Monday, April 25, 2005

Of boyfriends and best friends

April 25, 2005 - Of boyfriends and best friends magnify

The Munch is the new love in my life. I look forward to waking up in the morning so that I can see his face. Each smile makes my heart flip-flop. And we are really into PDA – we just can’t keep our hands off each other. He obsessively wants to spend all of his free time with me. I leave him for a few hours and can’t wait to rush back home to him. I am delighted when I discover new accomplishments and personality traits. I find his shortcomings quirky and charming. I parade him around and show him off to all my friends. My parents think he is quite the charmer.

So if the Munch is my new boyfriend, where does this leave my husband? My husband is my best friend. We talk for hours about my new boyfriend. I relay all of the sordid details of each interaction. I show him all of my photos, and ask my boyfriend to repeat his tricks so that Tom can see them.

But here’s the best part – the Munch is Tom’s boyfriend too! Now when was the last time you got to share your boyfriend with your best friend without any jealousy issues whatsoever? Well, okay, only minimal jealousy issues, like who gets to hold him while the other person does the laundry.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Some thoughts on the Pope's death (a little late)

I'm about as unreligious as you can get. I am profoundly disturbed by many religious expressions I see - Jesus bumper stickers on gas-guzzling SUVs, our president's head bent in prayer for a single brain-dead woman, while his hands drip with the blood of Iraqi children. My most fundamental belief is that it is far more important to act according to religious principles, than to attend church and read the bible regularly. If attending church does not improve your attitude toward others in your life and others in the world, don't bother. How is it even possible that so many religious groups practice active exclusion, when the fundamental value of all religions is the giving of love to others?

That said, deep expressions of faith move me to tears. Tom and I went to Assisi on our honeymoon. We visited St. Francis's crypt. The air was thick with faith. The other visitors touched the stone, head bent and eyes closed, and their awe and desire seeped into my bones, hung deep in my lungs. This experience they were having is completely foreign to me. I am filled with both fascination and jealousy - I want to know what it feels like to to believe like that. I can get near it, smell it, breath it in, yet I cannot understand what this kind of faith really feels like.

I watched some of the Pope's funeral. Watching these millions of people celebrate mass (doesn't that sound wonderful, by the way? I would far rather "celebrate mass" than "attend services"), shed passionate tears for a man they had known only remotely, and who certainly had never known them, moved me in a similar way. I learned more about the Pope from the media coverage. I certainly don't agree with many of his conservative policies. But what a thing to have your death make such an impact globally. What an amazing thing to have touched, in some way, so many lives through only one life.

And then I think about the Pope himself, at the time of his death. How beautiful it seems to me to hold such absolute faith at the time of your death that you are passing through a doorway, making a transition to a better place and a new life in the afterlife. Again, this idea is so foreign to me. I cannot believe, as much as I would like, that we get another chance. As a result, death scares the bejesus out of me. I hope I am wrong and the Pope is right.

Peace to the Pope, Terry Scheivo, and all of the citizens of Iraq.

Saturday, April 16, 2005


I've gotten so many varied responses when I tell people I've quit my job. Many respond that it is the right thing to do, that I should stay home with my progeny. Others look at me incredulously. What many people don't understand is that I decided to quit for many reasons. I'm not making a value statement that I believe that mothers should stay home with their children. I am not even sure that this is better for the Munch, for the reasons mentioned below.

No matter, when I tell someone that I quit my job they will have an opinion. Very strange. If I didn't have a baby, I venture that nobody would have an opinion. People might ask more questions about why, what my plans were, etc. But as it is, the answer is assumed, along with all of the implied family values attributions. I want to state for the record that I would still be working today if I felt more passionately about my job, or if I felt that it was leading somewhere I wanted to go. The way I see it, I have the opportunity to quit my job, spend more time with my son (which I love, by the way), and reevaluate my career goals. I still have a lot of guilt issues and feel that my decision was primarily a selfish one. Being with the Munch feels very self-indulgent. I am very lucky to be in a position to make this choice.

As I mentioned, I am not convinced that my choice is in the Munch's best interest. Sometime I can be a pretty rotten mother - I will let him cry while I shower, for example. I'm not proficient in nursery rhymes and songs. I take him out and get him over tired. Sometimes I can be a decent mother. I shower him with affection, read him books, and make him smile and laugh as much as possible.

The first day I spent at home, he rewarded me with a new style babble talk - "Bahng! Mmm Bahng! Bahng!" - and rolled from his stomach to his back (leading with his huge head, which is kind of frightening).

Monday, April 11, 2005

Oh! What a weekend!

An entire weekend of planes, Embassy Suites, and shuttling two children around. We are exhausted. For some reason, it was especially hard this time. For starters, Griffin is increasingly aware of his surroundings, and increasingly sure that he DOES NOT LIKE PLANES. As in:

Nope, no thank you. Please get me off of this flying toothpaste tube RIGHT NOW. Your alternative is to suffer. You will look around apologetically at the other passengers, you will dangle brightly colored distractions in front of me for hours on end, but I will not relent. You think that I will eventually exhaust myself, but I can and will outlast you. I will slobber everything in sight. Oh, and remember how I didn't poop all day yesterday? Well, guess what, I was saving up for just this occasion.

Apparently they have removed the changing tables in airplane bathrooms because passengers were having sex on them. So the right answer is to remove them. Yeah.

On top of that, dearest stepdaughter was on the warpath. Hopped up on the goofballs. Top volume, a whirling pink dervish, spinning her way through the hotel, leaving shoes and stuffed animals in her wake. Sleep is a luxury she simply cannot afford. At lunch on Saturday, she kind of shrieked with her mouth closed, cheeks puffed up like a hamster, "mmmmm.....mmmmmm!!!" What is it? What do you have in your mouth? Wide-eyed stare. " Spit it out. In here." Wide-eyed stare. "Okay, here is an empty bowl. Spit it out." She spits out mostly saliva with some pink chunks, and locks her lips together. "Do you want to go to the bathroom? Do you have to vomit?" Nod, nod. In the lady's room, she spits some more and rinses her mouth out. Nothing like a little acid reflux for dessert, now, is there?

She doesn't like walks. She doesn't want to take a walk. Zoo, yes. Walk, no. No. She doesn't WAAAANT to take a walk. Okay, just down this street. Just over the river. WHY can't we go back to the hotel? She WAAANTS to swim. Okay. We give up. Let's get back in the car and go back to the hotel - save all of our sanity. But look at the ducks! Look at the turtle! Look at the broken glass shard on the sidewalk! Life is full of such wonders, and the trip back to the car must not be hurried.

On the way home Tom reiterated his desire to curtail any reproduction thoughts we might have had. "I'm thinking one."

After tomorrow, I am officially a stay at home mom.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

4 days to go

Four more work days before I start my new life. Oh shit. Please don't let me get sucked into all of that obsessive mommy stuff.

I'm freaking out at the prospect of having the precious beautiful baby boy/little fucker attached to me at all times. My friend is 7 months pregnant and was asking how long it takes to fit back into your clothes. We got to talking about shopping for clothing, and I mentioned that I do almost all of my shopping online these days. "Oh, I like to touch and feel things before I buy them," she says. Oh, I am sorry, you don't understand. When you have one of these little buggers, your leisurely shopping days are, well, limited. Even if they aren't physically attached to you, they insist on keeping their eyes locked on. Sure, daddy can hold the kid on weekends, but then you have to make a mad dash to grab and try on anything that looks remotely of interest before child transforms into tired, hungry, impatient monster. Trust me. It is so worth giving up that touch and feel to be able to try clothing on in the relative peace of your own house. Then you can run to the store for a quick return of the stuff you don't want.

I have enjoyed my weeks of relative freedom - lunch with coworkers, walking without a stroller, managing my wallet with two hands while buying a cup of coffee. Now I return, voluntarily, to a rather extreme set of limitations.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

I'm sorry, what was your (son's) name?

A strange thing happens when you have a baby attached to you all of the time. You lose your name. In the world of mommies and babies, I am the Munch's Mom. You meet someone, and it is all "how old is he?", "what is his name?", "what is his sign?" Everyone is so focused on the baby - or babies, if the someone happens to be a mom as well - that they forget to introduce themselves or ask your name. And you forget too. You enter into this network of moms, where you only know people by the names of their children. "Is Jessica's mom joining us?" "Does anyone have Sam's mom's email address?"

Maybe we'll get over it. Maybe when the novelty wears off, we will start focusing on ourselves again. I want a pedicure and a reason to wear something other than yoga pants. How's that for a start?

Someone get the WD-40

He used to gurgle and coo, twisting his tongue around to create new sounds. He spoke to me earnestly, punctuated with exclamatory squeals. We would have a full conversation every evening when we got home after day care (him) and work (me). Then he fell quiet. Or relatively quiet. The crying, of course, continues loudly enough. But the conversations stopped a couple of weeks ago.

The Munch spent most of the day squeaking. He's bored with the tongue movements, and is now exploring the upper ranges allowed by his tiny vocal cords. He's had a hoarse voice since he cried himself to sleep on Monday and Tuesday nights. His voice was just beginning to repair when he started on this high pitch obsession. We will see how long it lasts. I wonder if tomorrow he will swing the other way, and we'll find ourselves with a little Edward James Olmos on our hands.

In other news, I quit my job last week. It was a surprisingly hard decision to make, and I still somehow doubt that I am actually doing this - giving up a perfectly good paycheck and a perfectly civil job in favor of diapers and full-time squeaking. Or grunting. I was home with him full time only five weeks ago, and yet I can no longer imagine what it was like. How did we manage to pass the time? How did I keep myself entertained? Why the heck am I doing this? I don't exacly know the answer. I just fear that I will regret not taking this time to grow with the M. I am signing up for a new life of mommyhood, with all of its accompanying obsessions and complications.

This is particularly hard because I have never seen myself as a stay-at-home-mom. Nope, not for me. I mean, I have ambitions. I am a professional. I am an achiever. I can't give up my independence... Oh shit, I am signing up for a full-time identity crisis.

This will be good for me. But I am going to need a lot of reassurance along the way.