Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I have found myself in more than a few awkward situations lately. I am not sure what the proper etiquette for handling these run-ins would be, but I am almost certain nobody else does either.
When I share bad news with someone and they try to acknowledge it and then quickly change the subject, it just gets strange for all parties. My husband and I are currently having an addition put on our house, and our contractor just asked for a lot more money than he quoted us to finish the job. We sent him an email stating that we cannot pay is extra fee but can offer a little less. He hasn't responded but when I ran into him on the street today he brought up a new kind of paint as if our email exchange occurred in an alternate universe. That was kind of uncomfortable. Even when I walk someone back to their car and see they got a ticket, it feels like I am witnessing a private moment that should have been just shared between the car and the owner.

I tend to be over-sensitive when thinking about feelings, whether they are mine or someone else's. There is a need to make sure no one feels strange when experiencing strange situations. I sometimes think there are two different groups of people, the people who will tell you when you have food in your teeth and the people who don't tell you because they don't want to make you uncomfortable. Either way it sort of sucks to be the person with food in your teeth. I always appreciate people who tell though and secretly admire them when they tell you in such a carefree manner.

Having been there recipient of bad news a bit lately, I can see how tricky it is to be on either side. A doctor having to give bad news, or the patient who receives it, an employee, or the boss letting them go, the child who gets pushed by a another child, or the parents who witness it all and have to step in. These things are never fun, and when they have happened to me I have felt like I wanted to crawl into a hole. The last few times I have heard bad news, I got so lost in my emotional response that I didn't ask the right questions. I was so eager to end the discomfort and end the call, that I ended up prolonging the issue when I had to call back to get more information. I can hear when the other person is trying to get off the phone too. It's horrible.

This week, I tried to help out someone who was looking for work. I knew her from years ago and knew she was a hard worker and deserved better treatment than she was getting from her old boss. I was trying to do a favor and help her out, but it has turned into a bit of a mess. She is calling me almost everyday and I feel like I have opened an agency for one person. She wants to know how to get places, what she should say, how she should tell her old boss she is leaving, etc. I ignore her calls because they go on and on. I also found out she has a medical condition that might keep her from being a good candidate for the jobs I referred her for.

Getting to the point where you don't say to someone things you need to is unsettling. As I get older I don't feel these situations get any easier. My friend has had a babysitter mispronouncing her daughters name for months now. At first she wasn't sure and by the time she figured it out it was too late for it to be anything short of a delicate, confusing mess. Now I am stuck in the middle with this woman. I wish I didn't get involved but now that I have I suddenly wish I was the type of person who can tell people when they have food in their teeth.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Now that I have my very own three year old, I can see how my past views on the girlie girl phenomenon have only heightened. Like many women out there, I cringe at Pepto Bismol-pink, princess hype and "pretty talk." I have no issue with fantasy worlds, using your imagination, etcetera -- but when the focus is all on sugary sweet beautiful girls, I have a problem.

I grew up with a slight feminist advantage. I grew up in a multicultural city with powerful working women everywhere. My mother was a successful artist, and my older sister spent most of my formative years in college and law school. I knew I could set out and accomplish goals -- that was never in question. One would think that this would be the optimum confidence formula for a girl, but it wasn't. It didn't even begin to scratch the surface of female insecurities when it came to boys, competitive girls, body image or fashion.

I was about twelve when the tough time began. I wasn't alone either. Every girl around me was checking out other girl around them. Did the back of their Keds actually have the authentic blue rubber stamp? Girls were bringing salad and dry Cheerios for lunch in eighth grade, and tormenting other girls for when they did or didn't get their periods. It was a backstabbing battleground. To this day I only have one friend that remains from that time.

High school was better, but only because I didn't care anymore what others thought. I was very happy and focused on figure skating. I had found something and did it well, and for that I am forever grateful. It was a hugely important piece of the person I am now, and I will very much encourage my daughter to find that "thing" too. It still wasn't enough though. It didn't take away the emphasis on body image that was the focus of everyone around me, and it didn't prepare me for being a strong equal to men when faced with an actual one.

I consider myself a lucky person, not because I grew up a charmed or wealthy, but because I came out unscathed from some tricky situations. As I said in earlier posts, I don't feel anyone can avoid difficult situations in life, but I do think there is a grace that can be taught when faced with handling them. I found myself in some relationships with guys where I went silent when I should have spoken up. I missed the right opportunity to prevent getting into the mess in the first place. If there was a clear smart tactic to take, I ignored it and traded it in for the taboo. I fell into bad habits with food because I wanted to look "right", and I suffered alone with these habits through my early twenties pretending I was healthy. I shamefully hid where I came from and how much money my family made, in fear of judgment (when in fact, no one cared).

If there is anything I can pass on to my little girl it will be a positive sense of who she is, and an assertiveness to protect it. I will try to encourage without pushing, and love without judgement, give my opinions gently, and support her proudly. I will make sure she knows how to scream when she needs to, and how to say "No, thank you." I will help her to see her glass half full, and help her to be there for her friends when their glasses are seemingly empty. I will help her see the give and take, the ups and downs, and the waiting it out that life can be and hopefully give her the foundation to stay strong for the downs, and hold steady for the ups.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

That Time Of The Month

Once a month for women there is a shift, an occurence, an event. When this time comes some women are caught off gaurd, others welcome it, others just know it is coming and are ready when the day arrives. For women, the cycle can vary, or for some it happens at the same time. There is an understanding between women of how this all works, and when it is a particularly difficult month there is a support system from other women to lend a hand, or an ear.

This particular time of the month I am speaking of always occurs on a Thursday, and it involves three very special women, and a cafe on Beverly Boulevard. Once a month I meet these three women, my close friends, and we sum up where we are in our lives in one sit down. We all have children (three of us had girls all within weeks of each other.) We all have goals. We all have ideas, hopes, expectations, fears, and dissapointments. Without judgement, we sit and listen to each other share what did, and what didn't happen this month.

We have known each other for years now, and although we don't spend a lot of time together, we are very close. We've shared weddings, deaths, births, crazy family stories, new jobs, lost jobs, sick times, and happy times. It's no holds barred when we sit down. No topic off limits. We have cried and laughed together, and no matter what is thrown at us in the days prior to our date, we still get together. Motherhood, has been a journey we have shared together and apart from one another. Between the four of us there has been infertility, miscarriges, unplanned pregnancies, IUI, IVF, D&C's, C-sections, natural birth, displaced hips, and a whole in a heart. We have seen a lot in each other and a lot on our own. Some of us are done having babies while some of us are longing for more. Regardless of where we are, or how we go about the next step, we have a bond for each other that jealousy or envy cannot break.

As we all grow, change, and get older I know that we will always have this once-a-month time. I have a feeling no matter how far we move from each other, this meal will always happen. No matter how many vaccines I do or don't give my daughter, or if we choose private over public, church or temple, this meal will always happen. In this short life, it is not often that we come across amazing friends. To have three that I get to see every month is golden. We all look so forward to this day, this time of the month, and we will always have it, even when the "other" time of the month goes away.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Candy Land

My daughter received Candy Land for her third birthday. When we started to play, I noticed how much the game mimicked real life.

You chose a symbol the identifies you the most. If it is taken, you have to go with your second or third choice. You start out side by side with your peers, but quickly go ahead at different speeds. You focus and aim to a finish line, and get closer and closer to achieving your goal. On the way, you may pull a card, bad luck of the draw, that sends you back a few steps, or even worse back to the beginning again. You see your friends closer to the finish line and feel lonely on the front lines, but have to remind yourself that it is just a game, and it will play out differently next time.

Recently, there has been a lot in the news about tragic stories involving children. Last week, I struggled with myself to turn off the Jaycee Duggard story before I went to sleep. There was a strange feeling I had never felt burning in the pit of my stomach as I watched her speak. I felt it again a few days ago when I read about Leibby Kletzky, the eight year old who was murdered when he lost his way walking home, and again when I heard of a small child being struck by a car at the Downtown LA Art Walk just this week. The list goes on and on. Horror and terror strike. Things happen that put so much fear into the minds of parents that million dollar industries thrive simply to quell debilitating fears. Nanny cams, toddler leashes and even microchips implanted into children's ears (the last of which my husband is particularly fond of).

There is a middle ground. We don't live in forests full of bears, but we do live in a big city where certain dangers that exist. It needs to be put into check at some point though. What is that point though? When am I as a parent being too overprotective and inflicting my fears to her. There should be a sense of freedom that she can have as she gets older. We just have to, as parents, judge how far the distance between us can go before we are out of our comfort zones. When I was sixteen, I was followed by a scary looking man who was driving up on the sidewalk groping himself as I ran as fast as I could. I ran up to a front door of a house and he drove away. I will never forget how fast my heart was beating. I can't imagine how badly my parents slept that night. I didn't get his license plate and I regret that, but I am always grateful that I got away safely.

When I think about my childhood, my friends and my family, we all had experiences that we went through that were trying, frightening, or difficult. No one gets a free ride to the castle. We all have to go backwards, lose chances, or sometimes just wait. Everyone knows someone who stops playing the game but most of us, despite how long it takes, get the candy in the end.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In Between Here to There

So this is what it feels like to be coming out the other side.

I am so grateful to be in this moment rather than where I was a two weeks ago, and yet I still have my eye ahead to where I want to be. I haven't closed the door on my sadness yet I am not walking around blissful. I cannot avoid reminders around me of people who are accomplishing what I want to achieve, and yet I have to honor that this is part of the journey of getting there.

My friend likened this feeling to when you lose a job and all you can focus on is getting another one. When you finally get one, you realize you really didn't allow yourself any time to enjoy your freedom. So here I am, knowing I have a bit of time "in between" where I was and where I am going -- so what am I going to do with it? I took a sewing class, I am studying to re-certify for my fitness licence, I am writing a lot, I am hugging my twig, loving my husband, eating good food, and enjoying the summer. I have my moments of sadness, and my moments of trying to avoid "futurizing" but I can see that I'm healing. For that I am grateful. This is a strange time for me in looking at my identity. Is learning to sew the new me? Of course not, and I am not even sure I like it at all yet, but I am trying new things.

Honestly, I don't even need to have an answer on who or where I am right now. It just is, just like this whole situation just is. Today I went to the grocery store and felt a slight touch of joyful high when the cashier asked me if I wanted to fill out a raffle ticket for bringing my own bag. The possibility of winning made me excited. I even went on to enjoy our banter about how tasty chocolate coconut water is and that the simplicity of this conversation made me feel re-connceted with people who are living their lives. It is pretty delicious.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Beach Vacation

This weekend we went away to the beach for a few days. It was a much needed getaway and we all feel refreshed. Twig ran, splashed, and played in the water the majority of the time, while my husband and I took turns reading or relaxing on the sand. We stayed in a worn down beach motel right on the sand. It wasn't expensive and it wasn't beautiful, but it was right where we wanted to be and it was perfect for the weekend.

We deserved this break after a rough couple of weeks. The night before we left we went out with some friends and my husband's ex-wife was there. A perfect remedy for getting over a miscarriage is to hang out with your husband's pregnant ex-wife. Then I found out another two of my very close friends are pregnant. I am happy for them and keep reminding myself we are all on our own journeys, but it does sting a bit. I feel like I want to be pregnant immediately. I now recognize the difference between anxiety and just plain impatience.

The ocean is a place that I discovered these past two weeks makes me feel the most present. It calms me down and helps me stay in place when my head wants to run. It keeps moving and changing yet you can be still while it moves around you. In college I took a course called "The Creative Mind" and we learned that there are some places more conducive to creativity then others. Driving a car, showering, sitting in front of a fire place. It never mentioned watching waves but I think they missed a big one. It feels like so much begins there. On the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah, people go to the waterfront for renewal to let go of the past and start again with a fresh new year.

We came back ready to begin again. I let some things go, and found some new hope to thrive on. We had a fun time together as a family, and it reminded us of how much we love being together. Twig, as a special treat when we go away now, gets to sleep in the bed with us. She thinks this is such a big thing for her, little does she know how much the two of us love it too. This is what summer is all about, taking little trips, being together, and enjoying the summer weather. We had such a good time, we are heading back in a few weeks.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Today is Twig's birthday. Three years old already. This day, three years ago, was one of my happiest to date. Since then it has been the happiest three years as well. In honor of her birthday today I want to document who she is right now, and then one day she can read this:

Dear Twig,

You are three years old, with big brown eyes and a wonderfully infectious smile. F's are a tough letter for you to say and so we have let you listen to some dirty songs because you just say "Suck" when you hear the word. We have stopped that now though, just in case your speech improves while you are at school one day. Your favorite breakfast is waffles with "soooo much syrup." Lunch is peanut better and jelly with peas, and dinner is quesadilla. Up until recently, your favorite color was brown, now suddenly it's "mint" which is not just mint green but any shade of green. And also you like black. Your favorite thing in the world is still Baa, your sheep, who you sleep with day and night, and cuddle with when your sad.

You are very sensitive and care when others around you are unhappy. You tell them that it will be okay and that you are right here if you need them. You love babies and love to pat their heads, or stroke their arms and legs. You like to pet dogs, and know just how to hold out your hand to let them sniff you. You like tutu's and skirts that twirl and can belt out a song on your new guitar. When we clap for you, you say "thank you so much." You are imaginative, and come up with funny names for your dolls like "Walla" or "Laola" and recently "Paola." You love to help me cook, especially if it involves making anything with raisins.

You brush your teeth everyday, and like me to put two braids in your hair. Most nights you sleep through the night, but sometimes you still wake us up to ask us to tuck you again. We tried to lure you to stop with stickers, and sometimes you get them. You love lollypops, ice pops, frozen yogurt and party cake. The beach, park, and gymnastics are the places I think you love to got to the most. You love to be with me, daddy, all of your grandparents, your cousins and your best friend.

You have just started going off on your own, and I can see the little person you are becoming. At times shy, but other times you engage in conversations with strangers. You are beginning to make your own decisions -- sometimes you make okay choices, and sometimes not so much. You recently drew all over your wall, bed and sheet with a blue crayon. We asked you where people should draw and you said on paper, so we can see you are just finding how this whole decision making thing works. You are affectionate, and seem to know just when to tell me how much you love me. You love hugs, back tickles, and cuddling.

You are three, and I still think of you as our little girl, and yet before my eyes you are getting bigger. Anyone who said things never change never had a child. Everyday is a new adventure for you. Today for your birthday I feel like among all the gifts, cupcakes, candles and happy birthday singing, the biggest present is the one you give us everyday. We are so grateful to have you and no matter how big you become our love will grow to make a perfect fit for you.

Happy 3rd birthday, sweet girl!

Monday, July 4, 2011

One Week Later

I'm not sure what I expected to feel a week after having a miscarriage. Perhaps a bit calmer about it, less dissapointment, more hope. I have had moments of hope so I guess I wasn't that far off, but I have had more deep sadness then I could have ever expected. I didn't think I would pick up the pieces and be over it quickly, but I had no idea it could hurt this much. I walk around with a lump in my throat, a heaviness in my heart, and an emptiness in my belly.

I have let my thoughts wander way beyond the "what if's" and into real possible causes. I stand by the idea that I was on too much medication for nausua and this little fetus couldn't handle it. I know that it also could just be a chromosomal abnormality, and that either way I might not know. The fetus will be tested in a month -- there might be answers but there might not. I can only trust that at the time I made decisions that I thought were best for me, and for the baby, and now know for next time what I will do differently.

I have always had such a terrible feeling when my daughter is crying and I can't seem to calm her. It's such a specific mix of helplessness, sympathy, and anxiety. This week I feel that a lot, and it's because although I wanted the D&C to be over with so I could let go of what wasn't going to be, I now feel like I miss the possibility. I feel like a little person was taken from me, and it's somewhere missing me, while I miss him. I now this will get easier, but for right now the sting is strong.

The best moments of happiness this week have come from my little girl. She is turning three this week and I feel entitled to see her still as a little girl. She will still get a sibling some day, and she will still be young enough to feel close to him or her. When I see how much newness still surrounds her, I feel optomistic. She is so open and excited to experience whatever each new day brings. It's hard for that not to be conatgious and so joyful I am, and grateful too. It's July and a summer brings her so many new experiences. I realized today how awesome the world waiting for her is. She had her first ice cream cone today and loved it. She saw a billboard today for a movie and I realized she is yet to see one. She pointed to a Ferris wheel and asked what it was. There is so much ahead and I will get to share it with her. Her life is just begining, but for me as a mother life is just starting too.