As Close to Perfect as Heaven Allows

Until today, Archer had yet to hold Fable. He had kissed her, loved on her, tried to feed her a banana and even said to her "You're cute, baby seester!" but he had not yet held her. He didn't want to, he said,"I'm afraid."

"Afraid of holding her?"


Today he wasn't afraid. He opened his arms to his baby sister and softly touched her hands. And she looked up at him and him down at her and he smiled.

I don't believe in heaven. But I do believe in its fantasy: the happy ending. And I desperately believe in life's heavenly moments, where the universe feels small and intimate and good. When nothing matters beyond what is happening now. And more than any other moment on record, this was mine: my son holding my daughter in his hands.

I know the world is in shambles, the economy is in the toilet and fear has paralyzed us in such a way many of us feel we can't go on. But not so. Not when every day in a million households around the world, there are moments like these:

When we stop to pay attention, life is so fucking beautiful it hurts.



(a GGC original poem, reposted from last year.)

Archer jumps hay at Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch, West Hollywood

Twas the Night Before Halloween

Twas the night before Halloween and all through the house

Not a person wasn't helping me throw last-minute costumes together, not even my spouse.
Fabrics were pressed with iron-on-letters with care.
In hopes they would look good and no one would stare (in a bad way)

My child was screaming from the bars of his bed
Wanting to hang out with his parents instead
Although mama was flattered, "Archer, don't get me wrong...
"...But this costume is going to take me all the night long!"
When out the front door, there arose such a flutter.
A teenager in a mask! (I internally muttered)
Away from the peephole I arose with a knife!
(I was cutting a jack-o-lantern with my Dad and his wife*. )

The full moon that I saw through the peephole was scary!
"Smell my feet," said the teen and "my ass is real hairy!"
Then what to my wandering eyes should appear?
But a dozen more teens with trick-or-treat gear!
And all of them clad head to toe, all in black
Carrying with them, stained pillow case sacks!
"It's too early I said! You must come back tomorrow"
But the teens, they all frowned, their brows furrowed in sorrow...
So I opened the door. With my pumpkin carving knife.
With my half-awake toddler, my dad and his wife
And we looked at each other and we had to agree
It isn't a sin to want some candy!
"Just one!" I demanded, shaking my head.
"And if you smash all our pumpkins you're totally dead...
...I'll kill you, myself!" I seriously said.

The kids all said thank you, adjusting their masks.
And as the door closed, my father's wife asked:
"Why did you give them our candy, anyway?
They're too old and it's not even Halloween day!"
I thought for a moment and then looked at my son.
And then back at the costume I had just now begun.
And I opened my eyes and stretched my hands to the sky
And I said something, shocking, even to I...
"One day my son will be older and change
And it will be a little bit hard and a little bit strange...



....And costumes will become what little kids wear
And it will be suddenly cool to flash strangers ass-hair.
And being too old for candy and costumes and fright
And unable to participate on Halloween night.
Is a terrible feeling. A feeling not right....
And I remember the feeling," I continued to say.
"For there is nothing quite like a dark Milky Way.
And the sound that it makes when it falls in the sack.
I would do anything to get those glory days back..."

As I muttered the words, a thought came to me
My son just turned two and was going on three four
An age that was expected to ring doorbells and run!
It was almost as if a new childhood had come!


A wink of my eye and a twist of my head
And it was time to get Archer back into his bed
Then finish cutting jack-o-lantern's triangle eyes
And the iron-on letters for tomorrow's disguise.
And I heard my son babble as he passed out in his seat.
"I can't wait for tomorrow... my first trick-or-treat."
(And I nodded and said, "yes, me, too, little sweet.")


Sadly for me, this year Archer picked out his own costume, which means for the first time in three years, he won't be wearing an original concoction. Fable on the other hand? Let's just say I'm most definitely taking advantage of the fact that I CAN DRESS HER UP IN WHATEVER I LIKE! Wuah ha ha ha haaaaa!!!

Uh, oh. I'm screwed.

What are you dressing your kids up as? Please post links of your photos. I'm totally and completely obsessed with Halloween. Obsessed.

Happy Haunting!


She Smiles.

No one believes me when I say she can smile.

"It's gas," everyone says...

"...Newborns don't smile. They don't know how to yet."

Ah, yes. But she isn't just a newborn...

...She's Fable:

And she absolutely smiles.


Social Climber

Archer wasn't always very social. It probably had something to do with the fact that I was very anti-mommy-and-me in the beginning, therefor spending the bulk of Archer's first two years alone, just the two of us, watching the clouds by our lonesome and eating dirt, playdateless and content in our own just-the-two-of-us world. 

Times of course have changed. Archer and I both have established a core group of people. We're not smoking candy cigs in the back of the bus, clad in proverbial trench coats, anymore. No way. That was SO 2006. We totally have friends now. 

Especially now that Archer's in school. The dude gets invited to more parties than I've been to in my whole life. 

Archer's best friends with the bully in his class, which at first I thought was a good thing. My sweet little innocent Archer would have back-up, should any one try to give him a Pull-Up wedgie. Because if you can't beat 'em...

Now, though, I'm starting to reconsider my stance on Archer's new social status. Archer is quite beloved by his classmates which AWESOME but also? Suspect. Because, everyone knows the popular kids are assholes. 

The thing is? Archer's new BFF is rubbing off on him. He's pushing, hitting and saying things like "EAT IT, MOM! FINISH YOUR BROCOLLI! FINISHHHHHHH IT!!!! And while you're at it DRINK YOU WATER! ALL  OF IT! AHHHH!" 

Not only that? I totally overheard him tell some kid at the park that he "didn't want him to play with him," which WHAT!?? 

Archer's always had a temper but now he's experimenting with assholery and yes, there's a difference. Attitude is for teenagers, not three year-old former softies. And speaking of teenagers, is three and a half too young for PDA? Not for Archer, it seems, who's been busted for it. Twice. 

Apparently Archer has a girlfriend at school and he kisses her. Like, on the mouth. Sometimes without asking her first and she gets pissed. I was told it started out slow like most young romances. At first they just held hands on the playground, sat together at lunch, stood next to one another in line. Now? They've taken it to the next level. Er, Archer has. 

"Archer! I don't want to kiss right now," his girlfriend apparently said after Archer sneaked up on her during storytime and planted one on her without warning. 

"It's sweet," Archer's teachers told me. "We just want to make sure he knows that he can't just kiss someone in the middle of storytime without asking. He has a tendency toward PDA during very inappropriate times. And he REALLY gets into it. They're not what one would call... pecks... "

Yes, folks. Archer's that kid. The one who likes to pin girls down and kiss them for ten whole seconds on the mouth in the middle of story time. Every class has one. I just never thought it would be Archer.  

Apparently, my sweet, little innocent boy isn't so innocent (although he's still incredibly sweet, even when he's lost-his-mind-insane) so for now I'm going to stop worrying about that Pull-Up wedgie. Although if he keeps springing public kisses on girls in class...

I mean...


Prop 8 is a Dick

!!! The following is a GGC public service announcement !!!

Are you thinking of taking the right to marry away from my gay friends? Away from Archer's friend's same-sex parents? Away from Archer should he someday fall in love with a man or Fable should she someday fall in love with a woman? Away from your fellow-bloggers? Away from Jewish mothers the USA over?  

If you are, please reconsider. 

Because voting to TAKE AWAY someone's basic human right to marry their lover/partner/soul-mate is unfair, backwards and just plain mean. 

If you live in California, Vote NO on Proposition 8 on November 4th. 

(And while you're at it please vote NO on Proposition 4 and YES on Proposition 2.)

Thank you and Goodnight.


The Mighty Ducts

Amazingly, I just pumped four ounces of breast-milk. Not amazing for most, I'm sure, but for me? It's a genius accomplishment and one I'm quite proud of. Knowing that with Archer I was only able to to pump a mere 20 ml per feeding, it's almost miraculous. Breast reductions are pretty much sworn to fuck up your ability to breastfeed and/or produce enough milk to substantially feed a babe. In fact, I'm pretty sure I had to sign a form when I went in for my surgery. An "I understand this surgery will kill my breasts and their ability to feed" agreement. Add a second reduction into the mix and forgetaboutit. Or at least that's what the doctors told me.

Except actually, as it turns out, it isn't so impossible. At least not the second time around. Perhaps my ducts have become mightier in their old age. Or perhaps I'm just more of a rockstar.

Sure, It's a hell of a lot of work, I've been pumping every two to three hours to up my supply and I currently have no life beyond running around my house topless, but I'm proud to say that for the last week I've been able to feed her almost exclusively with breastmilk. So for those of you who have inquired, breastfeeding after two breast-reductions is possible. It's hard as fuck, takes a bit of supplementing, patience and a whole lotta pumping but it's possible...

...And totally worth it.


Darndest Things

The other day, Archer, out of blue became very concerned with the state of his hair. Combing it with my brush he explained to me that his hair was black. 

"Actually Archer? Your hair is brown. Like Mommy's!"

"Oh. Yes. My hair is brown. And your hair is brown and Daddy's hair is... Um."

"Daddy doesn't have hair."

"Where'd it go?"

"That's a great question. I'm not sure. Do you have any idea?"

Archer thought for a moment, "Um... Um... Um... Daddy's hair... Um..."

About a minute later Archer called for me from the living room.

"Mommy? Daddy's hair went up in the sky. High, high in the sky. Waaaaaaaay up high, right? Right, Mommy?"


I realized immediately why Archer had come to this conclusion. Archer's sole experience with loss had to do with a purple Trader Joe's balloon he accidentally let go in the parking lot several months ago. It was such a tragic moment even I was in tears. Mainly because I was hormonal but also because of the profundity of watching my child lose something I could not save. Find. Catch. 

"Mommy! My balloon! Help! No! Get my balloon MOMMY!"

But I couldn't. There was nothing I could do but stand by my son and watch the balloon float away. 

Later, in the car, I explained to Archer that the balloon flew away because it was late to its super awesome balloon birthday party to have some fun and eat chocolate cake! To which Archer wiped the alligator tears from his eyes and asked: 

"Chocolate cake with candles?"

This, I thought to myself will be a handy metaphor when the time comes to explain death. And although I was not aware of it at the time, hair loss.  


"Yes, Archer. Daddy's hair went up high in the sky. High, high in the sky."

"For birthday party and chocolate cake with candles, right?"



Also? OMG. This is fucking HIL-AIR-EEEE-US. Ahahahahaha. Oh, man. 

And Just Like (Snap!) They Grow Up

Fable takes a load off after a long day of pumpkin patching

Fable outgrew her first article of clothing this weekend. She also outgrew her newborn diapers. For a split second I was unsure as to how this could happen so fast. Then I looked up, away from Fable's no-longer-newborn-sized-vastness, into Archer's giant blinking eyes and she was tiny again.

Having a second child means you are constantly reminded that babies too soon become upright walking humans, individuals, children with minds of their own, runaway trains.

And it stings a little knowing that clutching a baby to one's chest is a temporary comfort. A joy that will soon be substituted with another. The feeling of little fingers, the powdery smell, the little breathing sounds different and then forgotten.

Of course every age is wonderful and there is no greater joy than watching a child become his own rock star, it's just, babies. God, do I love having a baby. A tiny little cuddling, cooing, blinking, hand-sucking baby.

I don't remember Archer growing out of his newborn clothes and diapers this fast. Then again, I don't remember much of Archer's infancy. Somehow I am unable to remember Archer at any age but the one he is right now, peering out from the face of a pumpkin.

When Archer was a baby I remember thinking "God! I can't wait for him to get a little bit older... for him to talk, to walk, to sit up on his own... to grow into the cute 6 month onesie with the lobster on it... " With Fable I am perfectly happy to wait. In fact, I'd love it if she could stay bite size for at least a decade. I love that she sleeps on my chest at night. I crave her coos, her smell... I don't want her to ever NOT be a baby. I want to gaze into her eyes for hours on end even though they are still quite unable to focus properly.

It is impossible to escape cliches when talking about children, babies especially, even moreso when they have older siblings clutching invisible clocks in their quickly growing hands.

Because of Archer I know that neck muscles eventually support little heads that eventually think unique thoughts, make decisions...

...Hmmmm. Which pumpkin should I choose?

I watch both of my children through the same lovesick eyes. Back and forth from one to the other and am stricken daily by how fast everything becomes something else. How fast everyone becomes someone else. How before you can even recover from one milestone, another takes its place.

So long, newborn diapers. So long...


Tell the Story Fable Until it Comes True

I knew I recognized Fable from somewhere, that we'd "met" before ... I just realized where that place was:

And so overwhelmed was I by the coincidence, I burst into tears because honestly? There is nothing more profoundly beautiful to me than art imitating life imitating art.

He was in the book. She was on the cover.

Perhaps she has been with me all along.


Two Weeks Later...

Miss Fable: two weeks old

So DUH! I keep forgetting to post the contest winner for the baby poll! 

Congratulations to Bakers Bakery for guessing: 

Oct 2nd, 6am (2 1/2 hours off)
7lbs 5 oz (1 ounce off)
20 inches (it turns out, Fable was measured wrong when she was born and was a whopping 20 1/2 inches at her one week doctor's appointment. Pediatrician estimates she was closer to 20 inches at birth which is annoying that the hospital peeps measured her improperly but whatevs.) 

Anyway! Congrats again to, Bakersbakery and thank you all for participating in le poll!


And in other news, Archer decided to run away. Yup. Not kidding. Archer LITERALLY ran away which was not awesome. Terrible more like. 

Read about it, here


Ducts in a Row

bottle-feeding her breastmilk so not to piss her off

Breastfeeding? I am. Formula* feeding? Yup, that, too. Pumping every two hours? Yes, that's me. Basically, when it comes to feeding my baby, I'm D. All of the above.

Unlike Archer, Fable was able to latch on right away... She was born with a voracious appetite, rooting the second she was placed on my chest, covered in bloody goop. At the hospital and then at home I solely nursed her until my milk came and then decided not to come out.

Unfortunately, just because my breasts are capable of mass-milk production, doesn't mean I can breastfeed. My nipples have been removed from my person so many times, they just can't get the milk out. Two ducts work on one side and three work on the other, which is frustrating for the milk that wants to come out but can't. It's also incredibly painful.

Luckily the pain subsided when my formerly GIGANTIC breasts gave up producing milk that could not find its way out. Hello, perma-engorged! So now? It's my five little ducts and me, doing what we can with what we got.

Hooray for Mommy's broken boobies!

So this is what I do: I pump every two hours so I can feed Fable two ounces of breast milk per feeding (in the bottle) I follow le breast milk in le bottle with one to two ounces of formula (depending on how much I was able to pump... I can get up to three ounces depending on how long I go between pump-sessions) and at the end of the feeding when she's pretty much full, I nurse her with what I have left. It's a complex feeding situation but it's working out so far. F's gaining weight, sleeping three to four hour intervals every day and night and pooping every 30 seconds. (Not joking. It's insane OMG.)

Yo! I poop.

I'm sleeping better than I did before she was born and somehow today was able to shimmy back into my pre-pregnancy jeans (wtf?)... Perhaps the fact that all I do is pump and nurse has something to do with it? Or maybe I just paid my dues with my last pregnancy.

All in all, I'm pretty proud of myself for turning my shoddy teets into fairly useful feeding tools. Yes, my three-step feeding isn't exactly easy but what feeding is? True, my nipples are thrashed and bloody and yesterday Fable sucked off (and almost choked on) a dime-sized scab but love is pain, man.

Love is pain.


*I compromised and am supplementing with both Enfamil Lipil and Baby's Only Organic.

Fable's Birth Story: Chapter Two

When my doctor broke my water I was still at 4cm. For some reason I was convinced in my head I'd be at six or seven centimeters by the time I reached the hospital but alas, I had not changed. It was almost 5pm, I was still feeling mild/random contractions when my doctor started the IV, one with my GBS antibiotics, another with a slow dose of Pitocin so my slow-active labor wouldn't continue with its slowness.

"And now we wait."

The contractions became painful around 6:30 but I was determined to see how long I could go without an epidural. Every twenty minutes or so, one of the nurses would come in, ask me if I was ready for my meds and every time I'd turn them away.

don't fuck with my birth plan, bitches!

"I think I can do this on my own," I said.

The nurses flashed me a "you go girl!" thumbs up and left me to contract painfully and nibble on ice-chips. By the time 7:30pm rolled around I wasn't even five centimeters yet.

"Almost five!" my doctor said before excusing himself to dinner."Going to little Tokyo with some friends. Be back in a few hours..."

A few hours? Damn, I thought. I'd still be in labor in a few hours?

Once again I was offered the epidural. Once again I refused.

"I have a really high tolerance for pain," I said. "I can handle this no problem."

The contractions got stronger, closer together -- they became familiar in a way pain isn't usually. I started to remember my labor with Archer and felt myself suddenly competitive with my former birthing self -- a self that needed drugs right away. I was three hours into the painful part of labor and still hanging in. I gave myself a high-five and sent Hal out for more ice chips as reward.

On a pain scale of 1-10, I'd say I'm feeling about a 34, right here

Around 9pm, my doctor came back. I was doing my homemade breathing techniques (which were probably all wrong) when my doctor came in to check my progress.

"You're still at five!" he said.

"Ahhhhhhh!" I said back.


"No! Not yet! I can DO THIS! I'M A MACHINE!"

Unfortunately, strengthening contractions did not mean a faster progression. I was dilating at about once centimeter every two hours... By the time midnight struck I was well in tears. The pain was too much to handle even for a machine.

"Unless I'm ten centimeters and ready to push I'm getting the epi," I told Hal between wails.

I was only at seven. I buckled. Pain threshold be damned I couldn't take it anymore. At 12:30am, I bent over a pillow and took the needle in my back. By 1:00am I was asleep, numb from the waist down and relieved to get some rest before push-time.

Come 3:00 am I woke with a bolt of pain. Somehow the epidural had worn off on the right side. I was like a stroke victim, numb on one side, twitching with pain on the other.

I paged the nurse who checked my progress. I was at ten. It was time to push.

Hal woke up and grabbed his camera before promptly putting it away the second my feet hit the stirrups. Apparently he had asked me if I wanted him to film the birth and I said "FUCK NO!" ... I don't remember saying this but I believe him because I would never allow such a thing.

"It's like the mommy blogger equivalent of having a sex tape!"

Okay so I didn't actually say that but thought that counts.

My doctor lowered the giant white light in the ceiling and...

"...When you're ready, you can push."

So I huffed and I puffed and I pushed... Two pushes and Fable's head was peeking out from between my legs, unfortunately with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck three times.

Casually my doctor delivered the news: "Your baby's umbilical cord is like a noose around her neck. I'm going to have to cut it now, while she's coming out. And... I just cut the cord. Go ahead and push..."

"What!? Huh!? Is she okay?"

My doctor nodded his head and got to work on some kind of magical perineum massage that Hal described as "cupping his hands and squeezing the baby out of your vag like one would catch a football."

Whatever he did worked. Fable was born moments later at 3:23am and contrary to my last experience my vagina endured quite unscathed.

Fable was placed on my chest, squirming and covered in blood and craziness and I just stared at her. For several moments I thought I was dreaming, re-birthing Archer because she so resembled him. It wasn't until I got a good look at her that I was able to grasp that I had just given birth to someone that wasn't Archer. To someone brand new. A baby girl. A daughter. Our little Fable Luella.

The nurses pulled up my robe and lead her to my chest where she latched on for the first time without so much as a struggle. And I looked down at my little girl and thought of my own mother. Thought about how excited I was to hear I was having a girl because of her.

Because it took me becoming a mother to really appreciate my own. To bond with her in a new way and how badly I wanted the same bond with a daughter... Passing it along like a strand of pearls... And here she was.

"Here we are."

Fable stayed with me for the rest of the night, against my chest, sleeping and sucking and being perfect and I stayed up all night watching her smile in her sleep as the sun pulled itself up by its rays over downtown Los Angeles.

I was shocked by how much I could love something so new. I felt the same way about Archer but how I'd forgotten until that first night with Fable. How I HAVE forgotten until now, how special the first few moments, days, weeks are with a new baby.

In the recovery room, Hal, Fable and I cuddled together in my hospital bed, still freckled with the blood from the birth. We compared the birth experience to Archer's -- how easy it was in comparison, how not scary, how incredible my doctor, the nurses... how AWESOME it was that my vagina wasn't sliced to smithereens. How perfect our new baby was and how excited we were to be a family of four.

And then our RN knock-knocked on the door.

"Come in!"

A kind woman stepped inside, smiled at Fable and took my hand.

"My name is Blessing and I'll be your nurse this morning," she said.



Well if that isn't the best name EVER for a resident nurse in a maternity ward, I don't know what is...

Blessing wrote down her information on the white board and scurried off down the hall, leaving Hal and I once again, alone. Without Blessing. Indeed blessed.

Blessed times a million zillion infinity.



...more birth story to come, and a post about my life as an "insider", here. Also a HUGE congrats to Erica and Christopher for kicking ass and taking names. I so-so-so wish I could have been there to see your first fashion show, watch you both shine.


Fable's Birth Story: Chapter One

When I went in to see my doctor last Wednesday, I was already four centimeters dilated and almost completely effaced. I had been contracting off and on for days, timing my sporadic contractions by the glow of my cell-phone, clutching my belly through wakeful nights, heart-pounding in anticipation.

Would she come today? Tomorrow? Ever?

Me, the night before...

"What do you mean, four? Are you sure? Is the baby coming soon? What should I do?"

I pulled Archer to me. He offered me a lick of his lolly

"Here, Mommy. I have blue one," he said, pushing his lollipop into my mouth.

Archer was off school for the day for Rosh Hashanah and I had bribed him with a lollipop to escort me to my appointment.

"I'm a little worried that if you're already at 4cm, your labor may be so fast we won't be able to administer antibiotics," my doctor said, pulling his now bloodied glove out from between my legs.


So we discussed my options, whether or not I would want to go into labor naturally, knowing that there was a chance that I wouldn't have time for the three doses of antibiotics I needed to ensure I didn't pass the GBS to my baby. I was basically in a state of "slow-labor", contracting every ten minutes or so. Because of the way I was contracting, it was likely that my contractions could push me all the way to six, seven, even eight centimeters before my water broke or I went into active labor.

"Or," the doctor said, "You could meet me at the hospital in a few hours and I could break your water, get the labor going, administer the antibiotics you need..."

My first thought was Catherine and OMG, I do not want to have this baby on Wilshire Blvd during rush hour. My main concern, of course, was the GBS-- the risks of going into labor at home, on my own and how it might possibly complicate my labor and my bebe.

I agreed with my doctor that breaking my water was the best bet.

"Meet me back at the hospital around 3:00 and we'll get this party started. "

"You think I might have this baby today?"

"Or tomorrow."

My doctor hugged me, high-fived Archer and left the two of us alone. Moments later, I was in tears. Tears of excitement and joy and fear, maybe even a little guilt. Because Archer had been my center for so long and pretty soon I would be orbiting around someone else. My children.

"Mommy's going to have her baby, today," I said to Archer but he wasn't listening. I tried to explain to him what was about to happen, that he would go to his friend's house and then Gooey and Papa would pick him up and have a giant slumber party while Mommy and Daddy were at the hospital having a baby sister...

Archer said nothing, attentive only to his lollipop.

It wasn't until we got into the elevator on our way down to the parking garage that Archer acknowledged my words. He turned to a scrunched-up old woman, clutching her cane beside us in the elevator and proudly proclaimed, "I'm a big brother, now."

"Not yet, Archer, but soon."

I called Hal. I called my parents. I called my friends. I cried between phone calls for no reason, of maybe there was a reason. Of course there was a reason. Anticipating a birth is like anticipating a land mine. What if I were to lose an arm? A leg? My mind?

When we came home, I packed Archer's bag and waited for Hal to come home. It felt like a thousand years.

And then he was home and in a matter of moments, we were out the door, kissing Archer goodbye at our friend's house, heading to the hospital, Hal and I vibrating on nerves and nostalgia.

Remember when we were on our way to the hospital to have Archer?

Yeah. Can you believe this is going to happen again?

It's hard to, isn't it?

Are you nervous?

A little bit, are you?


And then we were there, in the triage of Good Samaritan Hospital and by 4:30pm, checked into our room with its view of downtown and the hills, and a ballpark where children played baseball.

By 4:31, Hal was pacing the room as I ever so impatiently waited for the floodgates to open...

...For my doctor to "knock knock"/"come in"/"I'm going to puncture your bag of waters, now"/ouch! /part the Red Sea...

To be continued.


Eat Your <3 Out, Anne Geddes

I swear I'm going to post something substantial tomorrow.  

(more photos, here.) 


A Photo is Worth a Thousand Posts

One of these days I'll come back to earth to post something coherent and possibly even clever. For now? Words escape.  

Totally and completely, they escape.