Saturday, November 2000: Rick and I have just started dating. We spend a Saturday at the Planetarium, looking up at the sparkling stars while holding hands in the dark. Gosh, I hope my hands don’t sweat. Afterwards, we emerge into the bright daylight, eyes squinting. He suggests Chinese food. Perfect, I say. I don’t really like Chinese Food (in fact, not at all) but in the swirl of romance, I am suddenly moo goo gah gah for it. After crunchy eggrolls and sticky rice, we meander around the city together, dropping in shops as quick reprieves from the cold weather. The day is intoxicating. Our time together is addictive. Our future is unknown. I wonder where all this will go.
Saturday, November 2007: It’s another Saturday, seven years later. Rick and I grab the girls and head to Bed, Bath and Beer. Well, that’s what it should be called. Beer would give it that extra boost of fun. We are in need of sexy things like a new trash can, a dust buster, a shower liner and curtains. Can’t you just feel the erotic energy?!
As soon as we arrive, we realize our list is way too limited. I mean, there is so much to buy. We didn’t even know. A Pedicure Spa Salon Foot Bath beckons from the right. Wow, that must feel like a personal foot massage. What a steal at $49.99! Then a Lint Wizard Self Cleaning Lint Brush calls out from the left. A lint brush that cleans ITSELF. It’s genius. Absolutely genius. What about this Hollywood Fashion Tape just ahead. That would be perfect for when I’m in Hollywood and jonesin to tape fabric to my body. And look, they sell art. We are definitely going to need a bigger cart. Honey, find us a bigger cart!
Suddenly, the prospect of buying a piece of art at Bed, Bath and Beyond has jarred me back to my rational self. My god, we aren’t NYU college students. What the heck is going on? We’ve got to stick to the list. Just the essentials. You take Summer and get the dust buster. I’ve got Dylan. Meet us by the trash cans. Break. Within an hour, we have extricated ourselves from the winding maze of aisles and shiny, sleek products. We have safely made it to lunch. The City Bakery on 18th street is a frenzy of people, strollers and bags. We secure a high chair and spot to eat. Yum. Food. No eggrolls. We are happy.
I’m feeling a bit emotional and off balance right now. I’m trying to wean my 11 month-old baby Summer. I feel ready to do it but I’m completely unready to do it. I want to let go but I don’t want to lose our thing. Because you know, it’s what we do. She nurses. I watch “Gossip Girl.” We’re connected. We’re happy. And I fear the moment she stops nursing, she will transform from this sweet, magical, butter cream cupcake into a ranting, irrational toddler. Tell me it’s not true. I probably won’t believe you.
As a result, everything is unsettling me. Summer climbed onto Dylan’s activity table, fell off and whacked the back of head. She recovered and quickly refocused on trying to capture a piece of Dylan’s Halloween candy that was just out of her grasp. But I was still rattled. And I could not believe my husband Rick was so calm about the whole thing. I mean, shouldn’t he join my hysteria?! SHE FELL OFF THE TABLE. I KNOW SHE’S FINE NOW BUT I’M STILL WORRIED.
This past weekend, I unintentionally insulted someone that I admire and my upset continued long after my apology was accepted. I’m bothered by Abby’s descent into an alcoholic tailspin. Um.. that’s Abby from “ER.” That’s right – the fictional television show. Really, I gotta buck up. What is my problem? 3 year-old Dylan is starting to have some competition for the title of “craziest person in the house.”
I guess it’s always hard to see the baby fade away. And Summer is not exactly championing this weaning thing. The girl hates milk – any milk that doesn’t come from my breast. I even went against every organic bone in my being and added artificially flavored strawberry syrup to the whole milk. It was DE-lish. I could drink a pint of it. It tasted about 10 thousand times, actually make that 40 thousand times, better than breast milk. Summer? Speak to the hand. Not going there sista. Thanks for trying. Maybe she’s holding out for a chocolate milkshake.
I remember when I stopped nursing Dylan at a year-old, I was melancholy for a few days and then I just felt so free. My body was wholly and completely my own again. So a little freedom will feel good. Won’t it? Tell me it’s true. I promise to believe you.
By the way, if you’re counting…
3 days til Wednesday’s Project Runway debut. My obsession for this show is deep. Every season, I’m convinced that I can be the next Cynthia Rowley despite the fact that I’m A) not on the show, B) don’t know how to sew and C) have never designed anything. Of course, I’m still hoping to be an Olympic ice skater too, so big dreams die hard.
7 days since the writer’s strike started. Oh people, just hammer something out. And then the writers can scribe a riveting movie of the week on all the drama in the back room negotiations. Or just go back to writing smart, clever commentary for Jon Stewart. Oh, I miss that man. He’s just not the same in repeats.
and 17 days since I ordered the Pilates core work-out DVD. Still unopened.
What’s with all the naked people at the gym? You may be thinking – I have no idea because I can’t get myself to actually go to the gym. Well, this information is not going to motivate you to get there.
Every week, I see these women who are enormously comfortable baring all amongst complete strangers. They stand there in the buck, with their lady parts all hanging out, while they mindlessly talk on their cell phones or blow dry their hair or apply mascara. Really?! You can’t throw on a towel? Maybe underwear?
It’s not like these ladies are super models. Oh no. Interestingly, it is often the ones with the cellulite dimpled behinds and extra generous waistlines that seem most at ease in the buff. Maybe they’ve come to some kind of peace with their bodies. Well, I’m not at peace as I attempt to throw on my yoga clothes without bumping into their exposed fannies.
Nudity in the ladies locker room is nothing new. I distinctly remember when I was a teenager running into my best friend’s MOM at our local YMCA. She was completely naked.
She stood there and actually chatted with me. “How are you? How’s school? I just ran into your mother at the CVS.” That kind of thing. I just kept uttering moronic replies like, “I’m good. School’s good. My mom is good.” I kept trying to focus on her face. I did not want my eyes to slip downward and find out whether she waxed or not.
And when I was in my twenties, I once went to a nude beach with my dad. We were on Martha’s Vineyard and I thought it would be funny to take a walk on Gay Head beach (yes, real name). I had never been to a nude beach before and I was a bit intrigued. So we went (fully clothed).
Well, there was nothing funny about it. Especially with my dad. Or any dad, for that matter. On our very short, uncomfortable walk, we ran into a naked family of four (mom, dad and two kids) all playing frisbee. Lots of running.
I don’t have a problem with nudity in the right context. My children love to be naked. My girls like to dance naked, eat naked, and conveniently, bathe naked. One of their favorite books is “In the Night Kitchen” by Maurice Sendak. The little boy, Mickey, pretty much spends the whole book nude – in fact that’s the only thing I actually understand about this weird, trippy children’s story.
So it’s natural to bear all. I love being naked – as long as I’m wearing a t-shirt and jeans too.
By Daphne Biener
I hope this letter finds you well. Wait, scratch that – I hope it finds you in an extremely forgiving mood. I am sorry. Boy oh boy am I ever sorry. And thank you. And did I mention that I love you?
I’ve been wondering: how late is too late to beg forgiveness? Wait, before you answer: thank you. Thank you for not smacking that self-righteous smirk off my face with a cast iron pan back in the early ’80s. Thanks for retaining composure as I defied you, dared to call you jealous (please know I am cringing as I write this.) Stood with hands on hips and detailed why, OH YES, I WOULD be going out with that boy (yes, yes I know NOW that he was a sociopath intent on mayhem, but damn he was one hot psycho.)
And the eye-rolling. Let me search the far east to gather up enough humility to atone for my teen eyeballs’ need to reach for the sky every time you offered a ride then insisted on pulling up right in front and leaning in for a kiss goodbye. As if.
Not that I’m in any position to do so, but if you’ll allow me just one more whimper: It’s not fair! My daughter Kira is not yet seven but I swear if her eyes roll any further back they’ll peer straight into her brain (where she will no doubt find empirical proof that she is indeed smarter than I am.) And the mouth on her? Here’s how daylight savings went down at our house:
The scene: Monday morning. Unsuspecting Mama tucked harmoniously into bed. Enter Kira (or whoever it is that has taken possession of her sweet young soul):
Kira: MOM! MOM! DON’T YOU KNOW ITS NOT THE WEEKEND ANYMORE, MOM! HEY I NEED SOME PANCAKES BEFORE FIRST GRADE BITCH! (ok, maybe I made up that last part, but it was there. I saw it lurking beneath the seething surface and I cringed.)
Now I have heard that if we handle this phase right (because it IS a phase, right?) then the teenage years are sure to be a breeze. True, I’ve mostly heard this as my husband and I mutter it back and forth like some kind of mantra or offering, but still, it would not be fair at all if we had to deal with this twice, RIGHT MOM?
So Mom, I’m begging you. Show some mercy. Dave has done the math and it’s not good. Looks like we are on a collision course that will have menstruation and menopause detonating in our house in one cataclysmic boom. Please, Mom, lift the curse. You, Lady Macbeth, stared into your bubbling cauldron and did this to me. It’s your fault but I give up. You win. My daughters are exactly like me.
Now can you please make it stop?
To read “lift the curse” in its sestina form, visit Daphne’s site here. Not sure what a “sestina” is – Daphne promises to explain.
Daylight savings is kicking the crap out of me and my husband. Every morning at 6 am, the girls are up. And boy are they perky. How is that kids wake up at full throttle? Full throttle should definitely not start before 7 am.
So my long, drowsy day begins. And it’s quite a ride because I truly live with a crazy person. Here is a small snippet.
3 year-old Dylan has a 15 minute meltdown in the stroller because Rick is pushing it, instead of me. I’m sweating from the stress. Once we are home, she is incredibly happy and content as we make flowers out of crunchy tissue paper and furry pipe cleaners. I’m suddenly feeling euphoric. I am a Martha Stewart mommy extraordinaire. Before I can I twist the last pipe cleaner, Dylan is sobbing because I won’t allow her to drink chocolate straight out of the Nesquik chocolate syrup bottle she’s confiscated from the fridge. Gosh, I’m cruel. Twenty minutes later, she is an angelic being, quietly playing in her room, pretending to make birthday cakes out of her toys. I blow out the imaginary candles with delight.
She tells me, “I love being with you,” which is so incredibly sweet and absolutely appreciated but I want to answer back, “Really?! Because sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. In fact, sometimes you really seem a little nuts.” Now of course I don’t say that. I share a different truth. “Dylan, that is such a wonderful thing to say. I love spending time with you too.” And I do. I just wish she would be a bit less crazy sometimes.
Speaking of crazy, why must nightfall now come at like 4:30? That pesky daylight savings is once again to blame. And not only is it dark but the writers (or probably it’s those greedy network suits) don’t want to give us new shows to enjoy after our kids are snug in their beds. Listen Hollywood – we tired mamas need our shows.
The Daily Show and David Letterman are already in repeats. New episodes of prime time dramas and comedies could soon disappear. Well, at least I have a back-up of saved shows like “Mad Men” and “Friday Night Lights” on my DVR. And better than that, the new season of Project Runway starts next week on Bravo. Oh Tim Gunn, you always manage to save the day. The master of design would tell those writers and tv executives to “make it work.” Because it’s too damn expensive to get a sitter and go to the movies.
mama bird notes
In this week’s “beauty diary,” Alex knows the power of a good pedicure. But when you have to do it yourself, she’s got the polish that will make your toes zing. Click on the “the beauty diary” to read more.
And for you New York City mamas – here’s one way to keep your kids entertained on cold afternoons. Just click on “drooling over this” under the menu bar.