Musings On a Night By Myself

My husband is out of town.  I had the house to myself after the tiny one went to bed.  I thought perhaps the complete freedom might be liberating, but honestly, I’m bored without my partner.  I miss him.  I decided to take a bath and as I took my hair down, I thought about how hideous it currently looks and I made the ugliest face I could contortion.  I am not sure why, but I sometimes choose to do this.  I prefer it when I can perform this for my husband.  I adore his responses.  He is slightly horrified by what I can conjure, particularly if I am inspired by either old school Rachel from Glee or my perception of zombies.  I thought about this during my free time tonight and I thought maybe I should be concerned that this would eventually be a major repulsion for my husband.  I immediately dismissed the thought.  “Come on, he’s crazy about you” was my inner response.  Then I realized that this is a gift my parents gave me long ago.  I have never felt unloved by them.  I have never doubted the family bond of my parents, my brothers, and myself and it has allowed me to feel security in my grown up family.  This is not to say that I have not been allowed to blow around in the wind on my own, because I have, and I am also grateful for this.  My parents knew me and trusted the relationship enough to let me flounder and succeed or fail as needed before swooping in to save the day.  I am so happy, after the fact, that they did.  Here is what shaped me:

  • My parents let me sing multiple verses of Santa Claus is coming to town to our congregation at church, in June, at age 3.  (This led to me thinking teenage boys would like to hear me sing too, which was a very successful method of birth control.  Sneaky parents.)
  • My parents allowed me to audition for everything and drove me to said auditions.  If I failed, they talked with me but let me know that failure is part of life.
  • When I realized TCU’s music program was terrible for musical theater goals, they let me decide whether to stay or transfer.  No judgment made.  For the record, I made the wrong choice.
  • When I asked when we were all moving me to New York City, my mother said I had it wrong and I should buy a one-way ticket and figure out where to stay.  I thought she was evil.  In hindsight, she was both brave and brilliant.
  • When I could not figure out how to live in New York City, my parents did save the day and paid for my broker’s fee for the apartment.  I paid the rent.
  • My dad drove me out to California to go back to school.  I paid for school; he paid for all the insurance needed on my 26-year-old self.  I got a 4.0 and the outstanding student award for my major.  I needed to pay for school myself in order to achieve that.

Catching your child on every stumble can lead to an insecure child/adult, I have decided.  I am learning how hard it is not to sprint over when someone pulls the tiny one’s hair, or he falls 4 inches and bruises his forehead, but learning disappointment at a young age is ok.  I would rather that he be disappointed about being in his crib and learn to figure it out, than have an adult who is constantly disappointed about everything, without seeing how to make it ok internally.  I want to raise a boy who is so confident about having been so loved and believed in that he was allowed to fall a little bit, knowing he could pick himself up.  All of this rambling comes from one ugly face in the mirror.  Come home soon Patrick.

Needs and Wants

There are needs and then there are wants.  I count my blessings, when I run, that all of my needs are provided, along with many of my wants.  I am still greedy.  Here are my wants:

  • A new couch.  Mine is repulsive.
  • An outdoor rug for my courtyard.
  • To live in a stronger school district for the tiny one.
  • Hair extensions.
  • Botox.
  • In all honesty, I desperately want a Chloe handbag.
  • To win the lottery even though I don’t buy lottery tickets.

We just met with our fertility specialist who told us that we have roughly a 0% chance of having a child naturally.  Suddenly, my wants change, and unfortunately they are wants.

  • A second child.
  • Another happy and HEALTHY tiny one.
  • More belly laughter from someone under 1-year-old.
  • More diapers to change.
  • More croup to keep me awake at night.

We have decided that there is another round of ivf left in us. There is another round of injections, potential surgeries, emotional hurt, financial (God awful) stress, and weight gain (forgive my vanity) in us to try.  If you have not been through this, let me give you hope.  It can work.  I remember sitting in my doctor’s exam room, crying that I could take no more after having to cancel our second round of ivf in exchange for a second surgery.  It takes you to the depths of despair, but I had an incredible partner to catch me in those moments.  Surprising no one more than myself, every day I thank God for how hard it was to have this tiny bundle of joy.  I am more patient because of our struggle to conceive him.  I value each repulsive diaper because I wanted him so badly.  I see beauty in a sleepless night at 4 a.m. because I so desperately wanted to rock my own child.  Truthfully, the money we spent seems like a bargain because of what it gave me emotionally in return.  I can only say this after the fact.  Had it not worked, I would have been resentful of forgoing numerous glamorous vacations and Chloe handbags.  The glorious side of today and not yesterday is the worst case scenario: if the tiny one is the only child we are graced with, he is enough.  Enough joy, enough laughter, and enough love to share.  He was our need.

My Parenting Pearls of Wisdom

I have been a parent for just over a year.  The tiny one is 13 months today.  I am not an expert; I have roughly 5% of the answers.  I search the internet daily for answers or clues into certain things he does or does not do.  I have been in molar and illness hell since August.  (I love him madly whether he is a baby disaster or not, just to clarify.)  I do not know what to do for him in these situations other than give him Motrin, sing, make funny voices, and read “Good Night Little Sea Otter” over and over until he is soothed.

I write today because I feel proud of a piece of advice I recently gave him.  I felt it was wise and translated well throughout different phases of his life.  The tiny one discovers body parts and becomes enthralled, entranced, and engaged with each part.  He found his feet at 4 months and they are still hilarious to him.  He recently found his penis, as all little boys do.  Now, if his feet are amazing, this is clearly above amazing.   I was changing his diaper the other day and said to him, “You only get one of those.  Be gentle.  Choose wisely.”  Whether this is referring to the current manhandling, seeing if it can be shut into a door in a few years, or inappropriate choices as a 40-year-old (a girl can still dream as a mother), this is the best advice I can offer.

Namaste.

When Television Takes Over

Patrick and I were tardy to the party for a certain television show called “Breaking Bad.”  We had been meaning to watch it for years, but just started it two weeks ago on Netflix.  It has taken over our lives.  My husband works like a tornado, so we do not talk very much during the day, but our communication has started to make us sound like junkies.  Here is a typical conversation: 

Pat: I’m working late tonight, but I’m going to try and get out of there by 8 so we can get an episode in.

Katie:  Let me know if you’re going to be late.  I can’t wait.

Pat:  Did you find out how we can get the last 8 episodes Netflix doesn’t have?

Katie: No and I don’t think I can handle waiting until they get it.

We get absolutely nothing accomplished once the episodes start.  They leave major cliff hangers at the end too, so you have to keep watching.  Netflix has 54 episodes and we are on about episode 47 in slightly over 2 weeks.  We aren’t sure how we are going to function in the evening once there are no more episodes to watch.  I heard once that a definition of an addict is not how much or how often, but it is the ability to stop, or the lack of ability to stop once started.  By that definition, we are Breaking Bad addicts.  I have dreamt about it.  I think about it often and wonder what I would do given those life circumstances.  I do not feel ashamed, except at my lack of productivity.  I could chalk it up to bonding with my husband, but that is a stretch since we do not talk except to clarify during an episode.

Since I get nothing accomplished anymore, I have to cheat.  Showering is a must, doing hair is a maybe.  I had simply quit with any type of body color enhancer and embraced my natural pastiness, since that was a nighttime ritual.  Then a magical moment happened; I was introduced to Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs cream.   I had heard of the spray and recommended it with the disclaimer that I had not used it, but I did not know about the cream.  I was a little hesitant with the idea of leg cream, even though I love self tanner and regular lotion.  2 friends swear by it, so I tried it.  It is glorious!  It takes roughly 1 minute to apply.  It adds just the right amount of color and, once dry, stays on and does not smudge.  I forgot about it, slept in white sheets, and woke up with nary a smudge on the sheets!  I think the color it creates is PRETTIER than self tanner.  How have I gone this long without it?  It comes in 4 shades and is sold at drug stores for around $10.  It is my own attempt at camouflage and subterfuge.  Yes, I am reaching.  Now, it’s time for another episode.

sally hansen

The Perfect Skinny Jean and Words You Should Never Say

There are a couple of words/phrases that should simply never be uttered aloud. Keep this in mind as a preface.

I have worked in fashion/retail in some capacity for almost 15 years. I have experience with personal shopping, selling, event planning, hiring, training, management, and visual merchandising. I have taught students about the importance of creating a proper retail environment. I love it. I love working with a woman and watching her transformation from self doubt to self confidence. My greatest professional moment was working with cancer survivors for a fashion show and watching them strut the runway feeling sexy and womanly. This is good.

One time in my career, I was working with a very poised and proper lady and I needed to go grab some different pieces for her. I asked a colleague to check in on her for me. As I was returning to my customer, I overheard my colleague say, “Yes, those pants look great. They don’t give you camel toe or anything!” Camel.Toe. This is the most foul phrase. Why she chose not having camel toe as a selling point is beyond me. I gagged. I panicked. Would this customer put me in the same category as this other person I foolishly sent to her? Would she think I coached her on the proper usage of the phrase camel toe? Please make it stop. I later told this story over family dinner and it went in an entirely new direction when my dad did not know what that phrase meant, and my brother googled images of the phrase for him. Note, you can never unsee certain things….

I reference this story because I had to put my word loathing aside when I found the perfect pair of skinny jeans. They are by “Rich and Skinny”. I find “rich” an offensive and tacky word. The only time you should utter it is in regards to food or the saturation of a color. I have actually avoided this brand due to their name. Now that my ivf prep and baby weight is gone, I found myself in a delightful situation of needing smaller pants. My finances are not quite as delightful, so I headed to Nordstrom Rack. I found the Rich and Skinny Schoolboy Cuff jean marked to $59.97 from an original retail of $154. They are perfect because of the stretchy fabrication, but not so stretchy that they cling unnecessarily, mid rise, the dark wash, and the slightly loose calf. If you are a curvy girl, you do not want a skinny jean that says “legging” or “ultra skinny” unless you plan to wear them tucked into a boot. When a skinny jean is a little straighter, it is much more flattering, especially when paired with a dark wash. When I put these jeans on the first time, my husband asked me when I got so skinny. THAT is a phrase I can never hear too much!

rich and skinny 2 rich and skinny

How To Make Bathing More Exciting

You should know that I had been catching up on Dexter just prior to this conversation, and the drama had affected my mood ….

Patrick: How much exactly does soap that comes in its own plastic box cost?
Katie: It was an impulse purchase that I blame on Amazon Prime. Let’s never speak of it again!

The soap had cost $20, which is ridiculous for 1 bar of average sized soap, but it is delicious and I love having it. I think about it multiple times per day and inhale its aroma every time I enter my bathroom. I have decided I will only use it on special occasions to make it last longer, as I cannot continue to purchase soap this expensive when I stay home with the tiny one. That special occasion might be I-slept-not-at-all-Wednesday, but the occasions are my own to decide. Patrick is not allowed to use it either. I rarely ask that of products, but I want this puppy to last!
What is this fantabulous product you ask? Hermes. Hermes. Hermes. Hermes Eau d’Orange Verte, to be exact. It comes in a green box and smells like an adult orange. Many fragrances claim to be unisex, which I generally believe to be a cop out for a wussy male fragrance, but this is subtle enough to smell amazing on my husband (before the ban was in place) and is a very sophisticated female scent, with a side of playful citrus.
I found this scent while scavaging in my parents’ house for hair conditioner. They had evidently stayed at some swanky hotel that used Hermes products. (I grilled my mother hard and she cannot remember which hotel). I swiped the shower gel and looked forward to lathering up each day. It took the edge off being a paranoid human in a completely see through glass shower. (There is no escape if someone walks in) When I went to order my own, Amazon only had the little travel sized bottles, so I went for the soap. They are equally wonderful. If you ever buy me presents (Patrick, Mom, unknown future friend), I will take anything in this incredible scent, and lots of it. It is the most perfect summer scent I have smelled.
P.S. The plastic green box is enjoyed daily by the tiny one while taking his nightly bath.

 

hermes soap

For the Love of Glee

Years ago, I took a brief detour away from beloved Karen Kane for a job that turned out to be nothing short of misery. My core beliefs clashed with office policies and I could not adapt to certain things that made me uncomfortable. It grew to the point of me being incapable to make a decision. I am not kidding when I say that my refuge, aside from my husband, was television. In particular, Beverly Hills 90210 reruns. Television gets a bad rap. There are articles written about how it rots brains, etc. Have you ever thought that if you saw a live, staged episode of your favorite tv show, it would be called a play? Munch on that one for a moment….Television was therapy for me those LONG 6 months.
In 2009 a television show came on the scene that changed what we expected from a series and introduced a nation to what a select few of us already knew was fabulous: show choir/swing choir/glee club. Aside from numbers being perfectly executed in a week’s time, some of what “Glee” showed was remarkably true. Social standings from the hallway never mattered in the choir room. The choir room was a refuge. I passionately loved high school and did not want to leave, but like all teens, there were tough times. I forgot the words to the National Anthem in front of the entire school. My choir friends consoled me. A girl in my grade did not like me for a month. My choir friends wrapped me in their friendships. A breakup was never that awful while practicing your favorite songs for an upcoming competition. I participated in many things during high school, but show choir was my very favorite. “Glee” made show choir cool and exposed what some of us have loved for years to many generations at one time. It brings all genres of music to us weekly, and makes school fun.

choir
My heart broke today when I read that Cory Monteith died. I loved him on “Glee.” Through his character, I recognized different boys I knew from my own days. He had such a sweetness to him. Because everything now revolves around my child, I mourn for his mother and wonder if she is thinking about her child as a baby. My own mother wondered if it would impact teenagers to stay away from drugs. I think not, but I think it can inspire us as parents to work harder, to be more present, to be enough. I heard that somewhere, to be enough, and it stuck with me. Please let me be enough of a disciplinarian to keep him safe. Please let me inspire him enough to help him find his own passion. Please let me show him enough of my love so he always knows his self- worth.

choir2

At the end of the school year, there was a song that was always sung and it was really in honor of the members who were graduating. It has been running through my mind as I think of the artist lost. It wasn’t a good bye as much as it was passing on to another phase of life. Rest in Peace Cory and let the river run.

“Let The River Run”
We’re coming to the edge,
Running on the water,
Coming through the fog,
Your sons and daughters.

Let the river run,
Let all the dreamers
Wake the nation.
Come, the New Jerusalem.

Silver cities rise,
The morning lights
The streets that meet them,
And sirens call them on
With a song.

It’s asking for the taking.
Trembling, shaking.
Oh, my heart is aching.

We’re coming to the edge,
Running on the water,
Coming through the fog,
Your sons and daughters.

We the great and small
Stand on a star
And blaze a trail of desire
Through the dark’ning dawn.

It’s asking for the taking.
Come run with me now,
The sky is the color of blue
You’ve never even seen
In the eyes of your lover.

Oh, my heart is aching.
We’re coming to the edge,
Running on the water,
Coming through the fog,
Your sons and daughters.

It’s asking for the taking.
Trembling, shaking.
Oh, my heart is aching.

We’re coming to the edge,
Running on the water,
Coming through the fog,
Your sons and daughters.

Let the river run,
Let all the dreamers
Wake the nation.
Come, the New Jerusalem.

choir3

Workin’ On My Fitness (quote by Fergie)

I recently decided to take my fitness to the next level.  And by that I really mean that I would like to reduce the circumference of my thighs before my husband’s high school reunion pool party.  I think of myself as a relatively fit person.  I run, hike, and participate in Pilates classes, AND I was once a competitive gymnast.  Yes, it was over 20 years ago, but I strongly believe in muscle memory, and I am quite certain I could still do a back handspring if pressed.  I’m not interested if you have a differing opinion, by the way….  Anyhow, the tiny one isn’t always interested in a long walk, so I ordered 2 videos off of Amazon.  This was new for me.  I figured I could do them while he napped.  I ordered Jillian Michael’s “6 Week 6 Pack” and Insanity “Fast and Furious”, the 24 minute workout.  My reasoning was that I want to be friends with Jillian because I like her energy and this was a way to bond with her, and for Insanity, my friend wet her pants shortly into the video—it was that difficult.  Normally I would not try something that induces someone to wet their pants, but I took it as a positive in this situation, and I want smaller thighs desperately.

I convinced my husband to do the Insanity video with me.  He agreed on the condition that we close all the shades so no one could see us doing it.  5 minutes into the video, I could barely breathe and I kind of hated Shawn (the instructor).  10 minutes into the video and I would have quit if Pat wasn’t there to see me quit.  15 minutes into it I no longer cared if I was doing the moves correctly and was randomly shooting limbs in different directions, hoping that I was somewhat close.  Shawn was cheering me on and I was certain he was secretly mocking me.  Shortly after that, Shawn instructed us to “Jack those Jacks”, I felt something pop in my ankle.  Shawn had no mercy for me.  I finished up the video without jumping and felt extremely proud of myself, and wished I had a video of my performance.  While it nearly killed me, it is an excellent workout in a short 24 minutes that I WILL conquer….after my ankle heals.

Afraid of Flying With a Baby? Go Southwest.

flight

The tiny one and I have taken 2 roundtrips together.  We have flown Southwest both times.  The first flight was fairly dreamy.  I carried the small bundle of love inside a Moby wrap.  The bestie flew with me on the outbound flight because I was scared to fly alone.  We had an entire row to ourselves and Teeny only cried when people eyeballed our middle seat.  He was cute and sleepy the rest of the time.  On the way home, it was the same.  The first leg of the flight was so empty that most people had their own row.  A woman across the aisle said she was moved by the way I looked at him.  The biggest challenge I had was convincing the person in front of me that the gaseous, adult-like noises were not coming from me, but a 3 month old infant.  That particular plane did not have a changing table in the bathroom.  I thought that was rough.  Little did I know….

We flew again when he was 5.5 months.  I was not nearly as nervous.  I felt I knew his behavior.  I was a little worried about missing his afternoon nap, but he slept almost the entire time on the previous flight, so I assumed he would again.  The first leg was challenging, but doable.  We again flew Southwest and again no one wanted the middle seat.  He fussed, but we walked the aisles and it was ok.  He fell asleep 20 minutes before we landed.  We sprinted for our gate and all hell broke loose.  He was a complete and total mess for the next 1 and a half hours.  I would like to say that when people boarded after us they saw a woman with large blue eyes and youthfully tousled hair, discreetly nursing a baby with just a hint of womanly cleavage showing.  In all actuality, I had a crazed look in my eye with hair that could have housed beavers, and I would have offered my fully exposed teats to anyone who could make this baby stop screaming.  He would not stop.  He missed his nap.  I took his clothes off because he’s a little nudie.  I sang to him.  I offered him a bottle.  I walked the aisles with him and apologized to passengers.  He.Would.Not.Stop.Screaming.  The ‘dude’ (you fake hipster) in front of me kept turning and looking at me, and it certainly was not because he was interested in my still exposed breasts.  I finally yelled that there was nothing I could do to make him stop crying.  He did not turn around even once more.  The kind, princess-of-the-air flight attendant came over when we had to buckle up and offered to walk with him.  I burst into tears and sobbed the rest of the flight.  She assured me over and over again that it was ok.  She walked with my screaming mess and appeared to like him.  I am certain she was the only one on the flight who did.  She was an angel at that moment.  The way back was not nearly as traumatic.  The amazing, fabulous, professional flight attendants let us take our car seat on the flight, which helped immensely, and told me that mothers drink for free on their flight.  I am flying back in a few weeks (with reinforcements) and I had no problem paying an extra $40 to fly Southwest*.  Southwest, you are amazing and are a luxury for terrified mothers.  I am yours….for life.

*I apologize in advance for any non-parents on my flight.