Tuesday, May 31, 2011


So many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to have another baby.

Changing diapers again, nursing or bottles, not sleeping for months, how my child will respond to a new baby, the jealousy, the rivalry, her possible regression. All of these I can deal with -- for me though the pregnancy itself is the biggest concern.

I have a condition called Hyperemesis Gravadarum. It basically means you throw up a lot during pregnancy. With my daughter, if I only threw up three times in a day, it was a good day. Usually it was seven or so. I lost fifteen pounds the first trimester, and my friend jokingly said every cloud has a silver lining, but let me tell you there is a fine line between looking good and looking gaunt.
I played many mind games with myself when I was pregnant. I'd trying seeing if I ate in a different location of the house if I'd feel better. Or changing ingredients, or eating at different times of day. I carried bags everywhere with me. I even walked down the isle (I was 10 weeks along on our wedding day) with a friends handmade bridal barf bag nearby, should I need it. I swore off certain foods forever after they didn't stay down. I even wondered if I ever liked food before, since during that period I couldn't remember a time anything ever tasted good.

Smelling became an issue too. Any scent of food could send me running to the nearest toilet. Cleaning products, perfume, even certain flowers just made me want to heave. People made suggestions and I appreciated their concern but no one could understand that there was little that could help. People suggested smelling lemons, drinking ginger ale, ginger tea, eating saltines. As if I hadn't thought to try most of those things. Even Zofran, the cancer medication, didn't help for me. It didn't stay down, like everything else.

In week fifteen I finally felt a lot better. I had energy and could eat again. I enjoyed that part of my pregnancy very much. I got excited with every movement and kick and never stopped thinking it was amazing whenever it happened. I was proud to be showing, unlike in the first trimester when I was so sick with nothing to show for it. I enjoyed fantasizing about whether the baby was a boy or girl and what to name it.

The third trimester sucked. I began getting sick again. I was big and uncomfortable. To make matters worse, I got a pinched nerve from teaching too much and it killed. I was ready when my due date finally arrived, and my Doctor said he could feel the head, and that I was two centimeters dilated. All was a go, except my pinball wanted to stay in longer so she made us wait eleven more slow-as-molasses days. When she did come though, we had the surprise of learning she was a girl, getting to give her our favorite name, and the knowledge of knowing I wouldn't throw up again.

Now we are thinking of doing it all again. Looking back, there are very few things I can say that can make throwing up worth it, but the moment she was in my arms and everyday since is worth that suffering. For her, and for us, lets do it again. This is the LAST time though.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lara Logan

I'm sure I am not the first or last woman to write about the tragic sexual abuse that was done to Lara Logan, but I felt her story so upsetting that I feel compelled to get it out of my head. I remember hearing about her being swept up into to the celebrating mob of Egyptians just after Mubarak resigned. I thought that it was so sad that she went there to cover such a joyful time, a celebration of freedom and got enveloped into the arms of a crowd so violent. I wondered when and if she would ever be able to talk about what happened to her. Last week on 60 minutes she did.
There was nothing I could have done to prepare myself emotionally for her story. As she described what happened to her my body began to shake and my eyes began to tear. She believed that at the end of the torture she was feeling that she would be dead. She was brutally attacked by men who were supposed to be celebrating change. Instead they showed such an ugly history of misconduct to women that I fear for the future of all woman who have to coexist with men who think so little of them.At this moment, I have never felt so little of men. Not every man as an individuals, but the animalistic part of men that thinks it's ok to treat women like prey.
In the crowd of men that attacked her, someone had shouted out that she was Israeli, and a Jew. Neither is true but for these men, it was an excuse to treat her even worse. An excuse to kill her. I don't even know how to comment on the racism that it so widespread between Arabs and Jews all over the world, but it is painful to hear that it fueled their attack up even worse. After almost a half an hour of fighting for her life she was lead by the mob towards a fence where a woman whose only exposed body part-her eyes locked in on Lara Logan. She saved her by gathering women to surround and protect her away from the violence. Ultimately, she survived. Emotionally, who knows how long it will take her to recover.

Upon arriving home in the U. S. she spoke of spending four days in the hospital before returning to her family. When she finally saw her children, age one and two, she said she felt she had received a second chance at life. There is a lot of debate out there as to whether or not she made a smart decision as a mother to take this job. I understand the question, but cannot judge her decision. I have never left my daughter for even a night yet, let alone for days to another country, but I also don't have a career to uphold like hers. If woman were really treated fairly, I suppose she could take a few years off to have young children and then get her job back, but that's not reality. She also didn't think when she weighed the risk/benefit factor of covering this story that she would have been in this much danger. She had a bodyguard with her, and I'm sure she thought she would be safely protected, she could cover the story of this epic day for Cairo and get back on plane to her children. If I were under that impression, I might make the same decision she did. We take risks every day, some bigger than others, and some of us just like to play it very safe and others like to push the envelope a little. In this case sadly, there was nothing she or anyone could of done and she had to suffer at the hands of animals who weren't really part of the positive changes that the rest of us are ready for. It is disappointing to me that this kind of treatment of woman runs rampant in Egypt and that there is no justice to be brought to these men. If it meant anything at all, I would apologize to Lara Logan myself since I am so extremely sorry this happened to her. Like me, I am sure she would love to be able to thank the women that saved her, but I don't think anyone is going over there so soon to send that message.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Playing in the park with P-Diddy


Last week my friend an I headed to our local playground. We take our girls there all the time and we have come to realize that the park does get its fair share of celebrities. Half the time I don't even notice them, and the other half I don't recognize them. This time my friend spotted P-Diddy, and we both agreed that seeing him, and his twin girls, was a cool run in. It was Friday afternoon and he came with a few friends and their kids as well. They definitely came prepared for a fun park day with bubbles, ribbon batons, and a picnic.

Living in the heart of celebrity-land, I know how to exist without making a fool of myself, and how to respect their privacy. Our kids don't really care about that privacy respecting stuff though. My daughter's favorite thing at this park is to run on the grass, but her little friend wanted in on P's party. He was blowing bubbles from a bubble wand and she wanted to play. My daughter and I looked in from the side lines as her friend popped bubbles with P and his kids. Twig would run in every so often to catch a bubble but mostly she waited for her friend to run on the grass with her. She was busy though, she was getting a lesson from P on how to blow the bubbles from the wand. He was very patient and sweet. When she was done we said thank you. He introduced himself to us as Sean and then gave one of the wands to his new best friend. We wanted him to sign it for her, but we thought that would be a little invasive of us to ask.

Finally the girls were running and playing when we noticed the slimey paparazzi snapping photos of our new friend. This guy was hiding and lurking about and we felt protective of Sean. Talk about invasive, they were simply having a family day in the park. We stayed on the grass a bit longer and then noticed Sean leaving with his entourage. Suddenly more cameras appeared and started clicking. My friend and I were so busy watching how well he handled the photographers and even let them have their shot, that we were confused when they stopped in their tracks. They were pointing and doubled over laughing and when I looked at their view, there was my little twig pants down squatting and peeing next to a tree. It was a true glory moment for me, I couldn't have been prouder. My offspring created a great source of entertainment for Sean and even for his grodey paparazzi. But they got a good shot of his happy family day after all.

*This was shot right before the big moment. Still looking for the one of them laughing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

All Good Things Must Come To An End!

As I write this my little Pinball is sleeping and still in her bed. It is nap time -- one of my favorite times of the day. I get to sit and write, eat without sharing (I know, set a good example), chat on the phone with curse words if I feel like it, and read quietly without interruption. I can also get stuff done without feeling like I am a short order cook in a busy restaurant, or have an immediate onset of a bad case of ADD.

Today is a good day since she is fast asleep, but yesterday she didn't feel like it. I have been noticing a pattern of a few days on and one day off. I am in complete denial about the possibility of her phasing away from naps. This is a very crucial time of day for my sanity, not to mention my recent on-line shopping habit. As I have mentioned in an earlier post, I am a bit obsessive at times and that video monitor gives me the sense that I can be that spy I've never imagined I could be before. I watch it like a hawk (or a crazy nut, you pick) just to see when she drifts into a golden slumber. I can't rest until she has stopped moving. I know her every move. How many times she gets up out of bed, how many books she has read and which doll she is singing too. I am a completely invading her privacy and she is at an unfair advantage.

If I go into her room to tell her to sleep, everything backfires. Her private playtime has been exposed and it is no longer fun for her. She also assumes nap is done whether she slept or not. It's not in my best interest to interrupt her since she is perfectly happy having a quiet rest time. From what I have heard from friends, I don't know how lucky I am that she chills on her own. I do know that if she didn't have that, she and I both would have rough afternoons. I have also noticed it takes her longer to fall asleep on nights when she naps. So I suppose it's a toss up: as long as she lets me have my time and visa versa, it's not such a horrible thing. I just miss being able to go in there while she is napping and get pictures of her sleeping with her sunglasses on.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Here Now

I feel the need to take pause today and acknowledge that I am exactly where I should be in this moment. Sounds metaphysical hippy dippy spiritual granola, but I so rarely can say that I am absolutly content, and so I have to say it now. I am absolutely content. I am not in my darkest hardest time, nor I am not the most overjoyed. I'm just very content.

There are things I want to do more of in my life. I am not totally satisfied with my level of professional success, but I am not disappointed either. I feel I have had amazing work opportunities so far, and will have more chances to love what I work on in the future again. I am proud to be mother, and feel proud of the job I am doing at it as well. I am not done aspiring for other work, but I have no regrets about it not happening right now. I don't feel like I am missing out because I'm happier intimately witnessing my daughter's early years.

Time spent with friends is different lately for me too. I feel like I stopped getting together with acquaintances as much as I used to. There just isn't as much quality time available to me and when I have it I want to be with close quality friends. I used to relunctantly make plans with people I hadn't seen in months and then get there and maybe be pleasently surprised or maybe not. Now I am more apt to be with people I know I feel good with and that the feeling is mutual.

At the end of each day I write a short gratitude list. I aim to find at least five things a day to jot down. The list has been getting longer recently, and I it feels good to finish each day with a sense of pleasure at how it went, and who I spent it with.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

You Can't Always Get What You Want

I worked as a babysitter practically up until the time that I had my own child. I thought it was a great way to make easy money, since I loved children, and thought it was really fun -- most of the time. I got to travel all over the world with families I worked for. Some of the parents were great people, and some of the kids were great kids. Every so often though I would only like half the equation, and had to put up with the other half.

One summer I went back to live in Manhattan to work and live with a family. It was a single mother and her four year old son. I'll call him "Hungry Jack." We were all from LA, but she had a job in NY that required her to have help around the clock with Hungry (with the exception of two free hours a day for me). I had my own room of course, and felt pretty at home since our apartment was on the Upper West Side, where I had lived before moving west. It was fun to be back home, near my family, and to take Hungry around to all the places I went as a kid.

He was pretty well behaved and I liked him, despite never completely connecting to him. Still, I shared daily rituals with him by playing little games, riding public transportation together and doing good day/bad day (sharing what you liked and didn't from the day) before bed. We had a rhythm and for the most part it worked except for when it came to food. He was a terrible eater, and only loved junky sweets. He had a panic, freaked-out response to even trying anything healthy. He would cry and gag.

I made it my personal mission to introduce him to vegetables. It was no easy task, and I had very little support from his mother. She had a hard time with discipline so most mornings she would give in quickly and he would be eating marshmallows or meringues for breakfast. He was not a small child, quite the opposite, as you can imagine. I was up for the challenge and worked at it everyday. Eventually I got him eating lunches with cucumbers, carrots and peppers all made into faces on his plate. Occasionally though I had to say no to his request for crap instead of food. That was when I regretted taking this job. I decided it was time to teach him about the Rolling Stones and sing him a little song they wrote.

Yesterday, I decided it was time to teach it to my Pinball. She is a few short months away from three and she seems to be getting very talented in tantrums. My fuse feels shorter than usual and I can hear myself responding to her in a very snappy tone. I am not happy about all this and I know she isn't either. I hear myself say things like "No, you may not lick the fire hydrant, that's gross" or "Stop it right now, or we are going to have to leave," or the worst "If you don't take a nap, then no ice cream!" Who have I become? I even have a pointed finger at her sometimes. This I know because yesterday she pointed hers at me and said "Mommy, you may not lick the glass." Great to see it's all sinking in.

I don't want to scream, threat, or shame her, but I feel like I am in a bit of a bind. She doesn't take no for an answer and will cry quite a fit when she doesn't get what she wants. Lately, she pulls my pants, purse or leg when she is upset. I try to pick her up and she squirms. I try to walk away and give her space and she screams. I try to ask her what she needs and she just ignores me. In the past, it has very occasionally worked to explain that when I say no to her, a response she could choose would be to shrug and say, "Oh well." Every so often she will do it and then I can hear birds chirping, trees blowing and the sound of peace in the air. Otherwise we have a "fight." So today I am going to play her some rock and roll and see if Mick can help teach her that she can't always get what she wants.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Her Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day and it was a welcome respite from all the mourning my family and I have been going through. For my nephews sake, I was grateful that it wasn't Father's Day, yet and that they have a few more weeks to come to terms with what happened to their dad before everyone around them is celebrating fathers as hero's for a day. It was nice to acknowledge my sister and how great she is holding up, and my mom who is there to help when my sister needs to fall apart a little. For me, I was glad to be far away from it for a day and have my husband and daughter celebrate me.

I woke up to a surprise gift, cuddles in bed, and then some time alone to stay in bed. Then we went to breakfast and the farmers market a Sunday family tradition that I love. We all took naps and then my husband took us to the beach for a "picanic." It was one big party for the pinball, who kept singing me "happy mothers day to you" and enjoying bites of party cake before, during, and after dinner. We played, we rested, and we enjoyed each others' company. It was perfect.

I feel I am starting to move with the world around me a little bit more than when I last wrote, but the world does feel different to me. Someone is missing and I feel the loss. When I really let myself accept it this weekend, I looked through photos of happier times with my brother in law. I wondered if I would ever look at my wedding album the same, now that there is pain attached to some of the people that were posing for pictures that day. Looking a little closer though, I saw what a time piece that book is. There were three couples that are longer together, two people that have passed away, and about six new children that have entered the world. We all keep moving, and I am glad.

Motherhood for me has been an amazing journey that I still am only beginning. It has been the hardest but most rewarding job. I think of all the lessons throughout life that we are responsible to teach our children and it makes me think Mother's Day is far from a Hallmark holiday. I am grateful to all the women who have done this job before me and set the bar high. I am proud to be part of the group, and happy to celebrate by eating more party cake. Thankfully, my daughter recently learned the art of sharing and I got to eat some with her.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Recently, my best friend's husband came to babysit for our daughter once she had fallen asleep. While we were gone she woke up crying. Our friend went in to comfort her and when he asked if she was okay she said "sad." In that moment, I envied her ability to tell it like it was, and today I envy it even more.

There are days when you feel such a different sense of reality than the people going about their business around you. I felt it when I was on my way to the hospital in labor, and it was a beautiful day and people were sitting having coffee. I couldn't wrap my head around the way they sat so calmly. Didn't they feel the sky drop and the earth move the way I did? I felt this way again when I was sick, or when I heard bad news, or when suffering from a broken heart. One day you are part of those people, moving a long with them and the next you are frozen in time.

My family found out yesterday that my brother-in-law died. He lost a long hard battle to depression. He is survived by his parents, three siblings, their spouses and children, my sister, and worst of all, their two sons. I fear my nephews have a long hard road ahead of them . He was an extremely loving father, and made sure they new that, as he left their world. He didn't want to cause anyone anymore pain and apologized. My husband likens this all to an earthquake, and that this effects those closest to the middle the most, but the rippling aftermath just keeps affecting more people along the way.

I am grateful that yesterday, when I heard the news I didn't have my daughter with me. I was in the car getting texts from my brother to call him. I had messages from my parents but hadn't listened yet, and didn't know there was urgency to their calls. I called my parents when I couldn't reach my brother and my father asked me to pull my car over, while he talked. He then tried to speak and when he couldn't he gave the phone to my mother. Upon hearing I began to hear myself wail as if I was outside myself. The shock got me not only on the obvious emotional level but the physical too. Had I known how much I was going to cry yesterday, I would have had more water to replace what I lost in tears. Had I had my daughter with me, she would have gotten an earful and then she would have been asking questions. As it is, she doesn't know why some bugs don't move and some do. We have taken to telling her the still ones are broken. How do I tell her that her uncle is broken?

I was calmer when I saw her when I got home later, and I held her as tears wet my face again for what felt like the fiftieth time. I explained that I was sad, and when she asked why, I just said that someone wasn't feeling well. She doesn't need to learn this lesson yet, but sadly the boys do. At fifteen and nine, they have totally different levels of understanding. Little by little they are hearing what happened to their dad. The younger one couldn't stop looking at pictures of his dad, and told my sister "Mommy, I don't think I will ever be happy again."

These boys need to have the shock of this all overcompensated for by the shock of love, nurture, and support right now. The Beatles lyric, "Nothings gonna change my world" kept crossing my brain yesterday in efforts to calm myself down. The words don't ring true right now though. The world has changed for me and my family. All I am left with right now is "sad."

Monday, May 2, 2011

An Eye For An Eye,

Makes the whole world blind, said Mahatma Gandhi. I can't help think of this quote as this country is celebrating Osama Bin Laden's death yesterday. The title of one news article posted today says, "Terrorism threat to US remains despite Bin Laden's killing, experts say." Really?! Who are these experts they speak of that sound brilliant. Don't get me wrong, I am happy that this evil-doer who murdered so many is finally put to a stop, but somehow the big party doesn't sit right with me.

I feel like I am watching cowboys and Indians, and we all know how politically incorrect that was. I fear we are in for some rough retaliation. Barack Obama did what those who came before him couldn't, and it is the end of a long waiting period to see justice from September 11th. What will come now though is anyone's guess.

Twig is very curious these days, so I was glad last night that when the news broke, she was already asleep. I can only imagine her hearing something on the radio and asking about it. "What's killed mean, mommy?" is not something I am prepared to answer at this point. How do you ever discuss these kinds of things with children? My nephews live in Israel, so for them it is unavoidable to hear of fighting and bombs. When one of them was five he had heard the word Gaza so many times and knew it was dangerous. My sister tried to drive on the highway and having just learned to read, my nephew read "Gaza" and began to scream as they drove near the signs. She obviously wasn't driving into Gaza but Israel is a small place so she passed it and he panicked. How can you tell him honestly though that he is always safe?

I suppose the same thing goes for natural disasters, and anyone who has ever been a victim. My friend slept under her dining room table for weeks after she experienced the Northridge earthquake. People who witness such horrors will always fear it happening again. Having a child, makes me wish I was more prepared for what to do. I'm thinking we need to fasten our seat belts in the near future. This happy calm for us right now is not unlike I feel about my clean car right now. It's beautifully sparkly clean right now but it won't take long before the seats are pretty crumby again.