June 28, 2006

I never used to believe in PMS. Don’t smack me, but I sort of thought it was this fictitious malady women liked to reference for fun when we wanted to talk about chocolate.

In the last several months, though, I have been SCHOOLED. I don’t know if it’s because of childbirth, careening towards my middle 30s, or the universe giving me the finger for all those years of eye-rolling whenever someone bitched about being bitchy and cited their desire for a large salt-coated hunk of Hershey’s which they planned to eat while methodically kicking their boyfriend in the balls and watching Hallmark movies on Lifetime, but nowadays I definitely notice a change in my mental weather a couple weeks before the trusty Period Express pulls into the…uh…Menstruation Station.

(Hmm, silly menses-related metaphor needs work. Before Aunt Flo comes to visit? Before taking the cotton pony on a weeklong trail ride? Before Dotty Spotty says howdy? Before driving through a redwood forest? Before I’m rebooting the Ovarian Operating System? Before my cup of joy overfloweth? Before there’s a red tide in Clam Harbor?)

(Nevermind.)

I find that I get weepy over the strangest things. Yesterday I was listening to the “Wizards of Winter” song by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra – because my iPod shuffled to something out of my 2005 holiday mix, if you must know – and I startled myself by getting completely choked up while it played. By the time I got to the very last part, I was sobbing openly, snuffling and wiping tears from the bottom of my sunglasses, where they had gathered in foundation-smearing little pools.

Why on earth? Because that music accompanies this video, and as I listened to it I pictured that house, and all the time and effort someone put into creating something that is so goddamned magnificent, something so cool and amazing, and I imagined the very last part of the video/song where the house is absolutely blazing with light, and while you’ve watched the whole thing with awe and wonder you see that end part and you want to pump your fist in the air and scream some wordless sound of appreciation because it’s like that house embodies everything in life that is joyous and fiercely, savagely fucking awesome.

I can’t even talk about it anymore, I’m getting verklempt over here.

Anyway, I felt very much the same way about your comments from my last entry. You are all fiercely, savagely fucking awesome and I’m proud to be a part of your life and that you are a part of mine, even in this small way.

*sniff*

God. I need some chocolate.

:::

We are finally experiencing some summer weather here in Seattle, which started with an unpleasant heat wave on Monday (“unpleasant” meaning “around 90 degrees” which, I know, you live in Texas and you eat 90 degree weather for breakfast, but us Pacific Northwesterners start charring at the edges when the thermostat gets that high. Because we are all fungal creatures who need moisture to survive, okay?) and has mellowed to a nice livable temperature, with blue skies and diamond-dusted lake waters and the emergence of mountain ranges from the clouds. On days like these I can’t imagine a more beautiful place to live.

I’ve been looking for a little baby pool for Riley, but it seems I’m not the only one who had this notion because the stores are out of everything except those huge plastic models, and we already have one of those.

62806_dogpool.jpg

It’s taken, though.

I am living in flip-flops and I have to vehemently disagree with anyone who says they are a Fashion Don’t. Flip-flops go with everything: jeans, shorts, skirts, dresses, capris – you name it, I’ve got a flip-flop for it. I’d even wear them to visit the president, controversy be damned. (Or maybe not, because really, a steel-toed boot might be much handier for that particular occasion.)

62806_shoes.jpg

I bought the boy a pair of swim trunks (they have ORANGE SHARKS on them, could you just die?) from Old Navy, and I also purchased – although not without a certain degree of suspicion – a bag of “Little Swimmers” diapers which claim they don’t swell up in water. I know not how this can be, but we’ll put it to the test next week at JB’s family cabin in Oregon. The cabin is on the Umpqua River and although I have a deep fear of algae and unseen fish and sort of hate the thought of exposing Riley to such things, if the weather cooperates it will be the first time Riley goes swimming. Well, swimming in the sense of being bundled into various life preserver devices, slathered in four inches of SPF 1,000,000, and briefly lowered into the water while held a vice gripe by his paranoid parents.

:::

In other news, the boy continues to be Very Uncertain about solid foods. He’ll eat most soft-ish things I give him from my own meals, like cheese or little pieces of chicken, but hand this kid anything crunchy and he pulls his “Et tu, Brute?” face. Witness his reaction to a Gerber Fruit Puff:

62806_chew.jpg

If I’m lucky, he eventually slobbers it into submission and swallows, rather than hacking and gagging and turning an alarming shade of red and basically causing JB and I to sprout tufts of gray hair and have mini-strokes as we ready ourselves for the possibility of having to perform an infant-adapted Heimlich maneuver.

I love how the parenting books warn against feeding babies strained food for “too long” as it might cause them to have “trouble” with solids. That’s useful. Next time I’m threading a toilet snake down Riley’s throat in order to remove a soggy piece of cereal from his airway, I’ll just remember that IT’S ALL MY FAULT for 1) giving him the Cheerio and 2) not giving him the Cheerio earlier.

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angela
15 years ago

Clam Harbor!

Lisa
15 years ago

Yeah they dont swell up but they also dont hold in the poo. They are just to keep the poop from escaping into the pool if he does go thats it. Plus most public pools and private will not let your kid swim without one. Ok I am sure someone already told you that.

thatgrrrl
15 years ago

Are the painters in town? They’re here this week. You’re welcome. ;)

Kate
Kate
15 years ago

I am DYING here because ALL I WANTED TO SAY in my comment was “CLAM HARBOR” and ANGELA beat me to it! Beat me! To Clam Harbor!

I am in disbelief.

And also, CLAM HARBOR. I love you, Sundry.

niki
niki
15 years ago

Personally I was delighted by the phrase “Menstruation Station,” even if it does fall down as an actual metaphor.

I was in Bellevue this weekend (small tangent: /boyfriend in slightly pedantic been-around-the-block tone: “Bellevue is a suburb outside of Seattle where…” /me: “yes, yes, I know. I read someone who lives up there. Sheesh.” /boyfriend: “…”) then flew out of Sea-Tac, and I’m pretty sure it hit the low 90s on Sunday. I thought I was getting *away* from the stifling heat of the SF Bay Area, but I guess I brought it with me instead. (Since it’s cooled down here, I must have left it up with y’all. Sorry!)

Sure was pretty with all the people out on the water, though.

Shelly
Shelly
15 years ago

I think I like the Texan comment. (course I’m biased) But it’s very true. Here very close to the gulf, it’s alredy hit the 90’s by 8:30 in the morning :(

Baby books are sometimes great, and sometimes you want to stuff them down the toilet! But a cute tip one of my mother’s patients told her was while potty training little boys, keep cheerios by the loo. Why? Because if you throw in two or three cheerios in to water, it gives them something to focus on aiming at, and not the floor :)

Carolyn J.
Carolyn J.
15 years ago

Yep…Clam Harbor!

Sometimes I think babies think the things we ask them to learn are so weird. “You want me to Chew? With my Teeth? And then Walk? On the soles of my Feet?? Are you out of your MIND???”

jonniker
15 years ago

I am going to my parents cabin in the woods of Pennsylvania on a pond this weekend, and, fittingly, bought at least 10 pairs of flip flops for the occasion. All I wear are Reefs, I’m afraid – with everything from dresses to pants.

I’m thrilled I’m not alone.

niki p
niki p
15 years ago

Dotty Spotty??? OMG I am TOTALLY using that one!

JennB
15 years ago

How about “Redecorating Your Uterine Wall”?
A friend of mine used to use that one… It was always worth a laugh.

Rachel
15 years ago

It’s the having had a child, not the veering into the thirties, because I had my first child at 21, ten years ago, and went through the same transformation. I had NEVER cried at books, NEVER cried at movies, and only occasionally cried because of songs before then. Suddenly I found that I was a waterworks prone to coming on at any time with no warning. It doesn’t go away. Or at least it hasn’t yet.

warcrygirl
15 years ago

A freind of mine calls hers “falling over Ruby Falls and floating down the Crimson Tide”. I just call it being on the ‘rag’. Menstruation Station? Bwahahahahaha!!!

Teri M.
15 years ago

I, too, was skeptical of the PMS “excuse”, until I turned 35. And now, screw all ya’ll who are doubters! I was actually tearing up at your touching tribute to that awesome Christmas light house. And just when I thought I couldn’t love you, your family and your blog anymore? You were actually quoting my man Eddie in your post title.

You rock, girl.

Lisa V
15 years ago

Try having a 14 year old whose cycle is in sync with yours. Then you will know the true horrors of PMS. My husband buys dark chocolate by the vat and then tosses some in the door towards the corner, so we will be busy gorging on it and he can enter the house undetected. Never works though. We take him down in 4.5 minutes.

You inspired me to post a picture of my thong collection. Screw fashionistas or Republican pundits who say they are not proper footwear.

kate
15 years ago

Did I mention that your my favorite blogger? Yeah. Ya are.

Karina
15 years ago

Hey, if you’re swimming in the river anyway, screw the little swimmer diaper. Just put him in the little trunks and let the boys be Free! Depends how fast the river is flowing I guess– float away, little poops, be free!
Anyway, all you need the diaper for is to contain the poo for 3.2 seconds in the event of an ‘incident’. You have to whip him out and rip it all off him right away, anyway.
Good luck!
K

Pete
Pete
15 years ago

Gawd I HATE PMS!!

Jane
Jane
15 years ago

Another potty training thing for little boys I’ve heard is to plop a ping pong ball in the bowl. Because it floats and never gets flushed it’s a good aiming thing… some friends of ours growing up told us about it and their boys apparently used to have competitions to see who could make it spin faster.

Shannon
Shannon
15 years ago

I’ll chime in with the PMS-after-35 syndrome over here! I’d heard others say they suffered from it and silently thanked my lucky stars that I wasn’t prone to any PMS–until a few years ago. Dammit! I never used to cry at what I referred to as “sentimental garbage” but nowadays, it’s downright embarassing. Try watching the last season of “Six Feet Under” during PMS and see how many boxes of tissues you go through! The period, she is a bitch goddess.

Keaton
15 years ago

As a fortunate resident of Man Land, these things are foreign to me, save for the end result of Unpredictable Female. And while I agree with the idea that a steele-toed boot would be perfect, I do have to point out that my mother, who is nearly 60, has the same passion for flip-flops as you do. Thankfully, you are still riding the bleeding edge of orange shark-related fashion.

I would attempt to say something comforting about the idea of Riley getting used to solid foods (I ate sweet potatoes until I turned orange around that age), it only makes me realize: he is nearly ONE YEAR OLD. And here I am, nearly 20. Age, cruelty be thy name!

Jo
Jo
15 years ago

‘The bloody tears of a disappointed uterus’

Mel
Mel
15 years ago

When I got off birth control to conceive Ian, my PMS got way worse. I used to cry a little, be sad. Now I’m…well…a chocolate eating witch who also cries. I’m also glad that I’m no the only one having difficulty with solids. Ian will do O’s and Graham Crackers, but give him a noddle or a piece of cheese and…well…he doesn’t like it yet. The Gerber web site says it takes 10-15 tastes for a child to determine whether or not they like something, but I think they’re wrong. How do they know these things, anyway?

Beth Anne
Beth Anne
15 years ago

Be careful if he poops in the swimmies. If he does, make sure you cut the sides of the swimmies to get it off. DON’T, I repeat, DON’T try to pull them down. If you do, you will have a poop-streaked Riley.

I baby-sat a kid who automatically pooped everytime he got into the water (that’s another story in itself) and learned this very quickly. I would have to bring him out back and literally hose him down. It was probably funny for the neighbors . . .

Zoot
Zoot
15 years ago

I didnt experience PMS until a few years ago for the first time, so I feel ya’.

Also? I put Nikki in those LilSwimmers for the first time this week and I just kept talking about how amazing it was they weren’t expanding. HOW DOES IT WORK?

Well, a mother at daycare said “They’re a BARRIER, not an ABSORBER.” Evidently? She was holding her daughter who was wearing one right before getting into the pool. Her daughter peed? And the pee went STRAIGHT THROUGH the LilSwimmer and all over her mom. Evidently? They’re just there to make other swimmers feel better, but if your baby pees? It’s totally in the water. Hehe. I dont thing the algal colonies will care though.

Finally? I wear flip-flops with skirts everyday to work. But – I work with all men so I dont think they notice. Or care.

Nancy
Nancy
15 years ago

What is it with the dog and the digging in the plastic pool? I just got one for my 5-y-o daughter and my lab is attempting to dig a hole to China in it. Does it stand up to the punishment? Better than the new hose that we got to replace the old hose that he devoured. New hose developed a new hole during it’s inaugural use when we went to the door to pay the pizza guy. We didn’t even stop to eat the pizza.

Jessie
15 years ago

I liked the first metaphor, actually. Very clever. I’ve always believed in PMS, but not as much as I did after the “cheetos” incident in which I wanted cheetos but wanted share cheetos with my husband, but he was getting up so I went to get my own bowl for cheetos, but he said to just take his and then I feaked the hell out because I just wanted things the way I wanted them and I crushed the bag of cheetos and threw it at him, and then went to the bedroom and sobbed for a half hour.

Now? I truly believe that PMS exists, because I’m afraid to think that something else might have caused that little bout of insanity.

squandra
squandra
15 years ago

Red tide in Clam Harbor.

That one.

HAAAAAAA.

megan
megan
15 years ago

Zoot stole my thoughts exactly. Those Little Swimmers are for nothing other than holding in poop. My friend’s daughter had one on and we were waiting for everyone to be ready to go out to the beach. I’m holding Emily and I was just wondering on how the heck those things don’t bulk up in the water. Lucky me I found out exactly how when I ended up with the pee all down my side. It was lovely. And it’s barely a “Barrier” because it was a tidal wave down my body.

I am loving my new favorite flip flops from Ann Taylor Loft. They’re comfy like walking on air, but they look nice too. In my opinion as long as your toes don’t look all snaggly – flip flop away!

biodtl
15 years ago

The dollar store sells these inflatable baby pools that are only about 2 – 2 1/2 feet across and a few inches deep (one ring). I used one when my daughter was about Riley’s age and I loved it because she cold sit in it and I could be happily dry, but still be able to hold on to her at all times.

kate
kate
15 years ago

For some reason I always -forget- about PMS and try to trace my sudden onset moody depression to environmental factors- usually, my husband. Mid-freak-out, he might hesitantly say, “honey…have you thought maybe….it’s not that you’ve coincidentally begun hating me at the same time that all the cheetos and chocolate in the tri-county area have been devoured? maybe it’s PMS…?” And of course I’m totally enraged that he’d try to excuse himself for whatever HORRIBLE thing he did (tell me I’m pretty, ask me to close the door…) by trying to make it seem like i’m just some hysterical woman controlled by her uterus. And then I end up being relieved when I realize that yes, I am.

Sara
15 years ago

Love the menses metaphors! I’m still laughing!
About Riley’s solid food thing — our daughter was the same way. At one point, I seriously wondered if she’d still be eating stage three jarred foods in grade school. Even though she had a slew of teeth she didn’t seem to get the whole chewing thing, and had a thing about textures. As she became more confident in her movement (she was a bit later on the spectrum and walked, alone, (finally) at 20 months) she was more willing to eat complicated foods. I still feel, sometimes, like I’m hoovering over her booster seat, waiting for a choking sound; it can be thrilling, can’t it? As far as cereal, Lucy really likes rice Chex and the Trader Joe’s Os. For some reason, the TJs cereal tastes a bit better to her. Go figure!

LLL
LLL
15 years ago

The little swimmers indeed to not swell up – much better than a diaper. Havent’ had any poo experiences with them yet, so no help there. Enjoy the water and the boy in the water!

karmajenn
15 years ago

Menstruation Station! Could have been the title of the sex ed portion of School House Rock. Sadly remiss.

Having just proudly put a swimmer on my son last night, I’m now horrified that the “water” pouring off him and onto me in the pool, well, wasn’t.

Katie
Katie
15 years ago

Long-time lurker, here.

I’m 21, and I don’t have a baby, but I worked for years as a lifeguard at a public pool/waterpark with LOTS of swimming babies.

Our policy was the swim diapers (they’re cute – blue with marine animals! orange fish!) plus these plastic overpants. Not sure where the plastic covers come from – we used to special-order them in bulk for parents who forgot. However, when a regular diaper meets water…. agh! the mess!.

Laying in plenty of both of those for the summer should have you guys set for any public pool you decide to visit. I would also warn against buying water wings – they are cute, but foam blocks that strap around the waist will actually hold non-swimming children up in the water MUCH better. Water wings were banned at our facility. (You probably know most of this from the parenting magazine/word-of-mouth/etc. network that I’m not plugged into, but I thought I’d throw it out there.)

One more thing from the lifeguarding chronicles – would you and JB feel better/less stressed if you took a Community CPR/First Aid class? There are infant and child adaptations of all the lifesaving procedures. The Red Cross in your area should offer them.

honeybecke
honeybecke
15 years ago

Gah, you aren’t kidding about the heat. We flew through SeaTac yesterday and the second the plane was switched off at the gate it got H.O.T.T as H.E.L.L, fast. It made the already restless masses (every seat taken, yay) go a little insane waiting and waiting to finally be free of the aircraft (long flight from Dallas). And since I was traveling alone with E. I of course waited to be last off the plane cause I had a ton of baby stuff to wrastle with. Fun, fun times. Thank god E. is such a good little traveler!

Anchorage is hot too, I think we’re breaking the 70ish mark!!

PS> your entry about your dad? i don’t even know what to say about it, cause there is so much to say but no way for me to actually say it. i’ll try though. just, well, i’m happy for you and so glad you have such a wonderful family and that you are where you are now. you should be proud of yourself cause maybe all that history would cause some people to go over the edge and not make any good of their own lives. way to go, mama.

Kari
Kari
15 years ago

Clam Harbor! HAH! You just made this crappy day turn ok!

And Starla loves the fruit puffs. Just started them today…. probably a bit late… : (

Oh Riley is looking so much like a little boy it’s scary! hehe

missbanshee
missbanshee
15 years ago

Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly love this blog any more, you bring the Izzard. Sigh. Looooooooooove.

angela
15 years ago

KATE: ha! CLAM HARBOR! we are so awesome.

ginger
15 years ago

Chiming in on the Little Swimmers warnings: The Doodle wears ’em to the beach, and if she pees in it, we have to rip it off her before she goes again or sits down too forcefully. If she’s had a lot to drink, it all goes straight through. And I second the “do not attempt to pull down” comment. They tear off at the sides, and it makes cleanup that much easier. It holds her poop pretty well, but she’s older and her poops are more . . . solid. They don’t seem to hold all that much, though. Maybe go easy on the food and drink while he’s wearing them?

Average Jane
15 years ago

I’m glad I’m not the only one who used to think PMS was fictitious until it was proven otherwise. In my case, I had a co-worker who turned completely evil for one week every month. We learned to just leave her the hell alone until she was back to normal. My own PMS didn’t kick in until much later, but I usually recognize it by how much profanity I suddenly begin to direct at other drivers.

Jem
Jem
15 years ago

I soooooooooo didn’t believe in PMS either, until I went on the pill. Isn’t it weird how the pill GAVE me PMS? I totally believe in it now.

mia
mia
15 years ago

I never had any problems Taking Carrie To The Prom, but I have noticed since the birth of my first son that you can set a watch by my cycle.

Sunshyn
15 years ago

Give the kid a stripped chicken leg bone with maybe some tiny bits of chicken left on it. And/or a stripped corn-on-the-cob with just bits of corn left. He’ll be a drooly mess…

Elyse
15 years ago

All I could think of when watching that video was, “Damn. The electric bill on that house must be astronomical.”

Chloe
15 years ago

Kate– I also “forget” about PMS, then realize halfway through a tear soaked, miserable day that my period is due in about a week– it took me FOREVER to associate those moods with my menstrual cycle, though. What an idiot.
I envy those who don’t get PMS until after 35/ children. At least I don’t get it every single month, but still WAAAY too often for me. It’s a terrible feeling to realize that the emotional, quick-to-cry, freaking out stereotypical bitch woman is you… once a month (but hopefully less).

Heh! Clam Harbor.
I’m sure there is some sort of hot sauce/ pink taco metaphor you could wrangle out too… but you probably don’t want to. Too gross? Yeah, I thought so.

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