Tuesday, March 16, 2010

God Help Me

The first time I heard the word "mommy-blogger" I instantly recognized it as derisive. I thought, "Who are these women who can't stop writing about their progeny? Who are these women who immerse themselves in the lives of toddlers and have subsequently lost their identity? These mommy-bloggers with only their children as blog fodder?" I pictured them as cookie cutter mothers, having nothing better to do but make lego castles and playdough pizzas. I felt instantly superior. Well, maybe not superior but..."otherly". It didn't occur to me that I actually was one, that I was a mommy-blogger - by virtue of being a mother and a blogger. Which is understandable considering that my first year of blogging I barely wrote about my child or the trials of motherhood. Liv was a ghost. I didn't write about being a mother or parenting issues or anything of that nature because my writing was a way to escape that - to escape a reality that was foreign and overwhelming. Including that reality in my writing felt invasive.

But I feel differently now. I stumbled upon some wonderful moms who are bloggers, (like her and her and her), and some awesome dads who are bloggers, (like him and him and him) who have taught me that writing about the challenges and joys of parenting can be interesting and funny and kind of amazing*. Is there any undertaking more daunting than raising up a baby to adulthood? Kids are strange little creatures that will make you laugh hearty laughs and cry salty tears and sometimes blow your fucking mind. There are a million different ways to be a parent and you don't have to sacrifice your soul in the process. I have three children now. And the truth is that right now I am immersed in motherhood; the kind of immersion that, 3 years ago, would have made my skin crawl. These three little people are the ocean in which I swim. Whether I drown or tread water remains to be seen.

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*This is just a handful of the bloggers who have inspired me over the past year or so. There are so many more that I wish I could include!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Burning Bagel

I don't want to drone on indulgently about my brand new, fucking adorable babies. Well, actually I kind of do. It's not all kittens and rainbows here at the Jackson house, though, what with the sleepless nights and the grotesque, after-pregnancy body and my mother-in-law visiting from Florida. She is simultaneously saving my life and destroying it at the same time. We actually argued the other day about Nancy Kerrigan. Nancy fucking Kerrigan. She was insisting that that washed up hag was currently competing in the Olympic Games. And I kept insisting that unless I inadvertently entered a time warp and was somehow unknowingly existing in 1992, I was pretty certain Nancy Kerrigan was not taking the ice in Vancouver in 2010. I had to actually go on the internet to convince her of my absolute rightness. How many times do I have to prove to this woman that I'm right before she understands that I am always and forever right? Apparently, I must do this to infinity.

I am exhausted in this new reality in which 1 straight hour of sleep is an elusive luxury. But I am not too tired to champion the important causes, i.e. generic ketchup can't hold a candle to Heinz. Don't even try to bring that Walmart "great value" watery "catsup" shit home and tell me it's the same fucking thing as yummy, red, thick Heinz. Because post-partum depression means never having to say you're sorry for stabbing someone in the face for buying the wrong condiment. It also gives me automatic immunity from prosecution for burning a bagel, which is apparently now a capital offense. I watched incredulously as my mother-in-law leaned over the trashcan, sadly but with determination scraping the burnt black shit off the everything bagel I had just burned in the toaster oven. There was much sighing and mumbling under the breath about the "cost of things" until I finally asked why she wouldn't just let me throw the fucking thing away and make a new one. "Oh no", said the martyr, "I'll eat it. It won't taste that bad."

And then today, she is the one who commits this heinous criminal act. But since my mother-in-law is not post-partum and thus does not have immunity, she actually says, "Well I'm just going to have to punish myself by eating it." And I have to ask her to repeat herself because my ears cannot believe the nonsense she is spewing forth from her fucking mouth. "What on earth are you talking about, Tatty? Why would you have to punish yourself for burning a damn bagel? It's just bread?" And she says, "Weeeeell, if I punish myself and make myself eat the burnt bagel then maybe I won't burn one the next time I make lunch." And this is the part where I kind of lose my shit. "Ummm, it's just bread. It's BREAD. We do not live in a third world country ravaged by natural disaster where foodstuffs are scarce." She doesn't say anything but starts to put cream cheese on what is pretty much a lump of black ash. And she eats it, too, just to make a point.

Isn't it amazing that I haven't replaced her Centrum Silver vitamins with cyanide capsules? Aren't you proud of me? She could be easily tricked, too. All I would have to say is that I bought these great vitamins at Walmart, that I got a deal. She would be all over that shit.

But I kid. I love my mother-in-law. She is very awesome when she is not being tight and judgmental and touting the economic value of low-watt light bulbs and reusing dryer sheets "2 and 3 times" or asking me to get my crockpot from storage every 5 seconds or telling Liv to calm down when all she is doing is dancing and laughing like, I don't know, a normal 4 year old. In any case, she's changed a lot of shitty diapers for me. And do you want to know how she knows when the babies need to be changed? Not by sniffing around their asses for foul odors like normal people, but by actually sticking her finger into the diaper. Yet this same woman who has no problem putting her fingers in potentially shitty drawers says that aspirating boogers out the babies noses is "nasty" and would make her "dry heave".

Does anybody know how long it takes to kill someone with undetectable levels of arsenic?