Saturday, December 31, 2011

(2 Karats and a Kid) What can you do with a year?

Mommy-ism #18:  The success or failure of your goals can only fall squarely on your shoulders.  If you are a mother, or a wife, or a student, or...whatever, if you are not moving in the direction of your goals there is only one reason -- fear.

I'm not going to lie, I was very anxious during the weeks leading up to 2012.  It's in part because I watch too much effing History and Discover Channel and -- even when I don't want to -- I'm continuously pulled into the shows regarding the end of the world, global warming, and conspiracy theories.

Nostradamus, the Mayans, the I Ching -  it will truly screw your head up if you let it.  So when I started contemplating my escape route out of Chicago if there was an 10.0 magnitude earthquake, I realized that I had to boycott all television shows related to history, aliens, and endangered animals for a few months.

But then I started to think, what would I do if I only had a year to live?  And the answers actually surprised me.  My answer wasn't to rob a bank, or go to Paris, or stalk Oprah, or even sky drive.  As it turns out, I would want to spend my year saying thank you to everyone who has meant anything to me, I would want to perform random acts of kindness like Oprah but on a more economical scale, and I would want to apologize to everyone that I thought I may have hurt in my past.

I would stop bullshitting and to write a book
I would tell myself that it's okay to curse sometimes if its apart of the honest thoughts that are in my head
I would put as much effort into my sex life as I do cleaning the house and taking care of my child
I would forgive myself and others for friendships, jobs, and relationships that were supposed to be forever but ended much, much, sooner
I would tell my husband that I love him, every day, and to tell him that he has taught me more about love than I could ever teach him
I would not complain about being at home with my son because it's truly the only job I have ever really enjoyed
I would tell myself that it's okay to only have 3 pairs of jeans
I would tell myself that it's okay to refuse to pay more than $30 for a pair of jeans
I would call the three teachers who truly believed in me and to tell them thank you
I would apologize to my first love for almost screwing up both of our lives
I would tell myself that it's okay to prioritize myself as much as I prioritize everyone that I love
I would believe and act as if my dreams are just as important as anyone else.

While I understand the inclination to be lured into anxious thinking in regards to this upcoming year, I think it's a better use of time and energy to see this upcoming year for the opportunity that it presents to us all.  If there is something that you have always wanted to do then do it.  If there a relationship that you always wanted to repair then repair it.  We don't need the Mayans to tell us that life is short so let's instead see 2012 as our time to truly begin to live.

(2 Karats and a Kid) 2011 was a MUTHA...

I won't write much about 2011 but I will say that it was a muthaf______ and a son a b_____ rolled into one.  Whew!  It felt good just to get that out.  See, I consider myself a pretty devoted player for "Team Jesus" so I try to choose my words wisely and in a way that will make my husband, mother, and savior proud.  But as this year comes to an end, I'll give myself a break and let least for a bit.
The truth is, I have alot to be grateful for and I don't want that to go unacknowledged before I tell 2011 to go piss off.
For starters, my child's heart defect healed on its own which is a miracle akin to Moses parting the Red Sea in my eyes;

My husband and I made it through our first year as parents alive and still married;

I made it out of this year more happy than sad, more grateful than bitter, more determined than detoured.

On the downside of things, my life was affected by ninja-ery at an epidemic level as our apartment was broken into, my husband's car was broken into twice,  for a majority of the year I continued to work at a place where I thought I would get shot, and I am in the midst of a postponed quarter-life crisis - as I have turned 30 but don't have no effing idea what I want to do with the rest of my life.

Yet, as this year comes to a welcome end, I trust beyond all rationale that there is still an invisible hand guiding me along my way.  I trust that in the midst of this chaos that things are unfolding exactly the way that they should.

So, while I'm glad to say, "piss of can kiss my a___," in the same breath I say thank you to the year that forced me to make some of the hardest decisions of my life, that has made me more courageous, and that reminded me that I write the book of my own life.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

(2 Karats and a Kid) This da** kangaroo pouch....

Mommy-ism #17:  The only thing standing between you and the body that you want isn't your time or the baby, it's cupcakes.

Confession:  It seems as though I've let myself go.

There, I said it.

I can admit it because in 2012 - the year that is going to be the most kicka**stic year of them all - I am determined to change my healthy habits. Truth is, I tried to return back into my pre-pregnancy workout regime around 8 weeks post-partum.  I had always been a fit person. The most weight I had gained since college was four pounds during a cookie-eating binge phase while in graduate school.  So my point is, I usually could lose 5 pounds just by blinking my eyes twice and wishing for it to be gone.

So when I walked into my cardio kickbox class after my 10 month pregnancy, I was pumped and ready to sweat off the last ten pounds from my pregnancy in an hour's time.   The bass in the music pulsated throughout the room.  The other women were stretching.   My heart began to race before I had even began to move.

This is it, I thought.  Time to kick this baby fat's ass.

The instructor called us all to take our positions on the floor.  The cardio kickbox warmup has always been a piece of cake.  30 right hooks, 30 left hooks, 30 left leg neck-breakers, 30 right leg neck breakers...repeat.

Marky Mark's voice came over the speaker:

It's such a good vibration.
It's such a sweet sensation.
Feel the vibration.
Come on. Come on.

I started out strong.  I got the encouraging head nod from the instructor that indicated that she too, thought that I was kicking ass.

Then the right hooks started.  Suddenly out of breath, I began to wonder how much time had passed since the class had started.  15 minutes?  30 minutes? 

When I spotted the clock on the other side of the room, I couldn't believe that only 5 minutes had passed.  My heart was pounding outside of my chest.  By the time the neck breakers started, I was gripping my side looking for the water fountain and the nearest Starbucks because only a soy white chocolate mocha could cure the defeat I was experiencing.

Somehow, I made it through that first session back in the gym.  However, I haven't been back since. 

Initially my lack of physical activity hadn't been a problem because I was breastfeeding.  Whatever I ate - fruit, cookies, sushi, or chicken - went in through my mouth and out through my tit.  It was marvelous, until I started to begin to wean my son from the boobs around the time he was 8 months.

In the course of the one week (post-weening) I put on five pounds...and it didn't go anywhere.  Putting on 3-4 pounds over the course of a weekend wasn't unusual for me but the inability to loose that weight throughout the week was something that I wasn't prepared for.  So now I'm stuck with an extra 5 pounds of meat around my waist that no spanx, girdle, or tight jeans can hide.

So now I have this da*n kangaroo pouch and a fear of cardio kickboxing and I don't know what to do to get rid of it.  So I've tried to become far more accepting of my voluptuous curves.  Yes, my six pack of gloriousness has turned into a little Pillsbury roll of muffins around by tummy.  The upside is that I have alot more booty and an inch more of hips that seems to make my husband happy.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

(2 Karats and a Kid) The Baby Sesame Street non-Halloween Costume Birthday Party Super Fiesta...

Mommy-ism #16:  One day, you may find yourself rueing the day that Sesame Street party favors were invented. 

I swore it wouldn't be me. 

Pizza.  Soda.  One cupcake and a candle.  That's how we were supposed to celebrate Roman's 1st birthday.

Don't get me wrong.  I love my child and I certainly feel that he is worth the celebration.  Yet, I recognized that since he doesn't distinguish one day over the next, orchestrating a large party to commemorate his 1st year of life would be more for me than for him.

I swore that I would never have an elaborate "Toy Story" or "Happy Feet" party where there would be Toy Story/Happy Feet balloons, forks, top hats, bubble makers, and harmonicas.

But that was before I began planning the party.  Our "no theme" party quickly turned into a Baby Sesame Street non-Halloween costume party super fiesta.  Sesame street plates, napkins, forks, and table clothes were a must.  Baby Sesame Street balloons were a dire necessity.  The five foot inflatable Elmo and super-sized Elmo birthday bib?  Add them to the cart. Oh, don't forget the Tiger Woods future-golfer outfit. I couldn't believe how quickly it all spiraled out of control.

My typically rational mind was replaced with the irritation fantasy of the birthday party that I think that I would have wanted as an infant.  It was insane.

It wasn't until I told my husband that I was on my way to purchase a disposable helium tank that I realized that I was out of control.  It's not that he told me that I couldn't...but his eyes simply said, "if you buy it, I will think you are nuts."

Hours later, the decorations were up, the menu was set, and the playroom was prepared.

But would anyone come?

Again, my mind knew that Roman wouldn't know if his birthday party was considered an epic failure.  I imagined him sitting on the window seal looking out onto the street, waiting for people to show up.   

Luckily, the party went on without a hitch.  He had plenty of friends there.  He ate his first cupcake. And eventually partied himself out and feel asleep in my mother's arms.

By the end of the day, when the last balloon was popped and the cupcakes were all given away, I wouldn't have changed a thing about his party.  The way I figure it, it's a parent's job to make their children feel extraordinary, and loved, and special in every way -- no matter how corny and ridiculously outlandish the methods may be.

(2 Karats and a Kid) 365 Days of Awesomeness...

Mommy-ism #15:  First birthdays are the most exciting because you realize that you've made it an entire year without breaking your child.  Celebrate all that you, your child, and your family have learned together!

Okay, so it hasn't been all awesome.  It's been great and difficult and joyful and 'effin insane all at the same time.  Kind of like when you are training for a marathon I suppose.  It's challenging but exhilarating and you curse and cry and feel proud simultaneously.  Your knees buckle and you don't know if you can go on but pushing yourself to put one foot in front of the other somehow makes the challenge worth while. 

This is how I feel as I celebrate my baby turning the big "0-1".
At the end of his first year I feel a mixture of emotions but I mostly feel grateful for being sustained for 365 days by people outside of myself.

I am thankful for 365 days with a child who is better than anything that I could have ever dreamed. I am thankful that in his first year of life, God gave him his own testimony to share one day. I am thankful for a partner who sacrifices to make this great insanity known as our life work. I am thankful for family who support us and lift us up when we grow weary. I am thankful for the countless hours of free mental healthcare, homemade cupcakes, and party planning assistance provided by my sister. I am thankful for friends who continue to love us more than we will ever deserve. I am thankful for confidants who offer unsolicited advice. I am thankful for drinking buddies who are always willing to share in alcohol when needed. I am thankful for those who encourage me. I am thankful for people who don't disown me when it takes me four months to call them back. I am thankful for the fried chicken my dad is cooking tomorrow. I am thankful for knowing ten different versions of "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" (ie.the r&b version, the acapella version, the rap version, etc).  I am thankful for a knowing how to change a dirty diaper in the dark.  And I am thankful to know that God is pretty awesome.

Monday, August 29, 2011

(2 Karats and a Kid) Far-Away From Here...(aka Just jump in a taxi cab, grab a bag, and getaway fast...)

Mommy-ism #14:  It's completely normal to contemplate abandoning your family...for a weekend.

Yeah, I said it.  Call me a bad mommy.  Call me a bad wife.

But you can't call me a liar.

One day a few months ago,  I had a thought that initially shook me to my core.  I was ashamed to repeat it to anyone else but because I have a twisted sense of humor, it actually made me laugh.  The truth is that one day, more like for about 15 mins one day, I contemplated how far across the world I could get with the $4,500 left on my credit card. 

Would it be an island in the Mediterranean?  Or would it be a small Italian village near Rome?  After paying for the airfare I knew I could afford a week in a luxury hotel or about three months in a student hostel.  Either option was feasible to consider because both would afford me a little space -- and a little quietness -- where I could distinguish my own thoughts from the barking of the dog or trying to figure out what to cook for dinner. 

I wouldn't even pack a bag.  I'd just grab seven pairs of panties out of the drawer, the three books I had been trying to complete for months, and a few packets of gummy bears that I kept stashed in the cookie jar before heading to the airport.

But just as fleeting as the thought came, my mind reminded me of all the reasons why my dreams of a martini in Santorini or a glass of wine in Rome could never be.

"Did you hear about Kirstin?  She went crazy, got on a plane, and went half way across the world?"  I imagined my family and friends saying.

Then I imagined Roman looking for me early in the morning and not finding me.  Then I imagined my husband thinking it was his fault and thinking maybe he should have offered to cook more.

And I thought about how nothing I could ever say would convince them that it wasn't them -- it was me.  I felt like I had run myself into the ground taking care of everybody but myself.

But I knew that nothing made me happier everyday than to see Roman smile and dance while I sang the R&B version of various nursery rhymes to him during bath-time.  And though my husband COULD cook more, he is still the person that I fantasize about more than anyone else.

So I put my purse and keys down and picked up my spatula and went back to making tacos.  Even if I would have successfully made it to that little village off of the coast of...whereever, I knew that I would miss my boys too much to enjoy it.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

(2 Karats and a Kid) Who in the h*ll gets SHINGLES?!?!

Mommy-ism #13:  10 Gummy bears, coffee, and 5 french fries does not equal three square meals a day.

When your baby is a newborn, it is very difficult to find a moment to yourself.  Between feeding the baby/changing the baby/cleaning the baby/entertaining the baby - it is likely that your first 90 days will simply blur into each other like one long day where you kept trying to take a nap but couldn't because there was a Jaws or Rocky marathon on. 

Very quickly, you will find yourself distinguishing the time and space you are in by what bottle number you are on rather than how many hours past noon it is.  In those precious moments of stillness where the baby is fed and sleep - you have a decision to make.  Do you eat?  Do you clean?  Do you sleep?  Or do you go to and catch up on all of your celebrity gossip?

Time and time again, I found myself choosing to do everything BUT eat during my precious moments alone.  Whether it was adrenaline or delirium, in the earlier months of being a mother, it was completely feasible for me to get through my entire day having only eaten gummi bears, three cookies, and some apple sauce.

As a consequence of eating like an anorexic (no offense to anyone afflicted with the disease) it quickly became apparent that my immune system should I say it?  Royally screwed up to say the least.

First I got the shingles, then I got my first cold sore, next I developed migraines, then I started seeing perfectly shaped five-point Stars of David everywhere.  I knew it was time for me to see the doctor.

Leading up to my appointment I was convinced I was dying.   "It must be a tumor or a parasite that I contracted from the dog," I secretly thought, "that would definitely explain why I lost my baby weight so fast."

When the day came for my check-up, I spilled my guts to the doctor.  For the first time ever, I confessed to many questions that I normally would lie about:

Drugs:  "Yes, I smoked alot of marijuana for one year, nine years ago.  Last time I smoked was in 2009 after I had an anxiety attack in one of the toilet stalls at my job."

Alcohol:   "Yes, I'm still nursing but yes, I do drink more than one glass of alcohol of week.  Sometimes I drink three glasses a night.  Yes, I pump and dump...most of the time"

Exercise:  No thank you.  But I will take a donut if you have one.

Soon, the questions were over and the checkup was complete.  After having my blood drawn, she sent me home to wait for the results which would arrive 3-5 long, nerve-wrecking days away.

Five days later, I received an email from my doctor.  With bated breath, I opened it and slowly read each line of her extensive reply.  Finally, when I came across the results from my blood lab, I was shocked to see my diagnosis.


...Vitamin D and B-12 deficiency...

...due to unbalanced nutritional habits.

I've never been so happy to not be dying.  Yes, like all Black folks do - I turned on my church music and got down on my knees and prayed.  Instead of wine, I poured myself a glass of  100% Pure Tropicana Orange Juice and pledged from that day forth that I would take better care of myself, for myself, and my family.

(2 Karats and a Kid) There is something greater...

Mommy-ism #12:  ...Babies are constant reminders that there is a divine hand controlling it all. 

I always knew that I wanted to have children.  Since the age of five when my cousin and I would talk about our "Prince Charming" during sleepovers, my yet-to-be born children were always apart of my dreams.  Four girls.  Or two boys and two girls. Or one boy and three girls.  With three dogs and four houses to match. 

Now that I am a mother, it's funny how my notion of "dreams" and "goals" have shifted.  My aspirations are no longer about myself but in many ways, they are merely mechanisms that I now strive for to help my son achieve the dreams that I now have for him..

There will be no pressure to be a astrophysist, or an NBA player, or a cardiothoracic surgeon.  If Roman never kicked the game-winning goal, to made the split-second lay-up, or hit a home-run at the bottom of the ninth, he'd still be nothing short of a Michael Jackson, "King of Pop"  superstar in my eyes.  The truth is that I simply want for my son to be better than I am.  I want him to accomplish things that I have been unable to due to fear (writing a book) and bad hand-eye coordination (playing tennis) and a horrible memory (learn Spanish).  I want him to live life without any notion of limitations and to live a life with a profound understanding of his purpose. 

And on days that he forgets his purpose, his path, his passion, or God's plans -- I pray that he learns to dig deep within his soul, plant both of his feet firmly on the ground, calm the racing thoughts in his mind, and remembers this:  There is a flow to life.  

Our past experiences work to prepare us - every moment, every day - for each moment that we are presented with.  When things seem out of our control, it is merely because we have forgotten that we are all moving forward towards a goal that serves a purpose greater than ourselves.  So the best thing we can do is relax, be open, and see where the current of life wants to take us.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

(Mommy JD) The Bump's Hump Day Randomisms

Happy Hump Day! Here are some randomisms from my bump and I:
  • Dropping your child off at school in the pouring rain is no fun at all....unless you are the child. He didn't seem to care that neither of us were dressed in proper rain attire.
  • One of my good friends who worked out during both of her pregnancies (not just worked out, spinned) suggested that I ride the bike to help with my pelvic pain. So after the rainy drop-off I played hookie from work and went to the gym. I got on the bike that has a back to it and began to pedal. I had to stop about every 2 minutes to catch my breath. I tried to lower the resistance but I was already on level 1. (Sigh) Not sure if that helped at all but it feels good just to walk into the gym (especially since I pay for it every month).
  • While doing my lazy bike-ride, I got a chance to watch a closed captioned version of the last Oprah show. Some people will not know what to do with themselves without Oprah but I'll be okay. I do wish I could have attended a taping but that was never in the cards. I would say Oprah you will be missed, but I know she's not going anywhere.
  • I think my recent purchase of 100% African Shea Butter was the best purchase I've made all pregnancy. I am super excited to grease up my stomach at least five times a day. Goodbye stretched out skin pain!
  • Speaking of pregnancy pain, lately ladybug's movements have been a little painful. Okay sometimes more than a little. I imagine she doesn't have enough room in there (especially since so many people tell me how small I am). But I don't remember gasping and wincing during my first pregnancy. When her head pops out on the side (yeah, pops out) I always think of the scene from alien... (ok I just googled the scene from alien and as gross as it is, it made me lmao).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

(2 Karats and a Kid) Breastmilk is the New Gold

Mommy-ism #11:  She who stores her breastmilk will find her freedom.


Can you hear it?

It's the sound of freedom.

Is it the sound of rushing waters?  Of blue jays and red robins chirping?

No, dear friend.  Those sounds, while lovely, are not the sounds of freedom that you need to concern yourself with.

The sound of freedom for a new mother is the sound of an industrial, hospital grade, fully-functioning breast pump.

I know what you are thinking: I hate being sucked and pulled.  It hurts.  It looks scary.  My supply will go down. I'm not a cow on an assembly line.  

While I understand each of these concerns, please take it from me that the breast pump has done more for women's rights than suffrage, the cosmopolitan martini, and patent leather pumps put together.

It's a shame how much no one tells you before you get pregnant.  First, no one tells you that breastfeeding initially hurts like a be-yotch.  Then no one tells that your milk supply will come to dictate your life and everything that you eat, drink, and think about for the first three months to year postpartum.  

Sorry girls, I can't drink because I'm breastfeeding.

I can only stay out for an hour because I'm breastfeeding.

Baby not right now, I'm leaking and that's so not sexy…I’m breastfeeding.

See where this is going?

What I am saying is this: As someone who wholeheartedly believes in the benefits of breastfeeding I understand how it can come to dictate your entire life.  And because most mothers’ bodies work very hard for their milk, like gold, breastmilk is a valuable commodity.  For that reason, with the right tools and a well thought out strategy - your baby can eat AND you can have a life.

For starters, if you have the financial resources, invest in a hospital grade pump.  This is a “must-have.”  Your body produces breastmilk by demand and the trick is making your body believe that it is utilizing all of the milk that it produces (by completely emptying your breast every time you are nursing or pumping).  By completely emptying your boob, you signal to your body that you need a refill.  If your boob isn't completely empty, your body will not know to "fill 'er up." 

Second, in the early months when your supply is at its peak, use this time as an opportunity to create your stock pile of milk.  Though you may not want to go anywhere now, the day will come when you will want to breathe fresh air or catch a last minute shoe sale and you won't be able to because you won't have any bottles ready.  So when you are sitting around, staring at your bundle of joy as he/she sleeps – pull out your breastpump so you can begin to prepare your stash of milk for a day when you will want to be out of the house for more than 3 hours at a time.

Finally, there are two golden rules of breastfeeding:  
1.) Thou shall never waste thy breastmilk.
2)  Thou shall never get thy baby drunk.  

To abide by these rules, there is one number that every woman needs to know - the metabolic rate for your favorite cocktail.  This is your number.  Know your number.  Learn your number.  Love your number. 

Whether it's wine, rum, or tequila -- learn how long it takes for ONE drink to metabolize.  That way, with time and practice, you will be able to nurse, have a “sip” and nurse again without missing a beat.  But this is only for trained professionals and those with a bra size of C and above.

Disclaimer:  I do not condone getting wasted while breastfeeding but I do think a refreshing glass of wine every now and then is perfectly acceptable.  If you are planning a night on the town and end up partaking in three or more drinks, don’t try to calculate the metabolic rate - especially not while you are drunk.  Wait 12 hours before directly breastfeeding but be sure to pump and dump to prevent engorgement.  And please, be sure to have enough bottles stored to get your baby through the night. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

(Mommy JD) Getting Ready for Father's Day

Super Dad Father's Day 5x7 folded card
Shutterfly has modern graduation announcements and photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

(2 Karats and a Kid) Post partum RAGE!!! (...and why its a very good thing!)

Mommy-ism #10:  Pick your battles.  And don't get a divorce during your first six months post-partum. 

You hear the devastating stories every few years.  A mother suffering from post-partum depression does something that noone could ever comprehend.  For a moment in time, the nation’s attention is brought to the very real pressure, stress, emotional and physical toll that childbirth and motherhood puts on many women.  For a brief moment in time, the mental and physical health of mothers is given the attention that it deserves.
Yet, I would argue that more than post-partum depression, post-partum psychosis, or even the “baby blues”, there is a quiet epidemic that has a near 100 percent infection rate amongst new mothers.
This dangerous epidemic is called, post-partum RAGE (also known as Post-Partum Pissiness, Post-Partum Get that Penis Away From Me-Itis, and Post-Partum Angry Overworked and Underappreciated Woman Syndrome).

The story is almost always the same, the characters just change names.  

After a 40 week pregnancy, a couple greets their lovely bouncing baby into the world.   The woman, armed only with intuition and instinct quickly becomes an expert at newborn developmental milestones, illnesses, eating habits, sleeping schedules, and learns to interpret hungry cries from tired cries and gassy cries from bored cries.  Since the woman is likely off of work for 6-12 weeks on maternity leave, she considerately tells her husband to not to worry when the baby awakes at 12:00 am, 2:00 am, 4:00 am, or 6:00 am.  

“Go back to sleep,” she will whisper as she numbly gets out the bed to stumble through the dark to take care of the wailing baby. 

“I know you have to go to work in the morning, don’t worry, I can take care of it,” she will tell her husband kindly night after night.

And through the day, while the husband is away slaughtering the cows and hunting lions, the woman will be at home, tending to a crying/hungry/gassy/bored baby.  In the fleeting moments of quiet, the woman will surely find herself washing clothes or dishes, preparing a home cooked meal, while making doctors’ appointments, going grocery shopping, and curing everything from constipation to cradle cap with nothing more a thermometer, vasoline, and a soft brush.

Just before the husband is scheduled to come home, the exhausted woman will hurry in the shower, shed her hair scarf, brush her hair, and gargle her mouth just so her husband can for a fleeting moment acknowledge all that she has done while managing to look as beautiful as the day that they first met.

Then the moment of validation and appreciation comes.  The door knob turns, and the husband walks through the door only to stop and say, “You cooked spaghetti, AGAIN?”

Disappointed, hurt, exhausted, and slightly irritated, the woman dismisses and even laughs off the comment and sits on the couch next to husband in hopes of reconnecting, if only briefly, on an intimate level while the baby is napping.

As the woman moves closer to the man on the couch, he quickly retracts and says, “I’m tired babe.  Give me a second, I just walked in.  You’ve been here all day.  I need to relax.”

?!!!!! Muthaf***** what!!!  The woman thinks to herself.

On cue the baby wakes and begins to cry.

Just then the man turns on the tv to play an x-box game/look at the Lakers/or a Yankees documentary when you realize that he is either oblivious to the fact that the baby is screaming or suddenly his legs have become paralyzed from a rare and sudden muscle disease.

Feeling dejected, you get up to tend to the baby when the straw breaks the camel’s back.  

“Hey babe, since you aren’t doing anything, I’m going to run to the gym/go watch the game/go turtlewax my car,” the husbands asks since apparently you enjoy being at home all day, working like your name is “Miss Ceilie Mae,”  without anyone to talk to and without any recognition of the sacrifice that you make of yourself.

Finally, all you can see is RED.   

The conservation that you have tried for weeks NOT to have is upon you.  You don’t want to be a nag.  You swore you would never be a nag.  You always thought of yourself as the cool and understanding wife.  Yet, you find yourself at an impasse between the wife that you were and the wife that you must decide to be.   You are pissed.  No, you are ENRAGED because you are exhausted, sleep deprived, with sore boobs, and trying to be sexy despite having the least bit interest in sex.  And the person who you thought of as a friend, a partner, and your better half is being anything but those things you need the most.
Yet, at that moment, you also recognize something that makes you uncomfortable.  You recognize that despite your great efforts to appear otherwise, you can not do it all by yourself.   And with that revelation comes a little bit of freedom.  Now, you recognize that you must ask for help and be okay with whatever form that help looks like if you want to maintain your sanity.  What you recognize through your rage and subsequent epiphany that you are not superwoman but are indeed merely human.  Yet, by acknowledging your limits you allow your husband to recognize his abilities to fulfill his responsibilities as an equal parent and partner in the household.  

(2 Karats and a Kid) New Year, New Decade - Better Me.

Every December 31st - close to 10:00 pm EST, new year resolutions begin to overtake my Facebook Newsfeed.

        “New year! New me!” proclaims one person.
        “Jesus is doing a new thing in me in two thousand (whatever)!” preaches another.
        “Pastor said, I’m gonna walk in my season!” announces several people.

Usually, I’m quick to ignore a majority of the resolutions that people proclaim to the world because I tend to think that:  a) If you need to tell 500 people your goal for it to be true then it probably won’t happen and b) I have never been able to shake the statistic that said that most people forget their New Year’s Resolution by January 31.

But I had to admit, on New Year’s Eve 2010  there was something different in the air.   On the precipice of 2011 - a new year and a new decade, there seemed to be consistent undertones in the goals of the people around me.  Essentially what I found is that most people yearn to move beyond the fear and doubt that have kept them from moving forward towards their dreams.

[Blogger’s Note:  Now, don’t get me wrong -- these people were not alone with their feelings.  Apparently, I’m as jacked up as everyone else which is the only reason I was reading people’s facebook status on NYE -- to reflect on my own lessons and challenges of the previous year -- and to proclaim to the world MY resolution which I would surely forget by January 31st as well.]

Nonetheless, this year felt different for me as well.  There was no goal weight to achieve, no vices to forego.  I simply want to rediscover “me”-- my authentic self -- straight up with no chaser, just the way God made me.

Like so many,  fear of failure has kept me from pursuing my real dreams for so long that I almost forgot what they were.  Fear of the unknown has convinced me to stay in friendships that have been more painful than loving and more toxic than supportive.  Fear of my own ability almost convinced me that now that I am a mother -- all that was left for me to be was....a mother.

But it’s a new Year...and a new me!

On the wake of 2011, I realized that indeed there was a chasm between the person that I was and the person who I am.  No longer has fear kept me from becoming a writer, because the fact of the matter is that I had slowly but surely began to write.  No longer did I feel obligated to placate subpar friendships with my time, because God had blessed me with an even wider support system through family, new friends, a husband, and a child.    Quite simply, the fear of suffering was far greater the fear itself -- as it almost always is.

So as this year gets into full swing, and as we all continue to move past our old friends of “fear” and “doubt” -- take stock and give big props to the “new” you...the “REAL” you.  Recognize the ways that you have moved forward, make a tally of your blessings, and say thanks for the “closed doors” that you have experienced (because they, too, serve a greater purpose).  You will surely find that not only does your cup runneth over but that it always has.

(2 Karats and a Kid) Post-partum Limbo

Mommy-ism #9:  Yes, you've changed and that's okay.  Over the course of 40 weeks, your belly expanded, your behind and hips spread, even your nose got bigger.  So no, you're not the same you, you've changed and that's okay.  Be willing to adjust and trust that you will figure out your new lifestyle along the way.

It was supposed to be a good day.  In fact, it was supposed to be a GREAT day.  After two months of weekly doctors’ appointments, weigh-ins, monthly echocardiograms, sleepless nights, sore boobs, non-stop cleaning, and uncontrollable hot-flashes, my husband suggested that I enjoy a shopping day to myself while he watched the baby.

All week I had planned for my shopping day, so I began to pump 5 days beforehand just to ensure that there would be plenty of milk on hand while I was out.  Finally, the day for my “day off”came and I was excited…or so I thought.

Prior to having a child, all you would have had to say were the words “shopping” and “all day” and I would’ve lost my mind.  I would have stayed up all night the evening before counting the hours until the stores opened.  Before my husband had time to roll over in the morning and ask me for a kiss, a cup of coffee, or a biscuit – I would have been out of the house, speeding down the expressway and on my way downtown to make my way to the GLORIOUSness that awaited me at the nearest mall.

But to my surprise, when the sun came up the next morning, I wasn’t at the mall doors waiting for them to open.  In fact, by two o’clock in the afternoon, I was still in the house washing dishes and cleaning up.  It wasn’t until the sun began to go down that my husband turned to me and said, “Can I go out with the guys to watch the game since you aren’t going out?”  With those words, I stopped what I was doing, washed my face, threw on some jogging pants, and ran out the house.

Downtown, there were people walking around everywhere doing their Christmas shopping.  Normally, the site of Christmas windows, carolers, and families would be enough to make me happy.  Yet, as I got out of my car and walked through the crowds towards the stores, my mind kept racing with the same thoughts, over and over again.

“I’ve been wearing maternity clothes for so long, I don’t even know what I LIKE to wear anymore.”

“What type of shirts are going to fit over these HUGE hooters?”

“I still look like I am about 5 months pregnant, what the heck and I going to find that will mask the invisible baby that’s still in my stomach?”

Suddenly I realized the physically and emotionally and in every way in between, I had changed and worst of all, I didn’t have the slightest idea of what these changes meant for how I viewed myself.

When I looked in the mirror in the dressing room, I didn’t see the happy, energetic girl I once viewed myself to be.  Instead, as I stared into the mirror, a sleep deprived, mentally dull person who was badly in need of something that I couldn't articulate.  I had spent the past 10 months and eight weeks going through a metamorphosis of sorts only to find myself half naked in a department store about to hyperventilate because I couldn’t choose between an ugly brown sweater over a less-ugly but horribly colored red sweater. 

At that moment I heard the warnings of my mother and the cautioning of so many other older women who have told me, “Don’t lose yourself”, “Don’t forget what makes you happy."   Yet, somehow in a  short span of time, their words came alive like an apparition of what's to come.

So there began the beginning of my journey of trying to hold on to the little pieces of “me” that bring joy, peace, and happiness without completely screwing up the other facets of my life that I hold just as dear.  Being a mother, a wife, a working woman is a fine balancing act that can be maintained by no creature on this earth other than a woman.  Yet, like putting breastmilk in a martini glass, in order to maintain some sense of sanity, I have to choose "me" as much as I choose my family, my friends, and my job.  More challengingly, I have to let go of my previous ideas of how to be a perfect wife/mother/friend/worker/sister/hostess/sexkitten/domesticgoddess and simply do the best with what I’ve got and trust that everything else that doesn’t get done will work itself out.

(2 Karats and a Kid) The Burnt Tit Debacle...

Mommy-ism #8:  Multi-tasking a both overrated and hazardous to your health.

True story.

As a child I had a HORRIBLE temper. I would cut up my siblings' clothes, I would toss my brother's personal items over my bedroom balcony into our backyard, I even have been known to throw a dish or two in my day.  Although 95% of the time I was a sweet, kind, and peaceful kid -  it was the other 5% of the time when people would have to watch out.

Thankfully as an adult, writing became an outlet for my temper. 

Now, as opposed to pulling out a bat when I get mad or cursing like a sailor, I pull out my laptop and write an "enraged letter" to my offender.  Though this sounds benign, I have been put on "writing punishment" by several friends who have witnessed that my words oftentimes get me in more trouble than if I would have pulled out a knife.

This is all to to explain the moment when I knew that I had to start blogging about the insanity of this thing called, "motherhood".

On this one particular day,  Roman had a weekly weigh-in which was always a particularly stressful day for me.  His appointment was in the afternoon and my husband had gone to the gym while I got myself and the baby ready.

By noon I realized that, yet again, I hadn't eaten so I popped my "adrenaline bars" (aka Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookies) into the oven so my blood sugar wouldn't crash before I had a chance to come home and cook dinner.

I nursed Roman, dressed him, and put him into his swing so that I could run into the shower and get dressed.

Just as I turned the knob of the shower to enjoy a few moments of quiet and solitude, I heard...


I made a quick calculation in my head.  Do I go get the baby?  Or do I jump in the shower and wash up quickly since I know that it takes exactly 3 minutes and 30 seconds to wash my face, lather, rinse off, and shave my arm pits?

I decided to go for it.

As I washed my body with the speed of an Isreali solder, I heard the continuous wailing of my son in my ears.


I jumped out the shower somewhere around the 2 minute mark.  My nerves were so bad that my hands were shaking.  I knew that my husband would return any minute ready to go and I mildly resented the fact that he was somewhere working out while I was at home trying to balance this insanity.

Dripping wet, I ran into the living room to get the baby out of his swing, because the sound of his crying became discombobulating.  As I put him in his carseat and stroller and pulled him into the bedroom while I breastpumped, my cocker spaniel began to go berserk - barking and running circles around the stroller like a maniac.

I tried desperately to find a quiet place in my brain, at least for a moment so I wouldn't have a panic attack.  Just when I began to envision my quiet beach on the coast of Bali, I was interrupted by the sound of another round of screaming from the baby.

I looked down and was grateful that I had managed to pump a bottle of milk quickly.  Although my boobs would be lopsided, I knew that the other breast would have to wait a few hours until I returned home.  Just when I picked the baby up, I heard the buzzer on the oven go off to signal that the cookies were ready.

Quickly, I put the baby back in his car seat and rolled him into the kitchen while the dog continued to run around the stroller in circles barking.  In my haste (and hunger),  I opened the oven and pulled the glass cookie pan towards me until I felt (and heard)...

Sizzzzzzzllllleeeeee.  (Yep, the glass pan was baking my boob.)

In pain, I let out a scream that must have been heard down the hall of my apartment building.

As if they knew the severity of the situation, suddenly Roman and Capone stopped barking and crying and were staring at me in silence.

It was at that moment that I thought, nobody would believe this sh*t if I told them, so I knew I had to continue to write (if not as therapy for myself but to continue to amuse people with the random fiascoes of my daily life).

So if you are reading this, and if like me, you have days where you find yourself trying to breastfeed, take care of your two month old baby, calm your neurotic cocker spaniel, preparing bottles for a day out,  trying to feed yourself, and trying to look half "un-homeless" while simultaneously injuring a vital body part on a cooking mechanism then it's time to stop, slow down, and let yourself off of the hook for not being superwoman.

(2 Karats and a Kid) Starve a flu, feed a heart defect...

Mommy-ism #7:  You already have everything you need to be a good mother.

I started to 'develop' boobs when I was in the third grade.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  There I was at our Spring play in a white leotard and pink tutu, ready to perform the rabbit hop to the Lisa Stanfield song, "Been around the world".  As I waited to go on stage, a male classmate ran up to me and pointed, "HAHA!  Kirstin has mosquito-bite titties!!"

I was so mortified.

By the time I was a freshmen in high school, I wore a "DD" sized bra and for many years after that, I wondered why I had the biggest boobs out of friends, my family, and most women on the south side of Chicago.

Now, I know the answer.

Since Roman's initial diagnosis, it was explained that his heart condition would likely affect his ability to gain weight.  Because his heart had to pump harder to circulate blood, what often happens is that babies quickly become tired during feedings and end up eating much less than they need to be fully nourished.

But what the doctor's didn't understand was that I had three things working in my favor:  Two "Double-Ds" full of milk;  love; and nothing but time on my hands for the next 3.5 months.

Roman's feeding regime rivaled the synchronization of the Queen's Guard.  Every 2.5 hours, 24 hours a day - the boob was in his month.  Whether he nursed for 5 mins or 45 mins -- he began to get the hang of this "eating" thing and even started to grab his "human bottles" in protest when I would try to pull away!

Soon, we began to see a trend beginning:

- 8 ounces gained in one week
- 15 ounces gained in two weeks
- 21 ounces gained in 10 days !!!

I don't know if Jesus put a special fat formula in my milk or whether Roman was just born greedy like his momma, but after his third week of life, Roman's weight gain never decreased or halted.  In fact, by the time Roman was two months, he was in the 95th percentile for his weight and in the 95th percentile for his height!  Neither his pediatrician, cardiologist, nor family members could believe what was happening.  Instead of seeing a child with a hole in his heart, they began to see him as the future linebacker of the Chicago Bears.

Every time his pediatrician would see him, he would meekly glance at my chest and say, "Roman is on formula, right?"

"Nope, he's on breastmilk,"  I would proudly say, squaring my shoulders and sticking my magical-milk breasts out even more.

So for the first time in my life, I was grateful for my boobs.  Not only were they giving men something to look at, but they were saving us a boatload in baby formula costs, and in their own little way helping to bring my baby to full health!

(Mommy JD) The Bump's Hump Day Randomisms

Oh, would you look at that. It's Wednesday again. Here's what the bump and I are pondering this dreary Wednesday.
  • When we left for Atlanta we had the air conditioning on. When we returned from Atlanta we had to turn the heat on. There is something very wrong with that. Why do I live in Chicago again? (Oh yeah, because my husband loves this city).
  • Mrs. Michelle Obama is the bomb dot com.
  • Check out my husband's post on SC Commencement
  • We are inches close to getting Gr fully potty trained. 1 down, 2 to go. (Get it?)
  • Friday I will be 30 years old and 30 weeks pregnant. Yea for ladybug and I!
  • I have consumed so much fast food the past few days that I vowed this week to not eat any fast food. Maybe I can last for the rest of the month. Wish me luck.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

(Mommy JD) I wish you would just “sat” down somewhere

Yes I said “sat” instead of “sit” and I can just hear one of my NC Sorors saying that exact phrase to me. So I’m sitting down to do exactly that and write this post. It’s a good time to pause in my long busy day because my child is asleep and I’m conditioning my hair. I’m sitting at my computer half-naked because (drumroll please) summertime is officially here! (read: it’s hot as all hell). But I’m not complaining! I mean, it would be nice if when I turned the air conditioning on my husband wouldn’t turn it off before we go to bed, leaving me to believe that it’s nice and cool in this house until- bam!- early afternoon hits and it’s almost 90 degrees outside and inside. But it’s all good because like I said, I’m half naked.

I’m 6 months pregnant (29 weeks today) and that plus the heat comes swollen, sensitive feet. Hence why I needed to sit my but down instead of walking around this house barefoot. But I’m trying to get us ready for a long drive to Atlanta tomorrow to see my sister-in-law graduate from college. SPELMAN COLLEGE to be precise, my alma mater. And what makes it more exciting is that the FLOTUS Ms. Obama herself is the commencement speaker. So if I can just get through this 12 hour (probably more like 15) drive then it will be all good. My mommy friend/real estate agent/doctor told me I need to stop every two hours to walk around or I could get a blood clot. Ouch. And here I am only worrying about how to entertain Gr instead of thinking about myself (I tend to do that a lot). I’ve already had a busy morning getting DVDs from the library, snacks from the drugstore, packing- and now I’m about to do my hair and pack my husband’s suitcase (yes I am a good wife). But for real, I need to just sat down somewhere because it’s hot and my feet hurt! Once everything is done I will probably pass out. I’m sure that’ll be around 6pm so I hope my husband is home because I’m about to let Gr sleep as long as he wants to (probably 3 hours) which means he won’t want to go to bed until 10 or 11pm. It’s a choice, and I made it because my mother-in-law is already gone and I need the naptime break.

Okay, I gotta get up because if I stay sitting down for too long, I will never get up and I’ll fall asleep with this conditioner cap on my head looking a hot mess....

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

(Mommy JD) The Bump's Hump Day Randomisms

Happy Hump Day! Here are some randomisms from my bump and I:
  • Beyonce's new single has solidified my disinterest in her.
  • I thought this weather was depressing the hell out of me and making me so tired. Now I know it's my low iron. Doh!
  • I love my baby ladybug so much and she is already the bomb dot com, but her kicks can be so brutal! She is doing the holy dance all up and down my uterus like she's praising Jesus in church. Note to ladybug: we do not attend that type of church.
  • I cannot seem to find a bra that fits comfortably. I find myself unhooking my bra mid-day and then seeing people staring at my chest because my bra is all out of whack. Pardon my appearance- I chose comfort over style every time.
  • My two year old is crazy. But I blame myself. I've been so tired (lazy? iron deficient?) lately- I think he needs more structure at home. I let him run loose so much it's a shame. When I check on him in the basement I just close my eyes so I don't have to look at the mess he made. (No more glitter or oatmeal).
  • Speaking of my two year old- he can definitely outrun me. And we are having serious issues with him running away and not listening. When he runs out in the parking lot after preschool, I just keep my eyes on him and pray for the best.
  • We survived a plane ride to ATL, now it's time to take a drive down there. Lord please give me the strength, ipad apps, crayons, dvds, and snacks to survive being in the car with my crazy two year old for 12 hours. Amen.

(Mommy JD) I'll take my salad dressing with a side of lettuce...

I've previously admitted that I have the palette of a 10 year old. Which is absolutely horrible since I'm almost 30. My husband is my own personal vegetable police and the nagging increases when I'm pregnant. Don't get me wrong, I eat some vegetables, some of the time. I just don't eat the "recommended" half a plate of vegetables at every meal. And since I do most (all) of the cooking, my son doesn't get many veggies either. And the po-pos never let me hear the end of it.

Anyway, two weeks ago I took my glucose screening test and I was so worried- I just knew I had gestational diabetes because of my poor diet. Well I apparently dodged that bullet, but I wasn't expecting the news about my low iron that I received today. I also have an elevated white blood cell count. This was all too much information and big time fuel for the vegetable police (whom I share not only a home with, but also an office). So now I have a script for iron pills and a new goal to eat better iron-fortified foods.

I am responsible for the life two children now. Time for mommy to grow up.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

(Mommy JD) Clipping Coupons- the Secret to my Success

If you are wondering about my random Shutterfly Father's Day card post, well I did that so that I could get $10 off my next order. I'm all about the freebies and discounts. Which brings me to finally posting something that has been sitting in the drafts for a while: my life with coupons.

How do I get away with being a hybrid of a working mother and a stay-at-home mom? It's all in the coupons. Some stay-at-home moms do surveys, write blogs with advertisements, write reviews, etc. But I have come to find out that most actually "make" their money (or rather make their husband's income stretch) by using coupons. And I don't mean a clipping a few here and there and causally using them at the store. No, I mean hard core, 20+ coupons every shopping trip, reducing your grocery bill by 80% or more coupon clipping. I guess you could call it "Extreme Couponing," but that TV show is actually not a positive reflection of the coupon game.

My husband got me into this game with one haphazard mention of a coupon lady (who I now know as Jill Cataldo) who was featured on Oprah and subsequently many other news articles for her coupon fame. She put me on to printing coupons from home- which has been totally awesome and rewarding. Me being the competitive type, I quickly got into this game (because that is truly what it is, a game- with rules, wins, losses, and all). I found that the easiest thing to do was to follow coupon blogs written by moms (and dads) who match coupons with grocery store sale ads. This is the best way to stretch your coupons and dollars. I had to learn that the hard way- when I first started couponing I would just go to the store with the coupons I had and buy everything that I had a coupon for. Well, that method will have you actually spending more than you would have without the coupon because 1) if a name brand item isn't on sale, it's usually entirely overpriced and 2) you don't always need the item you have a coupon for (or at the least, it can wait). I've found that this is called reckless couponing.

But since that time I have become a very savvy couponer. I've had my share of both coupon highs and lows but every experience is a learning lesson. Most times I will not argue with a cashier about a coupon, but every once in a while I have to stand my ground. Thanks to the research of my coupon bloggers, I know just about every store's coupon policy (or where it can be found). My favorite stores to coupon at are CVS and Walgreens- yes drug stores are usually notoriously overpriced but you have to shop from the sales ad! Never stray- an item will almost always go on sale.

So here's my bundle of coupon blogs - yes there are a ton, but what I love about coupon blogs is that the posts are never more than a few sentences and you can usually tell what the deal is just by the title. My favorites are,, and I also have my own pseudo-blog in the form of a tumblr where I just re-post my favorite deals. I call it "To Save or To Spend" because even with coupons you are still spending money and you have to make wise choices!

Lastly, whenever you shop online, always search for a promo code before making a purchase and shop through to get cash back!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

(Mommy JD) The Pregnant and Hungry vs. The Difficult and Cranky

Due to the cold, my pregnancy, and sicknesses on both our parts, my son has unfortunately spent most of the winter months indoors. And even though he has tons of toys to play with at home, I really felt bad that I hadn't taken him to any special activities, museums, or play places. Thus, for weeks I had planned to take him to the DuPage Children's Museum (Groupon) with his friend A. So despite my lack of sound sleep, sinus issues, and various pregnancy ailments (sciatica) I got up early this morning to get us up and over to Naperville by the time the museum opened.

My son played like he had been freed from shackles! We had been to this particular museum once before, but that was over a year ago and of course he didn't remember. But even if he did, it didn't matter- he could play in that museum day after day and not get bored. Especially the water and bubble tables. My baby LOVES water, and has been asking to play in the water all winter. We've tried to teach him about the seasons and how it's just too cold to play with water, even indoors. So playing at this water table was an extra special treat. I only pulled him away because he was SOAKED and we needed to move our day along.

As we left I figured he would probably fall asleep in the car since we were an hour away from home. And I prepared myself to entertain him for the rest of the day until bedtime. But to my surprise he stayed awake the entire drive home. Interesting, I thought. Maybe now he'll nap for two hours or so while I get some rest too. So in the house we go, straight upstairs for our nap time routine. I read him a story and rocked him while he drank his milk. I kept rocking him. I fell asleep a little bit. I kept rocking. After about 20 minutes he tells me to put him in the bed. I'm no fool, but I was hopeful, so I put him in the bed despite my past experience with putting him in his bed while he's wide awake. Ever since he's been in a toddler bed, he just gets right out whenever he wants to and starts playing with his toys.

I went to lay down in my bed and my husband came in to lay down with me. Of course I heard Gr playing with his toys but I closed my eyes tighter and hoped that daddy would handle it. Eventually daddy gets up and tells him to go to sleep. To my surprise the noise stopped and soon I drifted off to sleep- for a few minutes. My husband left and I still heard silence. Then my astute hearing detects movement and gibberish coming from my son's room. So I got up, walked down the hallway, and opened his door in amazement. This boy had all of his toys piled up on his bed. Clearly my son thinks he has outsmarted his parents (and I guess he had) by realizing "if I don't make any noise, they'll think I'm asleep."

At this point I was starving (hunger creeps up on you like a beast when you're pregnant) and I didn't even care that he deceived me by not taking a nap. I just wanted to go get something to eat. But after taking him to the museum to play, and then letting him play some more when he got home, this child had the nerve to be uncooperative. I had to change his diaper- he rolled all over the floor. Then he wouldn't let me put a diaper on so I had negotiate and finally he put on a pull-up. Time to put pants on. "NO! No pants on!" No pants on? Boy I am STARVING, would you come on please. I felt an ugly mama moment coming on. So I scooped him up, with only a t-shirt and pull-up on, and threw (ok, firmly placed) him in his carseat. I tossed his pants and coat on top of him and off we went to the Sonic Drive Thru. I've been craving slushies lately and nothing satisfies that better than a Sonic chiller or limeade. Delish. And my son happily kicked his bare legs in the backseat as I ordered him some tator tots and we drove back home.

The food was worth the tantrum. For both of us.

Friday, March 18, 2011

(2 Karats and a Kid) Taking it one day at a time and enjoying my son...

Mommy-ism #6:  It takes a village to raise a mother...

Somewhere, on the corner of "Psycho-Therapy Ave" and "I'm Every Woman Blvd,"  someone told women everywhere that we have to keep the imperfections in our lives private.  We are surprised when "Susie Q" ends up having an heart attack at the age of 40 because "she always had a smile on her face" and we are astonished to hear that "Betty P" pops Prozac and Valium with her morning "Cup of Joe" because she always seems to "have it sooo together."

But the fact of the matter is that behind every mentally sane and stable woman is either:

a) a good therapist,
b) a vodka of the month membership,
c) good sex followed by a deep tissue back massage,
d) a handful of supportive women who are there to say the right thing at the right time.

A woman who enjoys ALL four of these things could surely solve the Middle East Crisis. Give a woman THREE out of four of these things and she is probably a self-made billionaire.  But for the average working woman, we just have Oprah, a cheap bottle of wine, a "quickie", and a girlfriend or two on speed-dial who will pick up anytime of the day to help us through tough times.

Yet, when we take a closer look at the people around us, it oftentimes becomes apparent that we have much more support than we previously assessed.  Perhaps, its a coworker who has been there to talk you off "the ledge", a group of women that you know through an extracurricular activity, or a friend that you have reconnected with through Facebook.  Either way, God has a way of putting the right people in your life at the right time.

For me, Mommy JD (the coauthor of this blog), was an unexpected source of support for me throughout my pregnancy and after Roman's birth (although I'm sure she didn't know it).   There was never a question that was too dumb to ask (ie. "What are receiving blankets for??  What do babies sleep in??  Do babies need ID to ride on an airplane?).  And the truth is that I don't know if I would have been able to get through the initial days after Roman's heart diagnosis without her advice.

A few days after our consultation with the cardiologist, Mommy JD text messaged me to see how Roman and I were doing.  Still a bit overwhelmed by the news,  I told Mommy JD what was going on because everything about her radiated with perfect "motherliness" -  and I was hoping that she had a  "What To Do When Your Child Has A Heart Defect" book by her bedside to tell me how to handle this situation. 

After spilling my guts over the course of several text messages, Mommy JD simply responded back by telling me that she had had a similar experience, to research everything that I could about the condition, and most importantly that "everything would be okay" and to "enjoy my son".

As anxious as I was prior to telling her, something about her words make me feel better.   

"Everything will be okay...Enjoy your baby."

For some reason that I still can't understand to this day, I truly believed that everything would be fine after that.  I didn't know how things were going to work out -- but I knew that I couldn't allow myself to think that far ahead.  Much of the anxiety that I felt up until that point wasn't because of any physical symptoms that Roman displayed but because I kept wondering whether his heart issue would keep him from playing varsity basketball, or keep him from playing with his cousins when he went down south for the summers, or from becoming a firefighter if he wanted.

Upon telling another girlfriend, she told me that she was going to pray for Roman's COMPLETE healing...WITHOUT surgery!  Up until that point, I hadn't thought to pray that aggressively - I mean, who was I to ask for God to perform a darn miracle?  The cardiologist said it was a 30% chance that the hole in Roman's heart would close on its own so the most I could pray for was that God be with the doctors and surgeons in the operating room when the time came for us to have surgery.  But I was moved by the level of faith that my girlfriend had over my situation and thought, "What the heck! I'll try this gangsta praying out for myself!"   So when I prayed I asked for God's will to be done but also prayed that he would begin to heal Roman's heart and that he would never feel the effects of his condition.

After receiving those messages, I looked down at Roman who was laying on my chest and promised him, myself, and God that I would take things one day at a time from that moment on.  As long as God was willing to give us a day - I would spend my time loving and enjoying him with my husband.  Everything else beyond those two goals would just have to work themselves out and I truly began to trust that they would.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

(Mommy JD) The Bump's Hump Day Randomisms

Happy Hump Day! Here are some randomisms from my bump and I:
  • I miss the UPS guy. Due to our high-tax-bill, my-car-needs-fixin, low-cash budget, I have not seen him in quite a long time. So today I had to treat myself to a purchase- I just love to shop and click.
  • I don't know what was more gross- how long my child's toenails were or the fact that I clipped them right before he went to bed....while he was in the bed. I'll vacuum it up, don't judge me.
  • This morning my baby was kicking like she was angry. I wonder if babies in utero get angry? Like what could possible make her upset? The way I see it, life in the womb is the bomb. It's like living in a jacuzzi with an all you can eat buffet.
  • Things with my husband and his mistress (Alpha Phi Alpha) are still hot and heavy. He has precisely 19 more weeks until the affair must come to an end.
  • I CANNOT STAND the senior citizens that patron at the community center where my son goes to preschool. I do not discriminate against old people, I just have a general phobia and annoyance for them.
  • My butt hurts- and it's not hemorrhoids, trust me. It's just my big ol butt having to sit in uncomfortable chairs all day. I have a Spelman seat cushion (no idea why I have one) that I think I'll start carrying around with me.
  • I always want Culvers for lunch and I always forget the coupons for Culvers at home. Sadly even a coupon lover like myself will not forgo the buttery goodness of a Culvers hamburger just because I left the $1 coupon at home. Especially not today.

UPDATE: I most definitely got my Culvers on for lunch. If you sign up for their email list, they send you a coupon for BOGO Value Basket!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

(Mommy JD) Just say no to late naps

And do I really have to explain why? When my son naps at home with me (usually only on the weekends) I try to get him down between 1pm-3pm. Once it gets close to 4pm it's decision time- you have to decide whether a nap is absolutely necessary right now or if you can just go 3 more hours and put him to bed early. Allowing a nap after 4pm is flirting with disaster (note: this applies only to 2-3 year olds. Babies obviously sleep around the clock and I am so looking forward to that again). If you absolutely must nap your child after 4pm, I suggest you wake him/her up after an hour. Toddlers around this age like to sleep for 3+ hours, which at first is the bomb. I remember when Gr took his first 3 hour nap some time ago- I was so hype I didn't know what to do with myself. Yes, a 3 hour nap is blissful when they will still go to bed around 8pm.

However, a few months ago I realized that a 3 hour nap, no matter what time they take it, can be detrimental to bedtime. Thus, when Gr takes a long nap on the weekends, I am mentally prepared for him to not go to bed until 9-9:30pm. And I can deal with that. Late naps, however, are another situation. No matter how lengthy the nap, 45min, 1 hour, 2 hours, whatever- you will undoubtedly have an extreme bedtime battle after a late afternoon nap.

So it's 5:30pm and my husband and I (carpooling as of late) go to pick up our son from my mother-in-law's. She looks at us like we're early (daylight savings time?) and tells us that she JUST put Gr down for a nap. Huh? Okay, obviously I have not broken down the 4pm nap time decision formula for her- but I figure she wouldn't abide by it anyway. So I let him sleep until 6pm, eat dinner, and try not to think about the consequences of his refreshed state.

We get home about 7:30pm, change into PJs, and let Gr play in his room by himself. Around 8pm he comes in our room and wants to lay in bed with us. Mind you my husband had been up working since 3:30am and I had a severe sinus headache so we were both about to pass out. We let him watch cartoons in bed as we rested and at 8:30pm I tell him it's time to go to bed. Protest. But he begrudgingly goes into his room, slowing picks up his toys (stalling), and picks out a book. We read, we say prayers- in the bed. He insists I leave the light on. Now, the first time he made this request I acquiesced and he actually fell asleep with the light on. My husband disagrees with this tactic so we compromised by leaving his closet Christmas lights on the timer. So I turn on the timer and tell him he has to stay in the bed or I will turn off the light. Yeah right.

I'm no fool so I don't go get in the bed. My husband is already snoring away so I just go into the office and get on the computer. There's nothing worse than falling asleep just to have your toddler disturb you. So sat on toddler patrol making him get back in the bed whenever I heard him get out or open his door. And of course he did that for about an hour or so before I couldn't stand it any longer and had to get in the bed. Shortly thereafter I hear him coming down the hall talking about turning his music back on so I tap my husband to get up (your turn!). He does (with an attitude) and of course what daddy says goes so that was the end of that.

I really gotta eliminate the lights and music from this bedtime situation, but I am so not up for the battle....
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