Friday, March 27, 2015

she's HERE

Sooooo..... I just wanted to casually remind all of you that I AM IN A BOOK!!!!

 Ain't she purdy?????
click HERE to buy on Amazon.
click HERE to buy on iTunes.
click HERE to buy at Barnes & Noble.
OR, if you'd like a super fancy signed copy by a practically famous author lady, hit a sister up.
I feel like a bit of a fraud, because my children are actually quite respectful of bathroom privacy. But don't tell anyone. I don't want to get kicked out of the club.

Also because, on the scale of internet famosity, 1 being someone you've never heard of before in your entire life, and 10 being Kim Kardashian, I'm like a negative-zero, and my co-contributors are all solidly in the upper echelons.

The other day someone was sending around a draft for a press release (what?!) where each of the 40 authors were supposed to list their crowning achievements. Everyone else has books, beaucoup awards, TV appearances, etcetera. I literally have nothing of note. Short story titled "Vegetable Face" chosen for "publication" in St. Philomena's Wings of the Dove (think pieces of binder paper stapled together and shoved in a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper). Won a calendar contest for PG&E that same year (third grade was a good year for me). Wrote for Law Review, helped draft an appeal to the Ninth Circuit, spend many hours writing boring legal things. 139 Facebook likes. Taye Diggs followed me on Twitter.

At least for my next book, I will have something to write: Contributor, I Still Just Want to Pee Alone, by Some More Kick Ass Bloggers. (Wait! Does that make me a Kick Ass Blogger?! Yeeeah boyyyy!) Effusive thanks to her royal high-lariousness Jen Mann for including such a complete and total rookie in the ranks!

And in case you need further evidence of my authorial legitimacy - may I proudly present to you, my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE!!!!! (Sorry for the shouty caps. I'm just a teensy bit excited.)

BUY THE BOOK! If you liked it, write glowing reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Receive bountiful karmic retribution in the form of complex carbohydrates and dairy products and fermented grapes. If you hated it, maybe skip the review, get your funny bone checked, and no grapes for you! ;)

Thank you and good day!

Oh and if you're interested in the skinny on this soon-to-be bestselling piece of fine-ass literature:

I STILL Just Want to Pee Alone is the third installment in the national best-selling series of anthologies published by Throat Punch Media. The previous two have sold over 40,000 copies to date and are both continually ranked in the top 20 of their category on Amazon. The original I Just Want to Pee Alone is on the New York Times Best Sellers List. We expect this one to do well too.

The previous two books have over 500 reviews on Amazon with an average of 4.5 stars.

This book has 40 contributors with a social media reach of 1.2 million fans (and growing) on Facebook.

Many of the contributors to this book are award-winning writers who have appeared on the NYT best-seller's list, Huff Po, Scary Mommy, LifetimeMoms, NickMom. (< I am not one of those award-winning writers. YET. ;))

You know you want to, too!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Most Positive Person

Sometimes I think my kids are assholes.

E.g., Glow-Stick-Gate 2014.

Or that time when the boy melted onto the airport food court floor because he wanted a hamburger but then he got a hamburger and the hamburger wasn't frozen yogurt.

Or every time she screams at me because I can't read her mind (which is usually the opposite of what her mouth is saying).

Or the fact that I have a mini panic attack every night when I'm pouring their milk because I feel like I'm on some terrible game show where choosing the wrong color cup causes you to be electrocuted.

Or when Jack lost his ever lovin mind because he didn't get a present on Colby's birthday (this was the fourth celebration of her birthday, and this was the first time Jack hadn't gotten a courtesy present). He also cried his face off because we said he could only have one candle in his cupcake when Colby got three. You know, because it was her third birthday.

Times like these, I'm convinced I'm DOING IT WRONG.

The other day I was texting with my two BFFs. My friend Claire (3 kids) and I were, well, whining to our friend B (no kids as of yet; penchant for moving to war-torn, poverty-stricken, disease-ravaged countries to make them better places) about how WHINY our kids are. All. The. Damn. Time. We came to the consensus that we should send them to Auntie B's Boot Camp in rural Haiti. That'll wipe the whine clean out of 'em, I bet. Kinda like how my dad kept a framed photo above the stove of two starving homeless kids sharing a cold can of beans during the Depression. (Granted, we were d*cks. I still feel terrible about this one time my dad came to pick me up at the babysitter and I said, "I don't want to go home. He's just going to make us eat frank-n-beans again." I only now appreciate the pleasure he would have taken at throttling my neck right then.)

Aaaanyway. In spite of allllll this. Grading on a curve - a curve that does not include Haiti or Afghanistan or Syria or Sierra Leone - I've got some darn good kids.

When we were home recently, my father in law said to me "You're too hard on them. They're just kids." And he's right. I do ride them hard. I feel like a broken record. I say the following phrases literally 100 times a day: "Yes please? No thank you? Chew with your mouth closed, please. Don't talk with your mouth full, please. Cover your mouth when you cough/sneeze/power-wash a five-foot radius with snot, please. Say excuse me when you _____. Do you need a tissue? (Code for: Get your goddamn finger out of your nose.)" It gets old. And I often wonder if a single word I say permeates that hermetically sealed membrane of their hard little bobble heads.

I may be a "mean mom," but it's important to me not to raise jerks. Granted, they'll inevitably turn out to be somewhat entitled dicks, an unfortunate by-product of growing up in a "yurfy" (you like that? i just made it up: yuppy + surfy) so-cal town with two lawyer parents. But I care about instilling some basic sense of how to be a pleasant co-habitant of this fast-shrinking planet we call home. And whatever we're doing, it seems to be working. Sort of. Sometimes. For example -

My kids are consistently good travelers. (The week after we travel, however? All bets are off. Holy hell.)

They are, apparently, a pleasure to have in the classroom. (Reminds me of the time when my third grade teacher called my mom and told her she should come to the end of the year awards ceremony because I was receiving "The Most Positive Person" award. My mom replied, "You must have the wrong kid." :))

My mother in law almost died when she saw Jack (attempting) to clean up (3%) of the pee off the toilet seat at her house.

They seem to actually enjoy their little chores, like feeding the dog (leaving a little Hansel and Gretel trail so she kind find her way to dinner), setting the table, putting their dirty dishes in the sink and "folding" the laundry, a.k.a. rolling it into a ball.

They regularly say things like "Fank you for dis dewicious meal," "You look beautiful today," "May pwease I be excused?" and "You're a gweat awtist!" They usually say "Excuse me" after emitting a stench of one sort or another, that is, after cackling maniacally about it.

Jack is thoughtful to a fault (which I think is probably more personality than parenting but whatever, I'm taking credit anyway since I made him). For example, if he gets a little trinket but there isn't one for his sister, or if someone has to drive or stay home by themselves, it literally brings him to tears, he's so concerned about their feelings.

Colby could snuggle the bad mood out of a hangry hibernating bear.

Last night we were reading this book called "Peace Through Our Eyes," with drawings and sayings from local elementary school kids. (A gift from Auntie Claire, actually ;)) Jack says, "To me, peace is being helpful. Peace is being respectful and responsible. Peace is... like when there are only two pieces of pizza left and you want both, but your sister wants one too, so you share with her." Then, a minute later, "Then, you use your words and your manners and you ask in your nicest big boy voice for your parents to buy another pizza." This kid cracks my shit up.

What I'm trying to say is, while it's easy to get down on yourself for the daily dinner drama or another Target meltdown or the nonstop sibling strife, it's worth reminding ourselves that we're not doing half bad, and the kids are alright.

(Full disclosure: After the kids basically rocked vacation, I was feeling SUPER proud of them, which spawned the idea for this post, and DM and I even talked about it on our school-board-meeting-turned-happy-hour date the day after we got back, brainstorming all the things we love about our kids. Then, life laughed in my face, as she is wont to do, and for the past week, the children, whether from jet lag or sickness or exhaustion or grandparent hangover or party overload or all of the above, have been intently trying to ruin my life. I'm gonna cut 'em a break though because I don't feel like I've really recovered either. But geez louise. Oh, and that reminds me. Jack: "Which is the one we're not supposed to say? 'Geez Louise' or 'Oh Jesus?'" Dear lord.)

The moral of the story is, I'm not perfect. Neither are my kids. Far from it. But I must be doing something right (some of the time ;)). I bet you are, too.

See? Happy little beach babies. Just remember to bring enough snacks to feed a small army (in sand- and waterproof receptacles), fourteen towels, seven DRY, pristine changes of clothes, and devise a method by which you can successfully remove every last grain of sand from every inch and orifice of their body upon departure from the beach
(baby powder, shop-vac). Follow these simple steps and you'll be good to go! ;) 

** If you liked this post, you'll love my essay in I Still Just Want to Pee Alone, Available Now! **
Click HERE to buy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

fly the unfriendly skies

my entire adult life, when i flew, i studiously avoided interaction with my fellow passengers. hoodie. sunglasses. book. headphones. ipad. resting bitch face. sometimes all of the above. the ideal was to prevent someone from sitting next to me at all, but at the very least, to escape 4 hours of painful small talk. and yet i never failed to land the chatty cathy, or verdrunken vince, or suuuuuper friendly young military guy who obviously didn't realize i'm almost twice his age. this whole time, i was missing the one accessory guaranteed to ward off other travelers like the plague: children.

and i get that. but we just traveled cross country with our kids and they were solid. the way out was pretty painless, oh yeah, except for the part where it was 5 hours of white-knuckle rodeo, sweet mary mother of god. there was a pilot sitting next to us and he said it was the worst, most consistent turbulence he had ever experienced, including 17 years in the air force! i was putting on an-Oscar-worthy performance by not sobbing and screaming bloody murder, and the kids thought it was all fun and games, at least until little Colby jean started turning green :(

anyway. at the end of the flight, the guy behind me said to Colby: "wow! you are such a good traveler! i thought the seat in front of me was empty you were so quiet!" translation: i thought your mother was a total nutcase, animatedly reading stories, playing legos and paper dolls, and singing "let it go" to herself.

on the flight back we were delayed 2 hours - in the plane on the tarmac - for maintenance of vague origin. then a FIVE AND A HALF hour flight. SO FAR. the kids handled it though. it helped that there was a baby and a six-year-old in the row ahead of us that were pretty out of control. that kid was a piece of work. the mom's hollerin' at him to STOP EATING YOUR BOOGERS. i almost died. then he launched into a charming little ditty made up of the words fart, poop, butt, pee, and booger-snot. he was droppin' some BOMBS, too, boy. smells like that should not emanate from a six year old. yeeew. i shouldn't judge though. children who have ingested near their body weight in Persian Kotlet also make for pungent passengers.

[OMG. DM just informed me that this kid kept reaching back between the seats and grabbing stuff out of their seat-back pockets, and DM was like, okay, whatever, but then he reached back and locked his boogery little hands on to Colby's legs! WTF? if i had been sitting there, you would have seen some "community parenting" in action. i mean, really???]

i do love a good crying baby though, when it's not mine. i'm not talking nuclear meltdown. just a slow, steady, category II cry. really takes the pressure off. i tell you what, though, if my kid falls asleep, all bets are off. if that crying wakes up this sleeping, you, sir, are going to have one or two additional angry minis on your lap.

speaking of sleeping babies. we hit some turbulence and the captain illuminated the fasten-your-seatbelt sign and came over the PA and instructed us to double check to make sure our seat-belts were fastened. i checked. mine wasn't. but there was a sweet angel boy asleep on my lap, and here is the honest truth: in that moment, i would rather die in a plane than wake up my sleeping child. (don't worry. his belt was securely fastened and his seat back and tray table were in the full, upright and locked position.)

BTW, here are some observations about flying:

if it requires mixed martial arts to cram your luggage into the overhead bin, just CHECK the fucking thing.

spilled apple juice smells like pee. or maybe all apple juice does, i don't know.

question: what the f*ck us up with US Airways? does their job application read: "Are you a miserable person? Well then, we have got the career for you! As a flight attendant on US Airways, not only will you be able to wallow in your own misery, you will be able to spread that misery to hundreds of strangers every, single, day!" okay. i'm not being fair. there are probably plenty of perfectly nice flight attendants on that airline. i just have yet to encounter one. well, that's actually not true. there was a really nice guy on our flight Tuesday. aggressively friendly, i would say. he kept throwing things at Jack's head. jack would look up with his initial "what the fuck?" face, then see it was this guy pulling his leg, and smile. that in and of itself is a testament to how far this boy of mine has come. two years ago, that would have ruined 7+ hours of 157 people's lives. anyway, i guess i can't really blame the grumpy ones. held captive 30,000 above the earth with a bunch of impatient, adult-sized toddlers can't be fun.

then, finally, that feeling. after seven goddamn hours stranded on this hunk of metal hurtling through the air, when the plane starts its descent? i swear i can hear a Baptist gospel choir starting up behind me. can i get an AMEN?!

we didn't get home until midnight California time (which was 3am by our recalibrated east coast clocks). i was mentally patting us all on the back and thinking, wow, we made it, that wasn't so bad... but then mommy had a meltdown. it had dawned on me about halfway through our flight that i couldn't just crawl in bed when i got home. i had to bake birthday muffins (remember, no cupcakes allowed!), and go to walgreen's to pick up photos of The Colbs at every year of her life for the preschool birthday song and dance that was happening at 9am the next day (wtf was I thinking? i do not know.) walgreens closes at 10pm, by the way. you should have heard me in the car when i pulled up to the darkened store. ARE YOU F*CKING KIDDING ME?! EXAMINE YOUR BUSINESS MODEL, ASSHOLES!!! "Walgreens. On the corner of Happy and Healthy." MY ASS. How about on the corner of ... STUPID... AND... CLOSED, goddammit." ha. classy. thank GOD and everything holy, DM, my lord and savior, said he would put the kids to bed, bake birthday muffins, AND make the kids' lunches. talk about mom porn.

ANYWAY. thanks to my amazing husband, i felt like things were maybe going to be okay. then i walked into the garage-slash-laundry-room, and realized that an enormous ball of sheets and towels had been sitting in the dryer for a week (and were not even remotely dry), and due to some feat of physics, had tied themselves into a moldy Gordian knot of epic proportions. honestly, it would be impossible for a human to configure linens in such an inextricable cluster of fuck. i briefly contemplated getting my phone to take a picture because there is no way anything but photographic evidence would do it justice, but instead, i just sat down on the ground with an enormous, thirty-pound, mildewy pile of wet laundry on my lap, and started crying like a baby.

ah, "vacation" ;)

oh yeah, and, just to let you know, we've now been back 7 days and everyone in the family is still, apparently, recovering from jet lag and grandparent hangover. but it's totally worth it! ;)

** If you liked this post, you'll love my essay in I Still Just Want to Pee Alone, Available Now! **
Click HERE to buy!

Thursday, March 19, 2015


We went to Delaware last week. It was far.

Traveling with kids. This topic is one of my mainstays. Travel, feminist mom/gender issues/pink glitter lint, and, of course, cheese.

I feel like traveling with children is just an endless loop of running interference and going to great lengths to avoid meltdowns. I am on high alert at all times. It's freaking exhausting. And then DM is like, "No naps? Going to bed at midnight? Feeding them nothing but warm grapes and granola bars for 24 hours? Eating out at restaurants with white tablecloths at 8 o'clock at night? They'll be FINE! Stop being such a stress-ball." Ha! All of motherhood for me is this constant struggle between wanting to placate them so they'll STFU, and wanting to hold the line so that they'll learn that their actions have consequences, and so maybe they won't grow up to be total douche bonnets, even though I know doing so is gonna ruin the next 30-90 minutes of my life.


Anyway. There's a post in the pipes about the actual traveling experience (also one about not raising miniature douche canoes). But for now, a few funnies that were said:

Grandpa (Baba), cutting cantaloupe for Colby, near Colby.
Colby: Uh, Baba? Did you know kids are not supposed to have knives?
My kids are nothing if not rule-abiding. Just like their mama. (I just re-read this (yes I read my own blog posts. Probably more than anyone else's, by a long shot) and was like, Wait. My kids are ANYTHING but rule abiding. Unless said rule allows them to boss other people (e.g. Colby LOVES telling other babies/children "It's not a crying thing,") and/or is the most effective way to inconvenience their mother. Then they are all about STRICT adherence to the letter of the law.)

Then, Baba tries to feed Colby the canteloupe.
C: I'd rather feed myself. Fanks doh.

Grandma ("Ima," who grew up in Iran and still has a bit of an accent): I have to get the scissor.
Jack: Who's Caesar?

Oh yeah, also, my baby turned 3. Waaaa. I was showing her baby pictures and there's this one where she's sitting on an old suitcase that belonged to my great grandmother.

Colby: Is your gweat gwandma dead?
Me: Yes.
Colby: Did she get killed by bad guys?
Me: Um, no.

Also, it was COLD.

I mean. Not zero degrees. But not 82. Jack wanted to open the car window while we were driving.
DM: No way! Do you want to turn into a Popsicle?!
Colby: I'm gonna turn into a popsi-GIRL!

This guy was obviously an escaped mental patient, out and about dressed like this.
I was wearing three coats.

Reading Dinosaurs Love Underpants at bedtime. Spoiler alert: The dinosaurs die.
Jack: What happened to the dinosaurs, mama?
Me: Um, I think they're sleeping.
Jack: Daddy said they were dead.
Me: Oh.
Jack: Mama? Tomorrow, can you show me a picture of a dinosaur and dinosaur bones? And a wooly mammoff and woolly mammoff bones? And a saver-toof-tiger and saver-toof-tiger bones? Cuz I willy want to learn about dat stuff.
Me: Yes, absolutely bud.
Colby: Mama, tomorrow, will you learn me pictures about pwincess bones and baby bones?
Me: Ummmm....

TV room with lazy boy recliner couch = "Da Woom Wif Da Magic Chairs"

Jack: Daddy! Stop eating stuff off my plate, I don't want you to be fat!
DM: Well you're not eating it.
K: So. That doesn't mean you have to eat it. Just leave it dare!
DM: ...
Colby: I don't want daddy's belly to be wittow! It's comfy!

Colby: Hey how did you lock that door? [Auto-lock car door.]
DM: I did it with my brain.
Colby: No you didn't cuz you don't has one of doze.
Ohhh snap! ;)

DM: I feel like if you squint your ears a lot of the songs today sound like they're from the 80s.

Oh, and, for the past two years, I have been holding a grudge because I believed that DM tricked me into eating an actual meat cheesesteak from Capriotti's sandwich shop. (I'm a vegetarian, or rather, a cheese-a-tarian, so this did not sit well with me.) I believed this because they opened a couple shops in San Diego, and we went, and they do not have a veggie cheese steak. I simply did not believe that the Wilmington, Delaware contingent would have a tofurkey cheesesteak when California's didn't. But. The man was vindicated. I'm just happy I didn't inadvertently eat cow.

Who knew?

Finally, here's a little gem from today:

Text from DM this morning: What do I do with her hair when you Elsa braid it at night? Undo the braid? ["Elsa braid," otherwise known as a braid-braid. I have a limited repertoire.]
Me: Yes, take out the braid, get it wet, and then do whatever. (Or else it's an Elsa-braid-tail with a big snarly halo on top. Business in the back, party in the front.)
Ten minutes later I get this:

"So... not this?"
Lol. Not bad actually. I like his problem-solving skills. Good daddy ;)

** If you liked this post, you'll love my essay in I Still Just Want to Pee Alone, Available Now! **
Click HERE to buy!

Friday, March 13, 2015


The girl is turning three soon. It's wild. It's wild she's as old as she is, and wild that she'll probably always seem younger to me than her brother (if you're thinking, duh, she will always seem younger than her brother because she IS younger than her brother, dumbass... that's not what I meant. I meant that she seems younger to me at 3 than her brother did at the same age. But then sometimes older. I don't know. Nevermind.) You know what else is wild? That she is a whole little person with so many thoughts and ideas and words and plans and like, LIFE, and she probably won't remember any of this!!!

So. We're presently on the East Coast visiting the in-laws and I thought I could get away with a small little family shindig, leaving my poor MIL to do most of the heavy lifting, but then the girl decided she wanted to have a "berfday wif my fwends, like bruddah did," and how could I say no? The theme: Bat-Grill Pwincess, which, p.s., isn't actually a thing. Or, it wasn't. Until now:

I mean...
Custom Batgirl Princess
by Oh Sew Cute by Mel
(Thank you X for reminding me of the wonder of Etsy)
Anyway, we had a small intimate gathering of sixty freakin people. I stressed and planned for months, like I do. (Cupcake toppers and tissue poofs are the devil's work. The very definition of self-created stress.) But, as is true of basically everything in my life, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

I highly recommend hosting a party at somewhere other than your house, where they only allow you one hour to set up. Listen to your husband when he forbids you from baking eight dozen mini cupcakes. It also helps if you suck at cooking, that way you can just buy a pants-load of party platters from the market. I got this text from the hubs as he was picking up the food: "You are an insane person if you thought for a second this wouldn't be enough food." Skip goodie bags and let the kids take home their hand-potted succulents (so on trend ;)) and painted rocks, handily provided by the botanical gardens! The moral of the story is: why do it yourself when you can pay someone else to do it for you? ;) Outsource, outsource, outsource. We (and by "we" I mean Etsy, Ralph's market, and our local bakery) threw the best bat-grill pwincess pawty in Da West.

how do you like my Microsoft paint batgirl mask?
protecting my kids' privacy is obviously extremely important to me ;)
no one will ever know
Any-who. The whole point of this post is this. Apparently, during the party, multiple people came up to DM and said "We were so confused because it was a super hero party, but for a girl???" Um, whut? Let's just say, they picked the right half of the parenting duo to direct such ridiculousness. You know that old idiom, there are no stupid questions? Well, it's not true. And what was DM's response? "It's because she has a big brother." WRONG ANSWER, buddy.

HELLO PEOPLE. This is the twenty-first century. Have we met?????


We've been over this. Girls are allowed to like super heroes. And not just because their big brothers do. Boys are allowed to like princesses. And not just because their little sisters do. I know this is a well-worn refrain 'round these parts, but c'mon. Examine your biases.

To that end, I thought this article was really interesting: Does Your Child Challenge Traditional Gender Roles by Emma Waverman on Today's Parent. She points out that people are generally more comfortable with, for example, girls liking superheroes and dressing like tomboys, than boys liking princesses and wearing skirts. The mom's internal struggle really struck a chord with me because I totally understand, yet can't totally explain, why I would feel less comfortable if Jack wanted to wear a dress to school than if Colby wanted to wear... I don't even know what. I love dressing her in her big brother's clothes, I basically think it's the cutest thing ever. But if she decides she wants to shave her head, I might die. Not because of the gender thing really, just because she has the most gorgeous hair in the world. Anyway. Worth giving it a think.

I also saw this and loved it: Moms Fight Gender Stereotypes with Princess Awesome Dress Line on I won't try to unpack the fact that "moms fighting gender stereotypes" create a dress line called princess awesome. But still. Baby steps. I heart this big time. And it cannot be denied that the pink-princess obsession is in the water at preschool (only served to the girls though, just the girls. Because, as Jack took to saying when he started preschool, "pink is for grills.")

And on that subject, here's a refreshing take on it: My Daughter Loves Pink and Princesses. She's still a badass. on Stuff Moms Say. "I don't appreciate the message that liking pink, tulle tutus, dollar store tiaras, or fairy wings makes my daughter any less badass than other little girls because I assure you, she is the fierce, opinionated, and 100% herself. And she can get halfway up a tree wearing an ankle length Merida costume." I like what she's saying here. I'm not sure who she hangs out with though, because there are 12 Elsa-wannabes (my daughter included) at preschool, and ain't nobody goin' all counter-culture or "off-trend" there.

I also recently read this blog post - can't find it now - that was along the lines of, don't judge my son for being a spastic a-hole when you come over with your singular, sweet, well-behaved daughter, he's a boy, this is what boys do, blah blah blah. That stuff really irks me. (And incidentally, I'm not the only one. Tons of comments said "Hey actually my son is the sweet sensitive one and my daughter is the tasmanian devil baby, so, yeah.)

Certainly, both of my children have their spastic a-hole moments. They both run around like bat-shit banshees, punch, kick, yell, and scream. They both whine and cry and kiss and snuggle. They both like playing with dolls and the Princess Sofia Castle. They both like pretending to be ninjas and propelling themselves off furniture. My son does really love sports and things that go more than his sister does, and my daughter does love taking care of her babies and loveys in a way her brother never has. But big brother is a big baby, and little sister is a tough mudder. Brother wouldn't touch a snake or a snail with a ten foot pole, and sister will crush a spider with her bare foot. I've come to see it all as facets of their unique personalities, and not as black-and-white (or rather, pink-and-blue) gender markers.

I know I literally just wrote about this three weeks ago, but I feel like this aggressive gendering of our children is everywhere, always, and it's too much, especially when extrapolated to its natural conclusion - gross inequality. Why can't we just let them be who they want to be, rather than trying to dictate their preferences based on some old school gender code? Clearly, the outside world will not hesitate to stamp out any whiff of individuality, to crush their creative little souls. I, for one, am going to do my best not to be one more voice telling them to color - pink or blue, must choose one - inside the lines.

Also this. Just because.

** If you liked this post, you'll love my essay in I Still Just Want to Pee Alone, Available Now! **
Click HERE to buy!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

fill the void with cheese

This was another one of those seeds for a post that I came across back in November, right around the time I just let go of the reins on life. I'm still ridin' bareback, gettin' bucked (with a B) from time to time, and taking three months to complete a blog post, but, here you go.

I saw this article on Scary Mommy titled "The Void When You're Done Having Children." The author, Toni Hammer, talks about how she had two babies in a calendar year, she knew didn't want any more children, her husband got a vasectomy, it was the right decision for her, her family, and her body... But, there's a void where the next child would have been, and she's even given this imaginary next child a name (it's a girl)...

When I first read this I was thinking, "Ummmmmm.... maybe you should see about getting that vasectomy reversed because it definitely does not sound like you were ready to be done with baby-making." But if the comments, and related articles, and the people I know in real life are any indication, this is actually a pretty common thing. Maybe, for some people, it's money, or logistics, or something more practical that prevents them from having more children. But I definitely know people who theoretically did not want any more children, but still agonized over the decision to make it a surgical surety.

If you know much about me, you can probably guess I was NOT one of those people. I have been actively campaigning for a vasectomy/tubal ligation OR BOTH since, oh, about three minutes after my daughter was born. (To be honest, I started campaigning after Baby #1). I had zero hesitation, and zero regrets. Interestingly (and I don't know if this is some sort of manly manhood thing), my husband was the one who was hesitant to bite the bullet. At first, when Colby had some serious, unknown, possibly life-threatening health issues, his reasoning was, "Well, what if something happens to her..." [On a side note, I have never found this a compelling argument. What're you gonna do, have a replacement kid? That seems pretty shitty for all parties involved.] After it became clear that Miss Colby Jean was as healthy as a horse (well, as healthy as a horse with one kidney can be), his reasoning became a little more nebulous, but I will tell you, it was kind of like pulling teeth. I guess this is just further evidence that I am missing whatever gene makes you super mommy-ish, but I had no such misgivings. JUST GIMME THE SCALPAL! I'll do it myself!

Now. I hope this goes without saying. I love my kids. LOVE them. Crazy love them. They rocked my world, and became my world. I would not change a single thing. But, honestly, my original descent into motherhood was a happy, terrifying accident. I always wanted children, theoretically, but I never suffered from this ubiquitous biological clock which, apparently, tolls for everyone but me. Then, after I had one baby, I was DONE. The End. Finito. But DM made a compelling case for another mini, and I started thinking about what my life would be like without my brother and sister, and eventually I came around. And let me tell you, I am SO GLAD we had another. Not only because Colby is radical and I can't imagine our family without her. But also because seeing these two little humans (that we hand-crafted from tequila and love and sunshine. take THAT, you hipster mo-fos) playing together, thick as thieves, is THE BEST THING EVER. Seriously, major heart meltage.

nothing better than when they are being adorable little partners in crime.
not pictured: when they are kung-fu-ing each other in the head and non-stop shrieking out of their face holes
And I'm sure, as I think I've said before, that if surgical interventions went awry and I got knocked up again, baby #3 would also become an indispensable part of our family. Actually, it could probably just take my spot because #3 (it will be a boy and we will call him CHEDDAH) would very likely send me straight to the loony bin. I am already balancing precariously on the precipice. But, the point is, I don't know a single person who regrets having had a child, whether or not that child was in their original "life plan."

It's impossible to talk about in a vacuum, really. But I think that's just, like, the biological/ psychological reality/ necessity of growing a family. I am so happy with my two crazy critters. I feel as though my family is complete. But. I think, if I didn't know what I was missing, if I hadn't met WHO I was missing, I would have been perfectly happy with a family of three. Or even, dare I say, a family of two? Or even just little old me? I always imagined my future with a husband ("life partner") and children in it, but if for whatever reason that didn't happen, I have to think there are many different happy trajectories on life can take. Granted, I would be a crazy dog lady. But who's to say that's not a joyful journey in its own right?

The author of the article would probably disagree. She writes that The Void "reminds [her] of how silly and foolish [she] was to have thought [she] never wanted children in the first place." I'm sure she wasn't trying to be mean, but, to me, it definitely comes off as a little harsh toward people who don't have kids, by choice or otherwise. I get where she's coming from. I do. Once you have kids, it is literally impossible to remember what life was like "Before." It is also literally impossible to remember what you had for breakfast. DM and I sit there sometimes like, "What did we used to do?" It is just so far beyond the realm of our current comprehension.

But I don't think it's fair to say that not wanting children is silly or foolish. Some days I think it might be fucking brilliant. I liken it to... bread, or cheese, or whiskey, or chimichangas, or coolhaus salted-caramel-snickerdoodle ice cream sandwiches or [insert whatever food or beverage brings you utter cosmic bliss]. Then imagine that consumption of said comestible regularly gives you a terrible case of the runs. That's like having children. Mind-bogglingly awesome, but, at times, literally and figuratively shitty. Now, imagine you never ever tasted the edible-salted-caramel-orgasm referenced above. You're happy, because you don't know what you're missing. And, conveniently, you get to avoid sitting on the toilet peeing out of your butt so long you lose all feeling in the lower half of your body. (I'm really just trying to drive this analogy home.)

So, yeah. That's my two cents.

Also, here is a list (not exhaustive) of things you can use to fill The Void:

* The Good Bourbon
* Coolhaus salted-caramel-snickerdoodle ice cream sandwiches
* Whatever diaper-priced things make you happy, because you are DUNZO
* Silence (infrequent and somewhat suspicious, but still)
* New carpet in a color other than poo-browny-beige
* New kitchen table that my arms and tableware do not stick to
* UN-sensible shoes and undergarments
* Other Nice Things
* Sex (without stressing about birth control, or babies!)
* Books without pictures
* Occasional conversations without fart jokes (if your husband is behaving)
* Vacations free of homicidal/suicidal tendencies
* Dinners made of real, grown-up food, rather than half-eaten leftovers from someone else's plate
* Or, eating popcorn and drinking wine for dinner. Because you can, that's why.
* Crafts, without glitter ending up in the carpet and in various bodily crevices, or someone gluing their fingers together, or getting stabbed with kiddie scissors
* Cheese

What void?
^ Note, may have to wait 18-25 years post-vasectomy for some of these benefits to take effect :)
PS. "The Void" works both ways. The other day I was talking to my colleague, whose wife just had their third baby. He was saying he thought they were done with two, but now they're really done. The wife doesn't eat sugar or gluten. I told him he better hurry the f*ck up and get snipped if he doesn't want any more kids, because she is going to keep filling the sugar/gluten void with babies. We all have our vices :) Oh, yeah, by the way, tune back for a post about gluten and how karma's a bitch, coming soon.

PPS. This is funny. New post on Scary Mommy - 9 Thoughts I Had During My Husband's Vasectomy. And it all comes full circle. So glad to know the phantom baby kicks happen to others and I am not just completely losing my marbles.

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