Broken Heart, Starving Brain

  • Posted on July 27, 2008 at 9:13 pm

Tomorrow I return to work after about fifteen weeks of maternity leave. I am broken hearted at the thought of leaving Stella at daycare. Even though I know she’ll be in good hands, I still worry: will she remember that I’m her mommy? Will I get enough time with her? (NO!) Can I do this?

I know I’m not the first woman on the planet to struggle with this. My brain wants the intellectual challenge of work, and stimulating conversations with successful adults, and I want to wear business casual and heels.

But I also want to be the best mother I can be for Stella. I want to be there for all her firsts. Ah, the dilemma.

Realistically, I HAVE to work, unless we move to North Dakota and live in an a-frame and buy our clothes at Walmart and eat processed foods and drink budweiser.

I know I just have to do my best, as a mother and a professional. Too bad I can’t be a professional mother.

The Other Eighth Wonder of the World

  • Posted on July 26, 2008 at 8:38 pm

My brother Brandon and his girlfriend Amanda are spending the summer in Peru, where they are living in a hut atop a mountain and saving the lives of hundreds of Peruvian llama farmers (or something equally noble and selfless. I’m not even sure if they have running water or heat or STARBUCKS.) The other day, they posted fabulous pictures and a blog post about their trip to Machu Picchu, “the eighth wonder of the world”.

In homage to them, Larry, Stella and I ALSO went to Machu Picchu. Here is our story, told in photos.

Larry consults the PRESHUS iPhone for a map. Adventurous hat? Check.

The Preshus iPhone shows us the way to Machu Picchu.

Father and Daughter scan the horizon before embarking on the great adventure.

Larry’s hands grip the steering wheel as we drive through the wilderness. Knuckles white. Gaining altitude, losing breath.

A local boy, selling his wares on the streets near Machu Picchu. Could only afford a simple sign on cardboard, drawn with a marker.

The roads and signs here are confusing. We could barely decipher the signs pointing the way.

Another sign. On the right track. Bailey X Roads=Bailey’s Crossroads? Si?

A local wearing long white robes.

We saw the vestiges from a great civilization looming in front of us. Also, they drive like crazy people here. We narrowly avoided several collisions.

More locals, hanging out in front of a gas station. I guess they have nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon?

A family crossing a 5-lane highway IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET. Not at the crosswalk. Apparently, they needed to get to the entrance ramp?!? (Note the young child. Is this any lesson to teach your children? Why do people do this?)

More locals, hanging out at the Seven-Eleven. Again with the nothing to do.

The road to Machu Picchu. So quaint.


A tour guide? A local? An Incan? I don’t know.

Who knew that Machu Picchu was so close to the middle east? You can get kabobs here.

Larry and Stella approach the door.

The grand hall, honoring many great nations and lost civilizations.

Ooooh, classy. Leather menus.

Ancient Peruvian snack of half-popped popcorn.

Ancient Peruvian appetizer of shrimp, fish and squid ceviche with a pile of onions.

The adventurous Larry, without his adventurous hat, takes a bite of the ceviche.

An egg on top of a steak, plus three starches. Starchy McStarcherson. (Who knew that Peruvians can make delicious rice?)

Peruvian Fried Chicken. Close relative of the Peruvian Char-grilled Rotisserie Chicken, which is popular in Northern Virginia, Peru, and Larry’s belly.

Stella, hiding behind her toy Ken. All the starches scared her, I guess.

A shrine to Machu Picchu…with Buddha? Please explain. How did Buddha end up in an ancient Incan civilization? Does this have something to do with Pangea and sled dogs?

What a view.

Thank you, come again. (look at those ta-tas!)

One last shot as we drove away. The other eighth wonder of the world. Machu Picchu.

Stella Is A Punk Rocker

  • Posted on July 22, 2008 at 10:11 pm

Look at how punk rock my baby is:

Stella Is A Punk Rocker

Stella Is A Punk Rocker

The Time When I Fell Down The Stairs

  • Posted on July 21, 2008 at 9:32 am

I fell down the stairs yesterday.  My foot just slipped out from under me on the first step, like falling on black ice on a sidewalk in the winter. I landed right on my ass, and then bumped HARD down the next two stairs. I felt a searing pain in my tail bone and midway up my back. The wind completely knocked out of my lungs, all I could do was groan in agony. It reminded me of a time when I was young and fell on a roller skating rink. I couldn’t even talk, it hurt so bad.

I was also carrying the baby.

She is just fine–I think she thought it was a fun ride that I invented, just like the “bounce on mommy’s knee” game. Except this time, it was bounce in mommy’s arms while she gets the shit kicked out of her back and butt.

I have always wondered what would happen if I did fall or slip holding her, and now I know-I instinctively protect her above all else. My super mommy powers prevent her from any harm. It was instinct–do not let go, do not let go, do not let go. I still feel so guilty though, for having come so close.

I was just talking to Amy about this subject, because she has a bad knee that sometimes goes out on her, and she just tumbles to the ground. I told Amy that  if she was carrying a baby while it happened,  I thought her body would instinctively protect the baby.

So, I am grateful that it was ME holding her when I fell, and not someone else holding her and falling–I can’t say for certain that everyone has the instinct to protect a baby in their arms at all costs.

I have to admit that I did get nervous when she was just a newborn when certain other people would hold her. Those not used to holding babies, or clumsy people. It is awful to admit, but it’s true. If you’re reading this and you held my baby when she was a newborn, then the answer is YES, I was hovering over you because I was nervous. Because I was trying to protect her should you have stumbled or dropped her. Maybe this is a normal feeling for new moms?

As soon as he heard me groaning, Larry came running. He took the baby from me, and I sat on the stairs, unable to really move yet. SO. MUCH. PAIN. Fighting back tears and losing the battle. The impact jolted my spine badly. BADLY. I made it down to the couch and immediately took four ibuprofen.

I could walk and move my arms, legs, fingers and toes. I had no numbness anywhere. JUST PAIN. When I had back labor during childbirth, I had never felt anything like it before. Well, THIS FELT LIKE BACK LABOR. FUCK.

When Larry asked if I wanted to go to the hospital, I said no. More because I am scared of what they will say. What if they tell me I can’t hold Stella? What if I need surgery? What if I broke something or slipped a disk? What if the pain is PERMANENT? It’s better that I just grit my teeth and deal with the pain and not know. Not the best way to deal with it, I know. I don’t need any lectures.

Today the pain is better. It still hurts though. I will not go to the doctor unless it gets worse. I can hold my baby, and that is all that matters.

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

  • Posted on July 3, 2008 at 11:37 am

I think that Stella LOOKS LIKE A GIRL. She’s not one of those androgynous babies that could go either way. And practically every day I dress her in girly outfits. She looks like a cute blob of pink. Oozing girlishness. She has a pink pacifier. She wears pink socks. She has her name, STELLA, pimped out in stickers on her stroller. So why do people ask me if it’s a boy or a girl? Do people really dress second-born boys in frilly pink dresses and stick pink pacifiers in their mouths? Is it not completely obvious that she’s a girl?

My old self would say that people are just being polite, and don’t want to offend me and say the wrong thing. (”Oh, your little boy has such broad shoulders, he’s going to make a great football player, and with those giant feet, he’ll be a fast runner too!”) But having heard every sort of rude, intrusive comment when I was pregnant, I now know that people are NOT that polite. (”Your nose is so huge! You look like a lush!” “You’re about to pop!”)

Swim Suit Model

Avoiding The Paparazzi When You Have The World’s Cutest Baby

  • Posted on July 2, 2008 at 11:44 am

We’ve managed to avoid the kidnappers thus far. But, we’ve found that there’s another downside to having the world’s cutest baby–the Paparazzi. The cameras. The fans. They follow us everywhere.

On Monday, Stella and I ate lunch at the Dominion Deli at Arlington Boulevard and Gallows Road with seven fabulous mommy and baby friends (which is always a sight-eight women, eight babies, eight strollers, and several gratuitous flashes of breasts as we feed our babies. I try to tip the servers well). We sat in the corner of the patio and managed to avoid the paparazzi all through lunch, although this was probably because I had Stella in a sling and no one could see her face. When I put her in her stroller and put her sunglasses over her eyes, it was ALL OVER. CUTENESS OVERLOAD. BRING ON THE PAPS.

We walked to the Starbucks for an after-lunch grande Lite Mocha Mint Frappuccino with chocolate whipped cream. The paparazzi, made up of three women, spotted us. They followed us to our car. They oohed and aahhhed over Stella, saying things like:

“Oh My GAWD she is the CUTEST BABY EVER!”

“I didn’t know they made sunglasses for babies!”

“Are you on maternity leave?”

“That sure is a nice car seat!”

and my favorite…”CAN I TAKE HER PICTURE?”

The youngest woman pulls out her fancy blackberry/camera phone/MP3/GPS/whatever and takes a picture of Stella. Because she is the cutest freaking thing she’s ever seen. Oh well, at least she asked.

Stella with Sunglasses