Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just a little bit brighter...

I've been having a dark afternoon. I have them sometimes, which is annoying because I know exactly how good my life is. I know how much I have, how many people love me, and how many people I love.

But I still have dark days sometimes. I don't know, doesn't everyone? Today's was just based on me getting my feelings hurt earlier in the day, and then allowing them to get hurt again when Zoe said "I don't want you, Mommy" one time too many when I was putting her to bed. Silly, I know, to let a two year old hurt your feelings. But it still did. I let it.

Luckily, Charles recorded Ani DiFranco on Live from the Artists Den last weekend. I'm so glad he did.

I first heard Ani years ago when visiting a great old friend of mine at Bryn Mawr College. It sounds cliche, right? I know - honestly, it was also the first time I was ever hit on by a girl. But that was the first time I heard Ani.

Through college, Ani's music was always a pick me up - I still hum "Untouchable Face" when I'm pissed off. You know that, if you know the lyrics, you do it, too.

And tonight, watching her interviews, I was just in awe of her. She spoke of joy and love and art and the art of being fearless. It's the fearlessness that really hits me - I'm afraid of everything! I'm afraid of failing at work, at writing, at being a good mom or a good wife. I'm afraid of ticks and spiders. I want to be big and bad and bold, but instead I'm meek and timid.

And I hate it!

But hearing just makes me feel like, Ok, I can keep working at this. I can at least try. If she can be so damn amazing, I can at least be a little cooler, right?

So it made me smile, and it helped brighten up the night a little.

Here's a link to a video from the show, in case you need some brightening, too. Enjoy it!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Every so often, you can go home!

This post started out, earlier today, as kind of sappy, totally nostalgic. My mood throughout the day has changed, though, so I'm happy to report I've lightened things up a bit.

This past weekend, Zoe and I took a trip up to my original home state, New Jersey, to attend the christening of my best friend Amy's second child. As usual on these whirlwind, weekend trips home, I tried to squeeze as many visits in as possible. I may not have biologic family left up there, but I do have a handful of friends that I miss almost daily. It was exhausting, but here are some of my favorite memories for your perusal.

Amy picked us up at the airport, the backseat of her borrowed 4Runner jam-packed with three car seats. Our two girls, separated by four states for most of the year, took less than an hour to warm up to each other, and were quickly laughing hysterically over a stinky shoe. They held hands and sang while Amy and I chatted quietly in the front seat, giggling at the girls' antics. Amy and I, together through all of our childhood, were called Peanut Butter and Jelly; Zoe and Gabriella are more like Chocolate and Vanilla - not frequently together, but completely complimentary.

We went to my friend Tina's house, which was a re-construction zone the last time I saw it. Now it's amazing. Zoe sat on my lap at the kitchen table and asked, "Where's the kitchen table?" I laughed and said, sarcasm oozing, "Um, you're touching it?" Tina snorted with laughter, happy to see my snarky-college-self make a sudden appearance. Some things don't change.

We went to brunch with my friend Christina and her son Brayden. It was my first time meeting him, and only Christina's third time with Zoe. We sat at a table and chatted for over an hour, and it was like we were never apart. Then we took our kids to the park where we used to exercise together, where once an elderly man stopped us to tell us that we made a striking picture next to one another, and we sat on a bench while Brayden napped quietly and Zoe played loudly. "I wish we could do this every Saturday," Christina said at one point. Wow, Chris, so do I!

We went to my friend Alison's house, where I had not been in three years. While Zoe played in her children's playroom, I helped myself to a glass of water, opening cabinets without even thinking to ask, because it just felt like home to me. We followed her down to a block party where I awkwardly tried to make small talk with her neighbors while catching up with Al and her husband, who told me I'm "not capitalist enough," which made me smile.

On Saturday night we had a party at Amy's where a handful of my friends, old and new, assembled for a few hours. The kids played with toys posed for pictures in front of a post. We laughed and ate tacos and caught up and drank beer and wine and it was nice. So. Nice.

And then at the christening on Sunday, after discussing with Zoe the rules of church (whisper, inside voices, be still), I was entertained by her flawed attempts to follow them. They included talking slightly quieter than usual, wiggling instead of jumping, and giggling at everything she saw. When, in a desperate attempt for calm, I suggested Zoe sing her favorite song in a whisper, she belted out Twinkle, Twinkle as loud as she could. Of course she did!

I felt so cozy, so at-home among my friends all weekend. I've been listening to Frank Sinatra today in an effort to prolong the homeyness.

But then, it was great coming home, too! Zoe ran halfway across the airport when she saw Charles leaning against a wall outside security. The look on his face when she leaped into his arms and hugged tight around his neck made me go all sappy and teary. And for me, seeing my other best friend standing there, holding our baby, made me so happy to be home, here in Charleston. My home. Where I have family. And friends. And a life.

So Jersey, I'll see you soon I hope, and in the meantime I've got Frank and Jon and Bruce and Facebook to keep me going!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Do tell...please, keep telling

I'm sorry. I didn't check the news before my silly post last night, so I didn't see how completely WRONG Congress got things yesterday. By filibustering a military spending bill that included the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, a completely flawed and unfair Pentagon policy, Congress threw a slap in the face of the men and women who serve our country with honesty and integrity, regardless of their sexual orientation.

But, rather than trying to state my opinion more eloquently than the New York Times Editorial Board, let me just share their opinion with you...and please know that I am disgusted.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I had a rough night last night due to a seemingly everlasting stress dream in which I was trying to go to sleep in a hotel room while my co-workers played the television too loud. Then Zoe was trying to lay in the bed with me (still in the dream) and she was kicking and wiggling and no one would turn the darn TV off...

Suffice to say, I swear I woke up more tired this morning than I was when I went to bed last night.

Ah, happens, doesn't it?

So since my brain is tired and my body is exhausted, and since I've had two heady posts in a row, I thought I'd just share some silliness today.

First, I'm watching the season premier of Glee as I type and I'm so happy it's back on. As a girl who has been in love with musical theater much of my life, I find this show entirely engaging and lovely. It makes me so happy, and even though Charles typically leaves the room or falls asleep when I watch it, today he's being a champ and has hung in there through three (3!!!) musical numbers thus far.

Also, I learned yesterday that if you have leftover shrimp and grits (one of my favorite things to cook), you can serve it really successfully with bacon and scrambled eggs. It makes a great dinner!

And as much as I love Glee, I'm also very into shows about food. I love food. It makes me happy (which is probably why I can never, ever seem to lose weight...but I digress). No Reservations is one of my favorites, but I also love Top Chef. I was super-excited to see this short interview with Tom Colicchio on, one of my favorite parenting sites. I have such a little crush on the Top Chef judge; it was nice to read a little something about him.

And finally, to round out this little round-up, I have also learned that potty training a toddler leads to extended bedtime routines, as suddenly said toddler needs to "go number one" 97,362 times every night after bed. Sigh. I know Zoe will outgrow it (this, too, shall pass, right?), but right now, bedtime stresses me out like it hasn't in months. But my growing girl also says really funny things now, like, "R is for bunny!" and "Oh, fail!" when she can't blow a bubble. So it all balances out...unlike this crazy post.

Have a good night, friends!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Knowing my limits

I find myself drawn to TV shows, books, articles, and even movies that tell the story of those less fortunate, those in pain, or those who are going through something I hope I will never have to experience. My husband gives me a grief for wanting to read depressing stories. It's not that I like to hear depressing stories, I just tend to pause on them. I'm interested in how people cope, how they react, and at times, how they carry on with life.

It's usually safe to say that unless I have gone through the same experience as someone else, and in the same manner, I can't speak to exactly how they feel. I can guess as to what emotion the experience may leave behind, but I will never truly understand. So, when I find a book that lets me dive into the characters and feel what they are feeling, I become immersed. I think about the characters for days after I've finished reading. I ponder what they would have done if the situation was different. I examine why they chose to do what they did. I want to try my best to understand their emotional journey, and as a result, their choices.

This leads me to a book I recently caught wind of, ROOM by Emma Donoghue. With everything I said above, I'm not sure I can read this book. As a mother of a small son, something tells me this story may haunt me longer than others.

I want to understand the pain of others, but I'm not sure if I can handle the pain of a little boy. It may, for the first time, be a little too close to the heart.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thoughts on an x-ray

Marissa mentioned that she was taking Max for his one-year shots yesterday, and I shook my head in sympathy. I know so many moms out there for whom shots are traumatizing, and Marissa's so sweet that I imagine she's one of them.

I smiled, kind of happy that shots typically don't bother me. Sure, Zoe cries. I know they hurt. But a lollipop can cure those crocodile tears so fast that she forgets anything happened within moments.

But then I remembered. There was that one time...

Zoe started daycare when she was four months old, and soon after, the ear infections started. They were constant for a while, and when the doctors finally told me that she was walking around with fluid in her ears at all times, and that it would affect her hearing and speech development, I gave in and let them put the tubes in.

That ended the ear infections, but it didn't prevent RSV.

Oh, it was awful. She was never officially tested for it, but the constant coughing, the constant runny nose - our doctor didn't have to test her to diagnose her. We took home a nebulizer that day and began a breathing treatment regimen that Zoe hated.

And after a while, she got better. Her nose dried up and the cough stopped during the day.

But there were still the nights, and the cough refused to quit. Countless trips to countless pediatricians at our local practice had us trying Benadryl, Singulair, Zyrtec, humidifiers, pillows, etc. We didn't use the breathing treatments anymore because they weren't helping.

And the antibiotics. I shudder to think of how many courses of antibiotics little Zoe has already had in her short life. I hate that she's been so medicated - that can't be good in the long run, right?

And the cough wasn't getting any better.

By now, Zoe was nearing 18 months old. We finally decided to see Zoe's primary pediatrician, rather than any of the others in the practice, as he hadn't seen her in a while and we wanted to hear his thoughts.

He tried one more allergy medicine, but when it didn't help, he referred us to an allergist/asthma specialist. I was a little surprised to be thinking of asthma - my brothers and I all have it, but we always attributed it to second-hand-smoke inhaled as a kid. I hated to think of Zoe as a kid who would be attached to inhalers her whole life.

The allergist checked Zoe out, listened to her lungs and heart just as all the others had done. He recommended we go back on the breathing treatments, with the addition of a steroid for the time being. And then he paused.

"You know," he said. "Just to be safe, let's get her a chest x-ray. Have any of the doctors ever ordered that?"

They hadn't, so we walked out with a prescription for one chest x-ray.

I took Zoe for her x-ray the next day, by myself. Charles was busy at work and it was easy for me to leave a little early so we could make it to the radiology place by our house before it closed.

Thus began 15 minutes of hell.

We pulled up and walked in, Zoe blissfully unaware of what was coming. I'd made an attempt to explain. "They need to take a picture of you, you'll have to stay really still," but she wasn't even paying attention. I also didn't know how they planned to keep my wriggly toddler still for long enough to get a clear picture of her lungs.

Here's how they did it.

They saw us coming, and sent two techs out to get us. They ushered us quickly into the room with the x-ray machine that terrified Zoe and made her start crying pitfully real tears immediately. They quickly took her from me and undid the metal straps of her overalls. They quickly stuck her in a plastic contraption that they quickly closed tight around her chest, her feet dangling helplessly three feet above the floor. They quickly snapped the picture and ran back into the room to develop it, leaving Zoe dangling in case they needed to take another picture.

Then we waited. While it developed.

And the screams. Oh, they were loud. As soon as those techs had touched Zoe, she began to scream. Blood-curdling, horror movie screams that hit me in the gut with the sheer terror infused in them. Tears ran down her beet-red face, snot poured from her nose, and her mouth never closed for even a second while she screamed and pleaded for her life.

I have never heard anything like those screams. I hope to never hear them again.

I just kept saying to myself, "Be calm. Hold it together. Do not fall apart." I had to be strong for my baby. I had no choice.

I HAD to hold it together.

And I did.

Luckily, the first x-ray was a success, and the techs were soon quickly removing Zoe from her plastic prison and handing her back to me. My hands shook as I fastened her overalls back up and muttered about ice cream treats and hugs and kisses to come. Nothing calmed those screams, though, until we were out of that building, safe and sound in the car.

Zoe sat in her carseat, her breath ragged and labored. I called Charles, told him we were done and tried not to cry at the sound of the concern voice. I stopped at Sonic for sundaes on the way home.

I could still barely breathe myself.

Turned out, she had a very mild form of pneumonia. I cried, when we got the results. As much from relief that the screams had been worth something as from sadness over my sick child.

My mom always told me about when I had a spinal tap as an infant. She had never heard anything like my screams that day, and while I have absolutely no memory of the incident, she will never forget how they sounded.

I know it's no comparison between the two, but I promise you: I will never forget the sound of these screams either.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The eye of the Goldfish

I have discovered another perk of being a mom. The snacks. I've always considered myself a healthy eater, there are times I spurge and indulge, but for the most part I do my best to eat well. And Max, so far, will eat anything we put in front of him, except birthday cake (you know the story.)

In my efforts to be a good mom I want to feed him healthy foods, so I cooks lots of veggies, lean meats, whole grains, and no desserts. Snack time, though, is a different story. I give him the regular kid snacks, like Goldfish. And this is where the perks come in. I love Goldfish, love Goldfish, love Golfish. But I always felt a little guilty buying them before I had Max. Mostly this guilt stems from an incident in college that involves hurricanes, evacuations, and my parents.

I'll give you a brief synopsis - it was my sophomore year in college and I loved Goldfish even back then (loved Goldfish.) I bought a gigantic box of the little tasties, and munched on them nonstop.

I happened to be in college in the late nineties when over the span of three years we had at least four major hurricanes hit the NC coast. There was a particularly bad storm that forced my parents to evacuate off the island they lived on, and they decided to stay with me. I lived inland and in a well built apartment complex. My mom called to ask if I had food. Of course I had food. To a kid in college, who ate sporadically and poorly at best - I had my gigantic box of Goldfish. I assumed the storm would pass quickly and we could run to the store if we needed food.

Well, the storm lasted longer than expected, knocked out power and caused major flooding. Going to the store was not as easy as I had hoped, and we found ourselves stuck in my tiny apartment with only Goldfish to eat. Imagine - hot, sticky, no air in September in the south, small cramped apartment with a college kid, her parents, their dogs, her cats, no TV, no real food. It was a bit traumatic for us all.

And here we are ten years later, I'm finally over my guilt, and I am buying Goldfish again. While Max snacks on them every afternoon, so do I. It's my little splurge. It's my afternoon treat, my tiny but significant perk that I intend to take full advantage of for as long as snack time lasts.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Music music music!!!

Something crazy has been afoot in Charleston this summer. I'm not sure if it's going to last, but I like it!

It's GOOD MUSIC! In Charleston!!!

In the past few months, Charles and I have been practically reeling at the amount of bands that we love who are making it to town.

First, Smashing Pumpkins came. They played a crazy-loud, flashy-light set at a small venue downtown back in July, and while I wasn't quite as into the show as Charles, even I had to admit was an incredible opportunity to see an iconic bands of the 1990s. My ears rang for days.

Next was supposed to be Neko Case, but she had to cancel due to tour-fatigue. We love her, so we were a little sad, but hey, at least she thought of us in little old Charleston!

Then the bands really started showing up, and we actually have to stop buying tickets because the shows are getting too close together.

This past Friday we saw The Black Crowes on Daniel Island. It was AMAZING. Seriously. I haven't danced so much since my days of "clubbin'" in college - my friend Tina would have been so proud. And while my dancing skills are at best questionable, I was completely tickled by Chris Robinson's groovy moves. Dude can shake his booty, let me tell you. I never quite got why Kate Hudson married him (c'mon - did you??), but now I totally get it!!

Next we have tickets to Phish in mid-October - can you believe it? Phish is coming here? For two nights? We're just going to one, but I can't wait. I didn't GET Phish back in high school, when I would have had the opportunity to travel around with a few friends in the summer, going from show to show. But now I get it (although I still don't smoke...hmm...) and I can't wait to see them live. I bet I bust out my dancin' shoes again! God help those Phish-heads around me!!

After that comes Band of Horses (score!). Dave Matthews Band is coming, too, and while we don't have tickets to them yet, I have a feeling we'll be getting them soon. Like, as soon as they go on sale.

We have to say no to Lyle Lovett this fall, a huge favorite of Charles and mine, since his show is really close to Dave's. We saw Lyle perform with his Large Band when Zoe was just a few months old (it was one of our first post-baby dates), and it was one of the best shows I've ever seen. I'd say it was in my top five, but then I sound like I'm going all High Fidelity on you.

Of course, a huge part of all this music has really been the fact that Charles and I have re-entered the world of the young, fun and semi-social this year. Zoe's a little bigger, she sleeps a lot better than she used to, and she and my mom have enjoyed all the extra time they've gotten to spend together. It's been lovely, really. Music has always been a huge part of our lives and it's fabulous to re-immerse ourselves in it.

Zoe loves it too - she loves to dance, to rock out, and will request Beastie Boys or Miles Davis - you just never know with her. Right now she's on a Grace Potter kick. So maybe next time Grace comes to town, we'll go see her as a family.

Life gets more and more fun sometimes, doesn't it?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why my head hurts when I think about religion

Rosh Hashana was last week. Like most holidays, this one got me feeling all schmoopy for the past, all nostalgic for when my life was a whole lot simpler, and times were sweet.

It got me thinking about how I love some of those memories and traditions from my childhood - the hours and hours at synagogue, playing with my friends on the front lawn (was the weather always beautiful for Rosh Hashana?), running inside to hear the shofar blown. Family dinners with matzoh ball soup and brisket and roast chicken.

I got nostalgic for my religion. I am almost never nostalgic for religion.

And then, I read this piece by Christopher Hitchens.

Hitchens is sick. The snarky, often-venomous journalist and Vanity Fair contributor has advanced cancer of the esophagus. Anyone whose life has been touched by cancer can feel the enormity of that phrase - advanced cancer. I know I can.

Hitchens is also an atheist; almost universally hated by this country's religious right, he also tends to be a bit of a bastard, from what I've heard.

Still, though, to read his piece, to read the utter vitriol directed at him when he is down, sorta makes you sick, right? How can it not? How can anyone who claims to be a part of any form of religion say this:

"He’s going to writhe in agony and pain and wither away to nothing and then die a horrible agonizing death, and THEN comes the real fun, when he’s sent to HELLFIRE forever to be tortured and set afire."

How could you wish that on a person, and still consider yourself godly?

It made me sick, but I read on. And it was a reminder of all the issues I have with organized religions in this country and around the world. They are just so damn holier than thou. If you don't believe what many people say you should, then clearly you will burn in hell.

Am I right? Even according to the religion of my father and my best friend, I am due to burn in hell when I die for the grave sin of being Jewish. Do I believe either of them embrace this theory? No, of course not - they love me and they know I'm a sweet girl who wouldn't hurt a fly (ok, I'll kill a tick or a mosquito with a vengeance, but who's counting?). But lots of people around the world really do belive that the very fact of my Jewishness, let alone my tendency towards atheism, is enough to condemn me to an eternity of damnation.

In short, this stuff makes me crazy.

It makes me question (again!!) how to bring up Zoe. Charles and I have agreed to teach her all the religions we can, and let her choose for herself, but darn it, these stakes are high! I have already condemned her, according to many, by not baptising her into any particular faith. Sheesh. Poor kid. I just want her to grow up to be a sweet girl who wouldn't hurt a fly (ticks and mosquitoes are still fair game, though, ok?). I want her to love both sides of her cultural heritage - Jewish and Christian.

If she can love the traditions and respect others' beliefs, that will mean Charles and I have done a good job. If she feels strongly about any particular religious beliefs, I am OK with that, as long she is OK with the mish-mosh of ideas that exist in my head.

And to be fair, last week we may not have spent any time in a synagogue, but we had matzoh ball soup. We ate brisket. And the times? They were pretty sweet.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

History, heritage and a lampshade

Every so often you run across something - an article, a video, a book - that completely blows your mind. It may not happen often, but when it does, you know it.

This happened to me yesterday. I was sitting at my desk at work, eating lunch, checking out my favorite web sites, when I stumbled across this piece, which only lived on NY Magazine's home page for half a day. I'm glad I found it when I did.

Mark Jacobson's excerpt from his upcoming book, The Lampshade, kicked my ass and kept me in my seat, barely tasting my food, for its duration. The topic is dark, macabre: Jacobson came into possession of a lampshade purportedly made from the skin of dead Jews in Germany during the Holocaust. He writes of his journey in attempting to learn the true lineage of this bizarre antique. But the story, even here in this comparatively small excerpt, is about so much more than that horrific lampshade.

It seems that, while searching for the heritage of the lampshade, Jacobsen wound up searching for his own as well.

While reading it, during my lunch, I was alternately nauseated (how can you read about a lampshade made of skin without getting queasy?) and enthralled, learning little snippets of a history about which I thought I already knew so much. Did you know there was a "Bitch of Buchenwald?" I didn't...and I know a lot about the Nazi camps for someone born almost half a century after they were finally closed.

I also got to learn a little about post-Katrina New Orleans, which is where the mysterious lampshade surfaced, only to wind up back on my own turf - that of an assimilated Jew trying to navigate the importance of one's own cultural heritage while processing the horrors that created much of it. Jacobson is twice my age, sure, but the questions he asked and the observations he made could easily have come from my own mouth...or keyboard...if only I was a good enough writer.

And, from what I read, he really is a brilliant writer. I want this book; I will read this book. I can't wait to own this book (Charles, please put this book in our Amazon shopping cart immediately!). I need the full story.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The birthday cake lesson

This past weekend we celebrated my son's first birthday by having friends and family over to grill hamburgers, hot dogs, and of course, eat cake.

It was a perfect day surrounded by my favorite people. The weather was beautiful and the food was yummy. And right around 5:00, we brought out the cake. This is where the day took a left turn.

In the days following his birthday party, I had growing suspicions that cake might not be Max's favorite thing. At Leah's house, he tried a bite of cupcake. I noticed his face wrinkle at the icing, and then instead of putting the bite of cupcake in his mouth, he tried to feed it to the dog.

The day of his party, I couldn't decide if his personal cake, that I made from scratch, should have chocolate or vanilla icing, so I did a taste test. I offered him two fingers, one with chocolate icing, the other with vanilla. My thought process was, I'll let him taste both, offer both fingers again and the finger he goes after first, well, that would be the icing for his cake. But Max wouldn't taste either finger. He backed away in horror from the brown icing and when I put the white icing up to his lips, he almost gagged. This should have been a red flag for me.

But how could that be! Doesn't every child dive into their first cake and smear it all over their face, while all the adults stand around cheering and laughing. Isn't it a joyous moment, the first time cake touches your lips, the sweet sugar icing, cake!! Who doesn't love cake? Everyone loves cake!

Well, not Max. At his party when it was time to bring out the cake, Max shrunk into his highchair and stared at me with frightful eyes. I brought it closer and his face shriveled. No, not cake. I sat it on his highchair and backed away. Max started crying. I tried to entice him by digging in the cake, but no, nothing but tears. He reached his arms up and wanted out, out of the whole situation. He didn't want the cake, he didn't want the singing, he didn't want all the eyes on him. I lifted him up and took him into the other room and apologized. "It's ok Max, you don't have to like cake."

And so I learned another lesson as a mother. My baby boy is becoming his own person, with his own likes and dislikes, and no matter what, I can never force my own love of cake onto my son. The party was for us, not for Max. All Max wanted was to play, and get love from his mommy and daddy.

In the end, it was ok. Mommy and daddy ate his cake the next morning for breakfast.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


It seems like the older your child gets without being potty trained, the more frequently you hear stories of other children getting potty trained at freakishly young ages. I mean, 14 months? Really? To be fair, I know I was trained by 18 months, but anyway...

I got sick of being told that Zoe, at 27 months (no, I don't typically count months anymore...I'm illustrating a point), was more than old enough to be using the potty. Last weekend, I made a completely arbitrary decision: even though she had only once done ANYTHING in the potty, clearly this four-day weekend was THE time to just start putting her in underwear. No more diapers. Great idea, right?

You wouldn't think so, huh? But then...

...I got an email from Zoe's teacher Thursday afternoon. Zoe woke up from her nap, dry. Zoe peed on the potty. Zoe deserved the ice cream promised to her for the first time she peed on the potty at school! Amazing!

By the time Charles and I picked her up that afternoon, she'd done it again! Amazing!

And so far, it's all been smooth sailing from there. That afternoon, she wore her new underwear with pride and sans accidents. The following day, she had one accident, and one naptime poopy diaper. Today, no accidents and her first ever #2 in the potty. Amazing!

Of course, we've had some bumps in the road, and my own hyper-vigilance has completely worn me out. We learned today that Zoe requires privacy to poop - she literally told me to "Get out of here, Mommy" and blew a raspberry in my face, causing me to leave the bathroom in anger, closing the door behind me. Less than a minute later, she squealed. "Mommy, I pooped!!!" Amazing!

I'm sure we'll have more (bigger?) bumps over the next few weeks, but we are already so much further than I thought we'd be. She continues to amaze me daily, in this as in other parts of life, and I can only hope to control my own exhaustion/moodiness as we continue onward.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I got the guilts!!

Recently, while speaking with an executive with my company about the work/life balance, she laughed a little and said, knowingly, "Ah. You got the guilts."

I smiled a little. "Yep," I said. "I'm a Jewish working mother! Of course I got 'em!"

And it's so true!

I think that almost any woman you speak to who's trying to balance family and fun and any other sort of task (writing, employment outside of the home, etc.) will say that guilt is one of the most overwhelming emotional conflicts she experiences.

For me, it's the same kind of questions, over and over. Am I spending enough time with Zoe? Am I sweet enough or good enough or awake enough during the time we do get to share? Am I a good enough wife? Do I do good enough professional work to keep myself from getting fired?

My guilts drive my husband crazy, I think. One minute I'm begging him to let me quit my job entirely; the next I'm talking about applying for a bigger and better position in my company. I want to spend time together, just the two of us, but then I want to talk about Zoe and get home early.

And my guilts drive me to distraction. This past weekend, we were able to cut loose, make some new friends, and party harder than we had in ages, all in my brother's house while Zoe slept happily upstairs. It was a great time. But I wonder...does having an extra margarita make me a bad mom? If there had been an emergency, what would I have done? I couldn't have driven her anywhere. Am I irresponsible?

It's these kind of questions that I think all moms (and maybe dads too) ask while staring at the clock in the middle of the night. I know I do.

These guilts, they're gonna be the death of me!