I swear to God there was a time I was so much cooler than this.
You’re so yesterday.
As you know, I enjoy a blog post or two about wacky moms who choose to enter into parenthood by delivering their precious bundles squatting over a pile of pine needles. But I also really like recognizing those exceptional moms and dads who seem to be getting the job done. Here is a great example.
I love this mom almost as much as I love my own. I only wish my son would get obsessed with a personal injury attorney instead of some lame ol’, creepy-ass, personified trains.
Hey look! I’m internet famous. I’m like one degree away from that cat playing piano and Donald Trump insulting an entire country.
This photo is from the West Seattle Blog and if you live in West Seattle, you know how cool that is. The West Seattle Blog is pretty much the New Yorker to us residents.
It was a beautiful Friday afternoon and Casey and I were kicking back at a new Italian deli in our ‘hood. We saw a guy with a camera and notepad lurk about on the sidewalk and I immediately knew he was from the blog. Sure enough he asked us what we thought of this place and after a couple bottles of wine on a sunny day we had a lot to say. We then asked him if he wanted to take our picture.
“Umm, no, that’s okay.”
“You can,” we said.
“We don’t usually include photos with our articles.”
“Well, maybe you want to this time?”
I mean, it’s one thing to be quoted in the West Seattle Blog and completely another to have your photo in there. So yeah, we might have bullied him into taking our picture. So what?
The nice man acquiesced and then we insisted on looking at the pictures we encouraged him to take and deleting the ones we didn’t like. He was a really nice guy.
So here we are. Internet famous. And so very proud. My friend could be a hair model, no?
If you want to read the whole article, find it here. Thankfully he didn’t quote me and double thankfully he didn’t capture us on video.
That’s right. I am. And damn proud of it.
In this case, it’s a good thing as I’m talking about my favorite mommy/parenting blog. My essay, 7 Simple Truths about Life Post-Partum was recently published on Scarymommy.com. Pretty cool, no? This parenting thing is really great for coming up with new material. Who knew? Well, you all did apparently.
Anyway, if you’re not grossed out about after birth or teenage menstrual cycles, please check it out! Apologies in advance for the TMI.
There are a lot of really good moms out there. I have one. I know quite a few others. I like to think I fall into that camp sometimes and other times I definitely don’t. (Whiffle ball to the face? Yeah. Thanks, Mom.) I don’t often get to say, let alone think, Hey, I’m rocking this mom thing more than someone else and come on— don’t we all just want to feel a bit superior once in a while?
Once again I’m grateful to the Lifetime Television for Women in Serious Need of a Confidence Boost network for giving me this very rare opportunity to say, “Hey! I’m definitely a better mom than someone!” In fact, I can say it to multiple women. And get this—you can too! The only criteria is that you either A. Had at least one maternal thought cross your mind at some point in your life or B. Never have been cast on the spectacular reality TV show, Born in the Wild.
What’s that, Timmy? You’ve never heard of this show? No problem. Can you guess what its about? Okay, here’s a hint: Innocent babies are BORN IN THE WILD. This is not by accident, people. Oh no. These children are being born to parents who make the conscious, asinine decision to forego modern medicine, technology, even midwives and freakin’ electricity to have their babies OUTSIDE. In THE WILD. Because everyone knows a newborn baby’s first breath should be tinged with silicon dioxide and pine needles.
As you may remember, it was my own awesome mom (who made the hasty, rash decision to birth me indoors in the presence of doctors, God forgive her) who introduced me to some of my most favorite quality television shows like this one and this one. Thanks, Mom! This past April I was visiting my parents in Florida and while my child (whom was also irresponsibly delivered by TRAINED MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS who use TECHNOLOGY and DRUGS and ROOM SERVICE to ensure a happy and safe birth for mother and child) napped in the next room, Judy turned to me and asked, “Want to watch something awful?”
How could I resist?
Enter Born in the Wild, a show I watched mostly through the slit between my middle and ring fingers and couldn’t hear much over the barfing noises my mom was making. So, what is this show? Here’s what I imagine the was the elevator pitch:
Potential Producer: So, we gather up some pregnant women who are either so hormonal, batshit crazy, or angry at their fetuses that they are determined to have their babies outdoors, forgoing any and all creature comforts like flushing toilets or well… toilets. It’s going to be fantastic! People will mock this show for eternity! Or at least until our next upfronts!
Lifetime TV Exec: YES! Fantastic! It’s like Naked and Afraid* except only the naked part. Sign us up for three seasons!”
Right. We’ve all heard about the water births and the home births and those sad deluded moms-to-be who actually think one lick of their birth plan will actually be taken into consideration (sorry, ladies, but your uterus doesn’t care if the dulcet tones of Fiona Apple are wafting in the background. If you gotta push, you gotta push. Period.) Born in the Wild is not talking about incorporating some elements of outside into your birth experience like the aforementioned water or, say, keeping the window shades open. (The only outside I brought into the hospital with me was whatever was on the soles of my shoes, but what do I know? When casting opens for a show called Epidural: More Please call me.)
First, a note on home births. I’ve only experienced one birth and it was pretty messy. Do you really want to be bothered with cleaning after having a baby? It’s been almost two years and I still don’t feel like cleaning. Also, you’re probably going to ruin every towel you have. Just saying.
Back to our regularly scheduled program.
The episode I watched chronicled Linda and Lance, as Lifetime describes them, a typical American couple. Umm… no, Lifetime. Typical American’s recognize the benefits of living in a first world country and take advantage of all the things we have to offer like indoors. But, do go on.
Linda and Lance live in Utah. Linda eases us into the idea of her birth plan by calling it a, “new adventure.” Whatever could she mean? Oh! Outside! IN THE WILD. They have two kids which makes this all the more strange. THEY HAVE TWO BIOLOGICAL KIDS. They already know how this shit goes down! Has anyone’s childbirth been so smooth and easy they’re left thinking, “Hey, next time, I’m going to save on co-pays and just put on my moisture wicking panties, fire up the ol’ Coleman stove, and hunker down on a sleeping pad in the woods. Doctor schmocter!” Even if you did have two easy births prior, there’s no guarantee three times is also charmed. There’s a litany of things that could go wrong. Did these women not see Downton Abbey? Skyrocketing blood pressure, cords around necks, amnio fluid goes dry, infections, ruptures, pushing so hard you poop. Sleeping bags are very expensive to dry clean, Linda. Whatever their reasons, they not only choose to deliver their babies IN THE WILD, they choose to have a camera crew follow them on their journey to Child Protective Services headquarters.
Back to Linda and Lance, or as I like to call them, Divorce Personified. Linda is 39 weeks pregnant and apparently has a “fast birth” history, which I can only surmise means her fetuses overhear her talking about some crazy idea to birth them outside and they rush to get the F out of her body before she can pack a cooler. Lance shows a modicum of sense when he expresses concern about his wife’s ridiculous birth plan. He’s worried about the wind, of course! It can get pretty blowy up in the mountains of Utah. Linda does what any sane, mom-to-be does when the man who knocked her up makes a semi-valid point about birthing a baby in the Utah foothills. She sends his ass to the camping store.
“Wow,” says the clerk. “Looks like you have a big trip coming up.”
“Nope. Just having a baby in the wild.”
“Well, that’s unique!”
After some quick location scouting, Linda and Lance decide on the spot for their birth site. It totally reminds me of when Bart and I were touring birth suites at local hospitals. Free WiFi and stocked fridge vs. jacuzzi tub 700 count Egyptian cotton sheets. The birth site is where they plan to camp until the baby comes. They’re not going to be totally alone for the birth— now that would be crazy—they do have a midwife. But how to direct the midwife where to meet them? There aren’t exactly street signs or obvious landmarks in the foothills.
“Look for the red rock next to the rattle snack. If you get lost ask the friendly skink who owns the hardware store. Might as well pick up some extra tarps while you’re there.”
So anyway, Linda and Lance leave their two children in the care of Child Protective Services a relative and set up camp. After a night of weird animal noises (and Linda wasn’t even in labor yet!) a fear of peeing in the dark, and a black-widow-in-the-tent scare, morning finally arrives. Lance makes a refreshing protein shake while Linda talks about how “kind of miserable” she is because camping isn’t really that much fun after all. How can that be, Linda? You’ve got your air mattress and barrels of water and portable toilet! There’s even a rocking chair! If you’re “kind of miserable” for the just sitting around part, just imagine how “kind of more miserable” you’ll be when you’re in labor. Linda chastises Lance for picking such a terrible spot and setting up such a shoddy camp. She decides to go home and take a bath “until the baby comes.” See ya!
While Lance is sweating it out in the foothills, Linda’s bath gets cut short when—wait for it—she goes into labor! The scenes cut from a miserable, grunting, slithering-on-the-bathroom-floor-like-a-slug Linda to an equally miserable Lance trying to turn canvas, air, and propane into a soothing, relaxing day-spa-like environment. Linda’s “fast birth” history seems to be repeating itself. Lance needs to put the finishing touches on the birth site pronto and get the hell back to civilization so he can pick up his laboring wife, drive straight past the hospital, and bring her back to the wilds. My god! I need an epidural just to watch this!
Lance shoves Linda in the backseat of the minivan where she verbally berates him the whole drive to the mountains. He’s driving too slow, too fast, too many bumps. Where is the midwife? We need the midwife! It hurts. It’s dark. Is he lost? He’s lost. He’s clueless. When this baby is finally born she’s going to smack him upside the head with the umbilical cord. For the love of all things holy, Lance, drive straight to Child Protective Services the hospital. When he makes the mistake of mentioning her contractions he gets reprimanded again. Do not say “contractions!” They are BIRTH WAVES!
Naturally they make it back to camp in time, but the midwife is lost! How can THAT be? Hey, Midwife! That ain’t the Northern Lights over there. It’s a freakin’ camera crew in the middle of a desert! Go towards the light! Linda is butt-up in the tent, groaning like an old hyena. Lance is desperate to get the midwife on the phone. Linda is visualizing a protective shield. She feels anesthesia coursing through her body (as if she’d know what that felt like!) Finally the midwife appears! More grunting! More berating! Move the rocking chair so we can fit more camera operators into this tent!
After some forced drama, a pale, slithery humanoid slips out of Linda’s lady parts. It looks like a prop, but no, it’s a real baby! Another girl! The midwife wraps the baby in soon-to-be-ruined towels and hands her over to Child Protective Services her mother. Achievement unlocked! Linda had her baby outside! Now what? It’s the middle of the night in the Utah foothills. Umm, I guess we all go home now?
Lance has a major character arc. He’s happy–no, giddy– his wife convinced him to have this baby IN THE WILD. He didn’t know they were getting paid for this gig. It was quite the experience after all. Linda remains quite smug (no character arc for her.) The only one who appears shaken is the midwife. She has no freakin’ idea how to get home.
Thankfully the always-classy Lifetime TV producers took the care to blur out the newborn’s butt cheeks. Too bad we can see who her parents are.
When Quinn was born, Bart and I signed up for PEPs– a Seattle-based support group that pairs new parents up by birth dates and neighborhood. It’s a pretty unique and much appreciated program and absolutely proves the old “misery loves company” cliche is true. Every week, we’d meet up in someone’s living room and compare our “highs and lows.”
High: Baby is still alive
Low: I haven’t slept in seventy-seven hours
That kind of thing.
PEPs solicits stories from the front lines of parenthood every year for their PEPs Talk storytelling competition. You want stories, I thought? I’ve got stories. I submitted six. And guess what? I won! Part of my prize was getting a chance to read my winning essay at the annual fundraising luncheon for over 500 people. Good times! (Seriously. I love that stuff.)
My essay, You’ll Figure it Out, was featured on the PEPs blog today. More good times!
Who knew parenthood was such a goldmine for content? Better get it all in before Quinn figures out how to sue me.
Sometimes I question people who make out with their cars or women who didn’t know they were pregnant until a baby dropped out of the leg of their sweatpants. Every now and again I stumble across something that makes me say, “WTF, Food Manufacturers?” Today’s discovery I’m really pondering.
A co-worker brought this product to my attention.
First, with my kind co-worker. Nope. Not touching this stuff.
Second, it’s vegetarian ham. That’s not entirely weird. I eat all sorts of vegetarian “meat” products. I’ve even had vegetarian ham. But look closely. That’s chicken flavored vegetarian ham. Is it still vegetarian? Are they using vegetarian chicken to flavor it up? Is this a thing? Do carnivores like to flavor up their meats with other meat? What is going on, Food Manufacturers?!
My co-worker tried to explain it by saying it was like “bacon flavored chocolate.” But it’s not. Bacon and chocolate are two totally different food groups. While I don’t get why you’d want to mess up your chocolate with bacon, I understand and appreciate food pairings. But meat flavored meat for fake meat is just not working for me.
The other thing I find off-putting about this product is its packaging. It’s a tube which to me implies it’s contents are meant to be squeezed out. Toothpaste, check. Makes total sense. Ketchup? Yep, I’m all for squeezing. Chicken flavored ham? Please no. What are you meant to squeeze it onto? Or is this chicken flavored vegetarian ham also trying to pass for sausage? I’m so confused.
Again, as a vegetarian I’m not always up on the carnivorous trends, but if someone could explain this to me, I’d be very grateful. In the meantime I’ll be hugging a bunny and eating a bowl of kale chips.
I think we all know how I feel about animals. If you don’t, I’ll fill you in. I freakin’ love them. Like more than I love most people. I’ve always been a sucker for an animal. There. Now let’s move on to the point of this post.
We’re going to play a little game. It’s called “Dream or Real Life.” I’m going to tell you something and you tell me if you think it’s a “Dream” or “Real Life.”
Here we go.
Last night while the world around me slept, I stood on my front lawn, barefoot in my PJ’s, yelling obscenities and throwing rocks at a cocky, smug-ass raccoon.
Dream or Real Life?
If you answered, Real Life, you are correct! At approximately 1:34 AM, I was ripping rocks from our retaining wall and throwing them at an asshat raccoon who was too busy feasting on strawberry stems and brie rind to even bother flipping me off.
I used to love raccoons. One of my favorite stuffed animals growing up was a raccoon– it wasn’t even mine. It belonged to the girl down the street. I dressed up as a raccoon for Halloween one year when my department at work was doing a Gamma World theme. (Later than afternoon in kickboxing class, I took a toe to the face so hard it completely wiped off my raccoon nose.) I read Quinn A Bedtime Kiss for Chester Raccoon 11,384 times. But our love affair is dying. I’ve had it with these little bastards. They knock our garbage cans over almost every night and leave a trail of my filth up and down the block. Do you know how it feels to see your eye make up remover pad in the lavender bush three houses down? Does ol’ Dorothy across the street really need to know I binge eat Weight Watchers Caramel Mini Bars while watching back episodes of Scandal on Netflix? Okay, so she probably knows that because our living room windows face each other, but still. These raccoons are like paparazzi! Next thing I know I’ll be accused of joining the Scientologists or dating Taylor Swift.
Apparently these animals are legendary. Before we moved to West Seattle I heard all about the bullish raccoons.
“Oh no,” frightened neighbors would begin. “West Seattle raccoons are not like other neighborhood’s raccoons. Ours are the size of Volkswagens! They can operate heavy machinery! They steal cats from their owner’s bedrooms and leave nothing but the face behind!” (That face-thing is actually kind of true. I’ll try to find the news article. Wait, no I won’t. It’s horrible and disgusting.)
I don’t know why raccoons getting into the trash bothers me so much. I mean, they have to eat too, right? But it drives me absolutely batty. Nothing gets my sleeping body out of bed and on the front lawn in the middle of the night. My newborn baby bellowing in the bassinet next to me didn’t (always) wake me. But a raccoon ripping through Glad ForceFlex unique diamond texture plastic propels me from my Heavenly Bed like one of Quinn’s Matchbox cars from the Launcher Stunt Pack. (Super cool, by the way.)
And these raccoons? They don’t care. They’re not afraid of a human being in PJs chucking ROCKS at them. A human FREAKIN’ being! It’s just a minor inconvenience. When the first rock hit, it startled him. He actually fell off the garbage can, which gave me a momentary pang of guilt thinking, Shit! I didn’t actually want to hurt him!
Oh don’t worry. He sprang back into place before I could gather my second rock and went right back to feasting. He barely looked up even though rocks were hurling by his head in rapid succession and a crazy old lady (not ol’ Dorothy) was yelling obscenities and deliberately setting off her car alarm. (Yeah, THAT brilliant idea fazed him even less than my rocks. My neighbors on the other hand…) This guy was alone, people! Can you imagine how this would have went down if he was with his posse?
I get it. Raccoons are assholes. They’re urbanized so humans are no longer a threat to them. But I can’t be a raccoon vigilante. I am someone’s mother. I need to consider the consequences and how they will affect my son. Quinn can’t be known as the kid who’s mother was carried away by a gang of raccoons with only her face left in the driveway.
So I ask you, good people of the internet. What can I do to keep these infuriating, but still sort of cute, (dammit masked eyes and tiny hands! I can’t quit you!) creatures out of my trash? Is there a spray? A booby trap? A tricked out garbage can lid lock? I need a good night sleep! Also a referral for someone to fix my retaining wall.
Okay, I admit. I’m a sucker for a quiz. Not like a algebra quiz– I’m talking the ones that help you decide which city you should live in or which 80’s movie best represents you. Today I took a quiz I saw on Facebook that promised to tell me who my true soulmate was. By analyzing my posts, photos, comments, and friends, this virtual yenta would reveal my twin flame. How could I resist that?
People, I am pleased to share with you my results.:
By definition, a soulmate is “
Quinn and I went to visit my parents in beautiful south Florida for ten days. OMG, Seattle friends! This vitamin D thing is no joke. It’s amazing! Why haven’t we tried it before? Anyway, my parents couldn’t resist taking Quinn to the mall to meet the Easter Bunny. Fine by me, as his post happened to be outside of Bloomingdale’s.
Serendipitously we arrived when there was a lull in traffic. There was no line, people. Either every child in South Florida had already gotten their Easter Bunny photo or Bloomingdale’s was having a really good sale. We were going in.
“There he is!” I shouted in the screechy, high-pitched, overly enthusiastic voice I use when trying to convince Quinn something is FUN! (There’s the needle! Yay! Watch as it pierces your skin!) “It’s the Easter bunny, buddy!”
Quinn’s eyes followed my finger and I braced myself for the tears. He is in the age-window where forcing him to sit on the costumed lap of a stranger in exchange for candy, gifts and a new Facebook profile pic for mommy is a tear trigger. But nope. Not a sound. He just stared at the fuzzy, formally-attired, pantless bunny man perched on a bench enjoying his faux garden and the trunk full of bunny shaped balls next to him. Balls! Yes! Next to Elmo, balls were Quinn’s favorite thing. If it’s round, it’s a ball and if it’s a ball it’s pretty much grease on his little baby palm. We so got this.
“Can you wave to the nice bunny?” I screeched.
Quinn lifted his right hand. “Hi, Elmo.”
“No, not Elmo. That’s the Easter Bunny. And see? He has a balls!” Wait. What?
I waited for the bunny to wave back and blow Quinn’s little mind. A bunny waving! I mean, how cool is that? But the waving was one-sided as the bunny remained immobile, hunched over, elbows on knees, knees spread apart. (My music teacher in sixth grade told us to never sit like this because it made us look like we were taking a poo. Did it? I haven’t seen that many people in the moment.) I don’t know. It was a weird position for the Easter bunny. And if my music teacher was right, it was even weirder as I’m pretty sure there are labor laws that guarantee bio breaks, right?
The sight lines in those mascot heads were terrible. It was likely the bunny just couldn’t see us. So we proceed down the path, feeling a bit like Dorothy and Co. seconds before the flying monkeys descended and ripped the guts out of the scarecrow. Quinn was remarkably still holding it together. I was starting to get a little creeped out.
“Hi Bunny!” I shouted in that voice. (Ugh!) “Look, Quinn. Say hi to the bunny!”
Quinn stopped about ten feet from the bunny and looked up at me. “Elmo?”
“No, not Elmo. Better than Elmo. It’s the Easter Bunny! Let’s go say hi!”
We were right in front of the bunny but still no response. Just dead eyes and buck teeth. Not a wave. Not a gentle pat on the bench seat next to him. Not a thumbs up. WTF, Bunny? Was bunny depressed? Was bunny shy? Was bunny real? Maybe mall mascots were victims of the recession and no longer required living bodies to inhabit them. What did I know? I haven’t seen an Easter Bunny in thirty-five years. (Okay, maybe 8 years but that was a gag gift for my mom. Which she loved, by the way.) OMG, was bunny dead? Would CPS come get me if I forced my kid to sit next to a dead bunny for a photo opp?
In any case, my mom was waving her credit card around and my dad already had about 72 minutes of video footage leading up to this moment so depressed, shy, potentially-deceased bunny aside, there was going to be some lap-sitting and commemorative photo taking.
“Hi, bunny!” I shouted. “Can we join you?”
I looked to the photographer for some guidance here. “Should we sit down? Is that okay?”
“Uh, yeah,” she said, pointing at her camera. “If you want a picture I say go for it.”
I admit, Quinn may watch the Real Housewives sometimes (often) and I might be lax about how well the binky gets cleaned off before getting inserted back in his mouth, but even I wasn’t going to let my child fend for himself next to a grumpy, potentially deceased costumed rabbit. I squeezed in and asked the bunny how he was doing. I’ll have to assume “not great” because he didn’t answer. I asked him if he was excited for Easter. This time I got a nod. Still no tears from Quinn, which made me wonder if this apathy was intentional. Maybe the directive is to not interact with the kids at all so as not to scare them. Maybe his goal was to be quiet and unassuming like the Velveteen Rabbit’s melancholic, emotionally disturbed cousin. Brilliant!
“High five?” Quinn asked the bunny.
The bunny took about four minutes to raise his left paw three inches allowing Quinn to smack it.
The photographer took a handful of photos, none of which involved Quinn in tears, and sent us on our way.
We met up with my mom at the cashier.
“Can you say tweaker?” she hissed. “That bunny was on something. I can’t believe they let him around children!”
First, my mom needs to lay off the Law and Order. Second, if the bunny were a meth-head, why wasn’t she worried that he was around me?
“I’m really sorry,” the cashier said. “He’s our worst bunny. He won’t interact with the kids at all. It’s his least favorite part of the job.”
“Least favorite part?” I asked. “As opposed to all of his other responsibilities as the Easter Bunny? What else does he have to do besides sit next to kids and get his pictures taken?”
She shrugged before swindling Judy out of $63 dollars for the premium package.
When we were leaving, the line to meet the dejected, disgruntled bunny snaked along the faux path towards the entrance to Bloomingdale’s. There had to be at least 40 soon-to-be-emotionally-scarred children waiting. Of course the bunny decided that would be a good time to take his legally-mandated break. As he made his way down the faux path and out of the garden, his big bunny feet tripped over a boulder causing him to topple into a field of artificial tulips.
I’m pretty sure that is his new least favorite part of his job.