Sunday, October 21, 2007

Go-To-Gal on hiatus

I used to be the go-to gal. Need something? You can count on me. I relished being a good friend and loyal family member. Being devoted to others in a meaningful way is not easy, but I took it on as a full time job. And I enjoyed the fruits of my labors. For example, my college friend Jill had an internship in Boston which ended around midnight. I would drive to meet her from my toasty bed on campus, even on the chilliest of evenings. We would have a late dinner at an upscale 24 hour sushi restaurant, and unpack our days as we dipped our sashimi. Also in college, I spent a combined 12 hellish hours on a bus from Boston to New Jersey, all to spend a laughter filled weekend with my friend Tamar in a dank dorm room. When my mother needed an MRI ten years ago, I appeared on her doorstep at the crack of dawn to take her to the hospital, even though I lived in a different city. When my mommy-mentor Candice had her children and I had not yet taken the leap, I would take several trains after work to reach her downtown home and the $20 cabride back, just to stare at their perfect little faces for inspiration. Back then, it was easy to stretch myself to the point of snapping to be there for someone else, and to get back just as much.

That was BKE: Before Kids Era.

Nowadays, I am so consumed in the little details attached to my little darlings, that I have let my previously held commitment to excellence in the realm of relationships fly out the window, along with my taut stomach and low bloodpressure.

The plans I make with other people have become elastic, stretching and bending to meet the ever changing needs of my day. At best, it feels impolite and at worst it feels obnoxious, but with two children who need me to wipe their asses and one who literally feeds off of my flesh, my verbal commitment has to have the texture of bubble gum with the same ability to pop at any moment.

Take this weekend. I made plans on Friday evening to attend a children's service with a friend and her daughter at 5:00. At 4:30, Chloe was still napping. Now if there is anything I am "sanctimommious" about, it's kids and sleep. I never wake my children up unless it is absolutely vital. I believe they need every ounce to fortify their constantly growing bodies. But I was sure Chloe would wake up soon. She'd been down over two hours. I left a message, telling my friend I would be there, but late. Then I left another, saying we'd miss it altogether, but let's meet up at a fall festival the next morning at 11:00. Saturday morning arrives, and my husband (knowing nothing of these plans) starts doing laundry at 9:30. I know we won't be out of here by 11:00, and yet, I am still hopeful. I tell my friend to swing by to pick us up on her way. When she nears, we are still up to our elbows in Dreft. I tell her we will meet her there. We get there at 12:00. I have made a plan already to go to a lecture at a new baby store at 1:30. But by 1:00, the kids are starving and no where near napping, and I don't want to leave the party nor my husband with the two kids. I text another friend who was planning on going to the lecture that we would meet up at the park later. Well later becomes too late, both our kids sleep until 5. Sunday, I have tentative plans to meet a friend in the afternoon. I miss her call, and then spend two hours in a panicked conversation with my husband about my career woes. Tears ensue. When I finally come up for air, I reach my friend, and tell her I will be ready by 3:00 (this time, the kids actually wake up on time). But now she is busy, likely having wondered what had become of me.

And so on, and so on...

I wish I could say that I was wracked with guilt -- how have I become such a flake? But as I told my husband -- if I were had to be held in stone to every plan I made, I would never see a single soul. Because right now, just keeping these children alive is a full time job. I plead the understanding of all involved, that this is a temporary lapse in manners and mobility, and I hope to be reinstated to the positions of "friend who is on top of everything" and associated with words like "reliable", "punctual" and even, "the best."

The good news is, this stretchy street is two ways. When someone cancels on me, I don't even blink. When I made a date with a new friend she punched it into her iphone. "Let me just warn you," she said, "I am queen over double booking". I loved this. A pre-emptive cancellation policy. Unreturned phone calls, broken playdates, my birthday goes ignored and frankly, it makes me feel better. We all have busy lives, be it kids or work or just wanting to focus on ourselves. We can only hope that we will continue to find our way back to those we love, whether it's a foot on a calf in the middle of the night or a girls night out once a month -- we'll keep trying to show we care, even when we can't be all there.

Friday, October 12, 2007


1. My husbands biopsy proved benign (thank god). He is taking two weeks worth of intense antibiotics that are so strong, they should blast out what ever is causing his lumpiness. Thanks for asking.

2. Chloe loves school! Well, at least she loves her teacher and a boy named Noah. Noah, Noah, Noah all day long. He is a looker, I must say, but is also the only one still crying in class. She clearly can resonate with his weepiness. I can only imagine them sniffling together down the aisle.

3. I realize what I miss about working in an office. Calorie restriction. Despite the occassional birthday cake, its pretty hard to overeat when you are working all day. I am about to go out to replace all of the M and Ms I have consumed, which were specifically purchased to convince Chloe to poop on the pot. Talk about stealing candy from a baby.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Three turns

My nanny* and I were staring down at Dylan, Mr. Delicious. We do this alot. I think she loves him as much as I do. He lies back, looking at us, all gums and cornflower eyes and pale, spotless skin. "I can't believe how different he looks," nanny says, referring to the two months ago when she started working with us. I agree. "He has one more turn", she says, as she smoothes her hand lovingly across his soft spikes of black hair. I look at her, confused. "Three turns. Everyone has three turns. This is his second turn. One more left." She is referring to something she believes in, something from her home in Belize or something astrological, both of which I know little about. She maintains that all babies looks turn twice and then settle in at the third. So far, she is on track. He started out a little scrawny chicken, plucked too soon, all flailing limbs, droopy eyelid and rosebud lips. Now he has morphed into a large, lean bean, except for belly that hangs over pants. His eyes usually match now, a cornflower blue with an almond shape. His chin is mine, pointed and strong. Remnants of his dramatic entry to this world are all but gone - yet it is clear that his looks are not completely settled. There is a bald patch of missing hair that needs to grow back. His legs are still pretty bowed. His teeth are somewhere beneath pink rubbery gums. There is one more big turn.

I like this concept of three turns -- three chances -- to be who we really want to be, or who we want to be with. Three big relationships, three bold career moves. This is why people love their thirties, I think. Feeling like they finally settled in to where they were supposed to be. I like to believe that we have at least this many chances to change. This has held true in my love life. I started out painfully shy, scribbling love letters into notebooks behind thick glasses and a halo of frizz. I spent the next turn in skin tight clothing -- plunging necklines, Victoria's Secrets, walks of shame, cocktails and hangovers and indulging assholes. All this lead me to a wonderful man, marriage and an assortment of less exciting underwear that now includes the extra high briefs worn to accomodate a massive C section scar.

Then there's my career. Beginning with the beauty industry that proved to be anything but beautiful. Moving on to professional philanthropy....begging for dollars for a variety of causes. This felt good, better than shmoozing for shampoo. And still, I am unsettled. I am bored. It does not fit well, despite the fact that I wear it comfortably, like the maternity pants that I still run around town in. I want more. I want the jeans that make my ass look great. I want the career that makes me want to work, that gives me the sense of purpose which my father warns me never to lose. I know what I want to do, but I am unsure how to get there. I am ready for my third turn, but this one could really use a road map, a parachute and very big break.

*Post about my amazing nanny coming up - SF in Brooklyn, you inspired the turn on this topic!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Ultra Sensitive...

...its not just for condoms and toothpaste anymore!

I have a Gmail account, and for those of you who don't use it, Gmail will "scan" the contents of your emails (they promise they don't read them), and produce banner ads on the side of the email that you might be interested in based on the key words in your messages.

Gmail explains it this way:

Google is NOT reading your mail. Privacy is an issue we take very seriously. Gmail is a technology-based program, so advertising and related information are shown using a completely automated process. Ads are selected for relevance and served by Google computers using the same contextual advertising technology that powers our AdSense program. This technology lets Google target dynamically changing content such as email or daily news stories.
Because the ads and related pages are matched to information that is already of interest to you, we hope you'll find them relevant and useful.

It is a little creepy to say the least, but an email system that far surpasses the spam nightmare of Yahoo.

So today, my husband and I were exchanging some messages based on what I believed to be a less than friendly tone which I perceived during our last phone call. Nothing too dramatic, and he immediately apologized (which he generally does.) Nowhere did he call me oversensitive, but Gmail sent me the following helpful hint:

Highly Sensitive?Learn to work with your sensitivity rather than against it, then shine!www.HighlySensitiveSouls.

Good thing I am not married to the robot behind that one!