Thursday, August 25, 2011

In Over Our Heads

My husband and I recently flew back to the East Coast for a wedding, and we stopped off at my parents' place to spend a day at the beach before heading off to the rehearsal dinner.

Delighted to find ourselves on the shores of the Long Island Sound without children to supervise, we basked in the simple joys of all this opportunity had to offer. We engaged in inappropriate cocktail consumption (or at least David, being the least pregnant of the two of us, did), we read multiple novel pages without interruption, and we reveled in the simple luxury of having to remove sand only from our own nether regions. 

It was heavenly.

At some point I spotted the rafts that my siblings and I used to swim to as kids. They sit about 200 yards out in the water and, for reasons I still cannot really grasp or explain, they filled me with a sense of nostalgia. Before I knew it, I was on my feet attempting to convince my husband that we should make the swim ourselves.

David was rightfully dubious. But living as he does by the overarching life rule of, "Never disagree with the pregnant," he reluctantly opted to come along. 

Off we swam. The water was lovely! The day was sublime! But we, unfortunately, were both semi-drunk (David), semi-large with child (Me) and pathetically out of shape (Both).

Two-thirds of the way out to the raft it began to occur to me that I might be in a bit of trouble. At fourteen-weeks pregnant and forty years of age, I was unable to remove myself from a chair without getting winded, so perhaps it should have occurred to me that taking on a multi-football-field-length swim was a POOR CHOICE. 

I called towards my husband who was a few feet in front of me.

"Honey, I might need some help over here!"

Now, to be fair, I can't remember David's exact response to my cry of distress, but I think it would be accurate to sum it up thusly: 

"Too [expletive deleted] bad lady! You made me to do this knowing full well I had a just ingested a large lunch and multiple PiƱa Coladas! And now I'm about to drown so keep it down over there, would ya?"

It was every man for himself out on the high seas. 

Glancing back towards the disaffected looking 12-year-old lifeguard, I decided that my only choice was to power through. Flipping over onto my back, I feebly kicked my way towards the raft at a glacial pace. I arrived, climbed up and flopped down next to my prone husband, who was panting copiously and, no doubt, scanning the beach for potential divorce attorneys.

"Wow" he said after a few minutes, "We kind of got in over our heads there, didn't we?"

I smiled, thinking about it. 

I thought of our house, which requires us to stretch each month to make mortgage payments, of the dozens of cross-country trips we've undertaken with babies in tow, and of the third child we are expecting in February that we can hardly afford and have no idea where to put in our four-room abode.

"Honey," I said, "Getting in over our heads is just how you and I roll."

David laughed and took my hand. We lay there for a while bobbing in the peaceful sea.

And then we took off together and swam for the shore...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It Gets Easier

I really like the 'It Gets Better' campaign. In case you are not familiar, the spots aim to reach LGBT youth with a message of hope by telling them that, while high school may seem like an unending nightmare of unconscionable proportions, there is another reality waiting out there if they can just hold on.

It tells these kids that rather than spending long days hiding during recess and/or trying to free themselves from the confines of a locker, that they will one day be leading great and fabulous lives far from the meatheads who currently torment them.

Because life is something of a long con run by the nerds and the underdogs. We suffer greatly up front but then we tend to grow up to be more interesting, more successful and generally more badass than the bullies, if we can manage to make it past K through 12.

And I'm not just speaking hypothetically. I say this as a woman who spent the majority of her teenage years in the depths of what one of my sisters refers to as "FIRE NERD" status. Did I, chubby and dateless, take my extremely good looking Jersey Shore lifeguard first-cousin to my Senior Prom and pretend he was my boyfriend? I wish I could say no.

But it got better for me. It really did. Which is why now, I'd like to give something back.

Having been inspired by the 'It Gets Better' campaign, I would like to propose to my fellow Mothers the 'It Gets Easier' movement.

Because I cannot tell you how many times I've been experiencing that special hell that results from attempting to take a toddler -- who seems to have been cross-bred with Speedy Gonzalez -- and an immobile infant to the park for an afternoon of fun, only to hear the following comment from a mom of older kids,

"Oh, just wait! It only gets worse!"

No, fellow Mom, NO.

This is the WRONG thing to say. It is simultaneously non-helpful, mean-spirited, and epically soul-crushing.

I must admit, I am at a loss to explain why so many moms feel the need to say such things, but I am here to tell you that I want it to stop.

But wait, you might argue, sometimes it does get worse! Sometimes you DO face bigger problems with bigger kids! Sometimes you long for those toddler days when the problems seemed so simple!

And while I understand your point, I offer this simple rebuttal:


I mean, would it really be so difficult, moms with knowledge of what awaits, to simply lie to those of us who haven't made it there yet? Wouldn't it be kinder to offer us instead some small glimmer of hope that things will eventually get easier?

Because, let's be honest. Is every LGBT high schooler's life absolutely going to get better?  Probably not. Not every kid is going to leave their life in some oppressive community behind and go on to lead a life filled with nothing but fabulousness and Tony Awards in the big city. But that doesn't mean that telling them that, in general, 'It Gets Better' is the wrong thing to do.

Get with the spirit, BTDT moms, and throw moms with younger ones a bone or two!

Like anyone attempting to lead a movement, I realize that I must set an example. Which is why, whenever I've found myself talking to women expecting a second child, I have exclaimed enthusiastically, 

"How wonderful! It is so much less difficult going from one to two than zero to one, I tell you. You'll see."

I've seen the expressions of relief flood over these women's faces and I know I've done the right thing,

"Huh. That's not what my mother-in-law tells me...." they'd reply tentatively.

"Oh, I promise! IT GETS EASIER!"

I feel it's the least we can do for each other.

And sure, it may not always be entirely true. Still the fact remains that there are parts that do get easier and those are the parts that people in the thick of child-rearing hell want to hear about.

So, I urge you, fellow moms, to join me in the 'It Gets Easier' movement. Throw an encouraging word to a struggling mom; tell someone about the positives of having older kids; wax poetic on the joys of days without diapers!

Because, the fact is there are lots and lots of ways in which things DO get easier. And if they don't, the simple fact is, WE DON'T WANT TO KNOW!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

40 and Pregnant (much like '16 and Pregnant' but much, much older)

Today's post starts with a public service announcement. 

There may be a handful of you out there who are utilizing the, "Let's try to maybe avoid those days when I'm ovulating if we can remember when they are..." method for your current family planning needs.

Dear readers, please be advised that I have recently discovered that this method has significantly less than 100% effectiveness. In fact, it would be fair to say that in our case this method has proved itself to be 100% not at all effective. 

Because, you see, I currently am housing this item...

...within my general uterean area.

That's right, folks, we're making Dictator #3 over here! I ask you now to join me in posing the following questions:

Does this mean I'm going to be having a baby at 40? Yes, it does!

Does this imply that, as of February, I will have three children three and under? Correct-o-mundo!

Do we live in a home designed to house more than two people at the same time? No, we do not!

Does it, therefore, make any sense whatsoever that the following image correctly represents our reaction to this news?


But there you have it. Like two merry lunatics dancing on the deck of the Titanic, David and I are super thrilled about our impending arrival.

My mother, who had three babies in thirty-eight months summed up her experience thusly,

"You know, at a certain point you just realize that you're out of hands, and then you just kind of figure it out."

So while I am exploring the possibility of having a third arm grafted onto my body as soon as possible, I'm mostly hoping to be able to do as my mother did before me, especially considering the fact that I was the third of my mother's tightly-spaced threesome. 

This means that if history repeats itself, this kid is going to turn out AWESOME (though, in fairness, he or she may make some highly unfortunate hairstyle choices in teendom).

I ask you to join me in the comments section with helpful words of encouragement, advice from BTDT moms, and of course judgmental screeds on the subject of my life choices.

Or, you could always go with the trending response:

"You must really be hoping for a girl this time!"

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Plane Rules

I recently caused some consternation on a friend's Facebook page by casually mentioning that I had allowed my fourteen-month-old to play on the iPad for several hours at a sitting.

When fellow commenters expressed alarm and/or blatant outrage at my parenting choices, I immediately leapt to my own defense. "No! No!" I explained, "This isn't a regular occurrence! In fact, we were in mid-air traveling home from Texas and thus we were functioning under PLANE RULES."


When I first started traveling with kids (about 8 dozen flights ago, by current calculations) I was completely at a loss about how to transport a child through the skies without hideous meltdowns en route.

But then my husband and I came up with the simple concept of PLANE RULES. What this means, basically, is that at thirty-five thousand feet - anything goes. If it makes my child happy and/or distracts him from kicking, screaming, or generally annoying his fellow passengers in ANY WAY, then it's a go.

Before embracing PLANE RULES, I used to pack just enough food on plane rides to meet necessary hunger demands. But these days, we are a veritable airborne smorgasbord of the skies.  The sweets my children cry for following each Easter/Halloween/name that sugar-soaked holiday? Under PLANE RULES, no limitations apply! 

But what about the sugar rush making them hyper, you ask?  Well, first of all, there is now lots of evidence pointing to the fact that sugar rushes are a myth

And second of all, it's PLANE RULES, people. What can I say?

In between all this gaping maw-stuffing, PLANE RULES allows plenty of time for movies! Yes, screen time, which we make a concerted effort to limit while here on Earth, is another free-for-all when we are air bound. Have you ever wondered just how many times a two-year-old can watch "Curious George in the Dark" in four hours? Well, fly with us to New York sometime and you may just find out!

We keep finding new and exciting activities covered under PLANE RULES.

You'd like a 900th reading of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?"

Let me consult PLANE RULES....

It's ON!

You'd like to use the iPad for the third straight hour?


We recently had to add an amendment to PLANE RULES when we discovered that copious juice consumption led our older child to engage in copious vomiting upon descent. So PLANE RULES for our family now includes a highly necessary juice ban. 

BUT other than that, PLANE RULES remain in effect whenever we reach our cruising altitude. 

You just better hope we remembered to charge the iPad...