Friday, December 21, 2007

Not Christmas

One more thing I forgot to write about. Last weekend, we took the boy to a birthday party at the NYC Fire Museum. It was very cute, and they got firehats and did a scavenger hunt and ate pizza... and as we were leaving I told my husband to hold on a second, I wanted to just stick my head into the 9/11 Memorial room.

And I ducked in, and in front of me was a giant arch covered with black and white ID photos of all the firefighters lost. And somehow, oddly, the very first photo I zoomed in on was one of the firefighters lost from my own blocks fire station. I turned away, and faced a wall of candid photos on my right, a firefighter with his head in his hands, people covered in dust, their faces turned upwards while tears made rivers in the soot on their cheeks, that horrible, unspeakable cloud of blackness coming from the first tower. The closed fire station door of my 10th Street block, it's very Village painting partially obscured by all the flowers and banners and candles the neighborhood had piled there.

And I lost it. Completely lost my shit, right there. And while I first blamed it on the pregnancy hormones, the real deal is this. I was one mile away from the towers the day they fell. I will never ever begin to be able to put the experience into words, although I wrote about it in my old journal when it was fresh and raw, without editing, and maybe next year I'll post it.
In the days and weeks that followed, when my family would come to visit (I wouldn't leave, couldn't leave the city) and we walked around and saw all the hopeful, tattered homemade "missing" signs, all the smiling photocopied faces that would never be found, they all cried and asked me, "How can you walk by this every day? How can you live like this?" And the answer was, I had no choice, right? You steel yourself, to some degree, because otherwise you'd spend every day in bed with your head under the covers, scared to go out, scared to ride the subway, unable to work or shop or eat. You put your head down and go. My mantra for many, many things in life.

But now. Now all this time has passed, and I'm no longer steeled to it, and I'm actually a little incensed every time I hear Guiliani on his new right wing campaign trail. I can actually feel it again, now. So very very strange.

And if you ever get to NY, that's the memorial to see.

it's a wrap

So, I did it. Finished my shopping today while the babysitter played Playdoh with the boy - it was cold as hell but I took lots of breaks - hello, mothers room at babies r us, thank you for letting me rest my fat ass, even though I technically didn't have a baby with me - and whatever isn't done now isn't getting done. I have added one thing to the husband's list for his shopping day tomorrow, but no more stores for me.

My cold, meanwhile, has clogged my head up into a solid brick. I called my OB's office, and she told me I could take ONE otc cold medicine, in the childrens dose. So I went to the drugstore and got it, took it, and...... nothing. Right. Because it's for CHILDREN. Children under 6, who weigh less than my leg, at this point. And when I called her back and told her she better step it up, she said nothing else otc, but she'd call in a prescription for a Z pack. Now, this goes against all my extensive medical training, but I am willing to try anything at this point. A cold is a virus,right? Which antibiotics don't help? Whatever, I'll give it a shot.

So tomorrow I am going to stick to my original plan of staying in, baking cookies (which will probably be given only to Santa, as they will be filled with my sick germs) and wrapping the trillion gifts I haven't even thought about wrapping yet. And maybe watching some Christmas movies with the boy. Oh, and remember those ornaments he refused to paint? He looked at me at 5 o'clock yesterday evening and said, "Mama, I want to paint now." So he painted all six of them in one fell swoop, and now I am happy. Even though my house is covered in glitter. Or maybe especially because of that.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

4 days and counting

I've been doing a lot of stressing and complaining about getting things done for the holidays, but haven't mentioned that my husband and I have been doing some fun things, too - we rarely get a sitter during the week, as it is so expensive and I prefer to use my babysitting budget during the week so I can do wild things like go to the OB and the dentist. But 'tis the season, so we've been biting the bullet and going out.

We went to see the new Pinter play out on Broadway (Homecoming - not a new play, but newly restaged) with friends of ours a few weeks ago - while I found it highly disturbing and without much redemption after all, it was great to get out - we used to go off-Broadway at least monthly B.K (Before Kid), and getting back out inspired me to get some tickets for my husband for Christmas, for the new Mamet he wants to see. Which, of course, is also a gift for me. Plus I lined up June Cleaver for FREE overnight babysitting, so maybe we'll get dinner, too.

We also had a very fabulous dinner at BLT Prime with some other friends, and on Tuesday went to my husband's work party, which is actually pretty fun and not at all corporate or stuffy-like. So it hasn't been all drudge and no play

Now tomorrow is my very last day for Christmas shopping, and I have yet another cold. My OB is very anti-medication, so I've been driving myself nuts trying to figure out what I can take for this so I can get some damn sleep already. And you know what happens when you start googling stuff like this. Anyway, I need to finish up tomorrow. Saturday is M's day for shopping (for me, which is somehow all he ever ends up having to do, I take care of both of our families) and I am bound and determined to stay in with the little man and get him to paint the ornaments I bought him to give to his grandparents. (Me: "LOOK!" Look at these coooool snowman ornaments, and all these paint colors. And glitter! You love glitter! And this sponge brush! Want to paint these with Mommy? Him: "Um, no thank you." Been going on for weeks now.)
And we also need to bake at least sugar cookies so we have something to leave out for Santa. I'm really looking forward to the Santa thing this year, as it will be the first year he sort of gets it. And if Santa could please get rid of the snotty head and bring me some sleep, I'll believe again myself. And maybe even leave him some single malt with those cookies.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

impeccable timing

So yesterday, as I was running around trying to get gift cards and holiday cards for the Boy's gazillion and one teachers at his little preschool program, my cell phone rang. It was my OB's office, telling me that my glucose results were a little (5 points! 5 lousy, measly points!) high, and that I need to go for the 3 hour glucose test. I am dreading this, as the one hour had me feeling dizzy and lightheaded, but I pointedly told her that this new test will NOT be happening until after Christmas, as I have exactly one day of babysitting between now and then, and a very full to do list.
So she said fine, and I made an appointment for the lab two days after Christmas, and then called her back to give her the date so she could fax the paperwork. And before we hung up, she said, "Oh, and the doctor says to watch your sugar and carb intake between now and then. "

GRINCH! It is CHRISTMAS! How am I supposed to watch my sugar and carb intake? Doesn't she know that June Cleaver spends the whole month baking cookies that we never get any other time of the year? Or that I make homemade manicotti for Christmas dinner? Hasn't she heard of my grandmothers pumpkin bread?????? BOOOOOOOOOO.

My son just brought me a little frying pan full of plastic food from his play kitchen - and in it are an ear of corn, a piece of bacon, a chicken leg, two french fries, a piece of lettuce, and a piece of cheese. She must have gotten to him, too, because there's no sugar in sight.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


So I found this holiday tour of homes thing over at BooMama (sorry, you'll have to google it as I cannot link) and man, does it make me feel like a slacker. I like to blame it on the pregnancy, but I think some of these women are more pregnant than me, and their houses are FESTIVE. Festive like June Cleaver's house (my mom) - here, we have a tree, a wooden Christmas train, and um.... that's it. No, wait, we have a basket of kids Christmas books, too, and some tree placemats and dishtowels.

Once upon a time, in another life, I had a big house that I decorated full out for Christmas. Maybe I should get into that attic and dig some of that stuff out. Now I have to go back to obsessively admiring everyone else's Christmas decorating. Instead of finishing addressing my cards, which is what I should be doing.

Friday, December 14, 2007

skinny bitches

I know now why all the women on the Upper East Side are so skinny. It's impossible to find carbs up there. I left my boy at home with his babysitter today to go to my regular OB checkup, then on to the lab for my glucose test. Ugh, I hate that test - and every woman in the waiting room of the lab cringed in sympathy when I came back with that vile bottle of orange nastiness. And it's funny, even though they give it cold, for some reason it's impossible to chug it fast. After the endless hour long wait for the blood draw, I was telling the tech that - "Why can't you just hold your nose and drink it fast, like you do with medicine?" And she laughed and said she didn't know, but you definitely couldn't. And then she told me she had five kids herself, and when my phone rang and it was my apologetic babysitter telling me that the Boy had flung himself full length into a mud puddle and would need to be taken home and showered, she laughed and said, "That's a boy, for you! "

Anyway, I did have a point. After no food since 8am, a nasty bottle of pure glucose, and 6 vials of blood, I was really ready to pass out. I was ready to get out of there, find a bagel shop and have a bagel (everything with cream cheese and tomato, thank you), a cup of coffee and a giant bottle of water. Alas, it was not to be - I walked from 75th Street and Madison Ave to 63rd and 2nd without finding a single bagel shop. It was like being in LA or something. I finally grabbed a cab and hauled it back downtown, where the normal eating people live, to get my bagel.

And now I'm home, and the boy is clean and sleeping peacefully, so I'm catching up on blogs and trying to ignore the fact that I still have Christmas shopping to do. Tonight we're going to get our tree, finally. The heat in most NYC apartment buildings is on so high that you leave the windows open even in the winter - which is fine, but tends to dry out the tree fast. We'll put the boy in the stroller, go pick our tree from one of the myriad sidewalk tree stands that start sprouting up after Thanksgiving, and then decorate it tomorrow after the kid birthday party we are attending. I really can't get into the spirit until that tree is up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

and later

My friend and I had told the kids we'd take them out for dinner before the tree lighting tonight, and when we left it was raining and we assumed the lighting would be a washout. But by the time we finished eating it had stopped, so we headed over and met up with our husbands. I'm glad I motivated myself, as the Boy had a great time running around, and after they lit the tree a one-hit wonder band (the one hit was "Stacy's Mom", you know that one? I forget the name of the band.... Fountains of W@yne, I think) played at this big makeshift bandstand.

The boy sat up on my husbands shoulders ("Wanna go on Daddy's HEAD") and watched that band wide-eyed, bobbing his head up and down in time to the music. So cute. And he couldn't stop talking about it when we got home. "Momma, you like that music? That music we saw outside? In da dark?" And although he ran through his usual repertoire of stall tactics at bedtime, which now include needing a washcloth for his headache (remnants of that cold), one more book, a "little song", and much questioning of what Daddy might be watching on TV, he fell asleep fairly quickly. I even got some envelopes addressed for my Christmas cards, and cleaned up the toys and set up the coffee for tomorrow. So am feeling a little less frazzled.

Now if my upstairs neighbor would stop stomping around in concrete boots, things would be great. Maybe I should bang on the ceiling with a broom like the old shrew I'm becoming. Seriously, though, it's 10:30 at night - what the hell could he be doing up there?

'Tis the season procrastinate, apparently. I started out so strong, too.Before Thanksgiving I had about half my Christmas shopping done, my stamps bought, my list made. Unfortunately, I somehow woke up on December 10 and that was STILL all I had done. Christmas shopping in NYC with a 2 and a half year old and a giant belly is not exactly easy - I don't often feel this way, but I find myself wishing for a mall lately, where I could strap my fat ass into the car and load up all my bags after my one stop shopping trip.

Instead, I have to do an awful lot of walking, carrying progressively more numerous and heavier shopping bags. Last year, when I wasn't pregnant, I'd use my babysitter days to power shop, and come home at the end of the day with purple hands from carrying those loaded to the brim shopping bags. These days, however, 10 blocks with two carrier bags feels like an awful lot, so I'm not nearly as efficient as I'd like to be. And I don't think I have to tell anyone with children what it's like to try to shop with a toddler.

Anyway, I ran out today while the boy was in preschool and got wrapping paper and cards - last night I ended up choosing the least lame of the pictures and ordering them 2 day shipping - and finished up my photo calenders for the grandparents and now I've had it. I had grand plans to get some kind of holiday themed picture taken this year, but the boy now thinks it's hysterical to close his eyes and make weird faces when I bring out the camera, so that didn't happen.
I should at least be addressing some cards or wrapping a couple of gifts but I haven't got the energy. We have plans to do pizza with some friends tonight and then the little tree lighting in our neighborhood (Rockefeller Center tree is OUT until the kids are older - much as I would love to take my native New Yorker son to see HIS hometown tree lighting, the place is so swarmed with tourists at all times that I could very well be pushed right over the edge) Rain is in the forecast, so we'll see how it goes.

I guess it's good I never got around to cookie baking this year, either, or right now I'd procrastinating wrapping AND eating way too many cookies.