Just a quick follow-up from yesterday's post... my beautiful birthday flowers from Nick.

I guess he does have his good points.

Pillow Talk: Part Two


Me: (Entering the bedroom) I'm scared to even ask why my pillow case is missing.

Nick: Well, remember that lamp that I dropped at 4:30 this morning? That pillow was on the floor and I thought it might have gotten some glass on it so it's being washed.

Me: Ummm, ok. So two things:

1. By 'being washed' you actually mean 'I put in the laundry basket for you to take care of tomorrow', correct?

2. YOU take MY pillow and give me, the mother of your children, who is 8 1/2 months pregnant and in desperate need of sleep because I was jolted awake at 4:30 this morning by a lamp shattering next to my face, a pillow that may or may not still have remnants of glass shards in it instead of getting me a new one.

Nick: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

The Shocker


When Ellie was born I prepared myself for the worst. I had just spent nine very long months praying that she wouldn't come out all creepy looking, like every single other newborn on the planet. Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought there might be a chance she would escape the inevitable.

Because I think it's a form of sac religion to diss your own child I will just say that she has grown into the cutest baby that has ever toddled the Earth.

But it wasn't always that way.

Ok people, I'm going to go ahead and say what everyone else in the world is thinking but too afraid to say out loud.

Newborn babies are creepy looking.

I mean, at least for the first month or two, or in some rare cases three, really freaking creepy looking.

Yes, even yours that everyone told you was the most adorable baby they'd ever seen. I guarantee they were thinking one of two things:

1. Thank God my baby didn't look like that
2. Please God don't let my baby look like that

Newborn babies looking creepy is common knowledge. Everyone knows it, even if they won't ever admit it. So I am always baffled when people choose to commemorate it with a photo session and actually pay for professional documentation of the creepiness.

I get that a lot of hospitals take a snap or two of the baby in the bassinet once it's born, so thoughtfully illuminated by feature flattering fluorescent lights that highlight every piece of white stuff still stuck to their face. But in addition to resembling an orange that's just been peeled these babies all have the same startled expression, like there's a nurse crouched under the bassinet giving them The Shocker the moment before the photog snaps the camera.

Oh, and if you have to ask what The Shocker is, I don't want you reading this blog anymore.

You might even buy a little wallet size because someday you'll enjoy looking back and thanking sweet Jesus that the hideous thing that was just expelled from your loins, that you spent 9 months praying would not come out hideous looking, actually turned out somewhat normal looking.

But what I really don't understand is when parents actually pay a significant amount of money to have a real photographer come and take photos of their creepy looking newborn baby. Then the photographers get all creative and tape a branch to the sleeping baby's head and take a picture of him in a flower pot in the middle of a random field raining rose petals. I mean, who's going to believe that your baby actually sprouted from a flower pot? Looking through those pictures is like watching The Wizard of Oz on an acid trip.

I think that sun flower has a baby face and it's looking at me! Kill it!

While these flower pot in a field photos are pretty bad, there is one thing that can make newborn photos much worse.

I'm talking about an abomination of humanity and all that is holy. Something so bad that it defies logic on all levels causing a once sane mind to drown in a sea of confused repulsion.

The creepy newborn with the naked parents photo.

I mean, I don't know if these photos are even legal in the United States. There I am, innocently browsing through my friend's borderline tolerable newborn slide show when there it is. It jumps out of nowhere, without warning.

A topless photo of my friend with the baby resting on his hairy muffin top inappropriately choreographed to a Sarah McLaughlin song. All those moles and freckles brought to life in high definition... the patch of cellulite that Photoshop forgot...

I don't even have time to react before I projectile vomit all over my keyboard. And then the image is burned into my head for days, sometimes weeks, afterward until my subconscious has adequate time to create an alternate personality named Joan to help take the pain away.

There is one exception I will give to the newborn photos - the birth announcement. Birth announcements were created to satisfy the morbid curiosity of your friends and family as to exactly how creepy your baby is. It also tells everyone that "hey, I know my baby is creepy, just like yours. But we love her enough to put it on paper and send you a picture anyway."

And babies should thank god for that unconditional love. Without it we may not stick around to see what they'll look like in a few months.

Charlie Brown

Yesterday was my birthday, which makes today the Most Depressing Day of the Year.

July 27th edged out December 26th as the Most Depressing Day of the Year in 2001 when I turned 25 and realized that it was all downhill from here. And I was lucky enough to be careening down that hill in a runaway dump truck annihilating every mailbox filled with crow's feet, age spots and cellulite on the road.

Yesterday the blow of turning another year older was softened with cards, flowers and phone calls but today I'm just left with bitter reality and knowing that my response to "how old are you" will now be an even bigger lie.

The other sad part of turning a year older is that birthdays are very different than what they used to be - each year a little more anti-climatic.

Yesterday when I was emptying the dishwasher, in between contemplations of whether or not you can turn a dishwasher on from the inside I reminisced about birthdays of yore. It was only four short years ago that I piled into the back of a mini van with 20 of my closest friends and that many cases of beer like a bunch of illegal immigrants crossing the Arizonian border and partied until the wee hours of the morning.

Notice the beautiful glisten of the illegal open containers that will slice our faces wide open if we have an accident because we're not wearing seat belts. Oh the bliss of thoughtless irresponsibility and total disregard for the safety of others! To be young again...

Last night Nick and I celebrated a wild and crazy birthday by taking Ellie to get her first haircut, then spent the remainder of our evening browsing around Babies R Us for a new double stroller. Which I paid for with a coupon.

The highlight of my night was the free bowl of fried ice cream that I scored at the Mexican restaurant. Except it wasn't really fried ice cream, it was ice cream with corn flakes and a shitload of whipped cream piled on top. Which Ellie ate most of and the small amount I did eat left me with crippling heart burn that haunted me all night.

Oh, hang on a second.

Ok, I'm back... have you ever sobbed so hard you launched yourself into an uncontrollable fit of vomiting? I find it usually passes after a few hours.

While I was busy turning one year older, Ellie turned about 20 years older after her first haircut. Because she has the ability to morph from sweet innocent baby to demonic hell child faster than you can say "make sure the stake pierces its heart", we took her to a place that specializes in kids cuts and provides enough distraction for even my ADD riddled husband to be entertained for 5 minutes.

The minute they put the cape on her she immediately aged five years, and by the time they were done snipping she looked like she was ready for her briefcase and pre-work cigarette.

I was afraid that something like this would happen so I prolonged it as long as possible. As you can see from the first picture, her bullet (baby mullet) was in full effect and she could have easily landed a job at her choice of the finest carnivals nationwide.

So the remainder of the day will be spent convincing myself that Ellie is still my baby and the best is yet to come. I'm just going to need to burn those pictures of my 30th birthday party first.

Those Crazy Tots


Last night I paid a visit to my friend Christina and her husband Scott, who just returned home from the hospital after having their second baby. Of course I planned on bringing my usual delectable post-baby culinary delight - a cornucopia of Chicken McNuggets and gallon of Diet Dr. Pepper.

But Nick spent enough time berating (me) the idea that I gave in and broke out the recipe book. And when I say broke out I mean dusted off and dodged the moths as they caught their first glimpse of daylight. Until now the recipe book was just a facade - window dressing in my masquerade of pretending like I don't spend my afternoons watching television shows that determine paternity.

After a significant amount of browsing I chose a palate pleasing cuisine - tater tot casserole. Because anything with tater tot in the title screams sophistication. Also it was the shortest recipe in the book.

I'll spare you the details but I will just tell you that it did not go smoothly. Being as it was only the second time I've made dinner using an actual recipe with ingredients and measuring cups and stuff, I was an hour and a half late. By the time I finally walked in the door the baby had grown a beard and the dog was gnawing on Christina's femur.

After dinner we were making small talk and I casually asked how they were getting along.

"Fine, but it's a lot more challenging because when he doesn't sleep at night the other one's awake during the day and there's no time for rest."

On the way home something in my brain started furiously tapping me on the shoulder, reminding me of the mind bending exhaustion of a new baby and asking me how I'm going to possibly survive without the promise of at least one afternoon nap to recover from a sleepless night.

When I was pregnant everyone warned me about how bad the sleeplessness would be. I shrugged it off - I've been tired plenty of times before. Once in college I only got four hours of sleep and I had to wake up and go to Spanish class before I was able to get back to my dorm for my morning nap.

Thanks for the advice but I know how to handle being tired, people.

About three days after we brought Ellie home I took my oath of office as Mayor of Crazyville. My first order of business was to spend afternoons lying on the floor eating my hair and petting the cute little bunnies that flew through my chimney.

I don't do well with no sleep.

And now I'm panicking.

What the hell was I thinking getting pregnant again? Whose dumb ass, horrible, ill-thought-out idea was this? I can't go back there... sleep deprived Hannah teeters on the verge of doing very bad things to people in nursing homes.

Excuse me, conductor, can you please stop the train? I'd like to get off. Or, better yet, can you just please push me into a drug induced coma and wake me up once the baby sleeps all night like a normal human being? What the hell is wrong with babies anyway, that they don't like to sleep?

This baby better be really fucking cute.

Look out, Crazyville. 7 weeks until the mayor is back in town. At least I've got good friends who will bring me some Chicken McNuggets.

Mom Strength


Yesterday while performing my daily "what percent of Nick's paycheck should I be stashing away for plastic surgery" naked body evaluation in front of the mirror, I noticed something strange.

It wasn't the fact that my stomach has completely disappeared under what looks like a badly crocheted Christmas sweater of stretchmarks, nor was it the fact that my nipples have established an inappropriate relationship with my belly button and engage in an embarrassing display of three-way PDA every time I remove my bra.

It was my left bicep. Somehow when I was busy obsessing over the more obvious flaws, like my hips that now have an eerie resemblance to a hammerhead shark face, my left bicep Hulked out and became noticeably bigger than the right.

When I sat down and thought about it, I can't say that I'm surprised.


Every day I carry 25 pounds up and down the stairs. And into the grocery store. And up and down the stairs. And around the mall. And up and down the stairs. And around Home Depot for 45 minutes while Nick and I debate the pros and cons of clear vs. frosted glass in a ceiling fan light fixture. Oh, and then up and down the stairs.

And then I carry her around while I do a series of 1,000 squats picking up car keys from parking lots, sippie cups from garage floors, bags of carrots from grocery store floors and stray Leggos and other assorted land mines around the house.

At this rate I should be ready for Iron Man by May.

I didn't realize this was such a common occurrence until I was at the gym this morning and one of the trainers noticed I was using two different sets of weights. He pointed at me as he walked by and said, "Oh look there - you've got the Mom Strength! You don't fuck around with the Mom strength."

True dat, brother.

Mole Train


A few years back I had a very deep philosophical conversation with myself on the way to work about the fundamental differences between a deer and a human. I don't remember the exact details but by the time I reached the parking lot I decided that it was wrong to kill animals and so began my crusade as a vegetarian.

It was a short-lived crusade. As it turns out I'm extremely lazy and it takes a significant amount of effort to avoid meat.

Also, I really, really like cheeseburgers.

Though I now eat meat, especially meat in nugget form, I still really hate the idea of killing or hurting animals.

That is, unless said animal is burrowing tunnels through my yard, pushing up all of the grass that I worked my ass off to plant in the searing heat, watering and nurturing with more love and tenderness than I give my own daughter.

Then the animal can die a slow and horrible death.

While the rest of my family shoots and field dresses woodland creatures in between coffee and flossing as part of their morning routine, I have no prior experience with killing anything larger than a spider so my first step was to get some advice from the experts.

Top three methods of mole removal, Ozark-style:

-Pump gasoline into their burrow
-Buy a hound dog
-Stand over the burrow with a shot gun, wait until the dirt moves and pull the trigger

While all of these options sounded really safe and legal, I turned to the Internet for something a little more conservative. I decided that our best option would be to stick a hose into the dirt, wait until they stick their noses up and then bash them over the head with a shovel.

Sort of like that carnival game but with actual brains to clean up afterward.

Saturday was go time. My enormous belly and I bent over one end of the burrow with the hose while Nick waited on the other side with the shovel hoisted high over his head, waiting for whiskers to emerge.

And so we waited. And waited. And waited. Did I mention it was 125 degrees?

The moles probably welcomed the water and were busy underground writing little thank-you notes for the refreshment break from all the tunneling they had been doing.

After over an hour of sticking the hose in every hole we could find, we gave up and decided to go another route.

My license to carry should be valid by Tuesday.

Say, How Did This Here Foot Get In My Mouth?


Looking like you're 67 weeks pregnant when you're actually 31 weeks pregnant can lead to a lot of awkward conversations.

I'm fairly confident the one I had a few days ago at the grocery store edges ahead of the old man at the zoo asking me if I was having one of "those" as he pointed to the elephants.

If I had a match handy I would not have hesitated to light his oxygen tank on fire, laughing hysterically as he scrambled to escape his wheelchair inferno.

Yet I digress.

I went to the grocery store to pick up the essentials - pancake mix, Pepcid and a box of ice cream sandwiches. I was in the check out line and the following conversation ensued:

Checker (glancing down at my stomach): Wow! You're about ready to have that baby any minute now, huh?

Me (being polite as always, but finding some peace in knowing she's about to feel like shit): Well, you'd think so, but I actually have 9 weeks left.

Checker: Oh. (silence, then after a few seconds) I'm sorry - that was really impolite of me - you probably have a million people saying things like that to you. I'm sorry.

Me (glad that for once someone was owning up to the fact that what was said might have hurt my feelings rather than just making a bad joke): Oh no, that's ok. I know I'm huge - it's just how my body is.

Checker: No, no - I'm really sorry.

Me: No really, don't worry about it. It's fine.

- awkward silence as I scan my debit card -

Checker: Ok, well here's your receipt, have a great day! Oh, wait a second - there's some coupons here if you want them. Oh, look... here's one for Lean Cuisine!

Then we just stared at one another for a few seconds.

Her because she knew how what she had just said sounded and she was debating internally whether or not to apologize again or if speaking would just make everything worse.

And me standing there patiently while she sweat it out, teaching her a valuable lesson in pregnancy etiquette.

I knew as I walked out the door she would never make that mistake again.

One by one I'm taking bullets for future generations of Big Ole Preggies, which I like to think makes me a bit of a pregnancy martyr. Maybe someday my likeness will be etched into stained glass windows at birthing centers everywhere.

Love's Labours Lost


Good evening ladies and gentlemen... it's the moment you've all been waiting for - the third and final act of The Pregnancy!

When we last left her in Act 2, our heroine Big Ole Preggie was in distress as she hid from the pitch fork wielding angry mob bombarding her with questions like: "It's not fathomable that you're only 27 weeks... LIAR! Yours is the belly of an overdue rhinoceros!" and "What's that smell? It's as if someone left a stringer of trout in a tanning bed! I think it's coming over there from Big Ole Preggie... who let her have bratwurst? She must be stopped!"

It's an act filled with suspense! Will Swamp Boob and Swamp Belly finally sign a peace treaty, banishing the pesky border restriction and unite forces to create one giant hot wet swampy mess that extends from Big Ole Preggie's shirt to her pants?

It's an act filled with mystery! What happened to Ellie's other shoe? Will Big Ole Preggie find it stuck to her butt? A butt that has now become so ravenous that it sprouted arms which it uses to grab and attempt to eat household items? A butt that has become so large and padded that Big Ole Preggie didn't even notice when a child's shoe became stuck to it for over 1/2 hour?

It's an act filled with intrigue! How can one woman eat so many pancakes? Is that treadmill actually moving, or is Big Ole Preggie just standing on it while she watches TV? Will the scale be able to withstand her weight much longer?

It's an act filled with fun and whimsy! Sit back and chuckle as that crazy Baby Mayer grabs her top hat, tails and a rubber mallet and performs a sadistic tap dance on Big Ole Preggie's bladder every time she considers standing up!

And finally, it's an act guaranteed to be chalk full of romance... will Nick survive as Big Ole Preggie's hormones attempt to slash his windpipe and bring him to an early demise when she stumbles upon an empty container of ice cream?

Stick around for the exciting conclusion!

Gaining MOMentum


It was 10 years ago this winter when I closed my eyes, held my breath and took my first financial swan dive into the world of home ownership. I was only 23, which now seems infantile but at the time I was more than ready to avoid cutting my own lawn and spend nice afternoons gazing out my own dirty windows.

Owning a home is a major milestone and it took a long time for my brain to start to wrap itself around the fact that this house was actually mine. It wasn't the first mortgage statement, nor was it the fact that I was now legally tied to a structure next door to a woman who named her dog "Princess Penelope", dressed her in little princess crowns and let her take huge princess craps in my front yard that helped me come to come to this realization.

It actually came one night when I had gone for a walk around the block and was walking up the sidewalk toward the house. As I stood there, looking into the windows from the street something very strange occurred to me.

I owned this grass.

It wasn't the inside, or the driveway, or the bricks that seemed strange... but the grass. I owned grass.

I must have stood out there for 20 minutes, letting my brain adjust to the fact that it was my grass. I remember even bending down and pulling out a couple of handfuls, careful to avoid the princess poop, just because I could.

It was mine... all mine.

I had a similar realization with Ellie yesterday. I was getting her ready for bed, singing our usual lullaby Gin and Juice. Except I replace the words gin and juice with shin and shoes and indo with window, for obvious reasons.

I try to make gangster rap as much of a learning experience as possible until she's at least nine and can appreciate some of the more abstract concepts.

Anyhoo, we were singing and rocking in the rocking chair and I happened to notice her ear. It's the same ear I've looked at every day for the past 14 months, but for some reason it occurred to me that I made that ear. I've watched that ear grow from a microscopic spec on a grainy ultrasound into an actual human ear. An ear that can hear. An ear that someday will probably be littered with holes and cheap earrings from Claire's. And it came from me.


But perhaps the freakier part is that it's taken my brain 14 months to acknowledge that I created that ear.

The entire time I was pregnant I was in denial that there was truly a child in there. And having her via c-section didn't help my brain make the connection - it was like the doctor pulled a rabbit out of a hat when he held her over the curtain. I was certain there was some trickery going on back there and she had actually been dumped off by the baby truck about 20 minutes before they took me in that room.

For a long time after she was born I worried that I didn't feel like I thought I should. Actually, truth be told I still worry about that. Of course when the nurse put her in my arms I didn't think I could love anything more but the magical connection everyone talks about was no where to be found.

I expected that when she was born a switch would automatically be flipped that would instantly make my brain understand that she was mine and !poof! I would feel like a Mom.

But instead of a switch it's been a slow dial that ticks a little to the left with each passing day. And yesterday it must have hit the "I made this ear" setting because I couldn't stop staring at it in awe.

While there's definitely been significant progress, I'm pretty sure there are days when the dial accidentally turns backwards. I think this happens more often to those of us who wait until our mid 30s to have children because we've had more years than others to sharpen our selfish skills.

For example, how the waitress has to point to Ellie and say "anything for her?" most times after I order my lunch and if they don't then she is stuck trying to gum part of my French Dip.

I'm hopeful that by the time she's 18 my brain will have moved beyond the ear and accepted the fact that all of her is indeed mine. Maybe sending her out to mow the lawn will help.



Me: A lot of my friends have been talking about the new Twilight movie. Do you want to go see it sometime?
Nick: I've heard some reviews. Basically it's about a werewolf that can't keep his shirt on, an anemic Hugh Grant and a girl trying to figure out which one she wants to bang.
Me: So is that a no?
Nick: That's a maybe.

Keeping Up With The Joans


Finding out you're pregnant is perhaps the most exciting and wonderful moment of your life.

Except, I guess, if you're 50 and your husband had a vasectomy like 20 years ago because neither of you wanted kids.

Or if you're 16 and you know your father is going to flay you and hang your boneless, skinless body over a branch on the tree in the backyard to ponder a life of GEDs, missed proms and bitter resentment.

So, please allow me to take a moment to rephrase that statement.

If you're between the ages of 25 - 45, were actively trying to get pregnant, live in a home in the suburbs with 3+ bedrooms and 1.5+ baths, have a healthy balance in your 401K plan, are covered by private insurance with a low co-pay, enjoy scrapbooking and have a Golden Retriever named Penny, finding out you're pregnant is perhaps the most exciting and wonderful moment of your life.

Of course most of that excitement is supposed to be geared toward the whole miracle of life part.

But a close second, and in many cases actually a secret first and I suspect why many of my friends got pregnant in the first place, is something else.

Something that women have been dreaming about since we were little girls.

Something that we are prepared to invest more money in than the baby's college fund and more time on than raising the child itself.

The Nursery.

While I was certainly excited about decorating The Nursery, I truly realized its importance when it became a staple question in the daily pregnancy barrage:

Is The Nursery ready?
What's your theme?
What bank are you using to finance the chandelier?

I also realized that these questions are in no way asked out of friendly curiosity or to facilitate small talk. These questions are born from a primal competitive instinct because even if you don't have kids you're constantly taking notes to ensure that yours will be The Nursery that commands envy in the eyes and ears of all who learn of its magnificence.

Unfortunately when I had Ellie, Nick and I lived in a one-bedroom condo with a small office attached to that one bedroom which I made into as much of a nursery as I could.

But if I told them the truth, that we had wedged her beige co-sleeper in between an office chair and a book shelf filled with Nick's medical journals and taped a picture of Winnie the Pooh I cut out of a Pottery Barn catalogue to the wall, I would lose.

So I usually made up something fabulous, using words like applique, collection, posh and whimsical.

Of course Ellie could have given two shits - her only needs at the time involved my nipples and her dry ass. We could have easily lived in the condo for a couple of years, saved some money and took our time looking for a house.

But that was in no way acceptable for me. I had to have The Nursery as soon as possible.

I had to win.

So we moved into our 30-year nursery mortgage three weeks after Ellie was born. We will still be paying off this nursery mortgage long after Ellie has grown up and moved out and is paying for a nursery mortgage for her own children.

Make no mistake - The Nursery is 100% a woman thing. If your husband actually cares what The Nursery looks like then you should probably just proceed with a rainbow theme.

Lucky for me Nick used to completely freak out every time the UPS man pulled up to the house or he came home from work to see the credit card laying next to my laptop. But after some subtle reminders of how important it is to keep a post-partum woman happy he quickly changed his tune.

You know, subtle reminders like dumping buckets of ice water over the shower door, performing midnight haircuts or encouraging him to accept a life of celibacy.

Here is an actual conversation we had after learning that one of my friends spent $2,400 on a crib:

Me: So you can't be upset with me any more that I spent $60 on a dust ruffle.

Nick: Yes I can, it's still unnecessary.

Me: WHAT? I mean, relatively speaking though...

Nick: Relatively speaking? That's like saying I'm a nice guy compared to Omar Al-Bashir.

Me: So three things:
1. You're comparing one of my best friends to the mastermind behind the largest acts of genocide in the history of the world,
2. Your argument does not hold up because Omar Al-Bashir is not within our social circle, and
3. I think I'm getting a headache that will last the next 10 years.

Nick: I mean I like the ruffle.