Thursday, November 30, 2006

Not quite a Christmas movie, but...

Have you seen Mommie Dearest? If not, you really should.

There's a scene in which Joan and her daughter Christina are having dinner at a swanky Hollywood restaurant. Christina, a high school student at a tough prep school, hands her report card to her mother and announces that she has gotten all A's. Joan replies, practically emotionless, "I'm very proud of you, Christina. Now, what about your Christmas card list?"

Here I sit, waiting for my groceries to be delivered (twelve minutes to go before they're officially late--UPDATE: they called and said they'll be 60 minutes late, which doesn't work for me, given that I have an appointment to explain difficult legal concepts to someone while short of breath due to the fact that I have more babies within me than my body cavity was designed to hold). I am unshowered for the third day in a row, partially due to the fact that there was no time for me to shower and cover the door in the event that the groceries arrived this morning, partially due to the fact that I can't shower thirty minutes before or after giving myself my morning shot, and the timing has been a logistical nightmare this week, and partially because, the way I have been feeling lately, it is far more important to me to read LaineyGossip than to clean myself. Having completed my reading, I decided that this morning would be as good a time as any to order personalized Christmas cards. This is something I've never done before, but I figured this would be a good year to treat myself, what with being busy forming spines for other people with the resources of my own body while not having time to soap up my own back or trim my own toenails more than once a trimester.

I ran an Internet search for "personalized Christmas cards" and came up with approximately three sites that nearly made me lose my cinnamon toast to the schmaltz, glitter, and near-universal $130 price tags before I finally located a museum shop site and at least got to look at some decent stuff. No cheaper, but far less tacky. But at 20 cards per (very expensive) box, with a five-box minimum, I'll not be ordering personalized cards anytime soon. I guess I'm not a true yuppie.

The other thing that stuck in my craw was the plethora of "holiday" cards, which, to me, are sort of like canned tomato sauce. They look nice and function just fine, but they're essentially a watered-down version of the real thing. I much prefer to send Christmas cards to people who celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah cards to people who celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa cards to people who celebrate Kwanzaa, etc. Ostensibly, if you know someone well enough to send them a card, you're probably familiar with what holiday(s) they celebrate. Of course, then you've got to search for and buy multiple different kinds of cards, and most people don't have much more downtime than me, so many of us just suck it up and get a big batch of the generic "holiday" cards. Sometimes, though, the cardmakers just get stupid.

This morning, I decided that, if I'm going to go through the whole process of filling out the cards myself anyway, I was going to get the multiple different kinds of cards. I found a Christmas card I liked. It contained a nice drawing of the Holy Family, with Mary and Joseph gazing at baby Jesus in the manger. The inner caption said something like, "Wishing you happiness this holiday season" (emphasis mine). What??? Who are they kidding???

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

For the record, I think they're brothers

Because my best friend C.S. now lives in California and I am approximately 400 months pregnant, there are very few hours in the day when she and I are simultaneously awake, not working, and not rubbing cream on a stomach (me) or putting away massive amounts of fresh, buttery avocado (her). Therefore, our time on the phone has become more limited.

Last night, she and I spoke on the phone periodically while she sat in traffic (TOLD YOU SO, C.S.) on her way to and from the bank and I ate turkey chili while watching Christmas Eve on Sesame Street. Naturally.

At one point, the topic turned to Bert and Ernie, and the ridiculous late-90's are-they-gay-or-aren't-they controversy.

I thought C.S. made the best point I'd heard on the subject:

"Children don't question the fact that there is a talking, seven-foot-tall bird walking down the street with an enormous, fuzzy brown elephant-type creature, also talking, both of whom routinely interact with humans and other types of animals. Are people really concerned that children will question the sexual lives of the Muppets?"

Monday, November 27, 2006

Garden and Beach Paths

This weekend, Ty and I got together with my parents, Mr. Lashes, and the future Mrs. Lashes to celebrate my father's birthday (happy birthday, Dad!). One of the discussion topics was "wild or reckless things our friends did when we were young." Having been both miserable and a huge nerd in high school, I remained conspicuously silent, gauging that The Story of When They Served Us the Still-Frozen Cheesecake at a Crappy Chain Restaurant in a Strip Mall That My Friends Dragged Me To, or The Time I Gently Steered My Friend's Mother Away from Ordering from Domino's in Favor of a Local Italian Pizzeria ("But they deliver quickly, and I have a coupon!" "Yes, but Joe's delivers quickly, and it actually tastes good when you put it in your mouth!") would probably pale in comparison to tales of guys drinking too much, flunking out of college, and being sent directly to Vietnam.

Naturally, this was the case, but there are all kinds of ways that one's friends can lead one down the garden path.

When I was about thirteen or fourteen or so, a friend of mine came to me with a proposition.

"This lady wants to offer us a babysitting job! We can do it together!"

"She wants the two of us?"

"Yeah. She's got three kids, and we're young, so she wants two sitters."


My friend set it all up, and, on the night we were to baby-sit, one of our parents drove us into the driveway of a cute little cottage by the beach. We got out of the car and I headed towards the front door.

"No, not there, Arabella. Back here."

Ok, no problem, I thought. The mom probably doesn't want us tracking sand in through the front door.

I followed my friend, and was surprised when she kept on walking past the house, down a treacherous little path, towards what looked like an abandoned houseboat washed up on the shore.

It WAS a houseboat washed up on the shore. Perhaps I'm recalling the details wrong, but I think the story was that it had washed up decades ago, during some hurricane, and had been abandoned, and this hippie family connected plumbing and electric and was living there.

It's an adventure, I told myself. This is a beach community full of good people. No Manson Family-type people will break in and kill us at all. The neighbors will probably look out for us and bring us Nut Loaf. It'll be like The Partridge Family, but a houseboat instead of a van.

We entered through the rickety, barely-lockable screen door and found five tiny faces staring at us. The three hippie children apparently had two hippie friends over, and their hippie mom hadn't bothered to tell us. Nice.

One of the visiting little girls was particularly annoying. She was fussy and bossy and a complete know-it-all, although I realized she was getting less so as the evening progressed. At first, I was pleased at this turn of events. However, I soon realized that she was growing pale and lethargic.

"Are you feeling ok?" I asked her.


I checked her forehead. She seemed to be running a fever, but I was not about to seek out and introduce a mercury-containing glass stick from this environment into the mouth of a child to find out. I could only imagine the other wonders to behold in that medicine cabinet. It was getting late; I wondered how long it would take for my friend to find me on the dark beach if I ran out and bailed, but, instead, I sighed and got to work.

"Where is the--IS there a phone???" I asked the other children. They pointed me towards one with a rotary dial. I was overjoyed to discover AN ACTUAL DIAL TONE.

"What's your mommy's name?" I asked the little girl.

She gave me a name that didn't seem real. It could very well have been real, or it could have been the feverish hallucinations of a sick child, or it could have been the name of a children's book heroine, or it could have been the name of a porn star. For the sake of the story, we'll say the name was Holly Hobbie, which isn't really too far off.

"Is that her real name?"


"And do you know where she is tonight?"

"She's at the ___________."

Somehow, my friend located the number, and called, and screamed over the bar-like din, "Is Holly Hobbie there?"

I watched and waited, thinking, oh, this will go over really well. Hi, I'm a very young babysitter that she doesn't know and has never heard of who is taking care of her child in a rickety box on the beach. It turns out the child is sick, and I wanted to let her know, because I'm sure she'll be very worried and want to rush over immediately.

Miraculously enough, the place put a woman on the phone, and my friend spoke to her, and she arrived about twenty minutes later and picked up the child. The kid even seemed to recognize her and everything!

We spent the rest of the evening trying to keep the other four children occupied and out of harm's way, and then their mother arrived home and paid us (what I think was a little less than we thought we would be getting for watching the three children).

In nickels.

Oh, and she had no plastic bags.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy your turkey!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Gorgeous Mom-Themed Image for the Day

If any of you are wondering what I look like, it's pretty much exactly like this.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, November 20, 2006


For the past five months, my consolation thought during all my pregnancy anxiety has been, "At least my ass hasn't started to betray me yet."

Daily injections needed? "At least my ass hasn't started to betray me yet."

Prenatal vitamins acting as the equivalent of steel wool plugging up my colon? "At least my ass hasn't started to betray me yet [the aesthetic part of it]."

Constant puking, resulting in a loss of about 7% of my body weight and the inability to consume most foods and beverages? "At least my ass hasn't started to betray me yet."

Still able to wear all of my pre-pregnancy bras? "At least my ass hasn't started to betray me yet."

Carrying around two kicking footballs in my overtaxed stomach? "At least my ass hasn't started to betray me yet."

At times, I have been disgruntled, doubled over in pain, belly popping, and unshowered, and people have said to me, "You look pretty good for being pregnant with twins." I can read between the lines. What they really mean is, "At least your ass hasn't started to betray you yet."

Well, this morning, after spending the weekend trying to discern whether double strollers that cost approximately 20% of a surgical procedure (though approximately 1/15th of a year of certain private kindergartens FOR ONE CHILD) are actually "necessities" given that I live in an area with abundant uneven pavement AND walking is my primary mode of transportation, rubbing cream on my newly-formed linea nigrea (which "should" go away after the babies are born, although it doesn't bother me nearly as much as I thought it would, given that, due to my enormous stomach, I CAN'T SEE IT), and blowing my raw, bloody nostrils (yep, got a cold, for which I can take approximately nothing), I began to yank on my elasto-waisted maternity jeans.

I yanked. And yanked. And yanked. And they finally went on.

And it wasn't pretty.

This should be an interesting four months.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

No wonder I always have to fish around for my keys

Do you know what I carried around all day in my purse yesterday? A portable milk frother. Because you never know when a mug full of hot milk may fall from the sky and land in your hand, just begging for a crown of froth. Why don't I just add some cinnamon sticks and a spice grater, while I'm at it?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Seven Years

So, it recently dawned on me....

What the fuck am I doing? I mean, really: what the fuck?

I was trying to explain to my parents the way I'm feeling now, and why I've been an inconsolable, stampeding bitch for the past five months, and why an ultrasound that tells me that it looks like my unborn babies are fine seems to have set off an episode of panic and speculation and worry about the future.

Finally, the idea formed in my head.

"But my life has been mostly a big party since 1999, and I don't want that party to end." An oversimplification, of course, and not nearly as shallow as it sounds, but that's it, nonetheless.

A wave of recognition washed over their faces.

1999 is the year I graduated from college and moved to the city. The greatest city in the world.

Doing so was every bit as charming as it is in the movies. Cute young heroine looks at apartments--one of them has a sagging floor that threatens to crash into the apartment below, so she steps gingerly over it with her cool shoes.

Cute young heroine buys pastry and eats it on 5th Avenue, a la Holly Golightly.

Cute young heroine gets invited to art gallery openings by boys.

And it's not just all a big party. Living this way seems to fill in the pieces of her life. Anger, sadness, and loneliness of the past all melt away. She is happy. She is fulfilled. She is not a misfit; she is a cute young heroine. She has interesting things to say and interesting things to do. She conveys information in a storytelling tense that sounds like the wife's speech at the end of the film version of Presumed Innocent. She vows she will always stay this way. Some people do, she tells herself. She will just be one of them. She will be one of the different ones.


Cute young heroine meets one very special boy. They go see artsy movies, and then share the stories of their lives over Chinese noodles.

Cute young heroine buys a soft ice cream cone on a hot day and eats it as she walks down Broadway. A truck full of appreciative firemen call out to her as they ring bells.

A week later, as planes crash, buildings fall, sirens blare, and smoke pours through the streets, it dawns on her that some of the firemen from that truck are probably dead.

Cute young heroine and very special boy help each other through their pain, and decide to do so for the rest of their lives. Cute young heroine and very special boy become husband and wife. The last photo in the wedding book shows him twirling her around in the middle of the street, dodging traffic. Her dress swirls around her. That day, champagne flows again.

Husband and wife trade endless after-movie conversations for homemade Sunday brunches. They are every bit as happy, if not happier, but in a different way. He scrambles eggs. She pours orange juice in fancy glasses.

They wait and watch and hope. Each month, nothing happens. The doctor tells them, "do this." They do it. She goes under the knife. He eats his pasta sans cheese, too. She waves to him from the recovery room. A few months later, they are rewarded with a series of pink lines, and blue veins.

And then the shit really hits the fan. Actually, the puke. And she tells herself, "It's ok, nothing will really change, it's just one little baby, I'll bring it to artsy events and sit in the back."

Except it's two, and she won't.

"Your mother and I used to have brunch in the Village," said my father.

"And you thought, during the pregnancy, that, after I was born, you'd bring me, and she'd breastfeed over eggs Benedict with smoked salmon," I said.

He nodded.

"And then reality set in. Lug the stroller on the subway while the baby cries, bring diapers, negotiate tables with no space between them..." his voice trailed off.

I understood.

"So, once in a while we'd get a babysitter, and we'd go two blocks away and have a burger and a beer. You have to learn to content yourself with simplicity. Get past Rome and Amsterdam. Settle for a hot shower."

I understand.

"And if we want a third child," I began, "then maybe we can't take trips, and maybe we can't stay in the city. These are real decisions."

"Yes, they are. They're the decisions every parent has to make."

"But you don't have to make these decisions now," said my mother. "Things become clearer in time."

And then they said the line they've been saying for years, that they, too, probably heard a long time ago, and had to learn to understand, and that finally, finally makes sense to me:

"Before our children were born, we had fun. After they came, we had joy."

Monday, November 13, 2006

It begins

For some reason, now that I know what I'm working with, gender-wise, the looming reality of parenthood has hit full force. I will give birth to two people. I will bring two people into this world, and I will be responsible for raising them. They are no longer abstract creatures--they are boys, and have different appearances somewhat visible even on a sonogram, and different personalities, as manifested by somersaults versus other kinds of motion, and, for heaven's sake, they even have spines.

Here are just a few of the things I am scared of, in random order:

1. having them born healthy;
2. keeping them healthy;
3. money;
4. exhaustion leading to the point of collapse;
5. never having any time for myself;
6. dressing them funny because I don't know any better;
7. not having shared interests with them.

From what I understand, fears 1-5 are pretty normal and common for a new parent. I think that fears #6 and #7 are popping up because they're boys. What do I know from male fashion? Ty and I go to buy him some suits, and I sit on a bench outside the fitting room, and he comes out, and asks for my opinion, and he always looks good to me, and he mutters something about two-button versus three-button, and contemporary lapels, and tie width, and shirt quality, etc., and I pretend to know what he's talking about and nod and swing my legs and clutch the coupon that I brought. All I know is what I like, and most of it has to do with adult men dressing so that they exude a degree of sex appeal. I like a man in a suit (this will be virtually useless for several years of my sons' lives). I like well-tailored raincoats (again, virtually useless). I like sport jackets over turtlenecks, with glasses, to create a vaguely-intellectual look (still more useless). I like chunky sweaters. Ok, now we're getting somewhere. But do little boys hate chunky sweaters? Do they restrict their movement? I like Osh Kosh B'gosh overalls. Do little boys still wear those? Are they retro? If so, in a good way or a bad way? I found an adorable miniature "car coat" on Is it okay to put that on my boys, or will their prom dates make fun of them in 16 years when they see the photos? Uggghhhhh....the prom! How do you handle that???

With regard to #7, to be completely, totally honest, my interest in most athletic activities, with the limited exception of certain kinds of baseball, is somewhere behind my interest in aggressively preventing the formation of dental plaque. If I have two athletic sons, I will be forced to confront my own carefully-maintained biases and skepticisms and prejudices against organized sports, and I really don't want to. I'm comfortable in my little bubble. I tell myself that I'll naturally become interested in whatever is important to my children, but I worry that's not really true. Science? Great! Building things? Cool! Music? Terrific! But sports--at least from this vantage point--make me want to go put my head on a pillow.

If any of you have children with radically different interests from your own, how have you handled this issue? Has it been by dressing them funny?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Let's talk about sex, bay-bees...

We're supposed to be finding out the sexes of the babies today.

Care to make a last-minute guess?

(If you want to be really specific, Baby A is the one closer to the cervix, who will most likely be born first. Baby B is the one further up, who gets a clearer shot for kicking me in the lungs.)

UPDATE: It's two boys!!! Twenty tiny fingers, twenty really cute toes, two heads, and two beautiful spines that I apparently made with my very own body. No wonder I'm so tired!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Old School

During college, C.S. and I would sometimes keep each other entertained during our all-nighters by e-mailing silly little poems for the other to check during study breaks. Apparently, I kept up that tradition a bit after college, for she just reminded me of this little tidbit that I e-mailed her several years ago:

'Twas the night before the night before the bar exam,
And all through the studio apartment,
Not a creature was stirring,
Except the girl studying for the bar exam, the gnat that got in earlier, and the aphids in the plant.
..............Visions of Wills and Estate Taxation danced through her head,
I don't know the rest of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."

Monday, November 06, 2006

Some antics

My friend Mignon's current post is about a discussion and disagreement she had with some fellow commenters on another blog. She blames the limitations of the Internet. She is in a far more charitable mood than me right now. Then again, she's not currently pregnant. ;)

The discussion and disagreement can be found here. Notice the part where she is criticized for saying that pregnancy "sucks."

My take on the situation is as follows:

When someone else has walked a mile in my suddenly-too-tight shoes, meaning she has been working while on bedrest for a potentially-life-threatening condition that sprang up early in a high-risk twin pregnancy, while also constantly throwing up and not being able to eat, or to consume prescribed prenatal vitamins regularly, resulting in a loss of approximately 5% of her body weight while trying to nourish said twins and get them off to a good start, while also learning to perform her own daily injections of stinging liquid into her own belly fat to treat a different risky condition that could result in a miscarriage, THEN I will be open to a discussion regarding what kind of language is appropriate to describe the situation.

Until then, like-minded women are invited to join me on the naughty girls' side of the room, where we will feel bloated and wear stretchy pants and eat vegetable sushi and complain to each other and offer each other sympathy and drown our sorrows in nonalcoholic cocktails and eat a bit of fudgy chocolate cake in flagrant violation of What to Expect When You're Expecting, and, during our various labors, we will scream and swear like sailors, if we so desire, and then use those same mouths to kiss the tops of our newborn babies' heads. Those that get flustered by these activities are welcome to feel superior, smile during their entire gestations, labor in silence, and then tidy up after us.

Friday, November 03, 2006

From the ground up

So, I live in New York City. I am accustomed to outrageous prices on parking, housing, schooling, etc. I am even coming to grips with the fact that, a couple of days ago, I actually spent $4.28 on a plain bagel with a little (and I mean a LITTLE) cream cheese and a small bag of chips.

One thing I absolutely refuse to do, however, is spend hundreds of dollars on a merely-decent maternity business suit that I will probably wear twice.

So, this being one of the two days that I probably would have worn such a suit, I have to improvise a little bit.

I am wearing a crisp button-down maternity shirt (thanks, Mom!), a crisp, unbuttoned blazer from my pre-maternity days, and a pair of neatly-tailored "slacks."

I say "slacks" because they are made out of what is euphemistically described as a poly-cotton blend, but what, in reality, is sweatpants material.

Yes. Sweatpants material. I am basically wearing sweatpants to a meeting.

And, you know what? I'm doing it PROUDLY. This morning, I took out the stinky, slightly leaky garbage bag, and cleaned 18-hour-old mushroom-fragment debris from the kitchen sink drain, for I live a real life. One just can't do these things as well in a $500 suit.

Shhhhh.....don't tell anybody. I'm thinking nobody will notice--even in New York, one can get away with a lot in a pair of black pants--and, if they do, they won't dare say anything, because that would subject them to The Wrath of the Pregnant.

I think that this is the real revolution.