Monthly Archives: April 2014

My baby is better than your baby

I always said I would never be one of those parents that beamed with pride every time my kid did something, like fart. You know the parents I’m talking about. They show you their newborn and then regale you with endless tales about how the precious little lump can gurgle and spit up at a five-month-old level. And have you ever seen a more perfect poop? The kid can poop perfectly every single time. Look out, Harvard.

But not me.

Never me.

And that lasted all the way until I took my own precious little lump out on the town.

Yes, just the other day I took my two-month-old to my husband’s office for a quick lunchtime visit, our first big excursion out into the world together besides our daily walks in the park. Which means it was the first time I had showed him off to a large group of people. And being a new mother, I had no idea what I was in for.

As soon as we got in the door, people started “oohing” and “ahhing” over him. And soon thereafter, the silent “Someone Brought Food, A Puppy Or A Baby” alarm that all offices have went off, bringing people from all over the building to ogle my baby. We couldn’t walk two feet without running headfirst into another compliment.

I fought it for as long as I could. I really did. But soon all the “he’s so adorable!” and “look how alert he is!” comments started to get to me. My head started to swell and I started to agree with everything they said.

“Such a well-behaved baby!”

Pride 2

“Look at that red hair! That’s so rare!”

Pride 3

“What an angel!”

Pride 4

“He can hold his head up already? That’s amazing!”

Pride 5

I even started silently agreeing with people when they told me I had done such a good job, like I had personally sculpted his perfect cherub face with my uterine muscles while I was pregnant, rather than what I really did for nine months, which was eat cheeseburgers in bed and fart a lot.

Pretty soon I heard myself saying things like “he already sleeps through the night” and “the doctor said he’s tall for his age.”

I wasn’t just beaming with pride about my kid. I was downright bragging about him. I have leftover pizza in my fridge that is older than he is, and yet I was acting like my baby had cured cancer in between his rigorous napping schedule.

I had turned into the kind of parent I hated. But it’s so hard to resist the siren call of public approval. Sure, you think your baby is the most adorable, not to mention smartest, child to ever exist. But when you also have a group of people confirming all these things to you in a high-pitch squeal, it’s almost impossible not to create a monster.

Luckily, once we got back home, he had an epic meltdown, which as it turns out is the perfect antidote for Giant Ego About My Baby syndrome. It quickly brought me down to earth and we returned to our mundane daily routine of feeding, changing and yelling at the dog to “Stop licking his face, dammit!” And once again he was just a normal baby and I his (mostly) normal mom.

Although, I’m pretty sure I heard him say “Momma” while he was crying.

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Putting on my mom jeans one leg at a time

I’m not sure when it started. And quite frankly, it took me by surprise. I mean, I had always prided myself on having no life and thus was able to keep up with such things. But somewhere between entering my 30’s and having a baby, I became out of touch with pop culture.

Granted, it’s not like I’m to the point where I’m wearing mom jeans and referring to Jake Gyllenhaal as Jack Gypsypants yet. But it is to the point where I’m getting a bit too comfortable with elastic bands and honestly don’t know if it’s Tatum Channing or Channing Tatum.

And it’s bothering me.

I turned the E! network on yesterday and there were three ads in a row for new reality shows starring people I had never heard of and whose only credentials for having their own reality show seemed to be that they wore more makeup than one would think would be possible on a human face (and this coming from a woman who still piles on the black eyeliner like it’s 1996). Worse yet, I’m so out of touch I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to watch the lives of an anorexic who had a kid with a dog’s name, a pregnant woman who said things like “he put the P in the V,” and someone who was dating John Cena (who I thought was Chantum Tanning until my husband corrected me).

If someone held a gun to my head and said they were going to pull the trigger unless I could tell them the difference between Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez (both names, by the way, I had to just Google to make sure I spelled them right), my closed casket funeral would be imminent.

I can’t keep up with all the superhero movie reboots, let alone all the movie remakes and sequels (Tanner Chumming is making “Magic Mike 2”? I haven’t even seen the first one yet!). I just found out what a “side chick” is and only then because I used context clues from Facebook. And trying to order a craft beer from an entire menu of craft beers gives me a panic attack.

When did bands start having 12 members, one of whom is always playing the ukulele? And when did they start having names that look like they were inspired by refrigerator magnetic poetry kits? What the hell is kimchi and kombucha and kale (and why is everyone taking pictures of them and posting them on Instagram)? And why is everyone only dying the lower two-thirds of their hair?

Sigh.

Look, I know what I sound like. But it’s not like I didn’t try to keep up. I did. I forced myself to watch MTV until an episode of “Teen Mom 2” made blood start spurting from my eyeballs. And I started following hipster Twitter accounts until my phone committed suicide after having to navigate through one too many selfies taken in front of a food truck. I even tried becoming friends with a 22-year-old, which unfortunately ended when she described the situation in Crimea as “so random” and I was forced to punch her in the throat.

So eventually I had to give up. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t keep up with what’s “cool” or whatever the kids are saying these days (“kimchi?”).

Must be the circle of life and junk, I suppose. Time for me to step aside and let the younger generation dictate the trends, even if those trends are stupid and involve wearing leggings as pants.

As for me, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy this new phase of my life, watching Cracker Taylor’s movies on my own terms.

Terms that will most likely include sweatpants and non-craft beer.

A baby by any other name

I’ll never forget the first time I got the “Look.” In fact, I was still in the hospital, recovering from having a human being cut out of my abdomen, when it happened. The nursing shift was changing and the new night nurse came in to give me some more of those magical pain pills (that I’m pretty sure are made from unicorn manes and the sneezes of a baby panda).

Nurse: “Aw, he’s adorable. What’s his name?”

Me: “Riker.”

Nurse: “…Wow, that’s…unique.”

baby name 1

Yeah. That “Look.”

If you currently have a child whose name would never be found in a 90’s movie about white cheerleaders and football players, you know which look I’m talking about. It’s a look that says “I am 100 percent judging you right now.” It’s a look that says “You are not fit to be a parent.” It’s a look that says “I also write letters to the corporate headquarters of Olive Garden when my meal takes more than eleven minutes to prepare.”

Yes, as the number of unique or unusual baby names has risen, so have attacks of Judgy McJudgerson face.

breastfeeding 2

Not sure you’ve gotten the “Look?” I made this handy chart to help you out:

baby name 2

In my case, the “Look” is usually followed by one of the following two questions:

  1. You named him after a “Star Trek” character?
  2. So, I take it you’re a big fan of prisons then?

To which I usually respond with:

  1. Named after? Pffft. No. Inspired by? Maybe. I like beards. And the way he sits down is really cool.* I don’t know. Shut up.
  2. I’m about to find out (whips out hatchet).

*Seriously, he does sitting down better than anyone else. Someone even made a montage of it:

In my opinion, it’s none of your business what I name my kid. And vice versa. (Unless, of course, you’re the jag-off trying to name your kid Hitler…don’t be the jag-off who names your kid Hitler). But the Judgmental Name Game is actually a good thing, believe it or not. And that’s because it prepares you for what the next 18 years are going to be like. And by that, I mean every decision you make from here on out will be judged relentlessly by everyone.

If aliens landed and the very first thing they did was walk directly into a Starbucks and log onto the Internet, they would immediately come to the following two conclusions about our culture:

  1. We worship cats…but only in, like, a totally ironic way.
  2. Mothers are the worst thing on the planet.

The Internet is practically drowning in “news” articles and blogs about how much we, as a society, loath mothers. You can’t throw a mouse or swipe a finger these days without encountering a headline like:

Top 10 Moms We Hate

Top 10 Most Annoying Mothers

Top 10 Worst Moms At Your Playdate

Top 10 Reasons We Should Make Every Mom Feel Like Crap, Regardless Of What She Does

Top 10 Reasons We Should Burn All Moms At The Stake

There are so many “moms” that we aren’t supposed to be and we have narrowed the confines of what constitutes appropriate mom behavior so drastically that there is exactly only one mom in the universe that fits the bills anymore.

And we all write articles about how much we hate her.

And I’m over it.

Because some days I am the mom in the yoga pants (who has no intention of doing yoga) sitting at Starbucks. And you know why? Because I’m tired and have been up since 4 a.m. and don’t want to wear real pants because none of my real pants fit yet and my kid has been screaming for an hour and I thought a change of location might calm him down and then I might, just MIGHT get 15 minutes to sit down and try to get my newspaper column done so for once I actually get it in on deadline.

And some days I’m that mom who does have her makeup perfectly done and a nice outfit on because my baby actually gave me an extra seven minutes where he was happy in his crib and I just wanted to feel like a woman for once, instead of a puke-covered, crazy witch hair, milking cow.

And you might catch me being that mom who is looking at her phone instead of her kid for a few minutes. Or the mom annoying you by talking baby talk with my infant. And occasionally I’m that mom who cusses. And sometimes I’m the mom rolling her eyes because you are cussing in front of my kid. And sometimes I’m the mom posting way too many photos of my baby on social media. And sometimes I’m the mom who writes about drinking too much on social media.

Stop telling me I’m losing the baby weight too fast. Or asking me what my excuse is for not having six-pack abs yet.

And stop telling me I absolutely have to breastfeed, but just, God forbid, not in public. Or that I’m not properly sleep training my two-month-old. Or that I should be enjoying every. single. moment. of this time because it goes so fast.

And for the love of all that is holy, stop telling me the 44 things I should teach my son.

Just.

Stop.

Being a mom is hard. Really, really hard.

So just get off our backs for a bit.

And go bug some dads or something.

The baby who cried “WAH!”

I don’t want to appear ageist or anything, but there’s probably a good reason why there are no baby CEO’s or babies currently seated in the Senate. And that reason is that babies are horrible communicators.

I know, I know. That’s not a very politically correct thing to think in this day and age. But hey, someone had to say it. And, trust me, I would know. My very own baby just happens to be a baby. And most of the time, I have no bloody idea what he is trying to say.

Wah 1

For instance, just the other morning he was repeatedly trying to lodge a very loud and formal complaint about something. But all I heard was “WAH! WAH!” over and over again. Here is the exact transcript:

“Wah!”

“What’s wrong, little man?”

“Wah! Wah!”

“Are you hungry?”

“Wah! Wah!”

“Does your diaper need changed?”

“WAH! WAH!”

“Are you mad at the ever-increasing wage gap in America that will most likely ensure we’ll never be able to afford college for you?”

“WAAAAAAAAAH!”

“Are you saying you think Mommy should have vodka?”

“WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

“I’m just going to assume you’re saying Mommy should drink some vodka.”

This exchange went on for a good 30 minutes before I ended it like how I end most of our arguments, which is by shoving a boob in his mouth regardless of whether he wants it or not.

(P.S. If you don’t mind getting arrested and/or punched in the face, that method usually works to end pretty much any argument you may be having with someone).

Now I know there are so-called “experts” out there (and by “experts” I mean people who have been parents for exactly 30 seconds longer than I have) who claim that after awhile you should be able to decipher the different cries of your baby, easily discerning which one means hunger and which one means “the monkey on my mobile, which was just making me giggle four milliseconds ago, is now terrifying me.” But I call shenanigans! Because much like how my dog’s bark has the same terror alert level for everything from “I can see a squirrel outside!” to “Hey, you are getting murdered by a serial killer!”, my child has the same soul-shattering cry for every possible situation.

Which means that should the day come, God forbid, that he really is hurt or in distress, I won’t realize it because I’m assuming his cries for “my leg has been chopped off” will sound just like the cries he uses when I suck a booger out of his nose using the baby booger sucker thingy.

Of course, maybe it’s me. Maybe there is a whole subtle but complex language hidden within each individual “WAH!” and I’m just too oblivious or too sleep deprived or too busy trying to find that one lousy damn sock that always falls off to notice. Maybe this whole time he’s been desperately trying to tell me his wants and needs, his hopes and fears, and here I am, all making fun of him and constantly shoving boobs in his face to shut him up. Maybe I’m the problem here.

But hell, since he can’t currently speak for himself (and even if he could it would just sound like “WAH!”) I’m going to put the blame squarely on his tiny shoulders.

So if you guys read a news story about a mom in Boston who didn’t immediately take her infant son to the hospital after his limb was severed, just remember that it wasn’t out of cruelty or neglect.

It was simply because I was probably too busy sucking boogers out his nose and figuring out just how big a glass of vodka he wants me to drink to notice right away.

Wah 2