Friday, March 29, 2013

Requiem for a Shower (A Haiku)

The shower of my dreams.
First, I put Henry in Baby Jail Baby Fun Zone.

Then, when he grew weary of being contained, I let him run free, child-proofing firmly in place.

Now, if I turn my back for a moment, he's climbed to the top of the leather recliner, one hand gripping the planter, the other fist pulling out a clump of soil. Or he's cornered the dog. Or hidden my phone.

To shower, I have gone back to basics -- Baby Fun Zone. Only now my showers are accompanied by peals of screams.

Moooooo Cooooow get me out of heeeeere!

And yet shower, I must.

The other day I took the fastest and least relaxing shower of my life: bathroom door open, cold air sweeping in, baby screaming, dog barking. Et cetera.

In response, I wrote a haiku poem. Let me know what you think. Have I missed my calling?



Warm water running
Nary a moment of peace
I never feel clean




Image courtesy of cbenjasuwan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Don't Play Well With Others

I'm not a large-group-of-friends-who-are-all-friends-with-one-another kind of person.

I have a few friends from each random part of my life -- high school, college, grad school, b-school, traveling, running, yoga, mommying, writing, blogging, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. I find people I like, and I latch on to them with my friendly tentacles. I don't expect these people to be friends with one another; being friends with me is already a heavy lift.

Look, I'm just not a group person. I always have my own idea about what I want to do. In short, I don't play well with others. But blogging, I've discovered, is a social medium. I've tried a little to go along with the group -- in this case, the momblogosphere -- but I'm just not that great at it.

Which is why I was surprised when I was nominated for the Lobster Liebster award by the sweet and funny Jen at Break the Parenting Mold.

The Liebster (tr: "dearest") Award is given by small bloggers to other small bloggers. 

(Small by what measure? Followers on Facebook? Twitter? G+? Pinterest? Unique page views? See -- this is why I don't get along with others. I question too much. Too, too much.)

More than an award, it's recognition by a fellow blogger that your blog matters to her.

According to Jen, the rules are:
1. List 11 facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
3. Ask 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.
4. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or less followers to nominate.
5. Go to each bloggers page and let them know about the award.
6. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog
7. No track backs

But I can't just leave it at that, now, can I? Noooooooooooooooooooo. I had to go all Google Search on you.

From what I can tell, one of the original Liebster Awards was given in Germany in December 2010. (Thanks to Sopphey for her investigative skills.) But as it turns out, you only have to nominate 3-5 bloggers with under 3,000 readers. See the giant game of telephone that happened? 

Hence, I am rebelling. I'm doing five facts, four questions and three nominations. 

(Lest you think I am the only rule-breaker, I point you to the very funny Unsweetened Tea, whose banner picture reads, "I can't brain today." Ha!)

But first, here are my answers to Jen's 11 questions:
  1. What is your favorite Band? What is your favorite song? (Does not have to be from the same band) Don't have one. Currently obsessing on fun. and Mumford & Sons.
  2. What is your favorite book and movie? (once again, could be the same or not) Too many favorites to list here!
  3. What was your first concert? Dire Straits, January 1992.
  4. What is your favorite mythological creature? Huh?
  5. What did you want to be when you grew up? I never knew, that's why I'm lost now.
  6. Salty or Sweet? SWEEEEEET.
  7. Would you rather be really hot or freezing cold? Really hot. I'm always freezing cold.
  8. If your life was going to be made into a movie, who would you want to play you? Tina Fey or Amy Poehler.
  9. What is your favorite season, or weather event? Spring - warm and sunny but not humid.
  10. City or Country? CITY. I mean, I am called the Urban Moo Cow.
  11. Why did you start blogging, and has that changed? For a creative outlet, to organize the thoughts in my brain, to share the funny shit that happens to me, to finally do what I love to do... write. Sometimes I get caught up in the mania, but my true mission remains constant.

Five Facts about the Moo Cow

  1. I used to be an investment banker. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
  2. I cried (in the good way) when Obama was first elected.
  3. Once when I was working in Ghana my apartment in New York caught fire. I lost a ton of stuff, including my favorite stuffed animal that my grandma had gotten me when I was little. My parents played it down while I was abroad. My dad tried to insist that I come straight to their place after landing at JFK but I was too stubborn to listen. An entire wall was missing when I got there.
  4. I constantly quote Eddie Izzard, Mike Birbiglia and Brian Regan. The big yellow one's the sun! (See?)
  5. I’ve had Angela the hanging plant for nearly 17 years. She even survived the apartment fire (see #3).

Four Questions for my Nominees

  1. What was your favorite subject in school?
  2. Name a writer you love.
  3. Twizzlers or Red Vines?
  4. What's your favorite day of the week and why?

Three Nominations

Rachel at Tao of Poop. Her blog is funny, introspective and well written. I first found (and identified with) Rachel by reading this post about her ambivalent relationship to New York City. She is my bloggy twin; we share many random things in common, not the least of which is chain letter skepticism. As a result, she has been nominated multiple times for this award, and refuses to participate. I think we should just keep nominating her until she submits to the power of the momblogosphere.

Heidi at Crohnie Mom. Okay, this is a serious one. Heidi's story of her diagnosis with Crohn's Disease continues to blow me away. Seriously. Read it.

Christy at Confessions of an Overachiever. I've just met Christy through Moms Who Write and Blog. She recently wrote a funny post with six whole reasons for liking pregnancy, which I cannot understand, because I hated being pregnant. Oh, and she lives in Colorado, too! That's where I definitely want to live, just as soon as I visit even once to verify my conviction.


Take it away, ladies!


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

(Semi) Wordless Wednesday: Voldemort

Remember that story about how I ripped my jeans picking up Hudson's poop because I had Henry strapped to my chest with his head poking out like a little Voldemort from the first Harry Potter movie?

No?

Okay, here it is: Hudson, Voldemort and Hipsters All Owe Me a Pair of Jeans.

Not too long after that happened, I was in the Walgreens in our neighborhood -- the one where they keep deodorant under lock and key -- when a female employee accosted me and insisted she take a picture with my cell phone.

Shocked into submission, I finally have a good picture of Voldemort:



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Books I Can't Read to My Son Because They Make Me Cry

I love reading to Henry. And I want to read him sweet, lovey books, but I can't, because I cry every time. And I don't think that is the point of reading to your child.

Mommy, why do you always cry when you read to me? Are books bad?

Here is a list of books that I can't read to Henry because they make me cry too hard. I'm using my Amazon Affiliate links so I have permission to display the book covers, but that's the only reason. I do not recommend buying these books, unless you, too, want to sniffle all over your poor, confused child.





Do you have any others to add to my "avoid" list, or am I the only unstable person who cries uncontrollably at children's books?

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Moo Cow Origin Story at Project: UnderBlog

Today I am sharing "Moo Cow of the Year" (originally posted in Meredith Spidel's Mom of the Year Series) at Project: UnderBlog.

I started blogging because I love to write. I love the written word, the way languages evolve, the way the right phrase can perfectly capture a moment in time. (I'm also an insufferable grammar and spelling snob. I'm sorry, it's true.)

I admire Project: UnderBlog because it recognizes and celebrates the value of beautiful, authentic writing. From the About page:
Project: UnderBlog is a submission-based collaborative writing project honoring the smaller voices in the blogging community.... Anyone can submit and share their voices and stories without consideration of their blog stats, followers, page ranks, and social media reach.
.... There are thousands of writers within the blogging community that write with authenticity on a daily basis and, because they may not possess the numbers most writing communities want, they may not feel they are being heard. But that doesn’t diminish the value of what they have to say. Project UnderBlog is a place where bloggers are accepted based on the power of their words and not on the reach of their numbers – where they can be heard, promoted, and celebrated no matter their size. It is about celebrating the fierceness of the “underblog.”
If you missed "Moo Cow of the Year" the first time around, it's the story of how I came to be called the Moo Cow in the first place, and why, even when I doubt myself, I am still Henry's best Moo Cow.

Even if you didn't miss it, head over to Project: UnderBlog and read this beautiful post about a mother's driving to the emergency room when she hears her two young sons have been in a car accident: Prayers of a Mother.

If you are a blogger, I encourage you to submit to Project: UnderBlog!

And without further ado, click here or the icon below to read my post.


Friday, March 22, 2013

The End of Baby Fun Zone

Baby Jail Origin Story

Back when we first put up the wooden gate that was to become the foundation of Baby Jail, its purpose was to keep Hudson out of Henry's face and away from his toys, which look and sound tantalizingly similar to dog toys.

We simply sectioned off Henry's baby play gym without attaching the gate to anything. Hudson knew his place, and Henry gooed and gaaed obliviously at the pretty butterfly dangling two inches from his nose.

If you look closely, you can see the wooden gate in the upper left-hand corner. 

When we moved to Brooklyn, we created the present-day Baby Jail. Slowly, however, Henry became mobile, and one time he pushed the gate open and army crawled right out.

The convict has escaped!
(Bad crapberry photo)

So we bolted the gate to the bookcases that acted as two sides of the jail.

Not too long afterwards, we realized that Baby Jail was actually protecting Hudson from Henry, who had discovered he had his own personal moving fluffy animal toy and wanted to squeeze its face. Poor Hudsy. The term "Baby Jail" became more appropriate than ever.

The convict in his stripes reaches over the gate for
his personal fluffy animal toy.

Soon Henry, who was learning to walk, balked at always being in Baby Jail. Far be it from me to stunt my child's motor skills development, so we created Hudsy Jail to protect the dog from Henry and his zooming red Y-bike.

Hudsy, you wanna play?
Watch out, Hudsy!

Baby Fun Zone

A month or so ago, Henry began to protest Baby Jail vigorously. With screaming and whining and trying to climb out, which I did NOT want him to realize he could do.

"I think we need to rebrand Baby Jail," I said to Rayne. "We need to start calling it Baby Fun Zone."

In the early mornings, I'd coax Henry into playing so I could return to sleep for a precious thirty more minutes.

"C'mon, buddy! Let's go play in the Baby Fun Zone! Woo-hoo! Baby Fun Zone! Yeah, Baby Fun Zone!!!!"

Occasionally he would actually get distracted long enough for me to sneak out and get some more shut-eye.

But recently, he really hasn't been having it.

No way, Moo Cow! I need to run around the apartment singing and talking on your phone!

"Yeah, I'll hold for his call."
(With abandoned Baby Fun Zone in the background.)

(Side note: I recently picked up my cell phone and saw that Henry had composed -- but luckily failed to send -- a gibberish twitter message to The Bloggess. True story.)

Alas, my rebranding exercise was too late.

I Poop On Your Rebranding Exercise, Moo Cow

Baby Fun Zone has been relegated, for the most part, to the place where we corral Henry's toys a) to protect them from Hudson and b) to protect ourselves from stepping on them. Because, OUCH.

Rayne's been traveling a lot for work, so he had not gotten the memo on Baby Fun Zone's demotion.

One day earlier this week, Rayne was up with Henry in the wee hours of the morning. He put him in Baby Fun Zone and managed to distract him long enough to go doze on the couch for a few more minutes.

Mistake.

Henry took off his diaper, peed on his Panda Mat blanket and then proceeded to take two big poops in Baby Fun Zone, in full view of his father.

And that pretty much sums up what Henry thinks of my rebranding campaign.

I poop on your rebranding exercise, Moo Cow.

Linking up with More Than Mommies this week!




Thursday, March 21, 2013

Just the Cat Call I Needed

SOMEONE WAKE ME UP FROM THIS NIGHTMARE
Photo credit: Jonas Tana
I've had a fairly deflating week personally, for reasons I won't go into here.

I also exploded all over my Facebook page with horror and a healthy dose of F-bombs over some choice news stories this week, including the heinous reaction to the Steubenville verdict, the complete failure of our spineless Legislature to even vote on a totally common-sense assault weapons ban and this quote from "The Retro Wife" piece in New York Magazine:

I feel like in today's society, women who don't work are bucking the convention we were raised with...Why can't we just be girls? Why do we have to be boys and girls at the same time?

Really? Really? You think you're the avant guard of some superior back-to-nature movement? If you are able to choose to stay home, and want to stay home, GREAT! But don't act like you are part of some grand sociological movement. Get a clue, you over-privileged, under-thoughtful disgrace to the legacy of Betty Friedan, Rebecca West and others who fought for your ability to have that choice.

And while you're at it, why don't you start referring to yourself as a woman; maybe then I will consider taking you seriously. 

***

So, that's the state of mind in which I found myself while walking to the subway to meet my husband and some friends for dinner. As if that weren't enough, I was feeling, as usual, disgusted with my body, which made me loathe myself even more for internalizing the generally misogynistic culture typified by some of aforementioned.

You know what else I needed? To be cat called by two short, fat, limping, cigarette-smoking, semi-illiterate-sounding men.

"You lookin' good tonight," I heard as I passed through their disgusting cloud of smoke.

(Tell me, do certain cigarettes smell worse than others? Are cheap ones or American ones more foul-smelling? Because these were revolting.)

"I like those boots," he continued. "Look at that ripe ass," he said to his friend as I walked mercifully out of earshot.

Yeah, that's exactly what I needed tonight.

Like an effing hole in the head. From a bullet from some sociopath's assault weapon he purchased at a gun show without even showing identification, because that's the world we live in. One where Bumbo Baby Seats are recalled and you can't legally drive a car without insurance but buying a gun is a matter of course.

Someone wake me up from this nightmare.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Today's Mama

Today I'm over at Today's Mama, where I write a health and fitness blog.

In addition to pokey marathon running (see this post on the Philly Marathon where the Moo Cow says SUCK IT to her skinny younger self) and Black Diamond skiing (ha ha!), I'm also a certified yoga instructor courtesy of New York Yoga. I used to teach but then my life totally cock-blocked me, and I had to stop.

Boob-blocked me?

Whatever.

So anyway, even though I don't work out nearly as much as I used to, I am hoping some of my street cred continues to stick.

Check out today's post on the new fitness craze and awesome workout, CKO Kickboxing, and let me know what you think, either here or there!

Hit the bag at CKO Kickboxing, Clinton Hill!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Nine Months

Urban Moo Cow
What's in a number?
Gotcha! You thought I was going to say I was pregnant, right? Admit it!

Well, I'm not.

Nine months refers to something else in my life. I've noticed over the years that it takes me about nine months to settle into anything new -- a job, an apartment, a relationship -- before I feel comfortable.

I'm inevitably flustered the first few months; no matter what, I feel like I'm drowning, like I need to change, like what I'm doing isn't worth all the trouble. But then, at around six months, I start to feel a little more in control. And by nine months, I belong in my new space.

It is not lost on me that nine months is also the amount of time a human woman gestates her offspring. Are they related? I can't be sure.

We moved to Brooklyn in May 2012. Since then, I've written about freaking out at the pollution from the BQE, coping with the less convenient public transit in my neighborhood and succeeding and failing to make new mom friends.

(Incidentally, Stephanie Lucianovic from Grub Report had an excellent post in the New York Times's Motherlode blog on "dating" moms. Check it out.)

June-July-August -- (I'm counting on my fingers right now) -- September-October-November-December-January-February.

February was nine months.

This past month, right on cue, I've begun to feel settled in Brooklyn. I'm (almost) used to the post-industrial wasteland in which we find ourselves; I've begun to figure out the shortest ways to get places -- the best buses, the fastest routes; I finally have a few women in the neighborhood whom I can truly call friends. (Thank you, ND, SC, KC and JM.)

And now, we are contemplating moving. The school situation is fraught in New York, and I'm making a mere pittance -- even less than a pittance, sometimes -- with writing (anyone want to hire me...? Bueller...?).

Perhaps I will go back to work full-time; or more accurately, perhaps I will take on another full-time job. Perhaps we will move to the soul-crushing suburbs. Perhaps I will find that second full-time job in the suburbs and move back to Manhattan for a slightly easier reverse commute.

All of these options are on the table. None is particularly inspiring.

Then again, it will only take me nine months to get used to the next phase, so what's the worry?

If only I could be so zen.

What say you?



Image courtesy of Chaiwat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Difference Between Messy and Dirty


This week I am appearing on the Messy Moms Radio Show as the Messiest Mom of the Week.

I fully admit that I am a messy, messy person, never mind mom. I am the queen of piles. Piles of shoes. Piles of papers. Piles of mail. Piles of laundry. Piles of drinking glasses taking up all the space on my nightstand.

It drives Rayne batty.

Rayne likes to keep things organized. On Saturday mornings, he runs around the apartment putting things "away." I try to stay in bed during this ordeal, lest I be caught up in the organizing mania.

Don't get me wrong. I like a neat apartment, but I'm just too lazy. I know where everything is, and I'm fine with the piles (for the most part). I'd rather spend my time writing. (Or doing nearly anything else in the world.)

What I can't stand is dirty. Dirty dishes, dirty bathroom, dirty floors. I never take a bath because I don't believe it could ever be clean enough. (Yes, I shower.) When I lived with my sister in 2004 I would Swiffer constantly to rid the apartment of our long strands of hair. I would Swiffer over her feet when she was watching television.

Before Rayne and I moved in together, he lived in a squalid, mosquito-infested fifth-floor walk-up apartment in Brooklyn with broken windows and a super whom he tipped with a bottle of vodka. It wasn't a nice apartment, and he was a bachelor. I understand these attributes don't lend themselves to a clean and tidy living space. But the apartment did not have to be as disgusting as it was.

After a couple of months of trying to shower without touching my body to any surface in the bathroom, I went to Target, bought a whole bunch of cleaning supplies and a pair of thick rubber gloves and scrubbed that damn bathroom until I ached.

I don't like dirty.

Since becoming a mom, I have been even more attuned to dirt and germs. The transformation has not, however, spilled over into neatness. In fact, I'm messier than ever. Now the piles include baby clothing, baby books, baby sippy cups and baby food. Oops.

Guess what, though? Being messy does not detract from my supermom-ness. I still get up every morning and give Henry oatmeal and clean his face. I still cart him around the city to his various classes. I still make his food and clean his bum and sing him lullabies before he goes to sleep.

If I'm the Messiest Mom, so be it. At least I'm clean.

Why yes, that is the desk I wrote this post on just now.















Messy Moms Radio
At Messy Moms Radio, the motto is "Good Moms have sticky floors, messy kitchens, laundry piles, dirty ovens and happy kids." Tune in Thursday morning at 10 a.m. EST to hear my interview as the Messiest Mom of the Week. This week's topic is sibling rivalry. In the meantime, check out their radio show archives and blog, where you can nominate yourself or someone you know as the Messiest Mom of the Week.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Marshmallow Skis a Black Diamond

For the first time.

All by myself.

On purpose.

(I fell once.)

That is all.

Superstar! (After the Moo Cow skied the Superstar Black Diamond Trail at Killington.)



Friday, March 8, 2013

Moo Cow of the Year

Today I am featured on fellow blogger Meredith's Mom of the Year.

The momblogosphere is pretty crowded these days. Meredith's blog is definitely a cut above, which is why I jumped at the chance to join her "Are You a Mom of the Year" series. The series features other moms explaining why they, too, deserve the title of Mom of the Year.

Click here or the icon below to read why I deserve the title of Mom -- er, Moo Cow -- of the Year.



Tuesday, March 5, 2013

It's the End of the Boob Jackpot and I Want a Refund

NB: This post is rated NSFMen. Also NSFPeopleWhoDon'tApproveOfSwearing. You have been warned.


Photo used with permission from Microsoft.
Before I became pregnant my bra size was 34A. Truth be told, however, I barely filled the A cup.

But you know what? It was okay.

I wore lightly padded t-shirt bras [ed. note: I was going to put a link to Victoria's Secret* but the photos of women with slightly parted lips and billowing breasts made me throw up in my mouth], and I was thin enough for a flat chest to be perfectly fine. Not sexy, but fine. I was fine.

Fine, fine, finey, fine, FINE.

Then I got pregnant and my boobs went up to a full size A cup. It was amazing!

"Look how big I am!" I'd cry to Rayne, who would nod and kiss me on the head, in adoration and not at all to comfort me in my moment of hysterical delusion.

A few days after I had Henry, I hit the boob jackpot: my milk came in. All of a sudden I had these ginormous size B breasts that I could barely stuff into my size A bras.

"LOOK. HOW. BIG. I. AM."

Rayne had to admit, at that point, that I definitely had legitimate boobs.**

Those legitimate boobs stuck around for the entire year in which I nursed Henry. I bought some 34Bs and shoved my 34As to the back of the drawer. I almost gave them away, but I thought it would jinx me. If kept the 34As, I reasoned, I would never need them again.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

As soon as I weaned Henry, my boobs deflated like two pathetic birthday balloons found in the corner of your living room three months after your son's birthday party. (True story.)

But they didn't go back to the firm, perky 34As of my youth. Nooooooooo.

They are, instead, like two stretched out crew socks hanging from my sternum. And I'm no longer thin and able to pass my booblessness off as heroin chic, or whatever. Now when I lie down my boobs collapse into my fatty torso, like two flans in a cupboard.***

And all I have to say is, What. The. Actual. Fuck.

Aren't your boobs supposed to get bigger after you have children? Isn't that one of the material benefits? When my embryonic cells were standing in line at the gene pool, how did they miss that part?

I want a refund.


________________________
*Not Victoria Secret's! Stop saying that!

**Is anyone feeling bad for my husband right now? Well, you can stop. It's 1:30 in the morning and he is snoring away on our comfortable Sleepy's Memory Foam mattress entirely oblivious to the world, while I am simultaneously staring wide-eyed at the computer screen and squinting, because I don't have my contacts in and Henry found my glasses on the couch today and brought them to me -- so helpfully, so sweetly -- after having rubbed his grimy little fingers all over the lenses. SO, EVERYONE, QUIT FEELING BAD FOR RAYNE. HE'S NOT THE ONE WITH MOMSOMNIA.

***I stole that metaphor from the incomparably funny Eddie Izzard. He uses it to describe the Austro-Hungarian Empire in this hilarious clip from Dress to Kill.

Monday, March 4, 2013

In Case You're Wondering What My Blog Is About

Here is a Wordle for the last five posts (before this one):




Sunday, March 3, 2013

When Life Imitates Life

The other day I caught Henry with my cell phone. In and of itself, this is not news. Toddlers love cell phones. Phones are shiny, have flashy lights and make fun beeping sounds. Some, like my crapberry, even have buttons. Ooooooh.

Rayne, my sister and my parents are all on my speed dial; Henry has called each of them at least once. He once, unbeknownst to me, left Rayne a minute-and-a-half long voicemail: "Gaga gahh ga ga! Dada dada dada dah!" He's also managed to assign a speed dial number to a friend whom I rarely call -- and has called her twice.

Let's face it: flashy lights and pressy buttons are awesome. But most of all, your phone -- with its limitless access to the World Wide Interwebs -- has your attention. And your toddler wants desperately to understand and possess the object of your fascination.

By now I'm accustomed to Henry's obsession with my phone. The other day, however, was different. He was pacing the apartment, holding the phone to his ear and talking happily away.

"Gaga gaga gah gah. Dah ma ga ga gah?" Pace. Pace. Pace. "Ga gah??"

He paused his string of babble long enough to ... I don't know what. He wasn't actually talking to anyone; he was just imitating mommy.

Pacing on the phone is something I am wont to do, something I have always done. I walk and talk with the phone to my ear, pausing to listen to what the person on the other end of the line has to say.

"Gaga gah?" Pause. Pause. Pause. He listened. "Dah dada dah dah!!" He responded. Pace. Pace. Pace.

I'll admit it: watching Henry so blatantly imitate me freaked me out. It's just the beginning of the many habits and mannerisms -- good and bad -- he will learn from me. The crushing sense of responsibility is matched only by my awe at how much this little boy has learned in 14 short months.

Hello, I'd like to place an order for some more Puffs.

What habits -- good or bad -- have you noticed your child pick up?