I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before, but I live in the same town as my in-laws. Now before you get all "BOO!, HISS!, MOTHERS-IN-LAW!, EVIL LADIES!, SATAN'S SEX KITTENS!," let me assure you that I love my in-laws.
No, scratch that. I adore my in-laws.
Seriously, my mother and father-in-law are really great people. They invite me for dinner any time they're having pot roast, they courtesy-laugh at every single one of my crude and inappropriate dinner jokes, and they always send me home with the leftovers--every little dripping.
And then? The best part? I keep the Tupperware. Honestly, every last one of my key pieces once said "MEREDITH LAWSON" on the inside of the lid.
Apparently she started labeling her containers in an effort to help them find their way home.
Apparently I also own a Sharpie marker, and it's surprisingly easy to change a capital R to a capital B, and a capital O to a capital P. Trust me folks, that whole "out of sight, out of mind" thing is right on the mark. When your lids say "MEBEPURH HAW8PN" instead of "MEREDITH LAWSON," it reduces the guilt factor by a margin of 100%.
Now don't get me wrong here, I love my in-laws for more than just their [very valuable, name brand] Tupperware. I also love them for their good looks, their big hearts, their superior DNA, and their constant willingness to help.
For example, this morning, when I had a very important work meeting to get to, and a very constipated four-year-old boy on my toilet (as James cared to describe it: my poop is definitely there, but it's definitely unavailable), I called my in-laws in an absolute panic.
I was like, "Hi. Me. Meeting. Commissioner of important state department. In an hour. James can't poop. He's crying. It's unavailable. HELP!"
And my father-in-law, bless his ever-charitable soul, was all, "Oh. Constipation? No problem. Should I come over and sit with him?" Then, as if that weren't enough--because trust me it was--my mother-in-law gifted my son with a gallon-sized Ziploc filled to the brim with prunes.
I made it to my meeting on time, James pooped (a three-footer according to his description), and all is well with the world.
I. Love. These. People.
This afternoon, I was hanging around their house, waiting for the pot roast to cook, when my mother-in-law came home with a really curious looking box. As soon as she turned her back, I lifted the lid and peeked inside--I'm nosy like that. I closed the lid, looked at my sister-in-law and said, "Oh dude. Grammie's got a Blackberry."
When she walked back into the room, my sister-in-law was like, "I didn't know you like to text."
And Meredith, was like, "I don't. But I have this Blackberry, and I have these magnifying glassing, so I'm planning to start."
Well okay then.
An hour or so later, after the pot roast was carefully packed into the latest addition to my Tupperware collection, I moved into the living room and assumed my normal position--on the couch, right between good 'ol Robb & Mere.
Now I know it might seem strange to snuggle up between Robb and Meredith, but you've got to understand, they have a brand new Lazy Boy couch, and the prime real estate (you know, the seats that recline), are on the ends--which leaves me with MIL to the left, and FIL on the right.
And what a night it was to be nestled.
Meredith was like, "Robb! Call me on my new Blackberry!"
And Robb was all, "What?!"
"I said: Use your SMART PHONE to call me on my new BLACKBERRY!"
And he was like, "What're you saying?! I can't hear you, Meredith!!!"
So I leaned over and I was like, "If you call her on her new Blackberry, you guys won't have to scream across the couch at each other."
So he dialed her up.
Her phone rang, she looked at the number and didn't recognize it. Then, she picked up, and in her very sweetest voice she was like, "Hello?"
"Well hi Meredith. I'm calling you from my smart phone. Can you hear me?"
And Meredith goes, "I can hear you just fine. Now who's this?"
I'm not gonna lie--I thoroughly enjoy watching Baby Boomers dabble in technology. Oh, and have I mentioned? I really, really love those people.
This family needs a vacation in a major way.
Since Jared opened his practice the middle of 2008, he's taken one week off.
Since I started my job in early 2008, not counting my six week maternity leave, I've taken one week off.
And get this...our one week each? They weren't even together. Jared used his week to fish with some buddies out West, and I used my week to visit some friends in Texas.
I absolutely need to see this man's face with an exciting, new backdrop. And soon. We can both agree on that--but friends, it's not so easy. It's never so easy.
You see, Jared would like a vacation that revolves around trout. You know--catching trout, throwing trout back, admiring trout, talking about trout. And just to be clear, an outhouse would only enhance his vacation experience.
I, on the other hand, would like a vacation the centers around, I don't know, anything other than trout? And for me, clean, indoor plumbing is absolutely non-negotiable. According to Jared, the whole indoor plumbing thing makes me 'high maintenance.' I disagree. I believe the desire to wipe with toilet paper rather than vegetation classifies me as 'first world.'
I'm not requiring turquoise water and white sand, but single-ply toilet paper. Singly. Ply. Toilet paper. Is that really too much to ask?
According to Jared? Yes. Yes it is.
So. Have you been watching the Olympics? I've got to admit, I'm over it. It's not that the athletes aren't amazingly-incredible-dedicated-better-than-I'll-ever-be people--because they totally are. I just have a short attention span.
Trust me, I want to find myself snowed in with Bode Miller just as much as the girl next door--I've just had enough with all the skiing.
By day three I was like, "The Winter Olympics boil down to three things: skating, skiing, and sledding." Sure I forgot about curling until one fourth of a second ago, but I kind of have a point...don't I?
I know, I'm killing the party over here. And usually that's my husband's job. You know how men are--if it's not a trout or a boob or an Italian sausage, they want no part of it.
Last night, since The Biggest Loser was off the air, Jared and I watched the men's figure skating competition. Let me just say, in no uncertain terms, that my husband absolutely detests men's figure skating. Actually, he's offended by it.
Me? I can tolerate it.
But Jared I'll tell ya, he just sits in his recliner, thinking about submarine sandwiches, pointing his root beer bottle at the television, saying things like, "If you're SOOO talented, and SOOO athletic that you can nail all these impossible, crazy-butt tricks, then why on earth are you wearing puffy sleeves???!!!!??? PUFFY SLEEVES? REALLY BOYS?!?!"
Even for me, a non-lover of the Winter Games, his howling is just too much.
Last night, I'd finally had it. I was like, "Jared. Enough. Once you reach the point where you can do a quadruple anything, you're free to say whatever you want about these guys. You're jealous."
And he was all, "Jealous of what?"
So I pointed to the television just in time for Mr. Puff Sleeves to jump eight feet into the air, twirl around four times, and stick the landing with all kinds of grace. Then, one second later, I kid you not, the guy was pretending to ride a pony.
Pretending. To ride. A pony.
And that's when I said it, the magic phrase I've kept locked away in my woman-vault for eight long years of marriage.
I said, "Jared, you're right."
I also stand offended.
Corral your horses, hit the friggin' deck, and repent my friends!
Between the worldwide natural disasters, the unseasonable weather patterns, and the fact that we now have a semi-decent family picture, I'm convinced (CONVINCED!) that the end is near.
I know--James has that crazy thing going on with his tie, Maggie's looking down, and we've got some Bakugans in the shot, but folks, when you're as unphotogenic as we are, this is as good as it's ever gonna get:
So I guess today is some kind of holiday. President's Day maybe?
Jared's working, I'm working, and James is on school vacation, so I didn't realize it was a federal holiday until I walked into a locked, dark, quiet office building this morning. You see, I have a random, little oddball office sandwiched between a bunch of state workers. I've gotta say, it works out pretty well.
They scoff at me when I'm like, "Welp, it's 2 o'clock and if I sit at this desk for another second I swear my hair'll set on fire. I'm so outta here." And I scoff at them when they're all, "Achoo! I sneezed! My goodness I better get that checked out by a specialist--you know, since I have excellent health benefits and all."
Basically, they're all ankle-chained to their desks, and I get my pap-smears in a storage unit--any way you slice it, work is work is work.
I have no idea what I had in mind when I started writing this post, but I'll tell ya, working alone is really blah--mixed with a dash of creepy. The only redeeming point is the fact that every time I have to pee (or poop), I do it with the doors hanging wide open.
Oh my word, it's completely freeing--the stall door flapping in the breeze, staring at the long, dark hallway while I take care of business. I bet this is why everyone wants to be the president. If anyone was ever like, "Mrs. President, you should close the door when you urinate," I could be all, "No. You should shut your MOUTH while I urinate. You're fired."
A girl can dream.
It's so cliche, and such an understatement at the very same time, but recently I just can't help thinking about how everything changes after you become a mom or a dad. Everything.
From the abdominal stretch marks to a new-found tolerance for poop, poop on your fingers, and poop in your mouth, nothing stays the same. And with a four-and-a-half year age gap between my kids, it really kind of feels like we're going through the changes all over again.
Think about it. James came down the stairs this morning saying, "Welp. My shelf tipped over, but I caught it before it hit da floor. I picked up all the things that felled off and put 'em back where dey go. Even da snow globe didn't break." Horrifying 'what-ifs' and safety considerations aside, that's one self sufficient child we're dealing with.
And then there's Maggie. A dust bunny lands in her mouth and it's one step away from becoming a brush with death.
Anyway, I should point out, right this very second, that this isn't a 'Could it be more magically beautiful?' post, and it's not a 'My life has been sucked into a Diaper Genie!' post either. It's purely informational, no value judgements whatsoever.
This whole topic happens to be on my mind because of two experiences I had yesterday.
First, did you watch Drew Brees accept the MVP trophy at the Super Bowl last night? He was all, "This is awesome! And my baby boy is so awesome! Between this and my son, I'm having the best year ever! Isn't my son so cute?! And awesome? Thanks again for this trophy!"
I honestly think, that for Drew Brees, the best part of winning the MVP prize was having the chance to shamelessly gush about his kid in front of ten-zillion captivated viewers.
I totally get it.
And here's my second 'everything changes' moment from yesterday:
It's no secret that I've been working really hard to get into shape since Maggie's birth in October. We're talking twenty+ miles a week on the treadmill, losing one pound a week on Weight Watchers, and I don't know, perhaps I've thrown a personal trainer into the mix.
Go ahead and spit at your computer screen if you must, but I'm looking pretty good these days. (I know, I know. A girl's never supposed to admit that she feels okay about herself. Oh. Flippin.' Well.)
As of yesterday, I'm thrilled to know that I'm below my pre-James weight--and that my friends, was back in 2004 when I was 23 years old and had absolutely no idea what a hemorrhoid was. Or a wrinkle. Or a car payment. Or constipation.
I weighed in at--go ahead and swallow your coffee--197 pounds during my pregnancy with Maggie. That's right, I was walking around town in a crazy hormonal rage, yelling things like, "Outta my way, b!tches! I'm a tenth of a ton and I'm not afraid to MOW YOU DOWN!"
I was probably closer to 204 with boots on. Behold:
Okay, so that was my super long of telling you guys that Jared thinks I'm mega hot right now. I mean seriously, what would turn you on more:
A. A flabby, barrel-like woman saying, "So how do I look in these extra-large, high-waisted cotton briefs from Target?"
B. A normal female person wearing anything, doing anything, and saying anything.
That's right. Option B. That's exactly why I can stomp through the kitchen saying things like, "Ugh! I should've run away with the circus. My life would be SO MUCH MORE STABLE RIGHT NOW!"
And Jared will be like, "Really? Wanna do it?"
So yesterday morning, as we were getting ready for church, Jared playfully tossed me onto the bed and said something to the effect of (Mom, you'll hate this.), "Amy, you look so good! I can't keep my hands off you!"
And without missing a beat, and in complete seriousness, I said, "Jared, if we didn't have two kids bouncing around, and I hadn't just put on my makeup, and these sheets weren't so clean, and this exersaucer wasn't on the bed so I could vacuum, do you have any idea what I'd do to you right now?"
And Jared goes, "Holy hell, Amy. That was so hot. You've gotta stop." No. He wasn't joking.
See? Kids really do change everything.
Today, I have a couple of links that I'm itching to share with you guys. I think they'll be a little window into my life--and come now, who doesn't love a of smidge old-fashioned snooping every now and again?
For the Home Decorator:
We live fairly close to the flagship LL Bean store in Freeport, Maine. It's the store with the giant boot out front that stays open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Seriously, they don't even have locks on the doors--or so I've heard. Maybe it's just a lie.
Anyhoo, we went to LL Bean last Friday and I bought this comforter. As hard as I try, I just can't learn to love the thing. In fact, I hate it. It's blah, and boring, and would do very well in the room of a person who struggles with visual over-stimulation. It's official...I'm a woman who needs pizazz.
For Baby Mamas Large and Small:
I went to a babywearing class this past Monday, and holy moly, this thing is awesome. Love it. Apparently it's super easy to make your own (just google it), or if you're a fan of the handmade scene, you can find 1,001 alternatives by searching for 'moby wrap' on Etsy.
For the Weekend Warrior:
Jared and I have discovered a new passion. Technically speaking, we haven't actually tried it yet...but we think about it all the time. And so far we're totally into it.
For the Health Conscious:
I appreciate this man's expose on the Twinkie, but really, all it does is make me want to run to Cumberland Farms and buy myself a package or three. I wonder if that's what Steve Ettinger intended. At the top of his site it asks, "Daddy, where does polysorbate-60 come from?" I wish I could add a blinking banner under his. It would say, "Son, it comes from the heavenly angels."
For Lovers of Cuteness:
I made this hat for Maggie all by myself. No help, no advice, no screaming, no tears. I made it two weeks ago and guess what? It's lost. If you happen across it, send me an email, okay?
For Lovers of Goodness:
I grew up with Justin Baker, and I've got to say, he's one of the quietest, most humble, and most powerful people I've ever met. Since he founded a local chapter of Food Not Bombs when we were in high school, this guy has devoted his life to doing great things--and I'm not talking about volunteering on the weekends. I'm talking about this. Have you seen Dave Matthews live? Have you seen Jack Johnson? If you're nodding your head, then you've probably come in contact with Justin.
So where is he now? I'll give you one guess. That's right, Justin's in Haiti. He makes me want to change the world.
For New England Runners:
I'm on a relay team for this race, which will be held on May 1st and 2nd in "the original land of the free thinkers, patriots, curse breakers and general bad ass-ery." If you're interested in filling a spot on the team, send me an email at LawsonAmyB@yahoo.com. I'm [thankfully] not the captain of this charade, so I'll forward your email to the man who is.
It's 5:18 in the morning, and I'm importing this note from Facebook. At this time of day, typos and misspellings and whatnot are par for the course. Please note, this post could have so many titles. Examples include, but are not limited to:
I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.
I don't care how perfect you pretend to be, if you've had a baby I KNOW you can relate to this.
The World Series Pitch vs. The World Class Bitch
Perhaps we could use a night of uninterrupted sleep.
And, without further ado...
It's 3:33 am, and here I sit, typing away on Facebook. You're probably thinking, "Aw, poor girl, she's got an infant and can't get any sleep tonight. Must be so hard being the mother of a baby."
Well stop right there, because this has NOTHING to do with Maggie. This, my friends, the fact that I'm locked out of my room and awake on the couch is the work of one Jared Lawson. Jared freaking Lawson--the man whose name I voluntarily took seven-and-a-half long years ago.
My husband and I? We have an arrangement. Our almost four-month-old daughter sleeps in a co-sleeper on Jared's side of the bed. When Maggie cries in the night, Jared picks her up and hands her to me. I feed the baby, and when she's finished, I hand her back to Jared. He burps her, re-swaddles her, and lays her back down. 99.9% of the time, she falls back to sleep without any problem whatsoever.
I should note, there is no arrangement for handling poops.
I know what you're thinking, because the vast majority of nights, I feel the exact same way: "Wow! The baby sleeps on Jared's side of the bed? Wow! He wakes up just to burp her and swaddle her? Someone give that man a trophy!"
I know. It's [usually] great. I [usually] agree. And 115 out of 116 nights, I don't end up with poop in my eye.
I'd like to point out that we have this sleeping arrangement for a number of reasons:
1. The co-sleeper doesn't fit on my side of the bed.
2. Jared doesn't want to switch sides of the bed.
3. I don't want to move the nightstand away from my side of the bed to make the co-sleeper fit.
It's all very technical. Or at least it seems that way at--what time is it?--3:48 in the morning.
Also, I work. We both do. And honestly, right now, we both work hard.
Jared pulls about fifty hours a week between two chiropractic offices--one belongs to him, and one is out of town and belongs to someone else. He works every Saturday, he doesn't have two days off in a row, and a lot of times he doesn't come home until 7:30 at night. Such is the life of a new business owner I suppose.
I, on the other hand, am contracted to work twenty-or-so hours a week. I work sixteen hours from home, six hours out of an office, and my meeting schedule is all over the map--had one yesterday at 7 in the morning, have one tonight at 6. It's super flexible, Maggie stays with me almost all the time, and I know full well that I happen to be living every American woman's dream of proverbaly having it all.
I am, in no way, shape, or form complaining about either of our jobs. On the Official Awesome Scale of 1-10, our life ranks somewhere around a 13. I'm only pointing out one thing: We both work hard.
Jared starts his day by dropping our dilly-dally-dawdling four-and-a-half-year-old son off at school and ends his day by putting him to bed--a routine that makes me want to put my head through the plaster wall. And for that, Jared will always be Super Dad in my eyes.
I do a combination of nursing, pick-up/drop-off, cooking, discipline, four-year-old entertaining, and trying to act poised and professional every time my cell phone rings. Yesterday I pooped while I was taking a business call and inadvertantly flushed while I was discussing TIFs with a local administrator. Maybe I need a lesson in humility, but I just can't hesitate to call myself Super Mom. Especially not at--what time is it now?--4:15 in the morning.
So, those are just details really. The only line you need to be concerned with at this point is the one up there that reads, "There is no arrangement for handling poops."
I guess I could have phrased it like this: "When Maggie poops in the night, all hell breaks loose for the Lawsons," but I'll get to that in just a minute.
Tonight, after I fed Maggie and after Jared burped her, she wouldn't fall back to sleep. She fussed and whined and moaned until my husband put two and two together in his very foggy haze. Maggie had a poop in her pants.
He turned to me and said, "She's poopy. You need to change her."
And I said, "Can't you do it Jared? I just fed her."
And he said, "Why can't you do it?"
And I said, "Why can't YOU do it?"
So I said, "Jared? Will you change Maggie?"
And he said, "No."
That my friends, is the very moment that the figurative sh!t hit the figurative fan. It was roughly ten minutes later when the literal sh!t hit my literal eye. But we'll get to that when the time is right.
After a few more nags, and a few more resounding NO!s from Jared, I got up, stomped to the light, flipped it on, and said, no I growled, something that I can't recall. But rest assured, it had a very martyrish theme.
If I had to guess, it was something along the lines of, "FINE! I'LL CHANGE HER EVEN THOUGH I HAVE TO WORK IN THE MORNING, MEET YOU FOR A FREAKING MARKETING MEETING AT NOON, GO TO A PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCE AT ONE, WORK UNTIL FOUR, GET JAMES FROM KELLY'S HOUSE, MAKE DINNER, AND GO TO A NIGHT MEETING FROM SIX UNTIL EIGHT!!!! FINE!!!! THAT'S FAIR!!!!! FINE!!!!!"
Then I stomped out of the room, got a diaper, came back, and changed a very smily baby. Actually, it might have been the second time she's ever laughed, but let me tell you, I was too pissed-off to notice.
Meanwhile, Jared had worked his way upstairs to the guestroom (which will double as Maggie's room when she starts sleeping throught the night), and was pretending to sleep in the double bed. I walked in, put Maggie in her crib, turned on my heels and walked out.
The next five minutes were filled with nasty comments, venomous spit, negitive digs about one another's character, general rage, and so-on and so-forth. It's hard to remember, after all, it's--let's see--4:34 in the morning.
And trust me, I have no doubt that Jared would have done one of those attitudey snaps in my face if he hadn't been wearing a pair of stretchy gloves. That's right, let me proclaim it to the world this very moment...JARED LAWSON WEARS GLOVES TO BED TO MAINTAIN SOFT AND SILKY HANDS.
(Side Note: It really works. Just slather on some thing lotion, wear some gloves to bed, and wake up with hands like the ass of an angel.)
Ultimately, the situation came to a peak when Jared was locked in our bedroom, I was standing in the hallway holding a still-smiling Maggie, and I was blabbring on about how if he didn't open the door I'd probably let Maggie sleep right there in the hallway (never would have done it people, the claim was made purely for the sake of drama). And then, in my half sleepy state, I made the very-irrational-but-middle-of-the-night choice to turn around and kick the door with my heel. Like a donkey. Or an ass. Whatever you might want to call it.
I'm not sure if I was trying to prevent Jared from sleeping, break down the door so I could get back to my high thread-count sheets, erase all peace in his life, or all of the above. All I know is that my act of mule-kicking the closed bedroom door pushed my husband clear over the line and straight into crazy land.
The bedroom door swung open on its hinges, and there stood Jared--teeth gritted, glovies on, wearing nothing but his super droopy underpants. He took a step back, and suddenly, I wasn't looking into the eyes of a rational, 150-pound, silky-handed chiropractor any longer. I was staring straight into the face of diablo.
He quietly took Maggie, laid her in the co-sleeper, and promptly resumed the stare-down. Then, without any warning whatsoever, Jared's expression changed from that of the devil, to a face I've only seen on the "Jared Lawson, Superstar!" baseball card in his childhood scrapbook--it was his pitching face.
My husband wound up a la Pedro Martinez--high knee thing and all--and lobbed that poopy diaper straight into my right eye. His accuracy was remarkable. In fact, I believe I can attest to his aim with a scratched cornea as a result of the velcro-like tab.
He wordlessly closed the door. And I stood silently in the hallway, flaberghasted, wearing a perfect ring of yellow baby poo around my eye.
But can I tell you the craziest part of this whole story? It was 3 o'clock in the morning, so IT ALL MADE PERFECT SENSE!
Now, at--hmmm, let's see--5:05 in the morning, on the couch, wide awake, I have to admit, it still makes all the sense in the world. Let me put it this way:
Jared should have changed that diaper.
Warning: Lactation Consultants, LLL members, and "Lactavists" of any kind should probably click away.
Remember the good old days, when I used to update this blog five or six times a week?
Yeah, me neither.
Truth is, I barely remember anything these days. From my kid's middle name to how to make a capital letter M, I'm a total and complete moron. Last week, in a moment of dumbfounded frustration, Jared called me "Breastmilk-for-Brains," and I've got to admit, that skinny bastard hit the nail right on the head.
Imagine how I felt this morning when I called a colleague with some very important business. His secretary was like, "He's in a meeting, Amy. Is this urgent?"
And I was all, "Judy, it is urgent. So urgent that it could make or break my career." And guys, I meant it. I meant it 110%.
So the manager picks up the phone, slightly out of breath and says, "Amy. What's up? I've only got a minute..."
And that my friends, that, was the very moment that my mind went blank.
I was like, "Uhhhhhhh....."
And he was like, "Errrrrr...."
So I was all, "Dan, I just needed to hear your voice this morning."
And he paused. And he laughed (at me, not with me). And then I heard a dial tone.
Very embarrassing? Yes. Will he make fun of me until the day I retire? Of course. Bu-ut...at least I didn't leave a twenty-four inch poo hanging out in the toilet, and accidentally forget to flush.
What can I say? I've been blessed with the gift of perspective.
And that fine blessing is the very reason I didn't get upset when Jared called me Breastmilk-for-Brains last week. I simply shrugged it off and said, "Well if you shall call me that, then I shall call you Captain-Penis-Enlarger-User," and I skipped off into the sunset.
Honestly, I have no flippin' clue why breastfeeding has left me so--for lack of a better word--stupid. Evolutionarily speaking, how on earth can this be a suitable arrangement? I can only imagine a group of cave women being like, "BREAST MILK BEST" as they inadvertently and unknowingly clubbed each other over the head every time they turned their asses away from the fire to squeek out a fart.
Now don't get me wrong--I'm not trying to discourage any expectant mothers from nursing. After all, breastmilk is nature's perfect food. But I don't know, God also created the manatee, and those gentle giants look strikingly similar to a turd with a face....a cute turd with a face, but dude, a turd is a turd is a turd.
Gosh, I sound so negative, and I'm really not trying to. Honestly, I love nursing. Those tender moments, when I'm cuddling my baby, nourishing her little body, staring into her little eyes and I say, "Sh!t. What's your name? I can't remember." Those moments simply cannot be matched with a bottle of formula. It's magical.