Without Christmas, it’s just…winter

Sorry, guys, but brace yourselves. I am about to Pollyanna-out on all of you.

Maybe it’s because it’s my baby’s first Christmas or maybe it’s because I’m getting soft in my old age, but whatever the reason is, I am all about Christmas this year. I mean, I am downright excreting Christmas spirit out of my goddamn freaking pores.

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I have to admit, it’s a nice change of pace. Last year I was super pregnant during the holidays, which naturally made me want to stab everyone in the face with a candy cane whenever I left the safe confines of my house.

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And the year before that, well, I don’t exactly remember since all the electricity in my brain is currently being sucked up by the part that alerts me that my baby is trying to kill himself AGAIN by chewing on the cable cord. But I’m sure I was grouchy because the days leading up to Christmas are chaotic and crowded and my liquor store always runs out of the gallon-sized, industrial-strength eggnog I use as my holiday crutch.

But this year? I have Christmas music on constant rotation. I put up ALL the Christmas decorations, instead of just enough so that it wasn’t sad. I bought the good wrapping paper, instead of the $1.99 crap that is made from ancient cobwebs and glitter and falls apart if you happen to breathe too close to it.

And I’ve already bought most of my gifts instead of waiting until December 23, where I will inevitably sprain my eyeballs from all the eye-rolling I will do while waiting in the world’s largest line because the store thinks having one cash register open is a swell idea two days before Christmas.

But most amazing of all, I’m actually being nice. To STRANGERS. Stupid, dumb, ugly strangers who I normally hate. But now? It’s all opening doors for them and “oh no, after you,” and even “why no, those neon hot pink skintight leggings aren’t permanently ruining my eyesight at all.”

I don’t know if it will last. If next year, or even next week, I’ll regress back to my old “bah-humbug” ways. But I hope not. Because this whole “seeing the gallon of eggnog half-full” thing is actually kind of…wonderful.

I mean, do you know what this time of year would be without Christmas? It would just be “oh, hey everyone, winter has started and it’s going to suck so hard for the next four months.”

And with Christmas, instead of being depressed that night now starts at 3:30 p.m., you get “oh hey, we just finished lunch and it’s already dark enough to turn on the Christmas tree!” And instead of being miserable because you’re cold, you get to warm up the house with the baking of cookies and the cooking of giant hams that are bigger than your toddler (and then the eating of all the giant ham all in one sitting because calories don’t count in December). Not to mention, it’s the only time of the year where it’s socially acceptable to punch the person who brought the “healthy” cookies into work to share (ahem…Susan). And while you may think you’re sick of all that Christmas music, just keep in mind that Christmas is the temporary dam that keeps the Taylor Swift tidal wave at bay for a few weeks.

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Christmas makes snow magical, instead of “the demon powder that makes me late to work” that it becomes in January. Christmas transforms decades-old bad animation into beloved holiday classics you actually look forward to watching. And most importantly, Christmas changes going to the liquor store at 9 a.m. on a Saturday for seventeen bottles of wine from “pathetic” to “totally understandable and necessary purchases.”

Not that Christmas doesn’t have its downsides. The mindless consumerism, the deep pit of debt, the never-ending flood of Facebook photos of that elf pooping Hershey kisses on top of cookies. Not to mention, all those helpful people who keep ruining “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by pointing out how rape-y it is.

But for all our bitching about the holiday season, the world would be a much darker place, quite literally, without Christmas. So I, for one, plan to soak up as much Christmas magic as I can.

Before January comes and slowly strangles all our souls with its cold, dead hands.

How I feel when someone asks me to watch their laptop at Starbucks

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What my baby really wants for Christmas

Dear Santa,

Hiya, big guy. Remember me? Yes, yes, that Aprill with two L’s who “allegedly” set fire to Prancer when she drank too much eggnog and found that old stash of fireworks in the attic on Christmas Eve 2007.

(But may I remind you, the trial ended in a hung jury so no hard feelings, yeah?).

I’m writing this letter to you on behalf of my son, Riker, who due to circumstances beyond his control is unable to write you himself (those circumstances, of course, being that he is only 9-months-old and used the pen I gave him to whack our dog repeatedly on the head…heh, guess the ‘ol apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, now does it?).

Anyhoo, I can’t tell you how excited we are for Christmas this year. It’s Riker’s first one and we are planning on going all out this year. We even positioned our fake tree so that you can barely see the burn marks from two years ago (I should really not be allowed around fireworks). And our stockings have already been hung with care and copious amounts of duct tape.

But first things first, old man. Regarding the naughty or nice list…sigh. As we both know, my name has been written on the former in permanent marker since 1998 thanks to various incidents my lawyer has advised me not to publicly discuss pending current litigation in three Midwestern states (best road trip EVER though). However, I hope that you can rise above our personal rocky relationship and not let it affect my son. He’s been a very good boy this year, that yogurt-throwing incident involving that other baby in Starbucks notwithstanding.

In the hopes that you can find it in your heart this holiday season to let bygones be bygones, I have enclosed my baby’s Christmas list below:

  1. An exact replica of our dog’s tail.

The real one is by far his most treasured possession (besides that gross, wrinkled, fast food receipt he found at the bottom of my purse last Tuesday and refuses to let go of). Anytime he sees that tail, he immediately makes a beeline straight for it using that weird “I haven’t quite mastered crawling so instead I transport myself across the floor like a dying man in the desert who sees an oasis and is trying to get to it but only half his limbs work” move of his. However, seeing as how the tail is currently still attached to our dog, we all agree it would be in the best interest of Buffy’s mental health if Riker had his own, separate tail to play with.

  1. Gross, wrinkled, fast food receipts

You know, maybe just like a handful of them to put in his stocking.

  1. An end table.

I know, I know. What would a baby need an end table for? And the answer is, I have no bloody idea. All I know is that my son refuses to leave our current end table alone. But since ours is reserved space for Mommy’s coffee (and by that I obviously mean vodka poured into a coffee mug), he really needs his own.

  1. A Bane mask like the one from the Batman movie

Confession: This one is more for me. I figured it would be a good way to get him to stop shoving everything he finds on our fairly disgusting floors into his mouth but is also fun and full of whimsy. Also because I’m pretty sure using a straight-up muzzle on my baby is illegal.

Well, I guess that’s just about everything, Santa. Thanks for reading and again, my apologies to Prancer. I was glad to hear that at least some of his fur was able to grow back, albeit in small, sad patches (I’m sure he’ll be allowed to play those reindeer games again any day now…reindeer can be so cruel, can’t they?).

My love to the missus,

Aprill

Some things don’t need a sequel…like pregnancy

I am not pregnant.

I know, I know. You probably don’t care if I am or not. Unless you’re my husband, my traumatized dog or my uterus, you have no stake in my reproductive habits. But let me tell you, typing out those four words is among the top five best feelings in the world.

Not that I’m anti-children or anything. I love children (except for that one kid…he knows what he did). In fact, I have one of my own. And even my black soul is partial to that little bugger. He’s amazing. I love him even more than I love cheese. And I’m someone who has an entire drawer in her fridge dedicated to just cheese (which I’ve creatively dubbed “The Cheese Drawer”).

But he’s also the reason I feel such relief at typing those four words.

See, before I had a baby, I was always terrified of getting pregnant. Or at least I thought I was terrified. Any time my period was even five minutes late, my evil brain tortured me with thoughts such as:

“But I’m not ready to be a mother.”

“But I don’t have the money to raise a kid.”

“But my freedom!”

“But, oh god, I’m going to get so fat.”

“But what if he turns out to be a serial killer? Or worse, an urban kale farmer with a weird mustache?”

Ha! How naïve I was. Because see, now that I’ve actually had a baby, I know the real things to be terrified of. So last week, when I was five days late, I was curled up in the fetal position beside my 9-month-old as the following thoughts raced through my brain:

“But I’m not ready to not poop normally for nine months!”

“But I don’t have the energy to vomit for four months straight and then pee non-stop for the next five months.”

“But wine!”

“But, oh god, the midnight feedings. And the 2:30 a.m. feedings. And the 4 a.m. feedings. And all because of…”

“BREASTFEEDING! I CAN’T GO THROUGH IT AGAIN! I JUST GOT ONE OFF THE SAUCE! I WAS FINALLY FREE! I’D RATHER DIE THAN HAVE ANOTHER NEWBORN HONEY BADGER SHRED MY NIPPLES!”

Just like someone who is finally released from jail and finds themselves in a less than legal situation again while police sirens slowly grow louder, it was like a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from.

I can’t go back to jail, man.

I won’t.

Not that I never will go back. I mean, sure, yeah, my husband and I have talked about having another kid. We both agree it would be nice. To eventually give Riker a sibling. In the future. When we’re both ready again.

Like when he’s getting ready for graduate school.

But we know too much now. It’s all still too fresh. The pain. The exhaustion. The farts.

Oh god, the farts.

Which is why I rejoiced when my menstrual cycle finally did get off its lazy ass and cycled again. I may have been in the electric chair but the governor called in the nick of time.*

And it feels good to be free again. Er…well, at least on probation. I still have one kid I need to report to on a daily basis. But I’ll take it.

Because you can still drink wine on probation.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the warden is demanding a game of peek-a-boo and he gets cranky when I show up late.

*These…uh…these prison metaphors working for you? No? Well, screw you. Someone’s getting shanked on the way to lunch.

If my blog were a sitcom, this would be the Thanksgiving episode

OPENING SCENE: Camera zooms in to clock beside Aprill’s bed. Time reads 4:43 a.m. Sound of baby crying.

APRILL (lying in bed, eyes still closed): “Nope. No way. (Voice gradually getting louder) You wish I loved you enough to wake up this early on a holiday! Go back to sleep, Riker!”

Crying continues.

APRILL (eyes still closed, kicking her husband, Ryan, with her leg): “I’ll give you $50,000 if you go get him right now.”

RYAN (raises head from pillow, his bedhead making him look like a deranged muppet): “Please. I’m still waiting for the $100,000 you promised me when I took the dog out during a blizzard last year. And the $4 million you promised me when I gave you my last mozzarella stick Tuesday.”

Cue laugh track.

Crying gets louder.

APRILL (slowly and dramatically rolling off bed, eyes still closed): “Ugh. He’s so dramatic. I bet when I go in there, he’s not even missing a limb.”

Cue giggle track since the joke is so-so at best.

Camera fades to black and reopens on Riker’s nursery. Aprill is getting ready to change Riker’s diaper.

APRILL: “Well, happy first Thanksgiving, kiddo. (Opens diaper) WHOA! How did all that even fit inside your tiny body? I’m not even mad. I’m impressed. (Note: Check with legal if we can use this and not get sued by Will Ferrell) Guess you’re thankful for having the bowel movements of a Budweiser Clydesdale, huh?”

Aprill carries Riker into the kitchen, which is pristine and huge and has a funky vintage fridge just like all sitcom kitchens, even if the people in the sitcom are poor and live in a ridiculously expensive city.

APRILL: “Well, since we’re up, we might as well get a jump on Thanksgiving dinner.”

Aprill opens funky vintage fridge, which is full of colorful fruits and vegetables and POM drinks, and not leftover Chinese food and Kraft singles and a carrot that committed suicide in 2011.

APRILL: “Shit!” (if this airs on late-night cable) “Darn it!” (if this airs on network TV) “Babe! I forgot to defrost the turkey!”

Stumbling noises heard off-camera. Ryan enters the kitchen, bedhead now making him look like the love child of Nick Nolte and Justin Bieber.

RYAN: “Huh. Well, that sounds like a pretty big problem for Future Ryan to deal with. But right now, Current Ryan is going back to bed.”

Two hours later…

Ryan wakes up to a loud noise. He walks into the kitchen.

RYAN: “Uh…whatcha doin’?”

APRILL: “Blow-drying the turkey, obviously. Added bonus, I occasionally blow it directly in Riker’s face and it makes him giggle. And his hair is now super shiny.”

RYAN: “Aw…that’s my delicate little flower.”

Cue laugh track.

APRILL: “By the way, how long does a turkey take to cook?”

RYAN: “I don’t know. I have to Google it every year. Why don’t you know? You’ve made the turkey before.”

APRILL: “And how did that work out?”

RYAN: “Yeah, but after the food poisoning symptoms passed, remember how happy you were you lost five pounds?”

APRILL: “I finally fit in my skinny sweatpants.”

Cue pity laugh track.

Four hours later…

Aprill, Ryan, Riker and the dog are all on the back porch as smoke billows out of the windows of their house. Sirens can be heard in the background.

APRILL: “Who knew potatoes could explode like that?”

RYAN: “Two people who have a small infant they are in charge of keeping alive probably should.”

APRILL: “This day is a disaster. Do we have any wine?”

RYAN: “No. But we have some cooking sherry that’s probably tainted considering I think I bought it back in the 90s. That ought to do the trick.”

APRILL: “I’ll get the sherry, you call China Garden.”

RYAN: “I think that makes four years in a row. Pretty sure it’s now officially a Thanksgiving tradition.”

APRILL: “It’s just not the holidays without crab rangoon and the smell of burning arm hair.”

Ryan kisses Aprill.

Cue “Ooooooo” kissy-face track.

RYAN: “Insert some cheesy line here.”

Cue applause track.

Fade to credits.

 

How was your day, honey?

My husband asked me how my day was. So I drew him this…

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You have to crawl before you can raid and pillage

For only being 9-months-old, my son has a lot of interests. I mean, a LOT of interests. All day long, he’s just interested in everything.

For example, here’s a list of things my son is interested in:

Pulling off his left sock.

Dropping heavy, loud things on the floor.

Shaking his head no. At everything.

Licking the couch.

Licking the dog.

Licking my cellphone.

Obviously eating the left sock he pulled off because I can’t find that damn thing anywhere.

Biting my collarbone.

This mug full of super-hot coffee in my hands.

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And here is a list of things my son is not interested in:

Learning how to crawl.

Yes, my son, while a master at the art of sitting, has absolutely no interest in taking that skill to the next level. And it’s not just that he’s not interested in learning how to crawl. It’s as though he actively loathes even the mere thought of transporting his tiny body in such a crude manner. I’m talking put that kid on his stomach and he either:

  1. Lies face down, arms and legs splayed straight out, while crying pathetically. Or…
  2. Turns round and round on his stomach like a clock (while crying pathetically), just biding his time until I finally give up on the whole charade, pick him up and let him get back to his very important job of licking the couch.

Now, in general, this does not bother me. One, because I know all babies start crawling in their own good time. I mean, sure, I have irrational concerns my baby is not developing normally, just like everyone else in America. But it’s fine. Because just like everyone else in America, I assume I will be rich someday and as such can always hire someone to carry him from class to class when he’s enrolled in Harvard.

Two, his semi-immobility does make my job exceedingly easier. Which, as an inherently lazy mom, I really appreciate. I know I can set that kid down in the middle of the kitchen and leave the room and when I get back he will still be in that exact same spot. Or spinning in a circle crying pathetically, but still relatively in the same spot.

And three, I’m pretty sure he’s just biding his time until he can jump straight to walking. Because just like a dog who doesn’t realize he’s a dog but thinks he’s human (and yes, yes I am comparing my baby to a dog again), my baby doesn’t realize he’s a baby and thinks he’s a 35-year-old Viking. A 35-year-old Viking that must yell his barbaric yawp and savagely pillage the toy basket on a regular basis.

And Vikings don’t crawl, thankyouverymuch.

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What does bother me, however, is the constant stream of “Is he crawling yet?” I get from other parents. There is a dark, dark underbelly to the parenting world and it is composed of people who constantly want to play the game “Let’s Compare Babies!” Which is less a game and more just a way for them to tell you all the ways their baby is better than your baby. It usually goes something like this:

Other Parent: “Is he crawling yet?”

Me: “No.”

Other Parent: “Oh. How old is he again?”

Me: “Almost 9-months.”

Other Parent: “Oooh. Nine months and not crawling yet. Hmm. Well, Sabrina was crawling when she was 7-days-old. But the doctor said that’s exceedingly rare. All babies crawl in their own time, you know.”

Me (to the waiter): “I need a cocktail.”

Other Parent: “It’s 9:30 in the morning.”

Me (to the waiter again): “Make it three.”

Yes, no one wins at “Let’s Compare Babies!” Because if you’re a parent like me, you end up feeling like crap and spending the rest of the day Googling “crawling specialists.”

And if you’re the Other Parent, you end up getting hit by a bus, like in my fantasies.

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