The Bedtime Wars: Heed the Omen

Archer turned one-year-old and the very next day turned angry. Who knew he would suddenly grow a little temper with little horns and a tail? A red tail. Hot to the touch with a giant spade smashing around, knocking shit over. Okay, so it isn't that bad. He's no spawn of Satan, just an angel turned the wrong way. Upside down and backwards.

Our little bedtime-war goes something like this:


VS Archer

Momz: Nighty-nite!

Arch: Coo-ca! (Cooper which is the dog's name)

Momz: I'm not Cooper. I'm Mommy. Can you say Mommy?

Arch: (a little annoyed) Coo-ca.

Momz: Okay, fine. Goodnight Coo-ca. (placing Archer gently in his crib.)

Arch: (standing and jumping .5 seconds later) COOOOOOOOOOOOCAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!

Momz: Nighty night! (sneaks away through hysterical crying)

Five minutes later after pacing and holding my hands over my ears and almost crying from the guilt of leaving my screaming child alone and standing in his crib...


Momz: (crying) I can't bear another minute of this!!!!


Momz: (running to his bedroom so his head doesn't fall off from crying) I'm coming, Bugsy! I'm right (busts door open) here.

Arch: (Stops crying and smiles, laughs and holds arms up) Deet!

Momz: You are such a fake! I don't even see tears. Psh, whateva, I'm outta here. Goodnight. (walks out)

REPEAT X 5 times until...


Momz: You win. You so win. (taking Archer into bed with me) Goodnight.

Arch: Zzzzzzzzzzz (Out like a light)

Archer: 1
Momz: 0


VS Archer

Momz: Goooooodnight nappy-face!

Arch: Doodah coo-ca lalalalalabababababadaaaadooooooooo.

Momz: Love you too! (creeps out of room)


Momz: (walks out on porch with magazine and reads about whatever new diet is happening in VOGUE. Cries because I cannot afford to wear head to toe Chanel around the house all day. Walks back in the house greeted by light-whimpers. Thinks, "yes. I can handle light-whimpers." Handles light-whimpers until SILENCE...)

...tip-toes into Archer's room to find him dead asleep like this:

Or if you prefer, the film:

Video Hosting - Upload Video - Video Sharing

Hunched over like a drunk during naptime and I had won. BY GOD I HAD WON! I gave myself a high-five and whispered very quietly...

"...Heed this Omen, Bugsy."

Current Score:
Archer: 1
Momz: 1

(to be continued)


Online Book Tour: Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos

By: Susan Straub & KJ Dell'Antonia

When KJ from Raising Devils sent me her new book, I was thrilled to be a part of her online book tour. Love me some books, especially books written by peeps I know dot com and appreciate.

I'm not a big how-to-guide book reader. I do not read parenting books and have not since I was pregnant and curious. I'm not as curious now that I have a child and find parenting books redundant and boring. I am also quite stubborn, often impossible to reason with, convince or even teach. Let's just say I am not the kind of person who would pick up any kind of book that might "help me."

Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos is not that kind of book. On the contrary, its friendly, fun to read with great tips and fab ideas for Moms like me with babies cum toddlers who are still in the "board-book eating" phase hopefully soon to be in the "listening quietly with hands folded in lap" phase. Heh. Right? RIGHT!?

Books are very important in my house. Reading them, writing them, collecting them and although I consider myself well-read, I haven't the faintest idea the new books that are out there for Archer. Reading with Babies has recommendations as well as first-person interludes and top-ten lists from real moms.

There is nothing condescending about this book. It's enlightened, nurturing and full of great ideas and I would recommend the book to all story-reading parents.

Cheers to Susan and KJ and thank you for including me in your book tour.

Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos is available to buy...

Here @ Barnes & Noble or Here @ Amazon


C-Sections Are The New Black

Whether one is hiking in Runyan Canyon, eavesdropping on svelte twenty-somethings or tuning in to the Drudge Report, it seems like the C is all around. Vaginas are so last century and the caesarian section is where it's at, dudes.

No diss on the C. I almost had one myself because of complications with my pregnancy and was hardly the "naturalist" with the "I would rather die than have a C-Section" tattoo on her hip. I know you're out there, Vaginalbirthtivists. It's only a matter of time before women are protesting in front of Cedars doing reenactments of vaginal births in the parking lot. I may or may not be signing up. Depends on whether free food and drink are provided.

Regardless of your preference for delivery, you have to admit, the caesarian is kind of like the Atkins Diet was several years ago when all the restaurants were serving steak and eggs and that was all. (No wonder places like Real Foods Daily and Urth Cafe became so popular. The veg's had NOWHERE ELSE TO GO!)

It seems certain artists didn't get the memo. A C-section looks a little different than a vaginal delivery. From Britney to Gwen and Angelina, lower abdomen scars are going to become the new lower-back Butterfly tattoo and I am a little jealous.

So for my next baby I'm so totally going to make an appointment for my C-section like everyone else in this town. I'm going to be in control straight off the get-go. I want my next baby born on September 25 (I love Libras) and I want the baby to be 7 pounds 5 oz (the ideal baby weight) so I can be part of the Hollywood elite and their caesarian club. Either that or I'm starting my own.

Tell me, would you join the Vagina Club? How about the Assosiation of Birth Canal Users or Take'n it Like a Woman Anonymous? What about "Don't be a Pussy. Use your Pussy!" for a bumper sticker. I think I might be on to something.

Anyway, congratulations Hollywood elite on your babies and please keep them coming. (Especially, you hon. You are the single most effective birth control for young women in the US of A.) I know. I know. Cut her some slack, right? It sucks to be a dumbass AND famous.

Give me a couple years and I will sooooo join your club. Totally. Because the Oxymoron of the year award is soooo going to Vaginal Deliveries in Hollywood and even though I am merely a civilian, I still feel a little shy changing clothes in the Gym locker room without my C-scar.


The Snail Collector: A PTSF Repost

When I was five years old, I wasn't allowed to have pets. I was absent-minded and dreamy, sleepwalking from my bedroom at night only to end up under the couch.

My parents wanted to teach me responsibility. They said if I proved I could be less absent-minded and more responsible that they would buy me a pet. I wanted a rat. That was all that I wanted. A black-hooded rat and I wanted to name him Kevin after the cute boy that lived across the street.

One day my mother was gardening in the backyard, and I was helping her with the weeds. Under a heap of Day Lilies she had found a family of snails. They were eating her plants, and this made her angry. She plucked them, one by one from the plant and put them in a blue garbage bin.

"What will happen to them?" I asked.

"They're snails." She said, and don't worry, there will be hundreds more soon."

"But what will happen to these snails?"

"They will die." She said.

I left the crime scene and went straight to my room where I cried for an hour because I was so sad for the little slimy beasts in their spiral shells.

Puffy-eyed and frustrated at the unfairness of life, and sympathetic to the poor little fragile creatures that lived under the daylily plant, I emerged from my room and tip-toed past my mother, who was humming in the vegetable garden, oblivious to the fact that I was sniffling still, in the after waves of melodrama.

I found the garbage bin in the side yard. The blue one with the blue lid. Inside were the snails. There were dozens of them and they were ALIVE!!!!! A hundred little eyes on little faces looked up at me, smiling. They knew I was going to rescue them. They knew I was going to give them names and make them my "responsibility."

I dug up an old fish tank in the garage and hosed it out before placing the weeds from the trashcan inside, along with all of the snails I could find in the bin. There were well over twenty by the time I was finished, pulling them off the side of the plastic. Their little eyes went in when I held them in my hands, hiding. I always liked snails and pill bugs because they could roll up and hide. I wanted to be able to do that too. It would be more convenient than crawling underneath the couch every time I wanted to disappear.

Once in the tank they were happy. They had food and friends and family to hang out with. They were set!

I waited before each snail had a name before presenting my "responsibility" to my mother. I taped their shells individually with little masking tape nametags, which I learned would not stick for long. I named one Kelly. Kelly was the prettiest name when I was little and when I made believe I was someone else, I was always Kelly. Kelly was my favorite snail in the tank, but I admired them all for their own distinct personalities. They were snails, but they were also my pets and I wanted them to be happy living under my care.

My parents were touched and promised to buy me a rat as soon as I got rid of the snails, but I refused. "They are my pets!" I would say. My parents thought it was sweet, so they let me keep them (as long as they lived in the side yard near the garbage cans.)

That summer, I spent much of my time with the snails. I played dolls outside their tank, and watched them write foreign messages to each other on the driveway with their trails of moisture. I put them on my arms and felt them crawl all the way to my fingertips. I wrote them a poem.

One day my mother came home with an unexpected surprise. It was Kevin the rat and he was perfect, exactly what I wanted. He even had the white spots on his back. I was so excited, I couldn't wait to love him, play dolls with him and make up little stories where he would be the main character. Kindergarten had just started and I couldn't wait to tell my new friends.

But what about the snails? When Kevin arrived they seemed juvenile, embarassing, lowly and even disgusting. "Ewwww. Those things are gross." One of my friends from Kindergarten had said. I told her that they weren't mine. "They belong to my brother." I said.

"You should kill them with a magnified glass." One of the boys from the block told me one day. "We could put salt on them!" He said.

I said, "No" and he said, "Come on" so I said, "Maybe tomorrow?"

I went outside that evening, with Kevin the Rat on my shoulder and I picked up the Snail Tank. The little eyes looked up at me on slimy fingers and I said goodbye. I told them they were going to live in the backfield now, and not to come back to the garden because then they would die or someone would put salt on them or they would eat the poison my mother put in the soil.

I took the tank out to the backfield, in front of the lagoon and I let them all go. The eyes went in and they all hid in their shells for a minute, until they settled in the bushes and then came out again. I left them there, and brought the tank home empty, Kevin, the rat still on my shoulder.

I never kept snails as pets after that. I had proved myself responsible and ended up with what I wanted but my conscience throbbed for years on behalf of the snails: poor ugly and misunderstood. I swore to God I would never name another pet "Kelly" again, and I kicked the little boy from the block whenever he asked if I had snails for him to fry.

I lost much of my innocence with my lesson in responsibility. The lesson, which spawned a retrospective, taped in my memory to the shells of little snails doomed to die in the garden.


Goodbye Aunts, Hello Ants Goodbye.

The birthday week is over. We're back in the Lala, hunting character actors in their natural habitat. Extended family have flown home and all of our cars are back and clean of fingerprint dust. It seems the one-year old mark was more than a major numerical milestone.

Archer has grown into a bit of a BOOOOOOOY. Yesterday I caught him smashing ants with his fists. It was like a slow-motion action sequence with the "Noooooooooooooooooo!" and the cheeks doing that funny thing where it looks like they are made of rubber. Archer looked at me like "what?" and whimpering I had to pluck the dead ants off his arm and explain to him that "we don't kill bugs. We wave at them and if they are in the house we gently place them outside."

Archer started waving at the ants (because he's big on the wave right now) before sweetly smashing the rest of them. I nearly fainted. I will go out of my way to save a bee from the pool even if it means getting stung. (Okay, I stopped doing that after about 5 stings, but you get my point.) Spiders are our friends. There is no flushing Daddy Longlegs down the toilet in my house. No siree.

I hated the boys that lived across the street in my old house as a kid because they tortured spiders and salted snails and fried caterpillars with a magnified glass. I still hate them but now I think maybe its a boy thing? Arch is only one year old and he likes to smash ants. It's not like he's fourteen hitting snakes with baseball bats. But I am warning you, Archer. If there is one thing I will not tolerate, it's smashing and killing creatures no matter how microscopic and seemingly insignificant.

And even though you're name more or less means, "hunter", you're not supposed to kill. Nope. You can hunt character actors with me on cement safari because I don't really care about them but the ants? Dude. Not the ants.


Archer's Birthday in Photos

It's been a long week of joyous goodness (sans the carjacking.) Who knew birthdays were this fun? Great to see everyone and mad love to the people. Enjoy le pictoral... (and yes, a flickr account is waaaaay overdue.)


A Year of Epiphanies

May, 23 2006
Dear Archer Sage

A year ago today, you were born...

Determined to come into the world, you knocked several times without me hearing you. You rang the bell probably but my hands were over my ears and I was singing, "lalala." I didn't think I was ready for you at first. Ha! I was wrong.

I touched my belly and felt you flicker. I knew you were faceless, a cluster of cells the size of a seed, and yet you had become me. You were more than a biological effect, you were a manifestation of a future unknown for both of us and all of us and so I dreamt of you for nine months.

I dreamt of you as a boy with big green eyes and as a girl with long blonde hair. I dreamt of giving birth to your father. I dreamt of giving birth to myself. I dreamt of unwrapping a globe with an unfamiliar topography, shape-shifting continents, the Rocky Mountains thrown upon the Greek isles, rolling knolls superimposed on Death Valley.

I spoke to you and wrote letters, not yet knowing your name. Secrets and stories and the way I felt carrying you around with me, everywhere I went. A road trip to San Francisco with you inside me, just the two of us and stopping in Big Sur to meditate, feet dangling from the bluffs, the farthest edge of the world. We had just found out about you then and so I quit smoking and chewed toothpicks with my hair out the window and the music up loud enough for you to dance.

Months passed quickly and then you were born.

In one year you have held up a mirror and taught me more about life than I imagined I could ever learn from an infant, a baby, and now a one-year old. You are my muse. I look at you and I see life. I see the fabulousness of dirt because you throw up your hands full of filth and smile sheepishly. You are the love of my life. You humble me. I am a greater person because of you. You, you, you. I am not defined by motherhood but it is very possible that a major part of how I define myself is being YOUR Mother. You: Archer, the little boy with the marble eyes and the two front teeth.

If I have not thanked you a trillion times, THANK YOU, once more. Thank you for sneaking in through my window and saying Boo! Here I am! Thank you for stirring and purring and screaming and crying and laughing and talking and standing and jumping. You are my exclamation point in a world of dot-dot-dots.

Instead of feeling like more of a grown-up, you have brought back the whimsical qualities of youth, the joy de vivre. I feel like I am a little girl again, pigtails and sneaking cookies from the jar. Unspooling yarn with you and jumping on the bed. I didn't used to dance in the middle of the grocery store until I met you. I didn't used to put flowers in my hair and play peekaboo behind every tree. I didn't used to fall face-first into the sand. Thank you for that. Life is so much more fun dirty and messy than neat and tidy and boring and bleh.

I think if I was one year old we would be best friends. I think I would enjoy shredding magazine pages with you and patting the dogs and swaying to the music and laughing at the squirrels as they chase each other across the sidewalk.

I got you, babe. Like an imaginary friend come to life, my little koala bear to eat off my plate and smear cake in my face and scratch my eyeballs out of my head. I get to sleep with you tonight because we're at Gammy and Papa's house and as I type you are waiting for me with your eyebrows up and your hands over your head.

Today we spent the day at the beach. Gammy and I built you your own little pool on the sand then slowly, the tide washed it away and you reached your arms up to me and I pulled you from the foam. This is what being your mother for the past year has been like for me- protecting you when I can, building walls around you knowing they will fall, digging pools in the sand with wind in my eye and sand in my butt and again when the pools dry and disappear. Me on my knees digging away.

I am myself, now. The self who, fully clothed is happy to play in the sand and soak myself with rocks in my hair and build drip castles that erase time. The self who chafes and freezes and who cares, if it makes you smile!?

The beach is vast. The ocean is dangerous so here, let me build you another little pool and we will sit in it together and watch the sea, me beside you, splashing away with our barefeet until you are old enough to walk away and swim with sharks and do handstands in the surf.

You are still inside of me, like it or not. You have that belly-button in case you forgot. (That rhymed.) I feel kind of lame and a little redundant writing you all of these letters and maybe one day when you read them you will put your hands over your ears and say "lalala" but for now I'll keep writing them because they help me remember all the moments and feelings that get lost in the quickness of life and watching you grow.

What they say is true. It does go by so fast. Thank you for reminding me to slow down and ride, Sally ride. Happy Birthday, little Pirate.

Loving you like an insane person,


Archer's Arrival: Becoming Two People Overnight

(A Day in Three Acts)

Act One

A year ago today, we were pacing around our wee little apartment waiting for the clock to hit 9pm so we could leave for Cedars and still be an hour early.

We rode to the hospital in my wagon, empty carseat in the backseat, empty. Very empty. It was all I could look at. How could someone possibly sit there? Little seat full of person? How? I didn't believe it. All of this was just a dream. I rubbed my belly.

I was induced at 11:00 pm, after waiting and filling out paperwork and stripping down to robe and socks. They hooked me up to the pitocin and we were left alone to anticipate and small-talk and guess when baby would arrive.

I was induced because of the preeclampsia. I was also bedridden after gaining 43 pounds in three weeks and swelling beyond familiarity. I was bedridden my last month of pregnancy after being active, healthy and feeling amazing the previous eight months. I never experienced the horror stories of pregnancy. No morning sickness, no cliched cravings and backaches, no ankle swelling until the my final month and then twas hell. Heartburn and Braxton hicks and blood pressure that sent me to the hospital several times and kept me awake all night. Night after night after night. Rather than waiting to contract naturally, my doctor booked me an appointment for induction at 10pm on May 22nd, four days before my due date.

Huz read from John Stewart's 'America' as we waited. At first it was fun but slowly I stopped listening and started watching the clock. Watching. Watching. (cue Jeopardy! theme.) We waited hours for something to happen. Contractions were on top of each other but I did not feel a thing. The nurses held facial-expression charts up to me to see what my pain was and every single time I made the "normal face" as in "I FEEL NOTHING." A part of me thought my pain threshold was so superhuman, that I wouldn't feel a thing. I waited another couple hours, ate 675429 popsicles and asked Huz to find new ways to make me laugh. Boredom can be worse than agonizing pain and I was beginning to think the baby would never show his face. I started whining.

Act Two

A med student, who couldn't have been older than me came in suddenly and introduced himself to us. He shook my hand and then the huz and then he stretched the latex glove over his finger.

"I am here to check your progress," he said, which was medical speak for "I'm hear to fist you for a good two minutes" which he did. Too bad dude didn't have one of those pain management sheets. I imagine I was making quite an inspired face.

"Two centimeters still. You have not changed since you arrived."

"Oh. Great news, thanks. Look forward to you fisting me again, soon. Next time please bring me a push-pop."

Somewhere between 4-6am shit started to hurt but instead of complaining I chose to buck up and take it like a cave person. If women of the Mesozoic period could take this shit then so could I. I forgot one small thing- that women of the Mesozoic period did not have Aleve for headaches and Midol for cramps and _____ for ____ and ____ for ______ (and also that there were no women during the Mesozoic period but that isn't my point.) Our threshold for pain is not what it used to be. Not anywhere in the western world, anyway.

As soon as I decided I was ready for the epidural, the doctor explained that it was a busy night and four or five people were ahead of me. (At the time Cedars Sinai was a Hollywood hot spot and there was a line out the door of pregnant starlets seeking pain-relief.) I would have to wait. "An hour, maybe more."

By this time I was in serious pain and I couldn't catch my breathe. Me and the huz refused lamaze classes because as far as we knew the couples that took lamaze classes included men with whistles around their necks and "#1 Coach" t-shirts and the women didn't see the humor in nursing plastic babies. Me and the huz would be kicked out on day one for accidentally making fun of everyone.

I was crying. Huz was cracking jokes and filming the wall and the nurses and interviewing the elevator like the film-maker he is. Once in a while he would try to make me laugh and I would fake-laugh and make the "excruciating pain face" and cry some more. The med-student came in to fist me again and when he told me that nothing was happening I started to freak the fuck out. All of this and still 2cm? Was he shitting me?

"Get your hands out of my vagoogoo, please. I hate your guts. You suck at this, Bring me someone who knows better! Ahhhhaksjalsklaoksieuyryuwq!"

My OB showed up and gave me a nice pat on the forehead. "Your epi is on its way, now I'm going to go perform a C-section next dooor. I'll BRB."

By the time the Epi-dude came in I was like that chick in The Excorcist. The nurses were having a hard time figuring out how to slow the pitocin. My contractions had become A contraction that had lasted for the most part, two hours without a cigarette break. Doctors held me down as epi-man shot me up. Minutes later, twitching and sub-zero temperatures aside, I was haaaaaaaaapppppy. Thhhhhhaaaaaaaank you kindly, man with neeeeeeeedle! (Note se self: Just get the epi asap next time to avoid mass hysteria.)

Finally I could watch "A birth story" on "The birth channel" in peace. For about an hour huz slept and I contracted and ate popsicles and felt fine. The cervix-checker said I was at 3cm so thinks were happening. Slow and steady and numb and "can I get a cherry, please? I don't like orange."

Suddenly my peace was destroyed by extreme pain. "My epi's worn off!"

My screams woke huz rather quickly and he ran screaming through the hospital for a nurse who rolled their eyes and came in to see how I was doing.

"It hasn't worn off. It's only been an hour and 18 minutes!"

Of course I was screaming and shaking and shivering and blubbering and speaking (pig) Latin so the nurse proceeded to fist me just in case and sure enough...

"Woopsie-daisy! I can feel the head! You're having this baby now!"

"WTF? Seriously, WTF? How is that possible. I was 3cm 20 minutes ago."

"I know! So exciting! Unfortunatley, your doc is doing a C-section so hang tight and just breathe and he'll be here ASAP!"

I waited for Doc to arrive in his scrubs and mask, pull his stool up to my spread-eagle self and say, "ready and puuuuuuush" before even saying hello.

"But wait!" I wasn't ready. This wasn't supposed to happen so fast!
I wasn't supposed to go from 3-12 in 20 minutes. Doc had no time to explain. He was stripping his scrubs and changing his gloves and telling me to breathe and that I was a good girl or something weird.

Huz was trying not to fall over from stress and I was dying, almost dead.

I started pushing before I was supposed to because I was confused and because our room suddenly erupted in chaos. Now this was what childbirth was supposed to be about! I started making all sorts of cool noises. Screams and shrieks and moans and groans. Cursing, lots of cursing. French cursing, and Spanish cursing and German cursing.

I pushed four times before the doctor cut my vagoogoo. "But you'll rip," he said. At the time "ripping" was not a risk I was willing to take.

Act Three

I pushed four times and with the help of doc cutting my vagoo like a watermelon, Archer slipped into the world. There was blood everywhere and screaming and joy and all the violence of new life. There was "It's a boy!" and "Congratulations!" and "He's beautiful!" and all of the things doctors and nurses say. May, 23rd 2005. 7 pounds, 2 oz. 20 inches. 10:55 am.

Soon, the dust settled and the doctor sewed me up and Archer was clean and wrapped like a gyro and the nurses closed the doors to leave the three of us alone. I looked at huz and Archer in my arms. Yesterday I was the daughter of my parents, today I am the mother of my child. We were the three of us a family and days and years flashed like blank slides. I couldn't wait for them to materialize.

And for the next few days as I healed and spent the nights studying Archer's little face in the hospital and as flowers came and family members and friends and all the joy of Archer's arrival- first child, first grandchild, first great grandchild and trying to breastfeed and wrap him up like a cake and mark him with a B and all of the nurses trying to teach me and all of the advice and the overwhelmingness of it all and how I didn't even listen to anyone because I would figure it out my OWN way and how I'm sure I drove everyone nuts because I didn't want to hear them. All the women with their "leagues" and "support groups" and "thises" and "thats."

The only manual we ever read was for the carseat. The empty carseat in the back seat on our way to the hospital soon to be a carset full of human on our way home.

It took us an hour to make sure Archer was in safely and the carseat was secure and everything was perfect. We argued and fussed and I probably cried and made a scene until finally Archer was in snugly and we could go.

We drove home slowly, me sitting beside my new baby as the world sped by, rubbing my saggging sudenly-empty belly, in awe of life and how one person can become two, overnight.


Eye'm Loving

And eye can't stop peeking either, following him around with my crappy camera...

It's like he knows something that I don't and maybe if I lean against the couch and look out the window too I'm going to see something brilliant! A bird with three heads and magic powers. A squirrel that talks. An ice cream truck with wings.

Because when he looks he really sees. He opens his eyes as wide as they can possibly go and he follows the world, babbling sweet nothings to the dirt and the woodchips in the front yard, the stains on the concrete and sidewalk cracks.

I mean, those eyes? They know. They have to know.