Blog Archive

Friday, January 22, 2016

Trying to shower when you have a toddler

It is both a happy and a sad day when your kid first learns how to work a door handle. Happy because it means you'll no longer have to rescue them when they shut themselves in the pantry and can't get out ... but sad because now you cannot escape them no matter where you go to hide.

This especially includes the shower, which used to be a 'safe space' for me to relax.



Now, obviously there are things I could do to improve the situation for myself. I could lock the door, or only shower when she's asleep, or give her some special toy that she only gets to play with while I'm showering so she has extra incentive to leave me alone. But the fact is, I love her and she makes me laugh, so she can bother me in the shower if she wants.

And bother me she does.

It starts with the announcement of the intention to shower. "I am going to take a shower!" She responds to this by confirming it at least six times. "You're going to take a shower? You're going to take a shower Mom? Are you going to take a shower?" and on and on until she is satisfied that I am, in fact, going to take a shower.

I take my clothes off and shut the bathroom door, wondering how long the defenses will hold this time. And sure enough, within a minute or less of the water being on, I hear the doorknob start jiggling and then a little voice asking for the seventh confirmation: "Mommy are you taking a shower?"

Then begins the Great Handing of the Things. Audrey loves to be helpful. Nothing gives her greater pleasure than to assist me, whether it be by dragging a bag of bottles across the driveway of Trevor's daycare ("I'm carrying these bottles Mommy don't take them away"), or putting away her dirty bowl in the clean dishwasher I'm unloading, or taking groceries out of the bag and putting them in Trevor's car seat for some reason ("I'm putting the groceries away!" But why would they be stored in Trevor's car seat, Audrey? Why??).

This misguided helpfulness applies to my showers as well. She will yank the curtain open three feet and stick her head in, asking me "Mommy do you need something?" I tell her no, I have everything I need, and then I shut the curtain and go back to applying shampoo.

Moments later, the curtain is again yanked open and Audrey's head appears. "Do you need ... some toilet paper?" she asks me, shoving a big wad of toilet paper under the water where it promptly starts to disintegrate.

"No! Audrey no! Mommy does not need toilet paper please get that out of the shower and put it in the garbage."

"It's all wet!" she complains, like this is somehow my fault.

I shut the curtain again and resume my shower, only to be interrupted again ten seconds later. "Mommy, do you need ... this?" she asks, shoving the dirty end of the toilet cleaning brush towards my leg.

"GOOD GOD NO! Audrey that is dirty! Please put it away!"

Again she disappears, and again I close the curtain. And again she yanks it open, this time to offer me a comb that I do not need.

Over the course of my 5-6 minute shower, she yanks the curtain open no fewer than ten times, offering me a towel, a bottle of Tilex, a toothbrush, a second giant wad of toilet paper, a plunger, Jesse's razor, one of Trevor's toys, etc. I have to readjust the angle of the shower head so that her constant interruptions don't flood the entire bathroom. And when I finally turn the water off and open the curtain completely, I find that she has taken the floor towel out of the bathroom and hidden it god knows where.

And then she reappears in the bathroom to confirm for the eighth time: "Mommy, are you taking a shower?"

And then there's the running commentary as I dry off. She points at my front and asks "Mommy, is that ... your bum?" I tell her that no, that is Mommy's vagina, because I want her to learn the real words for things so she doesn't turn into one of those weird adults who could let loose a string of curses fit to make a longshoreman blush, but still refers to her genitals as "my bajingo" and calls her 20-years-husband's penis his "pee-pee."

She struggles with this word a bit, as it is not something she hears often. "It's Mommy's ... gina?"

"Yes. Mommy's va-gi-na."

"Where is MY vagina?" she asks, and I point at her crotch. "And where is DADDY'S vagina?" she asks, and I start laughing really hard because I should have seen this coming but I didn't so it's hilarious.

In addition to loving to help people, Audrey also loves to make people laugh. 

Exhibit A: She walked around with this thing on her head for like 15 minutes because we were laughing.

Exhibit B

And through my laughter, she has just learned that asking about Daddy's vagina is COMEDY GOLD. She doesn't understand why; all she knows is that Mommy is busting a gut over here and she wants it to continue.

"Daddy!" she calls. "Daddy! You have a vagina?"

Jesse appears holding Trevor, looking confused and telling her that he does not.

"DADDY WHERE IS YOUR VAGINA?" she demands like an angry cop interrogating a suspect.

Now everyone is laughing. Which is just positive reinforcement for Audrey to continue this. Dear God what have we done.

Also, now the entire family is in the bathroom with me as I try to dry off after my nice relaxing shower. Arguing about vaginas and who has them and who does not have them. I realize I really need to start locking the door.

And finally, as the cherry on top after this very relaxing shower experience, Audrey grabs a tube of chapstick, comes up behind me while I'm toweling off my hair, and rubs it on my buttcheek.

"Here Mommy! I put this on your butt."

Thank you, Audrey. As usual, you have been an enormous help.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

We have another ghost

You might recall that our old house may or may not have been haunted by the ghost of the prior resident who had committed suicide there.

Well, I guess our bad luck continues (though arguably the bad luck isn't OURS so much as whoever lives in houses before us), because our new house might be haunted too. As we were in the process of purchasing the house, the guy who was renting the house unfortunately died right in the middle of the living room, probably from some kind of aneurysm or embolism or other -ism that ends in fairly young, healthy people dying very suddenly.

Despite this unforeseen disaster, I wasn't particularly worried about there being a ghost in the house. Y'know, since I don't really believe in them and all.

But ... well ...

Audrey talks an awful lot about ghosts now.

A whole awful lot.

And she's never talked about ghosts before.

Is there really a ghost in the house, or is she just letting her little kid imagination run wild? I'll let you be the judge, based on these conversations she and I have had about the ghost:

One day, she told me that she was scared because there was a ghost. I asked her where the ghost was, and she pointed to the top of the spiral staircase that leads to the finished basement. So I picked her up and carried her a little closer to the stairs, and she pointed downwards, saying that the ghost was on the stairs. I got a bit freaked out (because everyone knows kids can see ghosts) and asked her if the ghost was nice. Even though she was clearly frightened, she said that he was nice, and that he was going downstairs to play with her dishes (note that her play kitchen and all its accessories are down in the basement). I called down the stairs "Hi ghost! Be careful with Audrey's dishes and put them away when you're done please!", thinking that being totally calm about the ghost would keep Audrey from getting scared. But the closer we got to the top of the staircase, the more she freaked out.

I'm not gonna lie -- seeing a small child become visibly distressed because we're getting too close to the ghost she sees on the staircase kind of spooked me. She pretty much had me convinced that there was a real ghost.

A ghost who likes to play pretend kitchen. A doughnut on a hamburger? Ghost, you've gone completely mental!

Audrey often talks about the ghost in the morning when we're leaving for daycare. It is still dark out when we leave, and the stupid motion activated outside lights don't work very reliably, so it can be pretty friggin' dark out there as we lock up the house and head for the car. I always leave Audrey on the porch while I put Trevor's car seat in the car, and then come back to get her. It's when I come back to get her that she starts going on about the ghost.

The other day, she told me that the ghost was singing. Once again, this made me feel pretty nervous and uncomfortable ... until I asked her what he was singing. She told me that the ghost was singing "Ghost Song", which she then sang for me. It was set to the tune of "Elmo's Song", and just went "la-la la-la, la-la la-la, GHOST SONG!"

I mean, the original "Elmo's Song" even contains the lines "Elmo wrote the music / he wrote the words" so it's not like you can claim ignorance, Ghost. You just straight-up stole that shit.

From that moment on, I resolved to no longer be afraid of the ghost, even if he's 100% totally real. Because clearly he's aware that he's a ghost, or he wouldn't have called himself a ghost while singing his song. Movies have taught me that ghosts are at their most dangerous when they think they're still alive. And clearly he's pretty kid-friendly, having sung Audrey's favorite song after all. I asked her again if the ghost was nice, and she said that he was, and that they were singing "Ghost Song" together. So at least there's that.

I wonder if he's available to babysit?

The most in-depth discussion about the ghost occurred this morning, though, and was the motivation for me to write this post. As I went back to the porch to get Audrey and put her in the car, she told me again that the ghost was outside and that she was scared. I asked her where the ghost was, and she said that he was in Daddy's car, which was parked beside mine in the pitch-black driveway.

So I asked her why he was in Daddy's car -- where was he going? And she announced that he was going shopping. She then spent the entire car ride to daycare monologuing about what the ghost was up to. It went something like this:

"He's going shopping! To get an apple!"

"He has to buy it first, though. Before he eats it." (every time I take Audrey grocery shopping, we pick out an apple first for her to eat while we shop. But I remind her that we have to pay for the apple before she can start eating it, so she always solemnly repeats that "we have to buy it first" whenever apples come up in conversation)

"He's going to buy an apple for me too! And he's going to bite off all the peels!" (Audrey doesn't like apple peels, so when she's eating her apple, she spits out bits of peel into her hand and puts them in an empty produce bag I tie to the cart handle for this purpose. The ghost biting off all the peels for her would therefore be a major help.)

"The ghost is very nice. He's a nice ghost. I want to give him a big hug."

"He's going to do all his shopping. He's going to buy apples. And candy! And he's going to give it to me!"

"I really want to give the ghost a hug!"

"Today is the ghost's birthday. Happy birthday ghost!"

So, in conclusion, do we have a ghost? Probably.

Does the ghost sing Audrey's favorite song while playing with Audrey's favorite toy and going shopping to buy Audrey's favorite things? Uhh, probably not. I think those ideas came from her.

Is today the birthday of the renter who died in the house?

... I'd be lying if I said I didn't consider emailing the former owner to ask if she knows what the guy's birthday was. Because ... what if it's today.

Holy f*** you guys what if it's today.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The pros and cons of breastfeeding: a totally non-medical and non-health related journey

So everyone already knows that from a purely health perspective, "breast is best." Like if the only variable involved in the decision was "which is better for my child's health?", breast would win because breastmilk comes from humans and formula comes from cows and human babies obviously do better with human milk than with cow's milk.

But there are WAY more variables involved than that.

I was not able to breastfeed my daughter successfully. It just didn't work out for us. My supply was jacked up and I had terrible anxiety and stress about it, which made supply even worse. My commitment to breastfeeding her even when it clearly was not working actually gave me postpartum depression, and it was just a nightmare from start to finish. The depression cleared up within HOURS of me announcing to Jesse that I was "f***ing done with this shit."

With Trevor, however, things have been going pretty great (which is something to keep in mind for anyone else who struggled with breastfeeding their first child. Second kid might be a whole different ballgame). 

Because of this, I have an excellent standard of comparison, since I've both formula-fed and breast-fed kids within a couple years of each other. And based on these experiences, here are the pros and cons of breastfeeding:

PRO: You have a "shut up and calm your ass down" button attached to your body

This may sound cold-hearted, but seriously -- having the ability to silence your baby during even the most insane crying jags is f***ing invaluable. I'm not talking about normal baby wahh wahh I'm bored and my foot is cold crying -- I'm talking about the crying they do when they've just gotten three shots in five seconds, or if they're extremely overtired to the point where they cannot pull themselves back from the abyss. This is the type of crying that makes parents lose their minds, because it is so loud and hopeless and there's just not much you can do about it.

But there is. Stick a boob in their mouth, and it's like the whole thing never happened.

Trevor is 4 1/2 months old, and I can still reliably use a boob to calm him down and put him to sleep when he's worked up. With Audrey, we used a binkie, which worked sort of, most of the time. But the boob works 100% of the time.

I like those odds.

Even at a crowded family gathering full of people, excitement, and noise, I still managed to get him to take like a two-hour nap with some help from tit wizardry.

CON: Your wardrobe will be extremely limited

You need to be able to get to your boobs easily at all times. Some people wear regular t-shirts and just pull them up to get the boob out. I salute these people.

I cannot/will not/don't understand how it is possible to do this.

I wear nothing but open-front cardigans or a zippered hoodie with nursing tanks (which unsnap at the shoulder so you can pull down and reveal boob). I will continue to wear nothing but this until Trevor has been weaned.

I have all these great sweater-dresses sitting in my closet that just won't be making an appearance until next year. Can you imagine trying to get to a boob while wearing a sweater dress?! Good grief!

Also, nursing tanks are at least $20 each. Because of course they are. F***ers.

PRO: Impossible to overfeed, so there's no anxiety on that front

Overfeeding a formula baby is not only possible, it's pretty easy to do. Babies are greedy little bastards, and they can suck down a bottle in the blink of an eye and still come at you wanting more. Audrey was fat as hell when she was a baby. I mean look at her -- she looked like Chris Farley.


But you can't overfeed a baby at the breast. Literally cannot be done. So you can just shove a boob in their mouth whenever, and it's all good. With all the possible anxieties that come with being a new parent, it's pretty sweet to be able to avoid one.

CON: It is totally possible to underfeed a breastfed baby, though, so there's that anxiety finding its way back in

I don't think any breastfeeding mother has ever NOT googled "how can I tell if my breastfed baby is getting enough?" Googling this is a rite of passage.

And you don't really stop worrying about it unless your baby is visibly fat. But even then, you'll manage to worry whether your supply will be able to keep up with your baby's growth -- "sure they're fat now, but will they STAY fat?"

This sucks. This anxiety is terrible. It still plagues me to a degree, though not as badly now that I've given full permission for formula to fill any gaps left by my own milk supply. But with Audrey, it was this particular anxiety that eventually spelled death for our breastfeeding relationship.

PRO: It's free!

THE PRICE IS RIGHT BITCHES. Obamacare now even forces insurance to pay for pumps! YEAHHHHHH!

This is especially meaningful if your child has special dietary needs that mean special fancy expensive formula. My boobs are saving us hundreds of dollars a month.

CON: No matter where you are or what you're doing, the milk has to come out of you on schedule

I had to bring my pump to my brother's wedding, where I sat in the bridal suite with my dress around my waist TWICE as I pumped milk out. This was not convenient.

I also got to eat a PB&J sandwich because I still can't eat dairy (thanks TREVOR) so I didn't want to risk showing up starving to the wedding and not being able to eat anything there.

I had to leave a work Christmas party early because my boobs were like "time to go!" and I had left my pump at the office. This was not convenient.

When Jesse and I were in the middle of packing and moving houses, I had a series of alarms set on my phone and when the alarm went off, I had to drop everything and go pump for 20 minutes. I pumped in the car, I pumped sitting on the floor in our cold and empty old house, and I pumped while I was IN THE F***ING ZONE PACKING AND I HATE STOPPING WHILE I'M IN THE ZONE! This was not convenient.

I pumped in the middle of the locker room at an LA Fitness because my car was getting a trailer hitch installed. This, too, was not convenient.

You can't just leave the milk in there. It must come out, whether it's convenient for you or not. And you really can't pump in a public bathroom, as the pump itself needs somewhere to sit and then the whole process is meant to be as sterile and sanitary as possible. Setting my pump in a puddle of pee on a bathroom floor and then filling bottles carefully on my lap and hoping I don't accidentally drop them in the toilet is not very sterile or sanitary.

So, so many people walked in on me while I was pumping at my brother's wedding. Sorry guys.

PRO: You can feed your baby in the night without even waking up all the way

This one is gold, Jerry. Gold.

Baby gets hungry in the night. Do I have to get up, let the tap run long enough for the water to get hot, turn on a light at least bright enough to mix a bottle of formula, and then sit up and feed this bottle to the hungry baby, like we did with Audrey?

NOPE. I just whip out a boob and give it to him. He eats and we both immediately go back to sleep.


CON: If the equipment malfunctions, you're kind of screwed

The "equipment" includes both your pump and your boobs themselves. If the pump breaks while you're at work, well I hope you work close to a Target because your ass is heading over there immediately to buy a new pump. Oh yeah, and they're like $300. You could always just buy a manual pump (for $40) and use that until Medela customer service can overnight you a new pump ... except lol that manual pump takes forever and is a giant pain in the ass. Thankfully, the equipment is reliable, but ... shit happens.

And your boobs can malfunction too! Joy of joys!!! Last week mine decided that they weren't really feeling the pump anymore at work. Weren't into it. Just wouldn't let down, no matter what, no matter how many baby videos I watched, no matter how many kumbayas I sang. I literally had to call in sick for a day and a half because my boobs were having technical difficulties. How is that even something that happens.

Also, they're doing it again right now. What the f***, you f***ers. You have one job.

PRO: It's relaxing and you can look at your phone while you do it

Have you ever tried to feed a baby a bottle and look at Facebook on your phone at the same time? Can't be done!

Breastfeeding and Facebooking, though? They were made for each other! Plus, breastfeeding baby releases lots of happy brain chemicals that make you feel awesome and relaxed. It's pretty sweet if you can make it work.

CON: You still have to watch what you eat and drink

Want to get wasted? Ha! Good one!

Want to drink a bunch of coffee? Well, I hope you like caffeinated babies because that shit comes out in breast milk!

Want to take some cold medicine because you're sick? Not today, buddy!

Want to consume any dairy products at all when your kid has a milk protein allergy? LOL TO YOU, FRIEND. LOL TO YOU.

Someday my body will be mine again. Someday.

PRO: Impossible to forget boobs at home

You can leave the house without your diaper bag, without a stroller, without any of the things you need to care for your baby. But you cannot forget your boobs. God saw to the impossibility of that.

So no matter what, at least you can always FEED your little one. Borrow diapers from a stranger, or use a paper towel or something. I dunno, you're smart. You'll figure it out.

CON: Very possible to forget your pump, pump parts, storage bottles, breastfeeding cover, breastfeeding cushion, nipple shields if you need them, absorbent nursing pads, cooler, ice pack ...

A lot of this stuff isn't strictly necessary -- like the breastfeeding cushion or cover, for example -- but you'll be a lot happier if you have them than if you don't.

And the pumping supplies are necessary, at least if you're going to be away from baby for a while. Just yesterday I forgot my storage bottles, and was actually contemplating putting pumped breastmilk into an old Gatorade bottle before realizing I'm a moron and I just needed to go back home and get the bottles.

Of course, even if you're formula feeding, you can still forget all the stuff you need to feed your baby, so nobody's really safe from this unless they're not stupid. But we're all stupid, so ... here we are.

PRO: Required, non-optional downtime spent snuggling baby (and required, non-optional break time spent pumping milk)

While feeding the baby, you are helpless. You cannot do chores. You cannot get your own dinner. You cannot change the other kid's poopy diaper.

All you can do is sit on the couch and snuggle your baby. It's a hard life.

Even pumping is a required break. While Jesse and I were moving, I called my pumping breaks my "union-mandated rest period" because it was not optional and meant I got to play on my phone instead of lifting furniture.


CON: You WILL cry over spilled milk

Last night, I had to dump out a bottle of pumped breast milk because it had been warmed up and not drank twice and that's already more times than you're supposed to do it. I practically whistled Taps as I poured it down the drain, and even now I can't stop thinking about things I could have done differently to have saved that milk. That milk is like a fallen comrade for whose death I will never forgive myself.

I even had a nightmare about it last night.

PRO: Boobs look incredible

No, for real. They are bomb.

CON: Breastfed babies don't usually sleep through the night until they're older than formula-fed babies

This one isn't really that big of a deal, though, because as I said, I can feed the baby without even waking up all the way. So ... I don't really miss the sleep that much?

But in a couple months, I may well be singing a different song. Some breastfed babies won't sleep through the night until they're like a year old.


I ain't waitin' no year to get my nights back.

(and by the way, in case you didn't know, the reason for this is because formula is harder to digest than breast milk, so it takes longer, so formula-fed babies don't tend to eat quite as frequently. Which means they stay asleep longer instead of waking up hungry)


I'm not used to this. I don't know what to do with them. I will miss them when they're gone.

So, which is better? Totally depends on which of these pros and cons carry the most weight for you. With Audrey, I didn't find breastfeeding relaxing at all because I was drowning in stress and anxiety. My boobs didn't put her to sleep -- they made her angry and frustrated. The formula she drank was relatively cheap (though compared to the special formula Trevor has to drink, Dom Perignon is cheap). The cons outweighed the pros by a mile.

But with Trevor, well ... we're still doing it, so I guess that shows you which side is winning here! Breast may be best from a medical standpoint, but there's so much more to it than that. 

Choose wisely, friends. And please don't give yourself postpartum depression trying desperately to breastfeed when it's not working. Please.

Mixing bottles in the night really isn't that bad.