Don't be Afraid

Screw cleanliness. It's fearlessness that's next to Godliness. In my opinion, anyway. Monday Today on Momversation we're talking about paranoia and parenting which I've blogged about ad nauseum, wrote like five chapters on the subject in my book and do what I can to crusade against it (fear) in my daily life as a parent and human being. 

I believe that fear in any form is dangerous, that the worst thing a parent can do is teach their child to be afraid. That "bubbles" are cruel with a tendency to stifle and suffocate, spread fear and thus anger, an inability to trust people, an inability to trust one's self. Keeping a child "locked up out of harms way" will scar them faster and far more furiously than "the perils of life" ever will. 

Most birds would rather die than live in cages with clipped wings. 

Of course, it's only natural for a parent to feel fearful at times. Fearful of the unknown. Fearful on account of knowing too much. We seem to be bombarded daily by horror stories that leave us panicked, clinging to our children. How can a mother not feel protective of her child in times like these?

I too find myself wrestling with the alligators in my chest when I overhear stories of a sick child or worse.

But freak accidents happen. Every day presents a potential doomsday scenario. A meteor could very well bash my head in while I sit at my desk, typing. Or your head as you sit at your desk reading this! What's that behind you? AH!

Just kidding. But come on, now. Knowing that life is a playground of unpredictability and chance encounters, is it worth risking our children's sanity by equipping them with safety nets at all times?

It may be impossible for a child to get abducted while on a leash but it's also pretty damn difficult for our children to skip whilst wearing armor.

Besides.  Isn't it true that scary things follow those who are most fearful*?

What say you, ladies and gents? Agree? Disagree? Do you struggle with fear in your day-to-day lives? Do you have a hard time turning off the worry, now that you're a parent? Do you think the love we have for our children is what most provokes paranoia? Or has the media worked us all into a frenzy of AHHHHHH!?

Minds inquire. 

*Wait. Did I just reference The Secret? Oy, talk about scary.


Wean Girls

***updated: contest winners, below!**
At the risk of exposing my nipple to controversy, I give you, Lindsay Lohan.

I've never weaned anything before. Actually that's not true. I've weaned myself off of cigarettes, my dependence on toxic relationships, white meat and dairy, but I've never weaned anybody off of me. As in my body. As in my breasts*.

I didn't have to wean Archer because you can't wean what you can't nurse, you know? And he pretty much decided he hated anything that came out of a bottle when he was seven-months old so that made things easy. He started inhaling solids at five-months-old and was like "whatever milk" and never turned back.

My goal was always to nurse Fable as much as I could for her first two months. Minus the fact that my teets felt like fireballs and I spent many of my days crying in my lanolin with blanched nips, nursing was a cakewalk.

"Can't nobody stop me now!" said I. "I'm going for three (months) bitches!"

One month later: my boobs were still throbbing, infected and completely scabbed over but what the hell, let's go for six-months! Pain can be pleasurable with the right attitude, right?

Of course, here I am days before Fable's six-month marker (boo!) and my crazy-infected-throb-a-sore-us tits decided to miraculously... get over themselves. Yes, folks. Six months of painful nursing and now there are no scabs, no holes, no blanching... no agonizing or even partially agonizing pain.

Perhaps le boobs are finally used to this whole nursing business and are like, "why stop now? Why not just go for six more months? Fuck it. Six more years! Be like that one chick who nursed her teenage girls in the English countryside while the poor father lied badly about how comfortable he was with it."

Okay so no. No. NO.

But I gotta say, my plan to put the breaks on nursing has been foiled again by the fact that I worked my ass off for six months for it to FINALLY be this easy.

Not that I have any new goals or plans. From this point forward, I'll be playing The Mighty Wean by ear. Eventually Fable will lose interest in nursing or I'll be whisked off on an island getaway (a girl can dream, yes?) or she'll decide solids are A-OK. (Fable currently says NO to rice cereal, avocado, banana et al.) But for now? I'll totally keep this party going, quite impressed, I might add, by my ability to go this long against the odds. A force of nature I call myself.**

Oh, whatevs. It's just a boob.

In the WEANtime (ha!) I have some fabulous goods to give away*** to my lady friends who plan to nurse soon-to-be-born babes, are currently nursing or have lady friends soon to give birth, because lordy knows, nursing is hard work and mamas deserve booby presents. Especially fancy ones. Behold:

1. The tre tre chic Bebe Au Lait (in chocolat). Been rockin' my "hooter hider" all over the Elay streets because using Lindsay Lohan's headshot over my boob? Totally brings the paparazzi to the yard and ... no thanks.

2. The magical Medela Freestyle Pump c/o the wonderful people at Medela, who just... duh! Are the best as far as pumps, lanolin and everything else lactation-y is concerned.

Once again, I'll pick two commenters at random to win these fab prizes. All you have to do is tell me where you think your baby was conceived.

I'll go first.

Archer was conceived in a motel room en route to San Francisco via Road Trip. Fable was conceived ... in our bedroom which is totally BORING I do realize but that's the thing about second children. Their conception stories are never as hot.

You have until Wednesday at noon PST to participate. Good luck!


*Except for the time I had a breast-reduction in the middle of a partial-relationship and one day, dude went to unhook my bra and... WHERE DID THEY GO? WHY DO THEY LOOK LIKE THIS? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? AHHHHH!!!!

**I'm still supplementing with formula, obviously. Have been since day one but that doesn't make my nature any more forceful.

***This marks the second of many amazing giveaways I'll be doing in upcoming weeks. Stay tuned!


Congratulations to the lovely (and pregnant! Congratulations!) Rosana for winning the Bebe Au Lait Nursing Cover and Amelia (who doesn't have a blog so please email me with your information!) who is also pregnant (congratulations!) on winning the Medela Freestyle Pump.

Thanks to everyone for sharing your stories of sex and fabulousness! (Winners picked at random via More fabulous contests coming soon!

Maybe in twenty years they'll include these photos in their liner notes.

Archer's shirt c/o the BMCs, purchased from the awesome Black Wagon.


In other news... LAUSD has me singin' "Mo Kindergarten Mo Problems."

the pre-half-birthday world

You're just like an angel. You're skin makes me cry. 

One week from today she will be one-half of a year. Six-months of a life. And I will wake up to her smiling, her fingers in my mouth, unaware of the changes that occurred in the night while we were all sleeping, a new strand of light in the window. Like any other day, she'll suppose.  

Unaware of my arms tightening around her or my words as I whisper to her father that I must hold on to her for dear life. Memorize the tiny pearls she wears as buttons before they fall off her blouses in the wash, lost at sea with my old socks and drowned lighters. 

I cleaned out her drawers today. Plucked dresses from their sleeves and onesies from their stains and formerly white socks I accidentally dyed purple. And she watched me from the bed, her feet in her hands, gurgling with her tide pool sounds.

"This is what I brought you home in the hospital wearing," I said. "And this is what you wore the day my mother and I dressed you up and took pictures" and "On Christmas you fell asleep in my arms wearing this as we all sang songs with paper crowns on our heads and held up our glasses and said Cheers! To a beautiful new life at the table and that life, little Fable was you."

And then I promised* her I wouldn't cry as I folded her little clothes in little piles and put them away in little plastic bags. 

Moments later I was licking my fingers, wiping clean the mascara clumps from her gingersnap hair. 

*I guess I lied. 


Epiblogues: Hope Springs Eternal

my shiny penny with copper hair

I've been in awe reading your stories over the last couple days. Blown away by the goodness in people, in you. From Richard Branson offering flights for the sick to the a homeless man on Hollywood Blvd lending a hand.

All is full of love

#45 Taking my time to look outside my living room window, I noticed for the first time the tiny, fresh buds on our Flowering Crab Apple tree. Proof that after months and months of a cruel, Midwest winter, hope springs eternal in the buds of tree. Humans should take note, for we're all like the seasons, too.
#158..A long while back, my aunt gave me a present, a "prayer box" in which you are supposed to write down your worries, wishes, prayers, etc. It was a cute gift, but honestly not something that I used often, and over the years it got put away into the "storage closet" (we all have one). When I stumbled upon it while packing, I opened the box to read the lone wish I had put in the box, a small scribble on a scrap of paper: "I hope I am doing the right thing." I was, and I did.

#103 Daffodils are $1.25 a bunch at Trader Joes

#212 I am so thankful this time around my husband will be home (and not deployed to Iraq) to be able to witness the birth of our baby.
#134 I have been feeling a tad lonely since I became a mom. I have lost touch with a number of my friends and it has sometimes been hard. This past weekend two of my girlfriends came over and we spent the night watching buffy and enjoying some wine. It was wonderful to get to hang out and be myself again and the best part was the next morning they stuck around and played with the baby... I don't feel so lonely anymore.
#111 A kid I read with every day at work finished a book by himself for the first time today. As a teacher's assistant, I've watched him struggle, fail, pick his little 8-year-old discouraged self up and go on. He was so proud he wrapped his arms around me and said "I did it! I did it! I am actually going to be a reader" You should have seen his face.

#222 Every day, just before sunset, a woman in her late 60s pushes her husband, in deteriorating health, in a wheelchair down the ramp into the AIDS memorial grove in Golden Gate park. She places a towel on her shoulder to catch any drool, lifts him to standing, holds him, and dances him around the circle.We should all be so lucky.

I usually ask Archer or Hal to choose a number randomly for prize winning but this time I chose myself. And I chose #80 because my Nana (the banana) is soon to celebrate her 80th birthday and along with my beautiful cousin, Erica (who donated the coat with her partner Christopher) her sister and my siblings, I've been working this week on a project for her.

So I counted to comment #80, read the story of a woman in her 31st week of pregnancy and how just that day her desperately-in-need-of-work husband got a call for a potential new job. And then I checked her blog and saw that her baby is due the same day Archer was (May 24th). And I thought, a sign! A sign! Isn't life so very full of signs?

...Fables and signs.

Congratulations to Casa De Kaloi on your impending new baby, new work opportunities and this beautiful coat which will look absolutely smashing on you.

And YOU.

Thank you for sharing your honest portraits, your optimistic stories, your hope with me and everyone else. Thank you for listening and participating in this blog, in my life, for being kind and respectful and wise and fearless and hopeful.

Shiny pennies to all.


Hope Springs Eternal in the Human Blog

Today on Momversation I wanted to talk about optimism online or more specifically, how we can perpetuate hope when everywhere we look we are bombarded with, well... nope. As a blogger and blog-reader and twitterererer, Facebook status updater, peruser of online message boards and such, I am starting to realize the effects these outlets have on me. The effects I might have on others without realizing. I'm finding it difficult as of late not to feel frustrated by the rampant negativity, meanness between bloggers and debilitating fear that breeds like rabbits offline and on until we're all wading through the pellets.

So what of the good news? The lifting one another up when we are unable to find the strength in ourselves? It seems to me, we have great power to alleviate, to spike our doubt and rampant cynicism with bursts of light.

We are the first generation online. Our voices carry. It is up to us to create a space for our children's children's children to not only feel safe but empowered, liberated, and if we can find it in ourselves, (I think we can! I think we can!) hopeful.

If we want to "write for ourselves" we should do that... in a diary. But as long as we're hitting the publish button we are writing for other people to read and even respond. We must remember that the blogosphere is not a collection of monologues but dialogues. That every time we go public with an idea or story we are inviting friends and also strangers to participate, respond, feel something.

Don't we then have a responsibility to those readers? To bring them up from time to time? In the words of George Orwell, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. But guess what? So is smiling at strangers and passing out goody bags of hope, stories where happy endings begin.

Everywhere we look someone or something is trying to talk us down. We can jump on the bandwagon of fear and cynicism or we can build our own Merry-go-rounds. Take the hands of strangers to pull us up and on for the ride. (Some of my favorite Merry-go-rounds.)

The other day I received the following comment on this post from a woman who recently posted her story on Portraits of an Economy. I wanted to share it because everything is going to be okay, you know?

I left my story for you awhile back. I wanted to share something else, some good news. The Man and I have been talking about getting married for years now. (We have been together 5 years now) But we have never been able to find the money for a proper wedding, and with the way things are going, its just not something we could do. So, we've been waiting until we could afford it.

Just a few weeks ago, we discovered I was pregnant. So, we realized it was finally time, and decided to just go to the courthouse and get it done.

Upon telling some of the friends we have been fortunate to make here, in this place-which is neither of our hometowns- they all banded together and are THROWING us a wedding.

Yes. I cry every time I think about it. It is just SO amazing. It's not a fancy ordeal, it's a simple backyard potluck style party this Saturday. Someone is making the cake, someone else is taking pictures, people are bringing food, and flowers and some have even offered to rip apart their OWN wedding dresses to make me one.

That these people, people we have only known for a few years, pulled together for us like this gives me such an awesome feeling, and I wanted to share that with you. Even without money, if you have good people around you, you are rich. And if we all hold together during this time, we will all be okay!

Flowers everywhere.

come on, get happy!

Tell me a story about something good, a shiny penny moment in your day or weekend or week and I will pick one of you at random to win this incredible Christopher Collins Collection coat (an $800 value) c/o the designer which is so gorge I can't stand it:

Contest closes Wednesday at noon. Christopher Collins Collection available in these fine retailers. Thank you in advance for sharing pieces of your happiness with me and the Interwebs.


Evolution of a Father, Family

When Archer was born Hal was between jobs. Money was tight and we lived meagerly on unemployment checks and my two part-time jobs copy writing for an adult website (chicka bow wow) and hosting an online chatroom for (sick bodied, healthy minded) kids. We were stressed as hell about money, exhausted from staying up nights with Archer, totally lost. But we were together. Even as we turned our backs to one another and crossed our arms.

Still, Hal and I were determined to make it work, to fall in love with each other as a threesome. The mother, the father, the child.

We were a family from the outside. Over time to build an interior: a family with an inside was our plan. We prayed for the strength to dig into each other with our shovels.

Those first two months were made up of some of the most difficult days of our lives. The manic depression of new parenthood, the rollercoaster of I love you, I hate you, I want to leave you, fuck you, fuck you over, kill you, hold you, please no don't let go. Hal's temper was wild then and I couldn't pull my head from my hands. He yelled. I cried. He yelled. I cried. Restart. Go again. Skip a turn.

Hal longed for a job so he could support us, said he hated to feel like he couldn't provide. I refused to understand, preoccupied with my inability to breathe in an apartment the size of my fingernail, my shame for the screaming matches that occurred in front of Archer, our perfect new child.

It takes time to become a family and we were no exception. It might have even taken us longer than normal. Even though we were together every day, every night, every hour in between for the first two months of Archer's life. The hardest months. Months starved of sleep and good hair days and cigarettes when all I wanted was to chain smoke cartons at a time. Sneak away behind the bleachers and scream.

We would eventually hold each other's hands and hearts, shatter one another to pieces, then glue each other back together again, like new, but improved. Much improved.

But not without a fight or hundreds of them.

I remember one fight in particular and how disappointed I was that Hal refused to wear Archer in the Baby Bjorn. I hated him for it. Because all the other dads seemed to be wearing their babies wherever we went and why can't you be more like them, huh? Why do you have to be so... the way you are?

"Because it makes me feel weird, okay?"

And even on the bad days, when I thought I hated Hal, couldn't possibly stand to be married to him for one more minute let alone a life, I'd see him with Archer, see him as he truly was. Remember why I fell in love with him. Why I married him in the dark. Why we decided after weeks of deliberation to bring a child into the world together.

With Archer, 2005

Why we were going to make this work. Why we had to.

If it wasn't for Archer, Hal and I would have broken up years ago. We remind one another of this all the time even though we don't like thinking about it. It helps to know that once upon a time we weren't so happy. Puts things into perspective, places blessings in our pockets and stars in our eyes.

If it wasn't for Archer, there would be no Fable.

No story with a moral and also no girl. I whispered this in Fable's ear last night so that she might know how far her parents came. Just like I tell Archer, if it wasn't for you? We wouldn't be a family. You saved us. Thank you.

Those two months out of work were two of the most important months of our lives, chaotic but also important because it was in those months that Hal became a father. And it was that father that brought the mother in me back to him, kept me from running away, him from slamming the door. We're all in this together, take my hand.

"It takes dads longer," he said, "to really fall in love."

He said it again, hours after Fable was born.

"Dads don't fall in love immediately. It takes a minute or two I think."

When Fable was born Hal had to go back to work right away. Fable was born at 3:23 am and five hours later Hal was in his car on his way to The Valley, because television shows have deadlines even though babies are only born once. After work, Hal returned to the hospital, his eyes heavy, dark. He handed me a sandwich and I handed him our daughter who he held and gazed at and smiled down on, her hand wrapped tight around his ring finger. And I wondered if he was in love with her yet.

How long does it take? Does he feel it, now? What about now? Is he there yet?

The first four plus months of Fable's life Hal was working, a relief financially and also quiet. With an easy baby we had no sleepless nights. No fighting. No threatening each other. No question marks haunting our dreams, our sentences. Such is life without the stress of the unknown. Hal had a job lined up for when his job ended and we were in love again, knew each other well enough to talk without screaming, touched our pieced together flesh, appreciating scars.

"We're so lucky," we said to each other. "New baby and you're not unemployed this time. New baby and we're older."

Except the job fell through last minute because television shows have a tendency to forget to keep their promises. And Hal once again was unemployed.

A part of me was afraid. Of the fighting, the arguing about money, the frantic Craigslist searches and me emailing every magazine trying to sell ideas to out of order machines. Sorry, we're not interested. We already wrote that piece. Something like it. Try again. Come back later. No solicitors.

And then I stepped away from my fear, hands in my lap. I looked away long enough to watch Hal cradle his daughter in his arms. He didn't have to go to work, kiss her forehead as she slept, to say goodbye. He got to be with her, bond with her, much like he was able to do with Archer.

Blessings in our pockets...

Such is life with the stress of the unknown. Except without the stress part. Have we changed so much that we can wake up well-rested? Lean on each other instead of our parents, our friends we once confided in when we couldn't confide in each other. Express ourselves without I hate yous because he understands that I need space and I am aware of his need to provide, his feelings of weakness and vulnerability when he cannot.

Has it become possible for us to speak without raising our voices higher and higher until we all fall down? Can we press our faces to one another to catch a buzz? Inhale without exhaling smoke?

It seems that yes we can. We do. Cause you've come a long way, baby.

Six weeks of Hal's unemployment later I have stopped wondering if he finally fell in love. One day his eyes just sparkled.

With Fable, 2009

He was there yet, serenading Fable with his guitar in the middle of the night because she doesn't go to bed until we do.

Not without a fight or hundreds of them.

Just like Hal rocked Archer to sleep those early months. When his full-time job was understanding what it meant to be a father, self-taught like he had known the secret all along. Like he still does.

Now, pushing Fable's stroller behind me, behind Archer who insists on being the leader and "follow me, everyone! Into town where there are smoothies." All of us in a crooked line, one after another.

Don't worry, I'm right behind you.

We can survive for another few months on what money I make and unemployment. Confident that a job will find him or us, that we'll soon be back in the thick of our normal routine. For now, though, there is much to be celebrated in how far we've come, the sparkles in all of our eyes even as we brace for the possibility of darkness. We have owned the night before and can once again conquer it if need be. The blessings in our pockets are like fireflies.

Look for lemonade and silver linings. And don't forget to tell him how much you love him for wearing the Baby Bjorn this time around.

We're all in this together. Take my hand.


I Cannot Tell a Lie! Err... Maybe I Can.

I'll be honest (heh) I'm a proponent of the white lie -- the tall tale -- the short story. I'm also a proponent of telling the truth in ways children can understand. I think its important to be honest with our kids but I also think we have to use our discretion as parents. In other words, potayto, potahto. We do the best we can. 

I'm a master storyteller when it comes to telling tales of where poop goes when it goes down the toilet, explaining in my own words, "where Daddy's hair went" Because I figure, teaching Archer (and Fable when she's older) to be imaginative is important.

All Fables are rooted in truth. 

However, I also think it's never too early to be honest about certain things, even if the truth is complicated and even difficult to understand, for example I think it's important for Archer to understand why we protest the passing of Prop 8 as well as the truth re: why Mommy doesn't have a penis. "Where did your penis go, Mommy?"  

Tempting as it may sound, I'm not going to make up a story about how my penis flew away and is partying with Archer's long lost Trader Joes balloon and Hal's hairline. 

I do like my mom's advice (maybe because she's a GENIUS!). When we were kids and we had questions about the plausibility of say... The Tooth Fairy, my mother would just repeat the questions back to us like so:

"Mommy? Is there a tooth fairy?"

"Do you want there to be a tooth fairy, honey?" or "What do you think?"

Of COURSE I wanted there to be a tooth fairy and OF COURSE I thought there was. Case closed. The end. No lies. Just... stories.

What about you? Where do you draw the line between tall tales and real truths? Do you grapple with storytelling? Do you have a whole truth and nothing but the truth policy in your house?


P.S. Sorry about the HELLO GIANT FACE Momvo screenshot. Oy. 

How Best to Compliment a Mother

Yesterday a woman peered into Fable's stroller, looked back at me and said rather casually. "She looks just like you. Your daughter has your eyes."

My ponytail was crooked, I had spilled smoothie between my fingers, my sweatshirt was caked in avocado, and not even my largest pair of sunglasses could hide the constellation of acne on my left cheek. 

None of it mattered. 

I felt more beautiful in that moment than I ever before in the history of my entire life of living.


Prose Hos: A Book Club for Humans

It all started as it so often does, with a snappy idea for a name.

"I kind of want to start a book club so I can call it Prose Hos! Isn't that funny? Like pro hos but you know... prose. For people who want to make sweet love to their books."

"Yeah, Bec. I got it."

"Oh, right."

"You should do it. Why not?"

"Oh, right!"

So I sent a call out to twitter and the rest was history. 

A twitter book club you say? 

A twitter book club I say. 

Perfect for those of us inundated with commitments and children and jobs and families and lives with little time for book clubs and a tendency to flake on group projects. A book club for all of us book lovers (prose hos) who prefer to comment succinctly, discuss on our own time, read when we are able with no pressure to commit to meetings. 

Basically, a book club to get our heads out of our computers and into a good book. Or if you prefer... your Kindle.*

I'm a human. Can I join?

Here are the details for those interested. Our first book is Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. You have six weeks to read the book and you may twitter about your thoughts, insightful tid-bits or not, as you read. Just tag your tweets #prosehos so fellow members can seek out your insights, as well as follow your updates on twitter.  

It's experimental so the above information is all I know for now. The rest we'll just make up as we go along. Think of it as a choose your own adventure type book club.... A place to notate and bookmark and pass along ideas to your fellow human book humping prose hos. A cozy little nook by the fire, safe and sound with like-minded ladies, gentlemen and everyone in between. 

Consider this your personal invitation to spoon your fellow hobags


*No offense but Kindle scares the living shit out of me. Books without pages = ahhhhhh!!!!!!!

Luck be a Lady

I always wanted a big brother growing up.

Mother as Amateur Seamstress

Several months back I blogged about making clothes for Fable while pregnant. About how much fun I was having picking out fabrics, spending long afternoons with my mother, her hands training mine to fold back the often stubborn seams.

"Press down on the pedal!" she said as I steered the fabric through the sewing machine, creating my first hemlines and pockets.

Fable wasn't supposed to wear the dresses we made her until she was twelve months old but alas, she is wearing them now. All four of them.

And it's one of the more accomplished feelings in the world to know I created something tangible for someone once unknown. How I imagined for months this child inside me, naked and kicking her tiny feet against me. And now? Kicking with chubby ankles, alive and full of magic, clad in dresses sewn by hands that never so much as threaded a button before last summer.

I never got the urge to sew until I was pregnant with her, my flower fairy of the garden. So excited was I learning to sew, that I was unable to do anything else for a week straight but cut patterns and pin and thread and re-do and mess-up and make crooked pockets. Crooked pockets made with more heart than any pocket on any dress from any rack for any price could ever do.

It pains me to look at her. To adore something so much. To pull her arms through the holes of my every dream. To button up her shoulders and wrap her up, my growing miracle. Like holding a magic trick one has rehearsed for her whole life.

It's hard to believe they will ever really appear but they do. White rabbits out of hats and who knew I had it in me to have her out of me and now in the world?

I think of the dresses. How I could not have made them myself. How I needed help, my mother to guide me. To lead the fabric through the machine as I pressed down on the pedal. I think of the dresses my mother made for me. How they sometimes unraveled. How they were always my favorite.

How my greatest and proudest accomplishments are the ones far from perfect. Far from symmetrical. Their inseams off and often uneven, surprisingly challenging.

I am reminded that there will always be finer craftsman, women with steadier hands, mothers with a real eye for symmetry, who know how to choose colors that don't bleed and fabrics that don't easily fray, but then I think to myself, how much does that even matter?

I don't think it necessarily does.

No matter how crooked the seams, a child will always be most beautiful draped in love.

Even if her seams are showing.

Especially if her seams are showing.



The Ass is Always Greener

I used to have a real badonkadonk. One of those DAMN GIRL! asses that followed me around like a shadow and I hated it. I had to buy jeans a size bigger to compensate for my giant behind, contributing to pants that always fell down, too loose around the waist.

I was self conscious, hated my large butt, wanted it to shrink. I was frustrated and embarassed. No matter how my weight fluctuated my ass stayed the same.

Then I got pregnant. And soon after, a baby came out of my person. And magic! My huge ass became less huge. In fact, I spent a good two plus years with a perfect sized butt. It wasn't too big, or too hot or too cold but juuuuuust right. That was until I became pregnant for a second time and my ass all but disappeared.

Here I am, the day before I gave birth to Fable. I dare you to find an ass in this photo:

Fuck. I dare you to find an ass in any of these photos.

I know it's common for bodies to change in mysterious ways during a pregnancy. My size 10 feet grew to a size 10 1/2 during my pregnancy with Archer and then dropped down to a petite 9 1/2 with Fable. And my 20/20 pre-baby vision turned shitty/shitty in the months that followed Archer's birth, landing me an astigmatism and glasses I can barely see without. (My second pregnancy has further impaired my vision. If I ever have another child I'll likely go blind.)

The Curious Case of My All-Butt-Gone Bottom became more curious when my mother admitted to me that the same thing had happened to her.

"My butt became totally flat after I had kids."

"And here I thought your butt looked pancakey because of your mom jeans."

"Common misconception. There's no such thing as mom jeans. It's just that most women get postpartum pancake ass."

"Postpartum pancake ass?."

"I'm afraid so."

"Fuck me."

"Don't say 'fuck' Rebecca.


Sure enough, she was right. I started checking out moms at my local park and 95% of them were cursed with the same assues. How had I never noticed this phenomenom before? I was scared. I clutched what was left of my behind, apologizing for all those years of wishing it gone, repeatedly cursing the junk in my trunk. Wanting nothing more than to get my badonkadonk back.

I went home and promptly googled "do they make ass cutlets to shove in your underwear kind of like those breast cutlets you stick in your bra?"

Nothing substancial came up.

"I need butt implants" on the other hand...

"Sigh... I wish I had your ass," I said to Hal.

"Oh but you do, baby. You do."

"No. I wish I literally had your ass. Like on my body."

We both laughed but, um.... I wasn't kidding.


Diversity es Mas Importante Por la Gente

Today on Momversation, Asha, Karen and I are talking about diversity in schools which originally got me thinking about my upbringing, schooling and the like. I grew up in a predominantly white middle-class suburb where we had one African American dude at our school. (Hi, Nathan!) I never really thought about diversity. Race never factored in to my existence as a child. 

Maybe because I was a white blonde who dated white blondes and hung out with, for the most part, white blondes. Not that hard when 99% of people in your town are white blondes. Not that I would change a thing about my upbringing, nor the friends I grew up with, but I'll be honest. My youth was kind of lacking in the culturally diverse department.

I'm the blonde in the "casually" folded-up white t-shirt and denim skirt.

All I wanted to do upon graduating was move to a city and/or travel abroad. I got to do both. I moved to L.A. at eighteen and spent four summers roaming around the world, B-52s style. 

I digress...We are not raising our kids in the burbs. Even if we wanted Archer and Fable to lead Whitey Whiterson existences it would be impossible... and we love that. It's one of the great perks of living in such a diverse metropolitan city.

Los Angeles may be weird but raising kids here is exciting. Sure, there's always the risk that Archer and Fable will ask for agents for their 13th birthdays but at least (we hope) they'll ask nicely and in a language other than English. 

Coincidentally (and I realize I just digressed again) I read the following Yo Yo Ma quote on the back of my Starbucks soy latte, today: 

"...There is so much to learn from each other and about each other's culture. Great creativity begins with tolerance."

Amen, Yo Yo. Amen. 


In other news... Based on my experience with Fable these last five-months, these are my top five must-haves for new moms or soon-to-be mamas. Please feel free to add your favorite must-have items to the list as well! Also, I just realized that my friend Meredith, pictured (above) circa 9th grade, also makes a cameo in this post. Fun!

Click Your Heels

When I first met Hal five years ago, he had nothing. He had lost everything in the dot com crash, including his high-rise Apartment in South Beach, his luxury car, his once successful dot com business, his pride. He pawned everything he owned in Miami, sold his Audi and flew West, pockets empty, ego shattered, heart hopeful. He was going to start over. He was going to look ahead, wipe the slate clean, start new.

When we first met, Hal was living on Ramen noodles and American Sprits, sleeping in a kitchen pantry converted into a bedroom the size of a mattress where not even a bedside lamp could fit inside.

"It used to be the snake's room," he said to me. "Before I moved in."

The night we first had sex, we fell asleep with our feet out the little pantry window, and slept that way an entire summer, soles freckled with spider bites and on our first date he took me to he 99 Cent Store, bought me a kid's Kung Fu DVD and a bottle of Captain Morgan. (Whoever says money can't but love is a liar. $1.98 later, I was done for.)

I bring up this story because I've been collecting your portraits for the last three weeks and have been blown away by their honesty, bravery and hope. Because although I cannot personally relate to losing everything (I will be the first to admit that I am absolutely spoiled and incredibly blessed in my life and I'm so beyond grateful for every second of happiness I have acquired), my husband can.

Since the beginning of the recession when news started breaking of extreme home loss, job loss, everywhere you look loss, Hal has been reading the news with his head in his hands.

"It's the worst feeling," he says. "There were days when I thought I wanted to die, that I would never be able to rebuild and succeed again."

But he did. He rebuilt a career for himself in television. Working as a Production Assistant throughout my pregnancy with Archer. Graduating to Production Coordinator, Associate Producer and then Producer/Story Producer in a mere four years. He rebuilt his credit, his happiness, created for himself a new, improved life, born and nurtured in the ruins of his previous one; a home.

"It took losing it all to really find myself," he tells me and I listen. I tell his story to friends and strangers staring out the peepholes of their locked doors, waiting for the Repo man.

Sometimes one must rebuild in order to move forward. Trouble is, it can be difficult to focus on such distant flecks of light when surrounded by so much darkness. Is it Pollyanna of me to believe that years from now, we just might be grateful? Perhaps so but what is the alternative? I've always believed Camus to be truthful when he claimed to find invincible summers inside of himself.

Three weeks ago I posted the submitted portrait
of a Bronx-based nurse who couldn't find a job. Last week, from the same woman, the following email came:
I submitted an entry for your blog, Portraits of an Economy... I just wanted to share some good news with you. I found a job!!! I'm so excited. I start Monday. I know we don't know each other, but I thought it would be nice to share my news with you. Hopefully things start turning around for everyone else in this country who was in my situation really soon...
Things are going to be okay.

Rainbows are signs.

From the sounds of your stories, many of you are on the move. And a great many more are preparing to uproot. To leave old homes, new homes, your homes. There are many of you holding fast to secrets, mourning jobs lost, family members lost, peace of mind gone and with it your pride. Selling luxury cars, pawning watches, moving back in with parents, sleeping on friend's couches, feeling overwhelmed. But you're also strong and optimistic and hopeful and grateful. You hold on. You rebound.

I'm not an economist or a scholar or even a college graduate. I know nothing of economic turn-arounds. I cannot punch numbers. I do not understand the stock market to save my life. But I do know, based on life experience that the areas burned by wild fires are always the greenest come Springtime, that there is an invincible summer in all of us, even as so many weather meters tip the scales at 20 below.

Your American Dream will not be lost with your house because "America" and "Dreams" were never built on the promise of home-ownership, but the challenge that was and is man's ability to turn a kitchen pantry into a bedroom into the humble beginnings of a new life. To start over again, and again, and sometimes even again. And to persevere. One pair of ruby slippers at a time.


Month Five: Brave New Girl

Five months ago (Monday) she was born

This video comes two days late but it's like I always say when I forget to send birthday cards to my parents: "Better two days late than three days late, right guys?"

I know I say it every month but how fast the months do pass... 

Seriously. Slow your roll, sister. 


*Music Credit: the aspidistra files by Stars
**Fable's "MOM" headband by Lou and Lee

Let's Hear it For the Boys: Epiblogue


Let's Hear it For the Boys

If you've been reading my blog for long enough you'll know I'm a huge fan of boys. Not just because I have a son who I adore but dear friends, a father, brother and husband I respect and admire greatly. I've even gone so far as to call myself a masculist but I'd like to instead refer to myself as a humanist, an equalist, someone who rallies behind whoever is getting ill-treated. And in my experience I have found the need to defend my son for being a boy on many more occasions than I have had to defend my daughter, sisters, self, for being female. 

A few years back I blogged the following and to this day stand by my words:

Today's Momversation starring the lovely Dana and Mindy rallies behind the importance of empowering our boys. Sticking up for our sons in the same way we do our daughters, doing away with the man-hate that has resulted in boy-hate that has resulted in Peter Pan syndrome, emasculation and insecurity. Not to mention the wrongful assumption that its okay (even expected!) for men and boys to be inadequate, slacker human beings. 

Boys are not stupid and rocks should not be thrown at them. Boys don't suck. The "penis" is not "the problem." 

Just like when a man disrespects a woman it shows his weakness, so does a woman disrespecting a man show hers.