January 11, 2012
January 10, 2012
So. Okay. You guys know I don't really do paid product reviews and giveaways all that much -- and not entirely for any MAH BLOG MAH INTEGRITY credo thing, but more because 1) I don't think I'm very good at them, and 2) they really interrupt the flow of "talking non-stop about myself" I've had running non-stop here, for eight straight years.
That said, I will do sponsored posts, so long as ME ME ME I MUST FIND A WAY TO MAKE IT ALL ABOUT ME, or at least tangentially related to the usual crap I write about. It's an incredibly complicated personal algorithm I employ every time a potential sponsored post opportunity comes up, and it usually comes down to my confidence level re: Will I Be Able To Work In A Reference To Baby Poop?
TL;DR version: Hi! This is a sponsored post.
The lovely folks at JewelMint wanted to send me some jewelry, and at first I was like MAH BLOG MAH INTEGR...wait, did you say jewelry? I MEAN GIDDY UP.
The site doesn't just...show you jewelry, though. First you're asked to create a "personal style profile" by clicking on photos of celebrities you like and which shoes you'd wear for a night on the town and which handbag is your favorite. I guess at first I completely panicked because none of the options were 1) burp rag chic, 2) bedroom slippers, or 3) I don't know, whichever bag has a thingamabob to clip my car keys to and also room for three dozen slightly-different versions of Lightning McQueen cars and seven half-empty lip glosses in the exact same shade of Shiny Pinkish Neutral.
So I possibly may have chosen photos that were a tad too aspirational, as my original style profile apparently thought I was Lady Gaga.
I tried again with a slightly more honest take on my current level of fashion slobitude and ended up with better suggestions the second time around. And as a nice bonus feature, all the jewelry suggestions come paired with a sample outfit and some additional ideas for where and how to wear it. WEAR THIS WITH JEANS, FOOL. AND THIS ONE WITH A DRESS AND SOME DIGNITY.
So since I assume JewelMint reached out to me for, you know, mom-audience-related reasons (as opposed to my WELL-KNOWN fashion icon status among the "pajamas are clothing too" set), I figured I would help them out and provide some customized, real-world styling ideas for some of the jewelry I liked best:
BLACK SWAN CUFF
Slide this dramatic yet versatile cuff on and get lost in a daydream about the last time you managed to see an actual grown-up movie in the actual movie theater. (And no, Kung Fu Panda 2 doesn't count; I don't care if the part about the mommy panda made you cry.)
WEAR WITH: Pants. Any pants. Dear God, just please put on some pants.
REBEL RISING SET
This brilliantly understated jewelry set is too small to attract the notice of your baby, guaranteeing that it you will make it through the entire day without getting your earrings ripped out of your earlobe.
WEAR TO: The grocery store. Like a rebel. RISING.
What? Sometimes you just want a big ass hunk of bling. Bonus features of this piece include drops of color to both educate and fascinate your preschooler. He'll learn several new colors AND an important lesson about how Not All Things That Look Like Candy Are Candy, Son, all at the same time.
WEB LACE RING
The delicate filigree of this statement ring gives it a wonderful vintage flair, while the large black glass diamond will remind you of a time long ago, in the age of pre-kid disposable income, when you not-so-secretly hoped for fancy jewelry for your birthday instead of a Dyson Vacuum.
WEAR TO: Parent-teacher conferences.
POLAR ENDS BRACELET
This simple antiqued brass bracelet goes with everything. And I mean everything. Jeans, t-shirts, dinosaur rainboots, Angry Birds hats, Jedi robes, Spongebob pajamas, etc. My three-year-old keeps stealing this one from me, is what I am saying.
WEAR WITH: Your superwoman cape. Barring that, pants.
If you'd like to check out JewelMint, you can get 50% off any piece of jewelry by entering AMALAH as a promo code. (First-time buyers only, code expires 1/31/12)
If you'd like to WIN a free piece of jewelry (anything of your own personal style profile choosing!), just leave a comment on this here post by Friday, 1/13/12 at noon EST. Winner will be selected randomly -- just make sure to leave a valid email address I can ping you at.
January 09, 2012
As Ike creeps ever closer to full-on mobility and the ability to kill his fool self, his nightly plan to kill me is going swimmingly. Just...peachy. And scream-y.
When we last discussed The Utterly Fascinating To No One Else On Earth Topic Of Ike's Sleeping Habits, we'd stumbled upon what I thought was the solution to all the problems: Early bedtime! No, earlier than that. 6:30 pm. Huzzah! It worked, and he started sleeping through the night for all of...I don't know. Four, maybe five nights in a row, if I'm being generous.
Then the wakings started again. He wakes up wide-eyed and wet-butted at 11:30, then argues with me about sleep and politics and whatnot for an hour or more. So I get to bed around 1 am most nights, only to get woken up AGAIN around 5 am, usually for good, because at that point, he's gotten PLENTY of sleep, so what's YOUR problem, lady? Go nuke me some butternut squash. And would it kill you to grate a little fresh nutmeg over the top this time?
So. That's what? Four hours of sleep, on average? Holy God, I was getting more when he was a newborn. I've tried going to bed earlier, in hopes of getting an extra hour or two before the midnight-ish waking, but as a life-long confirmed Night Owl/Not A Morning Person, that's easier said than done. And for anyone who's thinking that 5 am isn't such an unreasonable waking hour, well, please don't say it out loud because I will punch you in the goddamn face. Not intentionally, or anything. It'll be more like a reflex. A hateful, angry, punch-y reflex.
Point is: I GIVE UP. He's won. The infant is firmly in charge and I am but his groggy-eyed milk-slave. My only means of protest is that I am really, really good at thinking up obscene lyrics to otherwise soothing-sounding lullabys.
And Stockholm Syndrome is in full effect as well, as evidenced by my reaction to Jason's initial suggestion that we get away for a single, solitary night to celebrate my birthday. He proposed dinner at Volt (of Bryan Voltaggio/Top Chef fame) and a stay at a bed and breakfast, while my in-laws stayed here with the wolf pack. And I balked at first because: The baaaaaby. I have to be here to nurse the baaaaaby. I can't leave my baaaa...
AND THEN IKE STARTED WAKING UP AT 3 AM IN ADDITION TO THE 11:30 PM AND THE 5 AM WAKINGS AND I BEGAN TO SEE THROUGH SPACE AND TIME AND ON SECOND THOUGHT, JUST LET ME GET MY COAT. IF WE LEAVE RIGHT NOW I CAN GET A BONUS NAP BEFORE OUR DINNER RESERVATION.
Not going to lie: It was glorious. I hauled ass and breast pump out of the house on Friday with hardly a look back at my poor, abandoned young. (Though I admit the general consensus from them was a half-hearted "Whatever. You'll be back. Plus Grandma never checks the clock before promising us a movie so guess who's gonna be watching Despicable Me at 10:30 at night?")
I did have to make a couple decorating changes at the B&B, however, before I felt comfortable passing out cold on the bed. The theme in our room was, unfortunately: DOLLS. DOLLS EVERYWHERE.
Oh please, how harmless-looking am I? Don't I kind of remind you of a doll you probably owned as a child? I'm just gonna sit here, right at the end of the bed...
...UNTIL YOU GET UP TO PEE IN THE DARKNESS AND MY GIANT TEETH AND UNBLINKING EYES ARE GLOWING FOR YOUR SOUL.
So I shoved her and several other dolls (including one attached to a spare toilet paper roll cozy that also particularly unnerved me) underneath a small table on the other side of the room.
In retrospect, I'm not sure this was an improvement.
Dinner was awesome, as was the carefree realization that, as the meal dragged out into HOUR THREE, it did not matter because no one was going to be waiting up for us and/or demanding an exorbiant hourly fee for babysitting. We could like, hit up a nightclub after this! We could go dancing! Drink ourselves stupid! I mean, more stupid. Stupider. Stupidishier.
We did not actually do any of those things. We stopped at a toy store to buy each of the boys a present and then went back to the B&B and slept for approximately 14 solid hours. In the morning we ate some eggs.
Then we came home, and the real wild times started, because I BOUGHT US A POTHOLDER LOOM, PEOPLE. BEHOLD MY SKILLS.
January 06, 2012
We have officially achieved and surpassed level one mobility: rolling as viable means of transportation.
I will no longer stay anywhere close to where you put me! The world now is full of places for me to get my head stuck! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
But of course, two seconds after he mastered the art of rolling across the floor in search of brave new choking hazards and also dust bunnies and dead Christmas tree needles and dust bunnies made up of dead Christmas tree needles, he decided it was kind of bullshit, what with the occasional THWACK of his noggin on the hardwoods, so he went ahead and traded up for a +1 scooting power-up.
He doesn't quite have the knees-under-the-body thing down yet, so it's not exactly "crawling" but more of that weird mostly-arm-powered army trench crawl thing, while his legs paddle desperately behind him, occasionally finding some traction to power-boost him forward.
He's incredibly proud of himself. I'm trying to work up some fake enthusiasm even though, HISTORICALLY SPEAKING, mobile babies are the worst. THE WORST. Say goodbye to swings and bouncers and jumperoos and every other handy Child Containment Device because they will no longer have any of that shit, and say hello to digging disgusting things out of your baby's mouth 1,400 times a day and a life where taking 30 seconds to go to the bathroom is akin to playing Russian roulette with your baby's face. Because oh, yes. By the time you're done, there will be blood.
Yes, Circa 2009 Self, that's a great idea. You GET RIGHT ON THAT.
I know. I sound so bitter and hardened. I've just...I've been in the shit. I've seen the shit. You just...(trails off, eyes the horizon knowingly, yet unnervingly vacant)...you can only deal with so many teeth going through so many bottom lips before you start asking the big questions. What's the point? What are you doing with your life, endlessly trying to protect small, wiggly creatures with no sense of fear or gravity? Why can't you just wrap them in bubble wrap and a helmet and let Darwin figure the rest of this nonsense out?
Seriously, why do you have so many teeth? It's like nature just handed you a set of built-in scissors to run around with.
I told you guys about my Lego Anxiety Dream, right? At least in passing? I'm actually dead serious: the anxiety dreams of mysterious college finals and terrible waitressing experiences have been officially replaced by dreams about Legos. I'm at the airport and they're falling out of my suitcase by the dozen. I'm trying to get somewhere important but I'm barefoot and the floor is covered in them. I'm trying to find my phone or my wallet and everything in my purse is made of Legos and I'm trying to find the one last piece that will let me make a phone call but keep getting distracted by other important, valuable pieces like Harry Potter's hair or the inside part of a house window or Darth Vader's cape.
I'm basically LIVING that dream now, every day, as I beg and beg Noah and Ezra to keep the Legos off the floor and away from Ike. I've bought bins and containers and bags and crawled around on my hands and knees, picking up tiny stupid #$)@*&@ grommets and pointy castle tower toppers, only to be digging more of the same from Ike's fist five minutes later. I've tried appealing to the boys' love and sense of responsibility to their baby brother about the importance of keeping Legos and other small toys off the floor. (Though may GOD HAVE MERCY ON OUR SOULS when he pulls to a stand and discovers that the coffee table is where we really keep ALL OF THE COOL THINGS.)
I even, on the advice of my pediatrician, tried the gross-out tactic and warned them that if Baby Ike were to swallow any of their toys, they wouldn't get it back until he pooped it out into his diaper.
This was a mistake, BTW. Because the idea fascinated them way more than it disgusted them. And I now get the sense they are eyeing the baby as some kind of rolling, scooting science experiment.
But. Such is life. There will be no stopping the forward momentum, perhaps only the occasional thwarting by waxing the floors and keeping him in slippery footie pajamas so he can't get any traction and WHAT I AM JUST SAYING, IT'S NOT LIKE I'VE TRIED THAT OR WOULD EVEN KNOW IF THAT WORKS OR WHATEVER*. Baby Ike is now a baby on the go, just itching to do everything his big brothers do.
Headfirst, probably, most of the time.
Step One: Put baby on blanket.
Step Two: Turn your back on him for two blessed seconds.
Step Three: ???
Step Four: INSTAGRAM!
*It totally works.
January 03, 2012
We have an IEP meeting today, the first of two IEP meetings scheduled over the next few months. For this year is Noah's re-evaluation year, the year he's due for...wait for it, oh, you'll never guess...a re-evaluation of his strengths and weaknesses and needs and services, up to an including the Big Label that keeps him in special education and keeps my mother-in-law up at night for fear of his PERMANENT RECORD and her continued, unshakable belief that the public school system is legally allowed to tie him to a cheerful Circle Time Chair and forcibly inject Ritalin into his veins. IT HAPPENS. SNOPES IS IN ON IT TOO.
This particular meeting is, quite frankly, going to be bullshit. Not much more than a procedural checkpoint. We will show up and be told about all the different evaluations and testing procedures they plan to do before our next IEP meeting, the big one that will determine his placement for first grade. (Where there are no Circle Time Chairs, but I believe you may be able to request one of those coin-operated massage recliners for your child's Clockwork Orange-style med drip. Fingers crossed!) They will hand us five trees' worth of paper detailing everything we just talked about and our 17th copy of the Parental Rights & Responsibilities handbook that we cannot turn down because they found a typo on page 47 of the last version, thank you and we'll see you again in a couple months, time for the next family, moving on, thanks.
At almost half past six years old, Noah has no real trace of a speech delay, the thing that started All Of This. He never shuts up, actually. Sometimes his grammar is a tad mixed up and full of extra words that buy him precious processing seconds, and he still adorably pronounces V as B. (As in "This lebel of Plants Bersus Zombies is really hard.") But other than that, he's your typical chatty exuberant omg inside voice, Noah kid. Bonus: he's learned all kinds of delightful words from his classmates, or at least he thinks he has.
"Damage!" he says, deviously scanning my face for a reaction. "Beenis slug! Poople tale!"
His brain seems to be running a constant loop of things he's seen or heard -- usually TV or movies which he memorizes like a human tape recorder -- and he has a hard time turning off the recall or understanding that not everybody else in the room has any idea what he's talking about when he randomly decides to talk about how the bad bird was up on the roof but then the thing fell down and that was funny, right? Right? Right Mom? Right?
"What are you talking about?" I usually end up asking, exasperated that I am unable to coax more than five words from him about his day at school but will get several hundred about some bit of an Angry Birds fan video he watched once on YouTube.
The thing is, TV and movies help, too, especially with the bigger social picture and his ongoing issues with rigidity and anxiety. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies and books, for example, maybe play to his current obsession with potty talk than I'd like (OMG THE MOTHERFUCKING IRONY), but have completely changed the way he treats his friends, and especially Ezra. "I'm not a mean brother like Rodrick," he says. "I'm a nice brother. I'm a friend brother."
The various iterations of Star Trek -- with different costumes and ship details and characters and hell, even actors -- have been hugely helpful when he's confronted with something being "different" or "not normal." Before that, Star Wars and Harry Potter and The Wizard of Oz taught him how to use his imagination.
And Kung Fu Panda 2, of all things, gave us the phrase "inner peace" as an effective code for "rest your body" or "holy sensory freakout child, please calm dowwwwwwn."
And the auditory recall seems to work at school, too, despite how easily distracted he is by...well, EVERYTHING. The wiggly leg on his chair. The edge of his shirt sleeves. That other kid who is in time out for saying Something That Sounds A Lot Like "Damage." Anything and everything in the classroom that may have been moved from its usual location. The sound his mouth makes when he blows air out like this or like that.
Despite all the distractions, he's learning. He's reading. He's writing. He's drawing elaborate re-tellings of his favorite movies comic-book style on the wide sheets of paper we set out on his kindergarten-teacher-recommended Writing Station, up to and including the closing credits. His fine motor skills have never been better, and his teacher even declared his handwriting "beautiful," especially for a kid who only really figured out how to hold a crayon properly a year or so ago.
He says he hates school, which of course bothers me, but I sort of think that's the point: I roll my eyes at "damage" and "fartle fart" and "pooper diaper" but have a hard-to-resist kneejerk reaction to "I hate school." Why? Why do you hate school? What's wrong? What's happening there? Is it your teacher? The other kids? TELL ME SO I CAN FIX IT. I CAN CALL ANOTHER IEP MEETING AND FIX IT.
I should know by now it doesn't exactly work like that. Sure, there are things about Noah that I could cautiously, inelegantly call "fixed" or "resolved." Things that took years of therapy and effort and money. And other things that simply faded away with a little extra time: maturity on his part, understanding and creative thinking on mine. And other, other things that found unlikely, almost sudden solutions: A curved exit ramp, Star Wars, karate or sometimes just actual, real-life magic.
And of course there are still other things. Big things, subtle things, question-marky-let's-keep-our-eye-on-that things. The IEP helps with some of those things, along with OT and diet and a truckload of patience, so we keep chugging along and showing up and doing everything we possibly can to help, to guide, to aid.
But not to "fix."
Because you can't fix something that isn't broken. And my child is not, and never has been, broken.
January 02, 2012
As in, ALL THE FOOD. ALL THE COOKIES. ALL THE WINE. ALL THE BRAIN CELLS.
Hello! And happy 2012. Sorry for slacking off last week. After Instagramming the shit out of Christmas Day, I guess I got distracted by our hosting duties, my new-found mastery at making pâte à choux and filling it with horribly fattening delicious things, and Noah's pleas to assemble ALL THE LEGOS.
If you ain't no punk holla We Want Legos WE WANT LEGOS!
The Spongebob house (worst set EVER, was missing a ton of pieces and will fall apart if you breathe on it too hard) was a brief diversion from the True Meaning Of Christmas, however, which was:
MORE STAR TREK
GOOD GOD COULD THERE BE ANY MORE STAR TREK IN THIS PICTURE
(Judging from the complete Enterprise Bridge Model Playset with Poseable Action Figures and Various Other Impossibly Tiny Pieces currently taking over my entire living room floor, the answer is YES.)
"It's not that big, I don't think," my mom texted me re: this cardboard spaceship. Lies! Such lies!
My mom was actually the one who had to go to the emergency room on Christmas eve. Her calf and ankle were swollen after she arrived on the train and kept getting worse so I insisted we go and check it out. "I Googled!" she protested. "It's nothing!" (Again with the lies!) I didn't even have to Google that one to know exactly what WebMD article would come up first. Never challenge a blogger to a Google-off, people. YOU WILL LOSE. GET IN THE CAR.
(Two ER visits and two ultrasounds later, it was diagnosed as a Sprain Of Mystery and not a blood blot.)
This family, right?
Ike spent the week acquiring eleventy billion new teeth, no exaggeration.
(Slight exaggeration: He now has seven. SEVEN.)
He also did more than his fair share of eating all the food. Parsnips, carrots, peas, zucchini, pears, yams, celery root with potato, green beans with mint, a little Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam.
OMG IT'S THE CATERPILLAR I BARFED ON IN THE STORE THAT TIME NO WAY U GUYS.
After Christmas the second wave of family arrived, including my five-year-old nephew, so the real feats of strength could commence. And the beatings. And the "stop that, you guys, stop that, somebody's going to get hurt, stop that."
I think someone said something to me about "wow, I guess this is what it would be like with three boys" before it registered on their face that OH RIGHT THE BABY. But I may have imagined that comment because you know what it's like with three boys? Drunk. All the time. As much as possible.
(It's mostly full of stuff like this.)
Anyway! It's good to be back, little blog! But now I must be off because I promised the kids we'd go bowling one more time before school starts tomorrow. Then I have to get ready for another IEP meeting this week and lose 20 pounds of pâte à choux-related ass. I know. So much excitement going on with this rockstar lifestyle of ours, it's incredible that I can even find the time to type it all out sometimes.