Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I've just returned from a solo trip to Chicago with the Snood and WOW! flying with a 3-month-old is kinda different from flying with a 6-month-old.

Flying with a 3-month-old is like sort of like having an occasionally cranky handbag as your carryon item, whereas flying with a 6-month-old is more like locking yourself in a cage with a crystal meth-fueled wolverine for four hours (or four-and-a-half with headwinds) while irritated spectators stare at you as if to say, "Could you keep it down over there?"  

As we landed in Los Angeles I actually heard a guy in a row behind us growling into his cell phone, 

"We had a screaming baby on the flight the whole way."  

First, the Snoods did not scream the whole way.  He screamed about once an hour for about 10 minutes each time.  Secondly, let me just say this to cell phone man:

I worked for years as a waitress at a huge chain restaurant (let's call it Planet Wollyhood).  The thing that drove me crazy (aside from, you know, working at a dead-end job that I despised) was that I would regularly get stiffed on tips by my tables.  

Now, I understand getting stiffed by people to whom I gave terrible service.  

I mean, if I drop a salad on your baby, or you overhear me referring to you as 'the hatchet-face at table 12' then go ahead and stiff me - it's only right.  BUT - if you know your food is late because the kitchen is backed up and I am coming to your table every 5 minutes and telling you exactly what is going on and then rush your food out as soon as the chef puts it in the window and then you stiff me -- you officially suck as a person.

I feel the same way towards cell phone man as he continues to glare at me while we deplane.  OK, I understand that you drew the 'great short-straw of life' and ended up on a plane with me and my Snoodie.  I realize it is not that fun for you that said Snood expresses every emotion with the high-pitched shriek of a rabid barn owl.

BUT -- you see me over here working my tail off, don't you?  I mean I'm pulling out bottles, I'm walking around the plane, I'm returning to my seat as soon as the Snood starts fussing on these walks, I'm pulling an exciting array of toys out of my well-stocked diaper bag AND I'm making quiet, yet funny faces for my baby's amusement - so CUT ME SOME SLACK ALREADY, CELL PHONE MAN!!!!

*end angry tirade towards cell phone man*

I get off the plane.  Now, this would normally be the part of my journey where I hand the Snood off to my husband and move directly into the recovery/cocktail mainlining portion of my travel day.  

Unfortunately, this is not possible as my husband is currently on a business trip.  To China.

Instead, I pick my stroller up at the gate and limp towards the baggage claim area, where I collect my suitcase and Snood's jumperoo. (Word to the wise - never travel without the jumperoo!)  Foregoing the wait for an airport shuttle I decide to walk the 1/2 mile to David's office where my car is parked.  

It is further than I remembered, it is hotter than I realized, and my suitcase seems about 30 pounds heavier than it did when I left Chicago. I manage to make it to the car and I head for home.

By the time Snood and I reach the apartment I don't even have the energy to to get my luggage out.  I leave everything in the back of the car and carry Snood upstairs, where I content myself by staring at the walls while counting the hours until I can put both of us to bed.

The next day I wake to a burgeoning plane-caught head cold.  My ears feel like someone has been sticking ice picks in them and my throat is throbbing.  Nevertheless, I manage to head back to the airport where Snood and I have a great lunch with my brother's in-laws, who are eager to meet the baby on their layover from Sydney to the East Coast.  

I mention jokingly that I've been spending an awful lot of time at the airport lately, heh-heh.

 (foreshadowing alert!)

I get home from lunch and manage to drag my luggage up to the apartment.  This gives me such a sense of accomplishment that I feel no urgency to actually unpack.  Instead, I put Snood down for an afternoon nap, find a comfortable spot on the couch, and indulge in  a multi-hour 'Real Housewives of Orange County' marathon.   

By 5pm Snoods is awake and I drag myself off the sofa, filled with hope.  My husband's flight is landing in 30 minutes!  I figure that all I have left of my day is getting Snoods some dinner and maybe putting him in the bathtub.  David might even make it through customs in time to tuck the Snood in at bedtime!

I start prepping for dinner and find myself in need of a bib.  And so it is that I finally open my suitcase...

...only to discover that it is, in fact, not my suitcase at all but rather the suitcase of one Dylan Nelson of Tarzana.*


You see, Mr. Nelson's bag had the unfortunate luck to look quite a bit like mine (though, now that I look at it on my living room floor, some of the differences, such as Mr. Nelson's prominent bagtag and the fact that Mr. Nelson's bag is approximately two times larger than my own, really should have clued me in).  His bag also arrived off the carousel at LAX at the same time as Snood's jumperoo.  These two factors combined to trick my post-flight addled brain into thinking it was mine.  So, I took it.

Which means....

Relaxing evening of calming bedtime rituals - OUT.  

Strapping my highly reluctant son into his car sear for yet another airport trip in order to reclaim my actual baggage and reunite poor Dylan Nelson with his missing underwear- IN.

I leave David a message explaining that instead of welcoming him home from his trip with a nice dinner I'll be driving back and forth to the airport, in tears, with an angry Snoodle, for at least the next two hours.   

By the time we reach the airport I have a detailed plan worked out.  I will hand over the Snood to the nice-looking nun with the change cup to raise as her own.  I will then board the next flight to Rio where I will live out the rest of my days selling home-made bead necklaces under the name 'Conchita Marquez'.

But just as I'm figuring out what supplies I will need for my journey, I arrive at the terminal to see perhaps the greatest sight of my life to-date:  My husband, having arrived home from China, is waiting for me at the entrance to the baggage office.

He runs interference for me with the baggage police (I overhear just enough to make out the phrases, 'traveling with the baby', 'very sorry', and 'needs to get more rest').  He then drives us all home, gives a very tired Snood some dinner and a bath and puts us both to bed.  

My eyes are only closed for only a few minutes before I fall into a really deep sleep.  But in those few minutes a thought occurs to me.  While I realize that statistically it is highly unlikely and that it is no excuse for my SNAFU even if it is true, I smile as drift off to sleep with the following thought:

Maybe cell phone man... was Mr. Dylan Nelson of Tarzana.

* names have been changed to protect my identity from the person whose luggage I actually held hostage for over 36 hours.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Hello there!

Today's post will be somewhat delayed (look for it sometime late tomorrow) as the Snoods and I are off to Chicago today to visit the folks.  

In the meantime enjoy the above, read this and say a small prayer for our seatmates!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Safe Place.

In this week's entry I invite you, my beloved readers, to journey back with me to one of the most profound events to ever touch my generation.

I am speaking, of course, about the episode of 90210 in which Brenda gets robbed while doing her homework at the Peach Pit and then goes to a PTSD counselor to learn about her 'safe place'.

I beg you to stop whatever you are doing right now and devote the next several minutes to praying that I am able to find the clip on YouTube.


*celestial music of Thanksgiving*

OK - there is good news and bad news.

The bad news is that I could only find the entire episode. This means you'll have to let it load before you can scroll to the 32-minute mark and experience the scene I'm referencing. Which is annoying.

The good news is that the scene in question is roughly 400 times more bizarre and spectacular than I even remembered.

For those of you not willing to go through this process (hi mom!) I will briefly summarize:

Our program's heroine, Brenda Walsh, has been robbed by a shotgun wielding maniac (played by a male model with the appropriate amount of facial scruff to denote a deeply troubled soul). After the hold-up, Brenda starts acting all crazy, so her parents send her to see a 'post-traumatic stress disorder' therapist.

The therapist asks Brenda to recall a place where she felt completely happy and explains to her that this will be her "safe place." In response, Brenda shuts her eyes and smiles as she pictures herself as a little girl riding a horse.


Brenda snaps out of the happy memory and shouts in terror,

"He's in my safe place!"

Again, you must watch the clip. No description can do it justice, I assure you.

At this point you are likely wondering what this trip down bad-90's-TV memory lane has to do with having a baby under the age of one (ostensibly the topic of this blog).

Well - I'll tell you.

Lately I find myself getting out more and more with the Snoods, which is good.  But I also find myself oft-confronted with the way certain activities have changed now that I have a 'baby-on-board'.

A Yoga class, which used to be relaxing 'me time' is now 'baby and me time', with less meditating and more unmitigated shrieking/face gnawing.

A weekend getaway that used to involve concerns about spa amenities or ocean views now involves calculations about whether or not the bathroom is large enough to house the portable crib.

The examples go on and on, and each time I'm faced with yet another moment where the Snood is "influencing" a situation I used to enjoy, a single phrase comes to mind and I, too am tempted to shout aloud:

"He's in my safe place!"

Now before I go on, let me clarify by saying that I am in no way attempting to compare my adorable infant son to a shotgun-wielding maniac.

But as I found myself taking more frequent forty-five minute showers to get some time away from an apartment that has been completely overtaken by cribs, jumperoos and other assorted multi-colored baby-friendly apparatuses or lingering in the silence of a restaurant bathroom in search of a couple of moments of down-time while my husband watched the baby, I began to think that it might be time for a break.

And so last Saturday David and I went away for exactly 28 hours.

We slept without needing to leave one ear open in case the baby cried!

We had dinner with friends without keeping an eye on the clock to meet a babysitter's deadline!


(not actual waist)

As my husband and I walked the grounds of our hotel, preparing for our return home, both of us agreed that it seemed as if we had been away for weeks.

We'd found our 'safe place' and it was heaven!

Coming home was surprisingly great, as well. After only a night away sans baby we found ourselves rushing home, beyond anxious to see our little boy. We sprang out of the car and both fought for any chance to cuddle our beloved Snood.

Reunited and it felt so good!

And who knows when we'll be able to do it again? Hotels rooms are expensive and schedules get tight so it may be a while.

But even just knowing that we have a 'safe place' out there should we ever need it has made an amazing difference.

In closing, please allow me to sum up the most important revelation this experience has afforded me.   I can only hope it does as much for you as it has for me...


I hereby accept your thanks in advance. Happy viewing!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Snoodsman Cameth

One of my oldest friends and his wife are having a baby girl today.

Watching them await her arrival these past few weeks has been taking me back to that morning in September when David and I first met the Snood.

*Begin flashback*

About a week before my due date my cousin called to check in on me.

"Isn't it exciting?" she asked with delight, "It's like Christmas Eve when we were kids!"

And it is kind of like Christmas Eve.

Except that, speaking as someone who went 13 days past their original due date, it's more like Christmas Eve - if you didn't actually know when Christmas was going to come.

And then after nearly two weeks of thinking that maybe tomorrow will be Christmas, you start crying alot and you eventually stop believing on some elemental level that Christmas ever existed in the first place.

Oh! And also on Christmas you don't have to work for several hours to pass the presents through your vagina before enjoying them. So yet another difference!

OK. Christmas metaphor ending.

I finally went into labor on a Thursday morning. The night before I had gone out for dinner with my sister and my mom to a seafood place and I woke up at around 6 in the morning with one single, overwhelming thought,

“Woah, those clam strips were a huge mistake!”

I lay in bed for 20 minutes, wildly overdue and hugely pregnant - and yet somehow mystified by what could be causing my recurring stomach pains.

Turns out I was in labor!

I woke David up at around 6:30am.

By this time my husband and I were veterans of approximately 20 hours of Lamaze classes and, armed with pamphlets galore, we felt more than ready to face the challenge ahead.

Things got off to a bad start.

David consulted the pamphlets and announced, "We need to start timing the contractions!" We tried, but neither one of us could figure out when a contraction was beginning or ending.

After 1/2 an hour, I gave up and got into a hot shower. Our Lamaze teacher had suggested that this might help get labor really going.


By the time I got out of the shower the pains, which had been 'stomach-based' were transformed and were now significantly more 'whole-body-agony based'.

Back to the pamphlets!

My husband read aloud, "Remember, labor is a long process. Do NOT go to the hospital too soon!" I sat down on the couch to wait it out as David put on a pot of coffee and went to wake up my mom.

She emerged from the guest room, took one look at me writhing on the couch, and said, “
I think you should go to the hospital.” I responded in all seriousness that we could not go to the hospital because our pamphlet told us not to.

Two contractions later I decided that the advice of my mom (a four-time child-birther) might actually trump the wisdom of "So You're About to Be a Mom: A Guide Your Child's Birth Brought to You by Pampers!" and we headed for the hospital.

We arrived around 8:15am, by which time I was feeling deeply unhappy. The lady at reception asked for our medical record number and I responded by vomiting into her garbage can.

Reception lady gratefully handed us to a passing nurse, who hustled us towards a bed. I changed into a hospital gown, laid down and began loudly expressing my displeasure with my predicament. Nurses would occasionally pass by my curtained gurney and shout in, "Try to calm down, now!" before heading off to deal with other patients.

David (aka the bravest man in the universe) dove in at this point - asking if I'd like to try some breathing exercises. I told him that what I would really like is some medical intervention, or in the alternative I'd really like to punch him really hard in the face.

David chose option number one and managed to wrangle a doctor, who came in to check me at about 8:30am. She started to explain what the day would be like, how they have me walk around for a while to help everything progress (I remember thinking, "Lady I hope you have a gun if you are planning on getting me out of this bed") and then I would be moved to a birthing suite....

Then she lifted up the sheet and said, "OK, no skip all that - baby on the way!"

She summoned some nurses, who started pushing my gurney towards the door. No time to head for the fancy birthing suites I'd admired on our hospital tour weeks earlier - they wheeled me instead to an empty operating room across the hall. Oh, and also - no time for any of those fancy "pain management medications" I'd been waiting for.

Let the natural child birthing begin!

I'll spare you the gory details - but suffice it to say that there was much pushing...

...and that the several hundred years of Irish peasant genes that make up my personal ancestry really came in handy. Less than an hour after arriving at the hospital I had the Snoods in hand!

In 2000, I ran my first marathon with a group of several friends. I remember meeting up with one of my running mates at the finish line. We looked at each other, elated, exhausted and amazed by what we had been able to accomplish.

As David stood over me, gazing down while I held Snoods in my arms I turned to him and said exactly what my running pal had said to me back at the finish line in 2000:

"That was amazing! Let's NEVER do that again!"