babies · beauty · humor · mood issues · motherhood · sleep

The Latest Post-Partum Depression Fix: Flamboyant Baby Boy Clothes (from the Momplex Blog archive)

My baby son is dressed like something out of Brokeback Mountain right now. He’s wearing a plaid flannel get-up that runs from head to toe with mother-of-pearl snap-buttons. My husband almost barfed when he saw it this morning. I purposely dressed the baby in something completely horrid-adorable (there is such a hybrid, you know), because I need a good laugh. There’s one to be had somewhere at this stage, isn’t there? I mean, sure, he can’t fall asleep or stay asleep without gobs of hair-raising crying or being bagged. And sure I basically have to wear him on me 10 or so hours every day. But isn’t there a bright side?

Heck, yeah! It’s the fact that little 12-pound baby boys look downright hilarious in flannel coveralls with mother-of-pearl buttons. They also look pretty funny in fake antennae from Gymboree, particularly when they’re crying. Oh, and a miniaturized huntsman cap with earflaps, like something out of the movie Fargo, is an excellent outfit for babies with colic, too.

He’s crying right now in his swing. He’s been up since 6 a.m. It’s almost 9 a.m., and I’ve been trying to get him to sleep since 7 a.m. His brow, as usual, is all knitted up . (I think the kid’s going to need Botox before he’s four.) His little stiff John McCain arms are shaking, and his mouth is in the shape of a big O, wailing. My nerves are completely frazzled, and I’m so tired and jittery that I’d probably fail a roadside sobriety test. I’ve had the reprise of this song, which I blasted on the radio to lull him to sleep in the car yesterday, running like a broken record through my head for about 18 hours now. I stink like spit-up.

But, man, I still don’t think it’s an emotional breakdown that a size 0-3 fuschia leopard-print unitard with a miniature clip-on bowtie couldn’t remedy. And, after all, it’s not couthe to start pouring martinis this early in the morning…

Is it?

advice · beauty · motherhood

Not as Old as My Caftan Implies (from the Momplex Blog archives)

I’ve been feeling old lately. I don’t need a Boy Scout to help me cross roads or anything. And I don’t sport giant, black fit-over sunglasses while navigating my town car to Jo-Ann Fabric. In truth, I’m 20+ years from Social Security, and women much older than I am compete in marathons. So, it’s not that I actually am old. It’s just that I’m not young either. I know this to be true because I own a leopard-print caftan, use a pill box, and resent all my tattoos. Take heed, young folks. These are the signs.

Last month I had my husband and the doctor he works with repair my earring holes. By repair, I mean carve with a scalpel and stitch shut.


You could have stuck a pencil in those holes before the repair. Kids these days call them gauged ears, but my contemporaries and I blazed that particular fashion trail. I call them ‘80s ears: stretched-out lobes from wearing giant earrings to complement giant perms. Those holes are ugly, whatever your age, and they look particularly bad on a 41-year-old woman. They had to go.

As if that wasn’t enough, I then tried to have my ankle tattoo lased. I got part one of this tattoo (the flower) while avoiding studying for my final exams in college. I got part two of the tattoo (my signature) during the presidential debate between Clinton and George H.W. Bush. It was inked by an artist who did some of Billy Baldwin’s tattoos. I know this because, while she was giving me the tattoo, I was staring at pics of her with Billy and the tattoos she’d given him. She, on the other hand, was staring at the debate on her portable TV. I think my sloppy tattoo bears evidence of that.

Before laser treatment:

After laser treatment:

So much for that little enterprise.

And then I realized: This is something old ladies do. Try to fix wee little aesthetic details on parts of their bodies to counteract the giant hoof-print Father Time is leaving over every inch of them. Oh, my ass has dropped five inches and I’m developing a chin wattle. Better get that mole on my arm removed and buy a new pair of earrings! When I was 22 and could walk around wearing wooden stilettos like Bad Sandy from Grease, any given Friday night, I didn’t even notice that mole. For sure nobody was looking at my earring holes.

Last weekend I went to Denver to visit my aunt, a woman who may or may not have giant earring holes. I don’t know, because she’s got giant boobs, and those magically turn everything else into minutiae. While I was there, she and I drove out to SkyVenture Colorado. This is an indoor skydiving facility, and since I’m writing a book about the guy who engineered the thing, I wanted to give it a whirl. I thought it would be scary for me, since I’m afraid of heights. But no heights were involved. In fact, it was deliriously fun. You pretty much step into a column of wind and fly, with the floor not all that far beneath you. You learn how to master the wind with tiny movements of your body and the help of a skydiving guru.

When I stepped out onto the wind column, I felt young. I wanted to yell some happy expletives. Because even though my pastor doesn’t know it, even though my kids don’t know it, I do that. I like to do that. I’m a tattooed girl who used to wear Bad Sandy heels and rock a perm Felix Baumgartner could’ve spotted from his space dive. I felt alive, happy, wild, even sexy. And then I got home and watched the video of my flight:

Yes, that’s me sporting a pink, nylon fat-suit, my arms palsy-shaking like Katharine Hepburn in On Golden Pond. That’s me not looking nearly as vivacious as I felt. I think I even have a mullet.

What’s that thing Forrest Gump says? Stupid is as stupid does? I’m wondering if maybe sexy is as sexy does, too. Youthful is as youthful does. Fun is as fun does. Happy is as happy does. It’s not about the big earring holes or the faded tattoo or the pregnancy stretch-marks. (Did I fail to mention those?) It’s about joy, which has no age. And in a funny way, that means it is about the earring holes, the tattoo, the stretch marks, for all of them are talismans from great times in my life. And reminders of more to come. I’m not sorry I closed up those earring holes. I’m not sorry about the stretch marks. I’ll make new talismans. There’s more to come. Until I’m dead, I’ll keep making them.

Old is as old does.
(But I’m still going to color my roots.)

beauty · body image · faith and spirituality · humor · marriage · miscellaneous · motherhood · preschoolers · sexuality

Is It Wrong… (from the Momplex Blog archives)

…that I can’t have a bite of chocolate in my own house without cowering in the laundry room? I’m really not a so-called emotional eater — unless you consider it an emotion when a grown woman spikes a heart rate of 185 bpm while deep-throating a Hershey bar because her ravenous 5-year-old approaches.

…that I don’t own a single pair of thong underwear? I have tried them, okay? And I will never but never believe women who continue to tell me that G-strings are more comfortable than my giant cotton Hanes tablecloth panties “once you get used to them.” I’d probably get used to poking an uncooked spaghetti noodle repeatedly into my tear duct if I did that on a daily basis, too. And I don’t care how sexy men find thong undies. They’re gross. The day my husband starts using these pretty metal bun cages to make his junk look more attractive is the day I sport panties that need be tweezed out during foreplay.

…that I don’t text? Why would I take 10 minutes to laboriously type out a message that I could just as easily speak in 10 seconds? Please don’t tell me it’s more discrete. So is braille. I don’t see people running out to learn that. Please don’t tell me I’d understand better if I just got a phone gadget with a QWERTY keyboard. QWERTY keyboards were designed to slow people down. Using them for speed-socializing just seems wrong. Also? Texting barely qualifies as conversing. It’s glorified Morse code. I just don’t get it. Like an angry senior disputing Medicare billing practices, I shall continue to shake my little fist at the vulgarity of the vanity-plate dialect that is texting! Blerg!(Maks me wn2 e@ my own gizzard. KWIM?)

…that I have completely lost all sense of style? I don’t know what happened to me. I really don’t. But somewhere between age 25 and stay-at-home motherhood, I got hit by the tacky truck. No matter what I try, I always seem to look like 1986. I think this might be because in 1986, even young girls had a mom look — big hair, shoulder pads, high-waisted jeans. While I don’t sport any of those looks now, I know for a fact that on an empirical level, my hair simply looks better big, a pair of shoulder pads would do wonders for offsetting my butt girth, and high-waisted jeans would preclude my granny panties from sticking two inches over the rim of my Levi’s. (See? Does anyone else even wear Levi’s anymore?) It’s not that I don’t know what’s in style. Well, yes, it actually is that, but what’s in style just never looks stylish draped over my particular body type or under my particular head. When I try on clothing in H&M, for example, the only hip store that has prices I can afford, I always look either (a) pregnant or (b) ridiculous. We’re talking middle-aged-man-in-drag ridiculous. So, over and over, I resort to the same “timeless” look that has carried me for a decade — the one that hasn’t turned a head in as much time.

…that I get nervous around my own child? She’s a bright, imaginative kid with a winning personality who I’m told behaves even when away from home (or I should say especially when away from home). But I have this sense that she’s sort of like Scotch-taped together that way, like she’s always five minutes and one misunderstanding shy of an emotional holocaust. Because she is. It’s a little something I like to call apple not falling far from the tree. See this post for more information.

…that I used to do a bang-on impersonation of Geri Jewell, the Facts of Life character with cerebral palsy? Of course, it’s not wrong that I can do the impersonation. My sister would even argue it’s one of the few things that was so, so right about me as a kid. But that I ever even thought to try doing it, and in mixed company? So wrong.

…that I hate seeing people smiling while by themselves? I look at them and my mind quietly screams, “GRRRR! Apetard!” Why is that? What’s my problem? There used to be a girl in my hometown who had a permagrin that would have been perfectly complemented by a swirl of exclamation points and ampersands around her head. Vacant is the term, I believe. She rode my schoolbus, and an open-mouthed smile was her natural expression. No, she was not slow. But because it was her natural expression, I could often hear her sucking back spittle through her molars. That might sound kind of sad, but believe me, if you listened to someone sucking spittle back through her molars for, oh, five or six years — even if it’s someone you love — you’d get jaded about smiling apetards, too.

…that I explained tampons to my 5-year-old today? It certainly felt wrong. But I tell you, she asked. She asked as she followed me into the bathroom, and well, if her mom isn’t going to answer that question, who is? I felt pressed upon to just dish. Over-dished is more like it. Judging from the look on her face, I bet she’ll think twice about asking Mom about anything else for a while. See? She makes me nervous!

…that I’m blogging instead of packing for our move right now? Or did I forget to mention that we found a house and are moving — in 10 days! Funnily enough, it’s a totally ’80s house that needs some updating but is totally livable without the updating. Kinda like me, no? Kinda like me.