would mean less chocolate for me so that we could buy you cool shoes.

My biggest regret about having to go back to work is having to put you in daycare. Because, so far, you're really, really hated going there. I knew you were going through separation anxiety. I knew that it would be a difficult transition. But never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this.

You lasted a full three days in daycare. Then you came home that night cranky as hell. You woke up during the night on fire and by morning, it was obvious that you weren't going anywhere. The doctor told us it was a cold, and just to keep you medicated. I hated the fact she didn't say anything about us needing to be medicated to put up with your incessant whining. Then your fever spiked three days after that, and we came to find out that you had pneumonia. My heart stopped. No matter how many times the doctor could say that pneumonia isn't a big deal in kids, I can't describe the guilt I felt that day, my sweet, sweet boy. I did this to you. I made you sick. I took you out of your germ-filled bubble and put you in a room with children covered in cooties that you had so far been kept away from somehow. And those germs took one look at your angelic face and thought "we must destroy him, he's too damn cute."

Because germs are cruel that way.

And to make things worse, I couldn't nurse you back to health, because it was my first week in a new job, and your father and I felt that I'd be jeopardizing things if I stayed home with you. And so he sat at home with you and nursed you back to health, while I sat in my blue cubicle and cried.

Although you've always loved your Daddy, I feel that now you might love him more. I know it's not a contest, and at the end of the day, it shouldn't matter. But I can no longer get you to speak my name. When you wake up and see me, one of the first things you ask me is "Daddy?" When I ask you my name, you light up and shout "Daddy!!!!" It's Daddy this and Daddy that. Yeah, I get it, Daddy's cool. Now can you please freaking pretend that I matter at all?

Through it all though, you haven't lost your sense of humor. You love to entertain, and when I laugh at your jokes, you cackle in delight like you're agreeing that, yes, you are indeed the funniest person in the world.

You went through one heck of a growth spurt this month. You've gone from this fat baby to this tall skinny boy. The pneumonia definitely didn't help things and you now weigh less than at your 12-month check up. This drops you down to the fifth percentile in weight. That means 95 percent of 15-month old outweigh you. But you've got a brown belt in karate already, so I know you can kick their fat butts if you need to.

I've been able to teach you new tricks, including blowing kisses. You do this with such gusto, that sometimes I feel like I'll be blown away from the strength of your kisses. You also love to speak in your foreign language, making all these tongue swirls and speaking in alien and making us laugh when we respond to you by imitating you and you nod gravely, like "yes, that's exactly what I'm talking about.

Not that you don't speak lots of words now. You've got the best of both world where you can pick and choose your words. So you say "dog," but you say "chat," which apparently is easier to say than cat. You say "shoes" and "please", which are much easier to say in English, but you've chosen "fini" and "merci," because really expecting anyone to properly pronouce thank you is ridiculous.

You've shown us that your way is the high way this month, throwing tantrums that include Earth-shaking body throws if we don't understand you or attempt to appease you with things that used to make you happy like a cookie or a million dollars. We now choose to pretend that we have a tantrum-avoidance shield, sitting on the couch, carrying on a conversation like we didn't have a 15-month old turning purple on the carpet, who is repeatedly banging his fist in frustration against the floor, because really, one should be allowed to smash Maman and Daddy's new plasma TV with the dog's food bowl, just because one feels like it.



Monday, December 04, 2006

The Wonderful World of Tantrums

Apparently Satan's Dog must have bitten the Little Man a la Cujo, it's the only explanation for why my sweet, serious-yet-full-of-smiles baby has all of a sudden become possessed by the devil, complete with head turning 360 degrees while inhuman screams leave his tiny body.

Being around Little Man these days is a little like being a bomb squad. Hundreds of wires are interconnected and you even grazing one of them could mean the end of our little planet.

Anything can set him off. If he requests milk and you hand him his sippy cup, full of cow juice goodness, the world might end. Why this causes a tantrum, I've yet to understand, but then again, I don't understand basic economics either or why people think Paris Hilton is good looking, so you shouldn't expect much from me.

I do however know that even at my worst PMS, if I demand a five-foot tall giant chocolate Santa and it is provided to me within a 15-second time frame, I will not throw pots at Sweetie Pie's head. But nothing can appease our little benevolent dictator these days.

He has learned the art of throwing himself on the ground, no longer able to hold his body up under the crushing weight of his anger and disappointment in the world. He can sob the way one would sob if they were told Grey's Anatomy is about to go off the air. My reassuring him that in fact, there will be a new episode of Grey's Anatomy on Thursday only cause more screaming, like if I was peeling my son's epidermis layer by layer.

Which, in case there was any doubt, I am not.

The timing of this is a little suspicious, considering he started daycare almost a month ago. But at the same time, there was signs of this behavior before, it was only bubbling below the surface and I chose to ignore it, the way Californians ignore the fact that they're building multi-million dollar homes on ground that will one day be swallowed up.

Yesterday was a particularly bad tantrum day. I was covered in green pea soup on a regular basis, for crimes that include turning on the cartwheeling Tigger, offering a cookie and putting him on my lap instead of carrying him all around the house. All of these crimes, in the toddler kingdom, are punishable by death. Unfortunately, I'm not up on the latest laws of toddlerhood and my third strike means that I will be killed by overexposure to Elmo's supersonic voice. It's a painful death, one that melts your brain slowly and turns your saliva into cavity-causing sugar.

After trying hugging, distrating and time out, Sweetie Pie and I resorted to ignore the screaming toddler laying on our living room carpet, the way we ignore my mother when she makes a snide remark about the amount of dog hair in our home.

This tactic worked, although it did take 15 minutes of Sweetie Pie and I attempting small talk about the football game on television while the neighbors called the SPCA to report our slaughtering of exotic goats.

And then, just like that, the hurricane had passed again. Little Man picked himself up, babbled something about beating the shit out of his bouncy ball and then proceeded to pet the dog, his tear-stained face distorted into a smile.

Later, Sweetie Pie picked up "What to Expect the First Year" and we learned that 14 percent of one-year olds throw tantrums. I've always been the kind of mom who'd read each month of the What to Expect Books and would worry if my son hadn't reached all of the "This month, your baby might be able to..." milestones. But now, learning that 86 percent of parents out there have children who don't cause global warming with the sheer heat explosion that radiates from their thrashing body, I envy them and their normal children.



Friday, December 01, 2006

They Call Me Mellow Yellow

This is week three of me working out of the home. This week has seen me actually do real work and dive in to the pool while praying that I know how to swim, rather than just sat there learning, reading page after page of some foreign language to me that this place considers to be English.

And this week has been the turning point for me. This week, I've learned that I am no longer the person I used to be.

And I couldn't be happier about it. A number of things have happened to me during the past couple of years that could have led to this momentous change. I got fired for having a crapy personality (or so the crazy bitches I worked with thought, 99 percent of the population would probably side with me and state that they were the problem.) And most importantly, I've had a baby. And having this baby has taught me that work is such a small part of life. That at the end of the day, as long as I can make my baby giggle when I blow raspberries in his neck, everything else doesn't matter.

Just this week alone, there have probably been three or four incidents that would have make me climb the walls and spew venom in my previous life. But now, I just smile, shrug my shoulders and I'm actually ok with it.

When a coworker told me that someone else would probably take credit for one of my successes this week, I told her that it didn't matter to me. And the cool thing is, I meant it. Because it didn't matter. I'm confident in my abilities and the people who matter know what I do. If someone wants to steal just a little of my thunder, let them have it. They're probably a lot more desparate than I am. Plus, they'll never have a baby as cute as mine, so if some insignificant thing at work is what they need to feel good about themselves, well, I'm still way, way ahead of the race.

When someone went over my head to be part of something that I specifically told them they couldn't attend, I actually guffawed in my cube. And I meant the guffaw, every single note of it. Because once again, obviously this person has nothing going for them in their life that this tiny insignificant event at work is all they have to live for. I, on the other hand, get to wipe diarrhea from the cracks of a baby's nut sack. And that makes me happier than any of this crap.

In my previous life, little irritating things like this would get to me. There would be tears. There would be much bitching to Sweetie Pie who would respond to me time and time again "why do you let it get to you? It's only work!!!!"

Easy to say for a robot-man whose range of emotion only includes normal and asleep.

But now, I guess I'm officially a grown up, because when my coworkers come into my cube to gossip and bitch, all I can do is smile and nod at them and think "it's really no big deal! It's only work."

I just may avoid that massive stress-related heart attack after all...