Monthly Archives: October 2013

How to register for baby gifts

Step 1: Get knocked up.

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Step 2: Realize your house is a baby death trap.

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Step 3: Try to stop self from screaming “YES!!!” when mother offers to throw you baby shower.

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Step 4: Begin immediately fielding calls from everyone you’ve ever met asking if you’ve registered yet.

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Step 5: Mention to your husband in passing that you should really register soon.

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Step 6: Half-heartedly attempt to register one night but get distracted by Dawson’s Creek marathon on Netflix.

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Step 7: Finally sit down to register after death threat from cousin.

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Step 8: Begin reading the product reviews.

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Step 9: Stop reading product reviews when blood starts spurting from your eyes.

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Step 10: Say screw it and start picking things based solely on color and how many adorable dancing giraffes it features. Then eat an entire bag of Cheetos and take a nap. You’ve earned it.

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Top 8 Parenting Myths Debunked

I know what you’re thinking.

What the hell does a first-time mom who is only six months pregnant know about parenting?

And the answer is, of course, nothing. Well, almost nothing. I do know that the first poop the baby takes once it’s outside the uterus is apparently a mix of dark matter and pure evil, but I only know that because I read too far in my pregnancy book last week.

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But after extensive and thorough research where I asked friends who were new parents scientific stuff like “so, does parenthood blow or what?” and “when do babies stop sucking?” and “how much Red Bull and vodka can I chug while simultaneously breastfeeding?” I have gathered enough evidence to debunk the most common myths surrounding this major life change.

Myth No.1: As soon as your baby is born, it’s love at first sight.

Chances are you will not immediately fall in love with your baby. Chances are you’ll look at it and wonder “who the hell is this wrinkled old man who came out of my vagina and what the hell is he covered with?” OK, maybe that’s exaggerating slightly. You could also be thinking “wrinkled old woman.” But the point is, it’s perfectly natural not to feel bonded to your child right away. So don’t worry. You will bond eventually. Possibly even before they go off to college.

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Myth No. 2: Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world.

Breastfeeding is NOT the most natural thing in the world. Far from it. In fact, Joan Rivers’ face is more natural than breastfeeding. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean feeding a child from your boob is unnatural (despite what those squeamish arseholes in restaurants that just HAVE to complain whenever a woman dares to use her boob in public for anything other than sexual arousal would have you believe). I mean that in no way does this natural act come to you or to your kid naturally. It’s a daily battle the first few weeks, sometimes months, to get you, the baby and your ginormous boobs all on the same page at the same time.

Myth No. 3: Having a baby will bring you and your partner closer than you’ve ever been.

Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation. Or the ass-numbingly dull tedium of changing diapers every two hours. Or perhaps it’s the immense crushing responsibility of having to keep a small human alive. But you and your significant other will hate each other for awhile and argue about stupid crap such as why lil’ Kayleighanna isn’t wearing socks outside when it’s OBVIOUSLY FREEZING OUT THERE AND WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO, KILL OUR DAUGHTER!?! But never fear. This is why God invented grandparents, so that just when your marriage is about to implode, they can take the demon seed for a night and let you two drink until you can’t feel feelings anymore.

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Myth No. 4: Babies are sweet little angels.

Babies, by nature, are not sweet and nice and innocent. They are terrorists. Tiny, tiny terrorists who refuse to let you sleep or eat a warm meal or sit down or shower or pee or talk on the phone or have a beer or leave the house or wear a clean shirt not covered in vomit. But at least they’re your tiny, tiny terrorist.

Myth No. 5: Babies are expensive.

Babies aren’t expensive. Babies are ridiculously, mind-blowingly expensive.  Whatever crap you bought for your baby, it’s not enough. Because apparently babies die if they are not surrounded at all times by educational toys, soggy baby books, slightly less educational toys that play music, no less than five chairs that all move or vibrate or swing in different directions and 76 blankets.

Myth No. 6: Putting your baby into yoga/music/sign language class will give them a jumpstart in life.

Babies think key rings are the height of civilization’s achievements. It’s OK to wait until they aren’t floppy headed drooling machines to sign them up for Infant Interpretive Dancing. Stop stressing out about their future at Harvard when they’re only three-months-old.

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Myth No. 7: Babies cry for a reason.

As it turns out, sometimes there is no reason. Sometimes they’re just crying because they’re a butthead. For reasons why they do this, see Myth No. 4.

Myth No. 8: Religiously reading parenting magazines and websites and blogs will help keep you informed and up-to-date.

Religiously reading parenting magazines and websites and blogs* will help turn you into a competitive and paranoid control freak who lectures other parents about how they really shouldn’t let lil’ Pyke play with their iPhone because the latest studies show that children who are exposed to screens within the first two years of life end up being serial killers who work at Wal-Mart.

And everyone will hate you.

*That is, except for this blog. You should always read this blog.

This Halloween, don’t be that kid

[Reposting this column from last year because 1. It’s timely and 2. I don’t have time to write a new post because…well, never mind the reason. I’m just going to blame the baby anyway. That’s what kids are for, right?]

Depending on your age, Halloween can be a very different holiday for different people. For example, if you’re a young kid, it’s a magical night where you get dressed up in a costume and beg people for candy. If you’re a young woman, it’s a magical night where you cleverly dress as a slutty version of some random noun and beg people for attention. And if you’re a young man, it’s a magical night where you follow those women around and beg for anything resembling a sign you might get laid that night.

Yes, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

With one exception.

Eventually, you reach an age where you’re a bit too old or a bit too much in a committed relationship (even if that relationship is with your couch and Snuggie) to actually go out and bar hop until you puke inside your six-inch stilettos (ahh…memories). And yet, you’re still a bit too young to actually have children of your own that need to hold your hand as they go begging their neighbors for a pillow-case full of sugar.

Which means you now fall into the fairly lame category of official candy-giver-outter, a demographic composed mostly of childless couples in their 30’s and old people who hand out baggies full of raisins.

Circle of life and junk, I suppose.

Granted, it’s not all bad to stay home on Halloween. And I tried to jazz the whole thing up when I did it last year. I lit a bunch of candles and drank wine straight from the box and didn’t put on make-up so I could scare the kids when I opened the door.

And believe it or not, it ended up being kind of fun.

With a few exceptions.

Which is why I have written the following list of Trick-or-Treating Do’s and Don’t’s for next year’s festivities:

1. The deal is simple. You dress up in a costume and I pay to look at you for 15 seconds with candy. So respect the rules. A Bruins sweatshirt does not make you a hockey player.

2. Speaking of which, wearing sunglasses at night is not a costume, tweens. Unless you’re Corey Hart. Which you’re not. Cause you don’t even know who that is.

3. Yes, I am the cool house with the awesome bowl of top-brand candy that let’s you pick out your own piece. So don’t ruin it for all the polite kids by being the little brat that grabs a giant handful of candy and then tries to go back in and double dip with your other chubby hand.

4. If you are a fellow designated candy-giver-outter, don’t hand out full-sized candy bars. You make the rest of us look like assholes.

5. If you’re 15 and drunk off wine coolers you totally snagged from your big brother’s stash, you are not hiding it well. At all. And it makes me want to give you mac and cheese and coffee instead of Snickers before I send you back to your parents. So just don’t do it. Remember, there will be plenty of time to get drunk on Halloween when you’re older and dressed as a slutty janitor.

6. You have to say “trick or treat.” It’s the rules. Otherwise we will have an awkward standoff with me staring at you and you staring at me while you hold up your bucket.

7. Any toddler dressed as an animal, particularly a bear, gets extra candy. Cause that shiz is cute as hell.

Well, there you have it. And I truly believe if everybody follows these guidelines, we can make this Halloween the best one ever. Well, the best one ever for those of us who aren’t making out with some stranger in some random bar next Oct. 31 (ahh…memories).

Gee thanks, Obamacare

Well, I can officially check off that whole “through sickness” marriage vow.

(That’s how it works, right? You do it once and then you’re off the hook?).

Although technically, it was more of an injury than a sickness but the point is, when my husband busted his head open last Friday after slipping in the kitchen, I didn’t run away. I didn’t roll over and go back to sleep, ignoring his yells (even though I was like, SUPER tired). I didn’t even pass out at the sight of gallons and gallons of blood casually leaving his head.

Instead, I calmly and maturely assessed the situation and swiftly took the appropriate action.

Ha! Just kidding. Considering I’m married to a member of the male gender, it went down more like this:

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So, what exactly happened, you ask? The official story is that he turned around to close a kitchen drawer and slipped on our dog’s toy, falling backward and hitting his head on the world’s hardest ceramic dog bowl. But the unofficial story, the much more sexy conspiracy theory story, is that my dog is trying to murder my husband.

I mean, the dog toy, a stuffed squirrel we had nicknamed Jedediah, just happened to appear right under his feet? Out of nowhere? At the perfect distance to make him hit his head on the dog’s water bowl? Not to mention, we’re expected to believe Buffy isn’t holding a grudge against us because we removed his manhood when he was still a puppy? And also named him Buffy? And maybe once dropped him on his head as a puppy? (Oh, calm down, I said once…twice tops).

Yeah. Coincidence, my ass.

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Luckily, my husband is one of the most calm and laid back dudes in a crisis that you could ask for. So while I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to find socks and my car keys and yelling for him to “Just hang on, baby! Don’t die on me! You have so much to live for! Stay away from the light!” as I ran from room to room in the house, he was being practical, looking up the closest hospital on his phone while simultaneously trying to staunch the blood flow from his gaping head wound. He even called the hospital to double check they had an emergency room:

“Hi, yeah, I was just wondering if you guys had an emergency room? You do? Alright, well, I’ll be seeing you real soon then.”

Meanwhile I was in the bedroom, helpfully yelling things like “If you see Grandma, stay away from her! Do not let Grandma lead you to the afterlife! Tell that old biddy to shut up!” while putting on two different shoes (both left shoes, by the way).

And then, if you will indulge me, I’d like you to picture the following (I tried to draw it but my art skills have some pretty severe limitations…SHOCKING, I know):

My husband is in the passenger seat, gently giving me directions from his GPS while blood and brains are spurting from his head (OK, maybe I’m exaggerating just a little). I’m a wide-eyed lunatic with crazy bed head in the driver’s seat yelling obscenities at red lights and making lewd gestures to the only other three cars on the road (sadly, I am not exaggerating). When all of a sudden we encounter one of Greater Boston’s infamous “roundabouts,” a fun marvel of modern road design that I nicknamed “Traffic Circle of Death.”

Ryan: “OK, you’ll want to take the second exit.”

Aprill: “Second!?! What the hell does that mean!?!”

Ryan: “Just get in the right lane and then take the second road that veers off the circle.”

Aprill: “Which way is right!?! I can’t tell my left from my right!?! Oh god, we’re going to die!”

Ryan: “It’s OK. Breathe. Just turn right here.”

Aprill: “AHHH! There’s another car! What do I do!?!”

Ryan: “He’s like 100 feet away from us, babe. You’re fine. You’re doing great.”

Aprill: “I can’t do this! We’re going to die! Did I mention we’re going to die!?! Oh my god!…Oh…OK, we’re off the circle. So just go straight for another mile, then?”

By some miracle (and no thanks to me) we made it to the ER in one piece and three long hours later, Ryan’s head was stapled with the world’s most intimidating stapler and we were sent home with the instructions that I was to wake him up every two hours to make sure that he wasn’t, you know, dead.

Terrifying as this whole experience was, however, it did teach me a good lesson about marriage. And that lesson is that when it comes to “through sickness,” my husband is actually better off on his own.

My (Broken) Hip Neighborhood

I’m not quite sure when it happened. Whether it snuck up on me all of a sudden or gradually yet systematically took me down, I couldn’t tell you. Were there signs and I just didn’t notice them? No bloody idea. All I know is that there is no going back now.

Because somehow when I wasn’t looking, I crossed the threshold from being young and (arguably) hip to being that 30-something lady who refers to every male singer under the age of 20 as Justin Bieber.

And it’s only getting worse. I only recognized about half the people featured at the VMA’s this year. Eating dinner any time after 8 p.m. is now simply out of the question. I don’t know if his name is Tatum Channing or Channing Tatum and about half the time it doesn’t matter because I mistakenly refer to him as John Cena anyway. You can’t convince me that Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato aren’t the same person. My interest in the weather has piqued to all-time high. And I was firmly on the side of Hannah’s parents when they financially cut her off in Season One of “Girls.”

But nowhere is this transition to the “out of touch” crowd more evident than in my reaction to the fact that my neighborhood is in danger of becoming hip. See, right now, no one in Greater Boston knows where I live. I know this for a fact because I have had the same conversation with every single cabbie for the past two and a half years:

Cabbie: “Where to?”

Aprill: “Ten Hills.”

Cabbie: “Where?”

Aprill: “Ten Hills. In Somerville.”

Cabbie: “OK…say it again?”

Aprill: “Ten. Hills.”

Cabbie: “I don’t know where this is.”

Aprill: “…(gives general directions)…”

Cabbie: “Huh. I’ve been driving cabs in this city for 45 years and I’ve never heard of this place. What’s it called again?”

Aprill: “…(bangs head repeatedly on window)…”

And yet, despite this regular hassle, I love my lame, tucked away, little neighborhood that is filled with retirees, nerdy grad students and that guy down the street with all the outdoor cats.

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I love that it’s eerily quiet at 9 p.m. and the loudest noises we have to put up with are dogs barking and that one car alarm that goes off if someone on the block sneezes. And most importantly, I love that I can afford the rent and can afford the few non-cool restaurants nearby.

So how surprised was I to find out that Somerville as a whole is becoming too hip for its own good. And judging by the massive amount of construction work happening across the highway, soon even my lame neighborhood will be adjacent to a bunch of shops, bars, restaurants and apartments. Possibly even a tapas place or two. TAPAS! The ultimate sign that gentrification is looming (seriously, a tapas place once opened in Brooklyn and look what happened).

I don’t want to live in the next Williamsburg. I’m old now. I don’t want all my neighbors to be young, thin hipsters. I’m currently a waddling preggo in stretchy pants. And in the ultimate sign of, if not my actual age of 32, than at least my current mental age of around 68 or so, I don’t want change.

And with that last statement, I think my transformation is now complete.

Now get off my lawn, you damn kids, before I call the cops.