I've moved! Visit my new site.

Momsoap is movin' on up, to a real dot com! Visit my new site at: http://www.momsoap.com Please visit my new site and re-subscribe if you like my writing. I hope to see you all there!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Apparently, I could even be the nanny

Annika got mistaken for a boy at the park the other day. I guess the fact that she was wearing a black T-shirt and blue shoes won out over her blue nail polish and turquoise pants bespeckled with butterflies.

Those kinds of mistakes just make me laugh a little. At least they are the kinds of things that pretty much happen to everybody during the infant and toddler years. Mistaking a girl for a boy or vice versa is par for the course in pretty much any culture.

That experience far outweighed the interaction I had with a woman at the same park earlier in the week.

I was swinging Annika in the toddler swings when a graying White woman approached with a little blond girl.

I looked at the little girl and said to Annika, "She looks about the same age as you, sweetie."

The woman smiled and asked Annika's age. I told her, 2. She told me the age of the child with her, 2 and change. We smiled and murmured things about how cute they were. The girls giggled in their swings.

Then she turned to me and said, "Are you the mother?"

THE mother.  Not even her mother.

"Yes," I said.

This is where you expect me to get all irate.

But I didn't.

My stomach did not turn to bile or get all twisted up in knots. It turned more to a consistency of Playdough. Lumpy. Pureed. Mushy. Bored. Trite.

I felt my face go flat with disappointment at this now mundane question. It's getting a little tiring.

Even though Annika was still laughing and shouting "Wee, wee!" I asked her if she was ready to get down.

"Baby, do you want to slide?!" I asked her all excited.

"Nooo, SWING!" was the answer I got.

I just wanted to get away from the woman, who had noted that she was in fact, the little girl's grandmother.

Like I cared.

Either she noticed my lack of interest, or she understood that she had made a mistake. After a few minutes she said, "The reason I asked you if you were her mother is because you run into a lot of nannies here too."

"Oh," was my response.

That is true. It's the only park where I see nannies.

To me, the nannies stick out as nannies. They gather together with strollers and bottles and chat with each other while the children play within a safe distance. There is a distance in their interactions with the children in their care. They lack the tenderness that you see between mothers and their children. Maybe that's something only mothers notice.

I finally got Annika off the swing under the guise that we needed to change her diaper and offered her a snack.

Anyone who is not the mother of a Bi-racial child might not really get my point here. I even hesitated to write this because I'm not even quite sure I get it, but somehow I felt this experience was an important one to share.

That feeling - that dull, soft spot that has turned so quickly from irritation to lack of interest in engaging someone who would be even slightly insensitive to our familial difference - is very new to me.

I've never been one to turn away from a debate, a fight, a dialogue. I am always the one searching for knowledge and enlightenment. My curiosity peaks at the slightest hint of something new or out of the ordinary.

But this stuff, this is not new. Not in this country.

White people who are in denial about the state of the racial divide. White people who think that because we desegregated schools, and affirmative action placed Black workers further up the ladder, and the fact that we have a Black president makes it all better, makes it all okay, makes it all -- equal.

That soft, dull feeling that I can't even begin to describe as an ache, because it doesn't ache. It is more like a tumor. That is what I imagine dark-skinned people feel every time they interact with insensitive White people. People who think that a Band-Aid makes the wound disappear.

I spent nine years living in Detroit. I cannot even begin to tell you the hatred and vitriol that divides the metropolis. It is in ingrained so deeply that most people, Blacks and Whites, don't even see it as a color issue anymore.

I spent a lot of time chatting with my Black friends in Detroit. The ones who cared enough to attempt to enlighten me, about how it feels for your feelings to be swept aside as easily as, "Oh sorry, it was an honest mistake."

But I didn't really get it until now. Or, I should say, I am feeling it. Maybe I will never really get it. But I feel something that I definitely never felt before.

It's only been two years, of slip ups and insensitive questions about the maternal bond I share with a child who is not the same color as me.

And already, I have no desire to interact with someone who can't or won't even admit the possibility - until she has hard evidence - that she might be my daughter.

If I can get to this point in two years it makes me wonder how many years this country will pay dearly for the past mistakes we made. It makes me wonder how many generations it will take to slough off the ingrained anger and indifference, on both sides.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The First Sense to go is Fashion: or What the Hell are Jorts?

I fully admit that my fashion sense has been slipping away gradually for the last several years. I really don't care. 

But lately I've been wondering if I'm one of those people. That person who people look at and go, hasn't she seen a fashion magazine in the last decade?

Or does she go out in PUBLIC, like, ever?

Doesn't she know that (insert fashion faux pas here) is just LAUGHABLE?

I thought I was just blending into the crowd.

Well, the truth is, I haven't looked at a fashion magazine in like 10 years. I may have bought one once or twice. If I did I probably became quickly irritated with myself for wasting $4 - then took the quiz to find out if my boyfriend is REALLY that in to me - and then tossed it in the trash.

Thinking about how I look to other people reminds me of a woman I used to see around at parties during my early 20s who was still feathering her hair and wearing blue eye shadow. She wasn't even old enough to be leftover from the 1970s. I don't know what her deal was.

I don't think I'm that bad. But the truth is, I don't even know what 90s fashion looks like. So how am I supposed to know if I'm still wearing it? I mean, okay. I LIVED in the 90s. It was the height of my fashion sense years. But I dressed alternative. Yes, that's what we called it.

I wore baggy jeans and vintage tops and big shoes with buckles on them. Or baggy jeans and tight shirts with big chunky heels. I wore a lot of black. (This was after the hair bow and denim years. Don't judge, it was the 80s.)

I know I'm not still dressing like that, although, I would totally love for that stuff to come back in style. Maybe I should just start dressing that way again and make a real fashion statement.

My basic dress consists of jeans, shorts, jean shorts, flip flops, tank tops, blouses, a couple of skirts (that I never wear anymore). Ummm. Hmmmm. Yeah, that's about it.

These days I mostly hang out with other 30-and 40-something moms. Most of them seem to have it a little more together when it comes to looking cute. They wear skirts sometimes and they seem to know what kind of shoes are cool. I only recently heard about Keens. I mean, I've seen them before, but I didn't know what they were called. The clothes in my regular rotation are definitely not from this season. I shop at thrift stores.

In  case you are wondering, the impetus for this fashion angst is from a conversation I had on Twitter with an IRL friend in her 20s and a cute dresser.

Here it is:

punc_rock: yesterday i tried on a pair of jorts. and i liked it.
marthawood: @punc_rock what are jorts?
punc_rock: @marthawood jean shorts. usually used toward people stuck in 90's clothes, recently reclaimed by the hipsters that wear ironic 90's outfits
marthawood: @punc_rock interesting. Did not know that jean shorts were considered uncool. Am wearing some now. Also wondering if I look .....
marthawood:@punc_rock ... To 20-somethings the same way ppl w/ feathered hair looked to me in the 90s.
punc_rock: @marthawood haha, well keep them on, now you are a hipster! voila, just like that. :P jk.  


Well, I know I am not a hipster. Nor do I want to be. I'm too old. I really don't want to be like that 40-something woman who worked in the office at my high school and wore huge hair bows and denim skirts to go along with her bleached, permed hair. She looked ridiculous. Okay, we ALL looked ridiculous, but at least the rest of us had an excuse. We were kids. We didn't know any better. 

I took a picture the day I had that conversation with my friend.  

That's what I was wearing. 

Then I start to wonder if my shorts are too short. What kind of shorts am I supposed to wear that aren't denim. What kind of shoes would make me look cooler.

Aaargh, I need some new clothes! But then I think how ridiculous that is. To go out and get a new wardrobe. The majority of my social interaction is playgroups at parks, outside, with toddlers who expect you to pick them up even if they are soaking wet, have food on their hands, holding a wet sippy cup....

And I wonder, just why I would bother.

Hell, maybe I'll just go get some cutoff jorts and call it a day.

Wait a second. Maybe my problem is not my clothes, but the fact that I never hang out in the adult world. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

What scares me about the Better Homes and Gardens commandment debacle

Late last week Better Homes and Gardens blogger Heather W. posted The 10 commandments of dining with little kids. If you clicked that link, you will have noticed that the headline now reads 9 commandments.

They changed it. Quietly. Over the weekend when online activity is generally decreased.

Is it just me, or doesn't it bug anyone else that this magazine didn't acknowledge that the content was changed until the original version was being smeared all over the internet?

The editor's note that is now in place on the post was placed on top of the post on Monday, May 24. The article was posted on Wednesday, May 19.

I don't know when they changed the post, but I read it around 9 a.m. Monday morning after seeing in on Twitter, and that editor's note wasn't there. It was just the post, with the changed headline and the missing commandment.

A brief synopsis of what happened.

Some blogger who apparently doesn't like hanging out in restaurants where children are shrieking, throwing food on the floor, and running rampant wrote some dumb list for parents giving them the commandments for how to behave in restaurants.

What BHG took out was this commandment:

Yes, I have seen table-side breast feeding at a four-star restaurant. If at all possible, take it to the ladies room. (Note: most upscale restaurants have really nice restrooms!)"

Unfortunately for BHG, enough people had already noticed the offensive proposition and copied it and pasted it all over a bunch of other sites, a Facebook page calling for a boycott was set up. BHG's very own FB page was littered with angry comments.

The magazine even posted a heartfelt apology.

So, on to what bugs me the most about this.

I don't give a shit that they have ignorant, uneducated and inconsiderate bloggers working for them. I don't even mind that they scapegoated her out, saying that nobody else had read the post before it went on the website. I don't believe that. I worked for a small community newspaper and my university newspaper and nothing got posted in print or online without at least one other person looking at it.

The magazine says that the post was "not vetted by our editors." What a load of horseshit.

But what really bugs me the most is that they did not post ANYTHING remotely close to an apology or a retraction. They simply removed the offensive part of the article and went about their business as if it never happened.

Until they got called out by thousands of pissed off moms.

A lot of people are saying that BHG has acted honorably and ethically by apologizing and removing the offending content.

That is SO WRONG.

It is highly highly unethical for a media outlet to ignore a mistake, and change content without reflecting that somewhere in the piece.

One example of an ethical media outlet, is the New York Times. Whenever they change something, typically a factual error, it is always noted.

In this time period, when online information is transmitted so quickly and easily, it is important to support media outlets that are honorable, ethical and honest. They must own up to mistakes. They must respect the sanctity of the transmission of information.

I know that some editorialized blog post on kids in restaurants is not exactly Watergate. But if the line gets blurred, there, where does it end?

Friday, May 21, 2010


So, even though I am still a tiny ass little fish in the big blogging sea, somebody likes me and I got an award!


Before I write anymore I should tell you. I'm drunk.


Well, good and buzzed anyway. I did it on purpose.

See, one of the potential requirements of accepting this award was that I get drunk. Ok, it was only ONE option, but as anyone who knows me IRL, you would know that I would have picked that one.

Here are the rules:

ONE: Get really excited that you got the coolest award EVER!


TWO: Choose one of the following options for accepting the OMB award:

a. Get really drunk and blog for 15 minutes straight or for as long as you can focus. I can totally do this. One, I'm from Texas. Two, I have a journalism degree. I was drunk when I wrote about Bush getting elected for the second time. Yeah, I know. What Democrat wasn't completely wasted drunk that night?

b. Write about your most embarrassing moment. Most embarrassing moment? Well, they would likely involve me being drunk, so why not just go for the purity of getting drunk and blogging at the same time?

c. Write a "Soundtrack of Your Childhood" post. Really? Now that would be embarrassing.

d. Make your next blog a 'vlog'/video blog. I thought about doing this, and naming is DRVlogging, but my Flip camera is low on batteries and to be honest I'm not sure how to recharge it. Yep, I'm old. Fuck YOU.

e. Take a picture of yourself first thing in the morning before you do anything else [hair, makeup, etc.] and post it. That's just stupid, what is this, the 1980s? Sorry if this offends anyone. In case you weren't paying attention, I'M DRUNK! And, for some reason I can't turn off the bold font. Screw you. I'm DRUNK!


 THREE: Pass the award on to at least 3, but preferrably more, awesome bloggers like yourself. Don't forget to tell them!

This is the hardest one because I have so many to pick from! 

Ok, since I'm drunk I'm going to be a sap and give the first award right back to the person who gave it to me because even though I've never met her in person, I think we'd totally be buddies. I LOVE YOU MAN!

1. Soy Mami Y Mas. I have no fucking clue what the name of her blog means, but she's open, honest, sweet and dedicated. I also think she has balls. I like women with balls.

2. MamaTrue: This is my IRL friend Sonya. She's going through a divorce right now and blogging about it as honestly and as respectfully as one can share their innermost thoughts and feelings with people who don't know her.

3. Late Enough. Late Enough is my newest favorite read. She's a mom, an ex-Marlboro Light smoker, a SAHM, with a doctor hubby and from reading her about page, I'm guessing she's gone through some sort of spiritual metamorphosis, which is very cool in my book. She's also funny. I'd wax more on this, but remember, I'M DRUNK.

Anyhoo, so on to the more important part of this post, (which I can tell you has gone on quite longer than 15 fucking minutes), the part where I blog drunk.
I'm one of those people who sway between super funny and super serious, or just pissed off when I'm drunk. DO NOT, AND I REPEAT, DO NOT LET ME DRINK TEQUILA IF I AM PMSING. 

Okay, now that I've gotten that very important PSA out of the way, I'm going to get all serious and shit on you because I don't have an audience to moonwalk in front of and I'm not pmsing.

I have often wondered what exactly my relationship with alcohol is. I grew up in a very Christian-like family. My maternal grandfather was a Church of Christ preacher. My maternal grandmother would have been a preacher if the CHURCH wasn't so fucking sexist. (My words, not hers, she's probably rolling over in her grave right now.) 

I spent most of my childhood wondering if I was on the path to eternal salvation and making deals with G-O-D. I often daydreamed about dying just for a minute so that I could ask God if I was on the right path, if I was going to the right church, if I was for sure going to make it to heaven. 

Then I went to a Christian university.

It didn't take long for me to start drinking.


Getting drunk for me back then was like, well, holy shit, I can take a fucking break from all this worry and guilt and shit. Who the fuck wouldn't want that?

Then I did a lot of shit that I may or may not share with the blogosphere at some future date, then boom, I'm married. To a guy who is total straight edge. So, I spent several years not drinking, much.

Then we got divorced.

That's when I realized I may or may not have a grown up alcohol problem.

Before I could just blame it on college life.

But now, here I was in my late 20s, nearing my 30s and most of my best memories involved me getting drunk, peeing in public, running from cops, or women who were mad that I had snatched flowers off of their lawns, smoking to cover my breath in front of cops and passed out pictures of me in front of bonfires, or getting into beds with my friends who were sleeping naked. 

I spent a lot of years drinking. Which is my point. I stopped basically because I had a kid.

I don't have a hard time not drinking. But once I start, I don't want to stop.

My paternal grandfather was, according to my mother, a big time alcoholic. When I was in my late teens the current train of thought was that alcoholism skips a generation.

Today, science has "proven" that there is an addiction gene.

I don't know if I buy any of this. I used to drink because it numbed my pain and my guilt and my anger and it helped me feel connected to people because when I was sober I was so busy hiding behind my shell.

Now that I have a child I have less pain and guilt and anger because she brings me joy and I don't have time for self-centered angst. I feel more connected to the world because I have a child who has forced me to get with the program.

I wonder if this whole addiction thing is real. I wonder if bad parenting is part of the equation. I wonder if I will pass on my problems to my daughter or if my experiences will help me decipher her teen angst and worry and maybe I will be able to pass on enough wisdom that she won't feel the need to drink and do drugs and party like I did.

I just wonder.

I sway back and forth between worrying that my problems will be a hurdle or a stepping stone for my daughter.

I could go on and on about this, but that would involve more thinking and to be quite honest with you, I just want to go to the store and get some tacos and cheetos and then pass out.

So, in case you are thinking that this post is way to cohesive and there are not enough spelling errors, remember, I'm a Texan and a journalist at heart. Being drunk has never impeded me from getting done what I need to do. 

Ok, I'm going to go eat some fuckking tacos now. Laterzioooooooooooooooooooo

P.S. 15 minutes? Try 2.5 hours.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

So, what color am I? Scroll to the end to find out

The other day Toyin asked Annika what color her hair was, she responded, (to my surprise) "Brown!"

To me, her hair looks black. To Toyin, it looks brown.

Her hair, just like her identity, will look to each side of the cultural equation, more like the other one.

I realized recently that I have already made a mistake about the race discussion.

I have been waiting for Annika to get older, or to see if she brings it up, instead of doing what I knew subconsciously what I should have done. I should have already started talking to her about it.

It's not so bad. I mean, her language skills are still developing. As with many topics that are hard to discuss, I kept thinking I'd wait for her to notice that her skin color is different from mine. I mean, she's only 2. It seems to be so obvious to other people, I guess I didn't think she'd take long to notice.

But to her, we are normal. To other people, we are not, at least, not most people. Even our friends, who like us and don't care that we are a blend of colors, it is still a noticeable difference.

I have been asked plenty of times now if Annika is adopted. Some people with less couth just say things like, "Is that your daughter?"

Then the other day a little girl asked me flat out, "Why is your skin different colors?" as she watched me nursing Annika. Wow. I was totally unprepared for such a guileless question.

It was the most refreshing exchange I've had with another person on the topic since Annika was born. I mean, this kid did not assume anything. She had no judgments. Her only agenda was to get her question answered. It was so simple. So wonderful.

I told her that it was because Annika's daddy has darker skin than mine and so she was a mixture of our skin colors. Even after I said that, I fumbled more, trying to come up with something a little more.... profound, maybe? I don't know what I was searching for.

Her mom jumped in and explained, saying something like, "You know how my hair and your dad's hair are different colors and yours a mixture of ours? It's the same thing."

The little girl seemed satisfied with that.

I was grateful for the additional explanation. But even more grateful for the question.

It made me realize that even with all my reading and thinking on the subject I still don't know exactly what I'll say when Annika starts asking questions. It made me realize that maybe I'm not quite as comfortable with the topic as I thought I was.

So, I decided to test the waters.

Yesterday as I sat with Annika on the couch, I held our arms together. I pointed at her arm.

"What color is your arm Annika?" I asked her.

"Brown!" She said with a proud grin.

I pointed at my arm.

"What color is Mommy's arm?"

She looked confused and then looked up at my face for guidance.

I could understand her confusion. I mean, really, what color is my skin?

In all reality, it is just a much lighter shade of brown. But I was pointing out to her that our skin color was different. She understood that much.

I said, "They're not the same color are they?" I said.

She nodded, no.

"So what color is Mommy's arm?" I asked again, curious what she would say.


Heh, heh. Well, I guess that's close enough.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Apparently being a douche makes Anderson Cooper an expert on racism

As a former journalist I defend the media whenever I get the chance. Sure, it has its problems, but it's a tough job.

HOWEVER, sometimes, the media gets involved in things they have no business being involved in.

Like talking to children.  

About racism.

Monday night CNN aired the first part of a series called, "Doll Study Research," on AC360.The topic was that Anderson Cooper and his team performed a "study" about how Black and White children see race.

I like how they named their study after a famous actual research study that actually used dolls.

I'm no scientist, nor am I child psychologist, but I thought the clips were way more telling about the producers of the show adults asking the questions, than the children. Additionally, the way these children answered was more a reflection of our society than the actual kids' feelings or beliefs.

One thing I've learned in the past few years is that how you talk to children makes a huge difference in the answers you get.

In the clip labeled "show me the dumb child" they asked the kids a bunch of questions about which kids were smart, dumb, nice, mean, ugly, good-looking, good and bad. The younger set of children was questioned in the wrong way. Children that young are looking to please. The older kids were way more articulate.

If you give a kid a set of pictures and tell him/her to pick out the ugly one, the child is not going to say, "Oh, none of them are ugly." They are assuming that there is an ugly one, so the way I see it, unless a child has been talked to about this topic, they are going to pick the one they think you want them to.

I really liked what this dad had to say about his daughter's answers. His daughter said that all the children were equal. Her response was well-thought out and knowledgeable. Then her dad noted that this is what he had taught her. Hello! Let's teach our kids how to think about racism instead of waiting for Anderson Cooper to tell us what they think.

In the headline, this mom was portrayed as a mother who is shocked by her daughter's "white bias" as this so-called study claims to have found. But if you watch and listen, her answers are pretty savvy. She knows her daughter isn't a racist. She understands exactly what the book NurtureShock tells us, that children pick out people who look similarly to themselves and their parents as being better than others.

These children aren't racist. Nor do they have a condition called "white bias." They are just kids. Who got asked a bunch of stupid questions.

As an aside, I have to add that I think it's great (sarcasm) how CNN has found a new label to give kids.

I hope my child never gets "white bias." But just in case she does, I hope the pharmaceutical companies are working on a pill for that.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy BirthMothersDay

True to form, I am late in posting this, by one day (or two depending on how you see it).

I realized around 11:30 p.m. Sunday night that I didn't mention Mother's Day on my blog. Where I mostly write about being a mom and most of my readers are moms.

Yeah. I figured that the wooden tits should say it all.

But in case it wasn't enough:

Happy belated Mother's Day to you all!

Really though, when you read this, you'll understand why I sort of forgot it was Mother's Day.

A. I've never been good at remembering holidays. Growing up, we knew it must be some sort of holiday if there was one of those gross lard-based grocery store cakes sitting on the dining room table.

My family goes through the motions when it comes to holidays, but that's about it.
Birthdays were about the same. Because of the mostly bad or non-existent birthday memories, I'm determined to make sure Annika always has a good birthday celebration.

And B. Yesterday was her actual birthday, but Toyin and I took her to Port Aransas for the weekend to play in the sand and splash in the salt water.

We had a blast.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, Annika's birthday will always take precedence over Mother's Day.

And that is just fine with me.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Dolly Parton Tree

On our way to Port Aransas this weekend we stopped in the tiny town of McCoy, Texas. We stopped so I could use the facilities at a little barbecue joint where a guy was settin' outside actually cooking the meat on a grill. The owner of the place was super friendly and made sure to tell us all about the tree to the side of the restaurant.

"That's a Dolly Parton tree you know," she said to us, pointing to the magnificent 200-year-old tree on the side of the restaurant. I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the place, but if you get off at the exit for McCoy and head east you'll come up on it after about two miles. You can't miss it. It's the first sign of civilization. It's sexy, huh?

Friday, May 7, 2010

The hum of the road brings out the philosopher in me

Last night as we drove south on Highway 37 toward Port Aransas, we passed by what Toyin and I guessed was an oil refinery. It stretched for several miles and was lit up like a small city. The individual lights burned brightly like Christmas lights on a tree, glowing with serenity. The steam pumped out across the sky forming a soft burnt cloud-like smog across the city. It was -- dare I say it and offend my environmental sense -- quite beautiful.

It was like a small city within itself. It hummed with a sense of a tiny, organized ecosystem within a ragingly disorganized and painfully expansive system.

Ever since the oil spill along the coast, I only saw the negative impact of the oil pumping along the coast. Because of the oil spill, ocean life has been damaged, food sources have been lost, livelihoods are threatened, entertainment and vacation spots will be ruined. There is much to be lost because of this oil spill. It is sad. It is painful for our world. I get that.

But as we drove in the darkness while Annika slept, the sight of the oil refinery struck me with wonder and knowledge. It is its own tiny point of light and a movement of evolution in itself. Oil provides a way of life. It is a natural resource that we use to power things that are necessary for daily life in this century. I don't know about you, but I like lights and motor vehicles.

Maybe it was the darkness and the hum of the road that lends itself to seeing beauty in the openness of the unknown ahead of us. Maybe it was the silence of the sleeping child that one learns to enjoy to its fullest because you never know how long it will last. Maybe it was the beauty of the lights against the velvety sky. Maybe it was the smell of the ocean or the anticipation of vacation.
I'm not a religious woman, but I did grow up "in" the Church of Christ, as we put it. Three times a week for 18 years of my life I worshiped the Lord. I am very familiar with the teaching of Christ.

When we drove past that oil refinery all of these thoughts roiled through my head and I murmured, "One things dies so another may live." It was all very metaphoric. 

Today we spent the morning at the beach and once again I was struck by another ecosystem inside a larger one. The smaller ecosystem inside water that pools in between the beach and the edge of the rolling tide. It is a miniature system that is formed of the same things that forms the ocean, but it is more closely connected, more intense. It is the dregs of the ocean that are moving closer together to make their own tiny society of kelp, seaweed, gravel, shells, tiny fish and salt water.

Watching these newer, smaller ecosystems at work, the way they take what is there and mold something new that resembles its maker is like watching a child grow and become.

Become what? Just become. Become who they will be. Become the essence of you, your genetics, your childhood environment, your talents and your failings. For better or worse, they are our oil spills and our miniature oceanic ecosystems, taking what the world gives them and reworking it.

I wish I had some pictures for you but alas, I did not take pictures of either one. And, I forgot my cable for the camera. But hang tight because I'm going to try to find one tonight and instead of oil refineries and tiny pools of fish I have some pictures of a tree with tits! God I love Texas.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mother's Day remembrances and a review

Mother's Day is just around the corner and thinking about it, I am reminded of a wonderful little bundle of joy I was given last year. No, not Annika. That was two years ago. Yep, she was born the day before Mother's Day. It was definitely the best Mother's Day gift I have ever gotten and every year she will continue to be the best Mother's Day gift.

I have already sworn that I will never one of those moms that hints around for gifts and instead I will use Mother's Day to remind myself that the best gift my child can give me is her presence (pun intended).

However, I am lucky in that, Toyin, even though he certainly doesn't have to, still buys me presents occasionally.

Last year, on my second official Mother's Day, Toyin gave me an iPod Touch for Mother's Day and it was hands down the best gift he has ever given me, other than Annika. And he, unlike previous men in my life, gives really good gifts.

The year before, a couple of months after Annika was born, he split the cost of a new laptop for me. The first year we dated, he took me to a bed and breakfast for my birthday and bought me a digital recorder, which would come in handy for my job as a newspaper reporter. He's bought me clothes, fancy dinners, and gadgets in the six years we've known each other. But even so, the iPod was the best thing he could have ever bought me and I'll tell you why. Even though it wasn't the most expensive gift he ever bought me, unlike those other gifts, this one saved my sanity.

At the time, Annika was working on about the fifth month of what looked like a never-ending life being attached to my breast for sleeping. And 1-year-olds sleep a lot! We're talking, like 14 hours a day I was strapped down next to her while she slept.

In the first months she did this too, but I could pop her on my breast on my Boppy nursing pillow and once she fell asleep, I'd turn on a TV show or read the news on my laptop.

But as she got bigger and more aware of the world around her, the noises from the laptop irritated her. At night, for a while, I could leave the light on and I'd read books. During naps, I did the same, but a person can only read so much, plus it's exhausting on the fingers and arms trying to hold a book up with one arm for an hour or two while flipping pages with the same hand because your infant is sleeping on top of the other arm.

So for several months, off and on I'd lie there, bored, staring at the ceiling, thinking about e-mails I wanted to respond to, news I wanted to read, things I'd like to write about, videos I could be watching, funny Facebook statuses came and went through my head that never got posted.

Twitter remained elusive. I'd hear about news events and be surprised, even though they had been all over every major news station in the world. Even though a lot of those moments were good extra time for sleeping and lots of good bonding with Annika also happened during that time, it was tiring and lonely, lying there while my child slept next to me with my breast in her mouth and all I could do was lie there, unfulfilled, bored and not tired.

So when Toyin bought me the iPod Touch, it changed my life.

I still use it even though it has gotten way easier to sneak out of bed after she falls asleep. Naps are still hard to sneak away, so I use it during those. But the iPod has actually made it easier for me to stay in bed longer with Annika at night and has given us even more cuddle time. Surprisingly, this little gadget has made it so that I am not longing to get up and often, after Annika falls asleep, I will get on my iPod for about an hour and then I turn it off and roll over for more snuggles as I drift into la-la land.

This little gadget isn't perfect by any means. Even though I've had it for less than a year, many of the apps I want need the upgraded version, so they don't work. And for some reason YouTube videos stop playing after we've watched them several times. Occasionally, the wireless gets hung up and I have to reset my modem.

Another problem that I didn't originally foresee is that now Annika fights me for the use of it. On the one hand, it's a nice toy for her because I have some cool toddler apps that she really likes. She has learned her shapes using the iPod and her eye hand coordination is remarkable for a less-than-2-year-old, in my opinion.

But she has gotten to the stage where she will demand the use of it. "Have it!" She tells me when I am using it to check my e-mail, or, she will demand to watch a "boo do" (video).

But all in all, the iPod Touch has been a lifesaver for me. I have often thought that it's something no attached mama should be without.

So if your husband or significant other has asked you what you want for Mother's Day, tell him or her that you want an iPod Touch, or hell, make it an iPad. It might come in handy during the heavy flow days. (Pun intended.)

Monday, May 3, 2010

The two-year mark makes me feel like a giddy school girl

I don't know what it is. This two year mark coming up on being a mother is somehow similar to how I felt when I moved from junior high (now called middle school -- yes I'm old) to high school.

It may not seem like much of an accomplishment on the outside. To the cool kids of the world I probably still look like an awkward, unkempt 12-and-a-1/2-year-old wearing purple eyeshadow and a bulky watch that does not go with my ruffly graduation dress.

But on the inside I feel like I am a new woman. I've figured out how to shave my legs without bleeding and the possibilities with boys are endless!

In all reality, I feel like I have passed the first big test and the first major hump of being an attached parent.

If parenting is brain surgery, attachment parenting is neuroscience. It's not just looking at what is there, it is looking at what could be there and trying to make sure that good things happen and bad things don't.

I'm not trying to debate the differences between mainstream parenting vs attachment parenting. But let's face it. The reason many people choose not to do certain things like, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, avoid sleep training and wear babies is because, it is fucking inconvenient. It's physically and mentally challenging. And it lasts longer. It's hard on your back and neck.

It's also emotionally tiring because in some cases people not only have the regular challenges of parenting, but they also have to defend their choices (or feel like they have to) to judgmental family members and/or friends and sometimes even their partners.

We will be celebrating Annika's second birthday one week from today. Last year, on her first birthday I remember feeling some sort of milestone, but she was still a baby. She wasn't really walking yet, taking little steps here and there. She was still babbling. She still nursed for most of her nutrition. She still needed me 150 percent of the time. She was still a baby.

But this year, man oh man, the second year has flown by. My neck is still hurting from the whiplash of this year. Or, hmm, maybe that's from the pretzel-like positions I've been sleeping in for the past two years.

This year on her birthday she is not only walking, but running. Man that kid is gonna be track star. She is talking in complete sentences. She can count to 17, if you don't count 14, 15, and 16. She knows about 12 percent of the ABC's depending on the day. She sings. She laughs at jokes. She defies me. She tests my patience. She forces me to grow as a human being. She makes me examine myself and see where my strengths and my weaknesses are. Oh, the weaknesses!

So yeah, the two-year mark is not just a milestone for me. It feels like I've been running and running around the track and I finally got to the first hurdle. And I made it over.

So come on y'all and give me some high fives! Next up, the slutty phase. Can someone please teach me how to put on lip liner?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

New site: redirecting my redirection

Being semi-new to the blogging scene, I made an amateur move last week when I didn't announce anything and simply redirected all my traffic to my new site. I am hoping that I haven't lost any of my readers. I know I have probably confused a few.

So, anyway, I'm a big girl now! I have a real dot com. Visit me at www.momsoap.com.