Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Woman in Her Thirties Shakes it Off

I have never been delusional about a career in writing.  I knew going into it that it wasn't going to be long, leisurely afternoons in cafes, but I wasn't totally prepared for the emotional ups and downs of the writing life.  Lately, if I'm going to be totally honest, I've been super discouraged.  The thought publishing another book seems so daunting that I'm dragging my heels.

So, a few weeks ago when I got an email that my book was up for an award, I felt a quick recharge.  'Woo Hoo! Recognition! Finally!' That recharge, however, faded fast when I realized that my book was up for "best cover".

Not content.  

Not writing.  

Best Cover.

Now, let's be totally clear.  My cover is AWESOME.  The guy who designed it is so beyond talented it's ridiculous.  He completely deserves every accolade he receives. (Here's his website.  He specializes in maps.  Amaze.)

And yet.

I thought for a long time about not going to the awards ceremony.  In fact, I was a total poop about it.  I didn't tell many people about the award because I didn't want to have to do the 'Guess what? My book is up for an award!' and then bring in the sad trombone (wha wha whaaaa....).  I knew how totally ungracious I was, but I didn't care.  Writing is so sucky sometimes.  It can bring out the poop in anyone.

Yesterday morning, after much hemming and hawing, I decided to go to the awards gala.  As any Kardashian will agree, any publicity is good publicity.  And sure, the honor was certainly more my illustrator's than mine, but that didn't mean I shouldn't go to cheer him on.  So Anna and I got all dressed up, put on our biggest smiles, and went.

 Anna, modeling my book on display.  Everyone loved her, obviously.

As we mingled, (well, as Anna talked to everyone about their jewelry, her tiara, and her beautiful necklace), the thought never crossed my mind that my illustrator wouldn't win.  I mean, IT DID NOT CROSS MY MIND.  I sat in the crowd trying to figure out the best way to go up and accept the award with him without tripping over my high heels and humiliating myself.

Then the awards started and one of my fellow author friends won for best non-fiction, and that was so great.  And then it was my turn, and I pointed to the screen when my book came up, and I asked Anna if she wanted to come up to the stage with me.

And.. Sadder Trombone... (Wha Wha Whaaaaaaaaaaaa...) We didn't win.

I realize I am totally biased, but I am in a unique position with this.  Sure, it's my book, but it's not my award.  So I feel totally justified to say WE SHOULD HAVE WON.  Fine, my most incredible illustrator (who also looks exactly like my baby brother) should have won.

But this is the writing life.  Ups.  Downs.  Mediums.  I was talking to one of L's friends the other night about how a person doesn't pursue a career in the arts unless they love it.  They must love it, otherwise they just can't.  They'd be crazy to.

I tossed and turned a bunch last night, but not over any of the excitement or disappointment.  I thought of that moment in the audience, when my book wasn't announced as the winner, and Anna looked up at me to see my reaction.

'Aw man,' I whispered to her.  'We didn't win.'

'That's okay, Mommy,' she said.  'You'll win next time!"

She might be right, when it comes to books.  But when it comes to being a mom, I've already won.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Woman in her Thirties on the Potty*

*Not-so-fun fact.  In six years blogging on this site, the post that gets the most hits (and I mean in the tens of THOUSANDS, and counting) is 'A Woman in her Thirties Pees her Pants'.  That is because the internet is full of weird, gross people, who are undoubtedly not looking for stories of women peeing their pants during pregnancy in the Target parking lot.  We will see what this post title generates....)

Bring up potty training to any parent, and you're bound to get a visceral reaction.  For some reason, potty training is the one subject any parent can agree on when it comes to parenting:  IT SUCKS.  It really does.  I wrote about it here, when I trained Anna, and since then there hasn't been any big changes in that regard.  Sucks.

With Anna, I was fairly laissez-faire about the whole thing.  It will happen when it happens.  And then it happened, and I was happy.  This was a good attitude to have.  It is the attitude I have tried to have with Aaron, but the ever-selfish woman in her thirties that I am has had one 'devil' on my shoulder, so to speak, and it's made me a little anxious:

When Aaron is potty trained, my life changes. Possibilities open up to me that I wouldn't have otherwise.  Camps.  Classes.  Drop-off play times, for BOTH kids.  Not to mention the whole not-buying-diapers thing.  He needs to be potty trained for the fall, the weather has been gorgeous lately, so shoot, I thought.  Let's just get this show on the road.

In fairness, Aaron has been going potty for months now.  Every time he would get out of the bath, I would lift him up and let him pee into the toilet.  MONTHS.  Then, when I started researching how to actually potty train a boy, I realized this was a colossal mistake.  Boys are supposed to sit and point... you know.... downward.  When I tried to do this with Aaron, he looked at me like I was crazy.  

So things are going great, as long as you don't count that I've done this all wrong.

(Us, on our first walk around the block sans diaper.  He nailed it!  We're working on our fifth day of little to no pee accidents.  Hooray!)

Unfortunately, this is not the case with good ol' number two.   Aaron has always been very... consistent in this department, so I felt like as long as I caught him before he ran to hide behind the curtains (his favorite spot to go), then we'd be in business.

Not so much.  

But this is where the zen-like potty experience with Anna comes into play.  A woman in her thirties either looks at the glass (or potty) as half empty, or half full.  In this case, as in many cases in my life currently, I'm choosing half full (of pee).  Half full (of pee) is good, and while half full (of poop) would also be nice, half full (of pee) is still pretty great.  When he is ready, there will be poop.  Lots of poop!  

And when there is, it will be sweet.  And gross.  But sweet, too.