Monday, April 19, 2010

Life Doesn't Stop...

The Brooklyn Baby Daddy is an excellent children's performer.

The cake made my The Brooklyn Baby Momma, amateur cake boss.

Stella with Daddy and her cousins. And her beloved cupcake.

A happy birthday, indeed.

So, we made our decision about moving to Kentucky and we're feeling good about it, but of course we haven't really had a chance to think about it, or plan for it, because life continues to move forward at its thoroughbred pace.

Stella's birthday was last week, and I find it incredibly hard to believe that it was two long years ago that this miraculous person entered my life. This age is so adorable, so exciting, so enjoyable that we find ourselves looking for a way to live life in slow-motion. Terrible two's? Not when your child is a good sleeper, a good sharer, cleans up after herself, constantly wants to learn, shows off to make you laugh, and snuggles with you as you read her books.

Oops. I think I just sounded like the smug parents that almost drove me to homicide during the first year of Stella's life. So let me make this clear: Stella got to this wonderful stage mostly on her own, with little nudges from us. We are not uber-parents and we don't know it all.

But we are better than we used to be. And that is a very good thing.

My mom came up from Kentucky to be with us for Stella's birthday, and my heart almost can't take watching my daughter fall more and more deeply in love with my mom. It's so endearing to hear this little New York City kid call her grandmother "Mamaw." And it makes me so excited that we'll be moving closer to my family so these types of experiences will no longer be so few and far between.

But now I find myself filled with good old Southern superstition, and I don't want to talk about it anymore. For fear that somehow, it won't happen.

So, I'll say that it's so nice just to live life and not stress out about THIS MAJOR FAMILY DECISION anymore. Yes, I still need to find a job. So does Dave. And we need to find a place to live. And someone to take over our lease. And we have to hire movers.

But at least peace has been restored in the home. And we have an adorable little girl to keep us entertained.

Monday, April 12, 2010

1st Haircut and Other Life Altering Events

Stella gets a sweet ride during her cut.

And she gets to watch Elmo!

The bangs caused some unhappiness.

The result is pretty darn cute!

Stella got her first haircut last Friday. As is typical for her, she was a screaming banshee all morning (she's getting the final few teeth in and she lets us know that it SUCKS), but then she was a completely calm angel for the hair stylist. See her cherubic little face in the pictures? Well, except when we went in for the bangs, but that annoys even the best of us.

Stella's hair has given us some grief for a while. She hates having it brushed and she pulls out every barrette and band we put in there, so it was constantly a tangled mess. Additionally, since she has a perpetually runny nose, it wasn't uncommon to find chunks of snot and boogers in her lustrous locks. Mmm...motherhood!

Unless, of course, she was at daycare, where she'd let the workers brush her hair and style it in increasingly complex and intricate ways. Braids, pigtails, buns on the head -- each one making me ridiculously jealous and insecure about my mothering abilities as they relate to coiffing.

So maybe that's the real reason we cut her hair.

Regardless, it's tres chic, n'est pas? And Stella loves it. In fact, she keeps checking herself out in the mirror and saying, "hair?"

Yep, this is the child the feminist gave birth to.

In other news, we're moving. To Louisville, KY. In July.

What? You think that's more important than the haircut? Obviously, you haven't seen the beauty that is Stella's 'do!

On the one hand, we're relieved to have finally made a decision. We're excited about a change of pace, the promised ease and affordability of life, the proximity to my family who've vowed to kidnap my kid with such frequency that we'll have the FBI on speed dial. I'm selfishly excited to inch toward educational reform in the Heartland, and I can't wait to be surrounded by Southern hospitality. And have a parking spot. And laundry. And a grocery with aisles big enough to let two carts pass each other unscathed.

But, of course, there is tremendous trepidation. Neither of us has jobs...yet. I have a lot of leads and a lot of people telling me encouraging things, but no job. I've filled out applications for three different school districts, each one insanely complicated and lengthy, and I'm in the process of transferring my teaching license. People tell me getting a teaching job ain't no thing, but I must admit, I feel half-crazy giving up a guaranteed full-time position at one of NYC's top public schools for maybe?- probably, no almost certainly a job. Maybe.

But school systems hire notoriously last-minute, so I must not bite my fingernails down. Even further.

And Dave's still up in the air about what he'll do there. There are some writing leads for him, too, but that field is experiencing major setbacks at the moment. Perhaps a career shift, perhaps going back to school? It remains to be seen.

And, of course, Brooklyn is incredibly gorgeous and seductive now that we've made a decision to leave. All the Spring flowers are in bloom, the weather is gentle and lulling, everyone is out and in a good mood, sidewalk cafes are bustling with delicious food and local beer, free outdoor events are popping up on every street corner.

But NYC has been my abusive boyfriend for 12 years. I know his game. He's all sweet and kind now, but the minute I enjoy it, the minute I trust it, our next door neighbor will start demolition work at 3am or our subway station will close for a month for repairs or some insane person will rub his junk up against me on a crowded train.

It's sad but true, and I'd venture to say that most every inhabitant of this city knows what I'm talking about.

The question is, how much will we miss all this lunacy when we're gone? Some late summer night in Kentucky, crickets chirping as we finish up the last bites of our outdoor BBQ dinner, Dave playing softly on his guitar, my mom tickling Stella and my nephew telling me about his day, will we secretly be longing for our old Brooklyn home, our old Brooklyn home, far away?

Note: This amazing haircut took place at Lulu's Cuts in Park Slope. Highly recommended for their personable staff, great cuts, and awesome toys by the Brooklyn Baby Family.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Back in the seemingly endless days of waking every 1.5 hours to breastfeed, I never could have imagined a day like today: sleeping in until 9am, the whole family taking a 2 hour nap in the middle of the day, Stella asking to go to bed after a long afternoon of outdoor play at 7:30pm. And our precious, wonderful Stella, drifting off to sleep on her own, in her bed, me and Dave hanging out downstairs doing absolutely nothing to make it happen.

I also couldn't have imagined that I'd EVER have trouble sleeping again, not after realizing how precious it is, but here I am, driven by insomnia to read the Huffington Post, check my Facebook page obsessively, and add yet another blog entry for this week.

I stress ate some matzo (despite its toll on my digestive system), drank some diet soda (despite my wishes to consume mostly natural products and my fervent wish that it was really beer) and now I seek further distractions.

Because there are too many big decisions that must be made in mere days.

Because there is an endless eddy of things to worry about.

Because I miss so many people so profoundly that I don't know what to do with myself.

Because I need to have a sense of where my life is headed and that is the one thing I can't seem to get right now.

Because money is starting to become a major issue for us, and not in a good way.

Because I remind myself to count my blessings and then I feel overwhelmed by the enormous amount of blessings I have that I can't possibly deserve.

Because I love Dave and Stella so much that I think I'm going to burst right open and soil our already troubled laptop computer right here and now.

Because this love makes life sticky and complicated and amazing and totally worth living. But it can also make it hard to settle down and go to sleep.

Or maybe that's just because I slept too much already today.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Ghost of PPD Past

Yesterday, as I was entering our couple's therapist's office for a one-on-one session, a woman about my age was leaving. She was setting up the frame part of a Snap and Go stroller outside the door and rushing back inside to get her newborn, asleep in his baby carrier.

The office is located up a few stairs, and the entrance door is heavy and doesn't stay open on its own. I asked her if I could help, and she replied, "no, thank you," her eyes on the floor, her face very pale. I held the door for her anyway, telling her I have one of my own and I know how hard the shuffle can be. Then I told her how precious her baby was.

"He's very new," she said, her voice almost monotone. She clicked the carrier into the stroller and started to walk away, her hair in her face.

I hesitated, then said after her, "I know how tough it can be. I really do. Good luck."

I must have looked like that a little less than two years ago, barely put together, obviously on the verge of cracking up at any given moment. And I remember thinking everyone must think there's something wrong with me for needing help, for being sad, for not ENJOYING EVERY SINGLE MOMENT OF MOTHERHOOD!!!

I wish I'd had the nerve to grab her by the shoulders and tell her it'll get better. I wish I could make her understand that she's not the only one going through this and that it's not her fault. I wish I could show her how much it would help her to allow others to do things for her, even things as simple as holding a door open or grabbing an end of her stroller when she's ascending or descending stairs. And I wish I could proselytize to her about the benefits of anti-depressants, and how there are amazing ones that are OK to use while breastfeeding.

But our therapist is a good woman, so hopefully she relayed all this to her anyway. I really hope so.

I think there should be a service in places like New York where many new parents are far away from their extended families. I'd be happy to go over to that woman's house for a few hours a week and watch her adorable newborn, giving her time to rest or read or cry or sit out at a cafe and drink coffee. Or beer. Or shots of tequila.

Anyway, I hope she can see past her gloom to enjoy the Spring that has finally sprung. And I thank God every single day that I emerged from the disease intact and stronger.