Sunday, July 31, 2011

That's how he rolls...

There are a lot of food allergies among the preschool set these days, and we are not just talking about peanut butter anymore. Cashews. Strawberries. Fish. Gluten. I think Zack is feeling a little left out, being able to eat anything at all. He has asked me on several occasions what he is allergic to. At first I thought this was out of concern, but I am starting to think that he just wants to fit in.

Yesterday over lunch at a hamburger joint Zachary declared that he was going to follow his friend Joshua's gluten free diet, and he removed the bun from his burger (which by the way he doesn't like anyways.) "I'm not going to eat this yucky old bun! It has gluten" he said emphatically. "But Zack" I responded, "you don't have a gluten allergy." He looked at me as if to say hello, it's 2011, I must be allergic something! Zack informed us that he was going gluten free anyway.

Later that afternoon we arrived at a birthday party and Zachary immediately inquired with the hostess about gluten free snacks. My friend kindly steered him past the goldfish crackers and the pretzels to a fresh vegetable platter. Zack skipped the snacks and went to play. He didn't seem to notice that his pepperoni pizza was chock full of gluten, and I didn't have the heart to tell him.

Then came cake time. The cake looked damn good. Layers of white cake with thick chocolate frosting between. Zack was handed his piece. I leaned down and whispered in his ear. "You know, birthday cake has gluten in it." Zack paused for a moment, picked up his fork and said, "Well mom, a little gluten won't hurt."

So that's how he rolls...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Call me crazy.

I got a bikini wax today. We are going on a short trip to Denver and we will be spending some time in a hotel with a pool, so I needed a wax.

A bikini wax is far from pleasant.

Yet I looked forward to it.

It was one of those days. A dark moment in parenting, one where any time away from the kids sounded appealing even if it involved hairs being ripped from my body with hot wax. Yes, it was that bad.

We had an early start to the morning. I needed to arrive to preschool at an unusual hour because Evan's teacher had requested a meeting with me, she wanted to discuss his recent behavior. Evan is my "easy" child.

I was crabby at 6:30 am. It had been a night of nursing and broken sleep, one which was plagued with the same anxiety dreams I have been having over and over again. Those dreams that leave my body stressed and my mind racing.

We left the house in a hurry. Julian was screaming bloody murder and Evan was matching his pitch, crying and whining about carrying his lunch box and putting on his shoes. I lost my temper and yelled at him as I forced him into his car seat. I left behind a mess of a house. Breakfast dishes in the sink, toys strewn across the living room floor and several baskets of laundry awaiting folding.

As I backed out of the driveway with two boys competing in a game of who can wail the loudest I had a terrible thought. This was a mistake. I am not cut out for this. I can't do this.

I believe most parents of young children must have these thoughts from time to time. They are dark moments, moments when we wish we were childless on a beach in Mexico, and then feel the sting of guilt at the very thought.

Nobody said it would be easy.

So today, the 15 minute bikini wax equated to "me time", time without a crying baby, time without a whining preschooler, time where my pain was just my own.

And yes, I enjoyed it.

Call me crazy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tit for Tat

This morning my husband woke up in a tourist resort in Dallas, Texas. He spent the previous evening at a Twins Vs. Rangers game. He arrived home around noon today. He told me he was "tired." Oh poor him.

I wonder how he enjoyed his continental breakfast and the morning paper. I think about his queen sized bed and uninterrupted slumber and I find it very, very difficult to sympathize with any kind of fatigue that he may have going on.

I understand that people get tired of business travel, however, I do believe that two nights away from home must have felt like a gift from the Gods. Two nights sans crying, diaper changing, feeding and breaking up fights, must have been LOVELY. I can only fantasize.

I know it cannot be tit for tat, after all I am the only one with the tits, and thus, I am blessedly tied to my newborn for survival. It is a blessing. My husband argues that he will never experience the feeling of a baby moving internally. He will never know what it is like to sustain life through his body alone. It's a woman's privilege. It is. Yet, I do harbour some jealousy. I'll never be the bread winner. Nobody will ever wine or dine me, heck even my husband never did, when we met at 18 I paid my own way through our first dates.

The division of responsibility is clear, but darn it all, what I would do for one night in a Dallas hotel on an expense account....

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I had wanted to write this post earlier in the week, however as previously mentioned, blogging has become low priority.

My mom left last Sunday. She was here for 2.5 weeks to help with the kids. It was a wonderful visit, at least I thought so. Evan on the other hand was down right mean to her, and Zachary was just oblivious. I know it hurt her feelings. I can't blame her. My mother was lovely towards the boys. She brought tons of gifts and lavished them with attention, yet their response was less than optimal.

Evan: Go away Nana! I don't like you!

Zachary: (after Nana says "I love you") a half-hearted, eye rolled, under-the-breath-muttered "Thanks"

Ahh well. I mentioned I enjoyed the visit. While my mom was here we shopped, lunched, laughed and drank wine together. It was fantastic. To have someone who wanted to spend so much time with me doing just what I wanted, was a gift.

Of course mom was also wonderful with Julian. She held him while I showered, napped or cleaned. Julian responded well to her attention, and he was relatively peaceful.

Now she is gone, resuming her life in Wisconsin. I miss her terribly, and so does Julian. He is left to cry in his bouncy chair far more often these days.

I curse the miles between us. I wish my mom and I lived closer. I wish I could see her every week.

That isn't the current scenario, so for now I look forward to her next visit and cherish the memories of our last.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yoga Mama

I have wanted to blog, however lately it has been a choice, sleep or blog, eat or blog, spend time with children or blog. Clearly blogging has lost. At this moment I am typing with one hand and holding/nursing Julian with the other, so please do not expect anything brilliant.

As it turns out each of my babies have been progressively more challenging. Julian sleeps poorly at night and needs to be held most of the day. Come to my house between 5 and 10 pm and you will quickly understand why I an going through so much Zinfandel. Screaming baby. Fighting boys. Dinner. Laundry. Lunches to pack. There are so many "what was I thinking?" moments.

I have had many ideas for blog posts. Today I want to write about my first yoga class, although
I know, under the current circumstances I will not do it justice. The super quick run down-

I have never done yoga. I have no core strength or flexibility. I don't meditate, it's just not my thing, but I thought when in the Berkeley area, why not? Plus, after three c-sections my stomach bares a strong resemblance to jello.

I decided to try out a mom/baby yoga class today. I was prepared for a mild work out. I was not prepared for an hour long therapy/support group session, which is what I got. Ordinarily this would have been fine with me, except that I was anticipating and looking forward to physical exercise!

I was greeted by the teacher. She was pleasant, welcoming, warm, but not fit. She showed me how to get set up. The other mothers arrived, some looking rather worn and stressed out. There were about a half a dozen of us with babies ranging from 4-8 weeks. Most of the mother's were first timers. I was the only mama of three.

There was one "baby holder" who held Julian for about an hour. The first thing we did was a "check in" which ended up lasting about an hour. We went around the circle and introduced ourselves. I expected "Hi, I'm Rachel. This is Julian, he is seven weeks old. This is my first yoga experience."

Nope. Instead, most women spoke for ten minutes, several bursting into desperate tears. The instructor was kind and handed out words of support and encouragement. I on the other hand, bounced my knee in frustration. This is great, I thought, it really is, for a first time mom's support group. But I came for yoga, and quite honestly with three kids, I find myself in a much, much different place than these women.

I know it's wrong, but a part of me wants to yell-"Think it's hard now? Come over to my house, you will feel SO MUCH BETTER"

What I recognize however is that many of these women are coping with post-partum issues, depressed, anxious and overwhelmed. This is a great place for them, yet I feel out of place.

I will go back. I enjoyed the small intro to yoga that I received. Maybe I will be converted. Maybe I'll end up with abs of steel.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Red Sheets

I awake in the morning and stumble into the hallway. I am greeted by a familiar site. Damp red sheets in a clumsy pile next to a pair of size five pajamas. Groggy, I haul the dirty bed linens to the kitchen only to find both washer and dryer full. Of course they are.

A few minutes later the dry clothing is in a basket, the wet clothes are spinning in the dryer and I am loading red sheets into the washer...again.

I watch red sheets spinning in soapy circles. They taunt me.

Nah-nah-nah-nah-boo-boo, they tease.

It's as if the sheets are sticking out a wet tongue and flapping their crimson hands around cotton ears .

The laundry will never be done, they sneer.

You'll have to send your son off to college with extra large, industrial strength Pull -Ups, they laugh.

The next good night sleep won't be for a minimum of six years, they promise.

These red sheets, purchased for their cheerful color now serve as a glowing neon sign reminding me that a mother's work is never done.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rodeo Mama

Stage Mother. Soccer Mom. Titles that conjure up all kinds of negative images. Yet here I am. Guilty. I'm a proud mama, bursting at the seams, basking in my little boy's accomplishments.

The most recent achievement? You're not going to believe it. Really, it is fairly far-fetched.

Zachary won first place in a mutton wrangling contest. You read that correctly. We rode a furry little lamb in a rodeo-style race and won the whole darn thing. I know. Odd.

How did this come to be? Believe me when I tell you it that it was not due to hard work and practice. Nope, just random luck, and my son's crazy athletic prowess. Let's just be honest he is amazing.

I didn't want him to participate. We were at the Alameda County Fair having a grand old time watching pig races and eating soft-serve when my husband got the idea that Zachary should sign up for the mutton race. I didn't know what was involved so I agreed, until we saw the first competitor in action.

I stood in the bleachers with Zack's brothers and watched as the first child climbed on an animal bare backed. He was wearing a caged mask and a padded vest. The doors swung open and the lamb ran out with a five year old clinging to it's back. Within seconds the child was flung to the dirt, left there crying as a clown came to his rescue. My mouth hung open. What the hell had I signed my son up for? I raced over to my husband who was standing in line with Zachary. "No way!" I yelled to him. David laughed. "They do this five times a day! It's perfectly safe." he promised.

I went back to my position in the stands and waited. Zack was the last to compete. When they called his name, tears welled up in my eyes. I was afraid. Afraid that he would be flung off the speeding beast and truly injured. I was sure I was making a mistake.

The doors swung open, and out he came. He clung to the animal in perfect form. He hung on until the mutton made it all the way to the end of the arena, when finally he fell to the ground. I was in shock. The crowed roared. The announcer gave Zack an enthusiastic high-five and proclaimed him the winner of the whole darn competition. He beat out older kids. He beat out experienced kids. I was overwhelmed with pride. I could not help myself. I ran to my child, expecting joy and excitement. I found instead a little boy choking back tears. He was frightened. He hurt his arm when he fell down and was surprised by the shear power of a live animal. The announcer asked him if he would like to return tomorrow to compete again and Zack responded with an emphatic "no!"

Did this disappoint me? Not in the least. Not only is my boy talented and athletic, he is damn smart. Who the hell wants to ride a dirty old sheep anyway?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Take the gift

Sometimes people are really awesome. A few posts ago I wrote about how nobody at the preschool signed up for our post-baby meal train. As it turns out folks were just slow to get on board, and we have in fact had some very, very lovely meals prepared for us. We have had Thai pasta salad, lasagna, brownies, soup, pesto, pizza and even wine delivered to my son's cubby at school. The food, prepared with such kindness has been touching. I have had one friend, who at eight months pregnant has brought food to us twice with a smile on her face, and another who has signed up for three meals.

It's overwhelming and honestly hard to accept at times. I told one of my friends that she was doing too much, yet she shrugged her shoulders and told me flat out to "take the gift."

Take the gift. It can be difficult sometimes. We are trained to do it all on our own and never to ask for help. But giving and receiving feels good. In all honesty at this moment I need all of the help that I can get, and the show of generosity and warmth has been just what the doctor ordered. I am so thankful for the kindness we have received. It is also true that it is good to allow others to give, it feels good for them too.

Win win right? All I know is that I am so full of pesto pasta and Zinfandel that I have to say goodnight.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cookie Monster

By the looks of me, I'm fairly harmless. Just under five-feet-four, a petite frame, a warm smile... but apparently I'm something much different in the depths of my three year old's subconscious. Something much more ferocious and cruel. Something more like a cookie hoarding monster...

A few nights ago Evan woke up in the middle of the night screaming in terror... a night terror. Our first. Evan was having a terrible nightmare and there was nothing that we could do about it.

I ran to his bed side at 1am. He was screaming. SCREAMING. "I want that cookie in your mouth mommy!" "I want that cookie in your mouth!" "Give me the cookie in your mouth mommy!" Just what was this about? Was Evan really dreaming that I was stealing cookies from him? Taking tasty morsels from my own child's mouth? He was hysterical. I felt so helpless that I started to sob my own middle-of-the-night tears.

In my son's subconscious I am a cookie stealing bitch.

I don't even like cookies all that much.