Sex and St. Louis


Most days if you were to hand me a magical gender changing wand I would wave it faster than you could say "mensutral cramps." Not that being a man is without its problems, but there are definitely more drawbacks to being a woman.

If you disagree, please allow me to present exhibit A - every family gathering in the history of the world. The men are chatting it up and drinking beer while the women are chasing after and feeding the kids after having spent the entire day peeling microscopic pieces of shell off of hard boiled eggs. Then we have to do the dishes.

I will also be happy to send you pictures of exhibits B and C from the delivery room in a few months, complete with anatomical diagram of what used to be where.

Anyhoo, this weekend was totally a point for the pink team - the new Sex and the City movie came out. I love the series and the movies because I am a woman and I am breathing.

Also, what's better than a legitimate excuse to drink pink vodka in a movie theater, or in my case, eat a crapload of nachos and watch your friends drink pink vodka in a movie theater, then go to a poolside premiere party with pink lights and pink carpet and pink fashion awards and talk about outfits and boys? Then swing your large, pregnant belly around a dance floor until you hear your back begin to sob and watch your feet blow up like little life rafts right before your very eyes?

I loved it so much I caught the matinee the next day for more. It being the nachos, obviously.

Oh, and I know what you're thinking, and I'm getting it cut and colored on Wednesday.

My Infinite Wisdom


In honor of Ellie's first birthday, I've taken it upon myself to share the 13 most important things I've learned over the past 12 months (one to grow on). You should go ahead and take this as gospel.

13. The first 4 weeks of a baby's life can be likened to the Holocaust, Vietnam War or any weekday in Dalfour. You might not make it. In fact, you won't make it.

12. Always look up before raising your child to a level above your head.

11. Baby books are a waste of time and money. All you really need to know is: 1. Under NO circumstances should you feed a baby Mexican food, and 2. If his eyes are still crossed after 6 months of age you have big problems. Everything else is not important.

10. Baby toys are also a waste of money. The only things you need are a remote, a cell phone and a set of car keys. If you don't buy the baby her own she will re-program your television set to only turn on in Russian from the hours of 3am - 5am then dial your Mother and hand you the phone before she drives away in your car.

9. For the first year, skip the shoes. The baby shoes, not the regular people shoes. Of course you are welcome to avoid footwear if you wish, but don't be surprised if you find yourself defending the Confederacy and fishing for sun perch in a public park. With baby shoes you will spend half your day retracing your steps in the supermarket or playing Frogger on the freeway to retrieve that cute little shoe that somehow flew out the back window. Speaking of...

8. It’s easier than you might think to look like white trash. Once on a routine trip to Walgreens I glanced at the giant security camera as I walked in and saw Nick Nolte’s mug shot carrying my baby.

7. This is so cliche, but... it's going to get poop on it. I don't care what "it" is, it's going to happen. Just keep this in the back of your mind when making any purchases. While we're on the subject...

6. The smallest speck of poop can leave a skid mark up to 4 feet long. Extra caution must be exercised with removal from clothing, furniture, car seats and the dining table at Arby’s. Oh, you don’t want me to change my baby on your dining table? Then stop being a tight ass and get a Koala Care changer in your bathroom, jerk. And, the last thing about poop I promise...

5. Mashed carrots look the exact same coming out as going in. No matter how you try to prepare yourself, it will always shock the shit out of you when you open that diaper to a neon orange turd.

4. Around 7 or 8 months she'll say the word "mama" and within minutes she'll figure out that after saying this word you'll give her anything she wants or do anything she asks. Try to stay strong, my friends - she will rarely use her powers for good.

3. Don't bother with traditional baby proofing methods. Babies are like Houdini. You'll spend hours of frustration drilling cabinet latches and installing baby gates only to step out of the bathroom to find him sitting on a stack of your Grandmother's fine china juggling outlet covers and balancing a butcher knife on his nose. The proper way to baby proof is to smear green beans all over anything you want him to avoid.

2. Babies don’t two shits if you’re hung over. If it’s 4am and there’s something in their diaper that looks like a dead squirrel and smells like the trash can in a Thai restaurant, they want it fixed. Right now. Not in ten minutes, right now.

1. From Nick: You can always pretend to be asleep longer than your wife when you’re hung over and the baby is crying at 4am.

Umm, Excuse Me Sir, But I Beleive Your Pants Are On Fire.


After a long, hard day, this was my closing conversation with Nick last night before we fell asleep:

Me: Thanks for putting Ellie to bed.

Nick: No problem. You owe me.

Me: Obviously. Because me taking care of her for the past 13 hours is way easier than you placing her in her crib. Did you read her a story?

Nick: Yes.

Me: Did you brush her teeth?

Nick: (Exasperated) Yes!

Me: Did she bite your finger through the finger brush?

Nick: Yeah, it hurt!

Me: Oh, I know it hurts - that's why I threw the finger brush away two weeks ago and bought her a Piglet toothbrush.

Nick: I meant I used the Piglet toothbrush.

Me: Why didn't you brush her teeth?

Nick: Because I didn't feel like it.

That's right Ellie - this is your shining example of a role model.

The Sequel


It's been nearly two years since I was standing in the bathroom with my heart beating out of my chest, pregnancy test in one hand and chicken leg in the other (you know, to calm my nerves), waiting for my fate to be revealed. As the second blue line slowly started to materialize so did my toothbrush moustache and awkward comb over. By the time it was clear that we were expecting a baby the transformation was complete. I had become the Pregnancy Nazi.

Of course I knew the obvious things I should avoid during pregnancy, like sushi, cat poop and Keanu Reeves movies. But I wasn't your ordinary Pregnancy Nazi. No, I was the Naziest of the Nazis. I wanted to build my paranoia to a level so great that it would prohibit me from ever sleeping soundly again.

So without delay I sped to the the local book store and bought every pregnancy book I could get my hands on, which I happily perused from the comfort of the gigantic plastic bubble that I would be living in for the next nine months. I justified the cost of the bubble because after I was finished with it, it would make a perfect little home for the baby for the first 18 years of its life.

The pregnancy books gave me all the paranoia I could handle and more. Good thing I listened to the books, written by celebrities, preschool teachers and Jehovah's Witnesses and not my doctor. You know, the man who spent 10 years of his life studying the actual medical aspects of pregnancy? What does he know?

Doctor: Foods like fish offer a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for healthy baby growth. Just don't go overboard.


Me: Holy shit - I ate fish last night! Is it too late to revert to the one valuable thing I learned in college and force myself to barf it back up?

Doctor: Carbonated clear sodas may offer some relief from morning sickness. Stick with diet sodas to avoid unwanted calories. Just don't go overboard.



All of my restriction and bubble livin' was met with strong objection from my husband, AKA The Pregnancy Un-Nazi. He was constantly shoving glasses of wine in my face, reminding me that in the '60s women drank bourbon and smoked cigarettes throughout their pregnancies and had perfectly healthy babies.

The fact that my husband was on a nonstop mission to get his pregnant wife drunk says a lot about my mood at that particular time. Did I mention the plastic bubble I was living in happened to be in the middle of downtown Crazy Psycho Bitchville?

What a difference a baby makes.

As I sit here typing this, with my laptop resting comfortably on my belly next to my glass of wine and whole salmon (yes, they all fit on my belly, now mind your own business) I think back to how different this pregnancy is.

With Ellie, every single decision I made throughout the day was after careful consideration of what effect it would have on the baby. I wouldn't even let myself sneeze.

This morning I fought terrorists bull back after my breakfast of lead paint.

Most of the time I forget I'm even pregnant. When we go out to eat my eyes wander to the scotch list and I can practically taste the woody smoked goodness in my mouth before I wonder what the hell keeps kicking me in the ribs.

I don't even know my due date. I just know the baby is coming sometime after the pool closes.

That's not to say that I'm not as out of my mind, incredibly, unbelievably excited about this baby as I was with Ellie. Maybe more, because my excitement is not overshadowed by the bone chilling terror of taking care of a newborn.

However, if this baby comes out with tusks then diet soda is definitely off the menu for baby number three.

Just Leave it, Beaver


I'm not going to lie - the decision to leave my job of 10 years to stay at home with Ellie was way easier than the actual act of staying home with Ellie. Most days, like when I'm strolling through the Botanical Gardens at 10:00am on a Thursday or listening to my former co-workers talk about their dinner plate-sized bleeding ulcers I feel so lucky that I'm able to do this.

Other days, like when it's 3:00 and I'm still in my pajamas, staring off into space, thinking about how I worked my ass of in my grad school stats class while Ellie is on hour two of banging my car keys on the table, I second guess myself.

I've had lots of jobs in my life and they all came with at least little training. Even when I worked at the Zebra Cone stand at the State Fair the owner took over an hour to teach me how to create the perfect cone. Her lack of teeth and not lack of stomach confirmed that she was indeed the expert.

But being a Mom, being responsible for raising a mentally stable, healthy, productive member of society who won't someday open fire on her classmates... you know, the MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE WORLD... came with nothing. No boss, no quarterly reviews, no training manual, no one calling hourly to make sure I didn't accidentally feed her firewood... nothing.

On the first day of my new job as Mom it snowed about 300 feet. I looked out the window, then over at Ellie, wondering what I was supposed to do now. I stood there for over an hour trying to figure it out. Ok, it was seven hours, but I did take breaks every 15 minutes to call Nick to ask when he was coming home.

I had lunch with my former boss a couple of weeks ago and was discussing my Mom challenges when as usual he offered some very insightful words of wisdom: our jobs are more than our jobs - they are our identity.

True dat.

Before I quit my job I knew exactly who I was. I was a brand manager at an advertising agency. I was a good brand manager. I knew how to develop strategy and manage a campaign. Clients liked me. Well, most clients liked me. I worked from 8 until 5 and then I went to happy hour and then I met Nick somewhere for dinner and then I came home and watched Cops and then I went to bed.

Now my job is Mom. But what the hell does that mean? Who sets the bar that I'm working toward? What do I have to do to get a promotion? When do I get a raise? Where's my martini!?

I started with the obvious - cooking and cleaning. Two weeks of eating chicken that tasted like dirty socks reminded me that I'm a horrible cook. I need someone looking over my shoulder at all times telling me that baking powder is different than baking soda, and crushed red pepper is different than red pepper flakes. Oh, by the way I know what you're thinking right now and I don't want your "easiest recipe in the world." Do you know what a failure someone feels like when they've botched every one of their friends' "easiest recipes in the world?" No thanks, I'll order take out.

I also suck at cleaning. I thought I was doing an okay job until yesterday, when I went to put Ellie in her high chair and saw it was covered in ants. As I followed the trail of ants they led me to a prehistoric chicken nugget that was hiding under the dining room table. Bugs at the table = epic fail as a parent and probably warrants a visit from the state. I might as well put Ellie in a little Moses basket and send her down the Nile.

I know, I know. All you working Moms out there are thinking "boo hoo." And I get that. I was a working Mom for five months and it was impossibly hard. I was working 1000 hours a week and saddled with unbelievable guilt every day when the nanny would email me videos of Ellie rolling over for the first time, or pictures of their first visit to the zoo. Or even worse - when I tried to work from home and had to put Ellie in front of the TV for a four-hour Baby Einstein movie marathon or leave her screaming in her crib for over an hour while I ran a conference call.

When I was little it took me a really long time to learn how to ride a bike. After I finally figured it out I still needed what I dubbed "The Start Off" - someone holding the back of my banana seat steady until I could get the petals going. Once I got going I could go forever - actually I had to go forever because if I stopped and no one was around I was screwed.

If only I could get a start off - someone who could move in with me for a month or two or fifteen and explain to me with painstaking detail what this Mom job is all about.

Like most jobs, though, each passing day brings experience and experience brings knowledge and knowledge brings comfort. It just scares me a little that my (very expensive) knowledge of marketing statistics is slowly but surely being replaced with songs from Yo Gabba Gabba.

Cinco de Mayo


When you discover you're pregnant, especially with a girl, there are three major life expenses that you begin planning for on day one:

1. Wedding
2. College
3. Therapy

Well, MOST people begin planning for. God love my parents, who think weddings are a waste of money and got married in my Grandparents' living room, and who thought working two jobs to put myself through college would build character.

In their defense, though, we did spend a fair amount of money on therapy.

Anyhoo, something that I was in no way prepared for was our first major expense... the milestone of the first birthday.

When I was a kid we celebrated birthdays by inviting the neighbor kids over and eating a $1.50 Betty Crocker cake. Then if things got crazy we might run through the sprinkler a couple of times.

But these days... these days are a different story. What started as a small little gathering ended up exploding into a party of gargantuan proportions, with over 100 people drinking keg beer, hitting pinatas and jumping in the bounce house. All at the same time. When all was said and done, this party cost twice as much as my first car.

Oh, and did I mention that Ellie had a huge meltdown after a half hour and so we put her to bed, where she slept until the next morning?

But who are we kidding? These parties are not for the kids anyway. Though she did seem to enjoy the keg beer, she would have been happy eating a free cookie from Schnucks and watching the dog next door take a dump. She's a cheap date.

One of the highlights, however, was the gender reveal of Baby #2. We found out that we are going to have another girl, and therefore another wedding and even more therapy to pay for. Oh, and another first birthday.

My Hips Don't Lie


While pregnant with Ellie, each time I ventured out of my bag of Cheetos to face the real world I was accosted with the same sequence of questions from every single person who came within a 10-foot radius of The Belly:

#1. When are you due?
Upon responding, the laughter and pointing ensued, and then
#2. WHEN? Oh, sweet Jesus! Are you sure there's only one in there?
To which I would usually respond "I hope you get eaten by a doberman."

However, once the sequence of questions has begun, a tornado made of fire balls and snake fangs could be barreling toward the question asker and their feet will remain firmly planted on the floor until they have successfully satisfied their need to know every last detail about my pregnancy.

#3. Do you know if it's a boy or a girl?
#4. Do you have names picked out?
#5. Is this your first?

Obviously when Ellie and I are out partying (buying milk at Shop and Save) it is clear that this is not my first rodeo. However, this pregnancy I have answered the same questions, over and over, with the exception of #5. Not one person has asked me about #5, and until recently I could not figure out why.

Then, exhibit A - the photo above - was taken.

You could plant corn in those valleys from my eye to my mouth, and spend a nice little summer in Europe using the luggage under my eyes to pack all your clothing and golf clubs.

That is not the face of a girl who sleeps. And yes, Ellie has been sleeping 13 hours/night since week 4 (please don't hate me) but the other night I was awakened from a Benadryl-induced coma at 3am because she made a funny sound in her sleep. Two rooms over.

Obviously sleeping with one ear open has taken its toll on my face.

And the second picture - those hips might as well come with their own set of orange cones and a flashing neon sign that says "Babies welcome - no cover on Tuesdays."

Yes, I've officially crossed over to The Other Side. I officially look like a Mom.