Monday, June 30, 2008

Checked Out, Or Mommy's Shopping List Is Up in Clouds

I suck at grocery shopping.

Ben knows this; I know this. That's why he is the family's designated shopper. I am not usually even invited along. Sometimes, Jack and I will go to Target with a very short list of paper products and baby toiletries that we are instructed not to deviate from while Ben and Harry go to the grocery store three stores down. But, we inevitably spy some sandals, a bag of bulk candy, a few tank tops, some super hero toddler tees, watermelon-printed PJ's... you get the idea. Occasionally, I insist on making food shopping a family affair, but Ben gets a case of the grumbles that gets louder every time I add a bag of yogurt covered pretzels, a chunk of summer sausage, a tray of sushi, you know, essentials.

Actually, I shop like my dad-- many snacks, few meals. Unless a 6-pack of chocolate pudding, a plastic tub of mini cinnamon rolls, and a mushy tube of liver sausage is your idea of a meal. (Also, about that sausage, Dad? We used to let Daisy lick the hell out of it, and then we'd just wrap it back up and stick it back in the meat drawer.)

There was this one time when I was pregnant when I freaked out about the amount of processed food we bought at the store, and I made Ben return an entire trunk full of groceries and told him he had to go back and reshop, only buying things from around the edges of the store. After that, I pretty much stopped going to the store. Was asked to stop going to the store.

Then we had Jack, and I would run in for the occasional gallon of milk (holy cow-- Harry drinks a ton of milk) or bag of Brach's butterscotch candies (which comprise 96% of my daily caloric intake-- the rest is bleu cheese crumbles-- good thing my disgusting food craving stuck around post pregnancy), but doing the weekly shopping by myself seemed way out of my league.

Until today. We spent so much time napping, eating out because we had no food at home, and just generally loafing this weekend that we had no time to shop. And we were out of COFFEE FILTERS, my god, the horror. So after nap, I grabbed Ben's shopping list, loaded up Jack, Harry, and Harry's snacks and beverages, and bravely set out to conquer the grocery store.

I failed. As I was loading the Harry into the cart (while wearing Jack in the Bjorn), my shopping list (which I never read at all) blew out of my hands. I was so noticeably distraught over this that a really nice old lady asked if she could help me in any way, and Harry immediately launched into a diatribe about how my list and his green balloon were together in the clouds. Okay, he is so creepy. He lost that freaking balloon over a month ago. And, as soon as he released it from his chubby fist and started breathing heavily, we got him a brand new green balloon. But still, he would not stop talking about the list and my balloon together in the clouds. Is still talking about it, in fact. Loudly.

I got a whole bunch of random crap, but nothing we needed (Ben is out buying coffee filters and bread right now). Not only did the Bjorn pull my shirt down so far my bra was hanging out all over the store, I noticed on the way out that my skirt slid down below the leg of my underpants in front. So, the good news is I appear to be losing weight. The bad news is I was showing some serious thigh. WTF? Who does that?

Also, I have a strict don't ask don't tell policy about items under the cart. Since the checkout guy didn't mention my case of Ice Mountain, I didn't either. Until I was walking away, and he was all, "Ma'am, you forgot your water."

Pissed about being called Ma'am, I ignored the ethical grayness of my policy and snapped, "Nope. YOU forgot it." Then I had to stand in line again and pay $4.

But on the bright side, I saved $14 with my store discount card; Jack slept, and Harry was an excellent shopping companion. I promised him Hot Wheels cars if he was good, and he was better than good-- he was chatty.

In conclusion, for dinner tonight, we're having steaks, salads, and strawberries. If that is a complete meal it's because Ben bought it on Sunday at Whole Foods. I suck.

Here are Harry and Jo shoes shopping at Macy's. Harry's always so jealous when we shop with Jo because she doesn't have to ride in a stroller!

Erica got Jack this shirt-- it says Disgruntled, which he usually is. Also, Harry made a painting yesterday, and when I asked him if I could hang it in my office, he said no because it was for Erica.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Wallaby. Right.

Also, Jon is hilarious (from the daytime hooker update post's comments)

"Jon said...

The show was totally based around the surreal, parodic adventures of an anthropomorphic wallaby named Rocko, and his life in the city of O-Town. Dog?!?! as if

Funny pictures"

Also again, how is it that 2 people who comment on this blog knew that (and that his name was Rocko, not Rocco?)?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jacko's Modern Life

Anybody watch "Rocco's Modern Life" as a kid? A dog with what I think was an Australian accent? Jon loved it. It has nothing to do with this post, by the way.

No matter where Jack goes,

his view is largely the same. Plus he was hella hungover.

A particularly aggressive hug

and the recovery

It's hard to be Jack-- exhausting, you might say.

Daytime Hooker Update

Check it out-- no photographic evidence that I'm even WEARING a bathing suit.

Oh. There it is. A string around my back. Klassy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Daytime Hooker, or "Mommy is Nakey."

Daytime hooker. Yep. That's what I am going to look like at swim class today because the only swim suit that doesn't give my flabby, postpartum self an obscene muffin top (not sure what you call muffin top when it's the top of your thighs/bottom of your ass that's bubbling out of your clothes, but I have that, too) is a huge STRING BIKINI I used to wear when I was pregnant with Harry. It's orange. With sequined pineapples. Also, it's a STRING BIKINI, so I am sure I'll blend in great with the other moms.

I tried it on this morning, and Harry said, "Mommy is nakey." Awesome.

Hey, you know what's cool about going to business meetings with an infant strapped to your chest? Even if you are late, sweaty, out of breath, and fresh from leaving your car in a loading zone, people still praise you for being "so together." Other than that, there's absolutely nothing good about it. Except that babies are so snuggly.

Keeping with the pool theme, here are Harry and Jo making sure the water toys Jo's mom is using for her 2nd b-day party are fun.

They are.

Harry was screaming "Harry's all wet!" when this picture was taken.

Jo kept trying to water me.

Harry was amazed that "the doggy licked Harry like ice cream."

And now he wants a dog.

Oh! Jack can play with the toys on his bouncy chair! Also, he LIKES his bouncy chair, which makes me like him even more. And Harry? He likes Sondheim-- Jamie took him to a matinee of Into the Woods, and he LOVED it. Just ask him. He'll sing tunelessly, "In the woods! Grandma's house! Buy a cow!" and he'll tell you ALL ABOUT the wolf and the witch. Like all about them. Like more than you thought anyone could tell you. Over and over again.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bad Mother

I've been thinking a lot about the publicity of motherhood, partially because of my own pregnancies (Can I touch your belly? Can I feel the baby kick? Wow, you're huge! Are you sure you're not having twins?)and partially because of my dissertation. For the past 3 years (3 years? Oh my god. Seriously am I ever going to let this thing go?), I have been pouring over box after dusty box of Planned Parenthood archives, reading the memos, letters, pamphlets, telegrams, policy papers, etc. with an eye for the way hierarchies of worthy mothers were created and maintained and for the ways in which ideologies of motherhood were deployed and employed to uphold the surprisingly conservative aims of the organization (and that's my official methodology-- don't you love the humanities?). I have been obsessed with the "Good Mother," fleshing out her forms, tracing her influences, noting the ways in which she changed over the decades-- you get the idea. But I never really thought too much about the "Bad Mother," except to consider her as the not "Good."

That is until Thursday, when I was forced to confront the "Bad Mother" because she was me.

Harry was with the wonderful Jamie, and I took Jack with me to run some errands and go to a meeting on campus. We went to Target because Harry needed undershirts (all of his are stained with berries because Ben and I are bad at remembering to fight stains as we wash clothes), and I had 500 pictures on my camera card that I needed to print-- well, I didn't print all of them; just 174.

I usually wear Jack in the Bjorn. Everywhere. But when I parked the car, I noticed that he was sound asleep and that my space was right next to the cart corral. Instead of loading him into the front pack, I placed his cute little infant carrier in the basket of a cart. He woke up while I was still in line at Starbucks, but he was cooing happily and waving his scrawny little arms, so I headed to the Kodak kiosk, camera in hand.

About 50 or so pictures into the selection process, Jack started to cry. I held his hand and stroked his foot and patted his tummy, all in a very distracted kind of way as I hurriedly poked pictures on the touch screen and scrolled through page after page of photos, figuring I could pick my pictures quickly and he would settle down when the cart started moving again.

I'll admit, Jack cries a lot, and because of that, it is easy for Ben and me to go about our business with out paying much attention to the noise. And the noise gets really loud and screechy really fast.

I remember being a little concerned that his screams would bother my fellow shoppers, but I was mainly focused on scrolling through my camera card as fast as I could.

I was only half listening, in fact, to anything when a woman walked by me and muttered, "That baby needs some attention, lady."

She got almost to the doors past customer service before I snapped out of my daze and barked, "Are you serious?"

She wheeled around and stalked back toward me. "Yes! That baby needs attention now!"

"He's a fussy baby," I sputtered, shocked at her audacity and at the shrill warble coming out of Jack's wide open mouth.

"That don't matter," she told me, insisting, "I'm a pediatric nurse," in a tone that-- in retrospect-- makes me think she probably is not. "The first thing you need to do is pick up that baby."

"He's fine," I said with conviction I no longer felt. He didn't look fine. He looked small and desperately sad, with a red, blotchy face, tears in his glassy eyes, his tiny fists clenched and shaking. Ad how must I look, responding to this little scrap of humanity by not responding? By turning my back?

Never mind that I was printing pictures to be lovingly pressed into his baby book and how many second babies have a baby book as complete as the one kept for the firstborn? Never mind that Jack is in my arms or strapped to my chest almost every moment of the day. Never mind that he sleeps in my bed so that I can respond to his first stir or whimper, that despite these best efforts, he often spends some time each night wailing, secure in the arms of people who love him, that he was fed, dry, clothed and safe. This person saw a snapshot of me and my baby and decided I was a bad mother.

"I'm going to report you," she threatened.

As bad as I felt, this statement registered as ludicrous. What would she say? There's a crying baby at Target whose mother won't pick him up? Because I seriously don't think the state has enough money to investigate those complaints. And if they do, they need to allocate those resources to the Wisconsin Dells because, dude, their lake got washed away in the flood last week.

"Oh, yes," I told her, my eyes wide. "I definitely think you should."

She left, then, and I did pick Jack up, my hands shaking so hard I called Ben to come help me finish my shopping because I couldn't breathe very well and of course Jack stopped crying and when he smashed his little cheek up against mine, I could feel his tears.

Since then, I have thought of a million snappy retorts and have been told by everyone to forget about, to shake it off. For some reason, though, I can't.

I didn't even go back to pick up my pictures.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Random pictures from my camera

Why I never have quarters anymore

Catsup. It's my favorite veggie next to mayonnaise.

"Harry's in toybox, Mommy!" is what heard before rushing in to take this picture. Since then, Harry has announced his presence in closet, basket, baf tub, and the baby's bouncey chair

Ben and Jack enjoying Harry's last day of Little Gym for the spring semester. We start back up again in September.

Would you believe I didn't notice the large girl-to-boy ratio until I looked at this picture?

Friday, June 20, 2008

New Jobs

More like a new old job and a brand new start-up job.

Well, not for Jack. He's still just lying around looking squishy. In fact, I've started calling him Squish, a nickname I am sure he'll appreciate when he's 12.

Harry has taken up make believe in a big way. Here he is pretending to be mommy, wearing my shorts and pushing Baby Elmo to the post office.

But neither of these occupations is the new job I'm speaking of.

Okay, so I am no longer a lowly teaching assistant. Instead, I am a lowly lecturer who is the assistant director of the department's public speaking course. And for the first time ever, I have an office that I don't have to share.

Ben, however, has given up his current corner office (and his great job and his Blackberry although I think the bastard is getting an iPhone, which totally pisses me off because I am still Verizon's prisoner until November and he always acted like iPhones were dumb and now he's getting one, which is also how he acted about my computer, which he now uses all the time because Vista sucks) to work for this place, a new website that was born right here in town. His office (which he shares with the company's 2 other employees-- ha!) is like a block away from mine-- how cool is that??

Check out The Class Connection. It's really cool. Teachers-- tell your classes to use it! Students, upload your notes and use the site's awesome study tools. (Katie and Cathleen-- It makes FLASH CARDS. And we all know YOU'RE MAKING FUN OF MY FLASH CARDS!! Awww, high school chemistry class-- I miss you so.)

If you have questions about it, email Ben : ben at the class connection dot com (not sure if this address is up and running right this second, but it will be soon).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fathers Day

I cannot even tell you how excited I have been to have Ben open his Father's Day gifts. Well, Jack's was kind of lame-- a case for the GPS I got Ben, and the GPS itself turned out to be more annoying than anything else. Sunday afternoon, we went to Trader Joe's for some chicken salad, five dollar wine, and frozen taquitos, but we forgot to tell it that, and the poor thing was doing its damndest to get us home, barking U-turn commands and beseeching us to turn left and then left again every 400 yards. Once we found the volume control, things were better. Then we got to Trader Joe's, and I thought it would be fun to let Harry push his own little cart, and we ended up with 6 yellow peppers, some unidentifiable dried red fruit, a box of Indian Fare rice of some sort, and a temper tantrum, and things were no longer better.

But the Pimp My Ride steering wheel cover that Ben is displaying in the above picture? So awesome because Harry picked it out all by himself. I took him to Target and said he could get anything in the store for Daddy (and really I was prepared to stand by that, but I was hoping he'd avoid the electronics aisles-- still, I figured what the hell, you know?) This is what he chose-- a steering wheel cover (awesome) that came with 100 extra stick-on rhinestones (awesomer) and was on sale for $4.88 (awesomest). He originally said he wanted to get Ben a cat, which I thought was so funny I probably would have bought a cat, but sadly, Target doesn't have any.

Hey! Check out Jack's first pair of Robeez. He is such a dirty hippie.

We had a delicious father's day breakfast, and Unc Ben surprised us all by sneaking upstairs to pay the bill (dads, he reasoned, should not have to buy breakfast on father's day). These pictures would have been even cuter if I had zoomed in. But I was carrying Jack, my 10,000 pound diaper bag, Harry's bup, Ben's Cubs tie (a gift from my parents), and what appears to be a large chip on my shoulder, so I didn't have any free hands.

Ben's gift to himself.

Harry likes riding his bike, but he keeps asking if he can cross the street. Um, NO. Freaking street-crossing Cailllou.

Monday, June 16, 2008

2 months old

Partay Postmortem

**I'll post a Jack-related message later this evening, as he is 2 months old today!! But for now, here's a review of Harry's party.

We told Harry his 2-year bash called a partay, not a party, weeks ago. Mean, huh?

He wok up at 5:40 saying, predictably, "Presents. Ho ho ho. Santa Claus," so we stumbled downstairs, mashed the "on" button on the Mister Coffee, and watched Harry go to town with the mound of gifts stacked next to the Pack n Play. And we have wised up so much since Christmas-- we removed everything from its box, assembled it, and added batteries before wrapping. This made for ugly packages and much less morning mess. Then we got dressed for his big celebration at our favorite burger joint.

Harry got everything on his list-- a bike, a helmet, a watch-- and more stuff like a vacuum and a fire chief helmet and about a thousand more plastic toys that he and Jack could choke on or get lead poisoning from. Good times.

Jack was underwhelmed by the whole thing

Harry blew the candle out on his breakfast cupcake 3 times. This is #2.

He was so good-- he chilled in this chair almost the whole time and had at least one fun moment with each of his guests. He also loved the mountains of junk food, another candle to blow out, and of course the gifts! The good news is we found the secret to keeping him happy in restaurants. The bad news is, it's a teeny bit impractical for daily use.

Telling Jamie a hilarious joke

Harry and Jo deep in conversation

The ugliest cake ever. Also NOT what I ordered-- ask Jamie who was sitting right next to me when I called the bakery. It did have the airplane and helicopter Harry requested, but where was the sail boat? The school bus? The woo truck? Also, who ordered a black road, jelly bean rocks, and plastic pine trees? NOT me.

But Harry didn't seem to mind

Posing with Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Jen,and Lucy

Harry's beloved Erica, who brought him the cutest Brewers-gear-clad Build-a-Bear monkey whom Harry named-- what else-- Erica.

Cutting up with Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Ben

Hahahahahaha-- Nice hat, Jack

The kid had a great time eating what he menu called the "World's Smallest Chocolate Sundae." Last time we ate here as a family, Harry ate his ice cream in record time. When the waitress stopped by to check on us, she asked if we needed anything else, and Harry thrust his sundae glass toward her and said "Mo' ice cream."

Jack making the face he makes when he's not in the Bjorn

This picture totally blows my mind. We have one almost exactly like it from last year only this time there's a whole new person in our family. Trippy.

Then he went home to open a, er, few more presents