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Archive for March, 2010

I should probably call this post “Party Overboard” cause that’s the direction we’re heading in.

Today Baby C and I went shopping for his birthday party.  To go all out on the Luau theme, we headed to Party City for some party supplies.  And because I’m a bit of a worrier (in case you didn’t know) and a bit silly (which I know you knew) I went a little overboard.

Rather than a Hawaiian print, I opted for the Hibiscus flower print:

Party Supply theme

They might be a little girlie, but I liked them better than the scary Tiki gods.

In order to accommodate the 60 or so guests, I bought 100 dinner plates, 100 dessert plates, 50 plastic cups, 50 paper cups and 300 napkins.  That should be enough right?

Of course I know it’s more than enough, but I worry, albeit irrationally, that I will run out of plates or cups or anything mid-party and some hapless soul will be sent out to purchase more.  This would be embarrassing and I would feel overwhelmingly (again probably irrationally) grateful to said person, making for some awkward party moments.

To continue my theme of going overboard, I took the opportunity to order some balloons for the party, cause what’s a 1 year old’s Hawaiian Luau birthday party without balloons?  Again, I was nervous about having too few, so I ordered 40.  You read that right, I ordered 40!

Here’s how that happened: I began with 10 white balloons, thinking they would make a good, innocent background color to whatever other colors I chose.  But then, I thought, it’s a Luau, so we should have blue, right?  So I ordered 10 blue.  Well, I can’t just have blue and white or it’ll look like a baby shower for a little boy.  So I threw in 10 green.  Well, I’m not throwing a Notre Dame football party, so I needed to add yet another color.  Hey, those Hibiscus flowers are pink!  Thus, 10 pink balloons were added, bringing the total to 40.

Now I’m a little concerned that my house might look like the Junior Prom, but I’ll try to spread them out.

And….During a moment of weakness I also bought the following kitschy decorations:

Tacky Hawaiian hanging decorations

Tacky Welcome Sign

I don't know what I was thinking with this one, but isn't he cute?!?!

As you can see, it got progressively worse.  But now looking over the website, I’m a little upset that I didn’t see or purchase this:

Flamingo Ring Toss!

HOW AWESOME IS THAT? I may have to order this online.

I also may need a party intervention.

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Being a Mommy means giving up lots of things, but one thing I’ve managed to cling on to and treasure is my bath time.  I have a large, glorious jacuzzi tub, truly big enough for two (though when I want a bath, I want to take it alone and relax).  There are the traditional bath accoutrement: candles, soft towels, bath salts, lotions.  It’s my own little spa.

However, I don’t often have the opportunity to luxuriate in my bath.  In fact, these days, it’s more of a once a week, once every other week type situation.  Sigh…

There are many nights, as I’m preparing my little one’s bath, the warm water swirling around my fingers, that I briefly fantasize about putting the baby in the play pen while I slip into the water instead, bath toys and all.  He would be fine, right?  But I don’t.

This last week has been especially hard.  My baby’s bathroom is getting an update (ie we’re replacing the horribly ugly blue and pink flowers tiles with white subway tiles, striped with blue glass–pictures to follow).  So in the meantime, Baby C has been enjoying the wonderfulness of the big bath.  He looks tiny in it, but he loves the spaciousness, pulling every single toy he owns into the bath with him.

I cringe a little to see my beautiful, spa-like atmosphere marred by brightly colored plastic cups, a stick-on “bathketball” hoop, rubber duckies galore…Yet, even with all this clutter in my vast bath retreat, I yearned to be soaking beneath its waters.

I finally had the opportunity last night!  Hurrah!  I filled the bath with hot water and Japanese soy hibiscus bath gel.  I moved all the toys out of the tub, away from view.  And most importantly, I shut the door.

After spending a few minutes relishing the silky bubbles and perfect temperature, I picked up my Kindle to continue reading the fantasy/romance novel that is my current guilty pleasure.  As I slid a hand up to push the tab to “turn” the page, the Kindle simply fell out of my hands.  It seemed to happen in slow motion, as I watched the Kindle (and it’s cover) slowly slip from my fingers into the soapy water.  I reached in to pull it out, watching the water drip from the keyboard and the screen turn black.

At first I didn’t react, perhaps stunned.  Then, as tears crept into my eyes, I called for my husband, handing over my sopping electronics.  Sympathetic, he offered to use his credit card points to get me a new one.  And while I slowly shook my head, I wondered, what was I more upset about: the Kindle or my ruined bath?

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You may have heard me complain about living in LA a time or two (or three or 500).  I don’t really like it here.  Now, I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad about loving LA, it’s just not for me.

LA has a lot of wonderful qualities and yes, it rankles me when New Yorkers rag on us for not being as sophisticated as they are (to that I say: while probably fake about it, at least people here are nice!).  We have glorious beaches and mountains to hike, surf, camp, etc.  If that’s not your thing then there are millions of attractions ranging from museums to movie lots, and every show/band/artist will come through here at some point, making it a wonderful hub of arts, culture, and activity.

The problem is that I don’t take advantage of all these things.  At least not on a regular basis to make it worth living here.  I occasionally go to the LACMA and MOCA.  I make it up to Malibu every once in a while.  I’ve been to Hollywood enough to satiate my need for snotty food and exclusive night clubs.  I lived on the hip Westside, knee-deep in the rich and famous or rich and wanting to be famous or just the wanna-be famous.

Now we live in the Southbay, which may as well be Siberia to our LA friends.  It’s a lovely area.  The neighborhoods are safe, well-kept, walkable.  The beach is just a three miles from our front door, while parks are mere blocks away.

So why do I want to leave somewhere so idyllic?  As much as I love the Southbay, it’s still in the LA frame of mind.  Neighbors don’t talk.  Homes are built as tightly as possible.  Yards are small, if they exist.  Traffic and sirens can be heard at nearly all hours.  And though there are plenty of parks in the various neighborhoods, it fails to make up for the overwhelming feeling of concrete.

At least it does for me.  I think my LA mentality has fallen away (if it was ever there to begin with).  I’ve moved on to an Orange County state of mind.  I now long for suburbia.  I need space!  I need to know my neighbors.  I want to have parties and not worry about parking. I want to open my windows at night and hear, not cars and airplanes, but ocean waves or crickets.

And if I really miss LA, it’s only 45 minutes away.

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Tonight my post will be short and sweet.  I’m having some face time with my husband.  This doesn’t happen often, and though there is a sleeping baby between us, and yes, we have to keep our voices down and the lights low, but despite all this, it’s nice to see him.  So you’ll pardon me if I skip tonight’s post and focus on lapping up any and all attention my husband can give.

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After Baby C turned a couple months old people began asking me: what do you do?  I’d look at the baby and look back at them, curious as to how they could miss the obvious baby in my arms.  And I’d say, well, I’m a stay at home mom.

Well, they’d continue, when are you going back to work?

Trying not to take offense at the “back to work” turn of phrase, knowing that they were not purposefully implying that I was not currently working taking care of my child, I simply smile and say, someday.

If they were somewhat slow, or maybe just mean, they’d continue, well, what was your real job?

REAL JOB?!?! Really?  Taking care of my baby is not a REAL job?

I didn’t say any of the things I would like to, simply saying, well I worked at the Library and I got laid off during my maternity leave due to budget cuts, so it made my decision to stay at home all the easier.

This is all true.  Getting laid off did make my decision easier.  I also consider being a stay at home mom REAL work. But ultimately, I had already made the choice to be a stay at home mom long before I got laid off.

But there are days when I miss the library.  I miss working with adults.  I miss helping people.

And I recently got offered my old job back.  And suddenly it was a decision I had to make, again.  Did I want to go back to work?  Did I need to hold down a job outside my home to be held in esteem by society?  Did my decision to stay at home with my baby some how make my achievement and education less?  Did it make me less?

According to some authors, making the decision to stay home is a “willfully retrograde choice” (from The Feminine Mistake).  Others, consider it the best thing you can do for your child (In Praise of Stay-at-Home-Moms).  I honestly don’t know that I can tell anyone else what to think on this issue, but for me, staying home makes sense.  It makes more sense than me working.  It makes sense for my family situation. It just makes sense for me.

Aside from sense though, it makes my heart feel better.  The idea of working, being away from my baby 10 hours a day or more, missing moments in his life, it makes my heart ache.  For me, staying at home not only makes the most reasonable sense, it makes the most emotional sense.

Through my own twisted logic, if staying at home is my job, I’m going to treat it like a job.  I push myself to make sure I can do all the housework within my ability.  I try to make the healthiest choices for C, since I can.  I also plan on educating him as soon as I think he’ll retain the information.  And though my husband strongly urged me to hire a nanny so that I could sleep at night when C was just born, I just couldn’t because this is MY job.  It may be 24 hours a day, every day, but it’s what I do.  It’s my job.  My REAL job.

And if you don’t think it’s a REAL job, I invite you to come spend the day with me.  At least then I’ll get a day off.

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Baby C is spending more and more time on two feet, determined to master his walking skills.  He is now toddling more than ever.  Yet, as he gains his balance, he’s also gaining quite a few bumps and bruises.

I try not to over-react when he falls down, limiting my response to a “whoa” or “ooopsie” rather than rushing to him in fear (as I would like to do).  Apparently this has been getting through to him, since when C fell for probably the 22nd time today, he actually said “whoa” and didn’t cry.  My big boy!

However, when he fell, catching his face on the ottoman (and the truck sitting on top of it), earning a large rug burn just under his left eye, C cried.  Not that I can blame him. I would have cried too.  In fact when I dropped a frame on my toe this morning, not even breaking the skin, tears leapt to my eyes and I’m 29!

I am starting to worry though, that with the growing number of bumps and bruises, scratches and scrapes, someone is going to report me to Child Services.  I know C’s physical fumblings have to be somewhat common, but why don’t I ever see pictures of other children with their faces all banged up?

And in my mind’s eye I can see all the trouble C is going to get into in the future.  I can see a lifetime of bruises stretching out before me.

And every time he falls (even as the teenager in my imagination), I can see C getting up and saying “Whoa!” with increasing delight.

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Not living near my family and having few friends with children, I joined a Moms Club for moral support and socialization. Though I love my friends without children, there is something that intangibly changes in how you relate to others when you have a child. I felt that shift and longed to be in the company of other mothers.

Little did I realize that sharing motherhood does not equal friendship. Women are just as crazy being mothers as they were before they had kids.

And though I hoped to find friendship in the Moms Club, I found only frustration. So I’m calling it: done with Moms Club.

Could all my local friends have babies now so I have people to talk to? I’d appreciate it! Thanks!

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