The Wink is a labor of love, occasional source of ire and constantly influenced by the toddlywinks in my life- my daughters. There's also the HunkyWink. You'll read all about them as The Wink unfolds. Please feel free to wink back!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Keeping a Straight Face

Or, more aptly titled, Unable to Keep a Straight Face, and Loving Every Minute of It. Yesterday afternoon I was furiously trying to get some things done. I had an HTML email to get out for my boss, press releases to get up on my work blog for members, emails to return and, oh yeah, two highly intelligent and inquisitive toddlers to entertain and nurture. I'll cop to accepting a bit of help from Shrek, allowing the girls to color and play trains with the entertaining quips of Donkey and Puss-in-boots to keep them fully engaged (read: away from my lap and the irresistible urge to "push da button 'gain.")

I had just sent a test email to my boss when I heard a wailing from the other room.

"What's going on in there?"

"Da snowman. sob, gasp, moan Da snowman sparkles."

I trotted into the room, a phone in either hand in case a call came in from work, to find Briar teary eyed and red faced and clawing at her tights.

"What is it sweetie?"

"Da snowman, I got da snowman's sparkles in'ere."

"What snowman? Sparkles? Where?" I knealt down beside her.

"In'ere," she declared, her hand down the back of her tights.

"You have snowman sparkles in your tights?"

"No! No, mama. I got snowman sparkles in my bottom."

I raised my eyebrows and frowned. "In your bottom? From what snowman?"

She led me to our dining room where we had hung paper snowmen after Thanksgiving, beneath each snowman is a glittery letter, an "A" for Avery and a "B" for Briar. She pointed up at the artwork and said, "That snowman."

"Honey, wait a minute. You can't have sparkles from that on you, it's up in the air."

"I do, I got'em in my butt, right dere," energetically wagging her hand inside of her tights.

I turned on the light and told her I'd look. "You really think you have snowman sparkles in your bottom?"

"Uh-hu, yup I do. I got 'da sparkles in my butt."

I bent her over my knee, pulled down her tights and dubiously took a peek between her cheeks for snowman sparkles. There were no sparkles, but there was the tiniest bit of paper left from an "I can wipe myself" visit to the bathroom.

"Honey, there are no snowmen sparkles in your bottom. How did you think they got in there?"

"I don't know mom, I just felt the sparkley in my bottom."

"Did anyone touch you?"

"No."

"Do you feel ok now?"

"Yup, I do. Can I have a vitamin?"

"You bet."

"Thanks. And thanks for checking my bottom for sparkles."

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Monday, November 26, 2007

If one of them flunks...

We could by buying three prom dresses in one year.



It's official, or as official as it can be before that small detail of actually checking the goods in person, we are having a girl. April 26th, or sometime around then, we'll be introducing Briar and Avery to a sister and introducing Sean to a whole new dimension in estrogen domination.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

I never knew I hated you

Oh, the weight of the revelation. I got my hair cut today, many, many inches came off. Watching the transformation I began calling out silent taunts in my head to the falling locks, "See ya suck-ah! And stay gone, punk. We're going to be just fine." I was surprisingly relieved to see it gone. To see my face.

Then at home we had another transformation, painting our living room a color called Stony Fields. The previous color was granny smith apple green. I thought I loved it, just like I thought I loved my hair. So wrong. I hated the green, hated it. And Stony Fields? I want to sing I am so happy, besotted with our milk chocolaty walls. Purrrr.

Was this really worthy of a post? Perhaps not, but it gives me the opportunity to post this picture in which I had just proudly (and with great self-mocking) declared,

"This is how I roll."




I'm a lucky woman because Sean snorted and chortled right along with me. But seriously, have you considered the things you might have in your life right now that you think you need? Think you love, but in reality are things that are literally weighing you down or denying you joy?

Go cut it, paint, snip it, toss it, whatever. It feels too good not to, I promise!

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The envelope bore my name.

There it was, my name, scrawled in harsh black ink, staring up at me for the too-thin-to-be-good news envelope. I tossed aside the happy Cookie magazine with its radiant cover girl Christy Turlington smiling her I-have-no-money-woes smile. The ominously light envelope sat a few inches away. I dreaded its message, but knew I'd not have a moment's peace until I faced the devil inside.

Please, please, please don't let the holiday season start with a bounced check. But this was foolish, bounced checks come in, machine generated, perforated, insert finger and clide here type envelopes...or so I've heard.

Oh, god, are they breaking up with us? Dropping us as clients? Again, totally foolish, Sean's business and our personal accounts, as well as our tax accounts and mortgage are through them. We are glory, glory hang-our-portrait-on-a-wall clients.

Screw it, let's just get it over with. I shook it a bit to get its meager contents to slide to one end, ripped the end off one side and reached in. A small yellow slipped fluttered out.

Great, a correction slip, no doubt I'd thought we had more than we did and the balance forecasting I'd done was all for not because I was figuring everything with more in the account than we actually had. (Are you sensing deeply rooted issues with not having enough money?)

I saw the block letters: CHECKING ACCOUNT BALANCE AMENDMENT.

Shit.
Sigh. Defeated whimper.

Deposit entered as $557.27.
Actually $607.27.
Total credit: $50.00


My hands shook and my belly did flip-flops. I looked at Christy and chuckled, "We're not so different now, are we?" Then I saw my fuzzy socks, big toe poking out of one, the waist band of my too-short pjs hanging shamelessly beneath my pregnant belly and the lenses of my glasses smudged with Avery's breakfast.

Christy twinkled back at me, "Not really," and I thought, "Meh, fifty bucks is fifty bucks."

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sprinkles!

The girls and I spent some quality time decorating gingerbread men and women this morning. I frosted, they sprinkled and Thanksgiving morning mayhem memory-making ensued.

Turn your volume up as I don't think the picture does the mess justice.



Oh, the mess of a thousand sprinkles. Memories don't come much sweeter than this for a mama. Happy Thanksgiving.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Maybe You've Heard?

I've been called a bit of a health nut, I prefer to think of it as well informed and using the knowledge to my advantage. Our family eats healthy, this is not to say that we don't eat "junk food," but it's all in your perspective. We buy organic foods, no trans fats, no hfcs, no super fatty or super salty foods. Our snacks run the gamut from pita chips and humus or tortilla chips and fresh salsa, to fresh fruit and cheese or nuts and crackers. Our treats are cookies or frozen goodies, but again, purchased with their processing, or lack thereof, in mind. I work hard to make sure the girls have more than light colored blobs of pastsa or mountainous amounts of ketchup on their plates. They still have macaroni and cheese, but they also have asparagus and hearty, simmered-on-the-stove-all-day-chock-full-of-veggies-stew.

Why the food sermon? Call it guilt.

We've been sick. My ability to do anything to truly soothe the girls has felt non-existent, so yeah, I did it.

I just sat 'em in front of Noggin and let them eat 3 popsicles each.

I'm contemplating giving them a fourth.

Wanna make something of it?

;)

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Ever notice?

Have you ever noticed that your vanity kicks in right about the least convenient time? Camping for example, en route to a camping trip I'll inevitably find an errant eyeborw that somehow escaped the nightly scan and pluck. The entire trip (mind you, we aren't hardcore campers with two toddlers and a small business, but still, even 48 hours can be an ordeal...) I'll obsess, surreptitously running a finger over the offending renegade. Upon returning home I'll dash to the bathroom, not to finally pee on something that does not harbor spiders and the off chance potential of an other-worldly creature scurrying up from the depths below to attack me at my most vulnerable, but to grab the tweezers and pluck the oh-my-god-I-bet-it-can-be-seen-for-miles-I'm-a-mutant eyebrow hair.

Ok, so you haven't experienced that, but surely you've had the pregnancy grooming blues, no? I find myself needing to shave my legs, my desperation is heightened with each pop of my belly. Oh no, oh no, soon I won't be able to bend over. How will I live with the stubble.

And my feet? I am out of control preoccupied with the condition of my soles, as if I have a whole closet full of sling back, peep toe pumps to be wearing. And palces to be wearing them. I have a handy-dandy little pumice and file tool, which I use liberally each time I am in the shower. It is getting harder though, and while my desire to have soft, silky soles continues, my attention to detail or ability to sustain the intensity of filing necessary to achieve the desired result is just not there.

I pad to the bedroom, my belly popping playfully from beneath a medium sized towel, and begin the arduous process of finding clothes that are comfy yet cute. Ha! Now, each time I shower I say to myself, "Take lotion in and put it on right after you get out. Lock that moisture in," but each time I forget the lotion. Standing there dripping and cold, lotion on the bedside table within reach, I think, "Mmm, it's too cold." I sit on the bed and pull on yoga pants, a long tank top and a long sleeved shirt and then move to pull on socks. I am horrified at the half-finished job on my feet. I grab the lotion and slather it on my feet, which never softens my feet, but rather highlights the roughness and need for further attention. Later, I'll lie in bed scratching at my dry skin, the skin that I could have soothed with lotion, but chose not to in the self-defeating battle of pregnancy capriciousness. I want smooth feet and soft skin, but I can't get it together or reach it to do it.

Luckily I have a husband who thinks my belly is amazing and who buys me Smartwool socks.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Passing

Over the past year, through losing my grandfather and coming to terms with my own mortality through the application for life insurance, I've acquired a deep empathy for loss. Whether it has been the loss suffered by a person I've never met, but care about or a person in my every day life inexplicably and unacceptably losing someone dear to suicide, my perspective now shitfs, my world turns on its axis as I feel a physical ache for their loss, for no matter how different our professional lives are or how distinct our surroundings, we are each precious.

We think, feel and hurt differently, but oh so equally when it comes right down to it. When I read that Martha Stewart's mother, Big Martha, had passed away, I didn't think of her fame or her money. I thought that it's the holidays, and now more than any other time of year we turn to our families. I thought how bitterly unfair.

While my girls sleep cuddled beneath fleecey Princess and Dora blankets, I am thinking of how lucky I am to have them and how sorry I am for those dear people who are right now, aching for the absence of someone they love.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Man at Work

Have I ever told you Sean calls me Man? I may have mentioned it once or twice, as our neighbor, you know, the one I've likened to a creature from the Dark Crystal, once came over and expounded on all the reasons why Sean shouldn't call me "Man."

"Fuh, stawtuhs, yure a woman, yure not a man."

I nodded my head, because no matter the depths to which my self-esteem have plummeted, I've always known I was a woman.

"Fuh, segunds, yure name is A-man-duh, there are other shortcuts or nicknames, whutevah ya call 'em. Like "N'duh," he could call you, "N'duh."

I nodded some more, because, yes, he could certainly call me, "N'duh."

"I just doe-n like it. It's like, it's like it's wrong, yuh too pretty fer dat." And with that she sort of shuffled off.

Anyway, he calls me Man, my mom and sister did before him, I like it. It works, except when we are out with a friend of his and he says, "Man," in which case I'm like, "Me, man? Baby, man? Or him man, dude man?" He usually rolls his eyes at my rather weak attempt to emulate a Who's on First comedic genius.

As I was saying, Man at Work - I realized that my last two posts have been rather dark, which, quite honestly, is natural as my work can be a dark place for me sometimes. What can I do? How do I turn this around, I asked myself. And then it hit me, Men at Work. Who doesn't smile at their signature song? It's right up there with Blondie and The Tide is High.

In the spirit of Flutter, a magnificent wordsmith who on occasion graces us with music she thinks we should hear, I give you a bit of Aussie and a bit of sass to slide you into the second half of this, the last workday of this week.



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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Full Disclosure, Total Disapproval

Picture the scene: I am reviewing the agenda for a leadership program I've organized.
The topic of the day: Board Responsibilities and Legal Implications of Board Participation.
The morning line up: An attorney, a wealth management specialist, a bank president, and my boss.

We were two hours into the session and in the midst of a break. I scanned the schedule, recommitting the segments to memory. And then I saw it. Eight lines down, the 2:30pm slot. It was an insurance agent. My insurance agent. He's great, a warm, affable guy with an easy way and an encyclopedia like knowledge of all things insurance related. He was perfect for the day. I realized as his name stared back at me that I had never called him, or actually I had, but we'd been working on setting up life insurance policies for Sean and myself and the anxiety of considering leaving the girls too soon always left my mind blank of anything but terror.

My boss walked over and said, "It's going great." I smiled, a rigid, toothy if-you-say-so kind of smile. I excused myself and dashed to my office. I think I might have been muttering something that would have had a passer-by believing I was of a very religious nature. Scanning the 30 emails I'd exchanged with my insurance agent in the last two months I confirmed that I had not, in fact, ever even broached the idea of him speaking at our class. I dialed his number and felt my legs buckle beneath me as the secretary asked if she could tell him who was calling. More whispered prayers and promises to never wing it again.

"Amanda, how are you? Don't tell me you have a claim," he laughed, a joke about a recent claim Sean made.

"Nope, no claims here. Great customer that I am." Nervous tittering on my part and then, "So, how are you doing today?"

"Oh, can't complain. We've got a person out sick, so there is covering for that, but what are you going to do?"

A person out sick? I was doomed. Shit. "What can I do for you, Amanda?" He asked lightly.

"Uh, well, I don't suppose you have any time this afternoon?"

"This afternoon, let me see...(long pause)...electronic calenders do nothing for you if you can't open them," he said laughing.

I was not laughing. I was entering into a full blown sweat. "Ah, ok, here it is."

"Maybe, umm, do you have a half an hour around 2:30?" I asked, expecting the worst.

"2:30? Let's see. Sure, I can do that."

Torn between wetting myself and vomiting I exclaimed, "Oh. Thank. God. Thank you, John" and proceeded to tell him what I'd done, or not done, as it were. After thanking him to such a degree that we were both embarrassed, we said goodbye and I hung up the phone. I sat shaking my head and chanting a series of thank you's to the universe.

Later, when my boss asked if I'd like to introduce John, I laughed nervously and said, "Sure."

Looking at him standing there in his signature slacks, dress shirt and hooded sweatshirt, knowing he'd walked the 12 blocks instead of driving like everyone else in town (everyone else who would have scoffed at the idea of agreeing to a last minute presentation) I felt I owed him something. I needed to acknowledge what had happened. I walked to the front of the room feeling stronger with each step about what I was about to do.

"Ok, our last speaker is John from the O'Brien Agency. He handles our home, car and life insurance and also takes care of Sean's business insurance. He's great." The class clapped and John moved to stand. I looked at my boss and back at the class, "In the interest of full disclosure," I began, to which everyone began laughing as if I were just making an insurance joke, my boss in particular, I continued, "Somehow, thanks to a pregnancy addled brain, after having suggesting John for this session, I never called to actually invite him."

My boss was staring at me, a mixture of disgust and horror on his face.

"In fact it was just a couple of hours ago that John took my call and graciously agreed to come on short notice. I am forever indebted to him and with that, here is today's closer." John stood up, a huge grin on his face, and thanked me. I walked to my chair as my boss studiously ignored me. An embarrassment, that's what I was to him. For my own part I felt as if I had done the best that I could given the circumstances, should I have kept my trap shut? Perhaps, but I didn't, I followed my gut and based on the response of everyone but my boss, it seemed like I'd made the right move. Still, the look on his face haunts me.

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The ASAP that broke the camel's back

More and more I am realizing that email can be a piss poor form of communication, so much inevitably getting lost in translation as nuance and inflection fall flat when leaping from a smudged monitor. I got an email yesterday morning from a co-worker, and don't misunderstand, there was no nuance or finesse, just your basic too-obnoxious-to-stomach-audacity from a person who I should be used to having butt in by now.

Is this all too vague, too hard to follow without being given proper context?

I realize that I might be a tad touchy of late, what with the whole misshapen mules and algae blonde bob episode bringing me to my knees and a few other things that out of preposterous vanity I've not posted, but I argue that my pregnancy hormones have little to do with this other than encouraging me to hit send on an email I drafted in the spirit of a sitcom zinger. This particular person has been a bit of a stilted jig on my last nerve for several years now, yesterday I sent a response that was the, "Ooo, damn her, I wish I'd thought quick enough to tell her what I really thought."

It all began with a 3 o'clock email Monday asking me if I could take care of something the next day at 8am, why not? I'm pretty affable that way. Next, could I do a little thingy thing on the blog? Sure, no problem. Fast forward to the next morning, the little 8am thing being far greater than was suggested, thereby illustrating to me that this was along planned thing, something that could have been shared with me with greater lead time, but whatever. I returned home and began working on the task, dring which time I received three emails.

"Where's the thing from last night? And, x,y,z is no longer true, remove it ASAP!"

2 minutes pass.

"Is it up yet? Remove the other thing ASAP! Thanx!!"

2 more minutes and some deep breathing.

"Hello again. I was just looking at the site. Please remove the thing asap as I said it is no longer valid."

Furious pecking on keyboard followed by an emphatic, but unexpected, smack of the "Return" key. Seriously, my hands hovered over the button as I reread the three unedited lines. I imagined sending it, relished the idea of following through and ignoring the "if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all" adage, but i wasn't going to, no need, right? Like a letter to Santa, write it, read it, burn it. All done. But I hit return.

And it felt really, really good.

Turns out if you write with honesty, crafting a concise and timely message, people pay attention.

Who knew?

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Cross that bitch

The Scene: Our living room after dinner

The Player: Sean, Avery, Ella the dog and me

Avery was jumping from the ottoman to the sofa and back, Sean was surfing and Ella was doing her best to position herself so that she was in physical contact with each of us. Avery soon landed in the space between the ottoman and the sofa and decided to stay on the floor, crawling around and around beneath our legs. Ella's need to be touching us began to border on frantic.

Me: Ella, move it.

No movement from Ella.

Me: Ella. Now. Go.

Ella scooted approximately 3 inches away. Avery continued crawling.

Avery: Beech.

I cocked my head. Avery continued crawling.

Avery: Bee- bitch. Go bitch.

I leaned forweard and looked at Sean, his eyebrows were raised, curious as I was to determine if she was really grunting bitch as she crawled.

Me: What's that Avery?

Avery: BEECH! Go. Move da bitch.

I was absolutley horrified.

Me: Is she saying bitch?

Sean: I'm not sure.

Avery: Bitch, 'gain bitch. Gleeful squeals and laughter.

Me: I...

Crestfallen. Avery crawled around and passed beneath Sean's legs which were resting on the ottoman.

Avery: 'S'a bitch.

I sat, my mouth hanging open and shoulders slumped in defeat. Then Sean lit up.

Sean: Bridge. She's saying bridge!

Thank goodness, unlearning that would have been, well, it would have been a bitch.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Annoyed to charmed in five minutes

Me: One night, an evil man named Jafar--

Briar: Who's that guy?

Me: Jafar. One night, an evil man named Jafar and his wicked parrot-

Briar: Who's that guy?

Me: That's Jafar, remember?

Briar: Dat guy who is Jafar?

Me: That's right. Jafar and his wicked parrot, Iago, were waiting in a faraway-

B: Where's Jasmine?

Me: She's not here yet, if I can keep reading we'll find her.

B: We will? Ok, that's great, mom.

Me: Snicker ...in a faraway desert.

B: Where's Aladdin?

Me: Honey, he's coming. Let's get to the next page.

B: Is he with Jasmine?

Me: Not sure, I don't know this story very well.

B: Dis one? Dis is a story about Jasmine and Aladdin. Do you know them?

Me: I have heard of them. Should I read some more?

B: Sure. You can read to me some more after I get a tissue.

Me: Ok.

B: Could I have some juice?

Me: You bet, hang on.

I return with juice.

B: Ooh, could I have milk?

Me: Milk?

B: Uh-huh.

Me: Like milk in a cup or are you being silly about milk from mom?

Scornful look, which in a few years will come complete with a, "Duh mom!"

B: In a cup!

I return with a cup.

B: Thanks.

Me: Sure. Soon a thief named Gazeem rode up to-

B: Ga?

Me: Gazeem.

B: What's Ga-beem?

Me: An evil sidekick.

B: What's a sidekick?

I look longingly at my coffee, now cold, and remind myself that one day she won't want to sit with me or hear from me.
Me: It's like a buddy.

B: You're my buddy.

Me: And you are mne.

B: Can we cuddle?

Me: Sure.

B: Ya gotta lie down for this cuddle.

Me: OK.

We recline together, her head deliciously warm and heavy on my chest, her little hands reaching around me and squeezing, the baby inside me moving. Contended sigh.

B:Mom?

Me: Yes, baby?

B: I just love your cute outfit.

I look down at the old flannel shirt I have on with its mother of pearl snaps, the criss cross lines stretching ever so slightly around my belly.

B: The jewels are amazing.

Me: Briar, you are amazing.

B: So are you, mom.

We sight together.

Me: My cup runneth over.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Snap, Crackle, Sniff and Pop

Winter in the Adirondacks

My hands are cracking and bleeding.

Briar is raw and chapped from upper lip to nose.

Avery is one big, tumbling runny nose.

Sean is a better husband and friend than I could have ever imagined...all year long.


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Friday, November 9, 2007

1-800-How's My Load Time?

I've never professed to be a computer genius. My talents lie in an uncanny ability to go-all Nancy Drew and discover amazing sites, locate desperately needed information and unearth incredible bargains via persistent and swift virtual sleuthing. I'm also pretty handy at spinning a tale in this here blog that makes you laugh, cry or somehow hypnotizes you into coming back (Thanks always for that, wonderful readers).

My reason for writing today is a combination of the two, I need to elicit a response from you, make you feel compelled to write, and in doing so help me deal with a sort of load-time constipation I've been hearing about.

Picture me as the gaily decorated, locally grown, organic produce delivery truck, I'm tooling along on a country lane, delivering wholesome bounty to harried moms unable to break away from laundry, chores, multiple jobs and angelic kids. How's my driving? Am I taking too long to get there? Is the produce bruised or wilted when we arrive?

We swapped some things out last night in an effort to alleviate things, but did it work? I want you to visit and to read, but I don't expect you to do it if I am like the old tv with the rabbit ears that requires a dance to get good reception and leaves your arms and neck aching and a big old cursing rant on the tip of your tongue.

So, how am I doing? Is it better today? We made the changes on Tumble Dry too.

Big thanks to you!
-Amanda

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Ham and a Dreamer



They're as different as the day is long,
making me fall harder with each passing day.



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Sunday, November 4, 2007

And While We're on the Subject

Ahem, a tad more advice? Please?

While not yet in the nesting phase, I am definitely in the super-ambitious, want to make everything better, oh-my-holy-god-we-are-going-to-have-three-of-them stage. I am coming up with new projects faster than I can suggest them to Sean.

Swap out the bathroom light fixture
Fashion a shelf in the bathroom
Carpet the closet floors
Paint the plant tents
Repaint/Seal the porch railings*
Paint the bedrooms
Repaint the trim
Remove the wallpaper in the addition
Fix the ceiling*
Finish the trim in the bathroom
Touch up the molding in the bathroom*
Replace kitchen sink

In defense of what could potentially look like a high-maintenance me, please note that Sean has added to the list himself: Re-Do the entire kitchen/dining room area

*All because of the sleazy roofers who botched everything they touched resulting in four fun filled years of, "Oooh, what's leaking/rotting/breaking now?"

Most of the things on my list he'd rather I not do, so I am focused on the one project I can push for because we agree that it is necessary that it happen before the baby arrives (April, if you are wondering). Here's where I need your help again. Wondering over here, we'll soon be moving the girls from their current rooms into a larger room that they will share. There are details still to be ironed out, like How the hell we'll manage the transfer of our unwieldy clothes storage situation and buying the girls new beds, but let's put that aside for now and take advantage of the vast wealth of mama wisdom out there.

In theory the girls will thrive together, each night they plead and negotiate that we do our bedtime rituals together. They run to and from each other's rooms. They ask to sleep together. So it should work, right? Seems to me that the one thing I have learned in these three years of being a mom:

When it comes to sleep, nothing makes sense.

So my question: Are they going to flip? Are there things we can do to prep? Suggestions you have?

Added incentive to offer advice: I'd be happy to send you the name of our "roofer" for future practical jokes you might like to pull on anyone that you're looking to really punish.

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Hormoanal

This is my third pregnancy, and while there are similarities with the first two, there are new and exciting twists of embarrassing behavior. When I was carrying Briar I was plagued with an aversion to red meat, which meant that if Sean made it for himself I would literally gag at the sight of it. I think something about the hormones translated what was actually on his plate to some sort of obscene image of slaughtered woodland creatures. It was bad telenovela type dramatics on my part and the memory turns me six shades of red, especially as I remember that Sean said nothing, as I doused everything I ate, from rice to cottage cheese, with green Tabasco sauce, Chinese mustard and banana peppers.

My pregnancy with Avery was fine as far as red meat went, but my oh my, the midafternoon nausea was such that I could smell certain coworkers before their cars turned into the parking lot. I struggled with workplace conversations as the scent of people's scalps seemed to take on an almost tangible quality and hit me with the force of a mack truck. Again and again.

And now we have this pregnancy, and a new tick and an old one that has simply grown more pronounced that in the previous two pregnancies. I have a debilitating intolerance for dog hair. It is everywhere and even our mighty Dyson vacuum, for which I am impossibly grateful, can not touch it. It coats every surface, dancing across the hardwoods upstairs, mocking me with its invincibility to mop, vacuum and Lysol wipes. Downstairs it covers the carpet like downy duck feathers, so total is its coverage that at first galnce it seems to be the carpet. Then I lift and it comes up like peeling skin on a three day old sunburn. Long, black hairs catch on sippy cups, they cement themselves to apples and bananas. Runny noses are compounded by hairs clinging inside tiny red nostrils. Plates, coutners and table tops bare the damned black whiskers like ancient bugs in amber. I am maddened by it, consumed in both waking and sleeping hours with a futility that harkens images of Bill Murray in Caddyshack. I hate it and I hate myself for it, but I cannot shake it, literally or figuratively.

And the thing that is stronger than ever before? My inability, or unwillingness depending upon who you talk to, to censor myself. It simply feels as if there is no reason not to call things for what they are. You can imagine the things that come out of my mouth as I slice tomatoes and dog fur flutters down from parts unknown, and coats the bright red flesh with coarse lab hair. It ain't pretty.

Anyone got any pearls for me?

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Friday, November 2, 2007

Ever feel the terror?


They leave a trail behind them as they go, sunshine trapped in ringlets and jam hidden in pleats, that tickles at my nose. The echoes of their laughter and the ring of their throaty whispers wrap around my throat. I am consumed by this moment, this shift that I am as sure is happening as I am powerless to slow it.

Just this morning the line of Avery's neck stole my breath, so long and lithe, dark wisps of hair nipping at her throat. Her eyes were enormous and as she looked at me I saw a flicker of knowing. She saw the montage in my mind reflected in my eyes, knew the girl that I was seeing, and she claimed her. I'm here, mama. I always was. My baby is settling deep in the soul of a little girl and I know that I must keep my promise. I have to let her go, slipping deeper, as vivacity and daring overtake curiousity and wonder.

Briar stands alongisde, a furrow in her brow, "Can I fix it, mama?" And I crumble. "Oh, honey, you are my fix it, you are." Gripped with the fear of losing my babies, they are becoming girls, nurturing and challenging. I ache for the simplicity of what we've had, but know its sweetness lies in its brevity. I wonder as I wipe my tears, if my own eyes betray a shift, a slipping away of younger eyes in my own face, as another layer of mama sorrow falls upon my soul.

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Who knew it could do that?!

You ever notice that products don't always come with quite enough disclaimers? I mean, sure, there are the antibacterial kitchen wipes that advise you not to use them on babies and the digital thermometers that warn, "Once used rectally, the thermometer should not be used orally," but are there some areas where they haven't gone far enough? I think so, let me stroll down memory lane to illustrate.

Once upon a time, in a day before kids and marriage, I spent inordinate amounts of time worrying about razor rash and pretty underwear. I would visit Victoria's Secret with great frequency, stocking up on fanciful bits of fabric, that, even though I am nearly morally opposed to it, you had to refer to as panties, unless they were of the thong variety, in which case, thong was just fine, but never g-string, no matter the severity of the back portion, g-string, even in my racy youth (insert raucous snorting and scoffing), was not something I could say.

I tried the waxing thing, but even though everyone from Gwyneth to the Friends girls swore by the "Brazilian Wax", I couldn't get on board with how much, how sticky, or how blindingly painful it was. So, shaving it was. I soaked and lathered, I experimented with water temperature and razor blades. Venus, Daisy, Sensor. Double blade, swivel head, triple blade, and holy-god-there-are-four-blades. And a moisturizing strip. I tried every shaving product imaginable, from creams to gels, formulated for sensitive skin, intended for dry skin, featuring added emollients, designed for women and equipped with essential ingredients to discourage future hair growth.

I feel compelled as I reread this to let you know that despite what the previous paragraph might suggest, I do not have a Teen Wolf type hair condition in the bikini area, I simply took very seriously the campaign to remove the very normal amount of hair there.


No matter what I did, there were bumps, ingrown hairs and a fierce red rash. I decided that since Witch Hazel had never amounted to anything and using men's after shave products kind of created a situation that would make showing the fruits of my labor to anyone, well, awkward at best, I needed to foray into the realm of bikini rash creams. I did what any sensible girl would do and bought the most expensive tube at the grocery store.

Armed with my last hope for a smooth bikini line, I used my best shaving techniques and emerged from the shower to apply the hallowed cream. The smell was minimal and there was no greasiness. I followed the directions (and then some) and sat on a towel for 30 minutes to prevent any discoloration on my clothing. Miraculously the cream worked. The skin on either side of my $9 Victoria's Secret panties was perfect, blemishless, bumpless and of one consistent, healthy, tawny color. I was walking on air. I wanted to go back to high school and wear those god-forsaken, polyester bungies on the volleyball court again. I wanted to let everyone know how amazing life was with silky, smooth skin along the bikini line.

Fast forward one month: I was doing laundry in a basement on the Williams College campus. On either side of my dryer were other dryers being used by other people. Male people. I took my laundry out and began to put it in my hamper, opting to fold it back in my room, rather than in front of the guys. I grabbed a couple of tank tops and a towel and then came the underwear. Pair after pair came out of the machine, each with two blinding stripes of bleached fabric more dramatic than the last. It looked as if I suffered from some sort of radioactive bikini sweat.

I caught one of the guys eyeing a pair of red and white gingham panties hanging in the door of the dryer, the edges of the front marred with a wide swath of bleached fabric. I quickly grabbed them, stuffed them in the hamper and said, "I wouldn't use this machine, I think it ruined my clothes," and bolted from the basement. It was the last time I used a bikini rash cream or a public laundry area.

This post was brought, red faced, by yours truly, as a part of the Parent Bloggers Network blast for Beauty Confidential about Your Worst Beauty Blunder Ever.