Friday, May 27, 2005

if you don't believe that i love you...

Ben, there is a bookshelf in your room. A pretty but precarious bookshelf that threatened to tip over on you whenever you were near it. There are earthquakes here in California, and you are learning to propel yourself forward, so for the last week, I'd been meaning to install this furniture anchor onto your bookshelf. It started with the screws. The screws wouldn't fit through the brackets. The drill kept coming unplugged. I put the brackets at the wrong height on the bookshelf. You bounced in your Exersaucer and laughed at me. Your bookshelf is apparently made of titanium and not wood, and I couldn't get the screw to penetrate it, so the brackets and screws kept flying across the room. After screaming, "If I had a gun right now, I'd shoot myself" and "Nothing in this world should be this hard," Ryan scooped you up and took you into the other room, away from your crazy mother. After seriously considering the statistical likelihood that the bookshelf wouldn't tip over on you, I finally decided that I love you too much to risk it. After a half-hour of pure hell, I got the damn thing installed. So you are safe. And I love you. And this proves it.

I remember when I was little, I used to wonder what my dad's problem was when he yelled when he couldn't assemble or install something. Dad, I totally understand now. And I totally get why you had to knock a couple of cold ones back when you finally finished the job.

i got an what do i do?!

After receiving a discouraging email from my superior at the college where I teach, an email which basically implied that a person with a degree in creative writing will never get full-time teaching work at this particular college, I grew angry and began looking for another job. I wanted a job where people appreciated me, where I got benefits, where I would have some upward mobility. I stumbled upon a position at the University of Redlands as the Assitant Director of Academic Support Services. I would basically hire tutors, help students with their academic goals, counsel and give workshops. So I'd still get to work with students, but I'd get paid more and be able to, say, get new glasses or a cleaning at the dentist. I could probably pay my rent and my student loans and my car off. I applied in May and the position was announced in March, so I figured it was a long shot. Then yesterday, I received a call from the U of R. They asked me if I wanted to interview. When I said yes, relieved, the person on the other end of the line said, "Oh, good. You didn't find another job yet." I was confused and delighted--she sounded as though she was genuinely interested in me. At my college, they act like I'm lucky just to have leftover adjunct positions.

So now I have an interview. And if I nail it, I probably have a job. A full-time job. That starts on July 1. HOLY SHIT.

Am I ready to be a full-time worker? Am I ready to leave Ben at daycare? Am I ready to miss his every breath and sound and movement? Am I ready to work 40+ hours a week again?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

why tom cruise is so creepy

Nearly a year ago, when I was still pregnant, Tom Cruise visited me in the night. In this horrible nightmare, I woke to find him jumping out of my closet wearing a black leather jacket and laughing that maniacal laugh of his. He grabbed me by the shoulders and screamed in my face, "Congratulations!! You just won two tickets to my premiere!" This might be some girls' dream, but I woke in a cold sweat. My heart was beating; my blood was racing through my veins. I shook Ryan and made him reassure me that Tom Cruise was not, in fact, in my closet. It took me a long, long while to fall asleep. I'd forgotten all about the dream until Hollywood recently plastered him all over all forms of media--magazines, news, t.v.--and now that night has come back to me, and, with it, all the terrifying memories.

Why is Tom Cruise so creepy? Is it that crazy, crazy laugh? His tireless search for adventure? The way he pumped his fists and jumped on Oprah's couch last week, declaring his love for the girl he's dated for one week? What person in his right mind jumps on Oprah's couch? If it had been a regular guest and not an actor, Oprah would have had him thrown out on his ass. Maybe the thing that bugs me the most about Tom Cruise is that he criticizes women for taking antidepressants for post partum depression. I never had to take any, but I felt like I was damn close for a while. And all I know is that once Tom Cruise squeezes a human being out of an orifice of his body, lets this human being eat from his breasts on an hourly basis for months AND, finally, gets an M.D. from an accredited medical school, then, and only then, will he qualify as an expert on such matters.

tom cruise is the creepiest motherfucker i've ever encountered. Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 22, 2005

the most handsome boy ever invented Posted by Hello

happy man Posted by Hello

me and ben whooping it up Posted by Hello

post-party relief Posted by Hello

gettin' down in the exersaucer. note the laundry basket, broken down dryer, and garbage bag full of clothes for the salvation army in the background. help! i'm drowning in household work! Posted by Hello

I have four necks! Posted by Hello

playing is so confusing! Posted by Hello

a busy, busy week

We went to two birthday parties, my brother's comedy show; it was finals week at our jobs and Ben had a stomach bug. Here's an excerpt from his diarrhea log:

Day 1: 3 yellow, seedy; 1 green and watery. Vomiting. Ate cereal and bananas and carrots and applesauce and 24 oz. of formula--vomited all except late night bottle.
Day 2: 1 green/yellow, watery. No solid foods. 12 oz. of formula. No drool. Peed once. Some vomiting.
Day 3: No stool.
Day 4: 1 light yellow, more solid. No vomiting.

Never did I think I would be keeping track of anyone else's excrement. What is missing in the log is Ben's projectile vomiting of grape-flavored Pedialyte all over my shirt and pants, and the morning when I went to get him and he was soaked from head to toe in curdled milk. Oh, and the morning when he was rolling around in his crib in the oozing, green diarrhea that had exploded from his diaper.

Ben's better now, so yesterday we went to a birthday party for a family friend who was turning 50. It was held at the R's house, world-renknowned for making people uncomfortable at their "parties." Nine months ago, the R's 17-year-old daughter gave birth to googly-eyed twin runts who had enticing toys that Ben couldn't play with due to Mrs. R's aversion to "germs." Apparently, Mrs. R has never heard of soap and water. In return, I tried to coax Ben into licking their photo frames, light switches and silk plants just for fun.

Ben has excellent taste, and he hates the R's. He screeched the entire time we were there. When we got home, he, relieved, played contentedly in his Exersaucer (see pics above), ate some sweet potatoes and cereal and fell blissfully asleep. It is absolutely amazing how many people in this world are lacking personalities and etiquette, yet still manage to be convinced that they are better than everyone else. I will never subject Ben to those horrible, horrible people again.

Last week, I had a little bout with depression or hormone shifts or sleeplessness or something. We went to a day spa for my sister-in-law Jillian's birthday, and I left Ben at day care. Unfortunately, we hit traffic on the way back, and I was too late to go to work to collect my student's final research papers. My husband Ryan teaches the same night and he assured me that it would be no problem to collect the papers for me. But for some reason, I suddenly felt so overwhelmingly guilty for everything--for going to the day spa in the first place, for missing my students' last day, for leaving Ben at day care while I rubbed clay on my body, for shirking my responsibilities, for not striking the correct balance between mother, English instructor, and 25-year-old who wants to have fun with her friends. I was crying hysterically. Later that night, we went out for dinner, and I told Ryan, who's been working very hard, to go out for drinks with his sister and friends and that I would take the baby home. Unfortunately, I forgot to get the alarm for Ryan's car, and I went running through the parking lot at 10pm like a madwoman trying to find Ryan to get his keys. Finally, after what must have been a quarter mile of running, I burst into tears (again) and, miraculously, Ryan and his sis spotted me running from their car on the way out of the lot, and they drove me back to the car. To make a long story short, I got into the car to discover it was extremely low on gas, tried and nearly failed to find a gas station before stalling out, got lost and nearly fell asleep on the freeway on the way home.

I had a lot of fun on Jill's birthday, but I was so very tired on the next day, and I faced a mountain of grading and housework. Which I'm still catching up on.

Days like these make me so grateful for the days when I simply stay at home and sit around in my pajamas and play with Ben.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

ben and grandpa hit the road Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 12, 2005

ben conked out after a night on the town...well, more like an hour at the kids' club at the Y. Posted by Hello

if you look close, you can see his teeth Posted by Hello

close-up on the silly boy Posted by Hello

with daddy in the morning  Posted by Hello

ben, your mama's crazy... Posted by Hello

Monday, May 09, 2005

my first mother's day

As Mother's Day approaches each year, there are images of moms plastered all over the television: mom's winning awards on the Today Show for being so wonderful, mothers and daughters laughing at inside jokes and memories from their deep, mutual history. I always feel sort of sad on Mother's Day. I can't help it. My own mother died when I was 10 years old, and my stepmother--who raised me and who probably doesn't bother to ever read anything I write here--has let me down again and again. She's never showed any interest in anything I've ever done--playing basketball, getting my education, writing. She thinks my baby is four months old no matter how many times I tell her he's seven months old. I feel like a switch has turned off in me towards her, and I don't think I'll ever be able to turn it back on. So on Mother's Day, I always feel this empty feeling as I scrawl out a card to her and put it in the mail.

But this year, I'm a mother for the first time. And I know what it means to be a mother. This year, Mother's Day was not full of empty emotions and awkward moments. My husband woke up early with the baby and let me sleep in. He brought Ben into our room and Ben bounced on my stomach, and I gave him kisses. We went to my in-laws house and ate breakfast (thanks Jill and Bridge!) and spent the day with Mary, my mother-in-law, who is, honestly, more of a mom to me than anyone else has ever been. This year I spent Mother's Day the way I wanted to--with people who love me and make me feel good about myself and with my son, whom I love more than anyone in the world.

I'm sorry if anyone in my family reads this and gets offended. But it's my blog. If you have something to say, start your own.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

unless you're from boston...

THERE'S NO "R" IN BENJAMIN'S NAME! It's Ben-JA-min, not Ben-JER-min. This is the last you'll hear from me tonight, but today someone asked me if he was pottytrained yet and whether or not he walks. He just turned seven months old! Give the kid some slack! Yesterday, the lady who called him BenJERmin said, in a baby voice, "I need a bib, Mom" because he was drooling. Instead of being a man about it and saying it directly, she said it from Ben's perspective, which both Ben and I found insulting. Later, Ben reassured me that in fact he did not need a bib. The same day, in the parking lot of Target after Ben had just finished ripping his sunglasses from his face, a lady said, "Where's his sunglasses?" Listen, lady, I tried, but he ripped them from his face. He was wearing sunscreen though, with citronella in it to battle the bugs. Doesn't that count for anything? And, you, the guy in Vons who told me to "take good care of him": back off, buddy; he's in good hands. Do I have a sign on my back that says WANTED: UNSOLICITED ADVICE?! When Ryan pushes the baby anywhere in the stroller, people think he is amazing because he is having something, anything to do with his son. But me, I forget the bib, and everyone notices. What's wrong with this world?

stay away from me! Posted by Hello

the crankiest birthday of all

Ben, I'm not going to blow smoke up your butt. You were extremely difficult to handle today. There was a moment when you were flipping out in your crib, tired but unwilling to sleep, that I considered downing the rest of a three-month-old bottle of wine just to get through the rest of the day. This was around 2pm on a Thursday, mind you. I remember when you were only a couple of months old, and I thought, just wait until he's six months old; he's going to be so much happier. He'll be able to distract himself and play and smile. True, you do this more than you used to, and you have more good days, but on your bad days, you really kick my ass. You didn't want to do anything today. You didn't want to eat, you didn't want to sleep, you didn't want to watch your Baby Einstein dvd, you didn't want to play. You're neither constipated nor hungry. No rash. No fever. You were just being a butthead.

I made the mistake of preparing your bath but not having your pjs ready to go, so that when you got out of the bath, screaming and tearing the glasses from my face, you writhed as, my heart racing, I struggled to find matching pajamas. Our dryer doesn't work, so I put you in a strange outfit. The pants, a hand-me-down from your 2-year-old uncle, had little folds at the bottom, and I covered your bare feet with them. Exhausted from the day, I read you a Good Night Moon and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom--the only time that you stopped squirming--and I noticed your pink little toes poking out from the folds of the pants. I started laughing, and I couldn't stop. For some reason it was so funny, suddenly, that some days you can be so annoying and then your toes poke out and it's cute and hilarious. I used to have a cat named Spanky McFarlan who scratched the litter box for 30 minutes at a time and pissed all over everything. I got Spanky adopted before we moved to New York, and I never felt bad about it or missed him. But you, you Ben, you're the kind of annoying I love, and I won't ever let you go. Happy seven months.

thinking about screaming Posted by Hello

benjamin's come undone Posted by Hello

i smile at pavlov the puppet on my dvd more than i smile at my mom and dad Posted by Hello

i can't believe you're wearing that Posted by Hello

i hate my toys! Posted by Hello

i hate rolling over! Posted by Hello

i hate life! Posted by Hello

i hate playing! Posted by Hello

i hate my finger! Posted by Hello

i hate your camera Posted by Hello