Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Woman in her Thirties Doesn't Bother

Last month Daniel got sick. I'm talking sick. Uncontrollable diarrhea at 4:00am sick. Puking on the stairs sick. Just last month I was bragging to my Mom about how Daniel is the healthiest dog in the world, so I guess that's what a woman in her thirties gets for being a showoff.

Poor Dan was put on medication (twice) and a bland diet, but it really has taken upwards of four weeks for him to be 100% better.

In the last four weeks, a lot has happened. I told my school I'm staying at home to be a Mom indefinitely. L has been traveling all over creation, and I've been alone with Anna a lot of the time. I'm still struggling with some serious separation anxiety from my little Punkerson. And then there's cooking special food for Dan. It's not that the cooking has been hard-- it's just boiled turkey and white rice. It's just one more thing to do. Doesn't it look delicious?

I really didn't enjoy cooking at all until I lived in China, and even then I learned to cook as a way of decompressing after a long day and maintaining the slightest bit of control over my crazy life. I think that's why I've been cooking a lot lately. I've made from-scratch Indian, an assortment of Ina classics, and various concoctions involving coconut rice and risotto. A regular woman-in-her-thirties domestic goddess, that's me. Whomp whomp.

You'd think that L would love that I'm embracing my inner chef, but no. Don't get me wrong, he thinks it's 'alright'. But what he really wants is dog food. You read that correctly. Even though Dan is better, I am still making his boiled turkey and rice, because it's now L's favorite meal. He tops it with lots and lots of this:And when he's eating it you'd think I'd just spent hours slaving away on the stove, a la June Cleaver.

This morning I found myself feeling anxious about... well, you know. Woman in her thirties stuff. But when my mind immediately went to cooking something to take my mind off of things, I remembered the chocolate orange mousse still sitting in the fridge, and the chicken masala I threw out last night because it had gone bad. So instead of reaching for a cookbook, I boiled some turkey, made some rice, and by the time I sat down at my computer to write this post, I realized that a woman in her thirties doesn't bother with complicated distractions. Sometimes the best recipes really are the simplest.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Woman in her Thirties is Five Months

Dear Spunkin,

Tomorrow you are five months old. In five months you've gone from this:

To this:Right before my very eyes. Care to explain this to me? Because I don't get it.

To say the last month has been one of dramatic change would be an understatement. You, Punky, have become your own little woman in her... five months. You've tried rice cereal:

Made a BFF in Dan:
And learned how to sleep without your Magical Suit:We've started reading a lot (never too early, right?), and while I'm struggling with the point of the But Not the Hippopotamus franchise, I'm loving that we have your Auntie M's, old Charlie Brown books. We also sing a lot, which is to say that I sing a lot, and you do what you do, which is stare at me with your big brown eyes and smile. Our current favorite tune is Usher's 'DJ Got Us Falling in Love', which is ridiculous, because I'm really not a fan of DJs. But more on that later. Much later.

A woman in her thirties should celebrate the growth of her child, and while I'm certainly doing that on some level (You're sleeping 8 hours per night! Consistently!), I would be lying if I said there wasn't a part of me that wanted time to stop right now, in this moment. Every morning when I walk into your bedroom and turn on the light I say, 'Where's my girl?'. When you hear my voice, your mouth opens up big, like this:

And the part of me that knows that in fifteen years you're sooo going to hate my guts wants to pick you up and say, 'Stay my baby forever, Pumpkin,' because I know right now, if you could, you would.

If there's one thing a woman in her thirties knows about motherhood, is that it's all-encompassing. I knew that going into it, but what remains somewhat shocking to me is that, when I'm away from you for just an hour on the weekend for a yoga class, I miss you terribly. And based on your reactions when I try to leave you with other people, I get the sense that you miss me terribly, too. I've never felt so loved and needed in my whole life, and while that might have scared the woman in her twenties I was, the woman in her thirties that I am can only smile and say that I love you, too. The feeling is more than mutual.


Friday, April 15, 2011

A Woman in her Thirties is a Slave to Fashion

I have spent much of my life in what I like to call 'Target-chic' attire. Blame ten years of Catholic school uniforms and a lifetime of two older sisters' hand-me-downs. Or blame my tendency toward cheap and comfortable, especially in the shoe department (thank you, Dankso!). Either way, my closet consists of seven pairs of yoga pants, every shirt that has ever gone on sale at Banana Republic, and not a single skirt or skinny jean. A woman in her thirties snooze-fest.

Maybe that's why, when I found out I was having a girl, I was able to restrain myself when it came to buying her cutesy clothes. With only one exception, I did not go clothes shopping for Anna before she was born. Even now, when I find myself browsing the racks at Baby Gap, I gravitate toward sweatshirts and easy-to-snap onesies. A woman in her thirties is practical, and while I may not be the fashionista my friends are, I've got the pragmatic aspect of this decade down pat.

I know now that something happens when a woman in her thirties gets pregnant with a girl, something to the people around her. Because even though every person in my life knows that I would rather scrub toilets all afternoon than wear high heels, my baby girl got some cutesy stuff that I would never buy in a million years. Here's a a peek:

Exhibit A: Frill-a-poloozaA neighbor gave Anna this outfit. I don't know what to say, other than she wore this to church and pooped through the tights by the first reading. So... I'm guessing the cow motif isn't her thing.

Exhibit B: Ummm, excuse me. It's designer.
I'm not going to lie and say I knew when I saw this little outfit that Kissy-Kissy was a fancy Nordstrom brand. H had to tell me. But I will tell you that Anna has enough Ralph Lauren for me to tell you that the brand runs kinda small for babies. I'll be able to tell you about Burberry, when Anna wears her designer swimsuit from Grandma and Grandpa this summer. That's right. A Burberry swimsuit for a six month old.

Exhibit C: Costume Wear
I totally get that it is adorable to dress up little kids for Halloween, but Anna has a costume for every occasion. Particularly the snow, which is hardly an 'occasion' here in Pleasantville. Either way, Anna has braved the cold as a dinosaur, a flower, and a teddy bear. Among other things.

Exhibit D: Accessorizing
When it comes to accessories, I wear a watch and my wedding rings. If that. I don't own a single belt or headband. Anna, however, has more than her share. And while I tend not to put anything on her head unless... well, I tend not to... her socks are my weakness. Her red Trumpettes are my favorite. If Gap made these in my size (buy one get one free), I'd wear them.

I never thought I'd say this, but even though I may or may not be wearing jeans that should be retired to the great clearance rack in the sky, I love dressing up my girl. Even when it's in something I'd never buy for her myself. Even if it's in something she might look back at one day and say, 'Aw, Mom!' A women in her thirties knows that, in the end, her job will be to help her daughter become the person she wants to be, regardless of how she chooses to look. Until then, I'll be on the lookout for baby Danskos, just in case.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Woman in her Thirties Holds Hands

I am a fairly breezy woman in her thirties. Sure, I have my OCD issues pertaining to housekeeping and oral hygiene, but on the whole I'm a pretty laid back person. Move to China for three years? Sure, why not. Italian or Japanese for dinner tonight? I don't care-- you decide. I'd much rather have someone else in the driver's seat so I can sit back, relax, and make smartass comments along the way.

I am trying very hard not to be the kind of Mom who labels her child as anyone or anything, especially at only four and a half months, but I will say this: my baby loves her Momma. A lot. She loves her Momma so much that in the past two weeks I've been paged at the gym to get my inconsolable child seven times. Seven times. Nothing is wrong, other than she wants me. What I'm saying is that, without labeling her, so far I don't think my Anna inherited my breeziness.

According to the books (that I swear I'm going to stop reading), Anna is very early for this type of separation anxiety. Part of me chalks it up to her superior intelligence and overall propensity for achievement, but another part of me, the part of me that has another eight pounds of baby weight to lose, is getting pretty frustrated. 'I always come back,' I tell my baby's tear stained face when I see her, and do my best not to cry in front of the child care staff as we leave.

I've talked to many women in their thirties about this issue. The responses I've gotten have ranged from 'I never dealt with that' to 'there's nothing you can do-- they grow out of it eventually', with a smattering of advice regarding lovies and binkies along the way. Nothing has worked yet.

Then, this morning, while I watch Anna play with L's fingers while he held her on the couch, I remembered that there have been a few times when Anna has cried in the car and I've just reached over and held her hand. Like this:

And it worked to comfort her. So tomorrow, instead of giving Anna the blanket I've been trying to infuse with my 'scent', I'm just going to tell the girls at childcare that please, if possible, if she's crying, just hold her hand. I can only imagine the funny looks I'll get, but if it works it works, right?

And maybe someone will hold my hand on the way out, too. A woman in her thirties might need a bit of comfort as well, as she learns to let go.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Woman in her Thirties Gets Filled

A woman in her thirties has probably played 'two truths and a lie' several times in her life. Think back to the first day of high school... come on... you know what I'm talking about. Every time I play (and granted, I've played more than most as a high school teacher), I use the same three:

1. I have been robbed in a bank-- twice.
2. I have never had a cavity.
3. I have three sisters.

If you know me, you know that the lie is #3- I have two sisters. I used to work at a bank in college and got robbed twice (I'll have to post those stories later). And I have the world's most perfect oral hygiene. I have never had a cavity. Those were my 'truths'.


A woman in her thirties should not keep secrets, but there is one I've been keeping for six months now. Here goes: when I went for a cleaning last summer (while seven months pregnant), my dentist told me she found not one, not two, but three tiny cavities. That's right. THREE.

Let's talk a bit about my OCD in the oral hygiene department. It is second to none. I'm not exaggerating. I brush 3+ times per day, floss every night, and rinse with Listerine. Every night. No exceptions. People at my previous jobs have laughed at me brushing after lunch or keeping floss in my purse. And while I've had every kind of orthodontic disaster known to mankind happen to me, I have never had a cavity. Never.

'There must be some kind of mistake,' I said to the dentist.

'No mistake,' she said. 'It's because you're pregnant, I'm sure. The baby takes all your calcium...'

'You don't understand,' I told her. 'I've never had a cavity.'

'They're tiny,' she said. 'You won't even need Novocaine to fill them.'

I shook my head. 'No,' I said. 'Impossible.'

My dentist was getting clearly annoyed. 'Blame the baby,' she sighed. 'But I would fill them now be done with it, if I were you.'

I didn't. Despite being busy with a baby, I have had these three blemishes at the forefront of my mind/mouth every day since then. I've brushed, flossed, and Listerine-d more vigorously than ever, hoping that by my next cleaning they will have gone away, and that my dentist would see how wrong she'd been.

A few weeks ago I had another cleaning, and there was no miraculous turn of events. They were still there. And I had to make an appointment to have them filled.

A woman in her thirties should have more poise than I did when going in to my appointment for my fillings. Instead, I told anyone who would listen that it was because I'd been pregnant, I brush and floss every day thank you very much, and really, since there was no Novocaine involved, should we really even call this a filling?

I was in and out in twenty minutes, but the bitterness has lasted several days. I can't help but feel like the gray hairs are next, and have you noticed the crows feet that have developed around my eyes?

How very un-woman-in-her-thirties of me, I thought this morning. I've decided that, while my 'two truths and a lie' games are forever changed, thirty two years without a cavity should be celebrated. With sweets, preferably. And big, toothless smiles.