Save the drama for your.... ah crap.

I guess I've known it was coming for a long while now. But with Z's mostly mellow infancy and slow descent into toddlerdom, we somehow thought we might just make it through this whole parenting thing without the extreme toddler tantrums that cause the uninitiated to wonder if perhaps the parents could possibly be doing something, ANYTHING, different?

(Not that I've ever thought such things....)

Lately, Z is allllll intensity. Everything is peachy keen, we're having FUN, squealing and laughing and spinning and then suddenly it's SO NOT ALRIGHT AND NEVER WILL BE AGAIN, WWAHHHHHHHH. The emotional whiplash is wearing me down and more than ever I am grateful to have a few days a week where I get to send her to School and take a break from the exhaustion of parenting her right now.

(guilt, Guilt, GUILT.)

I've read all the books and totally understand that this is essential developmental stuff going on here. She is individuating and testing boundaries, and she loves me so much and feels so safe with me that I am her preferred testing relationship.

Gee, thanks.

On good days, I can totally be in the moment with her and remain unscathed. I can love seeing her tear down a hill, even if it is a defiant sprint away from me. I can join in her delight in her new found sense of power when she fights diaper changes/car seat entrances/transitions in general. I can steel myself to her shrieks and bolster my resolve to be Clear and Consistent. I give simple Choices and Consequences and let all the drama roll off my back.

Other days, I want her to be happy and smiling all the time and I just don't understand WHY that's not possible. I want quiet, efficient, reasonable transitions. Surely, if I were more resourceful, more imaginative, more MORE I could prevent multiple meltdowns in a day, right? Surely, I'm just failing and flailing.

Some days, I want to buy earplugs. And wear them.

I keep telling myself that this phase will be over soon. Soon she'll be two and then things will .... be more of the same and yet different.

Someone told me that three is worse. Lord, help me.


A weekend, in pictures.

Z likes to play hide and seek around the trashcans.
Mama likes stripes just a leeetle too much.
Her future's so bright....
We totally dig this playground. It's "universally accessible" for kids of mixed abilities. RAD.
Unfortunately, it's not accessible by my A$$.


Seven weird things.

Semi-Desperate Housewife tagged me for the Seven Weird Things meme.

This should be easy, thought I, after all I'm pretty weird. But then I realized that the truly weird things about most of us are the things that WE think are NORMAL and other people think are weird. So I've searched my memory banks for what seems totally normal to me but has struck others as odd.

The rules are as follows:
# Link to the person who tagged you
# Post the rules on your blog.
# Share seven random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog.
# Tag seven random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
# Leave a comment on their blogs so that they know they have been tagged.

As a relative blogging newbie, I've never done a meme before so I feel no shame in breaking the rule that says I have to tag 7 others. Not that I wasn't psyched to be tagged, but I get a Nervous Tummy (tm) whenever I think about trying to tag 7 other bloggers. So if you are reading this and have a blog, consider yourself tagged, okay?

Now, onto the weirdness!

1. Often when I get scared or nervous, I hum the ending theme song to "Little House on the Prairie". You know, where a pigtailed Laura Ingalls is running down the golden hillside? It's the happiest, sunniest image and it works every time.

2. I have very little memory of my early childhood, including important events and family trips. However, I remember pretty much every dance I've ever had to learn (since I started performing when I was 8ish and stopped at 33, trust me when I tell you that that's A LOT). And I know pretty much all the lyrics to 20 year old songs by Richard Marx, the Bangles, and the Go-Gos. (Yes, I know how OLD I am.)

3. The year after college, I ran a small B&B in rural Maine. During the long, LONG winter months, I spent several days trying to make myself ambidextrous by tying my right arm to my side and doing everything with my left arm, including opening doors, flipping pancakes, changing beds, sweeping floors etc.. When this proved too difficult, I untied my right arm and taped my right fingers and thumb together to make a fairly useless flipper. This was more reasonable but a few guests did wander into the kitchen to find me cursing, kneading some seriously lumpy bread dough with my fairly useless left hand and my equally useless right flipper.

4. When I was a modern dancer, I liked to wear a leotard and loose pants. To keep the loose pants from flapping around at the crotch and hindering my hip extension, I would hike up my pants as high as possible- creating bunched up creases of fabric at my crotch- and roll down the waistband to a reasonable level. One word: FLATTERING. I think it's fair to say this was commonly done by my fellow dancers. Except, I wore my pants like that EVERYWHERE. My roommates at the time took to stopping me before I left the house and pulling my pants down a good couple of inches.

5. My tongue is very large. I can touch it to my nose, I can fold it in half (and have it stay there), I can roll it into a tube (and have it stay there), I can flip it over (and, YOU GUESSED IT, have it stay there). I thought briefly about posting pictures but, really, it's grotesque. Have you ever seen the underside of your tongue? Ewwwww.

6. While we're on the topic of strange body parts, I have a very, VERY squishy nose. There seems to be no cartilage in my nose so when you push it to the side, it's, well, it's VERY pushed to the side. Again, I thought about posting pictures of The Nose (in addition to my tongue, it is my stupid party trick), but realized it would probably gross you all out too much.

7. I once performed in a piece called "Bat Tales" which included a little number where I danced, dressed as a bat, to the song "Tequila!" only I had to cry out "Mosquito!" over the chorus and then pretend to eat a large, stuffed mosquito that dropped from the ceiling.

Hey man, it was a paying gig, you know?


Sick tally.

For those of you playing the CBHM Winter of Sickness Homegame (now with more phlegm!), I am leaving yet another round of flu (of the four colds, one ear infection and two flus EXTRAVAGANZA that has been the last two months).

In this midst of all this illness, I have been watching WAY too much TV. But with a raging fever the last few days and Z being fine and at school, it's been nothing but me, my cable, my movies and my DVR.

Here are my feverish, grumpy conclusions:

1. George Clooney is not allowed to wear eyeliner. And certainly not in a serious movie like "Michael Clayton". Eyeliner is hereby reserved for Johnny Depp (whenever and however he likes) and possibly Chris Daughtry (possibly).

2. What is up with "Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann"?!?!? Specifically: WHY ARE THEY SINGING?!?! It ain't no dance war unless you are out of breath and you cannot sing if you are out of breath; they are totally focused on the singing; ERGO THIS IS NO DANCE WAR. Do they not think dancing is interesting enough in it's own right?

3. I was SO sure that Bret Michaels was going to see the light and CUT Daisy from the being his potential Rock of Love but NO. He "saved the best for last". GAG. Doesn't he know that Payton is the only one who's actually a real woman? Who's actually got her real boobs? Who's actually AGE APPROPRIATE?
Double Sheesh.

4. Did you all know that Bob Barker is gone from the Price is Right? And that Drew Carey is hosting in his place? When did this happen? Now, I don't have anything against Drew Carey but he just doesn't have the slightly slimy, frighteningly ageless, somewhat regal charm of good-ol Bob, now does he?

5. I don't know about this year's American Idol. I'm not too impressed so far. Here are my picks.

Of the boys, I like: Michael Johns, Jason Castro, and David Archuleta (how can you not love the DIMPLES?!). From the girls, I'm picking: Syesha Mercado, Brooke White and Alaina Whitaker.

And is anyone else tired of the bickering between the Simon and Ryan? I mean, REALLY TIRED.


Coming tomorrow! My Seven Weird Things. OOOhhhhh. AAAhhhhh...


Separate beds.

When I first started dating CG, we spent a weekend at his grandparents' house outside of San Diego. When we toured the house, I was shocked to see that they had had separate beds. How sad! How unromantic!

And now, how quickly I've come to see the benefits!

It became apparent early on that CG and I were not well suited in the sleep department. I want to sleep in PITCH BLACK. CG wants the curtains flung open so that the first light of day dances on his eyelids. I want to sleep on a squishy mattress, CG likes his firm. I like the window open for fresh cool air on my face while I curl up under a slew of comforters. CG likes the windows closed and an electric blanket on top of him, spewing its electromagnetic radiation over hapless co-sleepers. I like a white noise machine; he prefers silence. I want to go to bed early and wake up on my own; he has always stayed up late and used an alarm clock, HITTING THE SNOOZE BUTTON EVERY TEN MINUTES. (Though this is no longer an issue now that we have Z, aka. the human alarm clock, this was our biggest issue for about a year.) We're both convinced the other is a major Cover Stealer worthy of investigation or, at least, piercing glances over breakfast.

We managed to resolve most of our issues in the first year of living together. But now that we have spent the last week in separate beds, due to the Cough That Would Not Die, it's starting to make sense why couples would find themselves in separate beds long term. It may not mean that they don't love each other any more. In fact, maybe it keeps some marriages together, stronger, for longer.

Don't worry. My cough is abating and I'm sure we'll be wrestling over the covers again in no time. But it sure is nice to have a guest bed that is ready and waiting should the need for solitary slumber arise.


(P)Raising Arizona.

We're back from a lovely couple of days in Arizona at my in-laws' house. The weather was stellar, the views incredible, the family time unbeatable, the air crisp and clean (who knew that AIR had distinct smells? Los Angeleans [Los Angelites? Los Angelesians?], that's who!).

Unfortunately, CG and I spent most of that time feeling like roadkill. That's right, we're sick. AGAIN. CG was bedridden for almost the whole visit. I spent my time upright as quite possibly the worst houseguest in the history of houseguests. Leaving my crumbs and cups and plates everywhere? Check. Not lifting a finger in the kitchen? Check. Letting my toddler run wild through the house/yard with nary a word of discipline? Check. Coughing up my lungs till I retched, loudly blowing my nose and generally doing my ambulatory best to spread whatever nasty germ has got a hold of me this week? CHECK.

I've always loved my in-laws. But after a weekend of them changing poopy diapers, entertaining my increasingly challenging toddler, and cooking for us all endlessly, I would have to say they deserve a medal. Hopefully my medal to them doesn't come with a lovely virus attached.

Luckily (??), Z does not have this virus yet (or anymore? We're losing track of who's had what when. It's been a bad two months for us here at Casa de CBHM.).

A few happy pics from the trip:

She ate an entire belgian waffle by herself.

Z also ran herself sweaty at the local neighborhood playground (where I happened to cough so hard I retched into a trashcan, which sent running the rest of the kids who were competing for slide time. I'll have to remember that strategy next time.).


Naptime: A Choose Your Own Adventure.

You've made it through the morning. You finish the last book, ignore your daughter's mild, half-hearted requests for "more?" and lay her down in her crib. You close the door and turn on the monitor. It's now officially NAPTIME. (Party on. EXCELLENT.)

Do you immediately sit at your tempting, beckoning computer to read/write emails/blog posts(go to #1) or head to the kitchen to virtuously attack the dishes and begin to wrestle some order out of the toddler-created chaos that is your house (go to #2)?

1. Sitting down, you start by checking email, then your favorite blogs, then further down the list of favorite blogs. Then you rack your brain trying to remember who you thought to email something to that was drastically important but you were mid- diaper change/tantrum avoidance/general toddler wrangle and couldn't get to computer at the moment you thought about it. Then you google that thing you've been meaning to find out about (Does plastic leach out of tupperware even if you don't microwave it? And if so, what exactly does it "leach"?). Then you start your newest blog post. Then.... OH EFF, it's already been 45 minutes and you haven't showered, eaten lunch, cleaned up from the morning, made any phone calls or even let the dog out. Scrambling, you have to decide quickly... do you eat lunch (go to #3) or get in the shower (go to #4)?

2. You head into the kitchen and are quickly overwhelmed (perhaps just a few blogs before tackling the mess...? NO.). "Start small. Don't think about it too much. Put on music." you tell yourself, knowing that once you get started it'll all work out.
Pretty soon, the kitchen is cleaned up! and it's only been 10 minutes! YAY YOU. Now you can get in the shower and soon you'll be home free with the chores that you really NEED to get done. But wait... a new episode of "Rock of Love 2" your favorite show is on the DVR..... Do you head to the shower (go to #4) or head to the TV (go to #5)?

3. You sit down to lunch and try to ignore the mess in the living room. You start to eat and then think "this is awfully unproductive. I should be multitasking" and reach for the phone. Then you realize that chewing in people's ear (yes, EVEN your mother's ear) is actually more rude and annoying than trying to talk to them in the middle of having a tea party with your daughter. So you eat quickly and move on. Do you go watch some mindless TV while you clean up the living room (go to #5) or do you let the poor, sad eyed dog out to pee (go to #7)?

4. You're in the shower and as the warm water rushes over your closed eyes you think, for the millionth time, that this is the best part of the day, even if you are committing a major environmental sin by wasting water with every non-productive moment. You step out, lather on lotion and feel great knowing that you have taken good care of yourself. Then you get pissed that taking a freaking shower now qualifies as "taking good care of yourself".
While putting the lotion away, you realize that the bathroom cabinet, you know the one that you always shove stuff in rather than arrange neatly, is in SERIOUS need of attention. Do you resolve that it's now or never and set out to clean it (go to #6) or do you go do the other outrageous, "taking good care of yourself" activity known as eating your lunch (go to #3)?

5. Turning on the TV feels so.... dirty. There it is, in all its schlocky glory, your favorite show Rock of Love 2. Bret Michaels trying to find "love" amongst some crazy, I-don't-know-whether-their-lips-or-their-boobs-are-more-fake "ladies" is seriously good TV. You absent-mindedly pick up some toys, pick through your mail and get about half-way into the episode when you hear the telltale sounds from the monitor. "Ennnhhhh." "EEEEEENNNNNhhhhhh." Oh well, you'll have to wait till tonight to find out who wins the "talent" contest. Do you immediately head in to pick her up (go to #9) or linger reasonably close by, trying desperately to hold on to the last moments of freedom naptime (go to #8)?

6. You start by patting yourself on the back for tackling this necessary project. Pulling everything out of the cabinet, you wipe down the mysteriously sticky shelves
and organize the bottles and jars into piles on your bathroom floor. Just as you start chucking the expired medicinal flotsam and promised-it-would-make-my-hair-silky-but-really-made-it-slimy jetsam, you hear the first sound. "Eeehhhhhh. ehhhhHHHHHH."
(EFF.) SUCKA! You thought you had enough time and here you are, knee deep in your third tier personal care products, listening to the baby monitor with bated breath.
"EnnnHHHHH. EEEEEENhhhhhhhhhhhhh." You start shoving things back into the cabinet and force it closed.
Do you immediately head in to pick up the babe (go to #9) or linger reasonably close by, trying desperately to hold on to the last moments of freedom naptime (go to #8)?

7. You let your pup out to pee and as you close the door behind you, you realize a little too late that you closed it a bit too hard. You hold your breath and listen. "EEnnnnHHHHH." "ennnnnnHHHHHHHH." EFF. Not fair, NOT FAIR, you think and then check yourself. Take a deep breath. Do you go pick her up right away (go to #9) or take your sweet time, knowing that she's still probably half asleep and MIGHT even go back to sleep if you wait a bit (go to #8)?

8. You hang out close by, picking up strewn crayons and Little People (do real life little people take offense to the name of those toys??), hoping to hear her quiet back down.
No such luck. You open the door and hear "Uh OH!". Your daughter is standing up in her crib pointing down at the dolly, blanket and pacis lying on the floor. "Yeah", you say, "Uh OH. They must have jumped to their death." You pick her up, all warm and bedheaded from her nap and kiss her silky neck. "Hi Sweetheart. Did you have a good nap?"

"Yeth." she says and points out the door. Naptime is officially OVER.

9. You walk inside her room and immediately wonder if you made the right decision. She's still lying down (DOH!) and her eyes are closed. But the creaky floorboards under your feet alert her to your presence and she starts to stir some more. You walk over to her and say, innocently "Do you want to go back to sleep?" fully realizing the futility of the question. "NO." she says and reaches for you.

You pick her up and start the mental countdown. 22 hours until the next naptime.....


FYI: I'll be gone for a few days for a long weekend in Arizona. Hope to be back blogging later next week!


Hillary, I'm sorry.

Dear Z,

I am sitting at the desk staring at the remnants of my vote-by-mail ballot for Super Tuesday's primary election.

This feels like a big election. But they all have felt big.

I imagine that one day you might ask me if I voted for Hillary Clinton, the first (viable) female candidate for President. You will know me as the feminist liberal I am and possibly assume that I voted for her.

And I will vote for her, if she winds up being our Democratic nominee. But in this primary, I voted for Barack Obama. And that makes me more than a little sad.

I love Hillary. I think she is smart, capable, articulate, and politically savvy. I respect her immensely; I think she can handle the stress, pressure and circus-ness of the Presidency with aplomb and grace. I find the prospect of a female President, of HILLARY for President, extremely exciting.

She is also incredibly polarizing. There are many, many people who hate her; some because she is a woman, some because of her husband, some because of who she is. I have always loved her for those very same reasons but the fact that she is so hated makes me think she would not fare well in the general election. Her very existence could mobilize forces against her very, very fast.

I have decided to vote for Obama simply because I think these two candidates' policy differences are insubstantial. What ARE very different are their personalities and how people respond to them. Clinton is a work horse, an executive, a nose-to-the-grindstone policy wonk (which I LOVE. But I also loved Al Gore and John Kerry for the very same reasons and look what happened to them). Obama is a visionary, a truly gifted orator, a young, passionate trail blazing candidate. He is green and inexperienced but he really, really excites people. He seems like a fun, positive, self-assured guy who would put you at ease.

For some annoying reason, people tend to vote for fun guys more than policy wonks. And now I am one of those people.

Maybe I'm just tired of the policy wonks losing.

So if Hillary wins the nomination, I will get behind her. I will possibly campaign for her, send her money and definitely vote for her in November. The potential of another ruinous Republican Presidency has me in cold sweat. Part of me hopes that she does win. Win it all.

But the rest of me (you know, the part with the PEN) is voting for Barack. This was a tortured decision and I hope you understand.


Your Clueless But Hopeful Mama


Mama Loves Disco.

At 11 am on Saturday morning, I was despairing. CG was clearly still sick and taking an early nap. Z seemed to be feeling better but was still fussy, didn't want to read books until I put them away and then she was all "BOOTCH! BOOOOTTTCCcHHHHH!" *repeatrepeatrepeat*, and nothing was right. All signs pointed to us missing an event we (and by "we", I mean ME) had been looking forward to for weeks: Baby Loves Disco. (I mean, why live in LA if not to partake in such things? Why else would I deal with the smog and the silicone and the traffic and the Botoxed, perma-tanned, Stepford weathermen?? MAMA WANT DISCO.)

As I resigned myself to the thought that Z was just too fussy to inflict on the breeding, discoing hipsters in Hollywood, I started blabbing to her about how our friends T, T, and D were going to be there. She paused her whining for a moment. Then I mentioned there would be dancing. She immediately stood up and did a little knee bounce/shoulder shimmy that made her mama proud.

With that inspiration, I threw her craziest clothes on her, stuffed some snacks in my purse and ran out the door.

And a disco star (with leg warmers, no less) was born.

Okay, not really. She pretty much clung to me the whole time, barely tolerated any time standing on her own two feet and only "danced" if a tantrum foot stomp can be considered part of the hustle. Plus, my back is still sore from bouncing her solid little toddler self around the dance floor for two hours.

But I will take what I can get. Mama does love her disco.

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