Thursday, May 31, 2018

Baby, Put your Boots Back On


It's been almost three years today since Adeline was born.   As her birthday approaches, I think I'm ready to share with you a project that has been years in the making.

 Several months after Adeline's stillbirth, I started seeing a therapist.  I wasn't only trying to deal with her death, but also with the insane medical trauma that happened to me as a result of it.* She suggested that I try to write letters to my dead daughter, and maybe take a yoga class.** 
 *If you need a refresher of how my uterus tried to murder me, click here.
** Fuck that.

 For me, instead of writing letters, I knew that I needed to write songs. I've written literally hundreds of songs in the past, about everything from snake handling, to true love, to the time my sister beat the crap out of that guy with a maglite. I even maintained a secret you-tube channel where I sent songs to my dad, although in recent years I had it set to "private." But this time, when I sat down with my guitar, no words would come--just tears. Every night, there I sat, holding onto my instrument like a life-jacket, ugly crying, and trying to get the feelings out of me.

Then, something amazing happened.  Sean came home one day with an album called Southeastern by Jason Isbell.  It was fantastic and beautiful, and sad as shit. If you don't own it, you need to go buy it, right now. We listened to Southeastern twice straight through on a Sunday afternoon. Then, I grabbed my guitar, ran to our bedroom and wrote three songs.  The rest of these songs came later that week. I cannot describe to you the relief that I felt after getting these words out.  Jason Isbell, if you are reading this-- you helped me more than any therapist ever could.  You gave me permission to write sad songs, and the best part is-- you never even tried to make me take a yoga class. You're the fucking greatest.

After the songs were done, something else surprising happened to me.  I found that people-- and I can't stress this enough--- did not want to hear them. I guess as the author of such classics as "Trust Fund Hippie" and "Possum on the Grill," people expected a lighthearted laugh when it was my turn to hold the guitar.  But, I have to say, the crowd I hang out with also loves to sing sad ass cowboy songs, and Appalachian murder ballads, so I guess I never realized I didn't have permission to cross into a darker genre.
So, this year for Adeline's Birthday I have a bunch of really, super sad songs that I'm posting up for all the hear. Not everyone will like them, but to me, they are important.  If you aren't up for hearing a woman wailing about lady things, then you may at least like this one.  It's called " Baby, Put Your Boots Back on," and it pretty much sums up how I feel about this songwriting journey.

Baby, Put your Boots Back On




No one loves like a lover who's young
No one can judge when their lover may run
Don't let that rain on our parade
Oh girl don't even call his name

Chorus:
Come on Baby put your Boots back on,
They don't let sad girls write those songs
But when the cowboys play 'em we all sing along....
Come on Baby put your boots back on.
Come on baby put your boots back on.


No one hates like a woman they say
And no one grates like a woman profane
Don't let those words out Juliet
You might yell something you'll regret

Repeat Chorus

Get your chin up girl,
No and don't be blue
Don't you walk around saying things just because they're true
Don't be long little girl
Go and dry your eyes
'Cause half of being a lady is learning to compromise

No one loves like a mother it's true,
You're all fucked up, but your mother loves you.
Don't go and weep for your baby's sake
Mamma be sweet, make lemonade.

Repeat Chorus

___________________________________________________
Now that we've got that out of the way, here are the songs for my sweet Adeline.  Happy birthday, baby girl. I love you and always will.

Dear Adeline, Intro 


Different For Loosing You 

Little Adeline (In the Big Blue Sky)

In the ground 


Small White Box 


  Lake of Fire 


In the Blue

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

My dog, Cricket, Schedules a Performance Review with Me

 Recently, my dog Cricket scheduled a performance review with me.  She wanted to discuss my ability to fulfill my duties as her dog owner (now that I have two kids,) and also the pork tenderloin that was left out on the counter.  Now, I'll be the first to admit that Cricket's life has been hard with the arrival of a new baby and multiple moves, but I still thought her reflections were a little harsh.  Here is a transcript of our conversation:



Cricket:  Thank you for coming in today. Please, have a seat.
Me: What it is that you wanted to talk about?
Cricket: (glancing at the pork tenderloin on the counter) We'll get to that in a minute.  First, I want you to tell me, in your own words, how you think you've been performing as my owner.
Me: (Looking down guiltily) Well, I think I've had a lot of new responsibilities with the new baby, and it's been hard to make sure everyone's needs are met. 
Cricket: I see. And do you think that you've been putting out your BEST WORK in respect to me? 
Me: No, I guess not. 

Cricket: Thank you for admitting that. Now let's get down to business.  It has come to my attention that there is a pork tenderloin, there on the counter. 
Me: Yeah, I know-- I was so tired I forgot to put away dinner last night. 
Cricket: I can see that you are overworked. From now on, I will put away dinner for you. 
Me: That's so thoughtfu--- wait NO, Bad dog. 


Cricket: (Shuffling papers) Okay moving on.  There was the incident in the woods that i think we need to discuss. 
Me: The one with the dead rabbit?
Cricket: MY dead rabbit. You took it away from me.
Me: I didn't want you to get sick. Who knows how it died?
Cricket: I DO! IN MY COLD ICY JAWS OF UNERRING DEATH!
Me: (Looking doubtful) sure....
Cricket: What? You don't think I could do it?
Me: Kill a rabbit? No, you're like, 100 years old. You lack the agility. 
Cricket: AGILITY!??? Didn't you see what I did to the stuffed duck you gave me for Christmas? TOTAL EVISCERATION!
Me: Whatever, you still can't eat that Rabbit.
Cricket: This is unrelated, but can I go in the woods? 
Me: No. 

Cricket: Okay, but I have another complaint. Why won't you let me lick the baby?
Me: I do.
Cricket: In the face. I want to lick his face.
Me: You lick your butt. 
Cricket: Do not!
Me: Do too! You lick your butt almost constantly.
Cricket: You are overprotective. 
Me: ......

Cricket: ......
Me: What are you doing now?
Cricket: (innocently) with what?
Me: Your face
Cricket: I'm begging.
Me: For what?
Cricket: For you, know, any scraps that may have been left out on the counter. 
Me: Cricket no...
Cricket: Big or small.... you know just poor, neglected Cricket hoping for some affection from a once doting dog mom. 
Me: Fine. 
Cricket: Wait really? 
Me: Yeah, fine I'll cut you a piece. 
Cricket: Holy Shit are you serious??
Me: Yeah, why not. Here you go. 
Cricket: Okay, give it here!

(slurp slurp slurp) 

Me: Hey, while you're here, why don't you just sign off on my evaluation?
Cricket: oh, yeah, OF COURSE mom.  
Me: I see you just changed my performance rating to "excellent." 
Cricket: (Still slurping) Oh yeah, you're the greatest Mom.
Me: Thanks Cricket, I love you. 
Cricket: Mom? 
Me: Yes?
Cricket: Can I go in the woods?
Me: No. 
Update: We went in the woods.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Dear Son, You puked in my face

Dear Son,

I am writing this letter as a place marker, so that I will always remember this day.  Today, (on your father's birthday) you threw up directly into my face. You did so with great force, and also volume. Your precision was shocking for an 8 month old baby. Your dinner, was peas.

 
Here is a drawing I did of you puking directly into my face.



Why am I telling you this?  Because never, for the rest of your life, will I let you live this down. When you ask me why you can't borrow my self driving car to go on your first date, I will say it is because you threw up in my face.

Let me give you some context. It was your father's birthday and I was determined that we should all have a good time.  I got you and your sister dressed in adorable outfits, and I went so far as to put on makeup. Do you know how hard it is for a mother of two young children to put on makeup? I'm lucky if I can put on pants.* On this occasion, not only was I wearing pants, but I had on boots with a heel. I am basically a hero.

*Last weekend I was in my cousin's wedding, and a trained beauty professional was talking about waxing eyebrows, something I haven't done in literally a year.  All I could think was "oh shit, should I feel shame at my lack of personal grooming around this beautiful woman? And then I was like, "Naw, I've got on pants."

Because my valor knowst no limits, I also decided to take you and your sister with us out to a trendy Durham restaurant.  There we sat, a portrait of an adorable family, drinking hot toddies, eating local cheeseburgers, and wearing pants-- all of us.

I SHARED MY BURGER WITH YOU, SON.  Out of love, and also a strong desire for you to not scream in public, I gave you pieces of my local, organic cheeseburger.  I did not share my hot toddy with you, although in retrospect maybe I should be more open to potential solutions that will help you sleep through the night.  As we waited for dessert, you began to get fussy, but I was like NOT TODAY, KID.  We are going to have a NICE FAMILY DINNER, DAMMIT.  Then, I expertly flew you like superman above my head.

I am such a great mom, I told myself as I zoomed you, precariously above my makeup-ed face, look how I calmed this kid down to stop him from ruining Sean's special birthday dinner!  That's when you did it.  You vomited. (Not spit up, not drool, but REAL ACTUAL PROJECTILE STYLE VOMIT) directly into my face. 

I spluttered.  I spat.  I groped blindly for the napkins Sean was quickly handing my way.  You gurgled contentedly.  Mommy, you're silly! You said.  The vomit did not stop at my face.  It dripped down my shirt, and into my bra.  I took out my nursing pads, which were soaked, and laid them on the table of the trendy Durham restaurant.  Our waiter passed them by without comment, but he did offer to refill our Crème Fraiche.


I looked over at Sean. "To me that seemed horrible." I said.  "Did it look as bad to you as it felt to me?" (You know how these things are, sometimes they seem dramatic to us, but they don't actually look like a big deal.) 

"Do you remember Nickelodeon Slime?" Sean answered in return. I hung my head in shame.

The hipsters around us were young and childless. They went about their lives, sipping their hot toddies and avoiding eye contact, but I know they saw it happen. Can you imagine what they must have thought of us? "The most wretched couple was in the restaurant tonight" they probably told their girlfriends, or cats, or tattoo artists that evening. "This poor woman got slimed directly in her face."

 
This is what the hipsters saw.


So, my darling son, tonight you carried the day, but at the rate I'm going I think I'm actually going to emerge the victor of our ongoing battle of embarrassment.  Afterall, you're going to grow into a sensitive, intelligent, and socially attune young man, and I'm only going to give less of a damn about what people think as I get older.  When you're a teenager and you ask me why I'm embarrassing you, I'll be sure to remind you that it's because you puked in my face.  My gut tells me you'll probably just roll your eyes and say, "Mom, please go put on some pants.

 Love,
Mamma


Friday, February 2, 2018

Sean and Katie's Place, Take Two


First family selfie in the new yard.

When I first started writing this blog, the tag line was "A blog about our first house, our first baby, and our adventures along the way." I'm really glad I documented some of this stuff--especially the stories about Millie---because I don't remember any of it. Apparently, my brain is like "I'm just going to block out any memories involving xylophone music, cool?" And I'm like, "No brain! I want to remember this stuff." And my brain is like "I NEED THIS, OK."Consequently, Millie's early years are just one slobbery, screamy, cuddly blur to me. Five years later, we seem to have circled back around.  New house. New Baby. New Sean and Katie. (Again.) This time, I know how important it will be for me to write it all down.

We welcomed our son, Ben in July, and moved out of our beautiful first home in Oberlin, Ohio a month and a half later.  After crashing with friends in NC and renting a truly tiny apartment, we've finally settled into our new house.  IT'S A GOOD ONE. We found a place in the country, with a super big wooded lot. Like-- ten acres big.  We've got a creek in the back where we can sit and drink beer in the summer, and by "summer" I mean "in March" because we live in North Carolina now, and it's delightfully mild here. According to my neighbors, there is even a white deer that lives in our woods. Obviously I've been freaking out about that because A WHITE DEER IS BASICALLY A UNICORN. And then, they told me that the horse farm down the street raises peacocks and sometimes they escape and run wild through the woods, and now I'm like "THE WORLD I LIVE IN IS MAGIC, AND ALSO HOW DO I BUILD A PEACOCK TRAP?"I know at this point you have a lot of questions.  Have you started building trails into your forest? (Yes.) Has Millie started her wilderness skills survival training yet? (Yes.) What are you going to name your peacock? (Reginald.) Is it pretentious for you to refer to your grounds as "Pemberley?" (Try and stop me.)

Anyways to update you all, I'm including some photos of the new house. I also have a before and after to show off of our guest room because I know how much you like makeover magic!

Cricket surveys her new kingdom, on the alert for any rogue peacocks.

Look at this flippin deck!!!


The guest room when we first moved in. This carpet smelled like funky mouse balls.

The guest room after Sean finished with it. #seanwillyoumakeoutwithme?

The white deer living in our woods. *visual approximation

All in all, things are going well for us.  Of course I'm going crazy trying to take care of a new baby and an almost 5 year old through all these moves, but that's a different blog post. Now, if you;ll excuse me, I need to go to home depot-- Millie and I are going to build a peacock trap.

#reginald
#tryandstopme

Friday, December 1, 2017

Let's talk about baby sleep

Welcome! Scroll down to the bottom of this post to "resources" for the baby sleep coaching link, and the free white noise recording. 

When you are the parent of a young baby, one of the first questions that people ask you is "how are they sleeping?"  If you have asked me this question recently, you've probably gotten a tearful, long and incoherent answer to this question.  The short answer is NOT WELL, and I've been feeling very, very sorry for myself.

Sleep, precious sleep.

The fact is that Ben is almost 5 months old, and he has already had 3 different houses.  Until recently, Ben had no sense of normalcy, and it was really affecting his sleep. As of this morning however, EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT, because last night Ben SLEPT FOR 8 HOURS STRAIGHT AND NOW I CANT STOP TYPING IN ALL CAPS I'M SO EXCITED AND I FEEL LIKE I COULD ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING AND ALSO I'VE HAD LIKE 3 CUPS OF COFFEE AND HAND DECORATED 15 CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS*. I'm going to tell you how he turned the corner, but first I'm going to explain where we started from.  This is best represented in the form of a short play, which I wrote in a sleep deprived stupor just after Ben hit the dreaded 4 month sleep regression:

 *These are the ornaments.
#adorbs

Why I need Coffee: 
A mother's tale of infant sleep 
By Katie Hayes 


Cast: 
Katie: A tired Mommy
Ben: A four month old baby

7:00 pm:
(The family is eating dinner)

Ben: THE BABY IS TIRED. I'm so tired I can't keep my eyes open.  I'm the tiredest baby who ever lived. PLEASE put me to bed. PLEASE PLEASE? Oh my god I'm so tired. Mommy, have you no mercy in your empty, cruel soul? 
Me: Ok, let's go to bed. (Lights go out, swaddle goes on.)
Ben: I am not tired. 
Me: What? You said you were!
Ben: I would never say that.  You're imagining things. Let's cuddle. 

10:30
Ben: OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT!
Me: What?
Ben: My pacifier fell out.
Me: That was like, hours ago.
Ben: Yeah, I know, but I just now realized it. 
Me: Ok, here it is.
Ben: No. That's not good enough. 
Me: What? You said you wanted it. 
Ben: I want the real thing.
Me: Just take the pacifier. 
Ben: Titty. 
Me: You're not hungry.
Ben: (singing, to tune of "funky town") Won't you take me to. Titty tooooooown!? Won't you take me to. Titty town.
Me: Not now Ben.
Ben: Tiiiiiity Town!
Me: Fine, just sleep afterwards okay?

12:15
Ben: It's time for my workout!
Me: What's up? I heard yelling and grunting.
Ben: I'm trying to roll over. 
Me: Can you do that tomorrow?
Ben: (Rolling) Look at my skillz, Mom.
Me: You're going to get stuck like that. 
Ben: No way, I'm basically a professional. 
Me: Ben, Listen--
Ben: AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHH!
Me: I told you you'd get stuck. 
Ben: Titty.

1:45
Ben: Just leave your titties in here with me, ok?
Me: That's not how it works. 
Ben: Why do you hate the baby?

3:30 am:
Ben: I feel refreshed!
Me: Go to back to sleep Ben.
Ben: I could never sleep on such a glorious day!  I love you MOMMY! I'm so happy to seeeeeee you!
Me: It is night time. 
Ben: Says you. 
Me: Says everybody, it's 3 am. 
Ben: You're so pretty Mommy. You look like a model. 
Me: (softening) Aww thank you sweetie! I--
Ben: Let me eat your hair. 
Me: Go to sleep. 


4:15 am:
Ben: MOM! MOM! MOM!
Me: What?
Ben: You told me to tell you after 45 minutes was up.
Me: I would never say that.
Ben: Ok whatever, but since you're here (Lowers gaze.
Me: Why are you looking at me like that?
Ben: Like what?
Me: Like I'm a cheeseburger.
Ben: Who said anything about burgers? I'm more of a milk and cookies sort of man. 
Me: Ben, no--
Ben: Minus the cookies.

You get the picture.  Pretty much every night my baby had turned into an attention seeking titty-gobbler who tormented me and Sean. It is not an exaggeration to say that many nights he was up once an hour.

I was desperate, my life was in total chaos, and that is when I started working with Kaylan Adams, an infant sleep coach who I met through my sister.  At first I was reluctant to seek help because, after all I am an experienced mother who has successfully guided one baby through colic, xylophone music, and other infant horrors.  But, Sean had a different opinion.  When I told him about Kaylan's business he said: "She is a genius, There is no amount of money I would not pay in order to sleep at night again."  So, I took Kaylan up on her offer to help, and she sent me a bunch of materials for her online course "Start Strong." From this course I identified several different areas where I could improve.

 My first shocking discovery was that Ben was severely underslept. I hadn't previously realized this because I hadn't been writing anything down.  When Millie was a baby, I charted her sleep, feeding, and pooping cycles with a the precision of a scientist.  However Ben and I are usually on the go--trying to keep up with his four year old sister. My day was much too packed with me playing "Captain Barnacles" from Octonauts to actually take notes on my son's sleep. Once I started writing things down, I realized that he was only actually sleeping between 8-10 hours a day, instead of the recommended 13-14. 

There was also a lot of stuff in the course that I was already doing-- for example coming up with a clear bed-time routine.  What I liked about this information is that it forced me to really examine my practices and ask myself what was working, and where I was cutting corners.   

Between, Kaylan's course, sleep training, and  the reintroduction of "THE THUNDERSTORM," (A white noise recording that Sean made that now plays continuously in our home,) we now have Ben back on track in terms of his sleep. He consistently sleeps 14 hours a day, with one long (6-8 hour) stretch at night where I can get a little bit of rest.
This is Kaylan. Give her all of your money.*


*Full Disclosure: Now that I am a loyal acolyte of Kaylan's she will pay me referral fees if you purchase her course through this blog. I promise to spend this money on coffee.

When I walk around this weekend, I can't wait for people to ask me how Ben is sleeping. They'll still get an earful-- but this time it will be hopefully be hilarious stories about Sean accidentally shaving his beard off, or me fleeing from the grocery store like a coward.  If they're lucky, they may also get a hand decorated Christmas ornament, but that of course depends on how much coffee I've had.

Resources: 

Link to Kaylan's "Start Strong Course."
http://bit.ly/KHW_BDSC

Video recording of "the Thunderstorm" an hour long white noise recording that plays continuously while our kids sleep and makes me want to continuously make out with my husband, who created it. #seanwillyoumakeoutwithme

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Update: I buy my t-shirts in the grocery store now

I've never been an overly fashionable person. I remember after Millie was born I struggled with the question all first time parents ask themselves-- can I wear jeggings now that I'm a mom? Or, did the birth of my first child somehow lock me into the clothing I already owned, barring my access from all future fashion trends? Could I indeed wear jeggings in 2013? Reader, I tell you I could.

But now, after the birth of my son in 2017, I am older and wiser. I find myself liberated from the pangs of uncertainty regarding my wardrobe. I am living back in the south,  I am operating on very little sleep, and I WILL WEAR WHATEVER GARMENT MOST EASILY ALLOWS ME TO TAKE MY BOOBS OUT IN THIS BOJANGLES. * **Period.
*To breastfeed, of course
** #freebojangles tho

Tonight, I reached new levels of relaxation, when I bought some high quality ladies' apparel in my local Kroger grocery. Naturally, I had waited until both of my children were asleep to go grocery shopping, because-- and I say this with love-- children are monsters.  Earlier today, I had failed to buy a carving pumpkin at the Fresh Market because Ben would not stop screaming.  Most likely, he was simply outraged at the price of artisanal pumpkins, but he elevated his concern to such levels that I could no longer focus on my grocery list. We walked out of the store, which probably saved me from buying a $15.00 jar of imported capers.

This evening I trotted through Kroger, hunting after the items I had failed to buy this afternoon. In the middle of the candy isle I saw it-- a giant display of star wars t-shirts. Hold the phone. I said to myself. I can buy clothes in the grocery store now? IS IT SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE TO BUY MY SHIRTS IN THE KROGER? I asked myself? No of course not. WOULD OBI WAN KENOBI HAVE DONE IT? Yes. Absolutely. I think i can say with 100% certainty that Obi Wan Kenobi would buy all of his shirts at the grocery store, because Jedi's don't have time to fuck around with driving to Kohls.

So, I grabbed the t-shirt and bought it. It's an awesome find, featuring a picture of Chewbacca with a caption that reads "Wookie Of The Year." Hahahaha! Even as I type that I am cracking up. Whoever made this shirt is a marketing genius, and the folks at Disney's apparel wing are not paying them enough. 
Seriously, give this person a raise.
 Anyways, thanks to whoever made this shirt, and had the vision and leadership to broker a merchandising deal with Kroger.  You are a model of corporate innovation. My only complaint is that the cut of this shirt favors a 13 year old boy, (undoubtedly your target audience.) As of the time of writing, I have taken a pair of scissors to the t-shirt, in order to give myself easier access to breastfeeding in the bojangles.



Friday, October 20, 2017

The Grapefruit I Will Never Eat

There's a grapefruit on my kitchen counter and it's reminding me of all my inadequacies as a parent. I should have fucking known better.  I should have learned by now not to buy fruit that can't be consumed one-handed.  I am a mom.  I cannot reasonably be expected to get out a bowl, peel a piece of fruit, divide it into edible pieces, separate the fruit from the nasty skin, eat it, and then wipe my hands WITH A NAPKIN of all things.  Can you imagine? A NAPKIN. Christ what was I thinking?

I knew better in the grocery store.  I knew I should have gone with bananas or something.  Or apples. You can't go wrong with apples.  You can eat them one handed AND you can cut them up to take to the playground as a snack.  Oh JESUS I am out of apples and I am about to take my kids to the playground.  I have a mutiny on my hands. I guess I could pack up this grapefruit, but OH WAIT THAT WILL NEVER WORK.

I will never, ever eat this.

You know what?  I'm just going to throw this thing away.  It's taunting me, and making me feel undue pressure. I will try again in another year.  When I am not breastfeeding, I will have the capacity to peel and eat citrus without having to enlist childcare services. It's probably all shriveled up inside anyways.

Actually, now that I think of it, I could probably send it to work with Sean.  I bet at his office people have free usage of both of their hands, and can peel grapefruits as they please. Those bastards. They probably just sit around eating tropical tree fruits like anything. I bet they are scarfing down kumquats between their conference calls over there. Curse them.  Curse them all.  They do not deserve this grapefruit.

Nope, there is only one course of action.  I will keep my grapefruit--my sweet bauble of ambrosia--on my counter.  There I will dream.  There it will rot. I will keep it there until it becomes green with mold. One day, both my children will be sleeping at the same time and I will go to eat it.  Then, I will discover the mold and throw it out.  Eventually, I'll eat one of the sensible apples I just bought at the store.

This is my life now.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sarah's Wedding and the Everyday Muffin Tamers

My sister-in-law Sarah is a genuinely thoughtful person, so when she asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding scheduled less than two months after my due date, she did it in a no pressure sort of way.  "I don't want to stress you out," she said, "I know the baby will be really little at that point, so it's ok to say no if you want." At the time, the idea of appearing postpartum in acres of chiffon was not that intimidating to me, because after Millie was born, my body had bounced back really quickly.  In fact, the combination of a 9 month booze cleanse, weightlifting my baby carrier, and breastfeeding had left me with a sort of rocking bod and Michelle Obama arms. Foolishly, I assumed I would tighten up in the same fashion after my second baby.*
*Throws head back and laughs, ruefully. 

Little did I know that the birth of my son would involve doctors cutting through my abdomen, presumably with a buzz-saw, and performing an emergency hysterectomy to remove my uterus, who would later be christened "Cersei Lannister" by readers of this blog. Now, 9 weeks post-surgery,  I am left with a pouchy, still-pregnant-looking stomach and I'm ashamed to tell you how much it bothers me.

So it was with trepidation in my heart that I approached Target last week, seeking some comfort in the form of SPANX. I was prepared to do my duty and honor my friend, but I'll be dammed if I was going to do it without shape-wear.

I found exactly the thing I was looking for. They were sort of a stretchy combination panty-hose/biker short getup, and they are-- undoubtedly-- the least sexy things I've ever worn.  As an added blow, Sean discovered gleefully that they are actually called "everyday muffin tamers." As in their ACTUAL NAME on the REAL, NOT MADE UP PACKAGING FOR THIS PRODUCT, is "Everyday Muffin Tamer." It's ok if you need to take a minute here to laugh at me.

I wouldn't lie to you about this

Well I'm here to report, those things worked.  I would heartily recommend them to any woman who has recently had abdominal surgery and/or a La Bamba burrito. Armed in my muffin tamers, I bravely entered the Bridal Affirmation Suite for my beautification procedures.  For those unfamiliar, the Bridal Affirmation Suite, (or, BAS.) is the central location at any wedding where the bride, bridesmaids, and mothers gather to dress for the ceremony.  Typical activities in the BAS include drinking champagne, applying makeup, and about 4-6 hours of telling each other how pretty we look.*
*which is always true, especially the more champagne we have.

I've been in a BAS before, but never when 9 weeks postpartum.  I would HIGHLY recommend this experience to new mothers out there.  During a time in my life when I'm averaging a shower every 3 days and 4 consecutive hours of sleep a night, I get to go into a room with highly trained beauty professionals that will hide the bags under my eyes and apply false eyelashes to my person? YES PLEASE.  Oh, look, someone brought champagne? SURE I WILL TAKE A MANGO MIMOSA. And also my daughter is in here but there's like 30 doting relatives in here watching her? ANOTHER MIMOSA IT IS.

Thanks to my muffin tamers and the inventors of false eyelashes, I felt confident standing up next to my beautiful sister in law (seriously-- no one that hot should also be that cool!) on her special day.  All in all, the wedding weekend was filled with wins for Sean and I. The kids were relatively well behaved on the 12+ hour car rides there and back. Millie was a flower girl and we made lots of jokes about what to do if she picked her nose during the ceremony. Then, Millie actually did pick her nose during the ceremony, but I handled it discreetly.* Then, the mom of the other flower girls explained to me that since she didn't eat it, we can also count that as a #momwin. Mom logic is awesome.
 *I put the booger inside my bouquet, because I'm classy.

Now I'm back home, and I'm missing the Bridal Affirmation Suite.  I haven't showered in 3 days again, and Millie would probably tell on me if I tried to day-drink champagne while Sean was at work.  However, I'm still smiling, because I've got a secret weapon--not just for wedding days-- but for everyday use. The packaging doesn't lie.  #muffintamers #everyday.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

We survive the move to NC-- with one major casualty

By this time, many of you are wondering how we've been hanging in there-- what with a newborn baby and a cross country move and all. The good news is, we've made it to North Carolina, and-- weeks later-- our belongings also made it to North Carolina! (Thanks for nothing-- North American Van lines!) All of us are now happily hunkered down in an apt in Durham while we look for a house.

This same house in Durham would cost $400,000.
I'll miss you, mid-western real-estate prices!

We are thrilled with the new opportunities before us, but at this point, we're also in survival mode. Here is a rough breakdown of how I've been spending my days.

  • 30% riding in a car with a screaming newborn
  • 60% Digging through boxes, searching for assorted kitchenwares.*
  • 10% Going to bed at 9:30
*where for art though, pizza cutter?


It's exactly this sleep deprivation that leads me to today's story, however.

The other day, Sean started his new job.  Now, it just so happens that he was running on about two hours of sleep because we had just driven to see the solar eclipse (which deserves a whole separate blog post because it was so fucking incredible--seriously) and we were delayed in the apocalyptic traffic jam afterwards.

In the morning, Sean woke up and began to trim his beard.  If you've seen Sean's beard, you know it is a thing of beauty. It gives him a rugged, lumber-sexual flare that is appealing to men and women alike. For some reason, it makes me weirdly proud when other men comment enviously about his lack of patchiness. Whenever our friends are like "Man Sean, I wish I could grow a beard as full as yours!" Internally I'm all like "yeah Suckers--- my husband is a REAL man--- bow down before his full-faced follicles you sprinkle-bearded half-men!" I'm the worst.

Anyways, perhaps the universe was punishing me for gloating, because-- unbeknownst to Sean, his trimmers had gotten bumped during the move, and somehow ended up on a shorter setting. When he went to trim up before the all-employee meeting where he would be meeting his new colleagues-- he accidentally shaved one side of it off. You heard that right. Sean ACCIDENTALLY SHAVED HALF HIS BEARD OFF because when you are a new parent, you do shit like that*, and I suppose I should just be grateful he didn't accidentally put my morning coffee in the gas tank of our Prius. He came in the baby's room and was like--- "uh honey-- do you want to see something funny?" And then I actually screamed because my FAVORITE BEARD was ruined. But also I was trying to be supportive so I told him it didn't look that bad. (Which is partially true because Sean is disgustingly handsome and it would take a lot to stop that dream train--but still.) Then, he trimmed the other side to match and then he started to shorten the front and I got pretty emotional and I was like STOP CUTTING IT RIGHT NOW.

*new parents are operating on about 40% of our normal brain cells, and 400% of our normal caffeine intake.

Sean's beard, driving us to North Carolina. RIP good friend. 

This story is admittedly hilarious, but I think what I love most about it is that it's so uncharacteristic for Sean to have a slip up like this.  Normally, it is the sort of thing I would do. For example, when I started my last job-- I cleverly decided to run through my endless supply of boy-scout popcorn* and turn my office into "the cool office with snacks." Unfortunately, on my first bag I had a microwave mishap that caused all of my new co-workers to evacuate the building while the fire department was called. "Nice to meet you," I told them, as we waited outside in the cold Ohio winter. "My name is KatieWould you like some popcorn?" I added, miserably.

*The neighbor's kid was a scout, and very persuasive

After all these years of me being sort of a disaster, it's nice to know Sean can have his moments too.  Even Smaug the magnificent had one penetrable section to his diamond waistcoat, and Sean is no different.  Also, incidentally, Sean could grow a better beard than Smaug the magnificent, and you can tell him I said so.  I'm sure a few months from now, we'll emerge from this sleep deprived cloud and laugh about all this. But for now, it's almost 9:30, and I think I'll go and try to microwave some popcorn before bed.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Pooping after pregnancy-- an important business opputinity for post partum Doulas

I have two favorite things to yell from the bathroom while I poop.*

The first is "KEEP FIRING, ASSHOLES!!!" From the classic movie, Spaceballs. The other is "WHO DOES NUMBER TWO WORK FOR!!!?" which of course originates from Tom Arnold's cameo in Austin Powers.

*Its the little things, like this, that keep our love alive.


This is a very important cinematic clip I want you all to watch.


Clearly, In our house, poop is a public affair, and we laugh and joke about it openly.  But, such an important thing happened to me today, that I needed to broadcast it more widely.

I took my first poop after having my baby. Anyone who has ever had a baby will know why this is a big deal.  I remember after I had my Millie, I was truly terrified by the prospect of pooping.  I was afraid that any squeezing whatsoever "down there" would send half of my vital organs shooting out through my sphincter. After delivering Ben, I had similar fears.  This time, they were compounded by the fact that I was also recovering from major surgery, and the narcotics they gave me completely shut me down for 5 days.  In the hospital, I tried to eat soft foods like pudding and fruit cups, but experience taught me that this would come out feeling like rocks and razor blades.

After they discharged me, I put myself on a 2 day diet regimen of watermelon and docusate.  Finally, I finally felt safe enough to give poop a try. It was horrible.  During Ben's birth, there was a wonderful Labor and Delivery nurse named Shelly who helped coach me through my contractions.  Oh how I wished Shelly were with me now, talking me safely through my poop.

"You can do it!" Shelly would tell me.
"No, Shelly I can't do it!" I would respond, "I need an epidural."
"Just a few more seconds" she would assure me.
Finally, when my poop was out, and safely in the toilet bowl, I would collapse with relief, and Shelly would stroke my forehead.
"You did it kid" she would say to me.
"Thanks Shelly." I would say, the accomplishment welling up inside me.

At the end of the day, I got to take the porcelain out to pasture,* even without Shelly there to support me.  In the process, I think I have stumbled upon a great new business opportunity for post-partum doulas who specialize in coaching new moms through their first BM.  Any of you out there are welcome to steal this business idea from me. In the meantime, I'll be here snacking on watermelon, sitting on the toilet, and yelling celebratory Spaceballs quotes.  KEEP FIRING ASSHOLES!

*This is an amazing new euphemism for pooping that Sean invented this week.