Thursday, August 30, 2007

Romi Belle

A warm welcome to the newest member of the Mama Dramas blogroll: Romi Belle.

I'm all about the bling, when it comes to Chloe's clothes, and baby GAP sure does not have enough crystals. Enter Romi Belle, a great company started by my friend Romina Alstodt, who, if you can get over the fact that she is tall, gorgeous AND talented (grrr...) has developed a great collection of baby and kids clothes and gifts that are truly one of a kind. She has some great new mommy gifts on there as well, and stuff to splurge on for yourself.

One of my fave pieces of Chloe's wardrobe was the bedazzled "wifebeater" tanktop that Romina made for her, which bore her name in crystals which actually held its own after a bazillion washings (finally succumbing recently to fingerpaints and I am devastated!) So I can vouch for the quality and applaud a "momtrepreneur".

Visit her at Mama Dramas readers get 10% off -- just mention "mamadrama" at check out.

Bling on, kids.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Regrets, I have them too.

Please visit my pal at Apartment 53 (see blogroll). She penned a phenomenal list of regrets that are incredibly profound and inspiring. In an effort to share the fact that no matter what lives we live, we all have a thick stack of regrets, here are just a smattering of mine. Jill, you are not alone, but thanks for inspiring the following bravery:

1. I regret that I interviewed for Ogilvy and Mather without preparing first, and got bitched out about it, rendering me terrified of future interviews and without a great copywriting career.

2. I regret how long I wore and loved bodysuits.

3. I regret that I spent so much time judging a book by its cover.

4. I regret ever having sex with an ex without a condom.

5. I regret waiting so long to take Accutane and suffering for so long with bad skin.

6. I regret every fucking second I lay out in the sun. I am convinced Melanoma will kill me.

7. I regret not realizing that I was once a natural beauty.

8. I regret waiting 21 years to lose my virginity, only to lose it to such a loser.

9. I regret the fact that I was not a great big sister until my little sister was big.

10. I regret that my friend Jill and I did not live with our friend Phil that first year out of college. I don't think that bad year would have ever happened. It would have been tantastic.

11. I regret that I ever dyed my hair as a teenager and ruined the texture.

12. I regret that I often confused lust with love.

13. I regret that I spent so much time as a sullen teenager.

14. I regret that I was not better to my high school friends while we were in college.

15. I regret that I believed my parents when they said that you can't make a living in the creative arts.

16. I regret that I did not go to sleep away camp sooner.

17. I regret that I never wrote that pilot with Jill, or started that great company with Elise.

18. I regret that I blamed my friend for my brief stint with an eating disorder and froze her out.

19. I regret that I hooked up with that guy who said "let's not tell anyone about this".

20. I regret that I did not I did not heed the words: "hold on to 16, as long as you can", that my friend Tzipora used to name my 16th birthday mix tape.

21. I regret my wedding dress.

22. I regret not taking that trip to California with my friends after the summer in Israel. By the time I had convinced my parents to let me go, I had chickened out.

23. I regret that I told my friend after her boyfriend hit on me. They stayed together and stopped talking to me.

24. I regret that I did not attend Beri's wedding, and that she was not a bridesmaid at mine. She deserved to be.

25. I regret that I found it so hard to let some decaying friendships go.

26. I regret that I bitched about my boss's "pet" to her, thinking she might see things my way.

27. I regret that I ever attempted laser hair removal. Does not work.

28. I regret that I am spending way too much time on this blog, but also, not enough.

29. I regret that because I did not know better, my grandmother died.

30. I regret that I did not spend enough time memorizing her while she was alive.

31. I regret that I ever thought I looked good when I was super skinny. I just looked old.

32. I regret that I did not realize that youth is really wasted on the young.

33. I regret that I allowed boys to get between me and the same friend, twice.

34. I regret that I am no longer in touch with my friend Adina. She is amazing.

35. I regret that I bought Nutella. It's too dangerous to have around.

36. I regret that I ever stopped working out. Now I have no choice.

37. I regret that I never had enough hustle to get where I wanted to go. I hope I can change this one.

38. I regret how much TV I watched when I could have been writing.

39. I regret not buying a TV for my bedroom.

40. I regret using flat paint in the apartment -- too many flaws show.

41. I regret that when an decent ex boyfriend's mother died, I was unable to pay a shiva call.

42. I regret that I ever thought flourescent green was a good color on me.

43. I regret that I ever used a hair brush.

44. I regret that I never learned Excel.

45. I regret leaving my first great job for more money to end up at my very worst job.

46. I regret thinking that I could handle it all myself.

47. I regret telling a friend what I really thought about the girl he was interested in. They eventually got married and now it's awkward whenever we see each other.

48. I regret ever trying eel sushi.

49. I regret every minute that I spent being shy.

50. I regret that my career is nowheresville

51. I regret that I only went abroad to Israel for one semester, instead of a whole year.

52. I regret that I often made my dad feel badly for just being who he is.

53. I regret that I chose to move and have my first baby in the same month,

54. I regret that I did not buy a variety of different apartments when the market was much better.

55. I regret that I did not find a brilliant way to tell a certain ex colleague to go fuck himself.

56. I regret that my mother is often right.

57. I regret that I did not fire my old nanny sooner.

58. I regret that I felt so wounded when friends let me down. I now know that not everyone can be everything to you every time.

59. I regret that I lost those amazing pink cufflinks that my husband bought me at Thomas Pink.

60. I regret that I have lost so much of my old writing.

61. I regret that I have spent most of my life being non-confrontational, which is often a slippery slope towards passive-aggressive.

62. I regret not taking three months maternity leave.

63. I regret being a bitch to so many drug store employees who were not moving fast enough.

64. I regret that I do not make nearly enough zucchini bread for my husband who loves it.

65. I regret that I do not always remember to kiss my husband when he walks in the door. I always want to.

66. I regret that I once made my grandfather upset when I pushed him too hard to talk about the Holocaust.

67. I regret that my lemonade addiction is killing my stomach.

68. I regret that I never truly learned mathematics.

69. I regret that I once wore blue glasses that had grey tinted lenses.

70. I regret bangs.

71. I regret that I did not change obstetricians when I knew I should have.

72. I regret that I can't let go of how angry I am about mistakes surrounding Dylan's birth, even though we made it through okay.

73. I regret that every time my husband travels for work I am terrified that he will die on an airplane.

74. I regret that I may never actualize my true potential.

75. I regret that I cannot sit on the floor with my kids for days on end without feeling the walls close in on me.

76. I regret I am too tired to jump my husband every night, when he is so damn appealing.

77. I regret knowing so many terrible stories about children that my mind tortures me with the "what ifs" (and I then in turn torture my pediatricians).

78. I regret not getting that bikini wax before going into labor.

79. I regret de-friending my friend Tamar in 6th grade for a day or two.

80. I regret that I have not yet appropriately thanked the friend who sent over dinner the night that I came home from the hospital...for that and so much more.

81. I regret that I don't call my living grandmother nearly enough.

82. I regret not ever seeing Les Miz.

83. I regret that I was an MTV intern.

84. I regret that I wore penny loafers for waaay too long.

85. I regret that I don't really understand the ideal answer to that Miss South Carolina question myself.

86. I regret that I don't know much about history.

87. I regret that I am yet to renew my drivers license.

88. I regret that I may parent out of love and fear equally.

89. I regret that I am yet to really learn HTML.

90. I regret all the times that I littered.

91. I regret the fact that I have mercury dental fillings.

92. I regret not continuing to sing after high school.

93. I regret not seeing enough of my cool friend Kara.

94. I regret not downloading "Baby Beluga" for Chloe because I hate dealing with Ipod.

95. I regret that my kids and Gail's kids have opposite nap schedules.

96. I regret that I now actually crave McDonald's after spending 2 decades never missing a thing.

97. I regret how much time I have spent staring at my pores.

98. I regret hiding behind my hair.

99. I regret not putting addresses into label format for all the damn thank you notes (see #44)

100. I regret the fact that I should have mentioned that despite all of these regrets, I have more blessings than I can count.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Man

My friend Gail asks in an email "Tell me about the little man". I have traded several emails with her daily since he has been born, and somehow have yet to babble on and on about Dylan. I have been so busy in my own head, trying to both freeze and speed time, that I have been barely able to articulate and record the details of the new man in my life.

I kind of expected that this baby would be just like my first, and I realize now, as I said to my pediatrician, that his newness makes me an ignorant parent all over again. All of the things I knew and even believed myself to be an expert on are now packed away to make room for all the newness, the insecurity and the brand new delight.

Dylan, in a word, is a dream. His physicality speaks volumes about the kind of baby he is -- he has a wide open face, that is inquisitive and busy when he is awake and docile and doll-like when he is sleeping. His eyes are so much like his sisters that I can not imagine they will change from their blue-gray seas despite his brown eyed parents. Unlike Chloe, whose features and persona were intense and somewhat critical as a newborn, Dylan's are embracing, accepting, luminous. He has Chloe's strong chin and full lips, the lower one pouts out only in a rare moment of upset.

He spends most of the day asleep, whereas Chloe would stare at me, petulant in a bouncy seat. He craves closeness, holding, stroking. He has shared a few genuine smiles, but they are still distant and they vanish in the blink of an eye.

He has a stubborn streak already, and arms that I swear push my hands away when I am doing something he does not like. He refuses a pacifier - and clearly resents it when I push the plastic muffle on him. He is not easily distractable and does not greatly enjoy toys -- opting instead to stare at some household favorites, the metal rods of our headboard, the pattern of the duvet cover, the twinkle of the kitchen lightbulbs.

He is the lightest sleeper imaginable. He can smell me from a mile away and immediately starts calling for a drink, even if he is not thirsty, just because he senses that it's available. The sound of a bag opening, my typing, the creak of our bed, it all awakens him into a small gripe.

He likes to sleep in, just like me. Except I can't do that anymore, and neither can he, since his sister is shouting "Baby 'wake!" into his bassinette.

He has already brought me profound happiness, and redemption. This time, I am a mother who fell in love at first sight, felt strong even in the weak moments, and wants to stare into his eyes all day long.

I hope he makes all good women in his life feel this way, forever.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Mean Mommy

...that's me!

Today, I said "No!" at various decibels in response to the following:

1. Impaling fork into tray
2. Throwing poorly cooked orzo across room
3. Jumping on bed in an effort to cause concussion
4. Slapping brother's head. Twice.
5. Putting pieces of chicken into water glass. Wiping wet chicken on me.
6. Yelling "Mine!" while hugging every item on a communal playspace
7. Waking up momentarily sleeping newborn by pulling on his toes at the crack of dawn and yelling "Baby Out!!"
8. Recreationally ripping toilet paper that A nor I will remember to replace when we run out.
9. Running amok with popsicle stick in mouth.
10. Refusing to share chalk with little Max and his baby sister -- whose lovely mother, incidentally, is recovering from CHEMOTHERAPY for CANCER and hanging out at the playground. And yet I still have the audacity to be bitching right now?

Chloe is a totally different child with A: laughing (not the sinister one she reserves for me), gleeful, adorable. As they splashed each other in the bath I commented on this fact and A said: "Try being fun".

I am too tired for fun.

Though I might add that despite all of the above irritation, I discovered that it feels really freaking good to have a Thomas engine (or one of his fellow trains) dragged up and down your back at the end of the day. Try it.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


My first baby, you feel all grown up already. When I came home from the hospital with your brother, a week after your 2nd birthday, it was clear that the final vestiges of your babyhood have all but evaporated.

You started calling me "mommy", instead of "mama", which will likely give way all too soon to "mom" or "her" when you are angry and spilling secrets onto your girlfriends like I did. And you have grown a sense of humor, laughing a big fake laugh at your own jokes. You delight in yourself as I delight in you, your songs and the way you, for now, want to be just like me. You strut in high heels and demand to accessorize with a purse and hat, more like a grandma than like your mommy who hardly has time for a shower.

You are the consummate host, ensuring that everyone has a snack "nack", when you do, kissing everyone when you are in a good mood and bursting to share your joy. You are all at once a diva and a tom boy, playing in the dirt without a care in the world until you are chagrined by your own "dirty".

Your loves are simple: an ice pop, a ride on Daddy's back, a TV show, your grandma's house and your binky. Your fantasies are a bit more complex: a trip to the beach "Me in beach!", a ride on an airplane, to shave your legs, to have a baby of your own.

I am amazed by your physical gifts, your dexterity and energy level, your huge blue eyes, dimples and flawless skin. I don't love you for any of these things but am humbled by each one, wondering what I did to deserve the cherry on top. Your sensitivity astounds me and worries me all at once -- the way that you ask "Mama 'kay?" when I whisper the smallest "ouch" from across the house. I pray that your universally caring nature will be a blessing and not a burden.

I love how you love me, even though the smothering is driving me a bit batty right now -- as my breastmilk leaks and my unwashed hair tickles my neck in that way that I hate. Your rough yet loving embrace hits me right at the incision that the doctors made to rescue your brother -- and while your hug hurts, it also heals.

You have still proven to be my wonderful girl in the face of so much chaos. The one who asks for naps, kisses her brothers toes, and wants me above all else. When I feel like I am failing at so much, and looking like hell, I am thrilled that someone thinks that I walk on water -- a supermodel.

I am writing this here, because when our days are filled with "No!" and "Gentle, gentle" and "Now!" I need you to know that "I love you" rings louder than the rest. You are irreplacable -- my girl, my first, my everlasting, my soulmate.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Nocturnal Emissions

When you have a newborn, "late night talk" is no longer about Leno or Letterman. And it's not about erotic utterances, hot breath in eager ears, for at least 6-8 weeks (and even longer if mama is uniquely traumatized!)

Late night talk with a newborn is spoken through a thick haze of fatigue, dried contacts on eyeballs, dry throats and squinting in the dim shadows of nightlights. Nights of no sleep, days of back bending diaper changes and begging for burps. If you are lucky enough to have a partner on this exhausting journey, in those late hours, it is hard to be feel grateful. It is hard to feel kind, or compassionate, or understanding towards your partner. Because all of that good stuff is being used on that demanding little bundle whose squeals and squirms you are trying to interpret at some ungodly hour. So those middle of the night words are not always as gentle as they should be.

I know, I know, there are couples who gaze fondly into that bassinet at all hours in the night, cooing at the baby and each other, serving up breakfast in bed along with lines like, "you sleep, I will give the baby a bottle." And frankly, 90% of the time my husband and I are pretty lovely to one another in those wee hours, or at least broker who does what in silence.

But sometimes, it's just easier to snap. To stew in feelings of abandonment and irritation. To stare at your sleeping partner and seethe while watching his chest rise and fall. Still, I can usually bite back angry comments and instead am inclined to mope the next day, head filled with exaggerated doubts and eyes red with weepiness and fatigue. That's how I roll.

On the other hand, should I be victimized by a midnight zinger, a less than warm and fuzzy comment, I recoil in pain. I welcome all the sticks and stones you can hurl at me, but I can't take a careless comment. Anxiety consumes me and I fester in anger and accusation until my husband dares to ask, "what's wrong", having long forgotten words spoken while basically unconscious.

If I could change anything about myself, I would thicken my skin tenfold. I have spent much of my life bruised and battered by far less than cruel intentions. The slightest critique is often my undoing, much less the usual spats that come and go with deep relationships. A friend told me once that when she argues with her boyfriend, it is no holds barred. They hurl insults instead of china plates and it is immediately forgotten. I could never handle this.

Recently, when I actually said "I'll take the baby outside" at 4:00 AM and meant it, I was watching a Sex And the City rerun. The one where Carrie and Aidan break up for the second time. When he wants to marry her and she is not ready. When it is clear that they are parting again, and this time for good, Aidan says, "I can't believe I'm here again." And in a moment no longer than a heartbeat, when it is clear that what he needs to hear is "I am so sorry" or "Please don't do this" or "I love you", Carrie says...


In that one profane moment, it is clear that she is unredeemable. Because the truth slipped out, as ugly and unintended as it may have been. The most hurtful moment of the dialogue was not her rejection of his proposal, but the shitty way she chose to handle his heart when responding to the fullest measure of his pain.


So whether its in the diaper or the space between you and me, it's still hard to sleep well when you know it's out there.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Baby photo

Can't get you the real thing yet -- but Dylan bears an uncanny resemblance to this guy:

Anyone know who this is? Apartment 53, I am counting on you!