Double Standard.
Once again, we (all right, MySpace) has sexualized breastfeeding as naughty, explicit, and indecent, while happily remaining OK with non-mom boobs hanging out for the world to see. In actuality, I don't care whose boobs are begging to be seen. As I think I've said before, they are just boobs. I am not particularly offended by boobs on the covers of magazines or elsewhere -- sexual or otherwise. But if you are going to object to breastfeeding boobs, then you really need to object to the other ones.

The issue:

Do something:

See for yourself what all the fuss is about:

Are you offended?


I said I needed help. No, not that kind of help.
I have always been very casual about my housecleaning priorities. Now, I wouldn't call myself a slob, but cleaning is a bit low on my priority list. Since I watch kids all day, I want to do important things at night like relax, be with my own family, stare at a wall, catch up on TV shows, and eat chips. Vacuuming is not high on this list.

But being that I run a home daycare, it should at least make the list.

In order to preserve my free time in the evening, I've been instituting this clever idea called, "cleaning as you go." It's actually working out pretty well. I load the dishwasher while the kids play with Play-Doh at the table nearby. I load the dryer while the two-year-old pees nearby. I vacuum when a couple of the kids have been picked up and I only have a few left. It's working out pretty well, but honestly, I still think it's a stye.

A few weeks ago, I finally decided to hire a housekeeper. I am sick of the mess -- the boogers on the window, the stuff stuck under the table, the coffee drips splattered on the white kitchen cabinets, the dust taking up residence atop the baseboards. I didn't really have the money, but I recently learned that it is mostly tax-deductible for me, being that my very business clients create most of the mess.

One of my friends recommended someone to me, and I called her immediately. She said she would need to look at my house and give me a quote. Perfect.

She came over and walked through. I apologized for the mess, and she said things like, "oh, this is fine. This will be fine." I asked her, incredulously, "You want to take this on, really?" She said, "Yes. But your friend's house... oh, it is messy. Dog hair everywhere. So messy." That should have been Clue Number One.

After completing her walk through, she told me it would be $150 for the whole house. I thought about it a bit, and then it was $140. And then, $130. Amazing. I agreed to it, and scheduled an appointment for the following Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, my friend bragged about how clean her house had become. Polished picture frames, clean windows, clean blinds -- all the things she forgets to clean or doesn't have time to clean now sparkled.

House Cleaner Lady came on Saturday morning as planned. She walked in. "Oh my. Oh my goodness. How does it get so messy?" I can't remember what I said, though it looked the same way it did two days earlier. I was on my way out, so I said goodbye. It was Will's Birthday, and I didn't want to spend it talking about how messy my house was.

After running a few errands, I came back home to drop off a bunch of party balloons. I noticed she was quickly going through a roll of fresh paper towels.
HCL: Do you have more of these? The floor under the kid table is so dirty, I didn't realize I would need so many.
Me: No, I don't have any more.
HCL: You have no more paper towels?
Me: No. I didn't know you would need to use mine.
HCL: And your mop. This will not do. Do you have another one?
Me: I do not.
HCL: I need the kind with the long strips, the cloth strips, and you move the plastic handle to squeeze out the water, you know, like this. You know how you squeeze down like this (motioning rapidly)? Could you please go buy me one... I will pay you back, of course.
Me: Ok.

I came back, she talked some more about how dirty it was under the table.
HCL: How does it get so dirty down there?
Me: I watch kids for a living. And my baby is just turning one.
HCL: But how does he make such a mess?
Me: He is a baby.
HCL: You should get a cover. You put it over the floor. It protects the floor. A floor cover. Keeps the floor clean.
Me: But, um, then I just have to mop the cover thingy.
HCL: Oh, no. It is better. Much better. You buy it at the flea market.
Me: Here is the mop you asked for, and the receipt.
HCL: Oh, I was able to use your old mop. I don't need this new one anymore. But you -- you need it. You keep it. You just keep it.
Me: Um, thanks.

HCL: The floor, it was so dirty. I scrub and scrub and scrub. I had to really scrub.
Me: Yes, I know you scrubbed. Because you are a housecleaner. And scrubbing is one of the services you claim to do well, and which people pay you to do. That is what I am paying you to do, right? (Ok, I actually just nodded, but that is what I meant).
HCL: And I had to scrub for so long, I did not get to the blinds.
Me (feeling ashamed): Ok, that is fine. Here is your money. Can I please get a receipt?
HCL: Receipt? No one ever asked me for that before.
Me: Ok. I need a receipt.
HCL: I don't have one.
Me: I can make one for you to sign. What is your last name?
HCL: How much you save from tax company by giving them a receipt?
Me: I don't know. Maybe twenty, thirty bucks.
HCL: Because, your floor very dirty. I scrub and I scrub.
Me: All right. Forget it.

Later in the week.
Me (talking to answering machine): House Cleaning Lady, I will not be needing you again on Saturday. I have decided to use another company that will give me receipts for the work I pay for.

Two hours later, the doorbell rings. I look through the peephole. Crap. I contemplate pretending to not be home, but the kids running back and forth sort of give me away. I open the door.
HCL: You did not like the work I did? You really need me. And I will give you a receipt next time.
Me: I thought you did not have receipts.
HCL: I do have receipts. Now I have receipts.
Me: Actually, I was kind of bothered that you complained about how messy it was.
HCL: Oh... (covering face with hands), I am so sorry. I am an honest person. Like an open book. I don't talk behind people's backs. I talk to people's faces.
Me: Right.... but I didn't want to feel bad about my house.
HCL: Next time I come, I be quiet. I won't talk. Just work quietly.
Me: Um, Ok...
HCL: So I still come on Saturday? I do a good job.
Me: Ok.


Later in the week.
Me (over phone): I won't be needing you on Saturday. I really have just decided not to have a housecleaner lady.
HCL: You still mad that I talk so much? That I complained? You are mad at me.
Me: No, I really am not mad at you. Really. I have just decided to clean my own house.
HCL: You need my help.
Me: I know I do. But I will do it myself. Thanks anyway.
I think I heard a sob on the other end, but she said thank you and hung up. Guess I can't complain about the mess anymore.

My kid is perfect.
Is anyone else ever surprised by how utterly perfect your own kids seem? As babies, they really are perfect. They don't have 'tudes yet, they have no wrinkes or other imperfections, they are appropriately needy and soft and cuddly so that our love for them can intensify and ensure their survival.

For me, this idealism has continued throughout Charlie's young childhood. If someone so much as suggested their child reached a verbal milestone before mine did, I would chime in that mine was walking early -- therefore, he was focused on the equally-important physical skills. When someone else's kid seems more athletic, mine is sweeter. My kid is perfect.

As he gets older, I am surprised to find that this superiority complex still exists. I mean, I watch other peoples' kids for a living, and I am very fond of all of them. But, although I try to surpress it, I secretly feel protective (and shocked by) any clue that my child might not be perfect.

Take his red hair. Yes, I know, it is pretty and vibrant. But boys don't want to be pretty or vibrant. Heck, I was the girliest of all girly girls, and I despised my red hair and fair skin. I was called Strawberry Shortcake, eraser head, Annie, an unmentionable, and for my fair skin, milk legs. That last one hurt.

Adults always tell him that he has beautiful hair, and I say thank you but cringe inside. Adults love red hair; kids point and laugh at it.

And then there's his height. At first I thought his growth spurt just hadn't come yet. But after three or four visits with his height lingering in the lower percentiles, I have accepted it. He will be short. And my protective, perfectionist side kicks in: he will be short; but husky. He will be redheaded; but cute. He might be the creative (as opposed to athletic) type; but also outgoing and friendly and interesting. He is still my perfect child.

The internal argument intensified today after Charlie returned with his dad from his first dentist appointment. Let me preface this by saying that this kid (bias rapidly approaching) has the pearliest, whitest, straightest kid teeth I've ever seen. He has 22 of these pearly whites, and, according to Mr. Dentist, 13 of them have cavities. Thirteen. I am in my early thirties and have had maybe 5 cavities my entire life. I am a bit shocked considering we are not big on juice or candy or sweets, and he never went to bed with baby bottles. All right, I know we have not been terribly consistent with teeth brushing, but the dentist insists his "soft teeth" are genetic. But anyway, not my point.

This just serves as another reminder that my perfect child - the one whose Birthday was the happiest day of my life and who has made me smile every day since - will someday be teased and become aware of his imperfections. He will deal with it fine, I'm sure (cuz, um, he's perfect). But I, for one, will have to accept that my child is also human.

Labels: ,


Yes, I am still young and hip.

Last month, we bought a minivan. Ok, it is not as pimpin' cool as the one pictured, but I love it. This is coming from someone who swore I would never buy an SUV/van/gas guzzler of any variety.

But I got really sick of having no trunk space because the double stroller and diaper bag took up all the room. And every time we needed something from Home Depot (which is way too often), we had to rent one of their trucks. And also, the new ones are pretty.

So we did it. We bought a newish one. The turning radius is awesome. The ride is smooth. The sound system is actually decent. It smells good. And I just like it.

What I did not expect was the reaction from Everyone In The World. Let's evaluate.

Neighbor #1: I love your new van. I wish my husband would let me buy one like that.
Daycare parent #1: I love your van!!!! I wish my hubby would let me get one!!!
Friend #1: Nice van. I wish my husband would let us get one.
Neighbor #2: You gotta new van, huh? Now you are really part of the Middle Class. (WTF?)
Neighbor #2 (different day, incredulously): So you really like that van, huh?
Daycare parent #2: My wife loves your van. She wishes I would let her get one.

None of the above quotes are exaggerations. Not one.

All of this is making us feel a little defensive. Jerry's response to one neighbor was that he had no idea it would be so "emasculating," (said sarcastically, as in, "I used to be a man but this material object essentially cut my balls of. Wish I would have known.")

Everytime we drive in it, we giddily announce to each other that those who don't have vans, yet have more than one child, and think vans are lame, just don't get it. Fuck 'em.

Which brings me to today.

I had to go to the DMV to get new plates for said van. I came prepared with a double stroller with the boys nicely strapped in, some toys, juice boxes, even. We waited in line, gave the lady some paperwork, waited patiently, paid the obnoxious fee of $600, received the plates, walked out. Once in the car, I look. No, it can't be. It truly cannot be.

405 OLD

I drive kids home, put them down for naps, pace floor, make a few phone calls.
Three hours later, I put down an extra $66 to buy fucking "designer" plates, which just means there's a lame mountain view involved, but at least now we are:

364 OCD.

This blog is now public. I have no more secrets.


My baby is a toddler.
March 3 my baby Will turned 1. I can't believe how quickly the last year has flown by. Compared to life with his big brother, with Will I only savored little moments here and there, like a second each, before moving on to the next emergency or crashing in my bed. But here are the moments I have savored, and the things I remember that make me feel truly warm and fulfilled.

Before bedtime, he rests his head on my shoulder, and places his chubby hand on my shoulder. Sometimes he pats it.

He constantly looks back at me for validation and to understand his world. Anytime he starts to bring something to his mouth -- like a rock, toy, hunk of sand, food from the floor -- he holds it in front of his mouth while looking at me with a raised eyebrow, and starts to shake his head 'no.' The look on his face says, "this is a no-no, right?" When I say no, he usually brings it down to his lap, but often sticks it in his mouth later, when I'm not looking.

He uses his hands to talk. Signing is something I never taught his brother to do. The other day I was nursing him, and he heard The Dog bark in the yard behind us. He immediately sat up and looked at me, waiting for me to explain. I said "dog," while doing the sign for dog (patting my thigh). He immediately started to hit his thigh while trying to bark ("ahh! ahh!")

He adores his big brother as some amazing big kid. This is odd for me because Charlie is still practically a baby himself, at least in my eyes. Will looks at Charlie like he is all-knowing and so, extremely cool. If Charlie pushes him with his foot, it devastates Will.

But he's a pretty happy guy. He rarely cries, unless a very exciting opportunity (like sucking on something sharp or touching a flame) is denied him. Then he arches his back and bursts into tears.

He loves people. He cries when one of the kids gets into trouble. He cries when his brother is put into time-out. He waves and says, "haaaa" whenever anyone arrives at our house. He never acts like he wants space from anyone.

... though he doesn't like to share my lap. I was nursing him, and Charlie wanted up, so I let him sit near Will's feet. Will took his foot and assertively pushed Charlie away. Message was clear: this is my lap now.

The other morning, Jerry put him down so that both of us could get dressed. He started to cry, and said the following: "mama baby."

Here are my favorite pictures of my baby.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

1 month old
The only time he ever co-slept was as a newborn. Here, with Charlie.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

2 months
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

3 months
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

4 months
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

5 months
First non-boob food
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

6 months
Eating with the big boys
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

7 months
The beginning of getting into stuff
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Notice the fingers above the high chair.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

8 months
Freshly bathed.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

9 months
Getting baptised.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

10 months
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

11 months
Playing outside.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

12 months
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

First haircut.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket