It's a Girl, Damnit!

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When I was pregnant, Nick and I elected to join the small minority of folks who thrive on chaos and stressful last minute planning and not find out that Ellie was going to be a girl. Actually, the plan was that Nick was going to find out and keep it a secret from me because he couldn't understand why anyone would not want to be privy to information that could make life easier. He promised… swore… crossed his heart that he wouldn’t slip. He lasted a total of 17 seconds. Right after the ultrasound tech told him “it’s a one” (apparently their code for girl) Nick asked “is she head down?” Poor guy. So smart yet… well, I love him so I’ll leave it at that.

Anyhoo, I pretended not to hear, shrouded myself in oblivion and we never discussed it with each other or anyone else. Consequently, we received a plethora of green and yellow clothes and blankets, which Elliot happily wore for the first few weeks of her life. Everywhere we went people presumed she was a boy, which, when you name your daughter “Elliot” and dress her in a unisex wardrobe was not a huge shocker.

However.

A few weeks later we entered The Baby Gender Obvious Twilight Zone. I decided that I didn’t want her developing an identity crisis or growing up to be a tranny so I went out and bought her some pink dresses and blankets. The day after my little shopping spree I went in for my follow-up doctor appointment. Me in my poop-stained sweats and wild hair and Ellie decked out in her pink dress, tights and patent leather shoes. Together we were a walking contradiction, but at least she would be recognized for the woman she was. The first thing out of the nurse’s mouth: “Oh, how old is he?”

WTF.

SHE is six weeks.

Oh, cute! What’s his name?

HER name is Ellie.

I will mention to J.T. that his nurse is stupid.

On the way home I stopped at the grocery store for some Fig Newtons and Dr. Pepper. You know, lunch. The cashier must have gone to the same crappy optometrist as the nurse because the first words out of her mouth were “Oh, cute - how old is he?”

Despite the fact that we now dress her in pink from head to toe, people continue to mistake her for a boy. The pharmacist. The liquor store owner. The drive through workers at Taco Bell… pretty much everyone on my daily errand route. Even my own Grandma, who, for the most part, is of sound mind. I had a phone conversation with her last week and every single pronoun was “he”. “Is he sleeping good?” “Is he crawling yet?” “Did he like the pink dress I sent him?”

I was really beginning to worry that aliens had taken over the Earth. Or even worse - my daughter looked like a boy. Then yesterday I went to a baby shower and was relieved to discover that a friend who has a daughter Ellie’s age told me she experienced the same thing. In fact, she had decided to remedy the situation by piercing her daughter’s ears, to which her husband reluctantly agreed because he realized the gravity of the situation. I have deep beliefs about piercing a baby’s ears, and while cute I just don’t think I can inflict non-vaccine related pain on my innocent baby. I thought about buying Ellie a “My First Make-Up Kit” for Christmas, but then feared that would initiate a chain of events that would lead to next year’s gift of “My ‘Lil FMPs” with matching cigarette case.

So that just leaves us with continuing to dress her up like a cute little bottle of Pepto Bismol and passive-aggressively correcting people. Worst case scenario she’ll go to college on a nice softball scholarship.

Bubble Mom

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I’d like to begin this post by acknowledging that I can be a bit of a germophobe.

This acknowledgement is going to be met with great protest from one of my best friends (to protect her privacy we’ll call her “Lamy”) who will tell anyone who listens that I once ate pizza out of a trash can. Ok, it was twice. But as I’ve reminded Lamy time and time again, those pizzas were in a box on the top of a trash can. Yet I digress.

On a scale from 1 to 10 I’d rank myself about a 5, with Bubble Boy a 1 and Oscar the Grouch a 10. I carry hand sanitizer in my purse, I use my shirt tail to open some doors, I put toilet paper down on the seat in public bathrooms (I know what you’re thinking and I’ve TRIED to hover but there’s just something wrong with my plumbing. It goes everywhere and I have to go home and take a shower and burn my pants. Also met with high scrutiny from Lamy). However, with that having been admitted, I believe that even Oscar would be pissed about my impending rant…

Why does everyone I meet succumb to a seemingly insatiable urge to put their slobbery lips and scummy hands all over my baby? It’s like I’m toting around a little baby Blarney Stone. And they’re quick – so quick. I can look into their eyes and know within seconds that they’re going in for the grope but before I can utter a word they are in and out, fast as lightning. Kissing and touching her feet, her hands, her head… oh God it makes me freaking crazy.

But even if I did have time to say something how do you tell a 90-year-old woman, whose days are numbered, who gains her only glimmer of happiness for the week by touching my baby’s hand, to keep her meat hooks to herself? What if the old woman died on the way home and I deprived her of her one last moment of joy?

But then again, what if she has some horrible contagious disease that she passes along to my poor, defenseless daughter? Or what about Nick’s boss – we’re talking about a world-renowned physician - who nuzzled Ellie with her nose in front of everyone at his work party? I stood helpless. The room started spinning and I thought my blood pressure was going to pop my eyes right out of my head. I wanted to grab her by the hair and fling her into the pool. There’s just no way to say it without being branded forever as a nervous Mom who also happens to be a horrible bitch.

After much deliberation and consideration I have come up with a temporary fix that’s been successful on two test runs in the check-out line at Wal-Mart: Random woman glances behind her at Ellie, turns away, contemplates her evil plan, turns back:

Oh, she’s adorable! How old is she?

10 weeks.

Oh! Hello there! Hello cute little one! So cute… (eyes twinkling, fingers twitching)…

Thanks! Say... you don’t know anything about scabies, do you?

Hand jerks back.

Crisis averted.

Listen, people. This little 14-pound bundle of joy cost us a fortune to create, is costing us even more to keep alive and happy, and she happens to be the key element in our very expensive retirement plan. You break her, and it’s going to be your ass coming over when I’m 80 to change my bed pan and keep me company while I watch The Price is Right.

Although the scabies strategy has worked so far, I will continue to spend my free moments Googling "bubble material".

MILF

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Last week I went in for my 6-week check-up with J.T. (my trusty OB). He told me it looked like I had healed perfectly… one of the best post-op incisions he had seen… green light to resume life as I knew it … blah blah blah.

Disappointed, I drove home knowing when I got there it would be time to face the Reaper. I hate the Reaper. But no more excuses – it’s time to get back in shape. When I got home I went to the closet and my old running shoes, who I affectionately refer to as Somebody Kill Me (left shoe) and What Just Popped (right one), were there waiting for me and begging for action under a pile of dust.

While I’m near my pre-pregnancy weight, it is distributed in a very different way than I recall. For instance, I’m pretty sure that my belly button never looked like it was being poured out of my stomach like honey from a (very lumpy) jar. And I got some serious junk in a previously empty trunk. I mean, SERIOUS junk.

I decided that Monday would be the big day that I would begin to get back in shape – let’s not rush things. The master plan included working out once a day, and eating ice cream only once a week. As a point of reference, I checked our bank statement and we had 18 Dairy Queen transactions in the month of June. As many calories as four African children eat in a year. Stop judging.

Unfortunately and despite my prayers, Monday came. I laced up the shoes and decided a jog would be a good start.

The jiggling began immediately and without apology. It was everywhere... the arms, the thighs, the butt. But the belly had borne the brunt of the pregnancy weight and together with the boobs created a perfect storm of friction, flopping and free flowing skin. My face, immediately purple and swollen, was the finishing touch into my transformation into a female John Goodman jogging through the neighborhood. Ellie clung tightly to the sides of the jogging stroller for dear life, gums chattering, eyes bulging – the bouncing was almost more than she could take.

After mile 1 there was a numbness in my inner thighs which I assumed was either an early symptom of a heart attack or the onset of horrific chafing. Either way it was not good. My lungs were on fire and it was all I could do to keep from vomiting in the street. At least I had Ellie’s burp cloth handy if things got messy. Despite my better judgement I decided to go another lap. I closed my eyes and thought of my upcoming trip to Las Vegas for motivation. Poolside… swimsuit… horrified hotel guests… mass hysteria… public humiliation… disgraced… depressed… ostracized… crawl in a spider hole and wither up and die… it was enough to get me through the last mile. Finally, after what seemed like forever, my run was over.

I peeled Ellie’s hands off of the stroller, thankful I had buckled her in. This is going to be extremely hard, but nobody ever said it was easy becoming a MILF.

The Beat Goes On

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Forgive me followers for I have sinned… it’s been a very long time since my last correspondence. Mainly because I’ve found that a sense of humor is next to impossible with a severely sleep deprived brain, but also because our Internet access (and new found cable service) has been non-existent. My frustration with this has been released through a voodoo doll I fashioned in what I believe to be a likeness of the Phillipino AT&T customer service representative that I talk to (scream at) every day. In case you’d also like to drop her a little hello, her first name is “I Hate You” and her last name is “You Horrible Bitch”. My friendly nickname for her is “I’m going to stick a lit cigarette in your eye if we ever meet face to face.” Yet I digress…

Little Elliot came into our lives on May 6 and so far has survived diaper rash, baby acne (she has my genes to thank for that) and a blow to the back of the head from the ceiling fan when Nick lifted her up to put her in the baby carrier. So far I’ve survived a flood of bodily fluids which have ruined every t-shirt I own, 4-inch long nipples (they match the length of my leg hair and toenails), days without eating anything but Fig Newtons and hourly calls from my Mother telling me I’m doing everything wrong.

Parenting has been a very different experience than I anticipated. I never really understood why babies took up so much of my friends’ time and why they always complained that it was next to impossible to accomplish things during the day. I still don’t know the answer to that – all I know is what used to take 5 minutes now takes hours. Simple errands take all day - we have to pack for a camping trip each time we leave the house. Food. Blankets. Toiletries. Medicine. I made the mistake once of leaving the house without any supplies, thinking that she’d be ok. Notice I said once. Once you’ve had a shit-soaked smoke alarm shattering your ear drum from the backseat of a car that smells like rotten breast milk you tend not to want to experience that again.

My own personal hygiene has also become severely compromised. I found poop on my leg this morning and just realized it’s still there. To give you an idea of how seldom I To give you an idea of how seldom I shower these days – we moved into a new home two weeks after she was born and it wasn’t until three days later that I realized my underwear didn’t make the move.

I’ve also become significantly more paranoid than usual. Part of the reason I take so few showers is because I’m sure that the minute I step behind that curtain a burglar is going to break into the house and steal her. I also keep a flashlight next to the bed and routinely shine it on her stomach throughout the night to make sure she’s still breathing. If I can’t see movement I jostle her until she wakes with a start and her arms flail out and I know she’s still alive.

Now, with all that being said, I can’t even begin to describe how unbelievably awesome having a baby has been. While pregnant I had a very hard time believing there was an actual baby in there and having a C-section didn’t do much to help my brain make the connection. It was like my doctor was a magician who pulled a rabbit out of a hat from behind the big curtain and told me it was the fruit of my loins. It really wasn’t until the past few days that I’ve started to grasp the idea that this baby is my daughter and that she’s not going back home with her real Mom any time soon. While being held by someone else in a crowded room she’ll look around for my voice and my first reaction is to wonder why she’s looking for me. Then I realize I’m her Mom and it melts my heart. She also just started smiling and yesterday she laughed which made my stomach do a flip-flop. She’s definitely starting to redeem herself from being dubbed the “Worst Roommate Ever” by Nick.

Maternity leave has been pretty sweet, too. The timing couldn’t have been better, being the height of pool season and all. Elliot will be the tannest baby at day care. I’ve also been introducing her to the fine cinematic pleasures of daytime TV, which she seems to enjoy almost as much as I do. Right now we’re watching a Halloween marathon on AMC and she agrees that it’s remarkable that Dr. Loomis has made it all the way to #5.

Contrary to what I thought the night we brought her home, I’m pretty sure we’re going to keep her. Hopefully she feels the same about us.